Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 1st-7th October 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)

Haaretz: Israeli Fighter Pilot Killed While Abandoning F-16 Upon Return From Airstrike in Gaza. It's still unclear why pilot and navigator, who was likely injured, decided to abandon their F-16 when preparing to land at the Air Force base in the Negev. An Israeli Air Force pilot was killed Wednesday as he ejected from his F-16I fighter jet after returning from an airstrike mission in the Gaza Strip. The Israel Air Force struck three Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, after a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot. A navigator who was also in the aircraft successfully ejected and escaped the incident unharmed. It was initially unclear why the jet's crew decided to abandon the aircraft as they were already in the landing stages over the Ramon Air Force base. The F-16I burst into flames following the ejection of the crew. Air Force commander Major General Amir Eshel appointed a team of investigators to determine the details of the incident. The aircraft, known as the "Sufa" ("Storm") in Hebrew, is the most advanced aircraft currently in service in the Israeli Air Force. The first of these aircraft arrived in Israel in February, 2004 and have been in service ever since. The slightly altered Israeli version of the American-built F-16 has crashed three times during its use by the Israeli Air Force. 

Israel Hayom: Palestinian Authority makes debt payment to Israel Electric Corp. The Palestinian Authority recently transferred 590 million shekels ($156 million) to the Israel Electric Corporation. This is the first instalment as stipulated in an agreement inked on Sept. 13 between the Finance Ministry, IEC and the PA. The PA's debt to the electric company has grown over the past decade, reaching NIS 2 billion (about $530 million), which resulted in a number of power cuts to Palestinian cities in 2015.As part of a memorandum of understandings signed between by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and the Palestinian Authority's Civilian Affairs Minister Hussein ash-Sheikh, hundreds of millions of shekels were erased from the original debt and the rest of the balance will be paid in 48 instalments. The agreement also includes a clause compelling Israel and the PA to establish a joint entity that will oversee the collection of electricity bill payments from Palestinian residents, as well as the supply of electricity from the IEC to the PA.

Jerusalem Post: Israeli Navy intercepts Gaza-bound protest boat without incident. A Flotilla carrying thirteen women, which was bound for Gaza, was intercepted by the Israeli Navy late Wednesday afternoon. The Zaytouna-Olivia, which set sail from Barcelona in September was seized by the Israeli Navy around 35 nautical miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip and towed to the Ashdod port with out incident the IDF said in a statement. The all-female “Women’s Boat to Gaza,” is part of larger movement of pro-Palestinian boats that periodically set sail to Gaza in an attempt to break the maritime blockade. There were no reported casualties or injuries. Among the 13 woman on the boat were 1976 Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland Mairead Maguire and retired US army colonel Ann Wright. In a statement the IDF said they took over the boat after it became clear that the flotilla did not intend to willingly sail to the port of Ashdod, “The takeover process was short and
without casualties,” the IDF stated. The Woman’s Boat to Gaza said that they lost contact with the flotilla at 3:58 p.m. and called on supporters to contact Israeli and international government officials to demand a release of the activists and “an end to the illegal blockade.” The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that lifting the blockade will allow Hamas militants to smuggle weapons and convert imported materials into weapons and rockets. Hamas and other factions have fired approximately 11,000 rockets at Israel since 2007, according to the IDF.

Times of Israel: IDF launches second wave of Gaza strikes after rocket attack. Israeli airstrike targets northern and southern Strip in fresh raid after projectile fired from Hamas-run territory lands in Sderot. Israeli warplanes struck Hamas sites in the northern and southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon, in the second such attack of the day after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave struck Sderot, according to Palestinian media. In its statement, the IDF called Hamas “the sovereign in the Gaza Strip, which bears responsibility for every terror incident emanating from it.”According to Palestinian media, Israeli jets hit targets in both the al-Tufah neighborhood of Gaza City in the northern Strip and in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. According to Channel 2 television, the targets included Hamas rocket stockpiles. Earlier in the day, Israeli tanks fired on Hamas targets in Beit Hanoun in the north-eastern corner of the Strip, the army said. There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries. The rocket, which was fired from the Gaza Strip, struck a street in the Israeli city of Sderot — a few miles from Beit Hanoun — just before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police said. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement, “Today’s attack, the second since the beginning of August in the city of Sderot, is the direct result of Hamas’ terror agenda in the Gaza Strip that encourages deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians. The IDF remains committed to the stability of the region and the defense of the residents of southern Israel in the face of terror.”

Haaretz: Small Factions in Gaza Could Drag Israel, Hamas into Military Confrontation. With a single rocket, a Salafi group embarrassed the sovereign in the Strip while portraying itself as leading the fight against Israel. The statement claiming responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket fire on the southern city of Sderot was issued by a Salafi organization called Ahfad al-Sahaba Akhnaf Beit al-Maqdis. The statement offered a proximate cause for the rocket launch – last week’s arrest of five Salafi activists by the Hamas-run government of the Gaza Strip – while also citing the need to continue fighting Israel. This group, a relatively small faction, achieved two goals with a single rocket: It portrayed itself as leading the fight against Israel, while also embarrassing Hamas. The latter organization is not only currently refraining from fighting Israel, in violation of its declared ideology, but also looks like a collaborator with Israel whenever it takes steps to restrain the rocket fire. The Israeli response was harsher than has been the norm in previous years, just as it was after the last rocket launch at Sderot more than a month ago. Israel’s official statements blamed Hamas,
and its airstrikes hit Hamas military targets, though the army’s press statement declined to specify the nature of those targets.

Ma’ariv: Barak continues his assault: “The Government is acting like children in Kindergarten.” The former Prime Minister and Defence Minister, on the army radio, continued to deal with the US criticism towards the advancement of building the settlement Shvut Rachel and claimed that the issue had to be dealt with differently. About Netanyahu, he said: “Pessimistic, Victimized and Apprehensive.” Former PM and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, continues to attack the conduct of the Israeli government. In a discussion that took place this morning (Thursday) on the Army Radio, he said that, “the government is acting like children in kindergarten.” At the beginning of the interview, he dealt with the US state department’s condemnation yesterday of the promotion of the construction of Shvut Rachel. According to him, “the Americans are strange- they do not deceive, and do not expect to be deceived, and now they feel deceived on some levels. They help us a lot and we have to take that into account.” Continuing, he explained how, in his view, the US should be dealt with: “With the Americans, we should have behaved differently. Why treat them as if we are children being insulted in the playground? We should have told them that we have a sensitive problem. They may not have agreed with us on everything, but at least they would have tried to come to an understanding.” He also said, “Why does the government behave like children in Kindergarten instead of a serious government?” and he dealt with what the former US President, Bill Clinton, and the current President, Obama, said a week ago in Shimon Perez’s funeral, that everyone who listens to the tones and to what is said between the lines, understands that it is a myth when they say that the whole world is against them. The world wants to be with Israel and it is not against it, and it wishes that it does not compromise on security and democracy.
This article was partially translated and edited from Hebrew to English by the author of this update.

Arabic News (English Versions)

Al-Jazeera: Israel 'campaigns to change the status quo at al-Aqsa'. Growing incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish extremist groups could lead to bloodshed, observers warn. After a summer of simmering tensions at al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a familiar flash point in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem could boil over once again, analysts warn. "Through their unilateral attempts to change the internationally recognised status quo, the nationalist-religious Temple Mount activists and the Israeli government that supports them pose several dangers at the local, regional and international levels," Nur Arafeh, a policy fellow with Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian policy network, told Al Jazeera. Jewish extremist groups, who refer to the site as the Temple Mount, have repeatedly called for the Israeli government to exercise control over al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Their increased incursions
into the mosque compound have triggered Palestinian protests across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Although formally banned from praying there, Israeli activists enjoy police escort when they venture into the compound. According to Arafeh, the "growing incursions into al-Aqsa compound" have the potential "to trigger widespread violence and bloodshed [similar to] late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the compound in 2000, which led to the second Intifada." In the past six months, there have been several points of friction. In April, a number of Palestinian worshippers were injured by Israeli forces, as some 1,000 Jewish visitors entered the compound during Passover.A more serious escalation occurred during Ramadan in June, when Israeli authorities were accused by Waqf officials of "preventing worshippers from bringing into the mosque special foods used for breaking the daily fast during the holiday."The situation was exacerbated when Israel initially reversed a long-standing ban on the entry of non-Muslims during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Visits by Israeli settlers and other groups sparked confrontations that saw dozens of Palestinians injured in the compound.Since then, Israeli police have arrested Waqf employees in a number of separate incidents, while just last week, Israeli occupation authorities banned a senior Fatah official from entering the compound for six months.

Middle East Eye: Palestinian shot dead after alleged attack on Israeli troops. Tuesday's alleged attempted stabbing by a Palestinian of Israeli soldiers was the ninth attack in five days ending a period of relative calm. A Palestinian teenager tried to stab an Israeli soldier near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday before being shot dead, officials said, in the latest death in a flare-up of violence. The Palestinian health ministry identified the alleged assailant as Issa Tarayra, 16, from Bani Naim. Tuesday's incident was the ninth since Friday, coming after Palestinians wrapped up the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha and as Israel tightened security ahead of major Jewish holidays in October. The upsurge has shattered several weeks of relative calm.The recent attacks have mostly taken place in and around Hebron in the occupied West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem. An Israeli policewoman stabbed outside Jerusalem's Old City on Monday was in serious condition in intensive care. Following that attack, which also left another police officer with moderate wounds, Israeli authorities closed Palestinian shops in the area. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the closures were ordered for officers to search the area, but some shop owners questioned whether it was punishment for the stabbing.The assailant in that case was shot and seriously wounded. Surveillance video showed him approaching the officers from behind before stabbing them. The Israeli army called the recent escalation "further testament to the ongoing influence of incitement on the Palestinian street and social media networks".

Ma’an News Agency: Right-wing Israelis take to Al-Aqsa for 3rd day of Rosh Hashanah. Scores of right-wing Israelis escorted by Israeli security forces toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday for the second day in a row, on the occasion of the third and final day of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The Waqf (Islamic Endowment), which controls the holy site, reported that 73 Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate, toured the compound and exited from the Chain Gate. Israeli forces also reportedly banned a number of Palestinian youth from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A number of Palestinian youth who were allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque had their identity cards confiscated by Israeli forces stationed at the compound’s gates, eyewitnesses said. The eyewitness added that a group of Israelis led by rabbis tried to perform religious rituals at the compound, but were stopped by Palestinian guards. The incident came amid an increased presence by Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem for the holiday. Israeli forces raided several homes in the Old City before dawn on Sunday, detaining at least 15 Palestinians for several hours before releasing them and banning most of them from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Meanwhile, right-wing Jewish organizations called on Israelis to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the three-day holiday, after they received assurances from the Israeli army that entry would be secured for every Jewish person wishing to visit the holy site.

PNN: Erekat: New settlement affirms Israel’s resolve to destroy two-state solution. Commenting on Israel’s decision to authorize the construction of a new settlement with an additional 98 housing units near the illegal Israeli settlement of “Shvut Rachel” to serve as another illegal alternative to the illegal colonial installation of Amona, Erekat said that the decision affirms Israel’s resolve to destroy the two-state solution. “Our position is clear and in line with international law: all Israeli settlements in the occupied State of Palestine are illegal and undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine,” Erekat said, “Day by day the right-wing extremist Israeli government’s real intentions are unraveled by Israel’s lack of respect for international law.” He added that Israel continues to impede international efforts to achieve peace in Palestine and the region amidst the complete inaction by the international community to hold Israel accountable for the crimes it continues to commit against the land and people of Palestine. Erekat concluded by saying that concrete measures and actions against all Israeli settlement activities should be taken in accordance with international law and United Nations resolutions.
US/UK News

Washington Post: A rare journey from Gaza to Jerusalem stirs memories for elderly Palestinians. It’s not easy to get out of Gaza, not easy at all. Israel allows the very sick to visit Israeli hospitals, for chemotherapy or dialysis or surgery. It sometimes permits mourners to attend funerals of close relatives. Most of the permissions go to Gazan traders, who import Israeli goods into the besieged enclave. Two years ago, Israeli authorities created a new category: pilgrims. A few hundred elderly Palestinians may now exit the
coastal strip on Fridays and take the 90-minute bus trip to Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Hamas is the reason Israel maintains a partial trade and travel blockade of Gaza. The United States and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization. Materials, such as cement and pipes, imported to Gaza for civilian use, are routinely appropriated by Hamas to build tunnels and rockets, Israel says. Gaza’s 1.8 million residents are also a security threat, as they can act as couriers or smugglers for Hamas, the authorities say — although the Palestinians say that this is not true, that the restrictions are really just a kind of punishment. Since 2014, there have been 18,500 crossings from Gaza into Israel for the Friday trip to Jerusalem, according to the Israeli military. The permits are limited to men older than 60 and women older than 55. A permit and the bus ride cost 65 shekels, about $17. In the past two years, Israeli authorities said 97 Gaza residents who received day permits to pray in Jerusalem did not return as required. Most eventually found their way back to Gaza, but enough people skipped the return that Israeli security officials have cancelled some Friday trips.


Jerusalem Post: Mahmoud Abbas’s appearance at Peres’s funeral – an empty gesture. And as far as Abbas’s appearance next to Netanyahu for the first time in the past six years, that was merely a courteous gesture to a distant acquaintance. The death of former Prime Minister and president Shimon Peres provided Israeli and Arab commentators with a golden opportunity to speak and write about the nonexistent peace process once more. From both sides of the political map, both in Israel and in the Arab world, the papers were covered with views about one of Israel’s most distinguished and globally recognized leaders. And as his body was put into the ground, the same pages became rife with opinions, slander and praise for the attendance of one man – Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas, persuaded to attend the funeral by Peres’s daughter, put together his band of merry men and made his way to Jerusalem. When he arrived at Mount Herzl, Abbas made an unexpected yet inevitable gesture – he shook Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hand, and the merry men all followed his lead. Throughout the solemn event, Abbas was attentive, stern and at times even mournful. The keen editors of the region did not miss a beat. As the headlines about Peres faded, new ones appeared about Abbas’s gesture to Israel. Abbas became the target of scores of journalistic arrows, some of Mars and some of Cupid. Lingering columns speculated about what compelled the PA president to make the precarious journey all the way to Netanyahu’s arm(s).

PNN: Israel Displays Impudence without Limits, by Dr. Mustafa al-Barghouti. Every time I accuse the Israeli Prime Minister with impudence, he becomes more impudent. He reached a new level of impudence when he demanded the removal of all settlements, which is considered illegal by all international laws – an ethnic cleansing. Netanyahu’s best technique is to lie and repeat lies in order to be believed. This is not a new strategy, as several dictators, fascists, and racist regimes used this method before, but they could not stop the truth from rising. Everybody knows that the major ethnic cleansing took place in the region by Zionist gangs who forced over 70% of Palestinians to leave their homeland in 1948. Netanyahu cannot hide the truth of completing this cleansing against Palestinians in the valleys, around Jerusalem, and several areas in Hebron, most known is Susya village. He also cannot deny that this army destroyed Al-Araqeeb village in Naqab over a hundred times. In addition to that, legions expelled us from the resistance villages like Bab-Shams, Ahfad Younis, Al Manateer, and Win Hijleh, although we built those villages on Palestinian lands. Natenyahu’s government cannot justify banning people of Iqrit and Made Bir’im from returning to their homes despite them being Israeli nationals. There is no justification for banning people of Lifta, Emmaus, Yalu, and Beirut Nuba from the hope of returning to their destroyed villages. 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Israel who still wants to demolish more. This is the most repulsive ethnic cleansing in the 20th century and resulted in over six million Palestinian refugees around the world being prevented from returning.

Newsweek: Shimon Peres’s Legacy: When there is no vision, the people perish. Peres leaves behind a country at a crossroads, awaiting its next chapter, writes John Lyndon. Shimon Peres was not only a statesman, he was also a symbol, but not in the conventional way reflected in many of his obituaries. In his seventh decade in Israeli politics, stripped of conventional political power, he became the kosher house-leftist at a time when the right had conquered all before it. This role was one perhaps only he could play, but understanding why Israeli voters wanted, and indeed needed him to play it, may just help the country turn away from the dangerous path it is currently on. Despite the Israeli electorate moving further to the right during Peres’s time as president, he—a left leaning optimist—suddenly became a highly popular figure. His dogged positivity and belief that peace could come seemed to inspire most Israelis, regardless of whether they elected a government supportive of that vision. In the cynical, joyless wasteland of contemporary Israeli politics, where Benjamin Netanyahu exaggerates Israel’s genuine threats in order to maintain a fearful electorate, Israeli leaders must acknowledge the reasons for the popular support of Shimon Peres as president and statesman, where he fulfilled an odd but pivotal role within Israelis’ collective psychology. People needed the spiritual nourishment of his words, which were so at odds with the thin gruel being served by the Israeli right-wing. This observation, that Israel—as much an idea as it is a country—needs a vision, not just a strategy of deterrence, is critical in understanding how progressive, moderate politicians might win once again in Israel, and how hopes for a renewed drive toward peace might be launched.

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