12 Palestinians denied travel via Karama crossing

Pal's 12 denied travel

The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) prevented on Tuesday 12 West Bank Palestinians from travelling through al-Karama crossing for undisclosed security reasons.

General Administration of Crossings and Borders said in a statement on Wednesday that 9,434 Palestinians were able to pass through the crossing on Tuesday.

The statement noted that 4,588 Palestinians left the West Bank and 4,846 arrived in the territory, while the IOA prevented the travel of 12 Palestinian citizens.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Hamas condemns closing, merging UNRWA schools

UNRWA schools closed

Hamas Movement on Tuesday affirmed their refusal of the policy of closing and merging UNRWA’s schools and warned of the consequences.

The official of Hamas’s Office of Refugees’ Affairs in Lebanon, Abu Ahmad Fadel, said that the UNRWA measures affect the education process. He asserted that the UNRWA schools in Lebanon need development and expansion due to the increasing number of students each year instead of shutting down or merging.

He cautioned that the UNRWA’s decision affects the education services and accordingly the academic achievements of Palestinian students. Fadel added that the UNRWA resolution also denies huge number of students their right to education and will force them to move to expensive schools which fees are not affordable.

The Hamas official also asked the education department at UNRWA to cancel  its resolution.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Israel demolishes Palestinian house in O. J’lem

House demolished

Israeli bulldozers demolished on Wednesday morning a Palestinian-owned house in the village of Qalandia, to the north of the occupied Jerusalem.

The local journalist Mahmoud Awadallah reported that Israeli forces, accompanied by two bulldozers, raided the village and proceeded to demolish the two-room house.

Nearby trees were also uprooted during the demolition process, he added.

The house was demolished despite an Israeli court ruling banning its demolition, Awadallah underlined.

20 Palestinian buildings in the village are also threatened with demolition for being allegedly built without Israeli permit.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Israeli airstrike targets kite flyers east of Gaza

Kite flyers attackted

Israeli drones on Wednesday afternoon attacked a group of Palestinian youths who were flying fire kites east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

The PIC reporter said that at least one missile was fired toward the kite flyers with no casualties reported.

Several Israeli airstrikes hit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night during which three Palestinians were injured. The Palestinian resistance factions responded by firing rockets and mortar shells toward Israeli settlements adjacent to the coastal enclave.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Injure A Palestinian Near Bethlehem

20 JUN
2:44 PM

Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Wednesday, a young Palestinian man while driving his car near Um Salmouna village, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired live rounds at a car, moderately wounding Ahmad Nasser Thawabta, 27, from Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem.

Palestinian medics rushed to the scene and moved the wounded young man, who was shot with a live round in his back, to a hospital in Hebron city.

After shooting Thawabta, the soldiers closed the main Bethlehem-Hebron Road, and the entrance of Teqoua’ town, in addition to closing the iron gate installed at the entrance of Janata town.

In previous similar shootings, especially when the army alleged the Palestinians tried to ram the soldiers with their cars or carry out any other attack. Palestinian medics would be prevented from even approaching the wounded, or slain residents.

The Israeli army did not comment on the incident.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

New Israeli Law to Allow Seizure of Christian Properties

19 JUN
11:22 PM

The Islamic Christian Commission for the Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites has warned of a draft law for a project which allows the Israeli occupation government to confiscate land sold by the Orthodox Church to private investors.

According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, the organization stressed, in a statement on Tuesday, its rejection of the imposition of taxes on the churches of Jerusalem and the destruction of their property, which runs contrary to the historical position of the churches in the Holy City over centuries..

The Armenian and Orthodox churches of the Holy Land were called upon to stop the draft law, which aims to confiscate their land, four months after a major crisis led to the closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Secretary-General of the Commission, Hanna Issa, stressed the need to oblige the Israeli occupation to abide by the historical situation of the Holy City, based on the Ottoman and the Jordanian guardianship of the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries in Jerusalem.

He stressed that imposing taxes on churches and confiscating their lands, undermines the sacred character of the occupied city, and hinders the churches from performing their role and activities.

The Christian Islamic Organization pointed out that the churches’ commitment to the historical situation of the city of Jerusalem and the rejection of any change to its reality, which is to preserve the historical heritage of the occupied city and to fight systematic methods of Judaization practiced by the occupation against the city and its Islamic and Christian sanctuaries, stressing the Arab nature of Jerusalem culture.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Erekat: Washington Wants a Palestinian Leadership that Deals with New Reality

PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat

Secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee Saeb Erekat accused the US administration of working to replace the current Palestinian leadership with one that accepts the “new reality”.

Erekat said that the United States was seeking to transform the Palestinian issue from political to humanitarian, and wanted to get rid of the current Palestinian leadership because of its adherence to national constants and Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

“The US administration needs (another) leadership to deal with the new reality that it wants,” he said.

“The United States has entered into a very dangerous game by replacing national rights with humanitarian projects. This necessitates the implementation of reconciliation agreements and finding a fulcrum for a full political partnership based on the PLO program.”

Erekat’s accusations came ahead of a planned tour of US officials in the region aimed at focusing on the US peace plan, as well as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

The US president’s advisor, Jared Kushner, US Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, discussed on Friday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the situation in the Middle East and recent US actions in cooperation with the UN, as well as promoting peace in the region and ensuring humanitarian needs in Gaza.

According to Reuters, Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday in Amman, in the presence of Greenblatt, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the US administration’s efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority has announced that it refused and would not cooperate with the US initiative to raise financial aid to the Gaza Strip, because the goal was political separation between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership had sent letters to Arab countries to explain its position before the arrival of the US delegation.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Gaza killings must open the world’s ears to Gaza voices

Living conditions in the Gaza Strip are, to put it bluntly, what most civilized people would consider “unlivable.” But this state of affairs is nothing new. The UN and other humanitarian agencies have been predicting calamitous outcomes for years. Yet conduct a Google news search and, other than the little “blip” when another such report is released, Gaza barely breaks the news or sends even solidarity activists into the streets in any numbers until people die — and die in large numbers.

Thus, our understanding of Gaza is marked by milestones drenched in blood — the Israeli assaults of 2008/9, 2012 and 2014, and now, the massive protests called the Great Return March. Since the launch March 30, 128 Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 14,600 injured. To put those numbers in perspective, the 2012 Israeli war on Gaza (the shortest of its three major assaults on the Strip) killed 174 and injured “just” 1,000. And yet few (except Israel, of course) contest the fact that the Return March protests have been largely nonviolent.

As the founder of We Are Not Numbers, a Gaza-based project that helps youths develop their English-language skills while sharing with the world their personal narratives, I have been struck by the high rate of depression among the nearly 200 members. A confidential assessment found that 56 percent qualified as clinically depressed. One might predict that a constant threat of violence would be a top contributor, but surprisingly, it was not. Rather, the most common causes of a depression so entrenched that suicides have skyrocketed in this otherwise deeply religious society are: their inability to leave the small, cramped space; chronic, persistent power outages (the average for electricity is just four hours a day); and the astronomically high unemployment rate (60 percent among youth). Those grinding, soul-sapping realities are 24/7; yet they have been going on for so long — more than a decade now — that the external world has come to treat them like a “necessary evil.” The message we collectively are sending the people of Gaza is that it is only violence — which ultimately means their deaths and injury — that will put them back on the agenda.

No wonder, then, that one of the members of We Are Not Numbers who is participating in the protests, Rana Shubair, wrote:

“I’ve been working at my writing all of my life, struggling to make the voices of my people heard. I believed that everyone has the capacity to serve their people, even if it is by writing and advocating in the security of their homes. Yet, what has been the result? My words seem to have fallen on deaf ears. My writing seems a mere token compared to the acts of the many others at the forefront, literally forcing change while they risk their lives.”

Haneen Abo Saud

Another of our writers, Haneen Abo Saud (Sabbah), captures this same struggle in a poem, in which she is torn between joining the “death-defyers” on the front lines of the demonstrations and living to protest through her stories:

An inner voice pleads, “What if you get shot?”
My other voice responds, “So what? At least you tried.
You tried to break the silence and the chains.
Maybe you will feel better if you die fighting for your dreams.”

I know many people in Gaza and elsewhere who have lost faith in the Great Return March as the body count rises and the only result, in their minds, is “talk, talk” in support of Israel’s “right to self-defense” or milk-warm condemnation with no teeth. But my conclusion is totally different. The series of Great Return March protests has generated a steady stream of media coverage of Gaza that has actually focused on the inhumane living conditions and probed the “why” behind residents’ willingness to risk their lives (thus finally challenging the ridiculous trope that they don’t value life or are mere puppets of a genocidal Hamas):

The New York Times, notorious for hiring Jerusalem bureau chiefs with personal ties to the Israeli military, published three op-eds written by previously unknown Gazan Palestinians. One was titled, “Gaza Screams for Life.” In a piece attacked by Fox News and the Zionist lobby, the paper headlined one story, “Israel Kills 58 and Injures Over 1,300 by Gunfire at Gaza Border.”

The Huffington Post published a split-screen image, juxtaposing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking in front of the Great Seal of the United States with a graphic photo of a Palestinian man carrying a child as he runs from flames.

The Guardian, which has a strong reach in the United States, featured a similar split screen, of the violence alongside Ivanka Trump opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, above a banner headline reading,” Israel: Trump’s new embassy opens — and dozens are killed.”

The New York Daily News went even further with this headline: “Daddy’s Little Ghoul: 55 Slaughtered in Gaza, but Ivanka All Smiles.”

CNN invited Palestinian Noura Erakat on camera several times to destroy the Israeli party line.

And the Washington Post gave her the bully pulpit for an unusual video op-ed.

Yes, “mainstream” media coverage continues to be, on average, conflicting and incomplete at best and Zionist at worst. But the fact remains that in the wake of the Great Return March, Palestinian voices and perspectives are significantly more apparent than in the past. That leads to public opinion shifts — a very necessary step before official policies and practices (like foreign assistance and UN votes) can begin to change.

Would this kind of high-profile attention have resulted from the March if Palestinians had not exposed Israel’s brutality by provoking its soldiers to shoot unarmed protesters? Sadly, I think not. Just as the large media don’t cover hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners until it begins to look like they might die, it’s Israel’s killing of nonviolent Palestinian protesters that inspired this wave of attention that has caused what I believe is the beginning of a sea change in the media/public landscape — an example of which is a video featuring Palestinian voices by a prominent, Jewish U.S. politician. The 128 deaths and about 8,000 injuries by gunshot were not in vain — although the price was steep.

But….wouldn’t it be so much more humane and just of the “world” — of which we are members — if we were as activated by the everyday structural violence imposed on Palestinians as we are when they are killed or maimed? And if we as activists showed Palestinian youth we will support and give visibility to their stories and art as much as we do calls for emergency relief and news of their murder/arrest?

Fortunately, in her poem, Haneen shows she has yet to conclude she can only be effective by sacrificing her life. She writes:

I imagine a hand extending from that far-away land.
I will just take that hand
And go home.
Still….how will anyone hear me then?
Who will read my words?
I will be shot for trying to reach for my dreams.
I want the world to hear my reasons, my reasons for marching.
We want to have a normal life with happy moments.
We want to breathe and have other worries besides what we will eat for the day.
We must be heard.
We must be free.

Let’s show Haneen (and the rest of the young writers and artists) she is right. That we will listen and support her when she shares her words.  We Are Not Numbers is dedicated to doing just that, but we must fight for every penny of donation and live in a constant state of worry about lack of funds. We could do so much more if we had just a bit more support! Please consider helping however you can.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Moussa: EU Has ‘Important Role’ in Stabilizing Liberated Areas

Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, emphasized the important role the European Union can play in the rehabilitation of services institutions and organizations in the liberated areas as well as in supporting the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), local councils and civil society organizations to fill the vacuum in those areas.

Moussa said that people in liberated areas are in need for active, solid support given that the majority of health, educational, services and judicial institutions have been destroyed by the Assad regime and its allies. She underscored that the reactivation of these institutions would ease the suffering of the Syrian people and contribute to the establishment of the groundwork for civil, democratic work.

Moussa made these remarks ahead of a meeting that the European Union will hold in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday. Moussa, Head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Ahad Steifo, SIG”s head Jawad Abu Hatab, and other SIG representatives and civil society organizations will participate in the meeting.

Moussa stressed that the Syrian Coalition is keen to strengthen the partnership and establish permanent relations with the EU countries, adding that tomorrow’s meeting will discuss the development of a number of projects in the liberated areas.

Moreover, Moussa stressed the need to fill the vacuum in these areas and establish the nucleus of government institutions acting as an alternative to the Assad regime. “The SIG’s staff, local councils and civil society organizations have sufficient experience to play this important role at this time,” she said.

Moussa made it clear that the offering of assistance for the civilian population in the liberated areas is consistent with the EU strategy to restore stability, provide livelihoods for civilians, and enable them to administer their areas and stay in them.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 20.06.2018)

Israeli activists call on Hamas to help restore calm to southern Israel

Head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh speaks at the Palestine National Council meeting on 30 April 2018

Activists within Israel’s Other Voice Movement have sent a letter to the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as the movement’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Al-Sinwar, asking them to restore calm to southern Israel. “We, your neighbours, hope to live based on mutual respect and peace,” they told the Hamas officials.

The message was sent to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip who were asked to deliver it to Hamas. It was also passed to left-wing Israeli activist Gershon Beskin, who is close to Fatah and Hamas leaders and helped to mediate the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011. The Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas in 2006 while on active duty on the border between Gaza and Israel.

“We have been enemies and we are still,” said the activists, “but this situation can be changed, it must be changed, we are also neighbours.” The disaster affecting the Palestinians and Israelis is man-made, they insisted, and can be changed.

Other Voice Movement sent a similar letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding him to negotiate with Hamas. “Hamas runs an authoritarian regime,” they pointed out. “We reject its actions, but ultimately it is the governing authority in Gaza, whether we like it or not, so we must find a way to talk to it.”

READ: Israeli army tells politicians best response to ‘kite terror’ is target Hamas sites 

(Source / 20.06.2018)