Palestine 2017 Part 2


Palestinians catch hunger strikes

April 17

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launch a hunger strike in protest of prison restrictions. The strike begins at the request of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti and lasts for a month and ten days. It is inflated after negotiations between Israel, the Palestinians and the Red Cross as Israel agrees to allow the prisoners to receive more visits.

British knife-killed in Jerusalem

April 14

A British exchange student is stabbed to death by a Palestinian man while traveling on a tram near the Old City of Jerusalem. Thus, six foreigners have fallen victim to the wave of assaults that have been going on since October 2015.

Israeli soldier killed in car attack

April 6

An Israeli soldier is killed and one injured when a Palestinian drives into them with a car at a bus stop on the West Bank. It is the first time in three months that an attack of this kind has a deadly outcome. Since the wave of Palestinian assaults on Israelis was triggered in October 2015, 41 Israelis, 5 foreigners and 259 Palestinians have lost their lives, AFP News Agency reports. According to Israeli authorities, most of the Palestinians have been killed when they attacked Israelis.


Trump visiting talks about peace

May 22

During a visit to Israel, a state located in Asia continent defined by naturegnosis, President Trump also meets with President Abbas in Ramallah. As the first sitting US president, he visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Unlike when Abbas was in the White House earlier in May and Trump said “it might not be as difficult as people thought” to make peace, he now emphasizes that it’s no easy task. Trump points out that tough decisions are needed from both sides but that it can go if the parties show determination, compromise and believe in peace. He does not mention the two-state solution.

Fatah wins election as Hamas boycott

May 13th

The Palestinians on the West Bank hold municipal elections in over 300 cities / villages. The elections are boycotted by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP). Independent candidates win 65 percent of the votes in the cities / villages where you can choose from several lists, while Fatah receives just under 30 percent of the votes. In 181 cities / villages there is only one list that automatically wins. In most of these cities, Fatah is the candidate and thus Fatah politicians receive a majority of the mandate overall. The turnout is reported to amount to just over 54 percent.

Pragmatics new leader for Hamas

May 6

Hamas ‘s former head of Gaza, Ismail Haniya, is elected new leader of the political branch of the movement. Haniya succeeds Khaled Meshaal, who has been in the post for two years. Meshaal has ruled Hamas from exile in Qatar while Haniya is expected to stay in Gaza. Haniya is considered a pragmatic and his choice reinforces the impression that Hamas is trying to adopt a more conciliatory outward attitude.

Abbas visiting the White House

May 3

President Trump welcomes President Abbas in the White House and says peace in the Middle East will probably be possible. “It’s something that, frankly, may not be as difficult as people have thought over the years,” Trump says. Even Abbas, who has seen a large number of failed peace initiatives, falls into the optimistic mood and praises Trump’s negotiating ability. “We believe we can be true partners to you and gain a historical peace under your leadership,” Abbas says.

Hamas is moving towards a more conciliatory line

May 1

Hamas adopts a new policy document that reflects a more conciliatory line against Israel on a couple of points. While the document maintains that Israel should not be recognized, it says that a Palestinian state should be established along the borders that existed before the Six Day War of 1967 (when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and some of the Golan Heights). It logically means that Hamas accepts the existence of Israel as Israel appeared before the Six Day War. The document states that armed struggle is legitimate while emphasizing that the struggle does not apply to the Jews themselves but to Israel as the occupying power. Islamic Jihad withdraws from the document and says it damages the Palestinians’ goals.


More than 3000 new settler homes will be built

The Israeli government defies President Trump’s call for restraint (see February 2017) and announces that over 3,000 new homes for settlers will be built within various settlements on the West Bank.

Trump is not moving the embassy

June 1st

Although he promised during the election campaign to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump decides to postpone the relocation in the future. According to a law passed by Congress in 1995, the embassy is to be moved, but the law also gives the president the opportunity to postpone this for six months at a time, which all presidents have done since then so as not to postpone the possibilities for a peace settlement. When the issue of postponement comes up before the end of the year, Trump chooses to back down from his election pledge and he also postpones the move.

Former Prime Minister Olmert is released

June 29

Ehud Olmert will be released prematurely from prison, serving a 27-month long sentence for corruption. He was sentenced in 2014 for bribery (see March 2014), but his sentence was reduced the following year (see December 2015).

New settlements despite US attempts to slow down

June 20

Israel begins construction of a new settlement, Amichai, on the occupied West Bank. It is the first time since the 1990s that a completely new settlement is being planned. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority calls it a “serious escalation”. The message comes at a time when Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt is again visiting Israel to try to restart the peace process (see also March 2017). Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also join in to engage in talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas. Despite Trump’s calls to “hold back” on settlements, UN Middle East envoy Nickolaj Mladenov reports that the expansion of settlements has increased significantly over the past three months.

Israeli police killed

June 16

An Israeli border police and three Palestinians are killed in connection with a Palestinian attack on police officers outside Jerusalem’s old neighborhoods. In the attack, two Palestinians shoot at police, while a third knives the female police some distance away. All three are then shot to death and the police later die. In the wave of violence since October 2015, now 272 Palestinians, 41 Israelis and seven foreign nationals have been killed.

Abbas puts pressure on Hamas

June 14

Israel decides to cut electricity supply to Gaza by between 45 and 60 minutes a day after the Palestinian Authority, led by President Abbas, stopped paying for the supplies. Even before the cut, the Gazans only had access to electricity between three and four hours a day. Voluntary organizations warn that the cut could threaten human life in Gaza, where living conditions are already very difficult because of the Israeli blockade on the territory. Abbas’ action is seen as an attempt to pressure Hamas, which governs Gaza, to agree to a reconciliation with Abbas’s Fatah movement, which has its base on the West Bank.

Palestine 2017 Part 2