Israel: Soldiers Provoke Settler Violence; State Blocks UAE Oil Plan

July 26th, 2021 - by The New Arab Staff

New Report Details Israeli Military Complicity
In Settler Violence inside the West Bank

The New Arab Staff

 (July 24, 2021) — A new report has documented the complicity of Israel’s security forces in the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank

The report by Breaking the Silence, which is run by Israeli veterans, said that Israeli forces were enabling the violence committed by Israeli settlers, and provided a “cloak of protection” for their actions, which were becoming increasingly more violent. 

“Settlers, who are well aware of how to take advantage of this situation, often use the cloak of protection provided by the IDF to promote their goals, at the forefront of which is deepening their control of the area and pushing the Palestinians off of their land,” the new report, titled On Duty, said.

The report complied the testimonies for 36 former members of the Israeli forces, dating back to 2012. 

“These testimonies, like many others, describe a reality marked by unending harm to and threat toward Palestinian people, property and land,” reads the report. 

“The acts described here include different kinds of violent attacks, including beatings, stone-throwing and burning of agricultural fields and groves,” it added. 

Israeli forces have long been accused of complicity in the attacks committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, which have witnessed a recent drastic rise.

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem recorded that in just the first six months of 2021, attacks had increased 33% on the same period last year. 

While the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that more Palestinians had been injured by Jewish settlers in the first six months of 2021 than in the whole of 2020. 

The testimonies in report highlight the differences in how Israeli forces operating in the West Bank dealt with settlers, compared with Palestinians. 

Israel Freezes UAE Oil Deal over Environmental Concerns

The New Arab and Agencies

TEL AVIV (July 25, 2021) — Israel’s environmental protection ministry said Sunday it was delaying implementation of a proposed oil transport deal with the United Arab Emirates, freezing a project that has angered environmentalists.

The agreement, which followed the UAE and Israel establishing diplomatic ties last year, would see Gulf oil brought to the Red Sea port of Eilat by tanker, than moved by pipeline through mainland Israel to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon, from where it would be shipped to Europe.

The oil deal, involving Israel’s state-owned Europe-Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) and an Israeli-Emirati company called MED-RED Land Bridge Ltd, has not launched.

But activists have sounded the alarm about potential threats to the northern Red Sea corals off Eilat’s coast.

Israeli environmental organisations challenged the plan in court, citing the risks of a devastating leak or spill, with tens of millions of tons of crude expected to be brought through Israel each year.

EAPC submitted its response in court last week, providing a risk assessment, which it claimed that the risk from the increased flow of crude was miniscule.

But on Sunday, Israel’s environmental protection ministry said the risk assessment “did not meet the conditions” stipulated by the ministry, and was therefore not valid.

The ministry told EAPC in a letter it was “delaying the evaluation of your preparations to increase activity in the Eilat port, until the government has a discussion and reaches a decision” on the project.

The decision to freeze the deal’s implementation was made by recently sworn-in Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party, who has been an outspoken opponent of the EAPC-Emirati agreement.

A spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, whose ideologically diverse coalition was sworn in last month, said his office had “asked the court for an extension of time, in order to respond to the petition filed by the environmental organisations.”

A spokeswoman for EAPC had no comment.

Activists argue the deal evaded tough regulatory scrutiny because of EAPC’s status as a state-owned firm working in the sensitive energy sector.  

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