Killing of Palestinian triggers protests in East Jerusalem

Masked Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli security forces amidst clashes following Friday prayers in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya on June 28, 2019, after a Palestinian demonstrator died from injuries sustained the previous day. (AFP)
Updated 30 June 2019

Killing of Palestinian triggers protests in East Jerusalem

  • Israeli officials admitted that Obeid was shot by Israeli soldiers
  • An Israeli court refused to immediately return the body

JERUSALEM: Palestinians in Issawiya, East Jerusalem have continued protests for the third day running after Israeli soldiers killed 20-year-old Mohammad Obeid on Thursday.

Witnesses said that the soldiers killed Obeid even though their lives were not in danger. Israeli officials admitted that Obeid was shot by Israeli soldiers but claimed that they were at risk after fireworks were launched at them at close range. Israeli forces later retrieved Obeid’s body from a car heading to the nearby Maqassed hospital.

An Israeli court refused to immediately return the body but said that police must do so within 24 hours. 

Ahmad Budeiri, a reporter following the events, told Arab News that the court ordered the body be given back on condition the family agreed that only four people would attend the funeral or they would be fined 20,000 shekels ($5,000). The family has refused. 

“If the issue of the return of the body is not reached this could quickly escalate,” Buderi said.

Talal Abu Afifeh, head of the Jerusalem Intellectual Forum, told Arab News that the protests that led to Obeid’s killing were in opposition to the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” plan. 

“Protests in Issawiya were against the Bahrain economic workshop and have escalated since,” he said. Abu Afifeh, who lives in the nearby Shufat refugee camp, said: “People in the Shufat refugee camp, Sur Baher and Qalandia have protested continuously since Thursday,” he said.

Obeid’s mother said that her son had been arrested a number of times by Israeli police. 

Residents of Issawiya have been subjected to regular raids and arrests by the Israeli army and police for years, with homes in the town often demolished.

The main entrance to the town was historically near the HebrewUniversity, but it was shut by Israeli authorities during the Second Intifada of 2000-2005. Now, only pedestrians can enter through the route. 

Residents of Issawiya complain that they are discriminated against in favor of the nearby Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, which is expanding.

Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

Updated 52 min 46 sec ago

Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

  • Several European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey

ANKARA: With an increasing number of European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey over its ongoing operation in northeastern Syria, Ankara’s existing inventory of weapons and military capabilities are under the spotlight.

More punitive measures on a wider scale are expected during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Oct. 17.

It could further strain already deteriorating relations between Ankara and the bloc.

However, a EU-wide arms embargo would require an unanimous decision by all the leaders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned last week of a possible refugee flow if Turkey “opened the doors” for 3.6 million Syrian refugees to go to Europe — putting into question the clauses of the 2016 migration deal between Ankara and Brussels.

“The impact of EU member states’ arms sanctions on Turkey depends on the level of Turkey’s stockpiles,” Caglar Kurc, a researcher on defense and armed forces, told Arab News.

Kurc thinks Turkey has foreseen the possible arms sanctions and stockpiled enough spare parts to maintain the military during the operation.

“As long as Turkey can maintain its military, sanctions would not have any effect on the operation. Therefore, Turkey will not change its decisions,” he said.

So far, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway have announced they have stopped weapons shipments to fellow NATO member Turkey, condemning the offensive.

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the federal government will not issue new permits for all armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Following Germany’s move, the French government announced: “France has decided to suspend all export projects of armaments to Turkey that could be deployed as part of the offensive in Syria. This decision takes effect immediately.”

While not referring to any arms embargo, the UK urged Turkey to end the operation and enter into dialogue.

Turkey received one-third of Germany’s arms exports of €771 million ($850.8 million) in 2018. 

According to Kurc, if sanctions extend beyond weapons that could be used in Syria, there could be a negative impact on the overall defense industry.

“However, in such a case, Turkey would shift to alternative suppliers: Russia and China would be more likely candidates,” he said.

According to Sinan Ulgen, the chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, the arms embargo would not have a long-term impact essentially because most of the sanctions are caveated and limited to materials that can be used by Turkey in its cross-border operation.

“So the arms embargo does not cover all aspects of the arms trade between Turkey and the EU. These measures look essentially like they are intended to demonstrate to their own critical publics that their governments are doing something about what they see as a negative aspect of Turkey’s behavior,” he told Arab News.

Turkey, however, insists that the Syria operation, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” is undeterred by any bans or embargoes.

“No matter what anyone does, no matter if it’s an arms embargo or anything else, it just strengthens us,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told German radio station Deutsche Welle.