As violence soars, killing of unarmed Palestinian mother highlights terrible toll of occupation

Sabaten, a 47-year-old widow, mother of six and math teacher, died of her injuries after being shot in the legs by Israeli forces near a temporary military checkpoint in the village on Sunday after that the Israeli army said it ignored verbal warnings and ran towards them as they fired warning shots in the air. She was unarmed, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Her six children, aged 11 to 22, looked stunned as they sat in the formal living room of their grandparents’ home, their family members talking through tears.

Similar scenes of families mourning a loved one lost in the cycle of violence gripping Israel and the West Bank took place in Israeli homes just a few dozen miles away after 11 civilians and three security guards in uniform have been killed in a wave of attacks, including a mass shooting last week at a busy bar in central Tel Aviv.

After the attacks, Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank intensified as forces carried out raids they said were linked to the attacks or aimed to prevent future ones. The atmosphere is incredibly charged. Since Sunday, at least four Palestinians and one Israeli have been shot dead by Israeli forces. In all cases except Sabaten, the Israeli army said soldiers opened fire in response to acts of violence. In one case, a woman stabbed a Border Patrol agent; in another, a man threw Molotov cocktails at cars, the military said.

Sabaten’s family said that after she was shot, it took at least 15 minutes before anyone was allowed near her. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she was dead of blood loss, Sabaten’s aunt said. The Israeli army said its soldiers followed protocol for someone acting suspiciously and gave first medical aid. Video from the scene shows a soldier working on Sabaten, his body protected by pieces of cardboard for reasons of modesty, the IDF said. The Israeli army said it was investigating the incident.

“When I saw the video of her being shot, I felt an emptiness, I felt my soul leaving me, I wished it was me,” Ghada’s son said, Mansour, to CNN.

Representatives of the European Union and the United Nations have condemned Sabaten’s murder. The EU Delegation to the Palestinians said in a tweet “Such excessive use of lethal force against an unarmed civilian is unacceptable.”

Sabaten’s family said they want the soldier or soldiers who pulled the trigger to be held accountable.

“I felt very angry when I saw the video, I don’t know where to go with all this anger,” said Mohammed, Ghada’s 20-year-old son.

It is difficult to identify a trigger point for this latest wave of violence. Israeli officials say the attacks are “lone wolf” actions, with no major organization behind them. This makes them harder to prevent.

And although Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned attacks on Israeli civilians, he remains under pressure, including from the United States, to withdraw financial support for the families of those who carry out attacks.

What a meeting in Israel says about a changing world order

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, facing his own political crisis after losing a parliamentary majority, pledged to act quickly to prevent further attacks, saying on Sunday that “the State of Israel is offended…it there is no restriction on [Israeli security forces] in the war on terrorism.”

Such rhetoric raised red flags in the West Bank, as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused Israel on Monday of adopting a “shoot to kill” policy.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, chairman of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, told CNN that the recent wave of violence stems from the Israeli government’s dismissal of any kind of political peace process and instead promoting a policy aimed at opening up economic opportunities to Palestinians, such as more work permits, in the hope that it will achieve peace.

“Trying to say that the Palestinians will accept the situation if their economic situation improves is a myth,” Barghouti said.

Barghouti said the Palestinians are angry not only with the Israeli occupation, but also with the United States for breaking its promises to reopen a consulate for the Palestinians. And perhaps just as important, there are deep frustrations with their own political leaders for failing to hold democratic elections, and also with the international community for what Barghouti called a double standard as they watch the West Sanctioning Russia for Its Actions in Ukraine, While Ignoring Israel.

But things could get worse, especially if religious tensions rise even further as Ramadan, Passover and Easter overlap this weekend. Israeli officials said a group of Palestinians vandalized the site believed to be the tomb of the biblical prophet Joseph in the West Bank city of Nablus. At the same time, extremist Jewish groups announced their intention to visit the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and home to the Al Aqsa Mosque, to pray and practice the ancient Jewish ritual of sacrificing a lamb before the Passover feast. .

Such an act is seen by Palestinians as incredibly provocative. Under the agreement put in place with Jordan in 1967 which runs Jerusalem’s holiest site, Jews are not allowed to pray within the compound, although in recent years a growing number of extremist Jewish groups pray openly on the site. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, where the compound is located, as the capital of their future state.

“The most dangerous thing is the provocations against the Al Aqsa mosque and this could lead to an explosion in the whole area,” Barghouti warned, referring to the 11-day war last May between Hamas-led militants in Gaza and Israel.

Other news from the Middle East

Lebanese Prime Minister announces he will visit Saudi Arabia during Ramadan

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Monday he would visit Saudi Arabia during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Al-Jadeed TV reported.

  • Background: Diplomatic relations between Lebanon and some Arab states have been strained over the years due to the growing influence of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement. Relations hit rock bottom last year after a former Lebanese minister openly criticized Saudi Arabia.
  • why is it important: The announced visit will be the latest in a series of steps showing the improvement of relations between Lebanon and its neighbors, in particular Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen announced last week that they were bringing their ambassadors back to Lebanon. Improved ties could open the door to increased support that could help Lebanon’s deteriorating economy get back on its feet.

Iranian Khamenei says country’s fate should not hinge on nuclear talks

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that the future of the Islamic Republic should not be tied to the fate of the nuclear talks, Iranian state media reported.

  • Background: Negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have so far stalled between Iran and Western powers. “Absolutely do not wait for nuclear negotiations to plan the country and move forward,” Khamenei told a meeting of senior officials. “Do not let your work be interrupted, whether the negotiations lead to positive, semi-positive or negative results.”
  • why is it important: Iran’s economy has been badly hit by Western sanctions, which were particularly brutal after then-President Donald Trump imposed a “maximum pressure” campaign to crack down on Iranian influence in the region. Iran then began to violate the limits imposed on its nuclear program.

Shares of Dubai Electricity jumped on their stock market debut after the biggest regional IPO since Aramco

Shares of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) jumped around 20% on Tuesday on their first day of trading on the Dubai Financial Market.

  • Background: DEWA last week offered $6.1 billion in the Gulf’s largest initial public offering (IPO) since Saudi Aramco’s record $29.4 billion IPO in 2019. The vice -Dubai governor said DEWA had attracted 315 billion dirhams ($86 billion) of demand for the IPO,
  • why is it important: The IPO will raise funds for Dubai and aims to help its exchange compete more strongly with its biggest regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. The public sale of shares is the largest in Dubai.

Around the region

A sketch on Saudi television mocking US President Joe Biden has gone viral on Twitter.

A recent clip from the Studio 22 show featured an actor impersonating Biden at a press conference on Russia. The scene depicts a seemingly senile, insane and jaded Biden who needs help from Vice President Kamala Harris. The clip has been viewed over 7 million times on social media.

Ramadan is prime time for television in the Middle East. It’s the season that takes the bulk of advertisers’ and content creators’ budgets, and it’s also the time for artists to show off their talent and push the boundaries of social and political taboos.

Countries like Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon still have a mix of drama and comedy series every Ramadan, but Saudi TV has upped its game by attracting regional audiences.

Studio 22 is a comedy show on state-owned MBC that tells the story of a bankrupt television station trying to survive against all odds. The show features satirical impersonations of several celebrities and political figures such as Boris Johnson, Will Smith and even the pride of Arabs, footballer Mo Salah.

This type of mockery of a US president, although occurring amid strained relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, is not a first. Another show on MBC called Wi-Fi previously poked fun at Donald Trump and Barack Obama while they were in power.

Studio 22 has already raised eyebrows. Adil al-Kalbani, the former imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, said in a TV interview this month that he may take legal action against the show after it performed a mocking skit of his reversal as imam of Islam’s holiest site to promote government-supported entertainment festivals in TV commercials. In promotional campaigns for the Riyadh Season festival, the former imam was portrayed as a Game of Thrones “Free Folk” character.

By Mohamed Abdelbary

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