Israel Press Review of 29/08/2016
Israel Press Review of 29/08/2016
- Army investigating shooting of unarmed Palestinian who rushed soldiers
The IDF’s Military Police have launched an investigation into the shooting death on Friday of a 38-year-old unarmed Palestinian near the West Bank village of Silwad, Ha’aretz reports.
According to soldiers, the man, Iyad Zakaria Hamed was running towards a concrete guard tower near Silwad, not far from the settlement of Ofra. A preliminary investigation showed that Hamed did not try to harm the soldiers.
According to the policy of the military prosecution, a Military Police investigation is launched in the case of any death of a Palestinian in the West Bank who was “not involved in actual fighting.” The investigation will look into what exactly the soldiers were doing before they opened fire and why they fired when danger was not immediately clear. The claim that Hamed was shot in the back will also be investigated.
During the initial investigation at the scene, the soldiers reported that they were on patrol near the guard tower when they saw a Palestinian running toward them. The soldiers, from the ultra-Orthodox battalion of the Kfir Brigade, said they launched the procedure for arresting a suspect, which included firing into the air.
According to the rules of engagement, before opening fire the source of danger to the soldiers must be identified, and in this case it is unclear what this danger was.
The army on Friday discounted Palestinian reports that Hamed was in a car, and reiterated the statement that Hamed had been running towards the guard tower.
- Palestinians carrying knives arrested at West Bank checkpoints
Israeli security forces arrested two young Palestinians carrying knives on Saturday at checkpoints in separate locations in the West Bank, both carrying knives, the Times of Israel reports.
At the Qalandiya checkpoint just north of Jerusalem, a young Palestinian woman was arrested on Saturday afternoon after she was found to be carrying a knife in her bag.
The blade was discovered during a security inspection as the woman, said to be in her 20s, tried to pass through the checkpoint on foot.
At around the same time, Border Police officers stopped an 18-year-old youth at a checkpoint close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, south of Jerusalem.
The youth is thought to have been planning a stabbing attack in revenge for the death of his cousin, who was fatally shot as he himself carried out a knife attack six months ago.
Both suspects were taken away for questioning.
- Transport Minister defends “unequivocal” need for train works on Shabbat
A potential coalition crisis was brewing over the weekend as ultra-Orthodox parties voiced outrage over construction work on a train station in Tel Aviv that took place on Shabbat, the Times of Israel reports.
As rumours swirled that the heads of the religious parties could demand Transport Minister Yisrael Katz be fired over the scuffle, the minister himself brushed off any accusations of improper conduct on his part.
In an interview with Army Radio, Katz stressed his respect for religious values and Israel’s Jewish character, but said the work was done in line with the letter of the law, and was not a breach of the status quo.
Police and construction professionals had ruled “unequivocally,” he said, that conducting the work on a weekday would have created massive congestion throughout Tel Aviv, obstructing the work of emergency services and very possibly endangering public safety.
“These were essential works, which there was no other way to handle, and they are for a very worthy cause,” he insisted.
The crux of the conflict appeared to be Haredi leaders’ sense that they had been “cheated” by Katz, after he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indicated to them that the work at the Shalom station — part of construction on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed train line, which demanded closing off large sections of the central Ayalon Highway for much of the weekend — could not be held on weekdays for fear of endangering human lives.
But the party leaders said they felt betrayed after discovering on Saturday night that the Transport Ministry had turned the project into “an extensive and unnecessary media festival that included a press conference [by the minister] and a press statement, which only intensified the desecration of Shabbat,” according to a joint statement.
In the statement, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Liztman and UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said they “strongly protest the unnecessary desecration of the Shabbat.”
The party heads have demanded an urgent meeting with Netanyahu. According to ultra-Orthodox political sources quoted by Ha’aretz, the three are likely to demand Katz’s ouster.
Katz himself said he was unconcerned for his own position, asserting that his conduct had been guided by the recommendations of safety professionals, whose assessments had also convinced Netanyahu that the work on Shabbat was necessary.
- Former defence minister Ben-Eliezer dies at 80
Former defence minister and Knesset member Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer died on Sunday afternoon at the age of 80, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Ben-Eliezer resigned from public service in December 2014 at 78 years old, ending decades as a public servant.
Born in Iraq, Ben-Eliezer made Aliya to Israel in 1950. He entered the Knesset in 1984 and held several portfolios during his political tenure.
He served as Defence Minister during the second intifada in the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. At the time he also served as leader of the Labour party.
A former IDF Brigadier-General, he served in the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War and was the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories from 1983-1984.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu extended his condolences.
“Fuad served the State of Israel for decades, as a soldier, a commander, as a public servant who was a senior official in the government.”
“I knew him and respected his contribution and special character. In several conversations with him, Fuad expressed his concerns and commitment to the future of the country that he loved deeply. May his memory be blessed.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) called Ben-Eliezer “a lone young man from Iraq, a brave warrior who finished his military service at the rank of brigadier general, and from there went on to an impressive political career.”
Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “Ben-Eliezer’s contribution to our country’s security was great, but beyond all the official titles, Fuad was always a person, in the full meaning of the word, with a constant smile and friendly smacks on the back that you felt long after he gave them. We will always remember him with respect and affection.”
- Israeli singer kicked off beachside stage for wearing bikini top
A female singer was asked to leave the stage at a government-sponsored music festival on an Israeli beach on Friday because she was wearing a bikini top. Concert organisers in the coastal city of Ashdod demanded that she button a shirt she was wearing over the top, and when she refused they ended the performance, claiming that she was dressed immodestly, the Times of Israel reports.
Hanna Goor, who was a contestant on the Israeli reality music show “Kochav Nolad” (“A Star is Born”) in 2004, was performing at the Hagaugust (August Festival), which was organised by the Culture and Sport Ministry.
The free concert on the edge of the Mei Ami beach in Ashdod was sparsely attended, according to the local news site Ashdodnet. Goor, a resident of the city, was opening for the reggae-hip-hop band Hatikva 6.
“I cannot accept the double standard where people are invited up from the beach to attend a performance but I’m not permitted to perform in a swimsuit,” Goor told Ashdodnet. “It wasn’t a provocation but simply a matter of comfort. It’s summer, it’s hot, and we were at the beach. All over the world there are festivals where artists appear wearing whatever they want.
Goor said that the incident was “depressing, primitive, insulting and sad.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Culture and Sport Ministry explained that “the festival had some top-tier performers and some local artists who were given the stage and exposure to a wider audience. The festival was for all of our population and was publicly funded.
It went on to assert that it would provide “clear instructions to all the promoters working with the Culture Ministry to ensure that this policy is followed at all events” sponsored by the ministry.