Tag Archives: West Bank

Breaking: Palestinian killed amid West Bank attack.

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The Israeli army said it killed a Palestinian who carried out an attempted knife attack Sunday in the Gush Etzion area of the occupied West Bank.

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“A knife attack was reported at the Gush Etzion junction, south of Bethlehem,” the army said in a statement. “The attacker was neutralised.”

The attacker “is dead”, the army told AFP, confirming that the military had killed the assailant.

The military later said the incident took place at a bus station, where soldiers were providing security to Israelis, with the suspect “running” at the forces while brandishing a stick with three knives fastened to it.

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It said no military personnel were wounded in the attack.

Gush Etzion is a bloc of two dozen Israeli settlements and outposts near Bethlehem.

There is frequent friction at the nearby junction, which has been the site of numerous so-called lone wolf Palestinian attacks.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

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There are currently about 475,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank living in communities considered illegal by most of the international community, alongside some 2.8 million Palestinians.

All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal by most of the international community.

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#Newsworthy

West Bank Annexation: ‘Final Nail in Palestines’ coffin

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Palestinians in Ramallah demonstrate against Israel’s plan to annex a third of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley.


But Israeli military and intelligence officials have warned the move could cause an uprising in the West Bank, which would be a grave security risk for Israel.

Furthermore, the plan has been met with condemnation by the Palestinian public, their leaders and the global community alike.

‘Another catastrophe’
“I’m angry because this is history repeating itself,” said Zeina Mustafa, a 20-year-old student from Ramallah.

“The annexation plan is another Nakba [catastrophe] and Naksa [day of setback],” she added, referring to the 1948 Palestinian exodus that saw more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs expelled from their homes and an Israeli state declared, and the 1967 Six-Day War after that saw Israel take control of the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

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For Belal Gaith, a 40-year-old resident of Ramallah, the annexation plan would push Palestinians further under a state of occupation and military rule.

“As soon as the annexation plan is declared, it will be the end of the Oslo Accords,” he said, referring to the 1993 agreement which established the Palestinian Authority (PA) and gave it limited powers.

A Palestinian demonstrator returns a tear gas canister during a protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

“We can potentially lose every single bit of our lands and live as prisoners under Israeli rule,” he added.

In the lead up to the anticipated declaration, the head of the PA and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said the authority had terminated all of its agreements with Israel and the United States amid Israel’s push for annexation.

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned if Israel goes ahead with the plan, Palestinians would unilaterally declare a state along the pre-1967 borders.

A Palestinian demonstrator returns a tear gas canister during a protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah July

A key criticism of the plan is it would prevent Palestinians from accessing their agricultural land and water resources in the fertile Jordan Valley – known as the “bread basket” for Palestinians. The plan could destroy farmers’ export businesses and deprive them of their source of income.

Israel’s Jordan Valley Annexation explained
“Israel is creating an environment in which the Palestinians cannot grow in their lands and business,” said Walid Assaf, a Palestinian minister and chairman of the Commission Against the Wall and Settlements.

Palestinians have decried Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley as the end to a future Palestinian state [Majdi Mohammed/AP]

“The crux of this conflict has been the land and Israel’s helping Jewish settlers take over it and expel the Palestinians in the process.”

Over the past few years, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs have reported an increase in the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jewish settler-only roads that connect them with Israel.

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The structures have further carved up Palestinian territories and added to the disjointed nature of cities, villages and towns.

According to Assaf, Israel has already taken practical steps to annex the areas included in the plan, with the Jewish state allegedly building three new settlements in recent months; two near Nablus and another near Hebron.

Only a formality
Still, many Palestinians believe the plan is only a formality and a de facto Israeli occupation of their land has been under way for many years.

“Israel’s annexation plan has been in process since 1967,” said Salah Khawaja, coordinator of an anti-occupation campaign called the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall and the Settlements.

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“Israel has since built settlements and the wall. And so, annexation has been ongoing for a long time,” he added, as he stood among the crowd of demonstrators in Ramallah.

Although the plan does not aim to annex occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority sees as the capital of a future Palestinian state, the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union, have said it threatens to sabotage any peace agreement or two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“The plan will be the final nail in the coffin. It will end any chance for a future Palestinian state and our right to self-determination,” said Assaf.

“It will also restrict Palestinian lives in a way like never before. Making it impossible for us to build our lives or dream for the future.”


This is history repeating itself. The annexation plan is another Nakba [catastrophe] and Naksa [day of setback].


ZEINA, 20, RAMALLAH


#Newsworthy…

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West Bank Annexation: US Democrats, Groups warn Israel

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Ocasio-Cortez, Jewish students urge Trump administration to withhold US military aid if Israel annexes the West Bank.


A coalition of progressive Democratic politicians and Jewish groups are calling for withholding US military aid to Israel in response to planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is gathering legislators’ signatures on a letter urging the Trump administration to take steps to block Israel’s planned annexation.

“The United States must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other legislators said in the letter.

“We therefore urge you to make clear to the Israeli government that such a move is unacceptable,” they said in the letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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‘Lower standard’
Five other letters are circulating in the US Jewish community demanding accountability for the Israeli government and concrete actions by US Jewish institutions if a planned annexation goes forward.

Those letters have drawn more than 3,200 signatures, according to IfNotNow, a US Jewish group that opposes the occupation.

“It is time to stop holding America’s number one recipient of military funding – Israel – to a lower standard than we hold all other countries, exempting it from consequences when it violates our most basic values,” said Emily Mayer, political director of IfNotNow.

The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promptly condemned the Ocasio-Cortez letter, saying in a tweet that it threatens the US-Israel relationship.

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Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives who signed the letter issued statements opposing annexation in strong terms.

“I have long believed that the United States needs to engage in an even-handed approach toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Sanders said in a statement.

“We need a resolution that ends the Israeli occupation and enables a future of security, self-determination, and prosperity for both peoples,” Sanders said.

“Conditioning US aid is one of the tools we can use to help achieve this goal,” Sanders said.

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The US politicians said they would pursue legislation that would tie future US military aid – now $3.8bn a year – to human rights conditions and withhold funding for Israeli arms purchases.

‘Perpetuate and entrench’
Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American, said the Netanyahu government uses aid “to formalise an apartheid system”.

US taxpayers are helping to “perpetuate and entrench human rights violations in Palestine, including limitations on freedom of movement, further expansion of illegal land theft, home demolitions, and cutting off access to critical resources like clean water,” Tlaib said.

The letters and statements reflect a widening rift between the progressive and establishment wings of the US Democratic Party over support for Israel. While critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, leading Democrats like presidential candidate Joe Biden have been reluctant to condition US military support for Israel on changes in policy.

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In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz last week, more than 190 House members voiced “deep concern” about the annexation plans but stopped short of threatening to withhold US military support.

“We understand that historically, US refusal to use its leverage – as we would do with other countries – has enabled a right-wing annexationist agenda to succeed in Israeli politics in the first place,” said Zoe Goldblum, a Democratic political organiser and former student leader at J Street, a pro-Israel advocacy group.

“We want lawmakers to know that young Jews are behind them,” she said.

Support for Israel within the Democratic party has been shifting as newer politicians have come into office.

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Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, known in the US Congress as “The Squad” for their progressive stances, won election in 2016 and have been sharply critical of Trump administration policies towards Israel.

“Unilateral annexation is a violation of international law, a violation of Palestinian human rights, and directly counter to American values of democracy and self-determination,” Omar said.

Last week, progressive challenger Jamal Bowman won a primary election in New York, displacing Representative Eliot Engel, a 16-term member of the House who has been a strong backer of Israel and is currently chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bowman, who has called for justice for Palestinians, was backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders.


#Newsworthy…

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Reactions from the Globe over Israel’s West Bank annexation

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Several of Israel’s staunchest allies have criticised its annexation plans as jeopardising the status quo.


The plan, which aims to annex all illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – including the strategic Jordan Valley – amounts to one-third of the territory and is in line with US President Donald Trump’s so-called “Middle East plan,” which envisages a demilitarised Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli annexation was slated for July 1, but Israeli officials said the process would take place later this month in coordination with their American counterparts.

“Coordination with the American administration is not something that can be dismissed,” Israeli cabinet minister Ofir Akunis told Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is viewed as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there - as well as the planned annexation - illegal.

Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with annexation, which would further undermine a two-state solution.

Several countries, including some of Israel’s staunch allies, have come out with public statements against the annexation.

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United Kingdom
In an editorial in Israel’s largest selling newspaper on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for any annexation plans to be scrapped.

“As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests,” Johnson wrote in Yediot Ahronoth.

“Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” he said.

“I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”

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France
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told the French parliament “an annexation decision could not be left without consequences”.

He said Paris was “examining different options at a national level and also in coordination with our main European partners”.

Germany
The German parliament has called on Israel not to go ahead with the annexation of parts of the West Bank, describing the move as being “in contradiction with international law”.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Israeli plan threatened the stability of the entire Middle East.

“Peace cannot be achieved by unilateral steps,” he said.

PLO rally to protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank

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Australia
In a rare criticism of Israel, Australia warned against “unilateral annexation or change in status of territory on the West Bank”.

Jordan
Jordan has warned annexation could trigger a “massive conflict” and has not ruled out reviewing its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

The Vatican
The Vatican has summoned the US and Israeli envoys over Israel’s annexation plans.

A senior diplomatic source told Reuters that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state and the Vatican’s top diplomat, expressed “the concern of the Holy See regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardise the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East”.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International’s deputy Middle East chief Saleh Hijazi said: “International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful,” adding if Israel moves forward it “points to the law of the jungle”.


#Newsworthy…

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