‘The EU knows Hamas isn’t a terrorist group, but is working to delegitimise it’

Speakers at MEMO’s latest conference ‘The Palestine Question in Europe’ discuss Hamas, anti-Semitism and how Israel has become an example of how the West should live

Dr Catherine Charrett at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019
Prof Ilan Pappe at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019
A full conference hall at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019
Guests at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019


By Omar Ahmed

MEMO today co-hosted a one-day conference with the NGO EuroPal Forum on “The Palestine Question in Europe”. The event brought together an esteemed panel of speakers and experts on the Palestine-Israel question through the lens of Europe, in particular the EU’s foreign policy on core issues such as illegal Israeli settlements, Palestinian refugees, borders, security and Jerusalem.

EuroPal Forum Chairman Zaher Birawi welcome attendees and explained that events such as these are vital as a result of the “severe lack of mechanisms of assessment for understanding where the Palestinian issue is situated and understood across Europe”. The forum, he continued, was organised to bridge this gap and to facilitate a better understanding of Palestinian-European relations.

Birawi stressed that these endeavours come at the backdrop of “increasing attempts by Israel to intimidate, silence and tarnish” those working towards the attainment of Palestinian human rights.

The first of three panel sessions tackled the EU’s relationship with Palestine and Israel. Chaired by Professor Kamel Hawwash it included Dr Dimitris Bouris, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam who gave an historical overview on the European stance towards Palestinian statehood building.

He said there is a common position of the EU on matters such as settlements and human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and revealed the extent to which it participated in the Oslo Accords, which was dominated largely by the US.

The division of parts of the territories into Areas A, B and C has made the mission more complex, he added.

Speaking on the same panel, Policy Fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations Hugh Lovatt said the “EU also have a flip side where personal relations with Israel that go against international law and resolutions” are concerned, but it should also be holding the Palestinian Authority accountable for its actions.

Read the live blog from the day

Professor of International Law at Queen Mary University Neve Gordon argued that law is not the solution to the conflict and displayed maps of Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories over the years before touching on the fact that although net migration from Israel into the West Bank has decreased since 1967, the natural growth rates have increased due to the larger on average households of Jewish settlers. The two-state solution is effectively over, he continued, we should now be working towards a viable one-state solution.

Lecturer Dr Catherine Charrett said the EU knows Hamas is not a terrorist organisation but continues not to meet with members of the group because it is working toward delegitimising the movement. The narrative that Hamas is a terrorist group is maintained in order to justify the continued occupation of Palestinian territories and isolation of the Gaza Strip, she explained.

Middle East Monitor @MiddleEastMnt  

Charrett explains how the narrative of Hamas being a terrorist group is maintained in order to justify the continued occupation of Palestinian Territories and isolation of the Gaza Strip#PalestineEU
FOLLOW our live blog HERE: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191123-the-palestine-question-in-europe/ …

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Building on this, Dr Atef Alshaer told attendees that “the name alone – Palestine – is a challenge to advocate for”. The surfacing of an increasing number of right-wing groups and governments, including the government of US President Donald Trump, diminish the rights of Palestinians and help boost Israel’s plans for the region.

“They use Israel as an example of a successful kind of country,” he continued, with Trump using the Separation Wall as a way to deal with an unwanted people.

Anti-Semitism is another weapon which the Israeli government has exploited, Antony Lerman, visiting Senior Fellow at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna, said during the day’s final session “Assessing pro-Israel strategy in Europe alongside advocacy campaigns for Palestinian human rights”.

The result of the debates over whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism has been used “to freeze discussion over Palestinian rights”, Lerman continued.

Professor Ilan Pappe debunked the logic of those who equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, saying that any Jew who also criticises the state must also be anti-Semitic by definition.

Judaism, he added, will not and should never be a form of nationalism; it is only a faith and religion. Judaism as nationalism, on the other hand, is a justification of the occupation of the Palestinian people and territories.

Watch the livestream of the conference

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Hamas chief decries US reversal on Israeli settlements

Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 [Mohammed Asad-Middle East Monitor]

Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 

The political chief of Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Saturday denounced a US policy change on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as reported by Anadolu Agency. 

“Our people will not give up in the face of this US-Israeli plot,” Ismail Haniyeh said in statements on the sidelines of the inauguration of a medical centre in the southern Gaza Strip.

He said the US move aims “to redraw the map of the region to serve Israel”.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israeli settlements in the West Bank will no longer be viewed as illegal “per se”.

The announcement broke away from the State Department’s 1978 legal opinion which held that Israeli settlements are “inconsistent with international law.”

PA: Escalation of settlers’ violence is a result of Pompeo’s announcement

On Friday, more than 100 Democratic members of Congress signed a letter criticising the US administration’s policy reversal on the Israeli settlements.

The letter warned that the administration’s new policy “has undermined America’s moral standing” and made it more difficult to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

This letter “shows that the US administration is isolated by taking such decision”, Haniyeh said.

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians insist to regain the entire West Bank along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

READ: Global condemnation of US decision on settlements is void of action

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Turkey issues red notice for exiled Palestinian MP Mohammed Dahlan

Former Palestinian senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan on 16 September 2015 [STR/AFP/Getty Images]

Former Palestinian senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan on 16 September 2015

Turkey has issued a red notice for exiled Palestinian MP and dismissed Fatah leader, Mohammed Dahlan, over his role in the failed coup attempt in July, Turkish media reported on Friday.

“With the notice,” Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper stated, “Dahlan is now on the country’s wanted list and among its most sought criminals.”

Turkish interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, confirmed that Turkey’s fight against Abdullah Gullen’s group known as FETÖ, “will include some foreign nationals who have been involved in the coup attempt, such as Dahlan himself,” who is based in the UAE.

The Daily Sabah reported that Dahlan is accused of transferring funds to FETÖ, adding that the Turkish intelligence revealed that he had connections to the UAE spy network in Turkey.

The Turkish intelligence also found that the UAE, in cooperation with Israel, was planning to destabilise Turkey, Iran and Qatar through money and mass media.

READ: Dahlan claims that ill health will stop Abbas being president

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Illegal Israeli Settlers Torch Palestinian Vehicles, Vandalize Vehicles and Homes

According to the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA), 50 Palestinian vehicles were vandalized in the latest series of Israeli settler attacks in the West Bank district of Salfit.

Mayor of Kufur Ad-Dik, Ibrahim Issa Ad-Dik stated that a group of Israeli settlers sneaked their way into the Palestinian village, slashed the tires of 50 vehicles, and scrawled anti-Palestinian hate graffiti on several vehicles and the walls of houses.

Graffiti reading “A closed military zone” was scrawled across the wall of a villager’s house, in Hebrew, according to Ad-Dik, who noted that this was the second time the village was targeted by settlers in a year.

WAFA reported another 3 incidents of Israeli settler attacks, Thursday overnight, in which illegal colonists torched several Palestinian vehicles and scrawled hate graffiti in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Ghassan Daghlas, a settlement watchdog stated.

Daghlas, who monitors Israeli colonial settlement construction in the northern West Bank, said that a group of settlers sneaked their way into Majdal Bani Fadel and Qabalan villages, where they torched several vehicles and scrawled anti-Palestinian hate graffiti.

Settlers also overnight sneaked their way to Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus city, where they vandalized the home of Thaer Hanaysha, and set his vehicle on fire.

Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have repeatedly blamed Israel for fostering a “culture of impunity” for Jewish settlers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

“Price tag” refers to an underground anti-Palestinian Israeli group that routinely attacks Palestinians in the occupied territories, as well as inside Israel.

The Israeli government still refuses to label it as a terrorist organization and considers it only as group of vandals. It also considers such acts as hate crimes against Palestinians.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

Over 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE SHOOTS AT ISRAELI DRONES OVER GAZA

Gaza (QNN)- The Palestinian resistance in Gaza confronted Israeli drones over the Gaza strip last night.

Local sources said the resistance shot the Israeli drones using anti-aircraft artillery, while locals heard sounds of the shots.

The Israelis on Saturday claimed they downed a drone that was sent by the resistance from Gaza and infiltrated the eastern separation barrier of the enclave.

The occupation state routinely sends spy drones over the besieged enclave to gather information and keep the caged Gazans under surveillance. The Israeli drones overflights increase during Israeli wars on Gaza, as they are used as well to choose the targets of the strikes.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

‘ISRAEL’ ARRESTED 5500 PALESTINIAN CHILDREN SINCE 2015

Ramallah (QNN)- Palestine Prisoners Center for studies on Saturday revealed that it documented 5500 arrests against children by the Israeli authorities since the start of the Jerusalem Intifada in October 2015.

The center stated in a statement that the Israelis have sharply increased their targeting of Palestinian children in the recent four years. It also confirmed that targeting children in shootings and arrests “is not random, however it is deliberate and it takes place upon orders by security and political officials.”

“The occupation provides coverage and protection for the soldiers, who kill, and for the Shin Bet interrogators, who arrest and assault children on daily basis”, it added.

“The Israeli authorities made arresting Palestinian children a primary goal, arresting thousands of them since the occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

The statement also stressed that the occupation state did not only arrest and torture children, it also deliberately issued hard and punitive court rules against them. Several Palestinian children were sent to administrative detention without any charges.

“There are three children, who have been subjected to renewable administrative detention. Meanwhile, there are several children, who are sentenced to house arrest and expulsion”, the statement added.

All those, who were arrested, were brutally beaten and put in very tough conditions during interrogation. They were also subjected to all types of assaults and physical and psychological torture.

The statement said the occupation state holds 210 Palestinian children in Israeli jails in very hard conditions.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Israeli court convicts defender of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Raed Salah

Palestinians and analysts referred to the conviction as ‘absolutely political’

Israeli Magistrate Court in Haifa convicted on Sunday prominent Arab-Israeli Sheikh Raed Salah over claims of inciting terror and violence during Friday speeches.

The court also convicted Sheikh Salah for backing an “illegal” group, citing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which was outlawed by the Israeli occupation government in 2015 over its charity activities and defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.

At the time, the Israeli occupation government claimed that the movement had for years “been waging a campaign of deceitful incitement under the banner of ‘Al-Aqsa is in Danger.”

Of course, this claim has been completely false. All what the Israeli occupation government wanted was to suppress its voice which discloses the real Israeli dangers facing Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Among others, Sheikh Salah was convicted for a 2007 speech in the Wadi Joz Neighbourhood of east Jerusalem in which he repeatedly referred to the merit of martyrs who are killed while fighting the Israeli occupation.

Sheikh Salah was arrested in 2017 and spent 11 months in prison before he was released to a house arrest under very difficult conditions.

The extremist Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz expressed his support for the Israeli occupation court.

“I hope that the verdict in his case is as long and severe as possible,” the Zionist right-wing Israeli Jewish extremist said.

He added: “The State of Israel has no place for those who support terrorism, even if they are Israeli citizens,” forgetting that the Zionist Jewish gangs killed thousands of Palestinians and established their state on their skulls and bones.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Israel Bans 10 West Bank Palestinians From Travel

Photos File

Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) last week prevented 10 Palestinian citizens from travelling through Al-Karama crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

According to a statement by the Palestinian police, over 35,000 passengers managed to pass through Al-Karama crossing in both directions last week.

Meanwhile, 10 Palestinians were banned from travel over “security” pretexts.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

18-month-old Palestinian baby injured by extremist settlers attack

AL-KHALIL, PALESTINOW.COM — Hundreds of extremist settlers protected by Zionist forces forced their way into the Old City of Al-Khalil, attacking Palestinian civilians and storekeepers, shouting profanities at them and throwing stones at homes.

Mohammad Hasan Tanina, 18 months, was hit in the head with a rock, by the rampaging settlers, while inside his family home. He sustained a moderate injury, and was rushed to hospital for medical treatment.

Tension has been high in the city since Friday, when extremist settlers attacked homes of Palestinian families in the occupied section of the city, injuring several people.

Dozens of Israeli settlers on Friday night attacked Palestinian homes in different areas in Al-Khalil, Occupied West Bank, injuring at least 10 Palestinian citizens.

Local sources said that two Palestinian citizens suffered bruises after Israeli settlers attacked them near Abu Al-Rish checkpoint in Al-Khalil and were transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.

In the southern areas of Al-Khalil, 8 citizens were injured after Israeli settlers, escorted by armed soldiers, attacked them with batons and pepper gas.

According to local residents, five Palestinian youths were detained and harassed by the settlers in a shop in Al-Sahla area.

Late on Friday, hundreds of Israeli settlers coming from different settlements in the Occupied West Bank stormed Al-Khalil City to perform Talmudic rituals at the Ibrahmi Mosque. Meanwhile, further restrictions were imposed on the Palestinian residents of the area.

(Source / 24.11.2019) 

Zionist navy opens fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Zionist naval forces on Saturday morning opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of northern Gaza with no injuries reported.

The Palestinian Fishermen of Gaza Committee said that Israeli gunboats heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishermen sailing in Gaza waters in the early morning hours.

The committee said that the fishermen were attacked while fishing within the permitted area, which is three nautical miles.

Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday, 14 November, allowed Gaza fishermen to sail in Gaza waters following a two-day closure that accompanied a military aggression on the besieged territory.

On Tuesday, 12 November, the Israeli occupation army launched a military assault on the Gaza Strip that lasted for two days and killed 34 Palestinians, including three children, and injured 111.

(Source / 24.11.2019)