IOF seizes 25 dunums of Palestinian land near Nablus

Stealing 25 dunums of land

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday seized 25 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in Jama’in town south of Nablus.

Anti-settlement activist Ghassan Daghlas told Wafa that the IOF handed Palestinian citizens a confiscation notice targeting 25 dunums of land in the eastern side of the town.

Daghlas added that the seized lands are owned by the Palestinian citizens Hamed Hamdan and Mousa Abu Shuaib.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Palestinian injured as IOF quells march against Israeli violations

Peaceful march Bardala

A Palestinian youth was injured Monday when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked a peaceful march near Bardala village in the northern Jordan Valley.

Medical sources reported that the youth was directly hit with a teargas canister by the IOF soldiers, adding that he was later transferred to a local medical center for treatment.

Organized by the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlement, the march was attended by dozens of Bardala residents who slammed Israel for destroying their water networks and stealing Palestinian water resources.

The marchers gathered on Road 90 in the Jordan Valley and raised banners condemning the Israeli violations.

Activist Mu’taz Bisharat said that Israeli settlers on a regular basis attack Bardala’s farmlands and destroy the water pipes used for the crops, adversely affecting the village’s agriculture.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

IOF arrested fourteen Palestinians in West Bank

WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, at least fourteen Palestinians, including one woman and a journalist, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

The Hebron office of the PPS said the soldiers said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in the city, and surrounding communities, before storming and ransacking many homes, and abducted five Palestinians.

It added that the soldiers also stopped and searched many cars at military roadblocks, in the northern part of Hebron, and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

The soldiers also invaded and searched homes, and social institutions, in the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, before searching them.

The PPS said the soldiers abducted a journalist, identified as Ibrahim Rantisi, who works as a correspondent for the Turkish National Television (TRT), after storming his home and ransacking it, in Rantis village, northwest of Ramallah.

He is the sixth Palestinian journalists to be abducted by the army in one week; Israel is still holding captive 22 journalists.

On Sunday, dozens of journalists protested in front of Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, calling on the International Community to oblige Israel to stop its violations against journalists, and to ensure the implementation of Security Council Resolution #2222 regarding the protection of journalists.

In Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Susan Abu Ghannam, the mother of Mohammad Abu Ghannam, 20, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on July 21st, 2017.

In Bethlehem, the soldiers invaded the Saff Street, in the center of the city, and summoned Maher Omar Ziyada, 22, from interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, south of Bethlehem.

In addition, the army also invaded and searched homes in Tulkarem refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and abducted Ala’ Rafiq Damiri, 38.

The abducted Palestinians have been identified as:

  1. Ibrahim Rantisi (Journalist), Ramallah.
  2. Ibrahim Riyad, Ramallah.
  3. Ehab Abu Hamda, Qalqilia,
  4. Tareq Silmi, Qalqilia.
  5. Ala’ Rafiq Damiri, Tulkarem.
  6. Shadi Nawawra, Bethlehem.
  7. Ibrahim Nawawra, Bethlehem.
  8. Maher Nawawra, Bethlehem.
  9. Firas Abu Sharkh (former political prisoner), Hebron.
  10. Nidal Abdullah al-Hroub, Hebron.
  11. Nidal Mahmoud Safi, Hebron.
  12. Hazem Jibril al-Jeyyawi, Hebron.
  13. Ibrahim Hasan Najjar, Hebron.
  14. Suzan Abu Ghannam, Jerusalem.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Palestinian father wonders why Israeli forces had to kill his 14-year-old son

Arkan Muzhir threw stones at army jeeps that entered Al-Deheisheh refugee camp. ‘If he threw a stone,’ his father asks, ‘couldn’t they shoot him in the leg?’

By Amira Hass

For Arkan Muzhir’s 15th birthday on August 20, his father Thaer planned to buy him a phone. The elder Muzhir uses the Hebrew word for cellphone, pelefon.

But four weeks before his son’s birthday, during a raid on Al-Deheisheh refugee camp before dawn on Monday July 23, an Israeli soldier shot Arkan. He hit him “exactly in the right corner of his heart,” Muzhir said, pointing to a photograph of his dead son, his T-shirt folded and showing a child’s chest.

“We have 180 photographs of Arkan; show me one where he’s not smiling,” Muzhir said at the beginning of the week, sitting in the diwan – the neighbourhood guest room – in a narrow alley where the family’s house is also located.

The three official mourning days had passed, but the men in the camp continued to come to the diwan to express their condolences, sit on a chair in the room, listen to Muzhir talking about his boy who is gone, and add memories of their own. And of course move on to political conversation.

“The boy enrolled at a vocational school for the next school year,” Muzhir said. “He wanted to study electrical engineering for cars or car mechanics. Everyone – his friends, his teachers, his sisters – say how pleasant he was, well-liked, ready to help.”

About a year and a half ago the boy moved to sleep in the room of his grandmother Nadhmieh, who isn’t well, to be near her if she needed help during the night. Over Ramadan he filled bottles with carob juice and lemonade, sold 25 of them and gave away 25 more.

In the last five months he spent a lot of time with his relative Hassan Muzhir, 17, who was paralyzed after a bullet fired at him by an Israeli soldier lodged in his spine.

Carried responsibility beyond his age

Arkan left the West Bank only once, when he accompanied his father on a trip to Amman. He never saw the sea, the Galilee, or cities like Jaffa and Acre. “And there’s something else you have to know about Arkan,” the father said when we were sitting in the tiny apartment of the family of nine, now eight.

Muzhir pointed at the comfortable sofa on which he sat with his wife Isfahan and their eldest daughter Kayan and said: “Arkan built this with his own hands.” Young as he was, he worked as a carpenter’s apprentice to help the family out, so his father bought him tools and rented him a room in the camp where he could make furniture. The sofa was the first thing he made.

A neighbor confirmed: “Only a few days ago he took measurements in my mother-in-law’s house to build them a sofa as well.”

“And there’s something else you have to know about Arkan,” his father added. “He bought me clothes with the money he made. I told him it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.” Arkan wanted his father, 45, to travel to work in Be’er Sheva and return with tidy, fresh clothes.

“Arkan carried responsibility beyond his age,” said his mother, 42. At the beginning of the conversation her eyes were dry; only her red nose betrayed that she had been crying. Later she sobbed, wiped away the tears and continued talking.

She was asleep the night of Sunday into Monday July 23. “I saw Arkan at around 11pm when he returned from Hassan and went to his grandmother,” who lives in the apartment across the way. “Suddenly at 4am his grandmother came knocking and asked if Arkan was with me.”

As the mother quotes the grandmother, “He told me he was going out to eat something and didn’t return, and now I heard shooting and the army was outside.”

Arkan’s mother now stops the flow to explain: “Sometimes he would go out to buy toast or something at night. Here in the camp, especially in the summer, people stay awake until late at night.”

The army everywhere

“Where did he go?” Arkan’s mother asked his grandmother. “And she said he told her he was hungry, and that it was maybe 3:30am. She told me and my head went dizzy. I wanted to know where he went,” the mother said.

“And then they phoned my daughter and told her he had been wounded,” she continued. “I got dressed quickly and went out; the road was filled with the army. I couldn’t go near the street. I was boiling inside but waited patiently for the army to leave. I went to the hospital. What I knew was that he had been wounded. I saw crowds of people outside and inside the hospital. I started running, I entered a room and saw that he had been killed.

“The bullet in his chest. I couldn’t believe it. I lost consciousness, I awoke and found myself at home. I wanted to go back to the hospital to see him. They let me enter the refrigerator [the morgue] to say goodbye to him. I saw him and kissed him. A boy, what did he do?”

Arkan, with some other young people, had gone to the camp’s main road and threw stones at 10 to 15 military jeeps that had just begun leaving the camp. Witnesses who spoke to Musa abu-Hashhash of the rights group B’Tselem estimate that Arkan was 20 to 40 meters (131 feet) from the jeeps. They believe he was shot by one of two soldiers who hadn’t yet entered a jeep.

Shot in the chest

A few hours earlier about 25 soldiers raided homes in the Ja’afra neighbourhood near the main road. They had with them dogs and ladders. Dozens of other soldiers remained among the jeeps, firing tear-gas and stun grenades in every direction, while dozens of young people threw stones at them from the rooftops and neighbouring alleys. The soldiers also broke into two grocery stores and a small toy- and stationery store.

One of the witnesses told the veteran B’Tselem field researcher that while he was watching the youths throwing stones at the jeeps driving away, he heard two live bullets being fired. He saw one of the young people, who was running in the middle of the road, put his hand on his chest, turn around and run a few steps before falling to the ground.

This witness and others ran toward the stricken youth, who wasn’t moving. A volunteer paramedic took the boy’s shirt off and saw a chest wound, though the bleeding was light. Borrowing the car of an owner of a falafel stall, they drove him to the hospital.

According to the military spokesman, as part of arrest activity in the Deheisheh refugee camp on the night of July 22, violent disturbances erupted during which Palestinians threw stones, Molotov cocktails and explosives at the forces. The forces responded by using crowd-control methods and shooting.

Following this, the spokesman said, there was information on a Palestinian who was killed. The event is being investigated by the commanders, while the military police have also opened an investigation. The findings will be given to the military prosecution. During the operation two suspects were arrested.

The phone awoke the father at around 4:30am, when he was in Be’er Sheva. A few hours earlier he had spoken to his son and saw him on WhatsApp. Arkan also sent his father a recording of himself and his 2-year-old brother Ghassan, after he had bought the toddler ice cream.

“They told me he was wounded,” the father said. “On the way home I hoped against hope that he was only wounded. If he threw a stone, couldn’t they shoot him in the leg?”

Last goodbye          

Footage shows the father leaning over his son, who was wrapped in a Palestinian flag and the red flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The father can be seen kissing his son’s forehead and eyes, pinching his chin and saying “I love you.”

In the diwan last Sunday evening, one of the mourners told the father, “Now you have 100 children.” Muzhir replied: “I know, I’m not angry.”

I took the liberty of saying I didn’t believe it. Muzhir response was this monologue: “What are you, soldiers, doing here in Deheisheh? You see a 15-year-old boy and shoot him? My son didn’t go to you in Tel Aviv or Haifa or Etzion. He didn’t put you under any risk. You come masked, all armed, black [masked or with faces painted]. Your lives weren’t in danger.”

Muzhir went on: “You in Israeli society – your media spoils you. So you don’t see the truth. I lost my son. The most beautiful thing in my life. I wanted to be happy with him, to get him married. Maybe I won’t live to see my little son grow up. In the end you executed my son in cold blood. Whoever shot him took my whole life away from me.

“And then the officer, the soldier, or the Shin Bet [security service] man who killed him went back home, took off his uniform, fed his son and gave him milk before going to bed. In the end every one of you is a soldier, a security man. You come from [Camp] Etzion, kill a child and say you killed a terrorist? That’s the terrorist you killed?”

Israeli media called him ‘terrorist’

To explain what Muzhir was talking about, someone showed me the article on the website 0404 with the headline: “A terrorist was killed and another wounded after they attacked our forces during operations in Deheisheh,” by Noa Magid.

Muzhir continued his monologue: “In Israeli society you raise a child and a dog. Sometimes two girls and a dog. If the dog disappears, the police look for him. I raised children in my house. Arkan was a child. You people call 22-year-olds ‘children.’ In Europe – 30-year-olds. Based on that, Arkan was a baby. I won’t treat his killing as a mere car accident.”

This was a reference to the suggestion by an Israeli officer that Arkan’s killing be treated as “a car accident.” It’s not clear who the officer was – a Shin Bet investigator who questioned a detainee, another Shin Bet man who called someone on the phone, or an Israeli liaison officer who spoke to a Palestinian counterpart.

But those present in the diwan say they’re sure it was said, and the contempt in the statement fits with the army’s campaign against them, as reflected in the routine violent raids on the camp and its homes, the live fire and the arrests. They say the camp – home to the descendants of dozens of demolished villages – is determined and adheres to Palestinian principles, so the army is trying to subdue it like Gaza and other camps.

Unlike other refugee camps, the political organizations in Deheisheh – like Fatah and the PFLP, which still maintain some social authority – have ruled against carrying and using arms. “We do not want to give the army a pretext to destroy the camp and put us in more danger,” they explained this week. “Nevertheless, we have the right to resist the raids and violence.”

In her home, on the sofa her son made, the mother says: “Arkan is with our Creator. But how will we live without him? How will I hold up? He’s in heaven, and I want to fly to wherever he is. I can’t take it. May God punish them.”

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Report: 277 violations against Palestinian information freedoms

Palestinian journalists light candles to commemorate Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was martyred by Israeli soldiers during "Great March of Return", during a protest in Nablus, West Bank on 7 April, 2018 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian journalists light candles to commemorate Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was martyred by Israeli soldiers during “Great March of Return”, during a protest in Nablus, West Bank on 7 April, 2018

Palestinian Centre for Development and Information Freedoms (MADA) has documented 277 violations against Palestinian information freedoms in the first half of 2018, Quds Pressreported yesterday.

MADA said that the Israeli occupation carried out 208 violations in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.

The report noted that the Israeli violations against Palestinian information freedoms increased sharply compared to the same period last year which witnessed 127 violations.

Two Palestinian journalists, Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu-Hussein, were killed in Gaza during this period this year, MADA said.

Read: Palestinian journalists demand Israel releases 21 colleagues

“Targeting Abu-Hussein and Murtaja was a clear example of the flagrant Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists,” the report said.

According to the report, the Israeli occupation carried out 128 violations in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, while 80 violations were reported in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the MADA report found that the Palestinian journalists were subject to 69 violations at the hands of Palestinian authorities, including 54 in the West Bank and 15 in Gaza.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Revealed: first images of Israel’s sea barrier blockading Gaza

Israel’s underwater barrier designed to further blockade the besieged Gaza Strip

Israel’s underwater barrier designed to further blockade the besieged Gaza Strip

Israel’s Ministry of Defence yesterday released the first images of its sea barrier designed to further blockade the besieged Gaza Strip. The barrier is located on Zikim beach, approximately three kilometres from Gaza’s northern frontier. The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2018 and is likely to cost an estimated 25 million shekels ($6.7 million).

When completed, the structure will stretch 200 metres out into the Mediterranean Sea, further cutting off the Gaza Strip from Israel. The barrier will consist of three layers: an underwater base level; a 50-metre-wide sea-level platform made of armoured stone, and a six-metre-high barbed wire fence. A further fence will also surround the barrier itself as “an additional security measure.”

The barrier has been praised by Defence Minister, Avigdor Liebermann. “The construction of the barrier around the Gaza Strip, both on land at sea, is progressing at a rapid and impressive pace,” said the extreme right-winger. “Every day that passes, our counterterrorism capabilities around the Gaza Strip are growing stronger.” According to Ma’anLiebermann added that, “Hamas is losing its capability to attack Israel every day.”

READ: Israel ‘employs unlawful tactics’ to control Gaza’s land, sea

The initiative will likely be seen as a further attempt by Israel to tighten its siege of the Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing since 2007. Israel has closed all pedestrian and commercialcrossings into and out of the enclave and has constructed a “security fence” along the Green (1949 Armistice) Line which serves as a border. Alone of all UN member states, Israel has never formally declared where its borders actually are. A no-go area of approximately 300 metres is also imposed on the Gaza side of the fence, restricting the access of many families and farmers to their land.

Israel has also imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, which currently limits Gaza’s fishermen to a distance of three nautical miles, some 17 less than was original proposed under the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s. Last week, two ships belonging to the Freedom Flotilla attempted to break the naval blockade, but were intercepted by Israeli naval forces in international waters. Crew members of Al-Awda, the first ship to be intercepted, have accusedIsraeli forces of violence and other governments have said that Israel’s actions brokeinternational law.

The impact of the siege has been severe. Gaza’s industrial and commercial sectors have been damaged, with Israel’s ban on imports of fuel and gas leading to shortages and high unemployment. Last week, senior UN officials voiced concern over the humanitarian situation facing Gaza’s children and the continued violation of their rights. Deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, said that the officials “called on all sides to put children’s rights ahead of any other considerations, and to take immediate steps to alleviate their suffering.”

READ: Exhibition in Gaza displays products denied by Israel

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Palestinians launch Freedom Ship 3 to break Gaza siege

In light of Israel’s recent attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, a host of boats have sailed from Gaza in protest, calling for an end to the siege imposed on the territory since 2007

The Freedom Ship 3 yesterday departed from Gaza port in an attempt to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, the National Movement to Break the Siege announced.

“Time has come to end the siege on the Gaza Strip,” the movement said at a press conference ahead of the ship’s departure.

“Today, the movement is in solidarity with the captains of the first and second freedom ships,” it said. It called to immediately release the captains who were arrested by the Israeli naval forces in international waters as they tried to break the blockade imposed on Gaza.

A spokesman for the movement, Adham Abu Salmiya, said: “The trip will begin from Gaza to tell the world that we will continue our peaceful popular struggle until we break the siege, end the suffering and lift this injustice, because Gaza deserves life.”

Freedom Flotilla activist: Israel soldiers beat us, stripped us, then robbed us

Abu Salmiya condemned the Israeli naval assault on the activists onboard the Freedom ship saying “this is another crime committed by the occupation against these free men and women”.

“Israel believes that its crimes against the free world and activists will stop us from continuing to move by sea and land until we end the enclave’s suffering.”

Two ships which had sailed from Europe to break the illegal siege on Gaza were captured by Israel last week.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

‘Hamas’ Seeks ‘Progressive’ Deal for Calm in Gaza

Hamas officials Husam Badran (C) and Khalil al-Hayya (2nd-R) attend a meeting with Palestinian factions in Gaza City on August 5, 2018

The “Hamas” leadership is working on a “progressive” agreement with Israel on ending marches organized at the border with the Gaza Strip and on the cessation of hostilities between Israel and the movement, including incendiary balloons in exchange for lifting the latest economic blockade imposed on the enclave.

At a meeting with representatives of the Palestinian Arab organizations in Gaza, “Hamas” leaders informed Palestinian factions about the latest discussions on the deal without offering any other explanations.

Informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that talks are under way on an agreement between “Hamas” and Israel to first open the Karam Abu Salem commercial border crossing and to expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast in return for halting all attacks on the border.

The second part of the agreement includes the exchange of prisoners and captives.

Husam Badran, a member of the “Hamas” politburo, offered Sunday assurances that the movement would not agree to establish a state in Gaza and would not reach any political arrangement without Palestinian national consensus.

However, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Fatah Movement accused “Hamas” of working “individually” on implementing the “shady” agreement.

Senior PLO official Ahmed Majdalani said any agreement with Israel should not be limited to “Hamas.”

The movement does not have the authority to strike any deal with Israel, he said.

Fatah criticized “Hamas” for being involved in “shameful negotiations” with Israel, saying the deal aims “to separate Gaza from the homeland and establish a small state which would be the graveyard for our national project.”

However, the Israeli TV channel 10 quoted sources on Sunday as saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Army believe there are no chances for a true agreement with “Hamas.”

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Guest Writer: Gaza and the three-state solution

People attend a protest against Israeli violence in Gaza on 16 May, 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel [Kobi Wolf/Anadolu Agency]

People attend a protest against Israeli violence in Gaza on 16 May, 2018 in Tel Aviv

By Dr. Raed Elottol

The Palestinian in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip elected Hamas to run the Palestinian Authority in 2006. Ismail Haniyeh became the Prime Minister according to Palestinian law and the election results — deemed “free and fair” by independent monitors — but the international community and adjacent countries did not accept this. Instead, they turned against all democratic norms promoted around the globe. Since then, the Gaza Strip has suffered from political isolation and a devastating Israeli-led siege that has shattered all aspects of life in the enclave.

Gaza has also borne the brunt of successive Israeli military offensives, with three major invasions since late 2008. On each occasion, initiatives and political efforts moved to stop the bloodshed.

According to the available data and international shuttle diplomacy to and from Gaza — and leaks from Hamas officials — the Israeli occupation government suggestion of a five-stage agreement for a medium-term (5 to 10 years) ceasefire is being discussed. This was adopted by an unprecedented meeting of the Hamas political bureau in Gaza for the first time since 1987, in the presence of all bureau members from within and outside Palestine, headed by Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, and his deputy Saleh Al-Arouri, who leads Hamas abroad and is at the top of those wanted by Israeli security forces and intelligence agencies. Al-Arouri is accused of direct responsibility for the killing of Israelis in retaliation for Israel’s killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in early July 2014. In turn, this was the pretext for Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” the following month. The offensive lasted 52 days, during which 2,139 Palestinians were killed, including 579 children and 263 women; more than 11,100 others were wounded, including 3,374 children.

Read: 155 Palestinians killed in Great March of Return

It was a devastating attack on the people of Gaza; as well as the human casualties, the losses to the economy were estimated at $4 billion, with factories and vital infrastructure destroyed. Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as part of which the siege of Gaza was meant to be eased. Four years later, Israel has still failed to meet its commitments. There has been no major reconstruction of damaged and destroyed homes or factories; no full re-opening of border crossings; and no repairs to Gaza’s only electricity plant. Unemployment among graduates and young people has risen dramatically. There was (and remains) an urgent need for efforts to improve the conditions of the Palestinians in Gaza and save what can be saved.

Earlier this year, the proposal for a peaceful “Great Return March” to the border of Gaza and Israel — first mooted in 2011 — was made; Israel was backed into a corner. The protest started on 30 March, with Palestinians heading for the border in five locations within Gaza, calling for an end to the siege and their right to return to their land and homes inside what is now Israel to be facilitated. As is well documented, Israeli snipers have to-date shot and killed more than 250 men, women and children, and injured more than 20,000. Israel’s use of banned explosive bullets against unarmed protesters has resulted in paralysis, loss of limbs and other life-changing injuries. Israel has again faced resounding criticism from around the world, with its blockade of the Gaza Strip on the international agenda once more. Hamas is back on centre-stage of the political initiatives to end the siege. The Great Return March protests have become troublesome for Israel and must be stopped at all costs.

Most of the intentional leaks have been made to prepare the Palestinian public for an imminent agreement between Hamas and the Israeli occupation authorities. Egyptian intelligence officers are responsible for the Gaza Strip and Hamas portfolio in Cairo; they have played a major role in preparing and negotiating a deal with the movement. A meeting is scheduled very soon at which the Israeli delegation will be led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled an official visit to Colombia to oversee the details personally.

It is expected that there will be five stages to the agreement:

  1. An immediate halt to the movement of the barbed wire fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel. More precisely, this means the cessation of the Great Return March protests, the flying of incendiary kites from Gaza across the boundary, and all forms of peaceful resistance to stop the siege of Gaza.
  2. The possibility of signing a bilateral reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas under Egyptian auspices, which will provide for the resumption of salary payments to PA employees in the Gaza Strip, as well as those engaged by Hamas. It is also proposed that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held within six months across the occupied Palestinian territories.
  3. Negotiations for the exchange of prisoners, including four Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas in 2014, and the signing of a ceasefire agreement for a period of 5 to 10 years.
  4. Opening the way for Arab and foreign financial investment in Gaza and starting the process of reconstruction and rebuilding of the infrastructure, as well as the establishment of desalination plants and a new power station in Sinai, or possibly elsewhere, along with a port and a temporary airport in Egypt to serve the Palestinians in Gaza.
  5. The launching of comprehensive negotiations on Jerusalem, fixed final borders, the Palestinian refugees and other outstanding issues.

Read: The American attempt to erase the Palestinian right of return

As the one-state solution fails and the two-state solution does likewise, this agreement may be part of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, or the three-state solution. On the face of it, it might also mean that Hamas is ready to change from a resistance and liberation movement into a temporary civilian authority throughout the truce period. This would require it to freeze its use of arms and all forms of resistance to the Israeli occupation, including peaceful resistance, which puts it at a difficult juncture. Fatah has thus far refused to accept internal reconciliation with Hamas without full empowerment of the (Fatah-controlled) PA and the movement itself in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Hamas does not want to concede to Fatah in Gaza without a genuine partnership based on the principle of quotas.

In rejecting the Egyptian reconciliation paper to heal the rift between Hamas and Fatah, the latter demanded impossible conditions, including full empowerment in Gaza and full control of Hamas arms in the enclave. In a statement last Monday, Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif said that any negotiations on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip will be seen as the circumvention of the national cause to pass the “deal of the century”, and that all of the rumours about Hamas’s direct or indirect involvement in talks with Israel and the US administration should be considered seriously.

Read: Fatah of working to sabotage reconciliation efforts says Hamas

According to Abu Saif, any such negotiations by Hamas are outside the internal Palestinian rift at a moment when concerted efforts are growing to thwart Trump’s deal to isolate Gaza and liquidate the Palestinian national cause. Fatah leaders have called on Hamas “to take a clear and frank position” on the deal. They added that any dialogue and negotiation on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is nothing but a failure that contributes to the passage of the American plan over Palestinian rights. “Instead of looking for dialogue with Tel Aviv or Washington,” insisted Fatah, “Hamas has to end the division between Gaza and the West Bank, and to allow national elections to be held so that the people of Palestine can make the final decision.”

Is Hamas as a movement united behind such an agreement? If there is opposition, how much, and who is leading it within the political bureau? We don’t know for sure, but the leaks refer to a great internal dispute about the nature of the agreement and its terms.

What about the position of the other resistance movements in Gaza, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad? There appears to be tripartite coordination between these two movements and the Hamas leadership.

No one can deny that this agreement has been prompted by the siege imposed on Gaza, in which Fatah, the PA under Mahmoud Abbas and some Arab states have colluded in order to reclaim control of the territory. It will look to many to be a shift of the Palestinian cause from being a political to a humanitarian issue; from a comprehensive peace agreement to a transitional economic peace deal, like the peace suggested by Tony Blair, the Middle East Quartet envoy, and the plan of former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, which was applied in the West Bank. It might even emulate Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the armed struggle of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds an urgent cabinet meeting in Ramallah, West Bank on 14 May, 2018 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Observers of the serious conditions in Gaza and the lack of options and aggravation of the humanitarian situation experienced by the Palestinians there know that the chances of success of such an agreement will be high, due to the status of the main proponents, especially the resistance movements and the government of Egypt, which controls the Rafah Crossing, as well as Hamas and the Israeli government. It is the latter, I believe, which will have the final say on a solution for the crisis in the Gaza Strip. Any opposition from Fatah will not be effective because of the marginalisation of Mahmoud Abbas and the tense US-PA relationship since Trump announced the transfer of the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem and his recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

If this agreement is in the interest of alleviating the suffering of two million people in the Gaza Strip under a siege of more than ten years, Netanyahu’s government will be the biggest winner, with a resultant rise in popularity at the polls at a critical time. Aside from anything else, the Israeli government will be able to persuade other countries to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem and restore Israel’s image after its excessive use of force against innocent protestors on the Great Return March.

This agreement, if successful, may be the first stage of the implementation of the deal of the century in another name, with the complete exclusion of the Abbas-run Palestinian Authority and no coordination between Fatah and Hamas. Regional countries have played a major role in order to advance this agreement. Egypt has mediated and opened the Rafah Crossing, and is acting as a mediator between former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan and Hamas. Qatar, meanwhile, has provided financial support and been the mediator between the Islamic Resistance Movement and the Israeli government. Some of the leaks hint at the presence of major Israeli individuals in Qatar to agree on the amount of funding, and how to get it to Gaza, in addition to the reconstruction process, power station, port and airport.

#GazaCrisis

A three-state solution is what Israel wants for Gaza and this is why the humanitarian situation of the Palestinians in the territory is being used to separate it from the occupied West Bank as a Palestinian entity. This is a major event in Palestinian history, with Hamas as the main player after Fatah has been the kingpin for 30 years and achieved nothing from the Israelis. Will Hamas make the same mistake? Are we really on our way to a three-state solution, with a return to the status before the 1967 Six-Day War, with Egypt and Jordan in control of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank respectively?

Such a scenario will be little different to the one-state and two-state proposals, in the sense that the intention is to divide and rule the people of Palestine in Israel, Jordan and Egypt, fragment their land even further and write-off the national project as they get embroiled in territorial disputes that are unrelated to the Palestinian cause. The alternative may well be another destructive Israeli offensive against the civilians in Gaza. Nevertheless, this should all be a wake-up call for the Palestinians to unite against all such divisive plans imposed from outside.

(Source / 06.08.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Cause Damage To Homes, Youth Institute, In Ramallah

06 AUG
9:57 AM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded and violently searched, on Monday at dawn, many homes, and a Youth Institute, in the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers carried out one of the largest, and most violent, invasions into the refugee camp in recent months, and added that the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes, in addition to using rooftops as monitoring towers.

It said the soldiers interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, during the violent searches of their homes.

Some of the Palestinians have been identified as Adnan Hattab, Zoheir Samadna, Fahmi Abu Sbeih, Abdul-Naser Nakhla, Mahmoud Sheikh and Mohammad Oleyyan.

Furthermore, the soldiers surrounded and invaded “Khaled Bakir Institute for Young Leadership,” causing serious damage, and briefly detained one of its members, identified as Mohammad Dohan.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, at least fourteen Palestinians

(Source / 06.08.2018)