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Hillary Clinton Calls Israel's Eviction of Jerusalem Families Regrettable, Fayyad Warns of Less Chances for Renewed Peace Talks

Clinton slams Israel's eviction of two Palestinian families in Jerusalem

Monday August 03, 2009 23:51 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, slammed the Israeli occupation government on Monday for the forced eviction of two Palestinian families from an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Clinton stated that the eviction of Palestinian families and the demolishing of homes in East Jerusalem violates Israel’s own obligation, and urged the Israeli government to refrain from such provocative actions.

The Statement of Clinton came in the White House as she met with the Jordanian Foreign minister, Nasser Judah.

 On his side, Judah told Clinton that the confidence building measures the US is seeking between the Arabs States and Israel cannot bring about a solution to the conflict especially under the current Israeli policies.

On Sunday, Israel evicted two Palestinian families in East Jerusalem after its Supreme Court decided that the properties in question belong to Jews, and that the Palestinians were illegally living there.

In other Israeli political news, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who is facing corruption charges, stated during a Monday meeting with U.S. Congressmen, that Israel is willing to open direct and immediate talks with Syria without any preconditions.

He said that a peace deal between Israel and Syria must be based on the same model of the peace deal signed between Jordan and Israel.

Clinton calls Israel's eviction of Jerusalem families "regrettable"

Published today (updated) 04/08/2009 12:09

Bethlehem – Ma’an –

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned on Monday Israel’s expulsion of two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, although later and in softer terms than her European counterparts.

“Well, I think these actions are deeply regrettable,” she said, speaking alongside Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh at a Washington news conference.

“I have said before that the eviction of families and demolition of homes in East Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations, and I urge the Government of Israel and municipal officials to refrain from such provocative actions,” she said.

“Both sides have responsibilities to refrain from provocative actions that can block the path toward a comprehensive peace agreement. Unilateral actions taken by either party cannot be used to prejudge the outcome of negotiations, and they will not be recognized as changing the status quo,” she continued.

Her remarks ended more than 24 hours of silence on the issue of the Jerusalem evictions, which were strongly and immediately condemned by the United Nations, European Union, Britain, France, and others. Clinton's condemnation came not in her opening remarks but in response to a question from a reporter for Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a London-based newspaper.

Earlier it was revealed that the US Embassy in Tel Aviv did lodge a high-level protest against the expulsions. A State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, criticized Israel in nearly identical terms on Monday.

Clinton's language was distinctly softer than that used by other international actors. The EU Presidency, currently held by Sweden, condemned the early-morning raid as "illegal" and "unacceptable." The UN special coordinator for Middle East Peace, Robert Serry, called the action "totally unacceptable" in a reaction issued the very morning police entered the East Jerusalem homes.

France registered its opposition a day earlier, via a statement from its Foreign Ministry delivered to Ma'an.

"France deplores the expulsion by the Israeli police of the Palestinian families," the statement said. "Such actions seriously affect the lives of residents... and are illegal under international law and detrimental."

During the eviction, attempts by American and UN personnel to investigate were rebuffed by police on the scene, while CNN filmed Israeli forces dismissing a US Consulate official who had just arrived.

Ma'an's correspondent, who was also on the scene early Sunday, reported that Israeli forces prevented journalists from entering the area, and that some 20 international solidarity activists were arrested there. They were later released, according to Israeli news reports.

Police were filmed harassing and shoving Al-Jazeera reporters, who later said they overheard the newly arrived settlers pestering members of one of the two newly homeless families, saying, "This is Israel; you're not in Palestine any more."

A large unit of armed Israeli police and soldiers stormed the two homes while the families were sleeping on Sunday morning. The Palestinians were forced out on the street at gunpoint around 5am, and their belongings were soon removed and dumped several blocks away. Israeli settlers were then allowed into their houses.

Fayyad: Jerusalem evictions threaten chances of renewed peace talks

Published yesterday (updated) 04/08/2009 11:10 Salam Fayyad [MaanImages] Ramallah – Ma’an –

Israel’s policies are demolishing any hope of returning to the peace process, caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Monday.

Fayyad was referring to Israel’s expulsion of two Palestinian families from their East Jerusalem homes the previous day. Israeli police removed the Al-Ghawi and Hanoun families from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in order to make way for settlers.

“There will be no peace without Jerusalem,” Fayyad said in response to the forced evictions.

Fayyad was speaking at a Ramallah signing ceremony for a six million US dollar donation from the Swedish government to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The donation will contribute to the dispersal of PA employees’ salaries, which have been promised to be delivered by Tuesday.

The Swedish donation fulfilled a promise made at the Sharm Ash-Sheikh donors’ conference in March.

In his remarks, Fayyad called on the European Union (EU) to bring pressure on the Israeli government to halt and reverse its harmful policies.

The Swedish Consul General in Jerusalem, Nils Eliasson, pledged that his country would stand with the Palestinians until they secure their rights. Sweden currently holds the presidency of the EU.

Earler Fayyad met with the EU’s envoy to the Middle East peace process, Mark Otte, who said that the EU is preparing a statement condemning Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Occupation Forces Kidnap 13 Palestinians Overnight

Published today (updated) 04/08/2009 11:20

 Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies –

Israeli soldiers seized 13 Palestinians from their West Bank homes during overnight raids, according to Israeli figures.

Five Palestinians were taken from the Qalqilya area, four from the Ramallah area, two from the Hebron area, and two others near Jericho.

The previous night Israel said it detained 14 Palestinians in the nightly raids. In one such incursion, a force of 200 soldiers attacked the village of Bil’in, near Ramallah, seizing six Palestinians and one American activist. The village holds weekly demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall.


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