Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has reiterated that using military force against the occupied Gaza Strip is still an option, Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan reported today.
“I visited the Southern Command [of the Israeli army] in the Gaza periphery,” Kan reported Gantz saying, “using military forces is still an option on the table.”
He added: “I want to make clear to everyone in the region that using military forces is not separated from our commitment to regain our prisoners and missing persons in the hands of Hamas.”
Gantz continued: “We want to continue maintaining a high level of security in the south, continue our efforts to regain the [missing] soldiers and maintain the safety of the interests of the people living in that area.”
Earlier this month, Al-Quds Al-Araby reported that Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh had revealed that talks between the movement and Israel about a potential prisoner swap had started through the Egyptian mediator. He gave no more details.
Israeli settlers seized more Palestinian land yesterday belonging to the townspeople of Deir Dibwan and Rammun near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The Jewish settlers were protected by Israeli security forces during their raid.
The Head of Deir Dibwan municipality, Mansour Mansour, told Wafa news agency that dozens of illegal colonial-settlers stormed the area and seized around 47 dunams of land. He said that they then used bulldozers to raze all structures on the land.
The soldiers prevented residents from having access to their land and forced them to leave. The settlers were allowed to continue with their destruction of Palestinian homes.
Meanwhile, a house being built by Ibrahim Benniya in the Furush Beit Dajan area was demolished because it did not have the necessary permit from the Israeli occupation authorities. Such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain.
According to Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank, the Israeli military invaded the region early this morning and began extensive demolitions, which included using bulldozers at the Sebastia archaeological site and stealing ancient stones from the surrounding area.
There are now some 650,000 Jewish settlers on occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population onto occupied land.
Israel could use violence to annexation large parts of the occupied West Bank and Jordan valley, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat warned today.
Speaking to Palestine Radio, Erekat said that Israel’s ideology is based on imposing new realities on the ground and reinforcing the occupation in order to undermine negotiations and the peace process and reach a state of chaos.
He said that he is afraid that after the Palestinian leadership’s decision to freeze agreements with Israel, including security cooperation, Israel would resort to field violence.
Erekat said that the Palestinian leadership maintains continuous communication with the international community and the Arab League in order to stop the Israeli plan and save the peace process.
“The US and Israel will not stop the annexation plan except under international pressure,” he said, stressing: “There would be consequences for this measure on the economic and political Palestinian-Israeli relationship.”
He added: “The situation must be dealt with seriously in light of the persistence of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement the annexation plan and impose realities in the ground.”
Meanwhile, he reiterated the importance of the French, German and British positions which warned Israel of the “negative consequences” of the implementation of the plan on the two-state solution.
Israeli media reported that the Israeli army had reinforced its forces in the occupied West Bank in preparation for any possible emergency in the wake of the Palestinian decision to halt security coordination with the occupation state.
In November 1967, Israeli authorities issued Military Order 158, which stated that Palestinians could not construct any new water installation without first obtaining a permit from the Israeli army. These are nearly impossible to obtain, Amnesty reports. “Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation continue to suffer the devastating consequences of this order until today. They are unable to drill new water wells, install pumps or deepen existing wells, in addition to being denied access to the Jordan River and fresh water springs,” the rights group explains.
Adding: “While restricting Palestinian access to water, Israel has effectively developed its own water infrastructure and water network in the West Bank for the use of its own citizens in Israel and in the settlements – that are illegal under international law.”
Long before Sir Winston Churchill said that history is written by the victors there were variations on the theme; the winners of any conflict get to write the definitive version of what happened. Those on the losing side are more often than not silenced simply because the winners have the loudest voice and, in the modern age, access to the most compliant mainstream media.
Occasionally, though, the inhumanity of the winning side is so heinous that no amount of airbrushing or rewriting of history can erase the atrocities which undoubtedly took place. That is why the facts of the 1948 Nakba remain inconvenient truths for the pro-Israel lobby, whose members try to push the twisted narrative that the people of Palestine left their land in response to calls to do so made by neighbouring Arab governments. This is total nonsense, as is the Zionist myth that Palestine was a desert until Jewish settlers arrived and “made it bloom” in the run up to and ever since the creation of the state of Israel on Palestinian land.
Far from such a romantic claim, the truth is that the Zionists knew that Palestine was never “a land without a people for a people without a land” as they alleged; and that in order to create their state they had first to drive the Palestinians from their homes. The deliberate ethnic cleansing led to 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children being driven at gunpoint from their ancestral homes in villages, towns and cities across Palestine. Those who resisted the arrival of the largely European colonial settlers were killed; indeed, many who did not resist were also killed in order to create terror in the minds of the survivors so that they too would pack up and leave. The Zionist militias were nothing less than terrorists. Israel was not created on a desert wasteland; it was built on land so fertile that Palestine was one of the world’s top exporters of citrus fruit. The people who performed this miracle were ethnically cleansed from their own land by Zionist Jewish immigrants.
The facts, though, have been ignored by one member of the Scottish parliament who has taken the Zionist narrative one step further and claimed that the Nakba (Catastrophe) was “self-inflicted” by the victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing. Richard Lyle MSP, of the Scottish National Party (SNP), is now facing calls for him to be suspended pending an investigation into what have been described as his “racist” remarks.
Lyle’s offensive comments were contained in an amendment to a motion submitted to the parliament in Edinburgh marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba. The tragedy is remembered annually by Palestinians and their supporters around the world.
Richard Lyle (C) during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on 7 February 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland
The stark facts are that more than 50 per cent of the indigenous Palestinian population were forced out of their homes by Zionist militias and the Israeli army between 1947 and 1949 in a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing. The operation was even given a name by those in charge: Plan Dalet. Lyle has ignored that this was clear gerrymandering to force a Jewish majority upon Palestine, using violence in the process.
The Zionist euphemism for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is “transfer”. We still hear talk of this today, with references to the “transfer” of Palestinians to the neighbouring Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for example. In 1948, the Zionists knew that the only way to create a Jewish majority state in territory where Palestinian Arabs were the overwhelming majority of the population was to clear out the indigenous people. According to Lyle, though, this was the fault of the Palestinians.
On its website, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) has described the MSP’s proposed amendment to Motion S5M-21739 marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba as disgraceful and racist. “The Israel lobby believe that they have successfully shielded Israel from criticism about its apartheid and settler-colonial nature, and ensured that anyone that supports and implements BDS is smeared as an anti-Semite. Now, predictably, they are going directly for the Palestinians, blaming the victims for the programme of ethnic cleansing that Israel continues to this day.”
SPSC co-founder Mick Napier says that the group is calling on the SNP to suspend Richard Lyle “with immediate effect, to investigate his racism toward Palestinians and his involvement with the racist state of Israel.”
Citing the SNP-led Scottish government’s work on streamlining hate crime legislation, Napier added: “They must act to ensure anti-Palestinian racism is not normalised but dealt with firmly within their own party and wider Scottish society. This is not a debate about history; today Israeli forces are attacking Palestinians. Richard Lyle is an active defender of this project. It is time the SNP took action against the foul racism that drives such advocacy.”
Lyle is the deputy convener of a cross-party group called “Building Bridges With Israel” (BBI) and has visited the Zionist state on a trip organised and paid for by the Israeli Embassy in London. Such visits are organised so that politicians will go on to defend Israel even as it treats international laws and conventions with contempt and kills, wounds and displaces Palestinians with the impunity provided by people like the MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill.
The original Nakba Day parliamentary motion submitted by Lyle’s SNP colleague Sandra White MSP recognised the “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages” which “led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation.”
Lyle’s amendment described the Nakba as a “self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved.” As far as Mick Napier is concerned, “This is an insult to every Palestinian worldwide. It is nothing more than a disgusting piece of revisionist history.”
Individual SNP members and branches have inundated the party’s head office with calls for Lyle’s suspension pending an investigation into what SNP Friends of Palestine has described as his “abhorrent… racist and hate filled” narrative which appears to have drawn support from only one other MSP, the Conservative Adam Tomkins.
Ross Greer, co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Palestine, told the Morning Star: “I am disgusted, but not surprised, Mr Lyle has attempted to amend a parliamentary motion marking the Nakba to label it a ‘self-inflicted tragedy’. Blaming the victims of ethnic cleansing for the crimes committed against them is vile.”
Vile, indeed. The Scottish parliamentarian must be held to account without delay. Failure to do so will besmirch the good name not only of the party he represents, but also the nation it governs.
On Wednesday morning before dawn, Israeli troops invaded several parts of the northern West Bank near Nablus and destroyed a Palestinian home and a tourism center. This follows the destruction earlier on Tuesday of a Palestinian-owned agricultural barn south of Nablus.
In the pre-dawn invasion Wednesday, Israeli troops entered the Furush Beit Dajan area in the Jordan Valley, and used armored D-9 Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy the home of local Palestinian resident Ibrahim Benniya.
Troops also used an armored bulldozer to destroy an 8-dunam square tourist area known as the Maxim Land Resort, as well as confiscating archaeological remains from the land. This took place in the areas of Zawata and Sebastia.
According to Ghassan Douglas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of addressing Israeli settlements and violations of Palestinian sovereignty, the Israeli military invaded the areas in the northern West Bank in the early hours of Wednesday morning and began extensive demolitions, including carrying out sabotage and bulldozing operations inside the archaeological site in Sebastia, removing and confiscating a tourist establishment, and stealing archaeological stones from the surrounding area.
This follows the demolition of an agricultural barn owned by a Palestinian farmer from the town of Aqraba, south of Nablus in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
The barn belonged to local resident Marwan Abu Kotob, who depends on agricultural work for income. The loss of the barn will cause tremendous economic hardship for Abu Kotob and his family.
Israeli military officials claimed the demolitions were carried out due to ‘lack of permits’, but the Israeli military forces that have ruled the West Bank with martial law since 1967 have refused to issue permits to Palestinian landowners to build on their own land since that time.
Illegal Israeli settlers, with the full support of the Israeli military, on Tuesday, took possession of Palestinian land, east of Ramallah, in the central occupied West Bank, a local official reported.
Head of Deir Dibwan municipality, Mansour Mansour, told Palestinian WAFA news Agency that dozens of illegal colonial settlers stormed an area between Deir Dibwan and Rammun and took over around 47 dunams.
Mansour said that the colonists used bulldozers to raze the land belonging to Palestinian residents from both towns.
Israeli soldiers, prevented residents’ access to their lands and forced them to leave, while protecting the settlers’ theft of Palestinian land.
In related news, Israeli troops on Tuesday, disassembled an agricultural shed belonging to a Palestinian resident from the town of Aqraba, south of Nablus city, northern occupied West Bank, according to a local source.
Yousef Deriyeh, member of the local anti-settlements committee, told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed the town before tearing down the shed belonging to local resident, Marwan Abu Kotob.
Jenin (QNN)- Several human rights watchdogs called for an intervention to save the life of the cancer-patient prisoner Kamal Abu Wa’r after a serious deterioration in his health.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Association stated that the condition of Abu War, from Qabatya in Jenin, has deteriorated.
Abu Wa’r, who suffers from throat cancer, has been subjected to radiotherapy. New tests revealed that his tumor’s size has increased. He has also lost weight and lost his ability to talk.
The association noted that Abu Wa’r’s suffering started in later 2019. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) allowed him to have radiotherapy but according to his lawyer, he was handcuffed during the thereby and he suffered a great deal while being sent to a hospital on prisoner transport vehicles.
The head of the association held the occupation state responsible for the life of Abu Wa’r and the lives of nearly 700 sick prisoners, including at least ten cancer-patients.
For its part, the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs warned of the ongoing Israeli policy of medical negligence against Abu Wa’r.
Palestinian prisoners had issued a statement calling on international and Palestinian institutions, as well as the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian resistance to urgently intervene to save the life of Abu Wa’r.
Kamal Abu Wa’r (46 years old) is serving a court sentence of 6 life imprisonments and 50 years. He was arrested in 2003 and he has been jailed in Jalbou’ jail.
Occupied Haifa (QNN)- The Israeli police on Wednesday found the body of the Palestinian artist and dancer Ayma Abu Safiyyeh (29 years old, from the village of Kafr Yasif. Abu Safiyyeh was reported missing last Sunday during a camping trip with his friends in the depopulated village “Atlit” in Haifa.
A statement by the police said that an Israeli helicopter spotted the body of a dead person on the beach near Atlit.
Quoting local sources, Arab 48 reported that the body was found at the beach between the depopulated villages of Tantoura and Kafr Lam.
The family and friends of Abu Safyyeh, who have been searching for him for four days, stated that the Israeli police deliberately ignored searching for Abu Safiyyeh because he is a native Palestinian.