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After Mahmoud Abbas, the Deluge for the Palestinians

If the president were paying attention to reality, he would have spoken in Brussels about water as an illustration of the absurdity in which the Israelis trap the Palestinians.

Mahmoud Abbas has once again caused embarrassment. In his speech to the European Parliament, he repeated the nonsense in a “report” that had appeared in the Palestinian media a few days earlier, according to which the chairman of the “Settlements Council” had ordered the poisoning of Palestinian wells and drinking water in the West Bank.
In his speech, the Palestinian president changed this to “Just a week ago, a week, a group of rabbis in Israel announced, in a clear announcement, demanding their government, to poison, to poison, the water of the Palestinians.” A day later he retracted this statement, via his office.
But the damage was done. Abbas was accused of disseminating an anti-Semitic blood libel – a shopworn, predictable accusation that misses the real and serious problems that characterize the top Palestinian leadership: their obliviousness to the daily reality of their people; the lack of coordination and exchanges of information and ideas between different offices in the executive; and the reliance on cronies, yes-men and the local media, which don’t check things and all too frequently aren’t accurate and exaggerate even when the truth about Israeli policy is sufficiently incriminating.
According to Reuters, the sentence above wasn’t included in the official version of the (dull and shopworn) speech that Abbas’ office distributed in advance. It seems this was an improvisation, as happens at meetings of his Fatah movement, or at a meeting with Israeli students when he declared that security coordination with Israel was “sacred.”
According to The New York Times, the “report” had appeared on the website of some PLO office (it didn’t specify which), and from there was picked up by the official Turkish website Anadolu and a newspaper in Dubai. Palestinian Media Watch located a report broadcast by the official Palestinian television station on June 20, which asserted that an Israeli human rights organization had “revealed” the order by a rabbi named Shlomo Melamed.
But there is no organization called the Settlements Council, and there is no rabbi named Shlomo Melamed. And no Israeli human rights organization “revealed” his words, according to an article in The Jerusalem Post (cited by Palestinian Media Watch).
If Abbas were paying attention to reality, he would have spoken in Brussels about water – a burning problem for his people, especially during the summer – as an illustration of the absurdity in which the Palestinians are trapped. “We (and Europe with us),” he could have said, “are adhering to the Oslo Accords 17 years after it expired, as a corridor leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state. But look how Israel exploits our patience and continues imposing the same inhumane division of the only water source we have.”
Today, Israelis use 86 percent of the mountain aquifer, while the crumbs that remain – 14 percent – are thrown to the Palestinians. Instead of talking nonsense about poisoning water, he could have talked about the Mekorot water company, which is cutting the water supply in the Salfit area to meet rising demand in the settlements.
True, there’s no shortage of rabbis who have said terrible things about Arabs or non-Jews in general. Moreover, as part of the ongoing harassment of Palestinian villages in the West Bank by Jewish Israeli citizens, we have come across the method of throwing carcasses into cisterns – whether cisterns for gathering rainwater, as in the village of Kharruba in the South Hebron Hills, or cisterns to collect the runoff from springs, as in Madma south of Nablus.
Still, even a little logic would have been enough to realize that this “report” was dubious. Israelis and Palestinians drink from the same aquifer. Thus “poisoning the water” would hurt everyone. And a little historical awareness would have been enough to set off alarm bells for Abbas about combining water, poisoning and Jews.
But that’s the way things are when you’ve gotten used to the role of sole ruler whose word is law, who violates the decisions of the collective (and unelected) leadership, who repeatedly postpones elections in Fatah and the PLO, who benefits from a paralyzed parliament, and who won’t allow a democratic process to choose his heir or heirs so as to spare his people a dangerous political vacuum once he goes.

Amira Hass
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.727689Schermata 2016 06 29 alle 09.13.43

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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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