Tag Archive: West Bank

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Israeli ministers outraged over US State Department criticism

Israeli ministers condemn the US State Department for a statement made by Spokesperson John Kirby yesterday, according to which Israel is using excessive force against Palestinian terrorists in the recent wave of violence.

Oct 15, 2015, 12:50PM | Yael Klein

Israeli officials are furious following the statement made yesterday by US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby, according to which the Israeli security forces “may be using excessive force” when thwarting Palestinian terror attacks. “The statement is so distorted and groundless that I expect President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to renounce it and clarify the United States’ position,” Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan stated this morning.

Minister Erdan, who is in charge of the police forces in the field, stressed that the instructions given to the forces are moral and justified. “Every sane person knowns how the police in the US would react if terrorists armed with axes and knives tried to murder civilians in New York or in Washington. I say this before even beginning to mention the US bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan during their justified fight against terrorism,” he stated. “Hypocrisy must know some limits.”


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Top ministers criticize US officials over terror comments

Erdan accuses State Department of putting out ‘idiotic declarations’ equating Israeli and Palestinian actions; Ya’alon says Washington misguided in understanding conflict

October 15, 2015, 11:11 am 31
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (center) seen at the site where a Jewish teenager was lightly injured when he was stabbed by a Palestinian in Jerusalem on October 9, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (center) seen at the site where a Jewish teenager was lightly injured when he was stabbed by a Palestinian in Jerusalem on October 9, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Friday, October 16, 2015 | 08:46:45 AM

Two top ministers lashed out on Thursday at American officials for what they described as equivocation over Palestinian terror attacks and a US State Department statement that appeared to accept accusations that Israel has used excessive force in recent days.

Within minutes of the comments by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Thursday morning, a top Prime Minister’s Office official informed cabinet ministers that they were being ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cease all public criticism of American officials.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and a spokesman for the department have in recent days appeared to link or equate a spate of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis with Israeli policies in the West Bank and on the Temple Mount, a position Erdan called “idiotic.”

“I don’t know whether to call them naive, in the US State Department and in the American government,” a visibly angry Erdan, who oversees the police forces battling the terror wave, told Army Radio Thursday morning. “Instead of putting out idiotic declarations that pretend to address two equally guilty sides, they [should] focus pressure on the murderous, inciting Palestinian Authority; because of its incitement, young people go out and commit murderous acts.”



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Mon Oct 5, 2015 12:2AM
A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

Israeli fighter jets have launched airstrikes on an area in the central Gaza Strip while another Palestinian is shot to death by Israeli troops.

The early Monday attacks, which hit two sites belonging to the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, were carried out after rockets were allegedly fired from the enclave towards an uninhabited area in southern Israel.

There has been no word on the possible casualties and damage inflicted by those strikes.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian youth during clashes in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.


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Red Crescent: Nearly 500 Palestinians injured in 3 days

Oct. 5, 2015 7:42 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2015 10:19 P.M.)

Israeli soldiers east of the West Bank city of Nablus, on October 3, 2015, during a search for the suspected Palestinian killers of a settler couple. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh/File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — At least 499 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers across the occupied Palestinian Territory since Saturday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Monday.Spokesperson Errab Foqoha told Ma’an that at least 41 Palestinians had been shot with live rounds, while 143 were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.She said that some 297 Palestinians had suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, while another 18 were injured when they were physically assaulted.Israeli forces have also killed two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, in fierce clashes that have swept across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since Friday.

Thousands to take part in global anti-Israel protest

Bedouin protesters gather during a demonstration against the Israeli government

Bedouin protesters gather during a demonstration against the Israeli government’s plans to relocate Bedouins in the Negev desert on August 1, 2013.
Thousands of people within the Palestinian territories and around the world are planning large-scale demonstrations against Israel’s plan to relocate Palestinian Bedouins living in Negev Desert.

The demonstration was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, in what the activists describe as the international Day of Rage against Tel Aviv’s Prawer Plan.

Under the plan, approved by Israel’s Knesset in June, some 40 Bedouin villages will be destroyed and over 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in Negev Desert will be relocated.

Demonstrations are expected to be held in 25 cities including Berlin, Cairo, Gaza, as well as in the occupied Palestinian territories. The central demonstration will be staged in Negev.

The plan also allows Israeli security forces to use force in the expulsion of Palestinian Bedouins from their homes.

It will also authorize the arrest and imprisonment of any Palestinian up to two years for violating the law.


Bedouins in Israel Protest Plan to Regulate Settlement

JERUSALEM — Thousands of Bedouins and their supporters demonstrated in various locations across Israel on Saturday against a government plan to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev desert, and some protesters clashed with the police.

In scenes reminiscent of the Palestinian uprisings in the West Bank, protesters hurled stones at police forces, burned tires and blocked a main road for hours near the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev. The police used water cannons, tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the demonstrators.

Smaller protests were held in the northern cities of Haifa and Taibeh and in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

Altogether, about 15 police officers were injured by stones and at least 28 protesters were arrested, said Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman. One officer was stabbed in the leg in Haifa, Mr. Rosenfeld said.

Activists had called for the protests as part of an international “day of rage” against the plan, known as the Prawer-Begin plan for the Israeli officials who devised its main principles.

A bill that would turn the plan into law is expected to be brought to a final vote during the winter session of Parliament.

Intended to resolve a land dispute between the Bedouins and the authorities that has been simmering since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, the plan proposes a mechanism to deal with land ownership claims and compensation. It also calls for the evacuation of 35 Bedouin villages that are not recognized by the state and the resettlement of the residents in existing or new towns.

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TEHRAN, Oct. 20 (MNA) – Israeli settlers chopped down more than 100 olive trees near the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday, according to the Palestinian Authority (PA) which has promised to reimburse farmers for financial damages.

With the Palestinian olive harvest at its peak, the settlers were alleged by Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who tracks incidents of settler violence, to have destroyed the trees in Qaryut village early Saturday.

The settlers used chainsaws to cut the trees at the base, Daghlas claimed.  He said the farmers were shocked by the sight of the felled trees, which they had been nourishing for years.

An Israeli military spokesman did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment. The Israeli military often prevents some of the worst forms of settler violence against local Palestinians, but such attacks have persisted year after year during the olive harvest.

Local human rights groups allege that more than 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.

“Settlers attack the olive harvest and take the olives from us to say ‘this land belongs to us and not to the Palestinians,’” Jaber Abu Rahmeh, from Bil’in village near Ramallah, told Al Jazeera.

In response to the attacks, the PA will form a committee to compensate farmers and to “help them remain firm on their lands,” Minister of Agriculture Walid Assad told Maan.

The ancient olive trees are regarded by Palestinians as a symbol of their connection to the land. Each year during the olive harvesting season, such incidents spike across the West Bank – where more than 515,000 Israelis occupy over 125 settlements, considered illegal under international law.

A recent report by Israeli nongovernmental organization Peace Now said settlement construction on new homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank spiked by 70 percent in the first half of 2013.

“Settlers attack the olive harvest and take the olives from us to say ‘this land belongs to us and not to the Palestinians,’” Jaber Abu Rahmeh, from Bil’in village near Ramallah, told Al Jazeera. “To deal with Israeli soldiers is better than dealing with settlers – who are more violent and hate the Palestinians.”


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Will the Dead Sea be eaten by sinkholes? Huge chasms are appearing in the region at a rate of one per day

  • The Dead Sea is drying up at a rate of one meter per year causing sinkholes
  • There are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea on the Israeli side
  • This compares to 40 in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s

By Ellie Zolfagharifard


The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake.

These chasms appear in the form of large, devastating sinkholes and are increasing in number throughout the region.

Experts claim they are now forming at a rate of nearly one a day, but have no way of knowing when or how they will show up.

Dead Sea E

The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake

Estimates byMoment magazine suggest that, on the Israeli side alone, there are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea.

This compares to just 40 counted in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s.

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

Its waters are 10 times saltier than the northern Atlantic Ocean because it has no outlet. This means that any minerals that flow there, stay there.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. Its waters are 10 times saltier than the northern Atlantic Ocean because it has no outlet. This means that any minerals that flow there, stay there

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Tribunal Dismisses Prosecution’s Application to Recuse Judge Eric David.


 KUALA LUMPUR, 21 August 2013 – The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, which commenced today to hear war crimes and genocide charges against the State of Israel and Amos Yaron, a retired Israeli army general hit a snag.

To begin with, the Prosecution made an application that, to preserve the sanctity of the tribunal, Judge Eric David be recused for his alleged possible connection with the Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel.

There have been allegations including from US officials that the Peoples Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) is supported by Mossad. The PMOI is listed as a terrorist organisation that has carried out terrorist activities against Iran. According to the prosecution, Judge Eric David had written a legal opinion that the PMOI be removed from the list of terrorist organisations.

Amicus curiae Jason Kay appointed under Article 15 of the Charter, raised the point that the allegations were not supported by clear evidence. And that perceived bias does not amount to actual bias. The Prosecution further argued that there must not even be any perceived bias on the part of any judge of the tribunal in deciding a case.

The Tribunal adjourned the hearing to deliberate further and later returned dismissing the prosecution’s application to recuse Judge Eric David, as they felt there was no threat of real bias. However, the prosecution disagreed and the hearing was adjourned once again.

When the hearing resumed, the President of the Tribunal, Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, expressed the panel’s disquiet of the breakdown of the forum stressing that once an objection had been overruled, it should be accepted and respected. He instructed the registrar to expunge all the allegations levelled against Judge Eric David from the records.

In their response, the prosecution accepted the panel’s decision but conveyed the serious concerns of the witnesses who had come all the way from Palestine to have their day in court. The witnesses, through the Chief Prosecutor Prof Gurdial S Nijar made known their three points of concerns to the panel of judges.

One, the fact, that, they have come to the Tribunal seeking justice after literally years of being unheard. They have come for justice and are prepared for any decision but in the present situation, they are not comfortable to appear before a judge that may be biased. They want the process of obtaining justice untainted in any way. Otherwise, in their view, it would be worthless. Secondly, they fear for their personal security in having come all the way to Kuala Lumpur to testify and thirdly, it is a matter of principle to them and if they lack confidence in the panel of judges, they would essentially be insecure and thus unable to tend evidence. As such, the Prosecution recommended that the hearing be adjourned Sine Die (indefinitely).

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Israel approves 900 additional homes in East Jerusalem

Interior Ministry committee approves construction near Beit Jala; 1,200 units authorized on Sunday; Kerry unsurprised

August 12, 2013, 8:53 pm

A view from the Israeli settlement of Har Gilo of Highway 60, backdropped by the West Bank village of Beit Jala (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

A view from the Israeli settlement of Har Gilo of Highway 60, backdropped by the West Bank village of Beit Jala (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

Two days before the scheduled resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, a diplomatic source said Monday that Israel secretly authorized construction of 900 new housing units in East Jerusalem.

The Housing Ministry later confirmed that additional permits for housing construction had indeed been issued.

The new units will be built south of the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Jala.

The news came a day after the Housing Ministry approved the construction of 1,200 apartments in settlement blocs and Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line.

“We will continue issuing tenders for construction in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs,” the source said.

Speaking at a news conference in Bogota, Colombia, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he didn’t think the recent flap over Israeli settlement announcements will derail Mideast peace talks, which are scheduled to resume this week.

According to Kerry, the Israeli move was expected. The secretary said he talked about the announcements with the top Israeli negotiator. He added that the US government views the settlements as illegitimate and said criticism on the Palestinian side underscores the need to get to the negotiating table quickly.

Kerry is also trying to reach Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the Associated Press.

According to Channel 10 News, the Jerusalem Development Authority requested permits to begin construction at the site nine months ago, but the Interior Ministry only recently authorized the project.

The JDA is partly under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office, which was unavailable for comment regarding the authorization.

Diplomatic sources quoted by Channel 10 News justified the construction approval, saying that while the Palestinian Authority demanded a settlement freeze as a precondition to peace talks, Israel did not accept such terms.

“Israel has never promised not to build,” the source said. The official added that the approved units were in a location which, Palestinians agree, will remain in Israeli hands even after the signing of any future agreement.

“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday shortly after the news broke of the 900 new homes. “These announcements come at a particularly sensitive time and we have raised our concerns with the government of Israel.”

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Russia calls Israel settlement plan ‘counterproductive’

August 12, 2013 04:17 PM

Agence France Presse

A Palestinian labourer works on a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit, near Bethlehem August 11, 2013. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

MOSCOW: Russia on Monday criticized a “counterproductive” decision by Israel to invite bids to build nearly 1,200 homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem on the eve of planned peace talks.

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow was “seriously concerned” by the move.

“The announcement of such plans on the eve of a new round of negotiations due to be held in Jerusalem on August 14 … is a counterproductive step that complicates the atmosphere of the talks,” the Russian ministry statement said.

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New West Bank settlement homes anger Palestinians

Construction in Beitar Ilit, near Bethlehem, 11 August The issue of building settlements in occupied Palestinian areas halted the last direct peace talks in September 2010

Palestinians have reacted angrily to Israel’s approval of nearly 1,200 new Jewish settlement homes, just days before peace talks are set to resume.

Palestinian negotiators said the approval cast doubt on Israel’s sincerity in the peace process.

Israel’s housing minister said no country in the world would take orders on where it could build its homes.

The issue of building settlements in occupied Palestinian areas halted the last direct talks in September 2010.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians want to establish their state in those areas, as well as the Gaza Strip.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

‘Dangerous policy’

On Sunday, Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel confirmed that 793 apartments would be built in East Jerusalem and 394 in several large West Bank settlements.

Palestinians see continued Israeli construction on the land where they aspire to create a new state as one of the biggest obstacles to peace.

The timing of this announcement may deepen the sense of pessimism that surrounds renewed peace talks even before they’ve really begun.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel comes from a party which opposes the very idea of a Palestinian state bordering Israel on the West Bank of the River Jordan. He ‘s now invited private firms to tender for the construction work.

More liberal members of Israel’s broad coalition government will be uncomfortable with the tone and timing of the news. Palestinian leaders will be angered but may well have factored the possibility of this type of announcement into their overall political calculations.

Israel is also preparing to free 26 Palestinian prisoners on the eve of this week’s scheduled peace talks. Announcing the settlement construction at the same time may be intended as a sop to right-wing supporters of the government who oppose those prisoner releases.

Palestinians said the plans brought into question Israel’s commitment to the peace process.

Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said Israel aimed “to destroy the basis of the solution called for by the international community, which aims to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.

He accused Israel of trying to “determine the negotiations in whichever way suits it best”.

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Israel blocks EU projects in West Bank



Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah July 18, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner



JERUSALEM | Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:27pm EDT

(Reuters) – Israel has blocked the European Union from aiding tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, in retaliation for an EU ban on financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied territories.

The EU imposed its restrictions last week, citing its frustration over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in territory captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War. The new guidelines render Israeli entities operating there ineligible for EU grants, prizes or loans, beginning next year.

An Israeli official said on Friday the Jewish state was compelled to respond to the EU’s decision “to sanction or boycott the settlements”.

“From our standpoint we cannot just ignore this or treat spitting in our face as though it is rain,” the official said.

Settler leaders say the aid they receive from Europe is minimal. But many in Israel worry about knock-on effects the EU steps may have on individuals or companies based in Israel that might be involved in business in the settlements, deemed illegal by the international community.


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Israel freezes co-operation with EU in Palestinian territories

Move follows European Union directive banning funding for bodies linked with Israeli settlements

West Bank settlement

Construction work at the Ariel settlement in the West Bank. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Israel has frozen co-operation with the European Union on work in the Palestinian territories in retaliation for an EU directive banning funding or grants for bodies with links to Israeli settlements.

The move, authorised by the defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, affects all projects requiring permits from the Civil Administration, which governs Area C, the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control; access of EU diplomats and representatives to Area C and Gaza; and joint meetings.

No permits have been issued to EU humanitarian aid workers to enter Gaza for several days, according to a western diplomatic source.

“We are freezing the relationship on everything,” said an Israeli official. “We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can’t act like nothing happened.”

The EU provides aid and equipment to Palestinian communities in Area C, many of whom are threatened with displacement and the demolition of their homes, animal shelters and other structures. The EU also helps train Palestinian security forces.


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Palestinian children ‘mistreated’ in Israeli detention

Palestinian youths throw stones towards Israeli soldiers near Hebron (file photo)
The report said the majority of arrests were for throwing stones

The study, by the children’s fund Unicef, described some of the practices used in dealing with children as “cruel, inhuman or degrading”.

It acknowledged Israel had made some “positive changes” in its treatment of young detainees in recent years.

Israel said it would “work hard” to adopt the report’s recommendations.

According to the report, an estimated 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 are arrested by Israeli security forces in the West Bank every year.

It said ill-treatment typically began with arrests carried out in the middle of the night and continued through to prosecution and sentencing.

The report said unacceptable practices included “blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties, physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints”.

It said during interrogation, some detained children had been “threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member”.


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