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Dagelijks archief 7 maart 2017

Assad Regime Intensifies Assault on Alwaer District in Homs as Russia Fails to Restrain Assad

Activists said that Assad’s jets conducted at least six airstrikes on the besieged district of Alwaer on Monday, causing dozens of civilian casualties, including children. The airstrikes targeted mainly civilian homes, activists said.

Prior to the airstrikes, a committee representing residents of the district met with Russian military officials outside the district to negotiate a settlement. However, the meeting ended with the Russians saying they cannot guarantee the cessation of shelling by the regime forces and their allied foreign militia besieging the district.

Russia has presented itself as a guarantor of the ceasefire agreement which came into force on December 29, 2016.

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that Russia bears the prime responsibly for the continued regime crimes against the Syrian people as it failed to force the Assad regime to stop violations of the ceasefire agreement.

Shortly before the meeting with the Russian military officials, up to 12 airstrikes hit Alwaer, killing at least two civilians and wounding 17 others.

The Assad regime forces have intensified bombardment on the besieged district of Alwaer in Homs since early February, killing and injuring dozens of civilians.

Residents trapped in Alwaer district suffer severe shortages of medicines and medical equipment as well as high prices of infant formula due to regime blockade on the district. Regime forces besieging the district continue to prevent the ill and injured from leaving the district for treatment. They threaten they will target aid convoys if they try to enter Alwaer.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 07.03.2017)

IOF erects military checkpoints in Bethlehem

Controlepost

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) erected Tuesday a number of military checkpoints at the entrances to Bethlehem city shortly after an alleged stabbing attack in the area.

Israeli security sources claimed that the military checkpoints were erected after an Israeli settler was stabbed in Beit Jala town.

Several Palestinian vehicles were stopped and searched at the checkpoints.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

8 Palestinians detained as youth clash with Israeli forces over killing of Basel al-Araj

Raids dood Basel

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained 8 Palestinians, at least one of whom was a minor, as clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers outside the Ofer detention center in the central occupied West Bank’s Ramallah district a day following the killing of well-known local activist Basel al-Araj by Israeli forces.

Clashes erupted between the youth, mostly students from the nearby Birzeit University, who threw stones at Israeli soldiers firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters.
The Birzeit students had organized a sit-in demonstration inside the university’s campus condemning the “assassination” of al-Araj who was killed by Israeli forces in Ramallah on Monday. After the sit-in, the protesters headed towards the Ofer detention center before heading towards Ofer where clashes then erupted.
According to witnesses, Israeli soldiers detained “seven youths and a child” before assaulting them and “brutally throwing them inside military jeeps and into the detention center.”
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
Al-Araj, 31, was killed by Israeli forces in a two-hour shootout in the early hours of Monday morning. A resident of the village of al-Walaja in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, the activist had been on the run from Israeli authorities since September, when he was released from Palestinian prison after being detained without charges or explanation for five months, during which he joined a hunger strike amid reports of torture and mistreatment.
Israeli police had accused al-Araj of being the “head of a terrorist cell that planned attacks against Israelis and security forces.”
After a months-long manhunt, Israeli forces surrounded a house in the outskirts of the Qaddura refugee camp, where al-Araj was staying, early on Monday, prompting an exchange of fire between al-Araj and the armed forces, in which the Palestinian was killed after running out of ammunition, according to witnesses and Israeli police.
However, some Palestinians have raised questions about the Israeli police narrative that it would have been possible for al-Araj to return fire, and have highlighted that the man — well known in his community as an intellectual and an activist — did not fit the typical profile of an attacker.
In a lengthy statement released on Monday, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) described al-Araj as a freedom fighter, intellectual, and theorist, who was “one of the most prominent young Palestinian strugglers” to resist the Israeli occupation, and who “worked to chronicle the history of Palestine and confront all attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
The group said the killing laid bare “an urgent need to confront all forms of security coordination, political arrests, and prosecutions” by the Palestinian Authority (PA), describing security coordination with Israel as “a betrayal” of the principles and values of Palestinian resistance.
The PA has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving-door policy” funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
(Source / 07.03.2017)

Israeli forces detain Palestinians, shut down workshop in predawn raids

Sluiting workshop

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces conducted raids in multiple areas across the occupied West Bank before dawn on Tuesday, detaining at least eight Palestinians and shutting down a workshop that the Israeli army said was used to manufacture weapons.

Israeli soldiers stormed the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and ransacked approximately 20 houses belonging to Palestinians who have previously been imprisoned by Israel.
Locals identified a number of former prisoners whose houses were raided as Fayiz Misk, Shadi Uweiwi, Mahmoud Yusri Uweiwi, Yahya Ismail Qawasmi, Raed Natsha, Rasmi Dufish, Hashim Abu Turki, Yaqoub Zaarir, Hisham Hmeidan Sharabati, Thaer Ziyad Fakhouri, Bilal Salhab, Anas Zghayyar, and Fadi Shawar.
Israeli soldiers briefly detained Fayiz Misk for a few hours before releasing him.
Sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces “violently” inspected the houses and “turned furniture upside down.”
Sluiting workshop1
Israeli forces also detained two brothers from the town of Husan west of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, identified in a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) as Ismat Amjad Hamamra, 28, and Muhannad Amjad Hamamra, 26.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the two were detained, and claimed they were “Hamas operatives.”
The PPS statement said that five Palestinians were detained in the village of Bartaa in the northern most district of Jenin, identified as Hamid Jamil al-Khatib and his brothers Mahir and Mujahid, in addition to Muatasim Aziz Qabaha, and Munis Marwan Qabaha.
Ali Salih Hithnawi was detained in Qabatiya in the Jenin district, according to PPS, and confirmed by the Israeli army spokesperson who claimed he was a Hamas operative.
The spokesperson added that Israeli forces seized “weapons manufacturing machines” at a metals workshop during a raid into the town of Jamain south of Nablus in the northern West Bank early Tuesday morning.
The workshop’s owner Mansour Majid Gheith told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed Jamain and broke into his workshop after breaking open the main door.
The Israeli soldiers, he said, destroyed the contents of his workshop, before they notified him that it had been shut down by military order.
He said that the Israeli raid was carried out without any prior notice, and that the workshop was worth hundreds of thousands of Israeli shekels.
An Israeli spokesperson told Ma’an that a “illegal weapons and explosives manufacturing workshop” was uncovered, and that “more than one” machine was confiscated.
Sluiting workshop2
Israeli forces carry out raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 73 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.
The majority of raids are carried in cities, villages, and refugee camps located in Area A which should be under full Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo agreements.
During a raid into the center of the Ramallah district early Monday morning, Israeli forces ambushed and killed a 31-year-old activist Basel al-Araj, after he had been on the run from Israeli authorities since last September.
(Source / 07.03.2017)

Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly Discusses Geneva 4 Outcome & Preparations for Upcoming Astana Meeting

The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly held its 31st meeting in the Coalition’s headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, on the weekend February, 4-5. The meeting came amid difficult conditions and challenges facing the Syrian revolution and coincided with renewed efforts by the United Nations to reach a political solution in Syria.

The General Assembly discussed the outcome of the 4th round of talks in Geneva which concluded on Friday. Coalition members who were part of the opposition’s negotiating delegation were taking part in the discussion. The Assembly also discussed preparations for the upcoming Astana meeting, including arranging a meeting with the opposition’s delegation to Astana. The meeting stressed the need to stick to the opposition’s demands during the upcoming Astana meeting, most importantly to ensure the Assad regime commits to the cease-fire, releases detainees, and lifts the sieges.

Tabled for discussion were the projects of the Syrian interim government in the liberated areas and the challenges facing it. The conferees, who included head of the Syrian interim government Jawad Abu Hatab, reaffirmed continued support for the interim government’s efforts to provide basic services to all Syrians.

Furthermore, members of the General Assembly discussed the organizational aspects of plans to improve the performance of the Coalition, particularly plans to develop the political program to better respond to developments in the Syrian revolution. Conferees emphasized the interactive approach pursued by the Coalition in reaching out to the various political, civilian, military, and national forces and figures. They also stressed the need to continue to develop such skills and techniques to secure increased regional and international support for the Syrian cause.

The General Assembly reiterated the Syrian Coalition’s commitment to the goals and guidelines of the Syrian revolution. Members of the General Assembly stressed that they will not waive the immense sacrifices the Syrian people are making to regain freedom and dignity as well as build a state based on justice, democracy, and the rule of law.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 07.03.2017)

Israel bans entry of anti-occupation activists

Israel wants to carry out all kinds of violations, but it does not want to be criticised

Israeli occupation Knesset passed on Monday evening bill banning anti-Israeli occupation activists -BDS activists- from entering Israel.

BDS is a movement that called for ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 -the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem

Israeli occupation Knesset passed on Monday evening bill banning anti-Israeli occupation activists -BDS activists- from entering Israel.

“The Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed on its second and third readings the Entry into Israel bill,” the Knesset said in a statement.

According to the statement, the bill, which became a law, is targeting BDS activists from all over the world as they oppose the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands.

“A visa will not be granted nor a residence permit of any kind to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident if he – or the organisation or body in which he is active – has knowingly issued a public call to boycott the state of Israel or pledged to take part in such a boycott,” the statement said.

In past, Israel has denied entry of many international activists however they had entry permits. But, then they arrived in Israel, they were arrested, investigated over their activities with the Palestinians and deported.

BDS is a movement that called for ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 -the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

On these territories, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Israel agreed to build the future independent Palestinian state. Retention of the Israeli occupation and continuous Jewish settlement undermines the opportunity to build the potential Palestinian state.

Therefore, the BDS activists strive peacefully to liberate these territories and call for people, governments institutions to boycott the Israeli occupation as a form pf pressure to leave these lands.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

IOF arrest nine Palestinians during overnight raids

Jenin raids

Issraeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday overnight have arrested nine Palestinian youths during raids on areas all over the West Bank,
Raids included villages of Jenin, where six Palestinians were arrested.

Troops also stormed a number of homes in the village, interrogating the homeowners and wreaking havoc inside.

Separately, troops seized a Palestinian-registered Kia vehicle and stormed a car repair shop during a raid into Jenin city.

Meanwhile, forces detained two Palestinians from Husan town, west of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.

Elsewhere in the southern West Bank, forces stormed and ransacked a Palestinian home in Hebron city, briefly detaining the homeowner for several hours before releasing him.

Soldiers stormed approximately 15 homes belonging to Palestinians, inspecting them and wreaking havoc inside.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

IOF close down road in Teqoua’ village, West of Bethlehem

Teqoua'

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday morning have closed down a newly built road in the village of Teqoua’, east of Bethlehem.

The road, which has been closed with barbed wires by Israeli forces early on Tuesday, was recently built by the local municipality in order for students to have an assault-free way to school without being confronted with Israeli soldiers every day, municipality director Tayseer Abu Mufereh told WAFA.

Israeli forces also occupied an under-construction house in the mentioned village east of Bethlehem.

This is the second time in just a few weeks that Israeli forces occupy a house in Tequ’ village and transform it into a military post and fly an Israeli flag.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

In final letter, slain Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj ponders looming death

Laatste brief Basel

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — In a final letter written before he was killed by Israeli forces in a two-hour shootout, Palestinian activist and writer Basel al-Araj revealed his thoughts over his seemingly ineluctable end.

Al-Araj, a 31-year-old activist and resident of the village of al-Walaja in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, had been on the run from Israeli authorities since September, when he was released from Palestinian prison after being detained without charges or explanation for five months, during which he joined a hunger strike amid reports of torture and mistreatment.
Israeli police had accused al-Araj of being the “head of a terrorist cell that planned attacks against Israelis and security forces.”
After a months-long manhunt, Israeli forces surrounded a house in the outskirts of the Qaddura refugee camp, where al-Araj was staying, early on Monday, prompting an exchange of fire between al-Araj and the armed forces, in which the Palestinian was killed after running out of ammunition, according to witnesses and Israeli police.
However, some Palestinians have raised questions about the Israeli police narrative that it would have been possible for al-Araj to return fire, and have highlighted that the man — well known in his community as an intellectual and an activist — did not fit the typical profile of an attacker.
“Greetings of Arab nationalism, homeland, and liberation,” the letter, shared on social media by al-Araj’s family, read. “If you are reading this, it means I have died and my soul has ascended to its creator. I pray to God that I will meet him with a guiltless heart, willingly, and never reluctantly, and free of any whit of hypocrisy.”
Al-Araj went on to ponder the initial difficulty of writing a last testament, like many other Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces.
“How hard it is to write your own will. For years I have been contemplating testaments written by martyrs, and those wills have always bewildered me. They were short, quick, without much eloquence. They did not quench our thirst to find answers about martyrdom,” he wrote.
“Now I am walking to my fated death satisfied that I found my answers. How stupid I am! Is there anything which is more eloquent and clearer than a martyr’s deed? I should have written this several months ago, but what kept me was that this question is for you, living people, and why should I answer on your behalf? Look for the answers yourself, and for us the inhabitants of the graves, all we seek is God’s mercy.”
In a lengthy statement released on Monday, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) described al-Araj as a freedom fighter, intellectual, and theorist, who was “one of the most prominent young Palestinian strugglers” to resist the Israeli occupation, and who “worked to chronicle the history of Palestine and confront all attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
The group said the killing laid bare “an urgent need to confront all forms of security coordination, political arrests, and prosecutions” by the Palestinian Authority (PA), describing security coordination with Israel as “a betrayal” of the principles and values of Palestinian resistance.
The PA has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving-door policy” funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
The criticism that took on a new significance after PA police beat a detainee to death last year, while Israel has been the target of widespread international condemnation for extrajudicial killings of Palestinians over the years.
“Loyalty to the martyr Basel al-Araj requires an end to the Oslo Accords, against which the martyr always struggled, and the formation of a new national strategy to confront the current challenges and unite the energies of the Palestinian people in the Intifada and resistance,” the PFLP statement added.
A spokesperson for Fatah, the ruling party in the PA, also condemned the killing and the injury of “the two who tried to face and prevent the raid,” without identifying the slain man as al-Araj.
Fatah spokesperson Ziyad Khalil Abu Zayyad called the incident “another escalation (by Israel) against Palestinians,” and denounced the “illegal” Israeli operation, describing it as a “hideous act of the occupation,” and noted that pictures taken at the scene showed a large amount bullets fired by Israeli forces in the “execution.”
Abu Zayyad warned against Israeli forces seeking to “detain and kill” Palestinians during nightly raids across the occupied West Bank, often carried out mainly in villages and refugee camps located in Area A, such as Qaddura which should be under full PA control according to the Oslo Accords.
(Source / 07.03.2017)

Israel plans to build artificial island off Gaza

Kunstmatig eiland

Israeli Haaretz newspaper disclosed that Israeli transportation and intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz announced that he is working to advance plans to build an artificial island off the coast of Gaza.

Katz has been trying for a year and a half to table the plan called “the separation island”.  He previously expressed his support for the prospect of a seaport in Gaza as part of efforts to completely cut off the Gaza Strip from Israel.

In his call for a port in the coastal Palestinian territory, Katz proposed that the international community should oversee access to such a terminal under Israeli security control.

Katz’s plan stipulates the establishment of an artificial island over 8-kilometer area connected to the Gaza Strip through a bridge with a security checkpoint. “The off-shore project could provide Gaza with an economic and humanitarian gateway to the world without endangering Israeli security,” he said.

According to Haaretz newspaper, senior Israeli officials support the plan, while it is rejected, however, by Israeli war minister Avigdor Lieberman.

(Source / 07.03.2017)