HAMAS, the resistance movement, says Palestinians should keep up the ‘armed resistance’ against Israeli occupation in the West Bank, after one of the regime’s military commanders was wounded by gunfire in clashes in Nablus.
In a statement on Thursday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum hailed the Palestinians’ resistance in Nablus and said ‘constant, pervasive and endless confrontations with Israel’s occupying regime should persist and escalate in all towns and villages across the West Bank’.
He was reacting to the clashes that broke out in the early hours of Thursday over the desecration of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, by Israeli settlers who made their way into the site under protection of the regime’s military.
Israeli forces fired tear gas and bullets at the Palestinians protesting the desecration, wounding 64 of them, including children.
Following the regime’s raid, it was reported that three Israelis, including two settlers and one military commander, Roy Zweig, were wounded by gunfire.
Joseph’s Tomb is situated in the West Bank’s Area A, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. However, the Israeli military allows extremist settlers to visit the site without approval, and even escorts them into the place.
Palestinians believe an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Yussef Dweikat, was buried there two centuries ago and the Palestinian office of religious sites considers it to be an Islamic archaeological monument.
The Hamas spokesman further said that the Zionist regime’s acknowledgment of the injuries shows that the Palestinian resistance is ‘strong enough to inflict losses on the enemy, enforce new rules of engagement and push up costs of any raids or incursions targeting the Palestinian nation’.
He added that the armed struggles aim to thwart the regime’s conspiracies, prevent it from achieving any of its goals, and liberate the entire soil of Palestine.
In a similar desecration attempt, last Sunday, more than 150 Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, intrude into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem, in the latest act of provocation against the sacred site.
The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.
Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
- Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations says the Islamic Republic recognises Syria’s right to self-defence in the face of Israeli attacks, urging the UN Security Council to strongly condemn the regime’s acts of aggression against the Arab country.
Addressing a monthly UN Security Council session on the situation in Syria, Majid Takht-Ravanchi said Israel continues its acts of aggression and terrorist attacks on Syria as well as violations of the Arab country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by occupying parts of it.
He said: ‘The Security Council must unequivocally condemn the Israeli aggression and terrorist attacks against Syria.
‘We recognise Syria’s legitimate right to self-defence under international law and the United Nations Charter.
‘We strongly condemn Israel’s repeated violations of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including recent terrorist attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly the attacks on Damascus International Airport on June 10th, which resulted in the cancellation of all flights, including humanitarian flights.’
Syria and the Israel are technically at war due to the latter’s 1967-present occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.
The Israeli regime maintains a significant military presence in the occupied territory, which it uses as one of the launchpads for attacks on Syrian soil.
Israeli attacks on Syria have grown significantly in scale and frequency after 2011 when Syria found itself in the grip of foreign-backed terrorism.
Elsewhere in his address, Takht-Ravanchi reiterated Iran’s stance on avoiding military approaches and solving the crisis in Syria through diplomatic channels.
He said: ‘As Iran has repeatedly emphasised, there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. The crisis should be settled peacefully and in accordance with the principles of international law, especially full respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.
He added that Iran supports a Syria cross-border aid mechanism if it does not violate Damascus’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and heed legitimate concerns of the Syrian government.
Iran’s ambassador to the UN also said the Constitutional Committee plays a crucial role in the political settlement of the Syrian crisis, adding an Iranian delegation was in Geneva, acting in concert with all parties to advance its aims.
Iran welcomes the Constitutional Committee’s announcement that its next session would be held on June 25-29, he noted.
The Islamic Republic, he said, demands that the committee must act in full accordance with its internal regulations and free from outside pressure or artificial deadlines and be a truly Syrian-led and owned process.
The Iranian envoy further noted that guarantors of the Asana Format have expressed earlier this month their commitment to advance a long-lasting political process that works in line with Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015).
He said Iran would continue its efforts to help release detainees and called on all parties to support the humanitarian endeavour, adding that the recent amnesty announced by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a valuable contribution to peace.
Provision of humanitarian aid is essential and must not be prevented by politics, but be executed with full respect for Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity.
Addressing the same meeting, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh voiced regret at the Security Council’s failure to condemn Israel’s aggression in Syria, particularly against the Damascus International Airport, and said Israel must be compelled to cease its attacks on his country.
He also condemned Israel’s ongoing military attacks against Syria, which jeopardise security in the region.
He said the Syrian government has achieved significant progress in the last few months, demonstrating that it supports national reconciliation and local settlements.
President Assad’s amnesty decree issued in April benefited a host of detainees, he added and said diplomatic missions abroad and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have received applications and requests in that regard.
Syrian institutions continue their efforts to strengthen the legal architecture, he said, noting that a number of important decrees and laws have been enacted to regulate areas such as the possession of weapons and ammunitions, amending the penal code, and abolishing life imprisonment with hard labour.
The Syrian government is committed to removing all impediments for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees to their places of origin, Sabbagh concluded.
He urged the countries that prevent Syrian refugees from returning to their homeland to stop those practices, emphasising the need to lift unilateral coercive measures imposed on Damascus.
Citing the concluding statement from the eighteenth Astana Meeting on Syria, he stressed the importance of taking new actions to combat terrorism and refusing all attempts to create a new reality on the ground by autonomous initiatives in northeast Syria.
He welcomed the release of detainees and abductees in June, expressing appreciation for the support of Russia and Iran in this regard.
The Syrian diplomat said his country makes its own decisions based on its own will, adding that it will spare no effort toward constructive relations with all countries of the world.
- Israeli lawmakers have voted to dissolve the parliament, known as the Knesset, setting the stage for the occupying entity’s fifth election in less than four years, as the regime sinks deeper into political uncertainty.
The Knesset dissolution bill was passed in a final reading on Thursday and set November 1 as the date for the new snap elections.
The lawmakers had unanimously approved a draft bill to dissolve the parliament last Tuesday after prime minister Naftali Bennett announced last week that his year-old, deeply-divided coalition was no longer tenable due to a series of defections, which undermined the ability of his cabinet to pass legislation and govern effectively.
Bennett will hand power to foreign minister Yair Lapid as caretaker prime minister in accordance with the power-sharing deal they agreed upon following inconclusive elections last year.
Bennett announced he would not run in the upcoming election but would retain his position as alternate prime minister until the election.
Lapid and his Yesh Atid party were anxious to finalise the process as quickly as possible to thwart the lingering possibility that opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu could form a new coalition in the current Knesset.
Despite being on trial for corruption on charges he denies, Netanyahu and his allies were holding talks seeking to form a new Netanyahu-led alliance within the current parliament, which would have averted new elections.
The upcoming vote, however, will give Netanyahu, the current opposition leader, a chance to regain power.
Israel held four inconclusive elections between 2019 and 2021, which were largely referendums about Netanyahu’s ability to rule while on trial for corruption.
Bennett formed the eight-party coalition in June 2021 after successive inconclusive elections.
His ideologically-divided coalition was an alliance of parties ranging from the right to an Arab Muslim party and included right wingers like Bennett and Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party.
The coalition lost its majority earlier this year as it has been wracked by infighting and defections in recent months.