Nigerian activists seek boycott of Israel

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Thousands of Nigerian activists and Muslim scholars on Tuesday called on the international community to boycott Israel.

At a rally commemorating 100 years of the Balfour Declaration, activists and academics called on the United Nations and other global bodies to isolate Israel and its backers in their alleged continued disrespect for the two-state solution of the crisis.

Organized by the Muslim Awareness International (MAI), activities at the rally included two lectures and a stage play that drew attention to the plight of the Palestinians.

“The international community must prevail on the State of Israel to obey all United Nations resolutions concerning the Palestine,” Dele Ashiru, a teacher at the University of Lagos, said in an address titled ‘From owners to refugees: The Palestinians and the struggle for self-determination in the Middle East’.

“Israeli belligerence represents both present and future danger for lasting peace in the Middle East and globally. The United States of America must reverse the declaration and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Ashiru added.

Abdul Waheed Atoyebi, the MAI chief, praised countries of the world, activists and intellectuals who have keyed into the BDS campaign — a strategy Atoyebi said would help to isolate Tel Aviv if fully supported by powerful nations of the world.

“(The international community) owes it a duty to continue to support and promote the BDS (Boycott, Sanction and Divestment) movement which is gaining ground around the world and checking the aggression of the Zionist state,” Atoyebi said.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter sent by Britain’s then foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, to Lord Walter Rothschild, a prominent Zionist leader, on Nov. 2, 1917.

In the letter, Balfour declares his government’s support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

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Israel vows to continue staging operations in Syria

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Army Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eizenkot on Tuesday vowed to continue working against what he described as Iranian attempts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

“Iran’s capabilities in Syria are far from what it had hoped to achieve,” Eizenkot said while touring the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

“This is due to ongoing Israeli actions,” he added, going on to assert that the Israeli military would “continue its efforts to thwart Iranian ambitions [in Syria], while safeguarding security in the north [i.e., the Golan region]”.

In recent months, Israel has carried out a number of military operations inside Syrian territory targeting Syrian and Iranian military sites.

Israel declines to sign on to global immigration treaty

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel will not be signing an international convention on immigration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday.

“I instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel will not accede to, and will not sign, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“We are committed to guarding our borders against illegal migrants. This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do,” he added.

Formulated under UN auspices, the global compact is set to be officially ratified at an international conference to be held in Morocco in mid-December.

All UN member states, except for the U.S., have declared their support for the immigration pact.

Israel is currently home to some 35,000 asylum seekers, including 27,500 from Eritrea and 7,800 from Sudan, according to UN figures.

Most of them arrived in Israel — via Egypt — during the period between 2006 and 2013 before a security fence was erected along the Egypt-Israel border.

According to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an Israeli NGO based in Tel Aviv, most of them are concentrated in Tel Aviv’s southern outskirts and in a handful of other urban centers.

Israel arrested 900 children this year: NGO

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Israeli forces have detained over 900 Palestinian children since the beginning of this year, according to a local NGO on Tuesday.

“A total of 270 children are still held in Israeli prisons,” the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement, which was released on the occasion of the International Children’s Day.

The NGO said children were usually detained from their homes in the middle of the night.

“They are severely beaten and threatened in order to force them to sign confession papers,” it said.

On Monday, the Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) said Israeli forces had killed at least 52 Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year.

In a statement, the Geneva-based NGO’s Palestine branch said 48 of the deaths occurred in the blockaded Gaza Strip while the rest had occurred in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The NGO went on to accuse the Israeli military of using excessive force — including live ammunition — against children.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, an estimated 350 Palestinian minors are currently languishing in Israeli detention facilities.

Palestinian dies of injuries from Israeli police fire

By Abdel Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – A Palestinian man has succumbed to wounds he sustained from Israeli police fire in the occupied city of East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian lawyer on Wednesday.

Abd al-Rahman Abu Jamal, 17, was shot by Israeli police for allegedly stabbing two policemen in the city’s Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood last week.

He was detained and transferred to hospital for medical treatment.

“The 17-year-old youth died of his wounds on Wednesday,” Mohamed Mahmoud, a lawyer with the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affair, said.

There was no comment from the Palestinian Health Ministry on the death, while Israeli authorities have yet to confirm it.

Israel approves law allowing J’lem settlement expansion

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) has approved the second and third readings of legislation that will allow the further expansion of a Jewish-only settlement in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, located south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Both readings were approved late Monday by a vote of 63 to 41.

The law allows news settlement units to be erected inside an area recently designated as a "national park".

The initiative is being spearheaded by pro-settler group Elad, which is known for promoting the confiscation of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem to make way for the construction of Jewish settlements.

Palestinians accuse the Israeli authorities of seizing Palestinian land in and around Jerusalem on the pretext of establishing "national parks" before transferring it to the ownership of settler groups.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

International law continues to view East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank, as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.

Early last month, U.S. President Donald Trump drew condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world when he announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israeli police to indict interior minister for fraud

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli police have recommended Interior Minister Aryeh Deri be charged with fraud and money laundering, according to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday.

In a statement, police said it found sufficient evidence to indict the minister for fraud and breach of trust over his links with business people.

"The findings of the investigation are that there is an evidentiary basis against Deri that he committed fraud and breach of trust in connection with his conduct while serving as a minister," the statement said.

Police said the investigation focused on money transfers to the interior minister, who is the leader of the ultraorthodox Shas party, linked to land sales.

It recommended indicting Deri for fraud, breach of trust, perjury, tax evasion and money laundering.

Police also suggested the indictment of Deri’s brother, Shlomo Deri, for tax offenses amounting to millions of shekels.

“There's sufficient evidence to charge other suspects with money laundering and tax offenses,” police said.

In 2000, Deri served 22 months in prison for fraud and bribery while serving as interior minister.

After his release, he was elected as the leader of the Shas party in 2013.

Israel PM confirms plan to demolish village in E. J’lem

By Abdel Raouf Arnaout and Hamdi Yildiz

JERUSALEM (AA) – Khan al-Ahmar, an Arab village in East Jerusalem, will be demolished and its inhabitants evicted, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, according to local media reports.

Netanyahu reportedly made the assertion at a Monday meeting of his right-wing Likud party, which leads Israel’s current coalition government.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the prime minister did not give an exact date for the demolition, plans for which he suspended last month, drawing criticism from some members of his cabinet.

In July, Israeli bulldozers destroyed several structures in Khan al-Ahmar, sparking clashes with local residents. Two months later, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled to demolish the village.

Israel plans to evict some 10,000 Bedouin residents of what is known as the E1 Zone, which sits on 15 square kilometers (5.8 square miles) of land in East Jerusalem, to make way for a series of Jewish-only housing units linking Jerusalem to the Maale Adumim settlement.

If implemented, the plan would effectively cut the West Bank in two, preempting the possibility of a territorially contiguous Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

UPDATE – Dozens of Palestinians hurt in West Bank clashes

UPDATES WITH INJURIES IN ISRAELI RAID

By Qais Abu Samra

NABLUS, West Bank (AA) – Dozens of Palestinians suffered a temporary asphyxiation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday, according to a local Palestinian official.

Israeli forces used teargas bombs and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinians, who gathered to prevent settlers from attacking their property in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, Mazen Shehada, chief of the village’s local council, said.

“Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the village and hurled stones on Palestinian homes and a school in the area,” he said.

According to Shehada, Israeli forces provided protection to the settlers, triggering clashes with Palestinian villagers.

There was no comment from the Israeli military on the claim.

Last week, Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected “price tag” attack in the same village.

Meanwhile, four Palestinians were injured by Israeli army fire during a raid in the town of Deir Abu Mashaal, west of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The ministry said one of the injured Palestinians was in a serious condition.

The injuries occurred during clashes that erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces during a dawn raid in the town.

Israeli forces used live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse angry Palestinians, according to local residents.

The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.

Dozens of Palestinians hurt in West Bank clashes

By Qais Abu Samra

NABLUS, West Bank (AA) – Dozens of Palestinians suffered a temporary asphyxiation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday, according to a local Palestinian official.

Israeli forces used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinians, who gathered to prevent settlers from attacking their property in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, Mazen Shehada, chief of the village’s local council, said.

“Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the village and hurled stones on Palestinian homes and a school in the area,” he said.

According to Shehada, Israeli forces provided protection to the settlers, triggering clashes with Palestinian villagers.

There was no comment from the Israeli military on the claim.

Last week, Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected “price tag” attack in the same village.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.