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Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 18th - 24th June 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. 
 
Arabic News Sources (English versions):

PNN, Minister of National Economy: Palestine will request to enter World Trade Organization
On Wednesday, the Palestinian minister of National Economy, Abeer Odeh, said that Palestine will apply to enter the World Trade Organization with an observer status soon. Odeh’s statement came during a meeting with the members of the National Technical and special teams to prepare for Palestine’s accession to the WTO. The minister stressed the importance of organizing regular meetings between the national and technical teams. She added that the ministry has led over the past period a series of meetings with many countries of the world in order to get the support needed to submit an application to join the World Trade Organization as an observer.
http://english.pnn.ps/2016/06/22/minister-of-national-economy-palestine-will-request-to-enter-world-trade-organization/

Al Jazeera, Sharen Khalel: Israel's water cuts: West Bank 'in full crisis mode' 
Since the start of the month, residents of Salfit - a city in the Occupied West Bank -  have been receiving between 30 and 40 percent of their normal water allowance, said Saleh Afaneh, the head of the local water and waste department. "On the first day of Ramadan, the water stopped for 24 hours, with no notice," Afaneh told Al Jazeera. "Since then, it has been coming in at less than half the capacity.  "He hasn't slept in two days," the city's mayor, Shaher Eshtieh, cuts in. "We've never seen anything like this; we are in full crisis mode, working around the clock to help our people, but we are doing this on our own ... We've continuously reached out to the Palestinian government, the prime minister even, but they've been no help, and the Israelis are denying there is a problem." A Palestinian Authority spokesperson did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera's request for comment. Water shortages and cuts have also been reported throughout the northern Jenin and Nablus districts of the West Bank, although Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit, the Israeli body in charge of the occupied West Bank, claim that this reduction in water is due to a broken pipe that has been repaired. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/israel-water-cuts-west-bank-full-crisis-mode-160620133005799.html

Ma’an News Agency: Abbas speaks to European parliament, slams international community's inaction over occupation 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech in front of the European Union parliament on Thursday regarding the current state of Palestine and its people within the occupied territory and around the world. Abbas slammed the international community’s complacency with Israel’s illegal occupation, saying: “their [Palestinians’] history, heritage, identity and geopolitical entity were historically massacred in the twentieth century, and that the massacre is still ongoing through the twenty first century under the eyes and ears of the international community.” Abbas emphasised the fact that it has been nearly 100 years since the Balfour declaration in 1917 and 68 years since the Nakba -- or 'Catastrophe' -- when Israeli forces “committed massacres and crimes and displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians turning them into refugees, and removed more than 448 villages and towns that our people had lived in for thousands of years.” Abbas reportedly held separate meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with whom he brought up the latest developments in the occupied Palestinian territory and the French peace initiative which began earlier this month.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771975
 
Al Arabiya: 4 Palestinians sentenced to life for murdering Israelis
Four Palestinians were on Wednesday handed life sentences for the killing of an Israeli couple driving in the West Bank with their children last year, the army said. “The military court in Samaria handed two life sentences and another 30 years to each of the four members of the Hamas cell that carried out the attack in which Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their children,” a statement read.
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/06/22/4-Palestinians-sentenced-to-life-for-murdering-Israelis.html
 
Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Jerusalem Post, Tovah Lazaroff: Abbas: Stop global terrorism by ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine 
On Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas argued that global terrorism will end if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, and condemned all forms of such violence. “We are against terrorism in whatever form it may take and whoever carries it out,” he said as he delivered a long address before the European Parliament in Brussels. Palestinians stand with the Europeans in their fight against terrorism, Abbas said. His statement was greeted by strong applause from the politicians in the room. “In order to overcome terrorism, we also need to end Israeli occupation by creating a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas said. He spoke in Arabic and his words were translated into English by the EU. The absence of a two-state solution, he said, would give “pretext to those who commit terrorism in the name of religion.” However, he said, “once this occupation ends, those pretexts will disappears and extremism will be over as will terrorism.” “There will be no more terrorism in the Middle East nor elsewhere in the world,” Abbas said. His speech did not touch on Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, including the shooting attack in which two Palestinian terrorists killed four Israelis as they sat in a Tel Aviv Cafe in the Sarona Market area earlier this month.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Abbas-Stop-global-terrorism-by-ending-the-Israeli-occupation-of-Palestine-457549

Haaretz, Jack Khoury and The Associated Press: Abbas Repeats Debunked Claim That Rabbis Called to Poison Palestinian Water in Brussels Speech
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused Israeli rabbis of calling for the poisoning of Palestinian water, in what appeared to be an invocation of a widely debunked media report that recalled a medieval anti-Semitic libel. Abbas's remarks did not appear on the official transcript issued by his office, suggesting he may have spoken off the cuff as he condemned Israeli actions against Palestinians amid stalled peace talks. "Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians," Abbas said. "Isn't that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?" Abbas, who received a standing ovation from EU lawmakers after his speech, gave no source for his information -- and there has been no evidence over the past week of any call by Israeli rabbis to poison Palestinian water. For Jews, allegations of water poisoning strike a bitter chord. In the 14th century, as plague swept across Europe, false accusations that Jews were responsible for the disease by deliberately poisoning wells led to massacres of Jewish communities.
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.726620

Ynet News, Noam Dvir: Jewish teen allegedly attacked by Arab youths
A 17-year-old Jewish boy was attacked Tuesday in a public park in Jaffa. According to him, his attackers were Arabs who screamed anti-Semitic slurs at him and stabbed him with pieces of a broken bottle. S., who is a student in the Sharon region, was visiting his parents in Jaffa. He went out in the evening, according to him, to a public park in Jaffa to exercise, when suddenly several youths, whom he had seen two weeks ago, showed up. He claimed that they attacked him with broken bottles and yelled at him, "Stinking little Jew, you deserve to die." S., who was cut, required medical treatment, and Wednesday morning he went with his mother to file a complaint with the police. His mother told Ynet, "My son is a student in a military boarding school, and he's on vacation right now. It all began when he came to visit a fortnight ago. He went to work out in the public park near home, and a group of four-five youths came and called him a stinking Jew. He heard them, was surprised, and decided to leave."
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4819202,00.html
 
US-UK News Sources:

BBC: Palestinians jailed for life for killing Israeli couple 
An Israeli military court has sentenced four Palestinians to life in prison for the murder of an Israeli couple in the occupied West Bank, the military says. Eitam and Naama Henkin were killed in front of their four young children in a drive-by shooting on 1 October. The military said the assailants, members of the Islamist movement Hamas, opened fire at the Henkins' car after an attempt to abduct them failed. The attack marked the start of a continuing wave of violence. Since then, another 31 Israelis have been killed in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks in Israel and the West Bank. More than 200 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in the same period.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36598117
 
New York Times: Isabel Kershner and Irit  Pazner Garshowitz: Palestinian, 15, Killed as Israeli Forces Sought to Halt Stone Throwing
Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian car in the occupied West Bank early Tuesday, killing one Palestinian teenager and wounding four others, according to relatives and Palestinian officials. The teenagers appeared to be innocent bystanders who were hit while the military tried to halt Palestinians who were throwing stones and firebombs. The military said its soldiers had been pursuing several Palestinians who were trying to hit Israeli cars on Route 443, a highway that cuts through the West Bank as it connects Jerusalem with Israel’s densely populated coastal plain, injuring three civilians, including a pregnant woman. Palestinian officials identified the dead teenager as Mahmoud Rafat Badran, 15, from the village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, west of Ramallah, and said that two of his brothers, ages 16 and 17, were among those injured. “Nearby forces acted in order to protect additional passing vehicles from immediate danger and fired toward suspects,” the military said. “From the initial inquiry, it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/22/world/middleeast/israel-palestinian-violence.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

The Guardian, Donald Macintyre: Israeli minister seeks cabinet backing for Gaza artificial island plan
A senior Israeli minister is seeking to win cabinet backing for an ambitious $5bn (£3.4bn) plan to ease the economic blockade of Gaza with an artificial island linked to the territory by a secure three-mile bridge. Transport and intelligence minister Yisrael Katz’s argument for the island, which would include a seaport and possibly even an airport, is that it would restore Gaza’s links with the outside world without jeopardising Israeli security. Access via the bridge could be tightly controlled by Israel or an Israel-approved international force. Hamas has long demanded a Gaza seaport in return for a long-term truce, but ministers say this could be used to import weapons. Katz, whose department this week released an image of the putative 8 sq km (3 sq mile) island, said: “I do not think it is right to lock up 2 million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest to make life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/22/artificial-island-plan-minister-israeli-cabinet-gaza
 
The Washington Post, Ruth Eglash: Israel reportedly constructing an underground wall around Gaza 
Israel is reportedly constructing a deep underground wall around the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to counter the threat of assault tunnels built by Hamas militants who rule the coastal enclave. The move, which comes almost two years after Israel fought a deadly 50-day war with Hamas in Gaza, was reported by the Israeli news outlet Ynet. Israel’s Defense Ministry declined to comment on the initiative. On Friday morning, two oversize excavators sat silhouetted on the horizon here. Their location marked the point where the fields of this agricultural cooperative touch the edge of the Gazan town of Khan Younis. Today, the area is quieter than it has been in a decade. But there is still tension. At least three new tunnels have been detected over the past year, and rockets are still fired periodically from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Many military analysts here say it is only a matter of time before Israel and Hamas fight again. “Hamas is busy preparing its forces for any future attacks on Israel,” said the officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity in accordance with military protocol. 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-reportedly-constructing-an-underground-wall-around-gaza/2016/06/19/7bafb084-3636-11e6-af02-1df55f0c77ff_story.html
 
Op-eds:
 
The Times of Israel, Ron Kampeas: Abbas’ ‘humongous’ fail? Not really
Kampeas describes the sarcastic and mocking comments made by Zionists in Israel regarding Abbas’ gift to the Saudi King in the form of a framed copy of ‘The Palestine Post’, which was ‘the voice of Israel’s English-speaking Jewish nationalist community’. Rather than seeing it as a ‘humongous fail’, he understands Abbas’ choice as that particular copy features ‘a front-page report of a visit to the Holy Land by Emir Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’, who is no less than the current King’s half-brother. Furthermore, he sees it as a strategic and ideological tactic on behalf of Abbas to contradict the loudest pro-Israeli voices such as Netanyahu, who argue that Palestinians need to recognise the historical Jewish presence in Israel, Palestine and in the Holy Land. By handing over the copy of a Jewish paper dating from 1935 to the Saudi King, Kampeas believes Abbas is doing ‘exactly that’ and implies at the end that the joke is on those who mocked Abbas in the first place as they failed to grasp the complexity of such a symbolic act.   
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/abbass-humongous-fail-not-really/

Jerusalem Post, David Brinn: Parting shot: An uncomfortable feeling 
Brinn undergoes a strong change of narrative and tone as he explores the underlying reasons behind his discomfort after reading ‘A really good, happy kid’ in the Jerusalem Post. This covered the life and death of the 15-year-old Palestinian youth who was mistakenly killed by the IDF following a rock-throwing incident on the same day on route 443. He expresses his anger at the article as it ‘gushed about Badran’s love of FC Barcelona and PlayStation FIFA games’ and the numerous other humanising details ‘recalling what a great kid he was’. He then ruminates about why that reaction could have been caused. He suspects it was because nothing in the article pointed towards the wider problems behind injustices such as this one, such as the fact that rock-throwing is a crime that the IDF needs to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.  However, after many failed attempts to find the source of his uneasiness, he was shocked to understand the real reason: ‘[D]ue to decades of terror, mutual acrimony and lack of hope, it’s really difficult to empathise over the loss of the innocent life of a teenager who was out for a refreshing swim on a sweltering night’, no different than an Israeli teenager in the neighbouring city of Modi’in’. After this honest revelation, Brinn acknowledges that Israelis should ‘cry for Badran and his family’ with the same pain and emotion as when their countrymen die.  Despite the unsettling chain of feelings unleashed in the author by the article, he is ‘glad that the story appeared’ because it made him reflect on the dehumanising rationale caused by the conflict on the moral psyches on both sides, and hence the moral imperative to challenge this and mourn the deaths of the innocent.
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Parting-shot-An-uncomfortable-feeling-457587

Al Monitor, Ahmad Melhem: Will retaliatory measures on Tel Aviv attackers' hometown curb violence?
Melhem implies that the answer to this question is a resounding ‘no’ by presenting the facts on the ground. Firstly, he describes how Israel has sustained a strategy of collective punishment on the city of Yatta, home to the two Palestinian terrorists responsible for the Sarona shootings earlier this month. The author describes how the IDF have besieged Yatta, paralysing its economy, health services and even its waste disposal system. Moreover, he explains how the IDF ‘has been conducting daily raid and inspection operations targeting many homes’, with the devastating effects of vandalism to houses, the arresting of youths and the revocation of thousands of permits to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Melhem highlights how the heavy water reduction issued by Israel’s national water company, particularly during Ramadan, has exacerbated tensions on the Palestinian side. His brief reference to how ‘[l]egal experts consider Israel’s collective punishment policy a crime and a violation of international law under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949’ speaks louder than any explicit personal comment. To finish off, he sheds light on the most recent Israeli security assessments, which conclude that ‘collective punishment will only increase the frustration of Palestinians, thus leading to more attacks’. Hence without a single subjective statement on the matter, Melhem discreetly manages to fully express his ideas simply by stating a succession of facts.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/06/palestinian-yatta-israel-siege-collective-punishment.html
 
 
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