Israel court bans Sheikh Salah’s wife from staying with him while under house arrest

Israeli District Court in Haifa yesterday ruled that Sheikh Raed Salah’s cannot stay with him while he is held under house arrest, one of his defence team told Arab48.

Lawyer Khalid Zabarqeh said: “The court reject a petition filed by the defence team, claiming that Sheikh Raed Salah poses a danger to society. This is an oppressive ruling and has no legal grounds.”

“We, the defence team, stressed that Sheikh Raed had never violated the conditions of his house arrest as he believes his case represents a victory for the principles which the Israeli authorities want to be crimes,” noting that the main principle is defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The lawyer concluded: “Throughout the court hearings held for Sheikh Raed Salah, it has become clear for us that the Israeli authorities are planning to impose their agenda on our Arab community. It might be there is a connection between this case and the deal of the century.”

Zabarqeh stressed that Sheikh Salah does not believe in the justice of the Israeli judiciary, which is a tool for the Israeli security and political authorities.

Israeli police arrested Sheikh Raed Salah from his home in the northern city of Umm Al-Fahm in mid-August 2017.

He was charged with 12 counts of incitement to violence and terrorism as well as supporting a banned organisation in reference to the Islamic Movement.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

In Gaza: I escape by sleeping

A disappointed Palestinian youth losing hope of life in Gaza [Photos File]

A disappointed Palestinian youth losing hope of life in Gaza

Ali Ahmad had a big dream. But waking up to the harsh reality has made him seek refuge in sleep.

After five and a half years of studying computer engineering, Ahmed graduated full of hope. But the happiness was soon erased as he was shocked by a painful reality. The well-qualified man applied for many jobs, but the result was always negative. He suffers the pain of disappointment. Ali reacted to this anticlimax by disappearing. The young man just gave up and escaped from the dreadful reality to sleep.

Since Ali finished his high school with high grades, his father had worked relentlessly and more to provide him with the necessary needs and university fees.

Ali’s poor family has a limited income. His father receives his salary from the Gaza government— the besieged government by the Israeli occupation for more than 12 years. for the past four years,  he’s been receiving only less than half of his salary because of the difficult economic conditions experienced by Gaza and its government in the past 12 years till this day as a result of the Israeli suffocating siege.

Ali’s father favored his son study over providing for his family. He often deprived his family of a lot of things to pay his son’s university fees and other requirements of studying, as he dreamed of seeing his son a great engineer in the future.

Ali challenged many obstacles which stood in his way to completing his university studies. His family’s destitute life put him in a very hard position where he was unable to buy some of his most basic needs for university or provide transportation money.  The electricity shortages and the way they affected his study schedule and the overall environment shadowed by the siege all stood like pillars in Ali’s way. Despite all that, Ali persevered and continued in the hope of saving his family from the grinding poverty and achieving his father’s dream  

“I haven’t seen Ali for two months, he suddenly disappeared.” A friend of Ali said to his father, “What’s wrong with him?  Is he alright?!”, Ali’s father didn’t answer and remained silent unwilling to tell anyone about his son’s pain.

Ali’s New Life

“After I graduated, I used to develop myself by taking additional courses in Computer Engineering in order to enhance my skills for the labor market”, Ali said. 

Lately, the circumstances in Gaza have become worse than ever. A lot of companies were liquidated and many people lost their jobs due to the accumulation of debt.

Ali realized that he will not work in his major, so he decided to work in another field. He got a driving license and started working as a taxi driver for two months, but he couldn’t continue for long. majority of young people work as taxi drivers and all of them facing the shortage of work.

He kept searching and laboring to find any other job, k until he realized that he would not able to work in a field other than the field he loves and which he had been studying for more than five years.

Ali became frustrated and desperate!

“I was dreaming to be, but I realized that I was born in a country where I can’t survive. I have no choices, but to seek refuge in sleeping,. I will run away to my bed and try to sleep my worries away. .”

“My dream now is to be dead”, Ali said tearfully.

Ali is now 35-year-old, he couldn’t achieve his dreams, has no basic requirements of living, unmarried, disappointed, and carries one wish in his heart to die.


Gaza Unemployment

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of statistics for 2018, the unemployment rate in Gaza Strip is 49,1% Making it the highest in the world. Among young people alone, unemployment exceeds 55%. With no prospects in the horizon, the youth of Gaza are left to suffer psychologically and have lost the sense of direction. Any way they turn, they find the doors of the blockade slammed shut in the faces. Like Ali, thousands have suffered when the dreams they had envisaged were killed.

Israel continues to hold a tight grip on the Gaza Strip to suffocate its people and destroy their hopes of a better future.  The young people are the most traumatized by this ongoing deprivation and suffering. Many have sought ways out of the enclave to search for a better future, while others wait for a political breakthrough that will save them from a slow death.

Despite the circumstances, Palestinians have endured over 70 years of Israeli occupation war crimes and have stood high. They’ve fought with tooth and nail to hold on to their land, to regain their basic human rights in the hope that coming generations would reap the fruit of their long and unwavering struggle.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

Two Palestinian youths injured during Israeli attack on Gaza night protests

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — At least two Palestinian youths were shot and injured on Tuesday evening as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened their machine-gun fire at dozens of protesters along Gaza eastern borders.

Locals told PIC reporter that Israeli forces fired live ammunition and teargas bombs at Palestinians demonstrating peacefully to the east of the Gaza Strip, injuring two of them.

Dozens of young men torched tires, used loudspeakers to play national songs and sirens, and flashed laser beams at soldiers behind the border fences.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

Jerusalemite teacher, Hanadi Halawani, banned access to al-Aqsa for six months

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli authorities banned on Tuesday a Palestinian woman resident of occupied Jerusalem from entering al-Aqsa Mosque for six months.

Hanadi Halawani, a teacher, wrote in a Facebook post that Israeli authorities issued an order banning her access to the holy shrine.

Halawani was arrested on February 20 from her family house before being shortly released.

She was previously banned from entering the Mosque on several occasions, most recently was for six months.

Israeli police summoned Halawani for an interrogation before she was handed the ban order.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

Israeli Minister Storms Al-Aqsa with Accompanying Settlers (VIDEO)

27 Feb 3:24 AM

The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, under protection of armed Israeli forces, on Tuesday.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Ariel was heading a group of Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccan Gate, which has been under Israeli control since the occupation of Jerusalem City.

Al-Dibs pointed out that Ariel took footage of the al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) prayer area that was opened recently.

The prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed on Monday evening, upon order by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened on Tuesday Morning.

Israeli police forces, who were deployed around al-Rahma prayer area since the early morning hours, took footage of Palestinian guards who opened the area.

The number of Israeli MK’s who storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has increased, over the past few months, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift a ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members to visit the compound every three months, after incursions were banned in October of 2015.

Netanyahu allowed members of the Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists, who support the demolition of the Islamic holy site in order to build a Jewish temple, instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa compound once every three months.

After Netanyahu lifted the ban, Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman Youssef al-Mahmoud spoke out about the decision to lift the ban, calling it a “serious provocation” and “encouraging harm to one of Islam’s holiest sites.”

However, in the past two months, MKs such as Shuli Mualem, Yehuda Glick, and Uri Ariel have repeatedly entered the compound, violating the “every three months entry”, according to Ma’an.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government, after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

Israeli Soldiers Shoot Four Palestinians In Gaza

26 Feb 10:23 PM

Israeli soldiers injured, on Tuesday evening, four Palestinians and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, east of Gaza city.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry of Gaza, said the soldiers shot four Palestinians in Malaka area, east of Gaza city, causing moderate wounds, before the medics rushed them to a local hospital.

He added that several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment by field medics.

On Monday evening, the soldiers shot three young Palestinian men with live fire, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, February 22, the soldiers killed a child, identified as Yousef Sa’id ad-Daya, 14, and injured 41 other Palestinians, including a medic, after resorting to the excessive use of force against the Great Return March processions.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

Palestinian Workers Attacked at Jerusalem-Bethlehem Checkpoint

27 Feb 4:06 AM

Israeli forces, this morning, attacked hundreds of Palestinian workers who gathered at the narrow corridor of Checkpoint 300, north of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, that leads to Jerusalem, causing suffocation, said Palestinian security sources.

Soldiers manning the checkpoint fired tear gas canisters towards the workers after they protested their ill-treatment as they try to pass through the checkpoint, on their way to work in Israel, causing dozens to suffocate from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Soldiers closed the checkpoint following the protest, denying workers access to their workplaces.

According to WAFA, thousands of Palestinian workers who queue before dawn every day to pass through Checkpoint 300 face extreme overcrowding and often wait for hours, in line, due to severe inspection procedures as every person must pass through metal turnstiles one-at-a-time.

Workers crowd into the cement and metal-barred walkway, push through turnstiles, pass a metal detector and show their IDs and permits to Israeli soldiers in order to travel to Israel for work.

Israeli severely restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement through a complex combination of approximately 100 fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, settler-only roads and various other physical obstructions.

(Source / 27.02.2019)

IOF storms Hizma town, threatens to punish its residents

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday evening threatened to take punitive measures against the residents of Hizma town, northeast of Jerusalem, on allegations that local youths continued to throw stones at settlers’ cars.

According to local sources, the IOF stormed the town, fired stun grenades and intercepted cars and passersby.

Israeli soldiers also circulated notices containing threats to take punitive measures against the residents if stone-throwing attacks on Israeli cars did not stop.   

Later, the IOF closed the main entrance to the town and prevented Palestinian cars and citizens from leaving or entering through it.

(Source / 26.02.2019)

War in Al-Aqsa: What Price Netanyahu’s Victory

By Ramzy Baroud

While the blood of Palestinians is irrelevant in Netanyahu’s quest for political dominance, the international community should take immediate measures to prevent what could become an Israeli-induced bloodbath in the coming weeks.

On February 18, members of extremist Jewish groups raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). They clashed with Palestinian worshippers, as the settlers attempted to shut down the gate of Al-Aqsa itself.

The clashes involved the Israeli army and police as well, who opened fire and brutally assaulted Palestinians, leading to scores of injuries.

On February 19, the Israeli army carried out the unusual step of shutting down Al-Rahma Gate, which leads to a section of the Al-Aqsa compound that has, itself, been shut down by the Israeli army since 2003.

The provocative decision to seal the gate was clearly made in advance, and the lock and key have the fingerprints of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is quite typical for Israeli politicians to carry out confrontational measures against Palestinians shortly before general elections are due. The nature of these measures is determined by the kind of political constituency that Israeli leaders aim to appease.

However, a war on Gaza, at least for now, is too risky an option for Netanyahu as it would take place too close to the April 9 elections date. Moreover, a botched Israeli attack on the Strip on November 11 caused Netanyahu a major embarrassment, forcing him to shelve the Gaza option for now.

That said, if the Israeli Prime Minister’s political standing grows too desperate in the coming weeks, a Gaza war may, once again, be placed on the table.

Indeed, the political union between Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, which was declared on February 21, has certainly upped the ante for Netanyahu who has assumed that his election victory is a foretold conclusion.

Gantz and Lapid merged their two parties into one election list called Kahol Lavan (“Blue and White”), the single most serious electoral challenge for Netanyahu in years.

For the time being, Netanyahu has decided to appeal to the most messianic religious segments of Israeli society in order to keep his challengers at bay. This should come as no surprise as the religious, ultra-national far right has been backbone of the Israeli leader’s coalitions for a decade.

In fact, weeks before the Gantz and Lapid union, Netanyahu had taken several measures to show signs of goodwill towards his religious constituency.

One such overture was made on Jan. 28, when Netanyahu ordered the U.N. unarmed international observers to leave the Occupied Palestinian city of Al-Khalil, where a few hundred armed Jewish settlers have been a constant source of violence. The Jewish settlers of Qiryat Arba’a live under the protection of a massive Israeli army contingent. Both groups have worked together to terrorize the Palestinian inhabitants of the city for many years.

A joint statement issued by several humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned of the terrible fate awaiting the Palestinian community as a result of Netanyahu’s decision in Al-Khalil.

“Hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron,” the statement read.

True to form, attacks by Jewish settlers followed, as media and rights group reports point to a surge of violence against Palestinian civilians in the city.

By unleashing the wrath of Jewish settlers in Al-Khalil, Netanyahu wanted to communicate to his supporters that he remains committed to their settlement project, an unworthy cause that violates international law and comes at the price of protracted human suffering.

Similarly, the Israeli decision to shut down Al-Rahma Gate on February 19 was a pre-calculated move, aimed at uniting the entirety of the Israeli right, including the most extremist of all religious and settler groups behind Netanyahu’s leadership in the coming elections.

In fact, a trend began a few weeks earlier. On January 9, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment documented a sharp increase of Israeli violations, involving the Israeli army and Jewish settlers at holy Palestinian sites throughout the month of December. According to the Organization, over 100 such violations were reported, including 30 different incursions into Al-Aqsa itself.

raid on Al-Aqsa on January 7 involved more than the usual suspects, but was led by Israeli Agriculture Minister and a strong ally of Netanyahu, Uri Ariel.

This type of politically-motivated and highly militarized ‘visits’ to Al-Aqsa are reminiscent of the infamous ‘visit’ by late Israeli right-wing leader, Ariel Sharon in September 2000. At the time, Sharon wanted to increase his chances of becoming Israel’s next prime minister, and to ensure that his arch-rival (then, interestingly enough, the very Benjamin Netanyahu) did not win the Likud Party nomination. The gambit worked. Sharon sparked the Second Palestinian Uprising (2000-05), leading to the deaths of thousands and, of course, securing his seat at the helm of Israeli politics for years.

Netanyahu, ever studious and resourceful, has, indeed, mastered the art of political manipulation as his mentor and, once again, Al-Aqsa is the platform for this sinister Israeli politicking.

Netanyahu’s decision to strike an alliance with Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) – the rebranded party of the extremist late Meir Kahane – further demonstrates how the current surge of violence around the holy Palestinian sites is a pre-calculated political move by Netanyahu and his government.  

The fact that Netanyahu would bring into his future coalition groups that are the ideological mutation of the Jewish Defense League – which is classified as ‘terrorist organization’’ by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – speaks volumes about the changing relationship between the US and Israel. Thanks to Washington’s blind support of Israel, Netanyahu feels politically triumphant and invincible, even above US’ own laws.

However, to achieve his pathetic dream of being Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, Netanyahu should be wary of the bloody consequences that his reckless action is sure to yield. Indeed, Netanyahu may be provoking the kind of violence that is much bigger than his own ability to contain.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has served not only as a religious symbol for Palestinians, but a national symbol as well, representing their coveted freedom and serving as a source of hope and unity over the course of generations.

While the blood of Palestinians is irrelevant in Netanyahu’s quest for political dominance, the international community should take immediate measures to prevent what could become an Israeli-induced bloodbath in the coming weeks.

(Source / 26.02.2019)

Disabled Palestinian Detainee Declares Hunger Strike

26 Feb 9:33 PM

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported, Tuesday, that an ailing, disabled Palestinian detainee, who is held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial, has declared a hunger strike, demanding his release.

The PPS stated that the detainee, Mo’taz Obeido, who is held at the Negev Detention Camp, was moved to solitary confinement after he declared hunger strike.

It added that Obeido, from Hebron in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, was shot by the Israeli soldiers in the year 2011, before he was abducted, and that the injuries caused paralysis in his left leg, weakness in his right leg, and various complications in his nerves, in addition to serious damage to his intestines, which required surgeries, including a colostomy.

After he was shot and abducted by the soldiers, he was moved to the Ramla Prison Clinic, which lacks specialists and adequate tools, and stayed there for three years.

Obeido requires rehabilitation and constant medications, but the only thing he receives are painkilling pills.

The PPS said that Obeido was previously frequently abducted and imprisoned by Israel, spending a total of eight years behind bars, before he was abducted again this month, and was slapped with an arbitrary Administrative Detention order.

(Source / 26.02.2019)