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Dagelijks archief 11 juli 2017

Palestinian detained after Israeli forces open fire on his car for ‘driving dangerously’

Opened fire at Pal near Shufat

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle near Shufat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, “riddling it with bullets,” because the Palestinian, who was later detained, was allegedly driving erratically.

Spokesman for the Fatah movement in Shufat refugee camp Thaer al-Fasfous told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed the area and fired heavily at a Palestinian vehicle before they cordoned off the street.
A source at the Palestinian Red Crescent said ambulances arrived to the scene and saw a car “riddled with bullets,” but no injured people were found inside the car or in the area.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld later told Ma’an that Israeli border police spotted the vehicle “driving in a dangerous way,” and that Israeli forces responded by opening fire at the car when the driver did not react to signals by police to pull over.
He said the driver was detained, unscathed, and was currently being questioned by Israeli police.
Last September, Israeli border police heavily opened fire on a vehicle that was driving near clashes outside of Shufat refugee camp. Mustafa Nimr was shot dead inside the car while he was bringing home food and baby clothes.
Israeli authorities later admitted that the 27-year-old was “killed by mistake,” though later attempted to accuse his cousin, who was driving the car, of causing Mustafa’s death by driving negligently which prompted Israeli forces to shower the car with bullets.
Israeli police initially claimed that the two were attempting to carry out a car ramming attack on Israeli officers.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
Shufat refugee camp is located in northeastern Jerusalem within Israel’s municipal boundaries of the city, but is encircled on three sides by Israel’s separation wall, forcing residents to pass through a congested military checkpoint to access the rest of Jerusalem where most claim residency status.
Opened fire at Pal near Shufat1
(Source / 11.07.2017)

Israeli settlers attempt to take over Silwan land, claiming pre-1948 Jewish ownership

Take over Silwan

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers reportedly attempted to take over a tract of land belonging to a Palestinian family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday, claiming that it had been owned by Yemenite Jews prior to the creation of the state of Israel.

Rafaat Basbous, the owner of the land in the Batn al-Hawa area of Silwan, located just south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, said that 20 workers escorted by Israeli forces and settlers raided the land adjacent to his family’s home and started delimiting the area with barbed wire.
The settlers told Basbous that they had obtained a court order stating that the land belonged to Jews.
When the residents of the area confronted the settlers in an attempt to stop them from seizing the land, Israeli forces assaulted the Palestinians, pushing them away and using pepper spray against them, Basbous said.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Basbous’ land was located in a five-dunam (1.23 acre) area that settler organization Ateret Cohanim had been planning to take over, claiming that six tracts of land in Batn al-Hawa had been owned by Yemenite Jews since 1881.
The Wadi Hilweh center said that 30 to 35 buildings are built on the targeted lands, adding that 80 families had lived there for dozens of years after purchasing them from previous owners legally, adding that the families had the legal documents to prove their ownership of the lands.
The center added that the Israeli settlers’ attempts to take over the lands in Batn al-Hawa started eight years ago, but that most of the residents had been able to maintain their properties until now.
Ateret Cohanim is an Israeli pro-settlement nonprofit organization — receiving tax-deductible donations from the United States through its financial intermediary American Friends of Ateret Cohanim — which focuses on “Judaizing” East Jerusalem through a Jewish reclamation project working to expand illegal settlements and facilitate Jewish takeover of Palestinian properties across the “Green Line” into Palestinian territory.
Ateret Cohanim, along with other pro-settler organizations, commonly uses Israel’s 1970 Legal and Administrative Matters law to evict Palestinians from their homes. According to the law, Jewish individuals are allowed to claim ownership of property if they can prove the property was under Jewish ownership before 1948.
However, the law only applies to Jews and does not apply to Palestinians who were dispossessed of their lands and properties during and after the establishment of Israel in 1948, despite their right being upheld in international law in UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
Ateret Cohanim has also worked to purchase property from Palestinians to increase Jewish presence in East Jerusalem while deterring Jewish families from selling property to Palestinians.
The presence of Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territory is considered illegal under international law according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, a fact reaffirmed in a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy which passed in December.
(Source / 11.07.2017)

How Gazans are dealing with internet crisis

Young Palestinian entrepreneurs use their computers at Gaza Sky Geeks office, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Jan. 18, 2016

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The internet has become the only outlet for Gazans to escape the concerns and problems resulting from the ongoing Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007.

However, Gaza has been barely getting any internet service due to increased power cuts that are leaving the citizens without electricity for 20 hours a day. On June 19, Israel reduced the electricity coming through the Israeli supply lines to Gaza from 120 megawatts (MW) to 48 MW, in response to a request from Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority.

Internet service is an important commodity for Gazans, as they cannot travel abroad due to the continued closure of the Rafah crossing.

Unemployed Gazan youth search for freelance work online in light of the growing unemployment rate, which reached 41.2% in the Gaza Strip, according to official statistics issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics published in July 2016.

The number of internet subscribers in Gaza is growing. According to a report issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Gaza on May 7, the number of internet subscribers reached 116,793 at the end of the first quarter of 2017 compared to 94,958 during the first quarter of 2016.

There are four main companies in Gaza that supply internet to a number of subcompanies, which in turn sell their services to citizens: the Palestinian Telecommunications CompanyDigital CommunicationMada and Fusion. These companies acquire their internet supply through Israeli companies such as Bezeq.

In light of the electricity crisis, Gazans rely heavily on rechargeable batteries as a source of energy to keep internet service provider distribution centers and home internet routers operating.

Ziad al-Sheikh Dib, the director general of licensing in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Gaza, told Al-Monitor, “The provision of internet services to citizens requires the installation of electricity-operated and battery-operated power plants that can run these circuits for seven consecutive hours in the event of a power outage. However, the problem of 20-hour power cuts prevents charging the batteries adequately, which affects the citizens’ ability to access the internet.”

This crisis has provoked widespread discontent and anger across social media. Activist Abdallah Abu Sharekh wrote on his Facebook page on June 23, “The reduction of internet hours in Gaza is a terrible violation of human rights and even a crime against humanity!” This sparked reactions and comments such as, “We can afford to cut everything but the internet,” from activist Mohammed Allam.

Mahmoud al-Rayyes expressed his discontent over the internet crisis, because his work in the foreign exchange market has been adversely affected by the internet being cut for about six hours a day from his residence in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of northern Gaza City.

“Following up on this market requires constant internet connection to monitor stocks that could fluctuate in seconds. But the internet cuts have lost me $1,700 in one week,” Rayyes told Al-Monitor.

Habib al-Shawa, a student in the faculty of commerce at the Islamic University of Gaza, told Al-Monitor, “Every minor crisis in Gaza surges until it deeply affects our lives. I am afraid that the internet cuts will turn into one of our chronic crises.”

Talal Okal, a political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, told Al-Monitor that the worsening internet crisis cannot be tolerated and may lead to the deterioration of the security situation between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

He said, “The internet crisis buildup is likely to increase the sense of isolation in Gaza as well as the unemployment rate. This leads to unrest that could ultimately turn into a military conflict between Gaza and Israel in order to force Israel to solve Gaza’s problems, as an occupying state.”

Sheikh Dib pointed out that as the crisis continues to expand, the number of those affected remains unknown. Some citizens have no access whatsoever to the internet for hours, while others suffer from the poor quality and speed of the service. However, he said, the continuation of the electricity crisis will further exacerbate the internet crisis.

He noted that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is constantly following up with all internet companies in Gaza to solve this problem. He added, “The ministry provided some solutions to alleviate this crisis, such as installing solar cells to generate electricity for distribution centers or relying on external generators to charge batteries.”

But Sheikh Dib pointed out that it is not possible to resort to external generators at night because of the loud noise they produce.

Khalil Abu Salim, the director of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company in Gaza City, told Quds News on June 28 that the 20-hour power cuts prevent internet providers from distributing the service, noting that the batteries in each distribution center only operate for four to six hours per day, after which they need to be recharged.

Salim pointed out that his company tried to install solar cells to generate electricity for the distribution centers, but the lack of solar panels in the Gaza Strip prevents him from doing so for many of his company’s centers.

Despite Egypt’s decision to bring Egyptian industrial diesel into the Gaza Strip on June 21 to operate the Gaza power plant, the situation remained as is due to Israel’s reduction of electricity supply to Gaza, which means the internet crisis is heading toward further deterioration.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

Regime Forces Violate Cease-fire Agreement in Dara’a as US Senator Criticizes Deal

The Assad forces on Monday violated the cease-fire in southwest Syria only hours after it went into effect on Sunday. Regime forces carried out artillery and mortars shelling the outskirts of the district of Manshiyya in the city of Dara’a at dawn today, causing material damage. This is the second breach in Manshiya district in less than 24 hours.

Local activists said that regime forces also shelled the FSA-held parts in Dara’a al-Balad with heavy machine guns, without reports of injuries. They pointed out that regime forces also carried out artillery and mortar shelling on the villages of Hamidiya, Mashara, and Hamriya hill in rural Quneitra earlier on Monday.

“Assad regime forces stationed in the ‘Abandoned Battalion’ near Dara’a city bombed the town of Naima in eastern rural Dara’a with heavy artillery shells, causing material damage. The neighborhoods of Dara’a Al-Balad came under shelling by heavy machine guns,” said media activist Yasser Khatib.

Regime forces, backed by the Iranian militias and Russian aerial cover, launched a ground attack on the positions of the Free Syrian Army in northeastern rural Suweida in the early morning hours of Monday. The FSA groups previously captured these positions from the ISIS extremist group.

Saad Hajj, spokesman for the Usoud Alsharqiya FSA group, said that fierce battles broke out following a surprise attack by regime forces on the FSA positions around Tal Asfar and Tal Salman hills in rural Suweida. Hajj added that they repelled the regime attack. He denied claims by the Assad regime that the area is controlled by ISIS.

Meanwhile, senior Republican Senator Lindsay Graham on Sunday said that the war in Syria will not come to an end as long as Bashar al-Assad is in power. Graham criticized the ceasefire deal reached in in southern Syria through a deal brokered by the United States, Russia, and Jordan.

This ceasefire serves the Assad regime Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He pointed out that the US is risking ceding ground in Syria to the Russians.

Observers said that the deal reached in southern Syria did not specify a precise map of the areas covered by the cease-fire, giving the Assad regime and its allies a ready pretext to try to advance on some battlefronts in the area.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + The New Arab Newspaper / 11.07.2017)

Israeli forces kidnap Palestinian man after opening fire at his car

Palestinian arrested Anata

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday morning kidnapped a Palestinian citizen from Anata town, northeast of Jerusalem, after they opened fire at his car.

According to eye-witnesses, the Israeli forces kidnapped 50-year-old Ziad Abu Nijma after they cordoned off his car and fired multiple shots at the vehicle.

The eye-witnesses added that Abu Nijma works as a delivery man who transports items in Anata.

An Israeli police statement claimed the arrestee was driving frantically and was transferred to an Israeli detention center pending intensive questioning.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

IOA razes Palestinian building in Issawiya district

Razzia Issawiya

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) at dawn Tuesday demolished a four-story apartment building under construction in Issawiya district, east of Jerusalem, at the pretext that it was built with no license.

Local sources said that the Israeli police imposed a security cordon around the perimeter of the building before bulldozers embarked on razing it to the ground.

In this regard, the Issawiya Follow-up Committee has strongly denounced the Israeli municipal authority for persisting in raiding Issawiya, terrorizing its residents and demolishing their homes.

The committee accused the Israeli municipality of trying to create a sense of instability and constant fear among the Palestinian families in Jerusalem with its systematic demolition policy.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

PA cuts social allowances to 80,000 poor families in blockaded Gaza

80000 families blocked Gaza

A senior official unraveled a decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA), chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, to suspend social allowances to over 80,000 families in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

According to a senior PA official, 80,000 underprivileged families in Gaza are to be shorn of social allowances previously allotted to the enclave’s poorest families.

Similar measures have recently been opted for by the PA against thousands of Gaza’s civil servants and prisoners’ families.

The decision makes part of a chain of castigatory steps pursued by PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to tighten the noose around Gazans’ neck following pressure by Israel and the US.

Thousands of Gaza’s workers were pushed into early retirement; thousands of others, including MPs and ex-prisoners, have had their salaries and allowances cut without justification.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

IOF raids homes, kidnaps two Palestinians overnight in Nablus

2 Palestinians kidnapped at Nablus

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) last night and at dawn Tuesday raided homes and kidnapped two Palestinian citizens in the West Bank province of Nablus.

Local sources reported that a large number of Israeli troops stormed overnight Kafr Qallil town, south of Nablus, and ransacked the house of a young man called Firas Mansour for about two hours before rounding him up.

A teenager was also kidnapped from his home during an IOF campaign in Sebastia town, north of Nablus. He was identified as Mahdi Shahab.

Later at dawn, an Israeli military force stormed different neighborhoods of Nablus city, including Yassamina and Hawsh al-Att’ot areas, and raided several homes, without making arrests.

In a separate incident, a group of extremist Jewish settlers escorted by soldiers stormed at dawn Kifl Hares town in Salfit, north of the West Bank, acted provocatively towards local residents, and performed rituals at Islamic holy sites.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

Int’l Campaign holds Israel responsible for life of injured prisoner

Tadhamun

The International Campaign to Support Prisoners in Israeli jails—Tadhamun—held the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for the life of the injured Palestinian detainee Nael Abu al-Assal, 32.

Prisoner Nael Abu al-Assal sustained injuries on his way to the Ofer court via an Israeli “Bosta” while he was chained and handcuffed. He sustained vertebral fractures, causing him severe pains.

The Israeli prison service denied him urgent treatment and only provided him with pain relievers.

Tadhamun said the Bosta vehicle which Palestinian detainees are often transferred to/from Israeli court/jails are “makeshift cells” with very bad smells and poor ventilation.

Tadhamun said such transfers represent serious violations of the detainees’ rights and contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

The campaign urged all human rights institutions to take urgent action vis-à-vis such preplanned Israeli crimes against Palestinian prisoners.

The “Bosta” is the Israeli prison transfer vehicle in which the Palestinian prisoners are cuffed all the way to and back from court or clinic while sitting on metal chairs.

(Source / 11.07.2017)

Palestinians fear fragmentation

Ramona Wadi

A recent poll carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research has seen Palestinians reject the current political developments. A majority of respondents rejected the PA’s measure of cutting public sector employees’ salaries and power-sharing between Hamas and Mohammad Dahlan.  The divide between the political statements offered as explanation by the PA and Hamas, and the people’s perception of the current crisis is indicative of a massive rift that can further fragment Palestinian society.

The poll’s focus, which was summarized under ten separate headings, deal mainly with Palestinians’ perceptions of Palestine’s future and how this is being shaped by the PA and Hamas. Despite the PA’s purported justifications regarding plunging Gaza into darkness, 84 per cent of Palestinians are opposed to Mahmoud Abbas’ decision and 88 per cent have also expressed disapproval about the cuts in salaries.

Support for an agreement between Hamas and Dahlan stands at 61 per cent in Gaza, yet 50 per cent of respondents expressed concern that “a joint administration, if true, would lead to the total separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The issue of fragmentation also resonated with regard to the PA’s decision to stop payments for Gaza’s electricity – 78 per cent believed the decision would exacerbate the division. PA decisions to suspend the payments of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are also abhorred: 91 per cent of respondents expressed opposition to the decision. On the subject of Palestinian prisoners, the collective hunger strike has also confirmed the leadership preference of Marwan Barghouthi, which stands at 69 per cent.

Dissatisfaction with Mahmoud Abbas was recorded to be 34 per cent. A possibility of new elections has also seen Barghouthi at the helm with 35 per cent, followed by Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Dahlan at 19 per cent and seven per cent respectively. Only one per cent of respondents expressed preference for Saeb Erekat. The question posed to respondents was situated within a context in which Abbas would not be contesting the election. Yet, in another question that required respondents to give their voting preference for presidential elections between three candidates, Marwan Barghouthi led by 41 per cent, followed by Haniyeh with 32 per cent and Abbas at 22 per cent.

Support for armed resistance when compared to three months ago has dropped to 39 per cent from the previous 51 per cent.  The current trend shows Palestinian willingness to join international institutions at 74 per cent.

The shifts are indicative of changing priorities in Palestine. While it does not mean that anti-colonial struggle has been abandoned, the respondents have prioritized addressing the current circumstances as well as the authority which perpetuated the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, in concordance with Israel. Palestinians are also seeking political alternatives –Barghouthi’s increasing popularity shows there is less adherence to the politics of the two rival parties. However, this means that both the PA and Hamas are shaping the possibility of alternatives in people’s minds, with limitations on opportunities for political change risking the continuation of cycles that will restrict Palestinians to addressing issues as individual violations, rather than as a result of colonial oppression and its ramifications.

(Source / 11.07.2017)