Flag-waving Palestinians filled the squares of major West Bank cities on Wednesday to rally behind President Mahmoud Abbas’s bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations in the face of U.S. and Israeli objections.
Saudi Arabia will pay $200 million to the Palestinian Authority, the official Palestinian news agency said on Monday, funds that will ease a financial crisis faced by the authority as it prepares to apply for full U.N. membership this week.
Priests in the Holy Land used their sermons on Sunday to give their blessing to the Palestinians’ bid for United Nations membership. The retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, the first Palestinian to hold the post since the Crusades, was to preach in the Roman Catholic church in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
OSLO, Norway — Norway’s foreign minister says the Scandinavian country will back Palestinian officials in their appeal to the U.N. for statehood. In a Facebook post late Saturday, Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote “Palestinians have the right to go to the U.N.” and Norway is “ready to recognize a Palestinian state.”
The dispute began with posters urging an end to U.S. military aid for Israel, prompting a City Council member to demand an end to the ads – and spawning an upcoming series of counter-ads. “This is a highly political campaign with a controversial underlying anti-Israel message,” Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn) wrote MTA President Thomas Prendergast. “I would urge you to disallow and/or remove these advertisements.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will address the UN General Assembly on Friday next week, setting the stage for a potentially dramatic diplomatic showdown with the Palestinians. He will speak on the same day that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, is due to deliver a landmark speech calling on the global body to support Palestinian statehood.
The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to “be separated.”
Former President Jimmy Carter says he supports the Palestinians’ effort to gain international recognition of their independence at the United Nations this month. The Georgia Democrat said Tuesday he wouldn’t be in favor of the Palestinians’ appeal to the U.N. if the White House had “put forward any sort of comprehensive peace proposal.” But he said Palestinians have few other options since no deal is in the works.
Russia is ready to back a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations General Assembly later this month, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said. “If the Palestinians appeal to the United Nations to recognize their statehood, Russia will give its support,” Bogdanov said yesterday in response to e-mailed questions from Bloomberg News. The Palestinians have the right to form a viable state living in peace with Israel, he said.
Ban Ki-moon reaffirms support for an independent Palestinian state; says Obama set down good framework for peace talks, but is up to UN member states to decide on recognition of Palestinian state. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his support for an independent Palestinian state on Friday but said Palestinian UN membership was an issue for member states to decide.
The Palestinians on Thursday officially launched their campaign to join the United Nations as a full member state, saying they would stage a series of peaceful events in the run-up to the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly later this month. Some 100 Palestinian officials and activists gathered at the U.N. offices in Ramallah for a short ceremony, where they announced their plans in a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
So what is the ‘Obama Promise’, you ask? It’s a new radio ad campaign that will tout Palestinian statehood based on words of US President Barack Obama, in a speech he gave last year to the United Nations regarding statehood for the Palestinians.
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
Israeli forces are seeking to prevent bloodshed when Palestinians march in support of a statehood drive this month, but they are preparing for worst-case scenarios, even authorizing West Bank settlers to shoot at Palestinians who approach their communities.
The Israeli military is to train Jewish settlers in the West Bank and plans to equip them with tear gas and stun grenades to confront Palestinian demonstrators when their leaders press for UN recognition next month.
A Palestinian from the occupied West Bank commandeered a taxi in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv before dawn on Monday, stabbing the driver and then injuring seven others, including police officers, after crashing into a roadblock, a police spokeswoman said.
Four Kassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol Regional Council on Wednesday evening in two separate incidents, less than an hour apart. Earlier in the evening, two rockets landed in open land near Ofakim shortly after a Kassam rocket fell in an open field north of the Gaza strip near Ashkelon. No injuries were or damage were reported. At the same time, air raid sirens were also heard in the Beersheba region. A Beersheba city spokesman said that the source of the sirens was from one of the nearby towns and not the city itself.
After the Israeli Air Force struck 12 Hamas and other terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday, Aug. 18, a hail of missiles hit the towns of Ashdod, Beersheba, Ashkelon and the smaller Sdot Negev, Shar Hanegev and Eshkol villages in a continuous blitz Friday, Aug. 19. Ten worshippers were injured – two seriously – when one of the six Grads aimed at Ashdod hit a synagogue. Police detonated a second in a controlled explosion. The town’s population is advised to stay in sheltered spaces.
Every single Palestinian Authority terrorist held in an Israeli jail receives a monthly salary from the PA. Terrorists who committed the most heinous crimes – and therefore received longer sentences – receive the most money, according to a report in Israeli paper Yisrael Hayom. The PA treasury receives cash from two main sources: the US pays about 50 percent of the money, and the rest is mostly from European Union member nations.
Israel’s military, police and Shin Bet security service have been drilling extreme scenarios of possible Palestinian disturbances, mass rallies or even terrorist attacks in September – even through there is no specific intelligence of a security threat in the offing. The authorities are taking care not to be caught off guard again as they were on May 15, when a Palestinian mob suddenly surged across the Syrian border.
The PLO Central Council was on Wednesday expected to endorse a decision by the Palestinian leadership to seek full membership in the United Nations in September. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to address council members at the meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, which got under way late morning, officials said. In his speech, Abbas was expected to lay out details of the mechanism by which the Palestinians will approach the world body, which it is hoping to join as a full member.
With a September deadline looming, Israel’s prime minister turned to the Arabic media Thursday for the first time since taking office two years ago in an attempt to lure the Palestinians back to peace talks, saying “everything is on the table.” Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite channel reflects Israeli concerns over Palestinian plans to seek U.N. recognition of their independence this fall. But it also highlights Netanyahu’s new strategy of engaging directly with the Arab public.
Palestinians are waiting for confirmation from the United States whether it will use its veto power at the United Nations Security Council this September when the Palestinian Authority is scheduled to request recognition for an independent state, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, currently in Norway, said that Palestinians would go to the UN General Assembly if any Security Council member vetoes the state bid.
Thousands of left-wing activists marched in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon in the largest demonstration of support for an independent Palestinian state in the nation’s capital in over a year. Under the banner of “Independence for Palestine,” the march, which was organized by the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, drew 4,500 participants from across the country. The march started from Jaffa Gate and ended in the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah, a direct inversion of the right-wing Flag March on Jerusalem Day, when tensions rose in east Jerusalem between right-wing marchers and Arab residents. March organizers said the route was also chosen because it was the border of east and west Jerusalem.