The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed Palestinians to a corner

Jerusalem attack

By: Ramzy Baroud
In early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.
The 39-year-old Jerusalemite was scheduled to hand himself over to serve a term of four months in jail for, allegedly, trumped-up charges of “trying to hit an Israeli soldier.”
Misbah was familiar with Israeli prisons, having been held there before on political charges, including an attempt to sneak into and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of a large compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which includes — aside from Al-Aqsa — the famed Dome of the Rock and other Palestinian Muslim sites, revered by Muslims everywhere.
Al-Aqsa is believed to be the second mosque ever to be built, the first being Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Holy Quran mentions it as the place from which Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, journeying from Mecca to Jerusalem.
For Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians alike, the Mosque took on a new meaning following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian city of al-Quds (East Jerusalem) in 1967.
Scenes of Israeli soldiers raising the Israeli flag over Muslim and Christian shrines in the city fifty years ago, are burnt into the collective memory of several generations.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been the focal point of clashesbetween Palestinian worshipers and the Israeli army.
Daily visitors to the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem include non-Muslims tourists. They are often welcomed by the Al-Waqf administration, which is the Islamic religious trust that manages the holy shrines, a practice dating back 500 years.
Even after the Israeli occupation of the Arab city, al-Waqf has continued to be the caretaker of the Muslim site, as arranged between the Jordanian government and Israel.
Israeli design in the occupied city, however, is far greater than the mosque itself. Last April, the Israeli government announced plans to build 15,000 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem, contrary to international law.
The international community recognizes East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city. The United States, too, accepts international consensus on Jerusalem, and attempts by the US Congress to challenge the White House on this understanding have all failed. That is, until Donald Trump came to power.
Prior to his inauguration in January, Trump had promised to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement was welcomed by Israeli right-wing politicians and extremists alike. Many of Israel’s supporters in the US saw this as a good sign for the Trump presidency.
While the US embassy has yet to officially move to Jerusalem, the new administration is sending a message that it is no longer bound by international law with regard to the occupied territories.
Not only is the US abandoning its self-tailored role as a “peace broker” between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, but it is sending a clear signal to Israel that there can be no pressure on Israel regarding the status of Jerusalem.
In response, the United Nations and its various institutions have moved quickly to reassure Palestinians.
The UN cultural agency, UNESCO, has been the most active in this regard. Despite US-Israeli pressure, several resolutions have been passed by UNESCO and the UN General Assembly in recent months, which have reaffirmed Palestinian rights in the city.
Israel and the US moved to punish Palestinians for UNESCO’s decisions.
It began when the Israeli Knesset began pushing laws that make life even more difficult for Palestinian Jerusalemites, including a law that limits the Muslim call for prayer. The law, which passed its second reading last March, was championed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli police expanded the ever-growing list of Palestinians who are not allowed to reach their houses of worship. The list included Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was repeatedly arrested, beaten, and incarcerated by the Israeli police.
The Israeli government then opened up the floodgates of settlement expansion in the occupied city, after being partially limited during the presidency of Barack Obama. In part, that was Netanyahu’s response to UN Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem and the occupied territories.
Concurrently, the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, took on the task of silencing any international criticism of the Israeli occupation, calling international attempts to end the occupation a form of “bullying.”
Assured by the unconditional US support, Netanyahu moved to new extremes. He severed his country’s ties with UNESCO and called for the dismantlement of UN headquarters in the occupied Palestinian city.
East Jerusalem was already illegally annexed by Israel in 1980, but without international acceptance of such a measure, the Israeli move seemed pointless.
Now, Israel feels that times are changing, as the Trump administration offers Israel a window of opportunity to normalize its illegal occupation and annexation of the city.
In recent months, Palestinians have responded in myriad ways. They have worked with various countries across the globe to challenge the Israeli-US plans.
Most Palestinian efforts, although successful to some extent, have failed to sway Israel in any way.
The political upheaval has translated on the ground to more violence, as thousands of Israeli occupation soldiers and police were rushed to the city to restrict Palestinian movement and to block thousands of worshipers from reaching Al-Aqsa. Hundreds were detained in a massive security campaign.
In the absence of a strong leadership, Palestinians are growing increasingly desperate and angry. The Palestinian Authority is largely busy in its own pitiful power struggles and appears to have no time for Palestinians, who are left with little hope for a political horizon and no clear sense of direction.
While thousands of Palestinians have resisted through constantly attempting to reach Al-Aqsa or demonstrated in protest, others are “reaching the breaking point.” One was Misbah Abu Sbeih.
Once he arrived at the Israeli military police station, Mishbah did not give himself up. Instead, he opened fire, killing an Israeli army officer from the Yassam unit and another Israeli. He was killed instantly.
Other attacks followed. On Friday, July 14, the holiest day of the week in the Muslim calendar, three Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers and police officers stationed near one of the Haram’s gates.
They killed two Israeli officers, and were killed by occupation soldiers, soon after. This is the first time that an attack of this nature has been recorded inside the Al-Aqsa compound. Since 1967, only Israelis have used arms in violent clashes with Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in or around this holy shrine throughout the years.
Last June in Jerusalem, speaking to a crowd celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of the city, Netanyahu declared that the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound would “forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.”
Empowered by the Trump administration and assured by Haley’s tactics at the UN, Netanyahu feels that his dream of subduing East Jerusalem is being realized. The price of Netanyahu’s dream, however, is likely to be costly.
On the day of the attack, several Palestinians were killed in various parts of the West Bank and a 3-year-old child from Gaza died while awaiting a permit to cross from the besieged region to the West Bank for treatment. None of this registered in international media. The armed Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers, however, made headlines around the world.
More violence is likely to follow. Palestinians, who are dying without much media coverage, are desperate and angry as their holy city is crumbling under the heavy boots of soldiers, amid international silence and unconditional US support for the Israeli government.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Israeli forces shoot young Palestinian in East Jerusalem, raid hospital where he is treated

Zio's shot young man from Silwan

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian man on Monday evening in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a local watchdog organization reported, before raiding the hospital where the wounded Palestinian was being treated.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Israeli troops stormed the area of Ein al-Luza and fired stun grenades and live fire haphazardly, while young residents threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks in response.
One Palestinian was seriously injured during the raid, according to the information center, and taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.
The center added that Israeli police raided the al-Makassed Hospital east of the Old City of Jerusalem, seeking to detain the injured Palestinian.
Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said the young man was taken from his hospital bed by Israeli forces.
However,the family of 19-year-old Alaa Abu Tayih told Ma’an on Tuesday morning that Israeli soldiers and police officers had been stationed outside of the intensive care unit (ICU), where the young man was being treated after having been shot in the lower abdomen.

The relatives added that the troops had prevented them from reaching Alaa in the ICU.

Zio's shot young man from Silwan1

The al-Makassed Hospital said in a statement that Israeli forces had also surrounded the hospital, and examined the identity documents of all hospital employees and visitors.The hospital called the raid a violation of international law, and called on the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene to end the “state of chaos caused by the Israeli occupation forces” in al-Makassed.Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Health Jawad Awwad said Israeli forces should “immediately” vacate the premises, calling the hospital raid a “crime.”

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement late on Monday that police forces “dispersed rioters” in Silwan using “non-lethal weapons,” making no mention of any injuries.
However, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri reported that a Palestinian was injured during the raid, adding that a police officer was “lightly injured” in the foot after being hit with a stone.
Al-Samri added that one Palestinian was detained in Silwan.
Rosenfeld meanwhile said that Israeli police also raided the neighborhood of Issawiya, where he said masked youths threw “petrol bombs and fired fireworks” at the police officers, who “dispersed” them using “non-lethal weapons.”
Al-Samri said in a statement that two Palestinians were detained in Issawiya.
East Jerusalem has witnessed heightened tensions in the past week following a deadly attack on Friday that left three assailants and two police officers — all Palestinian citizens of Israel — dead in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City.
Locals have reported a number of detentions around the Old City, as well as Israeli forces’ use of violence against Muslim worshipers who have performed prayers at the Lions’ Gate leading to Al-Aqsa to express their rejection of heightened Israeli security procedures around the compound.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Palestinian killed after alleged vehicular attack in southern West Bank

palestinian killed WB Hebron

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian was killed after allegedly carrying out a car-ramming attack in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a vehicular attack took place at the entrance of Beit Einun north of Hebron, adding that “in response to the immediate threat,” Israeli forces fired at the vehicle.
They added that “a hit was confirmed,” clarifying that the Palestinian was “not alive.”
Palestinian security sources identified the slain Palestinian as 29-year-old Rafaat Nathmi Shukri Hirbawi from Hebron City.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Mazda car with Palestinian license plates, in which two people were riding. The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an, however, that they were only aware of one person in the vehicle.Immediately after shooting at the vehicle, large numbers of Israeli troops arrived at the scene and closed off the road to traffic, the eyewitnesses said, adding that the soldiers denied a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance access to the wounded Palestinian.

Two soldiers were lightly wounded in the incident, the army spokesperson said, adding that they were being hospitalized.
Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency health service, reported on social media that two Israeli men in their twenties had been evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in mild condition.
However, a spokesperson at the hospital told Ma’an she was not aware of any soldiers being treated there.
Israeli news outlet The Jerusalem Post reported that two pedestrians in their sixties were also injured in the incident.
According to Ma’an documentation, 45 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year — eight of whom were killed in the past seven days alone.
Aws Muhammad Yousif Salameh, 17, and Saad Nasser Hassan Abd al-Fattah Salah, 20, were killed during clashes in Jenin refugee camp on July 12, while 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda died in similar circumstances in al-Duheisha refugee camp on July 14.
That same day, three Palestinian citizens of Israel, Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29, were killed by Israeli forces while carrying out a shooting attack which killed two Israeli police officers, who were also Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
Ammar Ahmad Khalil, meanwhile, was killed during an Israeli army raid in the village of Nabi Salih on Sunday, as Israeli forces accused him of being involved in past shooting incidents.
Ten Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in 2017.
Activists, and rights groups have denounced what they have termed a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner — amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.
Meanwhile, a report released by Human Rights Watch earlier this year documented “numerous statements” made by senior Israeli politicians and religious figures “calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life.”
HRW noted that Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy has received widespread support among Israeli citizens, citing a 2016 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute which found that 47 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the sentiment that “any Palestinian who carries out a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been captured and clearly does not pose a threat.”

(Source / 18.07.2017)

IOF storms W. Bank areas, kidnaps citizens from homes

Raids WB and arrests

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday kidnapped several Palestinian citizens from their homes in different West Bank areas.

In Nablus city, four citizens, including a journalist, were taken prisoners during raids on homes.

The journalist, Ridwan Qatnani, was kidnapped from his home in Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus city. He works as a news reporter for Palestinian websites.

Three other citizens identified as Mohamed al-Khalili, Abdul-Rahman Kuwaira and Musaab Mar’ie were also kidnapped from their homes in the city.

In Tubas, an Israeli military force kidnapped a young man called Imad Bani Odeh after ransacking his home in Tamun town.

The same military force also clashed with local young men during their presence in the town.

In Jenin, Israeli soldiers rounded up two Palestinian young men at a makeshift checkpoint they set up at the main entrance to al-Yamun town, west of the province.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the young men were detained and interrogated by soldiers on a road near Yamun town and then taken to the Salem military base.

The IOF also stormed different areas of Qalqilya city, raided homes and kidnapped a young man called Mohamed Nazzal.

A similar military campaign took place in Kifl Hares town in Salfit and ended with the detention of a local young man.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Israeli court releases soldier convicted of manslaughter

Soldier free convicted manslaughter

An Israeli military court on Monday ordered the release of soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of killing a Palestinian in al-Khalil last year.

The court ruled that Azaria would be placed under house arrest at his parents’ house in Ramla city for no more than a week or two until a decision is reached on the appeal against an earlier court verdict sentencing him to 18 months in jail.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Azaria has spent a few months in open detention at the Kfir Brigade’s Nachshonim Base near Rosh HaAyin. In that time, Azaria periodically left the base to his home and many trips to court on furloughs. Additionally, his family was granted frequent visitation rights to his base.

Azaria’s lawyer already appealed the original court verdict and demanded a full acquittal for his client.

In March 2016, Azaria cold-bloodedly shot Abdul-Fatah al-Sharif, 21, in the head while he was lying immobile on the ground in al-Khalil.

The incident, which was filmed at the time, happened about 15 minutes after al-Sharif was shot and wounded by other soldiers he tried to stab.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Israeli soldiers open fire at Palestinian car in al-Khalil

Opened fire at Pal al-Khalil

Israeli soldiers on Monday evening opened fire at a Palestinian car in al-Khalil and were about to kill its driver at the pretext he was intending to carry out a ramming attack.

Hebrew media sources claimed the driver tried to ram his car into a group of soldiers near al-Zahed area in al-Khalil, prompting the latter to open fire at him. They added that the driver escaped the area.

However, a spokesperson for the Israeli occupation army denied the incident was a car-ramming attack, affirming that the driver failed to respond to the soldiers who ordered him to stop and panicked after his car was shot at.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

IOF obstructs traffic on Salfit road

Makeshift checkpoint Salfit

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday evening set up a makeshift checkpoint at the main entrance to Salfit city in Ruwais area and obstructed the movement of vehicles.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers intercepted cars on the northern main road to Salfit, checked the IDs of Palestinian young passengers and maltreated them.

They added that the Israeli roadblock caused traffic jams and prompted drivers to take other routes.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Injuries in clashes at Bab al-Asbat

Clashes Bab al-Asbat

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said on Monday evening that 11 Jerusalemites were injured in clashes between worshipers and the Israeli police at Bab al-Asbat near al-Aqsa Mosque.

The worshipers were attacked after performing evening prayer outside al-Aqsa Mosque in protest against the metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities at the entrances of the Mosque.

MP Mustafa al-Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, was among the injured, according to the PRCS.

According to the PIC reporter, 3 Jerusalemite women who were protesting at Bab al-Asbat were beaten by the Israeli police earlier in the day before a number of youths who were in the scene were able to intervene and defend them.

Several injuries have been reported since Sunday in the clashes between the Israeli police and the Jerusalemite worshipers who refused to enter al-Aqsa Mosque via the metal detectors installed at its gates.

Al-Aqsa Mosque was completely closed before worshipers on Friday after two Israeli officers were killed in an armed clash in the compound.

The Israeli authorities started on Sunday to reopen the Mosque gradually after installing dozens of metal detectors and cameras at the entrances of the site, which was widely rejected by Muslim worshipers.

(Source  / 18.07.2017)

Hamas: Israel’s attempts to take control of al-Aqsa will fail

Hamas about al-Aqsa

The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, hailed on Monday the guards of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian worshipers who refused to enter the Mosque through the metal detectors installed at its gates.

Hamas’s spokesman, Abdullatif al-Qanou’, said in a press statement that these “dangerous and unprecedented measures” are aimed at tightening the Israeli control over al-Aqsa Mosque, adding that they will definitely fail.

For his part, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haneyya, in a statement on Monday, warned that the latest Israeli measures imposed on al-Aqsa Mosque fall in line with an Israeli scheme to divide the site.

Haneyya saluted the steadfast Jerusalemite people and Awqaf officials who refused to succumb to the Israeli measures and enter the Mosque via the metal detectors.

He urged all concerned organizations, especially the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, to act urgently to put an end to the Israeli crimes.

He called on Muslim scholars to mobilize official and popular efforts to thwart the Judaization schemes targeting al-Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 18.07.2017)

Thousands of Hamas detainees in Israeli lock-ups denied family visits

1000 Hamas detainees no visit

The Israeli occupation authorities banned the families of Hamas affiliates from visiting their jailed relatives, implementing a recently-issued retaliatory measure.

The ban dovetails an Israeli government decision denying Hamas prisoners the right to family visits until further notice.

Sometime earlier, the Hebrew-speaking Yedioth Ahronoth daily said the Israeli government decided that 1,200 Hamas detainees from the blockaded Gaza Strip and the West Bank be banned from family visits in a move aiming to pressure Hamas to release Israeli soldiers held captive by the Movement.

On Monday morning, only 52 Palestinians, among whom 17 children, were allowed to pass through the Israel-controlled Erez border-crossing to visit their relatives in the Israeli Nafha lock-up, according to the Red Cross spokeswoman, Suhair Zaqout

(Source / 18.07.2017)