Israeli Colonists Attack Palestinian Farmers, Shepherds, In Hebron And Northern Plains

Groups of illegal Israeli colonists continued, Saturday, their violations and escalation against the Palestinians, and attacked farmers near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, in addition to Shepherds in the Northern Plains.

Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the National Committees against the Wall and Colonies in southern Hebron, said many colonists assaulted Palestinian farmers from the Nawaj’a local family, near Um Lakhous community.

He added that the colonists attempted to prevent the Palestinians from plowing their lands, and assaulted them with batons, leading to a scuffle.

Many Palestinians suffered cuts and bruises to various parts of their bodies, and received the needed treatment by local medics.

The colonists also attacked Palestinian farmers in their own lands, in Masafer Yatta area, southeast of Hebron.

Jabour called on various local and international human rights and legal groups to intervene and stop the seriously escalating violations, especially since these assaults take place in front of Israeli soldiers who just stand and watch, and in many cases start assaulting the Palestinians in addition to firing at them.

It is worth mentioning that the attacked area witnesses repeated Israeli violations, including the uprooting of olive trees.

On Saturday evening, the colonists assaulted many Palestinian shepherds in Um al-Abar area, in the West Bank’s Northern Plans of the Jordan Valley.

Mo’taz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in Tubas, said the colonists, known a “hilltop youth,” assaulted the shepherds in their tents in while resting and guarding their livestock.

Bisharat added that the colonists are constantly attacking the Palestinians, in addition to installing and attempted to establish a new outpost.

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Abbas impatient to resume unconditional talks with Israel

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 (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas hopes to resume unconditional talks with Israel as soon as possible, a senior PA official informed Israel Hayom.

On Friday, the Israeli outlet reported a senior PA official stating that Abbas is enthusiastic: “To resume negotiations with Israel as soon as possible through American mediation and without preconditions.”

The official argued that Abbas is planning to take advantage of the fact that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration has not yet formulated a clear vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the official, if the Biden administration became preoccupied with other issues, it would place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the bottom of its agenda. As a result, it could take months before making any progress.

“The goal is to strike while the iron is hot and resume negotiations without delay,” the official confirmed.

Opinion: ‘Long live the (dead) peace process’ – Abbas prioritises US ties over Palestinian national unity

He stated that:

The new Biden administration has a lot on its plate. It has internal problems to resolve, it has to come up with a policy about the Iran nuclear deal and restore its relationship with China and the European Union.

Abbas is afraid that any delay in the peace process could give Israel the chance to perpetuate the current situation – expanding settlements and building new ones.

This message, according to the official, was sent by Abbas to Washington through the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, with whom Abbas met in Doha.

Israeli-PA talks stalled in April 2014 when Israel refused to stop settlement construction and release a batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners.

When Biden won the US presidential elections on 3 November, 2020, Palestinian officials declared that they would be ready to resume talks under US auspices.

On 17 November, 2020, the PA turned its back on all Palestinian factions that were close to reaching a national unity agreement and announced the resumption of security coordination with Israel.

Widow of late Palestine leader Arafat: ‘Second Intifada was a mistake’

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinian Teens Near Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday evening, two Palestinian teenage boys in Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

Media sources in Beit Fajjar said several army jeeps invaded the town, and fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at many Palestinians and their homes.

They added that the soldiers also abducted Hamada Jamal Taqatqa, 16, and Ammar Mahmoud Thawabta, 16, before moving them to the nearby Etzion military base.

It is worth mentioning that Beit Fajjar is subject to constant Israeli invasions and violations, including violent home invasions and searches.

These violations are also frequently carried out by illegal colonists, squatting on Palestinian lands, and constantly attempting to expand their colonies.

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Hamas to resume reconciliation efforts with Fatah, Haniyeh says

Hamas' political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh greets supporters during a visit to the Ain el-Helweh camp, Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, near the southern coastal city of Sidon on September 6, 2020 [MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]
Hamas’ political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh greets supporters during a visit to the Ain el-Helweh camp, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, near the southern coastal city of Sidon on September 6, 2020

Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh revealed on Friday that efforts are being exerted to resume internal talks ahead of reaching a reconciliation agreement.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, Haniyeh announced: “There are new efforts being exerted to restore national dialogue ahead of achieving reconciliation, which is the cornerstone of resisting Israeli occupation and facing off conspiracies aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause.”

He added: “We are currently carrying out many internal and external contacts to push these efforts to succeed and continue the steps towards reconciliation with Fatah and the other Palestinian factions.”

The top Hamas leader stressed: “Hamas works on achieving unity by restructuring the Palestinian institutions, including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) or the Palestinian Authority (PA), based on partnership and national consensus and according to the will of the Palestinian people inside Palestine and in the diaspora.”

Recent national unity talks were near conclusion before the announcement of a national reconciliation agreement. However, PA, Fatah and PLO President Mahmoud Abbas announced on 17 November, 2020, the resumption of security talks with Israel.

All Palestinian factions criticised this move and accused Abbas of undermining efforts to regain Palestinian unity after, according to a united statement, “throwing himself between the arms of Israel.”

Read: Abbas impatient to resume unconditional talks with Israel

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Soldiers Injure Dozens Of Palestinians In Kufur Qaddoum

Israeli soldiers injured, Saturday, dozens of Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, after the army attacked the weekly procession.

Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, stated that dozens of soldiers invaded the town just as the Palestinians staring marching from the center of the town.

He added that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing scores of injuries, mainly due to the effects of teargas inhalation.

The soldiers also attempted to ambush and abduct many Palestinians but were unable to take any Palestinian prisoner.

On Friday, the soldiers attacked the profession in the town, and injured eighteen Palestinians.

Kufur Qaddoum holds weekly processions, every Friday and Saturday, protesting the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and colonies, in addition to the continued close to the town’s main road since the year 2003.

The road is no longer accessible to the Palestinians and is exclusively used by the colonists, driving to and from Kedumim illegal colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands.

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Israel bans thousands of Palestinians from praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians, who weren't allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces, perform Friday prayer outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on October 16, 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians, who weren’t allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces, perform Friday prayer outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on October 16, 2020 

Israeli occupation police on Friday barred thousands of Palestinians from performing Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the pretext of fighting COVID-19, Anadolu Agency reported.

Witnesses said that the Israeli police erected checkpoints at the entries of Jerusalem’s Old City and prevented Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ekrema Sabri condemned the Israeli measures, noting that the Palestinians are being prevented under the pretext of the coronavirus. In contrast, daily tours of Jewish Israeli settlers are being organised and are protected by the Israeli occupation police.

“As long as the Palestinians wear their masks, bring their praying mats and maintain social distances, there is no justification to prevent them from entering into the mosque,” Sheikh Sabri expressed, adding:

We call on all Muslims to travel and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. We mainly call on the residents of the Old City to keep praying inside the mosque in order to undermine Israeli Judaisation of the occupied West Bank.

On Sunday, Israel started its third COVID-19 lockdown in an attempt to curb the outbreak of the virus. The lockdown could be renewed if required.

The most recent official statistics conveyed that Israel has recorded 428,510 COVID-19 cases, in addition to 3,356 deaths.

Read: Dirty tricks could see Muslims lose control of Al Aqsa Mosque

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Arafat’s widow says she was quoted out of context about Palestinians poisoning Arafat

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is led out of his compound in the West Bank, by his wife Suha Arafat, to board a helicopter bound for France in order to seek medical attention for an unknown illness on 29 October 2004 in Ramallah, West Bank. [Hussein Hussein/PPO via Getty Images]
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is led out of his compound in the West Bank, by his wife Suha Arafat, to board a helicopter bound for France in order to seek medical attention for an unknown illness on 29 October 2004 in Ramallah, West Bank 

The widow of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has said she was quoted out of context in a recent interview, reports Anadolu Agency.

“Arafat was definitely poisoned, not by Israel, but by a Palestinian,” Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Suha Arafat as saying on Friday.

However, later in the day, she claimed she was quoted out of context and her words were misconstrued.

“Abu Ammar’s case [the late president] is still before the courts, and I cannot accuse anyone of killing him, including Israel, because I do not have any evidence, and I also do not have evidence against anyone so far,” she posted on her Facebook account in a clarification message.

“My statements have not changed since Abu Ammar was martyred. But I will not blame anyone without clear evidence. This is what I said in the interview and I will say it in other interviews.”

The couple married secretly in Tunisia in 1990, when Suha was 27 and Arafat 61. Their daughter Zahwa was born five years later.

Read: Widow of late Palestine leader Arafat: ‘Second Intifada was a mistake’

On November 11, 2004, Arafat died in France, under highly suspicious circumstances, at the age of 75. Until now, doctors have been unable to determine the exact cause of his death.

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly insisted that Israel is behind the killing of Arafat while Tel Aviv has denied involvement.

In the interview, she was also quoted as saying that the 2000 Palestinian intifada was “Arafat’s big mistake”.

In the Facebook post, she added:

My opinion that the intifada was wrong was because we lost a lot and our war with them was unequal. I will not be afraid to give my opinion even if it is distorted, the truth will always brighten.

The uprising or intifada began in Jerusalem on September 30, two days after Ariel Sharon, then leader of Israel’s ruling Likud party, stormed the Al-Aqsa Compound. It continued till February 2005 claiming the lives of 4,412 Palestinians and injuring more than 49,000.

Read: Remembering Yasser Arafat

(Source / 03.01.2021)

EU calls on Israel to investigate shooting that paralyzed Palestinian man

Jerusalem (QNN)- The European Union Delegation to the Palestinians has called on Israeli occupation authorities “to swiftly and fully investigate” the shooting of a Palestinian man, leaving him paralyzed.

“The incident occurred while Haroun-whose family was rebuilding its house, demolished in contravention of international law by Israeli forces in Nov.-was defending his property,” said the European Union Delegation to the Palestinians.

Haroun Abu Aram, 24 years old, was paralysed from the neck down after being shot by the Israeli occupation forces on Friday in Masafer Yatta in the south of the West Bank while he was attempting to prevent the forces from stealing an electric generator that belonged to him.

Sarit Michaeli@saritm0

Footage of an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian who dared to resist the confiscation of his generator. Harun abu-Aram, resident of a-Rakeez, is in a critical condition. The family was rebuilding its home, demolished by Israel in Nov.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem said Abu Aram was helping a neighbour to build a house at the time of the shooting.

“The EU opposes such excessive and disproportionate use of force and calls on the Israeli authorities to swiftly and fully investigate this serious incident in order to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the delegation stated.

EU and Palestinians@EUpalestinians

Yesterday Israeli forces shot 24 year old Haroun Abu Aram in his community of Abu Rakeez, Massafer Yatta.The incident occurred while Haroun-whose family was rebuilding its house, demolished in contravention of international law by Israeli forces in Nov.-was defending his property

(Source / 03.01.2021)

Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers

Israel is celebrating an impressive, record-setting vaccination drive, having given initial jabs of coronavirus shots to more than a 10th of the population. But Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza can only watch and wait.

As the world ramps up what is already on track to become a highly unequal vaccination push – with people in richer nations first to be inoculated – the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories provides a stark example of the divide.

Israel transports batches of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine deep inside the West Bank. But they are only distributed to Jewish settlers, and not the roughly 2.7 million Palestinians living around them who may have to wait for weeks or months.

“I don’t know how, but there must be a way to make us a priority, too?” said Mahmoud Kilani, a 31-year-old sports coach from the Palestinian city of Nablus. “Who cares about us? I don’t think anybody is stuck on that question.”

Two weeks into its vaccination campaign, Israel is administering more than 150,000 doses a day, amounting to initial jabs for more than 1 million of its 9 million citizens – a higher proportion of the population than anywhere else.

Vaccine centres have been set up in sports stadiums and central squares. People over 60, healthcare workers, carers and high-risk populations have priority, while young, healthier people who walk into clinics are sometimes rewarded with surplus stock to avoid the waste of unused vials.

The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has told Israelis that the country could be the first to emerge from the pandemic. As well as a highly advanced healthcare system, part of the reason for the speed could be economics. A health ministry official said the country had paid $62 a dose, compared with the $19.50 the US is paying.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, which maintains limited self-rule in the territories, is rushing to get vaccines. One official suggested, perhaps optimistically, that shots could arrive within the next two weeks.

However, when asked for a timeframe, Ali Abed Rabbo, director-general of the Palestinian health ministry, estimated the first vaccines would probably arrive in February.

Those would be through a World Health Organization-led partnership called Covax, aimed at helping poorer countries, which has pledged to vaccinate 20% of Palestinians. Yet vaccines intended for Covax have not yet gained “emergency use” approval by the WHO, a precondition for distribution to begin.

Gerald Rockenschaub, the head of office at WHO Jerusalem, said it could be “early to mid-2021” before vaccines on the Covax scheme were available for distribution in the Palestinian territories.

The rest of the doses are expected to come through deals with pharmaceutical companies, but none have apparently been signed so far.

Despite the delay, the authority has not officially asked for help from Israel. Coordination between the two sides halted last year after the Palestinian president cut off security ties for several months.

But Rabbo said “sessions” with Israel had been held. “Until this moment, there is no agreement, and we cannot say there is anything practical on the ground in this regard,” he said.

Israeli officials have suggested they might provide surplus vaccines to Palestinians and claim they are not responsible for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, pointing to 1990s-era interim agreements that required the authority to observe international vaccination standards.

Those deals envisioned a fuller peace agreement within five years, an event that never occurred. Almost three decades later, Israeli, Palestinian and international rights groups have accused Israel of dodging moral, humanitarian and legal obligations as an occupying power during the pandemic.

Gisha, an Israeli rights group, said Palestinian efforts so far to look elsewhere for vaccines “does not absolve Israel from its ultimate responsibility toward Palestinians under occupation”.

The disparities could potentially see Israelis return to some form of normality within the first three months of this year, while Palestinians remain trapped by the virus. That may have a negative impact on Israel’s goal of herd immunity, as thousands of West Bank Palestinians work in Israel and the settlements, which could keep infection rates up.

In Gaza, an impoverished enclave under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the timeframe could be even longer than in the West Bank. The strip’s Islamist rulers, Hamas, have been unable to contain the virus and are enemies with Israel and political rivals with the Palestinian Authority.

Salama Ma’rouf, head of the Hamas-run Gaza press office, estimated vaccines would arrive “within two months”, adding that there was coordination with the WHO and the Palestinian Authority.

Heba Abu Asr, 35, a resident of Gaza, jolted when asked how she felt about others getting the vaccine first. “Are you seriously trying to compare us with Israel or any other country?” she asked. “We can’t find work, food, or drink. We are under threat all the time. We do not even have any necessities for life.”

(Source / 03.01.2021)

NGO: Thirty more COVID-19 cases among Palestinian detainees in Israeli prison

Israeli occupation has excluded Palestinian prisoners from the ongoing vaccination programme despite of their vulnerable conditions inside crowded Israeli prisons

Thirty more cases of COVID-19 were recorded among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison of Ktzi’ot in Al-Naqab desert since Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) has announced.

In a statement issued on Sunday morning, the PPS said that latest figures bring up the number of Palestinian prisoners who contracted coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic to 171.

The PPS said the Israeli prison services had moved all of the infected prisoners to section 8 in neighbouring Ramon prison, but said it has not received any information about their health conditions.

According to the PPS, there was a real danger to the lives and health conditions of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, given the lack of any real protection and distancing measures by the Israeli occupation authorities.

It called on the international human rights organisations, the World Health Organization and the United Nations to pressure the Israeli occupation in order to release all sick and elderly Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 03.01.2021)