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Israel’s Defense Chief Okays Palestinian Children’s Hospital at Bethlehem

The move is part of Avigdor Lieberman’s ‘carrot and stick’ strategy for the West Bank, but forces further to the right consider it an unwise concession.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has approved the establishment of a children’s hospital for Palestinians in the Bethlehem area, drawing the ire of forces further to the right who fear Israel will make concessions on land.
The defense minister’s office added that the move was part of the hard-liner’s “carrot and stick” program for fighting terrorism announced earlier this month.
Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank said the plan, which has been delayed for around eight years, still needed its approval. This means the plan must go through the regular planning process, but Lieberman’s announcement is designed to get this process going.
The children’s hospital is expected to be funded by international institutions, including American organizations.
The hospital would be built at Shdema, near Beit Sahour, in the northwest part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. The facility would be built in Area C, which is under full Israeli control.
But critics on the right have harshly criticized Lieberman, including Oved Arad, a senior official at the nonprofit group Regavim that fights unauthorized Palestinian construction in the West Bank. He called Lieberman’s move “scandalous.”
“The Palestinian Authority has a range of possibilities to establish a hospital in Areas A and B, in which it can plan and build without a need for permits from Israel,” Arad said, referring to areas where the Palestinians have full and civilian control, respectively.
“The Palestinians are pushing to advance plans with strategic significance in Area C and on state lands with the goal of taking over areas under Israeli control,” Arad added. “In doing so they hope to achieve Palestinian territorial contiguity and strangle the natural growth of settlement in Gush Etzion.”
When the hospital plans were discussed in the past, the intention was to build on land that is now under a military appropriation order. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the defense minister’s office say the narrowing of the appropriation order will be considered once the hospital plans are submitted, said sources involved in the matter.

Yotam Berger
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.739628Schermata 2016 09 04 alle 23.46.51

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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