Israel bans Palestinian agricultural exports via Jordan

Palestinians can be seen in the marketplace in Gaza on 3 June 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians can be seen in the marketplace in Gaza on 3 June 2019

Israel has escalated a trade war with the Palestinians by stopping their agricultural exports through Jordan, Palestinian Agriculture Minister Riyal al-Attari said on Saturday.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) opened a new front in their decades-long conflict with a trade dispute that began in October and has escalated over the past week.

Yesterday, the director of Israeli crossings informed all exporters and all relevant parties that all Palestinian agriculture products would be banned from export to world markets through the Jordanian crossing starting Sunday,

al-Attari told Voice of Palestine Radio.

Israeli and Jordanian officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In October, the PA announced a boycott of Israeli calves. Last weekend Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said he would halt all PA agricultural imports, which in turn prompted the PA to say it would end imports of Israeli agricultural products, fruit juice, and bottled water.

Those moves have frayed trade links that have generally held strong since the two sides signed interim peace accords in the 1990s, even weathering the collapse in 2014 of peace talks.

Bilateral tensions have been further fuelled by the announcement of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan which has prompted a string of violent incidents in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza.

READ: Gaza farmers return to their lands along volatile Israel fence

The actions of the PA, whose power base is in the West Bank, in part reflect greater efforts to end what its leaders – including new Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh – see as an over-dependence on Israeli markets.

“We are at a critical political moment and we completely understand the negative impact that will result from these measures, but I say with all confidence that that negative impact will also affect the Israeli economy,” said al-Attari. “We have several options and measures with which we can respond to each Israeli decision that aims to harm our national economy,” he added.

WATCH: PA bans Israel produce from Palestinian markets

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Abbas: We will not accept Abu Dis or Al-Eizariya as capital of Palestinian State

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference on Trump's so called peace plan in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference on Trump’s so called peace plan in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020

“We will not accept Abu Dis or Al-Eizariya, as the capital of the Palestinian State,” announced President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, stressing: “Without Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967, we will never accept this state.”

This came during his reception for official figures and representatives of civil society at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, on Thursday evening.

Trump and Netanyahu's love affair around Jerusalem and Palestine's fate - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“We are now facing the truth; we are facing fate and this battle will not be the last. We will not give up our rights given by international legitimacy,” confirmed Abbas.

He also insisted in his speech: “There is no concession on Jerusalem, and we will not accept Abu Dis or Al-Eizariya, as they want. Our capital is Jerusalem and Al-Haram.”

OPINION: The schizophrenia of Mahmoud Abbas as he looks for an ‘honourable end’

“In a word, the ‘Deal of the Century’ (Trump’s peace plan) is the conclusion of the Balfour Declaration, and what Balfour said in 1917 is what is now presented to the Palestinian people,” Abbas continued.

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced the “Deal of the Century”, in a press conference in Washington, in the presence of Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The plan, which was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and all the resistance factions, includes the establishment of a “connected” Palestinian State, in the form of an archipelago connected by bridges and tunnels, in addition to making the city of Jerusalem an undivided capital for Israel.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Soldiers Injure Many Palestinians During Funeral Procession Of Slain Officer In Qalqilia

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinians at the northern entrance of Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, during the funeral procession of a Palestinian Lieutenant, identified as Tareq Badwan, 24, who was shot dead by Israeli army fire at a police headquarters in Jenin, also northern West Bank.

The soldiers closed the main entrance of Azzoun town, and resorted to the excessive use of force against the marchers, by firing a barrage of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets.

The attack led to several injuries, in addition to causing dozens of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

In addition, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians, identified as Mustafa Husam Hantash, 16, at the northern entrance of Qalqilia, in addition to Yousef Abu ar-Rob, 23, while returning to the city of Ramallah.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure Five Palestinians Near Jenin

Israeli soldiers shot, Friday, five young Palestinian men and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in the al-‘Arqa village, southwest of Jenin, in northern West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Jenin said the soldiers shot five young men with rubber-coated steel bullets, in their lower extremities.

The PRCS added that many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. The Medics provided all wounded Palestinians with the needed treatment.

The incidents took place after the soldiers invaded the village and resorted to the excessive use of force against the local youngsters, who protested the invasion.

In related news, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Marwan Hdeib, 19, from Hebron in southern West Bank, while he was crossing the military roadblock on the entrance of the blockaded Shuhada Street, in the center of the city.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

WHY HAVE ARAB RULERS ACCEPTED THE TRUMP DEAL?

By Mohammad H. Fadel

Adecade ago, Columbia University professor Richard Bulliet gave a lecture on the history of the modern Middle East, in which he provocatively predicted that after a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal, the oil-rich Gulf states would become an Israeli protectorate. Iran would be left out in the cold.

Bulliet envisioned a permanent solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict along the lines of Lebanese consociationalism, with Palestinian Arabs and Jews agreeing to divide state powers and to distribute them among various communities.

US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” is based on similar logic, whereby a Palestinian-Israeli deal and an alliance between Israel and Gulf states would lead to Iran’s isolation. But unlike Bulliet’s hopeful vision of power-sharing, the Trump plan offers a bleak political future for Palestinians.

Expulsion and dispossession
The US deal requires Palestinians to relinquish all historical claims arising out of their expulsion and dispossession by Zionist forces, and to submit to an ongoing regime of apartheid in perpetuity. Trump’s proposed “state” would make a mockery of the notion of Palestinian self-determination, functioning only to absolve Israel of responsibility for the miserable conditions of this future Palestinian enclave.

Yet, despite the blatant illegality of the Trump plan under international law, the response of Arab states – and particularly Gulf states – has been muted. Why?

Firstly, the willingness of Arab states to go along with the Trump plan reflects not only their fear of Iran, but more fundamentally, their fear of their own populations. The autocratic regimes of the Arab world, in response to the Arab Spring, have resolved to maintain their power and privilege at all cost. They understand that their continued stability depends principally on external support.

An alliance with Israel would ensure their continued US support, regardless of any measures they take domestically to forestall popular reform movements, or to confront their own people. Their willingness to tolerate a plan that demands a complete Palestinian surrender reflects the extent of their desperation to secure external allies to shore up their domestic regimes.

Secondly, the autocratic nature of Arab states generally, and Gulf states in particular, is based on a social contract in which rights are traded for money. This is akin to the transactional logic that Trump and Israel are offering Palestinians: “prosperity” in exchange for relinquishing political rights. Millions of people, both Arabs and non-Arabs, have long been willing to accept this tradeoff to enjoy higher living standards in the Gulf.

Destroying solidarity networks

Thirdly, from the perspective of autocratic Arab states, the blatant disregard of the Trump plan for Palestinian rights might be a feature, rather than a problem. Arab autocracies might realise that any insistence on the inalienability of rights could rebound negatively on their own regimes.

Autocracies can only survive in an atmosphere that lacks respect for the law. Their indifference to Palestinian rights is consistent with their indifference to allowing human rights to form the basis of their own domestic or foreign policies. The Trump plan affirms the superiority of power over law, a principle crucial to the continued survival of Arab autocracies.

Finally, these Arab autocracies also have a long-term interest in burying the issue of Palestine. The question of Palestine has been the single most effective rallying cry for inter-Arab, inter-Muslim and even international solidarity. Yet, autocracies depend on destroying independent networks of solidarity and creating isolated individuals indifferent to the fates of their fellow citizens.

The Arab Spring, despite its failures, showed the unity of Arab political culture, and the common desire among vast numbers of citizens to transform their societies along democratic lines. To prevent a recurrence of that revolutionary moment, Arab autocracies aim to remove all sources of solidarity from their societies, other than sources that the regime can securely control.

Autocracy over democratisation

The continued popular recognition of the Palestinian cause as sacred, a political reality that encourages and reinforces transnational, rights-based networks of solidarity among Arabic-speaking populations, only serves to undermine the legitimacy of Arab autocracies. Putting an end to the Palestinian cause thus reduces the moral resources available for democratic resistance to autocracy in the Arab world.

Tragically, the Arab world – and particularly the Gulf states – could credibly resist both Iranian imperialism and Zionist aggression if these regimes were willing to abandon autocracy and to empower their own people. Sadly, they have chosen autocracy over democratisation.

Their willingness to accept the Trump plan is not only a harbinger of further suffering for Palestinians, but also a clear signal to the peoples of the Arab world that their rulers are willing to go to extreme lengths to preserve their power and privilege.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

IN PICTURES| GENERAL STRIKE IN TULKAREM FOLLOWING ISRAELI EXECUTION OF TEENAGER

Tulkarem (QNN)- A general strike prevailed in the village of Qiffin in northern Tulkarem following the funeral of Bader Nidal Nafleh Harsheh (19 years old), who was executed by Israeli forces on Friday with a bullet in his neck.

The teenager succumbed to his wounds a few hours after being shot with live bullets by Israeli soldiers during confrontations in the village of Qiffin yesterday.

The Ministry of Health said that the teenager’s wound was very serious. The Israeli bullet cut the main artery in his neck, causing him to die.

An activist based in Tulkarem told QNN that a general strike prevailed in the village, while locals flocked to the streets in a demonstration that walked from Thabet Thabet hospital throughout the city holding the martyr and chanting slogans for him and his mother.

Violent confrontations erupted in several villages and cities in occupied Jerusalem and West Bank rejecting Trump’s peace plan, causing at least 50 Palestinians to be injured.

Nafleh is the fifth martyr, who has been killed by the Israelis, since the announcement of Trump’s plan. The other martyrs are Muhammad Salman Haddad (Hebron), Yazan Abu Tbeikh (Jenin), Tareq Badwan (Azzoun), Shadi Banna (Haifa), and Bader Nafleh (Tulkarem).

(Source/ 08.02.2020) 

Palestinian teen killed in Israeli violent crackdown on peaceful protests

Fifth Palestinian protester was shot dead in West Bank on Friday as Israeli occupation forces have been violently cracking down on peaceful protesters since Thursday.

Local sources said that the Israeli occupation forces opened live ammunition at the peaceful Palestinian protesters who were protesting against Trump’s deal of the century.

Palestinian medical sources identified the martyr as Bader Nafleh, 19, stating that this killing raised the Palestinian death toll to five since Thursday.

More than 50 other protesters have been wounded during the protests.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Palestinian boy shot in head by Israeli forces delayed en route to hospital

While residents rushed the bleeding teen to a hospital, an Israeli police officer stopped the car for 25 minutes

By Oren Ziv and Ahmad Al-Bazz

Israeli occupation forces shot Palestinian boy in the head. A settler dragged his friends, who took him to hospital, to Israeli checkpoint that delayed his arrival to hospital, deteriorating his condition.


Last Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot Muhammad Ishtewi, 15, in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was spending time with friends at a public spring near Kufr Qaddum, a Palestinian village in the West Bank. The teen is now being hospitalised at the intensive care unit of Hadassah Medical Centre in Ein Kerem.

Witnesses to the shooting, including people who accompanied Ishtewi to the hospital, described a disturbing scene: not only did soldiers shoot Muhammad in the head while he was not engaged in any violent activity, but for 25 minutes, an Israeli police officer held up the car that was taking him to be treated. The boy continued bleeding from the head, his arrival at the hospital delayed.

There had been no protest in Kufr Qaddum that day, according to residents, and it was unclear as to why the army showed up. Qusay Hussein, 13, recounts hanging out with Ishtewi in Kufr Qaddum’s “park” — a grassy area with trees and flowers on the village outskirts.

“At around 3:20 pm, we saw five Israeli soldiers approaching us from the hill by the park,” said Hussein. “We decided to leave and hide behind a rock because we were so scared. When my friend [Muhammad Ishtewi] tried to see what was happening from behind the rock, the soldiers shot at us. We took [Muhammad] and ran to the village, and saw the soldiers photographing the blood stains left behind.”

The rubber-coated steel bullet that struck Ishtewi is in fact a ball of metal covered with a thin plastic shell. According to the army’s open-fire regulations, troops can only aim these bullets at the lower part of the body.

Experts explain that the bullet’s penetration through Ishtewi ‘sskull suggests that it was fired from a relatively close distance — perhaps three or four meters (nine or 13 feet) away.

Mo’ayad Ishtewi, 66, was in a different part of the park with his grandchildren when Muhammad was shot. “I was surprised to hear gunshots, as there were not any demonstrations on Thursday,” he said. He ran across the park and saw Muhammad lying on the ground, bleeding from his head.

Aws Amer, 30, who lives near the park, drove to the scene and, with Mo’ayad Ishtewi’s help, lifted the wounded boy into the car before calling an ambulance.

Settler dragged them to military checkpoint

Both men planned to take Ishtewi to a hospital in nearby Nablus, where he could be seen at a clinic specialising in head injuries. But a closed-off road en route — which has been off-limits since 2004 — meant that the 15-minute journey took 40 minutes instead.

As they neared the settlement of Karnei Shomron, a car with an Israeli license plates started tailing them. “I noticed a white car following us,” said Amer. “It did not seem to be a police car, except that he was following me while pointing a gun at me and signalling for me to pull over.”

After stopping the car, Amer and Mo’ayad Ishtewi noticed that the white car’s driver was dressed in civilian clothing with a police vest on top. He asked them to follow him. “I felt all right about it as he was a police officer, not a settler. I thought he would take us to a clinic to deal with [Muhammad],” recalled Mo’ayad.

After a brief drive they arrived at the entrance to Karnei Shomron, where the police officer ordered them to stop. “I was covered in blood and did not have gloves,” Mo’ayad said. “I showed [the police officer] my hands and tried to explain, in part-Hebrew and part-Arabic, that we had someone who needed help.”

The police officer told them to wait. “If he had offered us first aid, I would have agreed,” Mo’ayad said. “But he did not. We tried to convince him to let us leave, but he would not.”

Settlers and soldiers gathered by the car, but no one offered help. “They saw we had someone wounded with us, and that he could die any second,” Mo’ayad said. “As a nurse, I have never seen behaviour like this. They had to help him, no matter how he had been wounded, and no matter whether he was Jewish, Christian or Muslim.”

After waiting for 25 minutes, a Palestinian ambulance arrived. A photo from the scene shows the officer, standing a few meters away, observing the injured Muhammad lying on a stretcher.

Traffic ticket

Mo’ayad climbed into the ambulance while Amer followed in his car. “[The police officer] told me to stay behind after the ambulance had left so he could write me a traffic ticket,” Amer said.

The NIS 250 ($70) fine was for Mo’ayad not wearing a seatbelt, because he was constantly turning around to check on Muhammad in the back seat. Amer said he tore up the ticket, threw it on the ground and drove back to Kufr Qaddum.

The ambulance carrying Muhammad arrived in Nablus at around 5:30 pm, more than an hour-and-a-half after he had been shot. Later that night, he was transferred to Hadassah Medical Centre in Ein Kerem.

On Tuesday, Muhammad underwent surgery to remove the bullet from the right side of his head. The following day, his father, Muhannad, seemed a little more optimistic. “I spoke to Muhammad and he did not answer, but when I squeezed his left hand he responded by moving his fingers,” he said.

Lies of Israeli army

Muhannad Ishtewi heard about his son’s injury while he was in Ramallah. “At first they told me that he had been hit in the leg so that I would not take it too badly,” he said. “The army had not been in Kufr Qaddum that day. They come on Fridays and sometimes at night to arrest young people in their homes, but this is the first time they have entered like this. I have no idea, maybe because of the ‘deal of the century.’”

Asked for comment on the incident, the army responded: “During a disturbance, tires were set alight and stones were thrown at IDF forces who were at the scene. IDF soldiers responded by dispersing the protest. We are aware of the claim that a Palestinian was injured by a rubber bullet.”

Kufr Qaddum residents reject lies of the Israeli occupation army about the events related to the shooting of the Palestinian boy, stressing that no protest had taken place in the village that day.

Muhammad Ishtewi is not the first minor to be shot in the head in Kufr Qaddum. In July 2019, Israeli soldiers fired at 10-year-old Abdul Rahman Ishtewi while he stood at the entrance to a friend’s house during a Friday protest. Soldiers shot him with a .22-caliber live bullet from about 100 meters (328 feet) away, even though he was not involved in the demonstration or even in close proximity to it.

Ban on Israeli activists

Kufr Qaddum has been in the headlines recently, following Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett’s announcement that he would issue orders barring left-wing Israeli activists from participating in the West Bank.

The village is located in Area B, which is under full Israeli security control and Palestinian administrative control. Most of its agricultural land, however, is in Area C, which is under full Israeli control.

Around a sixth of its land is being used by the surrounding Israeli settlements, and almost half is off-limits to Kufr Qaddum’s residents, who need a military permit to access their own land. Part of the land is taken up by the Israeli settlement of Kedumim, which was expanded in 2003.

Kedumim’s expansion led to the blocking off of the main road connecting Kufr Qaddum to Nablus, the nearest West Bank city, which was partly responsible for Ishtewi’s extended journey to the hospital.

In 2011, residents launched popular protests demanding that the road be reopened; the demonstrations have occurred every Friday in the almost nine years since, often attended by Israeli and international activists. The protests are suppressed by the military, often violently.

Despite the photo showing an Israeli police officer standing near the wounded Muhammad, Israeli Police said they looked into the matter, but did not find an incident matching the description.

The police added that any further details on the incident would be assessed.

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(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Five Injured By Israeli Gunfire In W. Bank Town Of Araqah

Photos File

Photos File

Five Palestinian young men suffered rubber bullet injuries during violent clashes last night with the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in Araqah town, southwest of Jenin in the West Bank.

Israeli soldiers intensively fired rubber bullets and tear gas grenades at local youths in the town, injuring many of them.

According to the Red Crescent, five young men suffered rubber bullet injuries in their lower extremities and were rushed to hospital for medical assistance.

Five Palestinian citizens were killed and dozens suffered injuries in the last few days during confrontations in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The violent events are believed to have been provoked by the US administration’s recent announcement of its pro-Israel peace plan, known as the deal of the century.

(Source / 08.02.2020) 

Israel Soldiers Turn Palestinians Away From Al-Aqsa Mosque

Photos File

Photos File

Hundreds of Palestinian worshippers making their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers were prevented from entering the holy site.

Stationed at the entrance of Jerusalem, Israeli occupation forces stopped buses ferrying Palestinians to the holy site for morning prayers and forced them to U-turn and return to their homes. Occupation forces claim the move was an effort to prevent disorder at the site.

According to the Times of Israel, thousands of extra occupation forces were deployed in Jerusalem ahead of Friday prayers at Al-aqsa mosque.

“Police have no right not to allow us to come to the mosque. They punish people for no reason and this is not the first time,” some worshippers commented according to Ynet News.

The large-scale deployments were reinforced as a strict pre-emptive security measure after an upsurge of violence this week that resulted in the killing of at least three Palestinians, following the release of US President Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan, which has been rejected by all Palestinian parties as well as the UN for not being based on internationally recognised resolutions.

It would enable Israel to achieve a number of its long-held goals, including full control of disputed Jerusalem and a green light to annex all settlements and other parts of the occupied West Bank.

Last week, tens of thousands of worshippers headed to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first Friday prayers after the “peace plan” was announced. They were attacked by Israel’s rubber coated bullets.

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

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights documented 322 violations of international human rights law by Israeli occupation forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory this week alone, in response to the peaceful protests organised against Trump’s “peace plan”.

(Source / 08.02.2020)