IOF raids Jenin, cracks down on Palestinians

JENIN, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Thursday rolled into Jenin’s towns of Ya’bad and al-Yamoun and came down heavily on Palestinian civilians.

Local sources said the IOF stormed Ya’bad twice overnight and cracked down on the Palestinian natives, threatening to force them out of their homes.

A series of home break-ins was carried out on the outskirts of al-Maloul town, where Palestinian citizens were subjected to exhaustive interrogation.

The IOF troops further stormed al-Houshiya neighborhood, in al-Yamoun, and raked through residential streets and alleys.

(Source / 27.08.2015)


To Alexi ..Smoke rises during Israeli's offensive in Gaza January 8, 2009. Israel pressed its offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday amid sharp Red Cross criticism that it was delaying access to casualties. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA)

To Alexi ..Smoke rises during Israeli's offensive in Gaza January 8, 2009. Israel 
pressed its offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday amid 
sharp  Red Cross criticism that it was delaying access to casualties

Although Monsanto was once the exclusive U.S.-based provider of white phosphorous to the U.S. government, Israel Chemicals, Ltd. has started supplying the deadly munition as well.


ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Corporation, the agribusiness giant best known for its pesticides and genetically-modified crops, also manufactured white phosphorous for the U.S. government over at least the past 20 years. Used in incendiary military weapons, the United States sold white phosphorous-based weapons to Israel, which used those weapons to commit brutal war crimes against Palestinians living in Gaza in 2009.
White phosphorous is created from phosphorous through industrial processes — it is not a naturally occurring substance. Exposure can cause severe and often fatal burns, or other complications such as organ failure, with even survivors suffering from long-term health effects.
In addition to its use in weapons, white phosphorous is also used to create phosphoric acid, a key ingredient in some fertilizers, which likely explains why Monsanto would manufacture the substance.
At one point, Monsanto was the only U.S.-based firm manufacturing the substance. This, of course, caught the military’s attention.
According to heavily redacted government documents revealed by the blog Current Events Inquiry, the U.S. government saw Monsanto as a key supplier, fearing that global politics might interfere with the ability to import the substance from China or India, where most white phosphorous is manufactured due to flimsy environmental protections and oversight. The documents, originally posted on the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website, state that because of this key role, Monsanto could require special government protections “in the event of a national emergency.”
Further evidence of Monsanto’s role in manufacturing white phosphorous can be found in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report from 1997, “Toxicological Profile For White Phosphorous,” which lists Monsanto facilities that store hundreds of thousands of pounds of the toxic chemical. The document also outlines some of the dangerous effects of white phosphorous: in addition to fatal or serious burns, exposure can result in chronic health problems, damage to the immune system, birth defects, and neurological damage.
Israel-child-crimesA child who suffered severe 
burns due to White Phosphorous used in "Cast Lead" 2008/2009.
Monsanto sold white phosphorous to the U.S. military’s Pine Bluff Arsenal, where it is stored in underwater tanks and manufactured into munitions. Then, the U.S. military sold white phosphorous to Israel, where it was used in war crimes during Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive, which killed thousands of civilians from Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 18, 2009.’s Jason Ditz explains:
“The use of white phosphorus is not in and of itself a war crime, and is generally considered acceptable as a means of obscuring troop movements or illuminating areas. Its use in civilian areas however, even if not directed at the civilian population, is banned under the Geneva Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.”
Yet Israel had flaunted international law once again, using white phosphorous rounds over some of Gaza’s most “densely populated areas,” according to a March 2009 report from Human Rights Watch, despite acknowledging that white phosphorous can cause horrific burns and fatal health complications:
runPhoto: Israel dropping White Phosphorous on a UNRWA school in Gaza during "Cast Lead" in 2008/2009. Israeli TV admits: No rockets were ever fired from UNRWA schools in Gaza during "Cast Lead."

“A medical report prepared during the recent hostilities by the Israeli ministry of health said that white phosphorus ‘can cause serious injury and death when it comes into contact with the skin, is inhaled or is swallowed.’ Burns on less than 10 percent of the body can be fatal because of damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart, the ministry report says. Infection is common and the body’s absorption of the chemical can cause serious damage to internal organs, as well as death.

If the IDF intended to use white phosphorus as a smokescreen for its forces, it had a readily available non-lethal alternative to white phosphorus – smoke shells produced by an Israeli company, Human Rights Watch concluded.”
The same documents revealed by Current Events Inquiry show that Israel is taking a more direct role in the manufacture of white phosphorous today, now supplying it to the U.S. government via ICL Performance Products, a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals Ltd., which in turn can be traced back to the Ofer brothers, the country’s wealthiest family.
As for Monsanto, this is not the only time the corporation’s products have been linked to war crimes or cancer. The company was recently sued for manufacturing PCBs, a lingering environmental carcinogen, and glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, may contribute to cancer. And the U.S. government used 20 million gallons of Monsanto’s “Agent Orange” defoliant during the Vietnam War, the effects of which continue to linger even today.

(Source / 27.08.2015)

The socialist MP imprisoned by Israel for her opinions

 Khalida Jarrar

On Monday, Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar faced a military hearing at Ofer, an Israeli army base in the illegally-occupied West Bank. Jarrar’s only “crime” is speaking out against against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners.

At the hearing Monday, the two witnesses brought by the prosecution (an army officer) before the judge (also an army officer) said that false confessions had been extracted from them by Israel under the duress of torture in Israeli detention. The prosecutor then farcically had the witnesses designated by this kangaroo court as “hostile” and was able to cross examine them.

This was a brave move by the witnesses, who were essentially forced to testify and will likely now face ominous consequences when they head back to Israel’s notorious prisons system, which habitually tortures its victims.

The Israeli columnist Gideon Levy, who has been covering the case for Haaretz, says that the case demonstrates again that the whole of Israel’s military court system (used almost exclusively for Palestinians, and not for Jewish citizens) is a “ridiculous costume party … a system where the judge salutes the prosecutor, who outranks him militarily”.

Jarrar was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on behalf of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. While the group does have an armed resistance wing, it is clear that Jarrar is a politician, and even the Israeli army’s propaganda is not accusing her of participation in armed struggle.

Instead, it is clear that the Israeli occupation force is going after her because she has for years been one of the most effective advocates for the human rights of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. She is a former director of Addameer, a Palestinian human rights group that advocates for prisoners, and is still a vice-chair of the group. She is one of 5,700 Palestinian political prisoners currently in Israeli jails, 14 of whom are MPs.

Last year, the occupation forces attempted to internally deport her from her home in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, to Jericho, in another part of the West Bank. Jarrar resisted this orderby protesting and drawing international attention to her cause until the Israelis were embarrassed into a climb-down.

Then, in April, the Israelis vindictively punished her for this act of non-violent resistance bykidnapping her from her home in the middle of the night and slapping a 6-month “administrative detention” order on her.

“Administrative detention” is the Israeli euphemism for internment without charge or trial. The practice dates back to the British Mandate period and still relies on decrees made by the British occupation forces.

The brazen injustice of Jarrar’s detention led to more international attention, with her military court hearings being monitored by representatives of European governments and Amnesty International. A list of 58 members of the European Parliament called for her release.

Under this pressure, the Israelis were embarrassed into issuing formal charges. But Israel’s military court process is nothing less than a kangaroo court, and the sheet of 12 charges against her is “one of the most ridiculous legal documents ever written” by Israel, according to Gideon Levy.

The legal proceedings “include such ludicrous charges as attending a book fair and visiting a released prisoner in his home”. None of the 12 charges are for acts of armed struggle; each charge has everything to do with advocating for legitimate Palestinian rights.

One of the counts, for “incitement,” relates to an allegation that Jarrar called for Palestinian defence forces to capture Israeli occupation soldiers in order to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners.

Even were it true, this allegation would amount to no more than advocating for the right of Palestinian resistance and self-defence. But, according to Levy’s account of the hearings, “even the major prosecution witness related to the incitement charge stated that he ‘is not certain whether the defendant personally spoke about abducting soldiers, but noted that this matter was mentioned many times during the rally'” she was allegedly present at.

Ridiculous indeed. Israel needs to be pressured into releasing Jarrar immediately.

The crime of “administrative detention” should not be allowed to go on. Even in this case, Israel seems determined to conclude the original 6-month administrative detention decree in practice while maintaining the sham of a forthcoming “trial”.

In practice, it has employed delaying tactic after delaying tactic to stop any trial from happening, even a military show trial. Her next hearing is slated to take place on 20 September, which takes us almost up to the end of the original 6-month internment period (although these orders can be renewed indefinitely).

These incessant delays are only possible thanks to the fixed system of “justice” in which the Israeli military is judging itself: Israeli officers are judge, prosecution and even “defence”.

All this only goes to show, in the words of Jarrar herself that “a perpetrator can never be the judge of his victim.”

(Source / 27.08.2015)



Hamza Bedelladj smiling when being taken into policy custody in Thailand

Bugbear FBI cyber stalking for a long three years, the famous Algerian hacker Bendelladj Hamza, 27, one of those who gave the most trouble to the US sleuths, was sentenced to the death penalty by a US court.

Caught in the cracks in Thailand in 2013, after a manhunt led by Interpol, cyber-activist who joined the exclusive club of the ten most wanted in the world was extradited to the United States where the ultimate punishment just fell on him like a cleaver.

Among his feats of arms, the young hacker, compared to a more vigilante hacking at a high-flying crook, had managed to enter the den e 217 banks by hacking mailboxes to steal it the tune of $ 4 billion. A juicy booty which he has shared several non-governmental organizations in Africa, but also Palestinian NGO to whom he has donated more than $ 280 million.

Far from stopping there way, Hamza Bendelladj also hooked to his belt 8000 French sites, but also sites of foreign ministries of European countries, coming to the end of their security system to grant visas to several Algerian youth.

Outside the law as a new Robin digital Bois, the flash career and yet breathtaking, his most significant achievement undoubtedly remains the takeover of the Israeli government site, enabling it to provide the Palestinian resistance information and valuable reports.Following the cyber attack that has certainly distraught, but even more estomaquées Israeli authorities offered their Web assailant help them make their inviolable computer system, in return for their intervention with Washington to drop the charges against him.

The refusal Bendelladj Hamza was immediate, categorical and irrevocable. Past, therefore, to the Americans, fears that the young Algerian, born in modest circumstances in Kouba, a popular area on the heights of Algiers, has signed his death warrant by refusing an impossible pact with Israel have sadly confirmed today.

(Source / 27.08.2015)

Palestinians ask to fly their flag at the UN

Draft resolution calls for non-member observers to be allowed to fly their flags alongside those of the 193 UN member states

File photo shows a protester adorned with Palestinian flags

UNITED NATIONS, United States – Palestine on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow its flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month’s meeting of heads of state.

The move comes as Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel.

A draft resolution was presented to the General Assembly requesting that the flags of the State of Palestine and the Holy See be hoisted alongside those of the 193 member states.

The Vatican and Palestine both have non-member observer status at the United Nations.

The resolution, co-sponsored by 21 countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, could come up for a vote before 15 September.

Currently, only full member states’ flags fly at the UN.

While the Vatican formally recognised Palestine as a state earlier this year, the Holy See said on Tuesday that it had no plans to co-sponsor the resolution.

“The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the ‘Holy See’ and any generic reference ‘on behalf of the Observer States’,” the Vatican said in a note circulated around the UN, according to Reuters.

Israel’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment, but an Israeli foreign ministry official called Palestine’s resolution “a cheap and unnecessary gimmick,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

The General Assembly upgraded the status of Palestine to that of non-member observer state in 2012.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are among the world leaders who will travel to UN headquarters as of 25 September for an anti-poverty summit and the annual General Assembly debate.

Pope Francis is to make a much-anticipated address on 25 September.

(Source / 27.08.2015)

Palestine: What if your school is demolished tomorrow?

A solidarity tent in Susiya with the Israeli settlement of the same name in the background

By: Fadwa Baroud

On July 12, 2015, Israel announced that it would seek to carry out demolition orders of structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in what is known as Area C, an area that covers 60 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control, including the tiny school that consists of four classrooms, three toilets and a kitchen. Before the school was built in 2010, the original classrooms were made of tents that were destroyed by a heavy storm.The school and kindergarten are among the 170 structures in Susiya that face demolition orders. Other structures include 32 residential tents, 26 animal shelters, 20 water cisterns, 20 latrines and two health clinics. The demolition orders can be implemented at any time.Israel says the structures can be demolished because they were built without permits and are illegal. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Israel has rejected more than 90 percent of building permit applications. That means most Palestinians must choose between building without a permit or not building at all.Seventy-year-old Sara Nawaja’a has witnessed three waves of displacement in her lifetime.

“In 1986, the Israeli authorities declared the area of my original house in Susiya an archaeological site and evicted all of the residents in Susiya to a new site”, she said. “But after that in 2001 they declared the area as military zone, and demolished all our tents. We had to move to this site half a kilometer away. Demolitions also happened in 2011, and we have received the latest demolition order last month”.Residents continue to fight the orders through the courts. Close to the village is an Israeli settlement that shares the same name.“Israeli citizens living in Susiya settlement have a swimming pool and playground, but we are not even allowed to build a cistern!” said Mohammad Nawaja’a, a 12 year-old. “I love playing football, but I want to be a journalist and write all the stories of injustice in Palestine”.Mohammad lives half a kilometer (3.1 miles) away from the school. He said: “I want other children of the world to hear our voice, and listen to our misery in the face of Israeli settlers. They are violent and I’m afraid to walk to school alone as last year Israeli settlers attacked me.”In addition to the demolition threat, the village suffers from a lack of basic infrastructures and is not connected to the main electricity or public water supplies.According to various humanitarian organisations, in 2014 alone, 800 olive trees and saplings owned by Palestinian residents of Susiya were vandalized and damaged by Israeli settlers.
Susiya residents spend up to a third of their income to pay for drinking water brought in via tanks, costing them around €5 per cubic meters ($5.5 per 35 cubic feet) – five times higher than the water costs paid by nearby Israeli settlers, who are served by the Israeli water network.Demolitions in Area C are also on the rise. OCHA reported that on average 64 structures were demolished each month in the first three months of 2015 in Area C – compared to 51 demolitions over the same period in 2014 and 53 in 2013.The European Union has repeatedly called upon the Government of Israel to put an end to demolitions in Area C and has highlighted the worsening living conditions for Palestinians living there.In the case of Susiya, a statement issued after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in July urged the Israeli authorities to halt plans for the forced transfer of Susiya’s population and the demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure in the community. The statement concluded: “these actions seriously threaten the two-state solution.”Humanitarian assistance is provided to communities in need in Area C through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). In Susiya, ECHO has supported humanitarian partners to provide water and sanitation services to the children, as well as rehabilitate some classrooms.But in the meantime, while the school has opened for the new term, children and their parents are still uncertain about the future. The question that remains for Mohammad and other children in Susiya: what if we wake up next day, and we find that our school has been demolished?
(Source / 27.08.2015)

If Assad Falls, West Will Be Unable To Defeat ISIS –French Politician

“First the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein, and then the French overthrew Gaddafi. These actions exposed the catastrophic consequences of an ill-conceived neo-colonial policy.”

Bashar Assad

Syria’s President Bashar Assad is sworn for his third, seven-year term, in Damascus, Syria. Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate Syrian rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria as it bombs the Islamic State group there, exposing a gaping hole in the Obama administrationís strategy to ultimately defeat the militants

In an interview for Le Point, French politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan noted that the West’s “ill-conceived neo-colonial policy” of overthrowing secular governments in the Middle East was to blame for the disaster presently being faced by the region and by Europe, adding that if the Syrian government falls, ISIL’s positions will become unassailable.

Speaking about the Middle Eastern migrant crisis presently plaguing Europe, Dupont-Aignan, the leader of the neo-Gaullist party France Arise, said that it’s time for Paris to revise its strategy on Syria, and to abandon its plans to overthrow the secular Arab nationalist government of Bashar Assad.

“First the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein, and then the French overthrew Gaddafi. These actions exposed the catastrophic consequences of an ill-conceived neo-colonial policy. They resulted in the destruction of national governments, the imposition of Sharia law, the flow of migrants from Libya, and the barbarity of ISIL in the Middle East,” Dupont-Aignan, a former member of Nicholas Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement, explained.

“Why repeat the mistake for a third time?” the politician pleaded. “If Assad falls, Lebanon will collapse, the Middle East’s Christians will disappear, and Daesh will become impregnable. And that is not even to mention the migration chaos which will result.”

Dupont-Aignan emphasized that “it’s necessary to urgently reconsider Paris’s naïve policy toward the region; after all, support for the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition in Syria has led to a disaster –the weapons that were sent to them ended up in ISIL’s hands. Moreover, it’s time to stop subsidizing Turkey with European money, which is actually playing a double game. Ankara is increasingly fighting the Kurds, rather than the Islamic State, [while] opening the path to Greece for thousands of migrants.”

Asked by the newspaper whether he was prepared to overlook Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, widely reported on by Western media, Dupont-Aignan noted that France “must not be mistaken over who the enemy is. If the Islamic State is not defeated in the near future, Europe may come to directly face a new Hundred Years’ War, which will destabilize the entire Mediterranean region and even Africa.”

“As for the chemical weapons,” the politician noted, “the reaction of the international community immediately forced Assad to abandon them, while ISIL, as we have learned, have been using them much more actively. It’s important to be aware of [such political] manipulation!”

ISIL’s Destruction Demands a Truly Global Effort and Requires an Independent Foreign Policy

Asked by Le Pointe about how exactly ISIL can be defeated once and for all, Dupont-Aignan noted that the Western coalition’s air operation must be complemented by operations on the ground. “The more we wait, the more this cancer metastasizes. However, this cannot be done only by the West, as this would only exacerbate the problem. The Americans, by the way, have understood this much faster than the French have, as evidenced by their reconciliation with Iran.
“All the major countries of the region must be involved in this process, instead of the sort of political prostitution we see from Qatar and the Gulf states,” the politician noted. “Finally, the entire international community must be involved, and that means returning Russia to the game. In other words, our country needs to regain a truly multilateral and independent foreign policy as soon as possible!”

Dupont-Aignan emphasized that European countries need a “coordinated policy to pressure Turkey and to establish peace in Syria,” adding that “all of this is the purview of traditional diplomacy between states. At the same time, the Schengen system, i.e. the abolition of national borders within the European Union, is largely to blame for the current chaos of migration. It has led to irresponsible behavior on the part of the EU’s border states, which do not prevent illegal immigrants from entering if they do not plan on remaining on their territory. As a result, France, the country with the world’s most generous social system, has to accept more migrants, while Germany, which is going through a demographic crisis, takes in young workers. But all of this cannot last forever.”

The politician warned that “with nearly a million migrants a year, the system is collapsing before our very eyes. Only the restoration of national borders will be able to deter the migrants and their smugglers. The EU’s chronic impotence should have alerted us a long time ago to the fact that when history picks up the pace, only nations are capable of action.”

(Source / 27.08.2015)

Israeli settlers take over new house in Silwan

About 60 Israeli Jewish settlers stormed the Palestinian house and took control over it after evacuating its Palestinian residents

Israeli Jewish settlers took over on Thursday morning new Palestinian house in Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.

The five-story house is now the seventh and biggest settler outpost in Batn al-Hawa. The first one was created in 2005 and is known as Beit Yonatan

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem –Israeli Jewish settlers took over on Thursday morning new Palestinian house in Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.

The house is exactly located in Batn Al-Hawa area of Silwan neighbourhood. The settlers claimed that the house was sold to the far-right Jewish organisation Ateret Cohanim.

Wadi Al-Hilwah Information Centre said in a statement that more than 60 settlers stormed Batn Al-Hawa central Silwan at 2:30am and took over the house owned by Jamal Sarhan.

Israeli occupation troops escorted the settlers, who brought their belongings with them as they moved into in the house.

The settlers then barred the windows and then they raised the Israeli flag on the rooftop of the Palestinian house.

According to Wadi Al-Hilwah statement, the house consists of five floors with 12 apartments. The settlers took control of four floors.

One Palestinian Jerusalemite tenant refused to evacuate his apartment, and as a result the settlers failed to take over one of the five floors.

Earlier this month a lawyer representing Ateret Cohanim issued evacuation notices for three Palestinian buildings owned by the Sarhan family in Batn Al-Hawa, claiming that the land on which the homes are built belong to three Jewish men from Yemen, who lived there before 1948.

The five-story house is now the seventh and biggest settler outpost in Batn al-Hawa. The first one was created in 2005 and is known as Beit Yonatan.

Attempts to take over the properties are part of a bigger plan by Ateret Cohanim to seize 5,200 square meters (56,000 square feet) in the central quarter of Batn al-Hawa, Wadi Al-Hilwah Centre said.

A few days before the evacuation notices for the three buildings were issued, another Palestinian family received an evacuation notice from the same organisation

(Source / 27.08.2015)

Israeli restrictions around Al-Aqsa continue for 4th day

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A large number of Israeli forces remained on Thursday at all entry gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the fourth consecutive day, barring entry to many Palestinians, witnesses told Ma’an.The restrictions into the compound have been imposed in an alleged attempt to initiate a daily schedule for Jewish prayer during which Muslim worshipers will be denied access, locals said.Dozens of Palestinian women who were denied entry remained outside and were told that they would not be allowed access the mosque before 11 a.m. because entry from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. is for Jews only.Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli police officers set up barricades outside all gates denying all Palestinian women and young men entry. Elderly men who were allowed entry had to leave their identity cards with the Israeli officers.Meanwhile, groups of right-wing Jews were seen touring the compound heavily escorted by Israeli police officers.The Moroccan Gate has been almost entirely designated for the entry of Jewish people into the Al-Aqsa compound.

Employees of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment were asked to show proof of their employment in order to be allowed access, despite the fact that they are known to the Israeli officers.Witnesses said Israeli police officers detained a Palestinian reporter Zeina Qatmira while she was outside the Chain gate trying to document Israeli restrictions.Headmistress of Al-Aqsa religious school Ihad Sabri told Ma’an that Israeli police officers continued to impede the entry of schoolgirls.They are allowed to access the compound only through Hatta and Chain gates, she said, highlighting that Israeli officers had repeatedly refuse to allow some of the girls in.Israeli media reported on Monday that Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called on Defense Minister Moshe Yalon to ban an organized group of Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa compound.The group, known as Al-Aqsa Murabiteen, are volunteers who stay inside the compound with the aim of preventing groups of right-wing Jews from touring the compound.A speaker of the committee of Al-Aqsa Murabiteen Yousif Mukhemer told Ma’an that he believes the Jordanian government, which has custodial rights over the Al-Aqsa compound, must intervene to stop Israel’s actions.Mukhemer said Israel “has increasingly breached the jurisdiction of the Jordanian ministry of endowment” by preventing construction and renovations inside the compound.Mukhemer described the Israeli occupation as “a big terrorist organization defending settlers, extremists and gangsters who violate the right to worship, desecrate and torch mosques and churches.” He urged the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, and all other Palestinian factions to “take the matter seriously and put aside all factional disputes.”The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

(Source / 27.08.2015)

For Palestinians, crossing the Allenby Bridge to/from Jordan is ultimate humiliation

The King Hussein / Allenby bridge is the only exit point to the outside world and back for West Bank Pslestinians. The old wooden bridge is long gone and its concrete replacement links Jordan and what should be Palestine as it straddles the Jordan river. Calling it a river glorifies it. It is almost a trickle. But on the Palestinian side the border is completely controlled by Israel.

Holders of the Palestinian Authority passport can’t travel directly to the Allenby bridge. They gather at Istirahet Ariha (Jericoh Service station), where a quasi border exists between The PA areas and Israel.

Busses take Palestinians and their luggage to the exit point of the Allenby bridge where their documents are processed and if permitted to travel, and some are denied this right by Iseael, have to locate their luggage and catch another bus to the Jordanian border post, where their documents are processed and luggage searched.

Palestinians from Jerusalem (holders of the blue Jerusalem residency card) can travel abroad through Tel Aviv airport, but in terms of Arab countries they can only fly to Cairo and Amman. Travel to most Arab countries is through Jordan. They travel directly from Jerusalem to the bridge either in a private taxi or share a bus ride. Both type of vehicle carries yellow Iaraeli number plates.

So there are two types of Palestinian here a Jerusalem Pslestinian and a West Bank Palestinian. The third type, Palestinians from Gaza are not allowed to travel via Jordan. Their only exit point is the almost permenatly closed Rafah crossing to Egypt.

To complete the story, a fourth type of Palestinian, those who are Israrli citizens can travel to Jordan and Egypt but not to other Arab countries. Members of the same family can hold different travel documents and be separated at border controls on that basis for processing.

It is truly astonishing that one people living in their homeland can have such different circumstances in their every day life but also when they travel.

On my recent trip to Palestine / Israel, I experienced this first hand. My initial entry point was Tel Aviv airport, where I was processed and admitted quickly. In the past I had endured long waits of two to three hours and some intense questioning. I was joining my wife and son who had travelled before me for a holiday with my in laws.

I had reasons to spend a few days in Jordan. We took a taxi to the Allenby bridge and we were separated because my wife holds a Jerusalem ID card and my din and I hold Britush passports but no Jerusslem ID.
We were processed reasonably quickly and were on our way to the Jordanian side. Again we were separated and had to cart the luggage around between processing points. The whole crossing experience took about three hours.
The return journey was truly upsetting and humiliating. It took about six hours from start to end.

The facilities on both sides are inadequate for dealing with the huge numbers crossing in both directions, particularly during the summer holidays. The bridge us now open for extended hours but we encountered great overcrowding.

 The immediate impression is that the Israelis treat the Palestinians as a lesser people. They shout at them in their broken Arabic to push them back in the various queues. If their papers are not completely in order, they send them back as if they are sending back animals. It was truly upsetting.

I heard people round me saying how humiliating the experience is. How the ‘yahud’ or Jews humiliate them as they return to their homeland. ‘When will this end’? I heard a woman ask. ‘The Yahud enjoy this’, I heard another say.

My own experience was bearable. My son and I were separated from my wife on the Jordanian side because of her Jerusalem ID, whereas we have British passports and are regarded as tourists. We were treated very well by the Jordanians, but the facility was very crowded.

Busses took us from the Jordanian to the Israeli side. Boarding was chaotic. There were a couple of waits on the Israeli side before we were allowed off. Then there was the chaos of taking the luggage off the bus and checking it through to the other side.
The personal security check took one hour due to the shear numbers. Again Israeli officials often shouting ‘Rukhi’ or go back in their broken Arabic.

An hour later we got to passport control. My wife was allowed through but my passport and Adam’s were sent to the back office. I was called an hour later and asked of my relation to my wife!

The delay and then mild interrogation were unnecessary but seemed to be designed to show Palestinians with other citizen ships who is boss, the occupier!

“What is your father’s name? Where were your parents born?” As it happens they were both born in Jerusalem. The next question was expected. “Do they have a Jerusalem ID”? No, they never did. A question repeated on two other occasions. The reason for asking the question is that if either dud, they would want to take it away, in their efforts to reduce the number that gave residency rights in Jerusalem. Again what is your father’s name, he asked?

Any way, 20 minutes later we had our visas and took transport home.
A car journey which used to take one and a half hours door to door through open borders before 1967 now can takes up to half a day and lots of humiliation.
Crossing the bridge is ultimate humiliation not only because of the testament they receive but the fact that they are reminded that Israel controls their lives, almost every aspect of it. Most do not speak to Israeli Jews except at checkpoints, to seek permits for various matters and then at the Alkenby bridge.

Israel must realise that the occupation and the humiliating interactions Palestinians have with Israeli Jews add to the hatred and do not bring acceptance.

Separation breeds mistrust and fear of the other. It is time this ended, for everyone’s sake.

(Source / 27.08.2015)