Israel blackmails Gazan patients at Erez crossing

Israeli agents have blackmailed Palestinian patients into working as spies at the Israeli controlled Erez crossing in northern Gaza, Press TV reports.

Husam Zaanin, from the town of Beth Hanoun, was the latest victim of the Tel Aviv regime’s spy network. The 28-year-old was detained on July 23. He was one of four Palestinians arrested at the crossing despite getting permission from Israeli authorities.

Husam’s father told Press TV that his son was given permission to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing with his mother.

“Later that day, we received a call from an Israeli intelligence officer telling us that my son was arrested… My son refused to cooperate with them and that is why he got arrested despite his illness,” he added.

Husam’s wife said it was heartbreaking for her to be without her husband as their two daughters kept asking for their father.

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights says many Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip are blackmailed to work as Israeli spies to get exit permits through the Israeli controlled crossing.

Samir Zaqout from Al-Mezan Center said that Israeli agents use exit permits as a method to force Gazan patients into working for them.

“Patients are forced to choose either to collaborate with Israel or die in Gaza under the Geneva Convention or several international humanitarian laws these Israeli practices are illegal and violate the right of freedom of movement,” Zaqout added.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

State TV: Jordan seizes ‘large amount of weapons’ near Syria border

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an anti-aircraft gun during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo.

A large amount of weapons and ammunition were seized in the northern border near Syria, the Jordanian Armed Forces said in an official statement aired on the country’s official TV Thursday.

“Border guards on the northern frontier – near border city of Al-Ramtha – confiscated large quantities of weapons, ammunition and drugs,” the statement said.

The Jordanian Armed Forces, meanwhile, didn’t give further details on the type of weapons that were confiscated.

The people attempting to smuggle these weapons were also arrested but their identities were kept anonymous as well.

In July, Jordan’s King Abdullah said the kingdom was ready to defend itself from any threat to its security from the conflict in neighboring Syria.

Jordan has held joint military exercises with the United States alongside 17 other countries. Diplomats say the exercises were aimed to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Jordan fearing threats from the Syrian conflict, has requested Washington to leave behind a detachment of F-16s and U.S. Patriot missiles after the international exercises were over.

The Syrian conflict, which started more than two years ago to remove Assad from power, has morphed into a civil war and has destructively affected other neighboring countries such as Lebanon.

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people, according to the United Nations.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Several Palestinians Injured Near Hebron

Palestinian medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported Thursday [August 1, 2013] that several Palestinians have been injured, and one has been kidnapped, after Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked a funeral procession in Beit Ummar town, north of the city.

Media spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that a number of settlers attacked a funeral procession in the town, as they were leaving a local graveyard, and also attacked a local reporter identified as Nayef al-Hashlamon.

Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and attacked the Palestinian instead of removing the settlers.

Awad also stated that he was also attacked by a settler woman who tried to slap him in the face as he tried to take pictures of the attack, and that the soldiers pushed him around causing his camera to drop, and kidnapped one youth identified as Ahmad Younis Al-Allami, 23, after violently beating him.

There have been numerous incidents of similar attacks against locals participating in burial ceremonies and funeral processions in Hebron leading to dozens of injuries and several arrests.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Israel uses Facebook ‘likes’ to convict Palestinian student.

Gaza, Agencies – Israeli investigators detained a Palestinian PHD student for affiliation to Islamic Movement Hamas, based on comments and ‘likes’ on Facebook, the Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR) reported.

SFHR researcher, Ahmed al-Betawi, said that the Israeli forces detained the 26 year old Palestinian student, Mosab abul-Reesh, who is carrying out PHD research in Cyprus, when he entered the country to spend the holiday with his family in Hebron.

Investigators at an Israeli prison accused him of being a member of Hamas based on comments and ‘likes’ that he had made on Facebook.

Information from Abul-Reesh’s Facebook account indicates that he ‘liked’ several comments of Palestinian Facebook users who the Israeli’s accused of being affiliated to Hamas.

Ahmed Al-Betawi said that Israeli investigators have recently started asking prisoners whether they have Facebook accounts or not. “If they answer yes, they are obliged to give the investigators access to it and they search the accounts, violating the right to privacy,” he said.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Bahrain toughens penalties on ‘terror acts’

DUBAI (AFP) — Bahrain’s King Hamad has decreed stiffer penalties for “terror acts” in the country rocked by a Shiite-led uprising since 2011, the official BNA news agency said Thursday.

Under a new law, suspects convicted for bomb attacks will be sentenced to life imprisonment or to death in cases of casualties, BNA said. The minimum penalty for an attempted bombing is 10 years behind bars.

The crimes previously carried unspecified jail terms.

Suspects found guilty of “raising money for a terrorist organization” will be handed jail terms ranging 10 years to life.

Authorities will also have powers to revoke the citizenship of anyone found guilty of committing or inciting an act of terrorism.

Tensions have been on the rise in the Sunni-ruled but Shiite-majority Gulf kingdom ahead of a major opposition demonstration called for mid-August.

Authorities have already decided to ban the protest and threatened to severely punish those who take part.

On Monday, King Hamad ordered the government to implement a parliamentary call for tough measures against what the authorities term an upsurge in “terrorism” linked to the Shiite-led protests.

At a special session requested by the king during a parliamentary recess, mostly loyalist MPs also recommended “a ban on gatherings and rallies” in the capital Manama.

They called for emergency law to be declared in the Gulf state if the need arose.

Amnesty International warned Wednesday that the adoption of the amendments would “lead to further violations of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations.”

The Shiite-led opposition has condemned the language used in the parliamentary debate as a “declaration of war on the people, as well as open threats and insults to beliefs”.

But opposition groups insisted in a statement that the people’s actions remain “peaceful,” denouncing “propaganda to promote a security solution… which violates international conventions”.

The authorities report a growing number of shootings and bombings targeting police stations and patrols in Shiite villages outside Manama, blaming “terrorists” for the attacks.

On Thursday, a criminal court sentenced 12 Shiite protesters to two years in prison each for taking part in “unlicenced protests” and targeting “police forces with Molotov cocktails,” a judicial source said. Eight of them were tried in absentia.

Shiite demonstrators have kept up pro-democracy protests despite a 2011 crackdown backed by Saudi-led Gulf troops, sparking repeated clashes with security forces.

A car bomb on July 17 exploded outside a Sunni mosque, close to the royal court in Rifaa south of Manama, without causing any casualties. There have since been three arrests.

At least 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since protests erupted two years ago, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

Strategically located across the Gulf from Shiite Iran, Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and is an offshore financial and services centre for its oil-rich Arab neighbours in the Gulf.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Slapend vergeving krijgen…

By Marianna Laarif

Abdullah ibn Omar (moge Allah tevreden met hen beiden zijn) heeft overgeleverd dat de Boodschapper van Allah (vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) gezegd heeft:

“Een engel zal de nacht doorbrengen bij iemand die gaat slapen in een staat van reinheid en er zal geen moment van de nacht voorbijgaan waarin degene zich omdraait of de engel zegt: ‘O Allah, vergeef Uw dienaar, want hij is in een staat van reinheid gaan slapen.”
Deze hadith is overgeleverd door Ibn Hibbaan en authentiek verklaard door Al-Imaam Al-Albaani en staat vermeld in Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 1/317.
Verricht dus de woedhoe voordat je gaat slapen!

Israel: Eviction of 1,300 Palestinians necessary to save IDF time, money

The Palestinian community of Um al Heir, South Hebron Hills, West Bank.

The Palestinian community of Um al Heir, South Hebron Hills, West Bank.
The state wants to evict 1,300 Palestinians from their homes in an army firing zone in the West Bank in part because training there saves the Israel Defense Forces time and money, according to the state’s response to two petitions against the mass eviction.

The petitions to the High Court of Justice were filed in January by residents of eight Palestinian villages located in Firing Zone 918, in the south Hebron hills. The state’s response was submitted on Wednesday following several postponements.

In it, the state said the development of a new generation of weapons with longer ranges necessitates larger training areas than were needed in the past. It also said that using Firing Zone 918 in particular saved time and money, because it is located very close to the Nahal Brigade’s training base in Tel Arad. In fact, the base was built there in 1993 precisely because it was close to two firing zones, 918 and 522.

“The proximity of the firing zone to the training base enables savings of the most precious resource of all in the field of IDF training – the resource of time,” the brief said. “This proximity also enables significant savings of money, in light of the high costs entailed in transporting hundreds of combatants, equipment and vehicles for training to a distant firing zone. To this is added the aspect of security for the force and equipment in a distant area. The greater the distance between the training base and the firing zone, the more the soldiers’ training time is reduced, and as a result, their fitness is reduced. This is especially true with regard to the training of new recruits, whose training the IDF views as particularly important.”

Therefore, the brief continued, “The IDF decided in recent years to gradually transfer regular units to training bases located near firing zones. … Abolishing Firing Zone 918 would mean that the units that come to train at the Nahal Brigade’s training base would be compelled to train in firing zones distant from the base, which would significantly undermine the effectiveness of the training, entail very high financial costs and also result in the loss of precious training time.”

The brief also reiterated the state’s claim that the villagers have never been permanent residents of the area, and maintain permanent houses in the town of Yatta. This claim is based in part on an affidavit by Moshe Sharon, a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University, who in the past served as head of the IDF General Staff’s division for Arab affairs, with the rank of colonel.

State: Villagers living in closed military zone since 1980

The brief said the villagers have been violating the order declaring this area a closed military zone since 1980. It said the state would permit them to continue grazing their herds there on weekends and Jewish holidays, but not at other times, and that they would have to work their lands in the area in two short, concentrated seasons.

The petitioners’ lawyers – Tamar Feldman and Maskit Bendel, both of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Shlomo Lecker – dispute the state’s claim that the villagers aren’t permanent
residents of the area. They say the villagers have maintained a traditional lifestyle there for generations, tending their herds and working the land, while also maintaining social, familial and economic ties with their mother town of Yatta.

The petitioners also submitted a legal opinion by senior Israeli jurists who argue that evicting the villagers would violate international law and could constitute grounds for indictment in the International Criminal Court.

The original petitions against Firing Zone 918 were filed back in 2000, when the IDF evicted the residents of 12 Palestinian villages in the area on the grounds that they were in the firing zone illegally. At that time, the court issued an interim injunction ordering that the residents be allowed to return until it made a final decision on the case.

Only 12 years later, in July 2012, did the state finally submit its response to those petitions. That response said then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak agreed with the IDF that the firing zone was essential, and therefore, residents of eight villages should be evicted. But it said the other four villages, located in the northwestern part of the zone, would be allowed to remain in place.

Those four villages, it should be noted, are located very near several illegal settlement outposts that are also inside the firing zone.

After receiving that response, the court ordered the petitioners’ attorneys to submit new, revised petitions, since the state’s revised decision affected only eight villages rather than 12. However, it left the injunction against the villagers’ eviction in place.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Hundreds rally in Negev against Israeli plan to displace Bedouins

NEGEV (Ma’an) – Hundreds of Palestinian residents of Israel rallied Thursday afternoon against Israel’s Prawer Plan which could displace thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev from their land.

The protestors gathered near al-Arakib village where Israeli forces have demolished tents and tin-roofed houses more than 50 times.

A Ma’an reporter in the Negev said Israeli police deployed heavily in the area trying to prevent demonstrators from reaching the main road.

Protestors chanted slogans against “the racist plan” as they waved Palestinian flags.

The reporter added that hundreds of displaced Bedouins started to return to their villages early Thursday morning.

Former Arab member of Knesset Talab al-Sani said Israeli police behaved in a provocative way and prevented demonstrators from accessing the village. Solidarity activists, locals and internationals, have helped residents of al-Arakib rebuild their tents and movable houses every time Israeli forces demolished the village.

A lawyer who joined the rally, Shihdeh Ben Berry, told Ma’an there was only one goal behind the protest and similar protests — to thwart the Prawer Plan. “The people of Israel suffered in the past by the Nazis, and today they are mirroring their suffering against Palestinian minorities causing them to suffer the same and even more.”

He highlighted that the Prawer Plan had not been approved yet, “and in case of approval, a group of Palestinian human rights supporters and legal experts will complain to the High Court of Justice.”

The so-called Prawer-Begin Bill calls for the relocation of 30,000-40,000 Bedouin, the demolition of about 40 villages and the confiscation of more than 700,000 dunums of land in the Negev.

It was approved by the Israeli government in January and by parliament in a first reading in June, and two more votes on it are expected.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay slammed the bill last week, urging the Israeli government to reconsider its plans.

“If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development,” Pillay said.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.

The government has said it would “as much as possible” grant legal status to Negev villages that are currently unrecognized by the authorities if they met a minimum population criteria. But those criteria have never been stated.

A cabinet statement has said “most” residents — who do not currently receive government or municipal services — would be able to continue living in their homes after the villages are granted legal status.

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Potatoes from Gaza denied entry into Jordan

Palestinian potato farmers in Rafah, Gaza

Since 2009, the Gaza Strip has been producing surplus amounts of potatoes, onions and watermelon, well beyond the amounts needed to satisfy local demand

Two truckloads of potatoes from the Gaza Strip have been denied entry into Jordan on the grounds that the beleaguered territory “does not produce potatoes”. Exporter Samir Zaqout said that the potatoes went smoothly from the Gaza Strip through Israel to the West Bank and the King Hussein Bridge. It was there that the Jordanian authorities refused to let them enter on the grounds that the Gaza Strip is not registered in its records as an exporter of potatoes.

 

“We were surprised by the Jordanian decision, especially because Israeli approval took such a long time and very specific conditions were met and safety checks were made,” said Zaqout. “The strip has a surplus of 2,000 tons in its production of potatoes and if the potatoes had been bad then how did they pass the strict Israeli tests and conditions?”

His company will lose about 60-65,000 shekels (around $18,000) as a result of Jordan’s refusal to import the potatoes. “We were optimistic when the Israelis allowed us to export some of our potato crop, and we hoped that this would help us make up for the losses we had in the past years, but it has turned into a nightmare.”

Zaqout raised doubts about the role of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah: “Where is the Palestinian Authority that is responsible for the Palestinians and their problems?” He accused PA officials of just standing by and watching this take place. “They made no move. I had hoped that their position would be better than that, as the success of Palestinian agriculture is in the interest of all.”

(Source / 01.08.2013)

Anti-Muslim violence: A wakeup call for European governments

  • ‘Muslim women are increasingly the victims of violence’

BRUSSELS – A police check of a Muslim woman wearing the full-face veil recently sparked riots in a Paris suburb, and has reignited a debate about the controversial ban of full-face veils in public spaces from 2011.

However, there is more at stake in such community uprisings than mere opposition to the ban; the riots should also be seen against the background of the rising violence against Muslims in Europe.

Several violent attacks against Muslim women preceded the riots in France. One of the most severe incidents occurred on 13 June, when two men physically abused a 21 year-old pregnant woman.

Muslim women are increasingly the victims of violence.

In France in 2012, 85 percent of anti-Muslim reported incidents targeted women, and other countries demonstrate similar figures. The UK experienced a significant increase in anti-Muslim violence after the Woolwich killing, and the NGO Tell Mama recorded 12 incidents per week on average between March 2012 and March 2013. Most of these incidents concerned Muslim women.

The sharp rise in anti-Muslim attacks raises the question of responsibility. Who is to blame for the rise in anti-Muslim violence? Ultimately, individuals are to blame for their actions, but there is also a need to look critically at social and political influences.

There is a tendency to view hostility and violence towards Muslims as normal and acceptable. Prejudice against Muslims does not always carry the same social stigma as prejudice against other ethnic and religious groups.

In France and elsewhere in Europe, anti-Muslim attacks are too often met with political leaders’ and representatives’ silence rather than strong political will to protect basic human rights.

When political leaders turn a blind eye to attacks or refrain from publicly condemning violence, individual perpetrators are more likely to feel that they are ‘right’ and can act with a sense of impunity.

In France, the ban on the full-face veil makes the situation especially vulnerable for Muslims, since the ban is easily exploited as a justification for violence and abusive behavior. There needs to be stronger and clearer messages from leaders denouncing arbitrary use of the law.

Having a law against the full-face veil is one thing; misusing it, or seeing it misused repeatedly without taking action is another matter. Beyond the issue of the veil, politicians have a responsibility to speak out against violence, and they must also ensure that all individuals are adequately protected.

A first step to effectively tackle violence against Muslims would be to officially recognise Islamophobia as a specific form of racism. Islamophobia refers to the discrimination faced by individuals because of their real or perceived Muslim affiliation, and it results from a process of social construction of a group which is assigned specific racial features and stereotypes.

Greater recognition of Islamophobia in Europe would allow for the development of more focused and comprehensive strategies on EU, national, and local levels to improve the situation for Muslim communities.

There is also a need to address discrimination and violence against Muslim women in particular. Coalitions between different stakeholders need to be further encouraged in order to combat this extreme form of gender-biased violence.

A cohesive and resilient Europe that benefits all cannot be achieved so long as violence against Muslims is not seriously addressed. The riots in Paris have ended, but their underlying causes are likely to produce more conflict sooner or later.

In order to prevent such conflict in the future, governments urgently need to take action against Islamophobic violence.

(Source / 01.08.2013)