Ashrawi says refusing her and Palestinian leaders a US entry visa is vindictive and petty policy

RAMALLAH, Rejecting my visa application or delaying and not issuing visas for Palestinian officials, diplomats and human rights activists reflects the petty and vindictive policies of the current US administration, said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This administration does not seek partnerships or dialogue because it is incapable of accepting disagreements or criticism.

Ashrawi tweeted two days ago that she was denied an entry visa to the US despite the fact that she got her Ph.D. from a US university, has grandchildren and family living there and has travelled there several times in the past where she spoke at conferences and attended many other activities.

It is official! My US visa application has been rejected. No reason given. Choose any of the following: I’m over 70 & a grandmother; I’ve been an activist for Palestine since the late 1960’s; I’ve always been an ardent supporter of nonviolent resistance, wrote Ashrawi in her tweet two days ago.

I’ve met (& even negotiated with) every Sec. of State since Shultz, & every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded), she added. Nevertheless she was denied an entry visa.

Along with its allies in the fundamentalist Israeli rightwing, the (US President Donald) Trump administration treats the Palestinian people with disdain and hostility and insists on exacting punishment from the Palestinian people, who refuse to trade their inalienable rights to freedom and independence for money and the promise of ‘better living conditions’ under the cruel regime of occupation, said Ashrawi in a statement today.

She added: This ideological and practical alliance between the Trump administration and the rightwing in Israel makes the administration complicit in the ongoing injustice against our people as well as the widespread crimes committed against the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation.

The PLO official stressed, Such petty politics, objectionable arrogance, unilateralism, and disdain for international law reaffirm that that this administration is neither qualified nor capable of playing any constructive role in peacemaking in the region, she said.

The Trump administration wrongly believes that launching a political and financial assault on the Palestinian people will force the Palestinian people and leadership to surrender. The Palestinian people will not abandon their just cause for freedom and independence, relinquish their legitimate and historic rights to Jerusalem, or abandon the Palestine refugees and their rights, as stipulated under international law, said Ashrawi, adding, It suffers from the illusion that such irresponsible policies could ensure the success of its so-called plan in the coming weeks.

The PLO official concluded: The Palestinian people will not allow the Trump administration’s hostile policies and illegal actions to obscure or tarnish their longstanding and principled partnerships with human and civil rights advocates in the US, who challenge this administration’s objectionable policies and insist on defending the dignity of all people as a universal value.

The Palestinian people are not alone. We have principled and vocal friends across the United States and the world, who continue to persist in our joint struggle for justice, freedom, and universal human rights.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Palestinian Americans seeking to include Palestinian issue in US Democratic Party platform

IOWA, In the US state of Iowa, Palestinian and Arab Americans are actively working to create an effective Palestinian Arab Public Affairs Committee (PAC) within the Democratic Party to influence its policies and to push it to take greater and broader interest in Middle East issues, specifically the Palestinian issue, and draw American attention to developments in the region.

The president of Americans and Palestinians for Peace (AMPAL), John Dabeet, said that the decision to create a PAC came after activists from the Palestinian community in Iowa held several meetings with members of Congress from the Democratic Party to get them to highlight Palestinian and Arab issues in Congress during election period by supporting their candidacy and voting for them.

Dabeet told WAFA in an interview that what encouraged this was when Palestinian and Arab activists in the state of Iowa were able to get the Democratic Party to add specific items on Palestine in its platform, including the Palestinian right of return, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, full membership in the United Nations, ensuring freedom of people in the state to boycott Israel and divest from it after several US laws were recently issued to punish supporters of the boycott, and opposing Israeli settlements and the apartheid wall.

He said the Palestinian community is currently preparing a draft constitution for the Arab Palestinian PAC to join the Democratic Party in Iowa in order to present it to the party conference next year for approval.

Dabeet stressed that the success of the Arab and Palestinian activists in Iowa in adding special items within the policies of the Democratic Party in that state should encourage other states where the Arab and Palestinian communities have good relations with members of the Democratic Party to do the same.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

London rally in support of Palestine focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, The three Palestinian Arabic dailies focused in their Sunday issue on a rally that took place in London yesterday in commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.

Al-Ayyam and al-Quds said that hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of London on Saturday in solidarity with Palestinian people who are commemorating the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian exodus, or the Nakba of 1948 when about 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes by Jewish militias.

The story in al-Ayyam was attached with a picture that shows Palestinian activist and former prisoner Ahed Tamimi, 18, leading the protest.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam reported that a Palestinian identified as Abdullah Abdul-Al, 24, who was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces during the weekly Great March of Return protests at Gaza-Israel border on Friday, was laid to rest yestersay in his hometown of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The papers said that three Palestinians youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in the village of Kafr Qaddum, to the east of the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Quds said President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed rejection of the deal of the century during a meeting with Fatah officials from several West Bank cities and governorates in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

The paper reported that Israeli forces broke into al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem after midnight on Saturday and forced dozens of Muslim worshippers out, provoking clashes with them.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam that US authorities filed a lawsuit against the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, among 19 other drug companies, of price-fixing and increasing drug prices.

Al-Quds said Israel is set to officially start the construction of a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights that’s going to be named after US President Donald Trump.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

London rally in support of Palestine focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, The three Palestinian Arabic dailies focused in their Sunday issue on a rally that took place in London yesterday in commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.

Al-Ayyam and al-Quds said that hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of London on Saturday in solidarity with Palestinian people who are commemorating the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian exodus, or the Nakba of 1948 when about 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes by Jewish militias.

The story in al-Ayyam was attached with a picture that shows Palestinian activist and former prisoner Ahed Tamimi, 18, leading the protest.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam reported that a Palestinian identified as Abdullah Abdul-Al, 24, who was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces during the weekly Great March of Return protests at Gaza-Israel border on Friday, was laid to rest yestersay in his hometown of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The papers said that three Palestinians youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in the village of Kafr Qaddum, to the east of the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Quds said President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed rejection of the deal of the century during a meeting with Fatah officials from several West Bank cities and governorates in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

The paper reported that Israeli forces broke into al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem after midnight on Saturday and forced dozens of Muslim worshippers out, provoking clashes with them.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam that US authorities filed a lawsuit against the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, among 19 other drug companies, of price-fixing and increasing drug prices.

Al-Quds said Israel is set to officially start the construction of a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights that’s going to be named after US President Donald Trump.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Palestinian prisoner marks 18 years in Israeli jails

JENIN, Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli jails Ali Yousef Sbeih completes today 18 years behind Israeli prison bars, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

Sbeih, who comes from the town of Kafr Ra’i in the occupied West Bank, was arrested on May 10, 2001, and was sentenced to life in jail for resisting the Israeli occupation.

He is currently denied family visits by Israeli prison authorities as a means of punishment against him.

Israeli authorities are still incarcerating more than 6,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners for resisting its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the Golan Heights.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

DFLP official holds Israel responsible for its crimes in Gaza

Talal Abu Dharifa, senior official of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said that the Israeli occupation state bears full responsibility for the consequences of its crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people is unjustified and part of its different crimes in Gaza. We have no option but to defend our Palestinian people, Abu Dharifa said in press remarks to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC).

He explained that the last ceasefire agreement was based mainly on stopping all forms of aggression against Gaza and abiding by the understandings to alleviate the blockade.

It has been agreed to implement the understandings which the occupation was reluctant to implement, and to start to allow in funds to the Gaza Strip, expand fishing areas, carry out development and employment projects and finance electricity projects in Gaza, he stated.

He underlined the Palestinian commitment is based on the extent of Israel’s respect for the one-week time limit set to implement the understandings over Gaza.

Source: The Palestine Information Center