Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 9th - 15th July 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. 
Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Israel Hayom, IDF cracks down on illegal weapons in Judea and Samaria
Israel has seized dozens of weapons, shuttered arms-making factories and arrested weapons dealers in a crackdown in Judea and Samaria meant to quell an ongoing spate of Palestinian violence, an IDF official said Tuesday. Col. Roman Gofman, commander of an IDF brigade in Judea and Samaria, said the crackdown is making it more difficult and expensive for Palestinians to carry out attacks with guns. Gofman said the 10-month outburst of violence had reached a new intensity with an increasing amount of attacks using guns. Last month, two Palestinian terrorists killed four Israelis when they opened fire at Tel Aviv's Sarona Market. This month, Rabbi Michael Mark was killed and his wife and two of their children were injured after his car was shot at in Judea, south of Hebron. Most of the violence has been carried out by knife-wielding Palestinians. Gofman said that some 200 guns had been seized since the start of the year and that 16 factories forging crude weapons had been closed.

Haaretz, Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Forces During Weapons Raid
A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli Border Police early on Wednesday during a raid on a weapons-manufacturing facility north of Jerusalem. Border Police officers opened fire when a car sped toward them during the raid in the village of A-Ram, the Israeli military said. The officers said that they shot at the car because their lives were in danger.  A Palestinian man, identified as Anwar Al-Salaymeh, 24, from Shuafat, was killed in the incident. Another 20-year-old Palestinian was wounded and a third was arrested.

Israel Hayom, Teens arrested on suspicion of torching Arab-owned cars
The Shin Bet security agency has arrested a cell of Jewish teens suspected of vandalizing Arab-owned vehicles last month and spray painting racist slurs on buildings in the Arab town of Yafa an-Naseriyye in the Lower Galilee region. The acts, allegedly committed by a group of three teens, were perpetrated in revenge for the deadly terrorist shooting in Tel Aviv in June. Four Israelis were killed at the Sarona open-air market across from the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire into the crowd at the popular Tel Aviv hot spot. The investigation revealed that the three had been planning a revenge attack against Arabs for a long time in response to a wave of attacks against Israelis in recent months, but decided to put their plan into motion immediately after the Sarona shooting. The three suspects confessed and re-enacted the acts of arson attributed to them. In addition, links were revealed between the three and a radical group called Givonim that operates in Binyamin and Samaria. The suspects will likely face indictments in the coming days.

The Jerusalem Post, Israel arrests 2 PA intel officers, 2 others for illegal arms production dealing
Security forces on Sunday night arrested four Palestinians, including two Palestinian Authority intelligence personnel, suspected of weapons manufacturing and dealing in the West Bank, the Shin Bet announced Monday. As part of the operation in the village of Orif near Nablus, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF forces and police forces seized a cache of improvised weapons and ammunition in addition to four lathes used to make arms.  The arrested suspects were named as PA general intelligence officers Ezzam Najah Sharif Safadi, 39 and Ali Najah Sharif Safadi, 41, along with Saadi Najah Sharif Safadi, 46, and Najah Assad Najah Safadi, 24. All four are residents of Orif. According to the Shin Bet, the weapons produced by the cell were sold in various places across the West Bank. Investigations estimate that the four even used their contacts to engage with Israeli arms dealers.

The Times of Israel, Abbas says Cairo peace summit only after settlement freeze
Palestinian leaders have presented several preconditions for participating in a trilateral Israeli-Egyptian-Palestinian peace summit in Cairo, including a freeze on Israeli settlement construction, a Palestinian official told The Times of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reportedly told Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry he would be willing to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo for talks hosted by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The Prime Minister’s Office did not deny the report by the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab news outlet Al-Arabiya. It said in a statement that “whether the issue was discussed or not, Israel has always said it is prepared to conduct direct bilateral negotiations with no preconditions.” The senior Palestinian official said Tuesday that Abbas had conditioned his participation on Israel agreeing to stop settlement construction and accepting a set timeline for negotiations. Israel would also have to acquiesce to negotiations based on the pre-1967 lines and pledge ahead of time to implement any agreements reached in the talks. A senior Egyptian official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that Egypt was seeking a formula for renewal of negotiation that would be accepted by both sides. The official said it might be too early to invite both sides to a summit, since the sides did not yet agree about the goals of the talks. The Egyptian proposal of hosting tripartite talks may have been part of Sunday’s high-profile meetings between Netanyahu and Shoukry in Jerusalem. Sissi reportedly offered to host direct talks between the sides as part of Cairo’s initiative to kickstart the moribund peace process. The summit, which would also be attended by senior officials from Jordan and Egypt, would seek to engage in confidence-building measures in an effort to calm the 10-month surge in violence in the West Bank, Palestinian officials told both the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper and Israel’s Haaretz daily.

Arabic News Sources (English versions):

Al Arabiya: Israel opens Gaza crossing after nine years
Israel opened a major crossing point between Israel and Gaza on Wednesday to allow the transfer of vehicles carrying goods for the first time in nine years, officials said. An AFP photographer saw deliveries arriving through the Erez crossing at the entry to the Palestinian territory that has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Erez has been restricted to individuals since 2007, with goods going through Kerem Shalom in southern Gaza. Residents of the Israeli towns in the area had for months complained about the hundreds of trucks passing through the area daily, which caused heavy traffic and endangered motorists. In May, then defence minister Moshe Yaalon said Erez would be opened in order to enable a better flow of goods into Gaza and ease congestion at Kerem Shalom. A spokesman for COGAT, the defence ministry body responsible for implementing government policies in the Palestinian territories, confirmed vehicles had entered Gaza through the Erez crossing. “This measure has been taken to facilitate the work of Palestinian importers and thus help the economy of the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman told AFP. An association of Palestinian vehicle owners in Gaza said 110 vehicles arrived on their side through Erez.

Ma’an News Agency: Israeli forces shoot Palestinian youth attempting to prevent another’s detention
A Palestinian youth was wounded by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Thursday morning after he reportedly tried to help another Palestinian being detained by Israeli border police. Fatah movement spokesman Thaer Fasfous told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian youth and detained another at a checkpoint near the refugee camp of Shufat north of occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli forces were detaining a youth suspected of involvement in “terrorist activities” as locals attempted to prevent the detention. Israeli forces then saw a “suspicious” youth reportedly approaching them with a knife and “neutralized” him using live fire. Al-Samri said that no Israelis were injured in the case. She added that the young Palestinian was lightly wounded and transferred for medical treatment, and that Israeli forces left the area with the other Palestinian who had initially been detained.
PNN: Israel approves 90 settlement units near Jerusalem
The Israeli “Civil Administration” on Wednesday had approved the construction of 90 settlement units in the illegal settlement of Gilo, Jerusalem. The decision came a few days after Tel Aviv approved plans to construct 800 new housing units for settlers in and around East Jerusalem. The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East Jerusalem. All Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law.
Ma’an News Agency: Israeli army carries out explosions in central Gaza Strip
Israeli warplanes carried out air raids in the central Gaza Strip late on Wednesday night, with conflicting reports on the nature of the strikes. Palestinian sources said that Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes targeting lands east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the besieged Palestinian territory. They added that at least two missiles hit an unknown target south of the Camera military site. No injuries were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that explosions heard in Gaza were “controlled detonations” carried out by Israeli forces. She added that the army “could not elaborate on the reason” behind carrying out such action. Although the Israeli army carries out military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis, airstrikes have remained a relatively sporadic occurrence this year, since the devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014 killed more than 2,200 Palestinians. Earlier this month, Israeli forces launched airstrikes at several sites allegedly used by Palestinian political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired from the small Palestinian territory into an Israeli city Friday evening, Israeli and local sources said. No injuries were reported at the time, despite heavy property damage.
Al Jazeera: Israeli demolitions displace dozens of Palestinians
Israeli forces have displaced at least 43 United Nations-registered refugees in a "large-scale demolition" of Bedouin homes and structures in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Among the buildings destroyed in the West Bank's Anata village were seven homes, four animal shelters and four outdoor washrooms, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement on Wednesday. Three of the buildings demolished on Tuesday were funded by an international NGO, he said.  Seven Palestinian families comprised of 43 people, including 25 children, were displaced by the demolitions, Gunness said. They also included a 48-year-old father with Parkinson's disease, a 48-year-old man who is unable to walk, an 84-year-old woman and another woman who is seven months pregnant. "It is heartbreaking to see such shocking disregard for international law and the impact it is having on an entire UN protected community," Gunness said. "While condemning this disregard for international law, we would respectfully remind Israel, the occupying power, that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it has an obligation to respect family rights, including the dwellings of the protected population - not destroy them." A spokesperson for Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories did not reply to Al Jazeera's request for a comment.   During the early morning on Wednesday, Israeli forces also demolished at least three homes in the Jabal al-Mukaber neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem, the local Ma'an news agency reported. While Israel claims the homes were built without the proper permits, rights groups maintain that Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violates international law.
US-UK News Sources:

The Washington Post: Israel puts Palestinians on defensive over ‘martyrs’ fund’
The family of a Palestinian high school dropout who killed a 13-year-old Jewish settler girl in her sleep last month before being shot dead is now eligible for $350 a month from a Palestinian fund for “martyrs.” Israel argues that such stipends for families of Palestinians killed or wounded in the conflict promote violence by rewarding attacks, and has stepped up a campaign against the fund after a series of killings of West Bank settlers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the payments “an incentive for murder,” and a government spokesman said that starting next month, Israel would deduct those sums from monthly transfers of taxes and customs it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. Palestinians scoff at the idea that money, along with alleged anti-Israel incitement, is a key motive for a nearly year-long rash of stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks on Israelis. They say attackers are driven by despair over the chokehold of half a century of Israeli occupation or a desire to avenge others killed by Israeli troops or armed civilians. The martyrs’ fund was set up in 1967 by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the group that formally represents all Palestinians. The PLO has been sidelined since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority autonomy government as a result of interim peace deals with Israel in the 1990s. The “martyrs’ fund” and another fund supporting families of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel are nominally PLO institutions, but are funded by the Palestinian Authority.

BBC: EU criticises Israel law forcing NGOs to reveal foreign funding
The EU has criticised a controversial new Israeli law targeting non-governmental organisations that receive most of their funding from abroad. Such groups must now declare they rely on foreign money in communications with officials, in the media and online. Israel's prime minister said the public needed to know when foreign states were "meddling" in its internal affairs. But the EU said the requirements, which mostly affect human rights groups, went "beyond the need for transparency". Groups that largely rely on private donations from wealthy individuals, which tend to be the case for right-wing organisations, are exempt. The so-called "NGO Law", approved by the Israeli parliament on Monday night, requires groups to declare that they receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign state entities - including the EU - to declare as such in their reports to the registrar of non-profit associations and in all their official publications. Representatives must also tell the heads of parliamentary committees when registering to attend meetings. Failure to comply with the rules will result in a fine. Analysis by the Israeli justice ministry found there were 27 NGOs in Israel that would be affected by the law, of which 25 were human rights groups identified with the Left, Israeli media reported. They include B'Tselem, which monitors human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, and Zochrot, which advocates for the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page that the law aimed "to prevent an absurd situation, in which foreign states meddle in Israel's internal affairs by funding NGOs, without the Israeli public being aware of it."
The New York Times: Egyptian Minister Visits Israel in Push for Peace with Palestinians
Egypt’s foreign minister arrived in Israel on Sunday — the first such high-level visit in nearly a decade — saying that he had come to promote the “vision” of his boss, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to help rejuvenate the moribund peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel hailed the arrival of the foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, as “important from many points of view,” adding that it attested to Israel’s changing relationship with Egypt under the leadership of Mr. Sisi. The visit came amid international efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Both sides noted that it followed Mr. Sisi’s call in May to revive the peace process. In late June, Mr. Shoukry met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, at Mr. Abbas’s headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. In his remarks in Jerusalem on Sunday, Mr. Shoukry said, “The current state of affairs, unfortunately, is neither stable nor sustainable.” Egypt backs the Arab Initiative, a 2002 plan that offers Israel diplomatic relations with the Arab world in return for withdrawing from all the territory Israel seized in the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 and agreeing to a “just” solution for Palestinian refugees. Egypt has also expressed its support for a French initiative for an international peace conference, which Israel has rejected. Mr. Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister, insists on bilateral talks with the Palestinians, but has also expressed enthusiasm for a regional process that would, in turn, help resolve the Palestinian issue. The Palestinian leadership says that more than 20 years of on-and-off direct negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel have proved futile, and it has sought to internationalize the conflict.

BBC: Facebook sued by Israeli group over Palestinian attacks
An Israeli rights group is suing Facebook for $1bn on behalf of families of victims of Palestinian attacks. The Shurat Hadin group says Facebook violates the US Anti-Terrorism Act by allowing militant groups such as Hamas a platform for spreading violence. Hamas called the lawsuit an Israeli attempt to blackmail Facebook. The victims cited in the case are all American, including Taylor Force, 28, who was stabbed to death while visiting Israel in March. The others are dual Israeli-US nationals who died in attacks in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank between 2014 and 2016. The suit, filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, argues the platform "knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas... facilitat(ing) this terrorist group's ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies". Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, accused Israel of trying to turn it into a spy tool against Palestinians. He said some Israeli politicians and soldiers had "expressed pride at the killing of Palestinians" on Facebook and other social media. "The real test for the owners of Facebook is to reject this pressure," he said. Israel says Palestinian incitement on social media has fuelled a wave of attacks since October, which have killed 35 Israelis and four people of other nationalities. A report on the Israel-Palestinian conflict last week by the Quartet group of international mediators identified "the spreading of incitement to violence on social media" by Palestinians as a key issue.

Al Jazeera: BDS is a war Israel can’t win
Stanley L Cohen begins by pointing out Yossi Klein Halevi’s argument that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is ‘’immoral’’ and cannot, in any case, threaten ‘’Israel's health and global economic integration’’. Halevi also argues that BDS makes the world see Israel as the greatest global problem. Cohen argues, however, that such a claim is ‘disingenuous’, because in fact, for Palestinians, the Israeli occupation is their greatest enduring problem. Cohen then goes on to argue that whilst ‘peace efforts’ and various negotiations have largely failed to bring stability to the region (resulting in ‘periodic spasms of violence’), the BDS movement rejuvenates Palestinian hopes insofar as it ‘side-steps the moribund "peace process" and banks on people-power as leverage against state and institutional power’. Further, Cohen maintains that the BDS movement allows citizens in the West to actively take part in the push for Palestinian rights. Cohen then goes on to argue that the US government, for instance, has made it illegal to do business with North Korea - ‘the very same US government which blocks every effort by the United Nations and international courts to address the illegality of Israeli settlements [and] military occupation’. The author then makes the bold claim that ‘if America's obstruction of international law did not shield Israel from accountability, there would be no need for BDS.’ By pointing to Israel as the ‘author of the present Palestinian condition’, Cohen argues that a movement like BDS offers a ‘material response to the intransigence of Israel and her rampant, continuing illegality’. For Cohen, then, in response to an illegal occupation, BDS is the ‘first clear-eyed, internationalist movement of people - not governments, not Western "quartets", not the UN Security Council - to look at Palestine with fresh eyes and accurate information’. BDS makes the demand that until Israel ends the occupation and grants equal rights to Palestinians under its control, ‘there cannot, and should not, be any "business as usual" with the regime.’ Cohen thus ends by stating that ‘BDS is the brave and steady labour of people of conscience to move the stalled, bogus "peace process" forward by applying economic pressure’.

The Jerusalem Post: UNRWA - Who asked you?
Yair Lapid, in this article, interrogates the function of the UNRWA by pointing to the recent condemnation by Chris Gunness of Israel’s decision to demolish the homes of two terrorists who last December stabbed two Israelis to death at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. The author puts one question to Gunness: ‘’Who asked you?’’. By stating that role of the UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) is simply to help Palestinians find work, and assist them with food and medication, Lapid argues that there is nothing in UNRWA’s mandate which ‘justifies intervention in Israel’s security matters.’ The author then vehemently puts a few questions to Chris: ‘Why doesn’t the State of Israel appear on maps in UNRWA schools? If you condemn violence, why were you silent when it became clear that an UNRWA building was used as a hiding place for a terrorist tunnel used to kill three Israeli soldiers? Why are you silent when gays are persecuted and church’s burned down in Gaza? Why are the Palestinians the only people in the world who can inherit the status of refugee from their parents?’. Lapid then goes on to criticise the fact that Palestinians alone have a refugee agency of their own, asking ‘what do they deserve that the 21.5 million refugees from Tibet, Darfur, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere don’t?’ The author then argues that UNRWA is ‘part of a well-organised anti-Semitic campaign’, pointing to the fact that the council has voted for 61 resolutions condemning human rights abuses across the world and 67 resolutions which condemned Israel. Lapid criticises the fact that the council has condemned Israel, ‘a democratic country which upholds international law’, more times than the rest of the world combined - given that ‘In the past decade more than 400,000 people have been massacred in Syria; there were wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine’. The author further cites the World Health Organisation (WHO), an agency connected to the UN - who recently condemned Israel for the occupation of the Golan Heights but omitted the fact that ‘two hundred meters from the Israeli Golan, in Syria, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are being massacred.’ With this examples above, the author concludes that the ‘UN has been taken hostage. It’s time to rescue it.’

Ynet News: With every terror attack must come new construction
Elyakim Haetzni argues that the policy to freeze the construction of settlements after every terror attack in Israel sends the message to terrorists that ‘violence and terror works’. Haetzni begins by pointing out that it is illogical to refer to ‘terrorism’ as a target ‘in and of itself’, without reference to the question of what the terrorist is out to achieve. The author then argues that ‘if terrorism is a weapon after all, we must convey to those who wield it that using this weapon will not help them achieve their goal.’ In light of this, then, Haetzni argues that the aim of Palestinian terrorists is to put an end to the ‘Zionist enterprise’, where in Gaza and in the northern Samaria, ‘the enemy, using terrorism, succeeded in achieving its goal: destroying the Jewish settlements and "cleansing" the area of any Jewish presence—both military and civilian.’ Haetzni then poses the question: ‘if demolishing settlements encourages terrorists (pointing to the fact that after these Jewish settlements were destroyed, Hamas had won a victory and thus ‘terrorism had won’), could the very opposite—strengthening the settlement enterprise—not decrease their motivation to carry out more attacks? Provided that it is done systematically, so they know that for every terrorist—a home, a street, or a neighbourhood will be built in a settlement.’ The message, for Elyakim Haetzni, that Netanyahu’s settlement freeze policy sends out to terrorists is that their tactics win the day, and so only the building of Jewish homes offers the ‘strategic’ and ‘political’ answer to terrorism.,7340,L-4826454,00.html


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