Friday, April 26, 2019 Last Update: 7:06 PM GMT

French Ambassador to US Says Israel Becoming an ‘Apartheid State’

French Ambassador to US Gerard Araud. (Photo: FIle)

French Ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, has said that Israel is an apartheid state, in candid comments during an interview with The Atlantic as he prepares to step down from his role in Washington.

The French ambassador, who is about to end his five-year tenure in Washington DC, spoke to the American magazine about US President Donald Trump’s peace plan and the political status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Araud said that Israel has no interest in making concessions in the peace process due to the power imbalance between them and the Palestinian Authority.

If Israel annexes parts of the occupied West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised in his recent re-election campaign, then Palestinians would either become “stateless” or “citizens of Israel”.

Araud told The Atlantic:

“They [Israel] won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid.”

He added:

“There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.”

The outgoing ambassador said he also believed that the long-awaited Trump peace plan is doomed to fail as the “more powerful [party] is imposing terms on the weaker party”.

Araud said:

“That’s the basis of Jared Kushner’s (peace plan) – it will be a proposal very close to what the Israelis want. Is it doomed to fail? I should say 99 percent yes, but 1 percent, you never forget the 1 percent.”

Araud also told The Atlantic:

“He (Trump) is totally transactional. He is more popular than (Binyamin) Netanyahu in Israel, so the Israelis trust him. That’s the first bet, Kushner told me.”

He added:

“The second is that the Palestinians may consider, it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty. And the third element is Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians. Don’t forget, the Arabs are behind the Americans.”

The Palestinians have refused to talk to the Trump administration since the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, with Palestinian officials saying the US peace plan is doomed to fail.

Accusing the US of pro-Israel bias, the Palestinian Authority has said the US should no longer act as the main mediator in stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The Trump administration has since dealt a series of blows to the Palestinian Authority, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for the Palestinians.

Last month, Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. The Golan Heights is a territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

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

Israel Issues 75 Administrative Detention Orders against Palestinian Prisoners

‘Palestinian prisoners have, without question, demonstrated their tenacity and ability to devise ways to resist the Israeli occupier throughout the years.’ – Ramzy Baroud (Photo: via AJE)

Israeli authorities issued 75 administrative detention orders against a number of Palestinian prisoners held in various Israeli prisons, during the month of April.

The Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee said, on Monday, that some of the orders are renewed administrative detention orders, while others were orders issued for the first time against Palestinians.

The orders range from two to six renewable months of prison.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 497 are in administrative detention, and 48 female prisoners, and 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

A report by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, which was based on the Israeli Prison Service statistics, read that over the last year, 29 Palestinians were taken into administrative detention every month, on average, and 37 were released.

The report added that in the past decade, the number of detainees held by Israel in a single month never fell below 150.

Rights groups say that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, particularly targeting Palestinian activists, journalists, and politicians.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Detain 10 Palestinians, Including Minors

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian youth. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including minors, across the occupied East Jerusalem, on predawn Monday, Ma’an Agency reports.

According to Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem. They were identified as Anan Ahmad Rabeh, 18, Yazan Khaled Ayesh, 16, Feras Amer al-Jaadi, 28, and Muad Hassan Oweineh.

In the Shufat refugee camp, in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, two Palestinian minors were detained. They were identified as Malek Nasser Hushiye, 15, and Salah al-Sharqawi, 15.

In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, one Palestinian was detained and identified as Nouris Muhammad Abu Khateb, 18.

In the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, another Palestinian was detained. He was identified as Qassam Faysal Abu Siriyeh. In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, PPS said a Palestinian was detained and identified as Mourad Fathi Mousa, 40.

In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained one Palestinian. He was identified as Abed al-Qader Diab. PPS confirmed that prior to Diab’s detention, he and his family were physically assaulted by Israeli forces, in addition, soldiers seized a large sum of money from his home.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, including 48 female prisoners, and 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Minister, Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Compound

Uri Ariel, along with at least 170 Israeli settlers, raided the Al-Aqsa compound under armed security by Israeli forces. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, along with dozens of Jewish settlers.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Ariel, along with at least 170 Jewish settlers, raided the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccans Gate under armed security by Israeli forces.

Witnesses reported that several Israeli settlers performed prayers and religious rituals during the raid.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Despite the agreement with Jordan – which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa – Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Arab League Vows $100m per Month to Palestinian Authority

Arab leaders at the 30th annual summit of the Arab League in Tunis. (Photo: via AJE)

The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which American officials indicate could be released this summer.

Abbas said,

“The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time.”

Abbas said the Palestinians reject the deal and demand Israel fully withdraw from all occupied territories.

Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Foreign Ministry: All Palestinians in Sri Lanka Are Well

A series of coordinated bombings struck Colombo City on Sunday, targeting mostly churches and hotels. (Photo: via Ma’an)

The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry confirmed, on Sunday, that all Palestinians in Sri Lanka are safe, following a series of bombings in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo.

The ministry said that the Palestinian ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Palestinian embassy are following up on the situation of the Palestinian community and tourists in Sri Lanka and is in contact with them to check on their safety and find out their whereabouts to facilitate getting in contacts with them.

A series of coordinated bombings struck Colombo City on Sunday, targeting mostly hotels and churches: more than 200 people have been killed and 400 others were injured.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Students Suffocate from Israeli Tear-Gas in Hebron

Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron. (Photo: File)

Dozens of young Palestinian students and school staff suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron (Al-Khalil), on Sunday, after Israeli forces attacked their school.

According to local sources, Israeli forces surrounded the Hebron Elementary School and heavily fired tear-gas bombs towards the students and teachers on their way to school, resulting in dozens suffering from tear-gas inhalation.

Sources confirmed that injured students and staff received first aid on the scene.

Sources added that the young students were forced to run in fear for their lives into the school for safety.

The school is one of nine Palestinian schools located in the H2 area of Hebron, which falls under Israel’s military control, in addition, school children have to pass through military checkpoints in the H2 area to access their schools.

Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron City.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Hamas Denies Forming New Government in Gaza

Hamas’ chief in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar. (Photo: via AJE)

Hamas has denied that it had formed a new government or administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, in response to Fatah’s formation of a new government in Ramallah.

In a statement, Hamas’ chief in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar said:

“Commenting on the false news reported by different mass media, we stress that there has been no new government or administrative committee.”

However, the statement confirmed some rotation among the officials in Gaza’s ministries, noting that this happened for the sake of facilitating government services offered to Palestinian citizens.

Palestinian media reported that Hamas had formed a new administrative committee in response to the formation of a new government in the occupied West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah members.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Shut Down Palestinian Soccer Tournament in East Jerusalem (VIDEO)

Beit Safafa neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israeli police forces shut down a Palestinian soccer tournament in the Beit Safafa neighborhood, in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, reportedly for being held under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Local sources confirmed that Israeli police forces raided Beit Safafa’s soccer field and hung a notice issued by the Israeli Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, banning the soccer tournament from taking place at any field for allegedly being held “under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority to mark the Palestinian Prisoner’s Day.”

The soccer tournament was organized by the Multaqa Ahali al-Quds (the Jerusalemites Forum) and the Jerusalem Clubs Association.

The Jerusalemites Forum said his chairman Khaled Sabbah affirming that the forum is apolitical and is not affiliated with any Palestinian political actor.

Sources also pointed out that 12 teams with players, aged between 12 and 13 years old, from the Jerusalem district were scheduled to play in the canceled tournament.

Illegal Jewish settlements, along with the Israeli separation wall, have effectively cut off Beit Safafa from the West Bank.

The neighborhood suffers from poor infrastructure, in addition, its residents are constantly subjected to harassment and detentions by Israeli forces.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Shoot, Injure Palestinian at Checkpoint near Nablus

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

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian, on Saturday, claiming that he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers deployed at the Zaatara checkpoint south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

The Israeli army said, in a statement, that its forces were able to “foil” a stabbing attack, adding that the Palestinian suspect was “neutralized.”

No injuries were reported among Israelis.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed at the checkpoint opened fire at a Palestinian who was passing by the checkpoint.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)