UN: ‘Free, democratic’ Palestinian vote must include East Jerusalem

Supporters of the Hamas movement take part in a rally against the decision of the Palestinian authorities president to delay the legislative and presidential polls scheduled for May 22 and July 31, respectively, in Gaza City on April 30, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]
Supporters of the Hamas movement take part in a rally against the decision of the Palestinian authorities president to delay the legislative and presidential polls scheduled for May 22 and July 31, respectively, in Gaza City on April 30, 2021

UN human rights experts Monday called on the Palestinian Authority and Israel to reschedule elections for the Palestinian presidency, legislature, and municipalities within a reasonable time to ensure “free, fair, democratic, peaceful, and credible” polls, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Palestinian parliamentary elections had been scheduled for May and the presidential polls for July.

They were, however, postponed indefinitely on April 29 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas due to concerns about Palestinians’ ability to vote in East Jerusalem.

“We are deeply concerned by the postponement of the scheduled elections in Palestine,” said the experts.

The experts included Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory; Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression; and Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly.

READ: ‘Palestine presidency does not tolerate or accept criticism’

“The Palestinian elections present a monumental opportunity to renew the democratic process, to address the long-standing internal political divisions, to strengthen accountable institutions, and to take an important step towards achieving the fundamental national and individual rights of the Palestinian people,” the experts asserted.

“We call upon Israel to clearly state that it will allow the full democratic participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in the planned elections. As the occupying power in East Jerusalem, it must interfere as little as possible with the rights and daily lives of the Palestinians.”

They said that given advances in technology and remote and electronic voting, a variety of means to enable full democratic participation is available.

Israel refuses to hold polls in Jerusalem - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Israel refuses to hold polls in Jerusalem – Cartoon

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Calls for increased early detection of heart conditions among young in Gaza

Palestinian medical staff have rest outside Shifa Hospital as they continue to save lives of Palestinians amid Israeli attacks in Gaza City, Gaza on 13 May 2021. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian medical staff have rest outside Shifa Hospital as they continue to save lives of Palestinians amid Israeli attacks in Gaza City, Gaza on 13 May 2021

As many as seven young people have died after suffering sudden cardiac arrests within a week in the besieged Gaza Strip, local media reported.

The latest death was reported yesterday, when 32-year-old Abdullah Zidan was pronounced dead after suffering a heart attack.

Dr. Khamis Al-Assy, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Islamic University in Gaza, explains that the “sudden death” rate in the Gaza Strip is normal and similar to other parts of the world.

According to Dr. Al- Assy, the main causes for sudden death are cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defect or arrhythmia.

Dr. Al- Assy called for the early detection of heart conditions among young people.

Hamas: Israel strikes in Gaza ‘failed attempt to show off its power’

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Fatah: No chance of reconciliation with Dahlan

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (L) stands with Mohammad Dahlan, a strongman from the Fatah party in Ramallah, 25 March 2007 [JAMAL ARURI/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (L) stands with Mohammad Dahlan, a strongman from the Fatah party in Ramallah, 25 March 2007

Palestinian movement Fatah has ruled out any possible of reconciliation with dismissed leader Mohammad Dahlan.

Speaking to Al-Watan Voice, spokesperson Hussein Hamayel said: “Dahlan is behind us, and all the analyses regarding his return to the movement are false.”

This came after Gaza MP Ashraf Jumaa wrote on Facebook: “We are awaiting a dramatic incident.” Some people predicted it could be a reconciliation between Fatah and Dahlan.

“We do not have any interest in reconciliation with Dahlan,” Hamayel stressed, noting that the decision to dismiss Dahlan was taken by Fatah’s Central Committee.

Meanwhile, Dahlan’s Democratic Reform Bloc said he “is always seeking to reunite Fatah”, while calling to “stop the autocratic domination over Fatah.”

Fifty-eight-year-old Dahlan was expelled from Fatah’s ruling body in 2011 on allegations of plotting to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and has been living in exile in the UAE since 2012.

He was the former head of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip.

In December 2019, Turkey added Dahlan to its most wanted terrorist list, with a $1.7 million bounty on his head, due to his alleged involvement in perpetrating the attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government on 15 July 2016, in cooperation with followers of the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who remains in the US.

READ: Fatah open to return of all dismissed members, except Dahlan

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Palestinian state would ‘cripple’ US interests in Middle East, claims journalist

The Israeli and United States flags are projected on the walls of the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City, to mark one year since the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 15, 2019. [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]
The Israeli and United States flags are projected on the walls of the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City, to mark one year since the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 15, 2019

A Jewish Israeli journalist said at the weekend that the establishment of a Palestinian state would “cripple” US interests in the Middle East. Yoram Ettinger added that the land of Palestine is the cradle of Judaism and claimed that the establishment of a Palestinian entity would be a violation of international law.

Ettinger made his comments in the Jewish National Syndicate. Both the League of Nations in 1922 and the UN 23 years later, he said, were “committed to establishing a Jewish National Home in the entire area [of Palestine].”

Having a state of Palestine on what he believes is Israeli territory would, he argued, “add another rogue regime to the stormy region, intensify terrorism and war, inflame regional instability, exacerbate the Israel-Palestinian conflict, undermine the expansion of the Israel-Arab peace process, generate a tailwind for rogue entities and cripple US interests.”

Furthermore, an Israeli “retreat” to the pre-1967 status quo “would obliterate Israel’s posture of deterrence, and would transform Israel from a unique force-multiplier to a strategic liability for the US, depriving it of the largest aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American on board.”

In order to push the Palestinians to forget about their dream of liberating their land, he suggested that, “A dramatic Israeli territorial concession, buttressed by a game-changing international financial package, would entice the Palestinians to abandon the goal to eliminate the Jewish State.”

The journalist pointed out that the US has been supporting a two-state solution which, if implemented, will see a Palestinian state on less than 20 per cent of historic Palestine alongside Israel on more than 80 per cent. To add some historical context to this, it should be noted that the UN 1947 Partition Plan envisaged an almost 50-50 split of the land, with a slight territorial bias towards what became the state of Israel.

READ: Jewish MK calls Arab colleague a ‘terrorist’ in the Knesset

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Israel fines PA over 1980s kidnapping of 2 Jewish women, media reports

Israeli forces take security measures around the Jerusalem District Court in West Jerusalem on February 8, 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces take security measures around the Jerusalem District Court in West Jerusalem on February 8, 2021

An Israeli District Court in Jerusalem has fined the Palestinian Authority (PA) one million shekels ($306,000) in case of the kidnapping of two Jewish women in the 1980s, local media reported yesterday.

According to Al-Watan Voice, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem ruled that the PA pay the fine to the women’s heirs, as they have now passed away.

The two women were kidnapped, the court said, by the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from Egypt’s Port Said in 1985. They were then taken to the Port of Tartous in Syria.

READ: Israel refuses to release detained PFLP leader Khalida Jarrar for daughter’s funeral

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Armed clashes, injuries, and arrests in raids of occupation in the West Bank

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – Clashes erupted in the city of Jenin, during which the Israeli occupation forces stormed the town to carry out raids and arrests while arresting several citizens in the West Bank.

In Jenin, an armed clash broke out between resistance fighters in the city and the Israeli occupation forces, which stormed the town to arrest. At the same time, other confrontations erupted, during which a young man was wounded, and others were arrested.

Read More: Armed clash with Israeli forces in Jenin, freedom fighters injured

The sources added that the Israeli occupation forces raided several houses on Jenin Street – Nablus, including Imad Ahmed Saba’neh and Abdel Jamal Abu Na’asah, and arrested them after provocatively searching their homes and destroying their contents.

In Nablus, violent confrontations erupted between the occupation forces and the youths who closed Amman Street with burning rubber tires and threw stones at the occupation patrols. At the same time, the soldiers fired sound and gas bombs.

Read More: Israel arrests 19 Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem

Local sources said that the Israeli occupation soldiers fired rubber bullets at a journalist while covering the storming of Joseph’s Tomb, east of Nablus.

It reported that five young men were wounded by rubber bullets, including journalist Abdullah Bahah.

During the presence of settlers in Joseph’s Tomb, the entrance to Beit Furik town was closed. At the same time, the occupation allowed Beit Furik and Beit Dajan vehicles to use the bypass road leading to Hawara camp as an alternative to the Nablus road.

In Bethlehem, the Israeli occupation forces stormed Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and arrested Ahmed Saleh Thawabteh after raiding and searching his family’s house.

At dawn, the Israeli occupation forces raided a house belonging to Muhammad Ahmed al-Sheikh, father of prisoner Mahmoud, in the village of Marah in the south, and searched it and destroyed its contents.

Israeli occupation forces arrested the freed prisoner, Asaad Mahmoud Abu Ashour, from the city of Bethlehem while he was passing through the Container checkpoint north of Bethlehem. The occupation forces also arrested the young man, Jalal Hani Diriyah, after raiding his family’s house in the city.

Separate areas of the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem witness daily incursions by the occupation forces, including raids and searches of homes, sabotaging their contents, and terrorizing their residents, especially women and children.

(Source / 27.07.2021)

HRW accuses Israel of striking and killing civilians in Gaza with no evidence of military targets = a war crime

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today that it investigated three Israeli strikes during its war on Gaza in May that killed 62 Palestinian civilians where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity, which amount to war crimes.

It said Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups carried out attacks during the May 2021 fighting in the Gaza Strip and Israel that violated the laws of war and apparently amount to war crimes, adding that the Israeli military has a long track record of failing to investigate laws of war violations in Gaza.

“Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby,” said Gerry Simpson, associate crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch. “Israeli authorities’ consistent unwillingness to seriously investigate alleged war crimes, as well as Palestinian forces’ rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers, underscores the importance of the International Criminal Court’s inquiry.”

Read More: UN expert: “Israeli settlements do amount to war crime”

The United Nations reported that during the May fighting, attacks by the Israeli military killed 260 Palestinians, including at least 129 civilians, of whom 66 were children. The Gaza Health Ministry said Israeli forces injured 1,948 Palestinians, including 610 children. Israeli authorities said that rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups resulted in the death of 12 civilians, including two children, one soldier, and injured “several hundred” people.

Since late May, Human Rights Watch interviewed in person 30 Palestinians who witnessed Israeli attacks, were relatives of civilians killed, or were residents of areas targeted. It focused its investigation on three Israeli attacks that resulted in high numbers of civilian casualties and where there was no evident military target. Other Israeli attacks during the conflict were also likely unlawful, it said.

Read More: Gaza marks sombre Eid in the shadow of Israel’s war

On May 10 near the town of Beit Hanoun, an Israeli-guided missile struck near four houses of the al-Masri family, killing eight civilians, including six children. On May 15 a guided bomb destroyed a three-story building in al-Shati refugee camp, killing 10 civilians, two women and eight children from two related families. And on May 16 a series of Israeli airstrikes lasting four minutes struck al-Wahda Street in Gaza City, causing three multi-story buildings to collapse, killing 44 civilians. The Israeli military said it was targeting tunnels and an underground command center used by armed groups, but presented no details to support that claim.

Under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, warring parties may target only military objectives, said HRW. They must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, including by providing effective advance warnings of attacks. Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects are prohibited. The laws of war also prohibit indiscriminate attacks, which include attacks that do not distinguish between civilians and military targets or do not target a military objective. Attacks in which the expected harm to civilians and civilian property is disproportionate to the anticipated military gain are also prohibited. Individuals who commit serious violations of the laws of war with criminal intent – that is, deliberately or recklessly– are responsible for war crimes.

On May 12, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicated that it was monitoring the situation in Gaza. The prosecutor’s office should include in its Palestine investigation Israeli attacks in Gaza that resulted in apparently unlawful civilian casualties, as well as Palestinian rocket attacks that struck population centers in Israel, said HRW.

The May hostilities, like those in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2019, among others, took place amid Israel’s sweeping closure of the Gaza Strip, which began in 2007, and discriminatory efforts to remove Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, policies and practices that are part of the Israeli government’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, as Human Rights Watch has documented.

On May 27 the UN Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry to address violations and abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel, including by advancing accountability for those responsible and justice for victims. The commission should examine unlawful attacks committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting. It should also analyze the larger context, including the Israeli government’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians. The commission’s findings should be shared with the ICC prosecutor and other credible judicial authorities examining the situation, Human Rights Watch said.

Judicial authorities in other countries should also investigate and prosecute under national laws those credibly implicated in serious crimes in the OPT and in Israel under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Governments should also support a strong political declaration that addresses the harm that explosive weapons cause to civilians and commits states to avoid using those with wide-area effects in populated areas.

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Soldiers Search Homes, Install Roadblocks In Hebron

Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, several Palestinian homes, and installed roadblocks, in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers stormed and ransacked several homes in Hebron city and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

They added that the soldiers also installed roadblocks in the northern area of Hebron city, in addition to the main roads leading to Sa’ir, Yatta, and Halhoul towns, before stopping and searching dozens of cars.

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Israeli Colonists Start Constructing Outpost Around Palestinian Spring In Northern Plains

A group of Israeli colonizers, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands, started the construction work of a new outpost around a water spring they fenced last Sunday.

Mo’taz Bisharat, a Palestinian official in charge of the Northern Plains fire at Tubas governorate, said the colonists brought construction supplies and started the work to install their new outpost on the stolen Palestinian lands.

The construction of the new outpost came only one day after the colonizers installed a fence around the water spring and prevented the Palestinian shepherds from reaching it.

A month ago, the colonists occupied the Palestinian water spring, and built a small park for themselves, and even planted some trees around it.

(Source / 27.07.2021)

Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian In Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, a young man from his home in Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Local sources said several army jeeps invaded the town, before storming and searching homes.

They added that the soldiers then abducted Ahmad Salah Thawabta, from his home and moved him to Etzion military base and security center, south of Bethlehem.

The soldiers also invaded and searched the home of Mohammad Ahmad Sheikh, in Marah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem, and searched it. Mohammad is the father of Mahmoud, a political prisoner held by Israel.

On Monday evening, the soldiers stopped and interrogated two young Palestinian men in Bab al-‘Amoud area in occupied Jerusalem, before abducting them.

(Source / 27.07.2021)