Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel - Palestine News 28 May - 3 June 2016
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Purpose: to provide a varied selection of articles from Arabic, Hebrew and English mainstream media outlets so readers get a flavour of what is being said about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from different perspectives. The content and opinions of these articles do not reflect our aims or opinions. Please BE RESOURCEFUL and research for yourself a diversity of sources for everything you read or hear about Israel-Palestine.
Arabic News Sources (English versions):

PNN: Israeli murderer of Dawabsheh family released
On Wednesday morning, 20 year-old Meir Ettinger was released after 10 months of administrative detention on Wednesday morning. Ettinger led the arson attack on the Dawabsheh home in the village of Duma. Ettinger was detained following the murder of the Dawabsheh family last July, in which baby Ali Dawabsheh and both his parents were killed. Ahmad, their five year old son spent some ten months in hospital recovering from third degree burns on 70% of his body. The murderer was placed in administrative detention for six months and was later extended by a further four months. Now, the Shin Bet security service did not seek to extend the administrative detention order again. Following his detention, a judge noted that Ettinger encouraged acts of violence that harmed Israel’s security, and that he organized a violent revolt aimed at toppling the state.

Al Jazeera, Ylenia Gostoli: The vulnerability of Palestinian women in Israel
A recent survey by the Knesset Research and Information Centre that dealt with perceptions of personal security among residents of Israel - from economics, to health, to employment, to feelings of safety in public spaces - found Palestinian women were by far the most vulnerable group. The survey found that overall women's sense of personal security was lower than men's. Among women, Arabs were found to feel the least secure, with 73 percent of Palestinian women fearing discrimination due to their identity, followed by Haredi women at just over 30 percent. While 30 percent of men and women overall said that fears of arrest or interrogation had affected their sense of personal security, the number rose to 79 percent among Arab women, who were also the group most afraid of being harmed because of their appearance. "In Jaffa, we feel safe; it is our home,” said Safa Younes, the founder of Arous Elbahar, a centre that works to empower Palestinian women in Jaffa. "But most women don't feel comfortable going out - especially older women, those who don't work outside the house. I heard stories of women being verbally abused, or someone might try to pull their hijab."

Ma’an News Agency: Reports: Abbas says would meet with Lieberman if latter backs two-state solution
 On Wednesday, Israeli state radio Reshet Bet reported that during a meeting with Israeli mayors, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated his willingness to dialogue with Israel’s newly-appointed Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman should the latter come out in support of a two-state solution. Abbas added that the Palestinian Authority did not judge people based on their comments or political affiliations, but rather on their practices on the ground. "If Lieberman shows that he really accepts the two-state solution, we will forget his previous remarks describing Palestinian diplomacy as terroristic," Reshet Bet quoted Abbas as saying. Netanyahu and Lieberman also reiterated support for statements recently made by Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi promoting similar negotiations, and threw their support behind the two-state solution. However, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now criticized the two Israeli politicians’ declarations, saying they did not align with the Israeli government’s policies on the ground in light of imminent settler construction plans in occupied East Jerusalem. “While Netanyahu and Lieberman just backed the two-state solution, on the ground they are supporting actions that are making a future compromise much more difficult,” the NGO said.

PNN: Shaked: No Palestinian state with Jewish Home in gov’t
On Wednesday, the Israeli Justice minister, Ayelet Shaked said that as long as her nationalist religious party, Jewish Home, is in the Israeli government coalition, there will be no Palestinian state. Shaked, who’s famous for her far-right statements, has said that Israeli settlements will not be evacuated and or given back to Palestinians. “I will say the obvious: As long as we are in the government, there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no settlement evacuations and we will not give any land to our enemies,” Shaked said during a tour of the West Bank Binyamin region on Tuesday. According to Israeli media, Shaked said that her party is the only one fighting for the Israeli settlements, or communities inside the West Bank, against what she called “Hamas” and Da’esh.
Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

The Times of Israel: Settlers, Palestinians come together to seek EU-model end to conflict
A group of Israelis and Palestinians has teamed up in a movement calling for a European-style confederation between Israel and a future state of Palestine, that would allow citizens from both sides of the conflict to live in either country but retain their original nationality. The ‘Two States, One Homeland’ movement — the Israeli side of which is mostly comprised of settlers — is the culmination of four years of low-profile meetings and discussions between activists on both sides. It was reported upon by Channel 2 news on Friday night. The movement rejects the idea of separating the two peoples, claiming that reality has proven that such an effort, started 23 years ago with the Oslo Accords, has failed. One Israeli activist in the movement, journalist Meron Rapoport, said its final goal was to ensure that Jews could live “everywhere they want in the Land of Israel, and Palestinians can live anywhere they want in the land they call Palestine.” Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, an influential figure in the community, has given his blessing to the movement. “The sheer idea of two states and one homeland can be a breakthrough. You have a right, and we have a right — we are both heirs of [biblical patriarch] Abraham, our father,” Riskin said.

Haaretz, Barak Ravid: EU Warns Israel: Policy of Demolishing Palestinian Homes in Area C Will Harm Relations
The European Union sent a very harsh message to Israel a few days ago regarding the demolition of Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank, including some that were built with EU funding. In a meeting with the coordinator of activities in the territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai last week, the EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen, warned that a continuation of the massive demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank is liable to harm relations between the EU and Israel. Area C, which constitutes about 60 percent of the West Bank, is under full Israeli security and civilian control. The Palestinians and the international community consider the area as the main land reserve for the future Palestinian state. Israel for its part wants part of Area C, where the settlements are located, to remain in its hands. An EU official requested to remain anonymous said that the EU ambassador emphasized in the meeting with Mordechai that the organization and its 28 member countries believe that Israel's demolishing of Palestinian homes in Area C is a serious blow to the two-state solution. "Public opinion in Europe is opposed to home demolition and forced evacuation of populations," he said.

Jerusalem Post, Lidar Gravé-Lazi:  Hundreds of Arab, Israeli children building 'bridges to peace' through tech
On Wednesday, former president Shimon Peres addressed a crowd of some 600 Jewish and Arab youth for the closing ceremony of the “Bridges to Peace” project in Petach Tikvah. “In order to be great, you do not need a long sword but unity and dialogue between us. You will be the future leaders of tomorrow - don't be afraid to take chances, to be curious and to dream big,” he told the youth. Bridges to Peace, a joint initiative of the Peres Center for Peace, Google and the ORT school network, aims to bridge gaps in Israeli society through technology. Using Google + Hangouts youth from different sectors of society engaged in online conversations getting to know one another. In addition, each Hangout group of students works together on a joint project, which they develop and implement. After a series of initial online meetings where they learn about each other's daily lives, the youth met face-to-face at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa to fully break down barriers. The program, which has connected thousands of students, aims to create a dialogue between youths that would otherwise not build lasting bridges between their communities.

Ynet News, Hassan Shaalan: Attacker sentenced to 25 years in prison
Alaa Ziad, who carried out a ramming and stabbing attack on route 65 near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in October, was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday morning. Ziad will also have to compensate his victims between NIS 40,000-150,000. Ziad ran over Orel Azuri and another soldier at a bus stop near the Gan Shmuel Interchange in his attack. A civilian who was in the area observed the incident and proceeded to subdue the terrorist with his bare hands. During his hearing, Ziad claimed that he did not carry out a terror attack but rather lost control of his car: “I did nothing. They want to turn me into a terrorist. I don’t know what they want from me. I am not a terrorist.” Azuri, from Ramla, was severely wounded and underwent a number of surgeries. She has been recuperating for the past couple of months. Ziad was convicted of four accounts of attempted murder and wielding a knife for racist motives. According the indictment, Ziad was motivated by the clashes at the Temple Mount and decided to carry out an attack against soldiers and Jewish civilians.,7340,L-4810718,00.html
US-UK News Sources:

Reuters, Luke Baker: Israel's settlement drive is becoming irreversible, diplomats fear
Diplomats and international monitors are increasingly concerned that the Israeli settlement drive, which has settled more than half a million of its people at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, may be reaching the point of irreversibility. The ongoing expansion further diminishes the prospect of any significant progress being made when foreign ministers from 20 countries meet in Paris this week to discuss how to revive Middle East peace efforts, given the settlements have been a central obstacle for at least two decades. If a peace deal were magically struck tomorrow, the Palestinians would expect the Israelis living in Mitzpe Yericho to leave. But its 3,000 residents, nearly all whom are religious nationalists, have no such intention. To them, the settlement enterprise is God-given and irreversible. "If there's peace with the Palestinians we're staying and if there's no peace we're staying," said Yoel Mishael, 65, who has lived in Mitzpe Yericho since its founding. "It's part of Israel, according to the Bible. It's something from God." The foreign ministers will meet on Friday with the aim of paving the way for a summit later in the year that they hope the Israeli and Palestinian leaders will attend.

The Guardian, Peter Beaumont: Gaza fence jumpers looking for work find prison instead-but keep trying anyway
Last year, according to official and media accounts, between 150 and 200 Gazans were caught jumping the fence. Most were in pursuit of work, although at least two people caught this year – according to recent claims by Israel – were activists with Hamas. And despite the recent Israeli focus on Hamas’ tunnels, with two more discovered in recent months, most Palestinians who have entered Israel since the end of the 2014 Gaza war have come over the fence. The young men the Guardian meets are more desperate than dangerous, most having grown up during the decade-long Israeli siege of Gaza, and many have unrealistic notions of what lies beyond the fence. If there is a motor still driving the jumpers, despite the increased Israeli military activity on the border searching for tunnels, it is that no other escape exists. Egyptian efforts have closed many of the southbound tunnels at the border town of Rafah, and passage is costly. Poverty and unemployment in Gaza are continuing to worsen. Scaling the fence, for all its risks – including being shot – costs nothing to try. “I went over the fence last August,” explains the 18 year-old Mohammed Nashwan, who was released from an Israeli prison for jumping four months ago. “I did six months in prison before I was released. And then 11 days in a Hamas jail. I was going to find work’’.

The New York Times, Diaa Hadid: 3 Palestinians Executed in Gaza Soon After Call by Hamas to Resume Death Penalty
Three Palestinians convicted of murder were executed in the Hamas-controlled coastal territory of Gaza on Tuesday, less than a week after Hamas lawmakers called for the resumption of capital punishment. The executions, the first approved by a court in nearly two years, were “meant to deter those who may think of committing such crimes,” the Gaza general prosecutor’s office said in a statement, according to a translation published in Maan. Two men were hanged, one after being found guilty of beating another man to death with a hammer in August, Alresalah reported, and the other on a murder conviction. A third man was executed by a firing squad after he shot and killed a man in 2014 who was trying to collect a debt. “No one should be put to death, certainly not as a part of a legal system in which torture and coercion are common,” Sari Bashi, the Human Rights Watch director for Israeli and Palestinian issues, said in a statement. Hamas officials have carried out the death penalty at least 67 times since taking control of the territory in 2007, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights. That figure does not include extrajudicial killings by Hamas of people suspected of collaborating with Israel during the three wars of the past decade. Most Palestinians approve of the death penalty for those convicted of spying for Israel, a crime that is viewed as deeply shameful in a society long under the shadow of a military occupation.

The Washington Post, William Booth: A Palestinian teen killed an Israeli mom. Now their families struggle with why.
The wife of Israeli settler Natan Meir, Dafna, was stabbed to death in January by a 15-year-old Palestinian who sneaked into the Jewish settlement from a village a mile away. Alongside the Israeli ambassador, Meir went to the United Nations in April to tell his story. He delivered a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for “endless patience and endless love.” Meir is a Jewish settler living deep in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on land the Palestinians want for a state. He said he took solace from the fact that he is friends with some Arab neighbours. News coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tracks well the day-to-day violence, but after the funerals, the families recede to their corners to carry on with their lives. For the past eight months, young Palestinians from the West Bank — mostly men, but some women, too — have been attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians with knives, guns, cars and bombs. The killings have been incredibly intimate — face-to-face at a time when modern warfare is increasingly prosecuted at great distances, by smart bombs and remotely piloted drones. Palestinian officials blame the almost 50-year occupation — the frustration and humiliation of checkpoints, land seizures, raids, military tribunals and the building of the Jewish settlements, communities like Otniel that the international community describes as illegal, though Israel disputes this.
 Bloomfield produces an extremely insightful and analytical piece on Abbas’ and Netanyahu’s strategies vis-à-vis the Paris peace talks and how both are avoiding direct talks to advance their personal interests. When Netanyahu claims that he is prepared to “fly to Paris tomorrow” for one-on-one negotiations with the Palestinian leader, Bloomfield claims that it is really ‘a safe offer because he knew he had a key ally in his corner’, Mahmoud Abbas. According to the author, each leader is continuously calling the other’s bluff in public to meet for peace talks because they both know that it is not on the table. In such a way, both can be perceived by the general public as being open to ending the conflict and can blame each other whenever one walks out. The priorities for each leaders is plainly stated: ‘Abbas doesn’t want to be accused to conceding anything to the Zionists’ whilst ‘Netanyahu doesn’t want to be known as the midwife of Palestinian statehood’. Bloomfield compares the ‘big and bold’ Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin- who were murdered for having the courage to try to make peace possible-to the ‘weak’ and cowardly leaders at present on both sides, who he believes lack what it takes to truly negotiate an end to the occupation.
Ynet News, Alex Fishman: Sting like a Bibi
 In another strong analytical article of the political strategies of Middle Eastern leaders, Fishman reveals the recent gestures by Sisi, Netanyahu and Abbas in advancing a renewed peace agreement to end the conflict as yet another ‘farce’. Once again, such leaders are measured against the superior Sadat and Begin to undermine their political intentions. The proof lies in Netanyahu’s new ultranationalist coalition with Lieberman, which has effectively given a death sentence to any possibility of backing a two-state solution or any kind of negotiations with the Palestinians and the Arab League. Fishman carefully outlines Netanyahu’s key interests, the firt one being the need to paralyse the international community’s pressure to force Israel and the Palestinians into an agreement backed by the UN Security Council. Secondly, Netanyahu realises that Sisi’s public offering of an agreement would have necessitated him to offer up some a minimal gesture toward the Palestinians as proof of his sincerity to cooperate in ending the conflict, the author argues. This could have easily taken the form of halting all development in the settlements, but of course with the new ultranationalist addition to the coalition, Lieberman, this possibility rapidly vanished. Fishman’s dissection of current Israeli politics is inevitably grim: ‘While [Netanyahu] is talking about policies and diplomatic proceedings, in Israel the focus is on internal politics and personal survival’.,7340,L-4805609,00.html
Al Monitor, Rasha Abou Jalal: Is new Gaza war more probable with Lieberman?
Jalal’s piece explores the opinions of Palestinian and Israeli political experts across the spectrum of parties and professions on the effect that Lieberman is expected to have on Gaza. Jalal explains one of the most worrying aspects of the new Defense Minister’s appointment: his precondition to impose the death penalty on Palestinian ‘terrorists’. Wassel Abu Youssef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told Al-Monitor that Lieberman joining the Israeli government “warns that Israeli violence against Palestinians will escalate and that the ongoing Palestinian bloodshed will be fuelling the survival of the extremist government.” Islamic Jihad leader Ahmed al-Mudallal reported that Lieberman joining the Israeli government “reveals the ugly face of Israel and shows the extent of extremism that prevails over the Israeli Netanyahu-led government.” Additionally, Mudallal said that Islamic Jihad “expects additional military escalation on the Gaza Strip after Lieberman takes office as minister of war” and that ‘the resistance will deal with Lieberman…based on one policy, namely responding to any aggression.” Political analyst Eyad al-Qara believes that it is very possible that Lieberman will expand military escalation in the Gaza Strip and again warned of retaliation on behalf of the Palestinians. Given all speculations, Jalal hints to a clear trend in the minds of many Israelis and Palestinians, producing a resounding ‘yes’ to her title’s question.

CNN, Aaron David Miller: For Netanyahu, a devil’s bargain?
Miller divides his opinion article into various questions which he later debriefs and debates. These include: Is Netanyahu still in charge? Will Lieberman be an extreme minister? Is the centre-left opposition dead? Will US-Israeli relations get worse? The answer to the first question is a firm ‘yes’, as the Lieberman deal has meant forming a stronger right-wing government and expanding his 61-seat majority to 66, meaning he ‘will now be able to pass the Israeli budget this fall and likely withstand pressure from the Europeans and the U.S. on the peace process’ says Miller. He argues that Netanyahu will keep Lieberman in check as he ‘doesn't want the West Bank to explode’, addressing the second question. In terms of the state of the centre-left opposition, Miller shies away from a direct answer but purports that Herzog has been made to look a fool by ‘Bibi’ following Lieberman’s appointment, and that this has only weakened the opposition leader politically and deeply undermining the public’s belief that he could rival Netanyahu. Miller believes that US-Israeli relations could definitely get worse as he speculates that Lieberman will ‘make statements and do things related to the West Bank that will roil the waters in Washington’.


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