Prisoners … a long history of fighting the occupier

Comprehensive documentary report to mark the Prisoner Day

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested since 1967 until 2016 nearly one million Palestinians, including more than 15 thousand women, and tens of thousands of children. These daunting numbers refer to the size of the Palestinians sacrifice in their struggle against the occupier’s arrogance and tyranny. According to a comprehensive documentary report, released by the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), to mark the Palestinian Prisoner Day, the IOF had arrested more than 90 thousand Palestinians since the year 2000, including more than 11 thousand children, about 1,300 women, and more than 65 deputies and ministers. The report said that the arrests were not confined to a particular category of the Palestinian society, but affected all the categories and segments of Palestinian society. Brief introduction on the history of the National Palestinian Prisoners Movement The comprehensive documentary report singled out a brief history of the National Palestinian Prisoners Movement, stating that the Movement started its work since the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1948. The prisoners case is one of the major humanitarian, political and legal issues in the contemporary times in light of the fact that more than one-third of the Palestinian people had been imprisoned throughout the long years of the conflict with the Israeli occupation and the Zionist movement. Statistics According to the report, nearly 7 thousand Palestinians, including 70 female prisoners and more than 400 children, are currently languishing in the Israeli occupation jails.  The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is holding the prisoners in 22 prisons and investigation and interrogation detention centers in addition to the Israeli Etzion and Hawara army detention centers. 4,800 arrests since the beginning of the third Intifada The report pointed that the IOA had arrested nearly five thousand people since the outbreak of the Jerusalem intifada (uprising) last October, including 1,400 children and minors, the majority of the arrested are from Jerusalem and Al-Khalil. Racist laws The report listed a number of laws legislated by the Israeli Knesset against the National Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement, among which are: the force-feeding law for hunger-striking prisoners in addition to toughening punishment against stone throwers and the detention of children. In addition to the legislated laws there are draft laws, namely: The draft law of prisoners execution and denial of education and communication, noting that prisoners are deprived of education and communication services without legislated laws. In addition to the draft law of “terrorism”, tightening punishment for the released Palestinian prisoners in the Shalit swap deal and the application of the criminal law on security prisoners. Extrajudicial executions The report says: “Since last October, the IOF resorted to the policy of extrajudicial executions, therefore since October 2015 until today, organized crimes of executions and mass and unprecedented arrests are being committed, as more than 85% of the martyrs of the current Jerusalem intifada were executed at point blank range and even at zero point in some cases, although the Israeli police and army were able to arrest most of the alleged attackers instead of executing them.  The National Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement’s classifications of prisoners: The comprehensive documentary report stated some of the movement’s classifications of prisoners: Former prisoners The term former prisoners means prisoners who were arrested by the occupation before the signing of the Oslo agreement in 1993. In 2013, three groups of prisoners were released during negotiations that were interrupted because the occupation had refused to release the fourth group, which consisted of 30 prisoners in March 2014. This term refers also to the prisoners who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli jails. Female prisoners The number of female prisoners reached 70, 17 of whom are little girls. Children and minor Prisoners The number of Palestinian minors (less than 18 years) in Israeli jails reached 400 children. They are held in Megiddo and Ofer prisons. Children are exposed during their detention to different practices of torture, humiliation and cruel treatment, from the moment of their arrest. They are also brutally taken out of their homes in the late hours of the night; in addition to the humiliating and degrading treatment they are exposed to while being transported to detention centers or interrogation centers, not to mention the harsh treatment and torture against them. It is noteworthy that many of the minors’ confessions were extracted by force and threat, and some were sentenced in absentia. Furthermore, the Israeli military courts did not hesitate to issue high sentences against the minor prisoners accompanied with high fines, most of the minor prisoners were released in exchange of payment of fines or what is known as third party sponsorships, or were being locked in their homes or being kept away from their places of residence or outside Jerusalem. Most of the arrested minors were from Jerusalem.  Administrative prisoners  There are nearly 750 prisoners are held under administrative detention in the occupation prisons. Administrative detention is the unknown enemy that faces the Palestinian prisoners, a penalty without charge, where the prisoner is being held without trial and without giving him or his lawyer the chance of defense due to lack of incriminating evidence. Administrative detention decisions are based on the so-called “secret file” provided by the Israeli intelligence services (Shin Bet). Martyr prisoners  Martyr prisoners are the prisoners who died while in detention at the hands of the Zionist army, or prisoners who were exposed to extrajudicial execution, and also the prisoners who died in prison as a result of deliberate medical neglect or as a result of the repression policies against them inside prisons. Martyr prisoners reached 207 martyrs. In addition to a number of prisoners who died only weeks after their release, among them are: Zakariya Isa, Zuhair Labadah, Ashraf Abu Thrai, and the last of them was the martyr Fadi Darby. Sick prisoners The IOA pursue medical negligence policy against the Palestinian sick and wounded prisoners, in addition to assaulting them and tying them up while transferred via the Bosta (an Israeli prison vehicle in which the detainees are transported shackled to iron chairs for long hours) without regard to their health. The number of sick prisoners is more than 700 prisoners, including 23 prisoners languishing in “Ramleh prison clinic”; most of them receive only painkillers and anesthetics. Two prisoners were martyred during the year 2015 as a result of medical negligence policy, raising the number of martyr prisoners of the movement to 207 martyrs, namely: the ex-prisoner Jaafar Awad, 22, from al-Khalil, who died on the tenth of April 2015 after suffering from several serious diseases during his arrest, which were  diabetes, severe pneumonia and problems with his glands, and prisoner Fadi Ali Ahmed Darby, 30, from the city of Jenin, in October 2015, after suffering a stroke which caused him to enter a stage of clinical death for several days, and after suffering from medical neglect by the Israeli prison services for two years, especially since he suffered from bleeding in his navel while he was isolated and was not given any treatment. Isolated prisoners The “Shin Bet” holds 16 prisoners in solitary confinement under the pretext of “security reasons and secret files”, seven of whom are isolated since 2013, in addition to isolating many of the prisoners almost daily under the pretext of “punishment”, which is often a result of the prisoners’ protest to bad conditions. Re-arrested prisoners (Shalit deal) The IOA has re-arrested 70 prisoners of the released in Shalit swap deal  in 2014, among the re-arrested is the prisoner Nael Barghouti, who languished in the Israeli prisons for (34) years. A special military commission was formed to look into their cases, the commission legislated re-sentencing them their same sentences under the so-called the “secret file”. 47 of them were re-sentenced with their pervious sentences. Violations in prisons The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and the IOF practice abuse and torture against prisoners’ movement in jails and interrogation and detention centers, and during interrogation, and during transfer to the courts and hospitals via the “Bosta”. Many violations against the prisoners have been recorded, such as the deprivation of medications and treatment, sudden incursions at night, arbitrary transfers between prisons and sections, depriving prisoners of being in one prison with relatives of the first class in some cases, assaulting prisoners by beating and firing tear gas between the sections of closed rooms, the shooting in the squares, in addition to depriving some prisoners of family visits, setting up a glass barrier between the prisoner and his family during the visit, the imposition of sanctions including isolation, payment of fines, and disconnecting power and water supplies. Torture against prisoners Legal reports indicate that 95% of the total detainees were subjected to torture and cruel abuse by investigators and the Israeli army. Different types of torture included, beatings, brutal and barbaric abuse against prisoners during their arrest and before being transferred to interrogation and detention centers, as well as forcing them to take off their clothes and leave them for long hours in the bitter cold with their hands and legs cuffed, and the denial of access to toilets. Upon the arrival of prisoners to interrogation cells and detention centers scattered in Israel, they are subjected to cruel interrogation, sleep deprivation, and continued denial of meeting their lawyers, in addition to demolishing the homes of dozens of them and punishing their families by the arrest of the some prisoners’ wives and mothers in an attempt to force the prisoners to confess, in addition to solitary confinement for long periods.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

Group: 43 journalists jailed by Israel since October

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian photojournalist Nasser Shiyuki in 2010

GAZA (Ma’an) — The Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists said on Saturday that Israel has detained 43 journalists in the occupied Palestinian territory since October 2015, including two foreign reporters.The New York-based committee said in a report that during detention and imprisonment, journalists have reported torture, medical negligence, and unreasonable and illegal rulings by the Israeli authorities.

The committee condemned the increasing number of detentions of journalists, and called for their immediate release.At least four of the 43 journalists were released in February and March, while 20 others — including a female journalist and a media student — remain in Israeli prison, while others have been transferred to house arrest.The report also said that three journalists are suffering from medical conditions. Bassam al-Sayih is suffering from an advanced stage of cancer and administrative detainee Ali al-Ewawi is suffering from ulcerative colitis.The committee added that Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq is still recovering from his grueling 94-day hunger strike that brought him close to death, and is currently being treated in Israel’s HaEmek Medical Center in Afula.
The journalists’ rights committee released Saturday’s report marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, held on April 17 every year in solidarity with the approximately 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.The Israeli crackdown on media organizations and journalists in particular is part of a systematic policy that often designates outlets affiliated with Palestinian political parties as terrorist organizations, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.“The practical implication of these broadly-defined offenses is the criminalization of many aspects of Palestinian civic life,” Addameer stated.In a statement released in March, Palestinian media freedoms group MADA said it was “highly concerned” by recent Israeli resolutions targeting Palestinian media, saying it neglected “the main reason for the whole conflict, which is the continuous occupation and all systematic violations against Palestinian people.”

The watchdog also released a report last month showing that 2015 had seen an “unprecedented” increase in Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists across the occupied Palestinian territory.
(Source / 16.04.2016)

Saudi Arabia wants US to kill 9/11 bill, threatens to dump US assets worth $750 bn – report

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his meeting with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir © Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

Saudi Arabia appears to be blackmailing the US, saying it would sell off American assets worth a 12-digit figure sum in dollars if Congress passes a bill allowing the Saudi government to be held responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The warning was delivered by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir last month during a visit to Washington, the New York Times reported. He said his country would sell up to $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets before the bill puts them in jeopardy.

The newspaper said Riyadh’s resolve to actually deliver on the threat is dubious, since selling off those assets would be technically challenging and would damage the dollar, against which the Saudi national currency is pegged.

Under the current US law, foreign nations have a degree of immunity from being sued in American courts. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 is one of the reasons why families of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks largely failed to bring to court the Saudi royal family and charities over suspicion of financially supporting the attacks.

The bill introduced in the Senate would waiver the immunity for cases involving terrorist attacks that kill US citizens on US soil. Introduced by Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, it managed to overcome partisan divisions in the US legislation and passed without dissent through the Judiciary Committee in January.

“As our nation confronts new and expanding terror networks that are targeting our citizens, stopping the funding source for terrorists becomes even more important,” Senator Cornyn said last month.

Possible links between the perpetrators of the attack and Saudi Arabia may be hiding in 28 classified pages of the 2002 congressional report on 9/11, which allegedly describe how Saudi Arabian nationals with links to the government financially assisted the 19 hijackers who flew airplanes into World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Many people, including the co-author of the redacted pages, former Florida Senator Bob Graham, have been campaigning for years to make them public.

The Obama administration is opposing the bill, saying it would make foreign nations retaliate by passing similar legislation and target American citizens and corporations in their national courts. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel in February that the bill, in its current form, would “expose the United States of America to lawsuits and take away our sovereign immunity and create a terrible precedent.”

Ironically, sovereign immunity didn’t stop a US judge from last month ordering Iran to pay $10.5 billion in damages to families of the 9/11 victims. The ruling was passed because Iran didn’t defend itself against the allegations. These put the blame on Iran over its links with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which, plaintiffs argued, aided Al-Qaeda. The argument is based on the same congressional report, which also said no link between the hijackers and Iran had been found.

None of the 19 hijackers were Iranian citizens. Fifteen were citizens of Saudi Arabia, while two were from the United Arab Emirates, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter regional rivals, adhering to competing sects of Islam and battling for position in the Muslim world. The US had been a stalwart supporter of Saudi Arabia and opponent of Iran, which overthrew the US-backed Shah in 1979 and became an Islamic republic.

Washington’s cordial relations with Riyadh chilled somewhat as it sought a thaw with Tehran last year, participating in a deal to resolve the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

Fatah commemorates leader assassinated by Israel

Youth march in Ramallah in commemoration of Khalil al-Wazir’s death

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Fatah party on Saturday commemorated the death of Khalil al-Wazir, a top leader of the movement who was assassinated by Israel in his home just under two decades ago.Fatah supporters marched in honor of al-Wazir, known by his party as Abu Jihad, through the center of Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank, waving party flags and hoisting photos of al-Wazir.Forcefully expelled from his home in Ramle during the establishment of Israel in 1948, al-Wazir for decades played a major role in Fatah’s military activities and was close with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.The leader was exiled from Lebanon along with the rest of Fatah following Israel’s 1982 invasion and exiled from Jordan two years later, before finally landing in Tunis where he was assassinated in 1988.Al-Wazir played an integral role in remotely organizing youths inside the occupied Palestinian territory in preparation for the First Intifada, and is one of a number of Palestinian leaders believed to have been assassinated by Israeli forces.

Fatah commemoration of Khalil al-Wazir in Ramallah on April 16, 2016
(Source / 16.04.2016)

Israeli cabinet to meet in occupied Golan against intl’ pressure

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli government is expected to hold a cabinet meeting in the occupied Golan Heights Sunday, in a “symbolic” gesture of Israel’s refusal to turn over the illegally annexed area despite international pressure, Israeli media reported.Israel’s Channel 2 on Friday reported that in response to an agreement being drafted by world leaders in effort to end the bloody war in Syria — which calls on Israel to hand back the Golan to Syria — Israeli officials decided to hold a meeting in the area.The move will mark the first time an Israeli cabinet meeting will ever be held in the occupied area, allegedly to prove to the international community Israel’s determination not to relinquish control, Channel 2 reported.Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the Golan has been tense, with a number of mostly stray rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side last year, prompting the occasional armed response.Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the heights in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.Al-Marsad, the Arab Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan, estimates that the around 130,000 Syrians were displaced by Israel from the Golan during the 1967 takeover, a population that has now grown to around 430,000, many of whom live in areas hit by recent violence in Syria.The Israeli military tightened the northern border of the occupied Golan last summer, reportedly in effort to prevent access to Syria by Druze living in the Golan who said they would cross the border in order to protect their brethren from ongoing violence.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

Israeli Colonel Caught with IS Pants Down

345345435This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” Bythat I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence he apparently said a lot regarding the role of Netanyahu’s IDF in supporting IS.

In late October an Iranian news agency, quoting a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, reported the capture of an Israeli army colonel, named Yusi Oulen Shahak, reportedly related to the ISIS Golani Battalion operating in Iraq in the Salahuddin front. In a statement to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency a Commander of the Iraqi Army stated, “The security and popular forces have held captive an Israeli colonel.” He added that the IDF colonel “had participated in the Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations.” He said the colonel was arrested together with a number of ISIL or IS terrorists, giving the details: “The Israeli colonel’s name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked colonel in Golani Brigade… with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434.”

Why Israel?

Ever since the beginning of Russia’s very effective IS bombing of select targets in Syria on September 30, details of the very dirty role of not only Washington, but also NATO member Turkey under President Erdogan, Qatar and other states has come into the sunlight for the first time.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that at least a faction in the Obama Administration has played a very dirty behind-the-scenes role in supporting IS in order to advance the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and pave the way for what inevitably would be a Libya-style chaos and destruction which would make the present Syrian refugee crisis in Europe a mere warmup by comparison.

The “pro-IS faction” in Washington includes the so-called neo-conservatives centered around disgraced former CIA head and executioner of the Iraqi “surge” General David Petraeus. It also includes US General John R. Allen, who since September 2014 had served as President Obama’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and, until she resigned in February 2013, it included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Significantly, General John Allen, an unceasing advocate of a US-led “No Fly Zone” inside Syria along the border to Turkey, something President Obama refused, was relieved of his post on 23 October, 2015. That was shortly after launch of the highly-effective Russian strikes on Syrian IS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorist sites changed the entire situation in the geopolitical picture of Syria and the entire Middle East.

UN Reports cites Israel

That Netanyahu’s Likud and the Israeli military work closely with Washington’s neo-conservative war-hawks is well-established, as is the vehement opposition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Israel regards the Iranian-backed Shi’a Islamist militant group, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, as arch foe. Hezbollah has been actively fighting alongside the Syrian Army against ISIS in Syria. General Allen’s strategy of “bombings of ISIS” since he was placed in charge of the operation in September 2014, as Russia’s Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly pointed out, far from destroying ISIS in Syria, had vastly expanded their territorial control of the country. Now it becomes clear that that was precisely the intent of Allen and the Washington war faction.

Since at least 2013 Israeli military have also openly bombed what they claim were Hezbollah targets inside Syria. Investigation revealed that in fact Israel was hitting Syrian military and Hezbollah targets who are valiantly fighting against ISIS and other terrorists. De facto thereby Israel was actually helping ISIS, like General John Allen’s year-long “anti-ISIS” bombings.

That a faction in the Pentagon has secretly worked behind-the-scenes to train, arm and finance what today is called ISIS or IS in Syria is now a matter of open record. In August 2012, a Pentagon document classified “Secret,” later declassified under pressure of the US NGO Judicial Watch, detailed precisely the emergence of what became the Islamic State or ISIS emerging from the Islamic State in Iraq, then an Al Qaeda affiliate.

The Pentagon document stated, “…there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition [to Assad-w.e.] want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” The supporting powers to the opposition in 2012 then included Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA and behind-the-scenes, Netanyahu’s Israel.

Precisely this creation of a “Salafist Principality in eastern Syria,” today’s territory of ISIL or IS, was the agenda of Petraeus, General Allen and others in Washington to destroy Assad. It’s what put the Obama Administration at loggerhead with Russia, China and Iran over the bizarre US demand Assad must first go before ISIS can be destroyed. Now the game is in the open for the world to see Washington’s duplicity in backing what the Russian’s accurately call “moderate terrorists” against a duly-elected Assad. That Israel is also in the midst of this rats’ nest of opposition terrorist forces in Syria was confirmed in a recent UN report.

What the report did not mention was why Israeli IDF military would have such a passionate interest in Syria, especially Syria’s Golan Heights.

Why Israel wants Assad Out

In December, 2014 the Jerusalem Post in Israel reported the findings of a largely ignored, and politically explosive report detailing UN sightings of Israeli military together with ISIS terrorist combatants. The UN peacekeeping force, UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), stationed since 1974 along the Golan Heights border between Syria and Israel, revealed that Israel had been working closely with Syrian opposition terrorists, including Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front and IS in the Golan Heights, and “kept close contact over the past 18 months.” The report was submitted to the UN Security Council. Mainstream media in the US and West buried the explosive findings.

The UN documents showed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. The IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but the deception was broken when the UNDOF observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a “crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS,” a point of concern UNDOF brought before the UN Security Council.

The UNDOF was created by a May, 1974 UN Security Council Resolution No. 350 in the wake of tensions from the October 1973 Yom Kippur War between Syria and Israel. It established a buffer zone between Israel and Syria’s Golan Heights according to the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, to be governed and policed by the Syrian authorities. No military forces other than UNDOF are permitted within it. Today it has 1,200 observers.

Since 2013 and the escalation of Israeli attacks on Syria along the Golan Heights, claiming pursuit of “Hezbollah terrorists,” the UNDOF itself has been subject to massive attacks by ISIS or Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorists in the Golan Heights for the first time since 1974, of kidnappings, of killings, of theft of UN weapons and ammunition, vehicles and other assets, and the looting and destruction of facilities. Someone obviously does not want UNDOF to remain policing the Golan Heights.

Israel and Golan Heights Oil

In his November 9 White House meeting with US President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Washington to reconsider the fact that since the 1967 Six-Days’ War between Israel and the Arab countries, Israel has illegally occupied a significant part of the Golan Heights. In their meeting, Netanyahu, apparently without success, called on Obama to back formal Israeli annexation of the illegally-occupied Golan Heights, claiming that the absence of a functioning Syrian government “allows for different thinking” concerning the future status of the strategically important area.

Of course Netanyahu did not address in any honest way how Israeli IDF and other forces had been responsible for the absence of a functioning Syrian government by their support for ISIS and Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda.

In 2013, when UNDOF began to document increasing contact between Israeli military and IS and Al Qaeda along the Golan Heights, a little-known Newark, New Jersey oil company, Genie Energy, with an Israeli daughter company, Afek Oil & Gas, began also moving into Golan Heights with permission of the Netanyahu government to explore for oil. That same year Israeli military engineers overhauled the forty-five mile border fence with Syria, replacing it with a steel barricade that included barbed wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras, and ground radar, putting it on par with the Wall Israel has constructed in the West Bank.

Interestingly enough, on October 8, Yuval Bartov, chief geologist from Genie Energy’s Israeli subsidiary, Afek Oil & Gas, told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that his company had found a major oil reservoir on the Golan Heights: “We’ve found an oil stratum 350 meters thick in the southern Golan Heights. On average worldwide, strata are 20 to 30 meters thick, and this is 10 times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.” As I noted in an earlier article, the International Advisory Board of Genie Energy includes such notorious names as Dick Cheney, former CIA head and infamous neo-con James Woolsey, JacobLord Rothschild and others.

Of course no reasonable person in their right mind would suggest there might be a link between Israeli military dealings with the ISIS and other anti-Assad terrorists in Syria, especially in the Golan Heights, and the oil find of Genie Energy in the same place, and with Netanyahu’s latest Golan Heights “rethink” appeal to Obama. That would smell too much like “conspiracy theory” and all reasonable people know conspiracies don’t exist, only coincidences. Or? In fact, to paraphrase the immortal words of Brad Pitt in the role of West Virginia First Lieutenant Aldo Raine in the final scene of Tarantino’s brilliant film, Inglorious Basterds, it seems that ‘Ol Netanyahu and his pecker-suckin pals in the IDF and Mossad just got caught with their hands in a very dirty cookie jar in Syria.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

 

Israeli army restarts operation to look for border tunnels

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation army on Saturday started anew its digging activities along the eastern borderline of the Gaza Strip to search for underground tunnels. According to Quds Press, seven big excavators were used in the search operation, which started on the eastern border of Rafah area, south of Gaza. During the operation, Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian citizens and farmers in different border areas, especially east of Gaza City. The border tunnels, which were built by al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, played an important role in launching abrupt counterattacks on Israeli military targets during the 2014 war.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, level lands in southern Gaza

GAZA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Saturday opened fire on Palestinian farmers and leveled lands in the southern Gaza Strip, locals said.Witnesses told Ma’an Israeli forces opened fire on agricultural lands near the the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Yunis.In the eastern side of the Rafah district of the southern Gaza Strip, seven Israeli bulldozers leveled lands in the border area, continuing excavation works that have been reported by locals in the areaalmost daily for the past two weeks.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an Israeli forces fired warning shots into the air after “two suspects breached the buffer zone” and the suspects returned.Israeli military forces routinely enter the Gaza Strip near the “buffer zone,” which lies on the border between the besieged enclave and Israel.Israeli military activities, which have become almost daily occurrences, often interfere with Palestinian farmers whose land lies in the area. Approximately 35 percent of Palestinian agricultural land in Gaza is inaccessible without high personal risk, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported at least 30 incidents of Israeli military forces opening fire in the “buffer zone” in the first week of April alone, in two cases injuring Palestinians were were as far as 350 meters away from the border.The Israeli army says the use of live fire is necessary to deter potential “security threats.” However, the practice has destroyed much of both the agricultural and fishing sectors of the impoverished coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade for nearly a decade.

(Source / 16.04.2016)

Syrian Coalition and HNC Stress Need for Accountability in Syria

General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee Riad Hijab stressed the HNC’s commitment to pursuing the interests of the Syrian people and their aspirations. He said that the HNC is keen on prioritizing the discussion of the issue of political transition and the formation of a transitional government body (TGB) with full power without Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle during the ongoing round of talks in Geneva.

Hijab was speaking during a meeting with the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, President Anas al-Abdah and members of the General Assembly in the Coalition’s headquarters in Istanbul earlier today.

Hijab gave a detailed overview of the course of the third round of the Geneva talks. He also reviewed the meetings the HNC held with the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, representatives of active players in the Syrian file and friendly countries.

The HNC’s general coordinator pointed out that the HNC’s insistence on its demands forced the Assad regime to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to some of the besieged areas across Syria. He added that the HNC is pressing to introduce relief aid to the rest of the besieged areas. The HNC persistently raises the issue of the detainees in Assad’s prisons, Hijab said.

The conferees stressed the need to hold war criminals, including Bashar al-Assad, accountable. While he rejected partial solutions to the conflict, Hijab underscored that no one in the opposition has the right to waive any of the Syrian people’s rights or deviate from the principles of the Syrian revolution.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 16.04.2016)

Hamas has enough strength to liberate Palestinian prisoners

The liberation of the Palestinian prisoners is a pledge by all parties of the Palestinian resistance

Ismail Haniyeh addresses Gazans during friday prayers, on 15th April 2016

Ismail Haniyeh addresses Gazans during friday prayers, on 15th April 2016

The senior Hamas leader in Gaza said on Friday that his movement is strong enough to liberate the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, MEMO’s correspondent in Gaza has reported.

“The liberation of the Palestinian prisoners is a pledge by all parties of the Palestinian resistance,” insisted Ismail Haniyeh, “and any concession in this regard touches on our national principles.” The Hamas official used the Friday sermon at prayers held in front of the Gaza HQ of the International Committee of the Red Cross to deliver his message. “Hamas will never feel happy until all of the Palestinian prisoners are freed in the same way as those granted freedom in the 2011 prisoner swap,” he added.

Haniyeh stressed that the prisoners’ issue is not one for Gaza alone, but also for the West Bank. “Indeed, it is for all of historic Palestine and the whole Ummah because the prisoners are held in Israeli prisons for defending the dignity of the whole Ummah.”

Addressing hundreds of worshippers in the outdoor congregation, he pointed out that the movement does not deal with the prisoners as a “secondary” issue. It is, he said, one of the core issues on the agenda for Hamas, and on the table 24/7.

“The whole Ummah felt happy at the 2011 prisoner swap,” he explained, “but we will not be happy unless and until all of the prisoners are liberated.” Haniyeh revealed that Hamas has the same negotiating strength that it had during the talks which led to the last deal.

Furthermore, he hailed all of the legal, popular and political activities organised in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in both Palestine and abroad “organised by Palestinians or pro-Palestine activists.”

Regarding the intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem, he said that it would continue despite the “conspiracies” trying to suppress it, “because it is the choice of the people of this generation.”