Israeli forces detain 27 Palestinian in large-scale West Bank raids

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces conducted large-scale raids across the occupied Palestinian territory overnight Monday, targeting in particular the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, detaining a total of at least 28 Palestinians and ransacking several homes.Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinian men from Qalqiliya after midnight, while an Israeli army spokesperson said 20 had been detained.Locals identified those detained as Amin Sasa, Mushir Jeidi, Anas Farraj, Yousif Abu Shihab, Thaer Ali Ibtli, Hindi Zeid, Sharhabil Shubaki, Iyad Jueidi, Ibrahim Hindi, and Shahir Jueidi.During the raids, Israeli forces ransacked and inspected several homes in the city, damaging the interiors and upending furniture, according to locals.Among the houses Israeli soldiers ransacked and inspected were those of Rafiq Abu Samra, Shakir Hbeis, Abu Salim Jueidi, Nabil Hotari, and Luay Yasin.In the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces stormed the town of al-Khader and broke into home of 55-year-old Ahmad Muhammad Salah to detain his 29-year-old son Muhammad.Spokesperson of the town’s local committee against Israeli settlements and the separation wall Ahmad Salah told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers “violently” broke into the house thoroughly inspected the family’s belongings.Israeli forces briefly detained and interrogated Ahmad Muhammad Salah and his older son Ashraf, threatening that if Muhammad Salah did not turn himself in, “we will return his dead body to you instead.” He turned himself in Tuesday afternoon.Israeli intelligence officers provided no information to the family regarding the crimes for which Muhammad Salah was being held.An Israeli army spokesperson said than one Palestinian was also detained in the village of Birqin west of Jenin in the northernmost West Bank district, and two were detained in the village of Surif in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.She added that in the central occupied West Bank near Jerusalem, three Palestinians were detained in the village of Biddu, one in Qatanna, and one in Kafr Aqab.

Since the start of 2016, Israeli forces have conducted a weekly average of 88 search and detention operations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to UN documentation.According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli custody as of May. The organization estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at least once in their lives.
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(Source / 12.07.2016)

Facebook sued for alleged facilitation of Hamas attacks on Israeli-Americans

© Dado Ruvic

Relatives of Israelis and Americans who died amid attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank are suing Facebook, accusing the social media giant of effectively offering material support, resources, and communication facilitation to Palestinian militants.

Plaintiffs in the case, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, say that their relatives — four Israeli-US dual nationals and one US citizen — were killed in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank during attacks between 2014 and 2016. Facebook, they allege, is responsible for allowing militants to continue organizing such attacks without censure. The suit is seeking $1 billion in damages.

Hamas, considered a terror organization by the US government, has claimed responsible for one of the deadly attacks named in the lawsuit, according to Reuters. The plaintiffs’ Israeli lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said there is proof that Hamas was tied to the other attacks.

Facebook “knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas … facilitat(ing) this terrorist group’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies,” the lawsuit says, citing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1992, which bars American businesses from providing material support or services to groups on the US terror list.

© Valentin Flauraud

The company said it “does not respond to any issue currently subject to legal procedure,” according to Facebook’s Israeli PR firm.

A Hamas spokesman decried the lawsuit and said Israel would prefer Facebook become a spying tool against Palestinians.

“The real test for the owners of Facebook is to reject this (Israeli) pressure,” Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Since September, at least 34 Israelis and two American tourists have died in Palestinian attacks, while more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, the USA today reported.

Taylor Force, 28, was a US veteran visiting Israel in March when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. His family is among the plaintiffs in the suit, as is the family of American-Israeli Richard Lakin, a former elementary school principal in Connecticut, who died in October following an attack in Jerusalem.

“Facebook can’t sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can’t serve as a social network for Hamas,” said Darshan-Leitner.

In October
, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York against Facebook in Israel, with plaintiffs alleging that the company failed to monitor and delete posts on Palestinian accounts inciting hatred towards Jews.

“Facebook’s refusal to remove the flood of extremist videos, statements and cartoons being posted by Palestinians is encouraging imminent violence and fanning the flames of the terrorist attacks that have overwhelmed Israel in the past month,” the lawsuit says, concluding that “Facebook’s algorithms and platform connects inciters to terrorists who are further encouraged to perpetrate stabbings and other violence attacks against Israelis.”

That lawsuit, also filed by Darshan-Leitner of the Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, is still pending in court, according to Reuters.

Facebook was also sued last month by the family of a victim of the Paris attacks in November 2015. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a student at California State University, Long Beach who was studying abroad in Paris at the time of the attack, said Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter, “knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS [the jihadist group Islamic State] to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda.” The lawsuit added that without social media, any expansion of influence by Islamic State “would not have been possible.”

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Israeli military sweep rocks southern al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– An Israeli military operation has rocked al-Khalil’s southern town of Dura on early Tuesday morning, sparking a state of panic across the area. Reporting from Dura, a PIC news correspondent said heavily-armed Israeli troops escorted by military jeeps and helicopters launched a military campaign across the area and raked through residential neighborhoods. The IOF wreaked havoc on civilian homes and installed surveillance cameras across the area. The campaign comes as part of Israel’s ongoing efforts to track down the Palestinian man who carried out an anti-occupation attack in the Atna’el illegal settlement. Over the past couple of weeks, al-Khalil province has been subjected to abrupt raids, home break-ins, and arbitrary abductions in search for the man.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

IOA to release the youngest Palestinian female prisoner

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) decided Tuesday to release the youngest Palestinian female prisoner Nuran al-Balboul, 16, after spending three months in Israeli jails. The Israeli decision came after Ofer military court held today afternoon an appeal session over Nuran’s detention. Nuran was arrested on April 13, 2016 at Bethlehem checkpoint while heading to al-Aqsa Mosque for allegedly trying to carrying out a stabbing attack. Nuran’s two brothers, Mohamed and Mahmoud, are administratively held in Israeli jails. They both launched an open hunger strike several days ago in protest against their administrative detention. Nuran’s father was assassinated by Israeli forces in 2008 for allegedly being involved in anti-occupation attacks.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Dutch woman escapes ISIS-held, northern Iraqi city of Mosul

Laura Angela Hansen told Kurdistan 24 television that her father helped her escape with her two children

A Dutch woman has surrendered to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters near the ISIS-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq, saying she had been trying to escape the “hell” she was living in “all the time.”

Laura Angela Hansen told Kurdistan 24 television that her father helped her escape with her two children – four-year-old Iman and Abdullah, one. She gave no details.

Born in 1995 in the Netherlands, she said her husband, who is Dutch of Palestinian origin, had told her he was taking her on a “vacation” when they entered ISIS-held areas in Syria. She lived for several months in Raqqa, de facto capital of the “Caliphate,” before they moved to Mosul.

“I didn’t want to come to Syria … without me knowing. He pushed me,” she said.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Two life sentences, 30 years against Palestinian prisoner r

NABLUS, (PIC)– Israeli military court of Salem Tuesday issued two life sentences and additional 30 years against prisoner Ragheb Eleiwi from Nablus city on the charge of belonging to al-Qassam Brigades and carrying out shooting attacks resulting in killing settlers and injuring others.  Eleiwi’s brother told the PIC reporter that Eleiwi was brought to court while being handcuffed and feet shackled amid tightened security measures. His family members, who attended the trial, were banned from talking to him, he pointed out.  Salem court on June 22 issued a similar sentence against four Palestinian detainees of the Itamar cell and adjourned the trials of another two prisoners after indicting them of carrying out a shooting attack near Itamar settlement. An Israeli settler along with his wife were killed in the attack which was carried out in response to the Israeli crime of burning al-Dawabshe Palestinian family alive in Doma town two months earlier.  Israeli forces razed the home of captive Eleiwi and the homes of the four members of Itamar cell. The implementation of the demolition orders of  the two other captives were adjourned.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

What Turkey fails to understand about IS

A police officer stands guard as members of police special forces (background) patrol at Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016

Since the deadly attack June 28 on Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey has become more alert about threats from the Islamic State (IS). Turkish police arrested more than 20 suspected IS members in a search for the group’s secret cells; meanwhile, the Turkish military began hitting IS targets inside Syria with its jets and artillery. In other words, as belated as it is, Turkey has begun taking a bolder stance against the terror organization that now threatens the world

However, Turkey also needs a war of ideas against IS. Sadly, Turkey’s ruling religious-minded class seems to have little willingness and potential to do that. The reason is not any love affair with IS or any sympathy with its carnage. The reason is that most of Turkey’s Islamic opinion leaders who have the means to counter IS ideology instead choose to blind themselves to the nature of the problem and explain it as a Western conspiracy against Islam.

This tirade is most visible in the pro-government media sector, which reflects a large part of the Islamic camp. As explained in a recent Al-Monitor piece, several articles appeared in this sector after the attack on the Istanbul airport, putting the blame on “the CIA.” Moreover, there is a whole narrative explaining the very rise of IS as nothing but a Western plot to create a Trojan horse within Islam in order to stain the religion and advance Western imperialism in the Middle East.

A recent gem reflecting this narrative is a new book titled “DAISH: The Code of World War Three.” (DAISH is the Arabic acronym for the “Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” and is conspicuously preferred by Erdogan and his supporters to eliminate any visible reference to Islam.) The book is written by Betul Soysal Bozdogan, a popular female anchor on state TV TRT, with interviews with some 19 academics — most of whom are unmistakably pro-government. It was promoted with heavy advertising including a slick video, which states the following:

“The globalization project collapsed. Capitalism is on the brink of death. … While the darkness of nihilism [dominates] the whole world, Islam is the last free citadel that offers a global resistance. Hence the mastermind created its latest invention to conquer the citadel: DAISH, which wants to bring Islam and terror together.”

So IS and all of its cruelty exists because of the evil mastermind — a term Erdogan invented last year, as I explained in Al-Monitor, as a Western center of conspiracy. Moreover, the book’s promotion film tells us, the target of this conspiracy is not just Islam but, more specifically, the glorious “New Turkey” of Erdogan. The film states, “DAISH has a second mission: to stop Turkey, which is the candidate to be the ‘reference country of history and civilization.’ Since they know that we will once again shape history if the roadblocks are eliminated, they want to render both Turkey and Islam ineffective by pointing to DAISH.”

The breathtakingly self-serving tone of this argument apparently did not look too kitsch to the pro-Erdogan media. Quite the contrary, it has been welcomed and applauded. An article in the pro-Erdogan daily Sabah defined the book as a must-read for politicians and intellectuals. Other op-eds in the same media zone declared “DAISH is a product of the West” or “DAISH is a puppet, the West is the puppeteer.” Last year, even a government minister had argued, “DAISH and PKK are the West’s toys.”

The big problem now with this entire obsession with Western conspiracies is not that it looks ridiculous to anyone who has a better sense of the world. The big problem is that it keeps Turkey’s new ruling class in a bubble of self-delusion, blinding them to the bitter and complex realities that Turkey faces. They seem to have almost no idea about the religious ideology of IS and its brand of Salafi-takfiri-jihadism, or of the social and political dynamics that drive thousands of young Muslims to this zealotry.

Meanwhile, in the real world, IS has been making alarming inroads into Turkish society — and not because of any Western conspiracy, but because of the Turkish blindness in question. As explained by Yusuf Muftuoglu, a former adviser to former President Abdullah Gul, in an incomparably sober and sobering piece, Turkey has witnessed “a normalization of Salafi extremism” in the past five years, giving IS a fertile ground.

Muftuoglu said, “Some of Turkey’s Islamist NGOs and media have assumed prominent roles in this process, not just proselytizing an extremely sectarian discourse, but also silencing anyone who warned against the Islamic State. A great deal of Iran, and hence Shiite, bashing has gone on, labeling the Shiites with insulting adjectives throughout, justified by the argument that Salafi extremism was a result of Shiite extremism and hence understandable.”

Now the same people who helped advance “Salafi extremism” — “the government-allied media and its many columnists,” as Muftuoglu puts it — are telling us that its ultimate product, IS, is nothing but a Western conspiracy. Moreover, when their ideas are objected to, they typically lash out by blaming their critics to be Western agents trying to whitewash their supposed masters.

Yet the issue is not the West here, which indeed has many relevant sins of its own to account for, such as the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq — which is now widely accepted as a disastrous folly. The real issue is whether the members of Turkey’s new ruling class have the intellectual capacity to understand the world as it is and the moral capacity to admit their own failures along with the problems in their own tradition. So far, they have not done an impressive job. Understanding that IS is not a conspiracy against Islam but a disease within Islam would be a great step forward.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Knesset passes law targeting left-wing rights groups

NAZARETH, (PIC)– The Knesset has passed a law restricting the work of human rights groups opposing Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and its policies against the Palestinians. Under the new law, noted human rights groups that receive more than half of their funding from abroad, including from European governments, are demanded to disclose it clearly in official reports, meetings, interviews, emails etc. Punitive measures will be taken against certain named groups that violate the law. This legislation will target about two dozen left-wing groups that campaign for Palestinian rights while excluding right-wing pro-settlement NGOs, who will not be required to reveal their foreign funding sources. The organizations to be affected include some of Israel’s most prominent rights groups, including Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Peace Now and Yesh Din. The bill, promoted by Israel’s right-wing justice minister, Ayelet Shaked and backed by premier Binyamin Netanyahu, was passed by 57 to 48 votes following a lengthy and acrimonious debate on Monday. The law has been widely criticized in Israel and overseas.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Report: Egypt’s Military Junta Has Been Allowing Israeli Drone Strikes In Egypt

A new report reveals that Israel has launched several drone strikes against targets in the Sinai in recent years.


An Israeli soldier stands next to two drones in the Tel Nof air force base in central Israel

While a lot of the focus of Israel’s relationship with Egypt lately has centered on rare critical comments from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry related to the ongoing occupation of Palestine, the reality of the situation is that since the Egyptian military launched a coup d’etat in summer of 2013, ties with Israel couldn’t be better.

Israeli officials today were bragging up their great ties with the Egyptian junta, with an unnamed former official confirming that Israel has launched several drone strikes against targets inside Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with the “blessing” of the junta.

Egypt launched a major offensive into Sinai immediately following the coup, accusing local tribal factions of being in league with the ousted elected government. This spiraled quickly into a full-scale war with an Islamist group, which is now an ISIS affiliate.

Israel, which endorsed the coup as good for Mideast stability, has backed the junta from day one, and while it is unsurprising that they’d be backing the junta with military support, this is the first real admission to that effect that it has been ongoing, a fact the junta would doubtless like to keep secret.

(Source / 12.07.2016)

IOF bans Jerusalemite activist from travel for 6 months

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli intelligence in al-Maskobiya issued a ban of travel order against Head of the Jerusalemite Committee against Judaization, Naser al-Hedmi, for six months citing alleged security reasons.  Hedmi, 47, pointed out that the order was issued on June 14 and it was delivered only on Monday, July 11 “in order not to give him the chance to appeal against it”, he said. It is the second time in which he was issued a ban from travel order, he highlighted.  Hedmi was held in Israeli jails on three past occasions in which he served three years. He was also deported away from the Aqsa Mosque for 15 days.

(Source / 12.07.2016)