Palestinian official insists on pre-1967 borders

TEL AVIV: Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Israeli Army Radio on Sunday, “the nature of Israel is something that should be defined by Israelis, not Palestinians.”

Erekat said Palestinians expected Israel to complete on March 28 the release of the final batch of 104 Palestinian prisoners it agreed to free as part of peace efforts.

“And then the negotiations are supposed to continue until April 29,” he said, referring to the end of the nine-month negotiating period originally envisaged by Kerry.

Reiterating another core Palestinian demand, Erekat said Israel must recognise a Palestinian state along the lines that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israeli forces captured the West Bank, Arab East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said any peace deal with the Palestinians would take at least another year to negotiate should both sides accept US-proposed principles to keep talks going.

In an Israel Radio interview broadcast on Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated that he regarded guidelines that US Secretary of State John Kerry is drafting for a future deal as an “American document of American positions.”

Such a definition could give Netanyahu leeway to register reservations that could discourage staunch supporters of Jewish settlement in occupied land where Palestinians want to make their state from bolting his coalition.

“I think (the Kerry document) is a possible path towards moving the talks forward. It will take us at least a year to exhaust these negotiations but I can’t say that the Palestinians will accept this document, and I also have not seen it yet,” he said.

Netanyahu gave the interview on Thursday in Los Angeles, before flying back to Israel after a US visit that included White House talks with President Barack Obama.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to see Obama on March 17 to discuss the so-called “framework deal” aimed at salvaging the faltering negotiations, which began in July with a target date of April for a final agreement.

Abbas has rejected a core Netanyahu demand — recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians fear such a condition will deny Palestinian refugees, who fled or were forced to flee their homes in Arab-Israeli wars, any right of return.

Israel has said a return to those boundaries would leave it with indefensible borders.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Palestinian children continue to be imprisoned

On Tuesday 4th March, 14-year-old Wassem Rajabi from the Jabal Johar area of Hebron (al-Khalil), was detained and driven away by Israeli soldiers on his way back from school. This Thursday, after nine days in prison, his family will go to the police station to find out his fate. Recently, more than 50 children from the area have been arrested and imprisoned. In the last week alone, between 15-20 children were arrested, all under the age of 18.

Wassem Rajabi is from a family with few resources. His father died eight years ago in a work-place accident inside the 1948 areas, and he now lives with his mother, an older brother and two younger sisters. When Wassen did not come home from school last Tuesday, his family discovered he was taken by the Israeli military, imprisoned and transferred to Ramallah. He was charged with throwing stones at Israeli forces. His family have stated that he was at home at the time the incident were supposed to have occurred. As Wassem is only 14-years-old, he is too young to be imprisoned according to the United Nation’s declaration of human rights. However, Israeli forces detain and prolong detentions for children on a regular basis.

Wassem’s family has been told that he will spend 10 days in prison and will have to pay 2000 shekel, an amount impossible to raise by the family. If they do not pay this money, Wassem he could be facing as much as six months in prison. This coming Thursday the court will give their decision.

The Jabal Johar area is in the southern part of Hebron, very close to several illegal settlements. The children of the area need to pass one or more checkpoints to travel to their school, and are often subject to attacks from tear gas canisters, stun grenades and other forms of harassment by the Israeli army. International groups have reports of children as young as seven-years-old being detained by the Israeli military, and each week children as young as four have to pass through clouds of tear gas to reach their classes.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Saudi jails Islamist who incited protests on Twitter

In addition to a jail sentence, the court also banned the sentenced Saudi citizen from posting on social media or traveling for eight years.

A Saudi court on Sunday jailed an Islamist for eight years on charges of inciting protests, mocking the king and criticizing the country’s security services on Twitter, official news agency SPA reported.

The unidentified defendant was been convicted of inciting “families of those arrested for security reasons to protest by publishing Tweets and videos on YouTube,” justice ministry spokesman Fahd al-Bakran was quoted by SPA as saying.

Prosecutors also found the defendant guilty of “mocking” King Abdullah in addition to criticizing security services for arresting “promoters of extremists ideology.”

The court also banned the sentenced Saudi citizen from posting on social media or traveling for eight years.
While security forces have previously arrested the accused on similar charges, they were freed after pledging to refrain from such rhetoric again.

Not support allowed

The sentence came two days after the Saudi interior ministry published a list of “terror” groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, another jihadist group fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has said it will prosecute those who back such groups “financially or morally,” or seek to promote them in the media and on social networks.

It also forbids “participation in, calling for, or incitement to fighting in conflict zones in other countries” as well as calling for demonstrations or taking part in them.

Last month, King Abdullah announced courts would issue jail terms of up to 20 years for anyone belonging to “terrorist groups” and fighting abroad.

It is believed scores of Saudis have joined Islamist extremists fighting in Syria.

Saudi officials have issued stern warnings against volunteers from the kingdom heading to fight alongside the mainly Sunni rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Riyadh established terrorism courts in 2011 to try dozens of Saudi nationals and foreigners accused of belonging to al-Qaeda or of involvement in the wave of bloody attacks that swept the country from 2003.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

UAE halts project for freed prisoners in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The United Arab Emirates has suspended a project to build a compound for freed prisoners in the center of the Gaza Strip, a minister said.

Public Works and Housing Minister Yousef Aziz said that the “Emirates informed us of the suspension of the project a while ago, since then we persistently contacted officials there to reverse the decision but to no avail.”

He said in a statement that the UAE did not give a reason why the project was suspended.

Aziz added that 70 percent of the plans and designs for the city were prepared.

The UAE donated $50 million to build the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan city on 100 dunams in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Muslim Brotherhood divides Gulf Cooperation Council

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, March 5, 2014. They are also soon expected to ban Qatar Airways from overflying their territory, which will not fail to cause serious financial losses to the Emirate. In addition to closing the Saudi-Qatari border, which is the only land entry to the Emirate.

The three States slammed Qatar for backing a coup attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE in November 2013, and for continuing its subversive action via Al-Jazeera even though the Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani had made a written commitment in Kuwait not to interfere in the internal affairs of his neighbors. Indeed, on February 22, the Qatari channel broadcast an incendiary sermon by its spiritual counselor and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Many observers believe that the television preacher’s intervention was encouraged by the former Emir who, it would seem, retrieved some of his prerogatives behind his son’s back, in whose favor he had been forced to abdicate.

Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman have not joined the other three states.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has now taken a stance against jihadism. Consequently, it has prohibited its citizens, under threat of imprisonment, from getting involved in conflicts abroad, and has just added the Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant, and the Muslim Brotherhood to its list of terrorist organizations.

This decision seems to contradict its investment in an anti-Bashar Al-Assad army stationed in Jordan.

After several coup attempts and having been largely banned in the Arab world during the Cold War, the Muslim Brotherhood were taken under Washington’s protective wing in 2005, who tried to put them in power throughout the Arab world in 2011. However, their failure in Egypt and Libya made them fall into disgrace, with the exception of Syria and Palestine (Hamas) where Washington continues to support them against the Syrian government and in negotiations with Israel.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

8,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem without water for three days

Palestinian children with water bottles

Arab inhabitants at the Palestinian refugee camps of Su’fat, RasKhamis and Ras Shihadeh, as well as Al-Salam Suburb, said they have been suffering from a complete water shortage for several days

The Israeli water company Jihon said on Friday that 80,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem have been without water for more than three days.

In a statement Jihon said: “About 80,000 Palestinians in four Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and its outskirts have been suffering from complete loss of water for three days.”

The Israeli company said that it would like to supply water for all consumers in Jerusalem, including Jewish and Arab citizens, but the water infrastructure in the Arab areas is decaying. It also said that the increasing number of inhabitants contributes to the problem.

Meanwhile, the Arab inhabitants at the Palestinian refugee camps of Su’fat, RasKhamis and Ras Shihadeh, as well as Al-Salam Suburb, said they have been suffering from a complete water shortage for several days.

The residents said in a statement issued on Saturday that tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and citizens in the three residential gatherings in Jerusalem have been without water since the beginning of last week.

According to the statement the Palestinians said that they did not know the reason why the water supply stopped.

The statement also blamed the company Jihon, which is the only body that has a permit to supply water to Jerusalem, for the water shortages. “It started reducing water portions two weeks ago,” the statement said. “And in the end it completely stopped the water.”

Deputy head of the Popular Committee in Su’fat Refugee Camp, Khalid al-Khaldi said: “There are about 23,000 Palestinian refugees and citizens in the camp and they have not had water for three days. In Ras Shihadeh, there has been no water for 20 days.”

He reiterated that there has been no water in Ras Khamis and Al-Salam Suburb for a long time either.

Al-Khaldi blamed the UNRWA, which is responsible for the Palestinian refugees, for the water problem. He called for it to immediately move to solve the problem.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Interior Minister to buy 50,000 new weapons from abroad

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said that his ministry had recently completed a contract for 50,000 new weapons for the police force.

His statement came during a surprise visit to security authorities in Shibin al-Kom, Monufiya.

In his statements quoted by state-run MENA news agency on Saturday, the minister did not specify the kind of weaponry or who the weapons would be purchased from.

Egypt has been witnessing a surge in bloody attacks against police forces since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsy. Authorities blame the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups for the violence.

Activists have criticized the ministry’s arms imports and their use in crackdowns on protests since the 2011 uprising.

During the visit, Ibrahim stressed that “mean” terrorist operations against police “will not discourage the forces from confronting terrorism strongly.”

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Bassil calls for distributing refugees inside Syria, other Arab countries


Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. (AFP PHOTO / Yasser Al-Zayyat)

BEIRUT – Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil called for distributing Syrian refugees inside safe areas Syria and in other Arab countries rather than Lebanon.

“The ‘open door’ policy towards the refugees cannot be adopted [in Lebanon] anymore, because an internal explosion is imminent if the situation remains as it is,” Bassil said during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

“The refugee issue [affects] Lebanon…it is related to Lebanon’s existence and identity,” Bassil added.

Bassil also noted that Lebanon was sheltering 45 percent of Syrian refugees, “while the state’s institutions have not yet received any international aid.”

The minister said Lebanon would stop receiving refugees if no aid was delivered.

“Lebanon is screaming to you from its pain, answer the scream so that it will not scream in the face of the whole world by stopping the influx of refugees.”

The foreign minister also spoke on Hezbollah’s arsenal during the meeting, and reiterated Lebanon’s right to free its land.

“Lebanon has the right to free its territories and to resist against any Israeli aggression by all legitimate means,” Bassil said.

“No one in the Arab community has the right to give up resistance in the face of Israeli occupation.”

Lebanon is screaming to you from its pain, answer the scream so that it will not scream in the face of the whole world by stopping the influx of refugees.

(Source / 09.03.2014)

Palestinian women demand their rights


Palestinian Women Demand their Rights


Events to mark ‘International Women’s Day’ began in earnest in Palestine on March 6th as women from various movements and organisations staged a small demonstration outside the entrance to Yasser Arafat’s tomb at al-Muqata’ in Ramallah. The event which was called for by a coalition of women’s groups in the city demanded full equality for women under law and in practice in Palestine. Palestine Authority police and plain clothes security officers requested that the protesters move away from the presidential compound and in to the city centre but the demonstrators refused to be moved as they exercised their rights to protest which should be the norm in any society.

On March 8th – the day celebrated as ‘International Women’s Day’ globally – a much larger protest gathered at the entrance to Qalandia refugee camp on the outskirts of Ramallah and made its way towards Jerusalem. Organisers said the protest would attempt to pass the checkpoint and reach Jerusalem although upon reaching Qalandia checkpoint and the Apartheid Wall it was met with a violent response from the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) who fired large amounts of tear gas and percussion grenades at the non-violent march. Palestinian flags were hung on the fences of the checkpoint and some Palestinian youth as well as women responded to the tear gas by throwing stones at the IOF.

For women in Palestine these two events are only the start of many being held across Palestine in the coming days. The demand for full gender equality and women’s rights within Palestinian society and the collective demands of all Palestinian people for liberation will be highlighted jointly during these events.


1,000 Palestinians to go on hunger strike in Israeli jail


1,000 Palestinians to go on hunger strike in Israeli jail

Some 4600 Palestinian detainees, including 12 women and 187 children, are currently held in Israeli prisons

Nearly one thousand Palestinian prisoners in the on Sunday notified the Israeli Negev prison administration of their intention to go on hunger strike next month, according to a Palestinian NGOS.

“The strike is a protest against humiliating inspections of and insults to the families of the prisoners and the deliberate delay of visiting hours,” the Palestinian Prisoner Club said in a statement.

The prisoners are also complaining against medical negligence, it added.

Some 4600 Palestinian detainees, including 12 women and 187 children, are currently held in Israeli prisons, according the Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry.

(Source / 09.03.2014)