Analysis News

How do you stop Palestinians unionizing? Cancel their entry permits

An Israeli employer of Palestinians inside a West Bank settlement, with the help of Israeli authorities, is exploiting the military permit regime in order stop his workers from unionizing, a High Court petition alleges.

Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)

Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)

In order to sabotage the unionization of Palestinian workers, the owner of an Israeli car garage filed a false police complaint against one of the union organizers, a High Court petition filed Monday by the Ma’an Workers Advice Center alleges.

Hatem Abu Ziadeh, the leader of the Palestinian workers at Zarfaty Garage, located in the West Bank Mishor Adumim industrial park, had his permit to enter his workplace revoked by the Israel Police and Civil Administration after his employer filed a complaint alleging that he was intimidating other employees, the petition states.

The High Court petition seeks an injunction ordering the Israeli army to reinstate Abu Ziadeh’s permit to enter the Israeli-controlled industrial zone. According to a 2007 High Court decision, the protections of Israeli labor law apply to Israeli businesses operating in the West Bank and their Palestinian employees.

In Depth: A journey into the dark heart of Israel’s permit regime

“This petition is about the improper use of the West Bank permit regime in order to harm the Zarfaty Garage’s employees’ [ability] to organize,” Ma’an wrote in a statement.

Abu Ziadeh has worked at the Zarfaty Garage for 17 years. Ma’an alleges that the police complaint and subsequent revocation of Abu Ziadeh’s permit was an attempt to circumvent labor laws that forbid the dismissal of union leaders in order to stop workers from organizing.

“It is entirely clear that the complaint, on the basis of which the Zarfaty Garage workers’ leader’s permit was revoked, was a false complaint [made] by an interested party, who changed his version of events three times in one week,” a statement by Ma’an said.

The following video report was produced by Israel Social TV earlier this summer, after Zarfaty’s Palestinian employees launched a labor strike.

Related:
The cynical use of Palestinian workers in the...

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Everything Elliott Abrams knows about Israeli settlements is wrong

The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land, all without ever earnestly seeking a two-state solution.

Elliott Abrams (Photo by Miller Center / CC 2.0, cropped)

Elliott Abrams (Photo by Miller Center / CC 2.0, cropped)

Imagine that the Palestinian Authority announced that based on an offer made by Israel in past peace negotiations — and irrespective of the result of those negotiations — it was launching a program to send Palestinian refugees to resettle inside Israel proper. Indeed, there is documentation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert made a concrete offer to absorb 10,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state agreement. The only problem, Israel points out, is that no peace deal has been reached. In fact, there are not even any plans for negotiations to resume.

That scenario is imaginary for countless reasons, but the tactic described is identical to that which Israel is employing today.

In a condescendingly titled article in Foreign Policy last week (“Everything You Know About Israeli Settlements Is Wrong”), former Bush advisor Elliott Abrams argues that the Israeli government’s latest land grab in the West Bank is actually not such a big deal because the land is part of an area that is “going to remain Israel’s no matter what.”

Yup. No matter what.

Israeli policy, and the thinking behind it, Elliott explains rather well, is that it can treat concessions it hopes to win in future negotiations as faits accompli and simply establish them as facts on the ground.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, like most of his predecessors, is playing a clever and time tested game. Netanyahu uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land — in areas he calls “consensus settlement blocs” that Israel expects to annex in a peace deal — without ever credibly and earnestly seeking such a two-state solution.

A policy of ‘restraint’

Israel’s separation barrier stands on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Bil’in; the wall was built surrounding the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit (seen in the background). In a protracted court battle, Bil’in managed to win back some of its land but landowners are still cut off from a significant portion which has...</img></div><a href=Read More
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The occupation will last forever, Netanyahu clarifies

When Abbas joins the next UN body and signs the next international treaty or makes his next move aimed at advancing statehood, remember why he is doing so.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday put to rest any lingering speculation or hopes that the long-comatose two-state solution might ever be revived.

All of a sudden, the prime minister’s refusal to discuss borders or maps in negotiations with the Palestinians makes sense. After all, why negotiate over a map you have no intention of ever compromising on?

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Netanyahu said in a televised statement about the current Gaza military operation, the Times of Israel reported.

Yes. You read that right. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister for the coming years (unless he is unseated by a political opponent who outflanks him from the right) said that there is no way he would ever pull the Israeli army out of the West Bank.

It’s official. Not that this should really surprise anyone, as long as Netanyahu is the Israeli prime minister the occupation is forever and there will be no sovereign Palestine.

Click to read more on the diplomatic process

So when PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas takes his next international diplomatic step aimed at advancing Palestinian statehood and claiming a seat among the community of nations, remember why he is doing so. (Abbas is reportedly discussing joining the International Criminal Court.) It is not because negotiations broke down over some minor details, a clash of personalities or just bad timing.

No. It’s because at the negotiations table, Abbas was the only one even talking about a two-state solution. It’s now clear why U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was unable to draft an acceptable — to Israel — “framework” document in his efforts to budge negotiations along just a few feet further. Netanyahu outright rejects the most fundamental piece of the puzzle: the land on which it lays.

Denouncing the current violent escalation between Israel and Hamas Friday night, Mahmoud Abbas said: “The only solution to the...

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Nobody should be a number: Names of those killed in Gaza

At the time of writing, Israeli air strikes and shelling had killed dozens of Palestinians since the start of Operation Protective Edge. There had been no deaths on the Israeli side.

Some of those killed by Israel were Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, others were civilians, including women and children. The Israeli army has been bombing the family homes of militants, which it claims were also being used for military purposes. Many of the children killed thus far were related to individuals whose homes were targeted.

All too often, casualties on both sides of this conflict are remembered only as numbers. This post is a reminder that each one has a name.

Read +972′s full coverage of the Gaza violence

The following is a list of those Palestinians and Israelis. who have been killed thus far. The Palestinian names have been provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health to Lebanese daily Al Akhbar.

Gaza Civil Defense Directorate crews remove the wreckage of a car targeted by an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip, July 10, 2014. The attack killed three men riding in the car who were taken to Kamal Udwan hospital. Two were identified as Mahmoud Waloud and Hazim Balousha. (Photo by Joe Catron)

Gaza Civil Defense Directorate crews remove the wreckage of a car targeted by an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip, July 10, 2014. The attack killed three men riding in the car who were taken to Kamal Udwan hospital. Two were identified as Mahmoud Waloud and  Hazim Balousha. (Photo by Joe Catron)

Palestinian casualties

Tuesday, June 8:
1. Mohammed Sha’aban, 24, was killed in a bombing of his car in Gaza City.
2. Ahmad Sha’aban, 30, died in the same bombing.
3. Khadir al-Bashiliki, 45, died in the same bombing.
4. Rashad Yaseen, 27, was killed in a bombing of the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
5. Riad Mohammed Kawareh, 50, was killed in a bombing of his family’s home in Khan Younis.
6. Seraj Ayad Abed al-A’al, 8, was wounded in the same bombing and succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday evening.
7. Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15, died in the same bombing.
8. Bakr Mohammed Joudah, 22, died in the same bombing.
...








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Kidnappings leave a wake of 'revenge,' racist violence

Jewish motorists are pulled from their vehicles; Liberman exploits nationalist tensions; victim of East Jerusalem police beating is an American teenager; settlers make new land grab, set up new West Bank outpost.

Protesters running in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, on June 3, 2014. (Photo by Omar Sameer/Activestills.org) The demonstration was organized by local activists following the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Protesters running in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, on June 3, 2014. (Photo by Omar Sameer/Activestills.org) The demonstration was organized by local activists following the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Clashes continued throughout the night in East Jerusalem following the funeral of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir on Friday, who was kidnapped and reportedly burned alive earlier this week. The violence also spread to various areas of Israel and the West Bank, including attacks on Jewish Israeli motorists.

Protesters in Qalansawe, a Palestinian town in the Triangle on Israel’s coastal plain, attacked Jewish motorists. The protesters reportedly began checking drivers’ ethnic origins and attempted to force Jewish drivers out of their vehicles. One such person managed to escape on foot but the attackers burned his vehicle. Another driver managed to escape with his vehicle. Police arrested 12 suspects. Another 20 were arrested in East Jerusalem.

Clashes with police have taken place in a number of other area towns in recent days. A Molotov cocktail was reportedly thrown at the town of Mei Ami, a Jewish community deep inside the Triangle.

Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings

Many in Israel pointed to increasing incitement against Palestinians since the deadly kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday posted a statement on the events in Qalansawe, demanding harsh punishment for the perpetrators but also fanning the flames by exploiting the opportunity to promote his dormant population transfer and loyalty oath plans.

Liberman demanded that prosecutors “send a deterring and unequivocal message to those who enjoy Israeli citizenship and act like they’re the latest terrorists.” He continued in a post on his official Facebook page: “These events once again make clear that these peoples’ place is not in the State of Israel, and until then, their place is certainly in prison.”

Attacks against Palestinians inside Israel have also been more frequent since the three kidnapped Israeli teens were...

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Palestinian teen murdered in suspected 'revenge kidnapping'

Heavy clashes take place in a number of East Jerusalem neighborhoods, leading to dozens of injuries, including two photographers from Activestills; Kerry conveys condolences to the Palestinian people over despicable murder; ‘revenge’ calls spread throughout Israeli social networks, streets of Jerusalem.

Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police broke out Wednesday morning when news broke of a suspected kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina hours earlier. Speculation that the killing was a nationalistically motivated and perpetrated by Jewish Israelis as revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank appeared almost immediately in nearly every Israeli media outlet. Police initially urged caution, saying that no motive had been established, but later said they estimated it was a “nationalistic” crime.

Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was walking to morning prayers for Ramadan after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning when a car pulled up and a number of passengers forced him in. Police later found his burned body in a Jerusalem-area forest. A gag order covered other details of the investigation. The family reportedly agreed to an autopsy and the funeral was scheduled for Thursday.

The mother of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdair mourns his death, East Jerusalem, July 2, 2014. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The mother of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdair mourns his death, East Jerusalem, July 2, 2014. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday condemned the “despicable and senseless abduction and murder,” adding, “[t]here are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.”

“Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation,” Kerry continued. “We look to both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office published a readout from a conversation Prime Minister Netanyahu had with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, in which he asked police to work quickly to investigate “work as quickly as possible in order to investigate who is behind the reprehensible murder and what the motive was.” The written statement added that “the prime minister calls on all sides not to take the law into their own hands.”

Click for +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings

The...

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Three kidnapped Israeli teens found dead in the West Bank

Kidnappings led to the largest military operation in the West Bank since the Second Intifada.

Israeli military forces on Monday located the bodies of three teenage yeshiva students who have been missing and assumed kidnapped for over two weeks. The bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel were found buried in a field near Halhoul, in the Hebron area.

The three, two of whom are 16 years old and the third 19, were hitchhiking home from their yeshiva in a West Bank settlement when they were believed to have been kidnapped.

The Israeli army had surrounded the homes of two of the suspected kidnappers within minutes of the announcement, with troops reportedly preparing to demolish the houses. In recent days, the Israeli government announced a return to its policy of punitive home demolitions.

Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings and ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’

Israeli soldiers enter the city of Halhul, near Hebron, in a search for the three kidnapped teenagers. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli soldiers enter the city of Halhul, near Hebron, in a search for the three kidnapped teenagers. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli Border Police were reported to be deployed heavily in anticipation of revenge attacks by settlers in the northern West Bank.

Following the kidnapping, Israel launched a major military operation in the West Bank, dubbed “Operation Brother’s Keeper.” The operation, while searching for the kidnapped teenagers in the Hebron area, also had a second aim: to target Hamas and other Palestinian groups throughout the West Bank.

Over 500 Palestinians have been arrested and six were killed during the operation thus far. The entire southern West Bank was on lockdown for over a week as troops searched homes, fields, caves and buildings. Restrictions were even placed on the ability of Hebron-area residents to travel abroad, for those who were able to leave their cities and towns.

The Israeli cabinet was called for an emergency meeting Monday night and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to make a public statement.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel put out the following statement moments after the news was announced: “In war, on the one hand you need to strike down terrorists without any mercy, and on the other hand, you need to provide a suitable Zionist response.” The latter part of his statement likely refers to building new settlements.

On Sunday night,...

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Linguistic terrorism: Somebody buy Israeli politicians a dictionary

A top-six list of the various ways Israeli officials have reinvented definitions — and types — of terrorism.

'The Scream', by Edvard Munch

‘The Scream’, by Edvard Munch

Likud MK Miri Regev had a fairly successful career as a wordsmith back when she was the IDF Spokesperson — before becoming even better known for calling African asylum seekers “a cancer in Israel’s body.” She later apologized to cancer victims for the analogy.

On Wednesday, Regev made a new addition to the list of insane Israeli uses of language — by herself and countless other politicians and officials — by inventing new types of terrorism.

Put simply, most terrorism involves explosions or shooting. There are exceptions, of course, but generally they do not include at least five out of the six following types of terrorism invented by Israeli officials in recent years.

6. Diplomatic terrorism. When PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN to seek statehood for the Palestinians in 2012, Israel’s foreign minister was livid. In addition to calling Abbas a “a liar, a coward and a weakling,” Liberman described the PLO chairman’s UN bid as “diplomatic terrorism.” It only got stranger. “Between diplomatic terror and conventional terror,” Liberman told the entire Israeli diplomatic corps, “diplomatic terror is more serious.”

5. Economic terrorism. The BDS movement has been gaining momentum in recent years. So when the EU announced new settlement guidelines to ensure that it’s own money doesn’t end up in settlements, which it considers illegal, Israel got a little worked up. Before becoming Israel’s economy minister, Naftali Bennett served in two of Israel’s most elite reconnaissance and counter-terrorism units, so one might be tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what terrorism is. At least until he called the EU settlement guidelines “economic terrorism.”

4. Legal terrorism. Israel is a small country and it can feel a little suffocating after a while, especially in August. So it’s no surprise that Israelis love to travel. Threatening the ability to travel of Israel’s closest thing to royalty, its army generals, would indeed be terrifying. So when seeking war crimes charges against top military officials came back en vogue following the deadly Mavi Marmara raid in 2009, it was only natural that the IDF described efforts to enforce international law as...

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What’s the significance of a 'settlement-free Europe?'

The direct effects of official sanctions against Israeli settlements are limited. But the momentum created by such moves inspires and pushes private actors to take their own steps in the same direction.

France on Tuesday published a warning to its citizens against doing business in or with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The UK issued a similar official warning to its citizens late last year, and according to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, Italy and Spain are expected to make similar announcements soon.

There has been an open movement in the halls of European power in the past year or so to implement what EU officials insist has always been the union’s position: to ensure that the EU is settlement free.

There will be no more business as usual if peace talks fail, a senior bureaucrat in the EU’s External Action Service told me earlier this month. “There’s a new political perception and political will in the international community.”

In addition to the warning from the UK and similar moves in Germany, momentum has been moving in a direction hostile to Israeli settlement activities for over a year.

The EU issued its beefed up settlement guidelines. Labeling of settlement products is moving forward. The EU has said it will stop recognizing Israeli veterinary certifications of poultry raised in settlements and a revocation for organic produce certifications from settlements is around the corner. More forceful territorial clauses are being inserted into each and every bilateral agreement between the EU and Israel, and the reception in Jerusalem isn’t cheery.

Some of those agreements with territorial clauses, like one dealing with participation with European police agencies, have Israel fuming.

But what do such measures actually mean, both for settlement trade and Israel’s reception of sanctions against it? Do they stand a chance of pushing Israel to end its settlement policies?

Some products from settlements will simply cost more as enforcement of labeling and tariff agreements is made more stringent, ensuring settlement products do not benefit from free trade agreements. Other products, like organic produce and poultry, will likely be excluded from the Europe market entirely because of their lack of recognized certifications.

But the actual economic consequences for the minority of Israeli businesses that are located beyond the Green line are not Jerusalem’s biggest concern. Exports from settlements will not make or break...

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The return of punitive home demolitions

Israel orders the demolition of the family home of a man who has only been charged, and not convicted, of murder. A government official says the policy is being reinstated to ‘level the playing field’ with Palestinians, while human rights groups say the practice only harms innocents.

The Israeli government announced that it will return to demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected and convicted of involvement in terrorism and other violence. The first demolition order was issued against the family home of a man accused of murdering an off-duty police officer and wounding his family earlier this year.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem was quick to point out that the policy harms only innocents and not the accused. Thirteen people, including eight children, none of whom have been accused of or charged with any crime, live in the home slated to be demolished.

The order must be approved by an Israeli court.

House demolition in Anata, Northern Jerusalem, April 14, 2008 (Photo: Meged Gozani/Activestills.org)

House demolition in Anata, Northern Jerusalem, April 14, 2008 (Photo: Meged Gozani/Activestills.org)

Israel stopped using home demolitions as a punitive measure in 2005 following an Israeli army report that said the policy did not act as an effective deterrent against terrorism. In the previous four years, Israel demolished 664 Palestinian homes as punishment for family members’ suspected or proven involvement in terrorism, according to B’Tselem.

Ziad Awawde, 42, and his teenage son stand accused of murdering Baruch Mizrahi and wounding his wife and two children on Passover eve this year. Awawde was arrested in May and the Shin Bet only announced his arrest on the day of his indictment in a West Bank military court Monday. A demolition order was issued and posted on his family’s home within 24 hours.

Although Israeli military courts have an astounding 99 percent conviction rate, Awawde has yet to be convicted. His family, speaking to Channel 10 news Wednesday, denied his involvement in the murder.

Read: House demolitions – Zionism’s constant background noise

An Israeli “government official” told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the home demolitions were being reinstated “in order to level the playing field.” Israel, according to foreign reports, has at least 100 nuclear weapons, the strongest military in the region and fully controls the entire West Bank, including areas...

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IDF kills two Palestinians far from center of search operation

In Ramallah, Palestinian youth clash with raiding Israeli soldiers and Palestinian police alike. Israeli Border Police shoot to death a mentally unstable man in Nablus.

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians overnight in the northern West Bank, far from the center of search operations for three kidnapped Israeli teens in the southern Hebron region. The two killings bring the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the operation 10 days ago up to five. Dozens more have been injured.

Military and political officials in Israel have said publicly that the current operation is only partly aimed at finding the kidnapped Israelis and that the army is also taking the opportunity to target Hamas in the West Bank.

Raids and arrests have targeted Hamas affiliated charities, educational institutions, media outlets, elected officials and major universities, along with other activists and Hamas members. Over 300 have been arrested since the start of the operation.

An Israeli soldier stands on the rooftop of a Palestinian home in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 18, 2014. (File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli soldier stands on the rooftop of a Palestinian home in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 18, 2014. (File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In a Nablus refugee camp early Sunday morning Border Police officers shot and killed Ahmad Said Suod Khalid, a 36-year-old mentally unstable man on his way to morning prayers. He reportedly ignored the paramilitary troops’ warnings to stop.

In Ramallah, Mahmoud Ismail Atallah, 30, was shot and killed on a rooftop in the center of the city. He was likely shot by soldiers positioned on adjacent rooftops, according to Israeli and Palestinian reports.

Palestinian youth threw rocks at and clashed with Israeli soldiers who had invaded Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital and an area that according to the Oslo Accords is supposed to be under full Palestinian security control.

The clashes turned against PA police when Israeli soldiers reportedly took shelter in or near a Palestinian police station; the youth chanted against collaboration between PA security forces and the Israeli army. At least 10 were injured, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

In an interview with Haaretz over the weekend, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas noted that since the start of 2013,...

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Rights groups say IDF response to kidnapping is collective punishment

Israel has restricted the movement of of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and arrested hundreds in response to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. Arrests have included Palestinian parliament members and prisoners released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

Text by Michael Omer-Man
Photos by Tess Scheflan and Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers raid the West Bank city of Hebron on June 17, 2014, as the hunt for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by militants entered its fifth day. Thousands of Israel troops engaged in the search for the youths. Overnight, the army turned its attention during the night to the northern West Bank city of Nablus and surrounding areas, arresting dozens of Palestinians. (Photo: Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers raid the West Bank city of Hebron on June 17, 2014, as the hunt for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by militants entered its fifth day. Thousands of Israel troops engaged in the search for the youths. Overnight, the army turned its attention during the night to the northern West Bank city of Nablus and surrounding areas, arresting dozens of Palestinians. (Photo: Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

 

Since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped outside a West Bank settlement six days ago, the Israeli military has placed massive and arbitrary restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in most of the southern West Bank.

The entire city of Hebron has been under complete closure for days, and a number of other major checkpoints in the southern West Bank, everything south of Bethlehem, have been closed to Palestinian traffic. Impromptu or temporary checkpoints have been erected elsewhere, restricting freedom of movement.

Arbitrary travel restrictions were placed on Palestinians whose official place of residence is Hebron, including preventing certain categories of Hebronites from leaving the West Bank to Jordan.

 

An elderly Palestinian man argues with an Israeli soldier taking part in the search operation for three Israeli teenagers believed to have been kidnapped by Palestinian militants, on June 17, 2014 in the West Bank city of Hebron. Israel stepped up efforts against Hamas in the West Bank Tuesday as the hunt for three Israeli teenagers entered its fifth day. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An elderly Palestinian man argues with an Israeli soldier taking part in the search operation for...


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Analysis: How Israel taught Hamas that violence is effective

The Islamic group has good reason to believe that violence will work for it, and maybe even set the stage for diplomatic engagement with Israel: it has in the past, both for itself and the PLO.

A Palestinian youth holds a mock rocket as thousands of Palestinians celebrate Hamas' 25th anniversary in the West Bank city of Hebron, December 14, 2012. This is the first time since 2007 that the Palestinian Authority has allowed Hamas to celebrate its anniversary in the West Bank. (photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

A Palestinian youth holds a mock rocket as thousands of Palestinians celebrate Hamas’ 25th anniversary in the West Bank city of Hebron, December 14, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

It is ironic that Israel rushed to point to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens as the reason it cannot negotiate with a Palestinian leadership affiliated with Hamas.

Indeed, in the wake of the kidnapping — regardless of the outcome — Israel will very likely use the event as an excuse to stay away from the already comatose peace talks with the Mahmoud Abbas’s moderate, Fatah-dominated PA and PLO.

However, if Hamas is indeed behind the kidnapping, and it carries it out with the professionalism, patience and successful strategy that it used with Gilad Schalit, it will in all likelihood lead to direct talks between Hamas and Israel. (Hamas has not explicitly denied being behind the kidnapping, but it did describe accusations that it is responsible as “stupid.”)

Israel actually has a long track record of contact and negotiations with Hamas, a group whom it lobbies the entire world to boycott. Those negotiations and contacts have taken place in the context of a prisoner swap, but are far more regular regarding cease fires and understandings about security protocols.

Following nearly every escalation, military operation and round of violence involving Israel and the Gaza Strip since 2007 when Hamas took full control of that territory, Israel has, through Egyptian and other intermediaries, negotiated explicit and implicit agreements with the Islamic political and militant movement. Those agreements have covered ceasefires and general arrangements under which Hamas would prevent other armed groups from attacking Israel, as well as very specific and technical ones regarding the size and depth of Israel’s “buffer zone” along the land border and access to Gaza’s territorial waters.

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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