US human rights report continues Trump-era labelling of West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem

US Acting Assistant Secretary Lisa Peterson of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor speaks during the release of the "2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," at the State Department in Washington, DC on 30 March 2021. [MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
US Acting Assistant Secretary Lisa Peterson of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor speaks during the release of the “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” at the State Department in Washington, DC on 30 March 2021

US President Joe Biden’s administration has continued the Trump-era policy not to refer to the West, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” in its title, but added a caveat.

In its ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Israel, West Bank and Gaza‘, the State Department did however state: “This section of the report covers Israel within the 1949 Armistice Agreement line as well as Golan Heights and East Jerusalem territories that Israel occupied during the June 1967 war and where it later extended its domestic law, jurisdiction, and administration.”

This comes after the former administration of President Donald Trump recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights and occupied East Jerusalem. Biden’s administration clarified this saying: “Language in this report is not meant to convey a position on any final status issues to be negotiated between the parties to the conflict, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the borders between Israel and any future Palestinian state.”

Acting Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Right, and Labour, Lisa Peterson, told journalists that labelling the chapter by its geographic areas rather than the more general “Occupied Territories” was more beneficial for readers.

However, Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot told the Times of Israel: “Good that we are back on the same page regarding the status of occupied territory. The real question is: What is the Biden administration going to do about it? It’s too late for talk, we need action to hold Israel accountable and to end the occupation.”

READ: PLO says no to elections without Jerusalem

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israel ignores visa requests from EU delegation aiming to observe Palestine elections

Security measures are taken in front of Central Election Commission building after Palestinian authorities on Saturday opened registration for the legislative elections, scheduled for 22 May in Gaza City, Gaza on March 20, 2021. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]
Security measures are taken in front of Central Election Commission building after Palestinian authorities on Saturday opened registration for the legislative elections, scheduled for 22 May in Gaza City, Gaza on March 20, 2021

The EU on Tuesday accused Israel of ignoring its repeated requests to grant visas to its delegation who intend to observe the upcoming Palestinian elections.

In a press conference held in the headquarters of the Palestinian Central Elections Committee in occupied Ramallah, EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff said: “The delay has considerably reduced the EU option to observe the 22 May legislative elections.”

The Central Elections Committee formally asked the EU to help monitor the election immediately after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas ordered elections be held.

“The EU is strongly determined to support the upcoming Palestinian Elections, in particular by ensuring adequate EU observer presence,” Burgsdorff said.

Meanwhile, RT reported Israeli Hebrew newspaper Maariv saying that Israel had decided to prevent EU observers from reaching Jerusalem due to the measures taken to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to Maariv, Israel said that the residents of the city would not be able to cast their votes due to the measures related to fighting coronavirus.

This could be a reason to postpone the elections, according to Rai Al-Youm, which reported statements issued by Abbas’ office that “there will be no elections without Jerusalem.”

READ: Democracy is the need of the hour for the Palestinian struggle

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Marwan Barghouti forms new electoral list with Arafat’s nephew Nasser Qudwa

Al-Qudwa heads the list and Marwan Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, is his deputy

Marwan Barghouti forms new list for Palestinian elections
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Newly dismissed Fatah member, Nasser Al-Qudwa, yesterday registered the electoral list formed jointly by him and imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, Safa news agency reported.

This came after Al-Qudwa and close aides of Barghouti signed an agreement to form their own electoral list for the parliamentary election.

The list, named the Freedom List, includes senior Fatah leaders and former prisoners.

Al-Qudwa heads the list and Marwan Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, is his deputy.

News reports emerged on Tuesday claiming Barghouti had been dismissed from Fatah, however the movement has denied them. The news led to scores of Fatah members who are loyal to Barghouti taking to the streets and shooting into the air in protest.

A poll carried out by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research earlier this week found that Barghouti is expected to get the largest number of votes if he runs for president. It also found that if Barghouti led an independent electoral list, and Fatah and Hamas each had their separate lists, 79 per cent of the Palestinians would participate in the parliamentary elections.

READ: Hamas elects first female to political bureau

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israel is an apartheid state so US should stop aid, say Americans in poll

A man waves a Palestinian flag over a vehicle during a protest, organized to mark the 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948, and against the Israeli violence in Gaza on May 18, 2018 at Times Square in New York, United States. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]
A man waves a Palestinian flag over a vehicle during a protest, organized to mark the 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948, and against the Israeli violence in Gaza on May 18, 2018 at Times Square in New York, United States

A new survey has found further evidence of waning support for Israel within the US with more Americans saying that they do not want the Zionist state to be a major recipient of US aid. The poll was conducted following the release of a report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem which was headed “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid“.

In reaching its conclusion, B’Tselem said that that the threshold for defining Israel as an apartheid regime had been met and that such a determination was reached in consideration of the accumulation of policies and laws that have been devised to entrench its control over Palestinians. It cited the 2018 Jewish Nation State Law, which critics insist has formalised apartheid in the country.

Carried out by IRmep earlier in March, the poll asked whether, in light of the B’Tselem report, Israel should be a leading recipient of US aid. Of those who responded, 38.1 per cent said that Israel should not be a leading recipient of aid. Just 33 per cent said that it should continue to receive $3.8 billion per annum from Washington.

The differences are starker when looked at on a regional basis: 43.4 per cent of respondents from the north-east of the US, 39.1 per cent from the mid-west and 36.2 per cent from the west said that such a level of US aid should stop. With 36.1 per cent, those in the American south are the most likely to want aid to Israel to continue.

Read: The already ‘messy break-up’ of American Jews over Israel is getting messier

The poll was carried out in advance of the annual IsraelLobbyCon conference on 17 and 24 April, which this year has the theme “End US Support for Israeli Apartheid?” IRmep and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs are co-organising the event to “explore[s] the latest research, innovations and tactics for countering the Israel lobby’s damaging policies in the US and around the globe.”

IRmep’s poll is the latest indication that, increasingly, American citizens appear to believe that systemic discrimination and apartheid by the settler-colonial state should have consequences. Successive US governments, however, continue to think otherwise.

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israeli Forces Suppress Land Day Demonstration near Nablus

The Israeli army suppressed a non-violent demonstration, on Tuesday, as Palestinians commemorated the 45th Anniversary of Land Day, in Sebastia, northwest of Nablus, in northern West Bank.

According to Quds News Network, the army fired teargas canisters and stun grenades, causing several protesters to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

On March 30, 1976, Palestinians inside Israel protested against the Israeli government announcement of the seizure of 21,000 dunams  (5,189 acres) of Palestinian land. The Israeli police violently suppressed the demonstrations, killing 6 young Palestinians, and injuring and arresting many others.

In related news Israeli soldiers closed, for the second day, the archeological site in Sebastia to allow groups of illegal colonialist settlers into it.

The Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, said dozens of illegal colonialist settlers, accompanied by many soldiers invaded the site after the soldiers closed the entire area to the Palestinians.

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احيت هيئة مقاومة الجدار والاستيطان وحركة فتح وفصائل العمل الوطني والمجلس الأعلى للشباب والرياضة ومؤسسات واهالي بلدة سبسطية وجمعية حدد هدفك الذكرى 45 ليوم الارض الخالد على ارض سبسطيه الصامدة في وجه مخططات الاحتلال التهويدية، حيث توجه المشاركون الى الموقع الاثري المغلق من قبل جيش الاحتلال وحدثت مواجهات مباشرة مع جيش الاحتلال نتج عنها العديد من الإصابات بالاختناق بالغاز السام.
يذكر ان هذه الفعالية تأتي على ارض سبسطية في ظل استهداف الاحتلال للموقع الاثري من خلال إقامة مركز للشرطة في الموقع تابع للاحتلال بهدف تسهيل اقتحامه من عصابات المستوطنين اضافة الى تهويده وتزييفه وطمس هويته الفلسطينية، كما ان حكومة الاحتلال منحت مبلغ ٢٤ مليون شيكل لمجلس المغتصبات لاستخدام جزء من هذه الميزانيه للسيطرة على المنطقة الاثرية.
وقد جاءت هذه الفعاليه رفضا لمخططات الاحتلال في هذه المنطقة وتاكيدا على هويتها الفلسطينية وعلى استمرار نهج مقاومة هذه المخططات الاستعمارية الاحلالية.

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(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israeli occupation prevents families of celebrating their sons release from jails

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The Israeli occupation authorities prevent Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem from celebrating the release of their sons after spending years in Israeli prisons.

This week, the Israeli occupation twicely raided the houses of two Palestinian prisoners while their families were celebrating their release from Israeli jails.

Yesterday, the Israeli authorities broke into the house of Palestinian prisoner, Ghazi Kanaan, 48, in Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in East Jerusalem and threatened to re-arrest him if his family holds any celebrations for his release on the next day.

Kanaan was released today after completing his 11-year-prison term in Israeli jails. for resisting its occupation.

On Tuesday, the Israeli occupation also raided another house of Palestinian prisoner Majd Barbar, who released from its jails after completing his 20 years of sentence, attacked people who gathered there to celebrate his release, and re-arrested Majd, but released him the next day after ordering him not to hold any celebrations for him.

The Israeli occupation authorities often re-arrest freed Palestinian prisoners from East Jerusalem and hold them for few days to prevent their families, friends and neighbors from celebrating their release in a way to disrupt his homecoming.

(Source / 01.04.2021)

University cancels activist lecture after pressure from pro-Israel students

Butler University in Indianapolis has cancelled a scheduled event featuring iconic political activist Angela Davis this week after pressure from pro-Israel students.

The activist and author was scheduled to speak at an event called “Joint Struggle and Collective Liberation” on April 1st.

However, on March 29, the university administration cancelled the event without even notifying the organizers of the event.

According to the university, the cancellation was due to procedural errors. However, campus and community organisations issued a joint statement saying that Davis was targeted over her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“Days before Butler University’s shameless censorship of Dr Angela Davis, the Student Government Association was bombarded by pressure from Zionist students who claimed to oppose the event because of her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a grassroots demand for nonviolent economic pressure against Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine,” explained the organisations in the statement.

The statement added that this was not the first time that pro-Israel students have tried to “silence free speech and prevent political events on campus.”

“We have, regrettably, seen other attempts to deplatform prominent Black activists. Simply put, Butler and others try to silence marginalized voices in order to maintain systems of power and privilege,” the statement continued.

“This is not the first time that Zionists have attempted to deplatform Angela Davis for her supportive stance on Palestine. Whether it be the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Northeastern University, or Butler University, institutions which silence the voices of Black radicals such as Davis are complicit, or worse, in the systems of racism and oppression which hurt BIPOC people within and beyond Butler University.”

The organization also demanded that the Butler administration “formally apologize to Dr. Angela Davis and immediately reinstate and affirm their support of the event.”

It’s worth mentioning that in 2019, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute rescinded a human rights award that it planned to give Davis.

Davis said at that time in a statement, that the award had been revoked over her longtime support for Palestine.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the decision had been made after “protests from our local Jewish community and some of its allies.”

“Through my experiences at Elizabeth Irwin High School in New York City and at Brandeis University in the late fifties and early sixties, and my subsequent time in graduate school in Frankfurt, Germany, I learned to be as passionate about opposition to antisemitism as to racism,” read Davis’s statement.

“It was during this period that I was also introduced to the Palestinian cause. I am proud to have worked closely with Jewish organizations and individuals on issues of concern to all of our communities throughout my life. In many ways, this work has been integral to my growing consciousness regarding the importance of protesting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israeli forces detain two Palestinians from Aqsa, banish another from Jerusalem

Israeli police officers also detained two young men during their presence in the Mosque’s courtyards, with no reason

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Israeli occupation forces detained two Palestinian young men, on Thursday morning, from the Aqsa Mosque and banished another from Jerusalem.

According to local sources, a large number of Israeli police forces stormed the Aqsa Mosque and raided its prayer buildings.

Israeli police officers also detained two young men during their presence in the Mosque’s courtyards, with no reason.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation police handed a Jerusalemite young man from the Issawiya district called Anwer Obeid an order banishing him from the holy city.

Obeid had already been expelled from the city for four months after the police placed him under house arrest for a few weeks. He was also detained and jailed several times before.

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israel rejects accessing European mission to monitor the Palestinian elections

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – A spokeswoman for the High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy in the European Union, Josep Borrell, said that “Israel” refused to access a mission to monitor the Palestinian elections.

The spokeswoman acknowledged that it was not possible to send a European election observation mission to the Palestinian Authority to monitor the parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 22, according to the agency “Aki”, on Wednesday evening.

Read More: Euro-Med Monitor calls for international action against the discriminatory approach of “Israel”

Nabila Masrali, the media spokesperson for European Foreign Affairs and Political Security, stated that “Israel” did not give the Europeans permission to cross to the territories of the Authority to deploy the members of the mission, as was scheduled, since February 8, despite the requests and repeated contacts of the European Union.

The Europeans believe that the lack of response by “Israel” is related to the travel restrictions imposed as part of the preventive measures to fight the Coronavirus, “Covid-19”.

Read More: Israeli municipality rejects alternatives to Palestinian home demolitions

Masrali believed that the failure to send a European election observation mission, based on the official request submitted to Brussels by the Palestinian authorities, will actually affect the evaluation of the entitlement, but the union is considering alternative solutions and supports the work of the Central Committee for Palestinian Elections and finances its work.

The European Union had previously welcomed the announcement by the President of the Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, at the beginning of this year, that legislative elections would be held on May 22 next year, presidential elections would also take place on July 31, and a third for the National Council would be held on August 31 of this year.

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Palestine approves 36 lists for upcoming elections

Days of Palestine – Gaza – The Central Elections Commission announced, at midnight, the end of the legal candidacy period for the Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for May 22, 2021.

The Election Commission stated that the total number of candidacy applications submitted from the beginning of the candidacy process until the end of yesterday, Wednesday, is 36 electoral lists, to compete in the 2021 Legislative Council elections.

Read More: Palestinian elections: 3 lists for the first days of candidacy

In the last hour, the Fatah movement presented its two lists, one of which belongs to the President of the Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the other by Prisoner Marwan Barghouti and Nasser Al-Kodwa.

The Central Election Commission stated that, as of Wednesday evening, it had approved 13 lists, and would study candidacy applications for a period of 5 days.

Read More: Back to democracy: Hamas and the Palestinian elections

The committee indicated that it will finish studying, deciding on, and announcing the applications to the public, including the names of the lists and candidates, on the sixth of next April, so that citizens can view them and submit objections and appeals to any of the lists and candidates.

(Source / 01.04.2021)