US: Israel’s annexation plans still on the table

US special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt
US special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt at the US Embassy in Jerusalem on 27 June 2019

Former US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, said yesterday that Israel’s annexation plans were suspended, not cancelled, Israeli media reported.

“I think it’s important to look at the word that was chosen by the three parties and the official statement, which is the word ‘suspend’,” Greenblatt was reported by Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post as saying.

“As you know,” he said, “I am myself a big proponent of recognising Israel’s sovereignty and application of Israeli law [in the occupied West Bank].”

He stressed, according to the paper, that Israel “never occupied Palestinian territories,” referring to the occupied West Bank.

These remarks echoed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks when he stressed that the annexation is still on the table and the Israeli-UAE normalisation deal did not stop it.

READ: Israel is America’s dagger

About when Israeli should annex the West Bank, Greenblatt said: “You have to deal with this step by step. You have to re-educate the public from the decades of misinformation that was given out to the rest of the world about the reality of the conflict.”

He added: “I think we need to be patient and let the prime minister and the government of Israel do what they do best.”

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Hamas: ‘We are not the reason for instability’

Deputy Hamas leader in Gaza Khalil Al-Hayya [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Member of Hamas’ political bureau Khalil Al-Hayya in Gaza, 30 August 2018

Dismissing Israeli and American claims, Deputy Hamas Leader in Gaza Khalil Al-Hayya said on Tuesday that his movement “is not the reason for stability in the region”.

“Israeli occupation and the American administrations are partners in inflicting suffering on the Palestinians and in the whole Middle East,” Al-Hayya said.

He went on to reject claims that the Palestinian resistance is the reason for the bloodshed and it undermines efforts to reach peace with Israel.

“We hope that we do not raise arms and fight anyone, but what can we do to regain our rights from a brutal occupier?” he asked.

“Gaza has been under a strict Israeli siege for 14 years. The siege has undermined every aspect of life in Gaza, including healthcare system, industry, trade, farming, etc…”

“The Israeli occupation does not believe in peace. It believes only in occupation, grabbing more lands, usurping more rights and destroying more dreams.”

Palestine PM: Netanyahu’s remarks about ‘peace for peace’ an illusion

He pointed to the failure of peace deals signed by the PLO “which only promoted the Israeli occupation in the region and led to normalisation of ties and we got nothing. We got more harassment, more prisoners, more settlements, more occupation and more suffering.”

“All we want are our rights,” he continued, adding: “The Israeli occupation did not save any effort to steal our property and undermine out rights.”

“The Israeli occupation has failed to provide peace. Instead, it bombed schools, mosques, hospitals and killed children and women. In six years, Israel carried out three massive offensives on Gaza that claimed thousands of lives and returned Gaza to the Stone Age.”

This is to pressure us to give up our rights and surrender, but we will never do this and we stress that the occupation is going to end.

Commenting on the UAE-Israeli normalisation deal, he said: “This is a stab in the back of the Palestinians. We do not allow anyone to speak on behalf of Palestine and the Palestinians and claim that such deals are made in favour of Palestine and the Palestinian rights.”

“These rulers buy their chairs by making ties with Israel and legitimising it. This will go in vain. If these rulers and their governments are hostile to us, their people are not. If they cut relations with us or harass us, their people do not and continue supporting us.”

PLO: Arab League, OIC dissolved and will never convene

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Netanyahu repeated on Monday that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Mufti of Jerusalem: Using normalisation to pray at Al-Aqsa is ‘prohibited’

Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein conducts a sermon (Khutbah) during the Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 4 January 2019 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein conducts a sermon (Khutbah) during the Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 4 January 2019

The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, said in a statement yesterday that it is religiously prohibited to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque through the process of political normalisation of another country with Israel, according to a fatwa he issued in 2014.

Hussein said that the fatwa has permitted the visits to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa within certain criteria, stressing that normalisation is not one of them. His words come days after US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

The Mufti said, “We affirm that the prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque is open to those who come from the legitimate Palestinian gate, or through the Jordanian government, which is the guardian of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

“He added that praying at Al-Aqsa “is not for the one who normalises and uses this issue as a means to deal with the sinful deal of the century, and normalisation is one of the manifestations of this deal, and everything that came through it is void, and forbidden according to Islamic jurisprudence because it abandons Jerusalem, which the deal of the century considers the capital of Israel.

“The statement stressed that “the visit to the Palestinian land should be an affirmation of its Arab and Islamic identity and a rejection of the occupation”.

READ: With deal, UAE abandons Palestinian struggle, says expert

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Eighteen Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, eighteen Palestinians, including one woman, in several parts of the occupied West Bank; most of the abducted residents were taken prisoner from occupied Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has confirmed.

The PPS stated that the soldiers abducted 14 Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, and added that most of them were taken prisoner from the al-‘Isawiya town, after the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes.

It said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Walid Obeid, Mohammad Marwan Obeid, Mahmoud Shafiq Obeid, Ahmad Ayesh Obeid, Yazan Ibrahim Obeid, Mo’tasem Hamza Obeid, Mohammad Ghadeb Obeid, Mohammad Mousa Dirbas, Wadea’ Daoud Oleyyan, in addition Omran al-Ashhab who works in the maintenance and reconstruction department at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Zeinat Abu Sbeih, the head of the women’s branch of civilian security at the holy site.

The soldiers also invaded the al-Ram town and Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, searched homes and abducted Shadi Abu Gharbiyya, Omar Yasser Hamadna, and Riyad Shehada, the son of Ahmad Riyad Shehada, who was killed by the army on May 6th, 2016.

In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Yousef Ali As’ous from his home in Mothallath ash-Shuhada village, south of the city.

In Faqqou’a village, east of Jenin, the soldiers caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army invaded it, and attacked residents who protested the invasion.

In Tulkarem, also in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Mousa Salah al-A’raj, 30.

In Tubas, in northeastern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Ayman Shareeda, 28, from his home.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Soldiers Demolish A Wall, Hand Demolition Orders, Near Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the towns of Hizma and al-Judeira, near occupied East Jerusalem in the West Bank, and demolished an under-construction wall, in addition to handing military orders for the destruction of several structures.

In Hizma town, northeast of Jerusalem, the soldiers demolished a wall, surrounding two Dunams (0.49 Acres) of privately-owned Palestinian land.

The owner, Bashar Abu Khalil, said he built the wall in the year 2017, to protect his land, but the City Council in Jerusalem, refused to grant him a license, although it was built on his private property.

In addition, the soldiers invaded the Wad Hasan area, in the al-Judeira town, and handed Suleiman Azzam a military order for the demolition of a pool.

The soldiers also handed similar orders targeting a barn, owned by members of Qassam family, and a wall surrounding private Palestinian lands in the Wad Hasan area.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza for seventh night

Gaza (QNN) – Israeli occupation warplanes last night carried out four airstrikes which targeted several sites across the Gaza Strip, causing damages but no casualties.

An Israeli drone fired at least one missile at a site in al-Zaytoon neighborhood, southeast of Gaza city, which was followed by another airstrike, destroying the site, setting it on fire and causing damages to nearby property.

Meanwhile, an Israeli warplane bombed a site in the town of Beit Hanoun, north of the Strip, destroyed it and caused damage to property.

Moreover, Israeli warplanes bombed a location to the north of the town of Beit Lahia, north of the Strip.

Israeli occupation military claimed that this came as a response after two missiles were fired from Gaza into Israeli colonial settlements surrounding the coastal enclave.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Kushner: Kuwait’s support for Palestinians not ‘very constructive’

Kuwait has a very spongy history with the Palestinians,” he said, “so that, it hasn’t been very constructive to support them”

Kuwait’s support for Palestinians is “not very constrictive,” Anadolu reported Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump saying on Tuesday.

During a briefing with reporters, Kushner denied that the US administration is pressuring Kuwait and other Gulf states to normalise relations with Israel, following a similar move by the UAE.

“Countries will do things that are in their interest to do,” Kushner said. “Kuwait has a very spongy history with the Palestinians,” he said.

He referred to the PLO’s support for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War, when Kuwait forced more than 400,000 Palestinians out of the country.

“And now they are out there taking a very radical view of the conflict in favour of the Palestinians,” he said. “Obviously, that hasn’t been very constructive.”

Kushner said Trump’s approach is not meant to put pressure on countries because “a relationship that is built on pressure is not one that is going to last.”

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Gaza’s sole electricity plant shuts down after running out of fuel

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Al Qidra, said the lack of electricity undermines offering health services across Gaza’s hospitals

The only electricity plant in Gaza Strip shut down on Tuesday after running out of fuel banned from entering besieged enclave by Israeli occupation.

“The power plant has shut down completely,” the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) announcedin a brief statement.

Israel banned fuel imports into Gaza as part of punitive measures over launching incendiary balloons from the Strip.

On Sunday, GEDCO warned that the industrial fuel for the electricity plant would run out on Tuesday morning.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip suffered under a crippling Israeli blockade that has deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

As a result, the coastal enclave has been reeling from an electricity crisis.

The Gaza Strip needs some 500 megawatts of electricity – of which only 180 megawatts are currently available – to meet the needs of its population.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Al Qidra, said the lack of electricity undermines offering health services across Gaza’s hospitals.

He also warned that the lack of electricity would affect the quarantine centres used for coronavirus patients.

Gaza currently has three sources of electricity: Israel, which provides 120 megawatts; Egypt, which supplies 32 megawatts; and the Strip’s sole power plant, which generates between 40 and 60 megawatts.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

For 8 days in row, Israel attacks Gaza Strip

Israeli occupation warplanes bombed overnight on Wednesday a post to the east of Gaza city, according to Days of Palestine correspondent.

He said that the Israeli warplanes attacked a post belonging to the Palestinian resistance with 3 missiles in the east of Al-Zeitoun neighborhood, located in the southern part of the city Gaza.

Read More: Gaza Under Attack: Israeli warplanes attack Gaza Strip

Happening now.. #GazaUnderAttack

١٠:٤٩ م · ١٨ أغسطس ٢٠٢٠٥مشاهدة تغريدات A.Ibrahim Msabeh الأخرى

No injuries reported according to the Ministry of Health.

Read More: After injuring two Palestinians in night protests, Israel attacks Gaza for sixth consecutive day

Israel has been showering Gaza with aerial, artillery and naval bombardment for the eighth day in a row.

Gaza’s two million residents have become accustomed for the past 20 years to Israeli airstrikes, ground incursions and naval attacks. In fact, the besieged costal enclave has become an experimental field, where Israel’s latest technology and military arsenal including deadly drones are used. Fear and panic have become the norm as the sound of explosions and blasts rock the 40-kilometre Strip.

For the past eight days, aerial strikes targeted different military training sites and security observation posts in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Hamas’ control since 2007. Tanks and navy warships take part in the frequent offensives, which also give new soldiers a chance to put what they learnt into action in a real battlefield, targeting the “enemy”.

To put things into perspective, the latest military escalation in Gaza, according to Israel, is “in response” to incendiary balloons released by Palestinian civilian activists (with the help of the sea breeze blowing from west to east toward the Israeli controlled areas) which cause fireswhen they land on crops and in agricultural fields. Kites were originally used with fuel doused sponges which had been set alight attached to them, but the use of balloons took over as they are cheaper and take no time to make. The balloons normally lead to bush fires, requiring fire engines and even aircrafts to extinguish them. It’s a nightmare that costsmillions of shekels in damage and losses to Israeli farmers.

This is “popular resistance” or “non-violent resistance”, according to Palestinians who are working to pressure Israel to lift its ongoing siege. The blockade – a form of collective punishment – was imposed in response to Hamas winning the parliamentary elections in January 2006 and the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the summer of the same year. Shalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid via tunnels near the Israeli fence. When Hamas took control of Gaza from Fatah, as a result of its success in the election, the siege tightened.

“Nightly confusion” is another technique used by activists, with tyres being burnt and fireworks and explosives being set off along the fence separating Israel from the enclave.This “noise confusion” aims to disrupt the daily lives of Israeli soldiers positioned along the fence, as well as Israelis living near Gaza. The fires trigger powerful blasts and fill the sky with acrid smoke. These two popular resistance activities had ceased functioning in recent months as both Israel and Hamas reached an unofficial ceasefire agreement, but resumed over the past eight days to send a message to Israel that the cost of calm and tranquillity along the border is the full lifting of the prolonged suffocating strangling siege, which transformed Gaza into the world’s largest open air prison and brought life and economic activities to a standstill.

In the past, drone attacks were used against those activists to deter them, but it seems the army of jobless youths feel they have nothing lose; life has no taste for them. The majority have never left Gaza, bn on a plane or train or experienced other cultures. Even the occupied West Bank isn’t within reach for them, neither are their ancestral lands in historic Palestineand Jerusalem. Alleviating the endless suffering of Palestinians in Gaza who have been subjected to three devastating Israeli wars in late 2008, late 2012 and mid-2014 is necessary in order to restore calm and hope.

No doubt internal differences and division between the two major political factions Fatah andHamas fuelled by Israel contributes to this acute, complicated problem and it is indeedshameful.

Palestinian lands have been occupied by Israel for decades now even before the founding of those factions, and in fact they were established to resist the occupation. They have tried all available means of resistance in the hope that Israel ends its occupation but to no avail.

Israel is known for its policy of buying time and chooses when to open or close the tap, allowing and banning goods as well as “duel usage items” such as cement, balloons and tyres.In response to the two means of non-violent tactic, Tel Aviv has decided to stop the delivery of industrial diesel needed for Gaza’s only electricity generating company. According to Palestinian officials this led to the power plant shutting down today, with health officials warning of disastrous consequences on the health sector, especially chronically ill patients, in the ICU and newborn babies in incubators. Moreover, Tel Aviv decided to close off thefishing zone along Gaza.

In an attempt to defuse the tension and avoid a possible major escalation that normally involves firing of long range home-made projectiles and missiles from Gaza into Israel, an Egyptian delegation has been shuttling to meet officials in the besieged Strip to convey their demands to Tel Aviv, namely lifting the siege, allow Qatari grants to reach Gaza, increase the fishing zone, open Karm Abu Salem commercial crossing located on the Gaza-Israel-Egypt border, improve the electricity and water services and increasing the number of permits for Gazan traders and merchants entering the West Bank and Israel via the Israeli controlled Erez crossing.

Egypt’s role stems from the fact that it wants to maintain its position as mediator since it shares its border with Gaza and as a result of it being the first Arab country to strike a peace deal with Israel in 1979, but also to emphasise that it is an important key player in the region especially after the UAE and Israel signed a normalisation deal last week.

The “resistance balloons” continue to be sent across the fence, and Israeli officials, including Defence Minister Benny Gantz, have renewed their threats to “protect Israeli security sovereignty without any concessions”.

But Gantz, Netanyahu and others know for sure that Gazans have nothing to lose as life is unbearable under the ongoing 14-year siege, while peace on Israeli terms is a mirage.

(Source / 19.08.2020)

Pakistan will never recognize Israel: PM Khan

In an interview with a private Pakistani TV channel, the prime minister said, “Quaid-e-Azam had said that if the Palestinians got the right, they would recognize Israel. Pakistan’s position on Israel is clear.”

The Prime Minister said that we have to answer to Allah about Palestine. Imran Khan said that whatever other countries do, our position is very clear. “Pakistan will not recognize Israel unless the decision of Palestine is in accordance with the will of the Palestinians,” he maintained.

“When we talk about Israel and Palestine, will we answer to God that we left alone those who have been abused and deprived of their rights?” he asked by adding, “Yes, my morals never admit that.”

Read More: Kuwaiti NGOs: Israel-UAE deal is a ‘stab in back of Palestinians’

About China, a longtime friend of Pakistan, Imran Khan said that it should be clear that our future is connected with China. He said China has stood by Pakistan in every good and bad time. “We are further strengthening our ties with China. China also needs Pakistan very much. Unfortunately, Western countries are using India against China,” he said.

The premier said the Chinese president was scheduled to visit Pakistan in May this year but his visit was delayed due to coronavirus. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Pakistan in winter.

Read More: Feeding a Bedouin : Roy Oz and Israel outrageous racism

On relations with Saudi Arabia, the prime minister said Pakistan’s role is not to divide the Muslim world. He said Saudi Arabia has its own foreign policy.

“Rumors of Pakistan’s deteriorating relations with Saudi Arabia are completely false,” he said. “We have good relations with Saudi Arabia, we are in constant contact with Saudi Arabia,” the prime minister.

(Source / 19.08.2020)