October 10, 2018

Barkat: There’s No Such Thing As A ‘Refugee’ in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s outgoing mayor, Nir Barkat on Sunday (7th) urged the international community to consider his proposal to end the local operations of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barkat, who last week unveiled a plan to remove UNRWA from the Israeli capital, said there is “no such thing” as a refugee in the city.

Barkat told the news agency he was inspired to make the proposal after the US cut off $300 million in funding to the agency last month.

Barkat accused UNRWA schools of using textbooks that promote anti-Israel incitement and said Israel can provide much better education and health care services to Palestinians who rely on the agency.  The US funding cuts will only widen those gaps, he said.

“I look at all my residents as residents.  There’s is no such thing as residents that live in the city of Jerusalem being defined as refugees,” he explained to AP.  “We will treat them like any other residents in the city and provide the best services we can.”

The Jerusalem mayor accused the Palestinian Arabs and UNRWA of forcing “refugees” to suffer in poor conditions while turning them into a negotiating chip in any potential future deal with Israel.

Barkat’s plan would remove UNRWA from eastern Jerusalem and replace the services it provides with municipal services.

In his announcement of the plan last week, Barkat said it would “put an end to the lie of the ‘Palestinian refugee problem’ and the attempts at creating a false sovereignty within a sovereignty.”

(ap.com; israelnn.com)


‘Selling Land To Jews Is A Betrayal Of The Homeland’

The “National Popular Council of Al-Quds” on Sunday (7th) strongly condemned the sale of residential buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem to “Jewish settlers and their settlement associations.”

It also described the sale of real estate to Jews as “a despicable crime against Al-Quds, Palestine and the homeland.”

The organization noted in its statement that those who sell real estate assets to “settlers and their settlement associations are traitors to the homeland” and must be brought to justice, deterred and ostracized from society.

Bilal Al-Natsheh, the organization’s secretary-general, called for the establishment of an official commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the transfer of real estate assets from the Palestinian Arab Jouda family to the “settlers associations” and to publish the findings.

He noted that any sale of real estate assets to “the occupation, its institutions and executive arms” is considered null and void and illegal under international law.

Under Palestinian Authority (PA) law, selling of land to Jews is illegal and punishable by death.  However such sentences must be approved by the PA Chairman.

Over the weekend, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council and a preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that Islamic law strictly forbids the sale of land to Jews.

Sabri in the past warned Palestinian Arabs against selling land to Jews and Jewish organizations in the Old City of Jerusalem, saying selling land to Jews would have dangerous consequences related to the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem.



Sappers Neutralize Incendiary Balloon Found In Settlement “North Of Jerusalem”

Israeli police said sappers neutralized an incendiary device attached to a balloon that was discovered Monday (8th) in the courtyard of a home in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, just 3 miles north of Jerusalem.

An investigation into the incident has been opened, the police said in a statement.

The tactic of sending airborne incendiary devices into Israeli territory has been used almost daily by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the start of weekly border protests there in March, but it is unlikely this balloon device was launched from the coastal enclave.

Police reiterated a call for the public to be extremely careful around any such similar objects – balloons and kites – as they could contain dangerous explosives or inflammatory material.

Any one who finds such objects is to call police and leave the handling of the device to sappers, police said in a statement.

Recently, there have been a number of incidents in which West Bank Palestinians appear to be copying the tactic of sending such devices into Israeli settlements.

Last week an incendiary balloon was discovered on a highway close to Modiin Industrial Zone in the center of the country.



Why No Criticism Of The Palestinians’ Nationality Law? – Bassam Tawil

Last week, Palestinians declared a general strike in the West Bank and Gaza to protest Israel’s new Nation-State Law.  It is far from clear, however, why they should be concerned about the new law since they are not Israeli citizens and are not part of the Israeli political system.  The Palestinians living in these areas have their own (Palestinian) citizenship, their own flag, their own parliament and their own government. They are not affected by the law in any way.

The Palestinian Legislative Council enacted the “Palestinian Basic Law” in 2002.  Article 4 of the law states: “Islam is the official religion in Palestine. The principles of Islamic Sharia shall be the main source of legislation.  Arabic shall be the official language.”

Before condemning Israel for seeking to preserve its character as a Jewish state, the world needs to explain why it is all right for the Palestinians to plan that their future state will be ruled by Islamic law.   Why are the Palestinians permitted to have Islam as their official religion while Israel is denounced for seeking to maintain its Jewish character and identity?



Israel Develops Bomb-Detecting Robot To Save Soldiers’ Lives

Israel Aerospace Industries has completed the development of an autonomous system that can identify, locate and destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines before troops reach them, the company announced on Sunday (7th).

The system is installed on a robotic platform made by IAI and integrates a combination of multiple sensors that detect IEDs which may be hidden in “complex areas.”

The robotic engineering scout can be maneuvered autonomously without danger to troops, and can detect, engage and remove the IEDs by using a blade installed on the vehicle.

The robotic system enables faster, more efficient execution of missions without risk to human life.  It combines a number of different detection devices capable of finding explosives on and under surfaces, and the engineering capabilities for neutralizing them.  The system can be operated in any terrain and has a precision system that generates a real image of the area for its operator.

Weekly protests along the Gaza border have seen hundreds of IEDs used against IDF troops.  The military has warned of an increased use of such devices after explosives were planted near the security fence and attached to balloons launched from the coastal enclave into southern Israel.

In March, four IDF soldiers were wounded, including two seriously, when an IED hidden inside a Palestinian flagpole at the security fence detonated next to their military jeep, as they patrolled the border of the southern Gaza Strip.

Primarily intended for patrols during routine security missions on Israel’s borders, CIMS (Counter Improvised Explosive Device and Mine Suite) can be operated day or night and in any weather conditions and environment.  A large, rectangular multi-sensor system is placed directly in front of armored vehicles, allowing it to search and destroy IEDs.