The Likud Central Committee voted Sunday to unanimously accept a resolution that calls on the party’s leaders to move to formally annex the West Bank.
The vote by the ruling party is nonbinding and was called for in a letter signed by some 900 members of the central committee.
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The wording of the resolution states: “On the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the regions of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], including Jerusalem our eternal capital, the Likud Central Committee calls on the Likud’s elected officials to act to allow free construction and to apply the laws of Israel and its sovereignty to all liberated areas of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.”
Most of the Likud ministers in the government support the resolution. haaretz.com
Palestinian leaders want NATO to substitute IDF forces in the West Bank as part of any sustainable peace deal and a two-state solution with Israel. France is mounting up international support to hold a conference after US-led negotiations collapsed.
“Now we talk about the French initiative… Its purpose must be to implement the visions of both states, based on the border agreement of 1967 and the capital of the Palestinian state being eastern Jerusalem, so that both countries can live side by side, in safety, stability and peace – if Israel wishes to seek peace,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech at a meeting of foreign ministers at the Arab League.
Throughout the previous peace negotiations and to this day the Palestinian Authority insists that the West Bank must be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to rule. While the United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories, Israel considers them disputed.
The idea of introducing NATO forces in the Middle East country has been voiced by Abbas before during the last peace negotiations. The original idea was for the IDF to remain in the Palestinian state for a transitional period of five years after which the Israeli forces could be replaced by NATO forces along with Palestinian Arab police and security units.
Tel Aviv argues that it keeps its IDF forces in West Bank to protect themselves from the perceived threat of “Palestinian terrorism.” To solidify their claims, in addition to military presence, Israel has been building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and on a number of occasions refusing to negotiate the status of Jerusalem. rt.com
Anti-austerity protests hit the streets of Frankfurt for the inauguration of the European Central Bank’s new headquarters. Hundreds of police officers are deployed for the opening of the premises. According to organizers, more than ten thousand people are taking part in the rally in the German city. Authorities say about 300 people have already been arrested. The E-C-B’s new building is cordoned off with police barricades and barbed wire. Protesters have gathered to vent anger at austerity measures and capitalism. They’re angry with the European Central Bank’s role in overseeing bailouts in debt-ridden countries like Greece.
The group ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’ has called on Netanyahu to halt the demolitions, saying the policy runs counter to international law and Jewish tradition. The group wrote a letter of protest to Netanyahu, after he ordered that more than 400 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank be destroyed. The newly-built houses were funded by the European Union. Israel says the pre-fabricated bungalows have been built illegally and therefore should be razed. Israel’s house demolitions have already sparked an international outcry. Last month, the UN warned that the policy is making vulnerable Palestinian families homeless.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed on Sunday that an Israeli stealth drone had been brought down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iran’s elite forces had intercepted and brought down an unmanned aircraft belonging to “the Zionist regime”. The news was announced in a statement published by the guards, but it was not clear when the incident, if true, happened.
“This mischievous act once again reveals the adventurist nature of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and added another black page to this fake and warmongering regime’s file which is full of crimes,” said the Revolutionary Guards’ statement.
The state news agency ISNA reported that the aircraft was “of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area.”
A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards later told Iranian television that parts of the aircraft had been retrieved. Iran claimed to have reverse engineered a drone after capturing an American RQ-170 Sentinel in 2011. theguardian.com
The abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager yesterday sparked a surge in fighting between Israeli police and Palestinians as tensions in the region rose.
The death of the Palestinian boy, whose body was found in a forest outside Jerusalem, was blamed by Palestinians on Israeli settlers who they claimed were taking revenge for the murders of three Israeli teenagers whose funerals took place on Tuesday.
The latest killing stoked tensions that were already running high and led to a number of clashes between police and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Just hours after Israel buried the three teenagers, relatives of Mohammed Abu Khdeir said the 17-year-old was forced into a car in a neighbourhood of east Jerusalem before it sped off. A burned body was found shortly afterward in a forest.
Late yesterday, the Khdeir family said they had identified the body as Mohammed’s. The teenager’s cousin, Saed Abu Khdeir, said: “It’s a clear crime by [Israeli] settlers in revenge for the killing of the three.”
He said the family witnessed security camera footage of the suspected kidnapping, which purported to show a car approaching Mohammed and taking him away.
In the West Bank, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused extremist Jewish settlers of “killing and burning a little boy” and demanded that Israel “hold the killers accountable”.
As news of the youth’s disappearance spread, hundreds of Palestinians in east Jerusalem torched train stations and hurled stones at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. scotsman.com
The bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers who disappeared almost three weeks ago have been found buried in a shallow grave under rocks in a valley close to the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Following the discovery of the bodies the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, blamed Hamas for the murders, warning the militant group will pay a heavy price for the deaths. “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay … [They] were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Israeli soldiers and civilian volunteers found two bodies at 5pm on Monday in a shallow grave covered with boulders, later uncovering a third body. Although there was no immediate confirmation of their identity, both the location, close to where they went missing, and the number of bodies pointed inescapably to it being the remains of the three teenagers.
“The bodies are currently going through forensic identification. The families of the abducted teens have been notified,” a senior spokesman for the army said on Monday evening. theguardian.com
Israeli soldiers shot dead a young Palestinian in the West Bank near Ramallah on Monday (March 10). Military official said soldiers fired on the man, who had thrown rocks at a passing Israeli car and a bus, and that the circumstances were being investigated.
The man’s relatives said he had been shot while tending his family’s goats near his home.
“He threw stones on many vehicles, vehicle with broken glass arrived to me (contacted me) and bus with a broken windows,” an Israeli soldier said at the site.
According to the Governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghanam, 20-year-old Saji Darwish is a shepherd. “This man is a shepherd, he has sheep. His house is next to the roads that lead to settlement. From his tennis shoe, and his clothes you can know that he is a farmer and has sheep and he feeds his sheep there,” she said.
In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian judge from Jordan, Palestinian officials said. The Israeli military said the man had tried to seize a soldier’s gun at the Allenby bridge, which spans the Jordan River, and that troops had then shot him.
Last month, Amnesty International published a report which said Israeli forces were using excessive violence in the West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what the rights group said might constitute a war crime. The Israeli army dismissed the criticism, saying security forces had seen a substantial increase in Palestinian violence. ntd.tv
Ties with Israeli remain strong in spite of recent European Union measures to clarify and tighten its long standing opposition to West Bank settlements, European Union officials told Israeli journalists in Brussels this week.
Many of them spoke off the record with the journalists, brought to Brussels by the EU so they could better understand its wide range of bi-lateral economic, research and cultural ties with Israel – worth hundreds of millions of euros.
“There is no other country with whom we have a deeper and broader relationship than with Israel,” one official said.
The officials tried to reassure the journalists concerned by its constant criticism of West Bank settlements and its publication last year of settlement guidelines clarifying its position against offering funds and grants to entities located over the pre-1967 lines.
They explained that this was not a boycott of Israel and that it would not lead to a boycott, which they opposed, as does the EU, the officials said. jpost.com