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Dagelijks archief 21 maart 2018

BREAKING: Ahed Tamimi reaches pleas bargain, to serve 8 month jail term

17-year-old Palestinian Ahed Al-Tamimi appears in court after she was taken into custody by Israeli soldiers in Ramallah, West Bank on 20 December 2017

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi is to serve eight months in an Israeli jail after reaching a plea bargain, Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported.

Details have yet to be made public after the court held a closed session today, however the paper reported that Tamimi would plead guilty to four charges of assault and that the agreement must be approved by a military court.

Tamimi, 17, who was charged with stone-throwing and attacking soldiers, was arrested in December after a video showing her slapping Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave her property went viral. Israeli soldiers had invaded her home and shot her cousin in the head minutes before.

Her trial has been delayed some four times, during which she has been kept in police custody. Her case has gained international support, with international NGOsBritish politicians and the UN calling for her release. An online petition protesting her imprisonment has been signed by more than 1.7 million people.

Read: Netanyahu says non-Jewish migrants bigger threat than terrorists

Israeli police have continued to harass the Tamimis since Ahed’s detention and have also arrested 10 members of her family, including her cousin Mohammed Tamimi, who was initially shot. During his detention, Israeli authorities also attempted to prove that her cousin Mohammed, who lost a third of his skull due to the impact of the bullet, actually sustained his injury from falling off his bike.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to be sentenced to 8 months in Israeli prison

Ahed Tamimi, 17-year-old activist from Nabi Saleh whose case has received widespread global attention, will be sentenced to eight months in Israeli prison following a plea bargain on 21 March at Ofer military court, Palestinian media have reported. The plea bargain will involve a modified indictment with four items instead of the 12 that were originally included in the indictment, under which she was threatened with imprisonment for up to 10 years.

In the revised indictment, Ahed is accused of obstructing and assaulting an occupation soldier as part of the famous incident in which she slapped an occupation soldier on her family’s land, demanding he leave. Other charges of “incitement” and allegations related to political speech were excluded from the new indictment, as were five other incidents in which she was accused of assaulting occupation forces when they invaded her village, Nabi Saleh.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, is also imprisoned and facing similar charges relating to the action on 15 December, in which Ahed confronted an Israeli occupation soldier invading her village alongside her cousin, Nour. Nariman Tamimi livestreamed the confrontation on Facebook in a video that soon went viral, expressing Palestinians’ commitment to resist occupation. Ahed and her family are leaders in the grassroots indigenous land defense movement in Nabi Saleh, confronting the illegal settlement of Halamish and occupation soldiers who have confiscated the village’s spring and lands.

The vast majority of all military court cases in occupied Palestine end in plea bargains. Palestinian prisoners are forced into plea bargains with threats of lengthy sentences that pose an all-too-real danger, especially with the inflated charges and lengthy indictments proffered against Palestinians. Over 99 percent of all military court cases end with a conviction, and lengthy sentences have become a norm, even for many children. Plea bargains are forced on Palestinians by a colonial “court” system that is only designed to suppress their resistance and isolate organizers and leaders from the Palestinian people.

The sentence comes only days after the Israeli military appeals court ruled on 19 March that Ahed’s trial must be held behind closed doors and away from public view. Ahed and her lawyer, Gabi Lasky, are rejecting the closed trial, especially as the case has helped to shine an international light on Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners, especially Palestinian children targeted for arrest and persecution. Ahed’s case has helped to highlight the ongoing, systematic practice of the military imprisonment and trial of hundreds of Palestinian children each year.

While the Israeli court justified its order for a closed trial with language about the protection of minors, the Israeli army videotaped and widely distributed footage of Ahed’s arrest and leading Israeli politicians have publicly demanded she spend the rest of her life in prison. The village of Nabi Saleh has been subjected to repeated raids and attacks and the imprisonment of yet more children of the extended Tamimi family.

Over 1.5 million people have signed a global petition to demand Ahed’s freedom and thousands of people around the world have participated in hundreds of events and actions to demand her release and that of the over 6,100 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails, including over 350 Palestinian children. The struggle to free Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle must be continued and intensified; the global action was critical in maintaining a high profile for Ahed’s case, and every Palestinian prisoner also deserves this attention, solidarity and struggle. 

Free Ahed Tamimi! Free all Palestinian prisoners! 

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Israeli undercover soldiers kidnap Palestinian worker in Nablus

Worker kidnapped Nablus

An Israeli special force on Wednesday afternoon abducted a Palestinian worker from an industrial facility south of Nablus city.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that a group of Israeli undercover soldiers riding a white civilian car raided a carpentry workshop near Awarta checkpoint south of Nablus and kidnapped one of the workers.

They added that a military force arrived in the place later to provide protection to the soldiers who transferred the detained young man to an unknown destination.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Sentence of Israeli soldier who executed Palestinian reduced to nine months

21 MAR
9:57 AM

Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier convicted of shooting and killing a Palestinian in the head while the Palestinian was lying on the ground wounded, had his sentence reduced to nine months by an Israeli judge this week.

Last February, Azaria was sentenced to eighteen months for the 2016 killing, which was captured on camera by a bystander. He began his prison time in August 2017. With the new sentence reduction, he will be released in May.

The Chief Military Prosecutor for Israel, Sharon Zagagi Pinhas, opposed the granting of parole for Azaria, saying that he has shown no remorse for the murder of a prone, wounded man. During Azaria’s trial, the prosecution had pushed for a sentence of 3 – 5 years for the murder.

This contrasts with the Israeli military prosecutor’s stance toward Palestinians – children who throw stones at invading soldiers are given a mandatory four-year prison sentence.

After the early release of Azaria was announced, Israeli conscientious objector and editor of +972 Magazine, Haggai Mattar, said on Twitter that when he is released in May, Azaria “will have served a shorter sentence than me and my friends who refused to serve in the army of occupation”.

Azaria’s case garnered national and international attention, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was among those who called for the soldier’s early release.

The graphic video of the murder committed by Azaria in March 2016, which was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman from B’Tselem Israeli human rights group, went viral and sparked international rage.

The footage shows Abdul Fatah al-Sharif lying on the ground after having been shot ten minutes prior, when Azaria comes up to the wounded man and shoots him in the head at close range, killing him.

In the video, Elor Azaria is seen talking on the phone, then hanging up and stepping closer to Al-Sharif, and then shooting him in the head from a very close distance in the presence of Israeli ambulances.

Related article:

http://imemc.org/article/israeli-military-court-opens-appeal-case-for-elor-azaria/

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Hamas: Israel is the main cause of Gaza’s suffering

A Palestinian family is seen inside their makeshift tent in Gaza City, Gaza on 13 February 2018

Israel is to blame for the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a senior Hamas leader said on Tuesday adding that this is in spite of the punitive measures imposed on the enclave by the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking to Quds Press Salah Al-Bardaweel said: “Abbas’ plan to impose new punishments is part of the security and political measures with Israel. This is an attempt by Abbas to get the world’s attention on him at a time when he feels the occupation and the Americans are looking for someone else to run the PA.”

However, according to Al-Bardaweel, Abbas “chose the wrong time to escalate his hostility against Gaza as the international community believes it is on the verge of an explosion and is working to maintain calmness, not to cause chaos.”

Al-Bardaweel stressed that Gaza residents would hit back against Israel in the face of new measures by the PA “because they know that the occupation is the reason of the sickness.”

Read: Plurality of Palestinians blame PA, Abbas for stalled reconciliation efforts

“All facts on the ground prove that the Israeli occupation does not want to start a new war on Gaza, but we [Hamas] are a resistance movement whose goal is to liberate its land and holy sites from the occupation and to defend its people. Therefore, we are ready for all possibilities.”

Meanwhile, the senior Hamas leader said that his movement is interested in any international effort aiming at reducing the pressure on Palestinians and to help them regain their rights.

“We are ready to sit with anyone in the world on condition he is ready to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to leave our land and our sky,” he said. “Even if it is the US,” he said, “but this must not be part of the ‘Deal of the Century’ which is an extension of Oslo.”

On Monday evening, Abbas accused Hamas of targeting the convoy of the PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza last Tuesday and announced he would impose new punitive measures against the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Khaled: PFLP will not attend Palestinian National Council meeting

Palestinians gather to attend a rally marking the anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Rafah, Gaza

A  member of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Laila Khaled confirmed that the Front will not participate in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) meeting scheduled for April, 30th in the city of Ramallah.

“It is not possible to convene the Palestinian National Assembly with its current structure because its legal term ended long time ago and it is not possible to use the old structure to face the current needs” Khalid told Al-Resala news site from the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Khalid stressed that there is a national consensus among most factions and national forces on the need to convene a unified national council, noting that the council should not meet only to change people in the Executive Committee.

Read: PFLP boycotts Palestinian National Council meeting

She explained that holding the National Council in this form will perpetuate the division, stressing that the Popular Front will not accept that the PLO becomes a contributing factor in the division.

“The dispute between Hamas and Fatah should not affect the entire PLO” she said.

The Palestinian National Council includes Palestinian representatives from Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and the diaspora, however, it does not include representatives from Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Abbas is tool for ‘Deal of the Century,’ says ex-official

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes a speech during extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 December 2017

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s President Mahmoud Abbas is one of the major tools for the deal of the century, the former Egyptian assistant foreign minister, Abdullah Al-Ashal, said today referring to the United States (US) administration’s peace deal that was recently announced.

Speaking in an interview with Shehab News Agency, Al-Ashal explained that “Abbas is required to strike the resistance movement [Hamas] in the Gaza Strip and to strangle the enclave’s residents.”

“He [Abbas] has been assigned to this role to achieve the deal of the century,” he added.

Addressing Hamas and cooperating with Israel, Al-Ashal noted, are “Abbas’ main tasks.” “He must pressure Hamas, sign the US deal and supervise its implementation.”

Targeting Iran and Hezbollah, the former official stressed, is part of Abbas’ integrated role to “liberate” Israel from Hamas’ pressures.

Read: Hamas and other factions condemn Abbas speech

On Abbas’ yesterday speech, during which he announced taking legal and economic measures against Gaza, Al-Ashal stressed that it proves that Hamas “is the main hurdle for achieving the deal of the century.”

Highlighting the fact that the US President Donald Trump is due to visit the Middle East in May, Al-Ashal stressed that the “the deal of the century must be finalised before Trump’s arrival to the region.”

Abbas decided yesterday to impose decided to take “national, legal and economic measures” against Gaza following assassination attempt against PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza last Tuesday, which he held Hamas responsible for. He also criticised the Trump’ plans in the Middle East and accused the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of being more of a settler than the settlers themselves and called him “a son of bitch” in the peace process.

Read: Palestine’s Abbas to punish officials criticising Arab leaders

“In my capacity as the president of the Palestinian people and I have tolerated much in order to regain unity and unite the homeland, I decided to take national, economic and legal measures against Hamas,” the Palestinian leader told the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s executive committee last Monday.

Almost all of the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) criticised his speech.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Danish pension giant divests from Motorola over ties to Israeli settlements

Motorola logo [Wikipedia]

Motorola logo

Danish pension fund giant Sampension has officially excluded Motorola over the latter’s ties to Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Sampension, a DKK290 billion ($43.5 billion) Danish labour market pension fund, made the announcement in an update to its exclusion list, stating that Motorola’s provision of products to Israeli settlements is a violation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

According to ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke), which welcomed the news, Sampension is withdrawing DKK15 million (some $2.5 million).

Motorola has well documented links to the Israeli military occupation and settlement enterprise, and is widely believed to be one of the companies contacted by the UN Human Rights Office, in the context of the latter’s work to publish a database of settlements-complicit businesses.

Read: ACLU says revised anti-BDS bill remains unconstitutional, in blow to pro-Israel groups

The latest development follows on from Sampension’s exclusion last October of four companies – including two Israeli banks and telecommunications company Bezeq – for their ties to Israeli settlements in, and the extraction of natural resources from, the oPt.

The companies were excluded for violating Sampension’s guidelines for investments in occupied territories, and specifically, “due to the financing of settlements, and the extraction of natural resources and establishment of infrastructure for telecommunication on occupied territory”.

(Source / 21.03.2018)

Gaza farmers denounce Israel pesticide use along border

ARTICLE SUMMARY
Agricultural lands along the eastern Gaza border are being sprayed with pesticides by Israeli gliders, resulting in the destruction of cultivated crops on Palestinian lands.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Ali Abu Said woke up March 7 to irrigate his crops in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, south of Gaza City, like he does every morning. But this time he saw Israeli gliders spraying unknown pesticides on lands along Gaza’s eastern borders.

“I saw the soldiers setting tires on fire to determine the direction of the wind. Then the Israeli gliders began spraying unknown pesticides at an altitude of 400 meters [0.25 miles] on the Israeli side of the border. The [pesticides] reached the Palestinian agricultural lands at a distance of 1 kilometer [0.6 miles] from the separation fence. By the end of the day, crops such as spinach and peas on my land and the adjacent lands died. In the following days the zucchinis and berries turned yellow,” he told Al-Monitor.

Abu Said’s land is 300 meters (328 yards) from the Gaza-Israel border and extends along 20 acres. He shares the land with his siblings, and he owns about 7 dunams (1.7 acres) that he cannot use because it is 100 meters (109 yards) from the border fence. Every time he tries to plant crops there, he is shot at.

He said that this is the second time in two months that the Israelis sprayed pesticides in the area. “Every year since the 2014 war, the Israelis spray pesticides and burn crops at the beginning of the season — in January and April,” he added.

In January, after the Israeli soldiers sprayed pesticides, the Palestinian farmers turned over the soil to try to prevent the pesticides from having an impact.

Some farmers were surprised with the early spraying in March, as crops were exposed. Abu Said noted, “My neighbor lifted the cover off the zucchinis to let them breathe. After the Israelis sprayed the pesticides, he sprayed water to neutralize the effect and barely saved the crops from dying.”

Statistics covering the period December 2017 until mid-March by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the food security cluster, show that around 544 acres in eastern Gaza were affected due to the Israeli authorities’ spraying on the Palestinian side — 250 acres in Khan Yunis alone. The surface area of pastures that were affected reached 2,570 acres.

The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza City has accused the Israeli authorities of launching a “chemical war” on the agricultural sector in the border areas of the Gaza Strip. Wael Thabet, the general director of the Plants Protection and Quarantine Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza, said, “We consider this a chemical warbecause it targets [farmers] through spraying pesticides [that reach] agricultural border areas that represent a food basket for Gaza, making up 35% of the agricultural land area in the enclave.”

He told Al-Monitor, “Not all components of the pesticides that were sprayed have been identified, but the results of the lab analysis of sprayed plants showed traces of Oxygal that deters seasonal germination and burns the green part of plants. Most crops in these areas are cucurbitales and leaf vegetables such as spinach, spinach beets, barley, parsley, peas, fodder, zucchinis and others.”

The ICRC in Gaza considers spraying pesticides on agricultural lands “worrying.” Suheir Zakout, the spokeswoman for the ICRC in Gaza City, told Al-Monitor, “The ICRC has been following up on the spraying near the border for three years, and it worries us. We call on the Israeli authorities to [stop aerial spraying of pesticides] because this has long-term negative effects on the environment and the people.”

In a statement to Al-Monitor, Zakout said that the ICRC is coordinating with the local authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture by documenting the spraying operations and the results of lab tests performed on the pesticides and using them in undisclosed bilateral talks with Israel.

She noted that the ICRC rehabilitated agricultural lands near the border with Gaza after the 2014 war. Around 74 acres in seven agricultural border areas in the Gaza Strip have been rehabilitated.

“The lands of some of the farmers benefiting from the rehabilitation have been affected by the pesticides that were sprayed recently by Israel. We tried to focus on rehabilitating the lands by planting rainfed crops such as barley and corn that need little care and presence from farmers in the fields that have become dangerous areas,” she added.

Security expert and assistant dean of the Police College in Gaza Ibrahim Habib believes that Israel is targeting agricultural lands in a calculative manner. He told Al-Monitor, “Spraying pesticides is clearly a security measure aimed at destroying any agricultural presence facing the Gaza border fence to prevent agricultural activity, especially in Khan Yunis where rural areas abound.”

He said, “Israel wants the farmers to leave the border area to create an isolated zone that stretches along the Gaza Strip, so that resistance fighters cannot enter while farmers are at work.”

Habib noted that the gliders are using the direction of the wind because they cannot spray over the Palestinian agricultural lands directly since they could be targeted. He said, “The gliders that are being used to spray the border areas are flying at low altitude. They are not military jets and cannot respond or defend themselves.”

The border areas are confrontation zones between the Israeli army and the Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip; several tunnels have been targeted in separate military operations by the Israeli army.

Human rights centers in Gaza are closely watching the pesticide spraying in the border areas. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights considers the spraying operations as one of Israel’s many violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The center detailed in a fact sheet it released following the Israeli spraying operations in June 2017 the impact of these Israeli actions and warned against “their repercussions on agriculture, food security and living conditions of farmers.”

(Source / 21.03.2018)

The Blood of Gaza Will Be on the Hands of Mahmoud Abbas in Israel’s Next Attack

‘Palestinian President’ Mahmoud Abbas, has announced his plans to collectively punish the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, justifying his decision by accusing Hamas of something he has no evidence for.

Mahmoud Abbas 2 36507

Yesterday at a press meeting, held in Ramallah (Occupied West Bank), Mahmoud Abbas – President of the ‘Palestinian Authority’ (PA) – lashed out atHamas, announcing his plans to increase the suffering in the Gaza Strip.

Mahmoud Abbas, who like Israel, illegally occupies his position in the West Bank, has accused Hamas of orchestrating the attempted assassination of Rami Hamdallah. Rami Hamdallah is the current Prime Minister of the ‘Palestinian Authority’.

On the 13th of March, the Palestinian PM’s convoy was attacked, shortly after passing the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing (Gaza/Israel border). The attack left 9 members of Hamdallah’s security personnel injured, he survived with no injuries.

Almost within minutes of the attack taking place, allegations were mounted by PA members, against Hamas. No consideration was given to the possibility of an Israeli attack. This attack was carried out so close to border with the occupying power, yet somehow there is absolutely no suspicion on the part of the PA.

Adding to the fire, yesterday, Mahmoud Abbas indicated his belief, that Hamas was behind the assassination attempt. Abbas offered no evidence to support this allegation, an allegation which has been condemned by Palestinian factions, such as the PLFP and Islamic Jihad.

The true colors of Mahmoud Abbas begin to shine…

The PA president, who accuses Hamas of the assassination attempt, does not punish Hamas, instead he decides to tighten the grip around the throat of Gaza’s civilian population.

Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would “take national, legal and financial measures” against the Gaza Strip, in response to Hamas. But make no mistake, Abbas is not punishing Hamas, he is collectively punishing Gaza.

Hamas officials will not suffer from the treacherous decisions of Abbas. No Hamas official will lose their access to food, nor their access to clean water.

No Hamas officials are going to die as a result of this PA decision, the dead will be of the civilian population, 52% of which are children!

It was an integral part of the ‘Unity Deal’, signed between Hamas and Fatah parties, that the PA help the humanitarian situation in Gaza, this part of the deal was promised last September. Since the highly anticipated signing of the ‘Unity Deal’, there has been next to no efforts from the PA to help Gaza. The situation in the Gaza Strip has gotten so much worse, since the deal, that Gaza is in a declared state of emergency.

Not only does Abbas understand the situation, on the ground, in Gaza, he helped Israel create it. Just last year, the Palestinian authority – prior the ‘Unity Deal’ – stopped paying for the import of diesel fuel into the besieged Strip. The PA even reduced the salaries of its members in Gaza, this reduction ranged from 30-70 percent of the individual’s wages, placing many below the poverty line.

Mahmoud Abbas is doing the work of Israel

The situation in Gaza has deteriorated significantly, to the point now, of complete collapse. Another conflict between Hamas and the Israeli Regime seems highly likely, with Israel having much incentive to now launch a large scale attack.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the Israeli regime, is currently under corruption investigation and is even loosing support to further right-wing parties. Israel have also just privatized and centralized, most of their weapons manufacturing companies to Elbit Systems, meaning the demand for using weapons in Gaza is high. There is also nothing Israelis like more, than to see Gazans suffer and any excuse to launch an attack will win praise from the country’s population.

The PA’s Mahmoud Abbas, has been looking to steal the Gaza Strip from Hamas, hoping to have already achieved this aim by now. Frustration has been expressed from the PA, after going to Egypt several times, in an attempt to push Hamas to hand control of the besieged strip over. Hamas have resisted this, including the PLO call – on the 28th of Feb this year – to deploy 3000 PA policemen, from Ramallah to Gaza, in order to take over the strip militarily.

During the past 3 months, municipalities in Gaza have been forced to take an approximate, 30% pay cut, from their employees. Gaza has now also come to a 50% unemployment rate. Gaza’s population of 2 million, are now 80% below the poverty line, 96% of the water in Gaza is also unfit for human consumption.

The actions of Mahmoud Abbas, will mean the further collapse of social services, as well as all other aspects of life, in Gaza. Instead of solving any disputes like men, Abbas and his traitorous PA, punish the population of Gaza, waiting for war or revolution, anything but freedom.

If a confrontation between Hamas and Israel is to take place, Abbas and his PA will once again, most likely, hide and use the assassination attempt, as an excuse not to act against Israel. The two state delusion, is gone, Israel won’t have it, nor will the US.

Mahmoud Abbas understands that his actions in the UN and with the International community, will not bring peace, instead he tries to squeeze every bit of power and money he can, out of a false dream. Instead of bringing the people together, the “President” of the PA, for now, divides his people, collectively punishes Gaza, watches the West Bank disappear and runs security forces for Israel’s illegal occupation.

To the people of Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas continues to declare himself, no friend and no representative.

(Source / 21.03.2018)