Category: Israel

Jordan welcomes Palestinian-Israeli Agreement

Red-Dead Water ProjectNorma Na’mat – Al-Hayat – 14th July 2017

Hazem al-Naser, the Jordanian Minister for Water and Irrigation, has praised the Palestinian-Israeli agreement which was reached between the two sides yesterday in Jerusalem, under the care of the United States. He noted that it represents a Palestinian claim to the results of the memorandum of understanding on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance, which was signed by Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel in Washington in December 2013 and witnessed by the US government and the World Bank. The memorandum granted the Palestinian side more than 30 million cubic metres of water annually.

al-Naser believes that this agreement “has achieved for our Palestinian brothers and sisters additional water supplies over what has they are granted by the Oslo accords and what followed them, in addition to Palestine’s sovereign water rights.” He emphasised that the new supplies “will provide the West Bank and Gaza with additional water supplies beginning this summer until 2021, which will ease the large water burden affecting the Palestinians.” Al-Naser committed to the continuation of “Jordanian efforts which have been expended in this matter, building on the unshakeable Jordanian desire to support the Palestinians and empower them in all cases. Water, especially, in the West Bank and Gaza, is one of these cases, as there has been an acute shortage of drinking water in these areas in years past.” He explained that “the implementation of subsequent stages of the Conveyance project will guarantee additional benefits for the Palestinians if implemented.”

Jordan, as the first country to implement the project, is greatly concerned with the plan, as it forms one of the most important pillars of Jordan’s water strategy. The project will supply Jordan with drinking water for many years to come, while also protecting the environment of the Dead Sea, which is considered a historical treasure and important economic resource for the country.

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article found here.

On a ‘Democratic Camp’ in Israel once again

Democratic Camp

Ammad Shaqour – Al-Quds Al-Arabi – 7 July 2017

Two weeks ago, 23 June to be specific, a number of weekly and daily Arabic papers issued in Israel published an article by the head of the Joint List in the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, entitled “Towards establishing a democratic camp to increase our effectiveness and influence in the advancement of our cause”. This is no ordinary newspaper article. It is the announcement of a serious political project, which could give Arab Palestinians in Israel, who carry Israeli identity cards (for the first time since the Nakba in 1948), a role in Israeli politics, with all the repercussions that entails for their overall status as citizens and their demands for equality at all levels, and their rights as an ethnic minority in Israel. It could also affect all matters relating to the occupation and Israeli colonialism on Palestinian lands, and everything connected to the Palestinian cause.

By this call for an Arab-Jew “democratic camp” in Israel, the head of the Joint List is striving to ensure that Arab Israelis have an effective role in curbing racist Israeli policy and can repudiate all the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which is more extreme, right-wing and racist than any preceding Israeli government. Odeh delineates these policies with piercing insight, in four points, on four different levels:

– The systematic work to eliminate the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, or of establishing relations with the vast majority of other Arab governments, and the striving to make normalisation public and official policy, so that regional conflicts become the priority over the Palestinian cause.

– Incitement against Arab citizens (in Israel) with a systematicness not preceded by any prime minister, and the intensification of legislation against Arabs.

– The systematic narrowing of the democratic margins, by the pursuit of humanitarian organisations, the destabilising of the Israeli Supreme Court, attempts to control media channels and academia, and spreading a low-level atmosphere of intimidation.

– The deepening of neoliberal economic policy which breaks down all networks of social protection for the poor and middle classes.

In his article/political project, Odeh then emphasises that Arab Israelis treat Jewish participants as “equal partners” in this “democratic camp”, by way of a correct and logical formulation. He says that the Arab minority in Israel alone cannot, on one hand, impose a change in Israeli policies, while on the other, liberal Jewish forces cannot impose that change without the large Arab minority. Or, as he states in his article, “so as not to accept interpretations of a formula based purely on equality, we, the Arab citizens, must realise that, being only 20% of the population, we alone cannot bring change. Our (different and diverse) partners in the “democratic camp” must also realise well that they cannot do so without us! Alternatives [to Israeli government policies] cannot be created without the quantitative and qualitative political weight of the Arab citizens. With this critical weight and this equality, we can build the democratic camp.”

There is no doubt that this wise political project, if it succeeds, is capable of achieving a very important leap for Arab citizens in Israel, and their weight not just in Palestinian equalisation, but on the general Arab level. The practice of an effective role for the Arab minority in Israeli politics would remind us of the enormous role of Jewish minorities in America and in Europe. I am greatly aware of the vast gulf in status and opportunities between the Arab minority in Israel and the Jewish minorities in the West. What can be noted in this comparison is that the Arab minority in Israel is proportionally far larger than those Jewish minorities.

Over the span of 69 years, from the Palestinian Nakba to 1993, the year the Oslo accords were signed, and the beginning of ‘Gaza-Jericho First’, and more clearly, from the June 1967 War until Oslo, leadership and guidance of the Palestinian national effort has been tied to the Palestinian body outside the lands of Palestine. With the leaders and members of the PLO and many Palestinian families beginning to return (the total numbers, accounting for natural increase, in the first seven years of Oslo until the outbreak of the second intifada, stand at about half a million returned Palestinians refugees), the Palestinian centre of gravity has transferred to the ‘Interior’, which means the West Bank (including Jerusalem, of course), and the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of this century, incorrect policies, or what could be called policies lacking in sufficiently feasible or reasonable wisdom, have led to an unprecedented state of division in Palestine. This division led to the bloody coup in Gaza in 2007, in addition to the formation of core divisions between Palestinians of the ‘Interior’ and the Palestinian refugees (here we recall the Istanbul conference), as a result of the ignorance, neglect, and weak performance of the Palestinian Authority, and what the status of the PLO has led to. All this leads us to believe that the time has come for Palestinians in the ‘Interior of the Interior’, meaning in Israel, to direct the general Palestinian national effort.

With no Arab pressure for the Palestinian national effort, since the people of the Levant are preoccupied with their bloody and shameful wars, their national interests and the threats to their homelands, there is no alternative but to search for other means of support. In this context, I believe the Palestinians of the ‘Interior of the Interior’ have a role to play in this support. In life, ‘heroes’ search for a ‘role’, but ‘roles’ may also search for ‘heroes’.

Ayman Odeh concludes his article/project with an expressive and inspiring paragraph. “I do not want this article to close the debate, but to open its doors with confidence, strength and clarity. The time of fluctuation must end in the same place! Our people who support the Joint List, and who entrust us with responsibility for it, demand today more than ever that we not only analyse reality, but work to change it.”

The initiative by Palestinian citizens of Israel to establish an Arab-Jew “democratic camp” is worthy of support. It opens a wide and promising door for a fruitful national effort. Israel is not a country of six million Jews, each one the spitting image of Netanyahu or Bennett or Lieberman. It is a society of individuals, movements, organisations, clubs and parties of diverse stripes, forms, attitudes, intentions, and policies. There is no Palestinian advantage in considering and treating Israelis as though they are all mirror images of this colonial racist. It is our national interest not to be the cement and the glue which binds all the Israelis against our people and their legitimate rights and aspirations. Of old, they said, ‘he who does not realise fully will never be free of ignorance’.

Adding to the above is the outcome of the Israeli Labour Party elections two days ago, and the ascent of Amir Peretz and Avi Gabbay to the elections which will decide the chairman of the Labour Party, which may open the door for an expansion of Israeli support for the Arab-Jew democratic camp, which would have room for liberals in the Israeli camp.

It cannot be assumed that this proposed political project will proceed without any damage to the Joint List, but we must not forget that the List is a tool, and the objective, not the tool, is the most important.

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article found here.

Video: Ansar Beit al-Maqdis reveals the reason for death of four people in Sinai, Tahrir News (Egypt), 5 October 2014

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has released a new video titled “They are the enemy, be wary of them (2).”

Video: Ansar Beit al-Maqdis reveals the reason for death of four people in SinaiThe new video recording reveals details of the bombing of a house owned by one of the elders of the al-Meniei clan of the al-Sawarka tribe, Abdelmajid al-Meniei. In the video, people are seen storming the house, which appears to have children in it. A remote detonation then turns the two-story house into rubble. The organization accuses al-Meniei of collaborating with security forces against the mujahideen.

The recording then transfers to another scene in which a person calling himself Ahmed Eid Ayad Salim appears. The person describes himself as an “agent of the apostate army,” saying that he was commissioned by the army to arrest people and that he and his companions were wearing the army uniform. He said he was given a weapon and a vehicle to arrest people wanted by the army and to participate in the demolition of their homes.

The scene ends with the person being executed by being shot in the head at night. The organisation directs a message to members of Sinai tribes, saying “Do not think that the death of a small group of tribal members decreases your ability in our hearts, for we are some of your children. Our misfortune is your misfortune, be a partisan of God. We continue to reap the spies of the Jews, except those who repent. The door of repentance is still open and we grant you time to deliver yourselves.”

The organisation filmed ambushes carried out by members of the organization in several locations in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, as well as searching cars and comparing names of of car owners with a list carried by a masked member, and in other scenes by carrying a laptop. The film then moves on to show testaments of people who describe themselves as agents of the Jews, including a person named Suleiman Salman Salim Ali, from the al-Nowamis family of the al-Sawarka tribe. He said: “I have dealt with Israeli Mossad since 2009. Mossad asked me to form groups to confront and kill takfiris. They gave me 120 GPS devices to help with targeting takfiris, as well as instructions to acquire pictures and information from Cairo and Sham al-Sheikh.”

Another person, 23-year-old Gehad Salman Salim Abu Namous al-Namous al-Sawarka, as well as a third person, Aish al-Wifa al-Wishi from the al-Barikat tribe, who explained how the three worked with Israeli Mossad, their methods of recruitment and the tasks assigned to them, including collecting information from Sinai, about religious groups and army movements in Sinai. He also described how much they earned from Mossad agents and the surveillance equipment the got from the Mossad agents to plant in different locations.

The recording ends with a masked member saying that this is the penalty for all apostate traitors. He then proceeds to slaughter the three with a knife and places their heads on top of their corpses, directing a message to the Jews that they will not live long and that the coming battle of sticks and stones will be between the mujahideen and the Jews.

Translated by Kevin Moore.

Original article available here.

‘Moroccans press charges against the Moroccan officer leading Israel’s operations in Gaza,’ Hibapress (Morocco), 4 August 2014

A group of Moroccan politicians and law makers are seeking to press charges against IDF Southern Command leader Major General Sami Turgeman for his role in the current Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. According to the group, Turgeman, whose family migrated to Israel from Morocco in 1965 when he was six months old, holds full responsibility for Israel’s aggression against Palestinians. Continue reading

‘Al-Quds Brigades calls on fighters not to accept rumours of a truce,’ Saraya (Palestine), 15 July 2014

Upon reports of an Egyptian ceasefire proposal accepted by Israel, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, released the following statement calling on its fighters to continue its fight against Israel. Continue reading

‘Military communication to the residents of Beit Lahia,’ 13 July 2014

IDF warning to residents of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes ahead of a forthcoming air assault on “terrorist elements and infrastructure.”

Military communication to the residents of Beit Lahia

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) will work with vigour and determination to strike, from the air, terrorist elements and their infrastructure in areas from which rockets are launched toward Israel. The areas are as follows: Continue reading

‘Video: Ansar Beit al-Maqdis targets Israel with 5 rockets,’ Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt), 12 July 2014

Egyptian terrorist organisation Ansar Beit al-Maqdis posted a video to YouTube in which it appears the group fires five rockets into Israeli territory from their border position in the Sinai peninsula. While the video cannot be independently verified, the group has claimed previous attacks in the past, and the latest claim comes as Israel continues its bombardment of the Gaza Strip (Operation Protective Edge). The current operation has led to over 120 deaths and retaliatory rocket fire from Hamas. Additionally, rockets were fired into northern Israeli on Friday morning from unidentified militants in southern Lebanon. The current violence is the worst since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

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‘Mossad looks to recruit Arab agents through Facebook,’ Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt), 18 May 2014

Israeli newspaper Maariv reports that Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been pushed to expand its work by the prevailing chaos in Arab states after the revolutions of the “Arab Spring.” The paper says that Mossad is using a major campaign on social networking sites, mainly Facebook, to recruit new Arab agents. Continue reading

‘Battle near the Golan, Israel announces Military Zone’, al-Sharq al-Awsat (UK), 12th May 2014

Israel closes the border and announces a military zone after clashes break out between the forces of Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Opposition

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‘Rice: America is committed to Israel’s security,’ Sky News Arabia (UAE), 9 May 2014

United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice has reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security, citing further US investment in the Iron Dome project, which protects Israel from short-range missiles. Rice is currently on a trip to the region to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders after the failed peace talks. Continue reading