Monday, 3 December 2012

Effective annexation: Israel now stamping passports of West Bank visitors “Judea and Samaria only”


Because the Palestinian Authority has no real control or sovereignty, anyone who wishes to go to the occupied West Bank can only do so with Israeli permission. This includes foreign visitors and thousands of Palestinians with third country passports who live or visit there.

Even though many foreign nationals live and work in the West Bank, there is no such thing as a work permit that allows them to work for Palestinian institutions or companies based in the occupied West Bank, or simply to live there securely.

So such people get Israeli “tourist” visas which they have to constantly renew and which are frequently arbitrarily denied.

Hundreds of Palestine solidarity activists challenging Israel’s iron grip on who can enter and leave the West Bank, have been expelled or denied entry over the past year.

It is not just ordinary people who are denied entry by the occupying regime, but even foreign government officials trying to meet with the Palestinian Authority.

This is an Israeli abuse that has even been documented by US diplomatic missions in the region.

Stamping passports “Judea and Samaria”

In the past, an Israeli visa meant that a foreign visitor or Palestinian with a foreign passport could roam throughout “Israel” and across the West Bank.

But since at least 2009, Israel began stamping passports of visitors to the West Bank with the words “Palestinian Authority only,” meaning that the bearer could only move within the occupied West Bank.

Now in a significant new development, Israel has begun stamping passports with the words “Judea & Samaria only.” more

Medics: Israeli soldiers shoot teenager in central Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers shot and injured a Palestinian teenager on Monday near a border fence area of central Gaza, medics said.

Jihad Sawarka, 16, sustained minor injuries in the incident, which took place east of al-Bureij refugee camp. The boy was taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that "IDF soldiers acted in accordance with IDF rules of engagement," without providing further details.

Two Palestinians were injured on Saturday by Israeli gunfire near the border fence in eastern Gaza, medics said, with Hamas accusing Israel of violating the Egyptian mediated ceasefire.

Earlier Saturday, Palestinian medics confirmed that a 21-year-old man died after being hit by Israeli gunfire on Friday evening near Rafah. more

Palestinian shot dead by Israeli agents near Nablus


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli security officials outside Nablus on Monday morning, witnesses said.

Witnesses identified the dead man as Hatem Shadid of the nearby village of Alar. His vehicle collided with an Israeli jeep near the northern West Bank village of Beit Lid, they told Ma'an.

Israeli officials said Shadid's car collided with a vehicle carrying agents of the Israeli internal security service, the Shin Bet.

The Israeli vehicle overturned, and two passengers were wounded in the incident, they said.

Shadid then approached the Israelis, who were already injured from the crash, hitting one in the head and the other in the shoulder with an object that he was carrying. Israeli officials said it was an axe.

One of the Israelis then shot him dead, both sides said. more

UK may recall Israel ambassador over settlement plan


Britain is considering tough diplomatic measures, including the possible recall of its ambassador to Tel Aviv, in response to Israel's announcement of settlement expansion. Its move followed the vote by the United Nations general assembly to recognise the Palestinian state.

The recall of the British ambassador would be a dramatic and unprecedented rebuke to the Israeli government, whose isolation was sharply illustrated by the overwhelming backing for the state of Palestine in New York last week. Only eight countries out of 193 rallied to Israel's side in opposing the move.

Britain is furious at Israel's decision to take punitive measures, including the authorisation of 3,000 new settler homes and the development of land east of Jerusalem known as E1 for settlement construction.

The development of E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a "game-changer" as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.

Britain has demanded that Israel rescind the decision. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said the settlement expansion plans "would represent an almost fatal blow to the remaining chances of securing a two-state solution". more

Hamas to 'allow Fatah members to return to Gaza'


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas will allow twenty Fatah members who fled Gaza during fighting in 2007 to return to the coastal enclave, a Fatah official said Sunday.

Jamal Ubeid, a member of Fatah's high committee in Gaza, told Ma'an that the party had been officially informed about the decision by Hamas, although a list of names has not yet been received.

Earlier Sunday, Gaza's interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan told Ma'an that Fatah members who had fled to Egypt would be allowed to return to the Gaza Strip.



"Fatah supporters will return to Gaza on Monday via the Rafah crossing after they complete legal procedures, and nobody will harass them at any rate," Shahwan said. Around 400 Fatah members fled the Gaza Strip during 2007 fighting with Hamas and 56 party affiliates are in Gaza's jails for political reasons, a Fatah official said this week. more