IOF storms car showroom, erects barrier in Jenin

Showroom Jenin

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday broke into an automobile showroom and set up a military checkpoint at Arraba town’s junction south of Jenin city in the northern West Bank.

Local sources said that IOF soldiers stormed the car showroom that belongs to the Palestinian Mansour al-Badawi and questioned him inside.

IOF troopers who were stationed at Araraba barrier blocked traffic and checked the IDs of passengers, the sources added.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

IOA extends detention of female prisoner, transfers sick captive

Detention prisoners

Israeli occupation authority (IOA) extended the detention of a Palestinian female prisoner, Safa Abu Hussien from al-Khalil, for eight days at the pretext of continuing investigation procedures.
IOA also transferred another detainee to al-Ramleh prison’s clinic after his health condition had deteriorated.

In a statement on Monday, Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee said that Israeli court in Ashkelon decided to ban prisoner Abu Hussein from her  right of lawyer visitation.

The statement also stated that detainee Iyyad Harbiyat, 35 from Sekkeh village in al-Khalil, was urgently transferred from Ashkelon jail to al-Ramleh clinic after his health had worsened.

He has been infected with a neurological disease since 2014 and has recently become unable to walk or practice his daily life normally, according to the statement.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

IOF comes down heavily on Palestinians near Nablus shrine

Nablus shrine

Clashes broke out overnight Monday and early Tuesday with Israeli occupation forces (IOF) who raided the northern West Bank city of Nablus to arrest Palestinians and to secure a visit to Joseph’s Tomb for Israeli settlers.

An Israeli patrol stormed Nablus’s eastern corners and cracked down on the Palestinian locals, sparking clashes in the area.

Other Israeli patrols moved into the city’s eastern corners through the Beit Furik checkpoint and cordoned off the main access roads to Joseph’s Tomb.

Barrages of gunfire, acoustic bombs, and teargas canisters had been randomly discharged by the occupation soldiers all the way through the assault.

A flock of buses and vehicles carrying hundreds of Israeli settlers also showed up in the area, paving the way for a mass break-in into Joseph Tomb’s shrine.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

Israel army launches limited incursion into blockaded Gaza

Incursion Gaza

Israeli military bulldozers on Tuesday morning moved dozens of meters into the eastern corners of Khan Younis and Gaza city, in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Local sources said four Israeli bulldozers stationed at military sites along Gaza’s border crept some 50 meters into the eastern corners of Khan Younis province.

Four other bulldozers also moved 50 meters into Palestinian lands east of Gaza city.

Israeli military incursions near the border fence separating Gaza from territories occupied in 1948 have long been a near-daily occurrence.

The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas.

The practice, often carried out under the security pretext, has destroyed much of the agricultural harvest of the blockaded coastal enclave.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

Palestinian youth wounded in Israeli army shooting

Youth wounded Gaza

A Palestinian youth was “moderately” wounded on Tuesday afternoon after Israeli forces fired at a group of young men in southern Gaza Strip.

The PIC reporter said that an Israeli army unit that advanced into eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip fired at a group of youths in the area.

The Israeli soldiers had earlier in the day bulldozed land in eastern Qarara to the east of Khan Younis and reinstalled barbed wire on the border fence in the vicinity of the Return Camp that was torn down by Palestinian demonstrators last Friday.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

In video: Hundreds of Israeli settlers raid Joseph’s Tomb, 1 Palestinian injured

Joseph's Tomb raided

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and wounded a Palestinian youth with live bullets while another 17 were wounded with rubber bullets, and dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation during clashes in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Tuesday.

Palestinian Red Crescent teams said that they immediately transferred the injured Palestinian to a hospital and treated dozens injured with rubber bullets and suffering tear-gas suffocation.
Locals told Ma’an that clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces after dozens of Israeli settlers raided Joseph’s Tomb near the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus City.
Clashes were triggered when Israeli settlers began performing Jewish religious rituals in Joseph’s Tomb under the tight security of Israeli forces.
Sources added that Israeli forces stormed northern Nablus City before midnight on Monday and surrounded Joseph’s Tomb in order to secure Israeli settlers’ visit to the holy site.
Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the site being located in Area A where the PA has full control, and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at the site.Ultra-orthodox and nationalist Jews regularly try to visit the shrine without approval, as many Jews believe the tomb to be the final resting place of the biblical figure in the Old Testament.Palestinians believe that Joseph’s Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousif Dweikat, a local religious figure.In the video below, Israeli settlers are seen performing religious rituals in the tomb:

(Source / 26.06.2018)

PA Spokesman: Deal of the Century Turned to Deal of Gaza, to Divide Palestinians

26 JUN
7:30 PM

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, on Tuesday, that the steadfast Palestinian position and their adherence to their national constants, as well as the Arab position rejecting bypassing the issue of Jerusalem and Arab legitimacy, have aborted the so-called “deal of the century” because it was originally based on the idea of a deal for Gaza deal to turning the Palestinian cause into a humanitarian issue.

Abu Rudeineh said, in a statement, that the United States “administration, and due to the complicity of some suspicious and conspiratorial parties with it, thought that by removing the issue of Jerusalem and refugees and canceling the nuclear agreement with Iran would pave the way for the Gaza deal, which is rejected by Palestinians, Arabs and the international community, the latest were statements by the Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who said that Washington is incapable of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on its own.”

Abu Rudeineh pointed out that this is what President Abbas is demanding, which is to have an international mechanism for the solution and not a unilateral American control that would perpetuate the Israeli occupation.

He said that “what is being proposed in ideas and illusions through the so-called deal of the century or the Gaza deal aim primarily at the abolition of the Palestinian national identity and the killing of the national project embodied in the establishment of our independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and not as what came in American statements that talk about progress in the peace process.”

The official presidential spokesman warned against using Gaza’s political or humanitarian relief, while some try to deal with these ideas which are mentioned by Israeli officials, whether regarding building a seaport or other things, without being part of a comprehensive political solution based on international resolutions, in order to co-existence with the occupation and ignore the explosive reality.

He stressed, according to WAFA, that “these suspicious proposals, which try to harm the national project and the Palestinian national identity, require courageous national positions to preserve Jerusalem, the identity and the land, not through contacts or messages that give up our right to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

(Source / 26.06.2018)

Erdogan wins sweeping new powers after Turkish election victory

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech at press conference in Istanbul, Turkey on 18 May 2018

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new executive powers on Monday after his victory in elections that also saw his Islamist-rooted AK Party and its nationalist allies secure a majority in parliament, Reuters reports.

Erdogan’s main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), conceded defeat but branded the elections unjust and said the presidential system that now takes effect was “very dangerous” because it would lead to one-man rule.

A European rights watchdog also said the opposition had faced “unequal conditions”, adding that restrictions on media freedom to cover the elections were accentuated by a continuing state of emergency imposed in Turkey after a failed 2016 coup.

Erdogan, 64, the most popular – yet divisive – leader in modern Turkish history, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a NATO member and, at least nominally, a candidate to join the European Union.

He is loved by millions of devoutly Muslim working class Turks for delivering years of stellar economic growth and overseeing the construction of roads, bridges, airports, hospitals and schools.

But his critics, including rights groups, accuse him of destroying the independence of the courts and press freedoms. A crackdown launched after the coup has seen 160,000 people detained, and the state of emergency allows Erdogan to bypass parliament with decrees. He says it will be lifted soon.

Erdogan and the AK Party claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections after defeating a revitalised opposition that had looked capable of staging an upset.

“It is out of the question for us to turn back from where we’ve brought our country in terms of democracy and the economy,” Erdogan said on Sunday night.

His victory means he will remain president at least until 2023 – the centenary of the founding of the Turkish republic on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan’s foes accuse him of dismantling Ataturk’s secular legacy by bringing religion back into public life.

Erdogan responds to such criticism by saying he is trying to modernise Turkey and improve religious freedoms.

With virtually all votes counted, Erdogan had 53 percent against Ince’s 31 percent, while in the parliamentary vote the AKP took 42.5 percent and its MHP nationalist allies secured 11 percent, outstripping expectations.

Turkish financial markets initially rallied on hopes of increased political stability as investors had feared deadlock between Erdogan and the opposition, if it had gained control of parliament. However, they then retreated due to concerns about future monetary policy.

READ: Turkey accuses Israel of selling them defective drones

The vote ushers in a powerful executive presidency backed by a narrow majority in a 2017 referendum. The office of prime minister will be abolished and Erdogan will be able to issue decrees to form and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval.

“The new regime that takes effect from today is a major danger for Turkey… We have now fully adopted a regime of one-man rule,” Ince, a veteran CHP lawmaker, told a news conference.

The secularist CHP draws support broadly from Turkey’s urban, educated middle class. It won 23 percent in the new parliament and the pro-Kurdish HDP nearly 12 percent, above the 10 percent threshold needed to win seats.

The HDP’s presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, campaigned from prison, where he is detained on terrorism charges that he denies. He faces a 142 year sentence if convicted.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a rights watchdog, said high voter turnout, at nearly 87 percent, demonstrated Turks’ commitment to democracy. But the OSCE also cited some irregularities and echoed opposition complaints about heavy media bias in favour of Erdogan and the AKP.

“The restrictions we have seen on fundamental freedoms (due to the state of emergency) have had an impact on these elections,” Ignacio Sanchez Amor, head of the OSCE observer mission, told a news conference.

#TURKISHGENERALELECTION2018

Erdogan’s MHP allies take a hard line on the Kurdish issue, making it less likely that he will soften his approach to security issues in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey and neighbouring Syria and Iraq, where Turkish forces are battling Kurdish militants.

The Turkish lira and stocks sagged after initial gains, and economists said the outlook was uncertain.

Turkey has been one of the main country which has been welcoming Syrian refugees - Cartoon [MiddleEastMonitor]

The lira is down about 19 percent since January and investors fear Erdogan, a self-declared “enemy of interest rates”, may pressure the central bank to cut recently raised borrowing costs to stimulate economic growth despite double-digit inflation.

Seeking to reassure investors, Erdogan’s chief economic adviser, Cemil Ertem, told Reuters the new government would focus on economic reforms and budget discipline. He added that the central bank’s independence was fundamental.

The European Commission said it hoped Erdogan would remain a committed partner for the EU on migration, security, regional stability and the fight against terrorism.

Turkey’s EU accession bid stalled some time ago amid disputes on a range of issues, including Ankara’s human rights record, especially since the post-coup crackdown.

In a message to Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of “a stable and pluralistic Turkey in which democratic participation and the protection of the rule of law is strengthened”, her office said.

In phone calls with Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May called for cooperation with Turkey in ending the Syrian conflict.

(Source / 26.06.2018)

Ehud Olmert regrets not ousting Hamas during 2009 war on Gaza

Image of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [file photo]

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that he regrets not ousting Hamas before he resigned and was sent to prison over bribery charges, he told Israeli TV channel i24yesterday.

Hamas was elected in 2006 when the last Palestinian elections were held.

“We did not complete the operation,” he said. “We could [have] removed Hamas from Gaza that day,” he added, noting that it was a big and “unacceptable” mistake from the then defence and foreign ministers.

He continues: “The defence and foreign ministers said that completing the mission would have created huge damage inside Israel. For this mistake, Hamas recovered, became stronger and it is impossible to remove it from Gaza.”

In 2009 Israel launched a 22-day war on Gaza that led to 1,436 deaths, including 410 children, 104 women and more than 100 elderly, in addition to more than 5,400 wounded, more than half of them children.

READ: Cambridge University students protest ‘war criminal’ Ehud Olmert

In 2012 Israel launched an eight-day war on Gaza that led to 162 deaths, including 42 children, 11 women and wounded more than 1,300.

In 2014 Israel launched a 51-day war on Gaza that led to 2,322 deaths, including 578 children, 489 women and 102 elderly, in addition to more than 11,000 wounded. All three wars were aimed to oust Hamas.

Israel carries out 9 airstrikes in Gaza, in response to kites - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Commenting on the Great March of Return and incendiary kites, Olmert said he “does not expect to end terrorism and violence in a very short time”.

Olmert, who was imprisoned over receiving bribe, doubted the use of live ammunition by the Israeli army to kill Palestinian protesters along the borders with Gaza: “We are strong enough to defend ourselves without killing people and we are able to avoid this,” he said.

Olmert hailed the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza in 2005 and at the same time he advised the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down “with dignity” because premiership is “more important” than the prime minister himself.

112 Palestinians were killed in #Gaza by Israeli forces from 30th March to 15 May 2018

Read more: ow.ly/wwyF30k7j4A
MEMO infographic by The White Canvas

See more

(Source / 26.06.2018)

US freezes civil assistance to the Palestinian Authority

Palestinians protest outside UNRWA against cuts and changes to work conditions in Gaza on 25 June 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians protest outside UNRWA against cuts and changes to work conditions in Gaza on 25 June 2018

The United States has completely frozen its civil assistance to the Palestinian Authority, Israeli TV station i24 revealed on Monday. This step, it is said, came two months after the decision of the US Congress to oblige the PA to stop paying salaries for Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails and the families of Palestinians killed by Israel.

US threats of aid cuts - Cartoon [Arabi21News]

According to the report, Washington has four conditions to be fulfilled before such assistance can be resumed: stopping payments to prisoners and families of Palestinians killed by Israel; cancelling laws that guarantee paying these salaries; taking “credible” measures to fight “terror”; and condemning “Palestinian terror and violence.” A member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed that “the US budget for the West Bank and Gaza is suspended until it is reviewed.”

In addition, USAID in the West Bank and Gaza has not received its budget for the year, and so is unable to submit bids for its projects. A number of projects run by international aid agencies working in the Palestinian territories will be suspended due to the freeze of US funding.

READ: UNRWA gets cash injection after US cuts

An official from the HALO Trust, which carries out landmine clearance, also said that it has stopped its work because the US suspended its budget in March.

“The Trump administration told the PA in the middle of January that it had started to review the budget for assistance to the Palestinians,” one PA official pointed out. He added that the US also told the PA that it had suspended its assistance in the wake of May’s meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.

The US has been the largest financial supporter of the PA. The US Department of State had asked the Treasury for around $215m a year for Palestinian projects in 2018 and 2019.

(Source / 26.06.2018)