24 years of negotiations ‘have not achieved anything,’ says PA minister

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki [Yael arava com/Facebook]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki said on Monday that 24 years of negotiations with the Israeli occupation “have not achieved anything,” Safa news agency has reported. He made his comments during a meeting with Britain’s Minister of State for Middle East Affairs, Alistair Burt MP, in Ramallah.

“We have persuaded the international community that the best way to reach a state is negotiations,” said Maliki, “but after 24 years of negotiations we did not achieve anything.” He called for the international community to provide an answer to this problem through active intervention and imposing peace by establishing a Palestinian state and granting the Palestinians their rights, mainly the right to self-determination.


The two ministers also discussed the US efforts to resume negotiations prior to the visit of an American delegation scheduled for the end of August to achieve the same result. In this regard, Maliki called for the right-wing Israeli government to give up its occupation mindset and adopt the two-state solution as a strategic choice.

He asked Britain to support the Palestinian demands in international forums. The world community, he insisted, should not only condemn the Israeli occupation verbally, but also with practical measures. Israel, said the Foreign Minister, is immune to such condemnation.

Read: No negotiations with Israel before settlement activity is halted

(Source / 23.08.2017)

Switzerland suspends funding of Palestinian NGO



The Swiss Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday that it had stopped funding the Palestinian NGO Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, due to alleged links to terrorism, the Jerusalem Post has reported.

The Ramallah-based organisation is alleged to provide funds to the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), an organisation that endorses the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and named a youth centre after a slain Palestinian resistance fighter, Dalal Mughrabi.

Read: Mexican politician condemns BDS

The Secretariat also receives funding from Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, and states that its objective is to promote “the effective realisation of adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law” in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Numerous Palestinian organisations have come under fire from donors due to their support for the BDS campaign. In May, Israel pressured the Danish government into suspending support and funding to groups that advocated for a boycott of Israeli goods.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

PA reduces medical referrals for Gaza patients by 80%

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis in Gaza City on 26 January 2014 [Mohammed AsadApaimages]

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis in Gaza City on 26 January 2014

The Palestinian Authority has reduced the number of medical referrals for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by 80 per cent, Quds Net News reported on Tuesday. According to rights groups, the PA has made this move as a way to put pressure on the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, which effectively runs the besieged territory.

In a meeting organised by the Monitor of Policies and Palestinian Coalition, researcher Iyad Al-Ribahi said that the reduction of medical treatment referrals puts the life of thousands of patients at risk, especially following soon after another PA decision to force thousands of medical staff into early retirement.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Independent Committee for Human Rights, Dr Ammar Dweek, said that the reason given for the reduction of referrals touches on the basic rights of Palestinian citizens in Gaza. He pointed out that this is a matter of life and death, and called for practical measures and a lobbying campaign to reverse the decision. This, he said, should include the names and details of the patients affected directly; they are people, he insisted, not numbers.

Read: Treatment referrals for Gaza patients down by 75%

Statistics issued by the relevant department in the Ministry of Health in Gaza show that the number of referrals in July 2017 was just 477, compared with 2,071 in July last year.


Dweek added that more than 400 patients from the Gaza Strip were summoned and investigated by the Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet at the Erez Border Crossing, as a condition for dealing with their applications for medical treatment referrals through the PA.

Representative of the World Health Organisation, Quds Net News reported, pointed out that the Rafah Border Crossing was not open for four consecutive months, and this made the conditions for the patients in Gaza much worse.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

‘Cautious calm’ reported in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp after 4 wounded in clashes

Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Armed clashes erupted once again on Wednesday morning in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp between Palestinian forces and fighters affiliated to Islamist hardliner Bilal Badr, as at least four residents were reported wounded.

According to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), clashes broke out between Palestinian and Badr-affiliated fighters in the camp on Tuesday and escalated on Wednesday hours after reports had emerged that a ceasefire was being brokered, as Islamist groups attempted to advance towards posts erected by Palestinian joint forces — aimed at ridding the camp of Badr fighters.
NNA reported in the morning that clashes were “fierce” and gunshots and explosions could be heard.
Two members of the Fatah movement were reportedly injured after rockets struck a house in the camp, while two security officials were injured with stray bullets in a government building amid the gunfight, according to NNA.
NNA reported later on Wednesday afternoon that a “cautious calm” was established in the camp, “occasionally interrupted by bombs, accompanied by bursts of fire shooting.” Palestinian joint forces were deployed in Al-Tira neighborhood in the camp after an alleged ceasefire, in order to “stabalize the situation” and inspect the damage caused by the clashes, according to NNA.
On Tuesday night, the Hamas and Fatah movements held an emergency meeting in order to address the uptick of violence in Ain al-Hilweh in recent months.
Last week, deadly violence erupted in Ain al-Hilweh between Palestinian factions and Badr-affiliated fighters, leaving at least three dead and several others wounded.
Shortly after the Palestinian joint force was first deployed in the camp, violent clashes broke out for days in April, leaving at least 10 killed and rendering numerous buildings uninhabitable.
Badr, wanted by Lebanese authorities on numerous charges, has since reportedly disappeared into hiding.
By longstanding convention, the Lebanese army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, leaving Palestinian factions to handle security themselves.
The largest and most crowded refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 54,116 registered refugees who fled their villages during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, according to the UN.
However, the population has significantly increased since 2011 as a result of the Syrian war, as Palestinians have been displaced a second time from refugee camps across Syria, with development nonprofit organization Anera estimating the camp’s population to be closer to 120,000.

According to the UN, Ain al-Hilweh suffers from high rates of poverty and poor housing conditions, which have been further stressed as a result of overcrowding in recent years.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

Palestinian man shot dead outside his shop in Qalqiliya

Pal dead Qalqiliya

QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man was shot dead in front of his shop in Qalqiliya city in the northwestern occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian police.Police spokesman Luay Irzeiqat identified the victim 35-year-old Wadea Mardawi from the village of Habla west of Qalqiliya.He told Ma’an that police in Qalqiliya were alerted to a drive-by shooting at a shop in Qalqiliya. A police force rushed to the scene and found a man with critical gunshot wounds. He was evacuated to hospital where doctors announced his death upon arrival.According to initial police investigations, a number of unidentified gunmen fired at Mardawi from a car while he was in front of his shop. The motives behind the murder are still being investigated.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

Israel denies exit from Gaza to 2 Palestinian officials without explanation

PLO members denied exit Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities denied exit from the Gaza Strip to two Palestinian officials Tuesday morning, according to Gaza-based organization the al-Mezan Center For Human rights.

PLO Executive Committee member Zakariya al-Agha and Kamal al-Sharafi, the human rights adviser to the Palestinian president, were on their way to the occupied West Bank for a work trip when they were denied exit from the besieged coastal enclave, without being provided a justification for the denial, according to al-Mezan.
Al-Sharafi is also president of Al-Aqsa University in Gaza while al-Agha also serves as the head of the Palestinian Committee of Refugee Affairs. Both of the officials carry Palestinian diplomatic passports.
“Al-Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s denial of the right to free movement, which impacts all Palestinian residents of Gaza, and stresses that these arbitrary procedures deprive Palestinians of their basic rights — including rights to health, education and family life, which are rooted in access to free movement — are in violation of international law,” the statement said.
The human rights organization called on the international community “to take immediate steps to stop the collective punishment of Palestinians that is a result of the closure of Gaza and demands that it is lifted.”
A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that al-Agha and al-Sharafi “required prior coordination by the Civil Affairs Ministry in the Palestinian Authority with COGAT.”
As a result of “not meeting this requirement,” Israeli authorities did not permit them to cross, the spokesperson said.
Separately, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man who works in the Erez area, where the Israeli border crossing is located, earlier on Tuesday morning.
Al-Mezan reported that Israeli forces took 43-year-old Ayman Rafiq Hamad to a detention center for interrogation after he arrived to work at a transportation company near the crossing, and did not receive an explanation for his detention. Hamad is from Beit Hanoun, the city on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing.
According to the rights group, it wasn’t until 6 p.m. that the Palestinian military liaison was informed by the Israeli side of Hamad’s detention.
A spokesperson for the Shin Beit, Israel’s internal security agency, was not immediately available to comment on the reasons behind Hamad’s detention.
Meanwhile, Israeli exit permits granted to average Palestinians from Gaza has dropped “dramatically,” Israeli NGO Gisha noted earlier this month, with the number of permits given monthly by Israel dropping to just half the amount issued in 2016.
Gaza’s two million residents marked their tenth year under Israeli blockade last month.
Five years after the United Nations warned that Gaza could become unlivable by 2020, a new UN report determined that the situation there maybe have already reached that stage. In addition to ongoing energy and health crises, more than half of Gaza’s two million residents suffer from food insecurity.
(Source / 23.08.2017)

Al-Aqsa school distributes textbooks outside campus after police ban

Al-Aqsa Sharia School for Girls

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Students of the Al-Aqsa Sharia School for Girls gathered outside of their campus on Wednesday to collect their textbooks, after Israeli police prevented the books from being delivered directly to the school, located inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

Head of the school, Ahad Sabri, told Ma’an the school administration was forced to distribute the books outside of the compound, near the Lions’ Gate entrance, as police continued to refuse to allow the books to be taken inside on the first day of the school year.
Two other schools inside the compound, another high school and a kindergarten, were also affected by the police ban on Tuesday. Sabri said the books were banned because they were marked with Palestinian Authority logos.
Sabri told Ma’an that it was not the first time Israeli authorities have restricted educational materials from entering Al-Aqsa. She said that just last week, Israeli forces prevented a private car from delivering a scanner to a girls’ school, forcing children to roll it through on a wheelchair.
She noted that Israeli police also prevented standard A4 paper from being delivered to the school for a two-week period last year.
According to the school director, Israeli forces also raided and searched the classrooms when the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound was closed in mid-July in the wake of a deadly shooting at the site and an ensuing mass civil disobedience campaign and boycott against new Israeli security measures there.
She said that Israeli forces confiscated electronic equipment from the school during the closure.
Back in May, the Israeli security cabinet advanced a plan pushed forward by Israel’s far-right Minister of Education Naftali Bennett to incentivize Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to switch to the Israeli curriculum by denying the schools that teach the Palestinian textbooks financial subsidies while granting those that teach the Israeli curriculum hefty portions of financial assistance.
Palestinians say Israeli textbooks distort and misrepresent Palestinian history and culture, and the PA has described Bennett’s plan as part of an Israeli campaign to “Judaize” Jerusalem by threatening the Arab and Islamic heritage of the holy city and marginalizing Palestinian Jerusalemites.
Meanwhile, approximately 1.25 million schoolchildren started the new school year in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip after the summer holiday ended.
The incident in occupied East Jerusalem came as the latest obstacle facing Palestinians on the occasion of the first day of school.
An entire school was seized by Israeli forces in the isolated village of Jubbet al-Dhib on Tuesday, leaving some 64 children without a school. Another school, a kindergarten, was demolished in the Bedouin community of Jabal al-Baba on August 21.
On Wednesday, the mayor of Hebron was verbally assaulted and threatened by Israeli settlers, as the mayor attempted to visit schools inside the Old City to inaugurate the first day of school. He was eventually evacuated from the area by Israeli soldiers.
The Norwegian Refugee Council released a statement Wednesday condemning what it called “a wider attack on education in Palestine.”
“In the first three months of this year there were 24 cases of direct attacks against schools, including incidents where tear gas canisters and sound bombs were fired at students on their way to or from school. Last year, four communities’ educational facilities were demolished or confiscated and 256 education-related violations were documented in the West Bank, affecting over 29,000 students,” the statement said. “Just when they were due to return to the classroom, Palestinian children are discovering that their schools are being destroyed,” NRC Country Director for Palestine, Hanibal Abiy Worku, said. “What threat do these schools pose to the Israeli authorities? What are they planning to achieve by denying thousands of children their fundamental right to education?”NRC also highlighted that Palestinian children “face on a daily basis include violence and harassment from settlers and Israeli soldiers, military activity inside or next to schools, delays crossing checkpoints, and the arrest of children from their classrooms.”
“Since 2011, the Israeli government has also threatened to withhold permits and funding to schools that are not implementing Israeli curriculums in which references to Palestinian identity and culture, the occupation, Israeli settlements and other aspects of Palestinian history were removed,” the rights group said.“We call on the governments and donors funding Palestinian children’s education to exercise all of their influence to prevent this violation in all its forms,” Abiy Worku said.
(Source  with more photos / 23.08.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Stop A Truck, Uncover Large Weapons Cache

23 AUG
2:46 PM

The Israeli army said it stopped, on Tuesday at night, a truck at a military roadblock, south of occupied East Jerusalem, and located a large weapons’ cache of M-16 rifles and magazines, hidden underneath trash and used construction materials.

Israeli sources said the soldiers stopped a truck at a military roadblock near al-Walaja town, west of Bethlehem, while it was on its way to Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and searched its contents before locating the weapons.

The sources added that the soldiers confiscated the truck to conduct a more thorough search, and arrested the driver, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, in addition to Sa’adi Mohammad Abu Jheishe, 26, from Ethna town, south of Hebron, who was accompanying the driver.

On Wednesday at dawn, the soldiers abducted Sa’adi’s brother, Sufian Mohammad Abu Jheishe, 34, from his home in Ethna. The three Palestinians were moved to interrogation centers in Jerusalem.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

Army Abducts Several Palestinians, Including Father And Teenage Daughter, In Jerusalem

23 AUG
9:21 AM

Update: The soldiers released Hiba al-Froukh, 15, and placed her father in solitary confinement, under interrogation, in al-Maskobiyya interrogation center in Jerusalem.

The father, Mohammad al-Froukh, also received an order preventing him from meeting with his lawyer for two days. His daughter was released with any conditions or bail.

Updated From:
Army Abducts Several Palestinians, Including Father And Teenage Daughter, In Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday evening, a Palestinian father and his teenage daughter, in Silwan town, in addition to abducting several workers in Sheikh Jarrah and breaking into stores in the Old City, in occupied East Jerusalem.

The soldiers invaded Silwan town, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, abducted Mohammad Fahmi al-Froukh, and his daughter, Hiba, 15, and took them to an interrogation facility in the city.

The abductions took place after the soldiers invaded the neighborhoods of Ein al-Louza, Batn al-Hawa and Be’er Ayyoub, and clashed with many youngsters, who hurled stones and empty bottles at their vehicles.

In addition, the soldiers invaded a coffee shop in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in the center of Jerusalem, and abducted several Palestinian workers, reportedly for entering Jerusalem without permits.

The soldiers also invaded and ransacked many stores in the Old City of Jerusalem, while looking for a young Palestinian man.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded al-Waad Street, Sa’diyya neighborhood and Bab Hitta area, and withdrew later without conducting any arrests.

(Source / 23.08.2017)

Israel’s Mossad Submits Report Detailing Iran’s ‘Growing Influence in Syria’


Members of Iran’s Basij militia, an internal security force which has had some of its operatives deployed to Syria

London – The Israeli Mossad agency voiced on Tuesday Tel Aviv’s concern over Iran’s growing power in the region.

It delivered a report on Iran’s influence in Syria to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday.

Mossad Director Yossi Cohen alerted the government to the fact that Iran’s influence, in Syria in particular, and the region in general is growing stronger by the day.

The report noted the constant flow of fighters from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran commanded by Qasem Soleimani and backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also addressed the supply transports by air and sea. The report was prepared by intelligence analyst Ronen Salomon and published by Russia Today.

Salomon’s research shows that Iran is shoring up its presence in Lebanon through the IRGC’s Quds Force, headed by Soleimani.

The Quds Force works with the IRGC’s intelligence division to carry out operations outside of Iran, with the assistance of the Ministry of Intelligence and other ministries and agencies.

The Iranian presence in Syria, meanwhile, begins at the Damascus International Airport region, the Iranian embassy, Mount Qasioun, which overlooks Damascus, and near the Presidential Palace.

Yedioth Ahronoth, which also published segments of the report, stated that Israeli Air Force carried attacks meant to stop ammunition shipments to Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” both at the Damascus airport and in the Qasioun area.

“These are accompanied by ‘interests sections’ used by the Quds Force in aviation and transportation, such as Iran Air and Mahan Air, the ministries of Islamic culture and direction, science and technology, housing and commerce and trade,” explained Salomon.

He claimed that the Quds Force is occasionally using the Iranian Red Crescent both to insert Revolutionary Guard and intelligence ministry operatives and to transport shipment and military aid by air and by sea, as they have already done in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen.

Research showed that over the past few years, Iran was able to transport a large number of containers carrying advanced implements of war by sea under the guise of commercial shipments. Among other methods, transpiration is carried out through companies connected to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

Meanwhile, and according to the report, Iran started running an airlift to Syria out of Tehran’s airports and Iranian airbases adjacent to the Iraqi border.

Iran’s activity covers four fronts with the main command stationed in Damascus international airport’s area and is entrusted with the airborne supply array and forces spread over greater Damascus.

Salomon stated some eyewitnesses testimonies of the accelerated construction of military complexes in the coastal strip of northwestern Syria, reportedly linked to armament development and storage.

Recently, Iran has made a concerted effort to gain control of the Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq with the goal of connecting Iran’s bases and those of its Iraqi branches, according to Salomon. This will also be used to achieve control of Iraq’s shared border with Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria.

(Source / 23.08.2017)