34 Palestinians kidnapped by IOF including 12-year-old twins

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Over 34 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) overnight on Sunday and at dawn on Monday in an abduction sweep launched across the West Bank. According a to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, 17 Palestinians, including 12-year-old twins Malek and Muhammad al-Nabulsi, were kidnapped from Occupied Jerusalem and the Qalandiya refugee camp.   Eight Palestinians were, meanwhile, kidnapped by the IOF from al-Khalil, including the two brothers of the slain anti-occupation activist Muhammad Tarayra. The sweep culminated in the abduction of four Palestinians from Bethlehem’s towns of Beit Fajjar and al-Khader, three from Tulkarem, and two from Jenin.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

Hunger-striking prisoner demands release, preemptively rejects deportation offer

Bilal Kayid

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid reiterated his demands to be freed by Israeli authorities from administrative detention, preemptively rejecting an offer to be deported in lieu of being freed to his hometown of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.Lawyer Karim Ajweh, affiliated with the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, said after visiting the prisoner in Israel’s Ashkelon prison that Kayid would never agree to any deal with Israel that includes deportation.“I won’t end my hunger strike unless my administrative detention is ended and I am released immediately,” stressed Kayid, who was placed in administrative detention — internment without charges or trial — on June 13, the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half-year sentence.Israeli forces at times deport Palestinian political prisoners to the Gaza Strip from the occupied West Bank as a condition of their release.According to Ajweh, Kayid has lost 23 to 24 kilograms since he began his hunger strike on June 15, after living off only water for more than 20 days.Kayid began his hunger strike primarily in protest of his administrative detention, but also in response to his extended placement in isolation.He served the last several months of his near 15-year prison sentence in isolation, and has remained in isolation since Israeli forces sentenced him to six-months in administrative detention.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

Saudi Arabia: Explosions near Medina and Qatif mosques

Deaths reported at Prophet’s Mosque in Medina as witnesses say body parts of presumed bomber seen in Qatif.

The Medina explosion occurred just before the Maghreb prayers

Four people, including two security guards, have been killed in an explosion outside the Prophet’s Mosque in the Saudi Arabia’s Medina, Islam’s second holiest city, sources tell Al Jazeera.

Photos on social media show smoke billowing from a fire outside the mosque where Prophet Muhammad is buried.

The cause of the explosion on Monday evening was not immediately known. Some reports suggested it was a suicide bombing, while others said a gas cylinder had blown up.

Qari Ziyaad Patel, 36, from South Africa, was at the mosque when he heard a blast just as the call to sunset prayers was ending.

Many at first thought it was the sound of traditional, celebratory cannon fire, but then he felt the ground shake.

“The vibrations were very strong,” he told the AP news agency. “It sounded like a building imploded.”

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The blasts occurred just before the Maghreb (sunset) prayers when people were breaking their fast inside the mosque.

Qatif explosions

Around the same time, two other explosions struck near a mosque in the eastern city of Qatif on the Gulf coast, residents said.

Witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque without causing any other injuries.

They reported seeing body parts lying on the ground in the city’s business district.

“Suicide bomber for sure. I can see the body” which was blasted to pieces, a resident told the AFP news agency.

Nasima al-Sada, another resident, said “one bomber blew himself up near the mosque”.

A third witness told Reuters news agency that one explosion destroyed a car parked near the mosque, followed by another explosion just before 7pm local time.

“We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan and those places are crowded because of that for Maghreb [sunset] prayers,” Khaled Batarfi, a Saudi Gazette columnist, told Al Jazeera.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Early on Monday morning, two security officers were injured as a suicide bomberblew himself up near the US consulate in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

Security officers became suspicious of a man near the car park of Dr Suleiman Faqeeh Hospital which is directly across from the US diplomatic mission. When they moved in to investigate, “he blew himself up with a suicide belt inside the hospital parking”, the ministry said, adding that two security officers were lightly wounded.

In January, at least four people were killed in a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in the eastern al-Ahsa region.

In October, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in Najran, in which at least one person was killed.

ISIL (also known as ISIS) had also claimed responsibility for an attack at a mosque inside a special forces headquarters in the city of Abha in August 2015. Fifteen people were killed in that attack.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

Why are the Dutch funding settlers in Palestine?

Dutch ministers don’t seem to mind bending the laws to incorporate territory to Israel that does not belong to it.

A general view of the Israel Jewish West Bank settlement seen from Jerusalem [EPA]

A general view of the Israel Jewish West Bank settlement seen from Jerusalem

Dutch ministers, including prime ministers, have been circumventing laws, without informing their parliament, for the past 14 years to sustain monthly payments to Dutch settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.

On June 18, NRC Handelsblad, a prominent daily in the Netherlands, revealed in a fully documented report how several prime ministers, ministers, Dutch diplomats in Israel and the Social Insurance Bank, or SVB, have been bending pension laws since 2002 to keep paying untaxed state pensions to Dutch settlers living in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The report is a detailed exposure of the exceptional privilege awarded to Dutch settlers on occupied Palestinian land.

In 2002, a new law was put in motion to decrease state pensions for all Dutch citizens living in countries that have no social security agreement with the Netherlands.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/06/dutch-funding-settlers-palestine-160627121422098.html

Israel has one, however: The Netherlands cannot make payments to its citizens living in territories occupied by Israel after 1967.

Political scandal

This is when the political scandal started as ministers suggested “creative solutions” to sidestep the law and public knowledge in order to create an exception for all Dutch settlers living in illegal settlements.

The report takes us through a decade of legal circumventions, ministerial power play, hidden letters, the Israeli lobby in The Hague, and current Minister of Social AffairsLodewijk Asscher personally ordering the SVB, which is independent from his ministry and responsible for the pension payments, to transfer the money despite the bank’s discovery of the fraud.


ALSO READ: A century later, the tide turns on Palestine


It goes as far as having ministers scheme to blame the Palestinian Authority for fraud surveillance should all of this come to light.

Dutch Jewish colonists receive income support on top of their pensions, and have their taxes, which Dutch citizens living in the Netherlands have to pay, covered by the SVB. As a result, you are better off financially if you are a Dutch Jewish settler on Palestinian stolen land.

The controversy taking place is three-tiered: firstly, Dutch Jewish colonists receive income support on top of their pensions, and have their taxes, which Dutch citizens living in the Netherlands have to pay, covered by the SVB. As a result, you are better off financially if you are a Dutch Jewish settler on Palestinian stolen land.

Secondly, questions arose on the role of the Israeli influence on Dutch politicians and politics. The report exposed the fierce Israeli lobbying that took place to keep the payments going.

Former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is quoted as saying that the Dutch government is undeniably pressured by the pro-Israel lobby, and an SVB official maintained the cover-up because “one has to keep one hands off Israel”.

This power play led to a shadowy quest with no legal basis, a lack of transparency and ministers hiding information from the Parliament.

Finally, during a parliamentary session on June 21, the minister was questioned on breaching the law and the double standard he maintained.

Double standards

Asscher has limited pensions paid to residents of other areas internationally viewed as occupied, such as Western Sahara.

He has personally worked on reducing the pensions of retired Dutch-Moroccans wanting to move back to Morocco. His search for a decrease on their benefits continued unabated, to the extent that he modified the Social Security Agreement with Morocco.

A Palestinian holds a placard during a demonstration against the taking over of land by Israeli authorities to build roads for settlers

In short, the Dutch government has affected the rights of Dutch-Moroccans who have contributed to the Dutch economy for at least 40 years of their lives, and to the reconstruction of the Netherlands after World War II.

Although the Dutch parliament has demanded clarification regarding double standards, hardly anything has been done to correct the unequal and privileged treatment of Dutch colonists in Palestine. The Dutch government as such reduces Palestinians to a disenfranchised population that has no say over its life, death, property and faith.

Most crucially, what has completely been missing in the debate is the government’s facilitation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Israel does not even have to pay its settlers.


ALSO READ: A defeated sanctions vote in the US should worry Israel


This new revelation shows that these settlers are capable of sustaining a living in illegal settlements due to the financial support by the Dutch government, which instead of demanding that its citizens do not violate international law, it actually further supports the appropriation of Palestinian land.

Additionally, the European Union, whose presidency was held by the Netherlands until June 30, has called on the Israeli authorities to show zero tolerance for settler violence and to protect the local Palestinian population.

Settlements need settlers

But in its most recent move, Israel has announced the construction of more settlements. To follow the same logic, these settlements need settlers and these settlers do not appear out of thin air, nor does their violence. Among them are these Dutch colonists that get paid more to deprive a Palestinian from his land and resources.

What is even more controversial is how successive Dutch administrations have actually acted in accordance with Israel’s de facto annexation of the Westbank. Ministers did not mind bending the laws to incorporate a territory to Israel that does not belong to it.

The Netherlands, the country that is symbolised by International Law and the ICC, considered illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as de facto part of Israeli territory under the social security agreement.

And finally, a most sensitive subject the Dutch officials evade is the fact that while actively promoting the migration of Dutch Jews outside of Europe; current Dutch governments are contributing to the ongoing destruction of European Jewry. And this specifically, is the continuation of European tradition of anti-Semitism.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

BDS victory: Iceland capital boycotts Israeli products

BDS victory: Iceland capital boycotts Israeli products

Iceland described the vote as symbolic against Israel’s policy of apartheid

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has witnessed yet another victory as Iceland announces its capital will no longer trade with Israel.
Iceland’s capital city has voted to boycott all Israeli products, in another victory for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the occupying country.

Council members from the Reykjavik municipality approved the boycott of Israeli goods “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues,” local media reported.

Israel condemned the move stating “a volcano of hatred spews forth from the Reykjavik city council building.”

“For no reason or justification, except hatred for its own sake, calls of boycotting the state of Israel are heard,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We hope someone in Iceland will come to their senses and end the one-sided blindness fielded against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The development comes as over 40 academics and activists from across the globe prepare to gather in Tunisia this summer to discuss how to further the growing movement to boycott Israel.

Under the title “Boycott as a Strategy to Counter Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid: Present-day Realities and Aspirations”, the conference will be organised by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in the capital city of Tunis from 4 to 6 August 2016.

It will discuss the re-emergence of boycotting as an expression of solidarity with Palestinians by the world community, allowing participants to share their experience and analysis concerning the global campaign to boycott Israel – known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) – as a means to combat the occupation, which is gaining more momentum.

“This growing movement allows the Palestinians to take the reins of their national struggle, and to rebuild alliances with progressive forces around the world,” read the upcoming event’s background paper.

Initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, BDS describes itself as a global movement of citizens that carries out and advocates for non-violent campaigns of boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a means to overcome the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, as well as to achieve freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

The movement called on civil society around the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

Israeli PM takes ‘aggressive measures in Al-Khalil’

Netanyahu ordered the investigation of all families in Al-Khalil town of Bani Naim

Israeli prime minister said on Sunday that his cabinet had taken “unprecedented aggressive measures” in West Bank city of Al-Khalil.

Netanyahu said his Cabinet would be considering new measures to “strengthen” Kiryat Arba and other illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank

Days of Palestine, West Bank -Israeli prime minister said on Sunday that his cabinet had taken “unprecedented aggressive measures” in West Bank city of Al-Khalil.

During the weekly meeting of his illegal cabinet Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We are using various means, including aggressive measures that we have not used in the past.”

About the nature of the unprecedented measures, he explained: “We cordoned off the entire (Hebron) Al-Khalil district 700,000 people; revoked work permits from Bani Naim, a massive reinforcement of our units, two brigades with emphasis on securing the roads; automatically investigating all family.”

Two illegal Israeli settlers were killed in Al-Khalil last week, including a girl in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba. The suspected Palestinian attacker was shot dead following the alleged attack.

Following the alleged attacks, the Israeli government decided to reduce the monthly tax transfers it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli authorities also approved the construction of 42 new housing units in Kiryat Arba.

Netanyahu said his Cabinet would be considering new measures to “strengthen” Kiryat Arba and other illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 04.07.2016)

Israel arrested 6,730 Palestinians since Oct. 2015

The Israeli occupation placed 68 Palestinian children under house arrest

Israeli occupation has arrested 6,730 Palestinians, issued 950 administrative detention orders since October 2015.

This is the child Ali Alqam from Jerusalem, who was shot and kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces and is still inside an Israeli prison despite being younger than the age of legal liability

Days of Palestine, West Bank -Israeli occupation has arrested 6,730 Palestinians, issued 950 administrative detention orders since October 2015.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Palestinian Human Rights Commission said that 180 Palestinians out of the total number were arrested over alleged social media incitement.

It also stated that an estimated 65 Palestinian children were placed under house arrest and 18 others expelled from their hometowns during the first half of 2016.

The PLO’s Committee for Prisoners and Freed Prisoners said that 3,445 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli occupation during the first half of 2016, noting that this figure included 712 children and 102 women and 98 fishermen from the Gaza Strip.

The Commission stated that the arrest rate for Palestinians has increased by 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

(Source / 04.07.2016)