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Dagelijks archief 2 maart 2017

BREAKING: Egypt clears Mubarak of charges of killing protesters in 2011 uprising

Hosni Mubarak, Former President of Egypt

Hosni Mubarak, Former President of Egypt

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has today been cleared of charges of killing protesters in the 2011 uprising that lead to his removal from power.

After an all-day hearing, Judge Ahmed Abdel Qawi announced: “The court has found the defendant innocent.”

The court also rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits, leaving no remaining option for appeal or retrial.

The verdict could lead to Mubarak being freed.

A report commission by Mubarak’s predecessor Mohamed Morsi said at least 846 protesters were killed during the uprising in early 2011, but Egypt’s interior ministry – which controls the police force – repeatedly denied responsibility.

Police were said to have used live ammunition and arms against those demonstrating to end Mubarak’s rule of almost 30 years.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Three Palestinian prisoners sentenced to different prison terms

ofer-rechtbank-3-gevangenen

The Israeli Ofer Court sentenced a number of Palestinian prisoners to different prison terms and imposed on them heavy fines, a rights group revealed Thursday.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said that the prisoner Mohamed Abi Eid was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment and a fine of 4,000 shekels.

Along the same line, the prisoner Suhaib Abu Rezq was sentenced to 24 months and a fine of 2,000 shekels while the prisoner Baha Mansur was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment and a fine of 4,000 shekels.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

No Room for Women at Mosques?

No Room for Women at Mosques?

There are mosques that completely ignore the needs of half of their community. Then there are mosques where women are not allowed at all, or are made to feel like their mere existence is burdensome

By Theresa Corbin (New Orleans native and Muslimah)

Umm Humayd told the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “O Messenger of Allaah, I love to pray with you.” He (PBUH) said: “I know that you love to pray with me, but praying in your house is better for you than praying in your courtyard, and praying in your courtyard is better for you than praying in the mosque of your people, and praying in the mosque of your people is better for you than praying in my mosque.”

So she ordered that a prayer-place be built for her in the furthest and darkest part of her house, and she always prayed there until she met Allaah (Ahmed).

If you are a woman whose heart is tied to the mosque, you have probably had some version of this hadith quoted to you at some point. You have probably questioned why it is that you are shunned from the mosque simply because of your sex. You might even have felt resentful for it. I and many other women have been there.

This hadith is quoted over and over again and is usually narrated as, “the best place for a women to pray is in the innermost part of her home”. But few know the context in which the hadith was narrated. Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan explains that this hadith was only for one sister (Umm Humayd) who was in a troubled marriage. This one woman was told to pray in the innermost part of her home in order to remove herself from her husband’s distracting behaviors while she prayed.

But since this hadith is used out of context, it is widely thought that a woman’s place to pray is at home. And because of this lack of understanding many mosques neglect women’s space or simply flat out refuse admittance to women. This has been my experience in many mosques, and two in particular:

The women’s (not enough) room- Mobile, AL

A stray cockroach crawls quickly across the room. A shriek is heard, but there is no room to turn and see what is wrong. There is only enough room for me to expand my ribs to breath. Children begin to cry and women push and shove as the insects approaches. It is Ramadan and iftar has just been served in a room that holds well over a hundred people but is only big enough to hold 35.

I am told, as the overcrowded room makes me feverish in January, that the men’s section has been expanded two times while the women’s room remains the same tiny size. One sister chimes in that the women’s room did get new carpeting, as if in defense of the “oversight”.

Another lady, straining to carry two sweating children to the singular bathroom, overhears our conversation about the lack of space. She lets it be known that the men just had extra bathrooms with a wudu’ area installed.

Still another sister squeezes through the sea of women and children, as if a contortionist of sorts, asking if anyone can give money in order to buy a new vacuum to clean the carpet in the women’s room. I look over at the cockroach that has made its way to my side and wonder how the mosque can afford two expansions for the brothers but can’t supply the sisters with a vacuum.

Istanbul, Turkey-- At the Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul, the women's sections are at the back of the enormous open prayer area but divided by wooden screens. Vice-deputy Kadriye Avci Erdemli, a woman, has spearheaded a project aimed at improving the women's prayer experience at nearly 3,000 mosques within the city. PHOTO BY JODI HILTON

No girls allowed somewhere in Louisiana

I am refused entrance to this mosque because I happen to have two X chromosomes. But I wonder what is inside. I imagine it is a dark place where men go to frown at each other and make little rascal-style signs that say, “He-man woman haters club. No girls allowed”.

I know that this is just my imagination, and tell myself to give them excuses. But as I sit in the sisters’ halaqa of my local mosque, the imam’s wife tells of her treatment upon arrival for asr prayer at the no girls allowed mosque.

“We were out and time for prayer came. So we looked for a place to pray and found this mosque. When I went to go pray, a big man came out and told me I wasn’t allowed in the mosque, even though I was fully covered and only my hands, feet, and face shown.”

I shook my head in disbelief as she continued to say that she, an elderly woman, had to ask for a prayer rug so she could pray on the side of the road while her husband was welcomed inside.

But being neglected or shunned has not always been my experience:

All are welcome- Memphis, Tn

Sweet smells welcome one and all, as smiling people greet each other on their way to make wudu’  or enter the prayer area. To the left are the sounds of children playing in the two babysitting rooms. To the right, in the prayer area, there is one big, open, airy space speckled with support columns.

Large, flat televisions hang on the walls of the prayer space every 25 feet to broadcast the lecture for all to see and feed a sound system that invites everyone to listen and gain knowledge. Women take off their shoes as they enter the half of the room designated for them in full view of the mimbar.

I am transported to a different time. A time I have only read about in narrations of what the Prophet’s (PBUH) mosque was like. Where women were welcomed. Where women prayed in the same room as men, and were not shoved to a small, darkly lit and dirty closet. Where women felt safe to ask questions, study, and participate in their own community.

There are mosques that completely ignore the needs of half of their community. Then there are mosques where women are not allowed at all, or are made to feel like their mere existence is burdensome. Then there are the communities that realize the mosque belongs to women as much as it belongs to men.

But the former two approaches are far more frequently the case than is the latter. It is my hope that with the efforts of people like Hind Makki and her Side Entrance project, MasjidforALL community , and supporters for women’s space like Dawah Addict , and Nouman Ali Khan, that we can reeducate those who believe that women don’t belong at the mosque, that we can bring to light the situation sisters face when going to the mosque, and that with knowledge will come change.

It is my hope that the stellar examples of the mosques who already have opened their doors to women and included them on their board of directors will not just be the exception but will become the rule.

“The believing men and women are protectors and helpers of each other. They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil; establish prayers and give charity, and obey Allah and his Messenger. Those are the people whom Allah would grant mercy. Indeed Allah is Exalted and Wise.“ (Al-Tawbah 9:71)

Let us not forget that we are helpers to one another. Let us build better mosques together as believing women and men, and earn Allah’s mercy.

If you are a woman whose heart is tied to the mosque, you have probably questioned why it is that you are shunned from it simply because of your sex.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Report: Israel continues to arrest Palestinian children amid escalating criticism

pal-kids-opgepakt

By Nour Qudeimat

Israeli arrests of Palestinians lately have come under fire, especially in light of the escalating violence of the Israeli army and far right-wing government lead by Netanyahu.

CASES OF ARREST

On Thursday overnight, 2 March 2017, Israeli forces broke into Aida refugee camp south of Bethlehem, and arrested 12-year-old child, Humam Ahmad Radi, from his family home at 3 AM.

Humam’s mother, Eman Radi, told PSCC that Israeli soldiers broke into their house and demanded to take Humam with them. When she told one of the soldiers that “he is only a child,” the soldier slammed her son into the door and handcuffed him.

“After I said that he was only a child, he angrily pulled down the face mask he was wearing, shouted ‘this is not a child,’ slammed Humam by the wall, handcuffed him, and told three other soldiers to surround me away from him.” the mother said.

“After that, they collected all the knives in the house and took them outside, I don’t understand why. They didn’t even let me help him get dressed, his father did that… The soldier -who slammed him by the door- said that he can’t even say goodbye to me, so Humam looked at me and told me ‘don’t worry, mother’, then they left,” she continued.

Speaking about her son, she said that “Humam is the smartest kid in his class. He likes reading, watching documentaries, he’s very smart and very polite. I don’t know why they took him.”

The father, Ahmad Radi, said that the family contacted the Red Cross, Addameer Support and Human Rights Association, and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club where he asked for a lawyer, and called on the Palestinian Authority to protect the children who have no play space and live in a small camp where all they can do is play here, and even they they’re only playing, they get arrested.

A similar story happened with two other children from the camp, Mohammad and Anas Al-Massaid, aged 14 and 13, were taken from their family homes at 2 AM, 14 February 2017, and are now in Ofer prison.

The childrens’ mother, Nisreen Al-Massaid, recited the day of the arrest, saying that “Israeli soldiers came into the house and asked to take Anas… After that they asked for their father’s ID card. They looked at the name of his children on the ID, and when they saw Mohammad’s name attached, they asked to take him too.”

Nisreen does not know their condition in prison, and was not yet allowed to visit them in prison, but she is only allowed to see them in court room, from a distance.

Since their arrest, Israeli Authorities, or the lawyer, have postponed their court sessions about eight times.

The delay from the lawyer is reputedly done so as not to get a “hasty charge” against the children.
Speaking about the process of the court, Nisreen said that there is no specific time for the court, and that it takes a whole day.

“We have to leave to the court in Ramallah, about 8-9 AM, and then wait for them to call our name to go to the courtroom. However, the judge usually delays the court.”

The charges of their arrest according to Israeli Forces were “throwing stones.”

The mother added that her son, Mohammad, has confessed to throwing stones towards the soldiers during their raids on Aida camp, which happens frequently in the camp.

However, she says that a child might innocently lie even at his home if he feels afraid of something, so what if it was a tough investigator in jail?” saying that the children might say things they haven’t done under the intense pressure from Israeli investigators.

SYSTEMATIC ARRESTS

This is not a one or two time occurrence in Aida camp or in the occupied West Bank.

According to Addameer Support and human Rights Association , approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. The most common charge levied against children is throwing stones, a crime that is punishable under military law by up to 20 years in prison. The occupation forces exploit the arrest of children for purposes of recruiting them to work as informants, extort their families financially, and force their families to pay large financial fines to secure their release. The arrest of children has a destructive impact on the level of children’s mental health, often leading to children’s drop-out from schools. (ADDAMEER)

DEFENSE FOR CHILDREN

In order to investigate the legality of such acts, PSCC contacted Ayed Abu Eqtaish Accountability Program Director in Defense For Children International. Abu Eqtaish said that the arrest itself, even though not completely illegal, however, the torture, violence, ill-treatment that comes with it is completely illegal.

In addition, the night raids, threats and violence which is accompanied with the arrest comes under “ill-treatment” and absence of the standards of a just court.

Since the start of February, 45 children among 405 arrests were reported, according to Al-Quds center for the study of Israeli and Palestinian affairs.

Currently, there are 300 Palestinian children in Israeli jails. (Addameer)

kindgevangenen-vlgs-addameer

PROTEST CAMPAIGNS

On Wednesday, network of organizations seeking to protect children in conflict urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to add 11 parties to the blacklist, including the IDF, of countries and armed groups responsible for grave violations against children.

In addition, Amnesty International in its annual report published on Wednesday, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” said that Israel is one of the countries that broke international law, and engaged in extensive human rights violations in 2016, including detaining or continuing to imprison thousands of Palestinians without charges or trial, torturing many of those held in custody, promoting illegal settlements in the West Bank and severely hampering the movement of Palestinians.

The report found that among those tortured and detained under administrative orders were also children. Methods of torture included beatings, painful shackling and sleep deprivation. Among 110 Palestinians killed last year by Israeli forces, the report charged, some posed no threat to life and thus were shot unlawfully.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

876 Civilians Killed in February 2017

Including 489 at the hands of the Syrian-Russian Regime

Civilians Killed in February

SNHR has published its periodic death toll report for the month of February 2017 in which it documented the killing of 876 civilians at the hands of the main influential parties in Syria.
The report notes that there has been a decent and notable drop in the rates of killing throughout Syria, since the Ankara Ceasefire Agreement went into effect, especially in the areas under the control of armed opposition factions, as the Syrian regime-held areas aren’t subjected to heavy, daily aerial bombardment, which has resulted in the killing of no less than 60% the victims, and destroyed buildings, displacing the people of Syria.

The report sheds light on the fallouts in the wake of the agreement regarding the aspects of live for civilians, where more patients are now going to hospitals and medical points, and many children are enrolling again in schools after they were denied that for fear of being killed in light of the frequent targeting of schools, as well as hospitals. Also, markets are more lively, and many infrastructure services are being rehabilitated. Nonetheless, breaches didn’t stop, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be affected the most should the ceasefire go on, especially crimes of extrajudicial killing, and, more horrendously, dying due to torture, which strongly proves that there is some sort of ceasefire on the table. The crimes, however, that the international community wasn’t able to notice, and particularly the Turkish and Russian sponsors, are still ongoing as nothing has changed in that regard.

The report notes that SNHR team encounters difficulties in documenting victims from armed opposition factions as many of those victims are killed on battlefronts and not inside cities. Also, we aren’t able to obtain details such as names, pictures and other important details on account of the armed opposition forces’ unwillingness to reveal such information for security concerns among other reasons. Therefore, the actual number of victims is much greater than what is being recorded.

On the other side, the report stresses that it is almost impossible to access information about victims from Syrian regime forces or from ISIS and the margin of error is considerably higher due to the lack of any applicable methodology in this type of documentation. The Syrian government and ISIS don’t publish, reveal, or record their victims. From our perspective, the statistics published by some groups on this category of victims are fictitious and are not based on any actual data.

Therefore, the report only incudes civilian victims who were killed by all parties and compare them.
The report breaks down the death toll of February 2017 where Syrian regime forces killed 366 civilians including 39 children (two children are killed every day) and 34 women (Adult female). Additionally, among the victims were 18 civilians who died due to torture.
The report notes that forces we believe are Russian killed 123 civilians including 40 children and 21 women.

Additionally, the report documented the killing of seven civilians at the hands of the Self-management forces including three children, two women, and two civilians due to torture.
Furthermore, the report notes that ISIS killed 180 civilians including 18 children and nine women. In addition, armed opposition factions killed 16 civilians including seven children and four women.
In addition, the report records that 118 civilians, including 41 children and 28 women, were killed by the international coalition forces in February.

The report documents that 66 civilians, including 16 children and three women, have either died drowning as they were fleeing by sea or in bombings that SNHR hasn’t been able to identify its perpetrators, as of this writing, or by bullets or landmines that we couldn’t determine their source, or by Turkish, Jordanian, or Lebanese forces.
The report emphasizes that Syrian regime forces and Russian forces have violated the international human rights law which guarantees the right to life. Furthermore, evidences and proofs, according to hundreds of eyewitnesses’ accounts, suggest that 90% at least of the widespread and single attacks were directed against civilians and civil facilities.
Also, ISIS perpetrated many crimes of extrajudicial killing which constitute war crimes.

Moreover, some of the armed opposition factions committed crimes of extrajudicial killing that qualify as war crimes. Also, Self-management forces and international coalition forces have both committed war crimes that manifested in the crime of extrajudicial killing.
The report calls on the Security Council and the relevant international entities to uphold their responsibilities in relation to the crimes of killing that is being perpetrated ceaselessly and to apply pressure on the Syrian government to stop the deliberate and indiscriminate shelling against civilians.
Finally, the report considers the Russian regime, all Shiite militias, and ISIS as foreign parties that are effectively involved in the killings and holds all of these parties and the financiers and supports of the Syrian regime legally and judicially responsible.

View full Report

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Gaza: IOF opens fire at homes north of Beit Lahia

iof-ten-noorden-beit-lahia

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday morning opened machinegun fire at Palestinian homes north of Beit Lahia town, north of the embattled Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers stationed along the northern border of Beit Lahia opened machinegun fire from their heavy military vehicles and watchtowers at Palestinian homes and lands.

Luckily, no one was injured in the gunfire attack. Several homes only sustained material damage.

During dawn hours, Israeli drones were seen overflying the northern airspace of Gaza, especially Beit Lahia and Jabalia.

An Israeli military helicopter also overflew the coastal area of Gaza City while firing flares after the Israeli army claimed a rocket projectile from Gaza landed in an open area in Ashkelon beach near Gaza.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

20 West Bank citizens kidnapped in overnight IOF campaigns

20-palestijnen-door-iof-opgepakt

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) last night and at dawn Thursday kidnapped 20 Palestinians from different areas of the West Bank.

In al-Khalil, Israeli soldiers stormed at an early hour in the morning Beit Awa town in the west and kidnapped three young men from their homes.

The detainees were identified as Omar Masalmeh, Ghazi Farouk and Ali as-Suwaiti.

Another military force stormed last night ad-Dhahiriya town south of al-Khalil, raided homes and clashed with local young men near the house of martyr Sa’ad Qaisiya, who carried out a stabbing attack in the city.

In Jenin, several Palestinian citizens suffered from inhaling tear gas during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Zabuba town. Soldiers were also deployed near Rummanah town.

Israeli troops also rounded up young men at dawn raids on homes in Beita and Awarta town, southeast of Nablus province.

Local sources in Awarta town told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that five citizens were kidnapped from their homes and taken to Huwara military base before being released later.

Another IOF campaign was carried out in Beita town, where a school teacher called Mohamed Mu’alla was taken prisoner following a raid on his home.

The IOF also stormed Far’a refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, clashed with local residents and kidnapped a young man.

Locals from the camp reported hearing explosions believed to have resulted from throwing homemade bombs at soldiers.

According to a press release issued by the Israeli army, 20 Palestinians labeled as wanted were arrested during overnight campaigns in the West Bank.

The army said in its statement that its forces raided a Palestinian printing press in ad-Deheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, confiscated its equipment and shut it down, claiming it was used to print inflammatory materials.

During the IOF campaign in the camp, the soldiers clashed with local young men and intensively fired tear gas grenades at them and nearby homes.

Seven young men were arrested and two soldiers suffered injuries in Molotov cocktail attacks during the events.

A 12-year-old child called Hammam Radi was reportedly kidnapped from the camp. It is still unclear if he was among the seven young men arrested during the violent events.

In Occupied Jerusalem, violent skirmishes broke out last night between Israeli policemen and young men in Kafr Aqab town, with no reported arrests.

Israeli border soldiers also stormed Hizma town, east of Jerusalem, and kidnapped a young man from his home.

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Seminar about the judaization of Jerusalem

16th October Group (the foreign Media Unit in Athorayya association for Media ) held a seminar about the Judaization of Jerusalem, on Monday 27 of February in Gaza city.
The seminar aims at shedding the light on the suffering of the Jerusalemites and the holy sites under the Israeli Occupation.

British journalist, Ben White, – via Skype – discussed Israel’s violations of international law, focussing on policies of land colonization and displacement in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Alaa Shaaban, a member of 16th October Group confirmed that the most important objective of the wall is to implement the plan of Judaizing Jerusalem by confiscating its lands and surrounding it with rings of walls and settlements that strangle it and isolate it from its Arabic and Islamic environment.

Samah Abu Sharekh, university student, stated that “up to 2006, 76 Islamic worship sites were destroyed, and 18 were turned into synagogues, and other 17 were turned into barns for animals”, “such seminars target the activists to educate them about the Israeli violations of international law”.

Wafa Aludaini, the manager of the 16th October Group, said 16th October is a group of mainly females that aims at presenting the Palestinian issues to Westerners scientifically and objectively. 16 October endeavors to correct the stereotypical images permeating western media about Palestinian people.

HRW: Israel detains Gaza residents under ‘vague’ terms

‘The Unlawful Combatants Law is administrative detention with even less protection for detainees than the restrictive regime in the West Bank,’ HRW director said.

Israeli occupation authorities arrest Gaza residents under vague terms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, describing them “violation of rights.”

This detention term imposes the burden on the detainee to prove that they are not a threat, instead of placing the burden of proof on the state authorities, as international human rights law requires

Israeli occupation authorities arrest Gaza residents under vague terms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, describing them “violation of rights.”

In a statement, the HRW said that the obscure detention terms “strips away meaningful judicial review and due process rights.”

The statement issued in coordination with the Gaza-based rights group Al-Mezan, the HRW said that Israel has detained 18 Palestinian residents of Gaza under the “Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law” since its 2005 disengagement with the Gaza Strip.

“A Beersheba district court on December 16, 2016, issued a second six-month renewal of the detention of Munir Hamada, the only person currently detained under the law,” the statement said.

“The court accepted the government’s determination that he was a threat based on a secret Israeli intelligence report that was not made available to Hamada’s counsel,” the rights groups said. “Israel also continues to hold hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Israel in a different form of administrative detention without charge.

“The court’s continued application of the Unlawful Combatants Law against Hamada evidences the judiciary’s role in providing legal protection for Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory that violate international law,” said Issam Younis, director of Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.

“This law provides the Israeli military with a legal framework to incarcerate civilians without the protections pertaining to fair trial and based on mere suspicion, not evidence. This law needs to be abolished.”

Enacted in 2002, amended in 2006

The Knesset enacted the Unlawful Combatants Law in 2002, in part to permit the prolonged detention without charge of two Lebanese nationals after the Supreme Court held in 2000 that the Israeli military could not hold Lebanese detainees solely as “bargaining chips” for the return of missing Israelis.

However, the statement added: “But Israeli officials have since used the law to detain Palestinians from Gaza for renewable periods.”

The law, amended on July 30, 2008, permits the chief of the general staff of the Israel Defence Forces to incarcerate a person based on “reasonable cause” that “he is an unlawful combatant and that his release will harm national security.”

The law defines an unlawful combatant as a person “who has participated either directly or indirectly in hostile acts against the State of Israel or is a member of a force perpetrating hostile acts against the State of Israel.”

The law provides that an Israeli civilian court must review the incarceration order within 14 days and subsequently every six months and entitles the detainee to appeal the district court’s decision to the Supreme Court.

The law’s presumptions, though, constrain the scope of the judicial review even more than under the restrictive administrative detention system that the Israeli military government in the West Bank and Israeli criminal law impose on Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel.

The 2002 law states that the court presumptively accepts the Defence Ministry’s finding that the organisation in question is a “hostile” force and that membership makes the detainee “a person whose release would harm state security.”

How it works

These presumptions impose the burden on the detainee to prove that they are not a threat, instead of placing the burden of proof on the state authorities, as international human rights law requires.

The secrecy of the evidence makes it virtually impossible for the detainee to meaningfully challenge the allegations.

In addition, the scope of the court’s review in a detention renewal hearing is limited to determining whether the authorities’ use of discretion was reasonable, which is even further limited by the law’s presumptions.

“The Unlawful Combatants Law is administrative detention with even less protection for detainees than the restrictive regime in the West Bank, leaving almost no basis for judges to void intelligence agency decisions,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

She added: “Although only a single Palestinian from Gaza is currently held under the Unlawful Combatants Law, it provides the Israeli authorities with expansive detention power to use whenever they choose.”

(Source / 02.03.2017)

Palestinians live in caves as Israel destroys their homes

“Life is difficult in the caves, but we have no alternative. We build our homes and Israeli bulldozers eventually come and demolish them,” Hanani said.

Majid Hanani, a 64-year-old Palestinian, has been forced to live the life of a caveman after his home in the West Bank was razed by Israeli occupation bulldozers.

“Due to the frequency of Israel’s home demolitions, we expect to spend most of our lives here,” the resident of the cave said

Ali abu-Rezeg, Anadolu

In this story, the writer describes the misery of the life of the Palestinians whom the Israeli occupation razed their homes turned to live in caves.

Majid Hanani, a 64-year-old Palestinian, has been forced to live the life of a caveman after his home in the West Bank was razed by Israeli occupation bulldozers.

Located in the village of Tana east of the West Bank city of Nablus, Hanani’s home — along with 300 other modest Palestinian homes — was razed by Israeli bulldozers early this year, prompting displaced residents to seek refuge inside nearby caves.

The Israeli authorities, for their part, attempted to justify the demolitions by saying the homes had been built without state permission.

“Life is difficult in the caves,” Hanani told Anadolu Agency. “We lack most basic requirements.”

“But we have no alternative,” he said bitterly. “We build our homes out of corrugated iron and Israeli bulldozers eventually come and demolish them.”

“I’ve seen it happen more than 20 times,” he added.

While watching an old television set powered by solar energy, Hanani said: “I fear difficult days ahead; harassment by the Israeli army — and the Jewish settlers — will continue.”

He pointed to an outpost on a nearby hilltop, saying: “That’s a [Jewish] settler who came several years ago with his caravan. Today, he runs a farm for breeding cattle.”

“He established a settlement outpost there,” he explained. “Now he wants to extend the boundaries of his property to include land on which we were living before the 1967 occupation.”

‘Modest kingdom’

Last month, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed a law retroactively legalizing Israeli outposts built on Palestinian West Bank land, which are considered illegal under international law.

Since the beginning of 2017, the Israeli authorities have approved construction of more than 7,250 new Jewish-only housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to official figures.

Hanani owns some 200 sheep and lives off the money he makes selling the milk they produce and the cheese his wife makes.

Describing the cave in which he and his wife now live as “our modest kingdom”, Hanani said: “It’s a simple life. We only want to live in safety and security.”

Their cave contains two small beds, a television set perched on a rickety table, and a simple cooking oven.

“Due to the frequency of Israel’s home demolitions, we expect to spend most of our lives here,” he said.

In another cave located nearby, Fursan Hasan, 59, lives with his family in similar conditions.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hasan explained: “We’ve lived in Tana village all of our lives; just as our parents and grandparents did.”

“But Israel wants to expel us from the area, take control of the land and hand it over to settlers,” he said.

“We don’t pose a threat to anyone here,” Hasan said. “We live a simple life, breeding our sheep and living off the milk and cheese that we make.”

“But from time to time, the bulldozers come and destroy everything, forcing us to intermittently to seek refuge in the caves,” he lamented.

Outside Hasan’s cave, his children play with the sheep.

One of them, seven-year-old Sabrin, explains: “The Israeli army tore down our school, as they did our home.”

The village’s only school has been demolished three times — most recently last year — by Israeli bulldozers.

Defiance

The Oslo II agreement — signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1993 — divided the occupied West Bank into areas A, B and C.

Under the terms of the agreement, Israel prohibits Palestinians from carrying out construction activity in Area C and demolishes any Palestinian structures built therein.

Area C, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the West Bank’s total territory, is controlled by an Israeli security and Israeli administration, the consent of which is required for all Palestinian construction in the area, according to the Oslo agreement.

This consent is rarely — if ever — granted.

Roughly 500,000 Israeli settlers now live on more than 100 settlements built throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel occupied the territories in 1967.

International law, meanwhile, views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Israeli settlement-building on the land as illegal.

The Palestinians, for their part, want these areas — along with the Gaza Strip — for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

Yet despite their grim circumstances, the Palestinian cave-dwellers remain defiant.

“We won’t ever surrender,” Hasan said. “If they demolish our homes, we will just keep rebuilding them.”

(Source / 02.03.2017)