July 9, 2014 - No. 66
Widespread Resistance Demands a
End Israeli Occupation and
|Join in Actions to Defend Gaza and Demand
Immediate End to the Occupation!
• End Israeli Occupation and Aggression!
• Disinformation Used to Launch State Terror
• Beating of U.S. Teen Underscores Zionists'
Crimes Against the Youth
• Hold Occupying Power to Account
• Case of Missing Youth Used to Undermine
Palestinian Unity Government
Widespread Resistance Demands a Free
End Israeli Occupation and Aggression!
Palestinian youth fight back against heavily armed Israeli Defense
Forces in the
Shufat neighbourhood of Jerusalem, July 3, 2014.
Widespread resistance is unfolding in Palestine in
response to the U.S.-backed mass arrests, indefinite detention and
bombing raids by Zionist Israel. Using the kidnapping and killing of
three Israeli teenagers on June 12 as justification to unleash
retribution against the Hamas government of Gaza, who they call
a terrorist organization, the Zionists have once again unleashed a
murderous assault mainly against Gaza but also the West Bank. The
Israeli government claims Hamas is responsible for the kidnappings,
killings and rocket attacks despite presenting no evidence to make its
case, let alone observing
due process. Instead, it has used the situation
as a pretext to unleash a new wave of state terrorism and mass
collective punishment. Collective punishment is a heinous crime,
associated with the likes of the Nazis, the fascists and Japanese
militarists during World War II and since then with the U.S.
in countries such as Korea and Viet Nam.
Since June 13, the Zionists have carried a massive
campaign of house raids and arrests, and in recent days have launched a
campaign of air strikes on Gaza. There are indications the attack was
planned in advance, timed to occur before upcoming Palestinian
elections. The aim is to block the development of the recently
announced unity government which ends the breach between Gaza and the
West Bank and cover up the fact that the zionists have no intention of
sorting anything out as concerns ending their occupation of Palestine.
Thousands of Palestinians are participating in mass
protests across historic Palestine, denouncing the intensified Zionist
aggression. On July 5 actions were held across the U.S. and Europe to
express support for the Palestinian people's right to resist, their
just demands and to denounce Israeli war crimes. More actions have been
called, including in Canada.
Actions in Chicago (top)
and Cleveland in support of Palestine, July 5, 2014
The mass repression and
state terror campaign by Israel
has not cowed the heroic Palestinian people into giving up their right
of resistance to the brutal Zionist occupation. Palestinian youth in
particular have been confronting the heavily armed Israeli Occupation
Forces all over historic Palestine. Thousands have
demonstrated and clashed with Israeli police, especially after the
brutal killing of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was
kidnapped, tortured and burned to death by Israeli extremists in
Jerusalem on July 2. These Zionist gangs are reminiscent of U.S.
government-backed KKK lynch gangs, as they roam
in groups in search of Palestinian youth to kidnap and kill. Numerous
reports of attempted kidnappings have been made, but most have been
blocked by mass actions by the Palestinians.
Meanwhile the foreign powers which support Israel and
permit the slaughter of the Palestinians to continue engage in the most
duplicitous activity possible. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and
Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird blame Hamas, and encourage Israel
to resist "Palestinian terror," while the
Palestinians are called on to not resist the Israeli occupation and
crimes committed against them. While both countries condemned the
killing of the Israeli youth, neither the U.S. or Canada have condemned
the bombing raids on civilians and mass arrests and home demolitions.
As if the crimes committed and the
suffering in the region have a nationality, Obama called the killing of
the three Israeli youth a tragedy for the Israelis only, ever
fomenting strife between the peoples of the region, while Canada was
quick to stand with "all Israelis" but merely "express shock" at the
revenge killing of the Palestinian youth. Note that
in the case of the Israeli youth Baird named each one and the Canadian
embassy in Israel sat shiva, the period of mourning in the Jewish
faith. As for 16-year-old Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Baird
did not consider it necessary to even mention his name.
What should one make of this glaring double standard?
One act is called terrorism to be met with the reprisal of collective
punishment against the Palestinian resistance. In the case of
the killing of the Palestinian youth, it is considered an
unfortunate incident and the Palestinians are called on not to take
revenge or act like vigilantes. The context of Israel's illegal
occupation and settlements and its brutality against Gaza are swept
under the rug in either case.
TML Daily calls
on all Canadians to join the heroic Palestinian people in their
death-defying fight against occupation, aggression and heinous crimes.
The people of Israel and the people of occupied Palestine have a common
interest to support the Palestinian resistance and together demand an
end to the Zionist crimes. These crimes are committed and supported by
those such as the U.S. and Canada who do not want to end the occupation
of Palestine and see justice done in the region. It is not more
complicated than that.
Funeral for Palestinian
youth Abu Khdeir, East Jerusalem, July 4, 2014, who was killed
as a reprisal for the deaths of three Israeli youth. Some 8,000 people
attended his funeral to denounce the killing and the Israeli occupation.
Disinformation Used to Launch State Terror
Ruins of a building
struck by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, July 8,
Since June 13, the Zionist government in Israel has been
spreading disinformation about the case of three Israeli youth,
16-year-olds Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar and 19-year-old Eyal
Yifrac, who the government initially reported as being kidnapped by
forces linked to the Hamas government of Gaza. On this
basis, the Zionists launched "Operation Brother's Keeper," on June 13
allegedly to recover the youth. This massive campaign of state terror
has seen more than 2,200 house raids and more than 700 arrests,
including many youth. According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human
Rights Association, as of July
4, 475 Palestinians are still detained while 170
have been placed under administrative detention.
This repression has been met with staunch defiance and
resistance that is now being used to justify an aerial bombardment
campaign that was officially launched on July 7 as "Operation
Protective Edge." At 1:00 am local time, Israeli forces launched 65 air
strikes and three naval shellings against 50 targets in
the Gaza Strip, destroying five civilian homes and injuring 16
Palestinians, including seven children. As of Wednesday, July 9, the
three-day death toll from this operation has reached 38, with more than
300 injured, the majority of whom are civilians.
What is the truth about the disappearance and killing of
the three Israeli youth? It has now come to light that the Israeli
government knew all along that the youth had been killed shortly after
being abducted, and cynically used the pretence of searching for these
youth as cover to conduct mass repression of Palestinian
people. The government deliberately spread disinformation about the
condition and whereabouts of the youth, including to the parents of
those killed whose suffering it cynically prolonged, to whip up public
sentiment and international support for state terrorism and collective
punishment against the Palestinians.
This campaign of disinformation set the stage for the
revenge killing of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Notably, the
families of the three Israeli teenagers killed issued a statement
condemning the incident. "If the Arab youth was murdered because of
nationalistic motives then this is a horrible and
horrendous act," it said. "There is no difference between Arab blood
and Jewish blood. Murder is murder. There is no forgiveness or
justification for any murder."
Ansam Abu Khdeir, one of Mohammed Abu Khdeir's cousins,
said witnesses had written down the car's license plate and that police
were examining CCTV footage. "We knew about Mohammed's kidnapping by
three Israelis just before the dawn prayers. A witness saw them and
took down the license plate," he
The family denied allegations that the boy could have
been killed in a family dispute, citing eyewitnesses as saying they
tried to stop the kidnapping but the suspects took Abu Khdeir and fled
the scene. Israeli police circulated the disinformation that Abu Khdeir
was killed by family because he was gay, all in
an effort to divide resistance and divert from the role of the Israeli
state in the arrests, indefinite detention, killings and unleashing and
protecting of terror squads of settlers, reminiscent of KKK-style
lynchers. As of July 8, six suspects have been arrested in the case and
three have confessed to the killing.
Creating Moral Equivalence for Occupation War Crimes
and Palestinians' Right to Resist
U.S. commentator Justin Schwegel points out how the case
of the supposedly missing Israeli youth "had to be milked for weeks to
buy time for the Israeli operation in the West Bank and to maximize the
opinion impact of the story." Schwegel points out:
"First, Israel's pubic image has been suffering
incredibly in the past several months. Palestine has been beating
Israel savagely in both public opinion and political maneuvering. The
push from universities, religious groups and NGOs across the globe to
divest from companies that profit from the continued illegal
occupation of Palestine has reached unprecedented levels.
"The Gates Foundation and the Methodist Church recently
divested from G4S, a British corporation which in the face of mounting
pressure, has vowed to end its security operations in Israeli prisons.
The [U.S.] Presbyterian Church also divested from its corporations that
profit from occupation, namely Hewlett-Packard,
Motorola and Caterpillar, which is infamous for making the weaponized
bulldozers that the Israeli Military uses to bulldoze Palestinian homes
and olive groves, and which killed American peace activist Rachel
"However, there is a far greater threat facing the
Israeli settlement enterprise. Because fundamental norms of
international law have been internalized in the domestic legislation of
many countries, the proper implementation of domestic legal regimes
requires the differentiation between Israel proper and its illegally
occupied settlements. The illegal Israeli settlements are not
recognized as part of Israel under international law and a differential
legal treatment ineluctably flows from this different status.
"One example is the EU's inability to make scientific
funding available to Israeli universities operating in the occupied
West Bank, or to allow settlement-produced goods to receive
preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The
EU also cannot recognize Israeli certification procedures
for settlement produce (e.g. poultry veterinary certification and
organic food certification) because the Israeli government simply does
not have the authority to grant such certification to settlement
produce. This dispassionate legal evolution is motivated by the
necessity for consistency within an EU legal regime that
has internalized the fundamental norms of an international legal system.
"This cold rationality is completely unrelated to the
passionate moral idealism that motivates the BDS
[Boycotts-Divestment-Sanctions] movement and it is far more troubling
for Israeli policymakers, which is why they often try to conflate the
two concepts. Additionally, many governments have recognized that
aside from these known legal problems, there are likely other legal
issues as yet unknown that could detrimentally harm business operations
after an initial investment is made. As a result many states have
warned companies against conducting operations in the illegal West Bank
"This same stance is reflected in the EU's refusal to
make scientific funding available to Israeli universities operating in
the occupied West Bank, refusing to allow settlement-produced goods to
receive preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association
Agreement, and refusing to recognize Israeli certification
procedures for settlement produce (eg poultry veterinary certification
and organic food certification). These measures are motivated by the
necessity for consistency within the EU legal regime and respect for
the norms of an international legal system, a motivation completely
unrelated to the moral idealism that motivates
the BDS movement.
"When the peace talks between Palestine and the Israelis
collapsed, international observers, including US Secretary of State
John Kerry, unanimously placed the blame squarely on Israel for missing
prisoner release deadlines and announcing the construction of new
settlements in Palestine. Weeks later, when Abu
Mazen announced a Fatah-Hamas Unity Government, Netanyahu claimed that
was the reason for the collapse of the peace talks. Netanyahu saw the
murder as an opportunity to vilify Hamas (which has denied any
involvement) and consequently, the new Unity Government as well as a
chance to recover some of
the international good will it has lost.
"Second, the timeline for which the farcical kidnapping
storyline was allowed to continue was just sufficient to give the
Israeli Occupation Forces a pretext for conducting the mass arrest of
hundreds of political dissidents and the collective punishment of an
entire race. While ostensibly the West Bank operation
was to recover kidnapped Israelis, given the evidence available to
policymakers at the time of its execution and the breadth of the
arrests, this is simply not believable. At its root, the massive West
Bank operation (Operation Brother's Keeper) had the goal of breaking
the Palestinian Unity Government.
"Only a handful of [those] arrested were even questioned
about the murder. For the past several years, the Likud government has
bemoaned the fact that the PLO was not a true partner for peace because
they could not speak with a unified voice for Palestinians living in
the Gaza Strip and West Bank. During
the past few weeks, Netanyahu had repeatedly expressed his opposition
to the Fatah-Hamas unity government and had been searching diligently
for a way to undermine it. This was the opportunity he was waiting for.
"Finally, without maximizing the perception of Israeli
suffering, it would be impossible for Israel, in the face of
overwhelming international condemnation, to continue its systematic
oppression of Palestinians and the confiscation of Palestinian land and
resources. The common media rendering of the Israeli occupation
is the story of a complicated bilateral conflict that fails to capture
the reality of the unilateral domination of one people by another.
According to the Ramallah Bureau of Statistics, since the outbreak of
the Second Intifada in 2000 to April 2013, Israel has killed 1,518
children, the equivalent of one Palestinian child
every three days for 13 years.
"During the first year of the Second Intifada, the New
Times featured stories that covered 125% of the deaths of
Israeli children in either the headline or the first paragraph, meaning
they covered some of the same deaths more than once. In the same time
period, only 18% of the deaths of Palestinian
children were covered in the headline or first paragraph. The result of
such reporting is the illusion of symmetry of suffering in an
asymmetric conflict." [...]
Beating of U.S. Teen Underscores Zionists'
Against the Youth
Fifteen-year-old U.S.-born Palestinian-American Tariq
Abu Khdeir was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on the evening
of July 3 in the Shuafat neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. His
16-year-old cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was lynched by Zionist
extremists the day before in that area. Israeli
authorities claim Tariq was arrested for participating in a
demonstration against the killing of Mohammed. Video of the attack
shows Tariq being brutally beaten into unconsciousness.
On July 6, State Department spokeswoman Jen
reported that on July 5, two days after the brutal attack, a consular
officer visited Tariq. She stated that "the State Department is
profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in
police custody and strongly condemn any
force. [TML emphasis].
We are calling for a speedy,
transparent and credible
investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of
force."The video and photos of Tariq after the beating make clear there
doubt that he was beaten by Israeli police. Furthermore, nothing was
said about the fact that he remained in custody
(now house arrest) nor that he has at no point been charged with any
crime. It is only a matter of the use of "excessive force," while the
fact that he is in detention at all is not questioned. The family has
requested that the youth
be returned to the U.S. to receive medical treatment for his injuries.
The State Department's response underscores
the U.S. government's support for Zionist crimes, as surely had this
been any other government in the region as well as an American of some
nationality other than Palestinian, a massive hue and cry would
have been raised by the U.S.
The killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the brutal
beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir underscores the Zionists' crimes against
Palestinian youth in particular. Prisoner rights organization
Addameer reports that Tariq is one of eleven Palestinians who were
beaten and arrested in Shuafat on July 3, many of whom
were minors. "The continued state-sanctioned violence against children
is unlawful and unacceptable," Addameer stated in an appeal for
protests against Tariq's treatment.
"Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United
Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United
States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human
rights organizations and journalists to attend Tariq Abu Khdeir's
hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified
aggression against Palestinian children," the group added.
Furthermore, a report issued June 30 by the NGO Euro-Mid
Observer for Human Rights, documents that Palestinian children are at
much greater, ongoing risk from Israeli forces. According to the
report, Israel seized an estimated 2,500 Palestinian children and youth
between January 2010 and June 2014. Of
these approximately 400 were just 12-15 years old.
"The Israeli police or military typically break into
homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets
without telling them what they are charged with or informing their
parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights," says Ihsan Adel, a legal officer at Euro-Mid.
"How is that different from the reported kidnapping of the Israeli
students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the
The report documents continuing abductions of
Palestinian youth and children, as well as numerous human rights
violations such as torture and coerced confessions during detention, in
violation of international laws. The Euro-Mid findings echo earlier
conclusions by other international bodies. In a February 2013
report, UNICEF concluded that "ill-treatment of children who come into
contact with the Israeli military detention system appears to be
widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process."
Euro-Mid is calling for equal coverage of the plight of
Palestinian children by the international media, and for the signatory
states of the Geneva Conventions and other international stakeholders
to bring all pressure at their disposal (including denial of financial
pacts and assistance) on Israel to immediately halt
violations of their human rights.
"The disappearance or ill treatment of any child is
tragic and should outrage all humans with consciences," says Sandra
Owen, a policy officer at the Euro-Mid. "Are not the lives and
liberties of Palestinian children worth as much?"
Power to Account
Palestinians living in
Israel shout slogans at solidarity protest with administrative
detainees and other Palestinian prisoners, Umm al-Faham, June 27, 2014.
The action also denounced Israel's military operation in the West Bank
the week before. Police used harsh violence to suppress the
demonstration, also preventing proper evacuation of injured protesters.
On June 21, amidst Israel's "Operation Brother's Keeper"
allegedly searching for three missing Israeli settler youth, the
Human Rights Organizations Council published an open letter to the
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy. The Council called for action against
Israel's crime of collective punishment and other human rights
violations, in particular pertaining to its position as the occupying
power in Palestine. TML is posting below excerpts from that
As the Occupying Power, Israel is obligated to carry out
its search for the missing settlers in line with its obligations under
international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian
law (IHL). IHRL obligates Israel to respect the right to life of
Palestinians by ensuring that the use of force and firearms
by law enforcement officials is carried out in a manner that minimizes
damage and injury and respects and preserves human life. IHRL further
prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home
and correspondence and affords all persons the right to liberty and
security of person. As such, Israel
may not arrest and detain Palestinians in a sweeping fashion; there
must be a legal basis for each and every individual arrest.
Furthermore, all persons that are arrested must be treated with
humanity and respect for their inherent dignity. Israel is absolutely
prohibited from resorting to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment. Unlike the ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court, Israel is
not allowed to inflict so called 'moderate physical pressure' against
Palestinians, regardless of the situation. Under IHRL, Israel is also
prohibited from restricting the freedom of movement of the thousands of
Palestinian civilians as a form of collective
punishment. The grave infringement currently imposed on Palestinians in
the OPT, in particular residents of Hebron, is not proportionate nor
necessary to protect Israeli national security and is highly intrusive.
Israel is also bound by IHL in the OPT. Particularly,
Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines the unequivocal
duties of the Occupying Power, including the obligation to respect
persons, their honor, freedom from physical or moral coercion and
freedom from collective punishment. This entails a duty
on Israeli occupying forces to protect civilians from all acts of
violence or threats thereof, against humiliating punishment, and to
ensure that homes do not become the object of arbitrary interference.
While Article 27(4) of the Fourth Geneva Convention authorizes the
Occupying Power to take stringent measures
of "control and security," such as imposing restrictions on movement or
depriving individuals of their liberty, these can be adopted only on
necessary security grounds, and in a manner that is not discriminatory.
Significantly, the collective punishment of the civilian
population is absolutely prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, which forbids the Occupying Power to use
"[c]ollective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation
[...]." Article 75(2)(d) of the First Additional Protocol to the
Geneva Conventions, reflective of customary law, confirms that
collective punishments are prohibited at any time. The Israeli army has
previously claimed to use closures as preventative and deterrent
measures, despite international law recognizing their effect as being
punitive and collective, in particular due to their
The methods employed in Israel's investigation into the
disappearance of the settlers are indiscriminate in their nature and
are undermining the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population.
Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights provides that all persons are entitled to equal
protection before the law without discrimination. Furthermore, the
violations that are being carried out are based on mere speculation
regarding the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of
the settlers, the possible identity of those responsible and their
As such, these measures indicate Israel's intention to
impose punitive measures against large portions of the Palestinian
population in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
prohibiting reprisals against protected persons and their property, as
well as collective punishment.
Furthermore, threats by the Israeli Government to expel
Hamas officials from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip on the basis of
allegations that the organization is responsible for the settlers'
disappearances not only amounts to indiscriminate collective punishment
but also violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, which prohibits forcible transfers and deportations of
protected persons in occupied territory. The violation of this
provision amounts to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and as
such may constitute a war crime under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The manner in which Israel is carrying out so called
Operation Brothers' Keeper, including threats issued regarding Hamas
officials, the re-arrest of Palestinian prisoners that were released
under the Shalit prisoner exchange deal, the increasing number of
administrative detainees despite an ongoing hunger strike
in protest of Israel's illegitimate use of administrative detention,
and the large scale closures and raids, raises grave concern regarding
the actual purpose of Israel's actions in the OPT -- one that is not
consistent with the alleged purpose of the investigation into the
disappearance of the settlers.
The EU's response to Israeli measures
undertaken in the context of the disappearing settlers has dangerously
ignored Israeli violations and failed to distinguish between lawful
measures employed by Israel to locate the settlers and measures that
infringe on the rights of Palestinians. The search for the
settlers may not be used as a pretext to kill, arrest, torture, and
infringe on the privacy of Palestinians. The EU statement of 17 June
2014, and subsequent statement under Item 4 during the 26th session of
the Human Rights Council illustrate an utter and worrying disregard for
Israel's unlawful acts following the
disappearance of the three settlers. An accurate analysis of Israel's
response demands that the EU, including in international fora such as
Item 7 of the 26th Human Rights Council session:
- strongly condemn Israeli actions amounting to IHL and
IHRL violations undertaken during so-called Operation Brother's Keeper;
- demand that Israel strictly adhere to its
responsibilities as an Occupying Power and discontinue the
investigation in its current form;
- demand that Israel releases Palestinians arbitrarily
detained, including administrative detainees;
- demand that Israel promptly investigate, in accordance
with international law standards, and hold to account the perpetrators
involved in the killing of Palestinians, including Ahmad Sama'da and
Mahmoud Jihad Muhammad Dudeen;
- demand that Israel calls on the Attorney General to
clearly articulate to all security officials that torture is absolutely
prohibited and to hold to account any Israeli official who resorts to
One must consider that Israel is obligated to protect
the occupied Palestinian people - including during investigations
surrounding Israelis. The EU must not give Israel a carte blanche for
undertaking any measure -- regardless of its implications on the
Palestinians -- they deem fit in their blindsided search for
the three settlers. We recall that in 2011, Israel also engaged in
collective punishment when carrying out a large-scale investigation in
the village of 'Awarta (Nablus governorate) and that the failure of the
EU to properly address Israel's so called investigation can only be
seen as encouraging Israeli violations of Palestinians'
rights. To that end, we ask that the EU take strong action to ensure
Israel's violations of international law during this investigation is
not encouraged but rather restrained. Finally, it must be recalled that
each individual EU member state, as High Contracting Parties to the
Fourth Geneva Convention are under an obligation
to ensure respect for its provisions.
Adameer Prisoners' Support and Human Rights
Association, Aldameer Association for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Al Mezan
Center for Human Rights, Badil Resource Center for Palestinian
Residency and Refugee Rights, Defense for Children International -
Palestine Section, Ensan Center for Human Rights
and Democracy, Hurryyat Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil
Rights, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Palestinian
Center for Human Rights, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies,
Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling
Case of Missing Youth Used to Undermine
TML is posting below excerpts from a June 16
item by Ramzy Baround, published in the Palestine Chronicle.
Although published before the Zionists' disinformation about the three
missing Israeli youth came to light, the item outlines the Netanyahu
government's attempt to manipulate
the situation for self-serving reasons to undermine the unity of the
Palestinian people, specifically the newly formed unity government
between Hamas and Fatah.
Israeli officials were quick to link the disappearance
of the settlers -- the 16-year-olds Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar and
the 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach -- to the newly-formed unity government.
A day after the three went missing, US Secretary of
State John Kerry phoned Netanyahu to express his government's concern.
According to the daily Jerusalem Post, he also contacted PA
President Mahmoud Abbas with the same message.
The PA is reportedly cooperating. "The Israelis and the
Palestinian Authority are working closely together on efforts to find
the three teenagers and to hopefully bring a quick resolution to the
matter," a Washington official told the Post.
Left to right: Eyal
Yifrah, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frankel.
No concerns were offered the regarding hundreds of
Palestinian children and teenagers in Israeli jails. For some reason,
both issues are treated as entirely different subjects.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu is capitalizing on the story in
every way he can. In his call with Kerry, he claimed that the alleged
kidnappings were "the destructive result" of the newly formed PA unity
Since PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced a
transitional government as a first step towards reconciliation between
Hamas and Fatah, Netanyahu along with other Israeli officials have been
working hard to thwart its mission.
Netanyahu is insisting that the unity government must be
dissolved and the unity pact with Hamas dismissed if he is ever to
return to the negotiations table. But what talks is he referring to?
U.S.-backed peace talks failed this year to take a step
forward because Netanyahu carried on seizing Palestinian land and
expanding settlements. He did not even fulfill the largely symbolic
promise of releasing a few Palestinian political prisoners - something
that would have allowed Abbas to save face and carry
on with the talks.
Abbas on 12 June dropped the condition of an Israeli
settlement freeze, and was ready to settle with the release of some
long-serving prisoners, yet Netanyahu still found this unacceptable.
In a statement two days later to Israel Radio, Netanyahu
described the gesture as "meaningless."
Abbas' moves reflect how difficult his position remains
since his Fatah party and Hamas reached an agreement in the Shati'
refugee camp in April, which led to the formation of a transitional
government in June.
The agreement left many points of contention to be
discussed and settled by various sub-committees with uncertain chances
of success. Since then, disagreements have flared over crackdowns on
Hamas supporters in the West Bank, unpaid salaries and other matters.
But this is only part of Abbas' dilemma. His security
forces are allowed to currently operate in the West Bank -- but only
under the watchful eye of the Israeli army.
In return for allowing the PA a space for its operation,
PA forces need to be involved in "security coordination" aimed at
securing illegal Jewish settlements, reining in Palestinian groups and
offering a line of defense for the Israeli army, which in reality is
the one and only ruler of the West Bank and East
Unity or no unity, Netanyahu's expectations are
unchanged: "I expect you to help in the return of the kidnapped youths
and the capture of the kidnappers," Netanyahu told Abbas in a telephone
interview on June 16.
If these are indeed kidnappings, they could have been
carried out other by groups. But Israel's targeting of Hamas can only
be politically motivated.
Netanyahu certainly benefits from tension between the
Hamas and Fatah movements, and anything that threatens a collapse of
the unity government. Hamas had already criticized Abbas for
cooperating with Israel.
Netanyahu is even mulling over the deportation of Hamas
members outside the West Bank, a dangerous option that could complicate
relations between Palestinian factions and drive many Hamas members
For Israel, all of this is creating the necessary
distraction needed to ensure the downfall of the unity government, and
the postponement of any discussion pertaining to the return to peace
talks. For Netanyahu, it is a win-win situation.
Abbas however is bound by his "commitment" to Israel's
security, a condition through which he continues to receive support
from the U.S. government. Recently, he even went as far as describing
collaboration with the Israeli army as sacred.
Even chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, himself discredited
by many Palestinians because of his central role in the Palestine
Papers scandal, is attacking Abbas for his failure to take any action
at all. In a leaked recording, he refers to Abbas as "discredited" and
Under these difficult circumstances, it is not easy to
imagine the attainment of real unity. Meanwhile, Netanyahu will
continue to push with all of his might to guarantee Palestinian failure.
The fact that Netanyahu would go as far as blaming a
government of Palestinian technocrats operating under Israeli military
occupation for failing to protect illegal Jewish settlers is a
testament to the conceit of the Israeli government.
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