Israeli forces began demolishing Palestinian homes near a military barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday, in the face of protests and international criticism. Bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of Israeli police and soldiers moved into Sur Baher, a Palestinian village on the edge of East Jerusalem in an area that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians fear the razing of buildings near the fence will set a precedent for other towns along the route of the barrier, which runs for hundreds of kilometres around and through the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The demolition is the latest round of protracted wrangling over the future of Jerusalem, home to more than 500,000 Israelis and 300,000 Palestinians, and sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Israeli forces cut through a wire section of the barrier in Sur Baher under cover of darkness early on Monday, and began clearing residents. Bulldozers and mechanical diggers began tearing down homes on both sides of the barrier as security forces prepared a partly constructed nine-storey building for demolition. “They have been evacuating people from their homes by force and they have started planting explosives in the homes they want to destroy,” said Hamada Hamada, a community leader. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in June that the structures violated a construction ban. The deadline for residents to remove the affected buildings, or parts of them, was Friday. But Palestinian owners said their buildings lay within areas run by the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited
As Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, he is solidifying his place as the country’s greatest political survivor and the most dominant force in Israeli politics in his generation. He has persevered through scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even as the country grows more bitterly polarized. His supporters credit him with keeping Israel safe and prosperous, maintaining its Jewish character and boosting its standing internationally. His opponents, with equally visceral emotion, claim he has dashed hopes for peace with the Palestinians, torn society apart with vicious attacks on minority Arabs and left-wing opponents, and infused politics with a culture of corruption. But as the longevity of his 13-year rule is set to surpass that of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion on July 20, all agree Netanyahu has left a permanent imprint on Israel. “He thinks that he is the right guy in the right place. That he is the one who will save Israel and lead Israel to a safe haven,” said Aviv Bushinsky, a former Netanyahu aide. Israelis think that “things are good, so why should we change a winning horse,” he added. Just as he is about to cross a milestone, Netanyahu faces perhaps his greatest political challenge yet. After failing to form a parliamentary majority following April elections, the country is holding a repeat vote on Sept. 17. The following month, he faces a hearing with Israel’s attorney general, who has recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges. If formal charges are filed, Netanyahu
Ahmad Motevasselian, Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam and Kazem Akhavan were the four Iranian diplomats kidnapped “by the mercenaries of the Zionist regime in Barbara checkpoint in northern Lebanon in 1982,” the Foreign Ministry said in a Friday statement marking the 37th anniversary of the abduction.
When I was charged with leading this fight, BDS leaders operated freely and were largely successful in disguising themselves as human rights organizations… We tore off their masks. We exposed their ties to terror, we exposed their deeprooted antisemitism, we exposed their opposition to peace, and we exposed of course their hypocrisy.
A photo of Aisha smiling softly in her hospital bed, brown curls swaddled in bandages, drew an outpouring on social media. The wrenching details of her last days have shined a light on Israel’s vastly complex and stringent system for issuing Gaza exit permits. It is a bureaucracy that has Israeli and Palestinian authorities blaming each other for its shortfalls, while inflicting a heavy toll on Gaza’s sick children and their parents. “The most difficult thing is to leave your child in the unknown,” said Waseem a-Lulu, Aisha’s father. “Jerusalem is just an hour away, but it feels as though it is another planet.” So far this year, roughly half of applications for patient companion permits were rejected or left unanswered by Israel, according to the World Health Organization. That has forced over 600 patients, including some dozen children under 18, to make the trek out of the territory alone or without close family by their side. The system stems from the Hamas militant group’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, when it violently ousted the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. Israel and Egypt responded by imposing a blockade that tightly restricted movement in and out of Gaza. The blockade, which Israel says is necessary to prevent Hamas from arming, has precipitated a financial and humanitarian crisis in the enclave. For years, Gaza’s 2 million residents have endured rising poverty and unemployment, undrinkable groundwater and frequent electricity outages. Public hospitals wrestle with chronic shortages of drugs and basic medical equipment. Israel blames Hamas,
In a rare public acknowledgement of Israeli operations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he personally ordered the recent airstrikes against Syrian military positions. The Israeli premier made the provocative remarks on Sunday shortly after new air raids struck Syrian military positions in the southern region of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others. Israel claims it was responding to two rockets allegedly launched from Syria late Saturday, which caused no casualties. “We will not tolerate firing into our territory and will respond fiercely against any aggression against us,” Benjamin Netanyahu said. Hours after the Quneitra airstrikes, Israel launched missile attacks against the T-4 airbase near the western Syrian city of Homs, killing an army soldier and wounding two others. The Syrian air defense reportedly managed to successfully intercept a number of the missiles. The Israeli prime minister further threatened strikes against positions of Iranian military advisers in Syria, claiming that “anyone who tries to hurt us will be hurt far worse.” The Israeli air force has staged repeated air raids against Syrian military bases that it claims are used by Iranian military advisers. Iranian advisers are in Syria on the request of the country’s legitimate government to help the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-backed militants. Syria’s official SANA news agency said the recent Israeli airstrikes are an attempt to prop up terrorist groups based in western provinces of Hama and Idlib that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces. “The
Israel’s parliament on Monday passed a preliminary motion to dissolve itself. The move further pushed the country toward an unprecedented political impasse, less than two months after elections seemed to promise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a new mandate. If the bill receives final passage in a vote scheduled Wednesday, Israel would be forced to hold new elections — sending the political system into disarray. Netanyahu appeared to have a clear path to victory, and a fourth consecutive term, after the April 9 elections. His Likud party emerged tied as the largest party in the 120-seat parliament, and with his traditional allies, he appeared to control a solid 65-55 majority. But Benjamin Netanyahu has struggled to form a government ahead of a looming deadline to do so. His prospective coalition has been thrown into crisis in recent days by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an ally and sometimes rival of Netanyahu’s. Netanyahu delivered a primetime statement on Monday calling on his potential partners to put “the good of the nation above every other interest” in order to avoid sending the country once again to “expensive, wasteful” elections. He placed the blame on Lieberman for creating the crisis, but said he was hopeful his efforts to salvage a compromise in the next 48 hours would succeed. Lieberman has insisted on passing a new law mandating that young ultra-Orthodox men be drafted into the military, like most other Jewish males. Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox allies demand that the draft exemptions remain in place. Without the
Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court. The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. Organizers put the figure at 80,000. In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases. Benjamin Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged. Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office. Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity. Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity. On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches. The opposition has described any attempt to shield
“We will not accept solutions that violate our rights… The deal of century is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and dropping central issues like al-Quds (Jerusalem) and return of (Palestinian) refugees,” Izzat al-Risheq said during a meeting between a Hamas delegation and Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Hariri in Beirut.”