#AceNewsReport – May.16: A barrage of Israeli airstrikes at dawn Friday destroyed several homes in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Strip, resulting in the killing of a mother and her three children from the al-Attar family:
GAZA STRIP: A mother and her three children among 10 Palestinians killed in latest Israeli strikes leading to four deaths were identified in the preliminary inspection of the mass damage, while the mother and her three children, together with two other bodies, were pulled out from the debris sometime later’
WAFA correspondent said Israeli fighter jets carried out a crazy barrage of about 160 airstrikes concurrently, which coincided with bombing by the Israeli artillery and navy that mainly targeted civilian facilities in the northern Gaza district.
The Ministry of Health said the latest figure bring up the number of Palestinians killed by the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza to 119, including 31 children, in addition to 830 injuries, including 139 children.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: This is the way some extremist Israeli settlers extended their greetings to Palestinian Muslims in this blessed month. Israeli police also escalated their harassment, firing tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians. One Israeli policeman was filmed beating up a Palestinian at the Damascus Gate. Who stopped him? Nobody.
Jerusalem: On verge of exploding thanks to Israel’s fires: Firefighters have to be at the ready at all times and cannot afford to take holidays. Right now, the new US administration and major European powers are watching from the sidelines: The final bonfire is over Palestinian elections: The Israeli government is determined not to allow any Palestinian political activity in East Jerusalem, even though Palestinian elections were permitted under the Oslo Accords: Palestinians in East Jerusalem voted in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Even then, Israel compelled them to vote by post to indicate that they were voting from abroad. Of course, the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have no right to vote in Israeli general elections, and now they may even be denied the right to vote for the emaciated and semi-powerless body that is the PA: Arab News Sources:
The second possible candidate for PA president is Marwan Barghouti: Like Dahlan, in a face-off with Abbas he would win 60% of the vote. He’s a member of one of the largest and most powerful clans in the West Bank; there are Barghoutis everywhere. Marwan Barghouti has only one handicap – it’s the very thing that makes him so popular. He’s currently serving five life sentences (plus 40 years) for being involved in murdering five Israelis. Abbas may try to disqualify him, insisting that if Barghouti won, he could not govern from an Israeli prison. But that’s not necessarily the case. Politicians have been known to govern from jail. Americans may remember James Michael Curley, who served as Mayor of Boston for two years from his prison cell. Barghouti has made sure that his wife is running for the Palestinian Legislative Council:
He could govern by employing her, and a group of male Barghoutis, along with Nasser al-Kidwa, as his proxies. They could be sent directives from his prison cell. He could even use the Internet to broadcast his messages to his people. It’s not crazy — Marwan Barghouti would be “working from home.” Barghouti, it turns out, much to the chagrin of Mahmoud Abbas, has decided to run: A report on this new challenge to Mahmoud Abbas is here: “Marwan Barghouti to run in PA presidential election,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, April 15, 2021:It all kicked off with the Israeli decision to ban all seating on the stairs at the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter at the Damascus Gate. This is a major gathering place for Palestinians on Ramadan evenings.
There is another possible way for Abbas to remain as president, aside from cancelling the elections: That is to declare that “because of his genuine remorse for his long-past defalcation, and because he has earned gratitude for persuading the UAE to deliver 50,000 dose of coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian people, Mohammad Dahlan is hereby declared eligible to run for president of the Palestinian Authority.” Then Abbas can hope that his two rivals will split almost evenly the 60% of the electorate that is against him, while he wins with a plurality of 40%. It’s not impossible, when you’re dealing with Mahmoud Abbas, President-For-Life:
Israeli riot police deploy water cannon during clashes with Palestinians close to the Damascus Gate on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Screengrab: Twitter)
Restrictions on Palestinian numbers have also exacerbated tensions. Israel allowed only 10,000 people to enter Jerusalem from the West Bank, compared to many times that amount in recent years: On the first Friday in Ramadan, only 70,000 Muslims were able to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Despite Israel’s hollow claim that it allows freedom of worship in the city, it routinely restricts numbers and most Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza cannot go to Al-Aqsa:
The Israeli authorities also decided to cut the wires to the loudspeakers at the mosque in yet another deliberately inflammatory move: This year is even tougher and Israel has demanded that all Palestinians entering Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank have to have been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. Of course, if Israel had carried out its clear international legal and moral duty of vaccinating Palestinians under its military rule, the story would be different:
Ramadan used to be a time when Israel showed some degree of reverence and respect toward Palestinians: This custom is being torn up. As a result, Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding. What we have, therefore, is a highly combustible situation in this, the world’s most combustible city. Even a passing knowledge of the history of this great city tells us that small clashes can soon lead to a dangerous explosion.
Three major bonfires are being lit. The first and perhaps most dangerous is that Israel is tearing up the delicate status quo that governs Al-Haram Al-Sharif: For starters, it is allowing Jews to pray openly on the platform. They boast of this by broadcasting it on YouTube. This included the uber-racist Kahanist and newly elected member of the Knesset, Itamar Ben Gvir. The status quo arrangements for the holy sites do not permit Jewish prayer on the platform. According to the agreement, as acknowledged publicly even by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Al-Haram Al-Sharif is exclusively a Muslim place of worship, which all Israeli prime ministers have accepted since 1967: Palestinian Muslims fear the “Hebronization” of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, whereby the platform is divided into both a mosque and a synagogue with less access for Muslims. This is what happened at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. That was sensitive enough, but tampering with the status quo in Jerusalem escalates the situation a hundredfold:
What makes it different this year is that no outside powers are saying anything. If this was happening in the days of John Kerry as US secretary of state, for example, he and his colleagues would be working the phones between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to calm the tensions. The trouble is that Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan are no longer on speaking terms. Tensions between the two have rarely been higher.
The second bonfire is the serious attempt to bring about mass evictions of Palestinians in key areas of Jerusalem. Since the last major evictions of Palestinians on June 10, 1967, Israel has managed to insert more than 220,000 Israeli settlers into occupied East Jerusalem, but without the mass displacement of Palestinians. Much of this is happening in the shadow of the Old City, notably in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. Settlers have used the Israeli legal system to obtain eviction orders for dozens of families. Many of these families are UN-registered refugees who were given the land after the Nakba, when Israel confiscated theirs:
This legal system was designed to enable Israeli Jews to kick out Palestinians and the settler groups are using this to the full. It may be slowed down with appeals and the like, but ultimately it leads to one destination: Mass evictions of Palestinians as part of the broader plan to downscale the Palestinian presence in the city:
The Israeli authorities have also ramped up home demolitions in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem. They can do this because they have denied more applications from Palestinians for building permits, meaning that Palestinians have no choice but to build without them. More than half of all Palestinian homes in the city are built with no permit:
What we have is a highly combustible situation in this, the world’s most combustible city.
Israeli forces have arrested Palestinians engaged in any form of electioneering, including three candidates who were planning to hold a news conference. All of this leads some to believe this will be an excuse for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the May 22 legislative elections. This would delight the Israeli government, which has no desire to see Palestinian democracy at work, especially if it means Hamas has a chance at a share of power. The pyromaniacs have taken over the firefighting. The Israeli authorities, instead of restraining extremist settler groups such as Elad and the Temple Mount Faithful, are actively pursuing their agendas. Do not be surprised, therefore, if full-scale riots return to the streets of this extraordinary city. The world had better wake up.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view
#AceNewsReport – Apr.01: An Israeli national pleaded guilty today for his role in operating DeepDotWeb (DDW), a website that connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin and fentanyl, and other contraband.
Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation: ‘DeepDotWeb received over $8 million in kickbacks from purchases of fentanyl, firearms, and other contraband on Darknet marketplaces: ‘According to court documents, Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, owned and operated DDW along with co-defendant Michael Phan, 34, of Israel, beginning in October 2013. In addition to providing general information about the Darknet, DDW provided users with direct links to illegal Darknet marketplaces, which are not accessible through traditional search engines’
For providing these links, Prihar and Phan received kickback payments from the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency, including approximately 8,155 bitcoins (worth approximately $8.4 million based on the bitcoin trading value at the time of the transactions). To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies. DDW was seized by federal authorities in April 2019, and Prihar has agreed to forfeit $8,414,173.
“Tal Prihar served as a broker for illegal Darknet marketplaces — helping such marketplaces find customers for fentanyl, firearms, and other dangerous contraband — and profited from the illegal business that ensued,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This prosecution, seizure of the broker website, and forfeiture send a clear message that we are not only prosecuting the administrators of Darknet marketplaces offering illegal goods and services, but we will also bring to justice those that aim to facilitate and profit from them.”
“Tal Prihar today acknowledged his leadership role in operating a web site that served as a gateway to numerous dark web marketplaces selling fentanyl, heroin, firearms, hacking tools and other illegal goods,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Mr. Prihar and his codefendant extracted a fee from each customer routed to these illegal sites, profiting in the millions of dollars.”
“For six years, DeepDotWeb was a gateway to facilitate the illegal purchase of items to include dangerous drugs, weapons, and malicious software,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Carlton Peeples of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. “Prihar profited as a byproduct from other people’s dangerous transactions and today’s guilty plea sends a message to other cyber actors across the globe who think the dark web is a safe haven. The FBI works with our local, state, federal and international partners regularly to dismantle illicit websites and go after those responsible for them.”
Prihar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 2, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office is investigating the case:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorneys C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.
The department thanks the French authorities as well as its law enforcement colleagues at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS, Brazilian Federal Police Cyber Division, Israeli National Police, Dutch National Police, Europol Darkweb Team, Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, and National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom. Significant assistance was provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.
This case was brought in conjunction with the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) Team. Established within the FBI’s Hi-Tech Organized Crime Unit, J-CODE is a U.S. Government initiative announced in January 2018, aimed at targeting drug trafficking, especially fentanyl and other opioids, on the Darknet. The J-CODE team brings together agents, analysts and professional staff with expertise in drugs, gangs, health care fraud and more. J-CODE entities, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Defense, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Department of Justice focus on disrupting the sale of drugs via the Darknet and dismantling criminal enterprises that facilitate this trafficking.
This prosecution also is a result of an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
#AceWorldNews – WEST BANK – Nov. 22 – Minister of Defence not content with moving Palestinians to the back of the bus, means to keep them off entirely.
In response to reports that Israeli Minster of Defense Moshe Ya’alon intends to yield to the settler demand to prevent Palestinian day labourers from returning home to the West Bank on Israeli public buses.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says that Minister Ya’alon is not content with merely moving Palestinians to the back of the bus, but means to keep them off buses altogether.
It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements such as the demand that Palestinians return to the West Bank through the same checkpoint they entered Israel, and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses.
The holy site has been a focus of tension since last week, when Israel closed it to Muslim worshippers.
The Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound behind the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a densely-populated Palestinian neighbourhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo)
Al-Aqsa, also known as the Temple Mount, is Islam’s third most-venerated site.
Israeli police closed it for the first time since 1963 in retaliation for the killing of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist, provoking outcry from the Arab population.
Access was renewed a day later, but males under 50 were still banned from entry.
The renewed shut-down of Al-Aqsa on Wednesday comes after daily clashes in the streets of East Jerusalem and the Old City. Palestinian youths attack Israeli police with stones and fire crackers.
Police said they sent forces to the holy compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, as clashes erupted near it minutes before it was due to be opened to the public.
“Police entered the area, pushed the masked rioters back, and they fled back into Al-Aqsa. Police closed the front gate of the mosque but did not enter,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld as cited by Reuters.
Israeli security forces used stun grenades to disperse the protesting crowd.
Some 20 people were reportedly injured in the fresh clash.
#AceNewsServices (Exclusive) WEST BANK – September 23 – On the morning of 10 August 2014, a soldier shot 10-year-old Palestinian boy Khalil ‘Anati in al-Fawwar Refugee Camp in the West Bank. The boy was rushed in his uncle’s car to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Khalil ‘Anati’s father next to a poster in memory of his son. Photo by Alex Levac, 18 Aug. 2014
An investigation by B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash revealed that at approximately 9:30 A.M., a white Water Authority jeep drove into the refugee camp, accompanied by two army vehicles.
The white jeep reached a water facility inside the camp and the army vehicles stopped nearby, at two different locations close to the camp’s main road.
The alley where ‘Anati was shot. Photo by Musa Hashhash, 11 Aug. 2014
Some five boys and youths, including Khalil ‘Anati, threw stones at one of the army vehicles from alleys leading off the main road.
Some ten minutes later, the white jeep drove out of the camp, followed by the army vehicles.
One of the military vehicles had parked facing the centre of the camp and turned around close to one of the alleys from which the stones had been thrown. On its way out of the camp, the vehicle stopped next to another alley, from which stones had apparently been thrown, too.
The driver opened the door, fired a single shot, and resumed driving. About half a minute later, the second vehicle drove by the same alley without stopping.
The single shot, which was preceded by no warning or use of non-lethal measures, killed 10-year-old ‘Anati. Medical records obtained by B’Tselem show that he was struck by a live bullet that entered his lower back and exited through his thigh.
The video footage and B’Tselem’s investigation indicate that four or five boys and youths were throwing stones from alleys. It is not clear whether stones were thrown at the army vehicle when it stopped at the entrance to the alley where ‘Anati was shot.
However, it is clear that the soldiers were not in mortal danger and therefore were not permitted to use live fire. It is doubtful that the circumstances even merited the use of less injurious means. The shooting that killed ‘Anati was certainly unjustified. Use of live fire in such a context is unlawful, and the circumstances raise the suspicion the soldier aimed directly at the boy.
B’Tselem sent the MPIU all the information it gathered concerning the incident. However, the MAG Corps and the MPIU cannot make do with investigating the soldier who fired the lethal shot: they must investigate the orders given to the soldiers before they entered the camp.
The law enforcement authorities must speedily conclude the investigation, publish its findings and bring those responsible for the killing of 10-year-old Khalil ‘Anati to justice.
#AceBreakingNews – JERUSALEM – September 23 – Israeli special forces stormed a West Bank hideout early on Tuesday and killed two Palestinians suspected in the June abduction and slaying of three Israeli teenagers.
The deaths of the two suspects, identified by the Israeli military as well-known Hamas militants, ended one of the largest manhunts conducted by the Israeli security forces.
#AceNewsServices – GAZA – September 01 – Ariel Video Footage and Extent of Damage and Ruins on Gaza’s al-Shujaiyya Neighborhood. caused by ground attacks by Zionist Military forces.
Over 2,000 Palestinians were martyred and more than 10,000 others were injured in the Israeli regime’s 51-day onslaught on the blockaded territory, further destroying hundreds of residential quarters, schools, mosques, hospitals and other public facilities.
#AceBreakingNews – ISRAELS (Tel Aviv) – July 15 – Israel’s security cabinet accepted the Egyptian cease-fire offer on Tuesday morning, which, according to the proposal, is supposed to go into effect at 9 A.M. local time and gives both sides 12 hours to stop the attacks once the proposal is accepted by both sides.
Several Hamas officials rejected the Egyptian proposal, but sources said that Hamas is holding talks with Egypt regarding the cease-fire and an official statement by the Hamas political leadership is expected later Tuesday.
#AceWorldNews- PALESTINE (West Bank) – July 01 – An 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops during a raid of Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early on Tuesday,
Palestinian security and medical officials told AFP.
The victim has been identified as Yusuf Abu Zagher, the sources said, clarifying that his death is unrelated to Israeli operations following the discovery of the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Israeli reports indicate that the teenager threw an explosive device at the troops, who responded with live fire.
AceWorldNews – ISRAEL (Jerusalem) – June 02 – Israeli officials have accused the US of “sanctioning terrorism” after Washington announced plans late Monday night to establish ties with the newly-sworn-in Fatah-Hamas unity government, the Jerusalem Post said.
Israeli officials said that if the US wants to advance peace, “it should be calling on [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel,” the daily reported.
“With suits in the front office and terrorists in the back office, [the unity government] should not be business as usual,” Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer wrote in a message on his Facebook page.
#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 – PALESTINE – May 22 – A 12-year-old Palestinian boy has been released from an Israeli jail two days after he was arrested in the occupied West Bank village of Azzun, Press TV reports.
Osama Yasser Salim was detained in an Israeli military prison, where he was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or guardian, according to a Press TV report on Tuesday.
According to local witnesses, Salim was playing with his friends near a closed military zone when Israeli soldiers arrested him.
“I was sitting in the municipality building when I was called to the scene after Israeli military closed down our village. I ran to the village gate and saw 20 soldiers in the area.
Osama was playing with some friends nearby when I saw a soldier taking him by the neck and dragging him to a jeep,” a local witness said.
Israeli soldiers claim that Osama was detained because he had thrown stones at them. The 12-year-old denies the allegation.
“I was playing in the village square when a soldier approached me and immediately grabbed me by the neck. He said that I threw stones at them but I did not, they beat me till I admitted that I did, then they forced my father to sign a document claiming that I threw stones and that I never enter the area again.
After this they released me,” Osama said in an interview with a Press TV correspondent.
AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – May 16 – US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has assured Israel that America “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, AP reports.
He made the statement during talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Iran “the foremost terrorist state of our time.
” The conclusion of Hagel’s four-day Middle East tour coincided with international talks in Vienna aimed at drafting a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said that “no progress had been made” after the end of the fourth round of talks with six major powers (US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia) to overcome their differences over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, Reuters reports.
The sides, which have been in talks since February, planned to start drafting the text of a final agreement on the issue during the get-together in Vienna, Austria. However, Araqchi stated that “we haven’t reached the point” of being able to do that.
#AceWorldNews – HAIFA – May 02 -Israelis have desecrated the tomb of a Palestinian by launching a “price tag” attack against it near the coastal city of Haifa.
The Israelis vandalized the grave at the Izzedine al-Qassam cemetery in Nesher, Israeli police said on Friday.
“Graffiti was found sprawled on and around a grave in the al-Qassam cemetery in Nesher,” north of Haifa, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
The attackers spray-painted the words “price tag”, as well as the names of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is the senior peace negotiator with the Palestinian Authority (PA), said the spokeswoman.
The United Nations has recorded “399 attacks” of this kind by Israel’s illegal settlers, which have “resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.”