Lieberman: Israel will not ease Gaza crisis

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians during a protest at the Gaza – Israel border on 8 June 2018

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tel Aviv will not alleviate the crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip unless the Hamas offers a “humanitarian initiative” in return.

Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Lieberman explained that Hamas should release the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Shaul Aaron and return Avraham “Avera”  Mengistu who crossed from Israel to Gaza on his own.

“The Palestinians want a humanitarian initiative from Israel, Israel also wants a humanitarian initiative from Hamas,” he said.

Lieberman accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of “exacerbating the Gaza crisis by not transferring the full salaries of Gaza employees.”

Read: 49% of Gaza’s drugs have ran out, says ministry

He also accused Hamas of “investing its money in strengthening the tunnels as well as its military capabilities at the expense of improving the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.”

Authorities have repeatedly come under attack for their inaction with regards the return of Israeli soldiers captured in the Gaza Strip during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Israel: Decision to evict 700 Palestinians from Jerusalem ‘flawed’

General view to the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan 21 June 2010. [Mahfouz Abu Turk/APA Images]

General view to the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan 21 June 2010

Israel admitted to the High Court of Justice yesterday that a decision to evict 700 Palestinians from their land after it was transferred to a settler institution was “flawed”.

Seven hundred Palestinians from Batan Al-Hawa, part of the occupied Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, are facing eviction after their land was transferred to a right-wing settlement organisation. To date, a number of families have already been evicted and dozens more are conducting legal battles to fight the eviction notice, according to Haaretz.

Their situation dates back to 2002 when Israel’s Justice Ministry issued title deeds to the land in question to the Benvenisti Trust. The trust argues that it purchased the land in the late 1800s to settle Jews arriving to Palestine from Yemen. The trust is now controlled by Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organisation that encourages Jewish Israelis to settle illegally in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

Israel Supreme Court told that settlements law violates apartheid convention

The hearing at the High Court saw those Palestinians affected petition against this 2002 decision. Their petition argues that the original deeds pertained only to the buildings that were on the land prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and not the land itself. Most of these buildings were subsequently demolished, meaning the trust would not have any rights to the land.

The Israeli government admitted during the hearing that the Justice Ministry had not investigated the nature of the trust, the Ottoman-era law that applies in the case, or the condition of the buildings now on the land before it issued the deeds that would evict the Palestinians now living in the neighbourhood.

A lawyer for the Palestinian petitioners, Muhammad Dahleh, questioned “how is it possible to evict them [the residents of Silwan] based on such a poor procedure, a procedure that the state today acknowledges making a mistake in?” reported Haaretz.

Attempts to illegally settle Israelis in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem are rife. A new study by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Studies has shown that illegal Israeli settlers own 186,000 flats in occupied East Jerusalem, while Palestinians only own 54,500, even though Palestinians represent a demographic majority in the city. Across Jerusalem and the West Bank, approximately 500,000 Israelis currently live on more than 150 Jewish-only settlements built on Palestinian land.

These settlements have been built since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in the 1967 Naksa. International law states that an occupying power should not transfer members of its civilian population to the land being occupied and therefore considers all Jewish settlement activity on the land as illegal.

HRW: Israeli banks financing illegal settlements

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Palestine’s Birzeit ranked as one of world’s best

Birzeit University

Birzeit University has been named as one of the top universities in the world, according to international rankings.

Birzeit was ranked in the top 2.7 per cent of universities worldwide, an improvement on last year’s ranking when it was listed among the top three three of higher education institutions. Birzeit was the only Palestinian university to be included in the rankings, which surveyed 26,000 universities from 85 different countries.

The rankings were published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specialising in collecting and analysing higher education data. QS graded the universities based on six metrics, including academic reputation, faculty-student ratio, employer reputation, citations per faculty, international student ratio and international faculty ratio.

President of Birzeit University, Abdullatif Abuhijleh, congratulated the university’s community on the achievement and applauded efforts to distinguish it, according to Wafa. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Birzeit’s Board of Trustees, added: “This recognition […] is a reflection of the efficiency, excellence and creativity of the Palestinians and our national universities. This distinctive accomplishment also highlights the academic history of Birzeit University and constitutes a success felt by the entire Palestinian nation.”

Israel holds 340 Palestinian students: Minister

Located north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, the university has faced repeated repression by Israeli occupation forces. In March, undercover Israeli soldiers assaulted and abducted Birzeit student council leader, Omar Al-Kiswani, after they entered the campus pretending to be journalists. Al-Kiswani was detained in the Israeli Al-Moskobyia  Detention Centre and his detention repeatedly extended. In a statement, Birzeit said that Israeli occupation forces “systematically invade the university’s campus – even though it is specifically protected under international humanitarian law –  and constantly harass students, faculty members, and staff.”

UK student officers condemn Israeli forces’ raid of Birzeit University

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Israel admits to killing Palestinian man throwing stones

Image of Israeli occupation forces [file photo]

Israeli occupation forces

Israeli occupation forces have admitted to killing a Palestinian man who soldiers accuse of throwing stones in Nabi Saleh, northwest of occupied Ramallah.

The incident, denounced on social media as another example of Israeli brutality, happened as Prime Minister Netanyahu touched down in Britain to salvage the country’s reputation following the killing of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli snipers.

Israeli occupation forces posted a tweet saying a Palestinian had hurled a “large rock” at its armed troops. It claimed a “riot” was instigated by more than ten Palestinians and a single rock was flung, leading to the forces using “riot dispersal means”.

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

About an hour ago, a Palestinian hurled a large rock at IDF troops during an arrest in Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

The rock was hurled during a riot, which more than 10 Palestinians instigated. IDF troops responded with riot dispersal means

It then described how the a Palestinian “flanked the soldiers”.

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

The rock was hurled during a riot, which more than 10 Palestinians instigated. IDF troops responded with riot dispersal means

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

One of the Palestinians flanked the troops and hurled the rock, striking a soldier’s head

In response, one of the soldiers fired on the “suspect”. The Palestinian died as a result.

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

One of the Palestinians flanked the troops and hurled the rock, striking a soldier’s head

IDF

@IDFSpokesperson

In response, the soldier who was hit by the rock fired towards the suspect, who was injured & given medical treatment at the scene. Despite this, the suspect died. No IDF troops were injured. The incident is being examined

The incident sparked outrage on social media with people pointing out that what the Israelis called a “riot” were protest by people suffering for decades under an illegal immoral unjust brutal occupation.

Others described the dangerous pattern of wilful killing of Palestinians in the occupied territory.   “Right so the sentence for rock throwing now is the immediate death penalty without trial,” said one social media user in response to the tweet by the Israeli army.

Last weekend’s killing reflects a familiar story in the occupied territory. Human rights groups have accused Israeli forces of displaying a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past years with near total impunity.

Israel army admits live fire used on Palestinian civilians throwing stones

Amnesty’s report Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank” described the mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January 2011.

In all cases examined by Amnesty International, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life. In some, there is evidence that they were victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes.

The rights of Palestinians to protest against the occupation are clearly enshrined in international law.  People have the right to fight against colonial domination and alien occupation in the exercise of their right to self-determination. In international law, Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians In Gaza, One In Hebron

11 JUN
2:07 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, three young Palestinian men in the border fence area, east of Gaza City and in northern Gaza, in addition to one Palestinian in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources in Gaza said the soldiers abducted two young men, reportedly after they crossed the border fence area, east of Gaza city.

They added that the soldiers abducted a third Palestinian, also near the border fence, in the northern part of the coastal region.

The three Palestinians, who remained unidentified at the time of this report, were taken by the soldiers to unknown destinations.

On Sunday at night, the soldiers abducted one Palestinian, identified as Tareq Adnan Ashour, near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank.

Earlier Sunday, the soldiers abducted fourteen Palestinians, including three siblings, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Over 309 Administrative Detention Orders Issued Since February

10 JUN
9:41 PM

Israeli Prison Services (IPS) has issued more than 309 administrative detention orders since the decision to boycott administrative trials by administrative detainees, last February, the Palestine Detainees Center for Studies reported Saturday.

According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, spokesperson for the center Reyad Al-Ashqar said in a press release, Saturday, that the occupation powers violate all the norms and limitations established by international treaties to limit the use of administrative detention policy and uses it as a collective punishment against the Palestinians.

He noted that IPS has issued more than 4.000 administrative detention orders during the last three years, 456 of which were issued since the beginning of 2018, against ex-detainees who are again taken into custody.

Al-Ashqar considers the issuing of administrative detention orders against detainees (i.e. without appearing for trial and without access to legal representation) is clear evidence of formalism, stressing that the trial has already fabricated, and Israeli intelligence  stands behind the trials.

Palestinian administrative detainees boycotted the administrative trials to shed light on the case, forcing the Palestinian Authority and international institutions to shoulder their responsibility toward their ongoing plight.

Al-Ashqar pointed out that administrative detainees have escalated their protests by entering into a state of hunger strike, on numerous occasions.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Conduct A Limited Invasion Into Central Gaza

11 JUN
1:33 PM

Several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded, Monday, Palestinian agricultural lands, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp in central Gaza, and bulldozed sections near the border fence while firing live rounds.

Media sources said the invasion was carried out by four tanks and three D9 armored military bulldozers.

They added that the vehicles advanced approximately 150 meters into the agricultural lands, east of the refugee camp.

The soldiers bulldozed large sections of the invaded lands, and installed sand hills and barbed-wire fences, before firing live rounds at random while military drones flew overhead.

On Monday at dawn, the soldiers abducted eleven young Palestinian men, including a journalist, in the southern West Bank governorate of Hebron, and one in Jenin, in northern West Bank.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Lies will not save Israel from the responsibility of killing Razan Al-Najjar

11 JUN
3:33 PM

By Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, President- Palestinian Medical Relief Society:  We are deeply shocked at the amount of lies that the Israeli officials and spokesperson of the Israeli army are trying to spread to justify the horrible war crime of killing the innocent young first aid provider, Razan Al-Najjar, who was volunteering with our organization the Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

Razan, only 21-years-old,always tried to help as many injured civilians as she could.

On the 1st of June she was killed by an Israeli sniper who shot her in the chest. The sniper also shot two of Razan’s colleagues in the legs while they were standing with a group of four other PMRS first aid providers away from protesters – preparing for the next round of helping injured civilians. They were shot even though they were wearing white vests and clear markers showing they were medical personnel.

The Israeli army spokesperson declared in the beginning of the peaceful march in Gaza that they knew where each bullet they fired went. The spokesperson stated on Twitter: “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”

Since then they have killed 126 Palestinian civilians including two first aid providers, 3 journalists and many children.

The whole international community and especially medical and health organizations were shocked at Razan’s killing.

The first reaction from the Israeli army was that their shooting was unintentional which meant they admitted shooting Razan.

How could their shooting be unintentional when it was shot by a well-trained Israeli sniper and when the bullet hit the chest of Razan?

Then came another lie claiming that Razan was used by Hamas which is absolutely ridiculous since Razan and her family were never associated with Hamas at any time, particularly while Razan was volunteering with Palestinian Medical Relief Society – a well-known medical human and secular organization working to help people for almost 40 years, long before Hamas was established.

The third Israeli lie, which was unfortunately repeated in an article in the New York Times, came from the Israeli army spokesperson on a video showing Razan saying she acted as “a human shield.”

These were not Razan’s full words.This quote was cut from the rest of her sentence which she said on a TV interview: “I am a human shield to save those who are injured.”

We know that Hippocrates Oath teaches us that every decent medical person should act as a shield to the sick and injured regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

Razan also said in an interview with New York Time: “We have one goal—to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: without weapons we can do anything”

Instead of lying and spreading false propaganda the Israeli army should apologize for killing Razan and all the innocent Palestinian civilians who were peacefully protesting.

Yet it is clear, as the Israeli writer Gideon Levy wrote today in his article for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “After killing Razan al-Najjar, Israel assassinates her character.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Palestinian Refugees from Syria See No Hope of Yarmouk Camp Return

Yarmouk Camp Palestinians students in Lebanon

Palestinian refugees who fled Damascus’ Yarmouk Camp for Lebanon in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war have lost all hope of returning to their makeshift camp any time soon.

“Two months ago, we still had hope for returning, but the camp was destroyed last April,” Association of Palestinian Refugees from Syria to Lebanon Chairman Ayham Astitan told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Not to mention the total and complete looting of possessions present in the camp and the utter destruction of infrastructure including power cables, water pipes, sewage networks and all services,” Astitan added.

Palestinian refugees displaced by the Syria war are torn apart in Palestinian camps across Lebanon. Asserting that there is no reference to protecting them, they are demanding a legal status which will allow carrying their cause and regulating their tragic situation, which has only been aggravating since 2013.

Almost 90 percent of Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) in Lebanon are under the poverty line and 95 percent are food insecure. There is a critical ongoing need for UNRWA to provide cash assistance, education and health services to mitigate their vulnerability, which is forcing many of them to flee the Middle East region.

In view of the high levels of need, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will support all PRS families.

While UNRWA figures indicate that the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon today is estimated at about 32,000 Palestinian refugees who have been registered by Lebanon’s public security as “tourists.”

PRS asylum seekers are admitted into Lebanon through a seven-day visa, forcing the refugee to pay $200 to arrange for his short-lived stay.

“Since 2015, the Lebanese public security has issued many memos, which provide for the renewal of residency documents for PRS displaced persons, and to deport all those who entered illegally,” Astitan said.

“As of July 2017, accommodation is made available for six months, renewable free of charge for those who entered Lebanon before September 2016, and without imposing any penalty for delay,” he explained.

But on the flipside of matters, Astitan says that the 2017 memorandum was a pretext which allowed for deporting persons who entered Lebanon after 2016, in addition to those who crossed borders illegally.

Consequently, a large number of Palestinian refugees escaping devastation in the Yarmouk Camp are still unable to establish a proper stay in Lebanon.

Yarmouk Camp is a district of the city of Damascus, populated by Palestinians, with hospitals and schools, but which was virtually demolished by the ongoing Syrian civil war which erupted in 2011.

“Reconstruction efforts inside the camp cannot be accomplished until a comprehensive political solution is found to end the war in Syria,” added Astitan on the chances of making the camp habitable for returning Palestinian refugees.

He added that regulations established require proof of ownership, leaving refugees distressed with the threat of losing property as most documents have been lost under rubble.

With the agonizing loss of their camp homes and destruction still infesting the outskirts of Damascus make it all the more impossible to return.

“Yarmouk Camp Palestinians are also afraid of Syrian prosecution, in some cases which can be life-threatening to return to Syria after a long stay in Lebanon,” adds Astitan on complications impeding the refugees’ return.

PRS youth will be forced to serve in the military and be thrown into the frontlines of heated clashes led by regime armed forces.

“Despite potential opportunities for peace and stability in Syria, the current conditions for the safe and dignified return of refugees have yet to be realized,” UNRWA’s Information Office told Asharq Al-Awsat.

However, UNRWA confirmed its commitment to providing services to every Palestinian refugee registered in the five regions of its operations. Since the displacement of Palestinian refugees from Syria to Lebanon, UNRWA continues to provide its basic services in education, health, relief and social services, as well as advocating with relevant stakeholders and protection services.
The support also includes provision of legal assistance services.

PRS families continue to receive a monthly multipurpose cash grant worth $100 per family and an additional $27 for each family member per month to cover food costs. Cash for winterization will also be provided.

Nevertheless, the harsh reality faced by escapees shows the shortcoming of assistance and the insufficiency of UNRWA’s offer of services, structures or protection.

“A large number of families are staying in shops which charge a rent between $200 and $300 per shop,” said Palestinian activist Hanadi Owayess.

“In the vicinity of the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburb, where a number of Syrian Palestinians live, some of them set up groceries to sell vegetables or the like, but they are forced to pay tally to militias that control the area and control commercial activities there.”

UNRWA notes that some 5,500 Palestinian refugees from Syria have been enrolled in all UNRWA-sponsored schools in Lebanon.

(Source / 11.06.2018)

Hamas Seeks to Hold Broad National Palestinian Conference

Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh and Gaza’s Hamas Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar gesture to supporters during a rally marking the 30th anniversary of Hamas’ founding, in Gaza City December 14, 2017

Hamas Movement is seeking to hold a national Palestinian conference in Gaza with the participation of Palestinian factions and independent figures to discuss recent developments and the ongoing blockade on the Strip.

Well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement has sent initial invitations to hold this conference after Eid al-Fitr.

Hamas, according to the same sources, is trying to find a leadership body that would represent an alternative to the National Council, if the Palestinian leadership does not respond to calls for a new national assembly, in which Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all other factions participate.

The sources confirmed that Hamas officials met with officials of the Palestinian factions in Gaza and Beirut to persuade them to form a national leadership conference, which would decide on national affairs, including the future of the PA and the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The meetings were held with representatives from Fatah al-Intifada, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command) and the Islamic Jihad.

Hamas’ approach is based on its absolute rejection of the outcome of the 23rd session of the National Council held in Ramallah at the end of April. The meeting saw the election of a new executive committee for the PLO and the agreement over a broad outline of the future Palestinian strategy.

However, Hamas described the Council as a “state of exclusivity and dictatorship,” stressing that the outcome of its meeting did not reflect the will of the Palestinian people. It also accused the PA of participating in the siege against Gaza, an issue that will be on the agenda of the upcoming conference in parallel with the Palestinian Central Bank.

(Source / 11.06.2018)