Archive for July 31st, 2018

Israeli settlers commit more arson in occupied West Bank

July 28, 2018

A group of extremist Jewish settlers have set fire to Palestinian property in the village of Jaloud on the outskirts of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, Quds Press has reported.

Witnesses said that the settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland as well as a house in the area, which was severely damaged. At least 2.5 acres of wheat was also burnt. The settlers also cut down dozens of Palestinian-owned trees in the area. No fatalities were reported.

This is the latest in a series of attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

On Thursday, a Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli occupation forces after he allegedly stabbed three Jewish settlers in an illegal settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180728-israeli-settlers-commit-more-arson-in-occupied-west-bank/.

Advertisements

2 Italian artists leave Israel after arrest over mural

July 30, 2018

JERUSALEM (AP) — Two Italian artists, arrested over the weekend for painting a large mural of a formerly imprisoned teenage Palestinian protester on Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, left Israel on Monday, their lawyer said.

The two artists — Jorit Agoch and Salvatore De Luise — were arrested on Saturday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem after spending days creating the mural depicting Ahed Tamimi, a prominent Palestinian protester imprisoned by Israel for eight months for slapping two soldiers.

They were caught in the act and, along with a Palestinian, arrested for vandalism, according to police, who said they tried to flee the scene. The artists were held in two separate detention facilities and on Sunday, Israel canceled their visas and ordered them to leave the country within three days.

Their lawyer, Azmi Masalha, told The Associated Press that Israeli authorities did not pursue any criminal charges. Beyond ordering their departure, Israel barred them from entering the country again for 10 years.

A spokeswoman for Israel’s immigration authority did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Tamimi, 17, was arrested in December after she slapped two Israeli soldiers outside her family home. Her mother filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook, where it went viral and, for many, instantly turned Tamimi into a symbol of resistance to Israel’s half-century-old military rule over the Palestinians.

In Israel, she is seen by many either as a provocateur, an irritation or a threat to the military’s deterrence policy. Tamimi’s case has drawn international attention and she received a hero’s welcome when she was released from prison on Sunday.

The lawyer, Masalha, said the artists drew the mural in a sign of “solidarity” with Tamimi. Masalha said he viewed with suspicion the artists’ arrest when there are countless works of graffiti on the separation barrier and questioned the timing so close to Tamimi’s release.

“They were arrested on the fourth day of carrying out this graffiti painting despite the fact that there is an observation tower of the military there and they were under this observation point from the first day and it’s interesting as to why this incident occurred on the fourth day,” he said.

Masalha said diplomatic officials from Italy were involved in securing the artists’ release. Three recent posts on an Instagram account believed to be Agoch’s had a photo of the mural in progress, a photo of an Israeli police vehicle and a black and white handwritten note reading: “Free thank all of you.”

The two artists left Israel on a Monday morning flight to Naples, Italy.

Israel adopts racist Jewish nation-state law

July 19, 2018

Israel passed a law on Thursday to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, something members of the Arab minority called racist and verging on apartheid, Reuters reports.

The “nation-state” law, backed by the right-wing government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member parliament after months of political argument. Some Arab lawmakers shouted and ripped up papers after the vote.

“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote.

Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel. It stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.

The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.

Israel’s Arabs number some 1.8 million, about 20 percent of the 9 million population.

Early drafts of the legislation went further in what critics at home and abroad saw as discrimination towards Israel’s Arabs, who have long said they are treated as second-class citizens.

Clauses that were dropped in last-minute political wrangling – and after objections by Israel’s president and attorney-general – would have enshrined in law the establishment of Jewish-only communities, and instructed courts to rule according to Jewish ritual law when there were no relevant legal precedents.

Instead, a more vaguely-worded version was approved, which says: “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment.”

Even after the changes, critics said the new law will deepen a sense of alienation within the Arab minority.

“I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy,” Ahmed Tibi, an Arab lawmaker, told reporters.

Netanyahu has defended the law. “We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel’s democracy but the majority also has rights and the majority decides,” he said last week.

Israel’s Arab population is comprised mainly of descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land during the conflict between Arabs and Jews that culminated in the war of 1948 surrounding the creation of the modern state of Israel. Hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes or fled.

Those who remained have full equal rights under the law but say they face constant discrimination, citing inferior services and unfair allocations for education, health and housing.

In Ma’alot-Tarshiha, a municipality in northern Israel which was created by linking the Jewish town of Ma’alot and the Arab town of Tarshiha, there was anger among Arab residents.

“I think this is racist legislation by a radical right-wing government that is creating radical laws, and is planting the seeds to create an apartheid state,” said physician Bassam Bisharah, 71.

“The purpose of this law is discrimination. They want to get rid of the Arabs totally,” said Yousef Faraj, 53, from the nearby Druze village of Yanuh. “The Israelis want to destroy all the religions of the Arabs.”

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, called the law a bid to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180719-israel-adopts-racist-jewish-nation-state-law/.

Israel weapons found in Daesh arms depot

July 18, 2018

Israeli-made weapons have been found among a cache of arms belonging to the terrorist group Daesh.

The discovery was made by Syrian government troops in the south of Hama province, during a large-scale military operation to clear the area of mines, Sputnik reported citing Syrian sources.

The depot, which was found in the town of Aqrab, contained Israeli-made bombs and assault rifles, pistols, as well as other military hardware including Kalashnikov machine guns, mortar shells and sniper rifles.

Syrian Army engineering units are said to have found the depot while clearing out Aqrab of booby traps, ammunition and weapons left by Daesh.

A similar discovery is reported to have been made last week, when Syrian government forces found a huge cache of Western-made arms in Daraa. The depots were identified as the Syrian Army launched an offensive in Daraa.

Israel’s support for the terrorist group has been closely tracked since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. A report released last year by an Israeli intelligence bureau suggested that in confronting Iran, the interests of Daesh and Israel could converge, making them temporary allies.

Last year, a UN report confirmed that Israel gave aid to armed extremists in Syria. It found that there had been a significant increase in interaction between Israeli soldiers and individuals from members of the Syrian opposition forces.

The friendship appears to be more than just the arming of rebel forces by Israel. A member of the Israeli Knesset has even accused Tel-Aviv of buying oil from Daesh.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180718-israel-weapons-found-in-daesh-arms-depot/.

Advertisements