PFLP slams decision to drop bid to suspend Israel from FIFA

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Dropping the bid to suspend Israel from FIFA was an “outrageous deviation from our values, principles and efforts to expose the Israeli occupation’s crimes and to oust Israel from international organizations,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said Saturday.The leftist PLO faction laid responsibility for the last-minute withdrawal on Palestinian Authority decision makers, calling upon the Executive Committee of the PLO to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the issue and “settle account with” those behind the decision.Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub dropped the bid Friday minutes before it was scheduled to be brought to the table.The football governing body voted instead on an amendment proposing the formation of a committee to monitor the movement of Palestinian football players, Israeli racism, as well as the status of Israeli league teams based in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.The new amendment passed with 90 percent of member nations voting in favor following a whirlwind of ambiguous last minute changes.PFLP maintained that Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub should be questioned over his position and his exact actions during the FIFA congress meeting.Such behavior is a “slap to Palestinian sport,” the group said, pointing to the decision as a waste of the blood lost by all those who have sacrificed for Palestinian movement and independence from Israeli occupation.The group also described dropping the bid at the last moment as “an act of betrayal” towards international solidarity and the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which struggled until the last moment to support the bid.”This behavior poses multiple question marks about the Palestinian efforts to join international organizations,” the PFLP wrote in a statement.Friday’s near-bid to suspend Israel was the latest in a string of efforts to use boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to build international pressure on the Israeli government to end the ongoing military occupation.Protesters supporting Israel’s suspension from FIFA temporarily halted Blatter’s opening address to the congress Friday, waving red cards at FIFA representatives and chanting “Israel out!” before they were escorted out of the hall by security guards.In light of apparent international support for the original bid, the PFLP urged Palestinian leadership to consult “leading Palestinian organizations” instead of single handedly making major decisions related to the Palestinian national cause.While the new amendment designates a “multi-lateral monitor group to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal, and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of International Observers,” it is not yet clear in what capacity the group will act to monitor Israeli violations against Palestinian players.Re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter appointed former South African cabinet minister and African National Congress (ANC) leader Tokyo Sexwale to head the committee.Both an anti-apartheid activist and former political prisoner, Sexwale’s nomination to head the monitoring committee was a reminder of the potential role sports played in ending the era of apartheid South Africa.South Africa was suspended from FIFA from 1976 until 1992 when the apartheid regime fell.Following the amendment win in congress, Rajoub said FIFA must now help tackle the issues facing Palestinian players in the occupied West Bank before waving a red card at delegates to emphasize his point.”I think it’s time to raise the red card against racism and humiliation in Palestine and everywhere. It is time,” he added.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Israeli forces break the arm of a Palestinian man at peaceful protest, Beit Ummar

Demonstrators in front of Beit El Baraka

Demonstrators in front of Beit El Baraka

Today in Beit Ummar, just north of Al Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces broke the arm of local activist Yousif Abu Maria, and then arrested him. Yousif was protesting with a group of around 30 local Palestinian activists outside an illegal Israeli settlement. While the police and military attempted to arrest Yousif he was subjected to excessive violence that resulted in his arm being broken. Israeli occupation forces continued to violently arrest him even though his cries of pain were obvious.

At 10.30 am the group drove to the gate of the Beit Al Baraka building. Roughly four years ago the old hospital and church complex was purchased by the right-wing Israeli Zionist group, Israeli Land Fund, under the guise of a Christian refurbishment organisation. Aryeh King, director and founder of Israeli Land Fund, had brought the property to support the illegal expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

On reaching the complex the Palestinian activists marched to the front gate chanting for a free Palestine. The Palestinians were joined by many Israeli and international activists. Seconds after arriving over 20 boarder police, police and military, quickly surrounded the group. The occupation forces then began pushing people back with their rifles. Yousif was injured and thrown to the floor. An Israeli activists then attempted to pull him away from the violence, but was also assaulted and pepper sprayed in the eyes. Both Yousif and the Israeli activists were dragged away to the military jeeps parked near by, but Yousif was then arrested and the Israeli activists was released without any repercussions.

Yousef Abu Maria on his knees after occupation forces broke his arm, during the arrest

Yousef Abu Maria on his knees after occupation forces broke his arm, during the arrest

A large amount of sound grenades were also used. Around 20 of the heavy metal grenades were thrown, some directly at protesters causing superficial injuries. After forcing all protesters to move away from the fenced off complex, Israeli police then questioned and checked the ID’s of many of the activists.

Soldiers pepperspray Israeli activist (in blue shirt) after forcing him to the ground

Soldiers pepper spray Israeli activist (in blue shirt) after forcing him to the ground

The Palestinian group finished the protest with the promise to return and continue to use non-violent action to resist the expansion of illegal settlements that both annex Palestinian land illegally and are detrimental for the economy and existence of Palestinian communities. After an increase in Israeli military and police presence over the past two months around the Al Baraka building, the residents of Beit Ummar worry that, if occupied by settlers, the complex will lead to further disruption of the entire region.

Palestinian activist faced by occupation forces

Palestinian activist faced by occupation forces

(Source / 30.05.2015)

4 Activists Detained near Beit Ummar

Israeli forces, on Saturday, detained one Palestinian and three foreign activists during a protest against Israeli settlement expansion near Beit Ummar, in the southern West Bank.

Arrestaties in Beit al Baraka

Israeli forces injured other activists when they dispersed a sit-in at Beit al-Baraka on the Jerusalem-Hebron road near Beit Ummar, where local activists report that Israeli settlers are trying to seize 40 dunams of Palestinian land and have started construction.

The Palestinian detained was identified as Yousef Abu Maria, while the names of the foreign activists were not reported.

A Palestinian activist, Muhammed Brijieh, told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces had fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at the protest, causing a number to suffer excessive tear gas inhalation.

Popular resistance committees also organized a peaceful march on Saturday to protect Beit al-Baraka, which was reportedly attended by dozens of Palestinian and foreign activists.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

NY Times Applauds While Israel Robs Palestine of Water

The New York Times invites us to gaze with wonder on the miracles of Israeli technology today, with a page 1 photo and story touting the innovations that have saved the country from drought. Because of wise policies and applied science, we learn, “there is plenty of water in Israel.”

The Times never tells us, however, that a significant number of those who reside on the land are seriously deprived of water: Palestinians in some areas of the West Bank are forced to survive on only 20 liters of water a day per person, well below the World Health Organization minimum of 60 liters. In Gaza 90 percent of the water is unfit to drink.

Meanwhile, Israelis in West Bank settlements “generally have access to as much running water as they please,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and Israelis over all use three times as much water as Palestinians. Settlers also confiscate West Bank springs, and Israeli security forces destroy water equipment in Palestinian villages and prevent their residents from building cisterns and wells.

In the Times story, “Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought,” Isabel Kershner writes that Israel is thriving because it has adopted recycling and desalination. She quotes at length from Israeli officials but includes not a single Palestinian voice.

Kershner manages to dismiss Palestinian concerns in two sentences: “Israel, which shares the mountain aquifer with the West Bank, says it provides the Palestinians with more water than it is obliged to under the existing peace accords. Palestinians say it is not enough and too expensive.” She feels no need to address the humanitarian crisis Israeli has created in confiscating Palestinian water for its own use.

In fact, Israel steals the water from under the feet of Palestinians, draining West Bank aquifers, allocating 73 percent of this water to Israel and another 10 percent to settlers. Palestinians are left with 17 percent, and many are forced to buy from the Israeli water company at rates up to three times as high as the tariffs charged Israelis.

Kershner omits any mention of the obvious inequalities between Israeli West Bank settlements and the Palestinian villages nearby. Settlements often have swimming pools and green, watered turf, while villages remain dusty and dry, without enough water for agriculture or even for home gardens.

The Times has also turned its back on news that underscores the outright theft of water in Palestine. It had nothing to report, for instance, when settlers recently surrounded a Palestinian spring with mines and barbed wire. The paper also remained silent when security forces destroyed pipes providing water to an impoverished Jordan Valley herding community earlier this year.

Many organizations, however, have spoken out. The United Nations, the World Bank,Amnesty International, B’Tselem, church groups, If Americans Knew, and others. They have issued reports and press releases noting that Israel violates international law in confiscating Palestinian water resources and highlighting the striking disparities between West Bank villages and Jewish settlements.

Kershner found none of this worth mentioning in her story today. Instead, we find a promotional piece that should benefit Israeli water specialists now peddling their products in California and other drought-stricken areas of the United States.

Editors and reporters are complicit in this effort to tout Israel as an enlightened and technologically advanced country, even in the face of its flagrant theft of Palestinian water.The New York Times has found an Israeli puff piece on water technology to be worth a front page spread, but it deems the criminal confiscation of this basic resource unfit to print.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Israel tortura a presos palestinos para conseguir confesiones falsas

Un soldado israelí detiene violentamente a un adolescente palestino.

Un soldado israelí detiene violentamente a un adolescente palestino

Guardias penitenciarios del régimen israelí utilizan métodos brutales e inmorales de tortura para aterrorizar a los menores palestinos y extraerles falsas confesiones.

“Los funcionarios de prisiones israelíes aplican métodos represivos e inmorales contra los niños palestinos que se encuentran en las cárceles del régimen sionista para obligarlos a confesar delitos que no cometieron”, aseguró el domingo Isa Qaraqe.

“Los funcionarios de prisiones israelíes aplican métodos represivos e inmorales contra los niños palestinos que se encuentran en las cárceles del régimen sionista para obligarlos a confesar delitos que no cometieron”, aseguró el domingo Isa Qaraqe, presidente del Comité para Asuntos de los Prisioneros Palestinos.

Qaraqe, como prueba de sus acusaciones, se refirió al caso de Mohamad Helmi, un preso recién liberado de 15 años, que fue sometido a torturas brutales tanto físicas como psicológicas en los centros de detención israelí durante los interrogatorios.

“Uno de los guardias penitenciarios del régimen israelí, conocido como Yossi, obligó por la fuerza a Helmi a abrir la boca y, tras colocar un cuchillo en la encía del preso palestino, le dijo que, si no se declaraba culpable de un ataque con piedras contra fuerzas israelíes, le sacaría los dientes”, aseguró.

Según Qaraqe, Helmi fue finalmente obligado a hacer una confesión falsa para evitar la tortura.

Un grupo de presos palestinos con los ojos vendados en una cárcel israelí

No es la primera vez que el régimen de Israel tortura y niega servicios sanitarios a los presos palestinos.

El 22 de marzo, la Sociedad civil de Presos y Expresos Palestinos, Husam,advirtió del gran riesgo de contraer cáncer entre los detenidos palestinos porque están expuestos a elevados niveles de radioactividad en las cárceles del régimen de Israel.

El 14 de marzo, un preso palestino perdió la memoria por la tortura infligida por los guardias penitenciarios del régimen israelí.

El 7 de marzo, el diario israelí Haaretz informó de que los casos de tortura de presos palestinos por parte del servicio israelí de seguridad interna ‘shin bet’ aumentaron considerablemente en el segundo semestre de 2014.

Al menos 6 500 palestinos se encuentran en 22 cárceles del régimen de Israel en condiciones infrahumanas, según el Comité para Asuntos de los Prisioneros Palestinos.

Presos palestinos en cárceles israelíes

La mayoría de los reclusos palestinos se encuentra en ‘detención administrativa’, eufemismo que aplica el régimen de Tel Aviv para mantener a quien desea en prisión, saltándose la ley, es decir, sin el derecho a contar con un juicio.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Mother of Six Begins 2nd Year in Israeli Prisons Without Charge

Palestinian mother of six children, wife of prisoner, sister of three prisoners Samaher Zeineddin has now entered her 2nd year in prison, without charge.

Zoon van Samaher

Samaher, age 35, the mother of six children aged between four and 14 years, is also suffering unknown disease in the chest, a statement issued on Saturday by Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies (PPCS) said.

After much pressure put by the female prisoners on the Israeli prison services, Samaher undergone a surgical operation, but her suffering remained unchanged, according to the statement.

The PPCS said, according to Days of Palestine, that Samaher was arrested on May 28, 2014, when the Israeli occupation forces stormed her house in Nablus during the night, frightened her children, inspected her house and arrested her.

Until today, the statement said, she was not charged or given any sentence. The Israeli occupation has not yet given any reason for keeping her in custody.

Samaher always feels painful and worried about her six children, whom she has not met since she was arrested.

Her husband Nader, 37, was arrested just two months before her. Three of her brothers are behind Israeli bars, one of them is serving a life sentence.

All her six children are living with their grandmother; an old woman with several diseases. She has been unable to offer them proper service, in addition to not havig a source of income.

Female prisoners with Samaher told the PPCS that she always feels painful and worried about her six children, whoة she has not met since she was arrested.

The PPCS said that she is experiencing very difficult conditions inside the Israeli prisons and called for the international community and the human rights organisations to put pressure on the Israeli occupation in order to release her.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Hezbollah: Syria Will never Surrender, Our Support Will never Stop

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General said on Thursday that the Middle East is at risk of partition, ruling out a near end to the war in Syria.

Hezbollah: Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem

During an interview with Reuters news agency, Sheikh Naim Qassem said the terrorist gunmen would be unable to topple the Assad government despite their recent gains in battle, including this week’s capture of Palmyra by the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ takfiri group.

Hezbollah official said Assad’s allies – including Iran, Russia and Hezbollah – would back him “however long it takes”. There could be no solution to the war without Assad, and it was time for “Arabs and the world” to realize that.

Speaking at Hezbollah offices in Beirut, Sheikh Qassem said Saudi policy was to blame for regional conflicts including the most recent one in Yemen. He accused Riyadh of “double standards”, backing “takfiris” across the Middle East, while seeking to suppress them at home.

He also blamed Washington, saying it was waiting to see how things turned out instead of adopting clear policies.

“The region is today on fire, tense, without any proposed solutions. It seems this will continue for a number of years, and there is also the risk of partition in some of its countries,” said Qassem.

“The biggest danger in the plan to partition the region is for Iraq, because America is promoting this, and it seems there are some elements in Iraq that want this, but it has not matured yet,” his eminence said.

Destruction would continue in Syria because it would not submit, Qassem said. “Solutions for Syria are suspended. There is no political solution in the foreseeable period, and it is left to attrition, to the battlefield, and to wait for other developments in the region, particularly Iraq,” he highlighted.

Hezbollah deputy Secretary General said Islamic State’s capture of the ancient city of Palmyra from the army this week was part of the ebb and flow of the war in which ground lost in one area is made up in another.

“It is normal to lose in some areas and win in others,” he said. “What is happening is attack and retreat which does not change the equation neither geographically or politically.”

Sheikh Qassem made it clear that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were training, arming and funding the operating takfiri groups to try and shift the military balance by bringing together takfiri terrorist forces with US supervision.

“This shift in balance is temporary and not fundamental and does not change the equation in Syria,” he said.

Hezbollah believes its offensive against armed takfiri groups including the al-Nusra Front in the mountains between Lebanon and Syria was ongoing to protect Lebanon, targeted by suicide attacks since Syria’s war began in 2011.

“Syria’s allies are continuing in supporting Assad’s Syria until the end, regardless of how long it takes,” Sheikh Qassem stressed.

Hezbollah has been an ally to Assad in the four-year-long conflict, sending its fighters to pound the takfiri armed groups who represent a growing threat to the region.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

En route to Gaza, against the backdrop of a bloody history, Freedom Flotilla ship docks in Spain



A ship taking part in Freedom Flotilla III docked in Bueu, Galicia, Spain on Saturday in one of several stops before making a final voyage to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Marianne joined other ships heading to Gaza in “a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli-administered military blockade since 2007.

The Scandinavian trawler Marianne will stop in Spain for the five-year commemoration of a brutal attack on the first Freedom Flotilla in 2010, when Israeli naval forces killed ten human rights activists on board.

The incident, which took place in international waters, sparked international outcry.

A second flotilla planned for 2011 was unable to reach Gaza after Greek authorities prevented the ships from leaving Athens.

The Freedom Flotilla’s Marianne set sail from Sweden earlier this month and is carrying a limited cargo of solar cell panels and medical equipment for the devastated Gaza Strip, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said after the ship’s initial departure.

It will carry a crew of five people as well as “up to eight delegates as passengers in each section of the route,” the FFC said, with these delegates to be announced along the way.

European MEP Ana Maria Miranda Paz will be one of the passengers when the boat leaves Galicia for Portugal.

A range of other public figures are expected to participate in the flotilla, including former Tunisian President and human rights activist Muncef al-Marzouk.

The third Freedom Flotilla aims to bring supplies to the Gaza Strip, where conditions have deteriorated sharply following last summer’s 50-day Israeli assault, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and around 100,000 internally displaced.

It was their third conflict in less than five years, following an eight-day bombardment in 2012 and a 22-day war in late 2008 and early 2009.

The Israeli blockade, worsened by ongoing closures of the Gaza-Egypt border by Egyptian Authorities, has created near-impossible conditions for reconstruction, a statement released by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in March reporting that, “In Gaza, the effects of the occupation, blockade and recurring military campaigns have devastated not only Palestine refugee homes, lives and income, but also hope for a secure and dignified future.”

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Israeli troops attack Palestinian demos in West Bank

Palestinian protesters run to take cover after Israeli security forces fired tear gas during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank on May 29, 2015. (AFP photo)

Palestinian protesters run to take cover after Israeli security forces fired tear gas during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank on May 29, 2015

A series of clashes have broken out when Israeli forces attacked separate groups of Palestinians protesting across the occupied West Bank and used violent means to disperse the crowds.

On Friday, Palestinians held massive rallies in the villages of Bil’in and Kfar Qaddum to express their anger over the ongoing Israeli settlement building and the apartheid wall.

The protesters, including Palestinians and international peace activists, chanted slogans against the expropriation and the confiscation of Palestinian land by Israel.

Witnesses said that the demonstrations were largely peaceful until Israeli forces assaulted the protesters and used water cannons, rubber-coated bullets, and teargas canisters to break up the protest. The protesters pelted stones at Israeli forces in return.

A Palestinian protester throws a teargas canister towards Israeli forces during clashes outside the compound of the Israeli Ofer prison, near the West Bank town of Betunia, following a protest against the construction of settlements and the confiscation of Palestinian land on May 22, 2015

The demonstrators also denounced a series of brutal wars waged by Israel on the besieged Gaza strip.

This comes as United Nations is seeking to put the Israeli military on its blacklist over the regime’s aggressive policies against the Palestinian people, particularly children.

The move is recently recommended by Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary general’s special representative for children and armed conflict.

Zerrougui has said such an act must be taken because of more than 500 Palestinian children who were killed and 3,300 others who were injured during last summer’s Israeli aggression against the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

A Palestinian boy walks on May 27, 2015 in front of buildings that were destroyed during the 50-day Israeli war in the summer of 2014, in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun

Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in Israel’s 50-day onslaught. Over 11,100 others — including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people — were also injured.

Thousands of Palestinians stage weekly rallies to denounce the Israeli settlement activities and the separation wall, which has isolated large swathes of Palestinian territory.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.

Israel occupied and then annexed the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in the Six-Day War of 1967, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.

In a non-binding advisory opinion delivered in 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague called on Tel Aviv to stop the construction of illegal separation walls in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 30.05.2015)

Libya militia frees all detained Tunisians: Ministry

Tunisian anti-terrorism brigade officers cordon outside the Bouchoucha military base in Tunis

Dozens of Tunisians held in Libya by a militia forming part of an alliance ruling Tripoli have been freed, Tunisia’s foreign ministry announced Saturday.

“All the Tunisians being held in Libya have been freed. The final group was released today,” the ministry said in a statement, without giving numbers.

Tunis announced earlier in May that 172 of its nationals were being held in western Libya by a militia belonging to the Libya Dawn alliance.

Mohamed Abdelsalam al-Kuwiri, who heads a unit in the Tripoli-based government that combats illegal migration, said last week that his officers had helped secure the release of 42 Tunisians.

According to Tunisia’s foreign ministry, its nationals were detained “to check their documents,” although the Tunisian consul in Tripoli has said they were apparently taken as bargaining chips for a Libyan militia commander arrested in Tunis.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 overthrow of veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for power.

(Source / 30.05.2015)