Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

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PLO Official Visits Iran To Discuss Bilateral Relations

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday sent an envoy to Iran in an attempt to improve bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic.

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told Ma’an that the arrangements had been in place for some time and pre-dated recent talks in the country about the nuclear deal with the United States.
The PLO official met with Iranian Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad Zarif and agreed to set-up a “high-profile” joint committee to arrange consultations on political issues, and commercial and educational exchange.
The two officials also discussed possible Iranian support in efforts to implement political reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Majdalani said that the recent nuclear agreement with the United States could “lay the grounds for an international conference which could help clear the region from nuclear weapons, including Israel.”
An Iranian initiative to end the ongoing fighting in Syria was also discussed.
The PLO official’s visit comes amid media reports suggesting that Iran canceled a visit by a Hamas delegation.
The planned trip was reportedly canceled following a visit by Hamas chief-in-exile, Khaled Mashaal, to Saudi Arabia in July.


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Palestinian Foreign Minister Delivers Evidence Against Israel To ICC

THE HAGUE (AFP) — The Palestinian Authority on Thursday presented the first batch of evidence to the International Criminal Court in support of its campaign to have Israel investigated for alleged war crimes.”The state of Palestine has pledged to cooperate with the court including by providing it with relevant information and it is fulfilling its pledge today,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told journalists after leaving the court.”The information provided by the state of Palestine make a compelling case for the prompt opening of an investigation,” Malki added.ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in January launched a preliminary probe to see whether there was enough evidence for a full-blown war crimes investigation into last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.The documents handed over on Thursday consist of two files: one about alleged Israeli crimes committed in Gaza during the 50-day war in July and August last year that killed over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers.The other file deals with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including “information about the issue of Palestinian prisoners,” the Palestinian mission in The Hague said. “Achieving justice is essential for the Palestinian victims, dead and alive,” said Malki. “Palestine has chosen to seek justice not vengeance, this is why we are here today.”

The Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad al-Maliki, leaves the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on June 25, 2015. ANP/AFP/Robin Van Lonkhuijsen)

The move is part of an increased focus on diplomatic maneuvering by the Palestinian leadership, who has grown frustrated with consecutive failures to end the nearly fifty-year Israeli occupation and creating their own independent state.Bensouda warned in May that both sides could face war crimes charges in the case, which has been vehemently opposed by Israel. Israel is not a signatory of the statute that established the court. Palestine ratified the ICC’s statutes in January.The PA’s submission of evidence comes three days after the UN Commission of Inquiry announced it had gathered “credible allegations” that both sides had committed war crimes during the conflict, which killed more than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

The report decried the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, with Israel launching more than 6,000 airstrikes and firing 50,000 artillery shells during the 51-day operation.
It also criticized the “indiscriminate” firing of thousands of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, which it said appeared to be have been intended to “spread terror” among Israeli civilians.Earlier this year, as the Palestinians were putting their accession to the ICC in motion, president Mahmoud Abbas sent documents to the court authorizing the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories since June 13, 2014.Among the more controversial events of the Gaza war was Israel’s bombing of UN schools being used as shelters for the displaced.Israel said it was forced to carry out the strikes, claiming Hamas used them to store weapons or fire rockets at Israel.The ICC, set up in 2002, is the world’s only permanent independent body to try the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.


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Headlines From Palestine: June 20, 2015

Alarming Accounts Of Human Rights Violations Of Palestinians Living Under Occupation – UN expert

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, on Friday expressed deep concern about the human rights situation of Palestinians living under the 48-year-long Israeli occupation.

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Brazil Arrests Israeli Terrorist Wanted For Murder Of Palestinian

Brazil police announced Thursday that, in coordination with Interpol, they had arrested a Jewish Israeli settler in connection with the murder of a Palestinian in 2004.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Arrest Two Palestinians In Hebron

Israeli forces Saturday arrested two Palestinians, including a minor, from the district of Hebron in the southern West Bank, according to security sources.

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Palestine TV Chairman To Appeal Israeli Occupation Decision To Shut Down New Channel

Chairman of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation’s Board of Trustees Riyad Al-Hassan stated Thursday that he would appeal the Israeli decision to shut a new Arab TV Satellite Channel specifically targeting the Palestinian audience in Israel.

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PLO Should Retract Recognition Until Israel Reciprocates

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.

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PLO Should Retract Recognition Until Israel Reciprocates

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.

In a report entitled ‘Determining Palestinian-Israeli relations: Changing, not merely improving, the situation’ the PLO official recommends that the Palestinian leadership consider retracting its recognition of Israel until the Israeli government issues a reciprocal recognition of a Palestinian state.
The PLO, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, recognized the State of Israel in 1988, a declaration never bestowed on Palestine by any Israeli administration.
The study recommended that the PA should reject any international call for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state — as it could further damage the treatment of its Palestinian citizens — and must not approve the deployment of Israeli forces along the Jordan Valley as part of any peace agreement.
The PLO must also reject any concessions to its sovereignty over East Jerusalem, he added.
While not calling explicitly for disbanding the PA, Erekat said that the authority’s power must extend beyond security coordination and salary distribution.
Erekat suggested that efforts be made for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the PLO’s Executive Committee and urged the PLO and Palestinian factions to support popular resistance and the boycott of Israeli settlement products.
The PLO official also recommended that the Palestinian leadership play a better role in assisting the Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon and Syria.


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Headlines From Palestine: May 27, 2015

Israeli Occupation Jet Fighters Launch Series Of Airstrikes Across Gaza

Israeli jet fighters launched a series of airstrikes last night across the Gaza Strip,

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Israeli Occupation Arrests 12 Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli authorities on Wednesday arrested at least 11 Palestinians, mostly during predawn raids in the West Bank districts of Nablus, Jenin and Hebron, in addition to a youth in Jerusalem, according to local sources.

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3 Palestinian Children Shot In The Eye In 7 Months By Israeli Occupation Forces

The 10-year-old child, Yahia Al-Amoodi, on Wednesday was the third child during the last 7 months to be shot in the eye by Israeli black-tipped sponge bullets, which are used against Jerusalemite civilians regularly.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Demolish Palestinian Home in Jerusalem

The Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to local sources.

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Israeli Occupation Army Closes Entrances Of 2 Palestinian Towns Refusing Entry/Exit Holding Them Captive

Israeli army on Wednesday blocked off the main entrances of two Palestinian towns to the east of Nablus, preventing residents’ movements in and out of the towns, according to local sources.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Chase, Shoot And Injure 4 Palestinians In West Bank

Four Palestinian workers Tuesday were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in an Israeli army chase  near the village of Azzun Atma, near Qalqilya, according to security sources.

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Headlines From Palestine: May 26, 2015

PLO Rejects Netanyahu’s Proposal to Discuss Settlement Borders

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.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Order Demolition of Palestinian Water Reservoir And Home in Hebron

Israeli forces handed Tuesday two local residents of al-Kom locality and Idhna town to the southwest and west of Hebron respectively orders to demolish their properties, said local municipal sources.

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Israeli Occupation Refusing To Repair Disconnected Gaza Electricity Grid- And We Are In A Heat Wave

Gaza’s electricity distributor has accused Israel of refusing to repair a 12 megawatt grid supplying power to Gaza City that became disconnected in Israeli-controlled territory on Thursday.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Detain 20 Palestinians, Mostly Youth, In Occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli forces have detained more than 20 Palestinians, most of them teenagers, from occupied East Jerusalem since Monday morning, a prisoner’s society said.

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Israeli Occupation To Confiscate 820 Dunums Of Palestinian Land For Illegal Settlement Dumping Ground

Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday decided to confiscate around 820 Dunams (202 acres) of privately owned Palestinian lands to establish new dumping grounds for its illegal colonies, in the central West Bank, in the Ramallah district, IMEMC said.

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Demonstration Planned To Protest Israeli Occupation Discrimination Of Christian Schools

On Wednesday, the 27th of May 2015, at 11:00 AM, an unprecedented demonstration will be held in the plaza in front of the Lev Ram building in Jerusalem (Ministry of Education headquarters) by the Christian Schools in Israel protesting on the discriminatory policy of the Ministry of Education towards their schools.

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Illegal Israeli Settlement Sewage Water Polluting West Bank

The farmers and citizens of Salfit city, and Kafr Al-Deek town Southern West Bank on Sunday made complaints about the dangerous environmental damage they were facing because of the skunk water poured by Ariel Israeli settlement.

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PLO Rejects Netanyahu’s Proposal to Discuss Settlement Borders

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.”

 

M.N./T.R.


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Headlines From Palestine: May 21, 2015

Israeli Occupation Arrests Nine Palestinians In West Bank Raids

At least nine Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli army during predawn raids carried out Wednesday evening and Thursday morning in the West Bank districts of Jenin, Nablus and Hebron, according to security sources.

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Israeli Occupation Holds Palestinian Village Of Burin Captive- Declares Closed Military Zone

The Israeli army closed late Wednesday night the entrance to the village of Burin, south of Nablus, with cubic cements and declared it a closed military zone, according to local sources.

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PLO’s Erekat: Netanyahu Paves Way to More Racism, Extremism

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.

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Palestinian Political Prisoner Goes On Hunger Strike Over Deprivation Of Family Visits

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails Mohammad Idrees Rashdan, 38 years old from the village of Einabus near Nablus, has launched an open-ended hunger strike after being denied family visits by the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) reported on Thursday.

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PLO’s Erekat: Netanyahu Paves Way to More Racism, Extremism

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.

 

M.N/M.H


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Nakba Day: ‘We thought we would be coming back soon’

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Now living in the narrow concrete streets of Bethlehem’s Duheisha refugee camp, Hajjeh al-Jaafari dreams of returning to the town where she was forced to flee sixty-seven years ago.

Well into her mid 80’s, Hajjeh remembers the day her family were forced to flee the village of Deir Rafat, west of Jerusalem.
“We thought we would be coming back very soon, we left carrying nothing. My mother put away the lard and yogurt, checked on the cows, goats and hens making sure they were safe until we returned,” al-Jaafari told Ma’an.
“But those who returned were killed by the Israelis.”
After news reached the villagers that those attempting to return were killed, al-Jaafari’s family realized going back meant certain death.
The village of Deir Rafat, around 26 km west of Jerusalem, now lies in ruins, having been destroyed by Jewish militias after villagers fled in 1948.
Al-Jaafari’s family were one of around 500 Palestinians who fled the village, according to Palestine Remembered, a group dedicated to documenting the history of the Nakba.
One of the last remaining members of her family who fled their village that day, al-Jaafari still dreams of the landscapes where she spent her childhood, a place she will never see again.
“The key to our home is still with me and I still tell my children and grandchildren stories about our beautiful village,” she says, surrounded by bookshelves filled with testimonies of other Palestinian refugees and the history of the Nakba.
“Just spending an hour there would replace all the years of refuge and suffering.”
More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number over 7.5 million with their descendants — fled or were driven from their homes in 1948, with the Nakba marked every May 15.