April 29, 2012
Daily Summary 04/25/2012
PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP: LEGITIMIZING SETTLEMENT OUTPOSTS IS ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF PEACE
The Palestinian leadership yesterday rejected the Israeli government decision to give legitimacy to three settlement outposts in the West Bank, saying this was yet another nail in the coffin of the already faltering peace process and that the step was basically Netanyahu’s response to President Abbas’ letter. In a report sent to Maan, the leadership said the international community knew that Israel continues to take advantage of the world’s silence to carry out its crimes, continue its settlement policies and create facts on the ground that would prevent the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state. The three outposts were built in the 90s upon decisions from prior Israeli governments. This is the first time since 1990 that the Israeli government decides to build new settlements of privately owned Palestinian land through legitimizing the outposts. PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said settlement building was the core of this government’s policies and so the world must deal with it on this basis. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=479432). The United States expressed its ‘concern’ about Israel’s decision, saying it was unhelpful to peace talks with the Palestinians. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US would ask Israel for clarifications on the decision. The French foreign ministry condemned the move, which it said sends a very negative message that goes against peace interests in the region. France has also protested the Israeli army’s destruction of two water wells in the West Bank which it funded, calling on Israel to stop destroying property and humaninarian infrastructure. UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he was ‘disappointed’ with the Israeli decision on the three outposts, reiterating that settlements were illegal under international law. (Al Quds)
ISRAELI FORCES CLAIM THEY ARRESTED PALESTINIANS WITH EXPLOSIVE DEVICES AT THE ENTRANCE TO JERICHO
Israeli sources said yesterday that army troops arrested two Palestinians at the Baqaout checkpoint north of Jericho carrying four explosive devices. According to Israeli army radio that quoted security sources, the Palestinians were trying to cross the checkpoint where they were arrested and are being interrogated by the Shabak. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=479451), In related news, Israeli police arrested a man suspected of attacking an Israeli cabdriver with a knife near Tel Aviv. The victim sustained moderate to serious wounds. (Al Ayyam)
RIGHTS GROUP: SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON IS WORSENING
According to an annual report by the Palestinian human rights organization ‘Shahed’, the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is worsening with each year with their rights deteriorating in both quality and quantity. The report said that living conditions in the camp have never been addressed and that the camps were ‘fertile ground for the spread of diseases and collapsed homes in addition to social problems.” The report said the lack of a political reference has meant a lack of authority for the camps, with no police force except with a few social inititaitves to that end. Shahed said 2011 saw no government initiative by Lebanon to improve the conditions of Palestinian refugees in the country, calling on the government ot abide by its international obligations to respect Palestinians as humans and to amend the laws and decisions that contradict with international law and human rights. Shahed also called on the PLO to work towards forming a unified Palestinian reference to follow up on all refugee files with the Lebanese. There are around 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. (http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today\24qpt955.htm&arc=data\2012\04\04-24\24qpt955.htm)
HAMAS STRONGLY DENIES THAT ITS LAST ELECTIONS MADE HANIYEH RANTISI’S SUCCESSOR IN LEADING THE MOVEMENT IN GAZA
Yesterday, Hamas strongly denied that Ismail Haniyeh, the current prime minister of the deposed government, has been able to reach the status of the late Abdel Aziz Rantisi through the recent internal elections in the movement. The denial came in the form of a statement by an official Hamas source after Haaretz published yesterday the news that Haniyeh had been ‘crowned an heir to Rantisi”. The source confirmed that Hamas separated between the government and the movement, implying that Haniyeh – who heads the government – had no relationship with the leadership of the movement. The source said the leaks were aimed at trying to get Hamas to reveal the names of its leaders. (http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today\24qpt973.htm&arc=data\2012\04\04-24\24qpt973.htm). In related news, sources said that contrary to what it may seem, the internal Hamas elections, in which Haniyeh was chosen to be the head of the politburo in Gaza has actually reinforced the status of Khaled Meshaal. The source said the makeup of the new politburo in Gaza acts like a support system for Meshaal because the movement’s armed wing the Izzedin Al Qassam Brigades – affiliated with Meshaal – were able to double their wins in the election with the victory of Ahmad Jaafari and Marwan Issa in addition to Rawhi Mushtaha and Yehya Sanour, both former prisoners freed in the Shalit swap. The sources also said that the new makeup of the Shura Council included a large number of freed prisoners who pledge loyalty to the armed wing, which in turn means a strengthening of Meshaal’s status. The undisclosed sources also said that although it is unknown whether Hamas has conducted its secret elections in the West Bank because of security considerations, it is almost a shoe-in that the results will also be an endorsement of Meshaal. (http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&issueno=12202&article=674319&feature=)
OFER PRISONERS JOIN THE HUNGER STRIKE; OCCUPATION TRANSFERS STRIKERS TO DIFFERENT BLOCS
Palestinian prisoners in the Ofer prison west of Ramallah announced yesterday that they would join in the mass hunger strike in prisons as of today. This comes at a time when prison services are carrying out a wide scale campaign against the 1,300 hunger strikers in the prisons by transferring them to isolated cells and isolating whole blocs from other prisoners. According to the Prisoner Affairs Ministry, Israeli prison services are trying to completely cut off hunger strikers from their surroundings, including banning any family or attorney visits, barring any newspapers and televisions and confiscating all their personal belongings. The ministry also said prison authorities have taken away salt from the hunger strikers, which is the most dangerous measure taken so far. According to Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos, 150 prisoners in the Ofer prison declared their intention to join the hunger strike during his visit to them yesterday, with another 100 to join on May 1. According to a representative of prisoner Shadi Shalaldeh during his visit with Boulous, “The world must remember that improving prisoner conditions inside the jails is a duty but it is not an alternative for freedom.” He said the moment the prison administration was informed of the decision, it began to threaten the prisoners on both the individual and collective levels, saying they would ban their use of the kitchen and would search their rooms along with other threats. According to one of the prisoner leaders, Ahmad Kamil, they are waiting for the prison services’ response to their demands after which they would act accordingly. (Al Ayyam) In related news, Thaer Halahleh, who has been on hunger strike for 58 days, said during a visit from a Mandela institution attorney, that doctors informed him that he had his immunity system had shut down. The doctors said this conclusion was made after CT scans of his liver and kidneys. The lawyer said Halahleh was brought in on a wheelchair, suffered severe pains in his chest and stomach and had lost much of his vision in one eye after losing 24 kilograms. Still, he said he would not halt his strike until his administrative detention order was cancelled. Furthermore, prisoner Hasan Safadi, 31 from Nablus and who has been on strike for 51 days is now in critical condition. According to his uncle who saw him in court, Safadi is suffering from serious infections and a virus in his bloodstream, adding that the judge still rejected his appeal. His uncle added that Safadi’s mother was in a coma after she went on hunger strike 35 days ago in solidarity with her son. ‘Um Farid” lost her oldest son in 1996 when he was shot and killed by Israeli forces during the 1996 uprising. (Al Quds)
In related news, Israeli prison services transferred 140 prisoners on hunger strike from the Meggido Prison to an unconfirmed location (believed to be the Jalbou’ prison) including PLC member Ahmad Al Haj Ali, Rafat Naseef and representative for Hamas at Megiddo Mohammed Al Aref. The majority of prisoners in Megiddo are on hunger strike including the ill prisoners such as Mohammed Ghazzal, a lecturer at Al Najah University who suffers from high blood pressure, Daoud Rajiyeh and Nawwaf Amer.(Al Hayat Al Jadida)
SETTLERS BREAK INTO JOSEPH’S TOMB IN NABLUS AND OTHERS ATTACK CHILEAN DELEGATION IN HEBRON
Yesterday at dawn, hundreds of settlers broke into Joseph’s Tomb east of Nablus. According to local sources, 1,200 settlers were brought by bus to the tomb under tight Israeli security. The settlers carried out prayers and rituals in the tomb before leaving in the early morning hours. In a separate incident, yesterday afternoon, settlers attacked a group of Chilean senat members and the Hebron governor Kamal Hmeid near the Ibrahimi Mosque during a visit to the old city. The settlers cursed the visitors and demanded that they leave the area, saying it was a “Jewish area only.” The Chilean delegation responded by saying that this was Palestinian land in which the settlers had no right to. According to the head of the Chilean delegation, “what happened today in Hebron is worse than we expected. We understand how much the Palestinians need their freedom and we support their bid at the UN for full membership.” (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
ATTORNEY AHMAD RUWEIDI WARNS OF CONFISCATION OF REAL ESTATE IN SHEIKH JARRAH, SILWAN AND THE OLD CITY ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF ABSENTEE PROPERTY
Presidential office advisor on Jerusalem attorney Ahmad Ruweidi warned yesterday of Israeli court plans against Jerusalem properties according to lawsuits filed by settlement groups. the groups want to take control of Palestinian property and real estate in the East Jerusalem areas of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the Old City, adding that documents are forged and the 1951 law of absentee property is used to get a hold of the properties. Ruweidi said was necessary to find legal tools with the law and international agreements to protect the properties. His statements came following the central court’s review of a case for confiscation of the Ruweidi home in Silwan by the Elad settlement group. The court postponed its verdict. According to the lawyer on the case, Victor Mansour, the house was confiscated by using the absentee law and then eventually sold to the settler group. According to the homeowner, Sameer Ruweidi, ownership documents were forged, adding that the hom has been in his family for 300 years (Al Quds)
Results of election of students` council at “al--Quds” University: sweeping victory to Fatah`s list over Hamas`s list.
“Martyr Yasser Arafat” list, that represents Fatah movement, won yesterday majority seats of the students` council in “al-Quds” University, after getting 32 seats out of the total 51 seats. The Islamic bloc that is affiliated with “Hamas” movement came second with 13 seats. As for the remaining blocs, the results are the following: the “Youths of Unity and Change” list (DFLP) 3 seats, “the Unity of the Homeland” bloc (PFLP and the National Initiative) 2 seats and “Palestine for All” list that is affiliated with the Popular Struggle Front got one seat. (http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=479373)
Secret talks between Jordan and Israel on borders and security
High ranking Jordanian sources unveiled last Tuesday that secret talks are underway between Jordanian and Israeli officials in Jerusalem and at the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea on the two issues of borders and security, which are the most essential in any final status agreement between Israel and the PA.
The officials added that the results of these talks have been positive “in terms of committing Israel not to interfere in the Jordanian territories under any future political deal with the Palestinians”.
*Fatah wins majority seats in Al Quds student body council (Al Ayyam)
*Cabinet decides to end the practice of security clearance as a condition of employment (Al Ayyam)
*Syrian security services arrest Palestinian scholar Salameh Keila (Al Ayyam)
*Eight-month prison sentence for Israeli policeman who killed a handcuffed Palestinian (Al Quds)
*Abed Rabbo denies any knowledge of his forced resignation (Al Quds)
*Explosion in Damascus, observers continue their tours in light of continuous breaches of ceasefire (Al Quds)
*Population of Israel today: 7,881 million, 20% of whom are Arab (Al Quds)
*Egypt closes Rafah Crossing today on occasion of Sinai Liberation anniversary (Al Quds)
*Allenby Bridge open until 5 pm only because of Jewish holidays (Al Quds)
*Haaretz: Netanyahu resorts to military orders to whitewash settlements in the West Bank (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Gaza families granted new homes built by UNRWA with Dutch funding (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*The President receives ambassadors of India and Malta upon end of their services in Palestine (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Joudeh: Jordan condemns settlement activities and unilateral Israeli measures (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Qrei: Israel is the loser if the two state solution is not realized; the alternative is one state and Israel will drown in deluge of Palestinian population (Al Quds)
|Front Page Photos
Al-Quds: Ramallah: Father of prisoner Thaer Halahleh from Hebron on hunger strike for 58 days, holding a picture of his son after an Israeli court rejected his appeal to cancel administrative detention for him and Bilal Thiab.
Al-Ayyam: 1) General view of settlement outpost Brukhim near Nablus, which Israeli authorities decided to legitimize yesterday; 2) Families of prisoners continue their sit in in front of the Red Cross in Al Bireh; 3) Adel Imam in a scene from the movie “The Terrorist’.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: 1) The Brukhin settlement outpost; 2) Fatah student block Shabibeh celebrating their victory in Al Quds University
|Voice of Palestine News
West Bank:. Palestinian prisoners inside the occupation jails continue being on a hunger strike for the ninth consecutive day.
Local sources report that the medical condition of hunger striker Hasan a-Safadi is very grave after 51 days of being on hunger strike.
“Martyr Yasser Arafat” bloc, representative of Fatah students, won yesterday the election of the students` council in Abu Deis “al-Quds” university.
|Voice of Palestine Interviews
** A press communiqué by Fatah inside the occupation jails: 3,000 prisoners will join the hunger strike in two weeks**
Qadri Abu Wasel: An Expert in Prisoners’` Affairs.
Q: Would you ascribe the fact that only part of the prisoners` movement has been involved in the hunger strike to tactic measures or to internal disputes between the prisoners?
The strike was first started with 1600 prisoners and now this figure exceeds 2500 prisoners. I am aware of the existing disputes inside the jails, particularly over the formation of the national leadership committee. Yet, the continuous arbitrary Israeli violations against all prisoners in spite of the implementation (Shalit) prisoners deal has left the prisoners without a choice but to defend their dignity. The ongoing strike concentrates on the prisoners` dignity and the entire Palestinian people`s dignity.
Q: Do you expect this strike to farther expand within the coming days?
There is information about other prisoners` intention to join the strike. I believe that we will witness a genuine Palestinian unity inside the jails as everyone is aware of that the Israeli intransigence and arrogance cannot be defeated unless with the prisoners` unity.
Q: We received a press communiqué from Fatah`s prisoners inside the occupation jails saying that over 3,000 prisoners will join collectively the hunger strike next week. Do you have any information about this?
This announcement was specifically referring to May 1, the day on which the remaining prisoners intend to join the strike that will subsequently become comprehensive inside the entire occupation jails.
Nevertheless, this step should be coupled with activities by all Palestinian civil societies and national and Islamic factions in each and every Palestinian village and city, in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the 1948 areas.
**Funded by the Dutch government and implemented by the UNRWA: housing project provides Palestinian refugees with 223 new homes, west of Khan Yunis camp**
Adnan Abu Hasnah: UNRWA Spokesperson.
Q: Where are these new homes located?
The homes are located west of Khan Yunis camp, the area where settlements were emptied. The 223 homes have been constructed very beautifully according to good architectural standards. The total funding of the project which amounted to $7.2 million was provided by the Dutch government.
Q: Building homes for refugees outside the area of the refugee camps is usually a sensitive matter because such steps could be viewed as an attempt to resettle refugees?
This was the impression the people conveyed in the past. In the Gaza strip, only 30 percent of the total refugees live inside refugee camps. Therefore, when a Palestinian refugee`s home is destroyed outside the camp, the UNRWA would certainly build him a new one. Moreover, the rebuilding of homes that were destroyed inside camps is almost impossible on the original area. In a-Shatei` camp for instance, over 80 thousand people live in one square kilometer in a-Shatei` camp. Taking into account this extremely high population density, how could we construct homes according to normal infrastructure standards?
Q: Will you implement similar projects in the near future?
Yes, there is a Saudi funded project which we hope to complete within two months. This project, which will include 733 housing units, is at a stage of treatment of tenders. I hope we could start the building process in two or three weeks. There are other pending projects like the one funded by the UAE due to lack of Israeli approval.
**Cabinet decides to end the practice of security clearance as a condition of employment*
Ghassan al-Khatib: Spokesperson of the PA Government.
Q: Is there a connection between this decision and a report that was recently displayed by “AMAN” organization (on corruption and transparency)?
I do not think there is a direct connection to that or there is one specific reason for this decision. It comes after accumulations that are related primarily to many calls from Palestinian human rights groups, including “AMAN”, in addition to serious and responsible debates inside the Palestinian official circles, including the security circle, in addition to that the situation has become ripen to take such a step.
The decision conveys the commitment of the government to the Palestinian human rights.
Q: what will be the alternative to the security clearance as a condition of employment?
This issue will be studied before making an announcement about it soon. A certificate of no criminal record will be a basic element in the alternative arrangements.
Is it late to save East Jerusalem?
By: Osama Al-Sharif (http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article616407.ece)
In the frustrating pursuit of Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement based on the concept of a two-state solution, one particular issue emerges as the most cumbersome and, in the view of most Israelis, non negotiable.
It is the fate of Arab East Jerusalem, occupied along with the rest of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Earlier this week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told participants in an international conference on Jerusalem in Doha that Israeli measures to Judaize East Jerusalem represent the last battle to seal the fate of the Holy City and its environs. He described Israeli “measures of annexation” as “null and void. East Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine.” Israel, he said, was “using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab Islamic and the Christian character of East Jerusalem.”
The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani called on the UN to “investigate the measures Israel has taken to Judaize Jerusalem since its occupation in 1967.” President Abbas supported the suggestion and Palestinian officials said they will take their case to the UN General Assembly if their bid to censure Israeli actions were foiled by an American veto at the Security Council.
Israel has condemned the conference as Israel-bashing carnival and criticized the presence of UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Palestinian leader’s remarks “a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace.”
But in spite of the heated rhetoric Israel appears committed to systematic scheme to destroy East Jerusalem buildings and neighborhoods, build and expand Jewish settlements in and around the city, enforce economic siege on Arab residents to force them out and threaten the integrity of Al Haram Al Sharif complex that includes Al Aqsa Mosque whose Western Wall is holy to Jews and is believed to be the only remaining structure of the destroyed Third Temple.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 war. It declared the city its eternal and united capital. And although such move was never recognized by the international community, little has been done to stop illegal Israeli measures to change the character of occupied East Jerusalem.
And since Palestinian-Israeli negotiations took off in Oslo, Norway, in the early 1990s, culminating with the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, negotiators on both sides were unable to decide the final status of the city although the principle of withdrawal from East Jerusalem or parts of it was agreed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
East Jerusalem and other issues such as Palestinian refugees and borders were left unsettled as part of a final status round of negotiations that should have been concluded by the end of last century. After the failure of the Camp David peace talks in 2000, particularly over the future of East Jerusalem, the entire process collapsed.
But even after Oslo successive Israeli governments continued to build and expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In recent years Israeli plans to Judaize the Arab part of the city surged, and in recent weeks tension between Arab residents and Jewish radicals over access to Al Aqsa Mosque reached unprecedented levels.
Sustained Israeli measures target the Arab residents of Jerusalem in many ways but with one aim in particular; to alter the demographic realities in favor of non-Arabs. Between 1980 and 2007 the Jewish population of Jerusalem grew from 100,000 to 489,000, according to Jerusalem Municipality figures. On the other hand and according to Azmi Abu Souad, a former employee of the Jerusalem Municipality who is now the general director of the civil rights department at PLO, while 170,000 Palestinians carry Jerusalem identity documents, the number of Palestinians actually residing in the city is, in fact, less than 100,000. This contradicts other figures which put the total Arab population of the old city and its neighborhoods at over 200,000.
Souad estimates that of the 200,000 Palestinians, 60,000 live outside the region — in Jordan, the US, and elsewhere. As many as 70,000 Palestinians with blue identity cards live in the West Bank, outside the boundaries of the city. With Israel’s restrictive policy of granting building permits many of the city’s residents are moving to the West Bank. Arabs have become a minority in their own city. It is the remaining 70,000 to 100,000 Palestinians still living in East Jerusalem who are now being targeted by Israel. Ending Arab presence in the Old City could become a reality by the year 2020.
Of the half million Jewish residents of both sectors of Jerusalem, more than 40 percent are living in East Jerusalem. But recent government plans to build new housing units and expand existing settlements will make Jews the overwhelming majority in East Jerusalem in few years.
Jerusalem’s predicament is representative of the plight of Palestinians living in the West Bank, where Israel too is engaged in settlement building in order to annex major chunks of the Palestinian territories.
The Doha conference has underlined the real threats to the character and identity of East Jerusalem. But that is not enough. Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and the task of saving it must lie with the Arab and Muslim worlds. Israel is so close to achieving its sinister goals and unless an international campaign is launched now its fate will be sealed within few years.
*Osama Al Sharif is a journalist and political commentator based in Amman.
Buying time in Palestine
Neither Obama nor Abbas will be able to hold back the tide of a third intifada by the oppressed people
By Abdel Bari Atwan, Special to Gulf News (http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/buying-time-in-palestine-1.1013066)
As US elections loom, President Barack Obama is loath to antagonise Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and with him the powerful American pro-Israel lobby.
At the same time, bringing the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table was one of Obama's key pledges. His opponents could justifiably accuse him of failure on this issue since he has been unable to broker a way out of the stalemate caused largely by Israeli intransigence.
The Palestinians are adamant that they will not negotiate until illegal colony building on Palestinian land stops. The Israelis say the Palestinians should resume negotiations with no pre-conditions.
The ideal situation for Obama would be one where things appear to be moving, under a benign US influence, when in fact nothing is happening at all. This smoke and mirrors scenario is exactly what has been occurring this past week.
Last Tuesday, a three-man delegation from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) went to occupied Jerusalem to deliver a letter from President Mahmoud Abbas. The letter set out the Palestinians' demands and pre-requisites for re-starting the peace process.
According to sources close to the Palestinian president the letter was rewritten no less than five times under pressure from the US. The most significant omission was a threat to dissolve the PNA and cease security co-ordination with Israel unless Netanyahu budges on the key issues.
The letter which finally made its way to occupied Jerusalem contained nothing new whatsoever, re-iterating Palestinian demands for a freeze on colonies and that Israel accept pre-1967 boundaries as the basis for borders of the Palestinian state. In fact, the final draft of the letter even included an implied concession on boundaries which might be moved by ‘mutually agreed upon modifications'.
Like Obama, Abbas is also perfecting the art of looking busy with the peace process (writing letters) whilst achieving nothing. His own situation is far from secure, with many Palestinians openly clamouring for the 80 year old to stand down. His credibility on the world stage has been damaged due to his inability to stand up to Netanyahu and his eagerness to avoid Washington's anger.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was due to head the delegation but pulled out at the last minute, telling colleagues that he had ‘reservations' about the letter and how it would be viewed by the Palestinian public. Sources suggest that there is a widening rift between Fayyad and Abbas, further weakening the PNA which has also failed to reconcile with Hamas.
Abbas was one of the architects of the 1993 Oslo Accords which saw the creation of the PNA and anticipated the establishment of a Palestinian state within five years. Nearly 20 years later, illegal colonies in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank have more than doubled, accommodating around half a million Israelis.
It is not clear why Netanyahu is still in need of a three-man delegation to hand him a letter outlining the Palestinian vision for peace and the two-state solution. Surely it should be as clear as day having been represented over and over again at 20 years' worth of negotiations, both secret and in the open? The truth is that the two-state solution is well past its ‘sell by' date; the chance for peace that came out of the Camp David talks expired long ago and the PNA is redundant.
The PNA elicits so little respect nowadays that even its president complains about harassment at the hands of the Israelis. Abbas has told of problems with Israel's security services renewing his travel permit on more than one occasion.
Under Abbas, the PNA has been transformed into little more than a charity organisation, dependent on handouts from donors, providing jobs for its 160,000 employees. It can no longer claim to represent the Palestinian nation and many are now calling for the PNA to be dissolved and for an end to all security co-ordination with Israel. The latter position is being championed by the highly influential Marwan Al Barghouti, currently imprisoned by the Israelis.
The Israelis have said they will reply to Abbas' letter in two weeks' time. Netanyahu's response will no doubt simply reiterate the unacceptable demands he has made before, including Palestinian recognition of the state of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Meanwhile the Israelis will exploit the absence of effective criticism from either Washington or Ramallah to continue with their illegal land grabs, colony building and human rights violations.
The present stalemate may suit those who want to buy time, but it does not suit the Palestinian people.
The Palestinians were the pioneers of revolution and uprisings against injustice, the denial of their rights and the theft of their land. Are the Palestinians going to remain silent when throughout the Arab world thousands have fought so valiantly against their corrupt and oppressive leaders?
No amount of buying time, by Obama or Abbas, will be able to hold back the tide of a third intifada.
*Abdel Bari Atwan is editor of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.
The duty of the international community towards Palestinians is not a favor
We are not going to respond to everything that has been said by Israeli journalists, including a group that has been disguised as leftists to pour their poisons against the Palestinian leadership and people. Palestinian media persons are certainly enough capable and qualified to evaluate the performance of the Palestinian leadership, and to constructively criticize it when this is necessary, without needing to hire an attorney on behalf of the Israeli media persons to assume a task he was not appointed to under any circumstances.
One Israeli media person wrote two days ago an article full of fallacies; and yet, we do not intend to refute any. We will concentrate instead on his claim that the Palestinian leadership wants the international community to do the “dirty work” on behalf of the Palestinian leadership.
The international community this writer talked about has provided Israel with political and military power, and kept silent towards it continuous attacks against the Palestinians since the day it was established until presently. Israel has been granted permission even to be armed with nuclear bomb at the time Palestinians are banned from peaceful protests and while unarmed. It is the international community that has been dealing with Israeli normally and imports all settlement products in oPt, despite of many Palestinian appeals to boycott them.
We cannot say that the Palestinian leadership made no mistakes. Only inactive people can be impeccable. Peaceful negotiations have been the Palestinians` strategic choice to achieve their rights. They showed complete honesty and flexibility in the course of over twenty years at the time the Israeli side stalled and gained time in full view of the entire world and while the international community stood idly by the grave Israeli violations.
The international community has been silent towards the siege on the Gaza strip, the settlers` attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, the home-demolish and expulsion of residents in East Jerusalem, as well as towards the continuous settlement expansion.
What has the Israeli left wing done to support the Palestinians` struggle? If its role has truly been effective, why did the extreme right wing won the recent election and is likely to win the next one? The reason is that the Israeli left wing has retreated, shrunk and largely deserted its stances, thereby leaving the entire sphere to pro-settlement and pro-occupation right leaning groups.
Applying pressure on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories is not a “dirty work” by the international community, but rather a duty it has failed to fulfill and a responsibility it has abandoned leaving the Palestinians, “ripping out their thrones alone”, according to a Palestinian proverb. Yet, the Palestinians are adamant to fulfill this task without a guardianship from any side, especially the vanishing Israeli left wing that has completely surrendered to the extreme Israeli right wing.
Tearing up the unity of the prisoners` movement
By: A`del Abdel Rahman* (http://www.amin.org/Print.php?t=opinion&id=17817)
There is no one Palestinian citizen who opposes the struggles of the prisoners` movement inside the Israeli jails, and every human being, regardless of his nationality, should back the political detainees` liberty and their entire 30 listed demands from the Israeli prison service.
The battle of empty stomachs embodied by the prisoners` movement historically has been resumed these days by a number of prisoners, some of whom have passed over fifty five day of strike, thereby recording a new heroic era in the history of the prisoners` movement.
Unfortunately, “Hamas” movement sought distorting this battle through partisan goals that were defined by Yiyha a-Sinwar, a member of “Hamas” politburo in the Gaza strip, and the movement`s top supervisor over the administration of the battle inside the prisons. A-Sinwar wanted to invest the prevailing positive climate in the Palestinian street and official and popular sectors during the strike led by Khader Adnan and Hana` a-Shalabi, from the Islamic Jihad movement, to disseminate this experience inside the Israeli jails among the entire Palestinian forces, and subsequently open prospects for a broad popular movement in the Palestinian street, particularly in the West Bank, in solidarity with the prisoners` movement, during which “Hamas” elements would infiltrate (in the popular movement) to create chaos and disorder with the purpose of shaking the stability in the West Bank towns and threatens the status of the PNA.
After a-Sinwar`s message to the cadres and leaders of Hamas inside the jails have reached the Palestinian people`s leadership and members of “Fatah” Central Committee, and even though the leadership of “Fatah” had already agreed with all forces on the strike towards accomplishing the entire thirteen demands of the prisoners` movement despite of a positive response by the prison service to ten demands and its readiness to discuss the remaining ones with the prisoners` movement in the different jails towards reaching an agreement over on a new formula, “Fatah” instructed its members and cadres not to engage in the strike. The aim was not to split the prisoners` movement, but to respond to Yihya Sinwar`s malice plans, although few “Fatah” members from the Gaza strip have engaged in the strike due to disinformation misdirection by “Hamas” leadership inside the jails, and because of the state of confusion in the circles of “Fatah” movement in the Gaza strip.
Therefore, all Palestinian political forces should stop exploiting the prisoners of freedom in the Israeli occupation jails, and refrain from dragging their feet into their partisan battles and their sabotaging futile calculations, in order to protect the prisoners` movement and maintain its unity in the face of the Israeli prison service, and to enable it to accomplish its demands, and to reinforce and preserve the popular unity in support of the struggles of the heroes of freedom.
A-Sinwar`s game has failed like the black coup that “Hamas” carried out five years ago against the national legitimacy is certainly going to fail. In order to ensure this failure, the prisoners of freedom from “Fatah”, Hamas” the PFLP and other factions should halt the strike for the sake of rearranging the ranks of the Palestinian prisoners` movement, and to pursue the process of reconciliation towards ending the coup and the division, alongside persistence in their battle over a halt of administrative detention policy, family visitation right, ending the solitary confinement, allowing entry of newspapers, radios and TV devices, and total cancelation of Shalit law.
• A Palestinian political writer based in Ramallah [email protected]
WAYS TO GET JMCC
To subscribe to free newsletter submit your email