The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has ordered a number of sites and roads near the Gaza Strip to be closed, fearing a sudden escalation of tension and attacks from the besieged enclave, local media reported on Tuesday.
“The entrances to the Black Arrow Monument, Givat HaPa’amon, Giv’at Nizmit, the Garden of the Fallen, and the Lone Rider Hill are all blocked,” said the IDF.
According to Ynet News, the decision was made after a “situational assessment” but, at this stage, no special guidelines have been issued for Israeli settlers living near the nominal border fence with Gaza. However, travel restrictions have been put in place.
The reason for these measures, explained the news website, is the Israeli government’s decision not to abide by the demands of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, during indirect, Egyptian-brokered, talks.
Israel carried out a 10-day military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in May that left more than 260 people dead, including 67 children and 40 women. Hundreds more were wounded, and homes and basic infrastructure facilities were destroyed.
When the offensive ended, the Palestinians in Gaza suspended their legitimate resistance activities after being advised by the Egyptian, Qatari, and UN brokers that Israel was going to ease its 15-year siege and allow a humanitarian grant from Doha into the territory. However, Israel did not fulfil its promise, although, under pressure from the Palestinian resistance, it eased the siege partially and allowed some of the Qatari financial support into Gaza.
A slim majority, 53 per cent of Israelis, believe that Israel should seek assistance from the countries it has normalised relations with to advance peace with the Palestinians, a new survey has found.
However, Mitvim – the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies survey conducted in September, also revealed that promoting peace with the Palestinians came in last place out of the priorities of issues listed, at 5.64 out of ten. This score has been on a steady decline since 2019.
A year after the Abraham Accords were signed, out of the representative sample of 700 Israeli adults polled for the survey, 34 per cent think the agreements are a turning point for Israel’s acceptance in the Middle East, while 31 per cent think Israel’s status has not changed significantly.
The United Arab Emirates and Morocco are the Arab countries that Israelis are most interested in visiting, at 10 per cent each, followed by Lebanon at 7 per cent, Egypt at 6 per cent while Saudi Arabia and Jordan are both only of interest to 3 per cent.
About half – 48 per cent – of Israelis do not want to visit any Arab country, up from 42 per cent last year.
Moreover, about half of Israelis think that meetings between Israeli ministers and their Palestinian counterparts are not a positive development; 30 per cent think it is merely symbolic and 17 per cent think it is negative and harms Israeli interests. Only 32 per cent think the meetings are positive and will improve relations between Israel and the Palestinians.
When it comes to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) economic and political crisis, 38 per cent of Israelis think Israel should not be involved, 28 per cent believe Israel should act to strengthen the PA and 13 per cent think Israel should weaken the PA.
Additionally, only 9 percent of Israelis think the government is handling Gaza well; 31 per cent think Israel should try to bring the PA back in control of the Gaza Strip while 22 per cent think the international community should be enlisted for Gaza’s economic rehabilitation and 13% favoured negotiations with Hamas for a long-term settlement.
The survey also found that almost half of Israelis, 47 per cent, view the EU as adversarial to Israel, which will improve its economic situation if they exclude the settlements. Meanwhile, 35 per cent believe the country should join the EU programmes.
The United States (US) is the most important country for the public in Israel. Russia ranked second, followed by Germany, Britain, China, Egypt, France and Jordan. The public gives US-Israel relations a score of 6.46 out of 10, with only 35 per cent rating the state of relations with the US as good—the lowest score since 2016 before Trump took office, and a steep decline from last year’s rating of 8.05 out of 10 and 67 per cent rating the relationship as good.
Dr Ilai Saltzman, a Mitvim board member, said that it is not surprising that the Israelis surveyed believe that US President, Joe Biden, is less beneficial for Israel than the former US President, Donald Trump, citing his association with the Obama administration, which was considered by many Israelis as hostile to the Jewish state.
Also, Trump was perceived as being very favourable to Israel and the Democratic Party is seen as the ideological opposite of many right-leaning Israelis.
However, Saltzman added that Biden has not been in office for a full year and should be examined “based on his commitment to Israel’s security, his contribution to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advancement of the regional peace agreements, a solution to the conflict with Iran, and Israel’s renewed positioning as the subject of bipartisan American support.”
The poll was conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute, in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation.
The Palestinian Authority is suffering from a financial crisis which is close to a “breaking point”, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has warned.
“Donor support, including direct budget support, continues its multi-year decline. Estimates suggest that the PA will have a 2021 budget deficit of around $800 million. This would nearly double the 2020 gap,” Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council yesterday. “The PA’s borrowing capacity with the banks has been exhausted.”
The UN official drew the council’s attention to the financial situation that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) finds itself in. Although the agency is “indispensable for regional stability”, Wennesland said that it “must have the necessary resources to fulfil its mandate”. Instead, it has an ongoing budget shortfall.
UNRWA depends almost entirely on voluntary donations from UN member states. However, in 2018, the Trump administration cut aid to UNRWA and the PA. Donald Trump’s successor as US President, Joe Biden, restored aid to the tune of $200 million to the Palestinians when he took office earlier this year.
The PA’s income has also been hit by Israel deducting some of the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the authority, which it says was used to pay stipends to the families of martyrs and prisoners who “committed terror attacks” against the occupation. This, said Wennesland, adds to the PA’s financial woes.
The UN Special Coordinator then took the opportunity in front of the Security Council to raise concerns regarding Israel’s E1 project, which includes the construction of thousands of illegal settlement units on large areas of Palestinian territory for the purpose of linking the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc to occupied Jerusalem. “This will sever the connection between the northern and southern West Bank, significantly undermining the chances for establishing a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution,” he pointed out.
The UN official reminded the council that all settlements are illegal under international law and “remain a substantial obstacle to peace.” Nevertheless, around 650,000 Israelis live in 164 settlements and 124 outposts scattered across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
Two Palestinians were shot by the army, overnight Tuesday, and detained four others from across the occupied West Bank, local sources reported.
Sources stated that soldiers stormed and ransacked several homes in Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, and arrested a former prisoner.
Local young men protested the invasion, in response, Israeli troops opened fire at them, injuring two with .22 caliber live rounds.
The wounds of both young men were categorized as moderate, both men were transported to a Ramallah hospital for medical intervention.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) reported the detention of Mustafa Abu Zahra, the head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, by Israeli police.
Additionally the Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported that the army stormed the Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern West Bank, and detained two more Palestinian civilians.
Furthermore soldiers abducted, on Tuesday, a Palestinian father of three children in Rantis village, northwest of Ramallah, in central occupied West Bank.
Israeli soldiers escalated their violations against the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, and abducted 23 Palestinians, mostly children, in addition to wounding dozens, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan (Silwanic) has reported.
Silwanic stated that most of the violations took place near Bab al-Amoud, leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the areas surrounding the holy site, especially the al-Misrara neighborhood and Sultan Suleiman Street, when the soldiers assaulted dozens of Palestinians, who were trying to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to celebrate the Mawlid ash-Sharif Muslim Feast.
Silwanic attorneys Mohammad Mahmoud and Firas al-Jebrini stated that most of the abducted and detained Palestinians have been beaten, and suffered various wounds, especially to the face, neck, and arms.
They said that, although it took a long time to be allowed to visit with the detainees, they found out that they were not allowed to use the bathroom, and were not given any food or even water.
In addition, undercover Israeli soldiers kidnapped Rami ar-Razem, 20, near the Sahera Gate, after constantly assaulting him and striking him with their guns.
Medics were only able to see him hours after his injury when they were finally allowed into an interrogation facility in the occupied city.
It is worth mentioning that the police released some of the abducted Palestinians after hours of interrogation, while most are still detained, awaiting interrogation.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the hunger-striking detainee, Miqdad al-Qawasma, who continues his strike for the 90th day, was moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the Kaplan Israeli medical center.
PPS lawyer Jawad Boulus stated that Al-Qawasma suffered a serious health setback, in addition to his already serious condition, as he continues the strike protesting his arbitrary Administrative Detention without charges or trial.
He added that al-Qawasma could die at any given moment, especially since he apparently now suffers from a neurological condition that could pose more immediate threats to his life.
Boulus also said that two detainees, Ala’ Al-A’raj, who started the hunger strike 73 days ago, and Hisham Abu Hawwash, who started the strike 64 days ago, were transferred from the Ramla Prison clinic to a civilian Israeli hospital due to their deteriorating health condition.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli forces on Tuesday arrested at least 49 citizens and wounded at least 11 others during violent repression of peaceful gatherings celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (PBHU).
Lawyer Naser Oudeh said that among those arrested, there are 15 children between the ages of 13 and 15.
Local sources said Israeli forces cracked down on citizens in the Bab Al Amoud courtyard in occupied Jerusalem. They also attacked citizens in Al Misrarah neighborhood and Sultan Suleiman street in the occupied Palestinian capital.
Local sources said Israeli forces used skunk water against those celebrating the Muslim holiday.
In the same context, the Red Crescent said that its crews have dealt with five injuries with sound bombs and beating, two of which were taken to hospitals.
Hundreds of citizens have started since the early morning of Tuesday to flock towards Al Aqsa mosque to celebrate the birthday of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Israeli forces deployed across the city, attempting to prevent the celebrations.
A third Palestinian child has just been arrested as brutally as the IOF could do, at Bab al-Amoud area, which has been witnessing Israeli violence against the Palestinians since today morning. #Jerusalem
Gaza (QNN)- Israeli authorities on Tuesday imposed 5000 NIS on Nisreen Abu Kamil as a condition to allow her to enter Gaza and reunite with her family after two days of prevention.
The occupation state had announced this morning that Abu Kamil is approved to enter Gaza, shortly after imposing 5000 NIS fine on her.
Israeli authorities had prevented Abu Kamil from going back to her home after six years in jail. Her family has been waiting for her on the other side of Beit Hanoun border crossing for two days.
During the last two days, Abu Kamil has been trying to enter Gaza but in vain. Locals in occupied Hebron and the family of the former prisoner Haifa Abu Sbeih had announced that they will welcome Abu Kamil until she is allowed to go back to her family.