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Netanyahu Alarms Umm al-Fahm with Talk of Population Swap

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | August 4, 2017

Israel’s crackdown on access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound after two Israeli policemen were killed there last month provoked an eruption of fury among Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and rocked Israel’s relations with the Arab world.

Three weeks on, the metal detectors and security cameras have gone and – for now, at least – Jerusalem is calmer.

But the shock waves are still reverberating, and being felt most keenly far away in northern Israel, in the town of Umm al-Fahm. The three young men who carried out the shootings were from the town’s large Jabareen clan. They were killed on the spot by police.

Umm al-Fahm, one of the largest communities for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population, had already gained a reputation among the Jewish majority for political and religious extremism and anti-Israel sentiment.

In large part, that reflected its status as  home to the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, led by Sheikh Raed Salah. In late 2015, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlawed the Movement as a terror organisation, despite his intelligence agencies failing to find evidence to support such a conclusion.

More likely, Netanyahu’s antipathy towards Salah’s group, and Umm al-Fahm, derives from its trenchant efforts to ensure the strongest possible presence of Muslims at al-Aqsa.

As Israel imposed ever tighter restrictions on Palestinians from the occupied territories reaching the mosque, Salah organised regular coaches to bring residents to the compound from Umm al-Fahm and surrounding communities.

Thousands attend funeral

Nonetheless, the three youths’ attack at al-Aqsa last month has served to bolster suspicions that Umm al-Fahm is a hotbed of radicalism and potential terrorism.

That impression was reinforced last week when the Israeli authorities, at judicial insistence, belatedly handed over the three bodies for burial.

Although Israel wanted the funerals as low-key as possible, thousands attended the burials. Moshe Arens, a former minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party, expressed a common sentiment this week: “The gunmen evidently had the support of many in Umm al-Fahm, and others seem prepared to follow in their footsteps.”

Yousef Jabareen, a member of the Israeli parliament who is himself from Umm al-Fahm, said such accusations were unfair.

“People in the town were angry that the bodies had been kept from burial in violation of Muslim custom for two weeks,” he told Middle East Eye. “There are just a few extended families here, so many people wanted to show solidarity with their relatives, even though they reject the use of violence in our struggle for our civil rights.”

Nonetheless, the backlash from Netanyahu was not long in coming.

In a leak to Israeli TV, his office said he had proposed to the Trump administration ridding Israel of a region known as the Little Triangle, which includes some 300,000 Palestinians citizens. Umm al-Fahm is its main city.

The Triangle is a thin sliver of Israeli territory, densely packed with Palestinian citizens, bordering the north-west corner of the West Bank.

As part of a future peace deal, Netanyahu reportedly told the Americans during a meeting in late June, Umm al-Fahm and its neighbouring communities would be transferred to a future Palestinian state.

‘A double crime’

In effect, Netanyahu was making public his adoption of the long-standing and highly controversial plan of his far-right defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

This would see borders redrawn to allow Israel to annex coveted settlements in the West Bank in exchange for stripping hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their Israeli citizenship and reassigning their communities to a highly circumscribed Palestinian state.

Jamal Zahalka, another member of the parliament, from Kafr Kara in the Triangle, said Netanyahu was supporting a double crime.

“He wins twice over,” he told Middle East Eye. “He gets to annex the illegal settlements to Israel, while he also gets rid of Arab citizens he believes are a threat to his demographic majority.”

Lieberman lost no time in congratulating Netanyahu for adopting his idea, tweeting: “Mr Prime Minister, welcome to the club.”

With his leak, Netanyahu has given official backing to an aspiration that appears to be secretly harboured by many Israeli politicians – and one that, behind the scenes, they have been pushing increasingly hard with Washington and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

A poll last year showed that nearly half of Israeli Jews want Palestinians expelled from Israel.

With Netanyahu now publicly on board, it looks suspiciously like Lieberman’s role over many years has been to bring into the mainstream a policy the liberal Haaretz newspaper has compared to “ethnic cleansing”.

Marzuq al-Halabi, a Palestinian-Israeli analyst and researcher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, believed the move was designed with two aims in mind.

It left a “constant threat” of expulsion hanging over the heads of the minority as a way to crush political activity and demands for reform, he wrote on the Hebrew website Local Call. And at the same time it cast Palestinian citizens out into a “territorial and governmental emptiness”.

Inevitably, the plan revives fears among Palestinian citizens of the Nakba, the Arabic word for “Catastrophe”: the mass expulsions that occurred during the 1948 war to create Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland.

Jabareen observed that the population swap implied that Palestinian citizens “are part of the enemy. … It says we don’t belong in our homeland, that our future is elsewhere.”

Backing from Kissinger

The idea of a populated land exchange was first formalised by Lieberman in 2004, when he unveiled what he grandly called a “Separation of the Nations” programme. It quickly won supporters in the US, including from elder statesman Henry Kissinger.

The idea of a land and population swap – sometimes termed “static transfer” – was alluded to by former prime ministers, including Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, at around the same time.

But only Lieberman set out a clear plan. He suggested stripping as many as 300,000 Palestinians in the Triangle of their Israeli citizenship. Other Palestinian citizens would be expected to make a “loyalty oath” to Israel as a “Jewish Zionist state”, or face expulsion to a Palestinian state. The aim was to achieve two states that were as “ethnically pure” as possible.

Jabareen noted that Lieberman’s populated land exchange falsely equated the status and fate of Palestinians who are legal citizens of Israel with Jewish settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Lieberman exposed his plan to a bigger audience in 2010, when he addressed the United Nations as foreign minister in the first of Netanyahu’s series of recent governments. Notably, at that time, the prime minister’s advisers distanced him from the proposal.

Mass arrests

A month after Lieberman’s speech, it emerged that Israeli security services had carried out secret exercises based on his scenario. They practised quelling civil disturbances with mass arrests following a peace deal that required redrawing the borders to expel large numbers of Palestinian citizens.

Behind the scenes, other Israeli officials are known to have supported more limited populated land swaps.

Documents leaked in 2011 revealed that three years earlier the centrist government of Ehud Olmert had advanced just such a population exchange during peace talks.

Tzipi Livni, then the foreign minister, had proposed moving the border so that several villages in Israel would end up in a future Palestinian state. Notably, however, Umm al-Fahm and other large communities nearby were not mentioned.

The political sympathies between Lieberman and Livni, the latter widely seen as a peacemaker by the international community, were nonetheless evident.

In late 2007, as Israel prepared for the Annapolis peace conference, Livni described a future Palestinian state as “the answer” for Israel’s Palestinian citizens. She said it was illegitimate for them to seek political reforms aimed at ending Israel’s status as a “home unto the Jewish people”.

Demographic reduction

The first hints that Netanyahu might have adopted Lieberman’s plan came in early 2014 when the Maariv newspaper reported that a population exchange that included the Triangle had been proposed in talks with the US administration, then headed by Barack Obama.

The hope, according to the paper, was that the transfer would reduce the proportion of Palestinian citizens from a fifth of the population to 12 per cent, shoring up the state’s Jewishness.

Now Netanyahu has effectively confirmed that large-scale populated land swaps may become a new condition for any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, observed Jabareen.

At Lieberman’s request in 2014, the Israeli foreign ministry produced a document outlining ways a land and population exchange could be portrayed as in accordance with international law. Most experts regarded the document’s arguments as specious.

The foreign ministry concluded that the only hope of justifying the measure would be to show either that the affected citizens supported the move, or that it had the backing of the Palestinian Authority, currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Anything short of this would be a non-starter because it would either qualify as “forced transfer” of the Triangle’s inhabitants, a war crime, or render them stateless.

The problem for Israel is that opinion polls have repeatedly shown that no more than a quarter of Palestinians in the Triangle area back being moved into a Palestinian state. Getting their approval is likely to prove formidably difficult.

Zahalka rejected claims by Israeli politicians that this was a vote of confidence from Palestinian citizens in Israeli democracy.

“Israel has made the West Bank a living hell for Palestinians, and few [in Israel] would choose to inflict such suffering on their own families. But it also because we do not want to be severed from the rest of the Palestinian community in Israel – from our personal, social and economic life.”

Jabareen agreed. “We are also connected to places like Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, Lid and Ramle.”

And he noted that Netanyahu and Lieberman were talking about redrawing the borders to put only their homes inside a future Palestinian state. “Umm al-Fahm had six times as much land before Israel confiscated it. We still consider those lands as ours, but they are not included in the plan.”

Recognise Jewish state

It is in this context – one where Palestinians citizens will not consent to their communities being moved outside Israel’s borders – that parallel political moves by Netanyahu should be understood, said Jabareen.

Not least, it helps to explain why Netanyahu has made recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by Abbas’ Palestinian Authority a precondition for talks.

Aware of the trap being laid for it, the PA has so far refused to offer such recognition. But if it can be arm-twisted into agreement, Netanyahu will be in a much stronger position. He can then impose draconian measures on Palestinians in Israel, including loyalty oaths and an end to their demands for political reform – under threat that, if they refuse, they will be moved to a Palestinian state.

At the same time, Netanyahu has been pushing ahead with a new basic law that would define Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, rather than of Israel’s entire population. The legislation’s intent is to further weaken the Palestinian minority’s claim on citizenship.

Netanyahu’s decision to ban the Islamic Movement as a terror organisation fits into the picture too.

In a 2012 report by the International Crisis Group, a Washington and Brussels-based conflict resolution group, an official in Lieberman’s party explained that one of the covert goals of Lieberman’s plan was to rid Israel of “the heartland of the Islamic Movement”.

Conversely, Netanyahu’s Likud allies and coalition partners have been pushing aggressively to annex settlements in the West Bank.

Zahalka noted that the prime minister gave his backing last week to legislation that would expand Jerusalem’s municipal borders to incorporate a number of large settlements – a move that would amount to annexation in all but name.

“The deal is Israel takes Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, and gives Umm al-Fahm and its surroundings to the PA,” he said.

The pieces seem to be slowly falling into place for a populated land exchange that would strip hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their Israeli citizenship.

Paradoxically, however, the ultimate obstacle may prove to be Netanyahu himself – and his reluctance to concede any kind of meaningful state to the Palestinians.

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Russian envoy: Hamas national movement

Palestine Information Center – August 1, 2017

TEHRAN – Hamas is a national liberation movement and Moscow does not consider it a terrorist organization, Russian Ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan said Tuesday.

Reporting from Tehran, a PIC news correspondent said Dzhagaryan told Hamas representative in Iran, Khaled al-Kaddoumi, that Hamas is a national resistance movement and one of the Palestinians’ main legitimate representatives.

The Russian ambassador reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian cause and people.

Al-Kaddoumi briefed the Russian envoy on the Israeli violations in Occupied Jerusalem and the crimes committed against the Palestinian people and holy sites.

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

MK calls for building synagogue in Al-Aqsa

MEMO | July 25, 2017

Extremist Israeli Jewish MK from the Jewish Home party, Bezalel Smotrich, has called for building a synagogue inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

The Palestinian newspaper said that the Israeli TV Channel 7 reported Smotrich saying that the best Zionist response to the Palestinian rejection to the Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque is to let them understand that they had paid a “high price” for their acts.

He said that the best response would be to build a synagogue in the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in response to the attack on the settlement of Halamish, where three Israeli settlers were killed.

“I would set up a synagogue on the Temple Mount today, this morning.”

“The Zionist response would largely be to make the other side understand and feel that they have lost. They must understand that they gain nothing from terrorism. They are the only ones who will lose, and this will happen on three levels,” Smotrich told Arutz Sheva. “If I am the Prime Minister – this morning I would close the Temple Mount to Arab prayer and establish a Synagogue for Jews.”

Palestinians have been rejecting Israel’s latest security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque which include metal detectors and advanced surveillance cameras. The metal detectors were removed late last night however more cameras were setup at the mosque. Mass protests have been held against the latest Israeli policies with occupation forces responding in a heavy handed manner. Seven Palestinians were killed in the ten days since 14 July and 1,090 were injured.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Palestinians reject Israel’s system of apartheid and racial discrimination’

RT | July 24, 2017

The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t religious, it’s about the rights of Palestinian people to be free from the longest occupation in modern history, says Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all ties with Israel on Friday after deadly clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli police. Protests broke out after Israeli authorities installed security cameras and metal detectors at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.

Temple Mount, or Haram esh-Sharif as it is known to Muslims, is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. For Jews, it is believed to have been the site of two biblical temples, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the hill is Islam’s third holiest site.

The Arab League has warned Israel about crossing “a red line” in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the sacred city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, an Israeli minister said the metal detectors that triggered the violence will remain.

The League’s foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

RT: Palestinian President Abbas suspended all relations with Israel. How would you comment on that? Are you surprised?

Mustafa Barghouti: No, I am not, actually. He should have done that some time ago because the Israeli behavior is a behavior that wants to kill any possibility of peace in this place. Its policy is directed at destroying the two-state solution either by the measures they are taking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is a very provocative act or by the law they have just passed which prohibits even negotiations over Jerusalem or by the increased settlement activities which have exceeded any previous expansion before. All these factors have led to this reaction. They have killed three of our people and injured no less than 432 demonstrators. All the people were just praying peacefully, I was there myself, and I saw myself – there was no violence from the Palestinian side and suddenly we were attacked with bullets, with the clubs, they were very aggressive toward the Palestinian prayers.

RT: Surely Israel has the right to step up security given what has happened [two Israelis policemen were killed at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July,14]? Can you understand Israel’s nervousness?

MB: No, I think Netanyahu has heard his own security people advising him to take away these metal detectors and stop changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but he didn’t listen to them. He proceeded by listening to the extreme ministers in his cabinet. The result is this explosion that we see. Not only in Jerusalem but all over the West Bank. You must understand this is not a religious conflict. This is about national rights; this is about the right of the Palestinian people to be free from occupation. To get their freedom after 50 years of occupation which is the longest occupation in modern history. This is about people rejecting to be treated as third class citizens; this is about rejecting a system of apartheid and racial discrimination that Israel has created. To people in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories, people are saying “enough is enough, we cannot take it anymore, we want our freedom, we want our independence.”  This is the essence of what is happening.

‘Palestine freezing contacts with Tel Aviv is right move amid constant Israeli provocations’

RT: What is your reaction to the move by Palestinian President Abbas to freeze all contacts with Israel?

Miko Peled, peace activist: It is certainly the right move. Israeli provocations have led to these massive protests; this is definitely the right approach and the right move. We need also to remember Israel has been denying two million people in Gaza water and electricity in this terrible heat – people are dying of thirst and heat just a 45-minute drive away from Jerusalem. Israel has been engaged in serious provocations against the Palestinians.

RT: What is your opinion about the Israeli argument that more security measures are needed?

MP: The presence of the Israeli security forces in the old city of Jerusalem, around the Al Al-Aqsa Mosque are a constant provocation to the Palestinians and an infringement of the Palestinians’ right to practice their faith, to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And the provocation is not just an existence of this huge number of forces but also the way they behave, the way they treat the Palestinians, the way they arrest youth, the constant harassment as people try to get in and out of the old city, in and out of the holy sanctuary. So, to expect that there will be such oppression on the rights of Palestinians and there will be no violence in return is a little naïve. But we have to look at the fact that the main form of resistance has been in a form of civil disobedience with thousands of worshipers refusing to go through the metal detectors, standing outside the mosque and praying peacefully albeit standing under the weapons and the guns of the Israeli security forces…

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Palestinian killed, 67 injured in Jerusalem clashes

Palestine Information Center – July 22, 2017

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – A Palestinian youth was pronounced dead on Saturday evening after he was injured in clashes with the Israeli police in al-Eizariya town in Jerusalem.

A local source reported that Yousuf Kashour, 24, died of a serious injury to the chest.

Violent confrontations erupted on Saturday evening between the Israeli police and the Jerusalemite worshipers protesting at Bab al-Asbat near al-Aqsa Mosque.

The PIC reporter said that the Israeli police attacked worshipers with sound bombs and putrid water, and added that a cordon was later imposed around the scene after large police reinforcements were summoned in a bid to prevent worshipers from performing evening prayer there.

Earlier, 3 Palestinians were injured with rubber bullets in clashes with the Israeli police at Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society announced that its crews treated 67 injuries this evening in Jerusalem.

Head of the Heritage and Manuscripts Department at al-Aqsa Mosque, Radwan Amr, said that the Israeli police assaulted worshipers and started to force them out of the Old City of Jerusalem, describing what is happening at al-Asbat as a “real massacre against a peaceful sit-in”.

Despite the Israeli attacks, hundreds of Palestinians coming from Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 occupied territories protested for the 9th day in a row at Bab al-Asbat and outside the Old City against closing al-Aqsa Mosque and installing metal detectors at its gates.

On 14th July, the Israeli authorities banned Friday prayer at the Mosque following an anti-occupation shooting attack in which two Israeli police officers were killed.

Later, the Old City was closed and prayer was banned at the shrine until further notice for the first time since 1969, and on 16th July, 9 metal detectors were erected at al-Aqsa gates.

Since then, Palestinian worshipers have refused to enter the Mosque through these metal detectors and decided to perform their prayers at its entrances.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian-owned building in East Jerusalem

Ma’an – July 17, 2017

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian-owned building on Monday morning in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Zaayyem, according to witnesses.

Bulldozers escorted by Israeli police forces and employees of Israel’s Jerusalem municipality razed the home to the ground for lack of a building permit.

A spokesperson for the municipality told Ma’an that the demolition was not within its jurisdiction. However, a spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for enforcing demolitions in the occupied West Bank, later told Ma’an to contact the municipality.

Last week, Israeli forces targeted Palestinian-owned buildings in occupied East Jerusalem for two consecutive days.

Construction licenses are very expensive and difficult to obtain for Palestinians, notably in the Jerusalem area, in a bid by Israeli authorities to force Palestinians out and change the demographic balance of the city.

While Palestinians frequently take their cases to Israeli courts after Israeli land confiscation and home demolition notices are ordered, they seldom win their cases in court.

Thirty-three percent of all Palestinian homes in the occupied city lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement, the United Nations reported in 2012.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

According to UNOCHA, Israel demolished a record 1,093 structures in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2016, including 190 in East Jerusalem, displacing 1,601 Palestinians. They were the highest West Bank demolition and displacement figures recorded by OCHA since it started doing so in 2009.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel’s attorney general okays controversial 1967 settlement order

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit
Press TV – July 2, 2017

A newly released report says Israeli attorney general Avichai Mendelblit approved last year the use of a controversial 1967 order to legalize settler units built on private Palestinian land.

During a meeting attended by several Israeli judicial officials, Mendelblit said the “Order Concerning Government Property,” which was issued in July 1967, could be invoked to expropriate Palestinian land, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Clause 5 of the order states that “any transaction concluded in good faith between the authorities and another person … will not be struck down and is valid, even if it is proven that the asset was not government property at the time of its purchase.”

Mendelblit’s office said in a document that the clause had rarely been used in almost five decades, but “the need to make use of it has arisen now.”

It further set out a number of conditions for invoking the clause, such as purchase in good faith, the existence of a contract and payment having been made for the land.

“The use of Clause 5 should be limited as a rule to the built residential boundaries of the community, and to actual construction done before the parties to the transaction became aware that this was in fact not government property,” the document added.

Back in February, the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, passed a law on the expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank, where Israeli settlements or outposts have been constructed.

However, Palestinians filed petitions to the Israeli High Court against the law.

Mendelblit proposed that the Israeli parliament suspend the land garb law until the court rules on the petitions and the Knesset accepted the bid.

Dror Etkes, Israeli anti-settlement activist, said the document by Mendelblit’s office seems to be “a parallel path being prepared … for the day after the High Court tosses the [expropriation] law into the garbage.”

“The purpose of this legal construction, rotten from the foundation, is to raise the claim of ‘good faith’ wherever Israel has stolen private Palestinian land and given it to settlers,” he said. “This is a situation in which lies, denial, violence and manipulation prevail – that is, everything except good faith.”

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

In recent months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in a blatant violation of international law and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

The resolution, which was passed last December, states that Israel’s establishment of settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, “had no legal validity” and urges the regime to immediately and completely cease all its settlement activities.

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Israeli authorities approve budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank

Ma’an – June 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israel has reportedly approved a budget for the construction of the so-called Eastern Ring Road in the occupied West Bank, known by activists and rights groups as the “Apartheid road.”

The road, part of Israel’s plans of developing the controversial E1 corridor, has been denounced as an attempt to further expand illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, while deepening the separation between Palestinian communities on opposite sides of Israel’s separation wall.

According to a statement released by Israeli rights group Ir Amim on Monday, the development of the road is “one of several developments necessary for preparing the ground for E1.”

The reports emerged from Israeli media outlet Israel Hayom, which stated that the road is expected to be opened to Israeli traffic in the next 10 months.

According to rights groups, settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.

Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that “E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed.”

However, the Eastern Ring Road was proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a plan to apparently solve the issue of bifurcating the West Bank, by facilitating “navigation from Ramallah to Bethlehem for Palestinians but without any access to Jerusalem.”

Following the second Palestinian intifada and Israel’s construction of the separation wall that has disjointed Palestinian territory, Palestinians from the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier have been forced to obtain Israeli-issued permits in order to access occupied East Jerusalem, which some Palestinians and the international community still consider to be the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

A map released by Ir Amim shows the expected route of the road. According to the group, the road would “ease access” for Israeli settlers residing around Ramallah in contravention of international law, as settlers have “long exerted pressure to open the road, complaining about traffic jams and delays.”

Ir Amim pointed out that Israel’s plan would enable further expansions of Israel’s illegal settlements around Ramallah.

The road is also planned to connect with Road 1 that connects the mega settlement Maale Adumim with Jerusalem, and would also link to the Mount Scopus Tunnel Road through the Zeitim interchange, another controversial E1 related project that Israeli authorities had begun construction on several months ago, according to Ir Amim.

According to an earlier report released by Ir Amim, the Zeitim interchange is located between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, and would connect the Eastern Ring Road in the northern West Bank to road 417, leading to the south.

The group highlighted in the report that connecting these roads is “a crucial part in realizing the E1 plans,” as Israeli settlement construction in the E1 corridor would prevent Palestinians in the West Bank from using road 437, which “connects to road 417 and enables Palestinian traffic between the northern and southern West Bank.”

The plans aim to replace road 437 with the northern section of the Eastern Ring Road, which would divert Palestinian traffic away from road 437 and the E1 area” and would establish separate lanes for Israeli and Palestinian traffic, thus its label as an “apartheid road.”

Israel’s plans in E1 have long been denounced by rights groups and the international community since its approval in 1999, in the wake of the Oslo Accords which expected the area of E1 to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) within an interim period of five years.

Another central aspect of Israel’s development plans in the area includes the full eviction and relocation of Bedouin communities residing in E1, near Maale Adumim.

This plan was furthered earlier this year when Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s elementary school. The village is located on the site of planned Israeli settlement development and on the Israeli side of the planned route of Israel’s separation barrier.

Rights groups and Bedouin community members have sharply criticized Israel’s relocation plans for the Bedouin residing near Maale Adumim, claiming that the removal would displace indigenous Palestinians for the sake of expanding Israeli settlements.

Bedouin villages in the area also face routine demolitions by Israeli forces.

Since the E1 corridor is part of Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control and where Israel’s settlements are planned, the Palestinians living there face routine attempts by Israeli authorities to push them off the land.

Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 villages comprising of a population of 7,000 — 70 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees — in the central West Bank that are considered by the UN as being at risk of forcible transfer by Israeli authorities to alternative sites, in violation of international law.

In addition, Israeli rights group B’Tselem has noted in the past that plans to develop the E1 corridor would also further isolate Palestinians straddled between the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier and those in occupied East Jerusalem, by “enclosing East Jerusalem from the East and linking it up with Israeli neighborhoods built north of the Old City.”

As East Jerusalem used to be the primary urban center for Palestinians in the West Bank, the E1 plans would further exacerbate a Palestinian-Palestinian separation that has wreaked havoc on Palestinian economic, social, and political life.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate

By Rima Najjar | CounterPunch | June 27, 2017

Several articles have been published about the “legal limbo” in which Palestinian Jerusalemites exist and proposals as to what Israel ought to do about this 50-year old travesty, among them being righting “the wrong” of denying Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem Israeli citizenship.

In my view, such articles both define the injustice done to Palestinians deceptively and are meant simply to normalize the idea of Palestinian Jerusalemites becoming Israeli citizens, in the same way I might normalize the poll that American Jews are increasingly losing their connection to Israel by writing about it, especially if I were to headline my article “Breaking Taboo”, as Maayan Lubell does, or make the title echo a classified ad for the lovelorn, or question “Jewish identity” by “layering it with complexity” – i.e., by tying it to Israel.

Lubell’s article (Haaretz, Aug 5, 2015) is titled “Breaking Taboo, East Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship: In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.” It begins with this:

“I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel,” reads the oath that must be sworn by all naturalized Israeli citizens. Increasingly, they are words being uttered by Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognized internationally, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.

While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status. While they can seek citizenship if they wish, the vast majority reject it, not wanting to renounce their own history or be seen to buy into Israel’s 48-year occupation. And yet over the past decade, an increasing number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have gone through the lengthy process of becoming Israeli citizens, researchers and lawyers say.

So what is the reader to conclude from the “and yet” at the end of the quotation above? One way of looking at it is to see “the increasing number” of Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship as finally surrendering to the imperative of power and brutal facts on the ground, impelled by an otherwise unlivable life.

Another is to regard these Palestinians as traitors to the Palestinian cause, normalizing and legitimizing their enemy’s power, as there is often the implication in references to Palestinians seeking Israeli citizenship that Jerusalemites, through their applications for such citizenship, are signaling approval for the Israeli state, when in fact they seem to be doing it for practical reasons- so they can acquire some basic rights that Israel otherwise denies them.

A third is to see it from the point of view of Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji – as yet another defeat for the Palestinian Authority in the context of Oslo’s so-called “peace process”.

Tafakji is quoted in this Haaretz report as saying, “If this continues, what will the Palestinians negotiate about? They want to negotiate on the land – they have already lost the land. They want to negotiate for the population and the population is being lost.”

In other words the Palestinian view that Tafakji expresses is a lose/lose situation, not the win/win one espoused by another Haaretz article on the subject like the following.

Nir Hasson’s article (Haaretz, June 20, 2017) also has clues as to the function of such articles in the Israeli “liberal” media and co-dependent publications like the New York Times. These are often embedded right in the title or subheading – in this case: “50 Years After Six-Day War, East Jerusalem’s Palestinians Remain Prisoners in Their City: Study shows how ambivalent Israeli policies and denial of the problem have created a status that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth: Native-born residents who are not citizens of the state in whose capital they live.”

One glance at the word “capital” in the subheading frames it all for us, hasbara style. What may lull the suspicions of the unwary reader is that the piece does, in fact, highlight the severe problems created for Palestinians by Israeli policies of Judaization in the expanded municipality of Jerusalem. But in the end, this kind of article is Israeli “self-criticism” of the worst kind, meant to play games with one’s head.

The subtext you may miss is that, similar to the past and ongoing Judaization of Israel proper, the goal behind Israel’s policies in Jerusalem is to create, expand and preserve the Zionist Jewish state.
Hasson describes Israeli policy in 1967 in East Jerusalem, when the population was 60,000, as follows:

The [Israeli] ministers assumed that, as in 1948, when a large number of Arabs likewise didn’t get automatic citizenship, over time the East Jerusalemites would request citizenship – an option granted only to them and not to other West Bank residents – and integrate into Israeli society. The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan, and the unwillingness of Israeli society to absorb a large Palestinian population …. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the ties East Jerusalemites had to the West Bank and allowed them to vote for the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. This made their legal status even more complicated: permanent residents of the State of Israel with Jordanian travel papers and the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.

Notice the telling phrase in the above that is the blind spot of Zionism: “The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan.” It totally disregards the strong ties of Palestinian Arabs to an Arab Jerusalem, to an Arab Palestine, ties Israel has not succeeded in breaking seventy years after its establishment on a territory of Palestine as a settler-colonial Zionist Jewish state against the wishes of its native inhabitants.

Hasson goes on to say:

Another expression of the relatively enlightened policy of the early years was a law, finally passed in 1973, that enabled East Jerusalemites to be compensated for property they abandoned in western Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence, similar to the rights of Jews to get back the property they had to abandon in East Jerusalem during that same war. In the end, the compensation offered was paltry and very few Palestinians tried to claim it. But the debates on the law at least demonstrated an effort to right the wrong…. In recent years there has been considerable talk about the “Israelization” of East Jerusalemites, as reflected in the labor market, the desire to study the Israeli curriculum, and the increased number of requests to get full Israeli citizenship.

Again, notice the Israeli-centric formulation and framing. Palestinians are described as having “abandoned” their property in West Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were denied their right of return to their property by Israel.

Palestinians “abandoned” their property; but the reference to Jews is a reference to their “rights.”

Palestinians turned down “compensation” for no other reason than its paltry size, when, in fact, the Palestinian view on this issue is as Canadian professor Michael Lynk describes it in The Right to Compensation in International Law and the Displaced Palestinians”

“Palestinians advance the compensation issue as a right recognized in international law that would obligate Israel to return, or pay for, the refugee properties expropriated or destroyed in 1948 and afterwards. As well, they argue that Israel must pay damages for pain and suffering, and for its use of Palestinian properties over the past five decades

The dominance of Jewish companies in the labor market in East Jerusalem where many Palestinians are employed (See The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration), the agonizing choice some Palestinians make in accepting a school curriculum for their children that denies Palestinian heritage and identity but allows them to get ahead at Israeli universities, and the application for Israeli citizenship (mostly denied by Israel) of a minority of Palestinians are all deceptively framed as “a desire” for “Izraelization” and a path to “correcting the injustice”.

Quoting Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli [not for Palestinian] Studies, Hasson’s article also details the problems that Israel faces as a result of the “limbo” residency arrangement imposed on Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli Government – a “hollow sovereignty”, contributing to “instability and violent outbursts, as well as the international community’s refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in Jerusalem.”

But ostensibly, the article is concerned with Israel “righting a wrong” by removing the “legal limbo” under which Palestinian Jerusalemites live, claiming that such a path, will not only relieve Israel’s problems, but is also a path to “justice” – justice as defined by Israel, the oppressor, not by the Palestinians themselves, Israel’s victims.

This brings us to the immediate present. On June 25, 2017, the New York Times published a piece by Isabel Kershner titled “50 Years After War, East Jerusalem Palestinians Confront a Life Divided.”
Again, we have to ask: What is Kershner’s point in this one? Is it really a concern for Palestinians whose lives have been “divided” by Israel or is it another deflection from the illegitimate existence of Israel as a Zionist Jewish entity in Palestine?

Even as Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, the Palestinians and most of the world consider the eastern half under occupation, and the city remains deeply divided. But after five decades, dealing with Israel has become unavoidable for residents of East Jerusalem.

The deflection in the quotation above is blatant. Dealing with Israel did not “become unavoidable after five decades.” For Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other Palestinian Arabs who want to visit or do business there and for Palestinian Arabs denied return to their property there, or those whose property was seized and/or demolished, dealing with Israel became unavoidable the minute Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

It is true Palestinian culture and day-to-day life has been under severe assault by Israel for a long time – since 1948 to be exact. The 50-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem (see Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in Jerusalem) is an occasion to extol and marvel at Palestinian resilience and sumoud (an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness” that has entered the English language, just as the word “intifada” has). It is not an occasion to normalize and indirectly extol “the reunification of Jerusalem,” whose Palestinian Arab population now accounts for 18% of the Palestinian Arab population of Israel.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel refuses entry to UNESCO group expected to visit Hebron’s Old City

Ma’an – June 26, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities have refused to grant entry visas for a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) investigative team scheduled to conduct a field visit to the Old City in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron in advance of an upcoming vote next month to consider the area an endangered world heritage site, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

While Palestinian authorities had planned to introduce the site for consideration on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 2018, they decided to fast track the site’s application owing to routine Israeli violence in the Old City, which Palestinians have claimed threatens the integrity of the site, and instead propose the area as an endangered site.

A Palestinian delegation to UNESCO had reportedly expressed the “alarming details about the Israeli violations in Al-Khalil/ Hebron, including the continuous acts of vandalism, property damage, and other attacks,” in a letter to the World Heritage Center.

Since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967 and began advancing Israeli settlements across Palestinian territory in violation of international law, Hebron has been a flashpoint for Israeli settler violence on Palestinians and their properties.

The Ibrahimi Mosque, known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs, in the Old City where the Prophet Abraham is believed to be buried has been a focal point of such violence for decades, as the site is holy to both Muslims and Jews and has been a prime site for Israeli settler activities in the area.

The UNESCO team’s visit is aimed at assessing whether or not the Old City of Hebron is actually endangered, and would submit these findings to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a body that provides recommendations to UNESCO involving sites that could be considered on the World Heritage in Danger list.

According to The Jerusalem Post, other protected sites in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the ancient terraces of Battir, and the pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, had also been fast tracked by Palestinian authorities in previous years to include them on UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama Hacohen reportedly said that the UNESCO group was being rejected entry into Israel owing to the fact that ICOMOS had advised against considering the previous sites in the occupied territory as endangered and instead recommended that Palestinian authorities continue with the normal process.

UNESCO, however, had rejected these recommendations by ICOMOS for the Church of Nativity and Battir. Hacohen said that due to these past decisions by UNESCO to ignore recommendations made by ICOMOS, it would be “a shame to waste the time and money” of the committee.

He went on to denounce what he considered “Palestinian political moves under the guise of culture and heritage,” and added that UNESCO’s consideration of the site represented “lies that plot against the state of Israel as well as the history and the connection of the Jewish people to this important holy site.”

The Old City, which is under full Israeli military control, is home to some 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces.

UNESCO is scheduled to decide on the status of the Old City during a conference in Krakow, Poland from July 2-12. The vote is expected to include a clause rejecting Israeli sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Meanwhile, Israeli media site Ynet reported that Israeli authorities have been scrambling to collect the seven votes needed to block the motion.

Ynet also said that in the “context of a peace process,” the inclusion of Hebron’s Old City into UNESCO’s World Heritage List would “impose limits on Israeli construction, the protection and development of the site and on specific areas in the vicinity,” and expressed worry that Israel would “be condemned each time it erects a security checkpoint or conducts work in the area on the grounds that is is damaging a world heritage site.”

However, Israeli activities in Hebron and the rest of occupied Palestine have long been condemned by rights groups and the international community as human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and a threat to any future peace agreements, while the some 500,000 to 600,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank are residing there in contravention of international law.

Israel has accused the United Nations and its respective bodies of being “anti-Israel” for its stances against the now half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

Such allegations have escalated following the passing of UN Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s settlement building in Palestinian territory. The US had taken Israel by surprise at the time by abstaining from the vote, in a split from its typical objections to such moves.

Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the UN could no longer “bully” Israel over its violations of international law, and said that “we are not going to let that happen anymore.”

US President Donald Trump had also denounced the UN resolution, and even warned in a Twitter post last year that “things will be different” following his inauguration.

Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives even passed a resolution confirming US commitment as a diplomatic ally to the Israeli government, and demanded that the US government dismiss any future UN resolutions they deemed “anti-Israel.”

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lieberman: Not a single Palestinian refugee will return to their lands in Israel

Ma’an – June 23, 2017

BETHLEHEM – During a speech at Israel’s Herzliya conference, aimed at discussing the country’s national policies, ultraright Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected the possibility of Palestinian refugees from historic Palestine, which Israel was built on, being able to return to their lands within the 1967 borders, a right that is upheld by United Nations Resolution 194.

“We will not agree to the return of a single refugee to within the ‘67 borders,” Lieberman reportedly said. “There will never be another Prime Minister who makes propositions to Palestinians like Ehud Olmert did,” he added, referring to a 2008 peace proposal introduced by the former prime minister.

The right of return for Palestinian refugees is a central demand among Palestinians and their leadership. The demand also represents a powerful symbolic connection to their lands and homes they were displaced from, as many Palestinians still possess original keys to their homes that were consumed by the state of Israel 69 years ago.

According to Israeli media, Lieberman also said that an end to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict would “not solve the problems – it will make them worse,” and noted that Israel should first “reach a regional agreement with moderate Sunni states, and only then an agreement with the Palestinians.”

He also went on to question the legitimacy of Palestinian citizens of Israel being part of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, noting that the Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset — refused to acquiesce to Zionist ideologies.

“The only place they don’t want to leave is Israel. Why? Because it’s good for them here,” he said, referring to Palestinian citizens of Israel, making up approximately 20 percent of the population, whose families lived on the lands of historic Palestine before the creation of the state of Israel.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 66 percent of Palestinians who were living in British-Mandate Palestine in 1948 were expelled from historic Palestine and displaced from their homes and lands during the creation of Israel, referred to as the Nakba, or catastrophe, among Palestinians.

On the topic of Gaza, Lieberman reportedly said “I don’t think we need to get into it. It won’t end soon,” before calling the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged Palestinian territory an “intra-Palestinian crisis,” echoing statements made by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who placed full blame of the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip on Hamas, and absolved Israel of any responsibility for the ongoing crisis.

Lieberman also accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of attempting to influence Hamas to go to war with Israel by exacerbating the crisis in Gaza by cutting Palestinian Authority (PA) payments for electricity supplied to Gaza from Israel.

“Abbas is going to increase cuts and soon stop the payment of salaries in Gaza and the transfer of fuel to the strip as a two-pronged strategy: Hurt Hamas and drag it to war with Israel,” he reportedly said.

Lieberman’s statements came amid an attempted renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by right-wing US President Donald Trump.

Most recently, on Wednesday evening, a meeting was held between Abbas and Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss reviving peace talks with Israel.

Executive Committee Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Wasel Abu Yousif said in statement at the time that reviving a political process requires certain determinants based on international law: a time limit for ending the 50-year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory must be set to establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestinian refugees must be granted the right of return to the homes and villages from which they were expelled.

However, Israeli leaders have been public on their rejection of the Palestinian Authority (PA) taking over East Jerusalem, which was officially annexed by Israel in 1980, and have regularly voiced their opposition to the return of Palestinian refugees or even the halting of illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s right-wing education minister, has also introduced a bill in the Israeli parliament that would prevent any future divisions of Jerusalem, by mending Israel’s Basic Law on Jerusalem to necessitate the approval of 80 of the 120 Knesset members to make any changes to the law, instead of the regular majority vote.

“The purpose of this law is to unify Jerusalem forever,” Bennett reportedly said, adding that his legislation would make it “impossible” to divide Jerusalem.

While the PA and the international community do not recognize the legality of the occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank since 1967, many Palestinians consider that all historic Palestine has been occupied since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

A growing number of activists have criticized a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jerusalem operation carried out by young men from PFLP and Hamas

Palestine Information Center – June 17, 2017

GAZA – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has mourned the three Palestinian young men who were killed by Israeli soldiers after they carried out a commando operation in Occupied Jerusalem on Friday.

In a statement, the PFLP affirmed that two of those young men were its members, describing them as ex-detainees Baraa Ibrahim Atta, 18, and Osama Ahmed Atta, 19.

The PFLP said the operation was in retaliation to Israel’s crimes and its practices against the Islamic holy sites.

In a related context, senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Resheq categorically denied any ties between the three young men who carried out the Jerusalem operation and the ISIS, affirming that two of them were from the PFLP and one from Hamas.

Resheq accused the Israeli intelligence of being behind the fabricated news saying that the ISIS claimed responsibility for the operation.

He stressed that the Jerusalem operation was one of the individual initiatives made by the Palestinian people in their intifada (uprising) against Israel’s assaults on the holy sites, especially the Aqsa Mosque.

Three Palestinians, One Israeli Police Officer, Killed in Jerusalem

IMEMC News – June 17, 2017

Three Palestinians were shot dead, on Friday evening, after stabbing and opening fire on Israeli soldiers, killing one and mildly wounding another, in Sultan Suleiman Street, near Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate), in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli daily Haaretz said two Palestinians were shot and killed after attacking Police officers with knives and guns, and that a third Palestinian was shot and killed after stabbing an Israeli border policewoman, causing critical wounds that led to her death. Another Israeli officer was wounded in the attack.

The slain Israeli officer has been identified as Hadas Malka, 23; Israeli daily Haaretz said the officer was stabbed while trying to reach for her gun.

The police and the soldiers fired many live rounds, killing the three Palestinians, and wounding two Palestinian bystanders; one suffered a moderate injury, and the other was mildly wounded.

The three slain Palestinians have been identified as Bara’ Ibrahim Saleh, 18, Adel Hasan Ankoush, 18, and Osama Ahmad Ata, 19, all from Deir Abu Mashal village, west of Ramallah, in central West Bank.

Following the incident dozens of Israeli soldiers and officers were deployed in the area, closed all the gates leading to Jerusalem’s Old City, and assaulted many Palestinians, especially in the areas leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Update: The soldiers also assaulted many Palestinains, and clashed with local youths, wounding many with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets.

One of the wounded Palestinians was shot with a live round in his spine, and another round in his kidney, while the soldiers chased the ambulance to the Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, but were unable to invade it, after dozens of Palestinians clashed with them, and prevented them from entering the hospital.

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In addition, dozens of soldiers surrounded and completely isolated Deir Abu Mashal village. Local sources said the soldiers imposed a strict siege on the village.

The soldiers warned that they will shoot and kill any Palestinian who is seen walking outside at night, and that the siege will continue until further notice.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment