Wednesday, November 25, 2020 Last Update: 6:41 PM GMT

Gantz: Israel is Ready for Settlement with Hamas

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (Photo: via Facebook)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that the occupation state is willing to reach a settlement with Hamas and improve conditions for the residents of the Gaza Strip.

In a tweet, Gantz wrote:

“I met this evening with the UN envoy Mladenov, and thanked him for his contribution to the resumption of security and civilian coordination with the Palestinians.”

Gantz added, in his tweet, on Monday evening, that he told the UN envoy that “Israel is ready to reach a settlement and improve the conditions of the residents of Gaza Strip if we reach understandings on a long-term truce and returning our sons [Israeli prisoners of war held in Gaza] home.”

Hamas did not provide a response.

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

Earlier this week, the WHO warned that Gaza’s healthcare system is near collapse as a result of Israel’s stifling siege and the rise in coronavirus cases.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

WATCH: Israeli Soldiers Stop Ambulance to Assault, Arrest Wounded Palestinian Man

Israeli soldiers attempted to forcibly pull out and arrest an injured Palestinian from an ambulance in Jordan Valley. (Photo: Video Grab)

Israeli soldiers attempted to forcibly pull out and arrest an injured Palestinian from an ambulance of the Palestinian Red Crescent in the occupied West Bank, footage of the incident shows.

Israeli soldiers open the vehicle’s door and try to take a wounded Palestinian man following protests on Tuesday against Israel’s policy of home demolitions in the Jordan Valley.

Footage shows the moment an Israeli soldier pushes an aid worker in an attempt to reach the wounded man. The aid worker manages to close the ambulance door just before it leaves the scene.

The Palestinian health ministry condemned the Israeli forces for forcing their way on an ambulance belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and their attempt to arrest a wounded person.

“Israeli occupation soldiers attacked an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and attempted to arrest one of the injured from inside it,” Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said in a statement.

“The world saw in video how the occupation soldiers stormed an ambulance by force of arms, trying to arrest one of the injured, without regard to his health condition,” she said.

The Jordan Valley covers an area of about 1.6 million dunams (1,600 km2) and constitutes around 30 percent of the total occupied West Bank. According to a previous government report, the Valley includes about 280,000 dunams of arable land, 50,000 of which are still used by Palestinians and 27,000 by illegal Jewish settlers.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

(Palestine Chronicle, AJE, Social Media)

Reports: Israeli Soldiers Shoot, Injure Palestinian at Checkpoint near Jerusalem

Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank. (Photo: via Ma’an)

Israeli forces today opened fire and injured a Palestinian who was not immediately identified at a checkpoint east of Jerusalem, according to reports and witnesses.

Israeli soldiers reportedly opened fire at a vehicle near the checkpoint in yet unclear circumstances, critically injuring the driver.

The soldiers closed the checkpoint following the incident, said witnesses.

“In 2019, Israeli security forces killed 133 Palestinians, including 28 minors. Of the casualties, 104 were killed in the Gaza Strip, 26 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and three within Israel,” Human Rights group B’tselem reported. 

“Most of these deaths were a direct outcome of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and military and backed by the legal system,” the group added.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Despite Saudi Denial, Israeli Minister Congratulates Netanyahu over ‘Semi-Official’ Meeting with MBS

Israeli Education Minister Yoav Gallant. (Photo: FIle)

Israeli Education Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his first-ever known meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Neom, a claim denied by Riyadh.

Speaking on Israel’s Army Radio on Monday, Yoav – a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party – lauded the alleged meeting as an “incredible achievement” and congratulated Netanyahu.

“Let’s say that the very existence of the meeting, the fact that it was put out publicly, even if it’s half official at the moment, is a matter of great importance from any aspect and matter,” CNN quoted Gallad as saying on the radio.

The Crown Prince and Netanyahu reportedly held secret talks in NEOM on Sunday, according to flight data of a private plane frequently used by the Israeli.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen are also reported to have attended the alleged meeting.

However, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry denied reports of the meeting.

“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a tweet on Monday.

Israel has yet to officially comment.

The reports come amid suggestions that Saudi Arabia could follow the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan in normalizing relations with Israel.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Army Expels 10 Palestinian Families for Military Drills in Jordan Valley

An Israeli military drill in the occupied Jordan Valley. (Photo: via MEMO)

Israeli forces today forcefully expelled over ten Palestinian families from their houses in the northern Jordan Valley to make room for military drills, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Aref Daraghmeh, a local human rights activist, told WAFA that Israeli forces evicted more than 10 Palestinian families from their homes in al- Burj and al- Mayta villages, citing the need to conduct military drills as a pretext.

Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.

In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.

The Jordan Valley covers an area of about 1.6 million dunams (1,600 km2) and constitutes around 30 percent of the total occupied West Bank. According to a previous government report, the Valley includes about 280,000 dunams of arable land, 50,000 of which are still used by Palestinians and 27,000 by illegal Jewish settlers.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Unemployment Rate Reaches 82% in Gaza Strip amid Coronavirus Crisis

Palestine is currently under a state of emergency to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud)

The economic repercussions of the coronavirus have led to an increase in the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip by 17 percent, with 82 percent of the population now out of work, the head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza Strip, Sami Al-Amsi, said yesterday.

The official explained in a statement that the pandemic has affected more than 160,000 workers in Gaza Strip directly and indirectly and led to the closure of several factories, companies and workshops that had to lay off thousands of employees.

“Workers today are competing to work for long hours and for low wages to meet their families’ needs,” Al-Amsi said, explaining that working hours often range between 10-13 hours a day while wages range from 15 to 35 shekels ($4.5-$10.5) in the best conditions.

“The public transport sector has been completely paralyzed. There are 15,000 to 20,000 drivers working partially or moderately, while the construction sector, which employs 40,000 workers, has completely stopped and only 8,000 out of 21,000 workers have returned to the industrial sector. Moreover, 4,000 fishermen suffer from daily Israeli attacks,” Al-Amsi explained.

Unify effort must be taken by the public and private sectors to improve the lives of workers, he stressed, calling on government agencies in the Gaza Strip, the Legislative Council and Qatar’s Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza to allocate special grants and provide urgent assistance to the workers.

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

US Congresswoman Omar Calls on Biden to Reverse Trump’s Deals with the Middle East

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has called America’s allies in the Gulf “dictators” and said that agreements between regional states and Israel are not “peace deals”. Omar made her comments in an article in The Nation.

Calling on President-elect Joe Biden to reverse President Donald Trump’s deals with the Middle East, she said that the US is starting to “transition” to a new presidency “based on peace and cooperation”. Foreign policy, she suggested, has to be a priority.

“Trump has taunted, mocked and burned bridges with our allies, while simultaneously cozying up to some of the most brutal dictatorial regimes around the world, especially those in the oil-rich Middle East,” said the Democrat Representative for Minnesota. “The damage done by the Trump administration runs deep…” Biden, she added, has a “tremendous opportunity” to reorient US foreign policy in the region.

Omar cited Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal as an example of why this is needed. The deal, she pointed out, prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons which could risk nuclear war.

She also referred to Trump’s links with Saudi Arabia, “a regime which “imprisons, tortures, and kills advocates for human rights and political reform in their own country.” Using US weapons, “Saudi Arabia has bombed, blockaded, starved and slaughtered thousands of Yemeni civilians.”

Criticizing the Israeli normalization deals with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan brokered by Trump “in the run-up to the election”, Omar pointed out that, “besides the very well-documented war crimes in Yemen, the UAE has also been credibly accused of committing war crimes in Libya.” It has also “badly [undercut] the transition to democracy in Sudan.”

Bahrain, meanwhile, “is a brutal dictatorship that summarily executes political dissidents and protesters, including religious leaders; routinely uses torture and arbitrary detention, and targets human rights defenders and women.”

In truth, she stressed, these are arms sale deals to human rights abusers. “And they’re less about normalizing relations with Israel than they are about forming military alliances against Iran… And we must ask: What do these agreements mean to the millions of Palestinians who continue to live under Israeli military occupation? Rather than make statehood or self-determination more likely, they have normalized the occupation and made real peace for Israelis and Palestinians increasingly unlikely.”

While Israel supposedly agreed to halt its planned annexation of Palestinian land in exchange for such deals, explained Omar, “just this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and ordered that imports from these settlements be labeled ‘Products of Israel’, suggesting that de facto annexation will move forward apace.”

Instead of the US siding with one group of dictators over another, she concluded, “We should position ourselves at an equal distance from both, allowing ourselves to be honest brokers, protecting our national security and interests while promoting human rights and democracy.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Reports: Netanyahu Flies to Saudi Arabia for Secret meeting with Pompeo, Bin Salman

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (L) flied to Saudi Arabia for a secret meeting with Mike Pompeo (C) and MBS. (Photo: File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret trip to Saudi Arabia yesterday to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Accompanied by Chief of Israeli Mossad Yossi Cohen, the Israeli officials apparently joined Bin Salman and Pompeo in Neom on the Red Sea coast, according to an aviation tracking data, Haaretz reported.

Flight-tracking websites showed that the plane was grounded for approximately two hours before it returned to Israel about half an hour past midnight.

A senior Saudi adviser told the Wall Street Journal that the leaders discussed several issues, including the normalisation of ties and Iran, but that no substantial agreements were reached.

“The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially right now, is a matter of great importance,” Education Minister Yoav Gallant told Army Radio when asked about the visit.

Yesterday’s meeting marked the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials, as the US is pushing for more ties between Israel and some Gulf Arab states.

The Israeli prime minister’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

However, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud took to Twitter today to deny the news, and said that the meeting “was only between Saudi and American officials”.

During a meeting with the Saudi foreign minister last month, Pompeo had urged the Saudis to consider normalizing relations with Israel.

“We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalizing its relationships as well, and we want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords so far,” Pompeo said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed normalisation deals with the occupation in September, becoming the third and fourth Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

Riyadh has so far declined to normalize ties with Israel, saying Palestinian statehood goals should be addressed first. However, the Saudis have allowed Israeli airliners to overfly their territory, a decision announced the day after Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, met with Bin Salman in Riyadh.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Vehicles in Northern West Bank

Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles in West Bank. (Photo: File)

Jewish settlers today intercepted and attacked Palestinian vehicles traveling between Nablus and Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said that a group of club-yielding settlers intercepted Palestinian vehicles traveling along the Nablus-Qalqilya Road, close to the entrance of the illegal Yitzhar colonial settlement, notorious for its violent settlers, and attacked them, causing damage to some of them and terrifying the passengers.

Daghlas said the use of clubs is a new phenomenon in the settlers’ violence against Palestinian civilians when previously all the attacks were with rocks.

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

“Jewish settler violence should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society entirely,” wrote Palestinian author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.

“Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation,” according to the Human Rights Group B’tselem. “Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinian casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property. In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks”.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Israeli Army Bombs Multiple Sites in Gaza (VIDEO)

An Israeli airstrike on Gaza. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli warplanes last night and early today morning bombed several sites across the besieged Gaza Strip, causing property damages but no casualties, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Israeli warplanes fired three rockets at a site to the west of Gaza City, destroying it and causing damages to neighboring properties. No casualties were reported.

Israeli fighter jets further bombed with two missiles in an outpost in Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood, west of Gaza City, completely destroying it and causing damages to neighboring residential facilities as well as causing fear among the local population.

Israeli warplanes also targeted with five rockets at a site, including an agricultural area, to the east of the city, causing damages to properties nearby.

In the south, Israeli warplanes fired five rockets at two sites to the west of the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah, causing destruction to the sites and damages to neighboring properties.

The Israeli occupation army claimed that the attacks came after a missile was fired at an illegal Jewish settlement close to the Gaza Strip.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)