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Israeli Government

Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov’t fumes

Adam Horowitz on
From the left : Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during a rally in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (Photo: AP/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

Millions took to the streets of Paris in a historic “unity” march in the wake of a shocking string of events including the Charlie Hebdo attack and a hostage standoff at a kosher supermarket which killed a total of 17 people. The march not only attracted Parisians wanting to mourn the traumatic events of the previous week, but also world leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Reports have surfaced that the French government wanted to keep them both away, but Netanyahu ignored French wishes when he learned his Israeli political rival would be attending. Netanyahu used the trip to make the case that French Jews should immigrate to Israel.

Despite punitive Israeli tax freeze, Palestinians to pursue war crimes charges with Arab League financial help

Allison Deger on
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas attends the 25th Arab League summit, held for the first time in Kuwait City, on March 25, 2014. (Photo: Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP/Daily News Egypt)

Within days of Palestinians announcing they would join the International Criminal Court (ICC), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his country would stop transferring customs revenue to the Palestinian Authority. The punitive move was expected to lead to a crisis for the Palestinian leadership as government services would collapse across the West Bank. But the Palestinian Authority had an unexpected back up plan. The Arab League has agreed to provide emergency funds to cover the VAT-taxes frozen by Israel. This Arab League safety net will help the Palestinians avoid the expected temporary bankruptcy and allow them to move forward with pressing for war crimes at the ICC. In fact, financial support from the Arab League was a key component, along with joining the ICC, of long-term strategy to pressure Israel into negotiations.

‘You’re Shooting Like Retards': Rafah recordings reveal IDF’s Hannibal directive in action

Eamon Murphy on
Moshe Ya'alon, left, meets with Col. Ofer Winter in December 2013. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense)

A controversial military investigation is illuminating the deadliest incident of Operation Protective Edge, as well as one of the Israeli army’s most shadowy directives: an order intended to thwart the abduction of IDF soldiers, even at the risk of killing them. Code named Hannibal, the protocol was carried out in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on August 1, 2014, a date now known as Black Friday; the resulting artillery barrage and torrent of airstrikes killed 190 Palestinians in two days, according to Gaza human rights groups, after the suspected capture by Hamas fighters of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin. Recordings of the IDF assault, publicized last week, suggest a chaotic and undisciplined outburst of violence: “I repeat, stop the shooting!” the brigade commander yells over the field radio. “You’re shooting like retards. You’ll kill one another. Enough!”

Palestinian resolution fails at the Security Council, U.S. votes against ‘staged confrontation’ at the UN

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, left, and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar talk to reporters after a meeting of Arab states at U.N. headquarters, Monday, December 29, 2014. (Photo: Seth Wenig/AP)

The Palestinian leadership’s resolution to end Israel’s occupation through negotiations failed to pass the United Nations Security Council Tuesday evening. While Palestinian leaders had hoped to garner the nine votes needed to be approved by the 15-member council, only eight countries supported the measure. The United States and Australia voted against it while five others abstained. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said, “We voted against it because we know what everyone here knows, as well—peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at he negotiating table. Today’s staged confrontation in the UN Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving two-state solution.”

Updated Security Council resolution calls for East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital, Israel says UN creating ‘second Hamastan’

Allison Deger on
Security Council Meeting, 2011. (Photo: Iraqi News)

Late Monday evening Jordan submitted an updated version of a draft resolution seeking to end Israel’s occupation to the United Nations Security Council. The latest document maintains a 2017 deadline for an end to the Israeli occupation but contains a handful revisions, with substantive changes on the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s separation wall.

U.S. seeks to counter Palestinian UN resolution with alternative offer, says French diplomat

Allison Deger on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius give a press conference at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014.

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.

Palestinian UN effort seeks to set ‘terms of reference’ for negotiations and promote shift away from US leadership

Allison Deger on
Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014, NYC. (Photo: AFP/ Timothy A. Clary)

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.

PA to seek UN Security Council resolution giving Israel two years to end the occupation

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Khaled

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.

A Knesset without Arab parties?

Allison Deger on
(Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

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.

PA considers ‘re-defining security coordination’ with Israel in wake of Palestinian govt minister death

Allison Deger on
Funeral for Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein at the seat of the Palestinian government, the Muqataa, in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, December 11, 2014. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

For the first time Israel’s high court wrestles with legality of punitive home demolitions

Allison Deger on
Palestinian women stand in front of Israeli border police officers in the Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukabar November 18, 2014. (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters)

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.

A defensive Netanyahu announces elections hours after firing opposition members Lapid and Livni

Allison Deger on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly Cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on November 23, 2014. (Photo: Jim Hollander/Pool Photo/Los Angeles Times)

“Swift elections must be held, and a new, united and strong government must be formed,” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced this evening calling for early Knesset elections hours after firing opposition members Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni from his cabinet. The move comes after Lapid, Livni and Avigdor Lieberman all announced their parties were leaving the ruling coalition.

Palestinian flag is an ‘enemy’ flag– Netanyahu’s latest crackdown

Allison Deger on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during in his Cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem on Sunday. (Photo: Jim Hollander/AP/ABC News)

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.”

Israel sent Palestinian Authority letter to ‘stop incitement’ over bus driver’s death

Allison Deger on
Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of bus driver Yousef Hassan al-Ramuni in the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem on November 17, 2014 (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

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.

Israeli occupation stoking ‘holy war’ in Jerusalem

Jonathan Cook on
A Palestinian woman shouts at Israeli policemen in the old city of Jerusalem on Thursday after Israeli authorities temporarily closed the al-Aqsa mosque compound, October 31, 2014. (Photo: AFP/Menahem Kahana)

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 ransack homes of 40 Palestinians during al-Shaludi home demolition

Allison Deger on
Home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, the Jerusalem motorist from the October 22, 2014 light rail attack in Jerusalem, demolished by Israeli authorities early Wednesday morning, in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Netanyahu announces return of controversial punitive home demolitions widely viewed as collective punishment

Allison Deger on
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem. (Photo: Reuters)

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.

Israel’s Knesset upholds longest suspension in state’s history against Haneen Zoabi

Allison Deger on
Knesset member Haneen Zoabi (Balad). (Photo: Jack Guez /AFP)

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.

‘We are in a violent fight with extreme Islam’ — Feiglin leads rightists to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque

Allison Deger on
Moshe Feiglin speaking before supporters outside of the checkpoint to the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount, October 30, 2014. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship

Allison Deger on
14-year old slain Palestinian youth, Orwa Hammad who is also a U.S. citizen, was killed by the Israeli army, October 24, 2014. (Photo: Shadi Hattem)

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.