Likud, Jewish Home rejects modifying Nation State bill

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (left), seen with Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett [Twitter]

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (left), seen with Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett

Right-wing Israeli parties Likud and Jewish Home have rejected requests to modify the racist Nation State bill, Anadolu news agency reported yesterday.

This position was announced after the leader of the Israeli party Kulanu, Moshe Kahlone, announced that he would work to modify the bill.

Reporting the Israeli government news network KANAnadolu said that the leaders of Likud told Kahlone, who is the finance minister and representative of the Druze sect, that there would be no modifications.

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennet strongly rejects modifying the bill, noting there could be a confrontation between the two parties and Kulanu in the Knesset.

READ: Israel bans Gaza families from visiting detainees

KAN reported Kahlone saying: “The nation state bill was prepared recklessly and it will be modified.”

Bennet and the Israeli Justice Minister Aylet Shaked have said that they would never accept any form of modification of the bill.

On 19 July the Israeli Knesset passed a bill which stipulates that Israel is a nation state for the Jewish people, giving the right to self-determination only to the Jews, making Hebrew the official language and downgrading Arabic to a second language.

Israel has passed the Nation-State Law becoming officially an Apartheid State - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Israel bans 2 Jerusalemite women from entering Al-Aqsa

Nafissa Khweis, 66, arrested by IOF for entering Al-Aqsa compound [maannews.com]

Nafissa Khweis, 66, arrested by IOF for entering Al-Aqsa compound

Israeli authorities release two Palestinian women from detention on the condition that they do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the next two weeks.

Locals told Ma’an that the two Palestinian women released by Israeli authorities were identified as Nafissa Khweis, 66, and Aida Sidawi from occupied East Jerusalem.

Aida Sidawi arrested by IOF for entering Al-Aqsa compound [maannews.com]

Sources added that the Israeli authorities summoned Khweis to Jerusalem’s Old City Israeli occupation police station yesterday to recover her identity card as it had previously been confiscated after she left Al-Aqsa.

 

READ: Israel releases two Jerusalem women under strict conditions

Upon Khweis’ arrival to obtain her identity card, Israeli forces detained and immediately took her in for interrogation about her presence and worship at the mosque.

Following the interrogation, Khweis was released on condition that she does not enter the Muslim holy site for the next fortnight.

Israeli occupation authorities also released two Palestinian teens from detention on Saturday; they were identified as Rida Najib and Awni Najib from the Old City of Jerusalem. They have also been banned from entering Al-Aqsa for the next two weeks.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Ahed Tamimi calls for national unity in Palestine

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — After being released from Israeli jail, Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has called for national unity in Palestine in the face of the racist Israeli apartheid regime.

Slamming a recent law passed by the Israeli parliament, which only gives the right to self-determination to Jewish people, the Palestinian activist said in a televised interview in the West Bank that the new law was “a racist apartheid law.”

Tamimi, however, emphasized that such measures taken by the Israeli regime could not change the fact that the people of Palestine were the only ones who can decide their fate based on national unity.

“My message as Ahed Tamimi is that we need to create a link between the popular struggle and the national struggle and to boycott and isolate Israel and to try it as a criminal of war,” she said.

Thanking all the people, media and campaigners for supporting her, the Palestinian activist called for a similar campaign for the release of other political prisoners, particularly minors, held in Israeli jails.

The 17-year-old Tamimi did not allow the Israeli media organizations present in the event to ask questions, noting that they were part of the Israeli occupation and should be boycotted.

The Palestinian activist further stated that she had decided to study law at university in order to defend the rights of the Palestinian people in international courts.

Tamimi and her mother were freed from Israeli jails after completing an eight-month sentence. She was arrested for slapping an Israeli soldier.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Israel detains Italian artists for painting Ahed Tamimi’s mural

Two artists hoped to express support for Ahed Tamimi by painting a larger-than-life portrait of her

Israeli occupation forces on Saturday detained two Italian artists for painting mural of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi on the separation barrier that snakes through the occupied West Bank.

Muhammad al-Lahham, a Palestinian activist, told Anadolu Agency that two Italian activists and a Palestinian man were detained in Bethlehem when the artists were about to finish their painting.

The 17-year-old Palestinian girl has spent eight months in Israeli jails.

The whereabouts and identities of the trio remain unknown.

On Friday, the two artists, who preferred not to give their names and who have not made any statements to the press, started to paint a larger-than-life portrait of the detained teen to express their support for Tamimi.

Earlier this year, al-Tamimi was slapped with eight months behind bars for “attacking” an Israeli soldier.

But the teen’s father, Basem al-Tamimi, on Monday voiced hope that his daughter — who was slated for release on Aug. 19 at latest — could be released Sunday.

The Israeli occupation, however, have yet to announce an official release date for the detained teen.

In 2012, Istanbul’s Basaksehir Municipality granted al-Tamimi the prestigious Hanzala Courage Award for defying Israeli soldiers who had just arrested her brother.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Shot A Palestinian East Of Gaza

30 JUL
7:34 PM

The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, Monday, that Israeli soldiers shot a young man with live fire, east of Gaza city.

It said that the soldiers shot the young man in his leg, before he was rushed to the Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza city, suffering a moderate injury.

Media sources said the soldiers attacked several Palestinian protesters with live fire, in addition to firing high velocity gas bombs at them.

On Sunday at dawn, the soldiers killed two young Palestinian men, after firing a missile at them, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza.

The two slain Palestinians have been identified as ِِAyman Nafeth Rabea’ Najjar, 24, and Mohannad Majed Jamal Hammouda, 24, from Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza.

On Saturday morning, the Health Ministry said a teenage boy, identified the slain teen as Mo’men Fathi al-Hams, 17, died from serious wounds he suffered by Israeli army fire on Friday.

Also on Saturday, the soldiers killed two Palestinians, including one child, identified as Majdi Ramzi Kamal Satri, 12, Ghazi Mohammad Abu Mustafa, 45, and injured 246 others, among them eleven who suffered serious wounds, 10 women, 4 medics, one journalist and 19 children.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Heavy Economic Loss in Besieged Gaza due to Israeli Ban of Basic Goods

29 JUL
7:56 PM

Israeli occupation authorities have banned, for the 19th day in a row, the entry of basic goods and humanitarian aid, via Kerem Shalom crossing, the sole commercial crossing with Gaza, MP Jamal al-Khudari, head of the People’s Committee to Face the Siege, stated on Sunday.

Khudari said that the most recent truck was loaded with thousands of daily-needed basic goods, in addition to  raw materials for industry, building materials, clothing, textiles, wood, household items, stationery and other essentials.

Al-Khudari said, in a press statement, that this prohibition is causing the Palestinian economy, which is already deteriorating due to the blockade, and Israeli policies, direct and indirect losses of millions of dollars.

He pointed out, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that these trucks, carrying the basic goods for the survival , cost more than $60 million, are subject to multiple risks because of the occupation.

Al-Khudari reiterated that the impact of this ban will lead to a rapid collapse of the industrial and commercial sector, and the collapse of all services, as a result.

He pointed out that the current figures of poverty and unemployment are the highest in the world, and no one can know where it leads, under the Israeli blockade against 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment and flagrant violation of international law.

He explained that the goods are officially bought and imported, and have all the approvals to pass through ports and commercial crossings, but the occupation hinders and returns them after their arrival to the crossing, causing heavy losses to owners, as the goods are stored for long periods of time, and are subject to serious damage due to lack of timely arrival.

He called on the international community to exert pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to stop its collective punishment  measures against the people of Gaza, which is considered a violation under international law.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

President Mustafa: Assad Regime & Allies Cannot Attack Idlib

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa warned that any attack on Idlib by the Assad regime and its allies would lead to catastrophic consequences as the province is home to more than two million civilians, most of whom were forcibly displaced from other parts of Syria. He stressed the need for the United Nations to prevent any such attack.

Speaking to Turkish media at the headquarters of the Syrian Coalition in Istanbul, Mustafa said that the Coalition “takes these threats seriously.” He noted that “there are two million Syrians in Idlib. They have no other place for to go.”

He pointed out that Turkey’s support for the Syrian revolution, the enormous aid it provides for the refugees and displaced persons, and the support it provided for the Free Syrian Army to defeat terrorist groups “make us optimistic that Idlib will not see such scenario.”

“The Assad regime and its allies sought to displace Syrian civilians to Idlib province. Turkey is seeking through political and diplomatic means to prevent an attack on Idlib as it is a guarantor of the ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. Turkey is also the only country that is still on side of the Syrian people,” Mustafa added.

“With Iranian support, the Assad regime continues to pursue the policy of mass forced displacement, including most recently in Dara’a province. This took place after the United States discharged its obligations as a guarantor in the south. Idlib is now in the crosshairs of Assad’s policy of mass forced displacement. We hope that the same threat will not recur.”

Mustafa underscored that the Coalition supports any political solution that is likely to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria and fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian people. “We have participated in various conferences but we want the solution to be under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva talks in which we have participated since 2014. The Assad regime and its allies have not engaged seriously in these talks.”

Mustafa pointed out that Assad regime’s recapture of more areas does not mean that it is winning. “When the revolution broke out, there was no territory under the control of Syrian rebels. The Syrian people continue to make immense sacrifices. The solution is political rather than military.”

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the continued crimes against civilians are due to the failure of the international community to honor its duties. “We have reached this situation because the international community has failed to punish the criminal.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 30.07.2018)

Israel intercepts Freedom Flotilla bound for Gaza

Women in Gaza paint showcase art to support-women on Freedom Flotilla [File photo]

Man in Gaza showcases art to support-women on Freedom Flotilla

Israel yesterday intercepted a Norwegian ship sailing with the Freedom Flotilla en route to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Freedom Flotilla III - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

The ship, called Al-Awda or Return, was attempting to break the naval blockade of Gaza, which has been imposed on the enclave by Israel and Egypt since 2007. The Israeli navy intercepted the ship some 60 nautical miles from the coast in international waters, after issuing warnings that the ship was in violation of the blockade. The vessel is now being towed to Ashdod, an Israeli port town north of the Gaza Strip.

On board Al-Awda were over 20 international activistsand politicians, two of whom are believed to be Israeli citizens. The ship was also carrying humanitarian aid and €13,000 ($15,000) worth of medical supplies destined for Gaza’s some two million inhabitants.

A spokesperson for the Ship to Gaza Norway, Torstein Dahle, said that “the Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Norwegian Government […] and relevant international organisations to act immediately,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Dahle added:

The international community must assume its responsibilities and demand that Israeli authorities ensure the safety of those on board, the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza, and an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza.

In a statement Israel said the ship was being detained according to international law and that “the activity ended without exceptional events.” It added that those on board the ship were told “any humanitarian equipment can be transferred to Gaza through Ashdod Port,” Ynet reported.

READ: ‘All countries must protect their nationals on board the Freedom Flotilla’

Al-Awda was one of several ships participating in the Freedom Flotilla, which set sail in May in an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. The flotilla has since stopped in the UK and Spain, and left the Italian port of Palermo, Sicily, last week for the final leg of its journey. The other ship, Freedom, has yet to be intercepted.

One of the activists on board the Freedom ship, Ellen Huttu Hansson, told MEMO that since leaving Palermo the journey has been “adventurous and eventful in many ways,” with severe storms, heatwaves and seasickness afflicting those on board. She explains: “The sea has taken its toll on all of us, as it’s quite an extreme environment and not everyone is experienced in sailing or being on a boat at open sea for this long.”

The Freedom ship hopes to reach Gaza in the next three days, but those on board expect to be intercepted by Israeli forces before they reach their destination. Ellen explains that:

It is completely impossible to calculate when and where we will be intercepted, as it has been at different distances from Gaza every time the flotilla has sailed. We have a plan on when to start getting ready for any possible diversion, but our goal is to reach Gaza until the opposite is forced upon us.

Hansson also explains that, over and above intercepting the flotilla, Israel has systematically criticised and worked against their efforts. She says “one of their strategies in the event of interception is to prevent the media from covering what is happening. They also try to convince the world that we are terrorists,” likely referring to claims made by some Israeli media outlets that the flotilla activists are affiliated with Hamas, which currently governs the Gaza Strip.

READ: Hamas: Ongoing talks to end siege of Gaza effort to beautify Israel

Despite the challenges, Ellen explains that organisation and morale on board ship is high. She says “everyone has designated responsibilities and we have a water tank filled with drinking water to sustain us that was filled in Palermo.” As for morale, she believes that “the fact that we are carrying out this mission and that the Palestinians know we are trying to reach them boosts my morale, as this is the purpose of the mission.”

We know that the world will be watching this story and discussing Palestine and that the chance to highlight the plight of Palestinians is a privilege.

Asked what message she would give to people following the flotilla, Ellen says: “I want to say to them to spread this message of love and solidarity.” She adds that “we want to take advantage of the fact that we are 15 different nationalities and therefore this should translate into more international pressure on the state of Israel.”

READ: Israel is legitimising ‘piracy’ by seizing Freedom Flotilla

A diary entry from Ellen’s time on board the Freedom ship can be seen below:

Friday 20 July

On board Freedom, outside Palermo, Sicily.

Another day of this nearly three-month sail is coming to an end, and I write from the mess of the Swedish sailing boat Freedom. I feel like turning the saying around and claiming that we are in a state of “storm before the calm”, as things on board are lying around all over the place! A group of participants, ground crew and local activists sit in the cockpit discussing logistical issues that need to be solved. Others are waiting for this evening’s dinner on the dock, and some are dealing with other preparations.

It’s the fourth day since the four boats of the flotilla joined outside the Port of Palermo in Sicily, Italy, and we could actually wave to each other for the first time on the journey. It was a great feeling of unity and happiness seeing the boats together, with Palestinian flags, banners, and paintings hoisted high on the boats as the songs of Fairuz, a Lebanese singer wildly popular with Palestinians, blare from the speaker.

We have spent two days undertaking intense nonviolence training, in which we went through different ways of preparing ourselves for prospective scenarios. Learning from the previous flotillas, there have been many interceptions by Israeli occupation forces and there’s always an unpredictable aspect. The training really emphasised the importance of safety and unity among the participants, and for me this was the moment I actually felt the seriousness of what we are about to do.

Mavi Marmara Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Our schedule in Palermo has been packed with events and practical preparations, as well as doing what we can to spread the campaign through the media. This has become increasingly difficult since there are many conflicting issues going on in the world, so we need to do what we can to keep the flotilla in the news – the media noise is a thick wall to break through.

Yet somewhere in all of this lays our cause. Images of bombings in Gaza flood our Facebook feeds and the Gaza Strip is highly present in all that we do. We know the people of Gaza are waiting for us, they feel our support and gain hope, even if it’s only a little.

After long consideration, our departure for the last and most critical part of our journey is set for tomorrow morning, Sunday 22 July 2018. We’re part of something big, of solidarity with our human race, of the good in the world, of peace, love and justice for all.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Israel’s Mossad leads ‘assassinations’ in the world

Mossad logo [Wikipedia]

Israel’s secret service is the world’s leader in assassinations having killed more people than the agents of any other country since World War II, and conducted more than 800 operations in the last decade, a book released earlier this year has revealed.

Author Ronen Bergman held 1,000 interviews and studied a number of leaked documents to shed light on the human cost of Israel’s assassinations.

According to Bergman, until 2000, Israel conducted more than 500 assassination operations which resulted in the killing of more than 1,000 people including bystanders. During the Second Intifada, Israel conducted 1,000 more operations, of which 168 succeeded.

READ: Israel intercepts Freedom Flotilla bound for Gaza

Since then, some 800 operations have taken place against Hamas civilian and military targets in the Gaza Strip and abroad, he adds.

Bergman’s interviewees told him that on five occasions in 1982, Israel’s then defence minister, Ariel Sharon, contemplated shooting down civilian aircrafts when he found out that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might be onboard. On each occasion, the Israeli army refused to obey his order.

(Source / 30.07.2018)

Sisi: “We support Israel’s withdrawal to 1967 borders”

Sisi 1967 borders

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in a statement on sunday that “Egypt is working to alleviate the suffering of more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. During the past two months we have been working to open the Rafah Crossing as much as possible.”

“We in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority are striving for reconciliation so that there will be one leadership to negotiate with Israel,” al-Sisi said during a session of the National Youth Conference held at Cairo University.

Sisi called on Israeli public opinion, asking Israel to seize on the historic opportunity for the peace that is now available to them.

“We have a great opportunity for peace in the region and finding a solution to the Palestinian issue,” al-Sisi said. “This solution will not be a rival to the security or stability of Israel.”

As for the deal of the century, al-Sisi added: “This is an expression of media, not politics. And Egypt has a clear position. We are with all UN resolutions. We are establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We are with the Israeli withdrawal to its borders before 1967.”

For months, al-Sisi’s administration has been formulating a peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the end of 2017, angering and protesting the Palestinians.

“Egypt is trying to be a positive factor and is quietly playing its role to reach a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” al-Sisi said.

(Source / 30.07.2018)