Dec. 17, 2014
Daily summary - Friday, February 21, 2014
PRESIDENCY: WE WILL NOT AGREE TO ANY AGREEMENT THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE OUR PERMANENT POSITIONS; KERRY AND ABBAS MEET
Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeineh said yesterday that the leadership would not agree to any agreement, whether a framework of final agreement, if it did not include Arab and Palestinian positions based in international legitimacy. Abu Rdeineh told WAFA that the Palestinian position was fixed and permanent and it was the position of President Abbas and the entire leadership, which Abbas conveyed to US secretary Kerry yesterday in their meeting. He said there would be no state without East Jerusalem as its capital, the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, settlements are illegal and the Palestinian state must be based on the 1967 borders. Also, he said a just solution to the refugee problem must be found and all prisoners must be released. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675158)
Furthermore, US secretary of state John Kerry and President Abbas met yesterday in Paris in a bid to push the peace negotiations forward. A senior source in the State Department said the talks, which lasted two hours between the two sides were ‘constructive.” The source, which asked to remain unnamed said the two sides agreed to maintain contact and discuss the core issues over the next few weeks. Still, Palestinian ambassador to Paris, Hayel Fahoum confirmed that Kerry did not present any draft for a framework agreement during the meeting. http://www.al-(ayyam.com/article.aspx?did=233967&date=)
SOURCE TO MAAN: PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS MEET TO DISCUSS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Deputy president of the Palestinian Environment Authority Jamal Matur told Maan yesterday that a meeting had been held with Israeli environment minister Ameer Peretz and a number of Israeli officials to discuss several environmental problems that the Palestinians suffer from in the West Bank. Matur said the meeting was held in Tel Aviv and the most important issues discussed were Israel barring the opening of a dump site east of Taqou’ near Bethlehem at a cost of $38 million after they conditioned its opening with allowing settlers in the region to also use it. The Palestinians continue to reject this condition, saying the settlers in the West Bank are there illegally. Matour also said the two sides discussed opening a dumpsite for Ramallah and Al Bireh and also the issue of freedom of movement and infrastructure projects in Area C. Furthermore, the Palestinians demanded that settlement factors around Tulkarm be shut down, saying they posed a health hazard to Palestinian residents in the vicinity. The Israeli minister said he would ‘look into the issues’ and would respond to the Palestinians on them. Matur denied that regular monthly meetings take place between the two sides. Matur also denied Israeli reports that Israel and the PA had reached an agreement on forming joint teams to deal with environmental issues pertaining to both sides. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675327)
KNESSET MEMBERS THREATEN NETANYAHU AGAINST FREEZING SETTLEMENTS; RIGHT WING MARCH IN JORDAN VALLEY
According to the Hebrew language daily Yedioth Ahranoth yesterday, Knesset members from Jewish Home and Israel Baytinu are threatening Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against freezing settlement construction during the negotiations. The newspaper’s website said information that had reached the so-called “Land of Israel’ lobby in the Knesset was that Israel may be asked to agree to a freeze on settlements during the negotiations. The lobby responded by saying that “we strongly oppose the freezing of settlements, even in settlements outside of settlement blocs; we view Israel’s commitment to such a request as a breach of understandings,” it said in a statement. Deputy foreign minister Zeev Elkin also said he hoped Netanyahu would not heed to Palestinian and international pressure and not freeze settlements.
Furthermore, today, the Israeli right has organized a march in the Jordan Valley under the slogan “The Valley must remain under Israeli control” in which a number of ministers and Knesset members will participate. (http://www.qudsnet.com/news/View/266564/)
NEW SETTLEMENT BLOC GROWING SOUTH OF HEBRON
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz today, the Israeli defense ministry is close to approving the transformation of the settlement outpost of Avigal built on Palestinian land south of Hebron into a settlement. It said the settlement is already splayed out over 1,000 dunams of Palestinian land. According to the newspaper, the settlement outpost will be included in a new settlement bloc south of Hebron which will include the outposts of: Beit Yatir, Havat Lotsifir, Susisya, Avigal and Maon in addition to the settlement of Karmel. The outpost was established in 2001 and was supposed to be evacuated according to the roadmap agreement, but was never implemented. (http://safa.ps/details/news/123162.html)
ISRAELI OCCUPATION FORCES ARREST 17 PEOPLE IN THE WEST BANK, FINE THE FAMILY OF A BOY ON CLAIMS THAT HE THREW ROCKS AT SETTLERS IN HEBRON; INJURIES IN NABI SALEH
Israeli occupation forces arrested seven youths from Kufr Qaddum near Qalqilya yesterday, raided the town of Madama and arrested four boys and beat another. In Hebron, four people were arrested and the family of one boy, Awni Abu Shamsiyeh, was fined for NIS300 on claims that he threw rocks at settlers on Shuhada street in the city. Two other young men were arrested in Araqala and Yabad in the Jenin area. In Madama, residents said they are holding Israeli occupation forces completely responsible for the life of ‘Fares’ who was severely beaten by the troops and who suffered several head injuries. (http://www.al-ayyam.com/article.aspx?did=233970&date=)
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces continued to target the village of Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah area for the 10th day in a row. Yesterday afternoon, a number of soldiers stormed the village and shot teargas and rubber coated metal bullets along with live ammunition, injuring dozens of people. Three homes were also damaged. In Burin, settlers attacked the local high school, prompting confrontations. (http://www.al-ayyam.com/article.aspx?did=233975&date=)
OCCUPATION AUTHORITIES STEP UP DEMOLITIONS IN JERUSLAEM
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz yesterday there has been a tangible rise in the number of homes demolished in East Jerusalem, saying that in 2013, 25 buildings were torn down, some of which were uninhabited. The newspaper added that in the first month and a half of 2014 already 12 buildings had been demolished, most of which were inhabited. They also said that in recent years, the municipality had avoided home demolitions because of pressures from political parties, adding that with the start of negotiations with the Palestinians, this political pressure had declined and the municipality had resumed its policy. (Al Ayyam)
TWO YOUNG WOMEN KILLED, ONE BEATEN BY HER FRATHER IN JABALIYA AND ONE STABBED BY HER BROTHER IN KHAN YOUNIS
Yesterday, two young women were killed at the hands of their male relatives in the Gaza Strip. According to spokesperson for the deposed government in Gaza Ayoub Abu Shaar, “A.S”, 17-year old was killed last night in the family’s home in Bani Suheil east of Khan Younis, at the hands of her brother. He said the police found the body covered in blood in the home after her brother had stabbed her to death. The brother was immediately arrested and an investigation has been open into the incident.
In a separate incident, police arrested the father of a 16-year old girl from the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The police said the girl had died two days ago and had been buried hastily. The police received a phone call implicating foul play in the death and exhumed the body for investigation. They said the body had shown signs of beating and assault which had resulted in her death. The father was charged with her murder. (http://www.al-ayyam.com/article.aspx?did=233971&date=). Some media sources have said the girl suffers from Down Syndrome and the call to the police came from her mother, who is d divorced from the father.
MINSITRY OF ECONOMY DESTROYS 30 TONS OF SETTLEMENT PRODUCTS
The Ministry of Economy in coordination with the Bethlehem governorate destroyed yesterday 30 tons of settlement projects, which had been seized in the village of Hussan near the Itimar settlement. At the time, Israeli troops had prevented the products’ destruction and had confiscated the truckload of goods, which were later released. The products included food, cleaning products and cosmetics, which were expired and spoiled. (Al Quds)
TURKEY TRANSFERS $5 MILLION TO LANDOWNERS IN JENIN’S INDUSTRIAL ZONE
Palestine’s ambassador to Turkey Nabil Ma’arouf said yesterday that the Turkish government will transfer $5 million in the next two days to the PA as part of the sum allocated for compensation for land taken to set up an industrial zone in Jenin. The infrastructure for this zone had been delayed, awaiting the compensation. Turkey had agreed back in 2011 to transfer $10 million to the landowners but had fallen back on payment. Now, after the money is transferred, infrastructure works are expected to begin. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
DRAFT LAW PRESIDENT FOR ORGANIZING EVACUATION AND COMPENSATION FOR WEST BANK SETTLERS
Meretz member Ilan Gilon presented a draft law to the Knesset yesterday stipulating the organization of the evacuation and compensation of settlers from the occupied West Bank in exchange for their withdrawal. The draft law stipulates granting full compensation for settlers who cannot go back over the Green Line because of economic reasons while also granting settlers who settled outside the separation wall alternatives inside the 1957 borders. According to Haaretz, the draft law indicates that there are settlements which will stay outside the wall or near it, thus putting the settlers’ lives there in danger. Still, the newspaper said the chances of the draft law passing were very slim (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
ISRAEL THREATENS TO CUT POWER OFF OF PA AREAS
The regional Israeli electric company threatened last night to cut electrical power off of PA areas starting from Sunday in light of the accumulated debts on the PA. According to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth, the PA’s debts had soared to NIS1.3 billion. The threat came in the form of a letter sent by the company’s president Yeftah Tal several days ago to the Israeli government saying the company had no other option but to take direct measures against the PA in order to collect its dues and to prevent it from accumulating debts in the future. Tal said the first step was to suspend all of the PA’s and Jerusalem electric company’s new requests to the Israeli company. Second, he said the company would appeal to the high court to obligate the government to deduct the accumulated amount from the PA’s dues which Israel collects or to allow the company to use its authorities in cutting power off of those who do not pay. The third step includes getting permission from the government to cut the power off main power lines that provide PA areas with electricity starting from Sunday. Tal said the Jerusalem electric company could decide which areas it wanted the power to be cut off from first.(http://safa.ps/details/news/123150.html)
ORGANIZATIONS DEMAND CANCELLATION OF BARAK’S VISIT TO CANADA
Pro-Palestinian organizations in Canada sent a letter to the Surrey municipality calling on it to cancel the visit of former Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak to the city. Barak is expected to travel to Canada on the 27th of this month. According to Israel’s Channel 7, those who sent the letter described Barak as a ‘war criminal’ and a ‘terrorist.” The groups called on the municipality to heed the demands for boycotting Israel and refraining from supporting war criminals.
In separate news, the leftist Canadian organization “Codepink” announced it would be sending a women’s delegation to the Gaza Strip on March 8 on the occasion of International Women’s Day in which 20 women from Canada, the US, France, Britain, Sweden, Algeria, Australia and Belgium will participate. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
File on medical referrals transferred to the ‘anti-corruption Commission’ (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Zakarneh: 97% of employees committed to the strike (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Jerusalemites turn to high court to improve postal services (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Israeli ambassador suspended on sexual charges (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Thousands of lawyers strike, demanding reforms in the judiciary (Al Quds)
*head of the Jordanian council of elders condemns violations against al Aqsa (Al Quds)
*Five kidney transplants in Palestine Medical Complex (Al Quds)
*Husseini calls for putting Palestinian cause back on top of Arab media priorities (Al Quds)
*70 Jews break into the Aqsa (Al Quds)
*Rafah: Israeli gunships fire at fishermen (Al Ayyam)
*the President receives Jordanian foreign minister (Al Ayyam)
*Falk in his latest report: Israel is guilty of apartheid and ethnic cleansing (Al Ayyam)
*Two Israelis arrested on charges of arms sales to Iran (Al Ayyam)
|Front Page Photos |
Al- Quds:Paris: President Mahmoud Abbas in meeting with US secretary of state John Kerry
Al-Ayyam: 1) Shuhada’ street in Hebron, which Israeli occupation forces continue to close to commercial activity and passersby; 2) Infant receives medical attention in Turkish hospital after being injured in explosion
Al Hayat Al Jadida:.1) President Mahmoud Abbas in meeting with US secretary of state John Kerry in Paris; 2) Independence Square in Kiev, which saw violent anti-government demonstrations
Kerry is pressuring Abbas to accept Israel’s security conditions
According to American sources, US secretary of state John Kerry, who met with President Abbas in Paris yesterday, is putting a lot of pressure on Abbas to offer concessions on security arrangements in the Jordan Valley so that he could present a framework agreement, according to the Israeli Hebrew-language daily Maariv today. According to the newspaper, the Jordan Valley issue is still a huge point of contention between the two sides. Kerry is pressuring Abbas to accept Israel’s conditions, telling him that this issue for Netanyahu is one of ‘life or death’ and that Netanyahu could not relinquish his condition of deploying the Israeli army on the border with Jordan. Abbas still says he completely rejects any Israeli army presence but showed willingness to accept the Israeli army to remain in the valley for a ‘limited amount of time’ before withdrawing and then sending NATO forces in their place. The other point of contention is the Israeli insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, something the Palestinians also reject. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675365)
Jerusalemites turn to the Israeli High Court to improve postal services
Palestinian Jerusalemites are complaining of poor postal administration, which is controlled by Israel in occupied East Jerusalem, saying their mail does not reach Arab neighborhoods. Israeli authorities claim this happens because the streets are not all named. The residents took their case to the high court, which has given the postal authority one month to find a solution. The court called on the authority to cooperate with the petitioners to find places in Arab neighborhoods which could be used as distribution centers. If the problem is not solved, the two parties will be back in court next month. (Al Quds)
Israeli court fines Al Jazeera channel with NIS50,000
The Israeli district court in Jerusalem issued a sentence fining the Qatari-based Al Jazeera Satellite Channel with NIS50,000 to be paid to the Israeli photographer Shmuel Rehmani for violating his copyrights and broadcasting pictures belonging to the journalist, which he took and showed on a Channel 10 television show about martyr Dalal Mughrabi’s military operation in 1978. The two sides reached a deal even though the judge refused Al Jazeera’s claims that the court is not authorized to deal with the case. The judge ruled that the satellite channel has offices in Israel and so has a legal relationship with it, ordering that it pay NIS50,000 instead of the NIS80,000 the photographer had originally demanded. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675350)
Core issues for Israelis and Palestinians
by Rami G. Khouri
With perhaps just weeks to go before the United States unveils its framework accord that it hopes will prod Palestinians and Israelis towards a comprehensive negotiated resolution of their conflict, it seems that every dimension of this conflict is generating new ideas, trial balloons, or fresh pressures on both sides, as the moment of truth for both sides approaches.
Consider just these recent developments: Hamas and Fateh are trying again to create a single, unified Palestinian national leadership.
Spain is working on a law that would give citizenship to Sephardic Jews in Israel or elsewhere whose ancestors once lived in Spain.
German banks and European companies and investment funds are almost daily listing Israeli firms or enterprises they will not do business with because the latter profit from the colonisation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Arab East Jerusalem.
An American-backed effort proposes to financially compensate the 700,000 or so Jews who fled or were driven out of Arab countries since 1948.
Israelis and Western Jews are increasingly debating what exactly the Israeli government means when it wants the Palestinians to formally accept and recognise Israel as “the homeland of the Jewish people”.
And earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Israeli youth delegation that in any permanent peace agreement he did not intend “to drown Israel with millions of refugees”.
These and other developments touch on some of the most delicate but important issues that have long stoked this conflict, and that must be resolved without ambiguity for a permanent peace agreement to see the light of day.
As Israelis and Palestinians near the point where they must come clean on core issues that they have allowed to float in a sea of ambiguity for 70 years, they will both find it important to engage in tough debates on the two huge issues that define and dominate everything else in this conflict.
First, what is the precise required relationship between one’s Zionist or Palestinian identity and the same land that each side sees as its rightful patrimony?
Since its inception in the late 19th Century, this has always been a conflict about two interrelated things: identity and land. The two are equally important in different ways, but also inseparable.
The current negotiations, and the American mediation that seeks to nudge them forward with the framework accord, have focused on a series of issues like security, borders, water, Jerusalem, settlements and refugees by disaggregating them into smaller items that can be addressed in a technical manner.
Such solutions often rely on money (compensation) or guns (security) as the final arbiters, but this approach is unlikely to work if it does not recognise the centrality of, and wrestle with, the much deeper emotional, psychological and nationalist issue that are anchored in that fundamental twinning of land and identity — and also of their denial.
Second, how far is each side willing to go to acknowledge the other side’s need to be recognised in the manner that it defines itself, i.e., to what extent can Palestinians acknowledge Israel in a peace accord as “a Jewish state”, or “the homeland of the Jewish people”, a land where Jews have always lived as indigenous natives, and not only as colonial settlers?
Conversely, to what extent can Israelis acknowledge the deliberate and documented role of Zionist political and military organisations in the forced refugeehood of the Palestinians in 1947-48, and their subsequent lifetimes of exile?
What actions would supplement such an Israeli acknowledgement that remains absolutely central to the Palestinian national and individual psyche?
What combination of options would be offered the Palestinians to finally resolve and permanently leave behind their refugeehood, and the pain they have suffered from it since 1947 — and would those same options be mirrored by choices offered to Jews who left or were driven from Arab lands?
In other words, are the two sides prepared to admit to the other that they both have a natural and historical link with the same land?
If so, are they able then to share the land in an equitable manner that removes the pain of the past and provides them both with secure, viable and meaningful statehood for the future?
Can this happen with honour and dignity for both sides, and in accordance with international law and UN resolutions?
I believe that the answer to all these questions is an emphatic “yes”, if we assume both people have equal rights in the eyes of God, the law and, more importantly, each other.
For it is in each other’s eyes that Palestinians and Israelis encounter the critical and reciprocal nexus of identity, land and historical trauma that demands first acknowledgement then equitable resolution, because it is what has always shaped their conflict with each other.
We will know soon if the American framework accord understands and if the parties to the conflict are prepared to address this.(http://jordantimes.com/core-issues-for-israelis-and-palestinians)
Gaza hackers prepare for next assault on Israel
By Hana Salah
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hacking Israeli websites from the Gaza Strip is a raging front in a war where soldiers are trained in the art of hacking individually and collectively. They are preparing to fight the next battle globally, united in a virtual world with other hackers around the world to deliver a message that the siege on Gaza must end.
The electronic conflict between Palestinian hackers and Israel is growing, after the success of the largest unified hacking operation against Israel launched on April 7, 2013. The goal of the attack, dubbed OpIsrael, was that of “wiping Israel off the Internet.”
This Al-Monitor correspondent met with a hacker group focused on penetrating Israeli websites and responsible for some of OpIsrael's breakthroughs. The hackers hid their faces behind Palestinian scarves instead of the mask of the well-known Anonymous hacking group, because the mask is unavailable in the markets of besieged Gaza City.
Spider Seeker, Site Killer, Dark Coder, the Shadow of the Ghost and the leader of the group, Prince, are pseudonyms for the five members of the group Pal Anonymous, who range in age from 20 to 30 years. They called themselves “resistance hackers.”
Professional hackers in Gaza have only three options: to be moral, resistant or material hackers, who try to steal others’ information or money in light of the weakness of government oversight and the poor quality of university education in this kind of technology.
Each member of Pal Anonymous has a specialty, and they all work under the guidance of the leader. Spider Seeker is responsible for collecting information on the targeted sites. He said he focuses on Israeli government, business and trade union sites. Dark Coder is a software specialist responsible for the scripts, or programs, that automatically run a set of operations.
Site Killer's job is to remove a site’s shell, which involves lifting the script that controls all the websites on a server. The Shadow of the Ghost is responsible for SQL injection to extract the database columns to learn the website’s main username and password. Prince, the leader, provides security and protection in addition to allocating tasks to the group members.
The hackers said they conducted OpIsrael to penetrate a number of Israeli websites, including those of the Kadima Party, the Israeli stock exchange, the Bank of Jerusalem and Israel Trade, which has reprogrammed its site to better protect it against hacking.
“We are in electronic warfare every day. We penetrate Israeli websites every day, and the time it takes depends on the difficulty of [hacking] the site. We are also preparing for the next simultaneous attack, which has not yet been scheduled,” said Prince. “We have penetrated many government and personal sites, as well as bank accounts stored on websites. That helped us buy many online services.”
Prince explained, however, that their aim was not material gain. Rather, he said, "We use that information to buy programs that provide protection for members of the group to avoid being tracked. These programs work by changing our position on the Internet whereby we appear to be present in another country or changing the device number that appears on the Internet and the domain name.”
Site Killer responded to Al-Monitor’s question about whether the group can rely on information circulating on social media sites or other sites that carry different names, such as Hacker Gaza. He began by saying, “Confidentiality is the foundation of our work … ” before the Shadow of the Ghost interrupted him, asserting, “We depend on ourselves to get to the sources of information, not only on external sources. All sites on the network under the name of Hacker Gaza may be partisan or amateur, or designed to lure us, so we don’t trust them.”
The team’s leader noted both internal and external risks. “We are afraid of being tracked by Israeli intelligence or falling into the so-called trap whereby the opposite side opens ports to facilitate the penetration of websites as a trap to determine the details of where we are located.”
The bigger risk, however, is being arrested by the Hamas government, according to Prince, as they are suspected whenever websites affiliated in one way or another with the government in Gaza get hacked. He noted that other hackers have been arrested.
The official spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Maj. Islam Shahwan, denied in an interview with Al-Monitor that hackers had been arrested, especially those who have broken into Israeli websites. He stressed that the position of the government in Gaza is to support this kind of action.
“We, as the Ministry of Interior, after the hacking attack, issued a statement making clear that we support this approach, and we were the ones who called for an 'electronic resistance.' … We are ready to provide any cover that confuses the enemy by technological means,” Shahwan said.
Shahwan also said that the Interior Ministry's website had been penetrated by a hacker who was identified and arrested by what he called the “security and legal reserve,” whose job is to protect government and other websites from attack.
Electronic warfare is ongoing not only against Israel but also between the Palestinian factions, which exist in a state of internal political division. Each party has hackers working on penetrating the other party’s websites.
“There are hackers belonging to Fatah targeting Hamas and vice versa. Even the Fatah movement is divided, so there are hackers who support either President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] or [Mohammed] Dahlan, and there’s an electronic confrontation between the two sides,” said the group leader.
Ashraf Yazouri, a training specialist in advanced information and communication technology, told Al-Monitor that the appetite for learning the basic hacking tools has significantly risen since 2006. Yazouri, who is also director of a training center for the so-called moral hackers in Gaza, said the Israeli blockade, now in its seventh year, has not prevented the development of hackers’ abilities, although it has declined relative to that of global hackers.
He claims that hackers in Gaza are of two types — moral or unethical. Yazouri described the groups that break into Israeli websites as unethical hackers, because they do not adhere to the standards of using the ability to penetrate websites openly and legitimately and as declared by a contract between the two parties, according to him. Ahmad Boustan, a trainer who specializes in moral hacking, disagrees, contending that a breach is a legitimate method to defend and to attack.
The low standard of living for young people in Gaza, the group most eager to learn hacking, is one way to fall into the swamp of working for Israel, which monitors hackers and is trying to access their information to lure them or threaten them. Meanwhile, Prince and his group continue their work in preparation for the next major assault on Israeli websites.Gaza hackers prepare for next assault on Israel(http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/gaza-hackers-cyberwarfare-israel.html)
This suspicious compassion with settlers
Al Quds Editorial
The response of American officials to a proposal put forth by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu last night calling for settlers to remain in their homes in the occupied Palestinian territories was cause for concern. Even if this meant the settlers would have to remain under the sovereignty of a future Palestinian state.
This strange compassion with settlers, who live in settlements established by an occupying force on land confiscated from its Palestinian owners and whose presence there is considered illegal by international law and the most basic principle of human justice, raises questions about the integrity of the Americans. They are showing compassion as a means of justifying this settlement presence, which was imposed by force and given a false sense of legitimacy.
Former US President George Bush was the first to break away from the international consensus that says all settlements are illegal and are in contravention with the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN security council and general assembly resolutions, which reject any transfer of residents of the occupying power to occupied land.
Bush called for taking into consideration “demographic changes’, which, according to the Israeli interpretation, means that Palestinians must accept the annexation of the major settlement blocs to Israel.
Even though Bush’s letter to PM Ariel Sharon in 2005 did not mention ‘settlement blocs’ by name, and sufficed with indicating to ‘demographic changes’, Israel used this letter as a reference for supporting its expansionist demands to annex large areas of the West Bank on which the major settlements have been built to Israel – all in contravention to international law and the world’s consensus that settlements are a component of occupation and must be completely obliterated without exception.
This compassion which has recently appeared in statements made by US secretary John Kerry, who said that there was ‘no need to evacuate settler by force’ has brought back to mind the violent rejection of settlers from Gush Katif to their 2005 evacuation from the Gaza Strip. The question is: does the US secretary think the settlers will welcome those who come to evacuate them from their settlements in the West Bank with open arms? Does he think they will meet them with flowers?
Everyone wishes this extraordinary behavior would happen by the settlers, many who believe are living in the land of the Torah to which the Palestinians have no right. The Palestinians there are merely overseers, nothing more, in their opinion.
These flimsy positions are nothing more than a green light for escalated settlement expansion. They encourage the Israeli government to continue with its settlement and expansionist policies, completely belittling international resolutions and legality in addition to the inalienable rights of the Palestinians to their homeland.
The international community and the US should adopt a position on settlements that is in line with resolutions that reject this phenomenon of the occupation; they should call for its obliteration down to the roots if they want peace to prevail in any acceptable form. This includes the two state solution, which is now nearly impossible to achieve because of these settlements and the silence of the international community, which has prevailed for the past 40 years. (Al Quds)
Clarity and ambiguity
Al Khaleej Editorial
A Palestinian official has said that the American plan for a settlement is highly ambiguous and that he did not want to get into an argument over trying to explain things. What the Palestinian official said he wants was clarity. If voicing this opinion was an attempt at saying that the plan is not fair to the Palestinians, then the attempt was not successful, because there is nothing clearer than the American position in general and the American plan in particular. The American position not only backs the Zionist entity financially and militarily, it also supports it in all of its breaches of human rights and violations of international law. Is there anything clearer than that?
The Europeans themselves, and the Germans in particular, who justify their support for Israel from the standpoint of compensation for the oppression of Jews, have not even reached this point. They sometimes have the guts to criticize Israeli policies even from the Knesset podium. The German head of the European parliament Martin Shulz had the gumption a few days ago to say to the Knesset that there was injustice being done to the Palestinians who cannot use even a portion of what Israelis use in water consumption.
True, this all remains words if it is not followed by punitive measures, which is what would happen if these things occurred in other parts of the world. However, when it comes to American support of Israel’s oppression to the Palestinians, this is not the case. There is no ambiguity when it comes to anything the American administration does. Even without details, the American plan is part of its internal and external contexts.
Will it declare a framework agreement or will it replace international legitimacy with its own? It is more than clear that creating facts on the ground in Palestinian territories has become an inevitable thing except for perhaps a few modifications here and there. As for the refugee issue, it is nonexistent. And the issue of sovereignty that the Palestinians are so worried about is also not existent except in the analysis of ways it can be breached between a direct Israeli presence and indirect Israeli domination.
The Americans have clarity. It is the Palestinians who don’t. The statements or insinuations we hear from some Palestinian officials about the issue of Palestinian refugees or the Jewish character of Israel are the ambiguous and vague statements. No one knows if the refugee issue is still an issue at all or if Jerusalem as the capital is the same Jerusalem we know, or is it another one entirely. The vagueness in these statements are the ones that need clarification.
What is considered ambiguity in the American plan is not considered as such by most Palestinians and Arabs. it is not the structure of the plan itself but the external context, that is the American position in general, that gives it away. (http://www.alkhaleej.ae/studiesandopinions/detailedpage/0cba2b5e-c6ff-4574-905e-3d8e57bddc3c)
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