PA security forces kidnap Islamic Jihad activists in Nablus

Activists Nablus arrested PA

The Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces kidnapped, during the last two days, several Palestinian citizens affiliated with the Islamic Jihad Movement in different areas of Nablus in the West Bank.

According to Islamic Jihad, the PA intelligence agency arrested two brothers, Riyadh and Ahmed Da’das, after raiding their home in Nablus on Tuesday.

The same security agency also kidnapped another Islamic Jihad member called Salama Abdul-Jawwad from his home in Nablus and confiscated his car.

All the detainees had served some time in Israeli jails.

In a related context, the PA intelligence has been detaining, with no guilt, two Palestinian citizens from the Jihad Movement for over 15 days and refuses to release them until now.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Expectant mother, her 2 children go homeless as Israel demolishes home

No roof over heads Zarnouq

Israeli bulldozers on Thursday knocked down a Palestinian home in Zarnouq village, in Negev, leaving a four-member family without a roof over their heads.

Palestinian citizen Mohamed Abu Kweidar said Israeli police troops and special forces, escorted by a bulldozer, rolled into the village at the crack of dawn and demolished the home of his brother Akef, aged 30, under the guise of unlicensed construction.

Over the past five years, the occupation authorities have repeatedly turned down Akef’s appeals for a construction permit to build a home for his family.

Akef’s expectant wife and his two children used to take shelter in the demolished home.

Zarnouq village is one of 45 villages unrecognized by the Israeli authorities in the Negev desert and constantly targeted with demolition and displacement in favor of settlement expansion projects.

About 240,000 Palestinians live in the Negev Desert, in villages and communities established hundreds of years ago.

Israel does not recognize these communities, refuses to provide them with basic services such as water and electricity, and cracks down on them in every possible way to push them to leave their lands.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Aljazeera documentary shows pro-Israeli lobby groups organising ‘fake protests’

Al Jazeera news room [file photo]

Qatar’s Al Jazeera news room [file photo]

Leaked excerpts from a censored Aljazeera documentary, released this week, have offered a glimpse into the workings of pro-Israeli lobby groups in the US. Short clips of the documentary said to be four 50-minute episodes long, reveal a number of prominent pro-Israeli conservative think tanks spearheading a fierce campaign against pro-Palestinian activists.

In the clips released by Electronic Intifada, students can be seen boasting about receiving $50,000 dollars “plus benefits” for taking part in fake grassroots protests against pro-Palestinian activists. One of the students described their presence at the demonstration as “astroturfing” – a term used to describe fake political activism, which pretends to be grassroots-based. The same students are later seen holding “pro-Israel” signs at the demonstration.

An expert interviewed in the documentary explained the common tactic used by pro-Israeli groups as taking corporate money and “manufacturing the image of a grassroot movement… by basically paying people to appear as activists”.

A separate segment shows a woman who appears to be an instructor inducting activists into their roles as pro-Israeli campaigners telling them to stay on message when speaking to reporters by insisting that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions Campaign (BDS) and the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are “hate groups.” The students are then seen holding placards and calling people resisting Israeli occupation, “baby killers” and “suicide bombers.”

The scenes in the clip are part of a segment showing how the Hoover Institute, a Conservative think tank, and Emergency Committee for Israel, a right-wing political advocacy group, “astroturfed” a protest against students organising a pro-Palestinian conference.  The segment shows Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel telling the undercover reporter that they were “going to be more pro-Israel than you can imagine just to provoke everyone”.

A second video shows Eric Gallagher who works for the Israel project identity Adam Milsten as a funder for the Canary Mission, a notorious pro-Israeli organisation that blacklists pro-Palestinian activists and academics, which has even been criticised by other pro-Israeli organisations for its aggressive tactics. The lobby group has compiled a database of students and professors, faculty speakers and organisations. Individuals in the database are subjected to character assassination with the stated goal of making sure that “today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees.”

In revelations that may raise concerns here in the UK over the ongoing campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and allegations of anti-Semitism, the films reveal that the Israel lobby operatives not only rely on information provided by the Canary Mission but that they also coordinate their activities with the Israeli government.

The revelation, according to the Electronic intifada, could help explain more recent reports that the Canary Mission profiles are being used by Israeli border officials to deny Palestinian Americans entry to their homeland.

Milstein, who this week denied funding the Canary Mission, is a high profile figure within the pro-Israeli lobby scene and a close associate of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire tycoon who is reported to have funded President Donald Trump’s election campaign in return for his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

While the full documentary has been censored for now, those who have seen the entire documentary during a private viewing have concluded that details uncovered by the Aljazeerajournalist show examples of possible illegal Israeli spying on US citizens and the lobby’s fear of a changing political mood.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Doctors Without Borders waits for Israeli details of killing of staffer

Hani Mohammed Almajdalawi, a medic who was killed in Gaza [ Mohammed Matter/Facebook]

Hani Mohammed Almajdalawi, a medic who was killed in Gaza

International medical relief charity Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said it is will waiting for Israeli authorities to reveal details about the killing of medic Hani Mohammed Almajdalawi in the occupied Gaza Strip earlier this month.

In a statement issued yesterday, MSF noted that “over one week has passed since MSF learnt about the death of [Almajdalawi]”, one of the group’s “Palestinian medical staff in Gaza”.

Hani was killed on 20 August by Israeli forces who seized his body and have withheld it ever since.

“While MSF representatives have met with the Israeli authorities over recent days”, the statement continued, “we have not yet received information clarifying the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Almajdalawi, and therefore cannot confirm the reported versions of events”.

Mother of shot Gaza medic: ‘She thought the white coat would protect her’

According to Israeli authorities, Almajdalawi opened fire on Israeli occupation forces before being shot dead.

“Hani Mohammed Almajdalawi worked as a nurse at one of MSF’s post-operative clinics in Gaza since 2014,” the MSF statement added. “He was a valued member of our staff who was committed to his work. At the time of his death he was off duty.”

Since 30 March, MSF said, “we have treated over 1,700 patients, 99 per cent of whom suffered gunshot wounds”, in the context of the Great March of Return in the occupied Gaza Strip.

“MSF has tripled teams’ surgical capacity and post-operative care, to respond to the volume of people injured. We currently have four surgical teams operating in hospitals across Gaza, and four post-operative clinics that provide nursing care, physiotherapy and rehabilitation,” it concluded.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Report: 3,800 Palestinians killed in Syria since 2011

Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria in 2014 [Laila Ben Allal/Middle East Monitor]

Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria in 2014

Some 3,871 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian conflict since 2011, 462 of whom died due to torture, the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria revealed this week.

Almost 2,000 Palestinians were killed due to shelling by the regime, particularly in Damascus after tens of thousands fled the largest Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmouk, which was destroyed in an extensive bombing campaign causing heavy civilian casualties.

Hundreds of Palestinians have also died in jails of the Assad regime after being subjected to torture; last month three men, identified as Anas Abbas Awad, born 1990 who was arrested in 2011, and brothers, Mohamed Fayyad Mustafa, born 1979, and Nabil Fayyad Mustafa, born 1980, who were arrested in 2013, were confirmed as dead, having not been seen since their arrest.

#Yarmouk#Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee camp ‘lies today in ruins’

READ: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180523-syrias-largest-…/

MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Business House

Numerous Palestinians in Syria are also fighting alongside the Syrian regime in several factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Army. Battles between pro-government forces and opposition groups have left dozens dead.

Read: Two Palestinian brothers tortured to death by Syrian regime

Last month, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) moved to send a delegation to meet with Syrian officials to discuss the issue of Palestine refugees in the country.

PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad reported the prime minister saying that the Syrian crises “will never distance the Syrians from supporting the Palestinians and their efforts to face the ‘deal of the century’.”

Despite the destruction witnessed in Yarmouk, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis affirmed that the government would rebuild it and return the refugees. The PLO has since called for Palestinian refugees who fled the Syrian conflict to register their names in order to facilitate their return to the camps in Syria, despite many fearing arrest or repercussions from the regime.

Millions of refugees are also at risk of permanently losing their homes following the announcement of a new law that allows the Assad regime to confiscate vacated property. The new legislation has increased fears that many Syrians may face permanent exile, particularly those who opposed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whilst those perceived as loyalists may be given access to certain neighbourhoods instead.

Analysts further suspect that the law has been designed as an instrument of demographic change and social engineering, comparing it to the absentee property law implemented by Israel in 1950 which allowed Tel Aviv to seize Palestinian land.

Read: US envoy Haley: Palestinian right of return should be ‘off the table’

Palestinians in #Syria

MEMO Infographic by The White Canvas

#refugees #prisoners

(Source / 30.08.2018)

UNRWA agrees temporary deal to end Gaza workers’ protests

Protest outside UNRWA after employees were to be forced in to retirement

UNRWA employees who were to be forced in to retirement or see their contracts come to an end this month can continue working in September under the terms of a deal agreed between labour unions and the UN body.

“Through the intervention of many mediators … today an agreement was made with the organisation’s management on a number of points,” the labour union representing UNRWA employees said today.

“The 116 employees threatened with retirement at the end of August will continue their work as usual during September 2018,” the statement continued.

PLC: UNRWA’s crisis ‘political, not financial’

Workers who were to receive part-time contracts will continue to work full time in September.

During this period further talks will be held to set up permanent solutions for these employees.

“We will keep working until we attain the rights of employees,” the statement concluded.

“We will take this tour until we reach the rights of employees and we will remain faithful to your just causes.”

UNRWA has faced protests for over a month since it announced its to dismiss 13 per cent of its emergency programme workers, move 57 per cent on to part-time contracts, and the rest on to temporary contracts which end later this year means job insecurity. Around 1,000 employees working in emergency programmes are threatened with dismissal by the end of this year.

The UN body has been suffering from a severe budget deficit which has been exacerbated by America’s freeze on aid to Palestine since the start of 2018, when President Donald Trump’s administration declared an internal review of its policy. The president also announced that $65 million would be withheld from UNRWA, the UN body that provides education, healthcare and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem, as well as those Palestinians living in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

No one has the power to change the nature of the agency’s work, insists UNRWA

(Source / 30.08.2018)

US envoy Haley: Palestinian right of return should be ‘off the table’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, attends Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East including the Question of Palestine at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 24 July, 2018 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has said that the right of return of Palestinian refugees displaced since 1948 is an issue that should be taken “off the table”, according to the Times of Israel.

Commenting at an appearance at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, a pro-Israel think tank based in Washington DC, Haley suggested on Tuesday that the Trump administration would consider an official rejection of the Palestinian demand that all refugees who were displaced as a result of the Nakba (Catastrophe) and their descendants, be allowed to return to their ancestral homeland following a peace deal with Israel.

“I absolutely think we have to look at right of return,” Haley told attendees, before agreeing that the issue should be taken off the negotiating table.

“I do agree with that, and I think we have to look at this in terms of what’s happening [with refugees] in Syria, what’s happening in Venezuela.”

Earlier this week, Israeli media sources reported that the Trump administration is allegedly planning to release information on the US government’s official position on the right of return in the coming days. They are expected to argue that only half a million Palestinians can be considered legitimate refugees, and will reject the UN designation that gives refugee status to the children of those expelled.

UNRWA head: ‘One cannot simply wish away 5m people’

Haley also referenced US aid cuts to Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA which estimates that there are at least five million Palestinian refugees alive today, a figure Haley disputed.

“We will be a donor if [UNRWA] reforms what it does … if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them,” she argued.

Yesterday, a report by Foreign Policy revealed that the Trump administration has decided to “end funding altogether” to UNRWA, a move expected to worsen the agency’s financial crisis. The report follows revelations earlier this month that US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner has been pushing for the refugee status of thousands of Palestinians to be removed in an effort to halt the majority of UNRWA’s operations.

“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote in an email dated 11 January, just days before the US froze $65 million in funding to the UN branch. “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”

Israel has argued that UNRWA is seeking to destroy Israel through demographics by supporting Palestinian refugees in multiple locations, which together outnumber the Israeli population. Consequently any one-state solution would see a Palestinian majority in the Jewish state, a situation Tel Aviv wishes to avoid.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have encouraged the US to slash Washington’s donations to UNRWA, despite international concern over the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

PLC: UNRWA’s crisis ‘political, not financial’

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Israeli soldier has no regret killing wounded Palestinian

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who is charged with manslaughter by the Israeli military, sits to hear his verdict in a military court in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 4, 2017

An Israeli soldier convicted of killing a wounded Palestinian youth said that he had no regrets in his first interview since leaving prison three months ago.

Elor Azaria shot the Palestinian youth Abdul-Fattah al-Sharif in the head at point-blank range as he was lying on the ground in the West Bank city of al-Khalil in 2016.

Azaria told the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom if he could relive the shooting, “I would act exactly the same because that’s how I needed to act.”

Azaria said that he behaved in accordance with the training he had received in the army, adding that he continued to do his job, carrying his gun, for a couple of hours after the shooting.

Following his release, the Israeli soldier returned to the crime scene in al-Khalil where he was received by dozens of Israeli settlers celebrating his release and chanting slogans supporting him.

Azaria was filmed shooting al-Sharif, who was injured, in the head while he was lying on the ground in al-Khalil city in March 2016. The same videotape showed Israeli medical crews refraining from providing first aid to the wounded Palestinian.

He was initially sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of “manslaughter”, but Israel’s military chief, Gadi Eisenkot, later reduced the sentence by four months.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many right-wing Israeli officials supported Azaria and called for executing all Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israeli settlers or soldiers even when they are injured.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Israeli Court Ruling Sets Precedent: Illegal Outpost Colonies Can be ‘Legalized’

30 AUG
11:54 AM

An Israeli Court ruled on Tuesday that an Israeli colony that was established on stolen Palestinian land can be recognized and legitimized by the Israeli state, thus setting a precedent for further expansion of colonies onto Palestinian land.

This is despite the fact that all Israeli settlement colonies are considered illegal under international law, due to the fact that they are created through the seizure of Palestinian land through military force

The Jerusalem District Court issued the ruling, with Judge Arnon Darel agreeing with the Israeli settlers in their argument that they obtained the land “in good faith” – even though the land was, in fact, stolen from its Palestinian owners.

The colonial outpost in question is called Mitzpeh Kramin, which was established in 1999 on six plots of land: one of which was owned by the Israeli government (after having been taken from its Palestinian owners in 1948), and the other five of which were owned by Palestinians who held the legal deeds to the land.

The judge ruled that the residents of Mitzpeh Kramim are the legal owners of the land and that the Israeli Military Civil Administration in the West Bank cannot revoke their ownership. In addition, the judge ruled that the Palestinians whose land was stolen are not entitled to the return of their land.

According to the judge, because the colonial settlers moved onto the land “in good faith”, their takeover is legally justified.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reports that “the government did not know at the time [1999] that the land was privately owned because of confusion in the mapping of the area, and now admits that the land should not have been allocated to the settlement.”

acording to Ha’aretz, “In 1999, 10 buildings were constructed in what is now Mitzpeh Kramim with permits and help from the government. Since then, more structures have gone up – but without permits.

In 2011, Palestinians petitioned the High Court of Justice asking to revoke the master plan for Mitzpeh Kramim and prevent any further building. This case has been frozen for now, partly because of the proceedings underway concerning the new law on expropriation of privately-owned land in the West Bank in return for above-market compensation. Known as the regularization law, the new law legalizes previously illegally seized land used for Jewish settlement.”

The case sets a precedent for more illegal colonies constructed through the forced seizure of Palestinian land, often accompanied by violence carried out by paramilitary Israeli settlers, to be ‘recognized’ and ‘legalized’ by the Israeli government.

(Source / 30.08.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Demolish Farmers’ Stalls Near Hebron

30 AUG
2:13 AM

Israeli soldiers demolished, Wednesday, a number of stalls of Palestinian farmers on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, near the main entrance of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Activist Mohammad Ayyad said workers of Gush Etzion colony’s council, and many soldiers, invaded the area and demolished the stalls, in addition to illegally confiscating large quantities of fruits and vegetables, including Tomatoes, Grapes and plums.

The stalls are owned by farmers from the families of Sabarna and Abu Mariya, who sell their lands’ produce to provide for their families.

(Source / 30.08.2018)