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Dec. 16, 2014
Daily summary- Monday, January 13, 2014
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Mediation to enter relief to Al-Yarmouk failed
President of the Palestinian National Council Salim Zaanoun, called to lift the siege imposed on our people - refugees in the Yarmouk camp, and enter relief materials immediately to save them, considering the siege on Palestinians and starving them in the camp a stain on humanity.Zaanoun rejected in a statement to the press yesterday, all pretexts invoked by some to continue this unjust siege, saying that there is no moral justification, humane or legal justification for starving the Palestinian population in the camp, calling all militants to leave the camp, emphasizing the Palestinian position on the events in Syria and neutralizing the camps from the conflict there. Zaanoun stressed on the importance of success of the PLO delegation Mission, calling on all to cooperate to liberate our people from suffering and famine.All mediations efforts and contacts made by the Palestine Liberation Organization, with formal and informal contacts in Syria, failed to save the thousands of Palestinian refugees inside the camp. Official of the Palestinian Democratic Union "FIDA" Khalid Abu Al-Hija said that the efforts to end the siege imposed on Al-Yarmouk camp besieged since 6 months did not yield anything new yet.(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)

Dozens of security forces injured in clashes with youths blocked the entrances to Ramallah in protest against the UNRWA
Ramallah district Police Chief Omar al-Bzour was injured, in addition to about 60 Palestinians, mostly policemen, were wounded after clashes erupted yesterday morning between protesters and security forces intervened to open roads blocked by the demonstrators to protest the lack of services of the United Nations relief and Works Agency - UNRWA. Al-Bzour wasinjured in the eye by shrapnel of an explosive device which exploded inside a burnt checkpoint, while dozens of police personnel were injured and some were transferred to the Palestine medical complex for treatment. In addition five demonstrators and bystanders were also injured in clashes near Al-Jalazone refugee camp. Similar protests took place in several refugee camps in the West Bank against the UNRWA and supporting the UNRWA staff demands and closed a number of roads near the camps and obstructed traffic.(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)

Al-Malki to “Al-Ayyam”: Arab Ministerial Committee informed Kerry of its rejection to a Jewish State, excluding Jerusalem and incomplete sovereignty
Foreign Minister Dr. Riyad Malki revealed in an interview through telephone with “Al-Ayyam” from Paris, that the follow-up Committee for the Arab peace initiative informed US Foreign Minister John Kerry, at a meeting held yesterday evening in the French capital, its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State excluding Jerusalem from negotiations, emphasizing that east Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian State, and emphasizedits rejection of any Israeli presence in the Palestinian State after the completion of the implementation of the agreement.Maliki revealed that Kerry told the Arab ministerial delegation that "the United States is interested in reaching an agreement between the parties, and that he hoped to provide a formula in the next few weeks to advance negotiations, but hoped both sides cooperate and take tough decisions, and that of he fails, he will say which side made concessions and cooperate and which refused to cooperate."(Al-Ayyam)

Maariv: Israel loses the last friend in Europe because of settlement
Israeli newspaper Maariv said yesterday that Israel lost the last supporting friend in Europe - Germany, which drew its historic support of Israel because of Israel's settlement policy. Maariv said: "German Foreign Minister Frank Wolter Steinmeier will arrive to Tel Aviv, on the background of the erosion of good relations with Berlin, as Angela Merkel, works to endhistoricsupport of Israel, and holding Germany historically responsible for the Holocaust.”(Al-Ayyam)

Kerry: negotiations had reached a crucial stage that involves difficult decisions
Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that the American administration insists on pushing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, adding that negotiations between the two sides had reached a crucial stage which requires the leaderships to take difficult decisions.Kerry's position came during a meeting in Paris last night with the Arab peace initiative follow-up Committee which includes. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=664803)

Israeli media attacked the President for not commenting on the death of Sharon
Israeli media launched yesterday a scathing attack on President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, for its silence on the death of former Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon.Israel's channel 10 said that President Abbas has so far refused to comment on the death of Sharon, which demonstrates hard position that Abbasdoes not show and tries to hide, noting that many Palestinians celebrated the death of Sharon, adding that "Fatah and Hamas celebrated Sharon’s death and distributed sweets in the Gaza Strip.” (Al-Ayyam)

The occupation digs news tunnels in Silwan South of Al-Aqsa, and continues to build a Biblical Center
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said that the Israeli occupation recently began digging new tunnels in Silwan reaching the outskirts of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the area of Ain El Fouqa – Silwan (on the South side of Al-Aqsa Mosque), noting that the Israeli occupation to continue construction of the Biblical Centre in the area, a project called "Bait AL-Ain" reaching up to 200 square meters, where this Judaization project will be linked to the new spending with tunnels through the current tunnels underneath and in the vicinity of Al Aqsa Mosque.(Al-Ayyam)

Dropping the law preventing negotiations on Jerusalem
The Knesset Ministerial Committee for legislation decided yesterday to reject the law preventing Israeli Prime to negotiate over Jerusalem or refugees, with the majority of the members of the Committee with the exception of Ministers of "Jewish Home".MK Miri Regev of “Likud-Bietinu” filed a law proposal to prevent the Israeli Government from negotiating on Jerusalem and refugees without the consent of a majority of Knesset members.(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)

Israeli alert fearing attacking Sharon’s funeral with rockets
Israeli sources said to “the Jewish Voice” website "that a number of "iron dome” batteries were disposed, coinciding with the alert issued by Israeli army on Sunday evening, in the South of occupied Palestine, where former Israeli Minister Ariel Sharon’s farm is located, northeast of the Gaza Strip, fearing targeting the funeral on Monday. (http://paltimes.net/details/news/56764/%D8%AA%D8%A3%D9%87%D8%A8-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A-%D8%AE%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%B5%D9%81-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%A9-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86.html)

A settler injured of stone throwing near Ramallah
A Jewish settler was slightly wounded tonight after his car was exposed to stone throwing near the village of Nea’lin, west of the West Bank city of Ramallah.Israeli radio said the settler received first aid at the scene; with Israeli forces rushed in searching the area. Also, in the village of Beit Ummar in Hebron, an Israeli bus was exposed to throwing stones, causing material damage without anyone of its passengers injured.(http://safa.ps/details/news/120295/%D8%A5%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%B6-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%B4%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87.html)

Hamas warns the President for the approval of Kerry’s plans
Hamas warned the president for an approval of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s plans on the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters that the Palestinian people "did not authorize anyone to negotiate on his behalf, it cannot be allowed to alienate any rights whatever the sacrifices are.” Barhoum said that "US Secretary of state John Kerry’s plans aims at liquidating the Palestinian cause."(http://pnn.ps/index.php/local/78320-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B0%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A6%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%81%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%AE%D8%B7%D8%B7-%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%B1%D9%8A)

Egyptian Foreign Minister: peace negotiations may take some time
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi confirmed that talksare still about the negotiating process between Israelis and Palestinians, and we have not reached yet the stage where, it can be said that there is a specific formulation of a peace pact. Considering that the negotiations may take some time. Fahmi said, in remarks to the Middle East News Agency in Parisyesterday, that US. Secretary of State John Kerry presented during his meeting with the Ministers of the Member States of the Committee to the Palestinian cause in Paris, the American vision for the current phase of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. Fahmi said that during the meeting, Kerry stressed his commitment to submit proposals consistent with a solution based on two States, a Palestinian State and an Israeli State, and respond to the needs of the parties towards this goal.(http://qudsnet.com/news/View/262688/%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D9%85%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%82%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%BA%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D9%82%D8%AA/)
Headlines
** Five Palestinian martyrs from refugee camps in Syria (Al-Ayyam)
** An Academic American organization with 28,000 members condemns Israel (Al-Ayyam)
** The Government calls its employees not to strike tomorrow and waves with administrative procedures including salary deduction (Al-Ayyam)
** Survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre will not mourn Sharon (Al-Ayyam)
** Friends of Syria Conference: Assad has no future, opposition did not confirm its participation in Geneva -2 (Al-Ayyam)
** Beginning of implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement, Obama: we will begin easing sanctions (Al-Ayyam)
** Poll: half of internet users in China view Sharon asa cutthroat (Al-Ayyam)
** Egyptian army captures 10 tunnels on the borders with Gaza (Al-Ayyam)
** President receives Bahraini business women (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Israeli security Minister orders inquiry into post congratulations on the death of Sharon (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** 52 thousand refugees deprived of education for 41 days (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Demonstrations and activities in solidarity with Al-Yarmouk (Al-Quds)
** 1908 Palestinians died in Syria (Al-Quds)
** An Israeli investigation showsthe size of arms trade in numbers (al-Quds)
** Israeli fear and negligencein dealing with “Price Tag” (Al-Quds)
Front Page Photos
Al- Quds:Israeli workers at the entrance of the tunnel in Ein Al-Fouqa area.
Al-Ayyam:1) Ramallah – burnt tires and closing the main road near Al-Ama’ri refugee camp, 2) Two survivors of Sabra and Shatila Massacre at the memorial in Beirut.
Al Hayat Al Jadida:1) Security forces help an old woman crossing through the demonstration in Ramallah.
Voice of Palestine Interviews
** Dr. Jamal Amr, Specialist on Jerusalem construction.
Q: Can you tell us more about the tunnels revealed yesterday, and what is Israel’s aim behind these tunnels?
The occupation has a comprehensive plan, not only for tourism, but it is related to the Jewish Character of Israel. And they are trying to give the Palestinian historic most sensitive site a Religious character and you know that this area is the same area that witnessed the first Palestinian Arab Canaanite civilization, it is a very sensitive area, and the occupation is continuing with its excavations reaching inside the old city.
Q: As a specialist, what is the effect on buildings in Jerusalem?
The tunnel has an effect of course, especially now with the new excavations, especially in Wadi Helwi, we can see some results now with cracks in building in this area, these tunnels reach the wailing wall and it effect all buildings in the way. There are cracks and collapses each time there are new excavations.
** Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh, Member of Fateh Central Committee, on Palestinian refugees who fled for Syria to Jordan and Al-Yarmouk.
There is some hope, an agreement should be reached soon and might be translated into action, and the Palestinian delegation is in Syria and is following up on the situation. I met yesterday in Cairo with Syrian Planning minister, and he promised to act in order to lift the siege from Al-Yarmouk. So we can some signs for a solution.
Q: we heard from residents of the camp that he situation is very bad.
Yes the situation is very bad, even more than bad, after days of being under the siege, without allowing any food supplies from being entered to the camp, and it is being left outside the camp.
Q: We heard it was stolen.
Yes unfortunately this is part of the chaos going on there, but as I said, the Palestinian delegation is doing all it can to lift the siege.
Q: What about aid to the camp?
We are ready to supply the needed aid, I visit Al-Za’tari and Cyber city camps northern of Jordan, and provided aid to eth Palestinians in the Cyber city camp (200 refugees), and we will continue communicating with them in order to provide aid.
** Dr. Reyad Al-Malki, Foreign Affairs Minister, on the political situation, and Kerry’s meeting with Arab Foreign Minister in Paris
Q: Kerry said that the negotiations reached a crucial phase that requires taking hard decisions, what was the main issue discussed in the meeting with Kerry?
It is true, we reached a crucial phase after more than 5 months of negotiations, and that both leaderships should take hard decision if they want to reach a framework agreement allowing us to negotiate the important issues. As you know what was leaked and what we heard from the president is that there are still some difficult obstacles like the Jewish state, this is an important issue that Kerry still thinks it is important to be including in the agreement and we refuse to agree to this. In addition to Jerusalem and east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, the Israeli side refuses to clearly declare this. So there are some strong reservations from both sides.
Q: So what was presented by Kerry is the Jewish state and not having a clear position of Jerusalem, what about the rest of the issues, refugees, borders, Jordan Valley etc…?
You know that we are talking about everything, I can’t talk about it here as agreed with Kerry, but what I can say is repeating what you heard from the president around these issue, but yes, Kerry talked about everything that was dealt with during the last 5 months.
Q: This Palestinian position was supported by an Arab position.
Of course, that’s why we met with Arab ministers one day before the meeting to coordinate our positions with the rest of Arab states, and we talked about the main issues that might be presented by Kerry, and what is the Palestinian position regarding these issues, and we asked the Arab states to support our positions and show Kerry that Palestine is not alone, and we will all confront these pressures. And this is what Kerry heard from the Ministers. They all supported our positions.
Q: Dr. Reyad, frankly speaking, did you feel any progress in what Kerry is suggesting?
Of course not, the issues are still stuck preventing us from reaching any agreement that why there is a lot of work to be done by the Americans with eth Israelis in order to reach any agreement, we are not ready to reach anything until now. The difference now is that Kerry knows it’s not only the Palestinian position bit the Arab position.
Q: Did Kerry suggest extending the negotiations period?
He did not talk about this, we were very clear that we are committed to reaching the 29th of April, we can’t talk about any extension since we have enough time, but we are committed only until the 29th of April, and by then we will see what we’ll do.
More Headlines
Occupation arrests 8 Palestinian from the West Bank cities
Israeli forces arrested 8 Palestinians in raids in the West Bank cities today morning. Young Palestinian Mahmoud Sharif, 25 years old, was arrested after raiding his house and searching it. Sharif is a released prisoner. Young Palestinian Ahmad Al-Froukh from Sae’r was also arrested. Also, in Halhoull, a young man form Zama’reh family was arrested, in addition to arresting citizens from Dier Samit and another from Ethna, a citizen from Nablus, another one from Bieta and two citizens from Biet Or. (http://www.wattan.tv/ar/news/83950.html)
Sources: Saudi Arabia puts pressure on the Palestinian Authority to accept the "Jewish State"
Palestinian political sources said to Al-Manar newspaper close to the PA, that Saudi leadership promised the US Administration to exercise Pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the idea of a Jewish character of Israel. The sources revealed that the Saudi ruling family has informed US Secretary of State John Kerry their “supports of his efforts and supportingthe formula presented to the Palestinians on the framework agreement, including mentioning a Jewish State." (http://www.qudsn.ps/article/36470)
Arab Press
Jordan and a Palestinian settlement

By Amer Sabaileh

Few details were released after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s 10th meeting with Israelis and Palestinians, held behind closed doors.

This ambiguity has made people and officials in Jordan suspicious.

The absence of any Arab pressure makes a settlement quite risky. With Syria isolated, Iraq fragmented and Egypt politically frozen, Israel may believe this is the perfect moment for a settlement.

Leaked diplomatic sources say that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not object to any of Kerry’s proposal although he is yet to publicly approve it.

Abbas needs Arab support before declaring his approval, because the regional politics dictate that it is not an individual decision of the Palestinian president.

Some Western sources suggested that Abbas asked the US to pressure Arab countries to support his decisions.

The course of regional events has played a major role in shaping Kerry’s proposal, which does not appear to include many of the rights Palestinians have traditionally demanded.

It has been said that the proposal offers very little to the Palestinians and that Kerry’s offer cannot be compared to the Clinton parameters of 2000.

It seems that the Americans acquiesced to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stubbornness regarding the declaration of a Jewish state.

These developments have implications that Jordan needs to deal with.

First and foremost is the issue of security and of the Jordan Valley, as Israel refused to put a time frame on its withdrawal and insisted on linking it to an evaluation of the performance of the Palestinians after the peace deal.

Moreover, the absence of a Palestinian airport or port means that Jordan would continue to be the door into and out of any Palestinian state.

Jordan would likely be inundated with traffic across its Western border.

If these leaks are true, there are serious questions about the US’ capacity to apply its theoretical vision on the ground.

There have been suggestions that the Palestinians were deterred from using UN for a deal.

It has been said that members of the Fateh central committee advised Abbas to resort to the UN to broker a deal with Israel, and the Americans suggested that this would lead to serious political consequences.

If the world appears to think that an end to the Palestinian issue can be put in such an easy way, there could be serious consequences.

The writer, http://amersabaileh.blogspot.com, political analyst and expert in intercultural studies, is lecturer at the University of Jordan. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.(http://jordantimes.com/jordan-and-a-palestinian-settlement)


Sharon: The architect of terror

By Ahmed Moor

Sharon led Israel down the path of isolation and apartheid.

In many ways, Ariel Sharon was the most complete Zionist of his generation. He embodied an expansionary, rapacious view of Jewish privilege in Palestine - the essential Zionism - well after many of his co-religionists had claimed to settle for less. His prophetic insights into his society enabled him to wield his wily politics and martialism to great effect. His lifelong campaign of ethnic cleansing, the eagerness with which he employed atrocities against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and his relentless savagery enabled the emergence of the Greater Israel he longed for. For Palestinians and human rights advocates the tactics and strategies he employed form the greater part of his legacy. Yet it would be a mistake to overlook his contributions to the settlement program and the related fragmentation of the Israeli army - legacies which will continue to shape the deepening rents in Israeli society for decades to come.

Ariel Scheinerman was born in British-occupied Palestine in 1928 to Jewish immigrants from present-day Belarus. His well-educated parents arrived in Palestine as members of the third wave of European immigration under the aegis of Mapai, an exclusively Jewish labour movement. It is unclear when Scheinerman changed his name to Sharon but in doing so he reaffirmed the Jewish-Israeli habit of attempting to break with European Jewry and all its associations. At 14, Sharon joined a paramilitary youth group; he eventually became a member of the Haganah - the militia that later gave rise to the Israeli army.

Sharon's daring and willingness to lead attacks against civilians marked him for command among his fellows. In 1953, he orchestrated the massacre of 69 Palestinian civilians in Qibya while leading "Unit 101" - an infamous Israeli army unit dedicated to extracting high civilian costs among Palestinian communities that resisted the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The murders of mostly women and children served to foreshadow Sharon's responsibility for Sabra and Shatila decades later.

Sabra, Shatila and Hezbollah

Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was ostensibly designed to prevent Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrillas from striking Israeli outposts near the Lebanon-Israel border. His forces shelled and besieged Beirut while world powers negotiated an end to the devastation. The Israelis agreed to withdraw in return for Yasser Arafat's exile to Tunisia. Arafat and his fighters were forced to abandon the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps - densely populated and impoverished urban ghettos on the outskirts of Beirut. The civilians there were left defenseless against the Israelis and their allies, the Lebanese Phalange militia. After the departure of the PLO, Sharon invited the Phalangists into the camps where they spent two days massacring approximately 3,000 Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children.

Robert Fisk, a journalist with the Independent newspaper, was one of the first people to arrive in Shatila after the Israelis withdrew. He describes the extent of the atrocity in his book Pity the Nation:

"What we found inside the Palestinian camp at ten o'clock on the morning of September 1982 did not quite beggar description… But these people, hundreds of them had been shot down unarmed. This was a mass killing, an incident - how easily we used the word 'incident' in Lebanon - that was also an atrocity. It went beyond even what the Israelis would have in other circumstances called a terrorist activity. It was a war crime.

Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was 'Jesus Christ' over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat. But there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were babies - blackened babies because they had been slaughtered more than 24-hours earlier and their small bodies were already in a state of decomposition - tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins, Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey.

Where were the murderers? Or to use the Israelis' vocabulary, where were the ‘terrorists’? When we drove down to Chatila, we had seen the Israelis on the top of the apartments in the Avenue Camille Chamoun but they made no attempt to stop us. It was only when we were driving back past the entrance to Chatila that Jenkins decided to stop the car. 'I don't like this', he said. 'Where is everyone? What the f**k is that smell?'

Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses."

Nor were the Palestinians the only civilians he terrorized in Lebanon. The vicious assault on Lebanese Shia during the march to Beirut gave rise to Hezbollah. Israel's ill-fated 20-year occupation of southern Lebanon further galvanized and strengthened the movement. Its fighters quickly began to inflict casualties on the Israelis eventually causing them to withdraw from most of Lebanon in 2000.

Wewish-Israelis initially rejected Sharon's sectarian brutality and war crimes, if not his objectives. A governmental panel censured him and forced him to resign from his post as minister of defense after investigating his role in Sabra and Shatila. Yet, in 2001 Jewish-Israelis empowered him as their prime minister. His notoriety qualified him for the pacification of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories during the second intifada - an uprising he helped spark in the fall of 2000 when he led a phalanx of troops onto the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

Settlements and Gaza

Sharon's victories extended beyond the narrow confines of Palestinian refugee camps. In the 1960s he presciently foresaw the development of a "peace process" and helped to undermine the establishment of a Palestinian state by forcefully promoting Israel's mass colonization program in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The political consensus on settlements - every Israeli Prime Minister since 1967 established them - only began to break when Sharon himself decided to withdraw 8,000 settlers from among 1.2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2005.  

The politically expedient move was intended to promote the view that Israel was no longer responsible for the lives of the Palestinian refugees; that the Gaza Strip was no longer occupied. It was accompanied by a decision to build an annexation wall through the West Bank. Today the wall stands as an enduring legacy. A violent and alien object imposed on the Palestinian landscape, tribute to the man who decided to build it.  

Sharon's "disengagement" was heartily welcomed by liberal Zionists who have always fretted over the fertility rates of Palestinians and African immigrants. The settler withdrawal and subsequent Israeli siege were the first steps towards jettisoning undesirable non-Jewish people from Israel. Those decisions would help resolve the "tension" between the Jewish and "democratic" attributes of the state. Nearly nine years later, their hopes continue to go unfulfilled. Few have accepted the claim that the Israeli occupation of Gaza has ended, particularly after the Gaza massacre and the murder of nine activists aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara in 2010.

Among colonists in the West Bank, it increased the perception and fear that the Israeli army may one day be commanded to evict them from their settlements. Their fears were not unfounded. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law; no country recognizes them as legitimate. An eventual peace deal with the Palestinians would have likely entailed their evacuation.

The colonists' response, beginning in 2005, was to join the army in greater numbers than they had previously done. Settler rabbis and politicians encouraged young members of their communities to enlist expressly to prevent more settler evictions by the army. The prospect that growing numbers of conscripts are prepared to refuse orders has alarmed Israeli politicians, particularly Ehud Barak, a former minister of defense.

Today, there are few distinctions between settler militiamen in the West Bank and the Israeli army, and they are growing increasingly difficult to discern. That fact has diminished the likelihood that any Israeli politician will risk evacuating settlements. No Israeli leader is prepared to risk even a limited mutiny within the army. That means that Israeli apartheid will persist and deepen with time. It also means that the Palestinian struggle for equal rights will only grow in force and viability. It means that the BDS movement will continue to undermine Jewish supremacy in Palestine.

And thus, Sharon's most enduring legacy will likely be one of failure. He spent his life terrorizing civilians and building settlements to secure the existence of the Jewish-privilege state. He led his people backwards into the 19th century, down a path of pariah-hood, isolation and apartheid. Yet Jewish supremacy in Israel cannot last; democracy cannot be delayed forever. The perfect Zionist, his life was the perfect indictment of Zionism.(http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/01/sharon-architect-terror-20141124489119748.html)


The Palestinian leadership won’t do it, will you?

By Stuart Littlewood

Unbelievably, President Mahmoud Abbas and his hapless crew in Ramallah promised the U.S. not to file charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court. Meanwhile the Israeli regime is accelerating its squatter program on Palestinian territory even in the middle of so-called peace talks, increasing its air strikes and generally upping its aggression.

The building of illegal squatter settlements has been going on unchecked since 1967, the aim plainly being permanent occupation and eventual annexation. Yet the Palestinian leadership remains fearful of using the proper legal channels to pursue legitimate claims to freedom, self-determination and the return of their lands. Abbas prefers instead to cling to the discredited, ‘kangaroo’ peace process promoted and facilitated by crooked elements in the U.S. administration allied to AIPAC and other pro-Israel influencers.

It has been clear for some time that civil society and Palestinian solidarity movements around the world must come together and prod the ICC into taking action on its own initiative against Israel’s war crimes. One of the most urgent issues is the illegal transfer of portions of Israel’s population into squats or “settlements” on stolen Palestinian lands. Over 600,000 Israeli squatters are now reckoned to be deliberately parked on the wrong side of the border in order to colonize choice areas of the West Bank, and they will be joined by thousands more as a result of new settlement construction tenders recently issued by the Israeli authorities in defiance of international law and the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Many of the squatters are armed thugs, hooligans and vandals, dedicated to harassing local Palestinian communities and wrecking their property. The U.N. says the colonization is “creeping annexation.”

The building of illegal squatter settlements has been going on unchecked since 1967, the aim plainly being permanent occupation and eventual annexation

It is imperative that these crimes and abominations are not only halted but reversed. Palestinians are entitled to rid themselves of the squatter menace. But who’s to start the legal ball rolling? Who can be trusted to resolutely press the Palestinian case?

A further warning comes in a report that tells of a confidential letter in which the Palestinian Authority offered to sell Egypt fuel donated by Qatar to operate Gaza’s power plant. As the whole world knows, the Gaza Strip has been in the grip of a power crisis for nearly eight years as a result of Israel’s blockade. Very little of the Qatar consignment reached Gaza, says the report. And recently, when the tanks ran dry, the situation became acute, bringing Gaza’s fragile economy and public services to a standstill and causing great hardship and danger to public health.

Interestingly, the report says Qatar intervened to solve the latest electricity crisis in Gaza and paid $10 million to the Palestinian Authority to meet the value-added tax on fuel which it had increased without notice. If the story is true, it illustrates the kind of low-life Abbas has surrounded himself with. Quite obviously such people cannot be entrusted with the hopes of an oppressed nation.

So it’s up to civil society to set an example, brush aside the political posers and take direct action. As it happens a specially drafted letter to the ICC has suddenly popped into my inbox. It appears to have originated from the Sabeel International Conference in Jerusalem last autumn. Sabeel is a peace movement formed by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. The idea is for thousands of copies of the letter to be sent by individual activists and groups from all over the world. I hear the wording has been put through the wringer by a legal team, so activists are asked to stick to the suggested text – simply copy and paste it into your word/document program, add the date and your name and address, print, sign and post (by snail-mail).

Here it is, almost verbatim…

[Name and Address]

The Information and Evidence Unit

Office of the Prosecutor

International Criminal Court

PO Box 19519

2500 CM

The Hague,

The Netherlands

[date]

Dear ICC Prosecutor,

Transfer of Israeli civilian population into occupied Palestinian territory

I urge that an investigation be initiated by the Office to determine whether war crimes have been committed in connection with the transfer of civilian population into territory of Palestine that is under the belligerent occupation of Israel. Power for the initiation of such an investigation would appear to exist under Article 15 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
It is my understanding that such transfer has occurred in a manner that appears to constitute a violation of Article 8 (2) (b) (viii) of the Statute. From facts available in the public domain, such transfers have risen to the level of seriousness required for action by the Court. Transfers of thousands of civilians have occurred. Harm has been caused to thousands of victims.

The fact of a violation of the comparable provision of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 has been determined by United Nations organs, including the General Assembly, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice. That provision applies to actions of a state. These organs have determined a violation by Israel.

I also understand that the Court has jurisdiction over persons potentially responsible for such transfers. The declaration lodged with the Registrar of the Court by the Government of Palestine on 21 January 2009 under Article 12 (3) of the Statute confers jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.

Transfers are continuing at present in great numbers, consequently the crimes in question are ongoing. The matter is now pressing and I therefore feel it imperative that an investigation be initiated without delay, lest additional thousands of persons be victimized.

Yours sincerely…

I only heard about it by chance. If good ideas like this are to work they need the support of large numbers. Therefore the various proactive groups must come closer together, communicate and co-ordinate! Has the letter taken off? Have thousands been sent? I simply don’t know… But I’m posting mine today.(http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2014/01/13/The-Palestinian-leadership-won-t-do-it-will-you-.html)
Opinions
OPINIONS__________________________________________________
UNRWA is demanded to review its positions
Al-Quds Editorial
After massive protests in refugee camps in the West Bank yesterday in solidarity with the demands of the UNRWA workers, and protest against the intransigent stance of UNRWA and the damage and suffering inflicted on the people in the camps, the question arises about the intransigence of UNRWA, on the one hand, and on the mass protest in camps suffering from tragic situations and where lies the solution to this crisis,while the UNRWA is still lagging behind after weeks of strike, although UNRWA fully recognizes that it has reduced its services to refugees over past years.
It must be said here that "UNRWA”was originally founded by the international community as part of its its responsibilities towards the plight of the Palestine refugees for their support and services to return to their homes, and therefore what the Agency for Palestinian refugees provides is not a gift by anyone but mainly the responsibility of the United Nations, which unfortunately failed so far to confront the Israeli occupation and impose the will of the international community and commit itself to ending the occupation. And thus the UNRWA is supposed to provide services and support to all Palestinian refugees who have fled from their homes in 1948 and were forcibly displaced and dispersed in different parts of the Earth.
Another thing should be clear, that the protest against the Agency's reduced services, which led to preventing large numbers of refugees from these services without knowing whose decision it is,hence, the protest against worsening the living conditions in the camps and lack of response to the legitimate demands presented by UNRWA workers, which reflects negatively on the conditions of the camps, particularly health and education.
The Agency is well aware that a large part of the refugees and camp population are deprived of its services and support since long ago, this support is limited to certain segments of refugees, and we wonder who gave the Agency the right to categorize the refugees in this way and deprived any part and reduce support for another part, we do not know if the name refugee differs between camp or another city or village, knowing that the basic suffering of refugees is one.
If the UN relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees is unable to do its jobs decided for since its inception, it should announce it openly and the international community should assume responsibility and cover the Agency’s expenditures and budgets, there are those who believe that a considerable part of the UNRWA budget goes for salaries and administrative expenses for senior officials, mostly foreigners, expenses for the supposed support for Palestinian refugees,this raises questions, especially with regards to foreigners, in line with the declared financial crisis of the Agency.
Although we can’t extend here to discuss details of the workers’ demands, how can it be possible that any Palestinian will understand the UNRWA dismissing any employee or officer on the background of his arrest by the Israeli occupation?
It must be said here that the relief agency is aware of the tragic situation of the Palestinian refugees, and it should reconsider its intransigent position regarding the workers’ demands, and it is unreasonable to continue to uphold this position when this means increasing the suffering of the Palestine refugees, UNRWA was created to serve and support refugees.
On the other hand, while reaffirming the legitimacy of protest and the legitimate demandsfor improving working conditions and improve the conditions of refugee camps, in addition to demanding the UNRWA not to reduce services and deny any refugee as it is today, we also affirm that every legitimate protest should have controls and basics including the preservation of public property and causing no harm to the public interest.
Finally what happened yesterday of protest is a chance for UNRWA to review its positions and to reach satisfactory solutions. Or continuing to adhere to its stubborn attitude that means recognition of the Agency's inability to meet the minimum demands of the workers, and to provide the necessary support for the refugees.(Al-Quds)
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