Palestinian shot after stab attempt in Hebron’s Old City

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Sunday shot a Palestinian near an Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance of al-Shuhada street in Hebron’s Old City after she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.Witnesses told Ma’an that a 35-year-old woman from a Hebron-area village attempted to stab a soldier before she was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet.According to witnesses, a young Palestinian man approached the woman and attempted to help her but was prevented when he was also shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet.Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics then gave the woman medical treatment on site before she was taken into custody by Israeli soldiers, witnesses added.Israeli media reported that the woman was in moderate to serious condition after being shot.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the incident but told Ma’an they were still investigating details of the attempted attack.The attack attempt is the latest to take place in the occupied Palestinian territory, where an escalation of violence that kicked off in October has continued full-fledged into December.Hebron’s Old City has been at the epicenter of the recent tensions, where Israeli forces last week shot and injured 16-year-old Lama Munthir Hafith al-Bakri northeast of Hebron’s Old City after the army said she attempted to stab an Israeli pedestrian.Palestinian residents of the Hebron governorate have remained under severe restrictions on movement for several weeks.Routes leading from Hebron-area villages to main traffic arteries have either been entirely blocked to vehicular movement or are controlled by flying checkpoints manned by Israeli military forces, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.Hebron’s Old City was meanwhile declared a closed military zone last month, with entrance only allowed to Palestinian residents of the Israeli-controlled H2 area as well as Israeli settlers that live in illegal settlements across the area.

Hundreds of Palestinians from across the Hebron district last week protested for the return of the bodies of 21 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli military or settlers.
Israeli authorities have withheld the bodies of suspected attackers from the families, sparking outrage especially among Hebron communities.
(Source / 20.12.2015)

IOF opens fire at Gazan farmers, carries out mock raids

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire Sunday morning at Palestinian farmers in central Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported during the attack.

Eyewitnesses reported that the IOF soldiers stationed at the border areas near al-Maghazi refugee camp in Deir al-Balah city opened gunfire at a group of Palestinian farmers and houses in the area.

The attack was carried out at the same time as Israeli army vehicles patrolled the borderline and drones hovered over the territory.

The armed attack forced the farmers to leave their agricultural lands.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes carried out mock raids on the Gaza Strip, spreading fear of imminent air strikes among the residents.

Loud explosions were heard across the Gaza Strip after Israeli F-16 jet fighters launched mock raids over the enclave.

The attack is another episode in Israel’s violations of the Cairo-brokered ceasefire accord signed on August 26, 2014, in the wake of a large-scale military offensive on the coastal enclave.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

Justice denied: Rachel Corrie died protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces. Her parents carry on the fight

The Corries won’t give up, continuing to draw attention to the occupation, and the barbaric practice of demolition

Justice denied: Rachel Corrie died protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces. Her parents carry on the fight

In 2003, a 23-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by a bulldozer operated by two members of the Israeli Defense Forces. Rachel Corrie was in Gaza to work with an international human rights organization; at the time of her death she was involved in a nonviolent act of civil disobedience, placing her body in front of a Palestinian home to stop its demolition by the Israeli state. Despite the fact that the demonstration was well-known, and that people warned the soldiers of Corrie’s presence, shouting and waving at the bulldozer as it approached Corrie, the soldiers claimed they could not see her.

In 2012, a district court in Israel decided that Israel was not responsible for Corrie’s death. This finding drew immediate criticism, not only from both international and Israeli human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and Yesh Din, but also from the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, who claimed that the investigation “was not satisfactory, and wasn’t as thorough, credible or transparent as it should have been.” Former President Jimmy Carter also declared, “The killing of an American peace activist is unacceptable. The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.”

This year the final appeal by her family was rejected by an Israeli judge. Why? The Israeli court has ruled for a “military exemption” and that Rachel Corrie was responsible for her own death.

Hussein Abu Hussein, one of the Palestinian attorneys working on the case, is dubious about the court’s reasoning: “The Israeli judge came to the conclusion that the state is not responsible for harms which take place during a time of war, and he declared Rachel was in a war zone. But what kind of war are we talking about? There had been no declaration of war; there was no armed conflict at the scene. The Israeli soldiers were sitting on the bulldozer, they were not even allowed to get down off the bulldozer. How is that a war? Rachel came to Gaza legally, with an Israeli visa, to do international human rights work, to save Palestinian homes from illegal demolition. The Corries are seeking both justice and accountability.”

The obstacles placed between the Corrie family and “justice and accountability” are so formidable that the U.S. attorney for western Washington, John McKay, a Republican appointee, told the Corries that the chances of the State Department helping them were nil.

He explained that there is a narrow window in U.S. law for investigating and prosecuting an international case such as this –18 U.S.C. 2332 – and all “elements” of the applicable statutes must be present for an investigation. He said there would never be a U.S. investigation in Rachel’s case, because of element 2332D. This calls for the attorney general of the United States to certify that in his judgment the act was intended to “coerce, intimidate, or retaliate against a government or a civilian population.” McKay told the Corries that no U.S. attorney general, past, present or future, would ever provide this certification against the government of Israel.

Contrast this with the case of British citizen James Miller, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker killed by Israeli forces in Rafah two months after Corrie’s death. His family ultimately received more than $2 million in damages from the Israeli government. This very different outcome might have had something to do with the fact that the U.K. government had threatened to seek the extradition of the Israeli soldiers in question. This vast difference points out the extent to which the U.S. continues to grant immunity to Israel, and also why we in the U.S. should care.

Despite the denial of their appeal, the Corries continue to travel the world telling Rachel’s story, and, crucially, drawing attention to not only the continuation of the occupation, but also to its intensification, the extension of a colonial project of evictions, demolitions and settlement building. Again, despite the fact the U.S. State Department continues to condemn these actions, the U.S. government continues to pour tax dollars into Israel, $3.1 billion a year, that help pay for these illegal acts. Even some supporters of Israel in Congress are becoming alarmed.  Since 1962 the U.S. has awarded Israel more than $100 billion in aid, far more than any other country in the world. And it’s not only direct subsidies of the occupation that are involved. Recently Ha’aretz reported that “Private U.S. donors are massively funding Israeli settlements by using a network of tax-exempt nonprofits, which funneled more than $220 million (about 850 million shekels) to Jewish communities in the West Bank in 2009-2013 alone.” Again, it bears repeating that these settlements are illegal under international law and have been condemned by the United States.

This “war,” as Israel has now determined it to be, consisting of displacement, destruction and illegal settlement building, includes vast collective actions.

According to a study conducted by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, “since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 30,000 Palestinian homes in occupied Palestine, including over 3,000 in Occupied East Jerusalem alone. Since 13 September 2015, 31 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israeli occupying forces mainly under the pretense of ‘punitive measures’ but also due to ‘lack of permits’ from the occupation authorities.”

These demolition projects include specifically targeted populations, as in thedisplacement of Bedouin communities. The news magazine 972 tells of the demolition of the village of Umm el-Hiran: “The Negev village of Umm el-Hiran is perhaps the most blatant example of how the state hopes to displace Bedouin citizens for the benefit of Jewish citizens. The Israeli Supreme Court recently upheld plans to demolish Umm el-Hiran and build a Jewish town, named Hiran, in its place. Umm el-Hiran’s Bedouin residents would be forcibly relocated to the nearby township of Hura, according to the state’s plans.”

The war also takes place in very particular and personal ways. In an urgent case that is unfolding now and gaining international attention, Nora Ghiath-Sub Laban speaks of being evicted from the house in occupied East Jerusalem that her family has owned for 60 years:

Israeli occupation authorities have been trying to displace my family since the 1970s. Throughout the years I have seen many of my friends and neighbours forcefully displaced by Israel’s unlawful evictions and house demolitions. I have fought non-stop for the past 40 years just to live in peace in the house where I was born and grew up. This house is not just walls for my family and me. Every corner and every old wall and tile have memories for us.

Evicting us will not only make us homeless, it will be like enforcing a capital punishment on my family and me. It will deprive us of our fundamental rights and dignity as human beings. Our lives will never be the same.

Recently I sat down with the Corries and their attorney, and asked them specifically what message they wanted to send Americans.  Each of them underscored the need for Americans to act in solidarity, given both the U.S. government’s reluctance to take meaningful action and the fact that we, the American taxpayers, continue to finance these illegal and often deadly acts.

Hussein Abu Hussein: Speaking now as an individual, and not as a representative of an NGO, I can say that the BDS movement is a way to make Israel obey international law and to respect the rights of the Palestinians.  The Vietnam War would not have ended without a grass-roots movement that worked from the bottom up against the war; the apartheid regime of South Africa collapsed as a result of pressure from the international community. Americans need to speak out. It is their right—your tax dollars, to the tune of $3.1 billion a year—are paying for the Occupation, all its equipment, including the bulldozer that crushed Rachel Corrie to death.  It’s your right to ask why.

Cindy Corrie: For 12 years we have been sustained and lifted up by people internationally and in Israel-Palestine. We spent altogether 10 months there, five trips to Gaza and several to the West Bank. The human rights groups there were strongly supportive, and that wasn’t easy at all for them to do. They managed to get one representative to be able to witness the trial. Jewish Israelis–“Combatants for Peace” and others–came and sat next to us. The trial was entirely in Hebrew, so everything had to be translated to all of our family members and others who came to court. Our friends and supporters worked tirelessly to get people there to witness what was happening. There were even Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Israelis who could not get in but just stood outside all day to signal to us that they supported us.

We have seen the play about Rachel, “My Name Is Rachel,” performed in Arabic in Nazareth and Haifa, and also in Hebrew in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, directed by courageous Israeli directors. They performed that play in solidarity with our family. Not only in these places, and in the likely places in the U.S. like San Francisco, but also in places like Mobile, Alabama, we have found audiences and supporters who reach out to us, and having this sense of support from a truly global community has been tremendous.

Craig Corrie: Over the past 12 years this journey of ours has been transformative. When we talk about this as being a matter of rights for the Palestinians, of course that is true, but there is more. To stay at that level, it’s like saying you are for oxygen in this room for blue-eyed people. If it doesn’t exist for blue-eyed people, though, it doesn’t exist for me. We need to see ourselves as tied together for justice. You have to carry that sense of urgency into the U.S. One of the basic roles of any government is to protect its people. When it can’t do that, and when it can’t get justice for its people when they are harmed elsewhere, that’s a real failing. What you have in Rachel’s case is the occupation coming home to the United States. My life has been one of tremendous privilege, and that’s the case for a lot of Americans. What’s the use of privilege if you can’t use it to extend basic rights to everyone? That’s what the Palestinians are fighting for.

This August the same John McKay who advised the Corries wrote a searing Op-Ed in the Seattle Times that makes the same points as Hussein and the Corries. Witnessing the Israeli attack on Gaza that took place in the summer of 2014, McKay states:

People, not governments, may hold the key to change: boycotting Israeli products, ending investments in Israeli businesses and supporting economic sanctions until Israeli policy changes. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement may be the only way that Israel and the U.S. Congress will face the truth: Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians is presumptively about the continuing seizure of Palestinian lands and not about Israel’s security.

For more on the Corries and their fight for justice, visit the website for the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

IOF storms Palestinian schools, attacks pupils in al-Khalil

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed on Sunday morning two schools in al-Khalil, sparking fear among schoolchildren.

Activist Rateb al-Jabour said the Israeli occupation army rolled into Yatta town and violently searched al-Majaz school, generating a remarkable state of terror among the students.

The IOF summoned one of the school staff, Moussa Abu Aram, for questioning.

The occupation troops further stormed al-Musafir basic school and wreaked havoc on its classrooms.

In a related development, violent clashes burst out in al-Khader town, in Bethlehem, after the IOF targeted schoolchildren with randomly-shot volleys of tear gas canisters.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

IOF storms Yabad, clashes erupt

JENIN, (PIC)– Violent clashes erupted on Sunday in Yabad town, south of Jenin, after Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed the town and turned a local home into a military observation post for the third time within two days.

Local sources said that Israeli forces have again turned the house of Yahya Abu Shamla into a military observation post after brutally attacking and beating his family members.

Clashes broke out in the town following the Israeli raid. Dozens of youths suffered breathing difficulty due to the IOF firing of tear gas bombs.

A military checkpoint was also erected at the entrance of the town, blocking residents’ movement in and out of the village.

Tension has been running high in Yabad over the past ten days due to the Israeli daily raids and attacks.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

Palestinian gunmen clash with Israeli forces at Qalandiya checkpoint

Palestinians shoot in the air during the funeral of Mohammed Kasbah, a 17-year old Palestinian who was killed by Israeli soldiers after he threw a stone at their patrol close to the Qalandiya checkpoint

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Armed clashes broke out between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces near the Qalandiya military checkpoint near Ramallah late Saturday, locals said, injuring two teenage bystanders.Locals told Ma’an that “Palestinian militants” hurled several pipe bombs — a type of improvised explosive device — at Israeli forces stationed by the checkpoint before a group of gunmen arrived and exchanged fire with the forces for around twenty minutes.Israeli soldiers reportedly opened fire heavily at Palestinian homes and stores opposite to the military checkpoint.Fourteen-year-old Fidaa Sheiki was hit in the abdomen with live fire while she was inside her family home adjacent to the checkpoint and an unidentified teenage boy was hit and injured in his hand, according to locals.Witnesses said that they saw Israeli ambulances arrive to the checkpoint “likely to evacuate Israeli soldiers who were possibly injured” in the exchange.An Israeli army spokesperson had no record of the clashes and an Israeli border police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.Tensions in the Qalandiya area have been running high in recent weeks, with a Palestinian shot and detained Friday after he attempted to run his vehicle into Israeli forces at the checkpoint.

Two Palestinians were killed on Wednesday during a predawn military raid in the Qalandiya refugee camp, after reportedly attempting to carry out separate car-ramming attacks on Israeli soldiers in the camp.
The week before, armed Palestinian protesters closed the main road leading to Qalandiya checkpoint demanding that Israel release the body of a young girl killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem on Nov. 23.
Fourteen-year-old Hadeel Wajih Awwad — a Qalandiya camp resident — was shot dead and her 16-year-old cousin critically injured after reportedly carrying out a stab attack with scissors in West Jerusalem.
Her body was delivered by Israeli officials on Friday and hundreds attended her funeral when she was buried in the camp’s cemetery.
The week before the teen’s death, Israeli forces had killed two Palestinians in the refugee camp during a raid to demolish the home of an alleged Palestinian attacker.
(Source / 20.12.2015)

Voices from Syria: ‘The safest place is the frontline’

The war in Syria has killed at least 250,000 people and displaced more than half of the country’s population

The UN Security Council this weekend agreed on a draft resolution for peace talks in Syria after five years of war in the country, large parts of which have been seized by fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Meanwhile, Syrian residents continue to grapple with daily air strikes launched by the Syrian regime, Russia and a US-led coalition, each with different targets and aims for the country’s future.

Al Jazeera spoke with Syrian residents about how they have coped under the daily onslaught, and about their hopes for their country in the days and months ahead.

Mohammad Ali Basha, 22, civil defence member, Idlib

We are being bombed by Russian and Syrian planes, as well as the Western alliance who are bombing what they see as terrorists.

Life has of course become terrifying, but God is superior, and I don’t fear death. My brother died in a battle with the Syrian army, and all my family have been under bombardment, but thanks to God my closest family are all still alive.

In my job at the civil defence, my speciality is rescuing people from under the rubble caused by bombing, and putting out fires. Now it’s very bad; every day there is bombing, and every day there is a fire. Last week, the Russians bombed family homes, and eight people were killed. My colleagues and I dug their bodies out from under the rubble.

The bombs affect everything – the roads have been destroyed, so travelling is hard. The water network is often down, and often we don’t eat for days on end. When we do, it’s sometimes just bread.

The UK has now entered into the Syrian battle under the pretext of stopping ISIL, but ISIL is the West’s creation. Russian bombers also came allegedly to fight ISIL, but they’ve not bombed them; in fact, they’ve bombed unarmed Syrian people.

The West plans to partition Syria, but by the grace of God, Syria will not be divided, and Syria will be victorious.

‘Aziz’, 49, general surgeon, eastern Aleppo
Almost all of our hospitals are underground now. We have sandbags on the windows and around all the machines, to protect them from shrapnel.

There are only five of us general surgeons left in Aleppo.

I’ll spend a week or 10 days in Aleppo, and then I travel to Turkey to see my family. The journey is risky and more dangerous day by day, because of the air strikes, which happen mainly after sunset. They are mostly Russian at the moment. You can see three, four, five planes in the sky at one time. Before, you used to see one regime helicopter.

We have to switch off all the lights on the car, even the brake lights; otherwise, you would be seen and exposed and attacked by the planes.

So we drive on the back roads. Now when there are air strikes, we just can’t travel. When we hear the air strikes, we hide for a couple of minutes until it finishes.

The sound of an air strike is so loud, and you can see people running. Usually there is some sort of alarm as well. People use homemade devices to warn people of incoming air strikes, and they stand on the corner of a street sounding the alarm. This has helped decrease the number of casualties.

Recently, there was a Russian attack on a home. Of an entire family, only a two-year-old boy survived. It was a complete disaster – this was a Russian attack on a civilian area. But this is normal: They don’t attack military targets. They attack the heart of the city, not the frontline. I always say the safest place is the frontline. There are no air strikes there.

Most of the attacks have been in the heart of the city. It’s normal for them to attack hospitals.

Almost all of our hospitals are underground now. We have sandbags on the windows and around all the machines, to protect them from shrapnel. And we have changed the colour of ambulances, so now they are a mud colour – otherwise they deliberately attack it. We don’t even let them park in front of the hospitals.

It’s getting worse, day by day, in terms of staff and the number of doctors. We are under such a burden: 50 percent of our work is trauma injuries, which means more complications, more problems for the patients.

We have to do it. This is our duty. I have to help those people.

Maimouna Alammar, 29, office manager, Syrian Child Protection Network, Douma

It’s a nice day; it’s sunny with some cold breezes. It’s calm today.

There was bombing yesterday – some rockets and cluster bombs, which make several explosions when they land. We know that the rebels don’t have these kinds of weapons. We think it comes from the mountains around eastern Ghouta, which are in regime control.

But I am not interested in talking about the bombing. You don’t see a lot of stories about ordinary life.

After every bombing, people start to rehabilitate their houses. People try to get their lives back, and their work and their studies. They wait for the bombing to stop, and then they go straight back to school.

People here are tired from this war and they just want peace. People try to catch even the smallest chances to continue with their normal way of life in between bombings. They fix their stores, their places of work, their markets.

The markets are sometimes targeted, but they are reopened again and again. People do not have another option; they need to get their daily bread. They can’t stop working after every bombing. This is not just regular citizens, but this is also the case for local committees here, like the local councils. Douma’s local council works on local rehabilitation for schools and streets.

People try to feel normal by spending time with family and friends, throwing weddings, having meetings, and holding community events. For example, the women’s office in the local council here holds workshops for mothers and for general workers and activists. They can speak about a lot of things, political or related to their daily life.

I hold workshops for mothers of the children whose cases we are responsible for. We work on psychological support and education as a kind of a response to help children who are defined as being exposed to danger.

‘Tariq’, 33, works with local councils, Kafr Batna
Our days are filled with fear and with death, and with missing our loved ones.

Life is horrible these days. The bombing is worse than ever before, as the regime is advancing to take control of more parts of the Ghouta area.

The Russians are attacking us also. We are being hit with all kinds of weapons: jet fighters, mortars, shelling.

It is dangerous to leave the house each day, but what can I do? I have to go to work, and I believe in teaching the principles of governance to local councils here.

Our days are filled with fear and with death, and with missing our loved ones. But we have to do our daily work, regardless of the shelling.

I get to work by motorcycle, which is a little bit safer than walking. The market is next to my house, so it’s not difficult to go and buy food. But regardless, the regime keeps shelling markets and civilian areas.

The international coalition against ISIL is a very big joke. They have lied to the Syrian people, and invented this monster, ISIL, to destroy the rest of Syria.

The only way to save Syria now is by getting rid of Bashar al-Assad. And if they want to do that, they can. But the problem is that the whole world lacks the will to do that. So in one way or another, the world is supporting him and giving him a chance to stay.

The Syrian people will get freedom eventually, if we don’t die first due to this horrible war.

Jawad Kurabi, 23, photographer and journalist, Aleppo

In a normal day, I wake up early and have a cup of coffee and some cigarettes, and then I wait for something to happen, because they – the regime and Russia – usually bomb us early in the morning.

After that, around 10am, I hear on my walkie-talkie where shelling has taken place, and I rush to shoot and document what has happened.

I cannot hear the sounds of the people there, so I listen to music on headphones. Lately I’ve been listening to Mad About Youby Hooverphonic. Maybe it helps me focus on the situation I see; maybe it helps me document it without feeling so guilty.

It is hard to know how I feel in those moments, with everything that happens in this crazy world.

Photography has always been a hobby of mine, but after I was detained by the security branch of the regime in 2012 for taking part in demonstrations, I began taking photos as a profession, to help spread the message of the revolution.

Everyone has a dream in life that they want to achieve. Perhaps our revolution is what is needed to bring down dictators.

There are a lot of crimes committed against the Syrian people, and no one seems to be able to stop the bloodshed because of the lack of a global policy.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

Scores of Palestinians march in funeral of Mahmoud Agha

GAZA, (PIC)– Hundreds of Palestinians on Saturday marched in the funeral procession of 20-year-old Mahmoud al-Agha, who was killed the day before during clashes with Israeli soldiers east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

His relatives and friends carried his casket through the streets of Khan Younis before burying him in the cemetery of Gaza City.

Deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya, who led the funeral prayer at Ahal Assunnah Mosque in Gaza, hailed in a speech before the mourners the bravery of Agha and the sacrifices of his family.

Haneyya said that Gaza does only participate in al-Quds intifada (uprising) with marches and events but also with blood.

The Hamas official called for actively supporting and taking part in the intifada in order to achieve the Palestinian people’s aspiration for freedom and victory.

Mahmoud al-Agha was shot dead on Friday by Israeli soldiers during an angry protest against the occupation in a border area east of Khan Younis in Gaza.

Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas mourned in a press release the death of Agha and affirmed he was one of its fighters.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

Greece to recognize state of Palestine

The Palestinian flag flies for the first time at the United Nations headquarters after it was raised in a ceremony on September 30, 2015 in New York City, the US. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian flag flies for the first time at the United Nations headquarters after it was raised in a ceremony on September 30, 2015 in New York City, the US

Greece is set to recognize the state of Palestine in a parliamentary vote, thus joining dozens of other countries that accord recognition to the Palestinian state.

A Greek government source said on Sunday that the vote on Palestine will be held on Tuesday.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will attend the voting session.

Abbas is expected in Athens on Sunday ahead of the vote and will meet President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas

Last week, the Greek parliament’s foreign affairs committee unanimously approved a motion to recognize Palestine.

Tsipras traveled to Palestine last month; there, he met with both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session in Athens, December 6, 2015

During the past months, other European legislatures, including those of the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Portugal, have recognized the Palestinian state. In December 2014, the European Parliament also overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state “in principle.”

Back in June, Athens announced that its officials would begin using the term “Palestine.”

“We decided to issue instructions throughout the Greek public administration for the uniform use of the term ‘Palestine’ when we refer to our friendly country,” Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said then.

Palestine’s flag was hoisted for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York on September 30. Abbas then took to the podium there to call for the universal recognition of the state of Palestine.

(Source / 20.12.2015)

Lieberman launches campaign to oust Hanin Zoabi and the Joint Arab List from the Knesset

Avigdor Lieberman, Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel

Avigdor Lieberman, Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel

Israeli Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman, who also heads the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, has launched a campaign to oust Arab MK Hanin Zoabi and the Joint Arab List from the Israeli parliament.

The campaign, which Lieberman began on his Facebook page yesterday, calls for “permanently” ousting Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset. “Together we can expel vandal supporters from the Knesset,” he said in a Facebook post.

In a video posted on his page, Lieberman called on the Israeli public to put pressure on MKs from the Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas and United Torah Judaism parties to support the proposed campaign, which aims to expel Zoabi and the Joint List from the Knesset.

Lieberman mentions in the video that the Central Election Commission (CEC) previously banned Zoabi and her party Balad (a member of the Arab Joint List) from running but that the Supreme Court overturned the commission’s decision. As a result, Lieberman presented a bill seeking to remove the Supreme Court’s power of intervening in CEC’s decision of whether to approve or ban the participation of a candidate or a list in the Knesset’s elections.

Lieberman claims that the banning of Balad was in line with the law, which states that those who support terrorism and armed struggle against the state of Israel, or deny Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, cannot be in the parliament. “The party of traitor Azmi Bishara and his successor Hanin Zoabi is doing that openly, and it is time they were made to pay the price,” he added.

(Source / 20.12.2015)