PA: US imposing political, economic and financial siege on Palestine

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 June 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 June 2020

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said yesterday that the US is imposing a political, economic and financial siege on the Palestinian leadership, Anadolu reported.

At the beginning of his weekly cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said US President Donald Trump had stopped American assistance for the Palestinians and prevented some Arab states from paying funding they had pledged.

He also said that this aimed at “putting pressure on the Palestinian leadership, extorting it and forcing it to barter its rights for money.”

The prime minister stressed: “The people who have right on their side are strong. The one who has will or faith in his homeland, does not bargain it for money.”

Shtayyeh hailed the Arab states and nations “who believe in Palestine, its right, its freedom and its independence.”

Official: Abbas under pressure to talk to US

(Source / 23.09.2020)

PA asks Turkey to support internal reconciliation, election plans

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference on Trump's so called peace plan in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference on Trump’s so called peace plan in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to support the internal Palestinian reconciliation efforts and the plans for an election.

The Palestinian news agency (WAFA) reported that Abbas spoke on the phone with Erdogan on Monday evening and briefed him about the latest development regarding talks currently taking place between Fatah and Hamas and the Palestinian factions as well as the pressure exerted by the United States on the Palestinians.

During the call, Abbas requested Turkey’s assistance to hold elections by sending observers to monitor the electoral process.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian factions agreed to end internal division and “consolidate the principle of peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections, according to proportional representation”.

Abbas also thanked his Turkish counterpart for the contacts he made with the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo urging them not to open embassies or offices in Jerusalem.

READ: Serbia will not move embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognises Kosovo’s independence

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Palestine skips East Mediterranean Gas Forum signing ceremony

Delegations from Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Italy and Greece attend the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo on 16 January 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]
Delegations from Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Italy and Greece attend the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo on 16 January 2020

Palestine yesterday skipped a virtual ceremony held to sign the charter of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) hosted by Egypt, the WAFA news agency reported.

“We did not participate in the signing ceremony, in implementation of the Palestinian leadership’s decision to cut contacts with Israel,” an informed Palestinian source told the agency.

The source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said Palestine signed the charter separately at a later time.

“Palestine has not attended the signing ceremony, but as co-founding state, it will not retreat from its membership in any international organisation that asserts the Palestinian people’s national and sovereign rights, most notably the right to develop its national assets and natural resources, such as the offshore Gaza gas field, whose development has been hindered by the Israeli occupation authorities for long years,” he said.

READ: While war in the eastern Mediterranean is unlikely, a limited engagement may be necessary

Last June, the Palestinian government ratified Palestine’s accession to the forum.

Yesterday, the six member states of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan and Cyprus, signed the charter turning the forum into a regional organisation.

The forum was launched in January 2019 to reinforce cooperation among member states.

However, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Hami Aksoy, described the forum as an anti-Ankara bloc, adding that transforming it into a regional organisation is “far from reality”.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israel demolishes Palestinian wedding hall and home

Israeli occupation forces demolished a wedding hall in the West Bank [DaysofPalestine/Twitter}
Israeli occupation forces demolished a wedding hall in the West Bank, 18 December 2018

Israeli occupation forces demolished a wedding hall, which also served as a residential apartment, inside a village based in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm.

Ihsan Awad, head of the Jubara Village Council, told Wafa news agency that the local community was shocked after Israeli occupation forces forced through the village of Jubara in three bulldozers.

The 900 square metre building consisted of a small home inhabited by a family, who were forced out before the demolition took place.

According to Awad, the demolished wedding hall belonged to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, who previously received demolition notices on the grounds that the building has not been constructed with the correct permit.

Palestinians are rarely granted building permits by Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.

READ: Thousands of Palestinian homes face demolition as Israel refuses building permits

Palestinians believe the true purpose of the restrictive planning regime is to empty the city of its Palestinian inhabitants.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the number of building permits Israel has granted Palestinians in the occupied territories decreased by 45 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

The UN’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted in an April 2019 report that in East Jerusalem “a restrictive planning regime applied by Israel makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.”

The building permits are charged at extortionate prices and are unaffordable for most Palestinians, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and to leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing infrastructure.

Israel’s widely practiced policy of home demolitions targeting entire families are acts of illegal collective punishment and come in direct violation of International Human Rights Law.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israeli Forces Detain a Number of Palestinians, Injure One

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said that eighteen Palestinians were detained, overnight Monday, by Israeli forces, across the occupied West Bank.

From the northern West Bank Jenin refugee camp, occupation soldiers detained four citizens, and two from Tubas in the Jordan Valley.

The Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported that the military incursion in Jenin sparked confrontations with civilians who resisted the invasion. Israeli soldiers fire with live rounds, and tear-gas canisters, injuring one protestor with a live round in the foot, and causing many others to suffer the toxic effects of tear-gas inhalation.

Two citizens of the northern West Bank city of Nablus were detained by Israeli troops, namely; Safwan Hamed Al-Sadr, and Mu`adh Ja`far Abu Aisha.

From the central Ramallah and Al-Bireh district, the PPS added that six Palestinians were detained by the army, two of whom are former prisoners that have spent time in Israeli jails.

Israeli forces also arrested three citizens of Bethlehem, in the central West Bank, namely; Asaid Hassan al-Wardian, Husam Muhammad Ali al-Sheikh, and Munir Nasim Taqatqa.

From the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, a one former prisoner, Ahmed Issa Shalaldeh, was detained by Israeli troops.

The Israeli army, on Monday, detained a child at a military roadblock near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

The occupation authorities closed the Ibrahimi Mosque on Saturday, imposing strict security in the Old City, under the pretext of securing the settlers’ celebrations of the Jewish New Year.

The Israeli police stormed al-‘Isawiya neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and detained Malik Mustafa. Also in Jerusalem, the Israeli intelligence summoned journalist and press activist, Muhammad Karout Idkidk for interrogation.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israeli Jewish rabbi: Soldiers should kill Palestinians, not neutralise them

Court judge reported the Jewish rabbi calling for killing Palestinians, not neutralising them when they stand against Jews

The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that Jewish Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu should be punished for calling on Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinians, not neutralise them, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

Justice Alex Stein, who wrote the ruling, characterizsed Eliyahu’s comments as “threats, incitement, hateful.”

As an example, Stein quoted Eliyahu saying: “We need to try and kill anyone who raises his hand against a Jew. And he doesn’t even have to kill [a Jew], only strike him or want him dead.”

The racist rabbi explained how this could be achieved, saying: “Soldier, police and civilians have an obligation to kill the Palestinians. Not ‘neutralise’ them or ‘get them under control,’ but remove them from the world.”

In another case, Eliyahu, discussing the Palestinians, said: “What do we do about these wild urges about the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque) … there is no one more exploitative than they are … They are given money, and they spit in your face.”

Stein said that remarks of this kind did not fall under the prerogative granted to publicly-employed rabbis, because they included “contempt and incitement that are not in line with the Torah or Jewish law.”

Eliyahu said about the punishment decision: “This is a political court. If we were talking about freedom of speech for their people, there would be no problem showing a guillotine or the prime minister being hanged.

If we are talking about rabbis or religious people, they bend the law to eradicate this basic right.”

The extremist rabbi stressed he would continue delivering his poisonous remarks. “We will not stop talking,” he said. “We will not stop telling the truth,” he claimed.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Raising funds for criminal Jewish settler exposes deep-rooted Israeli racism

Arson attack, carried out by extremist Israeli Jewish settler Ben Uliel, on 31 July 2015, killed 18-month-old toddler Ali Dawabsheh and his parents Saad and Riham

By Robert Andrews

It has become a norm in Israel that any Israeli soldier or extremist Israeli Jewish settler, who kills Palestinian civilians, to become a national champion.

Deep-rooted anti-Palestinian racism is endemic across large segments of Israeli society. This was demonstrated yet again when an Israeli crowdfunding campaign raised over 1.38 million NIS (equivalent to £310,000) in just five days last week for the legal appeal fund of Amiram Ben Uliel, the Israeli terrorist who received three life sentences for killing three members of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family five years ago.

Ben Uliel’s arson attack on 31 July 2015, killed 18-month-old toddler Ali Dawabsheh and his parents Saad and Riham. Ahmed Dawabsheh, the sole survivor of the attack and only five years old at the time, was left with second- and third-degree burns on over 60 per cent of his body.

The racist campaign fund, set up by Ben Uliel’s wife Orian and the far-right legal aid group Honenu after his sentencing last Monday, passed its campaign goals in just five days. To date, the campaign has received money from over 4,900 contributors and has been supported by a number of prominent Israeli personalities, including more than two dozen rabbis from across the national-religious spectrum and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eldest son, Yair.

“In preparation for the appeal to the Supreme Court a defence team of first-rate attorneys is being formed at a particularly great cost,” wrote the rabbis in a joint statement urging Ben Uliel’s release. “We call on the public to contribute generously [to this crowdfunding campaign], everyone according to individual ability, for this life-saving campaign.”

In a separate statement, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the Chief Rabbi of the Shomron and the head of the Elon Moreh Yeshiva noted: “All of Am Yisrael is in a crisis. I call on each and every one to join the campaign to release this innocent man and to free him from all guilt, both with prayers on Rosh HaShana and with substantial contributions.”

The rabbis’ joint statement and such clear support from Israelis for Ben Uliel’s appeal to succeed exemplifies a growing tide of anti-Palestinian sentiment across Israeli society that increasingly regards Israelis who attack and kill Palestinians as heroes.

The social media clip that went viral showing scores of Israelis dancing in celebration of the news of Ali Dawabsheh’s death illustrates the elation with which such news is received in Israel.

More recently, an Israeli soldier shot Palestinian Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif in the head as he lay on the ground wounded and unarmed. Elor Azaria was released in May 2018 after serving only nine months of his 18 month sentence for manslaughter. Azaria executed Al-Sharif 11 minutes after he was shot and brought to the ground; the soldier was originally charged with murder only for this to be dropped hastily by the Israeli Military Police.

Unsurprisingly, Azaria’s conviction for manslaughter caused uproar across Israel and led a diverse range of social and political leaders to express open solidarity with him and call for a pardon.

According to Knesset Member Yifat Shasha-Biton, the entire case was “fundamentally distorted” from the outset, while Netanyahu, upon learning of Azaria’s conviction, noted that it was “a difficult and painful day for all of us”. Mass protests calling for Azaria’s release were held across Israel; according to police estimates, as many as 5,000 people gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, with “death to Arabs” being chanted.

Since his release from prison in 2018, Azaria, who shot the Palestinian in the head, has gone on to become a celebrity in Israel, receiving large popular support and even being paid to feature in Likud political campaign advertisements in 2019 alongside Deputy Environmental Protection Minister Yaron Mazuz.

Azaria’s increasing fame comes against the backdrop of a justice system in which, for example, the then 17-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi was held in a military prison for eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier after her cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet, while the cold-blooded murder of Palestinians attracts minimal jail sentences or, in many cases, none at all. “Without the images that went viral in the country and around the world…” wrote Allison Kaplan Sommer in Haaretz, “nobody would have known his [Azaria’s] name.”

The damning indictment of racism within Israeli society, exemplified by the widespread calls to release the murderer of the Dawabsheh family and the lack of accountability afforded to soldiers who murder Palestinians, is likely to surprise those still preoccupied with the myth of an egalitarian, democratic Israel.

It serves as a wakeup call that forces reasonable people to grapple with the reality of Israeli society in 2020, which is so unlike the image promoted by its apologists. Far from the social contract laid out in its founding declaration, Israel has become a place in which even the convicted killer of an 18-month toddler and his parents is defended vehemently and supported financially both openly and, to Israel’s eternal disgrace, enthusiastically.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israeli police slap Aqsa entry ban on Palestinian from Jerusalem

Jerusalem – Days of Palestine – The Israeli occupation police on Tuesday handed a Jerusalemite young man called Rouhi Al-Qulaghasi an order banning his presence at the Aqsa Mosque and near its gates and entrances for three months.

The Israeli police had detained Qulaghasi a few days ago and ordered him to stay away from the Mosque for one week before extending the entry ban for more three months.

Read More: The ‘ban’ on Emiratis praying in Al-Aqsa highlights the fact that treaties with Israel are worthless – MEMO

Qulaghasi, a resident of as-Sa’diyya in the Old City of Jerusalem, had been detained several times before administratively and arbitrarily.

Meanwhile, police forces stormed the Old City on the same day and embarked on detaining and fining local citizens on allegations that there were pictures showing them with no medical masks.

Read More: UN: Israel must immediately allow entry of fuel and other essential items into Gaza

Police officers also kidnaped a young man at the Qalandiya crossing in Jerusalem and deployed concrete blocks on roads in Beit Hanina town and Shu’afat refugee camp.

The roadblocks are part of draconian Israeli steps to impose a full lockdown in all Palestinian areas in and around Jerusalem at the pretext of securing Jewish holidays and preventing the spread of coronavirus.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israel to demolish Palestinian houses southeast of occupied Jerusalem

Two Palestinian homeowners today confirmed that they were notified about the planned demolition of their structures in Wadi al-Hummus area on the edge of Sur Baher neighborhood, southeast of Jerusalem.

Haytham Zeitoun told WAFA that he received an Israeli order several days ago, informing him that Israeli forces plan to demolish his three-floor residential building, which he built at a cost of ILS 800,000 (some USD $230,000).

He pointed out that Israel deliberately concealed its intention to demolish his building until the construction was complete although he has already obtained a building license from the Palestinian authorities as the construction area is classified as Area A, which falls under the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) full control under the Oslo Accords.

Read More: Two Palestinian brothers forced to demolish their houses south of Jerusalem

He warned that Israel harbors intentions to carry out large-scale demolitions in the area under the pretext the construction poses a threat to the Israeli security.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Amireh said that he received a similar demolition order against the second floor of his house two days ago.

Read More: Israel to demolish two houses in Bethlehem-district village

He affirmed that Israel is carrying out home demolitions as part of its ethnic cleansing policy of the Palestinians in Jerusalem in general and Wadi al-Hummus area in particular, disregarding the fact that it coasted the Palestinian homeowners a lot to build their houses after obtaining the necessary permits from the PA.

This came as a third Palestinian from the same area, identified as Ayman al-Hih, was notified about the planned demolition of his one-floor 158-square-meter house, inhabited by his family, citing the same pretext.

In July 2019, Israel demolished 10 Palestinian buildings, comprising 100 apartments, in the same area.

Israel demolishes Palestinian houses and structures almost on a daily basis as a means to achieve “demographic control” of the occupied territories.

Israel denies planning permits for Palestinians to build on their own land or to extend existing houses to accommodate natural growth, particularly in Jerusalem and Area C, which constitutes 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and falls under full Israeli military rule, forcing residents to build without obtaining rarely-granted permits to provide shelters for their families.

In contrast, Israel argues that building within existing colonial settlements is necessary to accommodate the “natural growth” of settlers. Therefore, it much more easily gives the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers there building permits and provides them with roads, electricity, water and sewage systems that remain inaccessible to many neighboring Palestinians.

(Source / 23.09.2020)

Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians in the West Bank

Israeli forces Wednesday overnight detained at least five Palestinians from various parts of the west Bank, according to local sources.

The sources confirmed that Israeli forces manning Dothan military checkpoint, close to Yaabad town, stopped and rounded up two Palestinians, including a minor.

The two detainees were identified as residents of Qabatia town, south of Jenin.

Read More: Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians from the West Bank

Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, Director of the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Office in Tubas city confirmed an Israeli military raid in the city, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian.

Read More: Israeli forces detain three Palestinians, injure two others in West Bank

In Bethlehem district, Israeli forces barged their way into Beit Fajjar town, south of the city, where they rearrested a former prisoner after ransacking his family house.

In Hebron district, an Israeli military raid was confirmed in As-Samou‘ town, south of the city, resulting in the detention of another.

Israeli forces frequently raid Palestinian houses almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents.

These raids, which take place also in areas under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, are conducted with no need for a search warrant, whenever and wherever the military chooses in keeping with its sweeping arbitrary powers.

Under Israeli military law army commanders have full executive, legislative and judicial authority over 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. Palestinians have no say in how this authority is exercised.

(Source / 23.09.2020)