Palestinian Authority plans to call off first elections in 15 years

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Egyptian officials say the Palestinian Authority plans to call off its first elections in 15 years, citing Israel’s refusal to allow voting in east Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported.

An Egyptian diplomat and an intelligence official told the newspaper that they had been briefed on the decision, which will be announced on Thursday at a meeting of Palestinian factions.

They said Egypt is in talks with the occupation state of ‘Israel’ to reach a compromise to allow the vote but those efforts have so far failed.

The two spoke late Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door talks, the newspaper said.

The intelligence official said Hamas wants the elections to go ahead, but that no faction wants to proceed without guarantees from the international community that voting will be held in East Jerusalem.

The official said the factions are discussing the formation of a unity government instead that would include Hamas.

Israeli Army Radio also reported that the PA had informed representatives of the international community, Jordan, and Egypt about the decision. It is believed that the Palestinian leadership will convene in Ramallah on Thursday.

According to PA officials, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been invited to attend the meeting where Abbas is set to make the cancellation announcement.

However, Al-Quds newspaper reported sources as saying that the PA had decided to cancel the elections “under heavy American and Arab pressure.”

Washington and regional countries apparently “believe that the results of the elections will not favour Fatah.”

The same sources added that the US had informed the PA that it would introduce several measures prior to any elections, including the resumption to aid to UNRWA, rehabilitating the Palestinian healthcare system, reopening the US Consulate in occupied Jerusalem, and reopening the PLO’s office in Washington.

“The US administration believes that these measures will help the moderate Palestinians get better results in the elections,” it was claimed.

Israeli sources also reported that Abbas had commissioned a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to persuade Qatar to ask for Hamas’s agreement on the election cancellation under the pretext of “inappropriate” conditions in the region.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Hamas rejects delaying Palestinian elections

The Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has rejected the delaying of the Palestinian elections, a senior group leader said on Tuesday.

“Postponing the polls – if happened – will be a serious decision,” Jamal al-Tawil told Anadolu Agency.

“Such a decision will be rejected as it will harm the high interests of the Palestinian people,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority is planning to call off the first elections in 15 years, citing Israel’s refusal to allow voting in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

An Egyptian diplomat and an intelligence official told Israel Hayom that they had been briefed on the decision, which will be announced on Thursday at a meeting of Palestinian factions.

The intelligence official said Hamas wants the elections to go ahead, but that no faction wants to proceed without guarantees from the international community that voting will be held in East Jerusalem.

The official said the factions are discussing the formation of a unity government instead that would include Hamas.

Israeli Army Radio also reported that the PA had informed representatives of the international community, Jordan, and Egypt about the decision. It is believed that the Palestinian leadership will convene in Ramallah on Thursday.

According to PA officials, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been invited to attend the meeting where Abbas is set to make the cancellation announcement.

However, Al-Quds newspaper reported sources as saying that the PA had decided to cancel the elections “under heavy American and Arab pressure.”

Washington and regional countries apparently “believe that the results of the elections will not favour Fatah.”

The same sources added that the US had informed the PA that it would introduce several measures prior to any elections, including the resumption to aid to UNRWA, rehabilitating the Palestinian healthcare system, reopening the US Consulate in occupied Jerusalem, and reopening the PLO’s office in Washington.

“The US administration believes that these measures will help the moderate Palestinians get better results in the elections,” it was claimed.

Israeli sources also reported that Abbas had commissioned a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to persuade Qatar to ask for Hamas’s agreement on the election cancellation under the pretext of “inappropriate” conditions in the region.

President Mahmud Abbas said that legislative, presidential and National Council elections would be held in the coming months, as part of a warming of ties between Fatah and Hamas.

The elections are supposed to be held under decree issued by President Mahmoud Abbas in three stages: the legislative on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the elections for the National Council on August 31.

The last Palestinian elections for the Legislative Council were held in 2006, and Hamas won the majority, while presidential elections were held in 2005, and President Abbas won.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Human Rights Watch: Israel committing ‘apartheid’ against Palestinians

Across Israel and the occupied territory, Israeli authorities have sought to maximize the land available for Jewish settlers and to concentrate most Palestinians in dense population centers

Israeli occupation authorities are committing apartheid and persecution against Palestinians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a new 213-page report issued on Tuesday.

The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.

The report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” examines Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It presents the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.

“Prominent voices have warned for years that apartheid lurks just around the corner if the trajectory of Israel’s rule over Palestinians does not change,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This detailed study shows that Israeli authorities have already turned that corner and today are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The finding of apartheid and persecution does not change the legal status of the occupied territory, made up of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, or the factual reality of occupation.

Originally coined in relation to South Africa, apartheid today is a universal legal term. The prohibition against particularly severe institutional discrimination and oppression or apartheid constitutes a core principle of international law. The 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court (ICC) define apartheid as a crime against humanity consisting of three primary elements:

  1. An intent to maintain domination by one racial group over another.
  2. A context of systematic oppression by the dominant group over the marginalized group.
  3. Inhumane acts.

The reference to a racial group is understood today to address not only treatment on the basis of genetic traits but also treatment on the basis of descent and national or ethnic origin, as defined in the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. Human Rights Watch applies this broader understanding of race.

The crime against humanity of persecution, as defined under the Rome Statute and customary international law, consists of severe deprivation of fundamental rights of a racial, ethnic, or other group with discriminatory intent.

Human Rights Watch found that the elements of the crimes come together in the occupied territory, as part of a single Israeli government policy. That policy is to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territory. It is coupled in the occupied territory with systematic oppression and inhumane acts against Palestinians living there.

Drawing on years of human rights documentation, case studies, and a review of government planning documents, statements by officials, and other sources, Human Rights Watch compared policies and practices toward Palestinians in the occupied territory and Israel with those concerning Jewish Israelis living in the same areas. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Israeli government in July 2020, soliciting its perspectives on these issues, but has received no response.

Across Israel and the occupied territory, Israeli authorities have sought to maximize the land available for Jewish settlers and to concentrate most Palestinians in dense population centers.

The authorities have adopted policies to mitigate what they have openly described as a “demographic threat” from Palestinians.

In Jerusalem, for example, the government’s plan for the municipality, including both the west and occupied east parts of the city, sets the goal of “maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city” and even specifies the demographic ratios it hopes to maintain.

To maintain domination, Israeli authorities systematically discriminate against Palestinians. The institutional discrimination that Palestinian citizens of Israel face includes laws that allow hundreds of small Jewish towns to effectively exclude Palestinians and budgets that allocate only a fraction of resources to Palestinian schools as compared to those that serve Jewish Israeli children. In the occupied territory, the severity of the repression, including the imposition of draconian military rule on Palestinians while affording Jewish Israelis living in a segregated manner in the same territory their full rights under Israel’s rights-respecting civil law, amounts to the systematic oppression required for apartheid.

Israeli authorities have committed a range of abuses against Palestinians. Many of those in the occupied territory constitute severe abuses of fundamental rights and the inhumane acts again required for apartheid, including: sweeping movement restrictions in the form of the Gaza closure and a permit regime, confiscation of more than a third of the land in the West Bank, harsh conditions in parts of the West Bank that led to the forcible transfer of thousands of Palestinians out of their homes, denial of residency rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their relatives, and the suspension of basic civil rights to millions of Palestinians.

Many of the abuses at the core of the commission of these crimes, such as near-categorical denial of building permits to Palestinians and demolition of thousands of homes on the pretext of lacking permits, have no security justification.

Others, such as Israel’s effective freeze on the population registry it manages in the occupied territory, which all but blocks family reunification for Palestinians living there and bars Gaza residents from living in the West Bank, use security as a pretext to further demographic goals. Even when security forms part of the motivation, it no more justifies apartheid and persecution than it would excessive force or torture, Human Rights Watch said.

“Denying millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights, without any legitimate security justification and solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish, is not simply a matter of an abusive occupation,” Roth said. “These policies, which grant Jewish Israelis the same rights and privileges wherever they live and discriminate against Palestinians to varying degrees wherever they live, reflect a policy to privilege one people at the expense of another.”

Statements and actions by Israeli authorities in recent years, including the passage of a law with constitutional status in 2018 establishing Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people,” the growing body of laws that further privilege Israeli settlers in the West Bank and do not apply to Palestinians living in the same territory, as well as the massive expansion in recent years of settlements and accompanying infrastructure connecting settlements to Israel, have clarified their intent to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis. The possibility that a future Israeli leader might someday forge a deal with Palestinians that dismantles the discriminatory system does not negate that reality today.

Israeli authorities should dismantle all forms of repression and discrimination that privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians, including with regards to freedom of movement, allocation of land and resources, access to water, electricity, and other services, and the granting of building permits.

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor should investigate and prosecute those credibly implicated in the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. Countries should do so as well in accordance with their national laws under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on officials responsible for committing these crimes.

The findings of crimes against humanity should prompt the international community to reevaluate the nature of its engagement in Israel and Palestine and adopt an approach centered on human rights and accountability rather than solely on the stalled “peace process.” Countries should establish a UN commission of inquiry to investigate systematic discrimination and repression in Israel and Palestine and a UN global envoy for the crimes of persecution and apartheid with a mandate to mobilize international action to end persecution and apartheid worldwide.

Countries should condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps toward ending their commission of these crimes. Countries should vet agreements, cooperation schemes, and all forms of trade and dealing with Israel to screen for those directly contributing to committing the crimes, mitigate the human rights impacts and, where not possible, end activities and funding found to facilitate these serious crimes.

“While much of the world treats Israel’s half-century occupation as a temporary situation that a decades-long ‘peace process’ will soon cure, the oppression of Palestinians there has reached a threshold and a permanence that meets the definitions of the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” Roth said. “Those who strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace, whether a one or two-state solution or a confederation, should in the meantime recognize this reality for what it is and bring to bear the sorts of human rights tools needed to end it.”

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Hamas welcomes Human Rights Watch report

Days of Palestine – Gaza – The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas welcomed the report of the international “Human Rights Watch” organization, which confirmed with evidence that the Israeli occupation has always committed crimes against humanity through the policy of apartheid and persecution against the Palestinians.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said on Tuesday in a press statement that this report comes from a neutral and international party, and depends on a set of facts, and confirms once again the Palestinian narrative that talks about crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli occupation continuously against the Palestinians.

Read More: Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’ crimes against Palestinians

Qassem pointed out that the report is added to a series of similar reports condemning the Israeli occupation with crimes against humanity.

He pointed out that “the Human Rights Watch report stresses the need for serious and practical international action to hold accountable and punish the occupation for these crimes, and for the international community to fulfill its duties regarding the continuation of these crimes.”

Read More: Human Rights Center: Israel arrests 633 Jerusalemites since the beginning of 2021

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’ crimes against Palestinians

An international rights watchdog accused Israel on Tuesday of pursuing policies of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians – and against its own Arab minority – that amount to crimes against humanity.

New York-based Human Rights Watch published a 213-page report which, it said, was not aimed at comparing Israel with apartheid-era South Africa but rather at assessing “whether specific acts and policies” constitute apartheid as defined under international law.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and all Palestinian factions welcomed the report.

Read More: The ‘real’ apartheid

Just weeks ago the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would investigate war crimes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the Israeli occupation forces as possible perpetrators.

In its report, HRW pointed to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement and seizure of Palestinian-owned land for Jewish settlement in territory occupied in the 1967 Middle East war as examples of policies it said were crimes of apartheid and persecution.

Read More: If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?

“Across (Israel) and the Palestinian territories, Israeli occupation authorities have pursued an intent to maintain domination over Palestinians by exercising control over land and demographics for the benefit of Jewish Israelis,” the report says.

“On this basis, the report concludes that Israeli officials have committed the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution,” as defined under the 1973 Apartheid Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Israel Closes Gaza Fishing Zone

Days of Palestine – Gaza – The Israeli authorities Monday closed the Gaza sea in the face of Palestinian fishermen, “in response to the rocket fire.”

Coordinator of the Union of Fishermen’s Committees, Zakaria Bakr, said that we have been informed by the competent authorities of the decision of the Israeli occupation authorities to completely close the sea to Palestinian fishermen, from dawn today until further notice.

Read More: Gaza Under Attack: Israel strikes separated areas in Gaza

He added in a statement to Quds Press that this is an unjust decision that deprives 4 thousand fishermen of their daily food, and increases the burdens on them, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” Abd al-Latif Al-Qanou’ said that the closing of the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip to fishermen, is a flagrant violation of their rights, and one of the forms of continuous aggression against the Palestinian people.

Read More: Israel releases a Palestinian from Gaza, hours after his arrest

Al-Qanou’ said in a written statement that the aggressive policy of the Israeli occupation towards our Palestinian people will not break the spirit of their steadfastness or break their arms and limit their resolve.

He added that we will not accept measures of tightening and stress again on our Palestinian people, and the Zionist occupation bears the consequences of its aggressive behavior.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Israeli forces arrest Palestinians in Jerusalem; clashes erupt

Days of Palestine – Jerusalem – Israeli occupation forces arrested a number of Palestinian young men, including two girls Monday in separate areas in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, and as a result, clashes erupted with Israeli forces and settlers.

In Jerusalem, special forces of the Israeli army kidnapped 4 young men during clashes in the town of Beit Hanina, north of occupied Jerusalem, in opposition to the continued attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Jerusalemites in Bab al-Amud.

Read More: Israeli forces arrest two Palestinian brothers after beating them in Jerusalem

Israeli forces attacked the Beit Hanina march, which came out against the occupation measures against the holy city, and later turned into clashes in the town, during which sound and gas bombs were fired at the demonstrators.

Israeli forces also arrested two girls from the Bab al-Amud area after beating them in a brutal manner, while they beat other girls in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Read More: Israeli forces arrest two Palestinians from Ramallah

Israeli occupation forces arrested two young men near Bab al-Khalil in Jerusalem, claiming they had attacked the soldiers and arrested another young man in Sultan Suleiman Street in Jerusalem. Earlier Monday morning, they attacked a number of young men near the Lions Gate, as well.

In Hebron, the Israeli occupation forces arrested the two young men, Rasmi Tariq Jaber and Safwan Basil Jaber, from the Jaber neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron, after an extremist settler assaulted the residents of the neighborhood.

In Nablus, settlers attacked Palestinian citizens’ vehicles with stones on the road between Jenin and Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

The official in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Douglas, said that settlers closed the road between Jenin and Nablus, and attacked citizens’ vehicles with stones, which resulted in damage to some of them.

Douglas added that the people of Burqa village, north of Nablus, responded to the settlers’ attack, which led to the outbreak of clashes with the Israeli occupation forces.

He pointed out that the Israeli occupation fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the Palestinians.

Jerusalem activists called for the continuation of the popular revolution in order to prevent the occupation and settlers from storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to stop the demolition, Judaization, and seizure of homes in Jerusalem neighborhoods, especially Sheikh Jarrah.

It is noteworthy that, since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the city of Jerusalem has witnessed daily clashes with the Israeli occupation forces that tried to empty the Bab al-Amud area and the surrounding Jerusalemites.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Israeli forces detain six Palestinians from West Bank

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – Israeli forces on Tuesday detained at least six Palestinians from various parts of the West Bank, according to local sources.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested three young men today during violent clashes that broke out in the Jabal Al-Zaitoun neighborhood, east of occupied Jerusalem.

Read More: Israeli forces detain nine Palestinians from West Bank

In Bethlehem, the occupation forces arrested Muhammad Daoud Shousha (20 years), after they raided and searched his father’s house.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested two young men and beat another during clashes near the northern entrance to Bethlehem.

Read More: Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians from West Bank

In Tubas, the occupation forces arrested the 26-year-old Mustafa Murshid Abu Sayaj, after they raided and searched his father’s house.

This comes within the daily arrests campaigns practiced by the occupation forces against Palestinians in the West Bank.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Human Rights Center: Israel arrests 633 Jerusalemites since the beginning of 2021

Days of Palestine – Jerusalem – The Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies has monitored 633 arrests in the occupied city of Jerusalem since the beginning of 2021.

The Center emphasized that the Israeli occupation is using the policy of massive arrests in Jerusalem as a collective punishment to drain the Jerusalemites and deter them from defending the Holy City and confronting the escalating incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Read More: Report: Israel killed 18 Palestinians since 2021

The researcher, Riad Al-Ashqar, considered that the ongoing arrests in Jerusalem are a systematic and intended policy to deplete Jerusalemites and create a harsh living, economic, and security reality that targets all aspects of their lives, so that they become threatened and unstable, to push them to leave their homes and holy sites voluntarily for the occupation.

He pointed out that among the detention cases (182) of minors under the age of 18 years, all of whom were subjected to abuse and beatings at the moment of arrest, and imposed financial fines on them in exchange for their release after being detained for hours or days.

Read More: Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’ crimes against Palestinians

While the cases of detention among Jerusalemite women have reached (33), the majority of them were arrested in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the pretext of existing inside it or to confront settler attacks.

The Center has monitored the occupation’s issuance of (71) deportation decisions from Al-Aqsa and Old Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, as well as more than (65) home detention decisions against Jerusalemites, the majority of whom are children.

(Source / 27.04.2021)

Occupation Forces close Gaza fishing zone

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation army fully closed the Gaza fishing zone on Monday morning, forbidding Palestinian fishermen from sailing off the coast of the beleaguered enclave after the Palestinian resistance fired more rockets towards Israeli areas overnight.

The Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza said earlier that they were responding to Israeli violations against the Palestinians and the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Coordinator of the fishermen syndicate Zakariya Baker said that the competent authorities in Gaza told them that the Israeli army decided to close the fishing zone completely and ban Gaza fishermen from sailing off the coast until further notice.

“This is an unjust and arbitrary decision that deprives 4,000 fishermen of their daily source of livelihood and increases their burdens in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions already imposed by the [Israeli] occupation navy,” Baker added.

In a separate incident, Israeli forces opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers and their lands in the east of Khuza’a town in southern Gaza.

Local sources said that Israeli soldiers attacked shepherds and farmers in the east of the town and forced them to leave the area.

No one was reportedly hurt in the shooting attack.

(Source / 27.04.2021)