International Solidarity Movement Responds to Report of FBI Probe

This is the statement from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in response to a report  published by The Intercept detailing an investigation of the ISM conducted by the FBI from 2004 – 2006, using informants as well as physical and telecommunications surveillance.

The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of international solidarity that promotes non-violent witness, accompaniment and civil disobedience to challenge the Israeli military’s violent occupation of Palestinian land. The group has always strictly adhered to the principle and practice of non-violence as a tactic.

Here is the group’s statement:

We, at the International Solidarity Movement, denounce this shameless abuse of power and misuse of public funds in an attempt to criminalize Palestinian solidarity and anti-occupation activism, as well as the current ongoing campaign in some American states to criminalize the BDS movement. ISM activists have been secretly spied on and targeted by various intelligence services, including British, Israeli, and U.S.,  for over 19 years, merely for standing up for the rights of Palestinians.

We call on those who believe that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity to take action and raise awareness about local, state, and national attempts to criminalize nonviolent resistance such as BDS and Palestinian advocacy, and boycott those profiting off the Occupation of Palestine.

According to the Intercept report, an FBI investigation was launched after an American volunteer with ISM was shot and wounded by Israeli forces at a protest in Occupied Palestine. Instead of investigating the foreign army that injured an American citizen exercising his First Amendment-protected right to peaceful protest, the FBI’s response was to probe the survivor. While the 2 primary investigations were launched by the Los Angeles and St. Louis FBI Field Offices, agents from at least 11 cities were involved in spying on various ISM activists and related organizations. Using far right and extremist news sources, the investigation attempted to link ISM to international terrorism.

After two years of investigation, multiple rights and privacy violations, hundreds of pages of reports and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars wasted, the investigation only proved what we have always maintained: ISM is a non-violent movement committed to ending the Occupation of Palestine through non-violent means.

Notably, the investigation began in March 2004, shortly after the murder of American Rachel Corrie and Briton Tom Hurndall (2003) by the Israeli army. The probe coincided with an Israeli government campaign to de-legitimize ISM and discredit Palestinian rights activists. It also reflects the increase in recent years of FBI investigations into non-violent activist organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Antiwar.com. Today, lobby groups, politicians, and leaders in the United States continue to violate First Amendment-protected rights to free speech through criminalizing non-violent Palestinian activism, such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“The fact that ISM was under this kind of extensive investigation is ridiculous and a complete waste of taxpayer money. ISM has always been open and transparent about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for, which is purportedly what this country stands for — freedom and human rights.” — ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf

“In Dr. King’s time, surveillance was justified in terms of alleged Communist influence; in recent years, surveillance has been justified by alleged association with terrorists. In both cases, U.S. citizens were employing nonviolent action to confront injustice and oppression.” — ISM activist spied on by the FBI, Mark Chmiel

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Israeli forces wound fisherman in northern Gaza

Gaza (QNN)- A Palestinian fisherman was wounded on Wednesday after being shot by Israeli gunboats at the Sudaniyyah sea near Beit Lahya in northern Faza.

Private sources stated that Israeli forces opened fire at the fisherman Ibrahim Abu Wardeh (23 years old) after chasing him while he was working in the Sudaniyyeh sea.

Abu Wardeh has been wounded in his hand and leg. He was evacuated to get medical treatment.

The occupation state targets fishermen in Gaza on a daily basis, causing many of them to be wounded or killed. Israeli forces also repeatedly confiscate equipment and fishing boats of Gaza’s fishermen and prevent them from working.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Remembering Bahr El-Baqar primary school massacre

50 years later, the occupation state continues its terrorism

Cairo (QNN)- Bodies of dead schoolchildren, ruins of an elementary school, and families, who have been mourning their children for the last 50 years, are everything left after the Israeli massacre in Bahr El-Baqar elementary school.

On April 8, 1970, The occupation state targeted the elementary school with an air raid, murdering over 40 schoolchildren, while severely wounding over 50 others and leaving the rest of the 150 students with permanent disabilities.

The Israeli Minister of war at the time, Moshe Dayan, who was elected after that as a prime minister, claimed that the school was a military installation and that there were soldiers and weapons hidden on the premises.

No proofs nor basis for Dayan’s claims were provided, either before or after the attack. The school rather was located in Ash Sharqia Governorate, which is over 200km away from the Israeli border.

The school, which consisted of only three classes housed on one floor, had a student body of 150 children. The building was completely destroyed as the attack was carried out by Israeli Air Force F4 Phantom II fighter-bombers that used five bombs and two air-to-ground missiles.

50 years later, the occupation state continues its terrorism, targeting Palestinian children. ‘Israel’ killed 33 children in 2019 only, arrested 880 children in the same year, and attacks schools in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem on a daily basis.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Palestinian Hospital, Quarantine Center Discharges 18 Coronavirus Cases

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A total of 18 patients infected with the novel coronavirus were Tuesday discharged following recovery in Ramallah and Bethlehem districts after recovery, announced Health Minister Mai Kaileh

Speaking in the daily evening briefing in Ramallah, Kaileh announced that 11 patients infected with COVID-19 were being discharged from the Hugo Chavez Hospital, located in Turmus Ayya town, northeast of Ramallah, and seven others from a quarantine center in Bethlehem district, following their full recovery.

She added that all discharged patients would now be allowed to return to their homes and must remain in home quarantine for a two-week period, while maintaining adequate essential nutrition and checking their temperature twice a day.

Following this period, Kaileh elaborated, the recovered cases must undergo the COVID-19 test again. Medical staff will follow-up on every case during the home quarantine period.

Earlier today, the Government Spokesman announced via twitter that a Palestinian identified as a worker from Hebron city tested positive for the virus, raising the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Palestinian territories increased to 261.

The Health Ministry’s statistics indicate that since the novel coronavirus outbreak, 42 cases have recovered; 36 in the West Bank and 6 in the besieged Gaza Strip, and one case died.

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(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Injuries Reported As Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians In Hebron

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A number of Palestinian citizens were injured on Tuesday when Israeli settlers, protected by armed forces, attacked them near al-Shuyoukh town northeast of the West Bank city of al-Khalil.

Local sources said that violent confrontations broke out between Palestinian citizens and Israeli settlers on Palestinian lands near al-Shuyoukh town.

Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by police dogs, later interfered to protect the settlers and fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at the Palestinians. A number of them suffered breathing difficulties and were treated in the field.

Local residents said the clashes flared up after Israeli settlers surrounded lands owned by the Halayka family with barbed wire and attempted to seize them by force to establish a settler outpost.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

New Infections, Recovery From Coronavirus In Palestine Focus Of Dailies

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Confirmation of seven new cases of coronavirus in Palestine as well as the recovery of 18 cases in the West Bank was highlighted on the front page of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies today.

Al-Ayyam said that two more cases have recovered in the Gaza Strip bringing total recovered yesterday in Palestine to 20.

It said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to talk with Hamas through a third party about exchange of prisoners.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida, while also highlighting the corona recovery cases in Ramallah and Bethlehem, made the statement by the Palestinian presidency condemning Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank as its top front page story.

It also highlighted Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also warning about the Israeli annexation plans.

The paper said 60 percent of the corona cases in Ramallah area came from Palestinian workers in Israel after their return home.

Al-Quds reported on the Israeli army raids and arrest in the West Bank, clashes with Palestinians as well as the kidnapping by Israeli settlers of two Palestinians in the village of Kubar, near Ramallah.

It said in a report quoting ARIJ, a Palestinian organization, saying that Israel is taking advantage of the corona outbreak to create dangerous facts on the ground in the occupied territories.

It also quoted rights organizations saying that Israel is responsible for the health of 14 million people between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, and that Israel’s apartheid system is undermining Palestinian health rights during the corona pandemic.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

UK Supports Palestinian Effort To Combat Coronavirus

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As part of efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak around the world, the UK today announced two support packages to purchase medical supplies for health systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The contribution, worth $1m, is being used to purchase essential medical supplies for the treatment of critical care patients.  It is also supplying material to increase Palestinian COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity.  The procurement was by UNICEF and the WHO.

Speaking in Jerusalem Consul General, Philip Hall said: “Today’s announcement underlines the UK’s commitment to standing with the Palestinian people at this challenging time.”

“This contribution will support the Palestinian Authority and UN’s strong response to the crisis.  The new equipment will help keep doctors, nurses and other frontline workers safe as they work to save lives,” he added.

Last month, the UK announced the allocation of $100,000 to support the WHO to accelerate its initial response to coronavirus on the OPTs to ensure early detection and case management of suspected COVID-19 cases.

It is also worth mentioning that the UK Government has now pledged $670m of UK aid to fight the global spread of the virus, including through research and development of vaccines, treatments and tests; supporting health systems in developing countries; and helping lessen the economic impact on the poorest nations.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Two new corona cases in Palestine raise total to 263

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM – The Palestinian Ministry of Health said two new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the West Bank today raising total in Palestine to 263.

It said in the daily briefing that the two confirmed cases were of a Palestinian worker in the southern West Bank city of Hebron returning from Israel and a medic in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

READ : 200 Palestinian children held in Occupation prisons

The majority of the cases are in the West Bank with only 13 in the Gaza Strip. A total of 44 cases have recovered including 36 in the West Bank and eight in the Gaza Strip. One death in the West Bank.

(Source / 08.04.2020) 

Israel exploits virus to grow settlements

Israel using world’s engrossment in pandemic to expand settlements in West Bank, east Jerusalem, says joint statement 

YERUSSALEM, PALESTINOW.COM – The Arab League warned on Wednesday that as global attention is turned elsewhere amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

The statement by the organization of 22 Arab countries came after a meeting between its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Secretary General, Saeb Erekat.

READ : Extremist settlers flood Palestinian farm lands near Al-Khalil

Aboul-Gheit and Erekat discussed the current coronavirus outbreak in Palestine, along with ongoing Israeli settlement expansion.

“The [Israeli] occupation is exploiting the world’s engrossment with the coronavirus pandemic to expand their settlements and impose new realities on the ground, especially in east Jerusalem and its surrounding areas,” said the statement.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White party, agreed to declare Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank next June as part of their agreement to form an Israeli government.

Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, the country has built 132 settlements and 121 settlement outposts for 427,000 settlers, according to the Israeli peace group.

READ : Settlers attack Palestinians in Al-Quds, three injured

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal

Since appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

More than 1.43 million cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 82,100 deaths, and nearly 302,000 recoveries.

(Source / 08.04.2020)