IOF launches wide campaign of arrests and raids in West Bank

IOF launches wide campaign of arrests and raids in West Bank

Israeli occupation forces have launched on Thursday at dawn a campaign of arrests and raids in several cities in the West Bank.

In Hebron: Israeli occupation forces attacked family members and arrested three Hebron citizens.

According to media activist Mohamed Awad, the occupation forces raided several areas in Beit Amir town, assaulting citizen Ibrahim Abdel Hamid Abu Marya, his wife (50), his daughters Alaa (28) and Baraa (20).

He added that the occupation forces had arrested Omar Abdulaziz Alaqam (39), Mahmoud Mohamed Awad (32) from Beit Amir and Amid Ghazi Jabarin (24) from Hebron.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a youth from Al-jalzon camp north of Ramallah.

According to local sources, the young Hadi Mahmoud Guanma, 21, was arrested by the occupation forces after raided his home in the camp, searching him and tampering with its contents.

In Jenin: According to local sources, after raiding and searching his home, the occupation forces arrested citizen Thabet Walid Atatra (20).

In Jerusalem: According to press sources, the occupying forces arrested the young men: Ghassan Shawamra from Al – Kasarat neighbourhood in Kalandiya camp, Walid Salim Kanaan Al-Khatib from Hazma town, after raided their families’ homes and searched them.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Opinion: Gaza is still under siege, in case we’ve forgotten

By Maher Al-Tabba

The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer from the Israeli-led blockade imposed since 2007. Add to this Israel’s military offensives and frequent incursions and it is easy to see why the economic crisis is acute. The destruction of the infrastructure has affected all sectors, including the economy. The delay in reconstruction, especially in the economic sector, and the failure to compensate business owners, have had a serious impact in Gaza. Many international institutions have warned of the repercussions if the blockade continues unabated.

Despite Israel’s repeated announcements about easing the blockade, the reality at the nominal border crossings is quite the opposite. It still prevents the entry of hundreds of kinds of goods and raw materials from entering Gaza, as well as the export to the West Bank of many industrial and agricultural products.

Last year saw no change in this situation. Most of the commercial crossings are closed, and some have been removed completely. This is inconsistent with the 1994 Paris Economic Agreement and the crossings agreement signed with the Israelis under US and European auspices on 15 November, 2005, when Israeli settlers were withdrawn from the Gaza Strip. This stipulates that the Muntar crossing, which was closed in 2011, should be kept open and, in emergency situations, that Israel will allow the export of all agricultural products from Gaza during the appropriate seasons. At the moment, only the Karam Abu Salem crossings is operational. Nothing has changed in terms of the opening hours, the number of trucks allowed to enter the territory, and the type and quantity of imported goods.

Despite the destruction, the import of building materials is severely restricted. They are only allowed into Gaza in restricted quantities in accordance with the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism.

Karam Abu Salem crossing has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, as imports and exports have remained at their now “normal” siege levels. The crossing is operating at a minimum capacity, with the annual number of non-fuel trucks more or less the same since 2018. In terms of export goods leaving the Gaza Strip last year, the number of trucks is around 50 per cent of what it was prior to the start of the siege.

The main market for Gaza exporters at the moment is the West Bank, as and when exporters can get their products out of the territory. The lack of facilities at Karam Abu Salem crossing makes exporting goods a major problem. Goods have to be unloaded and reloaded several times, which affects their quality, especially of agricultural products. Combined with packaging specifications, this means that transportation costs are doubled for Palestinian exporters.

After 14 years of the suffocating siege, it is surely time for international institutions to carry out their legal and humanitarian duties towards the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and ensure that their basic needs are provided. They must liberate them from the largest open-air prison in the world, and apply real and serious pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to open all Gaza crossings for the movement of people and goods, and to end this unjust blockade immediately.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 10 March 2021

(Source / 18.03.2021)

B’Tselem & Kerem Navot Report: “This Is Ours – And This, Too: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank”

A new report issued last week by B’Tselem and Kerem Navot, “This Is Ours – And This, Too: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank”, exposes the mechanisms Israel uses to encourage its citizens to move into the occupied territory. The report also reviews developments on the ground over the last decade, focusing on the spatial impact of the two large settlement blocs.

First, the report details the official and unofficial ways in which Israel encourages Jews to move to settlements and develop financial ventures in and around them. Among other things, the state offers settlers housing benefits, allowing lower-income families to purchase homes. These benefits are one factor contributing to the growth in the settler population, which in 2019 numbered 441,619 people (in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem) – an increase of 42% since 2010 and of 222% since 2000. In 2019 alone, the settler population grew by 3.2% – 68% more than the overall population growth rate for Israeli citizens and residents that year, which was just 1.9%.

The two largest settlements – the ultra-orthodox cities of Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit – have grown especially fast. By the end of 2020, they had a combined population of 140,053, comprising nearly a third of all settlers in the West Bank – an increase of 62% since 2010, when the combined population numbered 86,200, and of 435% since 2000, when they had 32,200 residents together. By offering housing solutions beyond the Green Line, the state is essentially exploiting the ultra-orthodox community’s low socioeconomic status and housing shortage to serve its own needs and further its agenda.

The state also grants benefits and incentives to Israeli industrial zones in the West Bank by offering discounted land fees and employment subsidies to factories, encouraging their steady growth. More incentives, provided by various authorities, encourage settlers to take over Palestinian farmland and pastureland. Over the last decade, settlers have established some 40 sheep and cattle farms throughout the West Bank, taking over tens of thousands of dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 square meters] where access is now completely or mostly denied to Palestinians. Most of these farms lie on “state land” and control hundreds and sometimes thousands of dunams. Most are surrounded by farmland owned by Palestinians, whom settlers prevent from entering by employing violence, sometimes severe. Some of the pastureland these settlers have taken over, and the pathways leading to them, lie within areas Israel has declared firing zones.

Second, the report analyzes the spatial impact of two settlement blocs that cut across the West Bank. The first bloc, built south of Bethlehem, includes the settlements of Beitar Illit and Efrat and the settlements belonging to the Gush Etzion Regional Council. The other bloc lies in the center of the West Bank and consists of the settlements of Ariel, Rehelim, Eli, Ma’ale Levona, Shilo and the outposts built around them.

Some 121,000 settlers currently live in both blocs together, and expansion plans are underway to add tens of thousands of residents. Similar plans have rapidly increased the population in both blocs over the last decade. Implementing the new plans is expected to double and even triple the population of Efrat in the coming decades; Beitar Illit’s population is expected to grow by 20,000 and Ariel’s by about 8,000.

The impact of the two settlement blocs extends far beyond their number of residents or the size of their built-up areas. The southern bloc severs Palestinian space between Bethlehem and Hebron and separates Bethlehem from its rural backland. The central bloc commands some of the most fertile farmland in the West Bank. The two blocs also command the main longitudinal and latitudinal roads in the area, fragmenting the West Bank into separate geographical units.

Following the establishment of the two blocs, Palestinians lost access to thousands of dunams of farmland and pastureland – whether directly (in areas declared “state land” or closed by military order) or as a result of state-backed settler violence, which deters Palestinians from trying to access their land. Around the settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim, for example, Palestinians are barred access to at least 10,000 dunams. Around the settlements of Shilo and Eli and their satellite outposts, their access is barred to at least 26,500 dunams.

Israel’s policies regarding the settlements are a clear expression of the Israeli apartheid regime, which employs various methods to promote and perpetuate the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another group – Palestinians – in the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel’s massive investments further entrench its hold on the West Bank, clearly demonstrating the regime’s long-term plans. These include cementing the position of millions of Palestinians as subjects denied rights and protection, who are deprived of any ability to influence their own future and are forced to live in disconnected, dwindling, economically suppressed enclaves. They are forced to look on as they are dispossessed of more and more land, while communities and infrastructure are built for Jews. Two decades into the 21st century, Israel appears more determined than ever to continue upholding and perpetuating an apartheid regime throughout the area under its control, well into the coming decades.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

WAFA: “Presidency: Israeli unilateral actions designed to torpedo international peacemaking efforts”

(WAFA) – The Palestinian Presidency, on Wednesday, warned that all Israeli unilateral actions are designed to torpedo international efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Presidential Spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned in a press statement the Israeli attacks that continue unabated against the Palestinian people, stressing that they will neither bring peace nor stability to anyone, as Israel seeks through such measures to destroy the internationally supported two-state solution and eliminate any prospects for peace through negotiations based on international law and United Nations (UN) resolutions.

“The Israeli policies of house demolitions and ongoing colonial settlement activities are unilateral actions aimed at torpedoing any international effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on international legitimacy decisions,” he stressed.

“We call on the International Quartet, the UN Security Council and the US administration, which declared its rejection of unilateral actions and support for the two-state solution, to pressure the Israeli government to stop these serious violations of all international legitimacy resolutions and international law,” he added.

He made this statement with reference to the Israeli courts’ decision green-lighting the demolition of 100 Palestinian homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Bustan; confiscation of dozens of Palestinian homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrahal-Matar neighborhood, the Hebron-city area of al-Baqa’a, and the Hebron-district area of Ayn al-Bayda, demolition of the Kharabeesh community near the village of Nuway’imah in the Jordan Valley, razing Palestinian-owned lands in the Ramallah-district village of Ras Karkar, and uprooting dozens of olive trees in the Nablus-district village of Jaloud.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Israeli authorities force two brothers to empty their house in Silwan, in preparation for its demolition

Israeli authorities force two brothers to empty their house in Silwan, in preparation for its demolition

The two brothers Khaled and Munir al-Abbasi emptied, last night, the contents of their house in Silwan town, south of  Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, in preparation for its demolition, after the occupation municipality in Jerusalem rejected all licensing attempts.

Jerusalem sources reported that the two brothers Khaled and Munir al-Abbasi emptied their house, which was built in 2016, after receiving a demolition order from the occupation municipality.

The sources pointed out that the two brothers attempted in the courts since 2019, to protect the house through its license, but to no avail.

The demolitions come under the pretext of lack of permits used by the occupation municipality to prevent the natural expansion of Palestinians and restrict them and confiscate their lands in order to Judaize the Holy City and take full control of the land.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Israeli occupation detains 7 Palestinians, assaulted entire family

Israeli occupation forces today assaulted an entire Palestinian family during a search-and-arrest operation in Beit Ummar town in the south of the occupied West Bank, and detained at least seven Palestinians throughout the occupied territories.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS), the forces detained at least seven Palestinians from Jenin, Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Hebron districts.

Forces raided several Palestinian homes in Beit Ummar in Hebron to arrest activists.

During one of these raids at the home of Abu Mariah family, the forces assaulted a man, his 50-year-old wife and two 27 and 21 years old daughters, said Mohammad Awad, a local activist.

Two sons of the same family are in Israeli prisons for their resistance to the occupation, one of them 17 years old detained in April 2020 and sentenced to a two-year term, and the other, 26 years old, held in administrative detention without charge or trial since May 2020.

Activist Mohammad Awad said the occupation forces detained two men in Beit Ummar, while a third man was detained in Hebron city.

One Palestinian, 20 years old, was detained during an army raid of his family home in Yabad town, in the Jenin district in the north of the West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources.

Another 21 years man also was detained in an army raid of the Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah. Palestinian security sources said the Israeli forces ransacked his house during the raid.

Israeli occupation forces detained one person at Qalandia refugee camp and another at Hizma village after raiding and searching their families’ homes, reported WAFA.

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.

According to Palestinian estimates, there are nearly 4500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, 37 women, 140 children and 45 held in administrative detentionn without charge or trial.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Covid-19: West Bank hospitals inundated while Israel tosses surplus vaccines

Palestinians describe scenes in hospitals reminiscent of ‘war zones’, calling out both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for inaction in the occupied territory

When Issa Saafi rushed his ill mother to the Ramallah government hospital, one of the primary hospitals in the occupied West Bank city, he never anticipated that it would turn into one of his worst nightmares.

Safiya Saafi, 70, had fallen ill with Covid-19-like symptoms at her home in Ramallah’s Jalazone Refugee Camp. At the time, her children didn’t think much of it, as she seemed to be doing okay.

But on 10 March Safiya’s condition took a turn for the worse, and Issa and his brothers rushed her to the hospital. What they found, Issa said, shook him to his core.

“We walked into the hospital and it was like something out of a war zone,” Issa told Middle East Eye. “There were people sleeping in chairs and on mattresses on the floor, and many of them were hooked up to ventilators and oxygen tanks.

“When we got there, the nurses did a Covid-19 test on my mother, and it came back positive,” he said. “As the doctors were evaluating her, they said that she was having a stroke, and that she needed to be admitted urgently.”

But when nurses led Issa, along with his brothers and bedridden mother, through the hospital, they were not taken to the hospital’s Covid-19 unit, ICU, or other patient rooms.

“They took us into this back room, it was like a storage room and washroom combined, with all these boxes and supplies everywhere,” he said, adding that the room was dirty, and looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while.

“Then they rolled her in and put her bed in that room. I was in complete shock,” he said.

Issa told MEE that he protested with hospital staff, but was told that “we don’t have anywhere else to put her, this is the only open space we have.”

Issa said that while he was by his mother’s side, he witnessed just how understaffed the hospital was. “When we were there, we saw about four nurses treating 80 patients. They couldn’t keep up with anyone,” he recalled.

“On just that first day when I was sitting in the hospital, I saw three people die from Covid-19 in front of me,” Issa said. “It was devastating to watch. The hospitals can’t keep up. The doctors can’t keep up. The doctors kept telling us they are doing their best but they can’t do anything more for us.”

According to Issa, his mother was told that there were 14 people on the waiting list in front of her to get into the ICU at the hospital.

“It was like we were being told that they were waiting for people to die so that she could eventually just get a proper bed in the ICU,” he said. “But how much longer would we have to wait for my mum to die before she gets help?”

A video of an emotional Issa speaking to a local Palestinian news station about what happened to his mother went viral on Palestinian social media last week, as people expressed their grievances over the worsening Covid-19 crisis in the West Bank, and the lack of resources in Palestinian hospitals.

Stories like Issa Saafi’s resonated with many Palestinians who shared similar experiences, as thousands of new cases of the coronavirus continue to be reported in the West Bank every day, and more and more hospitals fill up to capacity.

A surplus of Israeli vaccines
By Wednesday, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said that hospitals in the West Bank had exceeded 110 percent capacity, and that the current situation in Palestine was “very dangerous”.

As of Wednesday, the occupied Palestinian territories have recorded nearly 216,000 cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and 2,343 deaths in a population of around five million.

World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the pandemic in early March noted a rise of 38 percent in infections and 61 percent in deaths in the West Bank, attributing much of the spike to the surge of new coronavirus variants in the territory.

But as Palestinian hospitals continue to overflow with Covid-19 patients, Palestinian civilians in the West Bank are still waiting for their chance to get vaccinated, as constant delays on the part of the Palestinian Authority (PA) have resulted in a stalled vaccine rollout.

In Israel, which has positioned itself as the world leader in coronavirus vaccination efforts, more than 55 percent of the population have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and more than 46 percent have gotten the full two doses.

Israel was the first country in the world to secure a one-of-a-kind deal with the Pfizer pharmaceutical company in late 2020, in which it agreed to weekly shipments of tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine in exchange for providing medical data on its inoculation campaign to Pfizer.

But with Israel’s vaccine rollout having slowed in recent weeks, reports have surfaced of Israeli authorities having a surplus of vaccines that health officials are struggling to find any use for, resulting in the waste of thousands of vaccine doses every week.

February report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that hundreds of doses of the vaccine are thrown in the garbage every day in Israel as a result of Israelis cancelling or not showing up to their designated vaccination appointments.

According to the Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI), the Israeli government has purchased 10 million AstraZeneca vaccines, in addition to eight million Pfizer vaccines and six million Moderna vaccines, enough to vaccinate 12 million people.

“Given the fact that there are about six million people in Israel over the age of 15, the immunisation coverage for the Israeli population is full,” the institute said, adding that in the coming months, surplus vaccines enough for up to six million people were likely to accumulate in Israeli warehouses.

In addition to millions of Israelis, the IDI says that the surplus vaccines would be enough to cover the estimated 2.5 million adult Palestinian residents living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Moreover, AstraZeneca vaccines do not require special refrigeration and can therefore be transported safely to remote places, isolated villages and refugee camps,” the IDI said.

Despite the clear ability to vaccinate the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the IDI said it is likely that the Israeli government “does not intend to assign vaccines to the non-Jewish population in the territories”.

Responsibility under international law
The news that Israel is throwing hundreds of vaccines away while Palestinians continue to become infected with the virus at alarming rates in the West Bank has fuelled more conversations about Israel’s responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians in the occupied territory.

Since it began its vaccination campaign, Israel has been urged on by human rights groups and Palestinian activists, who highlight that Israel has a responsibility under international law to vaccinate the Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Israel’s duties under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure medical supplies, including to combat the spread of pandemics, are heightened after more than 50 years of occupation with no end in sight,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in January.

“These responsibilities, alongside its obligations under international human rights law, include providing vaccines in a nondiscriminatory manner to Palestinians living under its control, using as a benchmark what it provides for its own citizens,” the report said.

Israel’s Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein rebuked in January calls for Israel to expand its vaccination programme to Palestinians as part of its role as an occupying power, saying “Israel’s obligation [is] first and foremost to its citizens”.

“It is our interest, not our legal obligation, but it is our interest to make sure that Palestinians get the vaccine, that we don’t have Covid-19 spreading,” he added.
While Israel has argued that the responsibility of vaccination falls on the Palestinian Authority, as per agreements such as the Oslo Accords, HRW said that “the Palestinian authorities’ own obligations to protect the right to health of Palestinians in areas where they manage affairs do not absolve Israel of its responsibilities”.

While reports indicate that some Israeli leaders are toying with the idea of selling the country’s surpluses to the Palestinians, such measures are unlikely to be approved before the Israeli elections next week.

To date, Israel has donated only a few thousand doses of the vaccine to Palestinian frontline health care workers as a “humanitarian” effort, and has embarked on an effort to vaccinate tens of thousands of Palestinian labourers who work in Israel.

“Israel is only vaccinating the Palestinians who benefit the state of Israel, like the day labourers,” Mohammed Abu Srour, a local activist from Bethlehem told MEE. “But they have a responsibility under international law to vaccinate all Palestinians, end of discussion.”

Abu Srour described Israel’s refusal to vaccinate ordinary Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and Gaza as “totally immoral”, saying that it is “just another example of Israeli apartheid”.

“Israel would prefer for Palestinians to continue dying from Covid-19, rather than supply us with the vaccine surpluses which they have,” he said. “At this point, we’re not even asking for them to take away vaccines from Israelis and give them to us. We are asking for their scraps, their leftovers.

“There needs to be more pressure from the international community on Israel to give the vaccine to Palestinians, because people here are dying every day with no solutions,” Abu Srour said. “They [Israel] need to be held accountable for failing to uphold their responsibilities.”

Issa Saafi said that he “had no words” knowing that his mum and thousands of other Palestinian coronavirus patients were possibly on their deathbeds while Israelis on the other side of the illegal separation wall are throwing the vaccines away.

“They got their vaccines and are now living their lives as normal, and just leaving us to die,” Saafi said. “Getting these vaccines is a basic human right. My mother has a right to live.”

Communities stepping up
While many Palestinians like Abu Srour and Saafi emphasise that the primary responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians lies in the hands of Israeli authorities, they don’t believe that the PA should get off scot-free.

“The PA has continued to say that they have taken on the responsibility to vaccinate us, but they have completely failed up until this point,” Abu Srour said. “Until today, the PA hasn’t been able to fulfil the needs of their people.”

On Wednesday, reports confirmed that the PA had received some 60,000 doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines after months of delays.

Prior to that, the PA had only recorded receiving some 12,000 doses of the vaccine. While many of those doses were used to vaccinate healthcare workers, it was revealed that a number of the doses went to government ministers and officials, their staff, and friends and family connected to the government elite.

“Rather than giving the vaccines to people like my mother, who are elderly and have pre-existing health issues, the government took it for themselves and their families,” Saafi told MEE. “What makes them better than my mother?

“Our leaders don’t care about their people, they just want to save themselves,” he said.

Abu Srour told MEE that corruption within the PA, coupled with a flailing healthcare system, has caused a huge dent in Palestinians’ ability to fight the coronavirus, leaving many communities to fend for themselves.

“We saw the number of Covid-19 cases spiking in our community, at levels that we haven’t seen before throughout this pandemic, and we knew that things were only going to keep getting worse,” said Abu Srour, who works in the popular committee in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

According to Abu Srour, some Covid-19 patients in the camp were getting critically ill and in need of hospitalisation, but couldn’t find any hospital or clinic to admit them, nor get access to a ventilator.

“We worked with the local Aida Youth Centre to pull donations together and buy two ventilators, and put together a volunteer team of nurses, doctors, and medical students from our community to help treat the camp’s residents who are sick with Covid-19,” he said.

Just a few days after purchasing the ventilators, Abu Srour got a call from a friend, whose parents were extremely ill with coronavirus and were having trouble breathing.

“Our team of volunteers went and hooked them up to the ventilators, and stayed with them for more than four hours, monitoring their situation and administering them medications until they stabilised,” he said.

Since then, the group of volunteers have created dozens of patient files on residents of the camp who have Covid-19, and continue to monitor and treat those who they have deemed to be in moderate to critical condition.

“We by no means have all the money and resources that we need to be doing this work, but we are doing as much as we can,” Abu Srour said, adding that the group has already received dozens of calls from other communities across the West Bank, asking them to share their model.

“We have a duty to protect our communities when our ‘leaders’ and occupiers fail us, and that’s all we are trying to do,” he said. “We just want to get through this pandemic without losing more people than we have to.”

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Palestinian factions conclude the Cairo dialogue

Days of Palestine – Cairo – The Palestinian factions on Wednesday concluded their dialogue in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, with a final statement confirming that the elections will be held as scheduled.

In the final statement, the factions reviewed the course of the national dialogue hosted by the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on the 16th and 17th of this March.

Read More: Palestinian faction head to Cairo for talks on restarting PLO

The factions held a meeting with the participation of the Presidency of the National Council of the Liberation Organization and the Central Elections Committee, where the meeting discussed with high responsibility all national issues and the risks facing the Palestinian issue and the conduct of legislative and presidential elections and the National Council based on the presidential decree issued on January 15, 2021. 

They also discussed the ways to strengthen the national partnership and the ways to address them in a way that enhances the Palestinian national democratic path and to refer them to the competent authorities, according to the statement.

Read More: Israeli forces arrest Palestinian citizen east of Nablus

The participants listened to the report of the Central Elections Commission on the progress of preparation for the legislative elections, and agreed on solutions to the outstanding issues; to ensure the conduct of the electoral process with high transparency and integrity that reflects the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

According to the statement, the Presidency of the Palestinian National Council presented a detailed report on its vision of the status of the Council and the organization, and the meeting discussed the mechanisms of forming the new National Council and the number of its members.

It stipulated that the Secretary-General’s conference will be held in a permanent session to follow up on what has been agreed upon, stressing the legal and political unity of the Palestinian territories, and the need for the upcoming elections to be held in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and to address any measures that may hinder their conduct in Jerusalem.

The participants also stressed the completion of the formation of the unified leadership of the comprehensive popular resistance and its activation, according to the statement of the last meeting of the secretaries-general.

The statement stated that the factions participating in the Palestinian elections signed a pact of honor, during which they affirmed their keenness to conduct the electoral process in all its stages with transparency and integrity, extending greetings, appreciation, and pride to the martyrs of our people, prisoners. 

The factions also appreciated the support of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for the Palestinian people and the efforts made by Egypt in caring for the Palestinian national dialogue in all its stages and its vigorous follow-up to implement what was agreed upon.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

Haniyeh: We prefer to participate in the legislative elections through unified national list

The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said today, Wednesday, that his movement prefers to participate in the legislative elections, through a unified national list that includes “the widest national political spectrum.”

This came in an article, published today, Wednesday, in the Palestinian newspaper “Al-Quds”, which he said was to detail the position of the Hamas movement and its vision to move towards unity, partnership, and resistance.

Haniyeh asserted that the Hamas movement sees in strengthening national unity and end the Palestinian division as an essential entry point for maximizing Palestinian self-strength, and for mobilizing the forces of the Arab and Islamic nations to confront the Israeli project, especially in this period when regional and international powers want to legitimize the occupation entity to be a dominant state in the region.

Read More: If you participate with Hamas in elections you will be jailed: Israel said to Palestinian in West Bank

He also indicated that the foundation from which the Hamas movement was launched in its desire to hold elections is based on activating the role of the Palestinian people in all places of their presence, in choosing the leadership that represents them, and believes that it is capable of achieving its goals and aspirations.

He said, “Hamas wants these elections to be an entry point for a complete arrangement of the Palestinian home, and to rebuild a Palestinian political system that responds to the challenges that constantly haunt the Palestinian situation, and that accommodates all the living forces in our people at home and in the diaspora on the basis of unity, partnership, and integration.”

Read More: Targeting Hamas leaders is an Israeli intervention to disrupt the elections

He added that it also aims to rebuild the Palestine Liberation Organization on democratic foundations, and to renew its institutions on the basis of partnership, to include all factions of our people, to manage the political conflict with the occupation, to take the issue to all forums, and to manage the conflict according to this inclusive national framework.

Haniyeh explained in his article that his movement prefers, after the elections, to form a national unity government in which everyone, even those forces that did not participate in the elections, participates to supervise the removal of “all the residues of division.

He indicated that with the completion of the process of building the political system at the level of authority and organization, we move as Palestinians – factions, forces, elected institutions, and community forces – to the most important stage, which constitutes one of the goals of the various electoral processes, which is the formulation of a comprehensive, unified and integrated struggle strategy to achieve the goals of Palestinian people.

According to Haniyeh, the strategy of the struggle is based on the principle of resistance in its various forms, using all the tools of struggle available to our people, and military resistance, with a focus on popular resistance at this stage.

It is noteworthy that the Palestinian factions began a dialogue yesterday, Tuesday, in Cairo, with the aim of overcoming obstacles to holding elections.

The first round of Cairo dialogues was held on February 8 and 9, during which the factions agreed on issues related to the elections.

In mid-January, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree setting the dates for elections during the current year: the legislative elections on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the National Council on August 31.

The last Palestinian elections for the Legislative Council were held in early 2006, and resulted in Hamas winning the majority, a year earlier, for the presidency, in which the current president, Mahmoud Abbas, won.

(Source / 18.03.2021)

ICC sends letter to Israel regarding its accusation of war crimes

Hebrew media said that “Israel” last weekend received a letter from the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding accusations of committing war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

The Hebrew “Channel 13” explained that “Israel” has a 30-day deadline to respond to the speech of the International Criminal Court.

It pointed out that the brief speech consisting of a page and a half presented the three main areas of investigation, which are the 2014 war, and the Israeli settlement policy, in addition to the marches on the Gaza border in 2018.

Read More: US denounces ICC probe into war crimes in Palestine

Earlier this month, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, announced that it had opened a formal investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories.

A number of “Israeli” officials have told Channel 13 that they are concerned that the International Criminal Court may actually begin issuing arrest warrants against former Israeli military officials and officers in the coming months.

Read More: Hamas welcomes the decision of ICC to open an investigation into Israeli crimes in Palestine

It is noteworthy that Palestine joined the International Criminal Court in 2015.

(Source / 18.03.2021)