PA approves ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ despite severe criticism

A person coding on a laptop [File photo]


The Palestinian Authority approved on Tuesday the “Electronic Crimes Law”, despite severe criticism from local and international rights groups, Quds Press has reported. The PA said that the law identifies the “duties” of electronic services providers to help the “specialised” parties to disclose online criminal activity.

The statement from the authority also said that the new legislation identifies the role of the state and its institutions in relation to implementing the law. There is provision to enable the PA to cooperate with other countries to fight online crime and its outcomes.

#FBFightsPalestine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

In response to the criticism of the rights groups, the Ramallah-based government reiterated its keenness to protect freedoms based on its legal terms and constitution. It stressed respect for the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued the Electronic Crimes Bill in July 2017, prompting an escalation in the crackdown on Palestinian journalists and social media activists. Amnesty International described the law as a “dangerous escalation in attacks on freedom of expression.”

READ: Everyone benefits from Israeli tech companies, except the Palestinians

Following protests by Palestinian NGOs, the PA modified the bill and cancelled the stipulations for the detention, sentencing and fining of those who criticise the authority.

It is said that the PA has agreed to guarantee the protection of data provided by the electronic service providers.

(Source / 18.04.2018)

Media freedom watchdog warns of more Israel attacks on journalists in Gaza

Palestinian journalists hold placards to commemorate their Palestinian colleague Yasir Murteca, who was martyred by Israeli soldiers during "Great March of Return" near Gaza-Israel border, during a protest in Gaza City, Gaza on 9 April, 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian journalists hold placards to commemorate their Palestinian colleague Yasir Murteca, who was martyred by Israeli soldiers during “Great March of Return” near Gaza-Israel border, during a protest in Gaza City, Gaza on 9 April, 2018

A senior official from the Committee to Protect Journalists has warned that more journalists may be killed or injured by Israeli forces during ongoing protests in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Writing in an op-ed for CNN, Robert Mahoney, CPJ deputy executive director, claimed that “Israel still refuses to learn the lesson that live fire is not a means of crowd control”, citing the recent killing of Yaser Murtaja, a Palestinian journalist shot and killed by an Israeli sniper.


“Journalists, both local and foreign…need to know now that they can venture out to cover demonstrations without being hit by snipers, whom the IDF placed along the border fence in the lead-up to the protests,” Mahoney wrote.

“That said,” he added, “the possibility of more deaths among journalists, not to mention the protesters, in the coming weeks remains real.”

Palestinian Journalists Arrested by Israel - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

The CPJ official noted how, “in the aftermath of Murtaja’s death”, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman “blamed the victim”, accusing the journalist of being a member of Al-Qassam Brigades.

“It’s regrettable that Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu hasn’t reined in his defence minister”, Mahoney wrote, “who smeared a journalist as a terrorist after he was shot and killed.”

“Is this going to be tactic in the future to justify the breaching of international law, which protects civilians and journalists in armed conflict?”

According to the CPJ official, “this is not the first time Israel has been in the spotlight for killing journalists”, noting the targeting of media outlets in 2012’s “Operation Pillar of Defence”.

“Seventeen journalists have been killed in Israel and the Occupied Territories since CPJ began keeping records in 1992,” Mahoney wrote, “15 of them by Israeli fire, and no one has been held accountable for their deaths.”

Mahoney concluded with a stark warning: “If we are to avoid more tragedies like that of Yaser Murtaja, the world’s press needs to put the Netanyahu administration on notice – stop smearing journalists as terrorists and stop firing live ammunition as a first response to disperse crowds of civilians, who will inevitably be accompanied by reporters.”

(Source / 18.04.2018)

Israel closes youth media foundation in Jerusalem

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Israel’s Defence Minister signed an order on Monday closing Elia Youth Media Foundation, a media group for Palestinian youngsters in occupied Jerusalem, Quds Press has reported. The military order signed by Avigdor Lieberman claims that the foundation is a “terrorist” organisation and must remain closed.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the organisation just pretends to be a youth group but it is actually affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Today, I designated Elia Youth Media Foundation in East Jerusalem as a terror group based on information collected by the general security agency [Shin Bet],” wrote the extreme right-wing Lieberman on Twitter. “Practically it recruits the terror youth and prepares them to produce incitement videos, and it supports terror activities.”

Ahed’s generation: Why the youth in Palestine must break free from dual oppression

In February, the Israeli Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, decided on the closure of many Palestinian organisations in occupied Jerusalem. Among them were the Orient House, the Chamber of Commerce, the High Tourism Council, the Palestinian Centre for Studies, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and the Office of Social and Statistical Studies.

The Israeli occupation authorities have been carrying out a wide-ranging campaign to impose its sovereignty upon all aspects of life in Jerusalem, explained Quds Press. It noted that this campaign escalated after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December last year.

(Source / 18.04.2018)

Israel soldiers joined in as settlers assaulted Palestinians – then killed a local teen

Israeli soldiers

Israeli occupation forces accompanied Jewish settlers during an assault on Palestinian villagers, then shot and killed a local teen who posed no threat to life.

The incident, which took place on 10 March this year, was investigated by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, who published their damning conclusions on Monday.

At around 5.30pm on the day in question, some 20-30 settlers from Yitzhar – a notorious settlement close to Nablus in the occupied West Bank – walked to ‘Urif, a nearby Palestinian village.

Some settlers “were masked, some carried wood or and metal clubs, and at least two carried guns”. According to B’Tselem, “three armed Israeli soldiers escorted the settlers”.

In response, local Palestinian residents gathered to defend their village, and, in the ensuing confrontation, “settlers threw stones at the Palestinians, including with slingshots, and the Palestinians threw stones at the settlers and soldiers”.

Read: Israel using ‘baseless legal interpretations’ to justify ‘lethal force’ against protesters

The soldiers, however, “threw stun grenades at the Palestinians and fired teargas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets”, and even “live ammunition”.

After half an hour, the settlers left, but the three Israeli soldiers remained at the scene, as did some of the village youth, who took cover “behind a small hill beside the reservoir, and threw stones at the soldiers from there”, who were positioned “a few dozen metres away”.

Opening fire, the Israeli forces shot two Palestinians: one, a 14-year-old child, was injured – another, 19-year-old Omar Shehadeh, was hit in the chest and killed.

B’Tselem noted that their investigation showed how “the three soldiers allowed dozens of settlers to enter ‘Urif village land and then took part with the settlers in the ensuing clashes, offering them protection and firing teargas, rubber-coated metal bullets, and live ammunition at the Palestinians”.

The investigation also confirmed that the soldiers shot and killed Omar, and injured the child, despite the fact that they were not in mortal danger.

Just like in dozens of other incidents that have occurred – and continue to occur – in the West Bank, soldiers once again protected settlers as they went onto land that belongs to Palestinian residents and threw stones at the Palestinians

B’Tselem stated.

Such assaults are “met with silence by the Israeli authorities, who consistently refrain from enforcing the law in the case of settlers who attack Palestinians and soldiers who enable and even participate in such attacks.”

In addition, B’Tselem added, “the absence of law enforcement is also evident in cases in which soldiers fire at Palestinians, inflicting death or injury”.

“No price to pay means no deterrence, so violent attacks – including the use of lethal force – continue undisturbed. This violence is a key component in Israel’s ability to maintain its violent control over millions of Palestinians for the past 50 plus years,” the NGO concluded.

Read more: B’Tselem report details isolation policies detrimental to detained Palestinian children

(Source / 18.04.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Guard Of Al-Aqsa Mosque

18 APR
9:07 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Wednesday, a Palestinian guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and summoned four others for interrogation.

Media sources in Jerusalem said the soldiers abducted the guard, identified as Arafat Najeeb, while trying to enter the holy site through Hotta Gate.

They added that the soldiers also summoned four other guards for interrogation in the al-Qashla police station near Hebron Gate, in the Old City.

They have been identified as Hamza Nibali, Luay Abu Sa’ad, Khalil Tarhouni and Fadi ‘Oleyyan.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Jenin city in the northern West Bank, before storming a blacksmith workshop, and confiscated various machines.

(Source / 18.04.2018)  

Army Fires Artillery Shells Into Southern Gaza, Injures Five Palestinians, One Seriously

18 APR
8:30 AM

Israeli soldiers fired, on Wednesday at dawn, at least two artillery shells into Palestinian lands, close to the border fence east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, wounding five Palestinians, including one who suffered a serious injury.

Media sources said the soldiers, stationed across the border fence east of Khuza’a town, fired at least two shells at Palestinians who approached the border fence, wounding five; one seriously.

They added that the soldiers also fired several live rounds at Red Crescent ambulances and medics who rushed to the scene.

On Tuesday evening, the soldiers shot and injured five Palestinians, including one child, during a nonviolent procession near the border fence.

The army also fired artillery shells into a site, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.

(Source / 18.04.2018)

Settlers Seize Three Palestinian-owned Apartments in Jerusalem

17 APR
11:18 PM

Members of the Ruweidi family after settlers take over their homes with the help of the Israeli police, April 8, 2018. Photo credit: the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Israeli police supervised the seizure, which displaced 13 members of the Ruweidi family.

Israeli police assisted colonial settlers seize a Palestinian-owned building in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on April 8, 2018. The Ruweidi family lived in and owns the building, which consists of three apartments. Over 13 members of the family are now homeless.

“We are barred from entering [our homes], but the settlers and their guards are inside the houses,” Mahmoud Ruweidi told the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Prior to the seizure of the building, Israeli police closed the roads leading to it. Israeli forces then confiscated the Ruweidi family’s cellphones and oversaw settlers empty the building of its furniture and change the locks.

When members of the family resisted the sudden takeover, Israeli forces responded with physical violence. The Ruweidis’ belongings are now scattered in a nearby courtyard, exposed to the elements.


An Israeli court sanctioned the Ruweidis’ forced displacement in February when it ruled in favor of Elad, a settler group that claims one deceased member of the family sold it the three apartments.

The Ruweidis appealed the court decision and secured a court order postponing a settler takeover until April 15, 2018. They consequently had no warning settlers would confiscate their homes with the help of Israeli police a week earlier.

Israeli settlement watch group Peace Now reports that the police continue to guard the home around the clock while settlers move in furniture. In the last two years, Elad has seized ten Palestinian properties in Silwan.

(Source / 18.04.2018)