Palestinian News via Jerusalem Media & Communication Center (JMCC)
POSITIVE CLIMATE PREVAILS OVER FIRST ROUND OF RECONCILIATION TALKS; AL AHMAD: THE CORE ISSUE IS ENABLING THE GOVERNMENT TO DO ITS WORK; RESISTANCE WEAPONS WERE NOT DISCUSSED
Amid a tight blackout on the course of talks between the two sides, late last night the first round of national dialogue talks ended between Hamas and Fatah, which began yesterday under Egyptian sponsorship. After the meeting was over, the two movements issued a closing statement, which said the two sides had discussed several subjects pertaining to the reconciliation file and that the “atmosphere had been positive.” The Fatah delegation held a meeting later to discuss what had been proposed and Al Ahmad called President Mahmoud Abbas to brief him on the meeting that ran from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm. Al Quds learned that Cairo asked the Fatah and Hamas delegations to have specific answers to the issues proposed such as allowing the government to fully operate in Gaza, the issue of security, weapons, crossings and civil servants. Hamas also held a meeting to discuss and assess the first round of talks and brief politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh on them. Meanwhile, media sources in Hamas said that the Hamas-Dahlan understandings were ‘one track” while the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation was ‘another track”.
Meanwhile, head of the Fatah delegation, Azzam Al Ahmad said the main point on the agenda of the first meeting was to discuss enabling the government to operate in the Gaza Strip and how they were dealt with during their visit there last week. He said they would assess all of the findings so far and decide whether the government will be able to take over all the ministries fully and according to the law, adding that so far, things had gone positively.
Al Ahmad also said the elections, the judiciary, security, the PLO, the political vision and everything else related to the Palestinian cause would be discussed, stressing that the decision on war and peace and the form of resistance allowed must be abided by all because it was a national and not factional decision.
Meanwhile, a source from the Egyptian intelligence told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the Hamas-Fatah talks in Cairo would not focus on strategic issues such as Hamas’ weapons or the political process but rather on civil issues pertaining to administrative affairs in the Strip. The source also said that Cairo did not intend to allow these talks to fail at this stage.
Also, the Israeli website Israel Pulse said the Egyptians would present a proposal to Hamas and Fatah to set up a joint security council to take over the administration of security affairs in Gaza, with the participation of representatives from the Egyptian intelligence as monitors. So far, Egypt has said it did not receive a response on this from President Abbas while Hamas has accepted the proposal. (Al Quds).
Informed sources also said that the issue of resistance weapons was not on the agenda of the meetings and that the file of the unity government would be discussed in joint meetings with all factions. (Safa).
EGYPTIAN PAPER COMPRISED OF 22 ARTICLES DEALING WITH ALL DETAILS OF THE NEXT STAGE
Al Quds has learned that the Egyptian paper presented to the Hamas and Fatah delegations includes 22 provisions dealing with all the details of the next stage of the reconciliation, including the Egyptian-American approach to holding an international conference in Sharm Al Sheikh with international and Arab attendants, after which a specific course would be launched to reunite the West Bank and Gaza and organize elections for Palestinian leadership institutions. The paper also includes a proposal to hold a meeting of Palestinian factions in a month in Cairo after which President Abbas would head to the Gaza Strip and stay at the presidential headquarters there for a few days. Egypt would also reopen the Egyptian embassy in Gaza in which eight employees would reside in addition to a security attaché to push forth efforts to end the security file between the two sides and facilitate movement of Palestinians via Gaza crossings and the Rafah crossing. They would also work on resolving the electricity, fuel, water and waste water treatment crises. (Al Quds).
CABINET CONFIRMS READINESS TO TAKE OVER ALL DUTIES IN GAZA
During its weekly meeting, the cabinet showcased the results of the trip made by the government to the Gaza Strip. The government confirmed that it was closely following all the issues proposed by factions and national forces, the businessmen and youths in their meetings with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his trip to Gaza in order to find solutions to these issues. The cabinet expressed its hope that the talks in Cairo would succeed and unity would prevail, saying the government was fully prepared to take over its duties in the Gaza Strip. (Al Quds)
THOUSANDS OF SETTLERS PRAY IN IBRAHIMI MOSQUE; HUNDREDS BREAK INTO THE AQSA MOSQUE; 12 CARS SMASHED IN HUWWARA
Yesterday witnessed an unprecedented rise in settler attacks on religious sites and on West Bank residents. For the second day in a row, Israeli occupation forces closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Muslim worshippers, providing protection for over 20,000 settlers to enter the mosque and pray there on the occasion of Sukkot. According to Israeli sources, 22,500 Jews have arrived at the mosque over the past two days.
Furthermore, for the third day in a row, hundreds of Jewish settler broke into the Aqsa Mosque compound under tight Israeli police protection for Sukkot. In the past three days, 1,800 settlers have broken into the mosque.
In Yatta, in the Hebron area, clashes broke out yesterday evening between local residents and Israeli army troops after dozens of settlers barged into a park under army protection and began swimming in the Karmal pool and performing Talmudic prayers. In Beit Ummar, a 14-year old child was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet during clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Finally, in Huwwara, near Nablus, around 12 Palestinian cars were shattered by Israeli settlers who threw stones at them on the Yizhar settlement road and the main Huwwara road (Al Ayyam)
INJURIES DURING CLASHES AFTER HUNDREDS OF SETTLERS RAID JOSEPH’S TOMB
A number of Palestinians were wounded during clashes early this morning with Israeli army troops east of Nablus after hundreds of settlers broke into Joseph’s Tomb. Eyewitnesses said a young man was hit with a rubber bullet while others suffered serious teargas inhalation during the confrontations. Israeli army troops closed the area to local residents to provide protection for the settlers, who prayed at the tomb. According to Israeli Channel 7, over 1,000 settlers broke into the area. (Qudsnet)
ISRAELI OFFICIAL CONFIRMS APPROVAL SOON FOR THE BUILDING OF 3,736 NEW HOUSING UNITS IN WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS; 172,000 SETTLERS LIVE OUTSIDE MAJOR SETTLEMENT BLOCS IN 2016
Israel is preparing to submit projects for building over 3,700 housing units in West Bank settlements, including hundreds inside Hebron for the first time in years. The official, who asked to remain unnamed, said approval would be given to 3,736 housing units at the various stages of planning and construction. The official did not specify a timeline or clarify the nature of the settlement plans or stages. According to Hagit Ofran from Peace Now, the Israeli defense ministry’s planning committee is scheduled to meet on October 17 or 18. The unnamed official said the settlement units would be built in various areas of the West Bank, including in Hebron, Bet El and Migron. He also said that in total, approval would be given to 12,000 housing units in 2017 in their various stages, which is four times the number in 2016. The official maintained that “there is no one who works for settlements with such a firm hand and shrewdness than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” Ofran maintained that the fear is the more pressure put on Netanyahu from his coalition, the more settlement construction he will agree to. (Al Ayyam)
Meanwhile, Peace Now published findings yesterday on settlers living in isolated settlements. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, 172,185 settlers live outside of the major settlement blocs (Al Quds)
ISRAELI DELEGATION IN CAIRO; ISRAEL: EGYPT IS STRONG ALLY FOR US AND PEACE WITH CAIRO IS STRATEGIC
Yesterday, an Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo on a private plane for a visit with Egyptian officials that lasted several hours. The reasons behind the visit remained unclear, especially since it came in tandem with the presence of Hamas and Fatah delegations in the Egyptian capital as well. however, the debate in Israel has increased over the cause of the missing soldiers in Gaza who are being held by Hamas and could still be alive.
However, Israeli sources said the delegation had traveled to Cairo to meet with officials from the Egyptian foreign ministry after statements made by the Israeli ambassador to UNESCO attacking Egypt’s representative over the elections in the UN organization. The ambassador said that the election of the Egyptian representative would not be good for Israel. A senior official in the foreign ministry made a phone call to the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv, refuting the statements attributed to the Israeli ambassador which were printed in the Times. Other sources said the visit could be related to the arrest of an Israeli tourist in Sinai by Egyptian security after finding several bullets in his bag. (Al Quds)
Last night, the Israeli foreign ministry announced that “peace between Cairo and Tel Aviv is strategic”, indicating that Israel is committed to moving forward with developing relations between both countries. Director general of the ministry, Yoval Rotim called Egypt’s ambassador to Israel to stress that “Israel’s UNESCO ambassador did not make the statement attributed to him and in any case such as statement does not represent the positon of the Israeli government.” The ministry confirmed that “Egypt was a strong ally to Israel and that peace between them was strategic and a central pivot in Israeli foreign policy.” (Maannews)
GREENBLATT: NO PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITHOUT PA CONTROL OVER GAZA
US presidential envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt said yesterday that ‘the next Palestinian government” must “unequivocally commit to rejecting violence and recognizing Israel.” Israel’s Channel 7 quote Greenblatt, saying that any Palestinian government must accept previous agreements and commitments signed between the two parties and enter into negotiations for a settlement. He said the developments of the Palestinian reconciliation completely coincide with the US’ vision and agenda, which wants the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table as one body that speaks for all its people and not just as an authority that does not represent the Palestinians in Gaza. Greenblatt welcomed efforts to create a situation where the PA bears full responsibility for Gaza, as per the demand of the Quartet Committee. (Al Quds)
WHITE HOUSE: DEMANDS FOR A SETTLEMENT FREEZE DO NOT HELP THE PEACE PROCESS
According to the Israeli newspaper the “Jerusalem Post” a White House official said that demands to freeze Israeli settlement activity would not help the peace process. The official, who was not named, made his statements in response to the Israeli government’s intention to build 3,737 new housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem. According to the official, US President Donald Trump is constantly expressing his concern over settlement activity and that the US administration made it clear that unrestricted settlement activity would not lead to progress in peace efforts. However, he continued that calling for a freeze would not help in making any progress in the peace process, saying the US was looking for a ‘package deal” instead of looking at each issue separately (Al Quds)
BELGIUM FREEZES SUPPORT FOR TWO PROJECTS BECAUSE SCHOOL WAS NAMED AFTER DALAL MUGHRABI
The Belgian government decided yesterday to freeze funding for two projects to build two schools at a cost of 3.3 million euros. A statement released by the Belgian foreign minister’s office said that the decision was taken because local [Palestinian] authorities had in Beit Awwa had changed the name of the “Beit Awwa Elementary Girls’ School”, which Belgium funded in 2012 and 2013 to the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.” The statement said the Belgian government denounces the glorification of ‘terrorist attacks’ and that Belgium would not allow itself to be linked with the names of ‘terrorists” in any way. It said Belgium was waiting for an official response from the PA on this issue. Meanwhile, the Palestinian education ministry said it was “very unfortunate” about the news of eth Belgian government’s freeze on two projects to build two schools because of the naming of a school built with Belgian funding five years ago. The ministry said it highly appreciated the Belgian government’s support for developing education and funding projects and had invited the Belgian consul general for a meeting to discuss this issue. A meeting has been set up with representatives from the Belgian cooperation institution on Wednesday. (Al Quds)
ISRAEL LOOKING TO REMOVE MINES AROUND SEVEN MONESTARIES IN THE JORDAN VALLEY TO TURN THEM INTO TOURIST AREAS
Israeli Channel 10 said yesterday that for the past 50 years, it has been prohibited to reach seven ancient monasteries located in the Jordan Valley because they are surrounded by hundreds of land mines planted there by the Israeli army after the 1967 war to prevent Arab armies from entering. Israel is now seeking to remove these mines to allow Christian pilgrims to reach the monasteries. (Al Quds)
EU TO OFFER ADDITIONAL DONATION OF 9.5 MILLION EUROS TO SUPPORT PALESTINE REFUGEES
The EU signed off on a donation for an additional 9.5 million euros to UNRWA’s operational program in response to a call to donors to help close the deficit, which the agency says could have a negative impact on UNRWA’s major services such as education and health care. The donation will help to maintain ways of allowing access to 500,000 children and providing primary health care to over 3.5 million sick refugees in addition to providing assistance to over 250,000 Palestine refugees most in need. (Al Quds)
KNESSET MEMBER HAZAN CALLS FOR ASSASSINATING PRESIDENT ABBAS
Israeli MK from the Likud Party Oron Hazan called yesterday for the assassination of President Mahmoud Abbas. On his Facebook page, . Hazan posted a picture of President Abbas with a circle around it. Next to the picture, he put pictures of martyrs Yasser Arafat and Khalil Wazeer (Abu Jihad), Salah Khalaf and Khaled Hassan. Under it he wrote: 58 years ago the terrorist organization Fatah was established. It is a good time to remember that its founders, Abu Jihad was eliminated in 1988, Abu Iyad in 1991, Abu Saeed who died in 1994 and Abu Ammar in 2004. Abu Mazen is on his way there. Only one “Abu” left. (Al Ayyam)
Interviews via JMCC
** Sheikh Yousef Dies, Minister of Waqf and religious Affairs.
Q: the occupation turned the old city in Hebron into a military barracks with hundreds of soldier to protect settlers, how do you follow violations and desecration of the Ibrahimi mosque?
It is clear that the occupation is implementing a barbaric policy against our holly sites, and our peoples rights, with this daily violations and attacks against our people, their land and even dead in their graves, these attacks increase at times of Jewish holidays, with this daily closure of religious sites and allowing settlers to perform their rituals and roam the city preventing Palestinians from reaching this area, this is a clear evidence that the occupation defies all international resolutions and laws protecting human beings.
Q: the numbers of settlers raiding the West Bank areas reached more than 22,000 yesterday.
This a systematic Israeli policy and these numbers are part of it, trying to establish anew reality on ground, with regards to the Ibrahim mosque, it is clear that they are trying to change history like Al-Aqsa mosque, they want to impose a new reality with dangerous results, which t5eh whole world with suffer, this would lead to a regional war with serious results for all.
** Reyad Al-Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Q: UNESCO is supposed to vote today on two draft resolutions, tell us more about them.
These are the same resolutions on regular basis related to the occupation Palestinian territories, the continued occupation including Jerusalem and the other issue is education situation of Palestinian organization, as I said these are regular issues discussed each session, to remind the world of the situation in Jerusalem of daily violations in Jerusalem and its policy of preventing UNESCO’s team to inspect the situation in Jerusalem.
Q: We understood that there were attempts to remove these form the agenda. And removing the seventh article, how did this affect our presence at the international level?
Let me make it clear, Israel felt it is losing at the international arena in general in all organizations, so it tried to focus on UNESCO and tried to portray a reality that we are politicizing the organizations and that UNESCO should be a specialized organization away from politics, it managed to convinced some states, but we coordinated with some states like Jordan and managed to prevent this from happening, of course Israel is supported by the USA and its representative that is protecting Israel in all international organizations, and the US started talking about removing the seventh article on human rights and held a meeting in this regard and failed, the issue was now transferred to the human rights council for discussion, we know that there is an attempts to fail all discussions on the Palestinian issue and we are trying our best to continue failing these attempts.
Q: Israel ratified 4000 new settlement units in the West Bank, still no clear American position of settlement, this is considered by Israel as an agreement t, how will this be reflected in the ideas to be formulated by President Trump on solving the conflict?
We communicated with the American Administration and said that what was leaked of new on Netanyahu’s attempts to establish another 4000 units is announcing a war on the two states, so the American administration should bear responsibility, because we made clear commitment to the Americans and others on the two states, and we cannot stand idle in front of such a decision and clear escalation by Netanyahu, through which he is trying to gain internal points, our messages were clear, so we are waiting for the American interference end preventing this ratification, otherwise we will have a to move before Netanyahu ends the two state solution forever.