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Dagelijks archief 5 juli 2017

Abu Khdeir family: ‘We never had high hopes for Israel’s legal system’

Muhammad abu Khdeir

BETHELEHEM (Ma’an) — After Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition to demolish the homes of three Israelis convicted of brutally killing 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir in 2014, Abu Khdeir’s family told Palestinian lawyer Muhannad Jibara on Wednesday that they “never had high hopes” that Israel’s legal system would actually order the demolitions.

The Abu Khdeir family had presented the petition to the Israeli courts demanding that Yosef Haim Ben-David and two minors, who were convicted of kidnapping and burning the Palestinian teenager alive three years ago, have their homes demolished, in line with an official Israeli policy carried out overwhelmingly against Palestinians who have killed Israelis.
Jibara said that the Abu Khdeir family had submitted the petition in the Israeli courts in order to expose the “racism” of the Israeli government against Palestinians in their policies of punitive home demolitions and to “cause embarrassment” to the Israeli courts.
According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, retired Israeli judge Elyakim Rubinstein ruled that the petition was rejected in part because too much time had passed between the “abominable act of murder” and the submission of the petition.
In response, Jibara said that the family had to wait until the killers were convicted in order to file the petition, which took almost two years for all three to be convicted and sentenced.
Jibara noted that according to Israeli law, the killing was a “terrorist act” and thus should be met with the punitive demolition of the killers’ homes.
Judge Neal Hendel, however, said that home demolitions were carried out as deterrents, not as punitive measures, reiterating the Israeli government’s contentious claims that such punitive demolitions deter “terrorists” from carrying out attacks.
Hendel then went on to say that Jewish “terrorists” were “a minority of a minority of a minority,” insinuating that the so-called deterrent policies would not have an effect on the Jewish community.
According to Ynet, the Israeli state had said that “it does not see fit” to demolish the homes of Jewish Israeli attackers, but added that “the measure would be considered if there were a sudden sharp increase in terror acts carried out by Jews.”
Jibara also noted that the Israeli prosecution had argued that Israelis who conduct such attacks are “discarded and rejected by Israeli society,” whereas Palestinian attackers are “encouraged by the Palestinian society” and thus necessitated demolition policies to collectively deter the attacks.
However, there has been numerous occasions when Israelis have publicly celebrated the killings of Palestinians, including during the 2014 war on Gaza which left more than 2,000 Palestinians killed.
According to Jibara, the Abu Khdeir family said that while they were against Israel’s punitive demolition policy as a whole, if it was going to be enforced regularly on Palestinians, it should also apply to Israeli Jews in order to “prevent (Israeli) courts from adopting racist policies against Palestinians.”
Jibara noted that Muhammad’s father Hussein had said that the family would attempt to prosecute Israel in international courts over the Israeli government’s failure to immediately detain the three killers at the time of the murder and the rejection of the family’s petition, which he said “confirms the Israeli judiciary’s discrimination against Palestinians.”
Hussein also said that the court’s rejection came close to the third anniversary of Muhammad’s kidnap and murder in July 2014 , which has “increased the pain of the family.”
“If this was an Arab who murdered a Jew, his home would’ve been demolished within days. If they don’t want to demolish the Jewish terrorists’ homes, then they shouldn’t demolish any homes. This is discrimination and racism. Such a decision encourages (others) to continue hurting us, under the auspices of the state,” Ynet reported Hussein as saying.
Ben-David, the ringleader of the kidnapping and murder, received a life sentence for the murder, and 20 additional years for other crimes he had committed. He was also ordered to pay 150,000 shekels ($42,650) to Abu Khdeir’s family.
Two Israeli minors who assisted in killing Muhammad were convicted of murder in February, one receiving a life sentence and the other 21 years in prison.
Muhammad, a 16-year-old from the Shufat neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, was kidnapped and murdered by the three extremists in July 2014, as a revenge attack for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers who were hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank.
All three confessed to beating the teenager unconscious before pouring flammable liquid on him and setting him alight. An autopsy later confirmed the teen had been burned alive.
Last year, following the sentencing of the two minors, Muhammad’s father Hussein had said “Israeli courts have two faces of judiciary: one for the Palestinians and another for the Israelis.”
“If a Palestinian child throws a stone, he is sentenced to years in prison, but when an Israeli settler burns and kills a Palestinian child, he is sentenced to 21 years.”
Despite the judges’ justifications for rejecting the petition, the family homes of actual or alleged Palestinian attackers are almost always demolished soon after the attack has been carried out, with the Israeli army at times announcing demolition plans almost immediately following an attack.
On Tuesday, three Palestinian homes were delivered demolition orders for their relatives having allegedly carried out attacks on Israelis. The families were given a little over two days to appeal the decisions in Israeli courts, which almost always rule in favor of carrying out the punitive demolitions against Palestinian families.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals since the beginning of a wave of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory in late 2015.
The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks.
Israeli NGO B’Tselem has condemned the practice of punitive home demolitions and work permit confiscations as “court-sanctioned revenge” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

Starved of power, Gazans suffer oppressive heatwave

Electricity crisis is caused by the 11-year-old strict Israeli crisis imposed on Gaza

During the current heatwave, Gaza residents, who do not have electricity to cool themselves off due to Israeli siege, are struggling to survive.

“Sometimes I go around flipping on different sides of my bed for an hour before I can fall asleep. It is humiliating,” Sami told an Israeli newspaper

During the current heatwave, Gaza residents, who do not have electricity to cool themselves off due to Israeli siege, are struggling to survive.

Sami, a medical intern in the Gaza Strip, is struggling to sleep due to the heatwave which is roasting the region, where temperatures have been soaring to 37°C (98°F). The heat in his room is overpowering, and the mosquitoes do not help either. But due to an ongoing electricity crisis, he cannot cool himself off, or even plug in the device that wards off the biting insects.

“Sometimes I go around flipping on different sides of my bed for an hour before I can fall asleep. It is humiliating,” Sami told an Israeli newspaper.

Gaza residents refers the reason for the devastating power crisis in the Gaza Strip to the strict Israeli-Egyptian and internationally-backed siege, which turns basic goods, services and actions into luxuries. The normal strategies for cooling off in the summer heat — including showers, swimming, air conditioning and electric fans — have all but disappeared. Even drinking water is an increasingly rare commodity.

Electricity is only hours on

The average Gazan enjoys either four to six or two to three hours of electricity a day. Residents have no idea when the power will come on, so when it does, they have to drop what they are doing and rush to complete tasks that require electricity.

“When the power comes, for two to three hours, you run like a madman to manage to recharge everything, pump water, shower, sleep, work, get online, cool down and breathe, all in two hours,” said Ali, a 30-year-old journalist in Gaza. The power can come on in the middle of a workday, or late at night when everyone is sleeping.

During the current power crisis, Ali added, “cold water becomes a luxury, a wish, a dream, a desire. No power means no fridge, means no cold water.”

Khaled, a father of three and a humanitarian worker also complained about not being able to protect his family from the heat.

“My youngest child is 8-months-old. Last night, he could not sleep, so we just kept fanning him. We used a piece of paper to fan his face, and the minute we stopped, he would wake up,” he said. “My wife goes to do the household things at odd times. You find her up very early in the morning turning on the washing machine because the power just came on. Her sleep schedule is entirely off.”

Israel imposes collective punishment

The residents of Gaza have suffered electricity woes ever since the Israeli occupation placed its strict siege after the Islamic Palestinian movement Hamas, which won general elections ended one and half a year of political and security chaos and controlled the coastal enclave in mid-2007.

Up until a few months ago, Gazans received power in eight-hour intervals — eight hours on and eight hours off. That was enough, they said, to sustain a semblance of normalcy and keep the Strip’s infrastructure running.

The current crisis began when the Strip’s only power station shut down in April due to a lack of fuel. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which is run by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, asked Israel to stop electricity supplies for Gaza.

The crisis deepened when the PA, which has been footing the bill for a portion of Gaza’s electricity that is provided by Israel, decided to cut the payments by 35 percent — part of a series of measures meant to force Gaza residents to revolt against Hamas.

People are sick

At the behest of the PA, Israel has been gradually reducing power to the Strip. As of Sunday, Israel has cut its supply to Gaza from 120 megawatts to 48.

Suhair Zakkout, who works for the Red Cross, said the crisis can “really make every single minute of life a struggle.”

She described a case of a boy suffering from asthma who has to be rushed to the hospital up to five times a day.

When he’s hooked up to the nebulizer that helps him breathe, his mother “can easily” handle his care at home, Zakkout said. But without power, every time he has an attack they have to head to the hospital.

She also highlighted the fact that Gaza’s children, who are on summer vacation, have little to do with themselves. The beach is the usual summertime gathering spot, but now the authorities in Gaza have closed off large portions of it. Without electricity, the sewage treatment plants are not working properly, and raw waste is being pumped into the sea.

For three days last week, Gaza celebrated the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, generally a time when families gather and exchange gifts. But with elevators out of commission, the elderly and disabled were unable to visit with families who live in high-rise apartments, Zakkout said.

She compared the lack of the electricity to being sick. “You only realise how important the antibiotic is when you do not have it.”

(Source / 05.07.2017)

Ex-prisoners to Abbas: Salaries cut-off will never dampen our spirits

Ex-prisoners vs Abbas

Dozens of ex-prisoners rallied on Wednesday outside the house of the Palestinian Minister of Labor, Maamoun Abu Shahla, south of Gaza, protesting the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) suspension of their salaries.

Speaking on behalf of the rally-goers, Mohamed al-Dirawi slammed the PA for arbitrarily suspending ex-prisoners’ salaries, vowing to step up protest moves until the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, backtracks on the decision.

Al-Dirawi harked back to the days when Abbas kissed the hands of the former Israeli president Shimon Peres just a couple of days after a Palestinian family was massacred near Gaza’s coast in 2006.

Al-Dirawi also spoke out against the PA’s crackdowns against Palestinian anti-occupation activists and protesters, which he said make part of ongoing security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

“Those who have never thrown in the towel in Israeli lock-ups shall never do so because their salaries have been cut,” the activist further stated.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

IOF demolishes Bedouin village for 115th time

Village al-Araqib

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region for the 115th time on Wednesday morning as part of Israel’s displacement policy against Palestinians.

Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli police raided the village early today and started the demolition, leaving dozens of families without shelter despite the very hot weather.

Al-Araqib is one of 45 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by Israeli authorities.

Rights groups have claimed that the demolition of al-Araqib and other unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

Israeli forces grab hold of much-needed energy cells in Khirbet Hima

Solar powered devices

The Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday morning stormed Khirbet al-Hima in the northern Jordan Valley and removed solar-powered devices.

According to local sources, Israeli soldiers along with Civil Administration and Energy Authority staff members, broke into the area a few days earlier and subjected the Palestinian locals to exhaustive questioning.

The Israeli soldiers took out solar energy cells without prior notifications.

The locals said the move dovetails Israeli attempts to force them out of the area.

The snatched cells are reportedly funded by European institutions as part of underway endeavors to secure much-needed power supplies for Palestinians setting up roots in the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli occupation authorities have frequently held sway over Palestinian solar cells, water tanks, and agricultural kit in Khirbet al-Hima in an attempt to tighten the noose around Palestinians’ neck and grab hold of their lands in favor of illegal settlement expansion.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

IOF storms Issawiya in Jerusalem, blocks traffic

IOF stormed Issawiya

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday evening stormed Issawiya district in Occupied Jerusalem and imposed movement restrictions on Palestinian citizens and vehicles there.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Israeli police soldiers set up makeshift checkpoints in Issawiya, with no known reason, and embarked on savagely searching passing vehicles and the passengers aboard them.

Recently, the IOF intensified its raids on Palestinian neighborhoods and towns in Jerusalem.

Earlier on the same day, the IOF stormed Ajjah town in Jenin and clashed with local young men.

The IOF also patrolled the town’s streets, while an Israeli officer was stopping and questioning some residents.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

Hardline Turkish Forces behind Online Campaign against Syrian Refugees as They Seek to Create Rift between Two Brotherly Peoples

Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim said that the campaign launched recently against the Syrian refugees on social media sites in Turkey is the result of an alignment between some hardline forces in Turkey which are opposed to the presence of Syrian refugees. He noted that these hardliners are seeking to exploit irresponsible behavior of a minority of Syrian refugees.

In a statement, Hakim said that hardline Turkish forces are seeking to exploit irresponsible behavior of a minority of Syrian refugees to advance their political agendas. These forces are “trying to incite the Turkish public against a people that has been subjected to the worst crimes committed by the criminal of our modern times, Bashar Assad and his allies,” he added.

The actions of some Turkish hardliners that do not correspond with the values, customs and principles of the brotherly Turkish people risk negatively affecting the fate of the Syrian refugees in Turkey, Hakim added.

Hakim stressed that the Syrian refugees in Turkey “must respect Turkish law and the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Turkish law as well as stay away from any irresponsible behavior.”

Hakim urged every Syrian family living outside Syria, especially in Turkey, to make sure the behavior of their offspring tallies with the rules and laws of host countries. He stressed that “the enemies of the Syrian people must not be allowed to exploit these individual acts that serve the Assad regime only as they risk muddy the relationship between the Syrian refugees and their host countries.”

Hakim pointed out that the Syrian Coalition will continue to coordinate with the Turkish government to prevent any rift between the two brotherly nations. He added that any and all offenders should be held to account and penalties stipulated by Turkish law applied.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 05.07.2017)

Palestinian arrested after being beaten by settlers in al-Khalil

Hisham abu Aisha arrested

Israeli soldiers on Tuesday night arrested a Palestinian young man after he was physically assaulted by Jewish settlers in al-Khalil city, south of the occupied West Bank.

Eyewitnesses reported that a group of settlers severely beat 22-year-old Hisham Abu Aisha in full view of Israeli soldiers in al-Shuhada street in the city.

They added that the soldiers did not arrest the assailants, but rather they violently restrained and handcuffed the young man before bundling him into a patrol car and driving him away.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

IOA sets three conditions to release mother of martyr Ankoush

For release mother Adel Ankoush

Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) imposed on Tuesday three conditions for the release of the mother of martyr Adel Ankoush who was killed by Israeli forces.

The lawyer of Palestinian Prisoner Society, Abdunnaser al-Noubani, revealed that Israeli military court of Ofer issued a verdict stipulating the release of Zainab Ankoush, 46, under three conditions. The first is to be released on bail estimated at 6000 shekels and a third-party bail estimated at 20,000 shekels in order to guarantee her attendance at the court. The third condition is not to publish any “incitement” releases against the IOA, he added.

The mother of the slain Ankoush  was arrested on June 21 when Israeli troops stormed her home in Deir Abu Mishaal town near Ramallah.

(Source / 05.07.2017)

Joint civil defense drills held by PA forces, Israeli army

Military drills

Joint civil defense drills have been staged by the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority (PA), chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, according to Hebrew-speaking sources.

A Wednesday report by Yedioth Aharonot newspaper unraveled underway drills carried out concurrently by the PA and Israeli civil defense crews at a military checkpoint pitched in Jenin.

The exercises simulated the evacuation of wounded people from crushed vehicles following traffic accidents.

Security cooperation between the PA forces and the Israeli army has been ongoing despite the political stalemate between the two sides, the same source added.

(Source / 05.07.2017)