PA: It is not the UAE’s right to interfere in Al-Aqsa Mosque’s affairs

Israeli settlers, under Israeli police protection, are seen as they raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 2 June 2019 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]
Israeli settlers, under Israeli police protection, are seen as they raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 2 June 2019

The UAE does not have the right to interfere in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday according to Arabi21.

After leaks that the UAE gave permission to Jews to perform their rituals inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and allowed Israel to divide the Muslim holy site, Abbas’ aide, Nabeel Shaath, stressed: “It is not the UAE’s right to speak about the affairs of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In an interview with Arabi21, Shaath said: “The UAE sought to appease the United States of America, but not in return for occupied lands such as what happened in Sinai or the Golan Heights.”

“As an independent state, the UAE does not have the right to violate the rights of the Palestinian people, the rights of the Beirut summit or international law.”

READ: Bahrain, Israel defence ministers hold first phone call

Shaath stressed that the UAE does not have the right to interpret international law according to its wishes or “approach the rights of the Palestinian people and their holy land – Palestine”.

He stressed: “This is completely rejected.”

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however denied this saying annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

READ: There are dangerous repercussions for Yemen from UAE-Israel normalisation 

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Report: 297 Palestinians Detained by Occupation Forces in August 2020

The Israeli authorities have detained 297 Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory during the month of August 2020, 12 of whom were children, 10 of whom were women, according to the Prisoners’ and Human Rights Institutions (Prisoners Affairs Authority and Ex-Prisoners Club, Addameer Prisoner Care and Human Rights Association, and Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwanic).

A fact sheet issued Sunday, reveals the demographic of Palestinian detainees, showing that a third of the 297 detainees were from occupied Jerusalem;

Jerusalem – 103
Hebron – 42
Jenin – 40
Ramallah and Al-Bireh – 33
Bethlehem – 23
Tulkarem – 20
Qalqilia – 11
Nablus – 10
Jericho – 8
Tubas – 4
Salfit – 2
Gaza – 1

The Palestinian prisoner population in Israeli prisons, during August of 2020, reached nearly 4,500 prisoners, 41 of whom were female, 140 of whom were children, while 340 administrative detainees remain. 34 new Administrative Detention orders were issued, while 38 orders were extended, with a total of 72 Administrative Detention orders being issued against Palestinians.Administrative detention (AD) is a procedure that allows Israeli occupation forces to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. The secret information or evidence cannot be accessed by the detainee nor his lawyer, and can according to Israeli military orders, an administrative detention order can be renewed for an unlimited time. The court issues an administrative detention order for a maximum period of six months, subject to renewal.In practice, Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law. Tellingly, Israel has claimed to be under a continuous state of emergency sufficient to justify the use of administrative detention since its inception in 1948. In addition, administrative detention is frequently used – in direct contravention to international law – for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat. For example, administrative detention orders are regularly issued against individuals suspected of committing an offense after an unsuccessful criminal investigation or a failure to obtain a confession in interrogation.

Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization

(Source / 15.09.2020)

OCHA: Unlawful Demolitions in the West Bank Spike During Pandemic

Statement by Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick

The six month period from March 1 to August 31, 2020 saw the demolition or confiscation of 389 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, on average, 65 per month, the highest average destruction rate in four years.

Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli authorities indicated that they would restrain their longstanding policy of demolishing inhabited Palestinian homes. Sadly, demolitions during the period March-August 2020 left 442 Palestinians homeless, further exposing many to risks associated with the pandemic. In August alone, 205 people were displaced, more than in any other single month since January 2017.

Beyond homes, the targeted properties included water, hygiene or sanitation assets, and structures used for agriculture, among others, undermining the access of many to livelihoods and services. Moreover, 50 of the structures had been donated to Palestinians as humanitarian aid, and their destruction hit the most vulnerable of all, and undermined emergency operations.

Of specific concern is the Israeli authorities’ increased use of an expedited procedure (Order 1797) for the removal of structures as soon as 96 hours after delivering a notice, largely preventing owners from being heard before a judicial body.

When the Israeli authorities demolish, or force people to demolish, homes and sources of livelihood, they typically cite a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, due to the restrictive and discriminatory planning regime, and leaves them no venues for authorized construction.

The destruction of property in an occupied territory is prohibited under international humanitarian law, unless absolutely necessary for military operations.

Moreover, the demolition of essential structures during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly worrying as it further compounds the overall situation in the West Bank.

The global pandemic has increased the needs and vulnerabilities of Palestinians, who are already trapped in the abnormality of prolonged military occupation. Unlawful demolitions exacerbate these vulnerabilities and must stop immediately.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Israeli Forces Detain Several Palestinians, Including a Teen in the West Bank

Israeli forces, overnight Sunday, detained a number of Palestinian young men, including a high school student, in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Local sources said the Israeli army stormed Deir Sammit town, west of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, ransacked homes, and detained Mohamed al-Sharawneh, 36, after searching his home.

A young Palestinian resident of Dura town, in Hebron, identified as Khalil Assous, was also taken into custody by Israeli soldiers, as he was on his way to his workplace in Israel, he was transferred to Ofer prison.

Two young men were detained during Israeli army campaigns, namely Saleh al-Rifa’ei, 17, from Kafr Ein village southwest of Ramallah, in the central West Bank, and one in the northern Qalqilia district.

In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli police forces detained a young man from at-Tur neighborhood in the east of the Old City and an elderly man named Abdul-Rahim Barbar from his home in Silwan district.

Israeli occupation forces, overnight Saturday, detained Palestinian youths during search campaigns throughout the occupied West Bank, the PIC further reported.

Local sources said that Israeli soldiers detained a 21 year old Palestinian man from his home in Shuweika suburb in Tulkarem city, in the northern West Bank.

Two more young men, identified as Ali Hafiz and Nasrallah al-Shalabi, were detained from their homes in Attil town, north of Tulkarem.

In the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, Israeli troops detained a Palestinian youth named Amjad al-Far, at a flying military roadblock, leading to the main city.

One additional Palestinian young man was taken into custody by the army at the main entrance to Marda town, in Salfit, also in the northern West Bank.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Nine Palestinians In Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, at least nine young Palestinian men from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. The army also invaded Sebastia, near Nablus, and Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem.

Many army jeeps invaded the al-Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, before the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes and abducted seven Palestinians.

Media sources said the Palestinians have been identified as Abdullah Abu Ryala, Akram Dari, Mohammad Aziz Obeid, Mohammad Khaled Mheisin, Mohammad Ma’moun Mheisin, Samir Tamimi, and Mohammad Abu Rajab,
The soldiers also invaded the at-Tour town, in Jerusalem, searched homes before abducting Mohammad Naji Abu Jom’a and Mohammad Ali Abu Ghannam.

In related news, many army jeeps invaded the archeological area in Sebastia Palestinian town, northwest of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Many Palestinian youngsters hurled stones at the invading army jeeps, driving through their town, while the soldiers fired live rounds, gas bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded homes and stores in Beit Sahour city, east of Bethlehem, before confiscating surveillance recordings and equipment.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

BDS calls to boycott Nas Daily over efforts to promote normalization

Ramallah (QNN)- The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine called on content creators and influencers in the Arabic region to boycott Nas Daily for its efforts to drag content creators to normalization and cover up Israeli crimes.

The movement said the program adopts projects that aim at promoting the colonization of Arabs’ minds and the Israeli colonization as a de facto status, and whitewashing Israeli crimes and apartheid against the Palestinian people.

“While authoritarian Arabic regimes, such like those in the UAE and Bahrain, race to have normalization deals with the Israeli enemy, the later is trying to hack the consciousness of the Arab peoples, which believe that its freedom, development, and struggle for justice are linked to the freedom of the Palestinian people and the right of return”, the movement said.

“Israel is allocating enormous sums of money for misleading normalization media campaigns that present non-political content, which shows Israel as a normal developed country that may help its Arab neighbors, ignoring all its crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arabs and the historic hostility with it as a colonization and racist regime.”

The movement added that Nas Daily aims at training eight content creators in its academy, which is headed by an Israeli settler and funded by an Emarati company that was founded only two months ago.

The movement noted that Nas Daily has been trying to show the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a conflict between two powers of equal weight, ignoring the rights of the indigenous Palestinian people and the right of return and blaming Palestinians for not accepting “peace” as ‘Israel’ and the US present it.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Hamas recycles shells from British ships sunk off Gaza during WWI

In a completely secret operation, Hamas’ military wing retrieved hundreds of shells still useable from the wrecks of two British warships

By Motasem A Dalloul

The military wing of the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas has apparently recycled shells found on the wrecks of British warships which were sunk off the coast of Gaza during World War One.

In a documentary film broadcast on Sunday, Al Jazeera revealed that Al-Qassam Brigades could in such a way overcome the consequences of the Israeli-led siege imposed on Gaza, which are in part intended to undermine its ability to manufacture weapons.

The internationally-backed siege has been in place for over 14 years. During this time, Israel has carried out three major offensives that have together killed thousands of Palestinians, wounded tens of thousands more and devastated the civilian infrastructure in the coastal territory.

For the first time, Hamas allowed its arms factories to be filmed. The documentary showed Hamas operatives recycling shells found in two sunken Royal Navy warships.

The explosive in the shells was tested and, found to be still useable, was fitted into the warheads of Al-Qassam’s own rockets.

“Unfortunately, Hamas got there before us,” said Israeli TV reporter Nir Dvori on Tuesday, referring to the shells on the warships.

“The Israeli army siege on Gaza made it difficult for Hamas to get metal and explosives to produce rockets. This pushed it to look for these materials in unconventional locations. Hamas marine personnel found these materials on board the warships.”

According to former sailor Rami Sidnai, the Israeli navy has been looking for the two British ships secretly. “Security issues prevented us from reaching them. Unfortunately, Hamas found them before us.”

Moreover, the documentary, produced by Palestinian journalist Tamer Al-Mishal, revealed how Al-Qassam fighters found a massive network of pipes installed before the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

The pipes were said to have been used to steal fresh water from the aquifer under the Gaza Strip. Al-Qassam promptly disassembled the network, extracted the pipes and used them to make rocket casings.

Additional explosives were removed from “hundreds” of unexploded Israel munitions after the 2014 military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke on camera about regional and international pressure imposed on the movement to give up its arms and end its resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“Hamas gave no pledge to any mediator related to the development of resistance arms,” he insisted.

However, according to Dore Gold, a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu, “If we are ever going to develop peaceful relations between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza… dismantling Hamas’s infrastructure must be part of any potential deal in order to be feasible.”

Former Israeli General and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror conceded that the Palestinians have succeeded in building their [military] capabilities.

“Today, they have ability to build weapon systems, mainly long-distance rockets. They have something very notable and have improved their domestic production. They learn all the time and improve their abilities.

“We exert many efforts to know about these abilities in order to neutralise then whenever we can.”

According to Ami Ayalon, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency, “After at least two Israeli offensives on Gaza, the result is that it could not disarm Gaza on its own and should not. It will be a disaster if we attempt to disarm Hamas by ourselves.”

He added his belief that Hamas is “stronger” than before. “The issue is complicated. We have to make a new political reality, otherwise Hamas is getting stronger.”

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(Source / 15.09.2020)

Israel to demolish mosque in occupied Jerusalem

Report: 104 Palestinian housing units were demolished in 2019 compared with 72 in 2018

An Israeli occupation court ordered on Tuesday that Al-Qa’qa’ Mosque in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood be demolished because it was built without building permission.

The court gave Palestinians 21 days to challenge the order or the Islamic site will be demolished.

Locals said that the mosque is 110 square metres over two floors and was built in 2012. An order had previously been given for it to be demolished in 2015.

The Palestinian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Gaza condemned the occupation state’s latest “aggression” against the mosque.

It called on the international community, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to protect Muslim holy sites and places of worship in Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera recently reported the Israeli advocacy group Ir Amim saying that the occupation authorities demolished homes in Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem at a significantly higher rate in 2019 than during the previous year.

In a report, the group said 104 Palestinian housing units were demolished in 2019 compared with 72 in 2018.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Palestinians rally in West Bank cities against Arab normalization agreements with Israel

Hundreds of Palestinians rallied in several West Bank cities against the signing of normalization agreements with Israel by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain planned for later today in Washington.

Palestinians demonstrated in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and Hebron, hoisting the Palestinian flag and holding signs that denounce the agreements and Arab normalization of relations with Israel.

Speakers at the rallies also spoke against the agreements, considering them a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and cause and a deviation from the long-standing Arab position expressed in the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which said that the Arab and Islamic nations will normalize relations with Israel only after it ends its occupation of the Palestinian territory and an independent Palestinian state is established.

Read More: Palestinians to protest against the signing of normalization agreements in Washington

A central rally is planned in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, to coincide with the signing of the agreement later today.

Protest activities are also planned at various cities around the world, but mainly outside the White House in Washington by opponents of the agreements.

Read More: Palestinians rally against annexation, normalization agreement

More than 50 US, Palestinian, Arab and Islamic organizations have called for a demonstration in Washington to coincide with the signing ceremonies to express their opposition to the agreements.

(Source / 15.09.2020)

Faux peace: Israel and Arab Gulf Royals

Ascribing the euphemism, peace, for formally normalizing the relationship between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the smaller Island of Bahrain with Israel, is an abysmal attempt to repackage Jarred Kushner’s string of failures and Donald Trump’s obsession for a pseudo achievement in a difficult election year.

Perched behind the Resolute desk on August 13, Trump mispronounced the name of the UAE Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed, proclaiming what he described as the first “Historic Peace Agreement” in 25 years. Archetypical of the President self-aggrandizing, he professed, “Everybody said this would be impossible …” 

“Everybody,” possibly except for Trump and Kushner, had known of UAE and Bahrain, not so secretive, back channels with Israel. In October 2018, the racist Israeli minister of culture, who likened the mosque’s Azan to barking dogs, was welcomed in Abu Dhabi, toured Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Israel’s national anthem played in the UAE capital. 

In June 2019, on the side of Kushner’s botched “deal of the century” peace conference in Manama, Israeli journalists posed openly next to landmarks around the Bahraini capital 

With a background in real estate, both Kushner and his father in law, Trump, came from an industry imbued with apathetic market manipulators who inflate value to sell, and undervalue assets to buy. The culture had molded Kushner’s personality at a young age. Most of his recognized successes in the private business accredited to arm-twisting economically distressed property owners and the evictions of low income renters in New York. 

The same knack that gave Kushner an advantage in the world’s financial capital was in itself the very reason for his abject failure in brokering peace between Palestine and Israel. Ironically, however, the same had led to the superficial success in the normalization of relation between the two Arab states and Israel.  

In the first instance, and despite reading twenty five books on the Palestine Israeli issue, Kushner flunked the test. He failed for employing New York techniques and misconstruing the seventy years grievance for an opportunity to coerce the economically distressed Palestinians to accept a bad deal. 

A plan prepared by Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz, David Friedman, and presented by Kushner, all bono fide American Zionists. Kushner and Friedman are major donors subsidizing illegal “Jewish only” colonies over the same occupied Palestinian land slated for negotiation in their peace plan. Besides the conflict of interest, Kushner and company are ideologically incapable of being objective intermediaries.

On the second, his approach succeeded because his Arab counterparts were susceptible to New York street pressure and had much deficit to reconcile with the Trump Administration. 

Unlike previous US presidents, Trump reminded Arab Gulf Royals bluntly that America’s protection was the only legitimacy they have to maintain their DNA qualified familial rules. In October 2018 at a campaign stop, Trump addressed the Saudi King, “You might not be there for two weeks without us.”

Following the CIA conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman, had ordered the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashogg. Trump shared a practical example of his role when he bragged in a recorded conversation with Bob Woodard how he saved the Saudi Crown Prince “ass.” 

While a Saudi payback would have been the preferred option to temper Kushner’s list of failures, however―typical of a New York real estate loser―he settled for a diminutive faux peace between parties that had never engaged in war. 

The formal normalization of the back channels is the product of a symbiotic relationship between Trump and Arab Gulf Royals. Having mismanaged COVID-19 and aftermath economic crises, Trump despaired for an election boost, possibly a stunt to gain favor with pro-Israeli voters in swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida. 

Gulf Royals on the other hand, fear a new American administration where US Congress could reopen the CIA findings on the murder of the Washington journalist, vote to halt US weapons, or investigate Amnesty International reports asserting Saudi led war crimes in Yemen.

Fright in the Gulf, election anxiety in Washington crafted the opportunity for a mediocre accord between Israel and two Arab rulers lacking valid popular legitimacy. 

This week, Kushner stands to celebrate another faux achievement. Following three and a half years, he produced a molehill when he promised mountain of a deal. Or to paraphrase a well-known Arabic proverb: after long and arduous birth pangs, the camel gave birth to a mouse 

*Mr Kanj is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His second coauthored novel, “Bride of the Sea,” published in Germany and Poland. He can be reached at jamal@jamalkanj.com