Palestinian refugees – UNRWA
UNRWA chief defends refugee criteria for millions of Palestinians
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 3 Sept by Jeffrey Heller — Millions of Palestinian refugees “cannot simply be wished away”, the head of a U.N. support agency said on Monday, hitting back at a U.S. aid cutoff and allegations its work only perpetuates their plight. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of some 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation. The growing refugee count was cited by Washington, UNRWA’s biggest donor, in its decision last week to withhold funding, and has potential ramifications for the Palestinians’ pursuit of a right of return to land now in Israel … “I express deep regret and disappointment at the nature of the U.S. decision,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in an open letter to Palestinian refugees and the agency’s staff in which he pledged its operations would continue … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described UNRWA on Sunday as “the refugee perpetuation agency” whose money “should be taken and be used to really help rehabilitate the refugees, whose real number is a sliver of that reported by UNRWA”. But Krahenbuhl said “the protracted nature of the Palestine refugee crisis” was not unique. He said the children and grandchildren of long-displaced refugees in Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Congo and elsewhere are also recognized as refugees and assisted by the United Nations. “No matter how often attempts are made to minimize or delegitimize the individual and collective experiences of Palestine refugees, the undeniable fact remains that they have rights under international law and represent a community of 5.4 million men, women and children who cannot simply be wished away,” he said….
UNRWA and Trump’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people
Al Jazeera 3 Sept by Neve Gordon — President Donald Trump appears to enjoy experimenting on human beings. First came the separation of young children from their parents. In May 2018, Trump ordered the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to send all adults caught crossing the border to federal jail to await trial, while transferring their children to either foster care or detention centres. Most of these children have been kept in what are essentially cages, and some have even been given psychotropic drugs without parental consent. The assumption is that pain, agony and suffering alter human behaviour, and that traumatising a large group of children and their parents serve to deter other people, even those fleeing life-threatening conflict zones, from trying to enter the US. The moral perspective is that the end justifies the means, even if the means include cruel and inhuman policies.
Now comes Trump’s latest experiment, this time with education, medical care, and famine. Adopting warped rhetoric, this experiment is presented as part of a groundbreaking Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The idea is to cut all funding to the United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA), which, for the past 70 years, has been providing lifesaving assistance to more than five million Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan…
This experiment seems to have two distinct – if related – goals. First, Trump apparently wants to see if a policy of destruction and anti-humanitarian intervention can be used as a peacemaking device in this protracted conflict. This is an inversion of parts of the Oslo paradigm, where the European Union and other international players decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on Palestinian state-building projects … Trump’s current idea, by contrast, is to simply force a “peace process” by destroying all of the institutions that modern states use to manage their population while bringing the inhabitants to the brink of social death …
The experiment’s second goal is to erase Palestinian refugeehood. It is important to remember that UNRWA was set up to assist the 700,000 Palestinian refugees after the creation of Israel in 1948. Whether these Palestinians fled or were forcibly expelled from their towns and villages may be a point of contention, but there is no argument that, after the war had subsided, Israel refused to allow the Palestinians to return to their homes, thus violating article 11 of United Nations Resolution 194. This is how Israel created the refugee problem….
Palestinian refugees angry and dismayed at US for halting funds to UN agency
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 1 Sept by Stephen Farrell – Palestinian refugees reacted with dismay on Saturday to a United States decision to halt funding to a U.N. agency, warning that it would lead to more poverty, anger and instability in the Middle East. The U.S. announcement on Friday that it will no longer support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has deepened a cash crisis at the agency, and heightened tensions with the Palestinian leadership … In Gaza, Nashat Abu El-Oun, a refugee and father of eight, said: “The situation is bad and it will become worse…People can hardly afford living these days and if they became unable to earn their living they will begin thinking of unlawful things.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Friday that UNRWA’s business model and fiscal practices were an “irredeemably flawed operation” and that the agency’s “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable.” UNRWA rejected the criticisms, with spokesman Chris Gunness describing it as “a force for regional stability.” Speaking in Jordan, where more than 2 million registered Palestinian refugees live, including 370,000 in ten refugee camps, Gunness said: “It is a deeply regrettable decision…some of the most disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable people on this planet are likely to suffer.”….
Presidency to challenge US decision at UN
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Spokesperson of the Palestinian Presidency said, on Saturday, that President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership are considering to head to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council to challenge the United States’ decision to end all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Nablus Abu Rdeineh added that UNRWA was established by a UNGA [General Assembly] resolution in 1949, which means that that it is supposed to continue its role until the refugees issue is solved. He added that Abbas would be mentioning the issue when he addresses UNGA later this month as he speaks on important Palestinian issues including refugees and Jerusalem. Abu Rdeineh said that the US decision “does not serve peace,” but “promotes terrorism in the region.” He stressed that the decision violates all UN resolutions and initially requires the UN to take a firm stand against it.
Israel welcomes end of US funding for UN Palestinian refugee agency
AFP 1 Sept — Israel welcomed Saturday a US decision to end funding for the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), accusing the organisation which supports some five million Palestinians of perpetuating the Middle East conflict. Israel and the United States have accused the nearly 70-year-old agency of maintaining the idea that many Palestinians are refugees with a right to return to the homes from which they fled or were expelled during the 1948 war that accompanied Israel’s creation, an idea they both oppose. On Friday, Washington, which until last year was by far the agency’s biggest contributor announced it was ending funding to the “irredeemably flawed operation.” “Israel supports the US move,” an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on condition of anonymity. “Consolidating the refugee status of Palestinians is one of the problems that perpetuates the conflict.” Palestinian ambassador Hossam Zomlot accused the United States of “reneging on its international commitment and responsibility” towards a body that was set by UN General Assembly resolution in 1949. “By endorsing the most extreme Israeli narrative on all issues including the rights of more than five million Palestinian refugees, the US administration has lost its status as peacemaker and is damaging not only an already volatile situation but the prospects for future peace,” he said….
EU urges US to reconsider ‘regrettable’ decision on UN Palestinian agency
BRUSSELS (AFP) 1 Sept — The European Union on Saturday urged the United States to reconsider “its regrettable decision” to halt funding for the United Nations relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees. The EU stressed the importance of continued international support for UNWRA which runs schools for hundreds of Palestinian children across the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. “The regrettable decision of the US to no longer be part of this international and multilateral effort leaves a substantial gap,” a spokesperson for the EU’s diplomatic service said in a statement. “And we hope that the US can reconsider their decision,” said the spokesperson for the European External Action Service. “The US have always played, and will continue to play, an essential role in any effort to achieve peace in the Middle East,” the statement said. “The EU will continue to engage with the US and its other regional and international partners to work towards that common goal.” … The 28-nation EU, the biggest collective contributor to UNWRA, said it will discuss with its international partners “how to ensure sustainable, continued and effective assistance to the Palestinians, including through UNRWA,” in the runup to the UN General Assembly this month.
Venezuela rejects ‘despicable’ US decision
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — The government of Venezuela expressed, on Monday, their deep concern over the United States Trump administration’s decision to cut all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The government of Venezuela issued a statement following the announcement by the US Trump administration saying that “such despicable measure may be the most biased and extreme ever taken by the United States since 1948 regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” “Far from contributing to the region’s stability, the US is jeopardizing millions of people by collectively punishing them, availing itself of its economic power.” Venezuela expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian people and in specific to refugees. The statement continued “they show once again their contempt for the multilateral system and their commitment to unilateralism, which only guides us towards arbitrariness and the law of the strongest.” “Intending to oppress a worthy people through economic extortion they shall not defeat its desire for national liberation.” … Venezuela stressed “we reject the smear campaign against the organization and we reiterate our conviction that lasting peace is achieved through a dialogue based on respect and justice and not through coercion.”….
UK affirms commitment of continued support to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — The United Kingdom declared its continued commitment of support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The British Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, released a statement saying “UNRWA is a necessary humanitarian and stabilizing force in the region, providing vital services to millions of Palestinian refugees every day.” The statement came after the United States Trump administration announced the decision to officially end all funding to UNRWA, following seven decades of US funding making up a third of the agency’s budget. Burt concluded, “the UK remains a firmly committed supporter of UNRWA, and Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, and we will do everything we can to maintain continuity of essential services at this time.”
Trump says Arabs can fund UNRWA on US terms: report
PressTV 3 Sept — After cutting money to the UN refugee agency helping Palestinians, the United States now says Persian Gulf Arab states can plug the gap provided that they meet the new guidelines set out by the Trump administration. According to Israel’s Channel Two, American officials have informed Israel that any further funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) would be on US terms. The US announced on Friday that it will no longer support UNRWA, saying the agency needed to make unspecified reforms as it called on Palestinians to renew “peace” talks with Israel. Channel Two said that US officials have allegedly allowed Persian Gulf states to fund UNRWA projects in the short term, but the ultimate plan is to close down the agency once and for all. “US approval for funding would include any future sponsors to UNRWA committing to redefining the status of the agency, as well as the definition of Palestinian refugees, with the ultimate aim of eventually closing down the agency,” it said. It is not yet clear which Persian Gulf states have received the green light to partly compensate for UNRWA’s budget deficit of $217 million, which has deepened a cash crisis at the agency in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision….
Video: Palestinians in Lebanon fear aid cuts will slash school access
AFP 3 Sept — It’s back to school for Palestinian refugees at the UN-run Haifa school in Lebanon, but funding cuts to the UN agency supporting them means students may only be in class until the end of month.
At least 200 Palestinians injured in Gaza
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — More than 200 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces’ suppression of “The Great March of Return” protests alongside the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday, using live ammunition and tear-gas bombs. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that a total of 240 Palestinians were injured, 82 of which were transferred to hospitals for treatment, including a woman paramedic and a 10-year-old boy. The ministry added that Israeli forces targeted and injured three paramedics and one journalist with live fire, in addition to damaging a Red Crescent ambulance in the northern Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Palestinians marched and protested at return camps across the Gaza Strip; mainly in the cities of Rafah, Khan Younis, Gaza and Jabaliya.
Israeli soldiers shoot and seriously injure a female Palestinian medic in Gaza
IMEMC 1 Sept — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, on Friday evening, a Palestinian female medic, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, during their excessive use of force against the Great Return March in the coastal region. The Health Ministry said the medic, identified as Shorouq Abu Mosameh, was seriously injured after the soldiers shot her with a live round in the chest, which exited through her back. She was rushed to the Surgery Room at the Gaza European Hospital, and is currently in very serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit. In an interview after being injured in a previous Israeli attack while performing her humanitarian duties, Shorouq called for international protection to the medics, who are directly and deliberately targeted by the army while performing their duties in aiding wounded Palestinians during the Great Return March procession in the Gaza Strip.
At Gaza protests, medical workers face great danger
KHUZAA, Gaza Strip (AP) 1 Sept by Fares Akram — Each Friday, volunteer medic Asmaa Qudih goes through a tense ritual: She prays, kisses her mother’s hand and packs a bag with medical supplies as she heads off to work at the weekly mass protests along Gaza’s border fence with Israel. Treating the wounded has become dangerous for Gaza’s emergency workers. In the past five months, three medics were killed by Israeli army fire, while dozens more, including Qudih, were hurt by live fire or tear gas canisters. Qudih, 35, says the weekly routine is terrifying, but that national pride, religious devotion and professional ambition drive her and other medics to risk their lives. “As long as you go to work in the field, you expect at any time to get injured or killed,” she said on a recent Friday as she prepared to head to the frontier. Before leaving home, she inspected her red backpack, filled with bandages, sticky tape and the saline spray that soothes the effects of tear gas on the eyes and skin. She hugged her young nieces and nephews, and then solemnly kissed her mother farewell. “She goes against my will,” said her mother, Fatma, as she showered Qudih with blessings. “But this is her decision.”….
Youth shot by Israeli forces along Gaza border
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Sept — A Palestinian youth, on Monday, was shot and injured by Israeli forces along Gaza’s border, to the east of Khan Younis city, in the southern Gaza Strip, said WAFA medical sources. Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers, along the borders to the east of Khan Younis city, opened fire at a group of Palestinian youth, shooting and injuring one of them with live fire. The identity, nature of injury and medical status of the injured youth remain unknown until the moment.
Palestinian protesters flee as Israeli military launch tear gas in fresh clash on a beach near Gaza border
[VIDEO, PHOTOS} AP/AFP/Tim Stickings 3 Sept — Palestinian protesters fled from tear gas fired on a beach by Israeli security forces yesterday during fresh clashes at the Gaza border. Pictures from the beach showed injured Palestinians being carried away after Israeli soldiers moved to break up the protest near Kibbutz Zikim, north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. One protester was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail across the beach while another received emergency medical treatment after being shot in the leg during the demonstration. Other Palestinians rode speedboats past burning tyres in the water. The latest protests followed claims that 80 Palestinians had been injured on Friday at a weekly demonstration along the border with Israel … The latest clashes come after Washington announced on Friday it would no longer provide any funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)….
Six fishermen detained off Gaza coast
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Sept — The Israeli navy has reportedly detained six Palestinian fishermen off of the Dier al-Balah coast, in central Gaza. The fishermen’s syndicate said that navy raided the men’s boat and took the six fishermen into custody. The syndicate identified the fishermen as Zakee Annajar, Ahmad Abu Reyala, Mahmoud Abu Auda, Mohammed Abu Auda, Jihad Abu Auda and Mohammed Abu Auda. The boat was then taken to Ashdod seaport, according to Al Ray. No further details were given.
WHO: 2 killed, 733 injured during second half of August in Gaza
GAZA (PNN) 3 Sept — The latest figures provided by the Ministry of Health (MoH) indicate that two Palestinians were killed and 733 were injured by Israeli forces, during the demonstrations, from the 14th to the 27th August. Out of the total 733 injuries, 325 required transfer to the MoH hospitals or to NGO clinics, including 71 children and 22 females. From the hospitalized injuries, six cases were critically life threatening, 127 moderate, 187 mild, and the remaining five were unspecified cases. Refer to Figures 1 and 2 on the following page. The MoH and Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) set up nine Trauma stabilization Points (TSPs). 408 injuries were managed and directly discharged at the TSPs. WHO continues to strengthen capacity of the TSPs across Gaza to provide life-saving interventions. Gaza’s 14 public hospitals rely on donated fuel to run generators during the electricity black-outs, which last 18-20 hours per day. The last batch of UN donated fuel, approximately 370,000 litres, entered Gaza via Karem Shalom on the 12th and 13th August; and there is currently no funding to procure more fuel. As a result, the UN funded emergency fuel will completely deplete in less than two weeks, forcing public hospitals to significantly reduce essential services….
Rafah crossing to reopen in both directions
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — The Egyptian administration of the Rafah crossing, between Egyptian and Palestinian borders, announced that the crossing would reopen allowing passage in both directions starting on Wednesday. The Rafah crossing administration said that the crossing would be open in both directions as it has been open in one-way-only for the past week. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians remain signed up on waiting lists, awaiting departure from the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing to the rest of the world.
Kerem Shalom crossing to close for holidays
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israel announced on Sunday a decision to close the Kerem Shalom crossing in the besieged Gaza Strip due to the upcoming Jewish holidays. Israeli authorities said that the Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main commercial crossing, will be closed for seven non-consecutive days in the month of September due to Jewish holidays. The crossing will be closed on the 9th and 10th of September and will resume work on the 11th. However, on the 18th and 19th of September the crossing will close, following another closure on the 23rd, 24th, and 30th.
Shattered limbs, broken dreams: Life for Gaza athletes after surviving Israeli bullets
[illustrated] GAZA STRIP (Middle East Eye) 1 Sept by Mohammed A. Alhajjar & Maha Husseini — When Raed Jadallah rode the waves of the Mediterranean sea on his surfboard, he was able to transcend the limitations placed on his life forced upon him, as he is a Palestinian living in the besieged Gaza Strip. During some stolen moments of time, the 26-year-old surfer would leave strife behind on Gaza’s shore. “When I surfed, I forgot about everything,” he said. “It is like you are in another city where there is no war or blockade. All you think about is how you will catch another wave,” Jadallah said. Jadallah’s passion came to an abrupt end when he was shot on 6 April as he participated – albeit as a spectator – in the second Friday of the Great Return March protests that kicked off on 30 March along the eastern border fence separating Israel from Gaza … A bullet struck Jadallah in his left thigh as he stood about 150 metres away from the fence. He now depends on crutches to walk. “I did not participate in the protests. I was just watching the protesters burn tyres and throw rocks when I was suddenly shot in my thigh,” Jadallah, from the al-Shati refugee camp of western Gaza city, recalled … According to Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, of the nearly 18,000 Palestinians who have sustained injuries since the Great Return March protests began, over 5,000 were injured in their lower limbs – including athletes who suffered from permanent and long-term disabilities. Jadallah says the Israeli snipers targeted the protesters’ lower limbs to prevent them from walking again….
Gaza girls take the plunge in male-dominated sport
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 31 Aug by Moath al-Amoudi — Fatima Abu Shedeq has been undergoing intensive swimming training three days a week, six hours a day inside the sports club in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. Fatima began swimming 2015, following the death of her father, Jalil, in 2014; he was killed during the shelling of Beit Lahia by Israeli tanks. Her father was hit by a shell right in front of their house. “I had to find a way to work out my emotional strain after the death of my father. I found relief in swimming. My father used to take me to the sea, hoping that one day our family would have a professional swimmer,” Fatima told Al-Monitor, explaining that she felt closer to her father’s memory when she swam. Her first goal is to make the Palestinian national swimming team and go to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
VIDEO: Show jumping in Gaza: Riding brings hope
2 Sept — Competition, discipline and a love of animals is giving some young Palestinians cause to hope — For more than 10 years, the headlines coming out of Gaza have been relentlessly grim: three wars, a worsening humanitarian crisis, and political division – all playing out under the restrictive Israeli siege. But there are pockets of normal life where people, especially children can escape the chaos. All around the world, this is a sport that carries connotations of elitism and wealth but in Gaza, the contrast between show jumping and the realities of life for so many is particularly stark. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Gaza.
Israeli farmers to file lawsuit against Hamas movement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli farmers from Israeli communities surrounding the besieged Gaza Strip will be filing a lawsuit against the Hamas movement leaders before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. According to a Hebrew-language news outlet, Israeli farmers said that the lawsuit would be filed for violating international laws, including the launch of incendiary kites and balloons resulting in burning hundreds of dunams of open fields. Israeli Channel 2 reported that the lawsuit will be filed against senior Hamas leaders, including Saleh al-Arouri, Khalid Mashaal and Zaher Jabarin; the lawsuit called upon ICC prosecutors to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Hamas leaders. Crimes against humanity are usually considered mass murder, however, the ICC declared that in certain circumstances destroying property can also be a crime against humanity.
The lawsuit will include photos of damages caused by incendiary objects launched by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. In July, it was reported that some 6,000 dunams (1482.6 acres) of agricultural produce as well as thousands of dunams of open fields were burned due to about 678 fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons flown from inside the Gaza Strip. Palestinians in Gaza view the incendiary kites as a form of protest against Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of Gaza and for Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes and lands which are now known as Israel.
Netanyahu says no Gaza deal without return of soldiers’ remains
Bloomberg 2 Sept by Alisa Odenheimer — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there will be no cease-fire deal with Gaza Strip leaders without the return of the remains of two soldiers missing since 2014, following a meeting with the men’s families. Netanyahu “met with the Goldin and Shaul families and told them that there would be no arrangement in the Gaza Strip without the return of the boys,” his office said in an emailed statement Sunday. Talks brokered by Egypt and the United Nations are underway to end five months of protests at the Gaza border and pave the way to a multi-year cease-fire, including the lifting of a decade-long Israeli blockade of the territory and the financing of major infrastructure projects. If no deal for the return of the bodies can be arranged, Israel may agree only to much smaller gestures to ease Gaza’s humanitarian situation in exchange for quiet at the border.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Hebron after alleged stabbing attempt
IMEMC 3 Sept — Israeli soldiers killed, Monday, a young Palestinian man near the al-Mowahel military checkpoint, located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The soldiers shot the young man with multiple live rounds, then left him lying on the ground and prevented ambulances from reaching him. He eventually bled to death from his wounds. Although the soldiers claimed that the young man had attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the checkpoint, they presented no evidence for this claim, and the video released by the Israeli military shows al-Ja‘bari’s body lying on the ground far from the checkpoint in the middle of the street. This is presumably where he was standing where he was shot, and the location is at least twenty meters away from the checkpoint. The Palestinian has been identified as Wael Abdul-Fattah al-Ja‘bari, a 27-year-old Palestinian, from Hebron. The slain Palestinian is a married father of two children, and was shot just meters away from his home … No Israeli soldiers were injured or hurt in any way, as the young man was shot while far from the checkpoint. Reporters from Palestine TV attempted to cover the incident, but were prevented by Israeli soldiers from accessing the area, and were attacked by the soldiers, who hit them and tried to break their equipment….
Israeli soldiers shoot a child in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 2 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian child in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. Medical sources said the soldiers shot the child, Mo’men Morad Eshteiwi, 8, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his head. They added that the child was moved to Rafidia hospital, suffering moderate wounds. The child was shot after several army jeeps invaded the town, attacked many Palestinians who protested the invasion, and fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at random.
Israeli forces detain, repeatedly assault Jerusalemite
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces severely assaulted and detained a Palestinian man, late Thursday, while near one of the Al-Aqsa Mosque gates in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank. The Jerusalemite, who identified himself as Nitham Abu Ramouz, 37, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained him as he attempted to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound via the Lions Gate. Abu Ramouz said that Israeli forces took him to an Israeli police station near the Lions Gate in the city and immediately assaulted and beat him on the head, face and back while handcuffed before throwing him into a cell. Abu Ramouz mentioned that despite his injuries and bleeding, Israeli forces transferred him to the al-Qishla detention center for further interrogation. However, due to the severity of his injuries, he was transferred to the Hadassah Medical Center for treatment. Abu Ramouz said that he was handcuffed during the entire detention, which lasted until late evening, and was then released on condition of returning for further interrogation the next day. Reasons for his detention remained unknown.
Israeli forces injure 3 Palestinians during Friday prayers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces injured three Palestinians during Friday prayers which took place on Palestinian lands which Israel plans to confiscate in the Ras Karkar village, west of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. According to local sources, Palestinian residents were performing Friday prayers on lands outside of the village which Israel has been planning on confiscating in order to build a new illegal Israeli settlement. Sources confirmed that as a result, violent clashes broke out among Israeli forces and the Palestinian residents for the fourth consecutive day. Several clashes occurred in the Ras Karkar village after Israeli forces along with bulldozers began to raze dozens of acres of Palestinian agricultural land, causing confrontations with the residents, who were attempting to prevent further illegal Israeli settlement expansion. Sources said that Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear-gas bombs at the Palestinians to disperse them as they prayed. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that three Palestinians suffered light injuries in the clashes, while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation. The lands in question belong to the residents of Ras Karkar, Kafr Nimeh, and Kharbatha villages.
Israeli colonizers injure four Palestinians near Nablus
IMEMC 2 Sept — A number of illegal Israeli colonizers attacked, on Sunday at dawn, Palestinian cars, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, wounding four residents. Media sources in Nablus said the colonizers hurled stones at several cars, causing damage, and wounding four Palestinians who were in one car. They added that the wounded Palestinians were moved to Rafidia hospital, suffering various cuts and bruises. The attack took place near the junction leading to the illegal Yitzhar colony, which was built on Palestinian lands. On Saturday, extremist Israeli colonizers from Yitzhar, invaded an olive orchard and cut at least twenty trees.
Israeli colonizers open fire at a Palestinian home near Nablus
IMEMC 4 Sept — Illegal Israeli colonizers opened fire, on Monday evening, at a Palestinian home in Burqa village, north of Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the Israeli assailants fired many live rounds at the home of Jamal Rida Saif, located near the main road linking between Jenin and Nablus. The Israeli attack caused property damage, but did not lead to casualties. Eyewitnesses stated that the assailants came from the location of the former Homesh illegal colony, which was removed in 2005.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian after alleged attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli forces announced on Sunday that one Palestinian was detained after he allegedly attempted to attack Israeli settlers in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. According to a Hebrew-language news outlet, a Palestinian man allegedly attacked Israeli settlers at the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Tekoa, southeast of the Bethlehem district. Sources reported that the Palestinian was carrying an iron bar and attempted to attack Israeli settlers returning to the Tekoa settlement, claiming that a number of settlers were alarmed by the incident. Sources added that Israeli forces detained the Palestinian, however, did not reveal his identity. Local witnesses said that sirens were sounded, requesting all residents to remain indoors until Israeli forces “search and find the infiltrators.”
Israeli police detain Jerusalemite at Qalandiya checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli border police detained a Jerusalemite woman while at the Qalandiya military checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the Jerusalemite was detained after she stopped by Israeli border police for a body search at the Qalandiya checkpoint and allegedly found a knife in her possession. The identity of the Jerusalemite remained unknown.
Soldiers nab 3 Palestinians with pipe bombs in northern West Bank
Times of Israel 30 Aug by Judah Ari Gross — Israeli troops on Thursday arrested three Palestinians who were in possession of “a number” of pipe bombs in the northern West Bank, the army said. The suspects were spotted outside the village of Deir al-Hatab, near Nablus, by soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras, and the troops were dispatched to arrest them. The incident came hours after police arrested two other Palestinian teenagers who were found holding improvised explosive devices outside a nearby military courthouse. The entrance to the Samaria Military Court in the village of Salem was briefly blocked and the area cordoned off, while a police sapper inspected the devices, which were found in plastic bags. Police said in a statement that officers noticed the “suspicious behavior” of the teens — aged 14 and 18 — and stopped them, thus foiling a terror attack at the court. One of the objects was revealed to indeed be a pipe bomb, while the two others were improvised explosive devices made from metal containers, police said….
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians in southern West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians on predawn Sunday during raids in the village of Beit Fajjar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that two Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces. PPS identified them as Hani Abdullah Ahmad, 19, and Ahmad Samih Taqatqa, 24. Israeli forces detained the two after they raided their home and thoroughly searched it. The detentions carried out by Israeli forces mostly occur during overnight raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,820 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.
Update: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 11 Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 3 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted on Monday at dawn, eleven Palestinians, most of them former political prisoners, in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The PPS stated that the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes in Biddu and Silwan towns, in occupied Jerusalem, and abducted six Palestinians, identified as Luay Misbah Abu Tabanja, Mojahed Mohammad Shamasna, Odai Adnan Gheith, Mohammad Tawfiq Gheith, Majdi Obeisan and Ala’ Abu Tayeh. In addition, the soldiers abducted Khaled Abu Zeina, 58, from Jenin, Ahmad Marwan Shehab, 22, from Tulkarem, and Moath Mohsin Shreim, 22, from Qalqilia, in the northern parts of the West Bank. The soldiers also caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation during protests that took place in Nur Shams refugee camp, in Tulkarem, and in Jenin refugee camp, following the Israeli military invasions. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Amin Shafiq Qawasma and Abdul-Karim Abu Turk. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers abducted, on Sunday afternoon, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah, in central West Bank, after stopping her at the Qalandia Terminal, north of Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers abduct 27 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 4 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, 27 Palestinians, including former political prisoners, from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The invasions targeted dozens of homes in many communities across the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. The soldiers also installed military roadblocks and searched dozens of cars while inspecting the ID cards of scores of Palestinians. The invasions led to protests in many communities across the West Bank, especially in Nablus and Jerusalem, while the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces prevent renovations in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces ordered on Thursday a Palestinian family in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, to stop reconstruction on their home, and detained the workers. According to Hebron’s Palestinian Reconstruction Commission, Israeli forces raided Ishaq Maharmeh’s house in the Old City of Hebron, that is under full Israeli control, and ordered him to stop reconstruction and maintenance work at the house. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces stopped reconstruction work under the pretext that Maharmeh must obtain a military permission issued by the Israeli Civil Administration first. Israeli forces detained several workers who were working on renovation inside Maharmeh’s home. However, their identities remained unknown. The Palestinian Civil Liaison said that it was informed of the military decision to prevent the repair work. The liaison added that efforts are being made to remove the decision so that the Reconstruction Commission could complete the reconstruction. The commission tries to help Palestinian residents of the Old City of Hebron with renovating their homes, in order to prevent people from leaving their homes, as Israel plans to take over Palestinian homes and transfer ownership to Israeli settlers.
Israel tells West Bank Bedouin: First sign a voluntary eviction, then we’ll see if the new location stinks
[behind paywall] Haaretz 1 Sept by Amira Hass — To live next to sewage or next to a garbage dump. That’s in short the two options Israel has given the Bedouin from the Jahalin tribe whom it insists on expelling from Khan al-Ahmar on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho in the West Bank. To be even more precise, the government is telling them: First move to live alongside the waste disposal site in tents we’ll provide for you, and later, at a time still undetermined, we’ll let you build permanent structures alongside Jerusalem’s sewage-treatment plant and the settlements to its east. But that too is only on condition that you’re joined by three other Jahalin communities, from the same Abu Dahouk clan, whom we’ll evict from the same area, too. The State Prosecutor’s Office has submitted these two options to the High Court of Justice; the option of eviction to a site near the garbage dump was made long ago and is already familiar to the readers. But only recently has the second option floated, the removal of the residents to the site near the eight sewage-treatment pools shining in the desert sun. Not the flies and not the stench are ruining the make-believe atmosphere that the High Court has adopted, as if the same law applied to the settlers of Amona, who were moved from stolen land, and the Bedouin, who have lived since the 1950s in the West Bank after they were kicked out of the Negev….
Palestinians gather inside demolition-threatened homes in Walaja
[with video] BETHLEHEM (PNN) 3 Sept — A number of Palestinian citizens were injured after they stood up to the Israeli army’s attempts to demolish four houses in Battir village, west of Bethlehem. Eventually, the army demolished two out of four houses. Local sources in the village said that the residents gathered in two houses early Monday and tried to prevent the Israeli soldiers who stormed the village with large forces and besieged a number of houses that the occupation had notified the citizens for demolition yesterday. According to the sources, a number of citizens were injured after a large army forces stormed the houses where they were barricaded and fired live bullets, rubber bullets and gas bombs at the citizens and forced them to leave the houses. Local sources in the village said that the Israeli occupation forces prevented ambulances belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society from entering the village and prevented journalists and the media from reaching it, forcing ambulances to try to enter the village from secondary roads in order to reach the injured.
Hundreds of Israeli civilians stormed a house from dawn until morning and chanted national slogans condemning the occupation, stressing the adherence of our people to their national rights. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and border guards broke into the house and fired bullets, sound bombs and gas and forced the residents to leave the house….
189 homes still face threat of demolition in Al-Waleja
IMEMC 4 Sept — Waleed Assaf, the head of the National Commission against the Israeli Annexation Wall and Colonies, said that the al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, is still facing the Israeli demolition of 189 of its homes. Speaking to the Palestinian Radio on Tuesday morning, Assaf said the demolitions are part of a large illegal colonialist plan to expand its colonies in the southern part of occupied Jerusalem, and link them with Gush Etzion Block. His statement came after the army demolished, on Monday at dawn, four Palestinian homes in the village, after an Israeli court rendered its final ruling against them. He added that the families of the demolished homes are now living in tents, and received some basic aid to survive until a solution is found to ease their plights….
Israel demolishes Palestinian-owned home near Galilee
GALILEE (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house, for the second time, in the Manshiyet Zabda village in northern Israel, on Monday. Locals said that the Israeli authorities demolished the house a second time after residents of the area had rebuilt it following its first demolition. Sources pointed out that the house is inhabited by 15 people. Israeli bulldozers uprooted olive trees surrounding the house and razed the house to the ground after destroying its contents.
Israeli forces demolish structures in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian-owned room, steel structure along with two toilets on the outskirts of Yatta City in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, on predawn Monday. Rateb Jbour, coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in southern Hebron, said that Israeli forces demolished a room in the Quweis area of the city, saying it belonged to resident, Youssef Muhammad Abu Aram. Jbour confirmed that Israeli forces also demolished a steel structure along with two toilets, in the Zawaydin area, which belonged to resident Salameh al-Timin and his brother.
Israeli forces demolished six Palestinian-owned structures in the holy city in August
AIC 31 Aug — The European Union reported this month that nearly half of the Palestinian-owned structures demolished by Israeli authorities this year were in the Jerusalem district. Israeli authorities continued targeting Palestinian homes and businesses for demolition in the holy city throughout August. On August 6, 2018 Israeli forces demolished a storeroom and two containers belonging to a supermarket in Jabal al-Mukaber. On August 7, Israeli forces demolished two apartments in a five-story apartment building in Shua’fat. The Muhteseb family owned the apartments. Israeli authorities allege they were built without a permit. The same day, in Jabal al-Mukkaber, Bassem Obeidat demolished his own home after the Israeli municipality ordered him to do so or pay a fine of 60,000 shekels. On August 15, Israeli forces demolished a duplex under construction in Issawiya. The duplex was planned to house a family of six and belonged to Nader Nasser Abu Riyaleh. On August 29, Israeli forces demolished a print shop owned by the Siyam family in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Israeli forces shot stun grenades and used pepper spray when the shop’s owners and neighbors attempted to document the demolition (see VIDEO). At least eight Palestinians were injured and treated in local clinics, where Israeli forces attempted to detain them. The same day, Israeli forces demolished a storefront in Silwan….
Armed Israeli colonizers storm and occupy a Palestinian home in Hebron
IMEMC 3 Sept — A group of armed extremist Israeli colonizers invaded, on Monday at night, a Palestinian home in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and occupied it. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the home is owned by members of the Za‘tari Palestinian family, and is located near the Ibrahimi Mosque, and close to Kiryat Arba illegal colony. The colonizers were accompanied by many soldiers, who surrounded the area and prevented the Palestinians from entering it, while the assailants brought furniture into the property. Local nonviolent activist Aref Jaber said the illegal takeover of the Palestinian home came just three months after an attempt by the colonizers to occupy it.
Israeli settlers vandalize Palestinian vehicles in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli settlers vandalized Palestinian vehicles in the Beita village in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, on Monday. Locals said that Israeli settlers raided the village overnight and punctured the tires of several Palestinian vehicles. Israeli settlers also spray-painted Hebrew-language racist slogans on the walls of surrounding buildings.
On Sunday, the Israeli Civil Administration delivered a notice regarding the uprooting of about 70 Palestinian-owned olive trees in the Jordan Valley area.
In Photos – Israeli settlers destroy Nablus-area olive trees
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli settlers uprooted 20 olive trees from Palestinian lands in the northern West Bank district of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity, told Ma‘an that several Israeli settlers coming from the nearby illegal settlement of Yitzhar destroyed and uprooted 20 olive trees. Daghlas identified the owner of the trees as Zakariya Jamil Najjar, pointing out that his land is in the al-Mayadin area between the Burin village and Yitzhar settlement in southern Nablus. He added that dozens of Israeli settlers were seen touring the area late Friday, however, Najjar found the done damages on Saturday morning when he arrived to his land. For hundreds of Palestinian families, olive trees are the main source of income, however when harvest season approaches, Israeli settlers target Palestinian lands and cause severe economic damages.
According to a report by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israeli settlers’ vandalism in the occupied West Bank is a daily routine and is fully backed by Israeli authorities. B’Tselem reported that “In just over two months, from the beginning of May to 7 July 2018, B’Tselem documented 10 instances in which settlers destroyed a total of more than 2,000 trees and grapevines and burned down a barley field and bales of hay.” B’Tselem also argued that under the guise of a “temporary military occupation,” Israel has been “using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements,” estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
Israeli to uproot 70 olive trees in Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (Ma‘an) 2 Sept — The Israeli Civil Administration delivered a notice regarding the uprooting of about 70 Palestinian-owned olive trees in the Jordan Valley area, in the northern occupied West Bank. Moataz Bisharat, the Palestinian official in charge of the Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), said that Israeli authorities notified him that about 70 olive trees will be uprooted under the pretext that the area is archaeological. Bisharat confirmed that the olive trees belong to Palestinian resident, Najib Turki Faqha.
Bisharat stressed that Israeli forces confiscated dozens of acres of Palestinian-owned land in the area, in order for Israeli settlers to build new illegal Israeli settlements. The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control.
Israel orders evacuation of 4 Palestinian families in Jordan Valley
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — The Israeli authorities delivered evacuation notices to four Palestinian families from the Umm al-Jamal area in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank, on Monday afternoon. Human rights activist, Aaref Daraghmeh, said that the evacuation orders delivered to the families order them to evacuate their homes starting Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning to allegedly conduct military operations in the area. The Israeli authorities had evacuated another four families several times last month in a nearby area for the same purpose.
Restriction of movement
Israeli forces seal off roads near Bethlehem City
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — Israeli forces sealed off all roads leading to villages and towns west of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Sunday evening. Locals said that Israeli forces sealed off roads and prevented Palestinians from entering or exiting the western side of Bethlehem City. Sources added that the closure caused massive traffic in the area. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the closure was allegedly caused by stone-throwing at vehicles driven by Israeli settlers on Route 60.
Lana Del Rey cancels Israel show after boycott pressure
AFP 1 Sept — American singer Lana Del Rey said on Friday she was postponing a performance in Israel after failing to set up a show “in Palestine”. The surprise cancellation came after a campaign by pro-Palestinian groups calling for a cultural boycott of Israel over its occupation of the West Bank. “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” said the artist, who had been scheduled to perform at a September festival in northern Israel. “Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice,” she wrote on Twitter. “Therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans.” The 33-year-old, known for her melancholic baroque pop and tales of ill-fated love, had faced pressure from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement seeking to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank….
Shlohmo withdraws from Israeli festival
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Sept — American electronic musician Henry Laufer, a.k.a. “Shlohmo”, has canceled his planned appearance at an Israeli music festival, he announced on Twitter Saturday. Laufer apologized to fans and festival staff, in his announcement, saying that “supporting the oppressed thru [sic] my absence is more important to me especially after the [Israeli] government’s recent human rights atrocities.” “I had said no to playing there for years and the only reason I could find to say yes was if I were to donate my fee to Gaza relief,” Laufer wrote. “But after much dialogue I found it to be a more important statement to say no all together [sic] than to donate. I hope you can understand this decision.” … The musician was set to perform at the Israeli Meteor Festival in the occupied Al-Jaleel on September 7. The festival aimed to beautify the image of Israeli occupation.
Abbas offered confederation with Jordan by US team – NGO
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 Sept — ‘President not to push for right of return that would destroy Israel’ — US officials working on a Middle East peace plan have asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about forming a confederation with Jordan, Abbas told activists on Sunday, according to one of them. Abbas recounted the conversation he had with White House aides Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt during a meeting with Israeli peace activists in Ramallah, said Hagit Ofran of the Peace Now NGO, who also attended the meeting. According to Ofran, Abbas said he told the US officials he would only be interested if Israel was also part of such a confederation. It was not clear when the conversation took place, though Abbas has declined to meet with the White House since US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Abbas’ office confirmed Sunday’s meeting with the peace activists, but not the comments on the confederation. Israeli media also reported Abbas’ comments on the confederation proposal. Ofran said Abbas did not go into further detail. A Palestinian-Jordan confederation has been favoured by some on the Israeli right as a way to avoid granting full state status to the Palestinians for now. In such an arrangement, Israel could also avoid taking responsibility for the some 3.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Abbas response was essentially a way of torpedoing the proposal since Israel would likely not agree to join such an arrangement, Ofran told AFP … Ofran said Abbas also spoke of the right of return for Palestinian refugees during Sunday’s meeting, long a major issue in peace efforts. She said Abbas told the meeting that he would not push for a solution for refugees that would “destroy Israel”, but for a compromise that could be agreed upon….
Jordan rejects US plan for Palestinian confederation
MEMO 3 Sept — Jordan yesterday rejected and condemned the alleged US plan for a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, saying it was not a matter up for discussion. Spokeswoman for the Jordanian government, Jumana Ghneimat, said: “A confederation between Jordan and Palestine is not open for discussion. Jordan’s position is firm and clear regarding the Palestinian issue—a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” Ynet reported. The prospect of a confederation was allegedly raised by US envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner during meetings with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah. Under the proposed agreement, Jordanian security forces would be responsible for protecting the West Bank and the border between Israel and the confederation, a move which has been seen as an attempt to make the Hashemite Kingdom “Israel’s border guard”. However, the proposed agreement “left unclear the future status of the Jordan Valley, which Israel has always insisted must remain under its control.” …
The idea of a Palestinian-Jordanian federation has been floated on several previous occasions and is often advocated by those who are against Palestinian statehood. Supporters of this approach point to the high number of Palestinians living in Jordan – estimated to be more than two million registered refugees according to UNRWA. A further 10,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria who fled the ongoing Syrian Civil War have also sought UNRWA assistance in Jordan. However, despite formally having full Jordanian citizenship, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that many Palestinians living in Jordan have had their citizenship withdrawn in the past decade, leaving them stateless. HRW interpreted this denial of citizenship as evidence of the intention to return Palestinians to the West Bank in the event of any peace deal with Israel….
Egypt confirms efforts to achieve Palestinian unity
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — The Egyptian Presidency stressed that the country is keen to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and national unity. Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s statement was made during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday. According to spokesperson of the Egyptian Presidency, Bassam Radi, al-Sisi said that the Palestinian Authority must take over its responsibilities in the besieged Gaza Strip, pointing out that it would help revive the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The Palestinian President expressed thanks for Egypt; leadership and people, for its role in supporting the Palestinian people’s rights and for its efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation which would contribute to restoring their legitimate rights of establishing an idenependent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel will act ‘unilaterally’ on Gaza Strip, West Bank issues: Lieberman
PressTV 3 Sept — Israel’s minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, says negotiations with Palestinian authorities on the situation in both besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied west Bank are pointless and that Tel Aviv should act on the Palestinian issue in both regions “unilaterally.” “I’m aware of all the negotiations and all the mediators and everything going on there. The negotiations, regardless of whether they’re on Ramallah or Gaza [City], won’t lead us anywhere,” he said at a press conference at Jerusalem al-Quds on Monday, referring to the capital cities of the West bank and Gaza Strip, respectively. Lieberman’s comments came as Egypt and the United Nations are working to hammer out a lasting ceasefire between the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, which has been running the Gaza Strip since 2006, and the Israeli regime after months of tensions and violence in the occupied territories. “All the negotiations have led us to a dead end, therefore we need to act on the Palestinian issue — regarding Ramallah and Gaza — unilaterally, and define the reality unilaterally, according to our understanding,” Lieberman added….
A new Israeli law is making this fiercely loyal sect question what it has fought for
ISFIYA, Israel (Washington Post) 1 Sept by Loveday Morris — At a military cemetery lined by conifers on the wooded slopes of Israel’s Mount Carmel, Safwan Marich walks beside the graves of local soldiers killed in active service for Israel. “Look at these people,” said the retired officer. “Why did they fight? For whom? For their nation?” “Now,” he continued, “the government is saying: ‘No, you didn’t die for your nation. It’s not your nation.’ ” Marich and the slain soldiers interred here are members of Israel’s minority Druze community, known for its fierce dedication to the Israeli state and service in the armed forces. Hundreds have paid the ultimate price for Israel, but now their sacrifices feel hollow, Marich said, because of Israel’s new nation-state law. Passed in July, the law has stirred fierce debate across Israeli society over what it means to be a minority in Israel and highlighted fundamental questions about equality and democracy here….
Al-Quds Bard College Arts and Master’s graduates ready to make change
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept — The successful partnership and 10-year-long special friendship between Al-Quds University and Bard College (New York) was celebrated at a graduation ceremony for both bachelor’s and master’s students at Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences. At a festive event which included Palestinian folk dancing and dozens of high-level educators and politicians, President of Al-Quds University Professor Imad Abu Kishek called on the students to invent new concepts and standards that would solve challenges facing Palestinian society and around the globe … Out of the roughly 5,000 universities in the United States, Bard College is the only one that has a dual degree program with a Palestinian university. At the graduation ceremony, which saw the attendance of hundreds of students and their families, academics, and other guests, Bard College President Professor Leon Botstein echoed Professor Abu Kishek’s sentiments of being proud of the achievements made by Al-Quds Bard College over the years….
UN extends mandate of UNIFIL in Lebanon
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — The United Nations (UN) Security Council, approved the extension of the mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), on Thursday, until August 31, 2019, calling on that Government to develop a plan to increase its naval capabilities, with the goal of decreasing the Mission’s Maritime Task Force and transitioning activities to the country’s armed forces. According to the UN, the Council reaffirmed the need for effective deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon and in territorial waters at an accelerated pace, recalling its request for precise timelines to be jointly and promptly elaborated by the Forces and the Secretary-General for those deployments. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had previously said in a report, presented to the council, that “Israel must withdraw its forces from Lebanese territory and cease violations of Lebanese airspace.”