Israel ‘unprepared’ for new prisoner swap: Hamas

Placed at the Al-Saraya junction in Gaza, a billboard shows Shaul Arun, an Israeli solider, standing with jail bars around him [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

Placed at the Al-Saraya junction in Gaza, a billboard shows Oron Shaul, an Israeli solider, standing with jail bars around him

The Israeli government is not prepared for reaching a deal on prisoner exchange, Palestinian resistance group Hamas said Saturday.

“The Israeli occupation is not prepared for a new prisoner swap,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Anadolu Agency.

Earlier, the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper, citing Hamas sources, said Israel was holding “indirect” contacts to reach a prisoner swap deal with Hamas.

The sources described the Israeli contacts as “an attempt to support the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” before the April general election.

Israel says two soldiers and two civilians are held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2014 when Israel launched a deadly offensive against the Palestinian territory.

Read: Remembering the 2014 Israeli offensive against Gaza

In April, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, confirmed that it was holding four Israeli soldiers, but the Palestinian group demands the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners whom Israel re-arrested after their release as part of an Egyptian-brokered exchange deal to free captured soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.

Barhoum reiterated that “there was no new regarding the issue of captured Israeli soldiers”.

There was no comment from the Israeli government on the report.

According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, including dozens of women and scores of minors.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

Army To Demolish Family Home Of Slain Palestinian Near Ramallah

20 Jan 10:36 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, Kobar town, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and handed the family of a slain son, and his detained brother, a military order for the demolition of their home.

Media sources said dozens of soldiers invaded Kobar after surrounding it, and stormed the home of the imprisoned Omar Barghouthi, 66, the father of Saleh Barghouthi, who was assassinated by the army on December 12, 2018, and Assem Barghouthi, who was abducted by the soldiers on December 8th, 2018, along with his father.

It is worth mentioning that Omar Barghouthi received a six-month Administrative Detention order, without charges or trial.

The army claimed Saleh was allegedly “involved” in a shooting targeting colonialist settlers, in December of last year.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in Ramallah city, and several surrounding villages and towns.

The soldiers also invaded Tal village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and installed a military roadblock in Bir al-Ghazal area, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

In addition, the soldiers invaded an area, near a gas station in Azzoun town, east of Qalqilia city, in northern West Bank, and confiscated a motorcycle, after detaining its owner.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

DCIP Report: Killing of Palestinian Children by Israeli Army Amounts to War Crimes

20 Jan 5:16 AM

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) submitted a joint report to United Nations investigators, last week, detailing Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinian children during mass protests in the Gaza Strip, conduct amounting to war crimes, said DCIP in a press release.

The 57-page report, drafted in collaboration with the Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic (HRGJ), at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, provides background and context to mass protests in Gaza, highlights Israeli forces’ unlawful killing of Palestinian child protesters, and details serious violations of international law by Israeli forces.

The report was submitted to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which was established during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in May of 2018.

According to WAFA, the report notes that, of the 56 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the OPT during 2018, a total of 45 children were killed in the Gaza Strip since March 30, according to evidence collected by DCIP. In the overwhelming majority of cases, DCIP was able to confirm that children did not present any imminent, mortal threat or threat of serious injury when killed by Israeli forces.

The report concludes that Israeli forces and officials are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law for the killing of Palestinian child protesters in Gaza.

“Israeli armed forces have regularly been implicated in widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinian children, yet systemic impunity is the norm,” said Brad Parker, Senior Adviser, Policy and Advocacy at DCIP. “The Commissioners must pursue accountability by analyzing alleged violations of international criminal law falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and naming perpetrators.”

In order to challenge systemic and seemingly perpetual impunity and increase protections for children, DCIP and HRGJ strongly urged the Commission to analyze alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, name specific perpetrators and assign criminal responsibility to higher-ranking Israeli armed forces’ members or other officials, where applicable.

Due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the OPT, the UN Human Rights Council convened a special session on May 18, 2018 in Geneva. The council adopted a resolution creating an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international law in the OPT, in the context of mass protests that began on March 30, 2018.

The “Great March of Return” civilian demonstrations began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018, in protest of Palestinian refugees’ inability to return to properties lost during events surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and also to demand an end to Israel’s 11-year near total closure of the Gaza Strip. These mass civilian protests, which have taken place weekly in the area along the Israeli-installed Gaza perimeter fence, or near the Mediterranean shore, have drawn large and diverse crowds of demonstrators, including women, children, and elderly people.

While Israeli authorities have selectively opened their own investigations into several incidents occurring since March 30, Israeli authorities have persistently failed to impartially and independently investigate alleged violations of its armed forces in accordance with international standards, said DCIP.

Children affected by armed conflict are entitled to special respect and protections under international law, but Israeli armed forces have consistently violated these protections through indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks that result in the unlawful killing and maiming of children amounting to war crimes, according to evidence collected by DCIP.

01/02/19 DCIP: 2018 Reigned Deadly Force On Palestinian Children

(Source / 20.01.2019)

Army Denies Five Aqsa Mosque Guards, Fateh Official, Access To The Holy Site For 4-6 Months

20 Jan 1:59 PM

The Israeli army and police have issued orders targeting five guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, and one Fateh movement official, denying them access to the holy site for periods ranging between four and six months.

Firas ad-Dibis, the head of the Waqf and Islamic Endowment Department, said the soldiers handed the warrants to the five guards, identified as Fadi Oleyyan, Lu’ay Abu as-Sa’ad and Ahmad Abu Alia, denying them access to the mosque and its compound for six months, in addition to Salman Abu Mayyala, who received an order for four months,

He added that the army also handed a six-month order denying Awad Salayma, a member of the regional Council of Fateh movement, access to Al-Aqsa for six months.

Sheikh Azzam Khatib, the general director of the Jerusalem endowment and al-Aqsa mosque affairs department, slammed the Israeli orders, describing them as arbitrary and illegal.

He stated that the army and the police are punishing civilian workers who serve in the Al-Aqsa compound, and are just carrying vindictive acts against them for intercepting the provocative tours of dozens of colonialist settlers, and armed soldiers, into the holy site.

Khatib added that Jordan was informed about the latest violation, and that the department will be filing appeals against the illegal warrants.

Last week, the soldiers summoned for interrogation many guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially after the police closed the Dome of the Rock mosque, Monday, and prevented the guards from entering it.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

UN report: 36 Palestinian children killed by IOF in Gaza protest

WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories said that a Palestinian woman and a Palestinian boy were killed recently by Israeli forces during the Friday demonstrations near the perimeter fence in Gaza, and 528 others were injured.

According to a report released by OCHA on Israeli violations between January 1 and 14, 2019, a total of 36 Palestinian children and three women were killed by Israeli soldiers during the Gaza border protests, which started last March 2018.

On 13 January, 2019, a Palestinian man died of wounds sustained during Gaza protests in late October.

Of the people injured during the reporting period, 292 Gaza protesters were hospitalized, including 67 of them hit by live ammunition; the rest were treated in the field.

On at least 27 occasions outside of the “Great March of Return” events, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea in Gaza, resulting in the injury of three farmers.

On two separate incidents, Israeli naval forces detained four fishermen for a short time and confiscated two boats. On four other occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried our land-leveling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.

In Jerusalem, the report pointed out that over 800 Palestinians in the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem have pending eviction cases filed by Jewish settler organizations.

One Palestinian house was also demolished on the Jerusalem side of Qalandiya village, and residents were forced to demolish an extension of a house in Jabel al Mukaber neighborhood in the east of the holy city.

In the West Bank, 138 Palestinians, including at least 29 children, were injured by Israeli forces during multiple protests and clashes. 98 of those citizens were injured during clashes triggered by Israeli search and arrest operations in al-Bireh and Ramallah cities.

Overall, Israeli forces conducted 175 search and arrest operations in different areas of the West Bank, a two percent increase compared to the 2018 bi-weekly average.

Another 31 injuries were recorded during the protests against access restrictions and settlement expansion on Palestinian land in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqilya), Ras Karkar and Al Mughayyir (both in Ramallah).
 
Of the total number of injuries, 10 were caused by live ammunition, 59 by rubber bullets and 57 as a result of tear gas inhalation or direct hits by tear gas canisters, which required medical treatment.

In Area C of the West Bank, 11 Palestinian-owned structures and homes were demolished or seized on grounds of lack of building permits.

Three Palestinians were injured and more than 1,000 trees and 11 vehicles were vandalized or damaged in attacks by Israeli settlers, according to the report.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

Gaza crisis deepen, hospitals to shut down

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip on Saturday warned that five hospitals in the enclave are on the verge of shutting down due to power outages.

Spokesman for the Ministry Ashraf al-Qedra said that the next few hours will be crucial for five major hospitals in Gaza, including two children’s hospitals.

According to al-Qedra, these hospitals are to face the same fate of Beit Hanoun Hospital which has closed its doors due to power shortage resulting from depletion of fuel used to run alternative generators during power outage.

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip has been suffering from acute power and drug shortage as a result of the 13-year-long blockade and the sanctions imposed on the enclave by the Palestinian Authority for nearly two years now.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

Hamas: Fatah seeks to bring Gaza into new war with illegal state

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — A high-ranking leader of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has accused the West Bank-based Fatah movement of attempts to provoke the Israeli army to launch a new military campaign against the impoverished Gaza Strip.

“Fatah-affiliated people are trying to force the Gaza Strip into a fresh battle with Israel by launching rockets during this sensitive time,” Mahmoud al-Zahar said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language Palestine Today television network.

Zahar added, “Some of these people are linked to Israel and are commissioned to get on with the task. These people are well-known to us. Fatah stands behind them. We have talked with their field leaders about their dangerous acts. Sometimes, they are arrested.”

The Hamas leader noted that Gaza-based resistance movements are closely monitoring Israel’s acts of aggression against the coastal enclave, stressing that they would never wait too long to respond to such moves.

Zahar’s remarks came after Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum warned in a statement on Sunday that the movement “will intensify the confrontation with Israel” in the coastal sliver if the Israeli military launches new attacks against the enclave.

Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum (Photo by the media bureau of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas)

“The Israeli occupation [regime] bears the consequences of continuing to commit its follies against peaceful protesters and deliberately killing them in cold blood as well as bombing sites of resistance,” he stated.

أ. فوزي برهوم ـ فلسطين@FawzyBarhoom

إستمرار الإحتلال الإسرائيلي إرتكاب حماقاته بحق المتظاهرين السلميين وتعمد قتلهم بدم بارد وقصفه مواقع المقاومة، تصعيد خطير و لعب بالنار لن يجلب له ولا لمستوطنيه الأمن ولا الأمان،
يتحمل تبعاته ونتائجه بالكامل676:37 AM – Jan 13, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy24 people are talking about this

The Palestinian official further noted that the escalation of situation in Gaza and “playing with fire” will never led to security for Israel and its people.

The statement came after Israeli military aircraft carried out several airstrikes against multiple locations across the besieged Gaza Strip late on Saturday.

Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that Israeli warplanes fired at least one missile towards a military site belonging to Hamas east of Gaza City. Two other sites were targeted in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip and in the city of Khan Yunis south of the enclave. The Israeli airstrikes caused fires to erupt in several targeted sites; however, there were no reports of human casualties.

Gaza Report – اخبار غزة@gaza_report

Overnight: The Israeli air force bombards agricultural lands east of Al Shojaeya and Al Tuffah east Gaza City. The Israeli army spokesman says underground bunkers were hit.

Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum: Israel is playing with fire and bears full responsibility for an escalation1511:43 AM – Jan 13, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy27 people are talking about this

The Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip, with civilians being the main target of such attacks.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

ART FROM OCCUPATION PRISON: MOHAMMED ROUKWIE

Mohammed Roukwie is – or perhaps, was – a self-educated artist who made a series of paintings while imprisoned as a political prisoner in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948’s Ashkelon in the early- and mid-1980s. He had to use whatever items he had in hand, like crayons, to create his art and like other imprisoned artists, Roukwie had no permission from the Israeli prison authorities to use Palestinian flag or show the Palestinian struggle under and against the occupation in his works. Because of this, these works shown here had to be made in secret and were smuggled out of the Israeli occupation prison. Roukwie’s art was usually released as posters both by groups supporting political prisoners and Palestinian liberation using them as standalone items, and by resistance factions like PFLP using them as illustration for political posters. After his release Roukwie lived in exile in a refugee camp in Damascus (likely Yarmouk or Palestine camps), but with the war in Syria his current circumstances are unknown to us. His personal web page has been closed. His work was exhibited in the United States as part of the “Made in Palestine”(2003) exhibitions. The works shown here were published as posters from 1983 to 1987 SEE MORE OF HIS WORK:Mohammed RoukwieMade in Palestine#MohammedRakouie #MohammedRoukwie #Palestine

   (Source / 20.01.2019)

Ahmad Sa’adat: An exceptional revolutionary leader in challenging times by Khaled Barakat

The following article, by Khaled Barakat, was originally published in Arabic at Quds News Network on 18 January 2019. Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat is the international coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat.

The leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, does not cry out from prison to complain about his own conditions. He asks nothing for himself except books and some pictures of his family. But we, his friends, comrades and supporters, can and must shout for him, at the very least. This could be described as a challenging time for the Palestinian liberation movement, when the cause and its solid revolutionary core (the Palestinian prisoners’ movement) are subject to escalating Zionist attacks, backed to the hilt by an unparalleled American alliance with Arab reactionary regimes. The Palestinian people and their strugglers in the Gaza Strip are confronting with all forms of resistance the most well-armed force in the region.

At this time, movements of solidarity with the Palestinian people are active in many countries of the world. On this occasion, they are organizing the International Week of Solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat, for the freedom of this imprisoned national leader. He resembles his people and their exceptional strugglers; he brings to mind the pain of the forgotten, suppressed refugee camps, the voices of the Palestinian popular majority, forced under the wheel of occupation and colonialism and into the fires of a regime of total oppression.

The true character of a person can become clear at the most severe moments of challenge. In the case of Ahmad Sa’adat, he has faced a daily test in interrogation rooms and torture cells since 1969, when he was first arrested as a rebellious Palestinian boy on the streets of Ramallah and its camps. Since then, Ahmad Sa’adat, a student at the school of Al-Hakim (George Habash), has always stood firm in each stage of challenge, succeeding in passing the tests – and revealing the essence and meaning of the freedom fighter.

This true character is apparent under the sun, in the time of isolation, exhaustion and retreat, not in the moments of progress, advancement and forward movement. It appears at a time when the situation degenerates, the leadership has no political compas, and there is instead much talk of “peace”, “reconcilation,” and adaptation to the conditions of Zionism and colonialism. In these periods, the intellectuals of the defeated authority also strive, without being pursued or imprisoned by the enemy, to convince the people that they see a rose garden ahead when the Palestinian people know that there is only a dustbin ahead.

The real nature of the revolutionary fighter is shown when their ideas and will are tested on the harsh rocks of reality, which does not lie and is only biased toward the truth. These are important moments in the history of the peopl, the party and the national liberation movement.

“I do not have the right to forget or be tired. I do not have the right to complain,” Ahmad Sa’adat told us in a private message.

And Ahmad is not forgotten

Forgetting, in the Palestinian situation, is more than an error or a lack of follow-through. It is the equivalent of death, acceptance of defeat, submission and its conditions, a betrayal of the very fundamental questions of Palestinian existence. Forgetting is the secret scourge of those who submit and collude with the occupier – and an active and public participation in its crimes. It is the poison of the enemy and its daily weapon, providing the arguments and pretexts for surrender.

Perhaps this is why you find a phrase on the walls of poor Palestinians, in the camps, in the village and in the prisons: We will not forgive and we will not forget.

This stubborn insistence on preserving and protecting Palestinian collective memory and popular consciousness, this steadfastness in defending the cause, is the inspiration to a fighter in a difficult time. And it is a humanitarian and revolutionary value that confirms the meaning of loyalty and commitment to the path of the martyrs, the comrades and the captives who came before, who lived, who will be born, some of whom will never be known. How can his comrades forget Mohammed al-Khawaja, when he remained firm on his last cold night, declaring “confession is treason?” How can Ibrahim al-Rai be forgotten, when he went to death smiling to protect the secrets of his comrades? And Khalil Abu Khadija, Mustafa al-Akkawi, and hundreds of comrades who refused the shackles on their wrists and would not adapt to their conditions. They said: “No.” In a difficult times, without greatness or clarity, how could we forget the leader or the human, or grow tired of the struggle?

Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat shows us the experience of true leaders, the existence of a revolutionary and alternative Palestinian leadership of a different type inside the Zionist prisons. A national leadership born from the womb of the people, born of revolution, intifada and experiences of struggle, a leadership that looks like the Palestinian people – and not like the “brigadier general,” “the colonel,” “the president,” “the minister” or “the ambassador.” A leadership elected through struggle and suffering that derives its legitimacy from higher and more important ethical sources than the Authority’s elections and its confiscated insitutions. Yet, shamefully, those without true political authority, occupy the Authority with authoritarian practices from the palaces of Ramallah.

Ignoring this bitter Palestinian reality or abandoning it in difficult times is a disgrace, as it provides all authority to palaces, bank owners and corporations, while it deprives the camps, subjecting them to punishment and liquidation. There is a close relationship between the camp and the prison; there is also a close relationship between the palace and the treasonous authority.

In the experience of struggle, we recognize some important facts:

The leaders of the national liberation struggle, with revolutionary conviction and steadfastness in the face of the Zionist enemy, also show the highest levels of democracy, flexibility and compassion in dealing with internal issues, in understanding of people’s conditions and situations. On the other hand, you can find that most of the leaders of normalization and security coordination with the enemy are the most harsh and dictatorial in their relations with the masses, within their parties and even inside their homes.

As Palestinians we say: they are soft doves in front of the enemy, and a lion in front of you!

The national leader Ahmad Sa’adat and dozens of his fellow leaders and strugglers in the occupation prisons represent a unique and important model in this Palestinian context. They are imprisoned because the colonizer fears them. This is a fact that must not be forgotten. The issue is not simply that of a person. Instead, the occupier knows that the prsence of these people outside the walls of the prisons, leading the daily struggle, means a change in reality, their noble principles becoming the rule rather than the exception. It is always in the interests of the enemy to deal with a corrupt, ineffective “leadership,” always prepared to fight for its small privileges and crumbs from the rulers of oil and capital.

The reader may ask:

Why do we not see mass popular demonstrations in occupied Palestine and the Arab homeland against the Zionist onslaught on the prisoners’ movement? Or on the anniversary of the kidnapping of the leader Sa’adat and his comrades, which passed without such any action?

This is a burning, logical and legitimate question, yes. But it is also a collective question, and the answer requires work, not mere words or excuses. This is a question for the entire Palestinian national movement, and at the heart of it, the comrades of Ahmad Sa’adat, first and foremost.

(Source / 20.01.2019)

Jordan condemns Israel violations near Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinian Muslims gather in front of the Dome of the Rock after the mosque reopened in Jerusalem on January 14, 2019. "Palestinian guard closed the mosque after an Israeli policeman wearing a Jewish cap tried to enter the worship place,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, said [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Muslims gather in front of the Dome of the Rock after the mosque reopened in Jerusalem on January 14, 2019. “Palestinian guard closed the mosque after an Israeli policeman wearing a Jewish cap tried to enter the worship place,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, said

The Jordanian foreign ministry yesterday condemned Israel’s actions near Al-Buraq (the Western Wall), stressing it is an inalienable part of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel had reportedly set up steel and wooden structures near Al-Buraq, in contravention of the status quo agreement with Jordan over the administration of Al-Aqsa compound.

Foreign ministry spokesman, Sufian Al-Qudat, said that only the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for dealing with issues related to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as stipulated by international law. Al-Qudat also stressed that Israel, as an occupying power, has to respect this agreement, Jordanian news agency Petra reported.

Al-Qudat also emphasised that Jerusalem’s Awqaf Department (which administers Al-Aqsa) is the only party with the power to carry out maintenance and renovation works in Al-Aqsa Mosque and the surrounding compound, an area which consists of 144 dunams (35 acres) of land.

The spokesman continued by reiterating the importance of the international community putting pressure on Israel to maintain the historical and legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque. He blamed the Israeli occupation for anything which undermines the safety of the mosque and its worshippers, as well as calling for Israel to end all such measures immediately.

Jordan also called on Israel to hand over the brick which fell from the Al-Buraq on 23 July to Jerusalem’s Awqaf Department.

Read: Israel police end siege of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

(Source / 19.01.2019)