Trump rejects Israel PM request to fund Palestine security forces

President Donald J. Trump greets the crowd in Chicago, Illinois, United States on 28 October, 2019 [Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency]

President Donald J. Trump greets the crowd in Chicago, Illinois, United States on 28 October, 2019

US President Donald Trump rejected a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the transfer of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security forces, according to a US based news site Axios.

The appeal came several months ago after the State Department realised that $12 million in aid to PA security forces had neither been stopped, nor transferred amid its aid cuts to the Palestinians.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer along with other Israeli asked the US to allow the money to be transferred to PA security forces, who collaborate with Israeli security in the occupied West Bank “to support their counter-terror efforts”.

Trump refused the request, stating: “If it is that important to Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians the $12 million.”

READ: In snub to Netanyahu, Trump says: ‘Our relations are with Israel’

The Trump administration has cut a significant amount of funds to Palestinian agencies and official bodies in recent years, resulting in funding being halted to both the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and to NGOs in Gaza earlier this year.

The US was previously one of the largest donors to the Palestinians and the PA, providing upward of half-a-billion dollars a year through the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides education, shelter and basic essential support to millions of Palestinian refugees, but has withdrawn its funding, a move encouraged by Netanyahu.

Infrastructure projects, including water treatment facilities in the Gaza Strip, have also been put on hold.

Despite senior White House officials noting that the funding to PA security forces issue was “very important for Netanyahu,” the transfer of the $12 million did not occur, according to the report.

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

Palestinian factions shocked at Abbas conditions for elections

Hundreds of Palestinians hold Palestinian flags, Fatah Movement flags and banners as they gather during a demonstration after the call of Fatah Movement, during a demonstration in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on 25 February 2019 in Nablus, West Bank. [Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of Palestinians hold Palestinian flags, Fatah Movement flags and banners in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on 25 February 2019 in Nablus, West Bank

Palestinian factions have expressed their shock at the conditions set by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and PLO President, for elections to take place, Al-Mujtama reported on Wednesday.

After shuttling between the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and holding meetings with representatives of the factions and NGOs, the head of the Palestinian Elections Committee, Hanna Nasser, made his recommendations to Abbas. Nasser has told the press on several occasions that his feeling was that the elections would take place very soon, following smooth discussions and remarkable concessions made by the different factions in order to facilitate the polls.

However, he returned to the Palestinian factions and NGOs with a shocking reply from Abbas. The PA President, he said, insists on laying down the guidelines and conditions for the elections by presidential decree. Abbas rejected the idea of holding a national summit prior to the elections in order to set out the guidelines which would regulate the electoral process.

READ: PA’s Abbas stresses importance of carrying out general elections quickly

“Abbas’s response is a blow for the efforts exerted in the past weeks,” said Talal Abu Zarifa, a member of political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. “All procedures for the elections must pass through the gate of national consensus.” He warned that Abbas’s insistence on his position would undermine the whole process.

Both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, expressed disappointment at Abbas’s response. All elections, they stressed, should take place on the basis of a national agreement.

According to the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Al-Barghouti, the Palestinian division must be ended as quickly as possible, and elections could do this. However, there must be a consensus across the nation. “Without this, there would be no democratic elections,” he said.

Legal researcher Hussein Hammad told Al-Mujtama that elections would not be “transparent and free” if they were not held on the basis of a national agreement.

READ: The real reason behind Abbas’ call for elections

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

PA journalist: Daesh is the tail of the monster, Israel is its head

Daesh flag

Daesh flag 

Journalist Muwaffaq Matar has accused the US of creating Daesh “paralleled by Israel”, and having had the terror organisation’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi working as its “pawn”.

Al-Baghdadi blew himself up during a raid by US special forces on his heavily fortified safe house in the Syrian province of Idlib on 26 October.

Matar, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, wrote in the daily Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: “The US killed their pawn, who they planted in the open, borderless territories of Iraq and Syria after they created an organisation-state of barbarity, terror and racism, for which they chose the name ‘the Islamic State’.”

Al-Baghdadi was the leader of Daesh which took control of a wide stretch of territory across Syria and Iraq.

Israel: is it really a democratic state?

The group attained pledges of allegiances from a number of armed groups in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Matar proceeded to illustrate Israel and Daesh as a monster and claimed the group is the “tail of the monster” which is not enough for US to eliminate, as the head of the monster is Israel that needs to be defeated.

He said:

This monster has a head, and in it is a brain that is capable of growing a different tail and wings. The occupation, settlement, terror, racism, crimes against humanity and rebellion against UN laws and conventions have a state. They named it ‘Israel’ and established it on the land of Palestine, which is the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right.

READ: Israel’s security cabinet rejects plan to assassinate Palestinian leaders in Gaza

Criticising Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation and settlements, and advocating for it be “put to an end”, Matar added that Israel is responsible for the conflicts between Arab leaders who have become distracted by the Muslim Brotherhood which has led to internal religious conflicts.

He stated: “This made it easier for their Zionist twin to encourage the Jewish immigration to Palestine and to establish the foundations of a ‘state’, which they wrapped in a cloak of democracy – but really it is not significantly different from the state of Daesh.”

“The racism, crimes, bloodshed to terrorise people, emptying the land of its original owners, horrifying massacres, and subjugating the residents of the land to laws that are inappropriate even for the world of wild animals – all of these are characteristics common between the two states.”

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

PA sues lawyer for anti-normalisation Facebook post

Facebook

Facebook

The Palestinian Authority’s Magistrate Court in Ramallah is to prosecute lawyer Muhannad Karaja after he posted his opinion on Facebook, Felesteen reported yesterday.

The lawyer, who works at Addameer Organisation for Human Rights, is to be prosecuted on charges of insulting, contempt, defaming and threatening to cause harm based on the cybercrime law.

Karaja said that this came after he was accused of posting a comment on Facebook in solidarity with Palestinian academic Adel Sammour, who was being prosecuted by the PA.

According to the lawyer, his post criticised the PA’s relations with Israel, the normalisation of ties with Israel and hailed the stances of the academic as he stood against cooperation and normalisation with occupation forces.

Karaja has been harassed and subjected to direct aggression by the PA security agencies several times in the past.

Opinion: Does Facebook impose curfews on Palestinians in the ‘blue world’?

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Take Measurement Of Home In Preparation For Detonating It

Dozens of Israeli soldiers  invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the family home of a Palestinian detainee near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, before taking measurements of the property in preparation for detonating it.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded and surrounded the entire area of the home of Qassam Barghouthi, in Kobar town, north of Ramallah, before storming the property and taking the measurements.

The Israeli army said this step is meant to prepare for detonating the property in the near future, after determining the needed measures.

The army alleges that Qassam is a member of the group that carried out the explosion in Ein Abwein, leading to the death of an Israeli settler.

Rina Shnerb, 17, from Lod, was killed, while her brother Dvir, 19, suffered serious wounds, and her father Eitan, 46, was mildly injured, when an improvised explosive went off near them while they were hiking near Ein Abwein spring northwest of Ramallah.

Israel’s home demolition policy is an illegal act of collective punishment targeting entire families in direct violation of various international resolutions and human rights treaties.

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

Israel Approves Jerusalem Cable Car Plan

Residents and archaeologists decry plan, saying it will promote illegal settlement and ruin the Old City.

The skyline of Jerusalem’s ancient Old City is set to be altered dramatically by a “racist” cable car that critics say would blight the historic panorama and strengthen Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighbourhoods.

Israel’s housing cabinet, a governmental body, approved the cable car plan, Monday, despite objections that the transitional government currently in place, after the September elections, cannot green light such a project.

Running from the Old City’s Dung Gate to West Jerusalem, the Israeli government says the cable car would help ease traffic in the city and could transport 3,000 passengers an hour, at peak times.

In January, various Israeli bodies earmarked 200,000,000 Israeli shekels ($54,400,000), to see the project completed.

However, Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem, archaeologists and architects say the cable car would severely damage the city’s landscape and contribute to settler group ELAD’s illegal Jewish settlement expansion in the neighbourhood of Silwan.

Settlers’ Legitimacy

Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim, an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization researching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem, told the Middle East Eye [MEE] that a cable car is not the answer to the heavy traffic, and that the project has political layers aimed at giving legitimacy to settlers in the area.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 war, and settled hundreds of its citizens there, in contravention of international law. The Old City and the adjacent neighbourhood of Silwan lie in the city’s East, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state.

“The project is a way to whitewash Israel’s taking of areas in Silwan to use for archaeological and touristic reasons,” Tatarsky said.

By bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to Silwan, the settler presence in the area would start to become normalized, he said.

Some 2,500 Israeli settlers live in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Silwan, Ras al-Amud and Sheikh Jarrah, dwarfed by the 150,000 Palestinian residents there.

In Silwan, 500 settlers live under heavy police and private security protection, among 25,000 Palestinians.

Several Palestinian families, that have lived in Silwan for generations, have been evicted from the area, by Israel, to create an archaeological park there, and to accommodate Jewish settlers.

The final station of the cable car, near the Dung Gate, will be built above a building owned by controversial settler group ELAD, which manages the City of David archaeological park and builds Jewish settlements in the neighbourhood.

“If someone wants to go to the Western Wall of the Old City, they have to go through the ELAD activity centre. This project will give ELAD legitimacy and influence, as it is taking part in a governmental project. This is the political reason for why the government is doing this project,” Tatarsky said.

Disturbing Old City’s Panorama

In total, the cable car will have four stations stretching from West to East Jerusalem, via Mount Zion. The Dung Gate station, in the East, will lie beside the Old City’s southern wall, close to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Moshe Kahlon, Israel’s finance minister and head of the housing cabinet, said the cable car would make the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, more accessible for the public.

“This is what the occupation wants, to cover the historical buildings that prove other people exist in Jerusalem.” – Fakhry Abu Diad, Silwan resident

“We’ve waited 2,000 years [to return] to the Western Wall, and it’s impossible that heavy traffic prevents thousands of people from praying, visiting and taking part in military and national ceremonies that are taking place there,” Kahlon said.

Fakhry Abu Diad, a resident of Silwan, told the Middle East Eye that the project is the biggest Israeli plan yet “to Judaise Jerusalem.”

“It will block and disturb the panorama of the Old City, including Muslim and Christian buildings, and this is what the occupation wants, to cover the historical buildings that prove other people exist in Jerusalem,” he said.

The cable car will run for 1.4 km, passing over the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Abu Tor and Jurat al-Einab, and stopping off on Mount Zion, where several properties are owned by churches of various denominations.

Each car will be able to carry up to 73 passengers on each journey, with 3,000 people transported every hour.

Naser Hidmi, the head of the Jerusalem Anti-Judaisation Committee NGO, told MEE that Israel’s sole objective is to “control the place and show it as a modern Jewish place.”

“It is a racist cable car, and it will increase the number of Jewish settlers at the Dung Gate, and it would destroy the historical picture of Jerusalem,” Hidmi said.

Emek Shaveh, an Israeli archaeological NGO, said in a video that hard-to-access sites in Venice and the Acropolis in Athens did not lead to installing a cable car in these tourist cities.

The NGO, which is appealing the housing cabinet decision, warned that the historic centre of Jerusalem, which is packed with centuries-old buildings, will be blighted by the modern cable car.

Many Palestinians see the plan as an effort to entrench Israel’s presence in east Jerusalem, which most of the international community considers to be Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation.

The construction is also likely to cause disruption to residents of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, who will find the cable being built above their homes.

Other critics have taken aim at the plan not because of its politics but because they believe it will be a modern eyesore that will blight the iconic Jerusalem skyline and spoil views of the Dome of the Rock and the turreted walls of the Old City.

Architects and historians have decried the plan as “Disneyfication” of a historic area sacred to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], the global heritage body, has also protested the plan as a threat to the “authentic character” of the Old City.

Opponents of the plan have vowed to sue the government over its decision and the case is likely to be taken up before Israel’s supreme court, potentially heralding a lengthy legal battle that may postpone construction.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said, according to WAFA, that the Israeli cable car project is an “obscene violation of the cultural, historical, spiritual, geographic & demographic character of Jerusalem. It is also an illegal assault on the occupied Palestinian city and its people who have been living there for centuries.”

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

Journalists Syndicate: 600 Violations against Media Committed in 2019

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, in a report, today. said that so far, this year, Israeli occupation forces have committed 600 violations against journalists and the media in general.

The PJS Freedoms Committee said that the gravest of these violations was the use of live ammunition against journalists, with 60 cases of live fire injuries among journalists, by Israeli forces, documented.

The report also noted that, in 170 cases, Israeli soldiers beat or detained journalists, or banned them from covering events. Currently, added the report, there are 18 journalists incarcerated in Israeli jails.

WAFA further reports that, with regard to the ongoing anti-Palestinian campaign by Facebook, the Syndicate said it has monitored 180 cases of violation against the Palestinian content on the platform, including the removal of Palestinian accounts or posts.

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

Gaza Leadership Slams Twitter and Facebook for Yielding to Israel’s Dictates

Member of Hamas’s political bureau, Mohamed Nazzal, has strongly denounced Twitter and Facebook for blocking Palestinian pages in response to Israel’s dictates.

In remarks to Quds Press. on Tuesday, Nazzal said that Twitter recently blocked his page and dozens of pages belonging to Palestinian national figures because of their positions in support of the Palestinian resistance.

He added, according to Days of Palestine, that a similar practice was already taken by Facebook’s administration, deploring what he described as social media moguls, for being tools utilized by Israel.

He also slammed the social media companies for flouting the freedom of opinion and being biased against the vulnerable people of Palestine.

The Hamas official urged all Palestinian, Arab and Islamic personages and institutions to boycott Facebook and Twitter, in protest of the block.

In compliance with agreements with the Israeli government, the administrations of Facebook and Twitter have systematically blocked pages of Palestinian media outlets, national figures and activists, and removed postings that showed support for the Palestinian people and exposed Israel’s crimes and violations.

(Source / 07.11.2019) 

HEAD OF UNRWA HAS RESIGNED: U.N. SPOKESMAN

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl

United Nations (QNN)- The head of the U.N. agency that aids Palestinian refugees has resigned, effective immediately, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UN said Pierre Krähenbühl had resigned with immediate effect his from role as commissioner general at the agency after an internal investigation found “management issues.”

The UNRWA had announced earlier on Wednesday that Krähenbühl had been replaced.

Preliminary findings “exclude fraud or misappropriation of operational funds” by Krähenbühl, a UN spokesman said separately. “There are, however, managerial issues that need to be addressed.”

A leaked internal investigation into misconduct at UNRWA, completed late last year, accused the agency of “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses, including some involving Krähenbühl.

UNRWA provides education, health, housing and relief services to more than 5 million registered refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It was founded one year after the expulsion of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland to create ‘Israel’.

(Source / 07.11.2019)  

Israeli settlers vandalise Palestinian vehicles in West Bank

Such crimes, committed by the Israeli Jewish settlers, always go unpunished

Israeli settlers vandalised on Thursday Palestinian vehicles in the northern West Bank village of Qabalan, local sources reported.

Ghassan Daghlas, anti-Israeli settlement, said that the Israeli Jewish settlers from the illegal Rehalim settlement sneaked into the village during the night and slashed tires of vehicles and tractors

The extremist Jewish settlers, he also said, spray-painted racist anti-Arab slogans on the walls.

He said this is the second time that the extremist Israeli Jewish settlers to vandalise Palestinian property in the village.

(Source / 07.11.2019)