Hariri: HNC Seeking Political Transition Without Assad, Stresses Assad Must be Held Accountable

Nasr Hariri, head of the delegation of the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) to Geneva talks, said that “the survival of Bashar al-Assad risks hindering political solution in Syria,” stressing that “the Syrian opposition is capable of leading political transition in Syria.”

Hariri, who is visiting the United States to meet with officials of the US Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration, said the visit will include several states, most notably New York and Washington D.C.

Hariri pointed out that the visit, among other things, aims to reach out to the Syrian community and Syrian civil society organizations in the United States. Hariri is set to attend a conference on 26-27 October that will be organized by a group of Syrian organizations and attended by the Syrian community in the US.

“The war on terror as well as the situation in the provinces of Raqqa, Idlib and Deir Ezzor currently dominate the Syrian scene,” Hariri said. He added: “In addition to these key issues, we will also discuss Russian’s dominance of the efforts to reach a solution and the latest developments in Syria with the US administration.”

Hariri went on to say that they will convey a message to the American side regarding the Russian moves aimed at creating an alternative track to the Geneva process, the UN resolutions, and the political transition process.

“We will inform the US administration that there is real opposition capable of leading political transition in Syria,” Hariri said.

Hariri stressed that the battle with the Assad regime is a purely political one, adding that taking up arms was necessary to protect civilians. “We hope a complete ceasefire is achieved to reach a political solution in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, meet the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom, bring about a political transition in which Bashar al-Assad does not have a role to play in the beginning, and bring Assad to trial.”

“The survival of Bashar al-Assad in power risks hampering the fight against terrorism and other major projects. It also risks undermining efforts to achieve political transition, restore peace and stability in the region and the return of Syrian state institutions to life,” Hariri said.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + The New Arab / 24.10.2017)

Lieberman: Shooter who killed Palestinian should be freed

Settlers look on as Israeli forces evacuate the body of Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, killed by Israeli army medic Elor Azaria in Hebron , Israel on March 24 2016 [file photo]

The Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, was convicted of manslaughter, and jailed for 18 months, for the killing of Abdel al-Fattah al-Sharif in the occupied West Bank


Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who killed an unarmed and injured Palestinian, should be freed from prison without delay, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Speaking at the opening of a meeting of the right wing Yisrael Beiteinu political party, Lieberman expressed his support for Azaria’s request for a presidential pardon last week.

“I want to remind you that, in the end, this is a case of an outstanding soldier and a terrorist who tried to kill IDF soldiers. Everyone is aware that both Azaria and his family paid a heavy price.”

Azaria claimed he did not receive a fair trial after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of 21-year-old Palestinian Abdel Al-Fattah Al-Sharif in March 2016 as he lay wounded on the ground.

Azaria shot Al-Sharif in the head, with a number of witnesses quoting him as saying: “This dog is still alive” and “this terrorist deserves to die” before he pulled the trigger.

Last month, the Israeli army chief cut Azaria’s sentence from 18 to 14 months. If Azaria’s term is further cut by a third for good behaviour, he could be released as early as 30 March 2018.

Read: Palestinian child narrates horrifying experience of 10-hour detention by Israeli forces

Lieberman is not the first Israeli politician to express his support for Azaria’s release. At the time of his sentencing in July Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with a group of senior Israeli ministers called for the soldier to be pardoned.

The convicted soldier was also released from prison for a four-day furlough for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year last month. Israeli soldiers are usually only granted furloughs from prison after serving a third of their sentence. Azaria had only begun serving his 18-month sentence one month previously.

Azaria was awarded compensation earlier this month amounting to some $6,900 from the Head of the Manpower Directorate of the Israel Defence Forces; half the amount that is normally paid to soldiers who complete their military service. Azaria only served 18 months of his three year term in the army.

During and after his trial, Azaria has received widespread support from the Israeli public and was labelled a national hero under the slogan “Israel’s son”.

Read: Israeli police detain Palestinian in Old City for alleged knife possession

(Source / 24.10.2017)

Ex-Israel Commander: Settlement project has failed

former commander of Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip Shaul Arieli. [ABC News/YouTube]

former commander of Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip Shaul Arieli


The Israeli settlement project in the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley has failed, a former commander of Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip has said.

“The annual increase in the number of settlers has fallen dramatically, reaching 10.3 per cent in 1996, while in 2016 it fell to only 3.4 per cent,” said Shaul Arieli.

In 1996, there was a 68 per cent increase in Jews leaving Israeli cities to settle in settlements in the occupied West Bank, while in 2016 the figure dropped to only 22 per cent, he said in an article published in Haaretz today.

He questioned former army minister Moshe Ya’alon who claimed that the West Bank could accommodate a million or two million Jews. Arieli stressed that the decline in Jewish immigration to Israel makes such promotion a form of illusion.

Read: Israel is pushing its luck with the EU

The biggest indicator that the Zionist project had failed, Arieli said, was the fact that settlements in the Jordan Valley were unable to attract Jews.

He revealed that former Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “called for the introduction of a million Jews to settle in the settlements of the valley,” adding that in spite of this, there had been no increase in the population.

Five-thousand settlers had moved to the Jordan Valley over the past 50 years, not the millions the authorities had hoped for, he explained.

Israeli occupation forces approved more than 3,700 housing units in the past weeks in the hope of building 12,000 by the end of the year.

The international community considers all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories illegal.

(Source / 24.10.2017)

Israeli forces escort Israelis onto Al-Aqsa compound

Ultra-right wing al-Aqsa

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A group of ultra right-wing Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning under the escort of armed Israeli forces.

The Voice of Palestine Radio reported that 25 Israelis entered and toured the compound.
An Israeli police spokesperson told Ma’an that they were aware of the incident.
Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and subsequent annexation, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust not to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. However, non-Muslims are permitted to enter and visit the holy compound during designated hours.
Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, who often times carry out prayers in an attempt to challenge the status quo at Al-Aqsa, leading to tensions with Palestinian worshipers.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood
(Source / 24.10.2017)

Israel delivers demolition notices, cuts off water to homes in Silwan

Silwan Arab Jerusalem

Foreign tourists visit on January 11, 2011 the archeological site of the biblical City of David located in the mostly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — For the second time this week, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Tuesday.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that staff from the Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, escorted by Israeli police, distributed demolition notices to several homes in Silwan under the pretext of being built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli construction permits.
According to Wafa, staff from the Israeli water company Gihon cut off the water supply to a number of homes in Silwan under the pretext of accumulated debts.
A spokesperson for the municipality was not immediately available for comment.
Israeli forces on Sunday delivered demolition notices to the neighborhood, and last week, forces demolished two homes in the area.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.
For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, “Since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat’s claim ‘we build for everyone.’”
According to United Nations documentation, 202 Palestinians were displaced and 116 buildings have been demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year as of Oct. 9. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
(Source / 24.10.2017)

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Forces in Hebron

24 OCT
8:29 AM

Dozens of Palestinians were suffocated with tear gas, during clashes with Israeli forces, in the southern part of Hebron, occupied West Bank.

Al Ray reports that, according to security sources, dozens of citizens inhaled poison gas during clashes between Palestinian citizens and Israeli soldiers in the area of Al-Ksara, in the southern part of the city.

The soldiers fired dozens of tear gas bombs at houses, including the  house of Palestinian citizen Jehad al-Rajbi, directly; members of his family were taken to al-Mohtaseb hospital for treatment.

(Source / 24.10.2017)

Israeli Colonists Flood Dozens Of Palestinian Olive Trees With Sewage

24 OCT
11:19 AM

Israeli colonists flooded, Tuesday, dozens of Palestinian olive trees with sewage water, in Deir al-Hatab town, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Coordinator of the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights organization in the occupied West Bank, Zakaria al-Sidda, said the colonists flooded the olive orchards near Elon Moreh illegal colony.

He added that the Palestinian owners of the olive orchards have been isolated from them, and are only allowed to reach them twice a year through special permits and coordination.

The coordinator also stated that the colonists already picked many olive trees in the area, and stole the produce, especially since they have unrestricted access to the orchards.

Although attacks carried out by extremist colonists are frequent, including uprooting and burning Palestinian lands and flooding them with wastewater, they witness a serious escalation every year during the olive harvest season.

(Source / 24.10.2017)

Israeli army intensifies presence, conducts drills west of Jenin

IOF stormed Ya'bad at dawn

The Israeli occupation army on Monday evening set up several checkpoints in Jenin province, carried out military drills and deployed airborne soldiers in its southwestern plains.

Palestinian media sources said that the Israeli army intensified the presence of its forces and deployed road barriers and military vehicles.in areas between Ya’bad town, Nazlet Zeid village and Kufeirit village.

Soldiers were also landed by a helicopter in the 7 Bridges area between Ya’bad and Arraba town.

Eyewitnesses affirmed that Israeli troops set up checkpoints at the junction of Kufeirit village and on the Jenin-Haifa road, and embarked on intercepting and searching passing Palestinian cars, and checking the IDs of passengers. No arrests have been reported.

(Source / 24.10.2017)

Infrastructure projects launched in Gaza industrial city

Gaza industrial City

Palestinian minister of economy Abeer Odeh on Monday inaugurated three projects to rehabilitate the infrastructure of the Gaza industrial city with funding from the European Union (EU).

The rehabilitation projects will improve infrastructure in the industrial city pertaining to sanitation, electricity, and water treatment and desalination.

During her visit to the industrial city, Odeh met with officials from the UN Development Program (UNDP), the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zones Authority, and the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency.

She stated that four contractors would embark over two months on developing and rehabilitating the infrastructure of the city

The minister affirmed that “the development and rehabilitation of the Gaza industrial city is a top priority for the government, especially since it has a strategic role in reviving the national economy and alleviating unemployment and poverty.”

The Gaza industrial city is located over an area of 500 dunums of land and has 38 industrial and logistic establishments.

(Source / 24.10.2017)

19 West Bankers kidnapped in dawn IOF campaigns

New arrests WB

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday kidnapped 19 Palestinian citizens in different West Bank areas and confiscated thousands of shekels from a house in al-Khalil.

In a statement, the Israeli army claimed the detained Palestinians were wanted and taken in for questioning.

In Bethlehem, the IOF kidnapped five Palestinians, including two teenagers, from their homes in different areas of the city and in the eastern town of Taqua.

The IOF also handed 16-year-old Ahmed Taqateqa, from Beit Fajjar town in Bethlehem, a summons ordering him to go to a Shin Bet center in Gush Etzion settlement bloc for interrogation.

In Jenin, an Israeli military force broke into and ransacked several homes in Qabatiya town and kidnapped five young men, four of them from the family of Abul-Rab.

Local sources reported local young men hurled stones at Israeli soldiers during the IOF campaign in Qabatiya, adding that soldiers also raided a café, and brutalized and questioned its patrons.

In al-Khalil, Israeli soldiers and Shin Bet officers stormed Beit Awwa village and confiscated thousands of shekels belonging to a citizen on allegations they would be used to fund activities against Israel.

A young man was reportedly rounded up in the morning after the IOF intercepted and searched a car in the Old City of al-Khalil.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Israeli soldiers searched a car in the Karantina neighborhood of the Old City and found a plastic box containing five bullets belonging to a young passenger.

The detained young man was identified as 27-year-old Hasan Abu Asnaina.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers opened fire last night at two Gazan young men after they tried to cross into an Israeli territory east of Jabalia town. Luckily, they were unhurt but arrested by a Palestinian foot patrol.

(Source / 24.10.2017)