Israeli forces killed two Palestinian assailants in the West Bank on Monday, police said, and two Israeli police officers were stabbed in East Jerusalem in a resurgence of violence now into its fourth day. Palestinian street attacks that began nearly a year ago had largely waned in recent months, but a series of assaults since Friday have raised alarm in Israel of a new wave of bloodshed in the run-up to the Jewish New Year holiday next month.
Amos Harel reports, “Israel and the Palestinians have embarked on a new round of violence after a three-month lull, with characteristics similar to those of the last round, which began a year ago. Since Friday morning, there have been nine Palestinian attacks: two stabbings in East Jerusalem, one in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, and five stabbings and an attempted car-ramming in Hebron and the area. Moreover, the casualty rate is relatively high. Five Israeli security personnel were wounded, one seriously. Six Palestinians were killed and three seriously wounded, all of them assailants. The escalation is no surprise. Intelligence agencies predicted that attacks might resume between the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha and the Jewish holidays in October. But now, the main factor is copycatting. Each slain attacker prompts a new attack, usually from relatives, friends or neighbors.”
Yossi Verter observes, “The radicalization that has swept the Likud over the last decade, ever since its elected representatives were hijacked by right-wing extremists from West Bank settlements and outposts, received mind-boggling expression this weekend: 25 of the ruling party’s 30 Knesset members, about half of them ministers or deputy ministers, signed a “petition” urging enactment of a law to bypass High Court of Justice rulings mandating the evacuation of settlements and outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land. The so-called “formalization bill” would allow such land to be retroactively seized for the benefit of Jewish construction. It’s parliamentary hooliganism par excellence, for the glory of the illegal outpost of Amona…..The bill, which the Knesset rejected by a large majority four years ago, is so stupid and absurd that it begs the question, What’s happening to this party? What are they afraid of?”
Jack Moore observes, “[Obama’s] administration has repeatedly expressed concern about continued Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, territory that the Palestinians have earmarked for any potential future state. It has been reported that Obama is considering announcing a proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians before the end of his term. Whether he plans to outline this in New York remains unclear, but Israel has rejected any initiative that proposes anything other than bilateral talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, without preconditions.”
The police closed dozens of business in East Jerusalem on Monday after two police officers were wounded in a stabbing attack outside the Old City. After the attack, for hours, police barred all of the stores in the Palestinian central business district from opening.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday evening that the United States was concerned that the increasing violence on the West Bank and construction in the settlements was threatening the two-state solution. The two met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly taking place this week, on the background of the stalemate in the peace process and assessments as to whether U.S. President Barack Obama will try to make a last stab at forcing the process along after the presidential election in November.
The University of California Berkeley has reinstated a student-led course called “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” after public outcry over its suspension last week.
Senior Likud figures say the crisis over the court-ordered evacuation of the illegal outpost Amona could threaten Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition if no solution is found to satisfy the settlers. “Clearly if an evacuation takes place, the chances the government will hold together are very slight,” a Likud official close to the prime minister told Haaretz.
Hundreds of police are girding for a march Monday by far-rightists in the largely Arab Wadi Ara area between Haifa and the West Bank. Now that the High Court of Justice has allowed the march, the demonstrators are expected to include Itamar Ben Gvir, Michael Ben Ari and Bentzi Gopstein, members of the far-right group Otzma Yehudit.
A group of Israeli settlers who were escorted by nine members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and under armed protection by Israeli forces raided the village of Susiya in the southern Hebron Hills on Monday, reportedly assaulting a number of Palestinian residents there. Susiya local council head Jihad al-Nawajaa told Ma’an that the group of settlers “physically and verbally assaulted Palestinians in the village as other Palestinian locals confronted the group and forced them to leave the area.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lauded Israel for its success in using racial profiling to prevent terror attacks.
Uri Savir reports, “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to declare more hard-line Palestinian national positions on all permanent status issues at this month’s UN General Assembly meeting as well as at a meeting of the Arab League, Al-Monitor has learned from a senior PLO official….The official stated that PLO policy planners are currently drafting national Palestinian positions for a two-state solution that reflect the mainstream of Palestinian public opinion. These positions will include five main points. The first is a two-state solution along the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as a capital, with only minor and equal territorial swaps. The second concerns security arrangements for both sides, guaranteed by international monitors. No Israeli military presence in the West Bank will be tolerated. The third element mentioned by the PLO official was the establishment of a family reunion program in sovereign Israel for 100,000 Palestinian refugees, in order to fulfill the principle of the right of return. Another important element is international compensation to all Palestinian refugees. And finally, there is the issue of Israeli-Palestinian security and diplomatic cooperation, which must be developed strictly on the basis of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.”
A new video reviews the history of the settlements and how and why they are a major obstacle to peace.
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