Not long after gaining recognition of statehood by the United Nations, the Palestinians are now condemning Israel and saying that the nation must be held accountable for what they deem to be war crimes for trying to expand the settlement into East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The Palestinians sent a letter to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General accusing Israel of violating international law. The complaint came after Israel announced plans to expand the land for an additional 3,000 homes for settlers; these are the same areas that Palestinians planned for a future state.
The news came just after the UN General Assembly raised the status of the Palestinians from “observer entity” to “non-member state.” With the upgrade in status, the Palestinians now have open access to the International Criminal Court, which oversees cases regarding violations of human rights, war crimes and genocide.
The Palestinians are now threatening to use the court to seek legal action against Israel should it proceed with its plans to build the settlements. Before the UN vote, a few Western nations made an unsuccessful attempt to get the Palestinians to agree to a pledge that they would not use the court against Israel.
The Palestinians, however, are not without support. Both Britain and France have threatened to recall their ambassadors and have also arranged for plans to meet with Israeli officials to persuade them to withdraw their settlement plans. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, has said that while economic sanctions are unlikely, it will consider all options on the table if Israel does not rescind its decision. Additional nations including Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and Australia have also echoed the same sentiment in getting Israel to halt any settlement expansion plans.
The West Bank and East Jerusalem are currently home to about 2.5 million Palestinians as well as half a million Israelis.
Nearly eight years after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat fell ill and died, the circumstances surrounding his death is now being investigated with closer scrutiny.
Arafat died in late 2004 after falling ill and being admitted to a hospital in France. An autopsy done at the hospital found no evidence that would suggest foul play surrounding his death. To this day, his cause of death still remains a mystery.
A separate investigation lead by Al Jazeera, however, revealed a completely different story. They concluded that Arafat was in optimal health before suddenly becoming violently ill. What’s even more intriguing is that an examination of his personal belongings, such as his toothbrush, clothes and even the kaffiyeh that he was always seen wearing, showed high traces of a radioactive element known as polonium.
The tests were done at an institute in Switzerland and showed that the belongings all had traces of Arafat’s urine, saliva and sweat. Further tests also suggest that Arafat may have had high levels of polonium in his internal system at the time of his passing.
Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, has now requested for authorities to have his body exhumed and have a full autopsy done. If traces of polonium are found in his bones, then it will suggest that someone may have had him poisoned.
Polonium is also suspected in the death of two scientists involved with Israel’s nuclear program. Its symptoms are still being studied and it is believe that the element kills by poisoning the intestines.
Laboratory tests concluded that polonium found on Arafat’s belongings did not come from natural sources. Most forms of cancer have also been ruled out as the cause of death. Even if Arafat’s body were to be exhumed and tests show that he indeed had levels of polonium, then it would only lead to an even greater question: who killed him?
Children clearly are unable to distinguish between right and wrong and just follow what they are shown by adults. This is why you cannot blame the children from a Jihad kindergarten who are involved in a mock campaign to promote violence against Israel.
The students are from a kindergarten in Gaza that is owned and operated by Islamic Jihad. As part of the graduation ceremony for completing their first year of school, the children were dressed in military uniform and waved plastic AK-47s in the air while chanting anti-Semitic epithets.
The director of the kindergarten said that it is the children’s duty to continue with the resistance and recognize Israel as the enemy.
During the ceremony, the children stood in formation next to cardboard coffins draped in flags bearing the image of militant factions. There was also a segment where one child was dressed as an Israeli prison guard and dunked the head of another child dressed as a Palestinian prisoner in water. The demonstration was done to depict the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in detention.
One of the students said that he wanted to become a martyr by blowing himself up and killing as many Jews as possible in the process. That same child went on to say that the ideal scenario would be for him to blow himself up on a bus.
In attendance were the parents and relatives of the graduates, many of whom are actively involved with extremist Palestinian factions.
One of the teachers says that the goal is for each of the children to follow an active role in the resistance in the name of Allah and to protect the soil of Palestine.
Due to such influences, it is a shame that these children will likely end up on the battlefield as adults where they will be more than happy to claim innocent lives, even at the cost of their own.
In an effort to put an end to a mass hunger strike, Israel’s prison service (IPS) has agreed to lift some restrictions imposed on Palestinian prisoners.
There are currently 1,600 Palestinian prisoners who are refusing food to protest against the conditions in which they are being held. This includes detention without being formally charged and being denied visits from family.
The strike has definitely created a stir that grabbed the attention of the United Nations and European Union, which have openly expressed their concerns. Two of the protestors, Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab, have now marked their 72nd day without eating.
A spokesman for Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, has said in an interview that some progress has been made during negotiations between detainees and the Israel Prison Service.
IPS representative, Sivan Weizman, confirmed that a meeting had taken place in Nafha prison, located in Southern Israel. However, Weizman would not release any details about the proposals that were made.
Benyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark regev, has also spoke on the matter and added that the priority is to put the strike to rest as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of prisoners dying.
Haaretz newspaper and other Israeli media outlets have reported that the IPS has now eased some restrictions and are allowing visits from relatives and access to books and educational material.
The prisoners have received an outpour of support from Palestinians. Activists have took to the streets and occupied the headquarters of the Red Cross and the offices of the European Union to seek their support.
The demonstrations have also took a violent turn when 150 Palestinians clashed with police near Ofer prison near Ramallah. There was an exchange of stones being thrown by demonstrators and police responding with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas also got involved by paying a visit to hunger strike participants in El-Bireh. He released a statement wishing for the issue to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Life in Gaza through the eyes of Vice News, the final part of a 5 part series.
Part 4 of the series by Vice.com showing the life in Gaza under Hamas rule.
Part 3 of the five part series about life in Gaza under Hamas rule – by Vice News
Billboards of Palestinian and Israeli flags were raised recently in the Palestinian authority with the slogan: “One country for 5 million Arabs and 6 million Jews”. The Palestinians are speculating it to be a Fatah spin targeted to put pressure on Israel. Or are the Israelis themselves are responsible?
During the political deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian authority, a campaign calling to forsake the idea of two countries and suggests the groundbreaking notion of one federation, has recently appeared in the Palestinian authority. Behind it stands a mysterious group that refers to itself as “el-tachmul” – integration. The group’s campaign is echoed all over the Palestinian authority through billboards displaying the slogan: “One democratic country for 5 million Arabs and 6 million Jews”.
The vague campaign has generated rumors in the Palestinian Authority as to the people responsible; From the Fatah trying to do a political spin that will pressure Israel, to Israel itself that is rumored to plan to append most of the west bank and to civilianize the Palestinians that live there.
“It is unclear who is responsible for the campaign and there is no specific group that declared it as its own, it is believed that the people standing behind it are Palestinians academics and intellectuals” said Sammar Machluf, CEO of the “One Voice” organization, which supports the two separate countries solution.
Machluf also said that the Palestinian public is most curious regarding the existence of Israeli cooperation with the group behind the campaign. The mentioned billboards, however, have quickly been removed by Palestinian activists that oppose the Israeli flag being posted on the billboards and mere idea that stands behind it.
If said cooperation exists between the mysterious “el-tachmul” group and a similar organization in Israel, the same billboards are soon to be displayed within the state of Israel. One must wonder whether the Israeli publics accept the slogan “One democratic country for 5 million Arabs and 6 million Jews”.
Part two from Vice.com:
This is Vice.com’s version of life in Gaza under Hamas rule…
Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Iran this week to thank the Iranian leaders for their continuing support of the Hamas movement. There, he made some bold statements that Israel would never be recognized by Hamas, and that all Palestinian lands would eventually get liberated from the presence of Israel. These statements came as Haniyeh was on a regular visit in Tehran, and are not that surprising knowing the goals of the organization. But what do these statements mean for the long term peace in the region, especially with the upcoming election, and how will the other nations react?
According to Haniyeh, “they (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen.” That’s what he said through an interpreter while on his visit in Iran. These are of course the thoughts of many Palestinians, but to hear them once again from the leader of the movement means there is no doubt what their policies would be, should they win the upcoming Palestinian election. While at the ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, both Haniyeh and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in private to discuss policies, along with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It’s clear that the statements were aimed at supporters, adding “our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation.”
Two years ago, a ground breaking Palestinian election paved the way for future peace, but ended up in violence, like so many things in this region. After a year of fighting, Hamas ended up victorious, but it didn’t change much for the ordinary people living in Gaza. Again, we’re facing yet another upcoming election, and already tensions are high. Hamas will once again face Fatah for control of the Palestinian lands, but neither Israel nor the west recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, seeing them as a terrorist organization, which isn’t helped much when western leaders hear statements like that, basically calling for the eradication of an entire country. While there hasn’t been any direct response from other world leaders as to what Haniyeh said, it’s likely to add fuel to the fire, and make the upcoming elections even harder than they will almost certainly be.
In the end, regardless of whether the statements are public or not, it’s clear what the organization wants, and there’s little doubt that more violence will come, and as usual the ones paying the price are usually the innocent bystanders.
A voter registration office was opened in the Gaza Strip by the political rivals Hamas and Fatah last week, bringing the region one step forward toward presidential and parliamentary elections. These are set to happen later this spring, and we could see once more the two rivals pit against each other in a democratic process. But as this step is taken, and Palestine moves toward yet another election, will this really change much of anything in the region? Will peace prevail? It’s hard to see that as a likely outcome with everything that goes on behind the scenes.
We all recall how the last elections went. In 2006, Hamas won the elections, and it took a year until they managed to get control over Gaza, which they had to wrestle by force. Meanwhile, nearly the whole world considers them as a terrorist group, because of a multitude of attacks on civilians, which they say were provoked by Israel military forces.
Meanwhile, Israel isn’t sitting by, and is arresting any member of Hamas it can find, accusing them of being terrorists, some of which were actually planning to be delegates in the coming election. Tensions aren’t any lower than they’ve been in decades, and while a few people actively work toward peace, there’s a lot of anger in the air. Regardless who wins this election, once again it won’t be done without violence, that much is certain. History is very plain, and tends to repeat itself, especially when it comes to this region of the world.
On the one hand, if Hamas wins, then the situation will be the same as in 2006, with few countries recognizing them as a legitimate organization, and few people willing to let them take power without violence. On the other hand, if Fatah wins, it will be hailed by the world as a victory for peace, which will anger Hamas and they are unlikely to sit still, prompting once again more violence. The situation has been going on for decades, and there seems to be no solution in sight.
Imposing peace has never worked without a strong military presence behind, and everyone is careful not to appear biased or to provoke the anger of the world powers. As a result, the same things keep happening, with Israel trying to bring some order to what they consider their lands, prompting retaliation strikes on civilian populations, which in turn brings more violence. It’s a circle that won’t be broken by yet another round of elections.
Overall, it’s still nice to see a peace process go forward, and this action of a new voting booth should be applauded. But in reality, it’s unlikely to change much at all.
Local United Nations spokesman, Adnan Abu Hasna says that vandals broke into a camp site in the central Gaza Strip early on Monday. Tents were burned down and much of the facility damaged.
The facility was a summer camp for children in the Gaza Strip. The left-wing media would have you think that these two are in cahoots, right? The oppressed and those who keep humanity’s delicate flame closely guarded from the oppressors. Well, this is actually the second time an attack like this has happened in the last few months.
Hamas say that they have launched an investigation into the first incident. But think about it: who else could have committed such an act? Only Hamas armed personnel have the ability to carry out such behavior.
(Jumping up and down in laughable irony with my hand covering my mouth) – let me say that while Hamas investigates, no one has claimed responsibility.
Well, the United Nations aid agency stands accused by Islamic factions of corrupting Gaza’s youth with its summer program of sports, games and human rights lessons for about 250,000 children.
The UN’s competitor is none other than Hamas, which operates camps for some 100,000 children to whom they teach lessons of Islam and military-style marching.
Al-Zahar Tells It Like It Is In England
Meanwhile, in the British newspaper, The Independent, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar said on Monday,
“After the Mondial (World Cup) at least eight ships will come from the Gulf.” Asked whether Iranian vessels will be included, al-Zahar said, “Why not?”
He said that there would be more flotillas “than in your imagination.”
Alluding to the chance that Egypt might prevent a flotilla from the Persian Gulf passing through the Suez Canal on its way to Gaza, al-Zahar was reported as saying:
“They have the right in international law to go as the Israelis go. Egypt will never be able to stop such a campaign.”
On the question of Iranian sponsorship of the floatilla, al-Zahar said:
“I ask you about morality. Where is your morality if Iran is going to give food and drugs? What justifies preventing that?”
Al-Zahar also expressed frustration on Israel’s ignoring attempts to strike a prisoner swap deal for the release of Gilad Shalit.
He also criticized Western leaders for ignoring the Palestinian Authority elections, in which Hamas had really come out victorious. The brilliant rhetorician and insightful politician answered his own question:
“Why did the Western people boycott Hamas after the election? Because they want a new Karzai in Palestine.”
He went on and on and on:
“What is the real border of Israel? What about the occupation of Jerusalem, what about the occupation of the Golan Heights? I ask Israelis to renounce violence…I ask your country (Britain) and then the Americans to renounce violence in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and then we are going to speak about renouncing violence.”
And so it goes – just another day in the insane Middle East.