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Ashrawi: Recognizing Israel as ‘Jewish state’ would legalize ‘racism’

Ma’an – 11/01/2014

BETHLEHEM – Israel’s pressure on Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish state is an attempt to legalize “racism,” a PLO official said Saturday.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said defining Israel as a Jewish state would signify that any Jewish person would have the right to return to Palestine, while Palestinians would lose that right.

Ashrawi told Ma’an that Israel wants to “create a narrative that denies the Palestinian presence, rights, and continuity on the historic Palestinian lands.”

A “Jewish state” recognition would exempt Israel from its responsibility toward the Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their homes in 1948, she said.

Similarly, a former Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset said that recognizing Israel as such a state would “annul the Palestinian narrative about the Nakba.”

It would abolish the right of the refugees to return, said Talab al-Sani.

During US-mediated peace talks with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly cited recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a precondition for peace.

It is the “minimal requirement for peace,” Netanyahu told the Saban Forum on Middle East policy in Washington on Dec. 8.

There would be peace, Netanyahu said, if “there were no longer any Palestinian national claims on the Jewish state — no right of return … no residual claims of any kind. And that, the Palestinians have so far been unwilling to give.”

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million including their descendants — were forced into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

Palestinian officials have repeatedly said that recognizing the concept of Israel as a “Jewish state” is unnecessary and threatens the rights of nearly 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel who remained in their homes during the displacement of the majority of the Palestinian population during the 1948 war.

The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land is enshrined in article 11 of UN resolution 194.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hunger-striking detainees sign deal with prison authority

Ma’an – 14/05/2012

BETHLEHEM – Detainees on Monday signed a deal with the Israeli prison authority to end their mass hunger strike, officials told Ma’an.

Prisoner representatives from each of the factions agreed to the deal in Ashkelon jail, prisoners society chief Qaddura Fares said in a statement.

Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet confirmed the deal, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Terms

Senior Hamas official Saleh Arouri, who was a member of the negotiations team, said Israel agreed to provide a list of accusations to administrative detainees, or release them at the end of their term.

In comments to the Hamas-affiliated new site Palestine Information Center, he said that under the Egypt-brokered deal Israel agreed to release all detainees from solitary confinement over the next 72 hours.

Israel will also lift a ban on family visits for detainees from the Gaza Strip, and revoke the “Shalit law,” according to the official.

The “Shalit law” restricted prisoners’ access to families and to educational materials as punishment for the five-year captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Shalit was freed in October in a prisoner swap agreement.

All or nothing

Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Ma’an that all prisoners must end the hunger strike within 72 hours, and not later refuse food, for the deal to hold.

Around 2,000 prisoners joined a mass hunger strike launched on April 17 to demand fair prison conditions, according to prisoners groups’ estimates.

Another group of prisoners held in administrative detention launched an earlier strike in protest at their detention without charge, including Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 33, who have gone for 77 days without food.

Their lawyer Jamil Khatib told Ma’an that Diab and Halahla were informed of the deal earlier Monday. They were told the agreement includes their release at the end of their detention term but both refused to stop their strike unless they were immediately released, Khatib said.

On Monday evening, a relative of Halahla said the long-term hunger-strikers were still deciding on next steps. Prisoners society lawyer Jawad Bulous is heading to the prison hospitals to discuss the deal with hunger-strikers, minister Issa Qaraqe told reporters.

Power of non-violence

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi applauded the deal and said it proved the power of non-violent resistance.

“The Palestinian prisoners in facing the Israeli Prison Authority is a victory not only for them and their families, but also for the millions of Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory and in exile,” Ashrawi said in a statement.

“The hunger strikers’ courage is magnificently inspiring, and their selflessness deeply humbling,” the official added.

She also thanked Egyptian mediators, the international community “and people of conscience worldwide” for supporting the strikers.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment