PA says security coordination with Israel remains halted despite reports of arrests

Security coordination remains

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority has decided to uphold a freeze on security coordination with Israel that was imposed during protests against now-removed Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a high-ranking Fatah official told Ma’an.

Meanwhile, a report published Saturday in The Times of Israel cited multiple Palestinian sources as saying that PA detention campaigns targeting alleged “Hamas operatives” were ongoing.
While a civil disobedience campaign launched by Palestinians in Jerusalem succeeded in pressuring Israel to remove metal detectors, turnstiles, and surveillance cameras that were installed following a deadly shooting attack at Al-Aqsa on July 14, member of the Fatah Central Committee Jamal Muhsen told Ma’an that all communication with Israel would remain halted “until peace negotiations resumed” with Israel.
He noted that the decision to suspend the PA’s widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel was initially made by a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council resolution in March 2015 over Israel’s lack of commitment to international agreements. The final decision to implement the decision rested with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Muhsen said the president only executed the decision in light of recent Israeli violations in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, but he did not comment on why Abbas didn’t make the move sooner, particularly since security coordination has been a primary source of growing anti-PA sentiment in recent years.
When Abbas announced his decision to cut all ties with Israel last week, many were skeptical that the move would indeed include a halt on security coordination, established under the Oslo Accords, which has been denounced by Palestinian factions as a “revolving door” policy of funneling Palestinian activists out of PA jails into Israeli prisons, effectively criminalizing resistance against the Israeli military occupation.
Muhsen however asserted to Ma’an that security coordination would not resume until peace negotiations were relaunched or an international initiative to end Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territory was put forward.
According to Muhammad al-Masri, the head of the Palestinian Center for Research and Strategic Studies, the decision to stop security coordination was a political decision and not related to security. He told Ma’an he expected the decision “would bring both benefits and disadvantages to the Palestinian people, but national interests require such decision to achieve political aims.”
However, Israeli news site The Times of Israel cited an anonymous Fatah official as saying the PA has continued to make arrests of Hamas members in the occupied West Bank.
The official said the detention of alleged Hamas members was ongoing, but only in regards to “critical matters.”
Head of the PA’s preventive security Ziyad Hab al-Rih also confirmed the ongoing detention campaign to The Times of Israel, saying the so-called Hamas operatives “were planning attacks in an effort to escalate tensions between Israel and Palestinians,” according to the report.
Al-Rih reportedly confirmed that a number of alleged Hamas members were arrested this week in Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Ramallah, and at Hebron’s Polytechnic University.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has continued nightly detention campaigns targeting Palestinians in PA-controlled areas of the occupied West Bank. During predawn raids Sunday, at least 17 Palestinians were detained, with Israeli forces shooting and injuring two Palestinian teenagers during a raid into Jenin refugee camp.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Settlers install mobile homes on Palestinian village lands near Nablus

Mobile homes Nablus

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers reportedly set up 10 mobile homes on private Palestinian land in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday morning, a Palestinian official told Ma’an.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that the settlers installed the structures on the outskirts of the village of Jalud in the Nablus district, in an area known as al-Khafafish.
A spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Daghlas said that settlers had leveled land in the area a few weeks earlier in preparation for the construction of Shvut Rachel East — an illegal Israeli settlement that was approved in February under the pretext of compensating residents of the Amona outpost.
Despite Amona residents refusing to relocate to Shvut Rachel East, the Israeli government moved forward with its settlement plans on Jalud lands, in addition to approving plans for the Amichai settlement, where the Amona settlers agreed to live — marking Israel’s first new official settlement in more than two decades.
Daghlas said on Monday that Shvut Rachel East would connect already existent illegal Israeli settlements and impose “facts on the ground.”
Israeli officials have continuously referred to Shvut Rachel East as a “neighborhood of Shilo settlement,” and not an entirely new settlement, “despite being located far from any built up area of Shilo, creating a new and distant expansion to the settlement,” according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) released data in June showing a 70 percent rise in construction of settlements during the past year compared to previous year, with Peace Now warning of increasing numbers in the coming months.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts — unapproved by the Israeli government — are considered illegal even under Israeli law, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law earlier this year, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Ex-prisoners sound distress signals after PA cuts their livelihoods

Ex-prisoners about cut salaries

Ex-prisoners from Nablus province launched cries for help after the Palestinian Authority (PA), chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, cut their salaries.

Palestinian ex-prisoner Mohamed al-Sheikh Khalil, from Nablus’s Balata refugee camp, said the Minister of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs spoke to him by phone and told him that the PA suspended his salary at the request of the Prime Minister, Rami al-Hamdallah.

Al-Sheikh, held in Israeli jails for over 11 years, added that no offenses or felonies figure in his criminal record.

The ex-prisoner said that the PA’s decision to cut his salary, among others’, is arbitrary and makes part of preplanned crackdowns against Palestinian human rights activists.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Palestinian MP sent to Israeli prison without trial

MPRazaq arrested

The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Sunday sentenced the Palestinian MP Omar Abdul Razaq to administrative detention, with neither charge nor trial.

Abdul Razaq’s son, Muhammed, said on Facebook that the IOA sentenced his father to a four-month administrative prison term.

MP Abdul Razaq, who served as a finance minister following the 2006 national elections, was kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces on Sunday, July 23, from his family home in Salfit. He had spent over nine years in Israeli lock-ups.

13 other Palestinian detainees had been subjected to administrative sentences on Sunday.

According to lawyer Ashraf Abu Esneineh, from the prisoners and ex-prisoners committee, 13 prisoners received administrative terms ranging between three and six months.

At least 6,500 Palestinian detainees are incarcerated in 22 Israeli penitentiaries across the occupied Palestinian territories, among whom 56 female detainees, 350 children, 12 MPs, and some 500 administrative detainees.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

1,100 pardoned by Morocco King

Rif protest in Rabat, Morocco on 12 June, 2017 [Twitter]

Rif protest in Rabat, Morocco on 12 June, 2017

Morocco’s King Mohammad VI has pardoned dozens of people who were arrested in recent protests in the Rif region and blamed the failure of local officials for public anger.

Speaking in his first public address since the start of protests in October over injustice, corruption and underdevelopment in the region, the King said:

If the king of Morocco is not convinced by the way political activity is conducted and if he does not trust a number of politicians, what are the citizens left with?

“To all those concerned I say: ‘Enough is enough!’ Fear God in what you are perpetrating against your homeland. Either carry out your duties fully or withdraw from public life.”

Before his speech, the Justice Ministry announced 1,178 prisoners were being pardoned to mark the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the King’s ascension to the throne. Those pardoned included 58 members of the protest group, the “popular movement”.

Read: 80 injured as police advance on Rif protests

Silya Ziani was the only leader of the movement who was pardoned with others, including Nasser Zefzafi, still detained in Casablanca.

“I am happy with my freedom, but I am waiting to hear the news of the freedom of all my comrades from the Hirak,” Ziani told local reporters on Saturday.

Protests erupted in October in the Rif region and around Al-Hoceima following the death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri who was crushed in a garbage truck after his produce was confiscated by authorities.

Read: Morocco jails 10 Rif activists

The government’s spokesperson did not clarify what actions may be taken but one government official presented the speech as a “direct conversation with the people” over the slow progress in development projects.

#Rif

“The King has put his foot down, whoever doesn’t do their work should leave their place for those who want to work,” the government official told Reuters.

Around 176 protesters are currently being detained following the ongoing demonstrations. “We can’t speak about significant developments because the main demands of Hirak remain unaddressed, including the release and dismissal of charges for all the members of Hirak,” Secretary-General of the Moroccan Human Rights Association, Taib Madmad said, explaining that the royal pardon is not enough to quell the unrest.

Al-Hoceima was only mentioned once in the King’s speech and only referenced to praise the actions of security forces.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Israel seeks to withdraw citizenship from Azmi Bishara

Image of Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit [alresalah]

Image of Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit

The Israeli Minister of Interior Affairs, Aryeh Deri, has officially asked the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, to withdraw citizenship from former Arab Member of the Knesset Azmi Bishara.

Israel accuses Bishara of “communicating with an enemy state in time of war, helping an enemy state and cooperating with terrorist organisations, while he was still a member of the Knesset.”

According to human rights activists, the charge of “communicating with the enemy in time of war, breach of trust, supporting a terrorist organisation and acting against state security” are among the charges that may lead to a death sentence in Israel.

Read: Knesset gives green light for phone taps on security officials

Since 2007, the Israeli judiciary has been prosecuting Bishara on security charges, forcing him into exile. Demands to prosecute Bishara increased following the failure of attempts to prevent him from running for the Knesset since the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and following the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. The main reason was Bishara’s declared attitudes, especially the right of the occupied people to resist the occupation, and his refusal to consider Syria and Lebanon enemy states.

If the request is granted, it will be the first time Israeli citizenship is revoked.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Islamic University best in Gaza, third in Palestine

The Islamic University of Gaza

The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) announced yesterday that it was classed the top higher education institution in the Gaza Strip and the third in Palestine based on Webometrics July 2017 edition, Safa news agency reported.

Top Palestinian universities

  • An Najah National University, Nablus
  • Birzeit University, Birzeit
  • Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza City
  • Al-Quds University Arab University, Jerusalem
  • Al-Azhar University of Gaza, Gaza City

The IUG said it came in at number 54 among 988 high education institutions in the Arab region which were included in the evaluation.

Chairman of the IUG, Professor Adel Awadallah, hailed the efforts of the university staff who worked hard to maintain these high levels and ensured its continued development.

The university has been subjected to destructive Israeli rocket attacks in 2008 and 2014 and in 2007, the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services affiliated to Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas attacked and burnt its buildings.

Read: Battling to save schools in times of war

Since the start of the Israeli siege 11 years ago, the IUG has suffered from severe shortages of educational equipment and materials.

The Webometrics system is the largest system for evaluating international universities, covering more than 25,000 institutions worldwide. It is published in Spain by the Higher Council for Scientific Research. It is linked to the standard of research and technical files and is updated every six months.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

PA to take issue of Israeli settlements to ICC

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki [Yael arava com/Facebook]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is planning to take the issue of the illegal Israeli settlement to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the PA Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki announced yesterday.

Speaking on the official PA radio, Al-Maliki said: “The Palestinian side has been waiting for the response of the ICC Public Prosecutor in order to file the application.”

On 23 December last year, the UN Security Council reiterated the illegality of the Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories in resolution 2334. The resolution called for the Israeli government to immediately halt settlement building.

Israel’s refusal to stop settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories is considered a reason why peace negotiations have continued to fail.

Read: Israel approves 800 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Israel shoots Palestinian minor in both legs and arm

Image of thirteen-year-old Mohammed Qaddumi, lying in a hospital bed after Israeli forces shot his arm and both his legs

Israeli forces shot an unarmed Palestinian minor in both legs and in one arm last week, according to Haaretz.

Thirteen-year-old Mohammed Qaddumi was collecting firewood near the West Bank Separation Wall on Tuesday when Israeli occupying forces fired at him. Qaddumi was admitted to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba and underwent a long operation. His condition remains severe though his health has improved.

Qaddumi’s father said his son was one of four children walking by the barrier next to their home in the village of Jayus:

He was by the fence, the children were there, four children, and there were soldiers under the olive trees. They went up there by the fence, they could have grabbed him by the arm but they shot him three times.

His father emphasised that Qaddumi did not try to cross into Israel as the army claims, nor did the children throw stones at the soldiers who were hidden from their view.

Read: Sentence upheld for soldier who killed Palestinian

Israel’s Civil Administration initially prevented Qaddumi’s family from accompanying their son to hospital in Israel, but relented after NGOs Mahsom Watch and Physicians for Human Rights intervened.

The army is said to have initiated legal proceedings against the wounded teenager, on suspicion of throwing stones.

#FreePalestine

Israeli forces have long been accused of implementing a “shoot to cripple” campaign against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. A report released by the Badil resource centre found that in the first six months of 2016, at least 30 of the 86 Palestinians that were shot in Bethlehem alone were shot in the legs or knees.

Israeli generals have also been known to encourage such tactics against Palestinian youth. Reports surfaced last year that Palestinians in numerous West Bank cities speak of Shin Bet officials known only as “Captain Nidal” and “Captain Imad” among others, who regularly threaten to disable young men if they fail to comply with Israeli soldiers.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

Israel detains 33 Jerusalemite Palestinians over participation in Al-Aqsa protests

33 Palestinians East Jerusalem arrested

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police detained at least 33 Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem during overnight raids between Sunday and Monday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said, as Israeli forces continued to crack down on locals in the wake of large-scale protests over Israeli measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer for prisoners rights group Addameer, told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians during predawn raids in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur alone.
He identified them as Majd al-Sayyad, Ahmad al-Zaatari, Fares Abu Ghannam, Amir Qarawi, Ahmad Abu Jumaa, Ali Abu Jumaa, Amir Maher Abu Jumaa, Muhannad Abu Jumaa, Ahmad Marwan Abu Jumaa, Muhammad Abed al-Mughrabi, Muhammad al-Mughrabi, Muhammad Judah Abu al-Hawa, Asaad Jamil Abu al-Hawa, Hamza Zaki Khweis, Firas Ibrahim Khweis, Ibrahim Arafat Abu Sbeitan, and two men identified as Muhammad Abu Sbeitan.
Mahmoud said that Israeli forces also detained Abdullah Idriss, Muhammad Shaludi, Muhammad al-Ajlouni, Iham Zaanin, and Muhammad Abu Rmuzin in the Old City of Jerusalem.
He added that detentions were also reported in the neighborhoods of Issawiya and Wadi Joz.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) identified nine others detained in East Jerusalem as Bassem Idriss, Ahmad Jawdat Razim, Raed Said Najim, Muhammad Azzam Anous, Ismail Tawfiq Muheisin, Nour al-Din Maher Muheisin, Fadlallah Muhammad Abbasi, Mahmoud Zeid al-Qaq, and Ramez Wahib al-Ajlouni.
Meanwhile, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that 33 Palestinians — including seven minors between the ages of 13 and 17 — were detained overnight in the neighborhoods of Wadi Joz, Ras al-Amud, Issawiya, Beit Hanina, the Old City, and Shufaat refugee camp — making no mention of al-Tur.
Al-Samri said the detainees were “key suspects” involved in large-scale protests in past weeks denouncing increased Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Israeli authorities shut down the Al-Aqsa compound for almost three days following a deadly shooting attack on July 14, only to reopen it after having installed increased security measures.
The measures sparked widespread protests in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as Palestinians said the Israeli move was the latest example of Israeli authorities using Israeli-Palestinian violence as a means of furthering control over important sites in the occupied Palestinian territory and normalizing repressive measures against Palestinians.
After two weeks of protests during which six Palestinians were killed in clashes, the security measures were lifted completely after noon prayers on Friday.
However, at least 100 Palestinian worshipers were detained from Al-Aqsa on Thursday night, just hours after the compound was fully reopened after nearly two weeks of restrictions. Seventy-nine were released hours afterwards, while 21 received bans forbidding them from entering the Al-Aqsa compound for two weeks.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 95 search and detention raids carried out over the course of 2016, according to UN documentation.
According to a report released earlier this month, a total of 388 Palestinians, including 70 minors and 13 women, were detained across the occupied Palestinian territory during the month of June.
Prisoners’ rights group Addameer estimated that 6,200 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of May, including 400 residents of East Jerusalem.

(Source / 31.07.2017)