PA launches new anti-money laundering banking system

Palestinian employees wait in front of Bank of Palestine to withdrew their salaries from an ATM on 11 June 2014 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinian employees wait in front of Bank of Palestine to withdrew their salaries from an ATM on 11 June 2014 

A new banking system has been adopted by the Palestine Monetary Authority which will enhance the environment of transparency on financial transactions to prevent any illegal business ties, money laundering, corruption and terrorism financing.

The banking accounts system called Know Your Customer was launched last month, and is widely used in international banking for its critical function in assessing and monitoring customer risks.

The goal, officials said, is to make sure all local bank transactions and economy are honest and based on legitimacy.

In a press release, the authority cited its governor, Azzam Shawwa, saying the closer scrutiny will help bridge a gap in financial and demographic data of customers and other financial institutions and help banks make sound decisions, as well as streamline the opening of new accounts and update customer data in real-time.

This comes after the government adopted a national strategy last year as a practical step to combat illegal transactions to prepare for an assessment by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, which represents 14 Arab governments, including the PA, seeking to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

READ: UN warns of eminent collapse of Palestine economy

However, Al-Monitor reported that the head of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, Atef Adwan, expressed concern for charities based in Gaza Strip as the new programme could delay or impede the arrival of funds due money arriving from various donors around the world through local banks.

He said: “The PA’s new system seeks to prevent the resistance factions such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip from obtaining money transfers from abroad.”

I, however, believe that these factions have unconventional tools for bringing in money from abroad.

“The PA’s restrictions on money transfers from abroad are mainly to tighten its siege on the Gaza Strip and subsequently weaken Hamas’ rule. That’s its strategic goal.”

In addition, economics professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City Mouin Rajab believes that the new steps seek to counter the informal economy in the Palestinian territories that is based on all forms of smuggling.

READ: Security coordination with PA helps Israel economy prosper

Last year, US Congress approved a new law that enables Americans who have been hurt in Palestinian resistance attacks to prosecute the Palestinian Authority (PA).

This, Haaretz reported, “gives the American courts jurisdiction to seize assets from any entity that receives foreign assistance from the US.”

It also said that the “legislation exposes the PA to potential lawsuits over past ‘terrorism’ and could even lead it to bankruptcy.”

Greater banking checks could help the PA avoid future lawsuits but improving checks and ensuring a clear funding paths.

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

On their day of release, Israel places Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention

Israeli forces brutally arrest a Palestinian man in Jerusalem on 1 October 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces brutally arrest a Palestinian man in Jerusalem on 1 October 2019

Israeli occupation authorities are placing Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention on the last day of their formal sentence, reported human rights group B’Tselem.

As the group explains in their latest briefing, Israeli occupation authorities use two procedures to imprison Palestinians from the West Bank: “criminal and administrative”.

In the former, a Palestinian is indicted in a military court based on “usually scant” evidence – often limited to a “confession” extracted under duress or torture. A common outcome is a plea deal between prosecution and defence, approved by the military judge.

Meanwhile, “in the administrative track”, the senior Israeli military commander for the West Bank will sign an arrest order “based on evidence that is kept from the detainee, as are the grounds for the arrest”. Without the evidence ever being revealed, the detainee has “no chance to refute it”.

READ: The Palestinians resisting Israel’s threats of detention and death 

At the end of August 2019, B’Tselem reported, “Israel was holding 413 Palestinian residents of the West Bank in administrative detention”.

The “major difference” between the two forms of detention “is the date of release”, the human rights group explained.

Whereas “in the criminal track, defendants are given a finite sentence to serve, after which they can expect to leave”, administrative detention “can be extended indefinitely – even on the very day of the scheduled release – leaving detainees in a state of uncertainty”.

Furthermore, in cases researched and documented in B’Tselem’s new briefing, the Israeli military “erased this one difference by imposing administrative detention on prisoners who had just finished serving the sentences imposed on them by the military court”.

READ: The political isolation of Palestinian prisoners

“The prisoners were notified of their transfer to administrative detention just prior to their release, when they were already preparing to reunite with their families,” B’Tselem stated.

“The result is unbearable uncertainty and stress for the prisoners and their families, which projects on other prisoners who also fear they will not be released when they finish serving their terms.”

B’Tselem added that “the military courts cooperate with this conduct”, confirming “the role of the military courts as one of the occupation’s most destructive mechanisms, which is yet another long arm of Israel’s control over the Palestinians.”

” #AdministrativeDetention has a beginning, but doesn’t have an end”

#Infographic by Visualizing Palestine

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Facebook takes down page of Palestine news site

Mark Zuckerberg seen delivering the keynote at the 2008 Facebook Developers' Conference, f8, on July 23, 2008 [Brian Solis / briansolis.com]

Mark Zuckerberg Chief Executive Officer of Facebook on 23 July 2008

Facebook on Wednesday deleted the page of the Palestinian InformationCentre (PIC) in a move, the news site says, which is part of its war on Palestinian content on social media networks.

The site’s management said Facebook provided them with no prior warning before deleting the page, which had nearly five million followers, without any justification.

They called on Facebook to reinstate the page and stop its battle against Palestinian content, saying they have contested the ban.

The Palestinian InformationCentre has previously been forced to suspend posting on Facebook after the social media giant banned the accounts of some of its directors. Member of management have also seen their accounts deleted and removed.

The blocking of the PIC’s page comes as part of an extensive campaign in recent weeks that included many Palestinian social media platforms.

READ: Facebook suspends Netanyahu’s page after incitement against Arabs

The Palestinian Information Centre was founded in December 1997 in Arabic, as the first Palestinian news site, dedicated to advocating the Palestinian cause and the Arab conflict with the Zionist occupier. It is biased in favour of the rights of the Palestinian people and their sanctities and the legitimate right to resist the occupier by all legitimate and internationally guaranteed means. It is the only Palestinian site that broadcasts its material in eight languages.

Earlier this week, journalists and activists in Palestine launched a social media campaign against Facebook’s censorship of Palestinian content.

Using the hashtag FBblocksPalestine, the drive hopes to bring to light “the threat posed by Facebook against Palestinian content, and to make it public, as well as reveal the double-standard policy of Facebook management in dealing with Israeli and Palestinian incitement on its site,” says Eyad Rifai, head of Sada Social Centre which is running the drive.

Israel pass Facebook Bill which will authorise deleting content considered incitement - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Arab Israelis block roads in call for greater police protection

Palestinian citizens protest police inaction by driving slowly towards the Prime Minister’s Office in hundreds of vehicles

Palestinian citizens of Israel protest calling for greater police presence in Arab communities to tackle violent crime on 10 October 2019
Palestinian citizens of Israel protest calling for greater police presence in Arab communities to tackle violent crime on 10 October 2019
Knesset Member Dr Yousef Jabareen can be seen with the Palestinian citizens of Israel protesting calling for greater police presence in Arab communities to tackle violent crime on 10 October 2019
Palestinian citizens of Israel protest calling for greater police presence in Arab communities to tackle violent crime on 10 October 2019
Palestinian citizens of Israel protest calling for greater police presence in Arab communities to tackle violent crime on 10 October 2019

Scores of Palestinian citizens of Israel drove slowly towards the Prime Minister’s Office in hundreds of vehicles to protest police inaction yesterday morning.

The protesters accuse Israel Police of neglecting Arab towns and villages called for government action to combat violence and crime in Arab communities, and demanded a meeting with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to resolve the lack of law enforcements in their villages.

Organised by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an extra-parliamentary umbrella organisation representing the Arab population of Israel, the convoy from Majd Al-Krum in northern Israel’s Galilee, caused heavy traffic on Israel’s main highways.

READ: Rising murder rates among Arab Israeli raises debate over police negligence

This came after the Arab Israeli community called for a general strike last week, closing schools and education institutions in the Arab sector, and began holding large demonstrations against rampant violence and murders in their towns.

Arab Member of the Israeli Knesset, Yousef Jabareen, told MEMO: “The block of roads by cars from the Galilee, the Triangle, to the coast and the Negev desert is the strongest message we send today.”

“A message that our people are uniting to face the epidemic of violence and crime and that our people are ready to increase their struggle more and more until authorities enforce the law as per their duty towards our Arab towns.”

“Our public struggle and our mutual solidarity are our guarantee to achieve our right to life, security and safety,” he added

“We stand at a historic crossroads and we cannot continue to tolerate the sounds of gunfire. The police and other law enforcement authorities must make an irreversible decision to collect weapons from our towns and to curb criminal gangs.”

READ: Israel’s excuses for shooting unarmed Palestinians don’t ring true

Violence in Israel’s Arab community has killed 73 people so far this year, a similar number of Arab citizens were killed during the whole of 2018.

According Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Arab sources said that obstacles to solving these cases within Arab communities include police arriving late to crime scenes.

Following the morning protest, leaders of the Joint List met with Erdan and senior police officials to discuss the formulation of a government plan to tackle the issue of violence in Arab society.

During the three-hour long meeting, Erdan informed Arab leaders that the police would allocate 620 officers to handle the rising violent crime in the Arab sector, as well as focus resources on investigating organised crime.

Chairman of the Arab-majority Joint List, Ayman Odeh, commented after the meeting that “there is certain progress in some important areas, but this is far from satisfying the will of Arab citizens.”

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Soldiers Fire At Palestinian Farmers East Of Gaza

11 OCT 12:07 AM

Israeli soldiers fired, Thursday, several rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian farmers in the ar-Taqa area, east of Gaza city.

Media sources said the soldiers fired the live rounds at the farmers who were not even close to the “buffer zone” near the fence but were just working on their lands.

They added that the farmers had to leave their lands in fear of further Israeli military escalation.

In related news, the soldiers fired many gas bombs at the Great Return March camp, east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Army Abducts A Student, Injures Several Young Men, In Ramallah

11 OCT 9:32 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, the al-‘Irsal neighborhood in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted a student of Birzeit University, from his home, after repeatedly assaulting him.

The soldiers invaded the family home of Fadi at-Tarsha, and repeatedly assaulted him while violently searching and ransacking the property, media sources said.

The sources added that the soldiers cuffed and blindfolded the young man and took him to an unknown destination.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Sateh Marhaba neighborhood in the al-Biereh nearby city, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at local youngsters, who protested the invasion and hurled stones at the army jeeps.

Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, before receiving treatment by local medics.

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

LAST SEPTEMBER: ‘ISRAEL’ ARRESTED 514 PALESTINIANS

Ramallah (QNN)- Israeli forces arrested last September 514 Palestinians, including 81 children and 10 women, according to a new report by Human Rights groups.

The human rights groups (The Palestinian Prisoners Club, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, and The Committee of Prisoners and Former Prisoners) stated in a joint report issued on Thursday that Israeli authorities arrested 175 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem, 54 from Ramallah and Bireh, 100 from occupied Hebron, 36 from Jenin, and 25 from Bethlehem. Others were arrested from Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilyah, Tubas, Salfit, Jericho, and Gaza.

The total number of arrested Palestinians until the end of last September has exceeded 5000, including 43 women and 200 children. The number of prisoners, who were arrested under administrative detention has reached 450. Meanwhile, 101 administrative detention orders were issued.

Israeli authorities continue to arrest 43 Palestinian women at the Damon jail, 16 of them are mothers of 59 children. Three female prisoners, Shorouq Badan, Alaa Basheer, and Hiba Labadi, are under administrative detention, the latest of them, who is a Jordanian citizen as well, has been on hunger strike for 18 days, protesting Israeli torture and administrative detention.

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Israel To Build 182 New Settlement Units In Jordan Valley

Israel’s Supreme Planning Council on Thursday approved the construction of new settlement units in the Jordan Valley.

Hebrew sources said that the move came in implementation of the Israeli government’s decision on 15 September to legalize the settler outpost Mevo’ot Yericho and approve it as a new settlement.

According to the Hebrew newspaper, the Supreme Planning Council has given the green light for building 182 housing units in the new settlement.

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Israeli Army Raid Health Work Committees Headquarters In Ramallah

Dozens of heavily armed Israeli soldiers raided the headquarters of the Health Work Committees in Ramallah, center of the West Bank, last night and destroyed some of its furniture, according to witnesses.

Soldiers smashed the main gates of the HWC building and forced their way inside, destroying and ransacking equipment and furniture, HWC said in an official statement.

The organization said Israeli soldiers clashed with residents who live in the same building housing its headquarters and used toxic gas to disperse them, causing cases of suffocation among civilians.

“The vandalism and raiding of the headquarters is in violation of the provisions of international law and international agreements that guarantee the protection of health institutions under occupation,” HWC said.

The statement concluded, “The Israeli campaign against Palestinian NGOs will not prevent them from continuing to provide their health, humanitarian and development services to Palestinian citizens who suffer from the policies of the [Israeli occupation and the attacks of the Israeli settlers.”

(Source / 11.10.2019) 

Dozens Suffocate From Israeli Teargas In Kafr Qaddum

Dozens of Palestinians suffocated on Friday as Israeli occupation forces fired teargas at them while taking part in the weekly anti-settlements protest in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank, local sources said.

Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters by rubber-coated rounds and chased some of them,  causing many cases of suffocation from teargas but no injuries.

For many years, villagers from Kafr Qaddum and neighboring villages have been organizing a nonviolent protest on Fridays against illegal Israeli settlements, and to call on Israeli authorities to reopen the village’s main road, which has been sealed by the occupation authorities since 2002.

(Source / 11.10.2019)