Israel continues to detain Palestinian MPs on International Day of Parliamentarism

Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Ramallah on 10 August, 2015 [Ahmad Gharabli/Getty Images]
Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Ramallah on 10 August, 2015

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, yesterday condemned the ongoing Israeli detention of Palestinian MPs on the UN’s annual International Day of Parliamentarism, 30 June.

Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif Al-Qanou pointed out that the Israeli occupation authorities have arrested more than 50 Palestinian MPs since 2006, when the movement won free and fair elections in the occupied territories.

“The detention of Palestinian MPs is a violation of international laws and conventions and gross disrespect for parliamentary immunity,” he said.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are twelve Palestinian MPs currently detained by Israel. Khalida Jarrar MP of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was the most recently detained, in October 2019.

The Hamas spokesman also condemned the Palestinian Authority’s disregard for the Palestinian parliament — the Legislative Council — and parliamentarians. Al-Qanou cited the ouster of the parliament by the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose own electoral mandate ended in 2009. Abbas has monopolised the Palestinian political decision-making process for the past fifteen years.

READ: Horrific tales of Palestinian girls in Israeli jails

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Hamas official says relations with Hezbollah ‘never cut’

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya speaks during a meeting held under the name of 'National Developments' in Gaza city, Gaza on 1 December 2020. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya speaks during a meeting held under the name of ‘National Developments’ in Gaza city, Gaza on 1 December 2020

A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip has said that the movement’s relations with Hezbollah in Lebanon are “good” and “have never been severed”, Arabi21 has reported. Khalil Al-Hayya is the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in the enclave.

“We may disagree on some issues, but there is no tension between us and the brothers in Hezbollah, nor between us and any component of the [Arab] nation, because we seek to have a good relationship with everyone,” explained Al-Hayya. The relationship with Hezbollah is “deep, stable and solid,” he added.

The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, received the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, in Beirut on Tuesday. Haniyeh was accompanied by a delegation from the movement.

According to a statement from the Lebanese group, Nasrallah and Haniyeh discussed the latest Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip as well as its consequences on the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international levels.

Al-Hayya pointed out that the meeting with Nasrallah also focused on the unprecedented global solidarity with the Palestinian cause during the Israeli military offensive in May. This, he said, confirms that the Palestinian cause still occupies an important place in the hearts of free people around the world.

The issue of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was considered by the two leaders. Their discussion looked at Hezbollah’s possible contribution towards helping the refugees to obtain some of their social and human rights in a way that does not affect the reality for the Lebanese people.

READ: In egypt, Israel discusses Hamas prisoner swap deal

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Israel fears revival of northern branch of Islamic Movement

Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel speaks to the crowd as he arrives in a prison in Haifa [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel speaks to the crowd as he arrives in a prison in Haifa, 17 August 2020

Israeli security officials have voiced their fear of the revival of the northern branch of the country’s Islamic Movement led by imprisoned Sheikh Raed Salah. The movement was banned by the occupation state six years ago.

According to Quds Press, local media have reported that the leaders of the southern branch of the movement, who are part of the Israeli government coalition, have recently expressed their sympathy with the northern branch. This followed the solidarity protests in support of Jerusalem’s threatened neighbourhoods, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Gaza Strip in May. Several leaders of the northern branch were detained at the time, including the Deputy Chief of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib.

Israel Hayom cited the visit of Mansour Abbas, the head of the southern branch, to a protest tent organised by the northern branch against the detention of Sheikh Al-Khatib as evidence of the rapprochement between the two branches.

The newspaper also cited a social media post by Sheikh Mohammad Salameh Hassan of the southern branch. “All the Palestinians are united from the river to the sea until the removal of the occupation,” he said.

According to the newspaper, the difference between the two branches is their different approach to participation in Knesset elections. The southern branch agreed in 1996 while the northern branch rejects such participation.

Israel: Palestinian party condemns extension of sheikh’s detention

The Islamic Movement in Israel was established in 1971 by the late Sheikh Abdullah Nimer Darwish. It has built dozens of mosques, cultural centres, social centres and charities across Israel.

The movement won municipal elections in several cities and villages in Israel in 1989 when it participated for the first time under the slogan “Islam is the solution”. However, the movement was divided when the southern part agreed to take part in the Knesset elections in 1996.

On 17 November 2015, it was banned by the Israeli government on the pretext that it does not recognise state institutions and denies Israel’s right to exist. The Israeli cabinet considered it to be a terrorist group and accused it of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many of its leaders, first and foremost Sheikh Raed Salah, are in prison.

Critics insist that Sheikh Salah and others from the Islamic Movement detained due to their activism in support of Al Aqsa Mosque, as well as their efforts to expose Israeli violations and aggression against the Palestinians.

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Ex-Palestine PM Fayyad eyes heading new unity government

Image of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad [Issam Rimawi/Apaimages]
Former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

Former Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Prime Minister and Financial Minister Salam Fayyad yesterday concluded a three-day visit to Gaza during which he hinted he may be able to form new national unity government, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.

In 2003, Fayyad was ousted from the Finance Ministry, but following the coup against Hamas, which won the parliamentary elections in 2006 he was appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister.

He was widely known for his position against Hamas and the Palestinian resistance as his government cut the salaries of thousands of public sector employees in Gaza, which is ruled by the resistance movement, and violently cracked down on its supporters in the occupied West Bank.

He was, however, allowed to enter Gaza and visit the house of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and hold a number of unofficial meetings. He also visited the Rafah Crossing.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Fayyad is working to end the internal Palestinian division and propose himself as a potential head of a new national unity government.

Report: Palestinian Authority seeks Israel’s permission to get more anti-riot equipment

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Gaza raises level of preparedness for India covid variant

A view of Covid-19 service at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on 6 April 2021. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
A view of Covid-19 service at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on 6 April 2021

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has raised the level of preparedness in anticipation of the entry of new strains of coronavirus, including the Indian variant, the Deputy Director General of Primary Care in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr. Majdi Duhair, said.

Duhair expects the Indian variant of COVID-19 to reach Gaza Strip, since it has appeared in surrounding countries, and is characterised by its highly infectious rate.

Only 70,000 people in the Gaza Strip have received the covid vaccine, he said, adding that this gives them a level of protection against the disease.

He urged people to get vaccinated, saying it is the only safe way to confront the pandemic.

READ: Coronavirus Delta variant detected for first time in Iran

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Palestine slams German president’s claim ICC lacks jurisdiction to investigate Israel

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Munich, Germany on February 14, 2020 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/ Anadolu Agency]
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Munich, Germany on February 14, 2020

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs today slammed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s claims that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate Israeli war crimes.

The ministry described the German official’s remarks as a “departure from the rules of international law” and an “interference with the ICC’s work and decisions”.

Steinmeier told Israeli Haaretz newspaper yesterday that his country considers that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate Israel, because there is no “Palestinian state”.

In its response, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said: “The status of the State of Palestine at the international level as a state with all rights and duties, is not subject to the German president or his country’s opinion.”

The ministry called on the German minister to stop granting “Israel impunity from accountability and punishment, and considering it a state above the law.”

The ICC announced in March that it was opening an investigation into war crimes committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.

A statement issued by the office of the former Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the investigation will cover crimes committed since 13 June 2014 in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Inside Beita’s Protests: ‘The settlers didn’t understand who they were dealing with’

By Oren Ziv

Over the past few weeks, the town of Beita in the occupied West Bank, home to about 18,000 residents, has become one of the most prominent faces of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli settler land takeovers.

In May, a month after an Israeli was shot dead by Palestinians at the nearby Tapuach Junction, settlers established the outpost of Eviatar on land that belongs to Beita, as well as three other Palestinian villages. The settlers of Eviatar got to work quickly, paving roads and building dozens of structures while receiving protection and even active assistance from the Israeli military.

The outpost was named after Eviatar Borowski, a resident of the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in May 2013. Settlers have made three different attempts to build an outpost on the site, but the buildings were evacuated very soon after they were erected.

In response, Beita’s Palestinian residents began organizing demonstrations on Fridays, and later nightly protests, against the settlement.

There are over 130 settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, all of which were established illegally under both Israeli and international law (under the latter, all settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal). In February 2017, the Knesset passed the “Regularization Law” to retroactively legalize settlements and outposts that are built on land that Israel recognizes as privately-owned by Palestinians. Following its passage, a group of Palestinian local authorities and three human rights organizations petitioned Israel’s High Court to cancel the law.

The law’s implementation has been frozen as part of an agreement between the government and the petitioners until the High Court rules on its constitutionality.

The demonstrations in Beita this past month have looked and felt like a battlefield: over a thousand residents and workers from other villages protest every week, with Israeli soldiers and Border Police attacking them with tear gas (sometimes fired from a drone), stun grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets, and live “toto” bullets. The army has killed four residents of the town, including 16-year-old Muhammad Hamayel and 15-year-old Ahmad Bani Shams, and has wounded more than 50 people by live ammunition.

The demonstrations in Beita are quite distinct from those that characterized the Palestinian popular struggle against Israel’s separation barrier and settlements during the late 2000s and early 2010s, which have largely waned in recent years. Unlike in other villages in the West Bank, such as Bil’in, the Beita protests are not joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations, but clearly Palestinian ones; although individual Israeli activists attend, they do not march alongside Palestinian residents. And compared to most West Bank protests in recent years, Beita’s demonstrations are much larger, more frequent, and more intense.

I joined Beita’s demonstrations over a number of weeks. The following is a chronicle of the town’s resistance and the attempts to suppress it.

Friday, June 4

Around noon, hundreds of cars make their way up a dirt path toward the hills around the Eviatar outpost, which was established on the highest ridge of Mount Sabih. More than a thousand Palestinian protesters — most of them from Beita but also from other villages — gather for Friday prayers on a piece of land that overlooks Eviatar. Once the prayers come to a close, hundreds begin to march in the general direction of the outpost, while others burn tires nearby.

Within seconds, Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers begin firing massive amounts of tear gas. Many protesters flee backwards, but some of the young people continue to move forward. Then, dozens of meters away from me, protesters begin to hit the ground after being struck by live fire, despite the fact that the demonstrators had not even approached the outpost. While some protesters threw stones, others who did not were shot and then evacuated on foot by local residents to ambulances. Most of them were hit in the leg, but others sustained wounds across their body.

The feeling on the ground is that instead of firing rubber-coated metal bullets, they are now opting for live fire. In general, it seems that since the attack on Gaza and the violence that spread across Israel-Palestine in May, Israeli security forces have been given permission to use live ammunition. A total of 15 protesters were wounded by live fire that day. The demonstration lasted for hours, as young people tried to climb from different directions and reach the main road that leads to the outpost.

Friday, June 11

Arriving at Beita is getting more difficult; the army blocked one of the main entrances to the town following the protests. Some of the entrances from the nearby village of Udala were also blocked with mounds of dirt — a form of collective punishment against Beita’s residents.

This week, protesters gathered for a prayer on the other side of the outpost, above a local quarry. After the prayers, the village youth begin to roll burning tires toward the steep valley, which separates the demonstration from the outpost. After being fired at with tear gas, the protesters scatter to several surrounding hills, throwing stones at the soldiers, who then respond with live ammunition.

In the afternoon, soldiers shoot Muhammad Hamail, a 16-year-old high school student, who dies shortly afterward from his wounds. His school friend, 15-year-old Ahmad Bani Shamsa, will be shot by soldiers several days later, on June 16. He too will die.

Friday, June 18

After the army blocks all major access roads to the town, including the main entrance, the weekly demonstration gathers in front of a new makeshift checkpoint that is guarded by Israeli soldiers 24 hours a day. About a thousand Palestinian protesters pray on the main road. Now they are forced to travel 20 minutes to head out of the town.

Immediately after the prayer, when the march begins, Border Police officers begin throwing stun grenades and tear gas. Many protesters retreat, while dozens of young people remain and throw stones at the soldiers.

This time, perhaps because of the large number of Palestinian deaths caused by their policy over the past month, the soldiers refrain from using live fire. They nonetheless fire rubber-coated metal and sponge bullets in large quantities at the protesters. A number of journalists standing on the side toward the front of the demonstration were wounded and evacuated. Young protesters took large plastic boxes, which are used to transport agricultural produce, from a nearby warehouse and use them as barricades.

Toward the afternoon, the protest moves to the hills around Eviatar. “We will not give up our land. The settlers who established the outpost did not understand who they were dealing with,” says A., a 30-year-old protester.

“This is not a small village, this is a city,” he continued. “We will continue to go out every week until they clear the land and make a beautiful place for recreation or other activities. We cannot accept that they have taken over our house when all this is happening with the help of the army. Without the help of the Israeli forces, [the settlers] would not have stayed there a single day. We would have thrown them out.”

Thursday, June 24

The Beita demonstrations are not limited to daytime hours. Inspired by Palestinian protests at the Gaza-Israel fence, Beita’s residents are operating “units” that burn tires, light bonfires, and shine powerful flashlights and lasers to disturb and deter the settlers. This morning, army forces raided the hills around the outpost, confiscating tires and blocking access roads. The main entrance and the town were open today because Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visited in the morning.

Beita’s residents have been holding these near-nightly demonstrations for the past two weeks. Despite attempts to quell them, hundreds of people regularly gather at sunset on a hill in front of the settlement. Some sit, drink, eat, and pray. In the dark, hundreds of young people descend into the valley and begin to burn tires that the army has not yet confiscated. Others help light the area with flashlights and lasers pointed at the settlement and at the soldiers around it. As opposed to the daylight demonstrations, the soldiers are afraid to move away from the settlement toward the Palestinians, and instead fire tear gas from the nearby terraces.

At around 9 p.m., 200 young Palestinians hold a torchlight procession. Some tear gas grenades cause them to disperse into the hilly terrain.

B., one of the regular Palestinian protesters who holds a flashlight in his hand, says: “They [the settlers] came to stay. When they came they thought [Beita] was a small village, but here everyone goes out to protest, and we understand that the nightly protests are particularly disturbing to them. It’s been like this every night for several days now.”

As we chat, young people pass by and share drinks and homemade food. “This is from the kindness of people’s hearts,” B. says about the food. “People go to grocery stores, buy or cook, and hand out food here to support us. The whole community participates in the protest, each in their own way.”

One of the Palestinian adults looks on at the night protest and says, “Why did they [the army] kill the young people who went out to demonstrate? What danger did they pose?” He points to his friend, a 60-year-old man who came to the protest on crutches after being wounded.

“Here the young people are inspired by the adults and vice versa. Everyone goes out to protest. They killed six of our young people here [including two killed last year during a protest against a settler patrol through the village], and people are still continuing to demonstrate.”

Friday, June 25

The protesters gather for prayer in an open area in front of the outpost. But even before the prayer begins, soldiers hiding among the olive trees near the protest shoot tear gas. “Do not throw stones, do not move toward them,” pleads a Palestinian man with a megaphone. “We’ll finish the prayer and then we’ll go to the demonstration.”

The army continues to fire tear gas and dozens of worshipers remain to pray under a cloud of gas, as a medic with a gas mask hands out alcohol wipes, which help deal with the string of tear gas.

An Israeli military jeep fires rounds of tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters in Beita, West Bank, June 25, 2021. (Oren
As soon as the prayer is over, the young Palestinians begin advancing toward the soldiers and throw stones. A military jeep launches tear gas at them, about 20 grenades at a time. The protesters flee everywhere, some fall to the ground and are evacuated by paramedics. Later, an Israeli drone also shoots tear gas at the protesters.

At around 2 p.m., a young Palestinian is hit by live fire and falls to the ground. He is taken by an ambulance to a hospital in Nablus. We later hear that the bullet went into one side of his cheek and came out the other side, causing no severe damage.

The protesters continue to demonstrate. Every once in a while, a Palestinian on a motorized scooter arrives from the direction of Beita carrying water, soft drinks, rice, and cakes. At around 3 p.m. the driver delivers rice and meat to the protesters, who sit to eat under the olive trees.

“Write that this is not a conflict, but occupation and apartheid,” one of the young men demands in English. “American money not only finances the tear gas that is being fired at us, but also the settlement they have built here, the roads, everything. International support allows them to take over our land.”

Monday, June 28

Yossi Dagan, who heads the Samaria Regional Council, announces that the residents of Eviatar have reached an agreement with the state. According to the so-called “compromise,” the settlers and their supporters would leave the area, but the structures will remain in place under the army’s protection. In six weeks, the settlers will be allowed to establish a new yeshiva there.

The state will also review the legal status of the land upon which Eviatar was established in order to potentially formalize it retroactively. Palestinian landowners were not included in the discussions. The deal has yet to be made official, which leaves room for both sides to change their position.

According to Dror Etkes, who heads Kerem Navot, an organization that monitors and researches Israeli land policy in the West Bank, Eviatar was established on land cultivated by Palestinian farmers until the army entered the area in the 1980s, built a makeshift base, and left in the late 1990s.

The settlers and their supporters, who arrived at the outpost last night in case the army carried out an evacuation, continue with the construction work. Some are clearly energized by the deal and the potential to formalize the outpost; others are less sanguine, fearing their dream will not come true. They pray and dance in the small school they erected, singing “This is our land forever, and we won’t give it to anyone.”

Daniela Weiss, a prominent settler leader and one of the top figures in Gush Emunim, a right-wing religious movement committed to building settlements across the occupied territories that operated in the 1970s, and who helped establish Eviatar, tells journalists at the outpost:

In Gush Emunim, we learned that our job is not to force the government but to elevate the government. Our achievement is that we have pushed the government to reach the situation that it itself wants. Who could have imagined that this government would find a noble and uplifting way to converse without force, but rather out of appreciation for the builders of the land. The achievement is that together we have transcended our daily political bickering. This is a very significant achievement. I learned that from Rabbi Levinger [one of the leaders of Gush Emunim].

In the afternoon, Palestinians begin burning tires, with the wind carrying the smoke toward the settlement. Settlers say that the situation in the area has improved slightly, after soldiers confiscated hundreds of tires near the village last week. Several young settlers stood on the terraces overlooking Beita, alongside two Israeli army reservists stationed at the site. “If the Arabs come, can they be shot?” one of them asked the soldiers. “You can shoot tear gas,” replied one of the soldiers.”

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct 18 Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight until morning hours Thursday, eighteen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including the occupied capital, Jerusalem.

In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted seven Palestinians from their homes in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the city.

They have been identified as Rami Amid Hdeib, 20, Mahmoud Issa Jawabra, 24, Mohammad Issa Jawabra, 20, Ahmad Rafat Badawi, 17, Obaida Emad ar-Ra’ey, 17, Sayyed Emad ar-Ra’ey, 48, and Anan Nidal Sharif, 23.

In Nablus, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Abdul-Rahman Osama al-Baz,  Tareq Mahmoud Rawajba, at-Tayyeb Abdul-Razed Daoud, and his brother Wisam.

In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Adnan Ezzeddin Abu Na’sa, in addition to Mustafa al-Badawi and his son Mohammad.

Furthermore, the Israeli police abducted Mohammad Jaradat and Luay Shawahna, from Jenin, while working in occupied Jerusalem.

In Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted a high school student, identified as Mohammad Yazid Bahar.

In addition, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Mohannad Siyajat, 26, from Jenin, while visiting an area in the Northern Plains of the West Bank.

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians In Jenin

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, three young Palestinian men in Jenin city, in northern West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers invaded Jenin city, leading to protests, and abducted the three young men.

The Israeli army claims the three were involved in opening fire at the soldiers during the invasion.

The army did not report any injuries and said the three were moved for interrogation at a “security center.”

In related news, the soldiers abducted, overnight until morning hours Thursday, eighteen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including the occupied capital, Jerusalem.

(Source / 01.07.2021)

Sources to QNN: PA decided to go ahead with Israeli expired COVID vaccines deal

West Bank (QNN)- Private sources told QNN that the Palestinian Authority decided to go ahead with the Israeli expired COVID vaccines deal that has been announced to be canceled two weeks ago.

The sources said that the Ministry of Health has currently 200,000 vaccines and it does not need more.

However, they added that “the PA has ignored all results or recommendations that may be issued by the commission of inquiry that has been formed to investigate the deal with the occupation state and Pfizer company, which was supposed to meet with the Prime Minister, Muhammad Ishtayyeh, on Saturday.”

Ishtayyeh had announced the formation of a commission of inquiry following the outrage that the deal sparked among Palestinians.

Israeli media had reported that the occupation state would damage 800,000 vaccines if it could not find buyers within two weeks.

(Source / 01.07.2021)