Israel and US today signed an agreement that extended scientific cooperation to the occupied Palestinian West Bank and occupied Syrian Golan Heights, Israeli media and news agencies reported.
The agreement removed all the previous geographic restrictions related to scientific cooperation, the Times of Israel reported, noting that some view the move as the first step toward American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank.
According to the Israeli daily, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed the protocol that amended three 1970s agreements on scientific cooperation.
Before signing this protocol, the agreements stipulated that US cooperation with Israel “may not be conducted in geographical areas which came under the administration of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.”
The protocol was signed at Ariel University, which is located in an illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
“It opens Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the United States,” Netanyahu said.
“This is an important victory against all those who seek to delegitimise everything Israeli beyond the 1967 lines,” Netanyahu added.
He addressed “those malevolent boycotters,” saying: “I have a simple message for you today: You are wrong, and you will fail. You are wrong because you deny what cannot be denied — the millennial connection between the people of Israel and the land of Israel; it’s over 3,000 years old.”
“And you will fail because we are resolved to continue to build our life in our ancestral homeland and to be never uprooted from here again.”
The agreements were signed with the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), the Binational Science Foundation (BSF) and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD).
Speaking at the event, Friedman said: “Plainly, this geographic restriction within these three agreements was an anachronism. We are righting an old wrong, and we are strengthening yet again the unbreakable bond between our two countries.”
Members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, have proposed a bill which would revoke Israeli citizenship for Arab prisoners who receive financial aid from the Palestinian Authority, Anadolu Agency has reported. While Palestinian Arabs who live in Israel have citizenship of the state, those who live in occupied Jerusalem, claimed by Israel as its capital, are provided with residence permits.
Eighteen members of the Knesset signed the bill, representing the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Yesh Atid and Blue and White parties. The bill was initiated by Likud’s Avi Dichter MK.
If passed into law, this would empower the Israeli interior minister to revoke the citizenship or cancel the residence permit of any Arab Israeli prisoner held on security-related charges if they agree to receive financial aid from the PA, whether directly or indirectly. The PA provides prisoners and their families with monthly stipends.
Israel and the US have been putting pressure on the PA to stop this financial assistance, because they say that it “encourages terrorism”. The PA insists on paying it. In response, the Israeli government last year withheld $140 million in import duty collected on behalf of the PA on goods bound for the occupied Palestinian territories through Israeli border posts and ports.
Israeli military bulldozers demolished, Tuesday, a Palestinian agricultural greenhouse at the entrance of the as-Sammoa’ town, south of Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Deputy Mayor of the town, Haroun Abu Karsh, stated that the soldiers, accompanied by a bulldozer, demolished a greenhouse, at the entrance of the town.
He added that the army alleges the structure was built near a bypass road heavily used by Israeli colonialist settlers.
The demolished hothouse, sixty square meters, was licensed by the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, but the army claimed it was not licensed by the “Civil Administration Office,” the administrative branch of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
Israeli bulldozers, on Tuesday, demolished a Palestinian-owned home, and six shops in the Shu’fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
Local sources said that Israeli military bulldozers, escorted by a sizeable police force invaded the refugee camp and proceeded to demolish a home and six stores owned by Abu Ashraf Hamoud.
The sources pointed out that the Israeli police assaulted the family of Abu Ashraf as their home was being destroyed.
The pretext used by the occupation authorities was the lack of Israeli permits, according to Shehab News Agency.
It added that the Israeli police forcefully extracted the family from their home before razing it, denying the family to remove any of its possessions.
In related news, the Israeli authorities, on Monday, coerced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his own home in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem, the PIC reported.
Local sources said that the owner, Majed al-Salayma was forced to destroy his own home to avoid paying extensive fines to the Israeli municipality if they carried out the demolition.
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the town of Jaba’, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched homes, and caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Media sources said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in the town and fired gas bombs at locals, who protested the invasion, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, including those in their own homes.
They added that the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes, including those owned by former political prisoners, identified as Ahmad Fayez Salatna, Eid Mohammad Hamamra, and Mo’in Ibrahim Hamamra.
In related news, the soldiers invaded Tammoun town, south of Tubas in northeastern West Bank, before breaking into the home of Abdul-Qader Bani Odah, and violently searched it. Protests were reported during the invasion.
Israeli soldiers demolished, on Wednesday morning, three residential structures owned by Palestinian Bedouin families, near Abu Dis town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
The head of the Land Defense Committee in the Sawahra town Younes Ja’far has reported that the soldiers demolished a 30 square/meter residential structure, owned by Skaker as-Sarkhi, near the road that links between the Sawahra town and Nabi Mousa archaeological site, near Abu Dis.
He added that the soldiers also demolished another residential structure, owned by Ismael Khalil Hathalin, near the Tahadi 2 School, in the al-Mintar area.
In addition, a local nonviolent activist, identified as Mohammad Hijazi, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers also demolished a residential structure in the Wadi Abu Hindi Bedouin community, near Abu Dis.
He added that the structure was near the illegal Kidar colony, and that the soldiers demolished it during an invasion into various surrounding areas. The structure is owned by Omar Suleiman, the son of a political prisoner held by Israel.
Israel has been targeting all Bedouin communities in the area to confiscate the Palestinian lands in order to build and expand its illegal colonies, built in direct violation of International Law.
It is worth mentioning that the army demolished the Wadi Abu Hindi Bedouin community in the late 1990’s, before the Palestinians rebuilt it, and has since been under the threat of demolition.
On Wednesday morning, Israeli soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherds, forcing them to leave.
Media sources said the soldiers fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers, in addition to shepherds, in the eastern part of the al-Fakhari area, east of Khan Younis.
They added that the attacks did not lead to casualties but forced the farmers and shepherds to leave their lands to avoid further Israeli military attacks.
Such attacks are frequent in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, as the soldiers constantly attack farmers and shepherds in lands close to the perimeter fence across the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, and fishermen in Gaza territorial waters.
Israeli soldiers demolished, Wednesday, a two-story Palestinian building in Sur Baher village, in the outskirts of southeastern occupied Jerusalem, and invaded many neighborhoods in the al-‘Isawiya town.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the dozens of army jeeps, and two bulldozers, invaded the al-‘Omari Mosque Street, in Sur Baher, before isolated it and surrounded the building, owned by members of the Tarshan family, under the pretext of being built without a permit.
Silwanic added that the soldiers then invaded the building, consisting of a home on the second floor and commercial stores on the first, before removing the furniture and belongings, and demolished the building.
In addition, the soldiers invaded the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, before storming many neighborhoods, and handed demolition orders targeting many homes and stores, including some that are still under construction.
The soldiers also photographed the building, in addition to many other buildings, roads, and alleys in the town.