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King Abdullah: “No Peace Without A Palestinian State With East Jerusalem As Its Capital”

21 JUN
3:34 PM

King Abdullah of Jordan stated, Thursday, that there can be no peace or stability in the region without establishing an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and stability next to Israel.

The Jordanian Monarch stated, during a meeting in Amman with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains the core issue in the region, and added that Germany, along with the European Union, have an important role in boosting the efforts to achieve peace and the two-state solution.

“Germany is a leading country among the world, and we are looking for a great role by Berlin, and the European Union, in supporting all peace efforts in the Middle East,” King Abdullah said, “Jordan will also continue its role in protecting the Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem.”

The two leaders also discussed various issues, including the strategic relations between Germany and Jordan, in addition to local, regional and international developments.

(Source / 21.06.2018)

Despite settler arson confession dismissed by Israel, Dawabsheh family persevere

Ahmed Dawabsheh

Ahmed Dawabsheh, the brother of Ali Saeed Dawabsheh who was killed in an arson attack by settlers

An Israeli court on Tuesday threw out a confession given by a teenage settler – who cannot be named for legal reasons – in which he admitted his participation in an arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed three people.

The court ruled that the confession had been obtained under duress and was inadmissible in court, but that the confession given by primary suspect Amiram Ben-Uliel was valid. Ben-Uliel admitted firebombing the house and his involvement in six other racially motivated attacks targeting Palestinian villages after the “necessary investigations” conducted by Shin Bet police.

The unnamed minor had also been accused of taking part in the attack on the Dawabsheh family home on 31 July 2015 in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed toddler Ali Saad Dawabsheh and parents Riham and Saad Dawabsheh.

Omar Khamaisi, a lawyer for the family, told MEMO that despite the confession being overruled, the prosecution still had sufficient evidence of the minor’s involvement.

“The minor was not accused of murder, but prior planning and plotting. His confessions and statement [referring] to “Tag Mehir” or “Paying the price” and the activities of revenge, of burning and sabotaging Palestinian properties were taken and accepted.”

Read: Israel seals Palestinian family’s home with them inside

Khamaisi also said that the family would take the case further if a verdict of murder was not handed down to the guilty parties:

“The Dawabsheh case joins other cases and [queries] that the Palestinian Authority is trying to [take to] the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the ICC prosecutor.”

The Dawabsheh family has experienced ongoing harassment as the case is heard in court, with another family home in Duma firebombed by settlers last month, causing severe damage.

Earlier this week, as the family’s uncle and grandfather Nasr and Hussein Dawabsheh walked out of the courtroom accompanied by MKs Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh, right wingers taunted the family chanting: “Where is Ali? Ali’s dead” and “Ali’s on the grill”.

Israel has also refused to pay compensation to the family and five year-old Ahmad, the only surviving member of the attack, who sustained severe burns in the fire. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said last year that the Palestinian child did not qualify as a “terror victim” and does not hold Israeli citizenship and therefore is not entitled to compensation.

The UN has previously expressed concern at the slow progression of the case, with Special Envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov calling on Israeli authorities “to move swiftly in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice”.

Read: Israel to pay $16.7m to settlers after demolishing their illegal homes

(Source / 21.06.2018)

Palestinian succumbs to injuries amid Gaza violence

An injured Palestinian is being carried away after Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters at the Gaza and Israel border on 25 May 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

An injured Palestinian is being carried away after Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters at the Gaza and Israel border on 25 May 2018

A Palestinian youth died Wednesday after being injured last month by Israeli army gunfire during protests at the Gaza border.

In a statement, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Muhammed Ebu Dekka, who was injured during protests in Gaza on May 14, succumbed to his injuries at St Joseph Hospital.

Since Palestinians began staging mass rallies near the security fence on March 30, scores of protesters have been killed and thousands more injured by gunfire from Israeli troops.

Protesters are demanding the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s draconian blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Mother of shot Gaza medic: ‘She thought the white coat would protect her’

(Source / 21.06.2018)

UN experts say Gaza health care at “breaking point”

Health care Gaza

UN human rights experts have backed calls for a large-scale international response to the overwhelming health care needs of people living in Gaza.

They also remind Israel, as the occupying power, of its obligation to protect the population of Gaza, ensure its welfare and wellbeing, and to allow and facilitate access to health care to people in need.

Health care in Gaza – already precarious in the wake of an 11-year blockade by Israel and periods of non-cooperation by the Palestinian Authority – has been further impacted by the high rate of casualties from Israeli military fire on Gazan protesters since late March.

“We are deeply worried by credible reports that treating, and caring for, the thousands of Gazans wounded by Israeli military fire over the past 12 weeks has strained Gaza’s already overloaded health care system to the breaking point,” said the experts.

According to the Ministry of Health, almost 8,000 Gazan protesters have been admitted to hospital, with more than 3,900 wounded by live ammunition. Many have sustained permanent injuries, including limb amputations. “It is unacceptable that many of those requiring care, which is not currently available in Gaza, have been denied exit permits to access healthcare outside of Gaza,” the experts said.

Out of the 93 applications submitted by Gazans to the Israeli authorities to access health care in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, only 24 were approved. Forty-nine were denied and 20 are still pending. “Denial of access to urgent health care to seriously wounded Gazans outside the strip is a violation of the right to health,” said the experts.

The experts said that hospital patients in Gaza have been discharged prematurely to allow for new casualties to be treated. About 6,000 elective surgeries have been postponed. Essential medicines are running short, specialised surgical care is running short and long-term rehabilitation services are being severely strained by the many Gazans with limb amputations and serious injuries. The disabling impact on the injured and the financial cost to them, their families and to the Gazan health services is huge and long-term, they said.

While international fund-raising has gathered more than $US6 million to meet some of the immediate needs, almost $US13 million still needs to be raised, the experts said. The funds are required to deploy emergency medical teams, to ensure pre-hospital care by trauma teams, to purchase much-needed medicines and to enhance the rehabilitative services for post-operative casualties.

“This sum is a fraction of the more than $500 million requested to meet the humanitarian needs of Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory,” the experts said. “We urge the world to be generous.”

The UN experts praised the response by international and local health NGOs and UN agencies to the crisis in Gaza. They pointed to the work of these organisations to provide the timely delivery of health care teams, medicines, health supplies and assistive devices.

Gaza is suffering from a long-term health crisis. The Israeli blockade, three devastating wars, a harmful split in Palestinian unity and poorly paid health workers has meant that the availability of medical services and hospitals beds are seriously inadequate to service the many health needs of the two million Gazans. A meager electrical power supply, a badly-depleted water aquifer, the inability to treat sewage and the world’s highest unemployment rates have only intensified the social-health crisis.

“We endorse the call of the UN Secretary-General for Israel to end its unlawful blockade and to be an active partner to enabling Gaza to rebuild its economy and resuscitate its health care sector,” said the human rights experts. “The short-term responses to Gaza’s current health crisis must go hand-in-hand with decisive steps to change Gaza’s future for the better.

“In addition to its obligations under International Humanitarian Law as the occupying power, Israel has the obligation to respect and ensure the respect of the human rights of the people in Gaza, including their right to health. The Palestinian authorities also bear human rights obligations towards the population of Gaza.”

(Source / 21.06.2018)

12 Palestinians denied travel via Karama crossing

Pal's 12 denied travel

The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) prevented on Tuesday 12 West Bank Palestinians from travelling through al-Karama crossing for undisclosed security reasons.

General Administration of Crossings and Borders said in a statement on Wednesday that 9,434 Palestinians were able to pass through the crossing on Tuesday.

The statement noted that 4,588 Palestinians left the West Bank and 4,846 arrived in the territory, while the IOA prevented the travel of 12 Palestinian citizens.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Hamas condemns closing, merging UNRWA schools

UNRWA schools closed

Hamas Movement on Tuesday affirmed their refusal of the policy of closing and merging UNRWA’s schools and warned of the consequences.

The official of Hamas’s Office of Refugees’ Affairs in Lebanon, Abu Ahmad Fadel, said that the UNRWA measures affect the education process. He asserted that the UNRWA schools in Lebanon need development and expansion due to the increasing number of students each year instead of shutting down or merging.

He cautioned that the UNRWA’s decision affects the education services and accordingly the academic achievements of Palestinian students. Fadel added that the UNRWA resolution also denies huge number of students their right to education and will force them to move to expensive schools which fees are not affordable.

The Hamas official also asked the education department at UNRWA to cancel  its resolution.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Erekat: Washington Wants a Palestinian Leadership that Deals with New Reality

PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat

Secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee Saeb Erekat accused the US administration of working to replace the current Palestinian leadership with one that accepts the “new reality”.

Erekat said that the United States was seeking to transform the Palestinian issue from political to humanitarian, and wanted to get rid of the current Palestinian leadership because of its adherence to national constants and Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

“The US administration needs (another) leadership to deal with the new reality that it wants,” he said.

“The United States has entered into a very dangerous game by replacing national rights with humanitarian projects. This necessitates the implementation of reconciliation agreements and finding a fulcrum for a full political partnership based on the PLO program.”

Erekat’s accusations came ahead of a planned tour of US officials in the region aimed at focusing on the US peace plan, as well as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

The US president’s advisor, Jared Kushner, US Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, discussed on Friday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the situation in the Middle East and recent US actions in cooperation with the UN, as well as promoting peace in the region and ensuring humanitarian needs in Gaza.

According to Reuters, Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday in Amman, in the presence of Greenblatt, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the US administration’s efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority has announced that it refused and would not cooperate with the US initiative to raise financial aid to the Gaza Strip, because the goal was political separation between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership had sent letters to Arab countries to explain its position before the arrival of the US delegation.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Gaza killings must open the world’s ears to Gaza voices

Living conditions in the Gaza Strip are, to put it bluntly, what most civilized people would consider “unlivable.” But this state of affairs is nothing new. The UN and other humanitarian agencies have been predicting calamitous outcomes for years. Yet conduct a Google news search and, other than the little “blip” when another such report is released, Gaza barely breaks the news or sends even solidarity activists into the streets in any numbers until people die — and die in large numbers.

Thus, our understanding of Gaza is marked by milestones drenched in blood — the Israeli assaults of 2008/9, 2012 and 2014, and now, the massive protests called the Great Return March. Since the launch March 30, 128 Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 14,600 injured. To put those numbers in perspective, the 2012 Israeli war on Gaza (the shortest of its three major assaults on the Strip) killed 174 and injured “just” 1,000. And yet few (except Israel, of course) contest the fact that the Return March protests have been largely nonviolent.

As the founder of We Are Not Numbers, a Gaza-based project that helps youths develop their English-language skills while sharing with the world their personal narratives, I have been struck by the high rate of depression among the nearly 200 members. A confidential assessment found that 56 percent qualified as clinically depressed. One might predict that a constant threat of violence would be a top contributor, but surprisingly, it was not. Rather, the most common causes of a depression so entrenched that suicides have skyrocketed in this otherwise deeply religious society are: their inability to leave the small, cramped space; chronic, persistent power outages (the average for electricity is just four hours a day); and the astronomically high unemployment rate (60 percent among youth). Those grinding, soul-sapping realities are 24/7; yet they have been going on for so long — more than a decade now — that the external world has come to treat them like a “necessary evil.” The message we collectively are sending the people of Gaza is that it is only violence — which ultimately means their deaths and injury — that will put them back on the agenda.

No wonder, then, that one of the members of We Are Not Numbers who is participating in the protests, Rana Shubair, wrote:

“I’ve been working at my writing all of my life, struggling to make the voices of my people heard. I believed that everyone has the capacity to serve their people, even if it is by writing and advocating in the security of their homes. Yet, what has been the result? My words seem to have fallen on deaf ears. My writing seems a mere token compared to the acts of the many others at the forefront, literally forcing change while they risk their lives.”

Haneen Abo Saud

Another of our writers, Haneen Abo Saud (Sabbah), captures this same struggle in a poem, in which she is torn between joining the “death-defyers” on the front lines of the demonstrations and living to protest through her stories:

An inner voice pleads, “What if you get shot?”
My other voice responds, “So what? At least you tried.
You tried to break the silence and the chains.
Maybe you will feel better if you die fighting for your dreams.”

I know many people in Gaza and elsewhere who have lost faith in the Great Return March as the body count rises and the only result, in their minds, is “talk, talk” in support of Israel’s “right to self-defense” or milk-warm condemnation with no teeth. But my conclusion is totally different. The series of Great Return March protests has generated a steady stream of media coverage of Gaza that has actually focused on the inhumane living conditions and probed the “why” behind residents’ willingness to risk their lives (thus finally challenging the ridiculous trope that they don’t value life or are mere puppets of a genocidal Hamas):

The New York Times, notorious for hiring Jerusalem bureau chiefs with personal ties to the Israeli military, published three op-eds written by previously unknown Gazan Palestinians. One was titled, “Gaza Screams for Life.” In a piece attacked by Fox News and the Zionist lobby, the paper headlined one story, “Israel Kills 58 and Injures Over 1,300 by Gunfire at Gaza Border.”

The Huffington Post published a split-screen image, juxtaposing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking in front of the Great Seal of the United States with a graphic photo of a Palestinian man carrying a child as he runs from flames.

The Guardian, which has a strong reach in the United States, featured a similar split screen, of the violence alongside Ivanka Trump opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, above a banner headline reading,” Israel: Trump’s new embassy opens — and dozens are killed.”

The New York Daily News went even further with this headline: “Daddy’s Little Ghoul: 55 Slaughtered in Gaza, but Ivanka All Smiles.”

CNN invited Palestinian Noura Erakat on camera several times to destroy the Israeli party line.

And the Washington Post gave her the bully pulpit for an unusual video op-ed.

Yes, “mainstream” media coverage continues to be, on average, conflicting and incomplete at best and Zionist at worst. But the fact remains that in the wake of the Great Return March, Palestinian voices and perspectives are significantly more apparent than in the past. That leads to public opinion shifts — a very necessary step before official policies and practices (like foreign assistance and UN votes) can begin to change.

Would this kind of high-profile attention have resulted from the March if Palestinians had not exposed Israel’s brutality by provoking its soldiers to shoot unarmed protesters? Sadly, I think not. Just as the large media don’t cover hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners until it begins to look like they might die, it’s Israel’s killing of nonviolent Palestinian protesters that inspired this wave of attention that has caused what I believe is the beginning of a sea change in the media/public landscape — an example of which is a video featuring Palestinian voices by a prominent, Jewish U.S. politician. The 128 deaths and about 8,000 injuries by gunshot were not in vain — although the price was steep.

But….wouldn’t it be so much more humane and just of the “world” — of which we are members — if we were as activated by the everyday structural violence imposed on Palestinians as we are when they are killed or maimed? And if we as activists showed Palestinian youth we will support and give visibility to their stories and art as much as we do calls for emergency relief and news of their murder/arrest?

Fortunately, in her poem, Haneen shows she has yet to conclude she can only be effective by sacrificing her life. She writes:

I imagine a hand extending from that far-away land.
I will just take that hand
And go home.
Still….how will anyone hear me then?
Who will read my words?
I will be shot for trying to reach for my dreams.
I want the world to hear my reasons, my reasons for marching.
We want to have a normal life with happy moments.
We want to breathe and have other worries besides what we will eat for the day.
We must be heard.
We must be free.

Let’s show Haneen (and the rest of the young writers and artists) she is right. That we will listen and support her when she shares her words.  We Are Not Numbers is dedicated to doing just that, but we must fight for every penny of donation and live in a constant state of worry about lack of funds. We could do so much more if we had just a bit more support! Please consider helping however you can.

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Israeli activists call on Hamas to help restore calm to southern Israel

Head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh speaks at the Palestine National Council meeting on 30 April 2018

Activists within Israel’s Other Voice Movement have sent a letter to the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as the movement’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Al-Sinwar, asking them to restore calm to southern Israel. “We, your neighbours, hope to live based on mutual respect and peace,” they told the Hamas officials.

The message was sent to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip who were asked to deliver it to Hamas. It was also passed to left-wing Israeli activist Gershon Beskin, who is close to Fatah and Hamas leaders and helped to mediate the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011. The Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas in 2006 while on active duty on the border between Gaza and Israel.

“We have been enemies and we are still,” said the activists, “but this situation can be changed, it must be changed, we are also neighbours.” The disaster affecting the Palestinians and Israelis is man-made, they insisted, and can be changed.

Other Voice Movement sent a similar letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding him to negotiate with Hamas. “Hamas runs an authoritarian regime,” they pointed out. “We reject its actions, but ultimately it is the governing authority in Gaza, whether we like it or not, so we must find a way to talk to it.”

READ: Israeli army tells politicians best response to ‘kite terror’ is target Hamas sites 

(Source / 20.06.2018)

Freedom Flotilla ships arrive in Lisbon

Freedom flotilla activists

Two days after leaving Gijon in northern Spain Al-Awda and Freedom – two boats that are part of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza – arrived in Lisbon, Safa reported.

A statement issued by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said that hundreds of people celebrated the arrival of the two boats, which plan to remain in Lisbon until Friday.

There are 25 pro-Palestinian activists on board the two boats which are heading to Gaza in a new attempt to break the 11-year Israeli siege.

On Sunday two other boats also part of the Freedom Flotilla arrived in Paris but the French police prevented them from stopping at the Seine River for pro-Palestine supporters to celebrate them. However, hundreds of supporters waved Palestinian flags while standing on the banks of the river.

Read: Freedom flotilla boat arrives in UK

Head of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza and co-founder of the Freedom Flotilla Zaher Birawi said that the French authorities came under pressure from the Israeli lobby when they prevented the two boats from docking on the banks of the Seine River.

“This is an attempt to undermine the increasing popular solidarity in France with Gaza and Palestine”, he said, adding that the Israeli lobby “is afraid that the reality of the racist occupation state is revealed” through such grassroots movements.

“The size of the activities organised in solidarity with Palestine sends a message to the parties which impose the siege on Gaza, telling them to end their crimes and [allow] the Palestinians to move in and out of their country without restrictions”, Birawi said.

Gaza has been under strict Israeli siege since mid-2007. The UN and other organisations have several times said that Gaza will be “unliveable” by 2020.

(Source / 20.06.2018)