Rashida Tlaib denounces US’ anti-BDS bill ‘unconstitutional’

Rashida Tlaib, Palestinian-American Congresswoman

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took a swipe at American lawmakers who are seeking to criminalise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in a tweet denouncing the move as “unconstitutional”.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, made the trenchant remarks on Twitter while sharing an article concerning an Israeli park in the Galilee that has introduced measures which critics and human rights group say is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa. A non-Jewish lawyer and her infant were barred from entering the public park last week triggering a legal battle over whether local authorities in Israel can segregate citizens on the basis of race.

The incident, which had many similarities with a public swimming pool in southern Israel that introduced “separate hours” for Jewish and Palestinian citizens, sparked a strong reaction. Human rights groups warned that the ban marked a growing trend in discriminatory policies within Israel and a clear attempt by the Jewish majority to explicitly separate public space on racial basis.

READ: Israel seeks banning BDS in Europe

Bringing the Galilee incident to the attention of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which is pushing through the anti-BDS bill, Tlaib said: “@HouseForeign wants to move forward w/ #HR246 #AntiBDS bill to silence opposition of Israel’s blatantly racist policies ⬇️ that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians”.

Rashida Tlaib @RashidaTlaib  

⬇️

.@HouseForeign wants to move forward w/ #HR246 #AntiBDS bill to silence opposition of Israel’s blatantly racist policies that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians.

Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies. This bill is unconstitutional. https://twitter.com/theIMEU/status/1148758769914060800 …The IMEU@theIMEU 

In a blatant act of discrimination, Israeli guards refused to allow a Palestinian mother and child to enter a public park in the city of Afula. This explicit separation of public spaces is yet another indication of Israel’s deepening apartheid policies. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/entry-ban-israeli-city-park-provokes-apartheid-warnings …

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1,49421:07 – 10 Jul 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy

Tlaib criticised the bill brought forward by Republican representatives saying: “Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies. This bill is unconstitutional.”

READ: Why is the rise of BDS worldwide worrying Israel?

The Combating BDS Act, as it is known, encourages states and local governments to pass laws prohibiting government contacts with anyone who does not sign what critics say is a McCarthyite loyalty oath pledging not to boycott for Palestinian rights. The bill has the strong backing of the most powerful anti-Palestinian lobby group in the US, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

While uncontroversial parts of Bill HR246 passed uncontested, the anti-BDS section has faced stiff challenges. Judges in Texas, Arizona and Kansas have ruled these laws to be violations of the First Amendment and the American Civil Liberties Union called the bill “unconstitutional”.

Given the strong support Israel enjoys in Washington it’s possible that the anti-BDS bill will eventually pass despite claims that it is unconstitutional. Israel, with the backing of anti-Palestinian lawmakers in the US, has been running a long battle to extinguish any movement resembling the anti-apartheid campaign that brought down the reign of white South Africa.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Egypt refuses Hamas’ request for Haniyeh to travel

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh during a conference in Gaza held to protest against the Manama Workshop on 26 June 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh during a conference in Gaza held to protest against the Manama Workshop on 26 June 2019 

Egypt has rejected a request by Hamas to allow the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, to travel to a number of countries including Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Russia.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Egyptian sources as saying that after postponing its response, Cairo finally rejected it saying that regional and security conditions do not allow for Haniyeh to travel.

The news site quoted a Hamas source as saying: “It is clear that Egypt completely object to Haniyeh’s foreign tour, in protest against the countries which he will visit.”

The source pointed out that Hamas has decided that Mousa Abu Marzouk will head the movement’s delegation to Moscow next week to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation file among other issues.

The source added that the visit has been postponed more than once in the hope that Egypt would allow Haniyeh to travel.

READ: Egypt delays Gaza talks ‘until further notice’ 

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Israel military reporter: Gaza war ‘not far away’, will be deadliest yet

Gaza after Israeli strikes on 5 May, 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

A Palestinian child can be seen among rubble after Israeli forces carried out air strikes in Gaza on 5 May 2019 

A new war between Israel and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip “is not far away”, and will be “will be deadlier and more destructive than any previous” offensive, according to a report by the Jerusalem Post’s military correspondent.

According to the analyst, Israeli officials “have repeatedly said that any future war with [Hamas]…will have to have a clear and decisive win by the Israeli military so that the other side will think twice about going to war in the future.”

The Military Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, “has already approved operational combat plans and recently set up an administrative unit to handle the formation of a list of potential targets in the coastal enclave for when the next war breaks out,” the Post reported.

READ: Israel has killed 16 Palestinian children in Gaza this year

“Ammunition and weapons have been restocked with four times the amount as before the last war, and military intelligence has hundreds of targets ready,” the paper’s correspondent added.

According to the correspondent, the Israeli military “knows the next war will include an all-out ground offensive”, and that “thousands of soldiers will enter Gaza, in tanks, armoured personnel carriers, under cover of massive air bombardments and navy gunboat fire”.

Acknowledging that “Gaza has been absolutely destroyed over the past 10 years”, including three major offensives against the blockaded territory, the analyst noted that “Hamas is desperate to secure an easing of Israeli restrictions…and an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade”.

Nevertheless, the report concluded, the Israeli army “needs to be able to win the next war with Gaza on Israel’s terms in the shortest time possible in order to restore long-term quiet to Israel.”

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

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian In Northern Gaza

12 JUL4:15 PM

Israeli soldiers shot, Friday, a young Palestinian man near Beit Lahia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and fired many live rounds at fishermen, and at an observation post near Gaza city and Khan Younis.

The soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence near Beit Lahia, fired many live rounds at the Palestinian, and injured him before moving him to an unknown destination.

Furthermore, the soldiers fired several live rounds at an observation post, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.

Media sources said the post is near the an-Najjar neighborhood, east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis.

In addition, Israeli navy ships fired several live rounds, and used water cannons, targeting Palestinian fishing boats, in Gaza Sea.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Army Seriously Injures A Palestinian Child In Kufur Qaddoum

12 JUL3:21 PM

Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, Friday, a Palestinian child, during the weekly nonviolent procession in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

The Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum said the soldiers attacked the protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, while many protesters responded by throwing stones at them.

He added that one child, identified as Yasser Eshteiwi, 10, was shot with a live round in the head, and was rushed to a local clinic before being moved to Rafidia Governmental Hospital, in Nablus, in northern West Bank.

The child remains in a critical condition due to his gunshot wound to the head.

The soldiers also invaded the town, and ambushed the protesters, in addition to trying to abduct some of them.

Kufur Qaddoum witnesses frequent Israeli invasions, assaults and abductions as it continues to hold is weekly nonviolent processions against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, and against the closure of the main road, which was blockaded by the military fifteen years ago, to enable easy access for colonialist settlers driving to and from the Kedumim colony, built on private Palestinian lands.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Illegal Israeli Colonists Occupy Palestinian Irrigation Wells

12 JUL5:49 PM

Several illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Friday, Khirbat Samra Palestinian village, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, and occupied irrigation wells.

Palestinian human rights activist, Aref Daraghma, said the colonists, occupied all the Palestinian wells, and prevented the farmers from using them, before using the water for their cows.

Daraghma added that the colonists prevented the Palestinians from using the well to feed their sheep, and planted trees in Khallet Hamad area, near the tents of local shepherds, in preparation to occupy the lands.

The Palestinians in the Northern Plains of the West Bank are subject to ongoing violations by the illegal Israeli colonialist settlers, and face frequent assaults and displacement by the Israeli soldiers.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Father: Gov’t Not Serious About Helping My Cancer-Stricken Daughter

Palestinian journalist Fathi Sabbah has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) government and its health ministry of not being serious about providing medical treatment for his daughter, Rima, who suffers from blood cancer.

In Facebook remarks, Sabbah said he received pledges from premier Mohamed Shtayyeh over the phone to personally follow up the case of his daughter after he published her story a few days ago.

He added that he was also phoned by Ahmed Abu Houli, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, who pledged to provide his daughter with appropriate medical treatment in hospitals like any citizen.

However, he affirmed that the medical referral to Hadassah Hospital in Israel only included a medical checkup without covering the expenses of medication.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Gaza Factions: We Will Not Allow Israel To Change Rules Of Engagement

The Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip have condemned the assassination of Mahmoud al-Adham from al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas as a “Zionist crime” and “foolishness,” holding the Israeli occupation state fully responsible for the consequences.

In a joint press release on Thursday, the resistance factions warned that the occupation state of testing their patience, adding it would pay dearly for its crimes in Gaza.

They affirmed that the resistance in Gaza would not allow the occupation to change the rules of engagement and impose new faits accomplis on the ground to serve its interests.

The Israeli occupation forces on Thursday morning carried out two shooting attacks on resistance observation posts in Gaza, killing one Qassam Brigades fighter.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Palestinian woman detained without charge or trial joins six more on hunger strike for freedom

As Palestinian prisoner Fidaa Damas launched her open hunger strike, the number of Palestinian prisoners continuing their hunger strike against Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial reached seven: Jafar Ezzedine, Ihsan Othman, Ahmad Zahran, Mohammed Abu Aker, Mustafa al-Hassanat, Huzaifa Halabiya Baderand Fidaa Damas. Damas, 25 and a student at Al-Quds Open University, is currently the only Palestinian female prisoner held in administrative detention of approximately 50 Palestinian women prisoners. From Beit Ummar near al-Khalil, she has been jailed since May 2018.

Fidaa Damas.

Jafar Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike since 16 June, when he was scheduled to be released from a five-month sentence in Israeli prison. Instead of returning to his waiting family in Jenin, he was instead ordered to three months in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Ezzedine is a veteran of administrative detention and has carried out four previous hunger strikes in the past against his imprisonment on the basis of secret evidence. Reports indicate that his health is deteriorating and he is experiencing serious pain. In retaliation for his protest, he has been thrown into solitary confinement and bared from family visits or the “canteen” (prison store.) He has also reported frequent night invasions by guards searching his room, depriving him of sleep.

Jafar Ezzedine 

Ihsan Othman, 21, a student at al-Quds University, has also been on hunger strike since 16 June. He was transferred to a hospital after the deterioration of his own health; he has been on hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been jailed since 12 September 2018; when held in administrative detention in the past, he participated in the Karameh hunger strike of 2017.

Ihsan Othman

Ahmad Zahran, 42, of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah has been on hunger strike since 20 June, protesting his administrative detention. He was previously imprisoned for 15 years in Israeli jails. His strike prompted his comrades also held in administrative detention, Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, Mustafa Hassanat, 21, and Huzaifa Halabiya, 28, to launch their own hunger strike on 1 July. All three were transferred on Sunday, 7 July from the Negev desert prison to solitary confinement in retaliation for their hunger strike. Their mattresses are confiscated every day from 6 am to 7 pm in order to prevent them from resting, despite the fact that they are experiencing extreme fatigue as a result of the strike.

Palestinian prisoner jailed without charge on hunger strike, Mustafa Hasanat

Abu Aker and Hassanat are both from Dheisheh refugee camp, where they are leading activists and community organizers. Halabiya is from Abu Dis, Jerusalem; he suffers from serious health problems as he was injured as a child, has burns over a significant percentage of his body and recently battled leukemia.

Huzaifa Halabiya

Five more prisoners suspended their strikes after receiving an agreement to end their administrative detention after 12 days without food: the five prisoners from Dura, near al-Khalil were brothers Mahmoud and Kayed al-Fasfous, Said al-Nammoura, Abdel-Aziz al-Suweiti and Ghandafar Abu Atwan.

Administrative detainees are discussing escalating protest steps to campaign against the ongoing policy of imprisonment without charge or trial. There are currently approximately 500 Palestinians jailed under administrative detention orders. Issued for one to six months at a time on the basis of secret evidence, these orders are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians regularly spend years at a time jailed under administrative detention.

The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a second statement, highlighting the growing calls for action:

“First, this week, other prisoners with administrative detention orders, including some transferred to administrative detention after the expiration of the unjust sentences imposed on them by the military occupation courts, will be joining the strike.

Second, we warn the prison administration and the occupation intelligence from their continued violations of the rights of hunger striking prisoners.

Third, we urge the masses of our people and the forces of the resistance to take action in support of the hunger striking prisoners through events, popular support and wide activities. In this role, we support the leading role of the committees to support the prisoners in Gaza for their many activities organized in support of the strikers. This is one of the most important pillars supporting the prisoners’ struggle and putting pressure on the levers of struggle for the prisoners and the hunger strikers in particular. We also appreciate the call of the national and Islamic forces in Ramallah to participate in actions on Tuesday in a national popular action to support the prisoners and reject all attempts to harm the Palestinian national liberation cause.

Fourth, we call on all movements in the national liberation struggle to develop their programs to support the administrative detainees and raise this issue in all levels and venues.

Fifth, we renew our call for former prisoners and administrative detainees, especially those who have previously engaged in hunger strikes, to participate in a day of support including a one-day hunger strike….

This united battle will widen and escalate and requires all support and solidarity to strengthen the prisoners who are engaged in this confrontation to enable them to achieve their goals.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

Tension Prevails Ahead of Egypt’s Delegation Arrival to Gaza

Hamas said that Israel will have to handle the consequences of killing Mahmoud Al-Adham

Tension has risen in Gaza with Israel killing a civil official in Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, amid escalating threats from both sides prior to the arrival of the Egyptian security delegation to the strip.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a field leader near the border of northern Gaza.

The Israeli army confirmed the forces fired on two “armed suspects approaching the fence in the northern Gaza Strip,” refusing to provide further details.

The health ministry in Gaza said that 28-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud al-Adham was shot and killed in Thursday’s incident near Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the territory.

Al-Qassam said that it would not let the death go “unpunished” and that Israel “would bear the consequences of this criminal act,” according to a statement. 

In response to this threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a meeting at city hall in the coastal city of Ashkelon: “I prefer that there be calm. But we are preparing for a campaign that is not only broad but also surprising.”

Interior Ministry spokesman in Gaza Iyad al-Bazm said that the ministry and the national security have conducted an emergency maneuver simulating an abrupt security threat – this falls under testing the readiness of the security bodies and forces.

Officials from Hamas said that the exercise imitated Israeli special forces units’ incursion.

According to the ministry’s statement, the maneuver was conducted due to the enemy’s attempts to subvert the security and the state’s ruling.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian delegation has convened with Israeli security officials and is planning to meet Hamas officials in Gaza to discuss understandings with Israel and the Palestinian reconciliation. Before Gaza, the delegation arrived in Ramallah to discuss the dispute about the reconciliation issue.

(Source / 12.07.2019)