Hamas condemns US assassination of Qassem Soleimani

Iranian Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani,

Iranian Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani. [File photo]

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has condemned the US assassination of senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Islamic Jihad in Palestine also condemned the killing in an air raid carried out by the US in Iraq.

In separate statements, both Palestinian factions blamed America for the instability in the region thanks to Washington’s unconditional support for the colonial-settler state of Israel.

“We mourn the death of Soleimani and the other Iranian commanders killed in an air raid carried out by the US,” Hamas said. “The movement also offers its sincere condolences to our brothers in Iraq for the killing of many Iraqis in the same raid.”

The Hamas statement pointed out that Major General Qassem Soleimani played a major and critical role in supporting Palestinian resistance at all levels. “On this sad occasion, Hamas condemns the US bullying that creates disputes and upheavals in the regions, just to serve the interests of the Israeli occupation.”

READ: Pentagon says Iranian commander Soleimani was developing plans to attack Americans 

Islamic Jihad added its condolences: “With much honour and sadness, we mourn the death of the senior commander, who was a prominent supporter for the Palestinian resistance for decades. He was assassinated by the Zio-American enemy — the big Satan.”

The movement added that the Palestinian resistance groups will not be weakened by the Iranian General’s killing. “They will continue towards the liberation of Palestine.”

At the same time, Islamic Jihad mourned the death of commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who was a prominent leader of the Iraqi resistance against the US invasion of Iraq.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Report: Israel issued 1,022 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in 2019

Palestinians take part during a protest against the administrative detention, in front of Red Cross office in Gaza city on 22 February 2018

The Palestinian Prisoners Centre for Studies said yesterday that Israel has issued 1,022 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in 2019.

The group said in a statement that there were ten per cent more administrative detention orders – imprisonment without charge or trial – issued by Israeli courts in 2019 compared to 2018 when 920 orders were documented.

Spokesman Riyad Al-Ashqar said 380 new administrative detention orders were issued in 2019; the majority against previously freed prisoners, compared with 642 renewals.

Some prisoners had their detention orders renewed for the sixth time, Al-Ashqar  explained.

Twenty per cent of the orders were issued I the occupied West Bank cities of hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem.

PLO official: Israel obstructing Palestine elections 

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Israel Police disguised as Palestinians attacked by Jewish settlers

Israeli settlers express their anger in front of Israeli policemen in West Bank 31 August 2018 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

Israeli settlers express their anger in front of Israeli policemen in West Bank 31 August 2018 

Israeli police officers impersonating Palestinian technicians were attacked by two teenagers in the illegal Jewish settlement of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion located in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

According to a right-wing NGO, the Honenu organisation, the two policemen were approached by the teens who enquired as to why they were there, after receiving no clear answer, one of the settlers struck an officer, while the other was sprayed with pepper spray. Both of the suspects have been arrested and questioned.

Haaretz has reported that the police have not issued a statement on the operation, only confirming that one policeman was lightly wounded.

READ: Israel issued 1,022 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in 2019

Although in some parts of the West Bank it is common to employ Arabs as labourers, the settlers of Bat Ayin adhere to the discriminatory and racist principle of “Hebrew labour” whereby the community does not employ Arabs at all.

A lawyer acting on behalf of one of the accused has described the Israeli police as causing a provocation in disguising themselves as Palestinians, “as everybody knows, this is a stressful time”.

Russia Today reported that last month an unnamed security official highlighted a sharp uptick in settler violence against Palestinians near Bat Ayin over the preceding weeks and that the perpetrators were coming to the settlement from Yitzhar, another recent hotspot for ethnically-motivated violence, because of a military crackdown on the anti-Palestinian attacks in that area.

B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has described settler violence as being backed by the state, with the authorities shirking responsibility in protecting Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank amid violence towards themselves and their property.

READ: Israel killed 149 Palestinians, including 33 children in 2019, NGO

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Soldiers Injure Many Palestinians In Beit Ummar

Israeli soldiers injured, on Thursday evening, several Palestinians in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media activist Mohammad Awad said several army jeeps invaded the ath-Thaher area, south of Beit Ummar, and attacked protesters with live rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades.

Awad added that the soldiers randomly fired gas bombs and concussion grenades, many of them striking homes in the area.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said its medics rushed to the area, and provided the needed treatment to many Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and added that some of the wounded fainted due to the severe effects.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Shu’fat refugee camp, in occupied Jerusalem, before storming and ransacking several homes.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Israel to Demolish Family Home of 2 Palestinian Prisoners

Israeli forces notified the family of two Palestinian prisoners, on Thursday, of an order to demolish their home in Kobar town, northwest of Ramallah city, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

Widad Barghouthi, a media professor at Birzeit University, said that Israeli military forces broke into her family’s house in the village, held the occupants in one room and inspected their ID cards.

She added that soldiers wrecked havoc on the home in addition to taking photos and measurements in preparation for the planned punitive demolition.

Barghouthi, who teaches media studies, was rounded up by Israeli forces during a predawn invasion into the village on September 1, 2019, and held for 16 days before being released on September 17.

Barghouthi’s sons, Karmel and Qassam, are currently imprisoned in Israel.

Karmel, a 30-year-old father of two children who graduated from Birzeit University with a degree in accounting, was detained on September 1 at a military checkpoint while returning from a wedding party in Hebron. Qassam, 25, graduated from al-Quds University with a degree in journalism, was arrested a few days earlier during an Israeli incursion into his hometown.

They have been detained purportedly for being affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Israel resorts to punitively demolishing the family homes of Palestinian prisoners as a way to discourage any future attacks against Israelis, a policy that Israel does not apply to Israeli settlers involved in attacks against Palestinians.

Under the Fourth Geneva Conventions, “No protected person may be punished for any offense he or she has not personally committed.” This offence constitutes collective punishment, which is war crime under international law.

The policy was widely condemned by human rights groups as “a collective punishment” as well as “a war crime and crime against humanity”.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Palestinian Moderately Injured After Being Rammed By Israeli Colonists’ Car

Palestinian medical sources have reported that a young man was injured, on Thursday evening, after illegal Israeli colonialist settlers rammed him with his car, near Bethlehem, south of occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

The sources said that the young man, Bilal Sa’id Ghazal, 20, suffered moderate wounds, before he was rushed by medics of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to a local hospital.

Eyewitnesses said the colonists rammed the young man with his car, before fleeing the scene.

It is worth mentioning that such incidents are frequent in the occupied West Bank, and have led to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, while the Israeli army and police failed to investigate these crimes, or conduct a proper investigation.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

IRAN PROMISES ‘CRUSHING REVENGE’ ON AMERICA FOR ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL QASSEM SOLEIMANI

Iran has promised ‘crushing revenge’ on the United States of America for the assassination of its highest ranking general Qassem Soleimani, while Iraq’s prime minister has predicting a ‘devastating war’ will ravage his country.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of ‘severe revenge’ for ‘the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his (Soleimani’s) blood’. His Defense Minister Amir Hatami said vengeance would be ‘crushing.’

Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force and responsible for shaping Iran’s foreign policy throughout the Middle East, was killed in a drone strike shortly after arriving at Baghdad airport in the early hours of Friday.

The missiles also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which besieged the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi warned the rocket strike would ‘spark a devastating war in Iraq,’ adding that the assault by the US was ‘a brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and blatant attack on the nation’s dignity.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Israeli Police Assault Worshipers At Al-Aqsa

Photos File

Photos File

Israeli occupation police on Thursday evening assaulted several Palestinian worshipers and detained two of them, while they were present at Bab al-Rahma prayer area inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem, witnesses told WAFA news agency.

Police officers broke into Bab al-Rahma and physically assaulted the worshipers and attacked them with teargas, for no reason. At least two of the worshipers were detained by the police during the attack.

The prayer area was reopened in February 2019 after it had been closed at Israeli police orders for 16 years under the claim of a court order, which turned out to be false.  

The Islamic Waqf department, in charge of running the affairs of the mosque, has insisted on keeping the Bab al-Rahma prayer area open to Muslim worship after it became clear to them that Israel wants to keep it off for Muslims in order to give Jewish fanatics, who call for rebuilding their temple inside Al-Aqsa compound, free access and presence in the area.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Israeli Forces Raid, Ransack Tents In Jordan Valley

Photos File

Photos File

Israeli occupation forces raided on Thursday afternoon residential tents and terrorized their residents in the village of Ein Hilweh in the Jordan Valley region in the West Bank, according to local sources.

Mahdi Daraghmeh, a local activist, told WAFA that five Israeli security guards in casual wear raided tents in the village, searched and ransacked them and terrorized their residents.

Daraghmeh said an Israeli army force raided the village while the guards were conducting the search and remained there for about two hours.

Yesterday, Israeli forces raided Atouf area in the Jordan Valley and dismantled tents and animal barns belonging to Palestinian Bedouins.

For years, Israel has been trying to completely and illegally annex the Jordan Valley, which forms 30% of the area of the West Bank, to its sovereignty by attempting to gradually drive the local Palestinian population out of the area.

Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also many times pledged to annex all the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and a large part of the Jordan Valley.

(Source / 03.01.2020) 

Palestinian student Mays Abu Ghosh speaks out on Israeli abuse and torture under interrogation

Mays Abu Ghosh

Palestinian journalism student Mays Abu Ghosh spoke with lawyers from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, discussing her torture and mistreatment under interrogation for over 30 days. A student at Bir Zeit University from Qalandiya refugee camp, Mays Abu Ghosh, 22, is a writer and student activist who has worked to publicize the struggles of Palestinian political prisoners and Palestinian refugees.

Mays Abu Ghosh seized by Israeli occupation forces

In her statement to the lawyers, Abu Ghosh recalled that she was seized by Israeli occupation forces in a violent raid on 29 August 2019, when the armed soldiers removed the door of her family home and invaded it, ransacking her and her family’s belongings, blindfolding and cuffing her and then taking her to an occupation military camp near Qalandiya checkpoint. While she was held there, the soldiers dragged her violently as she was handcuffed and blindfolded while cursing at her and screaming in her face.

Later, Mays was transferred to the Moskobiyeh interrogation center. She was strip-searched and then transferred to the interrogation cells. She recalled that her interrogations lasted for many hours at a time while she was shackled to a small chair inside a very cold cell. After six days, the “military interrogation” began with her, which included the use of stress positions like the “banana” and “squatting” or the “false chair” for long periods of time, in an attempt to coerce a false confession from her.

Illustration of the “banana” position 

She was slapped, beaten and deprived of sleep. This “military interrogation” continued for three days, during which all of these torture tactics continued. Abu Ghosh said that at one time, she tried to escape from the interrogators and sit in one of the corners of the cell, but the interrogator began slamming her head against the wall, kicking her while yelling obscenities. Next, interrogators deliberately brought her brother and her parents in an attempt to coerce her into confessing by threatening to detain them. Her 17-year-old brother was later ordered to administrative detention, without charge or trial, despite being a minor.

Mays said that the interrogation cells have extremely harsh conditions, lacking the basic elements for human life. The walls are concrete and rough, the mattress is thin, without a cover or a pillow, and the lights are kept on 24/7 even as loud sounds constantly disturb the prisoners. She also noted that the meals provided were very poor and that wastewater would enter her cell and flow onto the mattress.

Images of Shatha Hassan and Mays Abu Ghosh at the march in Ramallah in support of Ahmad Zahran, on hunger strike for 99 days 

She said that at one time, a large rat entered her cell, which she believes was intentionally entered by the interrogators in order to further torment her. They repeatedly delayed in responding to the simplest requests, for example to access the bathroom, and was repeatedly provoked and ridiculed. After 30 days of this treatment under interrogation, she was transferred to the Damon prison, where she remains today, with her fellow Palestinian women prisoners. She is charged in the Israeli military courts – which convict over 99% of Palestinian detainees – with involvement in student activities on the Bir Zeit University campus. Her brother’s administrative detention has been renewed again and he continues to be jailed without charge or trial.

Mays’ family earlier spoke about their experience in being brought to see her under interrogation, noting that the signs of torture were visible on her face and body. “Her face was full of bruises and her body is very pale. I could not hug her due to the pain hurting all of her body,” said her mother. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association convened a press conference on 23 December highlighting the torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, including Abu Ghosh.

Palestinian imprisoned student Mays Abu Ghosh supports freedom for Georges Ibrahim Abdallah

Mays Abu Ghosh and Samah Jaradat are two of many Palestinian students who are being targeted by the Israeli occupation for arrest and imprisonment for their involvement in student activities on campus. Shatha Hassan, chair of the Bir Zeit University student council board, has been ordered to four months of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. There are hundreds of Palestinian university students held in Israeli jails, including approximately 80 from Bir Zeit alone.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the broadest possible action and mobilization to support Mays Abu Ghosh and Palestinian students jailed by the Israeli occupation forces. We urge students around the world to hold events, vigils and informational actions to highlight the struggle of Palestinian students under occupation and all people of conscience to develop the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Freedom for Mays Abu Ghosh and all Palestinian students! 

(Source / 03.01.2020)