Israel violated sanctity of Al-Aqsa and Ibrahimi Mosques 75 times in July

The general view shows the Ibrahimi Mosque after closure by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron on 22 April 2019 [Mashhor Wahwah/ WAFA]

The general view shows the Ibrahimi Mosque after closure by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron on 22 April 2019 

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Religious Endowments has revealed that Israeli occupation forces carried out 75 violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron last month alone, Quds Press reported on Tuesday. Changes are being made to Ibrahimi Mosque and access for Muslims on an almost daily basis, it added.

According to a report issued by the ministry, the Israeli forces also raided the Muslim prayer area next to Al-Rahma Gate several times in July, removed everything inside it and arrested or expelled worshippers. It was also noted that the Israelis banned the call to prayer at Ibrahimi Mosque on 46 occasions during the month.

READ: Extremist Jewish groups call for mass raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Eid 

The ministry warned of the danger of the increasing length of incursions by illegal Israeli settlers when they raid the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in occupied Jerusalem. Last month, for example, one settler took the time to perform Talmudic rituals inside the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock and several settlers attempted to do the same at Al-Rahma Gate.

The Israelis, insisted the Ministry of Endowments, have been trying to exclude Muslims from the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, which Jews call the “Temple Mount”. Plans are already prepared to destroy the sanctuary and build a temple on the ruins of the mosques there.

Furthermore, the report pointed out that around 3,500 Israeli Jewish settlers raided Joseph’s Tomb in occupied Nablus under heavy military guard in order to perform Talmudic rituals.

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Israel opposition’s Gantz vows to ‘pound’ Gaza as prime minister

Benny Gantz, former Israeli military chief of staff in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Benny Gantz, leader of Israel’s largest opposition party Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel’s largest opposition party Blue and White (Kahol Lavan), vowed yesterday to “pound Gaza” if he becomes prime minister, reported Haaretz.

According to Gantz – who was commanding the Israeli military during two major offensives in the occupied Gaza Strip in 2012 and 2014 – added that in a future assault he would order a ground invasion of the blockaded enclave, and kill Hamas’ leadership.

Describing the comments as marking “a more hawkish line than that taken by his party during the last election campaign”, Haaretz said “sources in the party confirmed that it has decided to sharpen its rhetoric regarding defence in an effort to attract right-wing voters”.

The Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) leader made the remarks during a visit to the Gaza border area, accompanied by other senior members of the party, including co-leader Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon, and Gabi Ashkenazi.

Ayelet Shaked: Only a strong United Right will lead to Area C annexation 

“We do not intend to let deterrence continue to be eroded; we do not intend to allow this model of another round and another round and another [incendiary] kite and another missiles and another thing to continue,” Gantz said.

“The next time something happens here, we will make sure that it’s the final round.”

According to Haaretz, Gantz said: “Another round of fighting would not end with just an agreement, but with an attempt to fully defeat Hamas militarily,” adding that “if another conflict erupts while he is prime minister, the military would move to kill all of Hamas’ leadership.”

Lapid stated: “Hamas must know that next time they shoot missiles at Israeli citizens, their leaders, under our watch, would not receive suitcases full of dollars – they’ll receive a guided missile in their homes.”

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Jerusalem: Palestinian to sue Israel Police for planting weapon in his home

Israeli police intervene tear gas canisters to community as fanatic Jews, under Israeli police protection, raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on June 02, 2019. ( Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency )

Israeli police in Jerusalem on 2 June 2019

A Jerusalemite Palestinian is to sue Israel Police after they planted a weapon in his home in order to raid it for a TV documentary.

The house of Samer Sleiman, a Palestinian from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya, was raided by Israel Police in November. After the raid, the police handed him a document stating that “nothing was found and no harm was done to anyone or anything” during the search.

However, Sleiman’s house was subsequently featured in a docudrama screened by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan called “Jerusalem District”, during which Sleiman’s cellar was raided and an M-16 rifle was found hidden in his cellar.

One of the series’ main characters described the cellar as “a tunnel which would do credit to the ones found in Gaza,” while others were “overjoyed at finding these guns, leaving the village satisfied with their work,” Haaretz reported yesterday.

However, as the Israeli daily pointed out, “finding IDF-issue weapons in good condition in East Jerusalem neighborhoods is an unusual event, especially weapons that are not very well hidden”. Now documents obtained by Haaretz have raised “strong suspicion” that the guns found in the episode were planted by the police themselves for the sake of the docudrama.

According to the Times of Israelthe police “did not inform [Sleiman] that the raid was staged as part of a TV series, and said the cameras were there to prevent complaints about property damage”.

“He had been told the search was part of an intelligence operation,” the Israeli daily added.

Jerusalem: Israel summons 4-year-old Palestinian for interrogation

Sleiman claims that when the TV drama was aired at the end of June, neighbours and friends recognised his voice and house despite his face being blurred. His ordeal has now left him worried that he will be seen either as a criminal for housing firearms or as a collaborator with the Israeli authorities, since he hasn’t been charged for the weapon the documentary claimed to have found in his home.

Sleiman on Sunday filed a lawsuit against Israel Police for the treatment they subjected him to. Sleiman’s lawyer Itay Mack said of the lawsuit: “In one instant [Sleiman’s family] became, in the eyes of the public, criminals and users and traffickers of illegal weapons. Additionally, since no legal proceedings were taken against them, claims began to circulate that they are cooperating with police.”

“My clients fell victim to a racist propaganda show that has no place in a democratic country. It was staged by policemen and officers in the Jerusalem District, apparently with the purpose of promoting themselves and presenting my clients and all Isawiyah residents as security risks, while infringing on their privacy and slandering them,” Mack added.

Israel Police have since apologised to Sleiman, saying in a statement that “we apologize for any harm done to the citizen as a result of the broadcast. The case is under investigation and the lessons learned will be derived accordingly.”

Meanwhile Kan has said it is investigating the complaint with the production company, Koda Communications, and that if the “severe” allegations were found to have even a “sliver of truth”, the matter would be dealt with accordingly.

READ: Israel issues $17,000 in fines to Jerusalemites in July

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Palestinian Security Services Continue to Cooperate with American Counterparts

 Chief of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Intelligence Services Majed Faraj 

By Adnan Abu Amer 

Despite the American-Palestinian estrangement since December 2017, leading to the imposition of American sanctions on the PA, this did not stop the two parties from holding meetings both in secret and in public. This contradiction raises several question marks regarding the seriousness of this estrangement.

In early July, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, met with US Congressmen Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen in Ramallah. The three men discussed renewing US financial support to the Palestinian security services, which has been suspended since early 2019.

Van Hollen and Graham spoke positively about the PA’s role in maintaining security. They also made the case that it would “counterproductive for the US government to cut AID funding for Palestinian schools and hospitals, that only strengthens Hamas and sends the signal that we don’t have a working relationship with the PA.”

While PA President Mahmoud Abbas denied having political contact with the US administration in late June, he has confirmed that the PA continues its security coordination with the US to “fight terrorism”.

In May, the American administration agreed to give the PA 10 armoured vehicles.

In June, Head of General Intelligence Service (GIS), Major General Majed Faraj, reiterated his complete commitment to fighting terrorism, extremism, and violence. He also said he would cooperate with all of the regional and international parties at 10th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues, held in Ufa, Russia.

In September, a delegation from the Palestinian GIS visited Washington to hold talks with the CIA. President Abbas announced that the Palestinian security delegation is seeking to maintain security and intelligence cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the US, despite severing all relations with the White House.

One finds it difficult to understand the continuation of Palestinian-American meetings of an intelligence-security nature given the political and diplomatic estrangement between them. This raises questions about the future of US-Palestinian security cooperation and the possibility that the American statements will be an introduction to the resumption of American financial support for the Palestinian security agency. One also would like to know the nature of the concessions the PA will make in return for the resumption of financial aid, as well as the forms of security cooperation between Ramallah and Washington.

President Abbas’s repeated statements regarding cooperation with the Americans have frequently focused on the need to fight terrorism. This highlights the fact that the PA is providing information to the US about armed groups and that the PA is playing a role in fighting against Daesh and Al-Qaeda.

The current Palestinian-American meetings seem to be similar to previous ones. A particularly infamous meeting took place in June 2018, between the head of the Palestinian GIS Majed Faraj with then CIA Director, Mike Pompeo.

The Palestinian sources that I met with agree that these meetings are held at a security level, but gave no further clarification. They also stated that the security meetings between the PA and American administration had continued despite the PA’s boycott of President Trump’s administration after the US recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 2017 and moved its embassy to the city in May 2018.

The discussions of these Palestinian-American meetings are preoccupied with security issues with a regional dimension and implications related to the region in general, beyond the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. They also discuss the clear American desire to ensure political and security stability in the Palestinian territories following the end of the Abbas era, for whatever reason.

It can be said with much confidence that Majed Faraj is one of the Palestinian leaders closest to Abbas. His meetings with his American counterparts are a continuation of past meetings, as Palestinian security officials have strong relations with the Americans. Washington and Tel Aviv view the developments in the Palestinian arena from a national security point of view.

However, it is strange that these high-level security meetings are being held while at the same time PA is so displeased at the so-called peace plan spearheaded by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. Despite this, the Palestinian-American security meetings and bilateral communication with concerned American security parties continue and have not stopped.

Of course, these Palestinian-American meetings may discuss the desire of Majed Faraj to nominate himself as Abbas’s successor. Faraj’s comments that are close to those of Washington and his visits may be an attempt on his part to convince them to support him. American backing would be critical for Faraj, particularly since he was not chosen as a member of the PLO executive committee or as a member of the Fatah central committee. These are important positions for anyone nominated as Abbas’s successor.

Faraj is seen by many Palestinians as a collaborator with Israel. This is mainly as a result of his announcement in 2016 that his security forces foiled 200 armed attacks against Israel and that it is working side by side with Israel and the United States.

The Palestinians say the Palestinian-American security meetings mean that the US intelligence has a close network of relations with its Palestinian counterpart. When Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in mid-2007, gaining access to Palestinian intelligence archives, it revealed documents proving Palestinian security cooperation with the CIA.

Moreover, the Palestinian security personnel are trained in the United States, American officers supervise Palestinian security agencies in the West Bank, and Palestinian intelligence services have security attachés in most of the 90 Palestinian embassies around the world. They have security ties with international agencies and help US security in pursuing armed groups in the world by providing a security information bank.

At the same time, Palestinian intelligence is succeeding in tracking armed groups around the world because of its possession of individuals and informants in areas where such armed groups are deployed, such as Syria and Libya.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank also exchange information regarding the Palestinian security operatives working with the CIA in countries with large Palestinian. This is especially true in hot spot areas with tense security situations, which pose a nuisance to the United States and Israel, such as Syria.

US and Libyan sources have confirmed that the Palestinian GIS and its director, Faraj, were honoured by the white house for providing of valuable information to the CIA, which helped identify the movements of Al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi and facilitated his abduction in 2013. In Syria in 2015, the Palestinian GIS contributed to the release of two Swedish hostages held by armed groups since 2013.

Palestinian security officers are popular figures in the American security community and have a strong network of relations with senior CIA officers after years of working together. Their meetings focus on bilateral coordination to pursue armed groups in the Middle East. The Palestinian cause is given scant attention. Yet all the while Americans thank their Palestinian counterparts for their security efforts while the Palestinian security agencies thank them for training and funds.

Hamas has condemned the security roles played by the GIS, especially its cooperation with the CIA to prosecute some of the wanted, in a manner affecting the Palestinian cause. Hamas has hundreds of documents confirming that the Palestinian intelligence has spied on Arab and Muslim countries, as well as allies, for the benefit of Israel and the US.

The continued US-Palestinian security meetings despite the political estrangement give credence to those saying that the Palestinian Authority may be one of the arms of US policy in the region. There is high-level security coordination between them, and talk of a political estrangement between Washington and Ramallah is untrue, as their communication is ongoing. The PA cannot sever its relations with the United States; otherwise, it would be like cutting off its arteries.

Such Palestinian-American meetings provide a number of important indications, particularly American keenness to maintain a relationship with the PA, despite the American claims and accusations against it. Another sign is the PA’s refusal to cease security coordination with Israel and the United States.

These Palestinian-American security meetings may give the impression that – despite the ongoing strain – the status quo may return in the long term.

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Israeli Forces Abduct 7 Palestinians in Early-Morning Raids on Wednesday

07 AUG2:58 PM

On Wednesday before dawn, Israeli forces invaded the northern and southern parts of the West Bank, and abducted  seven Palestinians who were asleep in bed.

Local sources report that just before dawn on  Wednesday, Israeli troops invaded and abducted five Palestinians from different areas around Bethlehem .

According to security sources, the Israeli occupation forces abducted 15-year-old Suleiman Musallam al-Debs, Mohammad Jamal Roumi, 18, from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and Malik Hassan al-Zaghari, 24, from Doha, west of the town.

Mohammed Daqdaq, 28, and Ali, 23, were taken from al-Khader village in the south, after the Israeli troops raided and searched their homes .

The sources pointed out that the Israeli soldiers also raided the Kendo fuel station in Bethlehem, and examined the surveillance cameras .

In the northern West Bank, Israeli forces abducted two brothers from Qalqilya on Wednesday morning .

Eyewitnesses told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that the detainees were Anas Wajih Abtli, 25, and Adam, 20,  who were taken to unknown locations after the Israeli troops raided and searched their family home.

These night raids are a daily occurrence in the West Bank, and are carried out by Israeli troops with the intent of ensuring that Palestinian residents live in fear of abduction while sleeping in their homes at night.

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Israeli forces storm Beit Jala, carry out demolitions

BETHLEHEM, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation army on Tuesday morning demolished different Palestinian structures in Beit Jala town, west of Bethlehem, at the pretext of unlicenced construction.

Local official Hasan Brijiyeh said that an Israeli military force stormed Beit Aouneh neighborhood in Beit Jala and bulldozed four tin shacks and foundations of a house under construction.

The army justified the demolitions by saying that the structures had been built in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank, with no licenses.

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

UN condemns Israeli expansion of illegal settlement in West Bank

‘Expansion of settlements undermines the chances for establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant UN resolutions,’ UN official says

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov strongly condemned expansion of illegal Israeli settelements in occupied West Bank, a statement issued on Wednesday said.

In the statement, Mladenov said: “The Israeli authorities approved over the past two days the advancement of some 2,400 housing units in settlements in Area C of the occupied West Bank.

“The expansion of settlements has no legal effect and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.

“By advancing the effective annexation of the West Bank, it undermines the chances for establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant UN resolutions, as part of a negotiated two-state solution.

“It must cease immediately and completely.”

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

ISRAEL ARRESTS 8 PALESTINIANS IN ROUTINE RAIDS

Israeli soldiers conduct searches in the northern West Bank village of Madama on August 24, 2016 after a Palestinian reportedly exited a car and stabbed an Israeli soldier on a road close to the village and to the Israeli settlement of Ariel. An Israeli army army statement said Israeli forces had been chasing a group of alleged rock throwers who were in a car on a road, near the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. “One of the assailants exited the vehicle and stabbed a soldier,” it said

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- The Israeli occupation army launched a night raid throughout the occupied West Bank, arresting 8 Palestinians under the pretext of participating in popular resistance activities.

In Bethlehem, Israeli forces arrested 5 Palestinians, including a 15 and 18 year old teens.

Other 2 brothers were arrested in Qalqilya, while in Hebron confrontations have erupted with Israeli forces following an Israeli raid. Other raids were carried out in Tulkarem.

The Israeli army also announced that it will hold military training in occupied Hebron.

(Source / 07.08.2019)

Israeli Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli settlers on Wednesday morning broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the early morning hours in the Occupied Jerusalem under heavy police gurad.

Local sources said that more than hundred of Jewish settlers defiled al-Aqsa Mosque while accompanied by a large police force. 

It added that the settlers roamed the holy mosque while being given presentations on the alleged “Temple Mount” and tried to perform provocative rituals near the Muslim prayer area of Bab al-Rahma.

(Source / 07.08.2019) 

Palestinian prisoner Bassam Sayeh struggling for his life in intensive care

Bassam Sayeh 

Palestinian prisoner Bassam Sayeh, 44, is suffering a serious deterioration in his health, and he was taken to intensive care on Tuesday, 6 August. Sayeh, imprisoned in Israeli jails since 8 October 2015, suffers from bone cancer and leukemia and chronic heart problems. After being repeatedly transferred to the Ramleh prison clinic, he was finally transferred to the civilian Afula hospital after his health deteriorated further.

Sayeh, from Nablus, is unable to eat and has reportedly lost consciousness. He is considered to be one of the most severely ill Palestinian prisoners, and his heart, liver and lungs have been weakening since his imprisonment. He suffers from heart failure, pulmonary congestion and an enlarged liver, and his lungs function at only 25% of normal capacity. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 30 years. He was accused of participating in supporting a resistance operation against Israeli settlers. Sayeh was seized by occupation forces as he went to the Salem military court near Jenin for the hearing of his then-imprisoned wife Mona.

Sayeh was denied visits from his wife Mona for almost three years, and only saw her for the first time since his arrest in January 2018.  He has suffered from bone cancer since 2011 and leukemia since 2013. Mona Sayeh said that despite his illness, he had been repeatedly subjected to crackdowns and mistreatment by Israeli jailers accusing him of having a cell phone.

During his time in Israeli prison, Sayeh has struggled for access to necessary surgery and has dealt with interference with chemotherapy as well as denial of access to independent specialist doctors. Sayeh’s health situation is one of the most severe inside Israeli prisons, but medical neglect is a significant issue for many Palestinians. 220 Palestinians have lost their lives inside Israeli jails, many in cases connected to medical neglect, like that of Nasser Taqatqa in July 2019.

There are at least 23 Palestinian prisoners with cancer and around 100 seriously ill prisoners.  In the past, Palestinian prisoners have died shortly after their release, reporting long-delayed testing and treatment during their time in Israeli prisons.

(Source / 07.08.2019)