Israel completes construction of marine fence near Gaza

Dozens of Israelis hold a solidarity protest with Gaza demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza fence [Twitter]

Dozens of Israelis hold a solidarity protest with Gaza demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza fence

The Israeli army has completed the construction of a marine fence located along the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 10 reported yesterday.

The 200 metre long wall is six metres tall and took seven months to build, the channel added.

It added that it contained “sophisticated technological systems,” noting that it was designed to “prevent infiltration from the Mediterranean Sea as well as revealing underground tunnels.”

READ: On Human Rights Day 2018, the embodiment of Palestinian rights is as remote as ever 

Sensors, the channel added, were placed on the fence to detect tunnels and sea infiltrators.

Gazans have been living under a stifling Israeli blockade for more than a decade, leaving its inhabitants unable to travel or have access to necessary building materials in order to rebuild homes which were destroyed by Israel’s three wars in that time.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

Israel arrested 175 Palestinian women, girls in 2018

Israeli soldiers arrest a woman protester during a demonstration by Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists against Israel's controversial separation barrier which crosses the Palestinian territories in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, near the biblical town of Bethlehem, on 27 June 2010 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

Israeli soldiers arrest a woman protester during a demonstration by Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists against Israel’s controversial separation barrier which crosses the Palestinian territories in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, near the biblical town of Bethlehem, on 27 June 2010

Israeli occupation forces arrested 175 Palestinian women and girls in 2018 and summoned hundreds in for interrogation, the Palestine Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said yesterday.

In a statement reported by the Safa News Agency, the Director of the centre Riyadh Al-Ashqar said that the Israeli occupation escalated its aggression on Palestinian women and girls this year in order to punish them for their participation in anti-occupation activities.

He also said that the Israeli occupation arrested female relatives of male prisoners, describing this as a “form of illegal punishment”.

READ: 19 Palestinian journalists are still imprisoned by Israel

Al-Ashqar documented the detention of 15 females who’s male relatives are being held in Israeli detention including Bayan Faroun. The twenty-four-year-old was handed a 40 months prison term. She is the fiancé of Ahmed Azzam who was sentenced to six-years in jail.

Female prisoners face harsh conditions in jail, Al-Ashqar said, including violation of their rights, humiliation and a lack of access to health care.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

PA arrests 28 Hamas members in West Bank

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017_12-14-Hamas-hold-a-rally-in-the-besieged-Gaza-Strip3.jpg

Thousands of Palestinians attend a rally in the besieged Gaza Strip to mark 30 years since Hamas was formed and in support of Jerusalem on 14 December 2017

Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces have arrested 28 Palestinians, most Hamas members, in different areas across the occupied West Bank, the Committee of Prisoners’ Families said in a statement yesterday.

Palestinian MP Fathi Al-Qar’awi said that the detention campaign carried out by the PA “destroys civil security in the occupied West Bank.”

In a press release, Al-Qar’awi said: “Some of the Palestinian families pay the price of the occupation two-times as their sons are arrested by the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority.”

READ: Hamas is trying to overcome obstacles to return to Syria

He said that the PA detention of Palestinians and Hamas activists has not stopped, but this “has recently escalated quickly”.

The senior Hamas leader expressed his fears that such PA policy might be a reason for a state of tension and instability in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Qar’awi called for “an immediate end” to the political detention and appealed for all the political factions to interfere and stop the PA aggression against Palestinians.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

BLAMING THE VICTIM: LIBERAL ZIONIST JOURNALISM AND ISRAELI OCCUPATION VIOLENCE AGAINST PALESTINIANS

The ‘Western’ media has a hallowed, Liberal Zionist tradition of excusing Israel’s violence against Palestinians by claiming that the occupier, which has kept up a brutal military occupation for 51 years, is only ‘reacting’ to supposed violence by the Palestinians.

For the ‘Western’ media to be ready to acknowledge Israeli violence and to mildly criticize it, the ultimate blame must be projected onto its victims. All Israeli violence against Palestinians must be traced to violence by Palestinians – and the violence by the occupied against the occupation and its representatives must be portrayed as the fount of all violence; it can’t be portrayed as a response or revenge.

The guilt for political violence in ‘Western’ journalism must ultimate lay with those who experience most of it; if the slave wouldn’t rebel and try to harm the kindly slave master, but would be a happy and obedient slave living in a bantustan, the colonist occupier wouldn’t attack them. This is the fable Liberal Zionist press offers to their audiences.

This is how The Guardian, representative of that liberal ‘far middle’ in the British press which, operating in that Liberal Zionist tradition, excuses greatly increased violence against Palestinians by illegal Israeli settlers, claiming that illegal Israeli settler attacks would come in the aftermath of Palestinian attacks against ‘Israelis’.

The killing of Aisha al-Rabi(47), a mother of eight children, by illegal Israeli settler stone-throwers on Friday October 12th is portrayed as ‘a revenge attack’ by The Guardian’s Oliver Holmes in his article “‘It was terror’: Palestinians decry rise in attacks by Israeli settlers” on December 30th.

The killing of two illegal Israeli settlers’ in an illegal colony on October October 7th is used by Holmes as a starting point, the cause for a spiral of violence, because in Liberal Zionist narrative Israel and its illegal settlers can’t be the ultimate cause of violence. Even when for each killed illegal Israeli settler and occupation soldier Israel has killed this year 22 Palestinians.

In this The Guardian tries to put the old ‘Israel is just defending itself’ cliché in use for the defence of the illegal Israeli settlers’ violence and their murder of a woman before the eyes of her young daughter. These armed extremists kill and wound people, destroy property and steal land and homes, poison and shoot domestic animals but to Liberal Zionists in the corridors of journalism the guilt must lie with the victims: If only they wouldn’t oppose the occupation, then the good, cuddly colonizers wouldn’t have to stone their cars, burn their houses, uproot their orchards and poison their wells from the safety of armed Israeli occupation forces’ escort.

The comparison to slavery above is not made flippantly, as the Palestinians live in a state of oppression from generation to generation which is slavery in all but name: Unfree people used as a cheap labour pool and killed whenever the enslaver wishes. The way this state of enslavement is represented by media has very old roots, just the garb the excuses wear have been modernized.

The white-washing and ‘justifying’ of violence by oppressors and the expectation, spelled out directly or not, that oppressors are ‘defending themselves’ and a justified order and society – in this case Apartheid Israel and its colonial empire over East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank (and the Golan Heights) – is as old as the liberal press. To Edmund Burke(1729-1797) slave-owners were the greatest lovers of freedom, and by oppressing the slaves they were fighting for liberty. This language that turns concepts upside down and whch we would connect with works of modern authors like George Orwell(1903-1950) is much older and runs in the figurative veins of the  ‘Western’ press.

Because of this, the capability of illegal Israeli settlers to instigate violence is passed quickly, when it is a very deliberate tactic to make lives unbearable and force Palestinians leave their occupied land – which Holmes is forced to admit. Spiral of violence is not followed to its real traceable beginning, but cut whenever it fits the Liberal Zionist narrative of an armed colonizer in an illegal colony outpost as the victim who reacts to the threat made manifest by the blood shed by the Caliban-like violent native.

The truth can’t be faced by Liberal Zionist press where Israel holds, in the words of US journalist Thomas Friedman, ‘the moral high ground’ no matter what it does. When the moral high ground is clearly nowhere to be seen, it is the job of the Liberal Zionist journalist and publisher to built one, no matter the facts. (Conservative press, catering to its own audience, is more open in its celebration of Israeli war crimes and dismissive of any rights Palestinians could have to life, land or property. ‘Might is right’, and the moral high ground can be left unbuilt.)

Truth is replaced by a lie that is fed to the audience to give them a distorted view so that they wouldn’t turn against the occupier and support effective action for peace. To make sure of this, a feeling of apathy and impotence is used by the Liberal Zionist press to sing consciences to sleep, in the style of ‘the poor will always be with us’, in this case presenting the Israeli occupation and its crimes something beyond mere human capability to affect.

This tactic, so often used by The Guardian as we have previously noted in the work of their staff members like Jonathan Freedland, is for those who don’t buy the excuses and tends to come at the end of articles, where it can be read as ‘So you feel bad, but guess what? Neither you nor anyone else can do anything about it, this is just how it is.’ Holmes, as expected from a journalist of The Guardian, uses this tactic.

So the occupation goes on, with the help of the ‘Western’ media and Palestinian blood keeps flowing while illegal Israeli settler attacks and theft of Palestinian land and property increase – just because for ideological reasons blame can’t be truly put to where it belongs, the Israeli regime and its representatives which have kept up brutal occupation and committed ethnic cleansing and illegal colonization since 1948.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

After enlisting Palestinian sites endangered by Israeli occupation, US and Israel formally quit UNESCO

Allies have quit UNESCO after announcement in 2017, arguing it fosters anti-Israel bias

The United States and Israel have officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day.

The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the US after World War II to foster peace.

The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit, accusing the UN agency of anti-Israel bias.

The Paris-based organisation has previously criticised Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and granted full membership to Palestine in 2011.

The US has demanded “fundamental reform” in the agency.

UNESCO is best known for its work to preserve heritage, including maintaining a list of World Heritage sites, and programmes to promote education in developing countries.

The withdrawals will not greatly affect UNESCO financially, since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011 when both Israel and the US stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state.

Since then officials estimate that the US – which accounted for around 22 per cent of the total budget – has accrued $600m in unpaid dues, which was one of the reasons for President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw. Israel owes an estimated $10m.

Officials say that many of the reasons the US cited for the withdrawal do not apply any more, noting that since then, all 12 texts on the Middle East passed at UNESCO have been consensual among Israel and Arab member states.

The State Department couldn’t comment because of the US government shutdown.

Earlier, the department told UNESCO officials the US intends to stay engaged at UNESCO as a non-member “observer state” on “non-politicised” issues, including the protection of World Heritage sites, advocating for press freedom and promoting scientific collaboration and education.

The US could potentially seek that status during the UNESCO Executive Board meetings in April.

The US has pulled out of UNESCO before. The Reagan administration did so in 1984 because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The US rejoined in 2003.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

DCIP: 2018 Reigned Deadly Force On Palestinian Children

02 Jan 6:47 AM

Palestinian children stand near the ruins of the building where Al Aqsa channel was located and which was targeted the night before by an Israeli airstrike, Gaza City, November 13, 2018

Israeli forces continued to kill Palestinian children at an average pace exceeding one child per week in 2018. At the bitter close of 52 weeks, 56 Palestinian children were dead due to Israeli forces’ actions.

12/31/18 Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP)

Part 1: More than one child killed per week

Ramallah, December 31, 2018—The year 2018 was one of deep valleys and few peaks for Palestinian children. Within three days of of ringing in the new year, Israeli forces shot 16-year-old Palestinian Musab Tamimi in the neck during Ramallah-area clashes, killing him, in a violent start to the year.

Israeli forces continued to kill Palestinian children at an average pace exceeding one child per week in 2018. At the bitter close of 52 weeks, 56 Palestinian children were dead due to Israeli forces’ actions. One child who reportedly carried out a fatal attack in a settlement was also killed by an Israeli settler.

The two most recent child fatalities took place between December 20 and 21. Israeli forces shot and killed Mohammad Muin Khalil Jahjouh, 16, during “Great March of Return” protests near the perimeter fence east of Gaza City on December 21 around 4 pm. Mohammad sustained a gunshot wound to the neck and died shortly after in Shifa hospital, Gaza City.

Mohammad Jahjouh, 16, from Shati refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip died on December 21 after being shot by an Israeli soldier. (Photo: Courtesy of Jahjouh family)

“I heard the scream of someone who was about five meters [16 feet] behind me. I turned my back to see what was happening, when I saw a 16-year-old boy lying on the ground with blood running from his neck to his chest,” a journalist who was photographing the protest told Defense for Children International – Palestine.

The witness said that Mohammad was standing approximately 150 meters (492 feet) away from the perimeter fence, and some 80 meters (262 feet) away from a group of protestors who were throwing stones at Israeli soldiers stationed on the other side of the perimeter fence when he was shot.

Around 9 p.m. on December 20, Israeli forces fired at a car traveling on a road near Beit El settlement, located near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the central West Bank. A live bullet entered the car, striking Qassim Mohammed Ali al-Abbasi, 17, in the back and killing him, based on DCIP’s initial investigation.

An eyewitness told DCIP that Qassim and some friends were travelling from his residence in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan to Nablus when their vehicle came under heavy shooting. When an Israeli military jeep pulled them over, the witness realized that Qassim was unconscious. Paramedics who arrived on the scene found no pulse and declared the child dead.

Also among this year’s child fatalities was Gaza City resident Mohammad Naser Ziad al-Reefi, 13, who suffered a spinal cord injury from an Israeli drone-fired missile strike in 2014. The same strike also killed his twin brother and four other family members. Mohammad succumbed to his wounds November 3, in a central Gaza Strip hospital.

Bringing the total number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers in 2018 up to 57 was 17-year-old Mohammad Tarek Ibrahim Dar Yousef. An Israeli settler killed Mohammad after the boy reportedly carried out a fatal stabbing attack in the illegal Israeli settlement of Geva Binyamin in the central West Bank on July 26, 2018.

The vast majority of the fatalities, 86 percent, took place in the Gaza Strip. Of these, 46 children were killed by Israeli forces since March 30, often in the context of the “Great March of Return” protests and related activities. This number includes four-year-old Ahmad Yasser Sabri Abu Abed who was struck by bullet fragments on December 7 while in his father’s arms, dying four days later.

Live ammunition accounted for 73 percent of the total child fatalities. In a number of cases, DCIP found no evidence that children presented a direct, mortal threat at the time that Israeli forces employed lethal force against them.

In one such instance, on April 20, an Israeli sniper stationed on sand hill on other side of separation fence shot Mohammad Ibrahim Ayoub, 14, in the head while he was between 70-200 meters (230-656 feet) from the fence. A witness told DCIP that Mohammad was attempting to run away from tear gas at the time he was shot.

Israeli forces shot 16-year-old Ahmad Misbah Abu Tyour in the foot on September 7 in Rafah and he succumbed to his wounds the following day. Video footage of the incident suggests he posed no threat when he was targeted with intentional lethal force.

Under international law, lethal force may only be used as a last resort in circumstances where an individual poses an immediate threat to life or threat of serious injury. Despite this, accountability is extremely rare in cases where Israeli forces are accused of committing crimes against Palestinian children.

Crowd control weapons proved lethal for four children who died after being struck by tear gas canisters or rubber-coated metal bullets. Crowd control weapons can carry deadly force when they strike children, particularly at close range or on the upper body.

In addition to fatalities, DCIP documented a spike in the number of severe injuries to children across the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). In 2018, DCIP documented at least 183 child injuries at the hands of Israeli forces, with 130 of these taking place in the Gaza Strip. Of critical concern are 19 children who suffered permanent disability as a result of injuries.

Israeli forces take position during a demonstration near the perimeter fence between Israel and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 9, 2018. (Photo: AFP / Said Khatib)

Part 2: The “Great March of Return”

The “Great March of Return” demonstrations began on March 30, 2018 in protest of Palestinian refugees’ inability to return to properties lost during events surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Approximately 70 percent of the Gaza Strip’s current 2 million residents are registered refugees of Palestine, according to UNRWA.

In addition to the right of return, demonstrators are calling for an end to Israel’s air, land and sea blockade against the Gaza Strip, now in its 11th year. The blockade cuts the Gaza Strip off from the rest of the OPT and is one of the principal causes of the current dire humanitarian crisis.

These mass protests, which have taken place weekly in the area along the Israeli-installed perimeter fence or near the Mediterranean shore, have drawn large and diverse crowds, including women, children, and elderly people.

Protestors’ activities have involved erecting supporter tent encampments, peaceful gatherings or marches to the perimeter fence or shore, displaying signs and Palestinian flags, burning tires, efforts to pass through the perimeter fence on foot or the Israeli-enforced “no go zones” at sea on fishing boats, launching incendiary balloons across the perimeter fence, and throwing stones, molotov cocktails, firebombs or other objects toward the perimeter fence.

Palestinian protesters evacuate an injured boy suffocating from tear gas , east of Gaza City, Gaza Strip, November 2, 2018. (Photo: ActiveStills / Mohammed Zaanoun)
Palestinian youths and protesters sit together around a fire as they seek shelter from the rain, during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams)
Palestinian protesters gather together under a plastic rain-cover during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams)

(Top): Palestinian protesters evacuate an injured boy suffocating from tear gas , east of Gaza City, Gaza Strip, November 2, 2018 (Bottom Left): Palestinian youths and protesters sit together around a fire as they seek shelter from the rain, during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018  (Bottom Right): Palestinian protesters gather together under a plastic rain-cover during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams)

Some civilians have developed other protest strategies such as the “night confusion unit” whose goal is to create distractions for Israeli forces late at night with loud sounds and fireworks. Another group has self-organized to construct large kites with flaming tales to be flown across the perimeter fence in order to start fires in Israeli agricultural fields and forests.

Based on DCIP’s research and as confirmed by other human rights groups, the protests are organized independently by civilians, and not by directives of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip.

Protests continued after the opening of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018, a move that was widely censured by global leaders.

Each week, the protests have been met by a harsh Israeli response marked by an excessive use of force against unarmed civilians of all ages. In addition to tear gas and other crowd control weapons, Israeli forces stationed in armored vehicles on the Israeli side of the perimeter fence have frequently employing live ammunition against protestors.

“The large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force by Israeli troops,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated.

Part 3: Risks to children from Palestinian armed groups

Two children died between April and July during explosions related to activities of Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

Odai Ahmad Mansour Abu Hassan, 11, died when an improvised device exploded on his roof in Gaza City on July 15. The child’s father was a field commander in the Nabil Massoud Brigades of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of the Fatah movement, in charge of a rocket unit in the Gaza Strip, the family told DCIP. Evidence collected by DCIP suggested the explosion was accidental.

Hashem Abdulfattah Othman Kallab, 17, was traveling in a rickshaw in the southern Gaza Strip on April 11 with three others when an accidental explosion ignited, killing them all. Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, identified Hashem among a group of members killed.

Amid heightened allegations of child recruitment in the Gaza Strip, DCIP investigated five additional instances of potential child recruitment among children killed by Israeli forces in the context of ‘March of Return’ protests. For each of these five cases, DCIP concluded that the children were protesting as civilians at the time they were killed.

In situations of armed conflict, both international humanitarian law and international human rights law apply. While international humanitarian law regulates the means and methods of warfare during hostilities, demonstrations involving civilians are not considered active hostilities and international human rights law demands that lethal force only be used against a specific threat to life, as a measure of last resort.

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian girl during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops in Ramallah, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the occupied West Bank on December 13, 2018. (Photo: AFP / Abbas Momani)

Part 4: Palestinian children detained by Palestinian forces

Between January and November of this year, DCIP documented 140 cases of Palestinian children who were detained by Palestinian forces. A high number of the arrests DCIP documented, 31, were detained using improper procedures and by bodies not authorized to carry out arrests. Of these, 18 were carried out by the Criminal Investigation police.

Under the 2016 Palestinian juvenile protection law, the juvenile prosecutor is the only party authorized to order a child’s detention, per Article 20. Once an arrest is so ordered, the Palestinian juvenile police force is the singular body legally sanctioned to carry out the arrest.

Based on Article 18 of the juvenile protection law, if a child is arrested by any party other than the Palestinian juvenile police while actively committing a crime, the child must immediately be turned over to the juvenile police and brought before the juvenile prosecutor within 24 hours.

Arrests carried out by other bodies in the absence of an active crime — or cases where the child is arrested by other bodies while in the process of committing an offense and the child is not quickly handed over to the juvenile police — deny children access to due process and other safeguards afforded to them by the new law.

Gravely, 35 children reported physical abuse during the course of their detention. In 31 cases, children said they were detained or transferred with adults.

The family of Shadi Farrah, 15, greets him on November 29, 2018 as he arrives in Ramallah city after serving almost three years in an Israeli prison. (Photo: ActiveStills / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Part 5: Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military

In 2018, DCIP documented 120 Palestinian child detention cases from the West Bank. More than half of the children arrested by Israeli forces whose cases DCIP documented reported experiencing verbal abuse, threats, humiliation or intimidation. The vast majority, over 75 percent, said they were physically abused during the course of their detention.

While under pre-trial detention, Israeli forces placed 22 children in isolation for a period of 48 hours or more. The longest period of isolation that DCIP documented in 2018 was 30 days.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an approximately 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. Children within the Israeli military system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

Capsules of Faith: Work hard for Allah and take the Initiative

Capsules of Faith

By A.Z.,

You can work for Allah in different ways: through your career, your voluntary work, your activism in defence of justice and humanity.

The follower, Oqba Ibn Nafea worked for Allah for 43 years. He established the city of Qirawan and was one of the pioneers who introduced Islam to North Africa.

Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) forgave his enemies

Oqba Ibn Nafea’s father was a staunch enemy of Islam and Muslims but the Prophet forgave him. The mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) even extended to those who brutally killed and then mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah.

Quran 41:34 “Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.”

The Prophet’s act of forgiveness touched Oqba’s father’s heart so deeply, that he dedicated his son Oqba to Allah. He sent his son to be raised by an important companion of the Prophet PBUH. An important lesson to be learnt here is that if you committed a sin, don’t despair. Instead, do good deeds that outweigh your sin and ask for forgiveness.

The Messenger of Allah PBUH said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be, trail a bad deed with a good deed and it will wipe it out, and treat the people with good character.” [at-Tirmidhi stated as Hadith Hasan]

Excellence and hard work are important Islamic values

Oqba Ibn Nafea worked for the cause of Allah throughout his life. He discovered his talents and utilized them in service of his cause. He became an expert on North Africa. His father put him on the right path. We should find ways of putting children and youngsters in our circle of influence on the right path, through excellent education and by being good role models.

Are you going to inspire your children and those in your circle of influence to dedicate their lives and work for justice, humanity and Islam? Are you doing all you can do to change the world by being the best influence possible on those around you? Are you inspiring and motivating others? Are you praising and appreciating those who are trying to leave a positive impact, no matter how small? Women have a special place in Islam. Are you acknowledging, praising and motivating the wonderful women in your life and making them feel appreciated?

It may be that the early trials are not always very fruitful, but without the early trials we wouldn’t have great achievements. Pioneers are always appreciated because they lay down the foundations of what will later become great successes.

Take the initiative, be creative and take calculated risks!

Are you a pioneer? Do you always take the initiative? Or are you passive and just follow the crowd? Taking risks if necessary is something commendable, but taking unnecessary risks and making impulsive decisions are attributes that can be counterproductive.

Pioneers are not afraid of failure. They understand that failure is part of the process. They understand that learning from failure is an essential part of building success.

Thomas Alva Edison said:“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Don’t be afraid to try and don’t give up easily.

Change direction or change career if necessary

If you came to the realization that you are leading your life on the wrong path, you can stop and change your path. It might mean making sacrifices, but you have to be strong enough to lead your life, not let your life lead you.

Islam is not just rituals, it is a way of life.

Are you truly ready to join the path of Allah? Some people think that praying, fasting, paying zakat, wearing the hijab, hajjare enough. Rituals of worship are not everything in Islam. Islam is much deeper. What have you done for humanity? What have you done for science and knowledge? What kind of activism have you participated in? What injustice have you opposed or prevented? What have you done to raise awareness about the plight of innocents around the world? What voluntary work have you done? What have you done for your community or for your neighbourhood?

Your role is bigger than just looking after your family

Your role in Islam extends far beyond your duty towards your family and friends. You have a responsibility towards the progress and advancement of humanity. You have a duty to stand up for justice against Muslim and non Muslim oppressors. You have a duty to spread goodness and solidarity to all people of conscience, whether Muslim or non Muslim. You have a duty to enjoin good and oppose evil in every field of life.

You may really want to work for Allah, supporting justice and humanity, but don’t know how to. You have to take the initiative and discover your talents and find the appropriate channels that will help you work in the most effective way for the cause. Just don’t sit and wait and be a bystander. Get involved!

Quran 6:160: “Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged”.

Quran 13:22: “And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good – those will have the good consequence of [this] home”

This article is adapted from Dr. Amr Khaled’s lecture. Dr. Amr Khaled is an Egyptian televangelist. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East.

Israeli Soldiers Demolish A Palestinian Home In Jerusalem

02 Jan 8:43 AM

Israeli soldiers demolished, on Wednesday morning, a Palestinian home near Qalandia, north of occupied East Jerusalem.

Media sources said dozens of soldiers invaded the area between the industrial zone of the illegal Atarot Israeli colony, which was built on Palestinian lands in Qalandia and Bir Nibala, north of the city, and completely isolated it.

They added that the soldiers then proceeded to demolish a home, owned by members of al-Moghrabi family, under the pretext of being built without a permit.

While Israel continues to build and expand its illegal colonies in occupied Palestine, in direct violation of International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and various international resolutions, the Palestinians in and around east Jerusalem, and the rest of Area C (%61 the occupied West Bank), continue to be largely denied construction permits, in addition to the excessively high costs of the applications.

In some cases, Palestinian families had to demolish their own homes in order to avoid further excessively high fees and fines that they incur when Israel demolishes their homes and bills them for the expenses.

(Source / 02.01.2019)

Soldiers Injure Two Palestinians, One Seriously, Abduct Four, In Kufur Qaddoum

02 Jan 8:20 AM

Israeli soldiers injured, Tuesday, two young Palestinian men with live rounds, including one who suffered a serious injury, and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to abducting four, in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said at least sixty Israeli soldiers invaded the town, and attacked dozens of Palestinians who were nonviolently marching, commemorating the 54th anniversary of the establishment of Fateh movement.

He added that the soldiers used live fire, gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, while many youngsters responded by throwing rocks and empty bottles at them.

Eshteiwi added that the soldiers shot Mohammad Adel Eshteiwi, with a live round in his back, and added that the bullet was lodged in his lung, before he was rushed to a local hospital, suffering very serious wounds.

Another Palestinian, identified as Yazan Montaser Barham, 19, was injured by bullet fragments in his back, and was also rushed to a hospital.

The soldiers detained a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance and tried to prevent the medics from providing aid to the wounded Palestinians, by threatening to shoot them.

During the invasion, the soldiers abducted Fadel Mohammad Eshteiwi, 19, his brother ‘Ala, 26, in addition to Sabri Ata Eshteiwi, 28, and Tareq Nabil Ali, 16.

(Source / 02.01.2018)

In Gaza refugee camp, you would need a wizard’s wand to have a New Year’s celebration

Child in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018   

“I have not worn lipstick  since my wedding ten years ago. So feeling happy in a Gaza refugee camp, you need a wizard’s wand to change this misery. What new year are you talking about bro?” said Samar Al-Atrash, 33, a mother of seven children living in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Khan Younis, on December 31, 2018.

As she moves through a 130-square-foot space in a dark tent, among dozens of ragged clothes and dented cooking pots, Samar does not even have the capability to celebrate the new year. She and her husband Esmaeel, 33, moved to the camp after they lost their house in the 2014 war on Gaza.

Samar feels “little happiness.” She does not have a dressing table mirror to reflect her exhausted face and she is still unaware of President Trump’s last August announcement that his administration would no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

I asked Samar how her family and she might celebrate the new year. “Once I might be able to save some flour and vegetable oil from UNRWA aids to bake a pound cake, then I would invite the neighbors,” she replied as she cooked sorrel outside the tent.

And speaking of the UNRWA cut, she says: “If that really happens, it means real death.”

The 69-year-old agency provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of people who were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.

A few yards behind Samar’s tent, Nesreen Zourob, 28, was preparing spaghetti for her six children. Her husband Mahroos is stuck in Morocco. He sold his donkey cart for 1200 US dollars, but his money ran out before he could complete his plan to immigrate to Belgium, according to his wife.

Both Nesreen and Samar’s families are originally from the village of al-Muharraqa, five kilometers east of the fence that separates Gaza and Israel.

Nesreen moved to the camp in 2008 when she lost the ability to pay rent on an apartment in the adjacent city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

“2017, 2018 or even tomorrow [2019] are just days eating more health from us,” she says. “Getting out of this damned camp or reuniting with Mahroos, then I can say we can celebrate. But it seems one day I might hear he drowned in the sea dreaming of a good life in Europe instead being a refugee forever.”

Gaza has always been poor, though conditions for the 2 million people who live in the crowded seaside territory have worsened as the numbers of unemployed laborers there reached 250,000 and poverty has reached 60 per cent of the population, according to local reports.

As for the upcoming general election in Israel in April, Nesreen says that it is merely “counting more wars and death to Gaza”. Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Liberman, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, and Ariel Sharon are all “dumps from the same mentality,” she says. “No one will give us roses, they just compete to kill.”

While Abdulazeez Abu Sitta, 29, unemployed, felt compelled to spend the new year with his friends in the camp. He said he has no coins for a taxi fare to join the celebrations of the 54th anniversary of the founding of Fatah in conjunction with the new year, when a torch was to be ignited in the center of Gaza city.

Abdulazeez think the entire world is moving towards war. “I think we will miss the stable situations after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem. That was just what Israel needs to get the green light, to eliminate the Palestinian issue,” he said.

Jehad Abu Muhsen, a 49-year-old mother of two, had just ended her daily routine by carrying crushed stones on a horse-drawn cart to a nearby stone crushing workshop, for $1.50 US for each load.

“There is no beautiful or happy years here in the camp nor the whole Gaza,” Abu Muhsen told Mondoweiss. “This man [Trump] is going to spoil the world, while the biggest losers are us the Palestinians.”

The Abu Muhsen family once owned a palace in Jaffa, with 40 dunums of lemon and orange orchards.

“Today I have a 140-square-foot space tent surrounded by high walls of waste and car wrecks,” she said. “Don’t forget to visit us in 2020, son, you might find us vanished. Or at least bring some flour for pound cake for the next new year.”

(Source / 02.01.2018)