Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Politics

Israeli troops, Palestinians clash in West Bank

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on developments at the Gaza border (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Palestinians are clashing with Israeli troops in the West Bank a day after deadly clashes killed dozens in the Gaza Strip.

Thick black smoke billowed from burning tires as Palestinians threw stones at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas. About 200 Palestinians were protesting in the biblical city of Bethlehem while another 100 were demonstrating in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Palestinians are marking the anniversary Tuesday of what they call their “nakba,” or catastrophe, a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians in Monday’s clashes in Gaza. Israel says Hamas is using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks.

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The World Health Organization says the number of protesters wounded in border clashes with Israel was “very overwhelming” for Gaza’s health system.

Citing figures from the Health Ministry and a group of aid agencies, WHO official Mahmoud Daher told The Associated Press Tuesday that 2,771 people were wounded in Monday’s unrest. Of those, 1,360 were wounded by live fire, 400 from shrapnel and 980 from gas inhalation. He said the majority of those wounded by live fire were struck in their lower limbs.

Daher says that nearly 1,800 of the wounded sought hospital care, putting additional pressure on Gaza’s already stressed hospitals, which endure equipment and medicine shortages and face power cuts like the rest of the territory.

Daher says the numbers were comparable to wartime situations. “It is really massive in terms of numbers,” he said

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9:25 a.m.

The Israeli military says its aircraft have struck a number of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to mass border protests.

The military says Tuesday it struck 11 “terror targets” in a Hamas military compound. Tanks targeted another two Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip.

The military says that protesters used 10 explosive devices and firebombs against troops and that shots were fired at soldiers positioned along the border. While there was no breach of the border fence, the military says many protesters attempted to enter Israel.

Israeli fire killed 58 Palestinians in Monday’s protest. On Tuesday, Palestinians mark the 70th anniversary of their uprooting during the war surrounding Israel’s creation, known as their “nakba,” or catastrophe

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Four pieces from our archive help explain why the move is so contentious, and how it is viewed by different interest groups.
1. Jerusalem 101

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a deeply rooted and complex history. Professor Dan Arbell, a scholar-in-residence at American University and a former Israeli diplomat, identifies several key moments – from the Ottoman Empire to the Six-Day War – that help explain why the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem is so controversial.

He writes: “The international community hasn’t recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and still views the city as disputed territory. It has long been considered an issue that must be settled between Israelis and Palestinians in the context of peace negotiations. As a result, all foreign embassies operate from the city of Tel Aviv in Israel.”

Now other countries like Guatemala and Paraguay are planning to follow the U.S. example and move their embassies too.
2. What it means to Palestinians

Many Palestinians protesting the embassy move fear that it will end the possibility of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. However, Middle East scholar Maha Nassar suggests that it may not be all bad.

Nassar argues that the idea of a two-state solution has never been realistic, in part because of the power imbalance between the state of Israel with strong U.S. support and the stateless Palestinian people. Trump’s decision has closed the door on this approach to peace.

“Now that the two-state solution is over, perhaps the region can start looking at alternative visions for a genuine peace that actually represents the rights and claims of all people living on this land,” Nassar writes.
3. What it means to Trump supporters

Many critics of Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy suggest that it was primarily done to please his conservative evangelical base. But why do evangelicals in the U.S. care about this particular aspect of U.S. Middle East policy?

Well, it has to do with their beliefs about the end of times and the second coming of Jesus, according to Julie Ingersoll, a religious studies professor. Ingersoll explains that some interpretations of the Bible suggest that returning Jerusalem to Jewish control is one major precursor to a “cosmic battle between good and evil called Armageddon at which Satan will be defeated and Christ will establish his earthly kingdom.”

Over time, this narrative has become popularized in books and movies, and a powerful force in American evangelicals’ political attitudes.
4. What it means to American Jews

The new U.S. embassy was opened on the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel being established. It’s an anniversary that young Jewish Americans may not be as eager to celebrate as their parents or grandparents were, writes Dov Waxman.

According to Waxman, a professor of Israel studies at Northeastern University, younger generations of Jews have generally felt more secure in the U.S. and grown up overwhelmingly liberal and “dovish” in their politics.

“Many find it hard to reconcile the values they have internalized from these belief systems with the idea of a state that gives preferential treatment to Jews at the expense of its non-Jewish citizens, most notably its Arab minority – as Israel does,” he writes.

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