Friday, January 17, 2020 Last Update: 5:37 PM GMT

Israeli Forces Assault Palestinian Worshipers at Al-Aqsa (VIDEOS)

Israeli forces arrest Mohammed Al-Shawish after assaulting him in Bab Al-Rahma prayer area in Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo: Video Grab)

Israeli police assaulted several Palestinian worshipers and detained two of them on Thursday evening, at the Bab al-Rahma prayer area inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem.

Police officers broke into Bab al-Rahma and physically assaulted the worshipers and attacked them with teargas, for no reason. At least two of the worshipers were detained by the police during the attack.

The prayer area was reopened in February 2019 after it had been closed at Israeli police orders for 16 years under the claim of a court order, which turned out to be false.  

The Islamic Waqf department, in charge of running the affairs of the mosque, has insisted on keeping the Bab al-Rahma prayer area open to Muslim worship after it became clear to them that Israel wants to keep it off for Muslims in order to give Jewish fanatics, who call for rebuilding their temple inside Al-Aqsa compound, free access and presence in the area.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Hamas Strongly Condemns US Killing of Qassem Soleimani

Iranians take to streets across the country to condemn the assassination of General Soleiman by the US military. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has condemned the US assassination of senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Islamic Jihad in Palestine also condemned the killing in an air raid carried out by the US in Iraq.

In separate statements, both Palestinian factions blamed America for the instability in the region thanks to Washington’s unconditional support for the colonial-settler state of Israel.

Hamas said in a statement:

“We mourn the death of Soleimani and the other Iranian commanders killed in an air raid carried out by the US. The movement also offers its sincere condolences to our brothers in Iraq for the killing of many Iraqis in the same raid.”

The Hamas statement pointed out that Major General Qassem Soleimani played a major and critical role in supporting Palestinian resistance at all levels.

“On this sad occasion, Hamas condemns the US bullying that creates disputes and upheavals in the regions, just to serve the interests of the Israeli occupation.”

Islamic Jihad added its condolences:

“With much honor and sadness, we mourn the death of the senior commander, who was a prominent supporter to the Palestinian resistance for decades. He was assassinated by the Zio-American enemy — the big Satan.”

The movement added that the Palestinian resistance groups will not be weakened by the Iranian General’s killing.

“They will continue towards the liberation of Palestine.”

At the same time, Islamic Jihad mourned the death of commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who was a prominent leader of the Iraqi resistance against the US invasion of Iraq.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Netanyahu Hurries Home amid Tensions after US Kills Top Iran General

Iranian top General Qasem Soleimani. (Photo: File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Greece and flew home on Friday after the killing of a top Iranian commander in a US strike.

Following Friday morning’s killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani, Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement called for the missile strike by Israel’s closest ally, to be avenged.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement:

Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins… will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide.

The Israeli military has closed a ski resort in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights due to concerns over what it calls possible threats from Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon and Syria, or Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Israel’s security cabinet was to hold an emergency session Friday, Israeli media said.

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had ordered ministers not to comment on the killing. 

(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)

‘These Chains Will Be Broken’: Make 2020 the Year of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners

Khalida Jarrar, who is now, once more, a prisoner in Israeli occupation prisons, has contributed several pieces to the book. (Photo: Video Grab)

Friends, it is finally here. “THESE CHAINS WILL BE BROKEN: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” is the story of Palestine written by its foremost heroes and heroines, the true organic intellectuals of this noble struggle.

Listening to Khalida Jarrar, Dareen Tatour and Mohammed al-Deirwai conveying their stories, and reading the words of Dima al-Wawi, Iman – the steadfast wife of Nael Barghouti, Khalil – father of Palestinian humanitarian Mohammed al-Halabi and many others, I now fully understand where our true strength as a Palestinian people lies – not in conference halls, political forums or factional politics but within the walls of Israeli prisons, where thousands of our leaders, freedom fighters, feminists and humanitarians are incarcerated, tortured and humiliated.

Yet, they will never be broken.

I have never felt this sense of gratification after finishing a book, or any piece of writing. In fact, we all felt humbled by the experience, as we listened and read the words – the tears, the poetry and the declarations of those giants. In some way, we also felt reassured that there is a real and true Palestinian leadership after all.

Abdallah Aljamal, thank you for being my writing partner in this tough but rewarding journey. Dalia Alkayyali, thank you for your inspiring art, which helped cement a wholesome Palestinian experience in writing and preparing the book for publication.

Friends and readers, please order your copy now and make 2020 the year of meaningful solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

Order your copy here:

Clarity Press

 Amazon

 Ramzy Baroud

PA Rejects Israeli Decision to Use Alternatives to UNRWA-run Schools in Jerusalem

Palestinian students in a school of the UNRWA. (Photo: via UNRWA)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday slammed an Israeli decision to use alternatives to UNRWA-run Palestinian schools in Jerusalem.

In a statement, the PA’s Ministry of Expatriates and Foreign Affairs said that the approval of the council of the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem to set-up education facilities to replace UNRWA schools is part of Israel’s war on the right of return.

The PA ministry also said that the Israeli measure is a “new step towards imposing the Israeli syllabus on Palestinians”, pointing out “this is part of the Israeli plans to Judaise the Palestinian city.”

On Tuesday night, the Israeli municipal council approved a plan to establish an educational campus run by the Israeli Education Ministry near the Arab neighborhoods of Shu’afat and Anata in Jerusalem.

According to the plan, the new facilities are meant to replace the schools established and being run by UNRWA.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel Places Six Palestinians under Nighttime Curfew, Invoking British Mandate-era Act

Six Palestinians from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya holding Israeli police notificiations. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israel placed six Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya under nighttime curfew for several months.

On December 29, Israeli authorities invoked a British Palestine Mandate-era emergency act to impose a nighttime curfew on six youths from Issawiya for periods ranging from two months to four months.

The youths were identified as Anwar Sami Obeid, Muhammad Elayyan Elayyan, Fayez Muhammad Mheisen, Muhammad Musa Mustafa, Adam Kayed Mahmoud, and Mahmoud Ramadan Obeid.

The six were released on December 24 after being arrested on the basis of “disrupting public order”, and were given 72 hours to reply to the police notification issued by the general prosecutor of the Israeli army.

Raids by Israeli occupation forces in Issawiya have been “disrupting daily life” for residents for several months. 

Last August, Israeli NGO Ir Amir reported that:

“Over the course of the past two and half months, the police have effectively imposed a perpetual state of collective punishment on the entire neighborhood, marked by nightly police raids, severe limitations on movement, and clashes with residents. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained, while an estimated 250 have been injured as a result of the police’s use of excessive force, which already claimed the life of one young man.”

“The operations on the ground intensified,” the NGO added, “severely disrupting daily life and creating intolerable conditions for area residents.

(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Netanyahu to Seek Immunity for Corruption Cases (VIDEOS)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announces that he would seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases he faces. (Photo: Video Grab)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases he faces, a move that could delay criminal proceedings against him for months.

Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust over allegations that he granted state favors worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli media barons in return for gifts and favorable coverage.

He denies any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the media and left to remove a popular right-wing leader.

A trial cannot begin once an immunity request is made, and Netanyahu announced the politically risky move in a speech on live television just four hours before a deadline for an application was to expire.

Normally, a request for immunity would need to be approved by a parliamentary committee and then submitted to a full vote. But the committee charged with handling such matters does not exist because a government was never formed after September’s election.

The attorney general cannot file the indictment until the question of immunity is settled, delaying any court proceedings.

Amid the deep political deadlock, Parliament seems unlikely to decide the issue before Israel’s March 2 election.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Dismantle Residential Tents and Animal Barns in Jordan Valley

Israeli forces routinely dismantle animal barns and residential tents in the Jordan Valley. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces raided this afternoon the Atouf area, near the Jordan Valley city of Tubas and dismantled tents and animal barns, according to Atouf village council Abdullah Bisharat.

Bisharat told WAFA that the soldiers dismantled three residential tents and barns owned by Said Abu Daher and seized them.

Abu Daher was also subject to a similar act last week.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

UN Special Rapporteur Praises ICC Investigation

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories. (Photo: via MEMO)

A formal criminal investigation into war crimes allegations in Palestine is a “momentous step forward in the quest for accountability,” a UN human rights expert said Tuesday of the ICC’s decision, reports Anadolu Agency.

Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Territories Michael Lynk said in a statement:

“Accountability has, until now, been largely missing in action throughout the 52-year-old occupation”.

He said that over the years, the international community adopted hundreds of resolutions through the UN condemning various features of Israel’s entrenched occupation of the Palestinian territory but it rarely combined criticism with consequences for Israel.

“Now, the possibility of accountability is finally on the horizon.”

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on December 20 she was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel’s Supreme Court Hears Case on Netanyahu’s Political Future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Israel‘s Supreme Court has convened to hear a petition on whether an indicted member of parliament can form a new government, a key test case for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to see if he can prolong his political career after elections in March.

If the court decides Netanyahu is ineligible, it could precipitate a constitutional crisis in Israel, and exacerbate the already tenuous ties between the Israeli government and the judiciary.

The court is not expected to hand down an immediate ruling on Tuesday and may ask for a full panel of the court to convene on the matter. Either way, it was wading into uncharted territory.

Israeli law requires Cabinet ministers and mayors to resign if indicted but does not specify so for a sitting prime minister.

There are no restrictions on Netanyahu to run in the March 2 election – the third polls in less than a year – but good governance groups are appealing whether he could be tasked with forming a new government if he emerges victorious.

Given the shaky legal ground, the court could deem the scenario hypothetical and delay the case until that happens.

The hearing comes as Netanyahu appears poised to seek immunity from the corruption charges against him, delaying the prospect of a trial until the elections when he hopes to have a parliamentary majority coalition that will shield him from prosecution.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)