Heavy material losses inflicted in Jordan Valley


Heavy material losses were inflicted on Palestinian properties in the Jordan Valley due to the Israeli military drills over the past week.

The local activist Aref Daraghmeh affirmed that Israeli military drills inflicted heavy losses in dozens of agricultural lands in the Jordan Valley.

Over the past week, Israeli military vehicles have been deployed in large numbers throughout the Jordan Valley under the pretext of military drills.

Dozens of families were forcibly displaced during the drills period.

Heavy material losses are usually inflicted in such military drills in the area, where agricultural materials, sheds, and houses are partially or totally damaged.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Iraqi Forces Liberates Several Towns in Mosul


Military vehicles of Iraqi security forces are seen during a battle with ISIS militants in Mosul, Iraq, December 4, 2016

Baghdad – Iraqi Security Forces resumed its offensives on the left coast of Sharqat, after three-day halt due to bad weather.

Security forces managed to liberate Kanous town and other villages, according to a source at Saladin police department. The source added that the forces are besieging the three al-Haigal villages.

He also pointed out that one security forces fighter died and three others were injured, while the force discovered the bodies of four ISIS militants in Kanous town.

ISIS militants began to retreat of towns of the left coast of Sherqat towards al-Hawijah, as he expects the towns to be liberated soon. according to the source.

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven others injured during an ISIS suicide attack on a military facility in southeast Haditha, a military Iraqi source stated. The attackers were dressed in Iraqi army fatigues and engaged with the troops after they entered the facility where they blew up themselves, leaving four soldiers dead and some army vehicles destroyed.

According to Lt. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Zawbai, commander of 27th platoon in Iraqi Army’s 7th division, U.S. aircraft of the international coalition raided on an ISIS site killing nine militant and destroying their weaponry.

A senior officer in the Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) said its troops battled on Sunday to clear ISIS militants from one eastern Mosul district, using heavy machine guns and rockets.

“Since early morning our troops have been clearing out around 40 ISIS militants,” said Lt. Gen Abdul Wahhab al-Saidi.

“It’s an ongoing operation and we have killed most of the militants,” he added.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Palestinian refugees in Iraq between displacement and deprivation


The dire situation of Palestinian refugees in Iraq is dramatically worsening amidst official silence, while hostilities are still taking place against them as part of a plan that aims to “displace them on the one hand, and deprive them of their rights on the other.”

Chairman of the Association of Palestinians in Iraq, Thamir Mushinish, asserted to the Palestinian Information Center that what is happening in Iraq against the Palestinians comes as part of a systematic policy of attacks and unprecedented violations.

Mushinish warned of the dangers of the escalating displacement of Palestinian refugees in Iraq, pointing out that “the numbers of Palestinian refugees dropped down significantly to 4,000 out of 40,000 who were residing in Iraq.”

The expert on Palestinians in Iraq pointed out that since the US occupation of Iraq “Shiite militias began targeting Sunnis in general, and Palestinians in particular,” noting that 150 Palestinian families are still living in Mosul, while 120 others are still living in Baharka camp in Erbil, and they suffer the bombing and aggression and siege.

Forms of abuse
Mushinish indicated that the attacks on Palestinian refugees vary from kidnapping to threats and sometimes amounting to murder, as happened recently with the refugee Abu Nar, “who had business to do at a governmental department in Baghdad and he disappeared from that moment. Two days later his family discovered that he was killed at the hands of government forces”.

He pointed out that more than 30 Palestinians were kidnapped and are still missing, with no charges against them, adding that Palestinians are being held to blackmail their families into paying money in return for their release.

The refugees’ future
The Palestinian expert warned that the future of the Palestinians in Iraq might witness displacement on the one hand or “dissolving those who remain in the Iraqi Shiite society to protect themselves on the other”.

He noted that a number of Palestinian families have forcibly begun “identifying with the Shiite customs and traditions to protect themselves from the brutality of the attacks.”

Mushinish championed a firm and serious Palestinian stance to protect the remaining refugees in Iraq and demand granting them their legitimate rights including the right to live in dignity.

He concluded that the majority of Palestinian refugees in Iraq migrated to Turkey and Thailand and suffered a lot of problems “and some have experienced imprisonment for violating residence regulations”, while some others migrated to Indonesia and Malaysia.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem, not Netanyahu’s priority

A flag flutters outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Aug. 4, 2013

Cairo greeted Donald Trump’s election relatively positively, mainly as a reaction to President Barack Obama’s criticism against Egypt’s alleged human rights violations, the Iran deal and to Cairo’s perceived US weakness on battling Islamic fundamentalist terror.

A senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the Egyptian ambassador to Washington is in contact with president-elect Donald Trump. The official said, “The content of our messages to the new administration is that Egypt looks to improve relations with Washington in regard to the fight against the Islamic State and to increased security assistance to Egypt.” The official added that Cairo made clear to Trump’s team the importance of the Palestinian issue and the necessity of strengthening Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on account of Hamas.

Yet in this context, one sole condition was discreetly raised by the Egyptians: Cairo cannot commit to an improved relationship if the US Embassy to Israel is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Given the sentiments in Egyptian public opinion toward the Palestinians and the city, which is holy to Islam, Cairo considers this issue as a red line.

The Palestinian Authority leadership is even more alarmed by this eventuality. A senior PLO official talking to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said that in view of Trump’s unpredictability, such a move cannot be ruled out. He argued that there are influential people within the president-elect’s entourage who espouse extremely right-wing views on Israel, on the settlements and on Jerusalem, and that these people could advance such a decision.

The official explained that for the Palestinians, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a “casus belli” (a provocation of war), thus they are planning a series of measures in case this will indeed take place. Ramallah is coordinating these measures with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the Arab League. The official cited five measures: abolishing of the Oslo Accord (and all elements of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians); severing diplomatic relations between Egypt and Israel and also between Jordan and Israel; canceling the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as a relevant document; calling upon the international community to sever diplomatic ties with Israel; and planning an armed Al-Quds intifada.

Trump promised in his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in March to move the embassy to Jerusalem, yet he was by no means the first presidential candidate to make such a campaign promise. Nevertheless, it could be argued that past promises of this kind were considered to be hollow promises, and even Jerusalem didn’t really expect these promises to be fulfilled. This may be the case this time as well, yet Trump’s erratic behavior and temperament could bring about surprises, with unconventional diplomatic moves. Anything between an effort to broker a two-state solution process and a move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could be in the cards.

A senior adviser to Trump’s foreign policy team, who has spent many years in the Middle East, told Al-Monitor that Trump has not decided yet how to deal concretely with the Israeli-Palestinian issue, adding that the president-elect is well-aware of the importance accorded by the media and the public to this. On the embassy issue, he said, most opinions within the transition team do not consider such a move to be politically and diplomatically wise. Yet there are strong pro-Israeli voices in Trump’s entourage who favor a dramatic and historic move of the embassy by the new president, thus clearly recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. One such voice is former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee (rumored to be Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel). According to this adviser, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has already communicated with president-elect Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on the issue.

The adviser said that the somewhat cold opinions within the team on the issue have sparked another idea, of moving just one department of the US Embassy (perhaps the media department) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Be that as it may, it is clear that such a move would create havoc in the Arab world.

A senior Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Netanyahu naturally favors such a move and will definitely emphasize the centrality of a united Jerusalem as “Israel’s eternal capital” to Trump at their first meeting in the White House in the months to come. Yet according to the senior official, the embassy issue is not the primary topic on Netanyahu’s list for his first official encounter with the new US president. Netanyahu’s main concern, to be expressed at that meeting, is Israel’s wish to continue its settlement construction in the West Bank, mainly within the settlement blocs, and including in the Jerusalem area.

Construction in the Jerusalem area is highly important to Netanyahu, as it could block any eventuality of a future shared capital. Thus, with or without the issue of relocating the US Embassy, the Jerusalem topic will be on the president’s agenda sooner rather than later.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Congress authorizes Trump to arm Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles

Syrian Democratic Forces and Free Syrian Army fighters gesture on the back of pickup trucks in a village on the outskirts of al-Shadadi, in Hasakah countryside, Syria, Feb. 19, 2016

The House voted for the first time today to explicitly authorize the incoming Donald Trump administration to arm vetted Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles.

While the language in the annual defense bill also creates restrictions on the provision of the controversial weapons, it represents a win for Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., a fervent advocate of helping the rebels resist President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies. The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week.

Until now, the transfer of man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, had been implicitly authorized in the absence of an outright ban. Critics, however, view the new provision as tantamount to a policy recommendation for the president-elect.

“I’m more afraid of Congress on this issue than I am of Trump,” said Robert Naiman, the policy director at Just Foreign Policy, a liberal advocacy group that lobbied for a ban. “I think Congress is trying to tie Trump’s hands against making a realistic deal with Russia to end the Syrian civil war. And they are trying to pressure him in the direction of not doing that,” he told Al-Monitor.

Trump was outspoken about his reluctance to get dragged into the Syrian civil war throughout the presidential campaign. He has since picked hawkish advisers and candidates for Cabinet positions, including retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense.

The rebels “are being slaughtered as we speak. A genocide is taking place. It’s a black mark on American history,” McCain told Al-Monitor when asked about the MANPAD provision. “I think [Trump] is going to listen to the people he appoints as secretary of defense and secretary of state.”

Mattis is well known in military and foreign policy circles for his aggressive determination to take on America’s foes, notably Iran, including in Syria and Iraq. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee as far back as January 2015, however, he opined that the time for supporting moderate rebel fighters against Assad’s forces had “passed.”

(Click here to view a larger version of this chart with links to relevant legislation)

US-backed Syrian rebels noticed and applauded the policy change, while questioning Trump’s intention to make use of it.

“This move could have [been] a potential game-changer for the opposition a year ago … in response to Russia’s intervention, which as we’ve seen has primarily been one involving the heavy use of air power,” Bassam Barabandi, a political adviser to the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, told Al-Monitor via email. “If Trump decides not to end American military support for the rebels, providing MANPADs could help the opposition maintain its positions in Idlib, which I suspect is where Russian air power will be concentrated on after Aleppo falls to the regime.”

The new provision was added in while the House and Senate worked out differences between the bills they passed earlier this year. The original House bill expressly prohibited the transfer of MANPADs to “any entity” in Syria, while the Senate version made no mention of them.

“The point of the conference committee is to resolve disagreements between the chambers,” a House aide told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “In this case, the conference committee’s resolution between an outright ban on sending them to Syria and the Senate’s lack of any comment whatsoever was somehow to explicitly authorize the transfer of MANPADs without any of the safety precautions that were widely deemed to be a minimum requirement for doing so.”

The “safety precautions” mentioned by the aide refer to potential technological controls that the United States has been trying to design, without much success, in case such weapons were to fall into the wrong hands. The compromise defense bill however does require the executive branch to notify Congress if it decides to provide MANPADs to the Syrian rebels, provide a detailed intelligence assessment of who would get them and then wait 30 days for any congressional reaction.

The new provision “would require the secretary of defense and secretary of state to notify the congressional defense committees, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee should a determination be made to provide MANPADs to elements of the appropriately vetted Syrian opposition,” according to the explanatory statement accompanying the compromise bill. “The conferees expect that should such a determination be made, the requirement for the provision of such a capability and the decision to provide it would be thoroughly vetted by and receive broad support from the interagency.”

Still, the compromise has outraged House lawmakers who want to keep MANPADs out of Syria. These members have long sought to explicitly ban their transfer, notably in a restriction to the Syria Train-and-Equip program in last year’s defense spending bill that was stripped out during negotiations with the Senate.

“I am disappointed that the House of Representatives’ explicit prohibition on the transfer of these dangerous weapons into Syria was reversed — behind closed doors — by the conference committee,” Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., told Al-Monitor in an emailed statement. “This brazen act shows that some in Congress still hope to further escalate the civil war in Syria. Sending these weapons would only prolong this horrific conflict — and endanger civilian airliners across the region, including in Israel.”

Conyers was one of 34 lawmakers who voted against the bill on Friday.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Palestinian youth activist Daoud Ghoul re-arrested one week after release from Israeli prison


Palestinian youth organizer Daoud Ghoul was among 14 Palestinians seized overnight by Israeli occupation forces, one week after his release from Israeli prison. Ghoul, 33, is the director of youth programs for the Health Work Committees and the Kanaan Network of Palestinian civil society organizations. He has been subject for over two years to repeated Israeli harassment and intimidation. His home was raided at 4:00 am and his personal belongings and electronics confiscated; he is currently being held at the Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem.

On Sunday, 27 November, Ghoul was released after serving an 18-month sentence, accused by the Israeli occupation of affiliation with a “prohibited organization,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After a visit to Brussels, Belgium in November 2014 in which he presented before the European Parliament about Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem, threats to Palestinian life in the city, and attacks on Palestinian health workers, he was banned from his home city of Jerusalem by an Israeli military order. He was then banned from the West Bank and from international travel, and was forced to move to Haifa from his hometown of Silwan in East Jerusalem. On 15 June 2015, he was seized by occupation military forces one month after his HWC Jerusalem office was forcibly closed by the occupation military.

After serving his 18 month sentence ordered against him by a military court, Ghoul was welcomed last Sunday by his friends and family and by supporters around the world who had long demanded his release. The sudden re-arrest of Daoud Ghoul one week after his release recalls similar cases like that of student Bahaa al-Najjar, released from administrative detention in early November only to once again be imprisoned without charge or trial one week later, or Bilal Kayed, ordered to six months in administrative detention without charge or trial immediately following the expiration of his 14.5-year sentence.

Ghoul’s case is also similar to those of other youth activists persecuted by the Israeli occupation, as well as part of the ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem, including mass arrests, harsh sentencing of children and the stripping of Jerusalem IDs of Palestinian Legislative Council members.

Ghoul was among six young Palestinians, many former prisoners, arrested in Jerusalem last night. All of their computers and mobile phones were confiscated and Amjad Abu Assab said that the pretext of “incitement via social media” was cited in at least some of the cases. Among those arrested were Uday Abu Saad and Mohammed Salah of Shuafat refugee camp, Jihad Amira and Amin Hamad from Sur Baher, and Saleh Muhaisen from the village of Issawiya, in addition to Ghoul.

Three more Palestinians from Qabatiya, south of Jenin, Mahmoud Abu Ein, Louay Ziad Zakarneh and Musa Abdel-Salam Kamil, were seized by occupation forces, as were Bilal Anas Abu Eid and Munir Hussein Briggah of al-Khalil. More Palestinian young people were arrested in Jericho and in Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem.

(Source / 05.12.2016)

Abdah Meets Barzani and Underlines Need to Stop Brutal Bombardment of Aleppo

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah met with President of Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani in Erbil on Sunday. The two sides discussed the latest developments in the region and the war crimes being committed against the Syrian people, particularly against civilians trapped in besieged eastern Aleppo where vital civilian infrastructure and medical facilities continue to be the main target of the Russian and Assad regime airstrikes.

Abdah stressed the need to stop the terrorist attacks by the Russian, Iranian, and Assad regime forces on Aleppo where over 750 people have been killed and thousands more injured. In addition to hospitals, the relentless aerial bombardment forced all schools in eastern Aleppo to close down and destroyed two civil defense centers.

The meeting touched on shared goals between the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the Syrian revolution forces, most notably fighting terrorism. Abdah thanked Barzani for standing on the side of the Syrian people in their struggle for freedom and dignity, expressing appreciation to the leadership and the people of Iraqi Kurdistan Region for hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

For his part, Barzani stressed the close links between the two brotherly Syrian and Kurdish peoples, reaffirming continued support for Syrian refugees in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. He also emphasized the important role played by the Syrian Coalition in the political process and the future of Syria.

President Abdah presented the Revolution Shield to President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 05.12.2016)

B’Tselem: ‘Dispossession of Palestinians most consistent trend in Israeli policy’


70-year-old Palestinian farmer Abbas Youssef points towards his olive trees on land either side of an Israeli settlement in the northern occupied West Bank on October 28, 2014

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — As Israel’s Knesset considers a bill which would retroactively legalize settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities have used both official and unofficial means to expropriate Palestinian lands for decades which has “devastasted” the Palestinian territory, according to a report published on Monday by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
In its latest report, entitled “Expel and Exploit: The Israeli practice of taking over rural Palestinian land,”B’Tselem used a case study of Azmut, Deir al-Hatab, and Salem — three Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank district of Nablus — to illustrate a number of official and indirect ways used by the Israeli government over the years to slowly isolate Palestinian communities from their lands.“Dispossession of Palestinians was never a matter contingent on this legislation,” B’Tselem said in its report, referring to the so-called formalization bill which seeks to legalize settlement outposts which are currently deemed illegal under Israeli law. “It has been integral to the settlement enterprise from its very inception and is one of the most consistent trends in Israeli policy over the decades.”There are an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 Israeli settlers residing in 196 illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in contravention of international law, and a further 232 settler outposts considered illegal both by international law and Israeli domestic law — despite Israeli authorities commonly retroactively legalizing the outposts, according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ).
According to the rights group, Israel has been using a number of policies near Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem since the establishment of the settlement of Elon Moreh on the villages’ lands in 1980.“The facts indicate that under cover of ‘temporary military occupation,’ Israel has been using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements,” the report stated, estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.B’Tselem notably detailed Israel’s declaration of village lands as nature reserves or “state land,” only to later allocate such areas for the expansion of Elon Moreh and the establishment of outposts.The establishment of Israeli-only roads linking settlements to one another and to Israel, as well as the construction of the separation wall, have further served as physical barriers contributing to the partition of the occupied Palestinian territory, the report added.Furthermore, B’Tselem argued that the 1995 Oslo II Accords — which divided the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, hastened the process of Israeli takeover of Palestinian lands.Since then, Israel has imposed what B’Tselem described as a “virtually complete ban on construction and development in land designated Area C” — the 60 percent of the West Bank under complete Israeli military control.As a result, B’Tselem said, “Palestinians in the West Bank have been concentrated into 165 ‘islands’ (Areas A and B) — non-contiguous enclaves that cannot thrive.”B’Tselem also highlighted the “key role” of Israeli settlers in further isolating Palestinians from their lands, either through the establishment of outposts officially unrecognized by the Israeli government, or through the regular use of violence or threats of violence against Palestinians.B’Tselem argued that settlers acted as “envoys” of Israel in pushing land grabs in the occupied Palestinian territory, allowing the government to officially detach themselves from the settlers’ violent and illegal actions, while avoiding or blocking any legal penalties that could be imposed on the settlers, except in the most extreme of cases.
“The state helps settlers operate as a mechanism for dispossession in Palestinian space — settlers serving as a means purportedly not under state control, and settlers also use serious violence against Palestinian residents,” the group explained.The report underscored Israel’s attempts at portaying a “semblance of legality in all of its actions,” noting that Israeli authorities often argue that their policies have been “lawful” or that the government’s actions were “independent inituatives adopted by the settlers.”
“Nonetheless, these actions constituted a breach of international law and are based on a warped, manipulative interpretation of the law that Israel itself applies in the West Bank,” the report added.
Under international law, an occupying power must abide by the laws of the land that is being occupied. In the Palestinian territory, this refers to a trilegal system: Ottoman, British, and Jordanian law. Israel’s utilization of the domestic laws of the Palestinian territory to benefit government land confiscations and the expansion of the Israeli settlement population has been well documented by rights groups.In effect, the report added, “Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing the residents of land and water, and handing over these areas to settlers.”“Separating the Palestinian villagers from their farmland, pastureland and natural water resources severely infringed upon their rights, devastated the local economy, and propelled them into poverty and dependence on external bodies,” B’Tselem said, emphazing that Israeli policies “clearly demonstrate” that Israel does not view the nearly half-century occuption of the Palestinian territory as a temporary policy.”In practice [Israel] treats the settlements as part of its sovereign territory, and has adopted measures to virtually erase the Green Line for Israeli citizens living in settlements.”The movement of Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian land, and further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a “stable” Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967, B’Tselem concluded, underscoring that all “Israeli legislative, legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies” have played an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands.
(Source / 05.12.2016)

Israeli forces target Palestinians over alleged ‘incitement’ in overnight raids


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 24 Palestinians overnight Sunday and early Monday morning during military and police raids carried out across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a number of whom were targeted over alleged “incitement” on social media, as well as several minors as young as nine years old, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.

At least six Palestinians were detained during overnight raids in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Prisoners’ Families, Amjad Abu Asab. The detainees were identified by the committee as Udayy Abu al-Saad and Muhammad Salah from Shufat refugee camp, Dawood al-Ghoul from Silwan, Jihad Amira, Amin Hamid from Sur Bahir, and Salih Mheisin from Issawiya.According to Asab, the six young men were detained over allegations of “incitement” on social media, joining scores of Palestinians who have been detained for social media activity, as Israeli authorities have alleged that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by “incitement.”
Luba al-Samri, a spokesperson of the Israeli police, confirmed in a statement that Israeli police forces stormed several neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and detained six Palestinians, saying they were “suspected of inciting violence and terrorism” on their Facebook and Instagram accounts over the past several months.
The statement added that Israeli police officers inspected the detainees’ homes and proceeded to seize laptops and mobile phones, among other items.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) also noted that Israeli forces detained six children from East Jerusalem on Sunday, identified as Qusai Dirbas, 12, Anas Mahmoud, 12, Yaqoub Dabagh, 15, Yazan Nouri, 13, Jihad Hadad, 9, and Sulaiman Kanaan, 9.
Hadad and Kanaan were released following interrogations with Israeli intelligence. However, the rest remained in Israeli detention centers.
In the West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Saher Nafeth Mahmoud Thawabta. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian was detained from the village of Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem.
Meanwhile, according to PPS, Israeli forces detained 27 year-old Abd al-Hakim Hamed from Ramallah at the Allenby Bridge crossing while he was attempting to return to the West Bank.
In the southern West Bank, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the Hebron district. According to PPS, Israeli forces detained Atiya al-Zour al-Tamimi, 42, and his son Atiya, 20, while also detaining a minor, 16-year-old Anas Bilal Shaker al-Natsheh.
According to Israeli media, al-Tamimi and his son were detained for allegedly possessing weapons, noting that Israeli forces, escorted by Israeli border officials, raided al-Tamimi’s home, and took him and his son to an unknown location.
Israeli forces claimed that they had found weapons — a gun, hunting rifle, ammunition, and a bulletproof vest — that allegedly belonged to the Israeli army, in addition to a computer containing files that “incited” against Israel.In the West Bank district of Jericho, Israeli forces detained four brothers from al-Jiftlik village in the Jordan Valley. Three of the brothers were later released by Israeli authorities, identified by PPS as Firas, Fadi, and Faris Jahalin, while the fourth brother Jomaa Jahalin was still being held in Israeli custody.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed four detentions in the village of al-Jiftlik.
Meanwhile, in the north of the West Bank, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from Jenin, according to PPS, identified as Loay Ziyad Zajarna, Mahmoud Abu Ein Abu al-Rb, and Mousa Abdulsalam Kameel.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that three Palestinians had been detained from the village of Qabatiya in Jenin.
Israeli forces conduct night raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-daily basis. According to UN documentation, the Israeli army carried out 252 military detention raids between Nov. 15 and Nov. 28.
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of October. The organization estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
(Source / 05.12.2016)

Erdoğan repeats call for Turkish citizens to sell dollars

AA photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeated his call on citizens to convert their foreign exchange into gold or the Turkish Lira, claiming that “some circles” that could “not destroy Turkey by tanks and rifles” are now trying to hit the country economically.

“Those who keep dollar or euro currency under their mattress should come and turn them into liras or gold,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on Dec. 4.

He added that several steps had been taken by the Turkish authorities to promote shopping on a lira basis rather than other currencies.

“Now it is time for trade. Our prime minister [Binali Yıldırım] will go to Russia tomorrow. He will hold key meetings with Russian officials the following day. We will soon take steps to conduct our bilateral trade with Russia with our own currencies,” Erdoğan said, adding that similar steps would also be taken with China and Iran.

The president first made his call for Turks to sell foreign exchange and buy gold or liras on Dec. 2, also claiming that there was “no option other than cutting interest rates to spur growth.”

Turkey’s main stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul, became the first institution to convert all its cash assets into the lira a few hours after Erdoğan’s remarks.

Borsa Istanbul said in a written statement on Dec. 2 that it would convert all of its cash assets into liras and keep them in lira accounts.

All eyes will be on foreign exchange rates this week to see whether new measures to support the struggling lira will be announced, and to see whether steps to ease the steep fluctuations work.

The Turkish currency, which has lost nearly a fifth of its value this year, booked its worst monthly performance since the 2008 financial crisis last month, hammered by a resurgent U.S. dollar and domestic concerns.

The lira fell to a record low of 3.60 against the dollar on Dec. 2, before seeing some rebound after a general decline in the dollar in global markets. The coming weeks will be crucial for the lira ahead of a key Fed meeting on Dec. 14 as well as key domestic developments, including constitutional amendment moves.

Top officials have announced a number of measures to ease the pressure on the lira.

Yıldırım said the government and the Central Bank have been taking necessary measures to ensure that the country suffers only minimal effects from the recent “temporary fluctuation” in the economy, ahead of an economic coordination board (EKK) meeting late on Dec. 2. The results of this meeting are expected to be announced this week.

(Source / 05.12.2016)