France to financially support Palestinian agriculture in Area C

Agriculture farmers during the harvest in Summer [APAimages]

Palestinian farmers during the harvest in Summer

The French government has committed to supporting Palestinian agricultural development and water infrastructure in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, signing two agreements worth 20 million euros (about $22 million), reported Al-Monitor.

The French Development Agency (AFD) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed the agreements earlier this month in PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh’s office in Ramallah.

“France’s support for a number of communities and villages in Area C is at the heart of the government’s work strategy aimed at stabilising these areas as an integral part of the Palestinian territories,” said the prime minister at the time.

Under the Oslo Accords signed in the 1990s, so-called Area C of the West Bank – around 60 per cent of the territory – is under full Israeli “security” and civil control. Israeli occupation authorities almost entirely prevent Palestinian construction and development in Area C, while settlements thrive.

According to the report, the first agreement “provides 10 million euros [$11 million] to support infrastructure and road construction in 19 Palestinian communities in Area C of Salfit in the central West Bank, and Tubas and al-Jiftlik in the northern West Bank.”

READ: Israel allows Gaza to export strawberries to Europe, Gulf 

Meanwhile, “the other agreement aims to develop water networks in the Aboud area and the villages in western Ramallah governorate, with a value of 10 million euros.”

Walid Assaf, head of the PLO Colonisation and Wall Resistance Commission, told Al-Monitor that “the purpose of these agreements is to consolidate the Palestinian presence in Area C and prevent Israel from annexing it, as it is an integral part of the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.”

“The Palestinian government had to intervene to preserve Palestinian land and to help the Palestinians there, while Israel is pushing the Palestinian population to immigrate to the PA-controlled Area A and Area B by not allowing them to build in Area C,” he added.

Ahmed Ghawanmeh, head of the village council of Al-Jiftlik, said that “the first agreement, which includes the construction and rehabilitation of roads for Palestinian communities in Area C of the cities of Salfit and Tubas and the town of Al-Jiftlik, will enable farmers and their agricultural vehicles to reach their agricultural lands, and this will help achieve an agricultural renaissance in the area.”

“The Israeli authorities demolished four houses in the town during the past year and distributed notices to demolish a dozen others because they were built without a permit,” Ghawanmeh noted.

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Report: Palestine Archbishop Atallah Hanna poisoned in Jerusalem

Bishop Atallah Hanna with Palestinian men take part in a protest against satirical French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, in the West bank city of Hebron on 22 January 2015. [Muhesen Amren-Apaimages]

Bishop Atallah Hanna with Palestinian men take part in a protest against satirical French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, in the West bank city of Hebron on 22 January 2015

The Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem Archbishop Atallah Hanna was reportedly hospitalised yesterday after being poisoned by chemical substances, according to Quds TV.

Reports said the Archbishop was rushed to hospital after an Israeli gas canister was fired into his church in Jerusalem. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Quds TV – قناة القدس@QdsTvSat  

مصادر محلية: تعرض المطران الفلسطيني عطا الله حنا للتسمم بمادة كيماوية نقل على إثرها لإحدى مستشفيات القدس المحتلة

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46122:04 – 18 Dec 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy 266 people are talking about this   

READ: Israel places security ban on Christian children in Gaza

The outspoken Palestinian Christian leader has been a staunch critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its acts of aggression in neighbouring Lebanon and Syria.

realSeifBitar@BitarReal  

#Israel Tried to Assassinate Him

In a fresh #Israeli assassination attempt, Archbishop of Sebastia for Greek Orthodox in #Palestine Atallah Hanna was hospitalized today for suffering of a temporary paralysis after being poisoned by #Israel in his church in #Jerusalem

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Hanna was a notable attendee at last month’s First international Conference on Israeli Apartheid held at Istanbul. “The occupation in Jerusalem is treating us as if we are guests and foreigners in our own city. This is the embodiment of apartheid policies and practices against our people in Jerusalem specifically and in Palestine more generally,” he told MEMO in an exclusive interview.

Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Israel cuts electricity supply to West Bank over debts

Palestinian electrical workers inspect power installations [Getty]

Palestinian electrical workers inspect power installations

Several cities in the occupied West Bank, including Ramallah and Bethlehem, are suffering from power cuts as a result of Israel’s state-owned electric company cutting supplies.

Israel Electric Corp (IEC) has put in place daily power cuts which last three hours since Sunday, according to Reuters, and affect an estimated 130,000 people.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian households, medical centres, businesses and educational institutions in Ramallah were left without power after the IEC – in a step supported by the Israeli government – cut power to main power supply points serving the Palestinian-owned Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), reported the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

READ: Palestine electric company to sue Israel following power cuts

The cuts were to press for payment for what it said to be $519 million owed by the Palestinian electricity company, according to Reuters.

JDECO is the largest electricity provider in the occupied West Bank, covering Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Jericho, the Jordan Valley and some neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. Ninety per cent of its energy needs come from the IEC.

According to Al-Monitor, the Palestinian distributor received its first warning in August, prompting it to take out a 100 million shekel ($28.3 million) loan to repay a portion of its debt to the IEC.

Hisham Omari, chairman of the JDECO, said: “When you have no electricity, there is no life. You stop life, you stop work, you feel the winter cold, for three hours.”

Omari said the company was “trying to take a 150 million shekel [$43.25 million] loan from a Palestinian bank to help pay off the debt.”

He added that the PA is negotiating with Israel to reschedule JDECO’s debt payments and end the power cuts.

Since the occupied West Bank was captured by Israel in 1967, Palestinians are largely dependent on electricity supplied by the occupation state.

Last month, Chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority, Zafer Melhem, said the Palestinian electric company is preparing to prosecute its Israeli counterpart over plans to cut electricity in the occupied West Bank.

This was followed by a JDECO employees holding a sit-in at the company’s offices in protest against the Israeli policy of collective punishment which they said was a violation of international law.

READ: Israel to allow power generators to enter besieged Gaza Strip

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Assault A Palestinian And Abduct Him, In Occupied Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Wednesday at night, a young Palestinian man from the al-‘Isawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted him.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers invaded Oleyyan neighborhood in the town, and stopped a young man, identified as Ahmad Abu Roumi, while he was walking to his home.

They added that the soldiers repeatedly assaulted the young man, causing various cuts and bruises, before moving him to the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation facility.

Earlier Wednesday, the soldiers abducted a Palestinian man, identified as Khaled Atiya, and his child, Ahmad, in front of their home in the town.

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Army Searches Many Homes In Northern Plains

Israeli soldiers invaded, late on Wednesday at night, Ein al-Baida’ village in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, before storming and ransacking many homes.

Media sources said dozens of soldiers invaded the village, before searching dozens of homes while interrogating the residents.

They added that the soldiers collected the mobile phone numbers of the families, in addition to their ID card numbers.

In Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded

Archive Photo

Teqoua’ town, southeast of the city, before breaking into and searching one home, and summoned a young man, identified as Mohammad Khaled Ta’amra, for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, north of Bethlehem.

In related news, the soldiers abducted five Palestinians in Hebron and Jenin, and seven in Ramallah, in the West Bank. 

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Israel Unilaterally Decreases Gaza’s Fishing Zone

The Israeli Navy unilaterally decreased, on Thursday morning, the fishing zone allotted to the Palestinian fishermen in the besieged Gaza strip.

The Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate has reported that the fishing zone was reduced to six nautical miles from the port area in Gaza city all the way to the northern part of the coastal region.

It added that the fishing zone from Gaza city until southern Gaza Strip in Rafah, was reduced to ten nautical miles.

Israel frequently reduces and changes the allotted fishing zone to thousands of fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, while the navy constantly opens fire on the fishermen and their boats, in addition to repeatedly abducting the fishermen and confiscating their boats.

These violations over the years have led to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, among the fishermen.

On Thursday morning, the Israeli army fired five missiles into an area, northwest of Gaza Strip, causing excessive property damage and fire, without leading to civilian casualties.

The army claimed it was retaliating to a shell that was allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip into an area in Sderot settlement, causing no damage or injuries.

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Soldiers Abduct A Young Man, Injure Dozens, Near Hebron

Israeli soldiers abducted, Thursday, a young Palestinian man, and caused dozens of residents to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation, in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers attacked many Palestinians, protesting the invasion near the main entrance of the refugee camp, and fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades at them.

They added that dozens of residents suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and that the soldiers also abducted a young man, who remained unidentified at the time of this report.

In related news, the soldiers abducted five Palestinians in Hebron and Jenin, and seven in Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Late on Wednesday at night, the soldiers invaded Ein al-Baida’ village in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, before storming and ransacking many homes.

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

UN: Israel planned, approved 22,000 settlement units in 3 years

UNSC issued resolution in 2016 reiterating illegality of Israeli settlement in occupied territories

UN peace coordinator told UN Security Council on Wednesday that Israel had announced or approved plans of 22,000 settlement units since UN resolution to stop settlement in 2016.

In a brief the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, made to the UN Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), he gave details about Israel’s settlement violations.

“In the three years since the Security Council resolution 2334 adopted, plans for over 22,000 units have been advanced or approved in West Bank settlements, including in East Jerusalem,” he said.

“Tenders for some 8,000 units have been issued. These numbers should be of serious concern to all those who continue to support the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state alongside Israel,” he added.

‘No legal validity’

Mladenov reminded that the UNSC resolution 2,334 “clearly states that the establishment of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

He also recalled that the resolution considers Israeli settlement as “a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

“Therefore,” he stressed, “Settlements must cease immediately and completely.”

Continued displacement

Mladenov also said that the Israeli displacement of the Palestinians and the destruction of their homes in the occupied territories is still continuous.

“Demolitions and seizures of structures also continued across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” he told the UNSC.

“Since 6 December [2019], an additional eight Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, resulting in the displacement of 20 people,” he added.

Israel did not stop violence

Meanwhile, he said that the UNSC resolution 2,334 “calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians.”

“Unfortunately,” he said, “violence continued even during the few days since the submission of [this] report.”

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Bahar Calls On Palestinian People To Rise Up And Defend Jerusalem

Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PIC)

Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PIC), has called on the Palestinian people from all spectra to be on high alert for the dangers threatening Occupied Jerusalem and its population and rise to their defense.

Addressing the 13th scientific conference of al-Quds in Gaza, Bahar pointed to the increasing suppressive measures and settlement activities that aim to empty the holy city of its people and obliterate the Islamic identity and its authentic Arab character.

He warned of Israeli intents to end the cultural and human heritage of Jerusalem and steal its holy sites, especially the Aqsa Mosque.

The lawmaker stressed the need for a decisive stance and a deterrent response from the Arab and Islamic countries, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to address the Israeli serious escalation in Jerusalem.

(Source / 19.12.2019) 

Israeli Warplanes Target Post In Besieged Gaza Strip

Photos File

Photos File

Israeli occupation warplanes targeted early on Thursday morning a post to the northwest of Gaza city in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Local sources said Israeli occupation fighter jets pounded open farmland with five missiles, causing extensive damage without injuries.

It added fire broke out in the field and that firefighters were rushed to the area.

Israel claimed the attack came in retaliation to a rocket fire from the enclave.

The attack rattled the shaky ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the United Nations that ended the flare-up triggered by the targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Atta and his wife, Asmaa, on November 12.

Fourteen years following the Israeli “disengagement” from Gaza, Israel has not actually disengaged from Gaza; it still maintains control of its land borders, access to the sea and airspace.

Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 13 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

(Source / 19.12.2019)