Thursday, June 20, 2019 Last Update: 8:23 PM GMT

Palestinian Prisoner Al-Awiwi Ends Hunger Strike after 70 Days

Palestinian detainee Hasan al-Hawiwi. (Photo: via Social Media)

Thirty-five-year-old Hassan Mohammed Al-Awiwi from occupied Hebron (Al-Khalil) has today ended his hunger strike of 70 days to protest his administrative detention in an Israeli jail.

The prison administration has agreed to release him before the end of the year, six months after his administrative detention order is to come to an end.

The father of three was rearrested in mid-January after being held by occupation twice before. He was originally sentenced to four months in detention but his term was renewed two months ago, causing him to begin his hunger strike.

Since he launched his strike in April, Israeli prison authorities have retaliated by putting him in isolation, denying family visits and transferring him to different prisons.

Many prisoners have taken to hunger strikes to protest their detentions and poor prison conditions, with up to 1,500 striking in April, just before Israel’s general election took place.

Al-Aweiwi was transferred to Barzilai medical center on Thursday after his health worsened. Over this two-month period, he has lost 22 kilograms in weight and cannot walk or talk properly.

He has spent three years in an Israeli prison, mostly in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial.

Currently, there are around 479 Palestinians, including one woman and two minors, held in administrative detention in Israeli prison facilities, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Myanmar Officials Visit Israeli Arms Expo despite Weapons Ban

Myanmar officials attended weapons conference in Tel Aviv, despite weapons ban over Rohingya genocide. (Photo: via Social Media)

Myanmar military officials have been spotted at an arms expo in Israel despite a ban on arms sales to the country over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Photos published in Israeli media last week showed Myanmar military officials in uniform touring the weapons and security conference in Israel last week.

Representatives from foreign militaries, including from countries with no official diplomatic relations with Israel, also attended the arms expo.

In 2017, Israel claimed it had stopped selling weapons to Myanmar following High Court ruling. It followed mounting pressure from human rights groups.

But in the same year, tens of millions of dollars’ worth of arms were reportedly sold to the Myanmar navy despite ongoing allegations of genocide.

News of the sales emerged amid reports that similar boats were used to sink vessels filled with refugees fleeing state violence.

Last month, Amnesty International denounced the Israeli government for its arms sales to countries accused of severe human rights violations, including Myanmar.

The Amnesty report said:

“Israeli companies continue to export weapons to countries that systematically violate human rights … Often these weapons reach their destination after a series of transactions, thereby skirting international monitoring and the rules of Israel itself.”

About 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following a brutal military clampdown in their home country in August 2017, joining hundreds of thousands already living in crowded camps.

The UN released a 444-page report in 2018 that said the Myanmar military’s persecution of the stateless Rohingya Muslims warranted the charges of “genocide”.

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

Omar: Netanyahu Works to Stop US Resolution on Two-State Solution

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar has accused Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to pressure the Democrat and Republican parties to scrap a resolution supporting the two-state solution in Palestine.

In a tweet she posted on Saturday while referencing an article on the issue, Omar stated that despite Netanyahu being publicly in support of the two-state solution, his attempts to influence the US body against the concept shows that his agenda is contrary to it.

She wrote:

“Endorsing a two-state solution while simultaneously attempting to block a Palestinian state is what Netanyahu has been doing for decades.”

She also urged her fellow Congressmen and women to support the bill, insisting that “for progress sake, let’s hope Congress stands firm.”

The Israeli embassy, under orders from Netanyahu, has been lobbying to have the term “two-state solution” removed from the planned bipartisan bill.

The attempt to “block a simple bipartisan resolution” comes amid a wave of efforts in recent years by the Israeli lobby in the US, as well as in European countries, to suppress sentiments in support of Palestine, the two-state solution, and the Israeli occupation’s violations of human rights.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Authority Accuses Israel of Escalating Religious Conflict (VIDEO)

Hundreds of settlers regularly storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) accused Israel of escalating a “systematic” religious conflict due to the increasing raids by Israeli Jewish settlers of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Quds Press reported yesterday.

In a statement, the PA’s foreign ministry said that the Israeli occupation authorities and the ruling right-wing “use the political occasions and religious holidays to expand settlements throughout the whole land of the State of Palestine.”

The ministry said that these occasions are being used as an “incentive” to mobilize more settlers to take part in the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque “in order to reinforce the temporal partition of Al-Aqsa Mosque ahead of its spatial partitioning.”

In addition, the ministry accused the Israeli occupation of working to hide the Islamic and Christian appearance of the holy city of Jerusalem, as well as to reinforce the “fake” Talmudic narrative about it “through a wide distortion campaign”.

This campaign, the PA ministry said, “is based on denying the Palestinians of their historical, religious and legal connection to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The PA condemned these “systematic” Israeli campaigns and warned of the “dangerous” consequences of the increasing raids of the holy sites.

More than 330 Israeli Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque early yesterday as part of a continuous series of raids which began two weeks ago to mark the anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

PFLP Calls for PA to Stop ‘Racist’ Policies towards Gaza

A PFLP press conference in Gaza. (Photo: File)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) yesterday called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop its “racist” policies against the Gaza Strip, Safa news agency reported.

In a statement, the PFLP said that the current PA government is following the footsteps of the previous government regarding the differences between Gaza and the West Bank.

The PFLP stated that the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege and the PA sanctions that have made the lives of its residents “unbearable”.

Meanwhile, it noted that the current government, led by the new Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, “did not learn the lessons from the bitter experience of the previous government.”

It stressed that “this government is even more racist than the previous one, especially regarding the salary payments.”

The statement said that PA government did not adopt any plan to deal with the starving and poor people in Gaza at a time when it is raising the salaries of its ministers despite the claims that it is adopting austerity measures to face the PA budget deficit.

Raising the salaries of the current and former ministers during a financial crisis is a form of “financial corruption”, it said, adding that investigations should be held into the decision and officials should be held accountable.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approved a 67 percent pay rise for Palestinian Authority (PA) officials – as well as other financial benefits amounting to tens of thousands of dollars – while the West Bank’s economy struggled and swathes of public sector employees spent months with reduced pay.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Germany Will Continue to Support UNRWA

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: File)

Germany will continue to support UN refugee agency UNRWA, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.

Maas told a press conference in Amman following talks with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman al-Safadi:

“We see support for UNRWA as very important and we will continue it.”

Maas said his talks with the Jordanian minister tackled the situation in the Middle East region and current regional tensions.

He said their discussions also dwelt on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “The two-state formula is the only solution” to the decades-long conflict, Maas said.

The top diplomat said Berlin will provide Amman with a $100-million loan.

Al-Safadi, for his part, said Jordan and Germany agree that the two-state solution is the key to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

He said:

“Jordan and Germany are partners in supporting UNRWA, which has to continue its role.”

UNRWA operates 19 refugee camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the number of registered refugees currently stands at more than 828,000.

The agency also runs dozens of refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Palestine Considers ICC Complaint against US Ambassador Friedman

The new Palestinian government. (Photo: via MEMO)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates is considering filing a complaint against the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his recent comments on the long-awaited US peace plan.

Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements, said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank in an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday.

In a press statement on Sunday, the ministry condemned Friedman’s remarks, describing him as “a threat to regional peace and security” and his words as “an extension of the policy of the US administration, which is fully biased towards the occupation and its expansionist colonial policies”.

The ministry said in a statement:

“What reasoning could justify Friedman’s logic that Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank? International law prohibits the annexation of a land by force, as well as a reality imposed by occupying powers.”

Friedman’s remarks elicited a strong reaction from Palestinian politicians.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said on Saturday any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans”.

During campaigning for the first general election in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move long supported by nearly all legislators in his alliance of right-wing and religious parties.

In February this year, Netanyahu told legislators he had been discussing with Washington a plan that would effectively annex illegal settlements.

In a rare public show of disunity between the close allies, the White House then flatly denied any such discussion.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

US Envoy: Israel Has ‘Right’ to Annex West Bank Land

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. (Photo: File)

The US ambassador has said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank, in comments likely to deepen Palestinian opposition to a long-awaited US peace plan.

The Palestinians have rejected the peace plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

The Palestinians are likely to see the recent comments by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as a new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support.

In an interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate.

He said:

“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans”.

Responding to the US envoy’s remarks, Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive member Hanan Ashrawi said the US was justifying land theft, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reported from Ramallah.

Ibrahim said:

“We’ve also heard from a statement by Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank, which said that they don’t know if the US ambassador is representing the view of Israeli settlers or that of the US administration.”

Following the persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, among some three million Palestinians.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Arrest Young Woman at Qalandia Checkpoint

Palestinians wait to cross Qalandiya checkpoint. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian young woman today at Qalandiya checkpoint, on Ramallah-Jerusalem road, under the pretext that she had a knife on her possession, local sources said.

The soldiers claimed that the knife was intended for a stabbing attack against them.

The woman was not yet identified.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Prisoners Affairs Commission: Crimes against Palestinian Prisoners Taking Dangerous Dimension

srael intensified its crackdowns on Palestinian inmates. (Photo: via Social Media)

Major General Qadri Abu Bakr, chairman of the Prisoners Affairs Commission, has condemned the repeated crimes committed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners, which he says have taken “a very dangerous and unprecedented detour” designed to quash their patriotism and humanity, as well as complicate their daily lives in prison.

Abu Bakr said in a statement yesterday that Israel is mobilizing all its capacities to create new realities in prisons and detention centers.

He stressed that Israel uses all available opportunities to take revenge on prisoners and their families, so much so that it has become a competition between Israeli politicians and military officers.

He added:

“There are daily incursions into prisons and detention centers, and a large number of detainees are transferred from one prison to another.”

Abu Bakr argued that Israel does not want Palestinian captives to have stable conditions in prison, pointing to the instruction issued by Ashkelon prison last week not to allow prisoners to celebrate Eid El-Fitr as evidence that Israel is racist.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)