At least 10 wounded in Israel raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli security forces seen blocking the Damascus gate as tension rises between Israeli forces and Palestinians outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Eastern Jerusalem on 29 January 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli security forces seen blocking the Damascus gate as tension rises between Israeli forces and Palestinians outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Eastern Jerusalem on 29 January 2020 

On Friday at dawn Israeli occupation forces raided Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacked thousands of Palestinian worshippers using rubber bullets, wounding at least ten people, Arab48.com reported.

The Palestinian worshippers chanted: “With soul and blood, we will sacrifice for the sake of Al-Aqsa.”

The Israeli occupation took strict pre-emptive security measures in order to crack down on possible Palestinian protests against the US “deal of the century”.

Witnesses confirmed that the Israeli occupation forces prevented hundreds of worshippers from entering into the holy site for Friday prayer.

Friday witnessed massive protests against the deal in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Over 50 Palestinian protesters, including 15 in Gaza, were wounded by the Israeli occupation forces.

Read: Palestine cancels 1995 Oslo Accords signed with Israel

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Israel bans import of Palestinian agricultural products

Palestinian farmers during harvest season in Jordan Valley on 19 January 2015 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages

Palestinian farmers are seen during harvest season in the Jordan Valley on 19 January 2015

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett issued an order on Friday to stop agricultural trade with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in response to claims that Palestinian traders boycott Israeli cow traders, Arab48.com reported.

According to the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, Bennett asked the coordinator of the Israeli government in the occupied territories to immediately implement his decision.

Meanwhile, according to Kan, Bennett announced the formation of a special team to work on the implementation of the Israeli sovereignty over the Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

The “deal of the century” stipulates that Israel is to annex the major settlement and the occupied Jordan Valley, but Jared Kushner, Trump’s advisor on the Middle East who prepared the deal, stated that the annexation requires the discussion of a US-Israeli team, and for the issue to be postponed until after the Israeli Knesset elections.

Bennett announced in a speech delivered at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, that the deal is the “biggest opportunity given to Israel in 50 years” and that “we might lose it” if the Jordan Valley and Area C are not annexed before the elections.

Read: Gaza farmers call on UN to help sell their produce in West Bank

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Erdogan: Evil will arrive at Kaaba if Arab, Muslim countries remain silent

Muslim prospective Hajj pilgrims perform prayer around the Kaaba at Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on August 02, 2019 [Halil Sağırkaya / Anadolu Agency]

Muslim prospective Hajj pilgrims perform prayer around the Kaaba at Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on August 02, 2019

On Friday Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, slammed Arab and Muslim leaders for accepting or remaining silent on the issue of the US “deal of the century”, Turkish media reported.

Erdoğan reiterated his country’s strong opposition to the deal announced at the White House by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, where ambassadors of three Arab countries were in attendance.

“We will never recognise or accept the deal as it aims to annex occupied Palestinian lands,” he confirmed at a meeting of provincial heads of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara.

As reported by Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, Erdoğan also announced that leaving the fate of Jerusalem and the Palestinians entirely in the “bloody claws” of Israel will be “the greatest evil in all humanity”.

Turkey does not have any problems with the Jewish people, Erdoğan stressed, but is against the oppressive policies of Israel which aim to usurp the rights of Palestinians.

Read: Major Arab states support, Turkey rejects deal of the century

Erdoğan highlighted the importance of Jerusalem and the sacred monuments in the city for Muslims and Christians, urging all to raise their voices against Trump’s deal.

“If we cannot protect Al-Aqsa Mosque, we will not be able to prevent those who turn to the Kaaba as a target in the future,” he disclosed, stressing that “Jerusalem is our red line for this reason.”

The Turkish president noted that the issue of Palestine and Jerusalem is a matter for all Muslims. He criticised them and their silence, asking: “When will you raise your voice?”

Erdoğan maintained that a “rogue state”, such as Israel, is completely unacceptable to Turkey.

According to Reuters, Erdoğan affirmed: “When we look at the stance of countries in the Muslim world toward this step and the announced text, I pity us.”

“Saudi Arabia mostly, you are silent. When will you speak? The same goes for Oman, Bahrain, the Abu Dhabi leadership.”

He added: “They even go and applaud it there. Shame on you… Some Arab countries supporting such a plan are betraying Jerusalem, their own peoples and most of all humanity.”

Jimmy Carter: Trump deal breaches international law

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Soldiers Assault, Injure, A Palestinian In Hebron

Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Friday evening, a young Palestinian man from Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, causing various cuts and bruises.

Media sources said the soldiers stopped a young man, whose identity remained unknown at the time of this report, and detained him while inspecting his ID card at the entrance of the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron.

They added that the Palestinian is from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and that he suffered various cuts and bruises before he was moved to a hospital in the area.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Gaza Journalists Reject So Called ‘Deal of the Century’

Palestinian journalists in Gaza applied their blood to the map of Palestine to symbolize their dedication to their home land.

The Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza organized, on Thursday, a protest for Palestinian journalists, in front of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters, to show their rejection of the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ Alray News Agency reported.

“There would be no chance of success for any plan aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause”, said head of the GMO in Gaza, Salama Maroof, stating that it disregards human rights for Palestinians.

Maroof stressed the need to work towards national unity to take a strong stance in defiance of the disastrous plan.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Wounded Child From Kufur Qaddoum Remains In A Serious Condition

A child, who was shot and seriously injured in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, on Thursday, remains in a critical condition at a Palestinian hospital, medical sources have confirmed.

The sources said the child, identified as Mohammad Mohannad Eshteiwi, 15, was shot in the head during a nonviolent procession against the so-called “Deal Of The Century,” in Kufur Qaddoum.

The child remains in a very serious condition at the Intensive Care Unit after the soldiers shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head.

The Palestinians were marching and chanting for the liberation of Palestine and affirming that the struggle will continue until establishing a sovereign and independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It is worth mentioning that Israeli soldiers invade Kufur Qaddoum on a daily basis, as the town continues its struggle against the constant and escalating violations, including its illegal colonialist activities on Palestinian lands.

Kufur Qaddoum also continues to hold its weekly nonviolent processions against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, and against the closure of the main road, which was blockaded by the military fifteen years ago, to enable easy access for colonialist settlers driving to and from the Kedumim colony, built on private Palestinian lands.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

PALESTINIANS HAVE INDEED ‘MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY’ – TO SURRENDER TO ZIONISM

An Israeli soldier kicks a Palestinian flag during a protest against the U.S. president Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in Israeli-occupied West Bank on 29 January 

By Joseph Massad

Western and Israeli propaganda never tire of telling the world of the age-old Israeli quest for peace, and how much Israel longs to be accepted by Palestinians and the rest of the Arab peoples as a Jewish state – an oasis of European civilisation lodged smack in the middle of the Arab world.

Indeed, the racist wisdom of former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban (born in South Africa as Aubrey Solomon Meir) that Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” for “peace” was recently reiterated by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

Kushner, speaking of Trump’s “deal of the century”, declared on CNN that if Palestinians reject the plan, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence”. Kushner, a primary author of the plan, must be forgiven for his lack of originality, as Zionists, who exhausted the colonial lexicon, have run out of racist cliches and are doomed to repeat them ad nauseum.

Taking every opportunity

What Eban and Kushner meant when they spoke of opportunities was the opportunity for Palestinians to surrender all their rights to the Zionist Jewish colonisation of their homeland, end their resistance once and for all, and grant legitimacy to the Zionist theft of their country. The recently released Trump plan does not mince words at all on this: “Palestinian leaders must embrace peace by recognizing Israel as the Jewish state, rejecting terrorism in all its forms.”

In contrast, we are told that the peace-loving Zionists have not missed a single opportunity for peace, by which it is meant that they have accepted every opportunity and proposal that granted legitimacy to their ongoing theft of Palestinian lands.

As a matter of fact, not only have the Zionists not missed these opportunities, they have instigated them, proposed them, planned them and executed them.

The Zionist colonisation of Palestine has taken every opportunity since its inception to tell the Palestinian people that Jews are superior to them, that Jewish colonial rights to Palestinian lands are superior to any rights that the indigenous Palestinians think they have, and that the only option available to Palestinians that Zionists would accept is full surrender to Jewish colonisation.

Anything short of this will be condemned by Israel and its European and North American allies, alongside a global campaign to delegitimise any rejection of Israel’s colonial theft of Palestinian land as outright “antisemitism”.

Legitimising land theft

Zionists helped write, and then accepted, the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which the British foreign secretary dismissed the indigenous people of Palestine as irrelevant to the plan to establish a Jewish “national home” in their country. Zionists also supported the British colonial mandate over Palestine, which sponsored the establishment of the Jewish settler-colony on Palestinian lands.

Indeed, the Zionist leadership accepted every act committed by the British that denationalised tens of thousands of Palestinians (through the Palestine citizenship law of 1925) and transferred “state” lands to Jewish colonists.

When the British Peel Commission proposed taking more than one third of Palestine and giving it to Zionists, calling for the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the invented “Jewish” part of Palestine, Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion celebrated.

When the United Nations, under US pressure and manipulation, issued its Partition Plan in 1947, granting 55 percent of the land of the Palestinians to Jewish colonists, the Zionists immediately accepted it and proceeded to expel the Palestinian inhabitants.

This readiness to instigate, propose, accept and create opportunities to steal more land, legitimise that theft, and expel more Palestinians continued unabated after 1948. After the final conquest of the remaining parts of Palestine in 1967 and the expulsion of more Palestinians, Israel sought more opportunities to keep its stolen land – and to keep Palestinians away from it.

Indeed, when former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat ceded Palestinian rights to independence and statehood at Camp David, the Israelis who imposed these conditions readily accepted the deal. When a defeated Palestine Liberation Organisation offered its surrender at Oslo in 1993, relinquishing the rights of Palestinians to their lands and country, the Israelis who drafted the agreement also readily accepted it.

Sealing all previous deals

As for the Trump deal – which the Israelis coauthored, and which hopes to seal all previous deals, calling further for the denationalisation of Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in what is known as the Triangle area inside Israel – the Israelis immediately jumped at this opportunity to rid themselves of more Palestinians.

What the Israelis never accepted, and cannot accept, is the right of Palestinians to their lands, to statehood and to independence – let alone the rights of those whom Israel expelled to return and reclaim the land and property that Israel confiscated, or the Palestinian right to equality, currently denied by a battery of Israeli laws that grant colonial and racial privileges to Jews.

That Israel has never missed any opportunity to deny the Palestinian people their rights, and accepted every opportunity to steal their land, is a fact the Israelis never deny. That Israel demands that the Palestinians recognise its right to oppress them by granting Israel legitimacy is also a fact that the Palestinians understand well, but have always rejected.

Whereas Palestinians have “missed every opportunity” to recognise the right of their oppressors to oppress them, Israel has never missed a single opportunity to demand that they do so. Trump’s “Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” is simply the latest version of this colonial and racist demand.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

IN PICTURES| 121 INJURIES DURING DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST TRUMP’S PLAN

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- 121 Palestinians were wounded during demonstrations against Trump’s plan throughout Palestine, according to medical sources.

The Red Crescent stated that its teams dealt with 97 injuries throughout the occupied West Bank on Friday.

It added that its teams treated wounded protesters at the northern entry to Al Bireh in addition to the villages of Bita, Howarah, and Madama in Nablus, Tulkarem, Jericho, the Jordan Valley, and Bil’in.

It confirmed that 18 cases were evacuated to hospitals, while the others were treated in the field.

The injuries varied from suffocation with poisonous gas to injuries with rubber-coated metal bullets, burns, and beating.

In Jericho, one paramedic was suffocated by the Israeli poisonous tear gas while he was on duty.

On the other side, one Israeli officer was hit with a stone during confrontations in Jericho.

Meanwhile, the Red Crescent added that it dealt with 14 injuries during confrontations on Gaza’s borders. All cases were evacuated to the strip’s hospitals.

Medical sources stated that one child was killed on Friday. Hani Abbasi (15 years old) succumbed to injuries that he sustained during Gaza’s weekly protests a few months ago.

In Al Aqsa mosque, ten worshipers were wounded by the Israeli rubber-coated metal bullets directly after they finished Fajr prayer.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

SHOT BY ISRAEL FOR PLANTING TREES

By Majed Abusalama

Trump’s “deal of the century” for Israel and Palestine is an absolute farce that has left me imagining a third Intifada, more curfews, military assaults and detentions. I can feel the sadness of my grandparents, who were uprooted from their home during the Nakba in 1948, and the disappointment of my parents who grew up as part of the revolutionary generation in Jabalia refugee camp during Israel’s occupation of the remaining 22 percent of our lands.

Palestinians will – and must – resist and fight back and there will be more loss of life and more of what we witnessed every Friday at Gaza’s Great March of Return protests.

I know only too well the response to even peaceful protest. The Israeli occupation’s brutal repression of any kind of resistance is a reality I grew up with.

Six years ago, on January 17, 2014, I went to plant olive trees as part of a peaceful protest against the imprisonment of two million people in the ghetto that is Gaza. Instead, I had a bullet planted in my leg.

This happened at the eastern “buffer zone” where some of the Great March of Return protests took place. The buffer zone is a no-go zone that extends along the northern and eastern portion of Israel’s heavily fortified fence with Gaza, its creation meant the loss of about 30 percent of Gaza’s most fertile agricultural land.

During the second Intifada (2000-2005), scores of citrus and olive trees had been bulldozed and uprooted from the landscape of Gaza to make way for this buffer zone, in the process targetting farmers who simply wanted to cultivate their land.

For Palestinians in Gaza, the vulnerability and precariousness of life are starkly apparent on a daily basis. Living in constant fear has left the inhabitants scarred by multi-generational layers of trauma. Losing our natural resources because of the conflict has led only to more hardship as we can no longer farm our land.

This is why I and the protest group I co-founded in 2013, the Intifada Youth Coalition, decided to stage a symbolic but peaceful protest by the fence surrounding the buffer zone – by planting new olive trees.

The Intifada Youth Coalition is made up of young people from various refugee camps, grassroots groups and parties. We would get together to hold demonstrations at the buffer zone every other Friday and sailed alongside others to protest against the naval blockades on our coastline as a Palestinian-led flotilla.

The day I was shot

After a long week of preparing to plant the trees, the day arrived.

I had sent out a notification about our protest, outlining our peaceful intentions, to embassies, consulates, press and human rights organisations in the Palestinian territories, Brussels, Geneva and New York, hoping that they would relay our vision and message to the world. We also hoped the publicity would encourage restraint by soldiers guarding the no-go zone. We were, after all, exercising our right to protest under international and human rights law; we just wanted to plant some trees.

It was a sunny Friday and the sky was blue, albeit filled with drones. My mother, Halima, woke me up and called me to breakfast with my family. She prayed that this breakfast would not be my last. My father, Ismail, who was a freedom fighter in his youth, was unusually silent. He has always been good at suppressing his feelings but I could tell he was scared for me. They could not stop me from going, however, so they opted to show trust and support for the statement my friends and I wanted to make. After all, my parents themselves spent their youth protesting in Gaza. Both led non-violent demonstrations in the Jabalia and other refugee camps, where I grew up, during the first Intifada (1987-1991).

When I reached the fence that morning, I could see, in the distance, on the other side where my grandparents once lived and cultivated the land in peace, an Israeli soldier standing on a high point. Just as I finished planting an olive tree, we were surrounded by tear gas and the soldier shot directly at me. I could barely breathe or see and I stayed down to try to keep out of range of the bullets landing close by. A bullet grazed my hand. There were a few seconds of silence when I tried to run, and that was when another seared through my leg.

My friends heard my screams and the sound of the bullet and started calling: “Majed, Majed. People, Majed is shot, Majed is shot!” I wonder now if the soldier heard those cries and how he felt if he did.

I examined my leg and could see the bullet had passed straight through, creating a hole big enough for me to put my finger in it and see the finger from the other side. I could only crawl slowly. I ripped my jeans and tried to tie the material above the entrance wound to stop the blood until my friends could reach me and carry me quickly through the cloud of tear gas and rain of bullets.

My friends struggled to lift me, so more arrived to help until we reached a safe distance. I knew there was a risk that I might not be able to walk again, but the thought that weighed heaviest on my mind in those moments was how my mother would react. I hoped that my parents were not watching the local news and that they would not find out what had happened to me until after I knew the extent of my injury.

But, of course, the news reached them almost immediately.

Yaser Murtaja, a photojournalist and a good friend who was tragically killed by Israeli security forces during protests a year later, was with us. He was carrying his camera, his only weapon, and managed to document every second. He took the photo that accompanies this article.

My friends managed to take me in a tuk-tuk to a car, which transported me to the hospital. It was a 10-minute journey but it felt so much longer. The pain was excruciating and I kept passing out.

At the hospital, I could see my father’s relief when the doctors told him I should be able to walk again in three months. I spoke to my mother, who had fainted when she heard that I had been shot, on the phone. “It means you are alive and will be home soon,” she told me.

‘What would you say to the soldier who shot you?’

The bullet wound has left me with lifelong complications. A small piece remains embedded in my badly scarred leg and causes muscle spasms. Last year, I was unable to walk for several days until doctors in Germany, where I am now based, decided to carry out two operations on my knee. I was in hospital for seven days, made easier by the care of my friends in Berlin.

These days I spend my time between Zurich and Berlin, working with refugees and organisations including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“What would you say to the soldier who shot you?” I have asked several friends, to get them to imagine being in my shoes. This question has stayed with me and I have often felt the urge to communicate with this anonymous soldier, to show how his actions affected me.

I want to ask: “How can it be so easy to pull a trigger aiming at another human body? Is it like playing a video game? Why did you shoot me when I was clearly a civilian who posed no danger? What does it take to dehumanise me – and therefore yourself – in order to do so?”

I want to know: Does that soldier think of my parents? Has he ever wanted to know who I am and whether I lived or died? Was he shooting to kill?

The moment a bullet pierced my leg was one of the most traumatising of my life. I know I am “lucky” to have survived, given the number of protesters who have lost their lives in Gaza. But emotions still overwhelm me whenever I recall that moment.

*Along with two Israeli fellow members of the BDS movement, Majed Abusalama is currently on trial in Germany on charges of trespass over the disruption of a talk by Aliza Lavie, an Israeli member of the Knesset, at Humboldt University in 2017.

(Source / 01.02.2020) 

Turkey’s Erdoğan slams Arabs, Muslims over silence on deal of the century

‘Some Arab countries supporting such a plan are betraying Jerusalem, their own peoples and most of all humanity,” Erdoğan says, “Shame on you’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed on Friday Arab and Muslim leaders for accepting or remaining silent on the issue of the US “deal of the century,” Turkish media reported.

Erdoğan reiterated his country’s strong opposition to the deal announced at the White House by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, where ambassadors of three Arab countries were in attendance.

“We will never recognise or accept the deal as it aims to annex occupied Palestinian lands,” he confirmed at a meeting of provincial heads of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara.

As reported by Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, Erdoğan also announced that leaving the fate of Jerusalem and the Palestinians entirely in the “bloody claws” of Israel will be “the greatest evil in all humanity”.

Turkey does not have any problems with the Jewish people, Erdoğan stressed, but is against the oppressive policies of Israel which aim to usurp the rights of Palestinians.

Erdoğan highlighted the importance of Jerusalem and the sacred monuments in the city for Muslims and Christians, urging all to raise their voices against Trump’s deal.

“If we cannot protect Al-Aqsa Mosque, we will not be able to prevent those who turn to the Kaaba as a target in the future,” he disclosed, stressing that “Jerusalem is our red line for this reason.”

The Turkish president noted that the issue of Palestine and Jerusalem is a matter for all Muslims. He criticised them and their silence, asking: “When will you raise your voice?”

Erdoğan maintained that a “rogue state”, such as Israel, is completely unacceptable to Turkey.

According to Reuters, Erdoğan affirmed: “When we look at the stance of countries in the Muslim world toward this step and the announced text, I pity us.

“Saudi Arabia mostly, you are silent. When will you speak? The same goes for Oman, Bahrain, the Abu Dhabi leadership.”

He added: “They even go and applaud it there. Shame on you… Some Arab countries supporting such a plan are betraying Jerusalem, their own peoples and most of all humanity.”

(Source / 01.02.2020)