More than 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails ended a mass hunger strike against detention conditions. Israeli officials said the move - at the start of the holy month of Ramadan - came after an agreement to allow two family visits per month, not just one. The action was led by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader jailed by Israel for life for “murders”. Barghouti has been touted as a possible future successor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
There were about 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails by the end of last year, according to Palestinian prisoners' groups. Israel, like any colonist regime, meticulously plans its terror actions well advance and trap the Palestinians.
The issue of Palestinians held in Israeli jails is an ongoing source of tension between the two sides. Palestinians regard the detainees as political prisoners. Many have been convicted of attacks against Israelis and other offences. Some 1,187 detainees observed the strike, according to Israel's prison service. It began on 17 April, the annual Palestinian Prisoners Day, when Palestinians remember detained friends and relatives. Others are detained under so-called Administrative Detention, which allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals.
Meanwhile, US President Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas make an optimistic statement about prospects of peace between Israel and Palestinians when the former met the latter in Palestine, Bethlehem.
The White House booked the entire King David Hotel for the president and his entourage. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities cleared the main roads of Jerusalem and Bethlehem for the movements of his armed and mighty motorcade.
In recent times every American president also brings with him new hopes and fears for Israelis and Palestinians.
In 2009, when President Barack Obama was trying to re-set relations with Arabs and Muslims, he alienated Israelis and its leaders never forgave him. His first act as president was to appoint a Middle East envoy whose peace mission, in the end, failed. Israel and Pentagon never let Obama make friends with Islamic world, especially with Arab world. That is the way USA pampered Israel and shielded it crimes against humanity and made it a criminal state, killing even children in Palestine.
US presidents have been insincere about peace in Mideast as it promote essentially Israel. George W Bush sponsored a peace conference in Annapolis in 2007, which for a while was hailed, in vain, as a major step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Bill Clinton presided over the moment in 1993 at the White House when Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin exchanged a historic handshake and signed the Oslo peace agreement. At the end of his presidency in 2000, a make or break summit failed and was followed by years of violence and unrest.
It has been a routine rhetoric of peace in Mideast by US president when he takes power at White House but he purses only the Zionist policy and makes Israeli military and economy stronger while allowing Israeli military to attack Palestine with US terror goods and kill Palestinians for their lands for colony proliferations for illegal Jewish settlements .
Now President Trump, who sees himself as the world's best dealmaker, says he would like to pull off the world's toughest deal and make Mideast safe and let Palestinians build their own nation. After the first leg of his trip in Saudi Arabia, President Trump seems to hope that Sunni Arab countries might be part of any solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Without doubt the Saudis and the Israelis are talking, because they view Iran as their shared enemy. But the Saudis have had their own Arab peace plan on the table for the last 15 years, offering full peace and recognition of Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire territory of the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in East Jerusalem.
In all the speeches President Trump made during the trip there was no detail about how he might succeed when so many others have failed. So signs and symbols and implicit messages are being pored over for meaning. Trump’s visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, is being taken by Jews as US support for Israel.The wall is in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after it was captured 50 years ago and which most of the world outside Israel regards as occupied land. But the fact that the US president declined the Israeli PM Netanyahu's request to accompany him as a sign of support for the status quo view that it is occupied territory.
In his final speech, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, President Trump also identified himself, his government and the USA four-square with Israel, making a mockery of his “desire” for Mideast peace. He repeated, to lots of applause, that he would never let Iran have nuclear weapons. Israel has a substantial and officially undeclared nuclear arsenal. That is US double-speak which Trump has inherited.
Trying to thrown Trump into his basket, Netanyahu said that if the bomber in Manchester was Palestinian, and his victims were Israelis, the Palestinian Authority would be paying a stipend to his family. He was referring to a Palestinian Martyrs' fund. It pays pensions to people it regards as victims of the occupation, including the families of individuals who have been killed attacking Israelis. There is also a fund to support Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel. The Palestinians have compared the payments to the salaries Israel pays to soldiers.
President Trump, in his speech, did not pick up the cue.
After making many warm remarks about Israel, which earned him standing ovations, Trump, however, said that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, was serious about making peace.
Israel hates peace efforts by Abbas and would do so with Trump as well if he goes ahead with UN efforts for Palestine state. That is an important disagreement. Israel is far apart on the main issues, like the future of east Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state and the fate of Palestinian refugees. If President Trump's hopes ever become negotiations about substance he will find that there are many others.
Trump is right on one point. Israel-Palestine is a conflict that badly needs settling. If that is not possible, there needs to be political progress.
History shows that bloodshed tends to fill the void left by the absence of hope. Israel now targets the Palestinians children and women for attacks.
Is Trump sincere enough? Will he use his Jewish son in law for a credible Mideast peace or will he be used by his son in law to further consolidate the Zionist criminal system of perpetual expansionism and genocides?
That is the trillion dollar question!