Palestinian security forces officer sentenced to 5 years in Israeli prison

Palestinian Officer arrested

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli Ofer military court sentenced a Palestinian Preventive Security Forces officer to five years and eight months of prison on Thursday, according to Palestinian media.

Several Palestinian news sites reported that the officer, Abd al-Rahman Zuhdi Mahfouth, 30,was detained by Israeli forces two years ago for “resisting occupation.”
The court also imposed a fine of 2,000 shekels ($554) on Mahfouth.
Reports said that Mahfouth’s brother, Omar, was released from Israeli custody on Thursday after eight years in prison.
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, as of July, there were 6,128 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons.
(Source / 04.08.2017)

Fatah Rejects Hamas’ ‘Unrealizable Conditions’


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses reporters after a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium, February 9, 2017

Ramallah – Fatah Movement has rejected an initiative submitted by Hamas to end current divisions, describing the conditions set by the group as “unrealizable”.

On Thursday, Hamas announced its readiness to dissolve its administrative committee as soon as the Palestinian Unity Government assumes all its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and provided that the PA takes on the obligation of hiring and managing the current members of the committee.

Hamas’ Polibureau member, Salah Bardawil, called for the immediate cancellation of all measures imposed on Gaza, in parallel with the immediate start of a national dialogue, consultations to form a government of national unity and the activation of the legislative council.

Bardawil also called for preparations of presidential and legislative elections “that would come out with the best interests of the Palestinian people.”

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, well-informed sources in Fatah described what Hamas has proposed as an “initiative of impossible requirements.”

“There is a roadmap set by President Mahmoud Abbas, which includes dissolving the administrative committee and enabling the unity government to work properly, and then forming a government of national unity with the participation of Hamas and holding general elections,” the sources said.

Abbas has taken a series of steps against the Gaza Strip to force Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee. These included cutting salaries, stopping payment of electricity and fuel, and abolishing tax exemptions.

State employees in Gaza were surprised by new measures on Thursday that cut the salaries of thousands of people who were hired in 2005.

The sources noted that those measures were aimed at exerting pressure on Hamas and would be lifted once reconciliation is achieved.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

IOF kidnaps MP Abu Tir from his home in Ramallah

Abu Tir arrested again

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Friday kidnapped Palestinian lawmaker Mohamed Abu Tir from his home in Ramallah city.

Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers stormed the house of MP Abu Tir, who represents the Jerusalem constituency, in Umm ash-Sharayet neighborhood of Ramallah and rounded him up.

Abu Tir was exiled from Jerusalem by the Shin Bet after his election as a Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, and his Jerusalem identity card was also revoked after his refusal to resign from his lawmaking post

He already spent a total of 34 years in Israeli jails during different periods and was released a few months ago from administrative detention.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

EU delegation visits Jerusalemite family threatened with eviction

EU delegation Palestine

Representatives of the European Union (EU) visited on Friday a Palestinian family threatened with eviction in occupied Jerusalem in favor of Jewish settlement societies.

The delegation carried out a tour in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the occupied city, where they were briefed about the escalated settlement expansion campaign in the area.

During the tour, the delegation expressed deep concern over the Israeli threats, vowing to follow up the case.

In March 2017, Israeli authorities ruled the eviction of the Palestinian Shamasna family from their home in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarah neighborhood in favor of an Israeli settlement society.

The to-be-evacuated two-room home has been the only shelter for the 83-year-old Ayoub Shamasna and his 74-year-old wife, along with their sons, daughter-in-law, and their six grandchildren, residing in the house since 1964.

A set of documents and signed contracts prove that the Shamasana family has been covering all rental fees since the early 1970’s. But the Israeli authorities turned down all corroborations and appeals filed to protect the family from forced dislocation.

A sit-in is scheduled to be organized on Saturday outside Shamasna house in protest against the Israeli eviction order.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Jerusalem: 600 injured, 425 arrested, 12 buildings demolished

Israeli security forces take security measures as Palestinians stage a demonstration to protest metal detectors installed by Israeli authorities on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Bethlehem, West Bank on 21 July 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli security forces take security measures as Palestinians stage a demonstration to protest against the metal detectors in Bethlehem, West Bank on 21 July 2017

Eight Palestinians were killed in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas at the hands of Israeli forces during July, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre.

Some 425 Palestinians from Jerusalem have been arrested and 12 buildings were demolished in the same period.

In its monthly report, the information centre stated that the Israelis have unprecedentedly escalated their violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque by closing the mosque and banning the call to prayer for two days. They also prohibited Friday prayers from taking place and tried to impose new measures to search worshippers entering the mosque. This led to a wave of anger that manifested in the form of protests for 13 days.

Of the 425 Palestinians arrested in Jerusalem, 65 were minors, nine were children under the age of 12, one elderly woman and two elderly men were arrested as were two female minors and five women. The occupation also arrested all 58-members of staff at the Islamic Awqaf Department in Al-Aqsa.

Read: If Al-Aqsa is to be protected long-term, Israel’s occupation must end

The geographic distribution of the arrests are as follows: 222 were arrested from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and its gates, 54 from Silwan, 35 from the Old City, 31 from At-Tur, 20 from Al-Isawiya, 16 from Wadi Joz, 14 from Al-Sawaneh, 13 from Shuafat and Anata Refugee Camp, 6 from Shuafat, 2 from Beit Hanina, five from Sur Baher, five from Jabal Al-Mukaber, and one from Kafr Aqab.

In addition to this, the Israeli occupation issued orders banning 81 Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, or the Old City (60 banned from entering Al-Aqsa, 13 from the Old City, and eight from Jerusalem).

According to the centre, over 600 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition, rubber coated bullets, sound bombs, tear gas and beatings during protests near Al-Aqsa.


The centre also reported that 12 buildings in Jerusalem were demolished last month, three of which were demolished by their owners to avoid paying fines. The remaining buildings consisted of seven residential homes, a residential building, two mobile homes and two businesses.

As a result of the demolitions, 17 individuals were displaced, including 7 children.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Israel re-arrests Palestinian MP Abu Tair

Image of Palestinian MP Abu Tair

Israeli occupation forces this morning re-arrested Palestinian Member of Parliament Mohammed Abu Tair two months after he was released from prison.

The 65-year-old was arrested at his home in Um Al-Sharayet near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from the Change and Reform Bloc of the Hamas movement, Abu Tair has been arrested a number of time and most recently served a 17-year term in an Israeli jail and was released in late May.

He has spent 32 years in Israeli jails.

He has previously been accused of not being loyal to the State of Israel.

Read: Israel arrests Palestinian MPs to distance them from the people

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Israel blockades Palestinian village

Image of Israeli occupation forces [File photo]

Image of Israeli occupation forces

Israeli occupying forces have imposed a total lockdown on the occupied West Bank village of Yatta, after a resident was allegedly involved in a stabbing attack against an Israeli.

After the village was raided for a second time yesterday, all roads have been blocked and Palestinians were left unable to enter or exit the area without detailed security checks, according to Ma’an news agency.

Read: Israel to demolish home of Al-Aqsa resistance fighter

Earlier this week Israeli forces stormed the house of 19-year-old Ismail Ibrahim Abu Aram in Yatta who is accused of stabbing an Israeli man in a supermarket in the city of Yibna.

Israel regularly closes entire Palestinian villages and towns following actual or alleged attacks, a policy which human rights groups have called “collective punishment”.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Hamas announces seven-point reconciliation plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) receives Hamas delegations at his office in Ramallah, West Bank on 1 August 2017

On Thursday, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) announced a seven-point reconciliation initiative with the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas in exchange for the cancellation of recent Palestinian government measures that including the dismissal of thousands of Gaza employees and the cancellation of the Hamas-appointed committee to run the sector.

In a statement, Salah Al-Bardawil, a member in Hamas Political Bureau, said that “Hamas is heading towards the Palestinian reconciliation on clear, sound and deep bases.” He also called for “an immediate cancellation of all the measures that are imposed on Gaza under the pretext of forming the government administrative committee.”

He also announced the readiness of “Hamas to end the urgent mission of the government committee as soon as the Palestinian Unity Government assumes all its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip.”

In early July, the Palestinian Authority, headed by Rami Hamdallah, dismissed more than 6,000 of its employees in the Gaza Strip and had already stopped paying the electricity bills for the Gazan supply that is secured from the Israeli power grid (this pushed the Israel to cut electricity supplies). In April, the government also announced the reduction of its employees’ salaries in the Gaza Strip.

Read: Salary cuts for Gaza employees ‘liquidate’ Palestinian cause

The measures came in the context of Hamas’s formation of a seven-member “administrative committee” for the Gaza Strip.

Al-Bardawil stressed the need for “the immediate commencement of national dialogue and discussions to form a government of national unity and for the activation of the Palestinian Legislative Council to start performing its tasks.”

The Hamas initiative also included “preparing for legislative and presidential elections and national council elections, as well as holding an immediate meeting of the interim leadership staff of the liberation organization to make national decisions that are binding for all.”

Last Tuesday, Abbas met a delegation of Hamas, headed by Nasser Al-Din Al-Shaer, at the presidential headquarters in the city of Ramallah.

Read: Hamas delegation meets with Abbas in Ramallah

The official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) said that during the meeting, there has been a “presentation of the general situations and of the ways to strengthen national unity, end the division and restore the cohesion to the Palestinian land and people.”

The Palestinian Legislative Council has not held a meeting since 2007, the year in which Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip and expelled Fatah from it.


In addition, no presidential elections have been held since 2005, and Abbas remained in power despite the end of his presidency.

The boycott came after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections. However, the international community refused to accept Hamas government and demanded that the movement has first to renounce violence, accept the Israeli state and respect agreements between Palestinians and Israeli leaders. This has developed to a full control of Hamas over the Gaza Strip after a bloody confrontation with pro-Abbas forces.

On April 2014, Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas signed a national reconciliation agreement, followed by the formation of the Palestinian Unity Government. However, Hamas and Fatah movements have failed to settle their disputes, and Hamas did not join the government.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Bill to cut off aid to Palestinians passed by US committee

Image of John Mccain and Lindsey Graham [file photo]

Image of J John McCain, Lindsey Graham

A US Senate committee approved a bill on Thursday that would cut off $300 million in annual US aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crimes.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 for the measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, after a 29-year-old American military veteran who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel last year.

The bill, which must be approved by the full Senate and House of Representatives before becoming law, is intended to stop the Palestinian Authority from paying the stipends, which can reach $3,500 per month.

Force’s attacker was killed by Israeli police, but his killer’s family receives such a monthly payment.

“What has happened here will hopefully, when passed, prevent other people from having the same fate: an innocent person going about their activities in an innocent way, being murdered by someone who’s being incented to do that by their own government,” Senator Bob Corker, the committee’s Republican chairman and a co-sponsor of the bill, told a news conference.

Force was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in Corker’s home state, Tennessee, when he was killed.

Force’s parents live in South Carolina, the home state of Senator Lindsey Graham, the act’s other Republican co-sponsor. Graham, who dubbed the payments “pay to slay,” is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid.

Palestinian officials have said they intend to continue the payments, which they see as support for relatives of those imprisoned by Israel for fighting against occupation or who have died in connection with that cause.

To win broader support, the original act was modified to take into account the need for humanitarian aid. It exempts assistance for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, creates an escrow account to hold assistance funds and spells out steps the Palestinian Authority can take for aid to resume.

Corker said he was confident the bill would become law sometime in the coming months. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Opponents of the bill have said they worry that cutting off economic aid to the Palestinians would increase poverty and instability in the West Bank and Gaza, fueling more violence.

(Source / 04.08.2017)

Halamish settlers raid Kobar village, Israeli forces intervene, injure 1 Palestinian

Settlers attack Kobar

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian youth was injured with live fire by Israeli forces during clashes into the village of Kobar, located in the Ramallah district of the central occupied West Bank.

Locals told Ma’an that some 200 Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Halamish settlement — where last month, a Palestinian teen from Kobar stabbed and killed three Halamish settlers — raided the Kobar village overnight between Thursday and Friday and “attempted to attack locals, who resisted them, leading the settlers to exit the village.”
According to locals, the settlers entered through the southern part of Kobar, and when locals resisted them, they fled towards the Jibiya village, only to be surrounded by youths from the two villages.
Israeli forces then arrived to the Jibiya village to protect the settlers, opening live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades, injuring one youth with live fire.
Israeli forces then escorted the settlers back to the Halamish settlement.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into the events.
Israeli forces have routinely been criticized by Palestinian leaders and rights groups for the use of “excessive force” and live ammunition during raids and clashes with Palestinians, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
In the wake of the Halamish stabbing, Israeli forces imposed a series of punitive measures on the family of the attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, and the residents of Kobar, temporarily sealing the village, detaining the al-Abed’s brother and mother, and raiding the local health clinic.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced al-Abed’s family home would be punitively demolished, as several Israeli officials called for the death penalty to be imposed on the teenager.
The Israeli government has long faced criticism for its response to attacks, with rights groups saying severe security measures amount to collective punishment and a violation of international law.

(Source / 04.08.2017)