The Palestinian Authority’s role in Judaising the West Bank

 

Saleh Al-Na'amiThe Greater Jerusalem project, which aims to increase the number of Jews in the holy city and its surroundings to a million people.

The signs are that the Palestinian Authority is playing a key role in enhancing the settlement project in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem through its influential role in improving the security environment for the settlements, allowing these areas to attract new groups of Israelis.

The PA’s has partnered with Israel in its intelligence cooperation and security arrangements in the war against the resistance movements in the West Bank. The Ramallah government’s agencies’ role in getting rid of the Palestinian resistance has contributed to enhancing the sense of personal and collective security amongst the settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which, in turn, has convinced new groups of Jewish people to settle in the West Bank.

Ian an extensive investigation by Israeli journalist, Josh Breiner, on the Walla news website in September he concluded that the PA’s security cooperation with Israel has turned the Jewish settlements in the West Bank into the “garden of Eden” for many Jewish people and has encouraged them to exploit the great opportunities available to them there.

According to Breiner, the motivation to settle in the West Bank has grown over the last 3 years because the efforts of the Ramallah authority’s security services to eliminate the resistance’s foundation in the West Bank has reduced the Israelis fear of living in the West Bank.

Contributing to the Judaisation of the West Bank

The clearest result of the improved security environment in West Bank Jewish settlements, thanks to the PA’s efforts, is the participation of more secular Jews in the settlement project.

Since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, most of the Jews who settled in the West Bank were religious Zionists motivated by their religious ideological convictions. The few secularists who settled in the West Bank made sure to reside in settlements located near the Green Line, which separates the borders between the West Bank and Israel. These settlements were described as “the safest” because of their relative distance from Palestinian residential areas.

However, the improvement of the security situation in the West Bank and reduction of risks as a result of operations carried out by resistance movements against West Bank settlements, due to PA and Israeli raids against the resistance movements, has persuaded secular Jews to move to the West Bank and take advantage of the enormous economic benefits that successive Israeli governments have offered the settlers.

The data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) indicates that young Jewish couples living in Israeli areas suffering from economic hardship, particularly towns under development and lower-class neighbourhoods in major cities are now moving to settlements in the West Bank. There they can benefit from economic advantages, such as housing loans, tax cuts, job opportunities and a better quality of education, wages, bonuses, and other benefits.

Although, these advantages have always been offered, what is new is the improved security environment in the West Bank because of the PA’s efforts. This has driven the secularists to not only reside in settlements deep in the West Bank but even in remote settlements. The second shift, as a result of the PA’s improvement of security for the settlers, is that Orthodox Jews (Haredi) have also discovered the advantages of settling in the West Bank.

Unlike the Zionist religious trend, the religious Haredi’s prefer to remain traditional and live in big groups, such as in Jerusalem or the city of Bnei Brak, located northeast of Tel Aviv, in order to reduce their contact with the secularists.

Because of the improved security conditions in the West Bank the Haredis have discovered the advantages of living in settlements, as they provided them with an isolated environment allowing them to exercise their special religious and social lifestyles, as well as gain economic benefits.

Two Haredi movements, Shas and Yehudit HaTorah, took advantage of their participation in the last Israeli governments and pushed for the construction of four Haredi cities in different areas of the West Bank; Kiryat Sefer, Immanuel, Pisgat Ze’ev and Modi’in.

With the secularists and Haredis joining the settlement project the number of settlers in the West Bank has increased by 5 per cent in 2012 alone and the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has now reached three times the number inside Israel. The ICBS data indicates that the PA is contributing to the Judaisation of the West Bank through its continued security cooperation with the occupation.

Improving settlement economies

The PA’s security cooperation has not only made settlements more attractive to the Jewish people, but it plays a key role in improving the economies of the settlements.

The investigations published by Walla in September indicated that the Jewish settlements have monopolised a large portion of domestic tourism because of the role played by the PA in improving the security of the settlements.

Moreover, due to the improved security environment, the industrial complex, Volcano, near the Ariel settlement, located northwest of the West Bank, has become one of the most important industrial complexes for Israel. It has also expanded its sectors, as an increasing number of Jewish investors are looking to construct factories in the area. This complex was paralysed during the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada.

Rewarding settlers

After the death of two occupation soldiers in Hebron and Qalqilya and the wounding of a settler near Ramallah, the PA security agencies launched a wide-spread campaign of arrests against Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and members.

Although there was no proof suggesting any connection between these two organisations and the incidents, the PA, acting on Israel’s demands, launched this campaign out of fear that a new resistance organisation would emerge in the West Bank.

The unpleasantness of the PA’s behaviour is highlighted by their concern for the security of Jewish settlers whilst crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank are growing in pace, ranging from attacks on people, their homes and the burning of mosques.

12 mosques have been burned so far, not to mention the bulldozed vineyards, uprooted trees and poisoned wells following incitements by rabbis closely linked to the ruling coalition.

Rabbi Dov Lior issued a ruling permitting the settlers to steal the Palestinians’ olives; Lior is the religious authority of the Jewish Home Party, the third largest party in the ruling coalition led by Netanyahu.

The irony is that 90 per cent of the complaints filed by Palestinians in the West Bank against the settlers have been closed. Meanwhile the PA leadership pays lip service by decrying the crimes of the settlers, while doing everything in their power to protect them.

Tempting Zionists with extremism

The history of the conflict with the Zionist entity has demonstrated that the ruling Israeli elites do not take the initiative to adopt a political solution when security is stabilised.

Since 1967 and until the first intifada in 1987, Israel ignored all initiatives to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Only after the outbreak of the intifada and after the Zionist community paid a heavy price, did calls from inside Israel grow for the conflict to be resolved peacefully.

Now, due to the security stability, resistance operations have almost entirely stopped thanks to the cooperation of the PA in tracking down resistance leaders and their members. This has contributed to the increased extremism in the Israeli government’s positions.

In a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently at the Bar-Ilan University this extremism was clearly demonstrated. This speech was one of the most extremist right-wing speeches he has ever given during his political career.

Netanyahu warned the PA that the recognition of Israel’s Jewishness was a condition to the completion of any negotiations; if the Palestinians were to accept this, they would be giving up their right of return.

In addition to this, Netanyahu demanded that the PA approve all arrangements that Israel find are necessary to ensure its security.

Despite the fact that Netanyahu did not provide details about the nature of this request, the Israeli Housing Minister, Uri Ariel, made it clear that the security arrangements practically, mean maintaining Israeli control over the entire West Bank .

Israel continues to build settlements throughout the West Bank and oversee the continuance of the Judaisation of Jerusalem, to complete the Greater Jerusalem project, which aims to increase the number of Jews in the holy city and its surroundings to a million people.

It has reached the point now where some of Netanyahu’s ministers and party representatives are only organising and leading raids on al-Aqsa Mosque to provoke the Palestinians and try to establish new facts on the ground of the first kiblah. Uri Ariel even went against his government’s decision and prayed at the al-Aqsa Mosque, a move intended to invite the rest of the Jewish people to do the same.

MKs from the ruling coalition are working on drafting a bill calling for the division of the prayer times in the al- Aqsa Mosque between the Jews and Muslims, so that Muslims would be prohibited from entering the mosque during the Jewish prayer times, as is the case in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

The PA’s security agencies cooperation with Israel is contributing to the Judaisation of the West Bank and strengthens the settlement and Judaisation project. It is also tempting the Zionists to adopt more extreme positions towards the conflict. Is it logical for Abbas, who is claiming to represent the Palestinian people, to be the one contributing more than any other party to the invalidation of his own cause?

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Hamas: Power outage across Gaza as fuel runs out

View of the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant in Nusairat, on March 26, 2012.
GAZA CITY (AFP) — A shortage of fuel halted the production of electricity across the Gaza Strip on Friday, said the energy authority of the Islamist movement Hamas.

“We have completely stopped the operation of (Gaza’s sole) power plant this morning at 6 a.m. because we don’t have a single liter of fuel,” Fathi el-Sheikh Khalil, the authority’s deputy chairman, told AFP.

An AFP correspondent in the Gaza Strip said the electricity supply had been cut off across most of the territory.

Khalil blamed the power outage on Egypt’s destruction of tunnels used for bringing fuel to Gaza and accused the Palestinian Authority of charging Hamas too much for its fuel.

“Less than 50 percent of the needs of the Gaza Strip are currently covered by electricity from Israel (and) we can no longer get Egyptian fuel due to the destruction of tunnels from Egypt,” he said.

“We tried to get fuel from Israel via the Palestinian Authority, but it has imposed prohibitive taxes.”

The Gaza plant supplies about a third of the electricity the territory of 1.75 million people needs.

“The plant will remain shut until fuel supplies resume from Egypt through the tunnels or the Rafah border crossing, or from Israel if the Palestinian Authority agrees not to impose the heavy taxes,” said Khalil.

In September, the Gaza energy authority warned of an impending shortage of fuel and called on Egypt to resume deliveries to the Strip.

Relations between Cairo and Hamas have deteriorated since the Egyptian army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July and restricted goods going into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, as well as destroying hundreds of the tunnels running underneath the border town.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that in October, less than five percent of the goods that had been going through Rafah in June came through the crossing.

“Less than 10 truckloads of goods may have entered Gaza through the tunnels per day between 20-26 October, compared to 15 truckloads which entered during the previous week, and 30-40 truckloads during September,” it said, citing local sources.

“This amount represents less that five percent of the volume of goods that entered before June 2013.”

Officials in Gaza estimate that at least 80 percent of the tunnels have been destroyed since July.

OCHA said although fresh Palestinian purchases of Israeli fuel partially compensated for the shortage, fuel was more expensive than the Egyptian supplies and therefore “unaffordable” for many Palestinians in Gaza and service providers.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Gazans hold mass funeral for Israel attack victim

Palestinians carry the body of Rabea Barakeh, who was killed in clashes with Israeli troops, during his funeral in the southern city of Khan Yunis on November 1, 2013.

Palestinians carry the body of Rabea Barakeh, who was killed in clashes with Israeli troops, during his funeral in the southern city of Khan Yunis on November 1, 2013.
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have held a mass funeral for a young man killed by Israeli forces in the enclave’s southern city of Khan Yunis.
Nearly 2,000 mourners joined the procession carrying the body of Rabea Barakeh through the streets of Gaza city on Friday.

They were holding up flags of the Palestinian Hamas movement, shouting for revenge against Israel.

The 23-year-old Barakeh and three others were killed in clashes between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters in Khan Yunis late on Thursday.

The violence broke out when Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers went around a hundred meters inside the blockaded Palestinian territory.

At least five Israeli soldiers were also injured in the clashes, which came just days after Israeli warplanes pounded northern Gaza.

The three other Palestinian victims killed in the Thursday Israeli incursion were to be laid to rest later in the day.

The Israeli military frequently bombs the besieged Gaza Strip, claiming the attacks are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.

The 1.7 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are living in what is called the world’s largest open-air prison as Israel retains full control of the airspace, territorial waters, and border crossings of the territory.

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since June 2007, a situation which has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

The real reasons behind the coup: a message from the Muslim Brotherhood

 

Muslim Brotherhood Logo

The defence minister and a number of army officials carried out a military coup on July 3, 2013 against the legitimate government of Egypt that came into office by means of free and fair elections that reflected the people’s will. The coup leaders captured the legitimate and elected civilian president and hid him away; suspended the Constitution passed by referendum and approved by 64 per cent of the people; and dissolved the elected Shura Council. They then appointed an interim president and gave him legislative and executive power and even announced a map for the future based on his will alone. Then a provisional constitution was put in place of the original constitution that was chosen by the people. The defence minister’s excuse for all of this was that he did it in response to the people’s will as manifested in the protest of June 30, 2013.

The truth is that he did this for other reasons that we will list later, after we have proved that the masses who protested on June 30, 2013 wanted nothing more than early presidential elections, and they did not ask for anything else that the coup-organisers actually did. Moreover, the leaks that were published and attributed to the coup leader prove, beyond a doubt, that he is seeking to become president of the republic. The other reasons that may have been used to convince his colleagues, the army officers, to participate in the coup are also listed below:

    1. Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi carried out the coup in order to seize power. The purpose of the acts of terrorism and murders he committed was to supress the people in order for them not to oppose his ambition to seize power. The same can be said for his arrest of numerous leaders and the statements he made to the press which were revealed in his leaked conversations and suggest that he is able to destroy anyone thinking of running for the position.
    2. Control the military officer’s authority and social standing: There is social movement in Egypt, as every level or profession is seeking to position itself on a higher level on the social ladder, giving it more respect and appreciation, and increasing its financial interests. This movement is a good thing if it is in the context of peaceful competition and is established on the foundation of achieving the country’s interest above all, and if it avoids social or professional bias, as well as looking down on others.

The army officers jumped to the top of the social ladder after the 1952 revolution, when they were appointed to most of the senior positions in the country (both military and civilian) beginning from the president of the republic to the leadership and management of civilian institutions. This certainly put them on a higher social level and they felt privileged and superior to others, not to mention the many financial benefits given to them. This lasted for 60 years, with the exception of a short period after the 1967 defeat against Israel.

Moreover, the succession of military officials in the position of president (three) in the light of the dictatorship and tyrannical regimes has led to the feeling that the president needs to have a military background because of the control and added benefits this gives.

As such, when the January 25 Revolution took place in 2011 and ousted Hosni Mubarak (a former army officer), and the people wanted to restore their freedom, dignity and sovereignty under a civilian democratic constitutional and legal regime, the military leadership did not like the demands but were forced to deal with them under popular pressure. They continued to stall the progress towards democratic transformation until the first civilian president was elected a year and a half later, instead of 6 months later as was agreed originally.

Just days before the president was elected, the Shura Council was dissolved, restoring the military council’s legislative authority and keeping it in the political scene and at the heart of national events. Problems were then put in the way of the new president, including the killing of Egyptian soldiers in northern Sinai less than two months after his election. The president launched a military attack against the terrorists in Sinai and made plans to attend the funerals of the martyred soldiers. However, shortly before the funerals, he received reports indicating a plot to attack him, so he did not go; at the same time he dismissed a number of military and police officials including Army Chief Field Marshal Al-Tantawi and Colonel Anan.

A member of the opposition against President Morsi said that he had met with a senior official in the American embassy who told him if he managed to gather 100,000 protestors in front of the presidential palace for three days, the US would recognise and support him. This opposition member also said that the Field Marshall told him to begin the protests and that he would support them, which is the same method used by Al-Sisi on July 3. This means that the military leaders rejected the idea of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (the president) being a civilian. From then on, the plan to incite public opinion against the civilian president was carried out through the media, the refusal of government officials and bodies to carry out their duties, and communications between military officials and a number of politicians who lost the elections. This went on until it reached its climax on June 30, 2013 and the military leaders carried out their coup three days later.

    1. Preserve economic benefits and advantages: Since the Camp David peace treaty with Israel, military-owned economic institutions have expanded and been established in most economic activities (agriculture, industry, trade and services) and positions on their boards of directors became bonuses for senior officers when they retired from service. These projects cost them very little, as the land was free, and, sometimes, so was the electricity and water; the labour was done by military recruits, and they were not subject to taxes. This economic sector grew so large that it now represents 40 per cent of the Egyptian economy, according to some reports. There is no doubt that there are a large number of officials benefitting from this sector’s many advantages, in addition to the vast amount of state-owned land that it now owns.

Certainly a new government that intended to reform the system and eliminate corruption, restore the collapsed economy and apply social justice in a manner that allows as many Egyptians as possible to benefit from the country’s bounties, would treat and deal with this sector fairly; that is bound to affect the many benefits accrued by military leaders. Therefore, the officers sought to overthrow the new government and restore the old regime that had allowed them to dip their hands into the state coffers, creating a mutually beneficial bond amongst the higher class that enjoyed wealth and good fortune, while the vast majority of the population lived just above or under the official poverty line.

    1. Maintain secrecy regarding the military budget: The army’s budget has remained one of the best kept secrets; it is the state’s priority budget and is not accounted for at the end of the year. After the January 25 Revolution, demands were made for an open discussion about the military budget, excluding the cost of armaments, which is regarded as an issue of national security and cannot be published. Some people proposed discussing the armament costs in the parliamentary National Security Committee, with the rest of the budget up for open discussion like every other country. Secrecy, it was argued, cannot be used as a pretext for corruption; the military commanders were not comfortable with these demands.

In an article in the Washington Post, American journalist Seymour Hersh mentioned his friend Mohamed Hassanein Heikal and the conversation that took place between them when Hersh gave a lecture at the American University in Cairo, to which he was invited by Heikal. The doyen of Egyptian journalists asked Hersh if he thought that the army would let the Muslim Brotherhood take office and discover the inconceivable level of corruption, and then surrender their freedom to the Islamic movement. Hersh replied that this could happen in a revolution in which thousands had sacrificed their lives for the sake of cleansing the military institution, the institution that, once cleansed, would enable the country to head towards a clear future. At that point, Heikal mocked the Egyptian people, saying, “What people are you talking about who would sacrifice thousands to cleanse the state and the army?”

    1. Fear of military escapades: Many coup leaders have stated that President Mohamed Morsi embraced nationalist principles and ideas, and according to the Washington Post Al-Sisi said that Dr Morsi’s project was to revive the Islamic empire. However, these coup leaders ignored the fact that the nationalist idea means the belief that the Islamic people are one unified nation and that pursuit of such unity cannot be achieved by military invasions, but starts with building Egypt, improving it and strengthening it in every aspect. At the same time, cooperation with the Arab countries would be necessary, forming a joint Arab market in education, scientific research, agriculture, industry, the military, legislature and cultural integration, in order to establish a form of consensual unity that fits the situation of each country and is in tune with the times. This would certainly take decades and perhaps generations to achieve before moving on to non-Arab Islamic countries, which could require centuries.

If President Morsi is a wise and rational man and believes in peace, gradualism, and the freedom and sovereignty of the people, then he could not be involved in such military escapades of this kind. As such, it is clear that his words have been exploited by the coup for the purpose of inciting the army against the president and inciting the West in order for them to accept the overthrow of a democratically-elected president and government.

    1. Mutual ideologies and interests with the West: There is no doubt that the coup organisers do not believe in the Islamic project as an independent project for the renaissance of Egypt, and so they reject President Morsi’s vision; in short, they are secularists. The proof of this is that the Committee of Fifty chosen to amend the 2012 Constitution that was approved by 64 per cent of the people and which has morphed from a committee to amend the constitution to a committee writing a new constitution, are all, with a few exceptions, secularists, left-wingers and liberals who hate the Islamic project.

They are in line with the West’s wishes and this is clear from the words of Nabil Fahmi, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the coup government, who told a European television station that the reason for the coup was not because Morsi was good or bad, but because he wanted to turn Egypt’s face into an Islamic face.

In addition to this, the West was hurrying to get rid of President Morsi because he was adopting a liberal and independent approach and was dealing with everyone as equals and with national dignity. He also wanted to expand Egypt’s international ties with countries around the world and refused to subject his own country to the West and its policies; this even prompted Barack Obama to say that Egypt is no longer an ally of America. Moreover, Morsi was seeking self-sufficiency in food, medicine and weapons to ensure the independence of his decisions, and this definitely went against the West’s wishes to control and dominate Egypt’s policies. Furthermore, the president refused normalisation with the Zionists, and even refused to have warm relations with them, which sparked their anger and outrage, as well as that of the West. It is also known that the coup leaders have a close relationship with the West by virtue of the continuous training and contact, as well as dependency, throughout the rule of the Mubarak regime.

    1. Interaction with the Arab countries afraid of democracy and the correct Islamic model: Although the January 25 Revolution received much attention and fascinated the world, it was condemned by the Gulf States because it overthrew a corrupt regime and a tyrannical president who was an important pillar in the so-called moderate axis that follows American policies. It was expected of these governments to welcome the rise of Islamists to power since they consider Islam as their main frame of reference and are the guardians of the religion and its holy cities. Furthermore, if Egypt, with its involvement in modern science, progress and development, and its strength in a number of other fields, is able to eliminate corruption and escape American domination, it would be in the best interest of the entire Arab world.

However, the Islamists, and Egyptians in general, have not thought of spreading the revolution beyond Egypt or destabilising any regime in any other country. Unfortunately, though, these governments thought that the revolution could be transmitted like a virus, so they adopted the wrong position and were hostile towards the revolution and its resultant democratic government. That is why the intelligence agencies of several Arab and non-Arab countries began plotting to overthrow the elected government in Egypt and spent billions of dollars to cause internal problems and sedition through the media. Moreover, they created crises over fuel and food, for example, and did not offer the government any aid so that they would intensify. They even helped the organisers to carry out the military coup, pumping in billions of dollars immediately afterwards, something that they are continuing to do.

Nevertheless, despite their careful planning, the coup leaders have overlooked one thing; the nature of the Egyptian people who rejected the coup from day one and have continued to protest against it on the streets for four consecutive months. Their protests have been peaceful despite the brutality of the coup-led regime which has pitted civilians against tanks, armoured vehicles, aircraft, guns and snipers. The coup government has killed 5,000 people, wounded 10,000 and arrested even more. They have even raided towns and villages with tanks, burned mosques and destroyed homes. Be that as it may, the people’s determination to defeat and overthrow the coup is strong and, God Willing, will remain so.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

German expert says Egyptian media exploited Morsi freedoms to overthrow him

Professor Carola Richter

Professor Carola Richter, from Berlin’s Free University, said that the media had used the freedoms introduced by Morsi to overthrow him.

A German expert in international communications has expressed her surprise that the Egyptian media have rejected the freedoms opened up by ousted president Mohamed Morsi and opted instead for the old, military-led authoritarianism.

Professor Carola Richter, from Berlin’s Free University, said that the media had used the freedoms introduced by Morsi to overthrow him. “The Egyptian media played a role in the battle between the military and the rebels during which fabricated scenes of pro- coup protests were broadcast.” She stressed her belief that the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim that the media had mobilised public opinion against its rule “is absolutely accurate”.

According to Richter, the financial and logistical support given by leading Copt Naguib Sawiris to the opposition Tamarod movement demonstrated how social media could be manipulated to achieve personal and collective aims.

“The army has succeeded in controlling the media as a result of partisan ideology and individual interests,” said Prof. Richter. “These are rooted deeply in the media structure and the country’s politicians, economists and military elites as part of the media culture.”

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank, injuring dozens

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel forces injured dozens of Palestinians and international activists after opening fire on protests across the West Bank on Friday.

Weekly protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall took place in the towns of Nabi Saleh, Bilin, and al-Masara, and dozens were wounded after Israeli forces opened fire with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse them.

In Nabi Saleh, Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators who marched towards village lands that were confiscated in order to build the separation wall that cuts through their village.

Demonstrators chanted songs for unity and condemning Israeli “crimes,” including the killing of 5 Palestinians in Jenin and Gaza in recent days. Israeli forces subsequently fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, and as a result dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

The Israeli army had declared the village a closed military zone in the early hours of the morning and dozens of soldiers were deployed to limit people’s movement.

The people of Nabi Saleh have been protesting weekly for four years, demanding that their lands confiscated by Israeli forces to build the separation wall be returned.

In Bilin, four Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers dispersed the weekly demonstration.

Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters as they marched near their confiscated lands near the wall.

Ahmad Burnat, 20, Iyad Burnat, 40, Farhan Burnat, 36, and an unnamed Norwegian activist, 30, were struck by rubber-coated steel bullets in different parts of their bodies. Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers. Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.

In al-Masara, a village south of Bethlehem, dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest on Friday.

Popular Struggle Committee Coordinator in Bethlehem Hassan Brejia said that Israeli forces had used tear gas to disperse protesters, who were marching in order to celebrate the freeing of 26 Palestinian prisoners earlier this week.

Since 2006, the residents of al-Masara have protested on a weekly basis, demanding Israeli authorities return village lands confiscated in order to build the separation wall as it crosses through their town.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop construction of the separation wall within the occupied West Bank.

When completed, 85 percent of the wall will run inside the West Bank.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Lebanon authorities want to question head of Alawite party in mosque bombings that killed 45

BEIRUT — Lebanese prosecutors are seeking to interrogate a former member of Parliament, whose party supports Syrian President Bashar Assad, about a double bombing in August that killed scores of worshippers at mosques that support Syrian rebels.

The Arab Democratic Party has denounced the request for its leader, Ali Eid, to appear for questioning about the attack after allegations that he helped several of the accused suspects flee the Lebanese city of Tripoli for nearby Syria. The party, which Eid and his son, Rifat, lead, dominates life in northern Lebanon’s Alawite community, which has very close religious and political ties to the Syrian regime. Assad and much of the Syrian elite are Alawites, who follow an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

It’s these ties that immediately drove suspicion of the party’s involvement in the double bombing, which targeted Sunni Muslims known for their anti-Assad stance. The ensuing warrants and arrests by judicial authorities indicate that investigators have concluded the party was involved in the plot along with Syrian military intelligence officials, who’ve been named as conspirators in the bombings but cannot be apprehended across the nearby border in Syria.

A series of arrests and interrogations of low-level figures in the apparent plot recently led to top officials in the party being named as persons of interest in the case, most recently Eid himself. The ADP denies the charges and has threatened to block – with military force – any attempt to arrest or question party members in the case.

ADP’s well-equipped militia has been battling Sunni militias in central Tripoli for weeks in some of the worst sustained fighting linked to the neighboring Syrian conflict in over a year. Dozens of people have been killed or wounded in two weeks of near constant violence, which has highlighted the inability of the Lebanese military and police to assert control.

The head of the Alawite sect in Lebanon – Sheikh Assad Assi – this week denounced the investigation into the blasts as “politicized” and said it was “linked to a foreign scheme,” phrasing that is often used here to describe not just events in Lebanon, but the anti-Assad insurgency as well.

At the same time, he said the Alawite sect “totally disavows” the mosque attacks.

In an interview Friday with a local news outlet that also supports the Assad government, Rifat Eid said his father would not make himself available to the police and claimed that foreign pressure from Saudi Arabia was behind the request.

The current allegation that Ali Eid was involved in the attack revolves around the testimony of his driver, who is in custody for the bombing and reportedly told investigators that he helped Ahmed Mehri, a party member suspected of playing a key role in the bombings, escape Lebanon for Syria at the request of the elder Eid.

Prosecutors from Lebanon’s secretive military tribunal system have charged seven men in the bombings, which killed 45 and wounded hundreds as they left prayer services. Most of the accused have direct links to the ADP. Only three men have actually been arrested, and investigators believe the rest are in Syria.

On Friday, Lebanese officials struggled to prevent Tripoli from exploding into further violence after a week that saw army units come under repeated fire from both sides of the conflict as they tried to restore order.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Israeli terrorism against Palestinain civilians

  The lousy New York Times today, using the name of its subservient token Arab stringer whose only job is to look after the welfare of Israeli collaborators in occupied Palestine, on behalf of his Zionist handlers, “reported” that Israel killed a Palestinian “militant”.  But it did not report that a a civilian vegetable vender in the village of Qabatia in Jenin was also killed when Israeli terrorist troops fired indiscriminately in the market.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

Netanyahu’s sweet deal: 104 prisoners for thousands of settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2011.

Israel is reaping the benefits of a sweet deal it struck at the start of the peace process: release a token amount of Palestinian prisoners, and continue gobbling up the West Bank.

On the same evening that 26 Palestinian prisoners were released over the objections of Israeli Jewish citizens, the Israeli Interior Ministry announced that plans to construct 1,500 homes in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem were moving forward. While this project has long been in the pipeline–announcement of settlements there caused a diplomatic crisis with the U.S. in 2010–the new announcement means that “within several months, it will be possible to start issuing building permits and marketing land to contractors,” Haaretz’s Barak Ravid reports.

Ramat Shlomo isn’t the only illegal settlement that is benefiting from the prisoner release. The next day, Israel announced that more plans to build settlements are moving though the pipeline. 2,500 units in total–including in settlements outside the “blocs”–will be built in the future.

Ravid also reports that plans to build a national park in East Jerusalem that would block construction in nearby Palestinian neighborhoods is moving ahead, as is a move to build a tourist center in the Palestinian village of Silwan. The tourist center will sit opposite of the City of David, another tourist spot that Jews around the world travel to, in Silwan, a flashpoint area of East Jerusalem where settler groups are actively trying to expand their presence.

The Israeli government did the exact same thing in August, when the first batch of what will be 104 Palestinian prisoners freed were released. Israel announced that 2,000 homes in East Jerusalem were to be constructed on the the same day that prisoners were freed.

Right-wing members of the Israeli coalition government have howled over releasing the prisoners, who had been in jail since before the Oslo Accords and have served time for violent attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. Israel had already agreed to release these prisoners in 1999.

Despite its cries of anger, the right knew the prisoner release would happen when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started negotiating with the Palestinian Authority (PA). The roots of the prisoner release for settlements deal date back to July 2013. Netanyahu needed to give the Palestinian Authority something to entice them back to the table, so he gave them the least bad option for Israel: releasing prisoners. The other options–a settlement freeze or declaring the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations–were off the table, since it would lead to a collapse of his ultra-right coalition. It’s a perfect microcosm for the true priorities of Israel: holding onto the West Bank and expanding settlements.

The prisoner release allows the negotiations to continue rolling on. PA President Abbas can point to an achievement every single time another batch of prisoners are released. Reuters reported that he told a crowd of Palestinians celebrating the release of the 26 prisoners last night that there was no connection between the prisoner release and settlement expansion. “The settlements are void, void, void,” Abbas said. Reuters also reported that the Palestinian Cabinet released a statement saying they “would reject any attempt by Israel to ‘trade’ prisoners for continued settlement-building.”

Except that Abbas has effectively agreed to that trade by staying in the peace talks while settlements march on.

Meanwhile, Israel’s priority of expanding settlements is strengthened. The next time prisoners are released, expect more settlements to be announced.

(Source / 01.11.2013)

EQB detect part of spy system used by Israel against resistance in Gaza

EQB detect part of spy system used by Israel against resistance in Gaza

Al Qassam website – Ezzedeen Al Qassam spokesman announced in a conference on 1-11-2013, that the Brigades is in the midst of continuous hidden with the Israeli enemy & added that this war does not stop, because of the continuous aggression against the Palestinians.
The most important point in the statement:

  • Al-Qassam Brigades managed in the last period to detect an important part of the spy system used by Israel against the Palestinians & the resistance in the Gaza Strip. Abu_Obeida_conference
  • Al Qassam Brigades ambushed the Israeli soldier, which caused killings & injuries between soldiers
  • Al Qassam members taught the Israeli enemy a lesson, will not forget, in Khanyounis city
  • The enemy was paralyzed in front of a brave group of al – Qassam Brigades & promise Palestinians to continue the resistance path.
  • Martyrs: Field Commander: Khaled Abu Bakra , Field commander: Mohamed Rashid Daoud, the mujahid: Mohamed Essam Al Qassas, & the Mujahid: Rabe’a Abu Baraka
  • Any Israeli incursion or aggression on our land or  our people, will not pass without an paying the price, and Gaza will continue to be as always a graveyard for the invaders.
  • In the midst of the battle with the enemy, we will not forget the  key issues of our nation Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa mosque, the prisoners and settlements
  • Al-Qassam Brigades will not accept our people to be starved and we will act if the blockade remains

From its side, Hamas Movement praised Palestinian resistance for blocking an Israeli incursion into the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday evening.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman for the movement, welcomed al-Qassam Brigades’ operation after blocking the Israeli incursion, which resulted in deaths and wounded among Israeli soldiers.

Gaza will be the Israel’s hell, he said.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, has declared that four of its fighters have been killed while blocking an Israeli incursion east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities also admitted the injury of 5 Israeli soldiers during the clashes.

(Source / 01.11.2013)