US Congress advances resolution endorsing two-states for Israelis and Palestinians

US Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington DC Date, on 4 December 2008 [Wikipedia]

US Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, on 4 December 2008

The United States Congress advanced a new resolution supporting a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, which can be brought to the floor for a vote.

According to a report in the Hill, lawmakers “adopted two amendments meant to satisfy Republican and Democratic demands to achieve bipartisan consensus”.

Ultimately, however, the report continued, “only about a dozen Republicans are likely to cross the aisle in a final vote”, amidst claims that the resolution is “redundant and partisan”.

House Resolution 326 – which would put Congress on record as backing a two-state solution – is seen as a counterweight to the Trump administration’s efforts – both practical and rhetorical – to move away from support for a Palestinian state.

The two amendments added yesterday, which set up a vote on the full text today, reaffirm US military support for Israel, and call for a resumption of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

According to the Hill, the former amendment was added at the request of Republicans, to “counter efforts by progressive Democrats calling for conditioning military aid to Israel to push them into negotiations with the Palestinians”.

READ: The implementation of the deal of the century continues but must be rejected

In response, “to satisfy Democrats upset over the inclusion of military aid”, the latter amendment was added, stressing the importance of US aid to the Palestinians, cut by the Trump administration.

The final resolution has created displeasure amongst proponents of Palestinian rights, including Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who told the Hill that she plans to speak out before it goes for a full vote.

“I think with my direct ties of actually having not only a grandmother there, but a number of relatives, for us to truly get a peaceful resolution, I think we need to be honest brokers and tell the truth and the fact that the word occupation was taken out [of the resolution], it tells you that we’re not being honest,” Tlaib said.

Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, told the Hill that while she is “not happy” with the inclusion of an amendment on military aid, “it was the best we could negotiate and I think that it’s so important to restate our commitment to two-states”.

Jayapal added that the resolution will not stop calls to condition aid over policies such as settlement expansion or potential future annexation moves.

“I’m still going to look at any aid package from the perspective of, is this aid being used for human rights violations that the United States would not come to standby,” Jayapal said.

Long-time Israel advocates, meanwhile, criticised the resolution, with Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY) slamming what he predicted would be “one of the most partisan votes to ever take place regarding Israel ever in the history of the House of Representatives”.

(Source / 06.12.2019)

Report: Israel group spreading fake news about US Congresswomen Tlaib, Omar

Rashida Tlaib, Palestinian-American Congresswoman

US Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have been subjected to far-right, Islamophobic fake news that is being composed and spread on Facebook by an Israeli group, reported the Guardian. 

The investigation revealed how 21 far-right Facebook pages were used to disseminate the hate-fuelled disinformation to more than one million followers across the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Austria, Israel and Nigeria.

The Israel-based scheme was organised by Israelis for the purpose of gaining a profit from digital advertising

Left-wing politicians were also targeted during critical points in national election campaigns, after false stories about the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, were posted on the Facebook pages.

READ: New app allows Congresswomen Tlaib, Omar to tour the West Bank

The paper said that the social media posts “inflame Islamophobia for profit” and have directly mentioned Omar more than 1,400 times, and Tlaib nearly 1,200 times as attempts to smear the US politicians, since the campaign began two years ago.

In a statement, Omar said foreign interference is a grave threat to democracy and that “these are malicious actors operating in a foreign country, Israel, spreading misinformation and hate speech to influence elections in the United States.”

She told The Guardian: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Facebook’s complacency is a threat to our democracy.”

“It has become clear that they do not take seriously the degree to which they provide a platform for white nationalist hate and dangerous misinformation in this country and around the world.”

“And there is a clear reason for this,” Omar added, “they profit off it.”

Tech giant Facebook told the Guardian that it has taken down many of the identified posts and accounts for using misinformation to generate advertising revenue – but failed to address the hateful nature of the posts.

Both congresswomen Omar and Tlaib have been the target of bigoted rhetoric by US President Donald Trump and have received death threats from far-right white supremacists.

Earlier this year, they became the first members of the US Congress to be banned from entering Israel with US President Donald Trump said that the state would show “great weakness” if it let them in.

US’ Tlaib: As Americans we should all be disturbed that Israel banned our visit 

(Source / 06.12.2019)

Lawyers for Mavi Marmara Raid Victims to Appeal Recent ICC Decision

Families of those killed by Israeli forces, aboard an aid flotilla heading for the besieged Gaza Strip, in 2010, will appeal the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s recent decision not to press charges against Tel Aviv.

Their lawyers announced the news on Thursday, three days after the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said there was “no reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”

In a statement, lawyers said that the decision showed that the “intent is to safeguard Israel — so blatantly and flagrantly right under the international community’s nose — against any indictments of war crimes.”

Bensouda’s decision was made three months after the tribunal’s judges in The Hague ordered her, for a second time, to reconsider her earlier refusals and to launch an investigation into the case.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli naval commandos, from speedboats and helicopters, attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla comprising six civilian ships in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens, including a teenager with dual Turkish-US citizenship, on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara.

A 10th Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries in a hospital, in 2014. The Israeli attack also wounded some 50 other people on board the ship.

The flotilla was trying to reach the Gaza Strip and deliver desperately-needed humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of the blockaded sliver.

Israel’s military raid against the civilian flotilla was met with global condemnation. The United Nations Security Council at the time called for a prompt investigation into the incident and the UN Human Rights Council described the attack as “outrageous.”

A large number of human rights groups also slammed the raid, while dozens of protests were held in support of the victims’ cause, in several countries, including Turkey, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Sweden.

“We expect the High Court to accept our appeal and initiate the investigation by overturning the prosecutor’s decision,” the lawyers further said in their joint statement, on Thursday.

In 2014, Bensouda said that she would not prosecute Israel over the incident, claiming that the case was “not of sufficient gravity” to come before the ICC.

Lawyers of the families also said in the statement that the tragic incident was not an isolated problem and that the Bensouda “willfully refuses” to open investigations involving Palestinian causes.

Some four months after the incident, Ankara suspended its military ties with Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli envoy from Turkey over Israel’s refusal to apologize for the killing.

Furthermore, a criminal court in Turkey, in 2014, issued arrest warrants for four Israeli military officers, deemed by the Turkish government as the main culprits in the case, and turned over the warrants to Interpol to arrest the suspects, but to no avail.

Turkey and Israel, however, normalized relations in June 2016 after a series of not very public negotiations. An agreement to normalize the ties entailed the payment of $20 million in compensation for the families of the victims

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June of 2007, which has caused a severe decline in living standards, PNN further reports.

The occupying regime has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans, each time, and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

(Source / 06.12.2019)

Report: 92,710 person with disabilities in Palestine

PALESTINOW.COM — The International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life. The theme of this year highlighted the importance of the participation and leadership of persons with disabilities and taking procedures for the 2030 Development Agenda.

92,710 Person with disabilities in Palestine
Persons with disabilities in Palestine constitute 2.1% of the total population; 48% in the West Bank and 52% in Gaza Strip according to the data of the Population, Housing and Establishments Census, 2017. The mobility disability accounted for the highest proportion of disabilities; 47,109 persons with mobility disabilities constituted 51% of the total persons with disabilities.

About one fifth of persons with disabilities are children under the age of 18
20% of persons with disabilities in Palestine are children under 18 years old. The percentage of male children was higher than that of females in the same age group, reaching 21% and 18% respectively. The percentage was more prevalent in Gaza Strip (22%) than in the West Bank (17%), according to the Population, Housing and Establishments Census, 2017.

Percentage Distribution of Persons with Disabilities (less than 18 years) by Region and Sex, 2017

About 75% of persons with disabilities live in urban areas of Palestine

According to the Population, Housing and Establishments Census, 2017, the number of persons with disabilities in Palestine in urban areas reached 69,242, which represented 75% of the total number of persons with disabilities, of whom 28,563 in the West Bank which constituted 64% of the total number of persons with disabilities in the West Bank. 40,679 persons in Gaza Strip which constituted 85% of the total number of persons with disabilities in Gaza Strip. Data indicates that 13% of persons with disabilities live in the rural areas compared to 12% live in the camps of Palestine.

More than one third of persons (10 years and over) with disabilities are illiterate
Data indicated that illiteracy rates among persons aged 10 years and over with disabilities reached 32% in Palestine in 2017. The gap in illiteracy rates between the sexes is large, as the illiteracy rates among males reached 20% compared to 46% among females. The illiteracy rate in the West Bank was 35% while in Gaza Strip it was 29% among persons with disabilities aged 10 years and over.

About 46% of children with disabilities aged 6-17 years are not enrolled in education
Almost half of Palestinian children with disabilities aged 6-17 years were not enrolled in education in 2017. These rates varied between West Bank 51% and Gaza Strip 43%.

About third of the women with disabilities who are married or have been married have experienced violence by their husbands
The Violence Survey in the Palestinian Society 2019 indicated that 37% of women with disabilities who are currently married or who have been married experienced violence at least once by their husbands in Palestine, in the 12 months preceding the survey. The percentage varied considerably between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the percentage in the West Bank reached 30% compared to 42% in Gaza Strip in the past 12 months preceding the interview for the year 2019. Meanwhile, 50% of these women who experienced violence were subjected to psychological violence While 20% of the same group subjected to physical violence at least once by their husbands.

More than one quarter of individuals (18-64 years) with disabilities who have never been married have experienced violence
The Violence Survey in the Palestinian Society 2019 indicated that 27% of persons with disabilities (18-64 years) who had never been married experienced violence at least once from a household member in Palestine in the past 12 months preceding the interview for the year 2019. The percentage varied considerably between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the percentage in the West Bank reached 19% compared to 35% in Gaza Strip. About one third of persons (18-64 years) with disabilities who have never been married experienced psychological violence, while almost one fifth experienced physical violence.

The unemployment rate among persons with disabilities was about 37% in 2017
The 2017 Census data indicated that the unemployment rate among persons with disabilities in Palestine participating in the labour force who are aged 15 years and over was 37%, (19% in the West Bank and 54% in Gaza Strip).

(Source / 06.12.2019)

Israel releases Hamas leader after 2 years of administrative detention

Hamas leader Jamal al-Tawil [Palestine Information Center}

Hamas leader Jamal Al-Tawil

Israeli yesterday released Hamas leader Jamal Al-Taweel after two years being held under administrative detention.

The 57-year-old, who was elected mayor of Al Bireh in 2006, spent his time in administrative detention in Al Naqab Prison.

His daughter, Bushra, said that her father went on hunger strike against his detention several times and was given pledges that he would be released, but this did not happen.

She said that her father was arrested several times and spent a total of 14 years inside Israeli prisons. He was released in 2017 after spending four years in detention. In 2014 he spent 64 days on hunger strike.

READ: Palestinian prisoners to begin open hunger strike in Israeli Ashkelon Prison

On 15 April 2018, Israeli occupation forces arrested Al Taweel from his house and placed him to demonstrative detention one week later. Israeli occupation forces raided and searched his house in the Umm Al-Sharayit neighbourhood before taking him into custody, residents said at the time.

He went on hunger strike on 14 July 2019 that continued until Israeli occupation forces promised to end his administrative detention.

(Source / 05.12.2019)

Palestinian prisoners to begin open hunger strike in Israeli Ashkelon Prison

Israeli prison [File photo]

Israeli prison [File photo]

Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Ashkelon Prison announced on Tuesday their intention to go on an open-ended hunger strike in protest against escalating repressive measures by the prison administration.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said 33 prisoners will go on an open-ended hunger strike from Wednesday.

According to the Club, the prison administration has carried out a new repressive measure against the prisoners by transferring ten of them from the prison.

The prison administration has also warned the prisoners that if they go on hunger strike, it will transfer them to Section 12 which includes a number of cells that are not suitable for human living and full of insects.

OPINION: It is time to use the legacy of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia to support the Palestinians

The Club said the prison administration destroyed the prisoners’ belongings in October, and then transferred some of them to Nafha prison, and detained a group of sick prisoners in harsh conditions in Section 12.

A few days ago, the prison administration returned the prisoners back to their cells to find all their belongings destroyed with footprints on Quran.

The Israeli prison administration has escalated its repressive policy against the Palestinian prisoners since the beginning of this year.

(Source / 04.12.2019)

Report: 93,000 persons with disabilities in Palestine

GAZA CITY, GAZA – SEPTEMBER 6: A Palestinian disabled man throws a stone with a slingshot towards Israeli forces during “Great March of Return” demonstration at Israel-Gaza border, near Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on September 6, 2019

The number of persons with disabilities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has reached 93,000 people or 2.1 per cent of the total population, a new report revealed.

The report published by the Central Bureau of Statistics to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd; noted that 52 per cent of persons with disabilities are in the Gaza Strip and 48 per cent are in the West Bank.

READ: US Brown University votes to divest from businesses violating Palestinian rights

According to the Population, Housing and Establishments Census, 2017, the mobility disability accounted for the highest proportion of disabilities; where 47,109 persons with mobility disabilities constituted 51 per cent of the total persons with disabilities.

As many as 20 percent of persons with disabilities are children under 18 years of age.

The occupied Palestinian territory is one of the highest places with persons with disabilities compared to the size of its population.

(Source / 04.12.219)

Mufti: US hospital in Gaza is suspicious and hostile

A hospital in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

A hospital in Gaza

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, warned of the repercussions that could follow the establishment of the American field hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Dubbed “The American Hospital”, the medical centre is located near the Israeli controlled Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing and will be managed by an international medical team after being built by an American group called Friendship.

Hussein warned that the hospital comes at a time when “America is preventing political and financial assistance from our steadfast people, giving our land to the settlers, conspiring against our holy sites, imposing financial sanctions on our economy, our hospitals and institutions, and fighting UNRWA.”

READ: Ireland foreign minister arrives in Gaza

He continued: “We cannot believe that this project is innocent of suspicion and hostile politicisation.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has opposed the project, which is being described as “an American military base,” because it claims that it is part of the understandings which are currently forming between Israel and Hamas, and which are expected to deepen the split between the PA’s government in Ramallah and Hamas’ rule in Gaza.

PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh tweeted that the hospital’s construction is part of an “Israeli policy of fragmentation” designed to eliminate the idea of ​​the Palestinian state. He called the initiative the “Shame Plan”, which is meant to separate the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Palestinian territory.

At a time when America is besieging the #PA and stopping support in all sectors, including hospitals in #East #Jerusalem, it is setting up a field hospital inside the #Gaza Strip with the blessing of #Hamas !! No comment!!

— حسين الشيخ Hussein Al Sheikh (@HusseinSheikhpl) November 30, 2019

Hamas said that building this hospital is one of the terms of the understandings to break the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip which was sponsored by Egypt, Qatar and the UN.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Health Mai Al-Kaila also rejected the establishment of a military US field hospital in the northern Gaza Strip under the sponsorship of Hamas and the Israeli occupation.

She told the Voice of Palestine radio: “Every year, the Ministry [of Health] sends medications and medical supplies worth 60 million shekels [$17.2 million] to the Gaza Strip. Therefore, there is no need for this US military hospital, where US military and foreign medical volunteers will be working.”

She said that if America wants to support the health sector in the Gaza Strip, it must support hospitals there, resume funding it had cut to hospitals in Jerusalem, and end the Israeli war on the Strip.

“If America wants to help our people in the Gaza Strip, it should have supported UNRWA, rather than cutting aid to this international institution. There is a big question mark about this hospital, which is in line with the deal of the century,” in reference to the American plan to bring an end to the Palestine-Israel crisis.

READ: New Freedom Flotilla will sail for Gaza in summer 2020

(Source / 03.12.2019)

PLO Official: Internal Division Hinders Independant Palestinian State

Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said that plans to establish an American field hospital in the Gaza Strip is part of the Zionist-American schemes to isolate Gaza and establish a micro-state there.

Al-Ahmad said that this plan is part of the [Israeli] occupation forces’ plans to provide all the factors of survival for the de-facto authority in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reported.

In an interview with voice of Palestine radio, al-Ahmad said that the conspiracy against the Palestinian cause has long existed, but has intensified since the internal division 13 years ago, pointing out that this division is not merely Palestinian, but rather an Arab, regional, and international division.

Al-Ahmad said that Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that it is important to keep the division to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, stressing that Hamas is well aware of the risks and is going along with it, noting that direct contacts with Hamas movement have been cut off since 2017.

He reiterated the leadership’s rejection of these liquidating projects, stressing that no one has the right to transfer anything to the Palestinian territory without the consent of the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people, the PLO; the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

(Source / 03.12.2019)

Prisoner completes 16 years in Israeli prisons

The Palestinian prisoner: Murad Abu Zaytoon

The Palestinian prisoner: Murad Abu Zaytoon

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli occupation jails Murad Abu Zaytoon completed today 16 years behind Israeli prison bars, according to his family.

They family said that Abu Zaytoon, who was sentenced to 22 years for resisting the Israeli occupation, is currently incarcerated at the Naqab prison (Ktzi’ot) in south of Israel.

He has been banned from family visits for years now under false security reasons.

(Source / 03.12.2019)