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Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 13th - 19th September 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):

Al Jazeera: All-female flotilla aims to break Israeli siege of Gaza

Barcelona, Spain - As the two boats pulled out of the harbour, a large crowd of people chanted: "Gaza, don't you cry; we will never let you die." The Zaytouna and the Amal - meaning "olive" and "hope" - set sail last week from Barcelona, Spain, en route to the besieged Gaza Strip. Led by an all-female crew, the flotilla will spend three weeks making its way across the Mediterranean Sea before reaching Gaza, where the boats will attempt to nonviolently push through a naval blockade that has been strictly enforced by Israel for a decade. A previous Turkish flotilla in 2010 ended in tragedy after Israeli forces stormed aboard, killing 10 people. Since then, three more aid flotillas have attempted to navigate Gaza's waters - all without success. This time, Captain Madeleine Habib says she is determined to break the siege on Gaza. "It's preventing freedom of access to the people of Palestine," Habib, a skipper with more than 30 years of experience, told Al Jazeera. "It's creating a jail in their own country and denying them access to the … basic rights that they deserve." Tasmanian-born with Egyptian roots, Habib has travelled extensively around the Middle East, during which time she says she developed an avid interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The current journey is more about provocation than aid, she said; although the boats are stocked with a few small items, the broader goal is to raise awareness about Gaza's plight and the fact that without a political solution, aid alone is not the answer.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/female-flotilla-aims-break-israeli-siege-gaza-160918084128799.html

Al Arabiya: Israel arrests Arab party officials in funding probe
Israeli police have arrested more than 20 officials and activists from a leading Arab political party as part of an investigation into its financing, authorities said on Sunday. The party, Balad, denounced the move as an attempt to silence Israel’s Arab minority, which accounts for 17.5 percent of the country’s eight million population and is largely supportive of the Palestinian cause. Balad is especially critical of Israeli policies and one of its members of parliament, Haneen Zoabi, has frequently angered Israeli officials. No MPs were among those arrested. “More than 20 suspects, including officials and activists in the Balad party, among them lawyers and accountants” were detained, police said. The arrests were “on suspicion of fraud in connection with funds received that were used to finance the party’s activities.” The arrests followed a state comptroller investigation. Members of Balad were accused of creating a mechanism that for years misrepresented “the origin of millions of shekels” obtained from within Israel and abroad, police said. Authorities did not provide further information on the alleged sources of the financing. The suspects were to face remand hearings later on Sunday
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/09/18/Israel-arrests-Arab-party-officials-in-funding-probe-.html

Middle East Eye: Israeli forces kill two alleged Palestinian attackers as violence surges
Israeli security forces shot dead two Palestinians who tried to stab an Israeli policeman in the town of Hebron, a flashpoint in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli police said on Monday. Palestinian street attacks that began nearly a year ago had largely waned in recent months, but a series of assaults since Friday have raised fears in Israel of a new wave of bloodshed in the run-up to the Jewish New Year holiday next month. On Friday, three Palestinians and one Jordanian were shot and killed by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. One of the men was killed on site and the other critically wounded and treated by the Israeli forces, after arriving to the hospital in Jerusalem he died, police said. The incident occurred near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to Jews and Muslims, who refer to it as the Ibrahimi Mosque. At least 216 Palestinians have died in violent incidents since October in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Of them, 145 were identified by authorities as assailants while others were killed during clashes and protests. Palestinians, many of them acting alone and with rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 33 Israelis and two visiting Americans in attacks that have waned in recent months.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-forces-kill-two-palestinian-assailants-police-say-violence-surges-886964396

PNN: UN welcome agreement reached by Israel and PA to resolve the issue of the outstanding electricity debts
In a statement send by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations welcomed the electricity deal reached by Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Mr. Nickolay Mladenov said in the statement that Palestine News Net Work received: “I welcome the agreement reached by Israeli and Palestinian authorities to resolve the issue of the outstanding electricity debts and to create a new energy market. The agreement includes the transfer of authority to the Palestinian government for collecting payments for electricity distributed to Palestinian territory and will provide an important increase to the Palestinian revenue base. Such a significant step is in line with the Quartet’s recommendations calling on both sides to take steps to strengthen Palestinian institutions and develop a sustainable economy, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority as contemplated by prior agreements. He added: ” I congratulate and commend both sides for their efforts and encourage them to carry on in that positive path. Such steps, echoing the intentions of Oslo, are critical to the viability of a future Palestinian state.”
http://english.pnn.ps/2016/09/14/un-welcome-agreement-reached-by-israeli-and-palestinian-authorities-to-resolve-the-issue-of-the-outstanding-electricity-debts/

Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Haaretz: Netanyahu: Palestinian Leaders Want Future State to Be Ethnically Cleansed of Jews
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian leadership on Friday of wanting to ethnically cleanse the future Palestinian state of Jews. Netanyahu made the remarks in an English-language video message posted on his Facebook page. Criticizing the common argument that settlements in the West Bank are an obstacle to peace, the prime minister stated, "No one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel — that they're an obstacle to peace." Instead, the diversity of the Israel shows that it is ready for peace, while a Palestinian state with the precondition of no Jews amounts to ethnic cleansing, the prime minister said. Netanyahu called the demand "outrageous" and expressed shock that this sentiment is accepted by the international community. "Next time you hear someone say Jews can't live somewhere, let alone their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications," concluded the prime minister. "Our region needs more tolerance, not less," he added. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters in Washington the administration is "engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government" about the video. "We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful," Trudeau said. 
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.741192

The Jerusalem Post: Kerry tells Abbas US is committed to two-state solution
The United States remains committed to the two-state solution, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the two men met in New York on Monday. “The Secretary and President Abbas discussed regional challenges and constructive ideas for the way forward to support our shared goal of a two state solution,” the office the US State Department spokesperson said. It added that “Secretary Kerry stressed the United States’ commitment to this issue and his concern over trends on the ground, including the recent surge in violence and settlement activity. “They agreed on the importance of continuing to work with key partners to advance the prospects for peace while opposing all efforts that would undermine that goal,” the spokesperson said. Kerry and Abbas had met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and in advance of Wednesday’s meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to a report from Wafa, an official Palestinian news agency, Abbas and Kerry discussed “the political process and international efforts, in addition to the situation and developments in the Middle East.” Several Palestinian officials joined in the meeting, including PLO Executive Committee Secretary General Saeb Erakat, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour, among others.
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Kerry-and-Abbas-meet-in-New-York-discuss-Syria-468160

Israel Hayom: Wave of terrorism a sign of ‘lost hope,’ Palestinian leader says
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that the recent upswing in terrorist attacks is a symptom of Palestinian despair, a claim that Hamas instantly put to rest, attributing the violence instead to a culture of resistance. Speaking to students of Palestinian origin in Venezuela, Abbas explained that incitement was not behind the decision to carry out attacks, "rather, they [young Palestinians] have lost hope." He added that he is prepared to return to the negotiation table if Israel halts settlement construction and releases additional prisoners. Abbas went on to say that the Palestinians would not compromise on the right of return, stressing that 6 million Palestinian refugees were waiting to come home. In response to Abbas' comments, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan posted on Twitter: "To Mahmoud Abbas: Our young people are carrying knives of their own accord, because they belong to a people of resistance, which has not been conquered by the brutality of the occupier or security coordination with it, not because of despair.
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36539

Times of Israel: Israel raids Palestinian publisher, seizes ‘inciting material’
Israeli security forces descended on a Palestinian publishing house in the West Bank village of Bani Na’im overnight Sunday-Monday, confiscating equipment, propaganda for a Fatah terror organization as well as material that incited violence against Israelis, the IDF said in a statement Monday. The raids came in response to a sharp uptick in terror attacks in recent days, specifically Friday’s car-ramming attack outside the Kiryat Arba settlement next to Hebron, the army said.  Flags of the Fatah terror wing, office equipment and “inciting materials” found at the Hebron-area publishing house were seized by the IDF and Israel Police. In the nearby villages of Sa’ir and Beit Ummar, Israeli troops searched the homes of Palestinian assailants who recently perpetrated attacks against Israelis in an effort “to prevent the forming of additional attackers.” In separate overnight raids across the West Bank, security forces also uncovered two guns, a pipe bomb and thousands of shekels in cash. They also arrested 10 Palestinian terror suspects. A search of a home in a village near Bethlehem turned up a handgun, a makeshift rifle, a pipe bomb and more than NIS 130,000 ($3,500) in cash, which, according to the army, were being held in preparation for a terror attack. Three of the men arrested were described as Hamas members, and one was said to belong to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. Another six were detained for “terrorist activities and violent riots against citizens and security forces,” the army said.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-raids-palestinian-publisher-seizes-inciting-material/
 
US/UK News Sources:

BBC: US approves record $38bn Israeli military aid deal
The US has agreed a military aid package for Israel worth $38bn (£28bn) over the next 10 years, officials say, the largest such deal in US history. The previous pact, set to expire in 2018, saw Israel get $3.1bn annually. The new agreement follows 10 months of behind-the-scenes talks and will be signed on Wednesday. Pro-Palestinian groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel despite the ongoing construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. A pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said the deal would send a "strong message of deterrence" to Israel's enemies. Last month, the White House warned that the construction of settlements posed a "serious and growing threat to the viability of a two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. A brief statement issued by the US state department on Tuesday said the new memorandum of understanding with Israel on security assistance, running from 2019 until 2028, constituted "the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in US history". Officials said the new package would for the first time incorporate money - $500m a year - for Israeli missile defence programmes. They were previously funded on an annual basis by Congress. Israel had agreed not to lobby Congress for additional funds during the lifetime of the deal unless a new war broke out, the officials said. The pact also reportedly includes an undertaking that Israel will eventually only use the money to buy products from the US defence industry, rather than its own. Israel will no longer be able to spend some of the funds on fuel for its military too.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-37345444

The Guardian: Facebook and Israel to work to monitor posts that incite violence
The Israeli government and Facebook have agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network, a senior Israeli cabinet minister said on Monday. The announcement came after two government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss the matter. The Facebook delegation is in Israel as the government pushes ahead with legislative steps meant to force social networks to rein in content that Israel says incites violence. Israel has argued that a wave of violence with the Palestinians over the past year has been fueled by incitement, much of it spread on social media sites. It has repeatedly said that Facebook should do more to monitor and control the content, raising a host of legal and ethical issues over whether the company is responsible for material posted by its users. Both the interior minister, Gilad Erdan, and justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, two key figures in Israel’s battle against the alleged online provocations, participated in Monday’s meeting. The interior minister’s office said they agreed with Facebook representatives to create teams that would figure out how best to monitor and remove inflammatory content, but did not elaborate further. Erdan and Shaked have proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content that Israel considers to be incitement. 
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/12/facebook-israel-monitor-posts-incite-violence-social-media

New York Times: Obama, Keen to Push Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Will Meet With Netanyahu
President Obama arrived in New York City on Sunday evening for three days that will mix election-year politics with a farewell to the world stage at the United Nations. But the visit comes against a suddenly tense backdrop, after a powerful explosion rocked a Manhattan street and a man claiming fealty to the Islamic State stabbed several people in a Minnesota shopping mall. The president’s diplomatic schedule also got more complicated. The White House announced Sunday that he would hold meetings at the United Nations with leaders from Israel and China. Both will be closely watched for signs of friction in relationships that have been marked by tension during Mr. Obama’s tenure. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to confer with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at a time when he is weighing whether to propose his own framework for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over Mr. Netanyahu’s objections. The two leaders have clashed repeatedly over the Iran nuclear agreement and Mr. Obama’s pursuit of Middle East peace. The meeting could be their last face-to-face encounter before Mr. Obama’s term ends in January. Last week, the United States and Israel sealed a $38 billion, 10-year American security aid package to Israel, the largest ever granted to an ally. Officials in both countries have characterized the deal as proof that the American-Israeli relationship is enduring, whatever the strains between the two men.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/19/world/middleeast/benjamin-netanyahu-obama-israel-palestinians.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

Washington Post: Knife and car attacks hit Jerusalem and West Bank; 3 suspected assailants killed
JERUSALEM — Three suspected assailants were shot and killed Friday in a series of knife and vehicle attacks in Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in the West Bank that left several Israelis lightly injured. The attacks did not appear to be related, authorities said, but instead carried hallmarks of “lone wolf” strikes by Palestinians targeting Israel and Jewish settlements in the past year. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attacks. Earlier this week, President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about soaring tensions in Israel and the West Bank amid a long-stalled peace process. After three weeks of relative quiet, a 28-year-old assailant lunged toward Israeli border police stationed at Jerusalem’s busy Damascus Gate, an entrance to the Old City popular with tourists and Arab residents from East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities said. The attacker, identified as Saeed Amro, had crossed into Israel from Jordan a day earlier, security officials said. Many Palestinians also have Jordanian passports. Israeli police said the man rushed at the officers with a knife in each hand before being shot and killed. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posted a photograph on Twitter showing three knives placed on the ground. One witness told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Israeli officers thought the man “looked suspicious” and asked him to raise his shirt. The man shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is great) and was shot by police. The witness told Haaretz that “he didn’t see the man attacking anyone.” An hour later, a man and woman allegedly tried to ram a bus stop and run over people at the entrance of the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/knife-and-car-attacks-hit-jerusalem-and-west-bank-3-suspected-attackers-killed/2016/09/16/b723c010-7c1d-11e6-8064-c1ddc8a724bb_story.html

Op-eds:

Haaretz: Palestinians, Not Israeli Settlers, Are Victims of Ethnic Cleansing
Mr. Netanyahu’s recent comparison of Palestinian citizens of Israel with its illegal settlers in Occupied Palestine is not only immoral, but a total departure from rationality, history and Israel’s obligations under international law. He should realize that no matter Israel’s institutionalized system of discrimination, this is our homeland and we are here to stay. First of all, Palestinian citizens of Israel are not foreign immigrants that came to Israel and applied for visas or citizenship, rather Israel went to them. They are the indigenous population of the country. They lived there way long before the Zionist movement was created. They are those who later survived the Nakba of 1948, where 85% of the Palestinians living in what is now Israel were ethnically cleansed only because they were not Jews. Yes, they can tell Mr. Netanyahu about the meaning of ethnic cleansing on this land.  As a representative of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel, I reject the comparisons stated by Mr. Netanyahu between our existence and the presence of settlers in Occupied Palestine. We are not Israeli settlers, Mr. Netanyahu. Comparing us with the illegality of a foreign occupation only reflects your belief that nobody else other than Jews could call this place homeland. Over 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel will continue to challenge your racist attitude and systematic denial of human rights, including dozens of laws that only target non-Jews in Israel. We will continue with our demands for equal rights in the place that we have inhabited for generations, rather than taking over the land of another people living under a foreign military occupation. Illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are not “ancient communities that have been living there for 3,000 years” but illegal colonial structures aimed at systematically denying the Palestinian right to self-determination. They are illegal not because they are Jews but simply because they colonize an occupied territory. Period.  It is time for Mr. Netanyahu and his extremist government to understand reality: No matter how many tweets or videos they issue, no matter his strong support for colonizing the Occupied State of Palestine or his constant racism against his own non-Jewish, Palestinian citizens, he won’t be able to make us feel as strangers in our own homeland.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.741350

Israel Hayom: Terrorism never went away
This terror wave can be deceptive, as we are learning from newspaper headlines around these parts. There is no need to seek legality, motive or a connection between our actions and the terrorist "response." Terror is not "back," for the simple reason that it never left. The Palestinian terrorist movements, chief among them Hamas, carry out terrorist attacks against Israel whenever the opportunity presents itself. These movements, mainly Hamas, constantly incite, direct, and perpetrate stabbing attacks and lone-wolf terrorism against "quality targets" -- primarily in Jerusalem and Hebron -- out of the understanding that their capacity for direct military action against Israel from Gaza has taken a significant hit. The economic siege and diplomatic isolation in which Hamas finds itself, especially with regard to Egypt; not to mention the fallout with the Palestinian Authority, the snags with its patrons in the Persian Gulf (except for Qatar) and Turkey and internal strife over Shiite Iran's role as it pertains to arming and funding the organization -- are all creating existential dilemmas regarding its future path while hampering its efforts to reach a level of military proficiency that can challenge Israel. Hamas' dream is to make the lives of Israelis a nightmare by carrying out large terrorist attacks, but this is beyond their reach due to the preventative measures taken by Israel's security apparatuses, including the "apartheid checkpoints" on the roads of Judea and Samaria and the "racist" security fence. By cynically exploiting inflamed religious feelings, the Palestinians mobilize attacks to coincide with Muslim holidays, or evilly plan for them to fall on Jewish holidays. They do this with the goal of sparking the largest jihadist flame possible on the way to the desired religious war between Islam and Judaism (the model followed by Sheikh Raed Salah's Islamic Movement in Israel). Hamas' terrorism is geared toward symbolic religious sites and significant dates to create a sense of vulnerability and helplessness among the target population, thereby broadening its capabilities.
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=17217

 
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