Hamas: We ‘must’ form unity government to face deal of the century

Hamas Political Chief Ismail Haniyeh makes a speech as holds a press conference in Moscow, Russia on 4 March 2020. [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]

Hamas Political Chief Ismail Haniyeh makes a speech as holds a press conference in Moscow, Russia on 4 March 2020

Head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said that Palestinians “must” form a unity government that unites all Palestinian institutions and carry out elections in order to face the US “deal of the century”.

Speaking to the media in the Russian capital Moscow on Sunday, Haniyeh said: “Russia rejects the deal of the century which aims to liquidate the Palestinian rights.”

Regarding the meetings with the Russian officials, Haniyeh said: “We discussed the dangers of the deal of the century at the national and regional levels.”

He pointed out that all the Palestinian factions, including the Palestinian Authority reject the deal because it undermines Palestinian constants, on top of which is Jerusalem, which it named as Israel’s undivided capital.

“The Russians have a strong desire and are ready to help us end the division and achieve national unity,” he said.

“We told the Russians that we do not need more agreements because we already have several, including the Prisoners Document adopted in 2006 and the Cairo Agreement reached in 2001, which included five issues: the government, PLO, elections, security and public liberties,” he added.

Russia to Hamas: ‘US’ deal of century will not achieve peace’

(Source / 05.03.2020)

Report: Israel arrested 440 Palestinians in February

Tension raises between an Israeli police and a Palestinian outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Eastern Jerusalem on 29 January 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli police aggressively grabs a Palestinian man outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Eastern Jerusalem on 29 January 2020

Israeli occupation forces arrested 440 Palestinian citizens, including 67 children, 11 women and three journalists, in February, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

According to a report issued by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, six of those detained were from Gaza, including three fishermen held at sea and one Palestinian arrested while passing through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing and two caught passing through the eastern fence.

The report named the journalists as Alaa Al-Rimawi, Mohamed Awad and Mujahid Beni Mefleh. Al-Rimawi and Awad were released, but Beni Mefleh, who was accused of inciting against Israel on social media, is still in prison.

Meanwhile, the report pointed out that the Israeli occupation forces raided prisons and damaged the properties of prisoners several times, noting that Rimon Prison was raided four times in February.

Prison authorities also confiscated electric stoves used by Palestinian detainees to cook their food, along with electric heaters.

READ: Israel drags Palestinian boy away from his mother 

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

Israel arrests Palestinian man on the day of his release after 18-year sentence

Randy Odeh, 39, from Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem [shehabnews]

Randy Odeh, 39, from Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli authorities today arrested a Palestinian man on the day of his release from prison, according to a report by WAFA news agency.

Randy Odeh, 39, from Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, was leaving prison having completed an 18-year sentence.

Odeh was arrested in March 2002, and sentenced to 18 years “for resisting the Israeli occupation”.

According to the news agency, citing local sources, Odeh “was supposed to be released today but as he was getting ready to leave the Naqab prison in the south of Israel, he was re-detained.”

WAFA added that Odeh was set to get married immediately upon his release from prison, “but it seems the Israeli authorities wanted to sabotage his wedding and his family’s celebration of his release by keeping him in prison on his wedding day.”

READ: Video shows slain Palestinian teen posed no danger to Israel soldier who shot him

In a later update, WAFA added that Israeli authorities released Odeh “on condition he does not enter Jerusalem until the end of this month and not to take part in any activity or demonstration”.

It is common practice for Israeli occupation authorities to arrest prisoners on the day of their release, despite the fact that there is no genuine investigative reason, in order to inflict a further humiliation on the prisoner and their loved ones.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

Dozens of Israeli Settlers Invade Archaeological Site near Nablus

Dozens of Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, stormed the Sebastia archaeological site, in the north of the occupied West Bank, in what appeared to be an attempt by the settlers to take over the land, according to Sebastia mayor, Mohammad Azem.

Azem told WAFA Palestinian News Agency that roughly 50 settlers invaded the site, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, who denied access to Palestinians.

This site, he continued, has been a regular target of illegal colonial settlers, noting that an Israeli officer came to the site, on Tuesday, raising suspicions that the settlers have the intention of taking control of the site.

Since the unveiling of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, the attacks by Israeli settlers has increased, and with the Israeli election over, the Premier, Netanyahu may just go forward with his promised plans to annex the occupied Jordan Valley, as outlined in the US/Israeli deal.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

Israeli Settlers Place Fence Around Palestinian Agricultural Land

Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, placed a fence around a privately-owned Palestinian land in the town of Beit Ummar, in the Hebron Governorate, southern occupied West Bank, in an effort to take it over, said activist Mohammad Awad.

He told WAFA Palestinian News Agency that illegal colonial settlers, under Israeli military protection, placed the fence around a 12-dunam plot of land, owned by Saqer Abu Ayyash, planted with almonds, grape vines, olive trees and forest trees.

He said Abu Ayyash has fought a 20-year legal battle against the settlers to prove his ownership of the plot by presenting land deeds proving ownership.

“They came back today and placed a fence around the land and when I showed up to stop them, they said I should go to the (Israeli military) Civil Administration and ask them about the land,” said Abu Ayyash.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

PALESTINE’S BETHLEHEM ON HIGH ALERT WITH SUSPECTED CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN THE CITY

A Palestinian security man stands outside Angel Hotel in Beit Jala, where the suspected cases are quarantined, 5 March 2020

Bethelehem (QNN) – After suspecting cases of coronavirus at a hotel in the city of Bethlehem, south of the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health called on Thursday for enforcing the state of medical emergency in the city and surrounding towns and villages, as well as in Jericho, the city arrivals from Jordan first come to after entering the occupied West Bank.

It said in a statement that as a result of suspecting cases of the epidemic in Bethlehem, it calls for cancelling all activities and events in the city, including sports, closing all educational institutions, as well as mosques and churches for 14 days.

It also called for cancelling all hotel reservations for tourists coming to Palestine.

The ministry said that Angel Hotel in Beit Jala, where the suspected cases come from, will be quarantined.

Reports said the Christian churches have decided to close the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and the sports council the cancelling of the annual Bethlehem marathon that was planned for later this month

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

ISRAEL PUNITIVELY DEMOLISHES HOMES OF TWO PALESTINIAN PRISONERS NORTH OF RAMALLAH

Ramallah (QNN) – Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday-Thursday night demolished the family homes of two Palestinian prisoners in Ramallah and nearby Birzeit town, amidst intense clashes with protesting youths.

The official Palestinian agency WAFA said a large Israeli army force raided the town of Birzeit in the midnight hours and surrounded the family home of Yazan Maghames, a prisoner in Israeli detention, before the military bulldozers proceeded to demolish it and level it to the ground.

Youths clashed with the Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas canisters towards them and at homes causing large number of suffocation cases.

At the same time, soldiers raided the Ramallah neighborhood of al-Tireh and demolished using hand tools the family residence Walid Hanatsheh since it is located in an apartment building.

Witnesses said that the soldiers surrounded the 6-floor building, inhabited by 13 families before proceeding to demolish the inner and outer walls of the Hanatsheh apartment.

Residents of the building said the soldiers forced them to stay indoors while children, woken up by the sound to the soldiers and the use of heavy tools to demolish the Hanatsheh apartment, were frightened. Serious damage was caused to the entrance to the building and some apartments, they said.

Youth pelted the soldiers with stones as they were leaving al-Tireh.

Hanatsheh and Maghames, are currently in Israeli custody for their alleged involvement along with Samer Arbeed in the killing of an Israeli soldier near the illegal colonial settlement of Dolev, located near the Palestinian village of Ras Karkar, in August 2019.

In January, the Israeli army informed the families of the intention to demolish their houses.

Israel resorts to collective punishment against families and neighborhoods of alleged Palestinians involved in the resistance of the Israeli occupation of their homeland.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

ISRAELI ARMY ENCIRCLES 25 DUNUMS IN HEBRON TO SEIZE THEM

Occupied Hebeon (QNN)- Israeli forces on Wednesday encircled 25 dunums belonging to Abu Ayyash family in northern Bet Immar in occupied Hebron.

Local sources said that Israeli forces stormed the area for the second time in the last two months in order to seize the land without prior notice.

Israeli forces stormed Makhrour area in Beit Jala as well and handed over a leveling and confiscation notice for the citizen Ramzi Qaisiyyeh.

In the same context, Israeli vehicles demolished a house and a restaurant belonging to Qaisiyyeh under the pretext of not being licensed.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

Palestinian Authority Announces West Bank Tourism Ban Over Coronavirus

A visitor wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus takes pictures in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 5, 2020

The Palestinians announced a two-week ban on tourists visiting cities and sites in the occupied West Bank Thursday, after the first suspected cases of coronavirus in the territory.

The two-week restriction, announced by the Palestinian Tourism Ministry, goes into effect on Friday.

The church of the nativity, built on the Bethlehem location revered as the birthplace of Jesus, is among the sites expected to be closed off until March 20.

“We have decided to prevent the entry of tourists for a period of 14 days and to prevent hotels in all cities from receiving foreigners,” tourism minister Rula Maayah told AFP.

A church official confirmed the planned closure.

“We respect the authorities’ decision because safety comes first,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The decision followed the first suspected cases in the West Bank of the disease, which has spread rapidly across the globe since emanating from China.

The Palestinian health ministry announced a number of suspected cases had been detected at a hotel in the Bethlehem area.

The head of the local health directorate, Imad Shahadeh, told AFP that a group of Greek tourists had visited the hotel in late February, with two later discovered to have the virus.

Four suspected cases have been identified among hotel workers, with full confirmation expected later Thursday, he said.

Palestinian health officials said they were examining whether four hotel workers in Bethlehem had contracted the disease from tourists who stayed there.

Police surrounded the hotel, as authorities awaited the results of laboratory tests.

Israel controls all entrances to the West Bank from the Jewish state but the Palestinian government has limited autonomy in cities.

(Source / 05.03.2020) 

Amazon will now deliver for free to Palestine

Despite being illegal according to international law, Israeli settlements have free shipping from Amazon

Global ecommerce company Amazon will now be delivering parcels for free to customers in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Palestinian Economy Ministry said.

In a statement, the Ministry said that the American company has reversed its policy on charging delivery fees for items being delivered to customers in the Palestinian territories.

“A series of Palestinian measures aiming at halting disregard to the Palestinian identity and recognising settlements pushed Amazon to reverse its policy,” the statement said.

This comes after Amazon was accused of being bias following a Financial Times report that revealed it was delivering free to Israeli settlements since November, while Palestinian customers living in their towns and villages near the illegal settlements were being charged fees of over $24 for its services.

Despite International law listing both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considering all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal, Amazon said it would make shipping free for Palestinians only if they list their country as Israel.

Palestine’s Economy Ministry threatened to sue the company for conducting business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, and called on it to immediately stop this blatant discriminatory delivery policy for Israelis and Palestinians, or face legal accountability before international courts.

The Palestinian postal service has been largely dysfunctional as mail deliveries to the Israeli-occupied West Bank must pass through international crossings and borders before reaching the Palestinian territory, and are often subject to long delays.

However, last week, the UN Universal Postal Union recognised Palestine’s right to have direct postal exchange with the world through Jordan without any restrictions imposed. How this will be enforced on the ground is yet to be seen.

Last month, the UN issued a blacklist of 112 companies which continue to operate in illegal settlements in the occupied territories, they include global giants Airbnb, Expedia, Opodo and Motorola; Amazon was not named in the list.

(Source / 05.03.2020)