Death of former prisoner Mahmoud Suleiman highlights medical neglect in Israeli prisons

Mahmoud Suleiman upon his release

Palestinian prisoners are highlighting the danger of medical neglect or mistreatment for sick prisoners in Israeli jails and the long-lasting consequences, following the death of released prisoner Mahmoud Suleiman from Gaza in Egypt on 14 October, where he died during cancer treatment. Suleiman’s illness was discovered after he was released from Israeli prison in 2013 after 22 years of imprisonment and had not been treated while he was jailed.

Fellow former prisoner Allam Kaabi said that prisoners were subject to a “policy of slow death to neutralize their continued contribution to the Palestinian national cause,” noting that many prisoners and freed prisoners suffer from serious illnesses like cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. He also said that many prisoners are freed only to discover their illnesses.

Kaabi also said that the Israel Prison Service is not interested in providing robust health and medical services to Palestinian prisoners or creating an environment that supports their health, linking the prison environment to chronic illnesses impacting prisoners after their release.

Dr. Raafat Hamdouna of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said that the Israeli state is responsible for the worsening of the condition of cancer patients, saying that their lives are disregarded and that a number of prisoners have cancer and fear the consequences of a lack of health care inside Israeli prisons. He also warned of possible environmental impacts that could have serious impact on prisoners’ health.

The Prisoners Affairs’ Commission said that Said al-Banna, 37, from Tulkarem, has suffered from bladder cancer for severl years. He received surgery a year and a half ago at Soroka hospital to remove the tumor; however, required follow-up examinations have been repeatedly postponed and he now receives only painkillers for medical treatment. Serving a life sentence, he has been jailed since 3 April 2002. The Commission also said that Nayef al-Mashni, 32, from al-Shuyukh village in al-Khalil, has been waiting to receive a sinus operation for over two years with no progress; he is serving a 19-year sentence and has been imprisoned since 11 August 2004.

Mohammed al-Tal, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council just released days ago from Israeli occupation prisons – leaving 12 Palestinian parliamentarians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation – said that he felt pain in his stomach after being detained for a month and was given only painkillers. He waited four months before receiving medical attention, when he was diagnosed with a tumor; his bile duct and part of the pancreas was removed, but only after lengthy delays and a denial that he needed treatment at all.

He also drew attention to the cases of some of the most severely ill prisoners, including Moatassim Raddad, who suffers from colon cancer and has permanent pain; Mansour Moqtada, who was severely wounded by Israeli occupation soldiers at the time of his arrest and who is dependent on a “plastic stomach” for digestion; and Khaled Abu Shawish.

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Brotherhood leader demands Sisi regime be prosecuted

Essam El-Erian, senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood [File photo]

Essam El-Erian, senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

A senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam El-Erian, who has been imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities, yesterday asked the court to allow him to meet with international lawyers to file lawsuits against the government regarding human rights violations in prisons.

El-Erian said he wished to meet with lawyers Ramsey Clark from the US, Mustafa Al-Ramid and Khaled El-Sufayani from Morocco, Ali Abu El-Sukkar from Jordan, Asaad Harmoush from Lebanon and Mubarak El-Mutawaa from Kuwait.

He requested the men be allowed entry to Egypt and not be stopped at the airport in order for them to meet with him and file lawsuits in international courts.

The defendant, who was in court for a session in the case on the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in dispersal, explained that his family is banned from visiting him and are treated badly by security officials and prison guards.

Meanwhile, attorney Essam Sultan announced during the court hearing that he will go on hunger strike until a UN committee visits him and discusses the authority’s failure to investigate his arrest and torture on 28 July 2013.

The court postponed the session until next Tuesday.

Read: Brotherhood prisoners refuse to meet government-appointed delegation

(Source / 18.10.2017)

US firm to build solar plants in Gaza

Image of solar plant [USAF/Wikipedia]

Solar panels in a power generation plan

The Gaza Strip will have three new solar energy plants operating by April, the US-based energy firm behind the project said yesterday, providing the territory with some relief from daily blackouts but far from meeting its severe power shortages.

Gaza’s daily power needs are estimated at nearly 600 megawatts. Israel, Egypt and the enclave’s only electrical generating plant currently supply 165 megawatts, with the electricity supply from Israel being cut after the Palestinian Authority refused to pay for Gaza’s electricity needs. The Strip has also suffered as a result of Israel’s siege which has limited the entry of diesel for its only electricity plant.

Solar power plants will be built in three areas in the Gaza Strip and in total produce 40 megawatts of electrical as early as April, said Volker Gutjahr, technical director of the Samaha Group.

The project, called “Turn on the lights in Gaza”, was announced at a ceremony yesterday in the territory attended by company representatives and Palestinian officials.

Read: UN gives $2.5m in aid to Gaza

“The capital will be around €50 million [$59 million], plus or minus, because this is an unknown territory, so we never know what surprises may come up,” Gutjahr told Reuters.

Gutjahr said the first shipment of equipment for the solar plants should arrive in March and will reach the Gaza Strip via the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

Wail Elawoor, CEO of Arab Orient Technology Services company, the local partner in the venture, said approval for the project came from the Energy Authority of the Palestinian Authority.

The project will create jobs for local engineers and workers under supervision of US and German technical experts, Elawoor said.

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Israeli forces raid, shutdown Palestinian media offices over ‘incitement’

Broadcasting inciting material

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli army, intelligence, and civil administration forces raided several offices of Palestinian media outlets and arrested two journalists overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, confiscating equipment and shutting down offices under the pretext that the organizations were “broadcasting inciting material.”In the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli forces raided the Transmedia and Palmedia offices and confiscated all equipment before closing the offices with a six-month military order.Locals told Ma’an that clashes erupted during the raids, resulting in the injury of several Palestinian youth.
Meanwhile, in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces raided the Palmedia offices in Bethlehem city and confiscated equipment.
In Hebron, Israeli forces raided the al-Quds TV, al-Aqsa, Palestine Today, Transmedia and Palmedia offices and confiscated equipment. The TransMedia and Palmedia offices were closed for 6 months by a military order.
Israeli forces also arrested t the director of TransMedia in Hebron, Amer Al-Jaabari, and the managing director, Ibrahim Al-Jaabari.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli army and security forces searched media offices “suspected in broadcasting inciting content and promoting violence and terrorism against Israelis.”
“Forces seized documents from companies that provided services to associations that promote terrorism and violence,” the spokesperson said, adding that the TransMedia and Palmedia offices in Nablus and Hebron were closed for “providing services” to Hamas-affiliated news channels al-Aqsa and al-Quds TV.
The Palmedia company released a statement on Wednesday condemning Israeli authorities, saying that “these actions threaten the company’s ability to continue its job providing services for TV channels and producing programs for local, Arab and International media.”
Palmedia called upon all Palestinian officials and human rights institutions to “aid the company to regain its equipment and reopen its offices, and to end this policy that threatens the existence of Palestinian media outlets and their continuance of sending the free Palestinian voice to the world.”
The Palestinian government strongly condemned the raids and closures on Wednesday, with government spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud describing the raids as a “blatant violation of all international resolutions,” according to official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency.
Wafa quoted al-Mahmoud as saying “the assaults come as part of Israel’s plans to distract attention from the atrocities’ committed by it,” adding that “such assaults will sap any international efforts, including those of the US, to advance peace and security in the region.”
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) also released a statement expressing their “grave concern” over the “drastic violations which we believe is a new harsh blow to the media profession and media freedoms in Palestine generally, that attempts to exile and silence the Palestinian media through shutting it down, and incurring it huge loses and prosecute it under the allegation and pretext of incitement.”
“We hereby call on all media and human rights international organizations to put real pressure on the Israeli Occupation Authorities to reopen all these media outlets and repair them of the losses and return all confiscated items and equipment, and to put an end to all violations that target media freedoms and hold all perpetrators accountable,” MADA said.
Israeli authorities have led a crackdown on alleged incitement since a wave of violence began in Oct. 2015, with Palestinian media outlets often being raided for allegedly inciting violence and hundreds of Palestinians detained over social media posts that Israeli forces believe amount to incitement against the Israeli state.
However, Israel has been accused of labeling any media that is critical of Israel and its policies in Palestinian communities as “incitement” in order to stifle criticisms of Israel’s discriminatory policies in Israel, its half-century occupation of the West Bank, and its decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip that has collapsed the territory into an interminable humanitarian crisis.
In a high profile case, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has targeted the award-winning news network Al Jazeera with allegations of incitement, most recently during the two-week long civil disobedience campaign in occupied East Jerusalem held in protest of Israel’s security measures at the holy site last month.
Netanyahu has since worked to shutter Al Jazeera’s office in Israel and revoke the official credentials of Al Jazeera journalists.
Palestinian journalists often describe their work as a form of “resistance,” as they believe their stories show the world the devastating effects of Israel’s policies on Palestinians and provide Palestinians an outlet for their voices in a media climate that is often overshadowed by pro-Israeli narratives.
(Source / 18.10.2017)

Palestinian shot, injured at Gush Etzion junction for alleged stabbing attempt

Youth shot Gush Etzion

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday at the Gush Etzion junction south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack.
Israeli media reported that the youth disembarked from a bus at the Etzion bus station carrying a knife and was immediately shot by Israeli soldiers in the area.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that an assailant armed with a knife ran towards Israeli forces stationed at the junction, and “in response to the immediate threat forces fired shots towards the suspect, who was injured and taken to the hospital.”
However, witnesses told Ma’an that the youth, who remained unidentified, was crossing the street running to catch another bus that was departing when Israeli soldiers opened fire at him.
A number of Palestinians have been arrested, shot, or killed by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to carry out attacks or being in possession of a knife at the Gush Etzion junction.
In July, 24-year-old Abdullah Ali Mahmoud Taqatqa was shot and killed at the junction for allegedly attempting to attack soldiers in the area.
Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in a majority of instances when Palestinians were killed, rights groups have disputed Israel’s version of events in a number of cases, and argued that many alleged attackers could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
(Source / 18.10.2017)

P. A Denounces Israel’s New Colonialist Plans

18 OCT
7:53 AM

The Palestinian National Authority denounced, Tuesday, the latest Israeli decision to build 300 new units in Beit El illegal colony, north of Ramallah, and 31 units in the heart of Hebron city, in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian President’s Spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rodeina, said all of Israel’s colonies are illegal under international law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and violate various United Nations Security Council resolutions, especially resolution #2334.

He added that Israel is stepping up its illegal colonialist activities in the West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, to foil international initiatives that seek genuine peace and justice.

Abu Rodeina added that Netanyahu is challenging the world by insisting to continue the construction of illegal colonies, and stressed that there can be no peace and no stability without Israel’s commitment to international law.

His statements came after Netanyahu approved the construction of 300 units in Beit El, north of Ramallah, in central West Bank, while the head of Beit El council said he hopes the move is just the beginning of further constructions and expansions.

Israeli also approved the construction of 31 colonialist units, for Jewish settlers, in the old Central Bus Station, in the Shuhada Street, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Israel Releases Lawyer Shireen al-Issawi After Holding Her Captive For 43 Months

18 OCT
8:36 AM

The Israeli authorities released, on Tuesday evening, lawyer Shirin al-‘Issawi, from the al-Isawiya town, south of occupied East Jerusalem, after holding her captive for 43 months.

Al-‘Issawi was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, including three times when her brother, Samer al-Issawi held a hunger strike for nine consecutive months, before was released, only to be abducted and imprisoned later.

Her brother, Medhat al-‘Issawi, is also a political prisoner who was abducted in April of 2014, and was sentenced to eight years.

Shireen Issawi Remains in Isolation after Attack on Palestinian Women Detainees

Lawyer Shireen Al-‘ Issawi Sentenced To 4 Years, Her Brother To 8

Detained Lawyer Shireen al-‘ Issawi Faced Harsh Conditions In Solitary

Detained Lawyer, Shireen al-‘ Issawi, Declares Hunger Strike

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Pitfalls of the Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation

fatah hamas reconciliation

The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation announced on October 12 may sound like a breakthrough, but many questions remain. Of course any progress bridging the two sides is a welcome development for people in Gaza, who have suffered since 2007 from Israel’s cruel blockade and, more recently, from the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) draconian cuts to their electricity and salaries. However, the longer-term effects of a Hamas-Fatah rapprochement – if done in an incomplete way – may be more devastating than what Palestinians experience today.

For instance, the establishment of a dual political system in the Gaza Strip, meaning partisan sharing in public sector institutions, would pose a major risk. In such a system, figures from Hamas and Fatah would ostensibly share control of ministries and other government offices, but in reality would command separate sections within PA institutions. This could lead to a situation in which the deep differences between the parties could spark tension and violence worse than what occurred in 2007.

Such a situation would benefit Israel, which uses the Fatah-Hamas split to claim that the Palestinians are unequipped to run a state. This allows Israel to more easily continue its project of settlement building and apartheid. Yet even if Fatah and Hamas work together peacefully in Gaza, the current steps being taken toward reconciliation could lead to the establishment of a dubious Palestinian “state:” an entity with its central government based in Gaza, along with carved up West Bank cantons. This solution may suit Israel as well as the United States, which currently envisions resolving the Palestinian issue in the context of a regional settlement between Arab states and Israel, but it would shatter the Palestinians’ hopes for a state based on the 1967 borders, or one state with equal rights for all.

To avoid these pitfalls and for Fatah and Hamas to work together toward genuine self-determination and rights for the Palestinian people, these steps should be taken:  

  • Fatah and Hamas leaders must focus on national unity and consensus regarding Palestinian national goals. Their shared understanding of the current stage of the Palestinian struggle and what is needed to further it will enable the Palestinians to unite to counter Israel and its strategy of imposing increased fragmentation on the West Bank.
  • A sticking point between the parties is the issue of weapons and Hamas’s military wing. Before 1982, the Palestinians had a high military council, headed by Yasser Arafat, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) steered the council’s decisions. In a 2011 Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, which failed, the formation of such a military council in the form of a high security committee was mentioned, and this should be revived. With a united political program and leadership guiding the council, weapons would not be in the hands of discrete factions that could then fight each other, but would be for the defense of the Palestinian people as a whole as a means of deterring Israeli aggression.
  • Hamas should draw on the example of the Ennahda movement in Tunisia and agree to cede power, though with the condition that they will have a seat at the political table. This means that the PA must allow Hamas’s participation in the PLO, its Executive Committee, the Palestinian National Council, and the Palestinian Legislative Council when it is reconvened. Hamas should exercise their right to participate in elections even if they pledge not to form a new government in the event that they win.

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Israeli forces ransack, shut down Palestinian media companies

Media shut down

The Israeli occupation forces at predawn time Wednesday shut down and ransacked the headquarters of Palestinian media production companies, citing incitement reasons, during raids in Ramallah, Nablus, al-Khalil, and Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

The Israeli army stormed the headquarters of TransMedia, PalMedia, and Ramsat news agencies in al-Khalil, Ramallah, Nablus, and Bethlehem, before they seized their equipment. The army shut down the offices of TransMedia and PalMedia for six months under a military order.

Media shut down1

The occupation soldiers had rolled into Nablus at the crack of dawn in over 30 military vehicles and ransacked the offices of PalMedia and TransMedia before they sealed them off with red wax and metal plates.

At the same time, violent clashes burst out in al-Shuhadaa Square, where the Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters with heavy spates of bullet fire and teargas canisters. A Palestinian youth sustained bullet injuries and dozens more choked on teargas.

Coordinator of al-Quds TV Channel in Nablus, Nawaf al-Amer, said the Israeli soldiers closed the office of PalMedia Company in Nablus and misappropriated its production equipment.

Clashes erupted with the army in the aftermath of the raid in Nablus, during which several Palestinians were reportedly injured, medical sources said.

The forces left posters stating that “incitement” was the reason for the six-month closures of the headquarters and offices of the targeted media production companies.

Media shut down2

Israeli authorities have long restricted Palestinian freedom of expression through censoring social media activity and imprisoning journalists, activists, and bloggers.

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Palestinians arrested, homes ravaged in predawn sweep by Israeli army

Abduction sweeps

Several Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Wednesday in abduction sweeps launched across the West Bank.

The Israeli army rolled into Tulkarem province, and ransacked civilian buildings, before they kidnapped several Palestinians from their family homes.

The arbitrary arrests triggered clashes near the main entrance to Tulkarem refugee camp, where the IOF attacked Palestinians with bullet fire and teargas, resulting in injuries.

A number of Palestinians were, meanwhile, left injured in clashes with the occupation troops in Nablus.

At the same time, the Israeli forces raided Jerusalem’s northeastern town of al-Issawiya and kidnapped at least six Palestinian youngsters, moments before they dragged them to Israeli interrogation centers.

Six Palestinians were further kidnapped by the IOF from Jenin province, in the northern West Bank. The list included Hamas leader Ahmed Salatna, along with other affiliates and anti-occupation activists.

The occupation army ravaged civilian homes and cracked down on the inhabitants. They further set up flying military checkpoints across the city.

Meanwhile, the IOF stormed the southern occupied West Bank province of al-Khalil in the hunt for stone-throwers. The army showered civilian homes with acoustic bombs and teargas grenades, sparking clashes in the area.

The IOF also broke into Palestinian homes in Bethlehem and kidnapped two Palestinian brothers—Mahdi and Muhyi al-Badawna—from their family houses.

The IOF reportedly ransacked the homes of Palestinian ex-prisoners using detection dogs on account of their affiliation with Hamas resistance movement.

The campaign culminated in the abduction of two Palestinians from Qalqilya province, in the northern occupied West Bank. A round of home break-ins was also carried out by the occupation army.

The IOF further sealed off the access roads to Azzoun and Gios, to the east, with makeshift roadblocks.

(Source / 18.10.2017)