Khader Adnan – 43 days and counting

Khader Adnan has become a symbol of the steadfastness of Palestinian political prisoners.

Khader Adnan has become a symbol of the steadfastness of Palestinian political prisoners

43 days ago Khader Adnan launched his latest hunger strike for collective dignity and rights. Adnan’s name has been intrinsically linked with the hunger strikes of Palestinian political prisoners since his infamous 66 day hunger strike that began in late 2011 and led to his eventual release from Administrative Detention in April 2012.

Adnan’s 2012 hunger strike eventually drew significant international support which helped pressurise Israeli towards his release. Similarly, a mass hunger strike by political prisoners last year drew widespread grassroots support and activism within Palestine which was supported by notable international campaigns.

During Adnan’s current hunger strike however, the response from the Palestinian street seems noticeably quieter amidst growing political malaise and despondency. Events in solidarity with Adnan are being held across Palestinian cities yet to date are not drawing huge numbers. The international media also remains largely silent on the subject.

On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved a bill permitting the force-feeding of hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan who led the bill, was reported by Maan News to have posted his ‘justification’ for the bill on his Facebook page when he wrote, “Alongside attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel, hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel”.

Despite the all-too-common ease with which Israeli officials throw around the ‘terrorist’ label, Khader Adnan remains to this day, having spent more than 6 years of his life since 1999 in Israeli prisons, as an Administrative Detention detainee and thus without any formal charges laid against him, even by Israel’s notorious military court system.

Medical reports say that Khader Adnan is now in critical condition.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

EU parliamentarians call Israel to end its siege on Gaza

File photo of Freedom Flotilla sand sculpture on Gaza beach

File photo of Freedom Flotilla sand sculpture on Gaza beach

Sources from the Freedom Flotilla Alliance revealed that around 100 EU parliamentarians have signed a petition calling for the end of the eight-year Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian-European Club revealed yesterday.

Among those who signed the petition was Vice President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis and representatives from more than 15 EU countries. They also called for international protection for Freedom Flotilla III and for it to be allowed to safely arrive in Gaza.

Fengales Pesias, principal of the Greek ship, which is part of the Flotilla, and one of founding member of the Alliance, said: “This number of petitioners reflects a change of the popular European mood after eight years of the Gaza siege.”

Felesteen newspaper reported Pesias saying that there would be “negative consequences” if Israel refused the Flotilla access to Gaza.

The petition, which was raised in the EU Parliament a couple of weeks ago, called for lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza, opening crossings, guaranteeing freedom of movement, affording international protection for the Flotilla, stressing the right of Gaza to have a sea passage and pushing Israel to commit to international law.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Israel threatens President Abbas: Our tanks will be sweeping the West Bank within 24 hours

Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Press reports said on Sunday that the Israeli government had sent a “direct threat” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier this month, demanding him and the Palestinian leadership to be “patient and stay calm until the end of this year, and to stop their illusions about isolating Israel”.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai quoted Palestinian sources close to the presidency as saying that “these threats came during a meeting that was held between a senior Israeli security official and the Chief of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh”.

The Israeli official reportedly pointed to “the need for the Palestinian leadership to stop its fake threats about halting the security coordination and dissolving the Palestinian Authority, and if that happens our tanks would be sweeping the West Bank within 24 hours, and we have a complete plan for the management of the West Bank in a better way than the one that is currently in place.”

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Ramadan fasting to start in most countries on Thursday

Jeddah (IINA) – Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday announced that Thursday, June 18, will be the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan, the Royal Court said in a statement. Muslims in several other countries also start observing fasting on Thursday. They include the Gulf states such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as countries in the East and West like Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and France.
“In view of receiving no credible reports about sighting of the crescent of Ramadan on Tuesday evening, tomorrow (Wednesday) will be the 30th day of Shaban and Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan according to the Umm Al Qura calendar,” the Saudi Supreme Court said after its meeting in Taif, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Yemen Airstrikes, Clashes Kill at Least 50 Civilians in Five Days

A man searches for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, June 12, 2015

At least 50 civilians were killed in Yemen between June 11 and 15, according to the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR).

A guard sits on the rubble of the house of Brigadier Fouad al-Emad, an army commander loyal to the Houthis, after air strikes destroyed it in Sanaa, Yemen June 15, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — At least 50 civilians were killed in Yemen between June 11 and 15, most of them casualties of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, the United Nations’ human rights office announced on Tuesday.The UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) further specified that the airstrikes killed 36 civilians, while fighting between Houthis and local armed groups left 14 dead.

OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said 18 children and 11 women were among the dead, while 111 additional civilians were injured during the same period.

“This brings the total number of civilians killed since 26 March to 1,412, including 210 women, with 3,423 injured,” Colville said in briefing notes, published on the OHCHR website.

A coalition of Arab states under Saudi leadership began an air campaign against the Shiite Houthi movement in Yemen in late March, following a request by Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthis have captured key parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and the southern port city of Aden, in the last six months.

Saudi soldiers standing near the Yemeni border.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a two-month ceasefire on Monday to mark the month of Ramadan, observed from June 18 to July 16.The first day of talks in Geneva between various Yemeni factions, with a total of 18 groups in attendance, was held on Monday without Houthi representation. Houthi delegates were held up on a plane in Djibouti en route to Switzerland in what they described as Saudi Arabia’s attempt to disrupt the negotiations.

The Shiite group, however, refuses to engage in dialogue with President Hadi’s envoys, claiming he has no legitimacy in the country. Hadi fled to Riyadh after Houthi rebels captured Sanaa earlier this year.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said last Friday over 21 million of Yemenis, an estimated 80 percent of the total population, were in need of humanitarian assistance.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Palestinian cabinet to be dissolved, formed in several days

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An attendee of the 15th Fatah Revolutionary Council conference led by President Mahmoud Abbas told Ma’an Tuesday that the council will form an entirely new unity cabinet rather than pursuing efforts to reform the existing government.Abbas announced that the government would resign within the next 24 hours, several senior Fatah officials attending the conference told AFP, with the new government formation expected to be carried out in a matter of several days.The announcement comes as Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have struggled to maintain a unity government pieced together in June 2014.The move materialized after the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal a few months prior intended to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties.The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.While last year’s reconciliation aimed to pave the way for a general election by the end of 2014, an Israeli arrest campaign in the West Bank during early summer as well as a war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in July-August derailed the timeline.Hamas has since blasted the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank for failing to follow through on promises to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.Deputy head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh said earlier this month that there had been no humanitarian or economic progress in the coastal enclave since the national consensus government was formed a year ago, referring to swathes of the strip that remain devastated from last summer’s war, as well the nearly one year that has passed since Gaza’s civil servants have received salaries.Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged during a March visit to Gaza that Palestinian factions would “work fast” to find solutions to crises in Gaza, however the visit largely deteriorated into factional fighting.The failure of the unity government to address the needs of Gazans was addressed by the Revolutionary Council’s secretary general who told AFP prior to Tuesday’s meeting that the government would step down within 24 hours over its inability to act in the Gaza Strip.”The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza,” said secretary-general Amin Maqbul.But Ihab Bseiso, spokesman for the consensus government, told AFP he was unaware of the matter.”We had a meeting today and we didn’t discuss this issue,” he saidAs elections haven’t been held in the Palestinian territories since 2006, Tuesday’s decision to dissolve and reform the government is the latest of Abbas’ attempts to create a functioning unity government, in light of a year of setbacks.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Israeli military kills Palestinian kids, United Nations whitewashes it

Hundreds of Palestinian kids were killed in ’14 by occupation. Why was Israel removed from child rights blacklist?

Israeli military kills Palestinian kids, United Nations whitewashes it

A Palestinian girl cries while receiving treatment for her injuries caused by a 2014 Israeli strike at a U.N. school in Jebaliya refugee camp, at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip

Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon capitulated to pressure from the Obama administration and removed Israel’s armed forces from a child rights “blacklist.” The decision not only undermines a strong global tool necessary to protect children in armed conflict, but provides Israeli forces with tacit approval to continue committing egregious violations against children with impunity.

 Each year, the Secretary-General submits a report on children and armed conflict to the UN Security Council that includes an annex, or “list of shame,” specifically identifying armed forces and groups found to commit grave violations against children. Israel’s armed forces were recommended by Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, for inclusion in the list for killing and maiming children and carrying out attacks against schools. This was rejected by Ban, as was the recommendation to list Palestinian armed groups.

The latest report, released on June 8, is itself a real contradiction. While Ban expressed deep alarm “at the extent of grave violations suffered by children as a result of Israeli military operations in 2014” and recognized the “unprecedented and unacceptable scale” of Israel’s military violence, he omitted Israel’s armed forces from the annex.

The report methodically details the devastating impact Israel’s prolonged military occupation had on Palestinian children, highlighting that 557 Palestinian children were killed in 2014. The total ranked third highest behind Afghanistan (710) and Iraq (679), and significantly more than in Syria (368). The report notes that at least 543 schools were damaged or destroyed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the highest recorded number of all situations in 2014.

A report released in late April by a UN Board of Inquiry, established by the Secretary-General himself, found Israel responsible for strikes on UN schools and shelters in Gaza that killed at least 44 Palestinians, including children. This was the second time Ban had established a UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry to examine incidents involving UN premises and personnel in Gaza related to an Israeli military offensive.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

Palestinian government to resign in next 24 hours: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that his government will be dissolved within the next 24 hours, Fatah officials say.

“Within 24 hours the Palestinian government will resign,” Abbas told members of the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah movement in Ramallah on Tuesday, several senior officials of the movement quoted him as saying.

(Source / 16.06.2015)

New Free Syrian Army Supreme Military Command to be Formed

The General Assembly decided to form a new FSA Supreme Military Command (SMC) in accordance with Article 31 of the Syrian Coalition’s bylaws in the last day of its 22nd meeting held in Istanbul. The new SMC is expected to ensure the representation of the rebel factions currently active on the ground. A decision was made to form a committee to work on the formation of the new leadership depending on standards that have already been agreed upon. Moreover, the General Assembly decided to freeze the FSA Supreme Military Council and to maintain its representatives within the General Assembly until the formation of the new leadership.

A maximum period of one month was set for the committee to form the new FSA leadership, which will include representatives of all the Syrian Coalition blocks who are to be nominated within one week of the decision.

The General Assembly also decided to dismiss Walid al-Omari from the Syrian Coalition by 95 votes out of 107 for violating the basic rules of the General Assembly meetings.

The General Assembly also decided to postpone the next session of its meetings to July 30, 2015, and agreed that the presidential and political bodies continue to function with full powers.

The meeting, which began on Friday and continued to Sunday, discussed a set of files of which on top came the political developments, especially the change in the international political climate which has seen a new push for reaching a political solution in Syria. The General Assembly also discussed the Syrian Coalition’s meetings with the international envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in Geneva and Istanbul as well as the Political Committee’s meeting with the EU ambassadors.

The FSA’s deputy Chief of Staff and a number of rebel leaders submitted a report on the field developments and the recent rebel gains against regime forces on all fronts in Syria.

A detailed report on the Syrian Coalition’s visit to the city of Idlib was also submitted during the meeting. The visit was done by a delegation that included President of the Supreme Council for Local Administration Jalaluddin Khanji, head of the Health Committee Jawad Abu Hatab and director of the intermediate institutes in the interim Ministry of Education. The conferees discussed the importance of the success of civil administration in Idlib, highlighting its features and reviewing guidelines of good local governance.

The meeting also touched on file of education in Idlib, and a road map was discussed and approved to resume education in the province.

Finally, the General Assembly discussed a draft of the Syrian Coalition’s financial regulations while specialized committee was assigned to prepare a final draft of these regulations to be presented to the General Assembly for approval before the next meeting.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 16.06.2015)

Israeli courts extend detention of 55 prisoners

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli courts extended the detention period of 55 Palestinian prisoners for interrogation and legal procedures, a prisoners’ rights group said Tuesday.The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said that the Israeli Salem military court had extended the detention of Ibrahim Amarneh, Ahmad Dadas, Baraa Jarara, Qas Sabaaneh, Tareq Abu Tabikh, Ahmad Ibrahim, Muhannad Zeidan, Youssef Zeidan, Anas Zakarneh, Muhammad Damiri, Alaa al-Din Abu al-Rub, Haitham Hamed and Muhammad Odeh.The Jalama court extended the detention of Muhammad Abdullah, Muhammad Dabak, Muhammad Malaysheh, Ali Hamed, Suhaib Abu Lifeh, Tawfiq Abu al-Rub, Muhammad Nasif, Muhammad Judeh, Ahmad Salman, Malek Jaari and Muhammad Azem.The Pitah Tikva Israeli court extended the detention of Mufdi Saadeh, Mutasem Antari, Alaa Eriqat, Muhammad Eriqat, Saed Shantir, Hazem Hamayil, Diyaa Hamayil, Muhammad Qadari, Munadel Saadeh and Humam Awwad.The PPS said that the Ashkelon court extended the detention of Islam Maraqa, Jihad Baradieh, Bilal Assaf, Alaa Samara, Suhaib Abu Safiyyeh, Mahmoud Abu Shkheidem, Bilal Badr and Iyad al-Kafrawi.The Russian compound extended the detention of Khalid Falaneh, Younis Shawamreh, Salman Hussein, Yaqoub Hussein, Tareq Hajj Ali, Bilal al-Habal, Thaer Badr and Rassem Assi.The Ofer court extended the detention of Baraa Badra, Udayy Marbou, Muhammad Abbas and Muhammad Abu Alia.

There are currently more than 6,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons.
(Source / 16.06.2015)