Palestinian resistance fighters shoot down Israeli drone in Gaza

Gaza City, September 10 (RHC)-- The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has shot down an Israeli drone in the Gaza Strip, a day after the regime carried out a fresh wave of air raids against the besieged coastal enclave.

Palestinian media reported that Hamas resistance fighters intercepted and downed the quadcopter drone east of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Monday night.  The Israeli military has confirmed that a drone fell in southern Gaza Strip, saying that an investigation into the incident is underway.

The aircraft’s remains are now in the hands of the resistance fighters, according to media reports.  This is the second unmanned aerial vehicle the Israeli army has lost over the past 24 hours.

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah said its air defense forces had shot down an Israeli military drone outside the southern town of Ramyah early Monday, amid heightened tensions between the group and the Israeli military.  The downing of the drone in Rafah area comes amid a series of exchanges between Israel and Gaza.

Palestinian news agencies said late on Saturday that Israeli airstrikes had targeted positions allegedly held by Hamas inside the enclave. Health officials said there were no casualties from the attacks that lasted close to an hour.

Israeli sources said the attacks had hit Hamas naval facilities on the Mediterranean and two military compounds run by the group in central Gaza. There was no confirmation from Hamas and its affiliated groups.

The relentless Israeli bombardment came after Hamas launched a drone operation targeting Israeli military equipment stationed along the border with the occupied Palestinian territories following a wave of Israeli aerial assaults.

Hamas’ raids have come in response to the regime’s killing of Palestinian protesters marching along the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied territories.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.  Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Palestinians slam Netanyahu for pledging settlement annexation

Ramallah, September 3 (RHC)-- Palestinian leaders have slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for pledging annexation of all illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Nehru’s reiteration of annexation pledge was a  "continuation of attempts to create an unacceptable fait accompli."  He added that the move would "not lead to any peace, security or stability.”

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said, "Those who claim concern after every Israeli settlement announcement should face reality: Israel's PM is announcing further annexation of occupied territory.”

"Enough impunity: There's an international responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel after decades of systematic crimes," he added.

Netanyahu told an audience at West Bank settlement Sunday that he would annex all illegal settlements.  "With the help of God we will apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, as part of the [biblical] Land of Israel, and as part of the state of Israel," he said. 

More than 400,000 Israelis live in the illegal settlements in West Bank and around 20,000 live in occupied East Jerusalem.   The prime minister’s comments come amid Israel’s elections due for Sept. 17. After elections in April, Netanyahu’s Likud Party could not secure enough support to form a government coalition and another snap election was called.

According to the polls, the prime minister is running in a very close race with his main rival Benny Gantz from the centrist Blue and White party.  In addition to that, his far-right Likud party needs to come out with a decisive lead in the ballot or Israeli President Reuven Rivlin might decide to appoint another candidate to form a ruling coalition.  It is in this context that he is seeking to draw support from the voters of the right-wing parties close to the influential settlement movement.

Edited by Ed Newman
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‘Grave aggression’: Israel begins demolition of residential buildings in the West Bank

Israel has started demolishing 13 residential buildings in East Jerusalem’s Wadi Hummus for being too close to the separation barrier, even though the area falls under the Palestinian Authority’s administration.

Israel Defense Force soldiers were seen placing explosives in a building set for demolition after they arrived before dawn. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said 700 police and 200 soldiers were involved in the operation. They evacuated a family from one of the buildings and removed activists protesting the demolition. Construction vehicles smashed up a number of buildings.

The buildings are set on land that falls within Area A of the West Bank, which is administered by the Palestinian Authority, and the residents got permits from the PA to build there. 

However, the High Court ruled in favor of an Israeli Defense Ministry order to demolish 13 buildings because they are too close to the separation barrier, which Israel built around and inside the West Bank. The June decision has sparked fears that it will set a dangerous precedent for other homes in the PA-controlled area.

“Despite an order from the military commander, the residents there are making their own law, building. There are hundreds of illegal structures,” Erdan told Israel’s Army Radio, adding that there is “no sufficient governance there.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the “grave aggression,” and said that a complaint would be made to the International Criminal Court. “This is a continuation of the forced displacement of the people of Jerusalem from their homes and lands – a war crime and a crime against humanity,” he said. 

Wadi Hummus is on the edge of Sur Baher in southeast Jerusalem, and falls outside the city’s municipal borders. When construction of the separation barrier began in 2003, Wadi Hummus was left on the Israeli side of the structure, even though it is part of the West Bank and under PA administration.

Three buildings now being taken down in this part of Sur Baher. The eight-story one in the foreground not being demolished yet, but Israeli soldiers inside and appear to be preparing explosives for it.

All That's Left: Anti-Occupation Collective

The IDF Central Command issued an injunction banning construction within 250 meters of the wall seven years ago, after many families from Sur Baher had begun building homes in Wadi Hummus with PA authorization. The residents say the order was not publicized, and that the area is the only place where they can expand their village as it is surrounded by the barrier and Israeli neighborhoods. The residents’ attorney Haitham Khatib has argued that the 250-meter limit does not apply to other areas in the city. 

UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and other UN officials called on Israel to stop its demolition plans last week, and the EU said the policy “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace.”

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Bolton and Netanyahu killed 2005 Iran talks, ‘lured’ Trump into shredding 2015 deal - Iranian FM

National Security Advisor John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scuppered a 2005 nuclear agreement between Iran and the west, and did the same with President Trump, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.

“Bolton & Netanyahu killed Paris agreement between E3 & Iran in '05 by insisting on zero enrichment,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday. “Result? Iran increased its enrichment 100 fold by 2012.”

Referring to Bolton and Netanyahu as the “B Team,” Zarif then said that “they’ve lured Donald Trump into killing JCPOA w/the same delusion,” referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran Nuclear Deal.

Also on rt.com As Iran is pushed to step further away from nuclear deal, what’s next?...

Iran stepped up its uranium enrichment on Monday, going beyond the JCPOA-mandated cap of 3.67 percent purification level, in response to the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA last year, and application of biting economic sanctions on Iran. The step-up in enrichment was also carried out as a response to the JCPOA’s European signatories' failure to live up to their trade obligations with Iran under the deal.

Prior to Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, Netanyahu had pressured his American counterpart to abandon the deal, calling it a “historic mistake” and accusing Tehran of cheating on the deal - with the aid of a theatrical slideshow. In the run-up to the US withdrawal last year, Bolton, a longtime Iran war-hawk, called the deal a scam and promised regime change in the Islamic Republic by the year’s end.

Also on rt.com The world knows Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons – Revolutionary Guard’s chief...

A similar situation played out in 2005. After reaching an agreement with Germany, France and Britain, Iran agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment and to fully cooperate with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Though the US remained absent from negotiations, Washington then lobbied its European allies to demand that Iran have no uranium enrichment facilities on its own soil, under any circumstances. 

Hardliners within Iran considered the diktat unacceptable, and newly-elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abandoned the deal and resumed enrichment the following year. “We do not humble ourselves in the poisoned atmosphere created by foreign sources,” he said in his inauguration speech in August 2005.

As a result, an IAEA report in 2012 claimed that Iran had produced around 190 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched uranium – enough for a single nuclear warhead if further enriched. “Once you get to 20 percent,” Middle East analyst Paul Heroux told RT, “you’re basically 99 precent of the way” to weapons-grade uranium.

Also on rt.com ‘Unilateral bullying is worsening tumor’: China blames US pressure for Iranian nuclear crisis...

After passing the 3.67 percent enrichment threshold on Monday, a spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency threatened to once again up enrichment to 20 percent and to reactivate centrifuges that had lain dormant since the 2015 deal was signed. 

With the events of 2005 playing out again, Heroux cautioned that further sanctions and military action are out of the question for the west. 

“You can’t eliminate the knowledge Iran has,” he said. “You can’t bomb Iran’s knowledge out of existence. The right way is to go back to the negotiating table with Iran, and we’re probably going to get a worse deal.”

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US envoy smashes wall dug under Palestinian homes in E. Jerusalem with SLEDGEHAMMER

Top US diplomats, one responsible for Middle East peace efforts, were filmed frantically hammering a wall to finish a controversial Israeli tunnel running close to the most divisive holy sites in annexed East Jerusalem.

Ambassador David Friedman and Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, showed up on Sunday at the unveiling of what the Israelis call an underground “pilgrimage road” located right next to the contested Temple Mount.

The tunnel, excavated beneath the mostly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, was officially opened with the ceremonial smashing of a brick wall which served to replace the traditional ribbon-cutting. US ambassador Israel Friedman swung the first hammer.

President Trump's envoys "burst the way" to the historic site in Jerusalem...

 

Digging of the 350-meter “pilgrimage road,” promoted and funded by a local rightwing group, occurred disturbingly close to a highly-sensitive area of East Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which houses a number of Jewish sites but also the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

The dig had also started without the permission of the Silwan residents living overhead. It has been reported that some Palestinian families even had to leave their houses because of cracks and destruction caused by the excavations.

READ MORE: Israel could annex parts of West Bank in coming years – Netanyahu

Naturally, Palestinians have fiercely criticized the symbolism behind a US ambassador swinging a sledgehammer as an endorsement of occupation and colonial practices. That aside, the presence of the American officials at the bizarre ceremony raised suspicions that the US is helping Israel “Judaize” East Jerusalem.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, called it a “disgrace” to US diplomacy and compared the American delegation to “extremist fanatic Israeli settlers.”

Greenblatt and Friedman are doing everything that would bring prosperity to the apartheid colonial settlement.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry claimed that Friedman and Greenblatt were “faking history” for “colonial purpose.” The American actions are “blatant aggression against international law,” Chief Justice Mahmoud al-Habash said in a separate statement, calling on the international community to preserve the Palestinian heritage of the city.

Meanwhile, Greenblatt hit back at the “ludicrous” accusations, claiming on Twitter that archaeology has proven that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people: “We can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show.”

Israel invaded and seized East Jerusalem – which was once under Jordanian custodianship – during the 1967 Six-Day War. The subsequent annexation wasn’t recognized by most countries, with the UN referring to East Jerusalem as an “Israeli-occupied territory.”

The status of East Jerusalem has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Recently, the US added more fuel to the frequent flashpoint of violence by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, triggering a wave of massive Palestinian protests in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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Gaza-Israel Hostilities Flare with Rocket Attacks, Air Strikes

The Palestinian Education Ministry said it was evacuating schools in areas under Israeli bombardment.

A wave of Israeli air strikes killed one Palestinian in Gaza Strip Saturday. Imad Nseir, 22, was killed in Beit Hanoun after Israeli planes targeted multiple areas of the enclave.

The attacks came just hours after Isreali security forces killed at least two Palestinians and injured another 51 during Friday's weekly Great March of Return protests, medics and security sources there said. ​​​​​​Another two Palestinians were killed in an air raid on the central Gaza Strip Friday.

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On Saturday, Israel hit the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip with air strikes and tank fire, targetting about five different sites of Palestinian resistance, Middle East Monitor reported. About 150 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel though no deaths were tallied, according to security forces who spoke to Al Jazeera.

The Israeli military said its forces had carried out attacks against more than 30 targets belonging to Hamas. A small armed group in Gaza, The Protectors of Al Aqsa, said one of its men was killed in an air strike Saturday.

The Gaza Health Ministry said six Palestinians were wounded. Across the border, rocket sirens sent Israelis running to shelters, and the Magen David Adom ambulance service said one woman was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the city of Kiryat Gat. Many of the missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome, the Israeli military said.

The flare-up comes days before Muslims begin the holy month of Ramadan and Israelis celebrate their Independence Day.

Hamas said they would "continue to respond to the crimes by the occupation" and will not allow Palestinian blood to be shed," said spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua in a statement Saturday. He made no explicit claim that Hamas fired the rockets.

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Trump's 'Deal of the Century' to Not Include Palestinian State

“We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives," a Trump administration official said on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict will be absent of a Palestinian state, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

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The Washington Post article said Trump's deal promises to improve the lives of Palestinians, but will not recognize a fully sovereign Palestinian state.

This peace deal is expected to be rolled out some time in late Spring or early Summer, which is two years after Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner announced that they had established a plan to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

The Washington Post article contends that the Trump peace deal will focus primarily on Israel's security interests and less on Arab territorial concerns. 

“We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives,” a senior White House official said on Friday, as quoted by Israel's Arutz Sheva. “We looked at past efforts and solicited ideas from both sides and partners in the region with the recognition that what has been tried in the past has not worked. Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach founded on not hiding from reality, but instead speaking truth.”

The reason for the delay in releasing this peace plan is due to Trump's desire to wait for Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition in his govenrment, the Washington Post added.

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Palestinian Toddlers Burn to Death After Israeli Troops Block Fire Brigade

Two Palestinian children were killed in a fire accident after Israeli forces blocked the fire brigade from reaching the scene on time.

Two Palestinian children, four-year-old Wael Rajabi and his 18-month-old sister Malik, died in a fire after Israeli authorities blocked the fire brigade from reaching their home in time.

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They were from the Al-Salaymeh neighborhood of Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank. One of them was reported dead in the fire, another child succumbed to the burns after receiving emergency treatment at the nearby Hebron government hospital.

Colonel Loai Arziqat, the local police spokesman confirmed the death of two children but did not elaborate on the whole situation.

According to local media reports, the emergency fire services were stopped by Israeli occupying forces. A video filmed at the scene shows that a fire engine trying to drive down a narrow street when it was stopped by a roadblock. The local residents pleaded to the Israeli soldiers to “open the gate quickly, for the children.”

A CHILD BURNED ALIVE➤ No Entry To Fire Fighting Crews A boy was burnt to death & his little sister suffered severe burns as the occupation forces BLOCKED a firefighting truck from reaching their burning house in Al-Salaymeh in

But they were unmoved. And eventually delayed the emergency service costing the lives of two children.

Israeli forces are known to restrict emergency services’ access to Palestinians.

According to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), citing the Palestine Red Crescent Society, since 2015, Israeli forces have obstructed ambulances 123 times. In addition, 105 ambulances were damaged and the Red Crescent teams in various locations were attacked 386 times.

According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, “The occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation… Personnel of the International Red Crescent Movement must be allowed to carry out their humanitarian activities.”

However, Israel has violated international law numerous times by not allowing Palestinians access to emergency services.

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