Palestinian Plight: Updates & Discussions | Page 10 | World Defense

Palestinian Plight: Updates & Discussions

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Hamas Informs Mediators: Patience Is Running Out
09 June, 2019


Palestinians fly balloons loaded with flammable material to be thrown at the Israeli side, near the Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip (File Photo: Reuters)

Ramallah- Asharq Al-Awsat

Hamas conveyed a message to Egypt and the United Nations on the situation in Gaza and the truce, warning that its “patience is over or is running out,” according to Israeli sources.

The sources said Hamas warned that if Tel Aviv’s promises to proceed with the understandings are not fulfilled, Israel should not expect calm days.

The leaked report came hours after the head of Israel's military intelligence service Tamir Heyman said that while Hamas was trying to prevent a war with Israel, it was facing increasing crises inside the Strip.

Earlier, Asharq al-Awsat reported that Egypt would intervene to maintain stability in Gaza, fearing a possible collapse especially that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government and announce new Israeli elections.

Egypt’s concern stems from the Palestinians' rush to implement the agreement in light of an Israeli slowdown.

It is no secret that officials in Gaza are waving the possibility of escalating the protests as of next week because of the “failure” in carrying out the agreements reached with Israel.

Last month, Egypt put forward a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Strip.

The agreement included putting an end to the attacks from Gaza Strip, in exchange for the introduction of funds into Gaza, lifting the import restrictions on many goods, and increasing the fishing limit for Gaza fishermen to 12 and 15 nautical miles.

According to the agreement, if this stage is successful, another stage will be discussed and may include a prisoner exchange deal and infrastructure projects.

Earlier, Israel reduced the fishing area off the shores of the Gaza Strip from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles.

An Israeli official said that “Tel Aviv restricted the fishing area off Gaza coast from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles, in response to incendiary balloons shot off from Gaza towards Israel.”

Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority spokeswoman said firefighters worked on Tuesday to extinguish three fires in Israel caused by burning balloons that were launched from Gaza.

Israel restricted the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons, said Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official noted that authorities reduced the fishing zone from 15 nautical miles off the coast to 10 nautical miles.

However, it remains under the 20-mile distance agreed upon in the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

On Friday, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi met with the heads of the Gaza communities and told them that the relative calm along the border has been proving effective. He briefed the officials on the expected challenges and the political settlement with Palestinian factions in Gaza.

"The reduction in the number of balloons and the decrease in the number of violent incidents on the fence is not coincidental,” said Kochavi, adding that while the army prefers to give this “arrangement a chance...we cannot let the balloon terror continue.”

 

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Hamas Informs Mediators: Patience Is Running Out
09 June, 2019


Palestinians fly balloons loaded with flammable material to be thrown at the Israeli side, near the Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip (File Photo: Reuters)

Ramallah- Asharq Al-Awsat

Hamas conveyed a message to Egypt and the United Nations on the situation in Gaza and the truce, warning that its “patience is over or is running out,” according to Israeli sources.

The sources said Hamas warned that if Tel Aviv’s promises to proceed with the understandings are not fulfilled, Israel should not expect calm days.

The leaked report came hours after the head of Israel's military intelligence service Tamir Heyman said that while Hamas was trying to prevent a war with Israel, it was facing increasing crises inside the Strip.

Earlier, Asharq al-Awsat reported that Egypt would intervene to maintain stability in Gaza, fearing a possible collapse especially that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government and announce new Israeli elections.

Egypt’s concern stems from the Palestinians' rush to implement the agreement in light of an Israeli slowdown.

It is no secret that officials in Gaza are waving the possibility of escalating the protests as of next week because of the “failure” in carrying out the agreements reached with Israel.

Last month, Egypt put forward a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Strip.

The agreement included putting an end to the attacks from Gaza Strip, in exchange for the introduction of funds into Gaza, lifting the import restrictions on many goods, and increasing the fishing limit for Gaza fishermen to 12 and 15 nautical miles.

According to the agreement, if this stage is successful, another stage will be discussed and may include a prisoner exchange deal and infrastructure projects.

Earlier, Israel reduced the fishing area off the shores of the Gaza Strip from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles.

An Israeli official said that “Tel Aviv restricted the fishing area off Gaza coast from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles, in response to incendiary balloons shot off from Gaza towards Israel.”

Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority spokeswoman said firefighters worked on Tuesday to extinguish three fires in Israel caused by burning balloons that were launched from Gaza.

Israel restricted the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons, said Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official noted that authorities reduced the fishing zone from 15 nautical miles off the coast to 10 nautical miles.

However, it remains under the 20-mile distance agreed upon in the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

On Friday, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi met with the heads of the Gaza communities and told them that the relative calm along the border has been proving effective. He briefed the officials on the expected challenges and the political settlement with Palestinian factions in Gaza.

"The reduction in the number of balloons and the decrease in the number of violent incidents on the fence is not coincidental,” said Kochavi, adding that while the army prefers to give this “arrangement a chance...we cannot let the balloon terror continue.”

 

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Israel has ‘right’ to annex West Bank land, says US ambassador
AFP
June 09, 2019

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem March 21, 2019. (REUTERS)
  • Following persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank
JERUSALEM: The US ambassador has said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank, in comments likely to deepen Palestinian opposition to a long-awaited US peace plan.

The Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

They are likely to see the latest comments by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support.
In the interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat has said any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans.”

The establishment of a Palestinian state in territories, including the West Bank, that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967, has been the focus of all past Middle East peace plans.

No firm date has yet been set for the unveiling of the Trump administration’s plan although a conference is to be held in Bahrain later this month on its economic aspects.

The public comments made by administation officials so far suggest the plan will lean heavily on substantial financial support for the Palestinian economy, much of it funded by the Gulf Arab states, in return for concessions on territory and statehood. “The absolute last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan,” Friedman said in the Times interview.

SPEEDREAD
The Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

“We’re relying upon the fact that the right plan, for the right time, will get the right reaction over time.”
Friedman, a staunch supporter of the Israeli settlements, told the Times that the Trump plan was aimed at improving the quality of life for Palestinians but would fall well short of a “permanent resolution to the conflict.”

He said he did not believe the plan would trigger Palestinian violence.

But he said the United States would coordinate closely with Arab ally Jordan, which could face unrest among its large Palestinian population over a plan perceived as overly favorable to Israel.

Publication of the plan looks set to be further delayed after the Israeli paraliament called a snap general election for September, the second this year.

The plan is regarded as too sensitive to release during the campaign.

During campaigning for the first general election in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex West Bank Jewish settlements, a move long supported by nearly all lawmakers in his alliance of right-wing and religious parties.

Earlier, in February, Netanyahu told lawmakers he had been discussing with Washington a plan that would effectively annex settlements.

In a rare public show of disunity between the close allies, the White House then flatly denied any such discussion.

Following persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, among some three million Palestinians.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

 

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Israel has ‘right’ to annex West Bank land, says US ambassador
AFP
June 09, 2019

View attachment 7763
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem March 21, 2019. (REUTERS)
  • Following persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank
JERUSALEM: The US ambassador has said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank, in comments likely to deepen Palestinian opposition to a long-awaited US peace plan.

The Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

They are likely to see the latest comments by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support.
In the interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat has said any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans.”

The establishment of a Palestinian state in territories, including the West Bank, that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967, has been the focus of all past Middle East peace plans.

No firm date has yet been set for the unveiling of the Trump administration’s plan although a conference is to be held in Bahrain later this month on its economic aspects.

The public comments made by administation officials so far suggest the plan will lean heavily on substantial financial support for the Palestinian economy, much of it funded by the Gulf Arab states, in return for concessions on territory and statehood. “The absolute last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan,” Friedman said in the Times interview.

SPEEDREAD
The Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

“We’re relying upon the fact that the right plan, for the right time, will get the right reaction over time.”
Friedman, a staunch supporter of the Israeli settlements, told the Times that the Trump plan was aimed at improving the quality of life for Palestinians but would fall well short of a “permanent resolution to the conflict.”

He said he did not believe the plan would trigger Palestinian violence.

But he said the United States would coordinate closely with Arab ally Jordan, which could face unrest among its large Palestinian population over a plan perceived as overly favorable to Israel.

Publication of the plan looks set to be further delayed after the Israeli paraliament called a snap general election for September, the second this year.

The plan is regarded as too sensitive to release during the campaign.

During campaigning for the first general election in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex West Bank Jewish settlements, a move long supported by nearly all lawmakers in his alliance of right-wing and religious parties.

Earlier, in February, Netanyahu told lawmakers he had been discussing with Washington a plan that would effectively annex settlements.

In a rare public show of disunity between the close allies, the White House then flatly denied any such discussion.

Following persistent expansion of the settlements by successive Netanyahu governments, more than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, among some three million Palestinians.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal and the biggest obstacle to peace.

 

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Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to Attend Bahrain Conference on Palestinian Economy
11 June, 2019

7921

Palestinian protesters in Gaza. (AFP)

Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will attend the US-led conference in Bahrain this month on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy, US officials said Tuesday.

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered especially important since historically they have been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, reported Reuters.

The conference is part of the upcoming US peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century” by President Donald Trump.

Palestinian leaders’ decision to boycott the June 25-26 conference has raised doubts about its chances for success. They have shunned a broader diplomatic effort, which they see as likely to be heavily tilted in favor of Israel and denying them a state of their own.

Despite that, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a chief architect of the long-delayed peace plan, is pressing ahead with arrangements for the Bahrain meeting, where the economic components are expected to be unveiled as the first step in the plan’s rollout.

Acceptance of the invitation to the conference by Jordan and Egypt will bring to the table two countries that border both Israel and Palestinian areas.

Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank also plan to be present.

US officials have been vague about the timing for the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With Israel heading for new elections in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a government, uncertainty is expected to further delay the full release of the plan.

 

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Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to Attend Bahrain Conference on Palestinian Economy
11 June, 2019

View attachment 7921
Palestinian protesters in Gaza. (AFP)

Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will attend the US-led conference in Bahrain this month on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy, US officials said Tuesday.

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered especially important since historically they have been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, reported Reuters.

The conference is part of the upcoming US peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century” by President Donald Trump.

Palestinian leaders’ decision to boycott the June 25-26 conference has raised doubts about its chances for success. They have shunned a broader diplomatic effort, which they see as likely to be heavily tilted in favor of Israel and denying them a state of their own.

Despite that, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a chief architect of the long-delayed peace plan, is pressing ahead with arrangements for the Bahrain meeting, where the economic components are expected to be unveiled as the first step in the plan’s rollout.

Acceptance of the invitation to the conference by Jordan and Egypt will bring to the table two countries that border both Israel and Palestinian areas.

Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank also plan to be present.

US officials have been vague about the timing for the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With Israel heading for new elections in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a government, uncertainty is expected to further delay the full release of the plan.

 

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Israel strikes Gaza after first rocket since early May
The strike came after Israeli air defences claimed it intercepted a rocket
June 13, 2019
AFP

7965

Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hamas site after it was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza CityImage Credit: Reuters

Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli warplanes bombed bunkers at a Hamas base in Gaza early Thursday following the first rocket fire from the territory since early May, the military said.

Israeli aircraft targeted “underground infrastructure” at the base in the southern Gaza Strip, it said in a statement.
The strike came after Israeli air defences claimed it intercepted a rocket launched from the territory, the first since hundreds were fired in early May in a two-day flare-up which killed four Israelis and 25 Palestinians.

On Wednesday evening, Israel announced it had banned all fishing off Gaza claiming it was retaliation for the launch of more incendiary balloons from the enclave.
Israel has launched three brutal assaults on Gaza since 2008.

 

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Israel strikes Gaza after first rocket since early May
The strike came after Israeli air defences claimed it intercepted a rocket
June 13, 2019
AFP

View attachment 7965
Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hamas site after it was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza CityImage Credit: Reuters

Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli warplanes bombed bunkers at a Hamas base in Gaza early Thursday following the first rocket fire from the territory since early May, the military said.

Israeli aircraft targeted “underground infrastructure” at the base in the southern Gaza Strip, it said in a statement.
The strike came after Israeli air defences claimed it intercepted a rocket launched from the territory, the first since hundreds were fired in early May in a two-day flare-up which killed four Israelis and 25 Palestinians.

On Wednesday evening, Israel announced it had banned all fishing off Gaza claiming it was retaliation for the launch of more incendiary balloons from the enclave.
Israel has launched three brutal assaults on Gaza since 2008.

 

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Israelis close Gaza fishing zone due to fire balloons
Move in retaliation for launch of incendiary balloons
Published: June 13, 2019
AFP
7976


Occupied Jerusalem: The Israeli government said late Wednesday that the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza had been closed, in retaliation for the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave.

“Due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, it has been decided tonight (Wednesday) not to allow access to Gaza’s maritime space until further notice,” a spokesperson for COGAT, a unit of Israel’s defence ministry, said in a statement.

The move came after COGAT said on Tuesday it had reduced the extent of the fishing zone to six nautical miles offshore from 10 nautical miles, having downscaled it from 15 nautical miles a week ago.

A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires just on Tuesday.
In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

Israel had only restored the fishing limit to 15 miles on June 4, after a previous reduction in response to fire balloons.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

 

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Israelis close Gaza fishing zone due to fire balloons
Move in retaliation for launch of incendiary balloons
Published: June 13, 2019
AFP
View attachment 7976

Occupied Jerusalem: The Israeli government said late Wednesday that the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza had been closed, in retaliation for the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave.

“Due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, it has been decided tonight (Wednesday) not to allow access to Gaza’s maritime space until further notice,” a spokesperson for COGAT, a unit of Israel’s defence ministry, said in a statement.

The move came after COGAT said on Tuesday it had reduced the extent of the fishing zone to six nautical miles offshore from 10 nautical miles, having downscaled it from 15 nautical miles a week ago.

A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires just on Tuesday.
In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

Israel had only restored the fishing limit to 15 miles on June 4, after a previous reduction in response to fire balloons.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

 

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Hamas Warns of Deliberate Escalation, Israel Prepares to Respond
14 June, 2019

8034

Palestinians fly balloons loaded with flammable material to be thrown at the Israeli side, near the Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Ramallah – Kifah Zboun

Truce that prevailed over the Gaza Strip is now under scrutiny as Hamas and other factions threatened to resume a policy of "deliberate escalation" in response to Israel’s stalling in implementing the agreements.

“We don’t want a war but we will escalate confrontation and the adoption of rough tools if Israel does not implement the understandings," an official told Asharq Al-Awsat. “We will not allow more bargaining and coercion.”

Threats by Hamas came hours after an Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip in response to the launching of a rocket, and a day before the “marches of the return,” which will be held along the borders.

On Thursday, the Israeli army launched an air strike on the Gaza Strip targeting agricultural land in Rafah, the southernmost of the Strip, without causing any casualties.

Israel said the raid came in retaliation for the launching of a missile intercepted by the Iron Dome. According to an army statement, Israeli fighter jets targeted an infrastructure in a Hamas military complex in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a rocket-propelled grenade fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli settlement of Eshkol near the border with the Gaza Strip.

The past few days have witnessed the launch of many fire balloons towards the settlements, in a clear change from the calm policy pursued by Hamas. Six fires broke out on Wednesday and eight fires on Tuesday in Israeli-controlled areas.

“Due to the continued fires and flying of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip, it was decided this evening to impose a naval closure on the Strip until further notice,” the Israeli liaison to the Palestinian territories said in a statement.

Israel had announced it was imposing a full naval closure of the Gaza Strip, not allowing local fisherman access to the sea, in response to the wave of explosive attacks from the Gaza Strip.

 

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Hamas Warns of Deliberate Escalation, Israel Prepares to Respond
14 June, 2019

View attachment 8034
Palestinians fly balloons loaded with flammable material to be thrown at the Israeli side, near the Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Ramallah – Kifah Zboun

Truce that prevailed over the Gaza Strip is now under scrutiny as Hamas and other factions threatened to resume a policy of "deliberate escalation" in response to Israel’s stalling in implementing the agreements.

“We don’t want a war but we will escalate confrontation and the adoption of rough tools if Israel does not implement the understandings," an official told Asharq Al-Awsat. “We will not allow more bargaining and coercion.”

Threats by Hamas came hours after an Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip in response to the launching of a rocket, and a day before the “marches of the return,” which will be held along the borders.

On Thursday, the Israeli army launched an air strike on the Gaza Strip targeting agricultural land in Rafah, the southernmost of the Strip, without causing any casualties.

Israel said the raid came in retaliation for the launching of a missile intercepted by the Iron Dome. According to an army statement, Israeli fighter jets targeted an infrastructure in a Hamas military complex in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a rocket-propelled grenade fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli settlement of Eshkol near the border with the Gaza Strip.

The past few days have witnessed the launch of many fire balloons towards the settlements, in a clear change from the calm policy pursued by Hamas. Six fires broke out on Wednesday and eight fires on Tuesday in Israeli-controlled areas.

“Due to the continued fires and flying of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip, it was decided this evening to impose a naval closure on the Strip until further notice,” the Israeli liaison to the Palestinian territories said in a statement.

Israel had announced it was imposing a full naval closure of the Gaza Strip, not allowing local fisherman access to the sea, in response to the wave of explosive attacks from the Gaza Strip.

 

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Tremors across Jordan as Trump plan revives old fears
Reuters
June 15, 2019

8088

Jordan’s King Abdullah rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians. (Reuters)

  • After Israel’s creation in 1948 Jordan absorbed more Palestinians than any other country

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah reacts angrily to any suggestion that he might accept a US deal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict that would make his country a homeland for Palestinians.

Speaking to the armed forces in March, he rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians, saying: “Don’t we have a voice in the end?”

Already facing economic discontent at home, Abdullah must navigate diplomatic moves by his US allies that are upturning a regional status-quo.

After Israel’s creation in 1948 Jordan absorbed more Palestinians than any other country, with some estimates that they now account for more than half the population.

Any changes to the international consensus on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and Palestinian refugees’ right of return to what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories, long buttressed by US policy, therefore reverberate harder in Jordan than anywhere else.

HIGHLIGHTS
• ‘Deal of the Century’ challenges Jordan’s internal balance.
• Many Jordanians reject leaked details of plan.
• Some Jordanians hope deal could bring prosperity.

US President Donald Trump’s long-promised “Deal of the Century” to resolve the conflict is still secret, though leaked details suggest it dumps the idea of a full

Palestinian state in favor of limited self-rule in part of the Occupied Territories, which would undermine Palestinians’ right to return.

It envisages an expansion of Gaza into part of northern Egypt, under Egyptian control, with Palestinians also having a smaller share of the West Bank and some areas on
the outskirts of Jerusalem and no control over their borders, the leaks say.

Jordanian fears about what the plan portends for the region, for their Palestinian citizens, and for the politics of their own country, have been aggravated by Trump’s readiness to upturn US policy.

American officials deny contemplating making Jordan a Palestinian homeland, pushing it to take a role in governing parts of the West Bank or challenging the right of King Abdullah’s dynasty to custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Disturbing signals
But Trump’s approach to the issue, and recent statements by his ambassador to Israel that it had a right to annex some of the West Bank have done little to assuage Jordanian concerns.

Few subjects in Jordan are more politically charged than the role, presence and future there of Palestinians. The issue is so sensitive that the government publishes no data on how many of its 8 million citizens are also of Palestinian descent, though a recent US congressional report put it at more than half.

Despite the US denials, Jordanians fear that Trump is returning to an old Israeli theme: That Jordan is Palestine and that is where the Palestinians of the West Bank should go.

It could not have come at a worse time for the 57-year-old Abdullah, whose country is facing economic challenges that led to protests and a change of government last year.

While many Palestinians are integrated in Jordan, and many descendants of refugees have never set foot in their original homeland, some native Jordanians have never acknowledged that they will stay permanently.

They fear Trump’s plan could alter the demography and politics of a nation shaped by the presence of Palestinians, who hold full citizenship but are marginalized and seen as a political threat by some people of Jordanian descent.

But Abdullah’s decision that Jordan should attend an economic conference showed that despite mounting alarm at home, Amman cannot ignore pressure from richer, more powerful allies in the West and the Gulf.

Internal worries
Maintaining unity between citizens of Jordanian and Palestinian descent has been critical to the ruling family’s role as a unifying force in a country where tribal and clan loyalties hold sway.

The king is already facing anger from the “Herak” opposition, drawn from Jordanians of native descent, who say Trump’s plans will tear apart a state patronage system that has cemented their own loyalty to the monarchy.

Retired army officers have held small weekly protests in opposition to a deal.
“No to eroding our national identity and dismantling the state,” said Saad Alaween, a prominent Herak dissident, referring to the deal.

Some warn the monarch not to accept a plan that could give their compatriots of Palestinian origin more political rights in an electoral system tilted in favor of native Jordanians.

Rumours that the plan could lead to Jordan taking in Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria, or that it would merge with a rump of Palestinian territory in bits of the West Bank, have also led to alarm.

In a sign of his concerns, the king has even met lawmakers from the once outcast movement in an attempt, say officials, to win the backing of the largest opposition grouping with support in large cities and Palestinian camps.
“Trump wants to buy and sell Jordan and create a new regime. We are behind the king in opposing this,” said Muraed Al-Adaylah, head of the Islamic Action Front, the
political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdullah also inspired a shake-up in the intelligence establishment — long seen as a guardian of Jordan’s stability — to solidify the internal front and mitigate any fallout from the deal in the months to come, insiders say.

In the army — whose loyalty to the crown is deeply meshed with Jordanian national identity — there are also signs of concern.
“Jordan is a country that has sovereignty and history, and will say its word at the right moment,” said General Mahmoud Al-Friehat, the army’s chief of staff.

Foreign pressure
Jordan’s long-term strategic and economic policy is based on close relations with the West and the Gulf — an approach that underlay its decision to make peace with Israel in 1994.

Abdullah has made repeated visits to Washington, where officials say he was not told details of the White House plan.

That has only accentuated the sense of alarm among a political establishment that sees a day of reckoning coming with Trump’s deal, two officials and a politician said.

The royal palace has pointed to demonstrations in dozens of rural towns and cities as a message to Washington that it cannot impose a solution that permanently settles Palestinians in Jordan against its will.

Jordan has traditionally turned to monarchies in the Gulf to shore up its economy. However, their focus has shifted to their rivalry with Iran, cutting financial support and leaving Jordan more exposed than ever.
“Our Gulf allies are too beholden to Washington ... to extend the level of support that can help us withstand the growing pressures,” said a senior official.

Although Jordan will join the conference to roll out the economic parts of Trump’s plan, it will deliver a message there that no cash offers can replace a political solution to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, officials say.

Still, some think economically challenged Jordan could profit from any plan that promises billions in aid and project finance.

Some businessmen have already positioned themselves to benefit and this month a prominent MP, Fawaz Al-Zubi, said Jordanians should be open-minded about anything they could gain from it.

In the camps where 2.2 million of Jordan’s registered refugees live, bitter realism seems to prevail.

Ibrahim Anabtawi, a second-generation refugee with six children, said that like others in the camp he had dug up old United Nations ration cards to prove their rights in case any new deal offered compensation.
“I won’t forget I am a Palestinian or give up the right of return,” said Anabtawi. But he added: “I have been persecuted all this time and no one stood by us. I now want anything that this deal and Trump offers.”


 

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Tremors across Jordan as Trump plan revives old fears
Reuters
June 15, 2019

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Jordan’s King Abdullah rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians. (Reuters)

  • After Israel’s creation in 1948 Jordan absorbed more Palestinians than any other country

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah reacts angrily to any suggestion that he might accept a US deal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict that would make his country a homeland for Palestinians.

Speaking to the armed forces in March, he rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians, saying: “Don’t we have a voice in the end?”

Already facing economic discontent at home, Abdullah must navigate diplomatic moves by his US allies that are upturning a regional status-quo.

After Israel’s creation in 1948 Jordan absorbed more Palestinians than any other country, with some estimates that they now account for more than half the population.

Any changes to the international consensus on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and Palestinian refugees’ right of return to what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories, long buttressed by US policy, therefore reverberate harder in Jordan than anywhere else.

HIGHLIGHTS
• ‘Deal of the Century’ challenges Jordan’s internal balance.
• Many Jordanians reject leaked details of plan.
• Some Jordanians hope deal could bring prosperity.

US President Donald Trump’s long-promised “Deal of the Century” to resolve the conflict is still secret, though leaked details suggest it dumps the idea of a full

Palestinian state in favor of limited self-rule in part of the Occupied Territories, which would undermine Palestinians’ right to return.

It envisages an expansion of Gaza into part of northern Egypt, under Egyptian control, with Palestinians also having a smaller share of the West Bank and some areas on
the outskirts of Jerusalem and no control over their borders, the leaks say.

Jordanian fears about what the plan portends for the region, for their Palestinian citizens, and for the politics of their own country, have been aggravated by Trump’s readiness to upturn US policy.

American officials deny contemplating making Jordan a Palestinian homeland, pushing it to take a role in governing parts of the West Bank or challenging the right of King Abdullah’s dynasty to custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Disturbing signals
But Trump’s approach to the issue, and recent statements by his ambassador to Israel that it had a right to annex some of the West Bank have done little to assuage Jordanian concerns.

Few subjects in Jordan are more politically charged than the role, presence and future there of Palestinians. The issue is so sensitive that the government publishes no data on how many of its 8 million citizens are also of Palestinian descent, though a recent US congressional report put it at more than half.

Despite the US denials, Jordanians fear that Trump is returning to an old Israeli theme: That Jordan is Palestine and that is where the Palestinians of the West Bank should go.

It could not have come at a worse time for the 57-year-old Abdullah, whose country is facing economic challenges that led to protests and a change of government last year.

While many Palestinians are integrated in Jordan, and many descendants of refugees have never set foot in their original homeland, some native Jordanians have never acknowledged that they will stay permanently.

They fear Trump’s plan could alter the demography and politics of a nation shaped by the presence of Palestinians, who hold full citizenship but are marginalized and seen as a political threat by some people of Jordanian descent.

But Abdullah’s decision that Jordan should attend an economic conference showed that despite mounting alarm at home, Amman cannot ignore pressure from richer, more powerful allies in the West and the Gulf.

Internal worries
Maintaining unity between citizens of Jordanian and Palestinian descent has been critical to the ruling family’s role as a unifying force in a country where tribal and clan loyalties hold sway.

The king is already facing anger from the “Herak” opposition, drawn from Jordanians of native descent, who say Trump’s plans will tear apart a state patronage system that has cemented their own loyalty to the monarchy.

Retired army officers have held small weekly protests in opposition to a deal.
“No to eroding our national identity and dismantling the state,” said Saad Alaween, a prominent Herak dissident, referring to the deal.

Some warn the monarch not to accept a plan that could give their compatriots of Palestinian origin more political rights in an electoral system tilted in favor of native Jordanians.

Rumours that the plan could lead to Jordan taking in Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria, or that it would merge with a rump of Palestinian territory in bits of the West Bank, have also led to alarm.

In a sign of his concerns, the king has even met lawmakers from the once outcast movement in an attempt, say officials, to win the backing of the largest opposition grouping with support in large cities and Palestinian camps.
“Trump wants to buy and sell Jordan and create a new regime. We are behind the king in opposing this,” said Muraed Al-Adaylah, head of the Islamic Action Front, the
political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdullah also inspired a shake-up in the intelligence establishment — long seen as a guardian of Jordan’s stability — to solidify the internal front and mitigate any fallout from the deal in the months to come, insiders say.

In the army — whose loyalty to the crown is deeply meshed with Jordanian national identity — there are also signs of concern.
“Jordan is a country that has sovereignty and history, and will say its word at the right moment,” said General Mahmoud Al-Friehat, the army’s chief of staff.

Foreign pressure
Jordan’s long-term strategic and economic policy is based on close relations with the West and the Gulf — an approach that underlay its decision to make peace with Israel in 1994.

Abdullah has made repeated visits to Washington, where officials say he was not told details of the White House plan.

That has only accentuated the sense of alarm among a political establishment that sees a day of reckoning coming with Trump’s deal, two officials and a politician said.

The royal palace has pointed to demonstrations in dozens of rural towns and cities as a message to Washington that it cannot impose a solution that permanently settles Palestinians in Jordan against its will.

Jordan has traditionally turned to monarchies in the Gulf to shore up its economy. However, their focus has shifted to their rivalry with Iran, cutting financial support and leaving Jordan more exposed than ever.
“Our Gulf allies are too beholden to Washington ... to extend the level of support that can help us withstand the growing pressures,” said a senior official.

Although Jordan will join the conference to roll out the economic parts of Trump’s plan, it will deliver a message there that no cash offers can replace a political solution to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, officials say.

Still, some think economically challenged Jordan could profit from any plan that promises billions in aid and project finance.

Some businessmen have already positioned themselves to benefit and this month a prominent MP, Fawaz Al-Zubi, said Jordanians should be open-minded about anything they could gain from it.

In the camps where 2.2 million of Jordan’s registered refugees live, bitter realism seems to prevail.

Ibrahim Anabtawi, a second-generation refugee with six children, said that like others in the camp he had dug up old United Nations ration cards to prove their rights in case any new deal offered compensation.
“I won’t forget I am a Palestinian or give up the right of return,” said Anabtawi. But he added: “I have been persecuted all this time and no one stood by us. I now want anything that this deal and Trump offers.”


 

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Israel to attend U.S.-led Palestinian conference
16 June 2019

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FILE PHOTO: Israel's acting foreign minister Israel Katz, who also serves as intelligence and transport minister, attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem February 24, 2019. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israelis will attend a U.S-led conference in Bahrain next week on proposals for the Palestinian economy as part of a coming peace plan, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday.

The United States has billed the gathering as a workshop to boost the Palestinian economy as part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A source briefed on the event told Reuters Israel would send a business delegation but no government officials to the June 25-26 workshop, which is being boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.

“Israel will be at the Bahrain conference and all the coordinations will be made,” Katz said told Israeli Channel 13 News in New York. He gave no further details. The Foreign Ministry declined comment, as did a spokesman for Katz.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what level of representation Israel was expected to have at the conference.

U.S. officials have said they are inviting economy and finance ministers, as well as business leaders, to Bahrain to discuss investment in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian leaders have spurned the conference, alleging pro-Israeli bias from Washington.

The Palestinians say the still unpublished U.S. peace plan falls short of their goal of statehood. They blame a halt in U.S. aid and Israeli restrictions for an economic crisis in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A White House official said on Tuesday that Egypt, Jordan and Morocco planned to attend the conference.

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered particularly important because they have historically been major players in Middle East peace efforts and are the only Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel.

One of the sources briefed on the event told Reuters that U.S. and Bahrain had deliberated over whether a non-official Israeli presence was preferable to a government-level delegation, given that Israel currently has a caretaker government in place, pending a September election.

A second source said Israel would be sending a private business delegation.

Trump’s plan faces possible delays due to political upheaval in Israel, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government last month and must fight a second election this year, set for Sept. 17.

Reporting by Dan Williams and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Mark Potter

 

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