New Era of “Israel’s” War Crimes Accountability

November 29, 2022 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Ruqiya Anwar 

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions.

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions. Plans to change the demographic mix, character, and status of the holy city of Jerusalem “were also mentioned. The resolution queries the court on how these Israeli policies and activities” impact the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal ramifications that arise for all states and the United Nations from this position. The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, recommended mobilizing “all elements of the international law-based order, including international justice”.

Significantly, the first report to the General Assembly from the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “East Jerusalem and Israel”, was published earlier. It affirms that there are compelling reasons to believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now illegal under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de facto annexation policies. Furthermore, the Commission has concluded that “Israel’s” continued use of force to occupy Palestinian territory creates international obligations and keeps “Israel” responsible for past atrocities on Palestinian civil and political rights.

The ICJ addresses international conflicts between nations or offers legal advice on problems that the UN Security Council or General Assembly refers to it. An ICJ legal opinion typically takes at least a year to obtain. “Israel’s” separation wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank were found illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 legal ruling. Israelis fear that the ICJ would support the Palestinian position that the occupation equates to annexation, which would undermine efforts by governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to boycott, divest and sanction “Israel”. To prevent the Palestinians from enacting the resolution, the Israeli Government has recently begun an all-out offensive.

In this scenario, International support for the special committee’s mandate is required to spread the message that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of all Middle Eastern problems and to inspire global action to end the suffering. It should call attention to the violent eviction and transfer of Palestinian families, the trespassing and intimidation of Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and the efforts to hasten al-Quds’s Judaization at the expense of the city’s Christian and Muslim Palestinian inhabitants.

The Israeli Government’s policies have severely and in many ways affected many facets of Palestinian life, including women’s access to clean, inexpensive water, negatively influencing the whole Palestinian agriculture industry. Moreover, the erosion of economic, social, and cultural rights causes a great deal of “silent harm” and psychological distress, some of which may not be immediately obvious. Nevertheless, the effects of these incapacitating processes, both now and in the future, are devastating.

Furthermore, “Israel” cannot continue to promote its narrative that it has done nothing wrong while also pursuing annexationist policies and denying the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination; it is now abundantly evident. Essentially, international law stands on the side of the Palestinians, and all they needed was the ultimate political environment for the world to applaud such a courageous act.

The situation on the ground has gotten worse in the occupied territories. Palestinian human rights have consistently been violated by “Israel”, which has continued its policy of repression. Human rights organizations worldwide agree that the ongoing Israeli occupation has established apartheid-like conditions.

The Palestinian diplomats’ ultimate goal was for the United Nations Security Council to vote to recognize Palestine as a full member state without any veto interference from the United States. Recognizing Palestine as a full UN member state, even while it is occupied, would signify that the international community is committed to the two-state solution.

Additionally, the rules of conduct for nations under temporary occupation are specified in international humanitarian law. However, because this is a 55-year-old occupation, it is not a temporary one. Therefore, the highest court in the world must rule that it is an occupation that leads to illegal annexation — a decision that will have global ramifications. In demanding such a legal requirement, the Palestinians astounded the Israelis and their allies.

Most importantly, the repeated statements before the United Nations have not stopped severe breaches of Palestinian rights. While nations continue to express outrage and resolutions are passed, nothing appears to change. No amount of occupation by the occupying power of Palestinian territory will ever lead to peace.

The Palestinian people’s intrinsic rights, such as the right to self-determination and the right of return, have been violated blatantly by “Israel” in violation of its commitments under international law. Bringing an end to this miserable situation was the international community’s responsibility. Although the international community has repeatedly stated that Palestinians have a right to freedom, security, and prosperity, Israel has persisted in denying it.

This appears unlikely given the inherent bias towards Israel and vested interests of the international community, the United States and Europe, in particular. Until there is a fundamental shift in the balance of power, the status quo of a constant conflict punctuated by periodic escalation and carnage will stay, as there is no indication that international political will is present or will emerge.

Now, the UN has adopted a Palestinian resolution calling for the ICJ to weigh in on “Israel’s” protracted occupation quickly. Nevertheless, there is hope because the UN has called “International Justice” for a legal advisory opinion on the nature of the Israeli occupation. But will the UN follow through and actually hold “Israel” accountable? 

References:

Fourth Committee Hears Support for Referring Question of Palestine to International Court of Justice for Advisory Opinion | UN Press

Report-COI-OPT-14Sept2022-EN.pdf (ohchr.org)

OHCHR | The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/special-rapporteur-situation-human-rights-occupied-palestinian-territories

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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How it Feels to Visit an Apartheid Country

An advertisement alongside the separation wall in East Jerusalem. Here the wall divides a Palestinian neighbourhood so as to limit the numbers of Palestinians in official Jerusalem. Photo by Philip Weiss.

Philip Weiss

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Racial profiling in Israel is rampant. Abuse and invective are normal. This is the daily machinery of separating Jews from Arabs

Every time I visit Israel and Palestine I come home so struck by the injustice that I say to myself, Well you are a writer, you should be able, in 1,000 words or so, to convey the enormity of what you have seen so that the system falls apart like a house of cards for an American reader. This is my latest effort to do just that.

The main impression I had on this visit, is the feeling of Separation. I was bowled over by how separate the Israeli Jews are from the Palestinians, and the huge efforts undertaken to prevent mixing of cultures. When you go through the airport or West Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, you feel like you are in a city in Eastern Europe. I saw no men in the airport in traditional Arab dress. I saw a few women wearing the hijab. You don’t see many Arabic signs. You don’t see displays of Arab crafts or furnishings, you don’t see the sights and smells of Arab markets or street life. No, the Zionists brought their own society to the Middle East.

All the time you are here you reflect that you are plunk in the middle of the “Arab world.” Not long ago, the culture here was largely Muslim. A few decades ago, you could catch a bus from Jerusalem to Damascus, or Beirut, or Cairo, or Amman or Baghdad. Now you can’t do any of that. Jerusalem has been declared the “eternal capital of the Jewish people,” and there are high walls topped by concertina wire to separate it from the Arab masses. A historic Palestinian neighbourhood was bulldozed so that Jews could sanctify the Western Wall, ala the Vatican. And even liberal Zionists idealize this separation. The late novelist Amos Oz said that Jews and Palestinians need a “divorce” and separate houses, and he is a hero to J Street and Americans for Peace Now.

Israel really has established an outpost of civilization, as it conceives these matters, in a very traditional colonial mindset.

Any time you cross over into that other world, you must go through militarized checkpoints, and the culture is entirely different. The roads are narrower, the signs are mostly in Arabic. Many people wear traditional dress, and the street life strikes this foreigner as Arab.

The amazing thing about Israel is that it has pulled off colonization in an anti-colonial era. But I am not trying to analyze it, just to convey the feeling. It feels weird and unfair that the Zionists have imposed this order, and they understand this. They know it’s unfair, and so there are guns everywhere and the voters have lately elevated a racist fascist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, because Israelis know that Palestinians don’t like being a subject people, so they must preserve the order through brute force and power politics. You see the brute force all around. All the young soldiers on the buses or in the roads with their guns dangling at their sides. They’re not here for the Syrians or the Egyptians or the Jordanians, or Iraqis, Israel’s enemies of old. No, they’re here for the Palestinians on the other side of those concrete walls, because Palestinians resist the whole idea of a “Jewish state.”

As you would too if it were established in your city.

The racial profiling is rampant before your eyes. I sauntered through Damascus Gate at midnight. The young Palestinian just behind me got stopped by soldiers demanding his ID card.

Of course, Israelis speak of what a bad neighbourhood they live in. The only answer to that propaganda is that if you throw people out of their houses and off their land and live there for 75 years without any gesture to make things right, no you just keep on taking their property, I promise you—you will live in a bad neighbourhood.

Here is a simple proof of the unfairness. Every day Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories use money on which is imprinted the portraits of men who directed their ethnic cleansing and massacres. They travel inside Israel on roads named after these men too. I found this unsettling and embarrassing, being a witness to such humiliation. In talking to Palestinians in Haifa, I caught the name Ben-Gurion Avenue in my throat—I was afraid the mere utterance would damage their dignity.

I often thought about the promotion back in the U.S. of the “startup nation,” with its biotech and cyber industries that are said to help the world. The miraculous startup nation justifies its presence with its material advantages and Nobel Prizes (one Nobelist came to a shiva I attended in Jerusalem) as if that makes its rule acceptable to Palestinians. But of course it doesn’t. They have fewer or no rights, and it is rubbed in their faces all the time. There is something crude and dispiriting about this; you don’t perpetuate apartheid without consequences to all concerned. The journalist Tom Dallal shared with me this photo of riding a train with a soldier who pointed his gun between his legs the whole time without regarding it as rude or unusual.

When a Palestinian in Ramallah asked if it was offensive to American Jewish visitors to compare Israeli soldiers to Nazis, my colleague Scott Roth shook his head and said the Holocaust is pertinent. “You can’t build a society on trauma. They built Israeli society on trauma.”

Roth says that Israel brings out the worst in people. He wandered into the King David Hotel lobby one morning and saw a group of American visitors looking at the famous signatures set in tiles in the floor, and one began jumping up and down on Obama’s signature, laughing as she called out expletives. This kind of abuse and invective is normal here. Just look at the picture Itamar Ben-Gvir posted recently of the Palestinian politician Ahmad Tibi wheeling a suitcase in Ben Gurion airport. “Great news. Leave and don’t come back” (Michael Koplow’s translation).

You feel that crudeness and the tension. A Palestinian friend told me that when he visited New York recently he experienced visceral shock in a restaurant when he heard a loud Israeli conversation at a nearby table. “There is a word in Arabic that means to feel electrocuted—batkahrab,” he said. “These are the same voices that when I usually hear them, they are shouting at me that I have done something wrong.” Yes, young soldiers, barking at my friend, an architect in his 40s.

You feel the tragedy of it. You observe that Palestinians are human beings just like anyone with aspirations and dreams and pride and dignity, and yet you see them being put down before your eyes and having to bear it to survive. I keep thinking of a girl of 20 or 21 with earphones and fashionable clothing getting off the bus at Qalandiya checkpoint with her bag over her arm, that said, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. She reminded me of me and my friends at her age, showing off our taste. But she has no freedom of movement, and no political rights.

That’s my overwhelming sense of this visit. People not very different from me are persecuted at every turn. Many international human rights organizations have now laid out the apartheid argument in systematic legal analyses. I can only tell you about the feeling of it: Everywhere you go these Arab people are to be separated from the Jewish state and their culture erased. The shame I felt as a Jewish person is unquantifiable, and is the reason I will keep doing this work. Jewish values meant one thing when I was raised—“That which is obnoxious to you don’t do to another person,” in Hillel’s words. Or as Americans say, the Golden Rule. That value is trashed everywhere I went in Israel and Palestine.

It can’t last. When you see an unfair arrangement balanced totally on massive military and financial advantage and power politics, but unbearable to the subjugated people, history tells you it can’t last. Even the State Department acknowledges this when they say “the status quo is unsustainable.” When and how it falls who can say. But it can’t last.


Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005.

This article originally appeared on Mondoweiss.net.

Netanyahu returns, but Israel’s political and military landscape has changed

Bibi is back, leading Israel’s most right-wing government but also facing unprecedented Palestinian resistance and global turmoil.

November 06 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Abdel Bari Atwan

While the Arab Summit in Algeria affirmed its adherence to the so-called ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ as a final solution to the Palestinian issue, Israel’s response came quickly and resolutely with the return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu and the anti-Arab religious Likud bloc.

In the 1 November legislative elections, Israelis voted in large numbers for the anti-Arab, racist, religious parties, which openly embrace a policy of killing and expelling Palestinians from all of occupied Palestine, and promote a solely Jewish-Zionist identity of the country.

The “Jewish Power” party, which won 15 seats, and is led by the two most racist figures in the short history of the Jewish state, Bezael H. Cherish and his deputy Itamar Ben Gvir, will be the backbone of Netanyahu’s coalition government.

The leader of this party, which will be the most prominent partner of the Arab monarchs who signed peace agreements with Israel, has called for killing Arabs, expelling them and wrapping the bodies of the martyrs in pigskin “in honor” of them.

Normalization the new norm

Nonetheless, it is likely that red carpets will be laid out for Ben Gvir and Netanyahu in Arab capitals, where they will enjoy Arab hospitality and drink from their gilded goblets. Indeed, there is no difference between the winning Israeli coalition and the defeated one (Lapid-Gantz).

Both converge on their mutual hostility and hatred of Arabs and Muslims. General Benny Gantz, the Israeli Minister of Defense in the previous government, used to boast that he was the Israeli who killed the largest number of Arabs – and this is true, as his government has killed 166 Palestinians since the beginning of this year.

There is a silver lining, however: This racist government will hasten Israel’s demise and lead to its inevitable end, not at the hands of the battered Arab armies, but at the hands of the Palestinian resistance and their regional allies, their missiles and drones.

There are three steps that the Netanyahu government and his extremist coalition may take upon assuming power:

First, a return to reviving the Trump-era ‘Deal of the Century,’ the annexation of the West Bank, and the deportation of most of its Palestinian residents to Jordan as an “alternative homeland.”

Second, the escalation of incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the consolidation of Jewish control over East Jerusalem, and the obliteration of its Arab and Islamic identity. The first step may be dividing it on the model of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, then demolishing it, and erecting the alleged “temple” on its ruins.

Third, the canceling or freezing of the maritime border demarcation agreement with Lebanon, similar to what happened to the Oslo Accords with Palestinians. Netanyahu announced his intent to do so openly in his election campaign.

This option appears especially likely given that extraction of gas and oil from the Karish field has already begun, while the Qana field, which was “partially” recognized as Lebanese, remains untouched, with no surveys or exploration conducted until this moment.

It is likely that the Lebanese gas fields will lay dormant for the foreseeable future. The same US mediators did not guarantee the implementation of even 1 per cent of the Oslo Accords, and they will most likely not guarantee the rights of the Lebanese people.

Renewed Palestinian armed resistance

But Netanyahu is set to assume control over a very different state of affairs, both domestically and internationally. For starters, Israel is facing an escalating internal conflict, and most importantly, a revived intifada in the form of West Bank armed resistance.

We cannot talk about West Bank resistance without discussing the phenomenon of The Lions’ Den whose political and military influence is expanding, while the Palestinian public’s embrace of the movement is growing. Not a day passes without witnessing a commando operation in various parts of the West Bank; in Nablus, Jenin and Hebron – later in Ramallah, and then in the pre-1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu may succeed in including one or two more Arab governments in the Abraham Accords, which was signed under his last premiership. However, such political acrobatics will have no value in light of the “awakening” of the Palestinian people and their return to armed resistance.

The returning Netanyahu will not forget the May 2021 battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem” that humiliated him, and its missiles that isolated the occupying state for more than 11 days, forcing millions of Israeli settler-colonizers into shelters and bunkers.

These missiles are still present and ready, along with hundreds of armed drones. Perhaps it is also worth reminding the incoming Israeli Prime Minister of how he ended an electoral meeting in the city of Ashdod (my ancestors’ hometown) and fled in terror from the 400 missiles launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement in retaliation for the assassination of its leader, Baha Abu al-Atta.

Just another day in the office?

The “Israel” to which Netanyahu returns is not the same Israel he left, and the world he knew when he was last in power, is not the same world today. His US supporter is mired in an unprecedented proxy war of attrition with Russia in Ukraine, where his co-religionist, Volodymyr Zelensky, has so far lost about a fifth of his country’s territory, and has plunged it into darkness and despair.

While Netanyahu is viewed as as being close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, that friendship had deepened before the Ukraine war. The situation has now changed dramatically, and he will be forced to choose between Washington and Moscow in an era of multipolarity.

As for the Lions’ Den, they have effectively changed all the equations and rules of engagement in occupied Palestine – and perhaps in the Arab world as well – and within this context will actually “welcome” the hardliner Netanyahu’s return to power.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

IOF storm Al-Aqsa, prevent worshipers from entering compound

Sep 26 2022 08:20

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

At the beginning of the celebrations of Jewish holidays, Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under the heavy protection of occupation forces.

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under the heavy protection of occupation forces

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque to secure the settlers’ incursions, and prevented men under the age of 40 from entering the compound to perform the Fajr (dawn) prayer, Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported Monday.

On Thursday, Israeli right-wing extremist Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque amid restrictions on the entry of worshipers, and toured the mosque’s courtyards, starting from the Mughrabi Gate, guarded by the occupation forces.

Ben Gvir is one of the most notorious Israeli politicians, as he is infamous for constantly carrying out provocative tours in Al-Aqsa mosque and rallying illegal Israeli settlers that call for the death of Arabs and Palestinians alike while chanting racist slogans and slurs against Muslims and Arabs.

Before Ben Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa, the occupation police tightened their presence at the gates of Al-Aqsa and prevented entry to it, especially from the Qattanin Gate.

At the door of the Council Gate (Bab Al-Majlis), the IOF detained the worshipers and prevented them from entering it.

This comes on the eve of Jewish holidays, amid calls to organize mass incursions by settlers into Al-Aqsa during the holiday’s three-week period that began on Sunday.

On the other hand, Palestinian institutions called for intensifying the presence of Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque during this period.

Hamas: Amping up resistance in West Bank foiled enemy’s schemes

In the same context, the Hamas movement called Sunday for the amping up the acts of resistance to thwart the Israeli plans against the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The movement’s spokesperson, Hazem Qassem, said in a press statement that ramping up the acts of resistance in the occupied West Bank and the ’48 occupied Palestinian territories is enough to thwart Israeli plans against Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He added that the gatherings and stationing in Al-Aqsa Mosque will fail the occupation’s plans, stressing that the extremist incursions under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces must be met with more of these gatherings and stationing.

He continued to say that the Palestinian people will protect Al-Aqsa Mosque with every means possible, while stressing that the “key to the victory of the Palestinian people” is stationing at the Mosque, adding that “with their unity and resistance, the occupation plans in Al-Aqsa will be thwarted.”

It is noteworthy that celebrations of the “Hebrew New Year” are scheduled to start Monday, followed by the “Yom Kippur” celebrations on October 5.

Read more: 30 Palestinian prisoners launch open-ended hunger strike

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Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update 01-07 September 2022)

08. 09. 2022

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

Five Palestinians were killed, and 31 others were injured, including 9 children, a woman and a paramedic, while dozens of others suffocated in Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) attacks in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.  Also, a Palestinian detainee died due to medical neglect policy.  Details are as follows:

On 01 September 2022, IOF shot dead Yazan Na’iem ‘Afanah (24) after being wounded in his chest during their incursion into Ramallah in the West Bank. (Details available in this press release).

On 02 September 2022, Fadi Mohammed Ghattas (24), from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, was killed after IOF fired 6 live bullets at him and left him to bleed for 40 minutes at the entrance to Beit ‘Einun Road in northern Hebron.  IOF took the dead body and kept it in custody, claiming that he stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier. Later, IOF summoned Ghattas’s father for interrogation and to identify the corpse.

On 03 September 2022, Palestinian Detainee Mousa Haron Abu Mehamid, from Bethlehem, died at the Israeli hospital “Assaf Harofeh.” ( Details available in this press release).

On 05 September 2022, IOF killed Taher Zakarna (19) after they fired a live bullet at his head during the suppression of protestors after IOF moved into Qabatia village, southeast of Jenin in the West Bank. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested two Palestinians. (Details available in this press release).

On 06 September 2022, Mohammed Saba’nah was killed, and 17 other Palestinians were injured, including 6 children, a woman and a paramedic, by IOF fire during the latter’s incursion into Jenin, northern West Bank, and demolition of the house of a Palestinian who was killed after carrying out a shooting attack in Israel in April. The house demolition falls under IOF’s collective punishment policy against the families of Palestinians who are allegedly accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli targets. (Details available in this press release).

On 07 September 2022, Yunis Ghassan Tayeh (21) was killed by IOF fire during the latter’s incursion into al-Far’a refugee camp, south of Tubas in the West Bank. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested Yunis’s uncle. (Details available here)

Meanwhile, those injured were victims of excessive use of force that accompanied IOF incursions into cities and villages and suppression of peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians, and they were as follows:

On 02 September 2022, 7 Palestinians, including 2 children, were shot with rubber-coated bullets during clashes that followed IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya.  On the same day, several Palestinians sustained wounds after being beaten, and others suffocated due to teargas inhalation, while 4 Palestinians, including a child, were arrested during IOF’s suppression of a peaceful protest organized in solidarity with Nabi Samuel villagers near al-Jeeb military checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem.

On 06 September 2022, a child was hit with a stun grenade in his head during clashes with IOF at the western entrance to al-‘Arroub refugee camp in Hebron. On the same day, 5 Palestinians sustained wounds after IOF opened fire and fired teargas canisters during their incursion into Jalazone refugee camp, north of al-Bireh city. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested 4 Palestinians, including 2 siblings.

On 07 September 2022, a Palestinian was shot with a live bullet after IOF opened fire at him, noting he was riding his motorcycle by Salem Palin in Nablus. IOF then arrested him.

In the Gaza Strip, 2 shootings were reported on agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip, and 4 other shootings were reported on fishing boats off the western Gaza Strip shore. On 01 September 2022, a burnt boat was pulled out of Khan Yunis Sea, and it turned out that Israeli gunboats fired several live bullets at the boat. 

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 116 Palestinians, including 84 civilians: 24 children, 8 women, 2 Palestinians killed by Israeli settler and the rest were activists; 15 of them were assassinated. Thirty-two of those killed, including 19 civilians: 8 children and 3 women were in the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. Also, 1,308 Palestinians were wounded in IOF’s attacks, including 204 children, 40 women, and 22 journalists, in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Moreover, 4 Palestinian detainees, including a woman, died in the Israeli jails.

Land razing, demolitions, and notices

IOF demolished 3 houses, rendering 4 families of 18 persons, including 6 women and 7 children, homeless. Also, IOF demolished 9 civilian economic facilities and razed a plot of land and property in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 02 September 2022, upon an Israeli municipal demolition decision allegedly for unlicensed construction, a Palestinian self-demolished his house in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, rendering his family and his two brothers’ families of 11 persons, including 4 women and 3 children, homeless.  On the same day, upon a similar decision, a Palestinian self-demolished part of his 80-sqaure-meter house in occupied East Jerusalem. The house sheltered a family of 7 persons, including 2 women and 4 children.

On 03 September 2022, IOF’s bulldozers razed 8 dunums in Sinjil village, east of Ramallah. The levelled land is located in an area of 5200 dunums that IOF attempt to seize them, as these dunums are surrounded by 3 Israeli settlements and a military camp.

On 03 September 2022, IOF razed 8 dunums in Sinjil village, eastern Ramallah.  This plot of land is part of 5200 dunums, which IOF try to seize, and is surrounded by 3 settlements and an Israeli camp.

On 06 September 2022, IOF demolished 2 agricultural facilities, sealed off a water well and seized two containers full of construction equipment in Al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Also, IOF demolished for the second time a 95-meter retaining wall surrounding a plot of land in Jabal Mukaber in occupied East Jerusalem.

On 07 September 2022, IOF demolished a house and 7 civilian economic facilities, including 3 livestock barns, a carwash, tires shop, and 2 stores, in the rented Islamic Endowment property (Waqf) at ‘Anata entrance in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Since the beginning of 2022, Israeli occupation forces made 112 families homeless, a total of 666 persons, including 129 women and 307 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 116 houses and 41 residential tents. IOF also demolished 89 other civilian economic objects, leveled vacant areas of land and delivered dozens of notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

On 02 September 2022, under IOF’s heavy protection, hundreds of Israeli settlers accompanied by the Extremist Israeli Member of Knesset (MK), Itamar Ben Gvir, moved into Nabi Samuel village in occupied East Jerusalem. They roamed its streets raising Israeli flags and attempted to provoke Palestinians. The settlers then gathered at the village’s entrance opposite to a protest organized by the village’s residents.

On 06 September 2022, Israeli settlers, under IOF’s protection, attacked Palestinian houses in Khelet al-Nahlah and Khalayil al-Louz areas opposite to “Efrat” settlement, south of Bethlehem. They attempted to raid the houses by force, beat their residents and threw stones at them. As a result, many residents sustained bruises. Also, IOF attacked the residents, who tried to confront the settlers, and arrested 6 of them. 

Since the beginning of the year, settlers conducted at least 178 attacks. In two of the attacks, 2 Palestinians were killed.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

 IOF carried out 190 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 96 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 children and a female journalist.  In the Gaza Strip, on 07 September 2022, IOF conducted two limited incursions into eastern al-Bureij camp in central Gaza Strip and into eastern Khuza’a in Khan Yunis.

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 5,930 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem; during which, 3,540 Palestinians were arrested, including 334 children and 31 women. IOF also conducted 28 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 78 Palestinians, including 45 fishermen, 28 infiltrators, and 5 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Israeli collective punishment and closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

IOF maintains an illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly- update on the state of Gaza crossings in July.

On 06 September 2022, Mohammed Yaser al-Leddawi (32), from Rafah, died after IOF obstructed his travel to receive treatment at Patient’s Friends Society Hospital in Nablus and at Al-Mutala’ Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem, after he applied for a travel permit 8 times in a row to receive treatment for lymphoma.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 104 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and arrested 8 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

On 04 September 2022, IOF closed the metal detector gate established at the main entrance to Nabi Saleh village in Ramallah, and reopened it on 07 September 2022, as part of the collective punishment policy for an alleged shooting at the military watchtower established there.

So far in 2022, IOF established at least 3,005 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 142 Palestinians at those checkpoints

Bahrain king dismisses minister for refusal to normalize with “Israel”

 July 23, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities was dismissed by the king for refusing to shake hands with the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain.

Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa dismissed Friday the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, who is also part of the royal family, for refusing to shake hands with the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain and for refusing to Judaize old neighborhoods in Manama, the Bahraini capital. 

Bahraini sources revealed that the king did not wait for Mai to return from her official visit in Albania to dismiss her, but rather did it right away. Replacing Mai, Khalifa bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa was appointed. 

On June 16, 2022, US Ambassador Stephen Bundy held a memorial service in his home for his father, to which Sheikha Mai was invited, but not alone – the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh, also received an invite. 

During the filming of the service, and as they were introduced to shake hands, Sheikha Mai withdrew her hand and refused to shake Na’eh’s hand. She left the ambassador’s house, and requested the embassy not publish any image of her at the event. 

Recently, the former minister refused to Judaize old Manama neighborhoods, such as Bab Al-Bahrain and Al-Mutanabbi Street, including the Jewish Synagogue located on Sasa’ah Avenue. 

Last year on November 30, Mai hosted at the Sheikh Ibrahim Center historian and pro-Palestinian Ilan Pappe, who stresses on the abolition of the “Zionist racist settler colonialism of Palestine,” a blow to normalization with “Israel” in Bahrain. 

Mai had worked in culture and media for over 20 years, and has always been a controversial figure in the kingdom. 

Related

Rights Groups Warn Against ‘Israeli’ Move to Register Land Adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque

June 29, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Rights groups warned of “far-reaching implications” of the Zionist occupation regime’s controversial move to start the process of registering the ownership of land adjacent to the al-holy Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of al-Quds.

The process of the “settlement of land title procedure” was initiated last week in the Abu Thor area as well as the Umayyad Palaces site adjacent to the southern wall of al-Aqsa Mosque, reports said.

According to Middle East Eye, rights groups Ir Amim and Bimkom said in a joint statement on Monday that the fund allocated to the procedure has been largely utilized to register land for illegal settlements and will ultimately lead to further Palestinian dispossession.

“[The procedure] carries possible disastrous ramifications for hundreds of Palestinian homes in Abu Thor, while the other has an acute potential for escalating tensions due to its highly sensitive location in close proximity to al-Aqsa,” according to the statement.

“There is grave concern that the state is advancing the settlement of title process in the Umayyad Palaces/Ophel site to enable ‘Israeli’ takeover of this territory through its formal registration as ‘state’ land while aiding ‘state’-backed settler groups in their aggressive efforts to gain control of these highly sensitive locations.”

Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, deputy director of the al-Quds Islamic Waqf, in his remarks on Monday stressed that changing the ownership of Umayyad Palaces was invalid and in breach of the Geneva Convention.

In 2018, the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime for the first time began promoting the “settlement of land title procedure.”

In 2020, Ir Amim said the process was being used as a tool to “seize more land in East al-Quds, leading to the expansion of ‘Israeli’ settlements and further Palestinian dispossession.”

More than 600,000 Zionist settlers occupy more than 230 settlements built since the 1967 ‘Israeli’ occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All ‘Israeli’ settlements are deemed illegal under international law as they are built on the occupied land. The United Nations Security Council condemned the Zionist regime’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in a series of resolutions.

Additionally, the area south of al-Aqsa Mosque is also the scene of ‘Israeli’ excavations that threaten the foundation of the holy site.

On Monday, the Council of Endowments, Islamic Affairs, and Holy Places said excavations made by the Zionist occupation regime in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque were threatening its foundations, saying new cracks have appeared in the floor of the sacred site.

‘Israeli’ Entity Plans To Seize Big Tract of Palestinian Land in New Land Grab Bid

 June 16, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The ‘Israeli’ occupation entity is reportedly planning to illegally seize a large plot of land in the occupied West Bank to construct a huge park for the Zionist settlers, in what is viewed as one of the regime’s biggest land grab schemes.

The Tel Aviv regime set up a project which intends to seize a land area stretching 1,000 square kilometers from occupied al-Quds, all the way to the Dead Sea, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Wednesday.

In a separate development, the Zionist military razed a Palestinian man’s house to the ground in Wadi al-Hummus district in Sur Baher neighborhood on the southeastern outskirts of East al-Quds.

Mahmoud Robay’eh, the owner of the house said that the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces have raided his house, broke the door, and forced everyone out.

He said they have lived in the house for the past seven years and only last month, a Zionist court ordered the demolition of the house.

The Tel Aviv occupation regime routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, unjustifiably claiming that the structures have been built without permits while such permits are almost impossible to obtain.

They sometimes order Palestinian owners to either demolish their own houses or they have to pay the demolition costs.

‘Israel’ has already occupied thousands of dunums of Palestinian agricultural lands to construct and expand new illegal settler units in various areas in the West Bank.

The Tel Aviv regime also plans to force out Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in an attempt to replace them with settlers. That plan sparked days of fighting between Hamas resistance movement and the Zionist military in May last year.

More than 600,000 Zionist settlers occupy more than 230 settlements built since the 1967 ‘Israeli’ occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and al-Quds.

All ‘Israeli’ settlements are illegal under international law. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the Zionist regime’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa mosque

 June 5, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net + Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under protection from the Israeli occupation forces, and dozens of Palestinians suffered from suffocation with tear gas in Al-Isawiya.

Israeli occupation forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque

Settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, on Sunday morning, under protection from the Israeli occupation forces, Al Mayadeen correspondent reported.

Our correspondent reported that the occupation forces had locked the worshipers of the Al-Qibli prayer hall inside it with chains. The IOF targeted then proceeded worshippers in the Al-Qibli prayer hall with rubber bullets leaving several injured. These measurements were taken to secure the settlers’ incursions.

Earlier, dozens of Palestinians suffocated from tear gas, as they confronted the Israeli forces that stormed the town of Al-Isawiya, northeast of occupied al-Quds. In the town of Al-Isawiya. The IOF also targeted Palestinian citizens with rubber-coated metal bullets according to the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA).

Moreover, local Palestinian sources confirmed the outbreak of confrontations between Palestinians and the occupation forces at the Shuafat camp checkpoint in occupied al-Quds.

Yesterday, Hamas and the Palestine Scholars Association (PSA) called on young Palestinians to resist occupation forces in Al-Aqsa Mosque and “thwart the Israeli plans aimed at Judaizing it.”

Harun Nasir al-Din, head of Hamas’ al-Quds affairs office stated that “protecting Al-Aqsa is a national and religious duty.”

Ream more: Haniyeh: Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa Mosque events will not be forgiven

Last Sunday, settlers organized an Israeli flag march. It took place in the streets from Bab al-Amoud and the alleys of occupied old Al-Quds to the courtyard of the Al-Buraq Wall. During the march, occupiers raised the Israeli flag as well as posters containing racist slogans against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims. In addition, settlers called for the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

حكومة بينيت تربح على نتنياهو والمقاومة تثبت خطوطها الحمراء

الإثنين 30 أيار 2022

ناصر قنديل

اليوم المقدسيّ والفلسطينيّ الفاصل كان نقطة تحول هامة في تاريخ الصراع المصيري والوجودي مع كيان الاحتلال، فهذا اليوم كان لتسجيل النقاط وتفادي الاحتكام للضربة القاضية، فمن جهة شهدنا حشداً للمستوطنين نحو باحات المسجد الأقصى بالأعلام والطقوس التلمودية خلال فترات الصباح، خارج توقيت مسيرة الأعلام، وشهدنا في مسيرة الأعلام حشداً مضاعفاً لما كانت عليه المسيرة تقليدياً كل عام، وترافق ذلك مع اعتداءات على الشبان الفلسطينيين من عناصر الشرطة والمستوطنين، ومواكبة من آلاف عناصر الشرطة للحدث بكل وحشية الأداء وعنصريته، لكننا بالمقابل شهدنا حضوراً فلسطينياً غير مسبوق في أحياء القدس وشوارعها يرفع الأعلام الفلسطينية ويشتبك ببسالة مع المستوطنين والشرطة، ويدفعهم مراراً إلى خارج المدينة المقدسة، وشهدنا خروجا لمئات الشبان في مدن الضفة يشعلون الحرائق قرب حواجز جيش الاحتلال، وفي باحات الأقصى كان المرابطون يصرخون بملء الصوت بوجه المستوطنين والشرطة.

على الخط الدولي الإقليمي ثبت أن واشنطن والعواصم الإقليمية المنتدبة للوساطة مع قوى المقاومة، خصوصاً القاهرة والدوحة، حاضرة على خط المتابعة رغم انشغالاتها الكبرى على جبهة التصعيد مع موسكو وبكين، انطلاقاً من إدراكها مدى خطورة خروج الأمور عن السيطرة في منطقة شديدة الحساسية في سوق الطاقة والممرات التجارية، في عالم يشهد أزمات متصاعدة في المجالين الحيويين، ومعرفتها بأن حجم التوتر على محاور عديدة بين دول وقوى محور المقاومة وكيان الاحتلال، سيفرض تحول أي شرارة مواجهة بين جيش الاحتلال وقوى المقاومة في غزة، الى مشروع حرب إقليمية، خصوصاً عندما يكون عنوان الشرارة المسجد الأقصى والمقدسات.

في الشأن الصهيوني الداخلي، نجح رئيس حكومة الاحتلال نفتالي بينيت في الربح بالنقاط على منافسه اليميني بنيامين نتنياهو، الذي رعى مسيرة الأعلام الصهيونية العام الماضي، وصولاً لاندلاع معركة سيف القدس ونهايتها لغير صالحه، ومحاولة نتنياهو ابتزاز حكومة بينيت لدفعها للتراجع عن المسيرة لتفادي المواجهة مع المقاومة، ما يسهل إسقاطها وجعلها تدفع ثمن الضعف أمام المقاومة، في ظل تحكم المستوطنين واليمين المتطرف في الشارع الصهيوني الناخب، وتحدر بينيت من رحم هذا الشارع، فنجح بينيت بمقايضة التزامه بضوابط الخطوط الحمراء للمقاومة، التي رسمتها الوساطة المصرية القطرية عشية انطلاق المسيرة، وعنوانها عدم دخول المشاركين في المسيرة المسائية الى باحات المسجد الأقصى أو اقترابهم منها، والسيطرة على تحركاتهم داخل الأحياء العربية في القدس، وبالمقابل رفع بينيت سقف المشاركين في المسيرة عدداً، وسمح لهم بالمرور من باب العامود، الذي تهرب نتنياهو من إتاحة عبوره أمام مسيرة العام الماضي، وترك بعضهم يدخل الباحات صباحاً مقابل التشدد الكامل بإبعاد مسيرة المساء عن المسجد وباحاته.

قوى المقاومة رسمت خطوطها الحمراء تحت عنوانين، الأول حرمة المسجد الأقصى على مسيرة الأعلام، والثاني حدود انضباط المسيرة في أحياء القدس لجهة عدم الإقدام على اقتحام البيوت والمتاجر والاعتداء على السكان. وفي تقييم اليوم المفصلي، كان المردوع هم المستوطنين وليس المقدسيين، فقد نقلت الكاميرات صورهم وهم يهربون مذعورين أمام المقدسيين داخل أحياء القدس ويغادرونها الى باب العامود، وكان المردوع هو حكومة بينيت وجيش الاحتلال بإنهاء المسيرة عند حائط البراق، دون أي تورط بالاقتراب من باحات المسجد الأقصى أو محاولة دخولها، وكانت الأعلام الفلسطينية ترفرف في سماء القدس ومسيرة أعلام فلسطينية تجوب شوارعها، في توازن يعكس حقيقة توازن الردع.

يمكن القول إن بينيت ربح على نتنياهو، وإن المقاومة أثبتت خطوطها الحمراء، لكن بينيت سيستطيع تمويه تراجعه أمام المقاومة بتقدمه على نتنياهو، لكن مقولة القدس عاصمة موحدة للكيان سقطت بقوة الحضور الفلسطيني فيها، الذي قال إن أية عاصمة يحتاج حملة الأعلام فيها الى حشد آلاف الجنود للعبور في شوارعها؟

الجولة لم تنته بعد، فالمفاجآت تبقى واردة!

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Israel’s flag march: Will it trigger the inevitable war in Palestine?

Israel is desperate to re-establish the ‘deterrence equation’ it lost last May, while the Palestinian resistance intends to do everything necessary to maintain and advance it.

May 28 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Abdelrahman Nassar

After enduring heavy Israeli provocations during the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians will be tested again this Sunday with the Flag March – an annual Jewish celebration of the 1967 capture of Palestine’s Old City in East Jerusalem.

Tensions are rife in Jerusalem. This year and next, Ramadan falls on the same month as Jewish religious holidays, each offering a pretext for Israeli extremists to taunt, injure, and kill Palestinians in occupied lands.

So if Sunday’s march doesn’t provoke a conflagration, there is still 2023 to contend with.

Israel can no longer control outcomes

For years, Israel has been surveilling Palestinian movements in an effort to predict the eruption of a new uprising (Intifada), but has been unable to determine when it will take place.

Last March, for example, a report by the Israeli Internal Security Agency (Shin Bet) identified several incidents that could lead to a large-scale confrontation in Palestine – and the likely locations for it. And, indeed, the expected happened.

But what the Shin Bet report did not say was that Israel itself is pushing for this confrontation so that it can choose the time and place in order to try to control the outcome.

The evidence abounds: Israel allows hundreds, even thousands, of extremist settlers a free hand to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to perform Jewish Passover rites at the Muslim site. This year, they were not allowed to conduct animal sacrifices inside courtyard of the Mosque, but that may happen next year.

The Israeli army accompanies and protects Jewish settlers during their attacks on Palestinian cities, towns, and villages of the occupied West Bank. The examples are countless; the difficulty is in predicting the results of the ensuing clashes.

Tel Aviv seeks an escalation of tensions, but without a Palestinian reaction. While Israel presents itself as a secular state, its barely veiled ambition is to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Temple of David over its ruins.

Israel’s strategy is to emulate the Ibrahimi Mosque model in Hebron: to incrementally divide Al-Aqsa by allocating times for Jews to perform religious rites within the courtyards of the mosque – then expand those rights. This is significantly equal to the construction of a Temple.

Palestinians thwarted Israel’s efforts during both this and last year’s Ramadan. Last month, their resistance factions were careful – particularly in the Gaza Strip – not to engage in a bloody confrontation, but allowed Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the 1948 areas to rise up instead.

The Flag March provocation

Israel’s right-wing government and parties know full well that canceling the Flag March – or even diverting its path away from Al-Aqsa – constitutes a submission to the Palestinian resistance factions.

Palestinians are now demanding the marchers be prevented from entering the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and Bab al-Amud. This is a dangerous request for a state like Israel that relies mainly on the principle of deterrence and the excessive use of force to subjugate its opponents.

The two reported routes that Israeli extremists will take through Jerusalem’s Old City before converging at the Al-Aqsa Mosque

About a week ago, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli security establishment was preparing for the Flag March with “high alertness for the possibility of escalation,” pointing out that “all the bodies, the Shin Bet, the army and the police, recommended that the march take place as planned.”

In short, the very security establishment that ostensibly seeks to quash opportunities for a Palestinian intifada, are recommending that Jewish marchers traipse through the historically sensitive Bab al-Amud.

The Israeli security establishment has warned that any change in the route “will be interpreted as Israeli weakness,” and has recommended a “fierce response” to any Palestinian action.

Although Israel claims it is ready for further clashes with Gaza, it tried to avoid this outcome during Ramadan. It seems, however, that Tel Aviv’s calculations have changed after a series of developments, which include Hamas Gaza Leader Yahya Sinwar’s threat – in a speech at the end of Ramadan – that the resistance will wage a war to defend its victories in the May 2021 Sayf Al Quds battle over the sanctity of Jerusalem.

The perceived higher threat level has made Israeli police, in several subsequent provocative activities organized by Jewish settlers, reduce their numbers in Al-Aqsa and ban them from raising Israeli flags.

Internal political collapse

Domestically, Israel is in trouble. The government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is in imminent danger of collapse. That possibility appears to increase if he shows inaction or failure in dealing with security issues, whether in the occupied West Bank or in the Gaza Strip.

Bennett’s government is under pressure from parties even further to his right, who represent a large number of Israeli votes that he does not want to lose. And hawkish former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, eager to return to the post he occupied for 15 years, is nipping at Bennett’s heels.

Amid the internal political crisis, Israel’s security establishment fears losing much of its deterrent power against Palestinian resistance factions, newly armed with enhanced missile technology, drone capabilities, and unprecedented field coordination. Indeed, the Israelis have come to feel that the factions are controlling the internal scene.

Is war imminent?

There are a number of indicators that a confrontation is more likely to unfold in the next few days than at any time this year.

First, on 9 May, the Israeli army launched its largest ever military exercise, Chariots of Fire, which involves nearly all units of the Israeli army, and simulates the outbreak of war on several fronts with Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran.

Second, since the start of the maneuver, increased flights of reconnaissance planes – AWACS and others – have been observed over Gaza. Sources in the resistance factions interpret this as an attempt by the Israeli army to accumulate a new target bank to be used in any upcoming confrontation.

Third, Palestinian factions have raised their alert levels since the start of Israel’s military maneuvers. According to sources in Gaza, there are strict measures on the movements of the senior resistance military leaders and precautionary measures in the movement of monitoring units, as well as the cancellation of training courses.

Fourth, from a wholly Israeli point of view, the army believes it has not taken any action against Gaza since 2008. In its mind, in both 2014 and 2021, it was the resistance that decided to ‘launch a confrontation’ after Israel’s many provocations against Palestinians, including attacks, assassinations, and sieges.

But the Sayf al Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) war in May 2021, was the most dangerous Israel has encountered in recent decades. Small-scale Israeli aggressions in Jerusalem provoked all the occupied territories and unified Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and 1948 Palestinians – depriving the Israeli security establishment of their ability to compartmentalize and control each of these four ‘units.’

For this fifth reason, there is an urgent Israeli need to re-establish the psychology of deterrence and to rearrange the Palestinian scene into a manageable and predictable state.

Sixth, the resistance estimates that Israel may take advantage of current tensions to carry out assassinations of their most influential leaders, especially Yahya Sinwar, Ziad al-Nakhaleh, Muhammad al-Deif and Marwan Issa. These leaders have contributed heavily to the increase in Israel’s threat perception by keeping their ranks battle-ready and by unifying the Gaza, Jerusalem and West Bank arenas of confrontation.

In anticipation of renewed targeted killings, Hamas Political Bureau Leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a warning in an 18 May letter to regional mediating states that any assassination policy adopted by Tel Aviv would lead to a major war. The resistance believes that Israel will use the cover of ongoing military maneuvers to direct a severe blow to their command and control centers in order to contain a harsh Palestinian reaction.

On the seventh point, noting that the Gaza resistance has not escalated its rhetoric – setting a date for firing rockets, for example – Israel decided to proceed with the Flag March, providing that another security assessment is conducted on the night prior.

As a Palestinian security source told The Cradle: “Something unusual should have happened to change the course of the march, because the threats until this moment are low-level.”

Then, in yet another unfolding development, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, in his 25 May speech commemorating the liberation of southern Lebanon, announced – on behalf of the entire Axis of Resistance – that the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock “will lead to the detonation of the region.”

In the following hours, the plan for the Israeli Flag March was temporarily halted and attempts were made to reduce the heat. According to Israel Hayom newspaper, directly after Nasrallah’s speech, Israel made contact with Egypt, the United Nations, and Qatar to prevent further escalation.

Palestinian resistance factions, however, are in a state of absolute preparedness. They know not to be placated by deceptive Israeli statements, because they continue to observe active Israeli preparations on the ground. A resistance security source says Tel Aviv is frantic, and that there is an “urgent Israeli strategic interest to undermine the state of mutual deterrence between the resistance and the occupation.” Nothing will move Israel from this obsession to establish perceived strength.

The most clear expression of this was voiced by Yossi Yehoshua in Yedioth Ahronoth when he wrote that “all [Israeli] security chiefs warn that changing the course of the Flag March at the last minute will be interpreted as weakness.”

It’s getting hot in here

It is important to understand that the Israeli army pronounced Gaza “deterred” in May 2021, just before battles broke out across occupied Palestine. The Israeli army believed that Gaza would not react because it feared another Israeli military operation. Israel’s military establishment has, once again, made that same assessment this year.

But this is not necessarily true. The last hours leading up to Sunday’s Flag March may carry a new statement by the Chief of Staff of Al-Qassam Brigades Muhammad al-Deif, in which he renews intent to establish red lines around Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Gaza resistance sources confirmed to The Cradle that although they tried to preserve the ‘deterrence equation’ without entering into a new confrontation during Ramadan, there is a strict decision to prevent Israel from reversing the advantages gained from last May’s Sayf al Quds war. Such a reversal, one source adds, “will mean an acceleration in the Judaization of the Holy City.”

Hours from now, 16,000 Jewish settlers will rally for the Flag March, waving Israel flags in besieged Palestinian areas, to signal their absolute sovereignty over the city, its neighborhoods, and its holy sites.

Until Sunday, many international and regional mediations will take place behind the scenes in an attempt to reach a solution. However, even if the event in Jerusalem passes without escalation, there are no indications that the operations in the Palestinian cities or the clashes in the West Bank will stop.

In the West Bank, the scene is developing quickly. The Jenin Brigade model has been replicated in other cities, such as Nablus and Tulkarm. Entering these cities, with their vast areas and overcrowded, heavily armed camps, will make staying on the brink of confrontation a permanent situation.

This scene, with all its details, suggests that periods of calm have become a thing of the past. Israel is well aware of this. The resistance factions believe that a battle is inevitable – if not now, then very soon, but they will not allow it to be on “the date set by the Israelis.”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

al-Aqsa Mosqueflag marchGazaHamasIsmail Haniyeh

TO TIMES OF ISRAEL WRITER, APARTHEID IS OK, SYMPATHY FOR PALESTINIANS “LOATHSOME”

MAY 26TH, 2022

Source

By Miko Peled

JERUSALEM – Zionists like to admonish Palestinians by saying that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. But, according to Zionist talking points, Palestinians missed several opportunities when Israel was willing to graciously “give” them pieces of their own land. Moreover, it is alleged that Palestinians have missed so many of these great opportunities that they have no one to blame but themselves for their misfortunes.

BLAMING THE VICTIMS

piece by Richard Cravatts published in the Times of Israel, and later republished in other publications, is a particularly asinine example of this admonition. In his piece, “An Open Letter to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Your Fellow Travelers,” Cravatts writes: “Millions of Palestinian refugees [have been] created by your people’s repeated rejection of offers of statehood – in 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000, and other occasions….”

Blaming the Palestinians for the ongoing tragedy of the refugees is not only callous but as outrageous as blaming the victims of the Holocaust for the horrors of the Nazis. I can testify that I have heard more than one Zionist claim that the Jews whom the Nazis killed had it coming because they did not heed the call of the Zionists. Had the Jews of Europe come to Palestine to steal and live on other people’s land, the Nazis would have spared them, a theme found throughout Yoav Shamir’s 2009 documentary, “Defamation.”

The claim that Palestinians are prone to missing opportunities is one of the most common Zionist lines, and they still use it because it works – because unfortunately there exists such a lack of knowledge regarding the history of Palestine that Zionists can loudly proclaim that “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!” and go unchallenged. Another iteration of this claim is, “If only the Palestinians had the foresight to accept Zionist offers, or at least offers that the Zionists were agreeable to, things would have been so much better for them.” “Them” being the Palestinians.

Anyone familiar with the Zionist talking points has heard the claim that the Palestinians “missed opportunities” so they have no one to blame for their lot but themselves. In a recent lecture I gave in southern California, a Palestinian student asked me how to reply to this argument. His question was specifically about the Zionist accusation that Palestinians rejected the Two-State Solution.

AN OUTRIGHT LIE

We will set aside the fact that this is an outright lie for a moment. We will not get into this issue in-depth, only to say that in fact, since the 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO) has been the only party striving to achieve a Two-State Solution and that their willingness to make this enormous sacrifice cost them a great deal and made things worse for Palestinians the world over.

This argument typically comes from Zionists who live in the United States or the U.K. and who think it is OK that Israel has taken all of Palestine. They never admonish Israel for annexing the Syrian Golan Heights or East Jerusalem. They have no issue with Israel’s building entire cities on Palestinian land. This accusation comes from Zionists who believe Israel has a right to colonize all of historic Palestine.

Israel has a right to do this because, so they tell us, Jewish people around the world may (or may not) be related to a tribe that resided in Palestine some two or three thousand years ago. They tell us that this tribe, called the Hebrews, which may or may not have any historical connection to modern-day Israel and the Jewish people, is the reason it is OK for the modern State of Israel to commit unspeakable crimes against an entire nation.

LEGITIMIZING THE OPPRESSOR

What is implied in the admonitions by Zionists is that Zionism and the colonization of Palestine by Zionist Jews are legitimate and that the Palestinians refuse to accept this legitimacy. However, these admonitions present us with opportunities to raise a larger question. The question that ought to be asked is: Why in the world would Palestinians accept any offer by their colonizers? Why would any colonized nation accept anything but the total defeat of their colonizers and oppressors, especially considering that these “offers” fail to include the liberation of all of historic Palestine?

The answer is that there is no reason. The attempts at partitioning and slicing Palestine have all been part of a strategy meant to legitimize the violent Zionist takeover of Palestine and delegitimize the Palestinian rejection of it.

The aforementioned senseless, mindless Zionist propaganda piece starts by addressing Rep. Tlaib as follows:

On May 16th, you and some other members of The Squad, including Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, McCollum, and others, introduced a loathsome resolution, H. RES. 1123, which had as its purpose “Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ rights” and to “commemorate the Nakba,” the catastrophe you assign to Israel’s creation, “through official recognition and remembrance.” According to your baleful resolution, the Nakba not only took place at Israel’s founding “but [refers] to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day.”

In this typical Zionist propaganda piece, Cravatts calls the proposed legislation to recognize the Nakba “loathsome.” Amnesty International recently published a report accusing Israel of committing the crime of apartheid — a crime so heinous it is designated as a “crime against humanity.” Interestingly, the writer does not find those who commit the crime of apartheid loathsome, only the legislation recognizing the victims of the crime.

What is loathsome, however, is that the United States is complicit in the crimes against the Palestinians. It is loathsome to live in the United States and to justify, explain and provide cover – thin as it may be – for the brutal regime that has been tearing Palestine apart for over seven decades. And it is loathsome to stand by and applaud as the state of Israel continues to brutalize an entire nation while the world, and Israeli society, look the other away.

Palestinian leaders, factions commemorate Seif Al-Quds

May 22, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

In commemoration of Seif Al-Quds Battle, Palestinian Resistance leaders and factions hail the resilience of the Palestinian people and underscore the role of the resistance against the Israeli enemy.

Haniyeh: Seif Al-Quds amplified our strategy, Al-Aqsa will be protected

The battle of Seif Al-Quds constituted an important turning point in the course of the struggle with the occupation and opened the door to a different battle, Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday.

During the Great National Conference on the first anniversary of the battle of Seif Al-Quds, Haniyeh added that “the results of the Battle of Seif Al-Quds were not limited to Palestine’s geography, rather they were strategic and resounded throughout the world.”

“The first result of the Battle of Seif al-Quds was that the Resistance launching strikes from Gaza hit the Zionist security doctrine hard,” he added, noting that Gaza “drew the sword of Al-Quds and plunged it at the head of the occupier and struck deep in its conscience.” 

Read more: Seif Al-Quds taught “Israel” a hard lesson on deterrence equations

Haniyeh added that every inch of the occupied Palestinian land was a target for the resistance with all its capabilities, noting that “the battle of Seif Al-Quds united the land, the people, and the cause, and removed geographical barriers within historic Palestine.” 

He also stressed that the battle introduced a shift in the balance of power that served the Palestinian people, especially those in the territories occupied in 1948.

He pointed out that the support of the peoples of the Ummah and the world has led to a profound impact that would have an aftermath in the confrontations that the Palestinian people will wage against the Israeli occupation.

Read more: Dear Western media, Palestinians took over your coverage

Regarding the continued threats of the occupation and settlers storming Al-Aqsa Mosque, Haniyeh stressed that the Resistance in Palestine is following up on these events, warning against any attacks on the holy site.

Read more: Resistance to occupation: The Flag March shall not pass

Nakhalah: The resistance will not allow Judaization attempts of Al-Aqsa

On his part, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhalah affirmed that Al-Quds was the eternal capital of Palestine, stressing that “we will not allow Judaization attempts on Al-Aqsa” even if they had to relentlessly fight.

During the national conference held by Hamas on the first anniversary of Seif Al-Quds Battle, Al-Nakhalah pointed out that the “[judaization] attack targeting Al-Quds and its blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is still at its peak,” stressing that “the Resistance now holds more responsibility to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Al-Nakhalah stated that “the resilient Palestinian people are united, and the days of the month of Ramadan and the daily confrontations in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque bear witness to this.”

According to the official, “Protecting unity has become a duty and not an option in the course of protecting and safeguarding the resistance, especially in light of the hostile alliances that arise every day and serve the enemy’s interests.”

In this context, he referred to the funeral of the martyred journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, describing the day all Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians stood in solidarity in the face of Zionist brutality as a  “momentous day”.

The PIJ leader further underlined that “adhering to the stances of the resistance is the only guarantee not to fall prey to the attempts of those trying to tame it for the benefit of the enemy and to accept the fait accompli.”

Al-Nakhalah ended his speech by saying, “The enemy leaders realized more than others that the founders of the Zionist project were ignorant, and those who gave them our country as a ‘homeland’ were even more ignorant.” 

Palestinian Resistance factions: We will now allow breaking the rules of engagement

In a military statement on the occasion, the Joint Operation Room of the Palestinian Resistance factions recalled the Resistance’s great achievement in Seif Al-Quds Battle, which was fought a year ago with full force and vigor.

The statement proudly mentioned that Seif Al-Quds echoed from Gaza to Al-Quds, reaching the Palestinian diaspora and Palestinian supporters around the world, who voiced their solidarity with Palestine against the occupation. Cohesion and patriotism forced the occupation to cease fire, confirming the Resistance’s vitality and steadfastness. 

The Palestinian Resistance marked a milestone during Seif Al-Quds battle, the statement added, confirming that the occupation is now facing an existential threat founded by the steadfast Resistance. The factions also stressed that the resistance fighters have left marks on the occupation that brings the glad tidings of nearing the liberation of Palestine. 

The Palestinian resistance factions, in their joint statement, affirmed their and the Palestinian blood’s unity wherever it is found, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, Al-Quds, and the Palestinian diaspora, until the end of the Palestinian Nakba.

Regarding the “Flag March” organized by settlers, which is scheduled to take place next week, the factions affirmed that “the Palestinian people will absolutely not allow the breaking of the rules of engagement or the return to the square of provocations in which we have spoken with all force.”

Furthermore, the statement affirmed that the enemy’s practices and violations in all the occupied cities, as well as the calls to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, were reasons that motivate the resistance to maintain steadfastness and resilience. 

Lastly, the resistance stressed that the factions were preparing at all levels for the battle that would liberate occupied Palestine and safeguard Palestine’s sanctity.

The statement was concluded with a pledge to the Palestinian people that the resistance would remain steadfast until victory and liberation. 

Stay Updated: Seif Al-Quds: New deterrence equation

As Ramadan Ends, Israeli Provocations Seem Aimed at a Religious War

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Jessica Buxbaum

“Israel uses this month [of Ramadan] to humiliate Palestinians, as much as they can. Especially at the doors of al-Aqsa Mosque, knowing how much this situation is sensitive for Palestinians.” – Younes Arar, PLO Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM, PALESTINE — On the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at least 42 Palestinians were injured when Israeli police raided al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said. With nearly 300 Palestininians injured in the last two weeks at al-Aqsa compound, this year’s Ramadan in Palestine has been marked by bloodshed once again.

Since the start of Ramadan on April 2, human rights organizations have monitored a significant increase in violence against Palestinians. Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq has documented a worrying trend “in killings, excessive use of force, settler colonial violence, attacks on holy sites and worshippers, and collective punishment measures against Palestinians, including widespread raids, arbitrary arrests, and movement restrictions.”

According to Al-Haq’s information, the Israeli army has killed 17 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in April. Since Al-Haq’s publication, Israeli forces fatally shot 18-year-old Ahmad Fathi Masad in the head during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp this week.

Uptick in religious violations

Israeli police raids on al-Aqsa compound have become routine this month, with the PRCS noting the majority of injuries were to the upper areas of the body. Israeli forces have used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades against Palestinian worshippers at al-Aqsa.

In recent weeks, Israeli forces have also broken the iconic stained-glass windows of al-Qibli Mosque, the main mosque in the compound, and have attacked Palestinian journalists, children, women and the elderly at the holy site.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister for Religious Endowments Sheikh Hatem al-Bakri told MintPress News that Israel’s actions at al-Aqsa compound are in violation of international regulations, UNESCO resolutions and religious traditions.

In 2016, UNESCO, the UN’s world heritage organization, adopted a resolution decrying Israeli violations at al-Aqsa including restricting access to Muslim worship and storming of the compound by Israeli forces and extremists.

“Israel is not respecting religious treaties at all, instead using their privilege of power to enact these policies,” al-Bakri said, emphasizing how the Jordanian Ministry of Waqf has full jurisdiction over the holy site. “And because of our weaknesses, we cannot run any military confrontation with Israel. We have to just witness what’s happening.”

Israeli police are not the only ones violating the sanctity of al-Aqsa. This month, the Jewish festival of Passover coincided with Ramadan. Jewish extremists used the holiday season to storm the compound and pray at the site more frequently. On April 17, Israeli forces shut Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to Muslim worshippers for two days. That following Tuesday, hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed the mosque to perform Talmudic rituals in celebration of Passover. The Israeli army also erected military barricades surrounding the area of the mosque to facilitate the settlers’ movement. The director of the mosque, Ghassan Al-Rajabi, said the closure was a continuation of “Zionist authorities’ attempts to dominate and occupy the mosque.”

In 1994, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshippers at Ibrahimi Mosque during Ramadan. Following the massacre, Israel divided the holy site into Muslim and Jewish sections, with Muslim access cut to 40%.

Last year, Israel authorities initiated excavation works at the mosque in order to install an elevator there. A Palestinian petition against the settler project was rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court on the grounds the elevator’s purpose is to ensure greater disability access. However, Palestinans stress the plan isn’t humanitarian in its purpose, instead giving cover for an attempt to confiscate land and further Judaize the mosque.

Sheikh al-Bakri, who is also a preacher at Ibrahimi Mosque, said Israel’s tightened security measures around the religious site suggest a more sinister intention. “Israel has been trying to control that site through converting it from a place for worshipers to a military zone,” al-Bakri said. “All of the events that have been happening around that site make us believe that Israel is trying to turn the Muslim praying side into a synagogue.”

April saw an escalation against Palestinian Muslim and Christian worship as well. According to documentation from the Jerusalem Governorate, on April 23 Israeli forces prevented hundreds of Palestinian Christians from reaching the Church of Holy Sepulcher to celebrate the “Holy Fire” ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

Minister al-Bakri said Israeli violations against some mosques in Jerusalem have occurred this Ramadan, but emphasized the main offenses against Islam have been at the al-Aqsa and Ibrahimi mosques.

“If Israel is violating these two big sites, then they can violate every site in the country,” al-Bakri said. “And we keep saying that if Israel is violating al-Aqsa, it’s violating every single Palestinian.”

Israel seeking a religious war

As the end of Ramadan nears, Israeli police have banned non-Muslims from entering al-Aqsa compound for the last ten days of Ramadan. According to Jerusalem Governorate statistics, about 3,670 Jewish settlers invaded al-Aqsa Compound during the Passover holiday.

Amid the spike in Jews praying at the site, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid asserted Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at al-Aqsa Compound.

“Muslims pray on the Temple Mount [what Israel calls al-Aqsa Compound], non-Muslims only visit. There is no change, there will be no change,” Lapid said during a press conference.

Yet Jordan, which has custodianship over the site, disagreed. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry warned in a statement that Israel is taking “targeted steps to change the historical and legal situation in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” specifically condemning Israeli forces for raiding the area and allowing Jews to pray at al-Aqsa Compound.

Jewish extremists often argue that denying Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa Compound is an obstruction of freedom of worship, given the area is deemed the holiest site in Judaism.

“Al-Aqsa is only for Muslims,” PA Deputy Governor of Jerusalem Abdullah Siam told MintPress News, in response to accusations of religious discrimination. He suggested the current status quo has pushed Israel to take the site through force.

Al-Bakri also agreed that al-Aqsa is strictly for Muslim worship.

But Jewish extremists who spout claims of religious discrimination ignore the stark political element at play, Israeli journalist and activist Haggai Matar said. “[T]here are no equals in Israel-Palestine,” Matar wrote in +972 Magazine. “[I]t is Israel that has created a system of apartheid wherein … Jewish supremacy over Palestinians is guaranteed, maintained, and entrenched by law and by force.”

Just before the start of Ramadan, Israeli parliament member and leader of the far-right Jewish Power Party Itamar Ben-Gvir toured al-Aqsa Compound, escorted by police. This wasn’t his first incursion, and Minister al-Bakri said such provocative, politically-charged tours are how the Israeli government attempts to stabilize its fragile coalition. “Through these practices, [the government is] trying to get political acquisitions,” al-Bakri said. “The government of [Prime Minister] Naftali Bennett is weak, and in order for them to keep going, they have to encourage settlers to do more raids so as to win from that situation.”

Yet ultimately, Israel’s ongoing violations against Muslim worship, al-Bakri said, are “leading the area to a religious war between Islam and Judaism.” “We always say that our main problem is not with Judaism as a religion, but with the occupation,” al-Bakri said. “Although Israel has been using Judaism to shape its occupation.”

Ramadan violence on repeat

As they were last year, tensions in Palestine have been at a maximum high during Ramadan.

In May 2021, violence erupted into a war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic faction governing Gaza. Israel’s 10-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip left 256 Palestinians dead, including 66 children. Media pundits and experts have feared this Ramadan may reach last year’s deadly levels.

For Minister al-Bakri, the atmosphere in Palestine is always volatile during Ramadan because Israel encourages a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. “Three months ago, Israel started talking in the media about a potential escalation, while the Palestinians hoped for a quiet month,” al-Bakri said, highlighting the number of Palestinians killed recently as meeting Israeli predictions. “Israel has been preparing the area for a potential problem by repeating these crisis slogans.”

Younes Arar, director of international and public relations and media for the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, suggested the large number of Palestinians flocking to Jerusalem during Ramadan is part of why the holy month is a tense time — emphasizing how the restrictions on freedom of movement add to the provocations. “Israel uses this month to humiliate Palestinians, as much as they can,” Arar said. “Especially at the doors of al-Aqsa Mosque, knowing how much this situation is sensitive for Palestinians.”

مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني تردع حكومة العدو وتكرّس قواعد جديدة للصراع

الخميس 21 نيسان 2022

حسن حردان

تحوّل نوعي في الصراع يتحقق على أرض فلسطين المحتلة لم يسبق ان حصل منذ نشأة الكيان الغاصب وتماديه في عدوانه وارتكاب جرائمه وتغوّله في تهويد الأرض والمقدسات.. هذا التحوّل النوعي تجلى في نجاح مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني في إعادة تثبيت معادلة «سيف القدس» مرة ثانية، وهي المعادلة التي حمت المقدسيين في حي الشيخ جراح في المرة الأولى، واليوم تحمي باب العمود والمسجد الأقصى من اعتداءات وتهويد الصهاينة المحتلين.. هذه المعادلة قوامها العناصر التالية:

العنصر الاول، هبّة أبناء فلسطين للدفاع عن الأقصى من هجمات واعتداءات قوات الاحتلال والمستوطنين الصهاينة الذين يحاولون تكرار ما حصل في الحرم الابراهيمي في الخليل من تقسيم زماني ومكاني جديد في المسجد الأقصى في سياق مخططهم التهويدي وإعادة بناء ما يُسمّى بهيكل سليمان.. غير انّ مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني حالت دون تمكن المستوطنين من تحقيق هدفهم بفرض التقسيم المكاني والزماني في الأقصى، كما  أجبرت حكومة العدو على منع مسيرة الأعلام التي نظمها المستوطنون برئاسة النائب الصهيوني المتطرف ايتمار بن غفير، من الوصول إلى باب العمود، خوفاً من تفجّر المواجهات على نطاق واسع.. حيث قرّر رئيس وزراء العدو نفتالي بينيت منع بن غفير من الوصول إلى باب العمود، وقال: «لا أنوي السماح لسياسة صغيرة بتعريض حياة البشر للخطر.. لن أسمح لاستفزاز سياسي بتعريض جنود الجيش وأفراد الشرطة لخطر وجعل مهمتهم أصعب.. نحن في مرحلة خطيرة قابلة للانفجار وهناك الكثير من المناسبات القريبة التي تستدعي البقاء في حالة تأهّب».

العنصر الثاني، تحرك أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني في كلّ أماكن تواجده في فلسطين المحتلة والشتات نصرة للأقصى والمدافعين عنه، حيث اندلعت المواجهات مع قوات الاحتلال في مدن وبلدات ومخيمات الضفة الغربية المحتلة، الى جانب بعض الهجمات المسلحة مع جنود العدو، فيما نظمت التظاهرات والاعتصامات في قطاع غزة والشتات، مما حال دون تمكن الاحتلال والمستوطنين من الاستفراد بالمقدسيين ومناصريهم من المناطق المحتلة عام 1948، وزاد من قلق القادة الصهاينة من احتمال تطور الأوضاع إلى اندلاع انتفاضة فلسطينية في حال جرى السماح للمستوطنين في التمادي في مخططهم التهويدي في الأقصى وباب العمود…

العنصر الثالث، استنفار فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة واستحضارها لمعادلة «سيف القدس» مرة ثانية في حالة تجاوز الاحتلال والمستوطنين الخطوط الحمراء الفلسطينية، المتمثلة بحماية المسجد الأقصى وعروبة القدس من التهويد… وقد تبع ذلك تسخين بالنار لجبهة المواجهة بين قطاع غزة ومستوطنات غلاف غزة.. مما أشعر العدو بأنّ الوضع لا يحتمل المناورة، فتحرّكت الوساطات الدبلوماسية لتهدئة الوضع وحضر وفد أميركي إلى فلسطين المحتلة لهذه الغاية، وهو أمر يؤشر إلى حاجة حكومة العدو إلى التهدئة وإيجاد مخارج لتراجعها عن التصعيد.. إلى جانب الخشية الأميركية من ازدياد التوتر واحتمالات التصعيد في المنطقة وخروج الوضع عن السيطرة والذهاب إلى مواجهة أوسع، حسب ما ذكرت مصادر «إسرائيلية» لصحيفة «معاريف»…

ماذا يعني هذا التراجع الصهيوني عن الذهاب إلى مواجهة واسعة مع الشعب الفلسطيني ومقاومته؟

انّ هذا التراجع الصهيوني يعني الأمور التالية:

اولاً، انّ كيان العدو بات يعاني من مأزق نابع من انسداد الآفاق أمامه لأيّ مواجهة واسعة على غرار المواجهة الأخيرة التي أنتجت معادلة «سيف القدس» الردعية.. وهذا الانسداد في الآفاق إنما يعود إلى سببين:

السبب الاول، أنّ ايّ تصعيد في المواجهة لن يفضي إلى أي نتيجة أفضل من النتائج التي أفضت إليها المواجهات السابقة، بل ستقود إلى مزيد من تآكل قوة الردع لجيش الاحتلال على أرض فلسطين المحتلة، وبالتالي تعزيز القناعة لدى الشعب الفلسطيني ومقاومته بالقدرة على تحقيق المزيد من الإذنجازات مما يصبّ في تعزيز خيار الصمود والمقاومة.

السبب الثاني، أنّ حكومة العدو لا رؤية لديها للذهاب إلى حلّ سياسي على قاعدة حلّ الدولتين، مما يبقي الوضع متوتراً وقابلاً للانفجار لأنّ الشعب الفلسطيني لن يرضى الاستكانة والقبول بالأمر الواقع الصهيوني…

ثانياً، وحدة الشعب الفلسطيني في كلّ أماكن تواجده في داخل فلسطين المحتلة وخارجها في مواجهة العدوان الصهيوني، حيث بات يصعب على الاحتلال اللعب على التناقضات الفلسطينية في ظلّ تماديه في اعتداءاته وجرائمه.. هذه الوحدة تجسّدت في معركة «سيف القدس» الأولى وتتجسّد اليوم في مواجهات الأقصى وقبلها في مخيم جنين، حتى أصبحت سلاحاً من أسلحة المقاومة… وسبباً في الصمود وتحقيق النصر ..

ثالثاً، وحدة فصائل المقاومة في غرفة عمليات مشتركة في اي مواجهة مع الاحتلال، باتت أيضا عنصرا من عناصر القوة الفلسطينية.. والتي تستدعي بالطبع المزيد من الارتقاء والتعزيز من خلال وضع استراتيجية متكاملة للنضال الوطني الفلسطيني.

هذه العوامل التي أجبرت العدو على عدم الذهاب إلى مواجهة واسعة، وألزمته بلجم المستوطنين ومنعهم من التمادي في اعتداءاتهم تجنباً لخروج الأمور عن السيطرة وانفجار واسع النطاق.. تؤشر إلى أنّ مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني ووحدته في مواجهة الاحتلال نجحت في تحقيق تحوّل نوعي في الصراع مع كيان الاحتلال تجلى في تكريس قواعد جديدة لهذا الصراع على أرض فلسطين المحتلة، وهو الأمر الذي فاقم من مأزق كيان العدو الصهيوني…

IOF storm Al-Aqsa Mosque for the 5th day in a row

April 21 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net 

After lurking in the shadows of the night, Israeli occupation forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque right after the Dawn Prayer.

Palestinians standing up to Israeli occupation forces (Archive)

Israeli occupation forces stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque after the dawn prayer and fired tear gas and rubber bullets, paving the way for the Israeli settlers’ incursions. In response, Palestinian youths confronted them with fireworks.

The occupation forces also forcibly removed the worshippers from the Mosque’s courtyards, which led to the injury of a large number of Palestinians who got trapped inside Al-Qibli prayer hall.

In an attempt to silence the truth and conceal the atrocity of what is taking place, the IOF also attacked press crews and forced them out of the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al Mayadeen correspondent in occupied Al-Quds also reported yesterday that settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, noting that the IOF stormed the Mosque’s courtyards and expelled the worshippers from it in preparation for the settlers’ collective incursions and provocative tours for the fourth day in a row, which are called for by Jewish extremists on the occasion of the Jewish Passover.

Earlier yesterday, the Israeli occupation forces brutally attacked and beat the women worshippers. 

An explosion was heard in the central governorate of the Gaza Strip, Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported early on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a source in the Palestinian resistance told Al Mayadeen that the Israeli Iron Dome launched dozens of missiles in a bid to intercept the heavy anti-aircraft munition fired from Gaza.

Initial reports from Israeli media said the IOF had launched a new wave of air raids on the Gaza strip, which was followed by sirens sounding in the settlements of the Gaza envelope, namely the settlements of “Sderot”, “Ibim”, and “Nir Am”.

“Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles bombed a resistance site West of Nuseirat Camp, Gaza,” Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported, adding that Israeli warplanes launched several air raids on Issa Al-Batran site of Al-Qassam Brigades.

Our correspondent also reported that an Israeli tank fired toward the field observation points east of Bureij camp in the central governorate.

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Al-Aqsa incursions for the fourth consecutive day

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WATCH: Jewish Settlers Occupy Historic Building in East Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter

March 28, 2022

Members of a Jewish settler organization occupy the Petra Hotel, in East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Al Qastal)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Members of a Jewish settler organization on Sunday moved into the Petra Hotel, in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. 

Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem consider the hotel “a strategic building that could affect the character of the Old City’s entire Christian Quarter,” according to the Israeli paper.

The building has been the subject of an 18-years-long battle between the settler organization Ateret Cohanim and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. The Jewish settler group claims, according to Haaretz, that the building was “bought from the previous Greek Orthodox patriarch, Irenaios, in a controversial deal”.

Current patriarch Theophilos III tried to repudiate the deal, with no success, as the agreement was ratified by the Israeli Jerusalem District Court and later by the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, Jewish settlers, escorted by Israeli police, seized Petra’s first floor. Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians and prevented the Qirresh family, the hotel’s tenants, from entering the building, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones

23 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Aya Youssef 

Despite their battles on the ground and in the virtual world, Palestinians are still able to go viral.

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

“You are stealing my house!” yelled the Palestinian woman facing the illegal Israeli settler in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, in occupied Al-Quds. 

“If I don’t steal it someone else is gonna steal it,” the settler replied with no hesitation. 

Comment, retweet, share, like, repost, and download. The outcome?

 Palestine has gone viral. 

Starting from the inside

Raw video footage of Israeli occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan in 2021 started to circulate all over social media platforms. The videos were showing Israeli soldiers storming through screaming crowds throwing grenades and shooting rubber bullets into them. 

European states, US lawmakers, and prominent figures started to condemn such brutal acts on their social media platforms, and it didn’t take months for this footage to become viral; it took seconds.

Israeli brutality has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones


Salhiyya family’s home

Mahmoud Salhiyya stood up against the Israeli forces and threatened to set himself on fire as a last resort to prevent them from taking his and his sister’s home. Palestinian activists held their phones and live-streamed, took photos, and published with the click of a button.

At dawn, Israeli occupation forces bulldozed Salhiyya family home, but Palestinians were wide awake to live stream, hashtag, take pictures, and tweet.

Israeli occupation authorities have been trying everything to uproot Sheikh Jarrah residents, from sending aleatory and unlawful court-mandated eviction orders to allowing settlers to attack Palestinians living in the neighborhood. 

But guess what? Israeli crimes have gone viral, too. 

Save Al-Naqab

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Julian Al-Atrash. While she was being dragged and handcuffed, she didn’t hesitate to smile.

That smile made it through social media platforms. Pro-Palestine activists started to draw, illustrate, and post the moment that girl smiled. 

Occupation forces started to storm Al-Naqab villages to bulldoze the area as a part of a plan led by the “Jewish National Fund” to confiscate Palestinian lands. 

There are more than 30 villages in Al-Naqab dubbed as “unrecognized” villages under the Israeli occupation government, so there are no means of transportation, no roads, and no schools in the area. 

Despite all of this, during the Israeli storming, Al-Naqab was being recognized more than ever online, with people retweeting and sharing “#SaveNaqab”.

The greenwashing of Israeli crimes has gone viral.

What’s going on in Al-Naqab in Palestine?

Palestine is going viral from the outside

Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their lands have been facing the Israeli occupation every single day. They have been fighting battles on their own. 

Shahd Abusalma’s case

Shahd is a Palestinian refugee and a lecturer living in the UK. Sheffield Hallam University suspended her teaching duties due to anti-Semitic claims and decided to investigate her. Shahd has done nothing but retweeting, liking, and commenting on videos showing the Israeli occupation’s brutality.

Solidarity campaigns started to go viral, websites started to write about Shahd’s case, and “#InSupportOfShahd” started to circulate all over Twitter. 

How did all this start? As soon as Shahd announced that she was subject to these campaigns on her Twitter account, retweets skyrocketed. 

The university restrained Shahd’s teaching duties without dropping the investigations regarding her case. Shahd didn’t stop there because guess what? 

Shahd’s case has gone viral.

Shahd has walked her followers through her journey regarding any new update on her case. 

A few days later, the university dropped all of the investigations that were made against Shahd and offered her a more secure contract that will afford her employee status.

Rasmy Hassouna’s case

A Palestinian-American citizen who was about to renew his contract with the government before he noticed a legal clause that forbids him and his company A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting “Israel” and its products.

Rasmy filed a lawsuit against the Texas state law, which bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation and won the case.

US District Court Judge blocked Texas from imposing its anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) law against Hassouna because boycotting, any kind of boycott, was protected by the First Amendment, which is the right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.

“It’s great, isn’t it?” Rasmy said to Al Mayadeen English as he received the news.   

Determined as ever, Rasmy said “Stand up for your rights, as expatriates, I believe we can do a lot for Palestine.” 

His victory made it through websites and social media platforms. 

And guess what? Rasmy’s victory has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

Don’t let tech giants fool you: Al-Kurd siblings as an example 

23-year-old Palestinians had nothing to defend their land with except their phones. They had no idea that anyone would care enough to watch illegal Israeli settlers storming their house or brutally assaulting young Palestinians. They didn’t know that anyone would care enough about a neighborhood in occupied Palestine. 

With every video or live-streaming posted, their followers were piling up by day, people started to refer to their accounts for news or updates regarding Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood. 

And now? Muna Al Kurd has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram while her brother, Mohammad al Kurd, has +7K followers on the platform. 

“Instagram is preventing me from going live!” 

Mona Al-Kurd was one of many live-streaming the ongoing events in Sheikh Jarrah when her streaming cut off suddenly. Al Kurd explained that her live-streaming feature was blocked while she was documenting the moment Al Salhiyya’s family home was demolished.

This has exposed Instagram’s complicity and censorship of Palestinian content. 

Censorship of Palestinian content is not new to some of the giant tech companies. Toward the end of last year, activists and journalists have started a campaign against Meta’s policies, which have been targeting Palestinian content and the Palestinian narrative. 

It is important not to forget Human Rights Watch’s report that highlighted Facebook’s policy, and how the tech giant has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including content regarding human rights abuses committed by “Israel” against Palestinians during its 11 days aggression on Gaza in 2021.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update  10 – 16 March 2022)

 March 17, 2022

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

Two Palestinian Civilians killed, including a child, and 13 others wounded, including a journalist, by Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF) fire in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.  Moreover, tens of others sustained bruises in separate incidents in the West Bank.  On 15 March 2022, IOF killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 9 others during clashes triggered by IOF’s incursion into Balata refugee camp, eastern Nablus, and Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem.  Further details available here.   Most civilians were wounded during IOF’s suppression of peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians. On 10 March 2022, a Palestinian was wounded with a rubber bullet in his right knee and others suffocated due to teargas inhalation during clashes with IOF at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron.  On 11 March 2022, a Palestinian was wounded with a rubber bullet in his leg during IOF’s incursion into Tulkarm while a journalist was wounded with 2 rubber bullets in his waist and right hand although he was wearing his clearly marked Press uniform while covering clashes in Bab al-Zawiyah in central Hebron.  On 16 March 2022, a Palestinian was wounded in his back during IOF’s incursion into Jenin and arrest of a Palestinian. 

In the Gaza Strip, IOF opened fire 6 times at agricultural lands in access restricted areas, eastern Khan Younis and Central Gaza Strip. Also, three IOF shootings were reported on fishing boats mostly off the northern and southern Gaza shores.

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 16 Palestinians, including 4 children, and wounded 133 others, including 23 children, 1 woman, 2 paramedics and 10 journalists, all in the West Bank, except one fisherman in the Gaza Strip.

Land razing, demolitions, and notices

This week, IOF razed a 38-dunum plot of land, demolished a fence and handed 9 notices to stop construction works in 9 civilian objects in the West Bank.

  • On 10 March, a 20-meter fence built of cement and bricks was demolished in northwestern Jericho.
  • On 11 March, the Israeli occupation authorities approved the construction of 730 new settlement units in “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On 14 March, 9 notices were distributed to cease construction in 9 facilities, including 6 dwellings, classrooms, a barn and an agricultural barrack, eastern Yata in Hebron.
  • On 15 March, 38 dunums in Beit Safafa village, southern occupied East Jerusalem, were razed in favor of expanding “Giv’at HaMatos” settlement.

Since the beginning of 2022, IOF made 40 families homeless, a total of 244 persons, including 47 women and 113 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 50 houses and 4 residential tents. IOF also demolished 29 other civilian objects, and delivered 37 notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

This week, 3 settler-attacks were reported in the West Bank and they were as follows:

  • 11 March: settlers placed 3 caravans on a hill next to Kherbet Birin in a de facto seizure of civilian lands, eastern Hebron.
  • 13 March: a settler fired a bullet from his gun at al-Khansaa’ Elementary School, eastern Bethlehem, enticing fear among students.
  • 15 March: settlers from “Burchin” settlement uprooted around 50 olive trees in Salfit.

So far this year, settlers carried out 53 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

 IOF carried out 158 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During this week’s incursions, 76 Palestinians were arrested, including 2 children.  IOF also conducted a limited incursion into northern Gaza Strip on 14 March 2022.

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 1539 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 940 Palestinians were arrested, including 117 children and 9 women. IOF also conducted 11 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 12 Palestinians, including 7 fishermen, 4 infiltrators via the border fence, and one travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly update on the Gaza crossings.

This week, an Israeli military decision was issued to impose new restrictions on the number and identity  of foreign lecturers and students that would be allowed in the Palestinian universities in the West Bank.  The decision imposes a new set of rules defining the criteria required to obtain a work permit and visa for foreign academics and students in order to study or teach at a Palestinian higher education institution. The decision sets a yearly limit of visas to 100 teachers and 150 to students.   Moreover, In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 89 temporary military checkpoints this week and arrested 2 Palestinians at those checkpoints. The majority of the checkpoints were in Hebron (29) and Bethlehem (20). 

So far in 2022, IOF established at least 712 checkpoints and arrested 40 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

Churches Declare Christianity in The Holy Land is Under Threat from Jewish Extremists

March 09th, 2022

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

Christianity was born in Palestine, but its population there is dwindling in numbers.
“We are facing a very dangerous situation,” Archbishop Theodosios said, “where in a few years we might find the holiest city for Christians without any local Christians, without any indigenous Christians.”

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — Last month, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) announced plans to encompass Christian holy sites within a national park. Church leaders condemned the move as part of systematic efforts to drive Christians out of the Holy Land.

Following backlash, INPA withdrew the plan from the Jerusalem Municipality’s March agenda, saying it would instead have discussions with local churches on how to preserve the area. Yet the project is back on the municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee’s agenda, scheduled for Aug. 31. INPA did not respond to requests for comment on why this item was placed back on the municipality’s agenda.

The plan proposes expanding the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which surrounds the Old City, by about 25% and calls for taking over privately-owned Palestinain and Church-owned land, including some of the most sacred Christian sites. Originally, the proposal also included a Jewish cemetery, but it was left out when Jewish authorities managing the cemetery opposed the decision. 

Following the plan’s announcement, Israeli peace and human rights organizations Bimkom – Planners For Planning Rights, Emek Shaveh, Ir Amim, and Peace Now said in a joint statement:

There is a direct link between what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah and the expansion plan. These are various mechanisms used by Israel in East Jerusalem to entrench its sovereignty, to marginalize non-Jewish presence and to prevent much needed development of Palestinian neighborhoods, thereby increasing the pressure to push them out of the Old City basin.

Church leaders also slammed the outlined expansion in a letter to Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection: 

This is a brutal measure that constitutes a direct and premeditated attack on the Christians in the Holy Land, on the churches and on their ancient, internationally guaranteed rights in the Holy City. Under the guise of protecting green spaces, the plan appears to serve an ideological agenda that denies the status and rights of Christians in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Walls National Park was established after Israel annexed East Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War. Its declaration included the areas designated for expansion, but those efforts did not come to fruition — until now.

Israeli human rights organizations condemned expansion for restricting Palestinian building, while also stressing the park’s current state has significantly hindered Palestinian development.

Sari Kronish, the architect with Bimkom, said the Jerusalem Walls National Park contains several Palestinian neighborhoods, including Wadi-Hilweh and al-Hizbe. “It’s not just a ring around the Old City walls,” Kronish told MintPress News. “Both of these neighborhoods found themselves suddenly living inside a national park, which completely prevents their improvement and development and not to mention also brings heightened law enforcement.”

Palestinian neighborhoods are not the only community affected by the development of Israeli parks. Father Koryoun Baghdasaryan, chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told MintPress that since 1967, the Armenian Patriarchate has not received a permit to construct anything new in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City because the area is declared a green space.

“The idea of declaring [areas] national parks or green zones is to impose restrictions,” Baghdasaryan said, explaining how these restrictions have depleted the quarter’s commercial activity and economic growth. “Armenians bought these properties to secure the income for the patriarchate, the convent, to survive here,” Baghdasaryan continued. “Now there is no profit for us.” 

Settlers taking over 

In their letter to Israel’s environmental protection minister regarding the extension of the Jerusalem Walls National Park, church leaders wrote:

In recent years, we cannot help but feel that various entities are seeking to minimize, not to say eliminate, any non-Jewish characteristics of the Holy City by attempting to alter the status quo… [I]t seems that [the plan] was put forward and is being orchestrated, advanced and promoted by entities whose apparent sole purpose is to confiscate and nationalize one of the holiest sites to Christianity and alter its nature.

The churches are referring here to Israeli settler groups. More specifically, the settler associations Ir David Foundation (or El’ad) and Ateret Cohanim, which have been part of real estate and building operations in and around the Old City. 

El’ad is most recognized for managing the City of David archeological site located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan and near Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition to spurring eviction lawsuits against Silwan residents, El’ad also conducts archaeological excavations beneath Silwan’s streets, damaging the structural foundations of many Palestinian homes. The organization is also involved in the construction of a pedestrian bridge cutting through the Old City. 

“They’re trying to create a ring of settlement-related tourism attractions around the Old City,” said Talya Ezrahi, external relations coordinator at Emek Shaveh, an Israeli non-profit focused on archaeology. “Their objective is to transform the identity of the space around the Old City from one that is multicultural and multi-faith into one that has a Judeocentric narrative that justifies the settlements.”

Ateret Cohanim’s endeavors are slightly different. In the Christian Quarter of the Old City, the settler group purchased the Petra and New Imperial hotels from the Greek Orthodox Church in 2004 through a secret deal orchestrated by Nikolaos Papadimas, who was then responsible for the church’s properties. Papadimas disappeared following the $1.25 million sale. Now, the New Imperial Hotel’s Palestinian management is embroiled in a legal battle against their eviction after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled the deal was done in good faith in 2019. 

The hotel is situated between the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches and next to the Old City’s main entrance, Jaffa Gate. “If this is in the hands of this radical group, this will threaten the Christian presence on Jaffa Gate and in Jerusalem,” Walid Dajani, the hotel’s manager, told MintPress. His family has been running the hotel since 1949 and are protected tenants. 

Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia, from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, explained lands owned by the Greek Orthodox church are part of a Christian waqf or trust, meaning they are not for sale. “These properties support the steadfastness of Christians,” Archbishop Theodosios said. “These deals are illegal and these properties shall remain in the ownership of the church.” The religious leader added the Christian waqf had been under threat prior to the establishment of the Israeli state. “It started even before 1948,” Archbishop Theodosios said. “There are so many lands that belonged to churches in western Jerusalem that have been confiscated and so many Israeli official institutions were then built on these lands.”

Ateret Cohanim declined to comment on the matter. 

Attacks against Christians increasing 

A Palestinian Christian, lights candles, in a morning Christmas mass at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, in the West Bank village of Burqin near Jenin city, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

belonging to the Christian community are under threat, so too is their own safety. 

Both Father Baghdasaryan and Archbishop Theodosios described how nearly anyone wearing a cross while walking through the Old City will experience verbal or physical assaults from Jewish extremists. “Once a person is identified as a Christian — doesn’t matter whether he is a clergyman, seminarian or a lay person — they [the settlers] just behave like they are not welcome here. They spit on them. They curse them,” Baghdasaryan said.

Armenian Christians are most susceptible to attacks, given the Armenian Quarter’s proximity to the Jewish Quarter. Last May, Armenian reverends Father Tiran Hakobyan and Father Arbak Sarukhanyan were beaten by a group of Israeli settlers while walking to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from the Armenian Convent. Sarukhanyan was hospitalized for his injuries. “I have been in Jerusalem since 1995. [Attacks are] increasing yearly. In the past, there has never been any physical violence, but recently it’s becoming more and more common,” Baghdasaryan said.

Baghdasaryan has been spat on numerous times and Archbishop Theodosios has also been attacked when walking through the Old City. “Some of them are kids. They’re little children who spit, who verbally assault and who are treating religious people and elderly people in a very offensive way,” Archbishop Theodosios said. “These children are being raised on racism and hatred. They think that Jerusalem only belongs to them and not to any other people.”

But it’s not just physical violence that’s disturbing the Christian presence in Jerusalem. Archbishop Theodosios described how the municipality, together with settler groups, often organizes loud festivals during Jewish holidays in the Christian Quarter near the New Gate. “There will be music and dancing that is disrupting the area’s holiness and disrupting the daily lives of residents,” Archbishop Theodosios said.  “It’s an attempt to change the dominant Christian atmosphere of that area.”

Erasing a community

Israel Palestinians Easter
Palestinian Christians carry an effigy of Jesus Christ covered by flowers, during a symbolic funeral as part of their services marking Good Friday in the West Bank village of Al-Zababedah near Jenin, Friday, April 18, 2014. Followers of the Eastern Orthodox Churches are marking the solemn period of Easter. (AP/Mohammed Ballas)

Christianity was born in Palestine, but its population there is dwindling in numbers. In 2019, Jerusalem’s Palestinian Christian population was only 4% of the city’s demographic, with just under 5,000 residents in the Old City’s Christian Quarter.

Archbishop Theodosios believes strategic efforts are behind the city’s decreasing Christian numbers. Violence and land confiscation are part of a larger plan to empty Jerusalem of its Christian inhabitants.  

“We are facing a very dangerous situation,” Archbishop Theodosios said, “wherein a few years we might find the holiest city for Christians without any local Christians, without any indigenous Christians.”

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