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Dagelijks archief 5 februari 2018

Army Abducts Four Children In Bethlehem and Ramallah, Young Man In Jenin

05 FEB
9:20 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, four Palestinian children from their homes in the West Bank governorates of Ramallah and Bethlehem. On Sunday evening, the soldiers abducted a young man near Jenin.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that dozens of soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, violently searched homes and abducted Amir Morad Taqatqa, 14, Amer Khaled Taqatqa, 15, and Ali Hamza Deeriyya, 15.

The soldiers also stormed the home of Ibrahim Abdul-Rahim Taqatqa, and summoned his child, Mahmoud, 15, for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, south of Bethlehem.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Bil’in village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted a child, identified as Mohammed Iyad Burnat, 14.

His father, Iyad Burnat, a known nonviolent activist against the Israeli Annexation Wall and Colonies, said the soldiers invaded his home, and abducted his son.

It is worth mentioning that Iyad is currently in Istanbul – Turkey, where his other son, Majd, is hospitalized for further specialized treatment from wounds he suffered three years, after an Israeli soldier shot him in the leg, causing nerve damage.

On Sunday evening, the soldiers invaded Ya’bad town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, abducted a young man, identified as Shoaa’ Walid Abu Bakr, and confiscated his motorcycle, after storming his home and searching it.

In addition, the soldiers invaded al-Jabriyyat neighborhood, leading to Burqin road, in Jenin, and installed a military roadblock, before stopping and searching dozens of cars.

In related news, the soldiers a young Palestinian man, identified as Mohammad Kamel Oleyyan, minutes after his release from prison.

The Palestinian, who served a prison sentence of three years and four months. is from occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 05.02.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Palestinian Minutes After His Release From Prison

05 FEB
8:20 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, a young Palestinian man from occupied Jerusalem, minutes after his release from prison.

Handala Center for Detainees said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Kamel Oleyyan, who served a prison sentence of three years and four months.

It added that Oleyyan was taken prisoner by the soldiers just minutes after his release from Ramon prison, in the Negev Desert, and was moved to the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation center, west of Jerusalem.

The detainee, who was imprisoned for membership with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PSLP) was unable to see his family after his release.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers invaded, earlier Sunday, Oleyyan’s family home in the al-Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, and violently searched it, causing property damage.

(Source / 05.02.2018)

PayPal Blocks Activists for Palestine in France

05 FEB
7:31 PM

PayPal, already facing pressure for its refusal to provide services to Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, appears to be going a step further in its anti-Palestinian efforts.

Last week it abruptly shut down the account of a major Palestine solidarity group in France without providing an explanation.

In taking this action, the global payment and money transfer firm appears to be caving in to pressure from Israel and its lobby groups.

Association France Palestine Solidarité said in a statement on Saturday that it had just been informed of the “unexpected blocking” of its PayPal account, adding that several pro-Israeli websites had been crowing about the news.

AFPS said that on 26 January it received “a very succinct email from PayPal informing us of the closure of our account ‘because of the nature of our activities.’”

According to AFPS, this action came “without giving a reason and without contractually stipulated notice, despite the fact that our activities have been identical for years and we have never had a problem with our account.”

Notably, AFPS is one of 20 human rights organizations placed on a blacklist by Israeli authorities earlier this month, barring its members from entering any Israeli-controlled territory.

The group says it is demanding an explanation from PayPal and could take legal action.

Israel lobby operation

The closing of the French group’s PayPal account does appear to be a continuation of Israel’s efforts to crack down on supporters of Palestinian rights.

As intense propaganda efforts have failed to stem the growth of support for Palestinian rights in Europe and around the world, Israel has turned increasingly to censorship, repression and lawfare.

Notably, Gerald Steinberg, the head of the right-wing Israeli group NGO Monitor that harasses and smears human rights and activist groups, boasted on Twitter that his organization’s “research” about AFPS was cited in a Jerusalem Post article celebrating the shutdown of the PayPal account.

The Jerusalem Post article is written by Benjamin Weinthal, nominally a journalist, but in reality a key operative of Israel’s anti-Palestinian campaign in Europe.

Weinthal specializes in smearing activists and groups and in 2010 teamed up with NGO Monitor to make false allegations against The Electronic Intifada.

Weinthal is also a “senior fellow” at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, an American neoconservative group that has attempted to smear the grassroots, nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as linked to Hamas and Iran.

“Due to customer confidentiality, we cannot comment on the details of any specific PayPal account,” Weinthal reported the company telling him in response to an inquiry.

“However, we would like to stress that PayPal has zero tolerance for the use of our secure payments platform to facilitate illegal activities,” the company added.

In his article, Weinthal claims credit for approaching PayPal, suggesting to it that AFPS was breaking French law by supporting the nonviolent BDS movement.

He also takes credit for similar pressure which he claims resulted in the shut down of the accounts of other Palestine solidarity groups in 2016.

Pressure on Silicon Valley

The focus on PayPal comes amid a concerted campaign by Israel to pressure other Silicon Valley companies including FacebookTwitter and Google to censor Palestinians and their supporters on its behalf.

Facebook has admitted that it deletes accounts at the direction of the US and Israeli governments.

Isolating Palestinians

PayPal’s corporate propaganda claims that it is “giving opportunity to people across the globe.”

But the company is already the focus of an ongoing activist campaign over its refusal to provide services to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The platform has become perhaps the most common way for people around the world to carry out direct transactions with each other easily and with much less cost and complication than traditional bank or money transfer services.

Until there are widely accepted alternatives to PayPal, the company’s refusal to serve Palestinians living under military occupation and siege leaves them even more isolated.

Last year, Dalia Shurrab, an entrepreneur in Gaza, told The Electronic Intifada about the damage done by PayPal’s discrimination against Palestinians.

“PayPal’s restrictions majorly disadvantage Palestinian startup and tech companies,” Shurrab said, “essentially rigging the game in favor of their competitors in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.”

Shurrab said that entrepreneurship in Gaza is growing fast, but PayPal’s global dominance in relatively inexpensive person-to-person payments acts as a real brake given its refusal to serve Palestinians.

Shurrab had wanted to launch her own startup, but was forced to abandon the plan given lack of access to payment. “Because PayPal does not operate in Gaza,” Shurrab said, she rarely receives payment for her freelance work.

PayPal also owns the fast growing US-only person-to-person payment service Venmo.

Undeterred

Association France Palestine Solidarité said its ability to accept donations has not been affected by the closure of its PayPal account, as it had already decided to switch its processing of donations to a different company.

Moreover, AFPS says that the attacks by the Israel lobby are an unintended tribute to the work it is doing.

The group said: “In spite of the enormous means deployed in order to gag us, we are confident that we will be able to count on the political and financial support of all who refuse to accept violations of the law as a rule of conduct in order to crush the Palestinian people.”

(Source / 05.02.2018)

Iraq’s wanted list includes Saddam’s daughter but not Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Raghad Saddam Hussein, the eldest daughter of former President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein

Iraq has issued a wanted list that has been met with raised eyebrows. It includes the daughter of Saddam Hussain but omits the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The list, seen by AFP, includes the name of the eldest daughter of the late Iraqi leader, Raghad, who lives in Jordan. It also features 28 suspected Daesh fighters, 12 from Al-Qaeda and 20 from the Baath party.

Arab news sources reported that a senior security official refused to explain the reasons for the absence of Al-Baghdadi, saying that the list included “the most wanted for the Iraqi judiciary”.

All those wanted are said to be Iraqis, with the exception of one Lebanese national; former Secretary-General of the Arab National Congress, Maan Bashour, accused of recruiting fighters to “participate in terrorist activities” inside the country.

Many former officers within Saddam Hussain’s regime are on the wanted list. Saddam Hussein Hamoud Al-Jubouri and Mahmoud Ibrahim Al-Mashhadani, a former officer under Saddam Hussein, are both on the list. Fawaz Mohammed Al-Mutlaq, a former member of Saddam’s Fedayeen Brigade and part of the military junta of the state and three of his sons are also on the list.

Others are said to be among the most prominent leaders of Al-Qaeda. The name of the military leader in Kirkuk, Ahmed Khalil Hassan, and Abdul Nasser Al-Janabi, Mufti and financier of the organisation in the area of ​​Jarf Al-Sakhr south of Baghdad, have also been included on the list.

Read: What you need to know about the post-Daesh battle for the Mideast

(Source / 05.02.2018)

Israel army trying to ‘drive Palestinians out’ in southern Hebron Hills, says NGO

Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron

The Israeli army is imposing “harsh travel restrictions” in an effort to “drive Palestinians out” in the southern Hebron Hills area of the occupied West Bank, according to human rights NGO B’Tselem.

Since the beginning of November 2017, B’Tselem says, Israeli occupation forces have targeted Palestinian communities of Masafer Yatta with restrictions including road blocks, and then “deep, wide ditches” that “prevent any sort of accesses by vehicle” on “several roads in the area”.

These movement restrictions compel Palestinian residents “to walk long distances, sometimes in harsh weather, or to drive along rough routes that damage their cars and cannot be used to transport bulk goods.”

“The [Palestinian] residents of Masafer Yatta have been suffering incessant harassment by Israel for decades,” says the Israeli rights group.

Israel does not allow them to connect to infrastructure and repeatedly demolishes their homes, in an attempt to drive them out of the area.

“Forcible transfer of residents constitutes a war crime,” B’Tselem added.

Such forcible transfer can be said to have occurred, the group continues, “even if the residents of these communities leave their homes, supposedly of their own volition, due to the unbearable living conditions that Israel’s policy is forcing upon them”.

Read: Life under occupation in Hebron

(Source / 05.02.2018)

Palestine conspiracy, impasse and way out

General labourers, fishermen and farmers gather to call for a successful Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, on September 24, 2017 in Gaza [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

General labourers, fishermen and farmers gather to call for a successful Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, on September 24, 2017 in Gaza

By Firas Abu Hilal

It is clear that a new international and regional conspiracy is being prepared to liquidate the Palestinian cause, and bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in favour of the occupying power, without achieving even a minimum of objectives for the Palestinian people. This conspiracy is no longer a speculative interpretation of history, or a way of escaping our internal problems by blaming others. It has become the topic talked about in major Western and Hebrew media under coded names such as the “deal of the century” which actually express one, and only one, core essence: to end the Palestinian cause with one result, which we can call “the three-state solution”, and not the internationally recognised two-state.

What does the conspiracy look like? With so much talking, writing and leaks about the nature of the conspiracy/deal, it seems difficult to define its final form. However, no matter what the details, it looks like leading to this “three-state solution” of a Jewish state, a Jordanian state that includes part of the West Bank, and an Egyptian state that includes the Gaza Strip.

Some observers believe that the conspiracy will be implemented by escalating the siege on the Gaza Strip (which is happening now) to push the Palestinians in the enclave to rebel against Hamas and hold the movement responsible for the blockade. This could lead to chaos, prompting the Egyptian army to intervene and Cairo to annex the Gaza Strip, as was the case before the Israeli occupation in 1967.

Egypt is not an honest broker for Palestinian reconciliation

Another interpretation of events believes that it will start with a devastating war against the Gaza Strip during which Palestinian civilians will be allowed to escape to the Sinai Peninsula, giving the Israeli army the green light to destroy Hamas and end its military presence. This will let Israel annex Gaza and those people left behind; those who are in Sinai to come under Egyptian sovereignty; and what’s left of the West Bank to be annexed to Jordan.

The third possible interpretation of the deal/conspiracy is to exert pressure and tighten the blockade as much as possible against Gaza, forcing Hamas to “allow” the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority or Mohamed Dahlan to rule the Strip, which will be followed by a solution to the economic situation and lifting the siege in coordination with Egypt. This will lead to an economic peace sponsored by Egypt, with a similar economic solution for the West Bank as part of Jordan.

These three interpretations are uncertain, and no one can determine which is most realistic or accurate, but the ambiguity that surrounds what is known as the “deal of the century” or “Trump deal” allows for all possibilities. If we do not believe that the first and second readings are possible, the third option is probably more likely, but it is not an easy option. It will clash with the positions of Hamas and other factions. It also contradicts official policy in Amman, which rejects any Jordanian solution or even a confederation before Palestinians have a final peace agreement.

The deal of the century: Greater Israel

The Palestinian impasse is the absence of a viable national liberation plan that has a real impact on the occupation. Despite the uncertainty about the nature of the deal that is being prepared to settle the Palestinian issue, and although the implementation of any of the three possibilities (or any others) will not be easy, this impasse still remains. It has been unsolvable for years and actually helps those who conspire against the Palestinians.

I am not referring to the political division in Palestine. That is the excuse that the enemies are using to justify their aggression and friends are using to justify abandoning their support for Palestine and its people.

Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have adopted a negotiations approach to a peace deal, but have declared repeatedly that these negotiations are no longer viable, that Oslo no longer exists, and that America is no longer an honest broker. On the other hand, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other factions have adopted the approach of armed resistance to the occupation, but this has become, in practical terms, defensive in nature. The occupation has been able to impose a real deterrent since its aggression on Gaza in 2008/2009, so that Hamas and its weapons in the territory are for self-defence and not resistance or liberation, because any initiative by Hamas to use these weapons means a devastating war for the Strip.

The impasse, then, is that the two main approaches declared by Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights have reached a dead end — at least for the time being — as the occupation imposes new facts on the ground every day in the West Bank and turns the lives of the people of Gaza into hell through the blockade. And in the absence of any horizon for an effective Palestinian action against the occupation, Tel Aviv has been for the most part, and for years, enjoying an occupation that is costing it nothing to enforce.

What is the way out? As they face the conspiracy that is being plotted against them, the Palestinians appear as victims waiting for their killers to show up, and only thinking about the options they will be given for how they will die. The Palestinians in Gaza, and the de facto Hamas government there, are waiting for the siege to be lifted. Hamas has done everything it can do on the political level, while at the same time trying to open up to all parties, including those who are hostile to one another. What Hamas and the Gaza Strip are doing is waiting for what others will decide about the siege, the war, the deal or all other options, not least because all of the concessions that the movement has made to Egypt, Abbas and even Dahlan have done nothing to restore life to the coastal enclave.

#ApartheidState

The same is true in the West Bank. Palestinians are following the changes that the Israelis are making on the ground, from geography to demography, which are creating a new reality that has made the two-state solution, as well as liberation, impossible. The Palestinian Authority and its president are “waiting” for the White House’s decision, while Trump is angry at the position of the PA towards his acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying power. Nothing but waiting, and the decisions of the Central Council of the PLO were nothing but words and revolving in the same direction of “Oslo”, which continues to prove its own failure.

So what solution is there other than waiting? The historical experience of the Palestinian struggle since the beginning of the 20th century has shown that peaceful popular revolutions are the most effective against the occupation. They are also the most costly for Israel from the political, logistical, economical and security aspects. They expose the Zionist state to the world for what it is — a colonial power — and bring the conflict back to basics: it’s about an occupied people fighting against a military occupation.

Peaceful popular revolutions are also the least costly option for Palestinians. The useless Palestinian waiting and the miserable equation of the inexpensive occupation can be ended by popular civil resistance in the West Bank and along the border between the Gaza Strip and the adjacent territories. A resistance that will force the occupation to become defensive rather than offensive will also contribute to ending the status quo which only benefits Israel and takes a lot from Palestinians every day, including their dreams for the future.

(Source / 05.02.2018)

Hamas Prepares for ‘Impending’ War With Israel in Gaza – Report

Hamas militants hold weapons as they celebrate the release of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed al-Bashiti, who served 12 years in an Israeli jail after he was convicted of being a member of Hamas' armed wing, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 25, 2016

The Gaza strip is preparing for an imminent military confrontation with Israel within the next few days, London-based Arabic-language Al Hayat reported Sunday.

The report suggests that the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas, among other Palestinian factions, assesses the chances of war with Israel “at 95 percent,” claiming it could break out within days or even hours.

Referring to unnamed sources, who met Hamas political chief Yahya Sinwar, the report says that Palestinians believed Israel would use a training exercise planned near the enclave to launch an attack on it. Hamas, for its part, has reinforced security measures across the Strip, evacuating sites and headquarters.

READ MORE: IDF Says Hit Hamas Targets in Gaza Strip in Response to Rocket Shelling

Israeli media outlet Haaretz has also published the report, however, stated that it “exaggerated” the imminent threat of a war, describing it as part of Hamas’s attempt to “ratchet up international discussion” over the humanitarian plight in Gaza and non-implementation of the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

“It is widely believed that Israel will not initiate war with Hamas without real escalation in the south, such as a surge in rocket fire at southern communities,” Haaretz wrote.

The report has not been confirmed by officials in the PA.

Relations between Israel and Palestine have deteriorated since US President Donald Trump announced his historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, instructing the US State Department to move the US Embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem. The move provoked worldwide criticism, with Palestinians taking to the streets to protests the decision and Arab states seeking recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian.

A week after Trump’s controversial step, Hamas announced a third “intifada,” with Palestinians launching rocket attacks on Israeli territory. Israeli Air Forces, for their part, retaliated with airstrikes on Gaza.

The majority of ethnic Arabs hopes to see a two-state solution and a return of Palestinian land located behind the ”1967 Lines”, re-establishing the pre-Six Day War borders, when Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, as well as the Golan Heights from Syria. Since then, Israeli settlers have continued to establish new communities in the West Bank, something Palestinians consider an act of aggression.

(Source / 05.02.2018)

45 Palestinian schools under Israeli demolition threat

A Palestinian man walks near a school that was demolished by Israeli forces

The United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Sunday that at least 45 schools in Palestine were facing the threat of destruction by the Israeli authority.

In a released statement, the OCHA acting Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories Roberto Valent pointed out that a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem was destroyed by Israeli soldiers, and added: “The demolition was carried out on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.”

“As in Abu Nuwar, hundreds of children attending one of at least 45 schools in the West Bank (37 in Area C” and 8 in East Jerusalem) with pending demolition orders are living in instability, with the specter of school demolition ever-present, threatening their access to education,” Valent said in the statement.

According to the statement, Israeli soldiers destroyed two class rooms serving 26 Palestinian school children in the Bedouin and refugee community of Abu Nuwar, located in Area C on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Read: Israeli security control narrative on occupation in Arab-Israeli schools

The education of the children at the school was financed by the European Union, it said noting that the demolishing happened without permission.

Valent added: “Abu Nuwar is one of the most vulnerable communities in need of humanitarian assistance in the occupied West Bank. The conditions it faces also represent those of many Palestinian communities, where a combination of Israeli policies and practices –including demolitions and restricted access to basic services, such as education – have created a coercive environment that violates the human rights of residents and generates a risk of forcible transfer. This is the sixth demolition or confiscation incident in Abu Nuwar school by the Israeli authorities since February 2016.”

The 1995 Oslo agreement between Israel and Palestine has divided West Bank into area ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. The administrative and security authority of the area A was given to Palestine while the administration of area B was given to Palestine and security to Israel and in area C areas the both administration and security were provided by Israel.

The 700-persons Abu Nuwar Bedouin community, who are in the area C, refused to leave their villages despite continuous threats and pressures from the Israeli authority.

(Source / 05.02.2018)