Israel will open new “Palestinian bus routes” in the West Bank tomorrow after bowing to pressure from settlers who argue that sharing transportation is a security risk.
Officially, the new lines, operated by the Afikim company, are designed to ease pressure on the transport network that carries people from the West Bank into central Israel, which many Palestinians with Israeli work permits use each day. However, the Transport Ministry in Jerusalem has been accused of promoting segregationist policies after advertisements for the new routes were produced only in Arabic and distributed only in Palestinian villages in the West Bank.
In response to the European Union’s nonbinding Heads of Mission report for 2012, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:
“We welcome the European Union’s Heads of Mission report for 2012 that recommends imposing sanctions on bodies and organizations involved in the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory.”
The European Union’s consuls general in East Jerusalem and Ramallah are recommending economic sanctions against settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Among the recommendations made in the nonbinding Heads of Mission report for 2012, which has been obtained by Haaretz, is to “prevent, discourage and raise awareness about problematic implications of financial transactions including foreign direct investments, from within the EU in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.”
In a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the Palestinian Ambassador to UN has conveyed his grave concerns regarding the critical situation of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held captive in Israeli jails, including those Palestinians enduring long- term hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention and other violations of their human rights.
He has also informed the Secretary General of the death of a Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, age 30, on 23 February, while in the custody of Israel, the occupying power, following his arrest last week and forced interrogations by Israeli authorities at the "Megiddo" jail.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Robert Serry, is deeply saddened and concerned about the death in Israeli detention on 23 February of Mr. Arafat Jaradat, arrested on 18 February. He sends his condolences to the family of Mr. Jaradat.
In a memorandum delivered to the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, Arafat Jaradat’s attorney, Kmeil Sabbagh, describes the last court hearing of the late detainee Arafat and his health and psychological conditions. Below is a translation of the memorandum:
Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs Issa Qaraqe convened a press conference this Sunday evening at the Palestine Government Media Center with Mr. Qadura Fares, head of the Prisoners' Club, to announce the preliminary results of the autopsy conducted on the late detainee Arafat Jaradat, who was martyred on Saturday in the Israeli Prison 'Majido"; the information shared was conveyed to the Minister the Dr. Saber Al-Aloul, the Director of the Palestinian Forensic Medicine Institute, who participated in the autopsy this Sunday afternoon.
Cabinet resumed its discussions on the 2013 draft budget, during its session today, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad. The Cabinet affirmed the importance of continuing dialogue and consultations on the draft budget with all partners, especially with members of the Legislative Council, to ensure the highest possible degree of social participation and transparency in light of the continued absence of the important supervisory and legislative role of the inactivate Legislative Council due to the unfortunate ongoing division.
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, in particular the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi. The Secretary-General received a letter from Palestinian President Abbas as well as from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on this subject. He has also expressed his concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in their recent telephoneconversation. Of particular concern are the detainees held in administrative detention without charges. Those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released.
The following press statement was issued 13 February 2013 under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in my capacity as Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967. This nonviolent resistance to unlawful and abusive detention practices by Israel is a human rights outrage that should be the occasion of media attention and a worldwide outcry. I encourage all who can to exert pressure on Israel before these individuals die in captivity. They are currently reported to be in grave condition.