‘Day of rage’ on the West Bank

Pretoria News - - WORLD -

THOU­SANDS of Pales­tini­ans demon­strated across the West Bank yes­ter­day to protest the re­cent US an­nounce­ment that it no longer be­lieves Is­raeli set­tle­ments in the West Bank vi­o­late in­ter­na­tional law.

As the so-called “day of rage” con­tin­ued, groups of pro­test­ers clashed with Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces in sev­eral flash­points.

Around two thou­sand peo­ple gath­ered in the West Bank city of Ra­mal­lah by mid­day. They had set ablaze posters of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as well as Is­raeli and Amer­i­can flags. Schools, uni­ver­si­ties and gov­ern­ment of­fices were shut­tered and ral­lies were be­ing held in city cen­tres around the Is­raeli-oc­cu­pied West Bank.

“The bi­ased Amer­i­can pol­icy to­ward Is­rael, and the Amer­i­can sup­port of the Is­raeli set­tle­ments and the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion, leaves us with only one op­tion: To go back to re­sis­tance,” Mah­moud Aloul, an of­fi­cial with Pales­tinian

Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas’ Fatah move­ment, said. Demon­stra­tors held signs read­ing: “Trump to im­peach­ment, (Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin) Ne­tanyahu to jail, the oc­cu­pa­tion will go and we will re­main on our land.”

At Is­raeli check­points near Ra­mal­lah, Beth­le­hem and He­bron, dozens of pro­test­ers threw stones at Is­raeli forces who re­sponded with tear gas. There were no im­me­di­ate re­ports of in­juries.

The protests came just hours af­ter the death of a Pales­tinian prisoner in Is­raeli cus­tody fol­low­ing a bat­tle with cancer. Or­gan­is­ers had also called for the demon­stra­tions – planned since be­fore his death – to call for the re­lease of Sami Abu Diak, 35, to al­low him to die at his fam­ily’s side. Is­raeli of­fi­cials turned down the re­quest.

Or­gan­ised by Fatah, yes­ter­day’s “day of rage” protested the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s an­nounce­ment on Is­raeli set­tle­ments last week. The de­ci­sion up­ended four decades of Amer­i­can pol­icy and em­braced a hard-line Is­raeli view at the ex­pense of the Pales­tinian quest for state­hood.

Is­raeli lead­ers wel­comed the US de­ci­sion, while the Pales­tini­ans and most of the world say the set­tle­ments un­der­mine hopes for a two-state so­lu­tion by gob­bling up land sought by the Pales­tini­ans. Is­rael says the fate of the set­tle­ments should be de­ter­mined in ne­go­ti­a­tions, even as it steadily ex­pands them.

Is­rael cap­tured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mid-east war and quickly be­gan set­tling the newly con­quered ter­ri­tory.

About 700 000 Is­raeli set­tlers live in the two ar­eas, which are both claimed by the Pales­tini­ans for their state.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo had specif­i­cally an­nounced the US was re­pu­di­at­ing the 1978 State Depart­ment le­gal opinion.

That opinion had been the ba­sis for more than 40 years of care­fully worded US op­po­si­tion to set­tle­ment con­struc­tion that had var­ied in its tone and strength, de­pend­ing on the pres­i­dent’s po­si­tion. Former pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan, for in­stance, said set­tle­ments were not in­her­ently il­le­gal, though he called them un­help­ful and provoca­tive. Other ad­min­is­tra­tions had called them “il­le­git­i­mate” and “ob­sta­cles to peace.”

Abu Diak, the Pales­tinian prisoner, died in an Is­raeli hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day, ac­cord­ing to Is­rael’s pris­ons ser­vice. It said he was serv­ing three life sen­tences for vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter and kid­nap­ping, among other charges.

The Pales­tinian Author­ity had reached out to Euro­pean coun­tries and the Red Cross to ap­ply pres­sure on Is­rael to re­lease him. Pre­vi­ous deaths of ter­mi­nally ill Pales­tinian pris­on­ers have sparked protests and ac­cu­sa­tions of med­i­cal neg­li­gence on the part of Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties. | AP

NEW DNA analysis has found that Ro­man satirists may have been right when they spoke of Greeks and Syr­i­ans tak­ing over their city.

The pa­per is based on genome data from the ear bones of 127 in­di­vid­u­als from 29 ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites in and around the city, span­ning nearly 12 000 years of Ro­man pre­his­tory and history. Re­searchers from Stan­ford and Ital­ian uni­ver­si­ties said peo­ple from the city’s ear­li­est eras and from af­ter the Western em­pire’s de­cline in the 4th cen­tury CE ge­net­i­cally re­sem­bled other Western Eu­ro­peans.

But from 900BCE to 200BCE, as Rome grew in size and im­por­tance, the di­ver­sity shot up from 27BCE to 300CE, when the city was the cap­i­tal to an em­pire of 50 mil­lion to 90 mil­lion peo­ple, stretch­ing from North Africa to Bri­tain to the Mid­dle East.

Of the 48 in­di­vid­u­als sam­pled from this pe­riod, only two showed strong ge­netic ties to Europe. | Daily Mail

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