Wednesday, 12 August 2015

UK petition to arrest Netanyahu attracts growing support

An online petition that is calling for the British government to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attracted more than 40,000 signatures in a few days with campaigners hoping public support for the proposal could force a debate on the subject in parliament.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron for talks in September when among other matters he is expected to issue his objections over the nuclear deal with Iran.

The petition, published on the British parliament’s website, has a very short text.

“Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September,” the statement reads. “Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.”

Israel launched a 51-day offensive on the Gaza Strip last summer, killing over 2,200 Palestinians. The majority of those killed were civilians, including 539 children.

Amnesty International published a report into the summer war, dubbed Operation Protective Edge by the Israelis, saying that based on testimonials, field research it found “strong evidence” of Israeli war crimes.

According to British law, any petition that has over 10,000 signatures must be met with a response from the government. If a petition has over 100,000 signatures, the topic at hand must be officially considered by parliament for debate.

As of 1300 GMT on 12 August, the petition had attracted more than 40,000 signatures. more

Saudi Arabia donates $35 million to UNRWA

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Saudi Arabia has announced that it will provide $35 million to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in a bid to avert a financial crisis within the organization, a statement said.

Yousef al-Bassam, Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development, said the donation aims to mitigate a funding crisis within UNRWA, which has threatened to delay the start of the school year for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

"The closure of schools for half a million Palestinian children would be a catastrophe. I hope the rest of UNRWA’s steadfast partners will take heart in the continued confidence placed in the agency by the Kingdom with this latest contribution, and step forward with their own pledges to keep UNRWA’s operations going,” al-Bassam said.

The money will be spent on education and health in the Gaza Strip, upgrading schools and health centers in Jordan, and constructing three health centers in the occupied West Bank. Around $19 million will contribute to reducing the current financial deficit within UNRWA, estimated at some $101 million. more

New illegal colony planned in Silwan, in occupied Jerusalem

Palestinian researcher in settlement affairs, Ahmad Sob Laban, has reported that the Israeli colonization organization “Ateret Cohanim”, based in the Muslim Quarter in occupied Jerusalem, has presented a construction plan to the Jerusalem City Council, in preparation to build a new illegal colony near Bet Yonatan colony, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Sob Laban said the new plan aims to construct three outposts, each composed of four floors, in addition to expanding the road between Bet Yonatan (illegally installed on Palestinian property in 2004) and the new outpost, which would also be built on illegally-seized Palestinian property adjacent to Bet Yonatan.

He added that Silwan, especially Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, is facing serious threats from Ateret Cohanim, an organization that is responsible for the construction of 71 illegal outposts in the Old City, in both the Muslim and Christian Quarters, since 1967.

The official also said that Batn al-Hawa became a target for colonization in 2004, when Bet Yonatan was illegally established in a building consisting of six floors through forged sale documents, while at the same time the organization established another outpost, known as Beit al-'Asal, in the heart of the neighborhood.

Last year, Ateret Cohanim managed to control two residential buildings, each composed of ten apartments, and a plot of land in Batn al-Hawa, after Israel removed the owners, the Abu Nab Family, and Palestinian renters of the apartments, allegedly because "the land it was built on used to contain a synagogue, and was inhabited by Jews, before 1948." more