Journalist and human rights defender Hasan Safadi ordered to six months administrative detention

Palestinian journalist and human rights defender, Hasan Safadi, the Arabic Media Coordinator for AddameerPrisoner Support

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and Human Rights Association, was ordered to six months imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention by Israeli occupation forces today, Friday, 10 June.

Safadi, 24, who has been imprisoned since 1 May while crossing the Karameh bridge between Jordan and Palestine’s West Bank, has been under interrogation consistently at Al-Moskobiya interrogation center since that time. His detention had been repeatedly renewed. Prior to the issuance of the administrative detention order, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court had decided to release him today on a bail of 2500 NIS (approximately $650 USD), which had already been paid.

Safadi’s administrative detention order is scheduled to be confirmed by a judge at a time set in the next 48 hours, reported Addameer, making him one of approximately 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and issued for one to six month periods at a time; some Palestinians have spent years at a time in administrative detention, on the basis of secret evidence submitted by the Shin Bet.

The detention of Safadi is part of the continued attack on Palestinian journalists and media workers, which includes the administrative detention without charge or trial of Omar Nazzal, member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate; Musab Kafisheh, freelance journalist; Mohammed Kaddoumi, freelance journalist; and Ali Al-Oweiwi, an announcer on Arabah radio station.

Other Palestinian journalists like Samer Abu Aisha, Sami al-Saee and Samah Dweik are imprisoned on “incitement” charges for posting on Facebook about Palestinian politics and struggle, while Abu Aisha also faces charges for visiting neighboring Lebanon, an “enemy country.” Other imprisoned journalists targeted for membership in political parties include Hazem Nasser and Mujahid Saadi. They are among 19 journalists imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Further, the imprisonment of Safadi also continues attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders, particularly those who work to free Palestinian prisoners, including recently released Addameer vice-chair and Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar; imprisoned land defender and advocate Samer Arbeed, held without charge or trial; civil society leader Eteraf Rimawi, executive director of Bisan, imprisoned without charge or trial; and repeatedly targeted prisoners’ advocates like Ayman Nasser of Addameer and Osama Shaheen of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies.

 

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Egyptian electricity lines to Gaza repaired after severe cuts

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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two Egyptian power lines connected to the besieged Gaza Strip have been repaired and are currently operational, Gaza’s electricity company announced Friday.The company said in a statement that both power lines which had been out of order since the beginning of June were now functioning properly.The Egyptian electricity lines feed power to the Rafah and Khan Yunis districts of the southern Gaza Strip with 22 megawatts of power.The besieged enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.From the start of May, the Gaza Strip was only provided power for six-hour intervals followed by 12 hours without power for two weeks, due to problems with the Egyptian power lines.Gaza’s electricity company announced mid-May that the besieged enclave would gradually return to the usual electricity schedule of eight-hour intervals followed by eight hours without power.However, at the start of June, the Egyptian power lines were knocked out completely, causing electricity blackouts in the southern region.Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs. The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel’s crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.Gaza’s electricity crisis made headlines last month when three small children died in a house fire caused by candles that the family used during a power cut.War has also taken its toll, and during Israel’s 50-day offensive on Gaza in 2014, the power plant was targeted, completely knocking it out of commission.The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel’s blockade.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Under Israeli pressure, Facebook and Twitter delete large amounts of Palestinian content

Ayelet Shaked

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Facebook and Twitter have recently deleted thousands of posts, pages and accounts in response to demands from the Israeli ministry of justice, Quds Press reported on Wednesday.

“We succeeded to achieve our goals as around 70 per cent of our demands [to delete Facebook and Twitter content] were fulfilled,” Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked said, according to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

She also added: “We succeeded to delete incitement contents calling for death and violence across the internet.”

During a meeting she held to discuss “fighting incitement and shameful content on social media” three-days ago, Shaked reiterated Israel’s “cooperation with Facebook, Twitter and google regarding the violent electronic Palestinian incitement”.

Shaked claimed that when internet incitement decreased, the attacks on Israelis decreased.

“This proves that there is a direct relationship between internet incitement and violence in Israel,” she said.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Palestinian shot, wounded after alleged stabbing attempt at Nablus area checkpoint

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Israeli soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem on June 29, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian, who locals said was mentally disabled, was shot and injured after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli soldiers in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Friday afternoon, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an.The spokesperson said that the alleged stabbing attempt took place at a “security post” at an entrance to the city of Nablus, adding that the Palestinian had been evacuated to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, where he was in serious condition.According to a spokesperson from Rabin Medical Center, he was undergoing surgery for his injuries as of Friday evening.No Israelis were injured in the case.Local sources told Ma’an that the Palestinian shot at the Awarta checkpoint east of Nablus was a mentally disabled youth.They identified him as Hasan Khalid al-Qadhi, 26, from the village of Awarta, claiming that he was riding a bike when Israeli forces shot him.The sources added that al-Qadhi had been detained by Israeli forces on several occasions in the past, before being released after they determined that he was mentally disabled.Israeli forces reportedly deployed around Nablus and closed several checkpoints in the area.

The incident comes after a deadly shooting by Palestinian gunmen in Tel Aviv on Wednesday left four Israelis dead and several injured, marking the greatest lost of Israeli life since a wave of unrest began in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in October.
More than 200 Palestinians and some 30 Israelis and  have been killed in the surge of violence, which has been largely characterized by small-scale Palestinian attacks on Israeli military targets and settlers.
Following Wednesday’s attack, Israeli authorities have imposed large-scale punitive measures across the occupied territory, in what the UN said could amount to collective punishment.
(Source / 10.06.2016)

Israeli price tag attacks within the Green Line

NAZARETH, (PIC)– Israeli settlers torched two cars belonging to Palestinians and spray-painted anti-Palestinian slogans in the streets of Yafa an-Naseriyye town within the Green Line. Israeli police claimed that an investigation has been opened into the “nationalist attack”. The police refused to reveal further details about the suspects’ identity. “Price tag” is a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists, which generally target Palestinians or Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and have increasingly also hit Christian and Muslim places of worship.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

UN slams Israel’s punitive measures against Palestinians following Tel Aviv attack

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned on Friday thedeadly Tel Aviv shooting which took place on Wednesday, while slamming the punitive security measures implemented by Israel in the aftermath as constituting collective punishment against Palestinians.”We are also deeply concerned at the response of the Israeli authorities, which includes measures that may amount to collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement released by the United Nations.While “Israel has a human rights obligation to bring those responsible to account for their crimes,” he continued, “the measures taken against the broader population punish not the perpetrators of the crime, but tens — maybe hundreds — of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”Al-Hussein noted that the attack, which left four Israelis dead and several injured, marked the largest single loss of Israeli life since a wave of unrest began in October that has seen some 30 Israelis killed.Meanwhile, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the surge of violence, which has been largely characterized by small-scale Palestinian attacks on Israeli military targets and settlers.In the wake of Wednesday’s gun attack, Israeli authorities have imposed severe security measures on Palestinians, including prohibiting all Palestinian movement in and out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the exception of humanitarian cases.Israel also froze more than 83,000 permits allowing Palestinians to enter Israel and East Jerusalem during Ramadan, including freezing the work permits of 204 of the suspected attackers’ relatives who work in Israel.

Israeli authorities additionally froze all coordination with the besieged Gaza Strip for Ramadan,cancelling weekly visitations by elderly Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, implemented as part of a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 offensive on the besieged Palestinian territory.
Newly-appointed Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also issued an order on Thursday to suspend the return of all Palestinian bodies killed during suspected attacks on Israelis, claiming that the measure could prevent future attacks, in spite of his predecessor Moshe Yaalon having argued the policy had only served to exacerbate tensions with Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the alleged attackers’ hometown of Yatta in the West Bank district of Hebron has been sealed by Israeli forces, with Palestinians forbidden to leave except for humanitarian or medical cases, and the Israeli army detaining an unspecified number of locals during large-scale overnight raids there.
Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz said Yatta must undergo “a preventative ‘root canal’ treatment that will go down in history,” adding that the town must be cordoned off for “a long time,” amid a chorus of reactions by Israeli leadership threatening a harsh response for the act of “terror.”
(Source / 10.06.2016)

Tunisian holds talks to form a national unity government

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi

Tunisia’s Ennahda party and the Nidaa Tounes party held a bilateral meeting on Monday to discuss an initiative launched by President Beji Caid Essebsi to form a national unity government.

In a statement, Ennahda said in a statement yesterday that the meeting was held at the headquarters of Nidaa Tounes in the Tunisian capital, and was attended by Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, as well as Nidaa Tounes’s Hafez Caid, Anis Gadira, Sufian Toubal, Abdul Aziz Qotti. Ennahda’s Noor Al-Arabawi and Noureddine Al-Behiri also took part in the meeting.

The meeting included an exchange of views on the Tunisian president’s initiative to form a national unity government, the statement said.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Having British troops in Syria proves that the lessons of Iraq have not been learnt

File photo of a British Royal Marine during a training excercise

File photo of a British Royal Marine during a training exercise

Was anyone surprised by the latest revelation in the Times that British Special Forces are operating in Syria? I think not. Since David Cameron successfully made the case for military intervention in Syria – having already failed once – many half-expected British troops to join in on the ground, even though the prime minister gave his assurance that this would not be the case.

The latest evidence of deepening involvement by British troops is a familiar pattern, in more ways than one. It’s certainly an example of mission creep similar to that of the US, which has increased the number of its forces in Syria; President Obama sent an extra 250 Special Forcessoldiers a month ago. Yet again, Britain seems to be following America’s lead on this, despite the massive unpopularity of such a policy and Cameron’s assurance about no involvement.

Worryingly, these revelations echo the false intelligence that marched Britain into the worst foreign policy disaster in its long history: the invasion of Iraq. Like the dodgy dossier of 2003 and fabricated claims that Saddam Hussain could use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, Cameron’s case for military intervention also shows the familiar overstretching of facts. Would he have succeeded in securing the backing of the House of Commons last November for air strikes if he was more candid about the nature of British involvement? Probably not.

The mistrust between politicians and the public began with Iraq; it’s a legacy of the Tony Blair era. In the lead up to the Iraq invasion and war, the policy adopted by George W Bush and Blair did not follow intelligence; instead, intelligence was misused to support a pre-determined neoconservative agenda. Their overwhelming desire to topple Saddam and remake the Middle-East meant that all other considerations, including the upholding of international law, were treated as secondary, even an encumbrance. Bush, Blair and their neocon cabal were criminally negligent of the aftermath in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am not suggesting that people expect their political leaders to be able see into the future, nor am I and other critics of western military intervention underestimating the complexities of these decisions. Surely, though, the decision to go to war has to be a last resort, one that is taken on the basis of sound intelligence, not ideology; it certainly should not be driven by an impulse to join a political and personal friend, even when they are wrong, or to commit to a policy just because we have the means and ability to do so. I doubt if anyone can point convincingly to a single western military intervention of the past decade and say that it was a last resort and its impact, on balance, has been far more positive than negative.

The revelation in the Times undermines the assertion that lessons have been learnt from Iraq. Cameron made bold claims, gave reassurances and promised a clear plan, but where is it? Like Blair, he also framed British involvement as a moral calling: “It was morally unacceptable to leave the US, France and others to carry the burden,” he told the Commons. Claiming a moral calling while having no realistic plan is typical overzealous behaviour. Cameron did present a plan to degrade and destroy Daesh, end the civil war and work towards a transition of power away from Bashar Al-Assad, but it seems to be based on overestimating Britain’s influence and underestimating the problem.

I share the feelings of many that Cameron’s case for bombing Syria was more political grandstanding than comprehensive strategy. During the marathon debate he made a number of contentious claims that now appear to be highly misleading. For example, the prime minister extolled the capabilities of Britain’s “unique” Brimstone missile; it was a key factor in Cameron’s argument. The missiles are among “some of the most accurate weapons known to man,” he said, and noted that the US does not possess this invaluable asset for fighting Daesh. This is a shameful exaggeration. According to the Independent, the smart-missile cited as a major reason for Britain joining the bombing campaign in Syria has killed precisely zero Daesh militants.

We’ve yet to see evidence of the “comprehensive strategy” Cameron spoke about so passionately. Those who have been proven to be right on Iraq and nearly every other British foreign policy misadventure in recent years are unconvinced. The Labour Party’s leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, argued against military intervention, citing the absence of a “coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS [Daesh].” What we have are faltering peace talks and a temporary consensus between Moscow and Washington that Daesh must be “degraded and ultimately destroyed” before Assad’s fate is decided.

On the key issue of ground troops Cameron has been floundering; some would say misleading, intentionally. The promise of 70,000 “moderate Sunni forces” to carry out the ground assault was the trump card he used to secure a parliamentary majority in favour of intervention. This wildly optimistic figure, along with his assurance not to deploy British troops, convinced many MPs to vote in the government’s favour. Scepticism over this number was also the reason why many decided to vote against military intervention. Corbyn led the criticism, stating that the prime minister “had not been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.”

According to Cameron, the intelligence about 70,000 came from the “highest level” which, theGuardian explained, is Britain’s joint intelligence committee that coordinates information from all the relevant agencies. It was infamously responsible for the bogus claim in the run-up to the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein could hit a British base with missiles within 45 minutes. The reality is that even if there are 70,000 anti-Assad forces, their first priority is to depose Assad and protect themselves from Russian and Syrian bombs. There’s no evidence to suggest that they are willing to switch priorities and join a coalition with Britain, America, Russia and Assad to fight Daesh, especially as Putin and Assad have killed far more anti-Assad “Sunni moderate forces” than actual militants by failing to differentiate between the two groups.

Western military intervention in the region is sold to the public regularly as the best of all the bad options, in spite of it being the cause of many of the Middle East’s problems in the first place. Britain and America have not “overlearned” the lessons of Iraq as both countries are still militarily involved and continue to justify military intervention on the basis of questionable intelligence while misleading their citizens. There are no easy solution to the crisis in Syria, but seeking one by making the same mistakes as were made in Iraq can only lead to things getting much, much worse.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Israel changes status of soldiers declared dead in Gaza to ‘captured’

Status change is designed to encourage the government to ramp up efforts to secure a return of the slain soldiers’ remains

Israeli reserve forces entering the Gaza Strip

Two Israeli soldiers believed killed during the 2014 Gaza war are to have their status altered to captured and missing in action, the Israeli Defence Ministry decided on Friday.

According to the Maariv newspaper, the status of Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin will be changed due to a lack of information about the conditions of their capture or loss, and the non-existence of a burial ground. Both were presumed killed in action after their disappearances during the conflict in Gaza in summer 2014.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced the capture of Shaul in the wake of an attack on the armoured vehicle he was barricaded in together with a number of soldiers in Al-Shuja’iyah neighbourhood at the start of the war.

Shaul was later confirmed by the Israelis to have been killed by an anti-tank mine during the fighting, while Goldin died during fighting in southern Gaza.

Goldin is still listed as “killed in action”, but will also now receive the additional status of “missing in action and in captivity”.

Shaul will also be recognised as “killed in action” and as a soldier whose place of burial is unknown, but also as “missing in action and in captivity”.

According to Haaretz, the implementation of apparently contradictory statuses is meant as a means of ensuring that efforts continue to return all remains to Israel.

“We praise the IDF [Israeli army] and the security apparatus for the new status of Hadar and Oron,” said the Goldin family, according to Ynet.

“Indeed, the state of Israel’s declaration about Hadar shows that the objective of returning him has not been completed and that the country is fully obligated to return Hadar to his grave in Israel.

“We expect practical steps to be taken by the state, by the IDF and the security apparatus to bring about Shaul’s and Hadar’s speedy return.”

However, members of Aaron’s family were apparently not aware of the change when contacted by Ynet.

“The truth is we have not yet received any information regarding the matter,” said Zehava Shaul, Shaul’s mother.

More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed in the July 2014 war in Gaza, mostly civilians, while 75 Israelis, mostly soldiers, are also thought to have been killed.

(Source / 10.06.2016)

Naif buried in Bulgaria

After 100 days of his assassination

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Hundreds of Palestinians and Arabs in the Bulgarian capital Sofia marched Friday in the funeral of Omar al-Naif who was assassinated by Israeli Mossad in the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria last February. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) had earlier called on the Arab and Palestinian community and supporters of Palestinian cause to participate in the funeral. Naif’s body was buried in Sofia cemetery before a farewell ceremony was held by his family and close friends. The Palestinian ex-prisoner was assassinated in February in the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria where he had taken refuge two months earlier after Israel requested his extradition. The PFLP also called on the Palestinian people in West Bank and occupied Jerusalem to participate in the symbolic funeral scheduled to be held in Jenin for Naif. A similar symbolic funeral is planned to be held in Gaza. Naif’s family had refused to bury his body in his hometown for fear that it would be confiscated by the Israeli authorities. The Israeli authorities had arrested Naif in April 1986 for allegedly participating in the killing of an Israeli settler. After being sentenced to life in prison and serving four years, Naif went on hunger strike for 40 days, after which he was transferred to a hospital in Bethlehem. On 20 May 1990, he escaped and disappeared. He lived in a number of Arab countries after escaping imprisonment until 1994, when he traveled to Bulgaria and settled there. He was married and had three children, and his wife and children all have Bulgarian citizenship. He was granted permanent residency in the country.

(Source / 10.06.2016)