ISM Report: Israeli Forces Provoke and Fire Tear Gas, Stun Grenades at School Children

01 MAR
8:14 PM

2-28-18 | International Solidarity Movement | Al Khalil Team 

This morning, armed Israeli border police entered Salaymeh neighborhood, in Al Khalil, Hebron. They advanced towards the schools, firing one tear gas canister and one stun grenade at school children at 7:45 am. This happened after a single border police provoked the children by kneeling down and pointing her weapon directly at them. International activists also witnessed two bag checks performed on minors, boys no older than 13, an action completely illegal according to international law.

Also this morning, Israeli forces also fired two tear gas canisters from a roof top beside the Ziad Al Jaber school in the Jaber neighborhood at school children. As a result, many children suffered from tear gas inhalation and one child was hospitalized. The teachers rushed to children’s aid, while Israeli forces also prevented a psychology teacher from entering the school.

After the tear gas was fired, an army jeep was positioned outside of the school Israeli forces were stopping people at random and performing ID checks. The teachers remained weary as the children recovered throughout their lessons. 

Tear gas was also fired at school children in the Queitun neighborhood, this morning. Today was a busy day for the Israeli armed forces. Palestinians approach this weekend’s Jewish celebration of Purim with caution. Only Wednesday and tension and violence seems to be escalating before and after school hours.   

Children that grow up under military occupation are unfortunately accustomed to this kind of treatment on their way to and from school, all of them hoping to avoid hospitalization and someday see a free Palestine.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

Abbas Says Formation of International Mechanism will Resolve Political Impasse

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the formation of an international multilateral mechanism, stemming from an international peace conference and working to revive the political process in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, was the only way out of the current impasse.

“This is the way to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region and to establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of June 4,” he said.

Abbas received on Thursday the Brazilian Minister of External Relations, Aloysio Nunes, with whom he discussed the latest political developments and the current deadlock in the peace process in the aftermath of the United States’ decision on Jerusalem.

Addressing the Security Council last month, the Palestinian president called for holding an international peace conference in the middle of this year, which would result in the formation of an international multilateral mechanism to assist both sides in the negotiations and to resolve all outstanding issues, according to the Oslo Agreement.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki asked his Brazilian counterpart that Brazil assumes a key role in the multilateral mechanism for the Middle East peace process.

Maliki added that the Palestinian leadership was seeking to see the negotiations led by multilateral international bodies, stressing that the United States should not remain the sole sponsor of the peace process.

Aloysio Nunes, for his part, said that his country recognized the state of Palestine on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.

The Brazilian minister said that his country would bolster its role in UNRWA to help fill the gap left by the American decision to reduce its contributions to the agency.

He also called on other states to help the Palestinian refugees have decent educational and health conditions and to alleviate their suffering over the years.

He noted in this regard that Brazil would establish a new open heart surgery unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital in Gaza.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

Dahlan encouraged to form Palestinian party outside Fatah

Despite his reluctance, dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan is getting support from other countries to challenge Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

As the supposed reconciliation between Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah appears to be going nowhere after more than four months, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are encouraging dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan to form a new Palestinian party to challenge President Mahmoud Abbas.

Raising another potential scenario, Dahlan’s representatives met Feb. 28 in Cairo with a Hamas delegation to discuss the possibility of Dahlan getting involved in administering the Gaza Strip. Abbas had assumed that responsibility as part of the reconciliation agreement signed in October, but that process stalled, leaving Gazans in a humanitarian crisis.

Citing anonymous Palestinian sources, the Nabd news agency reported Feb. 5 that Dahlan was asked by the UAE to form a political party dissociated from Fatah, given Abbas’ refusal to end his and Dahlan’s dispute, which goes back to 2010. Dahlan lives in exile in the UAE but is still a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The UAE also wants Dahlan to run in the next presidential election.

Although Nabd didn’t report Dahlan’s specific response to the UAE request, it said he is reluctant to form a new party. The article said that in January and February, Dahlan held a referendum in Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan, where supporters for his Democratic Reform Current reside, to gauge support for a new party. The referendum produced mixed results.

Imad Mohsen, a spokesman for the Democratic Reform Current, told Al-Monitor, “The UAE’s interference in our work is out of the question. … Some members of the Democratic Reform Current are indeed calling for complete dissociation from Fatah, in light of all the exclusion, separation, marginalization and trials carried out by Abbas and his entourage against his opponents.”

Mohsen added, “These members want to move forward by forming a new party that carries Fatah’s legacy, but does not claim to be its successor. However, the current’s leadership recently discussed the UAE’s request and agreed that we are part of Fatah and will never leave it because any change in Fatah should only come from within.”

The Democratic Reform Current emerged in 2016 in the Gaza Strip following a failed reconciliation between Dahlan and Abbas, which was sponsored by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This party, led by Dahlan, includes senior Fatah leaders in Gaza who were dismissed by Abbas from Fatah’s Central Committee at various times since 2014. Over the years, Abbas took punitive measures against them, such as cutting their salaries from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Abbas also prosecuted Dahlan supporters in the West Bank.

In addition to talks about Dahlan forming a political party, his name has been widely mentioned when it came to efforts to aid Gazans in recent weeks.

On Jan. 30, Abdulhamid al-Masri, a Democratic Reform Current leader, spoke to the Dahlan-affiliated radio station Fateh Voice in Gaza about the current and Palestinian forces in Gaza forming a purely administrative and humanitarian committee with no political role to help those struggling in the Gaza Strip. No developments have been reported yet.

On Feb. 1, academics and experts headed by Ibrahim Habib formed the Gaza Rescue Council. In a Feb. 12 meeting in Cairo, a Hamas delegation and a delegation of Dahlan’s most prominent assistants discussed political developments pertaining to the Palestinian cause and potential ways to alleviate the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The participants further stressed the importance of the Egyptian role in the Palestinian cause.

Hamas political bureau member Mahmoud Zahar called Feb. 21 for a government of national salvation after Dahlan, on Feb. 20, had called on Palestinian factions to form a national salvation leadership.

Ahmed Yousef, a former political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, told Al-Monitor, “Dahlan is a national component, and he is striving through his movement to preserve his presence on the Palestinian political map. Perhaps if he decided to form a new party, it would be better for Hamas to cooperate with him without having to face any difficulty with Fatah and its leadership in the West Bank. Although Dahlan is a political adversary to Hamas and is the head of a broad Fatah current, Hamas is moving toward a national partnership with him to manage the Gaza Strip, alongside Palestinian factions.”

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, told the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk during his Feb. 19 visit to Cairo that Hamas sees Dahlan as one of the most prominent figures who wants to serve Palestinians. Hamas welcomes him because he brought financial aid from the UAE to Gaza, Hayya added.

News of a potential Dahlan-led party coincided with a Feb. 19 attack against him by Jibril Rajoub, the secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee. Rajoub blamed Egypt for supporting Dahlan, prompting Egypt’s media office to publish a statement the same day accusing Rajoub of interfering in Egypt’s affairs.

Abdullah Abdullah, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council and chairman of the PLC’s political committee, told Al-Monitor, “Dahlan has the right to form a political party isolated from Fatah. He could easily do so and draw cadres from the movement by wooing them with the funds he gets from certain regional countries.”

Abdullah added, “However, said party wouldn’t be able to survive for long. Fatah witnessed several dissociations in the 1970s and 1980s, but none could shake down its organizational power, and those who defected ended up fading away.”

In December 2015, press reports spoke of Dahlan’s efforts to form a new party with senior leaders from Fatah and the PA who are not on the best of terms with Abbas, such as former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, former secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo, and members of Fatah’s Central Committee Tawfiq Tirawi and Sultan Abu al-Einein. Dahlan received significant support from Egypt, Jordan and the UAE.

A member of Fatah’s Central Committee told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Despite his efforts in 2015, Dahlan was unable to form his own party, as the people he was counting on to stand by him — whom I won’t name — didn’t encourage him to defect, and did not want to close all communication channels with Abbas.”

Issam Adwan, an expert on Fatah history and a professor at Al-Quds Open University, told Al-Monitor, “Dahlan’s intention to form a separate political party brings to mind Fatah’s internal schisms. It is true that Dahlan may be supported by the UAE, but his party could soon turn into a full-fledged UAE-affiliated one and the step could also [have only] spur-of-the-moment support. So this new party may not be able to confront the main current in Fatah, led by Abbas, in the long run.”

It seems the ongoing rift between Dahlan and Abbas and the failure of Arab mediations to bring them closer could limit Dahlan’s choice of scenarios. One possible outcome could include forming a new political party, but the long years of estrangement show that if Dahlan were to continue to oppose Abbas from outside the framework of Fatah, he would probably fail to bring about real change.

Perhaps a continual decline in Abbas’ relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — Dahlan’s main supporters — will encourage Dahlan to form this party. Egypt could support Dahlan politically, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia could cover him financially. Meanwhile, forming a new political party could bode well for Hamas and spare it the awkwardness of having to deal with Dahlan as part of Fatah, which could be mistaken as encouraging division within Fatah.

However, this does not guarantee the success of Dahlan’s chances of forming his own party, as Dahlan himself could be painted as trying to pull Fatah apart while Abbas attempts to keep it together.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

Syrian Coalition Urges Washington to Stop Russia’s Monopoly of Decision-making in Syria

The Syrian Coalition urged the United States to take action in order to enforce a ceasefire in Syria and a halt to the Assad regime and Russia’s onslaught on eastern Ghouta as well as to put an end to Russia’s monopoly of the decision-making in Syria.

The calls were made during a meeting between the Syrian Coalition’s Foreign Affairs Department and Karen Decker, Director of the US’s Syria Transition Assistance and Response Team (START) on Friday. Both sides discussed the latest political and field developments as they emphasized the need for allowing the Raqqa province to be administered by the local population as well as the withdrawal of all militant groups from the city.

Head of the Foreign Affairs Department Abdel-Ahad Steifo stressed the need for a ceasefire in Syria and the prevention of any new mass forced displacement operations as the only way to reach a political settlement in Syria.

Steifo noted that the Russians are not committed to the implementation of the recently adopted UN resolution, but are trying to circumvent the resolution to make military gains and use them in the political process and impose their own vision of a political solution.

For her part, Decker said the United States is working tirelessly to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to residents of eastern Ghouta and is continuing its advocacy work with international actors to put an end to the killings and ensure the introduction of humanitarian assistance.

Decker added that the US administration is closely following on the Assad regime’s reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, noting that there is a “lack of confidence in the ability of the Russians to exercise more pressure on the Assad regime.”

Steifo said that the latest reports about cooperation between the Assad regime and North Korea in the manufacture of chemical weapons is not a cause of concern to the Syrian people only as it poses a threat to the international community as a whole.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the bombing campaign in eastern Ghouta. The heavy bombings did not stop despite the UN Security Council’s adoption of a resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire on Saturday.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 02.03.2018)

IOF arrests Palestinian girl for alleged knife possession

18-year old girl

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Thursday a Palestinian girl, north of Bethlehem, for alleged knife possession.

The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported that an 18-year-old girl was detained at an Israeli military checkpoint north of Bethlehem after allegedly finding a knife in her bag.

Israeli military sources claimed that the detainee tried to attack the soldiers before being arrested.

The girl, whose identity remained unknown, was later taken to a nearby investigation center.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

B’Tselem: New Video Footage Shows Israeli Soldiers Shooting and Beating Palestinian to Death

01 MAR
7:43 PM

On the night of 22 February, 2018, about 20 Israeli soldiers entered Jericho city as part of a raid and arrest campaign, where they entered a home and searched it while other soldiers waited at the entrance to the alley where the house was located.

According to the PNN, the soldiers’ presence led to confrontations in which Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers. At some point, Yassin a-Saradih (35) ran with an iron bar attached to a car wheel rim towards the soldiers who were standing at the entrance to the alley, in an attempt to attack them.

A report by B’Tselem, on Wednesday, published new footage by CCTV cameras of nearby shops, showing Israeli soldiers shoot and beat Saradih to death.

The video, collected by B’Tselem, shows the following:

“In video footage captured by security cameras of nearby stores, a-Saradih is seen running towards the soldiers with the bar. A soldier then shoots him in the lower body at point blank range. After the shooting, three other soldiers emerge from the alley and all four forcefully kick a-Saradih, who is lying on the ground. The soldiers are seen beating him with their rifles and dragging him into the alley. There, they continue to drag him along face down and then lean over him, shine flashlights on him, kick him lightly and move him with their feet. After about ten minutes, during which time they offer the wounded man no medical assistance, one of the soldiers fires a tear-gas cannister at the entrance to the alley. The soldiers are then seen dragging a-Saradih into the alley, out of the cameras’ range, apparently to avoid the tear gas that drifted their way.

“About fifteen minutes later, the soldiers are seen again outside the alley, this time carrying a-Saradih by his arms and legs. They hoist him onto a military jeep that drives up and he is driven away.

“The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit changed its version of the event several times. In its first response, the unit stated that a-Saradih had attacked the soldiers, armed with a knife, and had attempted to grab their weapons, and that during his arrest he had sustained an injury and received first aid. In a second announcement issued later that day, the unit stated only that he had tried to attack the force, which “responded with gunfire, confronted the terrorist from close range and managed to stop him”, and that a knife had later been found on a-Saradih’s body. The next day, the military claimed that he had apparently died from tear gas inhalation.

According to the autopsy results published that day by the media, a-Saradih was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen and may have died of blood loss. Nevertheless, the military continued to claim that the paramedics who treated him saw no sign of bullet entry.

“This is a particularly grave incident: The soldiers forcefully kicked a severely wounded man lying on the ground and beat him with their rifles in the head, upper body and groin,” B’Tselem said. “Then they dragged him along an alleyway as though he were not a human being and did not offer him crucial medical aid for more than thirty minutes.”

B’Tselem concluded by saying:

“In light of this unacceptable conduct, the attempts made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to justify the incident with one excuse or another are equally disturbing – as is the resounding silence of military and civilian officials. The absence of a firm, unequivocal statement by the military that such conduct will not be tolerated effectively condones the soldiers’ actions, allowing such incidents to recur in the future. The announcement that a Military Police investigation has been launched, as reported by the media, is meant merely to create the illusion that the military is treating the incident with all seriousness. Based on years of experience, the investigation is unlikely to result in any indictment of the persons responsible for the killing and ill-treatment of a-Saradih – certainly not among the higher ranks.”

Links to full video footage:

(Source / 02.03.2018)

Palestinian kid forced to say he was not injured by Israeli gunfire

Mohamed al-Tamimi

The father of Mohamed al-Tamimi, the boy who suffered last December a rubber bullet injury in the head during skirmishes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, said that the Israeli army’s claim that his son was injured after he fell off his bike was untrue.

Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s military coordinator of government activities in the occupied territories, claimed on his Facebook page that Tamimi, aged 15, had confessed during an interrogation session with him that he got injured after he accidentally fell off his electric bike.

The father, however, affirmed that the false story of Mordechai had been taken from his son under physical abuse and threat, adding that the shooting incident that led to his son’s injury happened in full view of eight eyewitnesses.

There are also medical reports, X-rays, and doctors’ testimonies that confirm his injury by a rubber bullet, the father added.

The father accused Israeli intelligence interrogators of forcing his son to make such story after exposing him to psychological and physical pressure.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

IOF arrests Palestinian youth at checkpoint near Nablus

Hamdan Khatatba

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday morning arrested a Palestinian youth at Beit Furik checkpoint east of Nablus city.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that the IOF soldiers arrested Hamdan Khatatba while he was passing, along with his father, near the checkpoint.

The witnesses added that the soldiers stopped the vehicle in which Khatatba was travelling and scrutinized the passengers’ IDs then arrested him and transferred him to an unknown destination.

They pointed out that Khatatba’s father remained detained at the checkpoint area.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

EU Not Planning to Recognize Palestinian State

01 MAR
7:56 PM

A European Union official, yesterday, denied that the bloc had decided to recognize an independent Palestinian state, saying that the conditions for such a decision have not been met.

The European Commission’s Information and Communication Officer in Jerusalem, Shadi Othman, told Quds Press that the decision to recognize the State of Palestine is a “sovereign decision” taken by each of the bloc’s member states separately, and in accordance with their own policies.

“There are no discussions of a new European position on recognizing a Palestinian state.” However, he added that there are “separate” consultations between the Palestinian Authority and a number of European countries to convince them to recognize the Palestinian state.

“But,” Othman said, “the issue of recognizing the Palestinian state was not discussed at any EU joint meeting.”

He reiterated, according to Days of Palestine, that the European Union’s position is “united” with regards to rejecting the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, adding that “the bloc’s countries will not transfer their embassies to Jerusalem”.

Yesterday, the Palestinian Ambassador to the European Union, Abdel Rahim Al-Farra, revealed that there are consultations among a number of EU countries to recognize a Palestinian state collectively or individually.

Al-Farra said in remarks to the Voice of Palestine radio that the trend towards recognizing a Palestinian state has increased within the European Union as Israel continues to violate international law and international legitimacy.

He added that the EU foreign ministers’ meeting with the Arab ministerial committee to follow up on the Jerusalem issue in Brussels on Monday stressed on the need to save the two-state solution.

Othman pointed out that Arab ministers and Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, all stressed the need for a new position to be taken by the European Union with regard to the peace process and the Palestinian issue.

(Source / 02.03.2018)

Detainees Recount Tales of Torture, Maltreatment by Israeli Army

01 MAR
7:51 PM

The Detainees Commission published, on Thursday, a report that includes affidavits by Palestinian detainees, including those of children, of torture and maltreatment by Israeli forces, during detention and interrogation at Ofer and Etzion military camps and detention centers.

Mohammad Dawood, 17, from Beit Duqqu, northwest of Jerusalem, said Israeli forces raided his work place, attacked him, threw him to the ground, beat him brutally before detaining him. He told the commission’s attorney Loai Okkeh that one of the soldiers tried to choke him while others pointed their gun at him and threatened to kill him if he did not confess of the charges against him.

Wa’ad Ramahi,17, from Jalazon refugee camp near Ramallah, reported being physically abused during his seizure after Israeli troops raided his home and ransacked it.

Mohammad Mansour, 16, reported being severely beaten by Israeli soldiers when he was detained during confrontations with Israeli soldiers in his village, Saffa, in Ramallah area.

Karam Qatrawi from Jericho and Mohammad Shalaldeh from Hebron, aged 14, also pointed out that Israeli soldiers kicked them with their boots and beat them on head with their guns.

The commission said, according to WAFA, that those detainees are currently in Ofer Israeli prison, near Ramallah.

Additional cases of maltreatment and torture against minors and youth were documented in Etzion prison in the south of the West Bank.

Human rights organizations have long denounced mistreatment of Palestinian detainees, including children, by Israeli forces.

(Source / 02.03.2018)