Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu

Essebsi sworn in as Tunisian president

Tunisia’s  Beji Caid Essebsi has been sworn in as president after landmark polls in the country. Essebsi won the race in December with 55.7% of the vote, against interim President Moncef Marzouki’s 44.3%.

Unlike in previous presidential elections where ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali persecuted his rivals, Tunisians this year were able to choose their favorite from a pool of 27 candidates.

“This is the first time we reach a second round,” political analyst Noureddine Mbarki told Al Arabiya News. “The margin was little in the first round, and even the second round, 10% is the margin that we see in developed democratic countries.”

Essebsi won 39.46% of the votes on the Nov. 23 election, followed by Marzouki with 33.43 %.

“We used to see 90% back in the day,” said Mbarki, referring to election results under the dictatorship of Ben Ali.

“Tunisians headed to voting polls three times in eight weeks. This is the first time it happens in Tunisia’s history.”

This year saw the first female presidential candidate, Judge Kalthoum Kannou. Analysts saw her candidacy as another milestone in the revolution.

International reaction

Hailing the presidential vote, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the time: “Tunisia has provided a shining example to the region and the world of what can be achieved through dedication to democracy, consensus, and an inclusive political process.”

He added: “Tunisia’s achievements this year laid the groundwork for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future for the country.”

The European Union also offered congratulations. “Tunisians have written a historic page in the country’s democratic transition,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

However, the revolution is far from complete, said political analyst Sadeq Belaid: “What has been achieved… is only one stage. The old state model failed and brought about a revolution. Now we need to build a new model stone by stone.”

He added: “It’s not enough to have democratic institutions. There’s a lot of work to be done because the transition took longer than anticipated. This will take five to 10 years.”

Advertisements

If the Gaza Truce Holds, What Then? 5 Possible Outcomes

How Operation Protective Edge might end — or carry on interminably

Egypt announced that Palestinian factions declared a 72-hour cease-fire to begin on Tuesday at 8 a.m. Israel sat out of the Cairo talks that produced the humanitarian truce, but said it would hold by the cease-fire, a government spokesman told TIME.Whether or not the parties actually make it through a full three days with no airstrikes or rocket attacks remains to be seen. Every other cease-fire effort undertaken since the escalation in early July has failed. But there is a more pressing question: What now? Who and what can put an end to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza — with 1,865 Palestinians and 67 Israelis killed so far – and also propose a longer-term solution?Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, on Monday offered a new idea for solving the Gaza problem: let the United Nations take control of the long-troubled territory. “Everyone is asking, what happens after the operation ends? Suppose Israel defeats Hamas. There are a few options. International control of Gaza, by the UN, should certainly be considered,” Lieberman said in a press conference. This has been tried in other war-torn locales, from Kosovo to East Timor. Why not Gaza?Well, for one thing, it would be an enormous and expensive undertaking for the international community to take responsibility for Gaza. It would also require Hamas and other militant groups to agree to participate in such a scheme, which is difficult to imagine given that they’ve built their entire identities around what they view as legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation. Still, many of the key players here say that almost a month into the bloodiest phase in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the Second Intifada, some significant change must emerge at the end of it. TIME looks at five possibilities for how this could end:

  1. Send in the UN. This would involve what’s been referred to as mini-Marshall Plan, including a massive rebuilding program that would help Gaza pick up the pieces. The task would be huge: electricity and water supplies have been compromised, and an estimated 10,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged. Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister and IDF chief, has proposed some specifics. These include having the international community oversee the demilitarization of Gaza – a goal recently endorsed by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, but opposed by Hamas – and approximately $50 billion dollars for rebuilding. EU foreign ministers issued a joint statement July 23 backing demilitarization.
  1. Bring the PA back to Gaza: Israel and Hamas will eventually be brought into some kind of proximity talks under an umbrella of Egyptian sponsorship, and the outcome of those discussions would likely involve the return of the Palestinian Authority and its security forces to Gaza, casting them in a key role as guardians of the crossing points into Israel and Egypt – along with international help. The PA, run by the PLO’s secular Fatah faction, was forced out of Gaza in 2007 as part of a violent coup staged by Hamas, whose name is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement. Bringing a PA political and security presence back to Gaza would help beef up the legitimacy of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. As part of such an arrangement, Israel would likely demand a joint patrolling mechanism on the Gaza perimeter to prevent infiltrations and renewed attempts to rebuild tunnels, more than 30 of which the IDF says it has destroyed. However, the rockets from Gaza did not start when Israel pulled its troops and 8,000 settlers out of Gaza in 2005, but rather, Israel points out, in 2001. Therefore, Israel is likely to refuse any agreement that doesn’t include a mechanism for preventing Hamas from rebuilding its rocket arsenal. The fact that Hamas and Fatah joined in a “reconciliation” government in April makes this form of cooperation more feasible than it was even a year ago.
  1. A ten-year truce: Almost two weeks ago, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year hudna, or Arabic truce. Its terms include – but are not limited to – the following: (1) the release of approximately 50 Palestinian prisoners who, after being released as part of Gilad Shalit deal in late 2011, were re-arrested by the IDF in June following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank (2) the opening of the border crossings with both Israel and Egypt (3) international supervision of the Gazan seaport instead of the Israeli naval blockade, as well as extended fishing rights to 10 km off the coast of Gaza, (4) an international airport under UN supervision, and (5) International forces on the borders of Gaza. Even if Israeli officials were prepared to accept all of that — which would be unlikely — they have said that the very concept of a hudna, a concept rooted in Islamic history, is problematic because it suggests Hamas only believes in a limited period of calm with the Jewish state, but refuses a more permanent solution because it seeks its destruction.
  1. Possible reoccupation of the Gaza Strip This is an option that is often mentioned by Israel’s far-right, including some members of Netanyahu’s cabinet. Coalition partner Naftali Bennett, the Minister of Economy, said last week that Israel should continue its military operating until Hamas is completely defeated. Lieberman, the foreign minister, had suggested in late June that Israel reoccupy Gaza, saying only that would stop the rockets. Ultimately, Netanyahu appears to have rejected these calls, realizing that such a move would likely cause far more bloodshed and further rattle Israel’s already compromised international legitimacy.
  1. Indefinite war In this scenario, Israel withdraws its troops and tanks from Gaza, but continues to use air and naval strikes as it sees fit. Hamas stays in power and launches rockets at Israel whenever it pleases, and essentially, nothing substantial changes from how things looked a month ago – other than a great number of destroyed buildings and upwards of 2,000 lives lost. If the parties cannot agree on a cease-fire deal that feels satisfactory, “Operation Protective Edge” could simmer down into a indeterminate cycle of occasional attacks, robbing both Israelis and Palestinians of a return to normal life. Some are hoping that the right cease-fire deal is just around the corner, and some are wishing their leaders will keep holding out for more. But the possibility of a low-level war of attrition, lasting years and costing yet more lives, is not remote.

 TIME.

Breaking news / Israeli military starts ground operation in Gaza

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the military to start a ground operation in Gaza, his office has announced.

“The prime minister and defence minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel,” the statement said.

A large IDF force has launched a new phase of Operation Protective Edge, starting a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesperson has confirmed.

As reported by the Associated Press, Israel had originally organized about 48,000 reserve soldiers for the operation, but on Thursday another 18,000 were called up. It’s unclear how many are actually involved in the ongoing ground offensive.

Israel’s chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, meanwhile, urged residents in Gaza to evacuate areas in which the military is operating, since it is doing so with “very great force.”

According to the IDF statement, the goal is to target Hamas tunnels that “enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks.”

“We are now continuing with the ground forces to strike terrorist infrastructure, Hamas infrastructure, in multiple areas throughout the Gaza Strip,” army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters.

“Following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation, the Israel Defence Forces (army) has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement, according to AFP.

The IDF also accused Hamas of using civilian deaths to paint Israel’s actions in a negative light.

“In the face of Hamas’ tactics to leverage civilian casualties in pursuit of its terrorist goals, the IDF will continue in its unprecedented efforts to limit civilian harm,” it said.

Hamas, meanwhile, said Israel’s move is “foolish” and will have “dreadful consequences.”

Speaking with CNN, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, “the beginning of the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza is a dangerous step with unknown consequences. Israel will pay a heavy price for it.”

Witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling along the Gaza border.

Israel’s latest ground operation comes after attempts to broker a cease-fire with Hamas failed to take hold. The last 10 days have seen both sides exchange rocket fire, resulting in the deaths of more than 220 Palestinians and one Israeli, with some attacks coming under intense scrutiny. Recently, four Palestinian children were killed by an Israeli airstrike while they were playing on a beach in Gaza.

Overall, Israel has struck more than 2,000 targets in Gaza, while Hamas has fired almost 1,500 rockets towards Israel.

Although both Israel and Hamas agreed to observe a brief suspension of hostilities following a request by the United Nations, reports indicated on Wednesday that Israel was considering sending boots on the ground in order to remove rockets and other weapons used by Hamas.

“The IDF’s objective as defined by the Israeli government is to establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continued indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’s terror infrastructure,” the army said in its statement.

The last time Israel launched an extensive ground offensive in Gaza was back in January 2009, following an armed conflict that began the month prior in December. That offensive, known as Operation Cast Lead, began on January 3 and was tasked with a similar objective: to secure areas from which militants were launching rockets. The entire conflict – which ran from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 –resulted in the deaths of up to 1,417 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to six years in jail for corruption

Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court in Israel, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court in Israel, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel’s ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in jail on Tuesday for taking bribes in a massive real estate deal, a crime the judge said was akin to treason.

The first criminal conviction of a former Israeli head of government all but ended speculation that Olmert – a centrist credited internationally with working towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians – might return to political life.

He had denied any wrongdoing in the property deal that took place while he was in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor.

“A public servant who takes bribes is akin to a traitor,” said Judge David Rozen of the Tel Aviv District Court.

“(Olmert) is a criminal who devoted most of his time to praise-worthy public service. (But) he also lined his own pockets,” he said in passing sentence.

Rozen ordered Olmert to report to prison on September 1, effectively giving his lawyers time to lodge what they said would be an appeal to the Supreme Court and a request that he remain free until it rules.

Two years ago, the veteran politician was acquitted of most of the major charges brought against him in separate cases involving his links to a U.S. businessman.

Those corruption allegations forced Olmert’s resignation as prime minister in 2008, and his acquittal had appeared to position him for a possible political comeback.

But in the new corruption trial, Rozen found Olmert guilty on March 31 of two bribery charges and said he accepted 500,000 shekels ($144,000) from developers of the Holyland apartment building complex in Jerusalem and 60,000 shekels in a separate real estate project.

On Tuesday, the judge granted the prosecution’s request for a six-year jail term.

NETANYAHU CRITIC

Olmert has made several criticisms of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s policies toward the Palestinians, fuelling talk about his future political ambitions.

But in sentencing Olmert, the judge said his crimes entailed “moral turpitude”, which under Israeli law would preclude him from running for any public office for seven years after finishing his jail term.

A lawyer by profession, Olmert began his political career in the 1970s as a legislator who targeted organized crime in Israel.

He served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003 and as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, staying in office in a caretaker capacity until after an election that brought right-winger Netanyahu to power.

As prime minister, Olmert waged war against militants in Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza Strip in 2008.

He claimed significant progress in talks with the Palestinians aimed at securing a final peace deal, offering an Israeli withdrawal from much of the occupied West Bank. But no agreement was reached.

After a three-year break, U.S.-brokered negotiations resumed in July, but they were frozen last month by Netanyahu after President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas, an Islamist group that advocates Israel’s destruction.

Palestinians blamed Netanyahu for the collapse, citing Israeli settlement-building and his failure to carry out a pledged prisoner release.

Olmert was among 13 defendants in the Holyland case, which revolved around the construction of a hulking, hilltop housing project widely regarded as Jerusalem’s worst eyesore.

Sentences handed down on Tuesday against six of the other accused ranged from three to seven years.

In 2010, a former Israeli president, Moshe Katsav, was convicted on rape charges. He is serving a seven-year sentence.

 

President George W. Bush exchanges handshakes ...

President George W. Bush exchanges handshakes with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel during their meeting Tuesday, May 23, 2006, in the Oval Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hamas or Israel? Netanyahu says Palestinian Authority must choose

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must choose either peace with Israel or an alliance with Hamas, but he cannot have both, Israel’s PM has said. His comments come after the Palestinian Authority restarted talks on a unity government with Hamas.

During a meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if the Palestinian Authority united with Hamas it would bring an end to the US-sponsored peace talks.

“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “He has to choose: Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far he hasn’t done so.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments and said signing an agreement with Hamas was equivalent to “signing the termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

Furthermore Netanyahu said that the Authority continues to demand “additional conditions,” knowing that Israel cannot accept them. On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the conditions that Israel needs to fulfill for the continuation of peace talks.

He called for the establishment of borders between Israel and Palestine, the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners and a halt to the construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been pushing for these conditions since the restart in negotiations with Israel following a three-year hiatus last July.

Abbas also threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority, forcing Israel to take on the burden of governing the region, if bilateral talks fail.

“If the negotiations stop, it’s the Israeli government that will bear the responsibility for the economic situation and the paying of the salaries of (Palestinian) employees, workers and farmers, for health and for education just as it did before the establishment of the Authority,” he told reporters Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority revived talks with Hamas on Tuesday and agreed to form a government of national unity within the “next few weeks,” Palestinian officials told AFP.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority now face an April 29 deadline to resolve their differences and make headway with bilateral talks before Washington withdraws its support.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rocket barrage from Gaza hits Israel, no one hurt : police

4367

(Reuters) – Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 20 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, the Israeli military said, in the heaviest such barrage in two years.

The rocket fire, which police said caused no casualties, was claimed by the Islamic Jihad group and came a day after Israel killed three of its members in a Gaza air strike.

Police said “a number of waves of rockets” had hit southern Israel. The military said in a statement that two rockets had been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

“It’s a barrage such as we haven’t seen for two years,” Haim Yellin, a local municipal official in the south, told Army Radio, referring to an eight-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza in November 2012.

Sirens sounded in several communities across southern Israel to alert residents to take shelter and general warnings were given urging everyone in the area to remain indoors.

“It appears as though the waves of rockets have come in response to our preventive operations of yesterday,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

“We shall continue to thwart and attack those who seek to attack us, and shall act against them with great force.”

Describing the incident on Tuesday in which three Islamic Jihad militants were killed, the military said they were targeted after they fired mortar bombs at Israeli soldiers.

Islamic Jihad said at the time that its men had died confronting Israeli troops who had entered the Gaza Strip.

Israel pulled its soldiers and settlers out of the territory, now run by Hamas Islamists, in 2005. But it maintains a naval and air blockade and severely restricts the overland movement of people and goods across the volatile border.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pew: Strong Bipartisan Support for Israel As Obama-Netanyahu Meet

The Pew Research Center on Monday evaluated recent polling on American sentiments regarding the peace process in general, and administration efforts to pursue a U.S.-backed framework agreement between the parties in particular, as President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in the Oval Office to discuss issues ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to the Iranian nuclear program. Pew noted that despite public signals that Obama “intends to press [Netanyahu] to help move Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to a ‘conclusive round,’” Americans were divided on the degree to which the administration should be focusing on the dispute.

Until now, Obama has not been as personally involved as some presidents had been in peacekeeping efforts, although Secretary of State John Kerry has made the goal of a comprehensive peace agreement one of his top priorities. But about four-in-ten (39%) of Americans say the U.S. should be less involved in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute compared with 36% who say it should remain is involved as it is now, according to a survey conducted last fall. About a fifth (21%) of Americans say the U.S. should be more involved.

U.S. support for Israel remains high, and it cuts across partisan and religious lines. About half (49%) of Americans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians in their dispute, while just 12% sympathize with the Palestinians and 12% say they back neither side, according to a March 2013 survey.

An interview given by the President to Bloomberg on the eve of the talks – described by veteran Israeli journalist David Horovitz as “a bombshell battering” of the Prime Minister – saw Obama placing substantial blame on Netanyahu for uneven progress in current Israeli-Palestinian talks. Horovitz noted that the interview, which also saw Obama sketching out scenarios for Israel’s diplomatic isolation, was a move that “might be considered bad manners, poor diplomatic protocol, a resounding preemptive slap in the face,” and more substantively that it was “just about the last thing likely to bolster the prime minister’s confidence in their alliance, and just about the last thing likely to encourage Netanyahu to further alienate his hawkish home base by taking steps such as halting building outside the settlement blocs.”

The Oval Office meeting itself reportedly went smoothly:

Speaking to the press, Obama said that there is strong bipartisan support for Israel’s security and that the two-state solution is still possible. Obama praised Netanyahu’s intensive efforts in the talks and reiterated his commitment to assuring Iran does not become a nuclear power…An Israeli official said prior to the meeting of the two leaders that “there are tensions between the two. Obama’s interview (with Bloomberg) heightened tensions.”

via Pew: Strong Bipartisan Support for Israel As Obama-Netanyahu Meet – The Tower – The Tower.

Enhanced by Zemanta

‘US security plan included IDF troops on West Bank highway’ | The Times of Israel

The Palestinian negotiating team rejected an American peace plan which would involve Israeli military presence along the Jordan Valley highway, located five kilometers (three miles) from the Jordanian border, after the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

Contrary to earlier reports, the proposed final-status arrangement would see IDF control of a broad corridor in the Jordan Valley — not just a minimal stationing of Israeli soldiers along the border — for the first 10 years after the signing of a peace deal, Channel 10 News reported Tuesday.

According to the TV report, the plan formulated by retired US general John Allen and presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a recent visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry, ensured a more significant Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley than previously reported. Earlier reports suggested that Allen’s plan stationed IDF troops on the Jordanian border, but Channel 10 cited “sources knowledgeable with the negotiations” saying it entailed an IDF presence along Route 90, the major north-south artery five kilometers west of the frontier.

Last week, the Palestinians said they rejected any proposal that didn’t entail the removal of all IDF soldiers from a future Palestinian state.

A senior Palestinian official was quoted saying that after Kerry pitched the proposal, the meeting between the Secretary of State and Abbas turned to “worse than bad.”

The presence of Israeli soldiers in the Jordan valley in a final agreement is a point of contention between Netanyahu and his chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

According to a September report in Israeli daily Maariv, Livni supports the introduction of international forces to the Jordan Valley, similar to the expanded role UNIFIL received in southern Lebanon under Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and which Livni was appointed by the government to oversee.

Netanyahu, however, adamantly opposes international forces, insisting on an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley even within the framework of a Palestinian state.

The prime minister recently ordered the government to begin construction on a major upgrade of the existing security fence along the Jordanian border, including the section of the border inside the West Bank.

Abbas, who vehemently rejects Netanyahu’s demands, had reportedly turned down Kerry’s offer, and said that Israeli presence in the Jordanian Valley would undermine the sovereignty of a future Palestinian state.

Concerned that a final status agreement may not be possible by the May target date the two sides accepted when they resumed talks in August, Kerry’s recent visit was aimed at pushing forward a framework accord that would contain the principles of a comprehensive pact, but not specific details.

If an outline were achieved, the negotiations could be extended beyond the nine-month timeline originally set by Kerry.

US officials, who spoke to Associated Press reporters aboard Kerry’s plane on condition of anonymity, stressed that an agreement on all issues by May is the US’s number one goal for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

But, should that prove unworkable, they said a framework agreement would buy time for additional negotiations.

A framework accord, the officials said, would be a “logical step” on the path to a final status agreement.

‘US security plan included IDF troops on West Bank highway’ | The Times of Israel.

Obama plan gives Palestinians joint control of Jordan Valley ‘crossing points’ | World Tribune

JERUSALEM — The United States wants Israel to grant the
Palestinians joint control over the border with Jordan.

Officials said the administration of President Barack Obama has
submitted a multi-stage security plan that would give the Palestinians
control over the entire West Bank. They said some areas, particularly the
border with Jordan would be administered with the Israel Army.

 

“The Americans are proposing joint control over the crossing points [into Jordan],” Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said.

The plan was formally relayed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Dec. 5 during the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry demanded an immediate discussion of the plan, authored by U.S. security coordinator Gen. John Allen.

“President Obama has designated him [Allen] to play a very special role in assessing the potential threats to Israel, to the region and ensuring that the security arrangements that we might contemplate in the context of this process, will provide for greater security for Israel,” Kerry said.

Officials said the U.S. plan proposes foreign monitors to replace
Israel’s military presence in the West Bank. They said Allen envisions the use of U.S.-financed Iron Dome batteries to protect Israel from Palestinian rocket attacks.

“From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian
presence at the crossing points,” Dannon said. “An Israeli civilian and
military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.”

Netanyahu, who met Kerry three times in 36 hours, has refrained from
commenting on the Allen plan, drafts of which were shown to Israel over the
last three months. Until recently, the prime minister vowed that Israel
would not abandon the Jordan Valley.

The Allen plan was said to have been drafted with the help of 160
officials from the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies. On Dec. 7,
Obama said the plan concluded that Israel would be secure with a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and a Hamas-ruled state in the Gaza Strip.

“This transition period requires some restraint on the part of the
Palestinians as well,” Obama said. “They don’t get everything they want on day one.”

Obama plan gives Palestinians joint control of Jordan Valley ‘crossing points’ | World Tribune.

Protesters, Israeli police clash at demonstration against plans to relocate Negev desert Bedouins | i24news

Israeli Prime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said violent protests against the Prawer Bill, aimed at resettling the large majority of the Bedouin population living in Israel’s Negev desert, would not be tolerated and that offenders would be tried “to the full extent of the law.”

Netanyahu spoke with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino following violent riots during the “day of rage” against the Bill. “We will try the offenders to the full extent of the law. They will not be tolerated. We shall continue to advance the Praver Bill,” he said.

Netanyahu further added: “The attempts of a loud and violent minority to deprive a bigger community of a better future is very severe.”

Clashes broke out Saturday evening between Israeli police and protesters as thousands of protesters erected road blocks and attacked police officers across the country.

Around 1,200 people began protesting peacefully at around 13:00 GMT in the southern Bedouin village of Hura , but at around 14:30 GMT turned violent as demonstrators and the large police force, including cavalry and helicopters, began clashing. Police arrested ten people.

Protesters threw stones at security forces deployed at the demonstration. Police responded with tear gas to disperse the protest. After the clashes erupted, some protesters began setting tires on fire, and one intersection at which protest took place, was closed to traffic.

Meanwhile, some 1,500 protesters blocked a main street in Israel’s northern city of Haifa and chanted “We will sacrifice our lives for Palestine” and “We won’t let Prawer pass.” A policer officer was stabbed in the leg by a protester in Haifa and sustained light wounds.

Among the protesters were Arab MKs including Haneen Zoabi, who in 2010 took part in the controversial Gaza Flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were shot following violent attacks on Israeli special forces attempting to stop the flotilla’s main ship.

Several dozens also demonstrated in Jerusalem’s Old City, hurled stones and tried to block a road. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Israeli Police Souther District Commander Yoram Halevy said Police are aware of attempts to inflame tensions and bring a new round of violent protests in Israel.

“This is not the first time we’ve heard people make warnings about a Third Intifada,” Halevy said. “We approved a license for a peaceful protest and to my dismay, from the beginning it declined very quickly when they began throwing rocks and we were forced to close the highway.”

“They also threw Molotov cocktails and garbage cans,” he said, adding that “there is an attempt to start a war here but we won’t allow it to happen.”

Police said that by 18:00 GMT 28 people arrests were made and 15 police officers were lightly hurt, including Coastal District Commander Haggai Dotan; the spokeswoman of the Negev subdistrict Navah Tabo, and an officer from the Central District who was stabbed in the leg by a protester.

Situation in south ‘catastrophic’

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called the rioting “serious but expected” and the situation in the south “catastrophic.”

“It is our duty to stop the situation in which there are some citizens to whom the laws of planning and construction apply and there are others who ignore them and used violence to ensure the laws don’t apply to them,” Liberman wrote on Facebook.

According to Liberman, “this isn’t a social problem or a housing crisis, but a battle for the land…We are fighting for the national lands of the Jewish people and some are intentionally trying to steal them and forcibly take them over. We cannot close our eyes and escape this reality.”

He called for the government to deal with the situation before it becomes impossible by building modern cities for Israeli Arabs, with tall buildings and infrastructure.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch issued a statement condemning the violent protests against the Bedouin resettlement plan. “I strongly condemn the fierce violence by the protesters. When such brutal violence is directed at officers it’s clear that the rioters’ goal is not a legitimate and legal protest.”

International Day of Rage

Saturday was dubbed as the ‘International Day of Rage’ against the relocation plan with demonstrations expected to take place in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as Berlin, The Hague, Cairo and other cities around the world, after organizers spent weeks drumming up support for a series of simultaneous rallies.

The Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, also known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, was drawn up by former Likud Knesset member Benny Begin and approved by the Cabinet in January of this year and approved by the parliament in a first reading in June.

It calls for Israel to officially recognize and register the vast majority of Bedouin settlements throughout the South, while compensating the residents of 35 unrecognized communities, housing some 30,000 to 40,000 people, who will be moved off state-owned land into towns built by the Israeli government.

The government says the plan will give the Bedouin the services and economic opportunities they currently lack. Bedouins and human rights activists however see the plan as a land grab tinged with anti-Arab racism with some even referring to it as an “ethnic cleansing” scheme.

A cabinet statement has said “most” residents — who do not currently receive government or municipal services — would be able to continue living in their homes after the villages are granted legal status. Bedouin advocates say that there are no obstacles to recognizing all of the current villages in place.

The government has so far neglected to provide infrastructure services to the scattered Bedouin communities, citing high expenses.

Bedouin rights groups refute such claims, arguing that isolated Jewish towns and farms in the Negev have been given such services while Bedouin requests have been ignored, an accusation the government in turn denies.

Protesters, Israeli police clash at demonstration against plans to relocate Negev desert Bedouins | i24news – See beyond.