Extremist Jewish groups prepare for massive raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Up to 200 Israelis under police protection raid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in East Jerusalem on 14 March, 2019

The so-called Temple Mount Groups, a body of extremist Jewish organisations, have called for massive raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim tomorrow, the Shehab news agency reported yesterday.

According to Shehab, the groups announced their planned raid on Facebook and said that they would organise tours and other activities inside and around the different facilities of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In addition to the extremist organisations, Israeli MKs and ministers are expected to take part in the planned raid.

Israeli occupation forces regularly provide protection for settlers who enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque and carry out religious rituals there. Many Palestinians, on the other hand, are banned from entry while settlers desecrate the Muslim holy site.

READ: US-Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque

(Source / 20.03.2019)

Israeli Soldiers Shoot Three Palestinians In Northern Gaza

03 MAR10:46 PM

Israeli soldiers shot, on Sunday evening, three Palestinians east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip.

Media sources said the soldiers opened fire at several youngsters, on Palestinian lands close to the perimeter fence.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has reported that the three suffered moderate wounds, and were rushed to the Indonesian Hospital, in Beit Lahia.

In addition, Israeli daily Haaretz quoted the Israeli army claiming that fired a missile at a “Hamas outpost, after an explosive device was thrown over the border fence, in northern Gaza.”

On Saturday evening, Israeli drones fired two missiles into a site near the perimeter fence, in the eastern area of Central Gaza.

On Friday, the 49th week of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege on Gaza, the army injured 83 Palestinian civilians, including 23 children and one woman, in addition to three Paramedics, and one journalist.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Gazans to perform Umrah pilgrimage after 5 year hiatus

For the first time since 2014, Gazan’s will be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia via the Rafah crossing  

A woman from the first convoy passes the Rafah Border Gate and recites from the holy Quran as she waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
A woman from the first convoy, passes through the Rafah Border Gate and waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
People from the first convoy, pass through the Rafah Border Gate and wait to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
The first convoy pass the Rafah Border Gate to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]

Egypt will allow Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) – via the Rafah border crossing – for the first time since 2014.

Last month, Yusuf Ideis, Palestinian minister of religious endowments, announced the resumption of Umrah journeys from the blockaded Gaza Strip following a five-year hiatus.

According to ministry sources, a first batch of pilgrims will set out from Gaza to Saudi Arabia on March 3.

These include at least 800 pilgrims who have already obtained the necessary travel documentation from the Saudi authorities, the sources said.

“The offices of pilgrimage travel companies in Gaza have been inundated by those seeking to perform the sacred journey,” Awad Abu Mazkour, chairman of Gaza’s Hajj and UmrahCompany, told Anadolu Agency.

Since late 2014, Gazans have been unable to make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia due to Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah border crossing.

In January, the Egyptian authorities eased travel restrictions through the crossing, which links Israeli-blockaded Gaza to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

A woman from the first convoy, passes through the Rafah Border Gate and waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Border Gate following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
A woman from the first convoy, passes through the Rafah Border Gate and waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
A man from the first convoy passes the Rafah Border Gate and recites from the holy Quran as she waits to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
A woman waves hand as she and others from the first convoy pass the Rafah Border Gate to transport and perform Umrah in Mecca after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]
Gazans from the first convoy wait patiently to start their journey to Mecca for the Umrah, after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
A Palestinian border control officer seen at a immgration desk on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Gazans from the first convoy seen at the border control desk on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, ahead of their journey to Mecca for the Umrah, after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Gazans from the first convoy seen at the border control desk on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, ahead of their journey to Mecca for the Umrah, after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Gazans from the first convoy seen at the border control desk on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, ahead of their journey to Mecca for the Umrah, after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Gazans from the first convoy wait patiently to start their journey to Mecca for the Umrah, after Egypt re-opened the Rafah Crossing following four years of closure, in Rafah, Gaza on March 03, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

(Source / 03.03.2019)

Israel’s New Right: Annex ‘Area C’, give 80,000 Palestinians citizenship

Israeli forces can be seen demolishing a Palestinian building 'Area C', in the West Bank on 14 February 2019 [HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli forces can be seen demolishing a Palestinian building in the ‘Area C’, West Bank on 14 February 2019

A right-wing Israeli political party, opposed to Palestinian self-determination, has proposed plans to annex most of the West Bank and impose full Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territory. With less than six weeks till the Israeli elections, the move seems intended to sweep up votes from large sections of the country’s electorates who are hostile to a Palestinian state.

The plan proposed by the outfit headed by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked knows as the New Right will seek to annex “Area C” which makes up 61 per cent of occupied West Bank. In what appears to be an attempt to curtail widespread fear amongst Israelis over “demographic threat” of having too many Palestinians, the right-wing group has estimated that only “80,000 Arabs” residing in the area will need to be awarded a citizenship.

A more accurate number of the Palestinian population in the area eyed for illegal annexation is said to be nearly four times higher; 297,000 according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the West Bank.

It’s a proposal that is likely to worry the international community and equally be a vote winner in the coming election. The proposal was set out as part of the platform released by the New Right party yesterday, whose leaders broke away from the Jewish Home party to form the new group. Established in December 2018, the party is said to include religious and secular groups.

READ: 11 Palestinians homeless as Israel demolishes 2 flats in Jerusalem

Both Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelat Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett have made no secret of their intention to annex most of the West Bank. In October Shaked said she was in favour of total annexation of “Area C” and that in doing so Israel would need to absorb some Palestinians into its territory.

Most of Israel’s illegal settlements are constructed in “Area C”, which under the Oslo Accords was placed under Israel’s administration control. The population of illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank is just short of 600,000, according to B’Tselem, and while “Israel has refrained from formally annexing the West Bank […] In practice, however, it treats the settlements established throughout Area C as extensions of its sovereign territory and has virtually eliminated the distinction for Israeli citizens.”

(Source / 01.03.2019)

Violence is fundamental to Israel’s ‘democracy’ and always has been

Israel yesterday attacked participants in the Friday protests taking place in the Gaza Strip [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli forces injured protesters during the Great March of Return on 19 February 2019By Ray Hanania

Israeli soldiers hiding behind bunkers and using long-range sniper rifles have intentionally murdered 35 children, paramedics, journalists and disabled people during its ongoing assault against Palestinian civilian protestors along the Gaza border, a report released by the United Nations concluded this week. The UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) said that Israeli soldiers violated international human rights and humanitarian laws in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 in weekly Friday protests since they began on 30 March, 2018. According to Palestinian sources in Gaza, those figures are very conservative.

In the 25-page report, UN officials said that the killings “may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity” and urged that the evidence should be submitted formally to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

Rather than addressing the contents of the report, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responded in their usual way when confronted with overwhelming evidence of the mass murder of women, children and innocent civilians: they accused the UN of “anti-Semitism”, bias and hypocrisy. This is nothing new. The Israelis have been obfuscating and denying mass murder allegations since the ethnic cleansing and destruction of at least 400 Palestinian towns and villages during the “war of independence” between 1946 and 1949.

Israel’s history is built on terrorism and killing not just on the basis of race or ethnicity, but also on religion; what we might call “religicide”. Its murderous violence has continued throughout its seven decades of existence. The murder of Christians and Muslims by Israeli soldiers has always been justified by asserting that the Jewish soldiers were merely “retaliating” for attacks by Arabs. What’s more, news reports are censored and Israeli journalists are prohibited from reporting on the incidents.

READ: Israel killed woman and child protesters at ‘significant distance’ from Gaza fence

Ironically, rather than being punished for their crimes, the perpetrators have been lionised by Israeli Jews. Men and women branded as “terrorists” in the 1940s have gone on to serve as Israeli Prime Ministers and senior officials.

On 9 April, 1948, Zionist terrorists massacred Arab civilians in the village of Deir Yassin on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Initial reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross put the total of those killed at 250 but Israel prevented an official investigation once the area came under its control a month later. The massacre site was later wiped off the map and, without a touch of irony, became a part of the Holocaust Memorial built there in 1953 which houses millions of documents on the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Hypocritically, Israel suppresses investigations into the killing of non-Jews, as it is seeking to do in its response to the UNHRC’s Gaza report. The Deir Yassin massacre was ordered by the head of the Irgun terrorist group, Menachem Begin, who was elected as Israel’s Prime Minister in 1977.

An elderly Palestinian and a child during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]

On 12 July 1948, Israeli forces attacked the Arab city of Lydda, near Tel Aviv, killing hundreds of residents. The massacres were used as a threat and Israeli soldiers forced more than 35,000 of the city’s Christian and Muslim Arab residents to flee. The city was later renamed Lod, a Hebrew name for a Biblical city. The massacre and ethnic cleansing of Lydda was orchestrated by Yitzhak Rabin, who was first elected as Prime Minister in 1974.

In October 1953, Israeli forces, angered by skirmishes along the Jordanian border, launched a “reprisal raid” targeting a small West Bank village called Qibya. Sixty-nine unarmed civilians were massacred, two-thirds of whom were women and children. Israeli forces destroyed 45 homes, a school and a mosque. They were commanded by Ariel Sharon, who became Israeli Prime Minister in 2001 and asserted in his memoirs that most of the victims were killed when the homes in which they were hiding were destroyed. Sharon went on to sanction the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut in September 1982 by right-wing Lebanese militias. Infamously, former US President George W Bush described Sharon as a “man of peace”.

READ: While Israel kills, the US condemns Hamas

On 29 October, 1956, Israeli forces massacred 48 Arab civilians, including 23 children, in the Arab village of Kafr Qasim, which was located in Israel along the border with Jordan. Non-Jews in Israel were designated as “hostile populations” between 1948 and 1966 and subjected to military law. The Israeli military issued a shoot-to-kill order for any Arab found on the street after the curfew. Palestinian workers from the village were unaware of the curfew and were gunned down as they returned home. The army commander testified that this was part of Israel’s plan for the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel, a confession that quite possibly prevented his election as Prime Minister.

A car is ablaze in the Palestinian-majority town of Kafr Qasim in central Israel after Israeli forces shoot and kill 20-year-old Ahmed Mahmoud Taha on 6 June 2017 [Israeli police]

These major massacres have helped to create a violent mindset in many Israelis, especially when serving in the military and the police; they are convinced that Arabs, whether within or beyond Israel, do not value human life. There have been dozens of incidents in which Israeli police have not only attacked and murdered Palestinians living in the occupied territories, but also Arab citizens of Israel itself.

On 30 March, 1976 for example, Israeli police shot and killed six unarmed Israeli Arab citizens and wounded 100 others who were protesting against government efforts to confiscate Palestinian–owned land. The massacre has since been commemorated annually by the Palestinians as “Land Day”. Last year, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip started weekly protests on 30 March, calling them the “Great March of Return”, along their side of the nominal border. They continue to demand an end to the oppressive blockade of Gaza and the fulfilment of their legitimate right to return to their land inside Israel.

On 28 September, 2000, Ariel Sharon entered the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa accompanied by hundreds of Israeli police, and declared the site to be Israeli and thus provoked protests. During the week that followed, police officers killed 13 Palestinians; all but one were Israeli citizens.

READ: Israel killing of Palestine children in Gaza protests amounts to ‘war crimes’

In little over ten years, Israel has launched three major offensives against civilians in Gaza: 1,400 Palestinians were killed in 2008-09; 177 were killed in 2012; and in 2014 more than 2,200 Palestinian men, women and children were killed by the Israelis.

While such killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers is not a new phenomenon, a strong stand by the UN against Israeli atrocities certainly is. Platitudes are the norm, but now the international organisation appears to be calling for justice.

Palestinians need to remind the world of Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, and counter the intense anti-Palestinian bias in the Israeli media and their Western counterparts. Such media bias allows Israel to brush aside its responsibilities, citing “self-defence” and “retaliation” against Palestinian infringements. Israel’s narrative that all legitimate Palestinian resistance to its occupation is “terrorism” has been swallowed wholesale by the Western media.

There is no “statute of limitation” on the murder of innocent civilians by any government, so there should be no barrier to the prosecution of the individuals responsible. The UNHRC report details the most outrageous conduct by a government engaged in entirely punitive acts and killing civilians in the process. Israeli officials have never killed Palestinians for the sake of justice or international law; they almost always do so purely for the sake of revenge or to quell their anger. This is not the behaviour of a law-abiding democratic state. Violence, it seems, is fundamental to Israel’s “democracy”, and always has been.

(Source / 01.03.2019)

Israeli police kidnap three Palestinians from homes in J’lem

Kidnapping 3 from Al Quds

The Israeli occupation police at dawn Saturday kidnapped three Palestinian citizens from their homes in Occupied Jerusalem.

According to Quds Press, police forces stormed some homes in the Old City of Jerusalem and rounded up three Palestinians.

They were identified as Naser Qous, director of the Palestinian Prisoner Society in the holy city, Hosni al-Kilani and Sheikh Ali Ajjaj.

The detainees was transferred to police interrogation centers and will stand trial at the Israeli magistrate court on Saturday evening. The reason for their detention is still unknown.

Recently, the Israeli police kidnapped more than 40 Palestinians in Jerusalem and its environs and later released most of them on bail and on condition that they stay away either from the entire Old City or only the Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 23.02.2019)

Israel’s ‘Apartheid Road’ opens in West Bank, separating Palestinian and Jewish settlers

Israeli security forces block the road and take security measures after an armed assault at Barkan industrial zone near Ariel Israeli settlement located in Salfit, West Bank on October 7, 2018 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

Israeli security forces block the road and take security measures after an armed assault at Barkan industrial zone near Ariel Israeli settlement located in Salfit, West Bank on October 7, 2018

Israel has opened a road connecting areas of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank with Jerusalem, making settler access from the occupied Palestinian territory to the holy city easier.

Route 4370, which had been closed and out of use for years since it was built over a decade ago due to staffing disputes between the police and army, was opened to traffic yesterday and is the first part of the eastern ring of Jerusalem. It will significantly ease congestion around northern Jerusalem by providing an extra or alternate route to the city from the illegal settlements.

Israel’s Minister of Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz said that his department had invested more than 30 million shekels ($43 million) on Highway 4370. “The paving of the road constitutes an important step in connecting the residents of the [illegal West Bank settlements in the so-called] Binyamin region to Jerusalem and in strengthening the metropolitan area of Greater Jerusalem, following the opening of the Adam and other initiatives promoted by the Ministry of Transportation in recent years.”

READ: Israel planned Khan Al-Ahmar demolition 40 years ago

The re-opened route is, essentially, a way to further connect the settlers in the West Bank with the Israeli mainland and its newly proclaimed “capital” Jerusalem, in pursuit of Israel’s overall aim of increasing its sovereignty over Palestinian territories. Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said: “This is one of many other steps to strengthen the services of the Ministry of Public Security on its bodies to the residents of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and to strengthen sovereignty in the area…We will continue to work to expand Israeli sovereignty throughout the entire area, while maintaining strict and consistent security needs.”

The new route will also redirect Palestinian traffic through a new security checkpoint en route to Jerusalem and away from an existing road in the unbuilt area of E1 in the West Bank, effectively separating Palestinians and Jewish settlers from using the same routes.

Since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel in 2017, Israel has been increased projects and initiatives which prepare for its annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, critics have warned.

(Source / 10.01.2019)

Fatah to scrap deals with Israel over ‘continuous aggression’

Executive committee member at the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Ahmad Majdalani [Thaer Ganaim/Apaimages]

Executive committee member at the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Ahmad Majdalani

Fatah has said it will scrap its deals with Israel over the latter’s “continuous aggression” in the occupied West Bank.

Member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Mohammad Ishtea, said that “all the deals with Israel were violated; therefore, we will not respect them,” Anadolu Agency reported yesterday, citing official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

“The relations with Israel are currently frozen and the findings of the Palestinian leadership’s meetings in the coming few days will draw the lines for the relationship [with Israel] in the future,” Ishtea added.

The senior Fatah leader stressed that the issue of security cooperation with Israel is currently on the table, due to the “latest Israeli aggression” in Ramallah last week.

On Thursday, member of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee, Ahmad Majdalani, revealed that the Palestinian leadership is to meet today to discuss the latest political in the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Palestinian Civil Commission, Hussein Al-Sheikh said: “We passed a clear message to the Israeli side that we will re-evaluate the signed deals as long as they are being botched by the Israeli army and Israeli settlers on the ground.”

For about a week, the West Bank has been witnessing increased tensions and violence due to Israel’s campaign of arrests against Palestinians, as well as the PA’s crackdown against women who took to the streets in protest.

READ: Israel politician incited settler violence, NGO says

(Source / 22.12.2018)

Israel soldiers shot Palestinian teen, ‘dragged him around’ and chased away ambulance

Palestinians mourn the death of Palestinian teen, Mahmoud Nakhle, who was shot by Israeli forces and then dragged around on 14 December 2018 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians mourn the death of Palestinian teen, Mahmoud Nakhle, who was shot by Israeli forces and then dragged around near Ramallah on 14 December 2018

Israeli soldiers who fatally shot a Palestinian child last week prevented him from receiving potentially life-saving medical treatment, reported Haaretz.

Seventeen-year-old Mahmoud Nakhle was shot on Friday 14 December as Israeli occupation forces suppressed protests around Al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah.

The confrontations between residents and soldiers had already slowed down when Israeli forces “began chasing after the youths” and “suddenly…started shooting, using live ammunition”.

According to the paper, Nakhle was returning home “by way of a dirt path that passes above the camp”, when “the soldiers ran after him and one of them shot him once, in the lower back”.

READ: Israel killed Gaza teens with ‘warning’ missile then published misleading video, investigation reveals

The soldiers lifted Nakhle up and carried him a few dozen metres away, “laying him down at the side of the road”; one eyewitness said they carried him “like you haul a slaughtered sheep”.

After a few minutes, soldiers lifted the boy up again, and “carried him a few dozen metres more”. A Palestinian ambulance “was chased off by the soldiers, who threatened the driver with their rifles”. As far as is known, Haaretz reported, “the soldiers did not give Nakhle any sort of medical aid”.

It was only after a quarter of an hour “that the soldiers allowed an ambulance to be summoned”, but Mahmoud died en route to the hospital.

His death certificate states that the teen “died from loss of blood after a bullet entered his lower back, struck his liver and hit a main artery, damaging other internal organs”.

READ: 2018 one of the bloodiest years for Palestinian children under Israel occupation 

The paper described how “Mahmoud attended school until the 10th grade and then studied electrical engineering at a professional college”. After a year of apprenticeship, he had been “waiting to find a job as an electrician”. He is survived by his parents and two sisters aged 14 and four.

The Israeli military spokesperson told Haaretz “a Palestinian holding a suspicious object approached one of the soldiers” when “the soldier fired at him”. The incident is being investigated by the Military Police, who routinely whitewash the killing of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces.

(Source / 21.12.2018)

Army To Demolish A Palestinian Home Of A Detainee From Yatta

16 Dec 2:28 PM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, Yatta town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and handed a family of a detainee, accused of killing an armed settler, a military order for the demolition of their home.

The demolition order was signed and approved by the “Central Command” of the Israeli army, targeting the family home of Khalil Yousef Jabarin, 17, located on the third floor of a three-story building.

The family was also informed it has until January 2nd, 2019, to appeal against the demolition order before Israeli military courts.

The Palestinian is accused of killing an armed Israeli settler, identified as Ari Fuld, 40, at the entrance of a mall near Gush Etzion colony, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Home demolition policy, enacted by Israel against the Palestinians is an illegal act of collective punishment, targeting entire families, in direct violation of International Law.

While Israel demolished the homes of Palestinians accused or convicted of killing Israelis, including soldiers and settlers, it does not close or demolish the homes of Israelis involved in fatal attacks against the Palestinians.

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem), said that the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes inflicts suffering of entire families, including women, children and the elderly, even though they are not involved in offenses against Israelis.

It added that, while Israel claims its home demolition policy is meant as “deterrence,” the actual result on the ground has never been proven.

B’Tselem also said that this policy constituted deliberate harm on innocent civilians, and added that even if the demolitions had the claimed deterrence impact, it remains unlawful.

(Source / 16.12.2018)