EU renews condemnation of Israel’s settlement expansion activity

EU and settlements

European Union (EU) on Thursday renewed its rejection of Israel’s settlement expansion policy in the Palestinian territories and condemned the Israeli government’s approval of the construction of 1,000 new settlement units in Occupied Jerusalem.

The EU said in a statement that over the past two weeks the Israeli authorities have promoted plans and tenders for about 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The EU stressed that such projects, which are illegal under international law, undermine efforts toward a “viable Palestinian state” and create obstacles to the peace process.

It added that it will continue to work with both the Palestinian and Israeli sides as well as international and regional partners to resume talks on the two-state solution.

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Al-Aqsa preacher calls for breaking Gaza blockade

Al-Aqsa preacher

Al-Aqsa Mosque’s preacher Sheikh Ekrima Sabri on Friday called for breaking the Israeli siege imposed on two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

Sheikh Sabri, during his Friday sermon at al-Aqsa Mosque, said that breaking the siege should be the first step toward achieving national unity and ending the Palestinian internal division.

In another context, Sabri said that the repeated closure of al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates is “strange” and “unjustified”, adding that there is no state in the world that closes places of worship but Israel.

He stressed that the Israeli punitive measures and restrictions will never change the fact that al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the Palestinians and all Muslims.

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Israel ignites war over Abbas’ successor

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas participates in the Palestinian Central Council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas participates in the Palestinian Central Council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah

On Thursday morning, two Israeli websites, Yedioth Ahronoth and Kan, reported almost the same news about Fatah leaders storing arms and recruiting “armed gangs” in preparation for a battle for the succession of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Yedioth Ahronoth stated that, recently, the leaders of the Fatah movement began recruiting armed groups in the West Bank. These leaders consider themselves as potential candidates to be Abbas’ successors in one of the three positions, namely: the President of the Palestinian Authority, the President of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the President of the Fatah movement.

The report clarified that those leaders are the head of the Palestinian Football Association and former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force, Maj. Gen. Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service Maj. Gen. Majed Faraj, the deputy head of the Fatah movement Mahmoud Al-Aloul and the head of Palestinian Intelligence in the West Bank during the second intifada, Tawfiq Al-Tirawi.

Read: Hamas and PLO condemn Trump’s statements about Jerusalem

The two websites focused on identifying possible locations for weapons storage and the centres of influence for each of the leaders within the West Bank.

The websites did not mention the source of this news, and did not specify whether he is an Israeli or Palestinian, civilian or military, especially that these are sensitive security information which need intelligence sources.

Howevercommenting on the report published by Kan, Channel 10 political analyst, Barak Ravid, posted on his Twitter account that it sounds like a briefing by Israeli security officials. The author of the report and the analyst of Palestinian affairs in Kan, Gal Berger, did not deny this while commenting on Ravid’s statement.

As for the scenarios of the succession of Abbas, they ranged between an agreement on sharing power between Fatah leaders, or a struggle between the leaders of Fatah that will amount to violent clashes and chaos in the streets.

The report stresses that the only beneficiary of these clashes is Hamas, “which will reinforce its position in the West Bank and gather it forces while Fatah leaders are fighting.”

(Source / 24.08.2018)

UN warns “collapse of critical life-saving services” in Gaza as emergency fuel runs out

This week, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, warned of the “collapse of critical life-saving services” in Gaza as UN emergency fuel runs out.

With no mains electricity for 16-20 hours per day, hospitals in Gaza are reliant on backup generators to keep essential services running. UN-donated fuel to keep these life-saving services running is expected to be used up in the next few days unless emergency funding is secured.

On Monday, Mr McGoldrick called on the international community to urgently prevent essential services from shutting down:

Life-saving services in the Gaza Strip rely heavily on donor-funded emergency fuel. We have now run out of funds and are delivering the final supplies in the next few days. Without funds to enable ongoing deliveries, service providers will be forced to suspend, or heavily reduce, operations from early September, with potentially grave consequences.”

The severe shortage of emergency fuel endangers patients’ lives, including new born babies in intensive care – a service supported by Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) in Gaza. This was emphasised by the UN this week:

Among the most vulnerable to shortages are 4,800 patients in Gaza’s hospitals, who rely each day on electrical devices in intensive care units, including newborns, and those on dialysis or in trauma departments. Medical services for over 1.6 million other Palestinians will suffer from reduction or cessation of services, due to lack of emergency fuel at the main health facilities, and over half the population face the risk of possible sewage overflow, if fuel runs out for the 41 main sewage pumping stations in the Gaza Strip. Overall, the reduced functioning of water and sanitation facilities risks an increase of waterborne disease and outbreaks in a densely-populated, urban area.”

It is vital that international donors, including the UK, step in immediately to keep Gaza’s health system running. In the long-term, they must also work towards sustainable solutions to the electricity crisis, including through a lifting of Israel’s 11-year illegal closure. The UN estimates that US$4.5 million is required to cover humanitarian fuel costs until the end of 2018.

The crisis affecting the provision of health services in Gaza is further compounded by the mass trauma casualties which have entered hospitals in the context of Israel’s use of force against protesters taking part in the “Great March of Return” since 30 March.

On Friday 17 August, the twenty-first Friday of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations, a high number of casualties were again reported. According to the Ministry of Health, two Palestinians were killed and 270 injured by Israeli forces. Karim Abu Fatair, 30, was fatally shot in the head by an Israeli sniper near to the perimeter fence in central Gaza. Saadi Akram Ahmad Abu Maamar, 27, also succumbed to his wounds at demonstrations in central Gaza.

Since 30 March, 160 Palestinians have been killed and 18,000 people injured. According to the World Health Organization, 9,447 people have been hospitalised, of whom 48% (4,508) were shot. Of those hospitalised 5,924 received limb injuries.

Outside of hospitals, frontline health workers have come under attack by Israeli forces using live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets. From 30 March to 13 August, three paramedics have been killed and 379 injured. Two health facilities – a health centre for people with disability and a Ministry of Health ambulance station – were also reportedly damaged in and Israeli air strike on 14 July.

MAP is currently calling on the UK Government to take action to protect health workers in Gaza: You can join this campaign by signing and sharing our petition today.

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Qatar: Humanitarian disaster in Gaza worsen

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Qatar has warned on Thursday of the continued deterioration of the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli aggression against the defenseless Palestinian people.

In a statement released on Thursday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community to put an end to the humanitarian disaster, warning that the silence of the international community and the lack of action could worsen the situation in Gaza.

The statement reiterated Qatar’s firm position on the historic rights of the Palestinian people in an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of the refugees to return to their areas, stressing that ignoring them is a violation of the international law.

The statement also stressed that the Qatari diplomacy will spare no effort in working to lift the unjust siege imposed on Gaza.

The statement further stressed that Qatar’s firm stance on the Israeli occupation and the historic rights of the Palestinian people, which were approved by UN resolutions, is unquestionable, as Qatar’s mediation is consensual and the Palestinian side has always expressed its appreciation for the positions the country has taken.

In its statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised that the historical, legal and humanitarian rights of the Palestinian people should not be compromised and that no party has the right to waive them under any pretext.

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Israel secret service asks German about his ‘Palestinian blood’ at border

Nadim Sarrouh and his wife Venus Ayoub [Nadim Sarrouh/Facebook]

Nadim Sarrouh and his wife Venus Ayoub

Israel’s Shin Bet interrogated a German citizen about his “Palestinian blood” at a southern border crossing with Jordan earlier this month, reported Haaretz.

Nadim Sarrouh, his wife, Venus Ayoub, her parents, two brothers and sister had returned to Israel on 11 August from a short trip to Jordan, according to the paper.

“Ayoub and her family, all of them Israeli citizens and residents of the Galilee village of Jish, had already gone through border control,” but Sarrrouh’s passport wasn’t returned, and he was taken for questioning by a border inspector and Shin Bet interrogator.

“She [the Shin Bet agent] started by asking where I am from,” recounted Sarroush. “I said I am from Germany. She asked me where I am really from. I said, I was born in Berlin, Germany, have a German passport and no other and am thus a German citizen.”

Read: Palestine journalist arrested by Israel military, accused of inciting violence

But the agent persisted: “Your blood isn’t German, right? Your blood is Palestinian.” Sarrouh replied: “I don’t know about that, but if my blood is anything, it’s probably also Polish” (his mother is a Polish woman who was born in Germany).

The investigator also asked him his opinion regarding Gaza. “I told her that I don’t think that they should ask me about my political opinions in order to decide whether or not I’m allowed to enter,” he told Haaretz.

Her reply was that “we can actually do anything. We are not Germany! We are not letting in refugees just like that, like your Merkel is doing! We check who we let in!”

She then pointed to a large Israeli flag and said:

You see that? That means that you’re in Israel. It isn’t your country. You don’t belong here. We can detain you for a few days, decide whether or not to let you enter, and if you don’t like it – you can take your passport and return to Jordan.

Subsequently, a second interrogator “shouted a lot”, and threatened him: “We know that you did something bad and you know it too, so the sooner you comply, the sooner this can be over.”

“Don’t lie to us, because we already know everything anyway, and we can see when you lie too. We have a lot of video footage from you, we know where you went and what you did. We can also arrest your wife and your wife’s family and interrogate them,” he recalls her telling him.

Read: 520 Palestinians arrested by Israel in July

Shin Bet told Haaretz that Sarrouh “refrained from cooperating throughout his investigation, behaving rudely and aggressively towards the security personnel. During his interrogation various findings aroused suspicion that he is involved in hostile activity and is connected to hostile organisations. At the conclusion of the security investigation he was allowed to enter Israel.”

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Israel intends to kill civilians and medical staff deliberately, says new report

Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded woman during a protest within the "Great March of Return" demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded protester during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018

A new report by a human rights organisation has concluded that Israeli troops basically ignored the fact that Palestinian medical staff adhered strictly to international standards while treating demonstrators in Gaza’s Great March of Return protests, and shot them deliberately. This was despite the staff wearing distinct uniforms identifying them as medical personnel, and operating out of medical aid stations and vehicles which were also marked clearly with internationally-recognised symbols. The targeting of the medical staff by Israeli snipers was, claims Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, “systematic and deliberate”.

Al-Mezan points out that the shootings took place in broad daylight, with no obstacles or anything blocking the sightlines of the troops. Moreover, the Israeli forces have access to sophisticated surveillance tools which enable them to identify who is moving in the areas under observation.

The organisation presented a summary of the investigations and information collected about the deaths of three medics: volunteer medic at Life Pulse team, Abdullah Sabry Atia Al-Qatty, aged 22; Razan Al-Najjar, 20, a paramedic at the Palestinian Medical Relief Society; and a medic in the Civil Defence, Musa Jaber Abdul Salam Abu Hassanein, 34. All were shot in the chest and killed.

The right of medical personnel in the field to be protected, along with their places of work and vehicles, was violated by the Israel Defence Forces using live ammunition and tear gas, Al-Mezan says. Medical staff in Gaza’s main hospitals insisted that this was no ordinary tear gas, but “toxic” gas, judging by the nature of the effects on the targets.

The report points to the challenges facing healthcare services in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israeli-led siege, which has been imposed for 11 years. Patients face serious difficulties in having easy access to medical care. If and when they do get to hospital, they are met with severe shortages of medicines and medical disposables; by the end of last month, around half of the items on the essential drugs list were unavailable.

Aside from the three medical personnel killed by the IDF, 99 have been injured and 64 vehicles have been damaged. Khan Younis has suffered the largest number of casualties among medical staff, with 31 victims reported.

Read: Israeli troops kill 2 on Gaza border, wounds 270 others

The facts presented in Al-Mezan’s report reinforce the conclusion that the Israeli occupation forces have a deliberate intention to kill and injure Palestinian civilians, including medical personnel, whose ability to tend to protesters wounded by the soldiers was also limited by restrictions on getting close to the barrier which serves as a nominal border.

The human rights organisation called upon the international community to take tangible and urgent steps to stop the ongoing violations against the Palestinians, especially medical staff, by pressing Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law and put an end to its attempts to politicise such legislation. Israel, insisted Al-Mezan, should not be allowed to act with impunity.

Furthermore, the report calls on all relevant agencies and organisations to provide support and humanitarian aid to the health sector in the Gaza Strip, which remains technically, legally and practically under Israeli occupation.

Read: Israel attacks Palestinian school, arrests 3 students in Bethlehem

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Jerusalem: 6 polling stations for Palestinians, 184 for Jews

Ultra Orthodox Jews vote in Israel's parliamentary elections in Jerusalem, 22 January 2013 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Ultra Orthodox Jews vote in Israel’s parliamentary elections in Jerusalem, 22 January 2013

Palestinians in Jerusalem will be given only six polling stations in the upcoming municipal elections while Jews will have 187, it emerged yesterday.

Pointing to plans by Israel’s Interior Ministry, Haaretz reported that despite the fact that occupied East Jerusalem is home to 40 per cent of Jerusalem’s population, these Palestinian neighbourhoods will be serviced by only six polling stations during the municipal elections slated for October. In contrast, Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods will be serviced by 184 polling stations. The move means that “whereas each polling station in Jewish neighbourhoods will serve an average of 2,000 eligible voters, in Palestinian neighbourhoods the number will be 40,000,” Haaretz added.

In addition, the six polling stations that will be available to Palestinians are not located evenly throughout occupied East Jerusalem.Haaretz reports that three of the six allotted polling stations will be in Beit Safafa, in the south of the Jerusalem municipality, where half of the inhabitants are Israeli citizens. One polling station will be located in Jabal Mukkaber, east of Baq’a, also an outlying neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Only two will be centrally located, one in the Old City and one in Sheikh Jarrah. This means that “for many Palestinians, the nearest polling station will be at least five kilometres (3.1 miles) from their home.”

READ: 2,275 settlement housing units promoted in East Jerusalem over past two months

The move will also impact those Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem that lie beyond Israel’s Separation Wall. These neighbourhoods are home to approximately 100,000 Palestinians but will not be allocated a polling station. The illegal Separation Wall, which has been constructed by Israel since the year 2000, often runs inside the Jerusalem Municipality boundaries, cutting off outlying neighbourhoods such as Shu’afat refugee camp in the north and parts of Abu Dis in the East.

In previous years, Jerusalemite Palestinians have largely boycotted the city’s municipal elections, claiming that it legitimises Israel’s illegal occupation of the city. Haaretz reported that “in the last municipal elections in 2013, only slightly more than one per cent of eligible Palestinians voted.” This low voter turn-out has been used by Israel’s Interior Ministry to justify its low allocation of polling stations for this year’s election.

A researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Yair Assaf-Shapira, told Haaretz that “you look at this figure and you check it again and again and you can’t believe what you’re seeing. The fact that they [Jerusalemite Palestinians] don’t vote apparently serves as a good pretext for preventing them from voting. What this means is that you’re depriving the few who do want to vote of the right to do so.”

Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem hold a unique legal status as “permanent residents” of the city, a lower status than Jewish inhabitants who are deemed full Israeli citizens. When Israel occupied Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, Palestinians present in the city were given “resident” status while anyone who was absent was deprived of the right to their home. “‘Permanent residents” are not allowed to vote in Israel’s parliamentary elections and they have to regularly renew their residency permits. Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem estimates that “since 1967, Israel has revoked the permanent residency of some 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem.”

READ: Hamas and PLO condemn Trump’s statements about Jerusalem

#OccupiedJerusalem: there’s one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians

MEMO Infographic by QUAD Business House

READ: ow.ly/MXY530ev8Vs

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Israel’s Lieberman will not support truce with Hamas

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermann (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermann (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman would not support a ceasefire with Hamas amid ongoing speculation that a truce is imminent, Israeli media reported today.

“I am not involved in the arrangement,” Lieberman was quoted as saying in reference to ceasefire talks.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction,” he said. “I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”

“In recent days, we have seen that Hamas is in total control of what goes on here [i.e., along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone],” he added.

Lieberman went on to assert that violence along the buffer zone had recently decreased “almost to zero”.

Bennet: ‘Lieberman chose to surrender’ to Hamas

“If there is calm this Friday [along the buffer zone], the [Gaza-Israel Kerem Shalom] border crossing will remain open,” he said. “If there’s no calm, it will be closed.”

The defence minister added: “If we decide that we have no choice but to launch a military operation [against Gaza], we will do what needs to be done.”

Palestinians have been protesting near the Gaza fence with Israel since 30 March calling for their right to return to homes their families were forced out of during the Nakba and for an end to the 11-year siege of the Strip. Israeli occupation forces have killed more than 170 unarmed Palestinians during the protests and injured over 17,000.

(Source / 24.08.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Adduct Two Palestinians Near Nablus And Jenin

24 AUG
2:21 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at night, two young Palestinian men near Jenin and Nablus, in the northern parts of the occupied West Bank.

The soldiers invaded Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, and attacked protesters with gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, especially when the army targeted a number of homes.

The soldiers also searched homes, and abducted Rabea’ Zohri Jabarin, from Tayba nearby village, while visiting his brother to celebrate the Al-Adha Muslim feast.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Sebastia town, north of Nablus, and abducted a young man, identified as Ibrahim Sha’er, in the archeological area.

Mohammad Azem, the head of the Local Council in Sebastia, said many soldiers and colonialist settlers invaded the area, and assaulted several Palestinians.

In related news, a young man from Aseera al-Qibliyya village, south of Nablus, was in injured in his head after colonialist settlers assaulted him, and was moved to Rafidia hospital.

(Source / 24.08.2018)