Two people were injured and dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation at weekly demonstration in Bil’in

Two people were injured and dozens of other civilians, including international solidarity supporters, suffered from tear gas inhalation during Bil’in’s weekly protest against the wall and settlements. This week, the demonstrators also marched in protest of the continued siege and starvation of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria.

After the Friday prayers, the participants set off toward the village’s liberated land and, after reaching the main gate of the wall, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the wall fired tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition at the participants. The soldiers also chased the protesters through the olive groves and even into the outskirts of the village, leading to violent clashes that continued into the evening. Two people were wounded. Nemer Atta (19 years old) was shot by live ammunition in the foot and taken to the Palestine Medical Complex for treatment, and Wael Bornat (38 years old) was shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet. Dozens of village residents, Israeli peace activists, and international supporters suffered from tear gas inhalation.

The participants raised Palestinian flags at the rally, chanting and singing for national unity, and called for resounding popular resistance against the occupation, and for the release of all Palestinian prisoners and for freedom in Palestine, as well as lifting the siege on the Yarmouk refugee camp. Those injured are now reported to be in stable condition.

Demonstrators carry man shot in the foot by live ammunition (Photo by Mohammed Yasin/Hamza Burnat)

Demonstrators carry man shot in the foot by live ammunition

 (Photo by Hamza Burnat)

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Group of settlers assaults two Palestinians in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A group of Israeli settlers cornered and assaulted two young Palestinian men from the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday night as they drove past the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev.

A family member told Ma’an that a group of settlers armed with clubs blocked their vehicle and attacked 18-year-old Yazan Hani Ramadan and 18-year-old Majd Zaki Ramadan as they were driving just before midnight.

The young men’s uncle Amjad Ramadan told a Ma’an reporter that the two young men left the Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood near the old city of Jerusalem around 11 p.m. in order to return to their homes in Beit Hanina.

As they passed a mall near the Pisgat Zeev settlement in East Jerusalem, a vehicle obstructed their car and two other vehicles closed their way from behind.

Fifteen settlers then stepped out and started to beat the two young Palestinians.

“They attacked them while they were inside the car, then again while they were outside, causing bruises and fractures all over their bodies,” he said.

“After they fainted, the settlers fled the scene and passersby called an ambulance which evacuated the victims to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital,” he added.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Netanyahu: “Will Not Remove A Single Settlement”

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Tel Aviv would not remove a single Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, and that any ideas proposed now to advance peace talks, “are just proposals.”

Benjamin Netanyahu - PNN

His statements came during the Davos Conference, on Friday, when he responded to a question about Israel’s settlements in the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank. His response referred to Israel’s settlements and settlement blocs, in the occupied territories, and not only the Jordan Valley.

“I will not remove any settlement”, he said, “I will not uproot any Israeli”.

Netanyahu stated that the United States just presented ideas and suggestions regarding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Following the conference, Netanyahu held a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and discussed the political “process” between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

He said Kerry is not talking about a framework
agreement for a peace deal, but only presented ideas to Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The statements came after Kerry said a frame agreement is closer than ever, and after a statement by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who said that peace talks are based on a full Israeli withdrawal from the territories Israel captured in 1967, including Jerusalem.

Commenting on BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns around the world, the Israeli Prime Minister alleged that more international companies “are showing interest in investing in Israel.”

On his part, Kerry said that should direct peace talks collapse, the Israelis and Palestinians will be harmed by ongoing violence.

He also “warned” that, should the talks fail, “it will be impossible for Israel to continue its future as a Jewish democratic state”.

Kerry stated that the core issues the U.S. is working for are establishing an “independent” Palestinian state, security for Israel, a withdrawal of the Israeli army, and “an agreed solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees”.

He said that ending the conflict should be final; a full Palestinian recognition of the “Jewish State”, and an Israeli recognition of the “nation-state of the Palestinians”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, has reported.

The US official also said that Israel will become a strong state after achieving peace with the Palestinians, and that his government has a security plan for the borders between the occupied West Bank and Jordan.

There are more than 11.679 Jewish settlers living in the Jordan Valley, and more than 400.000 Jewish settlers living in Israel’s illegitimate settlements in the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.

Israel’s settlements, built on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, and, along with the Annexation Wall, have turned the Palestinian communities into isolated cantons separating the Palestinians from each other, and from their farmlands and orchards.

Settlements are also built in vital areas in Palestine, including hilltops, water and natural resources, especially in the Jordan Valley, depriving the Palestinians from basic rights, including the right to their own land.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Dozens dead as Egypt marks revolution

At least 29 people are killed across Egypt as security forces clash with protesters on anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

Cairo  At least 29 people have been killed across Egypt amidst nationwide protests on the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution, with unofficial reports of a death toll nearly twice as high.

The worst violence was directed at supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who staged dozens of rallies across the country. Witnesses reported deadly clashes in Minya, Giza, Alexandria and several other governorates, and the health ministry said that 29 people were dead and more than 170 wounded by 8:30pm (1830GMT).

There were reports of numerous deaths in Alf Maskan, a neighbourhood in eastern Cairo, though the exact number could not be confirmed. Two witnesses in the area took photos that seemed to show at least nine dead bodies wrapped in shrouds.

The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement that more than 50 people have been killed nationwide, though casualty figures released by the group have often been exaggerated in the past.

Armed groups also staged three attacks on security forces, the most spectacular of which reportedly brought down a military helicopter in North Sinai.

Two explosions rocked Cairo early on Saturday and a third followed in Suez, targeting a police base.

Activists opposed to both the army and the Brotherhood also tried to lay claim to the streets, with a rally in the Mohandiseen district around noon. They were chased off, only to regroup several hours later downtown, blocks away from Tahrir, where security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition.

The April 6 youth movement said one of its members was killed by gunfire, and by mid-afternoon the violence had prompted several revolutionary groups to urge supporters to go home.

But the main pro-military event in Tahrir Square was peaceful, protected by a heavy deployment of soldiers and police. The crowds gathered in the square made little mention of the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

Instead they came to celebrate General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who deposed Morsi in July.

‘We refuse to submit’

Army helicopters orbited overhead, dropping Egyptian flags and coupons for free blankets. Crowds arrived throughout the afternoon, many of them chanting “the people demand the execution of the Brotherhood.” Others called for the “affirmation of the regime,” a play on the revolutionary slogan calling for its downfall.

“We want to show that we won’t go back to the Brotherhood, and we won’t be scared by their terrorism,” said Mohamed Salama, entering Tahrir Square with a group of about 20 people. “This is about correcting the path of the revolution.”

For many, the next step on that path should be electing Sisi to the presidency.

“Look around, he has our support. If he does not run, who will?” asked Amer Ali Said, an engineer.

Analysts say it is still unclear whether the general will run, though today’s rallies certainly seem to push him in that direction.

Thousands of Sisi’s supporters also gathered in other sites across the capital, and in governorates outside of Cairo. State television showed large crowds in Alexandria, Sohag, Fayoum and other cities. “We aren’t scared. All the people of Port Said, of Egypt, we are down in the streets today,” one man from Port Said told a state television reporter.

Sinai attack

Local media reported that an army helicopter was shot down near the town of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, possibly by a missile. A military spokesman confirmed the helicopter crash, but would not comment on the cause.

The interior ministry confirmed a bombing outside a security barracks in Suez, which injured at least nine people. And a small explosion at a police building in eastern Cairo around 8am injured one person.

There were no claims of responsibility for Saturday’s attacks, which followed a series of four bombings across the capital on Friday. The deadliest, a car bomb, tore through the security directorate downtown, killing four people and injuring more than 70. Prosecutors said on Saturday that the vehicle used in the bombing had been stolen from the electricity ministry.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based armed group, claimed responsibility for all four.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Al-Qaeda-linked ISIS opens branch in Lebanon

Women walk past as Lebanese army soldiers, gather at the site of Tuesday’s explosion, in the Haret Hreik area in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut January 22, 2014.
A recording by a previously unknown figure was distributed on jihadist forums on Saturday, announcing the creation of a Lebanese franchise for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Agence France-Presse reported.

In the recording, Abu Sayyaf al-Ansari swears allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi leader of ISIS, which has its roots in al-Qaeda in Iraq and emerged in Syria last spring.

He called on Sunnis to abandon the Lebanese “crusader” army, echoing allegations by Sunni Islamists that the armed forces are “backed by Hezbollah.”

“We pledge allegiance to the prince of the believers, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… and we ask him to guide us past the obstacles, and make us your spearhead in crushing your enemy, and not a single man among us will hold back in helping you,” AFP quoted Ansari as saying.

In the five-minute recording, he said “a spokesman for ISIL in Lebanon” identified as Abu Omar al-Muhajir would soon make a statement of his own.

The recording comes after Lebanon’s former premier said that the country’s Sunni Muslims refuse to be a part of any conflict between al-Qaeda and the Shiite movement Hezbollah, and denounce violent sectarian attacks anywhere in the country.

“The Lebanese, and the Sunnis among them, refuse to be part of any war in Lebanon or the region between Hezbollah and al-Qaeda,” said Saad Hariri, who heads the anti-Syrian Future bloc.

He added: “They also refuse that the civilians in any region of Lebanon become the targets.”

Hariri’s statement came a day after an al-Qaeda-inspired jihadist group warned that all areas where Hezbollah operates are “legitimate targets,” telling Sunnis to avoid them.

It also came as new shelling from across the border hit the Hermel and Masharia al-Qaa areas of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, causing no casualties.

The Nusra Front in Lebanon said it intended to attack strongholds of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah which could target any Shiite area.

The warning originally was made Friday on Twitter. It was reposted Saturday to websites used by militant groups.

The Nusra Front in Lebanon takes its name from the powerful al-Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria against the rule of President Bashar Assad.

The war in neighboring Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon, with Hezbollah backing President Bashar al-Assad and many Sunnis supporting the rebellion against him.

The Nusra has claimed responsibility for two small bombing attacks targeting Lebanese Shiites in January that killed six people.

Hard-line Sunni groups increasingly have been targeting Lebanon’s Shiite minority, apparently as punishment for Hezbollah gunmen fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria.

Hariri reiterates position

On Saturday, Hariri also reiterated his opposition to Hezbollah’s support for Assad, whom he has accused of ordering the assassination of his father, former premier Rafiq Hariri.

“Every sane and patriotic Lebanese, of any sect, will refuse to be dragged behind these (jihadist) calls, (just) as he refuses Hezbollah’s war in Syria,” AFP quoted Hariri as saying.

Also on Saturday, another salvo of shells hit the Bekaa Valley, which has suffered frequent cross-border assaults from Syria.

“Eight shells hit the outskirts of Hermel, while one landed inside the town, causing material damage to vehicles and houses,” a security source said.

“Three mortar rounds also struck the outskirts of Masharia al-Qaa” east of Hermel, the source added.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Who Profits report: Corporations profit from Israeli prisons


logoWho Profits released the following report on the involvement of Israeli and multinational corporations in the Israeli prison system:

On December 2013, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) responded to a freedom of information request by Who Profits, which was submitted three months earlier, regarding twenty-two corporations that provide services to Israeli prisons.

These companies mainly provide security equipment and services to incarceration facilities that hold Palestinian prisoners and detainees inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank. These incarceration facilities hold Palestinian political prisoners in violation of international law, and torture and systematic violations of human rights take place within their walls. According to Addameer’s latest monthly detention report (December 2013), there are 5033 Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli prisons, 173 of whom are minors and 145 are administrative detainees.

The following table is an English translation of information provided by the Israel Prison Service to Who Profits, regarding twenty-two corporations that provide services to Israeli prisons and detention facilities.

Company Name Characteristics of Contract End of Contract Comments Financial Scope
G4S Maintaining supporting management systems, magnetometer gates, scanning machines and ankle monitors During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
3M Based on occasional bids



Maintaining wireless systems and lighting bridges 

Repairing wireless devices

During the fiscal year 2016 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels



Maintaining HP systems and central servers

During the fiscal year 2016 Tenders by the Accountant General + tenders by the IPS 


Tens of millions of shekels


Based on occasional bids


Based on occasional bids
VOLVO GROUP Based on occasional bids
Biosense Supplying and maintaining a dog-bark identification system During the fiscal year 2014 According to an IPS tender Hundreds of thousands of shekels
Myform Based on occasional bids


Purchase of battery services 

Providing wireless services


During the fiscal year 2016 Tenders by the Accountant General + Tenders by the IPS Hundreds of thousands of shekels


Installing, providing year-round service and maintaining fire detection systems During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
Contact Based on occasional bids


Relocating communication infrastructureSupplying electronic equipment 

Repairing sound system

During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender 



Tens of millions of shekels


Based on occasional bids
Dadash Hadarom Distribution Purchase of canteen products 31/07/14 According to a tender
Shekem Based on occasional bids
Shiran Based on occasional bids
S.I.R.N. Based on occasional bids
Shekel Based on occasional bids
ASHTROM GROUP Based on occasional bids
Lymtech Based on occasional bids


Who Profits also provides documentation and research on several of these companies at the links below:

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Hamas denounces Egyptian calls to ‘strike’ Gaza

Hamas denounces Egyptian calls to 'strike' Gaza
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri

The Egyptian media accuses Hamas of involvement in recent attacks on Egyptian territory – allegations the Palestinian group vehemently denies.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on Saturday denounced what it described as the “Egyptian media’s fierce campaign against the Gaza Strip” and Egyptian calls to strike “terrorist targets” in the embattled Palestinian enclave.

“We condemn the fierce campaign by Egyptian media and by some [Egyptian] figures against the Palestinian people and their calls to strike the Gaza Strip,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency.

“Hamas regrets that the incitement has reached this level of hatred, where Israel has become a friend [of Egypt] and the Palestinian people an enemy,” he added.

Abu Zuhri described the Egyptian media campaign against Hamas as “an attempt to deflect attention from Egypt’s internal crises.”

The Egyptian media accuses Hamas of involvement in recent attacks on Egyptian territory – allegations the Palestinian group vehemently denies.

Relations between Cairo and Hamas – an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi hails – have deteriorated markedly in recent months, particularly after Morsi’s July 3 ouster by the military.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Israeli minister calls for ‘Third Temple’ in Al-Aqsa compound

Israeli minister calls for 'Third Temple' in Al-Aqsa compound

Palestinians are suspicious of so called archeological excavations taking place under the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

The Israel Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel on Friday expressed his wish to see the construction of a “Third Temple” in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Al-Quds (East Jerusalem).

According to the Alray Palestinian News Agency, Uri Ariel said “The first Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, the second Temple in 70 CE, and ever since the Jews have been mourning its loss.”

He then went on to say “Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently in place of the temple, despite the temple being much holier than it. Al-Aqsa Mosque is only the third most holy mosque in Islam.”

“Now that Israel has once again become a Jewish sovereign state, there have been occasional calls to rebuild the Temple,” he added.

Palestinians who have stated their desire to see Israeli occupying forces retreat out of East Jerusalem back to their 1967 borders are suspicious of so called archeological excavations taking place under the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They believe the works are destabilizing the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and have already reported damage to the building.

In recent months, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been subject to numerous raids by far-right Jewish settlers under the protection of Israeli security forces, who have performed Jewish rituals on the site. On a number of occasions last year, the Israeli authorities banned Muslim congregational Friday prayers at the mosque.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

Iran ready to help int’l aid delivery to Syria: Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter meet in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2014.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter meet in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2014.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic is ready to help other countries deliver relief aid to crisis-hit Syria.

In a Thursday meeting with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Davos, Switzerland, Rouhani pointed to the Islamic Republic’s humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, to Damascus and said, “Iran is ready to do its utmost to help other countries, especially the European ones, with the delivery of aid to Syria.”

Iran has dispatched several consignments of humanitarian supplies, including medicine and medical equipment, to Syria to help the people affected by the unrest in the Arab country.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011.

Expressing gratitude to Switzerland for hosting the nuclear talks between Tehran and six world powers, Rouhani said that the nuclear negotiations have provided a good opportunity for Europe and the West to bring about better conditions in the Middle East and the world.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US – plus Germany struck an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24, 2013. The interim accord, which went into effect on January 20, is aimed at setting the stage for the full resolution of the decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Under the deal, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during six months. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions would be imposed on the country within the same timeframe.

(Source / 25.01.2014)

There is no such thing as “democratic Israel”

In August, I discussed with you the analysis that, whether or not US-brokered peace talks actually achieve a so-called two-state solution for Israel-Palestine, the talks are set up in a way that lets Israelis continue to settle on the most valuable land, demolishing Palestinian homes and seizing natural resources.

A two-state “solution” would let Israel preserve itself as a haven of ethnic privilege while shunting an unwanted Palestinian population off to a future Palestinian state. Due to Israel’s ongoing settlement project, this Palestinian state wouldn’t have the resources or infrastructure it would need to be economically viable, and therefore meaningfully independent of Israel.

So what exactly would be legitimized by a two-state settlement? Palestinian citizens of Israel are segregated from the Jewish population; they are denied the same rights and benefits as Jewish Israelis; and they are actively discriminated against – in Israeli government policy, and in their daily lives. The fact is that “democratic Israel” has more than 60 laws discriminating against its Palestinian citizens. It’s a different face of the sameapartheid regime that rules the West Bank and Gaza.

For example, in the Israeli city of Lod, a three-meter-high wall separates Jewish and Palestinian districts, and the city government provides street lighting and trash collection only to the Jewish areas. Not only do communities throughout Israel have the right to exclude Palestinians, but whenever the Israeli Land Administration (which administers 93% of the land in Israel) leases a plot of land to a non-Jew, it must transfer an equivalent plot of land to the Jewish National Fund in order to keep the percentage of Jewish-owned land the same. The JNF continues to lease land only to Jews.

Palestinians, on the other hand, are routinely denied building permits. Racist land-planning and zoning regulations bar Palestinians from building in 87% of East Jerusalem, effectively strangling the hub of the Palestinian economy.

Education and social services are highly segregated as well: Most schools, for instance, are not bilingual, and none of Israel’s eight universities teach in Arabic. And “separate but equal” is as laughable a justification as it was in the jim crow South: Jewish schools receive five times the funding that their Palestinian counterparts get.

Palestinian citizens of Israel are also disproportionately the victims of police brutality and arbitrary detention at transportation checkpoints on the road or at airports. They are disproportionately likely to be convicted of murder, denied bail, and receive severe sentences (Like in the US, this is especially true in cases where a Palestinian is accused of killing a Jew).

If a Palestinian citizen of Israel marries someone from the Occupied Territories, Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon, their spouse isn’t entitled to citizenship or even residency—and their children will be deported at age 12. As in jim crow, the notion of “separate but equal” persists not because anyone seriously believes in it, but because it allows Jewish Israelis to ignore the uncomfortable truth of what their privilege really entails: the criminalization of Palestinian life.

So the reality of “democratic” Israel, which has no written constitution, is that the rights of Israeli citizens extend only to Jewish Israelis. Palestinians can be arrested without charge or trial, their homes demolished, and their neighborhoods put under military control.

And so it must be in a state whose leaders openly admit that ethnic cleansing is necessary to maintain its “Jewish character”: Like in the Naqab (Negev) desert, where the currently-sidelined Prawer Plan was set to displace up to 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin, or in East Jerusalem, where the Israeli government revokes the residency of Palestinians in order to maintain a 72% Jewish majority in Israel’s “undivided capital”.

Some of the discriminatory laws and policies seem less overtly racist because they’re couched in terms other than ethnicity: For instance, Israeli law requires citizens to serve in the Israeli Defense Force in order to get the same rights to employment, property, housing, education, insurance, and so on. But Palestinians, understandably, tend not to join the army that murders and terrorizes their sisters and brothers, making this a de facto policy of ethnic discrimination against Palestinians.

And, of course, while Jews across the globe with no familial ties to Israel can emigrate and enjoy full citizenship, the world’s seven million Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homeland.

Israel isn’t a democracy. It’s an ethnocracy, government for and by Jews, at the expense of an indigenous population. It was founded on colonial violence and settlement, and until the day that its regime of Jewish supremacy is dismantled – on both sides of Israel’s “disputed” borders – the racist settler state will continue to deny millions of Palestinians their rights and dignity.

But sooner or later, that day will come, and on that day, the Zionist project will finally join its archaic brethren on the trash heap of history. That’s why the people of the world must back the call of Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – because “justice in Palestine” means more than just an end to the illegal occupation.

The only “solution” to apartheid and colonialism is decolonization: That includes an end to ethnic privilege within Israel, as well as the right of return for refugees. Only then can Palestinian self-determination be anything more than the mockery Israel, the US, and their Palestinian puppet regime have made of it.

(Source / 25.01.2014)