A senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau denied on Sunday that his movement had proposed Palestinian access to an airport in Israel, Quds Press has reported. Mousa Abu Marzook also denied that the movement had been offered access to a Mediterranean port in Cyprus.
“Hamas proposed only an airport in Gaza,” Abu Marzook wrote on Twitter. He added that the resistance group has not asked for the salaries of Palestinian public sector employees to be paid through the Israeli occupation authorities.
He made his comments after the Deputy Leader of Fatah, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, claimed that Israel had offered a port in Cyprus, an airport in Israel and the salary payment system. The proposed airport was in Eilat, he said, operating under Israeli supervision and with Qatar as the only destination.
Stressing that Hamas has no reference points other than the national Palestinian institutions, Abu Marzook denied that it was “mixing-up the truce [with Israel] and reconciliation [with Fatah].
On 16 August, Israeli sources revealed the six main points of a potential truce agreement between Hamas and Israel. According to the sources the agreement is to be implemented gradually. A report in Haaretz said that the six points are: a comprehensive ceasefire; the opening of the border crossings and an expanded fishing zone; allowing medical and humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip; a prisoner swap; the rebuilding of Gaza; and starting talks about a port and airport.
Israel’s Transport and Intelligence Minister has said that the Cabinet has not discussed proposals to oust Hamas in Gaza over the past three years, the Times of Israel reported on Sunday.
“I have been a member of the cabinet for more than three years,” Israel Katz told Army Radio. “There are many operative plans, including some with the goal of toppling Hamas, but no plan to topple Hamas has been placed on the Cabinet agenda in the past three years.”
Katz also criticised Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said on Friday that he is not involved in the talks between Israel and Hamas. “All Israeli citizens should feel bad if that announcement was made [by Lieberman],” Katz said. “I do not need to leak from Cabinet meetings that the Defence Minister is involved in what is happening. Of course, he is involved.”
Egypt’s former interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday that the Palestinians are starved because they refuse to give up their lands. He made his comment following the US announcement of a $200 million cut in aid to the Palestinian Authority.
ElBaradei also accused the Arab governments of taking part in the punitive measures being imposed on the Palestinians, mainly in the Gaza Strip.
“What is being planned [by the Americans] for the Palestinians is already known by all,” he wrote. “However, most of the Arab governments keep silent.”
He wondered aloud, “Will we at least extend aid hands to save them from slow death, mainly the people of Gaza? Or is the whole [Palestinian] issue no longer part of our agenda? Or we have become part of the punishment?”
During the kidnapping raids, Israeli occupation forces stole jewlery, gold and money
Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Monday eight Palestinians in overnight raids carried out across the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinians were kidnapped for “suspected involvement in popular terrorist activities,” an Israeli army statement said without elaborating on the nature of the activities.
According to the statement, the kidnapped Palestinians have since been remanded into custody for further investigation.
The Israeli occupation forces frequently conducts kidnapping campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.
Based on Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians are currently suffering in Israeli prisons, including scores of women, roughly 350 minors and at least six MPs and 1,200 patients with 400 suffering chronic diseases.
US President Donald Trump’s administration is to take substantial steps against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in general, and against refugees in the West Bank in particular, Hebrew channel 2 revealed on Saturday.
According to the channel, the US is to take several measures against the UNRWA field office in the West Bank, including the suspension of its budget in in the West Bank, and a ban on the transfer of funds from other states, to the UNRWA.
It reported that the US intends to recognize just one tenth of Palestinian refugees — in other words, a half a million refugees — instead of more than 5 million recognized refugees in various countries.
The second step, according to Al Ray Palestinian media agency is to remove the UNRWA as an international aid agency for Palestine refugees, and to include it in the policy of refugees worldwide.
The United States will also ask Israel to reconsider the UNRWA’s mandate in the West Bank, to ensure that Arab countries are unable to transfer financial aid to the agency instead of US aid.
The channel revealed that Israel considers the US step a historical one, after announcing occupied Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. By waving Palestinians’ right of return and announcing Jerusalem as the capital will create a new reality on the ground.
Lieberman claimed that these advanced-technology missiles were capable of hitting micro-targets with a range of 30-150 km and would move the army’s missile capability to a very advanced level.
PNN sources said that the minister signed an agreement worth millions of shekels with Israeli Military Industries (IMI) for development of precision target missiles.
According to Israeli media site Yedioth Ahronot, Lieberman said these new missiles will greatly improve the capabilities of the army and can be launched towards targets from a distance, with their advanced technology suited to modern battles.
According to the site, the deal came in accordance with the instructions of Lieberman, who said that the plan is to develop a system of accurate missiles, and that this success will strengthen the army in the short and long term.
IMI Systems Chairman Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that “the innovative rocket systems that the IDF will receive from this transaction reflects the company’s technological capabilities, which specialize in the ability to fire accurately, to strike at a variety of ground targets.”
Israeli settlements and industrial factories sit on the hilltops, looming over the quaint Palestinian homes in the Salfit district. Nestled between Ramallah and Nablus, settlements out number Palestinian villages in Salfit. In most areas, contaminated water and sewage can be seen flowing through the Matwi valley.
Toxic waste, sewage sludge streams, and general garbage dumping by Israel in the West Bank has been happening for decades. Ever since the first settlements were built after the illegal occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel has failed to properly manage settlement waste – including dangerous waste from industrial zones.
And Palestinians are paying for it with their lives.
“Every day we learn that someone we know has a disease.” Ammar Barakat, 36, spoke of his family’s life in the village of Burqin, one of the most affected villages in Salfit. His home is just meters away from the stream of cocktailed waste coming from the neighbouring Israeli industrial settlement, Barkan.
Barakat’s brother passed away two years ago from cancer that was discovered too late. He claims that at least 80 people in his village – which has a population of roughly 4,500 – have some form of cancer.
Out on his balcony, with the faint smell of sewage wafting along each of his playful kids, Barakat said with a straight face, “Really, we are living in hell.”
Ammar Barakat and one of his sons sitting on his balcony near the Israeli industrial settlement, Barkan
The only hospital in Salfit
With only 50 beds and 10 resident doctors, the Salfit government hospital serves close to 150,000 Salfit residents. It is packed to the brim almost constantly. Most patients have ailments that can be directly or indirectly linked to the Israeli industrial settlements in the area.
Nidal Tarsha, 26, and Abdulrahman Tamimi, 26, are two resident doctors from the Salfit branch. Working anywhere between 22-32 shifts per month – which usually last well over 12 hours – these young doctors are exhausted. Downing energy drinks to celebrate the rare occasion of having a night off, and wanting to be alert for every minute of it, Tarsha and Abdulraham tell Palestine Monitor some of their daily observations while on the job.
“We see many guys coming in recently with cancer… which is really rare to happen in the young age, 20 to 25,” Tarsha explained. The types of cancers he sees vary from lung to bone, but each case is aggressive. His patients typically come in when it’s too late. “They live for three months after their diagnosis and they die. They just die. They don’t come at the early stages.”
In comparing the health of young people from Salfit with other areas in the West Bank, Tamimi claimed that one or two out of every 10 patients he sees has an illness that can be linked to existence of the Barkan industrial settlement. “The guys from these particular villages [in Salfit] have the same characteristics, the same diseases. You can relate that there is some problem over there.”
Many patients that come to the Salfit hospital are workers in Israeli industrial factories. Whether it be for cancer or for work-related injuries, they’re not coming in to get better, Tarsha explained. Most often he sees people coming in just to get a hospital-issued sick leave report so they can quickly return back to work.
“Because they don’t have any work in the West Bank, they just don’t care about their situation, their injuries.” Tarsha said that Palestinians working for Israeli factories only get three days of sick leave. If they don’t return to work after this allotted time with proof of their sickness, they simply get fired.
The Salfit general hospital usually serves entire families at a time. The two doctors correlated the contaminated water in the area with the spread of infectious diseases, most often contracted through children since their immune systems are weaker.
The situation is worsened when the head of the family works in an Israeli factory and can’t take time off, so untreated illnesses fester and spread faster as the family has to wait until the weekend to be taken to a physician.
Israeli factories on the hilltops of the Barkan industrial settlement
Changing genetic makeup
Current reports on the dangers of living near Israeli industrial zones focus on analyzing the types of toxic wastes factories and settlements emit and only list the potential health risks. Almost no statistical evidence exists to support the claims made by witnesses such as doctors or villagers.
Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a professor of genetics and molecular and cellular biology at Bethlehem University, published the first academic study on the effects of industrial settlement waste on Palestinians living in Burqin as well as in Idhna, Hebron district.
After collecting blood samples from a control group and a test group from the affected areas, Qumsiyeh and some grad students searched each cell for chromosome breaks or damages to the DNA. The study found a significant number of chromosomal breaks in the cells of residents near industrial zones as compared to the control group.
“The evidence is overwhelming that this cannot be by chance alone that there is a difference between those two samples,” Qumsiyeh told Palestine Monitor. “This is a highly significant finding that indicates that the presence of this industrial settlement is the one causing these damages.”
It takes a while for cells to replicate, Qumsiyeh explained, so sometimes the effects can take years to manifest, but DNA damage or chromosomal breaks increase the chance of infertility, congenital birth defects, and cancer.
Qumsiyeh added that the insults to genetic makeup were found not only in industrial workers, but normal residents living in Burqin and Idhna. This means that the toxic waste is polluting the air and water in these areas, affecting anyone that is simply living near waste sites.
As a prominent human rights activist, Qumsiyeh hopes to use his scientific research to bring justice to Palestinians. “This can be an important tool to challenge Israel in the international courts.”
But for the residents of Burqin, like Barakat and his family, all they ask for is some sort of immediate solution – even if it’s temporary.
After speaking seriously about his household woes with Israeli waste, Barakat looked tired. “Most Palestinians think about freedom from the occupation. All I ask for is fresh air. Until then, I can’t think about anything,” he said incredulously.
Lead photo: An underground pipe, constructed by the people of Burqin, conceals the sewage stream for only a couple of kilometers. It opens back up into the Matwi valley a few meters away from Barakat’s home.
Israeli occupation forces on Monday morning launched a raid and arrest campaign in different areas of the West Bank.
IOF stormed the town of Kobar north of Ramallah and arrested three people of the Barghouthi family.
After that, IOF arrested an ex-prisoners from Hebron city.
In the town of al-Khader in Bethlehem governorate, IOF arrested five citizens.
In the meantime, IOF stormed Al-Manahil print-house in Balata refugee camp in Nablus and confiscated contents from it. The printhouse belongs to the prisoner Ghassan Thoukan and his son Muath, who were arrested about a month ago. Ghassan’s other son, Bara, was arrested a few days later.
IOF also confiscated the car and a bike of a prisoner in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem; in addition, IOF raided homes of two released prisoners in the camp, and confiscated money.
Israeli occupation forces stormed the house of the prisoner ‘Abdallah Shana’a in Qalqilya and Jenin.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, of the Joint Arab List, aim to present a resolution at the United Nations to condemn the Nationality Law, in coordination with Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour.Hebrew-language news sites reported that Israeli diplomats have been informed that MKs of the Joint List have met with senior UN officials, including the Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs.Members of the Joint List reportedly presented the text of the Nationality Law saying it contains “Apartheid” provisions.Israeli National News site reported that Israeli officials believe that the move may lead to a debate and a vote, and are now trying to wage an all-out battle against it.According to the news site, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein responded to the report saying that “members of Knesset from the Joint List who receive salaries from the state and win all the parliamentary tools still dare to besmirch our name in the world.””Anyone who collaborates with the Palestinian Authority against Israel should ask himself whether his place is in the Palestinian or Israeli parliament,” Edelstein wrote in his Twitter account.The UN General Assembly will be holding its annual session next month.