Know More About Palestine

Dec. 16, 2014
Daily summary- Friday, January 17, 2014
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted yesterday on his demand to guarantee the border between Jordan and the West Bank and recognition of Israel as the “state for the Jewish people” in order to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, according to a statement released by his office. According to Israeli army radio, Netanyahu included a new settlement bloc to the other three major blocs (Gush Etzion, Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim) which Israel plans to annex with a final agreement, adding on Bet El, located close to Ramallah. The radio also said that Netanyahu added to the area of occupied land which he wants to retain within Israel in any final solution, demanding that Israel maintain 13% of the West Bank. The report also said that Netanyahu never committed to initial formulas for a land swap of equal area and value, saying that Israel had offered to buy some of the land of settlements from the Palestinians but that the latter refused. The radio said the source of this information was a ‘very informed person” in the negotiations, but did not reveal their identity. The radio continued that Netanyahu informed Secretary Kerry of his plans to maintain the settlement blocs, which he said Israel would not concede, claiming that Bet El was mentioned in the Torah as the place which Prophet Jacob dreamed of. (Al Ayyam)

Large groups of Israeli soldiers toured the Old City of Jerusalem yesterday at the same time until late last night while soldiers were deployed in East Jerusalem areas such as Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and Ras Al Amoud. The tours came in tandem with the break in of settlers into the Aqsa Mosque yesterday during which police arrested several Muslim worshippers. According to the press coordinator for the Aqsa Institute, 22 settlers broke into the mosque in two batches, during which three Palestinians were arrested, all of who work with the paramedics’ committees in the Aqsa. During the break-in, which was on the occasion of a Jewish holiday and was headed by rightist Yehuda Glick, settlers and Glick also climbed the stairs leading to the Dome of the Rock’s rooftop, from the side of the Wailing Wall. when Glick and his group walked along the rooftop, Muslim worshippers yelled out “Allah Akbar” while Glick yelled back that the grounds were the Temple Mount and belonged to them.
In Hebron, the Israeli army announced through notices posted on the gates to the Ibrahimi Mosque, that it planned to take control of the land and properties surrounding the mosque. The notices said the takeover was for ‘military purposes” and would come fully under the control of the Israeli army. (Al Quds)

President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Marrakesh, Morocco last night to participle in the 20th session of the Jerusalem committee, aimed at ‘protecting the identity and culture of Jerusalem” in Marrakesh. Fifteen foreign ministers of the member countries will participate along with the Secretary General of the Islamic Cooperation Organization, Iyad Amin Madani. Abbas said upon his arrival that “We expect the participating Arab and Islamic countries to rise up more than ever in the past to protect Jerusalem because the city was not a target of settlements and settlers aimed at expelling its Arab citizens, whether Muslim or Christian.” Representatives from the UN Security Council’s permanent members will also attend the meeting along with reps from the EU, the Vatican and the Arab League. The meeting comes at a time when the Beit Al Mal fund which was established by the committee, has depleted all of its strategic funds for projects in Jerusalem. Since its inception in 1998, according to its latest report, Beit Al mal has set up 127 projects worth $30 million in the fields of health, education, housing, and women, children and youth affairs in addition to sports and other social issues. (Al Ayyam)

Spokesperson for the security services, Adnan Dmeiri denied yesterday Israeli reports that Palestinian security services in the Hebron and Bethlehem districts has arrested two Hamas cells which tried to carry out attacks in Israel. Dmeiri told Maan news agency: “We have no idea about this subject; the Israelis public wrong and poisonous information that has grounds in reality, which is all part of the campaign waged by the Israeli press on the president, leadership and the security services.’ He went on to say that they had not arrested one citizen in this regard, adding that ‘if we do arrest anyone, it is within the context of the law and based on the interests of the Palestinian people and not Israel.” He continued that Israel wanted to show that coordination between the two sides was at its highest levels and are trying to portray the relationship as if it ‘is at its best,” adding that, on the contrary, it was at its worst because of Israel’s continued attacks. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)

The mayor of Ashdod decided today to cancel school in all schools and nurseries that are not fortified in the city, in fear of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Last night, Israeli army spokesperson Moti Almoz held Hamas responsible for the rocket fire towards Israeli towns, saying that, “Hamas, which is the controlling authority in the Strip, is the party to be held responsible.” The military spokesperson threatened an Israeli response on Gaza should rockets continue to be shot into northern Israel. However, he said he believed the relative calm around Gaza would continue in the coming phase. He continued that yesterday’s air raids on the Strip targeted Islamic Jihad members and warehouses, which he said were behind the latest rocket fire. (
Israeli sources said yesterday that the organization and construction regional committee in Jerusalem was soon expected to approve a request from the settler organization “Elad” to build buildings in the “Peace Forest” in occupied Jerusalem. This is despite plans to build a special needs facility in the same location and despite that the buildings would be built without a license. The Peace Forest is located between the neighborhood of Abu Tour and the High Commissioners’ palace in Jabal Mukkaber. (Al Quds)

Israeli occupation authorities released last night PLC member from Jerusalem Mohammed Totah and former Jerusalem minister Khaled Abu Arafeh after a 24-month detention stint. Sources from the Hamas PLC bloc “Reform and Change” said the two leaders were released at the Jalameh checkpoint near Jenin. The two were released on condition that they be exiled from Jerusalem and their Jerusalem ID cards confiscated. (Al Ayyam)

Israel radio said yesterday that Israeli energy minister Silvan Shalom was on his way to Dubai today to head an Israeli delegation participating in a conference on energy in the emirate. The radio said this would be the first visit by any Israeli official to Dubai since the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Mabhuh in the emirate four years ago. (Al Ayyam)

At least seven Palestinian refugees died and dozens of others were injured yesterday in shelling in Yarmouk camp in Damascus last night, with dozens still under the rubble. According to a member of an armed group, Abu Hani inside the camp, a military helicopter threw down an explosive barrel on Palestinian homes, leaving seven people dead and dozens others seriously injured. Abu Hani said the search for people under the rubble of demolished buildings was still ongoing. Also, three Palestinians died of hunger due to the ongoing siege on the camp. (Al Quds)

Head of the PLO delegation in Syria Ahmad Majdalani said yesterday that food assistance would begin being allowed entry today into the Yarmouk camp for Palestinians in Damascus. In a press conference in Ramallah, he said that after several days of deliberations in Syria over the refugees, food assistance would be allowed entry and would also include evacuating sick residents of the camp for treatment. Majdalani said an agreement had been made with Syrian authorities and UNRWA to allow entry of 200 food packages on a daily basis to the camp. He said this would be in tandem with the start of dialogue with all parties and armed elements in the camp to urge them to abandon all shows of weapons and armed men. He added that the Syrian authorities offered facilitations to help solve the crisis there. (Al Ayyam)

The Jordanian royal court announced yesterday that King Abdullah II met yesterday in Amman with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu where they discussed the peace process. The king called for “providing the appropriate atmosphere to make the negotiations a success.” The king called for ‘taking advantage of the time factor” and “building on available opportunities” in reference to efforts being made by Secretary John Kerry. Netanyahu’s office, meanwhile, said the two leaders discussed the peace process – noting the importance of Jordan’s role under the leadership of King Abdullah—and also discussed economic cooperation between the two countries and regional issues as well. Netanyahu’s office made it clear that Israel’s interests were focused on the country’s security concerns “which also concern Jordan”, adding that any future framework for a settlement would take into consideration the peace deal between Israel and Jordan, signed 20 years ago (Al Quds)

This morning, violent confrontations broke out between dozens of Palestinian youths and Israeli army forces, who accompanied hundreds of settlers to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Eyewitnesses said over 500 settlers accompanied by military vehicles broke into the Tomb and carried out prayers. During the confrontations, Israeli troops tried to secure the entry and exit of the settlers as youths pelted them with stones. The army responded by firing stun grenades and teargas canisters at them. (مواجهات-عقب-اقتحام-قبر-يوسف-بنابلس.html)

Arab sources revealed today that occupied Jerusalem would be put under Arab as well as Israeli supervision as part of a final solution proposed by the Europeans. According to the sources to Qudnest, the European efforts, which have yet to be announced, are part of a European plan that is expected to be put to the Palestinians and Israelis within the coming few months. The plan stipulates Arab and Israeli supervision over Jerusalem while granting Palestinians who live within the boundaries of the city, Palestinian citizenship. The sources said the Jerusalem file had not yet been put on the negotiating table, adding that Europe is hoping to assume the role of mediator between the two sides that would result in their proposal on Jerusalem.  (في-مفاوضات-الحل-النهائي-القدس-تخضع-لإشراف-دول-عربية-وإسرائيل/)

Informed Palestinian source said today that the expected cabinet reshuffle may even result in the resignation of the Prime Minister and the mandate of finance minister Shukri Bishara to form a new government. The sources said that the postponement of the new government’s announcement had been because of President Abbas’ busy work schedule and his continuous trips abroad. They said Abbas was leaning towards mandating Bishara to head the new government should Hamdallah resign, which the sources said would happen. They said Hamdallah really wanted resign and return to his academic life at Najah University. (الحمدالله-يعتزم-تقديم-إستقالته-شكري-بشارة-رئيس-الحكومة-القادمة/)
*Ban Ki Moon: this year will be decisive for the two-state solution (Al Quds)
*Injuries in Israeli shelling of Gaza (Al Quds)
*Cabinet reaffirms its support for President Abbas and his adherence to the people’s stances (Al Quds)
*Egyptians vote “yes’ to the constitution; government considers voting as a vote of confidence for Sisi (Al Quds)
*Rjoub: Kerry did not bring the Palestinians any vision that responds to the obligations of the peace process. (Al Quds)
*Omar on Oscars list (Al Quds)
*US Consulate criticizes and refute Ariel’s statements on settlements (Al Ayyam)
*Netanyahu condemns the “hypocrisy of the EU on settlements” (Al Ayyam)
* Explosives found in Palestinian embassy in Prague (Al Ayyam)
*President: We hope 2012 will be the year of Palestine’s independence (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*7,500 chickens perish in a fire on a chicken farm in Jaba’ (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Aida camp subjected to campaigns of oppression by Israeli forces, night and day (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*The government calls on unions to reconsider their programs and decisions (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
Front Page Photos
Al- Quds:1) Hebron: Israeli antiquities department workers while digging and excavating in the Tel Rmeida area; 2) Gaza: members of the Abu Shanab family inside the home, destroyed by an Israeli air raid
Al-Ayyam:1) Destruction left by Israeli raids to the Abu Shanab home north of Gaza; 2) President Abbas and Moroccan King Mohammed VI in Marrakesh; 3) Actor Adam Bakri in a scene from “Omar”
Al Hayat Al Jadida:1) Citizens near a car hit by an Israeli raid in Gaza; 2) Moroccan King and President Abbas with honor guard in Marrakesh; 3) Preparations in Aida camp to commemorate the first anniversary of Saleh Amareen’s martyrdom
More Headlines
Israel worried about the collapse of the truce, says Sisi has no influence over Hamas
Israeli security circles have estimated that the truce understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Defense into the Gaza Strip, is on its way to collapse, in spite of what it says was Hamas’ desire not to allow the situation to erupt. They said Hams would rather maintain the calm and the ceasefire agreement in place. According to the Israeli daily Maariv, political sources in Jerusalem concur, saying the Egyptian regime in place under Abdel Fattah Sisi does not put pressures on Hamas and has no influence over the movement to try and maintain the truce like isolated president Mohammed Mursi. Still, these sources say, Egypt is still calling on Israel not to respond to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, especially since Egypt’s campaign to shut down the tunnels is in Israel’s interest. The website said Israeli security circles are afraid that the current  changes in Egypt would strongly impact on the situation in Gaza and that the truce agreement was in threat of collapse. (
Lieberman to summon ambassadors of European countries in response to the summons of the Israeli ambassador
Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman will meet with the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain after summoning them in response to the Israeli ambassador’s summoning earlier. According to the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahranoth, Lieberman is to protest the stances of EU countries of summoning their ambassador calling such moves as ‘unilateral’ and aimed at condemning Israel. The website said Lieberman would also inform these ambassadors of Israel’s stance, telling them that at a time when Israel is ‘doing everything it can to continue negotiations with the Palestinians in order to reach peace, the EU is taking unilateral steps against Israel instead of working to make these efforts a success.” (
Israeli occupation forces arrest two children; settles plant on land east of Hebron
Israeli army forces arrested two children this morning while they were shepherding in Khirbet Um Khayr southeast of Hebron. According to the coordinator for the popular committee against the wall and settlements Rateb Jbour, the two boys are Omar Hathalayn, 13 and Ahmad Hathalyan, 14 while they were grazing their sheep on the hamlet’s land.
In related news, settlers from the settlements of Karma’el and Maon  brought this morning various saplings to plant them in land they had taken over several months ago from the Hathalayn family. (الاحتلال-يعتقل-طفلين-ومستوطنوه-يزرعون-أراض-شرق-الخليل.html)
Arab Press
Kerry’s ‘bicycle’ diplomacy in Mideast

By Doyle McManus

Peace negotiations, a wise US diplomat once said, are like riding a bicycle: No matter how slow you’re moving, it’s best to keep going — because if you try to stand still, you’ll fall.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is putting that principle to the test in his dogged work on three of the world’s most tangled problems: Iran’s nuclear programme, Syria’s civil war and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Kerry has not quite arrived anywhere yet on any of the three, but he is at least keeping the bicycle upright.

In America’s confrontation with Iran, it took negotiators until last week to nail down the details of the interim nuclear agreement that was announced to great fanfare on November 24, 2013. The deal, which requires Iran to convert its most dangerous uranium into a form that cannot be used for weapons, still does not go into effect until next week. But US negotiators say the fact that the agreement could be reached bolsters their confidence that Iran is serious about the next stage: Negotiating a more stringent long-term deal that reassures the world that its nuclear programme is not a threat.

“After 34 years of hostility, the fact that we have been able to sit down and have a sustained, civil conversation with Iran is nothing short of revolutionary,” said John Limbert, a diplomat who was one of the 52 American hostages in Iran a generation ago. “Yes, it could always collapse, but it hasn’t.”

The most immediate threat to the nuclear negotiations does not come from radical clerics in Tehran. It comes from election-year politics in Congress, where both Republicans and Democrats are eager to pass legislation establishing new sanctions to be imposed on Iran if a long-term agreement is not reached. Kerry and other officials have begged Congress not to act, saying the threat of new sanctions could derail the negotiations. White House spokesman Jay Carney even warned that the bill would be the first step in “a march to war”.

The chance of success is still highly uncertain, but the negotiations are rolling steadily forward.

In the civil war in Syria, Kerry’s progress is harder to gauge. Through relentless jawboning, he has kept preparations on track for a peace conference to begin on January 22 in the Swiss city of Montreux.

But the conference will not produce much peace. Even US officials concede that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is not likely to negotiate his own exit. And the Syrian opposition, while too divided to present a united front, agrees on one thing: Al Assad must go. Some powerful rebel factions have said they will not attend at all, fearing that the conference could strengthen Al Assad’s claim to legitimacy. So Kerry and others have downgraded their goals. The idea, Kerry said last Monday, is “to begin ... a process that we all understand will be difficult and take some time”.

But this diplomatic bicycle looks pretty wobbly. Since President Barack Obama stepped back from airstrikes, then suspended aid to the rebels because of factional fighting, the US has little leverage.

In the Israeli-Palestinian talks, Kerry’s progress is even more difficult to measure. When Kerry embarked on the first of his many missions to occupied Jerusalem, his chances of success appeared nonexistent. Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was enthusiastic about negotiations. However, Kerry has succeeded in nudging Netanyahu into reaffirming that the Palestinians should have an independent state as the basis for a deal. And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has said he has begun to believe that an agreement is possible.

We have been there before, of course. But, Erekat told reporters last month, “the difference this time is John Kerry”.

The road to any agreement remains long and difficult. Kerry insists he has no illusions, but he sounds almost starry-eyed when he describes the potential payoff. “Imagine what peace would do ... for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian citizens,” he said last month. “The possibilities are infinite.”

It seems hardhearted to fault a secretary of state for throwing himself into the world’s most intractable problems. To be fair, Iran’s nuclear programme could not wait, the Syrian tragedy should not wait and the Israeli-Palestinian issue deserves a solution too. But realists as well as cynics can be forgiven for asking whether Kerry’s relentless focus on the Middle East comes with costs as well as rewards.

If the peace conference on Syria fails, will the clout of the US and its chief diplomat suffer?

If Kerry devotes months to fruitless diplomacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, will that rob time from other priorities, including the clashes between China and its neighbours and the largely unaddressed problems of climate change?

When I put those questions to a Kerry aide, his response was blunt. “What’s the alternative?” he asked.

Or, put another way: When riding a bicycle in a disorderly world, a little forward movement is better than none at all.(

Of negotiations and high treason: Israel-Palestine 'peace'

By Susan Abulhawa

No good for Palestinians will come of the current Middle East talks. Worse, harm seems likely. These negotiations threaten to undo years of work by Palestinian civil society and solidarity partners around the world who have been working tirelessly for a just peace. Their work has been done -principally- through global nonviolent resistance campaigns such as the Boycott Divestment & Sanctions campaign (BDS), the Russell Tribunal, and mounting popular local and international protests, among other tactics.

What we are hearing is that US Secretary of State John Kerry has presented both parties with an interim agreement to "serve as a framework for continued negotiations towards a permanent agreement". The "final status agreement" would be "based on the 1967 borders". Concrete concessions with profound implications are being demanded of the Palestinians, but not so for Israel, which is "negotiating" on territory, rights, and resources that already belong to Palestinians.

Much of this rhetoric is familiar, as it is recycled from the failed Oslo Accords, in which an agreement was reached exacting permanent Palestinian concessions in exchange for promises of Israeli reciprocity that never materialised. Thus, Palestinians are now being sold the same lie they bought 20 years ago. This time, the concessions demanded of Palestinians amount to a complete relinquishment of our rights as a native people, in exchange for the same empty promises and pocket change from the EU and US to sustain the status quo a little longer, enough time to permanently alter the landscape and complete the economic, political and social engineering of the Palestinian population towards the goal of permanent impotence, in which profound divisions, corruption, and dependence preclude the emergence of organised impactful resistance.

Known truths

The details of the agreement, we are told, "are being worked out between the parties". But here are some certainties: Palestinian self-determination will not be realised from this agreement. A viable Palestinian state with a contiguous land mass will remain impossible given the physical alterations of the landscape Israel has made through rapacious land theft, colonisation, and "Judaisation" of Jerusalem and large parts of the West Bank. Israel will not cease illegal settlement construction, even if it does so temporarily. Palestinians will not have control over their airspace, natural resources (eg water, newly-discovered oil), borders or economy. Segregated roads, housing, and buses will still be a reality.

Demolition of Palestinian homes will continue. The siege of Gaza will remain and perhaps tightened further. The separation wall will still be there with guard towers and snipers. Israel will still bomb our world when they please. They will still conduct night raids. They will continue to terrorise our children. Administrative Detention will remain a cost of living for Palestinian youth. Our Jerusalem, a few kilometres away, will still be as far as the moon for the majority of Palestinians. Israel will continue to import foreign Jews from all over the world and settle them on stolen Palestinian land, where they take up arms against the native Palestinian population.

The incentives being offered to Palestinians in the current talks are so insignificant, suggesting that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will accept funding over freedom. There is talk of an "unprecedented economic package", and other "concessions", all of which amount to temporary anaesthetics. On the other hand, Israel will likely walk away with Palestinian blessing for their theft of the Jordan Valley, the most fertile land in the West Bank, and continued control of Palestinian lives and resources.

There is also talk that they might achieve a boost to their racist demographic goals - touted by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Henry Kissinger, a WINEP adviser - by transferring large proportions of their undesirable non-Jewish citizenry to Palestinian control. But that's gravy. Their immediate aims are two-fold: To deal a heavy blow to the growing Palestinian solidarity and boycott of Israel; and to finally gain legitimacy as a racist state.

BDS' effect

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society as a nonviolent means of national and human liberation from Israeli colonisation and apartheid, has spread into mainstream culture, promising global action on the scale that helped end the similar system of apartheid in South Africa. I believe that the popular BDS movement (including related solidarity actions) is the principal factor motivating Israel to try to come to some interim agreement with Palestinians at this point.

Israel is panicking, and rightfully so, because its power lies only in the realm of government and corporate elites. Israel has no defences against mass mobilisation calling for justice and basic human rights. This was precisely the case in the late 1980s, when the first intifada captured the popular imagination of the world. Even before mass communication and instant information, the images of Palestinian children with rocks facing heavily armed soldiers and tanks began to sear into international consciousness, threatening Israel's image as the victim despite their best public relations and hasbara campaigns.  

Thus, Israel, in concert with the US, orchestrated the Madrid Conference, followed by the Oslo Accords. Although Palestinians made the painful sacrifice of relinquishing claim to 78 percent of Historic Palestine, agreeing to establish a state on a mere 22 percent of our homeland, Israel continued to act in bad faith, escalating the colonial and ethnic cleansing projects to create "fact on the ground" that currently preclude any meaningful realisation of a Palestinian state as envisioned by the Oslo Accords.

Not only did the Oslo "diplomacy" consolidate the land Israel took through terror and war in 1948 and create a new baseline from which to expand Israel's settlement endeavours, it also effectively siphoned the only real power we had - popular mobilisation - and broke our collective back by giving us false hope that liberation was around the corner. In return, we got an illusion of self-rule - a contingency of elected-for-life "leaders" who helped turn our proud people into a nation of beggars, dependent on international aid for sustenance. We saw further colonisation of our lands, which are now Jewish-only domains. And we got a well-trained Palestinian police force that, far from protecting Palestinians, collaborates with Israel to suppress legitimate resistance against tyranny.

We are now in a similar place to where we were in the late 1980s. After years of struggle, organising and activism, Palestinian resistance has once again captured popular imaginations and civil society around the world - academics, activists, clergy, intellectuals, artists, trade unions, universities, municipalities, churches, and other individuals and institutions of conscience - are mobilising in solidarity with Palestinian aspirations for basic human rights and to hold Israel accountable for its unrelenting systematic crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population.

High treason

As Israel has no legitimate argument against demands for Palestinian basic rights, they are looking to stamp out BDS as they did the first intifada, both popular nonviolent resistance movements, by recycling the charade of negotiations. While the Palestinian people cannot be fooled again, such interim agreements do risk fooling our solidarity partners.

And so, the stakes now are far greater. Curtailing the expansion of BDS might actually end up being a sweet aside. The real prize for the supremacist and imperialist ideology of Zionism is Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.  Many ask why is this such an important goal for Israel. The answer is simple.  When the true heirs of the land, those who are native in every sense - historically, culturally, legally, genetically - recognise Israel as a Jewish state, they are effectively giving away their claims to their own homeland. Like a home owner who officially relinquishes her home to a squatter, Palestinians would give Israel the only real legitimacy it can ever hope to have. Making such a declaration is tantamount not only to renouncing our Right of Return to a land we just sanctified as belonging to world Jewry, but it would also mean abandonment of our Palestinian brothers and sisters who hold Israeli citizenship to permanent second-class status and institutional racist inequality.

Continued bilateral negotiations in the current gross imbalance of power will destroy us. In the words of Richard Falk, "Intergovernmental diplomacy is not a pathway to a just peace, but rather a sinkhole for Palestinian rights."  One can forgive the PLO for being hoodwinked by Oslo the first time (despite warnings from luminaries like Edward Said). But to lead us into the same trap with the same language and empty promises is unconscionable. At this point, any interim agreement that does not fully end Israeli occupation, end Israeli apartheid (including full equality for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), and repatriate Palestinian refugees should be viewed as an act of high treason against the Palestinian people.  (

Who was Ariel Sharon?

by Jonathan Power

The Middle East has been living a nightmare, partly because of a man of Russian origin who became Israel’s greatest general and, later, prime minister: Ariel Sharon.

What were the inner thoughts of this man?

This is what Amos Oz, an acclaimed Israeli journalist, writer and novelist with a worldwide reputation helped one discover in an interview published by the Israeli daily Davar on December 17, 1982.

“Call Israel by any name you like, call it a Judeo-Nazi state. Better a live Judeo-Nazi than a dead saint. I don’t care whether I am like Qadhafi. I am not after the admiration of the gentiles. …. I will destroy anyone who will raise a hand against my children, I will destroy him and his children, with or without our famous purity of arms.

“We’ll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality, the moral lessons of the Holocaust or about the Jews who were supposed to have emerged from the gas chambers pure. As for Eyn Hilwe [Lebanon’s largest refugee camp] it’s a pity we did not wipe out that hornet’s nest completely.”

Sharon first stirred up controversy with the massacre at Qibya, a Palestinian village. Troops under his command attacked the village in October 1953 as a reprisal for the murder of a woman and two children in the Israeli town of Yehud two days before.

About 45 houses in Qibya were blown up with their inhabitants inside; 67 men, women and children died.

The Sabra and Shatilla massacre (Sharon used that word) in Lebanon, to which Sharon referred in the Amos Oz interview, occurred between September 16 and 18, 1982. Between 800 and 3,500 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps were killed by the Lebanese Phalangists.

The Israeli forces, given the order by Sharon, then minister of defence, surrounded the camps, blocked camp exits and provided logistical support.

Later that year, a commission established by the Israeli government, led by the head of the supreme court, Yitzhak Kahan, found that as minister of defence bore “personal responsibility” for the massacre.

On September 28, 2000, Sharon, escorted by over 1,000 Israeli police officers, visited Al Haram Al Sharif complex, site of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

He publicly claimed this as Jewish territory — despite 1,300 years of continuous Muslim presence —  because down below are the remains of the temple that the Romans destroyed.

Sharon declared that the complex would remain under perpetual Israeli control.

How would Christians have felt if Sharon had strutted across the piazza in front of St. Peter’s and made a speech that slighted Christian claims to that piece of earth?

How would the Jews have felt if the Palestinians had suspended political banners from the Dome at the top of the hill down over the sacred Wailing Wall below?

Sharon was elected prime minister in February 2001. Certainly his walk about near Al Aqsa Mosque worked in his favour when Israelis went to the polls.

During the latter part of his career, Sharon was investigated for alleged involvement in a number of financial scandals, in particular the “Greek island affair” and fund-raising irregularities during the 1999 election campaign.

In the “Greek affair”, Sharon was accused of promising, during his term as foreign minister, to help an Israeli businessman, David Appel, in his development project on a Greek island in exchange for large consultancy payments to Sharon’s son, Gilad.

Sharon was not charged with any wrongdoing, but the police announced that they had found evidence of a $3 million bribe paid to Sharon’s sons.

Just 24 hours after the announcement, Sharon suffered a stroke, in January 2006, went into a coma and never recovered.

His son Omri, a Knesset member at the time, who was Sharon’s closest adviser, was charged with corruption and sentenced later that year to nine months in prison.

The Sabra and Shatilla massacre was the reason for many to call for a war crimes trial. As Oz revealed in his interview, Sharon was a man of very extreme views, even if they became diluted under the responsibilities of government office.(
When will we realize?
Al Khaleej Editorial
We always hear from Palestinian officials that Israel does not want to reach any settlement that includes even the minimum ceiling of Palestinian rights. But this remains mere talk, because what should be built on is still missing. The negotiations are a clear example of this. But then perhaps not basing things on what should be could come from the realization of Israeli intentions, or perhaps to other things such as pressures being put on the Palestinian leadership. If it is the former, then there should be no doubt of a full realization that Israel really does not want a settlement that would give the Palestinians the minimum ceiling of their rights. This is very important because it requires political steps based on this realization.
There is a difference between going to the negotiations under the illusion of a possibility of reaching a settlement, and going to the negotiations with the knowledge  that they will not result in anything for the Palestinian people. This needs a serious and broad-based discussion between all parties seeking a settlement. It is easy to get carried away and hope, especially at times of need, believing that there will be a breakthrough, but without preparing for a sudden deviation from the path of this breakthrough.  The strategy based on the belief that Israel wants a solution is actually the former, when it became obvious that it is only maneuvering to fulfill its own purposes.
Since Israel was established and until today, its officials have offered proof after proof that they view all of Palestine and beyond as “the land of Israel’. The evidence of this is not only in past Zionist literature and statements on which the Zionist entity was established, but also in the statements of its officials who were at the helm of this entity. This is what the founders of this entity believed, whether they were from the left or the right, the difference only being in the level of deception and insolence. The ones who came the closest to cutting a deal was Rabin, who announced after the Oslo Accords that he would not withdraw to the ’67 borders and that Jerusalem would remain unified under Israeli rule including the settlements around it. Security, the Jordan Valley and of course, no right of return of refugees were also his stance. So, when Moshe Y’alalon made his recent statements, even though he seemed more arrogant in his manner, was not saying anything different than those who claim to be more prepared for a deal, such as Rabin.
The bottom line is that all of Palestine – and a few Arab countries – are exclusively theirs. At least this is what Israeli leaders believe. And they translate this into policies and actions. And because they run into a number of obstacles on the way, they circumvent them by granting the Palestinians at least a name; they leave the name “the State of Palestine” for the Palestinians while the land, its resources, borders and capital, stay in their grips.
So, knowing all this, will Palestinian concepts change, along with their policies? (
Israel is the party hindering a settlement
Al Quds Editorial
At a time when the Palestinians have committed to the negotiating process and decided to give it every chance and opportunity to reach a successful end, the Israelis have not stopped stalling and refusing to deal with the important issues during the talks such as Jerusalem. Instead, they are dealing with US Secretary of State John Kerry in a very provocative manner that ticked off the American administration.
Clearly, the Israeli government considered the negotiations to be a way of buying time during which it expedited settlement activity without fearing any reaction from Washington, all under the pretext that it is negotiating and is not the party that is rejecting Kerry’s proposals publicly.
However, Israel’s stances throughout the negotiations speak for themselves and confirm that they do not want to each a final settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Neither do they want to retreat from their settlement policies, which constitute the biggest obstacle to a just peace.
Perhaps the person who most candidly expresses the policies of the Israeli government is its defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who did not hesitate to describe Kerry’s mission with extremely hurtful phrases. He suggested that Kerry be given the Nobel Peace Prize in exchange for him “leaving Israel alone” instead of insisting on continuing the negotiating process.
Even though the Israeli government is doing nothing to make these negotiations work, the mere continuation of them is worrying to Israel. It is a well-known fact that the overriding nature of Netanyahu’s government is extremist, with the right-wing parties threatening to pull out of the coalition if the government accepted to withdraw from the occupied territories.
Netanyahu himself is no less right-wing then Neftali Bennet, head of the extremist Jewish Home party and a partner in his coalition. Netanyahu’s position on withdrawing from the occupied territories has already been announced, which is that he considers the West Bank as “the land of his fathers and forefathers.” He said he promised his father he would never give up one inch of it.
During the rounds of negotiations that preceded Kerry’s efforts during the tenure of President George Bush, American officials linked to the talks always confirmed that they would determine the party that was a hindrance to reaching an agreement.
Even though the Israelis were the party impeding the negotiations – with testimonies to this from neutral political pundits – the US administration at the time backtracked on its promise; perhaps under pressure from the Israel lobby in Washington and because it did not want admit to its weak influence over Israel, the influence according to which peace movements began in the 80s and remain until today.
The American administration must now say that it is giving the utmost importance to the peace process. It needs to show some strictness towards Israel and its settlement and occupation policies, which led in the past and are leading today, to obstacles to a peaceful solution. Diplomatic niceties may be an acceptable tradition in a time of calm and normal conditions, but the peace process and Washington’s role as a mediator necessitate something more decisive than soft words, as long as the matter concerns the security and stability at present and for generations to come. (Al Quds)
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