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    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution' (OP)


    Salaam

    With Trump in power, Netanyahu has a free hand.


    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'


    Land grab law 'allows theft, stalls peace process'

    Law that retroactively legalises settler homes on private Palestinian land widely condemned as legitimising theft.


    Israel's land grab law that retroactively legalises thousands of settlement homes in the occupied West Bank legitimises theft, violates international law and ends the prospect of a two-state solution, according to politicians, legal experts and human rights groups.

    The so-called "Regulation Bill" instantly drew wide condemnation as it was voted in by members of the Knesset late on Monday with a 60 to 52 majority.

    The law applies to about 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank for which settlers could prove ignorance that they had built on privately owned Palestinian land and had received encouragement from the Israeli state to do so.

    Three Israeli NGOs - Peace Now, Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel - and numerous Palestinians said they intend to petition the Supreme Court to cancel the law.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in a statement: "This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel."

    The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc "condemns" the law and urges against its implementation "to avoid measures that further raise tensions and endanger the prospects for a peaceful solution to the conflict".

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the law was an aggression against the Palestinian people.

    "That bill is contrary to international law," Abbas said following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. "This is an aggression against our people that we will be opposing in international organisations.

    "What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work toward one state based on apartheid."

    Hollande called on Israel to go back on the law, saying it would "pave the way for an annexation, de-facto, of the occupied territories, which would be contrary to the two-state solution".

    Hours before Abbas' meeting with Hollande, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, told the Associated Press news agency that the law puts "the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution".

    Calling the move "theft", Erekat said the ruling showed "the Israeli government trying to legalise looting Palestinian land".

    The Arab League also accused Israel of "stealing the land" from Palestinians.

    "The law in question is only a cover for stealing the land and appropriating the property of Palestinians," said the head of the Cairo-based organisation, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    Palestinian owners will be compensated financially or with other land, but cannot negotiate their terms.

    The law is a continuation of "Israeli policies aimed at eliminating any possibility of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state", Aboul Gheit said.

    Jordan, one of the few Arab states to have diplomatic ties with Israel, also denounced what it called "a provocative law likely to kill any hope of a two-state solution".

    According to the UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, the law crosses a "very thick red line" towards annexation of the occupied West Bank, and sets a "very dangerous precedent".

    Speaking to the AFP news agency, he said: "This is the first time the Israeli Knesset legislates in the occupied Palestinian lands and particularly on property issues."

    He also raised the possibility the law could open Israel up to potential prosecution at the International Criminal Court, a threat Israel's own top government lawyer, attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, has also warned of.

    Mladenov called for strong international condemnation of the legislation but declined to criticise the US after President Donald Trump's administration refused to comment on it.

    Trump is more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than previous US presidents; the Israeli government has approved plans to build thousands of new homes on occupied territory since the far-right leader settled into the White House.

    "I think that is a very preliminary statement," Mladenov said. "Obviously they do need to consult, this is a new administration that has just come into office and they should be given the time and the space to find their policies."

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US was likely to discuss the law with Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits on February 15, but did not comment further in a press briefing on Tuesday.

    David Harris, head of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organisation, said that "Israel's High Court can and should reverse this misguided legislation" ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with Trump in February.

    That was also the message from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."

    'Against all international laws'

    International law considers all settlements to be illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it sanctions and those it does not, dubbed outposts.

    A Palestinian Cabinet minister also called on the international community for support.

    "Nobody can legalise the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws," said Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa. "I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes."

    Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the law "unacceptable" and urged the international community to act immediately.

    "This is an escalation that would only lead to more instability and chaos," Rdeneh said.

    Palestinians want the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war - for their future state.

    The international community views settlements as illegal and an obstacle to reaching peace.

    Shortly before leaving office, US President Barack Obama allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution declaring settlements illegal.

    Tobias Ellwood, Britain's Middle East minister, also condemned the land grab bill, saying it "is of great concern that the bill paves the way for significant growth in settlements deep in the West Bank".

    Yuval Shany, an international law professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the law violates basic rights, interferes with property rights and is discriminatory because it regulates only the transfer of land from Palestinians to Jews.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/israel-land-grab-law-ends-hope-state-solution-170207143602924.html
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

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    Salaam

    The 'ultimate deal' that Jared Kushner is proposing for Palestine would strip the people of all their dignity

    After three Arab-Israeli wars, tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths and millions of refugees, does Kushner really believe that the Palestinians will settle for cash?


    Is there no humiliation left for the Palestinians? After Oslo, after the “two state solution”, after the years of Israeli occupation – of “Area A” and “Area C” to define which kind of occupation the Palestinians must live under – after the vast Jewish colonisation of land thieved from its Arab owners, after the mass killings of Gaza, and Trump’s decision that Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, must be the capital of Israel, are the Palestinians going to be asked to settle for cash and a miserable village? Is there no shame left?

    For the Palestinians are soon to be awarded the “ultimate deal” – “ultimate”, as in the last, definitive, terminal, conclusive, no-more-cards-to-play, cash-in-your-chips, go-for-broke, take-it-or-leave-it, to-hell-with-you, cease-and-desist, endgame “deal”. A pitiful village as a capital, no end to colonisation, no security, no army, no independent borders, no unity – in return for a huge amount of money, billions of dollars and euros, millions of pounds, zillions of dinars and shekels and spondulix and filthy lucre, the real “moolah”.

    “I believe,” quoth Crown Prince Kushner this week, “that Palestinian people are less invested in the politicians’ talking points than they are in seeing how a deal will give them and their future generations new opportunities, more and better paying jobs and prospects for a better life.” Is Trump’s son-in-law – “adviser” on the Middle East, real estate developer and US investor – delusional? After three Arab-Israeli wars, tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths and millions of refugees, does Jared Kushner really believe that the Palestinians will settle for cash?

    Did he not notice – ever – that the Palestinians who have protested and suffered and died and lost their lands for 70 years, have not been demonstrating in their streets for better roads, duty free zones or another airport? Does he think that the people of Gaza have come onto their streets and marched towards the lethal border fence because they are demanding new prenatal clinics? How can he humiliate an entire Arab people by suggesting that their freedom, sovereignty, independence, dignity, justice and nationhood are merely “politicians’ talking points”? Is there no end to this insanity?

    No, there is not. For the drip-feed of detail which is emerging about the Trump-Kushner “ultimate deal” in Israeli newspapers – the venerable Haaretz in the lead – is that Palestinians will have to abandon East Jerusalem as the capital of a future “Palestine”, that Israel will withdraw from a handful of villages east and north of Jerusalem – the measly Abu Dis among them – to create a Potemkin “capital”, but will remain forever in the Old City. That a Palestinian state will be completely demilitarised (so much for “security”), but that every Jewish colony constructed illegally on Arab land – for Jews and Jews only – will remain, and that Israel will control the entire Jordan Valley. Right of return? Forget it.

    And all this for billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, a free trade zone at Al Arish in the Sinai, an outpouring of money into the West Bank, a new Palestinian leadership – out would go corrupt, arrogant, senile, dictatorial Mahmoud Abbas whose leadership has “no ideas” and has made no “efforts with prospects of success” (this latter from Kushner, of course) in favour of a new and pragmatic man who will (here more delusional thinking) be even more pliant, peace-loving and grovelling than Abbas himself.

    All this nonsense depends on the largesse of Saudi Arabia – whose bungling crown prince appears to be arguing with his kingly father, who does not want to abandon the original Saudi initiative for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital – and the feebleness of King Abdullah of Jordan, whose country’s IMF-imposed financial suffering has provoked unprecedented riots and the fall of his government, and the support of Egypt’s field marshal/president who will supposedly be happy to impose law and financial benefits on the Egyptian-Gaza border. Oh yes, and there will be no real contact between Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas has been forgotten, it seems.

    Does one laugh or cry? When Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid the massacre of Gaza, the world screamed – but then fell silent. The split screen of diplomatic adulation and mass killing scarcely a hundred miles apart has somehow normalised the combination of death and injustice in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yes, they got away with it. If American diplomats can stand to attention in Jerusalem against the crackle of sniper fire along the Gaza frontier, what’s next?

    There is something strange, almost comical, about the photographs of America’s diplomatic “peacemakers” sitting around Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the West, we choose – with good moral reason – not to emphasise the religious or ethnic background of these men. But the Israelis do, philosopher Uri Avnery does, and Haaretz points it out: that all are Jewish – at least two of them enthusiastic supporters of the Israeli colonisation of Palestinian West Bank land, including the US ambassador to Israel who called the moderate J Street Jewish lobby group “worse than kapos”.

    Was it not possible, within the entire US diplomatic corps and America’s “advisers”, to find even one Muslim American to join the team? Would the “peacemakers” not have benefited from just one voice from a man or woman who shared the same faith as the “other” half of the proposed Arab-Israeli peace?

    But no. Nor would it have mattered. Abbas has broken off all diplomatic relations with the White House since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and withdrawn his ambassador to Washington. The “ultimate deal” – originally the Oslo agreement, although even that was a poisoned chalice, and then a whole series of miniature retreats and withdrawals and further occupations, and then ad hoc “anti-terror” conferences – now represents only the total humiliation of the Palestinian people: no East Jerusalem, no end to colonisation, no recognition of the right to return, no state, no future. Just cash.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/palestine-jared-kushner-ultimate-plan-israel-donald-trump-jerusalem-right-to-return-a8420836.html

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Sisi holds key to Trump's Sinai plan for Palestinians

    Reports suggest Trump could be about to unveil massive relief programme, but on condition Palestinians work in Egypt under Israel's 'Greater Gaza' plan


    Israel and the US are in a race against time with Gaza. The conundrum is stark: how to continue isolating the tiny coastal enclave from the outside world and from the West Bank – to sabotage any danger of a Palestinian state emerging – without stoking a mass revolt from Gaza's two million Palestinians?

    In Gaza, Israel does not have the luxury of time it enjoys in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the two additional Palestinian territories it occupies. In those areas, it can keep chipping away at the Palestinian presence, using the Israeli army, Jewish settlers and tight restrictions on Palestinian movement to take over key resources like land and water.
    Gaza: A death camp

    While Israel is engaged in a war of attrition with the West Bank's population, a similar, gradualist approach in Gaza is rapidly becoming untenable. The United Nations has warned that the enclave may be only two years away from becoming “uninhabitable”, its economy in ruins and its water supplies unpotable.

    More than a decade of a severe Israeli blockade as well as a series of military assaults have plunged much of Gaza into the dark ages. Israel desperately needs a solution, before Gaza's prison turns into a death camp. And now, under cover of Donald Trump's "ultimate peace plan", Israel appears to be on the brink of an answer.

    Recent weeks have been rife with reports in the Israeli and Arab media of moves by Washington and Israel to pressure Egypt into turning over a swath of territory in northern Sinai, next to Gaza, for infrastructure projects designed to alleviate the enclave’s "humanitarian crisis".

    Late last month Hamas, which rules Gaza, sent a delegation to Cairo to discuss the measures. This followed hot on the heels of a visit to Egypt by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law who is overseeing the Middle East peace plan.

    Exploiting Egyptian fears

    According to reports, Trump hopes soon to unveil a package – associated with his "deal of the century" peace-making – that will commit to the construction of a solar-power grid, desalination plant, seaport and airport in Sinai, as well as a free trade zone with five industrial areas. Most of the financing will come from the oil-rich Gulf states.

    Egyptian diplomatic sources appear to have confirmed the reports. The programme has the potential to help relieve the immense suffering in Gaza, where electricity, clean water and freedom of movement are in short supply. Palestinians and Egyptians would jointly work on these projects, providing desperately needed jobs. In Gaza, youth unemployment stands at over 60 per cent.



    It has been left unclear whether Palestinians from Gaza would be encouraged to live close to the Sinai projects in migrant workers' towns. Israel will doubtless hope that Palestinian workers would gradually make Sinai their permanent home.

    Egypt, meanwhile, will benefit both from the huge injection of capital in an economy currently in crisis, as well as from new infrastructure that can be used for its own population in the restive Sinai peninsula.

    It is worth noting that for more than a year an Israeli cabinet minister has been proposing similar infrastructure projects for Gaza located on an artificial island to be established in Palestinian territorial waters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly baulked at the proposal.

    Locating the scheme instead in Egypt, under Cairo’s control, will tie Egyptian security concerns about Gaza to Israel's, and serve to kill the Palestinian national cause of statehood.

    A decade of arm-twisting


    It is important to understand that the Sinai plan is not simply evidence of wishful thinking by an inexperienced or deluded Trump administration. All the signs are that it has enjoyed long and vigorous support from the Washington policy establishment for more than a decade.

    In fact, four years ago, when Barack Obama was firmly ensconced in the White House, Middle East Eye charted the course of attempts by Israel and the US to arm-twist a succession of Egyptian leaders into opening Sinai to Gaza’s Palestinians.

    This has been a key Israeli ambition since it pulled several thousand settlers out of Gaza in the so-called disengagement of 2005 and claimed afterwards – falsely – that the enclave’s occupation was over.

    Washington has reportedly been on board since 2007, when the Islamist faction Hamas took control of Gaza, ousting the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It was then that Israel, backed by the US, intensified its severe blockade that has destroyed Gaza’s economy and prevented key goods from entering.

    A Palestinian statelet

    The advantages of the Sinai plan are self-evident to Israel and the US. It would:

    * make permanent the territorial division between Gaza and the West Bank, and the ideological split between the rival factions of Fatah and Hamas;

    * downgrade Gaza from a diplomatic issue to a humanitarian one;

    * gradually lead to the establishment of a de facto Palestinian statelet in Sinai and Gaza, mostly outside the borders of historic Palestine;

    * encourage the eventual settlement of potentially millions of Palestinian refugees in Egyptian territory, stripping them of their right in international law to return to their homes, now in Israel;

    * weaken the claims of Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, located in the West Bank, to represent the Palestinian cause and undermine their moves to win recognition of statehood at the United Nations;

    * and lift opprobrium from Israel by shifting responsibility for repressing Gaza’s Palestinians to Egypt and the wider Arab world.
    'Greater Gaza' plan

    In summer 2014, Israel’s media reported that, with Washington’s blessing, Israeli officials had been working on a plan dubbed “Greater Gaza” that would attach the enclave to a large slice of northern Sinai. The reports suggested that Israel had made headway with Cairo on the idea.

    Egyptian and Palestinians officials publicly responded to the leaks by denouncing the plan as "fabricated". But, whether Cairo was privately receptive or not, it provided yet further confirmation of a decade-long Israeli strategy in Gaza.

    At around the same time, an Arab newspaper interviewed a former anonymous official close to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president ousted in 2011. He said Egypt had come under concerted pressure from 2007 onwards to annex Gaza to northern Sinai, after Hamas took control of the enclave following Palestinian elections.

    Five years later, according to the same source, Mohamed Morsi, who led a short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government, sent a delegation to Washington where the Americans proposed that "Egypt cede a third of the Sinai to Gaza in a two-stage process spanning four to five years".

    And since 2014, it appears, Morsi’s successor, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, has faced similar lobbying.

    Carrots and sticks


    Suspicions that Sisi might have been close to capitulating four years ago were fuelled at that time by Abbas himself. In an interview on Egyptian TV, he said Israel’s Sinai plan had been "unfortunately accepted by some here [in Egypt]. Don’t ask me more about that. We abolished it."

    Israel's neoconservative cheerleaders in Washington who reportedly leant on Mubarak in 2007 during George W Bush’s presidency, are now influencing Middle East policy again in the Trump administration.

    And although Sisi appears to have stood his ground in 2014, subsequent dramatic changes in the region are likely to have weakened his hand.

    Both Abbas and Hamas are more isolated than ever, and the situation in Gaza more desperate. Israel has cultivated much closer ties to the Gulf states as they fashion joint opposition to Iran. And the Trump administration has dropped even the pretence of neutrality in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    In fact, Trump's Middle East team led by Kushner adopted from the outset Israel’s so-called "outside-in" paradigm for arriving at a peace agreement.

    The idea is to use a carrot-and-stick approach – a mix of financial inducements and punitive sanctions – to bully Abbas and Hamas into making yet more major concessions to Israel that would void any meaningful idea of Palestinian statehood. Key to this idea is that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can be recruited to help Israel in its efforts to force the Palestinian leadership’s hand.

    Egypt, current reports indicate, has come under similar pressure from the Gulf to concede territory in Sinai to help Trump with his long-delayed "deal of the century".

    Muslim Brotherhood threat

    Sisi and his generals have good reason to be reluctant to help. After they grabbed power from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government, they have done everything possible to crush homegrown Islamist movements, but have faced a backlash in Sinai.

    Hamas, which rules Gaza, is the sister organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s generals have worried that opening the Rafah border crossing between Sinai and Gaza could bolster Islamist attacks that Egypt has struggled to contain. There are fears too in Cairo that the Sinai option would shift the burden of Gaza onto Egypt’s shoulders.

    This is where Trump and Kushner may hope their skills at wheeler-dealing can achieve a breakthrough.

    Egypt’s susceptibility to financial inducements from the Gulf were on display last year when Sisi’s government agreed effectively to sell off to Saudi Arabia two strategic Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir. They guard the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez canal.

    In return, Egypt received billions of dollars in loans and investments from the kingdom, including large-scale infrastructure projects in Sinai. Israel reportedly approved the deal.

    Analysts have suggested that the handover of the islands to Saudi Arabia was intended to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation between Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in dealing with Islamic militants in Sinai.

    This now looks suspiciously like the prelude to Trump’s reported Sinai plan.

    Over the Palestinians' heads

    In March, the White House hosted 19 countries in a conference to consider new ideas for dealing with Gaza’s mounting crisis. As well as Israel, participants included representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The Palestinians boycotted the meeting.

    Much favoured by the Trump team was a paper delivered by Yoav Mordechai, an Israeli general and key official overseeing Israel's strategy in the occupied territories. Many of his proposals – for a free trade zone and infrastructure projects in Sinai – are now being advanced.

    Last month Kushner visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan to drum up support. According to interviews in the Israel Hayom daily, all four Arab states are on board with the peace plan, even if it means bypassing Abbas.

    Jackie Khoury, a Palestinian analyst for the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, summed up the plan’s Gaza elements: “Egypt, which has a vital interest in calming Gaza down because of the territory’s impact on Sinai, will play the policeman who restrains Hamas. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and perhaps the United Arab Emirates will pay for the projects, which will be under United Nations auspices.”

    Israel’s efforts to secure compliance from Hamas may be indicated by recent threats to invade Gaza and dissect it in two, reported through veteran Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai. The US has also moved to deepen the crisis in Gaza by withholding payments to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. A majority of Gaza's population are refugees dependent on UN handouts.

    An advantage for Hamas in agreeing to the Sinai plan is that it would finally be freed of Israeli and Palestinian Authority controls over Gaza. It would be in a better able to sustain its rule, as long as it did not provoke Egyptian ire.

    Oslo's pacification model

    Israel and Washington's plans for Gaza have strong echoes of the "economic pacification" model that was the framework for the Oslo peace process of the late 1990s.

    For Israel, Oslo represented a cynical chance to destroy the largely rural economy of the West Bank that Palestinians have depended on for centuries. Israel has long coveted the territory both for its economic potential and its Biblical associations.

    Hundreds of Palestinian communities in the West Bank rely on these lands for agriculture, rooting them to historic locations through economic need and tradition. But uprooting the villagers – forcing them into a handful of Palestinian cities, and clearing the land for Jewish settlers – required an alternative economic model.

    As part of the the Oslo process, Israel began establishing a series of industrial areas – paid for by international donors – on the so-called "seam zone" between Israel and the West Bank.

    Israeli and international companies were to open factories there, employing cheap Palestinian labour with minimal safeguards. Palestinians would be transformed from farmers with a strong attachment to their lands into a casual labour force concentrated in the cities.

    An additional advantage for Israel was that it would make the Palestinians the ultimate “precariat”. Should they start demanding a state or even protest for rights, Israel could simply block entry to the industrial areas, allowing hunger to pacify the population.

    New prison wardens

    There is every reason to believe that is now the goal of an Israeli-Trump initiative to gradually relocate Palestinians to Sinai through investment in infrastructure projects.

    With the two countries' security interests safely aligned, Israel can then rely on Egypt to pacify the Palestinians of Gaza on its behalf. Under such a scheme, Cairo will have many ways to teach its new workforce of migrant labourers a lesson.

    It can temporarily shut down the infrastructure projects, laying off the workforce, until there is quiet. It can close off the sole Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai. It can shutter the electricity and desalination plants, depriving Gaza of power and clean water.

    This way Gaza can be kept under Israel's thumb without Israel sharing any blame. Egypt will become Gaza's visible prison wardens, just as Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have shouldered the burden of serving as jailers in much of the West Bank.

    This is Israel's model for Gaza. We may soon find out whether it is shared too by Egypt and the Gulf states.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/has-cairo-caved-israel-s-sinai-aid-plan-gaza-1521237499

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Israeli army attacks activists at Khan al-Ahmar, block all access to area



    JERUSALEM, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) – Israeli forces attacked on Thursday morning Palestinian and international activists on a vigil at Khan al-Ahmar community east of Jerusalem to prevent its anticipated demolition and displacement of its 180 Palestinian residents, most of them children, according to activists at the site.

    Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, one of the activists, told WAFA that an army unit raided the area where they were holed up, attacked them and the residents and detained three international activists – a Canadian woman, an American and a British citizen.

    He said the army is keeping the activists ed to a small area to prevent them from standing in the way of the bulldozers working on opening roads for facilitate entry of heavy machinery to demolish the community.

    Israeli plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar has provoked strong local and international condemnation.

    M.K.

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...8470876axr31n5





    Israeli forces demolish structures near Jerusalem


    JERUSALEM, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Thursday demolished three stalls used for growing plants and a commercial store in the village of Hazma, to the east of Jerusalem, according to a local source.

    An Israeli army force raided the village before proceeding to demolish the three stalls and the store which belong to local residents. The Israeli military claimed that the demolitions took place because the four structures lacked Israeli construction permits.

    Israeli authorities carried out similar demolitions in the village for the same reason during the past week.

    M.N

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...1795418aYhEGEW











    By holding part of the tax revenues, Israel will be adding strain to Palestinian budget, says finance minister


    By Jafar Sadaqa

    RAMALLAH, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) - Minister of Finance and Planning Shukri Bishara said Thursday that despite the strains on the budget the Israeli decision to hold part of the Palestinian tax revenues will cause, the government will nevertheless continue to pay the families of the Palestinians killed or injured by Israel and the prisoners, regardless of the repercussions.

    "This decision will increase the financial burden and raise the budget deficit,” he told WAFA, adding that “the Palestinian society as a whole must face this challenge because it is an ethical and moral obligation to our sons and daughters and their families."

    Bishara stressed that “it is the responsibility of the state and the nation to take care of our sons and daughters when they are illegally held in Israeli jails. We are committed not to turn our backs on them, but rather to embrace them. Let them cut whatever they want. We will not abandon our responsibility."

    The Finance Minister said Israel gave itself the “legal right” to cut the money after passing a law on this matter in its parliament.

    "There are about 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at the moment. We are committed to caring for their families and some we are obliged to educate them and provide them with health services, even after their release," he said.

    Since 1967, added Bishara, about 1 million Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel, 60% of them between the ages of 18 and 25. Incarceration in Israeli jails is a unique matter for the Palestinians as a result of a 50-year occupation."

    The average financial allocation to the families is about $28 million a month (about $300 million annually).

    "It is true that the amount is not easy on the budget, but we have a not so small a number of prisoners, too. We are obliged to educate them and provide them with medical care for free and to take care of their families because they were illegally arrested by an occupying power," said Bishara. “They are not the reason for the war and the conflict, but rather victims of half a century of unjust and illegal occupation."

    Bishara considered the Israeli decision an attempt to compensate for the failure of Israelis in their legal claims against the Palestinian government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in US courts, which were completely dropped last year after years of litigation.

    "This matter is spearheaded by a certain group in Israel, who tried to blackmail us by filing legal suit against us in US courts, but found that going through the courts is not working, because our defense was distinctive and effective. So they realized that it will be possible to obtain 'legal means’ to seize some money from our tax revenues, which is money paid by the Palestinian public, by working through the Israeli government," said the Finance Minister.

    M.K.

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...7988406aNbY3FR
    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Long ago has hope perished, as have our men of honor
    M.A



    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress

    Frederick Douglas

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Important Information:


    Israeli army attacks activists at Khan al-Ahmar, block all access to area



    JERUSALEM, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) – Israeli forces attacked on Thursday morning Palestinian and international activists on a vigil at Khan al-Ahmar community east of Jerusalem to prevent its anticipated demolition and displacement of its 180 Palestinian residents, most of them children, according to activists at the site.

    Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, one of the activists, told WAFA that an army unit raided the area where they were holed up, attacked them and the residents and detained three international activists – a Canadian woman, an American and a British citizen.

    He said the army is keeping the activists ed to a small area to prevent them from standing in the way of the bulldozers working on opening roads for facilitate entry of heavy machinery to demolish the community.

    Israeli plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar has provoked strong local and international condemnation.

    M.K.

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...8470876axr31n5





    Israeli forces demolish structures near Jerusalem


    JERUSALEM, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Thursday demolished three stalls used for growing plants and a commercial store in the village of Hazma, to the east of Jerusalem, according to a local source.

    An Israeli army force raided the village before proceeding to demolish the three stalls and the store which belong to local residents. The Israeli military claimed that the demolitions took place because the four structures lacked Israeli construction permits.

    Israeli authorities carried out similar demolitions in the village for the same reason during the past week.

    M.N

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...1795418aYhEGEW











    By holding part of the tax revenues, Israel will be adding strain to Palestinian budget, says finance minister


    By Jafar Sadaqa

    RAMALLAH, July 5, 2018 (WAFA) - Minister of Finance and Planning Shukri Bishara said Thursday that despite the strains on the budget the Israeli decision to hold part of the Palestinian tax revenues will cause, the government will nevertheless continue to pay the families of the Palestinians killed or injured by Israel and the prisoners, regardless of the repercussions.

    "This decision will increase the financial burden and raise the budget deficit,” he told WAFA, adding that “the Palestinian society as a whole must face this challenge because it is an ethical and moral obligation to our sons and daughters and their families."

    Bishara stressed that “it is the responsibility of the state and the nation to take care of our sons and daughters when they are illegally held in Israeli jails. We are committed not to turn our backs on them, but rather to embrace them. Let them cut whatever they want. We will not abandon our responsibility."

    The Finance Minister said Israel gave itself the “legal right” to cut the money after passing a law on this matter in its parliament.

    "There are about 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at the moment. We are committed to caring for their families and some we are obliged to educate them and provide them with health services, even after their release," he said.

    Since 1967, added Bishara, about 1 million Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel, 60% of them between the ages of 18 and 25. Incarceration in Israeli jails is a unique matter for the Palestinians as a result of a 50-year occupation."

    The average financial allocation to the families is about $28 million a month (about $300 million annually).

    "It is true that the amount is not easy on the budget, but we have a not so small a number of prisoners, too. We are obliged to educate them and provide them with medical care for free and to take care of their families because they were illegally arrested by an occupying power," said Bishara. “They are not the reason for the war and the conflict, but rather victims of half a century of unjust and illegal occupation."

    Bishara considered the Israeli decision an attempt to compensate for the failure of Israelis in their legal claims against the Palestinian government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in US courts, which were completely dropped last year after years of litigation.

    "This matter is spearheaded by a certain group in Israel, who tried to blackmail us by filing legal suit against us in US courts, but found that going through the courts is not working, because our defense was distinctive and effective. So they realized that it will be possible to obtain 'legal means’ to seize some money from our tax revenues, which is money paid by the Palestinian public, by working through the Israeli government," said the Finance Minister.

    M.K.

    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=...7988406aNbY3FR
    Last edited by Abz2000; 1 Week Ago at 07:46 AM.
    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Long ago has hope perished, as have our men of honor
    M.A



    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress

    Frederick Douglas

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  8. #425
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update, the despair is real

    How one of Palestine's preeminent journalists lost hope for peace


    Nasser Laham, the editor-in-chief of Palestine’s biggest independent media outlet, used to be an ardent supporter Abbas and the peace process. But after decades of failed attempts, something inside him changed. Today he believes Palestinians must stop talking about peace. ‘We’ll wait a thousand years, the Israelis will be defeated. What’s the hurry?


    You won’t find a Palestinian journalist who understands Israel and the Israelis like Nasser Laham. He took advantage of the Hebrew he learned while serving time in prison to become the most prominent commentator on Israeli affairs in the Palestinian media, hosting a popular daily television show that analyzes and translates the Israeli media for the Palestinian public. For years he served as a daily source for many Israeli journalists, hosting them in his Bethlehem office, even in his home, and speaking to them on the phone. Many are daily readers of Ma’an News Agency, the popular Palestinian news site where he serves as editor in chief.

    I have known Laham for over 15 years. Despite the bloody days of the Second Intifada, the international community still believed that if only Palestinian and Israeli journalists met, they would reach an understanding that would help usher in peace. In many cases, the meetings that did take place — in countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and Jordan — only served to deepen the divide between the two sides. But Laham and I connected, and we have remained in touch all these years.

    The phrase “man of peace” is a bit contrived, but throughout the years Laham continued to support negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, believing that a peace agreement was possible. He was close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, justifying the latter’s decision to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders — through a negotiated settlement, rather than armed struggle — the moment Abbas replaced Yasser Arafat as the head of the PLO and the PA. Laham says Abbas even used to refer to him as “my son.”

    Over the past few years, Laham has taken a different approach. Like many Palestinians, he has lost faith in Abbas’ path. The last straw was Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. A short while after the declaration, Nasser wrote an article titled “The Jews’ Journey has Ended.” In another piece, Nasser wrote that at this point, we can only discuss Jews leaving the country.

    When his father passed away two weeks ago, I went to visit the family in a small hall in Dheisheh refugee camp, where Laham was born and raised. After shaking the hands of the men, Laham came and sat next to me. “My father was 90, he was older than the State of Israel by 20 years,” he told me. “He was 20 years old during the Nakba, and all his life he waited to return to his village in Beit Itab (not far from present-day Beit Shemesh, M.R.). He waited in 1949, he waited in 1956, he waited in 1967, he waited during Oslo. They told him he would return. When I moved from Deheisheh to Bethlehem in 2006, he told me: ‘why are you hurrying? We’ll wait.’”

    My father was right, Arafat was wrong


    In addition to paying my respects, I had traveled to Bethlehem to try to understand Laham’s transformation, especially since clearly he is not the only Palestinian to undergo it. I can’t say I left feeling encouraged. Although it often seems as if he is trying to be provocative, it is clear that his beliefs reflect something deeper: the growing sense among Palestinians that there is no chance for peace with Israel; that Israel is uninterested in peace. That Israel wants to continue to occupy and kill, and therefore the only solution is for Zionism to disappear and for Zionists to leave Palestine. Not by force, he says. But the solution is clear.

    When we met 15 years ago, you had hope that the conflict could be solved. Why did you think that then?


    “Because Yasser Arafat convinced us, the Palestinian people, that there was a solution, and that Israel had its own DeGaulle. Now we have discovered that we were wrong. We do not need to apologize to anyone. Israel needs to apologize. The occupation needs to apologize. The occupation needs to apologize to every Jew and Arab that has been killed. The occupation needs to apologize to the Jews and the Arabs. There was plenty of blood 15 years ago, but far less hatred.”

    “Today there is hatred in every home. Hatred has turned into a wild beast that roams the streets. This hatred needs 100 years until it disappears. Never in my entire life have I seen such hatred. The laws in the Knesset, the racism, the fascism, the Nazism, the barbarism. The Zionist movement is the worst in history when it comes to sowing hatred between nations. There is no hope for peace with it. No possibility for peace.”

    But there was no return of refugees during Oslo. What did you tell your father back then?

    “My father wanted to return to his village near Ramla. When he heard that Arafat had agreed to reconciliation with Israel, he said: Arafat is wretched, and I thought that my father was wretched and that Arafat was a great leader. In the meantime both passed away, and now it has become clear that my father was a great leader and Arafat was wretched because the Israelis killed him. My father’s fears were justified. You cannot make peace with Zionists unless you force them. We cannot fight them, we do not want to kill them. We have no armies, no weapons, no means, and no possibilities. That is why we need to respond to hatred with silence, with apathy. We will liberate Palestine quietly.”

    What does that mean?

    “All the politicians, from the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser, have said that we must find a solution to the conflict. Then came Kissinger and the rest of the leaders of the world and asked the Arabs: “What is your solution?” Until this very day the Israelis think that the Palestinians must come up with a solution. I am telling you that there is no solution. I am from Ramla and I want to return to Ramla. There is no other solution. There is no solution in Ramallah, there is no solution in any other city, and no Arab country can provide another solution. If the Jews and Israelis have a problem, they must solve it themselves. Trump and Nicki Haley are responsible for the devastation of the next 100 years. Let them solve your problems.”

    “So how do we find a solution? We wait a thousand years. The Israelis will be defeated and flee. What’s the hurry? Why are the Arabs hurrying? You remember what Hafez al-Assad told Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton at Geneva? They said: if you don’t do this and that, there won’t be a solution. He responded: we’ll wait another 100 years. And I’m also telling you, we’ll wait another 100 years. What’s the problem? There is no solution apart from taking all of Palestine and living in all of Palestine. From Metulla and Naqura until Eilat. The solution is waiting. No initiating any talks. The Palestinian leadership is wrong. Abbas is wrong to look for a solution. In France, in Italy, in Germany, in America. Why is he searching for a solution? Let the Israelis search for a solution.”

    The Israelis must search for a solution?

    “This is the Zionists’ problem, let them find a solution.”

    The Palestinians do not have problems?

    “No. I don’t have a problem. I am a fighter, I have patience, I hold steadfast to my occupied country. It is my honor to be here, it is my honor to be a prisoner, it is my honor to be a shaheed, respect to the people of Gaza for living under siege. Israelis should be ashamed of being Israeli. Abbas is old and I wish him health, but after he goes, I don’t think you’ll find a single Palestinian who will talk to you about solutions. Not Saeb Erekat, not Majd Farj, and not Jibril Rajoub. No one will dare say “I have a solution.” The solution is for the occupation to end.”

    You’re not giving your people any hope.


    “The people will wait.”

    You say the Jewish journey has ended. Does that mean there is no room here for any Jews?

    “This place isn’t convenient for you. You can go live in America. The Americans love the Jews. If the Zionist movement decides to move to America, the Palestinian leadership will travel to the airport in Lod and wave them goodbye. The Jews can return as tourists without visas. Why should they stay, fight, and die?”

    There are six million Jews here. That’s the reality.


    “Nations have moved throughout history. The Tatars, the Kurds. It happened. Zionism expelled six million Palestinians (referring to the current number of Palestinian refugees – M.R.). It happens. I think that the best place for Jews is America. What are you looking for in the backwards and Islamic Middle East?”

    Is living together impossible?

    “There is no possibility of that.”

    And if Israel ends the occupation?


    “Too late, too late.”

    In South Africa they found a solution.


    “You don’t have a de Klerk and we don’t have a Nelson Mandela.”

    And if we do find our own de Klerk and Mandela?

    “There is a one in a hundred chance. If Marwan Barghouti is freed and I sit with him in Ramallah and he tells me that there is a possibility, I’ll listen and believe it. If this doesn’t happen, I won’t believe anyone. Neither to the leadership in Ramallah nor the leadership in Gaza. I don’t want to hear them.”

    Abbas is more extreme than me

    Despite his criticisms of Abbas, is it possible that Laham is actually expressing what the Palestinian president wants to say but cannot? “Abbas is more extreme than me,” he says. That’s how Laham interprets Abbas’ comments directed at Trump (“May your house be destroyed”), his remarks about U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (“son of a dog”) or his most recent speech to the PLO Executive Committee, in which he called Zionism a European colonial project, and said the persecution of Jews in Europe was a result of their charging interest. “When Abbas says we were here before Abraham, this is exactly what he means,” says Laham.

    You have many Israeli friends. What do you say to them?

    “I lost three-fourths of them. Anyone who supports the occupation is not my friend. My friend is the person who opposes the occupation. Who fights for justice and for children, for humanity. Most of those who were my friends support the occupation. I see what they write, what they say. Anyone who justifies shooting dozens of bullets at a 12-year-old boy is no friend of mine, and I don’t want him as my friend, even if he is Arab or Muslim.”

    The Palestinian people are very political. You are effectively suggesting to give up on political thinking.

    “The Palestinians are a smart, educated people who have paid a high price in lives lost, in prisons. It is not a violent nation. Angry, but not violent. I am angry, but I am not violent. The occupation is violent and not angry. The Zionist is violent and not angry. When Salam Fayyad established the government in 2007, he asked Israel for a list of wanted Palestinians. They gave him a list of 480 people — 280 in the West Bank, 200 in Gaza. That means that 500 people were behind the Second Intifada. These are statistics provided by the Shin Bet. This is a tiny percentage of the Palestinian people. Less than a hundredth.”

    “That is why I say that the Palestinian people are angry — not violent. They are smart. They understand that there is no military solution, no political solution, no economic solution, and no historic solution. What kind of understanding can I bring to Itamar Ben-Gvir (a far-right activist and lawyer associated with the anti-Arab Kahanist movement – M.R.), or Uri Ariel? What kind of common thinking do we have about the meaning of life, the meaning of history, the meaning of religion and politics?”

    Not all Israelis are Itamar Ben-Gvir.

    “I don’t see them.”

    What responsibility do Palestinians have?

    “We have no responsibility. Is your family in Europe responsible for the rise of the Nazis?”

    The question is what responsibility the Palestinians have for managing their own affairs and politics.

    “I will make an effort in the media so that no Palestinian makes a proposal. Had we a direct Palestinian leadership, it would have apologized to the Palestinian people for Oslo and its fake peace and illusions, which caused us to lose 30 years of our lives. But I do not think that there is a Palestinian leader — in Fatah, Hamas, the left or in any party — that has the courage to apologize to the Palestinian people.”

    “The Palestinian leadership needs to apologize for peace with Israel, it must feel remorse, because the new generations are now growing up. Every year, 43,800 Palestinian students graduate from Palestinian universities. The government employs 1,200 of them. The rest are unemployed and sit on the streets. Seventy percent of Palestinians are under 45, but there is not a single person in the Palestinian leadership under the age of 45. This is a young, educated, and oppressed society.”

    Before I leave Laham’s office, I meet a member of that generation at the reception table. The young woman, her hair covered by a hijab, says she has never met a Jew in her life. She was born in Kuwait, came to the West Bank after the First Gulf War in 1991, and has never spoken spoke to a Jewish person who was not a soldier. Both of us are clearly a bit embarrassed by the situation. “You see what the wall does,” Laham says. “We don’t know each other. That’s the greatest disaster. You drive straight to Tel Aviv, I stay here.”

    https://972mag.com/israel-is-uninter...appear/136621/

    Relevant

    Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair


    Blurb

    This book claims that Palestine is fast disappearing and fulfilling the objectives of Israel's founding fathers. Over many decades, Israel has developed and refined policies to disperse, imprison and impoverish the Palestinian people, in a relentless effort to destroy them as a nation. It has industrialized Palestinian despair through ever more sophisticated systems of curfews, checkpoints, walls, permits and land grabs. Cook analyzes how Israel has transformed the West Bank and Gaza into laboratories for testing the infrastructure of confinement, creating a lucrative "defense" industry by pioneering the technologies needed for urban warfare, crowd control and collective punishment.

    Last edited by Junon; 6 Days Ago at 06:52 AM.

  9. #426
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Interesting, what game are the Gulf Sheiks playing?

    Saudi Religious Diplomacy Targets Jerusalem

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A United Arab Emirates-backed Saudi effort to wrest control from Jordan of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem signals a sharper, more overt edge to Saudi religious diplomacy. The kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.

    The Saudi effort to take control of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem serves, among other things, to support President Donald Trump’s plan for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a plan that has split the Muslim world even before it has officially been made public, and that has been clouded by Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    At the very least, Saudi Arabia hopes – at the risk of destabilizing Jordan, where Palestinians account for at least half the country’s almost ten million people – to drop its resistance to the Trump initiative.

    Riyadh’s and the UAE’s focus on Jerusalem has broad regional implications as they are battling Turkey for ownership of the Jerusalem issue. Both countries have tried to downplay the significance of two Islamic summits in Istanbul convened by Turkey to counter Trump’s moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    Turkey and the Gulf states are also at odds over the Saudi-UAE-led economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar and policy towards Iran.

    The power- and geopolitics-driven effort constitutes a marked shift in Saudi religious diplomacy, which, for much of the past four decades, involved a $100 billion public diplomacy campaign to globally promote Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism. More recently, Saudi Arabia has sought to project itself as a beacon of tolerance, interfaith dialogue, and an unidentified form of moderate Islam.

    Riyadh has not officially announced its quest to wrest control from Jordan of the Temple Mount, home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third most holy site after Mecca and Medina, but evidence is piling up against a backdrop of ever closer relations among Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain.

    Flexing the kingdom’s financial muscle, Saudi King Salman told an Arab summit in Dhahran in April that he was donating $150 million to support Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem. The donation counters a multitude of Turkish bequests to Islamic organizations in Jerusalem and efforts to acquire real estate.

    But unlike Saudi Arabia, Turkey can capitalize on the fact that it maintains diplomatic relations with Israel to organize Islamist tours to the city. Thousands of Turkish supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Democracy Party (AKP) visited the city in the past year. Turkish activists allegedly participated in last year’s protests on the Temple Mount.

    Striking a different chord from that of his powerful son, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who has been vocal in his support for Trump and his empathy with Israeli positions, King Salman denounced the “invalidity and illegality” of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem.

    Saudi Arabia, in opposition to the Jordanian endowment that administers the Temple Mount, last year backed Israel’s installation of metal detectors following an attack that killed two Israeli policemen.

    Some Jordanians saw the Saudi support as a precursor to a US-backed agreement with Israel that would give the Gulf states a foothold on the Temple Mount by allowing Saudi and UAE personnel to be posted at its entrances.

    According to Kamal Khatib, an Israeli Arab Islamist leader, as well as Arab media reports, the UAE – in competition with Turkey – is seeking to purchase real estate adjacent to the Temple Mount. Khatib asserted that the UAE is operating through an associate of Muhammad Dahlan, an Abu Dhabi-based former Palestinian security chief with presidential ambitions.

    Jordan and Saudi Arabia clashed in December during a gathering of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union when the kingdom attempted to challenge Jordan’s custodianship of holy places in Jerusalem.

    Saudi Arabia, together with the UAE and Kuwait, pledged US$2.5 billion to Jordan after mass anti-government protests rocked the country earlier this year in a bid to gain leverage and prevent it from turning to Turkey for help.

    Al-Monitor quoted Raed Daana, a former director of preaching and guidance at Al-Aqsa Mosque Directorate, as saying that Saudi Arabia had secretly invited Palestinian Muslim dignitaries in a bid to garner support for a Saudi power grab.

    Saudi officials are further believed to be pressuring Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to allow Saudi Islamic scholars to visit Palestine. In a rare outreach, Iyad Madani, a Saudi national and secretary-general of the Jeddah-based, 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), visited the Temple Mount in January.

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE have used Bahrain, a financially weak state whose ruling family was bolstered in 2011 by the intervention of a Saudi-led military force to counter a popular revolt, as a front for some of their overtures towards Israel.

    Bahrain, which recently granted entry to an Israeli delegation to participate in a UNESCO meeting, has been at the forefront of the Gulf states’ religious diplomacy and propagation of interfaith dialogue.

    Israel’s only official presence in the Gulf is its under-the-radar mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi, which is widely seen as the Jewish state’s embassy to the region.

    A prominent American rabbi, Marc Shneier, and evangelist Reverend Johnnie Moore, a member of Donald Trump’s faith advisory board, keynoted at a dinner in Washington in May hosted by the Bahrain Embassy. Reverend Moore led a delegation of Bahraini and expatriate civic and business leaders on a visit to Israel last December, days after Trump had recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

    The delegation’s Palestinian reception suggests that Saudi-UAE efforts to gain a geopolitics-driven religious foothold in Jerusalem may not be straightforward. Palestinian guards barred the delegation from entering the Temple Mount while protesters in Gaza blocked it from visiting the Strip.

    Said Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi in a comment about the visit that could have applied to the broader Saudi-UAE effort: “I don’t believe this whole lovey-dovey approach of ‘we’re here to show tolerance’. Then go home and show tolerance at home.”

    https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/temple-mount-saudi-arabia/

  10. #427
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update, oh yes this will work. . . . . . .

    Qatari Envoy Says Letting Gazans Work in Israel Would Calm Border

    For weeks Palestinians have been letting loose incendiary balloons and kites, setting fire to thousands of acres of farmland and forests in southern Israel


    A Qatari diplomat working behind the scenes to ease tensions at the Israel-Gaza border suggested that Palestinians would stop protests and sending incendiary kites across the border if Israel were to allow in 5,000 Gazans on work permits.

    Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi floated the idea during an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kane.

    Israeli and Hamas officials had no immediate comment on the Qatari proposal.

    For weeks Palestinians have been letting loose incendiary balloons and kites, setting fire to thousands of acres of farmland and forests in southern Israel.

    At least 136 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the Gazans sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.

    Gaza is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas. Israel, citing security concerns, restricts movement of goods and people across the border.

    Al-Emadi said that were Israel to let in workers from the Gaza Strip, where much of the population lives in poverty, the border protests and kite attacks would cease.

    "It could start for example with 5,000 people in Gaza who would work in Israel. That is good. That would stop the protests, the fires, the kites and the balloons," Al-Emadi said.

    Al-Emadi, who said he has mediated between sides when things get tense, added that there was no significant progress in efforts to secure the release of Israelis who are missing or being held prisoner in Gaza.

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/qatari-envoy-says-letting-gazans-work-in-israel-would-calm-border-1.6255056

  11. #428
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    There is only 2 ways to fix the problem in Israel and the rest of the world 1 kill all the Zionists (freedom wins) or 2 kill all the non Zionists (Satan wins). Peace can only exist when you kill all your enemies, otherwise troubles will just fester on forever. Peace talks are futile. There is a saying "whatever you can survive makes you stronger" so those that can endure the attacks from the Zionists will get stronger and one day crush their enemies. The Zionist problem is not just in Palestine or Israel it is everywhere.

  12. #429
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Irish Senate backs law banning trade with Israeli settlements

    Proposed law prohibits the import or sale of goods and services produced in occupied territories around the world


    The Irish Senate gave its support on Wednesday to legislation prohibiting the import or sale of goods and services produced in occupied territories around the world, including Israeli settlements considered illegal under international law.

    The proposed law, which passed 25 to 20 to make it an offence to trade in such goods and services, was introduced by independent senator Frances Black and drew support from all Ireland's major political parties except the governing Fine Gael party.

    Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat hailed it as a "historic" vote and a "courageous gesture", which "sends a clear message to the international community and in particular to the rest of the European Union - to speak of a two-state solution is not enough without concrete measures".

    It must now be considered by a parliamentary committee, before being eventually getting presented to MPs.

    The campaign organisation Avaaz hailed the "unprecedented" vote and said: "Irish citizens, trade unions and civil society like Senator Black are determined to take advantage of this momentum for sanctions to become law".

    Israel reacted angrily to the proposal calling it "populist, dangerous and extremist".

    Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who did not back the bill, warned it risked "fanning flames" in the Middle East.

    "I respect this house and its decision, but respectfully disagree," he said.

    Proponents of the measure argued that Israel is profiting from its illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and the stalled peace process shows no signs of yielding a resolution.

    "The status quo has failed... that is why we are seeking a change," said Senator Colette Kelleher, who co-signed the bill.

    "I'm asking you to lead Europe," she added, addressing her comments to Coveney.

    But those opposed to the move said it could draw Ireland into trade disputes over contested territories in places like China, Cyprus and Crimea.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/irish-senate-backs-law-banning-trade-israeli-settlements-1374832484

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Arab public overwhelmingly reject Trump's foreign policy, poll shows

    Palestine remains important issue for Saudis, but fear of giving honest answers in survey sparks unprecedented high attrition rate



    As the Trump administration prepares to unveil its much-vaunted plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it is likely to face an Arab public that is wary of US foreign policy in the region, specifically on the question of Palestine.

    In a survey unveiled in Washington DC, which interviewed more than 18,000 Arab citizens in 11 countries, most respondents said they held a negative view of US policy towards Palestine – 87 percent – up from 79 percent in 2016.

    The Arab Opinion Index, conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar, found that 81 percent of Arabs also perceived US foreign policy towards war-ravaged Syria negatively, as did 82 percent on Iraq.

    The Trump administration would benefit from really understanding the real concerns of the Palestinian people, which are not economic, as the Trump peace team might think

    -Tamara Kharroub, Arab Center Washington DC


    "Over the years, we said, 'It can't get any worse, it can't get any worse,' and it does get worse," said Shibley Telhami, a leading pollster and the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland.

    "It's quite stunning when you look at [the Arab publics'] views of American foreign policy, but also in terms of ranking US foreign policy in comparison with other countries. That is striking, that the US is lowest of all those countries," he said, referring to Iran, Russia, France, Turkey and China.

    The Index, which has been published yearly since 2011, has become a barometer of Arab public opinion from Lebanon to Mauritania on issues ranging from local economy to global foreign affairs.

    Deal of the century


    The poll showed that more than 75 percent of the Arab world population believes that the Palestinian cause is also an Arab one, while identifying Israel and the US as the top two threats to national security. Almost 90 percent of Arabs cited Israel as a source of instability in the region.

    Saudis reticent


    For the first time since 2011, pollsters had a difficult time gauging Saudi citizens on Palestine; a large number of Saudi respondents quit the survey when asked about the Palestinian cause. About 36 percent of Saudi Arabian survey participants said they did not know or declined to answer, in contrast with 5 percent in the rest of the countries polled.

    Saudi Arabia's repressive domestic political atmosphere coupled with the ascension of Mohammed bin Salman to position of crown prince as well the regional shift in Gulf-Israeli relations have affected the way Saudis engaged with the survey, pollsters said.

    Saudi commentators have recently used public platforms to normalise relations with Israel. In a column published by UK-based international Arabic newspaper Alsharq Alawsat in May, Saudi author Amal Abdul Aziz Al Hazzani, for instance, played down the impact of the US embassy move to Jerusalem and praised Trump as a man of his word.

    "We've seen the Trump administration's Middle East peace team shop around the deal of the century to Arab leaders," said Tamara Kharroub, assistant executive director and senior fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC.

    "What's remarkable about this deal is the profound lack of understanding of what the Palestinian people want; but not only that, it largely underestimates how the Arab people feel about Palestine."

    She added that Palestinians, who are the main players in any peace plan, are being ignored.

    For the first time since 2011, pollsters had a difficult time gauging Saudi citizens on Palestine; a large number of Saudi respondents quit the survey all-together when asked about the Palestinian cause

    "It's counterproductive," Kharroub said. "The Trump administration would benefit from really understanding the real concerns of the Palestinian people, which are not economic, as the Trump peace team might think."

    As Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain recently began to court Israel more overtly (united in their animosity towards Iran), the survey showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents (87 percent) disapproved of their home countries recognising Israel. Asked to elaborate on their reasons, many cited Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians and its colonial policies.

    Only eight percent said they would accept some kind of formal diplomatic recognition. Those who did made such recognition conditional upon the end of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the formation of an independent Palestinian state.

    According to Dana al-Kurd, a researcher at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, political – not religious – reasons were given when asked whether or not countries should recognise Israel.

    "Arab opposition to Israel is [often] painted in religious terms or it's claimed to be some sort of inherent anti-Semitism," al-Kurd said. "But our data shows that across self-identified religiosity levels, the majority of respondents oppose recognition of Israel. Religiosity or Islam versus Judaism are not the reasons behind this rejection."

    Al-Kurd said that pollsters used various survey methods, including what's known as 'list experiments' to illicit true feelings, and were able to ascertain that Saudis still supported Palestinians, despite reports to the contrary.

    "The Palestinian cause remains important to the Saudi sample, but that fear of responding truthfully explains the lack of response and high attrition rate," al-Kurd said.

    The issue of Palestine remains a central issue for Arabs, agreed Kharroub. Since polling started in the Arab world, the data has been showing that the Palestinian cause is "an issue of justice that the Arabs see or lack thereof in the US approach to the region," she said.

    "That's why it remains an important factor driving developments in the region, from recruitment by extremist groups to regional stability, Arab attitudes towards the United States and even US national security."

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/arabs-overwhelmingly-rejects-trumps-foreign-policy-poll-shows-1430487455

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Kuwait must get with Trump’s Middle East policy or face his wrath: Report

    Kuwait best get with the US program – or be prepared to face Trump’s wrath

    The New York Post has published a report by Jonathan Schanzer* & Varsha Koduvayur* about the relation between Kuwait and the United States under Donald Trump’s Administration, particularly after Kuwait’s recent position in the United Nations about the Israeli-Palestinian developments.

    The United Nations Security Council has recently failed to adopt two competing draft resolutions; one produced by Kuwait, in response to the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, and the other tabled by the United States, which vetoed the initial resolution saying it was “grossly one-sided” against Israel. Kuwait, a non-permanent council member that represents Arab countries, has blocked a US-drafted United Nations Security Council statement that strongly condemned an attack by Gaza fighters on Israel recently. Kuwait said it blocked the US-drafted statement to allow for consideration of a draft resolution it has put forward on the protection of Gazan civilians. Earlier, Kuwait blocked another US-proposed statement that criticised Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks about Jews and the Holocaust as “unacceptable.”

    “There’s a new hitch in President Trump’s plan to form a united front among Gulf states and Israel against Iran,” the report sys.

    Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations this month lambasted Israel, charging the Jewish state with “deploying a vast and well-developed arsenal of weaponry against an unarmed people.” A Kuwaiti cleric, just weeks later, denied the Holocaust and the existence of gas chambers, claiming the scale was impossible: “How many ovens would you need to burn 6 million human beings?”

    Of course, this is a notable exception to the pattern of Gulf Arab states lately increasing their outreach to Israel. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tacitly acknowledged Israel’s right to exist in April. The UAE and Bahrain sent national teams to compete in the first leg of a major cycling race this spring in Israel. In June, an Israeli delegation visited Bahrain, and in May, Bahrain’s foreign minister tweeted about Israel’s right to defend itself.

    Kuwait remains staunchly resistant to this trend. It’s the one “conservative Gulf Arab state” that still engages in the systematic condemnation of Israel. To put this in perspective, even Hamas-supporting Qatar maintains low-level ties with Israel.

    For Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, it all comes down to their shared concerns over Iranian adventurism and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. As Mohammed bin Salman said, Iran’s supreme leader “makes Hitler look good.” So they have sought out Israel, which has stood up to Iranian aggression — both by striking Iranian assets in Syria and even stealing nuclear secrets out of Iran.

    Kuwait, however, maintains neutrality with Iran. It doesn’t need Israel as a partner to challenge the regional aggression of the Islamic Republic, and it’s trying to keep it that way.

    Moreover, in Kuwait’s political system, being anti-Israel is just good politics. In October, Kuwait’s speaker of parliament Marzouq al-Ghanim lashed out at two Israeli Knesset members, calling them “occupiers and child murderers.” Amid applause, al-Ghanim yelled at the Israelis, “grab your bags and leave this hall.” As thanks, Palestinians named him “Personality of the Year 2018.”

    In May, Islamist MP Waleed al Tabatabai decried Israelis as “Zionist dogs” after the IDF struck Iranian targets in Syria. Tabatabai famously visited Syrian rebels in Idlib and was photographed wearing a rebel uniform while holding a gun. In early June, another MP thanked the Kuwaiti people, emir and government for their permanent, resolute response to the “Zionist occupation.”

    The popularity of Israel-bashing in Kuwait’s political system can also be explained by the prevalence of Salafis. Their political power is actually derived in part by their fierce opposition to Israel and blatant anti-Semitism. The monarchy co-opted Kuwait’s Islamists as a bulwark against its opposition following anti-government protests in 2011. The emir plays the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood off each other, while encouraging both to serve as counterweights to domestic opposition.

    Salafis’ influence may also explain Kuwait’s abysmal terror-finance record. Three individuals currently under US sanctions for funding al Qaeda are also faculty members at state-funded Kuwait University, earning public benefits. The Revival of Islamic Heritage Society — which the US Treasury designated as a terror group in 2008 for funding an al Qaeda network — still operates in Kuwait.

    Kuwait’s opposition to Israel has hardened since becoming a rotating member of the UN Security Council. Kuwait has stymied US efforts to censure Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for an anti-Semitic speech, and it has blocked US condemnation of Hamas attacks against Israel from Gaza. Reports suggest that Jared Kushner, feeling undermined by Kuwait’s efforts, held a “brief and stormy” meeting with the Kuwaiti envoy to Washington.

    Kuwait is clearly signaling its intent to dissent from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on normalization with Israel. But if Trump’s regional peace plan is released in the coming weeks or months, Kuwait may be caught in the crossfire.

    Defying the United States is quite different from maintaining independence in an internal Gulf Cooperation Council squabble. Nor is there likely room for nonalignment in Trump’s strategy to contain Iran.

    https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2018/07/13/41579/

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