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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ramallah’

Liberman Plans to Bypass Chairman Abbas, Forge Direct Relationships with PA Arabs

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told military correspondents in his Kirya office in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he intends to seek out Arab leaders living in the Palestinian Authority and bypass the PLO-run authority government. He wants a personal dialogue with academics, business people and intellectuals. In fact, according to Liberman, his staff has already put together a list of these people whom he now intends to pursue.

There’s also going to be a new website in Arabic, reporting the news of the day from the Defense Ministry’s perspective. It will cost about $2.5 million.

“I want to connect with them directly, not through the [PA headquarters in Ramallah] Muqata,” Liberman reiterated, saying he expects the new website to hit the Internet by the end of January. He admits it’s an ambitious and challenging project, but he’s going for it nonetheless, budgets, regulatory standards and all.

According to Liberman, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been an obstacle to a working solution for the area. Indeed, he asked, “if there are intellectuals, academics, those who stand out on the municipal level — why should they talk to us through Abbas?” Also, if “[Abbas] is talking directly to the Israeli society, why can’t we speak directly to the Palestinian society?”

When asked why, then, if he is seeking out PA Arabs for a dialogue, did he bar the entry into Israel of Muhammad al-Madani, chairman of the Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, Liberman said al-Madani, a senior PLO official, was not coming to have a dialogue and seek co-existence, but the opposite.

Liberman also told the military correspondents about a rift between himself and the Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt, who objects to the Defense Minister’s policy of holding on to the bodies of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis and has gone so far as to state that he would refuse to defend the new policy before the Supreme Court. Liberman said that’s fine, if need be he would defend the policy before the court. Liberman said he asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the issue in the cabinet, because “it looks a little grotesque that the two ministries (Internal Security and Defense) maintain contradictory policies on this matter.”

The Justice Ministry also objects to Liberman’s new policy on terrorist bodies, because it contradicts fundamental Supreme Court rulings. They do support conditioning the release on the families’ committing to small funerals that won’t erupt into riots.

JNi.Media

High-Ranking Hamas Officer Nabbed by Israel in Ramallah

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

A high-ranking officer in the Hamas terrorist organization was arrested by Israel in the wee hours of Wednesday by Shin Bet intelligence agents and IDF soldiers.

Sheikh Hussein Abu Kweik, 50, was captured at his home in the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah, in Samaria. Abu Kweik is a high-ranking member of the Hamas Central Elections Commission.

He was detained “for his involvement in security-related activities that present a threat to security in the area, and for suspected incitement,” according to a statement by the Shin Bet intelligence agency.

Nine other Hamas members were also arrested in the operation, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

Gaza-based Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zukhri condemned the arrested in a news release sent to media.

Hamas alleges Israel is trying to influence the election campaign for Palestinian Authority leadership. The terror group has exerted great control over the universities in Judea and Samaria and is expected to win in many areas in the upcoming municipal polls.

The election is slated to be held in October.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Arrests Arab Assailant Almost Three Years After Attack

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Binyamin (TPS) – Israeli authorities recently arrested an Arab who stabbed and wounded a police officer in December, 2013 near the Israeli community of Geva Binyamin, the Shin Bet cleared for publication on Monday morning.

The suspect, 21-year-old Mohammed Younis Ali Abu-Hanak from Al-Abidiya near Bethlehem, was arrested almost three years after the attack.

Abu-Hanak revealed under questioning that his motive for committing the attack was to put an end to his hard life.

The investigation also revealed that Abu-Hanak purchased a kitchen knife on the morning of the attack and hid it inside his jacket. He boarded a taxi from Ramallah to Bethlehem in order to choose a random target for his attack. He decided to attack a policeman who was standing at a roundabout near the Jewish community of Geva Binyamin and the Palestinian Authority village of Jaba’.

Abu-Hanak exited the taxi, approached the policeman, and stabbed him once in the back, inflicting moderate injuries. He then fled the scene and managed to evade the authorities for two and a half years before finally being apprehended.

The Shin Bet said in a statement that it will “continue to operate with all its available resources to prevent terror attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice, even when a long time has gone by since the attack was committed.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Complying with Ottoman Law, IDF Panel Revokes Jewish Community’s Land Ownership

Monday, August 8th, 2016

The IDF Appeals Committee in Judea and Samaria has ruled recently that the 2013 declaration of an area of some 55 acres in the vicinity of Kokhav Ya’akov, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, as state land is null and void, because the process of making the acquisition was improper, Ha’aretz reported Monday. The military panel was also critical of the lack of transparency in making the declaration public — meaning that it was being kept out of PA Arabs’ earshot.

The panel’s ruling on an appeal by NGO Yesh Din on behalf of alleged Arab land owners, is more a judicial recommendation to the IDF in the area than a compelling decision, but should the declaration of state land be appealed in the Israeli Supreme court — as it surely will be — the panel’s decision would influence the justices’ ruling.

The grounds for dismissing the government acquisition of the land has to do with its failure to adequately comply with Ottoman Law — a remnant of the Turkish government’s rule over these lands before 1918, which continues to be the law of the land; and will continue to be so as long as Israel fails to impose Israeli law on Area C, where Jews live.

Ottoman law says that a man can establish claim to his land if he can show that he has been tilling it for the previous ten years. The state tried to comply with the law by providing aerial photographs of the area from 1969, showing clearly that the land was not being cultivated.

However, the dissemination of lands to local Arabs by King Hussein, who ruled the area from 1949 to 1967, took place in 1961. So the panel ruled that the aerial photos proving the land was not being cultivated had to be from before 1961, and, according to the state, such photographs could not be found.

There are photographs from 1944 showing that some of the land was being tilled then.

The judges wrote that they were not convinced the state had made the full effort to discover those 1956 aerial photographs, and that without them the panel must rule that the situation back in 1944 continued uninterrupted through 1961. Of course, the decision to require a photograph from before 1961 assumes that when King Hussein handed over lands to the heads of local Arab clans (whom he viewed as a source of potential rebellion) — he had the right to give those lands away. But Hussein was never recognized universally as the sovereign of the “West Bank,” which was considered an occupied territory, along the 1949 armistice border with Israel.

Local residents of Kokhav Ya’akov say they have also purchased the land, but regardless of the ownership papers they would present to the high court, organizations like Yesh Din will rustle up a group of Arab claimants to the land, with papers freshly minted by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah showing the land belongs to them.

According to NGO Monitor, Yesh Din operates on an annual budget of $1.58 million, provided by the EU, UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norwegian Refugee Council, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, HEKS (Switzerland), Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands).

David Israel

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.

JNi.Media

Google under Attack for Deleting Palestine from Maps App

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Internet giant Google has been under fierce attacks from around the world this week, after replacing the name of Palestine on its maps application with Israel.

The Palestinian Journalists Front slammed Google for the move, stating that the removal of Palestine’s name from the maps was an attempt by the “Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come” while obliterating Palestine forever.

PJF claimed the move was part of an effort to distort history and geography “as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland,” and “a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs.”

PJF demanded that Google reverse the changes made in the maps application, since the move was “contrary to all international norms and conventions.”

The fact that there is no such entity as the State of Palestine did not come up in the attack.

A search for “Palestine” in Google Maps does yield a proper reference to the entity, but with a blank map of Israel, with the areas of Gaza, Judea and Samaria marked with a broken borderline but not mentioned by name. The information provided on the left under the title “Palestine” is:

Quick facts

The State of Palestine, also known simply as Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East that is recognized by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state.

President: Mahmoud Abbas

Capital: Ramallah

Prime minister: Rami Hamdallah

For comparison, the data regarding “Israel” is:

Quick facts

Israel, a Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea, is regarded by Jews, Christians and Muslims as the biblical Holy Land. Its most sacred sites are in Jerusalem. Within its Old City, the Temple Mount complex includes the Dome of the Rock shrine, the historic Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its financial hub, Tel Aviv, is known for Bauhaus architecture, beaches and nightlife.

Founded: May 14, 1948

Prime minister: Benjamin Netanyahu

President: Reuven Rivlin

JNi.Media

Report: Accelerated Arab Emigration from Judea and Samaria

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The Arab daily Al Quds last week published an extensive report on the scope of youth emigration from Judea and Samaria, suggesting that as many as 400 thousand young Arabs have emigrated abroad over the past few decades. The report describes entire villages, such as the majority Christian village of Dir Dabuan, which are full of deserted mansions, with a smattering of elderly residents still living in the area.

A resident of Ramun village said that, out of his 44 classmates in the local school, 40 are living in the US, and the rest are inundated with offers to emigrate, because life in the US is much more comfortable for Arabs than life in Judea and Samaria. Apparently, an office in Ramallah coordinates Arab immigration applications and interviews at the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem. According to Al Quds, a survey of Gaza Strip residents found that 45% would like to emigrate if they could.

Demographer Jacob Feitelson said earlier this year that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as the US census, hide or modify the data regarding the high emigration figures of Judea and Samaria Arabs, which he claims reach 10,000 a year. He says the PCBS keeps Arabs listed as living in the PA for seven years after they emigrate.

A 2006 study titled “The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography,” by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael L. Wise, suggested that population statistics and predictions of the PCBS are unreliable. A Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population survey — which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent studies — inflated numbers by including more than 300 thousand Palestinians living abroad and double-counting more than 200 thousand Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel’s population survey. Later PCBS broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized birth forecasts, including assumptions of a mass Palestinian return that never happened, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza by more than 50%. The BESA study and further demographic research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from Judea, Samaria and Gaza have been exaggerated.

It should be noted, in this context, that Louie Shabanah, a former Head of the PCBS, stated during a June 8, 2005 debate at Haifa’s Technion, trying to explain the inconsistencies between the figures offered by the PCBS and other Palestinian departments: “The Palestinian Health Department accounts for fewer births because – unlike the PCBS – it excludes overseas births….”

According to former ambassador Yoram Ettinger, the misuse of statistics by the Palestinian Authority has afflicted Israel and its supporters with an unwarranted mix of pessimism and fatalism. The aim has been to cajole Israeli policy-makers into a false assumption that conceding the Jewish geography of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite to securing Jewish demography.

Ettinger insists that “in spite of Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment — which accepts the PCBS and all other central bureaus of statistics at face-value without proper auditing – in July, 2016, there is a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefiting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and migration. Moreover, in July, 2016, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the PCBS contended number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (2.9 million) and the well-documented number (1.75 million).

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-accelerated-arab-emigration-from-judea-and-samaria/2016/08/07/

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