Israel doesn’t want peace, only wants to build more settlements to judaize Al-Quds

By: Madeeha Araj

The National Bureau condemned Israeli PM Netanyahu’s remarks in Australia, in which he opposes the establishment of a viable-independent Palestinian State in blatant and clear defiance of the international community, adding, we would only give them no more than a self-rule otherwise they might threaten our State. Thus, Netanyahu’s remarks have precluded any possibility for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and defying the UN resolution 181 of 1947 and resolution No. 19/67 of 2012 .

The National Bureau said, the Israeli government continues to destroy the two-state solution through a series of settlement projects, which take a variety of forms in Jerusalem Governorate and other West Bank Governorates. The Judaizing of Jerusalem’s projects is carries out at a high pace, in which the Israeli Occupation Government and the Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem as well as multiple settlement organizations. Within the projects of juadizing occupied Jerusalem, a project was recently disclosed, where the so-called District Committee for Planning and Building in Jerusalem proposed a plan to set up “tourism project” on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The plan includes the establishment of a new park in the foothills of the Mount of Olives, thus depriving Jerusalemites from using the land. The new project linking the Mount of Olives and the Hebrew University . The Park settlement will be erected on 17 sites overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, besides roads, cafes, information center and shops as well as public toilets with a budget of about 25 million shekels. Thus, changing the city’s historical, Islamic and Arab character in accordance to the occupation’s vision .

Within the context, the Israeli government allocated NIS 7,000,000 to strengthen the projects that Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem intends to carry out in the city, following an agreement reached between the committee set up by Netanyahu and other committee formed from some ministries and the municipality so as to strengthen the Jewish presence in the city and support the projects implemented recently by the municipality.  Moreover, Zeev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs at the Israeli government said, those projects aim to ensure that Jerusalem will remain as a capital of Israel.

Within the context, a financial report also confirmed that the Occupation State has transferred millions of shekels to settlement outposts in order to develop their infrastructures. Moreover the Regional Settlement Council (Benjamin) in the Ramallah area has transferred NIS 11,000,000 Of its budget to the ransom outposts during the years 2008 – 2014. The funds were used in the infrastructures of 5 outposts named Mitzpe Danny, Harcha, Givat Harel, Kida and Kerem Rieim. Also NIS 5,000,000 has been transferred for purifying sewage water resulted from Ofra settlement, funds also was transferred Shvut Rachel settlement. The National Bureau indicated in a report issued recently about the Israel’s banking system’s of leaking funds to settlement companies, where the Tvahot Israeli Bank granted loans from the state treasury to the Amana Co. ‘ settlement in return for mortgaging lands not belonging to it. Thus, the funds were used to build in the two random outposts of Amona and Migron.

Within the continued Israeli government’s policy to expand settlements, Israel confiscated recently more Palestinian lands through annexing 250 donums from Sur Baher town near Jerusalem, where the occupation municipality and in cooperation with the Housing Ministry are preparing to begin construction of a new settlement named Mordot Arnona includes more than 2000 new housing units. Besides, bulldozing 12,000 donums of a natural reserve at Wade Cana near Deir-stia town, to expand the Yakir settlement through adding 200 new housing units .  Reports showed that the occupation not only deepens its control over the occupied West Bank through building settlement, but uses other methods far from the limelight and the international condemnation under the slogan ‘building industrial zones, where the occupation transfers large areas to industrial areas despite the fact that these spaces are mostly unused.

Within the context, the occupation authorities began to establish 12-km long and a depth of 30 meters tunnels to link the settlements in West Bank with the occupied 1948 lands. The objective behind the tunnels is to develop the transportation network including roads and new railway with a cost of about US $ 5 billion, including transportation plans, strengthening infrastructure and building new housing units in the Beit Shemesh, Tzur and Hadassah in Jerusalem territories.

 The following Violations were documented by the National Bureau over the last week:

Jerusalem: The occupation announced that the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar in Jerusalem as a closed military zone, and distributed notifications to demolish 41 houses, a mosque in addition to a school that serves a number of Bedouins under the pretext of being built without licenses.  The Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem forced Qaraeen family to demolition their house in Silwan town south of Al-Aqsa mosque, under the same pretext, otherwise, it will be fined by NIS 80,000. Israeli bulldozers also demolished the houses of the Abu Rmooz family in the Beit Hanina neighborhood under the pretext of being built without a license.

Israeli occupation municipality in occupied Jerusalem confiscated land belonging to inheritors of Sheikh Abdel Moati Al-Ansari at the Mount Olives to set up a park within the so-called “biblical” gardens. Thus, the municipality announced to establish a park under the name “Aosea” on a 6-donum area under the scheme (a.m0.9) that was approved in 1976, which prevents the construction is it, and thus, making the Gethsemane area as a green land i.e. no building allowed, the project includes the establishment of shops, parks,  paths for pedestrians, with a cost of US $ 500,000,000, the scheme also includes a cable-car from the Lions Gate to the Mount olives, and a amusement and tunnels that symbolize Talmudic Games Garden.

Hebron:  The Israeli occupation forces warned to demolish scores facilitiesi.e. houses, wells and schools south of Yatta city, they raided the area and filmed the existing facilities.  Moreover, they filmed a school in the Al-Fkheit village, and put notices on the stones at those sites that belonging to the families of Moh’d and Abu Sabha, Al-Hamamdh and Abu Aaram. The Israeli occupation forces demolished a water well east of Yatta.   The National Bureau following-ups showed that Israeli army bulldozer and an officer of the civil Israeli administration raided large areas east of Yatta town and began the demolition of water wells.

Bethlehem: The occupation bulldozers demolished agricultural land, and uprooted olive trees and almond at Al-Alhadir town south of Bethlehem city in order to open a road around Htmar settlement

Moreover, scores of right-wing settlers from Beitar-Illit and Gush Etzion settlements organized a demonstration opposite the main entrance to the Hussan village west of Bethlehem, where they chanted anti-Arab and death to Arab slogans.

Nablus: Israeli occupation forces evacuated the Khirbet Tana, east of Beit Furik town, Nablus of its inhabitants under the pretext of military exercises. where more than 30 families have been evacuated. Moreover, Israeli occupation authorities confiscated hundreds of donums in the Jaloud town southeast of Nablus.

For its part, the Jaloud village council has reported the expansion and construction of new settlement units in the Ehia and Esch Koudec outposts, where hundreds of extremist settlers guarded by occupation soldiers invaded the Nablus city to perform their religious rites at Joseph’s tomb near Balata Refugee Camp.

Salfit: The Supreme Council for Planning and Building at the Israeli Civil Administration put forward a new settlement scheme to create an educational technology college in Elkana settlement built on the Mesha village’s land.  Israeli authorities claim that it is a State land. Moreover, Israeli occupation bulldozers demolished 12,000 donums of the Derestia village to be added to Yakir settlement, and they are building nearly 200 new housing units.

Tulkarm: The occupation authorities handed over orders to some Palestinian farmers in the Tulkarm Governorate to stop work on their land under the pretext of being very close to the Avni Hefetz settlement built on village land.

Jordan Valley:  More than 150 settlers stormed Um Kabish area east of the Jordan Valley near Tamon town intending to annex it and to establish a new outpost there. Moreover, the Israeli occupation bulldozers destroyed a drinking-water line between the Attof village and Al-Hadedeia area to the north of the Jordan Valley for the second time since the beginning of this year, knowing that the destruction of those lines means depriving about 47 families in the area of water, worth-mentioning that the length of the water-line is 8-km and a half, and cost EURO 12,500, which was funded by the UNICEF. (PNN)

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Signs of political crisis between government and Labour Union in Tunisia

Unemployed university graduates argue with the security forces during a demonstration held to demand job opportunities, in Tunis, Tunisia on November 24 2016 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Unemployed university graduates argue with the security forces during a demonstration held to demand job opportunities, in Tunis, Tunisia

The Tunisian government appears to be on the verge of falling into a political crisis with the General Labour Union over a divergence of views about the recent cabinet change and some of the union’s demands.

According to the secretary general of the Secondary Education Union in Tunisia, it will consider on Thursday the possibility of suspending classes indefinitely. “There are no positive signs encouraging the union to calm down or decide not to escalate the situation,” Saad Al-Yacoubi told Radio Shems FM in Tunis.

The union is demanding the resignation of Education Minister Neji Jalloul, a move which is rejected by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, despite a protest by secondary school teachers in the capital on Wednesday. The teachers believe that the minister is “difficult” to work with.

Read: Does Tunisia really want a president whose master is the UAE’s Bin Zayed?

Abdellatif Mekki of the leading Ennahda Movement told Quds Press that dialogue between the government and the trade union is the shortest and best way to overcome these differences. He ruled out the possibility of a confrontation between the government and the Labour Union.

“I do not think there is anyone who seeks confrontation between the Union and the government,” he explained, “but there are real differences and I believe that we must expand dialogue to reach a consensus.”

(Source / 02.03.2017)

IOF artillery shelling targets resistance sites in northern Gaza


Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened artillery fire at Palestinian resistance sites located near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya at noon Thursday.

The PIC reporter said that the IOF fired six artillery shells that slammed into two resistance sites to the east of Beit Lahiya with no casualties inflicted.

He said that one of the two sites was targeted at two separate intervals, and quoted medical sources as saying that no casualties were suffered.

The Hebrew paper Yediot Ahronot said earlier today that gunshots fired from Gaza hit IOF patrol vehicles in northern Gaza before noon, but no injuries were reported.

The Israeli Channel Ten said that the Israeli artillery shelling was in retaliation to the shooting at an Israeli army patrol.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Palestinian Bedouins fear forcible transfer by Israel

UN and international NGOs warn that risk of forcible transfer could affect around 7000 Palestinians living in Area C.

A local school, which provides basic education to Bedouin children, is threatened with demolition as well. The school currently educates 160 students

Khan al-Ahmar, East Jerusalem –  A last minute temporary injunction to stop the demolition of the entire community of Khan al-Ahmar, a Palestinian Bedouin community that has been struggling against an Israeli army order to have their homes demolished, expires on Thursday.

The injunction was granted after objections were filed at the Israeli Civil Administration.

The community’s lawyer told Al Jazeera that he filed an additional objections on Wednesday arguing that the Israel civil administration has not provided an alternative location for the Bedouins to live.

Khan al-Ahmar is near occupied East Jerusalem and is adjacent to the historic road connecting Jerusalem with Jericho. Now, it is in between two Israeli settlements. Maale Adumim to the east and Kfar Adumim to the west.

WATCH: Defiant Palestinian Bedouins dread eviction from Susiya

Children from Khan al-Ahmar playing outside their classrooms at a school also under threat of demolition

An impoverished community from decades of restrictive Israeli policy, the Jahalin Bedouin tribe scrambled to take legal action to protect its’ existence in the area. Eid Khamis, a Bedouin leader, said each of the community’s 35 families had to contribute to cover the legal costs.

Ibrahim Abu Dahouk, 52, a resident of Khan al-Ahmar, says he, as well as other members of the community, had to sell some of their livestock in haste to raise around $3,200 to pay for the injunction against demolitions and for the lawyer’s fee.

“I sold five heads of sheep and we had to beg livestock merchants to buy from us, and you know when you ask them to come, you get a lower price. I sold at a loss,” Abu Dahouk told Al Jazeera.

He added that the community is being stretched to the limit. Selling livestock to cover for legal costs literally means less food and clothes for his family. But he is compelled to sell in order to keep his home.

Bedouins are traditional herders and rely almost solely on goats and sheep for income. In recent years, rising fodder prices has compelled the Bedouin to sell most of their livestock. Israeli settlement expansion, Israeli army camps and nature reserves have also resulted in less and less grazing land.

The Jahalin Bedouin set up camp in this area as early as 1953, long before the two settlements were built. Prior to that, the Jahalin lived in Tel Arad, in the Naqab (Negev) desert. In 1951, after the establishment of Israel, the Israeli army expelled the Jahalin tribe from Tel Arad.

The community has been fighting Israeli demolition orders for years. Khamis says that if a move is a must, then it should be a move back to their homes in Tel Arad, in the Naqab desert.

On February 19, the Israeli army paid a visit to Khan al-Ahmar. To the bewilderment of the community, army officers distributed dozens of stop construction work orders. Khamis confirmed that there was no recent or ongoing construction. During the same visit, an Israeli commander told Khamis, that they had until February 23 to evacuate the area. The community was shaken. They immediately contacted their lawyer and informed him of the developments.

In the course of the past 10 days, UN officials, European Union heads of missions and international NGOs made solidarity visits to the Bedouin of Khan al-Ahmar.

Ambassador Ralph Tarraf, EU head of delegation to the occupied West Bank, said on Tuesday from Khan al-Ahmar that he is “worried” about the possibility of demolition and that he, along with other EU diplomats, came to “express hope that the Israeli authorities will not carry out demolition orders”.

“You know this is a particularly sensitive area … it is area C, but it is also called the E1 area and we are particularly concerned that the people living here are going to face displacement.”

When Tarraf was asked by Al Jazeera whether or not the EU was taking the issue of Khan al-Ahmar directly to the Israelis, he responded: “We are talking to the Israeli authorities through our delegations in Tel Aviv and it is not just the European Union, but also member states have taken up the issue with the Israeli authorities and we expressed our hope that this community will not face demolition.”

Robert Piper, UN assistant secretary-general warned last week that the destruction of private property and “potential forcible transfer” is counter to international humanitarian law.

“We are very, very concerned about the events of the last few days [Khan Al Ahmar]. This is illustrative of many communities here in the West Bank, With the coercive pressure that is being forced upon many communities to move, we are very worried about their legal costs. They are getting legal assistance, but they are not getting financial support for that.”

The community’s only school, built in 2009, is also under threat of demolition. The donor-funded school provides basic education to children for nearby Bedouin communities as well. About 160 pupils attend.

Shlomo Lecker, the community’s long-time lawyer, says that he will argue at Israel’s high court that the Israeli Civil Administration has no real alternative for the Bedouin of Khan al-Ahmar and that “relocation” is not a real alternative.

READ MORE: Palestinian Bedouins ‘live the Nakba every day’

The Israeli Civil Administration is under the authority of the Israel defence ministry and is tasked with implementing Israeli government policy in the occupied West Bank.

Bedouin’s stage ‘day of rage’ in Israel

An internal document prepared by international NGOs, operating in the occupied West Bank, and the UN warns that the “Israeli Civil Administration’s planned ‘relocation’ of Palestinian Bedouin and herding communities in Area C raises serious concerns under international law and must not take place.”

Israel is advancing a plan to “relocate” the Bedouin to Nuwei’ma, in the Jordan Valley. The Jahalin tribe rejected the plan, saying the area near Nuwei’ma is not suitable for Bedouin life because of its close proximity to an Israeli settlement and an Israeli army camp.

The Jahalin also say that the suggested plot of land in Nuwei’ma is too close to the herding ground used by another Bedouin tribe, the Rashayda. The Jahalin warns that forcible transfer to Nuwei’ma means that they will have to share the same resources of water and herding grounds with a different tribe, potentially creating friction with other communities.

The UN and international NGOs warn that the risk of forcible transfer could affect around 7,000 Palestinians living in Area C.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Officials: Moroccan education system needs major improvement

Image of Moroccan children painting in a school classroom [Julie Delahanty/Twitter]

Image of Moroccan children painting in a school classroom

Two Moroccans officials have called for national efforts to improve the quality of education in the country.

This came in a press conference to present the results of the national program to assess the educational achievements of students in 2016, organized by the Supreme Council for Education and Training and Scientific Research on Wednesday, in the capital, Rabat.

An adviser to the Moroccan king, Omar Izzeman said the national program results “revealed shocking facts”.

Read: Morocco closes all Gulen-linked schools

Izzeman who is also the head of the Supreme Council for Education and Training and Scientific Research said “the results are far from the required level,” adding that “our education is in danger”.

He explained that “the program to assess students achievements aim to identify problems affecting the education system as well as ways to overcome them”.

Director of the National Authority for Evaluation, Rahma Bourquia said the national program to assess the achievements of Moroccan students results reveal general weakness especially in the Arabic, French and mathematics.

She added that students suffer from weakness in the primary and preparatory education.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Israel has no Gaza policy

Palestinians survey a house that police said was destroyed as part of Operation Protective Edge in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, July 8, 2014

In a report released Feb. 28 on Operation Protective Edge, the state comptroller of Israel noted: “In a Cabinet discussion about the Palestinian arena that took place on April 3, 2013, … there was extensive coverage of the Judea and Samaria region and of Gaza. The prime minister noted that Gaza has become a real threat to the country. During that same discussion, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] head Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot said, ‘I want to point to a huge risk that will be coming from Gaza over the next two or three years. It involves infrastructure. … Gaza will face a water crisis with no solution in sight, which must be dealt with right now. … We will encounter a huge crisis there, which could result in an overall strategic change in our approach.'”

As a result of these remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Cabinet to meet for a discussion about the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and its implications on the security situation and on Israel in general. That meeting was never held.

The state comptroller’s report points to many other warnings coming from Dangot and the office of the COGAT and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who replaced Dangot in January 2014. Both of them said that the situation in the Gaza Strip was like a bubbling pressure cooker about to explode. The bottom line is clear: If nothing is done, it will end in an explosion. Nevertheless, Israel continued to do nothing. There were no discussions. There were no alternatives. No one thought about the situation from a strategic perspective.

The comptroller quoted comments by former Mossad Director Tamir Pardo, delivered during a discussion that took place during Operation Protective Edge. He said on July 8, 2014, “The world has changed. The rules of the game have been reopened, and the agreements reached after Operation Pillar of Defense are inappropriate given the current circumstances.” When asked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett what needed to be done, he responded, “I’m defining the problem for you. You define the objective. You are the political leadership, not me. You should be defining the objective.”

The problem is that Israel’s Cabinet never actually defined an objective. The state comptroller, Justice Joseph Shapira, proved as much with dozens more quotes from similar discussions.

Shapira’s report has set off a tempest in Israel, and the reactions in Gaza were equally flabbergasted. The report covers the intelligence failure, the lack of readiness to respond to the threat posed by Hamas attack tunnels and various other fiascos, all of which it attributes to Israel’s political and military leadership. Yet one particular issue towers above the others. According to the report, Israel has no strategy whatsoever in dealing with Gaza — or with its other fronts, for that matter. Israel marches forward without any idea what it wants to happen in Gaza. It has no strategic objectives, and as a result, it is not at all prepared for new developments and situations there.

Having reviewed the discussions in secret forums over the past few years and questioned officials of all ranks — including Netanyahu, then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and then-Chief of Staff Benny Gantz — Shapira paints a dismal picture. It shows how, in the summer of 2014, Israel sent its finest young men into a seething Gaza Strip without knowing what it wanted them to achieve there and without ensuring that its troops would be well-trained, well-equipped or well-learned in how to deal with the threat posed by the terrorist tunnels.

The report’s findings reveal that Israel’s security Cabinet barely existed at all, and that it never really examined various political and diplomatic alternatives in order to prevent the war. The writing was on the wall, in huge letters. It could be found in repeated warnings from the chief authority on the matter, COGAT, but Netanyahu and his Cabinet continued to ignore them.

Only after Operation Protective Edge erupted did Ya’alon say — on several different occasions, as quoted by the comptroller — that the war could have been prevented if Israel had come up with a timely response to the crisis in Gaza.

The report reveals how Israel and Hamas fell into Operation Protective Edge as if by happenstance, with no prior planning and no real desire to become embroiled in a conflict. The penny only dropped after the military operation ended, and only then did Israel became conscious of reality. Only then did Israel understand that whenever Hamas reaches a dead end in its efforts to create reasonable living conditions in Gaza and a modicum of hope for its residents, it will try to bust through it with the biggest blast possible, even if it is ultimately self-destructive.

While this situation is now crystal clear to the Israeli leadership, the situation has not changed. Netanyahu has yet to come up with a policy on how to handle Gaza and Hamas. He has not yet decided whether he wants the Hamas regime to continue ruling Gaza in the long term. There is no serious Israeli effort to improve living conditions in the Gaza Strip. Yes, there is a lot of talk, such as remarks by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said that if Hamas stops digging its tunnels and dealing in terrorism against Israel, Israel will agree to the construction of a seaport for Gaza, the gradual lifting of the closure and maybe even allowing laborers from Gaza to enter Israel for work. But there is very little activity.

Liberman and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot share the inclination to allow tens of thousands of laborers from Gaza to leave the Gaza Strip for work in Israel, subject to security clearance. The problem is that this solution is not making any real progress on the ground. Hundreds of Gaza workers are already leaving Gaza daily to go to work in Israel, but as long as their numbers remain the same, any improvements in the Gaza Strip will be only cosmetic.

A September 2015 United Nations report assessed that as early as 2020, there will not be enough potable water in Gaza, while the state of infrastructure there will make it impossible for the population to have a reasonable existence. Indeed, nothing has changed since the 2014 war or the release of that UN report. Israel is marching headfirst toward the next round, the next conflagration and the next comptroller’s report.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Israeli police raid Umm al-Hiran as residents fear more demolitions on the horizon


NEGEV (Ma’an) — Israeli police forces raided the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev region of southern Israel on Thursday afternoon, in what residents feared was preparation for the delivery of more demolition orders against homes in the village.

Local sources told Ma’an that residents have been expecting Israeli police to deliver demolition orders to remaining homes in the village ever since the January demolition raid in which a Bedouin resident and a police officer were killed and 12 homes were demolished.
Local committee head Raed Abu al-Qian told Ma’an that Israeli police and Israeli government officials toured the village and several homes, seemingly in preparation for a raid.
“Israeli attacks and demolitions will not scare us, but still I call upon the Arab public and leaders to intervene to make a better future for our children. I call upon everyone to not make Umm al-Hiran an easy prey for the monsters,” al-Qian said.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on Thursday’s raid.
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages, including Umm al-Hiran.
Most Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel, when many were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.
The issue of home demolitions in Israel has been in the limelight since the beginning of the year, notably due to the outrage caused by the demolitions in the town of Qalansawe and the deadly demolition raid in Umm al-Hiran in January.
The spike in home demolitions in Palestinian-majority areas of Israel has come after Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian-Israeli communities, notably Bedouins, from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.
Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
(Source / 02.03.2017)

Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians, including 12-year-old boy, in overnight raids


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians, including a 12-year-old child, during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank between Wednesday and Thursday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that seven Palestinians were detained in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank.
The organization identified them as Amjad Qaisiya, Mansour Salim al-Qudsi, Omar Masalma, Farouq Hussein Masalma, Asif Hussein Shalash, Ali Amr Sweiti, and Anas Muhammad al-Zghir.
Locals told Ma’an that Sweiti, Omar, and Farouq Masalma were detained in the village of Beit Awwa, while Shalash was detained in Dura, and al-Qudsi and al-Zghir were detained in Hebron city.
An Israeli army spokesperson only confirmed the two detentions in Hebron city.
The spokesperson could not immediately confirm whether the Qaisiya who was detained overnight was related to Saadi Qaisiya, who was killed by a settler on Wednesday at the illegal outpost of Havat More after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack.
In the Bethlehem district, PPS reported the detentions of four Palestinians, including Rami al-Ahmar, Ali Asaad, and Nael Abu Bakr.
PPS added that Israeli forces detained 12 year-old Humam Ahmad Radi from Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.
The army spokesperson confirmed one detention in Aida.
Locals added that Israeli forces closed a printing shop in the Bethlehem-area Duheisha refugee camp for allegedly printing “inciting materials,” in the latest Israeli military operation against Palestinian print shops.
In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, PPS said Muhammad Habib al-Khatib, 17, was detained in Hizma, while Tamer Wajih Mansour and Ahmad Muhammad Bidwan were detained in Biddu.
The Israeli army confirmed all three detentions.
In the northern West Bank, PPS stated that Israeli forces detained Firas Salah Sawalma in Tubas, while Muhammad Malaa was detained in the village of Beita in the Nablus district.
The army only confirmed the Beita detention.
Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 73 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of January, including 300 minors, 11 of whom were under the age of 16.
(Source / 02.03.2017)

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in Kafr Qasim without prior notice


NEGEV (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers demolished an under-construction house owned by a Palestinian citizen of Israel in the central Israeli town of Kafr Qasim on Thursday morning.

Israeli police raided the home of Ramzi Bin Bari and prevented anyone from entering, while Israeli bulldozers demolished it.
According to locals, the demolition was carried out because the building lacked difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits. Bin Bari had recently moved to the town, locals added.
Despite attempts by residents to prevent the demolition, Israeli bulldozers continued until the house was completely destroyed.
Bin Bari told Ma’an that his case was still being discussed in Israeli courts in an attempt to gain a permit for the property. He added that he had not received a demolition order for the property, and was shocked when Israeli bulldozers came to demolish his house.
Another Palestinian home was demolished in Kafr Qasim on Sunday, also without prior notice according to the homeowner.
The issue of home demolitions in Israel has been in the limelight since the beginning of the year, notably due to the outrage caused by the demolitions in the town of Qalansawe and the deadly demolition raid in Umm al-Hiran in January.
The spike in home demolitions in Palestinian-majority areas of Israel has come after Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian-Israeli communities, notably Bedouins, from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.
Right groups have argued that the aim of home demolitions is to forcibly displace Palestinians from the region, regardless of their status as residents of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem, or as citizens of Israel — despite the varying legal justifications used by Israel in each instance.
(Source / 02.03.2017)

Abu Sitta: The PA is harmed by the revival of the PLO

Dr Salman Abu Sitta addresses the delegates at the Palestinians Abroad conference in Istanbul, Turkey on February 25, 2017 [Middle East Monitor]

Dr Salman Abu Sitta addresses the delegates at the Palestinians Abroad conference in Istanbul, Turkey on February 25, 2017

The head of the general committee for the National Conference for Palestinians Abroad, Salman Abu Sitta, criticised the Oslo Accords and considered it more dangerous to the Palestinian people than the Balfour Declaration, which he said the Conference would be demanding an apology for in the British House of Commons.

In his appearance on Al Jazeera’s “Without Borders” television show yesterday, Abu Sitta said: “The Oslo Accords were the biggest catastrophe for the Palestinian people. It made us hostages and slaves to the occupation. It shrunk Palestine into a fifth of its territory, it killed the PLO, which represents 13 million Palestinians, and it established the PA that rules 2 million Palestinians under occupation.”

Abu Sitta added: “We do not recognise the Oslo Accords and its consequences,” stressing that there is no eternal or holy agreement, and that it can be revoked via legal bodies after the establishment of true and complete representation for the Palestinian people in the PLO.

Istanbul conference

On the National Conference for Palestinians Abroad held in Istanbul over the weekend, Abu Sitta said: “All of those participating in the conference came to express their right to be members of the PNC according to the PLO system.”

He considered the Istanbul conference to have a position in the Palestinian cause, awakening it from a 40-year slumber. He hoped that every Palestinian would join the conference and its committees, as well as contribute to returning their seized land.

Read: Conference for Palestinians Abroad kicks off in Istanbul

“We are a people with homeland and we must have a national committee,” Abu Sitta said.

Abu Sitta said that the PA feared the conference because it destroyed the PLO, and the revival of the PLO would harm it.


 Abu Sitta explained that the attendees at the conference want to elect the PNC, which has not convened in a free country since 1988, and wanted to be a part of the committee.

He described the current committee as having no legitimacy. It is supposed to convene annually in accordance with the constitution, and it consists of unions that have not held elections for 30 years.

He noted that he called the chairman of the PNC, Salim Zanoun, and urged him to activate the committee.

Abu Sitta denied that the conference is an alternate entity to the PLO, saying: “We are not a replacement for the PLO and we have the same programme as the PLO.”

On the ways to achieve their programme, he said: “We will work on this by reinforcing our presence in all the countries of the world and forming working committees that would fill the vacuum left by the absence of the PLO.”

“We will also increase the number of those working with us both inside and outside of Palestine and put pressure on the Arab, European, and international community to give every Palestinian the right to join the PLO, to elect and be elected.”

With regards to the conference’s funding, he said: “We do not have millions and all the conferences we held over the past 20 years are funded by personal efforts and donations from within our communities. Everyone who attended the conference in Istanbul paid for their ticket.”

(Source / 02.03.2017)