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#Israel Palestine

# israel-palestine - Tuesday 31 August, 2010

A GUNMAN HAS SHOT four Israelis dead in a drive-by shooting outside a Jewish settlement town in the West Bank. The Israeli Defence Forces says that two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, were killed in “one of the worst terror attacks” in many years. Israeli officials said Palestinian gunmen were responsible. Direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials are due to re-commence tomorrow in Washington.

# israel-palestine - Sunday 29 August, 2010

Israeli actors boycott West Bank settlement

57 Israeli actors and playwrights have refused to perform on the contested land of the West Bank.

# israel-palestine - Friday 20 August, 2010

DIRECT TALKS between Israel and Palestine are marked to resume next month, on 2 September.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have agreed to place a one-year deadline on the talks.

Who will be present?

Barack Obama will reportedly be present at the talks, which are reportedly going to be held in Washington.

Envoy to the Middle East, and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair is also invited to attend.

The Egyptian and Jordanian premiers have been invited to attend the talks.

Hopes for the talks

The Arab League has agreed to endorse the talks provided that particular “measures and conditions” are met. Netanyahu has said that he is happy to attend talks without preconditions.

According to the Guardian, issues that will be discussed during the talks will include:

  • The possible borders of a Palestinian state
  • The division of Jerusalem
  • Israeli demands for a demilitarised Palestine
  • The right of return for refugees

However, there are doubts about how much the talks will achieve.

Daniel Levy, a former Israeli negotiator, told Al Jazeera:

I don’t think there’s any common Israeli and Palestinian ground as yet. There will be deep scepticism pretty much everywhere … I think we’re going to hear something rather vague, something open to more than one interpretation.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said that “nothing has been achieved” to warrant direct talks with Israel, and that Palestinians should focus on repairing the relationship between national movements Hamas and Fatah.


Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank could prove to be a sticking point for Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister imposed a 10 month construction freeze in in West Bank last month, however these did not include East Jerusalem.

The Israeli liberal group Peace Now have reported that building on at least 600 housing units have started during the freeze, and at least 492 theses are in direct violation of the law of the freeze.

Netanyahu may find himself under pressure to extend the construction freeze past the 26 September deadline by Obama. However, by doing so he would risk the collapse of his coalition government.

Indirect talk had been considered last March, but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas pulled out over the issue of settlements.

The last direct talks between Israel and Palestine ended a year and a half ago, after Israel launched a three week strike on the Gaza Strip.

# israel-palestine - Wednesday 18 August, 2010

ISRAELI SECURITY FORCES surrounded the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv last night where a man was believed to be holding hostages.

Authorities in Israel confirmed there was a hostage situation, however later it emerged that the would-be hostage had been shot by embassy security and detained.

The Palestinian man, thought to be mentally ill, was armed with a knife and a toy gun:

A statement released by the Turkish foreign ministry said:

[He] began shouting about wanting an asylum and attempted to take the deputy consul hostage before being overpowered by the embassy’s staff.

Israeli forces said great confusion surrounded the shooting at the embassy, and reported that a man had been killed near the embassy but it was unclear if this was the same man who was detained by the Turks.

News reports in Israel have identified the man as Palestinian Nadim Injaz, and suggest he is the same as was involved in an incident at the British embassy in August 2006.

The man entered the embassy and threatened to kill himself if he was not offered asylum, but was overpowered by special forces after hours of negotiations.

He claimed to be in danger from Israeli and Palestinian authorities.


Relations between Israel and Turkey have been tense since nine Turkish men were killed during the aid flotilla raid on 31 May.

The ship was among a group attempting to breach Israel’s barricade of Gaza to provide aid.

Turkish officials insisted on accompanying Nadim Injaz to hospital in Tel Aviv today.

# israel-palestine - Tuesday 17 August, 2010

A FORMER ISRAELI DEFENCE Forces soldier who has been criticised for putting photos of her posing with Palestinian prisoners online says she doesn’t see what she did wrong.

Eden Abergil from Ashdod in Israel uploaded photos of her posing with captured and bound prisoners to her Facebook account. The men had their hands tied and their eyes covered.

A comment under one of the photos read, ”You’re super sexy here.” To which Abergil replied:

Yeah I know, ha ha, what a day that was, see how he completes my picture, I wonder if he’s on Facebook! I have to tag him in the photo! Ha ha.

The IDF has posted this video response to the “shameful” photos:

The Palestinian Authority said the photos show the “mentality of the occupier” and humiliate Palestinians.

Human rights group The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel said the photos reflect Israel’s objectification and disregard of Palestinians.

Speaking to Israeli radio last week, Abergil said that the pictures were taken in goodwill, and doesn’t “understand what’s wrong.”

The Israeli military is unable to force her to remove the photos because she was discharged from the army last year.

Abergil has since changed the privacy settings on her account so the photos and accompanying comments can no longer be viewed.

# israel-palestine - Monday 9 August, 2010

ISRAELI PRESIDENT Benjamin Netanyahu has appeared before an Israeli commission set up by the state to examine a deadly raid on a flotilla in international waters in May.

During his four-hour testimony, Netanyahu has insisted that the raid – which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens – was not in breach of international law.

“Not in breach of international law

“I am convinced that at the end of your investigation, it will become clear that the state of Israel and the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] acted in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu told the panel.

The panel included retired Israeli Supreme Court judge, Jacob Turkel, Lord David Trimble from Northern Ireland, and retired Canadian General Ken Watkin.

Turkish government “did nothing”

In a move that is unlikely speed a recovery in friendly relations between the former allies, Netanyahu blamed the Turkish government for not stopping the flotilla:

“Despite our diplomatic efforts, the Turkish government did nothing,” he said, “It appears that the Turkish government did not see in the prospect of a clash between Turkish activists and Israel (to be) something that clashed with its interests.”

A further session is expected to continue during Monday afternoon, which will see the Israeli premier testify in camera. Netanyahu will presumably answer questions during this session that he refused to address publicly, including the names of Israeli officials who allegedly spoke with the Turkish government prior to the raid, and whether the Israeli government had considered a non-military approach to stopping the flotilla.

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla – what happened?

Nine Turkish citizens died after Israeli forces stormed their ship, the Mavi Marmara, in May. The vessel was part of a flotilla that claimed to be travelling to the Palestinian port of Gaza with humanitarian aid.

However, Israel does not accept that the flotilla – which also included Irish vessel The Rachel Corrie – was attempting to breach the Israeli blockade of the city for purely humanitarian reasons.

“Elements hostile to Israel used the bogus rationale of a humanitarian crisis in order to try to break the naval blockade,” Netanyahu said.

Israel and Turkey also clash on who instigated the violence on the Mavi Marmara: the activists who were on board claim that Israeli soldiers opened fire on them, while the soldiers accuse those on the ship of attacking first.

The Israeli army already conducted its own investigation into the raid last month, which found that the use of live fire was justified.

UN inquiry to follow

Today’s inquiry is designed only to examine the legality of the action taken by the Israeli military, not the circumstances – political or otherwise – that led to the attack. A separate United Nations panel is expected to begin work on its own investigation later this week.

Turkey will also hold its own inquiry into the raid.

See comments made by an Israeli government spokesperson to BBC reporters following Netanyahu’s testimony:

# israel-palestine - Friday 23 July, 2010

A REPRESENTATIVE of the Israeli Rape Crisis Centres has said that sentencing of a Palestinian man to 18 months in prison for rape, after he “misrepresented” himself to a Jewish woman, is not racist.

The statement came following a case that involved a Jewish woman claiming she had been raped after having consensual sex with a man whom she believed was also Jewish.

The woman brought the case to court, saying that Sabbar Kashur made her believe that he was a Jewish bachelor looking for a serious relationship when they met in a downtown Jerusalem market in 2008.

Shortly after they had met they went to a nearby building and had consensual sex.

When the woman later found out that Kashur was neither single or Jewish she filed rape and indecent assault charges against him.

Kashur was convicted of rape by deception this week.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Merav More of the Association of Rape Crisis Centres said that it was wrong to represent the sex as “consensual” because Kashur had given false information in order to have sex with the woman. She said that, in this case, consent is nullified.

Reaction to the verdict has been mixed within Israel, where taboos surrounding inter-cultural relationships between Jews and Muslims are strong.

Recent proposals to force prospective Israeli citizens to swear allegiance to a “democratic, Jewish state” have enraged Muslims living in Israel, who say the new law deliberately and explicitly discriminates against them.

Writing in Ha’aretz, journalist Gideon Levy said “Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian.”

Levy said that the ruling was based on racial lines:  “The real issue was the he was a Muslim who pretended to be  a Jew… and this is the sub-text of the  whole thing: Don’t touch our women.”

# israel-palestine - Wednesday 14 July, 2010

A LIBYAN AID ship originally bound for Gaza has been diverted to Egypt, Al Jazeera reports. The ship had been tracked overnight by the Israeli navy who planned to intercede if the ship attempted to make it to the shore. This ship was allegedly carrying 2,000 tonnes of aid materials intended for Gaza.

The “Amalthea” or “Al Amal”, funded by a charity headed by Col. Gaddafi’s son, was due to reach Gaza today. Israel warned the ship against attempting to break its blockade of Gaza. The Gaddafi Foundation had said this was a humane mission and those on board would not violently resist Israeli authorities’ efforts to stop their progress.

The cargo is expected to be unloaded at the Egyptian port of El Arish, where it can be transported via land to Gaza, although Egyptian officials said no firm arrangements have been made yet. Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh called today for more “freedom flotillas” and urged the Libyan ship to continue its course to Gaza.

# israel-palestine - Tuesday 13 July, 2010

THE ISRAELI DEFENCE Forces said today the Israeli navy has initiated contact with the Libyan aid ship bound for Gaza. The ship, backed by a charity headed by Col. Gaddafi’s son, is due to reach Gaza tomorrow. The IDF said that preparations to stop the boat have begun, in case it “persists in trying to enter maritime closure area.”