Free Palestine Melbourne - Freedom and Justice for Palestine and its People.

Egypt wants West Bank violence quelled ahead of Ramadan

by admin 0 Comments

Egypt has stepped up mediation between Israel and the Palestinians in a bid to tamp down violence in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and prevent its spread to the Gaza Strip ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Cairo hosted leaders from Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamist militant group and from the smaller, allied Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group this week, according to officials.

Talks with Israeli representatives were held earlier, they said.

West Bank violence, which surged last year as Israel intensified raids following a series of lethal Palestinian street attacks in Israeli cities, has picked up pace since a hard-right Israeli government was sworn in on December 29.

Two Egyptian officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Cairo believed the situation could further spiral out of control, especially given Palestinian sensitivities about Israeli control of access to Jerusalem during Ramadan, which begins in late March.

Egypt wanted the United States to appeal to Israel to help constrain an escalation of violence, the officials said.

Egypt, for its part, was appealing to the PIJ, which spurns direct contact with Israel.

“More than ever, the Egyptians are worried of a possible new armed confrontation in 2023 because they realise it would be hard to restrain actions by some ministers of the new extremist government in Israel,” a Palestinian official told Reuters.

“Egypt understands that if things blow up in the West Bank it will ignite an explosion in Gaza too,” the Palestinian official said.

Israeli officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Israel last fought a 56-hour war in Gaza in August 2022 against PIJ, and the year before against Hamas.

The two groups are sworn to Israel’s destruction but have been observing a de facto extended truce with it, brokered by neighbouring Egypt in 2021.

PIJ spokesman Daoud Shehab accused Israel of trying to change the “status quo” in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a reference to the new government’s plan to expand Jewish settlements and what Palestinians see as Jewish encroachment on a contested site in the holy city that is sacred to both faiths.

Shehab said the group told Egypt “no one can restrain” themselves if “Israeli provocations … continue during Ramadan”.

Australian Associated Press

Article link:
Article source: Canberra Times
uploaded file
2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000

Group of Palestinians and Tourists Attacked by Settlers While Hiking in West Bank

by admin 0 Comments

A group of Palestinian and foreign tourists were attacked Friday while on a hike near the village of Mu’arajat near Jericho in the West Bank, Haaretz has learned.

In a video documenting the event published on social media, several young men who appear to be Jewish settlers are seen waving batons at the group who were hiking in the area.

According to an Israeli security source, the young men also attacked the travelers with pepper spray.

Following the attack, soldiers arrived at the scene and escorted the hikers back to their bus, the source said. So far, no one has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

Samira, an Italian citizen who participated in the tour, told Haaretz that three of the hikers who were attacked were taken to the hospital and released with bruises. According to her, the group included about 41 participants, including Palestinians, Americans, French and Italians. She added that there were about six settlers at the scene of the attack, who she said “looked very young.”

“We started walking at 9 a.m. and walked down the mountains toward the end of the wadi, where a bus was waiting for us,” Samira said. “When we were nearing the end, settlers arrived with batons and pepper spray. They prevented us from continuing to walk and started attacking us.”

She said that she was beaten on her arm with a baton when she was taking pictures of the incident. After the attack, the group climbed back up the mountain and waited for about two hours while they contacted the various embassies and the Palestinian police, until finally soldiers arrived and escorted them to the bus.

Israeli activists who usually accompany Palestinian shepherds in the area told Haaretz that they recognize the attackers as occupants of a relatively new outpost in the area, and that the person attacking the group is specifically known to them as someone they often see accompanying a herd and threatening Palestinian shepherds.

Article link:
Article source: Haaretz | Hagar Shezaf | Jan 14, 2023

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000