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Israeli Government

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 sentenc

Israeli occupation stoking ‘holy war’ in Jerusalem

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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

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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

West Bank protesters cross separation wall in effort to get into Jerusalem

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Palestinian activists use a metal ramp to cross the separation wall near the Israeli Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, November 14, 2014. The activists were protesting against Israeli authorities allowing settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Israel imposing restrictions on Muslims wishing to perform Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

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.

‘We will make soap out of you!': Violent right-wing protest against Jerusalem art exhibit reflects rising anti-democratic tide in Israel

Dan Cohen on
cohen vid

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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian-American child killed by Israeli army

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A Palestinian man drapes a flag over the grave of Orwah Hammad as children pay respects in the West Bank town of Silwad. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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

Family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir continues to wait for justice as Israeli court again postpones trial for his killers

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Yosef Haim Ben-David leaving district court in Jerusalem where he is on trial for the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, October 20, 2014. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

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.”

Identities of minors who admitted to killing Mohammed Abu Khdeir to be revealed Monday

Allison Deger on
A mourner holds the national flag as mourners gather for the funeral of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, (background image) in Shuafat, in Israeli annexed East Jerusalem, on July 4, 2014. Abu Khder, a Palestinian teenager was  kidnapped and killed, triggering violent clashes in East Jerusalem, in an apparent act of revenge for the murder by militants of three Israeli youths. (Photo: Thomas Coex /AFP/Getty Images)

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

Knesset shell game: Aid meant for Israeli towns affected by Gaza war sent to illegal settlements instead

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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

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

Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis

Allison Deger on
Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly

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 applaus

The Greater Gaza Plan: Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into Sinai?

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The Israeli-Egyptian border (Photo: Idobi /Creative Commons/ Wikimedia)

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

‘Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem': Israeli minister seeks ways to lower Bedouin birthrate

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Al-Araqib, an unrecognized village of the Al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe (8 km north of Beersheba), being demolished for the 54th time in August 2013. (Photo: Eloise Bollack)

Haaretz reports: “Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said during a visit to the south on Sunday that he was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir heads the ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements. “We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living.”

Netanyahu heads to New York to ‘refute all the lies’ and praise ‘the most moral army in the world’

Allison Deger on
Netanyahu-Airport-PMO

Although some friends will receive him at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows tomorrow he will be in hot water. When he left for New York this morning for his speech on Monday, he gave a bitter farewell: “In my address to the UN General Assembly,” he said on the tarmac, “I will refute all of the lies being directed at us and I will tell the truth about our state and about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.”

Israel carries out extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians suspected in Israeli youths kidnapping

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Palestinian civil defense members, near a burning shop, pick up a dead body during an Israeli security services operation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on September 23, 2014 (Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP)

Overnight Tuesday Israeli special forces killed two Palestinian men who were suspected of kidnapping and slaying three Israeli youths abducted in June while hitchhiking in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc of the West Bank. Amer Abu Aisha, 32, and Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, had evaded Israeli forces for over 100 days hiding out in their home city of Hebron no more than five miles from the site of where the remains of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were discovered over the summer

Hamas is just as bad as ISIS and worse than Boko Haram — Israeli government propaganda

Allison Deger on
"Hamas is ISIS" meme tweeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the height of the Gaza onslaught in July, Netanyahu’s right-hand man met with a group of journalists in Jerusalem to equate Hamas with ISIS. The latest Israeli rhetoric is overheated: Both organizations seek to establish an Islamic caliphate, both “educate (read: brainwash) children to sanctify death and to die as a martyr (shahid) in jihad.” Oh and Hamas is global, but Boko Haram isn’t

US and Canada strengthen economic relationship with Israel following attack on Gaza

Allison Deger on
Yair Lapid at his party's headquarters in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Edi Israel/Israel Sun)

Since Operation Protective Edge began in Gaza in early July, Israel has strengthened economic relationships with its closest allies. Within days of the air campaign starting, the U.S. and Israel penned a mutual recognition customs agreement which will lift screening barriers and tariffs. Then on Monday Israel cinched a similar Declaration of Intent from Canada, while focusing on the threat of ISIS, Hamas and Hezbolla

Giving up on the system: Leading Israeli human rights groups reject army request to file investigations on crimes in Gaza

Allison Deger on
Smoke is seen following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 9, 2014. (PHOTO: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Israel’s leading human rights groups will no longer provide information on solider misconduct to army investigators. After years of delayed military investigations for two Israeli wars in Gaza, the last without any army abuse convictions, the Israeli legal rights group Yesh Din and the human rights organization B’Tselem said, “the military law enforcement system is a complete failure” and is “incapable of conducting professional investigations.”

Israel has three years to end the occupation — Abbas

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A leaked transcript of a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashal includes Abbas’s claim that the U.S. has pressured the Palestinian Authority from joining the international criminal court, Abbas’s threats to hand over West Bank to Israel, and Israeli reports of assassination attempts by Hamas.

‘It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it': Naftali Bennett defends Israeli settlement expansion

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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli government ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni argue that the Israeli government’s decision to appropriate nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to build settlements in the West Bank will hurt Israel internationally, but Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says “It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it.”