Will Qatar’s money ease Gaza’s crises?

Motasem Dalloul1 By Motasem Dalloul

Israeli, Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials have exchanged verbal blows over Qatar’s efforts to ease the crises in the Gaza Strip by paying $15m for the salaries of civil servants. Some Israeli officials claim that this is a boost for the “terrorist” organisation, Hamas, which is the de facto government of the coastal enclave, while Fatah and the PA claim that it reinforces the internal Palestinian division.

Almost all of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet colleagues agreed to allow the cash to be transferred to Gaza. Netanyahu defended this move, saying it was necessary to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged territory. Most senior military officials in Israel concurred even though far-right Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman apparently rejected it, Education Minister Naftali Bennet told Channel 20. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu defied those who objected to the move, saying that he knew how to bear the cost.

“I hear calls for a war from people who have never been involved in a battle,” said Yoav Galant MK in response to Lieberman’s objections to the money transfer. “Do we need to expose our soldiers to danger in order to achieve some goals? What is wrong with achieving such goals through avoiding war for a long time? All other choices must be exploited.”

“When Israel needs to go into battle in Gaza,” added Yoav Kish MK, “it would want to destroy Hamas. The question is: What will happen next? Who will control the Gaza Strip and who will take care of the civilians?” This was echoed by retired Major General Amos Gilad, the director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Defence. “It is easy to say let’s oust Hamas,” he told Army Radio, “but who will assume responsibility for Gaza? How long will we stay there? War is not the solution.”

Kish, however, believes that another offensive against Hamas is just a matter of time. “It is clear that we are heading towards it,” he insisted. “The issue of how to deal with two million people in Gaza after toppling Hamas is the problem which postpones the confrontation.”

Commenting on this, Dr Saleh Al-Naami, a specialist in Israel Studies, told MEMO that all what has happened is just a matter of understanding. “If this reaches the stage of a deal, it would last for a long time because both Israel and Hamas are interested in tranquility regardless of the different goals behind achieving it.”

Meanwhile, Fatah and the PA accused Hamas of reinforcing the equation of “blood for money” after accepting the salaries of civil servants paid by Qatar and a $10m per month donation for essential fuel for Gaza’s sole electricity plant for six months. Israeli Environment Minister Zeev Elkin accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of causing the tension in Gaza by stopping the peace talks with Israel and cutting the civil servants’ salaries in the first place.

“This money is not going to fund Hamas activities,” he told Tel Aviv’s Radio 102 FM. “It is money that is going to the salaries of civil servants, in an orderly, organised manner.” He claimed, reported Reuters, that Abbas stopped paying the salaries in order to “inflame Gaza, because he has not been successful on other fronts… The Qataris came along and said: ‘We are willing to pay this instead of Abbas, in order to calm Gaza down’. What does it matter who pays it?”

Hamas is continuing with its efforts to have the 12-year-old Israeli-led siege lifted to ease the pressure on the Palestinians in Gaza, who have experienced three major Israeli offensives since 2008 and multiple major incursions that have claimed thousands of lives and destroyed the territory’s infrastructure. Israel, explained Al-Naami, also wants some tranquility in Gaza. “This will give it time to tackle what is happening with Iran, Syria and Lebanon, while it doesn’t want to spoil the ongoing wave of normalization with the Arab states.”

As far as the PA is concerned, the specialist in Israel Studies believes that it has no choice in the matter. “If Israel makes a decision, it imposes it on the PA and all of its institutions. The Secretary of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, was clear about this when he said that Israel had warned the PA against trying to disrupt the current lull in the conflict with Hamas in Gaza.” Abbas, noted Al-Naami, was also pressured by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi not to oppose the understandings between Hamas and Israel. “Hence, the lull will last as long as Hamas and Israel consent to it.” Other options, he concluded, would swing into play if either of these parties change their mind.

(Source / 17.11.2018)

When murder is permissible:Israel’s ‘targeted assassinations’

Murder is permissible

By Mohammad Balawi

One of the anomalies of political Zionism is that, while it was founded as a response to murderous pogroms against European and Russian Jews as a means to rescue them from such treatment by having a safe haven to go to, the founding fathers of the State of Israel and their successors have had no qualms about inflicting terrible suffering and hardship on others in order to achieve their aims. The stated aim of making sure that the ultimate pogrom called the Holocaust, for example, will “never again” befall the Jews, has meant that “again and again” is the rule with regards to Israel’s violations against the Palestinians and anyone else deemed to be an enemy.

In the establishment of a state specifically for people of a particular race, there are those who would argue that Zionism is a racist ideology. This argument ensured that, in November 1975, UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 determined that Zionism is “a form of racism and racial discrimination”, although under US pressure imposed by President George H W Bush, this was revoked in 1991. Nevertheless, the notion of “God’s chosen people” treating those perceived to be lesser mortals, Arab Palestinians, so abominably day after day for more than 70 years remains government policy in Israel. That is the reality.

The state targets anyone who gets in its way of occupying as much of historic Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians on the land as possible; “Greater Israel” is the desired result. Killing Palestinians and other non-Jews is not usually an ethical decision, but one taken according to the benefits it provides for Israel. Scientists, community leaders, religious leaders or simply whoever stands in front of them can be and often is a target, regardless of race, religion, citizenship, gender or age.

Such murders are not the acts of rogue killers. They are endorsed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, which makes him a direct accomplice in all such crimes. In the case of Israel, therefore, terrorism is not an individual or non-state actor modus operandi; it has come to define the state itself.

Murderous “operations” have been endorsed by successive Prime Ministers of Israel, targeting not only Palestinians, but many other nationalities too. Israel rarely acknowledges its responsibility for any of them, even when they fail to hit the target. Indeed, Israel has committed thousands of crimes over the years, including alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and mass murder. Despite this, it has not been made to account; it acts with impunity, treating international laws and conventions with contempt, safe in the knowledge that its friends in the West have its back covered, especially the US and its veto at the UN Security Council. Britain is one country where the pro-Israel politicians changed the procedures for its law of universal jurisdiction in order to protect suspected Israeli war criminals from prosecution.

Former Foreign Minister had to cancel her visit to Britain because arrest warrants were prepared due to Israel’s crimes committed in the Gaza Strip. Upon hearing the news, Livni commented, “The free world must differentiate between real war criminals who must be brought to justice and those who fight terrorism against civilians, including the officers and soldiers of the [Israel Defense Forces].” The British government duly changed the law.

Helping such people to escape prosecution also makes those who protect them complicit in their crimes. Knowing that they can act with impunity emboldens Israeli politicians to go further with their illegal policies and practices.

The level of hypocrisy and double standards is remarkable in Israel. While the death penalty is no longer available to the courts, extrajudicial killings are more common there than almost every other country in the world. This is how Israel understands law and democracy, despite its claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

This psyche has been prevalent among Israeli leaders since before the state was founded on Palestinian land in 1948. Members and leaders of the Irgun and Stern Gang terrorist groups went on to become leading politicians in Israel, including prime ministers. Just a few weeks ago, Ehud Barak — Israel’s Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, and the most decorated soldier in the history of the state — declared with no shame that he ordered the killing of 300 Palestinians in a matter of 3 minutes. Ironically, this man was the leader of the Labor Party, which is usually regarded as a party of the left. That demonstrates how far to the right Israeli politics has shifted.

Barak, though, was no less inhumane than other Labor leaders. The late Shimon Peres, for example, is remembered in the Arab world not as a Nobel Peace laureate, but as the architect of a massacre of Lebanese civilians. On 18 April, 1996, 800 Lebanese civilians took refuge from Israel’s brutal “Operation Grapes of Wrath” in a UN peacekeepers’ compound in the village of Qana. Israeli troops fired artillery rounds into the compound deliberately, killing 106 people and injuring 116 more.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on 29 September, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the veteran Prime Minister of Malaysia, shed light on an ironic contradiction in human conduct and thinking: We all know, he said, that “wars encourage and legitimize killing. Indeed, the killings are regarded as noble, and the killers are hailed as heroes. They get medals stuck to their chest and statues erected in their honor, have their names mentioned in history books. There is something wrong with our way of thinking, with our value system. Kill one man, it is murder; kill a million and you become a hero.”

This encapsulates Israel’s “targeted assassinations” policy; it is murder by any other name. Western complacency and Israeli belligerence make such killing permissible. There definitely is “something wrong with our way of thinking” when that is the reality of the world today.

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Journalists injured in IOF quelling of peaceful protest

Journalists injured

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday afternoon violently quelled a peaceful demonstration staged by Palestinian and international journalists at Qalandia checkpoint, north of Occupied Jerusalem.

Palestinian media sources reported that dozens of journalists took part in the demonstration near Qalandia refugee camp as part of Journalists Under Fire conference.

A number of journalists suffered breathing difficulties when the IOF soldiers heavily fired stun grenades and teargas canisters

(Source / 17.11.2018)

ISRAEL INJURES 77 PEOPLE DURING GREAT RETURN MARCH

After the Israeli aggression earlier in the week, the question before Friday November 16th Great Return March demonstration in the besieged Gaza Strip was how Israel’s regime would react?

Would the relative ‘calm’ of the two previous Fridays with ‘just’ one death prevail, or would it seek to bleed the protesters after the humiliation of backing down from the confrontation with the resistance?

With Israel’s cabinet in process of disintengrating, the Great Return March was attacked with similar level of violence by Israeli occupation forces as on two preceding Fridays: At least 77 people were injured, with 40 wounded with live ammunition and 10 shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, according to the Shehab News Agency. One person was seriously wounded.

Israel’s regime, for now, is more concentrated in in-fighting than attacking unarmed Palestinians – after killing up to 247 participants of the Great Return March since March 30th.

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Algeria renews its support to Palestinian people

Image of Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika yesterday renewed his country’s “full and continuous support” for the Palestinian people in their struggle to determine their destiny and regain all their legitimate national rights.

In a congratulatory message to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the 30th anniversary of the declaration to establish a Palestinian state, Bouteflika wished that “the fraternal Palestinian people” achieve their aspirations of freedom and to establish their independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

“Algeria will continue to exert all its efforts to address the challenges hindering the establishment of the Palestinian state,” he stressed.

“I take this opportunity to renew our full and continuing support to the Palestinian people in their struggle to determine their destiny and to restore their legitimate national rights,” the Algerian president reiterated.

Read: Algerian Prime Minister’s speech in Paris sparks controversy

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Kuwait expels controversial Israel activist

Russian-born Israeli citizen Ben Tzion seen at the Islam's second holiest site, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on November 16, 2017 [Facebook / Ben Tzion]

Russian-born Israeli citizen Ben Tzion seen at the Islam’s second holiest site, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on November 16, 2017

Kuwaiti security services have deported Israeli activist Ben Tzion less than 24 hours after he entered the country, local media reported.

The activist and blogger’s deportation came after widespread criticism by Kuwaiti lawmakers and activists for “the presence of an Israeli person in their country and his visit to the International Book Fair” after Tzion documented his visit on Instagram.

Kuwaiti media – including Al-Qabas and Al-Rai – quoted a source as saying that Tzion had entered the country with a US passport and that his visit was not for the aim of participating in the Kuwait International Book Fair.

On Thursday evening Kuwait’s Interior Ministry deported Tzion after 18 hours in the country, according to the same sources.

The Kuwait Book Fair began on 14 November and continues until 24 November in a session which celebrates Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine.

Last November Tzion – who is of Russian origin –sparked anger on social media after he posted photos inside the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Read: Kuwait donates $50m to UNRWA

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Injure 15 Palestinians Near Nablus

17 NOV
1:24 PM

Israeli soldiers wounded, Saturday, at least fifteen Palestinians, including one who suffered a serious injury, in Orif village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, during a nonviolent activity resisting the illegal annexation of Palestinian lands for the construction and expansion of Israel’s colonies.

The Israeli assault took place after dozens of soldiers attacked residents and activists while planting hundreds of olive saplings on Palestinian lands Israel is planning to illegally annex for its colonialist activities.

The soldiers invaded the eastern area of Orif village, and resorted to the excessive use of force, by firing live rounds, dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has reported that the soldiers shot at least three young men with live fire, one of them was shot in the thigh, and one who suffered a serious injury, after the soldiers shot him in the abdomen.

The PRCS added that medics also provided treatment to at least 13 Palestinians, and added that the wounded were injured by Israeli rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to suffering the effects of teargas inhalation.

Israel has been preventing the Palestinians from planting and taking care of their lands, in order to illegally annex them for the construction and expansion of its illegal colonies, and what the army called “for military purposes.”

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Palestinian Suffers Severe Face Injury during Ras Karkar Protest

16 NOV
9:04 PM

Israeli forces suppressed Palestinians and activists protesting near the village of Ras Karkar, west of Ramallah, in the occupied central West Bank, on Friday, against the Israeli plan to seize hundreds of dunams of land in the area.

Locals reported, according to Ma’an, that Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs to suppress protesters; one Palestinian was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the face; he was transferred to the Palestine Medical Center for treatment.
Many other protesters suffered tear-gas inhalation.

Protesters had performed Friday prayers on lands threatened with seizure.

During last week’s protests at Ras Karkar, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians and injured dozens of others, including a paramedic who was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet when Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance.

(Source / 17.11.2018)

MADA: Destruction of Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters a Result of Israeli Impunity

16 NOV
9:42 PM

The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms (MADA) has condemned the destruction of Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters on Monday evening, 12 November, 2018, by the Israeli army, in implementation of the resolution taken by the senior officials and politicians at the Israeli government, as various data indicates.

Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters was destroyed in Gaza, by Israeli warplanes, about a half an hour following the end of a security meeting held by the Israeli leadership with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at “Kiryah” Military Base, near Tel Aviv. This was followed by announcements reported, by Israeli media, that “the go-ahead was given to the Israeli army to carry out more severe attacks” on Gaza.

Al-Aqsa TV Director, Mr. Ibrahim Thaher, stated to MADA that the TV office had received a phone call from Israeli Intelligence in which it was informed that the headquarters would be destroyed. Accordingly, the headquarters were evacuated of its staff immediately. Ten minutes later, drones began bombarding the headquarters with “warning” missiles, which was followed by a missile fired by F16 warplane, leading to the destruction of the headquarters and the interruption of transmission.

According to explorations of MADA field research, at approximately 8:30 PM, on Monday, Al-Aqsa TV received an Israeli threat to bomb it. The TV staff quickly evacuated the headquarters and left. About half an hour later, at 9:00 PM, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) began bombing the headquarters, where they fired five “warning” missiles intermittently. At approximately 09:15, a missile fired by an F-16 warplane destroyed the headquarters, which led to its destruction and transmission interruption. However, the Israeli warplane returned and bombed the headquarters with another missile, several minutes later, causing extensive destruction. Many houses and buildings, adjacent to the headquarters, were severely damaged.

PNN further reports that this is the third time the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV have been destroyed by the Israeli occupation army.

The measure is part of a large-scale Israeli systematic targeting aimed at silencing the media and journalists, and blurring the practices and attacks of the occupation in Palestine. The Israeli army has destroyed in three large-scale military attacks, which erupted in Gaza Strip in the years 2008, 2012 and 2014, totaling 61 headquarters of media agencies. In 2014, 17 journalists were killed, in the Gaza Strip.

Taking into consideration the serious escalation of the Israeli occupation authorities and its army’s targeting journalists and media outlets in Palestine, MADA believes that the impunity of perpetrators of such crimes has encouraged the Israeli army to continue committing such acts in an official and blatant manner, as in the case of destroying the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV. Therefore, MADA Center has called on the Special Rapporteur of the freedom of expression at the United Nations, as well as the international human rights organizations, to endeavor and investigate the crimes of the Israeli occupation against media freedoms in Palestine, and to bring the perpetrators, and all those involved, to justice.

(Source / 17.11.2018)

Army Injures A Farmer In Central Gaza

17 NOV
2:02 PM

Israeli soldiers injured, on Saturday morning, a Palestinian farmer while working on his lands, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired many live rounds at farmers in lands, close to the perimeter fence of the besieged Gaza Strip, to force them out.

The added that one Palestinian suffered a moderate injury, after the soldiers shot him with a live round in his leg, and was rushed to a local hospital.

In related news, several army vehicles and bulldozers invaded Palestinian lands, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, and fired many live rounds to force the Palestinians away.

(Source / 17.11.2018)