Israeli official: Ireland soon to recognize Palestine in response to settlement expansions


(Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny (left) with British Prime Minister Theresa May (right))

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli Ambassador to Ireland relayed a warning to the Israeli government on Tuesday that the Irish parliament would soon move to recognize the state of Palestine, according to Israeli media.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Zeev Boker warned the Israeli government that Ireland’s recognition of a Palestinian state was fast approaching, owing much to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s advancement of some 6,000 new illegal settler units on occupied Palestinian land and the recent passage of the outpost Regularization bill which has paved the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.
An unidentified Israeli official was cited by Haaretz as saying that Boker was working to block the recognition by appealing to the new ultra right-wing US administration led by President Donald Trump to put pressure on the Irish government.
Netanyahu is also expected to discuss the issue with Ireland’s ambassador to Israel, Enda Kenny, according to Haaretz.
Earlier this week, Ireland was one of five European countries that opposed a summit between the European Union (EU) and Israel scheduled for Feb. 26 as a result of the dramatic uptick of settlement expansion policies spearheaded by the Israeli government in recent weeks. Their opposition caused the meeting to be postponed.
In December 2014, Irish lawmakers urged their government to recognize Palestine as a state in a symbolic motion that sailed through parliament unopposed.
The non-binding motion agreed by lawmakers in Dublin called on the government to “officially recognize the State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in UN resolutions”.
Sweden became the first Western European country to recognize the state of Palestine in 2014. Since then, support for recognizing a Palestinian state has surged in Europe through various government resolutions and pro-Palestinian activism, particularly following Israel’s devastating military offensive in 2014 which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom were civilians.
(Source / 10.02.2017)

New MAP briefing exposes barriers to Palestinian healthcare

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) have today co-launched the first in a series of briefings exploring how Israel’s occupation affects the health and dignity of Palestinians.

This first volume exposes how barriers to freedom of movement imposed by Israel are preventing some Palestinian patients from being able to access centres of vital care. These barriers include the bureaucratic control of movement imposed by Israel’s permit regime, and physical barriers of the network of checkpoints which control access into and out of Gaza, the west Bank and East Jerusalem.

With many medical specialties such as radiotherapy and heart surgery only available in Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, it is vital that patients and their companions are able to travel there unimpeded. This is especially true for patients in Gaza, where the health sector has been severely damaged by almost a decade of blockade, separation from the West Bank, and repeated conflict.

In 2016, the rate of approvals for permits to leave Gaza for treatment outside the territory dropped to its lowest level in seven years, with a third of patients delayed or denied by the Israeli authorities over the year.

“The very idea that a fence, a wall, a security guard, a bureaucrat could stand between you and such life-saving services should fill us all with a shared sense of dread.”

Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities

In January this year, a 17-year-old boy from Gaza died after Israeli authorities refused him a permit to travel out of Gaza for treatment for a congenital heart defect. The same month also saw protests in Gaza from female cancer patients who had been refused permission to travel for vital treatment.

Free movement of patients and medical personnel is vital to the effectiveness of care. Ambulance and permit delays can lead to missed appointments and interrupted treatments, endangering the health and lives of patients.

International law stipulates that, as the Occupying Power, Israel has a duty to ensure adequate access to medical treatment for the population under its control. It is vital that governments like the UK place pressure on the Government of Israel to remove obstacles to the right to movement which undermine healthcare.

To read the briefing paper, click here.

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Israeli authorities ban UN Muslim staff, Gazans from praying at Aqsa


The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) have prevented UNRWA’s Muslim staff members and worshipers from the blockaded Gaza Strip from gaining access to the holy al-Aqsa Mosque for the tenth week running.

Media chief at the Civil Affairs Commission, Mohamed al-Mukadma, said the IOA banned Gazans and UNRWA staff members from performing their prayers at the holy al-Aqsa Mosque—the third holiest site in Islam.

Such bans have been frequently issued on claims that Gazans exceed the time-span allotted for them to visit Occupied Jerusalem and pray at al-Aqsa Mosque then return to the Strip on the same day.

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Taljo: Consensus among Opposition Forces on Formation of Negotiating Team

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Osama Taljo said there is consensus among the Syrian Coalition, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), and the FSA groups on the formation of the negotiating team for the upcoming round of Geneva talks. Taljo said that the three opposition entities are aiming to form a delegation able to help the Syrian people regain their rights from the dictatorial regime.

“The real forces of the Syrian opposition agreed that that the opposition negotiating delegation should include figures with experience in negotiations and able to achieve the demands of the Syrian people during the upcoming Geneva negotiations, which will be thorny,” Taljo said.

The FSA groups agreed to participate in the Geneva negotiations to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria, Taljo said, adding that the FSA groups are keen not to waiver the rights of the Syrian people.

The Assad regime and its Iranian allies pose the biggest obstacle to reaching a political solution in Syria as they insist on pursuing a military solution to the conflict, Taljo stressed.

Taljo cited the report, “Human Slaughterhouse” Amnesty International has recently published on Saydnaya Prison as an example of the extent of the brutality of the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iranian and Hezbollah interference is the main obstacle derailing a peaceful solution in Syria.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara on Wednesday, Jubeir said that his country and Turkey have matching views on regional issues, particularly with regards to condemning Iran and the Hezbollah militias for playing a negative role and blocking any peaceful solution in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 10.02.2017)

Israel’s efforts to erase Palestinian history reflect ‘incremental genocide,’ Ehrenreich says


Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring, the chronicle of heroic resistance to occupation in a Palestinian village, spoke at Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies a week ago, and described Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as an “incremental genocide.”

A questioner asked about the Movement for Black Lives statement saying Palestinians are experiencing “genocide,” and asked Ehrenreich, would you agree? The author said he did.

The question about genocide– yes, it’s an incremental genocide. And I think that’s a word that gives a lot of people pause and it certainly should. We don’t see the absolutely mass slaughters, although in Gaza I think we’ve seen something very much like it that we usually associate with genocide. But– the attempts to erase a people, to just erase them, to erase their history, I think follow a logic that can only be called genocidal. I mean, every time someone says– and people say it all the time, I get it on twitter all the time– “There’s no such thing as a Palestinian,” or “There was nobody there when the Zionists arrived”– these are genocidal statements, these are attempts to erase a culture, erase a history, decimate a people and I think they should be recognized as that.

Moderator Colm Toibin, the Irish novelist, pushed back, saying, that’s a very very loaded thing to say from the Israeli side, and difficult to accept, in the context of the Holocaust and European genocide. “I’m very uneasy about letting this go without questioning you one more time… I wonder if there’s another word you could use. I’m just uneasy about it.”

Ehrenreich elaborated:

You should be and we all should be. It’s an especially painful thing to talk about, given the history of the Holocaust, and as someone with a Jewish background, it’s extremely painful for me to use that word. It’s more painful to see those realities, and those historical ironies are brutal. I mentioned the Balfour Declaration because I think this always has to be put into a colonialist context. Israel is a settler colonialist society, and the one things that settler colonialist societies have in common is that they follow a genocidal logic. The one we’re living in right now. Every single one of them– South Africa, Canada, the United States, Australia, and Israel: places where settlers came in and declared the land theirs and did everything they could to either remove the people who were already there or so erase their history that they could pretend that they weren’t there.

Hatim Kanaaneh asked Ehrenreich how it was that American mainstream publishers put his article and book out. Ehrenreich said that things have shifted “quite a bit in terms of US public opinion. None of this is reflected in the actions of our politicians.”

He then observed that this is the issue that is “most tightly controlled” in our media, and he was “shocked” when the New York Times Magazine sent him to cover the resistance in Nabi Saleh, in that historic cover article of 2013 explaining why Palestinians have a right to throw stones.

I was shocked that the New York Times Magazine wanted to send me to a small West Bank village to write a story that was exclusively from the perspective of the people who lived there. And I think slowly, as long as I’ve been writing about this, I am sort of constantly seeing cracks in the wall, because there has been I think more than any other issue in the U.S., this is the one where the narrative is most tightly controlled, where certain perspectives are just not allowed in, Palestinian perspectives, that is. And that has shifted…. During the primary season, this issue was suddenly an issue that it was possible to talk about, which it never was in other election seasons in this country.

I’d add that anti-Zionists are also marginalized, including Jewish ones. And Ehrenreich’s observation about the narrative being most tightly controlled on this issue– wonderful. It inevitably raises the issue of the Jewish Zionist presence in the establishment, along with the shadow of the Holocaust as a muzzle on non-Jews’ willingness to express their opinions. Bernie Sanders said there was a war for the soul of Islam. There’s also a war for the soul of Judaism; and it involves Zionism.

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Israeli torture of Palestinian children ‘institutional’

Confessions by Palestinians who have been tortured are regularly accepted by Israeli judges, rights groups say.

Methods of torture reportedly include slapping the head and forcing a handcuffed individual to squat against a wall for long periods of time

By Ben White

A recent article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has confirmed the extent to which Shin Bet interrogators subject their prisoners to torture.

Methods include slapping the head “to hurt sensitive organs like the nose, ears, brow and lips”, forcing a handcuffed individual to squat against a wall for long periods of time, and placing the suspect bent backwards over a chair with his arms and legs cuffed.

The interrogators’ accounts echo what Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long documented. Prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer said that such practices “are known to be routinely and systematically used against Palestinian detainees”. Other torture methods used against Palestinians include sleep deprivation and threats against family members, an Addameer spokesperson told Al Jazeera.

READ MORE: Palestinians forever changed by Israeli torture

Rachel Stroumsa, the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), said that her NGO was aware of hundreds of complaints and allegations along these lines.

In addition to interrogation being used to gain information about future acts, “our experience is that torture is also used to obtain confessions regarding past acts”, Stroumsa told Al Jazeera.

In its annual report last year, Amnesty International found that Israeli forces and Shin Bet personnel had “tortured and otherwise ill-treated Palestinian detainees, including children, particularly during arrest and interrogation”, with methods including “beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats”.

A representative of Defence for Children International – Palestine told Al Jazeera that the group’s research had shown that almost two-thirds of Palestinian children detained in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces had endured physical violence after their arrest.

Interrogators use position abuse, threats and isolation to coerce confessions from some children, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude these confessions.

Ayed Abu Qtaish, accountability programme director at Defence for Children International – Palestine

“Palestinian children are regularly subjected to coercive and violent interrogation techniques intended to extract confessions,” said Ayed Abu Qtaish, the group’s accountability programme director. “Interrogators use position abuse, threats and isolation to coerce confessions from some children, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude these confessions.”

Torture and ill-treatment are so rife, human rights campaigners say, that convictions of Palestinians for “security offences” are fundamentally unreliable, not least because the abuse is part of a wider lack of due process.

According to one study, as many as 91 percent of Palestinian detainees interrogated by the Shin Bet in the occupied West Bank are held incommunicado for either part or all of their interrogation. Stroumsa says this practice is “an enabling element for torture”.

In the military court system, which has a 99 percent conviction rate, Palestinians can be held for 60 days without access to a lawyer – compared with the United States, where the average length of interrogations producing false confessions is 16 hours.

“As Palestinian children continue to experience systematic ill-treatment and denial of due process rights, it becomes evident that military courts have no interest in justice,” Abu Qtaish said.

In addition to the torture and lack of access to counsel, Palestinians are asked to sign confession sheets in Hebrew, which they often do not understand. All of this “creates a coercive environment which results in confessions made under duress”, Addameer noted.

A recent example is the case of Mohammad el-Halabi, a Gaza-based employee of World Vision who was charged by Israel with funnelling money to Hamas. Halabi, who is being tried in a Beer Sheva civilian court, has protested his innocence, saying that he was tortured by his interrogators. These claims were also made by his lawyers, who Halabi was prevented from seeing for three weeks after his arrest.

The new Haaretz report draws attention to a topic that is not often in the limelight. In November 2015, a video of the interrogation of 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra sparkedoutrage, while Israel’s appearance at the United Nations Committee Against Torture last May – which referred to “coerced evidence” being used in courts – also gained coverage.

But many other events fly under the radar. An academic study published in November 2015 in a peer-reviewed medical journal revealed dozens of cases of sexual torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel.

READ MORE: Report details ‘inhuman’ treatment in Israeli jail

Activists on the ground say that an international spotlight on Israel’s torture practices is urgently needed, not least because of the institutionalised nature of the problem.

Although an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in 1999 prohibited “physical means” of interrogation, Shin Bet agents were effectively given impunity for torture and ill-treatment by the so-called “necessity defence” or ” ticking bomb” exemption.

According to anti-torture campaigners, this exemption has served as a green light for torture ever since. Since 2001, hundreds of formal complaints have been made against Shin Bet interrogators, but not a single criminal investigation has been opened.

“I think international pressure is essential, and has on some issues proven its efficacy,” Stroumsa said.

“It is also the duty of the international community to speak out on abuses, given the massive economic and political support for the State of Israel from abroad.”

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Zionist regime war on Gaza only “a matter of time”

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has said that the next round of attacks on Gaza are not a matter of if but when with Housing Minister Yoav Galant: ‘We must prepare for the spring.’

World Bulletin
Zionist regime war on Gaza only “a matter of time”

Following intense attacks on Gaza, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that the next round of fighting with Hamas is only a matter of time according to report in Haaretz.

During a ceremony in southern Israel commemorating the death of an Israeli student killed by Hamas rocket fire in 2005, Bennett said, “Today we are still being threatened by Gaza; they are still trying to hurt us”.

“The threats are increasing, from Lebanon to Gaza”, Bennett warned, noting that the “next round of fighting is a question of when, not if, and this time we must be decisive and win, not end it in a draw, so as not to have another round after that”.

“Only with a total victory over our enemy will we put an end to this”, the Israeli minister added referring to the coming war in Gaza.

Housing Minister Yoav Galant also reiterated Bennet saying that a war with Hamas might take place in the coming months.

“Will this process lead to an escalation? I think we will get into another round,” he said. “I see the coming spring as a time we should prepare for.”

In response, senior Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, said Tuesday that “Hamas is committed to calming the situation and Israel is trying with its escalation to examine our patience and willingness to absorb.”

(Source / 10.02.2017)

3 Palestinians subjected to house arrest in Occupied Jerusalem


The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Friday subjected three Palestinian youths from Occupied Jerusalem to house confinement.

According to human rights sources, the IOA slapped a five-day house-confinement order against the Palestinian activist Jawad Seyam, director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan.

The IOA also ruled that Seyam be released on a third-party bail of up to 5,000 shekels.

Palestinian youngsters Mohamed Seyam and Dhiaa Baydhoun also received similar sentences.

The three arrestees had endured heavy beating by the Israeli forces prior to their arrest on claims of attempting to attack Israeli cops.

The sentences make part of a collective punishment policy pursued by the Israeli occupation forces and authorities against Palestinian anti-occupation protesters.

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Palestinian prisoner dies of injuries in Israeli hospital


The Palestinian injured prisoner Mohamed Jalad, from Tulkarem, died on Friday in Israel’s Beilinson Hospital, rights sources revealed.

Head of the the PA committee for prisoners’ affairs Issa Qaraqe affirmed in a brief statement issued Friday afternoon the death of the injured prisoner Mohamed Jalad.

Jalad was arrested in Nov. 2016 after being seriously injured by Israeli forces for an alleged stabbing attack near Hawara checkpoint, Qaraqe pointed out.

Qaraqe has previously warned more than once of Jalad’s serious health condition.

(Source / 10.02.2017)

Hamas says Petah Tikva operation “natural response to Israel’s crimes”


The Hamas Movement hailed the Petah Tikva operation that was carried out by a Palestinian young man on Thursday as “heroic and a natural response to Israel’s crimes and violations against the Palestinian people and their holy sites.”

In a press release, senior spokesman for Hamas Fawzi Barhoum said the operation confirmed the Palestinian people’s determination to continue resisting the occupation and defending their rights regardless of the sacrifices.

“While we applaud this brave act of resistance, we hold the Israeli government responsible for all consequences resulting from persisting in its extremist and racist policies,” Barhoum stated.

The spokesman urged the Palestinians in the occupied territories to step up their resistance against the occupation and retaliate to its violence and aggression.

About six Israelis were reportedly wounded on Thursday afternoon in a shooting and stabbing attack in Petah Tikva city, east of Tel Aviv.

The attack was carried out by an 18-year-old young man identified as Sadeq Abu Mazen, a resident of a village on the outskirts of Nablus.

(Source / 10.02.2017)