Israeli forces detain Palestinian man over ‘inciting terrorism’ on social media

Inciting terrorism FB

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police forces have detained a 35-year-old Palestinian man for allegedly threatening violence and “inciting terrorism” on social media.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that the man was detained in Jerusalem “on suspicion of threats to violence and incitement and supporting terrorism” on social media. The suspect, Rosenfeld said, saw his detention extended on Sunday until Sep. 27.
“Police are continuing intelligence and operations to find suspects that are involved in incitement and terrorism and using social media as a platform,” the statement concluded.
In recent months, Israel has detained hundreds of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that first swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.”
Critics have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the rise of unrest.
The Israeli government has also been accused of utilizing “anti-terrorism” discourse in order to justify and further entrench the Israeli military’s half-century occupation of the West Bank and decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has meanwhile called on Israel to shut down its so-called Cyber Unit, which collaborates with social media platforms to censor content, saying the unit has “no legal authority.”
By contrast, a February report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians had more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — with only very few cases being opened against Israelis.
Meanwhile, since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a far-reaching Cyber Crimes Law in June, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are now also vulnerable to being arrested by Palestinian security forces for expressing their opinions online.
(Source / 24.09.2017)

Israeli authorities construct new road in Hizma

New road Hizma

Israeli authorities on Sunday started the construction of a new road in Hizma town to the northeast of Occupied Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli bulldozers razed lands owned by Palestinian citizens and started paving the new road.

Palestinians’ property and lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem are constantly targeted with demolitions and confiscation by the Israeli authorities.

(Source / 24.09.2017)

Palestinian youth activist Saleh al-Jaidi seized by Israeli occupation forces in Dheisheh camp

Photo: Saleh al-Jaidi

Palestinian youth activist and former prisoner Saleh al-Jaidi was seized by Israeli occupation forces in a dawn raid on his family home in Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. He was previously arrested three times before. In 2010, he was held for four months and in 2015 for six months in administrative detention without charge or trial.

In 2011, he was again seized by occupation forces and imprisoned for three years. On Friday morning, 22 September, Israeli occupation forces invaded the camp and his home, ransacking his family home, overturning plants and upending furniture.

Al-Jaidi is a well-known youth activist in the camp, which has come under frequent attack by Israeli occupation forces. His brother, Yazan, is also imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces.

The infamous so-called “Captain Nidal” is the Israeli occupation commander in the area, known for both his threats against the youth of Dheisheh to “make all of you disabled” by shooting them in the legs and his specific threat to Raed Salhi, 22, killed by Israeli occupation forces when they invaded the camp and his home on 9 August.

Video of the arrest of al-Jaidi by Israeli occupation forces was distributed by Dheisheh al-Hadath, a news page serving the camp:

The young man – unarmed when he was shot – suffered in a hospital for nearly one month under armed guard, denied family visits even as he lay in a coma until his death on 3 September. Before Israeli occupation forces invaded his home and shot Salhi, he had received a call from “Nidal” in which he threatened to “shoot you in front of your mother.”

Despite the ongoing attempts to instill a reign of terror in the camp through ongoing invasions, attacks and extrajudicial executions of Palestinian youth in Dheisheh camp, the camp’s youth have retained their spirit of resistance, confronting Israeli occupation forces whenever they invade the area.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Saleh al-Zaidi and urges greater international mobilization against the ongoing invasions, attacks and arrests directed at Palestinian youth. We urge the freedom of all 6,200 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and we demand that “Captain Nidal,” as well as the Israeli occupation commanders and officials that authorize his threats and terror against the youth of Dheisheh be held accountable and prosecuted for his crimes.

(Source / 24.09.2017)

Despite Suu Kyi’s claims, army still burning Muslim villages: Amnesty

Rohingya refugee children sit next to makeshift shelters at the refugee camp of Balukhali near the locality of Ukhia, Bangladesh, on September 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Rohingya refugee children sit next to makeshift shelters at the refugee camp of Balukhali near the locality of Ukhia, Bangladesh, on September 22, 2017.  

Amnesty International says Myanmar’s military and vigilante Buddhist mobs continue to set fire to Rohingya Muslim villages in Rakhine State, contradicting claims by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi that army operations have ended there.

In a report on Friday, Amnesty said newly-captured satellite images and videos from the troubled state show smoke rising from Muslim-populated villages, providing further evidence that challenges Suu Kyi’s claims.

Officials in Myanmar appear set to make sure the Rohingya Muslims who fled the violence in their villages will “have no home to return to,” the report said.

“This damning evidence from the ground and from space flies in the face of Aung San Suu Kyi’s assertions to the world that what she called military ‘clearance operations’ in Rakhine State ended on 5 September,” said Tirana Hasan, the director of Crisis Response  at Amnesty.

The report added, “Rohingya homes and villages continue to burn, before, during and after their inhabitants take flight in terror. Not satisfied with simply forcing Rohingya from their homes, authorities seem intent on ensuring they have no homes to return to.”

On August 25, the Myanmar military used a series of attacks on police and army posts in Rakhine as a pretext to unleash yet another deadly clampdown on the Muslim minority there. The violence has forced nearly 430,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

According to numerous reports by rights groups and witnesses, Myanmar military forces, along with majority Buddhists, have been randomly shooting at Muslims and raping them. They have also been setting fire to Muslim villages and planting landmines on the path of those fleeing.

Under international pressure, Suu Kyi finally broke her silence on Tuesday only to justify the brutal army crackdown against Rohingya Muslims.

Despite all the reports and eyewitness accounts, Suu Kyi said she did not know why the Muslims were fleeing. She refused to single out the military in the crackdown and only condemned “all human rights violations” in Rakhine.

She even refused to refer to the persecuted Muslims by their name Rohingya, pointing to her government’s official position of not recognizing them as nationals.

Suu Kyi’s comments sparked even more international criticisms, with Amnesty saying Myanmar’s leader and government are “burying their heads in sand” in the face of the reports on the military’s brutalities, which the UN and may rights groups have branded as an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against Muslims.

On the Bangladeshi side on the border, most of the Rohingya refugees have arrived in the already overcrowded camps in the Cox’s Bazar town, where they are suffering from starvation and have no access to clean water.

“The situation in the camps is so incredibly fragile, especially with regard to shelter, food and water, and sanitation, that one small event could lead to an outbreak that may be the tipping point between a crisis and a catastrophe,” emergency coordinator of the medical relief agency Doctors without Borders, Robert Onus, said in a statement.

“Hundreds of thousands of refugees are living in an extremely precarious situation, and all the preconditions for a public health disaster are there,” added the statement, calling for a “massive step-up of humanitarian aid.”

Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, stretch their arms out to collect rice bags distributed by aid workers near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, September 22, 2017.  

Additionally, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which has censured Myanmar’s use of anti-personnel mines along its border with Bangladesh, said the Rohingya refugees are risking their lives to cross the border into Bangladesh.

“According to eyewitness accounts, photographic evidence, and multiple reports, antipersonnel mines have been laid between Myanmar’s two major land crossings with Bangladesh, resulting in casualties among Rohingya refugees fleeing government attacks on their homes,” the ICBL said in the statement on Friday.

It demanded that Myanmar immediately cease using such weapons and accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, to which 162 other nations are parties.

Earlier reports by Amnesty and Bangladeshi officials had said the mines planted by government forces have caused many refugees to sustain serious wounds or lose their body organs.

(Source / 24.09.2017)

Turkey to build shelters for 100,000 Rohingya

Since August 25, more than 429,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh

Turkey would build shelters for 100,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, an official of Turkey’s state-run aid body said on Sunday.

According to a press release, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency’s (TIKA) Bangladesh Coordinator Ahmet Refik Cetinkaya held a meeting with Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya.

“Turkey will soon provide 10,000 packets of aid [to Rohingya Muslims],” Cetinkaya told the minister.

He said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag would visit Bangladesh.

Since August 25, more than 429,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN’s migration agency. In total, more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees are now believed to be in Bangladesh, including the arrivals since August 25.

Read: Turkey’s first lady distributes aid at Rohingya camp

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue with the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Yvonne Ridley: Looking at Myanmar, it is clear that the ICC is not fit for purpose

(Source / 24.09.2017)

Israeli forces detain 21 Palestinians over the course of Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 14 Palestinians in predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank on Sunday, in addition to 21 other Palestinians who were detained over the course of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and the weekend, an Israeli army spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not provide additional details on the locations of the detention raids.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes. Israeli authorities implemented a “general closure” on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip for the holiday, starting Tuesday night and ending Saturday night.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society documented 10 detentions carried out in predawn raids Sunday — five Palestinians were detained from Qalqilya, three from Bethlehem, and two, including a former prisoner, from the Hebron area.
Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a local activist in the southern occupied West Bank town of Beit Ummar, reported that Israeli forces stormed Beit Ummar before dawn Sunday morning and arrested 20-year-old Essam Muhammad Issa Bahr, after raiding and searching his family’s house.
Awad noted that Bahr had previously spent more than a year in Israeli prison. Israeli soldiers took him in a military jeep to Israel’s Gush Etzion detention center north of Beit Ummar.
Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said Saturday evening that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man, identified as Mamoun Hussein al-Natsheh, in the Tel Rumeida area of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, with Israeli forces claiming the man had a knife in his possession and was planning to stab soldiers.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, eyewitnesses told Ma’an that a young Palestinian man was detained after Israeli police forces rammed into his vehicle and physically assaulted him.
According to the witnesses, an Israeli police vehicle forcefully rammed into 20-year-old Zaid Fawaw Hamid’s car near the entrance to the village of Silwad in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, and then proceeded to violently beat him.
Israeli forces were seen preventing local Silwad medics and ambulance crews from approaching the area to treat Hamid, who Israeli soldiers detained for unknown reasons.
An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried out thus far in 2017, according to UN documentation.
Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians, including 130 minors and 16 women, over the course of the month of August, according to a joint report released Palestinian institutions focusing on prisoners’ rights.
The total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached 6,300 prisoners, the report said, 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.
(Source / 24.09.2017)

Knesset to Supreme Court: reject petitions against outpost Regularization law

Palestinian and illegal settlement

A Palestinian rides on a donkey with a settlement in the background

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Knesset has called on the Israeli Supreme Court to uphold a controversial law that would retroactively legalize thousands of illegal Israeli settlement homes that have been built on Palestinian land, in response to petitions filed by human rights groups demanding the law’s annulment.

According to a press release published Sunday, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, urged the court to reject the petitions against the so-called Regularization law, on the grounds that individual Palestinian landowners will be financially compensated for their land that was stolen by Israeli settlers, and because the law concerns outposts established in the past only.
The Knesset’s legal adviser attorney Eyal Yinon and attorney Avital Sompulinsky submitted the petition on Tuesday.
“The Regulation law creates an unusual solution to a difficult and unusual problem which allows for the regulation of lands and their distribution for settlement while providing adequate compensation to the landowners,” the 20-page brief states.
“The majority of Knesset members believe it creates a balance between all the circumstances, rights and interests related to this issue. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that the law does not seek to change the ‘rules of the game’ and it does not pretend to change the existing local law, which will continue to be applied on all construction henceforth, because the law applies only to the past.”
The Israeli state has also defended the legality of the Regularization law by saying Palestinians would benefit by being financially compensated, and also claimed that Palestinian laws that prohibit selling land to Israelis were “racist.”
The law, passed by the Knesset in February, states that any settlements built in the occupied West Bank “in good faith” — without knowledge that the land upon which it was built was privately owned by Palestinians — could be officially recognized by Israel pending minimal proof of governmental support in its establishment and some form of compensation to the Palestinian landowners.
Israeli human rights groups Peace Now and Yesh Din have both submitted petitions against the law.
The rights groups argued that the law was not just a contravention of international law but unconstitutional for Israel, as it “clearly violates the basic law: human dignity and liberty, while forcing authorities to expropriate rights of land ownership and usage from Palestinians for an unlimited time period.”
“The government attempts to present Israeli citizens, who are directly involved in land theft of Palestinians, as deserving a reward for their participation in the thievery,” the Peace Now has said.
“Additionally, the law violates international humanitarian law, the laws of occupation and other international conventions signed by Israel, which oblige the state of Israel to protect the rights of residents of the occupied territory and forbid the expropriation of their property for any use by an immediate security need,” the petitioners wrote.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
(Source / 24.09.2017)

Israeli settlers torch olive trees after illegal outpost evacuated south of Nablus

Nablus olive trees

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers site fire to a grove of olive trees on privately-owned Palestinian land in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday morning, shortly after Israeli forces evacuated an illegal settlement outpost in the area, according to an Israeli NGO.

A spokesperson for Yesh Din, a human rights organization working in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that officers from the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli army had arrived to evacuate the small outpost, which consisted of three tents and a building near the village of Kafr Qalil south of Nablus city.
In response to the eviction, settlers later torched a number of olive trees belonging to Palestinian resident of Kafr Qalil.
Yesh Din reported on Monday on Facebook that an illegal settlement outpost was set up about two months ago on the land, located a few hundred meters from Kafr Qalil. The outpost was subsequently taken down by the Israeli army, but two days later, three tents were erected in the same location, and as of Monday there was a building set up by the settlers.
The Palestinian landowner also told Yesh Din that a shepherd from Kafr Qalil recently tried to reach the land and was chased back by the settlers.
The organization highlighted that its documentation of “ideologically motivated crimes” committed by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, has “revealed that the existence of unauthorized outposts creates growing circles of violence against Palestinians living and farming in the vicinity.”
Yesh Din said in the statement last Monday that a week prior, unidentified assailants had sprayed graffiti on the walls of a quarry near to Kafr Qalil. Among other things, one message in Hebrew read, “Muhammed is a pig,” according to the group.
Last Wednesday, the Yesh Din also documented that eight fruit trees were uprooted near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, located south of Kafr Qalil, and that days after that, 12 olive trees belonging to a Kafr Qalil farmer were chopped down.
The group said that Israeli forces had not apprehended any suspects over the incidents.
Settlers from Yitzhar and other nearby illegal Israeli settlements and outposts are well-known to be some of the most extremist Israelis living in the West Bank, and have burned hundreds of Palestinian-owned olive trees over the years.
There are some 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory, all considered illegal under international law, while hundreds of unauthorized Israeli settler outposts — considered illegal even under Israeli law — also dot the Palestinian landscape.
While Israel considers settler outposts to be illegal, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost “Regularization law,” which paved the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts, while loosening restrictions on settlers erecting outposts on private Palestinian land.
Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.
In March, Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
(Source / 24.09.2017)

Gaza Residents ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ over Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation


A Palestinian boy holds his sister near the ruins of their family’s house, which witnesses said was destroyed during the Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City September 10, 2014

Gaza Strip- People living in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are eagerly awaiting the completion of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Palestinians hope reconciliation will rid them of the difficult and complicated crises they have been living for a long time now.

Despite rising aspiration and the recent positive atmosphere, Palestinians are dealing very cautiously with the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas in Egypt, fearing a new failure or setback. Many former agreements have been unsuccessful.

Pessimism hovering over Palestinians in Gaza, interviewed by Asharq Al-Awsat, dominated most views concerning the reconciliation file. Most residents stressed that they did not see the possibility of overcoming the many obstacles lying ahead.

“I am not optimistic because Hamas and Fatah have often agreed,” said Fadi Raafat, 27, a media college graduate. But when the application fails the agreement and the situation returns to the worst it was.»

To justify his pessimism, Raafat added, “I graduated six years ago. I am 27 years old, but I have not found a job.

I have no future here, so I wait impatiently for reconciliation. I want it badly, but when I see both parties agree on a dozens of times on settlement fail, I cannot say I’m particularly optimistic about this agreement … However, I hope that I’m proven wrong and that Egypt will succeed significantly this time.”

“I am not very optimistic about the success of reconciliation because the parties are looking for their partisan interests more than our interests,” said trader Abdul Rahman Hamida, 56.

“They do not give us any attention to our issues or our difficult living conditions,” he added.

“Young people have no future, and they are waiting for reconciliation so that the Rafah crossing border will open enabling them to have a better chance at migrating to any country and live their lives,” Hamida said in an angry tone.

The Rafah Crossing Point is the sole crossing point between Egypt and Gaza Strip. It is located on the Gaza–Egypt border, which was recognized by the 1979 Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty.

“The economic situation is deteriorating and affecting everyone. There is a decline in income and an unprecedented spike in poverty rates,” added Hamida.

On the other hand, Baker Qandil, a 41-year-old employee of the Hamas government, expects reconciliation between the two sides to succeed in light of Egypt’s strong pressure on the PA to deal positively with Hamas positions.

But he does not deny his great fear of the fallout should things fail again.

“There is a clear seriousness in Hamas to end the division, and a desire to salvage the rest of the national project to preserve the rights and principles of the Palestinian people, and to criminalize the occupation in international forums, while strengthening the field resistance work and stand side by side against any meager settlement attempt or the watering down of the Palestinian cause. So we hope we can succeed this time,” said Qandil.

Gaza residents are quite aware of the complexities surrounding the political situation and are leading a difficult life, so they have begun to dream in light of hopes of a new agreement, but cautiously so.

(Source / 24.09.2017)

Army Abducts Three Palestinians, Including Two Children, In Hebron

24 SEP
12:55 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Saturday, three Palestinians, including two children, in two separate incidents in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and installed roadblocks in the city and two nearby towns.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers invaded Tal Romeida neighborhood, in the center of Hebron city, and abducted Ma’moun Hussein Natsha, 19.

The army claimed the young man “carried a knife.” Natsha, who did not attempt to attack the soldiers, was cuffed and blindfolded before he was moved to an unknown destination.

On Saturday morning, the soldiers invaded Bab az-Zawiya area, in the center of Hebron city, and abducted two children, identified as Salim Mohammad Sammooh, 14, and Hamdi Khalil Qawasma, 14, before taking them to an unknown destination.

In related news, the soldiers installed many roadblocks in several neighborhoods in Hebron city, and the main entrances of Sa’ir and Halhoul towns, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

(Source / 24.09.2017)