Israeli forces demolish sole school in Bedouin community

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Israeli forces on Sunday demolished a Bedouin school for children in the Abu al-Nuwaar community near the town of al-Eizariya in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the al-Jahalin Bedouin community said.Atallah al-Jahalin told Ma’an that Israeli forces, accompanied by 30 vehicles and a delegation from Israeli’s Civil Administration, raided the area and destroyed the sole school in the community. Residents said Israeli forces told them the school was demolished because concrete structures were forbidden in the area. Israeli forces also reportedly seized the contents of the school. Al-Jahalin added that Israeli forces briefly detained two youths who were protesting the demolition, both of whom were released after the demolition.After the demolition, primary students held a “sit-in” where the school once stood while wearing their uniforms and holding school books in protest.On Wednesday, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory Robert Piper said the number of Palestinians displaced so far in 2016 is already equivalent to over half of the total number displaced in all of 2015.Piper called on Israel to immediately halt all demolitions in the occupied West Bank, which he said were in violation of international law.“Most of the demolitions in the West Bank take place on the spurious legal grounds that Palestinians do not possess building permits,” Piper said.“But, in Area C, official Israeli figures indicate only 1.5 percent of Palestinian permit applications are approved in any case. So what legal options are left for a law-abiding Palestinian?”The UN documented 283 homes and other structures destroyed, dismantled, or confiscated between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15.The measures displaced 404 Palestinians, including 219 children. Another 1,150 Palestinians were also affected after losing structures related to their source of income, according to the UN.The destruction was focused in 41 locations, many in Palestinian Bedouin or herder communities in Area C, the over 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.Piper highlighted previous statements by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Israeli zoning and planning policies are “restrictive and highly discriminatory.”“International law is clear — Palestinians in the West Bank have the right to adequate housing and the right to receive humanitarian assistance,” Piper said.“As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect these rights,” the UN official said.Repeated calls by international bodies for Israel to cease the displacement of Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory have done little in the past to stop ongoing demolitions or illegal settlement expansion onto Palestinian land.The EU earlier this week condemned Israeli policy regarding demolition and settlement expansion, which the body said made the establishment of an independent Palestinian state impossible.

Arab Diplomats Meet Portuguese Minster of Foreign Affairs

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Augusto Santos Silva attended the meeting of Arab Diplomats accredited to Portugal, held on the 18th of February 2016, at the residency of the Dean of the Arab Ambassadors, Ambassador of Morocco her Excellency Mrs Karima Benyaich. During the meeting they discussed the bilateral relations between the Arab countries and Portugal, as well as the latest developments in the Arab world.

Palestine and the EU Strategy


Hikmat Ajjuri

The Palestinian upheaval which broke out in October last year, in the Occupied East Jerusalem, is a natural outcome of 57 years of persecution of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli occupying forces; army and settlers. This fact was asserted directly and indirectly by many politicians in the world including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kin-moon.

On Tuesday 26/1/2016, Mr. Ki-moon said that the Palestinian youth’s violent response to Israeli occupation is ‘human nature’. He added by saying that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process.” “Occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

This indisputable truth was deceitfully responded to by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that the remarks of Ki-moon “give a tailwind to terrorism.”

The five decades’ of silence of the International Community against all the crimes conducted by Israel the occupying power against the Palestinians was perceived by the Israelis as an International community´s endorsement of their crimes. While on the other hand was perceived by the Palestinians as complacency and betrayal of the International Community to its values and laws including the IHL Laws meant to serve the legitimate aspirations of all nations including the Palestinians to live in peace and prosperity with dignity in their own sovereign countries.

Factually, it is not only this shameful silence but also the carelessness of the International Community which favored not to know that killing a Palestinian child in cold blood in the streets of the occupied East Jerusalem and the overrun by an Israeli Bulldozer, of an American young woman, Rachel Corrie, because of her protest to the Israeli atrocities, had a spark effect to this instability and violence which hits every were in the region and now beyond.

Any EU global strategy that aims to sustain peace and prosperity for all Europeans will never succeed unless this strategy is well informed by the European values.

Security and defense which means that Europe keeps its finger all the time on the trigger, is not only a very tiring process but has proved to be a wrong approach to serving a meaningful European strategy.

Democracy is a European value and ought to be sustained in order to keep the European system sound, secure and constructive.

The European silence on the crimes conducted by an alleged democracy “Israel” in addition to its controlling the life of Palestinians against their wish and will, is an utter contradiction of this value.

As important reference to a European strategy is the recognition by leaders of western democracies including America of the Israeli Oppression of millions of Palestinians under their occupation, a main recruiting tool for the terror which is becoming uncontrollable worse than a cancer.

In this context the question worth asking is whether the current coalition of sixty countries are truly fighting DAESH to uproot terrorism, or in fact, un-intentionally or ignorantly are flourishing it.

Mindful of the tools used by this evil (terror) to promote its crimes, in order to recruit brain washed youth worldwide. Experiences learnt from Afghanistan and the war against AL-Qaeda proves that the western Democracies need to review their global strategies in order to sustain their civilized systems, the core of which is human rights and democracy. The new generations of the developing world including the Middle East are no more afraid of dictators and very much benefiting from the technology which turned the world into a small village.

In this village the shared human values should be observed based on the wisdom of Martin Luther King “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

On conclusion, I am for once inspired by the brave move taken by the French Foreign Minister Fabius, calling for International conference as a non- violent means to end this decades long Israeli military occupation of the State of Palestine.

May be it is high time for a new European strategy adopting this French peace initiative as an effective alternative to the military might which has so far proved its failure in its war against terror.

Article first appeared on 08.02.2016: