Factions in Gaza demand end to Israel’s abuse of detainees

Lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - Cartoon [Arabi 21]

Lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – Cartoon

The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs‎ in the Gaza Strip, Thursday, called on international institutions to act against Israeli violations of the rights of Palestinian detainees.

The Commission – affiliated to the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces – made its demands in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sub-delegation in Gaza City after a meeting with the ICRC head, Gilan Devorn, in which the conditions of detainees on hunger strike were discussed.

Ibrahim Mansour, a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, stated:

We have made it clear to the head of the Commission that we will take serious actions against any international institution that practices a suspicious silence on the policies of the Israeli Prison Service against the Palestinian prisoners.

He added that Israel is committing violations against detainees’ rights, including:

medical negligence, ill-treatment of prisoners’ families, administrative detention (without charge), and denying the captives their right to receive clothes.

Mansour indicated that the Commission would not “accept again the silence of the international institutions, which play the role of the biased accomplice with the occupation authorities.”

READ: Netanyahu considers taking military action against Gaza

On Tuesday, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs‎ announced that the number of detainees on hunger strike against the policy of administrative detention rose to 11.

The Commission’s statement also explained that: “Hunger-Striking prisoners suffer health complications, show signs of fatigue, weakness and movement difficulties, in addition to paleness, dizziness and headaches as well as joints’ pain.”

According to official statistics, there are 5,700 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, including 45 women, 230 children, and 500 administrative detainees; in addition to 1,800 captives who suffer from illnesses, including 700 who need permanent treatment and medical follow-up.

(Source / 05.07.2019)  

Head of Palestinian care foundation condemns PA funding cut

Palestinians carry the coffin of Palestinian girl Samah Mubarak, who was killed by Israeli forces claimed that she attempted to stab a security guard at the checkpoint before she was fatally shot, during her funeral ceremony in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 March, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians carry the coffin of Palestinian girl Samah Mubarak, who was killed by Israeli forces in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 March 2019

The head of a foundation which cares for the families of Palestinians killed, wounded and imprisoned by the Israeli occupation authorities has condemned the government in Ramallah for cutting its funding for stipends to such people.

Mrs Intisar Al-Wazeer of the Foundation for the Care of Martyrs and Wounded Families said that the funding cut has “political dimensions” and pointed out that the organisation has no political affiliations or agenda in these matters. “The issue of the martyrs is a national issue that must be neutral in all political and security dimensions,” she insisted.

Al-Wazeer made her comments during a meeting with a delegation representing the families of martyrs, headed by Mohammed Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi, the son of the late Hamas official Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

The delegation called on Al-Wazeer to exert more pressure on the Palestinian Authority to resume paying the stipends to the families of those who have been martyred and wounded.

READ: UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

Israel far-right party launches election campaign calling for expulsion of Palestinians

Michael Ben Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party on 23 December 2010 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]

Michael Ben Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party on 23 December 2010

Far-right Israeli political party Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) has launched its election campaign by calling for the expulsion of Palestinians to their “countries of origin”.

Otzma Yehudit launched its campaign in Jerusalem yesterday ahead of Israel’s general election, which will be held on 17 September after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition following his re-election on 9 April.

Party head Michael Ben Ari told the audience that

we want to resettle our enemies in their countries […] we’ll give them a bottle of mineral water and even a sandwich. We’ll find them countries of origin they can go to.

Otzma Yehudit has a history of anti-Palestinian incitement, having previously called for the expulsion of Palestinians from both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Its members are self-confessed followers of extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was banned from the Knesset in the 1980s. Kahane’s ideology also inspired Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 massacre at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, which left 29 Muslim worshippers dead and scores wounded.

In March, Israel’s Central Elections Committee mulled barring Otzma Yehudit from contesting April’s election due to its anti-Palestinian rhetoric, with the Supreme Court eventually decidingonly to ban Ben Ari from the slate.

The party head slammed this decision at yesterday’s campaign launch, saying “they told us this [rhetoric] is racist […] they said they disqualified me for this”.

READ: Arab-Israeli parties to run as Joint List in September election

The party also announced that it would contest September’s election alone, confirming a split with the Union of Right Wing Parties (URWP) – a right-wing alliance of the Jewish Home and National Union parties – with which it had a working arrangement ahead of the April election.

This arrangement broke down after URWP leader Rafi Peretz and party number two Bezalel Smotrich refused to give up their Knesset seats to allow Otzma’s remaining candidate, Itamar Ben Gvir, to sit in the parliament as they had previously promised.

Israeli law allows any Knesset Member (MK) who holds a ministerial position to give up their seat in the Knesset, thus making space for lower-placed candidates from their party. Although Peretz and Smotrich were appointed as ministers of education and transport respectively, they did not vacate their seats for Ben Gvir.

A man casts his vote during the Israeli general elections in Tel Aviv on 9 April 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

For its part, URWP has said it will not consider another agreement with Otzma Yehudit if Baruch Marzel is among the candidates. A settler who lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, Marzel previously worked as a parliamentary aide for Kahane and was a Kach party spokesman and activist. He has a history of anti-Palestinian violence, attackingPalestinian activist Issa Amro at his Hebron home.

Otzma Yehudit hit back against URWP’s stance, with Ben Gvir telling yesterday’s campaign launch “they are vetoing Baruch Marzel and [other Otzma candidate] Bentzi Gopstein. And I said to them ‘who are you to disqualify Baruch Marzel? Who are you to disqualify Bentzi Gopstein?’”

Gopstein added: “They are scared. [Ben Gvir] wears a suit. I don’t, neither does Baruch but it is okay, we’re all Otzma Yehudit.”

Israel election: Barak vows never to sit in Netanyahu government

The URWP and Otzma Yehudit have until early August to declare their electoral slate and any working arrangements. There is speculation that all small right-wing parties may merge into a broader faction, given that many teeter near the 3.25 per cent minimum threshold needed to sit in the Knesset and the lack of an outright majority for the right-wing bloc.

A poll published this morning found that a “right-wing mega-merger” – which would see the two URWP factions and Otzma Yehudit join with the New Right (Hayemin Hehadash) party and Zehut – could win 19 seats in September. In April, both the New Right and Zehut failed to cross the minimum threshold, while URWP won only five seats.

#IsraElex19: Israeli Elections 2019

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New Right and Zehut have reportedly helddiscussions about a potential alliance, though thus far no agreement has been reached. New Right head, former Education Minister Naftali Bennett, has also reached out to long-time ally Ayelet Shaked, the former justice minister, offering to step down as party leader and serve as her number two if she returns to the party.

The pair parted ways after their dire April election performance; they were subsequently unceremoniously dismissed from their ministerial positions by Netanyahu for trying to attend a high-level security cabinet meeting despite no longer holding Knesset seats.

READ: Prominent Israel rabbis say women should not be involved in politics

However, whether Netanyahu will now allow a mega-merger to go ahead is not yet clear. The same poll suggests that such a move would hurt his Likud party, which would drop to only 25 seats, ten less than the 35 it won in April. He would therefore likely veto any such merger, as this could put his biggest rival, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, in front with 31 seats and deprive him of the chance to form a government.

With or without a mega-merger, Netanyahu will likely still need former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to form a ruling coalition. Some polls have predictedLieberman’s party could win as many as nine Knesset seats, while in the event of a mega-merger he is predicted to win six. In either event he would hold the kingmaker position, once again being able to grant or withhold his support at whim and hamper the formation of a government.

In light of this potential repeat deadlock, officials within the Likud party – allegedly at Netanyahu’s request – have considered cancelling the election. However, Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon yesterday ruled that the election cannot be cancelled, unless in the event of extreme circumstances such as war.

Poll: Nearly half of Israelis support cancelling September elections

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

80% of Palestinians believe Arab states abandoned them

Palestinians hold placards and Palestinian flag as they gather to protest against 'Deal of the Century' plan in Tel Aviv on 25 June 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians hold placards and Palestinian flag as they gather to protest against ‘Deal of the Century’ in Tel Aviv on 25 June 2019 

Some 80 per cent of Palestinians believe that Arab states have abandoned them and the Palestinian cause, a new poll conducted in the wake of last week’s “Peace to Prosperity” conference has revealed.

The poll – conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research based in the West Bank city of Ramallah – found that 80 per cent of respondents supported the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s call for boycotting the “Peace to Prosperity” conference, which took place in Bahraini capital Manama last week to unveil the economic aspects of the long-awaited “deal of the century”.

The poll showed that the same percentage viewed Arab states’ participation in the conference as abandonment of the Palestinians and their cause. Despite the PA’s calls to boycott, representatives from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan and Egypt all attended the summit. Only Lebanon and Kuwait  heeded the call to boycott.

In addition, 90 per cent of those surveyed said they do not trust the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has spearheaded the “deal of the century”. Some 75 per cent of Palestinians want the PA to reject the deal, the Jerusalem Post reported.

A key feature of the plan has been to provide economic incentives for the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and neighbouring countries who host millions of Palestinian refugees. The plan includes a $50 billion pay package, in what critics have interpreted as an attempt to trade economic prosperity for meaningful political progress.

However, when asked to choose between economic prosperity and an independent Palestinian state, 83 per cent opted for independence while only 15 per cent chose economic prosperity.

READ: PA releases businessman arrested for attending Bahrain workshop

In a rare show of unity, all Palestinian factions stood together to oppose the US peace plan, labelling it stillborn and refusing to accept its terms.

The deal has been interpreted as only the latest in a string of measures taken by the US administration against the Palestinians, which has included recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy to the Holy City, shuttering the Palestinian representative office in Washington, and cutting financial assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and USAID to the oPt.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Palestinians have also been critical of Arab states’ normalisation with Israel. During the “Peace to Prosperity” conference, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa came under fire after he claimed that Israel is a “country to stay” in the Middle East. His comments sparked anger given that Bahrain, like most other Arab states, does not formally recognise Israel and does not maintain diplomatic relations.

Bahrain is not alone in pushing this normalisation drive. This week the head of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, claimed that Israel and Oman are working towards establishing relations and opening an Israeli diplomatic mission in the Sultanate.

Oman has since denied the claims, saying in a statement that “Oman is keen to exert all efforts […] to work towards achieving peace between the Palestinian Authority and the government of Israel, leading to the establishment of an independent State of Palestine”.

READ: Israel foreign minister visits Abu Dhabi

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Mother To Pressure Her Child To Turn Himself In

05 JUL1:08 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, a Palestinian mother from the al-‘Isawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, to pressure her child, Mahmoud, to turn himself in to the police.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers abducted the mother of a “wanted” child, identified as Mahmoud Obeid, to pressure him and his family.

Silwanic added that the army has informed the family that the mother will remain in prison until her child turns himself in to the police for interrogation.

The soldiers also abducted three young man in Bab al-‘Amoud area, in Jerusalem, and interrogated them for several hours before releasing them.

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

Army Abducts Five Palestinians In Jenin

05 JUL2:38 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Thursday, five young Palestinian men, including former political prisoners, from Jenin governorate, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS said the soldiers invaded Burqin town, west of Jenin, searched and ransacked several homes, and abducted two siblings, both former political prisoners, identified as Ashraf Zeidan al-Jada’, and his brother, Nasser.

It added that the soldiers also invaded the home of a former political prisoner, identified as Sultan Ahmad Khallouf, detained his father, and handed the family an order for Sultan to turn himself in to the military in Salem base, near Jenin.

Furthermore, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Jamal Zobeidi, in addition to Abdullah Mohammad Jalamna, after invading their homes and searching them, in Jenin refugee camp.

During the invasion into the refugee camp, the soldiers fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian protesters, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

In Jenin city, the soldiers invaded and searched a few homes, and abducted Mohammad Nabil Sabah.

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure Four Palestinians In Kufur Qaddoum

05 JUL5:12 PM

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, wounding four young Palestinian men.

Today’s procession marks the eighth year of protests, demanding the army to reopen the town’s main road, which was blockaded sixteen years ago, to enable easy access for illegal Israeli colonialist settlers, driving to and from “Kedumim” colony, which was built on Palestinian lands.

The protesters marched carrying Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans against the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine, its illegal colonies, and the so-called “Deal of the Century,” in addition to the “Bahrain Conference,” and all attempts to bury and deny the legitimate rights of liberation and independence, and the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees.

Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the protesters, and fired many rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

He added that four young men were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

The protest was attended by many Israeli and international peace activists, in addition to Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Khaled Mansour, a member of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), in addition to Abdul-Elah al-Ateera, a member of the Revolutionary Council of Fateh Movement.

(Source / 05.07.2019) 

STATISTICAL STUDY: 3 PALESTINIANS KILLED, 240 ARRESTED, AND FURTHER MORE LAND THEFT BY ‘ISRAEL’ LAST JUNE

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces killed last June three Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and Gaza, revealed the monthly report by the PLO Abdallah Hourani Centre for studies and documentation.

the report said that ‘Israel’ continued to violate international law and human rights throughout Palestine.

The number of bodies of Palestinians killed and held by ‘Israel’ has increased to 43, in a blatant violation to the international law.

The report also revealed that 11 Palestinian prisoners started a hunger strike to protest against administrative detention. ‘Israel’ arrested in the same month 420 Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, increasing the total of Palestinian prisoners to 5700, who include 220 children and 43 women.

The report said that Israeli soldiers injured 500 Palestinians throughout Palestine; 395 of whom shot during Gaza’s peaceful protests, meanwhile 105 others shot during anti settlement and occupation protests in the occupied Jerusalem and West Bank.

The injury cases include 9 paramedics and one journalist, in addition to dozens of suffocation cases.

Regarding settlements, the Israeli central court in Jerusalem approved building unpermitted settlement units on Palestinian lands, which legalized nearly 2000 settlement units.

Israeli settlement committee also declared intentions to build 290 new settlement units in southern Jerusalem and 112 others in eastern Jerusalem.

The report also revealed Israeli new plans to construct settlement roads, which separate Palestinian neighborhoods and villages in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and which lead to the theft of 511 Donums of the West Bank.

‘Israel’ has also confiscated 20 Donums of Nablus to construct a settlement road, which will prevent farmers from reaching 400 Donums of their lands.

With regard to houses demolition, ‘Israel’ has demolished 90 houses and buildings in the occupied west Bank and Jerusalem last June. 31 residential houses and 59 structures. Meanwhile, other 101 houses have got demolition notices.

With respect to settlers’ attacks, the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem have witnessed last June 75 attacks, which caused 4 Palestinians to be injured in addition to the uprooting and arson of 1100 fruitful trees and damage of 55 vehicles.

(Source / 05.07.2019)