30 Palestinian youth hit by rubber bullets in East Jerusalem clashes

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THIRTY Palestinian youths were wounded by rubber-coated bullets during clashes with Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem village of Al-Isawiyah last Friday.

The wounded received medical treatment in the field.

In the course of the clashes, the Israeli forces fired tear-gas grenades at residential houses in the village, setting two apartments on fire and causing ‘hundreds’ of Palestinians in the area to suffocate as a result of gas inhalation. The citizens managed to put out the fire.

In a separate incident, two youngsters were wounded in clashes with the Israeli forces in Jerusalem’s Al-Suwanah neighbourhood.

A Palestinian was also shot dead by IDF troops outside the village of Silwad in the West Bank on Friday evening, after he threw a Molotov cocktail at traffic on Highway 60, the IDF Spokesperson’s Department said.

The IDF said that the soldiers were on patrol in the area and had set up an ambush overlooking the stretch of highway when they saw the assailant throw the bottle.

They said that the soldiers opened fire ‘in order to neutralise the threat to the lives of civilians driving on the highway.’

Several reports stated that the Palestinian killed was a minor as young as 14 named Urwah Hammad.

Israel reacted with a shrug on Friday to a report that the Palestinian National Authority has agreed to delay by two months its plan to seek a UN Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines within three years.

One Israeli official said Israel would not respond to the reports of a two-month delay because it does not know whether they were true.

Israel, he said, ‘has sent messages to the relevant parties that unilateral Palestinian actions at the UN and in UN bodies will only serve to further deteriorate the situation. people should be aware of that.’

Israel’s diplomatic establishment has not launched any special activity in response to what is emerging as a second wave of European diplomatic support for the Palestinian National Authority’s unilateral moves.

Officials in the Foreign Ministry and in the Prime Minister’s Office say that the issue is being dealt with through continuous public diplomacy actions.

‘Such waves are constantly rising and falling, but we have no special actions on our agenda,’ a diplomatic official said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah has said: ‘We will not go back on the national reconciliation.

‘We now have a national consensus government whose task is to unite all of the nation’s institutions – both civil and security. The civil institutions will not be united unless the security institutions are united as well.’

Al-Hamdallah made these remarks at a press conference he held in Hebron on 24 October after chairing a meeting of the security chiefs. Hebron Governor Kamil Hamid briefed the prime minister on the work of the security forces in the governorate.

The prime minister condemned the mounting Israeli violations against Palestinians and their properties, the latest of which was the shooting to death Urwah Hammad (14) by the occupation forces in Silwad near Ramallah.

Al-Hamdallah further condemned the campaign Israel and the settlers are carrying out against Jerusalem and its holy sites, especially the plans to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque in terms of the space and visiting times.

He called on the Arab countries and the international community to effectively intervene to protect the Palestinian people and thwart Israeli efforts to Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque and undermine security and stability in the entire region.

He stressed that the entire security establishment – commanders as well as members – must enhance their role in law enforcement and in safeguarding the national programme in the service of the nation and the citizens.

He asserted that lawbreakers and people fleeing from justice will be pursued and brought to justice.

He stressed the need to impose public order and the rule of law and to maintain security in all governorates, because it is the duty of the state institutions and the reason for which they were formed in the first place. The prime minister emphasized that the security establishment’s work is patriotic and honourable.

He said: ‘Security is the core of the state of Palestine and the pillar of its future and prosperity.’ He added: ‘Any attempt to undermine the country’s stability and the achievements of the Palestinian leadership and people will not be taken lightly.

‘The homeland’s security, the safety of the citizens, and the protection of their rights, freedoms, and property will remain a top national priority.’

• Husayn al-Shaykh, minister of civil affairs, said that according to the UN resolution, the funds of the Gaza Strip reconstruction, which were approved by the donor conference in Cairo early this month, would be under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority (PNA) and would be delivered through it.

Al-Shaykh said that ‘President Abbas proposed the formation of a committee during the reconstruction conference that includes the PNA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the EU to follow up the decisions of the conference to agree on a certain formula for the translation of the donation funds.

The funds are supposed to be via the PNA, which is responsible for the reconstruction in Gaza.’

The statements of the civil affairs minister have settled the debate over the method by which the reconstruction funds would enter Gaza and the party through which the funds would be delivered in the wake of rumours that the funds might eventually be delivered via Israel.

Al-Shaykh said that the unified Palestinian delegation would discuss with the Israeli side the measures to fix the calm in Gaza and the request to open all the crossings around the Gaza Strip, besides the file of returning the bodies of Palestinians from Israel.

The minister of civil affairs said that ‘the Palestinian delegation would be in Cairo on Monday to start the negotiating session on Tuesday via Egyptian mediation.

‘We will raise the issue of opening the five crossings around the Gaza Strip to absorb the construction materials that enter the Gaza Strip since the capacity of the Karam Abu Salim crossing is not enough and does not meet the needs of Gaza. This is why we have asked for opening the Sufa crossing and the industrial zone to be commensurate with the size of destruction.’

He added that the Palestinian teams that will work at the Karam Abu Salim crossing, which is used for goods, and the Bayt Hanun (Erez) crossing, which is designated for persons, in the next stage would total around 20 persons affiliated with the PNA and the consensus government.

Most of them are from Gaza and are ready for work. As for the departure of the people of Gaza to visit their relatives in the West Bank, Al-Shaykh confirmed that there is an agreement with Israel, and we have a programme, for the exit of 200 persons every Friday for prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque. So far, we have not received Israeli rejection of this issue, especially since Israel has set the ages of visitors.

As for the exit of labourers from the Gaza Strip to work in Israel, Al-Shaykh said that there is agreement in principle so far on this subject, but we have not yet discussed the details.

The Palestinian official spoke about the Israeli attacks in Jerusalem and the Palestinian reaction, considering what is happening as a popular uprising, which could extend outside Jerusalem if Israel implements its plans towards the city and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al-Shaykh added: ‘What is happening is a natural reaction to the confiscation of homes and the threat to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque. If Israel continues its current policies, conditions might explode and we will return to a square whose consequences cannot be

predicted.’