Palestine Update 91
US mediation in Palestine and international community at near-static while the struggle is insistent
In a week when Palestinians were buoyed by the visit of Chief Mandela ( Nelson Mandel’s grandson), there was the horror story from the US. Mandela carried a message of camaraderie, “carrying forward Madiba’s legacy of justice and internationalism of seeing solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a South African ethical obligation” (Words of Omar Barghouthi). The US President, on the other hand was as usual into political absurdity. He threatened refusal to renew the license of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office. That threat seems to have been retracted in the face of strong disapproval in influential political and civil society circles.
In Palestine, regardless of the relentless pressures on it, Hamas refuses to surrender its right to armed struggle until the occupation ends. Hamas also demands all PA-related sanctions against the Gaza Strip lifted and wants the government to decide justly on employee payments.
In a significant step, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat rejected the plan to cut off Arab neighborhoods located behind the security barrier terming the solution unacceptable. He, instead, wanted that “the services we provide there should be improved.” The abhorrent plan is the brain child of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who seeks a separate municipal entity to govern these areas. The apartheid mentality never ends in Israeli political thought.
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Palestinians and South Africans united in struggle for freedom – Mandela on historic trip to Palestine this week
Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela MP, is on a historic visit to Palestine. Mandela. He will hold several meetings with Palestinian leaders including President Mahmoud Abbas. Chief Mandela will also visit the Holy Towns of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, both located in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, as well as the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. Chief Mandla Mandela’s grandfather, Nelson Mandela, was a close friend of Arafat having explained in his famous Ted Koppel interview that: “Our stand is that Arafat is a comrade in arms and we treat him as such” (click here).
Chief Mandela is a close ally of the BDS movement and Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid. Following a meeting with Mandela, Barghouti a prominent leader in the BDS Movement said: “Chief Mandla Mandela is exceptionally inspiring, not only for carrying forward Madiba’s legacy of justice and internationalism, but also for seeing solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a South African ethical obligation. During his meeting Barghouti reiterated Palestinian support for the shutdown of the SA Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Hamas says weapons a ‘red line’ after talks with Fatah
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has refused to be disarmed as part of a recent national reconciliation deal with rival party Fatah, stressing that its weapons are not up for discussion.
“The resistance’s weapons cannot be divided…and all the red lines are under it,” senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said in a news conference in Gaza noting that the movement has the right to resist the Israeli occupation until it ends. Hayya further expressed concerns over recent remarks by senior Fatah officials but stressed that Hamas “will continue the path of reconciliation to end the Palestinian division,” despite obstacles created by the rival group. Meanwhile, Hayya urged the Palestinian Authority to lift sanctions against the Gaza Strip and called on the government to resolve the issue of employee payments.
Hamas and Fatah inked a historic reconciliation deal in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in October to put an end to their decade-long rivalry.
US threatens to impose an unjust an immoral deal on Palestinians
The US measure regarding the PLO office is a “crazy idea” as the facility was only a “tiny bribe” offered by the US to the Palestinian political regime to persuade it that it “remains a neutral mediator” in the reconciliation with Israel. “Like the American measure itself,” he added, “the PA response was naïve because it considered the US administration a neutral peace mediator.”
The US Administration has recently refused to renew the license of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington unless it stops prosecuting Israel before the international courts and attends unconditional peace talks. This is seen in media circles as a form of extortion of the Palestinian Authority in order to accept Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” through which the US is seeking to end the longest conflict in the Middle East. The US is currently laying out a final plan to impose permanent peace on the Palestinians and Israel in the wake of the Saudi-led change in Arab-Israel relations. Palestinian political analyst Talal Okal said that this “extortion” comes in the light of the US preparation for the “deal of the century” and it aims to pressure the Palestinians to accept the deal “without political or diplomatic conditions.”
Jerusalem Mayor opposes plan to cut off Arab areas from City
A plan to cut off Arab neighborhoods located behind the security barrier is not an acceptable solution, and if advanced, the Jerusalem Municipality will object, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.
“I would not support such plan,” he said. “This is not the right step that should be taken. Instead, the services we provide there should be improved.” The plan to cut off neighborhoods located behind the security barrier is being promoted by Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who has suggested the establishment a separate municipal entity to govern these areas. These areas, which include Kafr Akab in the north and the Shuafat Refugee Camp, were physically cut off the capital when the security barrier was erected in 2004. Elkin holds that the fact that these neighborhoods are wide open to the West Bank but are still a part of the capital and attract non-Israeli Palestinians – which leads to mixed marriages – it poses a demographic challenge for the Jewish majority in the city. The lack of law enforcement officials in these neighborhoods also creates a situation that makes it hard to know how many people are living in these areas.
Israel seeks to hide reports about Palestinians killed/ wounded
The law was proposed after a number of cases arose where the relatives of the victims heard about what had happened to them through messages or images published by the mainstream media or social media.
Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) Ministerial Committee for Legislation discussed a bill which would ban the Israeli media from publishing details about Palestinians killed or wounded by the security forces before officially informing their families. The bill, which was proposed by members of the right-wing Jewish Home party, was postponed to next week. Haaretz explained that the bill recognizes that there are special cases where details could be published, for instance when three main news outlets report confirmed information at the same time about the victim(s).