ACTIVIST LINDA SARSOUR: ‘DONALD TRUMP HAS NO IDEA WHAT A DEAL IS’

“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.”

(Source / 12.06.2019) 

AL-AWEIWI SUSPENDS HUNGER-STRIKE AFTER AGREEMENT WITH ISRAELI OCCUPATION

Political prisoner who fought a hunger-strike which lasted for 69 days has come to an agreement with the Israeli occupation about his release and has ended his hunger-strike. Yet the exact date of his coming release is unclear based on currently available information.

Hassan al-Aweiwi(35) suspended his hunger-strike on Monday June 10th after coming to an agreement with Israeli occupation authorities. He had been on hunger-strike since April 2nd and had lost 20 kilograms from his weight during it.

His imprisonment without charge or trial won’t be extended indefinitely, but he will now be released at a set date. But the date of his release is unclear; in different sources it is either early October, in mid-December, “by the end of the year” or on January 15th 2020.

The father-of-three from Hebron was arrested by Israeli occupation on January 15th this year and started his hunger-strike after Israeli occupation military court extended his administrative detention on April 2nd. According to different descriptions of the details of the agreement with Israeli occupation he will be released either “six months after the end of his first period of administrative detention” or after six more months of administrative detention.

As a result he could be released as early as October, after six more months of imprisonment or on the first anniversary of his arrest. Maximum length of single period of administrative detention is six months, but Israeli occupation military court also detain people on shorter periods – like possibly case of al-Aweiwi.

According to most sources, his imprisonment without charge or trial was extended “just” two and a half months after his arrest – yet one major source, Addameer, reports that his original period of administrative detention was already six months. The differing release date possibilities result from the conflicting claims.

Hassan al-Aweiwi was previously imprisoned in Israeli occupation prisons for three years. His mother started a solidarity hunger-strike in support of his son few days before its end.

(Source / 12.06.2019) 

Egypt company launches ‘VIP travel service’ for Gaza Palestinians

Palestinians protest against the closure of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade on the territory, on 24 January 2019 in Rafah. [SAID KHATIB / AFP / Getty]

Palestinians protest against the closure of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade on the territory, on 24 January 2019 in Rafah

An Egyptian private travel company has launched a new “paid service” for the residents of the occupied Gaza Strip via the Egypt-Palestine Rafah crossing.

The company, Hala for Tourism Services, would provide the service through its newly-established VIP lounge inside the Egyptian side of the crossing.

Official source at Hala told the Anadolu Agency that the company would start accepting applications from those wishing to benefit from its new VIP service tomorrow. He added that the company had two branches, one in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and the other in Palestinian Rafah city.

READ: Israel and the PA continue to drain Hamas’ financial sources

The VIP lounge, the source explained, would serve travellers through the Rafah border crossing in both directions, “while ensuring speedy and safe transportation is being provided.”

“This new service will provide the Palestinians with full travel assistance, starting from the transfer of the traveller from the Strip to their final destination and vice versa,” the official source said, continuing that the chargeable service would include “the cost of a transit visa as well as the transportation fare.”

“The service for outbound travellers from Gaza will cost $1,200 per person, $600 for minors aged from eight to 16 years old, younger children will be exempt from any fees,” the source pointed out. “VIP service for inbound travellers to Gaza will cost $600,” he said.

(Source / 11.06.2019) 

10-YEAR-OLD PALESTINE GIRL STILL IN SYRIA REGIME DETENTION: RIGHTS GROUP

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.

(Source / 11.06.2019) 

Ex-Israel Defence Minister Ya’alon slams Netanyahu: ‘Hamas also elected democratically’

Image of Moshe Ya'alon [MuslimPress Français/Facebook]

Image of Moshe Ya’alon 

Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance number three and former Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hamas, saying it too was elected democratically.

In an interview today with Israel’s Channel 12, Ya’alon slammed Netanyahu’s long-term dominance of the Likud party – which he has led almost continuously since 1993 – comparing his reign to Hamas’ control over its own members.

He told the TV channel: “In Likud they choose [their list] through democratic elections. Hamas is also elected in democratic elections, but then [Knesset Members (MKs)] are managed using a balance of terror.”

“How did such a balance of fear come about, that resembles a ‘dictocracy’ more than a democracy,” Ya’alon added.

Ya’alon stressed that his criticism was directed not at the Likud party generally but rather at Netanyahu himself, claiming that a number of Likud MKs agree with him privately.

The Likud party this afternoon hit back at Ya’alon’s comments, claiming “he has long [since] lost his marbles”. A Likud statement read: “To compare the Likud and Hamas? The left-wing party of [Blue and White co-leader Yair] Lapid, [Benny] Gantz and Bogie [Ya’alon] continues to incite against more than a million Likud voters, who chose Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the country. Pathetic!”

READ: Lieberman says he will not recommend Gantz as Israel PM

Ya’alon also today reiterated Blue and White’s long-standing claim that it will not consider entering into government with Likud so long as Netanyahu remains at its helm.

“It’s not a personal issue, it’s a question of Bibism,” Ya’alon explained, adding that “it has become very dangerous to the future of the country in terms of democracy. It [has] turned into worship of one individual.”

Ya’alon’s comments will be seen as a thinly-veiled reference to Netanyahu’s ongoing efforts to guarantee his immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases, which could see him face up to ten years in prison. In this bid Netanyahu has sought to curtail the power of Israel’s Supreme Court, a move which former Israeli judges have claimed is reminiscent of Nazism’s rise to power in Germany during the 1930s. “This is the threat and we have to deal with it,” Ya’alon stressed.

Blue and White won the same number of seats as Likud in April’s general election, a performance hailed as a great success for the nascent party. However, given his position as incumbent prime minister, Netanyahu was given the first shot at forming a ruling coalition.

When Netanyahu last month failed in this task, Blue and White had hoped that party leader Benny Gantz would be tasked with forming a government, as dictated by precedent. However, in a bid to hold on to power Netanyahu pushed to see the Knesset dissolved, thus triggering fresh elections which are now slated for 17 September.

Blue and White – along with other centre-left parties Labor and Meretz – voted against the dissolution, but were defeated by the right-wing bloc and the predominantly Arab-Israeli partiesHadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad, which seized upon the prospect of an election do-over in a bid to improve their dire April performance.

Despite rumours that Kahol Lavan’s component parts – Gantz’s Israel Resilience (Hosen L’Yisrael) party and Lapid’s Yesh Atid – could break apart ahead of September’s election, the party heads have vowed to contest the upcoming election together. Should this arrangement survive the coming four months’ campaigning, Blue and White is expected to remain Netanyahu’s biggest rival.

READ: Israel Labor number 2 quits politics ahead of leadership race

(Source / 10.06.2019) 

15 Gaza families forced to live in UN medical centre

15 Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip have been living in a health centre for the past two months after UNRWA stopped paying their rent allowances on 10 June 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

15 Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip have been living in a health centre for the past two months after UNRWA stopped paying their rent allowances on 10 June 2019

By Mohammed Asad

About 15 Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip have been living in a health centre for the past two months after UNRWA stopped paying their rent allowances.

The families, whose houses were destroyed by Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, have been living in a number of room of the UNRWA-run Saftawi Clinic, including in the director’s office. They were forced to move out of their rented accommodation after they accrued rent arears of over 12 months.

Talks to resolve the stalemate between the families and UNRWA, and have them move out of the clinic have so far failed.

Israel launched a war on the Gaza Strip on 7 July 2014, killing 2,320 Palestinians, destroying 12,000 housing units completely and damaging tens of thousands more, according to official data.

READ: Germany says to continue support for UNRWA

(Source / 10.06.2019) 

Palestinian Diplomats Respond to David Friedman’s Comments About Annexing Parts of West Bank

10 JUN6:22 PM

In response to U.S. ambassador to Israel’s remarks that “Israel has the right to annex some of the occupied West Bank”,the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates announced that it is considering filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman’s statement, the ministry claimed “is a reflection of the broad U.S. policy that is totally biased with the Israeli occupation and colonial policies.”

In a press release, the Palestinian ministry posed the question; “In what logic does Friedman think that Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank?, On what reality did he base his conviction? Or international law prohibiting the annexation of territory by force? Or the reality imposed by the occupation authorities?”

The ministry proclaimed that Friedman “is illiterate in politics, history and geography, and belongs to the state of the settlements… has nothing to do with logic, justice or law, unless they serve the occupation state, which he is eager to defend by all means.”

According to International Law, taking over or annexing land through military force is prohibited, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, and has ruled militarily there, since that time.

“These statements prove that Friedman is the ambassador of colonization and hostility targeting the Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and independence.”

– Palestinian Authority Spokesperson Ibrahim Milham

“U.S. has its foreign policy determined by people who are politically immature and extremist in their ideologies, such as Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman. These men are playing politics as if they are in a circus.”
– Palestinian Authority Spokesperson Ibrahim Milham

“Friedman’s statements are direct incitement against the Palestinian people, and are filled with lies that aim at justifying the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.”
– Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization,
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.

In response to Friedman’s statement that even if peace is achieved, the Israeli military would need to continue its military occupation of the West Bank, “this would constitute an annexation of occupied territory, which is a war crime according to international law.”
– Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat.

More Palestinian officials have condemned the recent statement by US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
“the vision of the American side to annex occupied territories is a war crime according to the international law.”
– Secretary General of Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, (Twitter)

“President Trump’s ambassador provides enough background in order for everyone not to attend the Manama meeting: Their vision is about annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law.”
– Saeb Erekat, (Twitter)

Friedman told the New York Times that he blamed the Palestinian Authority for the current stalemate in the peace process with Israel.
All statements of the US ambassador “are totally rejected by all the Palestinians.”
– aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and veteran Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, (Voice of Palestine Radio)

“We won’t accept any American or Israeli steps and measures, Palestinians are sticking to their territories and will carry on with their struggle until they topple all the plots that aim at eliminating the Palestinian cause.”
– Nabil Shaath, (Voice of Palestine Radio)

“Practically, Israel still occupies area C in the West Bank, and any Israeli measures will be a violation of international law.”
– Nabil Shaath, (Voice of Palestine Radio)

“US President Donald Trump protects and encourages the Israeli side to keep occupying other people’s territories and violate the international law, and “any peaceful solution must end the Israeli occupation.”
Nabil Shaath, (Voice of Palestine Radio)

(Source / 10.06.2019) 

FORMER PALESTINIAN REFUGEE SAYS HE’S BEEN FORCED TO LIVE IN A VAN SINCE ARRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND

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.”

(Source / 09.06.2019) 

HUNGER-STRIKER AL-AWEIWI STOPS DRINKING WATER AFTER 69 DAYS

Political prisoner Hassan al-Aweiwi has been on hunger-strike for 69 days by Sunday June 9th, protesting against his imprisonment without charge or trial. The 35-year-old father of three from Hebron has lost 20 kilograms from his weight during the hunger-strike. Moved on Thursday from Ramle prison clinic to civilian medical centre in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 because of deterioration of his condition, on Saturday he declared that he would stop drinking water. This makes al-Aweiwi’s hunger-strike a dry hunger-strike. Until now he has drank salt water. He was arrested by Israel’s occupation forces on January 15th and declared his hunger-strike on April 2nd after Israeli occupation military court continued his administrative detention. (Source / 09.06.2019) 

PALESTINIAN GROUP DENOUNCES US HANDING OVER AL-ASHQAR TO ISRAEL

Gaza (QNN) – The Council on International Relations Palestine has denounced the US authorities for handing over former Palestinian presidential candidate Abdul Halim Al-Ashqar to Israel.

The council declared in a statement yesterday that the US authorities shall assume full responsibility for Al-Ashqar whose fate is in the hands of the criminal occupation.

The council noted that this move uncovers the US administration’s approach which is hostile to the Palestinian people and to stability and peace in the region through its blatant bias towards the unjust occupation and its ongoing crimes.

The statement has noted that the US administration unfairly sentenced Al-Ashqar to 11 years in prison after being abducted and placed under house arrest for nearly two years on a charge that does not exceed six months in prison. It also stressed that US authorities are targeting Palestinian activists and scientists.

The council called on the international community, human rights groups and organisations around the world to exert pressure to release Al-Ashqar, stressing the need for the US administration to reconsider its policies in the region which contradict its claim to be an honest broker and guarantor of the peace process.

Relevant sources reported that, on Wednesday night, the US handed Al-Ashqar to the Israeli occupation after he served 11 years in American jails.

(Source / 07.06.2019)