News from Palestine 26.12.2011

#IOF is now attacking Gaza, (Balata Refugee Camp) Nablus, Eissawyeh (Jerusalem), probably Jenin (not clear on that) #palestine

Local radio: the explosion heard was in Sudanya north-west of Gaza city. initial reports about internal explosion in training camp.

@olanan: قصف! #Gaza#prayforgaza

#BREAKING: a huge explosion not too far away just now #Gaza

the drones are flying in a low altitude !! #Gaza #GazaWar3 #Gaza3

Egypt indicts Israelis, Ukrainian for smuggling gun

An Egyptian soldier stands guard at the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel.
CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt has indicted two Israelis and a Ukrainian for smuggling a machine gun and ammunition across the Israeli border into Egypt, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website on Monday.

The weapon was the sort used by police on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, “which indicates that it could be used for illegal operations that could be pinned on Egyptian security personnel,” the newspaper reported.

Egypt’s border region with Israel, which has long been a conduit for the smuggling of guns and people, has been hit by a number of gas pipeline explosions and cross-border attacks over the past year.

Al-Ahram said the Ukrainian, manager of a tourism company in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, had ordered the weapon from an Israeli, Mamoun al-Alimi.

Another Israeli, Maaz Zuhair Zahlaqa, who lived in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, brought the weapon into Egypt at the border at Taba in a wooden crate shaped like a cross.

The machinegun and ammunition were discovered when the crate was placed on an explosives detection machine, the newspaper said.

The Ukrainian and Zahlaqa were in custody while Alimi was still in Israel, it said.

In June, Egypt arrested an American-Israeli on suspicion he was trying to recruit agents and monitor events in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, an ally of Israel and the United States. He was later released in a swap for 25 Egyptians being held in Israel.

Egyptian officials say limits on troop numbers in Sinai under a 1979 peace treaty with Israel make it harder to secure the mountainous region.

( / 26.12.2011)

‘PLO might revoke recognition of Israel’

Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi says Palestinian leadership may renege on its recognition of Israel if peace process continues to falter

As Fatah and Hamas promote their reconciliation efforts and as signs indicating that the Islamic Jihad may be warming up to the idea of joining the Palestine Liberation Organization become more evident, the Palestinian Authority seems to be taking a harsher stand vis-à-vis Israel.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said Monday that the PLO may choose to revoke its recognition of Israel“should all other (political) avenues fail.”

In an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio station, Ashrawi stressed that while the possibility has yet to be discussed by the PLO, it was nonetheless considered as a viable option by the Palestinian leadership.

Commenting on contested Israeli policies, she said that first option the Palestinians must exhaust was to file grievances against Israel with international bodies over issues such as settlement expansion.

Ashrawi added that the PA must “devise a plan that would bolster the resilience of the residents of east Jerusalem,” in view of what she called “Israel’s Judaization plans”; and that the PA should pursue legal recourse against Israel on an international level, over its “prolonged violations of international law.”

She also voices her support for continued peaceful resistance, the likes of the weekly protest rallies in the West Bank against the construction of the security fence.

Ashrawi’s statement echoed a similar sentiment expressed byFatah Executive Committee Member Muhammad Ashtiyeh, who last week said: “If Netanyahu insists on treating Tel Aviv and Har Homa the same way, we will treat Ramallah and Jaffa the same.”

Ashtiyeh protested what he called the “unbalanced” agreement between the PLO and Israel, reiterating the Palestinian demand that Israel recognize the 1967 borders as Palestinian territory.

‘Quartet failing’

The escalation in the Palestinian may stem from the end of the three-month period given to Israel and the Palestinian Authority by the Quartet to submit it with reports detailing their stance on security and borders.

The Palestinians have submitted their demands, but Israel has yet to do so. The final deadline in January 26.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that the Mideast Quartet is close to failing in bringing Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. He added that other nations should join the mediation efforts, the likes of Brazil, Turkey, China, India and other Western countries.

Al-Malki noted that the Palestinian Authority is considering applying to the UN General Assembly as a nonmember state, thus making it easier for the PA to join other international bodies, including the International Court of Justice.

Meanwhile. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Monday with members of the Palestinian “Reform and Change” movement, which is affiliated withHamas.

The parties discussed the recent reconciliation meeting between the Palestinian factions. Abbas expressed his satisfaction from the progress made between the factions, saying it will lead to Palestinian elections.

( / 26.12.2011)

Israeli soldiers arrest 8 Palestinians

Ramallah, Dec. 26 (Petra) — Israeli occupation forces on Monday arrested eight Palestinians in various West Bank cities and towns.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli soldiers stormed the cities of Ramallah, Hebron and Qalqilia amid heavy fire.

The Israeli army launch arrest campaigns on a daily basis against dozens of Palestinians in various cities and villages of the West Bank under various pretexts.

( / 26.12.2011)

Hamas warns of serious reactions if O. J’lem announced capital of Israel

DAMASCUS, (PIC)– Hamas Movement warned the Israeli occupation government of dire consequences if its Knesset passed a bill declaring the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem as a capital for the Jewish people and affirmed it would not remain silent.

In a press release on Sunday, Hamas said this Israeli move is a new serious act of aggression against the Palestinian people and their national rights.

Hamas highlighted that Jerusalem would remain the capital of Palestine and the core of its national cause and such Israeli decision would never change the history and reality.

The Palestinian Movement urged the Palestinians in the occupied lands to move to defend their holy city and its holy sites, and demanded the Arab League and the organization of Islamic cooperation to stand in the face of Israel’s Judaization activities in Jerusalem.

For his part, Palestinian lawmaker Ahmed Abu Halabya on Sunday condemned this Israeli move against Jerusalem as “criminal” and a blatant violation of international law, which states that Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian city.

The lawmaker stressed that the Israeli occupation state is trying to take advantage of the Arab nations’ preoccupation with their internal revolutions and events to impose a fait accompli and enact further racist laws against the Muslim and Christian Palestinians in the holy city.

( / 26.12.2011)

Israel war crimes question festers

Consuelo Maldonado, euronews: Gilles Devers, you are the spokesman for a group of lawyers who, in 2009, filed a complaint of war crimes against Israeli officers with the International Criminal Court. Since then, what progress has there been?

Gilles Devers: The facts are established in the Goldstone Report. Everybody knows that warcrimes and crimes against humanity have been committed. While Palestine has the legal competence but has not exercised it because of the occupation, it can transfer this to the International Criminal Court. We are in a waiting phase which, unfortunately, corresponds with a double standard that has always been a mark of international law. But the crime is too big to be hidden.

Devers: You have been given a mandate by Gaza’s minister of justice to defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners. Are you looking at filing a new complaint with the international court?

Devers: For the prisoners it is systematic torture, unfair judgements and conditions of detention – three chapters of violation of international law, therefore yes, the prisoners’ cases will be put before the International Criminal Court.

euronews: You are also investigating a case which in Gaza is called ‘the number cemeteries’. What is that about?

Devers: Some detainees die in prison and Israel refuses to hand over their bodies, which is to say they make dead bodies serve sentences. Therefore, through the International Red Cross, we tell the families when someone has died, but the family does not have a death certificate, so they do not even know, are never sure if there has been a death, and the bodies are buried in numbered cemeteries. The person becomes a number and continues to serve out his sentence when he is dead.

euronews: How many are we talking about?

Devers: When we last visited Gaza, we worked with the authorities and found that 350 families were concerned.

euronews: Let’s look at the military blockade. You are also working to free up goods exports from Gaza. What legal arguments are being used by Israel to maintain this blockade?

Devers: They say it’s for security reasons, which means absolutely nothing. Who can tell me that forbidding flowers from leaving Gaza is for security reasons? They’re waiting for these flowers in the Netherlands. We have a European agreement from September this year which will make them tariff-free from the beginning of 2012. The European Union, feeling very guilty about not helping Palestine more, removed the customs duties on Palestinian exports. Since these are free products, we don’t have to go through Israeli customs, and exporters are organising to send their flowers to Europe.

euronews: Are there products other than flowers?

Devers: The European Union is always playing a double game. It said that the lifting of customs duties does not apply to fruit and vegetables, as if the European market could be threatened by produce coming from Gaza. For the moment, Gaza can export flowers. It can also be processed agricultural produce. This blockade is illegal. It has been recognised as such by the United Nations, and there is, unfortunately, a consensus among western powers to pretend it is not there. It is a scandal, and we are working to weaken this blockade by legal means.

( / 26.12.2011)

Palestinian killed, two injured in bomb explosion

GAZA, Dec 26 (KUNA) — One Palestinian man was killed and his spouse and son were injured on Monday after a bomb explosion in Jabalia refugee camp north of Gaza.
Palestinian local radio reports said Imad Washk, 38, was killed after the explosion, without knowing the cause of the explosion.
The reports said his wife and son were injured and were transferred to hospital.
An investigation into the incident is underway, the reports said.

( / 26.12.2011)

Verenigde Staten overwegen Saleh toe te laten

De Jemenitische oud-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

De Amerikaanse regering overweegt de aftredende Jemenitische president Ali Abdullah Saleh toe te laten tot de Verenigde Staten voor een medische behandeling.

Saleh raakte in juni zwaargewond bij een aanval op een van zijn paleizen in de Jemenitische hoofdstad Saleh. Volgens een bron bij het Witte Huis heeft Saleh de Amerikaanse regering gevraagd voor behandeling naar de VS te reizen.

De Jemenitische president zei zaterdag naar de VS te gaan om de gespannen situatie in Jemen te temperen. Hij zei niet voor een medische behandeling naar de VS te reizen.

( / 26.12.2011)

Racist outburst by Israeli minister in charge of ‘combating antisemitism’

In a shocking, racist outburst, an Israeli cabinet minister has described Arabs as a “damaged nation”, in remarks reportedly made at a conference in the Tel Aviv-area city Or Yehuda on Sunday.

Israel’s Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who posted the comments on his Facebook profile, said:

As long as the Arab nation continues to be a damaged nation that continues to invest in terror infrastructures, in education to hatred, and in the welfare of families of martyrs, there will be no peace.

Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Neve Daniel. Not only is Edelstein a settler, but he also supports initiativeslike the ‘Lobby for Greater Israel’, whose members want “to hold onto all of Judea and Samaria”.

Ironically, given how it would be received if a member of Congress or European minister said similar remarks about “the Jewish nation”, Minister Edelstein plays a crucial role in the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) as a member of the body’s steering committee.

In October, he was in London for an ICCA meeting hosted by Labour MP John Mann, co-founder of the ICCA and chair of the UK-focused All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism (APPGAA).

Edelstein is committed to the conflation of political actions like Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and antisemitism. At an international “combating antisemitism”conference he co-organised with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in December 2009, Edelstein told delegates:

We must repeat again and again these basic facts – TO BE ‘anti-Israel’ IS TO BEANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELIbusinesses, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same. [Ed: Upper case letters in the transcript]

He has also drawn parallels between the Goldstone Report and the rise of Hitler, saying that the UN investigation into war crimes is “simply a type of anti-Semitism”.

While none of this has dissuaded members of the ICCA from working with the Minister, how will they react now, given the unapologetically anti-Arab views of someone apparently coordinating a fight against racism?

( / 26.12.2011 / Blog Ben White)