Thousands of Israeli Arab homes threatened with demolition

A man walks amidst the rubble of a house belonging to an Arab-Israeli family that was demolished by municipality workers in Lod's Arab Dahamshe neighborhood, 15 kms east of Tel Aviv, on April 15, 2015

“Where will we go,” asks eight-year-old Tiba Qeren, saying goodbye to the family home that, like those of many other Israeli Arabs, is condemned to demolition for failing to meet planning rules.

“I’m afraid,” she tells AFP. “I know that they are going to destroy our home as they have others in Ramle,” the mixed Arab and Jewish town where they live, about 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Tel Aviv.

“I’m annoyed because I tell myself: who gives them the right to destroy our house,” she says, her young voice shaking with anger.

“The land is not theirs, it belongs to my family and the house is not theirs because it is my family who built it! ”

The Israeli Arab community has its roots in the 160,000 Palestinians who stayed on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948.

Today they and their descendants number around 1.3 million.

While Israeli law guarantees them full equality with other citizens, in practice there are claims of discrimination in government funding and a raft of other issues.

Israeli Arab rights group Adalah says only 4.6 percent of new homes built in Israel are in Arab towns and villages although Arabs make up 20 percent of the population.

Jewish settlers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, who number around 580,000, receive four times as many housing units as Arabs in Israel, the group’s website says.

On Wednesday, five apartments in the Arab village of Dahmash, between Ramle and Lod, were demolished for having been built without construction permits, a villager told AFP.

On Monday, a home in the Galilee village of Kfar Kana — biblical Cana — was razed for the same reason.

In Ramle, 11 families last week received demolition notices.

Arab community leaders Wednesday called for a general strike in protest

Across the country the potential threat is huge, Arab former MP Hana Sweid said.

“About 25,000 Arab homes fall under the scope of demolition orders,” he told AFP.

“Police came a week ago and told us that he must leave the house quietly, without resistance,” said Tiba’s father, Yusef Qeren, 49.

“I told them, there are 12 people living here.”

He said that four times he submitted applications for building permits and four time he was rejected.

His son Abdelrahman, 14, does not believe his home could soon be rubble.

“If they destroy it, we shall rebuild it!” he vows.

Yusef Qeren is convinced that the local authorities are anti-Arab in their policy on planning permission.

“In Ramle the law only applied to Arabs,” he said.

A local committee opposing the planned demolitions has set up a protest tent, with a large banner in Arabic and Hebrew.

“They are destroying Arab homes and building houses for settlers,” it reads.

(Source / 17.04.2015)

KOBANE /CIZIRE UPDATE 78: YPG LIBERATE YET MORE VILLAGES ON THE SOUTHERN FRONTS, WHILE TALK OF TURNING KOBANE INTO A “MUSEUM” OFFENDS SOME

By Peter Clifford                  ©               (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

Battles against the Islamic State continue in the sectors to the south and south-east of Kobane city, with a YPG/YPJ operation on Wednesday night targeting the Jihadists near the village of Xane. An IS vehicle was destroyed and 5 x IS fighters killed.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Destroyed Petrol Station With Lafarge Plant in Background

Having taken Hamdoun and then Khan Mamed, the YPG are in a position to isolate the IS Jihadists still within the Sal/Lil salient north of the M4 highway, by crossing the M4 and cutting them off by moving westwards.

The attempted suicide car bomb attack on the YPG at Gocekmetê reported earlier (scroll down – see below) resulted in the killing of 9 x IS Jihadists when the YPG blew up the suicide vehicle while it was still surrounded by IS fighters.

Further to the west, the combined YPG/FSA force has been making attacks on IS positions 10 kilometres north-west of Sarrin, supported by Coalition attacks on IS in the centre and on the outskirts of Sarrin town.

Just east of Sarrin, the Kurdish forces have also once again crossed the M4 highway and have advanced towards Ras Al Ayn, supported by Coalition airstrikes.

In the battle for the Lafarge Cement Plant, 2 FSA fighters died and 3 from the YPG, their funerals held together in Kobane earlier this week.

The YPG has produced this video of the battle for Lafarge and the surrounding villages, (EDITOR: I’ll forgive them the over-dramatic music!) here:

https://youtu.be/Wt-2V6FrASc

Latest reports today, Friday, say that last night, Kurdish forces on the southern Kobane front liberated the villages of Bîrhemlî, Gewande, Dafiya and Girê Şehîd Hecî and 6 x IS Jihadists were killed.

On the eastern front of Kobane province, YPG are additionally reported to have moved even nearer to IS-held Tel Abyad, liberating villages less than 20 kilometres from the IS stronghold, though further detail still awaited.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Stairs But No House Left in Kobane

Within Kobane city itself, 9 truckloads of food aid have arrived from the Municipality of Bedlîs in northern Kudistan, Iraq, 6 containing flour and 3 more other food supplies.

There also appears to be a proposal, coming from whom is not yet clear, that half of Kobane should be left as it is and turned into a “museum”.

Some Kobane citizens have already expressed their horror at this idea, though given the worldwide interest in the struggle for Kobane, it could in fact bringing tourists from all over the world and help to fund the rebuilding of a new modern city.

US Central Command (Centcom) reports 4 airstrikes in Kobane Canton from Tuesday am through to Wednesday destroying 6 x IS fighting positions and hitting 2 tactical units.

2 further airstrikes near Hasakah during the same time period destroyed another 6 x IS fighting positions, an IS vehicle bomb, an IS tunnel and an IS bunker, plus hitting 2 more tactical units.

From Wednesday am through to Thursday morning, yesterday, 4 airstrikes in Kobane Canton destroyed another 6 x IS fighting positions and hit 2 tactical units.

Kobane Canton Situation Map for 16.04.15, courtesy of @ChuckPfarrer, here:

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

SW Kobane Canton Situation Map 16.04.15

In Cizire Canton, unconfirmed local reports suggest that the Islamic State is sending its elite forces to the province, perhaps now seeing it as a “softer target” than Kobane.

On Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, IS Jihadists attacked the small village of Ennabiya Sudan, 7 kilometres south-east of Tel Tamir. After a long and heavy battle, the YPG prevailed, killing 4 x IS fighters and wounding another 5.

The bulk of the IS attacking group then retreated to the village of Derxam, 1.5 kilometres away, where they later hit by a Coalition airstrike, killing another 15. The same night, Coalition planes targeted another IS group in Lilan, 6 kilometres to the south-west of Tel Tamer, destroying a pick-up with a heavy machine gun and killing a further 3 x IS fighters.

IS training Younger and Younger Children to be its "Next Generation"

 

IS training Younger and Younger Children to be its “Next Generation”

Meanwhile, IS appear to be increasingly training younger and younger children to fight for them, in the hope that by brainwashing them earlier they can induce them to be “life-long members” of the IS Jihadist cause.

Children are taught religion and Sharia, as well as Arabic, hand to hand combat techniques and military training. Some are even given dolls on which to practice “beheading” and one video features a real-life executioner who is probably no more than 10.

But IS, in its backwardness, sees philosophy, science, history, art and sport to be incompatible with Islam, and instead seems to be committed to raising a generations of unfeeling individuals who are likely to be locked into “ long-term loyalty” and who will become a “cadre of fighters that will see violence as a way of life”.

You can read more in The Guardian Syria news HERE:

ESTIMATES PUT THE REAL NUMBER OF DEAD IN SYRIA SINCE 2011 AT MORE THAN 310,000, WHILE RUMOURS SWIRL OF A PLANNED COUP AGAINST ASSAD:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) yesterday said that its records indicate that 220,271 have been killed in Syria between 18th March 2011 and 14th April 2015.

104,629 (47.50%) are civilians, including 11,021 children (10.53%) and 7,049 women (6.73%).

Another 39,848 (18.09%) killed in that time are Opposition and Islamic fighters (including defected soldiers and officers), while 28,253 are from the Islamic State (IS), the Al Nusra Front (ANF) and other extremist organisations.

Putting all the pro-Assad fighter deaths together (regular soldiers and National Defence Force militia), amounts to 78,189 or 35.49% of the total. (EDITOR: So no wonder the Alawite community is getting restive – see below)

They have also logged 3,162 unidentified dead, which are included in the total, and 3,526 pro-Assad Shiite militia fighters.

However, SOHR estimates that there are another 20,000 at least who have disappeared into Assad’s prisons and 14,500 from various groups held by the IS and ANF. The true death total for these two secretive groups for their own fighters may be more like 86,000 than the 28,253 recorded above.

SOHR also estimates that during the last 4 years, as many as 1.5 million have been wounded.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Young Victim of Assad’s Chlorine Attacks

The reality of some of this hit home this week when video footage was shown to the UN Security Council on the alleged chlorine attack by the Assad regime on the village of Sarmin in Idlib province last month on March 16th as Opposition fighters prepared to overrun Idlib city.

Assad’s military believed that Sarmin was one of the Opposition fighters “command and control” centres.

Some of the doctors from Sarmin who treated the injured, led the presentation and answered questions.

The bombing came just days after the Security Council passed a resolution condemning the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in such attacks.

3 children under 4 died in the regime raid, after the doctors were unable to revive them, plus the mother of one of them and a grandmother.

Many of those present at the UN were in tears as the evidence emerged and while the session was underway, another 5 barrel-bombs were dropped on Sarmin by Assad’s helicopters, some allegedly containing more chlorine and causing distress yesterday, HERE:

You can read more from BBC Syria news, HERE:

The huge death toll may also be getting to Assad’s main backers, the Shia orientated Alawite community.

There were reports this week that another of Assad’s cousins, Munther al-Assad, was arrested after a big security lockdown in Lattakia city.

Munther, who reportedly had gone into hiding, was, according to some sources under suspicion of preparing a coup, along with President Bashar Assad’s exiled uncle, Rifaat Al-Assad who attempted to take control from his brother, Hafez (Bashar’s father) in 1984, but failed and retreated to France where he has remained ever since.

After being flown to Damascus for an “interview” with the President, Munther was apparently returned to Lattakia. You can read more of this mysterious saga, HERE:

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Deployed in Syria

There are also reports that after suffering heavy losses in the last few months, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, of whom there are thought to be around 6,000 deployed in Syria, have withdrawn from many far-flung combat zones and re-deployed in locations around Damascus in defence of the capital.

You can read more on this, HERE:

Units of Syria’s Opposition fighters, fed up with the behaviour of the Islamic State around Damascus, yesterday stormed their HQ in the suburbs of Qaboun and Barzeh districts, killing 20 of them and capturing another 30, (caution – gruesome towards the end) HERE:

Meanwhile, fighting inside the Yarmouk camp between the Palestinians and extreme Islamists continues.

Reliable sources are saying the Al Nusra Front, in conjunction with the Islamic State, still control around 80% of the camp and the desperate situation for the civilians trapped there remains unresolved.

Palestinian child released after four months in Israeli jail

Image

Palestine

The Israeli prison authority on Thursday afternoon released 15-year-old Khaled al-Sheikh from Ofer prison.

The child’s father, Hosam al-Sheikh said that the Israeli authorities told him of their intention to release his son.

“His mother, brothers, and myself are currently at the Ofer jail to make the necessary arrangements for Khaled’s release and we informed the authorities on the matter,” the father said.

Khaled, kidnapped on December 25 from Anan village in Ramallah, was sentenced to a four-month prison term and fined 2,000 shekels.

Prisoner Khaled had been detained on charges of setting fire to tires and hurling stones on Israeli soldiers near the Apartheid wall in Ramallah’s town of Anan.

(Source / 17.04.2015)

Operation Protective Edge: A war waged on Gaza’s children

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Ramallah, April 16, 2015—Defense for Children International Palestine today released a report, Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged on Children, detailing the high price paid by children during Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer.

Operation Protective Edge, which lasted 50 days between July 8 and August 26, claimed the lives of 2,220 Palestinians, including at least 1,492 civilians, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). DCIP independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger.

Five Israeli civilians, including a child, and 67 Israeli soldiers also lost their lives.

“Repeated Israeli military offensives and Israel’s complete disregard for international law have thwarted any meaningful efforts toward implementing comprehensive protections for Palestinian children,” said Khaled Quzmar, general director of DCIP. “The international community must demand an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and challenge systemic impunity by investigating allegations of war crimes and holding the perpetrators accountable.”

DCIP’s investigation into all Palestinian child fatalities during Operation Protective Edge found overwhelming and repeated evidence that Israeli forces committed grave violations against children amounting to war crimes. This included direct targeting of children by Israeli drone-fired missiles and attacks carried out against schools. Israel, the world’s largest exporter of aerial drones, killed 164 children in drone strikes during the conflict.

No day more clearly demonstrated the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks that characterized the Israeli offensive than July 20, when Israeli air and ground forces killed at least 27 children in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood. An Israeli fighter jet also destroyed the Abu Jami family home in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis on the same day, killing 18 children. In total, 59 children across the Gaza Strip lost their lives in one of the deadliest days of Operation Protective Edge.

Evidence and testimonies collected by DCIP showed that there was no safe place for children in Gaza during the Israeli assault. Children were killed in their homes by Israeli missiles, while sheltering in schools by high-explosive Israeli artillery shells, and in the streets by Israeli drone-fired missiles and artillery shells as they attempted to escape the onslaught with their families.

Those who survived these attacks will continue to pay the price for many years. More than 1,000 children suffered injuries that rendered them permanently disabled, according to OCHA. Amputees like Mohammad Baroud, 12, who lost both his feet in an explosion that killed 11 of his neighbors, will require lifelong medical care and support.

For the children who managed to escape physical injury, the psychological effects of this latest operation have been severe and resounding. Many have lost one or both parents, or other family members. Some have lost their entire extended families. All have experienced violence, fear and instability at close quarters.

The international community has persistently failed to hold Israeli forces or officials accountable for grave human rights violations against Palestinian children. In order to end impunity and increase protections for children, DCIP strongly urges the international community to immediately call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include Israel’s armed forces in the annex of his annual report on children and armed conflict, which lists armed forces and groups for committing grave violations against children.

DCIP and other Palestinian human rights organizations previously called on UN Secretary-General to “list” Israel’s armed forces as part of the UN Security Council’s children and armed conflict agenda.

(Source / 17.04.2015)

Abbas: “Releasing All Detainees Is The Foundation Of Any Future Peace Deal”

On Thursday evening, just a few hours before April 17, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the release of all political prisoners, held by Israel, is a top priority and one of the cases to be filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mahmoud Abbas - president.ps
Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas added that the 6000 Palestinian detainees must be released under any future peace agreement with Tel Aviv.

“We demanded, and we are demanding again, all governments and every international institution, to act and provide the detainees with the legal protection they need,” Abbas said, “The detainees must be released, and must enjoy their full rights.”

“The Israeli violations against the detainees are known, and are documented by all related United Nations and Human Rights institutions,’ he added, “The detainees’ case, without a doubt, will be one of the files submitted to the ICC.”

He also said the Israel must realize that its violations, prisons, its settlements, its illegal annexation of Lands, crimes and withholding Palestinian tax money, will just lead to more tension, and will distance the region further away from a just and comprehensive peace.

Abbas stated that peace is based on ending the Israeli occupation, Israel’s withdrawal from all of the territories it captured in 1967, including Jerusalem, and the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

He also said that the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, as stated by UN General Assembly resolution #194 and the Arab Peace Initiative, is a legitimate right that cannot be abandoned, or ignored.

“We are still extending our hands for peace, real peace between neighbors,” Abbas added, “A peace based on sovereignty, stability and justice.”

The Palestinian president also stressed that the suffering of the refugees in Syria, especially in the Yarmouk refugee camp, is of a serious concern to the Palestinians, and that the Palestinian leadership has constantly demanded to keep the refugees out of internal conflicts.

“We strongly condemn groups and parties responsible for dragging the refugees into this conflict,” Abbas added, “We demand them all to leave the refugee camps, to stop attacking and killing them; the refugees are temporary guests who must be able to return to Palestine.”

(Source / 17.04.2015)

Youngest Palestinian prisoner describes devastating detention experience

Children holding the Palestinian flag

A 15-year-old Palestinian boy who spent four months in an Israeli jail was released on Tuesday

The Israeli authorities released their youngest Palestinian prisoner on Tuesday. Khalid Sheikh, aged just 15, had been detained for nearly four months, Anadolu Agency has reported.

Describing the experience of his detention, the youngster accused Israel of not respecting children. “The [Israelis] attacked me with rifle butts on the head and insulted me during the investigation,” he said. “Although I suffer from anaemia, they did not give me any medical help, apart from some painkillers.” He added that it was a “tough” investigation. “I was insulted and beaten and held in shackles for hours in a small cell.” This did not scare him. “This is the [Israeli] occupation. It will not scare us.”

Khalid’s father Hussam said that his son’s release from prison was “the most beautiful moment of my life”, but expressed his sadness that the 15 year-old had to go through what was clearly a terrible ordeal. “This will have left negative effects on him and our family,” he pointed out. “This is the real face of Israel, it violates rights and freedoms.” He called for greater solidarity with the prisoners until they are released.

The Israeli army arrested Khalid on 24 December, and sentenced him to four months in prison with a fine equivalent to $500. He was found guilty of throwing stones at military vehicles enforcing Israel’s brutal occupation near his home.

(Source / 17.04.2015)

Assad Bomb Idlib With Chlorine Gas as UNSC Looks into Evidence of Previous CW Attacks

Activists in Idlib and surrounding areas have reported over 43 civilian suffocation cases after Assad’s air force dropped six barrel bombs, four of which contain poisonous chlorine gas, on residential areas inside the city and in the towns of Tamana’a and Kafr Najd.

Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition Nagham al-Ghadiri said that these attacks coincide with a hearing session by the members of the UN Security Council of testimonies on the Assad regime’s use toxic gases in the town of Sarmin in March, which reveals the position of the Assad regime on those meetings and utter disregard for them.

“The Assad regimes’ persistence in using chemical weapons against civilians is due to the UN Security Council’s failure to take deterrent action against the Assad regime. Yesterday’s chlorine attack on Idlib and rest of the Assad regime’s crimes make it imperative for the international community to impose a no-fly zone and establish safe havens in Syria to provide protection for civilians.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 17.04.2015)

Iraqi PM: ISIS Could Become Unstoppable

Abadi warned ISIS is recruiting young people “not only in Iraq but across the world,” and is both a transnational nation and one that is capable of establishing a serious presence on the ground.

Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters pose for a photograph in central Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants pressing their offensive for Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province, has forced more than 2,000 families to flee from their homes in the area, an Iraqi official said Thursday. The Sunni militants' push on Ramadi, launched Wednesday when the Islamic State group captured three villages on the city's eastern outskirts, has become the most significant threat so far to the provincial capital of Anbar.

Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters pose for a photograph in central Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants pressing their offensive for Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province, has forced more than 2,000 families to flee from their homes in the area, an Iraqi official said Thursday. The Sunni militants’ push on Ramadi, launched Wednesday when the Islamic State group captured three villages on the city’s eastern outskirts, has become the most significant threat so far to the provincial capital of Anbar

US officials are trying to downplay the threat of ISIS, with General Martin Dempsey incredibly claiming the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province and on a highway directly to the capital of Baghdad, is of no real value and that an ISIS takeover wouldn’t be a major blow.

Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi clearly sees it differently, and warns the latest ISIS push against D, a city which has been contested since January of 2014, proves the group is a growing threat.

Abadi warned ISIS is recruiting young people “not only in Iraq but across the world,” and is both a transnational nation and one that is capable of establishing a serious presence on the ground.

“If Daesh has developed this capability, no uniformed army can stop them,” warned Abadi. The comments come as he is trying to get more military aid from the US for the war against ISIS.

At the same time, Abadi expressed hope that the recovery of Tikrit would be a model for defeating ISIS. It doesn’t seem a great model, as a battle that was supposed to be days took a whole month, parts of Tikrit remain in ISIS hands, and the parts Iraq “liberated” have been awash in lootings and lynchings by Iraqi forces.

(Source / 17.04.2015)

BDS South Africa: South African businesses dump G4S following campaigns

SUCCESS: Over 20 S.African businesses drop R7 million worth of contracts with G4S Security over Israel 

Statement from BDS South Africa

Over 20 South African businesses have terminated their contracts with G4S Security over its involvement in Israeli prisons and human rights abuses. The SA businesses terminated their contracts, totalling more than R7 million per year, after approached by representatives of the human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa as well as the KZN Palestine Solidarity Forum. BDS South Africa makes this announcement on the eve of the international Palestine prisoners day due to be commemorated on 17 April.In 2007 G4S was contracted to provide and maintain Israeli prisons, torture centres and detention facilities. In 2010 Palestinian prisoners and prisoner support organziations called for a boycott of G4S as part of the larger international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. Last year the Methodist Church together with Amnesty International and the European Union were among some of the organisations that terminated their contracts with G4S. In June 2014, Bill Gates withdrew his R1.9 billion stake from G4S after being called on by BDS South Africa and the larger BDS movement. Locally in South Africa the Trauma Centre in Cape Town ended its relations with G4S in 2013. This was followed by South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, in November 2014 resolving that G4S (among other companies that do business in the Israeli occupied territories) be excluded from doing business with the South African Government.

The over R7 million worth of cancelled G4S Security contracts include contracts for more than 140 sites across the country ranging from restaurants, factories, supermarkets and other stores.

Piet Modiba, representing a nationwide manufacturing company said on the cancelling of their G4S contracts: “We come from a very dark and painful past, part of the pain was inflicted by companies that insisted on aiding the apartheid regime. G4S today is doing the same by maintaining relations with the Israeli Government.”Moosa Sabir, general manager of a chain of hardware stores said: “We were contacted by customers and the general public who saw G4S vehicles at our store. They complained that G4S was complicit in Israel’s torture and illegal detention of Palestinian children.  When we investigated the matter we found that G4S was guilty and we could not continue the business relationship in good faith. All and any businesses complicit with Israeli Apartheid should be shunned by peace and justice loving people. We hope more businesses follow our lead.”

Nkosikona Madikizela, a manager of one of the stores that ended their G4S relations said:
 ” We are fed up with the attitude of Israel and multi national companies like G4S that think they can act with utter impunity. The BDS Movement is proving to hold these international companies accountable for their trade and involvement with Israel. Companies such as G4S, Woolworths and others choosing to trade with Israel, in violation of the nonviolent BDS boycott, must realise that there is a price to pay. “

Aziz Ismail, owner of a Limpopo hardware store in Polokwane said: “Palestine needs us now more than ever, we must intensify the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. If we are being called by the BDS movement to boycott Woolworths, we should. If we are being called to end relations with G4S we should. The strategic and focused boycott of Apartheid South Africa contributed to our liberation, we can do the same now in the BDS boycott of Israel.”
Welcoming the announcement by BDS South Africa of the G4S boycott victories were the Palestinian Embassy in South Africa as well as the anti-Apartheid icon, Ahmed Kathrada:
Tamer AlMassri of the Palestinian Embassy said: “ In 2012, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights added G4S as one of the international companies that should be boycotted for their illegal involvement in Israel, Israeli settlements and prisons. We welcome the announcements of these South African companies ending their relations with G4S and supporting the BDS campaign. It is also encouraging that South Africa’s ruling party the ANC has called for G4S to be excluded from Government and State contracts.”Ahmed Kathrada and his Foundation, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said: “That the annoucenment of cancelled G4S contracts comes on the eve of the international Palestinian political prisoner day should not be understated. We hope to see the release of all political prisoners such as Marwan Barghouti from Israeli prisons secured by G4S. Over 750 000 Palestinians (roughly 40% of Palestinian men) have been imprisoned by Israel at one point in time. About 100 000 Palestinians have been held by Israel in “administrative detention” (the equivalent of Apartheid South Africa’s “Detention without trial”). Similar to the experience of Black families under Apartheid, almost every Palestinian family has been affected by the Israeli imprisonment of a relative.”

Currently, there are over 6000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel; 454 of them are being held under Israel’s “administrative detention” (Apartheid South Africa’s “Detention Without Trial”) and 163 of them are children. In the last 11 years alone, more than 7500 Palestinian children have been detained in Israeli prisons and detention facilities (including being held in solitary confinement) with Muhammad Daoud Dirbas, at the age of six, being the youngest Palestinian child to have been detained by Israeli soldiers. Last year Ahmed Kathrada together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Novelist Alice Walker; Linguist, philosopher and author Noam Chomsky; Author and Activist Angela Davis; Poet, painter and former South African political prisoner Breyten Breytenbach; Actor Miriam Margolyes; Author John Berger; and various others wrote an open letter to the Management of G4S calling on the company to end its Israeli contracts including those contracts with Israeli prisons holding Palestinian political prisoners.
(Source / 17.04.2015)

Israeli forces open fire east of Khan Younis, injure 3 Palestinians

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinians east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces deployed along the Gazan border opened fire on the Palestinians in the al-Sanati area in Khan Younis.

The three injured have been taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis for treatment.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the Strip, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

That was up from 26 incidents through February, and left seven Palestinians injured and one dead.

The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire to ease restrictions on Palestinian access to the border region near the “security buffer zone.”

According to PCHR, the “buffer zone,” which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, “is illegal under both Israeli and international law.”

The group said: “The precise area designated by Israel as a ‘buffer zone’ is not clear and this Israeli policy is typically enforced with live fire.”

(Source / 17.04.2015)