Monday, June 25, 2018 Last Update: 8:49 PM GMT

Anti-PA Demonstrations Continue in Ramallah (VIDEOS)

A Palestinian protester carrying a placard that reads: “From Gaza, to Jerusalem: Remove the sanctions.’ (Photo: via Twitter)

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday in the occupied West Bank to demand the Palestinian Authority lift punitive measures against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, an AFP reporter said.

Demonstrators in Ramallah chanted “scrap the sanctions!” during protests against the Palestinian Authority, organized by civil society groups.

The Ramallah-based administration has introduced a series of measures against Gaza over the past year.

Tens of thousands of its civil servants in the coastal enclave, separated from the West Bank by a strip of Israeli territory, have gone without full pay for months.

Critics say such moves by the PA, dominated by the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, further exacerbate the split between the two parts of the Palestinian territories.

The rally passed peacefully, unlike a protest on June 13 during which Palestinian security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

On Saturday, policemen were seen handing out Palestinian flags to the protesters.

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

Israel Approves ‘Hejaz Railway’ Link to Saudi Arabia

Israeli Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israel’s prime minister has greenlighted work to begin on planned railroad network that will connect Israel to Saudi Arabia, Israeli state-run TV reported on Saturday.

According to a translation of the report by The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz have agreed to “immediately launch” the project.

The report said:

“The channel’s political pundit Dennis Weiss stressed that the administration of US President Donald Trump supports the project. Weiss added that it will strengthen relations with ‘moderate nations’ in the region and fight the threat of Iran.”

Under the proposal, goods could travel by rail from Israel’s port of Haifa through Jordan to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Katz last year spoke to Saudi-funded news website Elaph about the freight railway network, saying he wanted to revive the historic Hejaz railway.

He said:

“As you can see this regional project will link trains to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.”

He added that the project will also give Palestinians greater access to Haifa’s port, with a station in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

The report is the latest in a series showing warming ties between Israel and Gulf states that are increasingly coming out in the open as they find common cause against mutual foe Iran.

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

Palestinian Youth Shot in Gaza Succumbs to Wounds

Osama Khalil Qassem Abu Khater succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli forces at the security fence East of Khan Younis. (Photo: via Twitter)

A Palestinian youth on Sunday succumbed to wounds he sustained from Israeli army fire during protests in the Gaza Strip, according to the Health Ministry.

Osama Khalil Abu Khater, 25, was injured in the abdomen during a rally held in Khan Younis city in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

Since Palestinians began staging mass rallies near the Gaza-Israeli fence on March 30, scores of protesters have been killed and thousands more injured by gunfire from Israeli troops and snipers.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Trump Adviser, Kushner Says US ‘Peace Plan’ Near

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump blessed in Jerusalem by Israeli Rabbi who compared Black People to monkeys. (Photo: via Twitter)

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, said Washington would likely announce its Middle East peace plan even if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, angered by US policy so far, chose to remain on the sidelines.

In an interview that appeared in Arabic on Sunday in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, Kushner – who is meeting leaders in the region, but not Abbas – questioned his ability to make a deal and said the US proposal would be published soon.

Abbas has refused to see Trump’s team following his decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy there. The Palestinians want their own future state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

According to an English-language transcript released in Washington, Kushner said:

“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly. However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years.”

Commenting on the interview, Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas, said:

“The road to peace is clear – a commitment to the two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. This is the road to any negotiations or any meetings.”

Kushner, who along with US envoy Jason Greenblatt, visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Arab leaders conveyed they wanted to see a Palestinian state.

The Trump administration has said it would support a two-state solution if both sides agree to it, but in the interview, Kushner did not commit to Palestinian statehood, long the foundation of US policy in the region.

The plan is expected to propose detailed solutions to core issues in dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, such as borders, the future of Israeli settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security.

Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. Israeli forces and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip, now controlled by Hamas, in 2005.

Most experts question whether Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and Greenblatt – both of whom have no diplomatic background – can achieve any deal in one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

In the interview, which was headlined, “I am ready to work with President Abbas if he wishes” and published in Arabic, Kushner gave a direct message to the Palestinian people:

“You deserve to have a bright future. Now is a time where both the Israelis and Palestinians must bolster and re-focus their leadership, to encourage them to be open towards a solution and to not be afraid of trying.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Detain Activists, Journalists near Hebron

A protest against land confiscation in the West Bank. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israeli forces detained on Saturday a number of activists and journalists standing in solidarity with Palestinian farmers in the town of Bani Naim, east of Hebron (Al-Khalil), according to Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

The activists were protesting against the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli army.

Gepostet von Younes Arar am Samstag, 23. Juni 2018

Wafa correspondent in Hebron said that the soldiers tried to prevent the rally from taking place, by closing the area and declaring it a military zone.

They also detained Wafa journalist, Mashhour Wahwah,  Azmi Banat (Palestine TV correspondent), Younes Arar (director of the anti-settlement and wall committee in Southern West Bank), as well as a member of the Hebron governorate and two members of the municipal council of Bani Naim.

The detained activists and journalists were moved to an undisclosed location.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Jeremy Corbyn: Labor Government would Quickly Recognize Palestine (VIDEO)

Jeremy Corbyn leading a 2014 demonstration against the Israeli war on Gaza. (Photo: RonF, via Flickr, file)

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state “very early on” and push hard for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.

Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labor Party leader in 2015.

On Friday, he toured Zaatari, Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees. On Saturday, he visited a decades-old camp for Palestinians displaced by Arab-Israeli wars.

Labor under Corbyn gained parliament seats but narrowly lost to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party in 2017 snap elections.

Opinion polling suggests the two parties are neck and neck. Britain is not scheduled to have another election until 2022, but there could be an early vote if May’s fragile minority government suffers a major defeat in Parliament.

With his visit to Jordan, Corbyn appeared to be burnishing his foreign policy credentials.

Taking questions from reporters in the Zaatari market, he said that a Labor government would “work very, very hard to regenerate the peace process” in Syria.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Corbyn said the Trump administration’s decision to recognize contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy was a “catastrophic mistake.”

The Palestinians seek to establish a state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967.

He said:

“I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labor Party said we would recognize in government as a full state, as part of the United Nations.”

Such recognition would come “very early on” under a Labor government, he added.

Since Corbyn’s election as Labor leader, allegations of anti-Semitism in the party have grown. Some in the party have claimed that Corbyn, a long-time critic of Israeli violations against the Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.

Asked to respond, Corbyn said Friday that “there is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism in our society.”

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

Israeli Minister Warns of New War on Gaza (VIDEO)

Palestinian women flying kites at The Great March of Return in Gaza. (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via Mondoweiss)

Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has warned that the government might launch another war against the Gaza Strip because Palestinians continue to fly “incendiary kites” over Israeli farms, Quds Press reported on Friday.

Shaked also accused Hamas of inflaming the situation in the besieged territory.

Don't fly kites or Israel will bomb you. #GreatReturnMarch'Erdan added that those launching burning kites from Gaza…

Gepostet von Gaza Action Ireland am Freitag, 22. Juni 2018

Shaked said that Israel, which developed the iron dome anti-missile system, is able to develop a new system to take down the Palestinian kites. She claimed that the Palestinian children who fly kites are “terrorists” involved in “terrorism”.

The minister echoed similar remarks made by Israel’s Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, who was reported by Haaretz on Thursday as saying that Israel might be “forced” to launch a “large-scale military operation” in the Gaza Strip.

Erdan told Israeli Army Radio:

“I do not want to launch an operation, but there is a good chance that we will have no other option but to go in so that we can create durable deterrence.”

Erdan added that those who launch burning kites from Gaza should be shot, regardless of their age.

He insisted:

“Age does not matter, they are terrorists and the danger they create must be prevented.”

The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to point out that their protests are entirely legitimate under international law. To call them terrorists, they insist, is not only inaccurate but also an attempt by the Israelis and their supporters to deceive the world about the nature of the conflict in occupied Palestine.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Arabs Pressure Abbas to Accept Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (VIDEO)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. (Photo: via MEMO)

A number of Arab states have been putting pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for him to accept Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, Quds Net News reported on Friday.

Sources close to Abbas have apparently revealed that Saudi Arabia and Jordan are among those which have given the green light to talks with the US administration about the deal, which it is said will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The same sources told Quds Net News that Abbas, who claims to be boycotting the US administration over the deal, is “surprised” at the stances of the Arab states.

He regards this as interference in Palestine’s internal affairs after they have rejected the punitive measures that he has imposed on Gaza.

Saudi Arabia is said to have offered Abbas the money needed for the PA to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in return for him accepting Trump’s deal.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Kushner Discusses ‘Deal of the Century’, Gaza Siege with Netanyahu (VIDEOS)

Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 2017. (Photo: US Embassy, Wikimedia Commons)

US envoy to the Middle East Jared Kushner met Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to discuss Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” and the Israeli-led siege of the Gaza Strip, local media have reported.

Kushner was joined by America’s envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, in the meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister.

A White House statement said that the US officials discussed ways that the siege can be alleviated while maintaining Israel’s security. It stressed the Trump administration’s commitment “to advance peace” through the deal.

According to Haaretz, the US envoys sought to secure aid for the Gaza Strip to ease its economic crisis, the result of the 12-year Israeli siege, as part of the deal.

Last Sunday, Haaretz political analyst Amos Harel said that Washington has been looking to collect over $500 million from the Gulf States for projects to be carried out in Sinai in order to serve the Gaza Strip. This is believed to include a new port on the North Sinai coast.

The Trump deal apparently proposes that Abu-Dis will be the capital of a future Palestinian state instead of East Jerusalem. The Old City will remain under full Israeli control. In return, Israel will withdraw from three to five Arab neighbourhoods east of Jerusalem.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

NGO: Israel Demolished 48 Homes in West Bank Since Oct 2015

116 Jerusalemite facilities were demolished in 2017. Nearly 241 residents became homeless as a result. (Photo: PIC)

Israel has demolished or sealed 48 Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem since October 2015, The Abdullah Hourani Center for Studies and Documentation said in a report.

The Center indicated that 43 homes were demolished and five sealed shut since the start of the Jerusalem Intifada, uprising in the the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, many Arab citizens of Israel gathered in the al-Tira town, 7 kilometers south of Haifa, and prevented the Israeli police from demolishing another Palestinian home, a Jerusalem-based news website tweeted.

Israeli authorities often demolish Palestinian homes under the pretense of them being built without licence.

In Qalandia, a village located between Ramallah and Occupied east Jerusalem, Israeli authorities continue to demolish Palestinian homes, a video released by Quds Press showed.

The Center said the demolitions and sealing of homes are part of Israel’s collective punishment policy against the Palestinian civilians who have been living under a 51-year-long military occupation.

Last May, Israel’s Supreme Court approved the razing of the entire Khan Al-Ahmar village, located east of Occupied Jerusalem. The village is home to a school serving 170 students from more than one Bedouin community in the area.

Israeli NGO Peace Now, which monitors settlement expansion, stressed that,

“This type of forceful evacuation of protected persons constitutes a severe violation of international humanitarian law.”

(PIC, PC, Social Media)