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Dagelijks archief 7 juli 2017

EU condemns Israel’s illegal settlement plans in occupied East Jerusalem

Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem

The East Jerusalem Israeli settlement of Ramat Shlomo

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The European Union (EU) condemned Israel’s plans to advance some 1,500 new illegal settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem in a statement released Friday, which said the plans “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace.”

The spokesperson for the EU reiterated that Israel’s settlement policy was illegal under international law, adding that the move would “undermine” the two-state solution and the “prospect for lasting peace.”
Israeli NGO Peace Now reported on Monday that Israeli authorities were planning to discuss the advancement of nearly 1,800 housing units for illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
The plans are expected to include two new buildings — respectively three and five stories tall — in the heart of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah that will require the expulsion of five Palestinian families, up for discussion at Israel’s Jerusalem Regional Committee on July 16.
Additionally, a nine story yeshiva campus that includes student accommodation and a six-story office building are also planned to be built in Sheikh Jarrah. Hundreds of other housing units are set to be discussed to expand existing East Jerusalem settlements.
According to Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah plans represent the first time in recent years that new housing units are being planned for settlers within a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
The EU statement emphasized that the EU “expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider these decisions.”
“The EU expects both sides to engage in a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only way to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of both parties, and stands ready to support them in this endeavor, together with international and regional partners,” the statement said.
However, a growing number of Palestinians have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
After reports emerged last month that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States government to stop marketing new settlement units for the rest of 2017, Peace Now called the alleged promise “another spin of the Netanyahu government trying to fool the public.”
Pointing to information gathered from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), Peace Now highlighted that this year, the Israeli government had already issued tenders for the construction of 2,858 settlement units in the West Bank.
The numbers marked an “unprecedented number of units” ever recorded — at least since 2002, which is the earliest data available.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts — unapproved by the Israeli government — are even considered illegal under Israeli law, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Analysis: Abbas’s shortsighted Gaza policy


Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to increase Hamas’s isolation — by cutting salaries and then electricity to the Gaza Strip — mirror regional dynamics in the age of Trump. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have all mobilized to isolate Qatar, a major investor in the Gaza Strip and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza.Gaza’s electricity crisis was averted, in an ironic twist, by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s willingness to provide fuel to Gaza’s power plant as a stopgap measure despite Abbas’s protests. The decision was mediated by Muhammad Dahlan, historically Hamas’s nemesis, not least because of his attempt to remove Hamas from power in the wake of its democratic election.Abbas’s Misguided StrategyAbbas remains committed to the premise of the Gaza blockade, in place since 2007: that increasing Hamas’s isolation and the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza will destabilize Hamas’s rule and cause Palestinians to rise up against the movement — even if this precipitates a “total collapse,” as human rights organizations described the reduction of electricity.This rationale assumes that the PA would be able to resume administration of the Gaza Strip once Hamas’s rule is weakened. This is unlikely for two reasons:- Israel benefits from the geographic and political separation in the Palestinian territories and has undermined previous attempts at unity, including through military intervention. The 2014 Shati Agreement between Hamas and Fatah was one of the drivers for Israel’s military assault of the Gaza Strip that year.
– The PA’s return to Gaza would have to entail a resumption of security coordination with Israel. For that to happen, Hamas would have to disarm. That is unlikely even with increased isolation, as it would cause an existential battle for Hamas, one that could pave the way for another round of armed civil discord.
 Implications of Abbas’s Recent Actions- They demonstrate Abbas’s willingness to embrace the collective punishment rationale underpinning the blockade and to perpetuate the suffering of two million Palestinians for factional interests. This is morally reprehensible for an alleged leader of the Palestinian struggle.
– They institutionalize the division between Gaza and the West Bank, and move Gaza closer to Egypt, helping to realize Israel’s policy of dividing and ruling the Palestinian territories.
– They create an opportunity for a Dahlan-Hamas alliance, and for Dahlan to re-enter the Palestinian political establishment, bringing with him his willingness to view the Palestinian struggle through the lens of securitization dictated by the US and Israel.
What Palestinians Can Do- Bring the leadership in the West Bank to account for using Palestinians in Gaza as political pawns, highlighting the illegality of the blockade as a continuation of the occupation and a form of collective punishment. In particular, Palestinians should demand, and remind, the leadership in the West Bank that they are accountable for all Palestinians, including those in Gaza.
– Push for economic measures that alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza while calling for a political resolution of the conflict more broadly.

– Ensure that any reactivated measures to address the Palestinian-Israeli impasse do not marginalize the Gaza Strip or position it as merely a humanitarian concern that can be administered by Egypt or a local self-governing authority.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians during overnight raids in West Bank, East Jerusalem

Overnight raids WB

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians during overnight raids carried out between Wednesday and Thursday across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.

In the northern West Bank, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the town of Shweika in the Tulkarem district.
In Nablus, the spokesperson said that two Palestinians were detained from Ein Beit al-Mai refugee camp and the village of Beita, while another Palestinian was detained in the Madama village for allegedly being a Hamas operative.
She added that two Palestinians were detained in Qalqiliya city, one of whom she said was an alleged Hamas operative.
Palestinian sources did not provide additional information on these detentions.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided the villages of al-Zawiya and Qarawat Bani Hassan in the district of Salfit.
Azmi Shqeir, a local from al-Zawiya, told Ma’an that Israeli forces had raided several areas in the village and searched homes. Abd al-Salam Shqeir, Sari Salim Shqeir, and Nabil Mutlaq Shqeir were identified as some of those who had their homes raided by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces allegedly ransacked the homes, destroying furniture, during the raids and interrogated children, women, and the elderly for more than two hours, according to Azmi.
Abd al-Salam Shqeir said that Israeli forces raided his home at 1 a.m., and proceeded to search and destroy his furniture with “clubs” and other weapons. He added that Israeli forces also searched through a steel structure outside used to hold sheep.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Marie, a local from Qarawat Bani Hassan, said that several Israeli patrols raided the village late on Wednesday, and patrolled the village for several hours before leaving. He said they did not raid or search any houses.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that one Palestinian was detained in Qarawat Bani Hassan.
She added that one Palestinian was also detained from the village of Abwein in the Ramallah district in the central West Bank.
According to Israeli sources, Israeli forces had sealed two blacksmith workshops in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district for allegedly manufacturing weapons.
Overnight raids WB1
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that two Palestinians were detained in al-Ram, while two more were also detained in the town of Abu Dis in the Jerusalem district.
Meanwhile, two Palestinians were detained during violent Israeli raids in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that six Palestinians sustained bruises and suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation during a raid targeting the home of Muhammad al-Abbasi in the area of Ein al-Luza, during which residents said they were assaulted by Israeli police officers.
The center added that no reason was given for the raid on the al-Abbasi home, during which Israeli forces pushed and pepper-sprayed women, children, and elderly Palestinians, and pointed their weapons at youth.
Clashes erupted in the neighborhood following the home raid, during which Israeli forces reportedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades in a haphazard fashion, before detaining Muhammad Ibrahim Ruweidi, 20, and Muhammad Imad Taha, 19.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement on Wednesday that an Israeli police officer was “lightly injured” in Silwan “when responding to (an) incident,” adding that “two suspects” were detained at the scene.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a weekly average of 95 search and detention raids carried out over the course 2016, according to UN documentation.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there were 6,200 Palestinians in Israeli prisons as of May, including 300 minors.
(Source / 07.07.2017)

Israel cuts water supply to Salfit

Water Salfit cut supplies

The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) scaled down the amount of water it supplies to the central West Bank city of Salfit for the second day in a row, causing severe damage to field crops.

Local sources affirmed to the PIC reporter that IOA reduced the water supply by more than 50%, pushing the local municipal authorities to cut off the water to large areas in the city.

Every summer Israel implements a policy of water cuts against Palestinian communities to meet  the increased demand for water in settlements.

Even without the cutbacks, the amount of water supplied to Palestinian communities is much smaller than the water available to Israeli settlers in the neighboring settlements and falls short of the amount recommended by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Israeli forces steal tractor from Palestinian land in Jordan Valley

Stealing tractor

The Israeli occupation forces on Friday seized an agricultural tractor from a Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley.

Anti-settlement activist Aref Daraghma said the Israeli soldiers stole an agricultural tractor from a Palestinian land near al-Hamra checkpoint, in the Jordan Valley.

The seized tractor reportedly belongs to the Palestinian farmer Salem Ramadin.

Palestinian agricultural kit in the Jordan Valley has often been misappropriated by the Israeli occupation forces as part of underway attempts to crack down on Palestinian farmers and force them out of their own lands.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Israeli settlers caught on Palestinian land in Jenin

Settlers on Palestinian land

Extremist Israeli settlers have been spotted on Friday on Palestinian lands in Raba, in Jenin, sparking tension in the area.

According to local sources, Israeli settlers broke into the mountainous Raba area and took pictures of Palestinian lands, in what is believed to be a prelude to a projected land-grab scheme.

Tension has been running high in the area after the Israeli settlers performed sacrilegious rituals and chanted anti-Arab slogans.

Israeli police troops showed up around the scene to protect the Israeli settlers.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Palestinian lawyer starving for one month in Israeli lock-up

Mohamed Allan hungerstrike 30 days

Palestinian lawyer Mohamed Allan has been on an open-ended hunger strike for 30 days running to protest arbitrary detention and mistreatment in Israeli jails.

Allan was due to be brought before an Israeli court on Thursday evening.

On Thursday, Muhjat al-Quds Foundation, said prisoner Allan, arrested by the occupation forces on June 8, has embarked on an open-ended hunger strike to press for his release.

The prisoner’s mother said her son initiated the hunger strike to voice his firm rebuff of his arbitrary internment in Israeli jails.

In 2015, Allan had gone on a 65-day hunger strike and was released in November in the same year, after he had served an administrative term of up to 12 months.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Palestinian killed in fatal car-ramming attack by Israeli settler

Palestinian killed by Israeli with car

A Palestinian young man was pronounced dead on Friday morning after he was fatally hit by an Israeli settler driving near Bethlehem’s southern town of al-Khader.

According to eye-witnesses, a car-ramming attack carried out by an Israeli settler near al-Khader’s bypass road claimed the life of 37-year-old Omar Ahmad Abu Ghalyoun, a coffee seller.

The casualty’s body was evacuated to the Israeli Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Occupied Jerusalem, where it is set to undergo a postmortem autopsy.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

Israel extends travel ban on Sheikh Ra’ed Salah

Sheikh Ra'ed Salah ban on travel

Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri on Thursday extended the prohibition on existing the country which had been previously issued against Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands.

A similar renewed travel ban was also handed down by the minister against Islamic Movement official Suleiman Mahajneh.

Deri justified his decision by claiming that the departure of these two Palestinian leaders from the country could harm the national security.

(Source / 07.07.2017)

PA security nabs “Palestine Today” journalist in Tulkarem

Journalist Palestine Today

The Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces on Thursday evening kidnapped a news reporter working for “Palestine Today” satellite channel during his presence in Tulkarem city.

A local source asserted that elements from the preventive security apparatus rounded up Palestine Today correspondent Jihad Barakat as he was taking pictures of a motorcade for Palestinian premier Rami al-Hamdallah at an Israeli checkpoint.

The source added that Barakat photographed Palestinian government vehicles boarded by Hamdallah and his entourage as they were being stopped and searched by Israeli soldiers at a roadblock in Tulkarem.

(Source / 07.07.2017)