Archive for February 8th, 2018

Israel bans call to prayer at Ibrahimi Mosque 49 times

February 1, 2018

Israeli occupation authorities banned the call to prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 49 times in January.

Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Yousif Ideis said: “The occupation continues to violate the sanctity and religious rituals of Muslims in Palestine without fear of deterrence or condemnation.”

In a statement released today, he added: “The occupation prevented the raising of the adhan [call to prayer] in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 49 times over the past month … launching 2018 with a number of violations of the Ibrahimi and Al-Aqsa Mosques, whose sanctity is violated every day by extremist settlers who call for its demolition.”

He called on the international community and its concerned institutions to take action to ensure the protection of the religious, historical and cultural heritage of the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Occupation forces prevent the adhan at the Ibrahimi Mosque on the grounds that it causes an “inconvenience to settlers”. Muslim worshipers are also subject intrusive searches at the electronic gates and military barriers leading up to the mosque and the old town of Hebron.

The holy site was split into a synagogue – known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs – and a mosque after US-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994.

Muslims have since been prevented from praying in the mosque during Jewish holidays.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Israel warns Slovenia against recognizing State of Palestine

February 1, 2018

Israel warned Slovenian against recognizing the State of Palestine as planned, Quds Press reported yesterday.

According to the Israeli TV Channel 10, the Israeli Ambassador to Slovenia Eyal Sila spoke to the Speaker of the Slovenian Parliament Milan Brglez and the chair of the Foreign Policy Committee Jozef Horvat in Ljubljana to warn them against the move.

According to the TV channel, Sila told the Slovenian authorities that recognizing Palestine would have “negative consequences” on Israeli-Slovenian relations.

Slovenia’s Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday postponed a vote on a draft resolution which would be a first step towards recognition of the State of Palestine.

Sweden is currently the only country in Europe which recognizes the State of Palestine.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Lieberman threatens ground invasion in Lebanon

February 1, 2018

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to carry out ground invasion in Lebanon and push Beirut residents to live in shelters, Arab48 reported yesterday.

During a speech at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Lieberman said: “Maneuvering is not a goal in itself. The goal is to end the war.”

“No one is looking for adventures, but if we have no choice the goal is to end [the fighting] as quickly and as unequivocally as possible,” he added. “Regrettably, what we have in all the conflicts in the Middle East is that without soldiers on the ground it does not come to an end.”

“Such operations demand great effort and unfortunately casualties too. All options are open and I and not enslaved to any viewpoint,” he added. “We must prepare for maneuvering on the ground too, even if we do not use it.”

“We will do so with full strength. We must not take one step forward and one step backward. We will move forward as fast as possible,” said Lieberman.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Netanyahu inaugurates new settler-only road in occupied West Bank

January 31, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Israel Katz inaugurated a new road on Tuesday that connects illegal settlements east of the occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya, Israeli media reported. The road, which was given the name of Nabi Elias, is for use by Jews only.

“We place a special emphasis on advancing the planning and execution of strategic transportation projects in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank],” said Katz. He noted that this road is part of the current Israeli government’s efforts to promote transportation between settlements as well as the security and safety of Jewish settlers. He omitted the fact that the settlers and their settlements are illegal under international law.

“This road,” explained Netanyahu, “is part of the system of bypass roads that we are building throughout Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] that serves the residents [settlers] of Judea and Samaria and the residents of the entire State of Israel.”

Quds Press reported Katz saying that paving the news bypass roads includes the expansion and reorganization of existing roads, and building tunnels to make connections with Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem easier.

The inauguration of this road came weeks after a pledge by Netanyahu to allocate NIS800m ($228m) for a security package as part of the 2018 budget. It will be used for settlement roads and infrastructure development. His move followed mass protests by Jewish settlers and their leaders, and confirms Israel’s status as a settler-colonial state.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Israel says Poland agrees to talks in WWII legislation spat

January 29, 2018

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday night that Israel and Poland have agreed to hold talks seeking to resolve the uproar over proposed Polish legislation that would outlaw blaming Poland for any crimes committed during the Holocaust.

Earlier, Israel’s Foreign Ministry had summoned a Polish envoy to express its displeasure at the bill. But Polish officials dug in their heels, saying the measure was being misinterpreted and its wording would not be changed.

Netanyahu then spoke by phone with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki late Sunday. “The two agreed that teams from the two countries would open an immediate dialogue in order to try to reach understandings regarding the legislation,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The prime minister said at his weekly Cabinet meeting earlier Sunday that Israel has “no tolerance for the distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.” The lower house of the Polish parliament’s bill calls for prison time for referring to “Polish death camps” and criminalizes the mention of Polish complicity.

The bill still needs approval from Poland’s Senate and president. Still, it marks a dramatic step by the nationalist government to enforce its official stance that the vast majority in Poland — a country that was terrorized by Nazi Germany’s occupation — acted heroically under those conditions. Historians say many Poles collaborated with the Nazis and committed heinous crimes.

The bill has sparked outrage in Israel and suddenly raised tensions with a close European ally. Israel declared independence in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust and is home to the world’s largest community of Holocaust survivors.

On Sunday, the Foreign Ministry summoned Poland’s deputy ambassador, Piotr Kozlowski, to express Israel’s opposition to the bill. It called the timing of the bill, passed on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, “particularly surprising and unfortunate” and said it expected the draft to be amended before final approval.

“The legislation will not help further the exposure of historical truth and may harm freedom of research, as well as prevent discussion of the historical message and legacy of World War II,” a ministry statement said.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting, Kozlowski said the intent of the legislation is not to “whitewash” history. It is already a crime in Poland to deny that the Holocaust happened. “It is to safeguard it, to safeguard the truth about the Holocaust and to prevent its distortion,” he said of the proposed legislation.

Polish authorities insisted they would not give in to the Israeli demands. “We will not change any provisions in the bill,” said Beata Mazurek, spokeswoman for the ruling conservative-nationalist Law and Justice party, “We have had enough of Poland and Poles being blamed for German crimes.”

Mark Weitzman, the director of government affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.-based group that battles anti-Semitism, called the law “an obscene whitewashing” of history. He said its wording could be used against Holocaust survivors talking about their personal experiences as well as researchers, teachers or anyone else documenting the Holocaust.

He urged Poland to “immediately terminate this law and put an end to all attempts to distort the history of the Holocaust for political purposes.” The Polish prime minister on Sunday night compared Poles and Jews to two families who lived in the same house — Poland — before the war and were both victimized by the Nazis.

In a post on Twitter, Morawiecki said: “A gang of professional thugs enters a two-family house. They kill the first family almost entirely. They kill the parents of the second, torturing the kids. They loot and raze the house. Could one, in good conscience, say that the second family is guilty for the murder of the first?”

Associated Press writer Vanessa Gera in Warsaw contributed to this report.