UN concerned over expected demolition of West Bank village, Associated Press
“J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in the U.S, submitted a petition against the demolition signed by 7,000 people to the Israeli Embassy in Washington. It said the demolition would have far-reaching effects. ‘Beyond the devastation it would create for Khan al-Ahmar’s residents, the demolition would also strike a major blow to prospects for a two-state solution and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians,’ it said.”
“A liberal pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of using the American July 4 holiday as a “cover” to advance the court-ordered demolition of a West Bank hamlet….The J Street organization said in a statement it was ‘outraged by the Israeli government’s dispatch of bulldozers today.’ ‘Netanyahu and his government should know: Even on July 4th, Americans are watching their destructive actions in the West Bank, with deep frustration and concern for the damage they are doing to the future of both Israelis and Palestinians,’ J Street said, noting that on July 2 it delivered a letter with 7,000 signatures to the Israeli embassy in Washington opposing the demolition.
“Seven thousand Americans yesterday called on the Israeli government to cancel the impending demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank. J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, delivered the petition to the Israeli embassy in Washington yesterday afternoon, following reports over the weekend that Israeli civil administration and police officials had begun making preparations for the village’s demolition.”
“J Street is outraged by the Israeli government’s dispatch of bulldozers today to prepare for the imminent demolition of the West Bank Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government seems intent on using the July 4th holiday as cover to move forward with demolition plans that have been opposed by dozens of US lawmakers, hundreds of rabbis and thousands of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”
Activists protest planned West Bank demolition, Associated Press
“Israeli police scuffled with activists protesting the planned demolition of a Bedouin hamlet in the West Bank on Wednesday amid international opposition to the razing of the site….Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian legislator, said four protesters were injured. ‘This is a vicious, barbaric attack on peaceful demonstrators and they are trying to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar,’ he said.”
Noa Landau and Yotam Berger report, “European countries are joining forces to prevent the demolition of the Bedouin community at Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, said British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt on Wednesday in Parliament. France has since echoed Britain’s resignations in a similar statement from its Foreign Ministry. More European countries are expected to voice their concerns. Britain has also reiterated its concerns to the Israeli government over the planned demolitions, said Burt in response to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Richard Burden.”
Germany negotiating prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel — report, Times of Israel
Germany is facilitating indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel over a possible exchange of Israeli captives and the remains of soldiers held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, an Arabic daily reported Thursday.
Hezbollah is helping to lead a Russian-backed offensive in southern Syria, pro-Damascus sources said, exposing the limits of U.S. policy that hopes Moscow can get Iran and groups it backs out of the country.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was taken to hospital in Ramallah for a “routine medical checkup” on Thursday, sources told i24NEWS….[A] PA source told i24NEWS that Abbas’ health has not improved. The source said that Abbas would not attend the FIFA World Cup final in Russia next week on account of his fragile state.
Israeli authorities have extended the detention without trial of a Palestinian politician by four months, ensuring she will remain behind bars for more than a year, the army said Thursday.
Marwan Barghouthi, a Palestinian uprising leader jailed for life by Israel, would win most votes if an election were held to find a successor for 82-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas, a survey released on Wednesday found.
How Israel’s left could challenge Netanyahu, Al-Monitor
Yossi Beilin writes, “No argument is more mistaken than the claim that there is no replacement for the man who blocked all progress toward peace, who lost Israel the support of American Jewry, who instigated greater hostility to Israel among the Democratic Party in the United States and who helped pass legislation that delivered a serious blow to Israeli democracy. People like Labor Party Chair Avi Gabbay and Meretz Chair Tamar Zandberg as well as prominent members of the Knesset like Hatnua head Livni can lead the peace camp to victory if they work together boldly.”
Unwelcome Sound on Germany’s Stages: Musicians Who Boycott Israel, The New York Times
Melissa Eddy and Alex Marshall report, “As Germany struggles with increasing attacks on Jews and Israel is under pressure for killings of protesters along its border with Gaza, a growing clash over B.D.S. is spilling over into the cultural scene. It has divided art and music festivals that aim to foster cultural dialogue, and even sparked a feud between the mayor of Munich and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, who is a revered figure here.”