Newspaper Review: Settlers’ Takeover of Silwan Building Focus of Dailies

RAMALLAH, September 2, 2015 (WAFA) – The takeover of a building in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood by Israeli settlers on Tuesday together with the meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO’s) executive committee, were two news items that hit the front page main headlines in the three Arabic dailies.

They said a group of Jewish settlers belonging to the right-wing organization Ateret Cohanim took over an empty building belonging to the descendants of a local Palestinian man identified as Jihad Sarhan in Batn al-Hawa locality of Silwan.

The dailies also reported on the Israeli military offensive in Jenin before dawn on Tuesday, during which the Israeli army demolished a house in Jenin refugee camp and arrested its owner, Majdi Abul-Heja. The attack provoked violent confrontations with local Palestinian youths, during which dozens of locals suffocated by teargas inhalation, al-Ayyam said.

The dailies also said the PLO Executive Committee condemned the attack on Jenin as well as the settlers’ takeover of Silwan homes.

In its main news story, al-Quds highlighted remarks by President Mahmoud Abbas, who affirmed his lack of interest in running for elections as head of the PLO Executive Committee, but maintained he will not “dodge” responsibility and leave an empty seat.

Al-Ayyam said Fatah officials voiced their opposition to Abbas’ decision to not run for elections as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee. According to media sources, Abbas stated he would not remain in his current post if the current political situation remains as it is in light of the peace talks deadlock.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam highlighted a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), saying the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 as a result of Israeli military operations and a nearly decade-long blockade that has crippled the economy and infrastructure.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said the cabinet decided on Tuesday to downsize employment in the public sector for the 2015 budget by 30%, as part of the government’s efforts to rationalize public spending.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida quoted Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, who said Palestinians are seeking to raise their flag at UN headquarters in New York, in a resolution proposing to allow non-member observer states – Palestine and the Vatican – to display their flags with the 193 member states.