JERUSALEM – Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were wounded and dozens were detained after clashes broke in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning with Israeli forces who had stormed the courtyards firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.
The raid comes amid frequent clashes in recent days after right-wing Jewish groups urged Jews to flock to the compound — which they believe is the site of a former Jewish temple — and conduct Passover rituals inside.
Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Omar Kiswani told Ma’an that more than 400 police officers stormed the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate and the Chain Gate escorting Ultra-Orthodox Jews other Jewish visitors into the compound.
Israeli forces, Kiswani said, “besieged” worshipers in the southern mosque “attacking them with clubs and pepper spray,” after clashes broke out with Palestinian worshipers in the compound.
Dozens of Palestinians sustained injuries during the assault, while several others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation. Twenty five young men were reportedly detained by Israeli forces.
Kiswani said that Likud member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin had also entered the compound during the raid, accompanied by special security units. Feiglin has visited the site frequently in recent months, and he has vocally supported the extension of Israeli sovereignty over the compound.
Earlier on Sunday morning, clashes erupted outside the Lions’ Gate (Bab al-Asbat) and Gate of Remission (Bab al-Hutta) of the Al-Aqsa compound when Israeli police denied hundreds of worshippers access to the compound.
Witnesses said that Israeli officers had denied all Palestinian residents of Jerusalem under the age of 60 access to the compound, including students who attend schools inside. Men and women were also attacked with clubs and pepper spray, witnesses said.
Israeli forces detained a young man after he was beaten brutally.
Israeli police spokesman said in a statement that police had detained 16 Palestinian “rioters,” adding that they were all detained “as they threw stones/blocks at officers at the scene this morning.”
He also said that two police officers lightly injured in the clashes, which broke out after the Palestinians threw stones as “tourists visited.”
About 100 Muslim worshipers have decided to stay inside the compound day and night throughout Passover after right-wing Jewish organizations called for Jewish worshipers to enter the area en masse for religious festivities.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.
It is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
PA police coordinate with Israeli border police to control Palestinian access to Jerusalem at the Bethlehem checkpoint. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)
Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Ze’ev Elkin, is a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and his predominantly rightwing cabinet. In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights, and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state.
Instead, Elkin wants Israel to annex a chunk of the West Bank. There is nothing new here, as such language is now official Israeli discourse. But one statement stood out, one that many Palestinians would find bewildering and exasperating.
These days, said Elkin with a chuckle, the West Bank is “the most stable part of the Middle East”.
The bewilderment would stem from the fact that the West Bank is an occupied Palestinian territory. Its population is held at gunpoint; they have no freedom, and enjoy no rights. Their land is seized by force to make room for more settlements and illegal Jewish settlers, now numbering well passed the half million mark.
Needless to say, the West Bank should not be stable.
Instead, Palestinians should be leading their own revolution until they achieve their full rights and freedom. This is not a call for violence, but a natural human course. However, Palestinians are not rebelling. Many factors are holding them back, one of which is the very Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Its troops are in constant ‘security coordinations’ with Israel. Its ‘elite forces’ are trained by US generals and Arab armies. The PA mission is not to liberate Palestine, but to ensure the subservience of the Palestinians while Israel carries on with a colonial project that has extended for decades.
Deputy foreign minister Elkin knows this. Netanyahu himself, along with every Israeli official, understands that the PA, despite Mahmoud Abbas’ occasional attempts at appearing defiant and rebellious, is no threat to Israel, nor will it ever be. This will be so even if the US-imposed April 29 deadline for a ‘framework’ agreement between the Israeli government and the PA passes and even if Abbas took the seemingly daring step of signing the applications to join 15 international organizations. Abbas and his men understand that there are red lines which they cannot cross under any circumstances.
Abbas may be weak, but he is clever. He knew that Kerry’s peacemaking efforts would not go anywhere and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would find a way to thwart the process. If Abbas were lucky, Kerry could even blame Israel for derailing the peace process, as he already has. Then, Abbas would do what many would find reasonable; seek further international recognition for the state of Palestine. This might frustrate the Americans a little, anger the Israelis a lot, but it would give his supporters reason to promote the 79-year-old leader as another Yasser Arafat, heroic and defiant to the very end.
The Israelis still need Abbas. He is important in maintaining ‘stability’ in the West Bank. This means the continuing of the security coordination that ensures the safety of the armed settlers, providing an extra layer of protection to Israeli soldiers as they kill at will, seize more land, demolish homes and trees, erect walls, dig trenches, and level mountains. So what if some imaginary state existed on papers in the files of some international body in Geneva or Brussels. For Israel, the law is that of its military, and reality is what is taking place in Area C, not in some European capital.
This is why Elkin is chuckling. He is at ease, in the same way the Israeli political establishment is. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, a deal was struck between Israel and what became a pervasive, controlling and corrupt Palestinian political class. Israel maintained its military occupation, carried on with its colonial project and continued to disfigure the occupied territories in any way that it found consistent with its ‘security’ needs. Palestinian elites were granted economic privileges and access that is denied to the vast majority of the Palestinians.
The PA’s constant challenge is to maintain a level of legitimacy. True, it uses its monopoly on force, which is readily sanctioned by Israel, in order to arrest, torture and kill resisting Palestinians when necessary. It uses the logic of trickle-down economics to hold the bulk of Palestinians hostage to winning their daily bread. But that is not enough. It needs a brand to market itself as the exclusive harbinger of freedom for Palestinians. It uses slogans, flags and kuffiyas to promote that brand through its control of the media. Many PA supporters dance to that tune and playact that Abbas and only Abbas is capable of exacting the coveted liberation of Palestine from the obstinate hands of the Israeli prime minister.
Palestinian officials are proficiently inflating Abbas’ image to ensure that Palestinians don’t question the wisdom of their aging leader, after the latest and predictable failure of the peace process, which was never truly meant to succeed anyway. A Palestinian official spoke of Abbas’s refusal to heed a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry to halt applications to join international treaties. He claimed that Kerry warned Abbas of a ‘strong (Israeli) response to Palestinian action. Abbas replied: “Israel’s threats scare no one. They can do what they like.”
The words were repeated in Palestinian media. The Abbas image is being overstated once more. There is no space for those who question the man’s credibility, legitimacy or failed methods. More posters of the old man are now erected in the occupied Palestinian towns. His latest antics will help perpetuate the myth that the PA is a platform for resistance, not capitulation.
As long as the West Bank is ‘stable’, and as long Abbas, and those that follow him continue to sell Palestinians old illusions of revolutions that never took place, and heroes that only exist on colored posters hung around the streets of Ramallah, Elkin will continue to chuckle.
And as long as the West Bank is ‘stable’, Palestinians will never achieve their freedom, for submission achieves no rights; only resistance does.
- Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, UK. His latest book is “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London).
Israeli forces have shot and wounded at least 30 Palestinians in the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Local sources said that clashes erupted between the Israeli forces and Palestinian worshippers in the mosque compound when Israeli settlers entered the holy site on Wednesday.
According to witnesses, Israeli troops raided the mosque to protect the settlers. They said the forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the worshippers.
“About 1,000 Israeli officers stormed the compound,” Palestinian Ma’an news agency quoted Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director-general of Muslim endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs, as saying.
In recent months, Israeli forces and illegal settlers have stepped up their attacks on Palestinians visiting the mosque. This has led to violent confrontations between the two sides.
On Sunday, clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound when Israeli police prevented Muslims from entering one of the gates of the compound.
Israeli forces used stun grenades to disperse protesters.
The Israeli regime has also imposed severe restrictions to stop Muslim worshippers from entering the mosque.
On February 25, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) discussed a plan to annex the compound.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned the Knesset move as a “dangerous escalation,” calling it part of Israel’s goal to “Judaize Jerusalem.”
The al-Aqsa compound, which lies in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint. The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
GAZA CITY – The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it fired mortar shells at Israeli military vehicles that entered Gaza early Monday.
According to the statement, the group responded by firing three mortar shells at the Israeli vehicles.
No injuries or damages were reported.
“National resistance will remain the only path to restore Palestinian rights,” the Brigades’ statement said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the incident.
The shells were fired two days after the DFLP said the National Resistance Brigades targeted an Israeli military jeep near the Kissufim military base east of the Gaza Strip.
A statement said that on Saturday “the military site Kissufim was also targeted with three mortar shells in response to the ongoing Israeli attacks on unarmed Palestinians.”
An Israeli military spokeswoman said on Sunday that “there was alarm in the area overnight,” and an explosion was heard, but she said that Israeli forces were still searching the area.
On Friday, five Palestinian medics suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister at their ambulance in the northern Gaza Strip, a day after Israeli forces shot four Palestinians in two incidents near the border fence.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday 13 April 2014 in the early afternoon, Israeli settlers with assistance from the Israeli occupation forces started moving into the so-called Rajabi building in Hebron. After seven years of litigation, on 11 March 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court handed over the building to the settlers despite previous court rulings that said that the relevant purchase documents and power of attorneys had been forged.
Early this morning, the Israeli Minister of Defence Moshe Ya’alon approved the settlers to move into the building. As a result, three families entered the building later the day and started preparing the building for occupation. The settlers were observed cleaning the house, bringing in pieces of furniture and fixing the windows. The occupation forces provided the settlers with power generators and water tanks to help them in their efforts as the building is not connected to the electricity or water grid. According to Israeli sources, the settlers are to hold a Passover Seder dinner on the site during the upcoming holiday and ten more families are to move into the building after the end of the Passover.
Local Palestinians voiced their fears that the creation of a new settlement will cause further violations of their rights and violence against them. During 2007 and 2008, when settlers were dwelling in the building, the community witnessed multiple attacks by the settlers as well as routine house searches and arbitrary detentions by the occupation forces. Following their eviction by the Israeli police and army in December 2008, the settlers went on a rampage torching Palestinian property and assaulting Palestinians.
Palestinian journalist and political activist Majd Kayyal
Israel’s security services secretly arrested Palestinian activist-journalist Majd Kayyal. The arrest is under gag order
I received an urgent message from Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU that Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal, age 22, was arrested on his return to Israel from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan. I’ve checked with an Israeli source who tells me he was arrested as a national security suspect. The combination of his trip to Lebanon, where he attended an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of As-Safir (considered a pro-Hezbollah publication), his participation in a 2011 flotilla voyage to break the Gaza siege, and his activist role in Adalah (where he was the website editor) and Balad (Hebrew), made him a ready target.
At midnight Saturday Israel-time, a few hours after his arrest, the security police raided his Haifa home and confiscated his computer and other electronic devices and materials. Jamil reports he has been denied access to an attorney, which is standard procedure for Israeli Palestinian security suspects. A judge will be asked to extend his remand tomorrow and will automatically do so, again as is standard for the Only Democracy in the Middle East. Majd can also expect abuse and even torture from his security service interrogators just as Ameer Makhoul did.
For those with good memories, who’ve been reading this blog for several years, you’ll recall his case. He was also a Palestinian community activist from Haifa who founded the Ittijah NGO. He too returned from a trip to Jordan, where he allegedly met a fellow activist Hassan Jaja at an environment conference. The Shabak made Jaja out to be a key Hezbollah operative, when in reality he owned a landscaping business in Amman. My guess is that Shabak discovered a similar meeting Kayyal had with a suspect individual who the security forces can turn into an Islamist bogeyman.
This persecution is part of the ongoing effort by Israeli secret police to criminalize Israeli Palestinian nationalism. As I’ve reported here, Yuval Diskin, then Shabak chief, said in 2007 that any such political expression would be viewed as sedition and criminally prosecuted by the State. That is what is happening in this case. Nothing more. [...]
This arrest, which constitutes a severe assault on press freedom, since Kayyal is an Israeli Palestinian journalist, is under gag order in Israel. It has not been reported in Israeli media. I hope this publication will poke a hole in the shroud of opacity that favors such assaults by the security apparatus. An international group of activists joined together to fight on Ameer’s behalf. I’ve begun a process which I hope will lead to the same support for Majd.
By Gilad Atzmon | October 6, 2009
The question of “who is a Jew?” has been debated in Israel since it attained statehood. In the Jewish state the authorities, Rabbis and the media would dig into one’s bloodline with no shame whatsoever. For the Israelis and orthodox Jews, Jewishness is obviously a blood related concept. However, Jewishness and blood concerns are becoming a subject of a growing debate in the UK. In the last few days The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian are trying to decide whether Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a ‘self hating Jew’ or just an ordinary anti-Semite. Like the Israeli Rabbis they both dig into his bloodline.
Ahmadinejad is revealed to have a ‘Jewish past’ said the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. According to the paper, a photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 “clearly” suggests that his family had Jewish roots. The Telegraph even found the ‘experts’ who suggested that “Mr Ahmadinejad’s track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.” Needless to say that Ahmadinejad has never come on record with a single anti-Jewish ‘hate- filled’ attack as the Telegraph suggests. He is indeed extremely critical of the Jewish state and its raison d’etre. He is also highly critical of the crude and manipulative mobilisation of the holocaust at the expense of the Palestinian people.
One may wonder why a Western media outlet happens to selectively engage with issues to do with the racial or ethnic origin of the Iranian president. At the end of the day, digging into peoples ethnic past and family bloodline is not a common practice you expect from the Western press. It is something you tend to leave for racists, Nazis and Rabbis. For one reason or another, no one in the so called free press tried to dwell on the close ties between multibillion swindler Bernie Maddof and his tribe. The ‘free press’ saved itself also from dealing with Wolfowitz’s ethnicity, in spite of the fact that the Zionist war he brought on us has cost 1.5 million lives by now. If you wonder how it is that the Western free media is reverting to ‘pathology’ in order to deal with a Muslim president, the answer is simple not to say trivial:
The so called ‘liberal West’ is yet to find the answers to President Ahmadinejad within the realm of reason. It lacks the argumentative capacity to address Ahmadinejad. Instead, it insists to spin banal racially orientated ideas that cannot hold water, “By making anti-Israeli statements” says The Daily Telegraph, “he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections.” The truth of the matter is clear. Ahmadinejad has already managed to re-direct a floodlight of reasoning and skepticism just to enlighten our darkest corner of hypocrisy. He somehow manages to remind us all what thinking is all about.
It is pretty much impossible to deny the fact that Ahmadinejad’s take on the holocaust and Israel is coherent, consistent and valid. He seems to have three main issues with the narrative:
1. Around sixty Million died in WWII, the vast majority of them were innocent civilians. How is it, asks Ahmadinejad, that we insist to concentrate on the particularity of the suffering of one ‘very’ specific group of people i.e. the Jews?
2. The Iranian president rightly maintains that this historical chapter must be historically examined. This would mean as well that every event in the past should be subject to scrutiny, elaboration and revision. “If we allow ourselves to question God and the Prophets, we may as well allow ourselves to question the holocaust.”
3. Regardless of the truthfulness of the holocaust, it is not a trivial fact that the suffering of the Jews in Europe had nothing to do with the Palestinian people. Hence, there is no reason for the Palestinians to pay for crimes committed by others. If some Western Leaders feel guilty for crimes committed against the Jews by their ancestors, which they seem to claim, they better allocate some land for the Jews within their territories rather than expect the Palestinians to keep upholding the Zionist murderous burden.
As much as it is obviously clear that the above points raised by Ahmadinejad are totally valid, it is also painfully transparent that the West lacks the means to address those issues. Instead we seem to revert to supremacy and pseudo scientific discourse dwelling on blood, pathology and lame psychoanalysis.
As embarrassing as it may seem, in just three moves Ahmadinejad manages to expose the current deceptive Western mode of discussion. He, in fact identifies the holocaust as the core of our hypocritical stand, a tendency that has managed to shatter our ethical judgment. The holocaust was there to divert the attention from the colossal crimes committed by the allies: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden are just brief examples of institutionalized genocide at the hands of the English Speaking Empire. The holocaust has successfully matured into a new religion. Yet, it lacks theology. It doesn’t allow any form of criticism or reformism. It is in fact an anti-Western religion inspired by hate and vengeance. It is dark, it is blind and it lacks mercy and compassion. It is a faith that declares an assault on any form of doubt. It is a crude brutal belief system that stands in opposition to the notions of liberty and goodness. As if this is not enough, those who subscribe to this religion are complicit in an ongoing assault against grace and peace.
As things stand at the moment, The British media is yet to decide whether Ahmadinejad is a ‘Jew rebel’ or just a ‘Meshugena Goy’. The Guardian was very quick to publish its own take on the subject refuting the Telegraph’s account. However, one thing is clear, neither the Guardian nor the Telegraph or any other so called ‘free media’ outlets are free enough to address the questions raised by Ahmadinejad.
1. Why only the Jews?
2. Why do you all say NO to scrutinizing the past?
3. Why do the Palestinians have to pay the price?
Instead of engaging in these crucial elementary questions. The British main papers succumb to racially orientated bloodline digging.
Rather than following the banal Zionist query ‘who is a Jew?’ I suggest that we take the discourse one step further and ask a very simple question: What Jewishness stands for?
Ed Miliband, UK Labour Party leader and younger brother of former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, has just been on a visit to Israel and occupied Palestine. Ed, who is Jewish, is a wannabe prime minister. And he may succeed in taking the top job next year if Agent Cameron continues annoying the voting public.
A BBC report tells us that Miliband and his wife Justine “were shown where the rockets are fired which rain down on this Israeli town of Sderot.
“They visited a playgroup which looks like many you would see in the UK, until you realise the kids are playing inside instead of outside as they would not be safe under the deep blue sky and are only so under a roof of reinforced concrete.”
The BBC, as usual when reporting on Israel, jettisons journalistic principles and fails to present a balanced, factual picture. How many Israeli children have actually been killed by garden-shed rockets “raining down” from Gaza? And how safe are Palestinian children from the frequent Israeli air-strikes? How many have been slaughtered by Israel’s state-of-the-art missiles, bombs, tank shells and other ordnance? I’ll start them off… 1520 Palestinian children killed and around 6,000 injured since the year 2000.
Dr Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, underscored the situation in this chilling statement: “They [the Israelis] have legitimised the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine. They have legitimised the destruction of their synagogues and their schools by hitting our mosques and our schools.” Al-Zahar knows all about a father’s grief. He has been the target of assassination attempts. His two sons were killed and his daughter injured in Israeli raids. Why doesn’t the BBC go interview him?
The fact is, Sderot is vital to Israel’s propaganda effort. It is an important plank in the regime’s attempt to justify the bloodshed it has inflicted on the people of Gaza. The Israelis use it ad nauseam to brainwash the media and their own people. And Miliband apparently accepts it all.
When Western politicians are hustled along to Sderot does it never occur to them to ask, what right have the Israelis to be here? If they did a little homework they would know that Sderot is built on the lands of a Palestinian village called Najd, which was ethnically cleansed by Jewish militia in 1948 before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. The 600+ villagers, were forced to flee for their lives. Britain was on watch as the mandated government while this and many other atrocities were committed by Jewish terrorists.
Najd was just one of 418 Palestinian villages and towns wiped off the map by Zionist Jews. It was not even allocated to the Jews in the 1947 UN Partition Plan but they seized it all the same and bulldozed its 82 homes. There is no American that I know, or Briton, who would stand for being thrown out of his home by foreign thugs.
Palestinian Arabs owned over 90 percent of the land in Najd and, according to UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they have a right to return home. But, as we have come to expect, Israel refuses to recognise the rights of others and will not allow them back.
The inhabitants of Najd, one supposes, became refugees in the nearby Gaza camps. The irony is that the sons and grandsons of some of those displaced and dispossessed families are very likely manning the rocket launchers…. Well, wouldn’t you?
And who but an Israeli would be so arrogant as to live on land stolen from their neighbour at gun-point… and demand to be left in peace?
In a statement Ed Miliband told Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East: “If elected leader of the Labour Party, I would visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority and take a first-hand look at what is happening on the ground in Gaza.” At a reception later, he said: “I did say I would make a visit to see for myself the situation and I promise to do that.”
Martin Linton, Director of LFPME, remarked: “We are glad that Ed has said he will go and see the situation on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza for himself. It is difficult for anyone to understand just how desperate the situation is until they have seen it for themselves…”
Did Ed Miliband drop in on Gaza for coffee with Dr Al-Zahar and Prime Minister Haniyeh? No. Instead of seeing the situation first hand as promised, he accepted whatever tosh came out of Israel’s propaganda machine. So, was he prevented from visiting Gaza by Netanyahu, or did he plain forget?
Do let us know, Ed.
Press TV – April 11, 2014
Israeli officials have unveiled the model of a Jewish temple near the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Palestinian activists say the model of the so-called third Jewish temple has a big hall and can accommodate hundreds of visitors each day.
Israeli authorities hope the project could attract tens of thousands of local and foreign tourists every year.
The al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and heritage says the move is a direct threat to the mosque.
The organization argues that the project is aimed at building enough support to make a Jewish temple on al-Aqsa site.
Palestinian groups have already warned of large-scale Israeli excavations near al-Aqsa’s southern gate.
On February 25, the Israeli parliament, Knesset, discussed a plan to annex al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned the debate as a “dangerous escalation,” calling it part of Israel’s goal to “Judaize Jerusalem.”
The Israeli Knesset is set to discuss a proposal later this week to place the so-called Temple Mount, where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, under Israeli sovereignty.
Palestinians have denounced the plan as desecration. They say it is part of the Israeli regime’s ongoing attempts to distort Arab and Islamic history.
Over the past decades, Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.
Israeli and Palestinian officials held fresh US-mediated talks Thursday, but the crisis-hit peace process was dealt a new blow as Israel unveiled sanctions against the Palestinians.
Israel, which collects about $111 million in taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority – two-thirds of its revenues – has decided to freeze the transfer of that money, an official told AFP.
Israel was also suspending its participation with the Palestinians in developing a gas field off the Gaza Strip and putting a cap on Palestinian deposits in its banks, the Israeli official said, asking not to be named.
However, the official said “discussions under the aegis of the United States to overcome the talks crisis will continue.”
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat lashed out at the move, calling it an act of “Israeli hijacking and the theft of the Palestinian people’s money.”
The decision is a “violation of international law and norms by Israel” in revenge for the Palestinians’ move to join a raft of international treaties as a state, Erakat told AFP.
Earlier State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed a new round of talks between the Israeli, Palestinian and US negotiators had been held Thursday. But she downplayed reports of a deal in the works.
“The gaps are narrowing, but any speculation about an agreement are premature at this time,” said Psaki.
Washington remains in “intensive negotiations” with both sides, she told reporters.
“We’re working, as you know, to determine what the path forward is for these negotiations, and that is up to the parties.”
The talks hit a new impasse last week after Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinians retaliated by seeking accession to several international treaties.
US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel this week for the deadlock as Washington mulled how much more time and effort to put into the faltering negotiations.
American envoy Martin Indyk presided over Thursday’s meeting in Jerusalem between Israel’s chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and her Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erakat, said a Palestinian source close to the talks.
Also present were Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Farah and Yitzhak Molcho, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Palestinian side was pushing for the release of a final batch of prisoners, a commitment Israel reneged on in a move that sparked the crisis.
Israeli television reported that the two sides were on the verge of a deal to extend peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.
The deal would see the Palestinian prisoners released in return for Washington freeing American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Channel 2 television said.
But insisting there was no deal yet, Psaki said “no decision has been made about Jonathan Pollard,” who is eligible for release next year.
Meanwhile Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, threatened to pull his party out of the coalition if there was a deal on the release of Palestinian prisoners.
“If the government proposes this deal to us, the Jewish Home party will pull out of the coalition,” he said.
The Israelis have repeatedly asked Barack Obama and previous US presidents to release Pollard, sentenced to life in 1987 for passing US secrets on Arab and Pakistani weapons to Israel.
Psaki revealed that Indyk would return to Washington this week for consultations with Kerry and the White House.
He would then go back to the region some time next week.
A Palestinian official also denied any deal was yet on the table, telling AFP there was still a “deep chasm” between the two sides.
When Israel refused to release 26 long-time Palestinian prisoners, it went back on a pledge it made at the launch of the peace talks.
The Palestinians responded by abandoning their own commitment not to seek international recognition until the nine months of talks ended, applying for accession to 15 treaties.
The United Nations said Thursday it had accepted the deposit of the request, but Psaki said that was merely “a technical step… so I don’t think it changes, necessarily, what we’re negotiating now.”
Australians have been witness to a remarkable conflict in recent days in which their former Foreign Minister Bob Carr denounced the Jewish Lobby and his former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, over the whole series of questions re Australian policy and the demands of Israel and the local Jewish Lobby.
Nothing quite like it has ever been seen or heard before in Australia.
Carr has just published his dairy as Foreign Minister during 2013.
He came to that office in the last year of a sorely troubled Labor Government inheriting the job from Kevin Rudd,a former Prime Minister who took over the Foreign Minister’s portfolio after he, Rudd, was deposed as P.M, but then resigned after more turmoil in the Labor Party.
Carr was no newcomer. Once Premier for 10 years of NSW, the largest state, and seen as a smooth operator if fairly right-wing in his policies and his views, he was seen by many as a likely winner in the new job, in a Government in deep trouble.
A scholar of note, he has written much on one of his favourite topics, American History, with a very good book on the origins of the American Republic.
He came to the Senate, after several years in retirement, as the Government of Julia Gillard lurched from crisis to crisis. It was a job he craved and he got a seat in the Senate and then joined Gillard’s cabinet, where much was expected of him.
The crisis came in the last months of Gillard’s term when the question of Palestinian membership of UNESCO came up for consideration. Gillard was a notorious Zionist from the very inception of her 3-year term, and she was well know for her great support, without any conditions, for Israel. She had links with the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and the Zionist Lobby which also had a fifth column inside the Labor Party, which too has, like it’s US counterpart the Democrats, always had links with the Jewish Lobby.
When Deputy Prime Minister after 2007 Gillard went with a delegation to Israel as guest of a Melbourne Jewish millionaire who organises such events and who provided a job for her hairdresser partner as a salesman for his property empire.
She made no effort while there to visit or see the conditions of the Palestinian people… and one may surmise that her Israeli hosts would have seen to that aspect of her visit. In 2010 she replaced the disastrous Rudd as PM in a” palace coup”, and narrowly won power in a closely divided Parliament.
Her support for Israel never faltered, but when Carr became Foreign Minister in 2013 he had a wider view of the whole Middle East.
We know now that the conflict between Gillard and Carr arose over Israeli matters and appropriate policies in the UN.
Carr was told not to make any criticism of the Settlements on the West Bank, which he wished to do, and when the UNESCO issue arose, he was told to vote (as always) with the USA and Israel. Carr knew the widespread support of Europeans elsewhere in the Asian region for seating the Palestinians in UNESCO. Gillard insisted that he vote with Israel.
Carr demurred and challenged Gillard and then took the matter to the Labor Party Caucus… all members of the federal parliament were then to vote on the matter. Gillard was angry, and a bitter conflict developed.
Carr won out when a majority of the Labor Caucus voted for an Australian abstention in the UN. Carr would have preferred a YES vote but this was a compromise that Gillard, even as P.M. was forced to except she still wanted a NO vote against Palestinian admission, but failed to carry the party.
The Jewish Lobby was outraged and condemned the decision, and Carr for bringing it on. Carr went ahead and abstained, and the vote admitted the Palestinians with a huge margin anyway. The rift between Gillard and Carr was never healed.
Now after the Labor Government’s defeat, Carr is once again in retirement, and his published diary tells the whole story re UNESCO, and the power of the Zionists over Gillard, albeit she was their willing ally.
Not surprisingly he has infuriated the Jewish Lobby and Carr has been denounced in the harshest terms by the very Zionists who run the Lobby, who have described him as “Gillard’s worst appointment” and as “Australia’s worst Foreign Minister.” Carr is known as a tolerant and outgoing man, but none-the-less a Lobby critic has described him as a “bigot”, all in line with the usual Zionist tactics in such cases.
He has replied in kind, saying the Lobby was virtually contracted by Gillard to run Australia’s Middle East policies.
Carr a robust politician has fired back with a furious blast to the Lobby, saying it’s very right-wing and intrusive, and the battle rages now in the media. The Lobby must regret all this as for the first time a senior Labor politician has let the cat out of the bag, re the Lobby.
It will be difficult to get it in that bag again.
There is no word on all this from ex-PM Gillard. She, at the moment, is in Israel.
Brian McKinlay is an Australian Labor Historian who lives in Melbourne and has written widely on Australian history, notably of the Labor Movement, being the author of a 3- volume documentary history of Australian Labor and trade union and radical groups.
An online video has emerged, showing Israeli police forces battering a Palestinian before attacking a protesting bystander.
Ali Talhami suffered a broken arm and ribs after police officers repeatedly slammed a police car door on him, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Thursday.
The video shows a police officer forcing Talhami into the police van with blows and then walking over to Majdi Dabah, who was standing nearby, before throwing him at the vehicle.
Talhami was subjected to the acts of violence for refusing to pay up a heavy fine imposed on him by an inspector for leaving a refrigerator outside his store in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
“I explained the refrigerator was outside because we were returning it to the company, but the inspector started swearing at me,” Talhami said, adding that he was then attacked by a police officer accompanying the inspector before other police officers arrived and joined in on the beating.
“After we reached the police station, they continued beating me,” said Talhami.
“The policeman started beating Ali, and I told him not to,” Dabah said. “So he pushed me with my head into the window and then knocked me to the ground and beat me.”
“My shoulder was dislocated and my head hurts,” Dabah said.