UN Recognition of UK NGO Angers Israel

UN Recognition of UK NGO Angers Israel

Palestine – Israel has rebuked the United Nations for granting accreditation to a Palestinian non-governmental organization which Israel says is linked to the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.

Al Ray reports that, in a statement issued on Monday, Israel’s mission to the United Nations condemned the move by the 19-member UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations to recognize the UK-based Palestinian Return Center (PRC).

The statement was issued after the UN committee on Monday voted 12 to 3 in favor, with three abstentions, of recognizing the PRC as a permanent NGO with access to many fora of the world body.

The Israeli mission claimed that the PRC “promotes anti-Israel propaganda in Europe” and that senior members of the Palestinian NGO have links to other organizations which transfer funds to Hamas.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor castigated the decision, saying, “The UN has gone one step further, giving Hamas a grand welcoming at its main gates, allowing it to be a full participant.”

Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, China, Cuba and Venezuela were among the countries that supported the PRC application at the United Nations while the US, Uruguay and Israel voted against. India, Russia and Greece abstained, and Burundi was absent.

Israel has carried out a range of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people only over the past several years.

During the latest Israeli 50-day war on the Gaza Strip, which ended in August 2014 under a truce, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed and over 11,100 others were wounded.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Gazans start hunger strike over crossing closure

Currently, more than 15,000 Gazans are in an urgent need to travel

Gazans unable to travel due to Rafah crossing closure started Tuesday open hunger strike, calling for Egyptians to open it.

“The continuous closure of the crossing increases the suffering of the people of Gaza,” Abu-Kareem said. “The closure makes the coastal enclave the biggest prison in the world”

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –Gazans unable to travel due to Rafah crossing closure started Tuesday open hunger strike, calling for Egyptians to open it.

The hunger strikers set up a tent near the crossing and put up a number of posters including: “People stuck in Gaza call for Egyptian Authorities to open the Rafah crossing in both directions.”

Another poster read: “We call for the UN and all human rights organisations to facilitate the travel of Gaza’s patients… Gaza’s patients are awaiting death because of the closure of the crossing. We are humans… Where are President Abbas and the unity government?”

The hunger strikers said that they would continue their strike until the crossing is opened, calling for the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian unity government to take action to make this happen.

Spokesman of the hunger strikers Majdi abu-Kareem said that around 15,000 Palestinians need to travel urgently and they are “just waiting for the crossing to open”.

“Some of the people who are unable to travel are patients, some are university students and some are foreign passport holders facing expiration deadlines,” he said. “The passports of a number of foreign passport holders have expired.”

“The continuous closure of the crossing increases the suffering of the people of Gaza,” Abu-Kareem said. “The closure makes the coastal enclave the biggest prison in the world.”

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Saudi Unit Deployments to the Yemeni Border (Jizan, Asir, and Najran Regions)

Saudi military deployments to the Yemeni border since Operation Decisive Storm (now Operation Restoring Hope) was launched on March 25, 2015, are drawn from both Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) and Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) units. The deployments include infantry, armored, and artillery units as well as logistical and support units.

Saudi Arabia announced additional deployments to Najran as part of a “Strike Force” in response to Houthi shelling of civilian areas in Najran province on May 6, 2015. These units are reportedly led by Brigadier General Muhammad Ali Shahrani, SANG Commander of the Prince Sa’d bin Abdul Rahman (PSAR) Brigade.

The level of coordination between RSLF and SANG is not entirely clear. Formally, RSLF falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense while SANG reports to the Ministry of Interior. However, a SANG officer interviewed by Al Arabiya reported close communication between RSLF, SANG, and the Ministries of Defense and Interior. He claimed the various bodies had established a shared operations room to coordinate their efforts.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Israel attacks Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

 Israel attacks Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Al Qassam website – Palestinian family members, including a 70-year-old elderly woman, were attacked at dawn Tuesday by Israeli occupation officers who rolled into Jerusalem’s town of Silwan and reduced two homes of the family’s own to rubble under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Eye-witnesses said Israeli occupation policemen, escorted by army bulldozers, suddenly showed up in Wadi Helwa neighborhood, in Silwan, and broke into Abu Khaled’s family home at 4.30 a.m. moments before they aggressively attacked the family members, four among whom, including a 70-year-old elderly woman, were left wounded.

Some sources identified the injured family members as 22-year-old Hashem Abu Khaled, Nur al-Deen Abu Khaled, 22, Ezzedine Abu Khaled, 24, and Fatma Abu Khaled, 70.

The Israeli cops who cordoned off the area from all sides also pepper sprayed the family shortly before they started to knock down the two buildings via a bulldozer.

The house owner Nidhal Abu Khaled said the Israeli police locked up all family members inside the building and initiated the demolition procedure under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

He added that the targeted buildings, under construction since last November, cover 70 square meters each.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Orange would cut Israel ties ‘tomorrow’ if not for ‘huge risk’ of penalties

Speaking in Cairo, CEO Stephane Richard says mobile telecom giant intends to withdraw brand from Israel as soon as possible, but that the move would take time.

Orange CEO Stephanie Richard, March 6, 2014.

Orange CEO Stephanie Richard, March 6, 2014

French telecom giant Orange SA would end its relationship with the Israeli operator Partner Communications that pays to use its name “tomorrow” if it could, but to do so would be a “huge risk” in terms of penalties, Orange’s CEO said Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Cairo to lay out plans for the years ahead in Egypt, Stephane Richard said his company intends to withdraw the Orange brand from Israel as soon as possible, but that the move would take time.

“I am ready to abandon this tomorrow morning but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company. I want to terminate this, once again, but I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizable for the company,” he said.

French human rights organizations have been pushing their government, which has a quarter stake in Orange, and the company itself, to end the relationship because Partner provides services to Israeli settlements. The settlements, built on land the Palestinians want for a future state, are seen as illegitimate by the international community.

Simultaneously, an international grassroots organization is calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. Israel says the BDS movement is not about the occupation of Palestinian territory, but rather a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state.

At the news conference, Richard explained that the use of the Orange brand name in Israel dates back to the 1990s, under a contract inherited by the group when France Telecom acquired Orange.

Recent negotiations have put Orange in a position where it can terminate the contract in the future, but at the moment, the legal framework is not favorable, he said. Partner is Israel’s second biggest mobile company.

“Sorry to say, but a dispute with [a] partner when you have zero legal position in Israeli courts is not something that I would recommend for my company. I am not going to pay hundreds of millions of euros only because I would have [to] take a risk, a huge risk, in terms of the penalties that we could have if we entered into this kind of brutal process.”

Partner said in response that it regrets Richard’s comments.

“We wish to highlight that Partner Communications is an Israeli company owned by Saban Capital Group, which is owned by Haim Saban, and not by France Telecom (Orange). The company is holding the Orange brand name since 1998, and the only connection between us and France Telecom is the brand name.”

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Bid to revive Palestinian economy

PMA cycle

In cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy (PMNE), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of World Bank Group, finished on Monday the final draft of the Secured Transaction Draft Law (STL), which is aimed at the promotion of development in the Palestinian economy.

In a bid to encourage growth in the Palestinian economy and opportunities for investment, Palestine became the first Arab country to finish its final draft of the STL, which is reportedly now waiting to be enacted by the president. One IFC expert called the law “a revolution in the financial field”, reported JURIST.

Palestinian economy took a huge turn for the worse in the aftermath of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, as shown by the PMA Business Cycle Indicator, 27 May.

One of the biggest obstacles to economic development and growth in Palestine is limited access to credit. Outdated secured transaction schemes pose challenges for lenders and borrowers in their attempts to establish modern businesses and expand access to loans for smaller businesses. Small businesses tend to fall back onto easy donor money in order to expand, rather making adaptations necessary to access larger sums, says TWP.

Attempts are complicated even further by old-fashioned regulations and a lack of legal protection for those wishing to borrow or lend.

According to JURIST, STL policies rely on 2 points: an access to finances and the availability of sufficient collateral. One of the top limitations on Palestinian private sector growth is the restricted access to finances. Creating a solid legal framework of secured transactions would enable this access and improve the stability of the financial system.

Palestinian credit applications are regularly refused on the basis of insufficient collateral, leading to a reluctance on the part of business owners to apply for loans. This insufficiency is largely due to the inability to convert valuable assets into collateral. The STL would legalize this conversion by giving legal protection to lenders should the borrower default.

Although stakeholders have raised questions about the practicality of this law concerning how it might work within the Palestinian legal system, where enforcement is a problem and where overstretched courts and under-trained judges do not effectively enforce existing legal provisions, the IFC has said that it will offer specialized courses on the implementation of the law.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Occupation arrests 14, including 2 kids

Israeli occupation forces arrested two children while they were leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning

Israeli occupation forces arrested on Wednesday night 14 Palestinians, including two children across occupied West Bank.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a 14-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy while leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning, when about twenty extremist Israeli settlers desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Israeli occupation forces arrested on Wednesday night 14 Palestinians, including two children across occupied West Bank.

Local sources said that the Israeli forces stormed Etsion Neighbourhood in Al-Khalil and arrested two Palestinians from their homes at midnight.

During the arrest, witnesses said, the Israeli forces assaulted family members and caused much damage in the properties.

Activist Mohamed Awad said that the Israeli occupation forces stormed several neighbourhoods across the city of Al-Khalil. No arrests were reported, but much damage in people’s properties was caused because of the Israeli aggression.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces arrested two Palestinian citizens from Jenin and two others from the outskirts of the city of Nablus.

In Qalqilia, the Israeli occupation forces arrested three and three others in Beith Amer.

Regarding to two children, witnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces arrested a 14-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy while leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning, when about twenty extremist Israeli settlers desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Inaction Towards Assad and ISIS Could Drag the Whole Region into War

President Khoja said that actions of friendly countries should correspond to changing developments on the ground as Syrian is being torn apart between ISIS gangs and the Iranian militias. “These developments threaten engulfing the whole region in a prolonged war,” he added.

Khoja expresses surprise at the meager and ineffective decisions that are coming out of meetings held by the international anti-ISIS coalition. “The gains being made by ISIS while the anti-ISIS coalition are meeting in Paris brings to mind Assad’s military gains at a time when meetings of the Group of Friends of the Syrian people were underway.”

“The international community’s inaction towards the crimes of the Assad regime and the expansion of ISIS does not serve the interests of the Syrian people or the peoples of the region as a whole and threatens further fueling the current conflict,” Khoja added.

Similarly, spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Salem al-Meslet said that the reality in various regions of Aleppo and its countryside speaks clearly for itself. “While ISIS tries to overrun northern Aleppo province, Assad’s air force barrel bombed the area earlier today. Barrel bombs hit Aleppo Tal Rifa’at to the north and rural Idlib, leaving nearly 40 people dead including women and children.”

He pointed out that Assad’s aircrafts are paving the way in front of ISIS by bombing the rebel-held areas under the eyes of the international coalition who are meeting now in Paris.

“The Assad regime’s provision of air cover for ISIS’s offensive on northern Aleppo reveals a new level of coordination and convergence of terrorist interests between the two parties. The international coalition’s failure to respond to this de facto cooperation between Assad and ISIS is surprising and raises doubts about its strategy in fighting ISIS.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 03.06.2015)


Two Rockets Launched From Gaza to the Occupied Palestine

The Israeli occupation army said late Wednesday it was checking reports of rocket-warning sirens sounding in the southern Negev desert region near the Gaza Strip.

A spokeswoman said Two rockets two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip.

Rocket alarm sirens were heard Wednesday evening in communities near the Gaza border, in the port city of Ashkelon and in Sdot Negev Regional Council in southern occupied Palestine.

Settlers reported hearing explosions shortly after the sirens.

At least one rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip last week. No damage was reported, but medical services said a 15-year-old girl from Ashdod arrived at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon suffering from shock.

(Source / 03.06.2015)

Republican Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson Takes On Growing Movement To Boycott Israel

Despite billions spent to oppose Palestinian liberation, a record number of college campuses voted to support divestment in 2014.

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 5/28/15 Sheldon Adelson at Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson at The Champions of Israel Gala, New York, New York.

Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson at The Champions of Israel Gala, New York, New York

LAS VEGAS — Some of Zionism’s wealthiest supporters will gather in Las Vegas this weekend to consider how they can most efficiently use their money to undermine the growing support for Palestinian liberation on college campuses and throughout American society.

Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul and frequent big-dollar donor to conservative political candidates, called for the private summit at the Venetian, Adelson’s luxury hotel on the Vegas Strip, to gather top donors and pro-Israeli organizations to plan better ways to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, particularly its growing support among college and university students.

Supporters of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine are alarmed that a record number of college campuses — 15, up from 13 in the previous year — adopted resolutions during this academic school year demanding that their schools end investment in Israel.

This summit is just one of several recent attempts by the wealthy to undermine support for the BDS movement and improve Israel’s failing image in the United States. In March, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) identified the sources of $10 billion in anti-BDS movement spending, a list that included Adelson. And the WikiLeaks archive of the Sony hack revealed that many top Hollywood figures are seeking ways to use their unique position to create pro-Israeli propaganda.


The wealthy enemies of the BDS movement

In addition to his casino empire, Adelson is known for his monetary support of conservative politicians and causes. Aside from generous donations to candidates like Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush, he has spent millions opposing the legalization of cannabis and fighting online gambling.

Adelson also owns the conservative Israeli newspaper Maariv and Israel HaYom, a controversial free daily paper that’s been called a “danger to democracy” for its ability to manipulate voters to support politicians like Benjamin Netanyahu. Because Israeli law prevents Adelson from directly donating to Israeli campaigns, he uses this free paper to sway elections instead. The American Prospect’s Gershom Gorenberg described Adelson as having a “uniquely pernicious” influence on Israeli politics that’s believed to cost $3 million a month in losses.

Adelson’s casino holdings have been the subject of past criminal probes. He’s not the only one of the summit’s organizers facing federal scrutiny, however. Another key supporter of the summit, Adam Milstein, was convicted of felony tax fraud in 2009 — after which Israeli officials intervened on his behalf. He is known for pouring millions of dollars into anti-Palestinian causes.

Pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein (far right) with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Milstein’s wife, Gila. (Photo: Facebook/Adam Milstein)

Pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein (far right) with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Milstein’s wife, Gila

Another organizer, Haim Saban, previously compared former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler, based on his belief that any U.S. support for Iran will lead to the extermination of the Jewish people. (It’s worth noting that he maintains this notion, despite Iran having the second largest Jewish population next to Israel, and despite Iran being a place where Jews may live and practice their religion freely and even hold a place in parliament.)

Haim Saban speaking at a gala in Beverly Hills in 2014.

Haim Saban speaking at a gala in Beverly Hills in 2014

Nathan Guttman, writing for Forward, reports:

“Saban has spoken to Israeli officials, including the former ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and top officials in the Israeli foreign ministry, about setting up a special task force to deal with increased calls on campuses to adopt measures of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.”

Pro-Israel groups invited to join the summit include “Hillel, StandWithUs, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of North America.”

That the BDS movement continues to grow internationally despite increasing pushback is a testament to the power of justice over money, no matter how many billions Adelson and his ilk pour into opposing this cause.

(Source / 03.06.2015)