Israel accused of ‘deliberately killing’ Palestinians – Al …

Israel’s government is facing serious questions over its use of force in the latest outbreak of violence with protesters after a number of videos appeared online showing soldiers shooting at Palestinians.

Amnesty International told Al Jazeera on Sunday that some of the recorded incidents amounted to “extrajudicial killings”, while Human rights Watch was “strongly concerned” by Israel’s “indiscriminate and even deliberate” use of fire on demonstrators.

Live Updates: Israeli-Palestinian violence

“These are extrajudicial killings against unarmed civilians,” Mariam Farah, the spokesperson for Amnesty International in Israel, said.

On Friday, a video emerged showing a number of Israeli soldiers surrounding a young Palestinian woman allegedly holding a knife before they shot her with live bullets multiple times. Israa Ayed, 29, was critically injured.

Palestinian teenager Fadi Alloun was shot and killed last week. He was running away after he allegedly tried to stab an Israeli. His family denies he tried to hurt anyone.

“There is no proof whatsoever that Israa was holding a knife. The same goes for Alloun. They did not appear to have posed enough threat to the soldiers to use deliberate lethal force [on them],” Amnesty’s Farah told Al Jazeera.

Since the beginning of the latest wave of violence in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, 23 Palestinians were killed and 1,991 injured by Israeli security forces, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

On the Israeli side, four Israelis were stabbed to death by Palestinians, while 63 others were injured.

‘Violating international law’

Human Rights Watch told Al Jazeera the sheer number of cases of injuries among the Palestinians “raises concernsthat Israeli forces are violating international law”.

Pregnant Palestinian and child die in Israeli air raid

The US-based organisation said one of its staff members was injured by Israeli fire on Tuesday while she was observing a demonstration near a checkpoint outside Ramallah.

“The demonstration at that time was peaceful. There was no apparent threat to Israeli soldiers or anybody else frankly,”Sari Bashi, the Israel-Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera.

“We have very strong concerns about excessive use of force and very strong concerns about the indiscriminate and even deliberate fire on crowds of demonstrators,” she said.

But a professor from the Hebrew University has told Al Jazeera that “live fire is used by Israeli army only if there is a life-threatening situation”.

“And firebombs and stabbings [by Palestinians] are life threatening situations. These are deliberate attempts to harm civilians,” said Robbie Sabel, a professor of international law and a former legal adviser to Israel’s foreign ministry.

On September 22, ayoung Palestinian woman died of her wounds after being shot by Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

The Israeli army said that 19-year-old Hadeel Salah al-Hashlamonattempted to stab a soldier, who in turn fired live ammunition at her “lower extremities”.

But a video emerged later showing that al-Hashlamonwas shot several times, including in the chest, and raised questions over whether she was actually armed with a knife.

Amnesty International said the death ofal-Hashlamon was one in “a long line of unlawful killings carried out by the Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank with near total impunity”.

The recent violence has been triggered by recent visits by Jewish groups, including politicians, to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

Palestinians fear that Israeli hard-liners are trying to take control of the site.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Israel is committed to maintaining the status-quo and has banned his ministers from visiting the site.

Under the current arrangements, Jews are allowed to visit the site, but non-Muslim prayer is banned.

Source:Al Jazeera

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Israel accused of ‘deliberately killing’ Palestinians – Al …

Israel travel advice – GOV.UK

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:


the Shebaa Farms and Ghajjar and within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the Blue Line) east of Metula, including the northern edge of the town

east of Route 98 along the Syrian border

There have been a number of violent incidents in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Old City in recent days. The FCO judges that tensions remain high and further incidents are possible over the next few days. British government employees have been advised to consider the need for travel around the West Bank for the time being. Keep up to date with local advice.

On 3 October, 2 Israelis were killed when a group was attacked around the Lions Gate in Jerusalems Old City. There remains a possibility of further violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Keep up to date with local travel updates.

On 1 October, 2 Israelis were shot and killed on a road between the settlements of Elon Moreh and Itamar, near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik, east of Nablus. Take extra care near settlements in the West Bank, particularly near Nablus. Keep up to date with local travel updates and expect road closures and numerous checkpoints across the West Bank.

On 14 to 16 September, there were violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount site. Theres a possibility of further violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank in coming weeks. Keep up to date with media reporting and local travel updates.

On 20 August, rockets were fired into northern Israel from Syria, impacting in Israels Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. There were no reports of injury or serious damage.

On 31 July, two houses were set on fire near Nablus. Three people died and 1 was injured in a settler terrorist attack.

On 19 June, two Israeli men were shot near the settlement of Dolev, north west of Ramallah. One of the men subsequently died from his injuries. Police are investigating the attack.

In May and June rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza, landing in open areas.

There is a risk of security incidents in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There have been attacks on pedestrians on or near Jerusalems Light Rail stations in recent months, including an attack on pedestrians near the Shimon HaTzadik station on 5 March when a number of people were injured.

There have been attacks on buses in the Greater Tel Aviv area, including a knife attack on 21 January when 12 people were wounded.

Take extra care and be vigilant when using public transport, in particular the Light Rail in East Jerusalem and buses in the greater Tel Aviv area. You may wish to consider using other forms of transport.

The situation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank remains tense and the security situation is volatile. You should be especially vigilant after Friday prayers and on religious holidays. Demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest can occur at short notice and often turn violent. A heavy Israeli security presence is likely. Be extra vigilant and take great care, particularly at the Qalandiya checkpoint between East Jerusalem and Ramallah, in areas close to refugee camps, in and around Israeli settlements and in the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron.

Visa and other entry requirements are complex. Make sure youre aware of Israeli immigration policies before you travel. Allow extra time for increased security measures and checks at airports during Israeli holidays and during the peak summer tourist season. See Entry Requirements

There is a high threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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Israel travel advice – GOV.UK

The First-Ever Raising of Palestine’s Flag at the U.N. Is …

Pacific Press via Getty Images

Tomorrow, the Palestinian flag will be raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York and at other U.N. offices around the world. The sense of pride among the Palestinian people was overwhelming the day the world voted in favor of this landmark initiative. I am certain that the day our flag rises among the flags of the community of nations will also be a most emotional and proud day.

The General Assembly’s vote confirmed again that we, the people of Palestine, are not alone in our quest for freedom, fulfillment of our rights and an end to decades of Israeli occupation and oppression. On September 30, we will raise our flag in a peaceful gesture that will remind all that justice and independence is ultimately possible. To get to this destination, we need the support of our friends around the world and the leadership of the U.N.

As the U.N. this year marks its 70th anniversary, its longest-standing, unresolved issue is the question of Palestine. For more than 68 years, my people have been denied their rights and denied freedom. In 1948, we were cast out of our places of birth and those of our ancestors; our homes and heritage were destroyed; we were expelled or fled into exile to what were to be temporary camps until the conflict and question of Palestinian statehood were resolved.

Today, Palestinians remain in exile, with over five million refugees denied their right to return. An illegal, oppressive Israeli occupation denies basic human rights, including the right of people to self-determination and freedom — a foundational principle of the U.N. But the Palestinian people have not given up hope and have not given up their rightful and just quest to live in independence and peace in our homeland.

Hope is the power that helps my people endure and overcome the horrors we have too often faced. Many have compared living in Palestine to apartheid. But our situation is even more dire because Israel, the occupying power, is not only executing a system of segregation and subjugation; it persists with the blatant ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their land. While the Israeli government pays lip service to the two-state solution internationally, domestically it employs policies aimed at destroying what’s left of Palestine. Israel demolishes our homes, swallows up our land and works at breaking the spirit and will of our people.

In Bethlehem, Israeli checkpoints and an illegal annexation wall cages in people, depriving them of their rights, livelihoods and access to their land. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer the wounds of last year’s barbaric war as Israel’s cruel blockade imprisons the entire population and renders the Strip uninhabitable. In Occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces and leaders aid extremist attacks and religious zealots’ attempts to assert control over Al Aqsa Mosque and ignite a religious conflict. Palestine refugees across the region are suffering repeated displacement, dispossession and trauma, denied the ability to return home.

Countless events every single day illustrate the ways in which Israel’s illegal occupation devastates Palestine. But few recent events resonated with the world, like the arson attack on the Dawabsheh family home. A group of Israeli terrorist settlers smashed the windows of the Dawabsheh home and threw Molotov cocktails inside, immediately burning to death an 18-month-old baby, Ali. Both of Ali’s parents have since perished due to third degree burns. More than a month later, their now-orphaned 4-year-old son remains in the hospital. The Israeli government has attempted to disassociate itself from the attack, but the truth is that its pervasive and systematic colonization of Palestine with settlements, messages of intolerance, flouting of international law and culture of impunity not only facilitated that attack but continue to encourage others like it.

Israel’s pursuit of reckless policies obstructs any international progress for the two-state solution. I recall the high hopes I felt in 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed and a five-year deadline set to achieve an end to the occupation and peace and security between the two states, the State of Palestine and Israel. That was 22 years ago. Since then, Israel has failed to negotiate in good faith while entrenching its illegal occupation. Israel is not dedicated to the international community’s values of freedom, justice and peace — let alone the two-state solution and the longstanding parameters underpinning it. It has trampled the Oslo Accords and with it the peace process.

As world leaders gather in New York to commemorate the U.N.’s 70th anniversary, these same leaders must also reflect on the U.N.’s failures. Palestine has languished on the U.N. agenda since the organization’s inception. This persistent neglect has cost too many lives, dampened hope, undermined international law and stained the reputation of the U.N. World leaders must find the political will to uphold the rule of law, respect human rights and make good on the commitments they collectively made to the Palestinian people over decades. The U.N. must give my people more than hope.

A peaceful, fair and just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists. But the peace process must be multilateral. The same pattern of negotiations imposed for years will not work because Israel is the occupying power. Israel controls our territory, natural resources, economic affairs and our daily lives, violating every fundamental human right of the Palestinian people. We cannot directly negotiate with a power that has this level of control and exhibits such contempt for the rights and existence of our people.

That is why a collective, multilateral peace process is necessary. Such processes have made significant progress in difficult negotiations for the Balkans, Libya and Iran. They should be attempted to decisively end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after all these years of futile attempts to achieve peace.

On the vote to raise our flag at the U.N., the international community demonstrated its solidarity with the Palestinian people. Now it must act with urgency to seize the momentum from this symbolic gesture and provide a clear plan to end the illegal Israeli occupation, uphold human rights and achieve justice. It is time to finally achieve the independence of the State of Palestine, peacefully resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict — as was promised long ago.


Palestinian children play in the rubble of houses in the village of Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

Palestinians enjoy a summer day on the beach of Gaza City on June 16, 2015.

A Palestinian woman walks amid the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on June 1, 2015.

Mohammed al-Selek shows the site where he was injured in an Israeli mortar strike in Gaza City, Gaza.

A Palestinian child sits in front of the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on June 15, 2015.

A Palestinian man dressed as a clown rests in front of destroyed houses in Gaza City, Gaza, on July 8, 2015.

A Palestinian girl stands on the side while her father paints the door of his house in the old Gaza City on June 21, 2015 photo.

A Palestinian boy rides his bike next to his family’s temporary housing in Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

Palestinian children play at the rubble of buildings.

Palestinian trucks unload near the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on June 23, 2015.

A Palestinian girl displays her hair in Gaza City, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

Palestinian boys sit atop the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

Palestinian women protest against the 50-day war amidst the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

Palestinian boys play by their temporary housing in Khuzaa, Gaza, on July 7, 2015.

A Palestinian boy rides his bicycle amidst the rubble in Khuzaa, Gaza, on June 15, 2015.

The First-Ever Raising of Palestine’s Flag at the U.N. Is …

Palestine ‘no longer bound’ by agreements with Israel – Al …

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that the Palestinian Authority (PA) can no longer be bound by agreements with Israel, so long as the latter refuses to commit to them.

Speaking on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas declared that “as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements”.

Calling the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory unsustainable, he also said that Israel must assume its full responsibility as an occupying power under international law.

More of a warning than a declaration, Abbas, who has headed the PA since 2005, ostensibly left himself wiggle room by using vague wording and adding a number of caveats.

Although he did not provide a timeline for severing the PA’s many agreements with Israel, Abbas said he would start implementing by “peaceful and legal means”.

Created as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel, the PA will continue to function and work towards forging a unity government with the Gaza-based Hamas authority, Abbas said.

Read more: Palestinian flag raised at the UN

Abbas concluded with a plea for the Israelis to reach a peaceful solution, which he said would benefit both peoples.

Netanyahu condemnation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Abbas’ speech, claiming it “was deceitful and encourages incitement and lawlessness in the Middle East”.

“We expect and call on the [Palestinian] Authority and its leader to act responsibly and accede to the proposal of the prime minister of Israel and enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israeli troops clash with Palestinians at al-Aqsa

Abbas’ speech was a far cry from earlier comments that he would drop a “bombshell” in his UNGA address.

Ahead of the speech, aides and local media reports speculated that he would deliver a clear and formal announcement that the Oslo Accords were to be terminated and all ties with Israel to be severed.

Though Abbas said in his speech that Palestine “is a state under occupation”, it is unclear what ramifications that statement carries.

But in the lead-up to Abbas’ UN speech, his adviser Mohammad Habash clarified that the president’s UNGA address would be “devoid of bombshells”.

In an op-ed published at the Huffington Post a day earlier, Abbas called the raising of the Palestinian flag for the first time in the rose garden at the UN headquarters a “moment of hope”. The op-ed also provided a glimpse of what he planned to speak about on Wednesday.

“A peaceful, fair and just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists,” he wrote. “But the peace process must be multilateral. The same pattern of negotiations imposed for years will not work because Israel is the occupying power.”

Support dwindling

Some observers said that previous warnings issued by Abbas reflected desperation on his part, especially in light of a new survey that found that a majority of Palestinians wanted the president to resign and dissolve the PA.

Published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, the poll also found that 51 percent of Palestinians no longer believed in the two-state solution, which Abbas has clung on to – with the belief that only negotiations with the Israelis can yield a Palestinian state. Approximately 65 percent said the notion of two states living side-by-side was impractical as Israeli settlements continue to mushroom across the West Bank.

Read more: Al-Aqsa tensions trigger clashes across the West Bank

“The chasm between ordinary Palestinians and the president, and also [the ruling party] Fatah, has widened and that’s reflected in these polls,” Hani al-Masri, a Ramallah-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera. “This has been exacerbated by recent revelations of financial corruption within the PA, and the failure of the Palestinian National Council [the Palestinian parliament in exile] to convene.”

Three years ago, Palestinians applauded Abbas’ call at the UNGA for Palestine’s recognition as a non-member observer state. His speech on Wednesday, however, was eclipsed by growing concerns of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) growing power in parts of the Middle East and the refugee crisis in Europe.

Palestinian officials made it clear they were dismayed that US President Barack Obama failed to mention the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in his speech before the annual gathering of world leaders on Monday.

“Does Obama think he can defeat Islamic State and terrorism, or achieve security and stability in the Middle East by ignoring the continued Israeli occupation?” lead Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat said in a statement published by the official news agency WAFA.

The US’ apparent lack of interest in pushing for another round of peace talks has also left Palestinians feeling abandoned, especially at a time of increasing tension in the Holy Land, with clashes at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem taking place on a near daily basis.

Read more: Abbas warns of ‘new Intifada’ as al-Aqsa tensions soar

The abolition of the Oslo Accords, however, would come at a price. It would mean a heavy economic penalty as the PA loses vital foreign aid, as well as a series of punitive actions by Israel.

For Israel, who also depends on the agreement, the cancellation of Oslo would spell the end of the security coordination – meaning the PA security forces would no longer ensure the safety of Israeli settlers in the West Bank or crack down on foes, such as members of their mutual rival, Hamas.

“Abolishing the Oslo Accords requires coordinating with various PLO bodies, not least the PNC,” Ahmad Azm, director of the International Studies graduate programme at Birzeit University, told Al Jazeera.

“As senior Fatah official, Nabil Sha’ath, once remarked, ‘We are heavily interconnected with the Israeli economy, water, and energy services, and to dismantle this interdependence, we at least need an action plan,’ which we don’t have.”

Source:Al Jazeera

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Palestine ‘no longer bound’ by agreements with Israel – Al …

Russia gave Israel advance notice of its air strikes in …

Senior officials say Moscow contacted National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen an hour before the Russian attack.

UNITED NATIONS Russia informed Israel in advance about its intention to carry out an aerial attack in Syria, senior Israeli officials told Haaretz on Wednesday.

The sources said Russian government officials made contact with Yossi Cohen, the national security adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as with senior figures in the Israeli defense establishment about an hour before the Russian attack, saying that Russian planes would shortly thereafter be bombing targets in Syria.

The Russians’ advance notice was apparently designed to avoid any confrontation between Israeli and Russian planes in the course of the operation.

The information was provided to Israel in accordance with understandings that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached when they met in Moscow a week ago. The two leadersagreed to establish a mechanism for coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian army to head off any unintentional encounters in Syrian airspace. In a briefing with reporters in New York after his meeting on Monday with U.S. President Barack Obama, Putin acknowledged that Israel has security interests in Syria, and that he respects this.

Russia said it launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday after Putin secured his parliament’s unanimous backing to intervene to prop up the Kremlin’s closest Middle East ally.

In addition to the contact with Israel, Moscow gave Washington an hour’s notice of the strikes, which set in motion Russia’s biggest play in the region since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a U.S. official said. Targets in the Homs area appeared to have been struck, but not areas held by Islamic State, the U.S. official said. The Russian Defense Ministry said, however, that its attacks were directed at Islamic State military targets.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Russia gave Israel advance notice of its air strikes in …

Palestinian medical workers can drive into Israel for the first time in 15 years

JERUSALEM A small number of Palestinian drivers were given permission on Tuesday to enter Israel, marking the first time in 15 years that vehicles with Palestinian license plates gained access to the country.

The decision to issue about 100 vehicle permits to Palestinian medical workers authorized to serve in Israeli hospitals was made by Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of Cogat, the Israeli government body that coordinates civil activities in the Palestinian territories.

This is a significant step intended to assist doctors in completing their live-saving mission, said Brig. Gen. David Menachem, the deputy chief of Cogat. The success of this step will be evaluated in accordance with an assessment of the security situation.

In total, about 30,000 Palestinians with work permits can enter Israel, but they have had to pass through Israeli military checkpoints by foot for a decade and a half because of security concerns. The new arrangement will allow some vehicles with white Palestinian number plates, distinct from the yellow Israeli plates, to pass through the checkpoints.

The restrictions on Palestinians entering Israel were placed after their second intifada, or uprising, began in 2000. Before that, many more Palestinians had worked inside Israel. Some restrictions have been eased in recent years, after a period of relative calm.

In an interview with the Palestinian news agency Maan, Mordechai indicated that the move to issue vehicle permits was part of an effort to further ease restrictions on Palestinians who work or want to work in Israel. He said similar steps will be taken in the future to allow businessmen to enter Israel.

Last month, Israeli authorities announced that Palestinian men older than 55 and women older than 50 could enter Jerusalem without any permit. Also, married men older than 22 will now be eligible to seek work permits, Maan reported.

Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Fatah, the Palestinian political party that controls Palestinian areas in the West Bank, said the new permits for Palestinian medical workers were just correcting a very ill-conceived policy that had been in place for 15 years.

I hope that this marks the end of Israels decades-long use of collective punishment to inform a political agenda, Zomlot added.

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Palestinian medical workers can drive into Israel for the first time in 15 years

Israel's Zionist Union Calls Iran Nuclear Deal 'Problematic'

Israels Zionist Union is calling on the countrys government to engage in intensive talks with the U.S. over the recently reached accord on the Iran nuclear agreement framework. The political alliances co-leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni urged the Jewish states leadership to seek clarification of areas they perceive as problematic in the deal between the Islamic Republic and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers.

The Zionist Unions lack of confidence in the accord also prompted it to present an alternate plan of action in the event Iran violates its terms, according to the Jerusalem Post. In a document released Sunday, the political alliance encompassing the Israeli Labor Party and Hatnuah said Israel should seek the authority to take military action against Iran to protect itself from an agreement that has real potential dangers for the long term — dangers it indicated must be eradicated by the time Iran and the P5+1 group sign a comprehensive deal, presumably circa June 30.

The P5+1 group consists of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. — plus Germany.

Clearly criticizing the approach employed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to this point in the negotiating process between Iran and the P5+1 group, the Zionist Union said in the document: Instead of a policy that leaves Israel without a meaningful influence on the world powers decision-making process, Israel must immediately hold a comprehensive, intimate and deep strategic discussion with the U.S. about all of the relevant issues and to complete the discussion before the completion of the final agreement.

The Zionist Union aims to allow for the empowering of the Israel Defense Forces in a way that will give Israel an American umbrella and the unrestricted ability to act against threats and violations both of the deal and against our regional enemies that are supported by Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported.

With 24 of the 120 seats in the national legislative body called the Knesset, the Zionist Union also proposed the final agreement allow for the gradual removal of sanctions on Iran only after the Islamic Republic proves it is scaling back its nuclear program by allowing for inspections and eliminating its existing reserve of enriched uranium, the Post said.

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Israel's Zionist Union Calls Iran Nuclear Deal 'Problematic'

Tampa Jewish Community Center offers Holocaust remembrance

In honor of Yom Hashoah (April 16), more widely known as Holocaust Memorial Day, the Tampa Jewish Community Center will present a live Skype discussion with filmmaker Steven Pressman, writer and director of 50 Children: the Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus.

The award-winning film tells the story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, who rescued 50 children from Nazi Germany and brought them to the United States.

All are invited to attend the showing and talk from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Yom Hashoah. The day of remembrance, established by Israeli Parliament in 1951, falls two weeks after Passover. In Israel, entertainment venues close on Yom Hashoah and a bell signals a moment of silence at 11 a.m.

Throughout the United States, synagogues and Jewish organizations honor the day with speakers including survivors, authors and historians.

“To survivors, the Holocaust remains real and ever-present, but for some others, 60 years makes the Holocaust seem like a part of ancient history,” said Brandy Gold, the center’s arts and cultural director. “It is important that we honor this day so that we will always remember.”

The day differs from the United Nations’ Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place in January.

The message remains the same, said Jack Ross, executive director of the Jewish Community Center.

“The lesson of the Holocaust is universal,” Ross said. “It is important not only that we never forget but that we never let it happen again.”

The center strives to educate the community about Judaism, Jewish and Israeli history, and related culture. On April 26, it will celebrate Israeli Independence Day with a Concert in the Park from 2 to 6 p.m. on its campus at 13009 Community Campus Drive. The event will include food, live music and a 6 p.m. showing of the film Above and Beyond, the story of the volunteer airmen who laid the foundation for the Israeli air force.

For more information, visit

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Tampa Jewish Community Center offers Holocaust remembrance

Israel official: Israeli fire killed UN peacekeeper in Israel-Hezbollah flare-up in January

JERUSALEM An Israeli security official says the Israeli military was responsible for the death of a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper during an outbreak of violence between Israel and Hezbollah militants on the tense Israel-Lebanon border in January.

The official said on Tuesday that Cpl. Francisco Javier Soria Toledo was accidentally killed by Israeli artillery following a Hezbollah attack that killed two Israeli soldiers.

The official says Israel did not intend to harm U.N. forces. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to reporters.

After the incident, Spain’s U.N. ambassador blamed Israel and the U.N. Security Council condemned the killing. A U.N. diplomat said Israel apologized to Spain, but Israel had not publicly admitted responsibility.

Israel’s military presented its investigation of the incident to the Spanish army.

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Israel official: Israeli fire killed UN peacekeeper in Israel-Hezbollah flare-up in January

Israel: Military action against Iran still 'on the table'

A senior Israeli government minister on Monday warned that taking military action against Iran’s nuclear program is still an option despite last week’s framework deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic.

The comments by Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, reflected the alarm in Israel over last week’s deal, which offers Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for scaling back its suspect nuclear program. Israeli leaders believe the framework leaves too much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact and could still allow it to develop the means to produce a nuclear weapon.

Steinitz, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, said the government would spend the coming months lobbying the world powers negotiating with Iran to strengthen the language in the deal as they hammer out a final agreement. While stressing that Israel prefers a diplomatic solution, he said the “military option” still exists.

“It was on the table. It’s still on the table. It’s going to remain on the table,” Steinitz told reporters. “Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it’s our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat.”

Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be a threat to its survival, pointing to years of Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, its support for anti-Israeli militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads. Israel which is widely believed to be a nuclear power says a nuclear-armed Iran would set off an arms race in the world’s most volatile region.

The framework agreement was announced last Thursday in Switzerland after years of negotiations between Iran and world powers.

The deal aims to cut significantly into Iran’s bomb-making technology while giving Tehran relief from international sanctions. The commitments, if implemented, would substantially pare down Iranian nuclear assets for a decade and restrict others for an additional five years. Iran would also be subject to intrusive international inspections.

Netanyahu believes the deal leaves intact too much of Iran’s suspect nuclear program, including research facilities and advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium, a key ingredient in a bomb. He also says the deal fails to address Iran’s support for militant groups across the Middle East.

Since the deal was announced, Washington has tried to calm Israeli nerves and on Monday, White House official Ben Rhoads gave a pair of televised interviews promising continued U.S. support for Israeli security.

Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told Channel 2 TV that sanctions will be “snapped back into place if the Iranians don’t comply.”

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Israel: Military action against Iran still 'on the table'

Israel to Detain Female Palestinian Lawmaker for 6 Months

The Israeli military has placed a female Palestinian legislator under detention for six months without trial, a lawyer for the lawmaker said Monday.

Khalida Jarrar, a senior political leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a left-wing Palestinian militant group, is being held for alleged activities in a hostile organization, lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said.

Jarrar, 52, is being held under Israeli administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold detainees for up to six months at a time without charges, the lawyer said. The detention and any extensions are approved by a judge, and evidence can be kept from defense lawyers.

Israel says administrative detentions prevent attacks by militants. Rights groups say international humanitarian law permits administrative detention in exceptional cases, but that Israel is out of bounds with its large-scale use of the method.

The Israeli military arrested Jarrar last week for disobeying an Israeli order barring her from the West Bank city of Ramallah. The military said her arrest was due to “substantial concerns about the safety and security of the region.”

The military had no immediate comment Monday on the six-month detention order.

A Palestinian prisoners’ advocate, Qadoura Fares, said the arrest is an Israeli punitive political act. He said Israel is holding 16 Palestinian lawmakers in jails, most of them administrative detainees who are members of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

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Israel to Detain Female Palestinian Lawmaker for 6 Months

We saved Jews thrice, Netanyahu should revise history lessons – Iranian FM

IRAN: Iran has no intention of destroying Israel and has actually saved the Jews three times in history, but the current Israeli regime is a threat to Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said in an interview with American media.

Speaking with NBC, Zarif slamed the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after he once again said in his Monday’s speech before the US Congress that Iran openly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

The Iranian FM urged Netanyahu to refresh his knowledge of history as his comments have not only “distort[ed] realities of today,” but also go against the Bible and Jewish sacred texts.

“He even distorts his own scripture. If you read the book of Esther, you will see that it was the Iranian king who saved the Jews…” Zarif said.

The Iranian Minister called Netanyahu’s accusations “truly regrettable” stressing that they refer to “an entire nation which has saved Jews three times.”

“It is truly, truly regrettable that bigotry gets to the point of making allegations against an entire nation which has saved Jews three times in its history: Once during that time of a prime minister who was trying to kill the Jews, and the king saved the Jews; again during the time of Cyrus the Great, where he saved the Jews from Babylon, and during the Second World War, where Iran saved the Jews,” he said.

“We’re not about the annihilation of Jews,” Zarif stressed, reminding the channel that 20,000 Jews reside in Iran “in peace” and even have their own representative in parliament.

“We have a history of tolerance and cooperation and living together in coexistence with our own Jewish people, and with Jews everywhere in the world. If people want to espouse fear mongering to fan such hysteria in the world, that’s to their detriment,” Zafir said.

On the contrary, he stressed, the current Israeli regime “is a threat” to Iran as it’s a regime “that engages in the killing of innocent children, a regime that engages in acts of aggression.”

“Israel threatens to use force against Iran almost on a daily basis… Of course, if they did use force against Iran, we would defend ourselves, as we have done with great sacrifice in the past. But we are not invading, we are not threatening anybody. We have not threatened anybody for 250 years,” the Iranian FM said.

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We saved Jews thrice, Netanyahu should revise history lessons – Iranian FM

Palestine formally joins ICC

Palestine has formally attained membership of the International Criminal Court, a move that could open the door to possible war crime indictments against Israeli officials despite uncertainty over its wider ramifications.

The accessionon Wednesdayis another landmark in the Palestinian diplomatic and legal international campaign, which gained steam in 2014.

The Palestinians moved to join The Hague-based court on January 2, in a process that was finalised on Wednesday, setting the scene for potential legal action.

Palestine has and will continue to use all legitimate tools within its means in order to defend itself against Israeli colonisation and other violations of international law, said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat.

Al Jazeeras Jonah Hull, reporting from The Hague, said despite their membership, the Palestinians may still have to wait for the ICC to begin investigating Israelis accused of war crimes.

This is such a heavily politicised case, that the court will have to think hard before taking action against the Israelis. It may be years before we something.

Diana Chehade, a former ICC official, told Al Jazeera, preliminary examinations could be completed by the end of this year, but the court would not investigate cases already being looked in to by other judicial institutions.

Based on the principle of complimentarity, the ICC would not investigate if an Israeli judicial institution is investigating a war crime to ICC standards, Chehade said.

Palestine formally joins ICC

Palestine Officially Joins International Criminal Court

The Hague: Palestine formally joined the International Criminal Court on today, a move the Palestinians hope could open the door to the possible prosecution of Israelis for alleged war crimes.

The accession was marked at a behind-closed doors ceremony at the court’s headquarters in The Hague, exactly 90 days after Palestine joined the court’s founding Rome Statute.

Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki received a symbolic copy of the Rome Statute at the ceremony.

The Palestinians have already sent the court documents authorising the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories since June 2014.

The unrest in June escalated to the summer war between Israel and Gaza militants, which left 2,200 Palestinians dead and 73 on the Israeli side.

So far, no formal ICC investigation of Israeli officials has been launched.

Any such probe of alleged Israeli crimes committed in Gaza would also include an investigation of the firing of rockets and mortars by Hamas militants at civilian areas in Israel.

Despite Israel not being a signatory to the world’s only permanent court for the most serious crimes, the tribunal could prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes committed on Palestinian territory.

The ICC would face challenges in arresting Israeli suspects however as it does not have its own police force and relies on the cooperation of member states.

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Palestine Officially Joins International Criminal Court

Palestine: Show Israel the red card

Updated: Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 17:18 | Comments Palestine fans at a recent Asian Cup clash with Jordan in Melbourne

The Palestinian Football Association will ask the FIFA Congress in May to suspend Israel, accusing it of continuing to hamper its soccer activities.

Despite efforts by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to ease tensions, the Palestinians remain frustrated at restrictions they say Israel imposes on the movement of their athletes between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Football Association also cited curbs Israel places on the import into Palestinian territories of sports equipment and on visits by foreign teams and individuals.

In 2013, Blatter established a task force which included himself, the Israeli and Palestinian soccer chiefs and the heads of the European and Asian soccer confederations to examine the Palestinian complaints and to try to resolve them.

But Palestine Football Association president Jibril Rajoub said he has lost patience, and he has called on FIFA to show Israel “the red card”.

Israel cites security concerns for restrictions it imposes in the West Bank, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority exercises limited self rule, and along the border with the Hamas Islamist-run Gaza Strip.

But it says it has eased travel for Palestinian athletes between the two territories, which requires passage via Israel.

In December, Rajoub called on FIFA to sanction Israel after Israeli troops entered the offices of the Palestine Football Association. An army spokesman said at the time soldiers were seeking a wanted individual and were not targeting the premises because of its links to soccer.

The Palestinian draft resolution calls for Israel’s suspension because its actions “inhibit our ability to develop the game”.

Palestine: Show Israel the red card