Morocco party: Our sovereignty over Western Sahara is not at expense of Palestine

Moroccans celebrate after the US adopted a new official map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara in Rabat, Morocco on 13 December 2020 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]
Moroccans celebrate after the US adopted a new official map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara in Rabat, Morocco on 13 December 2020 

Morocco’s Justice and Development Party said on Saturday that working to consolidate “Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara” would not be at the expense of the Palestinian people’s struggle for their legitimate rights.

In a statement, the party’s general secretariat praised the decisions of the Moroccan monarch who last week agreed to normalise ties with the occupation state of Israel in return for US recognition of Rabat’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

America’s acknowledgement of Morocco’s authority was an “important declaration” that affirms “Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces, opens new horizons for strengthening the Moroccan position in international circles, and increases the isolation of opponents of territorial integrity”, the statement continued.

It stressed the comments made by Moroccan King Mohammed VI to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week, when he said: “Morocco always prioritise the Palestinian issue,” adding that “Morocco’s work to consolidate its sovereignty will never be, neither today nor in the future, at the expense of the Palestinian people’s struggle for their legitimate rights.”

The statement also highlighted “the party’s steadfast stances towards the Zionist occupation, and the crimes it commits against the Palestinian people, including the killing, displacement and aggression against holy sites, and most notably of which are the continuous attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque, the confiscation of Palestinian lands, and the denial of the right of return in blatant violation of all international covenants and decisions, in addition to its attempts to normalise relations and infiltrate Muslim societies.”

READ: Morocco’s normalisation with Israel is nothing new

A growing number of countries in the MENA region are normalising ties with Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
A growing number of countries in the MENA region are normalising ties with Israel – Cartoon 

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Hamas says no progress in prisoner exchange file

Hamas Spokesman Hazim Qasim
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, 9 October 2019 

Hamas yesterday denied that developments have been made regarding the prisoner exchange file with Israel.

In a statement the movement’s spokesman, Hazem Qassem, said: “The Zionist news is untrue and there’s nothing new regarding the file,” in reference to reports in the Israeli media about negotiations taking place between Hamas and Tel Aviv, under Egyptian auspices.

He added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “continues to evade taking any decision in this file.”

Qassem said that Netanyahu aims, by circulating these rumours, to “strengthen his chances in any upcoming elections.”

Israeli media, including Walla news website, reported on Sunday that unnamed Israeli officials said that there were negotiations with Hamas regarding the exchange of prisoners.

READ: Hamas ready to resume intra Palestinian dialogue

Walla indicated that Israel refuses to release Palestinian detainees accused of killing Israelis, but it is willing to release others.

The website reported that Hamas rejected the Israeli offer.

Four Israelis are being held in the besieged Gaza Strip as prisoners of war. Two are soldiers who were captured during the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, while the other two entered Gaza in suspicious circumstances years ago. Hamas believe they were undercover soldiers.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Israel to construct 8,300 settlement units in West Bank

A Palestinian man looks towards the Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron built next to the Palestinian village of Naqoura, west of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on November 23, 2020. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)
A Palestinian man looks towards the Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron built next to the Palestinian village of Naqoura, west of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on November 23, 2020

Israel has approved the construction of thousands of illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Wafa news agency reports.

The construction of 8,300 new colonial settler units will be on Palestinian land extending from the Beit Safafa neighbourhood to Al-Walaja village south of Jerusalem.

According to the PLO’s National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements (NBPRS), several indicators on the ground show that Israel is going ahead with its annexation plan even though it had announced that it had been postponed.

In its weekly report, it stated that the infrastructure for the annexation project is being implemented through “bypassing annexation” settlement units, turning the occupied West Bank into a “new Galilee” by 2045. This, it explained, would create a Palestinian minority in the area.

READ: EU calls for Israel to revise eviction orders against Palestinians in Jerusalem

“In Jerusalem and its environs, the occupation government does not stop its settlement projects, as it aims to create a large settlement belt around Jerusalem by constructing new settlement roads and streets aimed at preventing any expansion or geographical contact of the people of Jerusalem from the south as part of the so-called ‘Jerusalem Envelope Belt’,” NBPRS said.

“The occupation municipality in Jerusalem began its actual steps aimed at paving a new road at the beginning of next year, linking the new settlement outpost, Mordot, with the settlement of Gilo, south of occupied Jerusalem, at the expense of the confiscated Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of Al-Walaja, Beit Safafa and the area south of Jerusalem,” it added.

The construction scheme will involve building new settler towers up to 30 floors high, which is scheduled to begin by 2021, and expected to continue until 2040.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is regarded as “occupied territory” under international law, thus making all Jewish-only settlements there illegal.

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Currently, more than 450,000 Israelis live in settlements in the territory, home to more than 2.8 million Palestinians.

READ: Palestinians can now see their stolen property in the database we’ve made public

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Al-Haq Report – DEPRIVED A VOICE: An Investigation into Shrinking Space in Area C

Today, 14 December 2020, Al-Haq launches a new report “DEPRIVED A VOICE: An Investigation into Shrinking Space in Area C” which examines the daily harassment of human rights defenders by the Israeli Occupying Force (IOF) and Israeli settlers illegally transferred in to colonize the West Bank, in the area classified under the Oslo Accords as Area C. In doing so, the report examines how human rights defenders, including human rights field workers, journalists, medical personnel and volunteers, are targeted and silenced in Area C, in an attempt by Israel to shrink Palestinian space for critical human rights work.

Globally, there has been a sharp increase in the attempts by governments to systematically stifle dissenting voices, a phenomenon recognized as ‘shrinking space’. In 2017, Amnesty International described the current age as one “of fear, division and demonization”, observing that “governments in many countries are adopting laws and policies which make the work of human rights defenders riskier and more difficult. From laws that authorize force against peaceful protesters or allow for mass surveillance, to banning access to foreign funding or imposing stringent requirements to register organizations, the space to stand up for human rights is increasingly tight.”

In recent years, much has been written about shrinking space for civil society organizations and for human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Such concerns have been acknowledged by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who when addressing the Human Rights Council in September 2019 noted: “my Office remains concerned that the targeting of human rights defenders – including with travel bans, delegitimising statements and reports, interrogation, detention and ill-treatment – by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza – has increased, resulting in further shrinking of civil society space.”

This report is intended to give the reader an insight into how shrinking space manifests itself in Area C of the West Bank. Palestinians in Area C are constantly at risk, both from the formal occupation authorities, and from Israeli settlers that target Palestinians in an attempt to drive them from their land. The report is not intended to be exhaustive in any way. The descriptive nature of the report lets the reader walk alongside the Human Rights Defenders of Area C. We have selected some of the most recent cases prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. They are by no means the most extreme cases we have witnessed. Rather, they represent an illustration of the daily obstacles that are faced in Area C for even the most basic human rights work.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

WAFA: “Israel Approves Construction Of Thousands Of Units In Illegal East Jerusalem Colonies”

The view from al-Wallaja village toward the Israeli settlement of Gilo (image by Ghassan Bannoura)

JERUSALEM, Tuesday, December 15, 2020 (WAFA) – The Israeli occupation authorities have approved the building of thousands of new colonial settler units at the expense of seized Palestinian land extending from Beit Safafa neighborhood to al-Walaja village, south of Jerusalem.

The 48 Arabs website said that that Israel has approved the construction of 8,300 new units for residential, industrial, and commercial purposes on Palestinian land belonging to several villages and neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bethlehem districts, including Beit Safafa, Malha, al-Baqa’a and all the way to al-Walaja.

This step, the website added, would effectively expand the borders of the new settlement industrial zone of Talpiot.

The implementation of the construction scheme, which involves building towers up to 30 floors high, is scheduled to begin by 2021, and work will continue until 2040.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements (NBPRS) stated in its latest weekly report, that several indicators on the ground show that Israel has lifted the annexation plan from the table only to deceive the public opinion and the international community, at a time when the infrastructure for the annexation project is implemented through “bypassing annexation” settlement units, and streets among the colonial settlements aiming to turn the West Bank by 2045 into a new Galilee.

“In Jerusalem and its environs, the occupation government does not stop its settlement projects, as it aims to create a large settlement belt around Jerusalem by constructing new settlement roads and streets aimed at preventing any expansion or geographical contact of the people of Jerusalem from the south as part of the so-called ‘Jerusalem Envelope Belt’,” NBPRS said.

“The occupation municipality in Jerusalem began its actual steps aimed at paving a new road at the beginning of next year, linking the new settlement outpost, Mordot, with the settlement of Gilo, south of occupied Jerusalem, at the expense of the confiscated Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of Walaja, Beit Safafa and the area south of Jerusalem,” it added.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Israeli Forces Dismantle Palestinian-owned Homes, Deliver Eviction Notices

Israeli soldiers guarding home demolition (Palestine TV)

Two Palestinian homes were dismantled by Israeli forces, on Monday, near az-Za’ayyem town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, while others received eviction orders.

According to Palestinian WAFA News correspondent, occupation soldiers stripped the 2 residences, and confiscated building equipment belonging to brothers Morad and Imran Za’atra.

Fatah official, Dawoud al-Jahaleen, stated that Israel’s displacement of the indigenous Palestinian and Bedouin communities, to make room for illegal colonies.

Meanwhile, in the southern West Bank, WAFA reported that twelve residents in Khirbet Zanota, south of Hebron, received eviction notices to remove their tents, which are being used as residences.

Also on Monday, Israeli occupation soldiers stormed al-‘Isawiya neighborhood in East Jerusalem, and handed out cease construction as well as demolition orders to Palestinian residents, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic).

In addition, Israeli forces confiscated a tractor which was operating to cultivate Palestinian-owned lands in the northern Jordan Valley, northern West Bank.

Palestinian activist, Aref Daraghme, stated that Israeli occupation forces confiscated a bulldozer belonging to al-Maleh village council, and impounded a vehicle belonging to Mahdi Daraghme, the head of al-Maleh village council.


(Source / 15.12.2020)

West Bank infrastructure projects help ‘expand’ illegal settlements

Newly built roads in the occupied West Bank by the Israeli authorities entrench the de facto annexation already taking place in the area, an Israeli monitoring group said.

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization aims to raise awareness to the dire consequences of military occupation, said in a recent report titled Highway to Annexation, these new road plans will lead to an illegal settlement sprawl, fragmenting the Palestinian land.

It said that these road projects are designed to benefit the settlers while segregating the Palestinians and also stifle their urban development.

The report also said that the Israel’s plan in the long run cause building of more Israeli settlements instead benefiting Palestinian people living in dire conditions.

The report also draws attention to no Palestinian involvement in the plan of these roads.

“The construction of roads gave easy access to the city from settlements to its north, east, and south and helped turn these areas into massive settlement blocs.”

The group noted that infrastructure growth poses a significant barrier to ending the occupation.

“All those invested in an equitable and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should see these projects as a clear declaration of Israel’s intent to further advance annexation, and the international community must intervene to halt such moves,” the report said.

Israel continues to expand illegal settlements and related infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s building of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal under international law.

In the West Bank, approximately 630,000 Jews live in some 250 settlements, 210,000 in East Jerusalem and 420,000 in other parts of the West Bank.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Israeli dredging operations at entrance to ancient cemetery

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli authorities carried out dredging operations at the entrance to the Yusifiyyah ancient cemetery in occupied Jerusalem today, reported Wafa.

The head of the Committee for Islamic cemeteries, Mustafa Aby Zahra, said crews from the Israeli municipality of occupied Jerusalem raided the area and carried out dredging operations near the cemetery only one week after demolishing stairs and a wall of the cemetery, violating the sanctity of the place.

He added that locals tried to prevent the Israeli violation but they were repressed.

The occupation state has been demolishing Palestinians-owned houses and cemeteries in order to construct a “Biblical Trail”, which is expected to displace hundreds of native Palestinians and demolish their houses.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Emiratis light Menorah in front of Al Aqsa’s occupied Buraq wall

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Emirates and Bahrainis on Monday took part in an Israeli celebration, lighting a Hanukkah Menorah in front of the occupied Al Buraq wall of Al Aqsa mosque.

On its social media accounts, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a video showing several persons in Khaliju outfits lighting the Menorah, with a comment that read: “For the first time, visitors from the United Kingdom and Bahrain lighting the Hanukkah Menorah in Israel.”

The Israeli government had said that the ceremony was attended by Israeli extremist religious leaders in addition to the hard-core Minister of Health and leaders in the Israeli occupation army, who took part in the occupation of the Palestinian capital in 1967.

(Source / 15.12.2020)

Israel approves building thousands of settlement units south of Jerusalem

Israel is planning to turn Palestinians in West Bank into minority by 2045, NGO says

Israeli occupation authorities have approved building of thousands of new settlement units on stolen Palestinian land between Beit Safafa neighborhood and al-Walaja village, south of Jerusalem.

The 48 Arabs website said that that Israel has approved the construction of 8,300 new colonial settler units for residential, industrial and commercial purposes on Palestinian land belonging to several villages and neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bethlehem districts, including Beit Safafa, Malha, al-Baqa’a and all the way to al-Walaja.

This step, the website added, would effectively expand the borders of the new settlement industrial zone of Talpiot.

The implementation of the construction scheme, which involves building towers up to 30 floors high, is scheduled to begin by 2021, and work will continue until 2040.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements (NBPRS) stated in its latest weekly report, that several indicators on the ground show that Israel has lifted the annexation plan from the table only to deceive the public opinion and the international community.

However, it reiterated, Israeli infrastructure for the annexation project is being implemented through “bypassing annexation” settlement units, and streets among the colonial settlements aiming to turn the West Bank into a Jewish majority region by 2045.

“In Jerusalem and its environs, the occupation government does not stop its settlement projects, as it aims to create a large settlement belt around Jerusalem by constructing new settlement roads and streets aimed at preventing any expansion or geographical contact of the people of Jerusalem from the south as part of the so-called ‘Jerusalem Envelope Belt’,” NBPRS said.

“The occupation municipality in Jerusalem began its actual steps aimed at paving a new road at the beginning of next year, linking the new settlement outpost, Mordot, with the settlement of Gilo, south of occupied Jerusalem, at the expense of the confiscated Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of Walaja, Beit Safafa and the area south of Jerusalem,” it added.

(Source / 15.12.2020)