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News, June 2019
Palestinians Unanymously Reject Netanyahu-Kushner's Deal of the Century Conference in Bahrain, for Ignoring the Two-State Solution
June 25, 2019
Strike in Gaza, protests in West Bank in response to Bahrain conference
Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-25
GAZA, June 25 (Xinhua) --
A large strike in the Gaza Strip has been launched and protests will continue in the West Bank on Tuesday, against the start of a workshop organized by the United States in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, under the title "Peace to Prosperity".
Official and private institutions, including banks, and most of shops in the Gaza Strip were closed at the invitation of the Palestinian factions, which also called for demonstrations and conferences in order to protest against the workshop in Bahrain.
Large banners were hanged in various parts of the Gaza Strip against the workshop and the plan that is being prepared to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict known as the "Deal of the Century" by the United States.
The West Bank cities are due to witness demonstrations for the second day in a row against the workshop and the "Deal of the Century" called for by Fatah and Palestinian factions.
The Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said that the only way to achieve peace and prosperity lies in the embodiment of the sovereignty of the free Palestinian state on its land, and realizing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, in accordance with UN Resolution 194.
"The achievement of freedom and justice goes through the implementation of United Nations resolutions and international law, not through recognition of the illegal de facto measures imposed by the occupation on the ground," Erekat said in a statement.
Erekat added that the Palestinian official decision will not accept a compromise on a just and lasting political solution, stressing that "any plan that includes elements which seek to end the Palestinian issue and cancel the existence of its people will be rejected by the Palestinians and will not be negotiable."
"The U.S. administration defends its unilateral and illegal decisions and supports the colonial settlement project in order to consolidate the Israeli occupation of Palestine," he said.
On Tuesday, the workshop is to be launched by the United States to carry out the economic aspect of the U.S. peace deal.
The workshop will be attended by 39 countries and regions, including the host country Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Morocco.
The Palestinian Authority has boycotted the workshop and the United States has decided not to involve Israeli officials.
Several protest rallies were staged Tuesday in different European
countries against the US deal of the century and the Bahrain economic
workshop, with the participation of European activists and citizens from
Palestinian, Arab and Islamic communities.
Palestinians launch general strike in Gaza Strip in protest at US-led Bahrain conference
Press TV, Tuesdat, June 25, 2019
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have launched a general strike in rejection of the US-led conference in Bahrain, which would seek to advance the economic aspects of President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.”
On Tuesday, people stopped going to their workplaces and closed businesses. Public transportation also came to a halt, and most of the public and private institutions, including universities, banks and courts, were shut for the day.
The High Follow-Up Committee of the National and Islamic Forces had called for the action, urging citizens to raise black flags over homes and in their areas.
The Committee said it would hold a national conference at Rashad Shawa Cultural Center in Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on Tuesday at the same time as the Manama economic workshop is underway.
Later in the day, the spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement that three civilians had been struck with live bullets near the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories.
Nine other people suffered from the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli forces.
Another popular conference is scheduled to be held in the eastern flank of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
A massive popular march will also take place on the same day from the western gate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) headquarters to the UN office in Gaza.
Elsewhere in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), located 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Jerusalem al-Quds, clashes broke out between a group of Palestinians and Israeli troops.
Israeli security forces surround Palestinian demonstrators, during a protest against the US-sponsored Middle East economic conference that opens today in Bahrain, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on June 25, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
Palestine's official WAFA news agency reported that the skirmishes erupted in the Bab a-Zawiya neighborhood of the city, and Israeli military forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, teargas canisters and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Tens of the protesters suffered respiratory problems due to inhalation of tear gas. They were treated on the ground.
Rudeineh: Arab Peace Initiative red line that could not be redrafted
Meanwhile, Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh has stressed that the Arab Peace Initiative is a redline, which neither Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner nor anyone else could redraft.
Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh (file photo)
Abu Rudeineh’s remarks came in response to Kushner’s earlier comments that the so-called deal of the century will not follow the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, calls on Israel to agree to a two-state solution along the 1967 lines and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue. The initiative has been repeatedly endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, 2007, and 2017.
The senior Palestinian official further noted that peace will not be achieved at any cost and that President Mahmoud Abbas has already exposed the real intentions of the US-touted Mideast plan.
“The Manama workshop is designed to pave the way for the creation and expansion of an emirate in Gaza, separation of Gaza from the West Bank, and the Judaization of al-Quds (Jerusalem),” he said, emphasizing that any plan that disregards the Palestinian legitimacy is doomed to failure.
Abu Rudeineh went on to say that any unilateral actions aimed at bypassing Arab and international legitimacy will reach an impasse, and that Palestine has not nominated anyone to negotiate on its behalf.
The so-called "Peace to Prosperity" workshop opened in Bahrain on June 25 and will run through June 26.
The Palestinian leadership is boycotting the meeting, leading critics to question the credibility of the event.
The Palestinian Bar Association (PBA) plans to file a lawsuit against participants in the US-led conference in Manama.
Palestinians protest Trump’s Mideast peace conference
By The Associated Press June 25, 2019
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) —
Palestinians burned effigies of President Trump and marched a donkey pasted over with images of Gulf royals in the West Bank on Tuesday, as the U.S. prepares to open its conference in Bahrain, which focuses on the economic portion of the White House’s long-awaited plan for Mideast peace.
At this week’s conference, the Trump administration hopes to draw pledges from business leaders and wealthy Gulf states to fund its economic plan, which calls for $50 billion of investment and infrastructure projects in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring Arab countries.
“Palestine is not for sale!” protesters chanted as they filled the streets of major West Bank cities. “From Bahrain to Saudi Arabia we are not tempted by your millions!”
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and various Gulf states have sent finance officials to the workshop. The White House says it did not invite Israeli representatives, so as to keep the event “apolitical.” The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has rejected the plan and wants nothing to do with the conference, arguing that an economic proposal cannot pre-empt a political resolution that addresses its long-standing demand for statehood.
Thousands across the West Bank held up signs saying “Down with the Bahrain conference!” and “Do not sell the Palestinian cause and erase our identity.”
Scattered clashes erupted as demonstrators hurled stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired back tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In the northern city of Nablus, protesters hanged an effigy of President Trump from a column. In Bethlehem, the protesters’ donkey took center stage, its backside covered with the crossed-out faces of Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who are viewed as supporting the White House’s efforts.
Multiple Palestinian factions, including the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers, have called for continued mass rallies across the West Bank Gaza to coincide with the conference, set to begin Tuesday night.
In Gaza, stores and public institutions shuttered Tuesday in observance of a general strike.
A black-and-white banner calling for a strike replaced the usually illuminated billboard over the central Omar al-Mukhtar street in Gaza City.
Residents of the impoverished territory, where unemployment exceeds 50%, voiced opposition to the Trump team’s ambitious proposal, which envisions health, education and public works projects but does not deal with the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank or blockade of Gaza.
“We don’t need money. We are not hungry for bread. We are hungry for dignity,” said Gaza physician Said Jadba.
“They are selling the remainder of the Palestinian cause,” said Gaza City resident Abu Atef Ellaw. “This will never pass.”
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, sent a letter of protest to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who is scheduled to speak on a panel at the Bahrain conference.
“How can the President of the highest governing body of football, and the most outspoken person on the importance of separating politics from sports, agree to participate in a political workshop whose objective is to determine the future of Palestine in the absence of Palestinians?” the letter reads.
“I beseech you to reconsider your decision,” Rajoub added, “for the sake of millions of Palestinians.”
In Beirut, Lebanon, hundreds of Palestinians took part in a protest orchestrated by Hamas outside the U.N. headquarters, chanting against the economic workshop and the possible naturalization of Palestinians in Lebanon.
Some 175,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, and consider the right of return to their ancestral lands in what is now Israel a part of any future resolution to the conflict. Despite 70 years in the country, Palestinians continue to live under harsh conditions, confined to squalid camps and deprived of basic rights afforded to Lebanese citizens.
The U.S. economic plan’s large sums for Jordan and Lebanon, countries with substantial Palestinian refugee populations, have raised fears that the Trump administration aims to have Palestinian refugees absorbed into these nations, rather than allow them to someday return to Israel — one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict.
Mahfouz Monawar, head of international relations for the Islamic Jihad group in Lebanon said: “Today the Palestinian people are saying clearly that the deal of the century with all its components and today with what is going in Manama workshop do not represent the Palestinians.”
“We as Palestinian resistance factions will be unified to confront this deal until…the vanishing of the occupation from the Palestinian territories,” he added.
Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, deputy Hamas representative in Lebanon, said the protest represents the Palestinian commitment to the right of return.
The conference has also enraged people in Jordan, where some 400 demonstrators in the capital of Amman surrounded the prime minister’s office to protest their country’s participation.
Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lebanon and Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip contributed reporting.
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