A Palestinian human rights group says Israeli military forces have killed more than one hundred Palestinians, and wounded hundreds more during raids and various acts of aggression in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR ) said in a report that 112 Palestinians, including 81 civilians, have lost their lives as a result of repeated Israeli assaults.
It added that among the victims were 32 people who were killed in the recent Israeli military onslaught on the Gaza Strip last month, and they included eight children and three women.
The PCHR reported that 1,277 civilians, including 195 children, 39 women and 22 journalists, were also injured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the mentioned period, adding that three Palestinians, including a woman, lost their lives in Israeli prisons as well.
More than two dozen Palestinians have been injured in the town of Rujeib, near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, as clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided a house.
The Palestinian rights group went on to note that Israeli forces have made 648 Palestinians, including 123 women and 300 children, homeless as a result of the destruction of 113 homes and 41 residential structures since the beginning of the year.
It added that Israeli officials have bulldozed large areas of land in Palestinian territories, and delivered dozens of demolition orders and eviction notices to Palestinian families.
Israeli military forces have also carried out 185 raids across the West Bank, including in the occupied holy city of al-Quds, violently ransacked homes and residential facilities and set up checkpoints, according to the report.
The PCHR noted that 73 Palestinians, including 8 children, were arrested as a result of the operation.
In a new assault on Palestinian civilians, an Israeli settler attacked a Palestinian family with a machete.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights denounced the Israeli acts of aggression as war crimes under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that ‘extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly’ is a ‘grave breach’ of the convention.
The centre called on the international community ‘to immediately take action to stop the crimes of the occupying Israeli regime, and to stop double standards as regards observation of international law’.
It urged the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Ahmad Khan to ‘work seriously as regards the Palestinian issue, similar to his quick intervention in the case of Ukraine crisis’.
On Thursday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian men during two separate raids in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and the official WAFA news agency.
Two young Palestinian men were killed by Israeli forces during large-scale raids carried out in several West bank camps.
The men were identified as Samer Khaled, 25, from al-Ain refugee camp in Nablus, and Yazan Affaneh, 26, from Umm al-Sharayet neighbourhood south of Ramallah.
Khaled was killed after confrontations broke out with Israeli troops during its raid on the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
Israeli soldiers killed Affaneh about an hour later, during skirmishes that erupted following a raid on Umm al-Sharayet.
- Backed and praised by the Israeli lobby called AIPAC, fifty US House members have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, urging him to submit the full text of any potential agreement over the 2015 nuclear deal before signing it.
Led by Congressman Josh Gottheimer, 34 Democrats and 16 Republicans, signed the letter which repeats baseless allegations against Iran’s nuclear programme and defence capabilities.
According to Middle East Eye, several of the Democrats who signed the letter have received significant campaign contributions from AIPAC and its array of pro-Israel PACs.
AIPAC had also circulated a memo throughout Congress over the past several days that included several points that matched the letter, celebrated the effort and Gottheimer’s leading role.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the head of the Mossad spy agency is set to travel to Washington in early September to hold closed-door meetings in Congress, hoping to further disrupt the nuclear deal with Iran.
US reaction to Iran’s response
The growing pressure on Biden came as Iran submitted views on the US’s response to an EU draft text for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
‘After receiving the United States’ response, the Islamic Republic’s expert team examined it carefully and Iran’s responses were compiled and submitted to the coordinator tonight,’ Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kan’ani said early on Friday.
‘The text that was sent (by Iran) has a constructive approach aimed at finalising the negotiations,’ he added.
Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel confirmed on Thursday that they have received Iran’s response through European mediators.
‘We are studying it and will respond through the EU, but unfortunately it is not constructive,’ claimed the official without providing any further explanation.
Iran says it has offered its opinion on the US’s response to an EU draft text for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Washington unilaterally withdrew from the landmark deal in 2018, and re-imposed crippling sanctions under the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, despite Iran’s full compliance with the deal.
Since last year, the Austrian capital has been hosting multiple rounds of talks between the signatories of the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in order to examine the prospect of the deal’s revival and removal of the illegal economic sanctions.
The negotiations have seen many interruptions due to Washington’s obdurate refusal to respect Iran’s red lines.
The European Union, which acts as the coordinator in indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, recently came up with a draft proposal to revive the deal. Tehran offered its response, which the bloc described as ‘reasonable’.
The United States took several weeks to offer its response to Iran’s comments.
Iran says it is reviewing the US response to the European Union draft proposal aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal but stresses the importance of ‘stronger guarantees’ from the American side to clinch the deal
Iran needs stronger
Prior to Tehran’s offering of its views to Europe, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday that the country needs ‘stronger guarantees’ from the American side to clinch an agreement
‘We have received the American side’s last text, and my colleagues are closely studying the response with the required level of rigour and speed,’ he said while speaking in a joint press conference in Moscow along with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The top Iranian diplomat, however, asserted that Tehran needed a ‘stronger text and stronger guarantees’ to wrap up the negotiations.
The Iranian foreign minister’s short-notice visit to Russia carries major messages. This comes at a time when Tehran is carefully examining the recent US draft response to the 2015 deal, which holds Russia as one of its signatories.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was warmly greeted in Moscow on Wednesday by his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. During the meeting, the Russian foreign minister once again reaffirmed his country’s support for a fair deal or no deal.
Meanwhile, Tehran and Washington are presently exchanging comments on the European Union’s new draft proposal for the revival of what is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iran has repeatedly said it wants a sustainable accord which includes guarantees that would make the deal immune to any possible withdrawal by the US administration.
The 2015 deal was cast into limbo in 2018 when Washington unilaterally walked out of the accord and reinstated sanctions on Iran.
Tehran in return scaled back some of its commitments to the pact, saying it will return to its obligations only after the US removes all anti-Iran sanctions.
The Vienna talks over the revival of the accord have faced a hiatus over the past five months.
Talks are set to resume after Iran approves and accepts the US draft response.
The Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Moscow is of major significance, since Russia is a key player in the 2015 deal and shares Iran’s stance toward the pact.
Now, while the US’s response to the EU draft proposal is still under examination in Iran, Sergei Lavrov says Russia will accept nothing less than Tehran’s full rights under the accord.