Israeli minister seeks to deport Shaikh Raed Salah

Image of Shaikh Raed Salah

Image of Shaikh Raed Salah

Israel’s Transportation and Intelligence Minister has announced that he is seeking to have Shaikh Raed Salah deported, Safa reported on Sunday. “I spent 15 years trying to delegitimise Shaikh Raed Salah,” wrote Ysirael Katz on Twitter. “Today’s mission is to deport him out of the borders of Israel.”

Katz apparently said that the leading “Israeli-Arab” activist should be deported to Lebanon or the occupied Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli siege for 11 years.

Shaikh Raed has survived several Israeli assassination attempts and has been imprisoned by the occupation authorities a number of times. He has also been banned from Al-Aqsa Mosque on a few occasions. The head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is known as “Shaikh of Al-Aqsa” for his commitment to protecting the Noble Sanctuary from Israel’s aggressive Judaisation programme.

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Ship from Sweden set to break siege on Gaza

A Turkish ship "Sefkat" carrying 10 thousands of tones of food and equipment for Gaza has arrived at Israel's Ashdod port prior to entering the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, Gaza on 21 June, 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency ]

A ship containing food and equipment for Gaza has arrived at Israel’s Ashdod port prior to entering the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, Gaza on 21 June, 2017

Ship to Gaza, a Swedish-registered NGO, has bought a new boat measuring nine metres in order to sail to Gaza and break the Israeli siege on the coastal enclave, Anadolu reported yesterday.

Jeanette Escanilla, spokeswoman of the NGO, said that a fundraising campaign has been launched in Sweden to pay for the new ship and to buy others, which are going to sail to Gaza in 2018.

Escanilla noted that the boat they already bought has been named after the prominent Irish activist Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

Maguire took part in several voyages aimed at breaking the siege; he was on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010 when Israeli commandoes boarded the ship and killed nine Turks.

The Gaza Strip has been under a strict Israeli siege for 11 consecutive years backed by Egypt and the international community. Israel justifies the blockade by claiming it is part of efforts to fight Palestinian terrorism.

Read: Gazans mark the anniversary of the Mavi Marmara incident

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Abbas accused of ‘verbally assaulting’ leading PFLP member at PLO meeting

Omar Shihada

Member of the PFLP’s politburo Omar Shihada

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been accused of “verbally assaulting” a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at a recent meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee and Fatah’s Central Committee.

Abbas, who also heads the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party Fatah, allegedly verbally attacked Omar Shihada at the meeting, according to a statement released Monday by fellow PFLP politburo member Rabah Muhanna, who also said the president’s bodyguard attempted to physically attack Shihada.
Gaza-based new outlet Palestine Today cited a source “close to the Palestinian leadership” as saying that a heated argument broke out between the president and Shihada after the president “skipped” PFLP members when it was their turn to talk during the meeting.
Shihada protested and asked “why are we being denied our right to talk when it’s our turn according to the schedule of the meeting?” to which Abbas reportedly replied: “Shut up! It’s not you who determines who will talk.” Shihada, according to Palestine Today, answered “you shut up! You should comply with the rules.”
Abbas then responded with a “repulsive” phrase, according to the report, which also alleged that one of the president’s bodyguards hit Shihada on the shoulder while other people in attendance tried to calm the situation. Shihada then reportedly threw a bottle of water at the bodyguard.
“I condemn this unbrotherly behavior by the president and his bodyguard, which indicates that President Abu Mazen is trying to govern singlehandedly and suppress all dissenting opinions,” Muhanna wrote in his statement, referring to the 82-year-old president by his teknonym.
According to Muhanna, Shihada responded “appropriately” to the verbal and attempted physical assault.
“Such unacceptable behavior by the president has happened repeatedly recently,” the PFLP leader said, alleging that Abbas had also recently “verbally assaulted” PFLP-affiliated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar.
Jarrar has since been detained by the Israeli army and sentenced to administrative detention,internment without trial or charge, due to her “activities” within the PFLP, which Israel considers to be a terrorist organization.
“The PFLP reiterates that we will continue to work towards bringing an end to intra-Palestinian disputes and towards supporting the uprising in Jerusalem, despite all of the unacceptable behavior against us,” Muhanna continued.
When Shihada attends PLO Executive Committee meetings, Muhanna added, he does so to represent the PFLP, adding that “we will never accept any assault against him from anyone whatsoever.”
The Hamas movement, a Palestinian faction that is not represented at the PLO, released a statement on Monday “expressing deep sorrow and denouncement over the behavior of the PA’s president and his bodyguard towards comrade Shihada.” The leftist PLO faction commonly and affectionately refers to its members as “comrades.”
“They swore at him using repulsive phrases and they assaulted him and tried to prevent him from talking,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum wrote.
He reiterated Muhanna’s criticism that Abbas, who has been president since 2005, was taking an “exclusionary” approach to governing, which was particularly regrettable given that Palestinians had entered a “historic stage” and “should unite and close ranks in order to counter the Israeli occupation’s plans and projects against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“This behavior exposes that the rhetoric Abbas used in his latest speech regarding unity, reconciliation, and the protection of people’s interests was patently false,” Barhum concluded.
Both the Fatah-led PA and Hamas movement, the de facto ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip,called for Palestinian national unity on Sunday amid ongoing protests over increased Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
While Abbas said he decided to cut all ties with Israel over the Al-Aqsa crisis, multiple unconfirmed reports have cast doubts over the seriousness of Abbas’ announcement.
The PA has been the focus of fierce condemnation in recent months, particularly for its security coordination with Israel, as well as accusations that it has deliberately pushed the impoverished Gaza Strip further into a humanitarian catastrophe in order to wrest control of the territory from Hamas.
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 62 percent of the Palestinian public want president Abbas to resign — 55 percent of people in the West Bank and 75 percent of people in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 24.07.2017)

UK Banks Profit from Israeli Crimes against Palestinians

24 JUL
7:52 AM

A new report from War on Want reveals that some of the UK’s top banks and financial institutions are investing in companies known to supply Israel with weapons and technology used in the oppression of Palestinians.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism and Security) Ryvka campaigns against human rights abuses associated with the growing power of the military and security industry, with a special focus on the UK-Israel arms trade. She speaks and writes prolifically on the global grassroots movement for Palestinian rights. Ryvka has a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University where she specialised in the politics of tourism development in the occupied West Bank.

TRNN transcript:

Sharmini Peries: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. In the 50 years that Israel has occupied the Palestinian territory, the Israeli military has used a variety of ways and means to repress Palestinian resistance. Israel not only imports weapons and ammunition, but it also developed a massive arm’s industry to do this. Keeping millions under control is a costly endeavor and would not have been possible without billions in foreign investments. Many of those investments are made by British banks and this is the topic of a new report published by War On Want titled, “Deadly Investments: UK bank complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.” This report deals not only with the military occupation of Palestinians, but also with other means of repression, including Israeli apartheid policies toward Palestinians. The report was written by Michael Deas and Ryvka Barnard. Ryvka Barnard joins us today from London to discuss the report. She is the Senior Global Justice Campaign’s officer and Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security at War On Want. Thanks for joining us, Ryvka.

Ryvka Barnard: Thanks for having me.

Sharmini Peries: Ryvka, War On Want has been following the corporate complicity of UK, particularly the Israeli violations of international law for many years. Now what did you find in this report that was a bit unique, or different?

Ryvka Barnard: Right. Well, this report is about UK bank and financial institutions that are investing in companies, selling weapons, and military technology to Israel. In the past, we’ve looked at some of those companies that are directly supplying equipment and technology to Israel used in violence against Palestinians. The banks and financial institutions is in some ways another piece of the puzzle. It’s a nodal point in the chain of complicity that we’re looking at.

Sharmini Peries: The focus of this report being banking, banks invest in order to generate profit usually. Not out of political interest or political agenda. Are there laws in the UK that legislate against this kind of investment?

Ryvka Barnard: Right. Well, one of the things … I mean, one of the pieces of the report is a new set of guidance that was released by the UN high commissioner for human rights just in June of this year, June 2017, clarifying that banks have the same responsibilities as other businesses under the UN guiding principles on business and human rights. That’s a set of criteria that businesses around the world are supposed to adhere to in respect of human rights. It’s also integrated into UK policy, so the UN guiding principles are promoted by the UK as the standard for how businesses should act in regard to human rights. Banks, historically, have said, “Well, we’re not the same as other kinds of businesses,” for the reasons that you mentioned, saying, “We don’t make political decisions. This is just about our clients.” The UN guiding principles, this new set of guidance, said that banks have responsibilities through its business relationships also. That indicates very clearly that banks and financial institutions have a responsibility, a legal responsibility for the actions of their clients as well. If their clients are investing in the arm’s trade, the bank has a responsibility to distance themselves from those clients.

Sharmini Peries: Right. These guidelines that have been issued, which is obviously a good thing, is there anyone monitoring the compliance with such guidelines?

Ryvka Barnard: Well, the new set of guidance in relation to banks just came out a few months ago. There’s some good non-governmental organizations that look specifically at banks. One to mention is BankTrack, which has actually identified HSBC, which is one of the banks that we looked at as a laggard. That’s their term as a bank that has policy in place. HSBC, for example, which has over 830 million pounds invested in companies that are selling weapons to Israel. HSBC says, “Well, we have a defense policy and we can’t be responsible for what our clients do.” We’re saying, and other NGO’s have been saying, “Actually, banks have responsibility not only to have policy towards human rights, but to do monitoring and checks.” That’s what we’re asking HSBC to do, to look at its relationships with these arm’s companies and to divest from them immediately, because we know that arm’s companies like BAE Systems are supplying weapons that are used by Israel in attacks on Palestinians that violate international law.

Sharmini Peries: Right. One interesting fact about HSBC is that it has about 3.6 million pounds invested in Israeli arm’s company, Elbit Systems. You look into this example. Now, this is not a hell of a lot of money when it comes to the arm’s industry. Why is this a unique example for us to look at?

Ryvka Barnard: Well, for us here in the UK especially, Elbit Systems is, first of all, it’s one of Israel’s largest arm’s companies. It’s most known for producing, manufacturing drones, which are not only used by the Israeli military, but also used by militaries around the world. Elbit Systems has four factories in the UK. It co-owns four factories in the UK making drone parts, which are then sent to Israel and were used, for example, in Israel’s 2014 attacks on the Gaza Strip. Elbit Systems is one of the companies that HSBC is invested in. That’s a clear violation of the UN guiding principles and HSBC should be held to account for that. That’s why we’re doing this research, and why we’ve embarked on a campaign telling HSBC that it needs to divest from companies selling weapons to Israel or Israeli arm’s companies themselves.

Sharmini Peries: Now Ryvka, British arm’s companies like BAE Systems, as well as, US arm’s companies Boeing and Raytheon, are some examples listed among the companies which British banks invest in, which are complicit in Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians. These are international companies, which are also selling arms in other regions of the world, such as Saudi Arabia, which is fighting a proxy war in Yemen at the moment. Are there reports coming out of War On Want that focuses on these other such conflicts with these kinds of roles being played by international arm’s manufacturers, or is Israel, Palestine a particular example that you wanted to highlight?

Ryvka Barnard: Well, I think the … It’s not surprising at all that those companies, for example, BAE Systems are also, as you mentioned, completely complicit in war crimes in other parts of the world also, particularly in relation to Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemeni people. For us, we were looking at the chain of complicity in Israeli’s violation. We can look at the arm’s companies, we can look at the violations themselves, then we think it’s important also to look at the banks. Part of that is inspired by our work as a part of the boycott divestment and sanctions movement, which has called on people around the world to look at examples of complicity in our own communities and that’s what we’re doing, but certainly we support campaigns and research looking into these arm’s companies complicity in other places too. In fact, one of our closest allies here of the campaign against arm’s trade has been doing a lot of work on BAE Systems and UK companies arming Saudi Arabia.

Sharmini Peries: All right. Ryvka, thank you so much for joining us today. Looks like a very interesting report. We’ll put a link to it below this interview for those who might be more interested in reading the full report. Thank you so much.

Ryvka Barnard: Thank you very much.

Sharmini Peries: Thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Yet Again, Al-Makassed Hospital Subject To Frequent Israeli Invasions, Violations

24 JUL
2:34 AM

“We, in Jerusalem, feel like we are completely on our own, facing ongoing Israeli violations, while some Arab government are competing with each other on who is better in normalizing with Israel, while its soldiers are invading surgery rooms, attacking staff and patients, and are attempting to abduct wounded Palestinians, and even the corpses of those who were killed by the army.”

This was a statement issued by the al-Makassed hospital, in occupied East Jerusalem, after Israeli soldiers, once again, invaded the medical center, on Friday, before attacking patients and medical staff, in addition to breaking into patient’s rooms, and even surgery wards.

The administration of al-Makassed said the latest attack was the ugliest, and most violent, since the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987.

“The soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the physicians, nurses, staffers and even patients, in a direct violation of all international laws and human rights agreements,” it said, “On Friday alone, and by 4:30 in the afternoon, were provided medical care to more than 100 wounded Palestinians, and fifty others on Thursday. Many of the inured suffered serious injuries to the head, chest and abdomen, and we had to perform urgent surgeries to all of them.”

“There is also a large number of wounded Palestinians, who could not make it into the hospital because of the extensive Israeli siege around the it, and the heavy military deployment in its various wards.”

|Israeli Soldiers Invade Al-Makassed Hospital, Surround ICU To Abduct A Seriously Wounded Teen|

The hospital administration also denounced an invasion carried out by more than fifty Israeli soldiers, who broke into the urgent care units, blood bank, and various wards in the medical center, looking for wounded Palestinians to abduct them.

The soldiers even assaulted Palestinians who came to donate blood, before kicking them and the medial staff out of the blood bank unit.

The hospital called on the international community, all legal and human rights groups, to provide the urgently needed protection against these escalating, serious Israeli violations, especially since Tel Aviv pays no respect to the sanctity of medical centers, and related human rights agreements.

“We feel we are on our own, facing an unprecedented escalation, and the usual Arab and international silence and complicity. While some Arab countries are rushing to normalize with Israel, and extending bridges of love and cooperation with Tel Aviv, it is responding to that with more violations, storming hospitals with automatic machine guns, and even invading surgery rooms.”

The hospital thanked all Palestinians who donated blood, and added that at least 220 Palestinians donated blood on Friday alone.

The latest invasions into the hospital were not the first, as the soldiers have raided it, and its branches many times before, and even fired gas bombs at it, including the maternity and surgery wards.

Articles documenting some of the previous invasions into Al-Makassed hospital

Army Fires Gas Bombs Into Al-Makassed Hospital In Jerusalem

Israeli Soldiers Invade Al-Makassed Hospital In Jerusalem, For Fifth Time In One Month

Video: Israeli Military Attacks Against Al-Makassed Hospital Continue; Gas Bombs Fired

Video: ‘Al-Makassed Hospital In Jerusalem Subject To Ongoing Israeli Invasions’

Israeli Forces Raid Jerusalem’s Al-Makassed Hospital

Soldiers Invade Al-Makassed Hospital In Jerusalem

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Israeli court bans Palestinian activists from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians gather to protest against Israeli restrictions on Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Gaza City, Gaza on 23 July 2017

The Israeli Magistrates Court in Jerusalem yesterday banned five Palestinian activists and political leaders from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque until 2 August.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club the Israeli court has released the activists. As well as temporarily banning them from entering Jerusalem they have prohibited them from using social media, giving interviews or participating in demonstrations until 27 August.

Among those who have been prohibited are head of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem Hatem Abd Al-Qader; Fatah’s Jerusalem secretary Adnan Ghaith and activists Nasser Hadmi, Nasser Ajaj and Muhamnad Al-Hawa.

The court also ordered the five Jerusalemites to pay a third party guarantee of NIS 5,000 ($1,800).

Read: Day of Rage at Al-Aqsa Mosque

On Saturday evening the Israeli court extended the detention of eight citizens arrested in the past two days pending investigations. Moataz Eidah and Louai Jaber were severely injured during their arrest.

The court has also extended the detention of seven people including 16-year-old Hassan Al-Ajlouni and another 42-year-old Palestinian on charges of praying against police officers orders during a Friday sermon. Israeli police said that the sermon incited violence and promoted terrorism.

(Source / 24.07.2017)

The truth about Israel’s new war on Gaza – the energy rush

While Israel has deployed its media machine, telling the world that it has the right to defend itself against foreign aggression, arguing that no country should ever be made to tolerate systematic terror, even though under international law such narrative holds no legal ground as Israel has been de facto occupying Gaza, rendering null and void the notion of Gaza as a foreign entity, little has been said of Israel’s real motives.

To quickly settle Israel’s argument that it legally and morally can and should defend itself against any aggression coming from Gaza, it is important to understand that the Gaza Strip is not, under international law, a sovereign state, it is an occupied land, therefore Israel cannot declare war on its people, rather it owes its people protection.

As explained by Nura Erakat in a report published in Intifada Palestine, “Military occupation is a recognised status under international law and since 1967, the international community has designated the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as militarily occupied. As long as the occupation continues, Israel has the right to protect itself and its citizens from attacks by Palestinians who reside in the occupied territories. However, Israel also has a duty to maintain law and order, also known as ‘normal life’, within territory it occupies. This obligation includes not only ensuring, but prioritising, the security and well-being of the occupied population. That responsibility and those duties are enumerated in Occupation Law.”

As for Palestinians in Gaza they do however have an inherent right to resist foreign occupation. Such right is again, protected under international law.

But as the following arguments will attempt to demonstrate all the above, the contradicting narratives, the political manipulations and media campaigns, are but a distraction from far more pragmatic realities and maybe truth – the war on Gaza has little to do with sovereignty, terror, politics or even religion, rather it has everything to do with energy.

If Israel is so keen on levelling Hamas it is essentially because the faction has categorically refused to discuss an energy sharing agreement whereby Israel would have access to Gaza’s gas resources.

Let us all remember that Israel faces an energy crisis of biblical proportion and that Gaza’s untapped and unexploited billions of dollars represent a fortune and a lifeline which Tel Aviv will not tolerate to go to waste.

As noted by Tascha Shahriari-Parsa: “Operation Protective Edge is the war of a colonial state dedicated to expanding its theft of Palestine’s natural resources … incarcerating and bombing its people in the world’s biggest open air prison, while growing rich at their expense.”

Rather than a bunch of lunatic radicals animated by the savagery of the crusades, Zionists are actually quite a practical bunch. What they seek in Gaza is merely access to Palestine’s underground riches. Whatever happens on the surface is just there to act as a public distraction, a ploy designed for the masses so that Israel could commit grand larceny in perfect impunity under the very nose of the ever pliable world community. Who after all would dare deny the plight of martyr Israel?

To borrow the words of Tascha Shahriari-Parsa when she wrote a report for The Ecologist: “Behind the operation, behind the mass Israeli and US propaganda attempting to justify the massacre, and behind the death of every child in Gaza is a conflict rarely discussed – an imperialist conflict and a contradiction that rests on Israel’s ambitions to appropriate and profit from Gaza’s natural gas resources.”

Palestine’s vast natural resources

Let us go back to 2000 when British Gas (BG) discovered that Gaza sat on an estimated $4 billion worth of natural gas. Needless to say that this discovery came as a shock to Israel, as suddenly Gaza, this little slither of land which Palestinians have been discarded upon, this purgatory which Zionists imagined to crush Palestinians’ hopes and dreams, became a key geo-strategic priority. Come hail and high waters, Israel would have to gain access to those resources.

Since BG made its first estimation, it was established that Gaza’s gas reserves are far greater than first anticipated. According to Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist and prominent analyst, Gaza is basking in as much wealth as the State of Kuwait.

Rather than live in abject poverty, Gaza should be a vibrant business hub, a brilliant economic success. Instead, it has been withering away under Israel’s blockade, forced to scrap and beg for its daily bread, its people reduced to servitude.

Let us remember that Israel’s maritime blockade coincides with BG’s discovery. Let us remember that it is since 2000 that Israel has denied Palestine access to its territorial waters, thus infringing on international law and de facto putting Gaza under siege; all because Israel wants to pillage Palestine’s resources.

Not convinced yet?

Well, let us refer to an interesting and rather revealing comment made by former Israeli army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon back in 2007 when he laid bare Israel’s true motives. Answering comments in regards to Gaza’s gas riches, he noted: “Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel’s past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel. A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three … It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

What Ya’alon is really saying is that since Hamas will unlikely agree to a deal with Israel, Israel needs therefore to eliminate Hamas, by declaring its faction a terror organisation – even though many would argue that it is a resistance movement, according to international law.

Israel needs gas now!

So why a war now? To put it bluntly, Israel cannot wait any longer. Plagued by high unemployment and rising inflation, Israel needs to find a viable solution to both its energy crisis and mounting economic difficulties – financing an eternal war can be rather costly.

According to Israel’s own projection, the state will face an aggravated energy crisis by 2020. Earlier this July, Haaretz published a report in which it quoted the excerpt of a report written by chief scientists from the Energy and Water Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry, explicitly mapping out Israel’s energy crisis. It read “We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authority’s estimates are lacking. There’s a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic metres between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”

Israel is quite simply running out of time. If recent mass protests in Israel in regards to depreciating living conditions and social injustice are anything to go by, officials indeed feel a great sense of urgency.

As Israel’s needs increase, so has its determination to by-pass international law, as before Israel’s will nations should only bow and recoil in awe.

Since whatever Israel cannot negotiate it will obliterate, beginning of course with Hamas, the war on Gaza came as a natural development to Israel’s geo-strategic realities.

Let us remember that the last time Israel marched on Gaza, in 2008, its military deployment also aligned with its contracting of BG to discuss critical negotiations around Gaza’s natural gas. A coincidence? Maybe not.

This new war on Gaza is a colonial war. This new war on Gaza has little to do with self-defence or terror or sovereignty… it has however everything to do with Israel’s neo-imperialistic ambitions.

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Israeli police detain grieving father, cousin of Palestinian slain in Jerusalem

Hassan abu Ghannam

Hassan Abu Ghannam, father of 20-year-old Muhammad

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — As the family of 20-year-old Muhammad Abu Ghannam continued to grieve his death at the hands of Israeli forces during violent clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, Israeli police have detained his father and cousin.

Abu Ghannam was among three young Palestinian men to be killed Friday in the Jerusalem area, as Israeli forces and settlers attacked thousands of protesting worshipers who prayed in the streets, calling for the removal of new security measures at Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam and a national symbol for Palestine.
Israeli forces raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur around dawn on Monday and detained Abu Ghannam’s father Hassan and his cousin Ismail, head of the neighborhood’s follow-up committee Mufid Abu Ghannam told Ma’an.
The two were taken to a police station for interrogation. However, an Israeli police spokesperson told Ma’an that he was not aware of the detentions, or of any detentions being carried out in Jerusalem on Monday.
The raid came hours after Hassan and his wife Suzan, Abu Ghannam’s mother, gave an interview to Ma’an recounting the day they learned their son had died.
The bereaved mother said that she, Muhammad, and her husband had been praying outside of the Lions’ Gate entrance to Al-Aqsa together for the past week to protest the new metal detectors at the holy site, installed in the wake of a deadly shootout between Palestinian assailants and Israeli border guards.
Palestinians and rights groups have denounced the security measures as collective punishment and a violation of the right to freedom of worship.
“He woke up on Friday at around 11 a.m. I left to Al-Aqsa Mosque, prayed outside the Lions’ Gate, and went back home,” Suzan said. “Minutes later, I heard heavy gunfire so I called my sister to ask what was happening. A few minutes after that, people were shouting that Muhammad had died a martyr.”

Suzan Abu Ghannam

Suzan Abu Ghannam grieves hours after her son’s killing on July 21

“It is not a pity to die in sacrifice for Al-Aqsa — We are all ready to die for Al-Aqsa,” the bereaved mother said, but she regretted not being able to say goodbye to her son or hug him one last time. “I wish so badly I could have held him, but the occupation was trying to detain his body, so people were forced to hide the body and bury him immediately.”

Hassan abu Ghannam1

Hassan abu Ghannam2

Hassan also recalled the moment he received a call telling him his son had been shot. “I immediately went to al-Makassed hospital, where I was told that he was in the operating room. Then they told me he died a martyr.”
Israeli forces, he added, attempted to break into the hospital several times to seize Abu Ghannam’s body, “but thank God we managed to bury him, as was his destiny. He had been shot in the chest — his body was covered with blood.”
Shocking footage emerged of Palestinians frantically hauling Abu Ghannam’s body over a wall behind the al-Makassed hospital to avoid Israeli forces confiscating the body, as Israeli authorities commonly seize and withhold the remains of slain Palestinians to use then as bargaining chips.
Israeli forces succeeded in storming the hospital later in the day seeking to detain wounded protesters, after al-Makassed had called on international organisations like the World Health Organization and Red Cross to intervene “and put an end to the chaos caused by the raids carried out by the Israeli occupation forces inside the Hospital’s grounds and premises.”
The bereaved father said his son had been “defending Al-Aqsa with me and his mother, along with thousands of Jerusalemites.”
“We used to go to the mosque together every day. He was completely fearless of falling prey to the detention campaigns and the oppression by the Israeli forces,” Hassan said, only hours before he was arrested himself.
Israeli forces routinely target the family members of Palestinians killed by Israelis. At the time of Abu Ghannam’s killing, an Israeli police spokesperson said that police received reports that an “injured local resident,” who was allegedly involved in throwing fireworks at Israeli forces in al-Tur, had died in the hospital, and that police were “looking into the incident.”
Hassan told Ma’an that his son, a sophomore at Birzeit University studying computer science, “knew the Quran by heart and never said no to me.”
“He wished he could die a martyr — and his wish came true.”

Suzan Abu Ghannam1

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Israeli forces shoot, injure 4 Palestinian protesters near Ramallah

4 Palestinians injured Ramallah

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured at least four Palestinian university students with live bullets when a march north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank sparked clashes on Monday, official Palestinian news agency Wafa said, quoting a Palestinian Ministry of Health statement.

The march was reportedly launched by students from Birzeit University to protest against the killing offellow student Muhammad Abu Ghannam at the hands of Israeli forces during violent clashes in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.
Ma’an also witnessed Israeli forces spraying demonstrators with skunk water as large number of Israeli soldiers and jeeps deployed in the area.
Demonstrators headed to an Israeli military checkpoint outside the illegal Beit El settlement, when Israeli soldiers attacked protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas canisters, according to the Health Ministry, which said four protesters sustained live bullet wounds in their lower extremities.
They were evacuated to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where they were reported to be in a stable condition.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured over the past week during similar demonstrations against new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Abu Ghannam was among three young Palestinians to be killed in major clashes on Friday, while another Palestinian man was shot and killed during clashes with Israeli forces in al-Eizariya on Saturday night.

4 Palestinians injured Ramallah1

(Source / 24.07.2017)

Halamish attacker’s home to be demolished as Israeli ministers call for death penalty

19-year old Palestinian

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that the home of Omar al-Abed would be punitively demolished after the 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed and killed three Israeli settlers on Friday, as several Israeli officials called for the death penalty to be imposed on al-Abed.

Al-Abed was shot and moderately wounded after breaking into a home in the illegal settlement of Halamish in the central occupied West Bank and carrying out a stabbing attack that killed Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36, and left Salomon’s wife Tova seriously wounded.
The deadly attack took place after three Palestinians were killed — two of them by Israeli police and one reportedly by an Israeli settler — when large-scale civil disobedience demonstrations against Israeli measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound erupted into violent clashes earlier on Friday, in which hundreds more unarmed Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces.
During Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu denounced the killing of the Salomons at the hands of “a beast incited by Jew-hatred,” adding that “the home of the loathsome terrorist will be demolished as soon as possible.”
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, despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks.
Israeli human rights group 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.
Netanyahu’s statement came as a number of high-ranking, far-right Israeli officials — including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — called for al-Abed to be executed for murdering the Salomons.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli news outlet Ynet on Sunday that the death penalty was “appropriate” in “such an extreme case.”
While The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli military courts had not carried out the death penalty since 1962, Israeli forces have been accused for years of carrying out “shoot-to-kill” policies, effectively executing scores of Palestinian attackers and alleged attackers on the scene when they could have been detained or disarmed through non-lethal means.
Lieberman added that in addition to demolishing al-Abed’s home, Israeli authorities were planning on revoking work permits and entry permits to Israel of all of the Palestinian’s extended family — an oft-used measure against the relatives of alleged Palestinian attackers which has also been condemned as constituting collective punishment.
He also went on to accuse the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Hamas movement, and parliamentarians representing Palestinian citizens of Israel of “incitement,” adding that Israeli authorities “need to think about how to outlaw the Balad movement” — one of the parties of the Arab Joint List in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
Lieberman also downplayed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement that the PA was suspending its controversial security coordination with Israel over the increased security measures at Al-Aqsa.
“It’s not like the security coordination is an Israeli need,” Lieberman told Ynet. “It’s a Palestinian need first and foremost. If they want it, they’ll continue, if not they won’t.”

(Source / 24.07.2017)