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Dec. 17, 2014
Daily summary - Thursday, February 20, 2014
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Abbas met Kerry in Paris
President Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday in Paris with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The two discussed during the meeting developments in the ongoing peace negotiations. The meeting was attended by, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, Advisor to President Omar Khalidi, diplomat and Adviser Akram Haniyeh and Ambassador of the State of Palestine to France Hail Al-Fahoum.(http://safa.ps/details/news/123061/%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%8A-%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B3.html)
Spokeswoman of the US Foreign Ministry Jennifer Bosacki said "we have reached an important point in the negotiations where we work to bridge the gap between the two sides on a framework for negotiations.” Bosacki added that "It was appropriate to hold a discussion for a couple of hours with President Abbas and discuss priority issues.” Israeli army radio reported yesterday that the United States will ask the Israeli Government to freeze settlement in the West Bank after reaching a "framework agreement". (http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/489819)

Kerry hints at the possibility that settlers stay under Palestinian sovereignty in future agreement
US Foreign Minister John Kerry hinted the possibility of Jewish settlers staying in the West Bank under Palestinian sovereignty under a future peace agreement.US Secretary of State said in response to a question, it is not certain that Jewish settlers will be evacuated from their homes under this agreement. Kerry’s statements came in a television program "Ovda” aired on channel 2 of Israeli television.Kerry said he is determined to complete the elaboration of the framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will pave the way for further negotiations on the permanent status.On a related level, Israeli daily Maariv reported that Kerry and members of the US negotiations team are seeking ways to reduce the number of settlers who will be evacuated in under an agreement, and to keep several thousand of them under Palestinian sovereignty.(http://safa.ps/details/news/123078/%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A8%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B7%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9.html)

The United States angry of Saeb Erekat
US officials expressed concern over remarks by Chief negotiator Palestinian Saeb Erekat, threatened to act to strengthen economic boycott of Israel. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mary Harvey said "we are of course concerned about the remarks made by Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.” Harvey added: “US officials hinted that Kerry complained against Erekat during a meeting in Paris with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday saying: ‘we have always said that it is important to create a positive atmosphere to stop personal attacks, quite frankly, unhelpful, and that these kinds of comments are disappointing, and are not useful, especially when it is coming from a person involved in the negotiations.(http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675032)

World Bank: economic data in Palestine not optimistic:
Representative of the World Bank Udo Kock said that economic data in Palestineare not optimistic, and most importantly, this will be decided by the future political process, and that it’s very important in the expected scenarios to keep the authority in performing its tasks. Kock said in a lecture at the economic policy Institute, "Diamond"that “the economic growth in the past three years, with increased unemployment and the financial position of the authority is an improvement but is not enough, and the Government debt continues to grow, reaching higher rates in 2013,” warning of the dangers of the Government's accumulated debt of banks, which affect the economic situation.(http://www.wattan.tv/ar/news/86711.html)

Feiglin storms the Dome of Rock
Likud Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin stormed the Dome of Rock yesterday morning under tight protection of Israeli police. This is the first time Feiglin storms Al-Aqsasince about a year, after being prevented from entering Al-Aqsa as a result of confrontation erupting during his presence in Al-Aqsa. Feiglin said during the storming: "Al-Aqsa is for Jews and Arabs have to move to their place of origin Saudi Arabia, the Dome of Rock is a Jewish synagogue, not for Muslims.” A cameraman accompanied Feiglin in his round to film it.(http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/489690)

A plan to construct a settlement building near Hadasa hospital
Harretz revealed yesterday a plan by the Minister of Housing Uri Ariel to construct a settlement building including 2,250 units in Ein Karem west of Jerusalem.The for construction through the so-called the Israel land authority, estimating the project value of 800 million NIS, which would solve the problems of Hadasa hospital  which suffers from a budget deficit, through built hundreds of units around it. (Al-Ayyam)

Settlers uprooted 700 olive saplings in Turmus Ayya
Settlers uprooted more than 700 olive saplings in an area called Al-Zahrat near the town of Turmus Ayya north of Ramallah yesterday. Citizen Awad Abu Samra told “Wafa” that the citizens discovered during an inspection of their land the uprooting and stealing olive saplings by a group of settlers from “Adi Am” settlement established on lands of the village of Qaryut, south of Nablus.Abu Samra noted that the citizens had found the identity card of one of the settlers, adding that the attack is the second in less than 20 days, where in the first event more than 450 olive saplings were uprooted.(Al-Ayyam)

Israeli decided to finance the construct of four new settlement buildings in "Beit El"
The Israeli Government decided to finance the establishment of 4 public buildings in the Jewish settlement of Beit El, as part of a compensation package for the settlers of the "Ulpana” neighborhood in the settlement, which was evicted in 2012.According to Haaretz newspaper reported that documents it received  indicates that the cost of each of the four planned public buildings is 5 million NIS, and that this amount will be cut from the state budget, in addition to the millions of Shekels that were already transferred by the Government to the settlement. Haaretz considered the building of the four public buildings in the settlement of 7,000 residents as very "weird", while rejecting many of the demands made by many local Councils to set up public buildings.(Al-Quds)

Livni: failure to reach a peace agreement means the end of Zionism and the Jewish State
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said: "the failure to reach agreement with the Palestinians meant the end of Zionism and the Jewish and democratic State".Livni who is responsible for the negotiations file added during a speech before the Conference of Heads of Jewish organizations in occupied Jerusalem, that the majority of the people of Israel support an agreement that ensures the interests of Israel, saying that "the sounds we hear are the voices of those who oppose the agreement because they prefer the land of Israel over the State of Israel, but they don't talk about the price of their ideology, the end of Zionism and a Jewish and democratic State".Livni said "I will fight for settlement blocs, but the isolated settlements are not part of the security of Israel, but only aim at preventing us from reaching an agreement.” (Al-Quds)

Knesset decides to stop allocations to released prisoners from inside the green line
According to Israeli "channel 7" website, Israeli Knesset approved yesterday afternoon the first reading of the draft resolution submitted by the Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin, to stop disbursement of national insurance allocationsfor Palestinians prisoners from inside the green line who will be released. (Al-Ayyam)

The European Union promises to continued financial support for the Palestinian Authority
Representative of the European Union John Gatt-Rutter said that the role of The European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) is to help providing greater incentives for the Palestinian Authority to implement further political reforms in key sectors such as justice, security, human rights, good governance, energy and water. Gatt-Rutter said that the EU will provide exceptional incentives to the Palestinian Authority and will continue supporting it in the future.  (Al-Ayyam)

Occupation seized money from citizens at a checkpoint south of Bethlehem
Israeli forces seized a large amount of money from Citizen Faisal Abdel Moneim Badarren (36 years) fromSammou’ in Hebron at a military checkpoint south of Bethlehem.According to a security source Israeli forces erected a checkpoint at the southern entrance to the Town Al-Khader, and stop the vehicle of citizen Badarren, and confiscated from him 5,000 Jordanian dinars and 5,000 shekels.(http://www.raya.ps/ar/news/851799.html)

Haaretz: negotiations provide a cover to demolish more housesin Jerusalem
Hebrew daily Haaretz revealed today morning an unprecedented rise in the number of houses destroyed by the Israeli occupation in occupied Jerusalem since the beginning of this year. The data showed that the occupation municipality have destroyed 12 building during the two months since the beginning of this year, of which the majority were inhabited, compared with demolition of 25 building over the past year, most of which were not inhabited.Israeli officials attributed the increase in demolitions to the absence of political pressure on the Israeli Government since the start of the current round of negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, which opened the door wide to the return of demolition policy, and that the calm in Jerusalem allows carrying out the demolitions.(http://safa.ps/details/news/123080/%D9%87%D8%A2%D8%B1%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%BA%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%84%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%88%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9.html)

Israeli Attorney General reveals statistics about detention of minors in the West Bank
The Israeli Attorney General Maurice Hirsch revealed statistics about arrests of minors in the West. Hirsch said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the most significant statistics are that only 30 minors out of 1000 that were arrested in 2013 issued complaints about an abuse during their arrest. Another statistic shows that among 660 minors who were arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, 15% of these cases was closed, meaning that about 100 cases. Hirsch said that these stats prove the invalidity allegations in the arrest of 200 Palestinians minors every month, meaning 2,400 during the year.(http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675036)
Headlines
** Israeli army: the next war would start with rockets on Tel Aviv and we will respond in a very harsh attack on Gaza (Al-Ayyam)
** Appointing Dr. Fawaz Aqel adviser with the rank of Minister and Abu Diak as Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers (Al-Ayyam)
** Arabic League decides to open a special account in support of Palestinian and Arab prisoners (Al-Ayyam)
** 6 killed and 129 injured in a double bombing in Daheya Al-Janobeyah in Beirut (Al-Ayyam)
** Euro-Mediterranean: a new wave of immigration of Syrian and Palestinian refugees to Europe through the sea (Al-Ayyam)
** Hadil Dudin… left home to university 8 days ago and did not return (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Egypt confirmed a secret channel between Israel and Hamas (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Israeli establishes a special military unit to deal with consequences of the Syrian crisis (Al-Quds)
** Jordan warns Israel of facilitating entry of Extremists to Al-Aqsa (Al-Quds)
** A deal to export Israeli gas to two Jordanian companies worth $ 500 million (al-Quds)
Front Page Photos
Al- Quds:Jerusalem – Punctured tires by settlers in Shurafat near Beit Safafa.
Al-Ayyam:  1) President Abbas during his meeting with Kerry in Paris yesterday, 2) Beirut – citizens flee a bombing site in Daheyah Al-Janobeya.
Al Hayat Al Jadida:.1) Slogans sprayed in Jerusalem saying: “Arabs... thieves no coexistence with them”, 2) President meets Kerry in Paris, 3)
Voice of Palestine News
Jerusalem: Feglein’s provocative visit to the Aqsa yesterday was in response to the ‘suspension’ and not the cancellation of the Knesset session to discuss sovereignty over the Aqsa and to strip Jordan’s guardianship. Last year over 8,000 soldiers broke into the Aqsa in addition to the settlers.
This morning, the Israeli planning and construction committee is to meet to listen to the appeals against the settlement plan known as “Kedem” which is to be built at the entrance to Silwan over 6,000 square meters.
Israel’s policy towards Jerusalem today revolves around three measures: settlement and land takeover; break ins and desecration of holy sites; and the escalation of attacks by extremist Israelis.
Voice of Palestine Interviews
** Abdel Nasser Nassar, Jordanian legal advisor for Islamic holy sites, on Feglein’s break in and Israeli measures in Al Aqsa
Q:  Jordan has warned against all of these break-ins. Do you think Israel is hearing your message?
Jordan’s official position is that it completely rejects all such behaviors and we always demand that Israel honor the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel, especially Article 9, which stipulates respect for holy sites in Jerusalem. In the same context, we also reject any impingement on Jordan’s historical and political role in Jerusalem. We continue to reaffirm that all of these behaviors are a violation of international charters and also that these actions harm the sentiments of all Muslims, not just those in Jordan and Palestine.
Q: Does Jordan think the situation is moving towards more escalation, which will eventually lead to a religious war?
We always remind Israel that Jordan is responsible for guarding the Aqsa and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and we always say Israel must stop these violations against them. We follow up on what is going on every day. What we have been doing is trying to increase the religious students that remain inside the grounds and increase school activities inside the compound as part of a plan to have a constant presence of Muslims inside in order to confront attempts to break in by extremist Jews.
**Yousef Shawish, one of the men who was attacked and beaten at Qalandiya checkpoint yesterday
I was going home with my friend and we were stopped at the checkpoint by a female Israeli soldier who asked for our IDs. One of the other soldiers made us go back to check our ID cards again and after we got in a fight with the soldiers, a soldier spit at my friend and he spit back. When I tried to see where they were taking my friend, one soldier hit me in the back of the head. I passed out. My friend was detained until 4 in the morning and I was taken to hospital until 3 in the morning. I got two stiches in my head and I have bruises on my arms and back. My friend has bruises too.
**Issa Qarqe’, minister for prisoners affairs, on the Arab League Council’s statement on the need to release all prisoners as a precursor to any peace agreement and a fund to be set up for them
Q: What do these statements actually mean for prisoners?
This meaning has much importance, especially since it came at such a crucial time. The council said it supports the leadership and seeking a just peace. It reaffirmed that the prisoners are a major part of any agreement. A legal committee was formed to follow up on previous decisions that were taken and to put them into effect in regards to the prisoners.  This includes addressing the UN on their decisions on Palestinian prisoners. We addressed the committee and briefed them on the conditions of prisoners inside prisons. We focused on sick prisoners who are in dangerous condition.
One of the more important decisions the council made was to approve the fund which had been passed back in 2011. It formed a committee of a number of Arab countries and headed by Palestine and opened an account for this fund to collect support and money for freed prisoners for their rehabilitation. Iraq was the first country to contribute with $2 million.
The meeting comes at a time when the prisoners are in need of Arab support more than ever.
Q: These are good decisions, but how likely is it that they will be implemented on the ground?
We did discuss this. We told them that in many previous meetings, decisions were taken but never implemented. The secretariat and secretary general were very understanding of our concerns along with the other Arab members and this is why a legal committee was formed to set mechanisms for the decisions’ implementation.
**EU spokesperson Shadi Othman, on EU aid to the PA
Q: Were the US statements about aid to the PA made for any specific occasion?
These statements are within the framework of a change in the mechanism for support by the EU to partner countries in the region. They are a reaffirmation of the EU’s support to the Palestinian people and the PA, which will continue throughout this year. This year there is also political partnership that will go towards increasing this support and giving more incentives as well to the PA.
Q: What do you mean by a change in mechanism for the funding?
There will be more discussion about two-year plans, promoting cooperation between the PA and the EU; about focusing support on certain sectors, in this case the private sector, water sources, the rule of law, etc. all for the sake of reaping better results.
Q: To which sectors did the EU funding go in the past?
The PA offers around 400 million euros a year to the PA and the Palestinian people. Some goes to UNRWA, others go to the PA for salaries and running costs while some goes to projects in civil society and towards building state institutions. Today, we are talking about focusing funding through a more technical mechanism but the core of the funding will remain the same. We are also waiting to see the outcome of the negotiating process.
Q: If there is a political breakthrough, does this mean there will be an increase in EU funding?
EU ministers met last year in which they said the EU would offer the PA and Israel ‘unprecedented incentives.” For the future Palestinian state and the PA, we are talking about a partner country with special privileges.
Q: And what if the peace process fails? Will this affect the EU’s funding policies towards the PA?
First, we prefer to speak in the framework of success for these negotiations. Speaking about the failure of these talks is premature and pessimistic. However, in the end, the EU is a real partner to the PA and the EU has never and will not use its aid to the Palestinian people as a way of pressuring the PA to accept anything that goes against their interests.
**Ahmad Majdalani, head of the PLO committee in Syria, on the situation of Palestinian refugees there
Q:What is the situation in Yarmouk at the moment?
Assistance convoys have been halted from entering the camp for several days now as well as the exit of sick refugees because of the procedures taking place in side in terms of the withdrawal of foreign groups and takeover by Palestinian groups. This required minimum movement to and from the camp so there would not be any friction. But a few days ago, it was confirmed that all the foreign groups had withdrawn, so the aid should resume. We are preparing to resume this operation now that we are sure the armed groups are out. We are also beginning a cleanup operation for all the debris inside so that services could return to the camp, especially water and electricity. We are also preparing for those who were displaced from the camp to return.
Q: But in the last four days, four people died in Yarmouk, three from starvation. Does this mean that things have not been resolved completely?
I would like to deny this completely. The information coming out of the working group for Palestinians in Syria is grossly inaccurate. It is known that they use this for political purposes. We double checked the information. The people they mentioned, had died several months ago, not recently. So I would ask our media to be  careful of which information they take. We provided families with food and medicines, so it does not make any sense that people are dying of hunger. It is immoral to exploit people’s suffering for their own political purposes. 
More Headlines
Egypt confirmed a secret channel between Israel and Hamas
Egyptian informed sources confirmed the existence of a secret channel and communications between Hamad leadership and Netanyahu’s Government through Gershon Baskin, who played major role in reaching the Shalit deal. The sources said that it has evidences of this information that reveals Hamas’ involvement in the Gaza-Sinai state, a project Israel was trying to promote for a long time under the temporary borders state plan. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
Jordan warns Israel of facilitating entry of Extremists to Al-Aqsa
Jordanian Minister of State for information Affairs Mohammad Momani said that storming Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards by Knesset member Moshe Feiglin and extremist settlers is a serious Israeli escalation especially after canceling a discussion session of the Knesset on the sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Momani strongly condemned in a press statement yesterday what the MK did and his racist remarks under protection from the Israeli army and police. Momani held the Israeli Government as an occupation power, the responsible for allowing extremists to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, increasingly and repeatedly, warned of any attempts to facilitate the entry of radicals into Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Al-Quds)
Israeli army: the next war would start with rockets on Tel Aviv and we will respond in a very harsh strike on Gaza
Commander of the Israeli army's southern district Sami Turgeman said that “the next battle will start where the previous battle ended with the firing of Hamas rockets on Tel Aviv,” vowing a “harsh strike on Gaza to prevent Hamas from using such a weapon.” Turgeman added that "the real challenge lies in the military force stationed in the Gaza Strip of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as they build capacity in these days in preparation for the zero hour." (Al-Ayyam)
Israeli forces stormed Nablus and launched a wide campaign of arrests and raids
Israeli troops raided the village of Kufor Qadduom, west of Nablus today morning and searched houses while damaging and destroying their content, before arresting 7 people and taking them to an unknown destination.  “Quds.net” reporter said the occupation army arrested: Murad Mahmoud Abdelkader Shteiwi, Baha’ Majid Besim Shteiwi, Fares Nidal Ahmed Juma', Feras Nidal Ahmed Juma’, Mu’en Abdullatif BArham,  Ayman AbdulKareem Muhammad Shteiwi and Mutasim AbdulMannan Mahmoud Juma’. Israeli occupation soldiers attacked many citizens during the arrests, as violent clashes between youths and soldiers erupted in more than one location in the village, where Israeli soldiers fired tear gas targeting houses directly. (http://qudsnet.com/news/View/266496/)
Arab Press
Jordan’s Al Aqsa success

by Daoud Kuttab

Jordan succeeded this week to force the Israeli Knesset to cancel a discussion planned for Tuesday regarding Al Aqsa Mosque.

The public debate was initiated by the deputy speaker of the Israeli legislature, Moshe Feiglen, and was intended to focus on the issue of sovereignty over the third holiest place in Islam.

Rightwing Israelis want to remove any non-Israeli control over the mosque area.

Al Haram Al Sharif, built in the seventh century, is a walled area that spans 144 dunums and includes two mosques (the silver-domed Al Aqsa Mosque and the gold-covered Dome of the Rock), as well as court areas, an Islamic museum, a Sharia Islamic court and other facilities.

The cancellation of the Israeli Knesset session followed what appeared to be a well-orchestrated public, private and governmental approach.

Jordan’s Parliament got the ball rolling initially, with a strong statement by its Palestine committee threatening to cancel the Israeli-Jordan treaty if the status of the revered Islamic site is changed.

Jordan’s treaty with Israel clearly specifies the Hashemite Kingdom’s unique role in protecting the status of holy shrines in Jerusalem. Furthermore, a Palestinian-Jordanian agreement that recognises Palestinian sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem accepts the role of the Hashemites as guardians of Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.

The statement of the parliamentary committee was followed by two boisterous sessions in Parliament, in which legislators of all backgrounds spoke out against the intended actions of Israeli extremists.

The prime minister, Abdullah Ensour, while stating that no decision had been taken, informed parliamentarians and the Jordanian public that the issue is being handled diplomatically and that the Israelis were reminded of their obligations in the peace treaty.

He said that Israelis “can’t pick and choose” which clauses in the treaty they want to respect.

King Abdullah is reported to have communicated privately with the Israelis and the Americans on the issue.

Various Jordanian civil society organisations echoed similar sentiments and the weekly Thursday anti-Israeli protest in Al Rabia, near the Israeli embassy, also reflected Jordanians’ opposition to any change in the status quo of Jerusalem’s old city.

This small success to temporarily stem the rightwing Jewish onslaught on Jerusalem’s holy places is not likely to be the end of the story.

Rightwing elements continue to have a majority in the ruling Likud Party and have a strong presence in Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Various rightwing individuals and groups in Israel wish to change the situation of what they call the Temple Mount, despite legal, political and even religious opposition.

In 1967, Israel’s chief rabbi issued a declaration banning Jews from stepping foot in Al Aqsa Mosque area for fear that they would be defiling areas that were once the Jewish temple and which might contain sacred items.

The ruling has been renewed recently, yet the Islamic waqf recorded in 2013 an increase in unauthorised Israeli infiltrations into the mosque area.

Abdallah Abadi, head of the Jerusalem department in the Islamic waqf, told Radio Al Balad Monday that 63 infiltrations were recorded in 2013.

Abadi said that Jordan, which pays the salaries of 600 Islamic waqf officials, has increased the number of guards that are stationed outside the mosques’ gates from 167 to 180.

Islamic waqf guards, who are responsible for protecting the holy site, have to cooperate with Israeli police who guard the mosque at the gates. Israel, however, has retained exclusive control over the Moghrabi gate, which is connected by a bridge to the Western Wall area, and it is from this gate that Israeli rightwing infiltrations take place.

If properly invested, this modest Jordanian success can be built on to stitch together an understanding that can lower the political and religious temperature in Jerusalem and possibly help improve the atmosphere towards a more comprehensive peace agreement.(http://jordantimes.com/jordans-al-aqsa-success)

Israel on the road to self-destruction

By JAMAL DOUMANI

THERE always comes a time for nations, as for individuals, when they encounter a moment of truth in their lives, a turning point that they have to turn with or be left by the wayside. One such moment will soon confront Israel.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was right when he observed at a conference in Munich recently that if the current negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians fail — because, say, of new-fangled demands that Israel continues to make, including the demand that Palestinians recognize it as “the nation state of the Jewish people” — then the peace process aimed at achieving a two-state solution in historic Palestine is over, effectively for good.

What awaits Israel after that is a “delegitimization campaign that’s been building up,” he observed. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. “Israeli politicians predictably berated Kerry for his remarks, claiming that this amounted to pressure exerted on Tel Aviv to make concessions.

But Kerry was ahead of the game when he proffered his warning. The “kinds of things” building up against Israel is more than mere “boycotts.” The movement known as The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), begun less than a decade ago, has morphed into a global campaign that is using economic, political and academic pressure to force Israel to comply with international law, end its occupation and colonization of Arab land, give full equality to Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect the right return of Palestinian refugees.

All of which echoes the anti-apartheid campaign against the white minority rule in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Clearly, the BDS movement was born out of frustration by people around the world at the inability of the UN and at the ineffectiveness of US diplomacy to broker a peace deal. And Kerry was right to remind Israelis that they should be alarmed at the prospect of seeing their state upgraded from a pariah to an apartheid state. The days are gone when Israel, initially seen as a haven for the Jews, could present itself as a victim state in a life and death struggle against Palestinian terrorists and intransigent Arab leaders reluctant to accept its existence (the 2002 Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative puts the lie to that notion). Israel is thus now faced with three options, and three options only.

It can go along with a two-state solution in historic Palestine. It can go along with bi-nationalism that sees the emergence of one state, for two peoples, of three religions. Or it can opt for apartheid, that is, the imposition of the rule of the gun on a subjugated people, a situation that, as the South African model would attest, could not have been sustained indefinitely.

Kerry was not, clearly, applying subtle pressure on Israel when he warned it to see the writing on the wall, that time was running out, that people around the world today are, as it were, prepared, ready, able and willing to do to it what others had done in the past to apartheid South Africa. What is equally clear is that if the current round of negotiations fails, that would be it. There will be no other “peace process” initiated by Washington, the UN or any other interested party for years to come Israel may see that as an “opportunity,” an opportunity to create more “facts on the ground,” an act that the whole world, without exception, sees as a violation of international law.

What Israel sees as an opportunity for itself, Kerry quite presciently sees as a disaster for an entity that appears hell-bent on self-destruction.(http://www.arabnews.com/news/528206)



Abbas does not speak for Palestinian refugees

Gulf News

Mahmoud Abbas told an Israeli audience in Ramallah that he does not want to “drown” Israel with Palestinian refugees so as not to alter the demographics of the country. The statement was, in effect, a recognition of the “right” of the Israeli state to be and remain as one primarily for Jews with a Jewish majority. That, in the simplest terms, is the very essence of the Zionist ideology. This is the ideology that governs the Israeli regime and is the basis and justification of its colonisation of Palestinian land in 1948, and its continuation of colonisation of the West Bank today.

Abbas made a similar, shocking revelation in November, when in an interview with an Israeli news outlet, he waived his right — and effectively that of millions of Palestinian refugees — to return to their former homes in what is now the Israeli state. The right of return of Palestinian refugees is recognised by international law, as is the right of any refugee. Abbas may have had the mandate of the Palestinian public to rule over them, make decisions on their behalf and represent them abroad, but that mandate has long expired. Furthermore, this mandate was given to him by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. What right, then, does he have to make decisions on behalf of the millions of refugees who had no say in electing him? The president may be living in relative comfort, but millions of Palestinian refugees languish in refugee ghettos around the region. Some in recent months have even starved to death in Syria.

Abbas has often been accused of being Israel’s governor in Ramallah. He is not doing much to dispel that sentiment. His statements beg the question: Who, after all, is his constituency?(http://gulfnews.com/opinions/editorials/abbas-does-not-speak-for-palestinian-refugees-1.1292660)
Opinions
Netanyahu’s illusions
By Mohammed Obeid
The Prime Minister of occupation, annexation and racist expansion Benjamin Netanyahu is banking on a future where he can find a ‘younger generation’ among the Palestinians who will recognize the so-called Jewish state of Israel. Perhaps he is quoting on of the phrases of Israel’s founders PM David Ben Gurion who coined the famous saying “The old will die and the young will forget,” in reference to the crimes of uprooting and ethnic cleansing carried out by him and his partners against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.
However, this phrase was soon blown away in the wind. Sixty-six years after the Palestinian Nakba, it has been irrefutably proven that this catastrophe lives in the consciences of Palestinian children as their dream of return, and in the stories, keys and deeds carried by their elders, which have been handed down to the next generation in the hopes that their eyes will one day rest on their homeland.
Regardless of the depth of illusion which Netanyahu is emerged in, he realizes that his words are nothing more than a renewal of his commitment to Zionist propaganda and a continuation of it. he knows it will not have an impact on the Palestinian people or a sympathetic ear. There is much evidence to his effect, first and foremost that the generation which lived through the period of the Oslo Accords is the same one that led the second Intifada when the occupation tried to impinge on the Aqsa Mosque.
Netanyahu’s illusions, his policies and his crimes are on two opposite sides of the spectrum. As he spews out this propaganda, he continues to point the finger at his allies before his enemies, accusing them of attacking ‘Israel’ and being ‘anti-Semitic’ because of the effect the boycott has had in Europe on Israeli products, companies and universities. Meanwhile, he is continuing his rabid campaign in occupied Jerusalem, aimed at completely Judaizing it. The most recent manifestation of this is the discovery made by the Islamic-Christian higher commission for Jerusalem and its holy sites about the occupation’s plans to add the Aqsa Mosque to the list of so-called “Jewish heritage.”
This alone reaffirms the realization of Israel and its most extreme leaders that the Palestinian people will not relinquish their historical and inalienable rights and will continue to struggle to regain them. It also proves that the occupation and its leaders fear the moment when they find themselves forced to pay a heavy price.
For that Palestinian people to forget their rights – this is an illusion. For future generations to continue to adhere to these rights and constants, this is a fact. This is the equation that those deep in their own arrogant delusions and grandeurs of power have been trying to obliterate for decades. They have failed time and again and they have realized that rights do not die, nor are they made null with the deaths of their owners or with time.
Jerusalem is now in danger of complete Judaization; its people are facing policies of destruction, siege, uprooting and attempts at ethnic cleansing with even more steadfastness and clinging to their land. The enemy does not hesitate in its attempts to empty the holy city of its original inhabitants by all means and methods. But nonetheless, unfortunately we see those who are still looking for people within this ‘entity’ to address and speak to about peace. What peace? What settlement are the Palestinians waiting for when they see for themselves that Israel is not interested? The Palestinians know that merely making contact with them or with anyone in this ‘entity’ – directly or indirectly –does not serve any goal and does not achieve any interest for them. (http://www.alkhaleej.ae/studiesandopinions/page/ef548656-1625-4499-988a-ff4f986dacda)

A new meeting…are there any new proposals?
Al Quds Editorial
More than one Palestinian official has reconfirmed that there will be no extension on the period for negotiations, which ends at the end of April – not even for ‘one minute.’ If no progress is made in these talks, the PA will resort to gaining membership in international organizations. The April deadline is approaching and there is nothing on the horizon that indicates to any real progress. On the contrary, all indications are pointing in the opposite direction. The Palestinian and Israeli positions are still very far apart because of Israel’s settlement measures, which never stop, in addition to the new conditions concocted by Israel for any agreement to be reached, the most recent invention being the recognition of the Jewish character of Israel and as a state for the Jewish people just as Palestine is the state for the Palestinian people. This is a flagrant paradox because the term ‘Palestinian people’ does not have one religious identity, which is what Israel is trying to do.
President Abu Mazen was clear on this point when he told a group of Jewish students that if Israel obtained a UN resolution on the Jewish character of Israel then the Palestinians would recognize it, given that it would be come international legitimacy.
The right of return would become implausible if we recognized the Jewish state. Hence, we have heard reports and statements by unnamed Palestinian officials claiming that the United States proposed a list of names of refugees who wanted to return, contingent upon Israel’s approval of course. This is an attempt, which most likely will not succeed, to water down the issue of right of return along with gaining acceptance for the Jewish state in addition to other points on the rights of its other citizens.
As for the Jordan Valley, Israel has already officially announced its rejection of any NATO forces at the borders, something suggested by the PA. Instead, it insists on maintaining its own soldiers – that is, its occupation – in the area.
In the midst of these conditions and the daily announcements of new settlement neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the West Bank, President Abbas met least night with US secretary of state John Kerry in Paris. As usual, nothing was announced about details regarding the talks, sufficing to say that that the issue of peace and the infamous framework agreement had been discussed.
More than one Palestinian official has said confirmed that Kerry has not yet put forth any proposals in writing, but that there has been an exchange of ideas and suggestions with the hope that the viewpoints could be brought closer together and a written framework agreement can be reached.
According to most observers, it is clear that without the US administration adopting a just peace plan and responding to international legitimacy in accordance with the two state solution on peaceful foundations, their mediation and the repeated meeting s will not lead to any results because of Israel’s arrogance and intransigence. So, will the Paris meeting have been just another meeting discussing old ideas or will it have been a new meeting that discussed new ideas? Nobody knows the answer because there is an agreement not to divulge details until a framework agreement is reached or no agreement at all. (http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/489830)
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