President’s spokesman Abu Rudeineh: Israel isolated by international community

RAMALLAH, January 16, 2017 (WAFA) –Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Monday that recent Palestinian achievements have proven once again that Israel’s policies have failed and are isolated and that the Palestinian cause is just.

Abu Rudeineh was referring to the international community’s unanimous rejection of Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories while stressing the two-state solution that came in the December 23 United Nations Security Council resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements, the of raising of Palestine’s flag at the Palestinian embassy in the Vatican, and lately the Paris peace conference, which emphasized the international resolutions as the base regarding the borders of the State of Palestine as well as East Jerusalem.

“The next major political battle, which represents a challenge to the Arab world and the international community, is Jerusalem, which President Abbas has said is a red line not accepted by anyone and no one will be allowed to bargain on as part of a state with provisional borders, or through concessions that may endanger Palestinian and Arab national security,” he said.

Abu Rudeineh said “everyone should take seriously the threats that brought instability and chaos to the region, and therefore should give priority to confronting them because shame-filled modern history is not an apology to history nor is it a privilege because common values should be given priority to come out from this troubled period with national accomplishments to become a historical turning point toward the future.”




Parliamentarian among 20 Palestinians Israel detained in West Bank

RAMALLAH, January 16, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli forces detained at least 20 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestine Legislative Council, during predawn raids across the West Bank districts, local sources said on Monday.

Israeli army reportedly detained 12 Palestinians in the Ramallah area, including Ahmad Mubarak, a member of the Palestine Legislative Council, and writer and poet Waleed al-Hodali, both from Jalazoun refugee camp.

Israeli forces also detained eight other Palestinians from the rest of the occupied West Bank districts.




Israel razes road in Masafer Yatta built with donors’ aid

HEBRON, January 11, 2017 (WAFA) – An Israeli bulldozer razed a road near the village of al-Boweib in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, Rateb Jbour, coordinator of the local anti-settlement committee, said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces accompanied a bulldozer in razing a road that connects Masafer Yatta with Bani Na’im, he said. The road was rehabilitated by donors’ aid.

He said the road is vital and links many communities in the south of Hebron.




Arab towns in Israel strike in protest against home demolitions

NAZARETH, January 11, 2016 (WAFA) – Arab towns inside Israel have declared a general strike on Wednesday to protest of the Israeli demolition of 11 homes in the Arab town of Qalansowa, in central Israel.

The strike was called for by the Higher Arab Follow-up Committee, an independent political organization tasked with coordinating the political actions of various Israeli-Arab bodies.

The committee called on all Palestinian sectors in Israel to observe a general strike to protest what it said was collective campaign of demolitions of Palestinian homes under the pretext they were built without a permit.

According to Arab 48 website, all sectors in the Arab towns in Israel are partaking in the strike, including schools, local councils and municipalities, in addition to commercial stores and other public and private facilities.

The strike however excludes healthcare services and private education institutions, the website said.

The demolition of the Qalansowa homes came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called for demolition of Arab homes reportedly built without permit to avenge an Israeli High Court decision to demolish homes in the illegal Amona settlement built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

While the Amona homes are still in place two years after the court order and the Israeli government is still fighting the demolition and eviction order, it went ahead and demolished Arab homes in Qalansowa.

The Arabs in Israel are expected to carry out further protest measures against the demolition of Arab homes.




Newspapers Review: Israeli killing of Palestinian in Fara’a camp focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, January 11, 2017 (WAFA) – The Israeli army killing of a Palestinian during a raid of Fara’a refugee camp in the northern West Bank district of Tubas hit the front page headlines in the Palestinian dailies on Wednesday.

Al-Quds described the killing of Mohammad Salhi, 32, as “assassination,” while al-Ayyam described it as “extrajudicial execution” and al-Hayat al-Jadida said it was “cold-blooded execution.”

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said he was shot dead in front of his mother when the soldiers raided his home to reach a neighbor’s house.

Highlighting demolitions in the West Bank, al-Quds said Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for several Palestinian structures across the West Bank.

Al-Ayyam explained Israeli bulldozers destroyed a pipeline supplying water to 36 Palestinian families in the northern Jordan Valley. The 11-kilometer pipeline supplied water to the communities of al-Ras al-Ahmar, al-Hadidiya, Khirbet Makhul and Khirbet Humsa.

It added Israeli forces delivered eviction orders for two Palestinian homes, north of Jericho, and stop-construction orders for water well and structure in the Bethlehem district town of al-Khader.

The dailies added a general strike was proclaimed Wednesday in the Arab town of Qalansowa inside Israel to protest the demolition of 11 homes.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said US President-elect Donald Trump still plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Al-Quds reported senior Palestinian official Mohammad Shtayyeh as stating the Palestinian leadership would take “preventive measures” in order to prevent the decision from being implemented.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported him as warning the Palestinian leadership would consider withdrawing recognition of Israel in response to the move, which he said would mean an “end to the two-state solution” and the termination of talks.

Highlighting punitive Israeli measures against the family of Fadi Qunbar, who carried out the fatal truck attack in Jerusalem on Sunday, the dailies said Israeli authorities informed several members of the family that their Jerusalem residency status would be revoked and home demolished.

The dailies said President Mahmoud Abbas has received an invitation to meet with his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, in Paris on January 15.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said Abbas would be received by Pope Francis at the Vatican prior to his trip to France for the international peace conference.

Moreover, the dailies reported the meeting of the preparatory committee of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) was launched in Beirut with participation of representatives from all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The dailies said work is underway by the government to put an end to power cut and water shortage in the Gaza Strip.

They said in another story that Israel has decided to break up Palestinian land in the West Bank town of Silwad in order to allocate an area as replacement for the illegal Amona settlement outpost.

Al-Quds said Egypt has decided to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Egypt and Israel are the two countries with land borders with Gaza.

The paper had an interview with Economy Minister Abeer Odeh in which she said “we are seeking economic independence.”

Al-Ayyam reported outgoing US President Barack Obama as stating Israeli settlements are making a future Palestinian state impossible.




Foreign Ministry condemns Israel’s killing of Palestinian

RAMALLAH, January 10, 2017 (WAFA) – The Foreign Ministry condemned on Tuesday in what it described as “cold blooded execution” of Mohammad Salhi, 32, by Israeli soldiers who raided his home in Fara’a refugee camp near Tubas.

The ministry said Salhi was shot dead in front of his mother and left to bleed until his death.

It described in a statement Salhi’s fatal shooting as “a brutal and despicable crime,” which comes following statement by Israeli officials and military orders that allow shooting and killing of unarmed Palestinian civilians.

It called on all regional and international human rights organizations to immediately act to document this crime pending its referral to the International Criminal Court.




Newspapers Review: Abbas’ letter to Trump on relocation of US embassy focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, January 10, 2017 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas’ letter to US President-elect Donald Trump urging him to abstain from moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem hit the front page headlines in Palestinian local dailies on Tuesday.

The three dailies said Abbas has urged Trump not move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida added Abbas sent letters to heads of states around the world, urging them to exert as much efforts as possible to prevent this move.

Al-Quds added Abbas explained in his letter “the destructive effects” of such a move to the peace process, the two-state solution and regional stability.

Al-Ayyam reported Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki stating the Palestinian leadership is taking proactive action following Trump’s plan to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported secretary-general of PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, as stating in this regard the Palestinian leadership is poised to make critical decisions to face this dangerous phase.

He was also reported as stating if Trump relocates the US embassy to Jerusalem, this would signal US recognition of Israel’s annexation of occupied East Jerusalem.

While al-Hayat al-Jadida covered this letter in its main news item, al-Quds and al-Ayyam opted to highlight Israeli punitive measures against the al-Qunbar family after Fadi Qunbar had carried out a deadly truck attack against Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem killing four and wounding others.

Al-Quds said Israeli forces dismantled the mourning tent that had been set up in memory of Qunbar and closed off the main entrance to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabber.

Al-Ayyam said Israeli forces imposed punitive measures on Palestinians in Jabal al-Mukabber.

It reported Qunbar’s relatives as affirming neither he was affiliated to or made contacts with the so-called “Islamic State” group.

It added one Israeli minister advocated the expulsion of al-Qunbar family members to Syria as a punishment to the entire family.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Muhammad Abu Shahin was sentenced to two life sentences and fined about $900,000 for killing an Israeli and wounding another near Dolev settlement in June 2015.

Highlighting the international Middle East peace conference in Paris, al-Quds reported the countries that would attend the conference on Sunday would affirm the two-state solution and slam Israeli settlement construction across the West Bank.

It also reported they would affirm the illegality of any unilateral changes to the pre-1967 borders, including Jerusalem.

Referring to a Haaretz report, al-Ayyam said the final draft of the conference statement would urge Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to disavow officials in their respective governments who oppose the two-state solution.

Regionally, al-Quds and al-Ayyam said the body of former Greek Melkite Catholic archbishop, Hilarion Capucci, was laid to his rest in Lebanon.

Highlighting settlement construction plans, the dailies said the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem mulls approval of the construction of 390 new housing units for settlers on land belonging to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat.

Al-Ayyam said Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for Palestinian residential structures to the south of Hebron and leveled Palestinian lands in Salfit.

Besides, al-Ayyam said Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested the worsening electricity crisis and power blackouts in the besieged enclave.

It added the Hamas security forces detained many Palestinians from al-Bureij camp in the wake of the protests.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Kraehenbuehl urged Trump to revive the Middle East peace process.




Soldiers assault 80-year-old woman in Qalqilya-area village

QALQILYA, January 10, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers assaulted on Tuesday an 80-year-old elderly Palestinian woman during a raid of the village of Kufr Qaddoum, east of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources.

The woman was identified as Shafiqa Joumaa, who was later hospitalized.

Israeli forces raided Joumaa’s house and assaulted her, according to Murad Shtawie, a local activist, who said that soldiers raided the village and broke into several homes, one of which belong to the head of the village council, Hamza Joumaa.




Israeli soldiers shoot dead Palestinian in Fara’a refugee camp

TUBAS, January 10, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli forces shot and killed on Tuesday a Palestinian during wide-scale raid of Fara’a refugee camp, south of Tubas, local and medical sources told WAFA.

Soldiers opened fire at Mohammad Salhi, 32, after raiding his home alleging he attempted to stab them.

Witnesses, however, said that Salhi tried to defend himself and his sick mother when Israeli soldiers broke into his home in a violent way.

The soldiers had raided Salhi’s home to get to another one next door, they said, and not to arrest anyone from his household.

Khalid Mansour, a local activist, said an Israeli officer used his own pistol to fire six bullets at Salhi, who was left to bleed to death before being taken to the Turkish hospital in Tubas. Salhi was already dead when the ambulance arrived at the scene, said the medical sources.

Salhi, who lives with his sick mother in Fara’a camp, was a former prisoner who was sentenced to three years in Israeli jails for resisting the occupation. He used to sell corn to make a living and was the only provider to his family after the death of his father.

Israeli forces detained four people from the camp, said the sources.

The Ramallah-based al-Quds Center for the Study of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs said Israeli forces shot and killed 274 Palestinians since October 2015, most of them in alleged attacks. The rest were killed in confrontations with soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip or related incidents.




Newspapers review: Jerusalem deadly truck attack focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, January 9, 2017 (WAFA) – The deadly attack when a Palestinian-driven truck rammed into Israeli pedestrians at a bus stop in the illegal Israeli settlement of East Talpiyyot in Jerusalem hit the front page headlines in Palestinian local dailies.

The dailies said a Palestinian-driven truck ploughed into a group of uniformed Israeli soldiers, killing four soldiers and injuring 15 others on a street at the Armon Hanatziv promenade overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City.

They added the Palestinian truck driver, identified as Fadi al-Qunbar, 28, from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, was shot dead by Israeli forces.

Highlighting Israeli reprisals, the dailies said Israeli cabinet decided to demolish the attacker’s family home and withhold his body.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida added the Israeli cabinet also decided to blockade the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir and detain (search out) any Palestinian who has expressed support or admiration of the attack.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israeli officials assailed Palestinian Authority and held it responsible for the attack.

Furthermore, the dailies said Israeli settlers hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling between Nablus and Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, causing damages to the vehicles and wounds and bruises to passengers.

The dailies said Israeli settlement group Elad took over a Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Al-Quds explained the home is located on al-Ein Street in Silwan.

The dailies said Israeli forces delivered stop-construction notices for 11 Palestinian homes to the east of Bethlehem.

Al-Quds added Israeli forces also delivered such notices to three Palestinian homes in the Salfit district village of Bruqin.

The dailies said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, already under police investigation for suspected corruption, was caught on tape negotiating mutual benefits with Yedioth Ahronoth daily owner Moni Mozes.

Regarding plans to relocate Israeli settlers evacuated from Amona settlement outpost, al-Quds said there is a legal problem that prevents the relocation of Amona settlers to the nearby parcel of land, known as 38.

It is worth noting that Palestinians from the Ramallah area town of Silwad have filed an appeal, claiming ownership of the land allocated for the settlers.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said Israeli embassy official Shai Masot was filmed discussing how to “take down” UK Deputy Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Al-Ayyam reported that Secretary-General of PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erkat would ask Russian Foreign Minister Sergy Lavrov to work with the Palestinians in order to implement UNSC resolution 2334 and convene the multilateral peace conference in Paris.

Reacting to the Jerusalem deadly attack, Erekat was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida as stating draining the swamp of Israeli occupation is the key to regional stability and security.




Settlers seize building in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood

Settler organisations, heavily funded by American Jewish billionaires, have focused on Silwan and the Holy Basin as a means of cutting off the Old City from Palestinians and extending exclusive Israeli control.

JERUSALEM, January 8, 2017 (WAFA) – A group of Israeli settlers seized on Sunday a Palestinian-owned building in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, south of al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to local sources.

The settlers, who belong to Elad, an extremist settler organization, were accompanied by police forces to seize the building that belongs to Hani Sarhan, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who was in Jordan when his house was seized.

To be noted, settler organizations have recently been able to seize many buildings and homes in Silwan area and turning them into settlements outposts. Israeli authorities have also in recent years demolished some 88 houses in Silwan for the benefit of settlement expansion activities




US embassy move to Jerusalem would spark religious war, Fatah official says


RAMALLAH, January 8, 2017 (WAFA) – Hanna Issa, member of Fatah revolutionary council Sunday said moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will ignite a religious war in the region.

In an interview with Mawtni radio station, Issa said Palestinians can’t predict the reaction to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

”Since 1974, US foreign policy decreed East Jerusalem as an occupied territory that must not undergo any change by the [Israeli] occupation.”

This comes after US President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the focus of Palestinian-Israeli tension and the eternal capital for both sides.

The move is expected to inflame the situation as Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem would have to be the capital of a sovereign State of Palestine if any two-state solution is reached, while Jerusalem already serves as the government seat and Israel’s declared “undivided capital”.

The US embassy has been located in Tel Aviv since the 1960s and to move it to Jerusalem would contradict a steady US policy regarding the final status of Jerusalem; which should be determined in peace talks.

Issa, along with many top Palestinian politicians, condemned Trump’s statement saying the move will have unexpected outcome and impact on the situation.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat said moving the embassy to Jerusalem will end the peace process.

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry told media “You’d have an explosion– an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”




Ashrawi: Int. peace conference must offer clear objectives, binding timeframe


RAMALLAH, January 8, 2017 (WAFA) – PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi Sunday said the International Peace Conference must present “clear objectives with a concrete plan of implementation and a binding timeline.”

During her meeting with the French Consul General Pierre Cochard at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah, Ashrawi focused on the French Initiative to host the International Peace Conference in Paris on January 15 and the concerted efforts required to ensure its success.

Ashrawi said for the Conference to succeed, it must be based on international law, international humanitarian law and UN resolutions, in particular UNSC Resolution 2334.

“The Conference must also set up comprehensive mechanisms to end the military occupation and to ensure the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” she explained.

Ashrawi also stressed the importance to resolve all permanent status issues in accordance with international law and conventions, including UNGA Resolution 194.

She called for the creation of a follow-up committee with the responsibilities of monitoring and evaluation of implementation, as well as the authority to exercise arbitration and accountability.

Ashrawi said, “The Conference gains added importance in view of the upcoming inauguration of the American President-elect and the extremely disturbing messages coming from both Congress and the new U.S. administration regarding the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the approval of illegal settlement activities in a blatant violation of international law; the ramifications and consequences of such moves are enormous and could engulf the whole region and beyond.”




Israel orders halt on construction of 11 homes in Bethlehem


BETHLEHEM, January 8, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered a halt on the construction of about 11 Palestinian-owned homes in Wadi Abul-Hummus area, east of Bethlehem, according to local sources.

Hassan Burajiya, of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Bethlehem, told WAFA that Israeli forces notified Palestinians to stop the construction of the 11 homes, despite the fact they are being constructed in Area A of the West Bank, under complete Palestinian civil and security control.

He said Israeli forces claimed that the stop-construction orders came because the 11 homes lack Israeli construction permits, and said their owners have obtained construction permits from the Palestinian side since they are being constructed within Area A.


Foreign Ministry: Trial of killer Israeli soldier a “mock”

RAMALLAH, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described on Wednesday an Israeli court’s conviction of an Israeli soldier who killed Abdul-Fattah al-Sharif on March 24 as a mock trial.

In a press release, the ministry said that the Israeli trial came only to “absorb” international condemnation of the deadly incident which took place in Hebron and in which Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shot and killed al-Sharif as he laid wounded on the ground.

The ministry also described the trial as a “farce” which aims to evade international accountability or further action by international courts.

It said most Israeli top state officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, and other Israeli nongovernmental organizations have raised funds in favor of a campaign that calls for Azaria’s acquittal.

The ministry added that not only Azaria ought to stand trial, but also the entire Israeli regime for allowing the killing of Palestinians




Tel Aviv court convicts killer soldier

TEL AVIV, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – A military court in Tel Aviv Wednesday convicted an Israeli soldier, who shot and killed in cold blood a wounded Palestinian in Hebron, of manslaughter.

The court said Elor Azaria, who shot dead Abdul Fattah al-Sharif on March 24 while lying on the ground after he was shot and injured by Israeli forces following an alleged stabbing attack, did so in revenge rather than because the wounded Palestinian had posed a threat, as claimed by the killer soldier.

Many Israeli right wing activists, including lawmakers, and supporters of the killer soldier demonstrated outside the court hoping to pressure it against convicting him.

The sentence will be announced within a month.




Woman and daughter among 31 Israel detains in West Bank

RAMALLAH, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – A 39-year-old woman from Hebron identified as Bayan Aqel, and her daughter, Fatima, were among 31 Palestinians the Israeli forces detained during overnight wide-scale raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Wednesday.

It said that 12 Palestinians from the district of Hebron were detained, including the Aqel mother and daughter, and two brothers of Dia Talahmeh, who was killed by Israeli forces.

In Jenin in the north of the West Bank, forces detained five people, while four others were detained from Tulkarem, two from Bethlehem and three from Ramallah, including an 18-year-old.

Israeli police also detained five people from Jerusalem, including Obeida Atrash, mother of Mutasem Atrash who is serving a 10-month sentence in Israeli jail.




Israeli court sentences wounded Palestinian minor to 8 years

JERUSALEM, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – The Israeli District Court in Jerusalem Wednesday sentenced Marah Bakir, 17, to eight years in prison and a fine of $2500 for allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli.

Bakir, from Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli security in October 2015 after she allegedly attempted to stab Israelis in Jerusalem.

Witnesses have denied the Israeli stabbing allegations and said that Jewish settlers had harassed and mocked Palestinian schoolgirls leaving Abdullah Bin al-Hussein secondary school in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the city.

One of the settlers, said the witnesses, started to shout claiming that Bakir had attempted to stab him at a bus stop when Israeli forces opened fire and seriously injuring her.




Abu Rudeineh: Netanyahu’s statements unhelpful for peace

RAMALLAH, January 4, 2016 (WAFA) –Statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing the upcoming Paris international peace conference as “futile” are unhelpful for peace, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said late Tuesday.

“Such remarks do not contribute to promoting the proper environment for a just and true peace on the grounds accepted unanimously by the entire international community,” he said in a statement.

The Paris conference, scheduled for January 15, “is an opportunity to achieve the just peace,” he said, adding that Netanyahu’s remarks defy United Nations and its Security Council resolutions.

“Israel’s policies and statements by Israeli cabinet ministers opposed to the two-state solution and which openly bolster the illegitimate settlement construction, will only lead to more tension and instability,” said the spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas.

He said “the Palestinian people will accept nothing short of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.”




Newspapers Review: Demolitions in Jordan Valley focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – The demolition of Palestinian structures in Khirbet Tana in the northeastern Jordan Valley hit the front page headlines in Palestinian local dailies on Wednesday.

Al-Quds said Israeli forces demolished 17 structures in Khirbet Tana, while al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said 15 structures were demolished.

Highlighting stop-construction notices in their main front page news items, al-Quds and al-Ayyam said Israeli forces ordered Palestinians to stop building wells in al-Khader, west of Bethlehem.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida added stop-construction orders were also delivered to Palestinian homes and structures in Salfit.

Highlighting detention raids, al-Ayyam said Israeli forces detained a total of 37 Palestinians in West Bank raids. Al-Hayat al-Jadida said a total of 34 Palestinians were detained.

Highlighting illegal settlement construction, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Israeli settlers built a new settlement outpost in the northern Jordan Valley.

While al-Quds and al-Ayyam covered demolition and detention raids and settlement construction in their main items, al-Hayat al-Jadida opted to give prominence to President Mahmoud Abbas’ statements on peace-making.

It reported him as stating Palestine is committed to securing peace based on relevant United Nations resolutions.

Spotlighting efforts to confront dispossession of Palestinians from Jerusalem, al-Quds reported Palestinian attorney Muhannad Jbara has successfully reclaimed a significant portion of a Palestinian building in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah from the so-called Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property.

Furthermore, the dailies spotlighted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concerns over the multilateral Middle East peace conference scheduled to convene in Paris on January 15.

Al-Quds reported Netanyahu as denouncing the conference as “futile”, while al-Ayyam reported him as stating: “There are signs that there will be attempts to use decisions that are taken to vote on a new UN resolution against Israel.”

Responding to Netanyahu’s comments, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was reported in al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida as stating that the conference would offer the opportunity for securing a just peace.

Moreover, al-Ayyam highlighted a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlining instances when senior Israeli officials openly encouraged soldiers and police to kill Palestinians suspected of attacking Israelis even when they were no longer a threat.

HRW was quoted as stating: “]it’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about[ senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill.”

Al-Ayyam covered a Yesh Din report slamming the exceptionally low prosecution rate by Israeli military in the killings of Palestinians.

It reported Yesh Din as stating the military opened 186 criminal investigations into suspected offenses against Palestinians in 2015 but just four of those investigations yielded indictments.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida highlighted Palestinian cabinet’s statement on deep cuts to be made in 2017 budget as a result of a sharp drop in financial support to the Palestinian Authority.

The cabinet was reported in both dailies as announcing that they are compelled to adopt an austerity policy as a result of this decline.

It was also reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida that a budget deficit in 2017 is expected to exceed $1 billion and forecasted the total shortfall in foreign funding to be $765 million.




Israeli municipality demolishes Palestinian house in East Jerusalem


JERUSALEM, January 4, 2017 (WAFA) – Staff from the West Jerusalem Israeli municipality Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in al-Ashraqiya area of Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext it was built without a permit.

Israeli police cordoned off the area as bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house.

Palestinians rarely get building permit from the Israeli municipality forcing them to build without one.

The municipality intends to demolish more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem as its staff handed over on Tuesday demolition notices to 10 homes in Sour Baher, south of the city, also under the pretext they were built ‘without a permit.




Foreign Ministry: Israel’s violation of law puts UN credibility on the line

RAMALLAH, January 3, 2017 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that the continuous Israeli violation of international law puts United Nations credibility on the line.

It said in a statement that “the UN and its departments are now put to a serious test to see if they can turn their resolutions on Palestine into workable steps capable of stopping Israel’s insubordination to the international community and put an end to its disregard of international and humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.”

The ministry emphasized that “it is time for an urgent international action that will hold Israel accountable for its violation and breach of international law in order to guarantee an end for its occupation of the Palestinian land.”

It added that “the actions of the extremist right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in settlement activities puts the international community in front of big challenges related to moral and legal obligations toward the Palestinian people and international will for peace based on the two-state solution, particularly following the adoption of UNSC resolution 2334 on settlements.”

The ministry also pointed out that “the Netanyahu government is continuing in its war against Palestinian presence, particularly in Area C (of the West Bank) and occupied Jerusalem, by intensifying its theft of Palestinian land for the benefit of settlements and settlers while daily targeting Palestinian presence in those areas to force the Palestinian families to leave and have them kicked out from their lands and dwellings.”

The ministry condemned the Israeli demolition of 11 structures in Khan al-Ahmar area, east of Jerusalem, leaving more than 200 people, most of them women and children, homeless.

The demolished Bedouin dwellings were located in the heart of an area known as E1, where Israel plans to build a settlement, said the ministry.




Israeli Navy opens fire at fishing boats in Gaza

GAZA, January 3, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli navy opened fire on Tuesday at Palestinian fishing boats sailing in the northern shores of the Gaza Strip, according to fishermen.

They said the navy opened fire at their boats, which caused them to leave the area and return to shore in fear of getting shot.

There were no reports of causalities or damage.




Newspapers review: Dailies highlight Israeli demolitions near Jerusalem

RAMALLAH, January 3, 2017 (WAFA) – The Israeli demolition of 11 residential structures in the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar east of Jerusalem hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies on Tuesday.

The dailies said the demolitions in the Bedouin community left a total of 87 Palestinians homeless, most of them children.

Furthermore, the dailies also highlighted on their front page police questioning of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of a corruption probe.

Highlighting West Bank raids, al-Quds said Israeli forces raided the Qalqiliya district village of Jayyous and the northern West Bank city of Jenin, triggering clashes with local Palestinians.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians, including five minors, in predawn raids across the West Bank.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat a-Jadida added Israeli forces briefly detained five Palestinian employees of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee while they were conducting rehabilitation work on a house in al-Shuhada Street in Hebron’s old city.

Spotlighting the situation of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, the dailies said Israel Prison Services (IPS) raided Nafha prison cells in the south of the country and assaulted Palestinian detainees, injuring three.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida added the Israeli commander of the Nafha prison was injured during the clashes.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said Israeli military ordered the settlement outpost of Amona to be relocated to neighboring Palestinian-owned plots of land.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted to bar Arab lawmaker Basel Ghattas from parliamentary activity for six months.

Al-Ayyam reported Israeli Education Minister and leader of the far right pro-settlement Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett has plans to introduce legislation advocating Israeli annexation of the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, and West Bank Area C.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said President Mahmoud Abbas called his Turkish counterpart to give condolences for those killed in the Istanbul nightclub shooting attack on the New Year.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization have described calls by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk for a confederacy between the West Bank and Gaza as destruction of the national project.

It also said Venezuela has expressed support for Palestine in international forums during 2017 declared by the Palestinians as the year to end the Israeli occupation.

Al-Quds published a report about six tunnels Israel plans to open under the Old City of Jerusalem, two of them will be ready when Israel marks the anniversary for its occupation of the city in June 1967




Newspapers Review: Dailies focus on Capucci’s death, Israeli decisions and Istanbul massacre

RAMALLAH, January 2, 2017 (WAFA) – Each of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies focused on a different subject on their Monday front page.

The highlight in al-Hayat al-Jadida was the death of Greek Catholic Archbishop Hilarion Capucci in Rome at age 94.

President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian government as well as various factions and officials mourned Capucci, who was at one time imprisoned by Israel and sentenced to 12 years in jail for assisting the Palestinian resistance but was released into exile in Rome four years later.

Capucci’s death was also reported in the other two dailies.

The main front page story in al-Quds focused on the decisions of the Israeli inner cabinet regarding Hamas prisoners and corpses aimed at pressuring the Islamist movement that controls Gaza to hand over remains of two Israeli soldiers it reportedly has been holding since the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza.

This subject was also reported in the other two dailies.

The highlight in al-Ayyam was the New Year’s Istanbul nightclub massacre. The paper reported on the incident and said at the top corner that President Abbas had condemned the attack. It said a Palestinian woman from the town of al-Tira, inside Israel, was killed in the attack.

This story was also reported in the other dailies.

Other headlines on the front page of the dailies highlighted calls by the Israeli right wing parties to annex Area C of the occupied West Bank, which makes more than 60 per cent of its area and falls under total Israeli military control, as reported in al-Ayyam.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Quds said a new Jewish settlement outpost was set up near Nablus in the West Bank.

Al-Quds introduced on its front page an interview with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in which he said that the Palestinian government is working with other organization s to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for its settlement activities in the occupied territories.

The full, page-long interview was published on page 11 of the newspaper in which Hamdallah discussed all issues of relevance and interest to the Palestinians, whether they were political or internal affecting daily life.

The headline for the interview on the inside page talked about rejection of the confederation between Gaza and the West Bank proposed by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk, which had upset many Palestinians, and that local elections, proposed for last year but postponed by a court order, will be held in stages.

Al-Ayyam had a headline which said: “Hamas security is escalating campaign against Jihadist Salafist groups in the Gaza Strip.”

It quoted whom the paper described as “informed sources” as saying that Hamas security forces arrested a large number of the Jihadists, including leaders, and forced many to go into hiding. No specific figures were given but it said they were in the dozens and the campaign was still ongoing to arrest those who went into hiding.

The paper also said the chairman of the Palestinian National Council Salim Zanoun has called for a two-day meeting in Beirut on January 10 for the preparatory committee to set the stage for convening the next conference for the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization.




Palestinians to mark 52 years since launch of revolution against Israeli occupation

Palestinian demonstrators hold Fatah party flags as they demonstrate in the centre of the West Bank city of Hebron on November 4, 2015 calling for the release of the bodies of Palestinians killed in recent conflict being held by Israeli authorities. The recent violence has claimed the lives of nine Israelis, 70 Palestinians -- around half of them alleged attackers -- and an Arab Israeli since the start of October. AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADER / AFP / HAZEM BADER

RAMALLAH, December 31, 2016 (WAFA) – The Palestinians mark on Sunday 52 years since the launch of the revolution against the Israeli occupation and the first military operation.

Fatah, which has launched the first military operation on January 1, 1965, will mark this anniversary with the lighting Saturday evening of a torch near the Ramallah grave of Yasser Arafat, who launched the first attack.

The lighting will take place in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas




Coordination office succeeds in reopening Bethlehem area road

RAMALLAH, January 2, 2017 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Military Coordination Office succeeded Monday in reopening the road between Marah Rabah and Beit Fajjar to the south of Bethlehem, which was blocked by the Israeli authorities two weeks ago.

Israel claimed the road was closed for military reasons.

However, an intervention by the Military Coordination Office succeeded in convincing the Israelis to remove the dirt that blocked the road, considered vital to the two villages and surrounding areas.

Israel regularly closes main roads in the West Bank as a collective punitive measure if stones are thrown at Israeli vehicles travelling on in the area.




Neturei Karta hails Security Council resolution against settlements

NEW YORK, January 1, 2017 (WAFA) – Anti-Israel US-based Jewish organization Neturei Karta hailed, in a statement Sunday, the United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 which condemned Israeli settlements and called for an end to settlement activity.

It said, “For decades, the settlements have been a major cause for bloodshed and unrest in the Holy Land. Hundreds of innocent lives have been sacrificed on the altar of nationalism and lust for land.”

The organization congratulated the countries in the Security Council for taking what it described as “long-overdue step toward justice and peace”. It also congratulated President Mahmoud Abbas on his success in achieving the passage of this resolution.

The statement added: “At the same time, we wish to reiterate the Torah position that it is not just the West Bank that is illegally occupied. Jews have been sent into exile by the Almighty, and any kind of Jewish sovereignty over any territory is a violation of that decree.”

“Therefore the concept of the State of Israel is entirely illegitimate and forbidden. The crime is compounded when the creation of this homeland entails the occupation, oppression, subjugation and expulsion of another people,” the statement emphasized.

Regarding the reaction of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the resolution, the organization said he has reacted with anger to this clear demonstration of unanimous world opinion against his state’s crimes. “Drawing on Jewish themes, he has cast himself in the role of the Maccabee fighters whose victories we celebrate on Chanukah, and the Security Council nations as their enemies.”

“Let no one be fooled. The State of Israel has nothing to do with Judaism, and on the contrary, it has consistently tried to extinguish Torah observance and values. The Torah values life and service of the Almighty, while Zionism values land conquest and secular culture.”




Foreign ministry calls for international protection of Palestinian academic institutions


RAMALLAH, November 22, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers on Tuesday opened fire at a Palestinian man at Qalqndiya checkpoint, at Ramallah-Jerusalem road, killing him on the spot, according to the Ministry of Health.

Israeli army claimed that the man, who was not yet identified, had attempted to stab soldiers manning the checkpoint, before they shot him dead. The army denied access of medical teams to the scene to provide him with first aid before he was announced dead.




Israeli soldiers fatally shoot Palestinian at Qalandiya checkpoint


RAMALLAH, November 22, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers on Tuesday opened fire at a Palestinian man at Qalqndiya checkpoint, at Ramallah-Jerusalem road, killing him on the spot, according to the Ministry of Health.

Israeli army claimed that the man, who was not yet identified, had attempted to stab soldiers manning the checkpoint, before they shot him dead. The army denied access of medical teams to the scene to provide him with first aid before he was announced dead.




Newspapers review: Israel’s sentence of Palestinians to imprisonment focus of dailies


RAMALLAH, November 22, 2016 (WAFA) – The sentencing of two Palestinians by an Israeli court to imprisonment for carrying out stabbing attacks hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies.

The three dailies said an Israeli court sentenced Subhi Abu Khalifa, 19, who comes from Shufat refugee camp in Jerusalem, to 18 years of imprisonment and fined him 150,000 shekels (about $40,000) for carrying out a stabbing attack that left two Israelis injured in Jerusalem in October 2015.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida added thay an Israeli military court sentenced Mayson Mousa, 22, who comes from Bethlehem, for 15 years in prison for carrying out a stabbing attack at a major checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem on June 29.

While the imprisonment sentences was the common news item in the dailies, al-Quds opted to highlight the shooting of a Palestinian in its main front page news item.

It said Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian worker in the Wadi Abu al-Hummus area, east of Bethlehem.

The man, identified as Mahmoud Salah, 31, was shot and injured for attempting to cross from Bethlehem into Jerusalem for work.

It added Israeli forces seized five containers loaded with machinery and goods during a raid into al-Manshiya area, east of Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank. The containers reportedly belonged to Naim Salahat. They had car parts, machines and other goods.

Al-Quds highlighted the isolation of two Palestinian villages by the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall.

It said a total of 550 Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district villages of al-Ramadin and Abu Farda are only allowed to have access into and out of their villages through a so-called “security gate”.

Spotlighting widespread condemnation of the Israeli bill that would ban the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) from playing over loudspeakers, al-Quds reported member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi as pledging ongoing struggle against the bill.

He was also reported as stating that the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks under the current situation is “absurd and futile”.

Highlighting expansion of land grab in Hebron’s Old City, al-Quds said Israel has seized and started construction works at the playground of the Ibrahimi School.

Furthermore, al-Quds and al-Ayyam said hundreds of UNRWA employees went on a general strike in the organization’s main offices in Gaza city and the West Bank, protesting UNRWA administration’s failure to meet their demands regarding wages and unfilled job vacancies.

Referring to a report issued by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), al-Quds said 49% of the area occupied by West Bank Israeli settlements is privately-owned Palestinian lands.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said the installation of a wall which would isolate Ein al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, southeast of Sidon city, by Lebanese authorities caused widespread dismay



UN Third Committee overwhelmingly votes in favor of Palestine’s right for self-determination


NEW YORK, November 22, 2016 (WAFA) – The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee) of the United Nations overwhelmingly voted on Monday in favor of the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination.

The vote saw 170 countries voting in favor, while seven countries voted against, including Canada, the United, States, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau. Five other countries abstained from voting.

The UN vote reinstates the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination, including their right for having an independent State of Palestine. The vote also urges all countries, the United Nations organizations and other competent authorities to continue to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for independence.




Fatah ready to convene its seventh congress, says spokesman


RAMALLAH, November 21, 2016 (WAFA) – Fatah is ready to convene its seventh congress scheduled for November 29, Mahmoud Abu al-Haija, designated spokesman for the conference, said on Monday.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine, Abu al-Haija said all administrative and technical preparations for the conference have been completed.

He said the movement, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has invited all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, to attend its opening session.

He said any member of Fatah may run for any of the top posts in the movement’s hierarchy, but that will be done only on the first day of the conference, which will convene in Ramallah.




Army drill to force 16 families out of their Jordan Valley homes



TUBAS, November 16, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces ordered 16 families in Hamsa al-Fawqa area in the occupied West Bank district of Tubas, in the Jordan Valley, to evacuate their homes on Thursday to make way for Israeli military exercises in the area, local activist Mutaz Bsharat said on Wednesday.

He said Israeli forces told the 16 families, which make up 85 individuals, that they need to leave their homes from 6:00 in the morning until midday, the time the army is planning to do its exercise.

Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuation to Israeli military exercises on or near their land.  They say Israel is trying to push them out of their land to eventually take it over to build Jewish settlements.

Meanwhile, Aref Daraghme, former Jordan Valley area mayor, said Israel told Palestinians in al-Farisiya area to stop work on a 200 cubic meter mineral water pool, funded by the European Union, until November 24. The pool was expected to benefit 42 families in the Jordan Valley.

Many Palestinians in the Jordan Valley see military exercises in firing zones as well as repeated house demolitions as an Israeli strategy to empty the land of Palestinians and confiscate it for further settlement expansion and agricultural production.




Newspaper Review: Knesset’s preliminary approval of settlement-legalization bill focus of dailies


RAMALLAH, November 17, 2016 (WAFA) – Palestinian Arabic dailies focused in their Thursday issue on the preliminary approval by the Israeli parliament, Knesset, of a bill to retroactively legalize illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said a bill to retroactively legalize illegal settlements passed its first Knesset reading on Wednesday afternoon with the support of the Kulanu Knesset faction of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said while Spain and the United Kingdom warned about the bill to legalize illegal settlements, while the United States expressed its “concern” over the bill. Al-Quds said Spain was extremely concerned about the bill.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Al-Ayyam said the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem asked the Supreme Court of Israel to approve the demolition of 14 Palestinian-owned homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, in response to the court’s decision to evacuate the settlement outpost Amona, northeast of Ramallah.

Al-Quds said the Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim has submitted a lawsuit asking for the eviction of nine Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said a woman was killed and three security personnel injured in an exchange of fire between Palestinian security forces and “outlaws” in Nablus city, north of the West Bank, on Wednesday.



Newspapers Review: Israeli demolitions focus of dailies


RAMALLAH, November 16, 2016 (WAFA) – The spate of demolitions of Palestinian structures by Israeli bulldozers in Jerusalem and the West Bank hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies on Wednesday.

Al-Quds said Israeli forces demolished a mosque under construction and other structures in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sur Baher. Silwan and Jabal al-Mukabbir as well as a community center in the southern Hebron district village of Umm al-Kheir.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israeli forces also demolished a cave Palestinians used for shelter in the Cremisan area, northwest of Beit Jala

Al-Ayyam also said Israeli troops detained seven Palestinians during overnight raids that sparked clashes in Askar refugee camp in Nablus.

Furthermore, Israel’s move to approve the bill which s the Muslim call to prayer also hit the front page headlines in the dailies.

Al-Quds reported that Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as stating that he has managed to suspend discussion of the bill at the Knesset for a while.

He was also reported as stating that orthodox Jewish political parties blocked the bill because they feared it would impact the Jewish use of sirens to announce the commencement of the Sabbath on Friday evening.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said the vote on the bill in the Knesset was postponed.

Highlighting official reactions to the bill, the dailies reported Jordan as stating any Israeli decisions on Muslim call in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is null and void.

Furthermore, the dailies spotlighted Israel’s vote on the so-called “Formalization Bill” that wouldretroactively legalize settlement outposts across the West Bank.

Al-Quds said the Knesset would vote Wednesday on a bill that would retroactively legalize settlement outposts on “private Palestinian lands” across the West Bank.

Highlighting international reactions to the bill, the dailies said Egypt slammed Israel’s move to approve the bill. Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida added France and the US also slammed the draft legislation.

Al-Ayyam reported settlement watchdog, Peace Now, as warning the Formalization Bill would provide a cover for the legalization of hundreds of settlement outposts that were established on privately-owned Palestinian land across the West Bank.

Al-Quds reported Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar as stating a Hamas delegation is scheduled to arrive in Cairo immediately following the Islamic Jihad’s delegation visit.

Al-Ayyam said Israel appointed a new ambassador to Turkey who would assume the post that has been empty since 2010.

It said the Palestinian people commemorated the 28th anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.




Israeli forces demolish residential structures south of Hebron


HEBRON, November 15, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished a residential structure and a community center in the village of Um al-Kheir, south of Hebron in the West Bank, according to local sources.

WAFA correspondent said an Israeli army force accompanied by staff from the Israeli Civil Administration broke into the village, where they demolished a community center and a tinplate-made house, under the pretext of construction without a permit.

The center was used by the village’s residents for educational and social purposes. It was demolished first in August this year by local villagers, before it was demolished again this time.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army notified Palestinians in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, to stop the construction of two homes in the town, also under the pretext of lacking an Israeli construction permit.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C – the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control – are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.




Israeli demolishes agricultural structures, store in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM, November 15, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem demolished on Tuesday a commercial store in Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood in Jerusalem, in addition to an animal barn and agricultural room in Silwan neighborhood, according to local sources.

Israeli police accompanied by staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem, where they demolished a commercial store belonging to a local Palestinian, under the pretext of construction without permission.

The authorities also demolished a stable and an agricultural room in a-Thawri neighborhood in Jerusalem, also for being constructed without an Israeli permit. Owner of the structures, Alaa Shweiki, said the demolition came despite he has paid some $10,000 in fines to the Israeli municipality for the unpermitted demolition.

To be noted, Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.




Erekat on Independence Day: international community failed to correct injustice


RAMALLAH, November 15, 2016 (WAFA) – Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saed Erekat, said on Tuesday the international community has failed in its responsibility for correcting the historical and continuing injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

On the 28th occasion of the declaration of independence of the State of Palestine, Erekat said the failure of the international community to achieve justice is reflected by its attempts to equalize the responsibilities of the occupier and the occupied.

He said these failings “have only fueled the Israeli culture of impunity and hatred, including its daily aggressions against our people.”

“This historic moment also marked the painful concession of recognizing Israel over 78% of historic Palestine. Israel met our historic compromise with more oppression and dispossession,” he remarked.

Erekat said the number of settlers today exceeds 650,000 as opposed to 180,000 28 years ago. “Our heroic people though, both in exile and in the homeland, have remained steadfast in the path towards freedom and independence.”

The PLO top official also said, “Our vision of peace is based in the Arab Peace Initiative: Two sovereign states on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and a just solution to the refugee issue based on UNGA Resolution 194, in exchange for full normalization of relations between the rest of our region and the State of Israel.”

“In contrast, Israel has only offer plans for settlement expansion, regional tensions and further discrimination, racism and hatred. The occupation of our country has brought an enormous cost to our nation, including the ongoing theft of our natural resources and systematic violations of our human and national rights.”

Erekat called once again upon the international community to end all relations with Israel’s settlement enterprise, including by banning all settlement products, divesting from companies profiting directly or indirectly from the Israeli occupation, and sanction the denial of our inalienable right to self-determination.




PLO: Israel is legalizing discrimination, sectarianism and theft of Palestinian land


RAMALLAH, November 14, 2016 (WAFA) – Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced on Monday the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s approval of two bills; one retroactively legalizes outposts in the occupied West Bank and the other prohibits the use of loudspeakers at mosques during Muslim prayer services:

“Such bills are in direct violation of international law and conventions that prohibit racism and territorial expansion as the result of war and violence,” she said in a statement.

“Israel’s escalation of its illegal settlement enterprise and the continued theft of Palestinian land and resources, as well as its flagrant violations of Palestinian rights and freedoms, are the essence of its dangerous and destructive policies,” she said.

Ashrawi added: “With its legislation that violates freedom of worship, Israel is interfering in one of the most basic tenants of Islam.  This is a direct blow to tolerance and inclusion, and it constitutes a serious provocation to all Muslims.”

The PLO official warned that such legislation “threatens to do irreparable damage and to wreak havoc in the region and beyond.”

She called on all members of the international community “to undertake immediate and effective action to hold Israel accountable with punitive measures and to bring an end to Israel’s flagrant violations of legal, moral and humanitarian principles governing the behavior of nations and states.”




Abbas reiterates support for French, Russian peace efforts during visit to Turkmenistan


President Abbas with his host, president of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. WAFA photo by Thayer Ghanaym.

ASHGABAT, November 14, 2016 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Monday reiterated his support for France’s peace initiative and welcomed Russia’s proposal for a trilateral meeting in Moscow.

During an official visit to Turkmenistan where Abbas met with his Turkmen counterpart President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Abbas called for the creation of a new mechanism to hold negotiations within a specified timeframe to implement the outcome of the international conference France had called for earlier this summer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed a trilateral meeting in Moscow with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restart direct negotiations and peace talks between them. While Abbas said he had accepted the invitation, Netanyahu wanted to wait.

Abbas briefed Berdimuhamedow on the difficult conditions Palestinians’ continue to suffer from the Israeli occupation and the ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“We want Jerusalem to be a free worship site for the followers of all three monotheistic religions.” Abbas explained, “Israel has no right to change the city’s identity and violate our Islamic and Christian holy places.”

He said that Palestinians are ready to work for peace on the basis of international resolutions and the Arab peace initiative in order for Palestine and Israel to live side by side in peace and security.

The two presidents also discussed former and new economic agreements and ways to support and encourage cooperation between the businessmen from the two countries.

The two sides also signed five cooperation agreements in the economic, tourism and higher education sectors.

Abbas arrived in Turkmenistan on Sunday evening for a three-day visit.




Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for five days


RAFAH, November 14, 2016 (WAFA) – Egypt opened Rafah border crossing with Gaza for five days on Monday to allow passage for humanitarian cases and others stuck on either side of the border, officials said.

Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi reportedly ordered the border crossing between Egypt and the blockaded Gaza Strip to be open from Monday until Friday.

Hundreds of Gazans gathered at the crossing, which will be open in both directions to allow humanitarian cases, including students studying abroad, patients and visa holders to cross the borders.

The Rafah border is closed most of the year and opens for few days every two or three months. Egypt cites problems in the Sinai with armed groups as the reason for keeping the border with Gaza closed.

Rafah crossing is Gaza’s main gate to the outside world.

Its other crossing is with Israel where only special cases with Israeli-army issued permits are allowed to cross.




Newspapers Review: Israeli bills on settlements, call to prayer focus of dailies



RAMALLAH, November 14, 2016 (WAFA) – An Israeli committee’s approval of bills that would retroactively legalize settlement outposts across the West Bank and the volume of Muslim call to prayer from loudspeakers in mosques hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israel’s legislation committee approved the two bills and al-Ayyam said the committee approved the so-called “Formalization Bill” that would allow the seizure of Palestinian land for the purpose of settlement construction. It added Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the approval of the bill which s the Muslim call to prayer.

Highlighting official Palestinian reaction to these bills, al-Quds said Palestinian presidency would go to the United Nations Security Council and other UN institutions.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida quoted presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as warning: “The latest Israeli practices would drag the region into disasters.”

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida spotlighted the latest Israeli escalation in demolition of Palestinian property across the West Bank.

They reported Israeli West Jerusalem municipality forced a Palestinian to demolish their own apartments and two stores in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir.

Al-Quds added Israeli forces ordered Palestinian families to evacuate their homes to make room for Israeli military drills in Khirbet Ibzeiq in the northern West Bank district of Tubas.

Al-Ayyam said Israeli bulldozers demolished Palestinian commercial structures for the second time within a week to the west of Tulkarem.

It added Israeli forces seized an 18-dunum plot of land near the Salfit-area villages of Hares and Bruqin for the expansion of the nearby industrial zone of Ariel settlement.

Furthermore, dailies said leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Raed Salah started an open-ended hunger strike to protest his solitary confinement.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said the s representing employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced a day-long strike on Monday in UNRWA facilities in Gaza city.

Spotlighting French bid to convene an international conference, al-Quds reported Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki as affirming France’s determination to convene the conference before the end of 2016.

Al-Ayyam said Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians, including six children, during overnight raids across the West Bank.

Furthermore, al-Ayyam highlighted Palestine’s permanent representative to the UN Riyad Mansour’s response to US President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It reported Mansour as threatening to “make life miserable” for the US in the United Nations should Trump move the embassy.

The dailies said Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the Rafah border crossing to be open for four days starting from Monday.




Presidential spokesman: We are going to the Security Council to stop Israel


ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN, November 14, 2016 (WAFA) – Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said Sunday night that the Palestinian leadership is going to the United Nations Security Council to stop Israel from implementing its recent legislations.

He described the legislations in a statement from Turkmenistan, where he is accompanying Abbas on an official visit, as “grave.”

Abu Rudeineh was referring to two legislations by an Israeli government committee that called for legalizing settlement outposts built in the occupied territories without government approval, and a decision banning the Muslim call for prayer from mosques’ loudspeakers because they disturb Jewish settlers.

The presidential spokesman warned that such legislation “is going to bring disasters to the region.”

He also said that Palestine is going to the Security Council and other international institutions “to stop this Israeli escalation.”




Newspapers Review: Trump’s victory focus of dailies


RAMALLAH, November 10, 2016 (WAFA) – Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US presidential elections and the official Palestinian and Israeli reactions to this hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies on Thursday.

Al-Quds said Trump has become the 45th president of the United States “against all odds.” Al-Ayyam described it in a headline that went across the front page with a picture of Trump and his opponent Hillary Clinton as “the sudden victory earthquake that shocked the world.”

Highlighting official Palestinian reactions, al-Quds and al-Ayyam said President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Trump on his victory and expressed his hopes for “just and comprehensive peace” in the Middle East during Trump’s term.

Highlighting official Israeli reactions, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as calling Trump “true friend of Israel.”

Both dailies also reported Education Minister Naftali Bennett as stating Trump’s victory would mark the end of a push for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. He reportedly said: “The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

While al-Quds and al-Ayyam highlighted Trump’s victory, al-Hayat al-Jadida opted to give prominence to the inauguration of Yasser Arafat Museum in Ramallah.

The dailies said Abbas inaugurated Yasser Arafat Museum ahead of the 12th anniversary of his death.

They noted the ceremony was attended by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.

Abbas was quoted as pledging that he would remain committed to the fundamental national principles.

Furthermore, the dailies reported Israeli forces shot and critically injured a Palestinian man following an alleged stabbing attack at the entrance of Huwwara village in Nablus. The man was identified as 32-year-old Muhammad Jallad from Tulkarem.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said a Palestinian man from al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central West Bank district of Ramallah died from wounds sustained 26 years ago.

The man, identified as Ahmad Elayyan Zayid, 44, was shot and injured by Israeli forces with a rubber-coated steel bullet in 1992 that partially paralyzed him.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israeli bulldozers demolished a carwash in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

Highlighting situation at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, they said about 100 Jewish Israeli settlers escorted by police forced their way into the mosque compound.

Al-Quds reported British ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, as stating peace between Israel and the Palestinians is unlikely to happen for decades, even centuries.

Finally, al-Hayat al-Jadida said hundreds demonstrated in the Moroccan capital against the Israeli flag being flown at the UN climate talks in the central city of Marrakesh.




Abbas at Arafat rally: 2017 year to end the occupation


President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the crowds who gathered at the Muqata to commemorate Yasser Arafat death anniversary. WAFA photo by Huthayfa Srour.



RAMALLAH, November 10, 2016 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the year 2017 is going to be the year to end the Israeli occupation.

Addressing thousands of people who gathered at the Muqata, the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, to commemorate the 12th anniversary for the death of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Abbas said that “this is not a wish, but with work, with struggle, with all means available we tell the world, enough, the year 2017 should be the year to end the occupation.”

Abbas said that even though Arafat is dead, he still lives among his people in his soul.

“We have lost a body, but his soul still lives with us,” he said.

Arafat died on November 11, 2004 after a sudden illness following months of being under Israeli military siege in the Muqata. He was flown to France for treatment, where he died in yet unclear circumstances.

International forensic experts who did tests on samples extracted later from Arafat remains said he died of the highly poisonous polonium radioactive material, and Israel is believed responsible for assassinating him.

Abbas said that investigation into Arafat’s death was still ongoing, calling on the special committee set up to determine the causes and people behind his death to continue in its work until it finds the truth about his death.

The Palestinian leader said he will ask the United Nations Security Council for full UN membership for Palestine.

Palestine first applied for full membership in 2011 but it failed to get its application considered. The next year, Palestine was accepted as a non-member observer state, giving it the right to join all UN organizations and act as a full member but without voting rights.

Abbas also said that the Palestine will go to the Security Council to ask for a resolution demanding end to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which he said “pose a real threat to chances of peace.” He said all settlements built since 1967 are illegal and they all should be removed.

He said that as the Palestinian people mark 99 years for what he described as “the despicable and unjust” Balfour Declaration of November 2, 2017, when then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour “gave what is not his to those who do not deserve it,” as Abbas said, they will not give up on their claim for justice and apology from Britain.

Balfour promised world Jews a national homeland in Palestine totally ignoring its indigenous Palestinian Arab population who has been living there for centuries.

“This issue was emerged few months ago and it will continue,” he said in his demand for a British remedy of its act.

Abbas stressed that the Palestine Liberation Organization will remain the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, stressing that no one will ever have the right to decide the fate of the Palestinian people, which will be an only-Palestinian right.

Abbas the night before inaugurated the Yasser Arafat Museum, which tells the history of the Palestinian struggle through Arafat’s life span since early last century until Arafat’s death in 2004.

The museum, which was opened for the public after the rally, includes the rooms Arafat had spent the last months in his life while under Israeli siege.






TULKARM, November 9, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Wednesday tore down dozens of vender stalls outside Taybeh checkpoint that leads from the West Bank city of Tulkarm into Israel, according to witnesses.

Stall owners told WAFA that the removal of the vendors affects their economic status since that it is the only source of livelihood for their families.

They said the military did not notify them about their intention to demolish the stalls and therefore they were unable to evacuate them.

The Israeli military cited construction without permission as the pretext behind the demolition.




Israel issues 50 administrative detention orders against Palestinians


RAMALLAH, November 9, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities issued 50 administrative detention orders against Palestinian detainees in the first nine days of this month, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Wednesday.

PPS lawyer, Mahmoud Halabi, noted that the detention orders, without charge or trial, included 16 new orders.

The term of the administrative orders ranged between three to six months.

Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.




Newspapers Review: US presidential elections main focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, November 9, 2016 (WAFA) – The race for the White House between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton attracted lots of attention in Palestinian dailies on Wednesday.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam highlighted ‘fierce competition’ between Trump and Clinton, while al-Hayat al-Jadida wondered who will become the next US president.

Highlighting demolition of Palestinian property, the dailies said Israeli bulldozers demolished three Palestinian buildings in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi al-Joz, Issawiya and al-Tur.

The dailies highlighted Israeli “Civil Administration’s” approval of the construction of three major industrial zones near Mechabim settlement, northwest of Ramallah.

Covering Israeli military West Bank raids,  al-Quds said Israeli settlers stormed Nablus’ Joseph Tomb sparking clashes with local Palestinians.

It added Israeli forces closed down two blacksmith workshops in Jenin and the Hebron-area town of Yatta purportedly for being used for manufacturing weapons.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said forces detained at least 22 Palestinians, including a physically handicapped person, in overnight raids across the West Bank and opened fire at Palestinian fishermen in northern Gaza.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Palestinian cabinet announced a half-day workday on Thursday to allow state employees to participate in events commemorating 12 years since the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The cabinet also reportedly announced an official holiday on Tuesday marking 28 years for the Palestinian declaration of independence Arafat had announced in Algiers on November 15, 1988.

Furthermore, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said Israel blocked Palestinian Authority’s efforts  to obtain full membership in international police organization INTERPOL. They added the INTERPOL would refer the PA’s membership request to a legal committee.

Furthermore, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida highlighted Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories.

They said President Mahmoud Abbas laid the cornerstone of the India-funded Palestine-India Techno Park in Birzeit University.

The dailies added Abbas would officially inaugurate on Wednesday the Yasser Arafat Museum built in the Ramallah presidential headquarters, the Muqata, next to the Arafat burial site.

Spotlighting European diplomats’ visit to the impoverished Gaza enclave, al-Ayyam reported head of the EU delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Ralph Tarraf as calling for the Israeli blockade to be lifted and international organizations to be allowed free movement.




Presidential spokesman: Palestine will deal with any elected US president


RAMALLAH, November 9, 2016 (WAFA) – Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Wednesday following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president that “we will deal with any president elected by the American people on the principle of achieving permanent peace in the Middle East based on the two-state solution on the June 4, 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He said in a statement that “the US administration should understand that the achievement of stability and peace in the region comes through a just solution to the Palestinian cause based on international legality, which will eradicate chaos and extremism in the world.”

Meanwhile, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said both the Republican and Democrat parties as in all previous US administration have said that a two-state solution is a top national interest.

He told WAFA that he hopes the next US administration “will change talk about the two-state solution to achieving this principle on the ground because security, peace and stability in this region will come only after defeating the Israeli occupation that started in 1967, some 50 years ago, and the establishment of the independent state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital to live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel.”

The US Republican candidate Donald Trump won in surprise move the elections for the next president defeating Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.