WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — Hundreds of Palestinians protested Tuesday in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, denouncing the Emirati and Bahraini normalisation agreements with Israel as rockets were fired into the country.
The deals, brokered by the United States, were signed on Tuesday at the White House, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Bahraini and Emirati officials.
Clutching Palestinian flags and wearing face masks for protection against the coronavirus, demonstrators rallied in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Hebron and in Gaza. Dozens also took part in a demonstration in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Banners were displayed reading “Treason”, “No to normalisation with the occupier”, and “The agreements of shame”.
Palestinian demonstrator Emad Essa from Gaza said if people walk through the coastal enclave “you’ll see hundreds of Gazan youth who have lost their legs and got crippled for life for just for merely protesting against the Israeli blockade”.
“And in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the Israeli bulldozers continue to demolish Palestinian homes and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians out of their villages and cities on a daily basis,” Essa told Al Jazeera.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, and the UAE and Bahrain somehow chose to reward Israel for these crimes by making agreements with it. The deals are stains of shame on the forehead of those leaders who sold the Palestinian cause for a very cheap price.”
Protesters trampled pictures of Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan before they were burned.
The ceremony in Washington, DC marked the first such significant agreement between Arab countries and Israel in a quarter-century.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that only Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories can bring peace to the Middle East.
“Peace, security, and stability will not be achieved in the region until the Israeli occupation ends,” he said in a statement after the signing ceremony, condemned by Palestinians as a “betrayal” of their cause.
AL-QUDS, PALESTINOW.COM — Father Manuel Musallam, a noted Palestinian priest and head of the World Popular Organization for Jerusalem Justice and Peace, has warned the Arab leaders who normalized relations with Israel that a fire will come out of the Aqsa Mosque and devour them if they dare to come near it.
“Do not come near the Aqsa Mosque or a fire will come out of it and destroy you and your treason,” Father Musallam said in a press release on Tuesday.
Alluding to Emirati and Bahraini officials who would sign treaties on Tuesday with the Israeli occupation state, the Palestinian priest urged them not to fly over the airspace of Jerusalem upon their return from Washington to avoid being burned by its sky.
“The Aqsa Mosque’s walls repel the normalizers and they say to them: If you come near us, we will collapse over your heads,” he added.
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Mahmoud al-Zahhar, head of Change and Reform parliamentary bloc in Palestine and a member of Hamas political bureau, has called for the formation of an international bloc against the Israeli-American alliance and its tools in the Middle East region.
Zahhar stressed during a speech at Iran Against Normalization conference, through the Zoom program on Sunday, that the normalization agreement which was signed by the UAE and Bahrain constitutes a treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people, adding that they lined up with the Israeli occupation and shared in an overt conspiracy to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
He added, “The precise timing in which the Emirati-Zionist agreement emerged confirms the nature of the black scheme whose chapters are being woven to reconstruct and reshape the geographical and political landscape in the region which works to dry up the sources of strength and steadfastness in the nation.”
Zahhar called for the need to unite all components of the Arab and Islamic nation and their peoples to confront the agreement and work to establish a strong and solid Arab, Islamic and international front at the official and popular levels so that it would be able to isolate and besiege the rulers of the Emirates and criminalize their shameful deeds.
He explained that one of the most important objectives of the Emirati-Israeli agreement is to strike and target the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic resistance forces. To counter such a scheme, he called for providing all forms of support to the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic resistance forces in this sensitive and dangerous stage.
Zahhar also called for imposing a political and economic boycott, cutting off all forms of communication with the rulers of the Emirates, and imposing penalties on everyone who deals with them.
RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli occupation forces detained 297 Palestinians, including 12 minors and 10 women, during the month of August, according to human rights and prisoners’ advocacy organisations.
According to a report by The Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Palestinians Prisoner Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Israeli soldiers detained 103 from the Jerusalem district, 33 from the Ramallah district, 42 from the Hebron district, 40 from the Jenin district, 23 from the Bethlehem district, 10 from the Nablus district, 20 from the Tulkarm district, 11 from the Qalqilya district, eight from the Jericho district, four from Tubas, two from Salfit, and one from the Gaza Strip.
The organizations noted that the total number of Palestinian prisoners behind Israeli bars is 4500, including 41 women, 140 minors, and 340 held in administrative detention.
The report said that eight prisoners began a hunger strike in August in protest of their administrative detention, noting that two of them are still until today on strike.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center noted that 103 Jerusalemites were detained in August, including 12 minors and nine females.
EAST AL-QUDS, PALESTINOW.COM — A court in Israel has issued a demolition order for a mosque in a town in occupied East Jerusalem for “lack of a construction permit”, Palestinian media reported citing local residents.
In response to the demolition notice, the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Gaza issued a statement, circulated by Palestinian media, to condemn the order and warn Israel against the move.
It also called on the international community, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to protect Muslim holy sites and places of worship in Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities gave residents 21 days to challenge the order in the area where the Qaqaa Bin Amr mosque in Silwan town is otherwise the order would be carried out, according to media reports.
Built in 2012, the two-storey mosque accommodates hundreds of worshippers.
A similar demolition order was issued in 2015 but was never enforced.
In recent years, Israeli settlers have seized control of dozens of Palestinian homes in Silwan, which is close to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israeli authorities have stepped up demolition campaigns in Jerusalem in recent weeks, razing dozens of Palestinian homes, particularly in Silwan.
According to Israeli advocacy group Ir Amim, authorities demolished homes in Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem at a significantly higher rate in 2019 than the previous year.
In a report, the group said 104 housing units were demolished in 2019 compared with 72 units in 2018.
The 44 percent spike ended what had been a decline in demolitions between 2016 and 2018.
Israel said the houses demolished were built illegally and the destruction was court sanctioned. But Palestinians say they face a severe housing crisis fuelled by Israel’s reluctance to issue building permits.
Shortly after capturing East Jerusalem, Israel expanded the municipal boundaries to take in large areas of vacant land on which it later constructed Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
At the same time, it sharply limited the expansion of Palestinian neighbourhoods, forcing many in increasingly crowded areas to build illegally.
RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Mai Al-Kailah, the Minister of Health in Ramallah, announced that 6 deaths and 650 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Palestine after conducting 4,919 examinations during the past 24 hours.
The new cases were distributed as follows 562 infections in the occupied West Bank and 88 infections in the Gaza Strip.
The ministry announced that 191 cases have recovered including 149 in the occupied West Bank and 42 in the Gaza Strip.
The ministry recorded 6 deaths, 4 of them in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip, as the recovery rate in Palestine reached 69.8 percent, while the rate of active infections reached 29.6 percent, and the death rate was 0.6% of all infections.
Minister Al-Kailah added in a press release on Saturday, that the new deaths were recorded for a woman, 88, from Al-Fawwar in al-Kalil, a female citizen,79, from Halhul, a citizen,75 years, from Burqin in Jenin, and a79-year-old citizen from Deir Ghassana in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, in addition to senior citizens in the Gaza Strip.
The new infections were distributed as follows: al-Khalil (85), Nablus (119), Bethlehem (59), Qalqilya (53), Ramallah and Al-Bireh (72), Jenin (21), Jericho and Al-Aghwar (19), Tubas (19), Salfit (13), Tulkarem (54), the Gaza Strip (88), the suburbs of Jerusalem (58), while no new data were received about the coronavirus infections from Jerusalem City.
Kailah indicated that there are 36 critically ill patients who have been admitted to intensive care units, including 11 who have been placed on ventilators.
RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Palestinians have reacted with outrage and deep disappointment to the Arab League’s refusal to condemn the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The refusal of the Arab League foreign ministers to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution against the Israel-UAE agreement will pave the way for other Arab states to establish relations with Israel, Palestinian officials cautioned.
The officials denied a report that suggested the Palestinians were considering withdrawing from the Arab League to protest its attitude toward the Palestinians.
“First we thought that the United Arab Emirates was the only country that had stabbed us in the back,” a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “On Wednesday, we saw how several other Arab countries have betrayed the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue. This is a black day in the history of the Palestinians and Arabs.”
Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati professor of political science, commenting on the failure of the Palestinians to convince the Arab League to condemn the UAE, wrote on Twitter: “The Palestinian delegation found itself rejected at the Arab League meeting, which dropped a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE-Israel peace agreement. This is happening for the first time in the history of the Arab League due to the stupidity of the corrupt Palestinian leadership.”
During a video conference meeting on Wednesday, the Arab foreign ministers “affirmed their adherence to peace as a strategic option and solving the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of international law, the resolutions of international legitimacy and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.”
They also expressed support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for establishing an international multiparty mechanism for overseeing the Middle East peace process.
However, they refused to endorse the Palestinian draft resolution that rejects the Israel-UAE deal after several Arab countries, including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, and Sudan objected to its harsh wording.
“Every sovereign state has the indisputable right to conduct its foreign policy in the way it wants, and this is something that this council [Arab League] respects and endorses,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit said during the meeting.
His remarks were directed toward the Palestinians, whose foreign minister, Riad Malki, called on the Arab countries during the meeting to reject the Israel-UAE accord on the pretext that it violates the Arab Peace Initiative. That initiative says Arabs would normalize their relations with Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
One of the first Palestinian officials to react to the cold shoulder the Arab countries gave the Palestinians was Mohannad Aklouk, the Palestinian envoy to the Arab League.
“With all pride, Palestine wanted a decision from the Arab foreign ministers that rejects and condemns the Emirati normalization [with Israel], prevents the Arab decline and preserves the legacy of the Arab League,” he wrote on Facebook. “But Palestine was unable to impose that, so the draft resolution collapsed. We have dignity, martyrs, prisoners and refugee camps of glory, and this is enough for us.”
The Palestinians’ “failure to obtain the consent of all Arab countries to condemn the UAE’s decision is extremely dangerous,” the PLO Executive Committee said.
“The insistence of the UAE on proceeding with the signing of the peace treaty with the Israeli occupation constitutes a flagrant denial of the Palestinian people and their rights,” it said.
The “Arab brothers have abandoned the Palestinian issue at a time when the entire world is supporting it,” PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said. The Arab League has “proven that it cannot make decisions on its own,” he said. “Rather, it is subject to political money and American pressure.”
By shunning the Palestinians, the Arab League has “given a green light for more free normalization agreements with Israel,” Majdalani said. He accused the Arab League of “siding with the occupation against the Palestinian people.”
Tayseer Khaled, another member of the PLO Executive Committee, accused the Arab League of speaking in a “dual language.”
On the one hand, the Arab League rejected the Palestinian draft resolution that called for condemning normalization with Israel, he said. On the other hand, perhaps to avoid embarrassment, the Arab League confirmed its adherence to the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, he added.
“The Arab League has eulogized its role and charter,” Khaled said. Walid Awad, a member of the Palestinian People’s Party, formerly the Palestinian Communist Party, said the Arab foreign ministers who foiled the Palestinian draft resolution have launched a campaign to justify normalization with Israel.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Fatah official who heads the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs, said: “The Arab League hasn’t produced anything,” He accused the Arab states of “submitting” to Israel and stressed that the Palestinians will “remain the masters of themselves and the protectors of their history. Money has triumphed over dignity.”
Another Fatah official, Fahmi al-Za’areer, accused the Arab foreign ministers of “taking a step backward regarding normalization and open public relations between some Arab countries and Israel.”
The failure of the Arab League to denounce the Israel-UAE deal constitutes a “green, and not orange, light for similar agreements with other Arab countries,” he said.
What happened during the meeting of the Arab League was yet another indication that the Arab countries are no longer “defending and helping the Palestinians in their struggle” against Israel, Za’areer said.
Hamas and several Palestinian factions lashed out at the Arab League and accused its members of “walking away from their role and duties toward the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue.”
A spokesman for the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group said the Arab League has “legalized [Israeli] occupation by becoming the sponsor of normalization with Israel.”
ABU DHABI, PALESTINOW.COMA UAE official admitted on Tuesday that the country will not sever its new diplomatic relations if Israel breaks a promise not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Foreign ministry official Jamal al-Musharakh claimed in a news conference that the UAE had halted the annexation by making promises from Israel and the United States part of their normalisation deal, but said relations will continue regardless of future events.
“We remain with the Arab consensus… What we did was halt the annexation. The ultimate solution and the end solution is a Palestinian sustained solution,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz newspaper quoted him as saying.
However, when asked if annexation would mean the normalisation process would collapse, Musharakh said, “it does not”.
He said the UAE could not predict Israel’s future moves and that relations have developed “in several fields, and one isn’t prioritised over the other”.
The UAE’s steps have been criticised by Palestinians and have been controversial in Arab countries, most of which still have no formal relations with Israel, and it has defended the deal by arguing it prevented annexation of the West Bank.
Israel has however insisted that annexation remains a possibility.
Musharakh also claimed the deal is good for all of the region, including the Palestinians.
In a televised speech on Tuesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused the UAE of betraying the Muslim world by signing the deal with Israel.
“I hope the Emiratis soon wake up and compensate for what they have done,” Khamenei said.
“The UAE rulers opened the door of the region to the Zionists, and they have ignored and normalised the question of Palestine.”
Coveted F-35 jets
Musharakh also commented on reports that part of the normalisation plan is an arms deal in which the US would sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.
“These are longstanding requests we’ve had [to purchase the jets]. We see them as legitimate,” he said.
“This wasn’t the condition or the catalyst for this deal.”
An Israeli and US delegation landed on Monday afternoon in Abu Dhabi to formalise the US-brokered normalisation deal.
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a member of the US-Israeli delegation, visited a UAE air base on Tuesday where the US operates the F-35 fighter jets coveted by Abu Dhabi.
Israel has denied reports that the deal hinges on the sale of the jets to the UAE, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he opposes a move that could reduce its strategic edge in the region.
Kushner said on Monday that the US could maintain that edge “while also advancing our military relationship with the United Arab Emirates” and that the issue would be discussed further in coming weeks.
RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM – Preparations are underway to hold a meeting headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and with the participation of the heads of all the Palestinian political factions at home and abroad, today said Ahmad Majdalani, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front and Minister of Social Affairs in the Palestinian Authority.
He told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the meeting, which will be held between Ramallah, for the home-based leaders, and at the Palestine Embassy in Beirut, for the leaders in exile, seeks to reach a consensus on a national program to confront the US so-called deal of the century, Israel’s annexation plans and the normalization of Arab relations with Israel.
He stressed that this meeting is expected to strengthen the home front and pave the way for ending the inter-Palestinian division.