Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 3rd-12th September 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. 
Israeli news sources:
The Times of Israel: Hamas spends $100 million a year on military infrastructure
As the residents of the Gaza Strip endure daily hardships due to the dire economic situation in the enclave, their Hamas leaders spend over $100 million a year on the group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, according to estimates by both Israeli and Palestinian sources. Spending on digging tunnels accounts for some $40 million of that annual sum. By way of comparison, the budget of the last Hamas government, which dissolved in April 2014, was $530 million. In other words, some 20 percent of the budget was directed toward arming the group with advanced weapons, digging tunnels, training, and salaries for Hamas fighters. The military wing has continued to develop its capabilities over the past two years in anticipation of another possible war with Israel. Among other things, Hamas has been investing in weapons that could bypass the Iron Dome anti-missile system and in more precise rockets than those it possessed in the summer of 2014.    

Israel Hayom: Stabbing attack foiled near Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
IDF forces on Sunday foiled a Palestinian stabbing attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the West Bank. Two 14 year olds were arrested after a checkpoint metal detector discovered long knives in their bags. They told border policemen they had planned to stab Israeli soldiers.
Haaretz:  Palestinians Lay Claim to Most of Land Israel Staked Out for Amona Settlers
Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank on Thursday submitted their objections to the Civil Administration's plan to move the illegal outpost Amona to "absentees' property" nearby. The Palestinians, residents of Taibe, near Kfar Sava, and the West Bank towns of Ein Yabrud and Silwad, claim to own some two thirds of 35 plots the administration has allocated for Amona's new location. In 2014 the High Court of Justice ruled that Amona was built illegally on private Palestinian lands and must be evicted within two years. Last month the administration published a map in the Palestinian media of 35 plots close to the Amona's current location and asked the Palestinians who claim to own the land to prove it.  These documents have not been given to the media at this stage. The leftist NGO Yesh Din, which is representing the land claimants, says they have the ownership papers and aerial photos proving the plots had been cultivated as late as the '90s.

The Jerusalem Post: Israel acknowledges helping Paraguay in fight against Hezbollah
The report stated that Hezbollah continues to maintain a presence in South America and the Caribbean, “with members, facilitators, and supporters engaging in activity in support of the organisation." Israel is helping Paraguay take actions against Hezbollah in the Tri-Border area with Argentina and Brazil, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged on Wednesday while announcing the opening of the new embassy in Asuncion. “Israel cooperates with Paraguay in the battle against terrorism and maintains a supportive role in actions against Hezbollah at the tri-border region,” the ministry said in a background statement on relations with Paraguay. After Colombia, Paraguay is considered Israel’s closest friend in South America, with the Paraguayan government, according to the ministry statement, “having stood by Israel during Operation Protective Edge, a time when Israel was criticized by many countries. More recently, Paraguay supported Israel at major international forums.”
Palestinian/Arabic news sources:
Al Jazeera: Israeli boycott activist seeks asylum in Canada
Gilad Paz, who has conducted most of his activism online, has not yet faced consequences, but fears official reaction. An Israeli man has applied for asylum in Canada, citing fears of political persecution for supporting the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. But BDS activists in Israel and Palestine say they had no prior knowledge of Gilad Paz's involvement with the BDS movement before news reports surfaced about his asylum claim. Paz, an Israeli labour lawyer, landed in Montreal on August 11 and applied for asylum on the basis of political persecution, according to multiple media reports. "I am politically persecuted in Israel. I realised that people like me have no place in the country, so I decided to leave before it's too late," Paz told Israelis newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. After repeated interview requests, Paz told Al Jazeera that on his lawyer's advice he was no longer speaking to the media. His hearing with Canadian immigration officials is scheduled for September 29, he said.
Al Arabiya: Israel to build underground barrier against Hamas
Defence officials say Israel has begun work on an underground barrier along the border with Gaza meant to block Hamas militants from tunnelling into Israel. The officials say the concrete barrier is set to run dozens of meters (hundreds of feet) deep and will ultimately stretch along the entire border with Gaza. Israel is currently building an initial phase of the barrier over a small stretch of land measuring dozens of meters. Work crews were busy along the Israel-Gaza border Thursday using cranes and heavy machinery. Caravans are scattered around the site, while large metal pipes run along the ground. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified matter, say the barrier's construction could take years. Hamas militants have used underground tunnels to attack Israelis.

Ma’an News: Israeli forces detain at least 18 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
Israeli forces detained at least 18 Palestinians in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank, according to local Palestinian and Israeli army sources. Five Palestinians were reportedly detained from the southern district of Hebron, with local sources identifying two detainees from the village of Surif and two from the village of Beit Ummar, while another was reported to have been detained in Hebron, but the exact location remained unknown.  Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided and searched another Palestinian house in Hebron, claiming to have found materials and equipment used to make explosive devices and knives, according to Israeli sources. Israeli forces reportedly detained a Palestinian and interrogated two more during the raid. However, no more details were given. According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of July.

The Palestine News Network: PM: Killing Palestinians is no ‘mistake’
The Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah sharply denounced Israel’s most recent killing of an innocent Palestinian, and its attempt to blame his brother-in-law for his death. “Israel’s systematic killing of innocent Palestinians is outrageous. Its most recent attempt to twist the facts and blame someone else for his killing is downright despicable,” Hamdallah said, adding that the only person responsible for Mustafa Nimir’s death is the soldier who executed him. On Monday, Israeli forces killed Mustafa Nimir (27), as he headed home with his brother-in-law in the Shufat refugee camp. Israeli soldiers initially claimed that Nimir was shot because he had tried to carry out an attack. On Tuesday, Israeli authorities told the family that no such attack had taken place and that he had been “killed by mistake.” Israel recently shifted the blame on Nimir’s brother-in-law, who was driving the car, accusing him of involuntary manslaughter, driving without a license, driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless endangerment. “There is now an established pattern by Israeli forces of executing Palestinians, then calling it a ‘mistake’,” said Jamal Dajani, Director of Strategic Communications and Media at the Prime Minister’s office. “Even worse is the cover-up and blaming the victim.” Dajani called upon the international community to step in to end Israel’s “senseless killing” of Palestinians.

US-UK news sources:
The Independent: Russia: Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed to meet for talks in Moscow

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to meet on an unspecified date. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed in principle to meet in Moscow, in what would be their first face-to-face meeting in years. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that an agreement had taken place on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.  Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu agree on hardly any issues, including the construction of Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians, which means setting an agenda will be a difficult task. Any meeting at all is seen as progress, however, since US-brokered peace talks broke down in 2014. The Moscow meeting points to Russia's growing influence in Middle Eastern affairs.  President Vladimir Putin has been vocal in his support for President Bashar Assad in the five-year-long Syrian civil war.

BBC: Palestinian court delays municipal elections after challenges
A Palestinian court has postponed municipal elections that had been due to be held on 8 October. The polls would have been the first electoral contest between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements for 10 years. Their delay was ordered after lists of candidates for Fatah, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, were cancelled in parts of the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas. Hamas has protested at the court's ruling, describing it as "political". Fatah said it held Hamas fully responsible. Thursday's ruling by the high court in the West Bank city of Ramallah came after a Hamas-controlled court in Gaza disqualified several candidate lists drawn up by Fatah on technical grounds. The election would have been the first involving Hamas and Fatah since the 2006 poll for the Palestinian Legislative Council, in which Hamas won a majority. A violent rift with Fatah saw the Islamist movement take control of Gaza the following year. Although Fatah and Hamas formally agreed a unity deal and a technocratic government in 2014, deep divisions remain, resulting in political paralysis.

The Guardian: The fish farmers hoping to end Gaza’s reliance on Israeli imports
Palestinians must overcome power cuts and instabilities resulting from Hamas rule if they are to produce enough to supply markets. The Palestinian fishing industry operates under strictly enforced restrictions. An exclusion zone policed by Israel limits the industry’s range to within six miles off Gaza’s coast. Fishermen risk being shot at, arrested and having their catch confiscated. Fish stocks in the zone are low, and Gaza’s fleet struggles to catch enough fish to supply the domestic market. As a result, markets currently sell sea bream – the area’s most popular restaurant fish – which they import twice a week from Israeli fish farms. Al-Bahar, whose 12 massive fish tanks were built at a cost of $1.2m (£900,000), is the most successful of four fish farms that have sprung up in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel, and it is preparing to build an adjoining plot for a second commercial fish farm to be ready within a year. All the farms in Gaza are vulnerable to the instabilities resulting from Hamas rule. But the owner, Yassir al-Haj, who is behind the expansion, said the biggest barrier to expansion is the unreliable supply of electricity to a business that needs power 24 hours a day to oxygenate the tanks and keep the fish alive.

Fox News: Trump supporters court Jewish settlers in the West Bank
Republican activists are trying to "make America great again" — from inside a Jewish settlement deep in the West Bank. This week, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have set up a campaign office in the Karnei Shomron settlement in the northern West Bank, hoping to tap into the large numbers of American immigrants in the area for support. The office is in addition to several Republican outposts set up across Israel to get American expatriates to register to vote. A new location in Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements near Jerusalem, is expected to open next week. It's believed to be the first time either Republican or the Democrat activists have placed a campaign office in the West Bank. Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel, said the get-out-the-vote effort is not just for show. His group estimates there are about 300,000 American citizens living in Israel, including some 50,000 West Bank settlers. Zell hopes as many as 200,000 of them will register to vote. With the vast majority believed to be Republicans, he said there could be enough votes to influence results in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida.  
The New York Times: Russia, a Broker With Its Own Agenda, Enters the Israeli-Palestinian Fray

Russia’s newfound Middle East peace effort seems to be about everything but finding peace in the Middle East. Instead, it is about Moscow’s ambitions for the region and its competition with Washington. It is about Israel's determination to deflect what it considers more threatening interventions by the French or even the Americans. It is about the Palestinian leadership’s desire to shore up its standing at home and abroad. The Kremlin’s diplomatic endeavour has become something of a three-way geopolitical billiards game in which each side is counting on a bank shot to leave itself in a better position. Almost beside the point is whether a meeting actually takes place, much less yields tangible progress toward reconciliation between two hostile populations. President Vladimir Putin's  drive comes as he has reinserted Russia into the Middle East in a profound way after years of retreat. Russia’s military intervention in Syria, its developing if fragile alliance with Iran and its recent fence-mending with Turkey have made it a major actor in the region again in a way it had not been since the Cold War. While Russia has always been fitfully involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts over the years, Mr. Putin now seems intent on taking the lead, both as a poke at Washington amid continuing tension over Syria and Ukraine and as a show of Russian significance. Mr. Putin has made a point of developing a relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel even as Mr. Netanyahu has feuded with President Obama. Zvi Magen, a former Israeli ambassador to Russia who is now a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, argued: “The idea is not to reach any specific results, but it’s good for Russia. They don’t need results. They need the process itself.” The Palestinians view the Moscow peace bid as a way to keep their cause on the international radar screen. For Mr. Abbas, who faces internal dissent, it is also a way of keeping power.
The Jerusalem Post: A fresh blow to Abbas
The municipal elections that were set t​o be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on October 8 were cause for rare optimism amid the bleak landscape of Palestinian politics. It was hoped Hamas’s participation, despite doubts about contesting polls in the Fatah ruled West Bank, and Fatah running despite suspicions of Hamas’s intentions in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, would mark a significant step toward healing the nine-year-old rift between the rival groups. If all went well in the local elections, they could set a precedent for the holding of long overdue legislative and presidential elections that would give a fresh start to the fractured and stagnant political system. On Thursday, these hopes collapsed in disarray amid Fatah-Hamas recrimination, and it became obvious that rather than heal the split, the electoral process has reinforced it after a​ Hamas court in Gaza cancel​led nine lists of Fatah candidates and ​Fatah-controlled Ramallah froze the holding of elections, at least until December, on the grounds that the Gaza judiciary’s ruling on electoral matters was illegal. The collapse of the electoral process is a reflection of Hamas’s and Fatah’s fears of losing, according to Talal Awkal, a ​Gaza-based columnist. ​Whether all this is good or bad for Israel depends on one’s perspective. For those Israelis who hope for a coherent negotiating partner for a two-state solution, the deepening of the split is bad news. For those keen on exploiting Palestinian division to further an annexationist agenda in the West Bank, the deepening and perpetuation of the fissure can only be a welcome development. 
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