US call for halting Israel settlement, demolition of Palestine homes

Israeli forces take security measures around the site as demolition works carried out by excavators by Israeli forces in Isawiya district of Eastern Jerusalem on 24 December, 2019 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
The demolition of a Palestinian home in Jerusalem on 24 December 2019

A spokesperson of the US Department of State has called for Israel to stop its settlement, Palestinian land annexation and house demolition, Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper reported on Friday.

The remarks of the spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity, came in response to the Israeli demolition of the Palestinian village of Humsah in the occupied Jordan Valley.

“We are aware of what is going on,” the spokesperson told the Palestinian newspaper.

“We believe that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should not take unilateral measures that would escalation tension and undermine efforts being exerted to push forward the two-state solution,” he added.

He stated that unilateral measures include: “Land annexation, settlement, house demolition, inciting violence and paying compensation for people imprisoned over carrying violent acts.”

It is worth noting that the US State Department had never criticised Israeli measures in the occupied Palestinian territories under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

READ: Israel army demolishes Palestinian residential structures in occupied West Bank

(Source / 06.02.2021)

456 Palestinians arrested by Israel in January: NGOs

Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian man in the West Bank on 30 November 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian man in the West Bank on 30 November 2020

Israeli forces arrested 456 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in January, according to Palestinian organisations that monitor the conditions of Palestinian prisoners, Anadolu Agency reports.

Ninety-three minors and eight women were among those detained last month, the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, the Palestinian Prisoner Society, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a joint statement.

According to the statement, 105 administrative detention orders were carried out by occupation authorities, including 30 new orders along with the extension of 75 previous orders.

Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to extend the detention of a prisoner without charge after the expiration of the sentence that ranges between two to six months.

READ: 5 Palestinian minors held, tortured by Israel soldiers

The statement noted the number of detainees in Israeli prisons now stands at around 4,500, including 37 women, about 140 minors and 450 administrative detainees.

“The arrests affected all segments of society”, the statement continued, adding that the Israeli arrests take place despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and “the risks [the virus poses] to the lives of prisoners”.

Palestinian human rights organisations estimate that more than 355 Palestinian inmates have been infected with COVID-19 due to “deliberate Israeli medical negligence.”

(Source / 06.02.2021)

Arab states work to reorganise Fatah to run against Hamas in elections

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 December 2018 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 December 2018

Several Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Jordan, are exerting efforts to reorganise the Fatah movement and unite it in order to defeat Hamas in the upcoming electionsArabi Post reported on Friday.

The Arab states are pressuring Fatah, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to reinstate dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and his supporters.

Abbas dismissed Dahlan from the movement in 2011 and stripped him of all his merits, including membership to the Fatah Revolutionary Council and Palestinian parliament.

The sources told Arabi Post that the Arab states are also trying to reinstate Najat Abu Bakr, Naima Al-Sheikh, Adli Sadeq, Tawfiq Abu-Khusa, Majed Abu-Shammalah, Naser Juma’a, Abdel-Hamid Al-Masri, Sufyan Abu-Zaydeh and Rashid Abu Shbak, who were dismissed from Fatah over their relations with Dahlan.

READ: Fatah: elections will be held in Jerusalem against the Zionist entity’s will

Meanwhile, the PA and Fatah leaders, including Secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee Jibril Rajoub, will also press Abbas to reconcile with the dismissed Fatah leaders and the Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh.

Speaking to Arabi Post, member of the Palestinian National Council and the PLO’s Central Council Mamoun Al-Tamimi disclosed that Dahlan is working to reach a deal with the Fatah leader imprisoned by Israel, Marwan Barghouti, to allow him to run for elections.

Al-Tamimi indicated that there are talks with Israel to release Barghouti in return for facilitating the reintegration of Dahlan into the Palestinian Authority.

Following these reports, Abbas reiterated that he would use force against anyone violating the resolutions of the Fatah Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, and those not committed to the nominations for Fatah’s electoral ticket.

(Source / 06.02.2021)

‘ICC has territorial jurisdiction over Palestinian territories’

International Criminal Court building in The Hague on 30 July, 2016 in the Hague, Netherlands [Michel Porro/Getty Images]
International Criminal Court building in The Hague on 30 July, 2016 in the Hague, Netherlands 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided on Friday that it has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of ICC decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967,” ICC said in a statement.

The UN General Assembly in Resolution 67/19 “[reaffirmed] the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967,” the statement said.

Based on the relevant UN resolution, the ICC found that the Court has territorial jurisdiction in Gaza City and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. The occupation is considered illegal under international law.

READ: Biden administration to review sanctions on International Criminal Court officials

(Source / 06.02.2021)

OCHA: “UN reiterates its call for demolitions to end and for international law to be respected”

Remaining belongings in Humsa al Bqai’a on 4 February 2021, after this week’s demolitions and confiscations, along with a camping tent used by some of those displaced.
Remaining belongings in Humsa al Bqai’a on 4 February 2021, after this week’s demolitions and confiscations, along with a camping tent used by some of those displaced

Statement by Sarah Muscroft, Head of OCHA in the occupied Palestinian territory, James Heenan, Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, and Lucia Elmi, UNICEF Special Representative in the State of Palestine

United Nations representatives met yesterday with the Palestinian Bedouin community of Humsa al Bqai’a, in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank. On 1 and 3 February, 60 people, including 35 children, were displaced from their homes and their belongings seized or destroyed by Israeli forces. Among items seized were tents provided to them as humanitarian assistance following an earlier demolition of 83 other structures in November 2020, the largest single demolition since 2009.

The demolitions and confiscations were carried out after the families were verbally ordered to leave the area, although the community has made it clear they want to remain. The community has made appeals to the courts and rejected previous proposals to be moved to another location. This situation where the community is put under pressure to move raises a real risk of forcible transfer, which is a breach of international law.

The humanitarian community has also consistently expressed concerns over other impending demolitions, including of schools. One school in Um Qussa, in the southern West Bank, is currently under imminent threat of demolition, which would impact 50 children. Bedouin children, especially girls, are amongst the most vulnerable to human rights violations.  Limiting their access to education and other basic services during a pandemic only exacerbates this vulnerability. Currently 53 schools, which are attended by 5,200 children, have demolition orders placed against them. The rights of children to protection, safety, and well-being must be upheld at all times.

The humanitarian community will continue to provide assistance to those impacted by this demolition, ensure their humanity is recognised and dignity upheld, and advocate for respect for international law.

A hamlet in Humsa al Bqai’a, before this week’s demolitions and confiscations. Photo by a community member.
A hamlet in Humsa al Bqai’a, before this week’s demolitions and confiscations

Background

Since the 1970s, Israel has declared some 18 per cent of the West Bank, or nearly 30 per cent of Area C, as “firing zones” for military training. Humsa al Bqai’a is one of 38 Bedouin and herding communities partially or fully located within these “firing zones.” These are some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank, with limited access to education and health services, and to water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, it is estimated that since 2009, some 7,400 Palestinian-owned structures have been destroyed, resulting in the displacement of over 11,000 people from their homes, including some displaced more than once.   Since the beginning of 2021 alone, at least 152 structures, of which 37 were donated, have been destroyed, rendering at least 184 Palestinians homeless. The lack of Israeli-issued building permits is typically cited as the reason, even though, due to the restrictive and discriminatory planning regime, Palestinians can almost never obtain such permits. Demolitions are a key means of creating an environment that leaves Palestinians with no other choice than to leave their homes.

(Source / 06.02.2021)

OCHA: ‘Israel’ demolished, confiscated 69 West Bank structures in two weeks

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that the Israeli authorities demolished and confiscated 69 structures in the occupied West Bank within the last two weeks.

A report by the office, documenting Israeli demolitions in the period between January 19 and February 1, stated that the demolitions displaced 80 Palestinians and harmed 600 others.

According to the report, all demolished buildings except for one, are located within the area C in the West Bank. 45 buildings (70% of the buildings) are located in four communities in the Jordan Valley.

The report also stated that the Israelis killed one Palestinian and wounded 25 others during the same period throughout the West Bank.

Israeli forces also carried out 159 arrests and raids, arresting 177 citizens. Most arrests were registered in Jerusalem with 35 arrests.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers carried out several attacks, wounding seven citizens and vandalizing several vehicles.

In Gaza, the report stated that Israeli forces opened fire in at least 18 incidents, near the separation fence, and at the enclave’s seashore, wounding one citizen. Israeli forces also arrested a man at Erez border crossing, who was accompanying his wife to be treated in occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 06.02.2021)

UAE cut back aid to Palestinians after condemning normalization with ‘Israel’

Following the Palestinians’ condemnation of the normalization deals between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the UAE have massively cut back funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Israeli Channel 12 news reported on Friday.

The Center for Near East Policy Research, an Israeli NGO, said that while the UAE sent the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) $53 million in 2018 and $51 million in 2019, it provided the agency a mere $1 million in 2020, as the UNRWA confirmed the data to Channel 12.

The report said that Bahrain also had cut funds, but no figures were provided.

Israel’ normalized ties with the UAE last September, a move that was followed by Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

Palestinians condemned the normalization agreements, saying they encouraged Israel’s denial of their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause, describing them as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal.”

In 2018, the Trump administration had cut financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a UN body that supports more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, and also slashed an aid of more than $200 million to Palestine in the same year.

In January, however, the US Ambassador to the UN Richard Mills said the Biden administration was renewing US relations with the Palestinian leadership, and restoring “credible engagement” with the Palestinians, as it works toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The Biden administration will restore credible US engagement with Palestinians as well as Israelis. This will involve renewing US relations with the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian people, relations which have atrophied over the last four years,” he said.

He added, “President Biden has been clear in his intent to restore US assistance programs that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.”

(Source / 06.02.2021)

US opposes ICC ruling it has jurisdiction to probe ‘Israel’ for war crimes

The US Department of State said on Friday that the US objects to the determination by a pretrial chamber of the International Criminal Court that The Hague has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into ‘Israel’ and the Palestinians for war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

“The United States objects to today’s International Criminal Court decision regarding the Palestinian situation. Israel is not a State Party to the Rome Statute,” tweeted State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Prices added, “We will continue to uphold President Biden’s strong commitment to Israel and its security, including opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”

Ned Price@StateDeptSPOX·

US government account

The United States objects to today’s @IntlCrimCourt decision regarding the Palestinian situation. Israel is not a State Party to the Rome Statute.

The International Criminal Court said on Friday that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes.

“The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine … extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the judges said.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a reasonable basis to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes against native Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank. But she asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding with the case.

Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

The State Department said in a formal statement, “We have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The United States has always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it, or that are referred by the UN Security Council.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Friday’s announcement, “Today the ICC proved once again that it is a political body and not a judicial institution.”

“The ICC ignores the real war crimes and instead pursues the State of Israel, a state with a strong democratic government that sanctifies the rule of law, and is not a member of the ICC.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan also called the move a “distorted and anti-Semitic decision.”

(Source / 06.02.2021)

ICC rules it can probe Israeli war crimes in Palestine despite Israeli objections

The ICC intends to investigate 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, which saw the killing of more than 2,260 Palestinians, including around 500 children and 500 women and injuring more than 11,000 others

The international criminal court has announced that it has jurisdiction in Palestine, clearing its chief prosecutor to investigate alleged atrocities despite fierce Israeli objections.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the ruling and said the country would “protect our citizens and soldiers in every way from legal persecution.”

Fatou Bensouda, the ICC chief prosecutor, has previously announced she intends to open a formal inquiry into alleged war crimes in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

However, due to Palestine’s status as an occupied territory rather than a sovereign country, she had waited for judges to “confirm” if the court, headquartered in The Hague, had the authority.

Palestine used its UN observer state status, gained in 2012, to join the ICC and call for an investigation into Israeli actions.

Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer, has said she would investigate both the Israeli military as well as Palestinian armed groups, including the Gaza-based Hamas faction, which has been accused of “intentionally directing attacks against civilians,” according to her office.

The Israeli government has argued that as Palestine is not a fully fledged state, it should not be allowed to petition the court.

Netanyahu has previously called for sanctions against the court and people who work for it. Donald Trump’s administration used a similar tactic to block a separate abandoned ICC investigation into the conduct of US troops in Afghanistan.

While Joe Biden’s administration says it disagrees with ICC action against Israel, it says it is reviewing those sanctions, a move that worries Israel.

However, US state department spokesman Ned Price said Washington had “serious concerns” over Friday’s ICC ruling.

Bensouda has said she intends to investigate the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, which saw the killing of more than 2,260 Palestinians, including around 500 children and 500 women and injuring more than 11,000 others.

The case could also be expanded to include the alleged killings by Israeli soldiers of more than 200 Palestinians, including more than 40 children, at demonstrations along the Gaza frontier.

Separately, Bensouda argued there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that Israeli authorities had committed war crimes by moving Israeli civilians into the West Bank to live in settlements.

Under the Geneva convention, signed after the second world war, the transfer of civilians into occupied land is prohibited.

(Source / 06.02.2021)

Nofal family: Israel and its settlers executed our son Khaled

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – The family of the martyr Khaled Nofal from the town of Ras Karkar near Ramallah confirmed that what happened with her son – Friday dawn – was an execution carried out by the Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers.

The family indicated that her son is married and father of a child, and he went to the Qemat Al-Rayyan area at dawn, where his land was to be built, but the Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers executed him as soon as he arrived in the area.

Read More: Israel confiscates a truck and arrests its driver in Tubas

The family said that Khaled went to his land, which is a right to him as one of the forms of clinging to the land, as he was going to rebuild it because he owns dozens of agricultural dunums.

The family confirmed that her son was not armed with anything, and the Israeli occupation soldiers could force him to leave or arrest him in the worst case, but the criminal mentality of the occupation soldiers and settlers is what made them carry out the execution against him.

Read More: French family demands justice from Israel

The family indicated that the Israeli occupation soldiers stormed the house and brought some of the martyr’s belongings to identify them, as his vehicle, which he was traveling in, was confiscated before his death.

At dawn today, Palestinian sources announced the martyrdom of the young Khaled Maher Nofal, 31, from the village of Ras Karkar, west of Ramallah, by a settler shot on top of Jabal Al-Risan.

A spokesman for the Israeli occupation army claimed that a Palestinian arrived in his car to the settlement of “Ephraim”, and claimed that he tried to storm the house of a settler who shot the young man, which led to his death on the spot.

(Source / 06.02.2021)