Hamas: Great Return March to continue until Israel siege lifted

Protestors seen at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing 'Great March of Return' on August 3, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Protestors seen at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing ‘Great March of Return’ on August 3, 2018

Hamas reiterated yesterday that the Great March of Return protests will not stop until the 11-year Israeli siege on the Strip is lifted, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

The movement’s spokesman Abdel-Lattif Al-Qanou said that the protests “are not connected to seasons or timetable, but they are continuous until the end of the siege.”

READ: Great March of Return continues

He added: “The Palestinian people are ready to use every tool in their battle with the Israeli occupation, including the peaceful tools if they lead to achieving Palestinian rights.”

The Hamas official said that the protests are expanding and moving from place to place and their tools are developing, stressing that “the main goal is to lift the Israeli restrictions and achieve freedom of Gaza residents.”

112 Palestinians were killed in #Gaza by Israeli forces from 30th March to 15 May 2018

Read more: ow.ly/wwyF30k7j4A
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(Source / 25.09.2018)

Gaza health ministry: medicine shortage risks lives of thousands of patients

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis in Gaza City on 26 January 2014 [Mohammed AsadApaimages]

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis in Gaza City on 26 January 2014

The Health Ministry in the occupied Gaza Strip yesterday warned that a mounting, severe shortage of medicines is risking the life of thousands of patients in the blockaded territory, especially those who suffer from chronic diseases, reported Xinhua.

According to Maher Shamiya, director general of the ministry’s Primary Care, “primary Health Care services and their programs and protocols are at risk as the deficit in essential drug lists becomes more acute”.

Gaza hospital suspends services due to fuel shortages - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The official added that around 100 out of 143 Primary Health Care medicines are currently, unavailable, with another 16 liable to run out over the next three months.

In particular, Xinuha added, “Shamiya warned that lack of medicine will deprive patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, of continued treatment for the next three months.”

READ: Power outages to stop health services in Gaza hospital

The official concluded that the situation is “life-threatening” and “complications are expected if the crisis is not resolved”.

Ashraf Al-Qedra, the ministry spokesperson, additionally told Xinhua that Israeli occupation authorities prevent about 60 per cent of Gazan patients from travelling abroad for medical treatment, with 56 patients dying in 2017 after being banned by Israel from leaving for treatment.

The report further noted that “the medical work by the health facilities in the Gaza Strip are at risk of being interrupted by the shortage of fuel needed to operate generators used to cope with frequent power cuts.” Gaza’s residents have only four hours of electricity every half day.

2 million people are deprived of electricity, vital medical care, and clean water in #Gaza

READ: ow.ly/QyoE30eOfV9

MEMO Infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Palestinian human rights defender placed under Israel administrative detention

Ayman Nasser Karajeh, Palestinian human rights defender

An Israeli military court placed Palestinian human rights defender Ayman Nasser Karajeh under detention without charge or trial yesterday, reported Ma’an News Agency.

The 45-year-old father-of-four, who works as the legal unit coordinator at Palestinian prisoners’ support group Addameer, was detained from his home in Saffa, the West Bank, on 9 September.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners Affairs’ Committee, Karajeh was given a six-month administrative detention order.

PHOTOS: Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours shows Israel’s ‘utter disregard for right to life’, says Amnesty

Israeli occupation authorities routinely use administrative detention, which can be indefinitely renewed, as a tool of political repression, targeting activists, journalists and political leaders.

Citing official data, Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem has reported that over the last year, 29 Palestinians were taken into administrative detention every month, on average, and 37 were released.

Over the past decade, the number of administrative detainees held by Israel in a single month has never fallen below 150.

According to Addameer, there are 5,781 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, 456 of whom are administrative detainees.

Since #Israel‘s six-day war in 1967 and it’s occupation of #Jerusalem#WestBank & #Gaza – it has issued 50,000 administrative detentions to #Palestinians

#StopAD #PalPrisoners – MEMO infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Palestinian protesters down Israel drone

Family and friends mourn during the funerals of those killed by Israeli occupation forces

Palestinian protesters yesterday downed an Israeli quadcopter drone while it was dropping tear gas at peaceful demonstrations in the besieged Gaza Strip, the Shehab News Agency reported.

Israeli occupation forces use the drone to drop 12 gas canisters in areas where peaceful Palestinian protesters stage demonstrations in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians in Gaza organised the ninth sea protest on Monday as part of the Great March of Return which aimed to end the 11-year Israeli siege on the coastal enclave.

PHOTOS: Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours shows Israel’s ‘utter disregard for right to life’, says Amnesty

Thousands of protesters gathered near the beach and 40 small fishing boats sailed near the Israeli fence.

Twenty-one-year-old Fayez Abu Al-Sadiq was killed as a result of the Israeli aggression while over 100 Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. Abu Al-Sadiq’s body was buried earlier today.

Gaza has been living under a strict Israeli-imposed, internationally backed, siege since 2007, after Hamas won the general elections.

Since the start of the Great March of Return, Israeli occupation forces have killed 185 protesters and wounded more than 20,000 others, the health ministry state said.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Israel seeks to split Middle East region, Lebanon’s president says

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (Photo by Reuters)

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says the Tel Aviv regime is attempting to create division in the Middle East, and split the region along social and religious fault lines.

“In the Middle East Israel is trying to carve up the region into a patchwork of secular and religious entities, quasi-states, in a bid to put together a sectarian puzzle,” Aoun said in an exclusive interview with French daily newspaper Le Figaro published on Monday.

He then described the Israeli regime as a threat to his country’s sovereignty and blamed it for continuously violating Palestinian rights.

The Lebanese president also urged Europe to “support Lebanon’s effort to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees to their homes,” and to “contribute more to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).”

Aoun further noted that the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has weapons in its possession due to the ongoing Syrian crisis and the status quo of the Middle East region.

“Hezbollah doesn’t play any military role inside Lebanon, and doesn’t carry out any act of provocation along the border with occupied lands. The party’s arms ownership is linked to the situation in the Middle East and the Syrian conflict,” he pointed out.

Aoun also dismissed allegations that Hezbollah had a veto on strategic decisions on the national Lebanese level.

In this file picture, members of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement carry Hezbollah flags as they parade during the annual rally to mark al-Quds Day in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. 

“Lebanon is a consensus system and expressing an opinion has nothing to do with using the veto right,” he said.

Aoun highlighted that the international pressure on Hezbollah isn’t something new and is in fact on the rise.

The Lebanese president said some sides are seeking political revenge against Hezbollah after the resistance movement defeated Israel in several occasions.

“Hezbollah’s popular base constitutes more than a third of the Lebanese society. Unfortunately, some foreign outlets insist on portraying it as an enemy,” Aoun said.

On September 13, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said the ongoing developments in the Israeli-occupied territories do not allow the Tel Aviv regime to launch new military aggression against Lebanon.

He, however, noted that Hezbollah is ready for any possible military confrontation.

Addressing his supporters last month via a televised speech marking the 12th anniversary of Hezbollah’s victory in the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stressed that the movement is not scared of a potential war with Israel.

“No one should threaten us with war and no one should scare us by war… We are not scared or worried about war and we are ready for it and we will be victorious,” he said on August 14.

“The resistance in Lebanon today, in its possession of weapons and equipment and capabilities and members and cadres and ability and expertise and experience, and also of faith and determination and courage and will, is stronger than at any time since its launch in the region,” Nasrallah pointed out.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Worse than Camp David

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David, July 2000 [Wikipedia]

US President Bill Clinton, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David, July 2000

By Sameh Rashid

Four decades have passed since the beginning of the Arab-Israeli peace process at Camp David, the country retreat of the President of the United States. After such a long time, observers can only reflect on the events of the Arab-Israeli conflict and lament, especially given the fact that the process has become a series of fruitless negotiations with no goal other than to task the Arabs with securing Israel while getting nothing in return.

The Arabs began to make mistakes from the first moment that they thought of accepting peace with Israel; the option of peace is old and precedes the Oslo, Madrid and Camp David agreements. Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser did not oppose ending the state of war with Israel, but based on objective terms, the first of which was its withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories. This not only meant the Sinai Peninsula, or any of the partially occupied land, but the occupied territories as a whole.

In addition to the great personal differences between Nasser and Anwar Sadat, the latter benefited from the lessons of the Nasserite era, especially with regard to the manner of managing the conflict with Israel. The result was full conviction in the need for the Egyptian and Arab stakes to be changed from relying on a strong relationship with the Soviet Union to dealing directly with the United States, and making it their sole sponsor. This would put the reins in Washington’s hands alone, and not in the hands of any other superpower. According to Sadat himself, he believed that 99 per cent of the cards were in US hands.

Read: US promises $3.3bn in military aid to Israel but cuts humanitarian aid to Palestinians

With regards to the Arab states, the memoirs of Egyptian politicians and diplomats have revealed that Sadat was not seeking peace on his own, as he was consulting with Arab leaders and officials, including Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. However, the disparity between the initial refusal to enter into a peaceful settlement and the objection to the way it was launched prevented the formation of a collective, unified Arab position.

As such, Sadat cannot be held solely responsible for this division, as Arab countries fearing the exposure of their reliance on, and legitimacy gained from, the conflict with Israel were also responsible, along with other countries that were not directly involved in the conflict, but which saw Sadat’s endeavour as an opportunity to eliminate Egypt, steal its leadership position and even isolate it. Caught between all of these countries, the Palestinians were confused. Arafat almost went to the Mena House Hotel — where the preparatory negotiations were held, and the Palestinian flag was still raised until the last day — but he was under pressure and temptation from the Arab parties that feared the Palestinians would join Sadat.

It was not wrong to make the shift towards peace rather than war. The mistake lies in the approach taken to reach peace, and then later in abandoning the rationale behind war or peace, which is the restoration of basic human rights.

According to information and documents revealed over the past four decades, the face of the Arab region would have been different if the Arabs had accepted a peace agreement from the outset. If that were to happen, the Arab negotiating position would have been stronger, and the Arabs would have achieved much greater benefits from the Madrid, Oslo, Wadi Araba and Camp David agreements. If the Arabs were present, Sadat would not have made concessions that prompted his then foreign minister, Mohamed Ibrahim Kamel, to resign in the middle of the negotiation process.

Read: Trump says he won’t give aid to Palestinians unless they agree to peace deal

Four decades ago, Camp David was the beginning of the Arab divide over the management of the conflict with Israel. It took the Arabs a long time before they learned from their mistakes arising from absence. Now, it seems that they have not learned from Sadat’s mistake of rushing into things. The Arabs are following in Sadat’s footsteps by restricting sponsorship of an agreement to the US, and have gone even further than Sadat by begging for peace and admitting openly and officially that they have no other options available. Sadat, however, entered peace talks with a military victory behind him, thus ensuring that he would be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Just as the Arabs erred in the beginning, they also erred at the end, as they joined the agreement process later, and under even more unfair conditions than those proposed in Camp David. Now they are ignoring the reason behind the negotiations and the original goal. If Camp David failed to bring the Arabs together and achieve a fair and comprehensive peace based on the restoration of Arab rights, then forty years later there is no hope for achieving anything from futile negotiations that have no clear objective or principles governing them. There is simply no room in these negotiations for recovering land or restoring rights.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 24 September 2018.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

World Bank: Gaza economy in ‘free fall’

World Bank calls for Israel to lift its siege imposed on Gaza to help improve its economy

Gaza economy is in “free fall,” World Bank warned on Tuesday, calling for urgent action by Israel, which imposes strict siege on the coastal enclave, and international community to avoid “immediate collapse.”

The report was released ahead of a high-level meeting of the bank’s Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, responsible for coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians, on September 27.

According to the report, the unemployment is now over 50 percent—and over 70 percent among Gaza’s youth.

Mark Aharon, director of the World Bank’s economic programme in Gaza and the West Bank, told Israeli Ynet News that Gaza’s economy faces a rapid economic decline.

“In the first quarter of 2018, Gaza’s economy contracted by 6 percent, which is very significant, and it has continued to plummet ever since,” Aharon stressed.

Aharon predicts negative growth in the second quarter as well. He explained that although the Gaza blockade is a key factor in this economic trend, there are additional aspects that affect the situation.

“The Palestinian Authority’s decision to reduce the monthly transfer of $30 million to the strip, the elimination of $ 50-60 million that was provided through US aid programmes and cuts to UNRWA’s budget,” all play a major role in the current crisis that has developed, according to Aharon.

Aharon also pointed out that the rate of school dropouts has increased, indicating that situation will continue to worsen in the future if no significant changes are made to stimulate Gaza’s economy.

The World Bank believes the solution to help improve Gaza’s economy is for Israel to lift its 12-year-old siege imposed on Gaza, including the restrictions on trade and movement of goods and people.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

P.A. Foreign Ministry: “Netanyahu’s Government Affirms Its Hostility To Peace”

25 SEP
2:21 PM

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has reported that the Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, has yet again affirmed its hostility towards peace, and all real Palestinian and international efforts to resume direct peace talks, based on international legitimacy resolutions.

The Ministry stated that Netanyahu and his government are openly rejecting any real peace agreement, based on the two-state solution, and all related United Nations and Security Council resolutions, including the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, and establishing a Palestinian State with east Jerusalem as its capital.

It added that various Israeli media outlets have been talking, Monday, about major Israeli diplomatic moves, and pressures, aimed at foiling the international diplomacy of President Mahmoud Abbas, to protect the two-state solution.

|Abbas Arrives In New York For General Assembly Meeting|

Furthermore, the Ministry said that Israel is acting on all levels, in coordination with the United States, which blindly supports Tel Aviv’s illegal policies and serious violations, in an attempt to void the internationally guaranteed Palestinian rights of liberation, independence, and the full Israeli withdrawal from all of the occupied territories, including the occupied capital, East Jerusalem.

The Ministry also said that the time has come for the international community, and all United Nations organizations, to protect and defend what it left of their legitimacy, and act on ending the suffering of the Palestinian people, living under ongoing Israeli occupation, oppression, and the theft of lands for the construction and expansion of illegal colonies.

It stated that the international community must act fast, and secure the implementation of all related resolutions, in addition to support the “diplomatic initiative presented by President Abbas regarding serious direct peace talks,” and to counter the illegal American-Israeli policies against the Palestinian people and their basic human rights.

The Ministry called on the International Community, the Quartet Committee, and every country that seeks real peace and justice, to act and support the message of peace, before it is too late.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Navy Fires on Boats Attempting to Break Gaza Siege

25 SEP
4:45 AM

Palestinian crowds gathered at the north western borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, to take part in a boat protest, setting off from the Gaza seaport, against the siege, on Monday.

A Ma’an News Agency reporter said that the Israeli navy obstructed the protest, way off the shore, by firing live ammunition and tear-gas bombs towards protesters.

The National Committee for Breaking the Siege, which organized the protest, called upon the “free world” to save Gaza.

As part of Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip to work within a limited “designated fishing zone,” the exact limits of which are decided by Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

Many attempts have been made, throughout the years, to draw the public’s attention to and break the on-going siege of the Gaza Strip, whether via ships attempting to sail into Gaza, or ships attempting to sail from Gaza.

(Source / 25.09.2018)

Palestinian Farmers Fired On East of Deir al-Balah, Abasan

25 SEP
4:35 AM

Israeli occupation soldiers, on Monday, opened fire at Palestinian youth and farmers to the east of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, and Abasan town, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers, stationed at military checkpoints along the security fence, opened fire at young men who approached the fence in al-Sanati area, east of Abasan village, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces also opened fire at farmers working in their agricultural lands near the fence near Al-Nimr Gate, east of Deir al-Balah.
(Source / 25.09.2018)