Haneyya, Mladenov meet online, talk about Palestinian unity efforts

Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya on Monday held a virtual meeting with special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov and discussed with him the efforts underway to achieve the Palestinian national unity.

According to the Hamas Movement’s website, Haneyya highlighted the inter-Palestinian reconciliation as a strategic option and his Movement’s determination to achieve it.

The Hamas political chief also briefed Mladenov on the current talks between the Palestinian factions in this regard and affirmed that there are promising prospects to reach a comprehensive national agreement that protects the Palestinian cause and achieves the political and national partnership.

Read More: Haneyya consoles grieving family of two Gaza fishermen

He pointed to the presence of pressures by external parties to thwart the inter-Palestinian efforts to achieve the national unity, expressing his confidence that such attempts would never be successful.

Mladenov, for his part, expressed the UN’s support for all the steps that would contribute to achieving the reconciliation and building the Palestinian political system on democratic foundations.

Read More: Israeli settlers flood Palestinian village with wastewater

The UN official stressed the importance of maintaining the positive atmosphere within the inter-Palestinian dialog to achieve a successful national agreement.

(Source / 20.10.2020)

Israel detains three Palestinians in Jerusalem

Days of Palestine – Jerusalem – The Israeli occupation police on Monday kidnaped a Jerusalemite young man from the Old City of Jerusalem and two Aqsa Mosque guards.

According to local sources, police forces kidnaped a young man called Mamza al-Julani from his home in Bab Hitta neighborhood of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Read More: Two injured Palestinians among five Israel detains in West Bank

The Israeli police also detained other Jerusalemite citizens identified as Issa Barakat and Saed al-Salaimeh. Both of them work as Awqaf guards at the Aqsa Mosque.

Later on the same day, the Israeli occupation forces released the two Aqsa guards on condition of staying away from the Aqsa Mosque for one week.

Read More: IOF detains 9 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank

Despite the unprecedented health crisis requiring the Occupied Territories to take extreme social isolation measures, the Israeli occupation forces have chosen now, of all times, to escalate their abuse and collective punishment of Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem as part of an operation that began in April 2019.

Israeli occupation forces invade the crowded neighborhood daily, even at night, and more so on weekends, for no apparent reason and initiate friction with the residents.

(Source / 20.10.2020)

Israeli settlers set up outposts in southern Nablus

Days of Palestine – Nablus – A horde of extremist Jewish settlers on Monday set up a settlement outpost on Mount Sebaih in Beita town, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said that settlers spread on the top of the mount before embarking on deploying tents and prefabricated homes.

Read More: Israeli army to raze fences, close caves in southern Nablus

The same settlers had tried several times before to take over the mount through deploying tents or mobile homes, but local residents always intervened and managed to force them to leave the area.

At the beginning of last March, the town of Beita saw a round of confrontations with Israeli soldiers after local residents flocked to the area to protect Mount Sebaih and Mount Armeh. Two Palestinians were shot dead and many others suffered injuries during those events.

Read More: Settlers flood Palestinian farmland north of Nablus with sewage

Meanwhile, another group of settlers on the same day deployed a tent and a makeshift fence around it on Mount al-Nijma in Jalud village, southeast of Nablus.

Local official Ghassan Daghlas expressed concern that the settlers would establish a new outpost on the mount, which he said is encircled by olive groves.

Mount al-Nijma is located in an area classified by the Israeli occupation army as a security zone and local villagers cannot reach it without permits.

Last week, the Israeli army prevented the local authority in Jalud village from building an agricultural road for farmers to enable them to reach their lands easily and confiscated an excavator from the site.

Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property.

In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks. Investigations, if even opened, are usually closed with no action taken against perpetrators as part of an undeclared policy of leniency.

The long-term effect of this violence is the dispossession of Palestinians from increasing parts of the West Bank, making it easier for Israel to take over land and resources.

(Source / 20.10.2020)

Concerned for the life of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Maher Akhras

Days of Palestine – Jerusalem – Maher al-Akhras, in his 86th day of hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention, is at great risk of death, today said four Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, demanding his immediate release.

A Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) volunteer doctor visited al-Akhras on Friday, and noted that although he is generally lucid, he is also periodically confused, very dizzy, cannot move his legs, stand, or change position in bed. His vision and hearing are rapidly deteriorating and he complains of severe chest pains. According to international medical consensus on hunger strikes, al-Akhras may die any day, said the four organizations.

Read More: Tunisians stand in support of hunger-striking detainee Maher Akhras

Al-Akhras, has been on hunger strike since 27 July 2020 following his administrative detention. He has appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding to be released, but the court decided not to cancel his administrative detention – leaving that decision to the security apparatus. Instead, the court only suspended his administrative detention, despite his deteriorating situation, which may result in his death. Al-Akhras is simultaneously prevented from leaving Kaplan hospital in Israel, where he is currently held, and is therefore under de-facto arrest. These court decisions were, interalia, made on incorrect translations of a video of al-Akhras.

Al-Akhras has expressed distrust towards the Kaplan medical team, as occurs often in hunger strikes. He refuses any treatment or medical tests and monitoring from the medical team. He has confirmed that should he lose consciousness, he does not want to receive any medical intervention. It is worth mentioning that current legislation in Israel allows medical staff to feed a person on hunger strike by force, a position which is both unacceptable according to medical ethics and, according to international law, may amount to torture.

Read More: Israel refuses to release Palestinian hunger-striker Maher Al-Akhras

Al-Akhras’s case highlights the continued and excessive use of administrative detention in Israel: a procedure that allows the Israeli military commander to hold detainees indefinitely based on secret information without revealing the allegations against them or putting them on trial. The courts who review administrative detention orders do so based on information presented to the court ex-parte by the security agencies, and Palestinian detainees are often jailed for months and even years without formal charges or a trial.

Israel currently holds over 300 Palestinians in administrative detention, contrary to the Geneva Convention, which demands that this practice be used only in exceptional circumstances and subject to strict procedural safeguards. In 2016, the UN Committee Against Torture recommended that Israel, “urgently take the measures necessary to end the practice of administrative detention and ensure that all persons who are currently held in administrative detention are afforded all basic legal safeguards” In 2012, the EU reiterated its longstanding position on Israel’s use of administrative detention without charge; detainees, ‘have the right to be informed of the reasons for their detention and be subject to a fair trial without undue delay.’

“We call on the international community to urge Israel to allow al-Akhras to, at the very least, move to a hospital in the West Bank, so he may be treated by a medical team in which he has trust or release al-Akhras immediately before it is too late. We urge the international community to voice their grave concern and call on Israel to stop the continuous and systematic human rights violations of Palestinian prisoners,” said Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).

(Source / 20.10.2020)

Settlers flood Palestinian farmland north of Nablus with sewage

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Days of Palestine – Nablus – Israeli settlers Tuesday flooded Palestinian-owned land with sewage and wastewater in Sebastia town, north of Nablus city, according to a municipal source.

Mayor of Sebastia Mohammad Azzam confirmed that settlers from the illegal colonial settlement of Shavei Shomron were responsible for flooding Palestinian-owned land in the western section of the town with sewage and wastewater, disrupting the olive harvest.

Read More: Israeli settlers flood Palestinian village with wastewater

He explained that the land is planted with olive and apricot trees, which means that farmers are incurred with heavy material losses.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

Read More: Israeli military infiltrate Gaza border, raze farmland

Settlers’ violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.

There are almost 834,000 Israeli settlers living in colonial settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(Source / 20.10.2020)

IOF arrested three Palestinians in Al-Quds, Al-Khalil

OCCUPIED AL-QUDS, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli forces stormed various Palestinian neighborhoods in the occupied West Bank, overnight Saturday to dawn Sunday.

In the central West Bank city of East Jerusalem, under the full control of the Israeli occupation, police detained Ibrahim al-Nouri from his home in the al-‘Isawiya neighborhood.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli soldiers detained Ashraf Jawabreh at the entrance to the al-Arroub refugee camp.

In Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, Israeli troops assaulted local Palestinian youths. No injuries were reported.

Another Palestinian civilian was detained by Israeli forces, on Sunday, the PIC further reported.

Former prisoner Muhammad Murshid Al-Zaqeq, 24, from Beit Ummar town, was detained in Al-Zaeem town, east of occupied East Jerusalem.

The Israeli military incursion into the Al-Arroub refugee camp, when Israeli troops fired tear-gas canisters into a residential building, causing a family with three children to suffocate on tear-gas.

Local Palestinians confronted the army invasion, which the soldiers responded to by firing live rounds, concussion grenades, and tear-gas canisters at the protesting civilians.

(Source / 20.10.2020)

Arab support for PA budget falls by 82%

Bank of Palestine [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Bank of Palestine

Arab support for the Palestinian Authority’s budget has fallen by 82 per cent during the first eight months of this year, Shehab news agency reported on Sunday.

According to data issued by the PA Ministry of Finance, the Arab countries have paid the PA $38.1 million in 2020 so far, compared to $198.33 million during the same period last year.

Over the past few months, US President Donald Trump revealed that he had asked the wealthy Arab states to stop paying money to the Palestinians. In July, the PA’s Minister of Finance Shukri Bsharah reported that a number of Arab states had suspended their financial aid for the authority.

The decline in Arab support coincides with a budget deficit in the normally supportive states due to the sharp decline in oil prices and reduced demand for crude oil.

Saudi assistance, Shehab reported, declined by 77.2 per cent, down from $130m in the same period in 2019 to just $30.8m this year. Algerian support fell to zero whereas it paid $26.1 million during the first eight months of 2019.

The PA said last week that Arab support for its budget has fallen by 55 per cent over the past five years from a high of around $1.1 billion. The authority is in the middle of its worst ever financial crisis since refusing to accept the tax revenues collected by Israel on its behalf since July. That is when PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced the suspension of all agreements with the occupation state.

READ: Dahlan incites Cairo to oppose Fatah-Hamas reconciliation

(Source / 19.10.2020)

Hamas: the US has told Arab states to stop supporting the PA

Deputy Chairman of the Movement's Political Bureau Saleh Al-Arouri signs the reconciliation agreement to build a consensus with Palestinian Fatah movement leader Azzam Al-Ahmad in Cairo, Egypt on 12 October 2017 [Ahmed Gamil/Anadolu Agency]
Deputy Chairman of the Movement’s Political Bureau Saleh Al-Arouri signs the reconciliation agreement to build a consensus with Palestinian Fatah movement leader Azzam Al-Ahmad in Cairo, Egypt on 12 October 2017 

A senior Hamas official has claimed that the US has told a number of Arab states to stop giving financial support to the Palestinian Authority, Al-Aqsa TV reported on Sunday. According to Saleh Al-Arouri, a number of states have been asked to put pressure on Fatah, which controls the PA, in order to pull out of any reconciliation with Hamas.

The Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau added that these countries are those which sponsored the US deal of the century. He stressed, however, that Hamas is committed to the Palestinian understandings reached in Istanbul and would never backtrack on them.

Al-Arouri also revealed that the US had offered to talk with Hamas over the so-called “deal”, but Hamas refused because Washington’s intention was to split the national Palestinian stance and threaten the PLO leadership.

In July, the former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that the best way to undermine the Israeli annexation plans “is to change the function of the PA” from serving the Israeli occupation to confronting it. He stressed that if such a change was not made, the PA should be dissolved after discussions with the different Palestinian factions and reaching an agreement on a replacement in order not to end up in chaos.

READ: Arab support for PA budget falls by 82% 

(Source / 19.10.2020)

Rights group reports escalation of Israel demolition of EU-funded Palestine projects

Palestinian students sit with their teacher inside a classroom at the Ras al-Tenneen school in eastern Ramallah city which an Israeli court ruled that it was built without the necessary construction permit and rejected an appeal against its imminent demolition, on 8 October 2020. [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian students sit with their teacher inside a classroom at the Ras al-Tenneen school in eastern Ramallah city which an Israeli court ruled that it was built without the necessary construction permit and rejected an appeal against its imminent demolition, on 8 October 2020

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented a sharp increase in Israeli demolition of European Union (EU)-funded Palestinian projects built in occupied territories, a report issued over the weekend revealed.

According to the report, which was circulated by world news agencies, in 2019 the Euro-Med monitor documented a record high of 204 Palestinian structures that Israel had demolished in East Jerusalem alone, representing a spike when compared with previous years.

Israel further demolished or seized 127 structures funded by international donors, mainly the EU and its member states, in East Jerusalem and Area C, twice as much as in 2018.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis, Netanyahu’s government has significantly stepped up the demolition of Palestinian structures further,” the report explained.

“For instance, the number of house demolitions in East Jerusalem between January and August 2020 was 89, compared to 104 for all of 2019 and 72 in 2018. This is putting Israel’s government on track for a record year in the number of razings of Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem.”

The report confirmed that Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway delivered a joint stake-out on the Middle East at the United Nations in late September, in which the European states reaffirmed their deep concerns about Israel’s settlement activities and demolitions of Palestinian structures.

READ: EU countries condemn Israel’s plan to build 5,000 settlement units 

According to the Euro-Med report, the statement of the EU countries noted: “The period from March to August 2020 saw the highest average destruction rate in four years.”

Meanwhile, the report found that the number of EU-funded projects implemented in the occupied territories decreased to 12 in 2019, compared with 75 in 2015.

The report reiterated that the EU countries should stand up against Israel in order to stop its demolitions. Instead, the report divulged, the EU used to hide the size of damage Israel caused the EU-funded projects, calling for MEPs to investigate the Israeli demolition and issue a report on it.

Chairman of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor Dr Ramy Abdu communicated that the EU adopts a strong rhetoric against Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, but its members are calling for taking a similar stance against the Israeli targeting of the Palestinians in the areas subject to danger.

“It is impossible and it is intolerable to remain silent over this worrying escalation of the Israeli demolition and the retreat of EU funding for projects in the Palestinian territories,” Abdu expressed.

(Source / 19.10.2020)

Israel is turning 36 West Bank nature reserves into settlements

New buildings in the Israeli settlement of Efrat south of the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 14 October 2020 [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]
New buildings in the Israeli settlement of Efrat south of the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 14 October 2020

The Israeli occupation authorities control 36 areas in Area C of the occupied West Bank and is planning to convert them into settlements and military camps, Jordanian Assabeel newspaper reported on Sunday.

General Director of natural resources at the Palestine Authority (PA)’s Environment Quality Authority Issa Musa indicated that there are 50 nature reserves in the West Bank, including 36 in Area C, which are under full control of the Israeli occupation.

Musa explained that there are 11,000 dunams of fertile farmlands located in Jericho extending to the eastern West Bank city of Tubas, on which the Israeli occupation intends to build Jewish settlements and military camps.

According to Musa, the Environment Quality Authority documents all Israeli occupation aggressions on these areas in order to raise them with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity who will take the necessary steps.

READ: Rights group reports escalation of Israel demolition of EU-funded Palestine projects 

(Source / 19.10.2020)