Israel detains 4 children in 2 days from same Jerusalem family

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Undercover Israeli operatives detained and interrogated a 7-year-old Palestinian boy and his twelve-year-old brother in occupied East Jerusalem Tuesday, only a day after two 15-year-olds from the same family were taken.The boy and his older brother, from the Zaatari family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, were detained by Israeli operatives dressed as Palestinian locals while walking in the street Tuesday evening, the boys’ grandfather told Ma’an.The Zaatari family has had four children detained this week, Ihab Ahmed Zaatari, 7, and Muhammad Mahdi Zaatari 12, detained on Tuesday just one day after Alaa Magdy Zaatari and Mehdi Barakat Zaatari, both 15, were detained Monday.An Israeli police spokesperson did not immediately return Ma’an’s request for information on the incident, but told Israeli media the children were detained after throwing rocks at a bus.The 7-year-old was reportedly interrogated for nearly eight hours.Family member Mehdi Zaatari denied Israeli police claims that they were throwing rocks, telling Ma’an that the plainclothes officers came out of nowhere while the children were in the street in an area where nothing was happening.”I was just meters from where they were arrested,” he told Ma’an. “But I wasn’t able to reach the area because it was such a quick arrest. 10 officers attacked the two boys and prevented them from moving before violently forcing them in a ‘special’ car.””We went to the Salah al-Din Street city police station stayed there from 7:30 until 10:30 PM in front of the police station waiting for him to come. The whole time we tried to inquire about the place of their detention to no avail, he told Ma’an. “We had no news of the children for three hours.””After they were brought to the police station they prevented us from eentering (and seeing them), despite the fact that Israeli and international laws require the presence of the mother or father during interrogation of their children. When the lawyer arrived he was also prevented from entering. He demanded the interrogation not take place at that late of an hour, but they refused (to delay the interrogation).”Zaatari told Ma’an that his seven-year-old son was released around 3 AM and his 12-year-old son around 7 AM. Both were deprived of food and water during the interrogation, he told Ma’an.In response to Tuesday’s incident, Accountability Program director of children’s rights group Defense for Children International- Palestine, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, told Ma’an, “In East Jerusalem, Palestinian children are being detained arbitrarily and, in this case, illegally, since children under 12 years of age are below the age of criminal responsibility.

“By arresting children as young as 6, Israel is flouting its own legal code, as well as international standards for the treatment of children,” said Eqtaish.
This week’s detentions come as Israeli forces continue to systematically detain and convict Palestinian youth for alleged rock throwing.A bill was passed by Israeli leadership in November 2015 that could land an individual in jail for up to 20 years if convicted of stone throwing, a move that many argued was designed solely to target Palestinian youth in the midst of increasing violence in Jerusalem at the time.Israeli detainment of Palestinian youth is often accompanied by harsh interrogation and conditions that violate international law, rights groups say.In one case a child was kept in isolation for a total of 26 days for interrogation purpose, the report said.Research by the group showed that Palestinian children often arrive at Israeli interrogation centers blindfolded, bound and sleep deprived and over 75 percent detained in 2014 endured some form of physical violence between the period of their arrest and interrogation.Israel detained 1,266 Palestinian children below the age of 15 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014, according to a PLO report, and over 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces since 2000.
(Source / 30.04.2015)

US To Expand ISIS Fight

Officials say escalation is needed to placate coalition partners.

A fighter from Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front holds his group flag as he stands in front of the governor building in Idlib province, north Syria.

A fighter from Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front holds his group flag as he stands in front of the governor building in Idlib province, north Syria.

The war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria isn’t exactly making headway, indeed it seems destined to be the latest open-ended military boondoggle in a long line for the US in that region.

Still, that doesn’t mean the mess can’t get even bigger, and that’s exactly what’s likely to happen, according to officials familiar with the situation who say that the US is likely to agree to expand the ISIS war to include its assorted affiliates across the planet.

Certain nations within the US coalition, primarily Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are demanding the war be expanded to other countries with ISIS presences as well, and US officials say that keeping those nations satisfied will virtually oblige the administration to accept the demands.

Right now, the focus seems to be on getting the war expanded to Libya and to Egypt’s own Sinai Peninsula, where factions have pledged allegiance to ISIS and gained recruiting credibility as a result.

These are far from the only ISIS affiliates abroad, however, with Nigeria’s Boko Haram noteworthy in having renamed itself ISWAP to reflect its new position as Islamic State West Africa Province. Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan all also have meaningful ISIS presences. Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are also struggling with ISIS attempting to set up shop there.

The ISIS war isn’t going particularly well to start with, however, and the White House still hasn’t gotten it authorized by Congress. It seems like this would be a particularly difficult time to sell the idea of expanding it from two countries to a dozen or more.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

Israeli teens indicted for attacks on Palestinians

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Jerusalem District Court filed indictments Tuesday against a 19-year-old and two minors from the settlement of Bat Ayin for alleged attacks on Palestinians, Israeli media reported.The three were charged with racially motivated and aggravated assault, assault on a public servant, racially motivated willful damage to property and other charges, Israeli news source Haaretz said, identifying the perpetrators as Or Shahar, 19, and two minors aged 16 and 17.The indictment comes amid alleged efforts by Israeli authorities to reverse the current system of impunity for settler violence in the occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank.Such incidents are often referred to as “price-tag” attacks, acts of violence or vandalism on Palestinians and their property or Israeli military targets carried out in retribution for perceived action by the Israeli government against the settlement enterprise.Following price-tag attacks on Vatican-owned offices in occupied East Jerusalem in May 2014, Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the government planned to begin using administrative detention against suspected extremists.Although police had made scores of arrests, there had been few successful prosecutions for price-tag attacks and the government was facing mounting pressure to authorize the Shin Bet internal security agency to step in.The first conviction for a price-tag attack was carried out in December 2014, when two settlers were sentenced to 30 months in prison for setting fire to two Palestinian vehicles.The US State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism included price-tag attacks for the first time, citing UN figures of some “399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.”Such attacks were “largely unprosecuted,” it said.Earlier this month the Jerusalem District Court accepted a plea bargain in the case of four teenage Israelis who admitted to setting fire to a Palestinian cafe near Hebron, despite pledges by Israel’s Justice Ministry to combat anti-Palestinian hate crime.The three indicted Tuesday allegedly assaulted a Palestinian worker who came to the Bat Ayin settlement in the occupied West Bank to deliver merchandise that had been ordered from him.
They sprayed tear gas at the man and a soldier who tried to help the him, and beat the man with wooden planks, Haaretz reported.The Bat Ayin settlers also threw stones at a Palestinian truck a week afterwards, and cut down 35 olive trees belonging to Palestinians in May 2014, spray-painting the words “Arabs are thieves” in the orchard. The damage was estimated at 30,000 shekels (about $7,700).According to Israeli media, the prosecution asked the court to extend the remand of the three until the end of proceedings.
(Source / 30.04.2015)

Egyptian TV anchor criticises President Sisi on air

Egyptian TV anchor criticises Sisi for celebration of Labour Day at police academy

Ibrahim Eissa on his program 25/30, broadcasted on ONTV channel

In an unprecedented act in Egypt, a television anchor criticised President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Monday for holding celebrations of Labour Day ahead of the international 1 May workers’ holiday.

Usually held on 1 May, Labour Day commemorations were held at the police academy in Cairo this year on 27 April due to an upcoming visit by President Sisi to Spain.

Ibrahim Eissa, a long-time television anchor and commentator, criticised Sisi’s decision to hold the celebrations at the police academy rather than at a more worker-orientated venue like a factory.

“Celebrating the day at the police academy is something that cannot be accepted whatsoever,” said Eissa during his Tuesday talk show 25/30 on Egyptian satellite channel ONTV.

Eissa also expressed his surprise that President Sisi’s address was not aired on television, stressing that this was the first time the presidential address for Labour Day had not been broadcast.

“I can understand that there are security concerns, but who said security measures can’t be taken in other places like a factory or the like,” Eissa went on to say.

“What does that mean? Celebrating Labour Day at the police academy – there is a meaning behind that and it is a negative one. We cannot overlook these things,” he added.

An annual holiday in Egypt, Labour Day celebrates the achievements of workers and has its origins in the trade union movement.

Eissa has generally been seen, like other media figures in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, as reflecting government policies and thoughts on major issues.

In recent months, spats between prominent media figures in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been seen to highlight policy differences between the two countries.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

PA security forces arrest 13 citizens, summon 2 others

WEST BANK, (PIC)– Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) have been intensifying political arrests against Hamas members in various West Bank governorates. The forces arrested thirteen of them and summoned two others for investigation over the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a political captive in PA jails announced his open hunger strike protesting the extension of his detention.

In Ramallah, the PASF rounded up six citizens including two brothers. Some of them are ex-detainees in Israeli jails. Others were arrested for several times and some of them are university students.

The PA arrests were performed after storming some of the houses of the political detainees.

The PA preventive forces in Ramallah extended the detention of a university student for 15 days who announced going on hunger strike demanding his immediate release.

In Nablus, the PA forces arrested four citizens including two engineers. The forces, however, failed to detain the Islamic bloc’s representative in An-Najah National University after they broke into his home.

In Jenin, the forces rounded up a university student and continued to detain another citizen for 55 days in a row.

In Qalqilya, the PA forces arrested an ex-detainee who spent 13 years in Israeli jails after breaking into and wreaking havoc in his house for search purposes. The forces arrested him despite that he has just got married five days ago.

The forces confiscated the detainee’s private cellphone and some SIM cards for his family members.

The forces also summoned the head of Studies and Research Department at the Supreme Judicial Council Yasser Hammad for investigation on a political background.

In Tulkarem, the forces arrested a university student and confiscated his personal computer after storming his house in a town near the city. He is a political prisoner, an ex-detainee and was arrested for several times before.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

Palestinians in both WB and Gaza sign largest memo against settlement

GAZA, (PIC)– The largest memorandum of protest against the settlement and the apartheid wall in Palestine was launched by the Department of Refugees’ Affairs in Hamas on Wednesday.

The event was organized in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza in cooperation with al-Assour center for heritage in Silwad town in Ramallah.

The memorandum was signed by Ismail Haneyya, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, MPs, representatives of Palestinian factions, and many Palestinian figures who stressed the Palestinian non-negotiable rights and constants.

Largest memorandum

The document, which is considered to be the largest memorandum of protest against the settlement and the apartheid wall in the whole world, collected about 10500 signatures so far and will be handed over to the UN representative office in Gaza and the West Bank at the same time.

For his part, Issam Udwan head of Hamas Department of Refugees’ Affairs said in a press conference that this document will be handed over to the UN representative office on May 14, 2015 after being signed by many Palestinian figures and factions. He also stressed the importance of the event in rejecting the settlement which misappropriates the Palestinian lands and the apartheid wall which separates the Palestinian lands.

Udwan shed light on the Israeli frenzied expropriation campaign of Palestinian lands and touched on the Israeli decision to demolish 50 homes in the 1948-occupied lands.

Palestinian duty

Secretary-general of al-Ahrar Movement Khaled Abu Hilal told the PIC reporter: “We are here today to sign this document as part of the Palestinian duty and to sound alarm bells over the Israeli settlement and apartheid wall which is tearing apart the Palestinian lands and unity.” He also highlighted the importance of achieving the Palestinian unity.

Adherence to rights

The Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib told the PIC: “Today, we affirm the Palestinian people’s adherence to their right to the whole Palestinian lands, and that we will never compromise on the slightest portion of our people’s rights.”

And added: “We raise our voice to demand an end to the Israeli crimes amid the international silence and complicity.”

He also called on the United Nations to fulfill its role and stop the inhuman crimes committed by Israel in absolute disregard of the international laws and conventions.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

Killing in Gaza, saving in Nepal: Israel’s moral hypocrisy

Israel doesn’t have to go all the way to Kathmandu to save lives; it would be enough to lift the siege it imposes an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv and let Gaza be rebuilt.

Palestinian schoolgirls walk past the rubble of a house in Gaza.

Palestinian schoolgirls walk past the rubble of a house destroyed during the 2014 war, in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, April 12, 2015

The uniform is the same uniform. It’s the uniform whose wearers blew up hundreds of homes and schools and clinics in Gaza last summer. It’s the uniform whose wearers periodically shoot teenagers and children throwing stones and peaceful demonstrators in the West Bank. It’s the uniform that every night invades homes and brutally pulls people out of bed, often for needless and politically motivated arrests. It’s the uniform that blocks people’s freedom of movement in their own land. It’s the uniform that’s been abusing an entire people for decades.

Now its wearers are saving lives for the cameras. The evil army in Palestine has become the salvation army in Nepal.

The Israeli rescuers in Nepal are certainly infused with good intentions. The reserve soldiers among them told of dropping everything to join the effort. They are definitely good people who enlisted to help Israelis and Nepalese. It’s very moving to see a preemie being carried to safety by an IDF soldier.

But we cannot forget that wearing that same uniform, the IDF kills babies by the dozens; a B’tselem report released last week listed 13 instances in which homes were blown up in Gaza, killing 31 babies and 39 children. He who did this to dozens of babies needs an intolerable measure of chutzpah to dare be photographed with a baby rescued from an earthquake and to boast of his humanitarianism.

Because after all, boasting is the name of the game. That’s a fact. Let’s show ourselves, and particularly the rest of the world, how wonderful we are, how the IDF is really the absolutely most moral army in the world.

“Have you seen any Iranian rescue planes?” asked a propagandist in disguise yesterday. “A model state,” “The beautiful Israel,” “The Israeli flag among the ruins,” “The pride.” “Our delegation of ministering angels represents the universal values of our people and our country,” the president said. “These are the true faces of Israel – a country prepared to assist at any distance at such moments,” the prime minister said.

Ministering angels? The country’s true face? Perhaps. But that angelic face also has a dark, satanic side, one that kills babies, not only saves them. When that’s the case, one cannot speak of “universal values.” One cannot speak of values at all. There is simply no right to do so. To see Avigdor Lieberman, the bully who preaches at every turn to bomb, shell and destroy, speak of humanitarianism?

There are countries that aren’t providing as much generous aid as Israel, but there isn’t a single country behaving with such hypocrisy – killing in Gaza, saving in Nepal, and presenting itself as Mother Teresa. There is no other country that so exploits every opportunity to propagandize and shower itself with syrupy, embarrassing self-adulation ad nauseam.

Babies die in the child warehouses at the Tel Aviv central bus station not from some force majeure, but because of a cruel immigration policy. The IDF isn’t saving those babies. There was an earthquake in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge; the rubble has not been cleared to this day, and most of those who lost their homes remain homeless. No one has visited Gaza recently without being shocked to their very core. And that earthquake was manmade; it was the work of the IDF, the same IDF that’s in Nepal.

Israel doesn’t have to go all the way to Kathmandu to save lives; it would be enough to lift the siege it imposes an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv and let Gaza be rebuilt. It would be enough to allow the 2 million people who live there a bit of freedom. It would enough to decide that during the next attack, which is inevitable, the IDF will act differently. That the same IDF now engaged in rescue will not commit more war crimes. That it will uphold international law, and perhaps even those “universal values” Israel is gloating about now. That the same IDF now hugging babies will not bomb homes with babies inside them.

But all this is of course much harder than sending a 747 to Kathmandu and setting up the largest possible, best-equipped field hospital in front of the accompanying army of reporters, and applauding the beautiful, virtuous, moral Israel.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

Khoja at the UN: Syrians are Victims of Chemical Weapons

President Khoja yesterday delivered a speech at United Nations headquarters on the Day of Remembrance for all victims of chemical warfare. Yesterday marks the hundredth anniversary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons, which took place during World War I.

“Syrians are among those victims. Syrians have suffered the torment of chemical weapons, barrel bombs, ballistic missiles, torture, siege and starvation at the hands of a dictator who has used all means to suppress the rights of the Syrian people to freedom and dignity,” Khoja said.

“Words are not enough. Condemnations have not stopped Assad’s aerial bombardment. Strong statements will not end ISIL’s terror. Even the Council’s resolutions on humanitarian access and the prevention of chemical weapons have not had the desired impact. For example, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has listed 87 violations of UN Security Council resolution 2118 on chemical weapons. Despite the efforts of some, none of the steps taken by the international community has made the difference we need. We need action to immediately stop the killing. We need protection to put the country on track for a political solution based on the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.”

Khoja went on: “The political opposition, and particularly the Syrian Coalition, is making progress. We have worked hard to move from the mindset of opposition to that of a state. We are leading the effort, through open dialogue with the rest of the political opposition groups, including Building the Syrian State Movement, and National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, to unite our political efforts and positions within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué.”

“We have initiated joint meetings with moderate armed groups on fighting extremism and maintaining a large part of the military, security and civil state institutions during the transitional phase. The first consultative meeting, held on April 25 and attended by the majority of the military factions fighting the Assad regime and ISIL, was a step towards forming a comprehensive national consensus on the parameter of a political solution, and towards an agreement on establishing a civil democratic state.”

“We appeal to you to take the following steps. First, implement your resolutions on the delivery of humanitarian aid and the prohibition of chlorine gas. Second, emphasize accountability as a component in the political solution. Third, we urge you to take effective steps to stop the barrel bombs by establishing safe zones. Such zones will contribute to a political solution and will serve the immediate goal of saving lives and alleviating human suffering.”

(Source / 30.04.2015)

French school kicks Muslim girl out of class because her skirt’s too long and provocative


‘The girl was not excluded, she was asked to come back with a neutral outfit’

According to French media reports, a 15-year-old French Muslim girl was banned from her class twice for wearing a skirt that was too long, and therefore supposedly a conspicuous display of religion. France’s state secularism has led to very strict laws prohibiting students from wearing overtly religious symbols in institutions of education.

The student, identified as Sarah, already apparently removed her headscarf before entering the school, in accordance with French law. But her long skirt was deemed a “provocation,” and potential act of protest.

“The girl was not excluded, she was asked to come back with a neutral outfit,” a local official in the northeastern French town of Charleville-Mezieres, near the border with Belgium, told the AFP.

The news sparked an outcry on social media, with commentators remarking on the hypocrisy and bigotry lurking beneath Sarah’s treatment. On Twitter, the hashtag #JePorteMaJuppeCommeJeVeux (“I wear my skirt as I like”) trended.

One Twitter user set Sarah’s skirt against those worn by three other white public figures:

Vous estimerez, en l’argumentant, le degré d’ostentation de ces jupes. Vous avez 2h.

(Source / 30.04.2015)

Court sentences 5 Morsi supporters to 18 years in jail for ‘illegal protesting’

The sentenced include an eye-witness of the 2013 Rabaa sit-in dispersal, who appeared in a damning Human Rights Watch’s video report about the events

Mohamed Tarek

Mohamed Tarek in a clip from Human rights Watch’s report about Rabaa sit-in’s dispersal released in August 2014

An Alexandria misdemeanours court on Wednesday sentenced five Morsi supporters to 18 years in jail and a fine of LE 135,000 for “illegal protesting” and “acts of violence”.

The prosecution had also accused the five defendants of “joining a banned group” and “showing force.”

The five convicted pro-Morsi supporters were arrested during the dispersal of a protest in Alexandria last 29 August.

They included university professor Mohamed Tarek, an eye witness of the deadly dispersal of the pro-Morsi Rabaa sit-in in August 2013, whose testimony was included in a damning August 2014 Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) report about the events.

In its 188-page investigation, the New York-based human rights organisation said that Egyptian security forces had used excessive force to disband the sit-in, and described it as “a likely crime against humanity” in which at least 817 killed.

The Egyptian authorities slammed the HRW report and denied its findings.

According to Egypt’s official National Human Rights Council’s own report from March 2014, up to 632 people were killed and 1,492 others were injured in the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in.

(Source / 30.04.2015)