Escalating arrests, detentions target Palestinian journalists

Amir Abu Araam and Alaa al-Titi

An Israeli occupation military court extended the detention of two Palestinian journalists, Amir Abu Araam and Alaa al-Titi, until Tuesday, 10 October, accusing them of “incitement.” Both are correspondents for Al-Aqsa TV. The two were seized when occupation forces invaded their homes in pre-dawn raids on Monday, 2 October, ransacking their belongings and terrorizing their families.

Three days before, al-Titi and his colleague Mustafa al-Khawaja had been sentenced to a fine of 3,000 NIS ($800 USD) and a suspended sentence of eight months over a three-year period if they return to work for Al-Aqsa TV, in a case that began in 2015; the two had been imprisoned and released as the military court hearings dragged on over years.  Al-Titi has been repeatedly detained on political grounds by the Israeli occupation and also the Palestinian Authority security forces.

Raghid Tabisia

Meawhile, fellow journalist, freelancer and Quds News Network correspondent Ragheed Tabisia, 24, from Qalqilya, had his detention extended once again by an Israeli occupation military court. Tabisia was seized by occupation forces in a pre-dawn raid on his home on 24 September; he has been held in the Jalameh interrogation center since that time.

Palestinian journalist Mohammed Awad, seized on 29 September, was ordered on 3 October to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. There are now approximately 30 Palestinian journalists in Israeli occupation prisons and the recent slew of arrests in the past several weeks has highlighted an escalation in attacks on Palestinian journalists. Awad had previously been jailed for 10 months in 2013 and works for Wattan TV.

The Radio and Television Federation in Palestine said that “the number of detainees in Israeli jails is increasing amid the intensification of arrest campaigns against journalists by the occupation authorities…the Israeli occupation deliberately postpones the trials of journalists under flimsy pretexts and subjects journalists to administrative detention without charge.”

On 4 October, the Committee to Support Journalists emphasized that Palestinian journalists face increased danger to their lives and freedoms, marking 53 violations to journalists’ rights in Palestine in September 2017, 48 carried out by the Israeli occupation.

During September, 11 journalists were arrested and held, detained and released or summoned to interrogation by the Israeli occupation, including Tabisia, Awad and his brother Abdel-Rahman Awad; Kayed Hassanein, Hazem Badr, Issam Rimawi and Talal Abu Rahma – all detained – and filmmaker Mohammed Bakri and journalists Ahmed Jalajel and Daoud Afaneh, all summoned to interrogtion.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the ongoing attacks on Palestinian journalists and urges broader international solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian journalists to demand their freedom and an end to the institutionalized Israeli occupation repression that seeks to silence their voices.

(Source / 05.10.2017)

63 more Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention

Israeli occupation authorities issued at least 63 administrative detention orders in the latter part of September, reported Palestinian lawyer Mahmoud al-Halabi of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.

Among those ordered to administrative detention were Sabah Faraoun, a Palestinian seamstress from Jerusalem whose administrative detention has been extended five times since she was seized by occupation forces on 19 June 2016, and Salah Hamouri, the French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender who is the subject of a global campaign for his release.

Administrative detention orders, which imprison Palestinians without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence, are issued for one- to six-month periods and are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. There are currently approximately 450 Palestinians held under administrative detention out of a total of 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners.

The orders issued include the following:

1. Habib Ahmed Mohammed, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
2. Ibrahim Ismail Zanouneh, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
3. Salah Mohammed Khawaja, Ramallah, 2 months, extension
4. Ghaleb Mohammed Atatra, Jenin, 4 months, new order
5. Moatassem Billah Jiyawi, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
6. Yousef Mohammed Za’ik, al-Khalil, 4 months, new order
7. Omar Fathi Shafi’i, Nablus, 6 month, new order
8. Rabie Salim Abdo, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
9. Nader Abdel-Halim Natsheh, al-Khalil, 6 months, new order
10. Sabah Ahmed Faraoun, Jerusalem, 3 months, extension
11. Ayad Jamal al-Hareimi, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
12. Suhaib Nasri al-Zeer, Bethlehem, 6 months, new order
13. Abdallah Ibrahim Jawarish, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
14. Majd Ahmad Amarneh, Jenin, 4 months, new order
15. Bassam Abdel-Rahim Hammad, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
16. Murad Ali Asakra, Bethlehem, 6 months, new order
17. Fathi Mohammed Atoum, Jenin, 5 months, extension
18. Abdel-Khaliq Hasan al-Natsheh, al-Khalil, 4 months, new order
19. Hussein Saleh Abu Aker, Bethlehem, 4 months, extension
20. Diaa Yousef Shehadeh, Ramallah, 6 months, new order
21. Qais Fouad Kharma, Ramallah, 4 months, new order
22. Arib Walid Salem, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
23. Hammam Munir Abu Rahma, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
24. Abdel-Aziz Mahmoud Mubarak, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
25. Mohammed Jamal Sajidiya, Ramallah, 6 months, extension
26. Ahmed As’ad Abu Khalifa, Jenin, 4 months, extension
27. Raafat Jamal Nassif, Tulkaem, 6 months, extension
28. Ahmed Abdel-Karim Dar Mohammed, Ramallah, 3 months, extension
29. Mohammed Jamal al-Natsheh, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
30. Omar Mohammed Barajeh, Jericho, 4 months, extension
31. Ramzi Omar Qawar, Bethlehem, 4 months, extension
32. Mohammed Ahmad Meshaal, Ramallah, 3 months, new order
33. Imad Shafiq Erhimi, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
34. Alaa al-Din Khaled Ali, Ramallah, 3 months, extension
35. Rashid Ibrahim Rashid, Bethlehem, 4 months, extension
36. Montasser Wajih Abu Ayyash, al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
37. Mamoun Faleh Hamdan, Tulkarem, 4 months, extension
38. Ahmad Abdallah Abu Sariyeh, Jenin, 4 months, extension
39. Akram Yousef al-Fassisi, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
40. Osama Khaled Amour, al-Khalil, 6 months, new order
41. Fadi Hamad Ghanem, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
42. Abdel-Razeq Yassin Faraj, Ramallah, 4 months, extension
43. Ibrahim Mohammed al-Rashaydeh, Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
44. Issa Khalil Abu Arqoub, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
45. Musab Akef Ashtayeh, Nablus, 4 months, new orer
46. Mohammed Khader Musa, Bethlehem, 4 moths, extension
47. Amir Nizar Yousef Khawaja, Ramallah, 6 months, extension
48. Thabet Nassar Nassar, Nablus, 4 months, extension
49. Faisal Maahmoud Khalifa, Tulkarem, 4 months, extension
50. Yousef Fakhri Atrash, Jenin, 4 months, new order
51. Louay Sati Ashkar, Tulkarem, 3 months, extension
52. Yousef Omran Abu Hussein, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
53. Yousef Abdel-Aziz Qazzaz, al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
54. Mohammed Abdallah Dar Taha, Ramallah, 2 months, new order
55. Nimer Ali Hamed, Ramallah, 3 months, new order
56. Mohammed Mahmoud Sahwil, Ramallah, 4 months, new order
57. Mohammed Abdallah Atwan, Bethlehem, 3 months, extension
58. Mo’men Hammad al-Obeid, Tulkarem, 6 monhts, new order
59. Abdel-Rahim Sami el-Haj, Tulkarem, 6 months, new order
60. Abdel-Basit Abdel-Jamil el-Hajj, Tulkarem, 6 months, new order
61. Khaled Ibrahim Abu Turki, al-Khalil, 4 months, new order
62. Ayman Mohammed Jabariya, al-Khalil, 3 months, extension
63. Mahdi Majdi Sweidan, Qalqilya, 4 months, extension

(Source / 05.10.2017)

$1.5m of EU-donated structures destroyed by Israel since 2014

Israeli security forces gather around a construction site as demolition of a home is about to take place in Jerusalem on 14 March 2017

Israeli authorities have demolished or seized some $1.5 million worth of European Union-donated structures in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) since 2014.

The figures are included in a newly-published, six-month report by the Office of the European Union Representative in the oPt, covering developments March-August 2017.

During the reporting period, occupied East Jerusalem saw a high number of demolitions, while there was a reduction in Area C of the West Bank (compared to 2016’s unusually high figures).

According to a summary of the report, over 150 Palestinian owned structures were impacted by demolition, seizure, sealing off, or eviction throughout the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem. Almost 60 per cent of the incidents took place in East Jerusalem.

“This brings the total number of affected structures since the beginning of 2017 to 330, resulting in the displacement of over 500 Palestinians including 290 children,” the summary states.

Since the beginning of 2017, Israeli occupation authorities have targeted 72 EU-funded structures, representing 22 per cent of all affected Palestinian-owned structures (up from 17 per cent in 2016).

The EU report notes that an estimated number of 12,500 Palestinian structures in Area C currently have outstanding demolition orders issued by the Israeli Civil Administration due to lack of required building permits. These pending demolition orders “could be implemented at any moment”.

According to the EU officials, between 2014 to mid-2016, only one per cent of the building permits requested by Palestinians in Area C were granted (16 permits granted from 1,253 applications).

Moreover, between 2010-2015 only some eight per cent of all building permits in Jerusalem were given in Palestinian neighbourhoods (714 out of 9,106 permits issued).

Read: Israel demolishes EU-funded Palestinian school

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Sanders: US complicit in Israel’s occupation

Image of Former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]

Image of Former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

US Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said that “the US is complicit” in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but also added that Israel is not “the only party at fault”, in an interview with the Intercept last month.

Sanders, who has been criticised by pro-Palestinian activists for largely dismissing the Israeli issue, opened up on US foreign policy in the region, stating that the Trump administration had a responsibility to be balanced in addressing the conflict: “In terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations the United States has got to play a much more even-handed role. Clearly that is not the case right now.”

He also expressed his support for decreasing the $3 billion worth of annual US aid granted to Israel, but emphasised that it was the use of funding that was the more important element in fostering relations.

“The US funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how US aid can bring people together … So I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas.”

Read: Palestinian activist from Hebron meets Bernie Sanders

This is not the first time Sanders has expressed support for Palestinians living under occupation. In February the senator spoke at a conference organised by J Street, an advocacy group aiming to advance Israeli-US interests and a two-state solution, and called for an end to the 50-year-long occupation of the West Bank.

During the Democrat presidential candidate debate in 2016 he also questioned the blind US support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling fellow senator Hillary Clinton that: “There comes a time when … we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

However, more recently Sanders has expressed his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign of Israeli products and services, and in April, signed his name to a controversial letter attacking the UN for allegedly having an “anti-Israel agenda”.

Many senior figures within the Trump administration maintain a strong Zionist stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Senior adviser and son-in-law to the president Jared Kushner is a family friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, whose daughter moved permanently to Jerusalem last month, has long opposed a Palestinian state. Former US Chief Strategist Steve Bannon also lobbied for officials to adopt a tougher stance towards the Palestinian Authority and for the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

Read: Trump described Netanyahu as ‘bigger problem’ than Abbas

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Israel arrested 33 Palestinian children in September

Image of Israeli forces arresting a Palestinian child on 22 November 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Image of Israeli forces arresting a Palestinian child on 22 November 2012

Israeli occupation forces arrested 253 Palestinians in September, including 33 children and four women, Quds Net reported on Wednesday. Most of those detained underwent harsh interrogations and were not allowed to meet with lawyers.

A rights group working with prisoners and freed prisoners said that the Israeli occupation “dragged” the 33 children from their families and put them in prison where they encountered bad medical and living conditions. In its September statistical report, Anin Al-Qayd said that the Israelis issued 50 administrative detention orders, including 15 for the first time and 35 against prisoners who have been held with neither charge nor trial in the past.

The group also said that Mohamed Nashabbat last month completed 28 years as a prisoner of Israel.

In addition to imprisonment, the Israeli courts imposed fines on Palestinians totalling 768,000 new Israeli shekels (£166,260) in September alone.

Read: ‘Increasing risks’ for Palestinian children under occupation, say Save the Children, UNICEF

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Israeli forces arrest Al-Aqsa security guard as settlers tour the holy site

Pal security guard arrested

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police on Thursday detained a Palestinian security guard of the Al–Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, after the guard reportedly stepped in as an Israeli soldier “assaulted” a Palestinian child.

A report by a worshipers’ committee in Jerusalem said that Israeli police detained the guard, identified as Yahiya Biseileh, from the Council Gate entrance to the compound, after Biseileh “objected to an Israeli female soldier assaulting a Palestinian child while he was trying to enter the mosque.”
The report added that the guard was also assaulted by Israeli police and border guards during his detention.
Meanwhile, local sources told Ma’an that 55 Israeli settlers entered Al-Aqsa compound early Thursday from the Moroccan Gate under the protection of Israeli police forces.
The settlers toured the compound and attempted to perform prayers at the Golden Gate.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and subsequent annexation, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust not to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. However, non-Muslims are permitted to enter and visit the holy compound during designated hours.
Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, who often times carry out prayers in an attempt to challenge the status quo at Al-Aqsa, leading to tensions with Palestinian worshipers.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Social Media Posts Leading to Palestinian Detentions Hidden from Inmates by Israeli Police

05 OCT
6:59 AM

Israeli law enforcement agencies are not revealing to detainees which of their social media posts led to the issuance of a warrant for their arrest and their subsequent detention, a press release said on Wednesday.

This practice is being employed disproportionally against Palestinian citizens of Israel and seriously impairs their ability to defend themselves, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, said in the release.

WAFA reports that Adalah sent a letter on September 11 calling on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan to order Israeli police to disclose to suspects and their lawyers during pre-trial detention hearings the content of the social media posts that allegedly constitute a criminal offense, such as incitement and other crimes of expression.

Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury wrote in the letter that this policy severely harms suspects’ rights.

“This problematic practice essentially turns an initial arrest into a full-fledged administrative detention. It is not just that the evidentiary materials collected by police are kept from detainees and their lawyers, but that the [social media] content for which the arrest was carried out is left undefined,” he wrote.

“Just as it would be unthinkable to arrest someone suspected of theft without informing them or their lawyer during the pre-trial detention stage what they are believed to have stolen … and just as one cannot be arrested on suspicion of murder while the identity of the victim is left undisclosed until after an indictment is filed, so it is also in the case of an individual arrested on suspicion of committing a crime of expression involving a publication: there is a duty to inform suspects and their lawyers of the content of the expression, i.e. the ‘publication,’ on which the arrest warrant is based.”

Adalah’s letter included numerous examples of arrests of Palestinian citizens of Israel carried out for alleged crimes of expression, during the course of which the statements that formed the very grounds for the arrests were kept classified. For example, Razi Nabulsi, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, was arrested on suspicion of “publishing a statement in support of a terrorist organization”, but Israeli police maintained a ban on release of Nabulsi’s statement that formed the basis for his arrest for the entire duration of his seven-day detention.

Attorney Khoury wrote: “The arrest of individuals suspected of incitement, for example – without revealing the statements that form the basis for the arrest – constitutes a serious infringement of suspects’ rights to due process, undermines the purpose of the criminal process, and severely s detainees’ rights to plead their case and defend themselves.”

The vast majority of arrests made in Israel in 2015 and the first half of 2016 for charges related to alleged incitement on social media outlets were of Palestinian citizens.

According to Israeli police statistics, 82 percent of individuals arrested for incitement-related offenses in 2016 were Palestinian citizens, whereas only 18 percent were Jewish Israeli citizens. Statistics for 2015 are similar: 81 percent of those arrested for incitement-related violations were Palestinian citizens and 19 percent were Jewish Israeli. In 2015, 43 people were charged with incitement-related offenses, 40 Palestinian citizens and three Jewish citizens (seven percent).

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Army Closes Rural Road, Prevents Farmers From Entering Their Lands, In Bethlehem

05 OCT
12:04 PM

Ahead of the olive picking season in Palestine, Israeli soldiers closed, Thursday, a main rural road leading to orchards and farmlands, in Husan town, west of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, and refused to allow the farmers into their own lands.

Hasan Hamamra, the head of Husan Village Council, told WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers closed the rural reading between Husan and Wadi Fukin towns, after placing a metal gate and barbed wire around the lands.

Hamamra added that this closure isolated 500 Dunams of agricultural lands, just as the Palestinians prepare to harvest their olive orchards, the main source of livelihood for thousands of farmers.

The isolated lands are close to Beitar illegal Israeli colony, which was built on privately-owned Palestinian lands, an issue that raises serious concern regarding Israel’s intentions, as such measures largely lead to the illegal annexation of the lands.

The Israeli army usually isolates large areas of lands, prevents the owners from entering them to plant or harvest them, and then decides to “confiscate” them under the pretext of not being planted, or being “abandoned.”

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Undercover Soldiers Assault An Elderly Palestinian Man Near Jerusalem

05 OCT
6:25 AM

Several undercover Israeli soldiers attacked, on Wednesday, an elderly Palestinian man from Beit Surik town, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses said the undercover soldiers attacked Mustafa Afalqa, causing many cuts and bruises to his head and face, and other parts of his body.

The Palestinian was assaulted near the home of Nimir Mahmoud al-Jamal, 37, who was killed on September 26th, after opening fire on a group of Israeli Border Police officers, and armed security guards, killing three and wounding a fourth at the main entrance of Har Hadar illegal Israeli colony.

After the undercover officers assaulted the elderly Palestinian man, regular army units invaded Beit Surik, and withdrew along with the undercover officers, a short time later.

In related news, the soldiers installed a military roadblock at the junction between Kafrit and Ya’bad towns, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

(Source / 05.10.2017)

Report: IOA razed three homes last month in O. Jerusalem

3 Homes demolished

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) demolished last September three Palestinian homes and issued demolition orders against 29 others in east Jerusalem.

This came in a report released on Wednesday by al-Quds International Institution, covering some of Israel’s violations in the holy city during September.

According to the report, the IOA photographed 15 homes in the Issawiya district of Jerusalem with the aim of demolishing them later and knocked down part of al-Shuhada cemetery’s wall near Bab al-Asbat area in the Old City.

The IOA also ordered a Jerusalemite citizen called Tawfiq al-Ghizzawi to pay 122,000 shekels (around 40,000 US dollars) in expenses for the destruction of his home and the security forces that were deployed around the house during the demolition in April 18, 2014.

The Israeli police, for their part, arrested 80 Palestinian citizens from Jerusalem, including three pro-Aqsa female activists and 11 children under age 18, the report affirmed.

16-year-old Mohamed Obeidat, from Jabel Mukaber neighborhood in Jerusalem, was also sentenced by an Israeli court to 18 years in jail.

As for Israel’s settlement construction in the holy city, the IOA approved last month a plan to build 4,500 housing units for settlers on the lands of the depopulated Walaja village in southern Jerusalem.

During the reporting month, a new neighborhood for settlers, consisting of 3,000 housing units, was also approved for construction to the southeast of the illegal Gilo settlement in Jerusalem, and another 173 housing units were sanctioned in Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.

Moreover, the IOA approved the establishment of a network of tunnels to connect the settlements of east Jerusalem with the ones in the west and facilitate the travel of settlers to the Old City.

The month also saw Israel’s decision to annex four Palestinian villages in Ramallah to Jerusalem.

(Source / 05.10.2017)