Palestinian Prisoner Completes 27 Years Behind Israeli Bars For Resisting The Occupation

Photos File

Palestinian political prisoner in Israel, Mahmoud Issa, has completed 27 years behind Israeli bars, said the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

Issa, 52, from the town of Anata, east of occupied Jerusalem, was sentenced to three life terms plus 46 years for resisting the Israeli occupation.

He spent 11 years in a row, and two more years, in solitary confinement.

(Source / 03.06.2020)

Mishaal Calls For Continuing To Send Anti-Siege Convoys To Gaza

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Former head of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mishaal called on organizers of Freedom Flotilla aid and solidarity convoys to resume their efforts to break and challenge the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Mishaal made the remarks during his online participation in a meeting held last night by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH on the 10th anniversary of the pro-Gaza Freedom Flotilla fleet and the martyrs of the Mavi Marmara ship.

“We are remembering with pride and love the 10 dear martyrs who were heading for Palestine to break the siege on the Gaza Strip and sacrificed themselves for the sake of values and humanity,” Mishaal said, addressing the participants.

“The place of those martyrs is in our hearts,” he added.

“Thanks to everyone who participated in the fleet for their nobility and courage and for the values of humanity, morality and manhood they showed as they faced the danger,” the Hamas official said.

(Source / 02.06.2020)

Jerusalem home demolitions ‘ethnic cleansing’: Hamas

More than 1,900 Palestinian homes have been demolished in Jerusalem by Israel since 1967, according to Palestinian figures

GAZA CITY, PALESTINOW.COM – Palestinian resistance group Hamas has decried Israel’s policy of house demolition in East Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing”.

“The increasing path of house demolitions in Jabel Mukaber in southern East Jerusalem aim to expel our people under false excuses,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanua said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This policy [of house demolitions] is a crime that cannot be ignored,” he said.

On Monday, Israeli authorities ordered a Palestinian family in Jabel Mukaber to demolish their home, citing a lack of permit.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem are forced to build without permits due to refusal of the Israeli Municipality to grant them building permits.

More than 1,900 Palestinian homes have been completely demolished in Jerusalem by Israeli forces since 1967, according to Palestinian figures.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

(Source / 02.06.2020)

As annexation looms, will Palestinian Authority diminish?

GAZA CITY, PALESTINOW.COM – As Israel plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, analysts rule out that the annexation will lead to the dissolution of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel seeks to annex parts of the West Bank in the upcoming month, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party.

The Israeli plan has drawn global outrage as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered an occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there — as well as the planned annexation — illegal.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestine was terminating all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the US.

Abdel-Majid Sweilem, a political analyst, believes that Abbas will not dissolve the PA in reaction to the Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank.

“There will be no move to dissolve the PA,” Sweilem told Anadolu Agency. “The PA is a national achievement and an arm of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).”

These days, Palestinians mark the 56th anniversary of the PLO’s establishment, which has been recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” by more than 100 states.

“Despite the criticisms against the PA, facts on the ground have proven that it is besieged by Israel and considered a major enemy of Israel and therefore there is no reason to disband it,” he said.

He stressed that dissolving the PA “will not achieve any popular benefits to the Palestinian cause”.

Collapse

Commenting on the PA’s termination of all deals with the US and Israel, Sweilem said Israel may consider it a “hostile” move.

“Israel might seek to launch an economic or financial campaign against the PA to weaken or destroy it,” he said.

He, however, said Israel “will not be able to risk by carrying out two serious scenarios at the same time, i.e. the annexation and overthrowing the PA”.

“Israel is in a quagmire,” Sweilem said. “On the one hand, Israel does not want an authority that fights it and it cannot risk overthrowing the PA on the other hand.”

Political analyst Khaldoun al-Barghouthi believes that the scenario of pushing the PA toward collapse may not be possible at the present time.

“Israel is not fully prepared to deal with the consequences of [the PA collapse],” he said.

Al-Barghouthi ruled out that the Palestinian leadership would dissolve the PA.

“The PA collapse will have a severe economic impact on the Palestinian people and will carry unbearable implications for Israel,” he said.

Destroying the PA “means the collapse of all institutions, which took many years to establish in the hope of reaching a two-state solution agreement,” al-Barghouthi said.

He suggested that changes might happen at the international arena “that lead to pile pressure on Israel to revoke its annexation plan, especially in light of the European rejection of the annexation and potential changes in the US administration”.

On May 15, the EU said the annexation was not in line with international law and warned against Israel’s unilateral move.

In the same context, al-Barghouthi pointed out that US presidential hopeful Joe Biden — the strongest rival of President Donald Trump in the next presidential race — has reiterated his adherence to the two-state solution if he wins the polls.

Lack of plan

Political analyst Wadie Abu Nassar thinks that the PA might only threaten to dissolve itself, but without putting the threat into action.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abu Nassar said the Palestinian and Israeli interests are intertwined.

“Whether it comes to permits to pass through Israeli barriers and entry to cities, or permits for goods, or even permits for [medical] treatment, all of these must pass through the Israelis,” he said.

“This makes the PA dissolution extremely difficult,” he said.

Abu Nassar said the inter-Palestinian rift, and absence of a national action plan “make the option of dissolving the PA off the table”.

“The Palestinian side does not have a plan of action and at best it has a reaction,” he said.

“We see that the Israeli side is working under a plan, while the Palestinians are only taking reactions,” he added.

Abu Nassar also ruled out that Israel would seek to bring down the PA “because it does not want to pay wages to the Palestinians nor let its soldiers in areas crowded with Palestinians”.

“It is in Israel’s interest to maintain the PA’s existence,” he added.

(Source / 02.06.2020)

Fatah: Palestinians will face Israel’s annexation plan with an Intifada

Palestinian Presidential advisor for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Nabil Shaath, [File photo]
Palestinian Presidential advisor for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Nabil Shaath

Senior Fatah member and former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath said yesterday that Palestinians would face Israel’s plans to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank with an Intifada, Al-Mujtama magazine reported.

In an interview, Shaath said that all the Palestinian forces agree to face the annexation using all the available resistance means, including political and diplomatic options.

Regarding the Palestinian action on the international arena, Shaath said that there are continuous moves at all levels and the Palestinians depend on their Arab “brothers” to bring their united position to the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Commission.

Netanyahu: ‘We will annex 30% of the West Bank area to Israel’ 

The US administration, he explained, “is still dominating the international organisations and imposing its individual decisions.” Adding that he hoped the rise of Russia, the EU and China would decimate US domination of these organisations.

Shaath said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is exploiting the current US administration led by Donald Trump to carry out his “racist” plans which aim to liquidate Palestinian rights.

He called on the ICC to prosecute Israel for its crimes against Palestinians, adding that allowing it to get away with its actions sets a precedent on the international arena.

(Source / 01.06.2020)

World Bank: Poverty rates to double as occupation suffocates Palestine

Palestinian children play outside their home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]
Palestinian children play outside their home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City

With Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank, in contravention of international law, only weeks away, the World Bank and the United Nations have issued stark warnings concerning the Palestinian economy, blighted by the longest occupation in modern times and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of Palestinians living below the poverty line is expected to double according to the World Bank; increasing to 30 per cent from the current rate of 14 per cent. “Even prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, more than a quarter of Palestinians lived below the poverty line,” said the World Bank. “The share of poor households is now expected to increase to 30% in the West Bank and to 64% in Gaza.”

More striking is the youth unemployment rate which is said to be 38 per cent, well beyond the Middle East and North Africa’s regional average. According to the World Bank, the Palestinian economy is being suffocated by restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of people and goods.

The United Nations has also echoed concerns raised by the World Bank, warning that the move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would stifle financial and aid flows to the Palestinians and “most likely trigger conflict”.

READ: UNRWA launches coronavirus emergency appeal for Palestine refugees

The UN said that “the achievements of the Palestinian government over the last quarter century will fade” adding that “the peace and security situation will worsen, and a hardened and more extremist politics on both sides will inevitably result.”

The Palestinian territories have seen low infection rates after acting quickly to curtail the spread of COVID-19, with three deaths out of 450 cases registered among some five million residents in Gaza and the West Bank. Nonetheless the Palestinian economy is expected to shrink by as much as 11 per cent in the coming year.

The Palestinian economy grew by just one per cent in 2019 and is projected to shrink by as much as 11 per ce,nt this year. The shrinking of the economy is expected to be compounded further by the funding gap in the PA’s budget which is predicted to be over $1.5 billion this year, up from $800 million in 2019.

The World Bank suggested that one way to prevent an “economic collapse” would be to develop a digital economy. “The digital economy can overcome geographic obstacles, foster economic growth and create better job opportunities for Palestinians.

With its tech-savvy young population, the potential is huge” said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “However, Palestinians should be able to access resources similar to those of their neighbours’, and they should be able to rapidly develop their digital infrastructure as well,” added Shankar.

READ: This pandemic is yet another deadly challenge for the people of occupied Palestine

(Source / 01.06.2020)

Palestinian Prisoner in Israeli Jail on 21st Day of Hunger Strike

Palestinian prisoner, Sami Janazreh, 47, has embarked on the third hunger strike over the past four years of incarceration.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, prisoner Janazreh from the al-Fawwar refugee camp, has been on hunger strike for 21 days consecutively, in protest of his Administrative Detention inside Israeli prison.

In a statement, released Sunday by the society, prisoner Janazreh has been imprisoned since 2016 and has embarked on three hunger strikes, as he has not been charged and has not stood trial.

The statement noted that there are tens of other Palestinian prisoners, who are going the same ordeal as Janazreh and that Israel has placed all those prisoners under administrative detention, since 2011.

The latest strike by prisoner Janazreh, said the prisoners’ society, is considered to be an individual means of protest and pressure on the so-called Israeli Prisons’ Service (IPS), which applies harsh measures against prisoners, in general.

Recently, the IPS transferred Janazreh to a solitary confinement cell at the desert Israeli detention center of Naqab, after spending some time in a solitary confinement cell at the Ayla prison, added the statement.

Noteworthy, Janazreh is a father of three children aged 8, 11, and 17.

The Prisoners’ Society suggested that Israel holds Palestinians under administrative detention, under the pretext of ‘secret evidence’, which the society says is in violation of international norms and conventions, pertaining to Palestinian prisoners.

Administrative detention (AD) is a procedure that allows Israeli occupation forces to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. The secret information or evidence cannot be accessed by the detainee nor his lawyer, and can according to Israeli military orders, an administrative detention order can be renewed for an unlimited time. The court issues an administrative detention order for a maximum period of six months, subject to renewal.

  •  Administrative detention (AD) is a procedure that allows Israeli occupation forces to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. The secret information or evidence cannot be accessed by the detainee nor his lawyer, and can according to Israeli military orders, an administrative detention order can be renewed for an unlimited time. The court issues an administrative detention order for a maximum period of six months, subject to renewal.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Assocation

(Source / 01.06.2020)

Mother of Slain Palestinian: “My Son Was A Child In A Man’s Body”

The mother of the Palestinian who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in occupied Jerusalem, said that the Israeli allegations and justifications for his brutal murder are mere lies, as the slain man was autistic, and was a child in a man’s body.

The Palestinian, Eyad al-Hallaq, 32, was killed when the soldiers shot him with eight live rounds at the stairs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, while he was walking to the al-Bakriyyah School for persons with special needs.

Eyewitnesses said Eyad was just walking when the soldiers started shouting at him, and he got scared by their loud voices and tried to run away.

They added that the soldiers could have easily arrested him, without resorting to the lethal and excessive use of live fire.

The mother was walking aimlessly around her home in Wadi al-Jouz in Jerusalem, looking lost, and unable to grasp the news about the death of her only son.

Minutes after the news about his death started spreading, she was informed that he was alive and was only shot in his leg near Bas al-Asbat in Jerusalem, but shortly afterwards it became clear that he was killed by the soldiers.

His father, Khairi al-Hallaq, shocked and in disbelief, was sitting in his home, surrounded by several young men who knew the slain Palestinian and rushed to his home, could not utter many words, except prayers and mumblings that only echoed “he was killed in cold blood, he was murdered…”

His slain autistic son, he said, may have looked like a grown man, but his brain was that of a child, who didn’t interact with anybody, and who only left home to go to the special needs school.

“Why would they kill him in cold blood like this,” he said, “They claim that they thought he carried a weapon! Why didn’t they search him, why did they have to kill him without even making sure he was carrying the claimed weapon”.

He added that his slain son started going to the special needs school around six years ago, and that he goes there every day from the morning until evening, and when he returns home, he just sits alone in his room.

His weeping mother, distraught and unable to catch a normal breath, said, “Why didn’t they just capture him… why not search him… why did they have to rush to fatal shots, to killing him in a cold-blooded manner like this.”

“He was murdered in cold-blood, he carried nothing but his mobile phone and his wallet”, she added, “He carried no weapons, he wanted to go to school because he felt bored at home, but at school he could be more active, and interact with others….”.

“Right now, after they killed him like this, my only wish is that we can have the burial ceremonies at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, before he is buried in the soil of Jerusalem,” she added, “He was an innocent person, he hated nobody, and what they did to him is a crime not only against him, but also against every person with special needs. They killed my only son, who was a child in a man’s body. They killed my only son, they killed my only son…”

Attorney Eyad al-Qadamani, who is representing the family, said that the Israeli police is investigating the fatal shooting, and so far, the police is not admitting he was killed by mistake, and are unwilling to transfer his corpse back to his family for burial.

The lawyer added that the Israeli police imposed a gag order, forbidding the release of the names of the officers involved in his death, or even any information about the units they belong to.

The imposed gag order will remain in effect until June 3rd and could possibly be extended for a longer period.

Israeli media outlets said the slain young man did not carry any weapon, and that he was shot just because “he failed to stop when was ordered to.”

The police claimed that they noticed he carried a “suspicious object”, and that they though it was a gun, and added that he was ordered to stop, but he started running and a chase ensued.

Israeli daily Haaretz said the Palestinian was unarmed, and that the officer who shot him said “he suspected al-Hallaq was a terrorist because he was wearing gloves.”

Haaretz quoted a statement by the Israeli police claiming that “two officers noticed the Palestinian carrying a suspicious object that they thought was a gun and ordered him to stop. After the man refused and started fleeing the scene, the officers started chasing him on foot and opened fire, ultimately killing him while he was trying to hide behind a dumpster.”

It added that the police then closed on the Old City, and that the Police Internal Investigations Department will be investigating the incident.

Haaretz also said that the two officers who were involved in chasing him and then the fatal shots, were questioned by the police, before one of them was released “under restrictive conditions”, and the second officer was placed under “house arrest.”

The Israeli media agency also quoted source which was described to be “familiar with the investigation”, the junior officer, who was a recruit armed with M16 automatic rifle, is being suspected of “continuing to shoot despite being ordered by his commander to stop.”

Haaretz added that the officer “continued to shoot because he saw al-Hallaq was still moving”, and that a court in Jerusalem issued a gag order preventing the release of the names of the officers involved in the fatal incident.

(Source / 31.05.2020)

Thousands Of Muslim Worshippers Pray At Al-Aqsa After 70 Days Of Closure

Photos File

Thousands of Muslims performed dawn prayer today in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest place, shortly after the Mosque was reopened to prayers following a 70-day shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mosque opened its doors to thousands of worshippers, who went inside cheerfully chanting in celebration of the reopening. All the buildings in the courtyards of the Mosque were opened to prayers to allow for the social distancing necessary to contain the spread of the virus.

A few days ago, the Islamic Waqf, in charge of running the Mosque’s affairs, sterilized the mosque and set instructions for the worshipers coming to pray there in order to adhere to health instructions and prevent overcrowding inside the buildings and courtyards.

Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque said that “the patience of worshippers over the pandemic resulted in the return to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after 70 days of closure,” adding that the Islamic Waqf Department has completed all its work to receive the worshipers who are committed to health instructions that must be maintained by everyone coming to the mosque.

Head of the Islamic Higher Council in occupied Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, called on everyone who suffers from health symptoms not to attend and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, hoping that the prayers will go smoothly, calmly, regularly.

In the meantime, around 75 Israeli settlers guarded by a police escort forced their way into the Mosque and performed a provocative tour. The police reportedly detained three Palestinians, including a young woman, who were praying at the courtyards of the Mosque.

(Source / 31.05.2020)

Health of Hamas representative in Saudi deteriorates in prison

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with prisoners in Saudi jails, in front of the Red cross office, in Gaza city on on 16 October 2019. [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with prisoners in Saudi jails, in front of the Red cross office, in Gaza city on on 16 October 2019

The health condition of Hamas representative in Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohamed Al-Khodari, 81, has dramatically deteriorated while inside Saudi prison, Quds Press reported on Friday.

According to Quds Press, “Prisoners of Conscience”, a Twitter account which documents the situation of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, revealed that Al-Khodari, who has been detained since April 2019, lost his ability to move due to severe illness.

Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of Palestinian students, academics and residents arbitrarily a year ago, including Al-Khodari, the official representative of Hamas in the kingdom.

No formal charges have been made against them.

READ: Hamas reveals the hidden aspects of its relations with Saudi Arabia 

(Source / 30.05.2020)