Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel - Palestine News 30 April - 6 May 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 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, Jonathan Brown: Birzeit vote: ‘Last stronghold’ of Palestinian politics
The repeat victory of a Hamas-aligned group in student council elections at Palestine’s oldest university- Birzeit – is, according to analysts, an accurate reflection of how Palestinians feel about the PA (Palestinian Authority). Due to the fact that the last general elections were a decade ago, it is widely thought that ‘student elections take on extra significance as the only discernible manifestation of democratic participation". In other words, student elections serve as a barometer for national politics. Experts contend that the successive victories of Hamas-aligned groups reveal general discontent for the PA. Others speculated that this win would translate into the PA and Fatah to push back elections ‘in the foreseeable future."

Al Arabiya: Israeli tanks open fire at Gaza after mortar attack
The Israeli army says a tank has fired at a target in the northern Gaza Strip following an explosion on the Palestinian side of the border on Wednesday. Earlier, a tank fired into Gaza after a mortar shell was launched toward Israeli forces near the southern Gaza Strip. The army said no soldiers were harmed, and there were no immediate reports of casualties on the Palestinian side.

Palestine News Network: Palestinian man killed under alleged run-over of soldiers
On Tuesday night, Israeli soldiers shot dead Palestinian driver Ahmad Shehada, after he allegedly rammed his vehicle towards three Israeli soldiers at the 17 military checkpoint near Ramallah. According to Israeli reports, the Palestinian ran over three soldiers fleeing the scene when another military force surrounded his truck, killing him immediately. He was left bleeding on the ground, without any medical aid, as the soldiers prevented Red Crescent medics from approaching him. Ahmad was born in Qalandia refugee camp and lived in Beitunia.

Ma’an News Agency: Israeli forces attack Palestinian journalists at World Press Freedom demo
On Tuesday, three Palestinian journalists sustained minor injuries after Israeli forces attempted to suppress a sit-in with stun grenades and tear gas outside Israel’s Ofer detention centre on World Press Freedom Day. Palestinian journalists used the occasion to direct attention to the plight of Palestinian journalists who are currently being held in Israeli custody as a result of Israel’s widely-condemned crackdown on Palestinian journalists since the wave of Palestinian violence erupted in October. At least 43 Palestinian journalists have been detained by Israeli forces since October, and they have reported cases of torture, medical negligence, and unreasonable and illegal rulings by Israeli authorities, according to a recent report by the Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists. Israel’s Ofer detention centre, which is illegally located on privately-held Palestinian land near Ramallah in the central West Bank, has been the scene of protests in the last week over the arbitrary arrest of Omar Nazzal, a well-known Palestinian journalist currently held there.
Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Haaretz, Gili Cohen and Jack Khoury: Israeli Army Fires at Gaza After Four Border Incidents in 24 Hours
On Wednesday, the Israeli army fired tank shells at Gaza following four shootings and explosions along the border on Wednesday, and the situation grew so intense Hamas ordered two schools evacuated citing fears of Israeli artillery fire. Earlier on Wednesday, an Israeli tank fired a shell at what the IDF said was a "suspicious area" after a mortar bomb was fired from southern Gaza at an Israeli force near the border. Later that day, Israeli forces operating on the northern Gaza border heard in two separate incidents loud explosions that were believed to be the result of mortar fire targeting them from Gaza. In both incidents, the Israeli army responded with tank fire at positions in Gaza's Shujaiya neighborhood.

Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Laapin, Noam Amir and Maariv Hashavua: Hamas says truce reached with Israel to end fighting along Gazan border
On Wednesday, Hamas’ senior official Musa Abu Marzouk reported that the organisation had successfully negotiated with the Israeli military via the state of Egypt to end hostilities on the Gaza frontier after 24 hours of tit-for-tat attacks. The agreement between the IDF and Hamas is that the former will withdraw some of its troops and will halt all operations along the security fence whilst the latter will adhere to the cease-fire that has been in effect since the end of Operation Protective Edge. Marzouk posted on Facebook that what happened in Gaza on Wednesday ‘was a Zionist attempt to impose a new reality there’.

Ynet News, Yoav Zitun: Israeli authorities thwart chemical smuggling into Gaza
On Tuesday, Israeli authorities uncovered four tons of ammonium chloride in what at first glance appeared to be bags of salt. This chemical is used as a rocket propellant for long range rockets. This took place at the key entry point for goods between Egypt and Israel, the Nitzana border crossing. The plan was foiled by customs officials in cooperation with the Shin Bet.,7340,L-4798876,00.html

The Times of Israel: Ex-ministers slam leadership for ‘failures’ during 2014 war
On Friday, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman and former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for their conduct during the 2014 Gaza war. These remarks will soon strongly resonate when the scathing State Comptroller report on the Israeli leadership’s performance during the 50-day conflict is released. In the report, Netanyahu and Ya’alon are accused of not updating the security cabinet in real time of the imminent threat of war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and not discussing the grave threat of the terror group’s attack tunnels, according to Hebrew media sources who read the draft report.

US-UK News Sources:

The Guardian: Israeli ringleader gets life for setting fire to Palestinian teenager
An Israeli court has handed down a life sentence to settler Yosef Haim Ben-David for the kidnapping, beating and burning of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014 in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Ben-David was found in November to have led the assault, but his lawyers submitted last-minute documents saying he was mentally ill. This appeal however was rejected by a court last month. The murderer is legally obliged to pay €34,000 to Abu Khdeir’s family.

Independent, Lizzie Dearden: Jewish author whose Israel 'relocation' map was shared by Naz Shah condemns 'obscene' Labour antisemitism row
Norman G Finkelstein, a Jewish author whose parents survived the Holocaust, said he published the map shared by suspended Labour MP Naz Shah on his blog in 2014. The map was titled “Solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict – relocate Israel to into United States”. It went up on his website the day before the future Bradford West MP shared it on her Facebook page. In the backdrop of her suspension, Ken Livingstone’s comment in Miss Shah’s defence that Hitler was initially a Zionist sparked a new row culminating in an independent review into antisemitism in the party. Mr Finkelstein said he posted the map because he found it funny, claiming that such “jokes are commonplace in the US”. He was condemned Miss Shah’s post but has also argued that ‘politicians should not be “crucified” over the issue.
Jerusalem Post, Lawrence Rifkin: Grumpy Old Man: Knife vs OX513A
In an unorthodox piece, Rifkin compares combatting swarms of Zika-carrying mosquitos on his holiday in Florida Keys to the wave of Palestinian violence throughout this year. The conclusion he reaches is that, whilst ‘there are sprays and roll-ons’ for such epidemics, the same cannot be said of ‘wild-eyed Palestinians with sharp knives sprinting down Israeli boulevards’. He ends the article on a ‘grumpy’ note, reminiscing about his holiday despite the Zika outbreak and dreads packing his bags to go home to ‘steak knives, to our do-nothing prime minister, to the do-nothing Palestinian Authority president, to IDF soldiers taking the law into their own hands, to Hamas’s tunnels’ and many much more.

Al Jazeera, Sharif Nashashibi: Israel has empowered, not weakened Hamas
Nashashibi points to recent polls confirming that support for Hamas has rocketed in the past few months, principally as a result of the Israeli incursion into Gaza in 2014. He juxtaposes this trend with Netanyahu’s declining support in Israel and highlights his political strategy of trying to crackdown on Hamas to boost his popularity at home.  This, the author argues, has proved counterproductive as Hamas now hold an unprecedented level of support (particularly in the West Bank as opposed to Gaza) compared to June where polls reflected that only 35% of support for the faction. Nashashibi points out the likely negative scenarios that could take place as a result of Hamas’ popularity: it would be very likely for Fatah and the PA to drag their feet when having to call parliamentary and general elections and it would also be likely for Israel and the West to act as spoilers if Hamas were to be democratically elected as has happened in 2006.

+972, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man: The incremental annexation of Palestine
Omer-Man points out what he believes to be a complete numbness and paralysis of journalists, foreign diplomats and other actors whenever right-wing politicians introduce controversial laws pushing for the gradual annexation of Palestinian land. From his perspective, this is because ‘things are already bad enough that making them worse is pretty challenging’. Omer-Man highlights the right’s emphasis on gradual as they recognise ‘that neither mainstream Israel nor the international community is ready to accept sweeping annexation’. He uses cases involving Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Party leader Naftali Bennett as an example of such individuals who openly advocate for laws enabling annexation. Omer-Man suspects that the gradual nature of this plan is not just for political sensitivity but because this method ‘is designed to evoke far less resistance, both domestically and abroad’.

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