UN to Vote on Haley’s Last Stand: Condemning Hamas

US Ambassador Nikki Haley (C) has been a strong supporter of Israel at the United Nations

The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday on a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian Hamas movement, in what could mark US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s parting gesture at the United Nations.

Haley, who will step down as UN ambassador at the end of the year, has repeatedly accused the United Nations of having an anti-Israel bias and strongly supports Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas in Gaza.

If adopted, it would mark the first time the 193-nation assembly has taken aim at Hamas, the Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

The United States has won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries set to support the US measure that condemns Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.

Diplomats, however, warn the session could go awry over procedural issues, notably whether a majority of two-thirds will be required for adoption or a simple majority.

There was also much diplomatic wrangling after the Palestinians presented an amendment to the US text to include a reference to UN resolutions that condemn Israeli settlements, call for negotiations on East Jerusalem and pledge support for the two-state solution.

In negotiations with the Europeans, the United States agreed to add a mention of “relevant UN resolutions” without specifying which ones. The US text does not refer specifically to the two-state solution.

After talks with the Europeans late Wednesday, the Palestinians agreed to withdraw their amendment and instead table a separate resolution, diplomats said.

That move increased the chances that the US measure will be adopted, as well as the Palestinian-drafted resolution. EU countries plan to support both measures.

– US takes vote seriously –

Haley rattled the United Nations when she arrived in January 2017 vowing that the United States will be “taking names” of countries that oppose President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

Ahead of the vote on Thursday, the US ambassador sent a letter to all UN missions to make clear that “the United States takes the outcome of this vote very seriously.”

The vote at the assembly could be a crowning achievement for Haley as she prepares to step away from public life.

Diplomats say the US administration has lobbied hard to win votes.

“She would like to go out with something,” said a Security Council diplomat.

EU backing for the US measure buttressed Haley’s stance.

The European Union, like the United States, considers Hamas a terror group, but the 28-nation bloc is divided over how to support peace efforts.

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are non-binding, but they carry political weight and are seen as a barometer of world opinion.

The United States put forward the resolution as it prepares to unveil new peace proposals that the Palestinians have already rejected.

The Palestinians have severed ties with the Trump administration after the decision a year ago to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and declare the city Israel’s capital.

The US administration has also cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid.

The Palestinians see the city as the capital of their future state. International consensus has been that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the two sides.

The General Assembly session to vote on the US draft resolution is scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Israel paves way for expropriating illegal West Bank outpost

Israeli forces intervene in a protest against building of Jewish settlements and separation wall at Kafr Qaddum village of Nablus, West Bank on November 30, 2018

Israel today issued a legal opinion which will pave the way for permanently expropriating an illegal West Bank outpost.

The Counselling and Legislation Department of Israel’s Justice Ministry – with the backing of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked – today issued a legal opinion which will allow an Israeli-only road to be built to the illegal outpost of Haresha, situated near Ein Qiniya north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The recommendation means that the outpost will now be “legalised” by Israel, giving it official government recognition, allowing the state to undertake construction and enabling Israeli law to be extended to those living there. Although Israel differentiates between settlements – which have official government recognition – and outposts, both are deemed illegal under international law which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory.

According to Arutz Shevait will now be “possible to submit a zoning plan for the [illegal outpost] using the ‘cut & cover’ solution – paving a road over which concrete will be placed”. The legal opinion also “enables the permanent expropriation of the land in the future,” the Israeli daily added.

Furthermore, Israel’s Justice Ministry issued the recommendation in the full knowledge that sections of the road would require the expropriation of private Palestinian land. Arutz Shevacited the legal document as saying:

Until now, the state has not been able to regulate the construction in the area, in light of the fact that the road leading to Haresha is not regulated, and it passes through privately owned land. The section of the road that passes through private land, and which is at the centre of this legal opinion, stands at 121 metres.

READ: Arab League calls on UN to unveil pro-Israeli settlement firms

Commenting on the approval, Shaked said: “From the beginning of my current term [as Minister of Justice] I have set a goal of normalising the lives of [illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank] and normalising as many communities as possible. We have gone from a discourse of eviction to a discourse of normalisation.”

Israel has pursued a consistent policy of settlement expansion. Last week Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of settlers after a 22-year legal battle by Palestinians against efforts to annex their land. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) had claimed ownership of 522 dunams (130 acres) of land as part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. Despite providing ownership documents for the land, the court ruled against the Palestinians affected.

Israel also regularly provides funding and support for settlements, despite their illegality. In October a Knesset report revealed that illegal settlements receive 144 million shekels ($39 million) in government funding for regional councils, amounting to 25 per cent of Israel’s regional council budget.

Just two days earlier, an investigation into the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) by Israeli daily Haaretz exposed that the group has given dozens of loans to aid the establishment of illegal Israeli settlements. Haaretz uncovered dozens of documents for mortgages pertaining to 26 outposts across the West Bank, including Amona, which Israel evacuated in 2017 in a rare move after deeming it had been established illegally on Palestinian land. The illegal settlers were then relocated to Amichai, north of Ramallah.

According to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, as of the end of 2015 there were 127 government-sanctioned Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, without including East Jerusalem and central Hebron. In addition, there were a further 100 illegal outposts. According to a June 2018 report by the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS), there are 132 illegal settlements in the West Bank, with a further 11 in East Jerusalem.

READ: Knesset speaker tells settlers Israel must annex the West Bank

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Amnesty: PA tortures activist, punishes her for hunger strike

A poster supporting Suha Jubara, a Palestinian woman who would give financial aid to those in the Gaza Strip

A poster supporting Suha Jbara, a Palestinian woman who would give financial aid to those in the Gaza Strip

Amnesty International has urged the Palestinian Authority to “urgently investigate” the alleged torture of Suha Jbara, a joint Palestinian, US and Panamanian citizen who has testified that she was “beaten, slammed against a wall and threatened with sexual violence by her interrogators”.

Jbara was arrested on 3 November “during a violent raid on her home”, and subsequently “questioned by prosecutors about allegations that she collected and distributed money in illegal ways, an accusation she denies”, Amnesty stated.

During a visit by Amnesty to the prison where she is being held, Jbara told the human rights group “about brutal treatment at the hands of her interrogators in a three-day ordeal”.

“She also told Amnesty she has suffered relentless harassment from officials to end a hunger strike she began on 22 November in protest at her detention and torture,” the press release continued.

She described how, upon her arrest, she had a seizure and lost consciousness and was taken to hospital. However, armed security officials later dragged her out of her hospital bed, barefoot, and transferred her to Jericho Interrogation and Detention Centre.

Once there, a male interrogator threw water in Jbara’s face, “slapped her, punched her on the chest and back, and threatened her with further violence”. She was “blindfolded and handcuffed throughout her interrogation and was not allowed to drink water or use the toilet.”

Amnesty added that Jbara was “denied access to a lawyer during interrogation and prosecutors from the attorney general’s office took her testimony in the presence of armed security officials at the interrogation centre”, and “she was also not allowed to read her testimony before signing it.”

READ: Palestine woman jailed for helping Gazans on hunger strike in PA prison

Amnesty added that after having had her detention extended, Jbara is due in court today.

Jbara told Amnesty that she began a hunger strike on 22 November “in protest at her torture during interrogation and unfair treatment by the prosecution and judiciary”.

According to Jbara, “several officials – including the governor of Jericho, a high-ranking police officer as well as doctors and nurses -had tried to persuade her to stop her hunger strike. She was also told that she was being denied family visits or phone calls as punishment for her protest.”

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said: “Suha Jbara has described her torture in harrowing detail. The Palestinian authorities must urgently carry out an independent and impartial investigation into these allegations.”

READ: PA arrests a Palestinian woman for helping Gazans

“Any officials identified as responsible must be immediately suspended, prosecuted and brought to justice,” he added.

According to Amnesty, “Palestinian forces in the West Bank and Gaza have a track record of arbitrarily arresting peaceful activists, demonstrators and critics, many of whom have faced judicial proceedings that do not meet fair trial standards.”

“Amnesty is calling on international donors to the Palestinian security sector to review their assistance to ensure that it is not facilitating human rights violations and is in line with international standards.”

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Israel rules to expel Palestinian family from their Jerusalem home

Palestinian Maghribi family collect their belongings amid ruins of their house after Israeli authorities demolished the top part of it in Jabal Al-Mukaber of East Jerusalem on 28 November, 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Maghribi family collect their belongings amid ruins of their house after Israeli authorities demolished the top part of it in Jabal Al-Mukaber of East Jerusalem on 28 November, 2018

An Israeli court yesterday ruled that a Palestinian family can be evicted from their home in Jerusalem after inheriting it from their mother, the Wadi Al-Hilwa Information Centre reported.

The court gave the family until March to evacuate the house which is built on an aea of 500 square metres in Silwan.

Ilham Siyam and here four siblings live in the house.

The family had provided the Israeli High Court with all the necessary documents to prove ownership of the property and it was due to convene in February, however the Magistrate’s Court’s decision was seen as a pre-emptive measure.

The legal battle has been ongoing for 22 years, the family said, as the Israeli Al-Ad Association claims ownership of the property which overlooks Al-Aqsa Mosque.

READ: Sick, elderly woman homeless as Israel demolishes her home 

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Calls for mass protests in Gaza against US anti-resistance move

Members from the armed wings of the four largest political parties in the besieged Gaza Strip — Hamas’s al-Qassam, Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds, Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades — stand together at a press conference in Gaza City denouncing an Egyptian court’s ruling classifying the al-Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organization

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — National and Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday called for mass demonstrations in the enclave on Thursday.

They announced in a statement that the demonstrations will be protesting a US recent proposal labeling the Palestinian resistance groups, especially Hamas, as “terror groups”.

The United Nations General Assembly is set to vote on Thursday on a US-drafted resolution that would condemn the Palestinian resistance and Hamas movement for “inciting violence”.

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Report: Palestinian Prisoners In Israel Jails Suffer Medical Negligence

Four Palestinian prisoners have died inside Israeli jails so far this year due to medical negligence

Naim Shawamreh experienced severe health conditions while inside Israeli prisons.

Naim Shawamreh experienced severe health conditions while inside Israeli prisons

Palestinian prisoners who were detained in Israeli prisons are being diagnosed with medical conditions late because of a lack of health care in jail, Palestinian NGO has revealed.

In a report, the Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said 12 per cent of the Palestinian prisoners in occupation jails are diagnosed with hypertension, and 2.7 per cent are diabetic.

The centre’s director, Dr Raafat Hamdouneh, stressed the importance of allowing blood pressure monitors and devices to test detainee blood sugar levels in prisons.

He attributed the high rates of late diagnosis to the intentional medical negligence policy followed by the occupation against Palestinian prisoners.

Hamdouneh added that having limited space for physical activities and limited movement, prisoners must have proper attention paid to the quality of their food and regular medical tests, as the medical implications can be deadly.

Four Palestinian prisoners have died so far this year while in Israeli custody, including 57-year-old Hussein Hassani who died as a results of complications in his health condition which he developed in Israeli jails and the medical negligence which ensued, Palestinian media reported in January.

According to rights group B’Tselem, at the end of October 2018 there were 5,426 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners being held in Israel Prison Service (IPS) facilities.

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Shots Fired at Palestinians in Gaza, Bulldozers Raze Lands

06 DEC
4:01 AM

Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into eastern Beit Hanoun, on Wednesday, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip.

A Ma’an reporter said that four Israeli D-9 bulldozers razed and leveled lands as Israeli drones flew overhead.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces deployed at the Nahal Oz military site in eastern Gaza City had opened fire towards two Palestinians.

Witnesses reported that Israeli forces had opened fire at two Palestinians outside of the “buffer zone.”

No injuries were reported.

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds and farmers along the border areas, if they approach the buffer zone, as authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave, which has been under an Israeli air, land, and sea blockade for nearly 12 years.

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Israeli Military Industries Moving Massive Testing Facility South, Bedouins at Risk of Forced Displacement

06 DEC
4:14 AM

Israel’s state-owned weapons manufacturer is relocating a massive testing facility from the center of the country to an area in the Naqab (Negev) desert in a move that puts some 1,200 Bedouin homes and other structures at risk of forced displacement. The planned facility is more than twice the size of Tel Aviv. Adalah & Bimkom are demanding authorities to reject or find alternative plan for Ramat Beka that doesn’t harm Bedouin residents.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights have filed an objection to the IMI Systems (formerly Israel Military Industries) facility to the Ramat Beka area, demanding that Israeli planning authorities reject the move or find an alternative that does not harm the area’s Bedouin residents. A hearing on the objection will be held tomorrow, Monday, 3 December 2018.

Adalah and Bimkom staff drive along the perimeter fence of the Ramat Beka facility  

[CLICK HERE for more hi-res photos of Adalah & Bimkom touring the Ramat Beka area]

The Southern District Planning and Building Committee will hear the objection against the “Ramat Beka Special Industrial Zone”, filed on 3 December 2018 by the two NGOs on behalf of the Bedouin residents and representatives of the local committee of the following villages in the area: Abu Qrinat/Umm Mitnan, Wadi el Mshash, Wadi al Na’am, Abu Tlul, and Swawin, and the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev. The planned weapons testing facility (27,770 acres), more than twice the area of the city of Tel Aviv (12,850 acres), is located amidst multiple Bedouin communities and will expose residents to health, safety and environmental risks. The plan would also impose severe building and development restrictions on 1,213 structures in the concerned villages and is liable to result in the forced displacement of area residents. In their objection filed 26 September 2018, Adalah attorney Myssana Morany and Bimkom architect Dafna Saporta maintain that the plan does not rely on sufficient factual basis and that it disproportionately violates the right of area residents to dignity, life, health, and to environmental justice.

Adalah attorney Myssana Morany (left) and Bimkom architect Dafna Saporta review aerial imagery during a tour of the Ramat Beka area with local Bedouin residents

The establishment of the high-risk military industrial zone in the heart of a populated area means that local residents were not taken into account when preparing the plan and that they are seen as “transparent” or as a “problem” that can be solved through eviction.

Adalah and Bimkom stress that in light of the fact that thousands of Bedouin residents have lived around the Ramat Beka area for countless years, the plan must take them into consideration and prevent harm or at least reduce harm to the residents.

In addition, Adalah and Bimkom note in the objection that an environmental impact report is not the proper tool for examining the impact of the program on the health of area residents. Rather, a health impact report must be conducted that would examine alternatives intended to prevent or minimize the harm to residents.

Morany and Saporta emphasize that “this plan joins other programs promoted in the Negev which – under the cover of ‘regional development’ and ‘job creation’ for certain populations – effectively block Bedouin villages, expose residents to health risks, and leaving many residents without shelter.”

A cloud of smoke rises in the air during military testing in Ramat Beka

CLICK HERE to read the objection [Hebrew]

[In accordance with obligations stipulated in legislation approved by the Israeli government in order to harm organizations that criticize its policies, Adalah would like to point out that Bimkom is an organization whose main sources of funding are donations from foreign policy entities.]

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Injure Four Palestinians, Abduct Two, In Jenin

06 DEC
10:20 AM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, shot and injured four Palestinians, including three children, and abducted two others, during protests that took place after the soldiers stormed and searched homes.

Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes in the refugee camp, before dozens of youngsters took to the street, and started throwing stones at the army.

They added that the soldiers shot three children and a young man with live fire, before local medics rushed them to Khalil Suleiman governmental hospital in Jenin, suffering moderate wounds.

They have been identified as Majd Mahmoud Abu Na’sa, 15, Qais Ibrahim Betawi, 14, Yousef Mahmoud Badawiyya, 17, and Amin Hussein Bani Gharra, 19.

Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Mahmoud Morad Sa’adi, and Ashraf Salah Turkman, from their homes in the refugee camp.

It is worth mentioning that dozens of soldiers were deployed around many villages and towns in Jenin governorate, especially surrounding Qabatia, Mothallath ash-Shuhada, Burqin, Kafr Qud, Khirbat an-Najjar and Umm at-Tamel.

(Source / 06.12.2018)

Undercover Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian Near Jenin

06 DEC
11:42 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Thursday, a young Palestinian man near Barta’a military roadblock, southwest of Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, in civilian clothes, ambushed and abducted the young man, who remained unidentified at the time of this repot, near the military roadblock.

The undercover soldiers then took the young man to the soldiers at Barta’a military roadblock, before he was moved to an unknown destination.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded a printing press in the Nahda Street, in the center of the city, and confiscated printing equipment and various posters.

Many Palestinians protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers, who fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

Also at dawn, the soldiers invaded Hebron city and several surrounding towns, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, violently searched homes, before abducting five Palestinians, including two siblings, and confiscated a car.

In related news, dozens of soldiers invaded Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, shot and injured four Palestinians, including three children, and abducted two others, during protests that took place after the soldiers stormed and searched homes.

(Source / 06.12.2018)