BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday sent an envoy to Iran in an attempt to improve bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic.
JERICHO (Ma’an) — The PLO’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, on Thursday issued a 56-page report on Palestinian-Israeli relations, calling for a comprehensive review of the current status quo.
RAMALLAH, May 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to discuss the borders of settlement blocs as an attempt to legitimize illegal settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“The recent comment by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the ‘two-state solution’ is nothing new. It’s a request to continue illegal settlement construction with Palestinian consent,” Erekat said in a press release.
“This looks like one state and two systems rather than two sovereign and democratic states,” he added. Erekat stressed that if Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations, which would result in ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including halting settlement construction and releasing Palestinian political prisoners.
Last week, Netanyahu told the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, that he wants to resume talks with the Palestinians, that are aimed at reaching an understanding on the borders of settlement blocs that Israel would annex under any peace agreement.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, an Israeli source briefed on Netanyahu’s meeting with Federica Mogherini last Wednesday said Netanyahu explained that in this way, Israel can get to know what parts of the West Bank Israel could continue building in.
To be noted, settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem are illegal under international law.
The settler population in the West Bank is estimated at 531,000: in late 2012 the population of the West Bank settlements was 341,400; in late 2011 there were 190,423 individuals living in Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
Israel has been approving the building of new housing units in settlements located in the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, despite of international condemnations.
The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was previously quoted by media as stating that, “We will continue to build in Jerusalem. We will add thousands of residential units and withstand all the [international] pressure, as we continue to develop our eternal capital.”
RAMALLAH, May 21, 2015 (WAFA) – Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat Wednesday said it was clear that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading towards more racism and extremism with regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Erekat’s statement came following a meeting with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in Ramallah on Wednesday.
“It is clear through Netanyahu’s actions, comments, and remarks that Israel has paved a new wave of racist and extremist policies and is not a partner for peace,’ said Erekat.
Netanyahu informed Mogherinib of his support to a two state solution for two people, despite his last-minute rejection of the creation of a Palestinian state in an appeal to the right during the most recent election campaign as well as the ongoing approval of new illegal settlements and outposts.
“The new Israeli cabinet has shown its commitment to consolidate an Apartheid regime in occupied Palestine as well as to continue its incitement campaign against Palestinians, sending the message that Palestinian lives, history and culture don’t matter.”
Mogherini’s visit came on the heels of Israel’s announcement of further settlement construction in Beit Sahour through the construction of 90 units for the benefit of Har Homa illegal settlement as well as settlement activities in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, including the Ramat Shlomo settlement.
The move was in direct contravention of international law and Israel’s obligations under previous agreements, as well as an obstacle ahead of the international community’s commitment to facilitate peace.
A statement by the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said Netanyahu brazenly expressed his disregard for the international community’s peace efforts by openly presenting Israel’s duplicity in the face of peace.
“While Netanyahu made his extremist, right-wing government’s position clear they have no desire for peace with the Palestinian people, the international community has become increasingly vague in regard to its position on the new Israel,” the statement said.
Erakat added, ‘The international community has allowed Israel to stall the prospects of a just and lasting peace for too long and has a responsibility to face Netanyahu’s hypocrisy head on, and not at the expense of the Palestinian people.
“We call on the international community to do nothing more than demand Israel fulfill its obligations under international law.’
Mogherini’s visit to Israel and Palestine was an attempt to prompt adherence to the two-State Solution and to ask both sides to fulfill their commitments to previous rounds of negotiations and agreements, including halting Israeli settlement expansion.
The Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad Al-Maliki on Monday said that he asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to set a date for submitting the case files pertaining to the settlements and war crimes lawsuits against Israel to the court.
“I filed a request two days ago to the ICC to set a date so we can submit the case files of the settlements and Israel’s war crime lawsuits,” al-Maliki told Palestinian radio, according to videonews.us.
“We’re waiting for a date to be scheduled, and it might be in the middle of next month,” al-Maliki said, adding that he “will head to The Hague for this [submitting the case files] once a date is set”.
On April 1st, Palestine officially joined the ICC after The Hague-based tribunal approved its accession bid.
In January, Palestinians formally delivered the UN papers ratifying the Rome Statute – the legal document establishing the court – with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acting as “depository.”
The move came after an Arab draft resolution at the UN General Assembly seeking a deadline for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories failed to win the nine votes needed to pass.
Shortly later, Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 18 international treaties, including the Rome Statute.
The ICC was established in 1998 as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses – such as war crimes and crimes against humanity – in cases where national court systems had failed.
Wasal Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO leadership, said Thursday that Palestinians would not return to the negotiation table with Israel unless a deadline for the end of the Israeli “occupation” is set, London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.
He also said that, should negotiations resume, Palestinians would not rely solely on American mediation due to their “bias” towards Israel.
“Bilateral negotiations under US auspices are no longer possible,” he said.
Yousef told the London daily that the decision to refrain from returning to negotiations stemmed from the results of Israel’s latest elections and government formation, which brought to power an even more right-wing government than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last coalition.
“We believe that the political horizon is completely closed with this new settler government,” Yousef told Al-Sharq Al-Aswat
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat has urged the French government to end a national telecom company’s involvement with its Israeli partner over mass violations of Palestinian rights in the occupied territories.
Last Thursday, the PLO official wrote to France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to express concern over Orange’s involvement with Israel’s military occupation, illegal settlements and the deadly war on Gaza last year.Orange, formally know as France Telecom Orange, renewed a trademark license with its Israeli partner operator in 2011, becoming Orange Israel.
“The French company has become a partner in Israel’s occupation of the State of Palestine and a complicit member in Israel’s illegal settlement activities through this agreement and the profits reaped as a result,” the letter seen by Ma’an said.
The phone company has placed antennae and communications in the occupied West Bank on annexed private Palestinian land and has built phone stores in the illegal settlements of Ariel, Beitar Illit, Modin Illit, and Mishor Adumim.
The phone company was also complicit in Israel’s military operation last summer in Gaza by sponsoring combat units which killed over 2,200 Palestinians, launching a campaign entitled ‘Adopt a soldier,’ the letter stated.Orange does not pay taxes to the PA for any of its activities on occupied Palestinian land.French Orange’s partnership with Orange Israel is contributing to Israel’s deliberate policy of creating illegal “facts on the ground” by reinforcing Israeli settlements, actions which are in direct violation of France’s duties under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Erekat said.
The PLO official urged France to insist that Orange “immediately cancel its contractual agreement and cease its involvement with ‘Orange Israel.'”The French government is a 25 percent shareholder in Orange.The letter echoes a report published in May by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its partner organizations Al-Haq, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Association France Palestine Solidarit, Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Union Syndicale Solidaires and the French trades union federation Confdration Gnrale du Travail (CGT).The report urged the French company to cut ties with its Israeli partner and called on European states to end economic cooperation with illegal Israeli settlements.
PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi stated:
“Such a coalition betrays the true nature of the Israeli political system and promotes an anti-peace agenda and the language of racism, extremism and violence; it will further increase the isolation and deligitimization of Israel.
In addition to the extremism in the Likud and the ideologies of the religious parties, the Jewish Home Party, which now has control of the Israeli Civil Administration and the Security Cabinet, represents the most extreme and racist elements within Israeli society.
Appointing Ayelet Shaked, who openly advocated for the genocide of the Palestinian people and stated that ‘the entire Palestinian people is the enemy,’ as the new Justice Minister and the head of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and the Judicial Appointments Committee is not only a threat to peace and security, but generates a culture of hate and lawlessness within Israel, compounded by Shaked’s attempts to control the Israeli Supreme Court and to pass legislation that targets civil society, as well as fundamental rights and freedoms of the Israelis.
Handing over key ministries, such as agriculture, to Uri Ariel who approved the construction of thousands of illegal settlement units in Occupied Palestine during his time as the Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction is extremely dangerous and will encourage more settler violence and the deliberate dehumanization of the Palestinian people.
Even though all signs point to the fact that this will be a short-lived government, it has the sufficient ammunition to do irreparable damage and to wreak havoc in the region and beyond.”
The Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation slammed the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government saying the newly formed right-wing government is a clear indication that Israel intends to continue, even deepen, its racist policies against the Palestinian people and their rights.
“The Israeli government’s new members represent symbols of racism similar to those who fostered the apartheid regime in South Africa and elsewhere, if not more extreme,” the committee said in a statement yesterday.
The Executive Committee called on the international community to isolate the new Israeli government politically and to condemn its former policies that aim to subjugate the Palestinian people, warning that these policies will be deepened under the new government.
“It is impossible in today’s world to see a government with this formation and orientation, and whose members are extreme enemies of peace and the Palestinian people and their rights,” the statement said.
“This extreme government will encourage the looting of Palestinian land and enact laws that safeguard racism and stealing the Palestinians’ rights,” it added.
The statement called on Palestinian factions to end their internal divisions and unite and on the Palestinian people to stand against Israeli policies until they achieve their national aspirations for independence and a just peace.