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)

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)

Latest attacks on Gaza cost Israel $33m, says military

An elderly Palestinian man leans on a tree destroyed and tangled with debris outside a building. 13 November 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The latest 48-hour Israeli escalation against the besieged Gaza Strip cost Israel around $33 million, the Israeli military announced on Wednesday.

Local sources told Al-Khaleej Online that the cost included the use of “Iron Dome missiles, air force fighter jets and naval facilities”.

On Monday violence broke out between Palestinian Resistance factions and the Israeli Army following the death of seven members of the Al-Qassam Brigades after Israeli special forces infiltrated the east of Khan Yunis province on Saturday. The conflict resulted in the death of an Israeli officer and injured another.

Israel minister: We will return with 500 coffins if we enter Gaza

Al-Qassam responded by firing rockets into the settlements and communities surrounding Gaza. The Israeli army said that around 400 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza, adding that the enclave’s warplanes bombed Israel 100 times.

On Tuesday a United Nations Security Council meeting ended without resolution, however Egypt later succeeded in securing a ceasefire.

The ceasefire announcement brought a lull to the outbreak of violence between both sides, however Israelis were outraged over what they described as “the surrender of the [Israeli] government”.

(Source / 16.11.2018)

Israel minister: We will return with 500 coffins if we enter Gaza

Image of Israeli minister, Tzachi Hanegbi on 8 January 2013 [The Israel Project/Wikipedia]

Israeli minister, Tzachi Hanegbi on 8 January 2013

Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi yesterday justified the Israeli prime minister’s decision not to launch a new war on Gaza saying “Hamas had a reason to attack”.

“It wasn’t that Hamas acted without a pretext. It had a pretext — to try to exact revenge. Its revenge was minor. In all, it managed, with 400 rockets, to kill one Palestinian,”  Hanegbi told Army Radio.

When it was put to him that one rocket fell on an empty kindergarten, Hanegbi replied: “The empty kindergarten – that’s always talked about. But those 500 coffins – of the Israeli youths that would come back if we sent them into [Gaza’s] Jabalaya [refugee camp] – would not be empty.”

The minister’s comments stirred controversy across Israeli political spectrum.

On Sunday evening, the Qassam Brigades foiled an Israeli operation carried out by a special unit which infiltrated east of Khan Yunis province, killing the unit commander and wounding another soldier.

Read: Israel’s failure in Gaza

(Source / 16.11.2018)

Egyptian security delegation arrives in Gaza Strip to establish the truce

The rubble left by the air strikes carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip on 11 November 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The damage left by the air strikes carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip on 11 November 2018

Egypt succeeded in stabilizing the cease-fire, on Tuesday, between the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza and the occupation – TwitterThe Israeli Public Radio said, on Wednesday, that an Egyptian security delegation will arrive in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for talks aimed at stabilizing the ceasefire and discussing ways to improve the living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The radio added that the delegation would be headed by the official of the Palestinian file in the intelligence service, Ahmed Abdelkhaliq, and expected that some Hamas leaders would go to Egypt in the next few days.

Egyptian mediation between the Palestinian Resistance and the Israeli occupation succeeded in reestablishing the cease-fire in Gaza after an unprecedented round of escalation that began on Sunday and lasted about 48 hours.

On Monday, an escalation between the Palestinian Resistance factions and the Israeli occupation broke out following the death of 7 Resistance fighters who belong to the Al-Qassam Brigades, after their clash with an Israeli special force that infiltrated east of Khan Yunis on Saturday. The conflict also resulted in the death of an Israeli officer and injuring another.

The resistance responded to what is considered to be a misunderstanding of the cease-fire understandings and rocketed the occupation settlements and communities surrounding Gaza, before announcing, on Monday evening, the re-establishment the cease-fire mediated by Egypt.

Read: The truce in Gaza is between Egypt, Israel and Abbas

(Source / 16.11.2018)

Israel court rules state not liable for killing 15-year-old in Gaza

Israeli forces fire at Palestinians on the 15th marine protests in the Gaza Strip on 5 November 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

An injured Palestinian receives medical care after Israeli forces fire at Palestinians on the 15th marine protests in the Gaza Strip on 5 November 2018

An Israeli court has ruled that the state is not liable for damages for killing a 15-year-old Palestinian in Gaza, setting a precedent which means Israel will be immune from further legal action.

Fifteen-year-old Attiya Fathi Al-Nabaheen was shot by Israeli forces on 11 November 2014 in the wake of the 2014 war on Gaza. He was stood on his family’s property near Al-Bureij, in the centre of the besieged Gaza Strip and close to the fence with Israel, when he was shot at close range. He was left quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair as a result of his injuries.

Attiya’s case was brought to Israel’s Beersheba District Court by two NGOs – Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights and the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (known as Adalah) – in an attempt to achieve justice for his shooting and injuries.

Yet the court ruled against Attiya and his family, citing Article 5/B-1 of Amendment 8 of the Civil Wrongs Law (State Responsibility) of 1952. The article in question states that “residents of a territory declared by the Israeli government as “enemy territory”—as Gaza was declared in 2007—are not eligible to seek compensation from Israel,” Wafa reported.

Citing a press release by Adalah, Wafa added: “By upholding the constitutionality of this new law, enacted in 2012, all Gaza residents are now banned from redress and remedy in Israel, regardless of the circumstances and the severity of the injury or damages claimed.”

READ: Scores injured in Gaza sea protests

Adalah explains that Israel has repeatedly used this law to dismiss hundreds of cases similar to that of Attiya, often setting criteria which are impossible for Palestinians from Gaza to meet. These criteria include declaring Gazans who suffer wounds during Israeli military operations ineligible to seek compensation, requiring thousands of dollars in court guarantees and needing to give power of attorney in person – a feat which is virtually impossible given Israel’s control over Gazan’s freedom of movement and closing of all pedestrian crossings into Israel.

Even though Attiya’s case could not be blocked by the first criteria – since his injuries were not sustained during an Israeli military operation – and the two NGOs assisting his family were able to overcome the other obstacles, the court ruled that his status as a resident of Gaza was sufficient to deny him compensation or damages.

Israel regularly kills and maims Palestinians in Gaza with impunity. This weekend Israel killedseven Palestinians and wounded scores more during a botched operation near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. The operation sparked two nights of intense bombardment, with the level of destruction compared to the 2014 Gaza war.

This year has also seen thousands of Gazans wounded by Israeli live fire for participating in the “Great March of Return” protests. As of 4 October, 205 Palestinians have been killed and 21,288 more have been wounded by Israel, according to statistics from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt). Many of these were subsequently deniedpermission to travel to the occupied West Bank or abroad for medical treatment.

READ: Abbas raises taxes on trucks bringing goods to Gaza

Over 1,400 Palestinian protesters in #Gaza may suffer long-term disability

READ: ttps://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180713-un-over-1400-palestinian-protesters-in-gaza-may-suffer-long-term-disability/

#Infographic #GreatMarchOfReturn

(Source / 15.11.2018)

PA arrests a Palestinian woman for helping Gazans

A poster supporting Suha Jubara, a Palestinian woman who would give financial aid to those in the Gaza Strip

A poster supporting Suha Jubara, a Palestinian woman who would give financial aid to those in the Gaza Strip

A Palestinian woman was arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces earlier this month accusing her of sending funds to help impoverished families living in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Suha Jubara from Turmus Ayya village north of occupied Ramallah was detained on 3 November, her family was given no information about her whereabouts.

The 30-year-old mother of three who holds dual US and Panama citizenship was transferred to Jericho city prison is thought to have been interrogated on the grounds of assisting the transfer of financial aid to the Gaza Strip for families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces after the PA suspended their salaries. Suha’s family reported that she suffers from a critical medical condition and not receiving sufficient medical attention.

HRW: PA, Hamas ‘systematically’ practice torture in ‘parallel police states’

The family’s lawyer was not permitted to visit her in prison, while the family have said Suha has been tortured and there are marks of physical violence on her body.

A court in Jericho ordered that she been held for “interrogation”.

The PA had told her family that she was being held in an effort to stop Israeli occupation forces from arresting her, however they fear that her continued detention will highten the likeliness that she will be held by Israel upon her released from the PA’s prisons.

(Source / 15.11.2018)

PA forces detained 22 children ‘using improper procedures’ in first half of 2018

Israeli forces can be seen arresting a Palestinian child [Taimoor Ul Haq/Facebook]

Israeli forces can be seen arresting a Palestinian child

At least 22 Palestinian children were detained by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces in the first half of the year “using improper procedures”, reported Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), with evidence found of “serious violations of children’s rights”.

Of the 22 cases DCIP documented, “15 were detained by the Criminal Investigation police, two by the National Security forces, two by the Preventative Security forces, two by the Intelligence forces, and one by the Guards’ police.”

As explained by DCIP, “under the 2016 Palestinian juvenile protection law, the juvenile prosecutor is the only party authorised to order a child’s detention, per Article 20. Once an arrest is so ordered, the Palestinian juvenile police force is the singular body legally sanctioned to carry out the arrest.”

DCIP also “found evidence of other serious violations of children’s rights among the 82 cases documented of Palestinian children arrested by Palestinian authorities in the first six months of the year”, including “physical violence against 23 children” – some in the context of interrogation.

Read: ‘No justice for 50 Palestinian children killed in 2018’, says NGO

The PA signed into law the first Palestinian juvenile protection law in February 2016, creating “juvenile courts and specialised units among police, prosecutors and judges”.

Between January and September of this year, DCIP submitted 11 official complaints to the Palestinian General Prosecution Office, Ministry of Social Development, Palestinian Police, Intelligence forces, and the High Justice court.

“One of the complaints addressed overarching ill-treatment against children in conflict with the law, while the rest addressed seven specific juvenile cases,” the statement added.

“In several cases, DCIP complaints resulted in positive outcomes, spurring investigations into children’s cases and supporting the best interests of the child.”

50 years on, tens of thousands of Palestinians detained for political protest | #PalPrisoners

READ: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170827-50-years-on-ten…/

MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 15.11.2018)

Israel military court jails Palestinian activist for bike protest in his village

Palestinian human rights defender Abdullah Abu Rahma in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 23 February 2015 [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images]

Palestinian human rights defender Abdullah Abu Rahma in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 23 February 2015

An Israeli military court sentenced Palestinian human rights defender Abdullah Abu Rahma to four months in prison yesterday “for two charges stemming from a bicycle race to mark Nakba Day in 2016”, reported +972 Magazine.

Abu Rahma, “one of the most well-known leaders of the popular struggle against the separation wall”, was convicted of violating a closed military zone order and obstructing a soldier during a race in May 2016 in his home village Bil’in.

“Hundreds of Palestinian and international cyclists participated in the so-called ‘return ride’, which kicked off in Ramallah and ended in the West Bank village,” the report explained. However, Israeli occupation forces “raided the village before the race even began”, arresting Abu Rahma.

Yesterday, an Israeli military judge “agreed to let Abu Rahma begin serving his sentence in mid-December, so as to give the defence time to appeal both the sentence and conviction.”

The judge also “applied part of a suspended sentence from another, earlier conviction for participating in another protest a year earlier.”

Read: Israel arrests Fatah official in Jerusalem

“The suspended sentence was triggered by the current conviction. Abu Rahma will serve a total of 110 days in an Israeli military prison,” +972 Magazine added.

“Abdullah is a human rights defender,” said Gaby Lasky, his attorney following the sentencing.

He non-violently opposes the occupation — that’s what makes him such an important target. As long as he is in prison, he cannot be out in the field.

“These punishments for ongoing nonviolent resistance indicate that the military court is not a court of justice; its sole purpose is to maintain the occupation and to prevent any resistance to it,” she added.

“I feel angry and sad about the decision,” Abu Rahma said at the end of the hearing. “This is not a real court — it is a political court.”

“I will pay the price, but this punishment will encourage me to continue supporting the people wherever they may be — that is my duty as a Palestinian, until the occupation is gone.”

(Source / 15.11.2018)