Israel - Palestine news this week
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Israel-Palestine News 10th - 16th 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 said 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. 
Hebrew News Sources

Haaretz: Israeli Settlers Reject Deal to Peacefully Evacuate Illegal West Bank Outpost of Amona. Some residents in the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona began preparing for imminent evacuation late Wednesday night after voting to reject a deal offered by the state that would prevent a violent clash with Israeli forces. The state offered the residents of the illegal outpost, which is facing a December 25 deadline from the High Court to vacate the site, to relocate the site to nearby land if they agree to sign a commitment that they allow a peaceful evacuation. The deal that had been offered to the residents was presented by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, laying the groundwork for the construction of a number of buildings to house residents in the nearby area deemed abandoned by its Palestinian owners. The proposal, which was supported by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, would give Amona's residents temporary permits, renewable every two years, to live at the new site.

Israel Hayom: Terrorist shot after stabbing 2 people in Jerusalem. An Israeli policeman and one other person were lightly wounded near the Lions' Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem during a stabbing attack on Wednesday, Israeli media reported. According to Israel Radio, the terrorist was shot by security forces after attacking a group of Border Police officers around 1 p.m. The attacker, who apparently used a screwdriver, was shot in the head and was in critical condition, Channel 10 reported shortly after the attack. The assailant has not been identified.

Times of Israel: Israeli car hit by gunfire outside Ramallah; woman driver, two kids, unharmed. A gunman shot up an Israeli car with two children in the back seat outside Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday evening, causing damage to the vehicle, but no injuries, the army said. The Israel Defense Forces launched a search for the perpetrator of the shooting attack, who had fled the scene. An Israeli woman was driving near the Palestinian village of Deir Abu Mash’al, northwest of Ramallah, when a gunman opened fire at her car, the army said. Photos from the scene showed multiple bullet holes on the side of the vehicle and on the door; the pictures also showed the children in the back seat. The shooting attack came hours after a 21-year-old Palestinian man attacked a group of police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem with a screwdriver, stabbing one of them in the head and another in the upper body, police said.

Jerusalem Post: Abbas meets former Israeli lawmakers in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a delegation of former members of Knesset, some of who served as ministers, met at the Mukata, the PA headquarters in Ramallah, on Tuesday evening. The Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society (PCIIS), a Palestinian government body tasked with outreach to Israel, organized the meeting. The delegation of MKs included former interior minister Ofir Pines, former economy minister Shimon Shetreet, Amram Mitzna, Haim Oron, David Zucker and Anat Maor. “The former MKs and President Abbas participated in a dialogue for an hour, discussing peace initiatives including the Arab Peace Initiative,” Ziad Darwish, a member of the PCIIS and a cousin of the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

Arabic News Sources

Middle East Eye: Palestinians of Acre face growing Israeli push to evict them. The Palestinian residents of the Old City of Acre in northern Israel face a continuous and intensifying struggle against Israel’s attempts to displace them from the city. As the Palestinian identity and heritage of the Old City are gradually obscured, local residents are forced to leave in order to make way for wealthy investors and tourism projects. The Palestinian residents of the Old City of Acre in northern Israel face a continuous and intensifying struggle against Israel’s attempts to displace them from the city. As the Palestinian identity and heritage of the Old City are gradually obscured, local residents are forced to leave in order to make way for wealthy investors and tourism projects. The Palestinian residents of the Old City of Acre in northern Israel face a continuous and intensifying struggle against Israel’s attempts to displace them from the city. As the Palestinian identity and heritage of the Old City are gradually obscured, local residents are forced to leave in order to make way for wealthy investors and tourism projects.

Ma’an News Agency: Israeli soldiers raid Nabi Saleh, beat Palestinian youth. Israeli forces reportedly raided the village of Nabi Saleh in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Wednesday night, locals told Ma’an. Five Israeli military vehicles entered the village around midnight after receiving reports of shots fired at an Israeli settler vehicle in the area and closed the village entrance, before assaulting Palestinian youths at a nearby gas station. Israeli forces then searched the gas station and seized security camera footage. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports. Nabi Saleh is one of a number of Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem which are known for their weekly Friday protests against the Israeli occupation. Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Al-Jazeera: Thousands rally in Gaza for Hamas' anniversary. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of gunmen and children waving mock weapons, rallied in Gaza celebrating the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic group Hamas that rules the territory. Loudspeakers blasted Hamas' slogans through the streets on Wednesday as rockets mounted on pick-up trucks rolled by. Hundreds of masked men marched and dozens of children wielding imitation assault rifles attended with their families. Khalil al-Hayya, a Hamas official, delivered a fiery speech at the rally full of rhetoric against Israel. He also called for reconciliation with the Fatah party, led by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, but only under Hamas' terms. Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 after routing troops loyal to Abbas in bloody street battles. Palestinians have since been divided between Gaza under Hamas and Abbas governing parts of the West Bank. Several rounds of reconciliation talks have been held between the two groups, but these failed to achieve any breakthroughs.

Palestinian News Network: Israel killed 268 since October 2015. The number of Palestinians and Arabs killed extra-judicially by the Israeli military or security authorities since early October 2015 has amounted to 268 martyrs following the death of 21-year-old Hammad al-Sheikh in Occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday. According to a report released by al-Quds Centre for the study of Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, 78 of those martyrs were from al-Khalil, 59 others from Jerusalem and 24 from Ramallah. Others martyrs hailed from different areas of the West Bank, including areas in Nablus, Tulkarem, Salfit, and Qalqiliya. 34 martyrs were also killed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip and two others were killed in Israel. The report noted that two men from Jordan and Sudan were also among those martyrs. The martyrs also include 77 male and female children under age 18. The youngest was three-month-old Ramadan Thawabteh, who died of tear gas suffocation in Beit Fajjar town of Bethlehem last October.

International News

Guardian: Donald Trump still set on relocating US embassy in Israel, adviser says. A senior adviser to Donald Trump has reiterated that the president-elect is determined to overturn years of government policy and move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after his inauguration in January. The comments were made by Kellyanne Conway in a radio interview on Monday, and reiterated Trump’s campaign commitment to move the embassy in what would be a highly contentious move. Describing it as a “very big priority”, Conway said: “He made it very clear during the campaign.” She added that she has heard him repeat the promise during private meetings since the election. Conway’s comments were made during an interview with on Monday with right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt – apparently in line with Trump’s chaotic way of communicating key policies.

CNN Politics: Trump picks campaign adviser Friedman as US ambassador to Israel.
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday he will nominate campaign adviser David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with hardline views on Israel, to serve as US ambassador to the country. In a statement issued by Trump's transition team, Friedman said he looked forward to moving the US embassy to "Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem." That would fulfill a promise made by Trump on the campaign trail to relocate the diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv, upending decades of US policy. Friedman has long held conservative positions on Israel. Earlier this year, called supporters of the progressive Jewish advocacy group J Street "worse than kapos" for supporting a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kapos were Jews in Nazi concentration camps who were put in charge of other inmates. Friedman has also said in the past that he does not believe Israeli settlement activity is illegal and opposes a ban on construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- another stance that turns US policy on its head.


Israel Hayom: Compromise Deficiency disorder.  The crisis over the looming Dec. 25 deadline to implement the Israeli Supreme Court's order to evacuate the Amona outpost has provoked a bout of national soul-searching with regard to how the government treats native population groups. Indeed, in a post-modern world where perception is reality and narrative often trumps history, both Jews and Arabs are struggling to claim a historic connection to Judea and Samaria. Yet, despite the chaos surrounding the status of Palestinian lands in Judea and Samaria, an overview of indigenous heritage legislation around the world should provide Palestinian human rights groups with much cause to cheer. After all, the relatively recent idea that places of cultural significance to indigenous people deserve protection is spreading. The legal foundations for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities have been codified in documents such as the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Times of Israel: Genuine critics of Israel have no reason to fear the UK’s new anti-Semitism definition. Theresa May announced on Monday that the United Kingdom is to officially adopt a definition of anti-Semitism. The definition, adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) earlier this year, is intended to assist police forces, councils and other public bodies in identifying and combating anti-Semitism. Considering recent cases of anti-Semitism in British politics, it comes as no surprise that the Prime Minister has decided to act on the issue. May is a long-term supporter of Britain’s Jewish community and this looks set to continue. A number of possible ‘contemporary’ manifestations of anti-Semitism are listed in the adopted definition, including Holocaust denial, rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, blood libel claims and holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel. The complexity of modern anti-Semitism means that the adoption of such a definition is necessary. The text, which has already been implemented on various British campuses for some time, aims to expose those who seek to hide their anti-Semitism through the language of anti-Zionism.

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.

Al-Jazeera: The Palestinian leadership that doesn't represent us. Last week's Palestinian Fatah conference ended with disappointingly predictable results. Of the 18 members of the Executive Committee, the governing body of Fatah, once again 17 are men, and only one person is in his 40s - he is considered to be part of the "youth" of the movement. The average age of the Executive Committee is pushing past 65 and is advancing with each conference, as no new members join its ranks. The results were not the only problems with the elections - the process was flawed from the outset. With Mahmoud Abbas desperate to cling to and consolidate power despite being in his 80s, and working to quash any opposition to his ineffective rule, he actively set out to undermine Fatah by not allowing dissenting members to attend the conference, disqualifying members and appointing those who would support his oppressive rule. And so, unsurprisingly, Abbas was once again elected head of Fatah and, once again, the top 12 members of the Executive Committee are the same members (in the exact order) of the Executive Committee that preceded it. But that is not where the disappointment rests, for other political parties around the world have similarly chosen leaders out of touch with their constituents, only to be faced with the wrath of the electorate.

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