Clashes in Bethlehem after IOF confiscates security cameras

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday confiscated security cameras of commercial shops in central of al-Doha town to the west of Bethlehem.  Local sources revealed that clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and the IOF soldiers who unleashed tear gas and stun grenades leading to injuries and suffocation cases among Palestinians.  Israeli forces have been confiscating surveillance cameras in order to identify stone throwers and those who carry out anti-occupation attacks.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

IOA to raze home, agricultural facilities west of Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) on Tuesday handed three orders to Samih Salah to stop the construction of agricultural structures and to raze his home for lacking construction permits.  The facilities to be demolished include a home with an area of 160 square meters, a room, and a caravan  used for agricultural purposes in Alia hamlet in al-Khader town to the west of Bethlehem. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the anti-settlement national committee in al-Khader town, told Quds Press that the IOA has been waging a large-scale demolition campaign in the town since the beginning of the year.  Israeli forces last year knocked down 23 Palestinian houses and structures and handed out 36 demolition orders in Bethlehem under the pretext of lacking construction permits, according to the Land Research Center’s report.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Israeli police officer shot, injured near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– An Israeli police officer was shot and injured in armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters near a military checkpoint between occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Israeli 0404 website said in a brief news article that Palestinian armed men opened fire at an Israeli checkpoint, injuring a police officer. No further details were revealed by the sources as the Israeli army refuses to release any information in such incidents. The shooting attack came shortly after a Palestinian child was shot dead while four others were injured by Israeli forces near Beit Laqia town east of Ramallah at dawn Tuesday. More than 220 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the outbreak of Jerusalem Intifada in early October.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Tunisia Extends State of Emergency by a Month

Tunisia's new President Beji Caid Essebsi attends the ceremony of transfer of power at the Carthage Palace in Tunis December 31, 2014. Veteran politician Essebsi was sworn in as Tunisian president on Wednesday, giving the country a democratically elected leader four years after an uprising ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. REUTERS/Anis Mili (TUNISIA - Tags: POLITICS)

Tunisia’s new President Beji Caid Essebsi attends the ceremony of transfer of power at the Carthage Palace in Tunis December 31, 2014. Veteran politician Essebsi was sworn in as Tunisian president on Wednesday, giving the country a democratically elected leader four years after an uprising ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali

Tunisian President Begi Caid Essebsi announced on Monday the extension of the state of emergency throughout Tunisian territories by another month.

In the statement issued, the presidency announced that the decision came after consultations between President Essebsi, Prime Minister Habib Essid, and President of People’s Representatives Assembly Mohammed Naser.

Tunisia imposed a state of emergency last year after the November 24 suicide attack on a bus carrying presidential security guards that killed 13 people in the capital Tunis.

This security measure allows authorities to ban strikes and demonstrations, temporarily close theaters and pubs and to “take all measures to ensure the control of press and publications of all kinds,” the statement added. Essebsi praised the progress but stressed on additional procedures in case of any possible threat.

Meanwile, head of Electoral Commission Shafiq Sursar announced the launch of the first stage of elections of Supreme Judicial Council.

During a press conference, Sursar announced Monday that the lists were published on the commission’s website. He stated that the lists now include 13,122 voters, adding that anyone who wants to object to them has until August 1.

According to a source, the elections will take place on October 23 and the preliminary results will be announced on the commission’s website as soon as votes are counted.

Meanwhile, the Temporary Judicial Council asked the Minister of Justice the respect and independence of the judicial system and separation of powers.

Similarly, the council asked the judges not to succumb to pressure that might influence their decision.

The council’s statement was issued after employees at Tozeur governorate’s post office unexpectedly went on strike over the suspension of the head of the post office.

Despite the union’s demands to release the employee, the Temporary Judicial Council confirmed that any review of any verdict is done through judicial commissions.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Humanitarian Crisis Worsens with Thousands Fleeing Fallujah

Civilians who fled their homes due to clashes on the outskirts of Fallujah, gather in the town of Garma, Iraq, May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Civilians who fled their homes due to clashes on the outskirts of Fallujah, gather in the town of Garma, Iraq, May 30, 2016

Fallujah – Iraqi Security Forces, backed by international coalition, continue to liberate Falluja city, one of ISIS stronghold.

Joint Military Command Brigadier Yayha Rasoul announced that victory is expected to be announced soon. He confirmed that Joint Military Command was able to control al-Askari neighborhood, railway, and international highway that links Baghdad with Fallujah and Ramadi.

Rasoul explained that forces will break into al-Muwazafeen neighborhood next after the counter terrorism forces were able to liberate the second Dobbat neighborhood.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Saad Maan confirmed that ISIS is now strongly besieged after forces seized the railway in the north.

Iraq’s Federal Police Chief Raed Shaker Jawdat confirmed that Iraqi Forces began liberating areas north of Fallujah starting from Fallujah bridge. He added that ISIS member are trying to hold their positions. In addition, Iraqi forces discovered a number of booby-trapped cars which were dismantled.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the liberation of Fallujah that was under ISIS control for over two years.

Meanwhile, families who were able to escape ISIS are suffering due to lack of supplies.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that over 84 thousand persons had to escape their homes since the attack on ISIS stronghold started.

Norwegian Council for Refugees (NCR) warned of a humanitarian crisis due to large number of refugees and lack of resources. NCR is responsible for a few refugee camps in Fallujah.

According to one of the people in charge of the refugee camps in Amireyyat Fallujah, during the last four days 400 families have arrived without any belongings. He added that they were offered few tents, juice and water.

Yazidi member of Iraqi Parliament Vian Dakhil told Asharq Al-Awsat that while occupying Mosul, ISIS kidnapped 4365 Yazidi women, 2600 are still in Iraq while the rest are in Syria.

Dakhil revealed information about ISIS holding several women captives, and asked security forces to help release them.

Al-Anbar councilman Taha Abdul-Ghani said he filed several cases to Iraqi courts and Federal government regarding violations done to Fallujah citizens.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Local residents prevent PA arrest of a leader in Hamas

NABLUS, (PIC)– Local residents in Salem town, east of Nablus, prevented at dawn Tuesday the PA forces’ arrest of a leader in Hamas Movement. The PIC reporter quoted local residents as saying that violent clashes broke out when PA Preventive Forces stormed the town and tried to arrest the leader in Hamas Movement Awadallah Ishteih, 50. The PA forces violently stormed the town at dawn today and surrounded Eshteih and his brothers’ houses and carried out a search campaign without any prior notice. Local residents started throwing stones and empty bottles at the PA forces in an attempt to prevent Eshteih’s arrest. Eshteih is an ex-prisoner who spent several years in Israeli and PA jails.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Striking prisoners under attack in Israeli prisons urge action to support struggle for freedom

dheisheh1

Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are carrying out a two-day hunger strike in all Israeli prisons demanding the freedom of Bilal Kayed. Kayed, 35, is a prominent prisoner leader who was scheduled for release on 13 June after 14 1/2 years in Israeli prison – instead of release, he was instead ordered to six months’ administrative detention without charge or trial.

Kayed has launched an open hunger strike demanding his freedom, and fellow prisoner are engaged in an escalating wave of strikes and protests joining in the campaign. Prisoners view Kayed’s case as one of great importance; in particular, the order to administrative detention after a lengthy sentence seems an attempt to set a precedent for the future indefinite detention of Palestinian prisoners after the expiration of their sentences.

Israeli prison forces have invaded multiple sections of striking prisoners in Ramon prison; water and cooling systems have been shut down to strikers’ sections, while personal belongings and appliances have been confiscated. An urgent message from prisoners “called on the Palestinian people and all strugglers for freedom…to go to the streets and the squares, and confront the Israeli soldiers at roadblocks and checkpoints and Ofer prison against the repression of the prisoners’ movement.”

Protests are being planned in Palestine in various locations, including Nablus and Dheisheh refugee camp; international actions are being organized in response to a global call to action focusing on 24 and 25 June.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

State Crime: Special issue on Palestine, Palestinians and Israel’s state criminality

State Crime is publishing a special edition of its journal focusing on Palestine, Palestinians and Israel’s State Criminality. Below is the introduction of this special edition.

ISCI-Journal-Launch---20th-June-2016

Why a special issue on the state crimes of just one small state? Many states engage in state criminality on a scale which is breathtaking in its violence, corruption and cruelty.

But as Mark LeVine writes in this volume, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory “represents criminalized state behaviour at the most systematic, intricately planned and executed, widest possible scale, and longest duration”. It is also state crime which has enjoyed not only national and international impunity but international funding. Without America’s $3 billion annual military aid package, state crime in Israel would certainly assume a different character.

This special issue is devoted not only to Israel’s state crimes but also to Palestinian resistance and will be published just months before the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights.

The special issue demands that we ask about state violence in relation to historic Palestine, since silence about Israeli state criminality allows for the continuation of the settler colonial regime of dispossession. In speaking, researching and writing about Israeli state violence, one is confronted by a range of hegemonic epistemological, theoretical and methodological problematisations which the contributors here have addressed to produce alternative ways of knowing.

One of the most critical problematisations is that of denial. As Stan Cohen so powerfully illustrated, denial is a critical and defining feature of state criminality, but few criminal states have developed a denial machine of the character and scale of Israel. This special issue thus offers an evidenced-based corrective to the systematic distortion of truth which the Israeli denial machine propagates.

The first three contributions of this special issue examine the dramatisation of state violence as “good violence” and provide analyses that have hitherto been denied a platform in the course of the global political narrative of denial of crimes by the sacred state. The articles expose the use of power under the state totalitarianism of Israeli occupation, with its various operatives, to shed light on state criminality. LeVine’s article “The Quantum Mechanics of Israeli Totalitarianism” looks closely at the systematic, well-planned and decades-long criminal behaviour of Israel’s occupation. It claims that “the duration and comprehensiveness of Israel’s rule over [the] Occupied Territories has few if any equals” and hence, understanding the intricacies of Israeli state criminality over such occupied space and community can be extremely difficult. The author argues that the state’s use of military and securitised discourse in the context of colonial Israel brings further oppression and dispossession, incorporating high levels of criminality. But LeVine also asks in what way are state crimes, in fact, criminal? To answer this question, he analyses “states of confusion”, delves into “the missing question of the legality of an occupation”, examines what he defines as “the road to criminality”, and explores the quantum mechanics of occupation and its “matrix of control”. Ronit Lentin’s article, “Palestine/Israel and State Criminality: Exception, Settler Colonialism and Racialisation” engages critically with the settler colonial analytical framework, while invoking theories on racism and racialisation. Her analysis requires the reader to theorise Israeli state criminality within the framework of a racial state. By invoking Weheliye’s argument, concerning “racialising assemblages”, she places race at the centre of state criminality, as well as an insistence on the routine nature of the brutalisation of Palestinian flesh and the dehumanising of Palestinians to achieve “ideological normality” (Weheliye 2014). The third article, “Colonialism and Apartheid against Fragmented Palestinians: Putting the Pieces Back Together” by Rinad Abdulla, compliments the work of Lentin. It utilises the settler colonial analytical framework, while challenging narrower frameworks. The author rejects the use of the concept of “conflict” in framing Israeli military occupation and argues that a-historicising and depoliticising the ideology behind the Israeli settler colonial project are misleading and inappropriate. The article challenges both international law and localized legal discourse and takes the reader into the settler colonial nature of the Israeli state, apartheid, colonialism and discriminatory policies, while looking closely at five segments of Palestinian society, each existing within the hierarchy of Israeli dominance: the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Palestinian citizens of Israel and the refugees in the Diaspora (the result of the two major wars of expulsion: 1948 and 1967). The article concludes by arguing that, as in South Africa, only through decolonisation, the dismantling of Israel’s apartheid structure and the restructuring of an all- encompassing, single, democratic state with equal rights for all are fairness and justice possible.

Colonial technologies of violence as they pertain to Palestinian exclusion and to stolen, occupied and yet to be stolen Palestinian space, are revealed in the two articles by Green and Smith, and Shalhoub-Kevorkian, David and Ihmoud. Both articles speak to the continuity of the Nakba and to Israel’s normalisation of violence and corruption in its relations with Palestine and Palestinians. Both articles explore Israel’s demonisation of Palestinian space and its reification of Judaised territorial ambitions. It is impossible, as these articles reveal, to understand the practices of forced eviction throughout Israel and Palestine, or Gaza’s slow death, outside a framework that recognises Israel’s settler colonialism as a permanent structure of invasion and elimination (Wolfe 2006). In Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Naqab, Israel operates a “theologized political economy of erasure”.

In their article on forced eviction, Green and Smith reveal the contours of a continuous Nakba. In empirical detail, they document Israel’s practices of forced eviction as mechanisms in the larger related state projects of ethnic cleansing and Judaisation. The article reveals the historical land and planning complexities behind forced evictions in Israel/Palestine, the mechanics of house and village demolitions, the impact of the separation wall, the devastating impact of illegal Jewish settlements on the lives of Palestinians, the role of Jewish National Fund in eliminating the traces of Palestinian history and how the invocation of archaeology is used in the project of ethnic cleansing. Throughout, it explores processes of Judaisation as the driver of Israeli settler colonialism.

Developing this theme, Shalhoub-Kevorkian and her colleagues advance the critical concept of “security theology” in order to explain the defensive rationale (more accurately denial) deployed by the Israeli state for its crimes of terror in Gaza. Security theology, they argue, rests on the state’s assumption of a monopoly on victimhood – and it is with this assumed moral monopoly that the state seeks to neutralise and deny its crimes and redefine the real Palestinian victim as perpetrator. Security theology thus allows impunity to flourish. Gazan lives, geographies and welfare are reproduced in the form of “Gazans as no-bodies, Gaza as a non- space, and the Gazan community, with no life to live, while alive”.

The final two articles explore both violent and non-violent Palestinian resistance to Israel’s state crimes. Both articles also interrogate the responses that Palestinian resistance has engendered from the Israeli state and the international community.

Kovner and Shalhoub-Kevorkian, in their analysis of Palestinian child arrests and detention in Occupied East Jerusalem, argue that children are deeply imbricated in the racialised politics of the occupation. In the context of widespread poverty, discrimination and structural violence, Israel’s form of counterterrorist politics casts children both as “terrorist” and as key sources of Palestinian community intelligence. Children come to define the resistance and are in turn defined by it. This politics underpins the panoply of structural violence(s) directed against them. Constructing children as a threat to Israeli security enables the state to arrest, detain, imprison and abuse them with impunity – or as the authors argue, “to erase these children from the category of ‘the human’ and the legal apparatus of ‘human rights’” and “children’s rights” – a process they describe as “state-hate crime”.

Mason and Falk then highlight one of the most intransigent problems faced by those seeking justice for Palestinians – the refusal of Israel and the international community to respond to the long history of Palestinian non-violent resistance. Rather, their article documents a host of measures designed to undermine non- violent initiatives and the perverse strategy of recasting non-violent forms of resistance, such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as “violence”.

Every article in this special issue speaks to the complicity or weakness of the international community in confronting Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. BDS, as Mason and Falk argue, is one of the very few non-violent (and effective) strategies possible in the face of the “unwillingness by the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and powerful countries to take strong actions against Israel”. Israel has predictably, and unconscionably, denounced both BDS and its supporters as anti-Semitic – a traditional Israeli public relations (PR) tactic designed explicitly to deflect attention from the very grave issues, outlined throughout this volume, that BDS is challenging.

Palestinians it seems must simply accommodate the abuses, killings, discrimination, segregation, land theft and multitudinous deprivations, inflicted upon them by Israel. The only “acceptable” form of resistance, from this perspective, is departure, exile or death.

We hope that this special issue can offer new insights into theorisations of state criminality and state crime. State criminality, as an all-encompassing power that traps communities in a state of slow death, results in transforming populations from “must live” conditions to “have to die” conditions.

Deepening our understanding of state criminality, at the macro and micro level, with a focus on crimes of the Israeli state, requires exposing the profound dynamics and fusions underlying politics, stateness and criminality.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

‘Mabrook’ to PA President Abbas’ son Tareq

Youngest son of the Palestinian president is a baller, and it appears he wants you to know it

Merchant Square East, one of London's new luxury property developments

Merchant Square East, one of London’s new luxury property developments

The son of the Palestinian Authority president Tareq Abbas is already said to own villas in Amman, Jordan and a rooftop pad in Beirut, Lebanon.

Now, according to a review of official British Land Registry records from 2012, the world can know Tareq registered – under his legal name – the purchase of a US$1.5m luxury two-bedroom flat in Merchant Square East, one of London’s many high-end developments.

Realtors hawked Tareq’s newest address as a “prestigious waterside building” in a “chic, contemporary style with high specification amenities and furnishings” within walking distance of an area full of “traditional old English pubs and new bars and restaurants”.The building itself is part of “regeneration” taking place around Paddington Basin to increase investment and property value.

Tareq’s flat has stayed largely unoccupied since he bought it, which seems to indicate he does not need the rental income he could derive from its purchase. A quick calculation shows he could fetch about $4,300 per month in rent.

It was so left to apparent neglect that lawyers representing Merchant Square threatened to sue him in 2014 for “breach of obligations” for more than $6,700 in unpaid parking and storage fees, which he later paid.

Tareq failed to respond to Al Jazeera’s questions about his finances or how he came to own the place. No doubt he is aware that most Palestinians, with an average yearly gross national income of $3,060, couldn’t afford to rent the London apartment of their president’s son for even a single month.

Nor is Tareq the only multi-millionaire in the Abbas family. The president’s eldest living son, Yasser, made his fortunes from, among other things, the monopoly sale of US-made cigarettes in the occupied territories, offering Lucky Strikes and other carcinogens to Palestine’s tobacco addicted.

Which must leave Palestinians wondering: are their financial blessings merely the result of being “Grade A businessmen,” as Yasser once famously remarked?

The brothers Abbas enjoy a personal wealth that eludes nearly all their compatriots. Average Palestinians could hardly be faulted for questioning whether Papa President played a part. (Attorneys for Yasser claim the reverse is true – that “politics often affects the business of Mr Abbas negatively”.)

Thankfully, the public now has more information from which to form a view. As recently reported in Ha’aretz, leaked records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca show Tareq Abbas as having at least $982,000 in shares of the Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC), a British Virgin Island incorporated firm where he serves as a board member.

The same tranche of Panama Papers also revealed that the Palestinian Authority’s billion-dollar investment portfolio, the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), owns 18 percent of APIC.

Incidentally, President Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority wields significant influence over the PIF’s activities. I presume his children would have us believe their dad leaves the room anytime APIC or his children’s business pursuits are mentioned in the course of his official duties.

Little wonder then a May 2016 poll reported on by the Associated Press showed that almost all Palestinians – 95.5 percent – believe there is corruption in Abbas’ government.

But you won’t hear much public airing about these complaints within the little Area A statelet President Abbas lords over like a mini Caesar. This is territory, of course, where dissidents are disappeared and tortured, websites are closed, and journalists are surveilled and harassed.

But that doesn’t stop people from thinking that corruption is rampant. Since his own kids do so little to correct that widely held impression, one can only conclude they don’t give a damn. Why should they?

The last time Abbas faced the voters was 10 years ago, and no future poll is in the offing.

As for managing negative publicity, Tareq should know a thing or two about how to minimise it. He has held a variety of profitable leadership functions with the Ramallah-based Sky Advertising Company over the years, and now serves as Sky’s Chairman of the Board.

During Tareq’s tenure, the firm has helped bring in an eclectic range of international heavyweight companies, including Qatar’s Ooredoo/Wataniya Mobile, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), even the BBC World Service.

Left off of Sky’s corporate website is Tareq’s earlier involvement in a controversial US government contracts, as previously revealed by Reuters news agency. His Sky Advertising Company took a sizeable piece of a $2m tender from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) back in 2006.

Sky’s specific mission was to “improve the image of the United States in the Occupied Territories”, which then, as now, is sorely in need of improving.

Former US president George W Bush’s 2002 “roadmap for peace”, endorsed by President Abbas, aimed for a Palestinian state by the end of 2005. The music stopped as 2005 came and went, and no doubt the embarrassed and double-crossed Palestinian Authority officials went scrambling for chairs.

The Americans may have sent them on a fool’s errand. But at least they were charitable enough to throw the president’s kid a contract to make some money.

Alas, nearly 10 years later, we learn that Tareq was kind enough to recycle his hard-earned occupation dollars back into the Western economy.

To the country, no less, that gave rise to Lord Balfour and his declaration promising another people a home on the land where his father once lived. The octogenarian long ago ceded his own right to return and live in Safed some day.

And the two-state prospect President Abbas held out for all these years is now more remote than ever.

As for his son, if there won’t be Palestine, there will always be London. And I suspect the child of privilege does not care if you know he can enjoy it at any time.

(Source / 21.06.2016)

Alhassan Calls for UN Action to Stop Russia’s Use of Banned Weapons in Syria

Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Riyad Alhassan said that Russian air force has been using cluster munitions in attacks on towns and villages in Aleppo. Alhassan called on the United Nations and the UN Security Council to take urgent measures to prevent the use of internationally prohibited weapons against civilians in Syria.

Russian jets on Monday bombed the towns of Huraytan, Hayyan, Anadan, Kafar Hamra, Maaret Alartiq, Urm Alqubra, Messibin, Babees and Anjara in rural Aleppo, killing at least 21 civilians and injuring dozens more. Activists published videos and photos showing the remains of cluster munitions used in airstrikes on rural Aleppo.

Five civilians of one family, including a child, were killed and dozens injured in Russian airstrikes on the neighborhood of Tareeq Albab in Aleppo on Monday.

Alhassan stressed that Russia cannot claim to be a sponsor of the political process while it is carrying out acts that amount to state terrorism in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 21.06.2016)