Netanyahu: Jordan Valley will always remain a part of Israel

Image of Israeli forces at the border with Jordan on 19th January 2015 [Flickr]

Image of Israeli forces at the Jordanian border 19th January 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that the Jordan Valley, located in the eastern part of the occupied West Bank, “will always remain a part of Israel.”

According to Israel’s Channel 10, Netanyahu made this statement last night during a ceremony marking 50 years of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley.

“The valley is a strategic defensive belt for the country, and without it the fundamentalist flood could reach the interior, up to Gush Dan. Thus, our eastern defensive line starts at this place. If we won’t be here, Tehran and Hamastan will be here. We won’t let that happen.”

The Jordan Valley will always remain a part of Israel. We will continue to settle it, invest in infrastructure and tourism.

The Jordan Valley makes up about a quarter of the occupied West Bank and is considered to have the most fertile agricultural land.

The first settlements were built in the area under the pretext of security purposes.

Read: Israel confiscates water tanks, destroys pipe in Jordan Valley

Over 70,000 Palestinians live in various villages in the Jordan Valley in.

Meanwhile, 9,000 Israeli settlers live in 21 settlements consisting of Israeli military barracks. The Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land are considered a violation of international law.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Justice Minister Shaked changing Israel court’s ruling on settlements

Ayelet Shaked, Israeli Minister of Justice

Ayelet Shaked, Israeli Minister of Justice

Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, appointed an external adviser for settlement cases presented to the Supreme Court in order to dictate the state attorney’s positions and what it should say in court, making the court’s positions on settlements “different to what they had been in the past”.

According to an article published this morning by Haaretz, the Jewish Home MK believes that her two greatest achievements since her appointment as Justice Minister is her appointment of several conservative, religious and settler judges and changing the state attorney’s and state’s position on settlement cases presented to the Supreme Court.

The newspaper noted that the minister and staff members close to her hold “special meetings and discussions regarding settlement cases and rewrite documents in a manner aligning with their goals. They also stress their positions to the Supreme Court justices. Shaked does not even try to hide her influence, but on the contrary, she is proud of what she is doing and does not see a problem with changing the rules of the Justice Ministry.”

The newspaper quoted sources at the Justice Ministry saying that Shaked did not wait long to do this. According to them, a few months after she assumed her post, she had already issued an order stipulating that the court’s every position or response to settlements and settlement blocs should go through attorney Amir Fisher, who is not a member of the state attorney’s office, but a member of the extremist right-wing Regavim Movement.

Read: Israel to advance almost 4,000 homes in West Bank settlements

The sources added that Shaked created a new position for him, with the job title of external consultant to the Justice Ministry for settlement affairs, with an annual salary of about $100,000. The sources stated that every document or paper regarding settlements passes through his desk first and he makes his comments and dictates his decisions to the state prosecution.

“It’s something that goes to the root of our professional integrity,” said an attorney working in the Supreme Court appeals department. “Maybe we are becoming the Jewish Home appeals department rather than the Israeli state appeals department,” he added.

#LandGrab

The newspaper quoted a former senior Justice Ministry official saying: “In Shaked’s case, there is concern that her interference stems from the fact that those involved in these cases are her political supports. The question that needs to be asked is why has the Justice Ministry employed an external consultant, a figure from the political world, who is not committed to the rules of civil service or to the political restrictions imposed on this type of service? This reveals a form of distrust in the current system. It is as if Shaked is saying ‘I do not trust your advice’.”

According to Haaretz, there hasn’t been public criticism within the Justice Ministry because the lawyers working for the state prosecution are well aware that Shaked is responsible for their promotion to judges in the near and far future. One of the lawyers said: “Everyone is extremely cautious when writing their appeals and legal positions because they know that the minister will re-read them.”

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Ashrawi: Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank amounts to war crimes

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

BETHLEHEM ( Ma’an) — Following announcements that Israel had advanced plans for nearly 3,000 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the move as a “blatant disregard for the two-state solution.”

The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee convened on Tuesday and Wednesday, and advanced plans for 2,615 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements.
“In blatant disregard of the requirements for the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability, Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition continue to persist with their egregious policies of colonial-settler expansionism,” Ashrawi said.
“Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine. Undoubtedly, it is bent on annexing the entire city of Jerusalem, systematically wiping out the Palestinian presence and continuity on Palestinian soil, and destroying the territorial and demographic contiguity of the future Palestinian state.”
Ashrawi went on to highlight that Israel’s settlement activities are illegal under international law, and may amount to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We call on governments worldwide to intervene immediately and to hold Israel accountable with serious punitive measures to put an end to its unlawful unilateralism and acts of land theft and colonialism once and for all,” Ashrawi said.
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, Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that in 2016 Palestinians experienced the highest number of Israeli demolitions since the group began recording the incidents.
At the same time, Peace now reported that Israel’s illegal settlement construction in the West Bank increased by 34 percent in 2016, with Israeli authorities initiating construction on 1,814 new settler housing units.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Two Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike against Administrative Detention: Bilal Diab and Hassan Shokeh

20 OCT
7:27 AM

Bilal Diab launched a hunger strike on Tuesday, 17 October following the denial of his appeal against his administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence. The Ofer military court rejected the appeal, claiming that the secret file shows that he is a “danger to the security of the area.”

Diab, 32, was seized by occupation forces on 14 July; he was previously held under administrative detention and conducted a 77-day strike with fellow detainee Thaer Halahleh in 2012 to win his release. He conducted a 20-day hunger strike when he was seized by occupation forces in July.

He announced his hunger strike with a statement: “My dignity is more precious than my life. I reject the unjust policy of administrative detention and walk in the footsteps of all those who struggle, all lovers of freedom, all those who crave justice, and all those who dream of a free and just state on the historic land of Palestine with its capital al-Quds,” he said. “I declare to our people and its active forces, to the people of our nation and the free people of the world and humanity, that I will fight this battle of will, of the open hunger strike. I hope for your support and solidarity until victory or martyrdom.”

Diab joins fellow prisoner Hassan Shokeh, 29, from Bethlehem, who is on hunger strike for the eighth day against his administrative detention without charge or trial. Released from Israeli occupation prisons on 31 August, he was re-arrested only one month later and ordered to six months in administrative detention by the Ofer military court.

Shokeh and Diab are now being held in isolation in retaliation for their hunger strikes. They are among over 450 Palestinians jailed without trial under administrative detention orders. These orders are issued for one to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable; many Palestinians have been jailed for years without charge or trial under so-called “secret evidence” with Israeli administrative detention orders.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Yousef: Continuing punitive measures against Gaza unjustified

Esam Yousef

Esam Yousef, head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, called for accelerating the process of lifting the punitive measures against Gaza Strip. He stressed that it is unjustified especially after signing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement under Egyptian supervision in Cairo.

In a press statement on Friday, Yousef stressed the need to urgently and practically implement the agreement’s provisions especially those that would lead to alleviating the current crises in the blockaded Gaza Strip. These crises affect over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza who have been suffering from the decade-long Israeli siege as well as the implications of the internal division, he highlighted.

Procrastination in the implementation process of some of the procedures and moves of the reconciliation deal raises suspicions on the intentions of some parties who do not want to accomplish the reconciliation, Yousef said.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher asks Palestinians to unite

Al-Aqsa mosque preacher

Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher, Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, on Friday called on Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians to adhere to their rights and defend their holy sites, particularly al-Aqsa Mosque.

He affirmed that Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque belong to Muslims only and that the Israeli violations, attacks and incursions carried out on a daily basis in addition to the settlement plans aimed at altering the status quo in Jerusalem will not change this fact.

Sheikh Nawahda asked Arabs and Muslims to unite, to forget their disputes and own interests and not to give up any of their rights under any condition.

Tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers from Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories performed Friday prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque amid tight Israeli security measures.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Syrian Coalition Discusses Situation in Idlib, Stresses SIG as its Executive Arm

Officials of the Syrian Coalition discussed the situation in Idlib province with leadership of the provincial council and representatives of civic bodies in the province at a teleconference on Friday.

In addition to the field situation in Idlib province, participants discussed the reality of civil institutions in the province, most notably the civil defense and medical facilities which have been subjected to systematic bombing by the Assad regime and Russia’s air forces in recent weeks.

The Coalition members gave a detailed explanation of the political situation and the latest developments regarding the Syrian crisis at the international level.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that forces of the revolution would continue to resist attempts by allies of the Assad regime to impose their vision for a political solution in Syria and to rehabilitate the Assad regime.

Farhan stressed that the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) is the only legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition, adding that it serves as “the executive arm of the opposition in all liberated areas.”

Coalition member Riad al-Hassan said that Idlib provincial council is SIG’s representative in the province, reiterating the Coalition’s support for the council to carry out its task of administering the city.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 20.10.2017)

IOF kidnaps two Palestinians, summons others in W. Bank campaigns

2 Pal's arrested Shin Bet

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Friday stormed different West Bank areas, kidnapped two Palestinian citizens from their homes and handed others summonses for interrogation from the Shin Bet.

According to local sources, the IOF launched campaigns in al-Khalil city, Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, al-Jalazoun refugee camp in al-Bireh city, and the towns of Silwad and al-Mazra’a ash-Sharqiya, east of Ramallah

Two Palestinian citizens, one of them elderly, were taken prisoners during IOF campaigns in al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and Azzun town near Qalqilya. The elderly man was identified as 60-year-old Rashid Radwan.

Other citizens were also handed summonses for interrogation from the Shin Bet during IOF raids on homes in al-Khalil city.

Local sources also reported that skirmishes took place between Palestinian young men and Israeli soldiers in the alleys of al-Jalazoun refugee camp and a nearby road.

Similar clashes with soldiers also happened in Mazra’a ash-Sharqiya town, while an Israeli military force patrolled the streets of the nearby town of Silwad, with no reported arrests.

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Palestinian arrested by Israeli police over alleged car-ramming

Palestinian arrested possible anti-occupation attack

The Israeli police on Friday morning claimed responsibility for the abduction of a Palestinian man in Tel Aviv, saying they had suspicions the man was attempting to carry out an anti-occupation attack.

Hebrew media claimed the 39-year-old Palestinian was arrested Thursday after he stole a truck in Holon which he intended to use against Israeli soldiers in an anti-occupation car-ramming attack.

The driver was arrested following a car chase in the direction of Rishon LeZion.

The suspect allegedly confessed during questioning that he intended to use the vehicle to run over Israeli soldiers deployed in territories occupied in 1948 (Israel).

(Source / 20.10.2017)

Israel shells several targets in Syria

Attack Syria

Israeli army shelled several locations in Syria on Thursday afternoon after a mortar shell allegedly fired from Syria landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The spokesman of the Israeli army said: “In response to the projectile that hit Israel earlier today, the Israel ‘Defense’ Forces targeted the sources of fire in the Golan Heights”.

He added that the mortar shell fell on open ground and caused no injuries.

The army stated that “Israel will not tolerate targeting its ‘sovereignty’ and security”.

(Source / 20.10.2017)