Category Archives: Politics

Heads of churches in Jerusalem call for ‘constant watchful protection’ of holy places

Heads of churches in Jerusalem Wednesday expressed serious concern over heightened tension in East Jerusalem following Israeli police installation of metal detectors on gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that the holy places need constant watchful protection.

We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, wish to express our serious concern regarding recent violent development on al-Haram al-Sharif, said the church leaders in a statement.

We condemn all threats of change to historical (Status Quo) situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram Al-Sharif) and its courtyard, all buildings, and in the city of Jerusalem, it added.

Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present delicate political climate.

The heads of churches, who included all patriarchs, archbishops and leaders of the 13 Christian denominations in Jerusalem, came out in support of fellow Muslims demanding free access to their holy places.

Muslims have the right to free access and worship to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they said.

There is a great importance of the custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We believe that all Holy Sites need constant watchful protection so that reasonable access to them can be maintained according to the Status Quo of all three Abrahamic faiths, said the heads of churches.

We renew our call that the existing Status Quo governing these sites needs to be fully respected for the sake of the whole community, concluded the statement.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

A day of rage called in support of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinian political factions and organizations called Wednesday for day of rage throughout the occupied territories in support of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and to protest recent Israeli measures there.

Factions called for marches and protests in the West Bank cities, but also at contact points with Israeli soldiers, such as Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

A march is planned to start at 6:00 p.m. at Qalandia refugee camp toward the checkpoint. Soldiers manning the checkpoint usually crush such marches that always develop into confrontations.

The tension started in Jerusalem after police insisted on installing metal detectors outside the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque, a step strongly objected by the Palestinians who fear Israel is attempting to change the long-standing status quo at the Muslim holy site.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Chinese president says his country supports Palestinian cause

BEIJING � Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that his country supports the Palestinian cause and struggle to regain their national rights regardless of the international developments.

He said in a press conference with his guest President Mahmoud Abbas that China will continue to provide all assistance to the Palestinian people.

Xi said the world is currently following with interest developments in the peace process in the Middle East and that China, as a friend of the Palestinian people, hopes that the Palestinian and Israeli people will have peace and prosperity.

President Abbas thanked Xi for his support of the Palestinian cause stressing that China remains the best friend of our people and the best supporter of our national cause.

Abbas decorated the Chines President with the Grand Medal of Palestine, the highest Palestinian decoration.

Palestine and China also signed four economic, technical, cultural and capacity building cooperation agreements.

Abbas arrived in China on Monday in a four-day state visit.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Israeli police besiege East Jerusalem hospital to arrest wounded Palestinian

JERUSALEM � Israeli police besieged Makased hospital in East Jerusalem on Tuesday seeking to arrest a Palestinian shot and seriously injured by police the night before in Silwan neighborhood, according to hospital sources.

They said a large force has besieged the hospital since the morning with some police officers entering the wards causing panic and disturbance among the patients.

The police are after Ala Abu Tayeh, 17, who is getting treatment at the ICU after being shot during confrontations between Silwan residents and police following tension in the occupied city with Israel’s closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslim worshippers.

A hospital statement said police behavior at the hospital and its impact on patients is a serious violation of international laws and conventions stated in the Geneva Conventions.

It said it was in touch with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization urging their immediate intervention to put an end to the chaos caused by the intervention of the police in hospital affairs.

Palestinian Minister of Health Jawad Awwad called for immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the hospital and its surroundings.

He condemned the police action and called on international organizations to intervene immediately to force Israel to remove its police from the hospital.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Petition calls for immediate release of Palestinian women activists held by Israel

RAMALLAH � The Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association started a petition directed to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the European Union calling for the immediate release of Palestinian women activists, Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin, who were arrested by Israel earlier this month, a press release said on Monday.

Palestinian parliament member Jarrar and Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, were arrested at their Ramallah homes on July 2 in a pre-dawn raid.

On 9 July, Saafin was issued a three-month administrative detention order, without charge or trial and on 12 July, Jarrar was issued a six-month administrative order.

Saafin and Jarrar’s trials are both based on secret evidence; therefore, their legal representatives are unable to fully address the prosecution’s argument, which asserts that Jarrar and Saafin pose a security threat, said Addameer press release.

Jarrar, elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006, is also a member of the Board of Directors of Addameer. She has been the head of the Prisoners Commission of the PLC since 2006, and was appointed to the Palestinian National Committee for the follow-up to the International Criminal Court.

Jarrar was recently arrested and detained for more than one year, including serving one-month under administrative detention. She was released from prison in June 2016.

Saafin has participated in many worldwide events, including the World Social Forum, linking women’s struggles internationally with the struggle of Palestinian women for national and social liberation.

This practice of arbitrary detention is a grave violation of international laws and human rights standards, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention, said Addameer.

Both women are prominent civil society leaders and additionally, their work meets the United Nations definition of a human rights defender. It is our belief that Jarrar and Saafin are being illegitimately targeted and punished by Israeli military authorities as a result of their significant human rights work.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Israel Forces Kill Suspected Palestinian Gunman

Israeli security forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who opened fire on them early Sunday in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli police and military had been looking for the suspect whom they believed had carried out two shooting attacks on Israelis in the West Bank Saturday.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said The terrorist was found and surrounded, he pulled out his weapons at [the Israeli security forces], and in response, the terrorist was killed in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near the city of Ramallah.

One Palestinian was lightly wounded in the shooting. There were no Israeli casualties.

Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel have increased since 2015, although once-daily attacks had slowed lately. Since October 2015, violent incidents and other unrest have killed more than 270 Palestinians, more than 40 Israelis and a small group of foreigners.

Israel blames the Palestinian leadership for inciting the violence. Palestinian officials reject the accusation and say the violence steps from anger over Israeli occupation of land sought by Palestinians for an independent state.

Source: Voice of America


In spite of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic calls on Israel to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for Muslim prayers, the third holiest site in Islam remained closed Saturday for the second day in a row.

Israel closed the gates to the mosque on Friday and banned the weekly Friday prayer following an attack outside the mosque compound by three Palestinians against Israeli police that left the three Palestinians and two policemen dead.

Banning prayer in the mosque on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, was unprecedented since the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank in June 1967, according to reports.

Three Palestinians from Umm al-Fahm, a town inside Israel, attacked policemen outside the gates to the mosque killing two officers. Police chased the three inside the compound and shot them dead. The compound was then declared closed and prayer was banned.

Police also closed gates leading to the Old City of Jerusalem for most of Friday and banned traffic on roads leading to the Old City.

Muslims were forced to hold the Friday prayer outside the gates of the Old City under the eyes of reinforced police presence in the Old City and East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

At one point, police arrested the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, and interrogated him for several hours at the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem before releasing him on $2800 bail.

The Mufti had called on Muslims to come to the mosque to pray in spite of the Israeli closure of the site.

President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the closure of the mosque and contacted Jordan, the official custodian over the Muslim holy places in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, urging it to intervene with Israel to reopen it.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Moumani criticized the unprecedented closure of the mosque and demanded that Israel reopen it.

Similar calls were made by Arab and Muslim officials around the world.

However, Israel remained adamant about closing the mosque compound for Muslim and said that it will reopen it on Sunday.

Fanatic Jewish groups have called on their government to use this opportunity to take control of the mosque and turn it in a Jewish temple.

Source: NAM News Network