Poll: 95% of Palestinians in 1948 Occupied Palestine suffer inequality

poll

An Israeli poll shows that 95% of Palestinians who live in 1948 Occupied Palestine suffer from inequality in human rights. 63% of them said that Israel is a state of discrimination when it comes to the rights of Palestinians.

50% of those who participated in the poll, which was conducted following the bloody events in Um al-Hairan village in the Negev, charged the Israeli government with responsibly for those incidents. 40% of the participants charged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself with responsibility for Um al-Hairan violations.

59% of participants in the poll, which was conducted on a sample of 182 people aged between 18 and 72 and published by Maariv newspaper, said that they do not trust Israeli media.

97% of participants expressed their refusal of the Israeli policy of home-demolition policy practiced against Palestinians’ homes in 1948 Occupied Palestine. 50% believed that it has political and racial reasons. 15% of the participants, however, opined that it aims at regulating the not permitted construction in the area.

20% of those who took part in the poll said that it is related to the corruption suspicions brought against Netanyahu, while, 14% believed that Israeli home-demolition policy aims at satisfying settlers in Amona settlement.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

Report: Syrian Children Are the Most Affected by Ongoing Conflict

Syrian children have borne the brunt of the war being waged by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias on the Syrian people, a report by Anadolu Agency has said. The war has also affected even those children who have been displaced from their homes, the report added.

The report highlighted the suffering the Syrian people, especially children, have been facing for nearly six years. Those Syrians who have fled to other countries continue to be haunted by memories of scenes of destruction, murder, and displacement from their homes.

The report cited the plight of orphaned children who were displaced from Aleppo in the wake of the regime takeover of the city in late 2016. It also cited stories of old people who gave harrowing account of life in besieged eastern Aleppo and the suffering they had to go through to cross into Turkish territory.

The report identified poor logistics and lack of transportation means as a direct cause of the death of many civilians as ambulances were not able to transfer all the injured to hospitals. Many children arrived in Turkey with deteriorating health and gaunt faces telling the unspeakable horrors they went through.

A picture of the horrors taking place in Syria and the scale of civilian causalities was offered by a Syrian refugee who said he learned about the death of his brother, his wife, and their son through social media websites. The refugee, who declined to reveal his name, said that the family had to be buried in a single grave for lack of space in the cemetery.

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children – have been born since the conflict began five years ago. Their lives have been shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report.

In total, UNICEF estimates that some 8.4 million children – more than 80 per cent of Syria’s child population – are now affected by the conflict, either inside the country or as refugees in neighboring countries. Around two million Syrian refugee children need psychiatric support.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Anadolu Agency / 23.01.2017)

Israeli police hinder car parade heading to Occupied Jerusalem

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Israeli policemen on Monday hindered a car parade in 1948 Occupied Palestine in protest at Israel’s policy of home demolition practiced against Palestinians.

The car parade kicked off Monday morning from Qalansuwa village towards Occupied Jerusalem as part of a series of protest moves staged by the Arab High Follow-Up Committee in 1948 Occupied Palestine to protest an Israeli crime in Um al-Hairan village last week resulting in the murder of the Palestinian youth Yakoub Abu al-Qian and the demolition of Palestinian homes and agricultural lands.

Many of the Palestinian leaders in 1948 Occupied Palestine participated in the parade including the Committee’s chairman Mohamed Baraka, head of freedom committee Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, and Arab MKs as well as leaders of Arab factions in addition to a score of chairmen of local authorities.

Israeli policemen issued traffic penalties against cars taking part in the parade aiming at hindering their arrival to Occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

Clarification of Remarks by Syrian Coalition’s Vice-president on Objective of FSA and Rebel Groups Participation in Astana Meeting

Press Statement
Syrian Coalition
Media Office
January 23, 2017

In response to some media outlets misquoting the remarks made by Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ahad Steifo on Saturday about the objective behind the participation of the FSA and rebel groups in the Astana meeting due to be held on January 23, the Syrian Coalition stresses the following:

The remarks made by Vice-president Abdul Ahad Steifo were basically meant to suggest that the formation of a delegation by the FSA and rebel groups to participate in the upcoming Astana meeting is a step that could promote cooperation and coordination among these groups. This move is also expected to lay the foundation of a clear strategy and promote unity among these groups.

Steifo’s remarks about the formation of a national army were meant to suggest that this army would be formed by the FSA and rebel groups only. The move aims to reorganize the FSA and rebel groups and set up a unified strategy as well as incorporate competent army officers defecting into a national army excluding regime forces.

The establishment of a joint military council in Syria is linked exclusively to the transitional phase and the establishment of a transitional governing body with full powers in which Bashar al-Assad will have no role in line with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and relevant international resolutions.

Finally, Steifo’s remarks came to support the Astana meeting, especially with regard to the meeting contributing to the consolidation of the ceasefire; forcing regime forces and their allied militias to commit to the agreement; preventing further violations of the truce; and the immediate implementation of articles 12, 13, and 14 of the UN Security Council resolution 2254, which are related solely to humanitarian issues and are crucial to the creation of the appropriate environment for the resumption of negotiations in Geneva.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

This Week in Palestine Week 03 2017

21 JAN
2:35 AM

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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for January 14, to the 20, 2017.

This week, Israel welcomes Donald Trump with plans to build more new settlement, meanwhile Israeli attacks leave three Palestinians killed this week. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence Report

Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. This week six were abducted many others treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked anti wall and settlements protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Majd Batjali has more:

This week protests were organized in the villages of  Bil’in and Ni’lin in central West Bank, and in the northern West Bank village of Kufer Kadum.

in Kufer Kadum  many residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest there. Troops later stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents homes.

Meanwhile in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, in central West Bank, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate in the wall that separates local farmers from their lands.

Also on Friday Dozens of Palestinian peace activists, along with Israeli and international supporters, gathered in East Jerusalem Friday to erect tents and try to re-establish the peace village Bab al-Shams that was built in 2013 and destroyed that same year by Israeli forces.

Israeli troops attacked the peaceful protesters forced them away and abducted six of them. Soldiers also attacked journalists and detained live broadcast cars.

For IMEMC news this is Majd Batjali

The Political Report

As Donald Trump assumes office in Washington, Israelis are welcoming him with plans to build more new settlement units in the West Bank, IMEMCs George Rishmawi with the details:

American flags are waving at the entrances of illegal Israeli settlements of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern part of the West Bank as Donald Trump is inaugurated today the new President of the United States.

The Israeli government is expected to approve the construction of 2700 new settlement units in these settlements.  A source at the Settlements Council has reportedly said that Netanyahu told the settlers during the past 8 years that somebody in the white house would not allow them to build new settlements, but now there is a new president who they hope will help them build more settlements.

The same source said that the settlers are in direct contact with the new American Administration and that there is a delegation in Washington attending the inauguration of Trump.

Since the United Nations passed the resolution 2334 which affirms that the establishment of settlements by Israel in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 has no legal ground and is a violation of international humanitarian law, Israel has boosted the construction of new settlement units in various locations in the occupied West Bank.

In the meantime, Palestinian organized several rallies protesting Trump’s intention to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.   Last week Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) would rescind its recognition of Israel has Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem.

Although there is no clear official statement from the White House that the American Administration is going to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump and some of his advisors have mentioned that they want to move the embassy, an issue that would cause serious unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.

According to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Israeli security and intelligence services has briefed Netanyahu and senior ministers with scenarios of worsening violence should Trump announce the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Yet according to Haaretz Netanyahu has not received any official statement regarding an embassy move.

For IMEMC News, this is George Rishmawi

The West Bank and Gaza Report

Three Palestinians were killed this week in the West Bank by Israeli gunfire meanwhile in Gaza a child injured and fishermen abducted as the army continue attacking the coastal region. IMEMC’s Ghassan Bannoura reports:

Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Monday evening, a Palestinian teen, and injured at least four others, after several army vehicles invaded Teqoua’ town, southeast of Bethlehem and clashed with local residents. Medical sources at the Beit Jala governmental hospital in Bethlehem, said Qussai Hasan al-‘Amour, 17, was killed after the soldiers shot him with three live rounds in the chest, and three other rounds in his limbs.

On Tuesday, The army shot and killed, a Palestinian man at a military roadblock, west of Tulkarem, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian medical sources said the man has been identified as Nidal Mahdawi, 44 from Tulkarem.

The Israeli army claimed that the Palestinian was trying to cross roadblock #104, and that he “attempted to stab the soldiers, before they shot him.” There have been no reports of injuries among the soldiers. A video of the incident shows the man standing still behind a pole, when a soldier fired a round near him; Mahdawi started walking towards the soldiers who fired several other rounds, and then he started running towards them before they fired the fatal shots.

Also on Tuesday, a Palestinian child was injured on midday when she was hit by a speeding car driving by an Israeli settler in Hebron city, northern West Bank. Liyan Al Razam, 5, was moved to the Ahli Hospital in Hebron city after sustaining moderate injuries after being hit by the settler car.

Later in the week, Dozens of Israeli soldiers and officers, accompanied by several armored vehicles and bulldozers, invaded Umm al-Hiran village, in the Negev, and started demolishing homes and structures, before the police killed Yacoub Abu al-Qee’an, 47,  allegedly after ramming his car into officers, killing one. Many were injured, including Arab Members of Knesset.

Locals at the scene denied the Israeli allegation, and said Abu al-Qee’an, a known mathematics teacher, did not intentionally struck the officer with his car, and that he just lost control of his vehicle after the police fired at it.

Also this week, Israeli forces conducted at least 60 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli troops abducted at least 62 Palestinian civilians, including 17 children.

In Gaza this week, a five year old child was injured on Friday when Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian homes close to the border fence in the town of Beit Lahyia northern Gaza Strip. Remas Hamdonah was moved to hospital after being hit in her abdomen by an Israeli bullet. Doctors said the child sustained critical wounds.

Earlier in the week, Israeli navy ships attacked, in two separate incidents on Monday, several Palestinian fishing boats, in Gaza territorial waters, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and abducted five fishermen. Moreover Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats north of Gaza city shoreline on Thursday. No injuries were reported.

For IMEMC news this is Ghassan Bannoura.

Conclusion

And that’s all for today from This Week in Palestine. This was the Weekly report for January 14, to the 20, 2017. From the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www-dot-imemc-dot-org, This week’s report has been brought to you by Sa’ed Naji and me Eman Abedraboo-Bannoura.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

US in ‘beginning stages’ of embassy move discussions as Trump, Netanyahu share call

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — US President Donald Trump’s administration indicated on Sunday that discussions to move the American embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem were “at the very beginning stages,” as Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly shared a “very warm” phone call, Israeli media reported.White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a press conference that details regarding Trump’s controversial campaign promise to move the embassy would be shared “soon,” without providing further details, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.The announcement came the same day as Trump and Netanyahu held their first phone call since Trump took office, in which Trump reportedly expressed to Netanyahu his support of direct bilateral negotiations as the “only” means to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pledging that “the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal,” Haaretz reported.The White House said in a statement that Trump expressed the importance of “close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel,” without mentioning whether the embassy move was a topic of conversation during the phone call.The prospect of an embassy location change has been met with applause by right-wing Israeli officials and strongly condemned by Palestinians and the international community.The move would in effect amount to American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, effectively torpedoing efforts to implement a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.The Israeli government has openly expressed its anticipation for a Trump presidency when right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements and consolidate Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.The now Republican-dominated US congress already introduced a bill that would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2007. The US House of Representatives meanwhile approved a bipartisan resolution rejecting UN Resolution 2334, which strongly denounced Israel’s illegal settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory, and stated its unwavering commitment and support for the state of Israel.Last month, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat warned that the PLO would revoke all previously signed agreements with Israel as well as the PLO’s 1993 recognition of Israel if Trump followed through on his pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Erekat reportedly said such a move would indicate the US’s acceptance of “Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem,” and further warned that “any hope of peace in the future will just vanish,” Times of Israel reported.While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right as many Knesset members have called for an escalation of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and with some having advocated for its complete annexation.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

Egyptian sources: Islamic State militants blow up transmission towers in Sinai

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CAIRO (Ma’an) — Egyptian security sources told Ma’an that militants connected to the so-called Islamic State under the local affiliate group the Sinai Province blew up two transmission towers in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday evening, while in northern Sinai two Egyptian policemen were reportedly injuredduring clashes with unidentified gunmen.

Security sources told Ma’an that Sinai Province militants planted two explosive devices under the transmission towers in the Red Sea coastal area of Oyoun Moussa south of the Suez canal.
The militants had arrived covertly from central Sinai and detonated the devices, according to the sources. Egyptian forces then deployed in the area as technical teams started to rebuild the towers, which feed a power line that supplies electricity to Jordan.
Separately, Egyptian state-owned news agency MENA reported that at least two policemen were injured Saturday in clashes between security forces and unknown militants in the northern Sinai city of al-Arish.
MENA said that the “terrorist elements” opened fire on a police contingent during a security raid, leading to major clashes with heavy gunfire as police forces responded, in a report so far unconfirmed by Egypt’s Interior Ministry.
Last Monday, sources said that a Palestinian was killed and two Egyptians were injured after a bomb exploded in front of an auto shop in al-Arish, with the coastal city reportedly being targeted by a suicide bombing a week prior.
Meanwhile, last Friday, Egyptian forces killed at least 10 Egyptian youths in al-Arish, who Egyptian forces claimed were responsible for carrying out “terror attacks” over the previous days in the town.
However, days later, Al-Jazeera reported that residents in al-Arish were accusing the state of carrying out “extrajudicial killings,” saying that six of the slain youths named by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior had been detained months ago by Egyptian authorities.
Fighting between the Egyptian government and the Sinai Province has escalated since Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi took power from Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
The Egyptian president came under attack following his violent suppression of Muslim Brotherhood members following his rise to power, which al-Sisi has argued is necessary to deter future attacks in the Sinai and across Egypt.
Al-Sisi said earlier this month that 25,000 soldiers were deployed in northern Sinai to fight the militants, a previously undisclosed figure that seemed to underline the magnitude of the conflict.
According to a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Egyptian government said that its counterterrorism operations in North Sinai killed at least 3,091 “terrorists” between January and July 2015, with HRW noting that the government did not allow independent observers into the area of fighting and did not acknowledge any civilian deaths in the Sinai, while the Egyptian government has barred journalists from reporting on events in Sinai.
Amid the violence, Egyptian authorities have also been accused of heavy-handed tactics, including collective punishment following deadly attacks, by imposing curfews and a state of emergency, and even ordering the destruction of hundreds of homes skirting Sinai’s border with the besieged Gaza Strip.
(Source / 23.01.2017)

Protests continue as rights groups demand probe into deadly Umm al-Hiran raid

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Demonstration held at Israeli Supreme Court demanding the release of Yaqoub Abu al-Qian’s body

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A protest convoy set off Monday morning, in the wake of the demolition of dozens of homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in recent weeks, as details continued to unfold over a deadly demolition raid in the unrecognized Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran.

At least ten Palestinian homes were demolished in the city of Qalansawe on Jan. 10, while more than a dozen Palestinian structures were razed to the ground in the Negev village of Umm al-Hiran the following week after an Israeli police raid to evacuate villagers left two people killed.
Convoys set off from Qalansawe in central Israel and from the Negev in the south on Monday to converge at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem, in a demonstration involving more than 250 cars, according to Israeli news site Arab 48.
Protesters raised Palestinian flags and black flags as a sign of mourning for Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, a local math teacher in Umm al-Hiran who was shot and killed by Israeli police under widely contested circumstances before authorities demolished houses in the village.
The convey caused traffic to come to a halt on Jerusalem’s Street 6, as protesters rejected demands from Israeli police to evacuate and clear the traffic jam.
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Arab 48 reported that Israeli police issued several traffic citations to demonstrators, with Israeli police detaining Qalansawe-based lawyer Ahmad Ghazawi for resisting police measures.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samari said that police were “organizing traffic” near the Knesset building, and demanded that “all parties act responsibly and only conduct licensed and legal protests.”
Knesset member Jamal Zahalqa of the Joint List coalition told reporters that the protest was aimed at putting a halt to demolitions and also demanded that Israeli authorities release body of slain Abu al-Qian.
“This state is dealing with the Arab housing crisis by carrying out demolitions instead of construction. It is a state that only constructs for Jews while demolishing the homes of others, and yet claims to be a democracy,” he said.
Israel continues to hold body of slain Bedouin
While numerous eyewitnesses have insisted Abu al-Qian was posing no threat to anyone when Israeli police opened fire at his vehicle, causing him to lose control of the car and ram into officers, Israeli authorities have claimed the local math teacher was carrying out a deliberate terrorist attack in the incident that left one policeman killed.
Due to the allegations, Israel has imposed a number of preconditions on the Abu al-Qian family to release his body, as part of the Israeli state’s policy of withholding bodies of alleged attackers on the grounds that their funerals become sites of “incitement” against Israel.
The Israeli Supreme Court convened convened on Monday afternoon to look into an appeal filed by Palestinian legal aid organization Adalah and the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights on behalf of Abu al-Qian’s wife, to demand the immediate release of Abu al-Qian’s body without preconditions.
According to Hebrew-language media, the state argued during the hearing that the body would not be returned because Abu al-Qian “deliberately ran over an Israeli police officer,” expressing concerns that clashes could break out during the funeral.
“The family refused the stipulations proposed by police for the funeral, and in light of this refusal, there are concerns that extremist groups could take advantage of the funeral to inflame clashes and violence,” the state said in its response to the appeal.
Palestinian MK Talab Abu Arar of the Joint List told Ma’an in Jerusalem that the claims were “unacceptable,” and said that mourners would “maintain order during the funeral in respect for the martyr.”
Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi, who was also present at the Supreme Court hearing, said on Twitter in response to the Israeli policy of imposing preconditions on funerals that “we at least want to be equal in death,” rejecting police intervention in the burial and mourning process for slain Palestinians.
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MK Ahmad Tibi addresses reporters at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem
Details over deadly Umm al-Hiran raid continue to unfold
The Abu al-Qian family has meanwhile demanded an investigation into the killing itself, and on Monday, rights groups also announced that they had appealed to the Israeli Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department (PID) to open a criminal probe into how and why police allegedly shot MK Ayman Odeh during the Umm al-Hiran clashes.
Odeh, who is the head of the Joint List and also leads the socialist Hadash party, said he was shot in the head by police with a sponge-tipped bullet while he and other Palestinian MKs had gathered to support locals resisting the demolitions.

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MK Ayman Odeh, after being injured in the head during Umm al-Hiran clashes
A statement issued by Adalah and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel said they had requested the investigation because police actions during the clashes “raised the suspicion of the illegal use of force and illegal use of firearms. The officers’ actions violated Israeli law and constitute an infringement of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.”
Some police officials have been quoted in Israeli media as saying that Odeh was struck not by police fire, but by rocks thrown inadvertently in his direction by protesters.
According to Times of Israel, hospital officials at Soroka medical center where Odeh was treated had said medical staff could not determine whether Odeh was struck by rocks or crowd-control ordnance, also reporting that the wounds were examined at a forensic medical center, but the results of the examination have not yet been made public.
However, the rights groups said in their appeal to the PID that photos of Odeh’s wounds matched wounds created by sponge-tipped bullets, and that such bullets were found on the ground beside those who had been hit at Umm al-Hiran, including Odeh.
The appeal also demanded an investigation into the police’s media department, accusing spokespersons of misleading the public about the events at Umm al-Hiran, reiterating remarks made by the Joint List that also accused police of a deliberate cover-up.
“Publicizing utterly baseless claims about MK Odeh’s injury from rock throwing, or his involvement in or abetting of an [alleged] car-ramming terror attack, amounts to willful misleading of the public, and reaches the level of incitement,” rights groups’ statement said.
Meanwhile, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that new eyewitnesses had come forward in exclusive interviews saying that Israeli police also fired at an unmarked police vehicle during the deadly incident, wounding at least two people inside.
The witnesses also reiterated testimonies given by numerous others that Abu al-Qian had been driving slowly and posing no threat before police opened fire at him, which then caused him to accelerate his vehicle into the group of officers.
The report also said a senior police spokesman declined to say whether an officer wounded during the incident was run over Abu al-Qian’s vehicle or shot by other policemen, raising new questions about the police account.
(Source / 23.01.2017)

US Had ‘Secret Accord’ to Continue ‘Natural Growth’ of Israeli Settlements

16 JAN
8:17 PM

A leaked cable from Paris reveals that the Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak advertised the fact that the US and Israel had a ‘secret accord’ to ‘continue the natural growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.’

~ Rory Wood, Wikileaks

According to the cable [09PARIS827], the MFA Middle East Director Patrice Paoli reported that the Israeli defense minister made the bold claim during a meeting with French officials on June 15, 2009 – five years after a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice underscored the United States’ requirement to enforce international legal obligations on countries with which they have influence.

If the defense minister’s claims were indeed true (perhaps denoted by the fact that Ehud Barak retained his position until his retirement in 2011), this would place the Obama administration in direct violation of the World Court ruling and also violate the UN Security Council resolutions 446, 452, 465 and 471, which underscored the illegality of Israel’s colonization of occupied territories.

In December 2016, US President Barack Obama decided not to veto a United Nations call to halt settlement-expansion in the West Bank. This last-ditch attempt at salvaging international esteem by the Nobel Peace Prize-awarded leader, however, does very little to shadow the fact that the Obama administration did more to shield an increasingly-oppressive Israeli government than any other US leader.

In accords with the secret agreement that is referred to in the Wikileaks cable, Obama vetoed every single UN attempt to crack-down on Israeli settlement-expansion until his decision to forego this process in the last few weeks of his tenure, provoking rage from a largely conservative Congress but praise from human rights organisations around the world. However, in contrast, under George W. Bush (generally considered the President with the most aggressive approach to foreign policy since Dwight Eisenhower) six similar resolutions were allowed through, and under H.W. Bush, nine resolutions critical of Israel were allowed through.

The UN Resolution that was not vetoed by the US was toothless and largely symbolic. It authorizes no sanctions to compel Israel to respect international law. Notably, despite being considered a ‘statement piece’ by the outgoing Obama administration, the US merely withdrew their veto power rather than choosing to actually support the motion.

At the same time, Obama awarded Israel with its largest military aid package ever — signing a memorandum of understanding in September that would give it $38 billion over 10 years.

Ultimately, as long as the majority of donors to the two major US political parties remain stridently pro-Israel, any politician’s decision to leverage the United States’ political and financial power in order to put an end to Israel appropriating Palestinian land will always be political suicide. It is certainly unlikely that Obama’s apparent ‘betrayal’ of Israel will have any genuine impact on the agreement that Ehud Barack boasted during his trip to France.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

26 Palestinians detained across West Bank in Israeli army raids

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces launched predawn detention raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Monday, detaining at least 26 Palestinians, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources, while the Israeli army also installed roadblocks in the southern occupied West Bank for unknown reasons.The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that nine Palestinians were detained in occupied East Jerusalem and the Jerusalem district of the West Bank.It said Adam Mahmoud, Samer Atiyeh, Ahmad Ubeid, Muhammad Mahmoud, Muhammad Atiyeh, and Ahmad Tarwa were detained in the neighborhood of Issawiya, while Mamduh Ajluni and Ahmad Badriya were detained in the Old City, and Mahmoud al-Zaghil was detained in Ras al-Amoud.In the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, PPS reported that Israeli forces detained Raed Bahinjawi, Khalid Nimr Fayad, Naim Fathi Qandil, and Ahmad Othman Dweikat.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that in the Nablus district, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the Balata refugee camp, three Palestinians from Askar refugee camp, and one from the village of Askar al-Balad.Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, PPS said that Ahmad Nour Nour al-Din Rayan, 15, was detained in the Qalqiliya-area town of Azzun, while Taher Jamal Kamil was detained in the town of Qabatiya in the Jenin district.The army confirmed one detention in Azzun.In the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, PPS reported that Israeli forces detained Mahmoud Atallah Mashayekh, Ali Muhammad Abu Srour, Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Khatib, Anas Muhammad Taqatqa, and Uday Thabta.The army reported that two Palestinians from Aida refugee camp were detained, while another was detained from the village of Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem.In the Hebron district, PPS that that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian girl identified as Thuraya Abu Sil, as well as Mahmoud Abu al-Zgharit in the al-Arrub refugee camp, while Muhammad Ahmad al-Hur was detained in Surif and Muhammad Abd al-Halim Sawaifa was detained in the old city of Hebron.The army confirmed one detention from the town of Surif east of Hebron, and two from al-Arrub refugee camp.Israeli media reports quoted an Israeli army source as saying the 13 were detained over alleged involvement in rock-throwing and “riots.”Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016.According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians, 720 of them held under administration detention without charge or trial, were detained in Israeli prisons as of October 2016.Meanwhile, Israeli forces blocked off a main commuter entrance point leading to a number of villages west of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank at around midnight Sunday evening for unknown reasons, a Palestinian security source said.The source said that Israeli forces closed of the main road in both directions in the Aqbat Hasna area that leads to the villages of Husan, Battir, Nahalin, and Wadi Fukin.Israeli forces have escalated security measures in the area recently by continuously imposing closures, the source added.It remained unclear as of Monday morning whether the roadblocks were still in place.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports.

(Source / 23.01.2017)