Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 19th - 25th November 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 aim is to shine a spotlight for readers on the polarised narratives and constant one-sided messaging that appears in the media of each society, and often also in the international media. Solutions Not Sides makes no attempt to reconcile or support any of these narratives, but we believe it is important to understand each side’s perspective and the way that their society presents events if a negotiated solution is to be reached. 

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. Our main educational point about media sources on this issue is that they are almost always biased and should never be trusted in isolation. Please BE RESOURCEFUL and research for yourself a diversity of sources for everything you read or hear about Israel-Palestine. 
Arabic News Sources

Ma’an News Agency: Israel releases body of slain Palestinian for burial after withholding it 54 days. Israeli authorities returned the body of a slain Palestinian on Wednesday night, allowing his family to bury 28-year-old Nasim Omran Abu Meizar in occupied East Jerusalem almost two months after he was killed by Israeli forces. Abu Meizar was shot dead at the Qalandiya checkpoint between the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Sept. 30 after stabbing and wounding an Israeli soldier. His body was withheld by Israeli authorities for 54 days before being released on the condition that he be buried immediately and that only 15 family members be allowed to attend the funeral. Abu Meizar was buried in the al-Mujahidin cemetery near East Jerusalem’s Old City at midnight, as Israeli forces heavily deployed in and around the cemetery, blocking nearby roads and preventing journalists from approaching the funeral or talking to Abu Meizar’s relatives.

Middle East Eye: Israel revives settlement plans in East Jerusalem. Israel revived plans on Wednesday to build 500 homes for Jewish settlers in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, an ominous sign for Palestinians wary of a Donald Trump presidency, an NGO said. "The political significance of this action is that it is the first plan to be promoted since the US elections," Betty Herschman from the Ir Amim NGO said. The plan for 500 units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in East Jerusalem of about 20,000, had been on hold since 2014, Ir Amim said. The Jerusalem municipality downplayed the significance of the new housing units, saying the plans were "not new and were approved years ago". Nevertheless, the announcement is likely to be interpreted by some as a first step in Israel expanding its settlements in the wake of Trump's upset election victory. Israeli right-wingers hailed his triumph as ushering in an administration less critical of settlement expansion than that of outgoing President Barack Obama.

Al-Jazeera: Israel slammed over its 'war on NGOs'. Last August, Pam Bailey, an American citizen and secretary of the Gaza-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, was denied entry to Israel upon arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport. Israeli authorities detained her for 11 hours, while the airline retained her passport until she landed back on US soil. She was banned from returning for 10 years. "I had a permit to enter Gaza," said Bailey who had visited Gaza a number of times before. "Israel says it's not occupying Gaza, but it won't let visitors in. Isn't that the definition of a prison? We don't want to go into Israel; we want to go to Palestine," Bailey told Al Jazeera. "Do you know of any other situation in the world where one country can decide who gets in and out of another?"Bailey is among a number of activists, researchers and journalists who have recently been denied access by the Israeli authorities, as Israel tightens its grip on Palestinians and their international supporters.

PNN: Israel to allow its ministers and MKs to enter Al-Aqsa. The Israeli Minister of public security, Gilad Erdan on Tuesday said that Israeli Ministers and MKs will regain permission to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, Haaretz said. Erdan was quoted as stating that police will soon give a go-ahead for the Israeli ministers and MKs to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque and its plazas. “The police think, based on its professional evaluation, that visits may be renewed under certain conditions, including that MKs give several hours advance notice,” said Erdan. When visits are renewed, he added, attention must be paid to the timing, so that they don’t happen in a period of unrest and provoke more instability. A ban on Israeli ministers and MKs has been in place for several months under the recommendations of the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu after tension has reached a peak in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Hebrew Sources

Times of Israel: Jail sought for IDF soldier who shot prone Palestinian attacker. Military prosecutors in Israel on Wednesday demanded prison time for an IDF soldier on trial for manslaughter for allegedly shooting and killing an already subdued Palestinian stabber earlier this year. Sergeant Elor Azaria, 19, shot the 21-year-old Palestinian on March 24 in the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank. A video widely circulated online appeared to show Azaria, who holds Israeli and French citizenship, shooting Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the head despite him lying flat on the ground, seemingly posing no threat. The case has divided Israel, with some calling for Azaria to be jailed and others saying he was responding to a threat from Sharif, who stabbed another soldier minutes before, along with an accomplice.

Israel Hayom: Israel ready for peace with Palestinians, PM Netanyahu says. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded Israel's changing status in the Middle East at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday. "I am supremely optimistic. In fact, I've never been more hopeful. I'm hopeful about Israel, I'm hopeful about our region, I'm hopeful about peace. I'm even hopeful about the U.N., can you imagine that?" Netanyahu did, however, express frustration with Palestinian unwillingness to meet for talks without preconditions. He said he often told world leaders with whom he met to "Invite me and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to a meeting right now in your capital. Right now. I'm willing to come. I'll change my schedule. I'm willing to come to see him."  Netanyahu said that when these leaders convey the message to Ramallah, the response is "'Not now. Can't. Conditions, preconditions." Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was also interviewed at the conference. Speaking of the belief among many in Israel's political sector that relations with the U.S. will improve under a Trump administration, Lieberman said that unlike Netanyahu the optimist, "I'm sorry to say I'm very realistic."

Times of Israel: Palestinian killed while trying to stab guard at crossing — police. Palestinian man armed with a knife was shot and killed by Israeli security forces as he attempted to stab a guard at a crossing outside Jerusalem Tuesday morning, police said. The incident occurred at the Qalandiya Crossing north of Jerusalem, which links the capital to the Palestinian refugee camp of the same name. The attacker was declared dead of his wounds at the scene, a police spokesperson said. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as Jihad Mohammad Sa’id Khalil (48), from Beit Wazan, located west of Nablus.

Haaretz: High Court Asks Israel Why Jewish Terrorists' Homes Aren’t Razed Like Palestinians.' The High Court of Justice this week ordered the state to explain whether demolishing the homes of Jewish terrorists would be an effective counter-terrorism measure, which is the claim made for the razing of Palestinian homes. The court said it wanted the state’s response to the question because it wasn’t clear whether senior defense officials had seriously discussed the issue. The decision, which gave the state 30 days to provide its answer, was handed down in a petition filed by the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the East Jerusalem teen who was murdered by three Jews in 2014. The petition demanded that the state demolish or seal the homes of his murderers.

UK/US News

New York Times: As Wildfires Rage, Israel Suggests Arson and Asks for Foreign Help. Wildfires raged through central and northern Israel for a third day on Thursday, devouring forests, damaging homes and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people. Israeli officials said the fires had been fanned by unusually strong winds and made worse by a dry atmosphere, but they also said they suspected that many of them had been caused by arson and negligence. Dozens of people have been lightly affected by smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries or fatalities have been reported. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, told Army Radio that the professional assessment was that almost half the fires were the result of arson. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attributed the fires to “natural and unnatural” causes, spoke on Thursday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who promised to send two huge firefighting aircraft.

The Independent: Israel fires: Al-Qaeda linked Palestinian militant group 'claims responsibility' for devastating Haifa blaze. An al-Qaeda linked militant group has claimed responsibility for starting a devastating fire in the Israeli city of Haifa that forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Ma’sadat al-Mujahideen, a Palestinian Salafist group, has claimed to be behind several previous blazes in Israel, including the Mount Carmel forest fire that killed more than 40 people near Haifa in 2010. There is no proof of the group’s involvement in the blaze, or others they claimed near Jerusalem in 2011 and in the American state of Nevada in the following year. A previous statement from Ma’sadat al-Mujahideen demanded that Jewish people “return from whence they came since they have no place among us”, threatening to continue arson attacks in Israel and among the country’s allies.


Ma’an: Analysis: Israel’s sliding definition of anti-Semitism in the Trump era. You would think that support for Israel is fundamentally at odds with anti-Semitism. If you thought that, however, you would be wrong. The past few days have witnessed a bizarre pile-up of prominent Israel-supporters going out of their way to defend or excuse what seem to be obviously anti-Semitic views voiced by Steve Bannon, internal strategist for the incoming Trump administration, and his media website, Breitbart News. Bannon is the former head of Breitbart, an alt-right media website widely considered to be a platform for white nationalism. It is a site wherein one can easily stumble across the familiar refrains of anti-Semitism in both its articles and, even more so, in its sprawling comments sections. To take only example, in the comments section on David Horowitz’s article, “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” we learn that Breitbart readers believe that the Jews run Hollywood, control the media, and care more about their “race” than their country.

The Jerusalem Post: Lapid urges Palestinians to 'grow up,' build a future. The Palestinians need to work on building a state for themselves instead of focusing on terrorism and death, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Lapid recounted his participation in pro-Israel events in Europe, on the outskirts of which protesters chanted, “Free Palestine.” “Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela knew something about freedom that those protesters do not understand. They knew that freedom is not just a gift you are given. Freedom is a responsibility... a moral duty,” he said. As someone who is committed to a two-state solution, Lapid said, he needs to know what kind of state the Palestinians want to build. “What is their version of freedom?” he asked. “What price are they willing to pay for it? What responsibilities are they willing to take upon themselves?” Lapid pointed out that the Palestinian Authority has existed for more than 20 years and Israelis do not have a presence in Palestinian cities except when there are security needs.

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