Friday, October 19, 2018 Last Update: 2:42 PM GMT

Abbas Calls for Dissolving Palestinian Parliament

Mahmoud Abbas speaking at a meeting in Ramallah. (Photo: Usama Falah, Wafa Images)

Without reaching a reconciliation with the Palestinian factions, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday called for the Palestinian parliament to be dissolved.

During a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Ramallah, Abbas issued a decision calling for the PLO’s Central Council to take the needed measures to dissolve parliament.

The PLO’s Central Council is slated for a meeting at the end of this month.

In a statement, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council said that the Central Council would prepare for general elections in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, the Central Council is to carry out the elections only in the occupied West Bank if the situation on the ground does not allow for them to be carried out in Gaza and Jerusalem.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Netanyahu Threatens ‘Very Painful Blows’ against Gaza

Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned that Israel would strike Gaza with “very powerful blows” if the Great March of Return protests were not brought to an end.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said:

“Hamas apparently has not understood the message: if it does not stop its attacks, they will stop in another way, in the form of painful blows, very painful.”

He added:

“We are very close to another type of action that includes very hard shots. If Hamas is clever, it will cease fire and violence now.”

Prior to Netanyahu’s remarks, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the time had come to deliver “the hardest blow” to Hamas should the “violence” on the “border” not stop, he said in reference to the protests being held by unarmed activists.

According to Ynet News, Lieberman said:

“We have turned every stone, and we have passed the point of no return … We have reached the stage where we must deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Police Investigating Palestinian Woman’s Death in Car

Palestinian Aisha Al-Rawbi, a mother of eight, died after Jewish settlers stoned her car in the West Bank. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli police said on Saturday they were investigating the death of a Palestinian woman in the occupied West Bank after her husband said he suspected Jewish settlers had pelted their car with rocks.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the circumstances of the incident but footage of the car, which a Reuters cameraman said bore Palestinian license plates, showed what appeared to be a blood-stained broken brick at the foot of the passenger seat, which was covered in shattered glass and blood stains.

A source at the Nablus hospital where Aisha al-Rawbi was brought said the 47-year-old, a mother of eight, was dead on arrival and that she had suffered a head injury. Her relatives said an autopsy was to be carried out at another hospital.

The woman’s husband, Aykube al-Rawbi, 52, said he was driving by a settlement late on Friday after dark along the main road near the Palestinian city of Nablus and that he could not clearly see who pelted the car.

Al-Rawbi said:

“The stones came from the side where the settlement is. I could hear the people speak Hebrew, but I didn’t see them.”

Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said:

“Police arrived in the area and have opened an investigation into the circumstances behind the incident reported.”

There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

New Zealand BDS Activists Raise Money for Gaza after Anti-BDS Fine by Israel

Pop star Lorde performing at Coachella in 2014. (Photo: Thomas Hawk, Flickr)

Two New Zealand pro-Palestinian activists have raised NZ$17,576 ($11,435) as of Sunday for a Palestinian charity after being fined by an Israeli court for their alleged role in persuading pop star Lorde to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv last year.

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab said last week they would not pay the fine of 45,000 shekels ($12,416) awarded to three Israeli teenagers, calling the court’s ruling a “stunt” intended to intimidate Israel’s critics.

Instead, they asked people to donate money through website givealittle.co.nz to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, a volunteer group that raises funds for mental health and women’s empowerment groups in the Gaza Strip.

As of Sunday, they raised NZ$17,576, according to the website.

Abu-Shanab told Radio New Zealand:

“Given that we’ve actually had this kind of push upon us – we felt that it was expedient to actually recenter the issue back on Palestine.”

The case arose from an open letter that Sachs and Abu-Shanab wrote to Lorde, a New Zealander, on the website thespinoff.co.nz in December urging her to call off her planned concert.

Lorde canceled her concert in Israel that same month after a campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, which campaigns for Palestinian rights, that included the open letter published by Sachs and Abu-Shanab.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israel Orders Immediate Halt of Fuel Deliveries to Gaza

Gaza is on the verge of collapse due to the worsening crisis. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered an immediate halt to fuel deliveries headed to the besieged Gaza Strip in response to what he said were attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, his office announced on Friday.

The announcement on Friday follows the killing of six Palestinians by Israeli forces during the ongoing Great March of Return protests.

The statement from Lieberman’s office read:

“Israel will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against [Israeli] soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other.”

Qatari-bought fuel began arriving on Tuesday in a bid to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the besieged enclave and prevent any escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said at the time:

“The Qatari fuel to the Gaza strip’s power plant today is aimed at partially improving electricity [supply] in Gaza.”

The fuel deliveries were aimed at easing months of protests along the separation fence east of Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade for more than a decade.

Last week, Lieberman’s office announced a further reduction to the Gaza’s fishing zone, from nine nautical miles to six.

Lieberman said the measure was in response to “riots” along the fence dividing Israel and Gaza and a midweek beach protest in which fishing boats and demonstrators gathered at the northwest end of the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations has warned that Israel’s 11-year blockade of the strip has resulted in a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation.

Under the UN-brokered deal, Qatar pays for the fuel which is then delivered through Israel with UN monitoring, a diplomatic source said.

A Qatari official, speaking to Reuters news agency on Sunday, said Doha planned to help with Gaza’s power crisis “at the request of donor states in the UN, to prevent an escalation of the existing humanitarian disaster”.

Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Reuters on Monday that Qatar “was trying to help” prevent a Gaza flare-up.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Kill Six Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return in Gaza. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, PC)

Israeli forces have killed six Palestinians, including two teenage boys, during ongoing protests along the Israeli separation fence east of Gaza, according to Ashraf al-Qidra, the enclave’s health ministry spokesperson.

Four Palestinians were killed along the fence east of Al-Bureij in the center of the Gaza Strip, while one died east of Gaza City, al-Qidra said.

The five victims identified so far are Ahmed Ibrahim Zaki al-Taweel (27), Mohammed Abdulhafid Youssef Ismail (29), Ahmed Ahmed Abdallah Abu Naeem (17), Abdallah Barham Ibrahim Suleiman al-Daghma (25) and Afifi Mahmoud Atta Afifi (18).  

Al-Qidra said 112 others were wounded, 85 of whom were targeted with live ammunition.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

Jerusalem Municipality Staff Threatens to Demolish Silwan Buildings (VIDEO)

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

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem’s staff, escorted by Israeli police forces, stormed the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, on Friday.

Residents of Silwan told Ma’an that staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem stormed several areas of the neighborhood, under armed protection by Israeli police forces, and photographed residential and commercial buildings and raided a few of them.

The staff briefly confiscated the ID’s of some residents and documented their names.

The staff also threatened to demolish the buildings that were built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit and handed out summon notices for several residents to meet with the municipality.

Residents pointed out that the staff regularly storms Silwan every week and takes pictures of the residential and commercial buildings, as well as agricultural lands.

Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.

For Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Fourth Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israel Jail

28-year-old Wissam Abdul Majid Nayef Shalalda has become the fourth Palestinian to die in Israeli jails this year. (Photo: via Social Media)

A Palestinian prisoner died while in an Israeli jail, the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) announced today, making him the fourth such death while in Israeli prisons so far this year.

No details about the circumstances surrounding 28-year-old Wissam Abdul Majid Nayef Shalalda’s death have been released, however, he died in the Ramleh prison.

28-year-old is fourth Palestinian this year to die in Israeli police custody, NGO says

Gepostet von Yeni Şafak am Freitag, 12. Oktober 2018

Shalalda has been in Israeli jails since 2015 when he was sentenced to seven years in prison, he is married and has four children.

His family, from the Hebron (Al-Khalil) governorate, were informed by occupation authorities this morning that he had died.

The PPC said it held the occupation fully responsible for his death and said Shalalda has become the fourth Palestinian to die in Israeli jails this year.

In February, Yasin Al-Saradih from Jericho died after being tortured and shot at short range after his arrest.

Aziz Awaisat was killed on May 19, after he was subjected to torture at the hands of occupation forces while in an Israeli detention center. He suffered a stroke and was later declared dead.

While Muhammad Zaghloul Al-Khatib Al-Rimawi died in September after being beaten by Israeli occupation forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in Beyt Reyma, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Some 218 Palestinians have died in Israeli detention since 1967.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israel Orders BDS Activists to Pay $12,000 Damages over Cancelled Concert

Lorde at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, September 2013. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Israel yesterday ordered two New Zealand activists to pay 45,000 shekels ($12,000) in damages for persuading pop-star Lorde to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv.

The decision was handed by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court and based on Israel’s 2011 anti-BDS law, under which anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel or an Israeli institution can be sued for damages. The ruling is thought to represent the first time the controversial law has been cited as the basis of a court decision.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three teenage Lorde fans who were left “disappointed” by her cancellation of the concert. The case was brought before the court by Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Centre which is known for fighting against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Haaretz explained.

The Guardian added that:

“The Israeli teenagers claimed their ‘artistic welfare’ was damaged because of the cancellation and that they suffered ‘damage’ to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

According to Haaretz, the two New Zealand activists have since rejected the court order, saying:

“Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world.”

The pair added that the decision merely represented “a stunt, […] the sole intention [of which] is to intimidate Israel’s critics”.

Lorde, who hails from New Zealand, was slated to perform in Tel Aviv this June but announced in December 2017 that she would cancel the concert after reading an open letter calling on her to boycott Israel. The open letter was written by New Zealanders Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, of Jewish and Palestinian extraction respectively, and described the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the dire effect this has on Palestinians’ daily lives.

The pair wrote:

“In this context, a performance in Israel sends the wrong message. Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation.”

The letter continued:

“Israel might seem like a world away from New Zealand but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out and being on the right side of history […] Please join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.”

As yet it is unclear whether the court ruling will be enforced and the activists will be required to pay the damages.

Lorde is not the only artist to cancel an appearance in Israel and support the BDS movement. Others include Shakira, Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil, and Lauryn Hill. A number of other artists also pulled out of this year’s Meteor Festival, with a total of 15 bands heeding BDS’ call to withdraw from the event.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

US’ Pompeo: ‘We Want the Whole Middle East to Look like Israel’ (VIDEO)

Pompeo reiterated US support to Israel during his visit to the Middle East. (Photo: via Twitter)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday “Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward” and that US-Israel relations are “stronger than ever”.

Speaking at an award ceremony held by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America in Washington DC, Pompeo hailed Israel as “democratic and prosperous”, adding “it desires peace, it is a home to a free press and a thriving economy,” Arutz Sheva reported.

Pompeo then compared Israel to Iran, citing the latter’s “corrupt leaders [who] assault the human rights of their own people and finance terrorism in every corner of the Middle East”.

Pompeo lamented that the US administration under former President Barack Obama “had more respect for the leaders of Iran than it did for the State of Israel.”

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States is standing where it should firmly be: On the side of Israel.”

Pompeo also discussed the long-awaited US peace initiative – dubbed the “deal of the century” – hailing it as a “truly historic” effort to reach an agreement.

Pompeo said that “we [the USA] are very hopeful that one day the Palestinian people will have the same kinds of things, the same material, the same opportunities that the people of Israel have,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Pompeo added:

“We very much want you [the Palestinians] to have a space.”

Yet the Secretary of State also admitted that despite this “hope” for a Palestinian “space”, he had that same day denied a $165 million transfer of aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) citing the PA’s “funding of terror”.

Pompeo was referring to the PA’s refusal to adhere to US demands to cease so-called “martyr payments” to the families of those killed by Israeli occupation forces or those incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

Though US-Israel ties have historically been strong, under President Donald Trump’s administration these ties have reached new heights.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)