Hamas prisoners in Israel jails elect new leadership

Prisoners gesture from their cell Hasharon, an Israeli prison [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Prisoners gesture from their cell Hasharon, an Israeli prison

The Central Elections Committee for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails has announced the results of its leadership election for the term between 2019 and 2021, the Safa news agency reported yesterday.

In a statement leaked to Safa, the Committee said that the elections were carried out in accordance with the movement’s rules.

According to the statement, Hamas prisoners elected 11 prisoners to be added to a four-member committee which consists of the leaders of the largest four Israeli occupation prisons – Al-Naqab, Ofer, Rimon and Maggido, making a 15-member leadership committee.

Mohammad Arman was named leader, Abbas Al-Sayyid as deputy chief, while Ahmad Al-Qidra, Ashraf Zaghier, Salama Qatawi, Othman Bilal, Abdel-Nasser Isa, Munir Meri, Muamar Shahrour, Muaz Bilal and female prisoner Lama Khater were all elected onto the committee.

The leadership will take on its responsibilities at the start of the new year.

READ: Lama Khater’s imprisonment exposes Israel’s fear of words 

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Israel army: attacks on Gaza should be done intelligently not emotionally

Palestinians seen at the Gaza-Israel border during a protest within the "Great March of Return" demonstrations in Shuja'iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on December 07, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians seen at the Gaza-Israel border during a protest within the “Great March of Return” demonstrations in Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on December 07, 2018

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot yesterday urged caution over threats made by Palestinian factions who called for action after occupation forces shot dead four peaceful protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday.

Israeli news website Ynet News reported Eisenkot saying that the Israeli occupation had a range of options for dealing with Gaza, including carrying out a wide-scale military operation, but insisted that that should be made based on “informed decisions” rather than emotions.

“The question is whether to launch a major military operation, or choose a different option,” he said, according to the Israeli news site.

READ: The road to the liberation of Palestine 

“For now, we have decided to go with a different option that would bring us the best results. We are not afraid to use force but it has to be done intelligently,” he said.

Israeli occupation snipers killed four peaceful Palestinian protesters during the protests of the “Great March of Return” on Friday.

The Palestinian factions warned action would be taken in retaliation for these killings.

“If the Israeli occupation repeated the killing on the next Friday, we will not remain silent,” the factions said in a statement signed by the Joint Room for Military Wings of the Palestinian factions.

(Source / 24.12.2018)

After 18 years in Israel jail, Palestinian man gives wife present he bought her

After 18 years, Imad Al-Din Al-Saftawi has finally been able to give his wife a mobile phone, the present he bought for her before he was in prison

After 18 years, Imad Al-Din Al-Saftawi has finally been able to give his wife a mobile phone, the present he bought for her before he was in prison

Eighteen years after he was detained while on his way back to Gaza through the Rafah crossing, Imad Al-Din Al-Saftawi has finally given his wife a present he bought her from a trip to Dubai.

Imad was detained on his way home from the Emirates in 2000 when he was detained by Israeli occupation forces. He kept the gift he bought his wife, a state of the art Nokia mobile phone, with him throughout his time in jail in the hopes of giving it to her.

After his release on 12 December he was handed back his possessions, including the phone.

His teenage daughter tweeted about her father giving her mother the gift and the story has since gone viral on social media.

READ: Israel army arrests minor near Ramallah

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Capsules of faith: Good manners in Islam

By A.Z.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “I was sent to complete the good manners.”

There are important points that we can draw from such a small Hadith. Good manners are essential in this world and the hereafter. We need to work hard to change ourselves and personify the good manners of Islam.

But why are good manners of such prominence in Islam?

The Prophet could have said that he was sent to teach us to worship Allah. He could have said he was sent to teach us to work for progress and humanity. He could have said he was sent to start a revival and enlightenment. He could have said that he was sent to teach us that our mission is to work for the development and the progress of this world.

He said that he was sent to complete good manners, because good manners are a prerequisite for success, revival, enlightenment, progress, social cohesion, tolerance, peace, justice, development, successful nation building etc. Good manners are even necessary for worship, as we will discuss later. This is because you cannot achieve progress, justice, enlightenment and all the aforementioned values without a foundation of good manners, ethics and morality.

Muslims should use the best of manners in their everyday activities with Muslims and non Muslims, at work, at school, in public places, in fact everywhere.

If our morals are right, everything else will follow. If we want to reform the world we cannot start without ethics and morality. The first step in implementing reform is strengthening our own values of morality, solidarity and humanity.

Quran (3:159) “It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them, had you been harsh and hardhearted, surely they would have dispersed from around you. Therefore, excuse them; Plead for forgiveness for them and consult them in the affairs.”

The Quran confirms that the Prophet PBUH was gentle and considerate. His good manners, high standards of ethics and morality are what drew people towards him and Islam.

Did Islam spread by the sword?

There were no Muslim armies that marched from Arabia to Indonesia, which is now the largest Muslim country in the world population wise, it was only the good manners of the Muslim merchants which impressed Indonesians and drove them to appreciating Islam. It was all because of the honesty, integrity and professionalism of these Muslim traders.

If you are unscrupulous, you really need to reconsider your position. You need to be a role model for others through your behaviour, your credibility, your excellence and your professionalism. It was the good manners of those Muslim merchants that opened the hearts and minds of Indonesians to Islam.

You can do dawah all day long, but people are not going to believe you unless your manners, attitude and morality are up to scratch. You have to be actively contributing to society in every possible way in order to gain the respect of Muslims and non Muslims.

The Prophet encouraged entrepreneurship, hard work and innovation. At home the Prophet used to do chores and help his family. Helping your mother or your wife at home will make you more of a man. These are the manners of Islam.

If Muslims fully embrace the values of Islam, e.g. excellence in science and knowledge, excellence in all fields of work, excellence in voluntary and charity work, excellence in personal and family relations, non Muslims will be able to appreciate Islam more and consequently Islamophobia will recede.

Muslims have to contribute more and excel in every field

You cannot expect people to respect you unless you earn this respect. If you are willingly unemployed or mediocre in your work (or in any field of your life), you have to know that you are not a doing what you should do as a good Muslim. The Prophet said: A believer is like rain, wherever he goes he brings goodness and benefits (to Muslims and non Muslims).

On the authority of Anas, may God be pleased with him, who narrated that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “None of you (truly) has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

Do you apply this hadith in your relationships with others? Do you care about your Muslim and non Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity who suffer from hunger and war in other parts of the world?

Do you apply this hadith when dealing with family members, friends and all those around you?

Good manners lead to justice and justice leads to progress and prosperity

I think that ethics and good manners lead to justice. Justice is essential for progress, prosperity and the development of any society. Thus good manners are part of the infrastructure that leads to a strong economy and an advanced society. No progress can be made without justice, ethics and good manners.

There are Muslims who do their prayers, go to do Hajj and Umrah every year (as if there aren’t millions of people suffering from hunger around the world in dire need of food and medical supplies, who this money would be better spent on), but some of those Muslims mistreat others and defy Islamic ethics and good manners in every possible way.

Acts of worship are meaningless unless you apply good manners to every aspect of your behavior. Salah, fasting and hajj are invalid if good manners are not upheld. The acts of worship are like training for us to strengthen our good manners.

Quran Surah 29:45 says: ‘Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do.’

From this verse it can be seen that if your prayers don’t prevent you from shameful, unjust deeds and bad morals, your prayers are invalid.

Narrated Aisha, Allah have mercy on her: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Indeed, the believer will attain by his good character the rank of one who is steadfast in fasting and praying.”
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 4780]

The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”

Quran 2:197 says: ”For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o ye that are wise.”

Hajj should be like a boot camp, training Muslims to adhere to good manners, especially as Hajj is a stressful experience, where millions of people are cramped in Mecca.

There will be no justice, enlightenment and renaissance without morals. We need to spread good manners if we truly want an Islamic revival. We always like to choose the easy path, we use Islamic language and we fast, pray and go to hajj, but some of us fail miserably in understanding the essence and benefits of these acts of worship. Inner Jihad is our struggle to reach and spread the good manners of Islam. This is a core Islamic value and is essential for the acceptance of our acts of worship.

The Prophet coined it very well when he said: “There is no faith in him who is not trustworthy and there is no religion in him who does not respect his covenant”.

The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be on him and his family, said, “God is gentle and loves gentleness in all things.” And, “Gentleness never enters into anything without embellishing it, and it is never taken out of anything without disgracing it.”

Please take the time to reflect, perhaps you need to change yourself. Maybe it is time that you decide to inspire and empower others to seek good manners, maybe you can start a project or even a Facebook group to promote good manners in Islam, to think, learn and spread the message.

This article is based on Amr Khaled’s lecture

Amr Khaled is an Egyptian televangelist voted one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine in 2007. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East

Alert Status Raised along Gaza Strip

24 Dec 4:40 AM

The Israeli occupation army has raised alert status along Gaza’s border, and enacted additional security measures for fear of any revenge attack from Gaza, Hebrew media sources reported, according to Al Ray.

Walla Israeli info site reported that the security measures came about lest Palestinian resistance factions carry out an attack against Israelis, in revenge of killing four Palestinians, last Friday, along Gaza border.

The site explained that the army put restrictions on settler movement in the streets adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and called for the attention of soldiers, preventing  them from reaching areas adjacent to the border fence with the Gaza Strip.

The site pointed out that it was decided to take these measures in wake of the return of tension and escalation, after a period of relative calm in the security fence area.

According to the site, the tension along the Gaza border fence has  declined in recent weeks, after the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The launching of balloons, firing of explosive devices and grenades were stopped, and there were almost no organized attempts to damage the security fence.

After few weeks of relative calm, skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli forces returned, in which the demonstrations returned to the level of the days leading up to the cease-fire.

Israeli security sources warned, on Sunday, of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements of re-firing rockets towards Israeli settlements.

0404 Israeli site quoted sources as saying that, in case of re-firing rockets towards Israel, the reaction will be very different and difficult.

It added that, no matter what happened this time, the response will not be a tragedy, but a severe blow to Hamas.

The joint operations room of the resistance factions in the Gaza Strip announced, Saturday, that it is on permanent consultation after the death of 4 citizens and wounding dozens last Friday; during their participation in the march of return and breaking the siege.

Since March 30, Palestinians have been taking part in marches near the security fence between the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948, to demand the return of the refugees to their abandoned towns and villages, and to break the siege on Gaza.

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Two Schoolchildren In Betunia

24 Dec 2:36 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, two schoolchildren in Betunia town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Eyewitnesses said several army jeeps invaded the Schools area in Betunia, harassed children in the schools’ area, and searched some of them.

They added that the soldiers abducted two schoolchildren, and moved them to an unknown destination.

Ribhi Doula, the Mayor of Betunia, said the soldiers also invaded the Schools’ area, Sunday, and added that the army frequently invades the town and conducts provocative acts.

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Leftist Factions Unite to Form The Palestinian National Democratic Assembly

24 Dec 5:06 AM

Five leftist Palestinian political factions announced on Sunday the establishment of the Palestinian National Democratic Assembly, consisting of all five factions, in addition to senior social figures.

The assembly is composed of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), and several independent political leaders.

The assembly aims to act as a united front in Palestine, and within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as the sole representative of the Palestinian people in Palestine and everywhere in the world, and is open to participation of other factions and groups that would all act together as part of this united democratic coalition.

The assembly also affirmed its belief in national partnership and unity, and in democratic national elections that represent all Palestinians and all parties, and its strong belief in full partnership of all stakeholders in making decisions.

It also affirmed its rejection of the so-called “Deal of the Century” which U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to pass by ignoring and violating the basic Palestinian rights of liberty, independence, sovereignty, and the right to establish a continuous Palestinian State.

The assembly stated that the American positions and decisions violate international law and all related United Nations and Security Council resolutions, and that such hostile policies must be countered not only by words and by media statements, but by real measures that would impact U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the assembly said that the Palestinian people have the right to resist the illegal Israeli occupation, and to continue their popular resistance against it, its illegal colonies, the Annexation Wall, and the policies that target the existence of the Palestinian people in occupied Jerusalem, including the ongoing assaults against Al-Aqsa Mosque and all holy sites in occupied Palestine.

It stressed on the importance of ending the deadly Israeli siege on Gaza, and stopping Israel’s plans to annex the Palestinian lands in the West Bank as part of Israel’s apartheid policies that deny the existence of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, especially after the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) recently passed its racist, colonialist and segregationist “Nationality Law.”

It called on acting to fully end the illegal siege on Gaza, and to start reconstruction and rehabilitation projects, to improve and rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure, including services, sewage systems, electricity, water supplies and to significantly reduce poverty levels.

It also called on implementing all reconciliation agreements between the Palestinian factions, and the immediate formation of a Palestinian national unity government that does not exclude any faction or group, and for electing a new National Council based on the same principles and guidelines.

The assembly also called for the implementation of the decisions made by the National Palestinian Council and the Central Council of the PLO to rescind the recognition of Israel, and to withdraw from all signed agreements, including Oslo agreement, and Paris Protocol, in addition to ending all forms of coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

In addition, the assembly called for the immediate and strict implementation of the Palestinian Law regarding the complete boycott of Israeli colonialist products, and to pass laws that supports Palestinian products by re-evaluating and reducing taxes.

The assembly also completely supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and believes in its importance and the successes it achieved, especially since Israel continues to violate International Law and all related United Nations resolutions.

It also affirmed on supporting the Palestinians in the occupied capital, Jerusalem, facing escalating Israeli violations, and home demolitions, in addition to the apartheid Israeli polices that target their existence, in addition to the ongoing Israeli violations against the holy sites, and the basic rights of the Palestinian people, such as the right to own homes, lands, to receive education.

The assembly also stressed on the importance of defending freedoms, and to firmly counter all violations and abuses targeting the people’s rights, such as the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of the Press, and political arrests.

It affirmed the importance of keeping the Justice System independent, and for reforming the Constitutional Court in order to ensure a fair and democratic rule, and called for ensuring the rights of Palestinian women as equal partners, especially since women in Palestine have been leading various legal, social, cultural and political organizations. Therefore, the statement argued, Palestine must elect more legislators ensuring these rights, especially since Palestine is a signatory to The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Furthermore, the assembly called for supporting the role of Palestinian youths, who are the core of the society and must have unequivocal rights in leadership and decision making, in addition to their important role in the economic, political, social, cultural and athletic sectors of all organizations.

It called for a comprehensive socioeconomic policy that would combat unemployment and poverty, and advocate for complete social justice, including the rights of the working class, the basic right of every Palestinian to live in dignity and security, and to be provided with a comprehensive health insurance and services.

It called for complete tax reform, and for a fair implementation of the tax system that would fairly apply to all sectors of the society, and to distribute the revenues to departments that help the people, such all the health departments, education, agriculture and development.

The assembly also affirmed the unalienable rights of the detainees, and wounded Palestinians who suffered disabilities, and support for Jerusalem and all areas threatened and impacted by Israel’s apartheid policies, especially the Annexation Wall and the colonies.

It called on strongly countering the American and Israeli attempts to void the legitimate cause of the Palestinian refugees, and to pressure the International Community to implement its own obligations towards all signed agreements that ensure the rights of refugees, especially the Right of Return to occupied Palestine after being displaced in 1948 when Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine after various massacres and the destruction of hundreds of villages and towns.

It said that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, which was adopted on December 11, 1948, ensures the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees, and called on supporting UNRWA so that it can continue to provide basic services to the refugees, and ensure their rights to education, employment and services.

The Assembly also called on the PLO to perform its duties in serving the refugees, in various countries, and ensure their participation in the decision making process, and stressed on the importance of rebuilding the war-torn and destroyed refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, such as al-Yarmouk, Nahr al-Bared, Handarat, and Dar’a.

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Two Children Near Hebron, Young Man in Qalqilia

24 Dec 4:02 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, two Palestinian children from the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, in addition to a young man in Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers violently searched and ransacked many homes, and interrogated the residents, while inspecting their ID cards.

They added that the soldiers abducted Adam Ibrahim Mahfouth, 15, and Mohammad Nasser Mahfouth, 14, and took them to a nearby military base.

The soldiers also closed the main entrance of Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie, al-Arroub branch, preventing the students from entering it to take their final exams.

In Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, the soldiers invaded and searched several homes, including the homes of two former political prisoners, identified as Abdul-Nasser ar-Rabie and Sameh Affana, before abducting the latter.

In addition, the soldiers assaulted and abducted a Palestinian employee of the Waqf and Islamic Endowment Department in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, and took them to an unknown destination.

Also on Monday, a young Palestinian man, and a child, from Hizma and al-Ram town, in occupied East Jerusalem.

In related news, the soldiers abducted two schoolchildren in Betunia town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

(Source / 24.12.2018)

Israeli Forces Injure Dozens of Palestinians at Gaza Protest

24 Dec 7:27 PM

Israeli forces attacked, Monday,  the Naval March protest taking place along the northern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. The peaceful protests, taking place for 21 weeks, with the intent of ending the 11 year Israeli/Egyptian blockade on Gaza.

Israeli forces injured at least 27 Palestinian protesters, Maan News Agency reported, 14 of whom were hit with live ammunition, while several others suffered the smothering effects of tear-gas inhalation, medical sources stated.

In the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli Navy ships, also shot live fire, tear-gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets, at the Palestinian boats, taking part in the peaceful demonstration.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, via land, water, and sea, all prior attempts to lift the blockade, have been unsuccessful.

The movement of nearly 2 million inhabitants of Gaza is severely restricted as a result of what Israel claims is security reasons.

(Source / 24.12.2018)