The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Monday said continued Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem reveal that US peace efforts are “fake”.
The Ministry’s remarks came against the backdrop of a new Israeli decision to confiscate around 85 acres of land in East Jerusalem town of Shufat to expand roads in a settlement named Ramat Shlomo.
The Ministry condemned the US administration’s support to the settlements and accused Israel of attempting to evict Palestinians from the city of Jerusalem, according to Xinhua news agency.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Wakf and Islamic Affairs also slammed Israel’s demolition of a 200-square-metre mosque under construction in the south of Hebron earlier on Monday.
The Ministry said in a statement that “the demolition of a mosque under Constitution is an assault on Islamic sites and on religious rights, which is considered a crime punishable under international law”, warning that such assault was accompanied by settler assaults on religious sites in both Hebron and East Jerusalem.
Israeli settlement activity is considered one of the thorniest issues that hindered the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. It is one of the main issues of disagreement since the stop of the peace talks in 2014.
On Sunday, Palestinians observed the 14th death anniversary of the leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.
The late president was born in Jerusalem on August 4, 1929, as Muhammad Yasser Abdul Ra’ouf Daoud Suleiman Arafat al-Kidwa al-Husseini. He was educated in Cairo and had participated as a reservist officer in the Egyptian army, to fight the tripartite aggression against Egypt, in 1956.
In 1969, Arafat led the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and later on, became the first president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its establishment in 1994, following the signing of the interim Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel in 1993. Arafat had miraculously escaped death in 1985 when Israeli forces had raided Hammam al-Shat suburb of Tunis, which led to the death and wounding of dozens of Palestinians and Tunisians. After the break out of Intifada I in December 1987, which is known for stone pelting, Arafat lived outside the country. However, he continued to fight political battles at an international level for the recognition of the Palestinian people.
The Israeli government had attempted to assassinate Arafat many a time. Though all of them were unsuccessful, it has been alleged that Arafat was killed using poison. Investigations on Arafat’s death, however, have stated otherwise.
Following the footsteps of the United States, Australia has now recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This move came after the prime minister of Australia Scott Morrison, during a speech in Sydney, approved the resolution taken by the United States. He further added that the contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved between Palestine and Israel. Morrison also said that they would recognize the future state of Palestine with eastern Jerusalem as its capital after the peace deal.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump had recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and had made attempts to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city. Under the previous Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the status of Jerusalem should be determined through a final peaceful talk between Israel and Palestine. All countries have so far located their embassies in Tel Aviv, in order to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Meanwhile, Australia is also looking to establish a defence and trade office in the west of the holy city.
The Israeli administration has approved new settlements in west bank. As per reports, the administration has approved the construction of 1,451 new housing units in West Bank settlements and advanced plans for the construction of 837 additional units, some in relatively isolated settlements. The approval comes after the settlement sub-committee in the administration’s Supreme Planning Council discussed the plans on Tuesday and Wednesday and gave final approval for 30 of these units.
The council approved 220 housing units in Givat Ze’ev, 180 in Neveh Daniel, 120 in Karmei Tzur, 129 in Avnei Hefetz, 62 in Ma’aleh Mikhmash, 61 in Tzofim, 42 in Alfei Menashe, 55 in Tomer, 18 in Adora, 16 in Metzad and one in Shiloh. Additionally, 135 construction units were approved for the expansion of the eastern neighbourhood of the Tene Omarim settlement. As per reports, thirteen plans in preliminary stages of planning were advanced, including plans for 152 units in Shavei Shomron, 94 in Haggai, 100 in Halamish, 75 in Shvut Rachel, 98 near Ma’aleh Amos, 82 in Ofra and two in Tzofim.
At present, there are around twenty illegal settlements, owing to settlers. The present move from the Israeli government was seen as a hostile attempt by the PLO. In a statement, the secretary general of PLO, Dr Saeb Erekat said that the international criminal Court should accelerate the process of investigating Israeli crimes. Erekat also said that as part of his early election campaign, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stolen more Palestinian land and resources, for the benefit of Israel’s illegal colonial settlement expansion.“What we witnessed in the previous Israeli elections was an evident incitement race against the rights of the Palestinian people, their lives, land, and resources, for the benefit of Israel’s colonial settlement project and to appease its settlers. Such illegal actions are a deliberate campaign to destroy the two-state solution and to prevent the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Erekat said.
In a tit for tat move, the Palestinian government has decided to put a ban on the entry of Israeli vegetables, fruits and poultry into the Palestinian markets in response to an Israeli ban on the import of corresponding Palestinian products. This announcement came after the Palestinian cabinet led by president Mahmoud Abbas conducted a meeting in Ramallah city in the central occupied west bank.
Talking to reporters, the president said, “In accordance with the principle of protecting the local produce and the Palestinian farmer, in order to achieve the government’s policy of supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian farmers, and in light of the unilateral Israeli decision to prevent the entry of Palestinian vegetables and fruits into Israeli markets, the government decided to prevent the entry of all kinds of vegetables, fruits and poultry into the Palestinian markets”.
Earlier, the Israeli regime had banned Palestinian agricultural products after the Palestinian government decided to not allow Israeli livestock into Palestinian markets in a bid to protect the domestic livestock farmers. According to official data, Palestinian vegetable exports to the Israeli market in 2017 reached nearly 56 million US dollars, and fruit exports hit 5 million dollars.
The new announcement has come at a time when the Palestinians had called for a ban on Israeli goods, urging people worldwide to unite against Tel Aviv and put an immediate embargo on Israeli products.
Over a decade ago, a coalition of worldwide organizations established an international campaign, known as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), which advocates boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. In 2005, Palestinian civil society organization called for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel. The BDS aims to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law” and end its occupation of Palestinian territories.
According to the reports of Israel Today, the Hebrew newspaper, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Development of the Negev, Uri Ariel, has completed a massive plan to expel 36,000 Bedouin Palestinians from unrecognized villages. After the approval, the implementation would start this year and will be completed within four years. The seized Bedouin areas are estimated at 260,000 dunums, on which the Israeli authorities will establish what they call as national projects, infrastructure and other “security” measures, which are required to ‘transfer’ the population to other villages, according to the reports.
On the ruins of the villages after their displacement, the Israeli authorities will expand the “Trans-Israel Highway” (Route 6), south of Israel, to the town of Nabatim in the Naqab, an area of 12,000 dunums. The plan indicates that the displacement of Bedouin Palestinians would begin this year, north of Route 31, and will last for four years. Final displacement in 2021 will begin with an annual budget increase, through intensified law enforcement authorities, in reference to the Israeli Police and the Ministry of Internal Security.
Besides that, the authorities of Israel will also transfer 5,000 Arabs to the areas of Abu Talul, Abu Qrinat and Wadi al-Naam, from the Israeli area of Ramat Bekaa, with the aim of transferring a factory for military industries from Israel to the Negev. The Israeli authorities also plan to displace them and confiscate them.
As per reports, the plan would be implemented only to those villages, who do not appear on Israeli official map. The Israeli authorities do not provide them with basic services such as food, water and electricity and the residents do not have addresses. Hence, the authorities do not recognize their rights on the land and have called them “violators” who take over “state lands.”
The Bedouin Development Authority was established in 1984 and controls the planning of displacement projects in the Naqab and administers the Israel Land Administration.
Razan al-Najjar, a twenty-one-year-old paramedic was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in another attack on Friday (June 1, 2018). Razan was a volunteer in providing medical aid to those injured in Israeli attacks on Palestinians and was wearing her paramedic’s white coat when she was shot in the chest. In a photograph taken moments before she was shot, Razan can be seen trying to move away from the tear gas attack while carrying provisions to dress wounds.
Israeli military claims about the latest attack that took the life of Razan al-Najjar, that they were ‘retaliating’ to the ‘thousands of rioters’ who were ‘burning tyres adjacent to the security fence and attempting to damage security infrastructure.’ Palestinian Ministry of Health said that at least a hundred people were injured in the attack that killed Najjar. CNN reported that they saw some protesters burning tyres, throwing rocks and flying burning kites across the border. The Israeli military responded with live ammunition and tear gas.
Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.Â In the gruesome war of military occupation that Israel is waging against Palestinians, a group of people from Gaza, led by women, embarked upon what is called the Great Return March in March 2018. Gazaâ€™s refugees seek to return to their land that is now in Israel. East Jerusalem is the desired capital for a future independent state that Palestinians are hoping for. Israel captured it in 1967 and claims that it is their capital.
According to Resolution 194 that was passed in 1948 by the United Nations, the refugees have the right to return to their villages. Israel, however, refused and shot anyone who attempted to go back to their land. It is this right that has already been guaranteed to them that the Palestinians are fighting for, unarmed.
Adding to the history of violence by Israel was the United States (US) President Donald Trumpâ€™s act of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. World leaders and the Presidentâ€™s advisers themselves had advised against it stating how it will result in undoing the efforts towards achieving peace between Israel and Palestine. In a widely condemned incident, Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trumpâ€™s daughter, ‘celebrated’ the US embassyâ€™s location shift to Jerusalem on May 15, 2018, as Israeli armed forces massacred Palestinians in Gaza.
Tear gas and rounds of gunfire were used on the Palestinians who mostly carried slingshots and stones. At least 61 people were murdered and over 2500, including women, children and journalists were injured in the ghastly attack. As a smiling Ivanka opened the embassy in Jerusalem, 60 miles away in Gaza, Israeli snipers fired at thousands of Palestinians who were demanding the right to return to homes that their families were forced to abandon in 1948.
15 May was the 70th anniversary of the day on which 7,50,000 Palestinians were evicted from their land where they had lived all their lives and for generations. This day is now called the Nakba day and the Great Return March was planned to continue till the day.
It was in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 that 7,50,000 Palestinians were evicted from their land where they had lived all their lives and for generations. Of the people who fled the land during this war that resulted in the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, more than 2,00,000 were forced to flee to Gaza. Palestinians call this eviction â€˜Nakbaâ€™ meaning catastrophe.
As Ivanca Trump, Unites States (US) President Donald Trump’s daughter, celebrated the US embassy’s location shift to Jerusalem, Israeli armed forces massacred Palestinians in Gaza. At least 52 people were murdered and over 2500,Â including women, children and journalists were injured in the ghastly attack. In December 2017, US President Donald Trump had recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, a move that outraged Palestinians and was criticised heavily by other nations of the world.
A smiling Ivanca opened the embassy while 60 miles away, in Gaza, Israeli snipers fired at thousands of Palestinians who were demanding the right to return to homes that their families were forced to abandon in 1948. Tear gas and rounds of gunfire were used on the Palestinians who mostly carried slingshots and stones.
What a great day for the great American-Israeli alliance ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡±ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸
Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.Â In the gruesome war of military occupation that Israel is waging against Palestinians, a group of people from Gaza, led by women, embarked upon what is called the Great Return March in March 2018. Gazaâ€™s refugees seek to return to their land that is now in Israel.
It was in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 that 7,50,000 Palestinians were evicted from their land where they had lived all their lives and for generations. Of the people who fled the land during this war that resulted in the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, more than 2,00,000 were forced to flee to Gaza. Palestinians call this eviction â€˜Nakbaâ€™ meaning catastrophe. Today (15 May 2018) is the 70th anniversary of this day that is now called the Nakba day and the Great Return March is scheduled to end on this day.
United States has not condemned the attack but has sided with Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu who described the massacre as ‘self-defence’.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for a strike on Tuesday. Britain said that it does not intend to move its embassy to Jerusalem and that they disagreed with the US decision. France condemned the move saying it had violated international law. Turkey said that the Israeli massacre of Palestinians was encouraged by the US action.
In order to help the vulnerable families in the Gaza strip, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) have signed a new agreement to provide basic equipments with blankets, clothing and hygiene kits to vulnerable families in Gaza. The joint initiative was designed to help poorer families, particularly children, women and elderly and to cope with the harsh winter and worsening living conditions of the people in Gaza.
As per the agreement, families would receive an amount between US$47 and US$106 on their electronic assistance cards. The cash top-up will allow them to buy blankets, clothing, children’s school uniforms and hygiene items from contracted local retailers. Families benefiting from this programme will also receive awareness sessions on hygiene and on the prevention and control of communicable diseases.
As per the UNICEF’s Special Representative in the State of Palestine, Genevieve Boutin that it was critical that the most vulnerable people in Gaza, particularly children, are able to meet their most pressing humanitarian needs during this winter season. “Our partnership with UNWFP to provide an integrated package of essential goods, services, and support aims to help address people’s vulnerabilities in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” Boutin said.
The agreement between UNICEF and UNWFP is outlined in such a way that it should deliver aid during an emergency. Earlier, both these organizations collaborated in 2014 after the conflict situation arose in Gaza, where thousands of affected people were able to buy hygiene items, water, clothing, as well as food, from local retailers using a single electronic card. Meanwhile, UNWFP and UNICEF have been working together on several multi-sector initiatives that are vital to poor households, given the range of deprivation in Gaza,” says WFP Representative and Country Director Stephen Kearney.
The Gaza strip is facing economic hardship as the blockade and movement restrictions are affecting trade and access to natural resources. This has made life harder for people in Gaza as there are cuts and delays in national social allowances and public servants’ salaries from the Palestinian Authority. Latest humanitarian indicators testify to growing challenges, with more than half of the population steeped in poverty (53 per cent), unemployment (55 per cent) and unprecedented food insecurity (68.5 per cent). Most vulnerable families living in deep poverty are surviving on less than US$1 dollar per person per day, making uninterrupted humanitarian aid vital to their survival.
In the recently concluded UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting, India took a step back from its position on the Israeli-Palestine issue, by voting in favour of Israel. Through the vote, India objected to awarding observer status to Shahed, a Palestinian non-governmental organisation.
The voting happened on 6th June at the UN. While countries such as US, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, South Korea and Canada polled in favour of Israel, others like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan voted in favour of the Palestine body. 28 countries voted in favour and 15 against, with five abstentions.
Israel accused that the organisation omitted several important facts, including its ties with the militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Israel also thanked India for its support. “Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of the terrorist organization “Shahed” to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm,” Deputy Chief of Mission at Israel’s Embassy in New Delhi tweeted.
Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of terrorist organization “Shahed” to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm. pic.twitter.com/erHTfuY1A1
Following the vote, a press release by Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN said the Palestinian organisation, registered in Lebanon under the name “Witness”, apparently deals with the rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
“The joint political activity bore fruit, and in the vote held today in ECOSOC, 28 out of 47 countries in the Council objected to granting the terrorist organization the special status,” it said.
Reading Time: 3minutesIn the gruesome war of military occupation that Israel is waging against Palestinians, a group of people from Gaza, four weeks ago embarked upon what is called the Great Return March. Gaza’s refugees are clear about the goal. It is the right to return to their land that is now in Israel.
Given the amount of resistance the unarmed group of protestors have been facing from Israeli troops, it was unusual and even more remarkable that it was led by women. 32 unarmed protesters, including a child were shot down by Israel’s soldiers at the other side. Yet, nothing stopped them from braving the bullets and tearing off a piece of the fence at the border.
Many young women who are leading the march have no doubt about continuing till the end that is May 15, 2018. Even though this protest has been called suicidal by some Gazans, and the death toll has risen as the march proceeded, there is no turning back for these women who have even defied societal stigmas to lead the march.
Taking part in the march are people who were expelled from their land more than 70 years ago. There are a hundred snipers positioned at Israel’s barrier wall but more than the notorious brutality with which they operate, it is also pointing at the innate fear of a people’s non violent protest for their rights.
This becomes even more important when the refugees of Gaza are asking for the land from which they were driven away, which is now geographically, only a few miles away from them. In fact, the fence that is protecting Israel from stones, the only weapon the Palestinians have against the bullets, is Israel protecting itself from Gaza that they themselves have occupied.
Fuelling the claim for the land owned by them for generations is also the deplorable condition of living in the Gaza strip. For more than ten years of Israeli-Egyptian blockade, electricity shortages, lack of water and military assaults have been common in the land.
It was in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 that 7,50,000 Palestinians were evicted from their land where they had lived all their lives and for generations. Of the people who fled the land during this war that resulted in the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, more than 2,00,000 were forced to flee to Gaza. Palestinians call this eviction ‘Nakba’ meaning catastrophe. 15 may is the 70th anniversary of this day that is now called the Nakba day and hence the fixed date for the march to continue till the day.
According to Resolution 194 that was passed in 1948 by the United Nations, the refugees have the right to return to their villages. Israel, however refused and shot anyone who attempted to go back to their land. It is this right that has already been guaranteed to them that the Palestinians are demanding.
Adding to the history of violence by Israel is United States (US) President Donald Trump’s announcement of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. This is also slated to happen on May 15. World leaders and the President’s advisers themselves had advised against it stating how it will result in undoing the efforts towards achieving peace between Israel and Palestine. East Jerusalem is the desired capital for a future independent state that Palestinians are hoping for. Israel captured it in 1967 and claims that it is their capital.
The women leading the march claim that them being in the front line will make Israelis think twice before shooting. The number of women who have taken bullets, however, does not seem to substantiate this belief. But till the Nakba day, the women and others in the march are determined to persevere.
The great March protests that were organized on 7th December 2018, to demand the return of exile Palestinians to their homes, has led to a huge backlash. As per reports, Israeli forces used lethal weapons against the demonstrators and injured 72 civilians including 11 children, 1 woman and 2 paramedics in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip.
Every Friday, since the rallies began in March, demonstrations demanding the right of Palestinians to return of Palestinians were made. However, every protest were dealt with force from the Israeli forces. The protesters, on the other hand, abstained themselves from burning tires, throwing stones or incendiary balloons and from attempting to cross the border fence. The demonstrators also stayed ten meters away from the border fence, chanting slogans and demanded the return of exile Palestinians. The Israeli forces on the other side used military jeeps and excessive forces against the peaceful demonstrators by opening fire at them.
Despite the prevailing calmness, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to hundreds of teargas canisters, particularly in eastern Jabalia, Gaza and al-Bureij refugee camp. Since its beginning on 30th March 2018, the Israeli response to the march has resulted in the loss of several human lives. In total, 175 civilians including 33 children have been killed while a total of 9,733 people were injured.
At least 15 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 others have been wounded in confrontations with the Israeli forces as scores of them marched towards the fence that separates Gaza from Israel at the start of a six-week protest.
About 1,416 people were wounded and the dead included one minor aged 16, CNN reported, citing the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as saying.
The Israeli military has apparently resorted to the usage of rubber bullets, tear gas and live rounds.
According to the ministry, the majority were injured in live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation.
According to the report, at least two dozen people were being taken away by ambulances in the span of half an hour.
A slew of Palestinian protesters marched in Gaza along the fence in what is being labeled as the Great March of Return.
Thousands of Palestinians were “rioting throughout the Gaza Strip, rolling burning tires and hurling stones at the security fence and at IDF troops, who are responding with riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators,” The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.
One Palestinian was killed and 969 were wounded in a fire outbreak reportedly conducted by the Israeli forces during the on-going Israeli attack on PalestineÂ at the Gaza border on Friday.
More than 10,000 protesters marched along the Israel-Gaza border while resorting to burning tires and Israeli flags, various media houses quoted the Gaza Health Ministry as saying.
According to the Israeli army, protests were held at five different sites along the border.
Among those who were injured, 233 were affected wounded by a live fire while 419 were admitted to the hospital. Further 13 Palestinians were injured by rubber-tipped bullets.
Further, a reduction in the number of the protestors has been noted.
A large number of protesters have been killed since the Great March of Return conducted by the Palestine protesters across the Gaza border on March 31. The march has been followed by several violent outbreaks between Israel and Palestine supporters that had led to multiple civilian deaths.
At least two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza Strip as part of the “right of return” march, Palestine’s Health Ministry said on Friday.
The Palestinian ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra, said two persons – Mohammad Fawzi al Hamaida (24) and a 13-year-old Palestinian boy were shot dead by Israeli soldiers during the demonstrations in southern Gaza, Anadolu News Agency reported.
On June 14, a 21-year-old-Palestinian man died after he succumbed to his injuries during the clashes with Israeli troops at the Gaza border, a week after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians and wounded over 600 people.
Among the 600, around 120 were injured from live fire and tear gas.
On May 15, the Great March of Return rallies culminated to mark the anniversary of ‘Nakba’ or ‘The Catastrophe’, the forced removal of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes to clear the way for Israel’s establishment in 1948.
Prior to that, a large number of Palestinians gathered to protest on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 124 Palestinians and wounded more than 13,000 people. (ANI)
The Israeli troops on Friday killed four Palestinians and wounded over 600 people.
Of 600, around 120 were injured from live fire and tear gas.
In their defense, Israelis said they were defending the frontier against crowds that threw stones and burned tyres in an attempt to cross.
It also claimed that Palestinian militants fired guns at its forces and threw grenades, as per Al Jazeera.
On May 15, the Great March of Return rallies culminated to mark the Nakba or Catastrophe. It is the forced removal of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes to clear the way for Israel’s establishment in 1948.
In May, a large number of Palestinians gathered to protest on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protest the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 124 Palestinians and wounded more than 13,000 people.
The Israeli military had fired several missiles at a Hamas position in Southern Gaza strip on May 22, as per the Palestinian military.
No injuries or casualties were reported.
After a group of suspects crossed into Israeli border and set a military post on fire, Gaza’s port was attacked, Anadolu Agency reported.
Since March, during anti-corruption rallies along the Gaza border, the atmosphere in the Gaza strip has been tensed after the Israeli martyred over 110 Palestinians.
On May 22, Israeli forces nabbed 11 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank during their overnight raids.
62 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in violent clashes with Israeli forces along the Gaza border since May 14, in what was the deadliest escalation of violence in the region since 2014.
A large number of Palestinians gathered on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and protested the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which overturned decades of American foreign policy.
May 15 marks the so-called Nakba Day (‘Catastrophe’ in Arabic), which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian exodus that resulted from Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.
The protests are also a part of the “Great March of Return”, wherein the Palestinian protesters asserted that they want to return to their ancestors’ homes in Israel when they were displaced during the war between Israel and Palestine in 1948.
According to Anadolu Agency, many countries condemned the violent protests and called for international action against the “massacre committed by the Israeli soldiers.”
Nearly 6,500 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons of which 62 are women and 350 are minors.
Popstar Demi Lovato has said sorry to fans for accepting a free trip to Israel, where she was baptised in the Jordan River.
Demi took to Instagram to reveal her feelings, in a post that she has since deleted, according to a report in “pagesix.com”.
“I’m extremely frustrated,” said Demi, 27, who was raised a Christian. “I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention.”
Demi added that she had no idea her trip would garner the kind of negative attention as it did. She said her intention was not to generate controversy with her visit to Israel.
Shortly after Demi posted pictures of her trip to Israel, many American fans felt the gesture was akin to being an act of support on Demi’s part towards Israel at a time when that country was in a state of conflict with Palestine.
Insisting that her trip was in no way meant to be a political statement, the singer apologised to fans for not being “more educated” about world politics.
“This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT. Now I realize it hurts people and for that I’m sorry. Sorry, I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience. I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself than staying quiet to please other people,” she added.
Demi also said that she has chosen to tender an apology to fans because she felt it was “right”, and “against all advice” by her team.
Earlier in the week, the singer had shared several photographs from her sponsored trip, which included a stop to Yad Vashem — the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
Although the snapshots from her trip were still on her profile page at the time of going to press, she has since turned off the comments.
A German organisation has withdrawn its decision to confer its award to Pakistani-origin British author Kamila Shamsie, citing her anti-Israel stance as the reason behind it, according to a report in the Pakistani media.
The German city of Dortmund had announced earlier this month that this year’s Nelly Sachs Prize would go to the British Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, the organisers said that the eight-member jury has reversed its decision and that the 2019 award will not be handed to Kamila Shamsie.
The organisers said in a statement that “despite prior research, the members of the jury were not aware that the author has been participating in the boycott measures against the Israeli government for its Palestinian policies since 2014.”
“Shamsie’s political positioning to actively participate in the cultural boycott as part of the BDS (Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions) campaign against the Israeli government is clearly in contradiction to the statutory objectives of the award and the spirit of the Nelly Sachs Prize,” the statement further said.
Condemning the Dortmund decision, Shamsie said on Twitter that “it is a matter of great sadness to me that a jury should bow to pressure and withdraw a prize from a writer who is exercising her freedom of conscience and freedom of expression.”
Palestine hailed the US Congress Resolution 326 which opposes the settlements and annexation in the West Bank.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), described the resolution as a “blow” to US President Donald Trump’s support of the Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.
“Congress Resolution 326 represents a blow to the attempts of the Trump administration to legitimize illegal settlements and annexation. It supports our right to self-determination. We must work to stop Israel’s violations of international law, and destruction of the two-state solution,” Erekat said in a tweet on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The resolution was passed by the US House of Representatives on Friday with 226 votes in favour and 188 against.
It calls on the Trump administration to “expressly endorse a two-state solution as its objective and discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach, including unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework on negotiations with Israel.”
Israeli settlement activity is considered one of the major issues that caused the collapse of the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis in 2014.
Palestine officials urged Jordan and Egypt to reconsider their decision to attend a U.S led conference, which is scheduled to be held on June 25-26 in Bahrain. Palestine stated that their participation would weaken any Arab opposition to President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
“The Palestinian Authority urges Egypt and Jordan not to attend the Bahrain conference,” Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said on Facebook after US officials announced the two nations, along with Morocco, would attend the same.
Melhem urged “all brotherly and friendly countries to withdraw”, adding that participation “would carry wrong messages about the unity of the Arab position” on rejecting Trump’s long-awaited peace plan.
The conference would be seen discussing the economic aspects of the new peace plan developed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The plan dubbed as “deal of the century” was widely criticised for it’s blatant Israel bias.
The participation of Egypt and Jordan at Bahrain meeting is a cause of concern as they had played a key role in Middle East peace efforts, and are the only Arab states who have peace treaties with Israel.
Though the exact details of the U.S peace plan are yet to be announced, Palestinian and Arab sources state that it has rejected the two-state solution.
It also has to be noted that Egypt is the second largest beneficiary of U.S. military aid, and received $1.3 billion in 2018.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said Tuesday that his country would not attend because “the Palestinians will not participate, and we prefer to have a clear idea of the proposed peace plan, as we have not been consulted or informed about it.”
Iraq on Friday said “categorically rejected” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank if he wins the next election.
A statement by Iraqi Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said that his country’s rejection of Netanyahu’s intention to annex Jordan Valley and the north of Dead Sea has prompted a wave of outrage in the Arab, Islamic and international areas.
Iraq treats Netanyahu’s announcement as “aggressive electoral propaganda and programmed racist settlement policy, based on the deprivation of the rights of the Palestinian people”, Al-Sahaf was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
“It is a very dangerous occupation step towards Palestine, which comes to fuel the conflict in the whole region,” Al-Sahaf said, adding that such announcement has to be encountered with an Arab and international reaction.
Iraq also confirmed that it is important “to provide international protection to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian territories and to exert a genuine, practical and responsible effort at all levels to address the actions of the Zionist entity (Israel), which deliberately violates international law”.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu pledged to annex a key part of the occupied West Bank if re-elected in next week’s election. Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war and also seized part of the Golan Heights from Syria.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees kicked off the school year for more than half a million Palestinian students across five regions.
In a symbolic event held at the Amman’s Nuzha Girls School on Sunday the UNRWA welcomed 120,000 students who will start the academic year in 169 schools across the kingdom, one of the countries that host the largest number of Palestinian refugees, Efe news reported.
UNRWA is “determination to go ahead with the education process” for Palestinian generations despite the financial hardships facing the UN establishment, the agency’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.
“We are proud that we have been able to keep the schools operating and to safeguard the right to education of Palestinian refugees despite the political and financial challenges,” Krahenbuhl told a press conference.
Krahenbuhl said it was “extremely important” for the agency to be able to prepare schools for more than half a million Palestinian students in the five regions of operation -Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Syria and Lebanon.
The UNRWA chief pointed out that the agency had managed to overcome “the major challenge” it faced after the United States President Donald Trump’s decision to slash all $360 million Washington used to contribute to UNRWA’s budget in the past couple of years.
He thanked all 43 states, particularly European, Gulf and Southeast Asian states, which he said had raised their donations to the agency to help it bridge the gap in its deficit.
However, he appealed to donor countries to help plug the current deficit amounting to $120 million in the agency’s budget for 2019.
He said that his agency “has no intention to reduce services” extended to Palestinian refugees.
“On the contrary, we are an organization that advocates the rights of Palestine refugees and we will resist any attempts to undermine those rights,” he added.
One of the main reasons behind the US decision to withdraw funds to the UNRWA was that the agency does not consider as refugees only the Palestinians who had to flee their territory in 1948 after the establishment of Israel and the later exodus waves, but also those who were born in the hosting countries.