CMEP Bulletin: Palestinians No Longer Bound by Oslo Accords
During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared to the international community “that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them.
We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying Power, because the status quo cannot continue and the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council last March are specific and binding.” Included in the agreements that the Palestinians “cannot continue to be bound by” are the Oslo Peace Accords, arguably the foundation for the Middle East peace process.
Following an incident on Rosh Hashanah in which a Jerusalem resident was killed by suspected stone-throwing at his car, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to authorize the use of live fire against stone-throwers in Jerusalem. According to Haaretz the live fire authorization will be expanded to include stone-throwers (predominantly Bedouins with Israeli citizenship) in Southern Israel but will not include Tel Aviv protests (predominantly Jewish Israelis) or ultra-Orthodox Jewish protests against the Israeli draft or perceived desecration of the Sabbath.
Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Clashes
For over two weeks (see CMEP Bulletin 9/18 ) the Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa complex has been the scene of violent clashes between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians have expressed continued concern that Israel is attempting to change the status quo on the Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa. Following a security meeting on increasing penalties for stone-throwers last week Netanyahu said, “[Israel is] preserving the status quo. We are not violating it and all comments that we intend to harm Muslim holy sites are completely baseless.” On Tuesday Arab Joint List Knesset member shouted, “Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims,” at Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa complex.” During this period of increased tensions on the Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa there have been reports that Jordan’s King Abdullah has refused to speak with Netanyahu, age restrictions have been placed and then eased on Muslim access to the Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa complex, it has been closed to Jewish visitors for Eid al-Adha, and 3,500 Israeli police were placed throughout Jerusalem’s Old City while Jewish worshipers gathered at the Western Wall plaza for the traditional Sukkot priestly blessing.
Christian School Strike Ends!
Classes in Israel’s Christian schools began this week after an almost month long strike (see CMEP Bulletin 9/25). According the Secretariat of Christian Schools in Israel the terms of the settlement reached with the Israeli Ministry of Education will allow each Christian school reduce the tuition for primary students by 25%.