Posts Tagged ‘ The Zionism Plague ’

Palestinians hail reopening of Rafah crossing despite Israel’s reservation

by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

GAZA, May 26 (Xinhua) — The Palestinians on Thursday welcomed an Egyptian decision to ease restrictions of passengers movements, which had been imposed on the Rafah crossing on its borders with the Gaza Strip four years ago after the Islamic Hamas movement seized control of the enclave in 2007.

On Wednesday, the Hamas Ministry of Interior announced that Egypt had decided to permanently reopen the Rafah crossing point with the Gaza Strip and ease the restrictions imposed on the movement of the population of the coastal enclave, which had been under an Israeli blockade for four years.

Egyptian media reported Thursday that the country’s authorities decided to extend the working days at the Rafah border crossing from 9:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) to 5:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) six days a week instead of five days, adding “this measure was made to help end the internal division.”

Yasser Abed Rabbo, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Voice of Palestine Radio that the Palestinian leadership encouraged the Egyptian officials to hurry up in reopening the Rafah crossing as soon as possible and ease the restrictions imposed on people’s movement.

“Reopening the Rafah crossing is so necessary because it will end the suffering of the Gaza Strip people in accordance with the agreements and laws that were used in running the crossing before the internal Palestinian division has begun in 2007,” Abed Rabbo said.

He added that the Egyptian decision “goes in harmony with creating a proper opportunity to finalize the implementation of the reconciliation agreement and also it would help the Palestinians to be able to confront the upcoming difficulties with better conditions.”

However, Abed Rabbo denied that reopening the crossing “is part of the reconciliation agreement,” which was signed in Cairo on May 4 between Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamic Hamas movement, adding “the decision to ease the restrictions is a pure Egyptian decision.”

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement hailed the Egyptian decision. Hamas has been ruling the coastal enclave since it seized control of it by force in June 2007. Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that the Egyptian decision is brave and responsible.”

“Egypt has been guarding the highest interests of the Palestinian people and the Arabs,” Barhoum said, adding “this decision is a step forward towards ending the unfair siege that the whole international community should follow Egypt and help completely end the siege.”

The less-influential Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement also welcomed the Egyptian decision. The movement’s spokesman Dawood Shihab said in a press statement that his movement welcomes the decision, adding that they hope all restrictions will be lifted.

“I believe that easing the restrictions at the Rafah crossing is one of Egyptian revolution’s achievements,” Shihab said. Other Palestinian NGOs had praised the Egyptian decision, calling on the international community to exert more pressure on Israel to end the ongoing blockade.

Meanwhile, the Popular Committee to end the Israeli Siege said in a press statement that in addition to easing restrictions on people’s movement, “we hope that the measures will include soon mutual commercial cooperation between the Palestinians and Egyptians.”

Hamas Minister of Agriculture Mohamed al-Agha said he hopes that the Egyptian decision would develop and includes opening a commercial crossing between Egypt and Gaza to enable Gaza farmers to export their products to the outside world and encourage commercial cooperation with Egypt.

Chief of Gaza Chamber of Commerce Maher Tabba said it is necessary and important to reopen the Rafah crossing for the Gaza Strip. However, he said “the Rafah crossing can never be an alternative crossing, where other crossings with Israel must be also reopened permanently.”

Meanwhile, Israel expressed reservations after Egypt decided to ease the restrictions imposed on the Rafah crossing. Israeli Radio quoted Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Mattan Vilna’i as saying that “easing the restrictions at the Rafah crossing would resolve some of the problems with Israel.”

Meanwhile, Israeli security sources expected that reopening the Rafah crossing “would be helpful to Israel.” The sources told Israeli Army Radio that “the Egyptian decision may help transfer Gaza responsibility to Egypt.”

Source: Xinhua.

Jordan’s king warns of new intifada as Israel approves settlements

May 23, 2011

WASHINGTON/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The prolonged stalemate in the Middle East peace process will lead to yet another war between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“I just have a feeling that we’re going to be living with the status quo for 2011 … Whenever we accept the status quo, we do so until there is another war,” Abdullah told ABC television’s “This Week.”

“If you look to the past 10 years, every two to two-and-a-half years, there is either the intifada or a war or a conflict. So looking back over the past 12 years, my experience shows me that if we ignore the Israeli-Palestinian issue, something will burst,” the monarch said.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the construction of 294 new homes in the Beitar Ilit settlement in the occupied West Bank, anti-settlement NGO Peace Now reported.

It also said that work had started on more than 2,000 settler homes since the end in September of Israel’s 10-month freeze on Jewish construction on Palestinian land.

Peace Now said Barak has also approved building of homes for the elderly and a shopping center in the settlement of Efrat.

The group could not say exactly when Barak had signed off on the projects, although it said that it had seen a letter dated April 28 from the Defense Ministry advising the Housing Ministry of its decision.

The plans still need local authority permits to build but that is considered a formality, requiring no further government action, Peace Now said.

The Defense Ministry, contacted by AFP, issued a brief statement saying that “since the end of the freeze period a few building permits have been approved for communities situated in the [settlement] blocs to meet their living needs.”

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold since late September, when the partial Israeli settlement freeze expired and Netanyahu declined to renew it.

Peace Now said Sunday that since the moratorium had been lifted Israeli settlers had started construction on about 2,000 homes in 75 different settlement sites.

“This construction might create facts on the ground that will make the price of peace much higher for Israel,” it said in a statement, adding that one-third of the new construction was going on beyond Israel’s West Bank barrier, which itself regularly cuts into land the Palestinians claim for their future state.

Peace Now added that in addition the Israeli government had given planning permission to 800 new homes in 13 settlements.

Peace Now called that decision “not just miserable timing but a miserable policy” and said it sent a “clear message to the Americans.”

The Palestinians have insisted they will not talk while Israel builds on land they want for a future state, and Israel has attracted fierce international criticism for its settlement policy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Israel must choose “between settlements and peace.”

But in response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech Sunday, Netanyahu issued a blunt statement rejecting the pre-1967 lines as a basis for negotiation.

Meanwhile, Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, will seek Russian backing for a new government after their reconciliation deal at talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday, a delegate said.

“We are expecting that he will show his support for the reconciliation accord and the formation of the new Palestinian government,” Bassam Salhi, leader of the Palestinian People’s Party, told AFP on the eve of the talks in Moscow.

Salhi said that the factions had held talks among themselves over the weekend about the formation of a national unity government, without giving further details.

The factions are due to meet Lavrov Monday morning where they will try to drum up support from Moscow for the reconciliation accord.

Source: The Daily Star.

Hamas calls on PA to “reconsider” peace process with Israel

May 22, 2011

Gaza City – The de-facto Hamas government in Gaza on Sunday called on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to reevaluate its stance in favor of peace negotiations with Israel.

‘The Palestinian Authority (PA) is asked to seriously reconsider and reevaluate its positions,’ Gaza’s Foreign Ministry, led by the Islamist movement, said in a statement.

It should do so following remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

On Friday, Netanyahu said after meeting US President Barack Obama that Israel would not withdraw to the borders of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

‘This clearly shows that Israel continues with its hostile policies, which reject any peaceful solution whatever its shape and content,’ said the Hamas Foreign Ministry statement.

‘For Netanyahu, the priority is to build more settlements, annex more lands and change the demographic features of the Palestinian territories to impose facts on the ground,’ it said.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and has demanded a Palestinian Islamist state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Its leaders have said in recent years that it would be willing to temporarily accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza only, not in exchange for an end to the conflict, but in return for a long-term truce lasting several generations.

Short-lived direct peace talks between the Netanyahu government and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the PA, were suspended late last year, after Israel did not meet a Palestinian demand to extend a construction freeze in Israeli settlements.

Hamas and Abbas, of the secular Fatah party, had been feuding for years, causing a de-facto split between Gaza and the West Bank. But the rivaling parties reconciled earlier this month, with Abbas contemplating a request to the United Nation General Assembly for recognition of Palestine according to its 1967 borders.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Source: Monsters and Critics.

Flotilla group calls for UN escort, a ‘stunt’ says Israel

Thursday, May 19, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

As a new aid convoy to Gaza readies to sail at the end of June, organizers say they are willing to have their cargo inspected and their ships escorted by international observers. Israel dismisses the move as a ‘publicity stunt,’ while supporters of the flotilla in the EU have questioned the legal necessity of such an escort.

Organizers of the Turkish branch of the aid flotilla set to leave for Gaza at the end of June have said they are willing to have their cargo inspected and their ships escorted by international observers.

Israel, however, has dismissed the move as a “publicity stunt,” while supporters of the flotilla in the European Union have questioned the legal necessity of such an escort.

“We are ready to talk with everybody. Already we have started these kinds of visits for the European Parliament, for the United Nations to make some solution,” Hüseyin Oruç, an administrative board member of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview Tuesday.

“All these boats can be checked by the U.N., or the European Parliament’s commissions. We are ready to show all the details of our preparation,” he said. “They can check [the boats] in the ports, they can check on international waters, they can guide us, they can guide the distribution of all items in Gaza. It’s open to all international mediators.”

An Israeli official dismissed the proposal as a “publicity stunt,” saying that Israel is always willing to accept, process and transmit Gaza-bound aid.

“That obviously won’t happen,” an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Daily News. “All the international players, [U.N. chief] Ban Ki-moon, [EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs] Catherine Ashton have all called the move provocative.”

The İHH is organizing the Mavi Marmara and an additional cargo ship as the Turkish part of what will be a 15-boat aid flotilla. On its voyage to Gaza last year, the Mavi Marmara was attacked by Israeli forces who boarded the ship and killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American onboard.

Last week, a group of American congressional representatives sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asking him to discourage the flotilla from “provoking a confrontation” with Israel in a bid to “save lives.” The Turkish government’s response so far has been that the letter was incorrectly directed to them, as the flotilla is being organized by civilian, nongovernmental organizations that the government does not control.

The İHH, responding to the letter, echoed the Turkish government response, saying that the group had no contact with the Turkish government, but added that Israel was in fact the party that the U.S. Congress needed to address to avoid another crisis.

“Also we are asking all these congresspeople, if you are looking for the solution, don’t ask the prime minister of Turkey. Why are you not asking the Prime Minister of Israel? They need to talk with [Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Oruç said.

Regarding the possibility of an EU parliamentary commission escorting the flotilla, a spokesman for the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, the party with the second largest representation in the EU Parliament, said the party has been supportive of the flotilla, but had not seen any proposal regarding a European escort.

“I question the necessity” of an international escort for the ship, said Tony Robinson, head of press and communications for the alliance.

International participation

This year the Mavi Marmara will have 500 people onboard, 400 of whom will be of nationalities other than Turkish, Oruç said. The remaining 100 will be Turks, of whom 50 will be journalists.

“On the first [Mavi Marmara aid trip] there were 38 nationalities; on the second flotilla it will be more coverage. About 100 nationalities will be on the boat. Only a very limited number of Turkish people will be on the Mavi Marmara,” Oruç told the Daily News.

Those on the ship will be mostly from the media and “representatives of societies” and local communities, he said.

The İHH has also sent two aid flotillas to Libya in recent weeks, one to Misrata, besieged by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, and one to rebel-held Benghazi.

According to Oruç, “all international forces” involved in NATO operations in Libya supported the İHH flotilla to these besieged cities – something he said indicated a double standard imposed on the İHH in its attempt to distribute aid.

“Gaza people have the same right as Misrata people,” Oruç said.

The İHH was scheduled to address members of the media at a press conference Friday morning.

Source: Hürriyet.

IAI plans display of missiles

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 17 (UPI) — Israel Aerospace Industries reports it will present a new maritime application for its Jumper autonomous artillery system in Singapore this week.

Other systems by IAI, its division and subsidiaries on display at the Singapore International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference include unmanned aerial vehicles, radars and surveillance payloads.

“IAI is always striving to achieve new goals and extract its abilities to the max,” said Itzhak Nissan, president and chief executive officer of IAI. “In this maritime exhibition we shall present our advanced technologies and products, which deliver (to) our clients the best solutions in all fronts.”

Jumper — designed and manufactured by the MLM Division MLM Division of Systems, Missiles and Space Group — is a precision tactical weapon system launched from a Vertical Launcher Hive to strike targets at ranges of up to 31 miles.

The VLH can be deployed on a truck or on the ground or on a vessel deck for sea-to-land fire support.

The VLH is composed of eight or more canistered missiles and one integrated command and control unit. Each Jumper missile is GPS/INS equipped.

IAI is also showing its Naval Barak-8 long-range missile defense and air defense systems; the Naval Lahat advanced Laser Homing Attack Missile; its fixed-wing Maritime Heron unmanned aerial system and naval rotary UAV; and Multi-function Surveillance Track and Guidance Radar and Advanced Lightweight Phased Array Naval Radar Vertical Takeoff/Landing System.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Israel detains Islamic Jihad leader without charge or trial

Monday 16/05/2011

JENIN (Ma’an) — Israeli military authorities on Monday sentenced an Islamic Jihad leader to six months in prison without charge or trial, a detainees’ center said.

Sheikh Bassam Al-Sadi will be held at Ofer military prison near Ramallah under administrative detention, the center said.

Al-Sadi was detained immediately after Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, the center noted, adding that he was detained only two months after finishing an 8-year sentence in Israeli prisons.

The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has recorded thousands of cases of administrative detention in which Palestinians have been detained “for prolonged periods of time, without prosecuting them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their attorneys to study the evidence.”

Israeli military officials can hold detainees in administrative detention for up to six months, but the term is indefinitely renewable.

Detainees can spend years in Israeli prisons without ever knowing what they are accused of. Their lawyers are not told what the charges are, undermining their ability to defend their clients.

“In practice, Israel breaches international law, while misusing the powers given to military commanders in the Administrative Detention Order,” B’Tselem says.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.