Palestinian Plight: Updates & Discussions | Page 12 | World Defense

Palestinian Plight: Updates & Discussions

Scorpion

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We can make deductions about the political side from this. For example, lots of specific projects mentioned for Gaza and Lebanon etc but no mention at all of East Jerusalem. Also lots of investment in neighbouring countries (Egypt, Lebanon) for the specific purpose of absorbing Palestinian refugees, aka no right of return.


This isn't a conflict about money, it's about land and recognition of sovereignty and other symbolic rights.
That is your opinion. But this purpose of this meeting is in black and white. Hamas doesn’t like that because its going to be cut off of funds. The US and Saudi Arabia being the largest donors to Palestine would want to implement some restrictions on cash flowing to Palestine that ends up in Hamas’ hands. This won’t be the case anymore. No cash period. All contribution will be in form of materials, goods...etc. Saudi Arabia rebuilt Gaza 6 times, twice in case of Lebanon. Hamas grew because of Arab/US funds that went to Hamas instead of going to the Palestinians. Hamas on the other hand, has built no hospitals, no schools, no housing. All done by Saudi Arabia. The Palestinian budget is paid by Arab countries. This conference is purely economic and has nothing to do with politics whatsoever. Saudi Arabia 3 last summits held in Makkah back in Ramadan along with all Islamic and Arab countries reaffirmed Palestinians right to establish their own country based on 67 border agreement with East Jerusalem as its capital. Hamas can now continue sucking the money of the Iranian people paid by Khamenei. There is only one internationally recognized legitimate government of Palestine and that is the Palestinian National Authority.
 

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That is your opinion. But this purpose of this meeting is in black and white. This conference is purely economic and has nothing to do with politics whatsoever. Saudi Arabia 3 last summits held in Makkah back in Ramadan along with all Islamic and Arab countries reaffirmed Palestinians right to establish their own country based on 67 border agreement with East Jerusalem as its capital. There is only one internationally recognized legitimate government of Palestine and that is the Palestinian National Authority.
I respect your opinion. We will wait until the end of this year for the political part of the deal to see.
 

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Killing of Palestinian triggers protests in Issawiya
Updated 9 sec ago
Daoud Kuttab
June 29, 2019
View attachment 8676
Masked Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli security forces amidst clashes following Friday prayers in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya on June 28, 2019, after a Palestinian demonstrator died from injuries sustained the previous day. (AFP)

  • Israeli officials admitted that Obeid was shot by Israeli soldiers
  • An Israeli court refused to immediately return the body
JERUSALEM: Palestinians in Issawiya, East Jerusalem have continued protests for the third day running after Israeli soldiers killed 20-year-old Mohammad Obeid on Thursday.

Witnesses said that the soldiers killed Obeid even though their lives were not in danger. Israeli officials admitted that Obeid was shot by Israeli soldiers but claimed that they were at risk after fireworks were launched at them at close range. Israeli forces later retrieved Obeid’s body from a car heading to the nearby Maqassed hospital.

An Israeli court refused to immediately return the body but said that police must do so within 24 hours.

Ahmad Budeiri, a reporter following the events, told Arab News that the court ordered the body be given back on condition the family agreed that only four people would attend the funeral or they would be fined 20,000 shekels ($5,000). The family has refused.

“If the issue of the return of the body is not reached this could quickly escalate,” Buderi said.

Talal Abu Afifeh, head of the Jerusalem Intellectual Forum, told Arab News that the protests that led to Obeid’s killing were in opposition to the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” plan.

“Protests in Issawiya were against the Bahrain economic workshop and have escalated since,” he said. Abu Afifeh, who lives in the nearby Shufat refugee camp, said: “People in the Shufat refugee camp, Sur Baher and Qalandia have protested continuously since Thursday,” he said.

Obeid’s mother said that her son had been arrested a number of times by Israeli police.

Residents of Issawiya have been subjected to regular raids and arrests by the Israeli army and police for years, with homes in the town often demolished.

The main entrance to the town was historically near the HebrewUniversity, but it was shut by Israeli authorities during the Second Intifada of 2000-2005. Now, only pedestrians can enter through the route.

Residents of Issawiya complain that they are discriminated against in favor of the nearby Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, which is expanding.

 

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Israel Refuses to Transfer Salaries of Hamas Employees
Sunday, 30 June, 2019

Palestinian Hamas-hired employees receive salaries in the southern Gaza Strip on November 9, 2018. (Reuters)

Ramallah - Asharq Al-Awsat

Israel has rejected a demand by Hamas to allocate $5 million of the Qatari money to employees’ salaries, Kan 11 News Agency reported. It also sent a firm message to Hamas that if it does not stop the firing of incendiary balloons, the fighting will resume.

This took place before the two parties agreed on resuming the truce in Gaza Strip.

The report noted that Hamas is insisting on renewing the salaries to its employees due to the organization’s difficult economic situation and criticism it could get.

Hamas had received, end of 2018, salaries from Qatar but was then forced to ask that the money be channeled to other projects. Later, the flow of money was halted which caused tensions in Gaza.

A new crisis erupted Mid-June over the Qatari money when envoy Mohammed al-Emadi entered the Gaza Strip with $10 million to distribute to 100,000 needy families, Hamas demanded money for its employees’ salaries and refused to allow the distribution of money to the needy.

It was the demands of Hamas that resulted in a delay in the distribution of funds.

A few days later, Hamas agreed to accept part of the money and only $6 million were distributed over 60,000 needy families in Gaza. The remaining $4 million were deposited by the Qatari envoy in a bank in Gaza until Israel allows it to be transferred to salaries for Hamas officials.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar himself approved the decision that was reached on Thursday night to return to the ceasefire and stop the firing of the incendiary balloons, after Israel sent a strong message through the mediators that "if the firing of balloons does not stop, Gaza risks a war."

According to sources, the efforts to prevent the deterioration continued until midnight on Thursday and were on the verge of failure. Only at the last moment, the "green light" was given from Sinwar, allowing the agreement to be reached.

Further, an Egyptian security delegation is expected in Gaza next week to fixate the truce and try to move to the next phase. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem stated that the delegation would discuss the truce, the understanding with the occupation and breaking the siege over Gaza.
 

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Trump is 'very fond' of Palestinian President Abbas, willing to engage on peace plan: Kushner
July 3, 2019
Steve Holland, Dan Williams


View attachment 9014
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Arab media in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 3, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the United States is willing to engage with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but hinted a new peace plan might call on Palestinian refugees to settle where they are and not return to lands now in Israel.

At a workshop in Bahrain last week, Kushner unveiled a $50 billion economic plan for the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. On Wednesday, he said he would have more to say about the way forward on the economic plan “probably next week.”

Sometime later this year, he is to outline a 50- to 60-page page plan that will offer proposals on resolving the thorny political issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Palestinians have harshly criticized the economic plan.

In a conference call with reporters, Kushner said U.S. President Donald Trump is “very fond” of Abbas and willing to engage with him at the right time.

“Our door is always open to the Palestinian leadership,” Kushner said.

He said he believes Abbas wants peace but “certain people around him are very uncomfortable with the way we’ve approached this, and their natural reaction is to attack and say crazy things” that are not constructive.

But Kushner’s comments on Palestinian refugees are likely to raise concerns among Palestinians.

Whether the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, which with their descendants now number around 5 million, will exercise a right of return has been among the thorniest issues in decades of difficult diplomacy.

Israel has long ruled out any such influx as destabilizing, arguing that refugees should stay where they are or in a future Palestinian state. But prospects of such a state arising in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip are themselves in doubt.

Asked by a Lebanese reporter whether the United States hoped Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees would accept them permanently in exchange for funding, Kushner declined to answer directly, saying the matter would be addressed later.

But he suggested a comparison between Jews displaced from Middle Eastern countries in 1948, many of whom Israel took in.

“Look, you have a situation when this whole thing started where you had 800,000 Jewish refugees that came out of all the different Middle Eastern countries and you had 800,000, roughly, Palestinian refugees,” he said .

“And what’s happened to the Israeli - to the Jewish - refugees, is they have been absorbed by different places whereas the Arab world has not absorbed a lot of these refugees over time,” he said.

“I think that the people of Lebanon would love to see a resolution to this issue, one that is fair,” he said.

“And I also think that the refugees, the Palestinian refugees who are in Lebanon, who are denied a lot of rights and who, you know, don’t have the best conditions right now would also like to see a situation where there is a pathway for them to have more rights and to live a better life.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long suggested a demographic tradeoff between Jewish and Palestinian refugees.

Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said during a Jerusalem visit last week that Washington has its own figure for Palestinian refugees.

“The number of actual Palestinian refugees is classified,” she told a conference hosted by the conservative Israel Hayom newspaper. “There are multiple people working to get it unclassified.”

Reporting By Steve Holland and Dan Williams; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis

 

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Japan offers to be ‘honest broker’ for Palestinian-Israeli peace
Updated 19 sec ago
Faisal J. Abbas | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
July 03, 2019

View attachment 9031
Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono is actively advocating a bigger political role for his country in the Arab world. (AN Photo)


  • Kushner economic plan is good start and Tokyo keen to get involved, foreign minister tells Arab News
  • Japan also wants to expand ties with Saudi Arabia beyond existing agreements on industry and energy
TOKYO: While most world powers either intervene reluctantly in Middle Eastern affairs or avoid the region altogether, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono is actively advocating a bigger political role for his country in the Arab world.

“We can play an honest broker in the Middle East, as we have no colonial history or negative footprint in the region,” he told Arab News in a wide-ranging interview at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.

Indeed, regional stability is actually in his country’s national interest, Kono said. “Our energy depends on imports, mostly from the Gulf region. Forty percent of the crude oil we import comes from Saudi Arabia, 80 percent of the crude oil and 20 percent of the gas we import goes through the Strait of Hormuz. So, stability and peace in the Middle East is directly connected to our economy.”

However, Japanese diplomacy recently experienced at first hand the hazards of dealing with some of the region’s rogue players. A Japanese tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman last month during a mediation visit to Tehran by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the first visit to Iran by a Japanese leader in over 40 years.

While the US blamed Iran for the attack, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as an “insult to Japan,” Tokyo’s official stance has been calm and reserved, distancing itself from the American accusations for the time being.

“Japan strongly condemns any attack on ships going through the Strait of Hormuz and we strongly condemn Houthi attacks with missiles and drones on Saudi people and Saudi facilities,” Kono said.

When further probed on what Japan’s reaction would be if such an incident were to occur again, he told Arab News he hoped there would be no further attacks on ships belonging to any countries.

As for the outcome of the prime minister’s mediation visit, which aimed to persuade Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear deal with the US, Kono said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani had both asserted that Tehran had “no intention” to develop nuclear weapons, and that “nuclear weapons are against the teachings of Islam.”

“So, if that is true, we have nothing to worry about,” the minister said.

Japan also seems interested in trying to resolve another Middle Eastern issue — the lengthy and complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Referring to the US-organized Peace to Prosperity workshop in Bahrain just before the G20 summit in Osaka, Kono praised senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s
efforts and said Tokyo was waiting to see what the political side of his plan entailed.

“We have been communicating with Mr. Kushner and we are now reviewing his economic plan,” he said. “It looks nice, and we need to see what the political side might look like. If the political side is good, I think we should all play some role to get the peace process rolling forward, and we would be very happy to be involved in this process.”

Of course, the Palestinians declined to attend the Manama workshop, citing mistrust in the US agenda. When asked whether Japan, if invited, would be ready to play the role of a political mediator, Kono replied: “Yes, we will be glad to.”

Japan has already been investing heavily in the West Bank, he said. “We have worked with Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians to set up an industrial park near Jericho and it’s been going very well. Also, Japan set up a framework called the CEAPAD (Conference in Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development) to bring Southeast Asia to this peace process. We wanted to share how we develop the Asian economy, and we want to share our experience with Palestinians and people in the region.”

Kono also spoke of the growing relationship his country enjoys with Saudi Arabia. At the G20 summit in Osaka, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among the few world leaders granted an exceptional audience with the Japanese prime minister.

Kono said the talks confirmed the “progress of Japan and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The Japanese government and the Japanese private sector are determined to support His Royal Highness’s reform agenda in the Kingdom.”

There is great potential for bilateral ties to go deeper, he said, with a diversified relationship which focused not only on the economy, but on cultural exchange and many other aspects too.

“We should have more exchange of people, and Japanese companies investing in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “There are mega-projects that His Royal Highness is taking leadership on, and we hope many Japanese companies participate in these projects, as well as increase Saudi investment into Japan, and not limited to the economy; we hope to receive more Saudi students coming to study in Japanese universities and we’ll be happy to send Japanese students to Saudi Arabia.”

Kono has met Crown Prince Mohammed on numerous occasions, and he sees many similarities between what Vision 2030 is trying to achieve in Saudi Arabia and what Japan has already achieved.

“His Royal Highness is very much interested in keeping Saudi history and tradition but at the same time to develop the Saudi economy and society. This is similar to what Japan has been doing. We introduced Western technology and the idea of democracy, but at the same time we have kept Japanese values, traditions and the Japanese way of life.

“There is a lot in common between Arab culture and our culture, like respecting elders or putting importance on family. So we would be very happy to share our experience and work with his vision.”

 

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Kushner's economic plan ‘no substitute’ for peace: Jordan PM

Jordan's prime minister says an economic deal cannot be a substitute for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, echoing concerns by critics of the US peace summit in Bahrain last month.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Sunday that the "road to peace is clear" and must be based upon the creation of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. He says that "there is no compromise or project or deal that will divert us from these priorities."

His remarks came during a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Mohammad Shtayyeh.

In Bahrain, the US promoted its plan calling for $50 billion of investment in Palestinian areas and neighbouring Arab countries.

However, the main architect of the plan, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, has said that the Palestinians are not ready for a state and the US plan is expected to give Israel control of all of Jerusalem as well as large parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinians boycotted the Bahrain conference regarding the deal, accusing the US of trying to buy off their right to national self-determination.

 

Khafee

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Israel says it shot down drone that crossed from Gaza
Updated 8 sec ago
AP
AFP
July 09, 2019

View attachment 9278
A Palestinian protester flees from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during protests along the Gaza border. (AFP/File)

  • The drones are typically used for reconnaissance along the Israeli-Gaza border
JERUSALEM: Israel’s military said it had shot down a drone that crossed into its territory from the Gaza Strip.

The military says it recovered the downed drone and took it in for examination Monday.

There was no comment from Gaza. Its Hamas leaders are known to have developed a drone program with Iranian help.

The drones are typically used for reconnaissance along the Israeli-Gaza border and it was unclear if they have potential to carry out attacks. The incident comes amid low-level tensions along the border as Israel and Gaza are still trying to maintain an informal long-term truce between them.

Recent protests have included Palestinian youths launching incendiary balloons toward Israeli farmland.

Others have approached the heavily guarded fence at several locations and clashed with Israeli troops.

In another development, an Israeli court has ruled that the Palestinian Authority should be held responsible for 17 anti-Israeli attacks committed by Palestinians between 1996 and 2002.

The ruling came in response to a complaint filed on behalf of victims demanding 1 billion shekels (€250 million, $280 million) in compensation, according to a Justice Ministry statement.

The amount is to be decided by the court at a later date, it said.

The Palestinian Authority refused to participate in the case at Israel’s Jerusalem district court and it is unclear how the judgment would be enforced.

Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Marwan Barghouti, serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for allegedly organizing a series of killings of Israelis, were also held responsible by the court.

“It is a historic victory that finds that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for attacks during the second intifada,” said lawyer Nitzana Darshan-Leitner of Israeli NGO Shourat Hadin, which represented the victims and wages legal battles worldwide against what it calls “Israel’s enemies.”

The second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, lasted from 2000 to 2005.

In November 2017, an Israeli judge ordered the Palestinian Authority and perpetrators of a deadly 2001 attack to pay $18 million in damages to relatives of those killed.

 

Falcon29

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Israel Canceled the FIFA Palestine Cup for No Apparent Reason

It’s been barely noticed, but this past week saw an incursion of politics into sports like no other. With little reason, the Israeli government made the decision to cancel the Palestinian national footballclub championship, otherwise known as the FIFA Palestine Cup. The contest between Gaza’s Khadamat Rafah club and Nablus’s FC Balata, located in the central West Bank, had to be called off when Israel denied travel permits to the Gaza team. The trip would have been just a couple of miles.

Imagine the United States invading Canada to prevent the CFL championship from taking place. That is what has happened in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

“It’s a terrible feeling after training so hard,” said Ahmad Abu Thuhair to Reuters. Thuhair is a player on the Gaza team and one of the people who had their travel visa rejected.

This is the second time the game has been canceled, having already been postponed from July, when 31 of the Gaza club’s 35 players were refused travel permits.

There has been no public reason given by the Israeli government for canceling the permits, although in previous months they have used the opaque phrase “security concerns” without specifying what “security concerns” a soccer team could possibly hold. The treatment of the team however is all too familiar to the 2 million people in Gaza who basically live in an open-air prison, with access to the West Bank on offer only if allowed by the Israeli state.

Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinians’ FIFA member association, said to Al Jazeera that Israel was trying “to paralyze Palestinian players and even the [Palestinian] sport system in general.”

Israeli human rights groups, according to Al Jazeera, have also said that efforts such as this are done to drive a wedge between the West Bank and Gaza in order to thwart the aspirations to nationhood of the Palestinian people. But perhaps the reasoning is simpler than that. As Adam Serwer has written about Trump’s various policies both foreign and domestic, “The cruelty is the point.” This is a case where there is no justifiable reason to deny these visas other than cruelty; other than trying to kill the hope and spirit of a people by denying them the culminating match of a sport that’s widely adored. This is about as ruthless a political use of sports as one can imagine: no cheering, no championship, just a military clampdown on what would have been a respite of joy.

So far, there has been no comment by Gianni Infantino or any of the leadership of FIFA. This absolutely must change. After all, it’s their damn tournament that has been canceled. FIFA needs to decide if it is to abide by the International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports. And FIFA must hold Israel to account the way it held apartheid South Africa to account—after much international pressure—decades ago. This is nonnegotiable. Either there is freedom of sports for a FIFA member or there is not. If Israel decides unilaterally for FIFA that Palestinian soccer players are not to be afforded this freedom, then it must call into question whether Israel should hold FIFA membership at all.

..
..
 

Solomon2

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Why Are Palestinians 'Disappearing' in Saudi Arabia?
by Khaled Abu Toameh
October 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months
  • Euro-Med said it considers the "practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, including knowing charges against and the right to defense and access to a lawyer... [and] affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual..."
  • The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia.... For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.
  • It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints.


The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visits Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz on December 30, 2015 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Press Office via Getty Images)

Dozens of Palestinians have been "disappearing" in Saudi Arabia in recent months and are believed are being held in detention in the kingdom's prisons, according to Palestinian sources and international human rights organizations.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in the West Bank, which regularly condemns Israel for arresting Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israel activities, has been reluctant to speak out against the Saudi purge of Palestinians, ostensibly for security reasons, not to harm its relations with the kingdom.

The PA is not only keeping mum about the unprecedented Saudi crackdown, but it is also trying to prevent the families of the detainees from protesting in public. Last week, the PA's Preventive Security Service summoned the family of Palestinian engineer Abdullah Odeh, being held in a Saudi prison, and warned them not to protest their son's detention.

Odeh's family was planning to arrive at a football match between Saudi Arabia's national soccer team and the Palestinian national soccer team as part of the World Cup qualifier held on October 15 near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The family was warned that they would be beaten and arrested if they arrived at the Faisal al-Husseini Football Stadium to protest their son's incarceration in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the family was ordered to remove all social media posts denouncing the arrest of Odeh and calling for his release.

Odeh's brother, Baraa, wrote on his Facebook page on September 6:

"My brother, engineer Abdullah Odeh, has been held in a Saudi prison for the past month and we don't know anything about him. This is not how a prisoner should be treated in an Islamic country."
In another Facebook post on September 11, Odeh's brother wrote:
"My dear brother, engineer Abdullah. I hope you ate doing well and in good health. I wanted to let you know that we have appealed to the [Palestinian Authority] president, the government and ministries and embassies to get information about your condition... but they don't care because your life, and the lives of those with you, are too cheap for them to pay any attention. Why is an expatriate who goes to earn a living being held without trial?"
Last week, Baraa Odeh was forced by the Palestinian Authority security forces to remove another Facebook post deemed offensive to the Saudis. In that post, he commented on the warm welcome the Saudi national soccer team received upon its arrival in Ramallah ahead of the match with the Palestinians. He wrote:
"My dear brother, engineer Abdullah. I apologize to you. My people gave a warm welcome to the Saudi national soccer team. We are proud of this reception. A Palestinian family has been subjected to injustice by Saudi Arabia, which has been holding my brother in detention without trial for the past two months. My brother worked as an electrical engineer in Saudi Arabia for five years. Tomorrow I will go to the stadium to hold a peaceful protest and carry my brother's photo."
The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months.

The organization said that it has documented testimonies from 11 Palestinian families whose sons have been detained or were forcibly "disappeared" during their stay in, or visit to, Saudi Arabia. The detainees include students, residents, academics and businessmen, Euro-Med said in a statement, adding:

"In fact, those people were isolated from the outside world without any specific indictments against them. They were not brought before the public prosecution, nor allowed to communicate with their relatives, or communicate with their lawyers."
Selin Yasar, Euro-Med's communication and media officer, said that the "campaign in Saudi Arabia of arresting Palestinians is but one in a long series of human rights violations in the country."

The family of one of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia told the organization that they were prevented from asking about his fate or the place of detention. "My biggest heartache is not knowing anything about my husband," the detainee's wife complained. "I don't know if he is alive, dead, healthy or tortured, and this made his disappearance more painful for my children, his parents, and his siblings."

Another Palestinian family whose son is being held in Saudi Arabia said they lost contact with him last July; since then, they have heard nothing about his fate or whereabouts. During the same month, the Saudi authorities also arrested a 60-year-old Palestinian businessman who has been living in Jeddah for decades. Euro-Med reported that one of the detainee's sons said that the Saudi authorities confiscated his money, threatened his family members to keep silent, and prevented them from leaving Saudi Arabia. Even Palestinians who went to Mecca for the Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) have fallen victim to the Saudi "security-motivated" detentions. According to Euro-Med, the families of the detainees remain silent on the matter "in the hope that the nightmare of enforced disappearance would come to an end, and they would return to normal life."

Euro-Med wrote in another statement:

"The Euro-Med considered the practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guaranteed everyone the right to a fair trial including knowing charges against them, the right to defense and access to a lawyer...
"It also affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual, the most important of which are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
While the PA leadership has been silent over the "enforced disappearances" of Palestinians in Saudi Arabia, other Palestinians, including Hamas, the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip, have been vocal in their protests and are calling on the Saudi authorities to release the detainees. Hamas says that one of its leaders, Mohammed al-Khoudari, was also arrested several months ago by the Saudi authorities. Earlier this week, the families of some of the detainees protested in the Gaza Strip against the arrest of their sons in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia. Abbas and the PA leadership have long tip-toed around any Arab country that mistreats Palestinians or subjects them to discriminatory laws, as in Lebanon.

Abbas was scheduled to arrive in Riyadh this week for talks with King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on ways of strengthening bilateral relations. The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.

It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints. Why spoil relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the PA's prime cash cows, because of a handful of Palestinians who, together with their families, are being denied basic rights in an Arab country that continues, in public, to state its full support for the Palestinians and what they perceive as their rights?

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter
 

Scorpion

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Why Are Palestinians 'Disappearing' in Saudi Arabia?
by Khaled Abu Toameh
October 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months
  • Euro-Med said it considers the "practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, including knowing charges against and the right to defense and access to a lawyer... [and] affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual..."
  • The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia.... For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.
  • It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints.


The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visits Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz on December 30, 2015 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Press Office via Getty Images)
Dozens of Palestinians have been "disappearing" in Saudi Arabia in recent months and are believed are being held in detention in the kingdom's prisons, according to Palestinian sources and international human rights organizations.


The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in the West Bank, which regularly condemns Israel for arresting Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israel activities, has been reluctant to speak out against the Saudi purge of Palestinians, ostensibly for security reasons, not to harm its relations with the kingdom.

The PA is not only keeping mum about the unprecedented Saudi crackdown, but it is also trying to prevent the families of the detainees from protesting in public. Last week, the PA's Preventive Security Service summoned the family of Palestinian engineer Abdullah Odeh, being held in a Saudi prison, and warned them not to protest their son's detention.

Odeh's family was planning to arrive at a football match between Saudi Arabia's national soccer team and the Palestinian national soccer team as part of the World Cup qualifier held on October 15 near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The family was warned that they would be beaten and arrested if they arrived at the Faisal al-Husseini Football Stadium to protest their son's incarceration in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the family was ordered to remove all social media posts denouncing the arrest of Odeh and calling for his release.

Odeh's brother, Baraa, wrote on his Facebook page on September 6:

In another Facebook post on September 11, Odeh's brother wrote:

Last week, Baraa Odeh was forced by the Palestinian Authority security forces to remove another Facebook post deemed offensive to the Saudis. In that post, he commented on the warm welcome the Saudi national soccer team received upon its arrival in Ramallah ahead of the match with the Palestinians. He wrote:

The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months.

The organization said that it has documented testimonies from 11 Palestinian families whose sons have been detained or were forcibly "disappeared" during their stay in, or visit to, Saudi Arabia. The detainees include students, residents, academics and businessmen, Euro-Med said in a statement, adding:

Selin Yasar, Euro-Med's communication and media officer, said that the "campaign in Saudi Arabia of arresting Palestinians is but one in a long series of human rights violations in the country."

The family of one of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia told the organization that they were prevented from asking about his fate or the place of detention. "My biggest heartache is not knowing anything about my husband," the detainee's wife complained. "I don't know if he is alive, dead, healthy or tortured, and this made his disappearance more painful for my children, his parents, and his siblings."

Another Palestinian family whose son is being held in Saudi Arabia said they lost contact with him last July; since then, they have heard nothing about his fate or whereabouts. During the same month, the Saudi authorities also arrested a 60-year-old Palestinian businessman who has been living in Jeddah for decades. Euro-Med reported that one of the detainee's sons said that the Saudi authorities confiscated his money, threatened his family members to keep silent, and prevented them from leaving Saudi Arabia. Even Palestinians who went to Mecca for the Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) have fallen victim to the Saudi "security-motivated" detentions. According to Euro-Med, the families of the detainees remain silent on the matter "in the hope that the nightmare of enforced disappearance would come to an end, and they would return to normal life."

Euro-Med wrote in another statement:

While the PA leadership has been silent over the "enforced disappearances" of Palestinians in Saudi Arabia, other Palestinians, including Hamas, the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip, have been vocal in their protests and are calling on the Saudi authorities to release the detainees. Hamas says that one of its leaders, Mohammed al-Khoudari, was also arrested several months ago by the Saudi authorities. Earlier this week, the families of some of the detainees protested in the Gaza Strip against the arrest of their sons in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia. Abbas and the PA leadership have long tip-toed around any Arab country that mistreats Palestinians or subjects them to discriminatory laws, as in Lebanon.

Abbas was scheduled to arrive in Riyadh this week for talks with King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on ways of strengthening bilateral relations. The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.

It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints. Why spoil relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the PA's prime cash cows, because of a handful of Palestinians who, together with their families, are being denied basic rights in an Arab country that continues, in public, to state its full support for the Palestinians and what they perceive as their rights?


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