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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 06:25

Aggravation of Electricity Crisis Increases Suffering of Gaza Population and Seriously Threats Their Life

Ref: 47/2017


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep concern over the electricity crisis consequences on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

PCHR emphasizes the aggravation of the crisis and reducing the power-on hours for two months have led to serious deterioration in civilians’ all basic services, particularly healthcare services and environmental health services, including water supply and sanitation services.

This crisis also deteriorated the industrial and commercial facilities’ work and increased the economic aggravation that the Gaza Strip suffers from.

Civilians residing the Gaza Strip have suffered from reducing the power-on hours to only 4 hours daily and increasing the power-off hours to 12. According to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation (GEDCO), the Gaza Strip needs of the electricity currently reached 450 megawatts, and only 120 megawatts are available (26.7%) while the shortage reached 330 megawatts (73.3%).

GEDCO said that the available electricity comes only from the Israeli power lines as the Egyptian power lines broke down, and the power plant is shutoff.

According to a statement by the Energy Authority in Gaza published on 16 April 2017, the current electricity crisis is due to was due to full shutoff of the power plant resulted from running out of the fuel supplies need to operate the plant and Ramallah government’s stubbornness to impose taxes on the fuel.

It has become clear that the parties administrating the electricity sector do not have real solutions to end the power crisis in the Gaza strip. This reveals their failure to administrate this sector that is very vital and important for around 2 million Palestinians, resulting in a serious deterioration in the basic services.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza was forced to reduce its diagnostic and supportive services due to the aggravation of the power outage crisis and acute shortage of fuel needed to operate hospital generators.

According to the Ministry Spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra, the Ministry has entered a tough phase due to the electricity and fuel crisis, forcing it to operate the second level of generators in hospitals and reduce the diagnostic and supportive services.

In case the electricity crisis continued, al-Qedra warned that 40 operating rooms and 11 gynecology and obstetrics operating room, where around 250 surgeries and cesarean sections are daily conducted, will be closed.

Additionally, 50 medical laboratories and 10 blood banks will be closed as well. He also warned of the repercussions of the crisis on the health status of about 100 patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), 113 infants in the incubators in addition to stop the dialysis services, which cover 620 patients who need 117 dialysis devices used 3 times a week. He pointed out that the crisis affects the medicine safety, laboratory materials, vaccinations stored in refrigerators, in addition to their impact on emergency departments in hospitals and depriving patients of safe health services.

Furthermore, the electricity crisis has also negatively impacted offering the minimum water and sanitation services to the civilians in the Gaza Strip. It has also created major crises in the treatment of wastewater and the water outage for long periods exceeding 4 days in many areas.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) announced that the continuation of this crisis will reduce the work of water wells and pumping stations to 60% and desalination plants to 80% of their capacity.

The General Director of the Gaza Water Authority, Eng. Munther Shublaq, said that the reduction of power-on hours caused serious repercussions and effects on sanitation services in the Gaza Strip. He also warned civilians of swimming in the Gaza Sea this summer because the Water and Municipalities Authority was unable to treat wastewater before being pumped into seawater. He added that it is impossible to treat properly the wastewater within 6 hours or 4 hours of electricity.

Moreover, school and university students, particularly the general secondary “Tawjihi” students, have suffered from the negative impact of the electricity outage during this sensitive time coinciding with the end of school year and final exams.

The Ministry of Higher Education stated that the power outage leads to communication difficulties between schools, directorates and the Ministry particularly regarding the software such as bulletins and instructions.

The power outage also negatively affects printing and preparing exams, operating the Ministry and Directorates buildings and “Voice of Education” Radio, which now revises the Tawjihi curriculum.

The electricity outage for long hours reduced the work hours in the commercial and industrial facilities, whose production mechanism depends on the electric power. As a result, the economic deterioration, which the Gaza population already suffers from, increased.

PCHR stresses that the Gaza Strip is still an occupied territory, so the Israeli authorities have responsibilities towards it. Thus, PCHR calls upon the Israeli authorities, in its capacity as an occupying power according to the international humanitarian law, to fulfill their obligations towards the Gaza Strip population and guarantee civilians’ access to the necessary basic services, including the fuel supplies needed to operate the electricity plant in Gaza.

PCHR also calls upon the parties administrating the electricity sector in Gaza and Ramallah to solve immediately this crisis to spare the Gaza Strip more deterioration.

PCHR also warns of the serious consequences of the crisis, which affects all the vital sectors, including the basic services, which 2 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip need, such as water supplies, breakdown of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, medical centers, failure of the sewage plants and education sector.




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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 06:10

UK, Japan denounce Israel's illegal settlement expansion

June 14, 2017 7:09 P.M. (Updated: June 14, 2017 7:09 P.M.)
A Palestinian rides on a donkey with a settlement in the background. (Photo: Christian Peacemaker Teams, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The British and Japanese governments lamented Israel’s recent approval of further construction in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank as “not conducive to peace.”

The denunciations came more than a week after Israel’s Civil Administration promoted plans for the construction of at least 1,500 illegal Israeli settler housing units in the West Bank.

“We condemn the announcement of yet further settlement units in the West Bank,” UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “Settlements are illegal under international law, and not conducive to peace.”

“This spike in settlement activity makes a two-state solution, with an Israel that is safe from terrorism and a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign, harder to achieve,” Johnson added.

Meanwhile, Japan Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama reiterated his country’s calls for a freeze in Israeli settlement building on Tuesday, echoing Johnson’s statements.

“The government of Japan once again strongly urges the government of Israel to desist from implementing its construction plans that are undermining the viability of a two-state solution,” Maruyama said.

The foreign condemnations came after Israeli NGO Peace Now estimated earlier this month that the number of settlement housing units promoted in the first half of 2017 was almost double that of all of 2016.

According to the organization, plans for 4,909 housing units have so far been pushed forward in 2017, 85 percent more than in the span of 2016, during which 2,657 units were promoted.

When including plans and tenders, the number of housing units advanced during the first five and a half months of 2017 jumped by 286 percent compared to all of 2016 , the group added.

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant presented a plan to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, earlier this month, advocating for 67,000 additional illegal settlement housing units to be built in the occupied West Bank to deal with soaring real estate prices in Tel Aviv.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law. Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts -- unapproved by the Israeli government -- are even considered illegal under Israeli law, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 06:03

Israeli bill seeking to cut millions in PA funds deemed 'assault' on Palestinian resistance

June 13, 2017 3:15 P.M. (Updated: June 13, 2017 6:25 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A proposed Israeli law that would cut nearly $300 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over funds allocated to the families of Palestinian prisoners of Israel and those who were killed or injured by Israeli forces has been denounced by Palestinian leadership as an “assault” on Palestinian resistance.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is reportedly expected to vote Wednesday on the measure, which would see Israel deduct an estimated 1 billion shekels ($280 million) annually from tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA -- equivalent to the budget of the controversial “martyrs” compensation program fund managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said in a statement on Tuesday that "the Israeli occupation's effort to pass a law to cut allowances of martyrs and prisoners from tax revenues is an assault on the symbols of the Palestinian people and leaders of nationalistic struggle."

He described the move as “a crime of robbery and a futile attempt to break the will of our people and to stop their pursuit of freedom.” Qasim urged the PA not to accept the “occupation government's decisions and requests."

Head of the PA-run Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe also characterized the bill as an act of "privacy and theft," in a Monday interview with Voice of Palestine radio, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

“Israel aims by this act to delegitimize the Palestinian national struggle and to deny the prisoners the right to be identified as prisoners of freedom who have sacrificed to become free from the occupation,” Wafa quoted Qaraqe as saying.

He said Israel ignored the fact that its position as an occupying power was the reason why so many Palestinians were behind bars to begin with.

Qaraqe called for continued support for the families of the prisoners and those killed by Israeli forces. He also called for “prosecuting the Israeli occupation before international courts for the crime of stealing the money of the Palestinian people.”

After Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation advanced the bill on Sunday, Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) head Qaddura Fares argued the measure was trying to “conflate the issues of the so-called war on terror with the Palestinian martyrs and prisoners who fought for freedom.”

Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Knesset in the Joint List political bloc -- representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel -- told Ma’an in April that the bill was part of a campaign that Israel was launching against Palestinian prisoners while attempting to exert pressure on Palestinian governmental institutions' already shaky financial status.

The social program has been the target of criticism in Israel for years. While the bulk of the program, which had been managed by the PLO since its inception in 1966, was shifted to the PA following the Oslo Peace Accords in 1998, following criticism by the US and the passing of legislation aimed at cutting funds to the PA, the payment distribution was then shifted completely back under PLO management in 2014.

In March, Israeli rights group B’Tselem released a report detailing how Israel has introduced legislation over the past 20 years to avoid paying compensation to Palestinians who have been injured by Israeli forces.

Israel has notably used the payments distributed by the PLO to wounded Palestinians and Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to justify forgoing compensating Palestinians, revealing a clear double standard given the Israeli government’s routine opposition to the same social program.

Israel collects an estimated $2.1 billion in taxes each year on behalf of the PA, according to a 2015 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), representing three quarters of the PA’s revenue.

Israel has regularly withheld transferring taxes to apply pressure on the Palestinian government, despite rights groups saying said such punitive measure amounts to “collective punishment.”

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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 05:48
Publish Date: 2017/06/14
Four Palestinians injured, three arrested during Israeli army raid of Bethlehem refugee camp

BETHLEHEM, June 14, 2017 (WAFA) – At least four Palestinians were injured and three others arrested by Israeli forces in Deheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said Wednesday.

Israeli army broke into the camp after midnight, provoking clashes with local Palestinians, said the sources.

The army used live fire, stun grenades and teargas canisters to disperse the protesters, injuring four of them with live ammunition.

The injured were moved to nearby Beit Jala public hospital for medical treatment, where they were described in moderate condition.

The army also arrested three Palestinians in the raid after searching their family homes.




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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 05:46

Moscou accuse Washington de déployer en Syrie des missiles contre l’armée du régime

La Russie a accusé hier Washington d'avoir déployé des missiles contre l'armée de Damas dans la garnison d'al-Tanaf en Syrie, à quelques kilomètres de la frontière avec la Jordanie.
L'armée russe a affirmé dans un communiqué que les États-Unis ont acheminé depuis la Jordanie jusqu'à al-Tanaf « deux batteries de lance-roquettes multiples Himars ».
« L'installation de toutes sortes d'armes étrangères sur le territoire syrien, d'autant plus de lance-roquettes multiples, doit faire l'objet d'un accord avec le gouvernement souverain du pays », a dénoncé le ministère russe de la Défense, avant de demander : « Quels sont les véritables objectifs des États-Unis en Syrie et contre qui comptent se battre les militaires américains ? »
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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 05:34

Crise du Golfe : Pourquoi l’action musclée de Riyad pourrait-elle échouer ?


le 15.06.17 | 12h00


Par Lina Kennouche

Auteure et doctorante en sciences politiques à l’université Saint-Joseph
de Beyrouth (Liban)

La rupture des relations entre l’Arabie Saoudite, l’Egypte, les Emirats arabes unis, Bahreïn et le Qatar le 5 juin dernier a déclenché une crise aux prolongements régionaux imprévisibles. Si la bataille que livre aujourd’hui Doha est décisive pour l’avenir de son rôle régional, le conflit diplomatique entre les acteurs saoudiens et qataris s’inscrit dans une confrontation déjà ancienne.

En dépit du rôle passé du Qatar dans la mobilisation d’un front sunnite et des convergences avec Riyad dès les débuts de la crise syrienne, la relation entre les deux alliés a souffert de contradictions nourries par les prises de positions de Doha. L’interventionnisme qatari qui s’est joué sur le terrain yéménite et le maintien d’un dialogue avec les Houthis, le soutien de Doha à Abdelhakim Belhadj et Ismail Salabi en Libye, ainsi que la confrontation avec Riyad par groupes interposés en Syrie n’ont cessé de raviver les tensions entre les deux pays.

En cause, l’influence considérable qu’a acquise le Qatar auprès de la direction de nombreux groupes islamistes et ses velléités d’autonomie qui tranchent radicalement avec les positions suivistes des Emirats souscrivant à toutes les options dessinées par les Saoudiens. L’offensive diplomatique punitive organisée par l’Arabie a trouvé une conjoncture favorable après des années de rapports difficiles avec l’allié américain sous l’administration Obama.

Le réchauffement des relations avec Washington et le sentiment de puissance conféré par le renouvellement du Quincy Pact offrent à Riyad l’opportunité historique de remettre en cause l’accord de réconciliation (avril 2014) et de lancer une action musclée pour réaffirmer son leadership. Mais loin de contraindre Doha à capituler, cette stratégie qui repose sur une appréciation erronée des rapports de forces pourrait avoir des répercussions très négatives pour Riyad.

Premièrement, s’il est vrai que Salmane bénéficie du soutien total de Trump, la tonalité est différente du côté du département d’Etat et son secrétaire Rex Tillerson a immédiatement appelé les pays du Golfe à retrouver le dialogue. Malgré les déclarations incantatoires du président américain, les Etats-Unis ne peuvent concrètement entreprendre aucune action qui compromettrait leurs intérêts avec le Qatar. Au-delà de l’importance des relations économiques avec un pays qui accueille également depuis 1991 la principale base militaire américaine au Moyen-Orient, l’activisme du Qatar dans la médiation avec les groupes djihadistes reste d’une importance cruciale pour les Américains. Doha aujourd’hui accusé de financer le terrorisme et notamment d’héberger les bureaux d’une représentation des talibans depuis 2002 a justement rappelé que cette décision était prise en concertation avec les Etats-Unis qui recherchaient un intermédiaire dans les négociations.

Deuxièmement, alors que les Saoudiens espéraient une condamnation plus ferme du Qatar par les pays européens et un soutien plus affirmé à leur position, ceux-ci, par la voix de Merkel, ont essentiellement appelé à une résolution de la crise avec un partenaire économique de premier plan. Mais le refus de mettre au ban le Qatar n’est pas étranger aux liens qu’entretient Doha avec les services occidentaux dans le contexte global de la lutte contre le terrorisme et le crédit accordé à la médiation qatarie avec les groupes djihadistes.


Enfin, cette crise du Golfe risque d’entraîner une recomposition régionale qui met à mal l’opposition traditionnelle entre front sunnite et chiite. Ouvrant la voie à une intervention plus grande de la Turquie et de l’Iran avec des possibilités de convergence notamment sur le dossier syrien, elle a d’ores et déjà permis un renforcement accru des relations de l’Iran et du Hezbollah avec le Hamas. Quelle que soit l’issue encore incertaine de la confrontation entre Qataris et Saoudiens, les développements régionaux à venir risquent fortement de contrarier les desseins de Riyad.



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16 juin 2017 5 16 /06 /juin /2017 05:30

Egypt supports unity of Iraq, noninterference in domestic affairs: FM Shoukry tells Iraqi VP


Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Jun 2017
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed on Wednesday evening Egypt's support for the unity of Iraq and non-interference in the country's domestic affairs to Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi.

In an official statement by Egypt's foreign ministry, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that during his meeting with Allawi in Cairo, Shoukry hailed the historic and deep strategic relations between Egypt and Iraq. The FM emphasised Egypt's keeness to develop ties with Iraq across various fields, especially political and economic.

Allawi, who is in Egypt on an official visit, said he valued Egyptian-Iraqi relations and expressed his country's hope for continued work to boost ties.

Both sides agreed to keep working on resurrecting a joint high committee led by the prime ministers of each country, which would aim to hold its first meeting during 2017.

According to the spokesperson, the Iraqi vice president spoke on Iraq's latest domestic developments, including preparations for parliamentary elections, saying that Iraqi politics are undergoing a process of reconstruction.

Shoukry said Egypt stands with Iraq in the face of its challenges, stressing that every effort should be made by the country's various factions to leave conflict behind and uphold national interests.

He also congratulated Allawi on the success the Iraqi army has achieved over Daesh, offering Egypt's support and solidarity with Iraqi efforts to fight terrorism and extremism.

Over the past few years, Egypt and Iraq have been enhancing political, economic and security relations.

In April, the two countries signed an agreement for Iraq to sell Egypt 12 million barrels of oil over the course of one year.

In May, Egypt received two million barrels of crude oil from Iraq, the first shipment to arrive as part of the deal from the country's state oil company SOMO.



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15 juin 2017 4 15 /06 /juin /2017 06:57
Publish Date: 2017/06/14
Ten years of division harm national interest, say officials

RAMALLAH, June 14, 2017 (WAFA) – Marking 10 years since Hamas militias took control of the Gaza Strip thus causing a sharp split in Palestinian ranks with the West Bank remaining in Palestinian Authority hands, Palestinians warned on Wednesday that a prolonged division is going to severely hurt Palestinian national interest and struggle for independence.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), warned that the continuation of the division will have dire consequences on the Palestinian national project.

He said Israel is having a field day with the division, which it seeks to turn it from internal division to permanent separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Abu Yousef stressed that there cannot be a Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, calling on Hamas to make the national interest as its top priority over its own party interests and to return to the fold of the legitimate authority represented in the PLO.

He stressed the general and firm Palestinian position that demands an immediate end to the division and rejects everything that would augment it, such as the formation of the so-called administrative committee to run the Gaza Strip.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, Deputy Chairman of Fatah Movement, said the Hamas “coup” against the legitimate Palestinian authority and its takeover of the Gaza Strip has adversely impacted the Palestinian cause, which is no longer accorded a priority in international forums.

He told Voice of Palestine that some world governments use the division as a pretext to avoid meeting their responsibilities toward Palestine and the Palestinian people.

He said a decade-long of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip has caused tremendous hardship to Palestinian citizens in Gaza on the security, economic and daily life levels.

He stressed Hamas’ refusal to disband the new administrative committee that runs the Gaza Strip was a step towards the consolidation of the division.




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15 juin 2017 4 15 /06 /juin /2017 06:55

Les nuages s’amoncellent à nouveau sur la bande de Gaza

Pénurie d'électricité, querelles interpalestiniennes ravivées, incertitudes liées au Qatar : analystes et responsables mettent en garde contre une nouvelle explosion dans la bande de Gaza, dominée d'une main de fer depuis dix ans par le Hamas.

Le 15 juin 2007, le mouvement islamiste achevait la prise de contrôle de ce petit territoire coincé entre Israël, l'Égypte et la Méditerranée, au prix d'une quasi-guerre civile avec les rivaux du Fateh. Dix ans après, le rigoureux blocus israélien est toujours en place, la frontière égyptienne est fermée pratiquement en permanence et trois guerres ont opposé Israël au Hamas et ses alliés locaux.
« Ceux qui payent le prix fort, ce sont les Gazaouis », confie le militant des droits de l'homme Hamdi Chaqoura, alors que la reconstruction piétine, que près de la moitié de la population active est sans emploi et que plus des trois quarts des habitants dépendent de l'aide humanitaire.
La fermeture des frontières et la destruction d'une grande partie des tunnels de contrebande vers l'Égypte ont mis à genoux l'économie gazaouie, une crise aggravée par la division politique et géographique résultant de l'épreuve de force entre le Hamas et l'Autorité palestinienne. Cette dernière, établie à quelques dizaines de kilomètres de là en Cisjordanie occupée, semble avoir décidé de presser le Hamas : elle a réduit en avril la rémunération de ses fonctionnaires restés à Gaza. Du coup, en plein mois de ramadan, habituellement bon pour le commerce, c'est le marasme
Pas rentable
« Plus personne n'achète ni ne vend » depuis que les fonctionnaires ne font plus tourner les marchés, se désole Nahed Abou Salem, qui tient un magasin de bonbons dans l'immense camp de réfugiés de Jabalia. « De toute façon, on ne peut rien produire sans électricité », renchérit Aëd Hassouna, vendeur de café de 34 ans. Chaque jour, le générateur qui fait fonctionner ses broyeurs de grains lui coûte 300 shekels, environ 75 euros, un système absolument pas rentable.

Les Gazaouis les mieux lotis n'ont plus que trois ou quatre heures d'électricité par jour. Mais Israël, principal fournisseur de courant au territoire malgré le blocus, va réduire ses livraisons. À l'instigation de l'Autorité palestinienne, disent les responsables israéliens, qui coopèrent avec elle alors que le Hamas est pour eux – comme pour les États-Unis et l'Union européenne – une organisation « terroriste ». Le Hamas a aussi dénoncé la responsabilité de ses rivaux de l'Autorité palestinienne dans la décision d'Israël de diminuer ses livraisons d'électricité. Les Gazaouis risquent donc de ne plus avoir que deux heures d'électricité par jour. Les hôpitaux et les stations de traitement des eaux pourraient alors s'arrêter. C'est un « effondrement du système » tout entier qui menace à Gaza, a prévenu le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR).
Jusqu'ici, le Qatar, grand parrain du Hamas, injectait des fonds à chaque crise. Le riche émirat assurait aussi la construction ou la reconstruction de la majeure partie des infrastructures et avait récemment lancé la construction de villes nouvelles. Mais Doha est actuellement pris dans une grave crise diplomatique, mis au ban par ses voisins du Golfe qui le pressent de rompre ses liens avec les mouvements « terroristes » et le Hamas.
Grand perdant
Dans cette affaire, « le grand perdant, c'est nous. C'est nous qui allons en payer le prix », prédit Ahmad Youssef, un haut cadre du Hamas qui plaide pour le dialogue et la modération.
En mai, le Hamas a inscrit cette modération dans son texte fondateur, lui adjoignant un document politique qui, espéraient alors ses dirigeants, lui permettrait de revenir dans le jeu des négociations internationales. Mais alors qu'il a déjà perdu ces dernières années le soutien de la Syrie et de l'Égypte, le Hamas, plus isolé que jamais, doit désormais composer avec l'Autorité palestinienne, portée à bout de bras par les poids lourds arabes que sont l'Arabie saoudite et l'Égypte.
Dans un environnement où, pour la jeunesse, majoritaire, « la mort vaut mieux que de vivre », selon les mots d'Ahmad Youssef, l'électricité a constitué ces dernières années l'unique sujet qui a engendré des manifestations anti-Hamas, aussitôt réprimées. Désormais, la question se pose à nouveau de savoir si le Hamas va détourner les tensions intérieures contre Israël. Les deux camps observent depuis 2014 un cessez-le-feu tendu, tout en préparant la prochaine confrontation. « La balle est dans le camp du Hamas », dit, sibyllin, le ministre israélien de la Défense, Avigdor Lieberman.
Hier, le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu a assuré qu'il ne voulait pas d'escalade militaire avec le Hamas. « Israël n'a aucun intérêt à une escalade et tous ceux qui pensent le contraire font erreur », a-t-il affirmé. La fourniture du courant dans la bande de Gaza « est un sujet de polémique interpalestinien (...) », a-t-il précisé.
Mais pour Ofer Zalzberg, du groupe de réflexion International Crisis Group, « si des manifestations de masse ont lieu contre le Hamas, ce mouvement aura besoin de détourner l'attention. Un des meilleurs moyens pour y parvenir serait de déclencher une nouvelle escalade avec Israël ». Et pour le politologue gazaoui Moukhaïmer Abou Saada, l'isolement politique et le blocus vont se poursuivre, à moins que le Hamas ne renonce au pouvoir. Un tel renoncement est l'unique solution pour « éviter plus de catastrophes », affirme-t-il.

Source : AFP



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15 juin 2017 4 15 /06 /juin /2017 06:51
Open letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement


“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” (Isa. 1:17)


As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.

Hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”, as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.

Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning – a hundred years ago – on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?

Today is also an opportunity to remember the Amman Call which was proclaimed ten years ago. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity; those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that ten years later the situation has been worsening on on the ground and still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?

We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort towards peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem – the city of Emmanuel!

While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of this manipulating pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.

Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a heavy and painful price. We thank you for your efforts towards the refugees and towards ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call


“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

  1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. We are disturbed by the fact that States and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!
  2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians to support the Palestinians in their request for justice. It was his infamous declaration, after all that laid the ground for the concept of an ethno-religious state – the very same thing our region is suffering today.
  3. That you take a clear and the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness towards this end.
  4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.
  5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed – if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.
  6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.
  7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and go further to support sport, cultural and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, Apartheid and discriminations, and accepts refugees to return to their home land and properties. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measures.
  8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.
  9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the Program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate and develop active programs towards justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and work on maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work and peaceful efforts.

As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm and continue the long standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin, brought to us and to all humanity, new life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

12 June 2017

Signed by



  • Arab Catholic Scouts Group
  • Arab Orthodox Society – Jerusalem
  • Caritas- Jerusalem
  • Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees- Middle East Council of Churches
  • Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
  • International Christian Committee
  • Laity Committee in the Holy Land
  • National Christian Association
  • Pontifical Mission Palestine
  • SABEEL – Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
  • Seeds of Better life
  • Union of Arab Orthodox Club – Jerusalem
  • Young Men’s Christian Association –YMCA
  • Young Women’s Christian Association –YWCA


NECC office

Bethlehem (NCOB)

Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem

  • The East Jerusalem YMCA /Beit Sahour Branch
  • The Arab Educational Institute,
  • Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
  • Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
  • Saint Afram Assyrian Society,
  • Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
  • Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
  • Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
  • Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
  • Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
  • The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
  • Bethlehem Bible College
  • Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
  • Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
  • Senior Citizen Charitable Society
  • Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
  • Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
  • Shepherds’ Children Society, Beit Sahour





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