Israel tightens restrictions on freedom of Arab citizens

Image of Israeli Cultural Minister Miri Regev [file photo]

Image of Israeli Cultural Minister Miri Regev

An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, revealed on Monday that the Israeli authorities have decided to impose fines on institutions which rent space for events organized by non-Jewish citizens which the state regards as illegal, Quds Press has reported.

“The Israeli measure is against the simplest basics of democracy and free speech,” explained Jamal Zahalkeh MK. “It is racist because it targets Arab citizens and their institutions.”

On Sunday, the Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit met and agreed on how to implement the so-called “Nakba Law” which was enacted in 2011. This stipulates that any institution in receipt of government funds will be fined up to three times of the said funds if it rejects Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state; incites racism, violence or terrorism; supports armed resistance or terrorist acts against Israel; or commemorates Israel’s “independence day” as Palestinian Nakba Day.

Read: The Nakba Explained

Israel Hayom said that Regev asked for the meeting after reports about an event hosted by a Jaffa theatre in honour of former Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, who was indicted of smuggling telephones to Palestinian security prisoners.

Regev and Mendelblit, reported the newspaper, agreed that complaints about alleged violations of the Nakba Law by public institutions would be passed on to the finance ministry, which would have a week to respond on whether a given incident in fact violates the law.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

Palestinian officials denounce Israeli attempts to trade permits for good behavior

Leaflets good behavior

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian officials on Monday spoke out against recent Israeli actions in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, where the army distributed leaflets on Sunday calling on Palestinians from the city to “behave” in order to obtain lessened security restrictions on some of the city’s residents.

Muhammad al-Bakr, who serves as a coordinator of political and national forces in the Hebron governorate, said in a statement that the leaflets were “nothing but an Israeli attempt to circumvent Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to halt security coordination with Israel.”
“In accordance with the Oslo agreement, there are official Palestinian authorities specialized in liaising between Palestinians and Israel,” adding that the Oslo Accords “ban Palestinians from dealing with Israel directly.”
Israeli forces had distributed leaflets in the al-Moskobiya, al-Salam, and al-Mahawir neighborhoods of Hebron City, stating that residents of those areas who had previously been refused entry permits to Israel would be eligible to apply on Tuesday for the security ban against them to be removed — allowing them to request entry permits to Israel in the future.
A similar one-day campaign allowing Palestinians to appeal their Israel travel bans was organized a week earlier for residents of the Hebron-area town of Idhna, the army said in a statement, adding that 52 Idhna residents had seen their security ban lifted immediately, while 137 more cases were being studied.
“These campaigns are part of the security forces’ efforts to help peaceful Palestinian residents who do not partake in terror attacks,” the army statement read.
Al-Bakri demanded the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) take a stand on the issue, saying “it is the duty of Palestinian political leadership to make a central decision and apply it in all regions,” referring to Abbas’ decision to halt security coordination with Israel.
In the wake of a deadly shoot-out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on July 14 that led to increased Israeli security measures at the holy site, the PA announced that it had suspended all contacts with Israel.
Despite Israel removing the new security measures after nearly two weeks of large-scale Palestinian protests, the PA said in late July that it was maintaining the coordination freeze.
The PA’s security coordination with Israel has been denounced as a “revolving door” policy funneling Palestinian activists from PA jails to Israeli prisons, and is seen as a primary reason for the growing unpopularity of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.When asked about restrictions on Palestinian movement since security coordination was frozen, Mahmoud al-Habbash, Abbas’ advisor on religious and Islamic affairs, told Ma’an that Palestinians “won’t be bound by Israeli measures as we have many alternatives.”
He added that Palestinian citizens and political leadership should bear the consequences of the Palestinian national struggle, even if that meant “some suffering in (freedom of) movement,” as such suffering, he said, was “nothing” compared to the higher national goal of getting rid of the occupation.
While officials saw the distribution of the leaflets in Hebron as a circumvention of Abbas’ authority, the move was initially tied to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s “carrot and stick” policy toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, whereby harsher punishment would be imposed upon families and villages from which “terrorists” originate, while economic benefits would be granted to areas that “have not produced terrorists.”
(Source / 15.08.2017)

Israeli police raid homes of Jerusalemites accused of receiving funds from Hamas

Homes attacked - Hamas Funds

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police and Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, forces raided several neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem overnight between Monday and Tuesday, storming and ransacking Palestinian homes that police accused of being financially supported by the Hamas movement.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the raids were carried out after “intensive investigations” by Israeli police and intelligence officials that indicated that Jerusalemite families of “terrorists” were receiving money and funding from the Hamas movement “to reward them for the bloody and massive terrorist attacks their children have carried out.”According to the statement, the campaign included seven homes in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of the Old City, Beit Hanina, Issawiya, and Wadi al-Joz.
The following families’ homes were raided, according to al-Samri:The family home of Ahmad Abu Shaaban, who was killed after carrying out a stabbing attack against a woman near the central bus station in Jerusalem on Oct. 14, 2015.The family home of Tariq Abu Arafeh, who was a member of the cell that abducted and killed Israeli soldier Nechshon Vaxman in 1994.The family home of Musab Ghazali, who was killed after carrying out a stabbing attack against Israeli police officers near the Old City’s New Gate on Dec. 26, 2015.The family home of Muhammad Nimr, who was killed after carrying out a stabbing attack on two security guards near the Old City’s Damascus Gate on Nov. 10, 2015.The family home of Ayman Shami, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes in 1994.The family home of Hassan Mahani, who carried out a stabbing attack in the illegal Pisgat Zeev settlement in Jerusalem on July 12, 2016, injuring a minor.The family home of Omar Skafi, who carried out a vehicular and stabbing attack injuring three people in Jerusalem’s Yirimyahu Street on Dec. 6, 2016.The houses were ransacked and inspected, while Israeli forces seized approximately 100,000 shekels ($27,092) worth of money in Israeli and foreign currencies, in addition to jewelry and a private car. All properties and money were confiscated, according to al-Samri.The targeting of family members of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis — particularly those believed to be affiliated with Hamas — has been a long-employed tactic of Israeli forces, with right groups denouncing the practice as “collective punishment.”
Palestinians affiliated with Hamas, which Israel and the United States have classified as a terrorist organization, are routinely subjected to raids and detentions in what rights groups say is part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinian political processes — and, as a result, Palestinian political sovereignty and self-determination.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

Hamas rejects Israel ‘lies’ that Gaza tunnels are built under civilian sites

Palestinians walk inside a tunnel in Gaza City, July 21, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians walk inside a tunnel in Gaza City, July 21, 2016

Hamas has dismissed the latest Israeli accusations that the Palestinian resistance movement has dug tunnels underneath civilian sites in the Gaza Strip, saying that the accusations are meant to justify Tel Aviv’s atrocities in the blockaded coastal enclave.

Last week, Major General Eyal Zamir, the head of the Israeli Southern Command, claimed that Hamas was purposefully constructing tunnels under civilian structures in Gaza to cover its activities there.

He also provided satellite images and geographic coordinates of what claimed were militant emplacements hidden under Gaza civilian sites.

The Israeli general further described the sites as “legitimate military targets,” warning, “We will turn the tunnels into a death trap in the next war.”

In a statement released on Monday, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem rejected Zamir’s claims and said, “Such lies and rumors are part of the failed occupation policy and psychological war to influence the morale of the Palestinian people, and an attempt to legitimize crimes that may be committed against civilians in Gaza.”

Qasem called on human rights groups to “do their duty to expose the intentions of the Zionist occupation and its plans to deliberately target unarmed civilians.”

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including one in 2014, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.

Israel claims that Hamas uses the Gaza underground tunnels to stockpile weapons and infiltrate into the occupied lands.

The resistance group, however, says that the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the besieged Palestinian territory.

Israel is building a 64-kilometer-long wall around Gaza to prevent what it claims to be tunneling into the occupied territories.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

Israel is collapsing: Anti-Bibi protesters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of protesters gather in a northern Israeli city for a 38th consecutive week, united in their cause to protest against Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom they accuse of unforgivable corruption.

Widely referred to as Bibi, Netanyahu is the subject of two high-profile graft cases. In Case 1000, he is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas.

He is also being investigated in Case 2000 for an alleged media bribery scheme to help Yediot Aharonot newspaper against its competitor Yisrael Hayom in return for favorable coverage.

The rallies were held in the city of Petah Tikva outside the house of Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit late Saturday.

The demonstrators chanted Israel “is collapsing,” and some held up placards reading, “Bibi resign.”

They also condemned Mandelblit’s alleged conduct during his questioning of Netanyahu over corruption-related allegations. They accused him of receiving monetary gifts from a number of businessmen, which may have affected the investigation process, shouting, “Both an investigator and a friend.”

No more than roughly 350 pro-Netanyahu demonstrators also turned up at the site, led by members of Knesset (Israeli Parliament) David Bitan and Nava Boker.

Both groups vowed to repeat the rallies next week.

Late last month, Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Barak said the current premier had sparked recent tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound in Tel Aviv-occupied in East Jerusalem al-Quds in a bid to distract public attention from the investigations.

Read more:

Netanyahu “is ready to set … the region on fire in order to save himself from his fear of criminal investigations,” Barak said.

The tensions erupted after a deadly shootout on July 14 outside the compound, known as Haram al-Sharif, which Jews call Temple Mount. Using the gunfight as a pretext, Israel first closed the compound for three days, and then set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the compound, outraging Palestinians and Muslims around the world.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

Israeli forces storm Ramon prison, move Palestinian prisoners between sections

IPS in prison raids

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Prison Service (IPS) forces stormed Section 2 of Ramon prison, located in the southern Israeli Negev desert, transferring Palestinian prisoners in the section to another area of the prison on Tuesday morning.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that special takeover units of the IPS “violently” stormed the section and moved all prisoners from Section 2 to Section 1.
No further details were given.
An IPS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoner’s Affairs reported a similar raid last week, saying special IPS units, in addition to members of an Israeli border police unit, stormed Section 1 of the prison and “brutally” attacked Palestinian prisoners.
An IPS spokesperson told Ma’an at the time that they could “confirm that there has been a routine search in the Ramon prison.”
Israeli authorities currently hold 6,128 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, including 450 without charge or trial.
The group has reported that 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has been detained by Israeli forces at some point in their lives.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

First Batch of Intending Syrian Pilgrims Arrives in Saudi Arabia

A total of 1,200 intending Syrian pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia coming from Gaziantep airport to perform hajj.

Abdulrahman Nahlawi, media officer of the Syrian Coalition’s Supreme Hajj Committee said that two groups of intending Syrian pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia coming from the cities of Gaziantep and Reyhanli in Turkey. He added that the third group, numbering 694 intending pilgrims, would arrive in the Kingdom on Monday.

Nahlawi pointed out that staff of the Committee in Saudi Arabia are receiving the intending Syrian pilgrims and working to facilitate their movement in the airports until they reach their places of residence. While in their residence, the pilgrims are being looked after by the Committee’s medical, religious and administrative offices.

The Committee announced that a total of 15,000 Syrians will perform hajj for this year coming from Syria, the neighboring countries as well as Qatar, Egypt, UAE and Kuwait.

The Committee has been supervising the affairs of the Syrian intending pilgrims over the past five years and has been providing them with services and all forms of facilitation, starting from obtaining visas until they reach the holy sites.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 15.08.2017)

Soldiers Abduct Six Palestinians In Hebron, One In Jerusalem, Break Into shops, Warehouses, In Tulkarem

15 AUG
10:50 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, several homes in occupied East Jerusalem, and Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank, violently searched them and abducted six Palestinians in Hebron and one in Jerusalem. The army also broke into shops and warehouses in Tulkarem, in northern West Bank.

The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted Abdul-Halim Ibrahim Qfeisha, 16, and Saleh Raed Abu Markhiyya, from their homes in Hebron city, and another young man, identified as Ala’ Mohammad Ziyadat, from Bani Neim town, east of Hebron.

The soldiers also invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, searched and ransacked many homes and abducted Issa Hasan ‘Aadi, 28, Moath Wael Ekhlayyel, 21, and Mohammad Fawzi Awad, before taking them to Etzion military base and security center.

In related news, the soldiers abducted Amjad Hani Shweiki, 19, after invading his home in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem.

The young man was cuffed and blindfolded, before the soldiers took him to an interrogation center in the city.

In Tulkarem, the soldiers invaded many shops and blacksmith workshops, in various neighborhoods in the city.

The invasions simultaneously took place in al-Haddadin road, north of Tulkarem, and Nablus Street. The soldiers broke the locks of the shops’ doors, and violently searched them, causing excessive damage.

The invaded structures are a sanitary products shop, owned by Hamal Salam Zeidan, two lathe workshops owned by Tamer Allariyya and Jamal Fseesy, a store owned by Omar Safaqa and a warehouse for sanitary products, owned by Nidal ad-Daleq.

The owners said the invasion has no legal foundation, and that the soldiers did not even present any justifications, and added that the sole purpose of these violations is to cause destruction.

Furthermore, the soldiers and personnel of the City Council in Jerusalem invaded the town of a-‘Eesawiyya, in East Jerusalem, and demolish a two-story building, used for residence and commercial purposes.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

11 Palestinians detained in fresh raids

Palestinian and daughter 14 arrested

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested at dawn Tuesday 11 Palestinians from different areas in West Bank.

According to Israeli army, four arrests were carried out in al-Khalil, while a Palestinian was detained in Nablus.

Five other arrests were reported in Ramallah while a young man and his father were rounded up in Qalqilia.

Another young man, from Qalqilia, was detained at a military checkpoint near Salfit.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that several youngsters were summoned for investigation after IOF soldiers brutally stormed their houses in Nablus early today.

The sources affirmed that four locals were also detained during the raid.

Similar raids were carried out in Tulkarem against workshops with no arrests reported.

(Source / 15.08.2017)

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian building in O. J’lem

Demolished home at Issawiya

Israeli municipal authorities on Tuesday morning demolished a residential building in the occupied Jerusalem town of Issawiya under the pretext of being built without permit.

Local sources affirmed that Israeli police forces and crews from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality, accompanied by two bulldozers, stormed and surrounded the building early Tuesday morning.

A complete siege was, meanwhile, imposed on the town since the early morning hours. Nearly 500 Israeli soldiers stormed the town and closed all its entrances before starting the demolition process.

According to locals, the building was constructed 10 years ago, and belonged to Abdullah Hamdan.

The demolished building contains shops and residential apartments, the sources added.

Member of the defense committee of Issawiya town Mohammed Abu al-Homs said that the demolition order came without any prior notice.

The demolition was a part of Israel’s collective punishment policy against Jerusalemites, he continued, saying that nearly 200 Palestinian apartments are threatened with demolition in the town.

Since the beginning of the year, 16 Palestinian facilities were demolished in the town under the pretext of being built without permit.

Demolished home at Issawiya1

(Source (with more photo’s) / 15.08.2017)