17-year-old Palestinian boy Ayham Sabah was sentenced by the Israeli occupation’s Ofer military court to 35 years in prison on 17 December 2018. Ayham, from the village of Beitunia near Ramallah, was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million NIS (approximately $300,000.) He was accused of stabbing an Israeli occupation soldier inside the illegal colonial settlement in 2016 at the age of 14. The occupation soldier, who was also himself an illegal settler in the Ma’aleh Michmash settlement, died of his injuries.
The hefty fine was labeled “compensation” for the family of the occupation soldier. Ayham was there with Omar Rimawi, who was also 14. While Omar was shot and killed by another settler, Ayham was severely wounded in his shoulder, foot and hand after being shot. Both were denied medical care for long periods of time before being removed from the scene. Ayham’s father, Bassam Sabah, spoke with Asra Voice radio, saying that the lengthy sentence reflected the racism of the occupation, that does not see Palestinian children as children. Further, the father said that the verdict did not weaken his son’s morale. “He considers the sentence to have no value, because his hope for freedom is much greater,” he said.
In addition, Ayham’s father said that his son’s sentence is not an isolated incident but a price imposed on Palestinians wherever they are and a suffering that will not end until Palestine achieves its freedom. “Steadfastness and survival is our only option,” he noted.
Ayham is one of over 200 Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, including 41 under the age of 16. Palestinian children are even detained without charge or trial under so-called “administrative detention,” facing indefinite renewal on the basis of secret evidence. He is not the only Palestinian child facing extreme sentences: Muawiya Alqam, 14, was sentenced to six and a half years in Israeli prison; Ahmad Manasrah, 14, to 10 years in prison; Nurhan Awad, 17, to 13 years in Israeli prison. In several of these cases, including those of Ahmad and Nurhan – like Ayman – a close friend or family member, also a child, was shot down and killed in front of the surviving child.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the sentencing of Ayham Sabah and demands justice and freedom for imprisoned Palestinian children. We further call for international action to compel the Israeli state to respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and end international military aid and assistance that funds the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children.
The imprisonment of children highlights the necessity of building the movement to boycott Israel, including economic, cultural and academic boycott and the imposition of a military embargo. The imprisonment, oppression, and killing of Palestinian children by the Israeli occupation is part and parcel of the Israeli colonial project in Palestine, and the only true freedom for Palestinian children will be achieved through the freedom of the Palestinian people and the liberation of Palestine.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during an interview with Reuters, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank September 10, 2018
The Palestinian leadership on Saturday slammed Australia’s “irresponsible policies” after its recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The country became one of just a few to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead and recognize the contested city as Israel’s capital.
Australia said it would open a defense and trade office in the west of the holy city and Prime Minister Scott Morrison also committed to recognizing a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“The policies of this Australian administration have done nothing to advance the two-state solution,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a statement, stressing the Palestinian view that the holy city remains a final-status issue in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have run aground.
There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.
Morrison had earlier floated the idea that Australia may follow the contentious US move of relocating its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, but it was seen by many Australians as a political stunt. Critics called it a cynical attempt to win votes in a by-election in October for a Sydney seat with a high Jewish population.
Prior to the Israeli attack, he had been imprisoned since 2002 by the Palestinian Authority under U.S. and British guard. The imprisonment of prominent Palestinians like Sa’adat played a role in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections in which the legislative party associated with Hamas, the Change and Reform Bloc, prevailed. Less than a week before the new PA officials were to be sworn in, Israeli armed forces attacked the Jericho prison, killing two Palestinians.
Since that time, Sa’adat was sentenced to 30 years in Israeli prison, even though he was not charged in the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi. The notoriously far-right Israeli tourism minister was assassinated by PFLP fighters after the Israeli army assassinated PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in his Ramallah office, using a U.S.-made and –provided helicopter-fired missile on August 29, 2001. Several of Sa’adat’s comrades were sentenced to life imprisonment after the raid.
Israeli officials have repeatedly demonstrated their fear of Sa’adat’s political influence. He was held under isolation for three years, an isolation that ended as part of the 2012 Karameh mass hunger strike. He writes and issues statements from prison, thanks to the creative work of fellow prisoners and their comrades in making sure that the writing and analysis of Palestinian prisoners are not isolated from the world. The interview follows below:
Q: How would you assess the current situation in Palestine and the attitude of the U.S. administration under Donald Trump?
First of all, I would like to thank you for this interview. It is absolutely crucial to communicate with Italian readers and explain the Palestinian left vision for the current situation in Palestine and in the region. We view the United States, under the Trump administration, as an extremely dangerous power, not only for the Palestinian people and for our region, but for all of the people of the world. It is often said that the only difference between Trump and previous administrations is that Trump reveals the true, ugly face of capitalism and imperialism, taking the use of plunder, hegemony and exploitation to an extreme level.
Trump’s declaration on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state and the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is the natural continuation of 100 years of colonization in Palestine and the 1917 Balfour Declaration. It is part and parcel of the ongoing attempt to liquidate Palestinian rights and to accelerate the ethnic cleansing of our people, especially in Jerusalem. Palestinians across the board politically reject Trump’s attempt to eliminate the Palestinian cause. Our people are resisting and rejecting this attempt not only with words, but with action: the launch of a true, heroic popular uprising in Gaza – the Great March of Return, in the spirit of the first Intifada and with the participation of the PFLP and a broad range of Palestinian political forces.
2) What current strategy would allow for the rebuilding of a strong Palestinian liberation movement?
The main task facing us today is the project of rebuilding and reconstructing the Palestinian national liberation movement. The primary Palestinian national objective today is to place Palestine, once again, on the road of liberation by restating and reaffirming the essence of the Palestinian struggle. That is, the return of the refugees and building the liberated, democratic secular society in Palestine – not the “Palestinian state on 1967 borders alongside Israel.”
A historic and devastating rupture has taken place in the Palestinian movement after the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. This has distorted the true meaning of our struggle and the essence of the conflict. An entire Palestinian generation has been born and grown up since the signing of that catastrophic document on 13 September 1993 in Washington, D.C. Since then, the Palestinian movement has been shattered, splintered and chaotic.
As for the immediate tasks, it is critical to reestablish the Palestinian national liberation front, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) if you will, in order to provide the necessary conditions for a renaissance of the Palestinian movement and the Palestinian revolution. We come from a different perspective than both Fateh and Hamas, and we are committed to a real national unity that includes our progressive framework and which must be based on popular representation and participation. All Palestinian classes must be a part of this process, and the popular classes must not be excluded from the leadership of the movement as they have been for the past 40 years. The freedom of Palestine will be won by the people, not the elites.
3) What alternative political direction does the PFLP suggest?
We think that the main premise of change is popular participation that allows Palestinians to participate in the struggle and in political decision-making, in a manner that is effective and meaningful. This not only requires struggle against occupation, but also struggle to regain those Palestinian rights to participate in our own movement. For example, in Jordan, there are over four million Palestinians whose demands, needs and calls to action may seem to be absent. However, they must be heard. The same is true for Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, as well as those in Palestine.
Popular participation and leadership is necessary for rebuilding the resistance movement against Zionist colonization and implementing a strategy for the liberation of Palestine. This must also take place in the diaspora as well as in Palestine, in Europe and elsewhere in the world where there are Palestinians. If our communities are always threatened by all kinds of criminalization, repressive laws and right-wing attacks, then our tasks will be more difficult. The cornerstone of our vision lies upon this – people’s right to participate in developing their future. This is the most advanced, democratic process of participation which we are fighting for, unlike those who have imposed an elite hegemony on the Palestinian people.
4) The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has marked the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. How do you evaluate the situation of the Front today?
The Front concluded its seventh convention in early 2014, and we are now approaching the eighth convention of the Front. This will be an opportunity for all of our comrades inside and outside Palestine to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our Front and evaluate its advances and retreats.
In the last five years, we can say that the Front has faced tremendous difficulties and challenges that have manifested political and financial siege: repression, mass arrests of its cadres, the killing of cadres. Yet we have advanced in our military capabilities in Gaza because we do not face the same conditions that we do in the West Bank under occupation and Palestinian Authority security coordination. Several comrades – including myself – are imprisoned precisely because of this security coordination between the PA and the occupier, but we are not alone in this regard. Hundreds of cadres have been subject to oppression and arrests as well.
In terms of the Front organizationally, we also have made progress in terms of youth participation and renewal in various different aspects of our work. It is always challenging to accumulate achievements due to our circumstances, so we are always engaged in a process of building and rebuilding.
5) How has the PFLP changed since its foundation until now?
The Front has changed tremendously in that time – we are talking about half of a century. There are four stages in the life of our party. The first, which could be identified as the “Jordan era,” from 1967 until 1972; the second, the experience of the Palestinian Revolution and the PFLP in Lebanon, from 1973 until 1982; the third, the first great Palestinian popular uprising from 1987 until 1993; and, since then, we have been living the stage of the so-called Oslo process.
Now, these changes have affected the Front on many levels: political, theoretical, organizational. These have affected us as they have others: the wars in the region, the peace pacts between Arab regimes and Israel, the fall of the Soviet Union and the larger socialist bloc and the liquidation process (also labeled the “peace process.”) All of these factors and many others have affected the Front, its strength and its analysis.
Certain positions which we took in a time of retreat made the Front look more “realist,” but that was due to internal contradictions in the Front. We discussed this publicly in our documents from the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Conventions. The Front always engages in self-criticism and we do not hesitate to point out our shortcomings. But the conclusion to which we have arrived, from 1992 until today, is that the party, like our people, is living through a comprehensive crisis, theoretically, politically, financially and otherwise, and this crisis can only be overcome through resistance and struggle at all levels.
6) How do you see the role of the prisoners’ movement inside Israeli prisons?
The prisoners’ movement inside Israeli jails has, historically, played a major and central role in the fight against Zionist oppression. This comes not only in our daily confrontation of the occupier and prisoners’ responsibility as the first advanced rank of the revolution but also in our role in the overall political scene in Palestine.
We must remember that the national consensus agreement for Palestinian national unity has been called the Prisoners’ Document. It was drafted inside prisons and formed the basis of all later discussions for the Palestinian movement’s national unity. The prisoners’ movement has lived through various experiences of campaigns, hunger strikes, and prisoners lives’ being taken under torture.
We political prisoners have been called the vanguard and the heart of the Palestinian revolution. This is because Israel always targets the Palestinian movements and their leaders for imprisonment – student movements, women’s movements, labor movements, youth movements. In essence, prisons have been a place where all of these aspects of our movement meet and engage in thorough discussions. That is why Palestinians often call prisons “the schools of the revolution.”
We are not separated from the liberation movement outside prison. Palestinian prisoners are from all of Palestine – the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Triangle, the Naqab, Galilee, all of our land. We also consider Palestinian political prisoners in American and French jails as part of our movement, particularly Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned in France for over 34 years.
The First Intifada began on December 8th 1987 as a spontaneous response to murderous violence by illegal Israeli settlers and brought the Palestinian cause back to the global consciousness. The First Intifada would be driven by the occupied people themselves, and especially by the children and youths; it was a revolutionary cry for freedom by those directly under the military boot of the occupier. At least 1268 Palestinians would be killed by Israel’s occupation forces’ and Israeli ‘civilians’ by the time the Oslo-era began in 1993 with its false promises of coming liberty, that would be betrayed by Israel’s regime and United States, the self-appointed ‘honest broker’. 161 members of Israel’s occupation forces, illegal Israeli settlers and civilians in Palestine 1948 would die also, with 53 of them civilians outside the occupied territories. Hundreds of Palestinian children and couple of dozen of Israeli children were killed, but as we have been unable to find exact numbers (B’Tselem, whose statistics we otherwise used here, gives only the deaths of those of age 16 and under) we can’t report the child casualties exactly. (Source / 09.12.2018)
Youth Ammar Abed-Rabbo al-Khatib was kidnapped last at dawn on Friday December 7th from the village of Hizma in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli occupation forces.
Like with so many other Palestinian families living under the occupation, to be taken at night from home by masked gunmen is not some shocking event beyond comprehension but part of what life is under the Israeli occupation.
Ammar is a brother of political prisoner Amer al-Khatib and now joins his brother in captivity.
Several homes in Hizma were raided and searched during the night by the occupation forces, which kidnapped also 3 other people from the West Bank during the late hours of the night.
Fatah’s rival Hamas likely to oppose Mahmoud Abbas’ move to dissolve Palestinian Legislative Council
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses Palestinians gathered at the tomb of Yasser Arafat, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, to commemorate the 14th anniversary of his death, on November 11, 2018
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said late Saturday evening that the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council will soon be dissolved, Palestine’s official news agency reported.
Addressing a conference in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abbas announced that the council would be dissolved “in a legal manner,” without giving a date for the move, which is likely to be opposed by Hamas.
Rather than Abbas’ Fatah movement, its rival the Hamas movement holds most of the seats on the council. The council was disrupted following the Palestinian administrative division of 2007, when two competing Palestinian governments emerged.
Of the council’s 132 seats, 76 are held by Hamas, Fatah has 43, and the left wing and independents hold the remaining 13.
Fatah Central Committee member Dalal Salameh told Anadolu Agency in May that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) – was discussing the mandate of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) to carry out the powers of the Legislative Council.
The Central Council is a permanent body of the PLO-affiliated PNC, the highest representative legislative body of the Palestinian people, which includes the Palestinian factions, except Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On more than one occasion, Hamas has declared its refusal to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council, saying Abbas has no power to dissolve it.
The Palestinian Basic Law provides for the holding of parliamentary elections every four years, but the last parliamentary polls took place in 2006, over a dozen years ago.
The West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip have remained politically divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from rival group Fatah following several days of bloody street fighting.
Hamas’s capture of Gaza in 2007 ended a short-lived unity government established after Hamas swept the 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.
Since then, Hamas has been in control of the blockaded strip’s border crossings.
This October, Hamas and Fatah signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending 10 years of bitter division.
If it holds, the agreement will allow the Fatah-led Ramallah government to assume political and administrative responsibility for the Gaza Strip.
French Minister of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs, Luc Chatel (C), his Egyptian counterpart Rachid Mohamed Rachid (L) and Gunter Verheugen (D), European commissionner for Entreprise and Industry give a press conference during the 7th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Industry (Euromed) on “competitiveness, innovation and sustainable development” on November 6, 2008 in Nice, southeastern France. This conference takes place from November 5 to 6 as part of the Barcelona Process, launched in November 1995 and which aimed at creating a Euro-Mediterranean industrial partnership
The Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, called on the Algerian authorities to assume their responsibility in protecting Palestinian asylum seekers who arrived in Algeria from the Gaza Strip at the beginning of last October.
According to a statement issued by Euro-Med HRM, the Algerian authorities “have detained since last October Palestinian asylum seekers at a refugee camp located in Tamanrasset Province, southern Algeria, and informed them that they will be deported to Gaza through Egypt, which may expose them to serious abuses and violates their rights as asylum seekers.”
Euro-Med HRM indicated that the refugees, estimated to be 53, including children, “arrived in Algeria illegally after they had left the Gaza Strip, and crossed Egypt till they arrived in Mauritania. Afterwards, they were smuggled from the Mauritanian territories to the Sahara of Mali. They went on a perilous trip, which lasted seven days until they reached the Algerian borders on 1 October.”
The human rights organisation quoted one of the refugees, whose identity was kept anonymous, saying: “When we left Gaza and crossed Egypt, we went to Mauritania, as Mauritanian authorities did not require Palestinians to get a visa. After a while, we headed toward the Sahara of Mali, where the journey of our suffering lasted for a week, as we were stripped off all our belongings and robbed by bandits. Consequently, we had no other choice but to eat dead animals so that we can survive.”
Euro-Med HRM stated that the Algerian authorities had taken the fingerprints of these asylum seekers and brought them to trial for illegally entering the country. They were sentenced to three months suspended imprisonment, with a period to settle their problematic situation. However, “the refugees were placed in a refugee camp, and they were prevented from moving freely. They were recently informed of the authorities’ intention to deport them to the Gaza Strip through Egypt,” he added.
The same eyewitness, who was among the detained refugees, described his fellows’ situation saying: “We are now incarcerated in caravans within a shelter surrounded by barbed wire. In the morning they give us milk, and later they bring lunch and dinner together. The guards do not let us go out to buy anything, and if we want to buy something from outside the camp, the guards are the ones who buy it for us, but at double prices.”
Sarah Pritchett, the spokeswoman for Euro-Med HRM, stressed that “Algeria must commit itself to the principle of non-refoulement as a customary principle of the international law, which stipulates that refugees should not be expelled in any way to the borders of countries in which their lives and freedom are at risk.”
Pritchett also asserted that “the Algerian authorities treat these asylum seekers collectively, without any regard to the specificity of their cases, which need to be examined individually to conclude the eligibility of each refugee for asylum. Such a method of handling the situation violates the standards set forth by the international human rights law.”
The spokeswoman for Euro-Med HRM added: “It is true that these refugees entered Algeria illegally, but the court decided to release them, and the Algerian authorities must abide by the court order and not mistreat them or continue detaining them unnecessarily.”
The vote on this resolution came minutes after the vote against ant-Palestinian resistance one
After rejecting the US-backed anti-Palestinian resistance resolution, the General Assembly voted on Thrusday night on another text dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The brief resolution, proposed by Ireland, called for “the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions,” including Resolution 2334.
It also demanded “an end to the Israeli occupation” and reaffirmed the assembly’s “unwavering support… for the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders.
It was passed with 156 “yes” votes, six “no” votes and 12 abstentions.
Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, dismissed the text as “an anti-Israel resolution.”
Prior to this resolution, the UNGA rejected a US-drafted resolution that criminalises the Palestinian resistance, which is guaranteed by the international law, against the Israeli occupation.
Israeli authorities, on Thursday, banned Jerusalem’s Governor, Adnan Gheith, from entry into the West Bank, for six consecutive months.
Gheith was summoned Thursday morning, to al-Maskobieh detention and interrogation center, where he was handed a military order banning him entry to the West Bank for six consecutive months.
The order, issued by the so-called Israeli Military Central Command Chief Major General Nadav Padan, bans Gheith from entering and staying in the West Bank unless granted a permission by Padan himself.
According to WAFA, he ban was ordered under the pretext of participation in “illegal and violent activities”.
In November, Gheith was taken from his house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, for allegedly being involved in the arrest and investigation of a Palestinian merchant who sold lands to Israeli settlers.
Members from the armed wings of the four largest political parties in the besieged Gaza Strip — Hamas’s al-Qassam, Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds, Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades — stand together at a press conference in Gaza City denouncing an Egyptian court’s ruling classifying the al-Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organization
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — National and Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday called for mass demonstrations in the enclave on Thursday.
They announced in a statement that the demonstrations will be protesting a US recent proposal labeling the Palestinian resistance groups, especially Hamas, as “terror groups”.
The United Nations General Assembly is set to vote on Thursday on a US-drafted resolution that would condemn the Palestinian resistance and Hamas movement for “inciting violence”.