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Dagelijks archief 1 maart 2017

Coalition’s Secretary-General Urges Friendly Countries to Support Syrian Interim Government’s Projects & Euphrates Shield Operation

Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ilah Fahd called on sisterly and friendly countries to step up support for the Syrian interim government and the Free Syrian Army groups participating in the Shield of the Euphrates Operation in order to help restore life to normality in the areas being liberated from the ISIS extremist group in norther Syria.

During a field visit to the border town of Azaz in northern Syria on Wednesday, Fahd stressed the importance of restoring security and the provision of basic services to the civilian population who are returning to their homes in northern rural Aleppo.

Fahd, who was visiting the liberated areas on the border with Turkey along with head of the Syrian interim government Jawad Abu Hatab, said that the interim government is sparing no effort to repair and revamp vital civilian facilities damaged by the fighting between the FSA groups and ISIS.

Over 6 million Syrians are set to benefit from projects developed by the interim government, Fahd said. Providing enough support for these projects is crucial to make sure the population does not fall into the snare of terrorist organizations seeking to exploit the needs of civilians to recruit them into their ranks.

Fahd and Abu Hatab visited the headquarters of the Syrian interim government, the Free University of Aleppo, the Teachers Institute, and a number of schools.

Fahd and Abu Hatab also visited the interim government-run grain office, the mills, the seed multiplication center, the granaries and the telephone directorate in the town of Azaz.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 01.03.2017)

Palestinian journalist speaks out on his torture at the hands of PA forces


Sami Sai holding a sign that reads “No to arresting journalists”

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian journalist said he was tortured by Palestinian intelligence officers in a detention center in Jericho, according to a report published Monday by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), which said it appeared officers tortured Sami Sai “only to silence him.”

Sai, formerly a reporter for Ma’an who now works for local Palestinian TV station al-Fajr al-Jadid, wrote on Facebook on Monday that he was “beaten and tortured despite having nothing to confess.”
The journalist told MADA that he was accused of “inciting sectarian strife,” when he was first detained by Palestinian intelligence in Tulkarem, but was released on bail due to lack of evidence.
However, 15 minutes after leaving the detention center, he was rearrested while returning to his home, and taken to the Palestinian general intelligence investigation center in Jericho, according to the report.
He was then accused of being a recruiter for the Hamas movement, which he denied.
Despite his denial of the accusation, intelligence officers continued to inflict psychological and physical torture on Sai in attempt to elicit a confession.
MADA said Sai’s torture raised concerns that Palestinian security services were escalating attempts to intimidate journalists and influence Palestinian media to practice self-censorship.
MADA demanded a committee of inquiry be formed to investigate the torture and ill treatment of Sai.
While the group documented a decrease in the amount of press freedom violations in the occupied Palestinian territory by both Israeli and Palestinian forces in their annual 2016 report, MADA nevertheless documented instances of torture committed by Palestinian parties and a continuation of Palestinian authorities “prosecuting journalists in relation to their publications on social media sites.”
The political divisions between Fatah and Hamas since conflict broke out between the groups in 2007 were cited as the major reason behind media violations in the Gaza Strip.
Rights groups have continued to criticize the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip, of suppressing both freedom of press and freedom of speech. Both governments have been the focus of condemnation for targeting Palestinian journalists who openly criticize the government.
(Source / 01.03.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Destroy, And Confiscate, Equipment In A Tulkarem Print Shop

01 MAR
11:38 AM

Dozens of soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, Tulkarem city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, and broke into a local print shop, before destroying many of its equipment, and confiscating machines.

Abdul-Rahim Badawi, the owner of the print shop, said a large military force invaded the area, before the soldiers broke into his shop, after smashing its main doors, and initiated violent searches, leading to excessive property damage.

He added that the soldiers confiscated most of his equipment, and destroyed several computers and machines, during the violent invasion and search.

Badawi further stated that his shop is licensed, and never received any notices or warnings from the Israeli military, or any other party.

The soldiers also invaded several neighborhoods in Tulkarem, before storming several buildings and violently searching them.

Also Wednesday, the army demolished a Palestinian home in the al-‘Eesawiyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, under the allegation of being built without a permit.

In related news, the soldiers abducted three Palestinians from Balata refugee camp, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after stopping them at a sudden roadblock.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the West Bank city of Bethlehem, in addition to Deheishe, ‘Aida and al-‘Azza refugee camps, Harmala, Husan and al-‘Obeydiyya, and abducted eight Palestinians, including five former political prisoners, during violent searches of homes.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

Graphic novel illustrates life of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

A frame from the graphic novel “Meantime,” by artist Diala Brisly. Posted Feb. 10, 2017

“Meantime” is a graphic novel project initiated in March 2016 by French nongovernmental organization (NGO) Solidarites International (SOL). Five French, Syrian and Lebanese artists spent weeks talking with Syrian refugees in Akkar and Tripoli in northern Lebanon to create five graphic stories, which have been available online since Feb. 21 in English, Arabic and French.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Lebanon hosts more than 1 million Syrian refugees; one in every four people in Lebanon is a refugee. Organizations working on the ground to help vulnerable displaced families face many challenges, such as funding for their programs and projects and telling the individual stories of this population to Western audiences.

SOL was established 35 years ago and has been working for the past three years in Akkar and Tripoli, providing cash assistance and access to water and hygiene products to their Syrian refugee beneficiaries as well as fixing their shelters.

“At the end of 2015, I was in charge of working on a communication project to bring awareness to the people in Europe and Lebanon about the living conditions of the refugees,” Pauline Gregoire, who is in charge of communications and reporting at SOL, told Al-Monitor. “I didn’t want to create a photo or video exhibition that would make people cry.”

At that time, French artist Lisa Mandel was featured in the French newspaper Le Monde with her graphic novel about life in the Calais “jungle,” an informal camp for migrants and refugees wishing to reach England from France that was dismantled gradually from February 2016 onward. “I thought the graphic novel format was nice and light,” Gregoire recalled. “Plus, it is really accessible to everyone and there is this trend of the journalistic graphic novel nowadays, so that is really a modern approach.”

She added, “We had the idea of humanizing refugees — give them an identity. They are human beings who lost everything, who arrived at a new place without anything. They are very vulnerable, but also with very different personalities and stories. It is important to make people understand that they could be any of us. Mandel in her blog on Calais used the comparison with a metro car, saying, “All these people in it could also be in a camp. We have to put names on the numbers to create empathy.”

For the project, which was realized in partnership with UNICEF, the European Union and the US State Department, five artists from France, Lebanon and Syria — Diala Brisly, Kamal Hakim, Lena Merhej, Mandel and Nour Hifaoui Fakhoury — were chosen to give a local, regional and international perspective in regard to the refugee crisis in Lebanon.

For Mandel, whom SOL first contacted given her experience in Calais, coming to Lebanon was a logical step after covering Calais. “I wanted to discover Lebanon and discover differences and similarities between the two situations,” Mandel told Al-Monitor. “Of course, the quantities are not the same. In Calais, there were 10,000 people and everyone was living in a terrible situation — in the mud, in the rain, it was really glaucous. In Lebanon, people are not alone, they are with their family, they are mostly sheltered, even though they are the poorest of the poorest and can only wait for the war to be over. The only thing is that in France, anyone can access proper health care, not like here [in Lebanon] where you have to pay huge amounts of money for everything.”

Mandel described her role in the project as an “information giver.”

On the other hand, for Syrian artist Brisly, who used to independently work with refugees in collaboration with different associations and NGOs, especially children through workshops and murals, it was a way to express something that really struck her during her work in the informal settlements: the relationship between families and men. “I concentrated on how men are also traumatized and need psycho-social support,” Brisly told Al-Monitor.

She added, “Everyone is focusing on women and children and thinking men are like rocks, like they don’t need anything. My culture and in general the culture in the region stipulates that men have to financially support and protect the family. Because of the war, men lost this status and feel totally lost. The family balance has been completely changed.”

With more risks of being stopped at checkpoints and often lacking legal documentation, male refugees rely on their wives or children to work in order to survive because women and children have more freedom of movement. “This trauma often reflects on the man’s relationship with his family, and NGOs — by helping mainly women and children — participate in increasing the gap between the family members,” Brisly said. Her fictional story therefore allows the reader to understand each family member’s perspective in a way that highlights the feelings of the men who find themselves in this situation. “Anyone coming back home not being able to fulfill his role would be angry and frustrated, and it affects everyone around him. Men can also be sad and weak,” she added.

Three Lebanese artists participated in the project, including young Fakhoury, who chose to work on the situation of refugees in Tripoli, their daily struggles and survival skills. She had previously worked for her master graduation project on a comic about the point of view of a Lebanese Christian neighborhood on refugees. “I could do the exact opposite and discover how refugees are actually managing to live,” Fakhoury told Al-Monitor. “It was also a chance to do some research and understand people I didn’t really know.”

As a Lebanese, she was glad to discover strong people who are fighting to survive, still having hope and taking care of their family. “I gained a lot in this project — both professionally and personally,” she said. “I want their stories to be heard.”

This graphic novel project contributes to providing another perspective on what millions of people go through while living in exile in countries around world, as well as humanizing the individual displaced person.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

Timeline for local Palestinian elections announced as Hamas rejects decision


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Central Elections Commission announced on Wednesday the revised schedule for upcoming local elections in the occupied West Bank, saying that registration centers would be opened on March 4 in all districts across the territory.Online voting will be also available through the commission website, and like in-person voter registration, online registration will begin on March 4 and last for five days.Candidates will be able to register their campaigns on March 28, and the final list of candidates will be announced on April 29.According to the commission, the elections will be held on April 13, and the results will be announced on the 14th.“The commission hopes that there will be collaboration by all involved sides in local elections to provide the atmosphere for running democratic elections,” the statement concluded.The commission’s announcement came a day after the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) decided to hold local elections in the West Bank on May 13 as scheduled, while excluding Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip from taking part.

During the PA’s weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday in Bethlehem, it was decided that elections in Gaza would be postponed “indefinitely.” It remained unclear whether occupied East Jerusalem would be included in the municipal electoral process.
After the PA announced at the end of last month that local elections would be scheduled in both the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas, the de facto ruling party of Gaza, along with the Islamic Jihad movement, promptly rejected the plan, saying that elections should only take place after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah comes to an end and reconciliation is achieved.The Islamic Jihad movement release a statement on Wednesday in response, reiterating the movement’s rejection of running local elections without a national agreement.Leader of the movement Khalid al-Batsh said that “the number one priority is to restore national unity and arrange the interior national affairs instead of escalating crises and making decisions that would deepen the national conflict amid Israeli continuous aggression, and settlements expansion supported by US.”Spokesperson of Hamas Abd al-Latif al-Qanu reacted to the outcome of the PA’s cabinet meeting, saying that the decision to carry on with elections without the Gaza Strip “entrenches political divisions and asserts Fatah’s supremacy in decision making.”
He added that the consensus government should have considered the interests of all the Palestinian people instead, saying he held the Fatah movement responsible for the failure to hold elections in the Gaza Strip.Municipal elections set to be held last October were postponed with the intent of holding them in the entire occupied Palestinian territory, following backlash over a PA Supreme Court ruling to exclude the Gaza Strip from the elections altogether.
Prior to their cancellation, the municipal elections were set to be the first in the Gaza Strip in a decade, after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 vote erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah, as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.
A poll released by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) at the time found that 61 percent of respondents were displeased by the Supreme Court’s initial decision to postpone the municipal elections, with 60 percent believing that the decision was politically motivated.
Fatah and Hamas have been embroiled in conflict since Hamas’ election victory in 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, which erupted into a violent conflict between the two movements as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.
Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.
Officials from the Fatah-led PA have criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to “eradicate” the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy” funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
(Source / 01.03.2017)

Fatah Deputy Chief: We Accept a One-State Solution

A Palestinian boy waves a flag in the West Bank. (photo credit:REUTERS)

A Palestinian boy waves a flag in the West Bank

Ramallah – Since I met him a few months ago, nothing has changed in Mahmoud el-Aloul’s entourage even though he has been elected the deputy party chief of Fatah, which means he could become leader of the movement in case of any surprises, and consequently president of Palestinian Authority.

On our way to his office for an interview, we were not questioned once and we were received by his office manager who delayed our interview several times due to unorganized appointments. Many members of Fatah believe this is a “creative chaos”.

Before the interview, I asked Aloul about his few security guards. His answer was that he didn’t like the fuss they create and wished he could carry out his duties without any assistants.

The first question was about US President Donald Trump and his numerous statements about Palestine and Israel.

Aloul acknowledged that it’s the question asked by everyone. No one can understand Trump’s policy, which he said is “mysterious and confusing.”

“As soon as he got into office, he created problems with the US and international community including Europe, China, and Japan. His policies are completely different than all his predecessors, so we are faced by a mysterious case. We have to wait and we are doing our best,” Aloul said.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Fatah is trying to contact the Trump administration and has sent direct messages and via Arab leaders.

He said Fatah advised Trump not to rush into any decision concerning the region. But, regardless of anything, Abbas’ deputy stressed that Fatah holds onto the people’s rights and will defend them.

When asked if the movement received any response to its demands, Aloul said a number of Fatah figures had met with senior officials at the US administration and confirmed that discussions touched on both political and security matters.

Concerning what Trump had stated about moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Aloul said there might be some changes in the president’s stance, but, like the rest of the world, nothing can be predicted.

Trump retracted from the two-state solution, which Aloul is not entirely against given that it protects Palestinians’ rights and grants them freedom, independence and sovereignty.

Whereas, he added, a one state democratic solution has been proposed by Palestinians.

Concerning Trump, Aloul said that negotiations are an inevitable part of any war or conflict in the world and the Palestinian conflict with Israel has been ongoing for years.

The VP said that resistance is legitimate, as Fatah has said in its political declaration that resistance is a right. But, Aloul, didn’t deny that each phase has its own requirements and the current stage requires public resistance.

Such resistance is necessary as long as there are crimes and there is occupation, he said, adding that it should be a way of life for all Palestinians.

When asked about his position of Fatah deputy chief, Aloul said the position has certain authorities in line with the movement’s bylaws. He also mentioned that this post is up to review a year after it was created.

He said his main goal is to move forward with the movement and reconcile with the Palestinian people in order to create a state of unity within the movement itself and between the movement and the society.

He added that choosing him for this position put an end to a number of foreign interventions that had been going on for a long time.

Certain observers expected Marwan al-Barghouti to be chosen for the position of Abbas’ deputy. Aloul expressed his pride in everything Barghouti has done and confirmed that Fatah will continue battling for his freedom. He did however explain that not choosing Barghouti for the post was due to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to perform any executive duties from his prison cell.

He criticized the people trying to create strife out of this issue.

When asked about Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) elections, he said a committee is preparing for the polls but negotiations are ongoing on where they should take place.

Concerning the elections, Aloul explained that the election of a PLO deputy chief is under discussion. However, Hamas announced that the head of council can be the head of authority, to which Aloul said that Hamas has to determine first if it wants to be part of the Palestinian Authority or not.

Aloul said Fatah is a national liberation movement that hasn’t achieved its goals and will remain active until it does.

He also expressed his lack of interest in what Israelis think about his statements.

Finally, the Fatah deputy leader ruled out an Arab Spring in Palestine, saying the people are not against the government, they are all against one enemy: the occupation.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

Palestinian shot, killed by Israeli gunfire in al-Khalil


A Palestinian young man was shot and killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Wednesday evening in the southern West Bank district of al-Khalil after an alleged stabbing attack.

Israeli media sources claimed that the slain Palestinian entered an illegal settlement outpost located in the Masafer Yatta area and stabbed a settler, slightly injuring him.

The young man’s identity was not revealed yet.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

2 Palestinian brothers enter 26th year in Israeli jails


Palestinian brothers Ibrahim and Mohamed Ighbariya entered their 26th year in Israeli occupation jails, a rights group reported Tuesday.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), the Palestinian brothers Ighbariya have been held in Israeli jails for 26 years running.

In march 2014, the Israeli prison authorities reneged on their promises to release the two brothers as part of the fourth prisoner batch expected to be freed at the time.

Mohamed, held in Gilboa lock-up, earned an MA degree and wrote four books under Israeli detention. His brother Ibrahim, locked up in Ramon prison, wrote one book.

Ibrahim, aged 51, and Mohamed, 48, are both natives of al-Musheirefa town, in 1948 Occupied Palestine. Both were arrested by the Israeli police on February 26, 1992, and sentenced to life.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

Israeli Colonist Kills A Young Palestinian Man Who Reportedly Stabbed Him

01 MAR
5:59 PM

A colonialist Israeli settler shot and killed, Wednesday, a young Palestinian man, allegedly after he attacked him with a knife and stabbed him, in Teneh Omarim illegal colony, built on private Palestinian land, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said its soldiers rushed to the scene and initiated an investigation into the incident. The Palestinian was later identified as Sa’adi Mahmoud Ali Qaisiyya, 25, from ath-Thaheriyya town, south of Hebron.

Several Israeli ambulances were seen rushing to the colony, amidst extensive deployment of soldiers, and many armed colonists, while a military helicopter flew overhead.

Israeli sources said the settler was attacked and mildly injured in his home, before “he drew his weapon and shot the Palestinian.”

The sources added that the wounded Israeli, 33 years of age, suffered mild injuries to his limbs, and received treatment by Israeli medics.

Israeli Ynet News said the incident took place in “Mor Farm” outpost, near Taneh Omarim settlement.

It added that the Palestinian entered the farm before the settler heard noises outside his property, and reportedly “saw a man carrying two knives, then the settler ran towards his home to grab his weapon, while the Palestinian chased him, and stabbed him in front of his family.”

It added that the wounded settler then managed to shoot and kill the young Palestinian man.

Eyewitnesses told WAFA News Agency that the Palestinian bled to death without receiving medical treatment.

(Source / 01.03.2017)

IOF demolish East Jerusalem home, displace 30 people

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday morning have demolished a Palestinian’s home in the Al-Issawiya neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of no building permit.

A crew from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem demolished the the two-story building which contains four apartments, where 30 people live.

According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, Israel’s discriminatory policies on planning and construction that allocate enormous budgets for Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem have come at the expense of development for Palestinian communities since Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem after its occupation in 1967.

The situation has forced many Palestinians to build homes without obtaining permits, while the Jerusalem municipality enforces building laws on Palestinians much more stringently than on the Jewish population — even though the number of violations is much higher in the Jewish neighborhoods according to

(Source / 01.03.2017)