Palestinian population to exceed Jewish population by 2020

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday suggested that Palestinians will outnumber Israeli Jews in historic Palestine by 2020.

The results of the Palestinian census were released as 2015 came to a close in the center’s annual analysis of demographics in the area.
The census estimated that by the end of 2015, the total number of Palestinians in “historical Palestine” — meaning the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and Israel — was around 6.22 million, compared to 6.32 million Jews.
The number of Palestinians and Jews in historical Palestine is expected to be equal before the end of 2017, and the number of Palestinians will total 7.13 million compared to 6.96 million Jews by the end of 2020, according to the PCBS census.
The census bureau surveyed not only historic Palestine, but also included the Palestinian diaspora in its report.
The center reported that of the 12.37 million-strong Palestinian population worldwide, around half live outside of historical Palestine.
The majority of Palestinians living outside are the descendants of the around 750,000 Palestinians expelled when the state of Israel was established in 1948, many of whom are still living in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries.
Increasing Palestinian demographics in historical Palestine have long stood as a point of contention with Israeli government policies that aim to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly said that recognizing the concept of Israel as a “Jewish state” threatens the rights of nearly 1.5 million Palestinian citizens living inside of Israel.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi has said that such recognition would in effect “legalized racism.”
Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territory meanwhile has made a contiguous independent Palestinian state nearly impossible, with 65 percent of Palestinians polled last month believing that a two-state solution was not feasible due to settlement expansion.
(Source / 01.01.2016)

Israel returns confiscated buses to Palestinian transport company

Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Nablus on June 18, 2014

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Friday returned 11 buses to a Palestinian transport company that were initially confiscated for transporting youth to demonstrations.

Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs told Ma’an that the buses were returned to the al-Tamimi bus company in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an in November after eight of the buses were seized that the transport company was an “illegal association known to have links to the Hamas terror organization.”
The buses were reportedly taken on the grounds that the company had been providing transportation for large groups to partake in “violent riots” against Israeli forces, the spokesperson added at the time.
Regular demonstrations — often organized by local universities — had been frequently held near the Israeli military checkpoints that surround and control movement in and out of Nablus prior to the November seizure.
Such demonstrations often led to large-scale clashes between youth and Israeli soldiers.
(Source / 01.01.2016)

Army Attacks The Weekly Protest In Kafr Qaddoum

A Palestinian TV cameraman was injured, and many protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, Friday, after dozens of Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and colonies, in Kafr Qaddoum town, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Bulldozer in Kafr Qaddoum

The Popular Committee in Kafr Qaddoum said this week’s protests also marked the 51st anniversary of the establishment of Fateh movement, and commemorated the third anniversary of the death of Sheikh Sa’id Jasser, who died of severe effects of tear gas inhalation.

The Committee stated that dozens of residents marched from the center of the village, carrying Palestinian flags, posters and chanting for ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and the escalating violations.

Morad Eshteiwy, coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kafr Qaddoum, said dozens of soldiers, accompanied by an armored bulldozer, invaded the village and fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

|Soldiers Attack The Weekly Protest In Bil’in|

Eshteiwy added that Palestinian cameraman Enaal al-Jada’ was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, and received the required treatment by Red Crescent medics. Many Palestinians also suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The soldiers surrounded Kafr Qaddoum since early morning hours, and tried to hide between trees and various areas, but the protesters managed to uncover the ambush attempts, before clashing with the soldiers.

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(Source / 01.01.2016)

UN says 980 killed in Iraq in December

People look at a burnt vehicle on October 6, 2015, a day after a deadly car bomb explosion in a busy area in Hosseiniyah, north of Baghdad, Iraq. (AFP photo)

People look at a burnt vehicle on October 6, 2015, a day after a deadly car bomb explosion in a busy area in Hosseiniyah, north of Baghdad, Iraq

The United Nations says nearly 1,000 people were killed by violence in the Arab country in December 2015.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, known as UNAMI, said in a statement Friday that the violence in the last month of 2015 claimed the lives of 980 Iraqis, up from 888 the previous month.

The mission said 506 of those killed in December were civilians and the rest were security forces and those assisting the Iraqi armed forces in an ongoing battle against terrorists, including the paramilitary fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga troops. It said 1,244 civilians were wounded in the same time span.

Baghdad was the worst-affected province with 261 killed, followed by Nineveh Province with 68, the statement said, adding that some 124 civilians were also killed in Anbar, a desert province in western Iraq where the Iraqi forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

The UN said, however, that it could not fully verify the Anbar figures of casualties as the situation on the ground has become increasingly volatile and services have been disrupted.

On December 28, Iraqi military and volunteer fighters declared that they had recaptured Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, although later reports said some neighborhoods of the city were still under the control of Daesh.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the liberation of Ramadi would pave the way for Iraq’s long-anticipated offensive into the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh, which has been under the control of Daesh since the summer of 2014. Abadi said 2016 will be the last year for Daesh in Iraq.

Iraqi sources said more than 21,000 people, including some 15,000 civilians, lost their lives in battles and attacks across the country in 2015, adding that more than 14,000 people were wounded in the violence.

(Source / 01.01.2016)

Hunger-striking Journalist Transferred from Prison to Hospital

Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has transferred jailed Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Al-Qeeq, to the hospital, after his health severely deteriorated. He has been staging a hunger strike for over 30 days.

Gevangene

The wife of Al-Qeeq said that IPS moved her husband from Al-Ramleh clinic to Al-Afoola hospital, after the deterioration of his health due to the hunger strike.

Al-Qeeq’s wife added, according to Al Ray, that her husband’s lawyer visited him in Al-Ramleh clinic, stating that signs of extreme fatigue were clearly apparent.

She called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and humanitarian organizations to take action and visit her husband, at Al-Afoola hospital, to check on his health condition.

“My husband had passed through very harsh conditions of detention in the last period, especially during his investigation,” she explained.

Al-Qeeq was detained on 21th of November, from his home in Ramallah, before staging an open-ended hunger strike after four days, protesting his illegal detention.

(Source / 01.01.2016)

Report: 2015 was the worst for the besieged Gaza people

GAZA, (PIC)– The National Movement Commission for Breaking the Siege and Reconstruction said that the population in the Gaza Strip has faced during 2015 the harshest days of their lives under the blockade.

In a report issued on Thursday, the commission stated that the average per capita income in Gaza during the year had declined to less than 700 US dollars, which is the lowest in the Middle East.

The unemployment rate also rose to world-record levels after it became 45 percent among the entire residents and 60 percent among the young people, while 40 percent of the population now live under the poverty line and 80 percent depends on humanitarian aid, the commission added.

It also affirmed that the Egyptian authorities had closed the Rafah border crossing for most of the year and only opened it exceptionally for a few days to allow the travel of certain passengers, including patients and pilgrims, and the entry of some dead bodies to Gaza.

(Source / 01.01.2016)

UNRWA: $1.77 million for housing needs in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– The UNRWA has said it will provide financial support of 1.77 million dollars for the owners of destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip.

The UNRWA stated on Thursday that these funds would be given to 7,443 Palestinian families in different areas of Gaza.

The agency asserted that the aid would be earmarked for emergency housing purposes, which includes home repairs and reconstruction as well as temporary accommodation solutions.

(Source / 01.01.2016)

Two rockets launched from Gaza: Israel

Light streak trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel

Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel late Friday, a spokesperson for the Israeli army tweeted.

Sirens were heard earlier on Friday through the city of Sderot and settlements that border the Palestinian enclave, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

(Source / 01.01.2016)

ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER PROMISES TO KILL MORE CIVILIANS AND THREATENS TO NUKE IRAN

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Still from the live stream of Moshe Yaalon speaking at the 2015 Shurat HaDin conference

Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon on Tuesday said Israel would attack entire civilian neighborhoods during any future assault on Gaza or Lebanon.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Yaalon threatened that “we are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.”

The Israeli official also appeared to threaten to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran, although he said “we are not there yet.”

In response to a question about Iran, Yaalon said that “in certain cases” when “we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations” Israel might take “certain steps” such as the Americans did in “Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.”

Relating a July 2013 meeting with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Yaalon recalled promising Israel would bomb the entire Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya.

PLEASE SEE: If You Close Your Eyes To Tyranny, You Only Empower It: Gaza, The Shujayah Massacre

He showed Ban photos of villages in Lebanon and of “certain neighborhoods in Gaza, to include well-known Shujaiya, with many red spots” which he claimed were “terror assets in the densely populated urban area. And I said – July 2013 – we are going to hit it.”

Yaalon was true to his word. The Shujaiya massacre was among the most brutal examples of Israeli war crimes during last summer’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

Israel killed 2,257 Palestinians during the 51-day assault, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. Of that number, OCHA says 70 percent were civilians, including 563 children (Defence for Children International–Palestine has documented 547 child deaths).

The 20 July 2014 attack on Shujaiya was the most bloody day of the war, when Israel bombed the entire neighborhood indiscriminately. Initial reports on the day said 60 bodieshad been brought out of the rubble. Later reports suggested death tolls of 90 or120.

Threat of BDS

The conference was titled “Towards a new law of war” and was intended to help Israel use “lawfare” to defend its crimes in courts around the world.

Update, 13 May: Shurat HaDin yesterday uploaded video of the full Yaalon speech to their YouTube channel.

The other main theme of Yaalon’s speech, which closed the conference, was the “challenge” of BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions. The Palestinian-led global movement aims to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

Yaalon sought to cast the grassroots activist movement as a kind of military front. He said that “delegitimization, BDS and lawfare” were just “another tool” in the war of Israel’s enemies.

He complained that he had been unable to visit European countries because of the possibility he could have been arrested for suspected war crimes under universal jurisdiction law: “I prefer not to go to [the] UK, to London for about 10 years, or toSpain for a while.”

“Collateral damage”

In 2011, under Israeli pressure, the UK government changed its laws to make it easier for Israeli war crimes suspects to visit the country. Although the changes have meant that several high-level Israeli politicians and military officers have been able to visit since, in 2013 retired Major-General Doron Almog canceled a visit to London because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest related to war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip.

Yaalon lamented that Israeli soldiers now have to be taught that “we should be ready to give up a visit to London … but it’s not fair, it is not just.”

But, apparently referring to the law changes, he said they “found the common language to discuss these issues with our friends, with our allies.”

He also described criticism of Israel in international bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council as a “war after the war” and advocated that “we should fight them back.”

He said there should be no investigations of Israeli soldiers just because of “collateral damage” – a euphemism for the killing of civilians.

“Lawfare” conference

The conference was organized by Shurat HaDin, a group of Israeli lawyers which is at the forefront of using courts around the world to defend Israeli war crimes, and attack Palestine solidarity groups.

In 2013, as I reported for The Electronic Intifada at the time, it was revealed that the group has extremely close ties to the Israeli security establishment, to the extent of acting as a proxy group for the Mossad, Israel’s deadly overseas spy agency.

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Shurat HaDin’s leader Nitsana Darshan-Leitner introduced Yaalon to the conference

During his speech Yaalon heaped effusive praise on Shurat HaDin and its leader Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. He thanked the group “for the activities of Shurat HaDin fighting one of Israel’s challenges of today, the lawfare, BDS, delegitimzation of the state of Israel … Nitsana thank you very much for what you are doing for the state of Israel.”

He said Israel and its supporters should use courts around the world “to fight them back,” meaning critics of Israel, and that this is exactly what Shurat HaDin does.

Hasbara is not the right term,” he continued in the question and answer session, “it’s a war … Each of us can become to be a warrior in this war. By talkbacking, by blogging, by disseminating articles, by raising our case.”

Hasbara (literally “explanation” in Hebrew) is the Israeli term for propaganda.

Justifying Israeli attacks on civilians was the main theme of the conference. Speaker after speaker lined up to reinterpret international law so that it would, supposedly, allow the killing of Palestinian and other Arab civilians.

This was justified with familiar canards about the supposed use by Palestinian resistance factions of “human shields,” which then inevitably results in Palestinian civilian dead. In other words, Israel was being forced to kill civilians.

Yaalon did similar by saying that the civilian neighborhoods Israel had bombed had contained “rocket rooms.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Yaalon is likely to continue as defense minister in the newly-agreed government headed by his Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in coalition with the Jewish Home and other ultra-right-wing parties.

The Electronic Intifada watched the entire conference by livestream and will be reporting more detail soon.

(Source / 01.01.2015)

The road to hell is paved with ‘national security’

Israel is turning the West’s fixation on the Islamic State group into an opportunity to expand its apartheid laws and militarisation of the West Bank

If you wanted to trace the roots of any of the world’s evil, conflict and chaos, you could start where you first heard the words “national security”.

In the name of “national security,” Germany invaded Poland, the Nazis cleansed the Jews, the Serbs did same to Bosnian Muslims, while Israel ethnically cleansed more than 500 Arab villages, annexed Palestinian land, and enclosed it with a “security barrier”.

More recently, it is the god of “national security” that has not only given us the self-defeating “war on terror” but also Guantanamo Bay, the CIA torture programme, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, and military tribunals.

It is also under the guise of national security that the US homeland-security-industrial complex has boomed to more than $50 billion per year, making instant billionaires of those who claim to have the latest and greatest technology application to foresee the next terrorist attack.

In the wake of the recent Paris and San Bernardino attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is turning the West’s fixation on Islamic State-inspired terrorism into an opportunity to expand both its apartheid laws and its militarisation of the West Bank.

Although “creeping annexation” has been more or less stealthy Israeli policy since 1967, the new escalated phase of America’s commitment to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria has given Israel the perfect smokescreen to carry out its Geneva Convention-busting annexation of the West Bank.

On Monday, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister, told the Knesset that the time has come for Israel to officially “annex the West Bank”.

“The time has come to say Israel is ours,” Bennett said at a meeting of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus. “To go from strategic defence to a process of initiating the implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the territories under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria.”

What Bennett is effectively saying is to hell with both the Geneva Convention and international law – for UN Resolutions 446 (1979), 465 (1990), and 1515 (2003) make clear that annexing or even building settlements in the West Bank is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

A mere two days after Bennett made his war-crime invoking remarks, Israel’s government launched a campaign that appealed to –  guess what? Yes, national security.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu conflated the West’s battle against “Islamic extremism” with Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation, apartheid, and blockade. Ignoring Netanyahu’s blatant intellectual dishonesty and bigotry for a moment, his remarks were what you call “setting the table” for Wednesday.

So what happened on Wednesday? The Israeli government issued a warning that claimed the Islamic State group was plotting to attack Israel along the Israel-Syrian border. In the event you missed the obvious connection, Israeli national security was said to be under threat a mere 24 hours after Bennett argued Israel should annex the West Bank.

Coincidence? Not likely.

“The Israel Defence Forces are preparing for the possibility of a substantial terrorist attack on the Israel-Syria border, following the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino,” reported the English language Israeli newspaper Haaertz.

In the event you’re clamouring for a translation of hasbara  (public diplomacy, or Israeli government PR) to English – the subtext to this Israeli government line reads as follows: “Due to an imagined terrorist threat we have concocted, we will expand the IDF military presence along the Jordan Valley, West Bank.” In other words, Israel intends to further its militarisation of the West Bank, which is more or less in synch with Bennett’s plea for Israel to annex the Occupied Territories.

During the past few months of Israeli–Palestinian violence and counter-violence, Israel had already undertaken an expansion of Israeli military presence in the West Bank. When a Palestinian gunman shot two Israelis in their car during October, Israel mobilised four battalions to join existing IDF military presence in Palestinian lands.

Clearly, this imagined IS threat along the Israel-Syria border is a fig leaf to mask deployment even more Israeli military force in the West Bank for the purpose of achieving not only Bennett’s proclamation but also the Zionist goal at large.

Israel has always used “national security” as the premise for annexing Palestinian land. From 1948 to 1967, Israel amassed the predominant military force in the Middle East. So much so that US president Lyndon Johnson remarked that Israel had no potent enemies in the Middle East – suggesting it would be suicidal for any Arab army, even a combined pan-Arab coalition, to attack the US-backed Jewish state.

On June 5, 1967 Israeli fighter jets bombed Egyptian military jets in what was a blatantly provocative and preemptive attempt to drag Egypt and Israel’s Arab neighbours into war for the purpose of Israel justifying the annexation of Palestinian land beyond 1967 borders.

This is a history well known, so it does not need further litigating. What needs further attention is the fact it seems evident Israel is reaching for a familiar and successful playbook while the West’s attention is seemingly diverted by everything related to defeating IS and/or Assad.

The ultimate point here is the fact Israel does not really care about national security. While that assertion sounds counter-intuitive, it is a simply irrefutable fact that were Israel genuinely concerned with “national security” it would end the occupation and blockade today. An end to occupation of the West Bank and of East Jerusalem and an end to the blockade of Gaza would effectively end Palestinian resistance tomorrow. But Israel has no intention of dislocating its 650,000 settlers, nor has it any intent to give up the economic gains occupying the West Bank reaps Israel’s economy.

So with that in mind, the fig leaf of “national security” will be used by Israel to carry out more violations of international law, and thus evil.

(Source / 01.01.2016)