Jeremy Corbyn Promises to ‘Recognize Palestinian State as Soon as We Take Office’

"In order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office," Corbyn said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn received a long standing ovation Wednesday after pledging to officially recognize a Palestinian state once he takes office as prime minister.

RELATED: UK's Labour Party Passes Motion to Ban Arms Sales to Israel

"In order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office," Corbyn said.

Labour party supporters waved Palestinian flags as the announcement was well received by the audience at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

@ShrewsLabour Standing ovation in the hall for recognition of a Palestinian state and a two-state solution ??✊?

Corbyn announcement, however, wouldn't come as a shock to many close followers of Labour party policy. In June, during a visit to Jordan, Corbyn said: "I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations."

Today’s comments make it clear to many the policy is a priority for labor and would be enacted shortly after Corbyn takes office if elected.

Corbyn comments come after delegates of the Labour Party voted Tuesday to ban arms sales to Israel over its abuses against the Palestinians. A policy, which could also be translated into official government policy if the party is elected.

The unprecedented resolution noted that “the majority of Palestinian people were forcibly displaced from their homes” during the Nakba and condemned the “aggressive attempt to rewrite history and erase the victims of the 1948 war.”

It called for an “independent international investigation into Israel’s use of force against Palestinian demonstrators,” an “immediate and unconditional end to the illegal blockade and closure of Gaza,” and “a freeze of UK Government arms sales to Israel.”

The motion also highlighted that amongst those killed during the Palestinian protests of recent months are paramedics, journalists, women and children, while than half of the injured were hit with live fire by snipers as they approached the border with Israel.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Chair Hugh Lanning said: “We have witnessed extraordinary scenes of solidarity today and the Labour Party has done the right thing by recognizing the longstanding injustice of Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.

PSC handed out more than a thousand Palestinian flags at the conference. In remarkable scenes, many hundreds of delegates stood and waved their flags inside the conference hall when the motion was debated and chants of “Free Palestine!” were clearly heard.

PSC director Ben Jamal said: “This incredible show of support and this historic motion demonstrate the strength of feeling at the grassroots of the party. Labour members want to show real solidarity with Palestinians

The issue was in the top four of all issues discussed Tuesday in Liverpool. The vote to debate Palestine was fourth after housing, school systems, and justice for the Windrush generation. It gained more votes than the issues of Brexit, and the National Health System (NHS).

During the debate on Palestine, the party deliberated on U.K. arms sales to Israel, voting to end them until an independent investigation into the killing of more than 180 protesters in Gaza since Mar. 30 can be carried out.

Though conference votes are not binding on leaders, Jeremy Corbyn, a supporter of the Palestinian cause, has promised to recognize Palestine as a state if his party comes to power. 

The anti-Semitism charges against Corbyn were rejected by him, his supporters, and Palestinians citing Israel's attempt to shut down any criticism of its policies and abuse against Palestinians and its occupation of their land. 

But not all Palestinians are overjoyed with the new policies. Some are critical of the U.K.’s stand on the Oslo agreement which supports the creation of two states. For U.K.-based Palestinian author and academic, Ghada Karmi said during a Palestine Solidarity meeting that Labour cannot go on supporting a “defunct idea”. She also asked the party to stop being apologetic about Israel’s atrocities and to confront Israel and call out its actions against Palestinians.

According to Hazem Jamjoum, a Palestinian-American academic, the British empire helped create the state of Israel; hence, it has a greater responsibility to support Palestine. He also warned that Israel’s impunity regarding apartheid, racist laws and ethnonationalism is creating precedents all over the globe, which is witnessing an increasing identity-based nationalism in many countries.

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Ahed Tamimi Finally Travels to France Despite Israeli Obstacles

Ahed Tamimi, the resistance teen icon from Palestine traveled to France Friday for an event where she asked people to support the Palestinian cause and to boycott Israel.

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian resistance icon, traveled to France for a debate on Friday. The young resistance leader was invited by L'Humanité and the French Communist party, or PCF, to participate in an event organized by Association France Palestine Solidarite.

RELATED: 'I Want Palestine to be Free:' Ahed Tamimi to teleSUR

Ahed spoke Sunday at the Festival of Humanity which is organized annually by the PCF, at La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis. "I want to say to Trump that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine”, Ahed Tamimi said in reference to the decision of the U.S. president to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, addressing thousands of people who attended the last day of the event.

“The Palestinian refugees, we do not need the money of the Americans, but to return to our land” and find “our dignity”, she added. “We must be united in the face of the occupation.”

She went on to describe her own experience as a young Palestinian under Israeli brutal occupation. “When you’re a young Palestinian who is 17 years old today, you suffer on a daily basis the practices of the Israeli occupation ... even Palestinian children are arrested at checkpoints and Israeli-controlled”.

The Palestinian people, Ahed concluded, "we are not victims, we are fighters for freedom.” 

The 17-year-old teenager from Nabi Saleh village in the occupied West Bank was jailed for eight months for slapping two Israeli occupation soldiers who were harassing her family at their home's yard. Her action in December last year was recorded and went viral on social media. attracting applause from the supporters of Palestinian resistance globally, while also infuriating Israelis some of whom asked for her to be shot and killed.

Ahed and her mother Nariman, both had been jailed in an Israeli prison since December 2017 before receiving a few weeks early release in late July.

Ahed received a warm welcome from the people gathered at the event in France where she talked about how her life has changed during her imprisonment. The young resistance icon doesn't regret her actions and said that prison helped her to be more mature. Immediately after her release, while speaking to media, she said she and her other inmates studied international law in the prison.

Speaking to RT during her trip in France, the young Palestinian activist said that despite being released she does not think that she is out of trouble as each of her words can be used against her and land her in prison again.

She further called for boycotting Israel and asked people to spread the truth about the suffering of Palestinians due to Israeli occupation.

The news of her France visit comes just a week after she was informed by Palestinian authorities that she was not allowed to leave the country due to an Israeli ban on her and her family from doing so. Her father had said that they were not given any definite reason for the ban.

Ahed is now expected to travel through Europe to talk about Palestine’s resistance and her time in Israeli prison. Her next stop will be in Spain to participate in more solidarity events.

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'US Bullying': Trump To Close Palestinian Mission in Washington

The administration will also threaten the International Criminal Court with sanctions if it goes forward with an investigation on alleged war crimes by the U.S.

The United States government announced the closure of the Palestinian leadership’s de facto embassy in Washington as a "punishment" for not engaging in one-sided talks with Israel, and for attempting to sue the Israeli government at the International Criminal Court despite warnings from Washington. 

RELATED: Palestinian Hospitals, Patients Latest Victims of US Fund Cuts

In a statement on Monday, the U.S. State Department said the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office "has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel".

"We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017," the statement said.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Monday that this move by the Trump administration is to “protect Israeli crimes”.

He also said that the leadership will not be deterred from seeking action in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague against Israel. "We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying."

Interestingly, the Trump administration will also announce on Monday that it will adopt an offensive posture against ICC, threatening sanctions against the institution if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes by the U.S in Afghanistan.

U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton confirmed on Monday that the Trump administration had closed the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's office as "punishment" for calling on Israel to be investigated by the ICC.

According to a draft of the speech, published by Reuters, Bolton will say, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel.”

“We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system,” he is expected to say, as reported by the Independent. “We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.”

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As Israel Approves 'Apartheid' Law, Trump Spends $21M on US Embassy Move to Jerusalem

The Palestinians described the closure of PLO mission as the latest pressure tactic by the Trump administration that has slashed funding to a U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and to hospitals in East Jerusalem, all in one week.

“It is also extremely cruel and spiteful to persist in deliberately bashing the Palestinian people by denying them their rights, giving away their lands and rightful capital of Jerusalem, and defunding UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and Palestinian institutions, including East Jerusalem hospitals,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO.

Ashrawi also said the U.S. closing the General Delegation of the PLO office in Washington D.C. is an irresponsible move. “This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education,” said Erekat.

Commenting on the U.S. threatening sanctions against ICC, Erekat said, “this dangerous escalation shows that the U.S. is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine, as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region. …  It symbolizes the U.S. attacks against the international system as a whole, including the Paris Convention, UNESCO, and the Human Rights Council among others.”

The official also said the PLO will take necessary measures to protect the rights of Palestinians living in the U.S. to access their consular services.

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Trump Cuts US$25 Million Aid For Palestinians in Hospitals

Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to Palestinians earlier this year to ensure the funds were being spent in accordance with 'national interests.'

U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered that US$25 million earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be directed elsewhere as part of a review of aid, a State Department official said on Saturday.

RELATED: 140 Int'l Artists Call for Boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinians earlier this year to ensure that the funds were being spent in accordance with national interests and were providing value to taxpayers.

"As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will be redirecting approximately US$25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network," the State Department official said. "Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere."

The aid cut is the latest in a number of actions by the Trump administration that have alienated the Palestinians, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

That move reversed longtime U.S. policy and led Palestinian leadership to boycott Washington peace efforts led by Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law.

Last month, the Trump administration said it would redirect US$200 million in Palestinian economic support funds for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

And at the end of August, the Trump administration halted all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a decision that further heightened tensions with the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian refugees have reacted with dismay to the funding cuts, warning they would lead to more poverty, anger and instability in the Middle East.

A statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the latest aid cut was part of a U.S. attempt "to liquidate the Palestinian cause" and said it would threaten the lives of thousands of Palestinians and the livelihoods of thousands of hospital employees. 

"This dangerous and unjustified American escalation has crossed all red lines and is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinian people," it said.

At the gates of two of the East Jerusalem hospitals affected, medical staff were aware of the decision but refused to comment, Reuters reports.

One of the centers, Al Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, said in statement the U.S. aid cuts come as the "hospital is going through a suffocating crisis as a result of the lack of flow of financial aid, and the piling up of debts and funds held back by the Palestinian government."

It said it had received US$12.5 million of the U.S. money to treat patients from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In the statement hospital CEO Dr. Bassam Abu Libdeh "questioned the justification behind mixing political issues with medical and humanitarian issues."

The last round of U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli peace talks collapsed in 2014. 

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Abandoning US, Paraguay To Move Embassy in Israel Back to Tel Aviv

Israel responded to Paraguay’s decision by recalling its ambassador to Paraguay and closing its embassy in the Latin American country’s capital, Asuncion.

Paraguay will move its embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv, reversing a May decision by former President Horacio Cartes to move the diplomatic site to Jerusalem, the South American country's foreign minister told reporters on Wednesday.

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"Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East," Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said.

Cartes had traveled to Israel to inaugurate the new embassy in May. His successor Mario Abdo, also a member of the conservative Colorado party, took office last month.

Israel responded to Paraguay’s decision by recalling its ambassador to Paraguay and closing its embassy in the Latin American country’s capital, Asuncion.

The news comes just days after Colombian right-wing President Ivan Duque said that his predecessor's decision to recognize Palestine as a state was "irreversible" considering constitutional powers granted to the country's president, and affirmed that his government would show full support for the two-state solution based on the Oslo Accords and United Nations resolution

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Italian artist who painted mural of Palestinian heroine Ahed Tamimi arrested in Israel

Israeli police have arrested the Italian graffiti artist who depicted Ahed Tamimi on a West Bank separation wall mural in Bethlehem, to coincide with the Palestinian teenage heroine’s release from prison.

Agostino Chirwin, also known as 'Jorit Agoch,' wrote on his Instagram account “We are in prison from Israeli army.  Who can help us please do it” on Saturday. He was detained with another Italian artist and a Palestinian, whose identities were not released, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week Chirwin, known for hyperrealistic murals of activists, painted a portrait of 17-year-old Tamimi on the wall that separates the West Bank and is regarded as a segregation barrier by Palestinians. The artist usually hides his identity with the help of a black cloth wrapped around his head but posts his murals on an Instagram account.

Border police say that painting on the wall is illegal, confirming the arrest to The Times of Israel. Their spokesman said the suspects tried to get away in their vehicle.

The mural had been created in time forTamimi’s release on Sunday. She was arrested last December for slapping an Israeli soldier in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh. Footage of the confrontation went viral and the teenager’s subsequent arrest and detention garnered international attention, with many seeing her as the poster-child for Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation. She was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Since Tamimi’s arrest, a number of her family members, including her recently-shot cousin, her mother and her father have been arrested. Her mother is also expected to be released on Sunday.

  • Published in Culture

Cuba Reiterates Solidarity with Palestine's Cause

Cuba's Alternate Permanent Representative to the UN, Ana Silvia Rodriguez, reiterated today the solidarity of her country with Palestine and expressed serious concern about the dangerous deterioration of the situation in the Middle East.

Speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council, she stressed that it is very regrettable that this organization, after the repeated obstruction of one of its members, could not even condemn the escalation of violence and the tragic events that took place in Gaza.

In addition, the ambassador condemned -once again- the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as the demolition or seizure of property and lands of that population.

These cruel and destructive measures, together with the criminal and illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, seriously violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, removing the possibility of a two-State solution and infringe the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people, she pointed out.

Likewise, Cuba reiterates its deep concern and rejection for the unilateral statement of the U.S. President, Donald Trump, of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which constitutes a serious and flagrant violation of the UN Charter, International Law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, she expressed.

  • Published in Cuba

Gaza teenager killed, dozens injured as Great March of Return marks over 100 days

A 15yo Palestinian has been killed by live IDF fire and over 220 people have been injured during the Great March of Return protest on the Gazan-Israeli border. The clashes marked over 100 days since the deadly weekly revolt began.

Othman Rami Hellas, 15, was killed on Friday evening after being shot by an IDF sniper during yet another tense standoff along the border demarcation fence, Wafa News reported. Another 220 Palestinians suffered injuries from the live bullets and tear gas that were used to repel the protesters.

The IDF said it was forced to respond to the Palestinian “violence” after a soldier received “moderate injuries” from a grenade that was thrown at him by the rioters.

 
© IDFSpokesperson

“Throughout the day there were violent riots involving thousands of Palestinians along the security fence between Gaza and Israel,” the IDF said, in a statement. “Rioters threw grenades, explosive devices and fire bombs, burned tires, and threw stones at the security fence and at IDF troops.”

Israel urged Hamas to stop inciting weekly protests, accusing it of using Gazan civilians as "human shields” to cover their “terror activity.” In the face of Hamas operatives using “grenades, fire bombs, explosives, stones, burning tires, arson kites, and incendiary balloons,” the IDF has once again warned that it will use all means necessary to protect its sovereignty.

Following the Friday clashes, overnight the IDF targeted Hamas sites in Gaza. The militant organization retaliated by launching at least 17 rockets across the border into Israel, five of which were intercepted by Iron Dome.

READ MORE: ‘We want to play for our country’: Gaza amputee footballers aspire to reach the top (VIDEO)

In the 100 days since the weekly rallies began on March 30 at least 138 Palestinians, including 19 minors were killed. Over 15,000 rioters were injured.

  • Published in World
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