Israel officer arrested on suspicion of smuggling mobile phones to Palestine prisoners

Image of smart phones [Steve Paine/Flickr]

Smart phones 

Israeli news sources revealed that a high-ranking Israeli prison officer has been arrested on Monday morning, pending an investigation into the smuggling of mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners in Nafkha Penitentiary, located in the Negev desert, south of occupied Palestine.

Some of the prisoners in Nafkha Penitentiary are serving long sentences due to accusations of carrying out operations against Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, disclosed that it is suspected that the prison officer had used his position to smuggle mobile phones.

READ: Israel fined Palestinian minors $15,500 in December

The newspaper indicated that the officer was arrested after a number of weeks of follow-ups by the Shin Bet security agency. Other suspects are reported to have also been arrested by Israeli police, on suspicion of involvement in the smuggling of phones to prisoners.

The prison officer had been working as the deputy commander of the prison and has been convicted of several charges including: “Working to help a terrorist organisation, establishing a prohibited relationship between jailer and prisoner, receiving bribes, fraud and breach of trust and conspiring to commit a crime.”

The newspaper stated that the officer smuggled dozens of cell phones, and that investigations are being conducted with a number of prisoners linked to Fatah, for their possible involvement in the case.

Officers of the Israeli Prison Service special operations units conducted extensive inspections in the prison on Sunday, where several mobile phones were found.

READ: Israel forces assault Palestinian prisoners at Megiddo Prison

On 21 March 2017 an Israeli court convicted a member of the Arab KnessetBasel Ghattas, of smuggling mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with a fine of 120,000 shekels ($34,000).

It is worth noting that the occupation authorities prohibit Palestinian prisoners from making phone calls to their families, therefore forcing them to rely on smuggling phones as the only method of communication outside of the prison.

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(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Israel excludes youth from Al-Aqsa for 3 months

Jerusalemite Anass Muhammad Abu Homos [safa]

Jerusalemite Anass Muhammad Abu Homos 

Israel Occupation’s police, Monday, deported the young Jerusalemite Anas Muhammad Abu Hummus from the village of Al-Issawiya from the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and its entrances for three months.

The activist, Muhammad Abu Al-Hummus, told Safa news agency that the occupation police arrested his son Anas a week ago from the vicinity of the prayer area of Al-Rahma Gate (Bab Al-Rahma). This occurred while he was in a university exam and took him to the Al-Qishleh police station in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.

READ: Israeli foreign minister cancels visit to Dubai

Abu Al-Hummus added that the police released his son Anas after handing him over a decision to remove his son from the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a week, on a condition that he returns after the end of the week to receive another decision to deport him for several months.

“It was not the first time that Anas was excluded from Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abu Al-Hummus explained, “as he had been expelled twice before, the first for four months and the second for two months.” “He was severely beaten during the recent events of Bab El Rahma’s prayer area,” Anas’ father added.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

PA pays Israel electricity company $200m

A worker walks at the site where a new electricity plant will be built in Jalamah, near the West Bank town of Jenin, following the signing of a new contract on July 10, 2017. [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

A worker walks at the site where a new electricity plant will be built in Jalamah, near the West Bank town of Jenin, following the signing of a new contract on July 10, 2017

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has paid Israeli Electric Corporation 700 million shekels ($202 million) in part payment for debts it has accrued, Israel’s Reshet Bet radio station reported yesterday.

Quoting a PA source, the channel said that the money was borrowed from Palestinian banks and makes up part payment of the 1.8 billion shekel ($512 million) debt.

According to the Israeli radio, the PA has already transferred ten per cent of the payment and is to pay the remaining funds this week.

PA officials told Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan that the electricity supply to the occupied territory would not be improved very much despite the payment, adding that power outages will continue.

READ: Egypt using fake electricity meter readings to overcharge users

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

14 fatal workplace injuries in West Bank

Workers can be seen at a construction site in Jerusalem 10 June 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Workers can be seen at a construction site in Jerusalem 10 June 2012 

The Palestinian Ministry of Labour confirmed that 2019 was unprecedented in the number of fatal workplace injuries in the West Bank and in Israel.

Likewise, the number of non-fatal workplace injuries has doubled since 2018.

The ministry indicated that last year 14 fatal workplace injuries were recorded in the West Bank and 28 others in the 1948 territories.

Firas Abu Hammad, head of the Occupational Health and Safety Department in the Ministry of Labour, said that “the construction sector is one of the most dangerous in Palestine.”

He continued: “The preventive aspect of occupational safety and health measures and requirements for workers and employers, therein, are severely deficient. Consequently, the extent of the commitment of labourers and employers alike to those measures is also insufficient, which leads to recording high rates of injuries, especially in this sector. This careless attitude towards undertaking the necessary preventive measures is due to the failing role of the employers’ and worker’s representatives to raise awareness and provide their peers with the required guidelines to occupational safety and health procedures.

READ: Israeli soldier puts a snake inside a Palestinian car

Abu Hammad added that about 70 per cent of the fatal workplace injuries recorded in 2019 occurred in the construction sector, which witnessed an increase of labour force in 2019 compared to 2018.

Statistics of the Ministry of Labour indicated that fatal workplace injuries in the West Bank, recorded between 2015 and 2019, reached a peak in 2015 with 21 fatal accidents, while the documented number of injuries in 2016 and 2019 was the same, 14 injuries. Thus, the percentage of injuries declined in 2017, recording 11 fatal injuries.

According to a report issued by the ministry today, Monday, the year 2018 witnessed the lowest rate of fatal workplace injuries during the five years, by recording only seven injuries. It is noticeable that in the period between 2015 and 2018, there was a general decrease in the number of fatal workplace injuries recorded by the Ministry of Labour. However, in 2019 the number of those injuries dramatically increased, doubling the rate compared to 2018.

Regarding the number of recorded workplace injuries in the West Bank in the period between 2015 and 2019, the highest number of documented accidents took place in 2019, reaching 880, followed by 808 work injuries in 2017, 776 cases in 2018, and 682 cases in 2016, with the lowest level of injuries recorded in 2015, reaching 664 injuries. Thus, the Ministry of Labour has become more aware of the importance of recording and documenting this type of injuries.

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On the 2020 plan of the Inspection and Labour Protection Directorate in of the Ministry of Labour to reduce the number of fatal workplace injuries, Ali Al-Sawi, Director-General of Inspection and Labour Protection Directorate indicated that “the most important interventions the directorate will take to reduce fatal workplace injuries are directed to the construction sector at a national scale and throughout the year, as long as the largest percentage of these injuries are recorded in this sector. The directorate will focus its field visits on construction sites in all the country’s governorates. Thus, professional reforms will be conducted in these sites, and strict legal measures will be taken against the employers, who do not comply with the regulations.”

As for the number of fatal workplace injuries in the Israel recorded by the Ministry of Labour between 2015 and 2019, the year 2019 witnessed the highest rate of fatal injuries, 28, followed by 26 injuries in 2015, 25 injuries in 2018, and 24 injuries in 2016, to record the lowest rate of documented injuries in 2017, which is 15. It is noticeable from these numbers that the recorded rates of fatal workplace injuries inside Israel are generally close during the past five years.

Regarding the number of recorded workplace injuries in the Israel in the period between 2015 and 2019, the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 witnessed the highest rates of injuries, reaching successively 427, 492 and 513, while the level of documentation in the Green Line decreased in 2018 and 2019, respectively, to 318 and 316.

Abdel Kareem Mardawi, head of the External Employment Unit, stated that the preventive measures would crystallise through conducting awareness-raising campaigns and education sessions for workers in the Israel about the health risks and physical injuries resulting from workplace accidents.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Hamas: PA arrested 195 members in one week

Palestinians come together to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Hams in Gaza on 16 December 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians come together to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Hams in Gaza on 16 December 2019 

Hamas yesterday said that the local security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank had arrested 195 its members in a week.

The Hamas explained in a statement that the detainees were “ex-prisoners, former political detainees, and university students from Nablus and Hebron.”

“Since the call for an election by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 26 December, the PA security forces have been carrying out arrests against Hamas members to obtain information about the movement’s activities and potential presidential candidates,” the statement added.

READ: How should we interpret Hamas’ attendance at the funeral of Iran’s general?

The PA security forces, he pointed out, had stormed Hamas members’ 144 homes and confiscated some 3,000 shekels (around $866), 55 cell phones, ten computers, and hundreds of banners and books.

Israel and the PA have been carrying out a crackdown against Hamas’ activists and supporters, including former ministers in the resigned Hamas government, legislators, university academics, journalists and unionists. Hamas condemns the joint efforts. Hamas considers the move as a coordinated campaign to prevent their participation in the upcoming elections

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Israel moves detained Palestinian minors in violation of law

A Palestinian throws a stone to Israeli forces as Israeli security forces intervene them during a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, near the Ofer Prison in Ramallah, West Bank on 5 October, 2019

Palestinian minors detained in Israel’s Ofer prison were transferred to Damon Prison in Haifa without the presence of adult representatives, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said in a statement, in violation of the law.

The relocation of the 33 Palestinian minors by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) was criticised by Palestinian activists and human rights groups as it goes against the law that states prisoners under the age of 18 cannot be moved from one prison to another without adult representatives.

“This move puts the minors at risk of abusive measures by the IPS in the absence of their adult overseers,” the PPS said.

Amina Al-Tawil, a researcher at the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, told Al Jazeera: “In addition to the risk of being physically abused by Israeli forces, this transfer puts the lives of these Palestinian children in danger.”

“During this cold weather, the minors will not have access to heaters or even adequate clothing to keep warm. Some of them have also sustained injuries during their arrests, which can get worse throughout the move.”

READ: Israel officer arrested on suspicion of smuggling mobile phones to Palestine prisoners

Damon prison, which has been described as inhumane and not to standard, is “one of the worst prisons,” Al-Tawil said.

“Its cells, according to released prisoners who had previously spent time there, are full of mould and not fit for human use,” she added.

In addition, Damon houses Israeli prisoners held on criminal charges, such as murder, robbery and drug trafficking. While Israel does not hold Palestinian security prisoners in the same cells as Israeli criminals, the threat to Palestinians comes during the transfer journey in the van on the way to prison through a transportation method known as “Bosta”.

The “bostas” are blacked-out vehicles wherein Palestinian prisoners are cuffed all the way to the prison while sitting on metal chairs during rides that can last hours, in tightly divided cells with no rest stops, food or toilet breaks.

Ofer prison is located on the outskirts of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, whereas the Damon facility is in the coastal Israeli city of Haifa.

Currently, there are 200 minors in Israeli jails, scattered in Ofer, Damon and Megiddo, reported Al Jazeera.

READ: Israel fines Palestinian prisoner $286,000

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Detainee Zahran Suspends Hunger Strike

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees Affairs has reported that detainee Ahmad Zahran, 42, has suspended the hunger strike, which lasted for 113 days, after reaching an agreement with the Israeli Prison Authority regarding his continued Administrative Detention without charges or trial.

Lawyer Jawad Bulus, the head of the Legal Unit of the Palestinian Commission of Detainees, issued a statement, Tuesday, declaring that Zahran has suspended the hunger strike after reaching an agreement transferring him for interrogation, instead of being held under the arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial.

Bulus stated that Zahran’s lawyers were part of the talks and the resulting agreement.

Bulus added that the detainee will await the results of the interrogation, especially since he has been held under repeatedly renewed Administrative Detention orders since Match of 2019.

The latest Administrative Detention order against him is scheduled to end on February 26th.

Bulus also said that the Israeli Military Court denied an appeal for his release, filed in his case on January 7th, citing the need for him to be interrogated.

He added that Israeli interrogators from the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation center in occupied Jerusalem, tried to question him on the 90th day of his hunger strike, in the Ramla Prison, but were unable to do so due to the serious deterioration in his health condition.

The Detainees’ Commission said Zahran was subjected to torture during his strike, and that he was moved to solitary confinement on the same day he started the hunger strike, in addition to being repeatedly transferred to various prisons and detention facilities, an issue that caused further health complications.

The Commission added that Zahran lost around 40 Kilograms (88 Pounds) of his bodyweight, in addition to being unable to walk or even stand, and his heartbeats reached in some cases to 35 per minute.

It is worth mentioning that Zahran is from Deir Abu Mashal town, near the central west Bank city of Ramallah, and was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, spending more than 15 years behind bars.

In July of 2019, Zahran started a hunger strike which lasted for 39 days, and only ended it when he received “guarantees” that his Administrative Detention will be stopped, and he will be released, however, the Israeli Authorities unilaterally voided the agreement.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Israeli Settlers Stone Palestinian Homes in Nablus Area

Israeli settlers, today, attacked Palestinian residents’ homes with stones, in the village of Madama, to the south of Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, according to a local activist.

Ghassan Daghlas, a local official in charge of the anti-settlement file in the northern West Bank, said that residents managed to fend off the attack; no injuries were reported.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli information center for human rights in occupied territories, “Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property.

“In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks. Investigations, if even opened, are usually closed with no action taken against perpetrators as part of an undeclared policy of leniency. The long-term effect of this violence is the dispossession of Palestinians from increasing parts of the West Bank, making it easier for Israel to take over land and resources,” said B’Tselem.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Soldiers Abduct Nineteen Palestinians In The West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, nineteen Palestinians, including siblings, from several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS office in Jenin, in northern West Bank, said the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes in several parts of the governorate, and abducted six Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Yousef Atatra, Jasser Eyad Atatra, Mo’tasem Fawwaz Issa, and his brother Mohammad, from ‘Aneen village, in addition to Mahmoud Eid Hanaisha and Yasser Ahmad Abu ar-Rob, from Qabatia town.

In Hebron governorate, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Anas Yacoub Mahfouth, Ahmad Harbi Abu Rmeila, Nidal Abdul-Fattah Badawi and his brother Jihad, after invading and searching their homes.

Another Palestinian, identified as Bassam Abu Aisha, from Hebron, was abducted while on his way to welcome Hasan al-‘Oweiwi, a political prisoner who was on his way back home after being released from an Israeli prison.

Also in Hebron, the soldiers invaded the home of Ali Salhab, a political prisoner who was taken prisoner eighteen years ago, and is scheduled to be released next week, and assaulted his mother, causing cuts and bruises.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched many homes, before abducting Mahmoud Ibrahim Taqatqa, 17, Mohammad Hatem Deeriyya, 17, and Ayham Ghassan Thawabta, 17.

In Jericho, the soldiers abducted three Palestinians, identified as Haitham Awwad Jaraheed, Abdul-Mon’em Jaraheed, and Hamza Abu Rmeila.

In Tubas, in northeastern west Bank, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Anwar Daraghma, 27, from his home.

In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Mahmoud Rayyan, 26, from Beit Doggo town, in addition to Ismael Affana, who was taken prisoner minutes after his release from prison, after he was held captive for 18 years.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

‘ISRAEL’ TO BUILD MORE JAILS TO DEAL WITH INCREASING NUMBER OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli government has approved a plan to build more jails in order to deal with the increasing number of Palestinian political prisoners.

Israeli media said that the so-called “housing council” has approved a plan to build more jails to reduce the pressure on the existing jails. The plan aims at constructing four prison complexes, which contain several facilities specialized for political, criminal, and minor prisoners.

The new jails are supposed to be built in Haifa and the South. The construction is planned to be completed in 2040.

The occupation state has already 30 prison facilities, most of them are very old and very crowded.

At the end of November 2019, there were at least 4,638 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners being held in Israeli facilities, including 303 from the Gaza Strip, according to B’Tselem. The Israelis carry out daily arrest campaigns throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, arresting dozens of Palestinians on a daily basis. They also occasionally arrest Palestinians from the Gaza border areas after intruding into the enclave.

(Source / 14.01.2020)