Tuesday, July 16, 2019 Last Update: 8:33 PM GMT

Netanyahu Meets with Head of Ukrainian Party, Including Neo-Nazis (VIDEO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with members of a far-right Ukrainian parliamentary delegation in Jerusalem. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday met with the head of the Ukrainian Radical Party, whose members include neo-Nazis and extreme nationalists, the Times of Israel reported.

In a tweet by the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu can be seen shaking hands with Oleh Lyashko, the head of the Ukrainian party.

Lyashko has been known to stir up controversy. In 2015, he criticized then-President Petro Poroshenko for apologizing for the role of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators during the Holocaust in his speech before the Knesset, saying that his remarks were a “humiliation” for Ukraine and that Poroshenko was “proclaiming [the] inferiority of his people.”

Earlier this year, Lyashko accused current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a Jewish comedian and politician, of “lacking patriotism”.

Notable Ukrainian Radical Party members include Artyom Vitko, who was filmed in 2015 singing a song celebrating Adolf Hitler. Another member is nationalist Yuri Shukhevych, son of Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych, whose troops committed war crimes against Jews in World War II.

Last July, Netanyahu hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been condemned by Hungarian Jews for glorifying the Nazi-allied Miklós Horthy regime and minimizing the role Hungarians played in the extermination of half the country’s Jewish population.

Last September, he echoed Adolf Hitler in a tweet warning that the “weak are slaughtered” and the “strong survive”.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Netanyahu Vows to Retain Every Illegal Jewish Settlement in West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to dismantle Jewish illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking yesterday at an event in the settlement of Revava – which forms part of the Ariel settlement bloc located off Route 60, south of Nablus – Netanyahu vowed that there would be no uprooting of Israel’s West Bank settlements as long as he remains prime minister.

Netanyahu stressed:

“No communities will be uprooted, not those of Jews, and by the way, not those of Arabs either. We don’t uproot people. We’re through with that nonsense. Israel under my leadership hasn’t returned and won’t return to the mistakes of the past.”

Netanyahu’s promise not to uproot “Arabs” will likely be seen as ironic given his government’s routine demolition of Palestinian villages, both in the occupied West Bank and Israel itself.

Al-Araqeeb – a Bedouin village located in the Negev desert in southern Israel – has been demolished 146 times, many of which took place during Netanyahu’s premiership.

Netanyahu’s government has sought to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village located east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. The village’s plight garnered international attention last year, prompting Israel to delay the demolition repeatedly.

The planned demolition has once again been delayed until December, with commentators believing the postponement is due to the fact that Israel will now hold fresh elections on 17 September and any uprooting of the community could cause unwanted negative press coverage.

Netanyahu also addressed the promise he made ahead of Israel’s April election, in which he vowed to annex the West Bank if he was re-elected.

The Prime Minister claimed:

“We are on the way, we are discussing [it] … We will move on to the next stage, to gradually apply Israeli sovereignty in [the West Bank].”

The prime minister added that he is discussing the annexation with the administration of US President Donald Trump, in a bid to win American support for the move.

Though the Trump administration has not explicitly promised to back Netanyahu’s annexation bid, statements made by a number of top administration officials has led onlookers to believe Netanyahu could win the US’ approval.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Boris Johnson: As a ‘Passionate Zionist’, I ‘Love’ Israel

Boris Johnson visits the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

UK prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson has said that he “loves” the “great country” of Israel and considers himself a “passionate Zionist”.

In an exclusive interview with UK newspaper Jewish News, Johnson – the former British foreign secretary who is now hoping to lead the ruling Conservative Party and, therefore, the country – yesterday described himself as a “passionate Zionist” and Israel as a “great country” that “I love”.

Johnson also sought to clarify his previous comments about Israel’s 2014 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, which he once described as “disproportionate”. Johnson yesterday claimed “it’s totally unacceptable that innocent Israeli civilians should face the threat of rocket fire and bombardment from Gaza,” adding:

“I understand why Israel reacted in the way that it did and I understand the provocation and the outrageous behavior that occasioned that response.”

He continued:

“Those of us who support Israel always want Israel to show the greatest possible restraint [but] Israel has a right to respond, Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel has a right to meet force with force.”

Johnson also discussed other aspects of the UK’s relationship with Israel, saying he was “proud to be the Mayor who led the first-ever London-Israel trade mission” in 2015.

Johnson served as mayor of UK capital London from 2008 to 2016, but stressed that, if he becomes the UK prime minister later this month, he “will be actively supporting trade and commercial engagements of all kinds [with Israel]”.

The politician also addressed the prospect of moving the British Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump’s December 2017 decision.

Johnson also appeared to label the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement anti-Semitic. 

Johnson is no stranger to controversial statements: he has previously said that Muslim women wearing the burqa or niqab look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

These statements have caused concern about Johnson’s suitability for the position of prime minister, which he will automatically assume if he is elected as Conservative Party leader this month. Johnson could serve as prime minister until 2022 without holding a general election, which would represent five years since his soon-to-be-predecessor, Theresa May, held the UK’s last general election.

The results of the Conservative Party leadership race are expected on July 23, with May likely to step down as prime minister the following day.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Lieberman: ‘Our Conflict is with the Entire Muslim World’

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman (L) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Former Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, a possible kingmaker in September’s elections, renewed his incitement against Palestinian citizens on Monday, as reported by the Times of Israel.

Speaking at a campaign trail meeting in Kiryat Ono, the Yisrael Beiteinu chair described the “conflict” as “three-dimensional” – “with the Arab countries, with the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs”, adding that “the third conflict, with Israeli Arabs, is the most difficult”.

He said:

“We do not have a separate conflict with the Palestinians, and anyone who claims so, does not understand what he is talking about or is being deliberately misleading.”

Lieberman declared:

“Our conflict is with the entire Muslim world, with the entire Arab world.” 

The comments were originally carried by Zman Yisrael, the Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site, “and approved for publication by Liberman though the event was billed as closed to press”.

Lieberman told the attendees that “the arrangement must be three-dimensional and simultaneous with the Arab League, with Israeli Arabs and with the Palestinians”, adding:

“Any attempt to reach a separate agreement with the Palestinians or the Arabs of Israel will fail.”

As noted by the report, Lieberman has long called for a permanent settlement to include redrawing Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries so as to remove major population centers of Palestinian citizens.

The former minister also routinely attacks the “loyalty” of Palestinian citizens of Israel; on Monday, Lieberman “lashed out” at Palestinian parliamentarians, saying it was “total madness” that Israel “tolerated elected representatives in the Knesset who sided with its enemies”.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel Evicts Palestinian Family from Jerusalem (VIDEO)

Israeli police forces a Palestinian family out of their house in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli police this morning forced a Palestinian family out of their house in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, WAFA reported.

Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center posted a video showing occupation forces and settlers storming the house and assaulting the family members to seize their home.

The center reported that the Siyam family refused to comply with the eviction order and at least one family member was detained. Jawad Siyam is the director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre and was detained in Silwan along with three other Palestinians in the neighborhood.

The Siyam family had been battling a right-wing Israeli settlement group for 25 years to remain in their family home. The Elad Association is notorious for its efforts to encourage Jewish settlement in Silwan, located just outside the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Elad also confiscated money raised to help the Siyam family fight their eviction order, Haaretz reported on Monday.

Parts of the Siyam family’s building were seized by the state under Israel’s Absentee Property Law – which declares properties belonging to Palestinians who were displaced, often by war or poverty, as “absentee” and therefore state property. These parts of the family home were then sold to Elad.

The eviction came 20 days after an Israeli court ruled in favor of Elad and dismissed the Siyam family’s appeal to remain in their home.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli FM Flies over Saudi Airspace with Riyadh’s Permission (VIDEO)

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

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz flew through Saudi Arabia’s airspace while making an official visit to the United Arab Emirates last week, Israeli media reported.

Katz attended an international climate summit in Abu Dhabi last week and posed for a photo at the city’s grand mosque.

According to local media, Katz said:

“I am excited to stand here in Abu Dhabi and to represent the interests of the State of Israel before the Arab Gulf states.”

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Katz flew on a private aircraft through Saudi airspace with the kingdom’s permission.

Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to commercial flights to and from Israel for the first time in March 2018, with the inauguration of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that in October last year Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen also passed through Saudi airspace en route to Oman.

Visits by senior Israeli officials to Gulf states are rare but growing in frequency.

Israel’s minister of sport and culture made the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the UAE last year.

Katz’ visit to the UAE came shortly after the US-organised economic conference in Bahrain in late June, where the White House revealed plans for $50 billion in investment over 10 years in the occupied Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states

The conference was boycotted by the Palestinians, who view US President Donald Trump as blatantly biased in favor of Israel. 

Israel has diplomatic relations with only two Arab countries – Egypt and Jordan – but common concerns over Iran have brought it closer to Gulf nations in recent years.

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

Palestinian Children’s Right to Education Denied in Israeli Prisons

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

Palestinian children from Jerusalem arrested by Israeli occupation forces are subjected to “a deliberate policy to de-educate”, reported prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

According to Addameer,

“Over 800 Palestinian children from Jerusalem were arrested in 2018”, and the year “ended with at least 41 detained children from occupied East Jerusalem.”

Although, “under international human rights law, Palestinian children, including those in detention, have the right to adequate education”, “this right is denied in Israeli prisons”, stated Addameer.

Palestinian children typically get a range of 20 hours a week of classes, compared to an average of 35 hours in regular schools, the organization reported.

“Most of the time the classes do not meet the level of the child and at times children do not get any form of education in prison.”

Addameer and TDH Italy conducted interviews with Palestinian children from occupied East Jerusalem, between September and December 2018, some while still in detention, others after they had been released.

The interviews showed that a quarter of the children “did not receive any education during detention”, while the others only received Arabic, maths and sometimes Hebrew classes.

A contrast with Israeli child prisoners is also instructive.

“Israeli child prisoners held at Ofer participate in a differentiated educational program that fully supports the emotional and academic needs of child detainees while preparing them to succeed in the Israeli matriculation exam.”

Addameer noted that “Israel is under an obligation to respect and uphold the rights of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in accordance with its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law.”

Yet Palestinian children continue to “suffer from restrictions on education imposed by the Israeli occupation forces in prison”, violating the right to education “in different forms”.

Addameer is urging “third state parties to uphold their responsibilities and pressure the Israeli occupation forces to respect its obligations in accordance with international legal standards.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Jewish Settlers Confiscate Funds Raised to Help Palestinian Family Facing Eviction

Israel adopts a policy of house demolitions as a form of ‘collective punishment’ against the Palestinian people. (Photo: File)

A right-wing Israeli settlement group has confiscated money raised to help a Palestinian family facing eviction from their home in Jerusalem.

The Elad Association is a notorious right-wing group which works to encourage Jewish settlement in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem, located just outside the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

It also runs the City of David archaeological site in Silwan, regularly working to evict Palestinian families from the neighborhood to further these ends.

One of these families targeted by Elad is the Siyam family, who have been battling against the group for 25 years to remain in their family home.

Now Elad is confiscating money raised to help the Siyam family fight their evacuation order. According to a report by Haaretz yesterday:

“Elad has obtained a lien on tens of thousands of shekels that 241 activists donated for the Siyam family, on the grounds that the family owes it money.”

A lien gives an organization or group the right to keep possession of a property until a debt owed by the owner of said property is paid.

However, in addition, the lien obtained by Elad “requires an Israeli crowdfunding site, IsraelGives, to freeze the bank account where the money raised to help the Siyam family is deposited”.

Although the fundraising site IsraelGives opposed the lien in court, it was eventually forced to accept the legal ruling. The thousands of dollars intended for the Siyam family are therefore understood to be in the hands of Elad.

Palestinians from Silwan have been targeted by a number of schemes to forcibly evacuate them from their homes.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Six Palestinian Prisoners Continue Hunger Strike, Protesting Administrative Detention

Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. (Photo: via MEMO)

Six Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails have been on hunger strike for more than three weeks, protesting against their administrative detention, the PLO’s Prisoners and Freed Prisoners Committee said on Saturday.

According to the committee, the Israeli Prison Services moved three of the hunger strikers to solitary confinement – Nidal Abu-Akar, Mustafa Al-Hasanat and Huthayfa Halabiyeh.

They had started their hunger strike in June to protest against their administrative detention.

The other three hunger strikers include Jaafar Izziddin, 48, from Jenin, a married father of eight who was arrested on 30 January. He has been on hunger for 23 days.

He spent a total of five years in administrative detention inside Israeli jails.

Ihsan Othman, 21, from Ramallah, who was arrested on 12 September 2018, has now been on hunger strike for 23 days.

Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu-Mesh’al neighborhood in the outskirts of occupied Ramallah was arrested in March. He is a married father of four who has spent a total of 15 years in Israeli jails.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Netanyahu Uses DNA Claim to Deny Palestinian Right to Homeland

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday tweeted that the Palestinians’ connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000-year connection that the Jewish people have with the land.

He cited a recent article stating that Biblical Philistines had come from Europe, according to DNA uncovered in the coastal city of Ashkelon.

His attempt to delegitimize the Palestinians’ right to their homeland was criticized by many as “race science”, which is often promoted by extreme right-wingers to justify ethno-nationalist policies.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s son Yair was filmed speaking at an event for devout Christians in Alabama this weekend, trying to erase Palestinians’ identity by saying that they had originally migrated from other parts of the Middle East, as proven by such surnames as those which mean “Egyptian” and “from Aleppo”.

Netanyahu Junior also faced criticism and was compared to his father because of his extreme rhetoric.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)