Senior Palestinian source: No peace talks unless veteran prisoners are released

Partial release of prisoners will be received with anger on the Palestinian street, and would be seen as a concession by the PA, source tells Haaretz.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank

PA President Mahmoud Abbas attending a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 18, 2013.

The Palestinians will not take part in peace talks scheduled to begin in Washington on Tuesday, unless Israel commits to releasing veteran Palestinian prisoners, a senior Palestinian source has told Haaretz.

The source, who is close to the negotiations, confirmed to Haaretz Thursday that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had had been invited by the Americans to meet with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in the United States, but added that America had specified that the basis for resuming talks was the 1967 borders.

He maintained, however, that the Palestinians would not participate in negotiations without a prior decision by Israel to release Palestinian prisoners imprisoned since before the Oslo Accords, including those with Israeli citizenship.

Any partial release of prisoners will be received with anger by the Palestinian street and would be seen as a concession to which the Palestinian Authority is committed, the source added.

“Netanyahu did not say 67 and did not say a settlement freeze and did not agree to release the veteran prisoners. In such a situation, it is impossible to begin the talks,” the source said.

“We have made it clear to the Americans that it won’t be possible to begin the talks without a commitment to that effect by Israel,” the source said. He added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had “clarified several times that we will not accept dividing the prisoners into categories and that all the veteran prisoners, irrespective of their place of residence, must be released.”

Erekat, he said, would not have a mandate to leave for Washington without such a commitment.

Of the 103 prisoners in question, 14 are Israeli citizens, several of them among the longest incarcerated.

Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters in Jericho on Thursday that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will resume next week in Washington.

Shalom had been meeting in Jericho with Erekat to discuss the possibility of renewing peace talks, which broke down in late 2010.

He made the announcement at a press conference Thursday following the dedication of a joint industrial zone in Jericho that was initiated and funded by the Japanese government. The industrial zone will be operated by Palestinians, and its products sold to Jordan.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is responsible for the Israeli government’s negotiations with the Palestinians, is expected to participate in the Washington meeting. Also expected to participate is the prime minister’s personal envoy, Isaac Molho.

According to senior officials in Jerusalem, the meeting in Washington is expected to deal primarily with the agenda for holding negotiations, including the subjects to be discussed and the timetable. The talks are expected to last about nine months, and to open with discussions of both the borders of the Palestinian state and Israel’s security demands.

In advance of the meeting, the Israeli cabinet is expected Sunday to approve the release of 82 Palestinian prisoners who were involved in attacks against Israel and who have been in prison since the pre-Oslo Accords period. The prisoners are expected to be released in four rounds over eight to nine months.

At the same cabinet meeting, the ministers are also expected to approve a bill that would require a national referendum over any peace agreement with the Palestinians.

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Tekenen van Lailatul Qadr

By Marianna Laarif

Sheikh Uthaymien (moge Allah hem genadig zijn) heeft ons op basis van de Koran en de Sunnah verteld over de tekenen van Lailatul Qadr. Toen hij gevraagd werd over de tekenen van Lailatul Qadr zei hij dat het een kalme nacht is. Hij vertelde dat het hart van de gelovige opgetogen en vredig is en dat hij (of zij) actief zal worden in het verrichten van goede daden. Verder zei hij dat de zon de ochtend daaropvolgend helder zonder stralen opkomt. (Fatawa Ramadan, deel 2, pagina 852, nummer 841).

An-Nawawi on Good Manners of Eating and Drinking

Riyad us Saliheen 3

By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

An-Nawawi records in his book Riyad us-Saliheen:

Umar ibn Abu Salamah reported: I was under the care of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and my hand used to roam about the dish. The Prophet said to me:

يَا غُلَامُ سَمِّ اللَّهَ وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ

O boy, mention the name of Allah, eat with your right hand, and eat what it is front of you.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5061, Grade: Mutaffaqun Alayhi

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَكَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ طَعَامًا فَلْيَقُلْ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ نَسِيَ فِي أَوَّلِهِ فَلْيَقُلْ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ فِي أَوَّلِهِ وَآخِرِهِ

When one of you eats a meal, let him begin in the name of Allah. If he forgets to say it in the beginning, then let him say: In the name of Allah in its beginning and ending.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1858, Grade: Sahih

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا دَخَلَ الرَّجُلُ بَيْتَهُ فَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ عِنْدَ دُخُولِهِ وَعِنْدَ طَعَامِهِ قَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَا مَبِيتَ لَكُمْ وَلَا عَشَاءَ وَإِذَا دَخَلَ فَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ اللَّهَ عِنْدَ دُخُولِهِ قَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ أَدْرَكْتُمْ الْمَبِيتَ وَإِذَا لَمْ يَذْكُرْ اللَّهَ عِنْدَ طَعَامِهِ قَالَ أَدْرَكْتُمْ الْمَبِيتَ وَالْعَشَاءَ

When a man enters his home and remembers Allah when he enters and while he eats, Satan says to himself: You have no place to spend the night and no meal for evening. When he enters his home without remembering of Allah, Satan says to himself: You have found a place to spend the night. When he does not remember Allah while he eats, Satan says: You have found a place to spend the night and an evening meal.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2018, Grade: Sahih

Hudhaifah reported: When we attended a meal with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, we would not reach out for the food until the Prophet started eating first. On one occasion we were with him when a little girl rushed in as if someone was compelling her. She was about to touch the good when the Messenger of Allah caught her hand. Then a Bedouin rushed in as if someone was pushing him. The Prophet caught his hand as well and he said:

إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَسْتَحِلُّ الطَّعَامَ أَنْ لَا يُذْكَرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ جَاءَ بِهَذِهِ الْجَارِيَةِ لِيَسْتَحِلَّ بِهَا فَأَخَذْتُ بِيَدِهَا فَجَاءَ بِهَذَا الْأَعْرَابِيِّ لِيَسْتَحِلَّ بِهِ فَأَخَذْتُ بِيَدِهِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ يَدَهُ فِي يَدِي مَعَ يَدِهَا

Verily, Satan makes lawful for himself the food over which the name of Allah is not mentioned. Satan brought this girl to make the food lawful by her but I caught her hand. Then he brought this man to make it lawful by him but I caught his hand as well. By him in whose hand is my soul, the hand of Satan is in my grasp along with them.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2017, Grade: Sahih

Umayyah ibn Makshi reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was sitting while a man was eating food. The man did not mention the name of Allah until only a morsel of food was left. When he raised it to his mouth he said, “In the name of Allah in the beginning and the end.” The Prophet smiled and then he said:

مَا زَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ يَأْكُلُ مَعَهُ فَلَمَّا ذَكَرَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ اسْتَقَاءَ مَا فِي بَطْنِهِ

Satan had been eating with him but when he mentioned the name of Allah, Satan vomited all that was in his stomach.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 3768, Grade: Hasan

Aisha reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was eating with six of his companions when a desert Arab came and ate all the food in two bites. The Messenger of Allah said:

أَمَا إِنَّهُ لَوْ سَمَّى لَكَفَاكُمْ

If he had mentioned the name of Allah, it would have sufficed for all of you.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1858, Grade: Sahih

Abu Umamah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would finish a meal and he would say:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ كَثِيرًا طَيِّبًا مُبَارَكًا فِيهِ غَيْرَ مَكْفِيٍّ وَلَا مُوَدَّعٍ وَلَا مُسْتَغْنًى عَنْهُ رَبَّنَا

All praises is due to Allah abundantly, purely, and blessed, neither insufficient, nor abandoned, nor ignored from our Lord.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5142, Grade: Sahih

Mu’adh ibn Anas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ أَكَلَ طَعَامًا ثُمَّ قَالَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَطْعَمَنِي هَذَا الطَّعَامَ وَرَزَقَنِيهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ حَوْلٍ مِنِّي وَلَا قُوَّةٍ غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ

Whoever eats a meal and then says: All praise is due to Allah who has fed me this food and provided for me without any power or strength from myself, then he will be forgiven his past and future sins.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4023, Grade: Hasan

Abu Huraira reported:

مَا عَابَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ طَعَامًا قَطُّ إِنْ اشْتَهَاهُ أَكَلَهُ وَإِلَّا تَرَكَهُ

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would never complain about food, but he would eat food he liked and he would leave what he disliked.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 3370, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا دُعِيَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيُجِبْ فَإِنْ كَانَ صَائِمًا فَلْيُصَلِّ وَإِنْ كَانَ مُفْطِرًا فَلْيَطْعَمْ

If one of you is invited for a meal, let him respond. If he is fasting, let him pray for the host. If he is not fasting, let him eat.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1431, Grade: Sahih

Washi ibn Harb reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

فَاجْتَمِعُوا عَلَى طَعَامِكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ يُبَارَكْ لَكُمْ فِيهِ

Eat your meals together and mention the name of Allah over it. You will be blessed in it.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 3764, Grade: Sahih

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

طَعَامُ الْوَاحِدِ يَكْفِي الِاثْنَيْنِ وَطَعَامُ الِاثْنَيْنِ يَكْفِي الْأَرْبَعَةَ وَطَعَامُ الْأَرْبَعَةِ يَكْفِي الثَّمَانِيَةَ

The food of one person is enough for two, and the food of two people is enough for four, and the food of four people is enough for eight.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2059, Grade: Sahih

Juhaifa reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا آكُلُ مُتَّكِئًا

I do not eat while reclining.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5083, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, during a meal would lick what he ate with his three fingers and he would say:

إِذَا سَقَطَتْ لُقْمَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلْيُمِطْ عَنْهَا الْأَذَى وَلْيَأْكُلْهَا وَلَا يَدَعْهَا لِلشَّيْطَانِ

When one of you drops a mouthful, he should remove any filth from it and then eat it, for he should not leave it for the devil.

The Messenger of Allah commanded us to wipe clean our dishes and he would say:

فَإِنَّكُمْ لَا تَدْرُونَ فِي أَيِّ طَعَامِكُمْ الْبَرَكَةُ

Verily, you do not know in which portion of your food is the blessing.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2034, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَجَرَ عَنْ الشُّرْبِ قَائِمًا

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, disapproved of drinking while standing.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2024, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Abbas reported:

سَقَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ زَمْزَمَ فَشَرِبَهُ وَهُوَ قَائِمٌ

I gave the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, a drink of water from the zamzam well and he drank it while standing.

Source: Sunan An-Nasa’i 2965, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Umar reported:

كُنَّا نَأْكُلُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَنَحْنُ نَمْشِي وَنَشْرَبُ وَنَحْنُ قِيَامٌ

During the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, we would eat while walking and drink while standing.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1881, Grade: Sahih

Abu Qatadah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

سَاقِي الْقَوْمِ آخِرُهُمْ شُرْبًا

The one who serves a drink to his guests should be the last to drink.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1894, Grade: Sahih

Hudhaifa reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade us from wearing silk and drinking from vessels of silver and gold and he said:

هُنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ لَكُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ

These are for unbelievers in the world and believers in the Hereafter.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5493, Grade: Sahih

Umm Salamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ شَرِبَ فِي إِنَاءٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ أَوْ فِضَّةٍ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَرْجِرُ فِي بَطْنِهِ نَارًا مِنْ جَهَنَّمَ

Whoever drinks from a vessel of gold or silver has only filled his stomach with the fire of Hell.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2065, Grade: Sahih

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Hamas government closes Ma’an, Al-Arabiya bureaus in Gaza

A Hamas policeman sits at his laptop in Gaza City.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The attorney-general in the Hamas-run government on Thursday ordered the closure of the Ma’an News Agency and Al-Arabiya TV bureaus in Gaza.

A Hamas official told AFP that the attorney-general closed Al-Arabiya’s office “for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what’s happening in Egypt.”

“We received the closure notice and an official statement from Al-Arabiya will be published to respond to this decision,” its Gaza correspondent, Islam Abd Al Kareem, told AFP.

The closure order from the attorney-general was delivered to Ma’an by officials from the Hamas-run Ministry of Information and security forces.

Ministry officials accompanied by security forces questioned the Gaza bureau chief in his office on Thursday over a report published on Ma’an’s Arabic site that quoted information translated from a Hebrew news site.

The report said that six Muslim Brotherhood officials had smuggled themselves into Gaza to plan an uprising against the military in Cairo, after their Egyptian president was deposed.

A ministry official told Ma’an’s bureau chief that the report was false.

“Ma’an News agency insists that the Gaza Strip is involved in the Egyptian crisis seeking to intensify the incitement in Egypt against the Strip,” the ministry official said.

“Ma’an deliberately publishes false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza. It has become complicit with Egyptian media outlets in incitement against the Strip and making up lies to harm the image of Palestinian resistance,” the official continued.

Commenting on the accusations, Ma’an’s editor-in-chief Nasser Lahham said “some people in Gaza seemingly went mad after the Muslim Brotherhood rule was ousted in Egypt.

“They take any possible occasion to wage tough attacks against Ma’an News Agency for no reason. We have lodged official complaints to the office of the Gaza premier, to the former Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouthi, to the Ministry of Information and to the union of Palestinian journalists.”

Lahham added that Ma’an would also complain about threats to its staff to the Union of Arab Journalists and to the International Federation of Journalists.

Addressing the Hamas government, Lahham said: “We challenge them to prove that Ma’an tells lies in its reports.

“We translate reports from other languages to serve our readers. When (Hamas) likes the translated reports because they contain criticism to the Palestinian president, to the Palestinian Authority or to the PLO, they quote Ma’an and publish the reports on their websites. But when the translated reports do not serve their interests, they go crazy and start wailing unjustifiably,” he added.

“We will complain to the Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and to the Hamas bloc in parliament. We will never allow them or any others to continue to scare journalists simply because Gaza isn’t a property they inherited from their ancestors. Gaza is a homeland for all and everybody should better learn how to behave and talk politely,” Lahham said.

Responding to the closure, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah said all media outlets had the right to work freely without obstacles or harassment.

In a statement, the ministry said it viewed “with great concern the harassment by Hamas security services against journalists and media organizations in Gaza, and the incitement against the offices of Ma’an News Agency and al-Arabiya channel in Gaza.”

Similarly, the West Bank-based union of Palestinian journalists denounced attacks on Ma’an and Al-Arabiya by both Hamas’ officials and journalists affiliated to the Islamist movement.

The union said in a statement that direct and implied threats by Hamas leaders to journalists working for Ma’an and Al-Arabiya were part of “a gloomy campaign against media outlets which shape the public opinion and uncover the truth.”

The union highlighted that any objective complaint against individual journalists or organizations should be made to the union, which would make a professional judgment on a news outlet’s ethics.

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Workers on Israel’s illegal railway robbed of half their pay

Landscape view of tunnels being built through hills

Palestinian construcing a tunnel for Israeli’s high-speed railway work under highly exploitative conditions.

Palestinians hired to work on a high-speed train link between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have half their wages taken from them by recruiting agents, an Electronic Intifada investigation has found.

An estimated 200 Palestinians are employed on boring tunnels in the West Bank, as part of the so-called A1 railway, Israel’s largest infrastructure project in a decade.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some of these men have confirmed that they are working under highly exploitative conditions in Beit Iksa, a village near Jerusalem where two tunnels are being dug.

One man from the surrounding area said he had been recruited by someone hired to supply workers to the construction site. The person who recruited him takes over half his earnings.

“It is very unfair, for the type of work [I do,] I get half what an Israeli would,” said the worker. “I do not get a visa, or any insurance. Yet I have no choice: to work in a construction site on the other side still pays more than I would get here in the West Bank.”

Another worker said that he receives 250 shekels ($70) per day, out of the 600 shekels ($167) his Israeli recruiter is paid.

“I am happy with my employer,” he said. “In my uncle’s shop, I earned 1,500 shekels [$419] for a month but in the tunnel I earn 250 shekels a day. I am forced to work for Israel because I couldn’t earn the same money in Palestine,” he said.

“But while I get paid more, I have no insurance; if I’m injured I have no proof — like papers — to say I work there as I’m not registered. I also don’t have a permit to work in Israel.”

Workers also stated that one of their colleagues was electrocuted while working in the tunnel. He was given no money to cover his hospital treatment and was not paid for the time he had to take off as a result of the injury. Although the worker returned to his job after the electrocution, he left soon afterwards, possibly due to a disagreement with his employer.


The revelations that workers’ rights are being abused follows previous research concluding that the route of the project is illegal as 6.5 kilometers of its route runs through the occupied West Bank, slicing into the diminishing lands of three Palestinian communities: Yalu, Beit Iksa and Beit Surik.

Who Profits from the Occupation? — a research project of the Coalition of Women for Peace — claims the train line’s route raises three legal concerns. The building of a permanent structure on occupied land not accessible to locals, the unjust appropriation of Palestinian land for the site of construction and the sale of the material mined from the digging of the tunnels on Palestinian land, all violate international law (“Crossing the Line,” October 2010 [PDF]).

Israel has contracted a handful of international companies to help with the line’s construction. While the culpability of Israel is clear, a recent legal brief by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq puts the role of the international firms profiting from the expropriation of West Bank land under the microscope.

Al-Haq emphasizes the role of the Italian firm Pizzarotti, which is undertaking work on the planned tunnels in partnership with the Israeli construction company Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering. The legal opinion claims there are “substantial grounds” for holding Pizzarotti responsible for violations of international law. These include the destruction of property and the war crime of pillage, which are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“Tunnelling activities and war crimes,” 8 July 2013 [PDF]).

“Politically sensitive”

Pressure from human rights organizations and activists has already led to the withdrawal of some international corporations from the project. In March 2011, the state-owned German firm Deutsche Bahn pulled out after rising pressure from activists in Berlin.

A company spokesperson commented in an email: “Because DB [Deutsche Bahn] International regards the routing of the line you mentioned as questionable in regard to international law, we explained to Israel Railways that we cannot participate in such politically sensitive projects. Our partner Israel Railways accepted our stance on this issue. This decision has no impact on other technical or engineering projects with Israel Railways and our cooperation is on a sound basis.”

An Italian group called Stop That Train has spearheaded the campaign against Pizzarotti. A number of municipalities — including that of Italy’s third largest city, Naples — have passed resolutions condemning Pizzarotti’s conduct.

Pizzarrotti did not respond to a request for comment.


Man opens boot of car as soldiers look on

Beit Iksa village can only be accessed through an Israeli military checkpoint.

Complicity also extends to other international companies who are profiting from contracts for their assistance with the A1 project. Moscow Metrostroy, owned by the Russian Federation, won one such contract in 2010.

The workers who spoke to The Electronic Intifada in Beit Iksa said all the machines used to dig tunnels were operated solely by Russians and Italians. The workers also said that some Australians had been involved in training engineers for the project.

A large scaffolding frame used to cement the roof of the Beit Iksa tunnel had the label Peri-up. This is a brand of the Peri group, a German construction technology giant. The Peri group website makes no reference to any involvement by the company in the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line.

Beit Surik and Beit Iksa are the villages most affected by the train’s route. Both have already lost a great deal of land. Beit Surik lost more than 30 percent of their land as a result of Israel’s wall in the West Bank.

Beit Iksa has lost about 60 percent of its land to nearby Israeli settlements and the wall. Only around 600 dunams of the village’s land has been approved for development (adunam is 1,000 square meters).

Some 5,000 dunams now sit in a “no man’s land” between the village and a nearby settlement.

“What is the future?”

In June 2010, the main entrance to the village was sealed. Today, the village can only be accessed through an Israeli military checkpoint.

Mohammad Gaith, a member of the village council in Beit Iksa, said: “We have lost a lot — on the land, we cannot plant, [we] cannot even visit our own olive trees. In the future they might pick up everyone in the village and throw them out. What is the future of our village?”

Gaith was informed of the A1 plan just one month before construction began. More recently, he discovered that a further 800 dunams — much of it agricultural — is to be confiscated from Beit Iksa by the Israeli authorities.

By chance, a villager found a piece of news on the Internet declaring the planned confiscation, and stating that those affected would have 60 days to lodge an appeal from the date that the confiscation was notified. By the time this information was found, the time period for appeal had already passed.

According to Gaith, no official notice was given for the planned confiscation.

Another Beit Iksa resident summed up the prevailing mood in the village: “We feel like we’re sitting in a prison.”

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Fact sheet – The village of Qaryut and the surrounding Gul settlement


The occupation government is carrying out a process of ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian territories in full view of the rest of the world.  Settlement expansion is happening at a ferocious rate alongside land confiscation and daily attacks by the Israeli army and settlers against Palestinian citizens and their property.

According to the structural plans of the settlements they cover an area of ​​about 485 square kilometers, which constitutes 8.5% of the area of ​​the West (5760 km2).
The total area of ​​land controlled by the Israeli military is 49,000 km2, which represents about 1% of the area of ​​the West Bank, and the size of ​​areas which are isolated by the apartheid wall being built by Israel amounts to 733,695 km2, which constitutes 12.9% of the West Bank.

Qaryut village

Qaryut is 26 km from the city of Nablus and about the same distance from the city of Ramallah, i.e. half way between the two cities. It has a population of nearly 3,000 people, working mainly in agriculture, the most important crops being peaches, grapes, figs and olives, along with vegetables and pulses. Qaryut is the village’s original name, dating from the Roman era when it was first built, and according to the book History of Palestine the name means “compound of villages”.

In 1948 the village had a population of about 920 citizens; by 1995 this number had reached 5022 citizens (1621 residents and 3442 in diaspora outside the city). The estimated area of the village is 20,000 dunams (1 dunam = 1000m2); 14,000 of which are located within area “C” according to the Oslo agreement. However the area that villagers can actually build on and expand is only 360 acres. Qaryut is one of the Palestinian villages systematically targeted by the occupation army and settlers. For years thousands of acres of land have been confiscated for the construction and expansion of settlements.

The reality of the settlement in Qaryut

The following settlements currently stand on village land: the settlement of Eli which stretches across 9 hills and was built in 1984 to the western side of the; Shvut Rachel, built in 1995; Shilo, built in 1979 in the southern region of the village; and 4 other outposts “Hioval”, “Givat Ariel”, “Kida” and “Aad Aad”. These settlements have seized more than 14 thousand dunams which equates to 65% of the territory of the village (total area of the village is 20 thousand dunams).s

Settlements now surround the village on all sides, stifling it and killing any possibility for the natural expansion of the population – a most basic human right. The aim of this process of settlement expansion is to displace the population and make living there impossible. They also hope to join these settlements with those in the surrounding area forming an agglomeration that will reach from the Ariel settlement (second largest in the West Bank) down to the Jordan Valley

Continuous and systematic attacks

The picture of the process of ethnic cleansing and displacement and theft of land and resources carried out by the Israeli government and settlers is not complete without talking about the daily attacks that Palestinians are subjected to. Settlers attack both their land and property (uprooting and burning trees, stealing olive crops, leaking sewage onto agricultural land, etc.) and use any means possible to facilitate the land grabbing and terrorism which is a fundamental pillar of the state of Israel

In November of 2012, Israeli occupation forces closed the main road to the village from Ramallah meaning that residents had to travel and extra 25km, i.e. twice as far to reach their village. Recently occupation forces also confiscated a further 1000 dunams in order to link the settlements Hioval and Shilo in the first phase of the Israeli project to link up all the settlements

Gaining control of water sources is another extremely important goal for the Israeli government and settlers. Settlers have taken control of three of the five springs in Qaryut and the remaining two are threatened with confiscation.

A group of settlers carry out a religious ritual at one of the springs

Qaryut people in the face of the policy of ethnic cleansing:

Since the closure of the main road to the village in 2012 the people have organized various events as part of the popular Campaign against the Wall and Settlements. Through weekly demonstrations they have succeeded in reopening and using the road more than 100 times even though the occupation army returns and recloses it each time.

The people of the village also continue to reject the settlement expansion and land seizure through popular events despite the fact that demonstrations are suppressed with tear gas and sound bombs. 15 young people
 from the village have also been arrested

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Palestinian patients and family members arrested at Beit Hanoun crossing


29283_345x230Ma’an reported that Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian security officials said.

Hussam al-Zanin was accompanying his sick mother to Israel for treatment, but was detained by Israeli forces. Al-Zanin’s mother was then asked to return to Gaza by Israeli forces at the border.

In response, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly denounced the ongoing Israeli practice of arresting Palestinian patients and their families while seeking entry to Israel or the West Bank for treatment through Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing. Use of the crossing requires prior travel permits, which are already highly difficult to obtain.

Al-Mezan said that the kidnapping of patients at Beit Hanoun crossing violates Israel’s legal obligations under the international humanitarian law, especially the fourth Geneva convention.

The center outlined some incidents in which patients from Gaza were taken prisoners by the Israeli occupation forces, including al-Zanin’s case, although they had obtained travel permits, noting that the detention of patients at this crossing increased during the current month. Other cases in the past month include those of Ibrahim al-Harbi and Mahmoud Shamallakh.

The center urged the international community to urgently intervene to curb Israel’s violation of the international law regarding the right of Gaza citizen to have access to health care outside the besieged Strip.

Beit Hanoun crossing is almost the only passage for Gaza citizens whose medical conditions cannot be treated in Gaza hospitals, especially after the Egyptian army closed the Rafah border crossing and imposed travel restrictions, said the centre.

(Source / 25.07.2013)

UN decries plan that would raze some Bedouin villages

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (photo credit: Wissam Nassar flash90)

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
Navi Pillay, United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday slammed the Israeli government’s plan to resettle some Bedouin communities in the Negev while recognizing others.

The “Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev,” also known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, was drawn up by former Likud minister Benny Begin and approved by the cabinet in January. The plan calls for the country to officially recognize and register the vast majority of Bedouin settlements throughout the south of Israel and to compensate the residents of 35 unrecognized villages — some 30,000-40,000 people — who are to be moved off state-owned land.

Pillay focused on those who would be forced to move off land they claim ownership to.

“As citizens of Israel, the Arab Bedouin are entitled to the same rights to property, housing and public services as any other group in Israel,” she said in statement. “The government must recognize and respect the specific rights of its Bedouin communities, including recognition of Bedouin land ownership claims.”

She charged that the Israeli government “continues to actively pursue a discriminatory policy of forced displacement against its own Arab citizens.”

Two years ago, Pillay visited Israel and expressed concerns that Bedouin villages in the Negev were still unrecognized.

In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Begin Plan aimed to put an end to 65 years during which the state lost control of land settled by semi-nomadic Bedouin tribes. It would also “put an end to the spread of illegal construction by Negev Bedouin and lead to better integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society,” he said.

Pillay, however, said the plan illicitly removed citizens from their land. “I am alarmed that this bill, which seeks to legitimize forcible displacement and dispossession of indigenous Bedouin communities in the Negev, is being pushed through the Knesset,” Pillay continued.

She contended that the bill offered limited and inadequate compensation for moving to one of the seven Bedouin cities created by the Israeli government.

“If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development,” she said.

Pillay urged Israel to adopt the findings of the 2008 Goldberg Commission, which recommended that the government recognize as many villages as possible. “Respect for the legitimate rights of minorities is a fundamental tenet of democracy,” she said.

Pillay did not address the issue of illegal construction in the Negev, a concern of Israeli NGO Regavim. “There has been much attention focused on settlements deemed ‘illegal’ in the West Bank,” Ari Briggs, Regavim’s director of international affairs, told JTA, “including forced evacuations. Far less in the public eye have been shocking illegal land grabs on this side of the Green Line, in the Negev.”

The Knesset Ministerial Committee on Legislation in May approved the bill, which outlines the framework of government policies vis-à-vis the Bedouin population in the Negev, the evacuation of unrecognized villages, and the ownership of land.

Approval of the bill was based on three key changes to the original Prawer-Begin Plan, negotiated between members of the Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home parties, Begin, and National Security Council chief Yaakov Amidror.

A major clause inserted into the bill asserts that a map demarcating the area in question would accurately show the lands set to be allocated for the plan and clearly differentiate between parts allocated for the Bedouin and those that weren’t designated for their use. Ministers also reserve the right to look at the map before final approval.

The second change limits the period needed for implementation. The Begin Plan originally called for a span of five years, but the new bill will aim to implement the plan within three years, without the option to further push off the implementation. Thus, the current government can ensure that it will oversee full implementation of the plan while still in power.

Another critical issue was the supervision of the implementation of the plan. Jewish Home insisted that a ministerial committee be established to oversee implementation. MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) is set to chair that committee.

In late June, a slim majority in the Knesset approved the plan, following a stormy session that saw an Arab MK booted out of the chamber for pouring water on a draft of the bill. It is expected to go through the second and third readings before the end of July.

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Israeli scheme to build a new settlement neighborhood in Ramallah


RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli government has published a new tender to build a settlement neighborhood in Bethel settlement built on occupied Palestinian land east of Ramallah in West Bank, Walla Hebrew website said.

The Hebrew website confirmed that the Israeli authorities on Monday put out to tender the construction of a new settlement neighborhood in Bethel after the declaration to resume peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

The source said that the new tender includes the construction of five 3-storey buildings each consisting of 30 housing units.

Walla Hebrew newspaper stated that the Jewish settlers will enjoy privileges including the construction of new neighborhood includes 297 housing units and the extension of the settlement.

This is the first tender put out for expanding settlements after the announcement of the resumption of “peace talks” between the PA and Israeli occupation

(Source / 25.07.2013)

Tunisian leader calls for calm after killing of opposition member

Tunisian opposition member Mohammad al-Brahimi was shot dead on Thursday.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki called for calm after the killing of government opposition member Mohammad al-Brahimi on Thursday has led to angry protesters calling for the government to step down.

While Marzouki called for dialogue to foil “plans against Tunisia’s national security,” he urged people in the country to keep “walking in the correct path and to cooperate to pass this phase together.”

Protesters gathered in front of the Interior Ministry in Tunis urging the government to cede power while police fired teargas to disperse protesters in the Tunisian city of Sfax.

According to preliminary reports, Brahimi, 58, was shot 11 times in front of his home in the al-Ghazala neighborhood in Tunis.

“Mohammad al-Brahimi, general coordinator of Popular Movement and member of the National Constituent Assembly, was shot dead outside his home,” state television and the official TAP news agency reported.

“He was riddled with bullets in front of his wife and children,” Mohsen Nabti, a fellow member of the small leftist movement, told Tunisian radio.

The opposition member had resigned from his post as general secretary of the Popular Movement, which he founded, on July 7, saying that the party had been infiltrated by Islamists.

Reuters reported that thousands of people headed towards the Interior Ministery in the Tunisian capital to protest the killing of the opposition figure. It added that thousands are protesting in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution, which sparked the Arab Spring.

“Thousands have taken to the streets, people have blocked roads and set tires alight,” Reuters quoted Mehdi Horchani, a resident in Sidi Bouzid, as saying. “People are very angry.”

Another secular politician, Chokri Belaid, was killed around six months ago. His assassination led to protests across Tunisia.

Meanwhile, the state media reported that Friday will be a national day of mourning.

The largest labor organization in the country announced a general strike on Friday.

Tunisia is led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party, which the opposition has criticized for not cracking down on Islamist extremists.

Many members of Belaid’s party hold the government responsible for his killing.

Ennahda issued a statement on Thursday condemning “this cowardly and despicable crime” and calling on the government to “urgently arrest those who committed this crime and reveal those behind them who have targeted the stability of the country.”

The United Nations rights chief condemned the killing and demanded a probe into the incident.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Brahmi’s assassination. I call upon the authorities to immediately launch a prompt and transparent investigation to ensure that the people who carried out this crime are held accountable,” Navi Pillay said in a statement.

(Source / 25.07.2013)