A leaked video shows Assad forces torturing Alawite officers

A leaked video posted online shows Syrian Regime forces beating and torturing Alawite officers.

A leaked video posted online shows Syrian government forces beating and torturing supposed Alawite officers, who have allegedly been accused of smuggling weapons to the Syrian opposition.

The video clip uploaded by activists shows a reporter from the official Syrian TV channel present during the Syrian regime forces interrogation. Officers can be heard asking men, who have been placed in large metal containers, questions about their alleged involvement while slapping them repeatedly.

The “officers from the Alawite sect” were blindfolded and handcuffed as portrayed in the online video.

This video is one of many that have been leaked recently, showing Assad forces torturing unarmed civilians.

It is impossible to verify the content and when the pictures were taken.

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Egypt security leaders welcome Hamas delegation in Cairo

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian security leaders on Thursday welcomed a Hamas delegation led by Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to Cairo.

Haniyeh and 10 Hamas leaders will fly from Cairo’s International Airport to Qatar, where they will meet Emir Shiekh Hamad Bin Khalifeh

Haniyeh is expected to discuss national Palestinian reconciliation and reconstruction projects in Gaza with the Qatari leader.

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Israeli pressures on EU countries to deny entry to liberated prisoner Sarsak

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli Foreign Ministry has sent diplomatic letters to the EU countries urging them to deny entry to the Palestinian liberated prisoner and footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, Palestinian human rights sources revealed.

Prisoners’ Studies Center quoted the liberated prisoner Sarsak as saying that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has asked formally the European countries not to receive or deal with him claiming that he is affiliated with a “terrorist” organization.

Sarsak, went on hunger strike for 96 days in order to obtain his release on 10 July 2012, has traveled to France last month as part of a European tour to expose the Israeli policies against the Palestinian prisoners, and to urge the European Union to cancel 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Israeli entity this summer.

Sarsak declared his participation in solidarity activities with the Palestinian prisoners in the Netherlands and Italy, while he will deliver a speech at the annual celebration of Milan late April.

The Palestinian football player Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has received a European and international solidarity during the recent months.

(Facebook / 18.04.2013)

Urgent concerns over death threats issued to UN Human Rights defender, Issa Amro

There are growing concerns for the safety of non-violent Palestinian activist and organiser Issa Amro, following a recent letter to Israeli security forces from Israeli settlers of Hebron, accusing Amro of terrorism and incitement, and warning that a failure of the Israeli authorities to remove him “could be costly”, and threatening “bloodshed”. This is the latest in a long line of threats and attacks against UN human rights award winner Amro.

Issawi Amro Co-ordinator of Youth Against Settlements

Issawi Amro Co-ordinator of Youth Against Settlements

In the letter, the mayor of the Jewish “Hebron Municipal Council” and the director general of the “Hebron Jewish Community” insist that army commanders “use administrative detention until you are able to find a long-term solution to completely end this hostile and dangerous activity” referring to Amro’s extensive work with various human rights groups. The full letter can be read here.

Amro has been violently attacked by this same community of Israeli settlers many times in the past – his nose and wrist have been broken and he received five stitches to his head. He and his family regularly receive death threats from the settlers of Hebron over the phone, continuing their campaign of threats and violence against him.

Despite having received numerous death threats and abuse from settlers over a period of many years, Amro is particularly concerned about the letter of the 20th March, because of the status and influence of its authors. Various Zionist websites have since issued calls for his execution, publishing various pictures of his face marked by red circles. Despite Amro’s long dedication to non-violent principles he is constantly identified as a terrorist by these websites.

You can see examples of this here :

1. http://rotter.net/forum/gil/26497.shtml

Amro states “I have been arrested and detained on too many occasions to count, but I have never been charged with anything.” He says that he is regularly abducted by soldiers from his home, blindfolded and driven around for several hours before being left back at his house. On other occasions, he has been beaten by soldiers who have threatened to kill him and his family. During his most recent arrest in March 2013, Amro was stripped naked and made to stand outside for three hours.

On the 27th of March 2013 there was an arson attempt against the Youth Against Settlements community centre in Tel Rumeida – Amro was verbally abused and humiliated by police officers when he attempted to file a complaint and was ejected from their office twice before the complaint was filed. There has yet to be any investigation by the police.


Issa Amro has been involved in founding many non-violent organisations in Hebron, working peacefully against the occupation. This includes the Hebron branch of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the Arab Non-Violence Network, Youth Against Settlements and the Hebron Defenders. He won the One World media award in 2009 for his involvement B’tselem’s “Shooting Back” project, which provides media training and distributes cameras to Palestinians to document settler and military abuse for Palestinians. Amro’s work with these organisations, as well as numerous other projects intending to document and non-violently resist human rights abuses and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements led to his winning of the UN OHCHR ‘Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestine’ award in 2010.

(Source / 18.04.2013)

UFree Network (@Ufreenetwork) intensifies its activities in defense of prisoners


images_News_2013_04_17_hurreya_300_0[1]OSLO, (PIC)– UFree Network to defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners stressed the fairness of the issue of prisoners, criminalized the international silence regarding the Israeli practices against them, and called on the international community to confront the Israeli violations.

UFree said in its statement on the 39th anniversary of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, that the Palestinian prisoners will remain a distinguishing mark in the international human rights path, adding that the continued Israeli violations against the prisoners put the UN conventions on Human Rights to the test.

The network hailed the Palestinian prisoners’ high spirits despite the international unjustified silence and inaction regarding their issue.

The Oslo based network pointed to the usurped rights of Palestinian prisoners, led by prisoner Karim Younis who has served 31 years in occupation jails, and the Palestinian female prisoners’ dean Lena Jerboni, detained since 2002, in addition to 5000 other Palestinian prisoners held in poor condition in Israeli jails.

The network appreciated the prisoners’ hunger strike as a weapon to restore their rights, pointing to the Jerusalemite hunger striker Samer al-Issawi, who may die at any moment in light of the Israeli procrastination to meet his demands.

This year’s anniversary of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day is taking place in light of martyrdom of three Palestinian captives in custody: Ashraf Abu Dhra’a, Arafat Jaradat, and Maysara Abu Hamdiya, the network added, considering their martyrdom a proof of Israeli abuses against prisoners.

Nearly 230 children under the age of 18 are still detained in Israeli prisons where they are subjected to different forms of torture, the statement said.

UFree called on the Israeli occupation to unconditionally release all prisoners and detainees, and urged the United Nations to take a clear stance regarding the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. It also called on the PA and the Arab League to include the prisoners’ issue within any negotiation.

The network concluded its statement by stressing that it will continue the campaigns in support of the Palestinian prisoners throughout April. It stressed on its intensified efforts to include most of the European countries, and declared its participation on the Palestinians in Europe Conference in Brussels in May.

It is scheduled that the Palestinians in Europe Conference will be accompanied by a petition signed by European MPs calling on the occupation to stop its violations against the prisoners.

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Take Action and Support Palestinian Prisoners.

Dirar Abu Sisi, aged 43 who was kidnapped by Israeli intelligence from Ukraine, then transferred to Israeli jails where he is being tortured. Abu Sisi was snatched by force and under gun threatening while taking the train from Kharkov city to Kiev in Ukraine on the 18th Feb. 2011.

Abu Sisi is suffering physical and psychological problems in Ashkelon prison due to Israeli torture and inhuman treatment. The kidnapped Ukrainian resident suffers from heart problems, asthma, gallbladder, lipids and migraines all of which have worsened due to medical negligence.

The detainee was tortured and deprived from sleeping for a long time while interrogation which lasted 65 days at Bethtikva and Askhelon detention centers. This in addition to the physical torture he encountered at Ukrainian soil which lasted 5-6 hours.

(Facebook / 18.04.2013)

Bulldozers flatten Bedouin village 49 times

Israeli forces have repeatedly demolished homes in Al-Araqib in a bid to get the community to move into townships.

Israeli troops stand guard and prevent residents from interfering in the destruction of their homes during a previous demolition of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib
Al-Araqib, Israel – Hakmeh Abu Mdeighem sat quietly on a cement cinderblock last Wednesday, looking out across a small valley at where, moments earlier, Israeli police bulldozers had turned a handful of tents and shacks into piles of sandy rubble.

The 49th demolition of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib had just ended, and Abu Mdeighe, a mother of nine, spoke unflinchingly.

“One feels that one doesn’t live in one’s own country anymore. One feels that a continuous war is going on between him and Israel. This is a war that Israel wages against us everything month,” she said. “What can we do when the state comes and fights you inside your own house, on your own ground, when it destroys your house on the heads of your sons?”

Abu Mdeighem, her husband and her children, live inside the village’s century-old Islamic cemetery. The burial ground is the only place in Al-Araqib that has never been demolished. It is here that the handful of families who remain now call home.

“They threatened to destroy the cemetery before this,” Abu Mdeighem said. “It is really painful… what they are doing. Painful, very painful. When a person does not scream, and just lets others see his tears, it is painful.”

‘Unrecognised’ villages

Originally home to about 300 residents, all Israeli citizens, Al-Araqib is located just north of Be’er Sheva in Israel’s Negev desert. The village is one of dozens that has never been recognised by the state, and doesn’t feature on any official maps. Its residents are denied access to water, electricity, paved roads, hospitals, schools and other basic services.

Hundreds of Israeli police officers and soldiers first demolished dozens of homes and animal pens and uprooted thousands of olive trees in Al-Araqib in July 2010. The Israeli authorities have regularly returned to demolish tents and basic structures that residents have erected there ever since.

Israeli bulldozers are removed from Al-Araqib after the
village’s demolition

In place of Al-Araqib, the Israeli government aims tobuild a forest – under the direction of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Israel Land Authority (ILA), two bodies that oversee public land use in Israel and control some 93 percent of the nation’s land.

“Israel cannot tolerate callous lawbreakers whose behaviour is harmful to the law-abiding community. It is the state’s duty to evict squatters and restore the land to the citizens who leased it,” the ILA wrote on itswebsite [PDF].

According to the ILA, the state has filed 170 counter-claims against Bedouin land ownership claims in the Negev, “and in every case where a ruling has been handed down by the court, it has ordered the land to be registered as state owned”.

Despite ongoing legal battles over land ownership in Al-Araqib, row upon row of young trees are already growing on village lands, and more planting is expected.

Planting over destroyed villages

An estimated 200,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel live in the country’s Negev desert.

About half the Bedouin population lives in government-planned townships, which suffer from high unemployment levels and a widespread lack of services, and regularly register among the lowest socioeconomic indicators in the country.
The other half live across 35 “unrecognised villages” and, like Al-Araqib, face a near-constant threat of demolitions and displacement.

Furthermore, Al-Araqib isn’t the only village to be threatened by Israeli forestation. On March 1, two groups petitioned against the approval of Israel’s plan to build the “Yatir Forest” over the Bedouin village of Atir-Umm Al Hieran, home to 1,000 people.

“The plan clears the way for the state to forcibly move the residents from their land, where the village’s residents were born and raised, a place where they raised their families, and where they established family and social life,” Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, stated.

The scene in Al-Araqib after the bulldozers left

Founded as a charity in 1901, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is responsible for forests and national parks in Israel. The JNF currently owns approximately 13 percent of the land in Israel – which, according to its mandate, it reserves exclusively for Jews. It also has significant influence over the ILA, which in turn owns about 80 percent of the land.

According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, the JNF has built national parks – made up primarily of European-style conifers, instead of trees indigenous to the area – over destroyed Palestinian villages since the creation of Israel in 1948.

“Wherever almond and fig trees, olive groves or clusters of cactuses are found, there once stood a Palestinian village: still blossoming afresh each year, these trees are all that remain. Near the now-uncultivated terraces, and under the swings and picnic tables, and the European pine forests, there lie buried the houses and fields of the Palestinians whom Israeli troops expelled in 1948,” Pappe wrote in the book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

The Byria forest, for instance, which spans 2,000 hectares in the Safad region, was built over the land of six Palestinian villages – Dishon, Alma, Qaddita, Amqa, Aynal-Zaytunor and Biriyya – while, at the centre of Ramat Menashe Park, just south of Byria, lie the remnants of the destroyed village of Daliyat al-Rawha.

In 1967, the JNF decided to plant one million trees on the western slopes of Jerusalem. Known as the “Jerusalem Forest”, the trees were planted over a handful of depopulated Palestinian villages, including Ayn Karim, Beit Mazmil, Zuba, Sataf, Jura, Beit Umm Al-Meis, and Deir Yassin – the tiny village where pre-state Zionist militia massacred more than 100 Palestinian civilians in April 1948.

More than 30,000 Bedouin threatened

In the Negev, the destruction of Al-Araqib is part of a larger Israeli government plan to move Bedouin residents of the unrecognised villages and into Bedouin townships. Known as the Prawer Plan, the proposal would necessitate the forced displacement of at least 30,000 people.

Israeli leaders justify the plan as a way to “modernise” the Bedouin community and provide it with better services and resources.

“The goal of this historic decision is to put an end to the spread of illegal building by Negev Bedouin and lead to the better integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when the Prawer Plan was finalised in January 2013. The plan is expected to advance to the Israeli parliament later this year for final approval.

“This brave decision will facilitate the continued development and prosperity of the Negev, for the benefit of all its residents,” Netanyahu said.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Israel to abandon the Prawer plan – calling it “racist” – in March 2012. Local human rights groups have also condemned the government for pursuing a policy that discriminates against the Bedouin.

“Home demolitions are taking place on a weekly basis. They are becoming more often and more brutal. Of course, once [Israel] will have a law, it will have the legal basis to even further enhance these policies,” said Rawia Abu Rabia, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

“If the government wants an equal and feasible solution, first it should recognise the 35 villages and put in a mechanism to investigate the [Bedouin] land ownership claims. This is the only way. Other than that, it will mean a direct clash with the Bedouin community,” Abu Rabia told Al Jazeera.

Hakmeh Abu Mdeighem in Al-Araqib agreed that the destruction of her village was being repeated throughout the Negev.

“All this is not new,” she said. “Everything has been destruction and more destruction, humiliating human beings, displacing people. They are not doing this only in Al-Araqib. They want to expel all the Bedouins out of Israel.”

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Morele medeplichtigheid TU Delft aan bezettingspolitiek Israel aan de kaak gesteld

Op de internationale dag voor de Palestijnse gevangenen, 17 april 2013, kwamen actievoerders bijeen op de campus van de TU Delft om aandacht te vragen voor het beveiligingsconcern G4S. G4S beveiligt het universiteitsterrein, terwijl het in door Israel bezet Palestijns gebied verantwoordelijk is voor de beveiliging van gevangenissen, checkpoints, nederzettingen en de Apartheidsmuur (*). Tegen G4S loopt dan ook een wereldwijde boycotcampagne vanwege haar medeplichtigheid aan de bezettings- en apartheidspolitiek van Israel. Gezien de betrokkenheid van G4S bij Israels illegale activiteiten ten aanzien van Palestijnen past het de TU Delft niet met dit bedrijf samen te werken. Extra wrang: in door G4S ‘beveiligde’ Israelische gevangenissen zitten en zaten een groot aantal Palestijnse studenten en universiteitsmedewerkers opgesloten.

Tijdens de actie is uitgebreid met medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft gesproken. Een poging om in gesprek te komen met het College van Bestuur strandde op een gesloten deur. De brief met uitleg over de actie en het rapport van Who Profits over de misstanden van G4S met betrekking tot Israel en Palestina (*) wordt per post nagestuurd met het uitdrukkelijke verzoek om op korte termijn in gesprek te gaan over de TU-samenwerking met G4S. De actie tegen G4S op het universiteitsterrein is de eerste van een reeks. Steeds meer bedrijven en instellingen heroverwegen de samenwerking met G4S. Het afgelopen jaar hebben onder meer Jantje Beton en de Voedselbank Utrecht de samenwerking met G4S stopgezet. De universiteit van Oslo en de gemeente Kopenhagen hebben de samenwerking met G4S stopgezet na een intensieve BDS-campagne.

G4S beveiligt de gevangenissen in Israel en levert diensten aan de Israëlische Gevangenis Autoriteit bij de gevangenhouding van Palestijnse gedetineerden. Een van hen is Samer Issawi, die op 29 juli 2012 in hongerstaking is gegaan en op sterven na dood is. Hij is één van de vele gevangenen die wordt vastgehouden onder zogenaamde administratieve detentie: een beleid van Israël om Palestijnen voor onbepaalde tijd en zonder vorm van proces vast te kunnen houden op basis van ‘geheime informatie’. Aan deze Palestijnen wordt niet verteld waarvan ze zijn beschuldigd. Er worden momenteel minstens 200 Palestijnen, waaronder tientallen kinderen, vastgehouden in Israelische administratieve detentie. In totaal houdt Israel nu ruim 4000 Palestijnen gevangen; sinds 1967 hield Israel ruim 750.000 Palestijnen gevangen.

Tegen G4S loopt een internationale campagne voor boycot, desinvesteren en sancties (BDS). Doel er van is de medeplichtigheid van het bedrijf aan de Israëlische apartheids- en bezettingspolitiek onder de aandacht te brengen; en het bedrijf onder druk te zetten om zich terug te trekken uit Israels illegale activiteiten. DocP steunt deze internationale campagne en roept bedrijven en instellingen op alle banden met G4S te verbreken zolang dat bedrijf de Israelische bezettingspolitiek blijft steunen.

In 2005 hebben 170 Palestijnse maatschappelijke organisaties opgeroepen tot vreedzaam verzet tegen Israel. Een oproep tot boycot, desinvestering en sancties (BDS) totdat Israel haar verplichtingen ten aanzien van de Palestijnen, conform het internationaal recht, nakomt. Sinds 2005 is een groeiende beweging wereldwijd actief tegen de Israelische Apartheid. De Stichting Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina, docP, zet zich in om BDS in Nederland te ondersteunen, te bundelen en te versterken.
(*) http://whoprofits.org/sites/default/files/WhoProfits-PrivateSecurity-G4S.pdf

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Minister: Hamas to release some collaborators

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The government in Gaza will release a number of convicted collaborators who have served two-thirds of their sentences, the interior minister said Thursday.

Fathi Hammad said the Hamas government took a dual approach, deterring collaboration with Israel through punishment as well as rehabilitating offenders.

At a workshop about collaboration in Gaza, Hammad said a number of informers had been arrested in the latest campaign against collaboration and that they were being questioned.

“Opinion polls conducted about previous campaigns showed that popular support for the security services’ work reached over 86 percent,” the minister said.

(Source / 18.04.2013)

Israeli forces demolish store belonging to Bedouin orphans

BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Thursday demolished a store belonging to orphans in Wadi al-Niam, a Bedouin village in the Negev.

“The demolition is immoral and unjustifiable. How can a state which claims to be an oasis of democracy and equality explain demolition of orphans’ homes and means of living?” said Labbad Abu Affash, head of the village committee.

The store belonged to orphans from the Jirjawi family, a Ma’an reporter said.

Abu Affash told Ma’an the whole village was slated for demolition.

“We realize pretty well that Wadi al-Niam is being targeted by the Israeli occupation. However, we similarly realize that our people in the village are stronger that the machines used in demolitions, and they will never break our will as owners who have the right to live in dignity on our lands.”

At the demolition, Talab Abu Arar, a Palestinian member of Israel’s Knesset, had a heated argument with an Israeli commander and a representative of Israel’s land department.

Abu Arar tried to enter the store to prevent the demolition but police officers used force to stop him.

Earlier in April, Israeli forces demolished Bedouin village al-Arakib for the 49th time. In Arara village, Israeli forces demolished a partially-constructed home, a tent and a barn.

(Source / 18.04.2013)