Peretz: ‘We will ostracise Hamas and negotiate with PA’

Former Israeli Defence Minister, Amir Peretz [File photo]

Amir Peretz, leader of Israel’s Labor Party

Amir Peretz, head of Israeli Labor-Gesher (now merged with the Meretz party), announced on Sunday that he will ostracise Hamas and only negotiate with the Palestinian Authority (PA), if his party wins the Knesset elections slated for 2 March, Quds Press reported.

During a cultural event held in the settlement of Holon, Peretz declared: “Hamas will never get any money from Israel. We will isolate it and start political dialogue with the PA.”

He added: “We will reform the policy of the coming government and head for peace talks at the same time, we will not ignore the issues of welfare and social justice.”

READ: Israel concerned of Hamas victory if Abbas dies 

Regarding the elections and Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Peretz asserted: We will replace him and his policy. We will represent the social conscience and the political compass.”

He continued: “We will raise the flag of social justice and the flag of peace together.”

On the topic of the Middle East, he noted: “We must be ready to face the Iranian threat and make this our top priority. We have to be ready for facing extremism from Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Peretz revealed that under his rule, Israel would build an axis from the moderate countries, including Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, alongside the PA.

(Source / 20.01.2020) 

PA denies importing gas from Israel

Tamar gas field

Head of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) delegation to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo, Mohammed Mustafa, denied that the PA is to import natural gas from Israel, news agencies reported on Friday.

Mustafa announced, according to news agency Wafa, that the news reports about this were “not precise”.

His remarks came several hours after the announcement by the Israeli energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, that there were discussions with the PA to import gas from Israel.

Mustafa, the director of the Palestinian Investment Fund, called for not missing the development of the Palestinian natural gas field off the Gaza shores, known as Gaza Marine, and the efforts being exerted to solve the electricity crisis in Gaza.

Gaza Marine, is a natural gas field discovered by British Gas in the 1990s. It is located 36 kilometres off the Gaza shores, however, Israel has been preventing its development.

READ: Palestine is under multiple occupations

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

Israel army demolishes school to disrupt education for Palestinians

chool in Gaza shelled by Israeli forces

File photo of a school shelled illegally by Israeli forces

A school that was in the middle of construction in the town of Yatta located in the south Hebron hills of the occupied West Bank has been destroyed by Israeli soldiers, reported the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The foundations of what would have been an elementary school was built between Yatta and Bani Naim, in an area close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beni Hefer.

The demolition came just one week after Defence Minister Naftali Bennett declared that he was embarking on a battle for Area C of the West Bank to ensure that it remains in Israeli hands.

The school was intended to serve children in the remote villages who often have to travel long distances and through rough and hazardous terrain to reach their schools in nearby towns.

Representative of the Anti-Settlement Committee in the West Bank Rateb Jabour told Wafa that no prior notice of demolition was given to the school administration in a bid to impede Palestinian children’s education.

READ: Canada citizens fighting for Israel given warm reception by embassy

This is not the first school to be demolished by occupation forces in Hebron. A similar school near Al-Dahriya town south of occupied Hebron was demolished last year.

Naomi Linder Kahn, the representative of the right-wing settler group Regavim which campaigns for the demolition of Palestinian villages, said: “What is new – and is very welcome and long overdue – is the fact that the Civil Administration has begun to take the strategic threat posed by these illegal PA outposts [Birin] seriously.”

“The Civil Administration exercised its authority to demolish new structures – and stood up, at last, to the EU’s brazen meddling and unabashed support for illegal construction. We hope this new resolve will gain momentum, and turn the tide back on the PA’s hostile takeover of Area C.”

The town of Yatta, which exists in complete and utter isolation from the rest of the occupied West Bank, is located in Area C, which constitutes the larger territorial chunk, about 60 per cent, of the West Bank.

Over the years, villagers have also lost access to large parts of their agricultural land as a nearby Israeli settlement expanded.

(Source / 17.01.2020) 

Hamas: PA committed 424 violations against university students in 2019

Image of the Palestinian Authority police forces violently intervening a protest against the trial of Basel al-Araj, who was killed during a raid by Israeli soldiers at his home, and his five friends in front of the Ramallah Minor Court in Ramallah, West Bank, March 12, 2017 ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )

Palestinian Authority police force can be seen violently arresting a Palestinian man

Hamas has said that the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus has committed 424 violations against university students in 2019.

Hamas’ media office said in its annual report that in 2019, female university students were attacked and their families were threatened in order to prevent them from participating in activities run by Hamas’ student arm.

According to the report, Palestinian security services and the Israeli army have launched a fierce campaign of arrests against the movement’s student members during the months of March and April ahead of the student council elections, aimed at influencing the election’s results.

The campaign included the arrest of the president of the Birzeit student council, Osama Al-Fakhouri, and the student Ibrahim Shalhoub, who was arrested after submitting a request on behalf of the Islamic bloc to participate in the students’ council elections.

READ: Knesset speaker advances process to remove Netanyahu’s immunity 

The report said the students had been subjected to torture and extensive violations while a number of them were transferred to Jericho Prison.

The mother of one student named Abdul Rahman Hamdan launched a campaign of solidarity on social media after her son was subjected to brutal torture.

According to the report, the highest number of violations were committed against students in Hebron University with 108 violations, followed by Birzeit University with 93 violations, An-Najah University with 89 violations, and the polytechnic universities, Khadouri and Al-Quds with 41, 32 and 15 violations respectively.

(Source / 17.01.2020) 

Dutch government criticises pro-Israel lobby group NGO Monitor’s ‘half-facts and insinuations’

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok attends a press conference following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on 3 October 2018. [ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images]

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok attends a press conference following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on 3 October 2018

The Dutch government has criticised the conduct of pro-Israel advocacy group NGO Monitor, singling out the unreliability of their accusations against human rights defenders.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok stated that the Netherlands is “concerned about the shrinking civil space in Israel”, and “therefore consistently brings this matter up in conversations with Israeli authorities”.

In recent years, Israeli politicians have pursued legislation that targets, as well as publicly incited against, organisations focusing on Israel’s military occupation and the violation of Palestinian rights.

The Israeli government’s attacks on human rights defenders are aided by organisations such as NGO Monitor, which in particular lobby European authorities to cease funding such human rights groups.

NGO: Israel forces killed 133 Palestinians in 2019, including 28 children 

The Dutch minister added that “the government is familiar with the accusations by NGO Monitor against a broad group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations, as well as with criticism of the conduct of NGO Monitor itself”, citing a September 2018 report by the Policy Working Group.

“This research shows that many of NGO Monitor’s accusations are based on selective citations, half-facts and insinuations, but not necessarily on hard evidence”, Minister Blok added.

“These accusations have contributed to a climate in which human rights organisations have come under increasing pressure”.

In response to a separate question, the Dutch foreign minister noted that, “to the best of the government’s knowledge, NGO Monitor…focuses exclusively on organisations and donors who are critical of Israeli policy in the territories occupied by Israel”.

(Source / 17.01.2020) 

Israel announces 7 nature reserves in West Bank and expansion of 12 others

The Israeli defence minister, Naftali Bennett approved the creation of 7 nature reserves and the expansion of 12 others in Area C of the occupied West Bank

The Israeli defence minister, Naftali Bennett, on Wednesday approved the creation of seven nature reserves and the expansion of 12 others in Area C of the occupied West Bank, a statement confirmed.

In his statement, Bennett ordered the Israeli Civil Administration – the Israeli governing body that operates in the West Bank – to start preparing for the opening of the reserves.

The Times of Israel disclosed that this is the first time that such a step has been taken by the Israeli government, since the Oslo Peace Accords were reached in the 1990s.

“Today, we provide a big boost for the land of Israel and continue to develop the Jewish communities in Area C, with actions, not with words,” Bennett announced in his statement.

READ: The race to annexation

“The Judea and Samaria [West Bank] area has nature sites with amazing views. We will expand the existing ones and also open new ones,” he added.

“I invite all the citizens of Israel to tour and walk the land, to come to Judea and Samaria, sight-see, discover and continue the Zionist enterprise,” Bennett continued.

Bennett identified the seven new locations in his statement as: Soreq Cave, Al-Shomoo’a Cave, Wadi Al-Muqallek, Wadi Malha, Bitronot, Wadi Al-Far’a and the north of Jordan Valley.

(Source / 16.01.2020) 

Israel arrests Palestine citizen from Erez Crossing

The Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel, closed on the Gaza-side by Hamas officials in response to the assasination of one of it's leaders, Mazen Fuqaha, in the Gaza Strip on March 24, 2016 [Mohammed Asad / Middle East Monitor]

The Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel in the Gaza Strip on 24 March,2016

The Israeli occupation arrested on Wednesday Palestinian citizen, Waleed Mustafa Salim Deeb, at the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel, as he was making his way to Jordan, Quds Press reported.

Reporting Abdel-Naser Farwanah, an official at the PLO’s Prisoners and Freed Prisoners CommitteeQuds Press revealed that Deeb was investigated for several hours at the Erez Crossing, before he was moved to an unknown location.

Farwanah disclosed that the Israeli occupation informed the Palestinian Authority about the detention of the Palestinian citizen.

READ: Israeli authorities detain Palestinian man escorting ill wife at Erez

Commenting on the incident, Farwanah added: “Israel insists on making the Erez Crossing a trap for Palestinian citizens and a place to put pressure on them and blackmail them.”

He also noted that the Israeli occupation sometimes uses the Erez Crossing as a means for collective punishment.

Quds Press announced that Deeb was the first one to be arrested at the Erez Crossing this year, and that 13 Palestinians were arrested at the same crossing last year.

(Source / 16.01.2020) 

Israel seizes Palestinian lands in Bethlehem

A Jewish settler is seen at an agricultural field of Palestinians' after seizing it to start an illegal construction at Beit Jala neighborhood in Bethlehem, West Bank on 3 September 2019. [ Wisam Hashlamoun - Anadolu Agency]

A Jewish settler is seen at an agricultural field of Palestinians’ after seizing it to start an illegal construction at Beit Jala neighborhood in Bethlehem, West Bank on 3 September 2019

Israeli forces yesterday issued orders to seize hundreds of dunums of agricultural land in Bethlahm’s southern occupied towns of Al-Khader and Irtas.

The head of the Commission for the Resistance of the Wall and Settlements, Hasan Breijieh, told local media that the orders were issued to seize 350 dunums of agricultural land, with the aim “to expand Israel illegal settlements and bypass the roads of the Palestinian towns and villages in Bethlehem.”

Breijieh added that the move would “devour more Palestinian agricultural land and prevent Palestinian landowners from accessing their lands as the seizure will also take over 150 meters of land on both sides.”

Bethlehem cities, villages and neighbourhoods have been subject to increasing Israeli theft of land in favour of expanding illegal Israeli settlement projects.

Read: Israel moves detained Palestinian minors in violation of law

(Source / 16.01.2020) 

Israel rearrests Palestinian prisoner as he was being released

Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Al Naqab Prison

Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Al Naqab Prison, 15 January 2020

Israeli occupation authorities rearrested Palestinian Ismail Afanan as he was being released, Al-Quds newspaper reported yesterday.

The prisoner was taken out of Al Naqab Prison after completing an 18-year term but was rearrested and sent to Al Maskopia Detention Centre in Jerusalem.

Occupation authorities also issued summons to his brothers who were waiting for him at the prison gates.

Afanan, 39, from Sur Baher neighbourhood in Jerusalem, was arrested on 15 January 2002 and spent 18 years in prison over claims of membership in an armed Palestinian faction.

READ: Israel detained 5,500 Palestinians in 2019

What are #Israel‘s preferred methods of torture?

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MEMO #Infographic The White Canvas

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(Source / 15.01.2020) 

Israel soldiers beat Palestinian man for not carrying his ID card

Video footage shows Israeli forces brutally assaulting a Palestinian security guard after he failed to show them identification documents

A Palestinian security guard was brutally assaulted by Israeli occupation forces after he failed to show them identification documents, video footage has shown.

Omar Hendi, who lives in the Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem and works as an Israeli-licensed security guard on the Jerusalem light rail, was stopped by the Israeli occupation forces while on his way to buy food at a restaurant close by his home.

The footage shows a large group of soldiers interrogating Omar regarding his proof of ID, they are then seen pinning him against a wall where they proceed to violently kick and punch him.

In the film, four soldiers can be seen just standing and watching.

Speaking to Israel’s Channel 13, Omar described his ordeal: “I told them that I don’t have my ID on me, I left it at home. The soldier said he did not believe me and grabbed me by the shirt, then everyone started hitting me.”

READ: Israel uses intelligence to support its propaganda war

Omar called the soldiers “racist” while displaying the bruises and scars on his face and body.

An eyewitness to the attack, Omar’s mother was also reported to have been forced to the ground by the Israeli forces after she was alerted of the commotion from the shouts of her son, and ran out of the house to help him.

Omar’s lawyer, Abed Dawarsha, noted that his client was lucky because the physical abuse was caught on camera. “There are many, many incidents like this that we do not see,” he said.

According to Channel 13, the soldiers claim that they had attempted to handle him after he resisted arrested and cursed them, “threatening to slaughter them”.

(Source / 15.01.2020)