Saturday, September 21, 2019 Last Update: 12:57 PM GMT

Netanyahu Vows to Annex Jewish Settlements in Hebron if Re-elected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to make all illegal West Bank settlements in Hebron (Al-Khalil) officially part of Israel if he is victorious in tomorrow’s election.

Netanyahu told Army Radio on Monday:

“I intend to extend sovereignty on all the settlements and the [settlement] blocs, [including] sites that have security importance or are important to Israel’s heritage.” 

The West Bank has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967, following the Six-Day War. Hebron is the largest city in Palestine.

In a similarly provocative campaign pledge, the Israeli prime minister said he would annex the Jordan Valley, an area seen as crucial to the formation of any future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu faces a tough election on Tuesday, with polls showing him neck-and-neck with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

(RT, PC, Social Media)

Netanyahu Holds Cabinet Meeting in Jordan Valley, Reiterates Annexation Pledge

The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control. (Photo: File)

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reiterated during the weekly cabinet meeting, which was held for the first time in the Jordan Valley rather in Jerusalem, his pledge to annex a large part of the Jordan Valley if he succeeds in forming the next government after Tuesday’s elections.

Netanyahu said:

“We will impose Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area once the new government is formed in the next Knesset.” 

He added that he had already instructed his director-general to pull together a team to create a plan for sovereignty application.

Netanyahu said that imposing Israeli sovereignty over all settlements in the West Bank and other areas that are essential for Israel’s security and heritage will be part of the so-called US ‘deal of the century’.

He also affirmed intentions to legalize the illegal settlement outpost of ‘Mevo’ot Yeriho’ in the Jordan Valley.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

More Palestinian Prisoners Join Hunger Strike in Israeli Jails

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched a mass open hunger strike.  (Photo: File)

The number of hunger strikers inside Israeli jails has reached 39 after ten prisoners joined the hunger strike in Rimon Prison, the Prisoners Information Office reported on Friday.

In a statement, the office confirmed that head of Hamas’s High Prisoners Committee Mohammed Arman, his deputy Othman Bilal and senior leaders Abbas Al-Sayyid, Ashraf Al-Zagheer, Mu’amar Al-Sheikh, and Ahmed Al-Qidra, joined the strike.

On Thursday, prisoners inside Israeli jails revealed that they were planning to embark on new measures.

They confirmed that 120 more prisoners were to join the open-ended hunger strike if the Israeli Prison Service did not meet their demands.

The demands of the prisoners, the information office explained, including the use of the public telephone to be activated for five days every week, removing the cancerous jamming devices placed in some prisons and returning 23 prisoners, who were arbitrarily transferred to Nafha Prison, to Rimon Prison and to stop inspection campaigns.

It is worth noting that an agreement was reached between the prisoners and the Israeli Prison Service in April, which met most of their demands, primarily the removal of the jamming devices and activation of public telephones. However, Israel did not respect its pledges.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Authorities Hinder Renovation of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinian worshippers pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Photo: via Twitter)

On Thursday, Israeli authorities attempted to prevent staff of the Al-Aqsa Construction Committee from carrying out renovation of Al-Silsila Gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque, reported.

The construction staff planned to repair cracks in the walls of the gate, and add supporting struts to protect the wall, preventing it from collapsing.

Director of Islamic Endowment, Sheikh Abdul-Azim Salhab, stated that the committee insisted on carrying out the renovation, and finally succeeded on Friday.

He warned that the Israeli occupation is working hastily to Judaise Al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that the daily settler and MKs raids are part of the Judaization plan, in addition to hindering the renovation works.

Researcher in Jerusalem’s affairs, Mustafa Abu-Sewwi, affirmed that the Israeli occupation authorities are working hard to reinforce their occupation of the holy site.

Abu-Sewwi warned that the Israeli right-wing exploits the raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the Palestinian worshipers inside it, for electoral purposes.

“This is not a new policy” he explained, stating that generally, the Jerusalemites are able to undermine their plans. He noted that there are settlement projects around Al-Aqsa Mosque aiming to Judaise it, and insisted that the Jerusalemites need urgent and significant support from Arab and Muslim states.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Archbishop Atallah: Orthodox Real Estate in Hebron Gate Is under Threat

The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna. (Photo: The Palestine Project)

Atallah Hanna, the archbishop of Sebastian Roman Orthodox, stated today that the ancient Orthodox real estate in the area of ​​Hebron Gate is under serious threat, and that extremist Jewish settlers may seize these properties at any time.

“We might witness the same scenario of the building of Saint John the Beloved in the Old City, to which the settlers were allowed years ago, again here in Hebron Gate.”

“This is a new and renewed calamity targeting our ancient Orthodox estates in Jerusalem. The seizure of Hebron Gate and its buildings means further weakening, and marginalizing Christian presence in Jerusalem,” he declared.

He added:

“We have been addressing appealing letters to the rest of the world over the past months, calling for a move to stop this impending catastrophe threatening us in Hebron, but we have not yet seen any serious action or any initiatives aimed to break this deal, concluded by the unworthy and submitted to the unworthy. ”

Bishop Atallah explained “those allowing these takeovers are betraying the Church and Jerusalem, and are no better than Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his teacher for 30 silver coins. Unfortunately, others betraying their teachers and Christianity for some dollars still exist, and they are becoming tools serving the enemies for Jerusalem, its sanctities and holy, Islamic and Christian endowments. “

“We shall warn again against the danger of the schemes targeting Hebron, for the news reported by media foreshadows the impending disaster. Settlers may storm the ancient Hebron buildings at any time. We may wake up one day to find the settlers in these buildings with the Israeli flag raised on top of them,” he warned.

“We shall reiterate our call to King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, the Hashemite custodian of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, as well as the Palestinian president, Abu Mazen, to work to break this deal and preserve the identity and history of Jerusalem, and the Christian presence in this blessed city. We shall also address all world leaders, Islamic and Christian religious authorities and advocates of justice and human rights defenders in our world, urging them to stop this impending catastrophe threatening Hebron and its ancient Orthodox buildings, the leading gate to the holy sites, monasteries, churches and ancient patriarchates in Jerusalem. ”

Bishop Atallah pointed out that “breaking the Hebron deal needs a legal and political effort because this issue is political, being part of the deal of the century and conspiring against Jerusalem, its holy sites and Arab-Palestinian identity. Politicians are quite aware of the moves they should be taking in order to break this deal, in case they are willing to.”

“Take action before it is too late. Do not let Jerusalem bleed alone, its endowments stolen and sanctities targeted. Move before it is too late. Our Christian presence in Jerusalem has become endangered. Targeting us, our holy sites and endowments is targeting all Jerusalem without exception.”

The archbishop issued these statements while being hosted by a delegation from the Orthodox parish, in Jerusalem and its vicinity.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel ‘Planted’ Surveillance Devices near White House (VIDEO)

Donald Trump (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: via AJE)

Israel may have planted several surveillance deceives near the White House over the past two years, Politico reported on Thursday, quoting three former US officials.

Controversial cellular phone surveillance devices, known as “StingRays”, were uncovered near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, likely intended to spy on US President Donald Trump, his top aides, and closest associates.

The devices, which mimic a wireless carrier cell tower to trick mobile phones and other cellular data devices nearby to connect to it, were uncovered around October 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS then shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, the report said, who upon conducting detailed forensic analysis, pointed the finger at Israel.

A former senior intelligence official was quoted by Politico as saying.

“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”

The report cited former US officials who worked with previous administrations as saying there was always a prevailing concern that Israel was spying on the White house.

“Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking,” the report quoted a former US official as saying.

“Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X’.”

The former intel official officer told the website:

“The Israelis are pretty aggressive, they’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to achieve that objective.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied the report.

“A blatant lie. There is a longstanding commitment and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US. This directive is strictly enforced without exception.”

A spokesperson for Israel’s embassy in Washington, Elad Strohmayer, was quoted in the report as saying that “these allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period”

According to the report, the White House, the FBI, and DHS refused to comment.

“I’m not aware of any accountability at all,” an ex-official told Politico, adding that “the reaction… was very different than it would have been in the last administration… With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this”

A former US official told Politico that unlike other incidents of foreign spying on US soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government or take any official steps against it.

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

Netanyahu: Israel Will ‘Probably’ Have to Go to War with Gaza

Israeli PM Netanyahu at Israeli Army Gaza Division HQ. (Photo: File)

Israel will probably have to go to war with the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today.

In a radio interview with the Kan public broadcaster, Netanyahu said that “there probably won’t be a choice but to launch an operation, a war with the terror forces in Gaza”.

According to the Haaretz, Netanyahu warned that declaring war with the Gaza Strip is “a dangerous” last resort and that he doesn’t intend to endanger “soldiers and civilians to get applause”. He also mentioned that he will refrain from sending Israeli troops to the Strip until they get “optimal conditions” to do so.

Although Netanyahu described the declaration as being dangerous, he mentioned that:

“There will be a military operation but I will only launch it when we are ready and not a minute earlier”.

He pledged to “bring down the Hamas regime in Gaza”.

Netanyahu’s latest remarks have been seen as part of election campaigning, where he has been trying to attract right-wing voters ahead of Tuesday’s ballot.

Earlier this week he said he would annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea were he to be re-elected. He went on to call on supporters of smaller right-wing parties to vote for him to increase the chances of the right getting into power.

Israel is facing a do-over election next week after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government following April’s ballot. The latest polls show that his Likud party remains tied with its biggest rival the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance.

Only a war can cause an election to be postponed, and commentators have previously highlighted that Netanyahu has launched attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip in an effort to bolster his campaign and his chances of winning the election.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Facebook Suspends Netanyahu’s Page over Hate Speech

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.(Photo: File)

Facebook has prevented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from sending private messages, after his open incitement against Arab citizens and the elected Arab leadership in Israel.

In a message he sent to his followers via Facebook, Netanyahu incited against Arab citizens and MP Ayman Odeh in particular.

In the message, Netanyahu said:

“The formation of a dangerous leftist government should be prevented next week, with Lapid and Odeh, Gantz and Lieberman, a secular, weak leftist government formed by Arabs who want to exterminate us all, children, women, and men. This government will allow Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb to destroy us all.”

In this context, MP Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Arab Joint List, contacted Facebook immediately and asked them to remove these inciting messages and punish Netanyahu.

At the request of Odeh, Facebook stripped Netanyahu of the right to send private messages from his account for violating the platform regulations.

Netanyahu’s campaign has tried to distance the prime minister from the message. The campaign claims that an employee published it without Netanyahu’s consent and was deleted as soon as Netanyahu knew about it.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Bulldozers Raze Palestinian Farmland, Uproot Olive Trees

Ancient olive trees in Palestine. (Photo: Social Media)

Israeli occupation forces attacked and bulldozed large areas of Palestinian agricultural land in the occupied West Bank at dawn today.

Head of Atouf Village Council Abdullah Bisharat confirmed that soldiers swept into Palestinian territorial grounds in Um Kbeish, located near the town of Tammun, south of Tubas, in the north-eastern West Bank.

Authorities called on officers to uproot and destroy 300 olive trees and hundreds of dunams of Palestinian farmlands.

Bisharat added that four water wells, used by the farmers for irrigation, were also demolished. Palestinians were given no prior warning of the demolition.

The area has been a frequent target of military raids since June when two wells and a dozen olive trees were bulldozed. Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq noted that documents proving ownership of Palestinian land has allowed landowners to plant olive trees since 2012.

Local farmers are barred from tending to their land under the pretext that the area has been classed “a nature reserve” by occupation authorities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already starting to follow through on his promise to annex the Jordan Valley, Bisharat said in response to the occupation’s latest action.

Earlier this week Netanyahu pledged to annex the Jordan Valley should he win a new term in office next week.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Three of Israa Ghrayeb’s Relatives Charged with Her Murder

Israa Ghrayeb, 21, died after allegedly being beaten and tortured by her brother. (Photo: via Social Media)

Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al-Khatib today indicted three of 21-year-old Israa Ghrayeb’s relatives of playing a part in her suspected ‘honor’ killing.

Speaking during a press conference to present the findings in Israa’s case, Al-Khatib said that three of her relatives were charged with “beating to death”. Anyone else found to have been involved in her death will also be prosecuted, the attorney general added.

Beautician Gharib from Bethlehem died last month in her hometown of Beit Sahour after being hospitalized as a result of severe beatings she received purportedly at the hands of her family.

Since her death, hundreds of Palestinians in Bethlehem and across the occupied West Bank have marched demanding justice for Israa and laws to protect women.

Al-Khatib said that it has been proven that Israa’s family concocted the claim that she fell from the second floor of their house to justify the bruises and fractions she was being treated for in hospital.

The severe psychological and physical torture, Al-Khatib added, all contributed to the deterioration of her health.

According to the findings of the forensic report, Israa died as a result of “shortness of breath” because of her several injuries.

Al-Khatib refused to provide details of the motive behind the crime to maintain the confidentiality of the investigation, but ruled out that it was an “honor killing”.

The three defendants will be referred to court, he confirmed.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)