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Dec. 16, 2014
Daily summary - Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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According to Al Quds sources, US Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the region at the beginning of next week, as part of his efforts to reach a framework agreement before next April. Israeli sources said yesterday that Kerry warned the Palestinians and Israelis that if they did not reach a framework agreement by the end of next March, the US would decrease its level of involvement in the peace process. Kerry apparently also said that if the two sides reached a framework agreement, the negotiations would be extended for another year on the basis of this agreement. (Al Quds)

President Abbas will meet today with Jordanian King Abdallah II in Amman to discuss the latest developments in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. According to Palestinian ambassador to Jordan Atallah Khayri, Abbas will brief the king on the last round of talks in order to coordinate joint positions between the two sides. (

According to Israel’s Channel 7 last night, the United States and namely, Secretary Kerry, is behind the European threats to boycott settlement products. The channel quoted Israeli sources saying that Kerry pressured major European trade companies to cut ties with Israeli companies in accordance with the guidelines for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The sources accused Kerry of warning them that if the talks with the Palestinians failed then European companies would take measures against these Israeli trade companies and target the Israeli economy, including boycotting settlement products as a first response. (Al Ayyam)

An Israeli official told the Hebrew-language daily Haaretz that Secretary Kerry called on the leaders of Jordan and Saudi Arabia to support a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “state for the Jewish people.” In its edition today, the newspaper quoted a senior source who said that Kerry was ‘hoping to hear a positive response from them” when he meets with Arab foreign ministers in Paris next week. The source said Kerry was planning to add this stipulation to the framework agreement, adding that he believed without this Palestinian recognition, it would be difficult to score any Israeli concessions regarding borders on  the basis of the ’67 border. He also said that Kerry had already pressured Jordan and Saudi Arabia to pressure Abbas into recognizing the Jewish state and to coerce him into agreeing. (هآرتس-كيري-طلب-دعمًا-عربيًا-للاعتراف-بيهودية-الدولة.html)

The residents of Qusra, Jaloud and Qaryout, near Nablus scored a unique experience yesterday when their popular movement was able to face off with attacking settlers, surround them and hold 18 of them for hours inside a building under construction, before handing them over to Israeli authorities via the Palestinian liaison office. According to eyewitnesses, the settlers arrived from the outpost of Yesh Kodish and attacked the residents after the army had evacuated a building in the outpost. The residents faced off with them after they holed up in an empty building. the residents gathered around until Israeli rights activists mediated so that confrontations did not take place between them. According to settlement official Ghassan Daghlas, many of the settlers were wounded after being pelted with rocks by the residents, who prevented the settlers from cutting down their olive trees.
Violent confrontations did take place between the settlers and Palestinians when the settlers tried to ruin their olive trees, with injuries on both sides. The people also refused to hand over the settlers to the Israeli army and insisted that they would only hand them over to the Palestinian liaison office. (Al Ayyam)
In related news, 15 people were injured in confrontations with Israeli troops in the Arroub camp near Bethlehem (Al Quds)

Israeli minister of economy Neftali Benet said his party, “The Jewish Home” which is close to the settler movement, would pull out of Netanyahu’s coalition government if Israel accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state. He said that they “would not remain in a government that threatens the future of our children and divides our capital, Jerusalem.” He said they did not want any more ‘games’, adding that talking about the ’67 borders meant dividing Jerusalem and relinquishing the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount. “History will recall the person who gave up Jerusalem,” he said, referring to Netanyahu. He said a Palestinian state would ‘drown Israel with refugees and pose a demographic threat to Israel.” He repeated his stance objecting any withdrawal from or exchange of land, including Lieberman’s plan, saying a Palestinian along Road 60 would mean that Road 4 would be pounded with rockets. (Al Ayyam)

Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeineh condemned yesterday Israel’s decision to build 272 new housing units in West Bank settlements along with Netanyahu’s statements objecting the evacuation of settlement outposts such as in Hebron and Bet El. “The more Kerry puts efforts towards peace, the more Israel destroys them with its decisions and continued settlements,” he said. (Al Ayyam)

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said yesterday that the Palestinian cause has been a hot issue for a long time and that if it remained unresolved, this would prevent achieving peace in the entire Middle East. Yi said that China’s ‘four point vision” for pushing peace forward had been widely accepted by the Palestinians, Israelis and the international community, adding that as a permanent member of the Security Council, China has always tried to solve the conflict. He stressed that the two state solution and peaceful coexistence between the two peoples was the right direction to take. Yi said both sides should ‘mutually recognize each other’s rights” but also said China fully supported the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders. (Al Quds)

The general union of workers in Palestine held a huge march yesterday in solidarity with UNRWA employees who have been on strike since last month. The march denounced UNRWA policies and called on the international community to break the obstinacy of the commissioner general, who still refuses to respond to the strikes and their demands. Head of the union, Shaher Saad said the Palestinians had to resist all attempts to liquidate the cause through the refugees, who have been suffering from UNRWA cutbacks in services. He also said that the union received telegrams from unions in 161 countries, covering 187 million workers, who showed their solidarity with the workers and called on UNRWA to immediately respond to their demands. (Al Quds)

Several Palestinian and foreign activists along with families were able to enter their land east of Bethlehem and plow and plant it yesterday. Foreign activists held a volunteer day to help the people in the area whose land is being threatened with confiscation for the sake of the nearby settlement, planting them with olive tree saplings. Settlers from Zanbar settlement tried to prevent the group from entering the land, but were unable to stop them. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)

Israeli occupation troops arrested three Palestinian residents of Ezzariyeh last night. According to Hani Halabiyeh, spokesperson for the popular resistance committees, Israeli troops arrested the three after setting up an ambush during confrontations between Ezarriyeh and Jerusalem. The three were identified as: Mohammed Abu Ziad, 22, Saeed Abu Rumi, 18 and Mohammed Khalaf, 15. Halabiyeh said the Israeli troops severely beat the three during their arrest, causing them various injuries. (

Minister of tourism and antiquities, Rula Ma’ayah revealed to Maan yesterday some of the tourist and economic demands put forth by the PA as part of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan. These include a Palestinian airport and investments in Area c. Ma’ayah said the demand to build an airport within the borders of the state of Palestine was being discussed so that they could take advantage of tourist activity. She also said the airport would become a major source for the economy of the future state. Ma’ayah said the PA also called on Kerry’s plan to allow Palestinians to invest in tourism and economy in Area C and allow Palestinian investments in the Dead Sea areas, in addition to protecting Palestinian heritage in Area C.
Ma’ayah also said that an agreement with the Jordanian government was on the horizon. She said the agreement entailed encouraging tourists who enter Jordan to also visit Palestine through holding workshops for travel agents and offices in both countries, saying this would help to revive tourism and tourist sites. (

According to a report published in the Israeli daily Maariv yesterday, Mohammed Dahlan, who was dismissed from Fatah recently, has formed an armed force in West Bank refugee camps. These forces are said to have clashed with security forces loyal to President Abbas during the security campaign carried out by Palestinian special forces 101 in Balata, near Nablus. According to the report, Dahlan’s force is comprised of 25 armed men and who attacked the national security forces 101 when the latter tried to raid Balata. According to the sources, the men working for Dahlan receive $600 a month to buy weapons but are not involved in politics. (

Israeli coalition chairman, Yariv Levin is planning to put forth draft laws in favor of Arab Christians in isolation of Muslims inside the Green Line. According to the Israeli daily Maariv today, Levin said these laws would grant separate representation and dealings with the Christians inside [Israel]. The move aims to link them more intrinsically to Israel than Arab Muslims, with Levin saying that Christians are not considered Arabs inside Israel. One law Levin is trying to pass would allow Christians to register themselves as only “Christian” in their ID cards instead of ‘Arab Christian”. They would also be granted more privileges including the possibility of becoming members of the board of government companies and enjoying separate representation in local councils with equal job opportunities as Jews. (مشاريع-قوانين-إسرائيلية-لفصل-مسيحيي-الداخل-عن-المسلمين.html)
*The President receives a phone call from Ashton; he calls Pope Toadros (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Y’alan: we are negotiating to reach negotiations (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Calls to re-form popular watch committees to confront settlers (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Al Ahmad: reconciliation requires implementation of what was signed (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Jalbou’a prisoners donate to Yarmuk camp (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Qaraqe’ denies news of Marwan Barghouti’s isolation (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Hamdallah: we are looking to open more global markets to Palestinian products (Al Quds)
*Jerusalemite Prisoner Da’ana halts hunger strike (Al Quds)
*30 Palestinians killed in Syria in a week (Al Quds)
*Israeli draft law to prevent negotiations on Jerusalem and refugees (Al Ayyam)
*Shapiro: Kerry wants to put forth proposal for framework agreement within weeks (Al Ayyam)
*Doctors’ union begins protest steps against ministry procedures (Al Ayyam)
Front Page Photos
Al- Quds:1) Nablus : settlers held by citizens after they attacked lands in Qusra, Jaloud and Qaryout
Al-Ayyam:Nablus: settlers held by citizens inside a building after they attacked lands in Qusra, Jaloud and Qaryout; 2) Child Isra’ outside her tent in Ras Ouja in central Jordan Valley
Al Hayat Al Jadida:settlers held by citizens inside a building after they attacked lands in Qusra
Voice of Palestine News
Gaza: it is decided that the Egyptian authorities will re-open Rafah crossing today morning for two days, in an exceptional move and only for humanitarian cases. The crossing will be open from 9-3 today. As for Karm Abu Salem (Kerim Shalom) crossing, it was re-opened today and a strawberry truck crossed the crossing for import to Europe. It is also anticipated that 250 truck carrying industrial materials and aid enter the Gaza Strip, and that limited amounts of Fuel will be pumped into Gaza today. Still the fuel crisis increases each day, this is being reflected on students who wait a lot for transportation to their universities. Also, the interior ministry of the deposed Government in Gaza is supposed to be releasing today at 12:00 7 prisoners of Fateh.
Jerusalem: arrest campaigns continue from the beginning of this year, the latest was yesterday by arresting Jawad Siam, Director of Wadi Helwa information center, he was called for an investigation yesterday and was arrested and will be presented to court today, Siam is being accused of planning to burn settlers’ cars in Silwan. Some children were arrested in Silwan during the previous days, in addition citizen Khaled Al-Zier was arrested yesterday and his brothers and father were attacked, Al-Zier’s house was demolishes in Silwan. Yesterday also, a checkpoint was set in Abu Dies and resulted in arresting to young Palestinians and a child; the three were transferred outside the wall and were beaten by Israeli soldiers. Arrest were also implemented in Al-Aqsa, were young Palestinians were arrested after confronting settlers in the mosque. In addition a couple of days ago, 7 released prisoners were arrested again.
We monitored during this year an escalation of the Jerusalem municipality in its demolition policy.
Voice of Palestine Interviews
** Bashar Al-Qarioty, popular committee to resist the wall and settlements, on the incident of attacking settlers who infiltrated Palestinian land.
Q: First of all can you tell us more about the incident?
We detained a number of settlers yesterday as an answer to their repeated attacks on our villages, this gang that attacks our villages, attacked our olive trees yesterday by uprooting a number of trees in Jalloud and attacked farmers in their lands, and then went to Qariot villages where they were chased by Palestinian youth and detained in a house under construction, and where taught a lesson after their repeated attacks. It is an organized gang supported by the Israeli occupation. What we did yesterday is only an answer to what they always do under the occupation protection. What happened yesterday is an evidence of our steadfastness in the Nablus area; they will not forget this lesson, for their attacks against us. We are all united against these attacks.
Q: Can we say this is a new approach of the popular resistance?
Yes it is, we are protecting these villages, there are organized protection committees from these villages, and we monitored all the settlers’ moves, day and night, in order to arrest them during their attacks. This is a new approach to show them that we are not going to stay silent during these attacks, and we will answer. This is a message to all area attacked by settlers to answer these attacks.
** Report on Kerry’s efforts:
** Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member.
Kerry wants to reach a document including a framework agreement, and he will be back next week to discuss this document with the two parties, trying to reach an American understanding that the two sides will agree to. He insist on succeeding, but we insist that there are some basis that we cannot ignore, and we cannot accept breaking these basis, especially with regards to Palestinian sovereignty over the state of Palestine, Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and the refugees’ right to choose what they want to do.
** Dr. Reyad Al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Secretary of State Kerry wants to keep the communication tunnel with the Arab side, and update them on the latest developments of the political process, and at the same time, he wants to gains Arab support for his efforts.
We will meet Arab Minsters before there meeting with Kerry to update them on the current situation, and the Palestinian position and What Kerry is suggesting, in order to create one united Arab Palestinian front when Kerry present his ideas. The Arab position fully supports the Palestinian position.
** Attallah Khary: Palestinian Ambassador to Amman.
Jordan will be part of the third party that will be present in Palestine when reaching an agreement, and on the Jordanian Palestinian borders.
Palestinian Jordanian relations were always distinguished; whenever the President meets the King is usually for coordination and not for updating the Jordanian side. I think these are very important meeting.
Q: there will be Jordanian presence and Jordan then will be part of the agreement?
This is suggested and was proposed for our Jordanian brothers in previous meeting with the king, but we need a progress in the negotiations first, until now I think that there is no progress, there some ideas presented by Kerry who is making huge efforts to sustain the negotiations.
Q: through your connections with eth Jordanian leadership, what is it that Kerry proposing for the Jordanian leadership?
I think that Kerry summarized the content of his meetings with to reach an American document, but I think that there no real hope as long as there is an Israeli obstinacy in continuing with their practice including settlements.
** Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member, on demanding Israeli and American clear recognition of east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, and demanding negotiations to be on the whole city of Jerusalem, since Palestinians has property in west Jerusalem.
There are major issues being dealt with in a lessen matter, issues related to refugees, Jerusalem, Netanyahu insists in Jerusalem as united Israeli capital, we want a clear American and Israeli position that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, we don’t want them to say that there are aspirations of Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital, it’s not about aspirations, it’s about our rights. And it’s not about east Jerusalemonly, there should be a discussion on Jerusalem as a whole, west and east, we still have property in west Jerusalem. These issues should be subjected to Israeli priorities based on control.
More Headlines
Martyr from Al Quds Brigades; one injured in Israeli artillery shelling east of Gaza
One citizen was killed and another wounded this morning in the Shujayeh neighborhood east of Gaza from Israeli artillery fire. According to medical sources, Mohammed Al Ijleh, 32, was brought in dead to the Shifa hospital.  The Islamic Jihad’s Al Quds Brigades confirmed that Ijleh was one of its members. Also, a nine year old boy was wounded by an Israeli bullet in the same area and is currently in critical condition. (
30 Palestinians die in Syria in a week
The working group for Palestinians in Syria said yesterday that 30 Palestinian refugees had died in Syria in the past week. In a press statement, the group said more than one-third of this number died of hunger due to the 177-day siege on the Yarmouk camp, which has prevented any food, bread or baby formula from entering.  Women who tried to leave the camp were beaten by Syrian forces and men were arrested and their personal documents burned. (Al Quds)
Jalbou’ prisoners donate to the Yarmouk camp
The Prisoners’ Club said a group of prisoners from the Jalbou’ camp decided to join the relief campaign for Palestinians in Yarmouk Camp in Syria by donating NIS500 from their stipends.  Prisoner Muayyad Jaradat said the prisoners’ decision was their reaffirmation that the prisoner movement was an integral part of the people and is pained by what is happening in the Yarmouk Camp. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
Qaraqe’ denies news that Marwan Barghouti is in isolation
Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe’ denied news reports that circulated yesterday saying that Israeli occupation authorities had placed Marwan Barghouti in isolation. Qaraqe’ added that a ministry lawyer had visited Barghouti in the Negev prison, confirming that the reports were false (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
Jerusalemite prisoner Da’ana halts hunger strike
Jerusalemite prisoner Fahmi Da’ana, 35, ended his hunger strike last night after 34 days without food. According to Jerusalem prisoner affair officials Majed Abu Asab and Nasser Qous, Da’ana ended his strike after prison services responded to his demands for obtaining proper medical attention after suffering from multiple illnesses of the digestive system. Da’ana was transferred to the Ramleh Clinic Prison 10 days after he went on hunger strike. (Al Quds)
Arab Press
Who accepts Netanyahu’s conditions?
Al-Khaleej Editorial
Secretary of State John Kerry finished his tenth tour between Ramallah and Jerusalem a bit different this time. He was less optimistic from previous rounds, he mentioned "difficulties", we noted that when he returned to Jerusalem after a quick visit to Saudi Arabia and Amman, he did not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who defined his Government’s positions after his meeting with Kerry, revealing the truth of his intentions, and what he wants from any settlement with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu was clear, revealing his entire negotiations card. He wants recognition of a Jewish State, settlement in all the "land of Israel", waiving the right of return and any claims on the territory of the Jewish State, in addition to the security of Israel which reached the Jordan Valley.
Netanyahu had certainly informed Kerry of theseconditions and others, since he did not find any justification for keeping them confidential, and he wants the Palestinian negotiator to be aware of these conditions, he also want Arab Ministers, who will be meeting Kerry next Sunday in Paris to be updated of the negotiations, to be aware of these conditions.
Netanyahu says that if these conditions are fulfilled can peace and an end to the conflict can be reached, in other words,Israeli Prime Minister wants to inform everyone not to fall into the fantasies of any settlement that does not satisfy fulfill conditions, and that if anyone wants negotiations for negotiations then let it be,since Israel will act to achieve its goals.
So, it’s either the “Israeli peace”, or no peace. This is what Israel has to propose publicly, what the others have?
Netanyahu knows that Palestinians and Arabs have no other alternatives... he also knows that the United States will not exert any pressure on him, but on the other side.
The question is: will Arabs and Palestinians acceptKerry’s pressuresand the conditions of Israel, US Secretary of State to reach his promised settlement, andthe impossible becomes possible?  (

Judaization of Jerusalem continues
Al-Quds Editorial
There was some ambiguity in US Foreign Minister statements regarding issues discussed and debated in the Israeli-Palestinian talks under US sponsorship. However, the issue of Jerusalem and Palestinian, Arab and Muslim rights in the city are the most obscure in his statements, in light of Israel's policy of Judaizing the Holy City: where settlement swallows more and more of the remaining Palestinian territories in Jerusalem, without clarifying this issue by the American sponsor, and the international community at large.
The Israeli Government regularly and routinely Announces plans for settlement expansion in the occupied territories, focusing particularly on Jerusalem, as if in a race against time to Judaize the city and tighten settlement of ring around. With the continuation of negotiations that do not seem to provide adequate pressure, and even insufficient to deter the Israeli Government from continuing the process of Judaization, or at least freeze the process until a final agreement is reached putting an end to settlement, eliminatethis phenomenon and uproot it.
The question that arises is: is the United States-with all its power and influence and impact – is unable to really stop settlement and freeze it? And does the Israel lobby in the United States is so powerful and dominates American political decisions in the Middle East.
These might be naive questions, but raising them at a time when Washington is sponsoring what is described as the peace process, that it is supposed to be doing impartially makes us raise these questions, because reaching an agreement - if reached while it is doubtful by all sides - would guarantee implementation. And previous experiences with Israel at implementation, or rather lack of implementation, of the agreements of the Oslo Declaration, which the United States guaranteed and signed its guarantee at the White House in 1993, proved that even an American assurance was not enough for Israel to fulfil its obligations under the agreement. The same can be said regarding Wye River agreement and the Declaration of Annapolis.
The best evidence the Judaization process of Jerusalem systematic and sustained, despite negotiations and despite the US Secretary of State statements, are the reports issued Monday on stepping up the regional Committee for management and construction in the Jerusalem municipality in accelerating more than 2,300 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement north of Jerusalem, built on land confiscated from Beit Hanina and Shuafat. These reports indicate that the bidding to build the housing units will be put forward before the 2oth of January.
There is a plan to tighten settlement around the Holy City from the North and link Ramat Shlomo settlement with Ramot built on territories of Beit Hanina and Beit Iksa. And linking these settlements with the settlement of Ramat Eshkol, the ring will be completed around Jerusalem from the north; there will be no room for Palestinian urban expansion around Jerusalem. We did not forget that expansion towards the east and south has its own plansthat will totally stop Palestinian expansion.
Can negotiations halt settlement expansion and stop the Judaization of Jerusalem? That is the question before the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, and most importantly before the American sponsor who seems upbeat in advance of the outcome of the negotiations,without specifying what it reached, or when the negotiations’ unknown details will berevealed.(Al-Quds)

ARAB AND OTHER PRESS______________________________________

Israel’s education system peddles intolerance and lies

By Jonathan Cook

John Kerry spent last week testing the waters with the Israelis and the Palestinians over his so-called framework agreement – designed to close the gaps between the two sides. But the issues he is trying to resolve appear more intractable by the day.

As he headed to the region, Israel’s hawkish cabinet ministers gave their blessing to legislation to annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the West Bank that might otherwise be the Palestinian state’s economic backbone and its sole door to the outside world. On Sunday, as Mr. Kerry left, the defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, argued that peace was impossible as long as the Palestinians and their schoolbooks “incited” against Israel, even quoting from a government-compiled “Palestinian incitement index”.

The hyperbole overshadowed two Israeli surveys that might one day provide a yardstick by which to judge an equivalent “Israeli incitement index”.

An opinion poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of Israeli Jews believe the conflict’s Palestinian narrative – including the nakba, the great dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948 to create Israel – should be taught in schools.

This flies in the face of Mr. Netanyahu’s own view. His government passed a law in 2011 banning public institutions from giving a platform to such commemorations.

The other study demonstrated that when Jewish students are exposed to spoken Arabic at an early age, between 10 and 12, they hold far less hostile and stereotypical views of Arabs. Currently, many Jewish students never learn Arabic.

With the experimental program employing teachers from Israel’s large Palestinian minority, the study noted that for most of the Jewish children it was the first time they had developed a close relationship with an Arab.

The education ministry, however, was reported to have waved aside the findings and is apparently failing to fund the existing, small program, let alone expand it.

This is no oversight. Successive Israeli governments have carefully engineered the structure of Israeli society to ensure that Jewish and Palestinian citizens are kept in separate linguistic, cultural, educational and emotional worlds.

The reasoning is not hard to discern. The last thing Israeli leaders want is for Jewish and Palestinian citizens to develop shared interests, forge friendships and act in solidarity. That would start to erode the rationale for a Jewish state, especially one premised on the supposed need of the Jews to defend themselves from a hostile world – Israel’s self-image as “the villa in the jungle”.

In short, a Jewish state’s future precisely depends on the anti-Arab stereotypes inculcated in young Israeli minds.

It may not therefore be coincidental that, as Israel has faced increasing pressure over the past 20 years to make peace, the separation of Jews from Palestinians has entrenched.

Today, most Israeli Jews rarely meet a Palestinian, and especially not one from the West Bank or Gaza. It is easy to forget that before the 1993 Oslo accords, many Israeli Jews regularly ventured into Palestinian areas, to shop, eat and fix their cars. Palestinians, meanwhile, were evident in Israeli communities, even if only as builders or waiters. It may have been a very unequal, even colonial, encounter but it made it hard for Israelis to demonize their neighbors.

Such contacts are now a distant memory. And that is precisely how leaders like Mr. Netanyahu want to keep it. Inside Israel, the direction of policy is the same. In recent weeks, the government has insisted on raising the electoral threshold in a barely concealed effort to rid the parliament of Arab parties. Legislation is also being revived to tax into oblivion human rights organizations, those that give a voice to Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.

At the weekend, Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, argued that a peace agreement must include disappearing hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens by transferring their homes to a future, but very circumscribed Palestinian state.

Palestinian legislator Ahmed Tibi’s complaint that Palestinian citizens were viewed by Israel’s leaders as nothing more than “chess pieces” goes to the heart of the matter. It is easy to dehumanize those you know and care little about.

Israel’s separation policy – and its security justifications – requires not only that Jews and Palestinians be kept apart, but that Palestinians be confined to a series of ghettos, whether in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza or Israel.

These divisions are the cause of endless suffering. A recent study of Gaza, the most isolated of these ghettos, found that a third of Palestinians there were physically separated from a close relative. Israeli-imposed restrictions force Palestinians to forgo marriages, learn of relatives’ deaths from afar, miss college courses, and lose the chance for medical treatment.

The prioritizing of Israelis’ security over Palestinians’ freedom was a central weakness of the Oslo process, and the same skewed agenda pollutes the current peace talks.

In a commentary for the Haaretz newspaper last week, Gadi Shamni, a leading general, set out at length the many military reasons – quite apart from political ones – why Israel could never risk allowing the Palestinians a viable state. On the army’s best assessments, he argued, Israel would need to control such a state’s borders and much of its territory, including the Jordan Valley, for a period ranging “from 40 years to forever”.

The reality is that no arrangement on earth can guarantee protection for those in the villa from the beasts lurking outside. Either it is time to abandon the villa, or to start seeing the jungle as a forest to be explored.(

Lieberman’s racist ‘population exchange’

By Hasan Abu Nimah

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has reiterated his plan to transfer some 300,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel living in several towns in the north to the Palestinian Authority.

This would be part of an “exchange of population and territory” whereby Israel would annex the Jewish colonies it has built illegally in the occupied West Bank since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

While Lieberman presents this as an “exchange”, it is an odious idea, rightly rejected first and foremost by Palestinians in Israel themselves. Far from “resolving” the conflict, it is a continuation of the Nakbeh — Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that begin in 1948 and has not stopped since.

Lieberman’s goal, which has been supported by supposedly more “moderate” Israeli politicians such as Tzipi Livni, is to reduce the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel, and thus strengthen the “Jewish majority”.

But stripping people of citizenship and transferring them to other states without their consent — a common practice in the 19th Century — is illegal and racist in the 21st Century.

The 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel did not become Israelis by choice. They are the descendants of the Palestinians who remained behind in what is now Israel — which was founded on their land in 1948.

They are still treated as second-class citizens and face much legal and institutionalized discrimination; the rights they have are the result of their own unrelenting struggle for recognition and equality.

So it does not follow that they would welcome being stripped of their citizenship any more than African Americans living in the United States wanted to give up their citizenship even when they faced official segregation.

After 66 years of being Israeli citizens, these Palestinians alone, and individually, must decide if they want to change their status. No one else has the right to dictate to them.

Yet this proposal is hardly surprising, coming from the foreign minister of a state created through ethnic cleansing on purely religious grounds.

Lieberman’s proposal also illustrates what it would mean if Palestinians or anyone else would foolishly accept Israel’s demand to be recognized as having the “right to be a Jewish state”.

This means in practice that in the name of maintaining itself as a “Jewish state”, Israel would be able to abuse the rights of non-Jews, especially the Palestinians, who are the original owners of the land, to the extent of stripping them of citizenship.

No one should be fooled that Palestinian citizens of Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority would be gaining citizenship in a Palestinian state.

As should be clear, except to the most misguided and naive, Israel has no intention of ever allowing a Palestinian state that has any meaningful sovereignty.

Thus, Lieberman’s proposal is simply a ploy to force hundreds of thousands more Palestinians into stateless limbo, endless occupation and perhaps eventual expulsion as “foreigners”.

While every racist proposal seems to be on the table in Israel, the idea that almost every Israeli leader rules out is the possibility of granting everyone equal rights. Israel, therefore, has chosen the path of apartheid pure and simple.

The world should respond accordingly.

Even were Lieberman’s idea not odious on its face, the notion that there is a fair “exchange” going on is also absurd.

All the land that is to be “exchanged” is Palestinian. The towns in Israel that Lieberman wants to “give up” are Palestinian and the land Israel would take in the West Bank is stolen Palestinian land.

So Israel would gain in both directions: it would get rid of Palestinian citizens, and legitimize the status of half-a-million Jewish settlers — one of them Lieberman himself — living on land seized from other Palestinians.

While Lieberman’s proposal is unlikely to be implemented, it is worrying to hear some people who should know better considering it as if it were a serious idea.

It must be emphasized here that even if the Palestinians would hypothetically agree to this exchange, the road to the envisaged settlement would remain blocked.

As long as maintaining its “Jewish status” is its priority, Israel will never be satisfied until it has got rid of all the Palestinians. Any concession made to this racism now will only be a prelude to more demands later.

Yet the Palestinian Authority continues to talk about “final status issues”, which the Israelis have put behind them with tacit American approval years ago.

Palestinians talk about the right of return while Lieberman declares loudly that “not one single Palestinian would be returning”.

Palestinians protest the continued settlement building while the Israelis build more and prepare for the annexation of the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians talk about Jerusalem as the capital of their future state while Israel insists that Jerusalem is its “eternal indivisible capital”.

That is the kind of “negotiation” currently taking place under the stewardship of the Obama administration.

What possible positive outcome could it produce?(

Hamas, Egypt ties hit new low

By Adnan Abu Amer

Relations between Hamas and Egypt have reached unprecedented levels of tension since the movement was founded more than 26 years ago. Even during the blockade imposed under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the enmity and media escalation had not reached such levels.

Hamas has been on the receiving end of continued accusations by Egyptian media personalities, which it regards as part of the aggression being directed at any entity that has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim’s declaration last week, however, constitutes a leap in finger-pointing at Hamas, accusing the Palestinian group of carrying out armed operations on Egyptian territory and training members of the Muslim Brotherhood to use weapons and manufacture explosives.

“Hamas provided logistical support to those who blew up the Dakahlia Security Directorate at the end of last December. It is also hosting members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, training them to use weapons and rockets with the help of the Salafist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis [organization],” the Egyptian minister added.

Accusations from Egypt did not stop there. Another Egyptian official told Al-Monitor in a phone conversation, “Labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization has left Hamas two choices: split from [the Brotherhood] or join it in its classification as a terrorist group, since it organizationally belongs to it.”

“This choice has dangerous implications, however, for the Palestinian people, despite what is seen as Hamas' overstepping in Egypt. There are risks associated with the movement being listed as a terrorist organization both domestically and abroad. It is a fatal blow to the issue of Palestinian reconciliation, which has been mediated by Egypt in recent years. It is a dangerous decision that will shuffle the cards and increase the severity of [existing] divisions and tension in the Palestinian territories, which currently suffer from a state of instability,” the Egyptian official added.

Yasser Othman, the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, stated that Egypt wishes to return the Gaza Strip to its former state when it provided strategic guarantees for national security, without clarifying.

The Israeli website Tik Debka, known for its connections to the security establishment, revealed that the Egyptian authorities had clandestinely nullified 13,000 passports and visas for Palestinians in Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula and Egypt that belonged to Hamas. This came as part of a planned campaign against the movement, but Egyptian authorities have not yet made these actions public. Most of those whose passports and visas were canceled remain unaware of their nullification.

Egyptian media figure Ahmed Mansour, the producer and program anchor with the Qatari Al Jazeera network, spoke of Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan’s role in working with the Egyptian Interior Ministry to bring down Hamas to reassume power in Gaza. This is all as Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted President Mohammed Morsi, promised him at the beginning of last July.

Hamas afraid

A senior Hamas official denied to Al-Monitor the latest accusations from Egypt, asking Cairo to cease what it referred to as “offenses.” The movement regards these accusations as dangerous indications that serve to delude the Egyptian people and distract them from the truth and scale of the crisis being endured by the ruling regime. It also claims Egypt is trying to place the blame for an internal crisis on external forces.

“Hamas is shocked that such lofty and dangerous accusations are coming from Egyptian officials, without any proof or evidence. They intend to break the brotherly relations that bring the two peoples together and allow the enemies of the Palestinian people, particularly Israel, to use these claims against them,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“Hamas has not trained or helped anyone from the Muslim Brotherhood,” the source explained, asking: “How can whoeverreceived training in Gaza transport this to Egypt in light of the tunnels that have been destroyed?” He said, “The names that have been declared on more than one occasion to allegedly be members of Hamas have been fabricated, since the Palestinian civil registry disclaims them.”

Salah al-Bardawil, a prominent Hamas official, called on Egypt to stop what he called a "campaign to defame and incite against Palestinians” during a news conference attended by Al-Monitor in Gaza. He asserted the movement’s interest in the stability of Egypt and to avoid intervening in its internal affairs. He rejected such accusations, reminding journalists of those made by former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adly who implicated Hamas in the bombing of the al-Qidissin Church in January 2011. The Egyptian judiciary found these claims to be false.

Another Hamas official in Beirut, in a phone interview with Al-Monitor, characterized the accusations as lacking credibility. The official said they were aimed at drumming up hype about what he described as a “fictitious foreign enemy” in an attempt to show that there is a foreign conspiracy in Egypt.

“Hamas recognizes Egypt, its people and the weight of its role in the region. The movement is keen on its stability and security as a nation that borders Palestine. Hamas is fighting the Israeli occupation, but not any Arab entities,” the source said.

The Beirut official emphasized that it was not in the interest of Hamas today, just as it was not yesterday, to enter into a conflict with the ruling authorities in Egypt since its sole conflict is with the Israeli occupation. In other words, any other conflict would merely distract the movement from its fundamental conflict and divert the trajectory of Hamas weapons, as the source put it.

The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, however, hit back at the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, accusing him of interfering in Palestinian affairs. Zuhri said that Othman was holding ongoing meetings with security apparatuses in the West Bank, hearing fabricated stories from them against Hamas and passing those details to the Foreign Ministry in Cairo as if they were true reports.

The spiraling tension has dampened hopes of a thaw in relations. One Hamas official told Al-Monitor: “Egypt’s official discourse is close to painting the Hamas movement as a full-fledged state that is manipulating Egyptian politics and claiming everything that is happening on Egyptian territory is caused by Gaza.”(
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