Statement by PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat on Netanyahu’s statement on Jewish Terrorism

Mr. Netanyahu is claiming  that the killing of any human being by a Jew is not comparable to the killing of a Jew by a non-Jew. This is probably why the terrorists who killed the Dawabsheh family haven’t been arrested just as Abu Khdeir family is still waiting for a ruling over the terrorists who burnt alive their 16 years old son, Mohammad.

Mr. Netanyahu’s referral to  “Palestinian incitement” as an excuse for Israeli terrorism is a further attempt at erasing his political and legal responsibility as the head of a belligerent occupier that violates the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people on  daily basis, including its very right to be free. Israel, the occupying power, continuously uses terror against the Palestinian people.

The State of Israel  honors the memory of terrorists who were responsible for the assassination of thousands of Christians, Muslims and Jews, including those who assassinated the UN Mediator Count Bernardotte in 1948, those who committed the Deir Yassin massacre, those who blew  up the Kind David Hotel, those who used terror to expel  thousands of people from their homes and land and even convicted terrorists by British Courts. A prominent case is that of  the terrorist Baruch Goldstein who killed 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, and who has a shrine at the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement, across a park named after Meir Kahane, another Israeli terrorist.

Once again we call upon the international community to assume its responsibility to protect the Palestinian people and to stop treating Israel as a state above the law. 

Christmas Message by H.E President Mahmoud Abbas

It is a divine blessing that this year we are coincidentally celebrating the birth of Jesus and the birth of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them, for the first time in centuries. On this day, billions around the world celebrate the birth of two great messengers of love, hope, justice and peace.

 Jesus is a symbol for all Palestinians. Palestine and its people take pride in being the birthplace of Christianity and having the oldest Christian community in the world.

 Christmas is a message of hope which should prevail even during the difficult times that our nation, and the world, are facing. In Bethlehem this year, Palestinians will celebrate Christmas surrounded by eighteen illegal settlements and an annexation wall, which are taking over their land. Over the past few months, we have seen how the Israeli government has continued to consolidate an Apartheid regime by accelerating policies which destroy the two-state solution. And yet, Palestinians continue to defy the daily oppression imposed by their occupier with steadfastness and love for their country.

 In 2015 we were able to finalize a landmark agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine; an agreement that is unique in our region. In the agreement, we ratified the historic status quo of the Churches in Palestine, as well as our respect for the principles of freedom of worship. The Holy See knows well that Christians are not a minority in Palestine; they are an integral part of our social fabric.

 Through this agreement we also seek to empower the work of the local church, with hundreds of priests, nuns and monks, who have dedicated their lives to the education, health and well-being of the Palestinian people. In particular I would like to mention Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah, a national symbol, whom the State of Palestine has decorated with the Star of Jerusalem Order.

In 2015, Palestine was blessed with the Canonization of two Palestinian nuns, Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Baouardi. We are proud not only because they are daughters of our nation, but also because of the contribution of their communities to our rich and diverse society.

This year, we witnessed more churches around the world supporting the call for recognition of the State of Palestine, and an increasing number of Christian groups campaigning to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of our land. We would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank all involved.

Several parliaments have also recommended that their governments recognize the State of Palestine, including most recently the parliament of Greece. We thank all countries that have taken the constructive step to recognize the State of Palestine and we ask those who have not yet recognized our state to do so, as an investment in peace. As a consequence of international solidarity with Palestine, during 2015 we were able to raise our flag at the United Nations Headquarters, just as it had been raised previously at the Holy See.

This Christmas comes during a particularly difficult period, when international intervention is desperately needed to protect the Palestinian people. Extremist Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinians, including their mosques and churches, through acts of vandalism and terror. The twin cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem have been separated for the first time in over 2000 years of Christianity, resulting in incalculable damage to Palestinian society, culture and economy. Millions of Palestinians, as well as Christian and Muslim Arabs from the rest of the region, are not allowed to visit Jerusalem due to the Israeli occupation. There can be no Palestinian State without East Jerusalem as its capital, reunited with Bethlehem and the rest of Palestine.

Despite their prayers and other forms of peaceful protest against Israel’s colonialist plans, Palestinian Christians in Beit Jala were forced to watch as Israeli forces began the construction of the illegal Annexation Wall on their land, uprooting their historic olive trees in Cremisan. Recently, new expropriation orders have been issued against Bethlehemites, as plans were announced for settlement infrastructure in the Western Bethlehem Area. We will persist with our legitimate tools to end the occupation. We are not asking for anything more or anything less than what international law grants our people.

We reiterate our condemnation of the terror brought by Daesh, and other terrorist groups, and we support actions taken against them. We express our solidarity with the peoples who have been affected by their evil actions, and particularly with the millions of refugees who were forced to leave their homes in search of safety. The use of any religion for political purposes is absolutely unacceptable and must be fought. Within the Palestinian context, we call upon the international community to stop Israeli attempts at turning a difficult but solvable political issue into an impossible religious war.

Once again, we pray for the end of occupation and Apartheid in order to resurrect justice in our Holy Country. Ending decades of exile and oppression is a must in order to bring peace to our region. On the Holy Occasion of Christmas, I salute all Palestinians wherever they are, hoping for the day that they will be able to live, worship and be free in their homeland.

 

“Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace”

 H.E President Mahmoud Abbas

President of the State of Palestine

Chairman of the Executive Committee of the

Palestine Liberation Organization

The international conference about Jerusalem in Jakarta 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Douglas Broderick, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator in Indonesia, to the Meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the Question of Jerusalem, in Jakarta today:
“This meeting takes place against the backdrop of one of the most serious eruptions of Israeli-Palestinian violence in recent years.  It is no coincidence that Jerusalem was one of the sparks that lit the fuse of this latest escalation, as it did in the early 2000s, when the intifada took so many Palestinian and Israeli lives.
Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, holds shrines sacred to billions of people worldwide — Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.  What happens in Jerusalem reverberates around the world.  Any action which could be interpreted as attempting to change the delicate balance, and particularly the status quo of the holy sites, carries with it the risk of conflict.
I welcome the understandings reached in October of this year between the Governments of Israel and Jordan to stabilize the situation around the Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount.  Israel’s reaffirmation not to seek to divide the site and the commitment to enforcing the long-standing policy in which Muslims pray and non-Muslims visit the holy sites must be strictly upheld.  I hope that increased coordination between the authorities concerned will help to ensure respect for the sanctity of the area.
I conveyed these messages to officials during my emergency visit to the region in October.
To address the wider escalation of violence, I also underlined the urgent need for leaders to rein in incitement, for Israeli security forces to ensure a calibrated use of force in response to incidents, and for all of us to address the prevailing lack of a political horizon to end the occupation and achieve a negotiated two-State solution.
Continued security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli authorities remains integral to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  However, the violence cannot and will not be addressed by security measures alone.  The anger we are witnessing is bred from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation.  It is the result of fear, humiliation, frustration and mistrust.  It has been fed by the wounds of decades of bloody conflict, which will take a long time to heal.  Palestinian youth in particular are tired of broken promises and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.
As the current situation continues to deteriorate, and the settlement enterprise continues to expand, a growing one-State reality threatens to close the window of opportunity to reach the two-State goal.
I look forward to the revitalized Quartet realizing its full peacemaking potential, strengthened by its cooperation with regional partners and the international community, to create the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations.
The United Nations, and I personally, remain committed to helping the parties bring the occupation and this long-standing conflict to an end, in pursuit of the lasting vision of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.
In this spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful event”.

Dr. Ashrawi: “Anyone who deviates from Israeli ideological arguments and official government spin is subject to vicious attacks and unfounded accusations and threats”

“Anyone who criticizes Israel or digresses from the official Israeli line is singled out for public attacks.  Israel is attempting to censor international leaders and defame anyone who deviates from its public positions in any way.”

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi made these comments in response to Israel’s smear campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

 “We commend world leaders like Margot Wallström who are people of principle and courage and who continue to stand up to Israel and speak against injustice.  We are grateful to Sweden and other countries that are not intimidated by Israeli campaigns to silence dissent and that persist in upholding the principles and requirements for justice, freedom and peace.”

Another example of Israel’s defamation strategy is its decision to suspend diplomatic contacts with the European Union (EU) and its representatives connected to the peace process following the European Commission’s move to adopt new guidelines for labeling products and goods produced in the illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine, Dr. Ashrawi said:

“Such a step constitutes a hysterical response. The idea that Israel presumes to be the sole gatekeeper to an international pursuit of peace is the epitome of arrogance, particularly since Israel itself is responsible for destroying the peace process.  Israel is not the arbiter on the eligibility of global partners.”

In response to media reports that the Israeli foreign ministry is planning to distribute a document worldwide claiming that the settlements are legal, Dr. Ashrawi stated:

“Israel is attempting to present so-called “legal arguments” to legalize the settlements and is subjecting the whole world to its own interpretation of international law to negate the very existence of the military occupation of Palestine and of the Palestinian people.  Such “legal” manipulations and distortions are a travesty that must be exposed and countered.”

In the same vein, Dr. Ashrawi commented on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks on the two-state solution:

“Once again, Netanyahu has the arrogance to attack Israel’s closest ally and defender merely because Kerry stated the obvious to ensure Israel’s security and its “democratic and Jewish” character.  It has become evident that anyone who deviates from Israeli ideological arguments and official government spin is subject to vicious attacks and unfounded accusations and threats in an attempt to intimidate and to silence any independent or objective voices that do not parrot Israeli distortions and fabrications.”

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Dr. Ashrawi: “Palestinian Parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar’s sentencing is unjust and politically motivated”

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:

“On behalf of the PLO Executive Committee, we strongly denounce the sentencing of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Member and a member of the political leadership of the PFLP, one of the PLO’s constituent factions, Khalida Jarrar.

There is no legal basis for Khalida’s sentencing.  The actions of the Israeli military court are politically motivated and are part of a deliberate attack on Palestinian politicians.  This also constitutes a blatant violation of Khalida’s parliamentary immunity.

We demand the immediate release of Khalida and all imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarians, and we call on the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to hold Israel accountable for its blatant violations of international law, particularly the rights of Palestinian political prisoners, and urge Israel to adhere to international law and conventions regarding the immunity of elected officials.  It is high time for the dehumanization and the captivity of the Palestinian people to end.”

PA, Israel in dispute over Dawabsha family medical bills

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health on Thursday said it had been asked to pay the medical bills to treat members of the Dawabsha family after a deadly attack on their home by settlers in July, a claim denied by a senior Israeli official.

The ministry issued a statement claiming that the Sheba Medical Center had demanded that the Palestinian ministry cover the medical bills of four-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha, the only surviving member of a deadly arson attack which killed his 18-month-old baby brother and parents Saad and Riham.
On Oct. 25, the PA ministry received a bill from the medical center for 259,643 shekels ($67,000) to cover treatment of the Dawabsha family, including payments for a medical mask for Ahmad, which the ministry eventually paid for.
Weeks earlier, on Oct. 6, the PA ministry said it received a bill for 216,754 shekels ($56,454) to pay for the treatment of Riham Dawabsha, who succumbed to her injuries on Sept. 7 after suffering burns to 90 percent of her body.
The Dawabsha family has said since that by refusing to cover the medical bills Israel is not applying its laws on terrorism, which offer full coverage by the state for medical bills of the victims.
“It seems that financial bills in Israel are done faster than holding killers, who are not identified yet, accountable,” Samir Dawabsha, a spokesperson for the family, told Ma’an Wednesday.
“The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Health Ministry have expressed a willingness to pay the sum,” he added.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Yoav Mordechai, on Thursday denied the claims by the PA ministry, saying in a statement that Israel had not sought reimbursement from the family of medical bills of up to 1,900,000 shekels ($495,701).
The senior Israeli official said that the Israeli government offered to cover all medical costs of the Dawabsha family, including four-year-old Ahmad, but that a lawyer for the family refused the offer, according to the Jerusalem Post.
He also denied claims that the medical bills were deducted from tax revenues transferred to the PA every month, the report added, although he did not mention whether the hospital had asked the PA Ministry of Health to cover the medical bills.
A spokesperson for the Sheba Medical Center could not be reached for comment.
Several Israeli youths connected to Jewish extremist organizations have been arrested by Israeli forces for suspected involvement in a fatal arson attack on a Palestinian family in July, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said Thursday.
The information about the arrests was released after a weeks-long gag order was partially lifted on investigations into those responsible for the murder of three members of the Dawabsha family in the Palestinian village of Duma outside of Nablus.All other information regarding the investigation is still under a gag order requested by the Israeli police.