Joint List MKs advocate for Palestinian citizens of Israel in Belgium, France

MK Yousef Jabareen, one of the participants in the advocacy mission in Brussels [רדיומן -/Wikipedia]

MK Yousef Jabareen, one of the participants in the advocacy mission in Brussels

A delegation of Members of Knesset from the Joint List is in Brussels this week, as part of efforts to advocate on behalf of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Participants in the advocacy mission, which is in the Belgian capital before heading to Paris, include MK Yousef Jabareen, MK Aida Touma-Suleiman, MK Jamal Zahalka and MK Masud Ghnaim.

The Mossawa Centre director Jafar Farah is another member of the delegation, which seeks to “engage in constructive dialogue with European Belgian, and French state actors”.

According to a press release, the delegation “will focus on issues relating to the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel” by “emphasising Israel’s obligation, according to Article Two of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, to respect human rights”.

In particular, the MKs will discuss “the question of the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by the international community”, and “call attention to the Jewish Nation-State bill” by requesting “EU intervention in preventing the development of further anti-democratic legislation”.

The delegation “will also raise concerns regarding increasingly commonplace calls for population transfers amongst high-level Israeli politicians, a plan which threatens to deprive hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens of their citizenship.”

Read: Knesset passes draft bill to annex illegal West Bank settlements

Another topic being raised is “the importance of international diplomatic intervention in the particularly dire situation of the Arab Palestinian Bedouin community in the Negev desert.”

The delegation will meet with representatives of the European Commission, Council, Parliament and External Action Service, as well as representatives of the French National Assembly, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and the French and Belgian ministries of foreign affairs.

The Joint List told Israeli media that “the size and composition of the delegation and the senior echelons at the meetings are unprecedented in an attempt by the elected representatives of the Arab minority in Israel to turn to international elements to block the racist and anti-democratic legislation in the Knesset and the government’s policy against the Arab population.”

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Patel-Israel scandal grows as May tries to weather the storm

Priti Patel, Britain’s International Development Secretary

Quite how long Priti Patel can hold on to her job as a Secretary of State remains to be seen after she has been exposed as a liar over the finer details of her so-called family holiday to Israel over the summer. Not only did she trample over strict guidelines and protocols demanded by the seniority of her office, but she has also attempted to mislead journalists and the wider public over the nature of her trip, which has left her position untenable in the view of many people.

Speculation is rife that a battle of wills is ongoing between Westminster and Tel Aviv over her ministerial future. Even MPs in her own party believe that the International Development Secretary’s days are numbered following new revelations about her trip. It has now emerged, for example, that Patel:

  • Wanted to send development aid money to the Israeli army;
  • Conducted 12 secret meetings with high level Israeli officials;
  • Discussed British government business with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials being present; and
  • Ignored strict government ministerial guidelines demanded of her office.

Patel has already been forced to apologise for holding the 12 previously-undisclosed meetings in Israel in August while on a self-funded “family holiday”. Now she has also been forced into a humiliating U-turn after claiming that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the FCO knew about her meetings and trip in advance. Those claims, made to the Guardian newspaper, have been exposed as lies.

However it is her discussion about giving aid to the Israeli military which is bound to cause the greatest furore with all political parties. Israel has the fourth largest army in the world and stands accused of committing war crimes in its three major military offensives against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip since 2008.

Read: Sitting Priti as minister is protected by Tel Aviv

Moreover, Britain does not recognise Israel’s permanent occupation of the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. Patel’s desire to give Israel’s army some aid either there or in the occupied Palestinian territories would contravene British government policy.

According to a spokesman for Theresa May’s office in Downing Street, Patel did discuss potential ways to provide medical support for Syrian refugees who are wounded and who cross into the Golan for treatment. “The Israeli army runs field hospitals there to care for Syrians wounded in the civil war. But there is no change in policy in the area. The UK does not provide any financial support to the Israeli army.”

Embarrassingly, Prime Minister Theresa May only learned of Patel’s overseas meetings last Friday. For some reason, neither Patel nor May’s Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who was given the red carpet treatment by Downing Street a day earlier, mentioned their August meeting to her. Netanyahu was in London as a guest of the British Prime Minister to mark the centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May (R) during his official visit in London, UK on 2 November 2017

As pressure mounted over her future, Patel issued a statement through the Department for International Development admitting her lies to the media about how much Boris Johnson knew of her visit: “This quote may have given the impression that the secretary of state had informed the foreign secretary about the visit in advance. The secretary of state would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this was not the case. The foreign secretary did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it.”

Patel also said that while “on a family holiday paid for by myself” she “had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organisations. I am publishing a list of who I met.‎ The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of my visit while it was under way‎.

“In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.”

Read: The UK is quietly changing its policy on Israel and Palestine

The Labour Party has called for an urgent investigation. It is now increasingly clear that Patel broke the ministerial code of conduct but, as May clings on to her position as Prime Minister, there is some speculation that she cannot afford the departure of another government minister — following the resignation of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon — from her weak government.

May has been hamstrung from day one after her disastrous snap election saw the Conservative Party lose its parliamentary majority. Her government is now mired in sleaze and scandal which has left the Prime Minister caught between a rock and a hard place. Having lost Fallon, more are expected to fall before the end of the week as the naming and shaming of so-called sex pests continues in Westminster.

Observers are speculating if she can, like Priti Patel, brazen out the situation over the next few days and how much support, if any, is being given to Patel from Tel Aviv. The International Development Secretary was accompanied to almost all of her meetings during her “family holiday” by the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group, Lord Stuart Polak.

While Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is clearly annoyed that he was kept in the dark about Patel’s secret meetings in Israel, he is preoccupied with other more pressing matters after issuing a misleading statement that could result in a charity worker facing a longer jail sentence in Iran. Johnson told a select committee last week that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother being held in a notorious Tehran jail, was in Iran training journalists. This is something that her employer has denied vigorously.

However, having been jailed on charges of espionage 18 months ago, Zaghari-Ratcliffe has now been told that she faces fresh charges of attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic. According to her husband Richard Ratcliffe, she was taken to an unscheduled court hearing where Johnson’s remarks were cited as proof of her guilt.

To add to her woes, Theresa May’s First Secretary of State Damien Green MP is being investigated after pornographic material was found on one of his House of Commons computers. In his defence, Green insists that, “This story is completely untrue and comes from a tainted and untrustworthy source.”

UK: Now is not the ‘right time’ to recognise Palestine

The big dilemma now facing May is if she can afford to keep Priti Patel in her Cabinet. Should she decide to sack her, she would not only weaken her already fragile government but would almost certainly also incur the wrath of Tel Aviv and the pro-Israel lobby.

Watching all of this with more than the usual interest is Professor Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador in London. He said that he is greatly concerned by the “clear breach” of the British government’s ministerial code.

“If the present Conservative Government is committed to a two-state solution and the Secretary of State for International Development, as part of the Government, is truly committed to this, why did she not visit Palestinian officials also?” he told the Evening Standard on Tuesday. “Imagine, though, the uproar if she had done this without the Prime Minister’s knowledge.”

Imagine indeed…

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Hebron And Jerusalem

07 NOV
9:59 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Tuesday, two young Palestinian men, including a patient from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and one in Silwan town, in occupied Jerusalem.

On Tuesday evening, the soldiers, stationed at the Gush Etzion Junction, stopped and searched dozens of cars, and abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Ahmad Ali Awad, 24.

Awad was heading back home after being discharged from a Palestinian hospital, and was moved to Etzion military and security center, although he is still in recovery.

On Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers invaded a Palestinian home in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, in Silwan, and abducted Mahmoud Jamal Gheith, 22,

The young man was taken prisoner after the soldiers violently searched his home, and was taken to an interrogation center in Jerusalem.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian olive pickers in Hawara

Settlers attack Hawara

Extremist Israeli settlers have stepped up assaults against Palestinian farmers across Hawara’s olive groves, south of the occupied West Bank province of Nablus.

Head of the West Bank department at Rabbis for Human Rights, Zakaria Sadah, said dozens of Israeli settlers violently attacked Palestinian farmers on Monday evening while they were picking olives in their groves northwest of Hawara town.

The Israeli army forced the Palestinians out of their farmlands after they ruled that all olive-picking activities in the area be immediately halted.

Palestinian local Monawar Abu Zaher sounded the alarm over the heavy damage wrought by such Israeli assaults on Palestinians’ olive harvest, adding that thousands of olive trees have not received proper care for over ten years and are, thus, on the verge of collapse.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Ex-prisoners among several Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli army

Kidnapped WB

Several Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Tuesday in abductions weeps rocking West Bank provinces.

The IOF stormed al-Khalil’s northern refugee camp of al-Arroub and wreaked havoc on civilian homes, before they kidnapped two Palestinian ex-prisoners—Hamam Sweilam and Sa’id Banat. Both were dragged to the Israeli Etzion detention center.

Overnight, the occupation authorities detained 24-year-old Sharaf Abu Bakr, from Jenin’s southern town of Yabad.

Abu Bakr, an ex-prisoner, was arrested by the Israeli forces as he attended his friend’s hearing at Israel’s Salem Military Court, west of Jenin. His family learned about his detention a few hours later.

Last month, at least five Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces at Salem Court.

At the same time, four Palestinian young men were kidnapped by the Israeli troops from the northern occupied West Bank province of Nablus.

Eight Israeli army patrols rolled into the city at the crack of dawn and kidnapped the four Palestinians.

The IOF showered Nablus’s northern town of Asira al-Shamaliya with heavy spates of stun grenades.

Youngster Mohamed Hanani was kidnapped by the IOF from 1948 Occupied Palestine (Israel), sources from Beit Furik town, in Nablus, told the PIC.

The campaign culminated in the abduction of another young man—Udai Hanani—from Kafr Kana, after the IOF published his photo and claimed that he attempted to carry out anti-occupation attack in 1948 Occupied Palestine.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Syrian Coalition: Iranian Regime Supporting Terror Groups & Igniting Wars & Crises in the Region

The Syrian Coalition condemned the crimes and violations that the Houthi militias continue to commit against civilians in Yemen and the attacks they launch against Saudi Arabia, especially the crime of firing a ballistic missile on the capital Riyadh.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition said that the Iranian regime is chiefly responsible for supporting terrorist groups and spreading extremist ideology, igniting more wars and crises, and supporting tyranny and oppression. The Iranian regime has always stood against the aspirations of the peoples and their rights to freedom and justice, the Coalition added.

The Syrian Coalition expressed its full solidarity with the people and leadership of Saudi Arabia against attempts by Iran and its terrorist arms in the region, especially the Houthi and Hezbollah militias to further destabilize the region. The Coalition praised the steadfastness shown by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s aggressive policies and its outright hostility to the peoples and countries of the region.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 07.11.2017)

UN concerned over mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli jail

Mistreatment kids

The United Nations expressed on Monday concerns over the situation of 500 Palestinian children incarcerated in Israeli jails.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said during a press conference held at the UN headquarters in New York that the number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli lock-ups has hit 500.

The UN official called on Israel to either work out the legal situation of detained minors and of all Palestinians held with neither charge nor trial in occupation prisons, or to release them immediately.

Palestinian children in Israeli penitentiaries have been made to endure dire detention conditions and harsh torture tactics, most notorious among which being strip-searches, heavy beating, verbal assaults, and exhaustive interrogation to force confession.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Israeli court slaps prison-terms against 3 Palestinian detainees

Court prison-terms

Israel’s Ofer Military Court on Tuesday morning issued prison-terms and fines against three Palestinian detainees from the southern occupied West Bank province of al-Khalil.

A PIC news correspondent said Ofer Court sentenced prisoner Ahmed Abu Fara to four years in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

Prisoner Samer Madhiyeh was also sentenced to a jail-term of three years and nine months, along with a fine of nearly $2,000.

The Israeli court further ruled that prisoner Anwar Ikhlil be incarcerated in Israeli lock-ups for a period of two years and pay a fine of over $500.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

Jerusalem Municipality seizes Palestinian land in Sheikh Jarrah

Palestinian land seized

Municipality of Jerusalem seized a Palestinian land lot in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Occupied Jerusalem to establish a car park of a hotel which was slated to be constructed 20 years ago.

Muhannad Jebara, the lawyer of the Palestinian families affected by the land grab decision, said that the land is located near Tomb of Shimon Siddiq.

Five years ago, an Israeli court refused a decision by Jerusalem Mayor to confiscate the same land for constructing a car park for the Tomb’s visitors.

Jebara pointed out that a detailed petition, signed by the owners of the seized land, is going to be submitted to the Central Court in Jerusalem.

(Source / 07.11.2017)

IOA to demine field to expand Karni Shomron settlement

Mine field

Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) started last week a demining project to remove mines out of 80 dunums of lands adjacent to Gilad neighborhood in the illegal settlement Karni Shomron northwest of the West Bank.

Israel Hayom newspaper reported that Israeli security experts expected 2200 mines to be found by 4M Defense Company, which won the Ministry of Security’s tender.

This move would lead to the construction of 1200 settlement units in lands close to Qalqilya in the West Bank.

(Source / 07.11.2017)