Friday, March 22, 2019 Last Update: 7:36 PM GMT

Trump: It is Time for US to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty over Golan (VIDEO)

Map of Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights (Map: via Al Jazeera)

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to back Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967, providing a boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign, Reuters reports.

The recognition of the Israeli occupied region, seized by Israel in the Middle East war of 1967, would mark a major shift in US policy a week before Netanyahu arrives in Washington to meet with Trump and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

It was the most overt move made yet by Trump to help Netanyahu, who faces an April 9 election. Trump remains popular in Israel, and his advisers have been developing a Middle East peace proposal for release sometime after the Israeli elections.

Netanyahu has been pressing for the United States to recognize its claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He thanked Trump for the gesture.

Netanyahu wrote on Twitter:

“At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you, President Trump! @realDonaldTrump.”

Israel’s annexation of much of the Golan was not endorsed internationally. Netanyahu raised the possibility of US recognition in his first White House meeting with Trump in February 2017.

Netanyahu had tried to take White House national security adviser John Bolton to see the region during a January visit, but bad weather forced cancellation of the trip.

The Golan announcement could help Trump improve his standing in America’s pro-Israel camp, especially among his base of evangelical Christians, just ahead of next week’s annual convention in Washington of AIPAC, the nation’s most influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Kill Unarmed Palestinian Who Assisted Wounded Driver (VIDEOS)

Ahmad Manasra was shot and killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man as he tried to aid another man shot by troops, the governor of Bethlehem said on Thursday.

Governor Kamel Hmeid said Israeli troops in the adjacent village of al-Khader fired at a car and wounded the driver late on Wednesday night.

Ahmad Manasra was in the car behind and got out of his vehicle to help the wounded man, but was shot in the abdomen. As Manasra was returning to his car, the Israeli soldiers shot and killed him, he said.

Hmeid said:

“This is a summary execution and Israel bears the full responsivity for this crime.”

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

Gaza Prepares for Massive Demonstration on March 30

Palestinians take part in the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip. (Photo Abdallah Aljamal, the Palestine Chronicle)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that his movement is preparing for a massive demonstration on the occasion of Land Day, which marks the first anniversary of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege, the group’s official website reported.

During a speech, Haniyeh said:

“In light of preparing for a massive demonstration, the Israeli occupation does not have any choice except accepting the demands of our people, on top of which is ending the siege.”

He added:

“The Palestinian people will remain steadfast against the threats posed to the Palestinian cause which needs national unity.”

The Hamas chief added that the occupation “will not succeed to stop the revolution of the Palestinian youths who insist on defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian lands.”

On March 30, 2018, Palestinians launched the Great March of Return to demand an end of the 12-year siege imposed by Israel on the enclave and a return to the homes their families were forced out of to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.

More than 250 Palestinians have been killed in the protests and tens of thousands have been injured as a result of Israel’s use of force to disperse the unarmed protesters.

The UN has repeatedly condemned Israel’s use of snipers against the protesters and said some of the actions could amount to “war crimes”.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Bernie Sanders Posts Video Citing ‘Apartheid-Like’ Conditions in Palestine (VIDEO)

Bernie Sanders. (Photo: via Twitter)

Bernie Sanders, who has announced his intention to run in the Democratic primaries ahead of the 2020 presidential election, posted a campaign video featuring a supporter praising him for his condemnation of the “apartheid-like” conditions imposed on Palestinians by Israel.

In the clip. posted on Monday on the presidential campaign’s Facebook page, Shaun King said:

“He spoke out against apartheid in South Africa when crazily that was an unpopular thing to do and even today he speaks out against apartheid-like conditions in Palestine even though it’s not popular.”

Shaun King: I Don't Care When Trump Calls Bernie "Crazy"

"I don't care when [Trump] calls him "Crazy Bernie." I was in California when Bernie went to Disneyland and literally said that he did not think that Mickey Mouse and Goofy approved of Disney not paying their workers a living wage. You gotta be a little crazy to do that." – Shaun King, civil rights activist.

Posted by Bernie Sanders on Monday, March 18, 2019

King, “a columnist and activist”, was speaking at the formal launch of Sanders’ campaign on March 2.

The video then breaks away from King’s speech to a highlighted online CNN headline, “Bernie Sanders smashes the Israel status quo”.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Pompeo Boosts Netanyahu in Pre-Election Visit (VIDEO)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have hailed strong ties between the two countries and vowed to counter Iranian “aggression” as the pair met in Jerusalem, weeks before Israel‘s election.

Pompeo’s visit on Wednesday and warm words on Netanyahu’s leadership were widely seen as a boost for the Likud chief at the height of a tight re-election campaign.

The Israeli prime minister, who is facing a tough election challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and ties with US President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu will visit Washington next week, where is set to meet Trump twice.

The Israeli people should have confidence that Trump, who is due to present a peace plan after the Israeli vote, will maintain a “close bond” with Israel, he said.

Addressing to Netanyahu, Pompeo said:

“I know that you and the president have an outstanding working relationship … He sent me here to build upon that and to represent him here.”

For his part, Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration’s strong stance against Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.

Netanyahu is one of Trump’s strongest backers on the global stage. Since taking office, Trump has upended US policy and taken a series of steps welcomed by Israel, most notably by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

Extremist Jewish Groups Call for Massive Raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Jewish settlers perform religious Jewish rituals at Al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy army security. (Photo: PIC)

The so-called Temple Mount Groups, a body of extremist Jewish organizations, have called for a massive raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim tomorrow, the Shehab news agency reported yesterday.

*Please remember Masjid al Aqsa in your duaas today*The Zionists from the temple mount foundation have been planning a mass invasion of Masjid al Aqsa since 2 weeks with an aim to invade Musallah Baab Rahmah today between 7.30am & 11.30am & also after Zuhr salah to convert it into a Jewish synagogue.They claim it will be a decisive day during which it will become clear who really has control over Masjid al Aqsa, the occupation or the Muslims…The least we can do to support the cause of Masjid al Aqsa is to make duaa.Jazakallahukhayran

Posted by Desi Pakistani By Heart ♥♥♥ on Thursday, March 14, 2019

According to Shehab, the groups announced their planned raid on Facebook and said that they would organize tours and other activities inside and around the different facilities of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In addition to the extremist organizations, Israeli MKs and ministers are expected to take part in the planned raid.

השנה לפני פורים נותנים מחצית השקל כדי לבנות בית כנסת על הר הבית. הגיע זמן להרים קרן ישראל.

Posted by ‎הקרן למורשת הר הבית-The Temple Mount heritage foundation‎ on Monday, March 18, 2019

Israeli occupation forces regularly provide protection for settlers who enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque and carry out religious rituals there. Many Palestinians, on the other hand, are banned from entry while settlers desecrate the Muslim holy site.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli MK Shoots Arab Colleague in New Election Video (VIDEO)

Israeli MK Oren Hazan. (Photo: File)

Arab MK and Chairman of the Arab-majority Balad party Jamal Zahalka yesterday filed a complaint against Jewish MK from the Likud party Oren Hazan for incitement to murder, Haaretz reported.

As part of his electoral campaign, Hazan published a video from the American film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” superimposing his face and that of Zahalka on two of the characters. The clip shows Hazan’s character shoot and kill Zahalka.

Haaretz reported that Zahalka is to file another complaint with the Central Elections Committee requesting that the video be removed from the electoral campaign.

Zahalka told Safa news agency:

“Hazan is appropriate to take the role of the ugly character, who does not have ethics or taboos, but the issue is not just a film, but a dangerous incitement to murder.”

He also said:

“How would the situation be if an Arab MK made a similar video showing himself shooting a Jewish minister.”

He added:

“This, in fact, reflects a discriminatory trend in Israeli society.”

Zahalka, according to Haaretz, also asked Facebook to remove the clip, citing its racist, violent and inciteful content.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

UN Rapporteur: Israel Deprives Palestinians of Clean Water

Israel deprives Palestinians of benefiting from natural resources of water. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

Israel deprives Palestinians of benefiting from natural resources of water which constitutes a “violation of legal responsibilities as an occupying power,” Special UN Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Occupied Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk said.

Lynk said:

“For nearly five million Palestinians living under occupation, the degradation of their water supply, the exploitation of their natural resources and the defacing of their environment, are symptomatic of the lack of any meaningful control they have over their daily lives.”

He gave these remarks as he presented a report on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Israel’s policy of usurping Palestinian natural resources and disregarding the environment has robbed the Palestinians of vital assets and means they simply cannot enjoy their right to development. ts approach to the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been to use them as a sovereign country would use its own assets, with vastly discriminatory consequences.”

The report said people living under occupation should be able to enjoy their full rights as enshrined in international law, in order to protect their sovereignty over their natural wealth.

“However,” he added, “Israeli practices in relation to water, extraction of other resources and environmental protection, raise serious concerns.”

The Rapporteur said natural and mineral wealth from the Dead Sea, which is partly within the occupied West Bank, were being extracted by Israel for its own benefit, while Palestinians were denied access to them.

There are serious concerns about Israel’s practice of disposing of hazardous waste in so-called “sacrifice zones” in the West Bank. The impact of Israel’s practices may be felt not only by Palestinians but also by Israelis and others in the region, the Rapporteur said.

The report also questioned the ongoing use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza and the near humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.

Lynk also expressed fears about the fate of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem – nearly 200 of whom are at risk of forced eviction – and concern for human rights defenders facing increasing attacks on their credibility and pressure on funding.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Three Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in Occupied West Bank

Three young Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in two separate incidents on Tuesday night, Palestinian health ministry and emergency services said.

Omar Abu Laila, 19, was suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing-and-shooting attack in the occupied West Bank two days earlier.

Abu Laila, who was on the run, was found in a house in the village of Abwein, north of Ramallah.

Protests in the village then broke out between Palestinian youth and the army. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, nine men were injured, including two with live ammunition.

In a separate incident, the Palestinian health ministry said two more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Raed Hamdan, 21, and Zaid Nouri, 20, died after being shot late Tuesday by Israeli troops near the Joseph Tomb’s religious site close to the Palestinian city of Nablus, it said.

According to the spokesperson for the Red Crescent, Ahmad Jibril, Israeli forces prevented emergency services from reaching the site and fired on an ambulance.

The bodies of Hamdan and Nouri were detained by Israeli forces overnight before they were handed over to the Palestinian Authority coordination body in the morning.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

Israel Kills Omar Abu Laila, Allegedly Responsible for Attack on Israeli Army near Salfit

The Israeli occupation army announced on Tuesday that it had killed Omar Abu Laila, a 19-year-old Palestinian man allegedly responsible for the attack near Salfit in the West Bank that killed an Israeli soldier and an armed settler on Sunday, March 17.

According to Israeli media sources, Omar was killed during a shootout in the West Bank village of Abwein, west of Ramallah on Tuesday night.

It was not clear how Omar was found and what kind of information led the Israeli army to his hiding place.

Eyewitness accounts told Al Jazeera that at least 40 Israeli armored vehicles stormed the village and surrounded a house for nearly two hours before firing at least two rockets and opening heavy fire.  

Following the attack, the youth of the village confronted Israeli soldiers, protesting and throwing rocks which lead to the injury of four Palestinians.  

(PC, AJA, Social Media)