Leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip attend a meeting in which they express new vision and policies of Hamas in Doha, Qatar on 1 March, 2017
Hamas today criticised statements made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir that Qatar should stop backing the Palestinian resistance movement as a condition to ending the rift with its neighbours.
In a statement yesterday evening, the movement said:
Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement against the Zionist occupation, which represents the central enemy of the Arab and Islamic nations, especially Hamas.
Al-Jubeir told journalists on a visit to France that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We don’t think this is good. Qatar has to stop these policies so that it can contribute to stability in the Middle East.”
In response, Hamas said: “It is no secret to anyone how the Zionist enemy exploits such statements to commit more violations and crimes against our people and our land and our sanctities and the right of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The movement stressed that Al-Jubeir’s statements violate international laws and Arab and Islamic positions which emphasise the right of the Palestinian people to resist and struggle to liberate their land and holy sites.Hamas called on the brothers in Saudi Arabia to stop these statements that harm the kingdom and its positions on the issue of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.
Mohammed Khatib, the European coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, spoke at a series of events that were part of the Anaireseis Festival in several cities in Greece, including Patsas, Athens and Thessaloniki on 2, 3 and 4 June. These events came as Samidoun is playing an active role in Greece in mobilizing for an upcoming protest in Thessaloniki on 15 June against the planned visit of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Anaireseis Festival is organized by the NAR (New Left Current) and the Youth for Communist Liberation, as well as the involvement of the ANTARSYA radical left coalition. Thousands of people attended the festival in various cities, which combines musical performances with political analysis and discussion on key issues facing the Greek movement and international strugglers for justice.
Khatib was part of one of the main panels repeated in the three cities: “War in our neighborhood: For an anti-war, internationalist response.” Alongside Khatib, one of the highlighted international speakers was Levent Tuzel of the Labor Party (EMEP) in Turkey; however, he was forbidden by the Turkish state from traveling outside the country and blocked from participation. Instead, Mustafa Tas, representing EMEP in Greece, participated in the panel with sharp denunciations of the ongoing repression of the Turkish state against progressive activists, journalists, politicians, labor organizers and parliamentarians.
On behalf of Samidoun, Khatib thanked the festival organizers and emphasized the solidarity of the Palestinian people and the revolutionary Palestinian left with the Greek people against the current SYRIZA-ANEL government that broke its promises to the Greek people to instead play a subservient role to the EU, European banks and capital , the United States and Israel. He also expressed solidarity with the people in Turkey facing ongoing oppression at the hands of a reactionary state.
Khatib emphasized the call to protest the war criminal Netanyahu, who will be in Greece on 15 June for a so-called economic and security summit in Thessaloniki. “This visit is a threat to the Palestinian people and the Greek people. We fully condemn the growing relationship between the current Greek government with the Israeli apartheid state as a threat to the wealth, resources and fundamental human rights and solidarity of all people in the region,” Khatib emphasized.
“urged all friendly Greek forces and parties to fight the intensifying political, military and economic ties between Greece and the Zionist entity, which necessarily come at the expense of the Palestinian and Arab people whose resources and rights have been confiscated by the occupier, while opening the wealth of the Greek people to looting by the U.S. and Zionist state. The Front denounced the role of the Syriza-ANEL government in escalating this relationship between Greece and the Zionist occupation state to unprecedented levels at the expense of the Greek and Palestinian peoples and their gas and water wealth and resources. The Front confirmed that this path of betting on the U.S. and Zionism to solve the economic crisis will fail.”
Khatib emphasized that “The growing relationship does not only mean that war criminals will come to meet and then go home. Instead, our people are paying a big price and a price in blood. The gas the Greek police use against the social movements is also used in Israel and the security technologies of repression and oppression used here are exported from Israel.” He denounced the intensified gas deals between Greece and the Israeli occupation, noting that “The gas deals are stealing the wealth of our people to pay off the EU to solve their crisis at the expense of the Greek and Palestinian people. Academic cooperation between Greek and Israeli universities and study centers are based on serving systems of repression and developing weaponry to be tested on the Palestinian people.”
He urged all present to come to Thessaloniki on 15 June to demonstrate that the Greek people reject the presence of Netanyahu and the ongoing SYRIZA-ANEL deals with the occupation state. He also emphasized the importance of building the boycott of Israel, starting with these gas and water deals expropriating the wealth of the Palestinian and Greek people for the benefit of exploiters and oppressors, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Khatib also provided an overview of the current situation in Palestine. He emphasized the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners, recalling the “40 days of empty stomachs” in the Battle of Freedom and Dignity carried out by 1500 Palestinian prisoners. “Our people in the West Bank are struggling every day for their existence against the settlers and the brutal occupation army that is killing our children and sending them to military court. There are nearly 400 Palestinian children in Israeli jails today,” Khatib said.
He also focused on the siege on Gaza and throughout Palestine. “Our people in Gaza are struggling in daily life after more than 10 years of siege by the apartheid state, with the assistance of the reactionary Egyptian regime. Despite this, they are building resistance by all means in everyday life through a culture of resistance from generation to generation,” Khatib said. “Our people in 1948 are struggling for their rights and identity under a Zionist state that is attempting to erase their very existence through its colonial war machine.”
“Today, as we struggle for the rights and protection of refugees here in Greece, we are also more than seven million Palestinian refugees in diaspora struggling for our rights in exile and for our right to return and to liberate our homeland, Palestine,” Khatib said.
He emphasized the united role of Zionism, Israel, US imperialism and local reactionary regimes in suppressing popular movements. “Israel is attempting to promote itself in the region as a ‘modern’ settler colonial state like the US, Canada and Australia, especially amid war in the region – in which Israel is deeply involved, alongside NATO, the EU and the US as colonial powers. The US and other colonial powers maintain military bases or engage in direct military intervention throughout the region. Colonialism and imperialism takes different shapes from Syria to Jordan to Egypt and to Morocco. In fact, the NATO base in Greece was used to bomb Syria just last month.”
Khatib noted that 2017 marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration and European colonization in Palestine, but also marks 100 years of the October Revolution and a promise of struggle for liberation. “Palestinians have been struggling for 100 years and even before then in rejection of the Ottoman empire,” Khatib said.
He noted the speech of right-wing Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos in occupied Jerusalem at the Begin-Sadat center in which he called for a regional alliance of Greece, Cyprus and Israel to stretch throughout the region. “Our response should be the same – one revolutionary front that we must organize, from Palestine to Turkey to Greece to Ukraine, defending and struggling for our independence, self-determination and liberation against fascism, racism, Zionism and colonialism.”
Many organizations, including political parties, trade unions, social movements and the Palestinian community, are participating in the call to action to confront Netanyahu with mass movement in Thessaloniki on 15 June. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine in Greece to join the mobilization in support of the Palestinian people and the action to confront Netanyahu and declare that he is not welcome in Greece.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn a young Palestinian man in Tubas city, in the northeastern part of the occupied West Bank, confiscated a tractor and attacked two Palestinians, in Qosra town, south of Nablus, in northern West Bank.
The Tubas office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes in the city, and abducted Jihad Masa’eed, before taking him to an unknown destination.
The soldiers also broke into and ransacked several homes in Tubas, and clashed with local youths who hurled stones at the military vehicles, invading their city.
Similar clashes took place in nearby towns, after the army invaded them, and violently searched several homes.
In Nablus, the soldiers invaded Qusra town, south of the city, assaulted two Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Abu Mirshid and Mahmoud Abu Hamza, causing several cuts and bruises, and confiscated an agricultural tractor, owned by the town’s local council.
Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Tuesday evening, a Palestinian staff sergeant with the traffic police, after shooting him in the abdomen, and injured at least seven other Palestinians.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said the Palestinian, Fadi Ibrahim Najjar, 25, was shot with a live round in the abdomen, and died from his serious wounds.
It added that the soldiers also shot another young man, moderately wounding him in the leg.
The incident took place after the soldiers fired many live rounds at Palestinians protesting on their lands, close to the border fence, in Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.
Furthermore, Israeli soldiers stationed on military towers around Nahal Oz base, across the border fence, east of Gaza city, fired many live rounds at dozens of Palestinians, wounding two in their legs.
Medics rushed the two wounded young men to the Shifa Medical Center, suffering moderate injuries.
Three other Palestinians were also shot with live Israeli army fire, east of Jabalia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, after the soldiers attacked Palestinians marching close to the border fence.
The three wounded Palestinians, who suffered moderate injuries, were rushed to the Indonesian hospital, in nearby Beit Lahia town.
Clashes also took place east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and the soldiers fired live rounds and gas bombs, causing at least twenty Palestinians to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army constantly opens fire on Palestinian farmers and workers, in their own land close to the border fence, in addition to repeatedly attacking fishermen in Gaza territorial waters.
On Monday evening, May 15th 2017, a Palestinian fisherman, identified as Mohammad Majed Bakr, 25, was killed after Israeli navy ships opened fire on fishing boats, less than four nautical miles from the Gaza shore.
In related news, Israeli police officers shot and killed, on the evening of Monday June 06, 2017, a young Palestinian man, indemnified as Mohammad Taha, 27, the police invaded Kafr Qassem town, east of Tel Aviv, and resorted to excessive use of force against the residents, amidst accusations that the police are not providing security to the Arab citizens of the country, facing increasing levels of organized crime, and violence.
Palestinian youths on Wednesday evening participated in demonstrations east of Gaza Strip in protest at the Israeli siege on the coastal enclave.
The PIC reporters revealed that the demonstrations also kicked off in protest at the murder of a Palestinian young man who was killed on Tuesday in a similar event east of Khan Younis.
The protesters hoisted the Palestinian flags along with banners condemning the Israeli unceasing siege. Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) fired tear gas grenades at the participants, the PIC reporters added.
The national action committee for breaking the siege and the youth action group called earlier for participating in demonstrations in the flashpoints with IOF soldiers east of the blockaded Gaza Strip. The demonstrations aim at protesting the Israeli continuous siege and the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza due to power and health crises.
Algeria – The foreign ministers of Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt have held a tripartite meeting on Monday in Algeria, to discuss the situation in Libya and find a political solution for the crisis in order to tackle later security issues, especially combating ISIS.
The meeting, which will end today, will be followed by a communique that presents the results of the three neighboring countries’ efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.
According to Spokesperson for Algeria’s foreign Ministry Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, the tripartite ministerial meeting of Abdelkader Messahel, Khemaies Jhinaoui and Sameh Shoukry is “part of continuous consultations between Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt over the crisis hitting Libya since 2011, as foreign ministers of these three nations are due to assess the political and security developments there.”
“The meeting aims to reinforce the political process in Libya……on the path towards sustainable peace and national reconciliation,” the spokesperson said.
“It will also be an opportunity to examine all the factors that can contribute to promote a coordinated approach to accompany the Libyan people in their quest for a political solution to the crisis facing that brother and neighbor.”
The tripartite meeting follows those held in Algeria on May 8 and in Tunisia on February 19-20.
Confronting the threats of terrorism in Libya has overshadowed discussions between the three ministers, a diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The source said that Shoukry defended the Egyptian military action in eastern Libya and justified the protection of Egyptian national security from the threats imposed by terrorists.
The Tunisian Foreign Ministry said that the meeting in Algeria lies in the framework of following up the implementation of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s initiative for the comprehensive political settlement in Libya, during which the efforts of the three countries will be reviewed to bring together the Libyan parties, the regional and international efforts to launch an inter-Libyan dialogue on the basis of the political agreement and the Tunis Ministerial Declaration signed on February 20, 2017.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The Israel Prison Service (IPS) has subjected a Palestinian prisoner to an arbitrary prison transfer as punishment for his leading role in a 40-day Palestinian hunger strike across Israeli prisons that was suspended nearly two weeks ago.
Waddah al-Bizreh was transferred from Israel’s Gilboa prison in northern Israel to Ramon prison in the southern Negev desert, his brother Firas al-Bizreh told Ma’an on Tuesday.Waddah, has been in Israeli prison for 15 years serving multiple life sentences, and was a leading figure of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in occupied West Bank.
Firas said that transfer of his brother was a punitive measure taken by IPS to punish Wadah for havingled the hunger strike inside Giboa.According to Firas, following Wadah’s transfer out of Gilboa, tension has risen among Palestinian prisoners who denounced the move as an effort to suppress dissent in the prison.
Arbitrary prison transfers are a common IPS tactic aiming to suppress resistance among Palestinian prisoners.
An IPS spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comments on the allegations.
Since the suspension of the hunger strike, which the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs claimed resulted in 80 percent of demands being met, reports have emerged of the continued mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners — particularly women and those in need of medical treatment — at the hands of IPS authorities.
GAZA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian protester and injured at least seven others with live fire Tuesday evening in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Clashes erupted east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, with Palestinians throwing stones toward the border area with Israel, when Israeli soldiers opened live fire at the demonstrators.
Spokesperson for Gaza’s Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that 25-year-old Fadi Ibrahim al-Najjar was shot dead with a live bullet.
Local sources told Ma’an that two other Palestinian demonstrators were injured with live bullets, though Reuters news agency cited residents and hospital officials as saying that seven others were shot and wounded.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that “dozens of Palestinians who attempted to damage the security fence along the border” were hurling rocks and rolling burning tires toward Israeli forces who “called out to the rioters to halt,” and then “fired warning shots into the air.”
She said the Israeli army “was aware” of reports of one casualty, but would not confirm that al-Najjar had been killed or acknowledge the seven other casualties.
Separately, local sources said that clashes also erupted with Israeli forces Tuesday night east of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, when at least four Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
After Israeli forces shot and critically injured a Palestinian teenager in the stomach with a live bullet during a protest in Gaza two weeks ago, rights group Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) denounced the Israeli army’s excessive use of live fire on Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave.
“Israeli forces’ frequent use of live ammunition at the Gaza border shows a pattern of disregard for Palestinian lives,” DCIP Accountability Program Director Ayed Abu Eqtaish said, and deplored the fact that accountability for injuries and fatalities in such cases “is extremely rare.”
According to Ma’an documentation, al-Najjar became the 29th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forcesor settlers since the beginning of the year, many of whom were shot during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory.
In 2016, seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, when 18 Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory — out of more than 100 Palestinians to be killed by Israelis over the course of the year.
Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year for what rights groups have referred to as “extrajudicial executions” and excessive use of force against Palestinians — especially youth and children — who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been disarmed through non-lethal means, particularly during clashes.
Six Palestinian factions have strongly denounced the Palestinian Authority (PA) for persisting in using the stranglehold policy against the population in the Gaza Strip and cutting off the salaries of hundreds of employees and ex-detainees.
According to a joint statement released on Tuesday by the factions, 277 ex-detainees have been affected by the PA’s recent decision to cuff off their monthly payments.
They said that the PA ignored the sacrifices that had been made by those former prisoners, who had spent long years in Israeli jails for defending their own people and national rights.
“Instead of honoring these heroes for their resistance of the occupation, the PA has severed their salaries and threatened the future of their children,” they said.
They demanded PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his premier Rami al-Hamdallah to necessarily backtrack on their inhumane punitive measures against Gaza and engage in a comprehensive national dialog to restore the national unity.
In the last few months, the PA decided, as part of several measures against Gaza, to slash the salaries of its civil servants by 30 to 50 percent, impose taxes on fuel supplies used by the power plant, stop paying for the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza through cross-border power lines and cut off the monthly payments of 277 ex-detainees.