Arab League urges international probe into Israeli crimes

Ahmad Abul-Gheit

The Arab League’s Secretary General Ahmad Abul-Gheit called for a broad investigation into “Israeli atrocities committed against Palestinians and its de facto blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at a perilous juncture in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem, which has long been a flashpoint for violence, as the capital of Israel, an Arab League diplomat said at the 28th extraordinary session of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union on Saturday.

Speaking on behalf of Abul-Gheit, the regional bloc’s assistant secretary general for Palestinian affairs Saeed Abuali cited the US government’s decision to slash funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as “another dangerous precedent.”

He emphasized that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the crux of the Arab region’s concerns, condemning Israel’s adoption of a “Jewish-nation state” law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, as overtly racist.

The Arab region will remain resolute in its support for the Palestinians until their aspirations for statehood come to fruition, the diplomat told the gathering requested by Kuwait’s chief lawmaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim.

The meeting has been called to address the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, amid an unprecedented degree of outrage across the Arab region over Israel’s continued transgressions, he explained.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

Palestine Scholars: The Jewish state law inaugrated Israel’s demise

Pal. Scholars Ass.

The Palestine Scholars Association has said that Israel declared the beginning of its demise when its Knesset enacted the so-called Jewish nation-state law.

“In addition to its previous crimes which include killings, genocide and ethnic cleansing, [this law] is considered the biggest crime this illegitimate state have committed over the past decades,” the association said in a statement.

The association affirmed that Israel took such step when its leaders realized that there were an American cover, European and Arab connivance, and international neglect as well as the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with it.

It also said that this law unveiled “the true black face of the Israeli occupation state, stressing that  neither this law nor other decisions “would force the Palestinian people to waive the Islamic identity of Palestine.”

“This despicable declaration must provide an incentive for all people of Palestine at home and abroad, especially in the 1948 occupied Palestine, to announce all-out civil disobedience in all institutions and sections of this racist and detestable state, which is widely hated around the world,” the association urged.

The association also called on all religious institutions in the Arab and Muslim worlds, especially al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to assume their responsibilities in this regard and urge all concerned governments to confront this dangerous racist law.

Last Thursday, the Knesset passed a racist bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country (the 1948 occupied Palestinian territory).

This bill, which became a law, stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.

The racist law also includes clauses stating that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country’s official language.

Another clause says that “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”

The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that allows its continued use within Israeli institutions.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

President Mustafa Sends Letter to Lebanon’s PM Calling for Release of Syrian Detainees in Lebanon

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa sent a letter to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to draw attention to the increasing violations by the Hezbollah militia against civilians in Syria and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The letter also raised the issue of the issuance of unfair death sentences and life imprisonments against Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Mustafa called on the Lebanese prime minister to force the Hezbollah militia to withdraw from all Syrian territory and stop its blatant interference in the country.

Mustafa also called for the protection of Syrian refugees from the ongoing violations by the Hezbollah militia. He also called for the retrial of the detainees and ensuring that they are subjected to fair trial. He stressed the need to provide the detainees with legal and psychological support. He also called for the immediate release of all those who are detained under false accusations, adding that they were detained only because of their opposition to the Assad regime.

The intervention of Hezbollah militia in Syria on the side of the Assad regime as well as its involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people are the primary cause of the displacement of Syrians from their homes to Lebanon and other countries. Syrians fled their country in search of safety and to preserve their lives and the lives of their families, he added.

Attached to Mustafa’s letter were letters written by Syrian detainees in the Roumieh prison in Lebanon. The letters, which were obtained by the Coalition’s legal committee after contacts with the detainees, included appeals to human rights organizations for their release following the issuance of unfair sentences of death, life imprisonments and 12-15 years imprisonments. The sentences were based on trumped-up charges of belonging to terrorist groups.

Mustafa stressed that those trials were politically motivated, adding that none of the detainees were able to appoint a lawyer.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 21.07.2018)

Gaza Truce Largely Holds, Balloons Not Included in Deal

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike on a building in Gaza City July 14, 2018

A ceasefire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly air strikes across the Gaza Strip sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot along the volatile border.

Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza’s rulers, which went into effect around midnight Friday reducing fears of a wider conflict.

Israel’s government and army rarely acknowledge ceasefires with Hamas, but a military spokeswoman said civilian life should return to normal in areas next to Gaza.

The Israeli army also said a tank struck a Hamas observation point east of Gaza City on Saturday morning, saying it was retaliation for an attempted border infiltration in northern Gaza.

There were no reports of injuries in that strike and there was no major Israeli bombing campaign overnight or mortar fire from Gaza toward Israel.

“With Egyptian and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement early Saturday.

A senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the deal involved “the cessation of all forms of military escalation” including Israeli air strikes and Hamas mortars and rockets.

The source said that balloons and kites attached with incendiary devices, which Palestinians have been floating over the border for months to spark fires inside Israel, were not included in the agreement.

Israeli politicians have been calling for a fierce response to the kites and balloons, which have caused damage amounting to millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars).

Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached.

“All we can say is that there have been no incidents or Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since the last wave of airstrikes on Friday night,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.

On Friday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.

The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” of war after months of increasing tensions.

The soldier, shot dead along the border in southern Gaza, was the first to be killed in and around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

Zionist army again breaks ceasefire, bombs Gaza sites

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli occupation army on Saturday morning bombed a Palestinian resistance site south of Gaza city in a first violation of the Egypt-brokered ceasefire announced Friday evening.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli tanks fired two missiles at a resistance post in al-Zaitoun neighborhood, south of Gaza city, with no injuries reported.

A spokesman for the Israeli army claimed that Israeli tanks bombed a Hamas post after a group of Palestinians attempted to cross the border fence east of Gaza.

Hamas Movement on Friday evening announced that a ceasefire was reached with the Israeli side.

In a brief statement at dawn Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that following Egyptian and UN efforts, a ceasefire between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli army had been restored.

A state of cautious calm has prevailed since 10:00 pm on Friday after Israel halted its aerial and artillery attacks on Gaza but maintained its drone overflights.

Israeli tanks and warplanes on Friday attacked several targets in Gaza, including the Great March of Return, killing 4 Palestinians and injuring 120 others.

The Israeli army late Friday announced that an Israeli soldier was shot and killed by a Palestinian sniper near Gaza border.

Since the start of the Great March of Return protests on 30th March, 155 Palestinians have been killed, 8 of whom are being detained by the Israeli army, while 16,500 injured, including 390 in critical conditions.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

Hamas accuses Kushner as ‘Spokesman for Israeli occupation’

Kushner said that all Palestinian sufferings would be ended if they stopped fighting for their right to end the Israeli occupation and return to their homes

Hamas, which won the last free Palestinian elections held in 2006, hit back after op-ed by Trump aides blames it for plight of Palestinians and urges it to abandon resistance.

An op-ed by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, shows that American officials are “mere spokesmen for the Israeli occupation,” a Hamas spokesman said on Friday.

“Kushner and Greenblatt are adopting the Israeli narrative, and their aggression against Hamas points to the contempt of the American government,” said Hamas Spokesman Sami abu-Zuhri.

The opinion article published in the Washington Post called on Hamas to take clear steps towards peace if it wishes to receive economic assistance, referring to US call for the Palestinian movement to stop resisting the Israeli occupation.

“Life could significantly improve in short order for the Palestinian people if Hamas allowed it,” read the op-ed, which was also credited to Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special Mideast envoy and David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel.

“There are engaged, interested parties with resources who are ready to get to work,” they said, “Yet without real change accompanied by reliable security, progress is impossible.”

The article emphasises that all Palestinian sufferings would be ended if they stopped fighting for their right to end the Israeli occupation and return to their homes.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

UN’s divisive tactics will not alienate Palestinians from their right of return

UN has always described Palestinian resistance as terror acts that must be stopped, while Israeli aggression against them an act that only to be restrained

Nobody takes the UN seriously anymore. It has bred an array of detractors from across the entire political spectrum while continuing to function as an organisation that facilitates the continuation of violence.

For oppressors, the UN serves as a base where aggression can be justified and later secured through the usual correlation between humanitarian aid and human rights abuses. The victims have been pressured to accept that there is no other option to claim their human rights, apart from the same institutions that legitimised violence against them.

Nickolay Mladenov’s statements on Sunday continue to illustrate this fact. Gaza’s Return March protests – a course of action chosen to claim their rights to historic Palestine – have been used an excuse by Israel to claim purported self-defence.

The UN has not attempted to downplay the number of Palestinians murdered and permanently injured by Israeli snipers. However, it is downplaying Palestinian rights, including the right of return, by treating the protests as an isolated display of discontent. So much that Mladenov declaring that the UN will continue working with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to find a solution for Palestine has long become an acceptable framework to invoke for press releases when necessary.

Working with the coloniser and its collaborators is not in the interests of Palestinians. Neither are the misplaced appeals by Mladenov to Palestinians “to step back and keep the protests peaceful.” Or to call upon Palestinian factions “to stop the firing of rockets and mortars, to stop the incendiary kites and give peace a chance.”

Not when the UN Special coordinator uses far less restrictive recommendations to Israel “to be very restrained in its responses to the situation in Gaza” and to “appeal to snipers not to shoot children.” A pertinent reminder here that Israel’s response to the protests was premeditated – the Israeli government ordered snipers positioned along the border long before Palestinians retaliated to the sniper killings through the use of rudimentary weapons.

The overt hypocrisy in Mladenov’s statement is the following: “Our allies in this are the Palestinian people in Gaza themselves. Our partners are in the Palestinian government and everybody who wants to see an end to this current escalation.”

Just as there is a discrepancy in equating the Palestinian people with the PA, there is also a difference between the aims of both entities. Undoubtedly, the PA will collaborate with the UN to prolong Gaza’s humanitarian crisis with the aim of crushing the anti-colonial struggle.

To expect Palestinians to present themselves as allies of the UN when its representatives have prioritised Israel’s colonial demands is ludicrous. In this case, Mladenov has legitimised Israeli violence while distancing Palestinians from their legitimate right of return. In turn, his comments also distance the UN from its General Assembly Resolution 194, so that the only thing that remains is the complicity of the organisation from the Partition Plan to its persistence about the two-state compromise.

Palestinians know that for the UN, the right of return has become an issue as marginalised as the Palestinians themselves. Mladenov and the entire institution would do well to remember that, unlike other scenarios where divisive tactics have weakened the will of the people, there is no way that Palestinians will divest themselves of their legitimate rights, to satisfy the UN’s hyperbole of purported “allies.”

(Source / 21.07.2018)

Kushner, Greenblatt, Friedman: Gang gets together against Gaza

The three US officials did their best to distort Hamas’ reputation, ignoring 121-year-old Israeli siege on Gaza

Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser, Jason Greenblatt, special US envoy to the Middle East, and David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel, gang go together to justify Israeli aggression on Gaza residents.

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post, they said: “Help is at hand for Palestinians. It’s all up to Hamas,” where they expressed their concern for the continuing “nightmare.”

The relationship between the three men predates their work together in President Trump’s administration, as they have ties to the worlds of New York real estate and law.

“The nightmare of Hamas’s leadership is continuing and needlessly prolonging the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” they said, ignoring that Hamas is a Palestinian movement that won overwhelming majority in the last free Palestinian genera elections held in 2006.

International donors are conflicted, the officials wrote. “Should they try to help the people directly, at the certain risk of enriching terrorists, or withhold funding to Hamas and watch the people it is supposed to govern suffer?”

There’s no good option, they said: Either the government must change or Hamas must recognise the occupation state of Israel. The officials were not shy about their opinion on the matter.

“Seventy years after the founding of Israel, it would be wise for Hamas to acknowledge that the existence of Israel is a permanent reality,” they wrote.

“Almost all in the Middle East have come to accept this fact, and many even embrace it. At the expense of the Palestinian people, Hamas is fighting a morally bankrupt, decades-old war that has long been lost.”

In their piece, which was dedicated to attack and distort Hamas reputation, they ignored the 70 years of Zionist occupation of Palestine, the 12-year-old strict Israeli siege and the daily aggression on the Palestinians, the last of which was yesterday when the Israeli forces killed four Palestinians and wounded 210 others.

(Source / 21.07.2018)

PLO to arrange return of Palestine refugees to Syria

Syrian Refugees at Yarmouk Refugee Camp

The now famous UN photo of refugees at Yarmouk Refugee Camp waiting for food distribution, taken in 2015

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s Refugee Department called for Palestinian refugees who fled the Syrian conflict to register their names in order to facilitate their return to the camps in Syria, the Safa news agency reported yesterday.

In a statement, the PLO said the move only affects refugees who moved to Lebanon and Gaza and who desire to go back to the refugee camps in Syria.

Registration in Lebanon would be arranged by the Palestinian embassy in Beirut and in Gaza would be arranged by the PLO’s Refugee Department. The deadline for registration has been set for Thursday.

The move, the PLO said, is part of a previously prepared time frame which would see all Palestine refugees return to their camps in Syria. Future announcements would be made regarding the return of refugees in other Arab states.

Two Palestinian brothers tortured to death by Syrian regime

(Source / 21.07.2018)

Yousef: By closing the final crossing, Israel is starving Gaza

A man carries sacks of flours during a food aid distribution by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on January 15, 2018 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]

A man carries sacks of flours during a food aid distribution by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on January 15, 2018

The Head of the Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip, Essam Yousef, warned of the humanitarian consequences of the Israeli authorities’ closure of the Karm Abu Salem (Karem Shalom) border crossing on the population of Gaza.

“The catastrophic effects of closing the only commercial crossing by the occupation will be so comprehensive that the lack of food and basic life necessities will affect young and old people in the besieged Gaza Strip,” Youssef said in a press release.

He stated that “the danger will affect all neighbourhoods in the Gaza Strip.”

The occupation controls the arrival of food, drinks and medicines to Gaza residents. If it could, Israel would deny them the oxygen they breathe.

He stressed that the health sector, which is already reeling from the 12-year siege which Israel has imposed on the Strip, would be unable to survive the latest closure.

He explained that “weakening the hospitals and health centres’ capability to provide services to citizens in Gaza, and thus curbing their work, will increase the percentage of patients who will die as a result of the lack of treatment options.”

“The prevention of basic requirements, such as construction materials, clothing, textiles, electrical appliances, raw manufacturing materials and other necessities in any society would lead to the rapid collapse of the trade and industry sectors; thereby raising poverty and unemployment rates, which are already increasing to unprecedented levels as a result of the unjust siege that has been imposed for many years.”

Yousef stressed that “the Israeli occupation’s closure of the Karm Abu Salem border crossing is a form of collective punishment.

He called on the international community to put pressure on the occupation to stop the crimes against humanity that “it commits without deterrence”.

He called on “all countries, bodies, institutions, organisations and international federations to carry out their role in exerting pressure on the occupation by all means to prevent it from continuing its crimes and stop the cycle of death that has long been taking place in the Gaza Strip.”

Gaza patients appeal to the world to save their lives

(Source / 21.07.2018)