PA loses $350m per year due to Israel treaty violations

Israeli Shekels [File photo]

Israeli Shekels

The PA loses $350 million per year because of Israel’s violations of the Paris Protocol, a report presented to the UN yesterday has revealed.

The PA report, titled “Stopping Fiscal Leakages”, was presented to the Ad Hoc Liason Committee which was held yesterday on the side lines of the UN General Assembly meeting. The report claimed “that at least USD 350 million per year is lost through Israeli policies regarding implementation of the Paris Protocol arrangements.” It added that “Israel continues to control over 70% of our revenues and intermittently use[s] it to blackmail the Palestinian Government.”

A large portion of this money is lost via unpaid taxes on Israeli economic activity in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank. The report estimates that this accounts for 35 per cent of the Palestinian budget deficit, with Palestine missing a total of $360 million in unpaid taxes since 2000.

Around 2,000 Israeli businesses or individuals profit from “Area C” in sectors including agriculture, fuel, gas, telecoms and electricity. Although prior to 2000 Israel collected taxes from these businesses and transferred the revenue to the PA, since then it has withheld these funds and not informed the PA about its commercial activities in the occupied West Bank.

This withholding of funds is in contravention of Annex III: Civil Affairs Protocol of the Paris Protocol, the economic annex of the Oslo Accords signed in 1994. Annex III says that: “In Area C, the powers and responsibilities regarding property tax will be transferred gradually to Palestinian jurisdiction that will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, Finance Ministry, and Tax Authority all declined to comment on the revelations included in the report, according to i24 News.

READ: Israel army confiscates clothes imported by Palestinians

Israel often punitively withholds funds belonging to the PA. In July, Israel enacted a law to withhold part of the tax revenues it collects on the PA’s behalf to penalise the Authority for paying stipends to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces. The PA decried the move, claiming: “This is a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their freedom fighters and prisoners who sacrificed for the sake of Jerusalem and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.” At the end of June 2018 there were 5,667 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel Prison Service facilities, according to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.

Under Oslo II, sometimes known as the Taba Agreement, the occupied West Bank was divided into Areas A, B and C. “Area C” accounts for 60 per cent of the territory and is almost completely controlled by Israel. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt) explains that “most of Area C has been allocated for the benefit of Israeli settlements or the Israeli military, at the expense of Palestinian communities. This impedes the development of adequate housing, infrastructure and livelihoods in Palestinian communities, and has significant consequences for the entire West Bank population.”

READ: MK: Israel to extend its sovereignty over all historic Palestine

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Israel army confiscates clothes imported by Palestinians

A Palestinian man packs ready made clothes for sale [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimges]

A Palestinian man packs ready made clothes for sale

The Israeli army has confiscated containers filled with clothes imported by Palestinian traders under the pretext that revenue from their sale is being channeled to Hamas, Israeli media reported.

“The Israeli army has confiscated imported clothes containers and foiled a garment trade that Hamas benefited financially from in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” Israel Channel 14 said.

The channel claimed that “the trade was conducted through several traders in order to pay the salaries of Hamas operatives and buy weapons and combat equipments.”

Read: Gaza farmers have dates, but have nowhere to sell them

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad elects Al-Nakhleh as successor of Shalah

Representatives from military groups including Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, armed wing of Palestinian Hamas and Sereya the al-Quds, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, hold a media conference during a press conference regarding the Israeli violations and restrictions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Gaza City on 18 July, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Representatives from military groups including Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, armed wing of Palestinian Hamas, in Gaza City on 18 July, 2017

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement (PIJ) elected Ziad Al-Nakhleh as the new Secretary-General of the movement inside Palestine and abroad, replacing the former secretary Ramadan Shalah whose health situation has triggered concern.

The movement has also elected new members of its Political Bureau, and the details of the elections will be revealed during a press conference in the upcoming hours, according to Al-Khaleej Online website.

Shalah underwent heart surgery at “Al-Rassoul Al-Azam” Hospital in the southern suburb of Beirut in April.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad then explained that Shalah’s health condition is stable, and revealed that he is subject to close surveillance.

Read: UN General Assembly charades offer publicity stunts but nothing for Palestinians

Unconfirmed reports pointed out some suspicions which indicated that he was poisoned by Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad.

Al-Nakhleh was born in Gaza Strip in 1951. He began his political career in the Islamic Jihad in 1982, along with its late founder Fathi Shaqaqi, and played an essential role in forming the military wing of the movement, known as Al-Quds Brigades.

In 1986, the Israelis exiled Al-Nakhleh to southern Lebanon, and he remained there until 1994 when he moved to settle in Beirut.

In 1997, he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the Jihad Movement, after the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, assassinated the founder of the movement, Shaqaqi, in Malta.

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Palestinian groups to UN: Abbas has lost his legitimacy

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

More than 60 Palestinian civil society organisations yesterday sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stating that the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s President Mahmoud Abbas “had lost his legitimacy”.

According to Safa news agency, the Palestinian organisations attributed their claims to article 36 of the Palestinian Basic Law of 2003 and its amendments in 2005.

The law’s article states that “a president’s term in office lasts for four years and the president has the right to run for a second term.”

Based on the Palestinian Basic Law, the rights institutions stressed, Abbas has to run for another presidential election to be able to renew his legitimacy or hand over the leadership to his successor.

Palestinian factions: Abbas’ speech at UNGA lacks national support

“Abbas has continued to hold the leadership on an illegal basis and with the support of the international community and the Arab states,” the letter read, adding that Abbas was now “powerless”.

Abbas should have left office a decade ago however he had returned on a “de facto” basis, they said.

“This has contributed to deepening the division between Palestinians and strengthening the constitutional and legal crisis that has raged on the Palestinian political scene,” the civil organisations explained.

(Source / 28.09.2018)

3.1m tourists visit West Bank in 6 months

Participants run past the the Walled-Off Hotel, Banksy's newly opened hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 31, 2017. [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Participants run past the the Walled-Off Hotel, Banksy’s newly opened hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 31, 2017

More than 3.1 million people visited tourist sites in the occupied West Bank in the first half of 2018, data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has shown.

Marking World Tourism Day yesterday, the ministry said 1.48 million tourists came from abroad while 1.65 million were local.

The number of international visitors increased by 5.8 per cent compared to the first half of 2017.

Palestinians residing in Israel accounted for the largest proportion of inbound visitors at 47 per cent with 694,000 visits, followed by arrivals from the United States at seven per cent with 110,000 visits, Russia at seven per cent with 106,000 visits, Poland at four per cent with 52,000 visits and Romania at three per cent with 44,000 visits.

Read: Israel reverses ban on Indonesia tourists

The figures do not take in to account tourists who visited the besieged Gaza Strip or occupied Jerusalem.

The report added that the number of hotel guests in the West Bank reached 301,422 in the first half of 2018; they spent 893,890 nights in the occupied territory. When compared with the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, the number of guests increased by 55.6 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Bloody Friday. Israeli snipers kill 6 Palestinians in Gaza, wound 550 others

Two of the dead, 35 of the wounded are children. Four paramedics and two journalists.

In the 27th Friday protests of the Great March of Return in Gaza, Israeli occupation snipers killed six Palestinian protesters and wounded more than 550 others, including seven in critical conditions.

The Palestinian ministry of health named in a statement the six martyrs as: Naser Musabeh, 12, Mohammad al-Hoom, 14, Mohammad Inshasi, 18, Iyad al-Shaer, 20, Mohammad Haniyeh and Mohammad Shakhsa, both 24 years old.

According to the statement, the health ministry said that the martyrs included two children and a teenage.

It said that the martyrs were deliberately shot to be killed, stating all of them were shot in their upper extremities.

The statement also stated that 210 of the wounded were rushed to hospitals, including 35 children, four women, four paramedics and two journalists.

Since the start of the protests of the Great March of Return on 30 March, Israeli occupation snipers have killed 190 protesters, including 32 children and three women, and wounded more than 21,000 others.

Israeli occupation snipers shot dead Palestinians #child protester Yousef Bu-Zarifa, 11, and wounded four others in #Gazan!#GreatReturnMarchpic.twitter.com/ixyOTFzaYP

— Motasem A Dalloul (@AbujomaaGaza) September 28, 2018

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Elderly Injured by Israeli Forces at Bil’in Weekly Protest

28 SEP
6:57 PM

An elderly man was injured after he was hit by a gas canister in his leg, while others suffocated from teargas inhalation, when Israeli occupation forces attacked the weekly nonviolent protest in the village of Bil’in, to the west of Ramallah, according to local WAFA sources.

Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters towards Palestinians who were partaking in a protest against Israeli settlements, injuring an elderly and causing many cases of suffocation among the protesters.

No further details were given, at the time of this report.

(archive photo image)

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Army Closes Palestinian Community To Allow Settlers To Tour Nearby

28 SEP
10:38 AM

The Israeli army announced, Friday, the closure and siege on a Palestinian Bedouin community, in northern Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank, so that groups of illegal colonialist settlers can tour in the area.

The military ordered a siege on Khallet Hamad from eight in the morning, until six in the evening, Friday.

Local sources said groups of colonialist settlers, accompanied by soldiers, have already started their “tours” in the area, while the villagers were not allowed to leave their community.

The sources added that such activities have been carried out several times lately, while the Palestinian shepherds were unable to even take their sheep to grazing areas.

It is worth mentioning that, two years ago, Israel built an illegal colony on Palestinian lands neat the community.

(Source / 28.09.2018)

MoH: In Less Than Two Weeks, 10 Palestinians Killed & 1,193 Injured

28 SEP
6:49 PM

The latest figures provided by the Ministry of Health (MoH) indicate that, during the demonstrations between the 10th and 22nd of September, ten Palestinians, including four children, were killed and 1,193 were injured by Israeli forces.

Out of the total 1,193 injured, 690 patients required transfer to the MoH hospitals or NGO clinics, including 127 children and 37 females. Of the hospitalized injured, 19 cases were critically life threatening, 275 moderate, 386 mild, and the remaining 10 were unspecified cases (see also figures 1 and 2 on the following page).

The MoH and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) set up a total of ten Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs), with the tenth one established at the beach north of Gaza. At least 503 injured patients were managed at the TSPs and discharged at the TSPs. The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to strengthen the capacity of the TSPs, across Gaza, to provide life-saving interventions.

According to the PNN, Gaza’s 14 public hospitals rely on donated fuel to run generators during the electricity black-outs, which continue to last up to 18-20 hours per day. The last batch of UN donated fuel has been distributed during August of 2018. Local authorities have since procured 120,000 litres, and a charity organization (Human Appeal International) has provided 10,500 litres, to sustain services at public hospitals throughout the month of September. Nevertheless, hospitals are rationalizing the use of the remaining fuel reserves by suspending sterilization, laundry, cleaning, catering and selected diagnostic services during electricity cuts. On 17 September the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC), announced the release of US$1.0 million from the humanitarian fund for fuel procurement. This support will ensure uninterrupted electricity supply for up to 250 critical health and water and sanitation facilities for a period of up to 6-7 weeks.

In August of 2018, the Central Drug Store of the MoH in Gaza reported 47% of essential drugs, at less than one month’s supply, and 40% completely depleted. 30% of essential disposables were at less than one month’s supply.

Click here for WHO Situation Report 

08/15/19 Meet the Palestinian Doctor Who Watched His Son Die

(Source / 28.09.2018)

Human Rights Center Warns of Excessive Israeli Detention Procedures

28 SEP
7:56 PM

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has expressed deep concern over the excessive use of administrative detention by the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian detainees.

The Center reported, in a press release, that four Palestinians, of those who are administratively detained by the Israeli occupation, have launched a hunger strike in protest against the policy.
Administrative detention is an archaic legal measure, dating back to the days of British Mandate Palestine, in which citizens are detained without charge or trial for periods of up to six weeks, the orders renewable indefinitely.
The Center stressed, according to Al Ray, that administrative detention is a violation of international humanitarian law, which limits the use of this type of detention.

09/20/18 Khader Adnan on 18th Day of Hunger Strike

(Source / 28.09.2018)