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Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 19th - 30th August 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. 
Israeli news sources:
The Jerusalem Post: Israeli minister: Netanyahu decided seven years ago to freeze Ma’aleh Adumim
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided seven years ago on a de-facto freeze for the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) said on Thursday as he visited that city for the first day of school. The Palestinians have been particularly concerned by a 3,500 unit project, called E1 that would vastly expand the size of the city. Every prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin has failed to fulfill pledges to build on E1, but they have approved construction in other parts of the city. Building in Ma'aleh Adumim has continued, but at a slower pace, because the number of housing permits have dropped significantly under Netanyahu. The city received permits for only 605 homes in the last six year, compared to the 1,601 approvals he was given the previous six years, which is effectively a 62% drop. This year, right-wing politicians led by the Land of Israel Caucus have called on the government to annex Ma’aleh Adumim, as the first step in applying sovereignty over all the West Bank’s Area C, which is under Israeli military and civil control. All the settlements are located in Area C of the West Bank. “Ma’aleh Adumim is part of Israel and will remain part of Israel. The use of the term annexation is problematic. It implies that something is not yours but will become yours. That is not the case with Ma’aleh Adumim,” Galant said.
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Israeli-minister-Netanyahu-decided-seven-years-ago-to-freeze-Maaleh-Adumim-466604
 
The Times of Israel: Ex-IDF general: We have elevated occupation to an ‘art form’
A former head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni on Wednesday criticized the political echelons for the occupation of Palestinian territories, saying it prevents the army from preparing for genuine threats. The army’s Central Command is responsible for an area that includes the West Bank. “We have elevated the occupation to an art form,” Shamni told a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. “We are the world champions of occupation. I was GOC Central Command of the occupation. And I’m asking, is this what we want to be? Every step we take should stem from one strategic goal — separation from the Palestinians.” Shamni who left the army in 2012 believes that “Israel will never agree to an arrangement that doesn’t answer its security needs,” Shamni asserted, speaking on a panel alongside other former IDF generals at a conference put on by the IDC’s Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya. “The only acceptable solution is an agreed-upon separation from the Palestinians.” Turning to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Shamni said that even if Hamas were to give up its weapons, it would take years until there could be open passage through Israeli territory between Gaza and the West Bank. “The path toward including Gaza in an [Israeli-Palestinian peace] framework is far off and dependent on [Hamas] accepting conditions it will not prepared [to accept] in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Haaretz: Lieberman Expresses Desire to Find Agreed Solution for Palestinian Village of Sussia
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that he was interested in finding an agreed solution concerning the impending demolition of the Palestinian village of Sussia in the West Bank's South Hebron Hills. "At the end of the day, we are destined to live here with our neighbours, and therefore we seek a solution," Lieberman said on the first day of the school year on a visit to a junior high school in the Israeli settlement of Susya, located next to the Palestinian community Sussia. "We really want to be good people and to respect the surroundings. We are therefore waiting for the decision [of the High Court of Justice]. I assume that sometime at the end of the year, there will be a court decision and we will act accordingly." Demolition orders have been issued against the residential structures in Palestinian Sussia, but the High Court is currently considering a petition by the Israeli organization Rabbis for Human Rights seeking to have the order rescinded.
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.739777
 
Israel Hayom: Solider shot while securing worshippers in Joseph’s Tomb
An Israeli soldier was shot Thursday during a patrol securing Israeli worshippers at Joseph's Tomb near Nablus. The soldier was rushed to the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva, suffering from moderate injuries. The IDF has launched an investigation into the incident. Joseph's Tomb in Nablus is under the Palestinian security forces' control. Jewish prayer in the compound is permitted, but worshippers are required to coordinate their visits with the military, which escorts them in and out of the area. According to available details, military, Border Police and Civil Administration troops were securing a convoy of 16 buses carrying Jewish worshippers seeking to pray at the site. Local Palestinians rioted, hurling stones and firebombs at the troops, who used crowd control measures to restore order. It is believed the soldier was shot when the troops came under fire near the adjacent Balata refugee camp. The prayer service continued as planned, after which the worshippers left the area without incident.
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36101
 
Palestinian/Arab news sources:
Ma'an News:  Palestinian PM welcomes US court decision to dismiss $655 million case against PA, PLO
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah welcomed on Thursday a United States court decision to dismiss a $655 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) over claimed damages caused to American citizens by Palestinian attacks in Israel. “We are gratified with the court’s just findings and we appreciate the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Finance, the legal team and all those who stood for justice and the Palestinian cause,” Hamdallah said. “Palestinians have suffered for too long under a brutal Israeli occupation. We hope for a just solution so people in Palestine and Israel can live in peace and harmony.” According to Reuters, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan voted unanimously against a ruling by a lower court judge and ordered that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that the United States justice system did not have jurisdiction over the case. Ten American families had sued the PA and PLO under the US Anti-Terrorism Act for damages for attacks between 2002 and 2004 during the Second Intifada, in which several American citizens were killed and wounded.
https://maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772946
 
The Palestine News Network:  Abu Marzouk: Hamas will never recognize Israel
Member of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk has reiterated his Movement’s rejection of any call for recognizing Israel, expressing its dismay at some Arab attempts to normalize relations with the occupation.
Abu Marzouk, who is on an official visit to Algeria, made his remarks during a news conference held on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Movement of Society for Peace in the capital. “Unfortunately, there are attempts to normalize relations with the Zionist entity and grant it legitimacy in the region or part of the region as well as attempts to enter into an alliance with that entity,” Abu Marzouk stated.
The Hamas official called for severing all political and economic ties with Israel and dealing with it as an enemy. He also talked about the Aqsa Mosque, stressing that all the Muslims around the world are demanded to make every effort to protect it against Israeli threats.
http://english.pnn.ps/2016/09/02/abu-marzouk-hamas-will-never-recognize-israel/
 
Al Arabiya: US voices deep concern about Israeli settlement on Palestinian lands
The United States on Wednesday voiced concern about a significant acceleration of Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territories and said a policy of retroactively approving unauthorized settlements allow the Israeli government to expand such activity in a “potentially unlimited way.” “We are deeply concerned by the government’s announcement to advance plans for these settlement units in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing. “We are particularly troubled by the policy of retroactively approving unauthorized settlement units and outposts that are themselves illegal under Israeli law. These policies have effectively given the Israeli government a green light for the pervasive advancement of settlement activity in a new and potentially unlimited way.”
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/09/01/US-voices-deep-concern-about-Israeli-settlement-activity-on-Palestinian-lands.html
 
Al Jazeera:  Israel tells Palestinians: Our textbooks or no funding
Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem are asked to adopt Israeli curriculum if they want extra resources.
As tens of thousands of Palestinian children across occupied East Jerusalem begin a new school year on September 1, teachers, parents and human rights groups have raised concerns over a controversial funding proposal that would only benefit schools that drop the Palestinian curriculum in favour of an Israeli equivalent. The Jerusalem affairs and heritage minister, an irregular portfolio which the current government re-established in June 2015, is set to offer more than 20m shekels ($5.3m) to schools in East Jerusalem on the condition that they teach the Israeli curriculum. In East Jerusalem, there are 180 schools that are either government institutions or private schools, which receive Israeli Education Ministry funding. The vast majority of schools in Occupied East Jerusalem, where almost all the city's Palestinian residents live, follow the Palestinian curriculum - adopted since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994 - while students take the PA's matriculation exam. Last year only 10 of those schools offered classes geared towards the Israeli matriculation exam. Previously, schools followed the Jordanian system since East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/israel-tells-palestinians-textbooks-funding- 160829114956237.html
 
US-UK News Sources
BBC: Israel 'approves 464 settlement homes in West Bank'
A 234-unit nursing home in Elkana, 30 houses in Beit Arye and 20 in Givat Zeev got the go-ahead on Tuesday. Retrospective permits were also issued for 179 existing homes in Ofarim. The US said it was "deeply concerned" and warned that settlement expansion posed a "very serious and growing threat" to peace with the Palestinians. Peace Now reported that the latest planning decision by the Israeli military-run Civil Administration in the West Bank meant 2,623 housing units at settlements had been approved so far this year. The figure includes 756 illegally-built homes that have been retrospectively "legalised".On Tuesday, Israel reacted angrily to similar criticism of its settlement activities by the UN special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov."It is difficult to read in these actions a genuine intention to work towards a viable two-state solution. This appears to reinforce a policy, carried out over decades, that has enabled over half a million Israelis to settle in territory that was occupied militarily in 1967," he told the UN Security Council.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37235922

The Guardian: Czech publisher under fire for listing Jerusalem as capital of Israel in atlas
Map publisher Shocart told is by Czech education ministry to replace Jerusalem with Tel Aviv, after complaints from Palestine’s ambassador to Prague. A small Czech publisher has found itself embroiled in an international controversy, after one of its atlases listed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Khaled al-Atrash, had complained to the foreign ministry after local Palestinians showed him the atlas, which listed Jerusalem as the capital multiple times the text and on maps. Map and travel guide publisher Shocart has been told by the ministry to replace Jerusalem with Tel Aviv as the capital or the atlas would no longer be listed as a certified book on the Czech school curriculum. Czech foreign ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova said Czech Republic did not consider East Jerusalem a part of the state of Israel. The Israeli foreign ministry said it was in touch with Prague in an attempt to reverse the decision. Shocart is working on updating the books to list the country’s diplomatic and financial centre, Tel Aviv, as Israel’s capital and, according to an education ministry statement, will finish the work by the start of 2017.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/01/czech-publisher-shocart-jerusalem-capital-israel-atlas

The New York Times: Court Throws Out $655.5 Million Terrorism Verdict Against Palestinian Groups
A federal appeals court in New York has thrown out a $655.5 million verdict rendered last year that had held the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for their roles in supporting terrorist attacks in Israel that claimed American lives. In reversing the verdict on Wednesday in the case, which drew the attention of the Obama administration, the appeals court did not minimize the impact of the six terrorist attacks, which occurred from 2002 to 2004, but it held that the Federal District Court in Manhattan had lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case. “The terror machine-gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimized these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific,” said a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan. “But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution,” the court added, “no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/nyregion/appeals-court-terror-verdict-plo-palestinian-authority.html?ref=middleeast

Op-eds
The New York Times: Trump vs. Clinton Captivates World, Netanyahu Is Unusually Silent
Much of the rest of the world is absorbed by the contest between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it is a topic Mr. Netanyahu will not touch. Four years after he was accused of meddling in the American election on behalf of President Obama’s opponent, the hardly bashful Israeli leader this time has taken a virtual vow of silence. The unusual reluctance comes after years of toxic relations between him and Mr. Obama, culminating in an acrid public feud over the American-brokered nuclear agreement with Iran. With Mr. Netanyahu seemingly aligning himself during that fight with Mr. Obama’s Republican critics, some Israel backers feared the country was squandering its traditional bipartisan support. The prime minister now seems intent on extricating himself from the partisan tussle. “Everybody understands here in Israel that the most important thing for us is to go back to where we were for the last 68 years, which is bipartisan,” said Yair Lapid, a centrist party leader who hopes to succeed Mr. Netanyahu. “This is why nobody will take sides in a presidential campaign.” This contrasts the events of 2012, when Mr. Netanyahu hosted Mitt Romney in Jerusalem and lavished praise on him. While Mr. Netanyahu’s team at the time denied any effort to influence the election, Mr. Obama’s camp was convinced otherwise. The rift widened when Mr. Netanyahu accepted a Republican invitation to address Congress in 2015 to assail Mr. Obama’s efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran curbing its nuclear program. Nachman Shai, who heads a parliamentary caucus on Israeli-American relations, said Mr. Netanyahu had steered away since then from openly courting Republicans. “Because he had these tough eight years with Obama, he can’t afford it again,” Mr. Shai said. “He needs a direct line with the U.S. president.” “I don’t know who is better in terms of Israel,” Mr. Shai said. “We know a lot about Hillary and we know very little about Donald Trump.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/world/middleeast/as-trump-vs-clinton-captivates-world-netanyahu-is-unusually-silent.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

Haaretz: Absentee Voting Would Grant the World’s Jews Priority Over Israel's non-Jewish Citizens
The bill allowing Israeli citizens to vote overseas would encourage Diaspora Jews to acquire citizenship just for the purpose of voting, among other ill effects. Knesset members are trying to promote a bill that would allow Israelis to vote in elections in Israel even when they are overseas. The bill’s explanatory notes state that this law exists in most democracies. This is true. However, the uniqueness of the Jewish nationality, with the denial of an Israeli nationality and the clear preference given to Jews by way of the Law of Return, invalidates the comparison of Israel to other countries. Not only is Israel holding 3 million people in the West Bank by force, without citizenship, it also has in its arsenal 7 million potential Jewish citizens as a doomsday electoral weapon to counteract any demographic threat. Granting voting rights from abroad will encourage Jews to acquire citizenship just for the purpose of voting. This will grant much weight, even more than is the case today, to Jews living anywhere, even if they never lived here and have no intention of doing, at the expense of non-Jewish citizens of Israel, in all things relating to the character and future of this country.  The more Israel stresses its affinity to Jews around the world above its commitment to its own citizens, the more it erodes its democratic basis. In doing so it harms not only its non-Jewish citizens but also its Jewish citizens, whose interests do not overlap with those of Jews who don’t live in Israel. Jews around the world will also be affected, with renewed – and this time perhaps justified – accusations of dual loyalty. Nevertheless, this bill must be opposed. Even if it seems that the dangers are hypothetical, this is not the time to take chances. This law provides an opening to entrench Israel’s undemocratic character through democratic means.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.739855

 
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