‘Palestine Ambassador Initiative’ launched in Nablus

Rawan Damen, Director of Stream Media Consultancy

Rawan Damen, Director of Stream Media Consultancy 

A scheme intended to enhance the voice of Palestine globally and professionally has been launched in Nablus at the Second Conference for Palestinian Expatriates. The “Palestine Ambassador Initiative” will equip anyone wanting to present the Palestinian cause in the public domain with access to concrete facts and the skills necessary to do so. The initiative was mooted at last month’s Palestine Expo event held at London’s Olympia.

According to the director of Stream Media Consultancy, Rawan Damen, the aim is to set common grounds and develop a common language. “The Palestine Ambassador Initiative hopes to open the door to specialising in the issue while raising skill levels, as well as enhancing the voice of Palestine both locally and globally,” she explained.

The initiative consists of a teaching platform available in three languages: Arabic, English and Spanish. The platform is based on remote learning at a time and pace that are convenient for the learner, from anywhere in the world through various audio-visual and print materials. It will take nine months to complete a diploma in this subject and anyone can register via the website, regardless of their age, original nationality or place of residence.

READ: Palestinian newlyweds separated due to travel ban

“The idea was born due to the continued demonisation of Palestinians in a number of Arab countries and under a lot of pressure to normalise relations with the Zionist project,” said Damen, the founder of the initiative. “The digital world opens up very wide horizons for communication between individuals. As such, there has to be a platform that equips participants with accurate information and sound presentation.”

She added that there needs to be such ambassadors for Jerusalem, for Safed, for the environment and water in Palestine, as well as an ambassador for the Palestinians of Lebanon and even the Palestinians of Chile. The cause of all Palestinians everywhere needs to be highlighted and promoted.

The initiative has partnered with a number of organisations, including the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad, the Moroccan Observatory Against Normalisation, the Palestinian Centre for Policy Research and Strategic Studies (Masarat), the Academy of Refugee Studies, the International Campaign for Preserving Palestinian Identity (Intimaa), Dar Al-Awda for Research and Publications, the Jordanian Engineers’ Association, Engineers for Palestine and Jerusalem, Association 302 for Defending the Rights of Refugees and Thabit Organisation for the Right of Return.

The platform is expected to be operational next month. Online teaching and discussions will be supplemented by a competition next year.

(Source / 20.08.2019) 

Abbas sacks advisers, orders ex-PM to repay salary

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference at the Presidency Building in Ramallah, West Bank on 3 July 2019. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference at the Presidency Building in Ramallah, West Bank on 3 July 2019

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas sacked all of his advisers, Wafa news agency reported yesterday.

The Fatah head also ordered former Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his ministers repay money they received “illegally”. The ministers, Abbas ruled, must repay the funds in a single payment and not in instalments.

The Palestinian Authority has been reeling as a result of a reduction of funding after the US cut aid to a number of Palestinian and international organisations with support Palestine refugees including UNRWA, and also as a result of Israel’s decision to withhold millions in taxes it collects on behalf of he PA which it says are used to pay salaries to the families of Palestinian prisoners.

In spite of this, in 2017 Abbas approved a 67 per cent pay rise for Palestinian Authority (PA) officials – as well as other financial benefits amounting to tens of thousands of dollars – while the West Bank’s economy struggled and swathes of public sector employees spent months with reduced pay.

At the time, Abbas approved pay rises for PA officials, increasing their monthly salaries from $3,000 to $5,000. The prime minister’s monthly salary was raised to $6,000.

PA report: Another intifada is coming in West Bank

(Source / 20.08.2019) 

Hamas: Those who believe Palestinian refugees are a burden should help them return to Palestine

'Despite my age, I still receive food aid from the UN. Our refugees' lives need to be changed for the better, but not change in the American way,' Mohammed Rawwad, 70, originally from Jaffa

‘Despite my age, I still receive food aid from the UN. Our refugees’ lives need to be changed for the better, but not change in the American way,’ Mohammed Rawwad, 70, originally from Jaffa

Countries that believe Palestinian refugees are a burden on their economies or on others should help Palestinians gain their right of return, Hamas chief abroad said in a statement.

Released on the movement’s site the statement said measures such as those taken by Lebanon which quash Palestinian worker rights are in line with international efforts to displace Palestinian refugees. Maher Salah said as refugees displaced from their homes and country over 70 years ago, Palestinians should not be treated as foreigners by the countries that host them.

The occupation, he continued, is the “root of all evil” in the region and the US is helping Israel restructure the Middle East according to its vision. Washington is doing this by targeting the Palestinian right of return, cutting off funding to UNRWA and unilaterally recognising the occupation’s rights over land it forcibly controlled in wars with its neighbours.

In early July, Lebanon’s Minister of Labour Kamil Abu Sleiman tightened restrictions imposed on foreign workers, including Palestine refugees, to force them to obtain working permits. The move saw shops which employ foreign workers illegally closed.

READ: Encouraging Hamas to stop its secret operations

Palestinians held mass protests against the move, saying the new measures were discriminatory and supported US efforts to force Palestinians to accept the “deal of the century” by reducing their economic independence.

Though Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called on Abu Sleiman to remove the restrictions on Palestinians, no such decision came.

This comes a time when other Middle Eastern countries are increasing their dealings with Israel and targeting Palestinians. A Saudi columnist last week described Palestinians as a “scourge on the countries that host them”.

In a tweet Mohammed Al Shaikh said: “Palestinians are a scourge on the countries that host them. Jordan hosted them and it was a black September, Lebanon suffered a civil war. Kuwait hosted them and they became soldiers for [former Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein].”

(Source / 20.08.2019) 

Haneyya: Hamas Ready For Prisoner Swap Negotiations

Head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Ismail Haneyya on Sunday said that the movement is ready to engage in indirect negotiations with Israel to reach a prisoner exchange deal.

This was voiced during a meeting with a number of dignitaries in Deir al-Balah City in the central Gaza Strip.

“The day will come when we will liberate you,” Haneyya said in a message to the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

On the regional situation, Haneyya confirmed Hamas’s keenness to build balanced relations with all Arab and Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

He also stressed the need to confront Israel’s penetration attempts in the region through normalization.

As for the Palestinian political split, the Hamas leader said that the internal front must be strengthened to face the Deal of the Century.

He reiterated that Hamas welcomes a new reconciliation agreement based on an agreed national plan, inclusive leadership represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and new legislative and presidential elections.

(Source / 20.08.2019) 

PA report: Another intifada is coming in West Bank

A Palestinian demonstrator throws a stone behind burning tires in response to Israeli forces' intervention in a protest against the construction of Jewish settlements and the separation wall in Qafr Qaddum village in Nablus, West Bank on 2 August 2019. [Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian demonstrator throws a stone behind burning tires in response to Israeli forces’ intervention in a protest against the construction of Jewish settlements and the separation wall in Qafr Qaddum village in Nablus, West Bank on 2 August 2019

A new intifada could erupt in the occupied West Bank as a result of the political and economic crisis in the area, a secret Palestinian Authority intelligence report has warned.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth revealed details of the document which it says was written for the heads of the Palestinian security forces and which warned of an escalation in the situation in the West Bank.

According to the site, 16-25-year-old Palestinians fear for their future and as a result are under a lot of pressure and harbour anger which is dangerous and likely to cause matters in the West Bank to escalate.

“Shootings and sabotage” are expected to increase, the report warned, with the number of so-called “lone wolf” attacks against illegal settlers also due to rise.

Israel’s war on innocence: Palestinian children in Israeli military courts 

(Source / 19.08.2019) 

BREAKING: Abbas Fires Advisors

19 AUG6:45 PM

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, today,  issued an order terminating the services of all his advisors, in their capacity as advisors, regardless of their title or ranking.

He also decided to abolish all decisions and contracts related to them, and to suspend the rights and privileges they received in their capacity as advisors, WAFA reports.

This story is breaking news. More info as it surfaces.

(Source / 19.08.2019) 

BOY SHOT ON THURSDAY IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM IS ALIVE IN A CRITICAL CONDITION

One of the two 14-year-old boys shot by Israeli occupation police officers in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday August 15th is alive. Both boys were widely reported dead in the immediate aftermath and we followed this in our own post. Naseem Mokabeh Abu Roumi died on the scene of the incident but Hamouda Khader al-Sheikh is in a coma in a critical condition at an Israeli hospital. His family has not been allowed to visit Hamouda, who is claimed to have suffered injuries to his heart and arteries, but a lawyer was able to see him. The boys were shot as they tried to stab Israeli occupation police officers, injuring one lightly, and were repeatedly shot again after they had fallen to the ground.
(Source / 19.08.2019) 

‘May God ruin Trump’, Tlaib’s grandmother says

Ninety-year-old Muftia Tlaib and US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib 

Sitting under an olive tree in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Muftia Tlaib scoffs at the attention she has recently received from the president of the United States, reports Reuters.

“May God ruin him,” she says.

Tlaib is the grandmother of US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, at the centre of an affair that has drawn Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together against US Democrats.

On Thursday, bowing to pressure from Trump, Israel barred a visit by Rashida Tlaib and fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar that it had initially said it would allow.

READ: Israel allows US’ Tlaib to visit family in West Bank after banning her, Omar

The next day, Israel said it would let Tlaib visit her family in the West Bank on humanitarian grounds – but Tlaib rejected the offer, saying that Israel had imposed restrictions meant to humiliate her.

On Friday night, Trump tweeted:

Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!

Ninety-year-old Muftia Tlaib, sitting in her garden in the village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa, was not impressed. “Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming,” she said. “May God ruin him.”

Her son, Rashida’s uncle Bassam Tlaib, said the women had not seen each other since 2006:

“She was going to slaughter a sheep when Rashida arrived and prepare her favourite food, stuffed vine leave.

“Rashida sees her granny as a second mother, she has always supported her. Rashida says she owes her success to her grandmother.”

OPINION: Israel won’t silence Tlaib, Omar by banning them from entry

Tlaib did not outline what the conditions imposed on her visit were. Israeli media reported that she had agreed not to promote boycotts against Israel as part of her request to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Tlaib, like Omar, has voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes the occupation and Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. BDS backers can be denied entry to Israel by law.

The pair are the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress, and Detroit-born Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American congresswoman. Both are members of the Democratic party’s progressive wing and sharp critics of Trump and Israel.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally; maintains a blockade of Gaza, run by the Islamist Hamas movement; and controls most of the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule.

The prospects of resolving the conflict under the “two-state solution” that had guided peacemaking efforts for years have dimmed significantly since Trump took office, while Israeli settlements on land Palestinians seek for a state have expanded.

READ: Israel group works to block Ilhan Omar visit

The Trump administration, which is particularly close to the Netanyahu government, has touted its own peace plan but details remain vague. It fuelled Palestinian anger by recognising disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Trump has for weeks been attacking Tlaib and Omar, along with lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – all women of colour known as the “Squad” – accusing them of hostility to Israel in a barrage condemned by critics as racist.

“Trump has told Rashida and Ilhan to go back to their home countries. What a contradiction, yesterday he asked them to leave and today he asks that they aren’t let in,” said Bassam Tlaib.

Still, the grandmother is hopeful: “My heart tells me that she will come.”

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian US congresswoman - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

(Source / 18.08.2019) 

Jordan reprimands Israeli envoy over Al-Aqsa ‘Violations’

Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshipers, who wanted to stop fanatic Jews' raids, in Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex, injuring at least 37, in Jerusalem on 11 August 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshipers, who wanted to stop fanatic Jews’ raids, in Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex, injuring at least 37, in Jerusalem on 11 August 2019

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry summoned on Sunday Israel’s ambassador to the country for a reprimand over last week’s clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound when Jewish worshipers were allowed on the site to mark Tisha B’Av, which coincided with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, reports Haaretz.

According to spokesman Sufian Qudah, the ministry’s Secretary-General Zaid Lozi asked Israeli envoy Amir Weissbrod to relay a letter to the Israeli government, in which Amman demands an immediate cessation of “Israeli violations” and any attempts to change the status quo on the holy site.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Ambassador Weissbrod had been summoned for a reprimand.

WATCH: Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshippers in Al-Aqsa

Qudah also said that during the meeting, Jordan harshly criticized calls by Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to change the status quo and allow Jews to pray at the compound, too.

Erdan told Israeli 90FM radio on Tuesday that “there is injustice in the status quo there that has been in place since 1967, and we need to act to change it so that Jews in the future can pray on the Temple Mount… We should operate to get to a point when Jews can also pray there. But we need to achieve it through political agreements, and not by force.”

Violent clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshipers last Sunday. The altercations began when forces confronted Muslim worshipers commemorating Eid al-Adha, and escalated after the Israel Police had decided in a rare move to allow Jews to enter the Al-Aqsa to mark Tisha B’Av.

The site has long been a flashpoint between Jews, who marked the destruction of the First and Second Temple and consider Al-Aqsa the holiest site in Judaism, and Muslims who consider the site the third holiest after Mecca and Medina.

READ: Hundreds of settlers storm Jerusalem’s Aqsa complex

The Al-Aqsa status quo sometimes shifts, but in practice, the complex has been closed over the past few years during Eid al-Adha and all other Muslim holidays.

Jordan, whose Waqf body is the custodian of the holy site, was quick to denounce Erdan’s Tuesday comments. A statement released by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry read: “The Kingdom of Jordan rejects declarations of this kind and warns against any move that could change the situation and the historic, legal status quo.”

The ministry also warned against “the dangerous repercussions of such a change,” noting that Israel ought to uphold its commitment to respect the current situation on the Al-Aqsa.

This Sunday’s letter adds on to another one sent to Israel last week, saying “Jordan harshly rejects Israel’s conduct” on the Al-Aqsa, “which only inflames rage and frustration and its provocations of [Muslim] worshipers on the first day of the Feast of the Sacrifice,” referring to Eid al-Adha in its English name.

Clashes erupted last Sunday around 9:30 am after worshipers finished their prayers. Police forces reportedly fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters after they claimed the worshipers began hurling objects at officers and yelling “nationalistic remarks.”

READ: Over 300 settlers storm Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 61 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, with 15 evacuated to nearby hospitals. Police reported that four officers lightly wounded in the clashes. Seven people were arrested, the Israeli police said.

According to Erdan, 1,700 Jews were allowed to enter the compound.

How many Jewish settlers raided Al-Aqsa Mosque and its compound during the last Jewish year?

#HandsOffAlAqsa

READ: ow.ly/crR330lYZAb

See more

(Source / 18.08.2019) 

Dozens of Palestinian Workers Detained by Israeli Forces

18 AUG5:30 PM

Israeli occupation forces, on Sunday at dawn, detained dozens of Palestinian workers from the West Bank, in raids on occupied Palestinian, pre-1948.

The official in General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions, Riad Kamil, said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli occupation police erected many checkpoints at most of streets and searched all cars and buses that Palestinian workers had boarded.

He said that more than 30 Palestinian workers were detained after forces searched the buses near the illegal Keryat Jad settlement, under the pretext that they didn’t have work permits.

(Source / 18.08.2019)