PPS: “Israeli Soldiers Abduct 27 Palestinians In West Bank”

Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, 27 Palestinians from several parts of the occupied West Bank, after the army invaded and ransacked dozens of homes and interrogated scores of Palestinians, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted seven Palestinians, including former political prisoners, from several parts of the governorate.

The soldiers abducted the following former political prisoners; Bajes Nakhla, 57, his son Ma’rouf Bajes Nakhla, 31, Eyad Mahmoud Safi, 49, (the father of child detainee Mohammad Safi), Awab Mohammad Mubarak (lawyer), 28, and Maher Ayyoub Dalaysha, 46.

Also in Ramallah, the soldiers abducted Abdul-Aziz Mohyeddin Khatib, 20, Mohammad Saher Dabbour, 21, and Kamal Tawil.

In Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Islam Adel Hijazi and Marwan Saleh Abu ‘Ahour.

In Tubas, in northeastern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Marwan Ahmad Bisharat, 30, from his home in Tammoun town, south of the city.

In Jenin Governorate, in northern West Bank, the soldiers stormed and ransacked dozens of homes before abducting Ibrahim As’ad Baddad (former political prisoner), Mohammad As’ad Saleh Shreim (former political prisoner), Farid Mahmoud Balsha, Nasri Saleh Khaliliyya, from Jaba’ town, Ahmad Essam Abu ar-Rob (former political prisoner), Majed Faisal Nazzal (former political prisoner), Allam Ahmad Nazzal (former political prisoner), and Mohammad Adel Saba’ma (former political prisoner), from Qabatia town, Ahmad Mohamad Amour, from Anza village, and Mohammad Sati Jarrar, 27, from the al-Hashimiyya village.

Furthermore, undercover Israeli soldiers kidnapped Majd Azmi Husseiniyya, from Jenin refugee camp, while working Jenin central market.

The army also abducted Essam Mustafa Arqawi and Mohammad Souqiyya, both from Jenin city, after stopping them at a military roadblock near Arraba town, south of Jenin.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Makroum Nasser Ja’bari, 30.

In the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Khalil Ata Abu al-Hawa, from his home in the at-Tour town, in addition to Ahmad Ghaleb Abu Sbeih, 29, from his home in the al-‘Isawiya town.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

WAFA: “Israeli forces raze plot of land near Bethlehem”

BETHLEHEM, Wednesday, March 24, 2021 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers today razed a plot of Palestinian land in the village of Kisan, east of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to a local official.

Deputy Head of Kisan Village Council, Ahmad Ghazal, told WAFA that the Israeli military bulldozers razed three dunums of land belonging to the Ibayyat family, located near the illegal Israeli colonial settlement of Ibei Hanahal to expand the settlement entrance.

He noted the plot of land was already seized by the Israeli authorities years ago, as he warned of ongoing settler violations against the village.

Located 11 kilometers to the south of Bethlehem city, Kisan has a population of some 600 and occupies a total area of 133,330 dunams.

Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a tiny pocket of land occupying 112 dunams, accounting for less than 1 percent of the village’s total area.  Israel maintains control over 108,952, classified as Area C, accounting for 81.7 percent. The remaining part of 24,266 dunams, accounting for 18 percent, is classified as a nature reserve.

Israel has established three colonial settlements, namely Ma‘ale Amos and Mizpe Shalem besides to the settlement outpost of Ibei Hanahal on lands confiscated from the village. It has confiscated further land for the construction of settler-only by-pass road no. 901 and road no. 3698, which extend for 16.1 kilometers on the village land.

Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 87,344 dunams of fertile land, accounting for 65.5 percent of the village total area, for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements, and military installations.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Israeli Warplanes Fire Missiles at the Besieged Gaza Strip

The Israeli air force, Tuesday night, bombed several sites in the besieged Gaza Strip, after a rocket was allegedly fired from the Strip, falling into an open field near Be’er as-Sabe’ in the northern Negev region of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the Israeli army spokesperson who stated that the offensive was in retaliation for an alleged rocket purportedly fired from the Gaza Strip earlier Tuesday evening.

Palestinian sources confirmed that Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a site southeast of Gaza City in the north, and east of Deir Al-Balah in the central Strip.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an correspondent that the occupation forces fired five missiles at sites southwest of Gaza City, causing violent explosions and damage to the sites.

Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at Palestinian resistance sites east of Deir Al-Balah in the central besieged Gaza Strip.

No injuries were reported.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Analysis: “Palestinians to pay the price of normalization in the Gulf”

By Hamdullah Baycar

As the relationship between the Persian Gulf riparian Arab countries and Israel grew closer by the day, this momentum, led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), first developed into a reality of normalization, with the parties involved gradually coming to anticipate the establishment of an alliance between them. The UAE became the first Arab country to switch to a visa-free travel regime with Israel. Acting on the maxim “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, Israel and the UAE have positioned themselves in the same ranks in the new regional order, establishing Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as common enemies.

So, how did we get from the UAE of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who did not hesitate to suspend oil sales to countries supporting Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War on the principle that “Arab oil is not more valuable than Arab blood”, to a UAE that can allocate $10 billion in funds for direct investments in Israel even though it has only been a year since the normalization began? This normalization, on top of the bilateral ties between these countries, would undoubtedly have significant consequences for Palestine. It will almost certainly cost Palestinians very dearly by further dividing Palestine at home and isolating it internationally.

Although the death of Sheikh Zayed in 2004 is considered as the beginning of the shift in the UAE’s Israeli policy, the drastic change in the regional climate brought about by the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the ideological and military weakening of strong regional countries, has pushed the Gulf countries to the forefront. Correspondingly, the UAE, which has reinforced its position and gained recognition in the region, has overcome the fragility that marked its early years and repositioned its peaceful, diplomatic and agreeable foreign policy into a more interventionist and aggressive context. This shift has made it easier for the UAE to abandon its hesitant stance in its dealings with Israel. The UAE, which had secretly established economic, technological, and even intelligence cooperation with Israel, breathed a sigh of relief with the normalization deal, which former US President Donald Trump served as a guarantor for. The UAE’s explicit support for the agreement, which Trump dubbed the “Deal of the Century”, which only symbolically included the Palestinians, imposed normalization with Israel on countries like Bahrain, further cementing the UAE-Israel relationship.

From closed doors to open diplomacy

It is difficult to provide a precise figure for the pre-normalization trade volume between the two countries since relations between them, which were focused on technology and security, were carried out with extreme secrecy as a “well-known secret”. However, according to leaked data, the annual trade volume between the two countries had exceeded $300 million by 2011. Due to the reciprocal flight restrictions in place between the two countries until normalization; exports, imports and investments were routed through third countries. An $800 million deal (which appears to be a sham) officially made with AGT, a Swiss security company, but is widely believed to have been made with Israel, is just one example of this hidden partnership.

The fact that Israel is regarded as a national security concern in the US, as well as the influence of Jewish lobbies (especially in the US Congress), lobbies powerful enough to punish countries that do not side with them, has accelerated the normalization of UAE-Israeli relations. When we recall events like the Emirate of Dubai’s official port company, Dubai Ports World, being barred from participating in a tender for six major US ports in 2006 on the grounds that it posed a risk to US national interests, we can conclude that the UAE has laid the groundwork for this normalization by establishing ties with Jewish lobbies as well as conducting serious public and lobbying campaigns to improve its image in the US.

Thus, UAE-Israel relations started to flourish in a variety of areas, including diplomacy and sports, in addition to the economy. In fact, Israel named a representative for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi in 2015. Although the UAE argued during the initial selection process that this diplomatic mission was exclusively focused on the affairs of the organization, it was clear that this would not be the case in the long run. It was also revealed that Israel supported the UAE instead of Germany in 2009 meetings on where the headquarters of this organization should be located. Likewise, the participation of the Israeli cycling team in the Dubai cycling championship and the invitation sent to Israel for the Dubai Expo, which was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19), are only some of the examples of how the relations between the two countries have now come out in the open.

The first achievement of the UAE’s normalization with Israel is the disclosure of the UAE’s previously secret trade activities. As a result, Dubai’s economic relationship with Israel — being just one of the seven emirates — has surpassed $270 million in only five months. Other accomplishments include pledges of mutual support in the transportation, tourism, and construction sectors, with the parties setting a goal of $5 billion in annual trade and investment volume in the short term. The fact that 40 thousand Israelis traveled to the UAE in December 2020 alone despite the pandemic indicates an upward curve in the tourism volume between them. The future of their commercial relations looks bright, considering that the two countries, both of which are strong players in the port management sector, have launched an initiative to jointly participate in the privatization tender for Israel’s Haifa port. Another important achievement of the UAE is that Israel has promised to support, rather than oppose, its procurement of F-35 fighter jets from the US.

Aside from the economy and politics, the public relations activities that the UAE has been carrying out for years may also be included in its list of achievements in that they have also paved the way for this normalization. These activities are just as important to the UAE as its economic, political, and diplomatic interests, as well as identity building. A pope visiting the Arabian Peninsula for the first time (i.e., Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE in 2019), normalization with Israel — a Jewish country –, and its image as “a country where over 200 nationalities live together in peace” are all used as advertising material in the international space. The UAE has been making concerted efforts to divert foreign attention away from its domestic human rights violations by portraying itself as a country where “tolerance and interfaith dialogue triumph over extremism” and declaring itself the region’s “peace center.”

What about Palestine?

The issue of Palestine was once the hottest issue of Arab nationalism and topped the agenda of all Arab countries. However, with the nation-states gaining relative significance, the changing global and regional conjuncture, the deaths of charismatic Arab leaders and their ideologies losing popularity, the Palestinian issue gradually evolved into a story of brotherhood based merely on rhetoric, rather than action. Indeed, Palestine was taken into account neither in the Deal of the Century nor the normalization steps in question. The UAE, in particular, not only ignored Palestine while initiating these agreements but also exacerbated Palestine’s political fragmentation. As a matter of fact, it is well-known that the UAE views Palestinian Mohammed Dahlan, whom it gave substantial support in order for him to play an active role in both the normalization process and the Deal of the Century, as a viable alternative to Mahmoud Abbas. Dahlan, a former member of Fatah who is currently in exile in the UAE, is the brains behind the UAE’s Palestinian policies. The UAE is happy that Dahlan, by leading the way in the implementation of certain measures, has been endeavoring to undermine Abbas’ authority. We may recall that the UAE sent two COVID-19 relief packages to Palestine in two separate air deliveries to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, ignoring Palestinian authorities. Abbas had no choice but to reject the relief packages because they were sent through Israeli authorities. The UAE thereby attempted to destroy the image of Abbas in the eyes of Palestinians.

The UAE’s ostensibly pro-Palestinian moves in the context of normalizing relations with Israel with regard to the annexation of the West Bank, which is considered Palestinian territory but which Israel intends to annex, are not genuine. Although the UAE claims that the annexation plans have been abandoned, Tel Aviv states that they have only been postponed and that annexation is going to take place in the future. The UAE’s attempts to cover up this truth by using different statements in the Arabic and English texts on the normalization reveal its insincerity. While the English text states that the West Bank plan “… led to the suspension of Israel’s plans to expand its sovereignty”, the Arabic text reads “… led to the halting of Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian territory”, demonstrating the UAE’s ambivalent attitude.

Palestine’s suffering is not limited to its internal divisions and Israel’s insincerity in its commitment to stopping the annexation of the West Bank. With the normalization with Israel initiated by the UAE, shortly followed by countries such as Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, the Palestinians’ final trump card of Arab states refusing to recognize Israel and isolating it in the region has vanished into the dusty pages of history. This wave of normalization could encourage other countries with secret relationships with Israel to follow suit. In this sense, the recognition of Israel, even by “the once arch-enemies of Israel”, will exacerbate the impossibility of restoring the 1967 borders, i.e., establishing a fair, two-state solution, and further weaken the Palestinian position.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Missle hits Bir Al Sabe’ during Netanyahu visit

Bir Al Sabe’ (QNN)- The spokesperson for the Israeli occupation army said that a missile was fired from Gaza at occupied Bir Al Sabe’ on Tuesday, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The incident coincided with a visit by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the occupied city on the occupation state’s Knesset elections.

The Israeli Minister of war Naftali Bennett commented on the incident saying that “Bibi is weak confronting Hamas. I hope that Netanyahu has fought Hamas the same way he fought me. Hamas is laughing at Netanyahu’s weakness. They fired a Grad missile at an area close to Bir Al Sabe’ while Bibi was visiting it”.

In December 2019, the Palestinian resistance had fired a missile at occupied Asdood during a event for Netanyahu’s campaign, which pushed him to escape.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Israeli occupation bulldozers demolish house near Jerusalem

Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli occupation bulldozers on Wednesday morning demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Shufat refugee camp, north of the occupied Jerusalem.

Local sources said that a large Israeli military unit escorted two bulldozers into the camp, where the bulldozers tore down a tin-roofed house in the Ras Khamis area.

Confrontations broke out between the Israeli forces and Palestinians during the demolition, but no injuries were reported.

Using the pretext of illegal building, Israeli occupation demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

At the same time, the municipality and occupation government built tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Almost 75 percent of applications for a permit by the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem are rejected by the municipality, according to rights groups.

Since the start of 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities have demolished, seized or forced people to demolish at least 199 Palestinian-owned structures, including 77 donor-funded, displacing 285 people, including some 150 children. This represents an over 200 per cent increase in structures targeted, and an over 500 per cent increase in donor-funded structures targeted, compared to the equivalent period in 2020, according to OCHA.

Obtaining an Israeli building permit in Area C of the West Bank is impossible, while in East Jerusalem it is close to being impossible forcing Palestinians to risk building on their lands without a permit.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Save Sheikh Jarrah: Palestinians have a right to remain on their land

As Israel continues its ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district, Palestinians are ramping up pressure on the international community to act

The hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah and its Arabic equivalent began appearing on my Twitter timeline recently. As a Palestinian activist, my first move was to find out more – to determine what new challenge faced the residents of this Palestinian neighbourhood.

Sheikh Jarrah, a district of Jerusalem, always sparks flashbacks to my boyhood. While both my parents are from Jerusalem, I was born in Saudi Arabia before the 1967 war and the fall of what remained of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, into Israel’s hands.

I distinctly remember my mother talking about the occupation of her city of birth with deep sadness and concern for her family, which was also my father’s family, as they were cousins. I remember seeing her and other Palestinian women working together to fundraise for Palestine, which included making many Palestinian flags.

We were able to visit occupied Palestine a couple of years after that, when my grandmother applied for a permit for my mother and father to visit. Half the family lived in Jericho, and the rest in Jerusalem’s Wadi al-Joz neighbourhood. After a few days in Jericho, we headed to Jerusalem for our summer holidays.

I distinctly remember making friends with my cousin Jamal in Jerusalem. He was a fiery boy, adventurous and fun-loving. He would take me from our grandmother’s home in Wadi al-Joz to his home in Sheikh Jarrah. It was a quick climb down a hill onto a main road in an industrial area, where buses and coaches parked and departed.

Then, it was across some empty land, and I remember him pointing out some caves as we walked. We soon arrived at his home, which he shared with his sister, Ghada; his mother, my aunt Fawziah; and her husband, Harbi Atieh, who had a small shop in their garden. We ate some of my auntie’s delicious food and played before Jamal took me back to my grandmother’s house.

The next time I visited their house was in 2015. It was now Jamal’s home, shared with his wife and children – his parents having passed away decades earlier. We had a traditional Palestinian hummus and falafel breakfast in the garden. Five years later, Jamal passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Those happy and sad memories came flooding back when I read the hashtags calling for Sheikh Jarrah to be saved. The call is for the remaining Palestinian families, comprising some 550 people, to be saved from eviction by the occupying force, Israel.

Targeted by settlers
The story goes back to 1956, when Jordan struck an agreement with the United Nations to build housing units for 28 families in Sheikh Jarrah, in exchange for them renouncing their refugee status with the UN. Under the deal, titles to the properties would be transferred to the families three years later. The Atieh family was among these families, but that final transfer did not happen, making the area a target for Israel and its settlers.

In the early 1970s, Israeli settler organisations, determined to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, began targeting Sheikh Jarrah with a view to evicting Palestinian families and replacing them with Jewish settlers. An Israeli court ultimately allowed settler groups to “reclaim” their property in the neighbourhood, despite a lack of official ownership papers.

The takeover of Sheikh Jarrah by Jewish settlers has not been wholesale, but creeping. In 2002, 43 Palestinians were evicted from Sheikh Jarrah after losing a legal battle to settlers. And who can forget the image of the al-Kurd family being evicted in 2008? The elderly couple was literally thrown out of their home of five decades, while Jewish settlers took over. A year later, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were forcibly evicted in favour of settlers.

The ethnic cleansing of Sheikh Jarrah continues unabated. The Israeli District Court recently ordered four more families to leave their homes or face eviction by 2 May, prompting the Sheikh Jarrah community to organise a campaign to resist this immoral and illegal act, with a Facebook page and resources explaining the background to the painful story and the families’ demands.

Their demands are essentially that their rights to ownership of their homes are recognised by the occupying force, Israel, and that the families who have already been evicted be allowed to return to their homes.

Immoral policies
Are these demands, after 65 years of de facto ownership of their homes, really that difficult for Israel to recognise – or does this situation merely confirm Israel as a settler-colonial, racist state? East Jerusalem is illegally occupied under international law. Israel is therefore committing a war crime by evicting Palestinians from their homes and moving its own settler population into them.

It is also acting hypocritically, barring Palestinian refugees from West Jerusalem from reclaiming the homes from which they were expelled in the 1948 Nakba.

Sheikh Jarrah does not stand alone as an area that Israel wants to Judaise. Another area that has suffered terribly from Israel’s aggressive and immoral policies is Silwan, on the other side of al-Aqsa Mosque. Plans have been unveiled to force out 100 Palestinian families in the Batan al-Hawa area, to be replaced by Jewish inhabitants.

It seems that Israel was emboldened by the Trump administration’s support, and the recent “normalisation” agreements with some Arab countries, to strangle East Jerusalem, extinguishing its Palestinian presence in favour of Jewish settlers. This will change its historic character, and its look and feel, forever.

Britain has a historic responsibility to act, as it was the birthplace of the dreadful Balfour Declaration in 1917. Its consulate sits on a hill in Sheikh Jarrah, a stone’s throw from the site of the Palestinian evictions. It is not helpless to act, though its silence might indicate otherwise. It could at least show solidarity with Palestinians, but it does not. That was left to more than 80 British parliamentarians in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Pariah state
The screams of anguish and worry from these families, including the family of my late cousin Jamal, should not fall on deaf ears. The world should be united in condemning another deliberate act by a country that claims to be a democracy, but has been revealed as an apartheid state, even in a report by an Israeli human rights group.

Raab and all foreign secretaries of so-called western democracies should be summoning their Israeli ambassadors and demanding an end to the eviction of Palestinians from their homes – without which they should begin treating Israel as the pariah state that it is. The same applies to the Arab normalisers, who together with Israel, have lost their moral compass.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Palestinian prisoner held under harsh condition in Israeli jails

Ramallah (QNN)- Israeli occupation authorities have isolated a Palestinian prisoner, who has a broken pelvis, under harsh conditions in Gilbo’a prison, the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-detainees’ Commission said in a report on Wednesday.

The commission stated the occupation authorities have isolated Haitham Ibrahim Balal, 32-year-old, from Yatta village, south of Hebron, in Gilbo’a prison, under harsh alarming conditions.

Balal was shot by the Israeli occupation forces in May 2020, near the Qalandia military checkpoint, and he stayed for a while in the intensive care of the “Shaare Zedek” hospital, then he was transferred to Ramla Hospital and then to Gilbo’a prison.

The commission said that Balal has a broken pelvis as a result of his injury, and his condition requires special medical care, as he lives now with a colostomy bag.

The commission pointed out that after Balal was transferred to the Gilbo’a prison, he refused to enter the public sections as they were not suitable for his health condition.

As a punishment for his refusal, the Israeli prison administration has placed him in isolation cells, deprived him of “Cantina”, and prevented him from contacting his family.

The commission held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the life of the prisoner, Balal, noting that his health condition became more difficult.

The commission also urged to intensify the legal efforts to transfer the prisoner to a section appropriate to his difficult health condition and to end his isolation.

There are 4500 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails, among them 37 women, 140 children, 45 held in administrative detention, 11 suffering from cancer, and 300 have chronic diseases.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Palestinian worker falls into elevator shaft, dies while being chased by Israeli forces

Ramallah (QNN)- A 23-year-old Palestinian worker has died after falling into elevator shaft while being chased by Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday.

The worker, identified as Mohamed Mousa Abo Dalal, from Shabtin village in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, was trying to escape from the occupation forces near a building site as they were trying to catch him because he has been working in construction in the Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Due to the lack of job opportunities in the West Bank, some Palestinians are forced to look for employment in Israeli-occupied Palestine in order to make a living.

However, entrance into the Israeli-occupied Palestine requires that Palestinians from the West Bank apply for entry permits, which are virtually impossible to obtain.

As a result, Palestinian workers from the West Bank regularly attempt to cross the apartheid Wall without a permit, putting them at risk of being arrested or attacked by Israeli occupation forces, as the occupation state considers their entrance without a permit illegal.

Since 2002, ‘Israel’ has been constructing a wall that stretches for more than 700 kilometres, annexing Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank. This wall is known as separation wall or apartheid wall.

(Source / 24.03.2021)

Israeli warplanes attack several areas in Gaza Strip

The bombing caused huge damage to Palestinians’ homes in Gaza Strip

Israeli occupation warplanes bombed on Wednesday at dawn two sites of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes and helicopters shelled the Badr site, south of Gaza City, with about eight missiles, and shelled another target of the Palestinian resistance east of Deir Al-Balah, according to local sources.

The sources pointed out that the bombing caused huge explosions and damage to Palestinians’ homes.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that no injuries were reported during the Israeli attacks this night.

(Source / 24.03.2021)