Israeli forces raid Yatta after more than 40 days of blockade


HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces raided several homes in the southern occupied West Bank town of Yatta early Thursday, as the army maintained its weeks-long blockade of municipalities in the Hebron district.A coordinator of a popular committee in the southern West Bank, Rateb al-Jbour, said that Israeli forces raided central Yatta and searched the houses of two Palestinian security officers, identified as Majdi Moussa al-Shreiqi and Ahmad Moussa al-Shreiqi, the latter reportedly a former prisoner detained by Israel.Al-Jbour said that clashes erupted following the raid, with youths throwing rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, who injured two when they fired at the young Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets.Israeli forces also fired tear gas in the area, causing residents to suffer from tear gas inhalation.Yatta has been under Israeli blockade for 43 days, as entrances of the town have remained sealed by Israeli forces since early June in the wake of a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv committed by two Yatta residents.Israeli forces also raided the village of Khallet Salih near Yatta and searched a house belonging to the al-Juneidi family.Al-Jbour called on international and humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene and end the siege imposed on the Hebron district, as he said that more than 850,000 residents of the district were affected by the closures.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into reports of the raids, confirming that there were no changes in closures across the Hebron district, “according to security assessments.”Israeli forces have continued to impose general closures throughout Hebron, the largest and most populous district in the occupied West Bank, which have intensified in the wake of two deadly shooting attacks in the district earlier this month.The recent road and village closures are not uncommon to Hebron since a wave of unrest swept across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October that has killed more than 220 Palestinians and some 32 Israelis.Israel’s response to attacks — such as punitive home demolitions, the sealing of entire villages, mass detention campaigns, and withholding the bodies of Palestinians slain while committing attacks — has been condemned by rights groups, who have said the measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.Palestinian government spokesperson Yousif al-Mahmoud earlier this month reiterated that Israel, by continuing its “abhorrent” policies under various pretexts, such as alleged security concerns, could not hide the fact that the Israeli occupation was the main reason for the continuing tensions and instability in the region.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Foreign Affairs Ministry emphasizes Palestinian draft resolution on the Old City of Jerusalem


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine emphasizes that the draft resolution, on the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, put forward by the Arab Group to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, is in line with the unanimous international and legal positions and reflects the warranted concern by all states regarding the situation in Jerusalem due to the illegal actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which harm the multi-faith character of the Old City, threaten the historic status quo, undermine Palestinian rights, and provoke religious tensions.

In this regard, the Ministry underlines that prolonged Israeli occupation, in all its forms and manifestations, including colonization, aggression, provocations and incitement, is the root cause of the conflict. Israel, the occupying Power, is attempting, systematically and unrelentingly, to create a new reality at the expense of the Palestinians, their religious rights, sites and historical identity and is violating the sanctity of religious sites without consequence. The dangers of such continuous provocations and incitement, particularly in or near Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, will only further inflame tensions and provoke religious fervor, with dangerous ramifications. Additionally, it is important to remind all that the structure that physically exists now without a doubt is the Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Contesting this fact, under any pretext, will only add to religious tensions, especially given the dramatic increase in statements and involvement of high-ranking Israeli officials about building a temple in the place of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif as well as other similar rejected and provocative statements and actions.

Hence, the Ministry will continue its efforts to ensure that the Old City of Jerusalem’s status as a unique and special city that has played an important role in the development of human heritage, including the development of the three monolithic religions, is preserved. Additionally, the Ministry will continue efforts, consistent with international law, to put an end to any action purporting to alter the demographic composition, legal status or physical character of occupied East Jerusalem in violation of international law. We will oppose any attempts to alter ownership of or title to any location in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Palestine with the intention of changing the historic status quo. These efforts are in line with the mandate of the World Heritage Committee and the spirit of the 1981 inscription decision of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982) and related recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO.

Finally, the Ministry reiterates the undeniable fact that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of conflict and the main instigator of violence and intolerance. Any attempt to deny this fact or normalize the effects of the occupation is offensive and counterproductive. Further, we reiterate that attempts to sideline the discussion by intimidation and/or false accusations must be rejected. In this regard, we reject attempts to delegitimize and oppose our rightful and legal attempts to address these issues at international fora, including UNESCO. The Ministry believes that the international Community, and UNESCO, including its Director General, should focus on the core issues, namely the detrimental impact of deplorable, illegal actions by Israel, the occupying Power, and ways of safeguarding the spirit and mandate of relevant international organizations in relation to the protection of Jerusalem. It is imperative that actions are taken to ensure that the status of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls is protected in line with international law and adopted resolutions, and by ensuring cooperation with the Reactive Monitoring Mission and allowing experts to visit all sites of excavations and diggings above and under the ground in Jerusalem. Supporting the draft resolution before the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO concerning this subject is the necessary first step.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

$6B Spent Fighting ISIS, 50,000 Bombs Dropped In Iraq & Syria, And Still No End In Sight

‘The U.S. taxpayers will pay once to blow the place up and then pay again to build it back up,’ wrote one analyst of the seemingly endless campaign to destabilize Syria and the Middle East.

In this picture taken on Saturday, April 18, 2015, a car passes in an area that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing campaign in Kobani, north Syria. (AP Photo/Mehmet Shakir)

In this picture taken on Saturday, April 18, 2015, a car passes in an area that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing campaign in Kobani, north Syria

WASHINGTON — After two years of bombing, the U.S. recently marked a horrendous milestone in a war with no clear end in sight.

Vocativ reported that the American-led coalition in the Middle East has now dropped 50,000 bombs in the ongoing campaign against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL in the West) that began in August 2014.

The analysis noted that bombing has increased with time, peaking in June when coalition forces dropped 3,167 bombs on Iraq and Syria.

“By comparison, U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan have dropped just over 16,000 bombs in the last six years, military data shows,” Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, a senior writer for Vocativ, wrote on Tuesday.

Although reports suggest Daesh is losing to ground forces in the region, the conflict still has no clear end in sight. And despite U.S. government denials, Kavanaugh reported it’s become increasingly clear that civilians are frequently killed by bombs dropped by the U.S. and coalition forces:

“Airwars estimates that at least 1,422 civilians have been killed by weapons deployed by coalition warplanes through July 18, a figure far greater than the 41 civilian deaths acknowledged by the Pentagon to-date.” reported Tuesday that hundreds of civilians may have been killed in coalition airstrikes on villages occupied by Daesh near the northern Syrian city of Manbij. Jason Ditz wrote:

“U.S. and coalition airstrikes against the northern Syrian villages of Tokhar and Hoshariyeh have killed at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Other groups claimed the civilian toll was as high as 200.”

“The Pentagon rarely accounts for civilians killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, occasionally issuing statements with dramatic undercounts of the number of civilians they’ve killed since the war began,” Ditz noted. “U.S. attacks in and around Manbij alone have killed over 150 people in the past two months.”

In addition to the loss of human lives, the ongoing war on Daesh has a high financial toll. On Tuesday, Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, wrote, “With each bomb costing on average somewhere around $50,000, those bombs have cost U.S. (for the most part) taxpayers at least two and a half billion dollars.”

And in February, The Hill reported that the cost of the war had already surpassed $6 billion by the end of January.

“A defense spokesman says that, as of January 31, the total cost to U.S. taxpayers of anti-ISIS operations that began on Aug. 8, 2014, is $6.2 billion,” reported Kristina Wong, defense reporter for The Hill. “That’s an average of $11.5 million per day, for 542 days of operations. The average daily cost of operations has gone up from $11.4 million per day, as of late December.”

Since the real goal for this war has more to do with controlling the region’s energy resources and overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad than actually defeating Daesh, McAdams noted that profits for the military-industrial complex will continue to roll in even after the bombing finally ceases.

“Imagine how much damage to infrastructure, environment, etc. will have been done by 50,000 bombs,” he wrote. “The U.S. taxpayers will pay once to blow the place up and then pay again to build it back up.”

So, more than 50,000 bombs later, are the U.S. and coalition forces any closer to eradicating Daesh? Official government sources under-report civilian death tolls, and the number of Daesh fighters killed so far is even harder to calculate, with the Pentagon and other official sources offering conflicting, biased reporting.

Zogenaamde ISIS doden

In October, The Atlantic’s Kathy Gilsinan reported that the U.S. military claimed it had killed 20,000 Daesh fighters in about a year. “Somehow, though, ISIS’s ‘overall force’ is the same size as it was when the U.S. air campaign expanded into Syria over a year ago,” she wrote.

Gilsinan argued that this inaccurate body count could help extend the war indefinitely, concluding:

“And if the United States can’t know when it has won—or lost—it can’t know when the killing will stop. Nor, apparently, exactly how much it has already done.”

(Source / 21.07.2016)

UN: Refugees’ needs in Gaza greater than available funds


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) yesterday warned that the needs of refugees in the Gaza Strip are greater than the funds available, the Safa news agency reported.

According to a report issued by the organisation, the number of refugees and their needs have been increasing however the agency’s budget has not risen at the same level. It said it expected a $74 million budget deficit in 2016.

It added that all its funds are suffering from massive budget deficits.

UNRWA noted that donors pledged $247 million for temporary housing programmes in the wake of the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza; the programme needs $720 million, creating a deficit of $473 million.

In an attempt to resolve this problem, the international organisation called on donors to donate generously to the emergency housing programme, which covers rents and cash assistance to rebuild and repair homes across the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

6 Iraqi cabinet ministers resign

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. [File photo]

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has accepted the resignation of six cabinet ministers, his office revealed yesterday.

According to a press release posted on the prime minister’s website, Al-Abadi has accepted the resignation of the ministers of oil, transport, construction and housing, water resources, industry and interior.

Interior Minister Mohammed Salem Al-Ghabban resigned earlier this month following the attacks in central Baghdad that killed 300 people.

Political analyst Haroun Mohammed told Quds Press that Al-Abadi’s acceptance of the ministers’ resignation is an endorsement of the status quo.

“The ministers already resigned about two months ago and stressed at the time that they will not join their ministries whether Al-Abadi accepted or rejected their resignation. But Al-Abadi has filled up the vacuum by mandating their tasks to other minister in order not to lose the quorum,” Mohammed said.

He rejected reports that Al-Abadi accepted the ministers’ resignations due to pressure from the Sadrist movement.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Saadat calls for escalating action in solidarity with captive Kayed

RAMALLHA, (PIC)– Detainee Ahmad Saadat, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Thursday called for escalating action in solidarity with the hunger striker captive Bilal Kayed. According to a statement issued by the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Saadat said that the escalated steps should aim at supporting detainee kayed who is waging a battle with Israeli authorities in protest at being held under administrative detention order after finishing his 15-year sentence.   The solidarity rallies and events should not end unless Kayed’s demand of freedom is answered, Saadat underlined.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Israeli forces detain man and his son during police raid on Bedouin village of al-Araqib

al Araqib

NEGEV (Ma’an) — The Israeli police Thursday detained a Palestinian and his son from the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel during a police raid, according to a local activist.Salim al-Araqib told Ma’an that Sheikh Sayyah al-Turi and his son Aziz were detained from the village during a police raid on the community, as bulldozers leveled lands and police forces reportedly assaulted residents.It was the fifth consecutive day police forces have carried out a raid on the village, according to al-Araqib.Numerous children were reported to have fainted after Israeli police assaulted the children and women in the community, al-Araqib said. A few have been taken to the hospital.An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the incident.The village of al-Araqib has been demolished 100 times by Israeli forces, as the village was designated as an “unrecognized” village by Israeli authorities, alongside 34 other Bedouin villages scattered across the Negev desert.According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.Israel is allowed to refuse residents of unrecognized villages from access to the national water and electricity grids, health and educational services, and basic infrastructure.Though Bedouins are considered citizens of Israel, the government has done nothing to ensure equal rights for residents of these villages, who have faced relentless efforts by the Israeli authorities to expel them from their lands in order to make room for Jewish Israeli homes.As a result, most of al-Araqib’s residents have left over the years to neighboring towns.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Arab Residents in Turkey Take to Streets in Support of Erdogan

Relatives of victims who were killed in Monday's bomb attack in Suruc mourn over the coffins at a cemetery in Gaziantep

Relatives of victims who were killed in Monday’s bomb attack in Suruc mourn over the coffins at a cemetery in Gaziantep

Istanbul-Thousands of Arabs residing in Turkey showed up at Istanbul squares, on Tuesday evening, to participate in a demonstration organized by a group of Arab organizations and societies to denunciate the abrupt coup and express their support to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Palestinian, Syrian and Egyptian protestors held flags of Turkey and posters of Turkish President. Protest organizer Mohammed Al-Tawil (Syrian) said, “We requested a license from the Turkish security to carry out this protest to express collectively our support to the country. We will not leave the streets until the coup threat is totally over”.

Arabs taking part in the protest told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that this step is to back the legitimacy that defeated the coup; a victory that is not restricted to Turks but extends to the region’s countries. Some Arab businessmen residing in Turkey funded this protest, as revealed by a representative from International Pitying Hearts Society.

The representative said that Arabs are sharing the Turkish people their delight just like they shared their pain when they came to this country, escaping from war. Some participants said that they answered the president’s request because they, as Arabs, could not separate themselves from the Turkish nation that embraced them.

Meanwhile, thousands of citizens continued to flock to the public squares in various districts to heed Erdogan’s request who called people to take the streets last Friday. Some others gathered in front of Erdogan’s house in Taksim Square, Istanbul.

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians in West Bank during predawn raids

Aanval ochtend WB

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces Thursday detained at least 18 Palestinians during predawn raids across several districts in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.In the West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian identified by locals as 33-year-old Murad Muhammad Jaddal from the eastern Jabal al-Furdeis area as he attempted to cross a checkpoint near the town of Tuqqu.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in Bethlehem for being alleged Hamas operatives. Palestinian sources did not provide details on the other Palestinian detainee.Israeli forces also carried out a mass detention raid in the village of Kafr Qalil in the northern West Bank district of Nablus detaining at least 13 Palestinians, according to locals.Locals told Ma’an that hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided the village in the early morning hours, searching several houses.Among those detained were reportedly members of the Palestinian security services, according to locals.Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an that clashes between Palestinians and soldiers erupted in the village, as several Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation and a youth was injured with light to medium wounds after being struck with a live bullet.Locals added that Israeli forces raided the house of Ihab Joseph Abed al-Latif Mansour, a member of the Palestinian police.Thirteen of the detainees were identified as:1. Talaat Mansour, Head of security at the al-Najah National University.2. Tamer Khalid Amer.3. Fadi Khalid Amer.4. Ahmad Walid Amer.5. Waddah Abed al-Jalil Amer.6. Farouq Amer.7. Suleiman Youssef Mansour.8. Saad Jamil al-Qinni, First Lieutenant at Palestinian police.9. Rami Saad al-Qinni, national security member.10. Bilal Fathi Mansour, national security member.11. Rabie Murjan.12. Jassem Farah Amer.13. Fahd AmerAn Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that 11 Palestinians were detained in Kafr Qalil.The spokesperson also said there were additional arrests not reported by Palestinian sources, including one detention in Tulkarem, one in Ramallah, and another in Hebron.According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails and prisons as of May.Israeli forces have conducted a weekly average of 88 search and detention operations across the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of 2016, according to UN documentation.

Aanval ochtend WB1

Aanval ochtend WB2

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Turkey provides Morocco information on Gulen institutions

Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen

The Turkish embassy in Rabat has provided the Moroccan foreign ministry information about Fethullah Gulen’s institutions in the kingdom in the hope that action will be taken against them, an official said.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the Turkish Embassy in Rabat, Ibrahim Khalil Sakli, made the remarks during a visit by a delegation from the Moroccan Justice and Development Party to the embassy headquarters in Rabat yesterday.

Sakli said: “The Gulen, group which stands behind the failed coup attempt in Turkey, has institutions in Morocco,” adding that the embassy contacted the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the coup attempt and provided it with information on these.

“We hope the Moroccan authorities will take the appropriate action on this subject,” he added.

(Source / 21.07.2016)