Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 3rd - 9th December 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: Palestinian youth killed by Israeli forces after alleged attempted stabbing near Nablus. A Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli border police forces on Thursday morning in the northern occupied West Bank after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that an 18-year-old Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli border police officer at the Zaatara junction south of the city of Nablus, prompting Israeli forces to shoot at him, killing him instantly. Al-Samri made no mention of any Israelis being injured. Locals identified the slain Palestinian as Jihad Hussein Harb, 19, from Qalqiliya. They added that large numbers of Israeli troops had arrived at the scene following the shooting, and that Israeli forces had closed the Zaatara intersection -- also known as the Tappuah checkpoint -- in both directions. A video filmed by a passerby showed Israeli forces cordoning off the scene after the youth’s killing. According to Ma’an documentation, Harb is one of 242 Palestinians to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, five of whom were killed at the Zaatara checkpoint. Meanwhile, 34 Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Middle East Eye: Snowden leak: UK spied on Israel, Palestine. According to leaked documents released by Edward Snowden, British intelligence spied on Israeli diplomats and military officials in 2008 and 2009, the French newspaper Le Monde and Israel's Haaretz reported on Wednesday. One of the files from 2009 said that “Britain’s GCHQ intelligence-gathering apparatus defined Israel as ‘a true threat’ to the Middle East”. “The Israelis constitute a true threat to regional security, notably because of the country’s position on the Iran issue," the file said. The UK spy agency gathered data on the “second-highest ranking official in the Israeli foreign ministry,” who went unidentified by Le Monde and Haaretz. The two outlets also said that the UK also gathered surveillance on the Palestinian Authority. GCHQ tapped the phone of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in December 2008, weeks before Israel launched an offensive the following month. GCHQ also monitored emails between Israel’s ambassadors to Kenya and Nigeria and the private Israel defence company Ophir Optronics.

PNN: Erekat: All Israeli settlements are illegal regardless of any law passed by Israel. PLO Secretary General, Dr. Saeb Erekat on Tuesday said that all Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal regardless of any law passed by the Israeli parliament or any decision of an Israeli judge. Erekat’s statement came after latest Israeli steps regarding illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine, where he commented by saying that “Israel has a long history of attempts to “legalize” war crimes.” “This latest step shows the extremist Israeli government’s confidence that the international community will not act.  This culture of impunity continues to destroy the prospects to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine,” he added. Erekat called upon all states of the United Nations, particularly Security Council members, to support a forthcoming resolution on settlements. “Additionally, we will provide the International Criminal Court with information about this and other steps taken by the Israeli government relevant to its Prosecutor’s current examination into the situation in Occupied Palestine, including in and around Occupied East Jerusalem,” Erekat concluded.
Al-Jazeera: Germany: Israeli bill violates international law. Germany has urged Israel in unusually strong language to scrap legislation that would legalise Israeli settlement homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, saying it would break international law. A German foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday the government was "extremely concerned" about the development. "Such a bill violates international law," he said, adding Israel would undermine its commitment to finding a "two-state solution" - a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war - if the bill were passed. Asked whether Germany and the European Union should punish Israel with economic or diplomatic sanctions, the spokesman said: "We don't think that sanctions would be the right path in this case to make headway in the Middle East peace process." Germany tends to be more reserved than other European nations in its criticism of Israel because of the legacy of the Nazi Holocaust.

Hebrew News Sources

Israel Hayom: Proposed Amona framework hits an unexpected snag. The relocation of Amona, a Samaria outpost scheduled for eviction on Dec. 25 has hit an unexpected snag that further jeopardizes the already volatile move, Israel Hayom learned Tuesday. Amona's residents, whose impending eviction has sent the government scrambling to find a solution, are currently scheduled to be relocated several hundred yards away from their current location, but on Tuesday, two of the three designated plots became the subject of a potential land dispute, as Palestinians have come forward with ownership claims. The claims were apparently known to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which approved the relocation framework. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and officials at the Justice Ministry and Prime Minister's Office are already working on legal alternatives. Sources familiar with the effort said it is too early to tell whether another solution could be devised in time, but if it does, Amona's residents would relocate to bigger plots of land, closer to the original community's location. Mendelblit is expected to rule whether the amended framework would stand up to judicial scrutiny within the next few days, as according to a source familiar with the draft, it represents "a legal instrument never before used in Israel."
Times of Israel: PM says yes to Abbas talks… if France drops peace confab. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected an invitation by French President Francois Hollande to take part in a summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris on the sidelines of a conference on the peace process, his office said Wednesday. The prime minister called Hollande to tell him that he would not be going to Paris, but said he would be willing to meet with Abbas under other circumstances, his office said in a statement. “Netanyahu told Hollande if there were not an international conference in Paris, the prime minister would meet with Abbas for direct talks without preconditions,” the statement said. “Israel will not take part in the international conference, which won’t contribute to bringing peace.” Abbas and foreign ministers from nearly two dozen countries are expected to meet in Paris on December 21 to try to jump start peace efforts. But the Palestinians said Wednesday that Abbas never received an invitation to Paris, neither for the conference nor for direct talks with Netanyahu.

Haaretz: Kushner Foundation Donated to West Bank Settlement Projects. In recent years, the parents of Jared Kushner – the son-in-law and trusted confidant of President-elect Donald Trump – have donated tens of thousands of dollars to organizations and institutions located in the West Bank settlements, according to their tax forms. The U.S. State Department has long held that the settlements are an impediment to peace. During the election campaign, however, Trump’s key advisers on Israel challenged this position. On average, the family donates a few million dollars a year to charitable causes through the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, tax forms for the years 2010 through 2014 show. The average donation is typically in the range of $5,000 to $10,000. Jared Kushner – as well as his brother and two sisters – sits on the board of his parents’ family foundation, which was created in 1997.

Jerusalem Post: US to retry Palestinian convicted of Jerusalem bombing. A federal judge in Detroit on Tuesday granted a new trial for a Palestinian charged with immigration fraud for failing to disclose that she had been convicted and imprisoned in Israel in connection with a 1969 supermarket bombing there, court officials said. Most significantly, the decision means that Rasmea Yousef Odeh will get to argue that her confession and conviction in Israel came as the result of torture by Israeli security forces – potentially putting the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) itself “on trial” in a US court. A US appeals court earlier this year threw out Odeh’s conviction, saying that the trial court should have allowed expert testimony that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to torture in prison and did not know her statements to immigration officials were false. Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Gershwin Drain to reinstate her conviction. In rejecting that motion, Drain cleared the way for a new trial for Odeh, scheduled to begin on January 10.
International News

Guardian: Israel refuses visa to theologian over boycott and divestment activism. Israel has denied entry to a prominent theologian and academic for her alleged activism in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – the first time officials say a foreign national has been refused entry for that reason. Isabel Phiri, who is an assistant general secretary with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, was refused a visa at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday afternoon. The inter-church organisation condemned the move saying it was based on false and inaccurate information. While pro-Palestinian foreign activists are often turned away by Israel, officials said it was the first time a foreign national had been refused entry specifically for pro-BDS activities. Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri, said he had decided against issuing the visa after consultation with the public security minister, Gilad Erdan, who is also in charge of countering anti-Israel boycotts. In a statement to media, Deri said: “Granting an entry permit to activists such as Phiri would in effect reinforce the wrongful activities she and her peers are advancing and I have no intention of lending a hand to that. I will use any authority at my disposal to avert harm to Israel.”

Washington Post: Kerry assails Israel over West Bank, warns of heading toward ‘a place of danger’. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday that Israel is “heading to a place of danger” because settlement growth is eroding chances for a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.  Using unusually blunt language at the Saban Forum, an annual symposium on Israel at the Brookings Institution, Kerry said he had been “pushing uphill” with the Israeli government because a majority of the ruling coalition does not support a two-state solution. “There’s a basic choice that has to be made,” Kerry said, noting that since the Oslo agreement of 1993 the Jewish settler population in the West Bank has mushroomed from 110,000 to almost 400,000. “That is: Are there going to be continued settlements, is there going to be continued implementation of the settlement policy, or is there going to be a separation and the creation of two states?” The Israelis have been fearful that President Obama in the waning days of his term will lay out binding parameters for two states — one Israeli, one Palestinian. The outline could be in the form of a United Nations resolution, a forceful option, or a detailed speech that could more easily be dismissed.

New York Times: Facebook Struggles to Put Out Online Fires in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. When fires raged across Israel last month, Anas Abudaabes began to type on his laptop. What came out would land him behind bars and ignite a debate over whether he had tried to fan the flames of hatred, in this case literally. On his Facebook page, Mr. Abudaabes wrote that “we should call our thugs to do what is necessary,” noting that “dry grass is faster to burn.” Arabs should pray for lightning and strong winds, he wrote, while those in Jerusalem and Haifa, where blazes were most intense, should “pour gas” on what was being called the “fire intifada.” Mr. Abudaabes, 29, a businessman, insisted it was satire and was released after nearly four days. But he was hardly the first arrested in Israel for seeming to encourage mayhem on Facebook, nor will he be the last. Facebook has become the battleground in a global struggle between free speech and incitement, and in few places is that more pronounced than in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.


Ma’an News Agency: Analysis: Fatah, hold your applause -- Palestinian body politic rotten to the core. In July 2003, then-Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat described Mahmoud Abbas as a 'traitor' who "betrayed the interests of the Palestinian People.” Arafat loathed Abbas to the very end. This particular outburst was made during a meeting with United Nations envoy Terje Larsen. The meeting took place a few months after Arafat was coerced, by the US, Israel and other Western powers to appoint Abbas as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Historically, Abbas has been the least popular among Fatah leaders -- the likes of Abu Jihad, Abu Iyad, and Arafat himself. These popular leaders were mostly assassinated, sidelined, or died under mysterious circumstances. Arafat is widely believed to have been poisoned by Israel with the help of Palestinians, and Abbas has recently alleged that he knows who killed Arafat. Yet, despite his unpopularity, Abbas has remained in one top position or another. The power struggle between him and Arafat which culminated in 2003, until Arafat's death in November 2004, hardly helped Abbas' insipid reputation among Palestinians.

Arutz Sheva: Israel's Supreme Court is not above the law and not a law unto itself. The people of Israel need to see sanity brought to a Supreme Court that has been on a rampage with self-given and unrestrained illegally seized powers with which it dictates its political will to all branches of government and without hindrance, creates Injustice. It cloaks itself as a ruling governing entity and wields power by decree. This pompous, tyrannical Court supports the interests of the E.U., the Palestinians and anti-Israeli NGO’s, but to the Jewish people and the State of Israel it issues harsh rulings that have the look of an extreme leftist vendetta. The Supreme Court’s so called ‘Rule of Law’ is a politicized phrase used to serve a political agenda, to deflect legitimate criticism and to let the courts get away with irresponsible and legally unsupportable judgments.

Haaretz: The War Isn’t Over Yet. In the huge population transfer between India and Pakistan in 194, 15 million people became refugees. In post-World War II Europe, 12 million Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe and over a million Poles left Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled from China after the Communists came to power in 1949, and over a million fled from North Vietnam to South Vietnam in the early 1950s. None of these situations gave rise to a "refugee problem" that hasn't been solved to this day. None of the millions who became refugees in the 1940s are seriously asking to return to their previous homes, and certainly they don't receive international recognition and institutional support for such a demand. The refugees were rehabilitated in the countries where they found refuge and began their lives again…The continuation of the Palestinian refugee problem is a result of an Arab and Palestinian decision to convey a clear message: The war they began 69 years ago in response to the UN Partition Plan - a war whose objective was to prevent the Jewish people from realizing its right of self-definition in its homeland - isn't over yet.

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