SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas signed on Sunday an agreement confirming their “common goal to defending” Jerusalem and its sacred sites against attempts to Judaise the Holy City.
A statement by the palace said the deal confirms Jordan’s historic role as custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, and outlines coordination between the two sides.
“In this historic agreement, Abbas reiterated that the king is the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem and that he has the right to exert all legal efforts to preserve them, especially Al-Aqsa mosque,” the statement said.
“It is also emphasizing the historical principles agreed by Jordan and Palestine to exert joint efforts to protect the city and holy sites from Israeli judaization attempts.”
“It also reaffirms the historic principles upon which Jordan and Palestine are in agreement as regards Jerusalem and their common goal of defending Jerusalem together, especially at such critical time, when the city is facing dramatic challenges and daily illegal changes to its authenticity and original identity.”
Al-Aqsa compound, known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, and houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques.
But it is also Judaism’s most sacred place of worship, venerated by Jews as Temple Mount, the site where King Herod’s temple stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
It is one of the most sensitive sites in Jerusalem, and clashes frequently break out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
“Jerusalem is currently facing major challenges and attempts to change its Arab, Muslim and Christian identity,” the palace said.
Israel captured the eastern half of the city during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized internationally, but the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as capital of their future state.
Jordan, which has a 1994 peace treaty with Israeli, administers the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem through its ministry of Awqaf and religious affairs.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, the deputy head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands, said the intended visit of US president Barack Obama to occupied Jerusalem is aimed at strengthening and supporting the Zionist presence in the holy city.
In a press statement to Quds Press, Sheikh Khatib stressed that Obama's visit is much graver than the marathon that took place on Friday in Jerusalem.
He explained that Obama plans to enter the Aqsa Mosque through Al-Maghariba Gate under the Israeli police protection without any coordination with the Islamic waqf authority, which is in charge of the Mosque, in order to support the Jews' temple allegations.
The Israeli regime exploits many western leaders and lackeys who still offer absolution prayers to the Israeli entity in order to atone for the "so-called massacres of Jews", the Palestinian religious figure underlined.
He expressed his belief that all the Israeli attempts to Judaize Jerusalem would be doomed to failure, noting that the Israeli occupation entity, like the other entities that had invaded Palestine throughout history, would be gone forever sooner or later.
Sheikh Khatib also denounced the Israeli marathon in the holy city and described it as part of the Judaization schemes against Jerusalem.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Thursday February 28, 2013, The Ofer Israeli Military Court sentenced a Palestinian child to 19-months imprisonment allegedly for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
The child has been identified as Mahmoud Ghneimat, from Surif town, near Hebron.
Israeli soldiers kidnapped him, along with several other children, ages 14-18, several months ago, and imposed fines on most of the kidnapped children, and sentenced some of them to 6-18 months.
Furthermore, Israel released on bail Dr. Amani Mousa Odah, 26, and forced her under house arrest after the prosecution claimed that she conducted incitement against Israel.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, said that the bail amount was set at 1500 New Israeli Shekels, and that the Dr. was ordered under house arrest for 10 days.
Amani was kidnapped on Wednesday at dawn after the army broke into and search her home.
The soldiers also broke into and searched several homes, in addition to breaking into the clinic of Dr. Amani in Salah Ed-Deen Street, in Jerusalem. They confiscated two computers and a camera from her home.
Furthermore, Amani’s sister-in-law was also injured, after the soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets before breaking into the residents’ homes.
The wounded woman is the wife of political prisoner, Mohammad Mousa Odah, the brother of Dr. Amani. She was moved to the Hadassah Ein Karem Israeli hospital in Jerusalem.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –International Jerusalem Foundation has organized on Thursday a seminar entitled: "Jerusalem's future in light of the Israeli occupation."
The participants emphasized the need to develop a strategic plan towards Jerusalem dealing with military, political, economic, demographic, media, educational, and cultural aspects to reinforce Jerusalemites' steadfastness.
The head of the Foundation, Dr. Ahmed Abu Halabiya stressed that the Israeli enemy seeks to blur the Islamic monuments through bulldozing hundreds of Islamic graves in order to establish Israeli hotels and museums in its place".
He pointed to the Hebrew banners on Islamic historical and archaeological sites near the Al-Aqsa mosque, including fake history claims about the alleged temple in this area.
The Israeli army works to seize many of the Islamic mosques in west and east of Jerusalem for settlement benefit, he noted.
He added that the Israeli enemy continues its excavations down the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, leading to the fall of many old trees in the mosque yards, and many landslides inside the mosque and in its surroundings."
For his part, Dr. Yousef Ibrahim said that the apartheid wall will isolate the Palestinian neighborhoods within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem outside the city.
In total the Wall will run over 181 km where it will add settlements to Jerusalem to impose a new reality in the city, he added.
Dr. Jihad al-Batsh stressed the need to follow the Israeli activities in Jerusalem where it is one of the most important tools for combating and resisting settlement activities.
He pointed out that the Israeli enemy has consistently focused on the settlements issue in Jerusalem, taking advantage of provoking religious sentiments in order to get the support of the world's Jews.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Hamas movement renewed on Sunday its rejection of the two-state solution, affirming its refusal to recognize the “Zionist entity”.
Hamas said in a press release that its acceptance of establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 land did not mean forsaking historical Palestine or recognizing legitimacy of the occupation on the remaining land of Palestine.
The movement expressed dismay at statements of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas claiming that the Palestinian factions had accepted the two-state solution and popular resistance.
It explained that accepting a Palestinian land on 1967 land was meant as part of achieving national consensus on a joint program.
Hamas said that it backed all kinds of resistance against occupation including popular and armed resistance, which proved its effectiveness in defeating occupation, regaining rights, and establishing the independent Palestinian state on national soil with Jerusalem as its capital.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Israel's prime minister has instructed a quasi-governmental Jewish organization to find a solution for non-Orthodox Jewish female groups wishing to pray at one of Judaism's holiest sites.
An official said Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, to look into the matter. The official spoke anonymously according to government regulations.
Last week Israeli police detained women from a liberal Jewish group who approached the Western Wall in Jerusalem carrying prayer shawls. Orthodox Jews insist those are for men only. The women seek to worship at the site without such restrictions.
Jewish Agency spokesman Benjamin Rutland said Netanyahu told Sharansky that the Western Wall "must remain a source of Jewish unity rather than division." The wall is a remnant of the biblical Jewish Temple compound.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Israel's cabinet authorised the mobilisation of up to 75,000 reservists late on Friday, preparing the ground for a possible Gaza invasion after Palestinians fired a rocket toward Jerusalem for the first time in decades.
Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial centre, also came under rocket attack for the second straight day, in defiance of an Israeli air offensive that began on Wednesday with the declared aim of deterring Hamas from launching cross-border attacks that have plagued southern Israel for years.
Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, claimed responsibility for firing at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel said the rocket launched toward Jerusalem landed in the occupied West Bank, and the one fired at Tel Aviv did not hit the city. There were no reports of casualties.
The siren that sounded in Jerusalem stunned many Israelis. The city, holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, was last struck by a Palestinian rocket in 1970, and it was not a target when Saddam Hussein's Iraq fired missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a four-hour strategy session with a clutch of senior ministers in Tel Aviv on widening the military campaign, while other cabinet members were polled by telephone on raising the mobilisation level.
Political sources said they decided to more than double the current reserve troop quota set for the Gaza offensive to 75,000. The move did not necessarily mean all would be called into service.
Hours earlier, Egypt's prime minister, denouncing what he described as Israeli aggression, visited Gaza and said Cairo was prepared to mediate a truce.
US President Barack Obama spoke with Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Friday, the White House said.
Officials in Gaza said 29 Palestinians - 13 militants and 16 civilians, among them eight children and a pregnant woman - had been killed in the enclave since Israel began its air strikes. Three Israeli civilians were killed by a rocket on Thursday.
The Israeli military said 97 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel on Friday and 99 more were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system. Dozens of Israeli bombing raids rocked the enclave, and one flattened the Gaza Interior Ministry building.
In a further sign Netanyahu might be clearing the way for a ground operation, Israel's armed forces announced that a highway leading to the territory and two roads bordering the enclave of 1.7 million Palestinians would be off-limits to civilian traffic.
Tanks and self-propelled guns were seen near the border area on Friday, and the military said it had already called 16,000 reservists to active duty.
Netanyahu is favourite to win a January national election, but further rocket strikes against Tel Aviv, a free-wheeling city Israelis equate with New York, and Jerusalem, which Israel regards as its capital, could be political poison for the conservative leader.
"The Israel Defence Forces will continue to hit Hamas hard and are prepared to broaden the action inside Gaza," Netanyahu said before the rocket attacks on the two cities.
Asked about Israel massing forces for a possible Gaza invasion, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "The Israelis should be aware of the grave results of such a raid, and they should bring their body bags."
A solidarity visit to Gaza by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, whose Islamist government is allied with Hamas but also party to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, had appeared to open a tiny window to emergency peace diplomacy.
Kandil said: "Egypt will spare no effort ... to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce."
But a three-hour truce that Israel declared for the duration of Kandil's visit never took hold.
Obama commended Egypt's efforts to help calm the Gaza violence in a call to Mursi on Friday, the White House said, and underscored his hope of restoring stability.
In a call with Netanyahu, Obama discussed options for "de-escalating" the situation, the White House said.
Obama "reiterated U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives," a statement on the call said.
Israel Radio's military affairs correspondent said the army's Homefront Command had told municipal officials to make civil defence preparations for the possibility that fighting could drag on for seven weeks. An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.
The Gaza conflagration has stoked the flames of a Middle East already ablaze with two years of Arab revolution and a civil war in Syria that threatens to leap across borders.
It is the biggest test yet for Mursi, a veteran Islamist politician from the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected this year after protests ousted military autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood are spiritual mentors of Hamas, yet Mursi has also pledged to respect Cairo's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, seen in the West as the cornerstone of regional security. Egypt and Israel both receive billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to underwrite their treaty.
Mursi has vocally denounced the Israeli military action while promoting Egypt as a mediator, a mission that his prime minister's visit was intended to further.
A Palestinian official close to Egypt's mediators told Reuters Kandil's visit "was the beginning of a process to explore the possibility of reaching a truce. It is early to speak of any details or of how things will evolve".
Hamas fighters are no match for the Israeli military. The last Gaza war, involving a three-week long Israeli air blitz and ground invasion over the New Year period of 2008-2009, killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Thirteen Israelis died.
Tunisia's foreign minister was due to visit Gaza on Saturday "to provide all political support for Gaza" the spokesman for the Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, said in a statement.
The United States asked countries that have contact with Hamas to urge the Islamist movement to stop its rocket attacks.
Hamas refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist. By contrast, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules in the nearby West Bank, does recognise Israel, but peace talks between the two sides have been frozen since 2010.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Palestinian militants fired a rocket aimed at Jerusalem on Friday, setting off air raid sirens throughout the city and opening a new front in three days of fierce fighting between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli campaign has been limited to airstrikes so far. But military officials say they are considering expanding it to a ground campaign.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman, said the military had called 16,000 reservists to duty on Friday as it geared up for a possible ground offensive.
She said the army had authority to draft an additional 14,000 soldiers. She would not say where the troops were deployed.
As air-raid sirens went off in Jerusalem, witnesses said they saw a stream of smoke in Mevasseret Zion, a Jerusalem suburb.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed in an open area near Gush Ezion, a collection of Jewish settlements in the West Bank southeast of the city.
An attack on Israel's self-declared capital marks a major escalation by Gaza militants, both for its symbolism and its distance from the Palestinian territory. Located roughly 75 kilometers (50 miles) away from the Gaza border, Jerusalem had been thought to be beyond the range of Gaza rocket squads.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Hamas militant wing, said the group had fired a long-range rocket at Jerusalem.
"We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist on any single inch of Palestine and we plan more surprises," he said. Hamas officials said the rocket was a homemade "M-75" rocket, a weapon that has never been fired before.
It also marks a bit of a gamble for the militants. Gush Ezion is close to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem and just a few kilometers (miles) from the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, one of Islam's holiest sites. Jews call the compound the Temple Mount because of the biblical Jewish temples that once stood there.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in Jerusalem and nearby areas of the West Bank.
Militants already have fired rockets into the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv, another unprecedented achievement, on Thursday. The rocket attacks have not hurt anyone in the bustling metropolis, but have caused panic and jitters.
Just a few years ago, Palestinian rockets were limited to crude, homemade devices manufactured in Gaza. But in recent years, Hamas and other armed groups have smuggled in sophisticated, longer-range rockets from Iran and Libya, which has been flush with weapons since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted last year. Most of the rockets do not have guided systems, limiting their accuracy, though Israeli officials believe the militants may have a small number of guided missiles that have not yet been deployed.
The strike occurred on the third day of an Israeli offensive in Gaza meant to halt rocket fire from the crowded seaside strip. Israel began the offensive Wednesday by assassinating Hamas' military chief and striking dozens of rocket launchers. But militants have continued to rain rockets across Israel.
The military spokeswoman said no decision has been made on whether to send ground troops or how long the Israeli offensive will last. Leibovich said all options are open, "including a ground operation."
Along the border Friday, tanks, armored vehicles and military bulldozers were parked in neat rows. Soldiers milled about, while buses filled with soldiers moved in the area.
Hamas militants have vowed to resist the Israeli offensive. They received a boost of solidarity on Friday with a visit by Egypt's prime minister, Hesham Kandil, who called on Israel to end its operation.
In all, 23 Palestinians have been killed, including 11 civilians, according to Gaza health officials, and 250 people wounded. Three Israelis were killed when a rocket hit an apartment building in southern Israel.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, Muslims commemorate al-Quds day and show their solidarity with the people of Palestine. The Palestinian cause is an indisputable aspiration shared by almost every Muslim in the world, regardless of their national, lingual and sectarian diversities. Their wish to liberate Palestine and al-Quds from the Zionists goes beyond all their differences. This year's al-Quds day, in the aftermath of revolutions and political turbulences in the Muslim and Arab world, and in the prospect of sectarian conflicts and civil wars ignited by the western powers, is a unique opportunity to forget all differences, to use the spiritual and liberating experience of Ramadan and to come together as brothers and sisters.
Muslims traditionally tend to ignore the material life and worldly pleasures and to restrain themselves from any dispute during the month of Ramadan. This week's Islam and Life asks: How important is the international Al-Quds day for Muslim unity?
Courtesy of PressTV
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Isaac said in a statement on Sunday that the Israeli government was merging minor settlements into bigger entities within an apparent scheme to control 70% of area C in the West Bank, which constitutes 60% of the overall West Bank area.
He said that Israel was trying to buy time in a bid to create a new de facto situation on the ground, exploiting the USA’s preoccupation with its elections and regional changes to draw its final borders with its bulldozers.— www.shafaqna.com/english/