After serving 5-year sentence, Palestinian prisoner re-arrested on day of release


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities re-arrested a Palestinian from occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday immediately after he was released from serving a five-year prison sentence, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that Mamoun Farhat was re-arrested immediately after he was released from an Israeli prison in the Negev desert region of southern Israel.
Farhat reportedly did not even make it off of prison grounds before being detained and taken to the Russian Compound in Jerusalem for interrogation.
Farhat had just completed serving a five-year sentence for throwing a Molotov cocktail at Israeli forces in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
Wafa quoted PPS attorney Mufeed al-Hajj as saying that “Israel has been employing this policy recently against prisoners from East Jerusalem to deprive their families and friends from celebrating their release.”
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there were 6,119 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli custody as of February.

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Army Abducts Three Palestinians In Jerusalem

08 MAR
7:54 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, three young Palestinian men from occupied East Jerusalem, including one who was taken prisoner minutes after his release following five years in prison.

On Wednesday evening, the soldiers invaded the al-’Isawiya town, in the center of Jerusalem, and abducted Mohammad Zakariya ‘Oleyyan and Anas Dirbas, and took them to an interrogation facility.

The soldiers were also extensively deployed in front of the local mosque, stopped and searched many Palestinians, and interrogated them while inspecting their ID cards.

It is worth mentioning that the town is subject to a strict military siege for the fortieth consecutive day.

On Wednesday morning, the soldiers abducted Ma’moun Farahat, just moments following he was released from the Negev detention camp, after spending five years in prison.

His lawyer, Mofeed al-Hajj, said Ma’moun was abducted and transferred to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation center, in Jerusalem.

The detainee was not allowed to see or talk to his parents after his release, and was instantly abducted and sent to the interrogation facility without any explanation or warrant.

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Army Injures Eight Women Marching For International Women’s Day

08 MAR
3:52 AM

Israeli soldiers resorted, Wednesday, to the excessive use of force against dozens of women, and several men, who nonviolently marched near Qalandia terminal, north of occupied East Jerusalem, marking International Women’s Day.

Palestinian medical sources said at least eight women suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation and received the urgently needed treatment.

The Palestinians said the procession’s location at the Qalandia Terminal, came to affirm the Palestinian rejection to the illegal U.S. stance and its recognition of the occupied city as the unified capital of Israel, and to affirm that the Palestinian people will never abandon their legitimate, internationally guaranteed rights of independence.

They marched near the terminal, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting for liberation and independence, before the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs at them, causing eight women to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

The soldiers also deliberately fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian journalists in an attempt to prevent them from documenting the unfolding events.

Intisar al-Wazir, the secretary-general of the General Union of Palestinian Women, said the location of the procession at the Qalandia terminal which leads to occupied Jerusalem, represents the legitimate Palestinian rights to achieve liberation, and establish an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We want to tell the entire world that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine,” she said, “The Israeli occupation, its roadblocks and escalation will never stop us from struggling for our rights.”

Updated From:
Army Injures Many Palestinians Near Ramallah
Mar 7, 2018 @ 11:55

Israeli soldiers injured, Wednesday, many Palestinians who were marching peacefully against the illegal Israeli occupation, and in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The Palestinians started the peaceful procession in front of Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, where dozens of women and men marched towards the Qalandia terminal.

Almost instantly after the protesters reached an area close to the terminal, the soldiers started firing a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades.

Medical sources said dozens of Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment.

(Source / 08.03.2018)

OCHA Report Documents Impact of Settlements in Hebron

08 MAR
3:59 AM

The humanitarian impact of Israeli settlements in Hebron on Palestinian residents is the focus of a new United Nations report, according Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.


The document, published this week by UN OCHA, provides a detailed map and key statistics with respect to the impact of the illegal settlements in the Palestinian city.

Israeli occupation authorities exercise direct control over 20 percent of Hebron city, an area known as ‘H2’, and which is home to “approximately 40,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers living in five settlement compounds,” UN OCHA states.

“Policies and practices implemented by the Israeli authorities, citing security concerns”, UN OCHA adds, “have resulted in the forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes in Hebron city, reducing a once thriving area to a ‘ghost town.”

For those Palestinians “who remain in the closed and restricted areas,”meanwhile, living conditions “have been gradually undermined, including with regard to basic services and sources of livelihood.”

The UN OCHA report records how there are currently more than 100 Israeli army-imposed physical obstacles to Palestinian residents, including 20 staffed checkpoints.

Moreover, since late 2015, “the settlement area of H2 is declared a ‘closed military zone’, further isolating over 800 Palestinian residents, all of whom must register with the Israeli authorities and be screened at a checkpoint to reach their homes; access is on foot only, and visitors are not allowed.”

A further 4,500 Palestinians “reside in streets adjacent to the Israeli settlements,” states UN OCHA, “where Palestinian vehicular movement is almost totally prohibited, and pedestrians must be screened [by Israeli soldiers] at a checkpoint to access the restricted area.”

According to a 2015 survey cited by the UN agency, nearly 260 housing units in the closed and restricted areas – some 40 percent of the housing stock of these parts of the city – have been abandoned by their Palestinian residents, and are empty.

In addition, “512 Palestinian businesses located in these areas have been closed by military order, and more than 1,000 others have shut down due to restricted access for customers and suppliers.”

(Source / 08.03.2018)

21 Palestinian refugees killed in war-torn Syria in February

21 Pal's killed in Syria

At least 21 Palestinian refugees were pronounced dead in the raging Syrian warfare during February 2018, the London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) reported.

A report by AGPS said 12 Palestinian refugees were fatally shot down; four died as a result of the unabated shelling; three were executed, and one refugee was tortured to death in Syrian dungeons. One more Palestinian breathed his last a result of the blockade and lack of medical care while another died of unknown causes.

As for the geographical distribution of the casualties, Damascus topped the list with 12 Palestinians, followed by Rif Dimashq, with five casualties. One Palestinian was pronounced dead in Deir al-Zor.

AGPS report also kept record of the death of three other Palestinian refugees in unknown locations as a result of the rampant Syrian conflict.

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Hamas rejects PLO’s decision to convene National Assembly

Hamas and PLO

The Hamas Movement has expressed its rejection of the decision taken by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to convene the National Assembly in its current form and structure and described such step as “a flagrant departure from the national consensus.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Hamas stressed that “any decisions resulting from this meeting would be non-binding for the Palestinian people and would not represent them.”

It underlined that the decision to convene the National Assembly flouted all inter-Palestinian agreements and understandings in this regard, specifically the 2005 and 2011 Cairo agreements, the 2006 national accord document, and the 2017 Beirut declaration.

The Movement said that “the rebuilding of the PLO institution on democratic foundations is the only way out of the internal political crisis.”

Hamas emphasized its adherence to all agreements that stipulated the need for rearranging the Palestinian house and reforming the PLO institutions.

Hamas considered the insistence on convening the National Assembly in an occupied territory “a very dangerous step,” warning that such unilateral step would only lead to more fragmentation in the Palestinian position and perpetuate the national division.

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Repeated Use of Chlorine Gas Against Civilians in Eastern Ghouta: Who Stops Assad?

Assad regime forces have once again used chlorine poison against civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta despite the strong international warnings to stop the use of this banned type of weapon as well as calls for commitment to UN Security Council resolution 2401. The resolution called for at least 30-day ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.

The Syrian Civil Defense in Rural Damascus said that 124 civilians, mostly women and children, suffered from asphyxiation after Assad forces targeted the area located between the towns of Saqba and Hammouriya with a barrel bomb containing poisonous chlorine gas.

As many as 92 civilians were killed on Wednesday in aerial and artillery bombardment on eastern Ghouta. The Syrian Coalition said that the onslaught on the Damascus suburb constituted genocide which is being carried out with direct support from Russia.

The United Nations has stepped up its rhetoric against the practices of the Assad regime and its backers over the past few days. Chairman of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, confirmed that the Assad regime committed war crimes by using chemical weapons against civilians.

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that “recent attempts to justify indiscriminate, brutal attacks on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the need to combat a few hundred fighters – as in Eastern Ghouta – are legally, and morally, unsustainable.”

“Also, when you are prepared to kill your own people so easily, lying is easy too. Claims by the Government of Syria that it is taking every measure to protect its civilian population are frankly ridiculous,” Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

The Syrian Coalition on Wednesday said that stopping the genocide in eastern Ghouta requires measures bypassing Russia’s attempts to disrupt the Security Council and prevent the achievement of international justice, including military measures.

These measures should include deterrent military action to put an end to the onslaught by the Assad regime and the Iranian terrorist militias against our people trapped in eastern Ghouta; punish war criminals and perpetrators of the crime of using chemical weapons and toxic gases; and protect millions of Syrians whose cities and homes are being destroyed,” the Coalition added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 08.03.2018)

Politician tells Muslims to replace ‘God is Great’ with ‘Israel is great’ in prayers

The “Muezzin Bill”, proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, would ban all public places of worship from using speaker systems between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m the next day

Likud Knesset member Yoav Kisch yesterday called on Muslims to say “Israel is great” in their prayers instead of “God is Great”.

The chairman of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee in the Knesset was addressing the parliamentary session on the revocation of residency status of Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem.

During his speech he said: “I know that when you pray you say ‘God is Great’, you should say ‘Israel is great’.”

Member of the Knesset for the Joint List, Ahmad Tibi, responded saying: “God is greater than you and Israel.”

While other MKs repeated: “God is Great.”

Read: Israel MK’s ‘witch hunt’ against Arab parliamentarian attending MEMO conference

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Macron: France will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital one day

CRIF president Francis Kalifat,(C), with French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (R) during the annual CRIF dinner [Anadolu Agency]

CRIF president Francis Kalifat,(C), with French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (R) during the annual CRIF dinner

France will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel one day, French President Emmanuel Macron told Jewish groups in Paris yesterday, Ynet News reported.

At an annual dinner hosted by CRIF, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, Macron responded to the request from the head of the organisation for France to recognise Jerusalem, saying that the government would do so “at the right moment”.

“It would not be honest on my part to make you happy for one evening with such a declaration,” he said, later adding,

The day will come and France will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the right time.

The president argued that making such a statement would result in France relinquishing “our status as a fair mediator, the only status that benefits the region in the current situation.”

He criticised US President Donald Trump’s eagerness to make the declaration, stating that he had told Trump he had “made a mistake”.

Macron went on to criticise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, labelling it anti-Semitic.

“There are some people who try to use the Israel-Palestinian conflict to justify anti-Semitism,” he said. “The boycotting of Israel and Jewish goods is not legal in France and we will prosecute and punish anyone who violates the law.”

Read: Paris hosts PA-Israeli economic summit

The French president also addressed the issue of Iranian nuclear missiles, and promised the audience “the security of Israel is not a subject of negotiation”.

“France is taking action against ballistic [missile] activities by Iran in the region together with its partners, the UK and the US. I hold long conversations with [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” he stressed.

Partition of Jerusalem? Let my people in! - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

France has maintained the EU stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and called for two-states with a divided Jerusalem as the solution to the occupation.

“Peace, as I said before, will only be achieved through the two-state solution, which would allow the two states to live in peace and security within secure and recognised borders, with Jerusalem as a capital for both of them,” Macron emphasisedduring a visit to Tunisia last month.

Since the US announcement recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been reluctant to engage with the Trump administration as the sole mediator in the peace process, considering it a biased negotiator.

The PA has instead called upon European countries, including France, as well as others such as India, to engage in multilateral negotiations to ensure a fair outcome for the Palestinian people.

Read: Ignoring appeals, Israel extends detention without trial for Palestinian-French activist

(Source / 08.03.2018)

Israel government council spent millions on unauthorised settlement outposts

Funding for Settlements - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Funding for Settlements – Cartoon

An Israeli local authority spent “millions of shekels” building infrastructure for unauthorised settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, reported Haaretz today.

According to the paper, official documents show that the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council spent 6.46 million shekels ($1.9 million) over a three-year period from 2013-2015, funding the construction of “infrastructure, roads and buildings at the outposts”.

The data was received as part of a Freedom of Information request filed with the regional council by Peace Now.

The outposts which received the state funds include Esh Kodesh, Givat Harel, Kerem Re’im and even Amona, the latter subsequently evacuated by court order after being built on privately-owned Palestinian land. Hundreds of thousands of shekels were granted “for each project”.

Israeli authorities make a distinction between authorised settlements, and unauthorised, or “illegal”, ones. Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.

Read: Israeli government gives go ahead for more settlement units

The Mateh Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Roeh confirmed to Haaretz that it had provided funding to these outposts. “We did it. We also notified the Education Ministry,” said Roeh.

Roeh justified the spending on the basis that the Israeli government has expressed its intention of retroactively “legalising” outposts “located on state land”.

Haaretz noted that “the funds involved from the regional council do not only come from the taxpayers living within the territory of the council”, since councils – including in the occupied West Bank – “receive hundreds of millions of shekels in funding directly from the government”.

“The Mateh Binyamin Regional Council is supposed to be the one to enforce the law and act according to it,” said Shabtay Bendet, the head of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project.

“Not only does it not enforce [the law], it funds and promotes illegal projects with our public funds. No police investigation has been opened on the matter. We call on the legal authorities to open an investigation,” he added.

(Source / 08.03.2018)