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Dagelijks archief 17 maart 2017

Deadly Umm al-Hiran raid reenacted to investigate potential police misconduct

Umm al-Hiran onderzoek

NEGEV (Ma’an) — The ‘Machash’ unit within Israel’s Ministry of Justice, which serves to scrutinize and investigate Israeli police misconduct, re-enacted on Wednesday evening the events that led up to the shooting and killing of Yaqoub Abu al-Qian by Israeli police during a January demolition raid in the Negev-area Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran.

In one of several contested claims by Israeli police over the circumstances of the killing, the police and Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan claimed that 47-year-old Abu al-Qian, a local math teacher, was driving toward police without his headlights on with the intention of committing a car-ramming attack against Israeli forces.
However, a video released by Al Jazeera last month shows clearly that Abu al-Qian did indeed have his headlights on before his car rammed into a group of police, killing one policeman.
Meanwhile, numerous eyewitnesses reported that Israeli police fired at Abu al-Qian, while he was driving normally, which then caused him to spin out of control and crash into the Israeli officers.
Family members also firmly denied Abu al-Qian intended to carry out an attack and refuted claims by Erdan and police spokespersons that the man was influenced by the so-called Islamic State.
Israeli police footage published in January by Haaretz also appeared to show police officers shooting at Abu al-Qian as he was driving at a slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers, raising questions on whether the incident was intentional or the result of Israeli gunfire.
In Wednesday night’s reenactment, Israeli authorities used Abu al-Qian’s white Toyota SUV with the headlights turned on.
The Machash reportedly said they carried out the reenactment in an “attempt to clarify the reason why Israeli policemen opened fire on Abu al-Qian.”
The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (MUSAWA) had appealed to Machash previously, demanding to reenact the events and examine Israeli police weapons used in the events in an independent lab, the group told Ma’an.
MUSAWA had also delivered a list to Machash with the names of eyewitnesses and complainants from Israeli police violence during the demolition of 12 homes in Umm al-Hiran that took place on the same day that Abu al-Qian was killed.
The outrage following Abu al-Qian’s and the violent raid in Umm al-Hiran, as well as demolitions in the Palestinian town of Qalansawe in central Israel has put the issue of home demolitions in Israel in the limelight since the beginning of the year.
Rights groups have meanwhile claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, with more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins residing in unrecognized villages.
The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Arab Joint List in Israel’s Knesset have described the actions by Israeli authorities as “a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948.” Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba — “catastrophe” in Arabic.
(Source / 17.03.2017)

The Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance: A forum for change

MAP’s Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Neil Sammonds, reports from the 8thAnnual LPHA Conference in Ramallah:

This week, Medical Aid for Palestinians supported the 8th annual Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA) Conference at Birzeit University in the West Bank. The conference brought together some 350 attendees, including Palestinians and people from 17 other countries to discuss the latest research into Palestinian health and healthcare issues.

With direction from the prestigious Lancet medical journal and involvement of multiple universities, UNRWA, the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organizarion and many medical workers and others, the event was a unique opportunity to probe the many health challenges facing Palestinians in and outside of the oPt.

The topics under discussion were broad and fascinating, exploring trends and assessing services relating to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), child health, women’s health, mental health, disability, and political violence.

Attendees not only shared their findings, but sought to discuss the implications of their research for healthcare policy and service delivery in the oPt, and for advocacy to address the many socio-political barriers to the realisation of Palestinians’ right to health. Among the questions raised were: 

How can we best address the growing health burden of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, now the major cause of years of life lost for Palestinians? 

Should rising anaemia in Gaza’s children be addressed by calling for unfettered access to coastal iron-rich fish stocks or promoting more prolonged taking of supplements?

How should Palestinian health services best be shaped, supported and encouraged to be cost more effective? 

Though the challenges to Palestinian health are considerable and varied, the LPHA serves as a forum for collaborative and innovative approaches for solving them. As The Lancet’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton tweeted at the end of the first day of the conference:

MAP has actively backed the conference for many years, and our staff and supporters both feed into and benefit from it. We look forward to further research and debate, and to the 9th LPHA conference next year.

Sadly, 27 out of the 48 Palestinian researchers and practitioners from Gaza due to attend the conference were not able to obtain Israeli-issued permits to travel to Birzeit, underscoring how a decade of blockade and closure continues to stifle medical research, training and development in the enclave.

The impact of barriers to freedom of movement on healthcare in Gaza are explored in Chapter 1 of our ‘Health Under Occupation’ report series, available here.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Injuries in IOF quelling of anti-settlement marches in West Bank


Two Israeli peace activists were injured, and a number of Palestinian citizens choked on tear gas on Friday after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled two anti-settlement and anti-occupation marches in Ni’lin and Kafr Qaddum towns in the occupied West Bank.

Local sources reported that IOF soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters in Ni’lin anti-settlement, anti-wall weekly march as they approached the apartheid wall built on the town’s lands.

They added that Palestinian youths managed to climb the wall and raise the Palestinian flag on it.

The march set off after Friday prayer, and the marchers raised Palestinian flags as well as portraits of the American activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip on 16th March 2003, and the activist Triston Anderson, who was hit by an Israeli rocket-propelled grenade that caused him permanent paralysis in Ni’lin on 13th March 2009.

Meanwhile, two Israeli peace activists were injured and dozens of suffocation cases were reported among Palestinian citizens after the IOF quelled the anti-settlement peaceful march of Kafr Qaddoum which called for opening the town’s street that has been closed for 14 years.

The coordinator of the popular resistance in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Shtewi, said that the IOF fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the marchers injuring the two activists, one in the hand and the other in the face, and causing dozens of suffocation cases that were treated in the field.

The IOF soldiers stormed the town, raided the houses, and stationed on the roofs to fire tear gas canisters at the marchers. They also took pictures of participants and set up ambushes.

The marchers, including Palestinian youths and foreign activists, chanted patriotic slogans calling for ending the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Syria claims Israeli jet shot down after strike near Palmyra, IDF says all aircraft undamaged

Israeli jet

FILE PHOTO: An Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jet

The Syrian Army says Israeli military jets hit a “military target” near Palmyra in a raid overnight. In retaliation the jets were targeted by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.

According to a Syrian Army statement, a total of four Israeli jets breached Syrian airspace on Friday morning, Reuters reports. Syria’s air defenses shot down one of the Israeli jets over “occupied ground” and damaged another.

The Israeli Army confirmed it had conducted airstrikes on several targets in Syria, Israel National News reported. However, the IDF insists that none of the jets was harmed.

At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF [Israeli Air Force] aircraft compromised,” an Israeli military spokesman said.

Following the breach of the country’s airspace, the Syrian Army warned Israel of “direct” retaliation “with all means at its disposal,” Haaretz reports.

Earlier, a spokesperson of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told Sputnik that Israeli military jets were targeted by anti-aircraft missiles after they struck several targets in Syria.

“I can say that the sirens were the result of the incident,” an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson told Sputnik, referring to the launch of missiles at Israeli planes that carried out attacks on targets in Syria.

Syrian soldiers gather at the site of an attack in Kafr Sousa, southwest of the Syrian capital Damascus on January 12, 2017. © Stringer

After Israeli Air Force planes struck several targets in Syria on Thursday night, Damascus retaliated by activating its air defense systems and firing a number of missiles at Israeli jets, according to Haaretz.

None of the missiles struck the jets, but one was intercepted by a missile defense system north of Jerusalem, Haaretz reports, adding there were no Israeli casualties in the incident.

“Overnight IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF (Israel Defence Force) Aerial Defence Systems intercepted one of the missiles,” the military said in its statement, as cited by Reuters.

A rocket siren was heard at around 3:00am Friday morning in the Jordan Valley area, after which witnesses heard an explosion.

The IDF later confirmed that the sirens were a result of Israeli airstrikes on several targets in Syria, Israel National News reports.

Overnight, IAF aircrafts struck several targets in Syria and were fired upon by anti-aircraft missiles.

The latest incident is the third time that Israel has bombed targets in Syrian territory. In mid-January, Israeli forces hit the Mezzeh Military Airport west of Damascus, with the facility rocked by several explosions. On December 7, the state agency SANA reported that multiple surface-to-surface missiles had been fired by the IDF from the Golan Heights. Syrian authorities have repeatedly accused Israel of endorsing terrorism by carrying out the attacks.

Regarding the strikes, Israeli authorities previously said they were targeting positions of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group inside Syria. Israel views the organization as enemy militants.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Palestinian ex-prisoner kidnapped by Israeli forces from al-Khalil

Youssef Kazaz

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Friday kidnapped an ex-prisoner from Dura town, in al-Khalil, in the southern West Bank.

Local sources said Israeli army patrols stormed the home of ex-prisoner Youssef Kazaz and wreaked havoc on the building before they dragged the arrestee to an unidentified destination.

The Israeli soldiers seized Kazaz’s car and cracked down on his family members, sparking panic among women and children.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Morocco’s king names new prime minister to form new government

Saad Eddine El Othmani Morocco's new prime minister

Saad Eddine El Othmani Morocco’s new prime minister

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has named Saad Eddine El Othmani as the kingdom’s new prime minister, and asked him to form a new government after he sacked veteran Islamist premier Abdelilah Benkirane yesterday for failing to form a government in five months.

Like Benkirane before him, Othmani is also from the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) who won the Moroccan elections last October with 125 seats in the 395-seat House of Representatives. Its nearest rival, the liberal Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), won 102 seats.

Although Benkirane led the PJD to victory and even increased its share of the vote, he was unable to form a unity government and had been hampered by a disagreement with a key parliamentary ally. An empowered opposition also used their additional seats in the Moroccan legislature to hinder Benkirane’s attempts at forming a government.

The king took the decision to sack the former prime minister yesterday “in the absence of signs that suggest an imminent formation” of a government and due to “his concern about overcoming the current blockage” in political negotiations, a royal statement said.

Under Morocco’s election law no party can win an outright majority in the 395-seat parliament, making coalition governments a necessity in a system where the king still holds ultimate power.

But the PJD’s relations with former coalition partner, the conservative Istiqlal party, soured over economic reforms, and talks over formation of a government with the centre-right National Rally of Independence (RNI) stalled.

The king thanked Benkirane for his service as prime minister, praising him for his “effectiveness, competence and self-sacrifice”.

In the aftermath of his dismissal, Benkirane told Reuters:

This is our king and he came to a decision under the framework of the constitution, which I’ve always expressed support for. I’m going to perform ablution, pray, and continue working on the ground

Benkirane’s efforts have met with resistance from parties that critics say are too close to the palace. Royalist supporters have been reluctant to share power with Islamists since the king ceded some powers in 2011 to ease protests.

The palace says the king maintains the equal distance from all parties and dismisses claims of royal interference.

Concern has mounted about the impact of the political impasse on Morocco’s economy. This year’s budget, which should have been approved by parliament by the end of 2016, cannot be passed until a government is in place.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Rachel Corrie’s parents: ‘Our concern is for the Palestinian people’

Father, Craig Corrie (L), and mother Cindy Corrie (R) of U.S. activist Rachel Corrie, who died under Israeli bulldozer in Gaza on March 16, 2003

Father, Craig Corrie (L), and mother Cindy Corrie (R) of U.S. activist Rachel Corrie, who died under Israeli bulldozer in Gaza on March 16, 2003

Fourteen years after their daughter was killed by an Israeli bulldozer, Rachel Corrie’s parents said the current American government is unlikely to help them bring a just outcome – either in relation to Rachel’s death or the oppression of Palestinians.

“The support the current US government is lending to basically whatever the Israeli government wants to do is disturbing,” Rachel’s mother Cindy told the Anadolu Agency.

She added: “What we ask of the current government is for them to tread lightly and make room to learn. Our concern is for the Palestinian people.”

The family also expressed concern over Trump’s choice of David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.

“For the last month or so in the US, it is a little hard to think our government is going to be the one to save somebody from madness,” Rachel’s father Craig said.

“Much of the world remembers Rachel as an example of an American that feels differently than what our foreign policy would make you think all Americans feel.”

“I am glad she is remembered that way.”

For retired insurance executive Craig, 70, and Rachel’s mother Cindy, 69, the loss of their daughter is still felt “tremendously, every day”.

‘Here because I care’

“She was very human person,” former music teacher Cindy said. As well as being a fun and “a bit messy” as a girl and young woman, Rachel “had an ability to understand things on a very deep level” that belied her youth.

In a video of Rachel as a 10-year-old fifth-grader, she tells school conference on world hunger:

I’m here for other children. I’m here because I care… We have got to understand that people in Third World countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.

While a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, the state capital situated around 100 kilometres southwest of Seattle, Rachel joined Olympians for Peace and Solidarity that, in turn, led to her going to Gaza.

“She talked about how important that time in Gaza was to her and how it wasn’t about her,” Cindy said.

“It really was her effort to learn how to be in solidarity with people that live days, months, years under oppression.”

Systematic destruction

Two days before her death, Rachel described seeing children shot and killed, greenhouses and homes demolished and water wells bulldozed.

“I feel like what I am witnessing here is that there is a systemic destruction of people’s ability to survive and that is incredibly horrifying,” she said.

Rachel was 23 years old when she travelled to the Gaza Strip on a twinning project between Olympia and Rafah in January 2003. Less than two months later she was dead – killed as she tried to protect a Palestinian home in Rafah from illegal demolition.

Israel has never accepted responsibility for her death.

On the day she died, Rachel was among a group of International Solidarity Movement activists standing against bulldozers sent to raze Palestinian homes in Rafah.

She was kneeling in front of an armoured bulldozer in a bid to save the home of a local pharmacist when the machine ran over her. She was pronounced dead shortly after reaching hospital.

Then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised a credible and transparent investigation. “Our government still says that never happened,” her father said.

Over the years, the Corries have struggled to hold someone accountable for Rachel’s death.

They filed a civil lawsuit in Israel in 2005 but it was rejected, as was their appeal in 2015.

Although unsuccessful, the family, which established the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, believes the lawsuit exposed the problems within the Israeli government and military.

“It was challenging those institutions,” Cindy said. “And our attorney Hussein Abu Hussein was very successful in exposing all the problems that exist with that system.”

The case also revealed the role of Israeli courts in supporting the occupation, Craig added.

The generals in Israel know that there are certain countries in Europe that they can’t travel to because they would be hauled into court but they never suspect they would have to go to an Israeli court.

he said, citing a conversation with a former Israeli soldier.

“It doesn’t do me any good to throw a bulldozer driver into jail because the bulldozer driver, of course, is the instrument that is barely more responsible than the bulldozer itself.

“It is a whole chain of command in which that military operates and what you want to do is change that.”

A UN report this week that declared Israel to be operating an “apartheid regime” should be “a great place to start to learn”, Craid said, rather than be denounced out of hand, which was the Trump administration’s response.

Her family now hope that there can be some restitution for the people of Palestine, if not for Rachel.

“In some ways, there is nothing we can do for Rachel,” Craig said. “You have to have the justice going forward.”

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Israeli court adjourns trial of Palestinian female MP for 3rd time

Samira Halayka

The Israeli Ofer Court on Thursday evening adjourned the trial of the female Palestinian MP Samira Halayka to Tuesday.

A PIC news correspondent said three hearings were held for MP Halayka but there were neither charges nor tangible evidence that legitimize her detention.

The Israeli court claimed the trial was delayed again because an indictment list is being prepared against Halayka.

Halayka was arrested on account of inciting to anti-occupation activism on social media networks.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Bardawil: Abbas’s dictatorship hinders Palestinian reconciliation

Salah Bardawil

Salah Bardawil, a member of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, said: “The dictatorship of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas hinders realizing any progress in the profile of the Palestinian reconciliation, nor implementing any of the signed agreements.”

He noted that the Hamas Movement didn’t form any government following the formation of the Palestinian consensus government in 2014, but rather “the PLC, being the only legal body after the end of the term of Abbas, formed a governmental committee to follow up official and people’s issues after the national unity government had abandoned its responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip.”

The Hamas leader said in an interview with the PIC that Abbas stopped the implementation of resolutions and agreements signed earlier with Hamas, including the Shati agreement, which resulted in the formation of the national unity government, and prevented holding a meeting for the temporary frame to rebuild the Palestine Liberation Organization, refused to recognize Gaza’s employees employed after 2006, and disabled many proposals to end the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Bardawil added that the PLC acquainted the Palestinian factions with the committee and the nature of its work and invited them to participate in it, “but they refrained from doing so for various reasons.”

The Interview
Tell us about Hamas’s plan to form a committee to run the Gaza Strip, how does this committee look like and why now? What is the most important task for this committee?

Following the formation of the consensus government in 2014, all expected that this government would assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, including reconstruction, resolving the issue of the Gaza employees employed after 2006, resolving the electricity crisis, and resolving the Gaza Strip’s other various problems, to pave the way for national elections to take place.

The agreement was supposed to be approved by Abbas as a one bloc, but he didn’t issue a decree calling for holding a meeting for the PLC, so that it gives the national government the needed legitimacy to be approved, and he didn’t agree to fully activate the PLC as agreed, as well as the temporary frame for the PLO, and he didn’t exert enough efforts to achieve a real reconciliation; on the contrary, he increased the number of arrests and the repression of freedoms in the West Bank.

This negatively affected political and social relationships in the Palestinian community. Abbas didn’t allow the government to fully resume its responsibilities. He didn’t allow for the electricity crisis to be resolved by imposing additional taxes on fuel necessary to run the power plant, tightening the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip even more. This led to further worsening the conditions in the Gaza Strip. Abbas was rather aspiring to improve his Arab, regional and international relations, in an attempt to reinvigorate the peace process, which became at a great risk.

Abbas left Gaza without supervision or help, and his ministers in Gaza were waiting a call from him to resume their work, except for some ministers who shyly resumed some of their responsibilities. The claim was that the ministries they are supposed to work at didn’t welcome them, while the truth was otherwise. Thanks to the donor countries, 50% of the reconstruction process of the Gaza Strip has been accomplished.

The consensus government no longer acted as a national unity government.

During this difficult situation, there was a committee that used to be acting before to run the Gaza Strip, and we thought of reactivating it, by giving it more power to better coordinate between the work of various ministries, and to avoid mistakes made due to the absence of this committee.

What is going on now is that the PLC, the only legal body in the Palestinian arena, is considering reactivating this committee, at a time even the national consensus that allowed Abbas to be a president after the end of his presidential term has come to an end. Hamas is trying, by all possible means, to re-establish national relations, reactivate previous agreements, and at the same time, better maintain the relationship between various minsters for the interest of the people of Gaza.

This made the PLC intervene so that it could bring the government accountable, and pass necessary legislations to bridge the existing gaps between the people and the government, under the umbrella of law.

Saying the committee is a new government is not true and the evidence is that any minister can come from Ramallah to Gaza to resume his responsibilities and this governmental committee will be of help.

Is the work of the committee an alternative to the national unity government?

It is a governmental administrative committee and thus it does not hinder the work of various ministries, but rather coordinates between them.

Exaggeration about this issue by Fatah and the PA is pre-planned, and it aims at diverting attention from the ongoing protest against persecuting Palestinian martyr Bassel Al-Araj, by shedding light on this committee, which has been in existence for two years.

They want to show to the Americans and Israelis that they don’t want Gaza. This move came after Abbas announced his dictatorial plan to hold local elections in the West Bank only.

We assure all that the committee is not a government. It is necessary to improve the relationship between people and ministries, and to save money and time, and it is not a government and it has not claimed to be so.

Did you acquaint Palestinian factions to the work of this committee?

Definitely. We invited them to participate in the committee. We told them all should assume their responsibilities. The country should not be left to the desires of an unbalanced person. Abbas does not love Gaza and he does not want it, and all factions know this.

We told the Palestinian factions that all should be involved in rescuing Gaza from the chaos of management and resources. But Palestinian factions refrained from participation for one reason or another, claiming they don’t want to be part of any conflict and division.

What about Hamas’s new document? When will it be announced? What will it contain?

It is a document, which is similar to documents that Hamas always issues, being a dynamic and a vital Movement, which looks, within the frame of national constants, into a lasting discourse to manage the conflict with the Zionist entity, and to avoid the language that could be misinterpreted by some parties. Thus, the Movement decided to draft this new document to clarify various social, political and cultural issues adopted by the Movement, to avoid being negatively criticized by some parties due to the lack of clarity of some points and terms.

The document was written by the high-ranking leadership of Hamas and was given to language experts to revise it, as well as to experts in law and international humanitarian law, to bridge all gaps. It was written in an excellent political manner, and was presented to political experts to avoid the existence of any gap.

This document is now being translated into various important world languages, to avoid being mistranslated later. We have learnt from history and our modern reality that some people could play with words, changing their real meaning. An example of this is the UN Resolution 242, which was intentionally mistranslated. We should be careful.

After the end of the translation, the document will be printed and announced in a press conference, to outline the pillars of the vision of the Movement.

Some people say the document will assert Hamas’s independence from the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Movement acceptance of a state on 1967 boundaries. Is this true?

I don’t want to talk about the content of the document before it gets published. Every single word in it has a meaning. We will let the document speak for itself. It will be available for people to read in a matter of a few days or weeks, but it will contain all valuable, moral, social, and intellectual constants. The document will be extremely precise leaving no shadow of doubt.

How do you describe the political situation at a time the relationship between Hamas and Fatah sees no change? Is there any meeting in the near future?

Our relationship with Fatah is summed in the fact that we are partners in this homeland whether we like it or not. No one can deny this reality. Fatah exists in the West Bank and Hamas exists in Gaza. Yet, Fatah is suffering from political confusion at the moment and tries to repress and isolate Hamas as requested by the Americans and the Israelis. At the same time, Hamas is trying to extend its hand for Fatah to achieve unity. We think this phase will come to an end and unity will be achieved.

Hamas and Fatah will continue to be partners. Fatah is living a serious leadership crisis, as its current leadership does not even recognize some Fatah leaders, let alone Hamas. Fatah leadership is surrounded by a group of bad people to whom they only listen. This group of people does not care about national values and only wants to satisfy the Americans and the Israelis.

This situation can’t unify the Palestinian people. Fatah is completely weak that it can’t even say no, and everyone says no in Fatah gets kicked out. Abbas is issuing all types of decrees, kicking people out of Fatah, whenever he wants. Fatah is responsible for this situation as everyone is looking for his own personal interests.

How do you describe the relationship with Egypt and is there any update regarding this relationship?

All know that Hamas has declared more than once its respect for Egypt. Hamas does not intervene in the internal affairs of Egypt. What some Egyptian media outlets, with the help of certain quarters within the Palestinian Authority, is trying to promote aims at distorting the image of Hamas. We said we would not allow for our relationship with the Egyptian people to deteriorate. Egypt was not ready to listen to our proposals, as there were soaring media campaigns against us. The siege and closure have been further tightened.

However, recently some meetings took place between Hamas and Egyptian security officials. They listened to us through the many Hamas delegations that visited Egypt and we discussed all issues with them. We have told them that we don’t have extra power or time to intervene in the internal Egyptian affairs. We told them that we exert considerable efforts to keep the border area between Gaza and Egypt safe and that we will not allow anyone who wants to harm Egypt to cross the border and do so.

The Egyptian side seemed more flexible and willing to fix this relationship and to improve the situation in the Gaza Strip and at the Rafah crossing. We have heard promises of establishing a free trade zone and a power plant to provide the Gaza Strip with what it needs. This will allow for the closure of tunnels when borders are open around the clock. We have seen seriousness from the Egyptian party this time and we hope that this plan gets implemented as soon as possible.

The PA is concerned because of the Egypt-Gaza relationship, how do you see this?

What the PA practices and wishes is against the Gaza Strip, because it does whatever satisfies the Israeli occupation, which does not want to see a stable Gaza.

The occupation wants to weaken Gaza and to keep it suffering from a dire humanitarian situation. Any attempt to lift the siege will be foiled by the Israeli occupation.

How do you evaluate al-Quds Intifada?

The ongoing al-Quds Intifada is an expression of anger by the Palestinian masses against the Zionist plans to divide al-Aqsa Mosque and an expression of anger against the security coordination between the PA and the Israeli occupation. Palestinians used all means to resist the occupation. Yet, the PA and the Israeli occupation repressed them.

Mahmoud Abbas went on with receiving Israeli delegations without any respect to the feelings of the families of Palestinian martyrs. The Intifada goes up and down and every time it is surprising all.

(Source / 17.03.2017)

Israeli forces storm Ramallah and al-Bireh

Ramallah en al-Bireh

The Israeli occupation army stormed at daybreak Friday Ramallah and al-Bireh, in the central West Bank.

According to local sources, Israeli soldiers rolled into Ramallah and al-Bireh via al-Tira road and raked through southern residential neighborhoods.

No arrests were reported in the assault.

Ramallah and al-Bireh province falls under Area A supposedly run by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

(Source / 17.03.2017)