Israeli forces injure 3 Palestinians in Friday clashes

BETHLEHEM (MA’AN) — At least three Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces amid clashes across the Palestinian territory Friday, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.Medics told Ma’an Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians with live fire in eastern Gaza City.An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that two hits were made when clashes broke out after dozens of “rioters” attempted to “damage the security fence and infiltrate the buffer zone.”Israeli forces responded by “firing shots toward the instigators,” she added.In the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, an Israeli army vehicle ran over and injured a Palestinian teenager during clashes in al-Arrub refugee camp.Local sources said an Israeli army vehicle ran over Muhammad Nidhal Abu Ghazi,15, before youths took him in a private car to a hospital in Hebron in moderate condition.Several people suffered from tear gas inhalation and were treated on the scene.The clashes in al-Arroub come after a Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces Thursday at the entrance of camp in the Hebron district, after he reportedly attempted to attack a soldier with an ax.Two Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in separate incidents in the area later the same evening.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip crowd near the borders with Israel every Friday to show solidarity with what Palestinians in besieged coastal enclave have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” taking place in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
More than 1,400 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of this year, the majority during clashes that broke out with the Israeli military during protests in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
(Source / 15.04.2016)

Asfari-MAP scholars in the UK – Manar’s story

Asfari-MAP scholars in the UK – Manar’s story

Manar visiting London

My dream came true—I am studying at Oxford Brookes University in the UK! I have repeated this to myself so many times since I arrived and I still don’t believe it sometimes. The road to realising that dream has been a challenge, but I’d like to send a big thank you to MAP and the Asfari Foundation for this huge opportunity.

What I love most about the UK is the freedom of movement. In Palestine, when we plan to travel from one place to another we have to think about checkpoints and the security situation, which is very stressful. In the UK, I still feel stressed whenever I travel, but this manifests itself in odd ways. In the nights leading up to traveling, I cannot sleep and I have to assure myself that everything will be fine. This stress is clearly in my subconscious, and I can’t let it go.

The day I left Palestine I was filled with confusion and mixed feelings. I had a lot of questions about how my life might change, and felt anxious. I kept asking myself “Am I really leaving Palestine to live in Oxford? Will I be the same person when I come back?”

By studying for my Masters I hoped to update my knowledge in paediatric physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and benefit from sharing experiences with other students. I have gained so much more than that. The course has given me a whole new way to seek knowledge, teaching me critical skills and the importance of evidence-based practice. This was initially quite difficult to grasp, as I used to take the information I learned without questioning its validity. When dealing with patient needs I would often apply information based on my own impressions, rather than critically analysing the evidence-base.

I now have a lot of ideas that I want to implement when I go back to my work in Palestine

We have an assignment for every module for which we have to choose the topic. I also found this challenging at first but as I have learned more about myself, I have discovered so many new subjects which interest me which I’d never really considered before. I now have a lot of ideas that I want to implement when I go back to my work in Palestine. This will take time, so I will need a good strategy to help people to come around to my new way of thinking and understanding.

The course keeps me really busy, but when I have free time I enjoy participating in the International English Club at the university. I have had the chance to meet many different people from varied backgrounds, which has enriched my understanding of the different cultures and beliefs of the many people from around the world attending Oxford Brookes with me. I’ve learned about traditions from different countries like Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, and Guy Fawkes Night. I’m also glad to have had the opportunity to meet people from other Arab countries and to have discovered more about their perspectives on the world. I appreciate the similarities and differences between our peoples which I have learned about through our interactions.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

65,000 Palestinians perform Friday prayers at al-Aqsa

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Nearly 65,000 Palestinian worshipers managed to perform Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque despite the Israeli tight restrictions throughout the occupied city of Jerusalem. 65,000 worshipers performed Friday prayers at the holy shrine including 200 worshipers from Gaza Strip who headed to the occupied city via Erez crossing. Israeli police forces were deployed in large numbers since the early morning hours throughout the surrounding areas of the Mosque and the Old City. During the Friday sermon, the preacher of al-Aqsa Sheikh Youssef Abu Snineh strongly condemned the Israeli “unfair” arrest of Sheikh Mohamed Salim over his last week sermon. He also pointed out that Israeli authorities turn blind eye to Jewish break-ins and violations in the holy shrine, while restricting Palestinian worshipers’ entry.  Sheikh Abu Snineh concluded by calling for achieving a real national unity.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison violently attacked, collective Friday prayers prohibited

nafha

Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison have been forbidden from Friday prayers on 15 April following a violent attack by Israeli prison guards and special forces on several units inside the prison on Wednesday, 13 April. Israeli armed units stormed section 14 in the prison on Wednesday, an area where 80 Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the PFLP, Islamic Jihad and Fateh are held, with tear gas and pepper spray. On Wednesday morning they also stormed the prison’s sections 13 and 11.

Ma’an reported that “the warden informed prisoners of the decision and threatened that every cell of the prison will be raided if the decision is violated.” Collective Friday prayers have never been prohibited in Nafha before, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies. Prisoners’ representative Ahmed al-Khatib was isolated after being attacked; four Palestinian prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in Ramon prison. The entire prison has been placed under lockdown by the Israeli prison administration.

Al-Muhja Foundation reported that prisoners in section 14 began protesting after over two months of strict security conditions, including repeated denials of family visits; on Wednesday, 13 April, a prison guard refused for 40 minutes to allow one Palestinian prisoner, Akram Siyam, to visit the toilet. Siyam was assaulted by prison guards and when other prisoners came to his defense, the section was attacked by special forces wielding dogs, tear gas and pepper spray. The attack on the section continued for six hours, in which the attacking forces deliberately poured out food supplies, oil and cola, ransacked and destroyed books, and flooded the cells with large amounts of water, including mattresses. Section 14 consists of 10 rooms, including three rooms of prisoners of the Popular Front, two rooms of prisoners of Islamic Jihad, and five rooms of Fateh prisoners.

Several prisoners were hospitalized due to pepper spray injuries and injuries from beatings; at least one was critically injured. Palestinian prisoners in Ramon and Ketziot have announced protests in support of fellow prisoners in Nafha. There is also a movement for a general one-day hunger strike in all prisons on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, in protest of the attack on Nafha prisoner.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

1,700 ill Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, health group says

This file photo shows Palestinian prisoners in an undisclosed Israeli detention facility.

This file photo shows Palestinian prisoners in an undisclosed Israeli detention facility

A Palestinian health group says at least 1,700 ill Palestinian prisoners are currently languishing in Israeli jails and detention facilities, noting that 25 of those inmates are suffering from cancer.

The Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) announced on Friday that Israeli officials are currently holding more than 7,000 Palestinians in 22 prisons and detention facilities across the occupied territories, Arabic-language Palestine Alaan news agency reported.

The report added that seven of those prisoners have served more than three decades in jail, and that there are 67 women, 400 minors as well as six members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) among the Palestinian detainees.

The UHWC said 700 Palestinians are being held under administrative detention.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eight, ten and eleven years without any charges brought against them.

The Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs announced in a report released on April 3 that at least 241 Palestinian children under the age of 18 are currently held in Israeli prisons.

The report stated that 94 Palestinian minors, sentenced on various charges, are incarcerated at the Israeli-run Ofer Prison near the occupied West Bank city of Beitunia, while the rest are being kept in other jails.

Additionally, 22 Palestinian inmates are under the age of 16 and two are in critical condition after being shot and arrested.

Hundreds of Palestinian inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which is a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

The Palestinian inmates regularly hold hunger strikes in protest at both the administrative detention policy and harsh prison conditions.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

Will Sisi, Muslim Brotherhood make peace?

A supporter of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi carries a poster of him as she joins others in shouting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood in downtown Cairo, Nov. 13, 2014

The return of Egyptian TV broadcaster Tarek Abdel Gaber to Egypt earlier this month has reopened the debate on a reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the ruling regime. Abdel Gaber, who worked for an Islamic-leaning station, had fled to Turkey in the wake of the June 30, 2013, events and after openly declaring his support for the July 2013 sit-in at Rabia al-Adawiya that called for reinstating ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Gaber, who is suffering from cancer, had previously expressed his desire to return to Egypt for treatment but he feared arrest for being associated with a group the state deems a terrorist organization.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was the country’s top military leader at the time of Morsi’s ouster, had agreed to develop a new road map for the country that included reconciliation with “all personalities who enjoy credibility and acceptance by all national elites and represent different movements.” The road map was also subject to a number of conditions, most notably that all of its items shall take into consideration preserving the country’s security and stability.

Sisi held lengthy meetings March 22 with a group of intellectuals, later dubbed the “Group of 24.” Shortly afterward, a number of intellectuals who had not attended the meetings drafted a detailed paper on the proposed procedures in order to bridge the gap between the state’s considerations and the general principles of freedoms and human rights.

People from three groupings — media and young people, human rights and public freedoms, and social justice — have been working to develop mechanisms to deal with and implement the road map related to these groupings.

Egyptian writer Abdullah al-Sinawi, one of the intellectuals who attended the meeting with the president, told Al-Monitor that reconciliation is not currently discussed as an item on the road map and that it is far too early to discuss it. He claimed that the return of Abdel Gaber did not fall under political reconciliation between Sisi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sinawi explained that the broadcaster’s return was triggered by purely humanitarian circumstances, since he had been diagnosed with a fatal disease and asked to return to Egypt to die in his own country. However, he said Abdel Gaber’s return is a positive sign for the possible return of other exiled media figures in Turkey who are implicated in other cases.

Sinawi even predicted that Brotherhood members could return to Egypt, even if individually, as long as their situation was similar to that of Abdel Gaber or involved humanitarian concerns.

He said, “There is no objection for the return of Muslim Brotherhood members if they accept constitutional legitimacy. [But this] requires the recognition of all current state institutions and the results for the elections of such institutions, mainly the presidential election and the parliamentary election, the current legislative power in the country. These members must renounce violence and terrorism.”

Sinawi, who is known for being close to the presidency and other state institutions, told Al-Monitor that according to the information he received from government sources, “each application filed by a [Muslim Brotherhood member] abroad wanting to return to Egypt will be examined separately by the presidency and not by any other authority.”

Sinawi said that permission to return to Egypt is limited to journalists and politicians who had been deceived by the Muslim Brotherhood, and this decision does not include any of the group’s leaders.

Mohammed Abdel Fattah, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood residing abroad, told Al-Monitor, “A reconciliation with the current regime is unlikely to happen.” He said that if there is a real opportunity for reconciliation, the situation would be very complicated, especially with respect to the issue of detainees.

Abdel Fattah said that Egyptian reports about a reconciliation can be categorized as “media shows.”

“I think that Sisi’s departure is more likely than any reconciliation between the two parties right now,” Abdel Fattah said, noting that regional intervention could be used to achieve reconciliation between the two sides. “There is no explicit proposal of reconciliation thus far, but as soon as regional parties intervene, place pressure on the two parties and impose acceptable terms, something might happen to change the status quo.”

Brotherhood members, however, still have their eyes on the regime. “The seriousness of the regime’s reconciliation intentions can be tested through [their efforts to reconcile with] the April 6 Youth Movement and release their prisoners,” Abdel Fattah said, adding that if this happens, the likelihood of the Brotherhood dealing with the regime and agreeing on reconciliation may increase.

He added, “Although the release of the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie or Khairat el-Shater may have greater impact than the release of the April 6 movement members, such a move can increase the chances of reconciliation with the Brotherhood in the future.”

Al-Monitor also spoke with Yasser Fathi, a Brotherhood member living outside Egypt. Fathi said the current Egyptian state and its institutions “are not constitutional and the Egyptian state is not a state of law as it lacks real legitimate legislative, regulatory and executive institutions.”

Fathi’s opinion, which is similar to that of a broad sector of young Brotherhood members, especially those who were forced to leave the country for fear of arrest, confirms that the road to reconciliation with the current regime has reached a dead end.

Fathi believes that Sisi’s government breaches the constitution and the law and aims to control the country’s capabilities and nationalize the economy and politics in favor of the security and military system.

There is a lack of trust between the two parties to the reconciliation, according to Fathi, who said that any reports about reconciliation are delusional and far from the essence of the problem suffered by the Egyptian people. Such reports, he added, are a mere attempt to escape the current impasse and failure.

Diaa Rashwan, a researcher at Al-Ahram Strategic Center and a specialist in Islamic movements for nearly 30 years, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is plagued by deep divisions as some members of the group are ready to renounce violence and terrorism and modify their ideas, but the group currently lacks the sufficient courage to announce this.

According to Rashwan, the Muslim Brotherhood’s shift is contrary to the course of many jihadi groups, which embraced extremism in the beginning, then renounced violence and gradually integrated into the community after they committed to the conditions imposed upon them by the state. One case in point is the jihadi groups in Algeria, which started integration in 1997. The Brotherhood’s reverse shift that turned it from a radical group to an extremist one following the dispersion of the Rabia al-Adawiya protest made reconciliation more difficult. “Reconciliation will not occur in the absence of an initiative on the part of those who erred against the state,” Rashwan said.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

New Israeli demolition orders against Palestinian structures in Silwan

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– An Israeli municipal crew on Friday morning delivered demolition orders against a commercial facility and a house in Silwan district in Occupied Jerusalem at the pretext of unlicensed construction. A local source reported that employees from the Israeli municipality escorted by police forces entered al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan and handed a Palestinian citizen a demolition notice issued against his car wash. The source told Quds Press that a similar demolition order was put up on a house’s wall in the same neighborhood. Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem that is seeing home demolitions and displacement of Palestinian families as part of a systematic Israeli policy aimed at Judaizing the whole city.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

AL calls for internationalizing issue of prisoners in Israel’s jails

CAIRO, (PIC)– The Arab League on Thursday called for internationalizing the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and using all possible and legitimate means to put an end to their persistent suffering. This came in a statement released by the division of Palestine and the occupied Arab territories at the Arab League on the occasion of the Palestinian Prisoner Day, which falls on April 17. “The issue of Arab prisoners and detainees in the jails of the Israeli occupation will continue to be at the forefront of the issues that we concern about until all of them are released,” the Arab League stated. According to Quds Press, the Arab League urged the international community and their organizations to pressure Israel to release all Arab and Palestinian prisoners and detainees in its jails and to respect the international law in this regard. It also called on the international competent bodies to follow up Israel’s violations against the prisoners. Its statement pointed to the presence of about 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails, over 700 of them are administratively detained without due process. There are also 480 children and minors, 68 women, and six lawmakers in different prisons and detention centers, the statement added.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

Haneyya renews call on al-Qassam Brigades to free prisoners

GAZA, (PIC)– Deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has renewed his call on al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, to extract the freedom of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. This came in the Friday khutba (sermon) which he delivered during a sit-in held in solidarity with the prisoners outside the Red Cross headquarters. Haneyya also said that the Hamas leadership would work side by side with the captors of Israeli soldiers and help them seal an honorable prisoner swap deal. The Hamas official hailed the armed wing of Hamas for their adherence to the national principles and constants, stressing that the issue of prisoners would remain a priority for the Movement.

(Source / 15.04.2016)

Social media and the Third Intifada: The inconvenient truth

Youth protesters rest during a lull in clashes on a side street in Bethlehem Oct. 13, 2015

By: Albana Dwonch

Albana Dwonch is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington currently conducting research in Jerusalem.

Six months since its start, more questions have been raised than answered regarding the violent rebellion of youth in the occupied Palestinian territory.“Is this a Third Intifada or not” was the first disputed matter brought up for debate by many media reports and analyses. The second, “Did social media fuel it?” caused an equal amount of confusion over its role in the latest youth revolt.The confusion was first evident in the media’s difficulty to define these new leaderless actors and their unfamiliar mobilizing ways. Journalists had to alter their vocabulary and establish new terms such as “lone wolf” and “online inciter.”Yet these terms were problematic as well. “Lone wolves” — the users of the most archaic tools of the street — were hard to distinguish from “online inciters”– users of advanced social technologies, who produced, posted and shared videos of events with their social networks.Despite the difficulty to define and explain these new actors and their decentralized methods for organizing, the overall conclusion is that social media has been a driver for the spread of violence and for the radicalization of Palestinian youth over the past six months.However, this conclusion ignores a much deeper and persistent development. Beyond the specific role of social media in this youth revolt, the broader implications of the dramatic shift of social and media terrain are starting to alter Palestinian and Israeli political systems and their domestic and international sources of power.The use of social media made clear that while the PA and Israel may still be able to contain the unrest, PA certainly cannot control the youth undertaking it, neither Israel can put a clear end to it.Why angry but leaderless?

The degree to which social media fueled the dynamics of violence in this youth revolt is entangled in the broader implication of exposing the legitimacy crisis of Palestinian political structures.The preference of youth for leaderless and decentralized mobilization reveals an acute disconnect and loss of faith in their parties and leaders.The claim that viral dissemination of violent videos through social media diffused anger and incited further violence has now been eclipsed by another unintended social media effect of this latest cycle of violence.The March 24 video by a citizen rights worker in Hebron exposed the fine line between “inciting” and “exposing” violence.The sight of an Israeli soldier executing an already wounded Palestinian lying on the ground, exposed for the broader public, the less-witnessed side of the same dark story: Israel’s excessive use of state violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.As with the fine line between “lone wolf” and “online inciter,” videos featuring “Palestinian knife-attacks” are now matched with videos featuring Israeli extrajudicial killings.The exposure of state violence as an unintended effect in capturing “lone wolfs”, led to another problem: increased surveillance and censorship in search of “online inciters.”Israel with its strong Internet infrastructure and Internet penetration rates amongst the highest in the world has, since October 2015, increased surveillance of the Internet, and has arrested hundreds of Palestinian youth for “online incitement” on their Facebook pages.In addition, the Israeli government has shut down Palestinian media outlets in the West Bank and targeted Israeli rights NGOs which publicize videos and materials in defense of the human rights of Palestinians are now under state scrutiny, which paints them as suspect of being foreign agents.Power structures strike back
Co-optation of non-state actors, increased surveillance and excessive use of military violence represent a familiar state response to such youth protests.In fact, through its response to this unrest, the Israeli government bears a stark resemblance with the way the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza contained and then crushed the non-violent March 15 youth movement in 2011.Inspired by the unforgettable images of the Arab Spring, the March 15 movement was initiated on Facebook in the form of an angry manifesto that triggered an emotional response by a vast plurality of youth who shared common frustrations and occupied the public squares in the West Bank and Gaza.These protests were directed against the division between the Palestinian factions and other power structures. Shortly after, Palestinian authorities significantly increased Internet surveillance, shut down or co-opted local NGOs, dissolved online youth groups and jailed and threatened charismatic young leaders.So, while the Israeli search for lone wolves and online inciters is far from over, something else far more important is unfolding: While state power response to youth protests are becoming relatively easy to predict, the next wave of youth protest and what it will bring is extremely unpredictable.We have witnessed twice so far in this decade protests diffused through social media that have attempted to hit Palestinian and Israeli power structures. Both were sparked by a widely shared sentiment of anger and both surprised the power systems in place. And both were contained for the time being.Yet, singling out social media as the reason for why these mobilization patterns fail or become violent distracts attention from understanding the evolving conditions that enable the transformation of emotional sentiment of hope or despair into the next movement for change against the de facto powers in place.This understanding may dramatically shift the power relations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Source / 15.04.2016)