Israeli forces detain two Palestinians near Gaza border


RAFAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces reportedly detained two Palestinians after they allegedly approached the border area between Gaza and Israel on Sunday evening, Wafa news agency reported.

According to the official Palestinian news agency, Israeli forces fired live ammunition towards the Palestinians and flares in the sky as they approached the borderline in the southern Gaza Strip, east of the city of Rafah.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.
Palestinians often come under fire from military forces near the “buffer zone” between the Palestinian enclave and Israel, while the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.
The nearly ten-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s more than 1.8 million Palestinians into dire poverty.
The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade have also led the UN in 2015 to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.
(Source / 30.01.2017)

Iranian-backed Terrorist Group Assassinates Bahraini Officer


Manama – Bahraini police officer was shot dead in an attack claimed as a “terrorist attack” by authorities.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said Sunday that First Lt. Hisham al-Hammadi was killed in the Bilad al-Qadeem village near the capital Manama, and a preliminary investigation indicated he died as a result of a “terrorist attack.”

The Ashtar Brigade, a militant group that has claimed a number of bombings and attacks in the tiny Gulf nation, claimed responsibility in a statement on social media.

Notably, the Ashtar Brigade is classified buy Bahrain as a terrorist group that receives support and training from the Iranian National Guards.

“Police responded to the crime scene and took the necessary legal steps and the Public Prosecution was notified. Initial details indicate that it was a terrorist act,” a statement from Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior read.

“The deceased was not on-duty at the time of the shooting.”

“The Interior Ministry mourns with great sadness and sorrow the martyr Lt. Hisham Hassan Mohammed Al-Hammadi, who was shot and killed in the Bilad Al-Qadeem area, southwest of the capital Manama,” the Interior Ministry said.

On the other hand, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court issued Sunday life sentences against six suspects and bound them to pay 1551 BD.

The court issued the verdicts against the suspects over the alleged charges of “attempted murder, carrying out a blast, using explosives and possessing ammunition without authorization for terror purposes, illegal gathering and rioting.”

According to Chief Prosecutor of the Terror Crimes Prosecution Mishaal al-Mannai, three other suspects stood trail over same charges, of whom one defendant received three years sentence in prison and the remaining two were acquitted.

The suspects, however, can challenge the court ruling at the country’s High Court of Appeals and might also protest against the verdict of the Court of Appeals at the Court of Cassation.

The Public Prosecution accused the suspects of taking part in an assembly on February 12, 2016, attacking policemen and luring them to the site of an explosive device that they had already placed.

They then detonated the explosive device as soon as the security personnel drew near for the purpose of murdering policemen.

The prosecution said that it relied on hearsay evidence, the attesting witnesses as well as confessions of one suspect.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

Palestinians need own strategy to end occupation

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini as they take part in a picture during the Mideast peace conference in Paris, France, Jan. 15, 2017

When in January 2016 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced an international conference in Paris to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinians were hopeful. Fabius had warned that if Israel refused to go along with the plan, France would recognize the state of Palestine. The conference called by Paris was held on Jan. 15, 2016, and attended by 70 foreign ministers from relevant countries, with the exception of those from Israel (which refused to take part) and Palestine (which was not invited after Israel’s rejection). Fabius did not stay in office long enough to follow through himself, and the peace conference he announced failed to reach a breakthrough or usher in French recognition of the state of Palestine. The conference’s joint declaration merely stressed support for a two-state solution and opposition to Israeli settlements.

Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official and former chief negotiator, told Al-Monitor that the idea of the conference, the conveyor of the plan and the conference’s conditionality seemed like the perfect forum for the Palestinians. “We supported the French plan because it came from a leading European country, included a broad international presence and it cleverly circumvented the Americans, who usually obstruct such international efforts,” Shaath said.

He also said that the Palestinians had been hopeful that if Israel rejected the conference, France would recognize Palestine, and Paris’ move would be followed by 10 other European countries recognizing Palestinian statehood. Israel indeed rejected the conference idea, insisting that only direct talks can produce peace, and as of yet, no other European country has followed the example Sweden set in 2014 and recognized Palestine, based on the 1967 borders, although some national parliaments, including France’s, have called on their governments to do so.

Thus, in the end, the Paris conference results were limited, and the French promise to punish Israel for not attending never materialized. Shaath said that the writing was already on the wall in May 2016, when the French prime minister visited Israel. “When Manuel Valls visited the region, he made it clear to the Israelis that France would not recognize Palestine and would not support sanctions and boycotts [against Israel],” Shaath said. Even with these promises, the Israeli government still refused to attend the Paris conference, and as Shaath noted, “France couldn’t get the EU to support even a watered-down statement because of the hesitation of Germany and the United Kingdom.”

In a Jan. 23 article for the Watan website, Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti discussed the negative attitude of conference attendees, writing, “Some of the conferees were in a rush to end the conference quickly in order to close this chapter that was forced on them and was angering the Israelis.” Barghouti, a respected Palestinian politician and activist who serves as general-secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, also known as Mubadara, noted that the conference failed to accomplish one of the most important goals it set out to address: “The biggest weakness of the conference was the insistence that the Palestinians’ state is dependent on the results of direct negotiations, [as] everyone knows that Israel is not interested in negotiations that would end its occupation,” he remarked.

Shaath believes that the United Kingdom abstained from voting for the final communique because of Brexit. “After the Brexit vote, Britain is moving away from the European consensus and desiring to get closer to the Donald Trump administration and its policies,” he asserted. Shaath added that despite Washington’s recent abstention in the vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334, affirming the illegality of Israeli settlements, the Americans were not sold on the Paris conference. “[US Secretary of State] John Kerry had called [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and promised him that he was going to Paris in order to ensure that there was no follow-up to the conference.”

On Jan. 15, the Israeli media reported on the call Kerry made to Netanyahu, in which he promised to water down the conference communique and that no additional actions would be taken at the United Nations before President Barack Obama left office on Jan. 20. Sure enough, the joint declaration did not outline further steps — although prior to Jan. 15, France had said that the conference would create follow-up committees — and the United Nations did nothing further.

The Paris conference was a big letdown for Palestinians. The conference of foreign ministers did, however, demonstrate that there is opposition to illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied territories and sent a message to Washington not to alter the status of Jerusalem.

For Palestinians, the failure of the conference to move the peace process along is yet another reminder that they need to stop pinning their hopes on the international community and develop a strategy of their own. As long as the Israelis pay no price for their actions (or inaction), they are unlikely to make substantive moves toward genuine peace. An end to the Israeli occupation will not happen unless Palestinians are solidly united and agree on an effective strategy that creates costs for the Israelis for their continued occupation and refusal to accept the basic need for peace.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

Hamas slams London Life magazine over counterfeit reports


Hamas slammed Sunday the London Life magazine for publishing counterfeit reports on the fallouts of the group’s Cairo meeting.

Hamas denounced reports by the London Life magazine which includes inaccurate comments by an anonymous Hamas leader.

“The comments stand in sharp contrast to Hamas’s statements and standpoints as regards the upshots of the Cairo meeting,” a statement by Hamas read.

Hamas dubbed the move “irresponsible” and one made by a magazine that lays claim to professionalism and transparency.

Hamas called on London Life staff members to verify data and show commitment to the ethics of professionalism, describing the published material as the perfect example of yellow journalism, which presents neither legitimate nor well-researched pieces of news to its readership.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

SEAL Team 6 Raid In Yemen Kills 57, Including Woman And Children

The raid reportedly lasted less than an hour, and left a large number of women and children riddled with bullets, including at least one eight-year-old girl.

President-elect Donald Trump, center, listens to a member of the military in the stands as he watches an Army-Navy NCAA college football game at M&T Bank Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

President-elect Donald Trump, center, listens to a member of the military in the stands as he watches an Army-Navy NCAA college football game at M&T Bank Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Baltimore

(REPORT) —  Pentagon officials confirmed that Navy SEAL Team 6 attacked what they described as an “al-Qaeda headquarters” in Yemen’s central Bayda Province, bragging of killing “about 14” al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters and taking a cache of information. They reported a single soldier killed.

Absent from the Pentagon’s account of what happened over the course of the raid, which supposedly lasted less than an hour, and left a large number of women and children riddled with bullets, including at least one eight-year-old girl named Nora, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US cleric who was assassinated by the Obama Administration. The Cairo AP office reported receiving photographs showing the bodies of several young children who were shot multiple times during the raid.  Roughly 57 people were killed overall, according to Yemeni officials, though they claimed a lot more AQAP fighters slain than the US reckoning of 14. Either way, a substantial number of civilians were among the slain.

Awlaki’s 2011 assassination was hugely controversial, both because he was a US citizen killed on the orders of the Obama Administration and because the administration declined to charge him with any crimes beforehand, simply presenting his sermons as proof of terrorism. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son was assassinated, again on Obama’s order, two weeks later.

Officials say this raid had initially been proposed to President Obama but wasn’t approved until after President Trump took office and signed off on the plan. Even with the Pentagon ignoring all the slain children, the narrative isn’t exactly one of a super successful first ground raid into Yemen going off without a hitch.

“Pentagon officials confirmed the death of one US soldier in the fighting. Three other soldiers were wounded during the raid, and a fourth was wounded in the initial evacuation attempt, in which the V-22 Osprey crashed into the ground during a failed landing.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

Syrian Coalition: Mass Forced Displacement of Wadi Barada Residents Violates Truce, Crime against Humanity

The Syrian Coalition condemned the forced displacement of residents of the Wadi Barada valley. It stressed that forcing civilians out of their homes and towns, under whatever pretext, is a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement and a continuation of the regime’s plans to bring about demographic change in Syria.

In a statement released on Monday, the Coalition said that the forced displacement of civilians also constitutes a crime against humanity.

“Residents have had to choose between leaving, live under siege and hunger, or to surrender and accept a return to live under repression. The Coalition emphasizes that the foreign militias that have been brought in to kill the Syrian people must be forced to leave all Syrian territory,” the Coalition said.

The Coalition renewed calls on the UN Security Council to pass a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that would put an immediate end to the killings, siege and forced displacement; stipulate that all parties to the conflict respect the ceasefire agreement; ensure the withdrawal of all foreign, sectarian militias from Syria; and contributes to efforts aimed at reaching a political solution that ensures the rights of the Syrian people and their aspirations for freedom, justice and dignity are met.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 30.01.2017)

Slain Palestinian’s father plans to head to Israeli Supreme Court


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The father of a Palestinian teen believed to have been shot dead by Israeli forces in 2014 said on Sunday ahead of a court hearing that he was ready to take the case up to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The father of slain Nadim Nuwara, Siyam Nuwara, told Ma’an that a court hearing was scheduled for Monday, and called upon supporters to participate in a protest outside of the court in solidarity.
The prosecution and the court were expected to reach a deal and charge Israeli border police officer Ben Dery with negligent homicide for the death of 17-year-old Nadim who was shot dead with live ammunition in the chest during a rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba outside of the Ofer detention center in the central occupied West Bank.
However, Dery’s lawyers have reportedly rejected the deal, as it stated that Nuwara did not constitute a threat to the soldier when he was shot dead.
Siyam Nuwara said that he would appeal the case to the Israeli Supreme Court to obtain justice for his son.
Another teenager, 15-year-old Muhammad Odeh Abu al-Thahir was also killed during the same 2014 protest.
Israeli security forces initially denied responsibility for the teens’ deaths on the grounds that live fire wasn’t used during the demonstration, despite eyewitnesses and video evidence of the incident.
The indictment against Dery said he had switched rubber-coated steel bullets with live bullets on an M-16 while he was present at the protest and shot Nuwara in the chest after he allegedly threw a stone.
In 2016, Israeli media had reported that the military investigation into Nuwara’s death had been shut down due to a lack of evidence — reports which were dispelled at the time by Siyam Nuwara as “false rumors.”
The Israeli court system has received international criticism for its longstanding policy of immunity for Israeli forces, while Palestinians hold widespread distrust for the system.
A joint investigation by Israeli rights group B’Tselem and Hamoked in 2016 reported that Israel’s court system routinely postpones or slows down investigations regarding violations against Palestinians, with the intent of pushing families or individuals to eventually drop their case.
(Source / 30.01.2017)

Netanyahu: US embassy, under Trump, ‘must’ move to al-Quds

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives to chair the weekly cabinet meeting in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, January 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives to chair the weekly cabinet meeting in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, January 29, 2017

President Donald Trump said in September that Washington would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel, and now the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the relocation of the US embassy to the occupied Palestinian city is a “must.”

 “The US embassy must move here to Jerusalem [al-Quds],” Netanyahu said on Sunday, further claiming that “it would be good if the American embassy wasn’t the only one to move here.”

“I think that with time the majority of embassies will move to Jerusalem [al-Quds],” Netanyahu added.

It was September 25, 2016, when the current president of the United States, Trump, told Netanyahu that Washington would recognize the city as the “undivided capital” of Israel if he won the presidential election.

Read more

Palestinians warned Trump against such a move and a large group of US politicians followed suit and sounded the alarm over the potential recognition.

The issue of the relocation of the US embassy has sparked fears of a renewed outbreak of violence across the Middle East.

Trump’s rise has emboldened Israeli extremists to implement their illegal policies and further the occupational agenda.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the besieged Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital.

US President Donald Trump, right, and David Friedman, Trump’s possible nominee for the position of US ambassador to Israel, are seen in this undated photo

The new US president has also signaled that the United States, under his administration, would be far more tolerant of the illegal Israeli settlement construction.

Both his designated ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now a top aide to US president, have deep ties to the Israeli settler movement.

Over 230 illegal settlements have been constructed since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Read more

(Source / 30.01.2017)

Radio Israel: PA security foils stabbing attempt in Jenin


Radio Israel reported on Monday that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces foiled on Sunday an anti-occupation stabbing attempt at al-Jalameh Israeli military barrier north of Jenin and arrested an 18-year-old Palestinian youth after alleged possession of a knife.

Head of the PA general intelligence apparatus Majed Faraj announced, early 2016, foiling over 200 attempts of anti-occupation attacks against Israeli targets in the wake of the outbreak of Jerusalem Intifada in October, 2015.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

Canadian PM say Quebec City mosque shooting a “terrorist attack on Muslims”

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The shooting at a Quebec mosque during Sunday night prays which reportedly killed five people was a “terrorist attack on Muslims”, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The shooting at a Quebec mosque during Sunday night prays which reportedly killed five people was a “terrorist attack on Muslims”, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” Trudeau said in a statement.

Five people were killed after gunmen opened fire in a Quebec City mosque, the mosque’s president told reporters on Sunday. A witness told Reuters that up to three gunmen fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre.

“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” said the mosque’s president, Mohamed Yangui.

Quebec police said there were many victims and deaths, but did not confirm the death toll. They said two people had been arrested, but there were no immediate details on the suspects.

A witness said a heavily armed police tactical squad was seen entering the three-storey mosque. Police declined to say whether there was a gunman inside the mosque at the time.

Police tweeted later that the situation was under control and that the mosque had been secured and occupants evacuated.

Yangui, who was not inside the mosque when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers. He did not know how many were injured, saying they had been taken to different hospitals across Quebec City.

Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.

The shooting came on the weekend that Trudeau said Canada would welcome refugees, after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended the U.S. refugee program and temporarily barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States on national security grounds.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said police were providing additional protection for mosques in that city following the Quebec shooting. “All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something,” he tweeted.

Canada’s federal Liberal legislator Greg Fergus tweeted: “This is an act of terrorism — the result of years of demonizing Muslims. Words matter and hateful speeches have consequences!”


Like France, Quebec has struggled at times to reconcile its secular identity with a rising Muslim population, many of them North African emigrants.

In June 2016, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the cultural centre.

“We are not safe here,” said Mohammed Oudghiri, who normally attends prayers at the mosque in the middle-class, residential area, but not on Sunday.

Oudghiri said he had lived in Quebec for 42 years but was now “very worried” and thinking of moving back to Morocco.

Mass shootings are rare in Canada, which has stricter gun laws than the United States, and news of the shooting sent a shockwave through mosques and community centers throughout the mostly French-language province.

“It’s a sad day for all Quebecers and Canadians to see a terrorist attack happen in peaceful Quebec City,” said Mohamed Yacoub, co-chairman of an Islamic community center in a Montreal suburb. “I hope it’s an isolated incident.”

Read | PM Justin Trudeau says Canada will take refugees

Incidents of Islamophobia have increased in Quebec in recent years. The face-covering, or niqab, became a big issue in the 2015 Canadian federal election, especially in Quebec, where the vast majority of the population supported a ban on it at citizenship ceremonies.

In 2013, police investigated after a mosque in the Saguenay region of the province was splattered with what was believed to be pig blood. In the neighboring province of Ontario, a mosque was set on fire in 2015, a day after an attack by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris.

Zebida Bendjeddou, who left the mosque earlier on Sunday evening, said the centre had received threats.

“In June, they’d put a pig’s head in front of the mosque. But we thought: ‘Oh, they’re isolated events.’ We didn’t take it seriously. But tonight, those isolated events, they take on a different scope,” she said.

Bendjeddou said she had not yet confirmed the names of those killed, but added: “They’re people we know, for sure. People we knew since they were little kids.”

(Source / 30.01.2017)