Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 2nd - 8th July 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. We do not currently have the capacity to provide translations of actual Hebrew and Arabic media, so bear in mind that news agencies that issue articles in those languages may not produce the same content as the English versions of their outlets provided here (e.g. Aljazeera Arabic and Aljazeera English do not simply produce the same content in both languages). 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):

Ma’an News Agency: Teenage Palestinian girl wounded after attempted stabbing near Israeli settlement in Salfit
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian teenage girl was shot and seriously injured in the stomach outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel on Tuesday afternoon, after she allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that a Palestinian woman attempted to stab a soldier at a junction west of Ariel on Tuesday afternoon, when she was shot and detained by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident, the spokesperson added. The girl was later identified by locals as Jamileh Daoud Hasan Jaber, 17, from the town of al-Zawiya in the western part of Salfit.  The incident follows a string of deadly attacks and alleged attempted attacks last week that left two Israelis killed and three Palestinians shot dead, including a Palestinian woman killed by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint in Hebron in an incident when no Israelis were injured.

Al Jazeera: Israel allows lethal force on stone throwers: report
Israeli police have been authorised to use lethal force as a first resort against Palestinians throwing stones, firebombs or fireworks, according to documents revealed by human rights group Adalah. The latest open-fire regulations for Israeli police officers were approved and sent to officers in December, following two months of sporadic stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Jerusalem, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The regulations include authorisation for officers to use live ammunition against Palestinians, including minors, suspected of throwing stones or firebombs, or those who appear likely to be about to commit such an offence. It also gives police officers authorisation to use lethal force as a first option in such cases. Previously, lethal force had been reserved as a final option for police officers when confronting violent Palestinian protests, only to be used after non-lethal means. The regulations were partially revealed by the Israeli police to Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, after the NGO successfully petitioned an Israeli court for access to the documents.

PNN: Gaza blockade preventing vital reconstruction: international agencies sound the alarm
Two years since the outbreak of the 2014 war that cost the lives of 1,492 Palestinian civilians, including 551 children, much of the Gaza Strip remains in ruins. Entire neighbourhoods remain cut off from water supplies, destroyed hospitals and clinics have not yet been rebuilt, and tens of thousands remain without a home. While some reconstruction has progressed, the situation in Gaza remains dire. Less than 10% of the 11,000 homes that were completely destroyed during the 51 day bombardment have been rebuilt. As a result of the war and the impact of the blockade imposed in 2007 by Israel, more than 75,000 Palestinians in Gaza still have no home to return to. “Two years since the beginning of the war, the blockade is severely impeding reconstruction and recovery in Gaza. Unless it is lifted, Palestinians living in Gaza will be unable to move on with their lives and live in freedom, dignity, and safety,” Oxfam Country Director Chris Eijkemans said. “When the ceasefire began, world leaders promised to work towards sustainable and long-term development for Palestinians living in Gaza. However, there is little evidence of those promises on the ground.” International organizations working in the occupied Palestinian territory are sounding the alarm on the lack of progress in Gaza’s reconstruction as a result of Israel’s heavy restrictions on the entry of materials critical to the recovery process. The organizations called on world leaders to live up to their commitments and press for an immediate end to the blockade.

Al Arabiya: UN chief slams Israel over settlement plans in wake of Quartet report
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon sharply criticized a decision by Israel to advance plans to build hundreds of units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem just days after world powers called on Israel to stop its settlement policy, his spokesman said on Tuesday. “This raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. Ban was “deeply disappointed” that Israel’s announcement followed the release of a report on Friday by the “Quartet” sponsoring the stalled Middle East peace process - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The long-awaited report said Israel should stop building settlements, denying Palestinian development and designating land for exclusive Israeli use that Palestinians seek for a future state. The Quartet report said at least 570,000 Israelis are living in the settlements. Ban “reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law and urges the Government of Israel to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement,” Dujarric said.

Al Jazeera: Turkish aid arrives in Gaza after deal with Israel
Turkish aid shipments have arrived in the Gaza Strip via Israel, a week after Israel and Turkey announced they would end a six-year rift and restore ties. About 11,000 tonnes of cargo, including clothing, toys, food and medicines, were ferried to the Israeli port of Ashdod by a Turkish ship, and made their way to Gaza on Monday. Under the supervision of the Turkish Red Crescent Society, the first of about 500 lorries carrying the aid entered the Gaza Strip through Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing, witnesses told the Reuters news agency. Turkey had initially pushed for a lifting of Israel's eight-year-old blockade on Gaza as part of the negotiations to normalise ties after Israel raided a Gaza aid flotilla in 2010 and killed 10 activists on board. However, Israel rejected this condition. A compromise was eventually reached allowing Turkey to send aid through Ashdod rather than directly to the Palestinian enclave. Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent the Hamas group that rules Gaza from receiving materials that could be used for military purposes. However, the United Nations has called for it to be lifted, citing deteriorating conditions in the territory. Under a reconciliation deal struck last week, Israel will pay $20m in compensation to the families of those killed on the Gaza flotilla six years ago.

Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

The Jerusalem Post, Three IDF soldiers hurt in suspected West Bank car ramming attack
Three IDF soldiers were lightly wounded on Wednesday afternoon when a light blue Palestinian car hit their vehicle causing it to overturn on Route 60, in the Gush Etzion section of the West Bank. The Palestinian driver of the vehicle was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem, in serious condition, for medical treatment. An initial investigation pointed to the possibility of a vehicular terror attack, the IDF said. Security forces are on alert along Route 60 as it stretches through the West Bank from Jerusalem to Beersheba.  On Friday, on Route 60 in the South Hebron Hills, Palestinian gunmen killed Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark, 47, who was the director-general of the Othniel yeshiva. The father of 10 was driving on that road with his wife and two of his children.  Chava Mark remains hospitalized in Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem. The two teenagers who were also wounded have since been released from the hospital.

The Jerusalem Post, Gazans sent to smuggle Hamas funds in their shoes enable Israel to learn about new tunnels
The arrest of two Gazans with terrorism-financing cash hidden in their shoes enabled Israel to gain valuable intelligence on the underground network of tunnels Hamas and Islamic Jihad are digging in Gaza. Security forces disclosed on Tuesday that they nabbed two Gazans in June trying to smuggle cash from the Strip to Hamas operatives in the West Bank to finance terrorism. A joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Israel Police Southern District and IDF operation resulted in the arrest on June 16 of 65-year-old Faiz Atar from Bet Lahia in Gaza, who had a permit to enter Israel to conduct trade.

The Times of Israel, Abbas urges UN Security Council to reject Quartet report
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday harshly criticized a newly released report by the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers, saying it would not further the cause of peace, and called on the United Nations Security Council to reject the document. The Quartet — the UN, United States, European Union and Russia — on Friday published its long-awaited report on the peace process, which saw for the first time a major international body cite Palestinian incitement to violence against Israel as a major obstacle to ending the conflict. Incitement was one of the three “negative” trends highlighted in the report penned by UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov. The envoy said all three trends (settlements and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip being the other two) “severely undermine hopes for peace.” But Abbas, visiting the grave of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, reiterated the PA’s rejection of the Quartet report. “We have published our position on the Quartet commission, and we said this report is not fit for the task of peace,” Abbas said, according to the official PA news site Wafa. Israel also slammed the Quartet report. A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it only “perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements (in 2009-10), it did not get peace.”

Times of Israel, Abbas refusing to condemn terror surge, ‘not taking calls’ from world statesmen
P.A. President Abbas had refused, as of Saturday night, to condemn the current surge in Palestinian terrorism, including the killing of a 13-year-old Israeli girl on Thursday and a father of 10 on Friday. He is also reportedly refusing to take calls from Israeli and world leaders who are seeking to encourage him to speak out. As of Saturday night, Abbas had made no official statement in response to the killing of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was stabbed to death as she slept in her bedroom at home in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, on Thursday morning, or the drive-by shooting on Friday afternoon of Rabbi Miki Mark.

Ynet News, Israel, US successfully test integration of missile defence systems
The Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully conducted a test meant to check the integration of Israeli and American missile defense systems, it was announced Wednesday. It tested the real-time communication between missile defence systems in Israel and the US, simulating a scenario in which thousands of rockets and missiles from Iran and Lebanon are fired at Israel at the same time to see how efficiently the six different missile defence systems can work together to eliminate the threats. The focus was on connecting the missile defence system to the US radar system to detect the projectiles. The missile defence systems tested were Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 as well as Israel's David’s Sling in conjunction with US systems Aegis Ships, Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) and Patriot missile defence systems.  The Defence Ministry hailed the test as “another milestone in the missile defence program, which is a cooperation between the US and Israel.” The issue of missile defence is at the centre of discussions over the US military aid package for Israel during the next decade. For the first time, Israel seeks to make the funding of missile-defence systems an integral part of the agreement. This would mean an addition of hundreds of millions of dollars, which would bring the total sum of American military aid to Israel to some $40 billion over the coming decade. In the wake of the nuclear agreement signed between world powers and Iran, the American administration committed to providing billions of dollars' worth of arms to Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Israeli defence officials said in talks with the Americans over the past five months that these agreements could only increase the threat to Israel if any of those regimes collapses.,7340,L-4825027,00.html
US-UK News Sources

Independent: Terrorists responsible for Tel Aviv attack were ‘inspired by ISIS’
Two terrorists involved in the deadly shooting that killed four people in Tel Aviv were inspired by Isis, according to an indictment presented to the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor's Office. Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, said that the perpetrators, Mahmoud Khalid Mahamrah and Ahmed Mohammed, both residents of the West Bank town of Yatta, carried out the attack in the name of the terror group. However, the statement noted that neither of the two were formally recruited or received training or assistance from the terrorist organisation. Ahmed Mohammed studied in Jordan and was an Isis supporter, while Khaled Mahamra was traumatised by the demolition of his home when he was in school, according to Israeli website Haaretz. Shin Bet also said that an investigation into the shooting uncovered that the two attackers had planned to carry out an attack against Israeli civilians since January of 2016. The shooting, which took place on the evening of 8 June, saw the terrorists open fire at the popular Sarona leisure complex near Israel's military headquarters, killing four people and injuring 17.

The Guardian: UK police ask to interview Israeli former minister over Gaza war
Israel’s former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has been granted special diplomatic immunity by the UK government after a Metropolitan police request to interview her over allegations about war crimes during the 2008-09 military operation in Gaza. Israel expressed “great concern” to London over the summons on Thursday for a “voluntary interview” from Scotland Yard detectives examining alleged war crimes, as Livni prepared to attend a conference in London organised by the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “We would have expected different behaviour from a close ally such as the UK,” a foreign ministry statement said. “Israel is fully committed to the rule of law – in both times of peace and in times of war.” Livni was foreign minister at the time of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas, which according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem resulted in 1,391 Palestinian deaths, at least 759 of them non-combatants. Livni said in London that she was proud of the decisions she had taken in government, and that Hamas had continued to attack Israel despite the withdrawal of Jewish settlements in Gaza in 2005. She added: “The British legal system is being abused.” Although originally on the Israeli right, Livni supports a two-state solution and was heavily involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

The New York Times: Jewish settlers, Attacked, Needed Help. A Palestinian Doctor Didn’t Hesitate
DAHRIYA, West Bank — The Palestinian doctor was on his way to Jerusalem to join in Ramadan prayers when he made a decision that many in Israel found inspiring: He helped save the lives of Jewish settlers. Dr. Ali Shroukh, 45, was driving with his brothers along a West Bank road on Friday when they came upon a car that had flipped over onto its roof. The vehicle — big and boxy, with room to fit many children — seemed easily identifiable as belonging to a Jewish settler. The car had crashed after a Palestinian gunman fired on it, killing the driver, Rabbi Michael Mark, 46, a father of 10. His wife was critically injured, and one of the two children in the car, a teenage girl, was seriously wounded. The family was on its way to Jerusalem to visit Rabbi Mark’s mother. Dr. Shroukh did not realize that he was witnessing the aftermath of a terrorist attack. His instinct was simply to help. His response was an act of kindness in a conflict that is often bereft of it, particularly amid the violence of the past nine months, when Palestinians have killed more than 30 Israelis. Over 210 Palestinians have also been killed, many while committing an attack or intending to do so.

Fox News, Lawyer asks Israel to destroy homes of Palestinian's killers
JERUSALEM – A lawyer for the family of a Palestinian teen whose 2014 murder was part of a chain of events that sparked the Gaza war says he wants Israel to punish the teenager's killers in the same way it does Palestinian militants. Lawyer Mohannad Jubara is petitioning Israel's Supreme Court to demolish the family homes of the Israeli three men who abducted 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and burned him to death in 2014. The attackers say it was in revenge for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens by Palestinians allied with the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel says it carries out demolitions of militants' homes to deter future attacks. Palestinians consider it collective punishment. Jubara said this week that he wants the same policy applied for Abu Khdeir's killers.

Al Jazeera, Rami G Khouri: US Democratic Party: Closer to justice on Palestine
Khouri begins by pointing out the ‘several noteworthy but incremental advances’ in the struggle for a more neutral American position on the Israel-Palestine conflict. These advances, in his view, are particularly noticeable in the Democratic Party’s recent draft platform of positions on political issues for the presidential campaign. In a series of ‘subtle but meaningful word changes’, the party has shown a gradual but important drift from a predominantly ‘pro-Israel tilt’ towards one that also recognises ‘Palestinian rights to sovereignty and dignity.’ The committee, made up of 15 members who were named by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party machine, rejected wording proposed by James Zogby to end ‘occupation and illegal settlements in Palestinian lands Israel has occupied since 1967’. Instead, the draft advocates ‘working towards a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’ that ‘guarantees Israel’s security with recognised borders’, and also providing Palestinians with ‘independence, sovereignty and dignity.’ Notably, this formulation changed previous wording that, in the words of Khouri, ‘supported a Palestinian state primarily in order to secure a (Jewish-majority) Israel, rather than because both people explicitly deserved equal rights in adjacent states’. According to liberal pro-Israel US lobby group J Street, such small changes in wording reflect significant political advances, asserting the rights of both people as well as marking an important shift from the Democratic Party’s former practice of ‘making a Palestinian state conditional on Israeli security and other interests.’ The author goes on to point out two other advances in the American position on the situation in Israel-Palestine: namely, that younger Americans are moving towards a more balanced and ‘progressive’ view on the situation and secondly, that this political year has seen a leading presidential candidate gain increasing support for progressive positions, naming five members of the platform committee, including several who forcefully advocated ‘Palestinian rights alongside Israel's security’.

The Jerusalem Post, Moran Stern: Turkish-Israeli reconciliation has potential to benefit both sides
Stern argues that the recent agreement between Turkey and Israel, following six years of negotiations, is a promising one insofar as it ‘serves the countries’ interests amid the region’s dynamics.’ Stating that the normalisation of relations in the Middle East today is a significant step that ‘should not be taken for granted’, the author states that the agreement is expected to lead to increased trade between Turkey, ‘the key strategic player in the Middle East’, and Israel which is, on the other hand, ‘regionally isolated’. Stern further remarks that this agreement marks a first step on path for Israel to join, even if ‘unofficially’, the region’s Sunni group of Muslim and Arab countries. In citing the shared interest amongst Turkey, Israel and other countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, to contain Iranian policies as well as limit Russian involvement in Syria, Stern suggests that the Turkish-Israeli reconciliation may legitimately enable Israel to become an important actor in the Muslim capitals in the region. The fact that the agreement includes Turkish humanitarian aid to Gaza, Stern suggests, may also be strategically important for Israel - because despite the rivalry between Israel and Hamas, ‘Israel prefers Hamas’ control of Gaza to the likely but far worse alternatives, which include a number of small Jihadi groups as well as affiliates of the Islamic State.’ Turkish aid will help to improve the living conditions of civilians in Gaza, decreasing Gaza’s dependence on Israel for aid and energy. Stern also adds, ‘it’s worth remembering that Turkey would have maintained its support for Hamas regardless of the agreement with Israel, so the accord at least provides that such support will be contingent on some Israeli monitoring.’ However, Stern points out that the respective publics of Turkey and Israel remain sceptical about the agreement, partly because no adequate attempt has been made by each country’s leader to fully explain the importance of this normalisation of diplomatic relations. Stern concludes by arguing that the key test of how resilient this newly agreed relation is will be in the next major round of fighting between Israel and Gaza, raising significant questions including: ‘how will Turkey respond to the images of destruction and casualties in Gaza? How will Turkey ensure that Hamas does not use the planned Turkish hospital as a launching pad for its missiles?’

Haaretz, Or Kashti: For Jews and Arabs, Israel’s school system remains separate and unequal
Kashti begins by stating that the decision to give Arab teachers’ colleges in the north of Israel only about half the funding per student compared to other teachers’ colleges calls into question Naftali Bennett’s statement that he is the ‘education minister of all Israeli children’. Different educational policies are in place for Jews and Arabs, with Arab students suffering already from budgetary discrimination in elementary and high school, and now higher education too. The author acknowledges that the Education Ministry is not the sole factor in the ‘inequality in the job market that has resulted in a glut of Arabs becoming teachers’. However, Kashti goes on to concede that it is difficult to accept the ‘ministry’s claim that the thousands of unemployed Arab teachers require it to cut funding for Arab teachers’ colleges’. Kashti further points to the fact that in high school ‘per-student funding in 2013-14 was 35 percent to 68 percent higher for Jews than for Arabs at the same socioeconomic level’, emphatically stating that ‘separation between Jews and Arabs in the school system remains almost hermetic.’ Finally, the author highlights that problems within the education system, including the surplus of Arab teachers, must be the ‘province of the Arab Education Council’, which has unfortunately seen the resignation of most of its council members.


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