Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel - Palestine News 7 - 13 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):

Palestine News Network: Prisoner Janazra suspends his 69 day hunger-strike for a week
On Wednesday, the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee (PPS) has reported that detainee Sami Janazra has suspended his 69 day hunger strike for a week as he awaits the decision of the Israeli prosecution to either indict him, or renew his Administrative Detention. The PPS added that Janazra intends to resume his strike should Israel decide to keep him under Administrative Detention, without charges.

Al Jazeera, Ylenia Gostoli: Israel’s blockade keeps Gaza in the dark
The electricity crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip affects every facet of daily life but also threatens it. Last week, three siblings were burnt alive after the candles they were using during a power cut set their house on fire. Gaza is currently on a schedule of eight hours off and eight hours on, but even this is unreliable and subject to frequent change. Distribution is unequal, and cuts of up to two hours are common during each eight-hour span. The bombing of Gaza's power plant in 2006, coupled with sanctions and restrictions imposed as part of Israel's blockade on the coastal enclave, have exacerbated the crisis, while the electricity network suffered further damage in the 2014 war. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah and the Hamas authorities in Gaza have been at a stalemate on how to solve it.

Al Arabiya: Israel bars Palestinians over public holiday: Army
Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza will be barred from entering Israel from early Wednesday as it mourns its fallen and celebrates its 68th anniversary, the army said. Additionally, it announced that crossing points will be sealed from 1:00 am on Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday) until midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday. The borders are often closed on security grounds on Israeli public holidays, for fear of militant attacks as large numbers of civilians congregate. The Jewish state on Tuesday evening began observing its annual day of remembrance for fallen troops and slain civilians. However, May 15th is commemorated by Palestinians as the Nakba, or "catastrophe" of the creation of Israel, which sparked the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Ma’an News: 2 Palestinians shot, injured by Israeli troops during clashes north of Jerusalem
On Wednesday morning, Israeli troops shot and injured two young Palestinian men, one of them seriously, during clashes in the village of Kafr Aqab north of occupied East Jerusalem. Locals told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops stormed Kafr Aqab and the nearby Qalandiya refugee camp, leading local youths to clash with them. Witnesses said Israeli troops fired gunshots in every direction as they ransacked homes and shops in Kafr Aqab. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed that clashes occurred in the area following "routine activity" by Israeli forces, saying that a "violent mob attacked the soldiers with firebombs and boulders."

Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Jerusalem Post, Udi Shaham: Israelis, Palestinians participate in joint Remembrance Day ceremony in Tel Aviv
On Tuesday, around 3000 Israelis and Palestinians, including hundreds from the West Bank, participated in an Israeli-Palestinian Remembrance Day ceremony that was held for the 11th consecutive year in Tel Aviv on the eve of Memorial Day. The ceremony was organized by Combatants for Peace Movement in cooperation with the Parents’ Circle - Families Forum. The ceremony included speeches by bereaved family members who are active in different forums promoting dialogue, reconciliation, and nonviolence in Israel. Dozens gathered outside the joint ceremony to protest against it. As participants entered the ceremony, protesters holding blue and white flags shouted slogans such as, "There is no such thing as Palestinian people," and called the participants traitors.

Haaretz, Noa Shpigel and Jack Khoury: Three Arab Israelis Charged with Planning Stabbing Attacks
On Wednesday, the Haifa District Court filed indictments against three residents of Jadeidi-Makr, an Arab local authority in northern Israel. Two of the accused, Ali Subach and Ibrahim Shami, were charged with planning knifing attacks on Jewish Israelis under the influence of the Palestinian wave of terror. The third defendant, Mahdi Basel was charged with purchasing and possessing a weapon. According to the indictment, Subach and Shami set out for Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem about six months ago with the intention of carrying out an attack. They were armed with a long kitchen knife and switch-blade knife. They scrapped the plan even before reaching Jerusalem, on the grounds that their lack of firearms meant that they would not be able to cause sufficient damage.

The Times of Israel: Netanyahu heckled at memorial for being too soft on terrorists
On Wednesday at a terror victim’s memorial, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of being too soft on terrorists by Israeli Rahamim Cohen who was stabbed in 2000, and whose brother was badly hurt in an axe attack this February. Netanyahu was interrupted by Cohen, who announced that he “now we are acting too forgivingly and don’t know how to deal [with terror]’’. Netanyahu waited for Cohen to finish speaking and reassured him by explaining that he is “the son of the same family [of bereavement]’’ and therefore understood the pain of victims. He concluded that at the root of this suffering was Palestinians’ “appetite for murder’’ and their “blind hatred’’.

+972 magazine, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man: Israel puts ‘travel ban’ on BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti
Israeli authorities have put a de facto travel ban on Palestinian boycott campaigner and BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti. Moreover, they are considering revoking his residency status in the country. Barghouti, a Qatari-born Palestinian who is married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel and resides in the northern city of Acre, has permanent residency status in the country and travels regularly to promote the BDS campaign, of which he is the most prominent spokesperson. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the permanent residency status of more than 14,000 Palestinians living within what it considers its sovereign borders, primarily in occupied East Jerusalem. The Interior Ministry cited claims that Barghouti lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah as the basis for revoking his residency. Barghouti denied the allegation.
 US-UK News Sources:

The Guardian, Peter Beaumont: Truth about Palestinian sibling deaths at Israeli checkpoint is elusive
The death last month of Maram Saleh Abu Ismael, a young Palestinian mother, and her teenage brother, Ibrahim Taha, has proved highly controversial as almost all details surrounding the event are disputed. The Israeli account is that the pair were armed with knives and that warning shots were fired before she and her brother were shot dead by private security contractors. The version offered by family members is that the pair were confused, took the wrong lane at the vehicle-only checkpoint and were shot and killed when they posed no threat. The incident on 27 April is now the subject of an Israeli police investigation to establish whether the rules of opening fire were broken during the incident, while an autopsy has been ordered for the siblings. A much darker possibility is the phenomenon of “suicide by IDF” – Israel Defence Force. According to this scenario, Abu Ismael, who some family members allege was the victim of domestic violence, deliberately acted to draw the security forces’ fire as a way of ending her life. To compound the tragedy, it is possible that her brother was trying to stop her when the pair were shot.

Reuters, Nidal Al-Mughrabi: Egypt opens Gaza Crossing for 48 hours after 85-day closure
On Wednesday, Egypt opened its border with Gaza for the first time in three months, giving Palestinians a two-day respite from a closure stemming from friction between Cairo and the Hamas leadership. Egypt's shuttering of Rafah and destruction of cross-border smuggling tunnels, along with tight restrictions imposed by Israel along its own frontier with Gaza, have deepened economic misery for many of the 1.9 million Palestinians in the enclave. Egypt's military-backed government has kept its border with the Gaza Strip largely closed since Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted as president three years ago. Some 30,000 Gazans are on a waiting list to cross at Rafah. Only a few thousand, including patients, students and holders of residency permits in third countries, were likely to do so on Wednesday and Thursday before it closes again. "I have been waiting for several months to get a chance to have advanced cancer checks in Cairo," said Umm Ahmed, a 55-year-old Gaza resident, urging Egypt's president to reopen the Rafah crossing for good because "we are brothers, not enemies".

The Telegraph: Benjamin Netanyahu rebukes Israeli general over Holocaust speech
On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu scolded Israel's deputy military chief Major-General Yair Golan on Sunday for his speech on the eve of Memorial Day in which he said that ‘nauseating processes that occurred in Europe in general’ against Jews can be seen today in Israeli society. This comes in the backdrop of a national debate on moral conduct in the conflict with the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s public criticism was at odds with the Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon’s statement on Thursday expressing his "total confidence" in the officer and praising commanders who provide a moral compass.

CNN, William Booth: Here’s what happened when some famous writers went to visit some hardcore Jewish settlers
Hebron settlers reacted with deep hostility when a group of human rights activists and an international delegation of famous writers came to the heart of this old city to see for themselves how 850 hard-core Jewish settlers, protected by 650 young Israeli soldiers, live among 200,000 angry Palestinians. Through the summer, 25 novelists will journey to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to gather material for a book of essays to be published by HarperCollins in June next year (and simultaneously released in a half-dozen other languages). The book is designed to mark the 50-year anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories — and to make a political splash.

The New York Times, Shmuel Rosner: The Israeli Defense Forces vs. the People of Israel
Rosner explains that the IDF is becoming increasingly criticised and politicised following divisive events involving how the IDF treat Palestinian assailants. Rosner highlights the Abdel Fattah al-Sharif case in Hebron in late March in addition to many recent knifing attacks. As expected, the IDF’s deputy chief of staff, Major General Yair Golan’s speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day features prominently in his analysis. While the author dismisses Golan’s concern for the victimization process of Palestinians in Israel as ‘nonsense’ and rejects any parallel between the persecution and extermination of Jews in Europe to the targeting of Palestinians in the conflict today, he admits that Golan’s comments ‘did not emerge in a vacuum’. He believes that there is a ‘widening gap between the public and the IDF on matters of civil behaviour’ and views Golan’s comment as a general reflection of the IDF leadership’s fear of an increase in hate speech and a ‘troubling disregard for human life’ in Israel. In the end, Rosner calls for the IDF to devise a ‘solid strategy’ to win over the Israeli public’s support and to defeat its political instrumentalisation.

Jerusalem Post, Letters to the Editor: Barry Eisenberg and Sydney L Kasten: May 13: Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan’s remarks  
Eisenberg challenges an editorial on Major General Yair Golan’s speech on the grounds that it misses the point. He catalogues Golan’s speech at a Holocaust Memorial Ceremony as ‘totally out of place’. Despite the fact that Golan never explicitly refers to Nazi Germany, Eisenberg is convinced that to deny that he wasn’t trying to draw a parallel between Israeli society and Nazi Germany ‘is to insult the intelligence of his listeners and your readers’. He ends his letter sharing the blame across the IDF leadership and advises that there is a time and a place to say something. Kasten on the other hand begins by openly criticising a columnist who suggests a ‘generous’ solution package to Arabs to leave the Occupied Territories. She reveals the weaknesses of this ‘solution’ by explaining that money will never incentivise Palestinians to leave and give up their strategic position as ‘darlings of the [Israeli] Left’. Due to this, they would very likely turn down such an unrealistic deal, which would then allow like-minded politicians ‘to justify the unjustifiable: starve them’. In the end, she calls on Israelis to listen to Golan’s words to ‘keep us from what we are liable to become’ so that Palestinians are not deprived of a homeland just as Jews have long been.
Haaretz, Mia Sucharov: As They Celebrate Independence, Israelis Should Remember the Nakba
Sucharov argues that while agreement on a joint narrative on how Israel came to be and how this devastated Palestinians might not be immediately necessary, it is paramount that we take the opportunity to at least listen to both narratives on Independence Day, or the Nakba for Palestinians. She dedicates a large part of her piece towards explaining the importance of historical narratives in terms of identity, political goals on both sides and events taking place today in the conflict. She calls for Israelis to remember the ‘relative Palestinian powerlessness as they celebrate the achievement of their sovereign power’ and reminds us that Israeli sovereignty cannot be complete without freedom from the oppression of Palestinians.

Al Jazeera, Sultan Barakat: The situation in Gaza requires immediate action
Barakat opens by describing the current energy, water and construction crisis in Gaza following the 2014 war and highlights the inaction of the international community when it comes to resolving the hostilities between Hamas and the Israeli state. Politics aside, Barakat stresses that ‘the reconstruction of Gaza is one area where action is not only possible but is also badly needed from both strategic and humanitarian perspectives’. He points to numerous factors blocking any kind of progress in Gaza’s crisis but focuses on one in particular: the UN's Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM). He denounces the GRM for delaying the reconstruction process and above all for eroding ‘the moral legitimacy of the role of the United Nations in Gaza’. The author captures the paradox behind the GRM as ‘both the humanitarian and the jailer at the same time’ and accuses the UN of siding with Israel, losing its ‘humanitarian imperative’.
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