AceWorldNews – WEST BANK – September 28 – Israeli forces have raided a number of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, arresting at least seven people.
The Palestinians were arrested after Israeli troops stormed their homes in the cities of Bethlehem, located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of al-Quds (Jerusalem), Husan and al-Khalil (Hebron), located 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of al-Quds, early on Sunday.
Local residents said the abductee’s were taken to an unknown location.
Five of the detainees are reportedly accused of throwing stones at Israeli military forces.
A Palestinian human rights organization says Israel is holding 540 Palestinians without trial, showing a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian arrestees over the past six years.
A high-ranking officer described the operation to Haaretz as “a kind of thorough cleaning,” adding that “the IDF concentrated its activity on Nablus, which served in the past as the terrorism capital, and will continue to do so over the next few days.”
#AceWorldNews – ISRAEL – May 29 – Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet at the Vatican on June 8 to unite in prayers for peace, the Vatican stated on Thursday.
Pope Francis invited the pair as he took part in a three-day tour of the Middle East, visiting the Holy Land last week.
The surprise invite was issued after a mass in Bethlehem.
Pope Francis said he hopes it will aid in the creation of an atmosphere conducive to peace talk resumption.
#AceNewsServices – BETHLEHEM – May 27 – A fire broke out in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity early Tuesday, just hours after Pope Francis wrapped up a three-day Middle East pilgrimage which saw him visit the shrine.
Bethlehem governor Abdel-Fatah Hamayel told AFP it was a small fire which had broken out accidentally when an oil lamp fell over just before dawn, causing some damage to fabric wall hangings inside the Grotto of the Nativity itself.
“It was an accident that started when an oil lamp fell over.
The fire started on its own, then burned itself out,” he said.
The fire, which was discovered at around 4:30 am (0100 GMT) when the security guard smelled smoke, broke out in the cave underneath the 4th-century basilica where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Inside, the charred remains of several brightly-coloured wall hangings hung limply against the cave walls which were blackened with soot.
Two ornate icons of Mary holding Jesus sustained smoke damage.
“We have asked those who work there many times to put out the oil lamps and candles when the church closes at 6pm,” Hamayel said, adding that similar accidents had happened in the past.
Pope Francis visited the church on Sunday after celebrating an open-air mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square at the start of the Israeli-Palestinian leg of his Middle East pilgrimage, which began in Jordan on Saturday.
Ace World News
#AceNewsServices – JERUSALEM – May 26 – Israel on Monday approved plans for 50 new homes for Israelis in east Jerusalem, AFP reported.
“The municipality has given the green light to build 50 new housing units in five buildings in Har Homa,” City Councilor Yosef Pepe Alalu said.
Har Homa is a settlement neighbourhood in the southern sector of Arab east Jerusalem which was annexed after the 1967 Six-Day War.
The history leading up to and including the six day war are both revealing and quite enlightening as from the 1950’s onward tensions surrounding water politics had escalated.
After the 1956 Suez Crisis, there were numerous minor border clashes between Israel and its Arab neighbours, particularly Syria, and Egypt agreed to the stationing of U.N. peacekeepers, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), in the Sinai to ensure all parties would comply with the 1949 Armistice
Agreements, the Straits of Tiran were opened to Israeli traffic and the Sinai peninsula was demilitarized.
On November 4, 1966, the Soviet Union vetoed a six-Power resolution inviting Syria to prevent incidents that constituted a violation of the General Armistice Agreement.
Author Jeffrey Sosland argues in his book that before 1967 Syria exacerbated the confrontation with Israel in order to divert attention from its internal economic and political instability.
Israel tapped the Jordan River (and the Sea of Galilee) by canal for irrigation of the Southern Negev desert, and Syria started the Headwater Diversion Plan (Jordan River) in order to thwart Israel’s plans to use the water.
Cross-border conflicts over water had preceded the war by years, without any permanent political resolution.
#AceNewsServices – BETHLEHEM – May 25 – updated 15:34
By Laura Smith-Spark, Ivan Watson and Delia
Bethlehem, West Bank (CNN) – Pope Francis extended an invitation Sunday to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to travel to the Vatican for a “peace initiative,” after earlier calling for a two-state solution to the intractable conflict.
The pontiff’s remarks came at the end of an outdoor Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on the second day of his three-day trip to the Middle East.
“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace,” Francis said.
“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”
He added, “Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.”
The Palestinian side has accepted the invitation and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will go to the Vatican, a Palestinian Legislative Council member, Hanan Ashrawi, told CNN.
The Israeli President’s office said that he welcomed the invitation. “President Peres has always supported, and will continue to support, any attempts to progress the cause of peace,” his office said.
Pope Francis then traveled on to Tel Aviv, where in remarks on the airport tarmac to Peres and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he again issued an invitation to pray for peace at the Vatican. He also reiterated the Vatican’s support for Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.
#AceWorldNews – BETHLEHEM – May 25 – Pope Francis has prayed at the concrete barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank during his three-day tour of the Middle East.
The unscheduled stop came after he called for an end to the “increasingly unacceptable” Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Speaking in Bethlehem, the Pope invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican to pray for peace.
The tour’s official purpose is to improve ties with the Orthodox Church.
It comes just weeks after peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down.
Later, the Pope will travel to Tel Aviv and then Jerusalem where he will meet Bartholomew I, the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.
Jeremy Bowen, BBC News, Bethlehem
This has turned into a much better than expected visit for the Palestinians, according to a PLO official I spoke to here in Bethlehem.
Palestinians have used social media to post pictures of Pope Francis praying at the 8m concrete wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem. The Israelis say the wall and other parts of the separation barrier are vital for the security of their people. But for Palestinians the wall is tangible symbol of what they say is Israel’s intention to grab as much land as possible.
#AceNewsServices says according Qassam website – A Palestinian child succumbed to his wounds after he was run over by a Jewish fanatic settler north of occupied Jerusalem on Saturday, local sources said.
They said that the 14-year-old child, Amin Al-Faqir, was seriously injured in the incident and died shortly after arrival in Hadassah hospital where he was admitted to intensive care.
The sources said that the child was riding a donkey on his way home in Enata when the settler rammed into him near Issawiye village.
Editor says just before Christmas another “Mother and Father loses a child, in an area close to where one was born so long ago. We have not come that far from the violence of “Herod Killing Children” have we!