EU, Finland, Italy provide $18.6m to East Jerusalem hospitals

Palestinians, who were wounded by Israeli soldiers during a protest, organized to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948, and against United States' plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, receive treatments at European Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on 17 May, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]
Wounded Palestinians are seen 17 May 2018

The European Union, Finland and Italy donate €17 million ($18.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority (PA), supporting the payment of medical referrals to East Jerusalem hospitals, the Office of the EU Representative said yesterday.

According to the body’s statement, €13 million ($14.2 million) is funded by the EU, €1 million ($1.1 million) by Italy and €3 million ($3.3 million) by Finland and planned to start in June.

“The European Union and its Member States are committed to supporting East Jerusalem Hospitals amid the Covid-19 crisis and its severe health, social and economic implications. We work hand in hand with the Palestinian Authority to sustain and maintain access to medical services by all Palestinians,” said the European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.

The East Jerusalem hospitals are among the few Palestinian institutions still working in the city.

READ: Meet the ‘ex-Israeli’ artist refocusing the Zionists’ colonial gaze

According to Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, East Jerusalem hospitals need $7 million to deal with the coronavirus, Arab News reported last month.

Last month, the EU, Austria and Spain also supported the PA’s Ministry of Social Development and its Cash Transfer Programme, which is responsible for the provision of basic social protection to the most vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.

The European Union contributed €12.5 million ($13.7 million) and Austria and Spain €1 million with approximately 114,000 vulnerable Palestinian families benefiting from that scheme.

READ: Can Abbas repudiate all agreements with Israel?

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Rights groups call on Israel to stop its ‘military attacks’ on Palestine fishermen

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Gaza fishermen 

Israeli and Palestinian rights groups have called on the Israeli Navy to stop its “military attacks” on Palestinian fishermen and fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli rights groups Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, Adalah – Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel jointly and the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights highlighted in a statement the Israeli violations against fishermen.

“In recent weeks, the Israeli navy has increasingly used violent enforcement measures at sea, with incidents of fire on fishermen off the coast of Gaza rising by 70 percent in April compared to January-March 2020,” the statement said.

“The use of live fire threatens fishermen’s lives and causes severe damage to boats and equipment,” they explained.

“All this against the backdrop of great economic uncertainty and increased concern for the well-being and food security of Gaza’s civilian population given the measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.”

READ: Gaza fishermen shot by Israel navy, second day in a row 

In this regard, the three NGOs sent an urgent letter to Israel’s attorney general and military advocate general, demanding they order the military to put an “immediate end to the harassment of fishermen and investigate past incidents”.

They pointed out that

the violence with which the military enforces the maritime closure on Gaza as a matter of routine includes measures such as unrestrained use of live fire, submerging of boats, degrading treatment of fishermen, seizure of boats and damage to equipment.

In the statement, the NGOs cited a report by Al Mezan stating that “105 incidents of Israeli navy fire at Gaza fishing boats were recorded in the first four months of 2020; six fishermen were wounded, and seven others were arrested, including a minor.”

The report by Al Mezan also stated that “seven boats sustained severe damage, large quantities of fishing equipment were destroyed and one boat was seized,” in the same period.

The groups concluded that “Israel’s restrictions on access to Gaza fishing zone, frequent changes it makes to its demarcation and the violent enforcement methods it employs thwart the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen in Gaza, undermining what was once an important sector in the Strip’s economy.”

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Palestine rejects UAE aid delivered on first direct flight to Israel

Emirates plane at the airport [Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency]
Emirates plane at the airport, 5 January 2018

The Palestinian government has refused medical aid transported by air through Israel by the UAE.

The UN-facilitated flight carrying coronavirus supplies was delivered by an Etihad Airways plane that flew from the UAE to Tel Aviv, a controversial move. The UAE does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, however, shared concerns over Iran’s influence in the region have led to a discrete thaw in ties between Israel and the Arab Gulf in recent years.

“The UAE authorities did not coordinate with the State of Palestine before sending the aid,” the government sources said, adding that “Palestinians refuse to be a bridge [for Arab countries] seeking to have normalised ties with Israel.”

They asserted that any assistance meant to be sent to the Palestinian people should be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority first.

READ: Um Haroon and the politics of normalisation in the Gulf

“Sending them directly to Israel constitutes a cover for normalisation,” they added.

In a tweet yesterday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the first commercial flight between the two countries as a form of “treachery” and a “betrayal” to the Palestinian cause, as he accused them of normalising relations with Israel.

He wrote: “Today, some Persian Gulf states have committed the biggest treachery against their own history and the history of the Arab world. They have betrayed #Palestine by supporting Israel.

Today, some Persian Gulf states have committed the biggest treachery against their own history and the history of the Arab world. They have betrayed #Palestine by supporting Israel. Will the nations of these states tolerate their leaders’ betrayal?3,708Twitter Ads info

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Can Abbas repudiate all agreements with Israel?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Ramallah, West Bank on 7 May 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Ramallah, West Bank on 7 May 2020

By Ramona Wadi

On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared the dissolution of agreements with Israel and the US, following the annexation plans that have been facilitated through the so-called “deal of the century”. Wafa news agency published Abbas’ declaration, which partly reads: “The Palestine Liberation Organisation and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understanding and agreements, including the security ones.”

Unlike previous occasions, Abbas has shifted from threats to end agreements, to a declaration. However, the details remain vague and contradictory. Israeli media reported that security coordination, which Abbas has on occasions deemed “sacred”, has not been affected by the decision. In addition, Abbas has not declared the dissolution of the PA. If the PA – a body dependent upon Israel and foreign financial assistance – has been unable to take autonomous decisions that go beyond symbolic significance or perfunctory expectations, can its declaration to dissolve all agreements hold any ground?

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh today ordered the cabinet to start “work on translating this decision on the ground.” However, Shtayyeh is already weakening the position declared by Abbas by calling the decision “the moment of truth for all who believe in the two-state solution”, based upon the rhetorical rejections of annexation which the international community has issued so far. No other details have been revealed so far, other than the perpetual validation which the PA gives to the international community by adhering to its plans for Palestine. Shtayyeh also called for the international community “to rise to the level of responsibility and provide international protection for our people who are under occupation.”

READ: Palestinian factions boycott PA meeting on Israel annexation

If the PA is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords, there is an opportunity to point out how the two-state compromise, a key component of the Accords, enabled the current annexation agenda. So far, Abbas’s declaration is not spelling any political opportunity for the Palestinian people. Adhering to an obsolete international paradigm is one way of facilitating the US-Israeli annexation plans.

Is there any deterrence in Abbas’ declaration? In the past, Abbas’ threats were met with escalating derision, on account of the PA’s inability to function autonomously. It is possible that the forthcoming annexation, which the international community is treating as a new violation instead of the culmination of a process over decades, has prompted Abbas to be more forthright in his speech.

However, the PA is declaring itself still beholden to fragments of the Oslo Accords with its repeated insistence upon the two-state paradigm. In a recent statement, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell did not indicate any particular opposition to the US-Israeli annexation plans other than “noting with grave concern” and “strongly urging Israel” to refrain from decisions that violate international law.

The international response to annexation is familiar. The PA is yet to prove it is capable of working in the Palestinian people’s political interests. So far, there is little to suggest that Abbas’ declaration contains any potential for political change. If the PA’s dependency prohibits autonomy, the declaration on its own is no cause for celebration so far.

READ: Shtayyeh has boosted his chances of running for the Palestinian presidency

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Israeli Forces Deliver Demolition Orders to Palestinian Family, Seize Mobile Home

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Israeli occupation forces handed Palestinian citizen, Jamal Rashayda, a demolition order, on Tuesday, for several structures in Ras al-Auja area in the Jordan Valley, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Palestinian human rights workers said the forces gave no justification for the order to demolish the family’s tents and barns, north of Jericho.

Israeli troops, on Wednesday morning, confiscated a mobile home in Furush Beit Dajan village, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

Witnesses stated that Israeli soldiers in army vehicles entered the village, with no warning, and seized a mobile home belonging to Palestinian villager, Muhammad Hamed.

Israeli forces hand out demolition and stop work orders to Palestinian families as a matter of policy, using non-licensing as a common pretext.

This practice leads to forced displacement of the Palestinian population, leaving families without shelter.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states;

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Armed Israeli Settlers Open Fire at Palestinian-owned Vehicles in Nablus

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Several armed colonial Israeli settlers reportedly attacked, on Wednesday, more than 15 Palestinian-owned vehicles in northern Nablus city in the West Bank.

Ghassan Daghlas, Palestinian chief for the Israeli settlements file in the West Bank, told media outlets that two Israeli settlers’ vehicles, carrying several armed settlers from the nearby Homash settlement, got out of their vehicles and began opening fire randomly at empty Palestinian-owned vehicles, parked nearby.

Daghlas noted that the settlers’ attack on Palestinian vehicles caused substantial damage to many of the vehicles.

Over the past few weeks, armed colonial Israeli settlers, across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, stepped up their assaults on Palestinian-owned properties.

These attacks are concurrent with recent Israeli leaders’ announcement that Israel will likely annex the entire West Bank to the boundaries of the occupation state of Israel, by July of this summer.

Israeli colonial settlements around the West Bank cities, towns and villages, have been deemed illegal by the international community under international law.

Despite this, Israel has been constructing and expanding its colonies on Palestinian-owned lands since the late 1970’s.

Important to note, that Israeli colonists, on Tuesday afternoon, set fire to farmland in al-Sawiya village, in the northern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Palestinian activist, Ghassan Daghlas, stated that Israeli colonial settlers from the illegal Rahalim Settlement, set fire to a large area of Palestinian land, south of Nablus City, which resulted in the destruction of crops and olive trees.

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Pompeo Israel Statements: Defiance of International Law and Unconditional Support for Annexation that Perpetuates Lack of Accountability

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Ref: 49/2020: Date: 20 May 2020: The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR): While the world is coming together to combat coronavirus (COVID-19), the United States and its ally, Israel, are exploiting the pandemic by aggravating the systematic violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made a quick visit to  Israel to support its new government in its plan to annex nearly 30% of West Bank lands, renewing the threats aiming at undermining the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the last legal resort for Palestinians to confront the annexation project and the systematic violations of international law by Israeli occupation forces (IOF).

Secretary Pompeo made the following statement on Friday, 15 May 2020, “The International Criminal Court is a political body, not a judicial institution. This unfortunate reality has been confirmed yet again by the ICC Prosecutor’s attempt to assert jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States, is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the Court,” adding that, “The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations. If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences.”

These statements are only the latest in the US administration’s systematic attacks on the ICC, which escalate with every progress the ICC makes towards investigating international war crimes committed by IOF in the oPt or by US forces. For over 2 years, all level of the US administration engaged in attacks on the Court and providing unconditional support to Israel in a persistent defiance of international law.

On 09 September 2018, John Bolton, former US National Security Adviser, attacked the ICC, its judges and considered it illegitimate, criticizing Palestine’s accession to the Court and the threat of a criminal investigation into what he called, Israel’s “actions to defend citizens from terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza,” reiterating that “the United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel.”

Also, on 17 March 2020, Pompeo threatened two staffers at the Office of the ICC Prosecutor by the name, signaling that the US could act against them, as well as other ICC personnel and their families. Pompeo said, “We want to identify those responsible for this partisan investigation and their family members who may want to travel to the United States or engage in activity that’s inconsistent with making sure we protect Americans.”

Last year, the US revoked the entry visa of Public Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. Additionally, Pompeo announced in a press conference on 15 March 2020, that the US shall enforce restrictions on entry visas for individuals responsible for any ICC investigations of Americans, adding that “these visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursed allied personnel including Israelis … These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts,” Pompeo said. “We’re prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change its course.”

The new Israeli government was formed to respond to COVID-19; yet, it had the annexation of the Jordan Valley on the top of its priorities. In its first meeting on 17 May 2020, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, considered an ICC investigation a strategic threat to Israel, stating that investigating Israel for alleged crimes against Palestinians is a “rare strategic threat to Israel,” stressing that banning such a probe is one of the new government’s top priorities.

Lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), commented on the recent updates:

“The ICC is not a novelty, its work has been the result of a consensus of international, Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations and United Nations bodies, including the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as UN investigation committees, who agree with the work of the ICC and support its conduct.

The US and Israel are the only parties who are politicizing the Court. The Trump administration and Netanyahu government are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, as the whole world is occupied trying to mitigate this crisis, to commit war crimes that amount to genocide and crimes against humanity in the oPt, uniting to undermine international order and world peace.

The US administration’s insolent threats to the ICC, its staff and their families, while the world watches on without commotion, is a shame. The States Parties to the Rome Statute must act immediately. The international community should either put its weight behind international law and protect international judicial institutions or let the law of the jungle rule.”

The ICC Prosecutor had confirmed on 30 April 2020 the Court’s territorial jurisdiction to conduct an investigation into the situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in a report to the Pre-Trial Chamber I. On 05 March 2020, the Court agreed to investigate war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan.

PCHR is monitoring, with grave concern, the systematic attacks by the US administration and its ally, Israel, on the ICC. The Court is the last hope for victims of international war crimes, including Palestinian civilians in the oPt who are subjected to organized war crimes that amount to genocide and crimes against humanity by IOF.

PCHR believes that the constant US attacks on the ICC is an onslaught on international law and a threat to world peace, enhancing the culture of impunity; therefore, the Centre calls upon the international community to take real steps to champion the noble values that brought about these institutions in the face of the continued threats against the Court, its judges, and staff.

PCHR calls upon States Parties to the Rome Statues to condemn the attack and reiterate its support for the work of the ICC under all circumstances and to take effective steps towards protecting the Court and its staff.

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Israeli Prison Moves Palestinian Prisoner on Hunger Strike to Solitary Confinement

Israeli Prison Service (IPS), on Wednesday, transferred Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, to solitary confinement, the Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

The Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said that the IPS transferred Palestinian prisoner, Sami Janazreh, who began a hunger strike ten days ago, in opposition to being placed under administrative detention, without charge.

Janazreh, 47, a father of three children, and the secretary-general of Fatah, was reportedly moved from the Naqab prison to Ayla prison, and placed in solitary confinement.

The PPS noted that the IPS transferred Janazreh and placed him in solitary confinement, with the intention of forcing him to end his hunger strike.

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Zakaat ul Fitr

Het einde van de Ramadan nadert. Maar dat wil niet zeggen dat de Ramadan voorbij is. Er zijn nog minimaal twee nachten die we goed moeten benutten. Een van deze twee nachten zou zomaar Lailatoelqadr kunnen zijn!

Behalve de verplichting van het vasten kent deze maand ook een andere belangrijke verplichting namelijk de zakaat ul fitr

Zakaat ul Fitr

Elke moslim, die daartoe in staat is, dient de Zakaat-ulfitr uit te hebben gegeven vóór het ‘Iedgebed. Dit zodat ook de armen op deze dag de vreugde van de moslims delen en tevens als goedmaking van onze tekortkomingen gedurende het vasten.

Deze Zakaat-ulfitr bedraagt ongeveer drie kilo aan voedsel (bestaansmiddelen) wat gewoonweg wordt genuttigd in een land. In Marokko volstaat bijvoorbeeld drie kilo graan.
Deze zakaat geef je uit voor jezelf en de mensen die jij onderhoudt. Bestaat jouw gezin uit vrouw en drie kinderen, dan geef je Zakaat-ulfitr uit voor vijf personen. 

Zakaat-ulfitr dient als eten te worden uitgegeven en niet als geld. Aangezien dat het bevel van de profeet vrede zij met hem is. Wel is het toegestaan om iemand geld te geven, zodat hij daar eten mee koopt om het vervolgens te verdelen onder de armen.

Deze zakaat-ulfitr mag vanaf twee dagen vóór ‘Ied, oftewel de 28e van Ramadan worden uitgegeven en uiterlijk tot aanvang van het ‘Iedgebed.

In het volgende bericht zullen we in sha Allah in het kort stilstaan bij de regelgevingen van Eid ul Fitr en hoe je het Eidgebed dit jaar thuis kunt verrichten.

(Source / 21.05.2020)

Israeli police shoots Jordanian citizen on border

Baqoura (QNN)- Israeli forces on Wednesday shot a Jordanian citizen close to northern Lake Tiberias on the borders between Jordan and the occupation state.

Israeli Kan radio mentioned that Israeli police opened fire at a 49-year-old Jordanian citizen in the Baqoura, claiming that he was smuggling weapons to occupied Palestine.

The wounded Jordanian citizen, whose injury was described as moderate, was sent to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, Israeli Yediot Aharonot said fire engulfed the area after Israeli forces fired flashbang grenades.

The occupation state had withdrawn from Baqoura last November following a Jordanian decision not to renew or extend Baqoura and Ghamr annexation from the 1994 peace agreement.

(Source / 21.05.2020)