Netanyahu threatens ‘very painful blows’ against Hamas

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli security forces during the 14th week of the Great March of Return at the Gaza-Israel border on 29 June 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

An injured Palestinian is seen after Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters during the Great March of Return in Gaza on 29 June 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned that Israel would strike Gaza with “very powerful blows” if the Great March of Return protests were not brought to an end.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “Hamas apparently has not understood the message: if it does not stop its attacks, they will stop in another way, in the form of painful blows, very painful.”

“We are very close to another type of action that includes very hard shots. If Hamas is clever, it will cease fire and violence now,” he said.

Prior to Netanyahu’s remarks, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the time had come to deliver “the hardest blow” to Hamas should the “violence” on the “border” not stop, he said in reference to the protests being held by unarmed activists.

Read: Netanyahu’s Israel has eliminated peace

“We have turned every stone, and we have passed the point of no return… We have reached the stage where we must deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas,” Lieberman said, according to Ynet News.

He added: “When you send soldiers into battle, you understand that some of them might not come home. So, we must exhaust every other possibility.”

“Hamas is determined to continue the violence until the blockade is fully lifted without reaching an agreement, especially regarding prisoner exchange, and without giving up on the main article in their charter—the destruction of the state of Israel.”

Gazans suffer at the hands of Israel - Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/Twitter]

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Settlers run over 2 Palestine workers in West Bank

Palestinian workers were injured after an Israeli settler ran them in the West Bank

Two Palestinian workers were injured after an Israeli settler ran them over yesterday near the Kafr Laqif village, east of the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya.

According to local sources, an Israeli settler ran over two Palestinian workers, who were identified as Oqab Raji Mahmoud Abed Al-Hafith and Ameer Hayel Raji.

The two were transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Sources added that Al-Hafith suffered serious injuries to the head, while Raji suffered moderate injuries to the head and shoulder.

On late Friday, Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi, 47, a mother of eight children, from the Bidya village near Salfit in the northern West Bank, was killed and her husband was injured, after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at their vehicle near the Zaatara checkpoint in Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Read: Jewish settlers vandalise Palestinian cars in West Bank

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The majority of settler attacks committed against Palestinians are met with impunity, with Israelis rarely being indicted following such attacks.

Only 1.9 per cent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction, Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reported.

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Report: Israel army under ‘pressure’ from politicians over Gaza protests

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli forces at the Gaza-Israel border, as they take part in the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip on 14 September 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians as they took part in the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip on 15 September 2018

Israeli defence officials are feeling “pressure” from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ministers over ongoing protests in the occupied Gaza Strip, reported Haaretz.

According to the report, defence officials told the security cabinet yesterday “that it does not believe a large-scale conflict in the Gaza Strip is necessary”, following aggressive rhetoric and threats by Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The unnamed officials referred to “pressure from politicians to do something” about the Great Return March protests at the Gaza perimeter fence.

Haaretz stated that the army’s Southern Command is preparing for soldiers to “respond more forcefully” at the fence, and that “the no-entry area” could be “enlarged”.

However, in contrast to the language from ministers, the military has reportedly “not altered its decision to try to avoid being dragged into a military confrontation before the end of 2019”, by which time the new fence and underground barrier are expected to have been completed.

Read: Israel’s Bennett wants ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Gaza

One senior defence official, addressing the possibility that Israel’s political leadership would order a large-scale assault on the Gaza Strip, “argued that the conditions in Gaza would make it difficult for Israel to fight without being barraged by international criticism”.

The official noted that

the Gaza health system is on the verge of collapse and aid groups can barely help those in need, which means that fighting now in Gaza would lead to a serious humanitarian crisis there, limiting Israel’s room to manoeuvre vis a vis the international community.

In addition, “defence sources” cited by the paper “expressed surprise” at Lieberman’s “conditioning the resumption of fuel deliveries on total quiet”.

“These sources say that his remark puts both Israel and Hamas in a position from which it will be difficult to actually achieve an agreement”, the Haaretz report added.

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

Read more: ow.ly/wwyF30k7j4A
MEMO infographic by The White Canvas

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(Source / 15.10.2018)

Abbas calls for dissolving Palestinian parliament

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

Without reaching a reconciliation with the Palestinian factions, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday called for the Palestinian parliament to be dissolved.

During a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Ramallah, Abbas issued a decision calling for the PLO’s Central Council to take the needed measures to dissolve parliament.

The PLO’s Central Council is slated for a meeting at the end of this month.

In a statement, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council said that the Central Council would prepare for general elections in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, the Central Council is to carry out the elections only in the occupied West Bank if the situation on the ground does not allow for them to be carried out in Gaza and Jerusalem.

Read: Abbas misses a chance to help Palestinians

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Israel minister: Settler stoning of Palestinian mother ‘scrap of an incident’

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin [Betar NSW/Facebook]

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin

An Israeli minister yesterday belittled the stoning to death of a Palestinian mother by illegal Israeli settlers, calling it nothing more than a “scrap of an incident”.

Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin made the comments during an interview with Israel’s Army Radio yesterday, adding that left-wing organisations such as Peace Now were jumping on the incident to “condemn” illegal Israeli settlers. According to the Times of Israel, Levin told the radio:

It is impossible to not be aggravated by the hypocrisy of that kind of people [left-wing organisations], that finds sufficient the scrap of an incident that hasn’t even been checked, and they already know that the Jewish side is guilty.

Levin was commenting on an attack which took place on Friday night and left 47-year-old Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi dead. The attack took place at Tapuah Junction (Za’atara), south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, as Aisha and her husband Yaqoub were driving past a nearby illegal settlement. Their car was hit by stones believed to have been thrown by the settlers, causing Yaqoub to lose control of the car.

47-year-old Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi was killed after illegal Israeli settlers attacked her and her husband with stones in the West Bank [Ethan Anderson/Twitter]

According to Middle East Eye (MEE), the attackers “encroached on the right shoulder of the road, ambushed Aisha’s car [then hurled] large stones at the front windshield and passenger side window, where she was sitting”. MEE explains that “in the midst of the assault […] Aisha was struck with a large rock on the right side of her head, causing her to lose consciousness”. A MEE video showed graphic images of the blood-soaked car seat and shattered windscreen in the wake of the attack.

Yacoub’s cousin Issam told MEE: “Yaqoub was so disoriented, he could barely get a sense of what was going on, and he looked over and saw his wife unconscious and bleeding heavily from her head. He didn’t know what to do so he rushed to the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus City, a 20-minute drive away.” Despite Yaqoub’s attempt to save his wife, Aisha was pronounced dead on arrival, Ynet reported. She leaves behind seven children, one of whom was due to be engaged in the coming weeks.

READ: Jewish settlers vandalise Palestinian cars in West Bank

Israel’s security agency Shin Bet on Saturday launched an investigation into the attack, a fact which the Times of Israel sees as “suggesting that it was indeed suspected of being an act of terror carried out by area settlers.” Numerous other Israeli bodies have been cited as aiding the investigation, including “the division within the Judea and Samaria [West Bank] District Police that handles far-right activity” and Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, which issued a gag order on the investigation on Saturday. The involvement of so many organisations in the probe seems to add weight to the view that Israel believes its citizens were directly involved.

It is thought that the attack on the Al-Rabi family’s car could be a revenge attack for the shooting of two Israelis last week at the Barkan industrial park, itself situated near Tapuah Junction where Al-Rabi was murdered. Revenge attacks by settlers – sometimes dubbed “price tag” attacks – are commonplace and the perpetrators rarely face prosecution. According to human rights organisation Yesh Din, only three per cent of investigations into ideologically-motivated crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians have resulted in a conviction. In addition, only eight per cent of investigations monitored by Yesh Din between 2005 and 2017 have led to indictments.

READ: Settlers run over 2 Palestine workers in West Bank

Friday’s attack has received international condemnation, with the UN’s Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov yesterday issuing an official statement saying: “I urge all to condemn violence and stand up to terrorism […] Such attacks only seek to drag everyone into a new cycle of violence that would further undermine the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” Haaretz reported.

The European Union also issued a statement on the attack, with the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying: “The cycle of violence leads only to more violence and deprives entire generations from the legitimate aspiration to live in peace and free to build their own future. Only a political solution can put an end to the violence.”

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six Day War of 1967 and has since pursued a policy of illegal settlement across the territory. According to B’Tselem, as of the end of 2015 there were 127 government-sanctioned Israeli settlements in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem and central Hebron), in addition to a further 100 outposts. Though Israel differentiates between settlements and outposts, both are illegal under international law, which forbids the occupying power from transferring its civilians to the territory it occupies.

READ: Israel: $6m to build new illegal settlement in Hebron

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Netanyahu, Lieberman threaten destructive offensive on Gaza

Israeli occupation leaders demand that Gaza residents remain silent towards strict Israeli siege and continuous aggression

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Israel would strike Gaza with “very powerful blows” if the Great March of Return protests were not brought to an end.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “Hamas apparently has not understood the message: if it does not stop its attacks, they will stop in another way, in the form of painful blows, very painful.”

Israeli officials refer to the protests of the Great March of Return as violence carried out by Hamas on the eastern Gaza “borders” with the Israel.

“We are very close to another type of action that includes very hard shots. If Hamas is clever, it will cease fire and violence now,” Netanyahu said.

Prior to Netanyahu’s remarks, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the time had come to deliver “the hardest blow” to Hamas should the “violence” on the “border” not stop, he said in reference to the protests being held by unarmed activists.

“We have turned every stone, and we have passed the point of no return… We have reached the stage where we must deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas,” Lieberman said, according to Ynet News.

He added: “When you send soldiers into battle, you understand that some of them might not come home. So, we must exhaust every other possibility.”

“Hamas is determined to continue the violence until the blockade is fully lifted without reaching an agreement, especially regarding prisoner exchange, and without giving up on the main article in their charter—the destruction of the state of Israel.”

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Invade Al-Khan Al-Ahmar, Abduct Four And Injure Seven

15 OCT
1:37 PM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by a bulldozer, invaded the al-Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin community, east of occupied Jerusalem, and started bulldozing adjacent lands, before attacking nonviolent solidarity activists, abducted four and injured seven other.

Eyewitnesses said seven nonviolent activist suffered various lacerations after being assaulted by the Israeli soldiers and police officers.

They added that the soldiers abducted Riyad Salahat, the head of the Public Relations Department of the Palestinian National Security, in addition to two Israeli peace activists, identified as Koby and Jonathan, in addition to Robin, a peace activist from Holland.

The Palestinians, along with dozens of Israeli and international peace activists, have been holding constant nonviolent protests, and solidarity activities with the Bedouin Palestinian villages of the al-Khan al-Ahmar, facing demolition and displacement.


Video By Nidal Abood

Despite constant Israeli military assaults and violations against them, the peace activists continue to maintain a permanent presence in the community to prevent its demolition.

On September 5th, the Israeli supreme court denied an appeal against the demolition of the Palestinian community, and ordered its removal and displacement.

The first ruling by the court was made in May of this year, when it granted the military a green light for demolishing it.

There are approximately 200 Palestinians living in al-Khan al-Ahmar, %53 of them are children, and %95 of the population are refugees officially registered by the UNRWA. The community has one school providing education to 170 children.

It is worth mentioning that al-Khan al-Ahmar is surrounded by several illegal Israeli colonies, while Israel wants to remove it as part of its E1 colonialist project, which aims at surrounding occupied Jerusalem with a chain of Jewish-only colonies, and blocking the geographical contiguity of the occupied West Bank, and completely isolating the Palestinians from Jerusalem.

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Palestinian Authority Challenges Israel’s New Settlement Approval in Hebron

15 OCT
2:11 AM

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned on Sunday that there would be “serious repercussions of an Israeli expansion project of the old city of al-Khalil. (Hebron)”.

The warning came after 31 new settlement housing units were approved by the Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday. This illegal settlement in the southern West Bank will receive $6.1 million in government funding, some of the government ministries providing the funding include the Defence Ministry, providing $772,584, the Ministry of Social Equality, and the Ministry of Justice.

The new settlements will include 2 kindergartens (school), and public parks. Ma’an News Agency quoted human rights group PEACE NOW, in the following statement, “If the Israeli government is interested in peace it must halt settlement expansion immediately.”

The statement went on to say the current Israeli government is “clearly continuing to take advantage of the carte blanche given to them by the Trump administration, in order to destroy the chances for peace.”

The Palestinian Authority’s reaction included a call by Palestinian government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud to the international community, urging swift action  to enforce international law, and secure Palestinians, their homes, and their sacred sites.

The Palestinian Authority also suggested that the increase in settlement activity is a direct result of the silence of the international community, which has emboldened the Israeli government.

Meanwhile, Lieberman is reported to welcome the government’s decision, saying that “the city will flourish with a new Jewish neighborhood.” This news comes at the same time that several young Palestinians were attacked by settlers in al-Khalil, where one youth was hit in the head on Saturday, with the butt of a rifle, by an illegal colonialist settler, he was transferred to a local hospital for treatment, according to the Palestinian Information Center.

An estimated 196 settlements have been built throughout the Occupied West Bank, which under international law are illegal.

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Trump, Netanyahu share ‘brotherhood’ in opposition to Palestinians as Israeli crackdown intensifies

Trump, Netanyahu share ‘brotherhood’ in opposition to Palestinians as Israeli crackdown intensifies
Israel has threatened to unleash a “powerful blow” against Gaza – but don’t expect criticism from Washington: Shared animosity towards the Palestinians has united Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, RT is told.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned of military action against Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, if the ‘March of Return’ protests continue.

READ MORE: 12yo boy among 3 Palestinians killed during ‘March of Return’ at Gaza border

The threat is just the latest in a long list of extreme punitive measures taken or announced by Israel to crush the nearly-weekly protests, which began six months ago. Despite international criticism over the bloody crackdown – which has killed an estimated 200 Palestinians and left more than 20,000 injured since March – Israel has a reliable partner and friend in the White House.

Netanyahu and Trump have found a brotherhood in their policies towards the Palestinians, and towards the Saudis, and towards Iran.

They’ve really “aligned themselves very closely,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle-East studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT.

Read more

© Mohammed Salem

Israel slashes Gaza fishing zone by 33% in retaliation for weekly protests

Israel has resorted to using live ammunition to disperse the demonstrations, and has even called in airstrikes in retaliation against attempts by Palestinians to breach Israel’s border fence. Tel Aviv has also instituted economic punishments, announcing earlier this month that it would restrict waters used by Palestinian fishermen by 33 percent.

According to Landis, the Trump administration has been a boon for Israel. During the Obama years, there was “great tension” between Washington and Tel Aviv, even though they were “aligned in terms of their foreign policy.”

“The Obama administration took great pride in repeating constantly that it had done more than any previous administration to help Israel, in terms of arm sales and transfer of technology and so forth. Still, it was quite clear that president Obama wanted settlements stopped, wanted a two-state solution – and that has been reversed under president Trump.”

The Trump administration announced in August that it would withhold $200 million used to help fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), a UN agency that provides humanitarian aid for more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.

Palestine’s foreign minister described the policy move as an “attack the Palestinian people and international law.” The State Department insisted that the cuts were “in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer.”

In December, the US president declared that he would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

(Source / 15.10.2018)

Soldiers Confiscate Equipment Near Hebron

15 OCT
3:29 PM

Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, Masafer Yatta town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and confiscated equipment used for digging water wells, in addition to a crane and electricity generator.

Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers invaded Susiya village, in Masafer Yatta, and confiscated the equipment, before taking them to an unknown destination.

The confiscated equipment is owned by a local resident, identified as Husam Na’im Hamamda, who was working on a project on a land owned by Farid Ahmad Jabour.

The attack took place after many soldiers surrounded the area, which is subject to frequent violations, and invaded it.

(Source / 15.10.2018)