Reports: Israeli army to lift ‘security ban’ imposed against some Palestinian youths

Veiligheid

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli army announced on Thursday that a “security ban” imposed on many Palestinian youths from the occupied West Bank that prevents them from obtaining Israeli-entry permits will be lifted, Hebrew media sites reported.Hebrew media ited the Israeli commander Roman Gofman as saying that in collaboration with the the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Israeli army will be working to take some Palestinian youths off Israel’s black-list, “after making sure that these youths stopped conducting activities to escalate tension in Palestinian lands such as rock-throwing, Molotov cocktail throwing, and engaging in shooting incidents.”Gofman said that campaigns have been organized to “study” lists of names of Palestinian youth presented by Palestinian officials, in order to reevaluate their security status.Deputy of the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of labor Nasser Qatami previously told Ma’an that the ministry had “presented a series of suggestions (to Israeli authorities) to improve the situation of Palestinian workers in Israel.”Qatami said that Israel has already approved 21,000 permits for Palestinian workers from the occupied West Bank, and that the ministry was “waiting for the Israeli security procedures to be completed to issue these permits.”An Israeli army spokesperson did not respond to Ma’an’s request for clarifications on a number of issues surrounding the potential “security ban” lift, including how many cases are currently up for review and why has the Israeli army decided to re-evaluate cases at this point in time.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Israeli forces injure Palestinian youth in head with live bullet during clashes in Ramallah

Zios in Silwad

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot a Palestinian youth in the head with a live bullet when clashes erupted on Friday in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah in the village of Silwad, while four Palestinians, three of whom were minors, were detained by Israeli forces during clashes near Israel’s Ofer detention center.In the village of Silwad in northeastern Ramallah, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth after shooting and injuring him after clashes had erupted in the area.Local sources said that Israeli forces had chased the 18-year-old and opened live fire on him, injuring him in the head with a live bullet. His condition was reported as critical.Sources added that Israeli forces had transferred him to an unknown location in a military vehicle. The youth has not yet been identified.

Zios in Silwad1

Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained three Palestinian minors and a youth during clashes that erupted after a march was organized near the Ofer detention center in western Ramallah.The march set off from Ramallah city and headed to the detention center in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters at protesters, who responded by throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.Israeli forces then raided the village of Beitunia and chased Palestinian youths, detaining four and transporting them to Ofer center.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incidents.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

New Lebanese army chief warns against ‘Israeli schemes’

Brigadier General Joseph Aoun

Joseph Aoun, Lebanon’s newly-appointed military chief, said Friday that the Lebanese army must remain on guard against “Israeli ambitions and schemes” in the region.

Addressing army officers in Beirut, Aoun cited perceived threats to Southern Lebanon.

“I have full confidence that you will… be prepared to protect our southern border from the Israeli enemy’s sabotage,” he asserted.

Aoun also stressed Lebanon’s readiness to cooperate with the international community with a view to applying UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted following Lebanon’s 2006 conflict with Israel.

Resolution 1701 called on Israel to withdraw its forces from Southern Lebanon to allow the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the border between the two countries.

Aoun also said that the Lebanese military would continue to work for the release of nine Lebanese soldiers captured by the Daesh terrorist group three years ago.

In mid-2014, Daesh militants captured several Lebanese military personnel following clashes in the Lebanese town of Arsal on the Syrian border.

Aoun was made commander of Lebanon’s armed forces on Wednesday after being promoted to the rank of general.

Replacing General Jean Kahwaji at the post, Aoun is known to be close to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, although the two are not related.

Before assuming the post, Aoun had commanded the Lebanese Army’s 9th Brigade, which is deployed on Lebanon’s border with Syria.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Clashes erupt after quelling of march for returning al-A’raj body

Mars voor al-A'raj

Clashes erupted on Friday afternoon after Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) quelled a peaceful massive march in al-Walaja town south of Bethlehem. The march aimed at demanding Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) to hand over the body of martyr Basel al-A’raj.

The PIC reporter revealed that dozens of Palestinian youths participated in the march which was called for by friends of martyr al-A’raj after the IOA postponed on Friday the release of his body until a further notice.

The participants chanted slogans praising the martyr and castigating the Palestinian Authority, he pointed out.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Haneyya: Adhan ban bill will not pass

Ismail Haneyya

Ismail Haneyya, Deputy Head of Hamas’s Political Bureau, said on Friday that the Israeli bill to ban the Adhan in the mosques of the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories and Jerusalem is “a failed decision that will not pass”.

In a speech he delivered at the opening of a mosque in the northern Gaza Strip, Haneyya affirmed that the Arab and Palestinian peoples will not allow this bill to pass. He also praised the Mourabiteen (defenders) of al-Aqsa Mosque who have foiled the Israeli scheme of temporal and spatial division of the Mosque.

Haneyya praised the Palestinian people of the 1948 occupied territories and their efforts in resisting the Israeli bill.

He added, “The mosques which were bombed by Israel in the Gaza Strip still raise the Adhan despite destruction.”

The Hamas leader stressed that harming the Islamic faith and holy sites will trigger angry reactions against Israel, noting that endorsing the bill at the first reading in the Israeli Knesset will be the preliminary stage of removing the occupation.

In a related development, Haneyya said that he phoned the father of martyr Basel al-Araj this morning, pointing out that the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are moving forward in achieving their hopes.

He emphasized that al-Araj is a Palestinian hero who fought his own battle which dimensions have exceeded his village, al-Walaja, and reached to further parts of Palestine and the Arab nation.

Haneyya sent greetings to Father Manuel Musallam, member of the Islamic-Christian Committee to Defend Holy Sites, for his strong stands and his call for halting the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, noting that this reflects the true positions of the Palestinian Christians toward the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Israeli artillery shells hit blockaded Gaza overnight

Zio artillery

The Israeli occupation army overnight Thursday struck the blockaded Gaza Strip with artillery shells.

According to local sources, the Israeli military troops deployed at and around the Kissufim military base, east of Khan Younis, hit Palestinian farmlands in al-Qarara and Deir al-Balah with artillery shells.

The Israeli army also showered the area with randomly-discharged spates of flare bombs.

No injuries were reported in the Israeli onslaught.

Sometime earlier, the Israeli forces claimed that a rocket-propelled grenade fired from Gaza landed west of the border fence between Gaza and 1948 Occupied Palestine (Israel).

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Al-Qassam: Neutralization of civilians at war times sacred

Brigades

Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, denied Thursday Israeli claims that it had used places of worship and civilian facilities as human shields at times of war.

The armed wing said in videotaped comments broadcast at a seminar staged by Qudsuna Center for Studies and Development in Gaza to discuss the Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists: “The existence of the Israeli occupation is the most flagrant of all human rights violations history has ever recorded.”

Al-Qassam denied Israeli claims that it had used civilians as human shields during the three Israeli military offensives on the coastal enclave of Gaza.

Al-Qassam Commander, Abu Jaafar, stressed the group’s commitment to make civilians and residential neighborhoods safe from military action.

“Al-Qassam has never targeted children or health facilities. The Israeli occupation is the only party that has targeted children, toddlers, women, places of worship, hospitals, civilians, and civil defense crews,” he added.

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Syrian Coalition Warns of Regime Attempts to Empty Alwaer District of Local Population

The Syrian Coalition has warned that the Assad regime might renege on the ceasefire agreement reached in Alwaer district of Homs and force the indigenous population in the area out.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Mohammed Jojah on Friday said that Russia is seeking to impose a so-called “reconciliation agreement” on residents of Alwaer having mediated a truce between the Assad regime and rebel fighters in the besieged district.

Joja pointed out that the Russians have openly threatened bombing the district would continue if residents in Alwaer rejected the “reconciliation agreement.”

Jojah stressed that residents of Alwaer reject any kind of reconciliation with the regime, and they certainly refuse to leave their homes. He renewed rejection of local truces the Assad regime and its allies seek to impose in many areas across Syria outside the framework of the political process and negotiations set out by international resolutions on Syria.

Jojah warned that the Assad regime is planning to force residents of Alwaer out of their homes just as it did in other parts of Homs city and the Damascus suburbs with the aim of changing the demographic landscape in Syria. Such practices will have dire consequences on the course of negotiations in Geneva, he added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 10.03.2017)

There are no safe spaces for Palestinians in Israel

What should have been a regular day at Tel Aviv University turned into a depressing reminder that when you’re Palestinian, you are automatically suspect in the eyes of the authorities.

Israeli police detain a protester during a rally marking the anniversary of the Nakba, Tel Aviv University, May 20, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israeli police detain a protester during a rally marking the anniversary of the Nakba, Tel Aviv University, May 20, 2015

I never thought I’d find myself, one sunny afternoon, pressed against a police car on the grounds of Tel Aviv University, where I study and work, with a police officer clutching my hands tightly behind my back. I wasn’t in that situation because I’d taken part in a demonstration, but because I’d refused a demand from the university’s security staff to produce my ID while on campus.

On Tuesday, a few minutes before starting work at the university, I noticed a police car parked on the school grounds. An officer got out, accompanied by four university security staff, approached a man sitting on a bench nearby, and tried to arrest him. This is a rare, almost surreal sight at the university, given that it is supposed to have a level of autonomy that keeps the campus free of police involvement. As such, when I saw the police, I instinctively started filming them on my phone.

Almost immediately, a university security guard came and asked me why I was filming. I replied that it was my right to do so. Presumably feeling that his ego had been hurt, he asked me to identify myself. I refused. I also refused to identify myself to his supervisor and to the police officer, both of whom he’d brought over. (The university’s official guidelines, by the way, only require people to produce ID on entering the campus.)

I explained that I am an employee and a student at the university, and that they cannot treat me like this when I’ve done nothing wrong. The police officer claimed in response that I have to accede to his request, simply because he made it, and added that if I continued to refuse, I would be detained. I still didn’t identify myself, and was violently dragged over to the police car.

After that things developed quickly: students and staff arrived, one of the deans got involved, and I mentally prepared myself to get arrested for the first time in my life. A smart man once told me that if you haven’t experienced a false arrest, you can’t know what freedom is.

The police officer, who was waiting for backup, announced over his radio that he had arrested “a member of a minority who refused to identify himself.” The negotiations between the dean, the security staff and the police officer continued briefly; I started to feel uneasy and so produced my identity card, solely out of respect for the academic faculty and my lecturers. And that was the end of the affair — at least on the face of things.

Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrate at the entrance of Tel Aviv University against Israeli police violence toward Arab citizens, January 20, 2015. (Photo by Activestills.org)
Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrate at the entrance of Tel Aviv University against Israeli police violence toward Arab citizens, January 20, 2015

Violence triggered by racial biases

I’m still thinking about something the police officer said to me — that if the dean hadn’t got involved, I’d be rotting in jail and he (the officer) could have already finished work. On this note, it’s important for me to address a few things.

I know that some will say I should have produced my ID card at the start and got it over with, and that some will ask, “Why the provocation?” But the issue is not one of ego, or my wanting to “pester” the security guards, whose work I respect and whose working conditions I am appalled at.

The issue is what must be suffered by members of Israel’s weaker populations — a Palestinian or an Ethiopian, for example — every time they encounter security forces. The racial biases going through someone’s head, especially that of a member of the authorities, when they see someone different — black, brown, bearded (or not) — trigger violent behavior against that same person, even more so if they’re holding a camera.

What were the university’s security guards and the police officer afraid of? Is a smartphone camera such a threat to their power? I certainly learned something from this incident: that law enforcement authorities are indeed frightened of the camera.

Another important factor is the centuries-old international tradition according to which universities are autonomous, in particular when it comes to self-policing. This tradition is supposed to prevent police officers from entering the campus, and it’s a principle that is respected by all academic institutions in Israel.

It saddens me that the university’s security staff, the police officer and even the university itself did not display even a minimum level of respect to this principle, and that it was so easy for them to accept the fact that I could have my freedom denied in the middle of the campus, for no reason at all.

In response to the incident, Tel Aviv University said that “the police were summoned to the campus following a theft. During the incident, Yaser Abu Areesha was asked to identify himself because he was present, and was feared to be collaborating with the suspect in the theft.

“Despite the request from the security supervisor and the police officer to identify himself, Abu Areesha refused to do so. Nonetheless, once faculty management representatives arrived on the scene and spoke with him, Abu Areesha agreed to identify himself as an employee of the university, following which the police officer decided to release him without submitting a complaint.”

(Source / 10.03.2017)

Hamas official injured in clashes in Burj al-Barajneh

Haj Abu Khalil Qasem

The Hamas political official of Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp, Haj Abu Khalil Qasem, was injured on Friday after he was shot in the back while trying to stop the clashes that erupted in the vicinity of the camp.

The Lebanese TV channel al-Jadeed said that Qasem was injured in the back by a gunshot fired by an unknown person, and described his injury as moderate.

Armed clashes broke out on Friday morning between two families near Burj al-Barajneh and were renewed in the evening.

According to several sources, the clashes, which flared up between two families, one of whom is Palestinian while the other is Lebanese, are not based on political reasons.

Burj al-Barajneh is a Palestinian refugee camp that was established in 1948 over an area of about 750 square km. It is considered one of the largest refugee camps in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The 25,000 residents of the camp suffer from poverty and economic hardship.

(Source / 10.03.2017)