Wednesday, September 23, 2020 Last Update: 1:17 PM GMT

Abbas Asks Turkey to Support Internal Reconciliation, Election Plans

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo: File)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to support the internal Palestinian reconciliation efforts and the plans for an election.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Abbas spoke on the phone with Erdogan on Monday evening and briefed him about the latest development regarding talks currently taking place between Fatah and Hamas and the Palestinian factions as well as the pressure exerted by the United States on the Palestinians.

During the call, Abbas requested Turkey’s assistance to hold elections by sending observers to monitor the electoral process.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian factions agreed to end internal division and “consolidate the principle of peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections, according to proportional representation”.

Abbas also thanked his Turkish counterpart for the contacts he made with the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo urging them not to open embassies or offices in Jerusalem.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Demolish Wedding Hall in West Bank

Israeli bulldozers carry out demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: File, via Twitter)

Israeli bulldozers Wednesday morning demolished a wedding hall located at the entrance of Jubara village, south of Tulkarm city, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Ihsan Awad, head of the Jubara Village Council, told WAFA that to their shock, a large unit of Israeli forces, escorting three bulldozers, raided the area, and cordoned off the hall, before the heavy machinery tore it down, reducing it to rubble.

Awad added that the 900-meter-square building consisted of a small residential apartment, inhabited by a family, who were forced out before the demolition happened. He noted that the demolished building belongs to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, who previously received demolition notices under the pretext of unlicensed building, to make room for the construction of a new colonial settlement industrial zone.

Almost a month ago, Israeli forces clamped down on peaceful protestors marching against Israel’s move to level a large swath of their land for the construction of a settler-only bypass road between Jubara and Shufa villages, causing several protestors to suffocate from teargas inhalation.

Israel demolishes Palestinian houses and structures almost on a daily basis as a means to achieve “demographic control” of the occupied territories.

According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, “the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the occupying state to destroy the property of residents of occupied territory, who benefit from the status of protected persons.”

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

PLO Commends Qatar, Algeria for Rejecting Normalization with Israel

PLO Senior official Saeb Erekat. (Photo: File)

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) commended Qatar and Algeria for refusing to normalize relations with Israel before the occupation of Palestinian territories comes to an end.

“We highly appreciate the affirmation of the sisterly State of Qatar concerning its position [towards the Palestinian cause],” Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said on Twitter on Sunday.

Erekat re-tweeted the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement in which it affirmed Doha’s position demanding an end of the Israeli occupation and establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Last week, a spokesperson of Qatar’s foreign ministry ruled out normalizing her country’s relations with Israel, saying it was not the answer to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

“We don’t think that normalisation was the core of this conflict and hence it can’t be the answer,” Lolwah Al-Khater said in an interview with Bloomberg last week.

Meanwhile, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune deplored all forms of normalisation with Israel and mocked Bahrain and the UAE for “scrambling” to build ties with the occupation state.

“We have noticed a kind of scramble towards normalisation. This is something we will never participate in, nor bless,” Tebboune said during a televised press briefing on Sunday evening.

This comes one week after the UAE and Bahrain signed normalisation deals with Israel at the White House.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however denied this saying annexation is not off the table but has simply been delayed.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

PA Abbas to Address UN General Assembly Later this Month

Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: File)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to deliver an important speech before the United Nations General Assembly on the 25th of this month via video-conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, the spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said the president’s speech will determine the next Palestinian steps to confront what the Palestinian cause is facing and defend the rights and interests of the Palestinian people.

Abu Rudaineh stressed that Abbas’ speech will express the unified Palestinian political position, which first steps were to hold an expanded meeting of the general secretaries of all Palestinian factions, in addition to emphasizing the independent national decision, which he stressed “We did not and will not accept to compromise at all.”

He said president Abbas will affirm during his speech the national constants that will not change regardless of the pressures or plans aimed at liquidating our national cause, and the normalization with Israel for free that violates all the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summits.

On August 13, Israel and the UAE have reached a deal that is expected to lead to “full normalization of relations” between the Arab nation and Israel in an agreement that US President Donald Trump reportedly helped broker.

The country of Bahrain became the latest Arab nation to normalize ties with Israel, less than a month following a similar decision by the United Arab Emirates.

The Bahraini decision, which was announced by US President Donald Trump on Friday was made despite repeated assurances that Manama will not extend diplomatic ties with Israel until Palestinians obtain their rights in accordance with international law.

The Bahrain-Israel agreement came as another shock to Palestinians who still didn’t recover from the news of the UAE-Israel normalization.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Israel Causes Destruction of 100,000 Coronavirus Testing Swabs Destined to Palestinian Territories

Israeli authorities obstructed the entry of 100,000 COVID-19 testing swabs from Jordan to the occupied Palestinian territories. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

The Israeli occupation authorities caused the destruction of 100,000 coronavirus testing swabs destined to the occupied Palestinian territories, Health Minister Mai Alkaila stated today.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine, Alkaila confirmed that the Israeli occupation authorities obstructed the entry of 100,000 COVID-19 testing swabs from Jordan to the occupied Palestinian territories a few days ago, causing their destruction.

She noted that the entry of the swabs was coordinated with the United Nations.

As a result, she added, there is now a shortage in testing swabs in Palestine as the swabs available to the ministry would be sufficient to carry out tests for only three days, after which Palestine would run out of the swab supply.

The ministry would therefore rationalize the use of available testing swabs through restricting tests to close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients, she added.

She pointed out that Palestine is slated to receive additional swabs on Wednesday, and affirmed that 20,000 swabs were yesterday delivered from the World Health Organization to Gaza.

Five people have died of coronavirus in Palestine and 557 new cases were confirmed along with 1142 recoveries, according to the Health Minister.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Fatah Official: Abbas under Pressure to Talk to US

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and US President Donald Trump. (Photo: via AJE)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to negotiate with the US although he was under pressure from Arab countries, a Fatah movement official said Sunday, Anadolu reports.

“President Abbas is facing unprecedented pressure from Arab brothers and the international sphere to negotiate with the US administration and take the customs revenues cut by Israel, but he does not accept it,” Mahmoud Al-Aloul, deputy chief of Fatah told the official Palestinian television channel H.

Al-Aloul said everyone knows that Israel tried to liquidate the Palestine cause but Palestinians choose to stand up against the oppression.

The Palestinian Authority will never return to its previous situation and stopped coordinating with Israel, he said.

On August 13, Israel and the UAE have reached a deal that is expected to lead to “full normalization of relations” between the Arab nation and Israel in an agreement that US President Donald Trump reportedly helped broker.

The country of Bahrain became the latest Arab nation to normalize ties with Israel, less than a month following a similar decision by the United Arab Emirates.

The Bahraini decision, which was announced by US President Donald Trump on Friday was made despite repeated assurances that Manama will not extend diplomatic ties with Israel until Palestinians obtain their rights in accordance with international law.

The Bahrain-Israel agreement came as another shock to Palestinians who still didn’t recover from the news of the UAE-Israel normalization.

(Palestine  Chronicle,  MEMO, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Close Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron for Second Day in a Row

The Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil, Hebron. (Photo: File)

Israeli forces have closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) for the second day in a row during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Wafa news agency has reported.

Muslim worshippers were again prevented from attending the mosque for daily prayers.

The director of the mosque slammed Israel’s latest violation of human rights conventions which guarantee the right to religious freedom.

Sheikh Hifthi Abu Sneineh told Wafa that the occupation authorities closed the mosque on Saturday night in order to make way for illegal settlers.

The Ibrahimi Mosque, believed to be the burial place of the Prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades.

The Mosque is located in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron, known as H2. It has been divided between Muslims and Jews following the massacre carried out on February 25, 1994, by Israeli-American settler Baruch Goldstein, who opened fire at a large number of Palestinian worshippers as they were performing the dawn prayers on a Ramadan day.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Detain Five Palestinians, Including Elderly Anti-occupation Activist

Israeli soldiers handcuff Palestinian protester Khairy Hannoun from Tulkarem, West Bank, during a peaceful protest.(Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli occupation forces today detained at least five Palestinians, including an elderly anti-occupation activist, from various parts of the occupied territories, according to local sources.

Israeli forces detained 61-year-old Khairi Hannoun after storming his house in Anabta town, east of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm.

Hannoun made headlines last month after Israeli soldiers beat him and threw him to the ground as he participated in an anti-settlement and land grab protest in Shufa village, south of Tulkarm.

On that occasion, an Israeli soldier pressed his knee on his neck while on the ground, a scene reminiscent of the event that led to the death of African-American George Floyd after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while detaining him on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Hannoun had spent a total of eight years in Israeli prisons for his anti-occupation activities.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian after ransacking his house in the Hebron district in southern West Bank.

Soldiers conducted a similar raid in Deir Samet village, southwest of Hebron (Al-Khalil), resulting in the detention of another.

Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint west of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city stopped and detained a minor.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli police detained a Palestinian during a raid in the Al-Issawiya neighborhood.

Israeli forces on a regular basis storm Palestinian cities and villages in the occupied West Bank to arrest Palestinian popular activists.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Dozens of Jewish Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Compound (VIDEOS)

Jewish settlers storm Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Twitter)

Dozens of Jewish settlers forced their way into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa complex on Sunday in celebration of the Jewish New Year, Anadolu reports.

In a statement, the Jerusalem Awqaf Department said 76 settlers backed by Israeli police forces had entered the compound.

According to an Anadolu Agency reporter, the settlers toured the courtyard in celebration of the Jewish Rosh Hashanah, which falls from Sunday to Thursday.

Right-wing Jewish supporters have called on supporters over the past few days to converge on the Al-Aqsa compound to celebrate the occasion.

On Saturday, a Jewish settler attempted to blow in a shofar inside the flashpoint compound, but he was kicked out by the guards.

Jewish settlers often raid Al-Aqsa Mosque and perform Talmudic rituals inside its yards, while the Israeli army limits access to Muslim worshippers during this time.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

Shtayyeh: Holding Elections is a Priority to Face Challenges

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh. (Photo: via Social Media)

Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said today that the condition of the endurance of the Palestinian cause and enhancing the political program lies in the elections, promising to do everything possible to facilitate it.

He told a delegation from the Independent Commission for Human Rights he met at his Ramallah office that in light of the current difficult and complicated political situation facing the Palestinian cause, in addition to Arab normalization of relation with Israel, “our priority is to strengthen our home front to face all challenges.”

The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of preserving and promoting freedom of opinion and expression, accepting constructive criticism and building on it, and combating corruption in all its forms, noting that the Anti-Corruption Commission has referred 95 corruption files to the Attorney General this year.

Shtayyeh also discussed with the delegation many issues on top of which was the fight against the chaos of arms in the Palestinian areas that claimed the lives of many people, indicating that the security establishment was instructed to make all efforts to eradicate this phenomenon.

For its part, the delegation appreciated the trend towards holding elections as national demand for renewing the legitimacy of the institutions, and thanked the government’s support for the Independent Commission for Human Rights, considering that this support reflects the extent of its respect for human rights and the role the Commission plays in Palestinian society.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)