Thursday, August 13, 2020 Last Update: 6:56 PM GMT

PLO Urges EU to Turn Words into Action to Deter Israel

Illegal Israeli settlement in Jerusalem. (Photo: File)

While welcoming a protest letter signed by European diplomats against Israel’s plans to commence construction in an East Jerusalem area known as E1, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) urged Europe to turn its words into action in order to deter Israel.

The European Union Representative as well as ambassadors of 15 European countries have submitted two days ago a protest letter to the Israeli Foreign Ministry regarding the intention to start building in the E1 area, east of occupied Jerusalem.

“We welcome the protest letter signed by European Ambassadors against Israel’s plans to commence construction in the illegal settlement of “Givat Hamatos” and possibly the so-called E1 Area on the outskirts of occupied Jerusalem,” said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee.

“However, we believe that the European Union, as well as the governments of these 15 states (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden), should adopt actionable decisions that would deter Israel from persisting on the path of illegality, impunity, and de facto annexation. Rhetorical opposition has not deterred Israel. In fact, Israel is emboldened to escalate its criminal actions precisely because it is confident that opposition will not move from the verbal to the practical.”

The PLO official warned that if implemented, “these Israeli plans would completely sever occupied Jerusalem from its natural Palestinian surrounding and cut the occupied West Bank in half. They would complete the Greater Jerusalem colonial project with the theft of strategic Palestinian land and the physical obstruction of any contiguity of a future Palestinian state.”

Ashrawi said, “While the international community is concerned with the ‘possibility’ of annexation, Israel is implementing its annexation scheme on the ground without any deterrence. This includes the choking siege and silent ethnic cleansing of Silwan, Al-Issawiya, and Wadi Al-Joz (Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem) byway of home demolitions, systemic violence, and announced wide-scale settlement projects predicated on the displacement of thousands of Palestinians.”

She urged that states “must not allow Israel to persist in this cynical ruse. The principle of accountability is undermined and rendered irrelevant when international actors insist on giving Israel a free pass on egregious violations of Palestinian rights and international law.”

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Obstruct Pipe-Construction Works near Tubas

Israeli forces regularly destroy Palestinian infrastructures near Tubas, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli occupation forces obstructed today works for the construction of a water pipe in the village of Atouf, near the town of Tubas in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Mayor of the village, Abdullah Besharat, told WAFA that the Israeli occupation army ordered the driver of a bulldozer working on the site to briefly stop the works.

Besharat added that the project aims at providing potable water to dozens of livestock and cattle breeders in Atouf and neighboring villages.

The occupied West Bank is subject to regular and repeated attacks by Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers, who try to seize the land and displace local residents in favor of expanding illegal Israeli settlement projects.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Lebanese President: We are Prepared to Defend against Israel’s Attacks

Lebanese President Michel Aoun. (Photo: File)

Lebanon is prepared to defend itself against Israel’s attacks, which are in violation of the 2006 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Saturday.

In a televised address, the president said Israel’s attacks in southern Lebanon had once again flouted UNSC Resolution 1701, which calls for a full cessation of hostilities and Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Aoun asserted that Lebanon remains willing to abide by the resolution and resolving all disputes under UN supervision.

“We are committed to defend ourselves, our land, our water, and our authority. We will not compromise on this matter,” he said.

The president’s comments come after Israeli forces bombed the border town of Kafr Shuba on July 27 because of a “security incident.”

On the same day, Lebanon said it would lodge an official complaint with the UNSC.

“The Israeli military claimed it had “thwarted an infiltration attempt by Hezbollah” in the Jabal Ros area.

Hezbollah, however, denied the claim, saying: “There was no clash or shooting on our part in the events that took place today on the southern border in Lebanon, but rather it was only one party which was the fearful, anxious, and tense enemy.”

It also vowed to respond to the killing of one of its members in “Israeli aggression” in Syria’s capital Damascus last week.

Israel has recently increased the number of troops along its northern borders in anticipation of retaliatory attacks by Hezbollah.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Dozens of Palestinians, Including Children, Suffocate in Israeli Raid near Jenin

Israeli soldiers in the Occupied West Bank. (Photo: File)

Dozens of Palestinian civilians, including four children, sustained suffocation last night during a raid by Israeli forces in the village of Zububa, near Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

According to local sources, Israeil occupation forces raided the village in the late-night hours, provoking clashes with local Palestinian residents. They later fired rubber-coated rounds, stun grenades and teargas canisters to disperse the protesters, causing many cases of suffocation from gas inhalation.

Those who suffered suffocation were moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Israeli forces on a regular basis storm Palestinian cities and villages in the occupied West Bank to arrest Palestinian popular activists.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

OCHA Report: In Two Weeks, Israel Demolishes 30 Palestinian Structures Displacing 25 People

Palestinian women stand in front of their demolished house, in Jordan Valley. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

The Israeli occupation authorities demolished or seized 30 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 25 people and otherwise affecting around 140 others, according to the biweekly Protection of Civilians Report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory covering the period between July 14 and 27.

In one incident on July 21, the Israeli authorities demolished a structure on the outskirts of the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), which, according to the Hebron Municipality, was planned to be used as a COVID-19 testing center.

This and three other structures were demolished using Military Order 1797, which allows the removal of “unauthorized” buildings within 96 hours from the delivery of a notice. Humanitarian and human rights organizations have repeatedly raised concern about this procedure, which largely prevents affected people from being heard before a judicial body.

Since the start of the COVID-19 emergency on March 5, citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished or seized 19 inhabited homes that were in place prior to that date, displacing 104 Palestinians, said the OCHA report. This follows a commitment by the occupation authorities to suspend the demolition of such structures during the pandemic.

An additional seven inhabited homes were demolished during this period by their owners, following the issuance of demolition orders. Since the start of the emergency, 282 Palestinian structures of all types have been demolished or seized due to lack of building permits, in contravention to international humanitarian law, it said.

Jewish settlers also injured three Palestinians and vandalized a mosque, dozens of 30 trees and other properties during the reporting period, said OCHA. The injuries include two Palestinian men physically assaulted with sticks and stoned in Turmus’ayya village near Ramallah and another in the Israeli-army controlled H2 area of Hebron city.

On July 27, a mosque in Al Bireh city, adjacent to Ramallah, was set on fire, damaging parts of it, and Hebrew graffiti was painted on its walls. Some 30 olive trees were set on fire or cut down in Turmus’ayya, as well as Burin and Qaryut villages near Nablus in the north of the West Bank, and Sa’ir town, near Hebron. Other properties vandalized include bulldozers and other tools at a quarry in Jamma’in village near Nablus and closed shops in the H2 area of Hebron city.

Also in the H2 area in Hebron, and on July 21, two Palestinian boys, ages 11 and 14 years, were burned and injured, one of them severely, after handling an object that fell from an Israeli aircraft, reportedly during military training, and ignited. The incident occurred near the boys’ home.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Violent Right-wing Thugs Attack Anti-Netanyahu Protesters (VIDEOS)

Israeli citizens protest in front of Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

At least eight right-wing pro-government counter-demonstrators were arrested at anti-Netanyahu protestors in Jerusalem on Thursday, i24 News reports.

Thousands turned out to demonstrate against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Balfour Street in Jerusalem over his government’s handling of the coronavirus and corruption charges, of which he is facing trial for.

The right-wing thugs, believed to be Beitar Jerusalem supporting football hooligans, descended upon the anti-Netanyahu protests and reportedly physically attacked protestors and journalists, claiming the media to be ‘left-wing’ and biased against the prime minister.

Several of the pro-Netanyahu fanatics were arrested but later released.

One protester who wished to remain anonymous claimed that she was attacked by the pro-Netanyahu agitators after she and her partner left to return home.

She told Israeli daily Haaretz: “Suddenly on Gaza Street we ran into them. There were around 20 Beitar fans that cursed and attacked everyone coming back from the protest.”

“Suddenly they noticed us and started to follow us, spitting and threatening. One of them tried to take my phone. My partner shoved him. They kicked the car next to us as a threat.”

55 demonstrators were later arrested in an attempt to clear the area.

Police used high-pressure water cannons to disperse the crowds after midnight.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Over 27,000 Palestinians Attend Eid al-Adha Prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque (VIDEO)

Thousands of Palestinian Muslims attend Eid al-Adha prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Photo: via Twitter)

Over 27,000 Palestinian Muslim worshippers today attended Eid al-Adha prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The worshippers made their way in the early morning hours to the mosque compound to attend the prayers of Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice” in English, which is the second of two globally celebrated holidays in Islam, as Israel, the occupying power, imposed a partial lockdown to battle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his sermon, the Grant Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein stressed that the mosque compound solely belongs to Muslims, and should not be shared with any “aggressor” or “tyrant”.

Hussein added that the Palestinian people had no alternative but to unite in order to defend their holy sites and territories against foreign occupation.

As part of the precautionary measures to battle the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Muslim worshippers had to wear face masks, maintain physical distancing, and bring their own prayer rugs.

This came as settler “Temple Mount” groups urged their followers to force their way into the holy site to commemorate Tisha B’Av Day.

Yesterday, Israeli police detained six Palestinians from inside the mosque compound and assaulted others as groups of settlers barged into it under military control.

Last May, the mosque compound was shuttered on Eid al-Fitr as part of the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.

For many Palestinians in Jerusalem and across the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramadan is directly connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Israeli General Who ‘Disengaged’ from Gaza Says It was ‘Absolute Mistake’

Thousands of Palestinians lost their lives during Israel’s wars and military incursions into besieged Gaza. (Photo: via Middle East Monitor)

Israeli Major General Gershon HaCohen, who commanded the 36th Division of the Israeli army during the so-called ‘disengagement’ from Gaza said that the decision by late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was “an absolute mistake.” 

HaCohen told the Israeli rightwing newspaper, the Jerusalem Post that he was “absolutely aware that the whole idea would lead to catastrophe,” referring to Hamas and other Palestinian groups’ growing resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip. 

The Israeli paper interviewed HaCohen to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Israeli decision to redeploy its forces around Gaza in August 2005. An estimated 8,500 illegal Jewish settlers were moved from the center of Gaza to illegal Jewish settlements elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

“I had two choices, to disobey and retire or to follow and do it as per my own belief and vision,” HaCohen said. 

“Hamas could not have made that arsenal before the disengagement,” he told the newspaper, adding that “there would have been fewer rocket attacks because Hamas now has that strategic capability that they didn’t have before.”

Although Israel claims to have left Gaza, it only redeployed its forces outside population centers, positioning them instead at the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, where they have imposed a tight siege on the impoverished region ever since. 

Thousands of Gazans have been killed since Israel’s ‘disengagement’, as a result of Israeli wars, most notably in 2008-9, 2012 and 2014. 

Palestinians have used various forms of resistance to end the 14-year-long Israeli siege to no avail. In March 2018, thousands of Palestinians protested peacefully near the fence separating Gaza from Israel. In response, Israel deployed hundreds of snipers that killed over 300 Palestinians, including children, journalists and medics over the course of one year. Thousands more were wounded and maimed by the Israeli army. 

HaCohen, however, claims that the decision was bad for Israel since it allowed various Palestinian resistance groups to organize against the Israeli army. 

“Disengagement was an absolute mistake but I thank God for this stupid mistake because that way we can learn,” he said. 

“The Israeli idea was that we would get international legitimacy to fight against terror, in every way, but since (Operation) Cast Lead (in 2008-9) we have realized that our dream of international legitimacy is an illusion.”

International Law, however still recognizes Gaza as part of the occupied Palestinian territories despite Israel’s decision to redeploy its forces in and outside the region. 

Although the region is relatively very small – 365 sq. km – Israel has designated parts of Gaza as no-go areas and often opens fire at Palestinian farmers as they try to harvest their crops. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli navy prevents Palestinian fishermen from venturing out beyond a very small stretch of water, and often opens fire and sinks boats that disobey orders. 

There are approximately 2 million people living in Gaza. In 2012, the United Nations had said that the region will become uninhabitable in 2020. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Preoccupied in Palestine – Poems

An old Palestinian woman and a Nakba survivor sitting in front of her humble dwelling in the Shati Refugee Camp in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

Silent Watch

Speech is out of the question.

she can tell you everything

she needs to with her eyes—

At noon, they are pointing

out a sniper—and his shadow—

watching us eat lunch

through a telescopic lens.

 

The Brains of Resistance

(The Battle of Jenin: West Bank, April 2002.)

The soldier’s bullet

blew the boy’s brain

clean from his skull.

The medic scooped it up

and placed it on the stretcher

next to the boy’s still-warm corpse.

It seemed to the medic

that the boy’s brain

was still firing off orders,

still gathering up stones—

hurling his hardened poems

at the tanks of occupation.

 

A Locksmith Lament

(Bethlehem, May 2002)

Not much business

for a locksmith in Al Bawadi.

No one loses their keys anymore—

It’s their houses and orchids

of ancient Olive Trees–

and their children–

that keep disappearing.

 

Mistaken Identities

They blew up an elephant

on the outskirts of Gaza.

They mistook its trunk

for a Hamas Militant,

brandishing

a grenade launcher.

– Dennis J. Bernstein is an award-winning investigative reporter and the host and executive producer of Flashpoints. He contributed these poems to The Palestine Chronicle.

Israeli Knesset Rejects Amendment to Guarantee Equality in Nation-State Law

The Israeli Knesset. (Photo: File)

Israeli Knesset yesterday rejected an amendment to the racist Nation-State Law to include a clause guaranteeing the equality of all citizens, Arab48 reported.

The bill, which was proposed by the Yesh Atid-Telem party, saw the Blue and White alliance abstain from the vote. Blue and White had promised, during the election campaign, to amend the Nation-State Law to include equality for all citizens.

The Nation-State Law declared Israel to be the “historical homeland of the Jewish people” and dropped Arabic as an official language of Israel.

The bill was defeated by 53 votes to 21.

“The Nation-State Law is the ID card of the State of Israel and will be the opening chapter of a future constitution, but it ignores a quarter of the citizens in the state, including me,” said Yesh Atid-Telem MK Gadeer Mreeh, who is from the Druze community, and advanced the bill.

“This is not ethical and is not democratic,” she declared.

Arab members of the Knesset who form the Joint List party abstained from voting and said they opposed the bill and would not vote on an amendment to it, adding the Nation-State Law should be canceled and not changed.

In a statement, the Joint List said:

“The bill proposes very few amendments that do not deal with its racist essence which denies the existence of the Palestinians and the Arab minority in Israel.”

“The amendments practically reiterate Israel’s annexation of the occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the inferiority of the Arabs and their language,” the statement added.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)