Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 17th - 22nd December 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 read by the general public about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from different perspectives. The aim is to shine a spotlight for readers on the polarised narratives and constant one-sided messaging that appears in the media of each society, and often also in the international media. Solutions Not Sides makes no attempt to reconcile or support any of these narratives, but we believe it is important to understand each side’s perspective and the way that their society presents events if a negotiated solution is to be reached. 

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. Our main educational point about media sources on this issue is that they are almost always biased and should never be trusted in isolation. Please BE RESOURCEFUL and research for yourself a diversity of sources for everything you read or hear about Israel-Palestine. 
Please note there will be no news update next week due to the holiday period.

Arabic News Sources

Ma’an News Agency: Jerusalem woman turns herself in to prison after being banned from the city. A Palestinian woman and mother of four turned herself in to serve a seven-month prison sentence at Israel’s Russian compound in Jerusalem on Monday, after Israeli authorities charged her with “illegally” staying in Jerusalem after she was banned from the city for being a security threat. Shifa al-Shaludi Ubeido, 37, originally from Hebron, holds a West Bank ID and had been residing in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan with her husband and four children for 18 years under the “family reunification” status in Israel. After her husband married another woman and left al-Shaludi to take care of her four children alone, her residency status under the reunification law was revoked and she remained in Jerusalem on temporary permits.

Al-Jazeera: Critics warn US could adopt 'pro-settler agenda. Donald Trump's nomination of David Friedman as the United States ambassador to Israel provoked widespread consternation over the weekend, amid heightened speculation that the president-elect's selection would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a statement accepting the nomination, 57-year-old Friedman welcomed the chance to work "from the US Embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem". That would signal US recognition of Israel's illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, long viewed as the only feasible capital of a future Palestinian state. But Friedman's appointment - if confirmed by the Senate - would mean more than a change of address for the US embassy and a further deterioration in the prospects for Palestinian statehood.

PNN: IOF kill 19-year-old Palestinian in Ramallah. Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday morning have shot dead a Palestinian youth near Ramallah, central West Bank, in clashes that broke out during an Israeli raid. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that Ahmed al-Rimawi (19) from Ramallah’s northwestern village of Beit Rima, was killed during clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli soldiers. Ahmed was shot with live ammunition to the chest, and was announced dead on the way to the Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit. The victim is the son of the Palestinian ex-prisoner Hazem al-Rimawi, who had been locked up for 14 years and a half in Israeli jails and was released three months ago.

Middle East Eye: New evidence points to foreign assassins involved in killing of Hamas drone expert. New evidence linked to the assassination of Tunisian drone expert Mohamed Zawari has revealed that a cell of eight people, including a Hungarian and Russian national, were involved in the killing of the Hamas member on Thursday. Forty-nine year old Zawari, who was gunned down on Thursday near the city of Sfax, had been a member of Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, for 10 years and was supervising its drone development programme. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, blamed Israel on Saturday for the killing and threatened retaliation but did not offer any evidence to support its accusation. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. According to Zawari’s family, the scientist received a call summoning him to a meeting which had reportedly been to arrange a television interview about the South Society for Aviation, an organisation Zawari had founded along with Tunisian ex-pilots, reported Alkhaleej Online news website on Monday.
Hebrew News Sources
Israel Hayom: Yesh Din: Amona relocation plan uses private Palestinian land. A day after residents of the contested Amona outpost accepted the government's latest relocation framework, the Yesh Din human rights organization claimed Monday that the land chosen for relocation is privately owned by a Palestinian. The new plan includes the temporary relocation of some residents to a nearby plot of land known as Parcel 38. The land is registered as abandoned property. According to Yesh Din, 90% of the plot belongs to a Palestinian landowner. The organization supported its claim with aerial photographs apparently showing that the land had been cultivated until 1997.
Times of Israel: PLO will revoke Israel recognition if US moves embassy, top official warns. If the incoming Trump administration moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel, the prospect of a two-state solution will be over, and any hope of Israeli-Palestinian peace in the future will vanish, the top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Monday. Speaking on a conference call organized by the Wilson Center policy forum in Washington, DC regarding expectations from the Trump administration, Erekat reeled off a list of what he said would be the consequences of President-elect Donald Trump honoring his campaign pledge and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Times of Israel: Netanyahu urges US to veto UNSC settlements resolution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the United States to veto a UN Security Council resolution that demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement building. “The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday,” Netanyahu wrote in a tweet posted early Thursday. The Security Council is slated to vote on Thursday on the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which declares that all existing settlements “have no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation” of international law, and demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” It stresses that “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution” as these activities are “dangerously imperiling” the viability of any future Palestinian state in the West Bank.
Jerusalem Post: IDF tanks fire at Hamas targets in response to Gaza border shooting. Shots were fired at IDF troops stationed on the border near the southern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, the military said. The soldiers were securing civilian engineering work near the border fence when they came under fire. There were no reports of injury or damage in the incident, but according to Channel 10 news, farmers in the area were advised by the army to stop working in the fields and to remain in their homes. The IDF responded shortly afterward with tank fire targeting Gaza-based Hamas positions, which according to Palestinian media was located south of the Al Buraige refugee camp. Earlier in December two Palestinian men were arrested after crossing into Israel from the Strip, one of whom had been armed with a knife and grenade. In November the IDF fired shots to disperse Palestinians trying to breach the border and in October four rockets emanating from the Gaza Strip hit Israel, leading the air force to strike Hamas targets.
International Sources:

Guardian:  Israeli occupants of illegal West Bank outpost agree to relocate. A group of hardline Jewish settlers, who have been living in an unauthorised West Bank outpost, say they have accepted an Israeli government proposal to evacuate the site, apparently ending the potential for a violent confrontation. The 40 or so families who live in the rough-and-ready hilltop outpost of Amona, built illegally on private Palestinian land, have been at the centre of a years-long court battle. More recently Amona has turned into a symbol for the wider settlement movement, prompting highly controversial legislation in the Israeli Knesset to retroactively legalise dozens of other similar outposts. That law – which does not include Amona – still needs to win two more parliamentary votes to pass and ultimately could be overturned by the Supreme Court, where it is expected to face legal challenges by settlement opponents.
New York Times: David M. Friedman, the bankruptcy lawyer nominated by Donald J. Trump to become ambassador to Israel, has for at least a year regularly contributed columns to Arutz 7, a right-leaning Israeli news site. In these pieces, Mr. Friedman has accused President Obama and the State Department of anti-Semitism; denounced supporters of the progressive pro-Israel lobbying group J Street as “worse than kapos”; and said he would support an American ban on assault weapons – in exchange for restrictions on Muslim immigration. He refers to the West Bank by its biblical name, Judea and Samaria, reflecting his view that Israel should annex the territory, viewed by Palestinians as the heart of their future state.
PNN: ‘Postponing vote on settlement bill at the Knesset does not reduce its risks’. In a tricky political understanding that took place between the Jewish Home Party’s leader, Naftali Bennett and the Israeli PM; Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the authentication of the settlement bill (legalizing the settlement) until US President Barack Obama leaves office. The understanding came because of the fear of the Obama’s administration to harm Israel at international level should the bill be ratified in the first and preliminary readings after crossing off item 7 in it that provides to apply it retroactively on the “Amona settlement,’ near Ramallah. The bill states, legalizing about 55 settlements and outposts in the West Bank, that means, recognizing and legitimizing of illegally-classified 4,000 housing units, by Israel. The bill stipulates compensating any Palestinian should he/she proves his/her ownership of the land within a highly complicated judicial proceedings, which last for many years, it also legalizes construction on the lands of Absentees to consecrate Israeli control over the West Bank, and to uproot any opportunity for the two states solution through partitioning of our homeland Palestine.
Washington Post: Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel is unfit to serve. As the Nazis rolled into Vienna in 1938, my father was helping boats full of Jews escape down the Danube River. He had been sent to Vienna by Menachem Begin and the Irgun, the Jewish freedom fighting movement, to save Jews from the Nazis. The operation he ran is credited with saving thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of lives. At the same time, my mother and her family escaped Vienna in 1938, not down the river, but over the Swiss mountains. Her grandmother and many cousins weren’t so lucky. They are among the 6 million Jews lost in the Holocaust. So when David Friedman, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, attacks me and Jews who share my politics on Israel as “worse than kapos” and not really Jews, it’s not only a horrific insult to my parents’ memory but also a stinging indictment of the character and the fitness to serve of the man who uttered those words. The term “kapo” refers to Jewish prisoners who were elevated by Nazi guards to supervise concentration camp operations.
Israel Hayom: Is anyone really surprised? The manner in which the terrorists and murderers of Jews managed, surprisingly, to keep more than 10 mobile phones in an empty prison cell just at the end of Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas' visit to Ketziot Prison is truly miraculous. Israel Prison Services' top intelligence officials, who secretly watched the incident and intercepted the cell phones -- an amazing accomplishment in its own right -- were not impressed by Ghattas' denials and sought to question him. But the respected doctor, graduate of the Technion Institute of the "Zionist occupation," cynically took advantage of his immunity, refused questioning and left the premises. Since the visit to the terrorists' cells, Ghattas ("diver" in Arabic) has disappeared and, despite statements from his associates promising that he will show up for questioning as required, the Public Security Ministry expressed concern that he might have gone into hiding.
Times of Israel: President Obama should protect the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian peace. In the wake of our election and with Israeli and Palestinian politics seemingly deadlocked, many say there’s no chance to end this decades-old conflict. Yet, positive benchmarks from previous peace negotiations, combined with the untested Arab Peace Initiative suggest peace is still possible. The dangers of more violent conflict in a volatile region make peace an urgent priority. Especially in light of President-elect Trump’s initial choice for a new ambassador to Israel, President Obama needs to act now to protect the prospect for Israeli-Palestinian peace. David Friedman is an awful choice for ambassador. His extreme views, including support for building more settlements in occupied territory, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and comparing Jewish-American supporters of a two-state solution with Jews who cooperated with Nazis in concentration camps align with extreme right wing views of a small minority of Israelis and represent a dangerous revision of principled US policies. Rather than serving President-elect Trump’s expressed hope to help achieve peace, an ambassador with a public record reflecting these views would fuel more violent conflict and further undermine US credibility in the region. The Senate should refuse to confirm David Friedman’s nomination.

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