A policeman and Bedouin Israeli were killed on Wednesday morning during clashes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, sparked by the demolition of homes in the Negev village, Ha’aretz reports.
According to police, the civilian who was killed, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, was a terrorist who deliberately ran over and killed a policeman, 37-year-old Erez Levi, and injured another.
However, eye witnesses said the driver was first shot by police, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, which then ran over the two policemen. A video — shot by a police helicopter at the scene and released after the incident — has raised questions about the police version
Following the release of the video, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that the police gunfire seen at the beginning of the video are warning shots which were not directed at the driver.
The clashes erupted after police officers arrived to demolish illegally built structures in the Bedouin village early on Wednesday morning, to make way for a Jewish town set to be built nearby.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the incident: "Not only does such an event not deter us, it strengthens us, strengthens our resolve. The State of Israel is first and foremost a country ruled by law, it will have equal enforcement."
Israeli Arab MK and Joint List leader Ayman Odeh and a second person were also injured during the confrontation and were evacuated to Soroka Medical Centre in Be’er Sheva.
Erdan accused Odeh of incitement and called for the attorney general to open an investigation. "MK Odeh must be investigated for incitement to violence and obstruction of the police as they fulfilled their duty," said Erdan. "I hope this day will not mark a turning point in relations between Bedouin and the state authorities,” Erdan added. “But if it does, Knesset member Odeh made a very large contribution to that.”
The demolition of homes in Umm al-Hiran began in November 2016, following an agreement with the state. They were the first demolitions since the battle began between the roughly one thousand village residents, on whose land the Jewish town of Hiran is supposed to be built. The structures lie outside the area zoned for the new town, yet all the village homes are slated for demolition. Residents lost a Supreme Court appeal against the destruction of the homes.
"The law in Israel must be enforced without distinction and in every place," said MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) "and public servants have no place in a protest against the enforcement of the law. The job of leadership at the moment is, first of all, to assuage the tensions and bring this horror show under control."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reportedly promote Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara to minister without portfolio, as part of a cabinet reshuffle ahead of a High Court of Justice decision on the legality of the prime minister’s holding of multiple ministerial posts, the Times of Israel reports.
The nomination of Kara, a Druze-Israeli and long-time member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, is expected to be approved by the cabinet on Sunday.
If appointed, Kara would become the first lawmaker from Israel’s Druze community to serve as a minister.
Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi was appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation last month.
Kara has been lobbying for a ministerial post since the formation of the coalition in 2015 and especially since Hanegbi took over the regional cooperation post as minister. Kara said in an interview earlier this month in The Marker that he “doesn’t understand why he doesn’t appoint me as minister. It’s in his interest before it’s in mine. I don’t understand and can’t explain.”
In further cabinet reshuffle moves, Kulanu MK Eli Cohen will reportedly be nominated as Economy Minister, taking the post from fellow party member and finance minister Moshe Kahlon.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the citizens of Gaza to overthrow the Hamas regime and promised that Israeli support and assistance for the Palestinian population in the territory will be forthcoming if such an uprising takes place, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Lieberman made his comments in a wide-ranging speech at the Netanya Academic College on Wednesday night, during which he also lamented the retreat by the US from regional events in the Middle East, and said that without a broad, inclusive agreement with moderate Arab states, the Palestinians would never themselves agree to end the conflict with Israel.
The defence minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman began by rejecting the premise of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and the Paris Peace Conference that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to the broader problems of the Middle East.
Lieberman ascribed the severe instability and violence across the region to high unemployment, low economic development and opportunity, and high population growth.
Pointing specifically to Gaza, he described the activities of Hamas as “daylight robbery,” accusing the terrorist organisation of taking taxes from Gaza’s residents which he said “are not going to benefit those residents, not to the health system or the education system, or the electricity grid, but to make missiles, weapons and tunnels – and people aren’t willing to tolerate this.”
He continued, “If the residents of Gaza took responsibility for their own fate and got rid of Hamas, we would be the first to build industrial zones there at Kerem Shalom and Erez crossing and build a seaport and airport. There is potential, but the ball is in their court.”
Minister Uri Ariel and MK Eli Yishai met Tuesday night to explore running a unified ticket between National Union-Tekuma and Yishai's new party in the upcoming elections, although the issue of women's representation may scuttle any such effort, Ha’aretz reports.
The two met just hours after Ariel met with Naftali Bennett to negotiate keeping his faction inside Habayit Hayehudi. It was the first meeting since Yishai officially left Shas and established his new party, Ha'am Itanu, earlier this week.
The meeting, announced on Israel Radio, was held before statements by Rabbi Meir Mazuz, Yishai's rabbi, against putting women on the Knesset list were published. Spokesmen for Yishai said the meeting dealt with the question whether MK Orit Strock would be included in a joint list.
"This is something I cannot rule on," said Mazuz, who Yishai has presented as the new party's spiritual leader, regarding his position on women running for the Knesset on ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama. "It's has been accepted among the ultra-Orthodox for 70 years not to include women, and there are sources for it in the Gemara and in Maimonides," noted Mazuz, referring to Jewish oral law.
He recalled that some rabbis had objected to giving women the vote, and they were only convinced in order to double the number of ultra-Orthodox seats in the Knesset. "But to elect a woman, that a woman would speak in the name of the community? There have not been any until now, and we don't want to make news," he said.
Israel has finished raising the height of the electronic “smart” fence along part of the border with Egypt to stop infiltration into the country by migrants, the Defence Ministry said.
Construction of the original barrier, equipped with information collection centres and warning systems and known as the Hourglass Project, was completed in 2014 at a height of five metres along 242 kilometres, from the Gaza Strip to Eilat on the Red Sea, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The government built the fence in the hope that it would stop illegal migration, drug and weapons trafficking and terrorist infiltrations.
The raising of the fence along with additional detection devices “significantly curbed the flow of illegal infiltration into Israel, with only 11 successful attempts to cross the fence throughout 2016,” the ministry statement said.
Thursday, January 19, 2017