Report: 110 Palestinian women held in Syria prisons, 34 tortured to death

Amnesty launches Campaign to disclose fate of detainees in Assad prisons [Twitter]

Syrian prison

The Syrian regime has been holding 110 Palestinian women in secret detention throughout its vast prison network, with a large number of them tortured to death, a human rights organisation has found.

The London-based organisation Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) revealed that in addition to at least 486 Palestinian women who have been pronounced dead since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, 110 others have been secretly detained by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and at least 34 have been tortured to death within its prisons.

The group has stated that it believes the number of Palestinian women who have been killed overall throughout the war are much higher than is officially acknowledged, as the regime has reportedly kept their names secret and left their cases undocumented, as well as the fact that many families of the victims refuse to reveal their relatives’ names out of fear of retaliation by the regime.

Syria: ‘I finally learnt how to enjoy the torture,’ says former prisoner

The organisation cited the accounts of former Palestinian female detainees of the regime who said that they were regularly subjected to intense psychological and physical torture during their detention, including heavy beatings with irons sticks, electric shocks and rampant sexual abuse.

Tactics used by the Assad regime and its security forces to crush descent have long been known, and the horrors of its prison system have been documented by many organisations and recounted by former detainees, but the plight of women from the Palestinian population within Syria is not as well known.

Nine years into the conflict and up to January this year, AGPS has reported that 4,013 Palestinians in Syria have been killed so far.

The forgotten Palestinians in the Syrian hell

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

West Bank closure will shut down 67% of construction sites in Israel

Palestinian youths from the village of Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, try to remove cement blocks from the village entrance on February 15, 2020, which have been set-up by the army in the wake of the announcement of a proposed controversial US Middle East peace plan last month [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian youths from the village of Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, try to remove cement blocks from the village entrance on February 15, 2020, which have been set-up by the army in the wake of the announcement of a proposed controversial US Middle East peace plan last month 

An Israeli closure of the occupied West Bank in response to the coronavirus crisis will be a disaster for the country’s construction business, reported Globes.

According to Israel Builders Association President Raul Srugo: “A closure will mean that 70,000 Palestinian workers will be unable to work in Israel, and that will shut down two-thirds of all projects in Israel almost completely.”

“This will have a far-reaching effect, even more than what is happening in the civil aviation and tourism industries. The damage to the construction sector will be enormous,” he added.

READ: New settler-only road will allow Israel to annex West Bank settlement

“What I am trying to do now is prevent a closure on the territories,” affirmed Srugo.

The comments demonstrate the dependency of the Israeli construction business on Palestinian labour, and the consequences of the closure of Bethlehem being extended more broadly (Srugo noted that “8,000 Palestinian workers” come from the city).

Srugo also told Globes that 500 workers from China who went on vacation in January “did not return, and we are starting to feel the effect”.

According to the report, the heads of the Israel Builders Association met MK Nir Barkat last week “in an attempt to deliver a clear message – a closure on Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] means an immediate halt at a large proportion of the thousands of building sites all over Israel.”

Yigal Govrin, Israel Association of Construction and Infrastructure Engineers chair and Waxman Govrin Geva Engineering co-owner told the site: “The big question is how long the event will continue. If the crisis persists, the problems will increase.”

READ: Palestine plans to close crossings with Jordan due to coronavirus

“You have to look at what stage each project is in. Projects in the early stages are less vulnerable at this point, but if you are in the advanced stages, the picture changes.”

“We are already experiencing problems caused by delay in the supply chain for building materials, while there are problems with the alternatives to China. Italy is not an alternative, and the problem also exists in Turkey. There is already the beginning of unfair exploitation of the situation through price hikes of building materials. There are suppliers who are grabbing this opportunity.”

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

Israel paper slams latest plans for ‘apartheid’ highway in West Bank

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, 6 December 2015 [Brookings Institution/Flickr]

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, 6 December 2015

Israeli newspaper Haaretz has slammed plans for new “apartheid” transport infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, in a scathing lead editorial.

“While the public’s attention is focused on the coronavirus and the endless attempts to form a government,” the paper wrote, “Israel has started planning a new road in the West Bank that Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has already nicknamed ‘the sovereignty road’.”

‘Sovereignty’ is the language used to refer to annexation by its proponents.

According to Haaretz, “this is a separate road for Palestinians, and it will let Israel build a settlement in the E1 region”, an area of 4.6 square miles “that has been appended to the municipality of Ma’aleh Adumim [settlement]”.

The paper notes that the road’s “declared intention is to divert Palestinian traffic from Route 1 to a road that will pass through the area’s Palestinian villages and leave Route 1 ‘free’ of Palestinians”. The new road “is supposed to run underneath” the Separation Wall.

OPINION: Palestinians’ names often reflect their heritage and challenge the occupation

In Bennett’s words, this “will prevent unnecessary friction with the Palestinian population.”

The editorial added that the new road is “a continuation of the ‘apartheid road’ that has separate lanes for Israelis and Palestinians with a wall dividing the lanes.”

“At least Bennett isn’t hiding his plans,” stated Haaretz. “The press statement that announced the construction of the new road ended with the words ‘applying sovereignty – in deeds, not in words’.”

“When this announcement is added to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements a few weeks ago that Israel should resume construction efforts in E1, it’s clear where his right-wing government will be heading if it remains in power – toward annexing territory and deepening apartheid via separate roads and legal systems,” the editorial concluded.

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

UN: No coronavirus cases among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Palestinians school children at a refugee camp in Beirut, in Lebanon on 6 March 2012 {Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

Palestinians school children at a refugee camp in Beirut, in Lebanon on 6 March 2012

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that there have been no cases of the coronavirus reported among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

UNRWA spokesperson in Lebanon, Hoda Samra, said: “Until now, there are no cases among Palestinian refugees in Sidon.”

She explained that the UN agency will start a new campaign of preventive measures and awareness-raising through social media about the virus in order to prevent an outbreak.

There have been 61 cases of the coronavirus detected in Lebanon with two patients dying from the disease.

In the Middle East, Iran has been the worst hit by the virus with 354 people dead and 9,000 infected. The country’s authorities temporarily released about 70,000 prisoners to avoid the spread of the virus.

READ: WHO raises global risk of coronavirus from ‘high’ to ‘very high’

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

PA arrests 4 for spreading ‘fake news’ on coronavirus

Palestinian police officers wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus as they stand guard in Bethlehem, West Bank on 5 March 2020 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian police officers wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus as they stand guard in Bethlehem, West Bank on 5 March 2020

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has arrested two residents accused of spreading fake news about the coronavirus in the West Bank.

The pair are suspected of recording an audio message announcing the discovery of new cases of the virus in the occupied city of Hebron.

A third Palestinian has been arrested for posting a fake comment on Facebook which claimed that 12 new cases had been detected in Nablus.

Another was arrested in Bethlehem for claiming their regions have been heavily infected by the coronavirus.

Commander of the PA Police in Bethlehem said that “Rumours are a lethal weapon that affects the morale of the people”.

Adding that the PA, security forces have instructions to arrest anyone who spreads rumours about the spread of coronavirus that may cause a state of panic among the population.

Bethlehem has witnessed the largest outbreak in the occupied West Bank, with the city’s Angel Hotel under quarantine. The city has reported 28 of Palestine’s 30 cases.

As a result of the outbreak, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency of 30 days, starting on 5 March, to stem the spread, including shutting borders and closing shops.

READ: Coronavirus cases rise to 58 in Israel

The measures include the closure of all coffee shops and weddings halls. While workers in Gaza City were pictured disinfecting a public park yesterday.

Approximately 2,900 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are currently in isolation, including 605 residents who recently returned from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon has taken similar steps, closing all restaurants and cafes across the country temporarily and disinfecting the parliament building yesterday.

The country has announced two deaths from coronavirus, and eight new cases, bringing the total to 61.

Rumours have circulated that high-ranking Hezbollah officials have contracted the novel virus, with the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, thought to have been under quarantine since meeting with Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani in February.

READ: Rights groups call on Egypt to release prisoners to combat coronavirus

Turkey reported its first case today, with hospitals reportedly on high alert for a potential outbreak.

A group of nine tourists, including their tour guide, from Hong Kong who visited Egypt have tested positive for coronavirus on their return.

Egypt has shut down prison visits for ten days, but has lifted the quarantine on a Nile cruise ship which has 45 confirmed cases on board.

While Bahrain has reported that 77 residents evacuated from Iran have tested positive for coronavirus.

Iran has confirmed 354 deaths, including five members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

READ: No coronavirus cases among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

Israeli Troops Abduct 12 Palestinians Wednesday Morning Before Dawn

In their daily pre-dawn raids throughout the West Bank, Israeli forces abducted 12 Palestinian civilians.

In Ramallah, Israeli forces abducted two boys after one of them was injured at the entrance to Deir Nizam village, northwest of Ramallah.

Local sources reported that the Israeli occupation forces shot the two boys while they were at the entrance to the village, which resulted in the injury of one of them to a live bullet in the thigh, before they were taken by the soldiers.

The occupation forces also abducted two young men, Mohammad Darwish Ata, and Abdel-Rahman Fathi Al-Barghouthi, after they raided their homes in the village of Deir Abu Mishaal, northwest of Ramallah.

In addition, Israeli troops abducted the young Zia Mishaal Al-Barghouthi from the town of Kober, and handed over three young men from the town of Abu Shkhidem, in order to interrogate them.

The soldiers also abducted the young man, Mohammad Essam Hamad, from the village of Umm Safa, northwest of Ramallah.

In Jenin on Wednesday before dawn, Israeli forces abducted six young men: Mohammad Musa Ajawi, Youssef Nasser Salah Al-Din, Muhammad Zuhair Balawi, Ahmad Asaad Nabhan, and Imad Ghassan Habb al-Reeh, after they raided their homes in the city of Jenin, and abducted the young Tawfiq Murad from Jenin camp.

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

Israeli Forces Fire Live Rounds and Flares into Besieged Gaza Strip

Flares lit up the sky over the eastern border area of Gaza City, on Sunday evening, as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) intensively fired live rounds at agricultural plots of land, Days of Palestine reported.

According to local sources, the IOF opened fire at cultivated lands east of Gaza City, for no apparent reason, in addition to firing flares that lit up the night sky over the area.

A Palestinian observation point in the east of al-Maghazi refugee camp (central Gaza) also came under gunfire attack, with no reported casualties.

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

Illegal Israeli Colonists Attempt To Kidnap Two Palestinian Children Near Ramallah

Three fanatic Israeli colonists, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands in direct violation of International Law, attempted to kidnap two children, Thursday, near Ramallah, in central West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the three colonists were driving their motorcycles in the meadow of Turmus Ayya town, northeast of Ramallah, before forcing a Palestinian car to stop.

They added that the Palestinian driver of the vehicle, identified as Tareq Refa’ey, was with his two children, Adam and Noah, when the Israeli assailants attacked the car and attempted to snatch the two children from it, after smashing some of its windows.

The father then sped away to avoid the assailants, who also threatened to open fire on residents in the area.

(Source / 11.03.2020) 

IN VIDEO| ISRAELIS KILL PALESTINIAN CHILD, WOUND 112 OTHERS

Occupied Nablus (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces and settlers on the early morning of Wednesday murdered a 15-year-old Palestinian child and wounded 112 locals of the West Bank village of Beita.

QNN reported said that dozens of locals gathered at Mount Arma this morning to fight back a settlers’ attack that aimed at taking over the area.

The Israeli army stormed the village and used live and rubber-coated metal bullets as well as tear gas canisters against the locals, causing Muhammad Hamayel (15 years old) to be killed in addition to 112 injuries.

The child was shot in his head and sent to a hospital in Nablus before he was announced to be dead.

The Red Crescent said that over 112 injuries were reported during the attack, including 90 with tear gas, 18 with rubber-coated-metal bullets, and one with live rounds.

The Israeli army used a drone to shower locals with intensive tear gas.

Jewish illegal settlers, backed by the Israeli army, have been recently trying to take over Mount Arma, claiming that it is “a Jewish property”.

Quds News Network@Qudsn_en  

#Watch| Savage illegal settlers and Israeli forces attacked Mount Arma several times trying to take over it and this is how the unarmed land owners defended their land… #WestBank #Palestine

Embedded video

1244:03 PM – Mar 1, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy(Source / 11.03.2020) 

‘ISRAEL’ ARRESTED 471 PALESTINIANS LAST FEBRUARY

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli forces last February arrested 471 Palestinians, including 95 children and 11 women, according to a statement by human rights groups.

The Committee of Prisoners and Former Prisoners Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Association, and Addameer, issued on Tuesday a fact sheet, which confirmed that Israeli forces arrested 156 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem, 49 from Ramallah and Bireh, and 12 from Hebron.

The total number of Palestinian prisoners until the end of February has reached nearly 5000, including 43 women, around 180 children, and nearly 430 under administrative detention.

The statement noted that Israeli authorities renewed the administrative detention of Ahmad Zahran (42 years old) for further four months on the day that he was expected to be released.

Zahran, a father of four children, had spent 15 years in Israeli jails. He went on hunger strikes several times to protest against his administrative detention.

The statement also noted that the prisoner Muwaffaq Arrouq (77 years old) has been facing a very hard time in Israeli jails, especially that he is a cancer patient.

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) transferred Arrouq from a jail to another several time without taking his medical condition into account.

(Source / 11.03.2020)