Israeli Soldiers Kidnap 33 Palestinians In Silwan, One In Sheikh Jarrah, In Occupied Jerusalem

27 JUL
8:42 AM

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the town of Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, before storming and violently searching dozens of homes and kidnapped 33 Palestinians. The soldiers also kidnapped one Palestinian in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers, and security officers, invaded various neighborhoods in the town, after completely surrounding it, and initiated massive, violent, searches of homes.

Silwanic added that most of the 33 kidnaped Palestinians are children, in addition to several former political prisoners.

The soldiers also interrogated many Palestinians, including entire families, while violently searching their homes.

Military helicopters were seen flying over various neighborhoods in Silwad, while the home invasions were largely focused in the neighborhoods in Ras al-‘Amoud, the Central Neighborhood, Ein Silwan, Be’er Ayyoub, Wad Qaddoum, al-Bustan and Wad ar-Rababa.

The soldiers also summoned at least five Palestinians for interrogation in a number of detention and interrogation centers in Jerusalem.

Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud told Silwanic that the soldiers moved the kidnapped Palestinians to a police station in Salaheddin Street, in addition to the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation center. They have been identified as:

  1. Omran Amer Abu Sbeih, 14.
  2. Mohammad Issa Qutub, 14.
  3. Ibrahim Tamer Dandees, 16.
  4. Ahmad Tamer Dandees, 18.
  5. Mohammad Salaima, 15.
  6. Mohammad Yousef Sharaf, 17.
  7. Sharif Emad Abu Mayyala, 17.
  8. Taha Fawzi Abu Tayeh, 17.
  9. Jihad Nader al-Bazlameet, 17,
  10. Odai Samer Abu Tayeh, 17.
  11. Ammar Issa Ateyya, 17.
  12. Malek Abed Hamdan, 19.
  13. Mo’tasem Mohammad Abu Tayeh, 21.
  14. Riyad Salim Abu Diab, 39.
  15. Karim Ishaq Abu Tayeh, 28.
  16. Mohammad Ibrahim Awwad, 33.
  17. Ayyoub Mousa al-Abbassi, 20.
  18. Fathi Khaled Nasser, 19.
  19. Abed Ezz Barbar, 18.
  20. Ahmad Nader al-Bazlameet, 21.
  21. Amir Majed Najdi, 18.
  22. Ala’ Fawzi al-Khatib, 21.
  23. Yousef Daoud al-Abbassi, 23.
  24. Khalil Khalaf Odeh, 21.
  25. Mousa Maher Jaber, 17.
  26. Zeid Kayed Hijazi, 27.
  27. Montaser Yousef Shiokhi, 25.
  28. Jamal Farak Da’na, 22.
  29. Mansour Yousef Shiokhi, 24.
  30. Rabea’ ‘Omar Bashir, 29.
  31. Haroun Roweidat, 17.
  32. Hasan Mohammad Roweidi, 19.
  33. Mohammad Ramadan Shalloudi, 25.
  34. Mustafa Emad Mheisin, 16. (from Sheikh Jarrah)

(Source / 27.07.2016)

After Coup Attempt, Turkish Government Cracks Down On Press

Journalists gather outside a court building to support journalist Bulent Mumay, who was detained Tuesday in connection with the investigation of the attempted coup in Turkey.

Journalists gather outside a court building to support journalist Bulent Mumay, who was detained Tuesday in connection with the investigation of the attempted coup in Turkey

The Turkish government has cracked down on independent media since an attempted coup on July 15, shutting down at least 45 newspapers and 16 TV stations, the Associated Press reports.

On Wednesday, the state-run news service Anadolu Agency reported 47 arrest warrants had been issued for employees of the newspaper Zaman, and that 13 people had been detained.

Zaman and a sister publication were raided by policein March for their supposed connection to the Hizmet religious movement led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly blamed Gulen for fomenting the military coup against him on July 15.

Other media outlets with suspected ties to Gulen have also been targeted. Earlier this week, the government issued an additional 42 arrest warrants for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Committee wrote on its website “Many of the journalists on the reported [warrant] list … worked for media outlets which [are] already taken over by pro-government trustees for their ties to the Hizmet movement.”

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe, issued astatement condemning the media crackdown:

“By rounding up journalists the government is failing to make a distinction between criminal acts and legitimate criticism. Rather than stifling press freedom and intimidating journalists into silence it is vital that Turkish authorities allow the media to do their work and end this draconian clampdown on freedom of expression.”

On Wednesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. sees “a troubling trend in Turkey where official bodies, law enforcement and judicial, are being used to discourage legitimate political discourse,” reports Reuters.

(Source / 27.07.2016)

How Egypt’s Brotherhood helped counter Turkey’s coup attempt

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate after troops involved in the coup surrendered, in the resort town of Marmaris, Turkey July 16, 2016

Egypt’s outcast Muslim Brotherhood would be hard-pressed to find a country more welcoming than Turkey, and it appears the group’s support might have played a role in quashing the July 15 attempted coup.

Ankara has not demanded the departure of any of the group’s leaders, as Qatar did in September 2014, nor has it opened numerous investigations into the extent of the Brotherhood’s involvement in terrorism, as Britain has. Perhaps that is what drove the Brotherhood to call upon Egyptians and Syrians living in Turkey, as well as governments around the world and Turkish civil society, to defend Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he was targeted by a coup launched by some members of the army.

On its official webpage, the Muslim Brotherhood posted a statement dated July 16 saying it would stand in solidarity with the Turkish people and their right to rally around their elected government. The statement also called upon “all free people around the world, peoples, civil society groups and elected governments to support democracy in every nation equally and reject backward [rebel] ideas.”

Different factions of the Brotherhood have converged around that same stance, despite some splits in the Brotherhood’s ranks. On one side stand the historic leaders of the Brotherhood, foremost among them interim leader Mahmoud Ezzat and Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein, and what remains of the leadership’s membership and the Shura Council, both of which fled abroad. On the other side stand some second-rank leaders and younger members of the Brotherhood.

Amr Farrag, one of the founders of the Rasd Network, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote the following on his personal Facebook page: “I call on the Arab youth generally, and the Egyptian and Syrian youth present in Turkey [specifically], to go out into the street and support [Erdogan] in confronting the military coup against him by the Turkish army. The coup against Erdogan now taking place in Turkey will have a major impact on the continued existence of the Brotherhood in Turkey. Go out and try to defend the last place where you can live with a bit of dignity and peace of mind.”

Al-Monitor spoke with experts on Turkish affairs and Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, about the Brotherhood’s capacity for mobilizing on behalf of Erdogan in Turkey and exerting influence on Turkish politics. Salah Labib, a researcher specializing in Turkish affairs at the Arab Center for Humanistic Studies, told Al-Monitor it is difficult to gauge the extent of the Brotherhood’s influence. “There must be clear facts upon which to base an analysis,” he said.

However, he said the Brotherhood might have tried to help Erdogan to prove its importance in Turkey, especially since Turkey’s government has been seeking to reconcile with some other states, especially Egypt. “Recently, this orientation toward reconciliation had produced a marked improvement in relations between Turkey on the one hand and both Russia and Israel on the other,” he said.

Mohamed Abd al-Qadir, chief editor of Turkish Affairs magazine and an analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political & Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor he is certain the Brotherhood’s leadership and young people in Turkey played a significant role in mobilizing Egyptians and Syrians.

“The Syrians [living in Turkey] number around 2.7 million, and the Egyptians’ numbers are also massive, with a significant portion of them being students who are [beneficiaries of] Turkish scholarships and initiatives.” These young people in Turkey are in contact with a wide network of their counterparts in Egypt and Syria, who “have a great deal of experience in mobilizing in the streets through [the social media networks] that spread throughout Egypt following the January [2011] revolution and during the Brotherhood’s rule,” Qadir said.

“They [use the networks] to spread notions of participating in some demonstrations and protests.” Much of their knowledge is being extended to Turkey, “and they have a great deal of experience in dealing with military operations,” he added.

However, Kamal Habib, a specialist in Islamist movements, said it is difficult for the Brotherhood to mobilize in Turkey because its numbers there are not large enough to cover many cities, and a high proportion of their leaders are old and not particularly mobile.

He noted, though, that these leaders, through their contacts with sovereign entities loyal to Erdogan in Turkey, might have offered advice concerning how to initiate and secure a mobilization.

The Brotherhood’s traditional leadership, second-tier leaders and young members all united around a single stance concerning the attempted coup. This testified to the strategic importance they place on Erdogan’s regime. However, the attempted coup did not reveal the full extent of the Brotherhood’s importance to Erdogan in terms of the mobilization that defended him. So the Brotherhood is left to wonder: How will Erdogan deal with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s demand that, for any reconciliation, Brotherhood leaders must be extradited back to Egypt?

(Source / 27.07.2016)

Eizenkot: We killed 166 Palestinians in the WB in 10 months

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot admitted that Israeli soldiers killed 166 Palestinians for alleged anti-occupation attacks over the past ten months.  This number equals the score of Palestinians who were killed for the same reasons in the past seven years, he pointed out.  In his speech in a session of the Knesset foreign and security committee on Tuesday, Eizenkot revealed that over 3,200 Palestinians were arrested and 200 pieces of weapon were confiscated. However, he acknowledged that the power of Hamas Movement is getting stronger.  International and Israeli human rights institutions had refuted the Israeli occupation’s allegation that those Palestinians who were killed were about to carry out anti-occupation attacks. They affirmed that what has been done by Israeli forces is field executions in contrary to the international humanitarian law.

(Source / 27.07.2016)

Will Hamas, Dahlan join forces in upcoming local elections?

Palestinian supporters of the former head of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, hold posters depicting Dahlan (R) during a protest against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City, Dec. 18, 2014

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Hamas movement agreed to hold local elections in the Gaza Strip for the first time since its takeover in 2007. The Palestinian government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, issued a decree June 21 to organize the elections on Oct. 8 in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The elections will be held in 416 local bodies at once; 25 are located in Gaza and the other 391, which include 275 village councils, in the West Bank.

In this context, Hamas issued a press statement July 15, saying, “Hamas is keen to fix the Palestinian situation, consolidate the principle of partnership and assume national responsibility in this delicate phase and this national cause that our people are going through. Therefore, the movement believes it is essential to hold local elections and renew the bodies in the West Bank and Gaza based on the free will of the people, i.e., through the ballot box that leads to the development and improvement of the services provided to the Palestinian people.”

The statement continued, “The movement will work to facilitate the conduct of the elections and ensure their success in a bid to serve the interests of our people and our cause all the while guaranteeing fairness, equal opportunities and respect for the results of these elections.”

In its statement, Hamas did not indicate its intention to participate in the elections. However, Hamas’ political bureau member Khalil al-Hayya said in a speech he delivered during a ceremony in Gaza City July 20, “We have clearly announced that we will take part in the local council elections in Gaza and the West Bank no matter the circumstances. We will work on ensuring the success of these elections, and we hope [the elections] will also be secured in the West Bank.”

Hayya explained the reason behind Hamas’ approval to conduct and participate in the elections, saying, “These elections are local and aimed at serving a cause, so let us put all our efforts and dedication to serve our community and prioritize partnership.”

He said that his movement “agreed to hold elections to protect the interests of the people and respond to their aspirations, and to defy all those who had said that Hamas did not believe in and did not want elections.”

The last local elections were held in the West Bank in 2012 without the participation of the Hamas movement. But in 2005, elections were held in some of the municipalities, rather than all of them, in the West Bank and Gaza with the participation of Hamas.

Palestinians, however, are skeptical of the possibility that local elections will be held on time amid the Palestinian political division between the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip and the lack of trust between political adversaries.

A Hamas leader confirmed his movement’s desire to conduct local elections in the West Bank and Gaza. He told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the decision was serious, and not a political maneuver, saying, “We were surprised by the Palestinian government’s decision to hold elections. But following internal consultations, the movement decided to approve the holding of these elections and fully take part in them, so it announced its decision and informed the Central Elections Commission in order for it to proceed with the technical preparations.”

The source added, “The consultations included the institutions of the movement in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and abroad. Following examination, the movement’s leadership concluded that the elections can prove Hamas’ popularity in all of the Palestinian cities.”

In the general elections that were held in January 2006, Hamas won most of the votes in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, receiving 74 parliament seats out of 132. But the movement’s experience in governance, its control of the Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade ever since are factors that have affected its popularity among the Palestinians.

The same source said that Hamas may not reap the same results of the 2005 local (and incomplete) elections and the 2006 general elections. In contrast, Fatah is still weak, and a lower proportion of votes for Hamas would not be met with a higher proportion of votes for its rival Fatah.

“The elections would be politically and economically positive, as the new generation of youth within the movement would be reactivated. There will be also an economic recovery [with the jobs the campaign will generate] in the Gaza Strip, which will be of benefit to the Palestinians in light of the existing economic recession that resulted from the blockade and the lack of employment opportunities. We are also sure that Hamas will win in the elections, regardless of the proportion of votes,” he said.

He added, “Hamas secretly conducted its own opinion polls to check the public mood in the Palestinian street, and the results showed that the movement was ahead of Fatah.” However, he offered no figures in this regard.

Political author Mustafa Ibrahim voiced concerns that the political division would stop the holding of the elections. He also stressed that the elections can help restore the political life in the Palestinian street and set the stage for legislative and presidential elections.

Ibrahim told Al-Monitor, “Hamas could not refuse the holding of the elections, being the one calling for legislative and presidential elections. The movement is betting on the organizational weaknesses of the Fatah movement, knowing that it [Hamas] has a wide popularity in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”

He added, “According to the electoral list system, the coefficient or electoral quotient — which is the minimum that any list should get from total votes to be able to get seats in a council and is equivalent to 8% — will benefit the Hamas and Fatah movements being the biggest movements, while the left forces and the independent lists will be negatively affected by this high rate.”

The Fatah movement is suffering from internal divisions as a result of the conflict between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, who enjoys wide popularity in Gaza.

Member of the Fatah Central Committee Nabil Shaath expressed concerns in an interview July 20 with Donia al-Watan website, as he said, “Fatah is legitimate, and no subsidiary organizations should be allowed [to separate from Fatah], conspire against it or encourage the election of competitors. There is a committee within Fatah tasked with controlling and verifying such incidents. All those who are accused of dissidence or cooperation with Hamas or those who are violating Fatah’s laws should be stripped of their [Fatah] membership.”

Asked about the possibility of an alliance with Dahlan for the formation of joint lists or the exchange of support for electoral lists, the Hamas source said, “There are no taboos in politics.”

(Source / 27.07.2016)

Why many Jordanians have little stomach for upcoming elections

A man marks his ballot at a polling station in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 23, 2013

AMMAN, Jordan — An astounding 87% of Jordanians said their parliament had not made even one praiseworthy accomplishment during the 2013-16 term, according to an April poll conducted by the International Republican Institute. Faced with such public skepticism, the Jordanian government is campaigning to increase voter turnout for the country’s most important elections, to be held in two months.

The Independent Election Commission has launched a new website in Arabic and in English and has taken to the streets to explain the voting list system enacted in March in a new election law that did away with the previous one-person, one-vote system. “The King, the government and the Independent Election Committee have done all that is possible to prepare the groundwork for the new elections,” said a June 12 editorial in the Jordan Times. Nonetheless, with the Sept. 20 contest approaching, former Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher told Al-Monitor, “There is a noticeable indifference toward the elections.”

The parliament’s May 2 ratification of constitutional amendments was a worrying development for citizens who want an independent legislative branch. The new amendments gave the king absolute power to appoint the head of the paramilitary police force, members of the constitutional court and the crown prince. Before the May 2 decision, the king required the prime minister and certain ministers to recommend these critical nominees.

The changes were passed overwhelmingly in only about two weeks by 123 members of parliament out of 142 who attended the session, and with little public debate. Rana Sabbagh, the director of the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism and former editor-in-chief of the Jordan Times, told Al-Monitor that many Jordanians view parliament as being a “rubber stamp” for the king’s policies and not operating as a strong independent body monitoring the executive branch. “Jordanians don’t believe that this parliament is actually stopping wrongdoing in the system,” she said.

A poll by the Civil Coalition for Monitoring Elections published July 10 said a larger share of Jordanians (39.5%) intend to “boycott” the elections than those who plan to vote (31.5%). Suspicions of dishonesty in the legislative branch have fueled mistrust about the elections.

In April, the Jordan Times reported that hundreds of parliamentarians’ relatives had been appointed administrators at the legislature. “MPs cannot risk rejecting ‘wasta’ [obtaining privileges through connections] requests from people in their constituencies, because they fear losing them as voters,” said Tarek Khoury, a parliamentarian. “This is a big problem for the lower house.” With representatives themselves acknowledging their unethical behavior, it is no surprise that citizens are less than enthusiastic about taking the time to legitimize the legislative branch.

Previous instances of electoral fraud are also behind Jordanians questioning the utility of voting in September and staying away from the polls. In 2007, a former intelligence chief acknowledged falsifying parliamentary election results. In addition, the newspaper Al-Arab al-Youm exposed multiple cases of vote buying in the 2010 elections, with candidates’ campaigns offering citizens more than 100 Jordanian dinars (about $140) per vote. During the last parliamentary contest, in 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood accused the government of fraud.

Despite these issues, Sabbagh noted that given the current violence and turmoil across the region, there are voices in Jordan who believe that holding elections is a positive sign for the kingdom. The elections might benefit from the fact that the original Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), is participating this year after boycotting the previous races in 2010 and 2013. The IAF’s decision to compete in September lends legitimacy to the elections.

Given the challenging financial conditions facing Jordanians, it is difficult to divorce the weak economy from attitudes about the parliament and therefore the elections. According to the International Labor Organization, youth unemployment stands at approximately 28%, twice the international average. The government’s decision in June to raise fuel priceshas further strained the resources of many with already limited means.

“People feel manipulated, and they see [elections] as repetition of the same thing and done for someone else’s benefit,” Naseem Tarawnah, author of the popular Jordanian political blog Black Iris, told Al-Monitor. Because economic conditions are not improving, many in the kingdom view regular elections as “putting lipstick on the pig and dressing it up in different ways,” Tarawnah said. With average Jordanians struggling to support their families, participating in elections that appear to have a limited impact on their daily lives is not a priority.

Mohammad Momani, the minister of state for media affairs and government spokesman, declined Al-Monitor’s request for comment on the public’s attitude toward the elections.

Sitting at a cafe near the University of Jordan, student Abdalshaheed Abu-Khalil said he would not vote in the September race. “The elections are a big show,” he remarked. “The last parliament failed.” Lana Abu-Joudeh, however, is more hopeful. She explained to Al-Monitor, “It is important for all of us to be part of elections because we want Jordan to be a better place to live.” She said that while the last elections were “dishonest,” she nonetheless intends to vote in September.

King Abdullah II touted the new electoral legislation as a “milestone in our national reform process.” There appears to be a major divide, however, in how the Royal Palace and the people view the law. According to the International Republican Institute poll, 58% of Jordanians know nothing about the legislation, which requires candidates to run on multi-candidate lists. Voters select one list and then select candidates from that list. This process replaces the single, non-transferable vote system — “sawt wahid” or one vote — which had reduced opposition parties’ representation after the 1989 election in favor of tribal loyalists. In 1989, the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies won about one-third of the contested seats and became the largest parliamentary bloc, an unwelcome development for the monarchy. The Sawt wahid system created heavily gerrymandered districts that were disadvantageous for the urban areas where many Jordanian-Palestinians who supported the Brotherhood lived.

Although the purpose of the legislation was to create strong parliamentary political blocs, Muasher was cautious about the bill’s potential for success. “It is clear in most districts that lists are not going to be formed according to ideology but rather by tribal affiliation,” Muasher said.

Some of the attacks against the legislative branch are rooted in the country’s restrictions on political speech. “You can’t criticize the king and the upper echelons of power,” Tarawnah said. Therefore the legislative branch becomes one of the few government institutions that citizens can attack, causing “parliament to be the scapegoat,” he added.

The ongoing economic problems, previous cases of electoral fraud and consolidation of the king’s power have pushed many Jordanians to consider staying away from the ballot box in September. “People feel that parliament is not an effective decision maker or a voice that is representative of most Jordanians,” Muasher noted. “There is a big trust gap between citizens and the government in Jordan.”

(Source / 27.07.2016)

Israeli police detain 52 Palestinians in Jerusalem in self-styled ‘700 campaign’

aanval Al Quds

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 52 Palestinians — including 11 minors — overnight Tuesday after raiding communities just south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, amid a massive detention campaign targeting Palestinian youth in the area, a day after some 30 Palestinians families in East Jerusalem were left homeless by Israeli authorities-enforced home demolitions.Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police detained 52 Palestinians in the Silwan and Ras al-Amoud neighborhoods overnight. The campaign, she said, was called “the 700” because 700 Israeli police officers were involved in the crackdown.She added that hundreds of Israeli police and border guard officers were joined by representatives of Israel’s national insurance institute and Jerusalem municipality officers. Locals reported at least one military helicopter circling over occupied East Jerusalem during the raids as backup.The detainees, al-Samri said, were suspected of crimes including stone throwing, drug dealing, and theft.According to a lawyer from prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Mohammad Mahmoud, the detainees were taken to the Russian Compound police station and a police station on Salah al-Din street in East Jerusalem.A statement released Wednesday by Palestinian Prisoner’s Society identified 33 of the detained.Among them were 11 minors: Omran Abu Sbeih, 14, Muhammad Qutub, 14, Muhammad Salayma, 15, Ibrahim Dandis, 16, Mustafa Muheisin, 16, Mousa Jabir, 17, Haroun Rweidat, 17, Sharif Abu Mayyala, 17, Jihad Bazlamit, 17, Omar Sharif, 17, and Ammar Atiyeh, 17.The others were identified by PPS as Uday Abu Tayih, 18, Ahmad Dandis, 18, Abd al-Rahim Barbar, 18, Amir Najadi, 18, Taha Abu Tayih, 18, Yousif Abbas, 33, Khalil Odeh, 21, Ziad Hijazi, 27, Mansour Shuyukhi, 24, Muntasir Shuyukhi, 25, Jamal Daana, 22, Rabee Bashir, 29, Hasan Ruweidi, 19, Muhammad Shaloudi, 25, Anan Abu Khdeir, 19, Ayyub Abbasi, 20, Fathi Najada, 19, Ahmad Bazlamit, 21, Alaa Qutub, 21, Malik Hamdan, 19, Muatasim Abu Tayih, 21, Riyad Abu Diab, 39, Karim Abu Tayih, 28, and Muhammad Awwad, 33.Jerusalem police have conducted widespread detention raids in recent weeks in occupied east Jerusalem, in connection to alleged stone-throwing incidents targeting Israeli border police and settlers in the area, particularly at the Old City’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as at Israeli vehicles traveling between the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and Maale Adumin — a massive illegal Israeli settlement bloc just a few kilometers east in the occupied West Bank.

Al-Samri said in a statement last week that police detained at least nine young Palestinian suspects from Issawiya throughout the week, including five minors between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.

“Some of them admitted during interrogation that they threw stones at Israeli vehicles and police patrols on the roads to Maale Adumim,” al-Samri said.

The crackdown on Jerusalemite youth comes on the heels of newly approved changes to Israeli legislation increasing the penalty for stone throwing in 2014 and 2015, which rights groups say specifically target young Palestinians for crimes that Israeli Jews are rarely held accountable for.

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) wrote in a report on Wednesday that Palestinian youth convicted of throwing stones in Jerusalem were already starting to feel the effects of the changes in legislation, citing a number of recent cases of Palestinian minors being handed prison sentences for periods ranging between 12 to 39 months.

According to affidavits taken by DCIP, two of the teenagers “both had maintained their innocence and confessed only after they had experienced physical and psychological abuse.”

Meanwhile, some 30 Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods — according to the PLO’s count — were left homeless in a single day on Tuesday, in one the most extensive demolition onslaughts in the city in recent years.In village of Qalandiya, located just beyond Israel’s separation wall in the occupied West Bank north of Jerusalem, Israeli forces destroyed 12 homes for lacking the proper Israeli-issued licences because they were built “too close to the wall,” sparking violent clashes that left at least seven injured by Israeli rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas, and physical assault.At least five other structures were demolished in Issawiya and Ras al-Amoud.Palestinian areas in occupied East Jerusalem have seen an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of home demolitions, the eviction of Palestinian families, as well as a heightened presence of Israeli forces and discriminatory policing.
(Source / 27.07.2016)

Israeli Forces demolish home with Palestinian man inside it

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Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday dawn have demolished a home in Surif town north of Hebron with a Palestinian man in it amid intense clashes that lasted for hours.

The Israeli army said that the man who was killed is a Palestinian resistance fighter named Mohammed Al-Faqih, whose body was pulled out of the ruins of his home.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli Forces were  calling on Al-Faqih to surrender before they fired 11 anti-tank missiles on the house and demolitshing it.

Israeli authorities claim that Mohammed is responsible for the shooting near Otniel illegal settlement which left one rabbi dead and three others injured earlier this month.

Locals from Surif said that at least six locals were injured with live bullets and five others with rubber bullets during the clashes, while soldiers prevented Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics from reaching the scene.

According to PIC, Israeli sources pointed out that three other youths were detained for allegedly being involved in the armed clashes, while another was slightly injured and taken to hospital.

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On Tuesday overnight, Israeli Forces demolished 11 homes in Qalandia town north of Jerusalem, under the pretext  of being located near the segregation wall.

On the same day, an 18-year-old girl wal shot by Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint claiming she tried to stab one of them.

(Source / 27.07.2016)

The Quartet has failed Palestine

Article of  July 3, 2016

So terrified is the global body of condemning Israel that it no longer sees fit to blame the regime for its continued military rule

Last Friday, the Quartet, a body consisting of representatives from the EU, US, UN and Russia, whose mandate was to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace, released its long-awaited eight-page report on the impediments to achieving peace.

As always, the Quartet makes a number of now commonplace, nearly boiler plate recommendations to “both sides”. Like the thousands of pages of reports that preceded this one, the Quartet “reiterates that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues”.

For those unacquainted with mealy-mouthed diplomatic speak of a Quartet too fearful to confront Israel, the Quartet is once again demanding that Palestinians and Israelis return to endless negotiations. So terrified is the Quartet of condemning Israel that it no longer sees fit to blame Israel for its continued military rule, preferring instead to hide behind the passive voice — “an occupation that began” — as though Israel’s nearly 50-year brutal military rule just appeared like magic from the sky, without Israel carrying it out, financing or profiting from it.

And herein lies the problem: the Quartet’s failure to recognise that Israel is the cause of the lack of peace and stability for the region in general and Palestinians in particular leads to an absurd demand. That is, that Palestinians waste their time negotiating with their occupier and oppressor rather than the world forcing Israel to comply with international law. This tip-toeing around Israel — fearful that it will alienate Israel or Israelis — has only served to fuel the correct belief that the world sets Israel’s demands above those of Palestinians.

Take, for example, the very wording of the Quartet’s call for peace in which one side’s (Israel’s) “needs” are met and the other side’s (Palestinians’) “aspirations” are addressed. For the Quartet, Israel has “needs” while Palestinians have “aspirations”. Conveniently ignored is fact that, it is Palestinians who are in greater need of security. Unlike Israel, possessing among the most sophisticated weaponry in the Middle East (including a nuclear arsenal), Palestinians are stateless and languishing in refugee camps. We possess no tanks, armoured personnel carriers and no F-16s or drones. Indeed we have no army. And the threat of being ethnically cleansed from our homeland is real as evidenced by Israel’s actions in 1948 and its ongoing policies to rid Palestine of Palestinians.

Three generations of Palestinians have lived under repressive Israeli military rule and denied the basic right to freedom. Israel has detained or imprisoned nearly 30 per cent of all Palestinian men in Palestine, many without charge or trial. It has convicted thousands in kangaroo courts that have over 97 per cent conviction rates. Has the world already forgotten Israel’s repeated bombing campaigns of the besieged Gaza Strip, 80 per cent of whom are refugees and more than 50 per cent under the age of 18? Are these lives lost, these generations destroyed, these children’s long-term trauma at enduring prolonged bombing campaigns not as important as Israel’s security “needs”? And lest we simply chalk up the Quartet’s report to poor wording, let us consider the alternative. Did the world refer to South Africa’s racist apartheid regime as “a system of government that began in 1948”? Did it call upon “both sides” to effect measures and call upon the oppressed black majority of apartheid South Africa to negotiate with the very regime that sought its extermination? The answer is no.

The starting point can no longer be to appease Israel. The world cannot continue to pretend that the occupation exists in the passive voice — for the occupation is not passive and there is a deliberate actor — Israel. This deliberate actor must be punished for its 50 years of denying Palestinians their basic rights. And while the Quartet condemned (as it should) Israel’s colonies, it fails to push for any action that seeks to hold Israel accountable for building those colonies. Israel cannot be allowed to get away with forcing Palestinians to languish in refugee camps in order to meet its “demographic concerns”. Israel’s endless security demands cannot be placed above Palestinians’ right to be free and secure, for as history has aptly demonstrated, Israel has killed more Palestinians in an effort to maintain its military rule and ethnic purity than the number of Israelis killed as a result of Palestinians resisting Israel’s racist policies. The Quartet can continue to appease Israel, and undoubtedly will do so, but will soon face the realisation that their carefully crafted formulas only serve to prolong the very crisis that they claim to want to end.

(Source / 27.07.2016)

Morocco Foils Terrorist Attacks, Arrests 52 Militants

A Moroccan policeman stands guard at the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation office in Sale. Reuters

A Moroccan policeman stands guard at the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation office in Sale

Morocco said on Wednesday that it had arrested 52 suspected militants inspired by ISIS and that it had foiled several attacks in the North African country by seizing arms and bomb-making materials.

It is the largest group arrested in years and the latest of a series of cells that the authorities say they have found plotting attacks inside and outside Morocco.

The North African kingdom, an ally of the West against militancy, has been on high alert since 2014, when ISIS took control of large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria.

The 52 arrested were among 143 people investigated in many Moroccan cities and towns, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Many members of the group were planning to create an ISIS province (Wilayat) in Morocco, the statement said.

They intended to assassinate Moroccan security and military officers and tourists, as well as targeting prisons and festivals and other institutions in the country.

Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation, the judicial part of the Moroccan domestic intelligence service, has tracked suspected militants since ISIS established itself as a global threat.

Morocco has dismantled 38 suspected militant cells with ISIS ties since 2013, the statement said, adding 159 cells had been found since 2002.

Hundreds of militants from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have joined jihadists in Syria. Some are threatening to return and create new militant wings in their home countries, security experts have said.

Nearby Libya has become a major draw for jihadists from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. ISIS has taken advantage of the security chaos there to build a base, operate training camps and take over the city of Sirte.

There are between 2,000 and 5,000 ISIS fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali,Morocco and Mauritania deployed in Sirte, Tripoli and Derna, according to a report drafted by U.N. chief Bank Ki-moon.

Jean-Paul Laborde, U.N. assistant secretary general and head of its Counter-Terrorism Committee, has also said that nearly 30,000 “foreign terrorist fighters” are currently in Syria and Iraq.

“There are nearly 30,000, and now that the territory held by ISIS is shrinking in Iraq, we are seeing them return, not only to Europe but to all of their countries of origin, like Tunisia, Morocco,” Laborde said recently.

Morocco has been the target of militant attacks, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh, when an explosion in a cafe killed 15 people, mostly foreigners.

Also Wednesday, Italian police said they have arrested two Moroccan residents on suspicion of distributing pro-ISIS propaganda.Police said the two men living in the Liguria region bordering France have previous arrests for dealing drugs and other offenses. A third Moroccan is under investigation.

The investigation was launched when a young woman reported receiving a photo on WhatsApp showing a woman posing with a machine gun in position to fire. The photo originated from a number in Morocco that was not in the phone’s address book.

The woman told police she had lent the phone to a Moroccan resident of a refugee home several months earlier. From there, investigators traced a network of “possible activism of the three suspects involving proselytizing for the self-proclaimed Islamic State.”

(Source /27.07.2016)