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Dagelijks archief 14 maart 2017

Israeli authorities demolish East Jerusalem building under construction


JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities demolished a building under construction in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Tuesday morning, a local popular committee told Ma’an.

Local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli security forces stormed Issawiya to protect bulldozers and a Jerusalem municipality crew carrying out the demolition.
The bulldozers then tore down a two-story, 250-square-meter building under construction owned by Majdi Mustafa.
Mustafa said he had only recently started to build the structure, and had not yet obtained a construction permit from the Jerusalem municipality for it.
A spokesperson from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Israeli authorities have stepped up issuing demolition warrants for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, particularly after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat warned that the demolition of the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking the nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permits.
Last month, Israeli authorities demolished at least three homes in Issawiya in a single day.
According to UN documentation, as March 6, 35 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 80 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.
However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).
As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, leading to only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu has also pledged to lift all restrictions on settlement construction in occupied East Jerusalem, while more than 6,000 housing units have been approved for construction in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the beginning of 2017.
In addition to land seizures and home demolitions, the crackdown on Palestinian Jerusalemites has also seen the escalation of violent night raids by Israeli police, carried out in breach of protocol and without proper search warrants.
The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass home demolitions.
(Source / 14.03.2017)

Israeli army denies soldiers intended to plant knife on Palestinian boy in Hebron

M Qazzaz

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — After footage emerged of a 15-year-old Palestinian being detained at gunpoint in Hebron in the occupied West Bank — which local activists said depicted an attempt by Israeli forces to plant a knife on the teen before killing him — the Israeli army denied the activists’ claim, calling the reports “false manipulations and an attempt to distort the truth.”

The footage showed an Israeli soldiers approaching the checkpoint with a knife in his hand, before another soldier leads 15-year-old Muhammad Qazzaz away.
In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson wrote to Ma’an on Tuesday saying that the knife was found in the “terrorist’s” possession after he arrived at the checkpoint.
According to the spokesperson, who asked Ma’an to change the headline in the initial report of the incident, Qazzaz later admitted during interrogation that “he planned to carry out a terror attack in the Jewish Quarter in Hebron.”
The spokesperson confirmed that Qazzaz had not yet been charged and investigations were still underway.
However, local activists with the group Human Rights Defenders — Zeidan al-Sharabati, who filmed the incident, and eyewitness Badi al-Dweik — claimed that the detention could have taken a deadly turn if the encounter had not been filmed, and alleged soldiers were planning on planting the knife on the scene.
When al-Sharabati arrived near the checkpoint, he said he saw Qazzaz flat on the ground with a soldier, pointing a machine gun the boy’s head, placing his boot on Qazzaz’s neck.
A second soldier was seen carrying a knife and then throwing it near the checkpoint. Sometime later, another soldier was seen picking up the same knife and then moving with the young Palestinian towards the Israeli police station, when the footage was taken.
According to al-Sharabati and al-Dweik, many local Palestinians had gathered around the checkpoint to witnesses the violent detention, one of which, who understood Hebrew, heard a soldier telling another soldier to shoot and kill Qazzaz.
The Palestinian bystander repeatedly shouted out to the soldiers “I understand Hebrew! Don’t kill him!”
Later, Israeli soldiers tried to force those who were filming to go away, the activists said, who insisted if that if witnesses hadn’t been there to document the event, Qazzaz would have been killed and the knife would have been planted beside his body.
Israeli forces have detained scores of Palestinians for allegedly being in possession of knives in recent months following a spate of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that surged in the fall of 2015.
Rights groups have disputed Israel’s version of events in a number of cases, denouncing what they have termed as a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner — amid a backdrop of impunity for Israeli forces who have committed the killings.
Eyewitnesses have also said in a number of cases that Israeli security forces planted knives on slain Palestinians to claim that they were acting in self-defense during a stabbing attack.
Meanwhile, rights groups have widely documented the abuse and mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
Hebron in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with a number of Palestinians having been shot while being detained at military checkpoints in the area.
Al-Dweik said that after the killing of Palestinian Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif was caught on camera by Human Rights Defenders member Imad Abu Shamsiya in March 2016, the group had increased its efforts to capture Israeli violations of human rights on camera.
(Source / 14.03.2017)

Schoolchildren attacked, minor kidnapped by Israeli forces in Tekou’

Tekou schoolkinderen

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday aggressively attacked Palestinian schoolchildren in Tekou’, in the southern West Bank.

According to local sources, Israeli army patrols stormed Bethlehem’s eastern town of Tekou’ and attacked Palestinian schoolchildren on their way back home.

The Israeli soldiers chased down the Palestinian students across Tekou’ streets and alleys, amid heavy discharge of gunfire and teargas canisters.

Tekou’ mayor, Tayseer Abu Mufrih, said 17-year-old minor Mohamed Saleem al-Badan, a secondary school pupil, was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers from his family home in Tekou’.

Abu Mufrih added that the boy was kidnapped shortly after the end of the school day on allegations of hurling stones at the occupation patrols.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

15-year-old boy brutally attacked, arrested in al-Khalil

Yazin Amer

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) brutally attacked on Tuesday morning a 15-year-old boy before being arrested and taken to an unknown detention center.

The boy Yazin Amer was detained at a military checkpoint while on his way to school in al-Khalil after being severely beaten by Israeli forces, local sources affirmed.

Meanwhile, IOF soldiers stormed Beit Awa town and arrested a local resident.

A similar raid was carried out in Jabal Abu Roman area where a young man was arrested from his house.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

Over 320,000 People Dead in Syria War amid Rising Violence against Children

Children react after what activists said was shelling by Assad forces near the Syrian Arab Red Crescent center in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus. Reuters

Children react after what activists said was shelling by Assad forces near the Syrian Arab Red Crescent center in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus

Syria’s war has killed just over 320,000 people since it erupted six years ago as violence against children in the war-ravaged country was “at its worst” in 2016, a monitor and the UN’s children’s agency said Monday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had recorded the deaths of 321,358 people since the conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests against the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad.

The toll represented an increase of about 9,000 since December, when regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey brokered a nationwide cessation of hostilities.

“There have been fewer people dying in the three months since the ceasefire was put into place,” said Observatory Rami Abdel Rahman.

“The deaths haven’t stopped, but they have been slower in the past few months,” he said as the Syrian conflict nears its seventh year.

The new toll included more than 96,000 civilians, among them over 17,400 children and nearly 11,000 women.
According to UNICEF, cases of children being killed, maimed, or recruited into armed groups were the “highest on record” last year.

“The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF’s regional director.

“Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future,” he said from the central Syrian city of Homs.

UNICEF recorded the violent deaths of at least 652 children last year, a 20 percent increase from 2015, and more than 250 of the victims were killed inside or near a school.

At least 850 children were recruited to fight in the conflict, including as executioners or suicide bombers — more than double the 2015 number.

UNICEF said that 2.3 million Syrian children are living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq.
Another 280,000 still live under siege across Syria, with no access to food or medicine, it said.

To cope with increasingly difficult living conditions, families inside Syria and in host nations have been forced to push their children into early marriages or child labor just to survive.

“There is so much more we can and should do to turn the tide for Syria’s children,” said Cappelaere.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

New illegal settlement establish east of Ramallah


Israeli settlers established Tuesday afternoon a new illegal settlement east of Mugheir village northeast of Ramallah.

The local activist Kadhem Haj Mohamed affirmed that the settlers erected a number of mobile houses at the expense of the village’s lands as a prelude to establish a new outpost.

Barbed wire fence was installed around the mobile houses while a new settlement road was opened to make a way to the new outpost, he added.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

Radwan: We will not recognize Israel

Ismail Radwan

The leader in the Hamas Movement, Ismail Radwan, said on Monday that Israel is trying, through internationalizing the issue of Gaza, to evade granting the Palestinian people their rights and to bypass the new reality imposed by the resistance in the Gaza Strip during the recent years.

Radwan affirmed during a political seminar organized by al-Aqsa University on the internationalization of Gaza that Hamas does not oppose establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. However, he added, this does not mean recognizing Israel because the entire land of historical Palestine belongs to the Palestinian and Muslim generations.

He stressed Hamas’s absolute rejection of the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, pointing to the deadlock they have reached after 23 years of negotiations.

He emphasized that the negotiations achieved nothing for the Palestinian cause, but instead, they aggravated the pain of the Palestinian people by arresting and pursuing resistance fighters.

The Hamas leader accused the PA of covering up the Israeli crimes with its security coordination, noting that Israel is the biggest beneficiary of the Oslo Agreement which led to differences and divisions in the Palestinian arena.

Radwan asserted that no state will be established in Gaza, and no Palestinian state will be established without Gaza, noting that Hamas is keen on the unity of the Palestinian lands and people.

Regarding the news published by some media outlets about establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza that extends to the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, Radwan said that Hamas does not accept any replacement for Palestine.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

B’Tselem: ‘6 days in Israeli jail and no questioning as usual’

Israeli soldiers beat Palestinian who volunteers with B’Tselem and put him in jail for six days for no reason

Israeli rights group B’Tselem said on Tuesday that the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped one of its volunteers, kept him in jails for six days without any reason.

The Israeli rights group said that this incident, like many others, go without investigation or punishment of any of the perpetrators

Israeli rights group B’Tselem said on Tuesday that the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped one of its volunteers, kept him in jails for six days without any reason.

B’Tselem said in a report about the incident: “On Friday as 4pm, about 20 to 30 residents form the village of Madma in the south of [the West Bank] city of Nablus. They were in a picnic with their families.”

The report continued: “At 6:15pm, five or six Israeli soldiers from the area of the [illegal] Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, which is about 1.5km away from Madma, approached the Palestinian families and fired tear gas at them.”

Afterwards, the report said: “Three soldiers continued walking towards the Palestinian families, while the others got away towards the south.”

Watching what was going on, B’Tselem’s volunteer Ahmed Ziyada, 25, arrived in the scene. He is a resident of Madma and get out of his home after seeing the tear gas being fired at the Palestinian families.

Ziyada approached the three Israeli soldiers with his camera taking footage for them and their violations.

“The Israeli soldiers asked for his ID and he showed it to them and told them that he is a volunteer with B’Tselem,” the report said. “An argument took place between Ziyada and the three soldiers, who asked him to go home.”

According to the report, Ziyada refused to go home and the soldiers decided to kidnap him. “They used their radio to call for more soldiers. They beat him to the ground, put his hands behind his back and tied them with a plastic clip,” the report said.

“One of the soldiers put his foot on my head and the others continued beating me,” Ziyada told B’Tselem. “They took me to the Huwwara Military Camp, where he spent five days under investigation. On sixth day, he was taken to Salem Court as he was accused of undermining soldiers’ work.”

Then, Ziyada was turned back to Huwwara Military Camp and then was released on bail of NIS500. “He was released at 11:30pm,” B’Tselem report said and was left to go home alone.

B’Tselem said that such actions show that the Israeli soldiers easily use their power in an arbitrary way to harass Palestinians and their families, as well as to beat the Palestinians if they wanted to face the Israeli violent interference in their private life.

The Israeli rights group said that this incident, like many others, go without investigation or punishment of any of the perpetrators.

(Source / 14.03.2017)

Gere: settlements are absurd provocation

He stressed that Palestinians must not be desperate due to the Israeli occupation

American actor and humanitarian activist Richard Gere has described illegal Israeli settlement “an absurd provocation,” Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Gere defended the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which exposes crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers against the Palestinians on the ground

American actor and humanitarian activist Richard Gere has described illegal Israeli settlement “an absurd provocation,” Haaretz reported on Sunday.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Gere said: “Obviously, this occupation is destroying everyone. There is no defence of this occupation.”

About the illegal Israeli Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories, he said: “Settlements are such an absurd provocation and, certainly in the international sense, completely illegal.”

He said ruled out that someone adopts the settlement is eager to make peace. “They [settlements] are certainly not part of the programme of someone who wants a genuine peace process.”

Gere said that he does not like violence and noted that the Israelis should feel secure, but stressed that this must not be at the expense of the Palestinians.

“I denounce violence on all sides of this,” he said, “and, of course, Israelis should feel secure. But Palestinians should not feel desperate.”

While speaking to Haaretz, Gere defended the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which exposes crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers against the Palestinians on the ground.

He said that he was appalled by the demonisation of the group by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others.

“To question authority makes you a traitor?” he wondered. “If you question bad policies you are a self-hating Jew? That is insane. And, of course it is the last resort of tyrants.”

Gere also criticised the American President Donald Trump because of his unbalanced policies regarding dealing with refugees.

“Trump has made refugee and terrorist the same meaning,” he said, “it was not so long ago that refugee was someone who was running from a fire. Someone who needed help… And now that person is a terrorist, a dangerous person, someone to be shunned and kept out.”

Called for everyone to speak out against Trump, not only celebrities. “Everybody needs to speak out, no matter what their job description is,” he said.

Haaretz concluded a long article with Gere’s quotes: “We have to be vigilant. We have to make sure we are involved with elections [so] that we do not allow someone like Trump to be elected again, and that we don’t allow people like his advisers to be running our government again. We got lazy. Democracy does not work if you are lazy. Because then the bad guys take over.”

(Source / 14.03.2017)

US envoy in Israel to reach compromise about settlement

Trump has previously supported a settlement Jewish community

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has discussed how to reach compromise about illegal Israeli Jewish settlement with aide to US President Donald Trump.

Approximately 800,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has discussed how to reach compromise about illegal Israeli Jewish settlement with aide to US President Donald Trump.

Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Ron Greenblatt arrived in Israel on Sunday and met with Netanyahu.

The meeting in Jerusalem followed an agreement between Netanyahu and Trump last month to set up a joint working team on settlements, despite construction in the occupied West Bank having been rejected by previous administrations as illegal under international law.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office said he and Greenblatt “continued discussions relating to settlement construction in the hope of working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security, but does not affect settlements.”

While Netanyahu has noted there are still differences of opinion between Israel and the US on settlement building, Trump has broken with previous US policy by not criticising announcements of new settlement construction.

He also appointed the staunchly pro-settler David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.

During their meeting in Washington last month, Trump told Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements just for a little bit.”

Settlement activity has been on the rise since Trump was sworn in January -thousands more have been approved in three separate plans.

Approximately 800,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967.

(Source / 14.03.2017)