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Abbas to Ask for a Palestinian State During Security Council Meeting on Feb 20

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will request, in a speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, the establishment of a Palestinian State and will reiterate the need to implement the UN Security Council resolution that calls for a two-state solution, sources close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The sources added that the Palestinian president would announce his final rejection of Washington’s monopoly of the peace process and would renew his call for an international conference under the umbrella of the United Nations to form a multilateral mechanism that would foster a new political process, similar to the 5+1 group, which negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran.

Meanwhile, Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said that the Palestinians have begun a new phase of the struggle that would define the region’s features in the near future.

“A new phase of the struggle has begun to preserve the overall goal of our Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the whole world, as well as the issue of Jerusalem in its Islamic and Christian sanctities, its heritage and history, which some are trying to falsify to justify their violation of all international laws,” Abu Rudeina stated.

The Palestinian presidency’s spokesman did not elaborate on Abbas’ speech before the Security Council, stressing that it would focus on Jerusalem and the national constants, and would serve as a “message to the whole world that justice, peace and land are the only way to a secure, stable, and prosperous Middle East, free from all forms of terrorism.”

The sources, for their part, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Abbas would emphasize Palestinian’s rejection of President (Donald) Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and any other decision that would undermine the status of the city.

(Source / 18.02.2018)

PA security forces raid West Bank houses

File photo of Palestinian protestors clashing with Palestinian Authority Security Forces in Hebron

File photo of Palestinian protestors clashing with Palestinian Authority Security Forces in Hebron

Palestinian Authority (PA) security services this week raided tens of Palestinian houses, harassed women and arrested men, including relatives of Palestinian MPs, Quds Net reported.

In Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank, the PA security services stormed the home of Nidaa Dweek, daughter of Speaker of Palestinian Parliament Aziz Dweek.

Nidaa wrote on Facebook: “Just now, forces of the Palestinian intelligence agency have left our house. They searched the house and left much havoc behind. They confiscated my daughter’s PC and camera and my son’s mobile and wallet, which includes his ID, University ID and NIS240.”

She also said that they confiscated books, documents, reports and papers related to her PhD.  All the residents in the were beaten, according to Quds Net.

Palestinian sources confirmed Nidaa’s report about the raid and said that the PA forces also raided the homes of Fatemah Seder, Sumayya Sultan, Hayat al-Rajabi and Sonia al-Hamouri. The sources added that the PA forces searched and damaged property inside the houses and confiscated contents.

Elsewhere, the PA security forces raided the house of Abdel-Rahman Bader in Hebron and arrested him. Abdel-Rahman is the son of the Palestinian MP Maher Bader, who is currently being held in Israeli detention.

In Bethlehem, the PA intelligence services raided the house of Zein al-Abideen Awawdeh, a lecturer at the University of Bethlehem. They confiscated computers and mobile phones after searching and damaging the house.

Recently, the PA security agencies have intensified their raids on houses of Palestinian MPs, Hamas leaders and their relatives across the occupied West Bank. No information about the reasons behind this security campaign was disclosed, Quds Net said.

(Source / 18.02.2018)

UN blames funding cuts and blockade for Gaza crisis

Gazan's gather outside the UN offices in Gaza to protest US cuts to UNRWA's funding, on January 28, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Gazan’s gather outside the UN offices in Gaza to protest US cuts to UNRWA’s funding, on January 28, 2018

Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric blamed on Thursday UNRWA funding cuts, the closure of Gaza’s crossings, and the delay of internal Palestinian reconciliation for the dire situation in the enclave.

Answering to questions about the situation in Gaza, Dujarric said: “The dire humanitarian situation has obviously been made more stressful with the funding crisis” facing UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East).

He added: “So far, UNRWA has not cut back on any services and is striving not to.”

“We know the humanitarian crisis is also linked to internal issues having to do with the reconciliation between various Palestinian factions and, of course, issues related to closures;” he said.

On his part, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council that: “The United Nations have presented proposals to revitalize Gaza’s economy and discussed the conditions required to ease movement and access, and support Palestinian development.”

(Source / 18.02.2018)

Hamas denies US accusations on Gaza misery

Gazan children seen going about their lives after a day of rain, February 17, 2018 [Mohammed Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Gazan children seen going about their lives after a day of rain, February 17, 2018

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has dismissed US accusations for the group of causing a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this month, Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, blamed Hamas for causing “misery” to Gaza’s people by choosing “to increase violence”.

“We reject the White House allegations that Hamas was responsible for Gaza’s aggravating humanitarian crisis,” Hamas said in a statement on Sunday.

It described the US accusations as a “green light for the Israeli occupation to continue its aggressive approach against the Palestinian people.”

Hamas blamed Israel’s decade-long blockade on the seaside strip for “Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe”, which, it says, has been imposed with “a public US support”.

It went on to hold “successive US administrations responsible for the tragedies that have plagued the Palestinian people since the beginning of the occupation”.

Home to nearly two million people, Gaza has been reeling under a decade-long siege that has badly affected livelihood in the Palestinian territory.

“The US ignored throughout the history of the [Arab-Israeli] conflict the right of the Palestinian people to live in security and peace on their land,” Hamas said.

The Palestinian group said Trump was seeking to tighten up the blockade with a view to “bringing our people and political forces to their knees for imposing solutions that aim at liquidating their cause”.

Last month, the US Treasury Department placed Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh on its terror list.

The US move came amid intense tension with the Palestinians after Trump’s decision on 6 December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to cut some $65 million in US aid to the Palestinians.

(Source / 18.02.2018)

Lieberman Warns of Continued Violence in Gaza

18 FEB
5:32 PM

Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman has warned that Israeli aggression in Gaza while continue so long as ‘the score remains unsettled,’ according to a Sunday interview with Ynet.

Lieberman’s warning was issued in response to an explosion along the Israel-Gaza border that wounded 4 IOF soldiers, two of which were considered serious and rushed to the ICU at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.

‘It will take two days, a week, or two weeks. We’ll eliminate anyone behind the attack’s execution,’ Lieberman warned.

In retaliation, PNN further reports, Israel launched a series of 6 airstrikes against Hamas targets late Saturday evening, including an outpost close to the sight of the original explosion and a tunnel in the Zaytun neighbourhood.

The situation continued to escalate when 2 retaliatory rockets were fired towards Israel from the Gaza Strip, prompting Israeli forces to conduct a second air raid.

The second series of attacks raised the total number that evening to 18, according to Liebermann, as well as Palestinian news sources.

Lieberman lauded the attack as ‘perhaps the most significant and widespread strike we carried out since Operation Protective Edge.’

Any incident emanating from the Gaza Strip would be the responsibility of Hamas, that has ruled Gaza since disputed elections in 2007, said Lieberman, even if they were not conducted by Hamas or its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

‘Hamas is the ruler, and we consider Hamas to be responsible for everything that is done in the Gaza Strip and from the Gaza Strip,’ said Liberman.

Previous airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza have been in response to rocket launches conducted by the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad organization in Palestine, as well as other members of the Popular Resistance Committee.

In January, Israeli forces struck multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after the al-Quds Brigade launched a series of mortars into Israeli territory.

09/02/14 VIDEO: Gaza City’s Devastated Al-Shuja’eyya Suburb

(Source / 18.02.2018)

Palestinian who lost sight in Israeli jail sentenced to 16 months

Mohamed Dweikat

An Israeli military court sentenced on Thursday a Palestinian detainee to 16 months in jail and a fine of 5,000 shekels.

Israel’s Salem military court ruled that prisoner Mohamed Dweikat, from Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, be incarcerated for 16 months in Israeli prisons and pay a bail of up to 5,000 shekels.

Prisoner Dweikat was kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces on December 6, 2016, just one week after he had tied the knot and celebrated his engagement party.

Dweikat had been made to attend several hearings at Israeli courts before he ultimately received the 16-month term.

Prisoner Dweikat lost sight due to preplanned medical neglect in Israeli dungeons. The occupation authorities have prevented him from undergoing urgent medical checks and being treated by a specialized doctor. They further turned down his frequent appeals to release him due to his deteriorating health condition.

(Source / 16.02.2018)

Protesters rushed to hospital as Israeli military rolls into Nablus

Nablus clashes

A number of Palestinians were left injured and another kidnapped at daybreak Friday in clashes with the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in the northern West Bank province of Nablus.

According to eye-witnesses, the IOF rolled into the Old City of Nablus in over 20 military vehicles and cordoned off residential neighborhoods.

Sounds of heavy blasts and gunfire were detected all the way through the assault.

The occupation army ransacked civilian homes before they kidnapped the Palestinian young man Mohamed al-Hamami from his family’s home.

Nablus clashes1

Fierce clashes burst out shortly after the IOF stormed the area and attacked Palestinian protesters with live rounds and teargas canisters.

At least four Palestinian young men sustained live bullet wounds in their hands and legs. They were all rushed to Rafidia Hospital for urgent treatment.

Over recent weeks, tension has edged higher in Nablus due to the simmering terrorism and crackdowns perpetrated by the Israeli military and settlers against the locals.

The occupation army claims that such raids come in the hunt for Palestinian youngster Abdul Karim Assi, accused, by the Israeli forces, of carrying out an anti-occupation stabbing attack in Ariel settlement outpost, illegally build on Palestinian land in Salfit. The alleged attack led to the death of an Israeli settler.

(Source / 16.02.2018)

UN: Situation in Gaza is affected by internal issues and closures

Situation Gaza

The UN has said that the current dire humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip has resulted from the UNRWA funding crisis, the faltering inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the closure of border crossings.

This came in a news briefing held on Thursday by Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general.

He was replying to a question on the Security Council closed meeting on Gaza which was held on Wednesday at the request of Kuwait and Bolivia.

The spokesman stated that UN Middle East peace coordinator, Nikolay Mladenov, highlighted the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, “which, obviously, has been made more… stressful with the funding crisis more.”

However, he said that the UNRWA was making efforts not to shrink the current services it provides for Palestinian refugees.

“UNRWA’s funding crisis, which, so far, as far as we understand, has not cut back any services and is striving not to.  But, as we know, the humanitarian crisis is also linked to internal issues having to do with the reconciliation between various Palestinian factions and of course… and also issues related to closures [of crossings].”

(Source / 16.02.2018)

Omar al-Abed, Palestinian teen who killed 3 settlers in July, sentenced to life in prison

Omar al-Abed 4x life sentences

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court on Thursday sentenced Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Abed, 19, to four life sentences for stabbing and killing three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank in July.

As part of the sentence, the court also ordered that al-Abed would be excluded from any future prisoner exchange or release deals between Israel and Palestinian political factions.
Al-Abed, from the Ramallah-area village of Kobar was convicted on three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in December.Al-Abed carried out the attack in July in the illegal Halamish settlement, nearby his village in the Ramallah district.
The victims as were Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. Tova Salomon, 68, Yosef Salomon’s wife, was seriously wounded in the attack.
The settler family were were reportedly having shabbat dinner with about 10 members of their family when the al-Abed broke into their house. A neighbor, a soldier in the Israeli army, reportedly heard the disturbance, and arrived to the scene and shot and moderately wounded al-Abed.
The deadly attack took place after three Palestinians were killed — two of them by Israeli police and one reportedly by an Israeli settler — when large-scale civil disobedience demonstrations in Jerusalem erupted into violent clashes.
Al-Abed reportedly wrote on Facebook before carrying out the attack: “I have many dreams and I believe they will come true, I love life and I love to make others happy, but what is my life is when they (Israel) murder women and children and defile our Al-Aqsa?”
“All I have is this sharpened knife to comply with the call of our Aqsa… If you don’t open its gates, I am confident that others will follow me to strike with an iron hand. I am warning you,” he continued, referring to Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the summer, when Israeli forces installed metal detectors at the holy site.
In the wake of the Halamish stabbing, Israeli forces imposed a series of punitive measures on the family of the al-Abed, and the residents of Kobar, temporarily sealing the village, detaining the al-Abed’s brother and motherraiding the local health clinic, and destroying al-Abed’s home.
The Israeli government has long faced criticism for its response to attacks, with rights groups saying severe security measures amount to collective punishment and a violation of international law.
(Source / 16.02.2018)

Abbas Calls for International Conference to Save Peace Process

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for holding an international peace conference to save the political process in the region.

During his meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi in Ramallah, Abbas said: “We want this conference to lead to the establishment of a new multilateral international mechanism based on the resolutions of the international legitimacy, in order to save the political process and achieve peace in our region.”

Abbas accused the United States of putting the entire political process in an impasse because of its decision to consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its support for Israeli occupation practices against the defenseless Palestinian people.

Abbas’ demand for an international peace conference came a few days after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the same matter.

He hopes that Moscow will launch an international peace conference, or push towards this direction as a possible alternative to the United States’ mediating role.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said on Thursday that Abbas’ demand enjoyed broad Palestinian support.

“This mechanism must act in accordance with international legitimacy and guarantee the end of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders,” he said.

The PA cut ties with the US administration following Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians declared that the US Administration has lost its eligibility as a mediator and sponsor of the peace process and rejected any meetings with US officials, accusing the country of turning into an official sponsor of Israel.

Member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hanan Ashrawi, said on Thursday that the US Administration encouraged Israel to “continue its flagrant violations, and total disregard for international law,” in a manner that constituted “an obvious breach of the peace process and the principle of a two-state solution.”

(Source / 16.02.2018)