Hamdallah: Govt will continue to support justice system

Hamdallah

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Thursday that the Palestinian government would continue to support the Palestinian judiciary and ensure its independence, dignity, and stature.Hamdallah said in a speech during the 6th Judicial Conference that the Palestinian citizen is the primary and main investment, adding that one of the main achievements was finding safety and security, which would not be possible if it weren’t for the integration of the roles of the justice and security sectors.President of the Supreme Judicial Council Ali Muhanna, UNDP representative Roberto Valent, Ramallah governor Laila Ghannam, Public Prosecutor Abd al-Ghani Ewaiwi, and a number of other ministers and officials were present at the conference.Hamdallah said that “The government is trying to create a suitable environment to improve the work and quality of courts, in addition to providing the requirements and support to ensure the swift adjudication in cases and the implementation of rulings.”He added that since the beginning of his term his government had tried to erase the effects of the division and improve unity especially in the judicial sector.

“We still face different obstacles and hurdles, but despite that we continue to look into our responsibilities in serving the needs of citizens wherever they are.”
(Source / 04.06.2015)

Death of Child Yousef is Disgrace to the World

Spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Salem al-Meslet condemns the world’ dubious silence on the continuing massacres of the Assad regime, especially in Aleppo where an eight-member family were killed in a barrel bomb attack on the town of Hayyan.

One of the victims is the child Yousef Fouad Hayek whose body was stuffed between the collapsed roof of his house and the barrel bomb that landed on the floor. Seeing all his family buried under the rubble, and the body of his child crushed against the ceiling, the father had a mental breakdown despite efforts to soothe him and take him away from the place.

“The scene of the child Yousef must shock the conscience of the world whose leaders would not remain silent had he been one of their sons. Assad would not have reveled in the slaughtering of our children for over four years had it not been for the immunity granted by Russia and China the world’s deadly silence on these crimes,” Meslet said.

“The Syrian people have lost all hope of any moral stance from Russia or China, but the greater disappointment comes from their friends who are supposed to support freedom and human rights but instead chose to keep silent. Moreover, those so-called friends still deny the Syrian people the means they need to defend themselves, namely the anti-aircraft weapons to ward off Assad’s warplanes.”

Activists documented the names of the Hayek family who were killed today in Hayan. They are: Mohammad Omar Hayek, Mohammed Fouad Hayek, Jamal Fouad Hayek, Fouad Youssef Hayek, Hamza Fouad Hayek, Muhammad Qadi Hayek, Ameena Hayek and Hasan Jubeir Koraytem.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 04.06.2015)

KOBANE/CIZIRE UPDATE 97: ISLAMIC STATE SEND REINFORCEMENTS TO TEL ABYAD AS KURDS EDGE CLOSER FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS

By Peter Clifford                 ©               (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

As the Kurds edge even nearer to Tal Abyad, the YPG took back another 5 villages from the Islamic State (IS) on Monday, namely Ixdê, Meraser, Kepinrepênê (two separate villages) and Mizxane, on Kobane Canton’s eastern front.

According to the YPG report around 35 x IS Jihadists were killed in Monday’s engagements and AK-47s, machine guns, rocket launchers, hand grenades and mortar shells, plus ammunition and equipment were recovered. The death of one YPG fighter was recorded.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Freedom! – Woman Escaping Tel Abyad Rips Off IS Blackness

Monday of last week there was  around 93 kilometres separating the Kurds on Kobane Canton’s eastern front and Cizire Canton’s western front with Tel Abyad in the middle.

Now that distance is just 52 kilometres and falling rapidly.

Clearly the Islamic State are expecting the attack on Tel Abyad, sending up 1,500 fighters from Deir Ez-Zour and Raqqah to reinforce their positions.

There are also reports of trench digging and banks being built to strengthen defences.

However, their reinforcement plans have not gone entirely to plan, a Coalition airstrike reportedly hitting one of their convoys on its way from Raqqah to Sulouk, destroying several vehicles including some tanks.

There have also been reports that Turkey has opened the border crossing at Tel Abyad (until now “officially” closed) and allowed 500 people from Tel Abyad to come through. It is additionally being said that 600 Kurdish civilians, anticipating the fighting to come and trying to escape, are stuck on the Turkish border 9 kilometres west of Tel Abyad.

As can be seen in the photograph, one woman on escaping Tel Abyad and reaching Kurdish territory, ripped off the individuality, soul destroying black garb.

On Kobane’s south-western front, in an attempt to undermine and psychologically destroy the Kurds morale, just before harvest time IS have set fire to crops and hundreds of trees, destroying the livelihoods of 17 villages.

In Kobane city on Monday, a Kurdish language teacher training institute was opened, the Assad regime having previously insisted that all Kurdish children were taught in Arabic only. (EDITOR: Another step to freedom and independence)

Bizarrely though, no representatives of the Kurds, the most competent of the all the fighting forces opposing IS, were not invited (for the 2nd time) to take part in an international security conference on the Islamic State held in Paris on Tuesday.

This Kobane Canton eastern front situation map for 02.06.15 is courtesy of @ChuckPfarrer, here:

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Kobane Canton Eastern Front Situation Map 02.05.15

US Central Command (Centcom) says that on Sunday through to Monday am there were 13 airstrikes in Syria, 3 in Kobane Canton destroying 13 x IS fighting positions and hitting an IS tactical unit. 9 airstrikes were near Hasakah destroying 7 x IS fighting positions, 2 x IS vehicles and an IS weapons cache. The other strike hit an IS airfield near Raqqah.

On Monday through to Tuesday am, 5 more airstrikes destroyed an IS fighting position in Kobane Canton and 2 more near Hasakah. The Hasakah attacks also destroyed an IS command and control centre, an IS mortar system, an IS truck and another IS weapons cache. 3 large and one small IS tactical unit were also hit.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

YPG Forces Closing in on Tel Abyad

The YPG reports that over the 2 Cantons of Kobane and Cizire in the month of May, it estimates it killed 1005 Jihadists, recovering 353 of their bodies from the battlefield. 2 Jihadists were captured alive.

The YPG/YPJ death toll for May was 86 fighters.

In Cizire Canton, in a 24 hour period on Monday through to Tuesday, yesterday, the YPG liberated a whole new stretch of territory south-west of Serêkaniyê. Xiwêlan, Xwêra (two distinct villages), Recim Enwe, Nestel, Tibe, Hewasî, Hacir, Hacir Hill and 5 farms were all wrested from IS control.

Unconfirmed reports today, Wednesday, say that Cafer village, just north of Mount Abdul Aziz and Aysha village west of Serêkaniyê have also been recovered by Kurdish forces.

Around Hasakah city, fierce fighting continues. Using its usual attack/retreat/attack strategy, IS returned to the old prison and adjacent Youth Detention Centre south-east of the city which they captured and “retreated” from a few days ago.

Some reports put the number of Assad’s troops killed in the clashes in the last few days at 50+ dead, especially after IS detonated as many as 5 car bombs. Fighting between the 2 sides is also reported east of the city in the Foj Kawkeb area.

Gaza’s al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades prepares for next Israeli war

Since the ceasefire that ended last the 51-day war last summer, Gaza’s armed resistance factions have largely observed the ceasefire amid near-daily Israeli violations. However, the prospect of another major Israeli attack is a question of when, not if, and Gaza’s resistance groups have been active in preparation for it.

Signs of a major Israeli attack are becoming clear. Just yesterday, rockets were launched into Israel by a rogue Salafist group aiming to undermine Hamas and Israel responded by launching overnight airstrikes on Hamas targets, shaking all of Gaza and stirring fresh trauma from last summer. This morning Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon once again threatened to escalate bombing.

While Al-Qassam and Saraya al-Quds, the respective armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have remain tight-lipped throughout the indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel currently taking place over a long-term truce and prisoner exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed last summer, I was able to gain access to the Popular Resistance Committee’s armed wing, the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades. With 3,000 fighters, al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades are the third largest fighting faction in Gaza.

After an initial meeting with commander Abu Sayyaf, the nom de guerre of a former Qassam fighter who co-founded the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, I was allowed to observe and photograph close-combat and rocket exercises.

“We in the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades want to make sure that the Gaza Strip will never be defeated. The Gaza Strip is still strong and whenever the Israelis target us more, the resistance will grow stronger,” Abu Sayyaf explained. He continued, “They promised us to rebuild Gaza but we got used to these lies from the Arab regimes and also from the Israelis. But the Palestinian people will always be with the resistance and the resistance will always be with the people.”

Abu Sayyaf debriefs his battalion after training exercises. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

Abu Sayyaf debriefs his battalion after training exercises

I met the fighters in an industrial area next to an olive field in eastern Gaza. After an initial dispute with the owner of the land who they pay to allow fighters to train, they practiced a single advancing exercise and began to deploy rockets. An Israeli drone appeared overhead, and given the heightened tension with the recent rocket fire and Israeli bombing, Abu Sayyaf quickly scrubbed the day’s activities.

Two days later, we met in a nearby olive field. This time no drone was visible or audible. The fighters took turns providing cover as they advanced, attempting to simulate actual combat. After a few exercises, they prepared to practice moving rockets.

Fighters practice providing cover and advancing. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

Fighters practice providing cover and advancing

One of the larger rockets in their arsenal, the Nasser 5 is approximately 4 meters long and is capable of traveling approximately 40 to 45 kilometers. The Gaza-made projectile is an improvement on a rocket imported through tunnels, explained Abu Salah, the commander responsible for rockets in Abu Sayyaf’s battalion. But without a guidance system, it is impossible to attack specific targets, and they do not know the destructive capabilities of the rocket.

The Israeli-Egyptian siege doesn’t hinder their ability to manufacture rockets, Abu Salah boasted. Materials for manufacturing rockets continue to be smuggled in through tunnels, and alternative materials are available in Gaza to replace them if they become impossible to smuggle in.

As with every war, the resistance learns lessons and adapts. While Gaza’s fighters are massively outmatched technologically versus the middle east’s most well-armed military, the vast networks of tunnels fighters dug allowed them to engage in guerrilla combat that came as a surprise to the Israeli military. Though Israel escaped almost unscathed in Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009 and in Operation Pillar of Cloud in 2012, resistance fighters killed 66 soldiers during last summer’s fighting, a sharp increase from the 13 killed (ten of them by friendly fire) in 2008/2009.

“Six years ago, we used to launch rockets from above ground, and now we can launch them from underground, day or night,” said Abu Salah. “We used to just have defense plans, but now we make plans to attack.”

A fighter emerges from a tunnel with a Nasser 5 rocket. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

A fighter emerges from a tunnel with a Nasser 5 rocket

Manufacturing of rockets continues unabated despite the Israeli-Egyptian siege, which ostensibly is to prevent Gaza’s armed groups from importing weapons. While it fails to achieve Israel’s stated goal, the siege collectively punishes all 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza, impacting every aspect of daily life in Gaza and preventing reconstruction after Israel’s decimated huge swaths of Gaza last summer.

Unsurprisingly, it is this mass-destruction and collective punishment that engenders support for armed resistance in Gaza’s beleaguered population. Palestinians I spoke to during last year’s war cited lifting of the siege as their reason for support of resistance despite Israel exacting such a massive toll on civilians.

“The resistance has improved and the people are more aware of the resistance and they all want to fight. We are fighting for our rights. We are fighting for our lands. We are fighting for a good life and we want to build a future for our children.”

The battalion practiced carrying the rocket on the shoulders of four men at a time over uneven dirt terrain and between olive trees, as well as inserting and removing the rocket from the mouth of a tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel system was a refashioned sewage pipe poking slightly out of the ground at a 45 degree angle, and the mouth of the tunnel was covered by prayer rugs, dirt and brush. The entrance was barely large enough for an adult to fit through and one fighter had to remove his vest in order to enter.

Abu Sayyaf described al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades collaboration with al-Qassam, Saraya al-Quds, the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine Ali Abu Mustafa Brigades, and Abdel Kader al Husseini (another faction close to Fatah). “We have an operation room where we discuss what we are going to do, and whether we are initiating or it’s a response,” he said.

Abu Salah elaborated on the joint efforts among the factions. “We share information between the groups and especially between the groups which are making the rockets. A group of us go to see how the other groups use the materials to improve rockets, and then we work on our rockets to improve them.”

Prayer rugs, dirt and brush are used to conceal tunnels. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

Prayer rugs, dirt and brush are used to conceal tunnels

Sitting in the dirt under an olive tree, I interviewed a few fighters, hoping to gain insight into what makes them pick up a weapon.

“Since we were born we’ve known that there is the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” Abu Salah explained. “This occupation steals, kidnaps and imprisons the Palestinian people. They come into our lands and houses so we have to fight them until the end and we can only fight them with weapons until they withdraw from our holy lands. When they withdraw from our lands we will drop our weapons and live our lives. We just want to live in peace and be safe in our houses, and we want to raise our children in a safe atmosphere without bombing and killing — without hearing ‘this one died, this one is injured, this one was kidnapped.’ We want to live in dignity.”

Abu Salah sits under an olive tree in a field in eastern Gaza. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

Abu Salah sits under an olive tree in a field in eastern Gaza

A young fighter named Abu Suhaib went on: “Of course we weren’t born as fighters. We are human beings like anyone else. We always have the patience to see our martyrs and beloved’s bodies in pieces. We’re fighting for land which was stolen from us. At first, we didn’t have the capabilities to take back our land but now we do…. We don’t fight anyone because they are of a different religion or nationality. They took our rights from us and no one can live without their rights and dignity.”

After decades of failed negotiations, the fighters emphasized that Palestinians pay the price while Israelis enjoy a one-way peace. “The only way to expel the occupation is by force and resistance. You can’t negotiate with them [the Israelis],” said Abu Suhaib. “We sat at the table, we went abroad for conferences, but they all go in favor of the Israelis… We found that the only way to talk with the Israelis is with weapons,” he added.

For these men, it is attacks on civilians that compels them to join the resistance. “We witnessed Muhammed al-Dura in the Second Intifada, the bombing and assassinations of our leaders and killing of our people,” Abu Suhaib said. “They bomb our mosques, hospitals and governmental buildings, so we have to face this occupation.”

Abu Islam, a unit commander under Abu Sayyaf, had a message to the American people, “My name is Abu Islam. I am a fighter in al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades. We want to send a message to all the countries around the world, especially the Americans, and at the top of them, Obama. We are the Palestinian people, not terrorists. We are just defending our land, our children, our elderly, our holy sites. The occupation came to us, we didn’t go to it,” he added, “The Americans and all the countries around the world are watching this without doing anything.”

Indeed, using precision-guided munitions, Israel targeted civilians during last summer’s assault that left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead, 70% of whom were civilians including 539 children. Israeli firepower damaged or destroyed 100,000 homes, 278 mosques, 24 medical facilities, 360 factories, 22 schools and three landmark towers. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers died (mostly during the ground invasion of Gaza) and six civilians, despite the inability of the armed groups to target their rockets.

Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades fighters stand over a Nasser 5 rocket after practicing maneuvers. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

 

Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades fighters stand over a Nasser 5 rocket after practicing maneuvers

For all of the attention they receive, Palestinian rockets and mortars have killed 44 Israelis since 2001, a tiny fraction of the number of Palestinians killed in last year’s war. Though analysts focus on the number of rockets launched, portraying a false sense of symmetry between Israeli and Palestinian weapons, rockets “statistically cause the fewest losses,” according to an Israeli Ministry of Defense official, who went on to say that, “Qassams are more of a psychological than physical threat.”

Forced into a corner of continued occupation, settlement expansion, the failure of diplomacy and negotiations to achieve any gains for Palestinians, and unprecedented Israeli violence on Gaza, taking up arms should be seen as a natural response. As long as impunity continues for Israeli attacks on civilians, Palestinian armed resistance will continue to be able to draw support from Gaza’s population.

(Source / 04.06.2015)

Merkel: We disagree with Egypt on death sentences and human rights

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she agreed with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi on a number of issues but disagreed on others, “but we did listen to each other”.

She said that she disagreed with him on two points: the death sentences and human rights. She added: “I hope that these issues will be resolved quickly through discussing them and explaining the actual picture to us and to the world so as to bolster and reinforce cooperation between us.”

The Egyptian president was invited to Germany to explain the situation and to draw a clearer picture, she explained.

She said that despite the disagreements “it would be possible for us to reach an agreement”.

Regarding the economy, Merkel said the two countries have a lot of avenues for cooperation and that Al-Sisi would be meeting the German economic minister.

(Source / 04.06.2015)

The traditional view of Israel is dying a slow death

The traditional view of Israel is dying a slow death

A Palestinian protestor is detained by Israeli Border Police during a demonstration in the occupied West Bank

The Oslo Accords must end. These were the words of former Israeli minister Yossi Beilin at this year’s United Nations Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, which took place in Kazakhstan last week. While his words might seem like a frank admission considering his background as an architect of the Oslo Accords and a leading member of the Israeli “peace camp”, the sentiment reveals the logical inconsistency of the liberal Zionist position.

Addressing the crowd of journalists, diplomats and ambassadors, Mr Beilin argued that Palestinians should “set a date” for progress on the peace process. Once that date is reached and no progress has been made, the Palestinians should dissolve the Palestinian Authority (PA), an organisation that he helped create in the course of the Oslo peace process, and force Israel to “directly” occupy the Palestinians of the West Bank.

Israel shouldn’t be given any excuse that there is an agreement in place when it comes to its occupation. The farce that Palestinians enjoy a degree of autonomy must end because they live under a suffocating military occupation with no semblance of autonomy. International donors should stop footing the bill for Israel’s occupation, and the occupier should be made to feel the full burden of its occupation.

To this end, the Oslo Accords must end, as they provide a smokescreen for any lasting peace agreement and, in essence, perpetuate the status quo.

These statements reflect a new tract of thinking for Israeli liberals. While a two-state solution is still the desired path forward, Mr Beilin floated the idea of a confederation on a par with the European Union as a possible solution. Having lost two elections to Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right allies, liberals like Mr Beilin are clearly out of touch with an Israeli society that is increasingly comfortable with accepting the colonial underpinnings of its relationship with the Palestinians.

Mr Beilin was joined in conversation by the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansor. As the Israeli attacked the PA, Mr Mansour asserted the continued Palestinian commitment to achieving statehood at the UN.

Mr Mansour passionately argued that Palestine’s friends in Europe believe that the United States could end its protection of Israel at the UN thanks to Israel’s stubborn relationship with the Obama administration. The French, Mr Mansour noted, are preparing a Palestine statehood resolution at the UN security council for around the time that the US will be pushing for a final deal with Iran concerning the country’s nuclear programme.

Absent from their remarks was the question of rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. The narrative put forward by both Mr Mansour and Mr Beilin is mired in a conception of the conflict as taking place between two relative equals vying for security on the basis of traditional state structures. We know this to be untrue.

While Mr Mansour noted the fight of Palestinian farmers to keep their farmland from being swallowed by Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and said that boycott calls were a part of Palestine’s non-violent arsenal of weapons, the discussion was divorced from the rhetoric of colonialism and how best to dismantle colonial regimes.

When asked about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, for example, Mr Beilin said he would join Benjamin Netanyahu in fighting boycott efforts because they fail to “differentiate between Israel and the Occupied Territories”.

Regardless of the fact that Israel itself does not make such a distinction, the venom reserved by Mr Beilin for BDS and his inability to even utter the term “Palestinian rights” in the course of his comments was the ultimate confirmation of the shallowness of Israel’s peace camp.

The rest of the conference was a departure from the ossified rhetoric of the senior diplomats at the opening session. From photo collectives documenting the everyday reality of Israel’s occupation to the creation of Palestine Remix, a website that allows users to build their own videos about the conflict, the seminar’s participants demonstrated the variety of media tools on the ground that are changing how people understand the conflict.

These media changes point to the increasingly warm embrace of a rights-based narrative rather than the security-based narrative, as the primary framework for unravelling Israel’s system of domination on the ground. As the indefatigable Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy noted at the conference, it is difficult to find another occupation in which the occupier believes that it is the sole victim.

Liberal Zionists have for decades lent a veneer of liberalism and democratic language to Israel’s brutal occupation. They have found many friends, especially in the US, to help them perpetuate a fairy tale conception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Selling the logically inconsistent idea that Israel can be both a democracy and an ethnocratic colonial state has been one of their greatest triumphs. But all of this is coming to a slow and painful death.

As Israeli society lurches to the right and embraces its destiny as a modern colonial state, international pressure on Israelis is one option left to force change on the ground. The two-state solution is dead and along with it the last vestiges of intellectual honesty in liberal Zionism.

(Source / 04.06.2015)

Petraeus: US ‘Probably Losing’ ISIS War, Needs New Strategy

Petraeus said allying with Shias is the America’s last resort in defeating ISIS.

Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 9, 201. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 9, 2014

In a far-reaching interview with CBS, former US General David Petraeus, the commander during much of the last US war in Iraq, insisted that the US is “probably losing” the war against ISIS right now, and needs to reevaluate its strategy going forward.

Petraeus declared the loss of Ramadi “both an operation and strategy setback, a significant one, adding that he believes that US needs to deploy more troops on the ground, including embedding advisers with Iraqi troops, a plan other Pentagon officials have recently been talking up.

Petraeus added that putting more troops on the ground “is risk, but there is also risk of losing the fight.” He also warned against backing Shi’ite militias inside Iraq, saying that should be “a very last resort.” He insisted the US could win militarily in Iraq, but only with changes in strategy.

Active Pentagon and administration officials have refused to address the prospect of losing the war, insisting that despite mounting losses, they have a winning strategy. Today they bragged of killing over 10,000 ISIS fighters in the last nine months, saying this would obviously have a big effect in the long run.

(Source / 04.06.2015)

Israeli forces release 5 detained fishermen in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Thursday evening released five Palestinian fishermen who were detained near al-Sudaniya beach in the northern Gaza Strip the same morning.Secretary general of the fishermen union Amjad al-Sharafi told Ma’an that Israeli forces released the five fishermen from the Baker family who were detained earlier. 

Also Thursday, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza said that Israeli forces arrested 60 Palestinian fishermen and seized or destroyed 30 fishing boats since the start of the ceasefire last August. 

The general director of the union Sami al-Asmi said in a statement that Israeli forces seized 77 boats in the last four years, returned 14 of them and destroyed five. They also killed fisherman Sayed Abu Riyala while he was working last March.

He added that among the 60 fishermen arrested, three remain in Israeli custody for the possession of fiberglass, which used to be legal but now isn’t according to Israeli regulations.
Al-Asmi demanded that Israel stop its continuous attacks on farmers and fishermen in Gaza Strip, and called for the release of those arrested.
(Source / 04.06.2015)

Hunger-striker Khader Adnan to be moved to hospital

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The condition of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been on strike for a month, is deteriorating and he is in serious danger, a prisoners’ rights group said Wednesday.The director of the legal department of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Jawad Boulos, who visited Adnan in the Ramle prison’s clinic, said that Adnan is only drinking water, without salt, sugar or any vitamins and that he refuses to undergo any medical tests.Adnan told Boulos that the Israel Prison Service visited him Wednesday morning in his cell and told him that he would be moved to a civilian hospital “by force” if necessary.The prison service said that according to their rules, a prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over 28 days, without taking medical tests, salt, or vitamins will be treated as someone in critical condition who requires transfer for immediate medical care.

Adnan said he refuses to be moved to any civilian hospital, and is currently being held in the solitary confinement.
His family held a press conference in Ramallah on Wednesday to highlight his plight, with his mother saying that he is barely able to move.
Adnan, a father of six children, was detained on July 8, 2014 and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time in his life.
In 2012, Adnan’s 66-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison inspired hundreds of prisoners to take on Israel’s policy of holding detainees without charge.
(Source / 04.06.2015)

Rohingya migrant recounts escape to India

Mohammad Kareem, from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, wants to trace his family and bring everyone to a place of safety.

http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/asia/2015/06/mohammad-kareem-rohingya-refugee-150603175157381.html

Hyderabad, India – Sitting in a small clearing in the cramped refugee camp he calls home, Mohammad Kareem cuts a stark figure.

His eyes are intense, flickering with a quiet rage, and his body language forlorn. Mohammad incessantly chews on betel nut, almost as if to distract himself from the horrors he’s trying hard to forget.

Removed from all the chatter around him, Mohammad is a lonely figure in the middle of a lively camp where neighbours mill about outside their darkened tarpaulin homes and conversation serves as comfort.

But I soon realise why Mohammad appears tuned out. He’s new here. New to this camp, new to the city of Hyderabad, new to India – and new to the harsh reality of being separated from his wife, daughter, mother and sister.

Mohammad says he is 32 years old and that he is from Rakhine state in Myanmar.

He arrived in Hyderabad three days ago, he says, and headed straight to this place, known to Rohingya migrants in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad as “camp one”, in Balapur.

This is a place where many in the community seek to reboot their lives, starting with freeing themselves from the constant fear of persecution they feel back home.

“They come and burn our houses and our mosques, torture and kill us to drive us away,” says Mohammad Kareem

Mohammad’s story is hard to follow. Our conversation is punctuated with translations in Rohingya language, Hindi and English.

Here is his account: “The Buddhists don’t want Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. They tell us that we don’t belong to Myanmar.

“They say we belong to Bangladesh, India, Malaysia … anywhere but Myanmar. They tell us we need to go away. They come and burn our houses and our mosques, torture and kill us to drive us away.

“We can’t continue living in a land where we have no peace and no hope for justice. That’s why we risk our lives to get out of the country.

“The way out of Myanmar is a long and dangerous one. Many can’t make it. Those who try and cross over to countries like Malaysia, Japan and Thailand by boat often sink or get caught and are thrown into prison.”

That’s why I decided to escape with my family to India.

I had heard that the people of India were welcoming to people like us.

I knew there were other Rohingya Muslims who were living here, as some of my relatives managed to find a home here when they escaped Myanmar.

I thought my family would be safe as well if we came here.

So I left home with my wife and nine-month-old daughter under the cover of darkness.

Our first stop was Chittagong in Bangladesh. Some locals there helped us cross the border into India and we arrived in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

But just then, things went very wrong for us.

The authorities took away my wife and daughter. I somehow managed to escape. I don’t know where they are anymore. My mother and sister too are still stuck in Myanmar.

I just don’t know what to do to trace my family and bring everyone to a place of safety.”

(Source / 04.06.2015)