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Dagelijks archief 19 mei 2017

‘Death is the only thing that will stop this’: Prisoners enter 33rd day of hunger strike

Day 33 Hungerstrike

Some of Palestine’s most high-profile prisoners. From left to right: Fouad Shubaki, Nael Barghouthi, Karim Yunis, Ahmad Saadat, Marwan Barghouthi

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinians have continued to be transferred between Israeli prisons and to prison field clinics as the health conditions of some 1,300 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners have continued to deteriorate as they entered the 33rd day of the mass strike on Friday, while clashes have erupted with Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in support of the hunger strikers.

The media committee formed to support the hunger strike reported that Israel Prison Service (IPS) has continued transferring Palestinian hunger strikers between Israeli prisons, with many hunger strikers being transferred from prisons located in southern Israel to the north.
All hunger-striking prisoners in Israel’s Nafha prison, where 400 hunger strikers are being held — the largest group of hunger strikers among the prisons, to Hadarim prison, and from Shatta to Gilboa prison, the committee said.
Earlier reports from the committee had stated that all the prisoners participating in the mass hunger strike were previously transferred to Israel’s Beersheba prison in southern Israel, Shatta prison in northern Israel, and Ramla prison in central Israel, reportedly owing to their location near prison field hospitals — sites which many fear will be used to force feed the hunger strikers en masse.
However, an IPS spokesperson said at the time that the transfer to Beersheba from Nafha and Ktziot prison was due to the prison’s location to central Israel in case prisoners had to be transferred to an Israeli hospital.
According to the committee, tens more Palestinian hunger strikers have been transferred to the prison field clinics, joining scores of other hunger strikers whose health conditions have deteriorated. The committee confirmed that imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat and PFLP-affiliated journalist Muhammad al-Qiq have also been transferred to prison field clinics.
The committee stated on Thursday that Israeli doctors at the field clinics have reportedly offered medical care to the prisoners only in exchange for them ending their hunger strikes — an offer the prisoners have continued to refuse.
A lawyer from the committee visited Israel’s Ashkelon prison where he said the health conditions of the hunger-striking prisoners were worsening “day by day,” and many have lost more than 20 kg of weight.
The lawyer also noted that many sick Palestinian prisoners have continued their hunger strikes despite their vulnerable conditions, including Othman Abi-Kharj, Yaser Abu Turki, and Ibrahim Abu Mustafa, whom are held in Ashkelon prison.
In a separate statement on Friday, the committee reported that the committee’s lawyer Mutaz Shqirat was able to visit hunger striker Mansour Shrem on Thursday evening. Shrem has been held in solitary confinement in Israel’s Petah Tikva prison.
Shqirat said that IPS officials have treated lawyers visiting the hunger strikers in a “humiliating manner,” and have imposed numerous procedures on the lawyers while only allowing them to meet with the prisoners for a short time. Shqirat confirmed that he was only able to meet with Shrem for a few minutes after going through numerous procedures before the meeting.
Shqirat said that Shrem had lost 18 kilos of his weight and has been suffering from continuous exhaustion and has had difficulty moving. Shrem also told Shqirat that Israeli doctors are rarely present at the prison field clinics, despite the serious health conditions of the hunger strikers.
Shqirat also noted that there are currently 80 Palestinians on hunger strike in Petah Tikva prison.
The committee reiterated that “many detainees” have announced that they have stopped drinking water owing to Israel’s refusal to negotiate with the prisoners, adding that the strike has “entered a critical stage.”
According to the committee, Palestinian hunger strikers have underscored to lawyers that “death is the only thing that can stop this strike.”
On Monday, reports emerged in Israeli media that Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, were attempting to reach an agreement that would end the hunger strike.
Meanwhile, hunger-striking prisoner Karim Yunis, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner, insisted that any legitimate negotiations must include leaders of the strike such as imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, and rejected reported attempts by Israeli intelligence as “false and futile negotiations aimed at breaking the hunger strike in exchange for empty promises.”
Meanwhile, clashes erupted with Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip on Friday during demonstrations organized in support of the hunger strike, as Israeli forces detained and injured several Palestinians, some of whom were wounded with live ammunition.
The clashes came a day following a deadly shooting near the Nablus-area village of Huwwara when an Israeli settler shot a 23-year-old Palestinian in the head, killing him, during a hunger strike solidarity march.
Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — among other demands for basic rights.
(Source / 19.05.2017)

Seif Meets de Mistura in Geneva, Stresses No Role for Assad in Syria’s Future

President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif said that the Syrian opposition will not accept any role for Bashar Al-Assad neither in the transitional period nor in the future of Syria. He stressed that achieving a political transition should be on top of the agenda of the current round of talks in Geneva as he considered transition to be key to restoring security and stability in Syria.

Seif made his remarks at a meeting with the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday. The meeting was also attended by members of the Coalition’s political committee Hadi Bahra and Hawas Khalil.

Seif emphasized that the crimes by the Assad regime must be condemned by everyone, adding that the United Nations must stand up to these crimes. Otherwise, the regime will be encouraged to further ignore international resolutions on Syria.

Seif pointed out that mass forced displacement operations are taking place in Syria right under the nose of the entire world, stressing that these operations are illegal. Seif pointed out that the regime is forcing civilians out of their homes instead of implementing international resolutions calling for the introduction of relief aid to besieged towns and cities.

The political process in Geneva is the main path to reaching a political solution in line with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the UN Security Council resolution 2254, Seif said.

Seif went on to say that Iran cannot proclaim itself a guarantor of any agreement on Syria in view of the war crimes its militias are committing in Syria, referring to the May 4 “de-escalation” agreement signed in Astana.

Seif noted that the Kurdish National Council is represented in the Geneva negotiations through the Coalition and under an agreement signed between the two parties.

The Coalition delegation handed a letter written by rights group and activists to de Mistura calling for the immediate release of all detainees in Syria, instead of prisoner swap deals.

The plight of detainees is one of the most important issues that needs to be resolved, Seif said. He added that any progress in this issue must not be linked to developments in the political process in Geneva.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 19.05.2017)

On 33rd day of hunger strike, angry protests to sweep Palestine

33rd day of hunger strike

Different areas of the occupied Palestinian territories are expected to see angry protests on Friday afternoon in solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners, who entered day 33 of their open-ended strike in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip have already called on citizens in all areas of Palestine to participate today in massive popular angry protests they dubbed as the day of anger in all flashpoints in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

In a news conference held in Gaza on Thursday, a spokesman for the resistance factions warned Israeli jailers that “if any hunger striker gets hurt in their prisons, the factions’ armed wing will not stand idly by.”

“If the peaceful activities have proved useless with such arrogant enemy, which only understands the language of force, then we are ready to speak with it in its own language,” the spokesman said.

(Source / 19.05.2017)

Austria’s parliament bans full-face veil in public

The provision, part of a larger integration package, means those wearing the veil in public will be fined $166.

The provision is part of a larger 'integration' law [File: The Associated Press]

The provision is part of a larger ‘integration’ law

Austrian members of parliament have approved a new bill which bans garments that fully cover the face of women – the latest restriction for the country’s Muslim population.

The provision, adopted on Tuesday night, was backed by both ruling parties and means that people wearing full-face veils in public will be subject to 150-euro ($166) fines starting in October.

The measure was first announced by Austria’s coalition government in January as part of wider proposals aimed at countering the rise of the far-right, anti-Islam Freedom Party.

Farid Hafez, political scientist at the University of Salzburg and editor of The European Islamophobia Report, said the ban was just the latest move imposing restrictions on Muslims. In 2015, Austria, home to some 600,000 Muslims, passed a bill requiring imams to be able to speak German.

“This is another example of the far right becoming the hegemonic force in the public discourse,” he told Al Jazeera.

READ MORE: What the hijab means to me

The ban is part of a larger package which also forbids the distribution of the Quran and requires all migrants in Austria to participate in an “integration” year during which they take classes to learn German and ethics considered customary in Austria.

That measure is targeted at refugees and asylum seekers viewed as having a good chance of remaining in Austria.

“It will definitely empower people who have just arrived here to get acquainted with society more,” Hafez said.

“But at the end of the day, what is needed is access to the labour market. Austria has one of the most restrictive labour markets in Europe and this has not fundamentally been changed.

“So it sounds good, but the real improvement is still lacking,” he said.

Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, is the man behind the new legislation

Asylum seekers are also expected to perform unpaid public work under the new law – a proposal, supporters say, that is designed to make migrants better suited for the Austrian labour market.

Migrants refusing to take part in the integration courses or public work will see their welfare benefits cut.

The nationwide ban on full-face veils comes on the heels of a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in March, which stated that employers are entitled to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols, a decision Muslims said was a direct attack on women wearing hijabs at work.

“The court could and should have seized the opportunity to put a halt to the multiple discriminations faced by Muslim women and protect their fundamental rights, but they chose not to,” Kim Lecoyer, president of Belgium-based Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera in reaction to the ECJ ruling.

(Source / 19.05.2017)

Abla Saadat slams Abbas for his tours abroad

Abla Saadat

Abla Saadat, the wife of Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmed Saadat, slammed the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his tours abroad while Palestinian hunger strikers are suffering in Israeli jails. She accused him with failure to follow up the issue of the hunger striking captives.

During a solidarity sit-in with the hunger strikers in Sakhnin city in 1948 Occupied Palestine, website quoted Saadat as calling on Palestinian masses to take action in order to defend the hunger strikers.

Hundreds of Palestinians in 1948 Occupied Palestine participated in the solidarity event that was held on Thursday in Sakhnin city in solidarity with the hunger strikers who have been going on fasting since April 17.

(Source / 19.05.2017)

Palestinian uproar over Israeli minister dress

Minister dress

Palestinian official institutions have condemned the Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, after she wore a dress with a panoramic image of Jerusalem, highlighting Islamic and Christian holy sites, during her participation in the Cannes International Festival held in France, in an attempt to falsify the identity of the occupied city.

The Palestinian institutions considered the Israeli occupation’s continuation of adopting provocative positions against the Arab and Muslim peoples, by wearing a dress with pictures of the city of Jerusalem on it, reveals its intention to Judaize the occupied city.

The Islamic-Christian Commission to Support Jerusalem and the holy sites noted that Regev’s dress reflects, “a continuation of Israel’s policy that is based on the Judaization of Jerusalem and its holy sites, to control the city by force, and to convince the world of its right to the city using various ways and means.”

The Commission said in a press statement on Thursday that Israel used every single means to spread lies and claims of its right to Jerusalem and its holy sites, noting that the dress is designed to claim that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, while the truth is that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and it is under occupation.

The Secretary General of the Commission Hanna Issa said: These methods and measures are part of the Judaization process of the city, which aim to make the city alien to its Arab character.

He called for refuting all Jewish claims by highlighting the history of Jerusalem, its civilization and its Islamic and Christian landmarks. He called on local, Arab and international media to shed light on the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the occupied city.

He stressed that the occupation authorities and settler groups use various means to Judaize Jerusalem and fully control it in order to realize their dream of building the alleged Temple, warning that they are in the final stages of their Judaization plan.

The Islamic Christian Commission reiterated its call on the international community and all concerned institutions to bear their responsibilities towards the city of Jerusalem and its civilization and to save it from occupation and its plans.

Regev participated in the opening ceremony of the Cannes International Festival in its 70th edition. She wore a dress with pictures of Al-Aqsa Mosque on it, to send a message that “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” according to the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.

The newspaper said that Regev “made sure to wear the dress to emphasize that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.”

The Cannes International Film Festival began on Wednesday with the participation of a large number of movie stars. The Festival will last until May 28.

Palestinian activists and designers responded by changing the picture on the dress of the Israeli Minister of Culture, with that of the separation wall and other pictures that reflect the Israeli terrorism against Palestinians.

Minister dress1

Minister dress2

Murad al-Sudani, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, denounced Regev’s dress, which was specially designed to be worn for the inauguration of the Cannes International Film Festival in France, to tell a message that the Israeli occupation authorities completely control the holy city on the 50th anniversary of its occupation.

Al-Sudani said in a press statement on Thursday that what Regev did revealed her attempts at falsifying truth.

He stressed that the extremist minister’s dress is part of the Israeli occupation’s campaign to target the Palestinian, Arab and global awareness, by passing misleading and distorted information  so as to support the fake narrative of the occupation.

He called on the Arab and foreign countries participating in the festival to take a stand against these Israeli measures, especially after the passing of a resolution at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that considered the city of Jerusalem as an occupied city and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Buraq Wall as Islamic heritage sites.

Israel has participated in the festival by four films (the Spirit of Ismail, the Land of the Promise, Siege, and Heritage), which presented a number of fabricated stories to justify its occupation of the land of Palestine, by presenting allegations of its right to this land. These films portray the occupation as ‘a victim of Arab aggression’ and ‘Palestinian terrorism.’

The Palestinian Ministry of Culture condemned Regev’s provocative act and said in a statement on Thursday that the act was “extremely dangerous,” especially as it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian Territories (the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem in 1967).

The Ministry noted that this act reflects Israel’s refusal to respond to international efforts and resolutions, especially Resolution 242 and Resolution 338, describing the act as blatant provocation to the feelings of Muslims and Christians.

Minister dress3

(Source / 19.05.2017)

IOA isolates 88 hunger striking captives in Petah Tikva

Petah Tikva

Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) isolated 88 Palestinian hunger striking detainees in Petah Tikva confinement cells.

The hunger striker prisoner Mansour Shreim, who has been going on open hunger strike for 33 consecutive days, affirmed that the striking captives are subjected to abuse and ill-treatment by Israeli Prison Service.

The lawyer of Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee, Mutaz Shqeirat, quoted captive Shreim as saying that he has lost 18 kilograms and is suffering from fatigue, exhaustion, constant dizziness and difficulty in movement. The isolation cells do not meet humanitarian standards as every four prisoners are held in one dungeon, the lawyer pointed out.

Shreim, who met the lawyer on Thursday evening, revealed that the prison doctor and nurse are, most of the time, not available in the clinic in full disregard to the critical health conditions of the striking detainees.

(Source / 19.05.2017)

Violent clashes broke out across West Bank after Jewish settler kills Mu’taz in Huwara

WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — Violent clashes broke out on Thursday in the vicinity of Nablus city and other West Bank areas between dozens of Palestinian young protesters and the Israeli occupation forces (IOF).

According to Quds Press, skirmishes between angry young men and Israeli soldiers took place in the towns of Huwara and Beita, south of Nablus, after a Jewish settler killed 23-year-old Mu’taz Bani Shamsa and wounded a photojournalist in Huwara town, south of Nablus.

Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and volleys of stun and tear gas grenades at the young men, who protested the killing of Bani Shamsa.

Consequently, several young men suffered from bullet and tear gas injuries.

In a related context, the IOF closed the checkpoints of Huwara and Za’atara, south of Nablus, which obstructed the movement of Palestinian citizens.

Clashes also broke out at the main entrance to Qalqilya city after Israeli soldiers attacked a march organized in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Israeli jails.


The Red Crescent said that some young men were rushed to a local hospital in Qalqilya after they suffered injuries during the events.

In Ramallah, similar clashes took place in Silwad town. One young man was injured with a rubber bullet and many others suffered from inhaling tear gas

Eyewitnesses said that soldiers rounded up two young men during the clashes and took them aboard a military vehicle to an unknown place. (PIP)

(Source / 19.05.2017)