Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Hamas guard killed in rare suicide attack in Gaza Strip

August 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Adel Zaanoun | Islamist group Hamas has run Gaza for a decade but has been criticised by more radical Salafist groups in the Palestinian enclave

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – A suicide bomber killed a Hamas guard in southern Gaza on Thursday, officials said, in what was seen as a rare Islamist attack against the Palestinian group that has run the impoverished enclave for a decade.

The incident occurred at around 1:00 am near the Gaza Strip’s lone crossing with Egypt along the Sinai Peninsula, where radical Islamists are waging an insurgency against Egyptian forces.

It would be the first time a suicide attack has targeted Hamas forces in Gaza, security sources said.

“Early this morning security forces stopped two people approaching the southern border (with Egypt),” a Hamas interior ministry spokesman said in a statement.

“One of them blew himself up,” it added.

Interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum later referred to it as a suicide attack.

Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said field commander Nidal al-Jaafari, 28, was killed in the attack.

Qassam posted a series of photos of Jaafari in military fatigues carrying different weapons.

The group blamed “fundamentalist jihadists” for the attack, but further details on their backgrounds and motivations were still being investigated.

Security sources said the attack took place a few hundred metres from the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

The two men approached a small security position there and five guards tried to stop them before one blew himself up, they said.

The second man was moderately wounded, while the four other guards were also wounded, including one seriously, security sources said.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of security forces deployed along the border after the explosion.

Islamist group Hamas has run Gaza for a decade but has been regularly criticised by more radical Salafist groups in the strip.

There have been threats of retaliation in recent months over arrests, according to security sources in Gaza.

– Blockaded enclave –

Hamas has recently boosted its forces along the border with Egypt as it seeks to improve relations with Cairo.

Radical Islamists are also fighting Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza. There was no indication there was any link.

Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing mostly closed in recent years, though it opened it on Monday for four days to allow Muslims to travel to Mecca for the hajj pilgrimage, as well as for some humanitarian cases.

Bozum said the crossing would be open on Thursday as planned.

Egypt and Israel are the only countries bordering Gaza.

Israel has maintained a decade-long blockade on the strip it says is necessary to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

Hamas has occasionally sought to crack down on Salafist groups inside the Gaza Strip with arrests.

Such Salafist groups have in recent months claimed responsiblity for rocket fire into Israel, sometimes saying it was in revenge for Hamas’s arrests.

Some security sources questioned whether Thursday’s explosion was a new phase of the Salafists’ campaign.

The groups claim thousands of supporters in the Palestinian enclave of some two million people, while Hamas estimates there are dozens.

by Adel Zaanoun

Israeli Police Evacuate Train Station After Bomb Scare — An object suspected of being a bomb was found in a bag belonging to an Arab-Israeli citizen

August 16, 2017

Police evacuated the Rehovot train station in central Israel  Wednesday after reports that a suspicious object was found on the premises.

Image result for Rehovot train station, Israel, Photos

Rehovot train station

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Police and bomb squad personnel scanned the area and after about an hour gave the “all clear.”

A gag order has been placed on the case, but it was reported that an object suspected of being a bomb was found in a bag belonging to an Arab-Israeli citizen.

Train service throughout the area was halted as a result of the bomb scare.

https://maphub.net/embed/14667

 http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Rehovot-train-station-evacuated-due-to-suspected-bomb-502561

Israel demolishes home of Palestinian who stabbed 3 to death

August 16, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A villager walks through the wreckage of the home of a Palestinian who killed three residents of a nearby Jewish settlement after it was demolished by the Israeli army in Kobar in the occupied West Bank on August 16, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli forces demolished the home on Wednesday of a Palestinian who fatally stabbed three Jewish residents of a nearby settlement as tensions soared last month over Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.The military confirmed the demolition in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank.

Residents said that army vehicles and bulldozers entered the area north of Ramallah around 3:00 am (0000 GMT) and surrounded the two-storey house, one floor of which was still under construction.

In recent weeks, Israeli authorities also arrested the father, mother and three brothers of the 19-year-old attacker, Omar al-Abed, according to villagers.

The family members are suspected of having known of Abed’s plans to carry out the attack in the nearby Israeli settlement of Neve Tsuf, also known as Halamish, and of failing to prevent it, Israeli media reported.

The Israeli army said the assailant had spoken of Al-Aqsa and of dying as a martyr in a Facebook post.

He was shot while carrying out the attack and later arrested.

The July 21 attack came with tensions high over the highly sensitive mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Violence erupted in and around the compound last month after three Arab Israelis shot dead two policemen on July 14 before being killed by security forces.

Israel responded to the July 14 deadly shootings by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the holy site, used as a staging point for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and held mass prayers in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead and the stabbings of the Israelis at the settlement was carried out at the height of the tensions.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

The Jerusalem holy site, which includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the compound is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to the status quo.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinian attackers, calling it a deterrent against future violence.

However, human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment, with family members forced to suffer for the acts of relatives.

Israel arrests Islamic cleric for ‘incitement’

August 15, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Jordanian Islamists carry a portrait of Arab-Israeli cleric Raed Salah during a protest in Amman on July 21, 2017 against new Israeli security measures, since removed, at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqa mosque compound

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli police arrested a firebrand Islamic cleric on Tuesday who has been repeatedly accused of inciting violence over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site where tensions again flared last month.

Raed Salah, released from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence, is accused of inciting violence and terrorism as well as support for and participation in an illegal organisation, police said.

His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 after it was accused of inciting violence linked to  Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Police said in Tuesday’s statement that Salah, an Arab Israeli, is accused of having publicly supported violent acts against the country on several occasions following the ban on his organisation.

It was not clear whether the accusations were linked to last month’s deadly unrest surrounding the holy site, which includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Violence erupted in and around the compound after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli policemen on July 14.

Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the complex, used as a staging point for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

Salah served a nine-month prison term after being convicted of fomenting violent protests over the holy site.

He was convicted of having incited violence in a 2007 speech. He was convicted in 2014 and his appeals were later denied.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement following Salah’s Tuesday arrest that he hoped “this time justice will be done and he will be sent behind bars for a long time.”

The compound, central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to the status quo.

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Palestinian woman stabs, wounds Israeli in Jerusalem

August 12, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Israeli border police stand guard outside the flashpoint Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on June 18, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – A Palestinian woman stabbed and wounded an Israeli man near an east Jerusalem flashpoint on Saturday, before she was arrested, police said.

They said in an English-language statement that the incident occurred next to the Old City’s Damascus Gate, site of repeated past attacks.

It said that a “female Arab terrorist” stabbed the man, injuring him lightly.

The woman, a Jerusalem resident aged about 30, was arrested at the scene, police added.

The Old City is located in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

The July 14 killing there of two policemen by three Arab Israeli gunmen led to spiralling unrest after Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, used as a staging point for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests left six Palestinians dead.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors but tension remains high.

A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has killed 293 Palestinians or Arab Israelis, 47 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP toll.

Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Kushner to Meet With Mideast Leaders in Latest Attempt at Peace Deal

August 12, 2017

WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will soon travel to the Middle East for yet another foray into trying to forge a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, one of the most difficult diplomatic assignments of the Trump administration.

Mr. Kushner, who traveled to the region in June, will be accompanied on the trip by Jason Greenblatt, a special representative for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser. No date was announced.

The three will hold meetings with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, said a White House official. The discussions will focus on resolving the impediments to peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, but will also cover combating extremism, the official said.

That topic could take Mr. Kushner even deeper into territory generally reserved for Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. A bitter feud between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over how to combat extremism has split the Gulf Cooperation Council, putting a host of American priorities in the region at risk. Mr. Tillerson spent hours on the phone and days on the ground in the Middle East recently in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the standoff, which led Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states to slap an embargo on Qatar.

Mr. Tillerson’s efforts were repeatedly undermined by Mr. Trump, who largely sided with the Saudis. A frustrated Mr. Tillerson said he had set aside the matter, but Mr. Kushner’s wading into the issue could cause tensions in an administration already rived by internal disputes.

In most administrations, crucial diplomatic efforts are given to the secretary of state, but Mr. Trump gave the task of forging a Middle East peace deal to Mr. Kushner, who is also expected to focus on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

By talking to multiple players in the region, Mr. Kushner may be hoping to recruit Arab countries to offer outlines of a deal that would be difficult for either the Israelis or Palestinians to reject, known as the “outside-in” approach.

Mr. Kushner was criticized when he said in a talk given to interns, which was later leaked, that he did not want to focus on the region’s complex history. “We don’t want a history lesson,” Mr. Kushner said. “We’ve read enough books.”

Many in the region see their history as crucial to the dispute as well as any resolution, so critics saw the remarks as a sign of inexperience.

Among the challenges Mr. Kushner could confront on the trip are the myriad legal problems facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, which have begun to threaten his political standing.

Saudi Arabia and Israel Agree on Al Jazeera

August 11, 2017

There are still honourable Israelis who demand a state for the Palestinians; there are well-educated Saudis who object to the crazed Wahabism upon which their kingdom is founded; there are millions of Americans, from sea to shining sea, who do not believe that Iran is their enemy nor Saudi Arabia their friend. But the problem today in both East and West is that our governments are not our friends

By Robert Fisk

The Independent 

may-saudi.jpgTheresa May has already suppressed a report so it wouldn’t upset the Saudis. And we wonder why we go to war with the Middle East AFP

When Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite channel has both the Saudis and the Israelis demanding its closure, it must be doing something right. To bring Saudi head-choppers and Israeli occupiers into alliance is, after all, something of an achievement.

But don’t get too romantic about this. When the wealthiest Saudis fall ill, they have been known to fly into Tel Aviv on their private jets for treatment in Israel’s finest hospitals. And when Saudi and Israeli fighter-bombers take to the air, you can be sure they’re going to bomb Shiites – in Yemen or Syria respectively – rather than Sunnis.

And when King Salman – or rather Saudi Arabia’s whizz-kid Crown Prince Mohammad – points the finger at Iran as the greatest threat to Gulf security, you can be sure that Bibi Netanyahu will be doing exactly and precisely the same thing, replacing “Gulf security”, of course, with “Israeli security”. But it’s an odd business when the Saudis set the pace of media suppression only to be supported by that beacon of freedom, democracy, human rights and liberty known in song and legend as Israel, or the State of Israel or, as Bibi and his cabinet chums would have it, the Jewish State of Israel.

So let’s run briefly through the latest demonstration of Israeli tolerance towards the freedom of expression that all of us support, nurture, love, adore, regard as a cornerstone of our democracy, and so on, and so on, and so on. For this week, Ayoob Kara, the Israeli communications minister, revealed plans to take away the credentials of Al Jazeera’s Israeli-based journalists, close its Jerusalem bureau and take the station’s broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers.

Al Jazeera exclusive: Former leader of al-Nusra Front confirming split from al-Qaeda

This, announced Ayoob Kara – an Israeli Druze (and thus an Arab Likud minister) who is a lifelong supporter of the colonisation by Jews of Israeli-occupied Arab land in the West Bank – would “bring a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively”. In other words, threaten them. Bring them into line.

Bibi Netanyahu long ago accused Al Jazeera of inciting violence in Jerusalem, especially in its reporting of the recent Jerusalem killings – but since just about every foreign journalist in and outside Israel who has dared to be critical of the state has at one time or another been accused of incitement as well as anti-Semitism and other lies, this is just par for the course.

Personally, I have found Al Jazeera’s reporting from Israel pretty pathetic, its fawning reverence for the state all too painfully illustrated when its Qatar anchorwoman expressed to an Israeli government spokesman live on air her channel’s condolences on the death of Ariel Sharon, the monstrous Israeli ex-defence minister who was held responsible for the massacre of up to 1,700 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres of 1982.

Ayoob Kara, however, has actually taken his cue from his fellow Arabs. And he admits it. Israel had to take steps, he said, against “media, which has been determined by almost all Arab countries to actually be a supporter of terror, and we know this for certain”. So the Israelis, it appears, now receive lessons on media freedoms from “Arab countries”. Not just the Saudis, of course, but from “almost all Arab countries” whose unfettered media – one thinks at once of the untrammelled liberal press of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Algeria and yes, “almost” the entire media of the Gulf – are bastions of truth-telling, hard-hitting opponents of authoritarian regimes, constitutionally protected from dictatorial abuse. Forgive the hollow laughter. But is this really how Israel wants to define itself?

Well, yes it is, I suppose. For if an unwritten alliance really exists between Saudi Arabia and Israel, then all options – as US presidents and secretary Hillary Clinton used to say – are “on the table”.

Imprisonment without trial, extrajudicial executions, human rights abuses, corruption, military rule – let’s say this at once: all these characteristics belong to “almost all” Sunni Muslim Arab nations – and to Israel in the lands it occupies. And as for being a “supporter of terror” (I quote Israeli minister Kara again), one must first ask why Sunni Gulf Arabs have exported their fighters – and their money – to the most vicious Sunni Islamists in the Middle East. And then ask why Israel has never bombed these same vile creatures – indeed, ask why Israel has given hospital treatment to wounded fighters from the Sunni al-Nusra – in other words, al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11 – while attacking Shiite Hezbollah and Alawite (Shiite) led-Syria, and threatened to bombard Shiite Iran itself which is a project, I should add, of which Kara himself is all in favour.

Nor must we forget that America’s insane President and his weird regime is also part of the Saudi-Israeli anti-Shiite confederation. Trump’s obscene $350bn arms sales to the Saudis, his fingering of Iran and his hatred of the world’s press and television channels makes him an intimate part of the same alliance. Indeed, when you look at one of Trump’s saner predecessors – George W Bush, who also hated Iran, kowtowed to the Saudis and actually talked to Tony Blair of bombing Al Jazeera’s own headquarters in Qatar, he who made sure the wealthy bin Laden family were flown out of the States after 9/11 – this American-Saudi-Israeli covenant has a comparatively long history.

Being an irrational optimist, there’s an innocent side of my scratched journalistic hide that still believes in education and wisdom and compassion. There are still honourable Israelis who demand a state for the Palestinians; there are well-educated Saudis who object to the crazed Wahhabism upon which their kingdom is founded; there are millions of Americans, from sea to shining sea, who do not believe that Iran is their enemy nor Saudi Arabia their friend. But the problem today in both East and West is that our governments are not our friends. They are our oppressors or masters, suppressors of the truth and allies of the unjust.

Netanyahu wants to close down Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem. Crown Prince Mohammad wants to close down Al Jazeera’s office in Qatar. Bush actually did bomb Al Jazeera’s offices in Kabul and Baghdad. Theresa May decided to hide a government report on funding “terrorism”, lest it upset the Saudis – which is precisely the same reason Blair closed down a UK police enquiry into alleged BAE-Saudi bribery 10 years earlier.

And we wonder why we go to war in the Middle East. And we wonder why Sunni Isis exists, un-bombed by Israel, funded by Sunni Gulf Arabs, its fellow Sunni Salafists cosseted by our wretched presidents and prime ministers. I guess we better keep an eye on Al Jazeera – while it’s still around.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/al-jazeera-saudi-arabia-israel-policy-terrorism-isis-iran-prince-mohamed-netanyahu-a7885851.html

Palestinian Leader Curbs Social Media Expression in Decree — Continued slide toward authoritarianism?

August 11, 2017

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has clamped down on social media and news websites — the main outlets for debate and dissent in the West Bank — with a vaguely worded decree that critics say allows his government to jail anyone on charges of harming “national unity” or the “social fabric.”

Rights activists say the edict, issued without prior public debate last month, is perhaps the most significant step yet by Abbas’ government to restrict freedom of expression in the autonomous Palestinian enclaves of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

A Palestinian prosecutor denied the decree is being used to stifle dissent and insisted that a new law on electronic crimes was needed to close legal loopholes that in the past allowed offenders, such as hackers, to go unpunished.

Image may contain: one or more people

Image from Palestinian social media

However, the government has blocked 30 websites in the past month, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, or Mada.

Most of the sites were affiliated with Abbas’s two main rivals — a former aide-turned-foe, Mohammed Dahlan, and the Islamic militant group Hamas, Mada said. A few of the blocked sites had supported the extremist Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Five journalists working for news outlets linked to Hamas were detained this week and charged with violating the new law, according the lawyer of one of those arrested and an official in the association of Palestinian journalists.

Separately, four other journalists were called for questioning about social media posts critical of government policy.

One of those summoned, photo journalist Fadi Arouri, who works for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, said he was shown his Facebook posts and was told that the authorities are concerned “these expressions could lead to disorder in the society.”

Ammar Dweik, head of the government-appointed Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, said the new law is “one of the worst” since the Palestinian autonomy government was established in 1994.

It’s “a big setback to the freedoms in the West Bank,” he said, citing the vague definition of the purported crimes, the wide authority given to the security forces, the large-scale blocking of news websites and the harsh punishments.

Rights groups have repeatedly accused Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, of restricting freedoms and engaging in human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests of political opponents, mistreatment in detention and cracking down on peaceful protests.

The new decree stipulates prison terms ranging from one year to life for those who use digital means for a range of all-encompassing offenses. The list includes endangering the safety of the state or the public order as well as harming national unity or social peace.

Abbas, 82, issued the decree at a time when he is facing new domestic challenges to his rule.

Dahlan and Hamas have overcome their old rivalry to team up against Abbas with an emerging power-sharing deal in Gaza, the territory Abbas’ Fatah movement lost to Hamas in 2007.

Polls routinely show that two-thirds of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. He was elected to five years in 2005, but stayed on, arguing that political disagreement with Hamas prevented new elections. With parliament paralyzed as a result of the political split, Abbas has ruled by decree.

Abbas also failed to deliver on his central promise of setting up a Palestinian state in talks with Israel.

Gaps widened since Israel’s hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in 2009, and an early Trump administration promise to revive long-dormant negotiations appears to have fizzled.

Officials in Abbas’ office declined to comment on the new decree or on long-standing complaints that Abbas and his government restrict freedoms in the West Bank. The officials said it was up to law enforcement and the Cabinet to comment.

A government spokesman also declined comment, referring questions to the justice minister, who did not respond to phone messages.

Ibrahim Hamodeh, a prosecutor in the attorney general’s office, said the decree was needed to go after those committing electronic crimes, such as hackers and those engaged in on-line libel.

“There is nothing about (restricting) freedom of expression in the new law,” Hamodeh told The Associated Press.

“The law criminalizes distortion, defamation, slandering,” he said. “One can criticize the president and his policy but one cannot accuse the president or anyone else of treason or make fun of him in an image, or something like that.”

Critics said the vague, fuzzy terms in the decree are problematic.

It enables the government to jail anyone for any reason, said Ghazi Bani Odeh, a researcher at Mada.

“It opens the door wide to more violations of freedom of expression,” he said.

In the past, other laws that prohibit “insulting the president” or “insulting religion” have been used selectively to prosecute Palestinians for social media posts.

Emad al-Masri, a mid-level manager in the Palestinian Health Ministry in the city of Ramallah, was among the first to be prosecuted under the new law.

He said he was detained in July, after being sued by two ministry officials for allegedly slanderous Facebook posts.

The prosecutor said the pair eventually dropped their charges and the judge reduced the sentence from two years to three months, or a fine. Al-Masri ended up paying about $130.

Al-Masri, 45, said he believes he was targeted for his critical comments recently about Abbas’ new policy of tightening financial pressure on Gaza to try to force the coastal strip’s Hamas rulers to cede ground.

“I think they meant to intimidate me, to silence me,” said al-Masri, an activist in Fatah. His posts accused Abbas of harming ordinary Gazans with his tough policies against Hamas.

The Palestinian journalists’ association in the West Bank, though dominated by Fatah, said it would push back against the decree.

An electronic crimes law is needed, but the association is concerned about articles that touch on freedom of expression and freedom of reporting, said Mohammed Laham, an official in the group. He said the association is working with the Independent Commission for Human Rights to offer alternatives to some of the articles.

Shahwan Jabareen, director of the veteran rights group al-Haq, expressed concern about what he said is a continued slide toward authoritarianism.

“The Palestinian security services intervene in everything,” he said. They have “become the masters of the land.”

HRW says Israel stripping Palestinians of Jerusalem residency ‘war crime’

August 8, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Israel occupied east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War in a move never recognised by the international community

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Human Rights Watch said Tuesday Israel had stripped nearly 15,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem of their right to live in the city since 1967 and warned that it could be a “war crime.”

“Israel claims to treat Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director, said in a report.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War in a move never recognised by the international community.

The more than 300,000 Palestinians there have permanent residency status but are not Israeli nationals.

While east Jerusalem residents are allowed to apply for citizenship, most do not as they view it as recognition of Israeli sovereignty.

Since 1967, 14,595 Palestinians have had their residence status revoked, effectively barring them from remaining in the city of their birth, the HRW report said citing interior ministry figures.

The majority of these revocations were due to spending periods of time out of the city, with Israel arguing their “centre of life” was not in Jerusalem.

“Residency revocations often effectively force Palestinians from east Jerusalem, who are protected by virtue of Israel’s occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to leave the territory they live in,” the Human Rights Watch report said.

“Deportation or forced transfers of any part of the population of an occupied territory could amount to war crimes.”

The Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The report comes two days after an Israeli court decided to strip an Israeli Arab, Alla Zayud, of his citizenship after he carried out an attack.

Zayud was convicted on four counts of attempted murder after driving a car into Israeli soldiers and stabbing civilians in October 2015. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel and the Adalah rights group said it was the first ruling of its kind.

Omar Shakir, HRW’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories, told AFP the decision to revoke Zayud’s nationality “would render him stateless, in violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law.”

Middle east: Hamas says It Has “Opened a New Page” with Iran

August 8, 2017
BYJPOST.COM STAFF
 AUGUST 8, 2017 09:16

Hamas delegation visiting Tehran to attend swearing-in of president Rouhani.

Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (photo credit:ATTA KENARE / AFP)Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif hosted a delegation of senior Hamas officials in Tehran on Monday. The delegation was in town to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who was reelected in May.

According to a statement by the Gaza-based group “The visit has opened a new page in our bilateral relations with Iran aimed at confronting the common enemy and supporting Palestine, the Al-Aksa Mosque and the resistance [against Israeli occupation].”

Hamas’s statement also quoted Zarif as saying that Iran planned to “maintain relations with the Palestinian factions, led by Hamas, and maintain its support for the Palestinian resistance”.
Relations between the two sides have been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of President Bashar Assad, Iran’s major ally in the region, has angered Tehran, prompting it to cut off its financial and military aid to the Gaza-based movement.

According to the Palestinian sources cited in the Asharq Al-Awsat report, Hamas’s decision to seek warmer ties with Tehran was spurred in part by the Gaza-based Islamist group’s recent disassociation with the Muslim Brotherhood – of which it is an offshoot – along with condemnation as a terrorist group by US President Donald Trump.

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