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Dagelijks archief 6 september 2017

Palestinian woman turns herself into prison over Israeli accusations of ‘incitement’

Sahar al-Natsheh prison

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian woman turned herself into Israeli prison on Tuesday to serve a three-month sentence over posts she allegedly made on Facebook.

After serving out an eight-month period in house arrest, Israeli authorities handed 48-year-old Sahar al-Natsheh a prison sentence in Nov. 2016, accusing the occupied East Jerusalem resident and mother of seven of “incitement” on social media, after having also been banned from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
She turned herself into Israel’s Ramla prison on Tuesday, her family told Ma’an.
Al-Natsheh has been detained multiple times for praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Israeli authorities attempted to ban her from the entering the Jerusalem holy site.
She was most recently detained in the compound in March 2016, claiming at the time that Israeli forces assaulted her during the arrest. She was released after another two-month ban from Al-Aqsa was issued against her.
Before being released to house arrest, while in Israeli custody, al-Natsheh said she was held in solitary confinement for 11 days, during which time she was deprived of water to drink for two days while kept in a filthy cell with a wet, rotten mattress.
Israeli authorities accused her of incitement on social media for posting pictures of slain Palestinians, writing “inciting captions,” and posting the will of slain Palestinian attacker Bahaa Elayyan. Israeli interrogators focused on old photos posted on her Facebook account of Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli forces, and car-ramming attacks committed by Palestinians against Israeli forces, she previously told Ma’an.
Al-Natsheh, however, maintained that her Facebook account was hacked, and it was not her who posted the pictures.
She said she believed that the primary reason for her sentencing was for her violation of her Al-Aqsa ban, and that the incitement charges against her were just a cover.
While in house arrest, she was banned from using social media, smart phones, and speaking to the press. She was also forbidden from escorting her husband to the hospital when he was sick, and couldn’t attend her son’s graduation ceremony.
She has six daughters and a son, the eldest being 28 and the youngest 15. She has 12 grandchildren.
According to Palestinian prisoners’ right group Addameer, of the 6,279 Palestinians currently being imprisoned by Israel, 65 are women or girls.
In recent months, Israel has detained hundreds of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that first swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.”
Critics have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the rise of unrest.
The Israeli government has also been accused of utilizing “anti-terrorism” discourse in order to justify and further entrench the Israeli military’s half-century occupation of the West Bank and near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip.
By contrast, a February report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians had more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — with only very few cases being opened against Israelis.
Meanwhile, since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a far-reaching Cyber Crimes Law in June, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are now also vulnerable to being arrested by Palestinian security forces for expressing their opinions online.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

PA releases journalist, continues to hold hunger-striking activist over Facebook post

Issa Amro detained

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian security forces released the director of a Hebron’s Manbar al-Hurriya radio station Ayman Qawasmeh on Wednesday, after he spent three days in detention for criticizing the Palestinian Authority (PA), and continued to hold prominent Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who declared a hunger strike on Tuesday, in detention for cricizing the PA’s arrest of Qawasmeh.

In a Facebook post, Qawasmeh had called for the Palestinian president, prime minister, and Hebron’s governor to resign, over their apparent failure to protect Palestinian institutions, after the Israeli army raided the PA-controlled city and shut down the radio station over accusations of so-called incitement.
“This media network is in an area that is under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority, yet, they remain silent, and cannot protect us. We have nothing to do with incitement. We try to deliver the message of the simple people in need, to the officials. We try to be the voice of the voiceless, and that is why we keep getting attacked and harassed,” Qawasmeh wrote, according to a translation by the International Middle East Media Center.
After PA preventative security forces arrested the journalist on Sunday for the critical post, prominent Hebron-based activist Issa Amro took to Facebook himself to denounce Palestinian authorities, who had allegedly been threatening journalists not to publicize Qawasmeh’s arrest. Amro called on the PA to respect and protect international and domestic law.
Shortly after sharing the post, Amro was detained by the PA. On Tuesday, Amro declared an open hunger strike to protest his detention, refusing all food, water, and medicine until the PA releases him, according to Youth Against Settlements — the Hebron-based activist group founded by Amro.
On Wednesday, his detention was reportedly extended for an additional 24 hours, according to statement released Wednesday by Mada, a Palestinian NGO focused on media freedoms.
The organization also spoke with Qawasmeh after his release. He told Mada that after he had been summoned by the PA midday Sunday, he was immediately interrogated about his critical comments on the PA’s leadership.
“They asked me about the reason for posting this video, I replied that it was published in an angry moment after the radio equipment was destroyed and confiscated by the (Israeli) occupation forces,” Mada relayed.
“They actually understood my reasons,” Qawasmeh said. He explained that during the second day in jail on Monday, he signed his statement, and on Tuesday, his detention was extended for a fourth day. He was released 9 a.m. Wednesday with no conditions.
Mada said that they welcomed Qawasmeh’s release but demanded that Issa Amro be immediately released as well.
Issa Amro’s brother Ahmad told Mada that when the PA showed up to their house at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Issa was not at home. Preventative security forces demanded that Issa appear at their headquarters within five minutes, but he decided to go at noon the next day on Monday, where he has remained ever since.
Issa’s lawyer Suleiman al-Husseini reported to Mada that he has yet to receive any information from PA security regarding the justification for the arrest, and that Issa was still being interrogated.
“Even the members of the preventive security service are unaware of the reason for his arrest,” the statement said.
However, a local journalist reported on Twitter that that Issa’s lawyer said he was charged with “extending his tongue and causing strife” by insulting PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The PA has been the target of fierce condemnation over the arrests, which were the latest applications of a presidential decree issued by Abbas in June, which approved a far-reaching Cyber Crimes Law that has been widely denounced as an extreme attempt to criminalize dissent against the PA.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern on Tuesday over Amro’s detention and highlighted that freedom of expression is guaranteed by international agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Palestine ratified in 2014.
Amnesty International called Amro’s arrest “a shameless attack on freedom of expression.”
“It is outrageous that a prominent human rights defender has been arrested simply for voicing his opinion online. Criticizing the authorities should not be a criminal offence. Issa Amro’s arrest is the latest evidence that the Palestinian authorities are determined to continue with their repressive campaign against free speech,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East director, said.
Amro, the coordinator for Youth Against Settlements and a former field researcher for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, is well known for advocating non-violent resistance and agitating on the international stage to raise awareness on Israel’s routine human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.
He is facing 18 charges in Israeli military court related to his activism.
(Source / 06.09.2017)

War Crimes: B’Tselem Warns Netanyahu over Demolition of Palestinian Villages

06 SEP
7:26 AM

Israeli rights group B’Tselem slammed the Israeli government’s plans to forcibly expel two Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that such a move would constitute a “war crime.”

The letter, made public on Monday, describes in detail how the expulsions would constitute a violation of international law.  According to Ma’an News Agency, B’tselem strongly noted that the evacuation of the Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar villages would “constitute a war crime carried out at your instruction and under your personal responsibility.”

Last week, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had stated that “work was being done to implement plans” for the full expulsion of Susiya, located in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village located near Israel’s illegal mega settlement Maale Adumim.


He added that the expulsions would occur “within a few months.”

The villages are considered “illegal” by the Israeli state, and have been embroiled in legal battles with the Israeli state for years. Both villages are located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, where Israel refuses to permit Palestinian construction. Rights groups have pointed out that this policy lines up with Israel’s goals of expanding Israeli settlements throughout Area C, while depopulating Palestinian villages there.

Israel’s planning policy in Area C “denies Palestinian residents virtually any possibility of construction for residential purposes, prohibits connections to infrastructure and precludes public construction to match residents’ needs, such as schools, medical clinics and playgrounds,” B’Tselem said in the letter.

B’Tselem noted that Israeli policies have forced Palestinians to “subsist on minimal means,” and “denies them any possibility of developing their communities to suit their current and future needs.”

“In the absence of any other option, residents are forced to build without receiving permits from the authorities, subsequently living in constant uncertainty and fear of demolition,” the group added.

In the case of Susiya, many of the village’s 200 residents have ties to the land that predate the creation of the state of Israel, and Ottoman-era land documents to prove it. However, the village lies between an Israeli settlement and Israel-controlled archaeological site, making them a target for Israeli demolitions.

Meanwhile, Khan al-Ahmar, like other Bedouin communities in the region, is under threat of relocation by Israel for being located in the contentious “E1 corridor” set up by the Israeli government to link annexed East Jerusalem with Maale Adumim.

Citing legal precedent made by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), B’Tselem said that Israel’s potential demolition of entire Palestinian communities — which would mark the first time such an extreme demolition was carried out in 50 years — would line up with the the court’s definition of forcible transfers.

“While the official Israeli guise for demolishing these Palestinian communities is ‘buildingwithout the necessary permits’, Israel’s permit and planning policy in the West Bank renders this claim disingenuous, to say the least, and cannot be accepted,” B’Tselem said.

On top of violating past rulings made by the International Criminal Court (ICC), B’Tselem also cited the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the forcible transfer of “protected persons” in or outside occupied territory.

“We call on you to refrain from the human rights violations that will result from demolishing these communities. We caution, yet again, that these actions would constitute a war crime committed at your instruction and under your responsibility, and for which you would bear personal liability,” the group concluded.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

Violations against Palestinian Prisoners Escalate over Eid

06 SEP
7:08 AM

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS), under the cover of the Israeli government, has stepped us violations of international conventions and international humanitarian law against male and female detainees during the holiday of Eid, the Center for Prisoners Studies said on Sunday.

According to Al Ray, the center said that IPS did not respect the sanctity of Eid in prisons, ignoring conditions of sick detainees, isolation in harsh conditions, denial of visits, preventing entry of books, poor food quality and quantity in places of detention lacking the conditions of human life.

The Eid came with the presence of about 6,500 male and female detainees in the prison system, including a 70-year-old sheikh, children under age of 18, and patients in Ramleh prison hospital, amid medical negligence.

The statement stressed the specificity of children’s cases and women detainees who suffer from the lack of health, cultural and psychological care, absence of counselors inside the prison, abuse of detainees during interrogation and dozens of violations against women.

IPS also does not allow women detainees to satisfy their needs from parents,  in addition to ill-treatment and abuse, among other severe procedures.

The statement called on international and human rights organizations to pressure the occupation to stop administrative arrests on secret files without an indictment, release all the prisoners who were re-arrested in the Shalit deal and to stop the return of false sentences against them.

The center called international and human rights organizations to pressure the Israeli occupation to abide by articles of the Geneva Conventions, which affirm the rights of prisoners to perform the acts of worship and holidays, and demanded the media to watch and cover Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

Israel to Destroy Sole Water Source of Nablus Area Village

06 SEP
6:57 AM

(Photo: Douma area 2014, Wikipedia)

Israeli forces, Tuesday, notified Palestinians of their intentions to destroy the water pipeline providing services to residents in a locale near the village of Douma, south of Nablus, said a local official.

Ghassan Daghles, monitoring Israeli settlement activity in the north of the West Bank, said that forces handed residents notices informing them of their intention to remove the pipeline; the sole source of water for that area.

There are only 14 families living in the locale, according to WAFA.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

Groups Call on Palestinian Authority to Release Issa Amr

 

06 SEP
6:49 AM

Human rights organizations, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and other Palestinian factions have called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to release human rights activist Issa Amr, who was arrested last night by Palestinian security services.

In a number of  emails sent to the PNN, the groups  expressed their unwillingness to accept the arrest, and consider it antagonistic to human rights of expression:

We are deeply concerned by the arrest of Human Rights Defender Mr. Issa Amro, which took place on Monday September 4th in the city Hebron by the Palestinian Preventive Security.

It has been said that the arrest took place after Mr. Amro criticized in a Facebook Post the detention of Mr. Ayman Qawasmeh, the director of Hebron-based Radio station Manbar al-Hurria.

Mr. Issa Amro is the coordinator for Youth Against the Settlements, a well-known organization working against Israeli settlement expansion in the Old City of Hebron. Mr. Amro is a well-known human rights activist advocating for non-violent resistance. Mr Amro, also has been subject of a number of legal proceedings by the Israeli occupation military courts related to his work as human right defender.

It is unacceptable that Human Rights Defenders and activists are being targeted by Palestinian Security Forces under alleged political instructions. This is causing undue burden to these organizations and threatening their invaluable contributions to our society, the advancement of human rights and to our national liberation struggle.

PSCC is concerned that this campaign will attempts to discredit and destabilize the work of human rights work in Palestine.

At a moment when the Israeli Government has stepped its attacks against Civil Society, we cannot tolerate for our own government under occupation to take steps against people that have shown their loyalty to the sacred cause of Palestinian freedom, liberation and return. Such activists and organizations are known for their promotion of human rights and international law. Many Palestinian officials have worked closely with several of our organizations, including with Mr. Amro.

We have supported the recognition of the State of Palestine and its access to several international treaties as a peaceful way to advance the national rights of the Palestinian people. Therefore it is a good time to remind the Palestinian Government of the obligations it has under the signed agreements, particularly when it comes to freedom of expression.

We would like to once again affirm the universality of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the State of Palestine.

Palestinian human rights defenders enjoys the protection of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

Therefore, we call on the Palestinian Security forces to immediately release Mr. Issa Amro at the same time that we call upon the Palestinian Government to take concrete steps to respect its obligations under signed agreements. Respect for human rights and national liberation should go on the same path.

For its part Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) condemns the arrest of Issa Amro by the Palestinian Preventive Security Force and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. Issa was detained for criticising the Palestinian Authority for its arrest of a journalist in a Facebook post.

PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said: “I have met and worked with Issa and have huge regard for his courageous battle against injustice. He has spent his life defending fellow Palestinians against Israel’s increasing colonisation of Palestinian land.

The Palestinian Authority should be defending and supporting human rights defenders like Issa, not arresting them for expressing their views online.”

Issa has spent his life battling against injustice.

As the founder and coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, he has overseen a peaceful campaign of resistance to Israel’s increasing settlement expansion.

In 2010, he was declared “human rights defender of the year in Palestine” by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and is recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union. He has been subject to continued harassment from Israeli settlers and arbitrary arrest and detention by the Israeli state.

Issa is due to stand trial in November in an Israeli military court on a series of trumped up charges. Amnesty International has condemned Israel for their treatment of Issa and stated that if convicted, Issa will be considered a prisoner of conscience.

No one should be arrested for expressing their democratic views. We call on the Palestinian Authority to release Issa immediately and PSC will be making further representations to the Palestinian Authority raise its concerns.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

Three schools closed yesterday in J’lem in protest at Israeli measures

3 Schools closed

The parental committee of schoolchildren on Tuesday suspended work in three schools in Occupied Jerusalem in protest at the Israeli municipality’s attempts to impose its curriculums and its refusal to improve the school administrations and infrastructure.

Three schools were closed yesterday in the areas of Silwan, Issawiya and Shuafat, east Jerusalem.

An official from the parental committee in Shuafat said that the strike was staged to protest a series of arbitrary measures pursued every year by the Israeli municipality against the Palestinian educational sector.

He added that Israel’s attempt to impose changes in textbooks on Palestinian schools in Jerusalem as well as its refusal to improve their administrations and infrastructure were among the reasons that prompted the committee to stage the strike.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

Israel denies human rights watchdogs work permits

Human rights NGO

The Israeli occupation authorities continue to turn down applications for work permits by human rights NGOs staff members.

Dozens of human rights researchers and advocates have had their applications for work permits rejected over recent months.

A senior relief officer said the humanitarian situation is expected to take a turn for the worse due to the ban.

Another worker who arrived in Israel last June said the Israeli authorities have refused to grant her a work permit.

A director of operations working for a prominent human rights organization is expected to pop in the occupied West Bank in the next few weeks.

Since the start of 2017 the Israeli Knesset (parliament) approved a ban against foreign workers who support the anti-Israel boycott movement.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

UN Warns of Catastrophe as 150,000 People Flee Myanmar for Bangladesh

Nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees - seen as illegal immigrants in Buddhist Myanmar - have crossed into Bangladesh in recent weeks fleeing a security sweep by Myanmar forces who have been torching villages in response to attacks by Rohingya militants

Nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees – seen as illegal immigrants in Buddhist Myanmar – have crossed into Bangladesh in recent weeks fleeing a security sweep by Myanmar forces who have been torching villages in response to attacks by Rohingya militants

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday voiced his concern about violencetaking place in Rakhine state in Myanmar, calling on authorities to take steps to provide Muslim Rohingyas there with “a normal life.”

Nearly 150,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border to Bangladesh in less than two weeks, officials said on Wednesday after Guterres warned there is a risk of ethnic cleansing in the former Burma that could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

The UN Chief said that he has officially written to the Security Council, calling for a strong message to be sent to Myanmar on the need to end the violence in Rakhine and ringing alarm bells on the security, humanitarian and human rights situation.

“The grievances and unresolved plight of the Rohingya have festered for far too long and are becoming an undeniable factor in regional destabilization,” Guterres told reporters in New York. “This will only further increase radicalization.”

“The authorities in Myanmar must take determined action to put an end to this vicious cycle of violence and to provide security and assistance to all those in need.”

The UN chief last week had called for restraint by the security forces to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe from the refugee exodus, but on Tuesday he stepped up the pressure, appealing to authorities to end the violence.

Myanmar’s government must grant the Rohingya “either nationality or at least, for now, a legal status that will alow them to have a normal life including freedom of movement, access to labor markets, education and health services,” he said.

The Muslim Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants in mainly Buddhist Myanmar and have suffered decades of persecution, according to rights groups.

The United Nations has repeatedly called on Myanmar to grant the Rohingya rights, and a recent UN report said the brutal crackdown against the Muslim minority could amount to crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, UN agencies in the region appealed on Tuesday for $18 million to aid for three months the civilians who are rushing into Bangladesh.

“Clear signs that more will cross into Bangladesh from Myanmar before situation stabilizes,” said the Director of Operations and Emergencies at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mohammed Abdiker, on Twitter. “Without more int[ernational] support, suffering will continue.”

Thousands of people are arriving daily in south-eastern Bangladesh, living in makeshift sites and seeking any space for shelter.

(Source / 06.09.2017)

What Trump really wants for the Mideast

There were quite a number of people in the Israeli peace camp who hoped, even believed, in the statements made by US President Donald Trump regarding his intentions to consolidate a large “package deal” between Israel, the Palestinians and all the Arab states. The rapid pace of presidential envoy Jason Greenblatt’s jet-setting between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank also strengthened the perception that the current arch-conservative president might succeed where two liberal presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — failed.

The long hours that Greenblatt spent with top officials of both sides, and his “learning” tours of the territories, served to strengthen a certain amount of optimism. However, one sentence uttered by the envoy — his summary at the end of a tour on Aug. 30 along the length of the Gaza Strip border with Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai — turned this feeling into an illusion, and real hope into “fake hope.” Greenblatt called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to retake control of Gaza and administer it, because the Hamas regime had failed to provide for the needs of the population. This demand is as realistic as calling on South Korea to take control of North Korea’s nuclear facilities, because the Pyongyang government does not allow its citizens freedom of expression.

If we assume that Greenblatt expresses his master’s voice, then such a statement testifies to a basic lack of understanding by the administration of the conflict and the ways to resolve it. How, exactly, does the Trump administration expect the PA to reassume governance over the Gaza Strip? It is hard to believe that Washington wants to open up a new military front in the Middle East, and that Ramallah’s security apparatuses would blow up Hamas’ power centers in Gaza under the cover of Israeli air force planes and cannons on Israeli navy ships. Or did Greenblatt mean the democratic option; in other words, to hold elections for president and a legislative council? Such a step would be a replication of the fatal mistake made by President George W. Bush, who forced the PA to hold general elections 11 years ago. David Welch, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the time and told him bluntly, “If you cancel the elections, you can forget our phone numbers.”

If Greenblatt would have asked Abbas his opinion regarding putting himself to the test of public opinion again, he would have received the same answer that Bush received in 2006. At the time, Abbas warned the Americans that one-sided Gaza disengagement, on the backdrop of a diplomatic stalemate and continuous settlement construction in the West Bank, is perceived by the Palestinian public as an achievement of the Hamas anti-Abbas camp.

Israeli intelligence, which begged the US administration at the time to get off its elections-in-the-territories horse, would also repeat the same recommendation today. If Greenblatt had asked Mordechai to assess the chances of Fatah’s winning over Hamas in the voting booth, it is likely that the envoy would have skipped his implied rebuke of the PA for not assuming control of the Gaza Strip.

The problem is not only what the American envoy said, but the fundamental things that he avoided saying. The problem is even more salient on the background of the principles presented by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who also visited the Gaza Strip that same week. Guterres expressed support of Abbas’ efforts to create the conditions for a united leadership in the West Bank and Gaza, but in the same breath expressed concern over the terrible humanitarian situation he saw before his own eyes in the Gaza Strip. The conditions referred to by the secretary-general were in fact the continuation of collective punishment of Gaza residents.

“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately, to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I have seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” said Guterres during his Gaza tour. He expressly called on Israel and Egypt to remove the blockade. Did anyone hear Greenblatt express criticism of the joint pressures inflicted by Israel and the PA on Gaza residents, via limiting their electricity supply? Did anyone hear Washington firmly request that Jerusalem lift its closures on the Gaza Strip?

The “conditions” that Guterres referred to are jump-starting genuine negotiations on advancing the two-state solution, while simultaneously battling violence, and halting construction in the settlements. “You have created, for the first time in 2,000 years, a home for your people,” Guterres said during his Tel Aviv Museum of the Jewish People speech, and immediately added, “It is now overdue that the Palestinians also fulfill their legitimate rights and national aspirations.”

By contrast, Trump clung to his policy — or to be more exact his lack of policy — that he presented in February at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.” One side, the occupied Palestinian side, repeats that it sticks to its desire for a two-state solution. The other side, the occupying Israeli side, declares that it does not want two states and creates facts on the ground (settlements) that sabotage this solution, while simultaneously showing no signs of wanting a binational state.

It seems that Trump does not know what he wants. Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke with the Haaretz correspondent in Washington, Amir Tibon. Connolly said many Republicans support the two-state solution but do not want to proclaim this openly before the Trump administration expresses this position first.

Trump will finally have the opportunity to say what he wants, or does not want, in his Sept. 19 speech to the United Nations General Assembly. We can only hope that he will not send any more envoys here who will give both sides unrealistic and damaging advice.

(Source / 06.09.2017)