Infant mortality rate among Palestinians in Israel three times higher than Jewish citizens

Newborn babies are placed in the incubation department at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City

The infant mortality rate among Palestinian citizens of Israel is nearly three times higher than among Jewish citizens, official figures have revealed.

A Health Ministry report, “The National Challenge of Reducing Inequality in the Health System”, states that while Israel’s overall infant mortality rate in 2016 stood at 3.1 deaths per 1,000 births, “the rate among Arabs was nearly three times higher than among Jews — 6.2 to 2.2, respectively”.

In Tel Aviv municipality, for example, which includes Jaffa, “the infant mortality rate among Arabs averaged 8.2 deaths per 1,000 births, more than four times higher than the two deaths per 1,000 births among Jewish babies in the city.”

The average infant mortality rate in 2015 among countries in the OECD was 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births.

Healthcare in Gaza: Is there any hope left?

The Health Ministry report also included data on the overall mortality rate, with Jewish settlers in the West Bank enjoying the lowest mortality rate among Israeli citizens.

The life expectancy of Palestinian citizens stands at 81.4 years for women, and 77.2 years for men. For Jewish citizens, life expectancy stands at 84.7 years for women and 81.5 years for men.

Moshe Bar Siman Tov, the director-general of the Health Ministry, said the report showed the need for Israel to better address health inequality, which he said stemmed largely from “socioeconomic gaps whose origin is outside the health system”.

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Israel’s detention of Palestinian human rights defenders condemned

Israeli security forces take positions outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison, in the West Bank city

Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer has condemned Israel’s detention of three human rights defenders, in a statement issued following dawn raids yesterday.

Israeli forces arrested Khaled Zabarqah from Al-Lydd, Eyad Messk, who is the head of the legal unit at the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs, and Feras Al-Sabbah, the director of Al-Meethaq for Human Rights organisation in Jerusalem, in the raids yesterday.

All three are “lawyers involved with the defence of Palestinian prisoners”.

After being detained, “the three human rights defenders were taken from their homes to an interrogation centre in Petah Tikva, and are awaiting a detention extension hearing.”

“The detention extension hearings are a policy used by the Israeli forces to either start or extend the period of interrogation, or to buy time for the military prosecutor to file charges against Palestinians,” Addameer notes.

According to the organisation, “Israeli forces routinely target human rights defenders as part of a recently intensifying campaign against dissent”, citing the detention of Abdallah Abu Rahma from Beli’n, near Ramallah, on 20 November.

Read: Israel issues 40 administrative detention in 10 days

Abdallah is the coordinator of the Public Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements” in his village. He faces a hearing tomorrow but has not been given a list of charges.

Citing the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Addameer condemned Israeli measures taken against such individuals, who “organise and participate in protests and demonstrations against the Separation Wall and settlements”, exercising their “right to resist an occupying force”.

“Human rights defenders face ongoing forms of indiscriminate and arbitrary punishment long after they have been released. Requests from them and their families for permits from the Israeli authorities are consistently denied, they face targeted persecution and intimidation, detention and questioning at checkpoints, defamation, and, in some cases, re-arrest,” Addameer said.

“As the occupation attempts to silence voices of resistance, and to pacify an occupied population, Addameer calls on the immediate release of the three lawyers from the interrogation centre, also on the occupying forces to cease its attack on human rights defenders.”

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Israel arrests Shaikh Raed Salah’s lawyer

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah addresses to the crowd during his welcoming ceremony, after he was released from Israeli prison, in Umm al-Fahm, Israel on 17 January, 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah addresses the crowd on 17 January 2017

Israel has arrested the lawyer who acts for the head of the Islamic Movement in the Zionist state, Shaikh Raed Salah, Anadolu has reported. Khalid Zabarqeh was arrested by police on Monday. No reason for the move was provided by the authorities.

Taleb Abu Arar MK said in a press release that police officers raided the lawyer’s house in Al-Lod. He described this as a “dangerous escalation in relation to political arrests” and pointed out that “arresting lawyers who defend our political prisoners is a new Israeli trend.” The member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, called for the Israeli police to release Zabarqeh “immediately”.

According to Jomaa Zabarqeh MK, the Israeli police have arrested several lawyers and activists working for organisations which defend Al-Aqsa Mosque. He said that aside from arresting his namesake Khalid Zabarqeh, they have also detained the Director of the legal department of the Prisoners’ and Freed Prisoners’ Committee, Iyad Misk, and the Director of Al-Dameer Organisation for Human Rights, Firas Al-Sabbagh after raiding their respective homes.

“Israel does not care about arresting rights activists,” added the MK, “because it wants to hide its continuous crimes represented in Judaisation efforts, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and attempting to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The parliamentarian said that Israel wants to “silence any voice that opposes its policies.”

Shaikh Raed Salah, whose movement was banned in 2015, has been held in an Israeli jail since 15 August.

Read: Shaikh Raed Salah stands between Israel and Al-Aqsa Mosque, so he is kept in custody

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Fatah calls for new intifada in support of Jerusalem

Palestinians celebrate the removal of Israeli security measures at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on 27 July 2017 [Mahmoud İbrahem/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians hold flags outside the the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on 27 July 2017

Fatah yesterday called on Palestinians to support Jerusalem as news has circulated that the US is to announce it the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there, Quds Net reported.

The movement called on the international community to work to undermine the “frenzied” US plan.

In a statement, Fatah said: “This fierce and systematic attack on Jerusalem, which is being launched by Israel… This attack seeks to erase the Arabic and Islamic existence in the city and Judaise it, as well as change the geographic and demographic reality in a way that serves the expansionist Israeli interests.”

The statement added: “Jerusalem is the gate to war and peace. Continuous escalation against its Arabic identity is considered an alarm of war and this abandons all international agreements and conventions.”

Such an American step, the statement said, gives a “political and legal legitimacy” to the occupation and “enables it to control the holy sites without any observer”.

Read: PA to abandon all previous deals if US embassy moved to Jerusalem

(Source / 05.12.2017)

ICC has ‘made significant progress’ in prosecuting Israel for war crimes

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that it has “made significant progress in its assessment” to determine “whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation” into war crimes committed by Israel.

Yesterday’s announcement by the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, means that The Hague office will press ahead with its preliminary examination, which was launched nearly three years ago in January 2015.

A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation under the principals of the Rome Statute.

The Office said that it had “reviewed and assessed a large body of information from various types of sources provided to the Office by relevant individuals, local and international NGOs, international organisations, and States.” This includes a 700-page report alleging that high-level Israeli officials have been complicit in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Many of these groups who are based in occupied West Bank have urged Bensouda earlier in the year to “urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory” as a “necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable”.

Read: PA requests ICC speed up investigation into Israeli settlements

In its report on the Preliminary Examination Activities 2017, the ICC said it had deliberated on “Jurisdictional Issues” while offering an early indication of the findings from the initial assessment it has carried out to determine if war crimes had been committed in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. The ICC office pointed out that there is “possible challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction”; nonetheless it insisted that the ICC’s jurisdiction had extended to Palestine following “the Government of Palestine accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC over crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014”.

In addition to Israeli protestations over the court’s jurisdiction, the Office also responded to a number of other Israeli objections. The report mentioned that Israel challenged the classification of Gaza and the West Bank as occupied territory thus rejecting the extension of the Geneva Conventions to the territory. Israel insisted that occupied Palestine was in fact “disputed territory whose status will ultimately be resolved in the course of peace process negotiations”.

Palestinian children seen along a stretch of the Israeli Seperation Barrier that criss-crosses the occupied West Bank

The ICC on the hand cited the International Court of Justice, United Nations Resolution and various intergovernmental agencies to dispute the Israeli claim. “Intergovernmental and international judicial bodies have periodically made determinations that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been occupied by Israel since 1967,” said the ICC, “these include the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 Israeli Wall advisory opinion and the UN Security Council and General Assembly in various resolutions adopted over the past 50 years.”

Read more: Abbas meets ICC prosecutor amid increasing Israeli violence against Palestinians

The ICC also cited last December’s UN Security Council resolution 2334 which reaffirmed the occupied status of the West Bank, and explicitly condemned the “construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions”.

While the ICC Office has not made a final determination to open an investigation against Israel it said that the “the Office has made significant progress in its assessment of the relevant factual and legal matters necessary for the determination of whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation”. The Office also said that it had “reviewed thousands of pages of material and drafted multiple analytical products. This assessment will continue, under the strict guidance of the Statute and with a view to reaching conclusions on jurisdictional issues within a reasonable time frame.”

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Syrian Interim Government Opens Jassim Sub-district Directorate in Dara’a & Meets FSA Commanders

Minister of Local Administration of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Mohammed Sorour Al-Muthayeb and an accompanying ministerial delegation opened a building of the Jassim Sub-district Directorate in Dara’a province of the Dara’a Province Police Command.

The sub-district officials briefed Al-Muthayeb on the departments and work mechanism of the Directorate. The Directorate comprises 65 police officers and policemen who defected from the Assad regime’s security services as well as civilian and military police. They underwent fitness exercises and training courses on how to deal with citizens.

Al-Muthayeb listened to complaints from the sub-district officials and discussed with them ways to support the sub-district using the resources available to SIG as the sub-district has no financial resources to continue its work other than the local council in the town.

The administration of the Jassim sub-district was restructured through the opening of an office of investigation, the deployment of security forces to guard the town, setting up security points at the entrances to the town, the deployment of security personnel to organize traffic.

On Saturday, SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab held an extensive meeting with FSA commanders in northern rural Aleppo in the presence of Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Akeidi, Deputy Defense Minister and Colonel Haitham Affisi, the FSA’s Deputy Chief of Staff.

Abu Hatab praised the FSA’s role in defending the Syrian people and their role as a shield defending the homeland. He stressed the importance of forming a national army as crucial to building the future of Syria, preserving the gains of the revolution, and defending the Syrian people in the liberated areas.

Abu Hatab discussed with the committee emanating from conglomerate of the FSA commanders in northern rural Aleppo a number of issues including the formation of a national army and its future role. Abu Hatab’s meetings with the FSA commanders came as part of SIG’s efforts to form a national army after its previous meetings with rebel groups who agreed to form a national army.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 05.12.2017)

Trump tells Abbas of plans to move embassy as world leaders warn of consequences

Trump vs Abbas

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — After days of speculation over whether the US would be moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, American President Donald Trump called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and confirmed his intentions to move the embassy.Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh released a statement saying that Abbas “warned [Trump] of the dangerous repercussions of such step” for the peace-process between Israel and Palestine, and for general security and stability in the region and world.Abbas reportedly reiterated the Palestinian leadership’s unwavering position that without what is no occupied East Jerusalem as its capital, there is not future of Palestinian state as stipulated in international resolutions.Abu Rudeineh stressed that Abbas “will continue to contact world leaders in order to prevent this unacceptable.”Israeli news daily Haaretz quoted Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, as saying that “the mother of all the [peace] deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”Meanwhile, international media outlets reported that Trump also phoned Jordanian King Abdullah II, who, according to Haaretz, told Trump over the phone that he pledged to “thwart any American initiative to renew the peace process and would encourage rage and resistance among Muslims and Christians alike,” if the embassy was moved.While many countries have consulates in Jerusalem that cater to citizens residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, the majority of embassies to Israel are located in the Tel Aviv area, which is recognized by the international community as Israel’s capital.Despite repeatedly making the promise to move the embassy throughout his presidential campaign, in June, Trump signed a temporary order to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, a renewable six-month waiver that has been signed by every US President for the past two decades.If implemented, the move would be seen as the first step to a drastic abdication of longstanding US policy that has largely adhered to international standards on Israel-Palestine, which maintains that East Jerusalem is an intricate part of occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of any future Palestinian state, despite Israel’s annexation of the territory.The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.International media has speculated that Trump will officially announce the decision on Wednesday, after he failed to sign the waiver by its deadline on Monday.Trump’s decision has drawn condemnation from leaders across the globe, including Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, and the EU.According to Haaretz, 25 former Israeli ambassadors, academics and peace activists also expressed their opposition to Trump’s potential recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a letter to Trump’s envoy in the region, Jason Greenblatt.The news of Trump’s decision regarding the embassy came amid weeks of speculation by international media over the Trump administrations “ultimate peace plan” for the region, which was set to be presented soon.Trump has repeatedly said peace between Israelis and Palestinians was something he could achieve as president. “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said in April. “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever.”While Trump has maintained on many occasions that, under his auspices, the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be solved, up until this week, his administration has painted a rather unclear picture regarding Trump’s plans in the region, while a number of high-profile US officials are known to be staunch supporters of Israel.In February, Trump said that when it came to a solution for the decades-long conflict he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution, in a significant departure from the US’ publicly held position in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict.However, his elusiveness has not belied the fact that Trump and his administration have maintained their pro-Israel stance, despite stated efforts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which he said in the past was “not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Six Palestinians, Including Children, in Bethlehem, Hebron And Jenin

04 DEC
10:48 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, six Palestinians, including three children, in the West Bank governorates of Bethlehem, Hebron and Jenin, after the army invaded many homes and violently searched them.

The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted Issa Mohammad al-Hreimi, 17, from the city, in addition to Abdul-Rahman Amro Issa, 14, and Bilal Sbeih, 14, from the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem.

In addition, the soldiers invaded many homes in Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and abducted Haitham Jamil Awad, 29.

The soldiers caused serious damage to Haitham’s home, after violently breaking into it and ransacking its property.

The soldiers also invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and abducted Shadi Ibrahim Bahar, after invading his family’s home and searching it.

In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Abu an-Naseef, 40, from his home in Abu Their neighborhood.

The soldiers also invaded the home of Essam Abu Hatab, in Jenin, and violently searched it.

|Army Abducts The Head Of the Legal Department Of The Detainees Committee|

|Israeli Soldiers Abduct Four Guards Of Al-Aqsa Mosque|

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Army Abducts The Head Of the Legal Department Of The Detainees Committee

04 DEC
10:32 AM

The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted, on Monday at dawn, the head of its Legal Departments, Lawyer Eyad Misk, after storming and searching his home in Kafr Aqab town, in occupied East Jerusalem.

In a press release, the committee said that Misk was taken to Petah Tikva interrogation center, without informing him of the reasons behind his detention.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have abducted, overnight at least 20 Palestinians, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Among the abducted Palestinians are the head of al-Meethaq Institution for Human Rights, Lawyer Firas Sabah, and Lawyer Khaled Zabarqa.

(Source / 05.12.2017)

Israel law allows suing people revealing army violations against Palestinians

Rights group: Israeli occupation carried out 37 violations against Palestinian journalists in November

Israeli media sources revealed that the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation was due to discuss a draft bill yesterday that allows the army to sue anyone who “offends” its soldiers.

The bill, which is aimed at organisations including Breaking the Silence which works to expose the occupation’s violations against Palestinian citizens, has the backing of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Minister Yariv Levin, Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom reported.

According to the bill’s details, the draft law would allow soldiers to file defamation suits against anyone who tried to harm their reputation or spread information harmful to their image.

The newspaper quoted Likud MK Yoav Kish, who presented the draft bill, saying: “After the Ministerial Committee approves the draft bill, it will be presented next Wednesday for approval during a preliminary reading in the Knesset.”

Kish claimed that the “testimonies” published by Breaking the Silence are “lies”.

He added: “Whoever defames the army, whether it is Break the Silence, or any other party, must pay the price.”

Breaking the Silence is an organisation of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and who expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.

(Source / 05.12.2017)