It took just 16 minutes to learn what it means to be an American Muslim visiting Jerusalem

Safa Hawash and her mother during her Spring Break vacation in Jerusalem, taking a picture in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque in April 2019 [Safa Hawash/Twitter]

By Safa Hawash

As my older sister was holding onto her American passport for protection and being handcuffed by an Israeli female soldier, six words were uttered by her assailant which told her that the navy blue document wasn’t going to do her any good: “I don’t care about your ID.”

The soldier’s words speak volumes about what it means to be an American of Muslim or Arab heritage visiting Jerusalem today. It took us just 16 minutes to fully comprehend the situation.

For the first time, my family and I visited Jerusalem as American tourists during a spring break. A trip to Jerusalem, home to the third holiest site in Islam, was supposed to be spiritually nurturing, but within those 16 minutes, it turned into anything but. In fact, it was enlightening, but for a completely different reason.

My mother, sister and I had just finished praying when we stepped out of Al-Aqsa Mosque to take some photos. It was then that we heard yelling followed by shots being fired. We turned around to see Israeli soldiers running from all directions, firing into thin air, with no discernible target.

READ: ‘I don’t care about your ID’: US student assaulted by Israel soldiers at Al-Aqsa

At that moment, I understood the notion of Palestinian identity, a concept that I had made myself familiar with on paper for many research projects at school. I had seen with my own eyes the catalyst that led the Palestinians to stand at the vanguard of their own revolution, transforming themselves into the symbol of defiance to impermanence. It didn’t just stop there, though. Within seconds, the number of Israeli troops multiplied from dozens to almost 100 raiding every corner of the mosque courtyard.

The soldiers entered the Dome of the Rock Mosque forcefully and with their shoes on, evacuating tourists and worshippers violently. At this point, we could hear women and children screaming followed by banging on doors; it was like a scene from a horror movie.

It became evident that the Israeli army did not care that innocent children were crying, unaware of what was happening. The soldiers did not care about the elderly women who were unable to walk on their own, let alone run to safety. They did not care about anything that we might believe constitute human values.

My sister and I, along with the crowd outside, stood with our phones in hand, documenting what we all knew would never be reported accurately on mainstream media. Our cameras became our weapons that reduced us in Israeli eyes to what they perceive to be radical, provocative Palestinians.

As our phone cameras rolled, we were repeatedly pushed and shoved back. To stay safe, we complied. We stepped back and watched events unfold. It was then that my sister rushed to the help of an elderly woman being manhandled aggressively by soldiers. She was faced with a group of soldiers who immediately thrust her to the ground and handcuffed her, tossing to the side the American passport that she was holding as she told them, “Don’t touch me.”

READ: Israel starts new museum project near ‘Wailing’ Wall

This was the reality that we faced as American Muslim women in Jerusalem. The Israeli army is not alone in not caring about your ID; nor does our current administration back in Washington. All that officials care about is what you look like, and whether or not you fit into the mold of the white, all-American characters we see on television; characters who represent neither us nor the rest of multicultural, multiracial USA.

Safa Hawash@safahawash · 13 Apr 2019Replying to @safahawash

We planned to catch Duhur prayer, snap the pictures, and rush to make it to the bus to Ramallah. After Duhur prayer, at 1:18 PM, I took the second picture of Nour & my mom. My mom made a comment about how today was by far the most beautiful of all the days we had spent so far.

View image on Twitter

Safa Hawash@safahawash 

Just one minute later, in a blink of an eye, at 1:19 PM, the third video happened. pic.twitter.com/d6mkvzykpu02:43 – 13 Apr 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy

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The soldiers did the same thing to my mother who was holding onto my sister. I looked on in horror and attempted to help but I was spat on, pushed away and kicked repeatedly to the ground. I looked up at a blurred image of unknown hands as local men and women carried me away to prevent further harm and escalation. “There’s not much you can do right now,” they told me. “Stay back.” I did.

Then a soldier appeared, an officer perhaps, and picked up my sister’s passport before untying the handcuffs on her and my mom and giving the “golden ticket” back. For all he knew, he had successfully taught us a lesson without arresting us. He played his game right.

“Why did your sister pull out her passport immediately to shield herself from the dozens of armed soldiers surrounding her?” you may well ask. It’s fairly simple. Our government in the US — our government — continues to support and turn a blind eye to an Israeli government that treats Palestinians, people of Arab or Muslim heritage, including Americans, as second-class citizens, using, as we endured, physical aggression to enforce the brutal military occupation.

Every year, $3.8 billion of our tax money is being used to oppress us and many others. We were beaten, kicked, shackled and spat on in the name of America. My sister pulled out her passport under the false impression that it would bring her justice. The value given to nationality in this day and age is reflective of the Trump administration’s will to do anything for the sake of preserving political and financial relations. The only thing that our nationality did give us was the privilege of returning and sharing our story. Yet we were just three people among thousands of local Palestinians enduring such disgusting treatment on a daily basis with no way out and little to no recognition of their rights.

Our day in Al-Aqsa had started at 11:46 am; we finished prayer and stood taking photos at 1:18 pm. One minute later, our peaceful morning was shattered by the excessively violent efforts to strip Palestinians of their right to exist. Sixteen minutes later, by 1:35 pm, we had seen with our own eyes what defines an eternity for Palestinians. Our 16 minutes came to an end. We returned to our home, but they aren’t allowed to exercise their legitimate right of return to their homes in what is now called Israel.

It took us just 16 minutes to understand what it means to be an American Muslim visiting Jerusalem; 16 minutes to learn that “I don’t care about your ID” isn’t a statement unique to our experience; 16 minutes to grasp that such a comment is a notion fostered by our very own President towards Muslim-Americans and people of colour; just 16 minutes to become part of a historical process of deep-seated, incessant Othering.

READ: Israel funded app destroys Al-Aqsa Mosque, builds temple in its place

(Source / 24.04.2019) 

Israeli Court Rules To Evict Settlers From Palestinian-Owned Home

An Israeli court ordered the eviction of Israeli settlers from a Palestinian-owned home that they held illegally since 2005 in Hebron City, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Monday.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the Jerusalem Magistrate Court rejected claims by Israeli settlers, stating that given their “long occupation” of the property and their investments to improve it, the home should remain theirs. 

The court rejected the claims and ordered the Israeli settlers to pay the Palestinian family 580,000 shekels ($161,000) as compensation for the years it was held illegally by the settlers.

The legal owners, the Bakri family, were represented by attorney, Samer Shehadeh, who confirmed that the Israeli settlers were appealing the court ruling.

The home is located in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, in the center of Hebron City, and sits on 0.75 acres of land.
Palestinian residents in Hebron said that Tal Construction & Investments LTD., the company which bought the home based on forged documents, is registered as a Jordanian company, however, is operated by Israeli settlers who aim to promote illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.

Tal Construction bought the Hebron home in 2005 from Hani al-Batash, who claimed to have legal rights over the property, for $300,000 and handed it over to Israeli families.

Nevertheless, Israeli police launched an investigation into the issue and determined that the documents used during the transaction were forged and that al-Batash was not the legal owner of the property.

The area of Tel Rumeida has long been a flash-point for tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and military, as it is located near illegal Israeli settlements whose residents are notoriously aggressive toward Palestinians.

Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of Hebron’s Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements which continually expand into surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods.

The Israeli-controlled H2 area is home to 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City of Hebron, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

(Source / 23.04.2019)

Medical supplies sent by Miles of Smiles to enter Gaza soon

Miles for Smiles 34 convoy arrives in the besieged Gaza Strip in an effort to distribute aid on 5 June 2018

Head of Miles of Smiles Delegations Dr Essam Yousef announced yesterday that a shipment of medicines and medical supplies will enter the besieged Gaza Strip soon.

In a press release sent to MEMO, Yousef said that this shipment is worth $100 million and is funded by the Indonesian National Committee for Palestinians (KNRP).

“Thanks to KNRP for their generous donations of $100,000 and thanks to others and each participant,” Yousef said.

READ: New Miles of Smiles convoy heading for Gaza next month

He noted that the second shipment of medical supplies is “to follow shortly”, calling for the people who pledged to fund it to “kindly confirm” their contributions in order to pay for the shipment.

This came after an appeal for donations launched by Miles of Smiles in order to buy urgently needed medical supplies and equipment for besieged Gaza, including wheelchairs, which are in urgent need following Israel’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protest along the Gaza-Israel border fence over the past year.

(Source / 23.04.2019) 

Boycotting Israel, PA to send patients to hospitals in Jordan, Egypt

Some of eighteen Palestinians injured during Israel’s weeks-long onslaught on the Gaza Strip are received medical treatment by Turkish Health Ministry medical rescue workers at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv before Turkish military plane airlift the wounded Palestinians to hospitals in Turkey on 13 August 2014 

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said yesterday that his government had sent delegations to Jordan and Egypt in order to prepare for transferring patients to hospitals abroad, Arab48 reported.

This measure, according to Shtayyeh, is part of his government’s efforts to find alternatives to Israeli hospitals as a result of Israel’s deduction of Palestinian taxes collected on behalf of the PA.

Speaking to Anadolu, the spokesman of the Ministry of Health Osama Al-Najjar said: “The decision is political and it was taken by the Palestinian leadership. It comes in to effect now.”

READ: Israel rejects France’s request to repay Palestine tax revenues

He noted that the annual cost of treating patients in Israeli hospitals is $100 million.

Al-Najjar said that the Palestinian Ministry of Health will transferring patients only to Palestinian hospitals in occupied Jerusalem or to medical centres in Jordan and Egypt.

Israel deducted $138 million from the PA’s tax revenues over claims that this amount is paid to Palestinians prisoners and the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces. As a result, the PA has refused to accept any funds from Israel, saying all the funds owed to it should be transferred without deductions.

(Source / 23.04.2019) 

IDF opens investigation into shooting of blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinian teen

Sixteen-year-old Osama Hajahjeh was shot twice in the leg last in Tuqu’, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 18 April 2019 [Video still, Facebook]

Sixteen-year-old Osama Hajahjeh was shot twice in the leg last in Tuqu’, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 18 April 2019

The Israel Defence Forces has opened an investigation into an incident in which its soldiers shot a Palestinian teenager while he was blindfolded and handcuffed. Sixteen-year-old Osama Hajahjeh was shot twice in the leg last Thursday in Tuqu’, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking to Agence France Presse (AFP) by phone from a hospital in Beit Jala yesterday, Hajahjeh explained that he had been attending the funeral of a local teacher when “he was tackled by a soldier who jumped out of an olive grove and forced him to the ground.” The soldier then handcuffed Hajahjeh and blindfolded him, Al Jazeera reported.

“They shot me the first time while I was trying to change my sitting position because they sat me on thorns,” the teenager explained. “I started walking towards the villagers asking for help, [then the soldiers] shot me again and hit my left thigh.”

Images of the incident captured by a local photographer clearly show Hajahjeh surrounded by several Israeli soldiers, his hands behind his back and a white cloth tied over his eyes. The aftermath of the event was also caught on video, which shows several Palestinians gathered around the teen – who can just be seen lying bleeding on the ground – and an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at those trying to help, warning them to stay away or “you’ll get shot”.

READ: Israeli forces arrest 10 Palestinians, including minors

The Israeli army yesterday confirmed the incident and was forced to issue a statement, saying: “On Thursday there was an incident, which included massive stone-throwing near [Israeli army] forces and Israeli cars on the road, risking the lives of civilians and soldiers. The soldiers responded with riot dispersal methods and arrested one of the demonstrators [Hajahjeh] who tried to flee after his arrest.”

The statement continued: “[Hajahjeh] was detained nearby and shortly thereafter he began to flee from the [army] squad again. The squad immediately began a pursuit, during which the detainee was shot in the lower body. The squad offered the Palestinian first aid immediately. The incident will be investigated.”

Hajahjeh’s father, Ali, said of the incident that “only a sick person would shoot a blindfolded boy.” Meanwhile, Roy Yellin, a spokesperson for Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, pointed out that four Palestinians in their late teens or early twenties had been shot since early March and that, “like the previous four cases [B’Tselem] investigated, this is an example of Israel’s reckless use of lethal fire and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”

An investigation published by B’Tselem last week stressed that in all four incidents, the Israeli army’s use of lethal fire was “completely unjustified” since “none of the victims posed a threat to the lives of security personnel.” The report added: “As B’Tselem has cautioned countless times in the past, these are not aberrations or ‘bad apples’. These are incidents that occur as part of the routine actions of soldiers and police officers, pursuant to Israel’s dangerous, lethal open-fire policy.”

READ: Israel army covered up settlers’ killing of wounded Palestinian father

(Source / 23.04.2019)

Notre Dame of Gaza: Our mosques and churches are also burning

Palestinians from the village of Jabaa, east of Ramallah, look at damage at a mosque which settlers tried to burn overnight on June 19, 2012. [AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI / Getty]

Palestinians from the village of Jabaa, east of Ramallah, look at damage at a mosque which settlers tried to burn overnight on June 19, 2012 
By Ramzy Baroud  

As the 300-foot spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris tragically came tumbling down on live television, my thoughts ventured to Nuseirat Refugee Camp, my childhood home in the Gaza Strip.

Then, also on television, I watched as a small bulldozer hopelessly clawed through the rubble of my neighbourhood mosque. I grew up around that mosque. I spent many hours there with my grandfather, Mohammed, a refugee from historic Palestine. Before grandpa became a refugee, he was a young Imam in a small mosque in his long-destroyed village of Beit Daras.

Mohammed and many in his generation took solace in erecting their mosque in the refugee camp as soon as they arrived in the Gaza Strip in late 1948. The new mosque was first made of hardened mud but was eventually remade with bricks, and later concrete. He spent much of his time there, and when he died, his old, frail body was taken to the same mosque for a final prayer, before being buried in the adjacent Martyrs Graveyard. When I was still a child, he used to hold my hand as we walked together to the mosque during prayer times. When he aged, and could barely walk, I, in turn, held his hand.

But Al-Masjid al-Kabir – the Great Mosque, later renamed Al-Qassam Mosque – was pulverised entirely by Israeli missiles during the summer war on Gaza, starting July 8, 2014.

 A vehicle removes the wreckage of the al-Oassam Mosque destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Gaza on August 9, 2014

The Israeli military targeted hundreds of Palestinian houses of worship in previous wars, most notably in 2008-9 and 2012. But the 2014 war was the most brutal and most destructive yet. Thousands were killed and more injured. Nothing was immune to Israeli bombs. According to Palestine Liberation Organization records, 63 mosques were destroyed and 150 damaged in that war alone, often with people seeking shelter inside. In the case of my mosque, two bodies were recovered after a long, agonising search. They had no chance of being rescued. If they survived the deadly explosives, they were crushed by the massive slabs of concrete.

In truth, concrete, cement, bricks and physical structures don’t carry much meaning on their own. We give them meaning. Our collective experiences, our pains, joys, hopes and faith make a house of worship what it is.

Many generations of French Catholics have assigned the Notre Dame Cathedral with its layered meanings and symbolism since the 12th century.

Read: Israeli forces arrest 10 Palestinians, including minors

While the fire consumed the oak roof and much of the structure, French citizens and many around the world watched in awe. It is as if the memories, prayers and hopes of a nation that is rooted in time were suddenly revealed, rising, all at once, with the pillars of smoke and fire.

But the very media that covered the news of the Notre Dame fire seemed oblivious to the obliteration of everything we hold sacred in Palestine as, day after day, Israeli war machinery continues to blow up, bulldoze and desecrate.

It is as if our religions are not worthy of respect, even though Christianity was born in Palestine. It was there that Jesus roamed the hills and valleys of our historic homeland teaching people about peace, love and justice. Palestine is also central to Islam. Haram al-Sharif, where al-Aqsa Mosque and The Dome of the Rock are kept, is the third holiest site for Muslims everywhere. Christian and Muslim religious sites are besieged, often raided and shut down per military diktats. Moreover, the Israeli army-protected messianic Jewish extremists want to demolish Al-Aqsa, and the Israeli government has been digging underneath its foundation for many years.

Although none of this is done in secret; international outrage remains muted. Many find Israel’s actions justified. Some have bought into the ridiculous explanation offered by the Israeli military that bombing mosques are a necessary security measure. Others are motivated by dark religious prophecies of their own.

Palestinians pray in a partially destroyed mosque in Gaza [File photo]

Palestine, though, is only a microcosm of the whole region. Many of us are familiar with the horrific destruction carried out by fringe militant groups against world cultural heritage in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Most memorable among these are the destruction of Palmyra in Syria, Buddhas of Bamyan in Afghanistan and the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul.

Palestinians pray in a partially destroyed mosque in Gaza 

Nothing, however, can be compared to what the invading US army has done to Iraq. Not only did the invaders desecrate a sovereign country and brutalise her people, but they also devastated her culture that goes back to the start of human civilisation. Just the immediate aftermath of the invasion alone resulted in the looting of over 15,000 Iraqi antiquities, including the Lady of Warka, also known as the Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia, a Sumerian artefact whose history goes back to 3100 BC.

I had the privilege of seeing many of these artefacts in a visit to the Iraq Museum only a few years before US soldiers looted it. At the time, Iraqi curators had all precious pieces hidden in a fortified basement in anticipation of a US bombing campaign. But nothing could prepare the museum for the savagery unleashed by the ground invasion. Since then, Iraqi culture has mostly been reduced to items on the black market of the very western invaders that have torn that country apart. The courageous work of Iraqi cultural warriors and their colleagues around the world has managed to restore some of that stolen dignity, but it will take many years for the cradle of human civilisation to redeem its vanquished honour.

Every mosque, every church, every graveyard, every piece of art and every artefact is significant because it is laden with meaning, the meaning bestowed on them by those who have built or sought in them an escape, a moment of solace, hope, faith and peace.

On August 2, 2014, the Israeli army bombed the historic Al-Omari Mosque in northern Gaza. The ancient mosque dates back to the 7th century and has since served as a symbol of resilience and faith for the people of Gaza.

As Notre Dame burned, I thought of Al-Omari too. While the fire at the French cathedral was likely accidental, destroyed Palestinian houses of worship were intentionally targeted. The Israeli culprits are yet to be held accountable.

I also thought of my grandfather, Mohammed, the kindly Imam with the handsome, small white beard. His mosque served as his only escape from a problematic existence, an exile that only ended with his death.

(Source / 23.04.2019) 

Israel seals off Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers

Palestinians hold banners during a protest against Israeli restrictions on the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, occupied West Bank on 28 August 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces sealed off the Ibrahimi Mosque in front of Muslim worshipers, on Monday, in preparation for Israeli settlers raid for the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Ma’an Agency reports.

Israeli forces were heavily deployed around the holy site.

The mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades.

The holy site was split into a synagogue — known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs — and a mosque after US-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994.

Since the split, Muslim worshipers have been denied access to the site during Jewish holidays and vice versa in an effort to prevent violence from erupting at the holy site.

Located in the centre of Hebron — one of the largest cities in the occupied West Bank — the Old City was also divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas at the time, known as H1 and H2.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

READ: Handicapped Palestinians’ demonstration in Gaza

(Source / 22.04.2019)

Hamas denies forming new government in Gaza

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Al-Sinwar meets with leaders of Palestinian factions, in Gaza city on 18 October 2017 [Atia Darwish/Apaimages]

Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Al-Sinwar meets with leaders of Palestinian factions, in Gaza city on 18 October 2017 

Hamas has denied that it had formed a new government or administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, in response to Fatah’s formation of a new government in Ramallah.

In a statement, Hamas’ chief in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar said: “Commenting on the false news reported by different mass media, we stress that there has been no new government or administrative committee.”

However, the statement confirmed some rotation among the officials in Gaza’s ministries, noting that this happened for the sake of facilitating government services offered to Palestinian citizens.

Palestinian media reported that Hamas had formed a new administrative committee in response to the formation of a new government in the occupied West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah members.

READ: Fatah to Hamas, last chance for reconciliation

(Source / 21.04.2019) 

Israel detained 1,600 Palestinians, 230 children in 2019

An Israeli solider can be seen violently arresting a Palestinian boy

An Israeli solider can be seen violently arresting a Palestinian boy

Israel has detained 1,600 Palestinians in the first few months of 2019, including 230 children and 40 women.

According to a new report by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy, since the start of this year, Israel has detained 1,600 Palestinians, 230 of whom were children and 40 of whom were women. Of these Palestinians, 500 were placed in administrative detention, which allows detainees to be held indefinitely without charge or trial.

The report also issued figures on child detentions in 2018, showing that Israel detained some 3,255 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 over the course of the year. According to the Jerusalem Post, some 70 per cent of these children “were threatened with violence, including rape, castration, home demolition, imprisonment for life and denial of food”. “More than 75% of child prisoners reported being blindfolded,” the Israeli daily added.

The Israeli army has sought to defend its conduct in the wake of the report, with an army spokesperson telling the Jerusalem Post that: “In such cases, there is no choice but to take steps, including interrogation, detention and prosecution […] Cases against minors are handled in the juvenile military court, which examines the severity of the offense and the risk posed by the minor, taking into account his age and other special circumstances.”

The report was released yesterday to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement to commemorate the occasion: “On this day, Palestinians honour those who have sacrificed their freedom and endured abuse, torture, and injustice so that their people may enjoy their fundamental right to freedom, dignity, and justice.”

The statement continued: “Today, 5,700 Palestinians, including 250 children, are held captive in Israeli prisons and detention centres, enduring deplorable conditions and subjected to systematic and grave human rights violations […] we urge the international community to take action to compel Israel, the occupying power, to cease these condemnable practices.”

READ: Minor, woman among 15 Palestinians detained by Israeli forces

Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners was thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks by events taking place in the Ramon and Al-Naqab (Ketziot) facilities, located deep in the Negev desert in the south of the country.

In March, the Israeli Prison Service imposed fines on 96 prisoners in Al-Naqab prison and 74 prisoners in Ramon prison thought to amount to 250,000 shekels ($68,000). The fines were imposed in addition to other disciplinary measures, including holding prisoners in solitary confinement, forcing them to sleep while handcuffed and preventing their families from visiting.

Just days earlier, Israeli prison guards attacked Palestinian prisoners in Al-Naqab, raiding their cells, targeting them with teargas and severely beating them. Over 25 prisoners were injured in the crackdown, 15 of whom sustained life-threatening injuries. Israel claimed this came following the stabbing of two Israeli wardens by prisoners, which it says escalated into a riot.

The crackdown also came against the backdrop of a longer assault on the rights of Palestinian prisoners. In February, Israel’s prison administration installed phone jamming devices at Al-Naqab and Ramon prisons, which emit powerful radiation to stop radio and television signals from penetrating into the area, in a bid to stop prisoners maintaining contact with the outside world.

As a result of the jamming devices, prisoners suffered from depression, headaches, and fainting, with experts saying the radiation can lead to “genetic deformities of human cells and cancer”.

In response, prisoners began a hunger strike in protest against their treatment, calling on the Palestinian people to stand by them and support their “battle of dignity”. Hundreds of prisoners across a number of facilities joined the strike, before finally calling an end to the protest this week after Israel agreed to their demands to remove the devices and install pay phones to allow prisoners to call their families.

READ: Israel holds Palestinian MP under administrative detention

(Source / 18.04.2019)

Hamas: Sinai will not be part of Palestine

Image of Egyptian military at the tunnel site between Sinai and Gaza [file photo]

Egyptian military at the tunnel site between Sinai and Gaza

In light of reports that the US will ask Egypt to concede part of Sinai to create a Palestinian state, Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh stressed yesterday that no part of Sinai would be part of Palestine.

Haniyeh stressed that Gaza would expand in the north, but not in the south, towards Sinai.

Meanwhile, he hailed the “victory” of the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails as the Israeli occupation authorities agreed to their demands.

After eight days, the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails ended on Monday their open-ended hunger strike after the Israeli occupation agreed on their demands.

Haniyeh noted that the Israeli occupation used the “most painful fist” against the Palestinian detainees, specifically in Negev and Ramon Prisons, beating and wounding dozens of them.

READ: Egypt reaffirms its role as mediator pushing Israel to sign truce

“We made it clear that no continuous understandings can be reached unless the issue of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is resolved,” Haniyeh said regarding mediation talks between the movement and Israel which are being mediated by Egypt.

“We asked Egypt to tell the occupation to end all sanctions imposed by the Israeli Prison Service, remove the jamming devices, offer good living conditions to the prisoners, allow their families to visit them and install landlines inside prisons.”

(Source / 17.04.2019)