The United States is creating momentum for the French to forestall, or all together abandon, presenting a resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on behalf of the Palestinians. France has been informed of an American alternative offer to the Palestinian pursuit of a draft resolution to negotiate an end Israel’s occupation of territories gained in June 1967, a French diplomatic source tells Mondoweiss.
Category Archives: Israeli Government
PLO official Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh says the current Palestinian push at the UN Security Council comes “a serious junction in the history of Palestine.” Allison Deger reports that the proposed UN resolution marks a change in Palestinian strategy for the PLO. According to Dr. Shtayyeh the resolution is “not simply as part of a routine diplomatic issue. We are going to the Security Council because this is part of a strategic shift in the way that we are dealing with the struggle with the Israelis.” Although details of the resolution are not yet public, it appears this shift includes taking a harder line on Israeli settlement construction and looking toward Europe for leadership over the peace process instead of the United States.
The Palestinian Authority has announced it will seek a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution calling for an end of the Israeli occupation within a specific time period. The draft legislation gives Israel two years to remove its forces from lands occupied in June 1967 and reaffirms per-existing agreements for a framework of negotiations, said Ashraf Khatib a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Negotiations Affairs Department via telephone to Mondoweiss. While the resolution makes no explicit mention of land swamps, it does support previous accords where the PLO granted Israel the possibility of territorial exchanges where up to 60% of settlers could remain in the West Bank.
The fate of Israel’s embattled Arab parties is in the balance as Israel’s next parliamentary elections approach. The election season officially started this week when Knesset formally dissolved itself setting an unconfirmed date at the polls of March 17, 2015. Yet as campaigns take off the question of Israel’s smaller parties and the survival of Arab political groups in particular run in the background. Next year’s early elections will be the first after Israel raised the voter threshold to require 3.25-percent of the popular vote in order for a party to secure a seat in Knesset. None of the Arab parties have reached this threshold on their own and will either have to merge, or forgo being a part of the government.
Shop windows in Ramallah were shuttered yesterday within hours of Minister Ziad Abu Ein’s death from a heart attack following an assault by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Turmusaya. Thousands poured through the streets during a state funeral held today with a ceremony at the Muqataa, the seat of the Palestinian Authority and a procession to a nearby cemetery.
Israel’s renewed policy of punitive home demolitions was challenged in its highest court yesterday. The case comes as the Israeli government has ordered the homes of six Palestinians suspected in a series of Jerusalem attacks to be demolished. In the past judges have heard arguments to overturn demolitions on a case by case basis, but this was the first in Israel’s history to address the legality of the practice as such. And the hearing came with immediate consequences. The homes of five Palestinian families are slated for demolition, and one demolition has already been carried out.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had assured that the Jewish democratic state law would not infringe on the rights of its non-Jewish citizens, but two days later his Likud party introduced a Knesset bill to ban the Palestinian flag from protests, deport Palestinians to Gaza, and strip Palestinian citizens of their citizenship or residency, and refuse to return remains of the deceased, in cases of “incitement.”
When news broke of a Palestinian bus driver’s body found hanging by a metal chord in the rear of an Israeli bus in a West Jerusalem parking lot, two separate narratives developed. The death came in the midst of a bitter pattern of attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians across the city and the official reason given in the autopsy by Israel was that Yousef Hassan al-Ramouni, 32, had committed suicide. However, the Palestinian media, government, family of the deceased, and witnesses to the body, most importantly a pathologist that sat in on the medical exam, all said otherwise, contradicting, the police’s pronouncement that there was “no suspicion of criminal activity.” Mondoweiss has obtained a copy of a letter authored by the Israeli General Coordinator of the Palestinian territories to the Palestinian Authority, asking them “to stop such incitement and bring the genuine facts regarding the circumstances of death of the deceased, to the attention of the Palestinian public.” In Israel, incitement is a crime punishable with a prison sentence.
Relations between Israelis and Palestinians have descended into a dangerous melee of tit-for-tat attacks and killings, with the violence of the past few weeks centred on Jerusalem. The city, claimed by Israel as its “undivided capital”, has been torn apart by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian residents since the summer, when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burnt alive by Jewish extremists. Subsequent attacks by Palestinians culminated last week in a shooting and stabbing spree by two cousins at a synagogue that killed four Jews and an Israeli policeman. In this atmosphere, both sides have warned that the political conflict is mutating into a religious one. By refusing to recognise any Palestinian national claims in Jerusalem, Netanyahu has forced the population to recast the conflict in religious terms. Unable to identify politically with either Fatah or Hamas, Jerusalem’s Palestinians have found powerful consolation in a religious struggle to counter the mounting threats to Al-Aqsa.
Israeli police ransacked seven apartments and urinated inside one while demolishing the Silwan apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the Palestinian motorist from East Jerusalem who killed a three-month old Israeli-American Chaya Zissel and one Ecuadoran tourist in a light rail attack in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014. “They urinated on the mattresses in my brother’s apartment, said Enas al-Shaludi, 43, the mother of the deceased driver. “You can see the urine on the mattresses.” In addition to the demolition, which the family expected after receiving a demolition order last Friday, all of the other apartments in the four-story residential building were raided.
The alleged killers of 16-year old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir were in court today for a second pre-trial hearing. The self-proclaimed ringleader of the group, Yosef Ben-David, 29, refused to cooperate. His lawyer told the judge he could not offer a plea on behalf of his client, because Ben-David is no longer speaking.
On Friday Palestinian protesters crossed Israel’s separation wall by Qalandia checkpoint, the artery from the West Bank to Jerusalem, demonstrating for access to the city that has been ensconced in unrest over the past three weeks. Using makeshift ladders tens of protesters walked over the barrier, but Israeli police prevented them from entering Jerusalem.
Monday night, approximately 50 supporters of Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-wing political party headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, demonstrated in Jerusalem outside an exhibition at the Hansen House that featured a video by dancer/choreographer Arkadi Zaides. The fury of the demonstrators was directed at B’Tselem, the Israeli organization that documents human rights abuses in the occupied territories. Zaides’ video included footage from a B’Tselem project titled “Armed with Cameras.” The demonstration was organized by Mothers of Soldiers Against B’Tselem, a group whose mission is “working with legal tools to weaken human rights organizations,” according to the group’s Facebook page. Tensions were extremely high as an Israeli soldier and a settler had been stabbed to death that day in separate incidents. At the demonstration, at least one person was physically assaulted. “Somebody hit me over the head with a flag pole. They called us Nazis and said ‘May you burn in the gas chambers,’” Zafira Stern said.
As tensions seethe in Jerusalem the Israeli government has resurrected polices from the Intifada-era including punitive home demolitions as a measure of deterrence against attacks on its citizens. Even before Tuesday night when Netanyahu declared the return of home demolitions, there were calls inside of the government to bring it back. “Anyone who attacks police or civilians, his home should be demolished,” said Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovic.
For the next three months Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi (Balad) will not be allowed to speak on the parliament floor or introduce committee discussions. Though she will be allowed to put on a suit, enter the building of Israel’s Knesset in Jerusalem, and sit quietly. On Wednesday in an appeal vote her peers confirmed her suspension from office, the longest in Israel’s history.
It is nearly unheard of for Israeli police to block Jewish worshipers from reaching the Western Wall. But yesterday afternoon border authorities cinched back a hard plastic retracting wall of a Jerusalem checkpoint to reach the holy structures and for the first time in 14 years they also closed all access to al-Aqsa Mosque compound, preventing prayer in a campaign to stifle unrest smothering Jerusalem.
A Palestinian teen with U.S. citizenship was killed today by the Israeli army at a demonstration in the West Bank town of Silwad, near Ramallah. Fourteen-year old Orwah Hammad was shot in the neck with a live bullet, according to Ramallah hospital staff.
Thousands gathered in the West Bank town of Silwad outside of Ramallah to bury Orwah Hammad, a 14-year old Palestinian-American from Louisiana who was killed by the Israeli army on Friday. Hammad was died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck and head during a demonstration against the killing of another Palestinian earlier in the week.
Four months after the grisly slaying of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, his killers faced Jerusalem district court judges today to enter their pleas. Instead of responding to the charges, Yosef Haim Ben-David, the 29-year old settler from the Adam settlement and ringleader of the abduction, and two 16-year-old Israeli accomplices were all granted continuances. “I do not hope for anything from the Israeli court because it is a racist court,” said the deceased’s father Hussein Abu Khdeir, continuing, “It judges for the Israelis, not the Arabs.”
On Monday three Israelis who have admitted to the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year old Palestinian who was burned to death over the summer after being abducted from behind his East Jerusalem home in a revenge killing for the unrelated kidnapping and slaying of three Israeli youths a month prior, will give their pleas in district court.
Palestinians leaders will likely table a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli deadline to set borders based on the pre-June 1967 line until after fall mid-term elections in the United States. Haartez’s Barak Ravid reports this week that while Palestinians have stalled, Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to prevent the initiative all together. As a last-ditch effort to stop the Palestinian plan, Kerry has sought to reprise his direct talks that collapsed earlier this year. Israeli officials abandoned that effort after the announcement of a Palestinian unity government and there are no signs they are interested in restarting talks.
The residents of Israel’s southern periphery, bordering the Gaza Strip, are among the Israelis who suffered the most from Operation “Protective Edge.” By the end of the Operation, it was clear that residents of the embattled south — one of Israel’s poorest regions to begin with — were in dire need of the state’s aid. Yet money designated for the rehabilitation of the south is apparently being diverted to bolster West Bank settlements — again.
With much anticipation Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Monday morning to lambast Hamas and refuting claims of his soldiers targeting civilians during Operation Protective Edge. He followed the Palestinian Authority President’s charges of “genocidal” Israeli army conduct in Gaza, but, like in years past, Netanyahu focused on Iran (and employed the use of a prop). As he spoke the galley of the GA assembly hall was stacked with members of the Israeli delegation, including casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who cheered at key moments while delegates from member countries refrained from applause.
What is Israel’s endgame in Gaza? It is a question that has been puzzling analysts and observers for some time. But indications of the future Israel and Washington may have in mind for Gaza are emerging. Reports in the Arab and Israeli media – in part corroborated by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – suggest that Egypt may be at the heart of plans to solve the problem on Israel’s behalf. This month the Israeli media reported claims, apparently leaked by Israeli officials, that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had offered the Palestinian leadership the chance to annex to Gaza an area of 1,600 sq km in Sinai. The donated territory would expand Gaza fivefold. The scheme is said to have received the blessing of the United States.