Israel unveils 5th-Generation Spike Missile for assassination

Fifth-generation Spike

An Israeli company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has unveiled its fifth-generation Spike multipurpose missile with a significant increase in range and lethality for the use of field assassinations.

Walla news website on Monday quoted the company as saying that the missile will be presented for the first time at the Paris Air Show in June.

According to Israeli sources, the Spike LR II is an advanced multipurpose missile, weighing only 12.7 kg., and can be launched from any Spike launcher. It has a range of 5.5 km. when fired from ground launchers and up to 10 km. when fired from a helicopter.

The Spike LR II, which can be fired from vehicles, helicopters, ships and ground launchers, has advanced electro-optic seekers which include capabilities of a smart target tracker with artificial intelligence features.

It helps Israeli infantry forces to occupy towns in Lebanon or the Gaza Strip and to carry out assassination operations against wanted people on motorcycles, the sources elaborated.

The missile also includes new third-party target allocation (networked-enabled) enhancement with an embedded inertial measurement unit assembly, which allows the missiles to be fired to grid target coordinates, including advanced armor and protection systems.

The Spike LR II also has two advanced warhead configurations for increased lethality, the company said. The Tandem HEAT warhead configuration ups the armor penetration capability of the missile by over 30% and the new multipurpose blast warhead, which includes controlled fusing (by the gunner) for control of the desired effect.

(Source / 30.05.2017)

IOF arrests Palestinian girl in al-Khalil

Young girl Taffuh

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Tuesday evening a Palestinian girl allegedly found in possession of a knife near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the center of al-Khalil city, according to the PIC reporter.

The Israeli police said in a statement that an Israeli force arrested the 17-year-old girl after searching her and finding a knife in her bag, pointing out that the girl, who is from Taffuh town in al-Khalil, was transferred to interrogation on charges of attempting a stabbing attack.

Dozens of Israeli military checkpoints are deployed in the Old City of al-Khalil and the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque. The Palestinian citizens are frequently subjected to extensive searches and unjustified arrests.

Dozens of Palestinian young men and women carried out stabbing operations since the eruption of the Jerusalem Intifada in early October 2015 in response to the Israeli settlers’ incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque and the Israeli attempts to impose temporal and spatial division on the holy Islamic site.

For its part, the IOF embarked on arresting Palestinian young men and women for allegedly carrying knives or intending to carry out attacks.

(Source / 30.05.2017)

IOF summons, arrests young man at checkpoint in Tulkarem

IOF in Tulkarem

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday afternoon arrested a Palestinian young man after summoning him at a military checkpoint south of Tulkarem city in the West Bank.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence, wanted to capture Naser Jaber several times before and handed his family in Tulkarem summonses to turn himself in.

They said that Jaber went today along with his lawyer to the checkpoint and turned himself in, adding that he was transferred to an interrogation center in al-Jalama prison.

(Source / 30.05.2017)

Abu Tair: Prisoners movement should reassess its positions

Abu Tair and prisoners

The released Jerusalemite MP Mohammed Abu Tair said on Tuesday that the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are living a difficult situation and that the prisoners movement should reassess its positions.

Abu Tair, 65, was released on Tuesday morning from the Negev prison after serving a 17-month sentence.

He said in statements after his release that if the hunger strike was planned well, the results would have been more effective, adding that the prisoners movement should reevaluate its positions with regard to the recent strike.

With the release of Abu Tair, the number of the Palestinian captive MPs fell to 11, most of whom are kept in administrative detention

(Source / 30.05.2017)

Seif to Meet EU Foreign Policy Chief Mogherini Friday to Discuss EU Support for Opposition

President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif is set to meet the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in the Belgian capital Brussels on Friday.

Seif will be accompanied by head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Jawad Abu Hatab and members of the Coalition’s political committee.

The meeting with the EU foreign policy chief will discuss the latest political and field developments in Syria and the outcome of the latest round of talks in Geneva aimed at reaching a political transition in line with the Geneva 2012 Communique and the UN Security Council resolutions.

The meeting will also discuss the strategy outlined by the European Union to support the opposition and SIG. The strategy focuses on achieving real political transition and addressing the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Syrians. It also promotes democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, accountability for war crimes, national reconciliation, and transitional justice.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 30.05.2017)

Journalists Forum slams the PA for arresting 2 journalists

Arrests journalists

The Palestinian Journalists Forum slammed the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in the West Bank for arresting two journalists as well as storming their homes and confiscating their laptops and cameras. It also condemned the PA harassment of journalists.

According to the Forum, the PA intelligence apparatus in Salfit arrested on Sunday the former director of Filistin newspaper in the West Bank, Walid Khaled. He is an ex-detainee who served about 15 years of imprisonment in Israeli jails and was held more than once in the PA jails.

The PA preventive security apparatus in Bethlehem arrested journalist Qutaiba Qasem after he was summoned for questioning on Monday morning. He is also an ex-detainee who served about 4 years in Israeli jails and was held for several times in the PA prisons.

The Forum stated that the arrest of journalists is a violation of freedom of journalism as well as journalists’ rights, and called on the PA to stop such violations.

It also called on media and human rights institutions along with factions and other concerned groups to intervene for the release of journalists and to protect them from arrests and other violations. The Forum also demanded syndicate and popular action in order to pressure the PA security forces to stop such offensive practices.

(Source / 30.05.2017)

Palestinian women’s center to keep name despite pressure from UN, Norway

Women's Community Day

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Days after Norway pulled its sponsorship from an occupied West Bank women’s community center and demanded a refund for construction costs from the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the United Nations (UN) promptly pulling its backing as well, the center has reportedly said it will not change its name, which the UN said “glorifies terrorism.”

The Dalal al-Mughrabi Women’s Community Center — named after a fighter in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who played a role in a 1978 attack that left over 30 Israelis and 12 Palestinian fighters dead, including al-Mughrabi herself — was built in the Nablus-area village of Burqa in the northern West Bank.
The center was sponsored by both the UN and the Norwegian government, who provided partial financial support for the construction of the center, which had remained nameless until it was officially inaugurated earlier this month.
Official PA-owned Wafa news agency reported Tuesday that the head of the Burqa village council, Sami Daghlas, said “the center has no intention of caving in to the pressure and changing its name.”
Daghlas told Wafa that the center was built “to serve and empower young women in the village and to help them develop them to become active members in society.”According to Daghlas, the name Dalal al-Mughrabi was chosen by the villagers “to commemorate a Palestinian hero who sacrificed herself for her country and therefore they have no intention to change its name, regardless of the price.”“Instead of fighting a community center that does not exceed 50 square meters in area and works on serving young women in the community, they should be objecting to regular attacks by (Israeli) settlers against the village and its people and to allow farmers to reach their land that was taken away from them,” Daghlas said, as he expressed his surprise at the actions of the UN and Norway, which he said were done “to satisfy Israel.”
The Times of Israel reported last week that the Norwegian Foreign Minister had condemned the PA for the name choice of the center, saying “Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way,” and demanded that the PA reimburse Norway for the costs contributed to the center.
In his interview with Wafa, Daghlas said that the people of Burqa did not object to returning the money to Norway, which he said “was only few thousand dollars used to repair and refurbish the building, and would never capitulate to pressure and blackmail.”
One day after Norway’s move to pull funding from the center, the UN pulled its sponsorship from the center, which it called “offensive.”
“The United Nations disassociated itself from the Center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future,” the Times of Israel said, quoting a statement from Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the UN statement said, adding that the UN had requested that the logo of UN Women be removed from the building.
According to Wafa, Daghlas said that the UN was responsible for funding some projects put on by the center.
Wafa also quoted Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, as saying that “Israel glorifies Jewish terrorists and pays them money and no one objects to that,” referencing the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and other Jewish extremists convicted of attacking and killing Palestinians and Israelis, who Majdalani said still receive Israeli government stipends through the national insurance plan.
(Source / 30.05.2017)

Hamas, Fatah accuse each other of being unwilling to resolve political crisis

Hamas vs Fatah

GAZA (Ma’an) — Hamas and Fatah continued on Monday to exchange accusations over the ongoing political crisis opposing the two Palestinian political parties.

Hamas politburo member Salah al-Bardawil accused Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, of demanding numerous changes to a reconciliation agreement with Hamas brokered by Qatar, and of choosing not to achieve reconciliation as long as he remains in office.
Al-Bardawil claimed that Abbas was stalling the reconciliation process in order to achieve a “political project” with US President Donald Trump, without further elaborating on what he meant by such a project.
The Hamas official’s comments also came after Trump called out the Hamas movement — Gaza’s de facto leading party — in a list of terrorist organizations during a speech in Riyadh earlier this month, prompting outcry from Palestinians across the political spectrum, who interpreted the remarks as a blanket condemnation of all forms of Palestinian resistance.
Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh called al-Bardawil’s claims “void,” and in turn said that Hamas was the one refusing national unity.
Al-Qawasmeh argued that Abbas and Fatah had sent a clear message to Hamas in accordance with all existing agreements, asking the resistance movement to dissolve the committee formed in the besieged enclave tasked with administering the Gaza Strip, and to agree on holding legislative and presidential elections within six months — demands that al-Qawasmeh said Hamas had refused.
Al-Qawasmeh went on to accuse Hamas of blaming others for its refusal to accept a reconciliation agreement, and attributed the political, humanitarian, social, and cultural crises affecting the Palestinian cause in the past decade to Hamas failing to “learn its lessons.”
The Fatah official also claimed that Hamas’ “commitment” to national divisions was in fact helping Israel “eliminate” the Palestinian cause, and concluded by stating that the PA was committed to achieving a two-state solution with a Palestinian state comprising of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
Numerous attempts have been made in the past to reconcile Hamas and Fatah since they came into violent conflict in 2007, shortly after Hamas’ 2006 victory in general elections held in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliations, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.
Tensions have escalated in recent months over an ongoing electricity crisis in Gaza recently made worse by the announcement that the PA had requested that Israel reduce its supply of power; accusations of politically motivated arrests in both the West Bank and Gaza; PA-imposed cuts to the salaries of civil servants in Gaza; and the occurrence of local elections only in the West Bank, despite being boycotted by Hamas and other parties.
(Source / 30.05.2017)

CEC holds meeting on implementation of West Bank local elections

CEC for elections

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) said in a statement that it briefed members of the Elections Working Group (EWG) on the implementation of local elections held in the occupied West Bank earlier this month, “(expressing) hope for the electoral process to be resumed soon in the Gaza Strip.”

During the meeting, held Tuesday at the CEC’s headquarters in al-Bireh in the Ramallah district, “technical aspects of the electoral process, including obstacles encountered, the elections results, and objections to results filed before the elections court,” were also discussed.
According to the statement, CEC Chairman Hanna Nasir also “made a reference to the presence of local and international observers who monitored all aspects of the electoral process.”
“On their part, EWG members praised the success of the CEC in organizing elections and expressed their full support to the Commission and confidence in its work,” the CEC statement concluded.
Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), maintained a majority of local council seats in the elections — despite independent lists having scored a higher number of votes — due to largely going uncontested.
The CEC had previously reported that the voter turnout stood at 53.4 percent — a participation rate virtually the same as in the 2012 and 2005 locals elections, which has been seen by analysts as a sign of disaffection with Fatah and the PA.
As anti-PA sentiment has continued to grow over the past year, a number of political factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), decided to boycott the elections.
The elections were initially scheduled to be held in October, but were postponed, following backlash over a PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.
Prior to their cancellation, the municipal elections had been set to be the first in the Gaza Strip in a decade, after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 vote erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.
The elections only took place in the West Bank, as Hamas, the de facto leading party of the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the legitimacy of the elections.
The PA was meanwhile prohibited from carrying out elections in occupied East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel following the 1967 military takeover of the Palestinian territory.
(Source / 30.05.2017)

Strategic report reviews Hamas’s future in the light of its political document

Hamas should work to strengthen its internal ranks, because the next stage is unusual in terms of the intensity of targeting aimed at weakening and isolating them

Beirut, ALRAY — Al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations in Beirut issued a strategic report on the future of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas in the light of its new political document and its internal elections that have produced a new political bureau.

The study highlights the “big” challenges that surround Hamas at the current stage at the local, regional and international levels.

It is noteworthy that on 1st of May, Hamas movement issued its political document, in which it outlined its general political vision, including its vision of the conflict with the Israeli entity and all other major issues in the Palestinian cause.

In the face of the next stage – the study – sees that Hamas needs to “re-position”, as it has several possible paths, including:

– Introduce a “national initiative”, whether by completing reconciliation through certain concessions, with a view to cross the stage.

– Unify the resistance forces “to try to consolidate the national row” in the face of efforts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

– Adopt a creative vision by relying on the items of the political document, in order to deepen the regional space to dismantle or mitigate the campaign against the movement.

– Maintain the basic gains as the base of resistance in the Gaza Strip, and conduct a combination of attempting to strengthen the Palestinian National Front.

The study considers that the last track is currently available by moving in accordance with the strategy of steadfastness and self-defense as it is currently threatened. At the same time, efforts are being exerted to strengthen the Palestinian national ranks and try to penetrate in to the regional space.

The study also recommends that Hamas should work to strengthen its internal ranks, because the next stage is unusual in terms of the intensity of targeting aimed at weakening and isolating them.

Additionally, it recommends that Hamas should intensify its interaction with the influential joints in the middle of the Arab and Islamic back, and enhance communication with the elites that have a popular and official influence.

The study also believes that because of the lack of seriousness of the Israeli occupation and the American mediator in the course of the settlement, and the inability of any Palestinian party to exclude the other in the end, it requires that the leadership of Fatah to lead to the path of partnership with all Palestinian forces to get out of the Palestinian impasse.

The study warns that seeking to weaken Hamas or remove it from the Palestinian arena will push forward the emergence of the alternative, which is the extremist forces that do not have a political mind, nor a practical project.

“Attempts to confront and strike Hamas may have provoked more feelings of defiance for it and may have motivated the movement and hardened its return, so the first is a dialogue with Hamas not to target it.”

(Source / 30.05.2017)