Protest in Nablus demanding return of martyrs’ bodies

Return martyrs' bodies

Dozens of Palestinians on Sunday staged a protest at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nablus to demand the return of martyrs’ bodies withheld by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Local sources reported that Palestinian flags were raised and slogans calling for releasing the bodies were chanted in the protest organized by the national committee for the support of prisoners and  the national campaign to restore martyrs’ bodies.

Several speakers during the protest called on human rights organizations to pressure Israel to abide by the international agreements and stop its violations against the Palestinian people.

Fatah Movement secretary in Nablus, Jihad Ramadan, said that a serious step must be taken to force Israel to stop its ongoing violations, stressing that the detention of martyrs’ bodies is a “systematic crime”.

The father of martyr Rami al-Awartani told Quds Press that Israel “killed his son in cold blood”, adding that the family are in great shock knowing that their son is now buried in Israel’s cemeteries of numbers.

Israeli Supreme Court has recently postponed issuing a decision on a request to hand over the bodies of nine Palestinian martyrs held in Israeli mortuaries, while the Israeli prosecution announced transferring the bodies of four martyrs, including Awartani’s, from mortuaries to the cemeteries of numbers.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

4 hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in PA jails

Palestinian Authority security forces.

Image the of Palestinian Authority (PA) security services

Three Palestinian prisoners being held by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank have announced that they have started a hunger strike, Hamas announced yesterday.

According to information published by the Palestinian Information Centre this brings to four the number of Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in the PA’s prisons.

Hamas said the prisoners are taking action because they have been arrested on purely political grounds and not because they have committed any offences. No charges have been brought against any of the detainees.

Read: Abbas stops allocations for Prisoners Club

While two have been in detention for a week, the two others were arrested only days ago after their homes were raided by Palestinian security forces, a statement released by Hamas and given to the Palestinian Information Centre said.

Student Asaad Al-Taweel has been on hunger strike in a jail in Jericho for nine days in protest against his detention on the basis of his activism in university.

The PA has cracked down on activism and on supporters and members of Hamas in particular. This is in part part of its campaign to ensure its ongoing power in the occupied West Bank and part of its ongoing measure of security coordination with the occupation.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Report: Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians in August 2017

522 Pal's detained

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians, including 130 minors and 16 women, in August 2017, according to a joint report released by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, prisoners’ rights group Addameer, and the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

According to a translation of the report by Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun, 194 Palestinians were arrested from Jerusalem, 70 from Hebron, 50 from Ramallah, 45 from Nablus, 38 from Bethlehem, 33 from Jenin, 27 from Tulkarem, 24 from Qalqilya, 19 from Salfit, 11 from Jericho, seven from Tubas, and four from the Gaza Strip.The total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached 6,300 prisoners, 64 of them women. Among them are 10 girls under the age of 18 and 300 underage boys, 450 administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial, and 12 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian parliament, the report said.Over the month of August, 134 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinians — 61 of them new orders and 73 renewals, as administrative detention orders, which based on undisclosed evidence, are indefinitely renewable.The joint report highlighted recent arrests of Palestinian activists, noting that Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, approved by the UN General Assembly in 1998, stipulates that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.”
On Aug. 23, Israeli forces detained Salah Hamouri, a field researcher for Addameer and duel Palestinian-French national. Hamouri, who has was previously imprisoned by Israel but released in a prisoners’ exchange deal in 2011, was first issued a six-month administrative detention order after his detention last month.
However, an Israeli court later ordered Hamouri to serve the remainder of his prison sentence from which he was released in 2011, approximately three months. The prosecution appealed this sentence, and his six-month administrative detention order was reinstated.
The Palestinian institutions also condemned the Israeli policy of carrying out “extrajudicial killings” against Palestinians during military detention raids, highlighting the case of Raed al-Salhi, who was shot several times at close range by Israeli forces who allegedly sought to detain the 22-year-old in al-Duheisha refugee camp on Aug. 9. Al-Salhi succumbed to his critical injuries in an Israeli hospital weeks later.
“The policy of field executions and shooting to kill is not a surprising action committed by individuals, but is instead a deliberate and systematic policy approve at the highest levels of the occupying power,” the report said.Israel has been widely condemned for implementing the “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians since a wave of unrest peaked in fall 2015. The report emphasized that human rights organizations have been monitoring and documenting cases in which Israeli forces “(shoot) at the upper body with intent to kill during demonstrations and confrontations that broke out in most of the occupied Palestinian territories.”
“The occupation did not hesitate to use this method even during the implementation of its arrest raids and invasions carried out by the army in Palestinian camps, villages and cities,” the report said, referring in particular to al-Salhi’s killing, which it called a “war crime under international law.”
Meanwhile, over the course of the month of August, Israeli courts issued sentences against 39 Palestinian minors and imposed heavy fines on underage prisoners, amounting to more than 110,000 shekels ($31,200), the report highlighted.
“The Palestinian institutions consider that the imposition of excessive financial burdens on child prisoners is a major constraint on the future of the child, a form of collective punishment and a major burden amid the prevailing state of poverty, which affects and violates other human rights for themselves and their families,” the report read.
The human rights groups said they documented 59 Palestinian children had been taken to Israel’s Ofer prison in August. Of these, 40 were arrested from their homes, 10 from off of the street, three at military checkpoints, four after being summoned to appear for interrogation, and two for lack of possession of work permits.Furthermore, four children were arrested after being shot and 13 more were injured. “They were beaten and harassed during their arrest and taken to interrogation centers,” the report said, adding that sentences issued against minors in August ranged from one month to 32 months.
(Source / 17.09.2017)

Israel warns entire Bedouin community of imminent forcible transfer

Khan al-Ahmar Atouf

A Palestinian Bedouin woman stands next to her destroyed tent in the village of Atouf in the Jordan Valley

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces have notified residents of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar that they are at risk of imminent forcible transfer from their lands, weeks after Israeli Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly announced that plans were underway to expel Khan al-Ahmar’s residents within a few months.

Lieberman also said that plans for the full expulsion of the community of Susiya, located in the South Hebron Hills, were also underway.
Following the remarks, Israeli rights group B’Tselem slammed the Israeli government and sent an urgent letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that said the evacuation of the Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem, would “constitute a war crime carried out at your instruction and under your personal responsibility.”
B’Tselem then reported that officials from the Israeli army and Civil Administration told locals in Khan al-Ahmar on Wednesday that their only option is to move to a so-called relocation site that was allocated by Israel to the Bedouin community without consulting them.
According to the group, the proposed site known as al-Jabal West is located next to a garbage dump in Adu Dis.
The Khan al-Ahmar community’s lawyer Shlomo Lecker had informed the Civil Administration officer in charge that he was not permitted to meet with his clients without his consent and presence, “yet the CA went ahead regardless,” B’Tselem said.
A hearing at the Israeli Supreme Court has meanwhile been scheduled for Sep. 25, regarding petitions submitted against the Israeli state’s plans to demolish all Khan al-Ahmar’s structures, as well as a petitions submitted by illegal Israeli settlements in the area that want Khan al-Ahmar’s school to be demolished.
“The Civil Administration’s actions appear to be paving the way for the state to claim that it is acting in good will and has consulted the community,” B’Tselem said.
Earlier this year, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s elementary school.
The village is located on the site of planned Israeli settlement development and on the Israeli side of the planned route of Israel’s separation barrier.
According to B’Tselem, on Aug. 27, hundreds of Israeli settlers, joined by Israeli parliamentarians, demonstrated near Khan al-Ahmar, pressuring the government to move forward with its demolition plan.
The demolition notices were issued on the basis of the community lacking almost impossible to obtain Israeli building permits, which the United Nations has said results from the discriminatory zoning and planning regimes implemented in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control.
Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 Palestinian Bedouin villages comprising of a population of 7,000 — 70 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees — in the central West Bank that are considered by the UN as being at risk of forcible transfer by Israeli authorities to alternative sites.
“The Demolition of an entire community in the Occupied Territories is virtually unprecedented since 1967. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel is obliged to respect in all its actions in the West Bank, this amounts to forcible transfer of protected persons, which constitutes a war crime,” B’Tselem emphasized.
(Source / 17.09.2017)

As Violence Intensifies, Israel Continues to Arm Myanmar’s Military Junta

As Violence Intensifies, Israel Continues to Arm Myanmar’s Military Junta

Responding to a petition filed by human rights activists, Defense Ministry says matter is ‘clearly diplomatic’ | Opinion



An ethnic Rohingya child from Myanmar is carried in a basket past rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border, Sept. 1, 2017  

The violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority by the country’s regime has intensified. United Nations data show that about 60,000 members of the minority group have recently fled Myanmar’s Rahine state, driven out by the increasing violence and the burning of their villages, information that has been confirmed by satellite images. But none of this has led to a change in the policy of the Israeli Defense Ministry, which is refusing to halt weapons sales to the regime in Myanmar, the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

On Thursday, the bodies of 26 refugees, including 12 children, were removed from the Naf River, which runs along the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Of the refugees who managed to reach Bangladesh, many had been shot. There were also reports of rapes, shootings and fatal beatings directed at the Rohingya minority, which is denied human rights in Myanmar. The country’s army has been in the middle of a military campaign since October that intensified following the recent killing of 12 Myanmar soldiers by Muslim rebels.

Since Burma received its independence from Britain in 1948, civil war has been waged continuously in various parts of the country. In November 2015, democratic elections were held in the country that were won by Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But her government doesn’t exert real control over the country’s security forces since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.

Militia members continue to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of human rights around the country, particularly against minority groups that are not even accorded citizenship. Since Myanmar’s military launched operations in Rakhine last October, a number of sources have described scenes of slaughter of civilians, unexplained disappearances, and the rape of women and girls, as well as entire villages going up in flames. The military has continued to commit war crimes and violations of international law up to the present.


A Rohingya man from Myanmar carries an elderly woman after crossing to Bangladesh by boat, Sept. 2, 2017 

Advanced Israeli weapons

Despite what is known at this point from the report of the United Nations envoy to the country and a report by Harvard University researchers that said the commission of crimes of this kind is continuing, the Israeli government persists in supplying weapons to the regime there.

One of the heads of the junta, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers. His delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials including the army’s chief of staff. It visited military bases and defense contractors Elbit Systems and Elta Systems.


Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services (R) Senior General Min Aung Hlaing with Israeli Army chief Gadi Eisenkot (L) in Tel-Aviv, September 2015
The head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — better known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT — is Michel Ben-Baruch, who went to Myanmar in the summer of 2015. In the course of the visit, which attracted little media coverage, the heads of the junta disclosed that they purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel, and there was talk of additional purchases.

In August 2016, images were posted on the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company that specializes in providing military training and equipment, showing training with Israeli-made Corner Shot rifles, along with the statement that Myanmar had begun operational use of the weapons. The website said the company was headed by former Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. Currently the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only more generally to Asia.


Screenshots from TAR company’s website, featuring the Corner-shot rifles

Who will supervise the supervisors?

Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear, in late September, a petition from human rights activists against the continued arms sales to Myanmar.

In a preliminary response issued in March, the Defense Ministry argued that the court has no standing in the matter, which it called “clearly diplomatic.”

On June 5, in answer to a parliamentary question by Knesset member Tamar Zandberg on weapons sales to Myanmar, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel “subordinates [itself] to the entire enlightened world, that is the Western states, and first of all the United States, the largest arms exporter. We subordinate ourselves to them and maintain the same policy.”

He said the Knesset plenum may not be the appropriate forum for a detailed discussion of the matter and reiterated that Israel complies with “all the accepted guidelines in the enlightened world.”

Lieberman’s statement was incorrect. The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar. It’s unclear whether the cause was ignorance, and Lieberman is not fully informed about Israel’s arms exports (even though he must approve them), or an attempt at whitewashing.

In terms of history, as well, Lieberman’s claim is incorrect. Israel supported war crimes in Argentina, for example, even when the country was under a U.S. embargo, and it armed the Serbian forces committing massacres in Bosnia despite a United Nations embargo.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Bangladesh Starts Immunization of Rohingya Refugees amid Health Fears


Rohingya refugees arrive near the a makeshift refugee camp Bangladesh

Authorities in Bangladesh kicked off on Sunday an immunization campaign among Muslim Rohingya refugees as an aid group warned that many could die due to a lack of food, shelter and water.

The campaign started in a crowded border camp as the country struggled to take in more than 400,000 Rohingya, who have fled Myanmar in the last three weeks where they were victims of a government crackdown.

The UN has since described the crisis as ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who lambasted Myanmar for “atrocities” during a visit to border camps last week, left Dhaka to address the annual UN gathering in New York.

Abdus Salam, the top government administrator in the Cox’s Bazar district hospital, said that some 150,000 children will be immunized over seven days for measles, rubella and polio. UN says there are some 240,000 children living in dire conditions.

“There are a lot of weak and malnourished children among the new arrivals,” UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, Edouard Beigbeder, said in an email. “If proper preventive measures are not taken, highly infectious diseases, especially measles, could even cause an outbreak.”

On the first day of the immunization campaign on Saturday, doctors treated some 9,000 children for rubella and nearly 5,000 for polio. Salam said that basic and emergency health services were being provided through 36 medical camps with focus on children and women.

“Many of them are suffering from diarrhea, dehydration and skin diseases. They are coming to hospitals with such complications,” he said.

As the weather fluctuates in Cox’s Bazar between rains and sunny and humid days, many children are suffering from flu and risk pneumonia, he said.

Two preexisting Rohingya camps were already beyond capacity and the new arrivals were staying in schools or huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields.

The refugees began pouring from Myanmar’s Rakhine state after a Rohingya insurgent group launched attacks on security posts August 25, prompting Myanmar’s military to launch “clearance operations” to root out the rebels. Those fleeing have described indiscriminate attacks by security forces and Buddhist mobs.

The Myanmar government says hundreds have died, mostly “terrorists,” and that 176 out of 471 Rohingya villages have been abandoned. Myanmar has insisted that Rohingya insurgents and fleeing villagers themselves are destroying own homes. It has offered no proof to back these charges.

In a state hospital, a Rohingya man who identified himself as Rahmatullah was looking over his 10-year-old son recovering from a bullet that left a deep wound as it pierced his right leg.

“Why did they shoot him? What’s his crime? He is just a child,” Rahmatullah said. “It was 9 in the morning and I was visiting my neighbor’s home at my Baagguna village when they came and started shooting indiscriminately.” He said he fled with 10 of his family members.

“I started running for the hill, where I hid myself and later collected my son and others and left,” he said.

Eric P. Schwartz, head of the US-based charity Refugees International and a former assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, said he couldn’t recall seeing so much misery in the camps and called for international pressure on Myanmar to stop the violence.

He said the US should re-impose sanctions on Myanmar that were in place before it made transition from military to civilian rule. But officials in Washington have been careful not to undermine the weak civilian government of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which took office last year, ending five decades of ruinous army rule. The military remains politically powerful and oversees security operations.

Suu Kyi is due to make her first address to the nation on the crisis on Tuesday.

Mark Pierce, Bangladesh country director for the Save the Children aid agency said in a statement: “Many people are arriving hungry, exhausted and with no food or water.”

“I’m particularly worried that the demand for food, shelter, water and basic hygiene support is not being met due to the sheer number of people in need. If families can’t meet their basic needs, the suffering will get even worse and lives could be lost.”

Pierce said the humanitarian response needed to be rapidly scaled up.

Bangladesh border guards said on Sunday the flow of refugees leaving Myanmar had eased off over the past day, apparently because bad weather had discouraged people from taking to boats to reach Bangladesh.

Human Rights Watch said satellite imagery showed 62 Rohingya villages had been torched since the violence erupted.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Four Palestinians During A Wedding Near Jerusalem

17 SEP
10:19 AM

Israeli soldiers attacked, on Saturday at night, many Palestinians participating in a wedding ceremony in the town of al-‘Ezariyya, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted four young men.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers installed a roadblock near Maale Adumim colony, close to the main entrance of the town, and stopped dozens of cars heading to a wedding ceremony and party in al-‘Ezariyya, and abducted four young  men.

The army claimed that the Palestinians “attempted to attack soldiers,” after stopping them at the roadblock, and took them to an unknown destination.

The Palestinians were part of a convoy of cars heading towards the wedding ceremony, when the soldiers stopped them and attempted to block their path.

On Sunday at dawn, the soldiers invaded several areas in the occupied West Bank, broke into and searched many homes, and abducted at least eight Palestinians.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Trump: I Love Israel, and Peace Could Actually Happen

17 SEP
6:14 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump, on Friday, expressed his deep affection for Israel during a call to American Jewish leaders on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, which coincides on Thursday, announcing that peace between the Palestinians and Israelis could actually happen.

“I am proud to stand with the Jewish people and with our cherished friend and ally, the State of Israel,” he said, according to a statement published by the White House Office of the Press Secretary.

The United States will always support Israel, he said, adding, “And I can tell you on a personal basis, and I just left Israel recently, I love Israel.”

For this reason, said Trump, his administration “has successfully pressured the United Nations to withdraw the unfair and biased report against Israel.”

According to WAFA correspondence, he was referring to the U.N. Human Right Council report that exposed Israel’s violations against the Palestinian people in the territories it has occupied since 1967.

Nonetheless, Trump said, his administration continues to work to bring peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

“This next (Jewish) New Year also offers a new opportunity to seek peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and I am very hopeful that we will see significant progress before the end of the year,” he said. ”I think it’s something that actually could happen.”

In introducing Trump to the Jewish leaders, Jared Kushner, his Senior Advisor and son-in-law, who is an orthodox Jew, said that under the Trump administration, US relation with Israel has never been stronger.

“Under the President’s leadership, America’s relationship with the State of Israel has never been stronger, and our country’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been greater,” he said.

Kushner heads the U.S. team working on achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israel. He is jointed in this by special envoy Jason Greenblatt.

After more than 20 meetings with the two sides since taking office in January, the Trump team has not been able to bridge the wide gap between the Palestinians and Israel.

The Palestinians are not pleased with failure of the Trump administration to announce support for the two-state solution, as did previous administrations, and opposition to Israel’s non-stop settlement activity, which the Palestinians say is a major obstacle to peace.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Israel halts work on European-funded agricultural road near Bethlehem

Road al-Khadr

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) Saturday ordered a halt to work on opening an agricultural road in the village of al-Khadr, south of the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, according to Ahmad Salah, a local activist.

He told Quds Press that the IOF stopped work on the road that is supposed to serve several farmers in the area and which was funded by the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation for the sake of helping farmers access their lands in rugged areas.

The soldiers informed the workers from Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees that they would confiscate their vehicles and tools if they continue to work on the road.

(Source / 17.09.2017)

Tunnels linking Israeli settlements in Occupied Jerusalem on table

Tunnels illegal settlements

The Israeli occupation authorities forwarded a bid to construct a network of tunnels connecting illegal settlement outposts in Occupied Jerusalem.

The forwarded bid aims to establish a four-kilometer tunnel network linking Maaleh Adumim settlement and Street 9 in the French Hill outpost, in Occupied Jerusalem.

The tunnels are set to ease the access of Israeli settlers out of and into Maaleh Adumim and the French Hill on a daily basis as part of underway attempts to boost settlement expansion and wipe out Jerusalem’s Palestinian character.

(Source / 17.09.2017)