Palestinian prisoner’s wife, who conceived from smuggled sperm, gives birth

Danial Tahayneh, born from a sperm smuggled from prison.

JENIN, August 25, 2018 (WAFA) – Wife of Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, Mohammad Mutaib Tahayneh, from Silat al-Harthiyeh village, west of the  northern West Bank city of Jenin, gave birth on Saturday after she had conceived from sperm from her imprisoned husband smuggled from the prison, according to Tahayneh’s family.

Tahayneh’s wife, Rasha, has undergone an IVF treatment at a fertility center in the occupied West Bank and the procedure was a success. She delivered a healthy baby boy at the Specialized Arab Hospital in Nablus, said the family. The boy was named Danial.

Tahayneh is serving 19 years in Israeli jails and has spent 16 years of his sentence.

Several Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have resorted to smuggling of sperm out of prisons in order to become father.

Wives of the prisoners gained support for the procedure after the Palestinian Authority’s religious council decreed the IVF treatment permissible for the wives of prisoners.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

Palestine Football Association accuses FIFA of colluding with Israelis in ban on its head

Palestine_FA_(logo)

RAMALLAH, August 25, 2018 (WAFA) – The Palestine Football Association (PFA) Saturday accused the world football association, FIFA, of colluding with Israel and right wing Israeli groups in its decision to ban its head, Jibril Rajoub, from attending FIFA games for one year for allegedly inciting to hatred and violence against Argentinian player Lionel Messi.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee said on its website on Friday that it has “sanctioned” Rajoub, “with a 12-month match suspension and a fine of CHF 20,000 (over $20,000) for breaching article 53 (Inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, following media statements he gave calling on football fans to target the Argentinian Football Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi.”

Palestinians had strongly opposed holding a pre-World Cup friendly match between Argentina and Israel in Jerusalem. The match was originally scheduled to be held in Haifa, northern Israel, but Palestinians accused Israel of using the game for political ends by moving it to occupied Jerusalem. The game was eventually cancelled after the Argentinean team said it will not play in Israel.

“The 12-month match suspension imposed on Mr Rajoub entails a ban on taking part in any future match or competition taking place during the given period. Consequently, Mr Rajoub will not be able to attend football matches or competitions in any official capacity, which includes, among others, participating in media activities at stadiums or in their vicinity on match days,” said the FIFA committee.

The 12-month match suspension became effective on Friday.

The PFA said it “expresses its utmost surprise” at the decision by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee against its president, “which, surprisingly enough, was communicated to the media before the official notification reached the Palestine Football Association.”

It said. “This fact, among others, makes it clear to us, as it has been since the disciplinary procedure was initiated on the 29th of May, at a request of the Israeli Football Association and some settler extremist group, nonetheless, that there has been a predisposition to ban General Rajoub from football activities for a long time.”

The PFA said the Disciplinary Committee’s decision was based “on the allegations of interest groups,” one of which is the Israeli Football Association, which is in legal conflict with the PFA before FIFA, “and another representing an extremist settler group that resides illegally in the Palestinian occupied territories” that based its accusations on media statements by Rajoub to Lebanese media in 2013.

“With regard to the alleged threats to Lionel Messi, we question the legality of a third party acting on behalf of Messi who did not file a complaint himself, neither did the Argentinian football Association,” said the PFA.

“The decision itself admits that the members of the Committee decided ‘on the basis of their personal convictions in application of art. 97 par. 3 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code’, and not on the various types of proof requested by the legal representation of General Rajoub. The Committee, in its decision, admittedly ‘took note’ that the evidence requested by the legal representation were not looked into.”

The PFA said: “We are surprised by the speed at which FIFA was quick to convict the President of the Palestine FA, and how difficult it remains for FIFA to guarantee the right to play freely, safely, and without hindrance to the children of Palestine.”

It reaffirmed “its commitment to law and procedure, and its respect to the institutions of FIFA,” adding that “we also retain our right to pursue this issue to the last possible legal venue.”

(Source / 25.08.2018)

Toy scares Israeli police, prompts them to close roads in J’lem

Toy and closed roads

The Israeli occupation police on Saturday closed Bab al-Asbat area in the Old City of Jerusalem after a suspicious object was allegedly spotted there.

A local journalist told Quds Press that Israeli police forces blocked all roads leading to Bab al-Asbat after finding that object.

He added that all Palestinian citizens and tourists were prevented from going to the area as special technicians from the police were examining the item, which turned out to be a toy.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

IOF seizes construction equipment in Masafer Yatta

Stolen consruction equipment

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday confiscated construction equipment in Masafer Yatta area, south of al-Khalil, and photographed homes and structures belonging to local residents.

A local official reported that Israeli troops stormed Qawaqis area in Masafer Yatta, took photos of a tin shack belonging to a local resident and seized building items from one of the houses there.

The Israeli army prevents the residents of Masfer Yatta from expanding their residential areas and repeatedly destroy their homes and structures.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

‘This is occupation, not conflict: it’s black and white.’

Acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh [Rebecca Stead/Middle East Monitor]

By Rebecca Stead

Mohammad Sabaaneh was released from an Israeli prison four years ago. He had been incarcerated for five months, spending almost two weeks in solitary confinement. Israeli forces held Mohammad in administrative detention, meaning they needed no charge and did not send him to trial. During one of his interrogation sessions, he managed to steal some paper and a pencil to begin sketching his ideas for images documenting his time in prison, smuggling them out with every prisoner who was released. When Mohammad himself was eventually released, he collected his sketches and completed the cartoons that make up his new book “Palestine in Black and White”.

The first image he completed was of Gaza. Drawn in 2014, when Gaza was suffering under Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” that led to the death of 2,251 Palestinians, including 547 children, it shows dozens of grotesque characters pointing rifles, tanks and missiles at a small child sitting atop a tiny piece of land, meant to represent the civilian population of Gaza targeted by Israeli bombardment. The USA looks on from a distance, his stars-and-stripes hat easily distinguishable from the soldiers’ helmets. On the right, Gulf leaders and the world look the other way, ignoring the plight of Gaza’s almost two million besieged inhabitants.

This brutal and explicit style is replicated throughout “Palestine in Black and White”, but Mohammad treats each of his images with the care and attention to detail of a fine artist. He explains that while first exploring the idea for a book: “I noticed that most cartoonists in the Arab world care more about the content of the cartoon than the artwork.” Mohammad believes this is because most are influenced by Naji Al-Ali – the famous Palestinian cartoonist and creator of Handala who was assassinated in London in 1987 – who “cared mostly about the political position and what’s going on around him.” Mohammad argues however that “if you just want to care about content you can write about the topic, but if you are a cartoonist you have to care about art.”

“That’s why I started to improve my style and to try find something new, to start improving my characters, scenes and tools,” he adds.

READ: British film, theatre figures slam Israel’s bombing of Gaza cultural centre

Mohammad went back to basics, shunning the iPad and computer-drawn cartoons preferred by so many of his peers and opting instead for water colours, ink and pencil. The influence of fine art is clear to see in many of Mohammad’s pieces, with elements of surrealism clearly visible to even the untrained eye: Dali-esque clocks hang over checkpoint barriers meant to depict the daily reality of West Bank Palestinians, people’s suffering is crammed into the frame in a way that evokes Picasso’s Guernica. Mohammad acknowledges these artistic influences, saying that “in 2014 I spent three days in Spain looking for the Guernica. I just needed to see it. Friends and colleagues who saw my work always told me ‘it looks like Guernica’ – while initially this was an accident, after my trip I decided to consciously invoke this style in some of my pieces.”

There is no doubt that Mohammad’s images are dense. Readers of the book will find themselves drawn time and again to each of its pages, noticing new details and hidden symbolism upon each viewing. Mohammad has stayed true to many of those symbols familiar to Palestinian art history, for example the cactus as a symbol of sumud or steadfastness, the key as a symbol of the “right of return” or the tree as a symbol of rootedness in the land. Yet Mohammad has put his own twist on even these long-entrenched codes. He explains “when we talk about the olive tree this isn’t just an economic issue but a cultural one. Israel takes Palestinians’ trees and replants on their settlements [in the occupied West Bank], so when you talk about olive trees it is something related to our history.”

Mohammad has taken the image of the tree one step further, utilising not just the olive tree synonymous with the West Bank and Jerusalem but also the orange tree. He says:

I was speaking with a friend and he told me that when we as artists use the olive tree as a Palestinian symbol, we drop our right to coastal cities like Haifa and Jaffa. There we have always grown orange trees, and so these are featured in my work as well.

It's not yours to claim [Mohammad Sabaaneh]

Asked why he decided to publish his series of cartoons in black and white, Mohammad explains that “I love black and white! I didn’t necessarily choose black and white when I started, as I don’t always draw only in monochrome, but when I was thinking about a title for the book it made sense to me.” He continues: “When I started a Master’s programme at university as a ‘conflict resolution’ student, what shocked me was that everyone around the world called the situation in Israel-Palestine ‘conflict’.”

What’s happening here isn’t conflict – for conflict you could find compromise between the two sides – what is happening here is occupation, it’s black and white. It’s also settler colonisation, and that’s more difficult to understand because occupation is temporary, but they [the Israelis] want to stay here and expel the indigenous people and steal your identity, your tree.

Mohammad’s political stance can be seen running throughout his work, from the way many of his characters are drawn without mouths to represent the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strikeor without eyes to represent the influence of the occupation on Palestinians. He explains “eyes are the key to understanding any human being – we can understand whether someone is kind, happy, sad, all of these things. But under the occupation humans have become very ugly, and the oppressor influences the oppressed.”

He adds: “when I left prison and looked in the mirror I could hardly recognise myself – I looked tired, scared and ugly after spending so long in solitary confinement. It’s very hard to spend so much time inside a prison, and I don’t try to portray that in a heroic way.”

READ: Khater sees her detention extended for 7th time

One such image that demonstrates Mohammad’s influences is the piece entitled “How will history judge the torment of Palestine”. A full page spread, the image shows famous historical characters like Edward Said, Malcolm X, Karl Marx, Mandela and Che Guevara looking on at the carnage of Israel-Palestine below. Israeli bulldozers are stopped in their tracks by a resolute Benazir Bhutto, as Fidel Castro tries to crush the vehicle from above. Martin Luther King stretches over Israel’s Separation Wall to tell a frightened Palestinian child “you have a dream”. While Ghandi stands proudly flying the Palestinian flag.

In evoking characters from the 1960s and 1970s – the heyday of Palestinian resistance under the PLO – Mohammad believes “you can capture the interest of all the people around the world and explain that what is happening in Palestine is a revolutionary thing, like what the likes of Malcolm X and Che Guevara did.” Mohammed says that “that’s what we should be doing – putting Palestine in these international contexts whether it’s Black Lives Matter in the United States or the history of the Native Americans – because it makes it easier for people around the world to understand what is happening in Palestine.”

It is images like these that attest to the underlying aim of Mohammad’s work – to spread awareness of the plight facing Palestinians. Mohammad explains that “our mission should be to focus on spreading awareness among international audiences, rather than in the Arab world. The people of the Arab world know what’s going on in Palestine, so there’s nothing more to be done there.” Yet he stresses that in the international arena “our mission now is to raise awareness, not just in the UK or USA but in China, Australia – wherever I can reach people I will try to do it.”

To this end, Mohammad is already thinking about his next project. During our interview he showed me some of his latest images, including a table-length drawing of the history of women’s issues, from the moment Eve took the fateful apple from the biblical tree to the modern-day challenges facing women in a social media age. He explains, “in the past I didn’t do enough about women’s issues, so I’m redressing this now,” demonstrating a refreshingly self-aware approach to his evolving role as an artist.

Mohammad also showed me another image dubbed “Humans in black and white”, which explores some of the biggest challenges of our age including climate change and divisions between the world’s people. He believes that “while these works are very different from my book, it’s very important for me as a Palestinian cartoonist not just to talk about Palestine. Every issue leads into the other as part of a universal ideology.”

READ: PLO’s Ashrawi: Taking Jerusalem off the table takes peace off the table

(Source / 25.08.2018)

US cancels over $200 million in aid to Palestinians

US President Donald J. Trump

The US on Friday cut more than $200 million in aid to Palestine following a review initiated by President Donald Trump.

A senior State Department official confirmed the move, saying that the funds originally intended for the West Bank and Gaza will instead by used for “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,” the official said in a statement.

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the President, we will redirect more than $200 million in FY2017 Economic Support Funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” the official added, referring to the 2017 fiscal year.

The brief three-paragraph statement did not say exactly how much funding would be cut, only giving a ballpark estimate of more than $200 million.

Trump has sparked a global anger over his decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December. The move undercut long-standing underpinnings of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks where the city’s status was to be determined as a final-status issue.

The Palestinians have snubbed calls from the Trump administration to return to the negotiating table, arguing Washington gave up its status as a neutral mediator by making the declaration.

Trump and his team are preparing a rollout of their long-mulled peace plan to end the decades-long conflict.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

Netanyahu’s strategy to split EU front and prevent a two-state solution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told reporters accompanying him on his visit to Lithuania that he is seeking to divide the European Union’s front and try to prevent a consensus over Europe’s position on issues related to the Palestinians and Iran.

Before leaving for a tour of the Baltic states, Netanyahu said that he is interested in balancing relations between the EU and Israel, which are always friendly, in order to receive more honest and credible treatment. “I am accomplishing such a goal through making contacts with blocs of countries within the European Union, Eastern European countries, and now with the Baltic states and, of course, with other countries as well.”

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu told his Lithuanian counterpart, Saulius Skvernelis: “I would like to thank you for the firm position you expressed in the EU’s committees for truth, Israel and integrity. In many instances, Israel is not being treated fairly in Brussels. Israel’s image has been recurrently distorted and it is comforting to see that you are taking the position of clarity, truth and courage.”

In December, Lithuania helped Netanyahu to be hosted in the EU headquarters by inviting him to breakfast with European foreign ministers before their monthly meeting. The invitation was considered to be a ruse, as it ran counter to EU protocol and provoked anger in the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

 A common Enemy: Why Israel is embracing fascism in Europe

Haaretz reported on Friday that after a systematic attempt to strengthen relations between Israel and countries ruled by extremist nationalist parties in Eastern and Central Europe — in order to sabotage the consensus required among the 28 EU member states for a unified policy — Netanyahu’s unveiled his strategy of using countries within the EU, such as the Visegrad states led by the extreme right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, to change the Union’s positions on the Palestinian issue and Iran. Netanyahu is taking advantage of Orban’s vote in international EU committees to, at the very least, prevent European consensus, thereby weakening the possibility of advancing international initiatives on these issues.

During his current tour, Netanyahu will meet with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kucinskis and Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas, as well as members of Jewish communities. The Israeli Prime Minister acknowledged his Lithuanian ancestry by telling Skvernelis repeatedly, “You know, my family comes from here.”

Israel’s relations with Latvia and Lithuania have been strengthened in recent years, while Estonia has been trying to maintain neutrality in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Haaretz said that there is a brain drain in the Baltic States and this is an issue through which Israel seeks to boost its relations in the region.

Read: Netanyahu goes full theatrical against Iran

Netanyahu is also looking to exploit the concern in the Baltic and Eastern European states about Russia’s policy in the area, especially after the annexation of the Crimea. Israel sells those countries weapons and security expertise.

When he said that there is “national pride” in Lithuania, “as there is in Israel,” Netanyahu was echoing the words of right-winger Orban. “I think that an important part of the excellent relations between Israel and Hungary is our relationship as nationalist leaders,” he said during a recent visit to Israel. Netanyahu plans to participate in the Balkan leaders’ summit due to be held in Croatia.

Haaretz quoted EU observers as saying that Netanyahu’s approach hinders the possibility of Europe taking up unified positions. Israel’s moves in this respect have become intensive and aggressive in the past three years. “It is difficult for the EU to have one clear word about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” they point out.

The newspaper added that Netanyahu’s policy in this context comes at a cost, not least because it is at the expense of major liberal countries in Western Europe. Netanyahu is effectively conspiring against these countries, including Germany and France, which are friendly to Israel, in order to prevent international consensus on the idea to which he pays lip service in his speeches to international and EU committees, namely the two-state solution.

Read: Netanyahu forms alliances to block European support for Palestine

(Source / 25.08.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Four Waqf Employees In Al-Aqsa Mosque

25 AUG
11:48 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Saturday, four Palestinians who work for the Al-Aqsa Reconstruction Committee of the Islamic Waqf and Endowment Department in occupied Jerusalem.

The four were taken prisoner while performing their duties in the holy site, and were moved to al-Qashla detention and interrogation center in the Old City.

They have been identified as Issa Dabbagh, Bassem Zghayyar, Jom’a Manasra and Hamad Alqam.

In related news, the soldiers abducted, on Saturday at dawn, a young man, identified as Khaled Ahmad Eghbariyya, from Tayba village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, after invading his home and searching it.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

PCHR: Israeli Forces Attack Non-Violent Protest in Gaza, Wounding 89 Civilians

25 AUG
1:51 AM

On Friday, 24 August 2018,  using excessive lethal force against the peaceful protesters in eastern Gaza Strip for the 22nd  Friday in a row, Israeli forces wounded 89 civilians, including 17 children, 2 women and 3 paramedics, after hitting them with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters.

Five of those wounded sustained serious wounds. Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation, despite the decrease in the number of participants in the demonstrations on the fourth day of Eid al-Adha. Durng this week, the Israeli forces continued to target medical personnel working in the field, wounding 3 of them. Moreover, an ambulance sustained damage in eastern Jabalia, indicating that there is a systematic Israeli policy to target medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work, which is protected under the rules of international humanitarian law.

The Israeli forces used upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators who posed no threat to the life of Israeli soldiers.

The following table shows number of Civilian casualties due to the Israeli suppression of the Return Demonstrations Since 30 of March:

Causalities Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Notes
Deaths 130 23 1 2 3 Among those Killed, there are 3 Persons with Disabilities and a female child
Injuries 6729 1140 203 78 103 Among those wounded, 422 are in serious condition and 69 persons’ lower or upper limbs were amputated. Statistics of the injured only include those directly hit with bullets and tear gas canisters as there are thousands others  suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises.

 

 

Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers emphasize that the demonstrations were as always fully peaceful and  PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or armed persons whereas Israeli forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand barriers and in military jeeps along the border fence.

 

 

The incidents today, 24 August 2018, were as follows:

At approximately 16:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to 5 encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip’s governorates. They raised flags, and chanted slogans and national songs in addition to flying kites and firing balloons, while hundreds of them, including children and women, approached the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces. The participants were present around 300 meters away from the main border fence.

The Israeli shooting, which continued until 19:30, resulted in the injury of 89 civilians, including 17 children, 2 women and 3 paramedics. Five of those wounded sustained serious wounds. In addition, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by the Israeli soldiers stationed in military vehicles and by drones hovering over the protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip.

 

PCHR hereby condemns these crimes committed by the Israeli forces, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.

 

PCHR emphasizes that continuously inflicting casualties, either killed or wounded, is unjustified and targeting and killing civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, using lethal force is a serious violation of the rules of intentional law and international humanitarian law.

 

PCHR also stresses that this ongoing policy by Israel violates the Rome STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) and Fourth Geneva Convention, and its practices qualify to war crimes. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation into these crimes in addition to prosecuting and holding accountable all of those involved in issuing decisions and orders in the Israeli forces at the political and security level and those applying the orders.

 

PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.

(Source / 25.08.2018)

Israeli Colonialists Cut 30 Olive Trees Near Nablus

25 AUG
2:24 AM

A number of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Friday, a Palestinian olive orchard in the as-Sawiya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and cut 30 olive trees.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring Israel’s illegal colonialist activities, said the assailants cut thirty olive trees owned by Suleiman Hasan Ahmad.

He added that the attack was part of dangerously escalating assaults by the illegal colonialist settlers against the Palestinians, their homes, lands and property, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

The official also said that the Israeli military does not investigate these violations, and even protects the assailants.

On Friday evening, a number of colonialists hurled stones and empty bottles at Palestinian cars, driving on the Jenin- Nablus road, near Sielet ath-Thaher village, south of Nablus.

(Source / 25.08.2018)