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Lord Balfour’s Burden

12 Nov, 2017
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 Mahmoud Abbas

This year, our nation marks one hundred years of the Balfour Declaration. Lord Arthur Balfour was a British foreign secretary who decided to change the identity and fate of Palestine, a land that he did not own, by promising it to the Zionist movement, and dramatically altering the history of the Palestinian people. On this sombre occasion, it is important to recall some key historic facts, which remain relevant toward achieving a just, lasting and peaceful resolution to a century of injustice.

To this day, the United Kingdom evades its historic responsibility by refusing to apologize to a nation still living in exile and under occupation as the result of their politicians’ unethical undertaking. In 1917, Palestine had a robust population of over 700,000 inhabitants living on almost 28,000 square kilometers. Palestine had a well-established society, proud of its history and cultural heritage, and the centuries-long tradition of coexistence and tolerance among its inhabitants. The city of Jerusalem—built by the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe—the ancient ports of Jaffa and Haifa, the biblical cities of Gaza, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron and Nablus, as well as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Jericho, alongside the Dead Sea and the fertile Jordan Valley, all stood witness to this rich civilization. Palestine had several educational and cultural institutions, newspapers, and an economy that included the export of citrus and a thriving service industry such as tourism. It was a country inhabited mainly by Arabs, mostly Muslims and Christians, but also a small Jewish minority.

Disgracefully, the text of the Balfour Declaration referred to the vast majority of the population as the “non-Jewish communities,” in a deliberate attempt at setting the foundation and basis of denying them any future political rights. Balfour was fully entrenched in colonial ideology with no respect for the deeply-rooted presence of Palestinians, Christians, and Muslims. In 1922, he wrote: “Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs and future hopes of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.” It was a glaring dismissal of the presence, history, and rights of the population that had inhabited the land for centuries. Examined against the backdrop of the current debates in international politics, Balfour could have easily been referred to as a “white supremacist.”

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 symbolizes the international role in the Palestinian catastrophe and exodus, the Nakba of 1948. A century after this infamous declaration was drafted, it is long overdue for the international community to assume its legal, political, and moral responsibility to fulfill the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. This prolonged injustice continues to test the credibility of our international system and to undermine the laws and human rights frameworks that are fundamental to its longevity and to peace and stability within and among nations.

Balfour’s bitter legacy

The Balfour Declaration, despite its great impact on our destiny as a nation, was never a matter of consensus among British politicians. The declaration continued with a British Mandate of Palestine that soon proved to be entrapped between Lord Balfour’s folly and the reality on the ground. In the following years, British colonial rule grappled with the contradictions of its promises to the Jewish and Arab peoples. Several British commissions wrote back to London in efforts to make their government understand that there was already a well-rooted people in Palestine. In 1922, the British Parliament rejected the British Mandate of Palestine precisely because it included the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration as part of its goals. In fact, it was the only Jewish member of the British Cabinet, Sir Edwin Montagu, who expressed his rejection in these strong terms: “I would not deny the Jews in Palestine equal rights to colonization with those who profess other religions, but a religious test of citizenship seems to me to be the only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled.”

Balfour’s perfidy anticipated the international community’s disrespect for the rights of Palestinians after Israel’s founding. Thirty years later, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 181 (II) calling for the partition of Palestine into two states. Again, this decision disregarded the wishes, aspirations, and the very rights of the indigenous population of Palestine. The Palestinian leaders spared no effort in communicating the voice of the people, visiting London countless times, as well as several other world capitals, asking for the rights of the Arab-Palestinian people to be respected and calling for the fate of Palestine to be decided through democratic free elections that would reflect the will of the Palestinian people. This was totally ignored by the British government, guided by the Balfour agenda of denying political rights to our nation.

The world voted for the partition of Palestine, but the country’s people did not. The international community was willing to support the Zionist desire to build a state in Palestine, but did not have the determination to supervise the implementation of their resolutions, leading to the Nakba (catastrophe), which led to over two-thirds of the Palestinian people becoming refugees, including myself. My hometown of Safad was totally ethnically cleansed of its Arab Muslim and Christian populations. Just like Safad, at least 418 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed, forcibly depopulated, and destroyed.

The international community failed to fulfill the implementation of the UN Partition Resolution 181, a resolution that unquestionably did not allow or call for the forcible displacement of the Palestinian population. It also failed to implement Resolution 194 (III) to restore Palestine refugees to their homes. In fact, the United Nations’ recognition of Israel was conditioned on Israel’s implementation of this resolution. Similarly, disappointingly, the international community has failed to implement the countless UN resolutions that call on Israel to end its military occupation that began in 1967, including its colonial-settlement project. This failure has emboldened Israeli impunity, prolonging the conflict and the suffering and injustice being borne by the Palestinian people.

From Balfour to 2017: One hundred years of impunity

The Israeli occupation that began in 1967—occupying the remaining 22 percent of Palestine, comprising the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem—initiated a systematic, multidimensional policy of colonization of occupied territory that has not ceased for over five decades, seriously impairing the prospects for a political solution. Even though the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in a historic and painful compromise, recognized Israel in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and declared the State of Palestine only over 22 percent of historic Palestine, Israel continues to deny the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to freedom and self-determination.

The presence of illegal settlements all over the occupied territory of Palestine has threatened to make the two-state solution impossible to realize. This is clearly the goal of the current right-wing Israeli government that does not shy away from hiding such intentions. It has become widely acknowledged that Israel’s prolonged occupation and its colonial-settlement project has virtually destroyed the prospects of the internationally endorsed two-state solution on the 1967 borders, thereby solidifying the reality of one state, Israel, controlling all the land of historic Palestine, while imposing two different systems: one for Israeli-Jews and another for Palestinians.

As far back as 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist and agreed to participate in several rounds of negotiations in the Middle East peace process aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace agreement. After more than 20 years of negotiations, it is clear that the Israeli government is not interested in peace. For Palestine, the peace process is a means for the implementation of international law and realization of justice; the process is not an end in itself, but the Israeli government has constantly used it as such and exploited the “negotiations” as a smokescreen for further colonization of the Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, aimed at establishing its control of the entire territory.

The internationally endorsed two-state solution is not accepted by any of the political parties that constitute today’s Israeli government coalitions. Their leaders continue to incite and spew hatred against the Palestinian people and inflammatory rhetoric against Palestinian national rights and aspirations. This has included the dangerous use of religion to justify war crimes and human rights violations, which is something that we believe is of paramount gravity and consequence to regional and international peace and security, and have thus consistently warned against Israeli attempts to turn a solvable political, territorial conflict into a religious war.

Just as Likud, the party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reaffirmed its political programme that negates any possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state, on the ground Israeli settlers and occupation forces continue to act with hatred and aggression toward the Palestinian people, further diminishing the prospect of peaceful coexistence. Attacks continue against Palestinian civilians and properties, in Christian and Muslim holy sites, and homes continue to be demolished, forcibly displacing our people to pave the way for more colonial-settlement expansion.

The one-state reality imposed by the Israeli government could not be possible without the impunity it has received from the international community. The Israeli colonial-settlement enterprise in Occupied Palestine could not succeed without international markets being opened to illegal Israeli settlement products, without free trade agreements welcoming these products, without international companies and the Israeli economy mutually profiting from this systematic denial of Palestinian rights, and without the commitments of several governments that no matter the crimes and human rights violations, Israel will continue to enjoy full impunity.

Make no mistake: Palestinians have learned the lessons from Balfour’s colonialism. We recently witnessed the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Occupied East Jerusalem in the rejection of Israeli attempts to change the historic status quo of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound. This beautiful demonstration of popular nonviolent resistance echoed in every corner of the world. Just as our youth and elders, women and men, Christians and Muslims, and members of all political factions came together to defend Jerusalem, we cannot but remember those who opposed British policies in the remarkable national strike of 1936, or the Israeli occupation in the First Intifada in 1987. Palestinians have showed the world and many Israelis that the colonial “fantasy” of talking about peace and coexistence while systematically denying the rights of a people under an oppressive military occupation can never succeed and that the right of a people to self-determination and freedom can neither be crushed, nor dismissed, nor negated.

Our vision for a just and lasting peace

The steadfastness and resilience of our people should serve as a message to the entire world, and particularly to Israel, that there will be no peace in our region without the fulfillment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Our vision of peace is one of great compromise and is based simply on what we are entitled to under international law and UN resolutions: a sovereign and independent state that fully ends the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, while ensuring at the same time that Jerusalem could be an open city between its eastern and western parts. We envision our sovereign control over our natural resources, airspace and maritime borders. We envision and will continue to demand the freedom of all our political prisoners, victims of the Israeli occupation and the systematic negation of our national rights. With almost one million prisoners since 1967, the case of our political prisoners painfully reflects the overall situation of our whole nation. We also reiterate that in order to end claims with Israel, there must be a just solution for the seven million Palestinian refugees based on the choice of every refugee. Our nation, the largest refugee group in the world suffering the most protracted refugee crisis in contemporary history, has the right to the respect and fulfillment of its rights, including through the implementation of UNGA Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative.

A just and lasting peace is possible. It requires the full implementation of the long overdue inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. We envision a new reality where our families are no longer divided by racist laws, such as the Israeli citizenship law; where our young talents will not be forced to leave their country because of a suffocated economy and lack of opportunities. We envision a state that can welcome the innovation and talents developed by our successful diaspora, wherever they have migrated to, whether the United States, Latin America, Europe, Australia, or the Arab World, becoming successful in various fields and positive contributors to their respective communities. We envision a reality of peace where those millions of people, successful doctors, engineers, bankers, sportsmen, artists, clergymen, teachers, students, workers, politicians, and social activists will finally be able to make Palestine their home.

Recognize Palestinian rights—with an apology

That the Balfour Declaration ever happened is a reminder that Palestinians must have their voices heard and respected within the international community. An important step undertaken for redress in that regard has been the pursuit of international recognition of the State of Palestine, including our new status of “non-member state” at the United Nations, achieved on November 29, 2012. This status has enabled us to accede to numerous international treaties and conventions and to join several international organizations. These stand at 55 as of now, ranging from the Geneva Conventions to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

After decades of Israeli control over our lives, it is important not to fall into desperation and to keep hope alive. We will continue to build on our achievements of state-recognition and accede to international treaties, including our right to seek justice for the Palestinian people at the ICC in the face of this ongoing criminal occupation. This, too, is a confirmation of our respect for international law and readiness to uphold our obligations and responsibilities in that regard. Concurrently, we will continue our endeavors to achieve a just and lasting peace with Israel on the 1967 border. It is our right to use all diplomatic, political, and legal avenues to protect our nation, achieve justice, and fulfill our long overdue inalienable rights.

This process must go hand-in-hand with efforts to secure more bilateral recognitions for the State of Palestine. There is no justification for not recognizing the State of Palestine. How would recognizing Palestine harm the chances of peace? How would it harm negotiations? Our right to self-determination has been never up for negotiation; the International Court of Justice, in its landmark Advisory Opinion in 2004, explicitly affirmed this to be a right Ergo omnes, meaning “valid for all.” It is, therefore, an international responsibility to stand tall for the fulfillment of our right, not a call to dismiss or shy away from. Thus, we will continue calling upon those who allegedly support the two-state solution to recognize two states, not only one.

At the same time, we shall keep the doors open for the possibility of a resumption of negotiations seeking to end the Israeli occupation and fulfill our rights. Just as we supported the French efforts of the Paris Peace Conference, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping and many other world leaders for this objective, we welcome the efforts of the US administration in what President Trump has referred to as the “ultimate deal.” We don’t see any contradiction between negotiations and continuing to seek justice through the legitimate tools and instruments available under international law. It is our right to undertake all peaceful means to end the torment of our people and to fulfill their inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations.

The Palestinian leadership understands the urgency, as well as the dangers, of the current situation, and we will continue to demand that the international community assumes its responsibilities, including providing protection for our people, as per international humanitarian law, and in working collectively to end Israel’s impunity.

Our goal remains to achieve a two-state solution on the 1967 border and freedom and justice for our people. However, we understand that the Israeli government is doing everything possible in order to make the achievement of an independent State of Palestine impossible. In addition to that, we must contend with the lack of political will from the international community to take any meaningful steps that will enforce international law and UN resolutions in Palestine.

As I said last month during the UN General Assembly Debate, we know that freedom is coming and that the occupation will eventually end: if not by achieving the two-state solution on the 1967 border, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security, it will inevitably come through the fulfillment of equal rights for the inhabitants of historic Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, Christians, Muslims, and Jews. No people on earth could ever accept a condition to live as slaves or under an apartheid regime. History has so vividly and painfully taught us that. As we mark one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration, the British government has reiterated how proud they are of this infamous document that translated into the Palestinian catastrophe, with all of its regional and global repercussions. They are even going to celebrate it. Instead of organizing a celebration for one of the darkest episodes of British colonialism, the United Kingdom has the historical and moral responsibility to apologize to the people of Palestine. At the same time, we call upon the British government to undertake without delay reparative actions, by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital and taking concrete steps to contribute to the realization of the political rights of the Palestinian people, the very rights that were denied by Balfour a century ago.

This will not repair the countless detrimental consequences of foreign colonialism in our region, and particularly in Palestine, but it would serve as an example for the rest of the international community to rise to their responsibilities to do what is necessary for a just and lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace, and for broader peace in the Middle East to become a reality, changing the course of our future, individual and collective, for the better for our coming generations.

Mahmoud Abbas is the president of the State of Palestine, and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This is the full version of his article; an abridged version appears in print in The Daily Star Opinion on November 9, 2017.

Human Chain in Dhaka Demanding Justice for Yasser Arafat’s Death on the Anniversary

Nov, 2017
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The 13th death anniversary of the unanimous Palestinian leader and former President Yasser Arafat has been observed in Dhaka. The Palestine Prottagoto muktiyoddha Shangshad of Bangladesh, claiming that he has been killed, also demanded justice for those involved in the incident.

The demand was made at a human chain and rally in front of the National Press Club on Saturday.

The chairman of the Central Command Council of the Palestine Prottagoto muktiyoddha Shangshad Ziaul Kabir Dulu, Secretary General AB Siddique Mollah and others were present there at that time.

Besides, Palestinian students studying at Dhaka University and the Palestinian citizens working in Bangladesh also attended the event.

It is reported in the human chain that Yasser Arafat was killed by slow poisoning. So they demanded justice for the assassination in the international court.

Interpol Approves Palestinian Membership Bid

3 Oct, 2017
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Despite the strong opposition to Israel, Interpol (International Police Organization) has approved the Palestinian Authority’s membership bid on Wednesday. Earlier, a Palestinian attempt to join Interpol last year was failed. In addition, the International Police Organization has approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands as well.

The organization said on its Twitter account that the membership of this organization stood at 192 by the addition of Palestinian and Solomon Islands. These new members were elected by a vote in the annual general assembly in Beijing. However, the police organization did not provide any details of the voting process.

“Palestine’s membership is the outcome of members defending this organization’s raison d’etre and advancing its core values, and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a statement.

“On this joyous occasion, the State of Palestine reiterates its commitment to upholding its obligations and contributing to fighting crime and furthering the rule of law,” Maliki added.

The Palestine Liberation Organization said on Twitter that more than 75 percent of Interpol members voted to approve membership.

Sheikh Hasina-Mahmoud Abbas Meeting on Rohingya Issue

2 Oct, 2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who came to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, held a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In the meeting, two leaders discussed the problems of Myanmar and the Rohingya Muslim refugees.

The meeting was held at the hotel suite of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Grand Hyatt on 19th September night.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said to journalists at the briefing that Mahmud Abbas apprised the Prime Minister about the current situation of the Palestine crisis. During this time, the Prime Minister reaffirmed her commitment to stay beside the Palestinian people.

The Press Secretary said the Palestinian President highly praised the prime minister’s role in the issue of Rohingya, saying it is a disaster. Everybody everywhere is appreciating the Bangladesh Prime Minister for her humanitarian gesture.

Sheikh Hasina said, as a human being, everyone has some humanitarian virtues. Currently 7 million Myanmar refugees are living under a makeshift arrangement in Bangladesh, although Myanmar must take these citizens back, she said. The Prime Minister also mentioned that Bangladesh has taken an initiative to mount international pressure on Myanmar in view of this reason.

During this time, for the rehabilitation of the Rohingya refugees, the Prime Minister also informed President Mahmud Abbas about relief efforts. Sheikh Hasina said she knows the pains of a refugee, because she and her sister were refugees for six years after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975.

The Prime Minister said that the government has taken initiatives for the registration of the Rohingya refugees to ensure their identities.

Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali, Chief Secretary Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque were present at the time.

As a result of the meetings between both leaders, the President of Palestine has instructed the Palestinian international cooperation agency at the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Palestine in cooperation with the Palestine Embassy in Dhaka to arrange a quick relief aids for the Rohingyas in different fields, such as, medicine, food, shelters and different medical assistance as soon as possible.

President Abbas calls for world to recognise State of Palestine

2 Jan, 2017
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President Mahmoud Abbas Calls for peace and recognise Palestine

President Mahmoud Abbas Calls for peace and recognise Palestine


In a Statement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said, “I say to you that settlements on the land of the occupied State of Palestine are on their way out.” Marking the 52nd anniversary of Fatah’s official founding, he added “We are calling for 2017 to be the year of international recognition of the State of Palestine, because more recognition will strengthen the possibility of achieving a two-state solution and real peace.” Abbas also added that settlement construction in the Palestinian territories does not have a bright future. “I say to you that settlements on the land of the occupied State of Palestine are on their way out,” he said. “We attained a historic UN Security Council resolution…which said that any changes since 1967 to the demographic composition or land of the State of Palestine including east Jerusalem are unacceptable.”
In his speech, Abbas also said that the Palestinian leadership is prepared to work with the US president-elect.

The President of Palestine Marked, “We emphasize that we are ready to work with the new American administration, including US President-elect Donald Trump to achieve peace in the region in accordance with the two state solution, international decisions, and the Arab Peace Initiative”

The Palestinian leadership and Abbas congratulated Trump on his election in early November and have consistently pledged to work with him. However, a number of top Palestinian leaders have recently issued warnings about the consequences of the Trump administration making changes to the status quo such as moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and forgoing criticism of settlement construction. Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, told a conference call last month that the PLO would rescind its recognition of Israel if the forthcoming US administration relocates the embassy.

Meanwhile regarding internal Palestinian politics, Abbas said that efforts are under way to hold a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in the West Bank.

“Consultations with the Palestinian factions and forces to hold a meeting of the PNC in Palestine in the coming months have begun, to renew the leadership of the PLO, which is represented by the Executive Committee,” Abbas stated.

The PNC is the PLO’s parliament and is responsible for electing the Executive Committee, which is the most authoritative PLO body.
A total of 136 states have recognized the “State of Palestine,” including more than 30 since Abbas took office in 2005. The UN General Assembly granted “Palestine” nonmember observer state status in 2012.
Abbas, who has eschewed armed struggle, has led the Palestinian leadership’s international strategy to achieve statehood over the past several years.

Israel’s fury touches the Palestinian Hamas Authority

Jan, 2017
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Israel on Hamas

Israel on Hamas

Israeli authority have declared that they will not return the bodies of Palestinian Hamas militants to their families, but will bury them instead, officials said. Israel said it was taking measures to ensure the return of Israeli remains from Palestinian territory. The decision will now become a permanent change in policy. Based on two video clips published by the Hamas military wing show a mock birthday for Oron Shaul, who Israel said was killed during the Gaza War in 2014. In one, his face has been digitally inserted over someone else’s body, bound and in army fatigues. He is visited by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a clown’s costume, who blows out the candles on a birthday cake. Sgt Shaul, 21, was one of seven soldiers reported killed in an incident in Shejaiya, near Gaza City.

But Hamas has never confirmed that Sgt Shaul is dead.

After the meeting of the security cabinet, the prime minister’s office released a brief statement on the decision.

“The security cabinet discussed ways to effect the return of fallen soldiers and of civilians held in the Gaza Strip … and decided that (the bodies of Hamas militants) should be buried, rather than returned,” the statement said. Bodies buried under the new policy could be exhumed and returned later as part of exchanges.

Israel is reducing diplomatic ties with nations over UN vote settlements

28 Dec, 2016
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Israel Reducing Ties with Nations Supporting Anti-Settlement UN Resolution

Israel Reducing Ties with Nations Supporting Anti-Settlement UN Resolution


Israel’s foreign ministry has said on Tuesday that the country is going to reduce ties with nations that voted for last week’s UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to settlement building in Palestinian territory. The Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that Israel will temporarily reduce visits and work with embassies of such nations. he said, “Until further notice, we’ll limit our contacts with the embassies here in Israel and refrain from visits of Israeli officials to those states, and of visits of officials from those states here.”
After the US, Israel has already called back its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultations, and cancelled aid programs with the African state. They informed Angola that it would be freezing its aid program there as well. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that she was concerned that Israel would miss opportunities to explain its position by cancelling visits, but that she supported making clear “you can’t take Israel for granted”. The countries are – USA, UK, Angola, China, Egypt, France, japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his officials to visit the countries that voted for the resolution as little as possible for now. Also he has limited visit of the Government officials and Ambassadors of the respected countries. At least two trips of Israel have been cancelled or postponed, including this week’s visit to Israel by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and an upcoming visit by the Senegalese foreign minister.
There have also been reports that Netanyahu was calling off a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May at next month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, but there has been no official confirmation. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have responded with especially harsh language to Friday’s Security Council resolution which passed after the United States abstained from voting.
Netanyahu has alleged that US President Barack Obama “colluded” to see the “shameful” resolution through in the waning days of his administration.
By deciding not to veto the move, the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

Israel summoned ambassadors of countries that voted for the resolution on Sunday while Netanyahu also met with US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. On Monday, Netanyahu defended his response to the UN vote in the face of criticism that he was overreacting, saying “we do not turn the other cheek”.

Meanwhile, Israel’s increasing anger at the vote came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hoped the forthcoming Middle East conference in France would set a mechanism to end Israeli settlements in territory Palestinians claim for a state. France hosts a conference on January 15 where countries may endorse a framework for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, Netanyahu opposes such activity, saying only direct negotiations will produce a solution. He has called on Abbas to meet for talks, but Abbas has refused unless settlement construction ends.

According to Haaretz newspaper, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee is expected to approve permits to build 618 new homes in Jewish neighbourhoods across the Green Line on Wednesday. While the UN resolution contains no sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court. They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and goods produced in the settlements.


In the West Bank an illegal Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem.

In the West Bank an illegal Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem.

Proposed UN resolution demands end to Israeli settlements in Palestine

22 Dec, 2016
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United Nations Resolution

United Nations Resolution

Egypt has circulated a draft UN resolution that demands a halt to Israeli settlement activities in Palestinian territory and declares that all existing settlements “have no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation” of international law.

The proposed resolution sent to Security Council members Wednesday evening also stresses that “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution” which would see Israelis and Palestinians  ..

The council scheduled a meeting at 3 p.m. EST Thursday to vote on the draft resolution.

Much of the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal and backs the establishment of a Palestinian state, even though a deal appears to be increasingly complicated, in part because of the continued growth of settlements.

Israel continues their killing while PLO Leader urges U.S. President to respect international legitimacy on Jerusalem

Dec, 2016
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Young Palestinians killed by Israel

Young Palestinians killed by Israel

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian youth during a campaign of home demolitions, which caused clashes to break out in Kafr Aqab town near Ramallah, central West Bank.

The victim of the shooting was identified as Ahmad Kharoubi, a 19 yaer old young man of Palestine.

4 days back, on Sunday morning, Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian youth near Ramallah, central West Bank, in clashes that broke out during an Israeli raid. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that Ahmed al-Rimawi (19) from Ramallah’s northwestern village of Beit Rima, was killed during clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli soldiers. Ahmed was shot with live ammunition to the chest, and was announced dead on the way to the Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit.

The victim is the son of the Palestinian ex-prisoner Hazem al-Rimawi, who had been locked up for 14 years and a half in Israeli jails and was released three months ago.

Abu Sbeih, a 39 year old Palestinina was killed by Israeli police following an alleged shooting attack in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Oct. 9, 2016. His body is still being held by Israeli authorities along with the bodies of 19 other Palestinian innocent people. Since October last year, 269 protesters have been killed and hundreds of others injured in violent clashes with the Israeli occupation army across the occupied Palestinian territories.


Meanwhile, member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Head of the Palestinian Expatriate Affairs Department ( PEAD ) , Mr.  Tayseer Khaled called the US president elect to act responsibly and respect international legitimacy resolutions on East Jerusalem, expressing a Palestinian concerns also from appointing David Friedman, who is notorious for his extreme and aggressive stances against the Palestinians and backing Israel’s settlement expansion, as US ambassador to Israel.Khaled stressed that in light of trump’s pick of Freidman, and new administration’s statements about moving US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, we have to keep in mind UN Security Council resolutions on East Jerusalem, starting of 252 in 1968 and the following resolutions that condemn Israel’s defiance of UN General Assembly on acts and measures taken by Israel to change the status quo of the holly city.

Khaled added: “if Trump’s administration considers the appointment of Friedman an incontestable business of the USA, then standing by Trump’s electoral pledges in moving the county’s embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is beyond the US sovereignty and a violation of its commitments towards the UN and its charter, laws and resolutions, including 478, that denounced the Kenesset’s resolution to annex East Jerusalem and called the member states to withdraw diplomatic missions from the city”

Khaled also warned  would uphold jungle law in international relations and encourage the government of Israel to take more extreme acts, as an exceptional state which does not give minimum respect to the international law, and subsequently would have grave consequences that lead to imminent clash and turmoil in the region, which the US government would be responsible for.

Tayseer khaled, the PLO Leader

Tayseer khaled, the PLO Leader


Palestinians decry Trump’s choice for Israel ambassador while Hamas blamed Israel for the killing of its Commander

18 Dec, 2016
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Trump's new Israeli Advisor David Friedman

Trump’s new Israeli Advisor David Friedman

A senior Palestinian politician has condemned newly elected US President Donald Trump’s choice of ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a right-wing lawyer who has vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Saeb Erekat has said Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a final agreement on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be the destruction of the peace process. Erekat’s remarks came as Israeli officials praised Trump’s decision to nominate Friedman, who is also a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority says Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state in any future two-state solution agreement.

Erekat warned of the potential outcome of moving the embassy and a change in the long-standing position of the United States that considers the settlements as illegal. he said “I look David Friedman and Trump in the eye and tell them – if you were to take these steps of moving the embassy and annexing settlements in the West Bank, you are sending this region down the path of something that I call ‘chaos, lawlessness and extremism.”

In a Trump transition team statement on Thursday announcing his appointment, Friedman said he wanted to work for peace and looked forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem. Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller said on Friday that Friedman had the president-elect’s full support and that the plan to move the embassy would stand

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his right-wing government on Friday welcomed Friedman’s nomination. Netanyahu has vowed to continue his illegal settlement expansion. In March 2015, the day before Israelis re-elected him, Netanyahu promised to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch.The far-right deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely called the appointment of Friedman as a “Good news for Israel” while education minister Naftali Bennett, of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, said that Friedman was a great friend of Israel.

The US and most UN member states syill do not recognise Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital. Ramy Abdu, of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said that the UN regarded any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in Jerusalem as illegal.

Meanwhile Hamas blamed Israel for the killing of its commander” Mohammed al-Zawari”, an aviation engineer who worked on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, and vowed to take revenge. Zawari, 49, had been in Tunisia only a few days when he was shot dead outside his home by multiple gunshots while in his car near Sfax, 270km southeast of Tunis, on Thursday.

Four rental cars were used in the killing and two handguns and suppressors were seized, Tunisia’s interior ministry said.

A judicial spokesman from Sfax, Mourad Tourki, told Tunisian radio Shems FM that eight Tunisian nationals had been arrested in connection with the killing. Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs the Gaza Strip, confirmed that Zawari had been a member of its military wing for the past 10 years, and spearheaded its drone program. “The assassination of the commander Mohammed al-Zawari in Tunisia is a reminder for all Arab and Muslim nations that the Zionist enemy and its agents are roaming free in the region, playing their dirty roles, and it is time for this cowardly treacherous hand to be cut,”  Hamas’ Qassam Brigades said in a statement.

on the other hand, Israeli Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, told “I hope this issue will not be ascribed to us, that it is not connected to us and that none of those people arrested are our allies.”

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahdha movement has called for an investigation into the killing, which it said posed a threat to the country’s stability. Israeli secret intelligence group, Mossad is also believed to have been behind the murder like the 2010 murder of top Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel.

Hamas blamed Israel for the killing of its "commander" Mohammed al-Zawari, an aviation engineer

Hamas blamed Israel for the killing of its “commander” Mohammed al-Zawari, an aviation engineer