Palestinian Legislator, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, stated that while Israel is heading to peace talks with the Palestinians, its government continues its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.
Dr. Barghouthi added that Israel never even froze its settlement activities in Jerusalem and its suburbs, and is ongoing with the construction and expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
He further stated that settlers grabbed by force 130 Dunams of Palestinian farmlands that belong to residents of Qaryout village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and that they brought construction equipment to build homes.
Dr. Barghouthi also revealed that Israel is planning to build 3000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and that settlers built, three days ago, a new illegal outpost on lands that belong to Al Baq’a village near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
He considered Israel’s declaration of freezing settlement activities as a new scam that aims at deceiving the international community especially since the Israeli government approved last month the construction of 23 school rooms in eight West Bank settlements.
Over the past several months, Israel started the construction of 390 units in different West Bank settlements, and also built 223 units in addition to 167 mobile homes placed by the settlers.
Hundreds of units are currently being constructed in Beitar Ilit settlement, Yirkan settlement, Penze settlement and Shi’are Tikva.
Israel is currently building 40 units in Givat Zeev settlement, 24 in Mitzpe Yeriho, 22 in Ariel, 21 in Maaleh Adumin, 20 in Kfar Ezion, 18 in Kfar Adumim, 12 in Itamar, 11 in Eli, 9 in Oranit, 9 in Tzufim, 7 in Beitar Ilit, 6 in Elkna, 6 in Finuel, 5 in Eliezer, and 5 in Yakir.
Dr. Barghouthi said that heading to direct talks with Israel before it halts all of its settlement activities is a wrong decision under the current circumstances.
BETHLEHEM — A pro-Palestinian group based in the US will send a plane loaded with aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s air and sea blockade, an official said Sunday.
“We intend to send an aircraft to Gaza in much the same way boats were used — without going through Israeli or Egyptian airspace,” said Paul Larudee, an organizer with the California-based Free Palestine Movement sponsoring the flight.
Authorities in Gaza are supportive of the initiative and are working to locate a landing site, Larudee said. Gaza’s now-defunct Yasser Arafat International Airport is not being considered, he told Ma’an.
In the meantime, Free Palestine Movement officials will look for a plane designed for rough landings and takeoffs such as those used in Alaska and other locales lacking proper aviation facilities, Larudee said. The plan is to send a light aircraft equipped with material sometime in the spring of 2011, after the next sea voyage.
“Breaking the blockade by air may be even more feasible than by sea. An aircraft cannot be boarded while in flight, and the right aircraft can land almost anywhere in Gaza,” a statement on the group’s website says.
In May, Israeli navy commandos raided a six-boat flotilla loaded with humanitarian aid in international waters off the coast of Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens including a dual US national were killed in the operation. Israel says its soldiers came under fire from the activists, a claim Free Gaza Movement officials deny.
The years-long military blockade against Gaza is enforced by Egypt and Israel. Israel says the siege prevents weapons from entering the coastal enclave, but Palestinians as well as the UN and human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment against the civilian population in addition to Hamas.
Israeli soldiers have erected tents on the roof of the Salayma family’s home and are occupying the building
Al Baqa’a, HEBRON – On Friday the Israeli army raided a Palestinian house in Hebron and converted it into a military base, forcing a family of 14 to move into the first floor of their home.
The following day the soldiers took over the roof as well. Yesterday an ISM activist visited the Salayma family in Al Baqa’a, east of Hebron, and spoke to Salem Salayma about the situation.
He said that now the roof has been taken over, soldiers have been on and off the roof constantly. Yesterday morning, at about 8am, six soldiers carried out some kind of exercise around our house, running up the hill, sitting in shooting positions and moving up and down the road. He added that sometimes the army move around in the area, walking or driving, and all the families in the area are very scared. When they see soldiers, they close the house, and stay inside because they fear the soldiers themselves – as well as the settlers who have been moving around the area regularly since the shooting of four settlers last week, and have carried out several attacks on Palestinians.
Salayma, who is in his forties, lives with his family who in total number 14, including 4 children. At present 5 family members are living on the second floor of the occupied house, and 9 are on the first floor. Now, the family has been ordered to vacate the upper floor by next Sunday, so the soldiers can expand their military base. The only reason given for the takeover of the Salayma home has been “security reasons” and no alternative provisions have been made for the family. Since their arrival soldiers have been using the house’s bathroom, water and electricity, without asking.
United Nations personnel logged a report from the family yesterday and Salayma says he wants to hire a lawyer to prevent the military from taking over his house. However, any court case would not happen for at least two weeks and by that time the military occupation of the house will likely be complete.
Salaymi, has not been out of the house since the soldiers came, because he fears for his family. He is also deeply worried however because this means he is losing the income he needs to support his family since he has not been able to go to work. He has also been unable to attend prayers.