Israeli mayors urge Netanyahu to deal with Gaza ‘terrorism’

Rockets are being fired from Gaza city towards Israel's Sderot and Ashkelon on November 12, 2019 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

Rockets are being fired from Gaza city towards Israel’s Sderot and Ashkelon on November 12, 2019

Israeli mayors urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to deal with “terrorism” from the occupied Gaza Strip, reported The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu was meeting Sunday with the heads of local authorities in southern Israel, in order to hear their concerns about the launching of projectiles and incendiary balloons from Gaza.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu updated the regional council heads on the latest developments related to Gaza and said we are prepared for all scenarios, including a wide-scale operation”, said a statement from the prime minister’s office.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Israeli communities located close to the Gaza Strip demanded from the government a “change of policy vis-a-vis terror groups in Gaza”.

READ: Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket fire

“In the past two years we have been experiencing a war that we can no longer ignore. In the past month alone, we have absorbed dozens of rockets and at the same time, the balloon terrorism from the Strip has grown more serious and more dangerous”, the statement added.

The Times of Israel noted that Netanyahu recently “cautioned that a military campaign [in Gaza] could be launched before the election”, similar to a warning he issued in September ahead of the last election.

In response to the launch of two projectiles on Saturday night from Gaza, both of which hit open fields causing no injuries, the Israeli military conducted airstrikes on a number of positions, and also tightened aspects of the ongoing blockade which had been recently eased.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

PA: Security cooperation with Israel continuous

Israeli forces arrest a protester on 3 July 2019 [Oren Ziv/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian man on 3 July 2019

Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security cooperation with Israel is continuous, senior PA official Nabil Abu Rudeineh announced on Sunday, adding that the PA is ready to start peace talks within two weeks.

Speaking to a group of Israeli journalists, Abu Rudeineh, who is a senior aide to PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, stated: “We are dealing with an Israeli government which destroys all prospects of peace.”

He also asserted that: “The US administration pushes Israel and the Palestinians to become involved in a continuous struggle.”

Abbas’s aide emphasised that the PA does not interfere in Israeli elections, but stressed that it is looking for peace partners.

READ: PA officers training in China are safe from coronavirus

“The security cooperation is continuous, but it might not continue forever,” he revealed. “We do not interfere in the Israeli elections, but we are looking for a peace partner like [the late prime ministers Shimon] Peres and [Yitzhak] Rabin,” he added.

Regarding the “Deal of the Century”, he confirmed that it would never help to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian struggle because “this struggle can only be solved via talks.”

He concluded his speech with the Israeli journalists: “We are currently at a crossroads: whether we see Israel choosing peace or continuous struggle. Our president wants peace and it is difficult to find anyone to accept the US conditions.”

It is worth noting that Abbas and many of his aides and leaders of the PA, PLO and Fatah have affirmed that security cooperation with Israel was suspended, in an attempt to undermine the “Deal of the Century”.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

Netanyahu: We will turn West Bank into integral part of Israel

An Israeli settler walks past an electoral campaign poster of Israel’s prime minister and Likud party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu at a street in the West Bank town of Hebron, on September 4, 2019

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced on Sunday that his government is working hard to make the West Bank an integral part of Israel, Shehab News Agency reported.

During the weekly meeting of his cabinet, Netanyahu announced the names of the team who started working to draw the new maps of the West Bank and Israeli borders, based on the “Deal of the Century”.

The team consists of Likud minister, Yariv Levin, in addition to Meir Ben-Shabbat and Ronen Peretz. The team will obtain assistance from the US ambassador in Israel.

“This team will achieve sovereignty over the remaining part of our country in the West Bank, Jordan Valley and the north of the Dead Sea,” Netanyahu disclosed, noting these areas are “integral parts of the state of Israel”.

READ: Israel asks UK to include settlements in free trade deal

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

Israeli group plans Burning Man-like event in West Bank

JERICHO, WEST BANK – FEBRUARY 17 : A photo taken on February 17, 2019 shows a view of Dead Sea near Jericho, West Bank. Palestinians’ access to the Dead Sea is being blocked by wire fences set by Israel between West Bank and Dead Sea coasts. Dead Sea coasts are accepted as territories of West Bank according to the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. It is 304 m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world

An Israeli group is planning to hold a Burning Man-style event in the deserts of the occupied territories according to a report by the Guardian.

This plan has caused significant frustration among Palestinians and dismay from other festival-goers who argue that it goes against burning man’s core principals.

Organisers say the Dead Sea Burning event has already received approval by Israel’s military for up to 15,000 people to assemble on land near the border with Jordan, the Dead Sea and the Palestinian city of Jericho. But will still need Israeli police permissions before it can go ahead in April.

READ: Labour is rigged against Palestine solidarity

Yaron Ben Shoshan, who is a joint-lead on the project, says he is encouraging Palestinians to attend and argues his efforts are not political, although he understands why people would see it that way.

“The bad side is fighting about the area and arguing with each other and making the gap deeper. The other way of reacting is to say, ‘we have an opportunity here to show our leaders that we as people can communicate and enjoy ourselves together’” Shoshan told the Guardian.

However, Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), who is also from Jericho, said the invitation to Palestinians to attend was “an insulting statement that unveils the colonialist mentality of the organisers”.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

EU to Vote Against “Deal of the Century” as Israeli-US Mapping Committee Plans Weak Palestinian Entity

Foreign Ministers from the European Union (EU) are expected to discuss US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” and deliberate countermeasures to the plan on February 17, during a meeting in Brussels, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The paper reported that the decisions are still unclear. However, the EU will publicly condemn the so-called “deal,” and may adopt a decision which reforms the EU vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, Israeli ambassadors in Europe have, for weeks, reportedly been lobbying for the success of the plan presented last month by US President Donald Trump, in a bid to convince EU leaders to accept and promote the unpopular diplomatic gambit.

The decisions of the European Union are taken by unanimous consensus of the member states of the Union. However, Israel circumvents such decisions by exploiting its relations with some of the Union’s member states, such as Hungary, which has thwarted many similar decisions in the past and is expected to continue in this pattern.

Ha’aretz quoted sources familiar with the contents of the talks as saying that Israeli delegates claim they are ready to resume “negotiations” with the Palestinians, and that the European Union’s opposition to Trump’s deal will encourage Palestinian rejection.

Following the release of the US president’s proposal, the EU announced that it will study the deal. But, last week, European Union Foreign Minister Josip Borrell announced his rejection of the deal, following comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of his intention to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley to Israel.

EU external affairs spokesperson Peter Stano said that the EU remains committed to a two-state solution within the 1967 borders, noting that Monday’s meeting will look into “how best to respond to further developments on the ground.”

The phase of mapping the areas addressed in the “Deal of the Century” is an Israeli vision that is endorsed by US administration, expert of maps and settlements at the Orient House in occupied Jerusalem, Khalil Tafakji, further states.

He considers the formation of a specialist committee to draw the maps as an Israeli move which seeks American supervision and protection, in an attempt to divert from international law.

He added that the maps which were presented and included in the “Deal of the Century” are in fact a group of projects which started in 1970 and ended with the Sharon Project, in 1990, and are now being applied on the ground.

He explained that the Israeli participants in the committee are just politicians, meaning that the “deal” is purely a political vision which seeks to impede any Palestinian state with geographical continuity.

He noted that the Israeli vision does not include the establishment of a Palestinian state, even in previous agreements such as Camp David and Oslo.

None of the agreements establish anything regarding a Palestinian state, but rather the political entity of the Palestinian Authority under Israeli full sovereignty, since Israeli leaders seek to build a Palestinian state with the West Bank, he said.

“Israel exploited the negotiations , Arab weakness, and the Palestinian division to apply its plans;  when the US administration put the plan, it took into consideration all the political issues represented in controlling the underground; crushers, above the ground; agriculture and the Jordan Valley, and on the ground so that Israel controls the movements in and out,” Tafakji said.

He warned of the consequences of these maps, which first exploit the communication between the areas. Thus, such areas became easily divided into disputed turf that will be subject to Israel sovereignty.

The second impact is that on future Palestinian expansion, which will only occur on the available land, and any increase will force Palestinians to migrate.

The third impact is the creation of a Palestinian state without an economy, so that it would only be independent to the extent of Israeli satisfaction with the Palestinian Authority.

He stressed that the main goal of Israel and the US is to end the Palestinian presence.

He said that the official Palestinian role cannot be relied on because the data on the ground indicates the full approval of Trump’s proposal. Security coordination is still ongoing, and the normalization conferences are still being held and participated in by the leaders of Fateh and the Palestinian Authority, in addition to the prosecution of every Palestinian who thinks to harm the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

East Jerusalem Organization Raided, Director Summoned

Members of the Israeli security service, today, raided Volunteer for Hope, an organization located in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, under the pretext of holding “prohibited activities,” and gave its director, Silvia Abu Laban, a summons to appear before Israeli intelligence for interrogation.

Local sources told WAFA that the Israeli forces seized four computers and other office belongings as they searched the building.

Israel has recently intensified its ban on most of the Palestinian civil society activities in the occupied city, regardless of whether they were political, social or even sports, in what Palestinians described as an attempt to muzzle their voice and freedom of activity, in the holy city.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

Israeli Soldiers Chase Shepherds in the Jordan Valley

Israeli forces, today, chased Palestinian shepherds in the northern Jordan Valley, according to a local activist.

Aref Daraghmeh said that Israeli soldiers chased a number of shepherds as they were grazing their livestock in the area of al-Burj, where they briefly detained a group of shepherds two days ago.

Israeli army and settlers often prevent Palestinian shepherds from herding in the open pastures of the occupied West Bank, in order to force them to abandon the area, WAFA reports.

(archive photo image)

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

Dozens of Armed Settlers Attack, Injure 5 Palestinian Shephards

Armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds in the town of al-Mughayyir, in central occupied West Bank, while grazing their livestock, on Monday, the town`s mayor stated.

Marzouq Abu Naim, told WAFA that dozens of illegal armed settlers chased and brutally assaulted several Palestinian civilians, forcing them out of their fields, injuring five, three of whom were transferred to hospital, suffering various fractures and bruises.

At the same time, Israeli military forces installed a flying checkpoint at the entrance of the village following the attack, coordinated with the settler attacks.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

Entrance to Ramallah Village Resealed

Israeli occupation forces, at dawn on Sunday, re-closed the main entrance to Deir Nidham village, to the west of Ramallah City, PNN reports.

According to local residents, soldiers returned the cement blocks which they had placed several days ago and which the residents of Deir Nidham removed yesterday.

On Saturday, the Palestinian residents of Deir Nidham organized a march towards the entrance of their village in protest at Israeli attacks and restrictions and removed the cement blocks and the iron gate the soldiers had placed there, five days ago, to limit their movement.

(Source / 17.02.2020) 

ISRAELI FORCES DESTROY WATER PIPES NEAR JERICHO

Jericho (QNN) – Israeli occupation forces today destroyed pipes providing water to al-Shunah quarter in the village of al-Jiftlik, located in the Jordan Valley to the north of Jericho, according to Qais al-Sinawi, a local activist.

He told official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Israeli forces raided the village and proceeded to destroy the connectors supplying running water to Palestinian crops.

Palestinians tend to install water connector to the main Israeli water carrier lines which supply between 400 and 700 cubic meters of underground Palestinian water per hour to the colonial settlements, which is for them the only way they can get water to their homes, crops and livestock as Israel bans them from building water pipes of their own.

Israel does not allow Palestinian development in the Jordan Valley, which its politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the fertile Jordan Valley would be annexed to Israel.

(Source / 17.02.2020)