Netanyahu tells cabinet: Israel lacks legitimacy for major Gaza operation
Haaretz 23 Aug — The cabinet voted Monday to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation in the south and to cooperate indirectly with the truce Hamas declared on Sunday. So far, the truce has largely held, although three rockets did hit southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Monday. . .
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered various arguments for why Israel must exercise restraint – its international isolation, the fact that the Iron Dome rocket interception system still offers only partial defense, and the fear of worsening the diplomatic crisis with Egypt. Under these circumstances, Netanyahu said, all-out war against Hamas-run Gaza would be inadvisable. . .
What emerged most clearly from Netanyahu’s and Barak’s statements to the cabinet was that Israel lacks the international legitimacy needed for a large-scale operation in Gaza. The diplomatic crisis with Egypt further constrains Israel’s freedom of action. . .
Several Netanyahu aides detailed the constraints on Israeli military action, most of which are diplomatic.
“There’s a sensitive situation in the Middle East, which is one big boiling pot; there’s the international arena; there’s the Palestinian move in the Untied Nations in September,” when the Palestinians hope to obtain UN recognition as a state, one advisor enumerated. “We have to pick our way carefully.”
Political source: We cannot rush into war
Ynet 22 Aug — Jerusalem is struggling to explain what has been criticized at its lax response to the escalation in southern Israel over the weekend. A senior political source told Ynet on Monday that, “You cannot rush into war. It would be a mistake to allow a murderous terror cell to drag us into war in Gaza.” The decision to defer any ground operation in the Gaza Strip, he added, stemmed from the need “to make any such decision in a responsible, smart manner. You don’t rush into war, nor do you enter it carelessly. The entire Middle East is boiling over now, and we have to choose our path very carefully,” he said. “We have to look at the entire region and decide how it could be affected, and what the consequences may be for us…”
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Israel to expel 384 activists from Jerusalem
Jerusalem (PNN) 22 Aug – Israel has announced plans to expel 384 Palestinian activists from Jerusalem. Israeli intelligence services summoned prominent Palestinian activists last week to inform them of the decision, which it claims will only affect those who continue to operate in September. But the director of the Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER), Zaid Al-Hammouri, has warned in a conversation with PNN that the decision might affect any Palestinian living in Jerusalem, adding that ‘thousands’ may face expulsion. Critics have claimed that the plans are the most recent attempt by the Israeli government to reduce the number of Palestinians resident in occupied East Jerusalem, something Israel denies.
A provision of house arrest, trial extensions, and an arrest / Jawad
[photos; edited for clarity] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 22 Aug — Last Monday, the Israeli court extended the arrest of Ibrahim Mousa Oudeh 20 years old after calling him for interrogation few days ago, and this was after they broke into his house in Al Bustan district in Silwan several times. Add to this the sabotaging, inspection operations for the house and its contents , the kidnapping of his little brother Muslim 10 years old and his relative Hamadeh Oudeh 13 years old and practicing all kinds of pressure against his family. Ibrahim decided to turn himself to the police. Kathem Abu Shafeh 17 years old who was arrested while storming al Bustan district in Silwan was released by the Israeli Forces but with a house arrest bond. In addition to the release of the two kids Muslim and Hamdeh Oudeh who were kidnapped by the Undercover Israeli Units at the same day.
Demonstration in front of City of David settlement in Silwan / Jawad
[photos; edited for clarity] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 22 Aug — Immediately after the fast of Ramadan ended, tens ['tens' in Arabic is like 'dozens' in English] of the Sheikh Jarrah solidarity movement and Silwan residents protested in front of the City of David settlement entrance in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan. This mentioned site was constructed on land owned by a Palestinian Family which was confiscated by the Authority of absentees properties law (the holder of discriminative and bad reputation) for the sake of Elad Settlement Association, although the real and the legal inheritor of the land, Fatemah Shehadeh Qaraeen, lives in Silwan. The protesters gathered to protest against the musical parties which were organized by Elad Settlement Association during the month of Ramadan . Some who participated in the parties claimed that they were singing for peace … Palestinian locals justified the town anger by saying that these musical parties take place at night and exactly at the time of Ramadan prayers Taraweeh, in an attempt of judaizing the area.
15 settlers attack Palestinian child with iron bars
MEMO 22 Aug — Palestinian sources have said that around 15 Israeli settlers from the West Bank settlement of Ramat Migron, which is built on land belonging to the Makhmas village near Ramallah, attacked a 10-year-old Palestinian child with iron bars [Saturday]. The child suffered injuries to the head and several other parts of his body. The 10-year old, Bassam Daud, was transferred to the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah where his injuries were described as middle-level. The beating he took to the head caused deep wounds. Radio Israel reported that the Israeli police force had arrested 13 settlers suspected of involvement in the assault who were refusing to cooperate with the police investigation. Radio Israel also stated that the circumstances of the incident were unclear.
Girl injured by settler car
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A Palestinian child was lightly injured after an Israeli settler’s car ran into her in the As-Salayma district of Hebron on Sunday. Medics said Narmin Rajeh Abu Rmeileh, 12, was taken to to Al-Ahli hospital in the southern West Bank city.
On Saturday, 19-year-old Bilal Idreis was moderately injured after a settler ran him over near the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement in eastern Hebron, medics said.
Israeli army ‘systematically harassing’ iconic Jenin theater
JENIN (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — The Israeli army surrounded the Freedom Theater in Jenin early Monday, beating members of staff and raiding the home of a security guard, a statement from the iconic theater said. “As I literally entered my home I got a call from neighbors of the theater saying the army had surrounded the theater,” Jason Gough, acting general manager at the Freedom Theater, said. He returned to the theater where he found Israeli soldiers, who instructed him to turn back. After a second attempt to get closer to the theater, soldiers forced Gough to strip at gunpoint before detaining him, he said. “They said that they’ll beat me up if I even say a word or move.” The Israeli army also raided the home of Mohammed Naghnaghiye, a security guard at the theater, ransacking the house before beating and detaining him, a Freedom Theater statement said. The army also fired live ammunition in an attempt to disperse a young crowd who had gathered around the home, the statement added. An Israeli military spokeswoman said three people were detained in Jenin on Monday morning but could not specify if they were from the Freedom Theater. The incident comes amid a military court hearing on Sunday for three members of the Freedom Theater who were arrested in connection with the murder of former director Juliano Mer Khamis. The court found that all three had no connection to the murder and must be released within a week.
Israeli police shut Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshipers
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 22 Aug — Israeli police Sunday night closed Damascus Gate, one of the main gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as Al-Aqsa Mosque with the worshipers locked inside, following rumors of stabbing of an Israeli policeman during a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza, witnesses said. While the Israeli police did not confirm the stabbing incident, police nevertheless used force to disperse the protesters and detained a number of them at the Russian compound in West Jerusalem. The protest started at Damascus Gate and proceeded through Sultan Suleiman Street, but police intervened to break it up before it got to Salah Eddin Street, East Jerusalem’s main business area. Police assaulted Palestinian medical staff and ambulance crews who tried to give assistance to people beaten up by police, said the witnesses. In a later development, Al-Aqsa guards told WAFA that Israeli police provoked worshippers who were trying to hold the Monday dawn prayers at the Mosque, raising level of tension in the occupied city.
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian officer in Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 22 Aug — Israeli soldiers Monday beat a first sergeant who works in the Palestinian national security, near Burqa, a village north of Nablus, according to security sources. Sources told WAFA that Israeli soldiers set up a temporary checkpoint near the village of Burqa and when the 30- year-old sergeant stopped to pass through the checkpoint, as he was on his way to the city of Nablus, the soldiers severely beat him without any reason
Al Khalil/Hebron: 55 Palestinians injured in clashes with IOF
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 22 Aug — Some 55 Palestinians were left injured Monday morning after violent clashes with Israeli occupation forces across Al-Khalil governorate in the West Bank. More than 55 Palestinians were hit by rubber bullets or suffered from the effects of breathing tear gas or were battered after IOF troops raided several homes and after clashes broke out in various parts of Al-Khalil city, Palestinian medical sources said. Locals said IOF troops set off a blast inside the home a Hamas activist Mahmoud al-Qawasimi, who has been held in Israeli prisons for the past seven years, causing major damage. Scores of military vehicles raided the Wadi Abu Katila district in northwest Al-Khalil, where the Qawasimi residence sits. They detained and questioned on the ground dozens of locals, also raiding other homes. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers responded with ammunition and tear gas as youths hurled stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers during sporadic clashes which broke out in the city’s Bab al-Zawya. Similar clashes erupted in the city’s Tariq ibn Ziyad junction, driving the IOF troops to call for large reinforcements to the area. A hunt for demonstrators was launched without report of arrest.
The clashes come a day after the IOF carried out one of the largest arrest raids in Al-Khalil since 2003.
Doctor: Israel using new weapons against Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — The head of an emergency ward in a Gaza City hospital said Monday that Israeli forces were using new, more brutal weapons against residents of the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, Israeli forces began a four-day bombarded the coastal enclave killing 14 Palestinians and wounding dozens more in a series of airstrikes and drone attacks.
Dr. Ayman As-Sahbani said patients were admitted with horrific injuries and that some bodies delivered to Al-Shifa Hospital were so badly burned they were unrecognizable. He said Israeli weapons made no distinction between women, children and the elderly, pointing out that a two-year-old toddler and a 13-year-old boy were among those killed in the latest escalation.
PRC agrees to ceasefire deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug 13:54 — The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said Monday they had signed up to a temporary ceasefire deal agreed by Gaza’s rulers with Israel. The An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades said they would temporarily stop firing projectiles into Israeli towns “for the sake of the Palestinian people’s interests.” At a press conference in Gaza City, the group’s military spokesperson Abu Ataya said several parties, including Arab nations, had attempted to broker the ceasefire deal, reached Sunday evening. But he insisted, “there is no room to talk about permanent truce with those who kill children, women, and Palestinian leaders,” referring to Israeli airstrikes on the coastal strip.
Hamas and IJM plan response
PNN 22 Aug 14:49 — Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement have decided to cooperate in their response against Israel, according to a prominent Gazan politician. A senior member of the Islamic Jihad Movement (IJM), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Mudalal, has said in a conversation with PNN: “There is now a consensus among the different factions of the Gazan resistance that we have every right to respond to Israeli crimes. For us to surrender whilst Israel continues their aggression is not an option.” According to Al-Mudalal, negotiations between the factions were focused on how to bring peace to the Strip, as well as retaliating against the recent Israeli attacks.
Army: Gaza militants fire 3 rockets into southern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug 21:27 — Militants in northern Gaza fired several rockets into southern Israel on Monday evening, the Israeli military said, hours after a temporary truce was agreed. A Qassam rocket landed south of Ashkelon shortly after two rockets landed in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council causing no injuries but sparking a fire, an army spokeswoman said. Hamas spokesman Taher An-Nunu said Monday that factions in Gaza had committed to a truce with Israel. On Sunday night, the Hamas-run security forces were “instructed to stop the shooting” against Israel, with police checking cars in the border area, and checkpoints set up at the entrance to every town in Gaza. Israel police said seven rockets were fired from Gaza between midnight and 8:00 am, but nothing after that … Israel’s 15-member security cabinet was reportedly called to an emergency meeting at 3:00 am, army radio said, at which the military’s top brass presented various options for stopping the rocket fire. But after an hour of discussion, ministers decided against a ground operation for fear it “could trigger mass demonstrations in Egypt which could destabilize the regime in Cairo” and also harm Israeli interests in September when the Palestinian are planning to seek UN membership, the radio said.
Israeli defense sources: Gaza terror groups changing tactics to avoid Iron Dome system / Anshel Pfeffer
Haaretz 22 Aug — The terror organizations in the Gaza Strip have changed their rocket-launch tactics in an attempt to evade the two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries deployed by the Israel Air Force in southern Israel, security sources say. The new tactics include aiming more frequently at areas beyond the Iron Dome protection range … The Defense Ministry, for its part, has accelerated its timetable in order to double the number of available batteries within six months … After the Palestinian launch teams realized that the intercept systems deployed in the past two weeks around Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva provided near-perfect protection from rockets, they began targeting Ashdod and Ofakim more frequently. And when they did aim at Be’er Sheva on Saturday night, they did not fire one or two rockets, as in the past, but rather a volley of seven rockets almost simultaneously. Iron Dome intercepted five of them successfully [too bad there's no Palestinian Iron Dome against Israeli terror - drones, tanks, F-16s....]
Evidence undermines govt’s claim that terrorists were Gazans / Yossi Gurvitz
972mag 22 Aug — … During the weekend, the news website Real News interviewed a senior IDF Spokesman officer, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, who’s in charge of the IDF Spokesman with the international media. Leibowitz denied that the IDF connects the PRC to the attacks, said she was not responsible for that the prime minister said, but claimed that the attackers did come from Gaza, citing as proof the fact they were using Kalashnikov assault rifies (Sic! 2:28 and onwards in the video). I dunno how to put it to Col. Leibovitz, but Kalashnikovs are the most common light assault rifle in the world – a gift that keeps on giving from the defunct Soviet Union – and are rather easy to get all over the Middle East. In a phone conversation with Leibovitz yesterday, she said “senior officials have already expressed themselves on the issue”, and declined to provide more information on the attackers, aside from insisting on them being Gazans.
IOF soldiers detain 4 Palestinians
JENIN (PIC) 22 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up four Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp at dawn Monday including a father and his teen son. Eyewitnesses said the IOF soldiers mounting ten armored vehicles forced their way into ten homes and ransacked them before taking way the four civilians. They said that the soldiers combed the vicinity of the camp and installed a road barrier between it and Wadi Brukin and broke into a number of homes along the main road.
PA security agencies arrest several Hamas supporters in West Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 22 Aug — Palestinian Authority security agencies arrested several Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Monday morning … At least five of the arrests by the PA security agencies took place in Al-Khalil governorate where the IOF had been operating. Al-Khalil preventive security agency raided Idhna south of Al-Khalil after night prayers and tried to gain custody of a number of youths there who had refused to turn themselves into the security services for questioning. Elements for the agencies hunted them down until late hours of the night without arrest.
The preventative and intelligence branches of PA security are still carrying out a campaign to summon Hamas supporters in Al-Khalil. They have amassed so far some 40 prisoners from Al-Khalil governorate, including 12 who are being held in the notorious Al-Dhahiriyya prison.
Also arrested in Jenin was Palestinian blogger Tamir Abdul-Ghani Sabaena from Qabatiya after he refused to respond to summonses by the PA security services. Sabaena is a known human rights activist who has written many political and intellectual articles. He was previously kept prisoner by the Israelis and Jenin security agencies.
I was arrested for hiring a Palestinian tour guide / Aziz Abu Sarah
972mg 21 Aug — After the police ineptitude and harassment experienced today, it is clear that in certain situations, Palestinians are simply guilty until proven innocent — …Last week my tour company, MEJDI, received a tour group from Washington DC. The group members are all part of the same Jewish congregation, and are here on a trip lead by their rabbi, who was inspired by our narratives-based approach to tourism. This morning we took the tour group to the Mount of Olives for a view of the Old City of Jerusalem, and spoke to them about the political and religious narratives of the city. While the tourists were wandering around and taking pictures, a policeman with another woman in civilian clothing approached our Palestinian tour guide, asked for his identity card and tourism license, and arrested him.
Israel to release cancer detainee
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli authorities said they will release a Palestinian detainee suffering from cancer, his family said Monday. Zakariyya Dawood Issa, from Al-Khader near Bethlehem in the southern west Bank, is in a critical condition after cancer spread throughout his body, medics say. The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs said they will bring a lawsuit against Israeli authorities for delaying his medical treatment and thus precipitating a deterioration in his condition … Yahya Dawood Issa said the family is preparing to welcome him at home, before taking him to Beit Jala hospital … Zakariyya has three daughters and one son: Wisal, 20, Malak, 14, Dalal, 13, and Ahmad 19.
Racism / Discrimination
Israeli government promises to appoint Arab woman to socioeconomic panel
Haaretz 22 Aug — An Arab woman is to be appointed to the Trajtenberg Committee on socioeconomic change, according to the state’s response to a High Court of Justice petition against the original composition of the panel. “This is expected to be implemented as soon as possible,” the State Prosecutor’s Office wrote in the response. The petition, submitted Wednesday by Itach, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, in concert with 12 other women’s advocacy groups, demanded the immediate addition of Arab women to the panel, which was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the social protest movement sweeping the country
Political / Diplomatic / International
West Bank: Palestinian Authority accuses Israel of trying to provoke violence
LA Times Babyon blog 22 Aug — Three days of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, two days of Israeli military operations in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in East Jerusalem have set off alarm bells for the Palestinian Authority. The authority accused Israel of trying to provoke a violent reaction that might undermine Palestinian efforts to obtain recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations. “These measures will not deter us or stop us from continuing on our road and just struggle to regain the legitimate national rights of our people,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said through a spokesman Sunday.
Senior IDF officials: Israel should consider amending peace treaty with Egypt
Haaretz 22 Aug — Israel should consider amending its peace treaty with Egypt so as to allow the Egyptian Army to significantly increase its presence in Sinai in light of the deteriorating security situation there, senior Israel Defense Forces officials said Sunday. “In the past, there was complete opposition to this, but new voices are being heard of late and the matter is no longer being rejected out of hand,” a senior IDF officer said.
Report: Egypt army blocks Israel ambassador recall
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A last minute decision by Egypt’s military government head Muhammad Tantawi halted the recall of Egypt’s ambassador to Israel, Israel’s Hebrew-language daily said Monday. Amb. Yasser Rida “had already packed” when Field Marshall Tantawi overruled the Egyptian Prime Minister’s decision, the report said.
Israel seeks prosecution of Egyptian who removed Israel’s flag
CAIRO (PIC) 22 Aug — Israel has filed a complaint with the Egyptian Attorney General against Ahmed al-Shahat, the Egyptian who became a hero after tearing the Israeli flag from the Israeli building in Cairo. Israeli media said Monday quoting sources that Tel Aviv had assigned its ambassador in Cairo to seek immediate prosecution against Shahat for breaching the embassy’s security and the security barriers atop the building where the embassy sits. Thousands of Egyptians roared for joy after Shahat managed to climb a 21-story building alongside the Israeli embassy and burn the Israeli flag after replacing it with Egypt’s and Palestine’s.
Peres hosts Ramadan dinner
Ynet 21 Aug — President invites Egypt’s deputy ambassador amid quarrel over apology, rocket fire in south — …”We have had seven wars, in all of which we lost. We lost good children — boys and girls. We don’t want this anymore. Why should we have more wars, more conflict?” Peres said Israel has great respect for the Egyptian and Jordanian people, as well as the Palestinian Authority. “We have invested so much money in wars which we could have invested in our children. We cannot fix the past, but we can fix the future. There are differences of religion between us, but there is no reason there should be hatred. We are all children of Abraham and all of us pray to one God,” he explained.
Egyptian FM: Quartet overlooked our victims, meddled in internal affairs
CAIRO (PIC) 22 Aug — Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammad Amr criticized the International Quartet for overlooking the Egyptian victims and discussing Egyptian internal affairs in a statement it released regarding the escalating developments in the region. The FM’s condemnation came during a meeting with UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry, said the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum. “Egypt considers dealing with the security situation in Sinai an internal affair involving Egypt and there is no room for addressing it in statements such as this one,” Amr said.
Announcement of UN flotilla report postponed
ANKARA (AFP) 22 Aug — A UN report due out this week into Israel’s deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been delayed again, the Turkish foreign ministry said Monday. “The demand to postpone [the announcement] came from Israel, like the previous demands,” Selçuk Ünal, the spokesperson of the ministry told Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.
Turkey to move to Plan B in relations with Tel Aviv
MEMO 22 Aug — Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has hinted that his country would resort to its ‘Plan B’ as a new strategic policy for dealing with Tel Aviv if Israel continued to refuse to apologize for its military attack on the Mavi Marmara; the Turkish ship that formed part of the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla in May, 2010. Nine Turkish nationals were killed during the IDF attack on Flotilla activists seeking to break the Israel-imposed siege on Gaza. Erdoğan said that without an Israeli apology before the release of the UN Palmer Commission report, he would move on to ‘Plan B’, which includes a series of punitive measures against Israel as well as the formation of an international lobby to campaign in favour of Palestine’s membership to the UN, support for Palestinians in all international institutions, and downgrading diplomatic relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv to that of second secretary. Israel’s refusal to formally apologize to Turkey could also cost it a complete severance of military, economic, social, and cultural relations with Ankara.
Abbas postpones local elections in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Monday postponing local West Bank elections scheduled for October 22.
Fatah: Reconciliation on hold until September
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Fatah and Hamas have agreed to delay efforts to implement the reconciliation agreement until September, Fatah official in Gaza Diab Al-Loh said. Reconciliation committees will resume work after Eid-Al-Fitr, the three-day festival after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the end of August, the Fatah official said in a statement. Al-Loh said the hiatus was due to the escalation in aggression on the Gaza Strip, which has come under heavy fire from Israeli war planes since Thursday.
Anti-corruption committee says agriculture minister to face court
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — The Palestinian Authority anti-corruption committee on Monday said it had referred Minister of Agriculture Ismail Daiq to court, but the minister denied any knowledge of the decision. Daiq told Ma’an he had not been informed of the case but said he was confident any allegations of corruption were fabricated.
WFTU announces international campaign for Palestinian recognition
Bethlehem (PNN) 22 Aug — The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) announced today its international campaign for the recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. A statement released by the organization called for ‘the end of the Israeli occupation and the barbarity of the Israeli’s army forces’ [sic].The campaign will demand an end to settlement activities by the Israeli government, the release of ‘imprisoned Palestinians and other political prisoners’ in Israeli prisons as well as the honouring of Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return. The WFTU also called for the demolition of the separation wall in Jerusalem, although no mention was made of the rest of the wall’s length.
Shaath: Thailand will support UN statehood bid
BANGKOK (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Thailand will support the recognition of Palestine as an independent state at the United Nations in September, PLO member Nabil Shaath said Monday.
Jerusalem rebukes Spanish envoy over PA statement
Ynet 22 Aug — Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo explains Madrid’s support of Palestinian bid for statehood depends on EU’s stance, requests phrasing before UN — The Foreign Ministry summoned Spain’s ambassador to Israel on Monday, following a statement by Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez suggesting that Madrid will support the Palestinian Authority UN bid for statehood in September.
Central America ‘battles’ over PA’s UN bid
Ynet 22 Aug — Recent regional summit of Latin America, Caribbean nations becomes stage for diplomatic squabble over future Palestinian bid for statehood … As the summit was set to begin, the [Israeli] Foreign Ministry got wind of the fact that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki officially applied to speak at the conference, despite the fact that the matter of the PA’s UN bid was never included in its agenda. The Foreign Ministry then decided to appeal to the summit’s president, El Salvador, and ask that it stop al-Malki from addressing the conference.
OPT: Palestinians feel the pinch as Arab donors stay away
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 22 Aug – Palestinian families in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are facing increasing financial woes this Ramadan, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) juggles with its dwindling budget. August salary payments for the PA’s estimated 150,000 employees, about half in the West Bank and half in the Gaza Strip, arrived late and it is unclear when September payments will arrive … Although the reasons for the shortfalls are difficult to gauge, he says. “Mostly Arab donors are not paying,” Ghassan Khatib, spokesperson for Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad’s office, told IRIN … Saudi Arabia made a partial payment of $30 million in July. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the largest Arab donors to the PA. Experts say Arab nations have been focused on other concerns since the January revolution erupted in Egypt, and crises in other parts of the Arab world, like Libya and Syria …
“Last year my family had two or three types of food on our iftaar [daily meal to break the Ramadan fast] table and now we barely have enough,” said Mohammed Musa, 48, a guard at a municipal building in Ramallah and a PA employee. His monthly salary of about $460 supports a family of 10 living in Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah, which has high unemployment and a population of about 10,000. In response to the crisis, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas ordered PA institutions to stop holding official Ramadan iftaar dinners and to divert the allocated funds to poor Palestinians. Several public and private institutions followed suit
Farmers union seeks compensation for fake Israeli seeds
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Aug –The Palestinian farmers union have filed a lawsuit against an Israeli crop-provider for selling Palestinians fake seedlings, union board chair Ibrahim Idieq said Monday. The suit comes after an expert investigation into the case, Idieq said, adding that the union is seeking $400,000 compensation for farmers. The case follows a lawsuit in 2006 against an Israeli plantation in which 54 farmers received $500,000 for 1,270 seedlings, the union chief said.