Kuwait calls for end to Israeli occupation in Palestine

Kuwaiti prime minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled Al-Sabah in Kuwait City on 22 September 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images]
Kuwaiti prime minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled Al-Sabah in Kuwait City on 22 September 2020 

The Kuwaiti Prime Minister reaffirmed his country’s principled and firm position in supporting the choices of the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The Palestinian cause still occupies a central historical and pivotal position in Arab and Islamic worlds,” Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah told the 75th session of the UN General Assembly via video link.

Al-Sabah stressed the importance of continuing efforts to relaunch negotiations to reach a just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative.

He called for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

READ: The UAE’s ‘Hope Probe’ offers no hope to the Palestinians

Al-Sabah also reasserted Kuwait’s position that the political solution is the only solution to the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

He called on all parties to agree to the proposals put forward by Martin Griffiths, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen.

The Kuwaiti prime minister also urged all parties to the Libyan conflict to exercise restraint and allow peaceful solutions based on dialogue.

(Source / 27.09.2020)

Palestine professor narrates his suffering inside US jails

Abdul Halim Al-Ashqar [Twitter]
Palestinian professor Abdul-Halim Al-Ashqar, 7 June 2019 

Palestinian professor Abdul-Halim Al-Ashqar, originally from the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, narrates his suffering inside US jails during his 15-year detention.

Speaking to Anadolu AgencyAl-Ashqar, who ran for Palestinian presidential elections in 2005, disclosed that he spent a total of about 15 years inside US prisons over “baseless” accusations related to supporting Hamas.

Al-Ashqar started his career at the Islamic University of Gaza in 1985 and became the head of the Public Relations Office, noting that Israel exerted much efforts to close it over allegations that it was run by Hamas.

Al-Ashqar obtained a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 to complete a PhD in the US. “In the beginning, Israel prevented me from travelling, claiming I was an activist in Palestine and I would go to America to bring them more troubles,” according to Al-Ashqar.

“In the end, they allowed me to travel, but did not stop making troubles for me,” he said, noting that the Israeli occupation authorities were in contact with his university in the US in order to put pressure on him. Due to Israeli pressure, the supervisor of his thesis and dean of the faculty where he was studying, issued him with several warnings.

READ: Gulf regimes’ normalisation with Israel will not placate the Palestinian struggle

His professor alleged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked him to give information about Palestinians he knew before arriving in the US, promising him a US passport and money.

“I refused because I knew no guilty people,” Al-Ashqar explained, “so they filed a complaint against me in 1998 accusing me of supporting Hamas. I refused to stand before a court and therefore they sent me to prison.”

“I went to hunger strike and after 11 days, I was admitted to hospital and force-fed. They promised to help me should I have changed my mind, but I continued my strike which lasted six months. I think it was the longest in US history. However, Hamas was branded by the US as a terrorist group in 1995, but they detained me over claims before that date. I am not Hamas, but an activist who believes in the Palestinian cause and I said this to Americans from the first day.”

In 2000, the professor had a three-year work contract with Howard University, which refused to renew the contract in 2003 over claims of having no valid visa or residence clearance.

Consequently, Al-Ashqar applied for political asylum because, according to him, Israel wanted to punish him, but he faced imprisonment in the US over the same claims. “I stayed in prison for two months and I spent them on hunger strike,” indicating that the US authorities asked him to withdraw his asylum application and leave the country within two months.

READ: Security coordination with Israel and normalisation are two sides of the same coin

As he had no place to go, he remained and a US court sentenced him to 135 months in prison for claims related to perverting the course of justice. However, such charges usually carry between 24 to 40 months, according to US law. He spent around ten years in prison and was released in 2017. Following this, he began to look for a country that would not hand him over to Israel.

“After a short time on my release, the immigration office summoned me. However, I was sick. I was obliged to go. By my arrival, I was immediately sent to prison and spent 18 months there. That was a stark violation of their laws,” Al-Ashqar recounts.

Al-Ashqar claims that the FBI attempted to deport him directly to Israel after he was released in June 2019. “I applied for political asylum. The FBI did not wait, the court deported me in a plane to Israel, but when the plane was in the sky, a senior judge decided to grant me asylum and ordered my return immediately.”

He was then placed under house arrest and had a tracing tag put on his leg. He was obliged not to leave his town of residence without prior permission.

Concluding his interview with Anadolu Agency, he remarked that Turkey would be the best place for him because: “It is the only state where its people and its president still sympathise with the Palestinian people, and its leader is strong enough to defy Israel.”

(Source / 27.09.2020)

NGOs call on Facebook to stop censoring Palestinian content

“Facebook needs to remove hate speech – not censor Palestinians, and advocates of Palestinian rights, for speaking out about Palestinian experiences under occupation and apartheid”

Ramallah (QNN) – Several Palestinian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have called on Facebook to stop censoring Palestinians and Palestine advocates and to get rid of an Israeli member of Facebook’s Oversight Board who has a history of censoring Palestinian social media content.

“Facebook’s Oversight Board was created to address Facebook’s content moderation issues – it is intended to act as an internal Supreme Court, making ‘final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram’,” said the organizations.

“But we challenge the appointment of Emi Palmor, a former general director of the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Cyber Unit, to the Board. The unlawful work of the Cyber Unit under Palmor resulted in increased takedowns of thousands of pieces of Palestinian content and ‘imposed severe limitations on freedom of expression and opinion, especially about Palestine’,” they said.

“Facebook needs to remove hate speech – not censor Palestinians, and advocates of Palestinian rights, for speaking out about Palestinian experiences under occupation and apartheid. Members of the Oversight Board must be leaders experienced in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights worldwide. Palmor’s resume should immediately disqualify her,” said the organizations.

The organizations, which included the Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 7amleh, the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urged petitioners “to tell Facebook that they MUST focus on removing hate speech, not censoring valid speech by Palestinians and Palestine advocates – and that Emi Palmor has to go.”

(Source / 27.09.2020)

Following Israeli incitement… International campaign in solidarity with Nerdeen Kiswani

New York (QNN)- Several international human rights NGOs declared solidarity with the Palestinian activist Nerdeen Kiswani, who has been threatened by the Zionist lobby to be expelled from CUNY Law School, where she currently studies.

Nerdeen has been targeted by a Zionist smear campaign launched by Michael Rapaport and the Zionist lobby.

Rapaport and the Zionist lobby have circulated a social media protest performance video of Within Our Lifetime’s chairperson Nerdeen Kiswani speaking out against the occupation state and subjected her to a flurry of online attacks, twisting her remarks as antisemitic and threatening to get her expelled from CUNY Law School, where she currently studies.

The protest performance in question features the specific logo of the Israeli military, which is responsible for alleged war crimes against the Palestinian people, according to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to Samidoun, “In response to this racist campaign against their student, rather than protect a law student and community leader, the CUNY Law administration chose to make two public posts on their social media profiles, first declaring that “CUNY Law stands against hate and anti-Semitism,” then replacing that with “CUNY Law stands against hate and harassment,” before deleting both of the posts, although leaving another “CUNY Law stands against hate” image up on Facebook.. In both posts, university administration expressed concern for the “pain caused by a social media video,” yet showed no concern at all for their student targeted in a series of vicious social media attacks and threats to “have her expelled” from her university.”

Samidoun slammed the law school administration’s concern “about the feelings of those who were allegedly “hurt” by a protest performance implying that “Israeli Defense Force” sweatshirts and merchandise could be burned, although it is difficult to understand any form of “hurt” caused by a protest against the symbols of an occupying, invading military force.”

(Source / 26.09.2020)

Qatar refuses to head Arab League instead of Palestine

The State of Qatar refused to assume the presidency of the 154th regular session of the Arab League at the ministerial level instead of Palestine, which has recently resigned from the position.

Qatar announced in a statement on Thursday evening: “We apologise for completing the aforementioned session, which the State of Palestine abandoned, while adhering to the right of the State of Qatar to the next presidency of the 155th session of March 2021.”

Qatar was selected alphabetically and in accordance with Article VI of the rules of procedure of the league council, which states: “If the president of the council at the ministerial level is unable to assume the position, the temporary presidency is assigned to the delegate of the country that will head the next session.”

Read More: BREAKING: Palestine relinquishes its right to preside over the Arab League Council

The State of Palestine decided last Tuesday to abandon its right to chair the Council of the Arab League for the current session, in response to the wave of normalisation with the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki confirmed that this decision came after the league’s general secretariat took a supportive stance of the Emirati and Bahraini normalisation with Israel, in a clear contravention of the Arab Peace Initiative.

Read More: Hamas: Bahrain-Israel deal upshot of the Arab League’s weakness

(Source / 26.09.2020)

Gaza: Three fishermen was missed near sea border with Egypt

Days of Palestine – Gaza – Three Palestinian fishermen and their boat went missing on Thursday night in Gaza waters after they came under gunfire near the sea border with Egypt.

Chief of the fishermen committees Zakariya Bakr said that three brothers from the family of al-Za’zou were aboard their fishing boat when the Egyptian navy opened fire at them in southern Gaza.

Read More: Al-Qassam discovers two British battleships sank on Gaza Sea 100 years ago

Bakr added that the fishermen committees were waiting for information about the fate of the fishermen from the competent authorities in Gaza.

For its part, the Palestinian interior ministry in Gaza said it contacted the Egyptian side to obtain information about the fate of the fishermen and the circumstances of the incident.

Read More: Israeli artillery bombs two locations at Gaza border

(Source / 26.09.2020)

Arab, European ministers call on Palestine, Israel to resume peace talks

A group of protesters gather in front of the Representative Office of Germany to stage a protest demanding release of Palestinian Coordinator of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) Mahmoud Nawajaa, detained in Israel, in Ramallah, West Bank on August 11, 2020

The foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, France and Germany called on Thursday for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and restarting peace negotiations.

This came at a press conference following a meeting held by the foreign ministers and the European Union (EU)’s representative to discuss the Middle East peace process, aired on national television.

The meeting stressed the need to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to resume negotiations between the two sides.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi expressed his country’s concerns over what he called:

“The stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

Tony Blair: Ties between Arab states, Israel will lead to peace for Palestine

In the same context, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasised the importance of reaching a comprehensive peace agreement, considering that the recent normalisation agreements with Israel: “Will contribute to achieving sustainable peace in the region.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Israel to cancel the annexation plan in the West Bank, while highlighting that stability in the region must be achieved by means of the two-state solution.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who participated in the meeting online, conveyed that the recent normalisation agreements with Israel – referring to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – showed that achieving peace in the region is still possible.

On 15 September, the UAE and Bahrain signed two normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House under US auspices, ignoring the wave of popular anger and the Palestinian indignation of this move.

Zoom cancels Palestinian icon Leila Khaled’s webinar at California University

Since April 2014, negotiations between the two sides have stalled due to Tel Aviv’s refusal to stop building settlements and release Palestinian detainees, in addition to disavowing the two-state solution.

The US-sponsored deal of the century, which was issued last January, included a plan to annex around 30 per cent of the land in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley under “full Israeli sovereignty”, instead of its current status as Arab land occupied by Israel since 1967.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was intending to implement the annexation plan in July; however, the plan drew widespread reactions, criticism and warnings about causing instability in the region, forcing him to temporarily postpone it.

(Source / 25.09.2020)

Algeria: Establishing Jerusalem as capital of Palestine is an ‘inalienable’ right

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune Algiers, Algeria on 21 January 2020 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images]
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on 21 January 2020

The right of the Palestinian people to have a state with Jerusalem as its capital cannot be traded away, the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune,announced yesterday.

His remarks came during the United Nations 75th virtual General Assembly, which was held online.

“Once again, we [Algeria] express our firm support for the Palestinian people and their inalienable and non-negotiable right to establish their independent, sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Tebboune said, stressing that the Palestinian cause remained a “sacred cause for Algeria and its people”.

On Sunday, Tebboune told local media that there was a “scramble towards normalisation with Israel”, stressing that Algiers would not take part in it.

On 15 September, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed US-brokered normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House – a move that was rejected by the Palestinian government and people.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made officialvisits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however denied this saying annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

Algeria president: ‘France must hand over our martyrs’ remains and recognise colonial crimes’

(Source / 25.09.2020)

Hamas, Fatah agree to hold elections in Palestine within 6 months

Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (R) [File photo]
Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (R) [File photo]

Hamas and Fatah have agreed to hold the first elections in Palestine in nearly 15 years, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Following a meeting at the Palestinian Embassy in Istanbul, a press release was issued that confirmed the two biggest Palestinian factions had reached “a unified vision”.

“We agree that the vision has matured and we plan to move ahead with a nationwide dialogue with the participation of all factions under the patronage of President Mahmoud Abbas to take place before the first of October,” the statement said.

Parliamentary and presidential polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal agreed by Fatah, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.

The deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Saleh Al-Arouri, said: “This time we reached a real consensus. Divisions have damaged our national cause and we are working to end that.”

OPINION: Will the latest reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas succeed?

Wafa news agency quoted Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub saying that the elections will take place in three stages within six months.

“We will have legislative elections, followed by presidential elections and then elections for the Palestine National Council wherever possible.”

The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held in 2006 when Hamas won by an unexpected landslide, internal divisions began a year later due to the conflict after Abbas refused to step down from office.

(Source / 25.09.2020)

MPs urge UK to recognise Palestine, boycott settlement products

The British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly on 6 November 2019 [ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images]
The British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly on 6 November 2019 

Speaking during a House of Commons debate on settlements and annexation, UK Members of Parliament called on the government to immediately recognise the State of Palestine on the basis of 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly said in parliament yesterday: “We desire a stable, secure and peaceful two-state solution.”

“A thriving Israel next door to a thriving Palestine based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital of both states, with fair, agreed and realistic settlements for refugees and we continue to believe a two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution for the area.”

He added: “There is an opportunity now and we have encouraged the Palestine Authority to engage with Israel and the United States, with its Arab neighbours and friends, with the UK to put an offer, a counteroffer on the table.”

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said the UK Government should boycott items produced by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Tony Blair: Ties between Arab states, Israel will lead to peace for Palestine

He said: “The Government must ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Profiting from these products is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime and it must stop.

When we trade with these settlements we are essentially telling the world that international law does not matter and such trade legitimises and facilitates the existence and expansion of the settlements

Kinnock added.

He also criticised Israel’s “constant flouting of UN resolutions and the fourth Geneva convention that have undermined the rules-based order for decades and the international community can no longer just look the other way.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot told Wafa news agency he considered parliament’s session a clear message that that public opinion in the UK supports the Palestinian question and advocates the Palestinian people’s rights in line with international law.

Tory minister David Jones said the UK should recognise Palestine as a sovereign entity to progress two-state solution talks.

READ: Labour is suppressing Palestinian voices and free speech on Israel, warns open letter

He told MPs: “This House has already voted in 2014 to recognise Palestine’s statehood and I would suggest that now is the time for the British Government to confirm that recognition.”

“With Israel receiving its own recognition across the Arab world, the two-state talks would enjoy a fairer wind if the parties negotiating were sovereign entities, recognised by leading nations such as the UK with global influence.”

“The position of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has consistently been that British recognition of Palestine statehood will come when it best serves the objective of peace. That time is now.”

(Source / 25.09.2020)