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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Israeli police kill Fadi Alloun in cold blood after lynch mob chases him

The two videos below speak for themselves.  A Palestinian teenager was chased by an Israeli Jewish lynch mob and the Police then executed him.  He presented no danger, he had no weapon, they simply took the word of the racist mob.  Only then did they ask if there were any injured and of course there wasn’t.

This Nazi like murder of an innocent Palestinian boy speaks volumes about the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’.
Fadi Samir Alloun in an undated image posted on Facebook.

Video: Death-chanting Israeli mob rejoices as Palestinian teen is executed

This article contains graphic images of violence

Amid increasing violence in occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, Israeli forces executed a Palestinian youth in cold blood early on Sunday morning.

Israeli forces have declared that the Old City of Jerusalem will be open only to Jews and foreign tourists for the next 48 hours. No Palestinians except residents will be allowed in.

In a further escalation, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli education minister who openly boasts about how many Arabs he has killed, announced he plans to spend Sunday night’s Jewish holiday of Simhat Torah in the Old City.

Bennett heads the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party whose senior member, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, has openly called for genocide of Palestinians.


Fadi Samir Alloun in an undated image posted on Facebook.

Israeli authorities claimed that 19-year-old Fadi Samir Alloun was killed after a stabbing attack that wounded an Israeli teenager. They presented no evidence connecting Alloun to the alleged stabbing.
But videos posted online show that the youth was executed in cold blood as he was chased by a mob of Israeli Jews baying for his blood.

As the video above begins, voices can be heard in Hebrew shouting – apparently at police – “Shoot him! He’s a terrorist! Shoot him!” and “Don’t wait! Shoot him!”

Alloun can be seen backing away from the mob, along the tracks of the Jerusalem Light Rail.
The lights of a police car can then be seen and the sound of seven gunshots heard. Alloun falls to the ground. At no time in the video was he any threat to anyone.

Wattan TV says the killing occurred in the Musrara area, just outside the walls of the Old City, near the Damascus Gate.

Kill first, ask questions later

A police officer – apparently the shooter – can be seen approaching Alloun. Meanwhile celebratory voices are heard shouting “Yes! Yes! Son of a bitch!” and “Wow!” and “He’s an Arab!”

“Death to the Arabs!” others shout.

A police officer then asks, “Where are the injured?” This suggests that the police shot first and only asked questions afterwards.

It was a cold-blooded execution at the behest of a lynch mob.

This is confirmed by this second video of the same incident published by Alkhaleej Online.
It shows the mob clearly inciting for Alloun to be killed as they chase him. The Palestinian youth is trying to escape.

After police shoot him dead, an officer can be heard asking one of the mob, “Did he stab anyone?
The Israeli youth answers that Alloun did not. While details about the alleged stabbing – and whether Alloun had anything to do with it – are disputed, what is in no doubt is what is visible in the video: he was shot dead in cold blood when he presented no threat to anyone by police who were answering to a mob.

Beautiful voice

Friends and family told the Quds news site that Alloun was gifted with a beautiful singing voice.
He often gave the call to prayer from the Martrys Mosque in the Jerusalem village of Issawiyeh.
Alloun’s family had long been victims of Israel’s occupation policies in Jerusalem. According to Quds, his mother had been a permit to return to Jerusalem from Jordan, where she had gone after her father died. Israel refused to allow the family to reunite, meaning Fadi and his father lived in Jerusalem, while his mother and brother Muhammad remained in Jordan.

Friends said Alloun was a sensitive and quiet person who never showed anger toward anyone.


The execution of Alloun comes as Israel escalates its violent attacks on Palestinians in the wake of recent killings of settlers in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

On Thursday, two settlers were killed in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank.

On Saturday, 19-year-old Palestinian Muhannad Halabi fatally stabbed two Israelis in the Old City of Jerusalem. Nehamia Lavi, 41, was a rabbi in the Israeli army and Aaron Benita, 21, was a combat soldier. Lavi lived in occupied East Jerusalem and Bennett in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit.
Palestinian and Israeli media have reported a sharp escalation in attacks on Palestinians and their property across the West Bank by Israeli occupation forces and settlers in recent days.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society declared a “state of emergency” on Sunday throughout the West Bank following the upsurge of attacks by Israeli soldiers and settlers.

The society said it had faced 14 attacks against its medical staff and ambulances over the past 72 hours. It told Ma’an News Agency that 96 Palestinians had been injured by Israeli live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and other weapons between Saturday and Sunday evenings.

In Burin village, in the northern West Bank, Palestinians had to defend their homes after Israeli settlers set fire to trees and plants in the village and threw stones and bottles at residents, Ma’an News Agency reported.

Syria - The Choice is Between the Bad and Far Worse - Assad or Isis

As the Britain's Guardian abandons what passes for any independent analysis for a cache of NATO press releases, The Independent's Robert Fisk demonstrates why, when it comes to an understanding of the Middle East, he is head and shoulders above any other correspondent.  Patrick Cockburn, who is also an Independent columnist, makes important observations on the reality of the Syrian conflict.

There is no doubt, and people should not gloss over it, that the Assad regime has a horrific human rights record.  Indeed it was the place where the United States used to render people.  However in the present situation the choice is quite clear - Assad or Isis.

Tony Greenstein

Syria’s ‘Moderates’ Have Disappeared... and There Are No Good Guys

An explosion rocks Syrian city of Kobani Getty
Western confusion reigns while the Russians go for the jugular 
By Robert Fisk

October 05, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent" - The Russian air force in Syria has flown straight into the West’s fantasy air space. The Russians, we are now informed, are bombing the “moderates” in Syria – “moderates” whom even the Americans admitted two months ago, no longer existed. 
Bashar al-Assad, center, speaks with Syrian troops during his visit to the front line in the eastern Damascus district of Jobar, Syria
It’s rather like the Isis fighters who left Europe to fight for the “Caliphate”.Remember them? Scarcely two months ago, our political leaders – and leader writers – were warning us all of the enormous danger posed by “home-grown” Islamists who were leaving Britain and other European countries and America to fight for the monsters of Isis. Then the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees began trekking up the Balkans towards Europe after risking death in the Mediterranean – and we were all told by the same political leaders to be fearful that Isis killers were among them.
Russia claimed it hit eight Isis targets, including a "terrorist HQ and co-ordination centre" that was completely destroyed

It’s amazing how European Muslim fighters fly to Turkey to join Isis, and a few weeks later, they’re drowning in leaky boats or tramping back again and taking trains from Hungary to Germany. But if this nonsense was true, where did they get the time for all the terrorist training they need in order to attack us when they get back to Europe? 
Smoke billows from buildings in Talbiseh, in Homs province, western Syria, after airstrikes by Russian warplanes
It is possible, of course, that this was mere storytelling. By contrast, the chorus of horror that has accompanied Russia’s cruel air strikes this past week has gone beyond sanity. 

Let’s start with a reality check. The Russian military are killers who go for the jugular. They slaughtered the innocent of Chechnya to crush the Islamist uprising there, and they will cut down the innocent of Syria as they try to crush a new army of Islamists and save the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian army, some of whose members are war criminals, have struggled ferociously to preserve the state – and used barrel bombs to do it. They have also fought to the death. 
The aftermath of Russian airstrike in Talbiseh, Syria

“American officials” – those creatures beloved of The New York Times – claim that the Syrian army does not fight Isis. If true, who on earth killed the 56,000 Syrian soldiers – the statistic an official secret, but nonetheless true – who have so far died in the Syrian war? The preposterous Free Syrian Army (FSA)?
Fighting between government forces and the umbrella group the Army of Islam in Douma, near Damascus this week  Reuters
This rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”.  These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder or merely retiring quietly – and wisely – to the countryside where they maintained a few scattered checkpoints.
Washington admitted their disappearance, bemoaned their fate, concluded that new “moderates” were required, persuaded the CIA to arm and train 70 fighters, and this summer packed them off across the Turkish border to fight – whereupon all but 10 were captured by Nusrah and at least two of them were executed by their captors. Just two weeks ago, I heard in person one of the most senior ex-US officers in Iraq – David Petraeus’s former No 2 in Baghdad – announce that the “moderates” had collapsed long ago. Now you see them – now you don’t.

But within hours of Russia’s air assaults last weekend, Washington, The New York Times, CNN, the poor old BBC and just about every newspaper in the Western world resurrected these ghosts and told us that the Russkies were bombing the brave “moderates” fighting Bashar’s army in Syria – the very “moderates” who, according to the same storyline from the very same sources a few weeks earlier, no longer existed. Our finest commentators and experts – always a dodgy phrase – joined in the same chorus line.  
A video grab taken from the footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website, purporting to show an airstrike in Syria
So now a few harsh factoids. The Syrian army are drawing up the operational target lists for the Russian air force. But Vladimir Putin has his own enemies in Syria. 

The first strikes – far from being aimed at the “moderates” whom the US had long ago dismissed – were directed at the large number of Turkmen villages in the far north-west of Syria which have for many months been occupied by hundreds of Chechen fighters – the very same Chechens whom Putin had been trying to liquidate in Chechnya itself. These Chechen forces assaulted and destroyed Syria’s strategic hilltop military Position 451 north of Latakia last year. No wonder Bashar’s army put them on the target list.

Other strikes were directed not at Isis but at Islamist Jaish al-Shams force targets in the same area. But in the first 24 hours, Russian bombs were also dropped on the Isis supply line through the mountains above Palmyra. 

The Russians specifically attacked desert roads around the town of Salamia – the same tracks used by Isis suicide convoys to defeat Syrian troops in the ancient Roman city of Palmyra last May. 
They also bombed areas around Hassakeh and the Isis-held Raqqa air base where Syrian troops have fought Islamists over  the past year (and were beheaded when  they surrendered). 
Russian ground troops, however, are in Syria only to guard their bases. These are symbolic boots on the ground – but the idea that those boots are there to fight Isis is a lie. The Russians intend to let the Syrian ground troops do the dying for them.

No, there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war. The Russians don’t care about the innocents they kill any more than do the Syrian army or Nato. Any movie of the Syrian war should be entitled War Criminals Galore! 

But for heaven’s sake, let’s stop fantasising. A few days ago, a White House spokesman even told us that Russian bombing “drives moderate elements… into the hands  of extremists”.  
Who’s writing this fiction? “Moderate elements” indeed…

By Patrick Cockburn

October 05, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent" -  Russia’s military intervention in Syria, although further internationalising the conflict, does however present opportunities, as well as complications. There are no simple solutions to this terrible war which has destroyed Syria. Out of a population of 22 million, four million Syrians are refugees abroad and seven million have been displaced inside the country.

I was recently in Kurdish-controlled north-east Syria, where the bomb-shattered ruins of Kobani look like pictures of Stalingrad after the battle. But equally significant is the fact that even in towns and villages from which Islamic State (Isis) has been driven, and where houses are largely undamaged, people are too terrified to return.

Syrians are right to be afraid. They know that what happens on the battlefield today may be reversed tomorrow. At this stage, the war is a toxic mix of half a dozen different confrontations and crises, involving players inside and outside the country. Intertwined struggles for power pit Assad against a popular uprising, Shia against Sunni, Kurd against Arab and Turk, Isis against everybody, Iran against Saudi Arabia and Russia against the US. 

One of the many problems in ending, or even de-escalating these crises, is that these self-interested players are strong enough to fight their own corners, but too weak to ever checkmate their opponents. This is why the involvement of Moscow could have a positive impact: Russia is at least a heavy hitter, capable of shaping events by its own actions and strongly influencing the behaviour of its allies and proxies.

Barack Obama said at a news conference after the Russian airstrikes that “we’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia”. But the US-Soviet Cold War, and the global competition that went with it, had benefits for much of the world. Both superpowers sought to support their own allies and prevent political vacuums from developing which its opposite number might exploit. Crises did not fester in the way they do today, and Russians and Americans could see the dangers of them slipping wholly out of control and provoking an international crisis.

This global balance of power ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and for the Middle East and North Africa this has meant more wars. There are currently eight armed conflicts raging, including Pakistan and Nigeria (the figure jumps to nine if one includes South Sudan, where the renewal of fighting since 2013 has produced 1.5 million displaced people). Without a superpower rival, the US, and its allies such as the UK and France, largely ceased to care what happened in these places and, when they did intervene, as in Libya and Iraq, it was to instal feeble client regimes. The enthusiasm which David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy showed in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi contrasts with their indifference as Libya collapsed into criminalised anarchy.

Overall, it is better to have Russia fully involved in Syria than on the sidelines so it has the opportunity to help regain control over a situation that long ago spun out of control. It can keep Assad in power in Damascus, but the power to do so means that it can also modify his behaviour and force movement towards reducing violence, local ceasefires and sharing power regionally. It was always absurd for Washington and its allies to frame the problem as one of “Assad in or Assad out”, when an end to the Assad leadership would lead either to the disintegration of the Syrian state, as in Iraq and Libya, or would have limited impact because participants in the Syrian civil war would simply go on fighting. 

The intervention of Russia could be positive in de-escalating the war in Syria and Iraq, but reading the text of President Obama’s press conference suggests only limited understanding of what is happening there. Syria is only one part of a general struggle between Shia and Sunni and, though there are far more Sunni than Shia in the world, this is not so in this region. Between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – there are more than 100 million Shia and 30 million Sunni.

In political terms, the disparity is even greater because the militarily powerful Kurdish minorities in Iraq and Syria, though Sunni by religion, are more frightened of Isis and extreme Sunni Arab jihadis than they are of anybody else. Western powers thought Assad would go in 2011-12, and when he didn’t they failed to devise a new policy.

Peace cannot return to Syria and Iraq until Isis is defeated, and this is not happening. The US-led air campaign against Isis has not worked. The Islamic militants have not collapsed under the weight of airstrikes, but, across the Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish regions, either hold the same ground or are expanding. There is something ludicrous about the debate in Britain about whether or not to join in an air campaign in Syria without mentioning that it has so far demonstrably failed in its objectives.
Going into combat against Isis means supporting, or at least talking to, those powers already fighting the extreme jihadis. For instance, the most effective opponents of Isis in Syria are the Syrian Kurds. They want to advance west across the Euphrates and capture Isis’s last border crossing with Turkey at Jarabulus. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, said last week he would never accept such a “fait accompli”, but it remains unclear if the US will give air support to its Kurdish allies and put pressure on Turkey not to invade northern Syria.

The Russians and Iranians should be integrated as far as possible into any talks about the future of Syria. But there should be an immediate price for this: such as insisting that if Assad is going to stay for the moment, then his forces must stop shelling and using barrel bombs against opposition-held civilian  areas. Local ceasefires have usually only happened in Syria because one side or the other is on the edge of defeat. But wider ceasefires could be arranged if local proxies are pressured by their outside backers.

All these things more or less have to happen together. A problem is that the crises listed above have cross-infected each other. Regional powers such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies do have a strong measure of control over their local proxies. But these regional actors, caring nothing for the destruction of Syria and still dreaming of final victory, will only be forced into compromises by Washington and Moscow.

Russia and America need to be more fully engaged in Syria because, if they are not, the vacuum they leave will be filled by these regional powers with their sectarian and ethnic agendas. Britain could play a positive role here, but only if it stops taking part in “let’s pretend” games whereby hard-line jihadis are re-labelled as moderates.  As with the Northern Ireland peace negotiations in the 1990s, an end to the wars in Syria depends on persuading those involved that they cannot win, but they can survive and get part of what they want. The US and Russia may not be the superpowers they once were, but only they have the power to pursue such agreements.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Quisling Palestinian Authority Does Its Best to Undermine Resistance to the Occupation

As resistance mounts in the West Bank and Jerusalem to the constant attacks on the Palestinians, including the death of more Palestinian children, Abbas demonstrates that his quisling PA should receive no support from solidarity organisations abroad.  The PA is nothing more than a sub-contractor to the Israeli military.  The Times of Israel article below makes it clear what Abbas sees as his priority, demobilising the Palestinian protests with his American trained security forces.  Jonathan Cook from Nazareth paints a similar picture and the third article is from the BBC, which as has already been shown, is more than willing to convey the message Israel wants to get across.

Tony Greenstein
Abbas ponders how best to jump to Netanyahu's tune

Abbas tells PA forces to urgently quell West Bank protests

3 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli troops Sunday-Monday, following Palestinian terror attacks in which four Israelis killed

By Times of Israel staff and Avi Issacharoff October 5, 2015, 9:38 pm 22

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations headquarters on September 30, 2015 in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Fire first, ask questions later
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered his security chiefs to do their utmost to urgently quell surging West Bank protests Saturday night.

Abbas issued the orders to his security apparatus after days of escalating violence which saw four Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists since Thursday and three Palestinians killed during clashes with the IDF on Sunday and Monday.
AFP - Image caption Israeli troops responded with "riot dispersal means", including live ammunition
The PA leader intervened as Israel’s security cabinet convened in Jerusalem to discuss new measures to halt the violence. Abbas said his forces needed to act more firmly in order to deny Israel the pretext for a West Bank crackdown, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been communicating in the past 24 hours in an attempt to calm the escalating violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a senior PA official told The Times of Israel earlier on Monday night.
Reuters - The Israeli military said it was investigating the incidents in which the youths were killed
The official noted that Palestinian protests in the past two days have started to draw hundreds of youths, underlining concerns, he said, “that we are witnessing the start of a third intifada.”

There were clashes between Palestinians throwing stones and petrol bombs and burning tires in some 25 locations in the West Bank on Monday, Israel’s Channel 2 said.

In their exchanges of messages, Israeli officials have told the PA that the Israeli security forces intend to take firmer measures to prevent settler extremist violence against Palestinians, the PA official said. 
Image copyright Reuters-Palestinian protesters threw stones at Israeli troops in the city of Bethlehem on Monday
The Israelis also noted that there will be a reduction in Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as the High Holiday period comes to an end.
The PA source said that Palestinian security forces were still working to maintain calm, despite Abbas’s declaration at the UN last week that the PA was no longer bound by its agreements with Israel. However, he said it was getting increasingly difficult for the PA to do so.

“We are witnessing the start of a third intifada, and Israel is not doing enough to rein in violence,” the PA official charged. “The number of gunfire victims hospitalized today was out of the ordinary; it’s not clear to us if there have been new rules introduced on opening fire. This certainly won’t de-escalate the situation.”

Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel is “waging a fight to the death against Palestinian terror.” He has partly blamed Abbas for inciting the escalation in violence. Abbas has alleged — including during his speech to the UN last Wednesday — that Israel is allowing “extremists” into the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and that Israel plans to change the status quo regarding access to the contested holy site. Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected these claims.

Israeli security officials were also braced for demonstrations in the Israeli Arab sector on Monday night, with protests planned for Sakhnin in the lower Galilee, among other locations. Betar Jerusalem and local team Bnei Sakhnin were playing a soccer match in the Arab city Monday night, an encounter that is routinely tense.

In Nazareth, in northern Israel, masked youths burned tires, threw stones and blocked a junction Monday night. They were dispersed by police.

Netanyahu ‘better not disturb the status quo’

6 October 2015

Analysis: Israel’s crackdown on Palestinian unrest threatens to topple Abbas
Al-Jazeera – 6 October 2015

The rapid escalation in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent days suggests that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be entering a new phase, analysts say.

While some observers were quick to label this a third Palestinian uprising or “Intifada”, the term risks obscuring as much as it reveals.

The latest clashes, according to analysts, are occurring in a new physical and political reality. Palestinian society has been atomised by separation walls, checkpoints, and an expanding network of settlements and military bases.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian national movement is deeply divided, the Arab world is in disarray, the West is focused on its own economic and social troubles, and Israel is adamantly opposed to negotiations.

Unlike the earlier intifadas, points out Menachem Klein, of Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, the clashes are not chiefly about resistance. They have been provoked by the growing stranglehold the settlers enjoy, both on the ground and on government policy.

“There are now so many settlers that there is zero distance between Palestinian communities and the settlements,” notes Klein. “That ensures constant friction.”

Over the past few years, the settlers have dramatically increased their so-called “price-tag” attacks. They regularly stone neighbouring Palestinian villages or sometimes use army-issued weapons; they set light to Palestinian places of worship; they steal land, burn crops and take over water sources.

The Palestinians’ growing sense of vulnerability was underscored by the arson attack in late July on the village of Duma that left three members of the Dawabsheh family dead, including an 18-month-old baby.

In Jerusalem, settlers have been aggressively staking their claim at the most sensitive site in the conflict: the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City.

Faced with threats from the settlers and a leadership vacuum, Palestinians have begun organising themselves locally, “at the village or neighbourhood level”, points out Samir Awad, a political scientist at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

Palestinian popular committees, which were created to defend against settler violence, have made clashes – and tit-for-tat revenge attacks – inevitable.

Locked into prison cells

Also confusing the picture is the lack of clarity about what Palestinians hope to achieve, aside from revenge or letting off steam.

Awad argues that Palestinians are no longer sure what they need to shake off first. “Is it the larger occupation, the individual miseries they endure from the settlers and army, or the Palestinian leaders, who have achieved so little for them?”

Jerusalem-based analyst Jeff Halper points to the Palestinians’ mounting hopelessness, describing current events as a kind of “lashing out”. “Palestinians see no political process. They are being locked into their prison cells. They feel they have nothing to lose.”

Until now, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is committed to enforcing security in the islands of West Bank territory it ostensibly controls, has mostly succeeded in preventing the protests from spreading to the Palestinian cities.

But the PA’s ability to contain these frustrations are in doubt, observes Halper, given that they already suffer from a massive credibility problem among Palestinians.

The very unruliness of the current events means Israel is struggling to respond effectively.
For some time, Israel has been characterising most Palestinian attacks on Israelis, especially those in Jerusalem where the PA and Hamas are effectively barred, as “lone wolf” incidents.

These spontaneous outbursts of violence by Palestinian individuals have exposed the Israeli security services to a new kind of challenge.

Boiling point in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, Israel has been trying to present an image of normality to the outside world and visiting tourists, while waging a low-level war against Palestinians. It has assisted the settlers in “Judaising” the city and strengthening their presence around al-Aqsa.

But the simmering violence has been close to its boiling point for the past year, since Jewish extremists burned alive 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says Klein, has only one option: more force. “His thinking is strictly short term. He is interested primarily in crisis management. He believes he can rebuild quiet for Israel through shock treatment.”

In an attempt to restore order, the Israeli government has been ramping up the pressure on Palestinians by imposing draconian measures, especially in Jerusalem.

It has, for the first time, temporarily shut Jerusalem’s Old City to Palestinians who are not residents.
Muslim guardians at al-Aqsa, commonly known as al-Mourabitoun, have been outlawed, and Palestinian worship severely restricted. Israel has authorised live-fire against stone-throwers and minimum four-year jail terms.There will also be fast-track demolition of the homes of relatives of Palestinians who carry out attacks.

Even so, the settlers are not satisfied.

On Monday night, thousands surrounded Netanyahu’s residence in a show of force, demanding he build a new settlement for every Palestinian attack. They have been egged on by settler leaders in his government.

Pondering invasion

There has been speculation that, as the pressure mounts, Netanyahu may order a large-scale reinvasion of the West Bank, similar to Operation Defensive Shield of 2002, which sought to crush the second Intifada.

Such a scenario is unlikely, observed Awad, because it would only risk bringing down Abbas and the PA.

“Israel has control. The Palestinian armed factions are no longer organised in the West Bank. Abbas is coordinating with Israel on security matters and is repressing his people and Hamas. It is better for Netanyahu not to disturb the status quo.”

Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, concurs. He believes Netanyahu wants to wait things out, on the model employed towards the Golan Heights, seized by Israel from Syria in 1967.

“For years, Israel was under pressure to return the Golan to Syria, but since the collapse of Syria, no one talks that way,” he said. “Netanyahu hopes something similar can happen with the West Bank.”

But even without an invasion of the West Bank, Abbas’ situation is precarious. Klein believes the Palestinian president will try to cling on to power. “He fears that if he steps down or the PA collapses, Hamas will fill the void and be impossible to remove.”

Nonetheless, most analysts agree that Abbas – or even the PA – could become a casualty of current events.

In these circumstances, Israel would be forced to install a new Palestinian leader more to their liking, or create a different political arrangement.

That might involve the creation of mini-fiefdoms in the West Bank based on each city, says Klein. Mayors could then be recruited to keep order.
That, he adds, would thrust the ball back in the PLO’s court to recreate itself as a resistance movement.
“Whatever the outcome, it won’t solve Israel’s problems [in the] long term. The impulse among the Palestinians for national liberation will still be there.”

Palestinian youths killed in West Bank clashes

Israel and the Palestinians

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Attack on Al Aqsa - as Settlers Plan its Division

Netanyahu seeks to impose a new reality at Al-Aqsa

Jonathan Cook
5 October 2015
Al Aqsa mosque
Since a boy named David slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot, the stone has served as an enduring symbol of how the weak can defeat an oppressor.

For the past month Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to rewrite the Bible story by declaring war on what he terms Palestinian “terrorism by stones”.
Palestinian youth throw stones at Israeli police goons
There are echoes of Yitzhak Rabin’s response nearly 30 years ago when, as defence minister, he ordered soldiers to “break bones” to stop a Palestinian uprising, often referred to as the “intifada of stones”, against the Israeli occupation.
Al Aqsa Mosque
Terrified by the symbolism of women and children throwing stones at one of the world’s strongest armies, Rabin hoped broken arms would deprive Palestinians of the power to wield their lowly weapon.
Israeli border police thugs in action
Now the West Bank and Jerusalem are on fire again, as Palestinian youths clash with the same oppressors. Reports suggest soldiers killed one Palestinian youth and injured more than 100 others on Sunday alone.

The touchpaper is Israel’s transgressions at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, known as Haram Al Sharif, in Jerusalem’s Old City. During the weeks of Israel’s high holidays, tensions have risen sharply. Israeli government ministers and ever larger numbers of Jewish ultra-nationalists, backed by paramilitary forces, have been ascending to the mosque area.
Police and military deliberately damage mosque
In parallel, Palestinian access has been restricted and settlers have stepped up seizures of homes in occupied East Jerusalem to encircle al-Aqsa.

Palestinians believe Israel is asserting control over the site to change the status quo.

Israel refers to the Haram as the Temple Mount, because the ruins of two ancient Jewish temples supposedly lie underneath. As Israel has swung to the right politically and religiously, government and settler circles have been swept by an aggressive Jewish messianism.

Palestinian efforts to resist have been limited. Israel has long barred Palestinian factions and organisations from any dealings in the city it calls its “eternal capital”.

The situation at al-Aqsa has come to symbolise the Palestinian story of dispossession.

The mosque has also served as a red line, both because it is a powerful cause that unites all Palestinians, including Christians and the secular, and because it rallies the wider Arab world to the Palestinians’ side.

But like Goliath, the Israeli prime minister appears to assume greater force will win.
First, he outlawed last month a group of Islamic students, many of them women, known as the Murabitoun, stationed at Al Aqsa. They had not even resorted to stones. Their crime was to try to deter Jewish extremists from praying at the site by crying “God is great”.

Then, Israeli police stormed the compound to evict youths who had barricaded themselves in. Severe restrictions on access to al-Aqsa followed.

As youngsters took to the streets, Netanyahu authorised live fire against stone-throwers in Jerusalem, and minimum four-year jail sentences for those arrested.
Predictably, violence has not calmed but spiralled. On Saturday night a Palestinian youth stabbed to death two Jewish settlers who had been visiting the Western Wall, near al-Aqsa.

Israel has described such incidents as “lone-wolf attacks”. In truth, these unpredictable outbursts of violence are the inevitable result of the orphaned status of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Israel responded with another unprecedented move. Palestinians were banned from the Old City for the following 48 hours unless they lived or worked there. Israel’s track record suggests this will soon become the new norm.

Netanyahu also approved fast-track demolitions of Palestinian homes, more soldiers in Jerusalem and even tighter restrictions at al-Aqsa.

So where is this heading?

Doubtless, Netanyahu is in part proving his credentials to an ever more religious and intolerant Israeli public. After Saturday’s deaths, Jewish mobs once again patrolled Jerusalem’s streets seeking vengeance.

But he is also cynically exploiting western fears to reinvent the David and Goliath story. He hopes the words “Islamic terrorism” – conjuring up ISIL’s threats to religious freedom – will scotch western sympathy for Palestinian youths facing armed soldiers.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, warned in his speech to the UN last week that Israeli measures were “aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Haram Al Sharif temporally”.

These are not idle fears. In 1994 Israel capitalised on a horrific massacre of Palestinians perpetrated by a Jewish settler at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron to justify dividing it. Today, Jews have prayer rights at the site, enforced by Israeli guns, and central Hebron has been turned into a ghost-town – much as Jerusalem’s Old City looks since the weekend ban on entry for Palestinians.

Most Palestinians fear an Israeli-engineered spiral of violence will be used to impose a similar division at al-Aqsa. There is little Abbas can do. His Palestinian Authority is barred from Jerusalem and committed to helping Israeli security elsewhere. Like the Muslim world, he watches helplessly from afar.

Which is why Palestinian youths will continue reaching for the humble stone, exerting what little power they have against a modern Goliath.