palestine

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The Israeli government is loathe for this sort of news to get out, as it threatens one of the key demographics amongst the state’s supporters – ie. American Evangelicals!

In my conversations with Christians in the US I find that most are not even aware of the existence of Palestinian Christians! All Palestinians are assumed to be Muslims (and are accordingly suspected of terrorism).

Father Dave

source: www.middleeastmonitor.com…

Palestinian Christian presence in Palestine endangered as a result of the occupation

There is an on-going conspiracy against the Christian presence in the Palestinian territories, said Hanna Issa Hadithah, an activist who supports the Christian presence in Palestine.

“The [Israeli] authorities bear primary responsibility for emptying the land of the Christ of Christians,” Hanna Issa said in an interview held in Ramallah.

Issa, who also heads the Muslim-Christian committee for supporting Al Quds and sanctity, added that there are currently 4300 Christians in Jerusalem only. However, the number of Christians in Jerusalem has almost halved in the past decade.

“The number of the Christians that remained in the Gaza Strip is now 1230 and 40,000 in the Occupied West Bank,” he added.

According to official statistics, Christians constitute less than 1 per cent of the Palestinian population in the Palestinian territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza).

Issa said that in the year 630, Christians made up 90 per cent of the population, “and now they constitute less than 1 per cent of the Palestinians residing in Palestine due to forced displacement by the Occupation, the economic situation and inducements by some missionary Zionist Christians.

The head of the committee also highlighted that Israel controls the areas where sacred Christian sites are located as well as the routes to these sites; therefore, Christians prefer to emigrate from the area.

Noting that the immigration of Christian Palestinians begun to take on a political nature since the middle of last century, “Israel’s objectives behind the rise of Christian immigration from Palestine is to empty its lands from Christians.” “It aimed at emptying Palestine from its civilizational components and diversity in line with the Israeli policy toward damaging the Palestinian people’s culture and scattering Palestinians around the world.

Issa noted that all Palestinians – Muslim and Christian – have a common culture and live in the same circumstances. “But the immigration of Christians from Palestine requires a serious and responsible pause by relevant political actors.

He noted that the Palestinian Authority has no strategy to confront this decline, and that there is no purely Christian Church in Palestine to follow up on the catastrophe. Churches in Palestine are affiliated with other Christian denominations in other countries, and there is no Christian Church for Palestinian Christians; one which would confront the danger.

He concluded that the Palestinian Authority’s institutions and civil society organisations in Palestine must prevent this emigration and reinforce the presence of this group, “as there is a dire need to find a comprehensive vision for the nation’s issues, and serious work need to be undertaken by Muslims and Christians together in order to confront the various challenges that the Palestine Issue faces.”

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These are the sorts of incidents that are generally not considered newsworthy, yet behind each statistic are grieving families and children who are growing up in an environment of hatred towards the occupying power – a hatred that is totally understandable.

How can there ever be peace between these peoples while daily injustices like this go on?!

Father Dave

source: gulfnews.com…

EU flays Israel destroying Palestine structures

28 people, including 18 children, were displaced and 120 others affected

Occupied Jerusalem: European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed serious concerns on Friday about the demolition last week of 22 structures in eight places across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The destruction displaced 28 people, including 18 children, and affected 120 other people including 57 children, a statement from EU missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem said of the actions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some of these structures were funded by EU member states, including France, it said.

“These and other recent demolitions appear to put an end to a period in which a welcome reduction in demolitions had been noted,” the EU said.

“Since the year 2008 more than 2,400 Palestinian houses and structures have been demolished in Area C of West Bank and [occupied] east Jerusalem, displacing more than 4,400 people.”

Places designated as Area C are under full Israeli control.

The statement said that, on May 14, 2012 they had called on Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including halting forced transfers of people and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure.

French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot condemned the destruction of a Palestinian Bedouin camp by the Israeli army on Tuesda in the north of the Jordan Valley.

He said the camp had been financed by France and was “clearly identifiable.”

“France has made representations to the Israeli authorities to stop the destruction of homes, the displacement and the destruction… in Area C, which are contrary to international humanitarian law,” Lalliot said.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Friday the demolition of two farm sheds and a Palestinian restaurant in Area C on April 19 and the temporary displacement of some 60 people, including 36 children, in the Jordan Valley due to Israeli military training.

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It seems that Mahmoud Abbas cannot delay elections any longer! He is not the elected leader of the Palestinian people and he no longer has the support of the international community now that Fayyad has gone. Truly his time has come!

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

source: www.khaleejtimes.com…

Palestine unity govt talks begin: Abbas

RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced the start of talks on forming a national unity government, the official Wafa news agency said.

The announcement came on the last day of the statutory two-week period after the April 13 resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank.

The consultations will take place “in accordance with the Doha Declaration and the timetable set up by the Palestinian leadership in meetings in Cairo on the reactivation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation” in February, Abbas told the news agency on a visit to Italy.

Abbas urged all Palestinian movements to cooperate so he can issue two decrees, one on forming a unity government “composed of two independent personalities” and a second fixing a date for elections, Wafa reported.

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip, said that “any government must be formed in accordance with the reconciliation agreement and in consultation and agreement with Hamas”.

“There has been no consultation with Hamas on this matter so far,” Abu Zuhri said, warning against “any unilateral steps”.

Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly failed to bridge their political differences despite signing an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement in 2011. There have been no substantive moves to implement the accord.

Hamas rejects the interim peace accords which Fatah leaders signed in the 1990s with Israel. Peace talks between Israel and Abbas have been stalled since 2010 over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Palestinian basic law required forming a new administration because of Fayyad’s resignation.

“Abbas’s step has thrown the ball into Hamas’s court to agree on a date for holding elections and they will be responsible for the failure if they do not accept,” Abu Youssef said.

 

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My feeling is that it is Abbas who should have resigned rather than Fayyad.

Abbas lost whatever credibility he had left when he kowtowed to Obama and Kerry in delaying Palestine’s application for membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC)! He is not the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people and has no reason to delay an election beyond his unwillingness to let go of power.

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

source: english.alarabiya.net…

Deep-seated animosity trumps Palestinian calls for unity

After Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned, Palestinian politicians immediately called for elections and a national unity government to reconcile bitter rivals Fatah and Hamas.

But entrenched animosity between the two sides, stretching beyond disagreement over Fayyad, suggested that any thaw in relations between Fatah and Hamas, which control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively, would be slow.

In Fayyad’s first weekly radio address after resigning, the now caretaker premier called for “a general election as the only way to rebuild our political system and achieve our national goals,” namely statehood, which would first require intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

“Just as there is no state without Jerusalem as its eternal capital, there is no state without the Gaza Strip, a part that cannot be partitioned from it,” Fayyad said.

Hamas leaders met Friday in Doha, the base of the Islamist movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, saying they would discuss “Palestinian reconciliation and developments in the Palestinian arena following Fayyad’s resignation.”

A senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’s secular Fatah party, meanwhile, called on his leader to “hold consultations with Palestinian movements to form a national unity government and set a date for elections.”

Azzam al-Ahmed said Fayyad’s resignation a week ago, after an announcement by the elections commission that it was ready to carry out elections should they be called, was “favorable to… forming a national unity government.”

But Abbas’s Thursday pledge to launch talks “in the near future” on forming a new cabinet, despite what officials say is a two-week deadline to do so, avoided giving an exact date as the president prepared for a tour to Turkey and Europe.

In Turkey for two days from Saturday, Abbas will meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is set to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in May.

Fatah has openly criticized the Erdogan trip as fostering intra-Palestinian divisions.

“Any official, Arab, Muslim or foreign, who visits Gaza without reference to the legitimate Palestinian leadership is blessing and consolidating the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Ahmed said in a separate interview with official Voice of Palestine radio on Monday.

And in a march in Gaza to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Wednesday, a speech by a Fatah-affiliated politician and an animated retort by a Hamas member underlined the root of the division between the movements.

Palestinian People’s Party member Talaat al-Safadi called for Hamas’s Gaza premier Ismail Haniya to step down also, prompting Hamas member Ashraf Abu Zeida to seize Safadi’s microphone and shout “Fayyad was an impostor, Haniya was chosen by the people!”

After Hamas won a landslide victory in a January 2006 Palestinian general election, the West mounted a boycott of the movement.

Bickering with Fatah culminated in the formation of a unity government in 2007 but that collapsed in bloody street fighting in Gaza just months later.

Hamas never recognized Fayyad’s authority as Palestinian premier, continuing instead to recognize Haniya.

The two movements signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.

But implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Meshaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.

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In terms of support from the international community, I think these people may be Palestine’s greatest hope!

Certainly the United States has been completely discredited as a neutral broker, and while Palestine’s Arab neighbors continue to voice their support for their fellow Muslims, their powerful words never seem to be matched with effective action!

The problem is that no country outside of Israel/Palestine really stands to profit from Palestinian independence and, contrary to the rhetoric, no government really pours out its resources for the sake of humanitarian concern.

But this is where ‘Anonymous’ comes in! ‘Anonymous’ is not a government. They are a group of ordinary people – rank and file idealists – who aren’t caught up in the power-games and aren’t controlled by big business. Moreover, because they are not a government or a country, no military force, however powerful, is able to shut them down!

Father Dave

Anonymous

source: www.stopthewall.org…

Anonymous hackers unite to attack Israeli websites in solidarity with Palestine

Last week the hacking group Anonymous launched a cyber-attack campaign dubbed #OpIsrael replacing Israeli homepage messages with anti-Israel slogans and causing massive disruption to government, academic and private sites. The attach reached its peak on Sunday with high-profile government systems such as the Foreign Ministry, the Bank of Jerusalem, the Israeli Occupation Ministry, the IOF blog and the Israeli President’s official website all being hacked. Israeli finance minister Yuval Steinitz said the government was now waging war on “a second front of cyber attacks against Israel.” Haaretz newspaper also said almost 19,000 Israeli Facebook accounts had been attacked by hackers affiliated with Anonymous.

The hackers, who stand for “human rights, justice, and universal equality for the citizens of every nation”, started their #OpIsrael campaign because of a threat by Israel to sever telecommunications in and out of Gaza. Hackers from across the Middle East (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine) and also from Indonesia, The United States, France, Spain and Britain all joined together in this campaign to show solidarity with Palestine.

A message hosted on the website Anonpaste (an alternative to Pastebin used by the hacktivist collective) explained: “The reasons for Anonymous intervention through #OpIsrael should be abundantly clear: What is happening in Palestine is oppression. They have no navy, no army, or air force. There is no war in Gaza. There is only the continuous application of military force by Israel in an attempt to push every last person out of the Palestinian state, despite international laws that make these efforts illegal.” Their video addressing the Israeli government further explains their aims and grievances.