Trump official warns Palestinians: Israel settlements will continue to grow

View of a Jewish settlement on 4 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

View of a Jewish settlement on 4 October 2018 

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien warned Palestinians yesterday that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will continue to grow.

In a speech reported on by the Associated Press (AP), the senior US official linked anti-Semitism worldwide with the expansion of Israeli settlements.

“This could be the last opportunity for a two-state solution,” O’Brien told foreign diplomats at the event at the Meridian International Centre.

“The Israeli birth rate is strong and is growing because sadly antisemitism in Europe and other places around the world is encouraging more Jews to return to Israel,” he added.

READ: 463,000 Jewish settlers live in 150 West Bank settlements

“The settlements are going to continue to expand. If this freeze on settlements doesn’t hold. If this peace process doesn’t work, it may be physically impossible to have a two-state solution.”

As noted by AP, “it was unusual for a high-level administration official to tie anti-Semitism to the settlements.”

Today marks the day Donald J. Trump was elected as 45th president of the #UnitedStates. Under him, Israel’s settlement expansion doubled.

MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Digital Media


O’Brien defended Trump’s plan for Israel and the Palestinians, saying it was not “perfect”, but that the deal’s terms would allow Palestine to supposedly become the “Singapore of the Middle East”.

Trump’s plan states that a Palestinian state could eventually be established, but on only a part of the occupied Palestinian territory, without full sovereignty, and only if Palestinians agree to conditions that many observers see as impossible to fulfil.

Meanwhile, the US plan allows Israel to annex Israeli settlements and significant territory within the West Bank, the only matter of dispute with the current Israeli government being one of timing.

READ: Israel NGO urges international community to protect Palestinians from settler attacks

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Abbas is a mouthpiece for international impositions on Palestine

Palestinians stage a protest against so-called peace deal announced by US President Donald Trump, in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians stage a protest against so-called peace deal announced by US President Donald Trump, in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020

By Ramona Wadi 

The Palestinian Authority has learned nothing from decades of futile UN Security Council Resolutions. Do the people of Palestine really need international consensus regarding the already very clear illegality of US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century?

Pushing on regardless, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is pursuing repetitive, useless and time-wasting options to give an impression of being engaged diplomatically with the international community and its impositions. While Abbas pleads at the UN to obtain another symbolic show of alleged international support, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is lobbying the Security Council “to enlist their support for the joint US-Israeli action and to prevent support for any Palestinian declarations of protest.”

The draft resolution calls for a rejection of Trump’s deal and seeks yet another endorsement of the two-state compromise, despite the impossibility of its implementation. Abbas’s refusal to consider a unified Palestinian approach that encompasses all legitimate forms of resistance against Israeli colonisation makes UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s job of presiding over the constant Israeli violations of international law and human rights easier. As long as the PA scrambles after the international community for a solution, the UN only has to regurgitate the same rhetoric about its two-state vision. Accountability in this regard is not applicable, as the PA and the UN know full well.

READ: PA to stop security cooperation with Israel if US ‘peace deal’ is applied

In what would now be perceived as a weak condemnation of Trump’s deal, Guterres cautioned against “actions that would erode the possibility of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state,” with reference to Israeli settlement expansion. However, the US-Israeli scheming goes beyond expansion to formal, rather than merely fact-on-the-ground annexation. The UN is, as usual, several strategic steps behind, so as not to run out of the plethora of violations to speak out against during opportune moments in which the Palestinian cause is exploited yet again.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 1 August, 2019 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 1 August, 2019

If the US vetoes the resolution, which is certain, the PA is likely to get another round of passive support from the UN General Assembly. For Abbas, a show of votes might be enough to claim validity, yet again, for the two-state compromise, as opposed to Palestinians’ political rights. The truth, however, is that the international community has only supported rhetoric about Palestinian rights. Altering its trajectory now would spell disaster for the UN in terms of its own complicity in endorsing Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Hence, the cautious warnings against settlement expansion while refusing to advocate in favour of decolonisation. Likewise, the UN will entertain Abbas and his overtures because the PA has proved that it squanders any potential for change.

Trump’s deal is the least of the international community’s concerns. Abbas is only accentuating his irrelevance with resolution gimmicks at the UN. Palestinians are voiceless at the UN primarily because of the UN’s protection of Israel, but also due to Abbas consolidating his role as spokesman for international demands and counter-narratives about what Palestinians want. A resolution confirming what is already known makes no difference to the political violence that Israel continues to inflict upon Palestinians. The PA should be turning towards its own people, as it should have done on previous occasions and refused, instead of wasting time at the UN for yet another opportunity to lament about delays.

READ: The schizophrenia of Mahmoud Abbas as he looks for an ‘honourable end’

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure A Journalist In Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers shot, Thursday, a Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters, identified as Mohammad Abu Ghneima, and caused dozens of residents to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to confiscating surveillance recordings, in Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

Abdul-Halim Ja’afra, the head of the Emergency and Ambulance Department at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Bethlehem, said the medics provided treatment to thirty Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

He added that the medics also provided treatment to the wounded cameraman, who suffered a minor injury, after the soldiers shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers also stormed and ransacked several shops and stores, and confiscated their surveillance recordings and equipment.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded many neighborhoods in Bethlehem city, and fired many live rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian protesters, who hurled stones and empty bottles at them.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

MADA: 27 Violations against Media Freedoms in January

The first month of 2020 witnessed a total of 27 violations against media freedoms in Palestine, 23 of which were committed by the occupation forces and authorities, while various Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip committed only 4 violations, MADA said in a report, according to the PNN.

This represents a relative decline compared to what the preceding month had witnessed in (December 2019), that is a total of 36 violations, 15 violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces, similarly, (15 violations) committed by Facebook, and 6 violations committed by different Palestinian authorities.

Among the most tragic incidents witnessed by the past month, was when the doctors at Jordan Hospital in the capital, Amman, informed the journalist Attia Mohammad Darwish (32 years old, from Gaza) that he completely lost his sight in the eye that was injured more than a year ago (on 14th Dec. 2018) by a gas bomb, which was fired at him by the Israeli soldiers, and there was no hope of rescue or consistent treatment.

Darwish was informed that he completely lost sight in his eye about three months after the journalist, Moath Amarneh, lost sight in his left eye in similar circumstances, as he was shot by an Israeli soldier while he was covering a peaceful protest against the settlement in Souref, West Bank.

Israeli Violations:

The number of Israeli violations increased from 15 violations in December 2019 to 23 in January 2020. The most prominent of which is the abuse of photojournalist Thaer Abdel Nasser Al-Sharif over several hours after he was detained by the Israeli occupation soldiers at an army point near Arroub camp in the West Bank, and summoning the cameraman Abdel Mohsen Shalaldeh by the Israeli occupation Intelligence and threatening him with death if he continues to film around Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

The Israeli violations documented last month (January 2020) have affected Reuters Cameraman Adel Abu Neima (detained and prevented from coverage), WAFA Agency Staff consisting of the cameraman Sulaiman Mahmoud Abu Srour, and reporter Nadeem Ahmad Alawi (prevented from coverage), Mohammad Jareer Hamdan (sprayed with pepper), Yazan Jafar Abu Salah (arrested), cameraman Iyad Hassan Abu Shalabk (assaulted and prevented from coverage), Shows presenter at Palestine TV journalist Thaer Abdel Nasser Al-Shareef who was arrested and detained for four hours and a half by the occupation soldiers at one of the military army points near Arroub Camp, not to mention he was assaulted and abused several times, the cameraman Rabee Hassan Muneer (suffocated and passed out), the cameraman Abdelmuhsen Tayseer Shalaldeh (summoned and threatened with death if continued to film near the Cave of the Patriarchs), in addition to detaining the journalists: Fathi Khaleel Barahma, Omar Ahmad Hassan Abu Awad, Adel Abu Nema, Sulaiman Mahmoud Sulaiman Abu Srour, by the Israeli occupation forces and preventing journalists from covering two protesting events organized in Jericho and the Valleys, assaulting Palestine TV staff (including the cameraman Fadi Taleb Khilaf, the cameraman Thaer Yousef Arjan, and reporter Azmi Waleed Banat) by firing a gas bomb at them and prevent them from covering events in Arroub Camp.

Furthermore, the doctors at Jordan Hospital in the capital Amman informed the photojournalist Attia Mohammad Darwish, who was injured more than a year ago by a gas bomb in the face (fired directly by one of the Israeli soldiers) in the eye, that he has lost sight completely in the eye.

Palestinian Violations:

The Palestinian violations included assaulting the journalists Mohammad Awad and Mohammad Al-Masri by members of the Palestinian Authority’s National Security (who are stationed at what is known as “Point 5/5” in Beit Hanoun/Erez checkpoint, Gaza Strip), preventing Palestine TV staff consisting of the reporter Mohammad Salim Abu Hatab, and the cameraman Hossam Attiya Al-Masri, to prepare a report on the damage caused by the weather conditions in Khan Yunis and deleting a filmed material they had completed earlier.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 


Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday ordered to empty a building, owned by Palestinians in the neighborhood of Batn El Hawa in occupied Jerusalem, and grant it to Ateret Cohanim settlement association.

Wadi Hilweh Information Centre and the Batn El Hawa Committee said in a joint statement that the Israeli court ordered to empty the building, which is owned by the Odeh and Shweiki families.

The statement said that the Israeli court rejected appeals made by both families, in which they provided proof that they own the building.

The court gave both families until next August to empty the 2-story building and its store.

The Israeli settlement association plans to steal 5 dunums and 200 metres of the Palestinian neighbourhood and expel native Palestinians from the area, claiming that it was owned by Yemeni Jews back in 1881.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 


Gaza (QNN)- Israeli authorities decided on Wednesday to shrink the fishing zone in the sea of Gaza to 19 nautical miles as of Wednesday afternoon.

Zakaria Baker, the head of the fishermen’s union, said that Israeli authorities decided to reduce the fishing zone in the area between Zahraa area and Rafah.

He added that the Palestinian Liaison Committee and Ministry of Agriculture were informed of the Israeli decision, which was applied on Wednesday afternoon.

The Israelis justified their decision claiming that “rockets and explosive balloons” were fired from the besieged strip to the Palestinian land, occupied in 1948. They held Hamas responsible for the situation.

In another context, Israeli gunboats opened fire using heavy weapons at Palestinian fishermen in northern Gaza on the early morning of Wednesday.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Israeli forces kill 2nd Palestinian in 12 hours

Abu Tabikh is the second Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank during a time of less than 12 hours

Israeli occupation forces shot dead on Thursday night Palestinian teen Yazan abu Tabikh in occupied West Bank city, wounded six others, including one suffering very critical wounds.

Medical sources said that Abu Tabikh, a 19-year-old Palestinian Authority police cadet, was shot dead during Palestinian protests against Israeli demolition of Palestinian prisoner Ahmed al Qombo in Jenin.

According to the sources, five other Palestinians were wounded during the Israeli violent crackdown on the Palestinian protesters.

The Israeli occupation army claimed that the Israeli troops were shot at during “riots” in Jenin and they responded to the fire.

In a separate incident, Israeli occupation troops shot another Palestinian police officer, Tareq Badwan, causing him very serious wounds and he is receiving life-saving treatment now in the hospital.

Spokesperson od the Israeli occupation army said the Palestinian police officer was shot under unclear circumstances.

It is worth noting that Abu Tabikh is the second Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank during a time of less than 12 hours.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Palestinian policeman shot by Israeli forces in Jenin succumbs to wounds

This is the third Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank in a period of less than 24 hours

Palestinian Authority police officer succumbed to bullet wounds he sustained in Jenin when Israeli occupation forces shot him on Thursday night, Palestinian paramedics reported.

PA Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub said that the 25-year-old police officer Tareq Bedwan was hit by Israeli sniper fire while he was on the premises of a police station and wearing police uniform.

Footage shared on social media appears to show a PA police officer being shot at the entrance of a police station and then collapsing to the ground.

Israeli occupation forces were demolishing the home in Jenin of a Palestinian prisoner on Thursday night and Palestinians protested near the demolition site.

During the protests, the Israeli occupation forces shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian police cadet.

Bedwan is the third Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank in a period of less than 24 hours.

Currently, there are reports that the Israeli occupation police shot dead a forth Palestinian inside Al Aqsa Mosque over an alleged shooting attack.

Palestinian ministry of health said it is looking into the reports about this possible killing.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Burnt, imprisoned mother languishes in Israeli jails as son grows up

Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis spends 5th year in prison while her son Motasem grows old without mother

By Salam abu Sharar

Israa Jaabis, a Palestinian mother whose car caught fire at an Israeli checkpoint in West Bank. Ignoring her serious burns, Israeli occupation sent her to prison, leaving her little son grow up at home alone.

Motasem Jaabis’ paint set has dried up. He is waiting for his mother to return so that they can paint together like they used to when she was not a prisoner languishing in an Israeli jail.

While the boy would help his mother in household chores, she was his playtime buddy.

The good times, however, did not last too long.

On 11 October 2015, Israa Jaabis, 31, was en route to her place in Jerusalem when a gas cylinder in her car exploded and the car caught fire.

As she got out of the vehicle, she told her lawyer, an Israeli soldier accused her of attempting to stab him. “‘Drop the knife,’ the soldier told me … but I was not carrying anything, my body was up in flames!”

Israeli occupation authorities accuse Israa Jaabis of intending to carry out a “terror attack,” a charge she denies.

The 31-year-old mother suffered third-degree burns which charred 60 per cent of her body including her face and hands, says her sister, Muna Jaabis.

A year later, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

She joined 41 other Palestinian women languishing in Israeli prisons, along with 200 children, according to Palestinian official figures.

Four of these women, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), are being held without trial.

Long wait

Meanwhile, Motasem Jaabis, who is now 10 years old, longs for his mother’s return.

“I will play games with my mother when she returns,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Muna Jaabis, who takes care of the boy, says he tries to stay strong, but misses his mother.

To top it all, due to a problem with his national identification number he is unable to visit his mother at a regular basis in Israeli northern Hasharon Prison.

After several attempts, the Red Cross was able to arrange a special meeting between the boy and his mother, one-and-a-half-year into her detention.

For Israa Jaabis, this meant a flood of emotions. Her son would for the first time see her disfigured face after the accident.

“Will he think I look like a gorilla?” she asked other inmates.

The women prisoners helped her sew a tiger costume to bring a smile on her son’s face and hide the scars she carries.

This was a special visit where the prison guard allowed the mother and son to embrace each other.

Meetings between prisoners and visitors in Israeli jails are usually conducted via phones with a glass wall in between.

But the boy brushes these inhibitions aside. “I love my mother as she is, she will always be my mother, before and after the burns,” he said.

Urgent medical care

Muna Jaabis says her sister needs urgent medical care.

Eight of her fingers were already amputated and her vital functions are declining.

In the scorching summers, her burn wounds develop irritations.

She needs plastic surgery and psychological counselling for her trauma.

In an Israeli court two years ago, during an in-camera hearing she raised what remained of her hands and asked for justice.

But the Israeli Supreme Court turned down an appeal by her lawyer to reduce the sentence on health grounds.

Killing time

Israa Jaabis who worked as a clown before the arrest still tries to bring smiles on the faces of the prison inmates, especially the children.

She draws puppets and together they perform plays and celebrate special days.

Outside the prison walls, Motasem Jaabis remembers his mother every time he watches something funny.

“I saw him watching TV and laughing and crying at the same time. I asked him what it was and he said: ‘The clown tries to imitate my mother, but my mother is better than him. She made me laugh more’.”

It is a long wait for the mother and son; 4,015 days until they meet again.

(Source / 06.02.2020) 

Israeli Police Kidnap Palestinian, Banish Five Others From Aqsa Mosque

Photos File

Photos File

The Israeli occupation police on Wednesday evening kidnaped a Jerusalemite young man from the Old City, summoned another for interrogation and issued orders banning other citizens from entering the Aqsa Mosque for different periods.

According to local sources, the Israeli police in the holy city kidnaped Mohamed Najeeb, a young man from the Old City of Jerusalem, and summoned another called Jameel al-Abbasi, a resident of Ras al-Amud neighborhood in Silwan, for interrogation at al-Qishleh detention center.

The police also banished two pro-Aqsa female activists from the Aqsa Mosque for four months. The women are an elderly woman called Nahida Abu Shaqra, the sister of Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, and a young girl called Samah Mahameed, both from Umm al-Fahm city in the 1948 occupied lands.

Three Jerusalemite young men identified as Jameel Issa, Husam Iyad and Areen al-Za’aneen also received police orders banning their entry to the Aqsa Mosque for one week. Their entry ban orders will be renewed in one week, the police told them.

A court hearing for four Jerusalemite teenagers was also postponed until next Wednesday. The teens are Yousef Abdeen, Ihab Sakkafi, Nour Ghaith, and Mohamed Shuweiki, residents of al-Thawri neighborhood in Silwan district.

Meanwhile, two Jerusalemite young men, Samer Obeid and Waseem Obeid, were released after detaining them for several days.

(Source / 06.02.2020)