Israel bans Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs from travelling to Jordan

Amal Hamad is sworn in as a Minister of Women's Affairs in the new Palestinian government, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, on April 13, 2019. [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]

Amal Hamad is sworn in as a Minister of Women’s Affairs in the new Palestinian government, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, on April 13, 2019

Israeli restrictions on Palestinians travelling outside the occupied territories have prevented the Minister of Women’s Affairs from going to Jordan to attend a conference. Dr Amal Hamad was due to participate in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference entitled “Launching the Regional Campaign on Zero Tolerance with Violence Against Women and Girls” which opens today in the Jordanian capital Amman.

In her speech to the conference via internet link, Hamad expressed her deep regret at her inability to attend because of the obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people. What had happened to her, she said, is clear evidence of the kind of violence to which Palestinian women and people are subjected. She let it be known that she had insisted on representing the State of Palestine at such international conferences by all possible means.

Jordanian Minister of Social Development Basma Ishaqat apologised at the beginning of her speech about Hamad’s inability to attend the conference due to the Israeli occupation.

READ: Israel government urged to revoke residency of BDS co-founder 

Dr Hamad, meanwhile, addressed the current political situation that the State of Palestine is going through. She explained that it is being subjected to the most serious systematic efforts to eradicate the Palestinian cause by imposing facts on the ground. These include the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem; the acceleration of illegal settlement activity in the West Bank; tightening the siege on the Gaza Strip; the looting of the Palestinian people’s tax revenues; and Israel’s lack of commitment to international legitimacy.

The minister added that the State of Palestine currently chairs the Group of 77 and China at the UN and stresses the importance of strengthening international cooperation and partnerships to use legal, political, economic and social means to promote and protect human rights and the right to development. She also stressed the State of Palestine’s commitment to international resolutions on women, pointing out that President Mahmoud Abbas has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) without any reservations, as well as the Additional Protocol; the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the UN Convention against Torture; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The State of Palestine, she pointed out, was the first to develop the national implementation plan for Security Council Resolution 1325, the signing on the objectives of sustainable development, as well as the development of mechanisms to implement Goal 5 on gender equality.

The Palestinian Authority official also reviewed Palestine’s governmental mechanisms to protect women from violence. These include the implementation of interrogation and accountability within the framework of the 1325 Plan of Action to monitor and report the attacks of the Israeli occupation soldiers and illegal settlers against Palestinian women; periodically sending these reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council and their inclusion in national reports; as well as the existence of the Family Protection Unit in the police authority, shelters for battered women, the National Transfer System, the National Observatory on Violence and the Unified Complaints System.

READ: 12,000 Jewish Israel settlers raid historic West Bank Cemetery 

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

12,000 Jewish Israel settlers raid historic West Bank cemetery

Israeli settlers can be seen in the West Bank on 20 April 2011 [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli settlers can be seen in the West Bank  

Some 12,000 Israeli Jewish settlers yesterday raided several historic Muslim tombs belonging to scholars and prophets in the village of Kafl Haris, east of the West Bank city of Salfit, Quds Pressreported.

Local sources told the news site that a large number of Israeli occupation forces also raided the city to secure the invasion of the settlers.

The settlers performed Talmudic rituals near the Islamic tombs.

Israeli settlers regularly raid Islamic sites to perform Talmudic rituals that provoke Palestinians.

Occupation forces ban Palestinians from accessing the sites during the raids and often impose curfews in nearby areas.

READ: Israel settlers carry out 12 attacks on Palestinians in two weeks

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Israel blocks Palestinian family reunification hearings over ‘workload’

Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank began arriving in the holy city of Jerusalem on Friday for the first Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque amid tight Israeli security measures [Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli officials check identity papers as Palestinians in the occupied West Bank arrive to Jerusalem 

Israeli authorities are blocking Palestinian family unification applications at the Interior Ministry’s office in occupied East Jerusalem, because of the “intolerable workload”, reported Haaretz.

For the last 18 months or so, the paper reported, “a Palestinian grandfather living in East Jerusalem has been trying to obtain resident status for his three grandchildren, who were all born in East Jerusalem and suffer from mental disabilities”.

“The three live with the grandfather, who is their guardian, but don’t have resident status in Israel because their father is dead and their mother lives in the West Bank,” the paper added.

After 11 reminders were sent to the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, the Authority answered, “asking a ministry appeals tribunal to reject the family’s appeal” – a rejection based not on the merits, but due to the workload at the ministry’s East Jerusalem office.

According to Haaretz, “the family’s case, which is being handled by the HaMoked Centre for the Defence of the Individual, is not an isolated one.”

READ: Israel detained 1,600 Palestinians, 230 children in 2019

In its response to the appeal filed by the Palestinian grandfather, the Population Authority said its East Jerusalem office serves 300,000 residents and provides a range of services.

“The authority said it has hired the services of an outside consultant firm to help it deal with the workload and has submitted a proposed time line that would include handling of all requests by the end of this year that were filed by the end of 2017,” Haaretz added.

The report noted that “many families have filed similar appeals to force decisions on requests that have bogged down due to the office’s heavy caseload”, with the Population Authority taking “the same stance in dozens of other similar cases for family unification and resident status for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem”.

Some 600 family unification requests are made annually to the population registry office in East Jerusalem; in most cases, one spouse resides in the West Bank or Jordan and are seeking permission to live with their spouse in Israel, or are requesting permanent resident status for children.

READ: ‘Israel has arrested 50,000 Palestinian children since 1967’

Protracted delays “have caused difficulties for hundreds of families”, including for hundreds of Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem who do not have medical coverage because they do not have Israeli identity cards.

“Some parents encounter difficulties enrolling them for school, and older children are afraid of being alone on the street for fear of being picked up by police for lack of documentation. Some families are also forced to live apart until they get their answer,” Haaretz added.

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Israeli airstrikes target sites in northern Gaza Strip

Israeli warplanes out airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday, allegedly in response to the launch of incendiary balloons by Palestinians 

Israeli warplanes out airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday, allegedly in response to the launch of incendiary balloons by Palestinians, according to a statement by the Israeli army, Ma’an News reports.

Hebrew-language news outlets said that Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes, targeting several Hamas movement sites, located in northern Gaza.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that the airstrikes “came in response” to alleged incendiary and explosive balloon launches by Palestinians from Gaza towards southern Israel.

One incendiary object, which was allegedly launched from Gaza, caused a small fire in an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The spokesperson added that the Hamas movement “is fully responsible for the situation in Gaza.”

No injuries were reported.

EVENT: National Demonstration for Palestine

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Twitter May Have Been Bought By Israel

Palestinian accounts get suspended on social media platforms all the time. Twitter suspensions and deletions are clearly noticeable.   

Palestinian Voices is an upcoming news outlet run by young people, that gives children and other youngsters a free platform to publish their stories — factual, fictional or otherwise.

It’s a new venture with a thousand learning curves yet to be swerved and dunams of space to hone unchartered skills in the search for professionalism and leadership. It’s exciting to see it unfold.   

Recently, not one, not two, but three members of the team have had their accounts destroyed. Abdulraheem Alfarra, Bahaa Shammala, and Saif Eldden Bitar: Twitter’s waste disposal unit has been busy recently.

One by one, these young, ambitious journalists and reporters working to bring us the news from Palestine are being forcibly taken from us; metaphorically — erased in the night.   

Twitter Policy claims that it respects the freedom of speech, but that is not true as it becomes clear that Twitter is completely biased to the Israeli side by silencing the Palestinian Voices.   

And the outcry — is there one?   

The act of silencing signifies terror: a fear of words, a fear of third person experience, a fear of the message and of its meaning. Dangerously, it undermines the fundamental vision that free speech, discussion and debate are tools to education and empowerment. Censorship undermines democracy.   

Bahaa Shammala’s Twitter account with its 50,000 followers was suspended two months ago. Shammala was tweeting about his country, defending his people and revealing Israel’s crimes committed on daily in Palestine.   

Shammala said that in the last Israeli attack against Gaza Strip, he published a lot; he risked himself going out to the streets to cover the Israeli attacks against the Strip that night.

His tweets reached more than 250,000 people from all around the world in just one night and he was proud of that. But the next day when he got up, he was shocked that his account was permanently suspended by Twitter.   

“I sent Twitter appeals asking them what’s the matter, and to clarify their problem with me; they just respond:”you’re breaking the rule and your account will never be restored,” Shammala added.   

Abdulraheem Alfarra, a Palestinian youth activist, has lost his Twitter account with 14,000 followers due to an arbitrary suspension by Twitter.   

Alfarra said that because he is a Palestinian activist who published about the Palestinian cause, Twitter suspended his account.   

In his speech, Alfarra wonders what the reasons behind the suspension of his account are. He said that may be because his tweets reached millions of people around the world.

He believes that because of that, Twitter permanently suspended his account.   “I felt totally disappointed, but I will never give up; I will create my account and keep exposing the Israeli crimes committed against us,” Alfarra added.   

Alfarra is afraid that if his new account gets success, Twitter will suspend it once again.   Saif Eldden Bitar, a pro-Palestinian activist, tweets about the Palestinian cause and makes it clear to the world that Israel oppresses the Palestinian people on a daily basis; Twitter suspended his account.   

If we come to the rules that Bitar has broken, we will discover that his only fault that he defends Palestine and Palestinian people.   

Bitar became popular on the Twitter platform where thousands of people followed him and waited for his tweets. It was clear that his tweets reached hundreds of thousands of people.   

Bitar said that he woke up to find that his account has been suspended for no reason. Then he sent an appeal to Twitter to know what the problem is. Twitter responded that his account will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter terms of service.   

It was clear that Bitar was not breaking the Twitter terms of service, but he just tweeted about Palestine and the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian on daily basis.     

Solidarity with Bitar   

Some of the pro-Palestinian activists launched a “Twitter Storm” under the hashtags#UnsuspendBitarDeen and #ReinstateBitarDeen, calling Twitter to unsuspended Bitar’s Twitter account.   

“Telling the truth about Israeli crimes is not forbidden,” one of the activists tweeted in the hashtag.   

Censorship is sinister   

Punishing students for their speech robs our public debate of needed voices, says Sonja West — professor in First Amendment Law at the University of Georgia; it teaches children that censorship is acceptable. It isn’t.   

Ironically, in the beginning, sites such as Twitter and Facebook were built to give everyone a fair crack and importantly, an equal voice. Their collusion with the Israeli government has led them into a dark alley, trying to extinguish young people’s words, seize their opinions, and gag their reports — the freely written, freely read and freely shared is no longer free, unless of course, it sings for Israel.   

But where does the silencing come from? Who would agreeably work at the behest of Israel to decide who can and who can’t write. Other young people? Middle-aged lobbyists sitting round a glass table scratching out the tongues of their teenage enemies? Censorship is indeed sinister.   

Despite many accounts already breaking Twitter’s rules such as tweeting unethical and offensive stuff, Twitter blinds eye to it, and the smoking gun that there are many Israeli accounts which are tweeting propaganda against the Palestinians and were reported for million times, but Twitter didn’t even draw attention to them.   

Twitter is biased towards Israeli policy, and the clear evidence is the suspension of Palestinian activists’ accounts as though Israel might buy or pay Twitter as it does with every aspect of its evil projects.   

For now, these accounts are gone. But they will return — of course they do. In the face of adversity, Palestine and everything Palestinian, always returns.

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Bill introduced to Congress barring Israel from using US aid to abuse children

Israel detains between 500 to 700 Palestinian children annually, prosecuting them in military courts

Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, said it was “outrageous” that US tax dollars are helping sustain human rights violations against Palestinian children.

Therefore, she introduced a bill that would prohibit US aid to Israel from being used to “support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment” of Palestinian children.

“Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorise Palestinian children and their families,” McCollum said in a statement accompanying the proposed legislation on Wednesday.

The congresswoman first introduced a similar bill in 2017, but it failed to advance in the House of Representatives, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.

The new measure comes at a time when Democrats are becoming increasingly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, as public opinion polls show.

Israel detains between 500 to 700 children annually, prosecuting them in military courts that lack “fundamental guarantees of due process in violation of international standards”, the bill says.

The proposal also cites a 2018 Human Rights Watch report that documented Israeli soldiers’ use of force against detained children, questioning them without the presence of adult relatives and making them sign confessions in Hebrew – a language they do not understand.

Washington provides $3.1bn yearly in assistance to Israel.

“Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye to the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation,” McCollum said.

“I strongly believe there is a growing consensus among the American people that the Palestinian people deserve justice, equality, human rights, and the right to self-determination.”

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Zionist warplanes attack several sites in besieged Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli Air Force fired, on Thursday at dawn, several missiles targeting a few areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, causing damage, after the army alleged a rocket was fired from Gaza.

Media sources said the Israeli missiles struck several sites, run by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the northern part of the Gaza.

The missiles caused damage to the targeted areas, but did not lead to casualties, the sources added.

The Israeli army claimed that fighters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, fired a rocket, on Monday evening, and added that it exploded off the coast.

Initially, Israel claimed that the alleged rocket was fired as a test, by members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and apparently landed in water.

Senior leaders of both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad denied any relation to the reported rocket fire, and said that they aren’t interested in escalation in the region.

However, the Israeli army said Hamas, as the movement that “controls” the Gaza Strip, is responsible for any escalation even if it wasn’t behind any firing of shells, and added that Hamas is also accountable for flammable balloons launched from the coastal region.

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Attack Palestinian Detainees In Asqalan

02 MAY1:53 AM

Soldiers of the Metzada special forces unit of the “Israeli Prison Service” attacked, on Wednesday at noon, many Palestinian detainees in their rooms, in Asqalan (Ashkelon) Prison, and destroyed their belongings.

The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that the soldiers attacked the detainees while eating their lunch, and deliberately spilled their food on the ground, after preventing them from eating.

It added that the soldiers also invaded the detainees’ rooms, and violently searching their belongings, causing damage.

The attack is the second in Asqalan prison in less than 24 hours after the soldiers, of Masada Special Forces of the Prison Service, attacked the detainees, while violently searching them and their rooms.

The Detainees’ Committee said the ongoing invasions and violations against the detainees are causing further tension and accused the Israeli Prison Service and its special forces of attempting to escalate the situation to impose more sanctions, including forcing many in solitary confinement and denying them the right to visits with their lawyers or families.

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Health Condition Of Hunger Striking Detainee Worsens

02 MAY10:20 AM

The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Thursday, that a Palestinian detainee in Israeli prisons, has suffered health complications after 54 days of a hunger strike, and added that he is ongoing with his strike demanding ending his arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, holding him captive without charges or trial.

It said the detainee, Hussam Mohsin al-Rozza, 61, from Nablus, in northern West Bank, is currently held in solitary confinement in the Ramla prison.

The Committee added that the detainee is suffering from constant pain and fatigue, in addition to infections in the liver and Kidneys, along with high blood pressure and serious weight loss of more than 25 Kilograms (55.1 Pounds).

It also said that, while the detainee was held in solitary confinement in Ramon prison, he didn’t even drink water or any liquids for seven days, after the soldiers constantly broke into his cell, and conducted violent searches.

It is worth mentioning that the detainee has recently been transferred from several prisons, in addition to being subject to strip searches, and is repeatedly forced to stand against the wall for various periods.

The detainee, a father of four, was taken prisoner of April 17th 2018, and previously spent 18 years in Israeli prisons.

(Source / 02.05.2019) 

Israeli Air Force Fires Missiles Into Gaza

02 MAY7:19 AM

The Israeli Air Force fired, on Thursday at dawn, several missiles targeting a few areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, causing damage, after the army alleged a rocket was fired from Gaza.

Media sources said the Israeli missiles struck several sites, run by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the northern part of the Gaza.

The missiles caused damage to the targeted areas, but did not lead to casualties, the sources added.

The Israeli army claimed that fighters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, fired a rocket, on Monday evening, and added that it exploded off the coast.

Initially, Israel claimed that the alleged rocket was fired as a test, by members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and apparently landed in water.

Senior leaders of both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad denied any relation to the reported rocket fire, and said that they aren’t interested in escalation in the region.

However, the Israeli army said Hamas, as the movement that “controls” the Gaza Strip, is responsible for any escalation even if it wasn’t behind any firing of shells, and added that Hamas is also accountable for flammable balloons launched from the coastal region.

(Source / 02.05.2019)