Hanan Ashrawi warns against separating Gaza from rest of the occupied West Bank

A High School student form Urif village being treated in the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, after being injured during an attack by settlers
A High School student form Urif village being treated in the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, after being injured during an attack by settlers

HANAN Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), warned on Wednesday against attempts to impose an economic or humanitarian solution on Gaza and to separate it from the rest of the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem).

‘A political solution based on legality, morality and rights is required to ensure a just peace,’ Ashrawi told an Olive Tree Initiative delegation from the University of California she met with at her office.

She provided the delegation a brief analysis of the recent political, international and regional developments and the dire and volatile situation throughout occupied Palestine.

In particular, she discussed Israel’s persistent breach of international law and Palestinian rights, including the continued expansion of the illegal settlement enterprise, its draconian measures in and around occupied Jerusalem, the continued theft of Palestinian lands and resources, the increase in home demolitions, and the deliberate targeting and killing of Palestinian protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to a statement by Ashrawi’s office.

Ashrawi urged the visiting delegation to stand up and speak out courageously against the US administration’s unconditional support of Israel and its unilateral moves that are antithetical to the requirements of a peace and stability based on international law and respect for human rights.

In a separate meeting, Ashrawi received at her office the Austrian Representative to the Palestinian Authority Andrea Nasi. She briefed Nasi on the latest political and regional developments, as well as the internal situation in Palestine and the conclusions of the PLO Central Council meeting.

The purpose of the meeting with Nasi was to discuss Ashrawi’s upcoming official trip to Austria in which she will conduct meetings with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and various members of the Austrian Parliament.

• The demolition of a number of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem dominated the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies on Wednesday. The dailies said that Israeli occupation authorities demolished a Palestinian house in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. Al-Quds explained that two apartments were demolished there.

According to al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida, Israeli occupation authorities also demolished a commercial facility in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. Basema Rajabi with her oxygen tube and her husband Mohammad are seen in a photo printed in al-Quds and al-Ayyam at their building’s wreckage following the demolition.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida added that Israeli authorities halted the restoration work of the playground and club of the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Issawiya. Additionally, al-Ayyam said that Israeli occupation authorities rejected an appeal against the punitive demolition of the family house of Ashraf Na’alwa in the northern West Bank village of Shweika in Tulkarem district.

Na’alwa, 23, is the main suspect in the shooting of two Israeli settlers at their workplace in the illegal settlement of Barkan on October 7. Furthermore, al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announcing that the cabinet has decided to allocate $12.5 million as a grant to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem to compensate for the funds the US has cancelled.

According to al-Quds and al-Ayyam, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian girl after she allegedly attempted to stab a soldier near Khan al-Ahmar village, which faces the impending threat of forced demolition, east of Jerusalem. Moreover, al-Hayat al-Jadida said that President Mahmoud Abbas received Russian Minister of Labour and Social Security Maxim Topilin at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah and stressed to his guest the importance of strengthening Palestinian-Russian economic and trade relations.

According to al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida, the Palestinian cabinet has set a timetable for commencing the implementation of the controversial Social Security Law.

Highlighting the situation in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, al-Quds reported that 211 Israeli Jewish settlers, students and police officers forced their way into the al-Qibli Mosque, the main mosque where Muslims perform prayers.

Al-Quds printed an analysis addressing Israel’s threat to deduct and transfer part of the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip comes within the framework of regional arrangements to establish a separate entity in Gaza as part of US President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan, dubbed Deal of the Century.

Member of PLO Executive Committee Azzam al-Ahmad was reported in al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida denying media reports that the Palestinian leadership has agreed to the truce between Hamas and Israel in return for the entry of funds in the besieged Gaza Strip. Al-Ayyam said that the Egyptian delegation relayed to Hamas Israeli promises to introduce facilities at border crossings, allow the entry of medicines and cash into the besieged coastal enclave.

Regionally, al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida spotlighted Jordan’s monarch Abdullah II’s meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Amman. They said that Jordan and Oman underscore the need to restart Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations based on the two-state solution.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad announcing that Syria has officially decided to allow Palestinian refugees to return to the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus. Finally, al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that the Speaker of the Italian Parliament, Roberto Fico, stressed his country’s position in support of the two-state solution and commitment to support the Palestinian people.

• On Wednesday dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a high school in the Urif village, in southern Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank. The high school’s principal, Ayed al-Qat, told Ma’an that Israeli forces provided protection from dozens of Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar as they raided the Palestinian high school.

Al-Qat added that Israeli forces and settlers surrounded the high school preventing the staff and students from safely evacuating the building. Israeli settlers also threw rocks at Palestinian students while inside their classrooms, leading to disruption of classes and material damages. Al-Qat confirmed that Israeli forces and settlers attacked the high school, causing various injuries to seven students.

The injured students were transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus City to receive necessary medical treatment. Medical crews confirmed that one of the students suffered a head injury due to an Israeli settler throwing a rock towards the student. In addition to several others suffering from tear gas inhalation. Medical crews also provided first aid at the scene.

This is the third time that Israeli settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement raided the Urif village and broke into the high school, injuring many students, including staff members. The Palestinian Ministry of Education released its annual report for 2017 documenting the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinian education, saying that 80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were attacked by Israeli settlers or soldiers.

According to the report, nine students were killed, while 603 students and 55 teachers and school employees sustained live or rubber bullets wounds during Israeli raids into schools or by being run over by Israeli military jeeps, while dozens of students suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces against them.