Ramallah (QNN) – Israeli prison forces raided this morning cells of 46 Palestinian political prisoners held at Asqalan prison in the south of occupied Palestine, searched the cells and ransacked them, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).
It said the raid came a day before the prisoners were set to go on hunger strike to protest such raids and other punitive measures against them by the Israel Prison Service (IPS).
The Palestinian prisoners were in negotiations with the Asqalan prison administration to stop these night raids and assaults against the prisoners and to also demand better conditions in the cells and in general.
However, when negotiation failed to bring results few days ago, the prisoners decided to go on hunger strike starting tomorrow to press for their demands.
Gaza (QNN)- 46 Palestinians have been wounded on Friday, when Israeli occupation soldiers opened fire to repress the weekly Great Return March protest on the boarders which was today under the title “No for the annexation of the West Bank”.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that those who were wounded include three paramedics, who were trying to provide medical care for other injured protesters.
The Higher Committee of the Great March of Return has called on Palestinians to protests on the separation barriers between Gaza and the occupied land to slam remarks made by the US. ambassador Friedman supporting Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.
“Under certain circumstances,” Friedman said, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
Friedman’s remarks were faced with strong condemnations by the PLO and the resistance factions.
The Great Return March protests have started in March 2018, calling for the end of the siege on Gaza and the right of Return.
Israel has killed hundreds and injured thousands of protesters during the Great Return March protests, who have been confirmed by the UN to be peaceful. Several paramedics, protesters with special needs, and even children have been directly shot by Israeli snipers, ignoring ethical obligations and international law.
Gaza (QNN) – Israeli warplanes bombed early this morning agricultural areas in the north and south of the Gaza Strip causing damage but no human injuries.
Fighter jets launched two missiles at an agricultural land east of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip causing two deep holes in the ground, and another missile at land southeast of Gaza City in the north of the Gaza Strip also causing damage to property but no injuries.
Israeli artillery also fired two shells at farming area east of Khan Younis, also in the south of the Gaza Strip, without causing any injury.
The attacks came after Israel claimed a projectile was launched from Gaza early this morning at Israel, which was intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome system.
Israeli authorities had earlier prevented Palestinian fishermen from entering the Gaza sea until further notice as a collective punishment against the two-million plus Gaza population for the alleged launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza into southern Israeli towns.
“Through Her Eyes” is a weekly show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary news issues from a female perspective. You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the bottom of this article.
Palestinian-American activist and Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour is taking issue with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, over his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Jared Kushner’s the last person that should be trying to bring peace to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict,” Sarsour told Yahoo News host Zainab Salbi in response to Kushner’s remarks on Palestinian self-governance in a recent interview with Axios.
“I know that we can get back to a day where we can live in coexistence, where we can live in peace. And it’s not going to be at the hands of a fascist like Trump, nor is it going to be at the hands of his son-in-law,” Sarsour said.
She shared her thoughts on Kushner during a wide-ranging interview with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that touched on everything from the political to the personal. The Muslim American activist was highly critical of Trump when it came to the president’s pursuit of an elusive Middle East deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“Donald Trump has no idea what a deal is,” Sarsour said. “I mean, he’s a man who has filed for bankruptcy many times, so he doesn’t understand how to make any deals. And he’s not going to be able to bring peace to that part of the world.
“I reject any deals coming from a fascist administration that is anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian in the policies that have already been put forward by this administration,” she continued.
Sarsour describes herself as a “very unapologetic” critic of the state of Israel. She recognizes that her rhetoric opens her up to more criticism from both Republican and Democratic opponents, including allegations that she is anti-Semitic. Among Sarsour’s detractors is the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted a video claiming that “Linda Sarsour refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.”
“This idea of me being anti-Semitic is the most ludicrous of them all,” Sarsour said of the attacks leveled against her. “I believe in the liberation of the Palestinian people. I believe in a nonviolent movement of boycott divestment sanctions. And those positions, those positions that I just put forth are what critics will say makes me anti-Semitic.”
But Sarsour isn’t deterred by her adversaries.
“I understand my history in the United States of America,” Sarsour said. “There has never been an effective leader or organizer that has not been vilified. And these tactics are used to discredit me because I’m so effective in the way in which I’m able to mobilize people of all different backgrounds.
“I have positions that I hold, and I’m not going to hide my positions to make anybody else feel comfortable,” she continued.
This unapologetic approach to politics is a trait Sarsour shares with many members of the congressional freshman class, including the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. In the six months since they were sworn into office, Tlaib and Omar have been inundated with criticism, particularly for their views on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. Sarsour told “Through Her Eyes” that although the onslaught has discouraged some Muslim women from pursuing elected positions, for many others it has only fueled their desire to be politically active.
“I think the majority of us, particularly younger women, are doubling down,” Sarsour said. “I am so fired up every time I see Rashida and Ilhan get attacked, and I’ve actually been helping to organize progressives around supporting them.
“They’re being attacked, but you know what? There’s a shift in the conversation,” Sarsour added.
This shift, Sarsour said, has transformed not only how progressive issues are seen on the political stage, but also how Muslim women are perceived. When Omar was elected, she became the first person to wear a hijab on the House floor — prompting a change allowing head coverings for the first time in 181 years. Sarsour explained that by wearing a hijab, people like herself and Omar are “shattering propaganda” and dispelling stereotypes that women in religious headdress can’t be strong leaders.
While speaking with “Through Her Eyes,” Sarsour recounted the breadth of experiences that had contributed to finding her identity as a Muslim woman, including the journey that led to her decision to wear a hijab.
“I grew up, you know, very fair-skinned with dark hair, very ambiguous. People thought I was Puerto Rican,” Sarsour recalled. “They really thought I was everything but what I really was, which was a Palestinian Arab American Muslim.
“And so the hijab gave me an identity that I didn’t have.”
Sarsour also described growing up in a Muslim community in Brooklyn, where she entered into an arranged marriage when she was 17.
“I actually grew up in a community where arranged marriage was something that was very common,” Sarsour said. “I didn’t see it as an impediment.”
Now, Sarsour is looking forward. With 2020 on the horizon, she is taking a back seat in the Women’s March she helped to create and shifting her focus toward organizing Muslim voters to unseat Trump.
“I will stay on, almost like ‘honorary,’” Sarsour said. “I will continue to advise the Women’s March. I’ll be part of their electoral programs. But really, for me, 2020 is about winning this election.”
Sarsour has several favorites on the crowded Democratic ticket, most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who was the runner-up for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
“I love Sen. Bernie Sanders. I have a long relationship with him, and he’s done a lot of great things for the Muslim community,” Sarsour said.
Her second choice is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is one of six candidates attempting to become the first female president of the United States.
“I’m in love with her,” Sarsour said. “I think that she has a great opportunity to really do very well in this election. So I love Bernie Sanders — he’s my first love — and then I also support Elizabeth Warren.”
But apart from electoral politics, Sarsour insists that her vision extends well beyond who sits in the Oval Office.
“We have to stand up as a nation, in front of the whole world, and say, ‘We are not a nation of bigotry, of hatred, of fascism,’ and potentially set an example for the rest of the world,” Sarsour said. “I believe in the American people. I believe that we’re going to win in 2020.”
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Several Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday demolished structures owned by Palestinians in different areas of the occupied Jerusalem and West Bank.
In Qalandya, Israeli bulldozers performed large-scale demolitions in Qalandya refugee camp in northern occupied Jerusalem under the pretext of lacking building permits, which caused a stifling traffic near the Qalandya checkpoint and long lines of Palestinians, who were heading to their jobs.
Dozens of cars tried to drive through dirt roads near the apartheid wall to reach their jobs and schools, especially that the Israeli bulldozers started demolition works in the rush hour.
Local sources said that the Israeli bulldozers accompanied by Israeli occupation soldiers demolished a building and shops, and removed shops’ signs.
In the Jordan Vally, Israeli occupation vehicles demolished on Wednesday residential structures in addition to sheepfolds in the Raas El Ahmar village at the Jordan Valley.
Wafa agency quoted witnesses say that the demolished structures are owned by Allam Bani Oudeh and Baker Bani Oudeh families.
‘Israel’ has been following a demolition policy targeting everything owned by Palestinians, to force them leave their properties and allow illegal Jewish settlers to replace them.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- During the last year, Israel worked in secret on a new way to target pro-BDS international organizations which support Palestinians, according to the Israeli channel 13.
The Israeli channel quoted officials in the Israeli Ministry of Strategy saying that the ministry succeeded to close dozens of bank accounts by Jewish organizations, which are founded for this specific purpose.
Jewish zionist organizations in France and the United States have been fiercely working against pro-Palestine organizations.
the occupation state of Israel has also used non-governmental international organizations to target pro-BDS bank accounts, which they describe as “terrorism financing”. Law firms and foreign journalists have been used in some cases to target pro-BDS organizations.
Smoke rises from air strikes carried out by the Assad regime in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria where Palestinian refugees take shelter on 24 April 2018
Damascus (QNN) – The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said the Syrian regime forces continue to detain ten-year-old Palestinian girl, Hadeel Al-Ayyathi, six years after she was captured.
According to the group, Hadeel was arrested at the age of four while passing through a Syrian regime checkpoint near Yarmouk camp in March 2013.
Her fate and that of her mother’s remain unknown.
The group has documented the detention of 1,758 Palestinians since the start of the war in Syria, including hundreds of women, children and elderly persons.
Palestinian refugees in Syria have suffered greatly as a result of the civil war in the country with many unable to flee as they neighbouring countries do not allow them refugee status. The group said more than 600 Palestinian families in the Daraa refugee camp are suffering as a result of a lack of medical services and facilities.
The group explained that the UNRWA clinic in the camp has not been renovated or rebuilt while an alternative place for treatment has not been provided in or near the camp to serve its residents.
From the beginning, it appeared farcical that a group of ideologically driven men with personal ties to the U.S. president and Israel, no experience in world politics and no interest in international law or the universality of human rights could deliver peace to the Middle East.
Such a lethal combination of religious fundamentalist and nationalistic bias, as well as direct investment in the Israeli occupation, with views that align with the far right in Israel, cannot be trusted with the mammoth task of peacemaking, let alone spearheading a credible and trustworthy political process with the required qualities of integrity and respect.
Jared Kushner, the political novice appointed by his father in-law, the president of the United States, as head of the Middle East “peace” team, is just one example of this unqualified and irresponsible group.
Kushner was on the board of a foundation that supported and funded the Israeli army. His family’s charitable organization regularly funds construction in the illegal Israeli Beit El settlement near Ramallah in the West Bank, while the current U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was the head of an organization called American Friends of Beit El. Adding President Donald Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, with his declared allegiance to Israel, as the peace envoy, compounded the absurdity.
This team embodies a significant departure from established U.S. policy, including that of the most prejudiced previous administrations. However, given their backgrounds, the arrogant, condescending and racist attitude displayed by Kushner in a recent Axios interview should come as no surprise.
Kushner had the insolence to state that while Palestinians deserve self-determination, he was not sure they could govern themselves. This appalling statement betrays a colonialist attitude and a deeply patronizing tone of a “white man’s burden,” which has no place in respectable international discourse.
Trump’s “peace team” is seemingly stuck in the colonial era, when the subjugation of other peoples was justified by the racist claim that they were incapable of governing themselves, should be grateful for their masters’ handouts and needed to prove they deserved freedom and human rights.
The right to self-determination is universal, unconditional and absolute. Under international law, it is not only non-negotiable but also of erga omnes nature, meaning its realization is the responsibility of all states. In Palestine’s case, the international community has repeatedly and unequivocally recognized and reaffirmed this right for decades. But like his father-in-law, Kushner is obviously ignorant of the law and averse to facts.
By assuming the United States has the right or standing to condition the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, Kushner is voicing the dominant bias of this administration, which treats Israel with positive exceptionalism, rewards and bribes while singling out Palestinians for negative exceptionalism, bullying and exclusion.
Kushner’s interview responses are an extension of the Trump administration’s policies over the past two years. The unilateral and illegal decision to recognize Israel’s illegitimate annexation of Jerusalem was just the first in a series of hostile and irresponsible political and financial decisions—aimed not at achieving peace but at pummeling the Palestinians into submission and capitulation.
The administration also closed the Palestinian representative office in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, which had served U.S.-Palestinian relations since 1844. It discontinued Congress-approved funding to Palestinian civil society, hospitals and infrastructure, and then, following the advice of this “peace team,” it defunded UNRWA, the U.N. agency mandated to serve over 5 million Palestinian refugees.
These measures adversely affected the millions of Palestinians Kushner claims to deeply care about and understand—even better than they do themselves.
Such is the flawed logic of the planned Bahrain “workshop,” despite the serious Palestinian and international concerns and lack of participation by the Palestinian leadership and business community. In fact, this “workshop” aims to financially and politically reward and integrate Israel in the region, while ignoring the legal and political context of the occupation denying Palestinians their economic potential and political rights. Yet Kushner still makes the delusional claim that the workshop will serve Palestinian interests.
The Trump administration has allied itself with the most extreme, racist, right-wing elements in Israeli politics. Today, Israeli political discourse has become a competition between the extreme religious and extreme secular right over who can inflict more pain on the Palestinian people and annex more Palestinian land.
Historically, such bluntly racist, colonialist attitudes have been proven to fail. Yet even with failure guaranteed, Kushner’s shortsighted, hollow approach is dangerous, because it threatens to subvert any genuine effort at peacemaking in the future.
Kushner is dead wrong about the reality and nuance of the situation. The Palestinian people are not begging for charity or seeking to improve the conditions of their captivity. Palestinians seek to realize their natural and inalienable right to self-determination, freedom, sovereignty and dignity—none of which depend on Kushner’s approval nor the administration’s endorsement.
Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee.
New Zealand (QNN) – Born a refugee, Ibrahim Aziz came to New Zealand to start a new life. Almost a year later he is living in a van, and contemplating leaving the country.
“I have spent half my life just waiting,” the 37-year-old Palestinian man said.
He spent years waiting for Israeli authorities to issue him with the paperwork he needed to leave his homeland, and then spent several years in Malaysia before any country would take him.
Now his patience with New Zealand, where he arrived on July 4, has fast run out.
He has a long list of grievances with agencies, with those encounters resulting in him cancelling his benefit, going on a hunger strike, and spending several nights in a mental health facility.
“Why should I be a New Zealander if I’m never respected?” he asks, standing in central Dunedin by the van he has called home for two months.
He maintained that many refugees were too scared of speaking out over fears they would be stripped of their permanent residence.
That included issues with agencies, employment and housing.
His situation comes weeks after Stuff highlighted housing issues faced by some former refugees living in Dunedin.
That included families living in a cold, damp homes, which left children with blood stained mattresses as they struggled to breath at night, and sodden and mouldy carpet infested with worms.
Community worker Charlotte Wilson, of The Valley Project which helped some of the refugee families with this housing plight said some refugees felt abandoned by Red Cross and Government agencies.
That included one former refugee whose stress levels “are as high if he is at war and he feels unsafe”.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment declined to release information over housing concerns raised by those former refugees, citing privacy.
However Andrew Lockhart, Immigration New Zealand’s refugee and protection national manager, confirmed “three significant matters that directly impacted on the tenancy”, had been raised among a small number of concerns about housing.
Those issues included location, condition, rental cost and ongoing tenancy of the properties.
Quota refugees such as Ibrahim Aziz, who was one of 548 to resettle in Dunedin in the three year period to April 5, 2019.
Aziz said he could not fault the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, where refugees participate in a reception programme that focuses on living and working in New Zealand.
It was there at the Auckland-based facility where the housing needs of all quota refugees were assessed by the Ministry of Social Development.
Those families were given detailed information about benefit support, and then Housing New Zealand helped match them with public properties, or if no match a private rental house was sought by Immigration New Zealand.
Aziz, who has no family, said he had no complaints about his subsidised house which he paid $53 a week for.
But in April he decided to stop that rental, and move into his non-self contained van with a mattress in the back..
“It was a stupid decision,” he concedes given winter was fast approaching, but was happy other people would be able to live in the house.
But he remained unhappy with Red Cross, which is contracted by Immigration New Zealand to provide 12 months settlement support to quota refuges in the current settlement locations.
That programme included community orientation programmes, and connecting refugees to services such as medical appointments, English language courses, housing support, education and employment.
Aziz said he had issues with Red Cross, and felt his card was marked from the start.
“I received things from the Government; table to eat on, and fridge.”
He declined the Red Cross offers of other extras such as a TV, and because “if I need something I will work to get it”.
Red Cross told Stuff the organisation would “not comment on individual cases”.
“We take complaints about any of our work seriously and have processes in place to help ensure they are dealt with effectively and appropriately.”
Aziz remained concerned that the offers from Red Cross would make former refugees “just expect things from you”.
“I don’t want things, I want things to help me with my new community, like services.”
Aziz, who had worked as a facilitator with the United Nations in Palestine, said all he wanted was a job.
“I want to work. I will do anything.”
Instead he was told that was too soon, and instead he had to improve his English.
He became stressed, and “I stayed inside these four walls, and I don’t have any friends”.
That stress cumulated in him going on a hunger strike back in October, and then he spent several days in a mental health facility – “the lowest point in my life”.
His mounting stress led to him shifting his home into a van, staying at freedom camping spots around Dunedin, while working as a cleaner and offering gardening services.
At one point he even stopped his bank account and his benefit.
“I wanted to leave the country,” the Palestinian passport holder said.
Aziz left for Wellington last week, where he plans to save for a ticket back to Malaysia in the next few months.
“It is better for me than just my eat and sleep life here.”