Study conducted in support of possible legislation to expropriate land from Palestinians in exchange for reparations.
An archive image of the Amona outpost
Some 2,026 structures in the West Bank were built on privately owned Palestinian land, according to a study conducted by the right-wing organization Regavim and submitted to Knesset members ahead of deliberations on legislation aimed at expropriating land from Palestinian owners.
Regavim claims that its mission is to “preserve national lands.” Until the recent election, it was run by Bezalel Smotrich, who has since joined Knesset on the Habayit Hayehudi roster. One of Smotrich’s primary goals in the Knesset will be passing legislation to expropriate land from Palestinian owners in exchange for reparations.
Smotrich will seek to pass such legislation before December 2015, the date on which the Supreme Court has ordered the government to evacuate the Amona outpost, and demolish nine houses in the settlement Ofra. Smotrich has even stated that demolishing the Amona outpost could likely cause a governing coalition to collapse. When similar legislation was passed in 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thwarted it out of fear that it would lead to prosecution in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Regavim supports the proposed legislation, claiming that demolishing a house or two would not solve the problem, which it says is much larger. The organization conducted a study, examining aerial photographs of private Palestinian land, which it then submitted to Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud). According to the report, the 2,026 structures located on private Palestinian land include 1,232 permanent homes and 794 mobile homes. Roughly 1,500 families live in these structures. The study was first reported by Arutz Sheva.
The settlements mentioned in the report include Ofra with 530 houses, Beit El with 289, Eli with 166, Mechmesh with 133, Elon Moreh with 128, Psagot with 98, Kochav Ya’akov with 83, Kedumim with 71, Kokhav Hashahar with 65, Neve Tzuf with 52, Otniel with 47, Shavei Shomron with 45, Mitzpeh Yeriho with 45, Yitzhar with 43, Maon with 34, Tapuah with 27, Adam with 25, Beit Hagai with 25, Susya with 23, Neve Daniel with 19, Tekoa with 17, Har Bracha with 15, Nokdim with 15, Pnei Haver with 13, Ma’ale Amos with five houses, and Kedar with seven.
In response to inquiries, Regavim issued a statement that read “it is irresponsible to publish data that appears in the report; any discussion on this sensitive issue should be conducted with appropriate discretion in the proper forum. Regavim has presented its stance on this issue to the officials relevant in finding a solution for the complex situation that has arisen in these places.”
(Source / 04.05.2015)
Image from February 2013, when Gazans came out to updating their details on the electoral list held by the Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC)
Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Sunday said it is ready to compete in the parliamentary and presidential elections and accused President Mahmoud Abbas of hampering its conduct.
In a Sunday statement, the resistance faction declared its readiness to compete in Palestinian elections and accused Abbas of stalling its procedures.
Hamas said that Abbas is not serious about conducting the elections, as he hasn’t issued a presidential decree setting a date for the polls.
The movement also condemned Abbas for demanding a written request from Hamas to hold elections, saying that the demand serves to “deepen the [Palestinian] divide” and avoid implementing the outcome of the reconciliation agreements.
On Saturday, former US President Jimmy Carter said that Abbas would hold presidential and legislative elections once he receives a written request in this regard from Hamas.
Rival Palestinian factions Fatah, which leader is Abbas himself, and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in April of last year that called for the formation of a national unity government.
The government was formed last summer, but it has yet to assume full control of the Gaza Strip, which has been suffering under an all-out Israeli blockade since 2007.
The blockade has deprived 1.9 million residents in the coastal territory of almost all basic needs.
(Source / 04.05.2015)
Two Palestinian children cover their faces and wear head banners with Arabic writing reads ” Qassam brigades” flash the victory sign during a celebration for the cease-fire in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
The United Nations was petitioned by the Palestinian Authority after a nine-year-old boy from East Jerusalem was arrested by Israeli police last week, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday.
The U.N. Security Council was informed that the minor, detained for more than eight hours, was accused by Israeli police of pelting a bus with rocks. The boy and his older 12-year-old brother were taken into custody and their parents were not allowed to see their nine-year-old boy while in detention.
The boys’ family, who live in the Wadi Joz neighborhood confirmed that the younger boy, named by the press as A.Z., was not six-and-a-half as was earlier reported, but was in fact nine-years-old and they were denied access to the boys during their detention.
In a report to the United Nations Security Council by Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour, the plight of the Palestinian boys was further exasperated by claims that they were denied food or water and were questioned for hours without their parents being informed of their plight.
Ambassador Mansour further added in the open letter that the arrest of a child under the age of 12 is illegal and violates international law and the laws of the Israeli state. By law a child under the age of 12, cannot be arrested or detained as they are not of the age of criminal responsibility.
Israel claims that boys were arrested as a result of them throwing stones at a bus. Israeli police stated that the children were “immediately removed from the area to prevent a further disturbance of the peace.”
Ambassador Mansour’s open letter to the international community highlighted a long list of Israeli’ acts against Palestinian children and he pleaded with the international community to intervene by providing help and protection for the Palestinian people, in particular the vulnerable youth.
(Source / 04.05.2015)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Former world leaders Jimmy Carter and Gro Harlem Brundtland met with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday, concluding a three-day visit by the Elders aimed at promoting peace.Former US President Carter said that they discussed the direction of Palestinian leadership with Abbas, and that the Elders were particularly concerned with reconciliation efforts and the need for holding Palestinian elections.Carter and former Norwegian Prime Minister Brundtland offered their assitance toward that end, and expressed their wish that “forthcoming elections will bring peace and unity, and benefit all Palestinians.”Carter added: “We hope that some time we’ll see elections all over the Palestinian area and East Jerusalem and Gaza and also in the West Bank.” He said that elections would “be an important step for Palestinians.”Abbas acknowledged the importance of ending internal Palestinian division in order for the national consensus government to perform its duties, and also accepted the need to prepare for presidential and legislative elections.No election has been held in the occupied territories for nearly a decade. Abbas’s presidential mandate expired in 2009, but he has remained in office since there has been no election.Elections were supposed to take place within six months of April last year, following the Fatah-Hamas agreement that led to the formation of a national unity government.However, they have put on hold indefinitely since then, causing outcry from Hamas who say Abbas has failed to fulfill his promises.In recent days, the unity government has come under intense pressure, with one senior Hamas official branding it a “failure” late on Friday.MP Ismail al-Ashraq said that Hamas no longer supports the unity government of politically-independent technocrats and demands a government comprising all Palestinian factions.Al-Ashraq reiterated Hamas’ demand that elections be held as soon as possible.The official’s comments came less than a week after a government minister announced that the unity government had cut off contact with Hamas following a high-profile government visit to Gaza that ended in disarray on Apr. 20.The visit, aimed at resolving an employee dispute between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas, came to an abrupt end when the delegation of eight ministers alleged that Hamas prevented them from leaving them their hotel or meeting with anyone.
‘Animosity and Misunderstanding’Abbas also used his meeting with the Elders to emphasize the importance of speeding up reconstruction efforts in Gaza, in particular pressing the need for donor countries to meet their pledges.Brundtland said it was unfortunate that she and Carter had not been able to visit the Gaza Strip, although she said, “we have had a chance to discuss with people who know the issues in Gaza.”The delegation had initially been scheduled to visit the coastal enclave but at the last minute cancelled the trip, giving no reason.Highlighting the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was one of the delegation’s key aims during the visit.In a statement released on their official website, the Elders said that since their last visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories in October 2012, they have watched “with dismay the intensification of animosity and misunderstanding between the two parties.”The statement said: “the steadily deteriorating situation in Gaza must be reversed: the enclave has been under siege for eight years, and in 2014 suffered the third of three devastating wars since 2008/09.”The statement said: “Reconstruction is painfully slow.”While former US President Carter has long been an outspoken critic of Israeli practices in the occupied territories, Brundtland served as Prime Minister of Norway when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 and has maintained a close interest in the faltering peace process since.During their three-day visit, the two Elders have spoken with a range of Palestinian and UN officials. They also met with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, as well as Yehiel Hilik Bar, Secretary-General of the Israeli Labor Party, to discuss the Labor Party’s view on the peace process.
(Source / 02.05.2015)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza City early Friday, witnesses told Ma’an.An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an that when a vessel deviated from the designated fishing zone, the forces told the vessel to halt and fired warning shots into the air, after which the vessel returned to shore with no injuries or damage reported.The exact distance of the fishing boat from shore at the time of the incident was not given by witnesses or the Israeli spokeswoman.Restrictions on fishing zones off the coast of the Gaza Strip have been heavily enforced by Israeli forces as part of a blockade imposed on the strip since 2006.Israel agreed to expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast as part of last summer’s ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, however fishermen are regularly prevented from fishing within the agreed limits.Israeli naval forces have shot and killed three fishermen in recent months.Palestinian fishermen face near daily fire from Israeli forces, Gaza-based watchdog al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reporting 29 attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian fisherman between Sept. 1, 2014 and March 15, 2015.Due to high frequency of such attacks, however, live fire at fishing boats often goes unreported.Friday’s incident came one day after Israel returned 15 fishing boats Thursday that it seized in recent years off the blockaded coast.Fishing union chief Nizar Ayyash told AFP at the time that the return of 15 boats was welcome but demanded that Israel hand back dozens more vessels still in its possession and criticized frequent Israeli attacks on local fishermen.”It is true this is the first time Israel has returned fishing boats… but its forces fire at fishermen before they’ve even exceeded the imposed limit, especially off southern Gaza,” he said, adding that Isreali forces are still holding over 60 boats.The blockade imposed by Israel has devastated the livelihood of the around 4,000 fishermen living in the coastal enclave.
(Source / 02.05.2015)
GAZA, (PIC)– Coordinator of the International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza Zaher Birawi revealed that Freedom Flotilla 3, of at least three boats, will sail to Gaza next summer.
A preparatory meeting will be held in Greece on May 16 and 17 to finalize the logistical and administrative arrangements, Birawi added.
No details would be revealed in the meantime so that we do not give a lead to the Israeli occupation to put pressures on the countries that would be the starting point for the flotilla, he continued.
He pointed out that many prominent figures would participate in the flotilla including the former Tunisian president Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.
The three boats are almost ready to sail, he affirmed.
In 2010, a Freedom Flotilla 1 of six boats led by Mavi Marmara boat was attacked by Israeli Navy forces in the international waters while on its way to Gaza. On the Mavi Marmara boat, the Israeli soldiers murdered ten unarmed activists.
In 2012, Freedom Flotilla 2 consisting of 12 boats attempted to sail from Turkey and Greece. Most of the boats were prevented from leaving their ports; however three of them sailed towards Gaza and were attacked by the Israeli Navy. The boats were illegally confiscated by Israel.
(Source / 02.05.2015)