Israelis racing to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws as possible

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Hanan Ashrawi. (Courtesy photo)
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In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, a view of the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, some of the holiest sites for Jews and Muslims, is seen in Jerusalem's Old City. (AP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Israelis racing to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws as possible

AMMAN: Israeli legislatures and right-wing party activists appear to be in a race to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws and resolutions as possible as they can in anticipation of a possible indictment of their prime minister and the holding of new parliamentary general elections in 2018.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the Israeli Knesset’s approval of a bill to place Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and to require the approval of 80 Knesset members (out of 120) to return any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
“Such a law severely changes the status of Jerusalem and creates an illegal and extrajudicial Israeli and Jewish exclusivity over all of Jerusalem — a city whose status remains that of “corpus separatum” under the UN General Assembly Resolution 181,” she said in a statement to the press following a meeting with Italian member of Parliament Lia Quartapelle Procopio in Ramallah.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that neither the Israeli Knesset law nor the Trump decision is legitimate.
“The Israelis are trying to take advantage of the US decision to destroy everything and this requires a firm Arab, Islamic and international response to put an end to the Israeli roistering action that is leading the region into the abyss.”
Abu Rudeineh said that the forthcoming meeting of the Palestine Central Council in Ramallah on Jan. 14 will take necessary steps to challenge these acts which are aimed at the Palestinian national identity.
Khalil Tufakji, the head of the Arab Studies Society Map department, told Arab News that Israel is moving quickly to cut off any chance for peace. “They are taking concrete steps to change the demographic balance of the area which will result in some 150,000 Palestinians to be stripped of their connections to the Jerusalem municipality.”
Tufakji said that parts of Jerusalem’s Shufat, Kuf Aqab, Bir Onah, Walajeh, Abu Dis, and Ezzarieh will soon enter a state of legal limbo. “We are calling these locations area X in reference to the fact that they will be in some kind of unknown legal limbo.”
Daniel Seidmann, an Israeli lawyer working on issues regarding Jerusalem, told Arab News that these neighborhoods are in fact entering into an uncharted legal territory.
“This law is recognizing that these Palestinian neighborhoods are untenable but they are replacing their status with yet another untenable and unknown legal future.”
Seidmann rejects the idea that the areas beyond the wall are somehow being held in escrow until there are negotiations to settle where they belong.
“The new law doubles down on occupation, makes arriving on an agreement much more difficult and at the same time makes getting rid of 150,000 residents of Jerusalem much easier.”
Back in 1980, Israel had changed its Basic Law to require 61 out of 120 votes to make any legal change in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, said Seidmann. “Now they need a majority vote without having to cross the 61-member threshold which will make it much easier to redraw the municipal limits of Jerusalem.”
Hanna Issa, a Palestinian who specializes in international law, told Arab News that all Israeli actions since 1967 are null and void according to the international law and UN resolutions.
“Even after passing Israeli laws in the Knesset, these actions regarding Jerusalem including the settlement activities have no place within the international law and signed treaties. Whatever Israeli Knesset passes is null and void.”


Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

Updated 23 October 2018
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Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

  • Hamas took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack
  • Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true

JERUSALEM: A theory that a lightning strike triggered Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza last week gained traction in Israel on Tuesday and might explain the Israeli military’s limited response.
Two rockets were launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave on Oct. 17. But the group took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack. Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true.
One of the rockets wrecked a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, causing no casualties, the other landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel responded with air strikes that killed a militant in Gaza.
Soon afterwards, video appeared on social media showing lightning illuminating the night sky in Gaza and then two flaming rockets streaking into the air.
Israel’s best-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet now believed the lighting set off a launch mechanism.
Asked about the report, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the security cabinet, told Israel Radio: “I won’t discuss security cabinet meetings and I don’t know which ministers are chatting with journalists, but I can say that as far as we know, Hamas did not intend to fire those rockets.”
Hamas officials had no immediate comment.
The rocket launchings coincided with Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars in the past 10 years.