Friday, 10 May 2013

Israel again rebuffs peace with the Arab world

Washington's reputation as an "honest broker" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in tatters after four years of indulging Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intransigence. The Obama administration desperately needs to resurrect a credible peace process.

Faced with a diplomatic impasse between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, seized his chance last week. He extracted from the Arab League an agreement to dust off a decade-old regional plan, the Arab Peace Initiative, declaring the move "a very big step forward".

Unveiled by Saudi Arabia in 2002, the plan promises Israel normal relations with the whole of the Arab world in return for its acceptance of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, or 22 per cent of historic Palestine.

The new Arab overture, like its antecedent, has raised barely a flicker of interest from Israel. Tzipi Livni, Washington's sole ally in Netanyahu's cabinet, predictably lost no time in praising the plan. But the prime minister himself has studiously avoided mentioning it, leaving his aides to dismiss the initiative as a "trick" designed to ensnare Israel in injurious peace talks. more

Settlers uproot 70 olive trees, expand settlement in Hebron

On Friday 10th May, a group of settlers from Ma'on settlement uprooted around 70 olive trees in Kherbit al-Tawani area, south of Hebron in the West Bank.

Coordinator of popular committee to resist wall and settlement in Hebron, Rateb al-Jbour, said that settlers sneaked into the area at night, and uprooted olive trees belonging to the two brothers Ayed and Khader Ibrahim al-Amour. more

Qaradawi urges Palestinian resistance to 'hold onto arms'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Influential Muslim cleric Yousuf al-Qaradawi on Friday called on the Palestinian resistance to hold onto its arms in a sermon at a Gaza City mosque.

"I advise all the people of Gaza to be patient and continue to build their country, and continue resistance," the sheikh told worshipers at al-Omari Mosque.

"We will not give up on the resistance, and we will not give up our arms," he added.

The cleric also called on Palestinians to implement national reconciliation and praised the victories of Palestinians in Gaza.

During a meeting Thursday with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, al-Qaradawi warned that nobody has the right to cede "any part of Palestine."

Egyptian-born al-Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, was heading of a delegation of 50 clerics from 14 countries. more

Palestinian shot in head in clashes with Israeli troops

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Friday shot a Palestinian man in the head with a plastic-coated bullet during clashes near Hebron in the southern West Bank, a local official said.

Ibrahim Awad, 21, was hit in the head when clashes broke out after prayers in Beit Ummar, popular committee spokesman Yousef Abu Maria said.

Abu Maria said Palestinians were protesting settlers' continuous violations in Hebron.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Earlier Friday, settlers uprooted dozens of olive trees and scrawled graffiti near al-Tawani village south of Hebron.

Witnesses told AFP that approximately 80 olive trees were uprooted in the village.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said "police received a report about the damaging of some 62 Palestinian-owned olive trees" in the area. more

Amid public uproar, Royal Jordanian forced to disavow sponsorship of Israel tourism conference

Royal Jordanian has disavowed sponsorship of an Israeli government tourism conference to be held in occupied Jerusalem later this month amid public uproar in Jordan that the airline’s logo appeared on the “supporter” page of the conference’s official website.

The Royal Jordanian logo appeared alongside those of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Airlines. The website also reveals that the conference is sponsored by the Israeli prime minister’s office and the Jerusalem occupation municipality.

Both the Royal Jordanian and Turkish Airlines logos have now been removed after users on Twitter objected to the companies’ sponsorship of the conference.

Turkish Twitter mounted a campaign calling on their country’s airline to pull out of the conference using the hashtag #İsrailinSponsoruTHYyeBoykot. more