Israel reopens crossings, expands fishing zone in Gaza

Gazans seen going about their day as heavy rainfall hits Gaza City, Gaza on December 29, 2018 [Mohammed Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Fishermen seen going about their day as heavy rainfall hits Gaza City, Gaza on 29 December 2018

Israeli occupation authorities yesterday reopened the main two crossings with Gaza after days of closure following the latest escalation of tensions earlier this week, Arab48 reported.

In a statement, the unit of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Territories (COGAT) said that the activities of the two crossings would resume after positive evaluation related to “security stability”.

On Tuesday, Hamas sent a message to Israel, through international mediators, that it must reopen the crossings and expand the fishing zone, Israel’s Public Broadcaster Kan reported.

“The international mediators [UAE, Qatar and Egypt] are working to stabilise a ceasefire in Gaza and regain stability in return of resuming measures previously announced by Israel to ease the siege on Gaza,” Kan added.

Israel did not ask Gaza to stop launching incendiary balloons, reports added.

READ: The latest Israeli attack on Gaza was intended to satisfy the electorate

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

Israel arrests PA officials in Jerusalem

Israeli forces in Jerusalem on 22 February 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces in Jerusalem on 22 February 2020

Israeli police yesterday arrested two senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in occupied Jerusalem after raiding their homes and searching them, Quds Press reported.

Local sources told Quds Press that the Israeli occupation police arrested the Director of Arab Studies Society Khalil Tafakji from the Juz neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

The same sources also reported that Israeli police arrested Head of the Chamber of Commerce Kamak Obeidat from his house in Beit Hanina in the occupied holy city.

Israeli occupation forces have been escalating their assaults on Palestinian activists and PA officials in order to undermine any national activity in the holy city since the announcement of the US “deal of the century”.

Last week, occupation authorities banned the PA’s governor of occupied Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith from entering the West Bank for six months and from communicating with the Palestinian Authority.

READ: 8-year-old Palestinian shot by Israel soldier losses left eye 

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

Palestinian medical group threatens to step up protests against government

Image of Hebron hospital staff striking over unpaid salaries [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Image of Hebron hospital staff striking over unpaid salaries

The Palestinian Doctors Association has threatened to take “unprecedented measures” and step up protests against the government, after the Supreme Court ruled to end their strike.

The Supreme Court in Ramallah issued a decision to stop the medical association’s strike for the second time, after a decision was issued last week at the government’s request.

“There will be unprecedented measures, and I hope that the officials will count to ten before they act against the medical association,” said Dr. Shawky Sabha, head of the medical association, during a press conference in Ramallah yesterday.

“The government presents our demands as purely financial, but what we are doing is to demand our human rights some of which have been overdue by six years and more,” he said.

READ: Coronavirus reaches Palestine

Sabha explained that there is an acute shortage of staff, equipment and beds, saying, “in 2012 there were 3,300 doctors and in 2019 we had only 2550 doctors, and no staff has been appointed yet”.

He added that new hospitals have been opened but no new medical teams have been hired adding to  the burden of doctors.

Doctors’ demands for pay increases, he explained, are in line with the agreement signed with the government in 2011 which outlined that specialists would receive a 200 per cent raise while general practitioners would get only 150 per cent.

(Source / 27.02.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Thirteen Palestinians In West Bank

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, thirteen Palestinians, including a child and a former political prisoner, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

The PPS said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Daoud Abu Khalil, 29, from Hizma town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, while he was in a house near the Al-Quds Open University in Ein Misbah neighborhood, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The soldiers also abducted a child, identified as Ismael Halawani, 14, from his home in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan town, in Jerusalem.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded the villages of Qibya, Budrus, and Ni’lin, near Ramallah, and searched many homes.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Shaher al-Heeh, from his home in Surif town, west of the city, in addition to Nazeer Qfeisha, 17, from Abu Sneina neighborhood, in the southern area of Hebron city.

The soldiers also abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Omar Mohammad Jad’on, in addition to Hussein Rajeh Bali, from Jenin refugee camp, and Ahmad ‘Aabed from Kafr Dan village, northwest of Jenin, in northern West Bank, after invading and searching their homes.

In Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Rami Yousef Sneina, 35, Mohammad Amin Shaath, 28, and his brother Mohannad, in addition to Ali Badawi, 25.

In Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Jawad Saqer Rabay’a, 27, from his home in the al-‘Obeydiyya town, east of the city, and summoned Nidal Salman Shanayta for interrogation.

In Salfit, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Othman Abu ‘Aassi, from his home in Qarawat Bani Hassan town.

It is worth mentioning that, on Wednesday evening, undercover Israeli soldiers kidnapped Laith Mohammad al-Baw, 24, in front of his home in Wadi Qabyoun area, east of Halhoul town, north of Hebron.

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

Fateh Secretary In Jericho Receives Six-Month Administrative Detention Order

An Israeli court issued, Thursday, a six-month administrative detention order against the secretary of Fateh Movement in Jericho and the Jordan Valley, the Detainees’ Affairs Committee has reported.

The committee stated that the Israeli army abducted Na’el Abu al-‘Assal three days ago, after storming the house of his father, Jihad Abu al-‘Assal, the governor of Jericho and The Jordan Valley, in Aqabat Jaber refugee camp.

It condemned the ongoing abductions and imprisonment of the Palestinian people, and the frequent issuance of the arbitrary administrative detention orders against hundreds of them, holding them captive without charges or trial.

It is worth mentioning that Fateh secretary in the northern area of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, Hani Ja’ara, remains imprisoned by Israel without charges since he was abducted from his home, in Yatta town, earlier in January.

The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Society and Human Rights Association has reported that Israel is currently holding captive 461 detainees under Administrative Detention orders. Most of them are in Ofar prison and the Negev Detention camp.

More than 5000 Palestinians remain imprisoned by Israel, among them 180 children, including 26 under the age of 16, and 41 women.

26 of the detainees have been imprisoned since before the first Oslo Agreement, 497 are serving prison terms of at least 20 years, and 541 serving live terms.

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

US MIDDLE EAST PLAN HAS APARTHEID CHARACTERISTICS, SAY 50 FORMER EUROPEAN OFFICIALS

In a letter published today by the British newspaper, the Guardian, 50 former European foreign ministers, presidents, party leaders, NATO officials and others have expressed grave concern about US President Donald Trump’s so-called “Peace to Prosperity” plan for the Middle East, saying it envisages an outcome with characteristics similar to apartheid.

“As Europeans dedicated to promoting international law, peace and security worldwide, we express our deep concern about President Trump’s Middle East plan, titled Peace to Prosperity,” they said in the letter.

“The plan contradicts internationally agreed parameters for the Middle East peace process, relevant UN resolutions, including security council resolution 2334, and the most fundamental principles of international law. Instead of promoting peace, it risks fueling the conflict – at the expense of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, and with grave implications for Jordan and the wider region. It has been met with widespread opposition in the region, in Europe, and in the United States,” added the letter.

“The plan allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimizes and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity. It recognizes only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It projects a future Palestinian ‘state’ without control and sovereignty over its fragmented territory. The map featured in the plan proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s bantustans.”

The European leaders said that “Peace to Prosperity is not a roadmap to a viable two-state solution, nor to any other legitimate solution to the conflict. The plan envisages a formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly.”

They called on the international community, particularly the European Union, to “prevent such a scenario from unfolding, in order to preserve the dignity and rights of the Palestinians, the future of Israeli democracy and the wider international rules-based order.”

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

ISRAEL DEMOLISHES TWO HOMES IN SOUTHERN WEST BANK

Hebron (QNN) – Israeli occupation forces today demolished two Palestinian-owned homes and two animal barns in the area of Masafer Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank, under the pretext they were built without a permit, according to a local source.

Coordinator of the Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlements in the south of the West Bank, Rateb Jabour, told official news agency WAFA that Israeli forces raided several areas in Masafer Yatta and demolished two 80-square-meter residential structures in al-Mafqara and in Rakiz hamlets.

In addition, said Fouad Amour, a local activist, Israeli army bulldozers demolished two animal barns in Saffi hamlet in Masafer Yatta.

The Israel army demolished this month a number of structures, including residential rooms and barns, all under the pretext of construction without a permit.

Masafer Yatta is classified as Area C, which is under full Israeli military control. Area C makes up around 60 percent of the area of the occupied West Bank, which Israel plans to annex after expelling its Palestinian population. Getting an Israeli building permit in Area C is almost impossible, as confirmed by many human rights organizations.

(Source / 27.02.2020)

US: Bernie Sanders calls Netanyahu ‘reactionary racist’

Vermont senator says if he is elected US president, he would consider moving US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “reactionary racist” at the Democratic presidential debate.

Sanders said if he is elected, he would “take into consideration” moving the US embassy back to Tel Aviv, adding that Middle East policy should be about protecting Israel, “but you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

“I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months. But what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country,” he said.

Sanders said the US has to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians and brings nations together.

In late 2017, US President Donald Trump unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, triggering a world outcry. The following May, Washington relocated its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the third holiest city for all Muslims around the world.

Apart from Sanders, six other candidates vying to take on Trump were on the stage at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in South Carolina.

(Source / 27.02.2020) 

Israeli settlers uproot hundreds of olive, grape trees in Bethlehem

Palestinian farms in occupied West Bank and always being targeted by Zionist settlers’ attacks

Israeli occupation settlers uprooted on Thursday hundreds of olive and grape trees in the town of Al Khader, south of occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Local activist Emad Dadoo said that Zionist settlers descended from the illegal Israeli settlement of Eliazar uprooted about 200 olive trees and 80 grape trees.

These olive and grape trees were located in farms belonging to Palestinian residents located close to the settlement.

He noted that the settlers have recently been targeting farms in this village, especially those close to settlements.

They occupation Zionist settlers razed farms, uprooted trees and prevented farmers access to their lands.

(Source /27.02.2020) 

Israeli Police Kidnap Palestinian Woman From Her House

pro-Aqsa activist Madelein Issa

pro-Aqsa activist Madelein Issa

Israeli police forces on Wednesday kidnaped pro-Aqsa activist Madelein Issa from her home in Kafr Qasim city in the 1948 occupied lands.

The police forces ransacked the house of Issa before arresting her. Issa had been arrested several times before and she was also banned from entering the Aqsa Mosque many times.

On Tuesday, she urged Muslim worshipers on her Facebook page to participate in mass Fajr prayers at the Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 27.02.2020)