The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 27 July 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on August 3, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(27JUL15)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Escalating Tensions in the West Bank Amid Rebuilding Efforts in Gaza

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian woman during clashes at the Al-Asqa Mosque compound. (AFP)

This week’s snapshot focuses on escalating tensions in the West Bank. As tensions continue to boil over, efforts to rebuild Gaza City following last summer’s 50-day war began. More than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed in the conflict. 110,000 people were also displaced, and 18,000 homes were left in ruins.

News summary of events during the week of 20JUL15 – 27JUL15

  • 20JUL: Human Rights Watch accused Israel of “abusive arrests” of Palestinian children, including forcing children as young as 11 to sign confessions. (AFP)
  • 21JUL: The Israeli parliament approved new law that increases the punishment for throwing stones in an attempt to stop a wave of violent resistance in the Palestinian West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. (Xinhua)
  • 22JUL: Palestinian housing minister Mufid al-Hasayneh laid a brick for the first Gaza home to be rebuilt since the Israel-Hamas war a year ago amidst frustration regarding the slow pace of reconstruction. (AFP)
  • 23JUL: The United Nations issued an urgent appeal for contributions to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees amidst an unprecedented financial crisis in the agency. (AFP)
  • 23JUL: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of talks that Hamas is holding with Israel on a temporary ceasefire in Gaza. (Xinhua)
  • 26JUL: Israeli police said they fought their way into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque in an attempt to root out Palestinian protesters suspected of stockpiling fireworks and petrol bombs in preparation for a riot. (AFP)
  • 26JUL: Jordan’s Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs condemned the storming of Al-Asqa Mosque by Israeli forces, and called for international measures to end such violations. (Xinhua)
  • 26JUL: An aide for Abbas said ongoing repression and attacks by Israeli police forces signal that Israel is “trying to drag the entire Middle East region into a religious war.” (Xinhua)
  • 27JUL: A senior Palestinian official warned that ongoing Israeli escalation of violence against Palestinians would urge their leadership to make important crucial decisions. (Xinhua)
  • 27JUL: The Israeli military mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists for a surprise three-day drill. (Xinhua)
  • 27JUL: The armed wing of the Hamas movement warned that any Israeli violations at Al-Asqa Mosque “won’t go unpunished.” (Xinhua)
  • 27JUL: Israeli police arrested a Jewish youth who shouted insults to the prophet Mohammed in the second such incident after the Israeli police said they would show “zero tolerance” towards such provocations. (DPA)
  • 27JUL: An Israeli newspaper reported that the number of Palestinians held under administrative detention in Israel has doubled this year to 391 prisoners. (Haaretz)

Sample of Twitter handles regarding escalating tensions and rebuilding efforts in the West Bank

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding escalating tensions and rebuilding efforts in the West Bank

Mouin Rabbani, Middle East Analyst

“Israel, the West, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority have transformed the Gaza Strip into an isolated, blockaded and entirely aid-dependent territory. The Gaza Strip is in urgent need of both humanitarian and reconstruction assistance but it is important to recall that this remains a fundamentally political rather than developmental challenge.”

–          ‘Empty words’: Donors fail to deliver pledged Gaza aid, Al Jazeera,12APR15

Nathan Thrall, Senior Analyst at the International Crisis Group

“At present, the main actors, Hamas and Israel, don’t want another war. But in a year or two years, all policies are pushing Gaza to another war.”

–          A Year After Gaza War, Hamas Entrenched as Frustration Grows, The Associated Press, 30JUN15

Abdel Azim Salhab, Chairman of the Islamic Waqf Council in Jerusalem

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound if a very sensitive area. You can say it’s the most volatile in the world. [Al-Aqsa] is the center of the conflict in Jerusalem and in Palestine. Tensions here will have implications globally.”

–          The battle for Al-Aqsa: ‘This is not about prayer,’ Al Jazeera, 27JUL15

Sarit Michaeli, Spokeswoman for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem

“It is not just this community – the authorities quite cynically use the planning and building laws in the West Bank in order to achieve their goal – to expand settlements…and to not allow these Palestinian communities the right planning [permits] to develop in terms of their needs.”

–          Canberra, Washington voice concern over fate of village, but is it too late?, Sydney Morning Herald, 28JUL15

Moira O’Leary, Country Director for Action Aid Australia

“Residents have repeatedly applied for building permits but under the planning and permit system which is under the control of the Israeli military, permits are routinely denied so the only options people have are to move away or to build illegally.”

–          Canberra, Washington voice concern over fate of village, but is it too late?, Sydney Morning Herald, 28JUL15

Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to escalating tensions and rebuilding efforts in the West Bank

1. Israel toughens law against Palestinian stone-throwers

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 21 July 2015

JERUSALEM, July 21 (Xinhua) — The Israeli parliament approved late Monday night a new law to increase the punishment for hurling stones, in an attempt to halt a wave of violent resistance in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The law, sponsored by Israel’s new right-wing government, was passed by 69-17 vote after a stormy debate in the Knesset (parliament) plenum.

Under the new measure, stone-throwers could be sentenced to 10 years in jail, without having to prove harmful intent in their actions.

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2. Abbas warns of talks between Hamas, Israel on temporary ceasefire in Gaza

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 23 July 2015

RAMALLAH, July 23 (Xinhua) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Thursday of talks that Islamic Hamas movement is holding with Israel on a temporary truce in Gaza.

Abbas told a meeting for his Fatah Party in Ramallah that “this truce is aiming at a geographic separating of the Gaza Strip from the entire territories of the Palestinian homeland,” according to the state-run Palestinian agency Wafa.

In recent weeks, there have been reports about international efforts to help reaching a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel based on ending the Israeli blockade and building up a seaport for Gaza.

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3. Clashes rock Jerusalem’s Al-Asqa Mosque

Media: AFP

Byline: Mike Smith

Date: 26 July 2015

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli police Sunday entered Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, as they clashed with Palestinians angered by Jews’ access to the compound on an annual day of Jewish mourning.

Palestinians threw stones and fireworks while police fired stun grenades after security forces entered the Al-Aqsa compound, which is also revered by Jews, before briefly going inside the mosque itself.

Police said they went a few metres (yards) into the mosque to shut the doors in a bid to restore calm and lock in rioters who were inside.

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4. Escalation of violence would urge Palestinians to make crucial decisions: official

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 27 July 2015

RAMALLAH, July 27 (Xinhua) — A senior Palestinian official warned on Monday that the ongoing Israeli escalation of violence against the Palestinians would urge their leadership to make crucial decisions.

Nabil Abu Rdineh, an aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that storming al-Aqsa Mosque, killing our people and expanding settlements “would urge the Palestinian leadership to take important and crucial decisions.”

“The endless and ongoing Israeli attempts to undermine the efforts of keeping the area stable or reviving the stalled peace process will lead to serious consequences,” said Abu Rdineh.

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5. Israel holds surprise military drill

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 27 July 2015

JERUSALEM, July 27 (Xinhua) — The Israeli military has mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists for a surprise three-day drill, military officials said Monday.

As part of the drill, reservists will receive a mock telephone message in order to test if the call-up system works. Thousands of them will be asked to show up physically in their bases at short notice.

Israel Radio quoted a senior military official as saying that “this is one of the largest ever drills to test the army’s call-up system.”

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