Israeli settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Groups of Israeli settlers stormed Wendesday morning al-Aqsa Mosque via the Israeli-controlled al-Magharibeh gate under heavy police protection.  The settlers tried to perform Talmudic rituals in the holy shrine in clear provocation to the Palestinian worshipers who started shouting Takbeer in protest against the settlers’ provocative presence in the Islamic holy site. Women who were denied entry to the compound continued to protest outside al-Silsila Gate raising posters and chanting slogans expressing their right to pray in the compound. Tensions have been running high in occupied Jerusalem since October 2015 after Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into al-Aqsa Mosque while allowing the settlers’ free access to the compound.  The Mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Gaza tests its preparedness in case of sudden Israeli offensive

Palestinian Authority Security forces

Palestinian Authority Security forces. [File photo]

The Palestinian interior ministry in Gaza carried out on Tuesday a series of exercises to check its preparedness in the event of another Israeli attack.

Large explosions were heard in the main headquarters of the Palestinian police in central Gaza city in the morning.

In less than a minute, all the offices were evacuated and the main and valuable files and equipment were in safe places outside the buildings. The interior ministry’s paramedics rushed to the area and evacuated a number of police officers who pretended to be injured.

Other explosions were heard near the beach. Another one was heard in the centre of one of the busiest commercial places in Gaza. The police and firefighters rushed to the scene and practiced evacuating those inside.

The interior ministry warned the public about the exercises a day before they were carried out.

Spokesman of the Interior Ministry in Gaza Iyad al-Bozom said that these exercises were carried out to test the ability of the ministry staff to react to another Israeli offensive.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

UNESCO: ‘No Jewish history in Jerusalem’

UNESCO also decided that Al-Khalil and Bethlehem are integral parts of Palestine

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association (UNESCO) announced on Friday a number of resolutions regarding Israeli occupation of historical Palestinian cities.

In addition, the resolution affirms that Al-Khalil, the birthplace for Abraham, and Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, “are an integral part of Palestine.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association (UNESCO) announced on Friday a number of resolutions regarding Israeli occupation of historical Palestinian cities.

One of the resolutions was entitled “Occupied Palestine” and addressed Jerusalem Old City’s mosque, which is an Islamic site and Muslims call it Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) or Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.

In the context of Jerusalem’s Old City, the document referred to Israel as “the occupying power” and referred to the site as Al-Aqsa Mosque.

UNESCO decided that the name of this holy place is Al-Aqsa Mosque and said that Jews have no connection to it. It did not recognise the Jewish name for the place as Temple Mount.

The resolution also condemned Israel for “planting fake Jewish graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and for “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”

Among the states supporting the decision were Argentina, France, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, India and Russia, several of which enjoys ostensibly warm relations Israel.

In addition, the resolution affirms that Al-Khalil, the birthplace for Abraham, and Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, “are an integral part of Palestine.”

Referencing “ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for illegal settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of Al-Khalil, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site, and the subsequent denial of freedom of movement and freedom of access to places of worship,” UNESCO also urged “Israel, the occupying power, to end these violations in compliance with provisions of relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.”

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Israeli forces kidnap patient at Erez Checkpoint

This is the seventh patient from Gaza to be kidnapped at Erez since start of 2016

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Tuesday Palestinian patient from Gaza Strip en route to receive medical treatment in occupied West Bank.

Nearly 20 hospitals and 60 primary healthcare facilities were damaged or completely destroyed during the Israeli offensive 2014. Israel also puts restrictions on entrance of medical equipment and medicines

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip -Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Tuesday Palestinian patient from Gaza Strip en route to receive medical treatment in occupied West Bank.

Legal sources said that 19-year-old Mohamed abul-Foul was kidnapped while in his way out of the besieged Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing.

The sources said that the Israeli occupation forces at the Crossing said that he was called for to be only interrogated.

Abul-Foul was wounded several months ago and had previously travelled to Nablus for treatment, the legal sources said, noting this is the seventh Palestinian patient to be kidnapped at Erez since the start of the year.

Erez is the sole crossing open for pedestrian travel between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and an Israeli military blockade imposed on the territory for a decade severely restricts Palestinian movement through the border.

Seeking medical treatment in Gaza, where nearly 20 hospitals and 60 primary healthcare facilities were damaged or completely destroyed during the Israeli offensive 2014, is difficult due to Israeli restrictions on entrance of medical equipment and medicines.

Many of Gaza’s 2 million Palestinian residents are as a result forced to either go without care or find a way to access treatment provided outside of the Palestinian territory.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Under French pressure, PA considers halting UN anti-settlement bid

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Franch government have pressured the Palestinian Authority (PA) to suspend its effort to extract a UN resolution condemning Israel’s settlement construction activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Haaretz newspaper said Wednesday. According to top Palestinian and Israeli officials, the French government fears that such a resolution could scuttle the peace conference it is attempting to organize this summer, and is therefore leaning on the Palestinians to freeze their new anti-settlement move at the UN Security Council. Haaretz newspaper pointed out that other countries, including Egypt and Jordan, supported the French position in this regard. As a result, the PA is seemingly mulling over suspending its anti-settlement bid at the Security Council to please the French side. “The opportunity to go to the Security Council will always be there and we want to give a chance to the French initiative because, in the end, this is an initiative that serves us and not one that hurts us,” a PA official told Haaretz on condition of anonymity. This development reportedly emerged during a meeting in Paris on Friday between French president Francois Hollande and PA president Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is said to be fully supporting the French peace initiative.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Jerusalemite young men attack Israeli targets with Molotov cocktails

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– At least 16 Molotov cocktails were thrown by Palestinian young men on Tuesday evening at Israeli soldiers and settlers in different areas of east Jerusalem. According to the Hebrew website 0404, Palestinian teenagers threw six homemade incendiary bombs at Israeli police forces in Issawiya district, east Jerusalem. The website did not state if the attacks caused injuries among the police forces. Quds Press, for its part, stated that violent clashes started in Issawiya when a large number of Israeli policemen invaded its neighborhoods, adding that the invading police forces were attacked with several petrol bombs during the events. 10 Molotov cocktails were also hurled at a bus carrying Jewish settlers in Ein Loza neighborhood in Silwan district. 0404 website said that the incendiary attack caused fire damage to the bus and a trauma to one of the passengers. In another incident, young men threw stones yesterday at the Israeli light rail train as it was passing through Shuafat neighborhood in Jerusalem and caused some damage to its windows.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Syrian Coalition Calls for International Investigation into Assad Crimes & Violations

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abdah said that negotiations in Geneva cannot be resumed while the Assad regime carries on with its crimes against civilians with impunity. Abdah defended the High Negotiating Committee’s (HNC) decision to suspend participation in the Geneva negotiations, calling for opening an international investigation into the regime’s crimes and its repeated violations of the truce.

At a press conference held earlier today in Istanbul, Abdah said that the Assad regime has effectively killed the truce by the brutal massacres it committed in Idlib, Aleppo and Rural Damascus on Tuesday.

“Regime forces have committed over 2,200 breaches of the truce since it was declared 53 days ago, all of which were documented and reported to the UN Security Council,” Abdah added.

“International inaction and silence over Assad’s crimes, especially yesterday’s massacres in which 108 civilians were killed, suggest the international community is complicit in these crimes which have not been met with even a verbal condemnation by any state.”

Abdah said that the Syrian Coalition began consultations with representatives of the Friends of the Syrian People group concerning the Geneva talks. “The ball now is in the court of the international community, which has not yet shown it is serious about implementing the UN Security Council resolution 2254.”

“We will not accept any proposals for a solution if they include keeping in power Assad or any of the pillars of his regime who must be tried for war crimes.”

Abdah concluded his remarks by stressing that a political solution needs a suitable environment, adding that there cannot be a return to the talks as long as the Assad regime continues to violate the truce and seeks to thwart all attempts aimed at reaching a solution in Syria.

(Syrian Coalition / 20.04.2016)

Israel officially bans cement entry to Gaza

Israeli officials claim that Gazans use cement and other basic commodities for military purposes in order to justify banning them

Israeli occupation prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Monday to officially prevent cement entry to Gaza Strip.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli occupation, assisted by Egypt and backed by the international community, has been imposing a strict siege on the Gaza Strip for 10 years

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip -Israeli occupation prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Monday to officially prevent cement entry to Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu’s decision came in the wake of Israeli claim it uncovered an assault tunnel for Hamas crossing the Gaza borders to Israel.

Israeli newspaper Times of Israel reported Netanyahu saying: “We will not allow the entry of cement to the Gaza Strip in order to be used for military purposes.”

He added: “We will never allow building a seaport in the Gaza Strip and the only seaport to serve Gaza is Ashdod (the Israeli seaport near Gaza), which is under Israeli observation.”

The Israeli PM, who killed over than 2,260 Palestinians, wounded around 11,000 others, demolished more than 10,000 homes, hospitals, schools and mosques and levelled large farms to the ground in 2014, claimed he would like to help Gaza, but they are unable to run a seaport.

“My choice is very clear,” he said, “I will not sacrifice our security for a brilliant title. I will never allow setting up a sea artery to drop weapons to terrorism [in Gaza].”

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli occupation, assisted by Egypt and backed by the international community, has been imposing a strict siege on the Gaza Strip for 10 years.

During this time, the Israeli occupation waged four wars, killing thousands of Gazans and wounding tens of thousands. As well as, it demolished tens of thousands of homes and other civilian facilities, including major infrastructure projects.

At the same time, to justify the siege and letting the Gazans endure difficult conditions, Israeli officials claim that basic constriction material, food components, medicines, etc… are used for military purposes. Therefore, they ban them.

Regarding the tunnel, the Palestinian resistance said that it had been previously uncovered by the Israeli occupation forces and they pumped water inside it.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

Clashes erupt as Israeli forces raid Qalandia to demolish home

Images released by the Israeli army show a punitive home demolition taking place in Hebron last month

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — At least eight Palestinians were wounded in fierce clashes that broke out in Qalandiya refugee camp early Wednesday after Israeli forces stormed the camp to demolish the family home of a slain Palestinian attacker.Local sources said Israeli forces entered the camp to tear down the interior walls of the home of 17-year-old Hussein Abu Ghosh, who was shot dead on Jan. 25 when he and another young Palestinian stabbed two Israelis, killing one of them, in the illegal West Bank settlement of Beit Horon.As the demolition was carried out, fierce clashes broke out, and local sources told Ma’an that at least eight young residents of the refugee camp were shot and wounded, although their condition was initially unclear.Sources said Israeli forces also detained resident Hasan Sajadiya after he was shot and injured, and were also reported to have ransacked the home of resident Nasser Shaham.Israeli media reported that two Israeli soldiers sustained minor wounds during the raid.Qalandiya refugee camp has been a focal point of violence since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October. As many as 15 of the camp’s residents have been killed, either while attacking Israelis or during clashes.Israeli soldiers have carried out routine raids into the camp’s narrow streets, often leading to violence. Last month, two Palestinians were shot and fatally wounded when two soldiers stumbled into the camp — saying it was by accident — causing the Israeli army to flood the camp with troops searching for them.Qalandiya saw another punitive home demolition in October, carried out on the home of a young resident who had shot and killed an Israeli hiker near a spring outside Ramallah.Punitive home demolitions were expedited at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in mid-October, and many have been carried out across the occupied Palestinian territory since.The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice does not deter attacks, and Israeli rights group B’Tselem has condemned the practice as “court sanctioned revenge,” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

(Source / 20.04.2016)

UNOPS becomes third UN agency in Jordan to drop G4S following campaign

A new infographic highlighting the role that security company G4S plays in Palestine and across the world.

A new infographic highlighting the role that security company G4S plays in Palestine and across the world

  • News comes as BDS movement marks Palestinian political prisoners day with protest actions against G4S in several countries
  • Campaign pressure against G4S set to continue until it completes sale of Israeli business

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Jordan has not renewed its contract with security company G4S following a campaign over the firm’s role in Israeli human rights abuses.

The UNOPS in Jordan contract with G4S was worth more than $50,000 in 2014 but UNOPS has now hired a new security service provider to provide security services at its Amman office.

In light of the ongoing #UNDropG4S campaign, the Jordan branches of UNHCR and UNICEF both recently distanced themselves from G4S.

G4S has a contract with the Israeli prison service to provide services and equipment to prisons where Palestinians are held without trial and subjected to torture. It also helps Israel run checkpoints, security at illegal settlements and a training centre for the Israeli police who controls and oppresses Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.

Backed by hundreds of organisations from across the world, the #UNdropG4S campaign is urging the UN to drop all of its contracts with G4S. UN’s data shows spent more than $22 million on services provided by G4S in 2014.

With the BDS campaign against it costing it contracts worth millions of dollars, G4S recently announced that it wanted to sell its Israeli business but is still yet to do so.

Guman Mussa, Arab world coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the coalition of Palestinian organisations that works to guide and supports the BDS movement, said:

“It’s significant that UN agencies appear to be recognising that having contracts with firms that help Israel to oppress Palestinians like G4S contradicts the UN’s principles. We urge Ban Ki-moon to ban G4S from being awarded any further UN contracts.”

“This year’s Palestinian political prisoners day came as Israel intensifies its use of mass incarceration as a way of deterring Palestinians from resisting its regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid. G4S continues to profit from Israel’s checkpoints, use of torture and mass incarceration.”

“The fact that G4S has announced it wants to sell its Israeli business shows that our campaign is having a huge impact. But the company has a track record of saying one thing and doing another so we have to keep the pressure up until they actually end their complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses.”

“The continued growth of of the G4S campaign in the Arab world and in Latin America will be particularly concerning to G4S as the company has identified both regions as important growth areas in its strategy. G4S’ revenue in Arab countries is five times higher than its revenue in Israel.”

Shahd Al-Hamouri, member of the Jordan BDS movement, welcomed the news:

“This is another positive step but we urge the UN and specifically in Jordan the UNDP, World Food Program and UN Women to follow suit. All UN agencies must end their contracts with G4S due to its continued violation of international law and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”

Taking action for Palestinian political prisoners day

Actions to pressure G4S over its support for Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinians took place this weekeind in Belgium, Gaza, Ramallah, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and the UK.

Posted by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement on Monday, 18 April 2016

The news about UNOPS in Jordan dropping G4S came as BDS campaigners marked Palestinian political prisoners day yesterday by protesting the role that security company G4S continues to play in Israel’s prison system.

Protests against G4S were held in Belgium, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and the UK.

New campaigns against G4S are currently being launched in Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee published an infographic highlighting the track record of G4S in human rights abuses across the world.

A coalition of US social justice organisations has launched a new website called G4S Facts that exposes the company’s abuses in detail.

There are now more than 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails including 400 children and 670 people held in administrative detention, a form of detention without trial.

G4S recently announced that it wanted to sell its Israeli business but is still yet to do so. The company has broken its previous pledges to end its involvement in Israeli crimes.

The international campaign against G4S has persuaded the Jordan branches of Unicef and UNHCR, universities, charities and banks to cancel their contract with G4S, costing the company millions of dollars. In 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation sold its shares in G4S following a public campaign.

In April 2012, G4S issued a statement pledging that by 2015 it would exit a number of contracts which involved the servicing of Israeli security equipment at the Wall checkpoints, a prison and a police station in the occupied West Bank. It has failed to implement this commitment.

In June 2014, G4S told shareholders that it “did not intend” to renew its contract with the Israel Prison Service when it expired during 2017. According to research group Who Profits, G4S continues to have contracts with the Israeli Prison Service.

(Source / 20.04.2016)