Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel - Palestine News 16 - 22 April 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: IOF kidnap twelve Palestinians across the Occupied West Bank
According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), at least twelve Palestinians were kidnapped by the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) on Tuesday at dawn across locations in the West Bank. These included three Palestinian children in Shu’fat neighborhood, in Jerusalem. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have calculated that since the start of this year, the IOF execute an average of 95 raids per week across occupied West Bank and in the occupied East Jerusalem.

Al-Arabiya: Israeli forces destroy home of Palestinian attacker
On Wednesday night, Israeli forces destroyed the home of a Palestinian assailant who had stabbed a woman to death in January before being shot dead by a security guard. The demolition provoked clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at the Qalandia refugee camp in the occupied West Bank . The demolition was meant to convey a message of deterrence to Palestinians considering attacking Israeli citizens. However, human rights groups maintain that such action on behalf of the IDF amounts to collective punishment.

Al Jazeera, Jonathan Cook: Israel rabbi to paramedics: ‘Leave Palestinians to die’
Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, a medical watchdog group, is finding increasing evidence of medical neglect towards Palestinians by Israeli ambulance crews over the past six months. Moreover, the organisation has reported that Israeli soldiers regularly deny Palestinian crews in the occupied territories access to injured Palestinians, violating of international agreements.
In December the leaders of United Hatzalah, a settler ambulance service implicated in several cases in which Palestinians have been refused treatment, visited a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Chaim Kanievsky, to receive instructions on what to do with Palestinians injured during attacks. According to a report on the settlers' website Israel National News, Kanievsky told them that if the injured Palestinian "was in a life-threatening condition, they should leave him or her to die". Other rabbis have made similar calls.
Ma’an News Agency: Displaced Palestinians in Gaza protest Israeli ban on cement imports
On Wednesday, Palestinians left homeless by the 2014 Gaza War rallied in Gaza City to protest a recent Israeli decision to ban shipments of cement into the blockaded coastal enclave. The protesters burned tires in front of the Gaza's sub-office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying plans for Gaza's reconstruction were being conducted according to "Israel's interests". Moen Abu Okel, an official with a Hamas-affiliated popular committee, said displaced families in Gaza were not satisfied with the reconstruction plan, which he said was "designed to exhaust residents and tighten the siege of Gaza." These protests are taking place following a decision by the Israeli authorities on April 5 to suspend the delivery of cement to Gaza "until further notice’’ on the grounds that  construction materials were being diverted by Hamas, which the latter denied.
Hebrew News Sources (English versions):

Haaretz, Gili Cohen: Shin Bet uncovers Jewish Terrorist Group Accused of Attacking Palestinians
A gag order was lifted on Wednesday on the recent arrests of seven members of a Jewish terrorist group suspected of attacking Palestinians across the West Bank. The group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier. After the Shin Bet announced the lifting of the gag order, Military Police arrested an officer who had been interrogated twice in recent months for being involved with Honenu, an non-profit organization that provides legal aid to right-wing activists. The officer is the brother of some of the detained suspects.

Ynet News, Yoav Zitun: IDF prepares new training to counter Hamas tunnels
The IDF will continue to uncover all sections of the recently discovered Hamas tunnels over the next few weeks to ensure that there are no other exit shafts inside Israel, as it is unclear how far the tunnel penetrated into Israeli territory. Simultaneously, the defense establishment is developing a system to combat the Gaza tunnels threat which is due to be completed within two years. This system will include engineering and technological measures to detect and destroy the tunnels and will supplement the border fence.,7340,L-4793782,00.html

The Jerusalem Post: 'West Bank terror cell plotted to kidnap settler for prisoner swaps'
The Shin Bet announced on Tuesday that Israeli Security forces uncovered a West Bank terror cell that is believed to have been plotting to kidnap a resident of the Har Bracha settlement as a bargaining chip to free Palestinian prisoners. The suspects were affiliated with the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas and had already prepared a place to hide the proposed kidnap victim, as well as implements to restrain him. Furthermore, it has been revealed that the cell had also planned a stabbing attack and a plot to steal an IDF soldier's weapon.

The Times of Israel, AP and Times of Israel Staff: After bus bombing, Abbas says he rejects ‘all terrorism’
On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a condemnation of “all forms of terrorism” during his visit to Germany, emphasising that his cabinet is against any violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians. This statement was made a day after the Jerusalem bus bomb on Monday which injured 21 people. After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Abbas told reporters that the Palestinians “want to achieve an end to the occupation and the building of settlements through diplomatic means, and through peaceful resistance by the Palestinian people.
US-UK News Sources:

Reuters, John Irish and Louis Charbonneau : France to convene peace conference on May 30th
France will hold an international conference in Paris on May 30 in a bid relaunch talks between Palestinians and Israelis by the end of the year, its foreign minister said in remarks published on Thursday. The idea is to pave the way for face-to-face talks between the two sides after the summer with the meeting on May 30 beginning on the basis of a 2002 Arab peace plan that at the time was rejected by Israel. The May conference will include the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations), the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries. "There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital," Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a joint interview with daily newspapers Liberation, the Wall Street Journal, Al-Quds al-Arabi and Haaretz. "The two sides are more divided than ever. I'm not naive, but am acting in good faith. There is no alternative.

The Washington Post, William Booth: Netanyahu vows that Israel will never give up Golan Heights

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to a mountaintop in the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday in a symbolic move to declare that ‘[they] will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty’. With nearing talks on the future of Syria in Geneva, representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatened that  they ‘are prepared to do anything in order to return the Golan to the Syrian motherland, including using military force’. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 when it extended Israeli civil law as opposed to  military rule to the territory. The international community, including the United States, has never recognised Israel’s annexation and views the plateau as Syrian territory occupied by Israel.

The Guardian, Reuters: Jerusalem bus bomber named as Hamas militant
A bomb explosion on a Jerusalem bus on Monday which injured 16 people, has been named as a Hamas militant who has now died from his injuries from the blast. The Palestinian Information Centre identified the bomber as Abdel-Hamid Abu Srour from the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, and said he was a member of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas militant Islamist group.This was the first bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem since the end of the second intifada a decade ago. Despite a recent drop in the violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the past six months, Israel– and Jerusalem in particular – had been on an increased alert before the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Friday. Jerusalem’s district police commander, Yoram HaLevy, said the explosion was caused by an explosive device placed in the rear part of the bus, which was close to a major road junction in south-west Jerusalem and near Israeli settlements just over the Green Line in the West Bank.
The New York Times, Isabel Kershner: Israeli Convicted in Murder of Palestinian Teenager
 On Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Court convicted settler Yosef Haim Ben-David of abducting and murdering 16 year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir in 2014. It accused the 31 year-old Israeli of being fully responsible for his calculated actions as he and his two teenage nephews snatched Muhammad off a street, drove him to a forest and proceeded to choke, beat and burn him.
The murder took a few hours after Israelis had buried three teenagers who had been hitchhiking home from their yeshivas in the occupied West Bank when they were abducted, shot and killed by Palestinians. These incidents split the Israeli and Palestinian public and culminated in riots across East Jerusalem and finally, the 2014 Gaza War. Muhammed’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir reported mistrusting the Israeli judicial system as “it judges Arabs one way, and Jews another’. He demanded a life sentence for his son’s murderer without any chance of a presidential pardon in addition to the demolition of the killer’s home “exactly like they do to Arabs, so that there is democracy.”

The Economist: The Spy in their pocket: Israel is using social media to prevent terrorist attacks
For Israel’s security services, the six month wave of Palestinian violence has presented itself to be completely different to the attacks carried out during the second intifada (2000-2005). Before, it was easier to ‘pinpoint a terror cell and take them out’, according to an IDF operations officer. In recent months, there has been a surge of lone-wolf attacks with perpetrators not having a violent pasts and acting at most in groups of two or three. This has meant that IDF chiefs have admitted that they did not have any way to prevent these terrorist activities. Now however the intelligence community sees the social media networks as its main opportunity to spot attackers in advance. With the average perpetrator aged between 15 and 25, the great majority of them are active on Facebook and Twitter, and in hindsight are found to have given some inkling of their intentions online. Using specially developed algorithms to monitor the social media accounts of young Palestinians has yielded a list of potential suspects, and in some cases has allowed the IDF in recent weeks to stop attackers before they could act.
Al Jazeera, Daoud Kuttab: Israel’s attempt to monopolise Jerusalem will fail
Following the presentation of a heavily controversial map of Jerusalem by the Likud’s Tourism Ministry, Kuttab discusses the exaggeration of Jewish history and historical sites on this map at the expense of the Islamic and Christian ones. This is not surprising to the author given sustained settlement efforts in East to ‘reduce the Palestinian population using administrative documented by local and international human rights organisations. Kuttab provides statistics on the religious and ethnic make-up of the Old City to further challenge this ‘distorted map’. The number of Jewish Israelis living in the old city remains under 9% whilst 75% of residents are Palestinian Muslims and 16% are Palestinian Armenian Christians, according to the official institute of Israeli studies statistical yearbook. Kuttab reports Jordan's Tourism Minister Nayef Al-Fayez’s argument that trying to monopolise Jerusalem will not work, as ‘Jerusalem is holy for the three monotheistic religion’. The author finishes by postulating that such maps claiming a monopoly on the historical narratives of multi-cultural cities like Jerusalem reflect the on-going opportunity to win the battle for a diverse and pluralistic Jerusalem. This, he argues, needs to be reflected in official documents and maps.

The Jerusalem Post, Evelyn Gordon: Distancing Israeli Arab moderates instead of drawing them closer
The presence of an Arab Knesset member aboard last week’s flotilla to Gaza made media headlines. The flotilla was composed of participants protesting Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, as well as the restrictions it has placed on land crossings since they believe the Gaza borders should be open. Gordon argues that in comparison to the headline, ‘much less attention was paid to the fact that Basel Ghattas’s decision was controversial even within his own Balad party’ which is widely considered to be the most extreme of the three parties comprising the Joint Arab List. According to an allegedly ‘key activist in Balad’, any opposition towards Ghatta’s decision was based on three grounds. Firstly, it is argued that the flotilla had enough high-profile international activists, so Ghattas’s presence contributed nothing. Secondly, there were fears that ‘it would merely provide an excuse for right-wing incitement against Israeli Arabs’. The final point was that Arab Israelis need their struggles and issues to be represented ‘in the presence of the MKs in Israel and not on the flotilla’.

Haaretz, David Rosenberg: The Real Four Questions for Israel This Passover
Rosenberg asks four crucial questions to reflect upon during this year’s Passover holidays. Of these four, two are relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today: What does it mean that Israel is becoming more religious and right-wing and is there a Palestine in our future? Rosenberg explains that although socially Israel has been characterised by the united voices of a plethora of ethnic and religious voices, ‘the right finds this diversity insufferable and believes it weakens the state’. He believes that as the religious right grown in support’. Viewing religion as inherently intolerant, he believes that the general political shift towards the religious rights ‘threatens to undermine the fundamentals of Israel’s survival and success’.
In terms of the second question, Rosenberg analyses how the United States has stopped trying to advocate for Palestinian statehood whilst Netanyahu’s government openly prevents it. He believes it is up to Israel to create the conditions for renegotiation with the Palestinians, highlighting the recurring political dynamic which characterises this impasse: ‘When Palestinians resort to violence, Israel isn’t interested in negotiating; when they stay passive, the threat is lifted, Israel sees no urgency and the settlers keep building’. He ends negatively describing Israeli society today as ‘astoundingly indifferent’ to the future of the conflict.

The Times of Israel, Dr. Yael Aronoff: What Hillary should have told Bernie
In this article, Dr. Aronoff examines Bernie Sanders’ public claim that Israel acted “disproportionately” during the 2014 Gaza War and she condemns the three set of statistics Sanders provided for civilian casualties. She not only accuses Sanders of inflating these figures above estimates provided by Hamas but believes that this confusion over figures points towards a misinformed argument on behalf of the candidate. She later speculates that this ‘seems to suggest that [Sanders’] opinion of the war was informed by news coverage of images of the war’ which she believes are ‘tightly controlled by Hamas’. In the end, she advocates for that Sanders exaggerated accusations against Israel that inflate even Hamas’s accusations of Israel during the war, is not even-handed and alienates potential partners to peace rather than engenders the respect needed by both sides.
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