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) 

Lebanon warns Hamas of possible Israel threats

Senior Hamas officials arrive in Gaza [File photo]

Senior Hamas officials arrive in Gaza

Lebanese security agencies passed on a warning to Hamas officials in the country over suspicious Israeli activities which may target them, Quds Press reported yesterday.

Reporting a senior Arabic security source, Quds Press said that Lebanon asked Hamas to raise the level of awareness among its officials after monitoring Israeli activities in a number of Lebanese cities and Palestinian refugee camps in the country.

The Arabic source said that the Israeli activities are targeting officials and institutions from Hamas or which are close to Hamas.

READ: Israeli army warns of ‘security explosion’ in occupied West Bank

According to the source, the nature of these activities proves that there are Israeli plans to assassinate certain individuals.

“Therefore,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Hamas was advised to raise alarm and take the most needed security precautions.”

Israel is suspected to be behind an assassination attempt against a Hamas official in Lebanon in January 2018.  Mohamed Hamdan was left injured after a blast destroyed his car and sent a column of smoke into the sky leaving him “slightly wounded”. (Source / 17.04.2019) 

Palestinian prisoners reach agreement to achieve demands, end hunger strike

Palestinian prisoners have reached an agreement with the Israeli prison administration to achieve their demands and suspend their hunger strike, the Battle of Dignity 2, on Monday, 15 April. The agreement came as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were engaged in their eighth day of a collective hunger strike.

According to the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, the agreement includes the installation of public telephones in the prison sections, which prisoners would be allowed to use three times a week for 15-minute calls, as well as stopping the installation of cell-phone jamming devices. In addition, the repressive measures and sanctions imposed in the past year upon the prisoners will also be lifted, while fines imposed on prisoners in recent struggles inside the prisons would be reduced. Hundreds more prisoners have been set to join the hunger strike in the coming days, especially 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the agreement also included provisions to transfer the women prisoners from Damon prison to another detention center; the prisoners have repeatedly cited harsh, difficult conditions unsuitable for human life in the Damon prison. In addition, sick prisoners would be returned to the previous section in the Ramleh prison clinic, an area that was considered better than their current location.

The National and Islamic Forces held a press conference in Gaza City to highlight the prisoners’ final statement“The battle is not over; the hardest phase of this struggle is to implement what has been agreed upon,” the prisoners wrote, noting that previous agreements have been repeatedly broken by the Israeli prison administration.

They saluted the prisoners in section 4 of the Negev desert prison and section 1 in Ramon prison who were attacked by Israeli repressive forces, noting that “their great sacrifices underline that freedom and dignity are…human rights that cannot be denied.” They saluted Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, occupied Palestine ’48 and exile and diaspora, as well as supporters of freedom around the world, journalists and prisoners’ centers, that stood with the prisoners in their struggle. The statement particularly saluted “the people and leadership in Gaza,” noting their unity in commitment to the struggle.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest salutes and greetings to all of the Palestinian prisoners on this occasion of victory. These achievements follow on many historical accomplishments of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, on the front lines of the Palestinian liberation struggle, extracting their victories through great sacrifice, with their bodies and lives on the line. As Palestinian Prisoners Day approaches, we emphasize our continuing dedication to work for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners and the freedom of Palestine from the river to the sea.

Mohammed Tabanja, Hussam al-Ruzza, Khaled Farraj

In addition, we urge people around the world to continue their solidarity activities to support the Palestinian prisoners, throughout the coming days, months and years, until their freedom is achieved. In particular, we emphasize the cases of three Palestinian prisoners who remain on hunger strike: Hussam al-Ruzza (61), Mohammed Tabanja (40) and Khaled Farraj (31). Al-Ruzza has been on hunger strike since 19 March – nearly one month – while Tabanja and Farraj have been on hunger strike since 25 March. All are held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, and their detention has been repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed.

They are among nearly 500 Palestinians out of approximately 5,500 Palestinian prisoners jailed with no charges and no trial for indefinitely renewable periods under administrative detention. The end of administrative detention is a long-time demand of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and supporters of justice and liberation around the world. Join the call to free Hussam al-Ruzza, Mohammed Tabanja, Khaled Farraj and all Palestinian prisoners!

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

Netanyahu: The tool of Israel’s West Bank settlement project

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

By Emad Abu Awwad

Throughout the decade in which he has served as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has accelerated Israel’s settlement project. Though in this he followed the approach of his predecessors in the Likud and Labor parties, the fact that Netanyahu is leader of the country has prompted researchers to study his pro-settlement actions in terms of thought, behaviour and motives.

According to a report by Peace Now, about 20,000 settlement units were built during Netanyahu’s last three prime ministerial terms. Moreover, 130,000 additional settlers have moved to illegal West Bank settlements during this time, indicating that his premiership has been beneficial to Israel’s settlement project.

This raises the question: Where was the focus of this construction? According to the Peace Now report, 70 per cent of projects – amounting to 14,000 settlement units – were built in isolated outposts, meaning those settlements built without approval from the Israeli government. However, these outposts still receive government support and are often granted official recognition retrospectively.

According to the report, 2,100 units were built in 2018, an increase of nine per cent on the average since 2009. This serves as indication that Netanyahu’s desire to satisfy the Jewish Home party, which has insisted on doubling settlements, was his most important consideration in order for his government to continue. He also wanted to ensure the support of settlers, especially ahead of this month’s election, which ended with a victory for the right-wing.

READ: New Israel government will impose sovereignty over West Bank

Moreover, hundreds of public institutions were also built in West Bank settlements such as schools, nurseries and places of worship, eight of which were located on outposts. In addition, 184 were industrial and agricultural buildings, 39 per cent of which were built in outposts such as Havat Gilad, west of Nablus, among others.

Focusing 39 per cent of construction on these outposts indicates that settlement institutions aim to impose a fait accompli that forces any future Israeli government to provide them with services. Further, this will ultimately eliminate the possibility of evacuating any such outposts in the future. This is how the settlement mentality works.

In 2018, blueprints were presented for the construction of about 5,618 settlement units, 83 per cent of which were slated to be located outside major settlement blocs. This exposes the determined efforts of settlement councils, not only to take advantage of the fact that settlements have been winning cards for recent Israeli governments, but to turn all isolated outposts into significant settlement blocs.

With nearly 700,000 settlers living in the West Bank and Jerusalem, their significance continues to increase with time. Though Israel previously depicted these settlements as part of a strategic vision to meet its security needs, recently they have become ideologically and religiously motivated, as well as a solution to Israel’s housing and demographic crises.

READ: Airbnb reneges on decision to delist West Bank settlement properties

The result of the Israeli election shows that a government cannot be formed without the country’s smaller political parties. This will mean the Union of Right Wing Parties – which is led by religious Zionists and settlers – for example, will be able to accelerate the settlement process, meaning we will soon face the biggest wave of settlement in the history of Israel.

Settlement expansion and construction will not stop. Instead, we will see the annexation of outposts, to which Israel’s law is already being applied, which will only contribute to increasing support for them and their eventual legitimisation.

The Israeli right-wing, especially the religious right-wing, is acutely aware that it faces the greatest opportunity to hasten the realisation of its religious-Zionist dreams. This does not mean that these right-wing parties are the first to pursue this path of settlement, but the upcoming wave will be the quickest and most difficult in light of their efforts, backed by an American Evangelical government.

READ: Israel to seize hundreds of dunams in Jordan Valley

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

Calls to pressure Israel to release 22 Palestinian journalists

Israeli forces intervene in AFP'S photo journalist Jafer Eshtayah during a protest against building of Jewish settlements and separation wall at Kafr Qaddum village of Nablus, West Bank on 22 March 2019 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces intervene in AFP’S photo journalist Jafer Eshtayah during a protest against building of Jewish settlements and separation wall at Kafr Qaddum village of Nablus, West Bank on 22 March 2019

Journalist Support Committee (JSC) has called for putting international pressure on Israel in order to release 22 Palestinian journalists from its jails, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

The JSC issued a report as part of a package of activities to mark Palestine Prisoners Day today, stating that there are 22 Palestinian journalists currently in Israeli jails, including three females.

According to the JSC, the prisoners are subject to “flagrant systematic violations” inside Israeli jails such as administrative detention and martial trials.

The JSC report stated that there are seven sentenced journalists, four under administrative detention and 11 are awaiting news of their fate.

Meanwhile, the JSC condemned the increasing Israeli policy of chasing and prosecuting Palestinian social media users, stressing this is a violation of free speech and freedom of expression laws.

READ: The arrest of Julian Assange is an existential threat to journalism

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

Israel Begins Demolition of 500 East Jerusalem Homes (VIDEO)

17 APR3:10 PM

Israeli bulldozers, on Wednesday morning, demolished a Palestinian house and a number of storehouses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

WAFA correspondence said that dozens of Israeli police cordoned off the Wadi Yasul area, in Silwan, and deployed in the alleyways, as the municipality bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house and storehouses under the pretense of being built without a rarely-issued Israeli license.

Local Palestinians scuffled with police and attempted to prevent the demolition, but they were assaulted by police officers. Several Palestinians sustained injuries as a result of the police assault.

The owner of the demolished structures was identified as Izz al-Deen Barqan.

The demolition took place three days after an Israeli court rejected an appeal submitted by the homeowners against the planned demolition.

Israeli courts, seen as the last judicial recourse against demolitions, in fact are complicit in perpetuating the Israeli policies of forcible transfer against Palestinians.

Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

At the same time, the municipality and government build tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

Large numbers of Israeli forces raided the Silwan neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and surrounded several Palestinian-owned structures in preparation for demolition, on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said that heavily armed Israeli forces, a number of bulldozers and Israeli Civil Administration staff raided Silwan, commencing the demolition of two Palestinian-owned structures.
Ma’an sources confirmed that Israeli bulldozers demolished storage warehouses belonging to Izz Barqan.

Israeli bulldozers also demolished horse stables, which measured 200-square-meters and were built four years ago.

The demolished horse stables belonged to Muhammad al-Qaq.

Sources added that, during the demolition campaign, Israeli forces physically assaulted Silwan residents, including women and children.
Earlier this week, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Palestinian families from Silwan, allowing the demolition of 500 homes and commercial buildings, which were built without an Israeli-issued permit, to take place.

The residents built these 500 homes and commercial buildings about 30 years ago, without the nearly-impossible to obtain Israeli permit.
The Supreme Court’s decision will most probably affect the fates of hundreds of Palestinian families, who will be left homeless following the demolitions.

For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

House of Saleh al-Barghouthi Demolished in Ramallah (VIDEO)

17 APR3:38 PM

Israeli occupation forces  demolished, on Wednesday at daybreak, the house of slain Palestinian Saleh al-Barghouthi, in the village of Kobar, northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Local Al Ray sources reported that a large Israeli military force, accompanied by bulldozers, broke into the village, circled the house of al-Barghouthi, with several soldiers deployed on the rooftops of neighboring houses, and commenced destruction of the house.

Omar al-Barghouthi, Saleh’s father, stressed that the demolition of their house will not ruin their will and determination, adding that sons are priceless, and that Palestine is worth sacrificing for.

The chairman of the Kobar village council said that the house of al-Barghouti is the fourth to have been demolished by Israeli forces for the past two years.

He asserted that they will not allow Israeli authorities to displace any Palestinian family over this criminal attack, adding that these crimes will never affect the spirits and steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

It’s noteworthy that the Israeli military had accused 29-year-old Barghouti of carrying out a shooting attack near the illegal  “Ofra” settlement, in Ramallah, along with his 33-year-old imprisoned brother Assem, whose house was also demolished last month.

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

8th Anniversary of the Death of Vittorio Arrigoni

17 APR4:36 PM

04/16/19 | International Solidarity Movement | al-Khalil Team

This week marks the 8th anniversary of the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian journalist and activist working with the International Solidarity Movement, in Gaza.

On April 16th, 2011, when Arrigoni was 36 years old, his body was found in Gaza city, only a few hours after “The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammad bin Muslima”, a Salafist group operating in Gaza, released the video where he was blindfolded and wounded. His alleged murderers were arrested and sentenced to 15 years after appealing their sentences.

Vittorio Arrigoni spent three years inside Gaza, working with peoples whose lives were affected by the blockade of the area. He witnessed and documented the effects of the Israeli blockade and the continuous human rights abuse, in the area. He was a committed ISM activist which also made him a target for arrest and harassment by Israeli forces, as it led him to a number of different demonstrations and protests around Gaza.

After breaking the blockade in 2008, Arrigoni described that moment as being one of the happiest of his life, as “It became clear, not only to the world, but Palestinians also, that there are people who are willing to spend their lives to come and hug their brothers here in Gaza.”.

On the 8th anniversary of his passing, when Gaza remains besieged by the occupation, we still remember Vittorio through his words and actions, and hope to continue our work through the example that he set for us.

“We must remain human, even in the most difficult times …Because, despite everything, there must always be humanity within us. We have to bring it to others.”

~Vittorio Arrigoni
4th February, 1975 – 15th April, 2011

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

6-year-old Palestinian ran over by Zionist settler in Hebron

HEBRON, PALESTINOW.COM — An Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian child while he was on his way home from school, and caused him injuries, today Tuesday.

The Palestinian child, Omar Ra’fat Salaymah, 6 years old, was on his way home from school in al-Salaymah neighborhood in al-Khalil (Hebron) city, southern occupied West Bank.

The child was hospitalized immediately after he sustained a moderate injury. The settler managed ran away.

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

IOF shot two Palestinians near Ramallah

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli soldiers shot, on Tuesday evening, two young Palestinian men, and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army invaded the al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiyya village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Media sources said dozens of Palestinian youngsters protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the armored military vehicles.

They added that dozens of soldiers invaded the village from several directions, after surrounding and isolating it.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his chest, and another Palestinian with a gas bomb in his back, and caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Hizma town, east of occupied East Jerusalem, and shot a young man with a live round in his left leg, during protests that erupted following the invasion.

(Source / 17.04.2019)