Illegal settler numbers growing faster than Israel population, Jerusalem council reveals

Settlers raid Al-Aqsa Mosque on first day on Ramadan 2019

Settlers raid Al-Aqsa Mosque on first day of Ramadan on 6 May 2019 

Hanna Issa, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Secretary-General for the Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, has announced that the number of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) has reached 503, with 474 located in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem.

In a press release today, Issa also stated that the illegal settlers living in these settlements number over one million, adding that the settler population is increasing at a far higher rate than the population growth rate of Israel itself.

He also expressed concern that the growing number of settlements and their population would be a further hindrance to the creation of a future Palestinian state if they cut the occupied West Bank off from East Jerusalem, which Palestinians have earmarked as their future capital.

“How can we talk about an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the June 4, 1967 borders and a Palestinian population of five million today, [when] Israeli settlements are swallowing land, depriving indigenous people of their freedom and economy, while concealing the possibility of real sovereignty?”

READ: The occupied West Bank is on the verge of a mass uprising

Throughout the past few decades, the building of illegal Israeli settlements in the oPt has increased, despite the fact that this is in direct violation of international law.

Issa reiterated this fact, citing laws such as Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids occupying states from transferring civilians to occupied territory. Another example is the International Criminal Court (ICC) Convention of 1998, which considers as war crimes the occupying state’s transfer of its civilian population to the territories it occupies.

Issa’s remarks come amid a recent increase in assaults by Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land, such as setting fire to farmland in the occupied West Bank in order to destroy Palestinians’ livelihood and the demolition and seizure of Palestinian households in East Jerusalem to make space for new Jewish-Israeli homes.

READ: Advancements along ring of Israel settlements around Jerusalem’s Old City

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

‘Remove your headscarf’ CHP supporter tells AKP representative

She later filed an official complaint at the police station

A representative of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Fatma Seyma Agaca was verbally attacked in Istanbul’s Atakoy polling station during mayoral elections by an opposition supporter asking her to remove her headscarf.

Seyma asked representatives of Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) to get rid of flyers promoting CHP mayoral race candidate Ekrem Imamoglu from the polling station, noting it was illegal during elections, when a CHP supporter interfered, asking Seyma to remove her headscarf first.

Footage of the incident has been widely circulated on social media.”It’s 2019 and they are still on the headscarf topic,” Seyma can be heard saying. She later filed an official complaint at the police station.

READ: Ekrem Imamoglu wins Istanbul’s mayoral poll

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Egypt: Hazem Abu Ismail goes into coma in detention

Egyptian Salafi politician, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail [Facebook]

Egyptian Salafi politician, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail 

Egyptian Salafi politician, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, has gone into a coma in detention after allegedly being attacked by jailers, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party announced yesterday.

Quoting rights sources, the Islamist party said that Abu Ismail’s medical condition was resulting from being “attacked and assaulted by jailers” in Egypt’s notorious Scorpio prison located in the capital city of Cairo.

Abu Ismail’s incident, the political party pointed out, had come amid a campaign that has seen thousands of prisoners, including Abu Ismail, entering an open hunger strike to demand the disclosure of the circumstances of the recent death of the country’s former president Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi, the first democratically elected president, died last week after falling into a coma inside his soundproof glass cage during his trial on “espionage” charges.

Read: Egypt, UAE send military support to Libya’s Haftar

Egypt’s Court of Cassation last month upheld a five-year imprisonment sentence against Abu Ismail and five others for “inciting and sieging Cairo’s Nasr City court on 19 December 2012.” The Court was reported to have rejected a number of appeals recently submitted by Abu Ismail’s lawyer.

The case dates back to when Abu Ismail’s supporters demonstrated in the vicinity of the Nasr City court in 2012, demanding the release of one of the supporters, who was convicted of “possessing unlicensed an automatic firearm.”

The defendants were referred to Cairo’s criminal court afterwards.

This is the third verdict against Abu Ismail, after the same court upheld two previous sentences of seven-year imprisonment for “forgery of his mother’s nationality” in April 2015, as well as another one-year in prison for “insulting the judiciary in December 2014.”

Abu Ismail was arrested after the Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Israel’s Illegal Blockade of Gaza Devastates Families of Sick Infants

24 JUN2:22 AM

Palestinian infants brought from the besieged Gaza Strip, to Jerusalem’s Makassed hospital are, according to the U.K.’s Guardian, must endure their hospital stay alone, and their families suffer from afar.

Medical grounds may compel Israel to allow a critically ill patient to travel to Jerusalem for more specialized care, but not necessarily for parents of sick newborns.

According to information provided by the Makassed hospital, since the beginning of 2018, of 56 acutely ill babies, transferred from Gaza, to the Jerusalem hospital, 6 passed away, alone, with no parent present.

The story of Hiba Swailam, 24, mother from Gaza, gave birth to very premature triplets in Makassed hospital in Jerusalem, 2 of the tiny infants weighed less than a kilogram each.

When Hiba’s travel permit expired, she was required to return to Gaza. At nine days old, one of the smallest triplet passed away, with no family member present.

The hospital broke the news of the second newborn’s death at 23 days old, by telephone. Another infant died alone, the same mother, forced to mourn her infants’ deaths for life.

The surviving triplet, Shahad, nurtured in the beginning by the hardworking nurses, her mother, was only able to see her daughter via video calls, and despite being ready for discharge, family members had to wait for a permit to leave Gaza.

Israeli medical non-profit organization, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, reported that more than 7,000 permits for minors from Gaza were issued in 2018, while less than 2,000 permits for parents were granted. This statistic alone, leaves a dire impression of the needless torment inflicted on the families of Gaza.

Mor Efrat, the group’s director for the occupied Palestinian territories, was quoted saying “the Israeli government should be held accountable for the human suffering”.

Since Donald Trump cut millions in medical aid to hospitals serving Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, the hospital has experienced many difficulties.

The nurse in charge at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), in Makassed hospital, Ibtisam Risiq, relates the psychological effect of newborns living without parents present, asserting that these fragile infants “need love”.

The illegal blockade on Gaza, Israel claims, is to prevent Hamas and other resistance groups from launching attacks on Israel, while the United Nations calls it “collective punishment”. The 2 million Palestinians inhabiting Gaza are under siege, cut off from the West Bank, deprived of the Freedom of Movement.

The Makassed hospital serves Palestinians in the West Bank, whom also find it difficult, or impossible, to get to the hospital.

UK-based health charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians, have given British MPs tours of Makassed hospital in an effort to expose the results of separating children from their parents.

Rosena Allin-Khan, a UK Labour member of parliament (MP), and former emergency doctor, who visited the East Jerusalem hospital, says she has been demanding the UK government to intervene. She declared that “no child, anywhere in the world, should be alone in their time of greatest need,” concluding that, “the UK government must lean on Israeli authorities to overhaul this inhumane system.”

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Soldiers Demolish A Shed, A Room And A Water Tank, Near Tulkarem

24 JUN9:41 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday morning, Palestinian farmlands lands in Qaffin village, north of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and demolished an agricultural shed and a room, in addition an under-construction room and a water tank.

The landowner, Nizar Abdul-Rahim Ajjouli, said he was surprised to see many army jeeps and soldiers accompanying a bulldozer into his farmland, east of the village.

He added that the soldiers then demolished his agricultural shed and a room, in addition to a large water tank, he used to irrigate his land.

Ajjouli stated that in late April of this year, the army invaded his land, and informed him of their intention to demolish his property by May 30th.

He then filed an appeal, which included proof of ownership of his land, and various other documents, but the army demolished his property without a prior notice, or a final legal resolution to the matter.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

PALESTINIANS RALLY ACROSS OCCUPIED WEST BANK TO PROTEST BAHRAIN CONFERENCE

Ramallah (QNN) – Hundreds of Palestinians protested in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday against the upcoming “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain.
The 50 billion US dollar economic plan, published on Saturday, calls for massive infrastructure projects and job creation for Palestinians.

However, the plan does not address the core issues of the conflict between Israel and Palestine: the contested holy city of Jerusalem, sought by both peoples as a capital; the fate of more than 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and the borders of a future Palestinian state.

American officials say these issues will not be raised at this week’s conference in Bahrain.

General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said that he believes it is not a deal designed “for peace” and instead would “legitimatise the illegal annexation” of Jerusalem, the West Bank and of Golan heights.

“We cannot have economic development without being free,” he added.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will have official representation at the two-day summit.

The US delegation is to be led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The 10-year plan calls for projects worth $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Lebanon, as well as $27.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza, $9.1 billion in Egypt and $7.4 billion in Jordan.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Palestinians face sexual harassment, theft by Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoint

The Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian women to strip and touched them inappropriately

Two Israeli soldiers are accused of sexually harassing Palestinian women and stealing from Palestinians crossing through Qalandiya Checkpoint.

A military court has that their actions were motivated by racism, and ordered their remand be extended by a week.

The two suspects were serving in the Military Police Corps at Qalandia Checkpoint outside the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

They have been accused of illegally conducting searches of Palestinian women, in violation of orders.

During searches, the soldiers were accused of deliberately touching women in inappropriate places and demanding strip searches, the remand request stated.

The soldiers were also accused of stealing money and personal belongings from Palestinians at the checkpoint.

Qalandia Checkpoint is often a hotspot of tension between the Israeli occupation forces and occupied Palestinians as it is one of the main crossings into the West Bank.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Jewish settlers attack Palestinians in Jenin

JENIN, PALESTINOW.COM — Dozens of Israeli settlers on Sunday rioted and attacked Palestinian citizens in Jenin under the protection of armed forces.

Local sources said that scores of Israeli settlers stormed the evacuated settlement of Homesh and attacked the Palestinian vehicles passing on Jenin-Nablus road.

The settlers further chanted racist slogans and insulted the Palestinian residents, the same sources added.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

‘Israel’ Kidnaps 16 Palestinians, Including Journalist And Mother

Israeli occupation forces carried out a wide arrest campaign against locals in the occupied West Bank on Monday.

Spokesperson of the IOF said that Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in different areas throughout the occupied West Bank during night raids.

In Hebron, Israeli forces rearrested journalist Amer Abu Hlayyel after raiding his house and vandalizing it, then took him to an unknown destination.

In Tubas, Israeli soldiers raided the house of Kifah Bsharat (mother of 2 children and sister of two martyrs), before arresting her.

Other arrests took place in Bethlehem and Ramallah.

In the same vein, Israeli illegal settlers attacked last night properties, which belong to Palestinians in Senjil, Ramallah, slashing tires and spraying walls with racist slogans.

(Source / 24.06.2019) 

Deal of the Century or Eon of Disasters?

By Jamal Kanj*

June 24, 2019

The Trumpian hyperbole marketing brand had generated unrealistic expectations for the “Deal of the Century.” For over a year and a half, Jared Kushner promised but missed at least three dates to unveil the “secret” plan.

Assisted by two bono fide Zionists, Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman, Kushner’s lone political experience with Palestine/Israel is his family’s tax deductible contributions to building “Jewish only colonies.”  

Kushner’s predisposed conviction and his parochial bias were palpable in the June 2nd interview with Axios on HBO. In the interview, he opined that Palestinians were not “capable of governing” themselves or become free from Israeli occupation.

After more than a year of hyped promotion, Kushner’s Zionist team revealed a scaled down version of Trump’s “concrete plan.” Evident in the leaked conference agenda, the goal of Kushner’s gathering is not to offer economic support to Palestinians, but rather to provide a cover-up for opening the doors of Arab capitals to Israeli officials.

Israel gets the reward of the illusionary peace upfront while US tantalizes to Arabs a peace process that may never materialize. Deferring and circumventing political process is archetypical Israeli trademark strategy that seeks to harvest fruits before the tree blossoms. Hence, the fruits of the US proposed miniature workshop in Bahrain. 

In the Oslo Accord in 1993, the PLO agreed to recognize Israel, in advance, over 78% of historical Palestine. There was no reciprocal Israeli obligation toward the PLO on the remaining 22% (West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza). 

A quarter of a century later, peace did not blossom and the only implemented sections of the Oslo Accords were the PLO recognition of Israel. In addition, it relieved Israel of administering the life of five million Palestinians, security coordination and outsourcing―free of cost―the security services to the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, Israel continued to violate and effectively buried the Oslo Accords under new expansive “Jewish only colonies” changing the demographics of the population in areas allotted for the future Palestinian state.

Ten years following the Accord, George W Bush proposed a Road Map for peace. To placate Israeli reservations, Bush rewarded Israel, in advance, with an official American letter agreeing to annex “Jewish only colonies” in the West Bank as part of any future peace agreement.

Israel crushed Bush’s Road Map under the bulldozers of yet more “Jewish only colonies.” The American letter remains the sole outcome of the Road Map. Greenblatt and Friedman are using Bush’s letter to advocate Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Kushner’s economic peace is an age old Israeli contrived gas bubble intends to skirt compliance with international law and UN resolutions. Shimon Peres floated the idea to equivocate Israel’s commitments under the Oslo Accords. Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived it in 2009 to sidestep the American (Bush and Obama) administration’s support for two-state solution.

Yet, for quarter of a century since the establishment of the Palestinian authority, Israel had systematically strangled the very economy it (and now Kushner) claims to champion.

Since 1993, the European Union invested billions of dollars in economic infrastructure, including an airport and seaport in Gaza. In 2002 after the failure of Camp David, Israel obliterated both facilities denying Palestinians access to trade and fishing.

To further stifle the economy, Israel erected walls separating farmers from their olive groves and farms, spiked the West Bank with intrusive military checkpoints encumbering the movement of goods, divided towns and cities and misappropriated tax money held on Palestinian imports.

Kushner and Israel’s invented economic peace is a political shenanigan to sedate the bird cage (walled) economy, or leverage it in the form of collective punishment to suppress resistance and subjugate Palestinians.

Like Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and now ahead of rolling the political plan for the “Deal of Century”, Trump conferred on Israel another advanced installment by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, cut financial aid to Palestinians including UN organizations, and the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights without any Israeli concession.

In addition to normalizing contacts between Arabs attending the Manama workshop and Israel (another advanced installment), Kushner’s plan would relegate the cost of the caged Palestinian economy to Arab countries, gifting Israel yet more freebies without negotiation. 

Kushner economic peace workshop is a false allure to salve Palestinian (and Arab) capitulation before rolling out the eon of all political disasters.

*Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) an author who had written weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His recent coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” was published in Germany and Poland.