Palestine: Abbas says will dissolve Hamas-led body

                              <p>By Aysar al-Ays </p>  <p> RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said late Saturday evening that the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council will soon be dissolved, Palestine’s official news agency reported. </p>  <p>Addressing a conference in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abbas announced that the council would be dissolved “in a legal manner,” without giving a date for the move, which is likely to be opposed by Hamas. </p>  <p>Rather than Abbas’ Fatah movement, its rival the Hamas movement holds most of the seats on the council. The council was disrupted following the Palestinian administrative division of 2007, when two competing Palestinian governments emerged.</p>  <p>Of the council’s 132 seats, 76 are held by Hamas, Fatah has 43, and the left wing and independents hold the remaining 13. </p>  <p>Fatah Central Committee member Dalal Salameh told Anadolu Agency in May that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) -- the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) -- was discussing the mandate of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) to carry out the powers of the Legislative Council.</p>  <p>The Central Council is a permanent body of the PLO-affiliated PNC, the highest representative legislative body of the Palestinian people, which includes the Palestinian factions, except Hamas and Islamic Jihad.</p>  <p>On more than one occasion, Hamas has declared its refusal to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council, saying Abbas has no power to dissolve it.</p>  <p>The Palestinian Basic Law provides for the holding of parliamentary elections every four years, but the last parliamentary polls took place in 2006, over a dozen years ago.</p>    <p>The West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip have remained politically divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from rival group Fatah following several days of bloody street fighting. </p>  <p>Hamas’s capture of Gaza in 2007 ended a short-lived unity government established after Hamas swept the 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.</p>  <p>Since then, Hamas has been in control of the blockaded strip's border crossings.</p>  <p>This October, Hamas and Fatah signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending 10 years of bitter division. </p>  <p>If it holds, the agreement will allow the Fatah-led Ramallah government to assume political and administrative responsibility for the Gaza Strip. </p>        

Palestinian factions slam US draft resolution on Hamas

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian factions on Thursday decried a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution condemning Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

In a press conference held outside the UN headquarters in Gaza City, the factions slammed the draft resolution for "labeling the Palestinian resistance and struggle as terrorism".

"The draft resolution which is biased to the [Israeli] occupation aims at criminalizing the Palestinian resistance groups and stigmatizing them with practicing terrorism," Yousri Darwish, a Palestinian activist, told the conference.

He accused the U.S. administration of trying to label the Palestinian steadfastness with terrorism.

Darwish warned of "launching a new Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," pointing out that the U.S. draft resolution – if adopted – would give the green light for the Israeli assault.

He went on to call on Arab and Islamic countries to rally support for the Palestinian cause.

The UN General Assembly is expected to convene on Thursday to vote on the draft, which would — if adopted — “condemn” Hamas for “inciting violence” against Israel.

'Israel continues to invade Palestinian territory'

            By Atila Altuntas</p>  <p>STOCKHOLM (AA) - Israel continues to invade Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry said Wednesday.</p>  <p>George P. Smith, professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the U.S., was in Stockholm to attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. He was invited to speak at a conference organized by the Association of Palestinians, which was founded by a group of academics in Sweden who have dedicated themselves to the Palestinian issue.</p>  <p>&quot;The people of Palestine and Israel should have the same rights and equally live in the territory in the form of two states,&quot; Smith said.</p>  <p>While noting that Israel, with its disregard for any rules, doesn't allow it, Smith said Palestinians must return to the occupied territories and all their rights must be rehabilitated.</p>  <p>He also stressed that Israel's activities in Gaza are unacceptable.</p>  <p>&quot;Israel is not only pressuring the Palestinian people. There is also pressure on Jewish people who are disturbed by the wrong policies of Israel,&quot; he said, adding that Israel has to give up these actions.</p>  <p>The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was divided. One half was awarded to Frances H. Arnold -- a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine -- “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” while the other half was awarded jointly to Smith and Gregory P. Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”.</p>  <p>Israeli newspapers published editorials earlier expressing their disappointment over the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian activist.</p>  <p> 

Palestinian FM slams ICC for delaying probe of Israel

            By Abdullah Asiran</p>  <p>HAGUE, Netherlands (AA) – Palestine’s foreign minister criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) Wednesday for its tardiness in investigating Israel for possible war crimes against Palestinians. </p>  <p>Speaking at the opening of the 17th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC in The Hague, the Netherlands, Riyad al-Maliki noted that the ICC had launched a preliminary investigation into possible Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories but said that continuing to delay the probe will harm its credibility.</p>  <p>“How many Palestinian homes will be demolished, families displaced, Palestinians tortured and children killed by the Israeli occupiers before the ICC launches a probe against them?” al-Maliki said. </p>  <p>He drew attention to the ICC’s failure to prosecute senior Israeli officials despite four years passing since its preliminary inquiry.</p>  <p>“Palestinian victims have been waiting long enough for justice,” al-Maliki said.</p>  <p>“Any delay in the investigation is a delay in bringing justice and gives the occupying power impunity and more time to commit its daily crimes,” he told ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.</p>  <p> In December 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome convention and appendixes related to the ICC, which accepted a request by Palestine to become a member in April 2015. </p>  <p>For the last nine months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.</p>  <p>They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.</p>  <p>Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

Israeli forces injure 4 Palestinian protesters

                              By Meryem Kasim</p>    <p>GAZA, Palestine (AA) - Israeli armed forces on Monday injured four Palestinian protesters on Monday near Gaza-Israel border, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.</p>    <p>In a statement, the Health Ministry said four demonstrators were hit by live bullets shot by Israeli forces. </p>    <p>For the last seven months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.  </p>    <p>They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.</p>      <p>Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been martyred-- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

6 sentenced to death in Gaza for spying for Israel

By Mustafa Haboush

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – A military court in the Gaza Strip has sentenced six people to death for espionage with Israel, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said Monday.

“The court also slapped four people with a 15-year jail term each for collaboration with hostile parties,” Iyad al-Bazm told a press conference held in Gaza City.

He said four other people, including a woman, were also slapped with jail terms ranging between 6 to 10 years in prison on similar charges.

“The verdicts are a clear message to spies of the [Israeli] occupation,” al-Bazm said.

Security agencies in the blockaded Gaza Strip launch frequent crackdowns on suspected spies.

Such suspects always face trial behind closed doors, while the media is usually prevented from covering the proceedings.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million Palestinians, badly affecting all aspects of livelihood in the Palestinian territory.

Israel concludes wargames simulating conflict with Gaza

By Abdel Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli army on Thursday wrapped up a two-month-long military exercise simulating conflict with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media reports.

The Jerusalem Post quoted a military official as saying that the Israeli army’s Kfir Brigade had conducted the drills, which were carried out at the brigade level and which “simulated a conflict with Gaza”.

The infantry brigade was established in 2005 to put down Palestinian protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a Thursday statement, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adrae said the just-concluded drills had included “ground maneuvers” and “urban combat scenarios”.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Kfir Brigade Commander Zion Ratzon as saying: “I’m confident that after two months of intensive training… we are better prepared for the next campaign”.

According to the newspaper, the drill was the 11th brigade-level exercise to be held by Israel’s military this year.

In mid-2014, a massive, weeks-long Israeli assault on the blockaded Gaza Strip left more than 2,300 Palestinians dead and much of the enclave’s vital infrastructure in ruins.

According to Israeli figures, 70 Israelis — 65 soldiers and five civilians — were also killed in the conflict.

Israeli army to investigate botched Gaza operation

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli army said Tuesday it will launch an investigation into a botched undercover operation in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Two weeks ago, seven Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed when Israeli forces infiltrated into the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

“An operational investigation will be conducted to learn what lessons can be drawn from the operation in Khan Younis,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“The findings will be presented to the head of the Intelligence Directorate, [Tamir Hayman], and to [Israeli army] Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot,” it added.

The failed operation has triggered violence in the Gaza Strip, which was later eased after Egypt managed to broker a ceasefire deal between Israel and Gaza-based resistance factions.

Palestinians shot, hurt while protesting on Gaza coast

By Mohamed Majid

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Three Palestinian demonstrators were injured on Monday by Israeli army gunfire while taking part in anti-occupation rallies along the Gaza Strip’s northern coast, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

In a statement, the ministry said the three demonstrators — whose names were not given — had been struck and injured by Israeli army gunfire northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.

The ministry statement went on to describe the injuries as “moderate”.

On Monday evening, dozens of Palestinians staged a protest march along the Gaza Strip’s northern coast, during which they approached the Gaza-Israel maritime border to demand an end to Israel’s decades-long occupation.

Since March 30, protesters in Gaza have demanded the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since the rallies first began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

Palestinians swarm Gaza-Israel buffer zone on 35th week

By Mohamed Majed

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – For the 35th consecutive Friday, thousands of Palestinian demonstrators gathered along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing rallies against the Israel’s decades-long occupation.

In a statement, Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege renewed its call to the people of Gaza to take part in the ongoing protests.

In a separate statement, Hazem Qasim, a spokesman for resistance faction Hamas (which has governed the strip since 2007), said: "The Palestinian masses continue to prove their ability to defy Israel’s occupation."

"Our people’s steadfastness will lead to the achievement of our goals, not least of which is the end of the siege on Gaza," he added.

Protesters demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.