Palestinian men face prison sentences for Facebook posts

A Facebook logo on an Ipad is reflected among source code on the LCD screen of a computer, in this photo illustration, June 18, 2014

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Jerusalemite family of Omar al-Shalabi did not expect the status updates he posted on his Facebook page to lead to his arrest by Israeli authorities. Up until the Jerusalem magistrate’s court announced its verdict, the family also believed he would be released and allowed to return home. On May 12, Shalabi was sentenced to nine months in prison.

Shalabi’s brother Mohammed, who is following up on his sibling’s case with a lawyer, told Al-Monitor that the ruling was unexpected given the apparent trivialness of the acts leading to the charges against him. The family had in addition expected Shalabi to be released on bail awaiting trial. He had been arrested Dec. 14 and charged with incitement based on postings to his Facebook page. The posts followed the kidnapping and murder of a young Palestinian man, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, by extremist settlers. Israeli authorities thus feared possible retaliatory attacks against settlers.

Mohammed Shalabi said his brother’s postings leading up to his arrest were no different from what he had been posting for quite some time. “The occupation authorities retained Omar’s posts as a pretext to arrest him, because he was an activist in the Fatah movement in Jerusalem,” claimed Mohammed Shalabi.

He said the indictment referenced such updates as, “The occupation will leave the city of Jerusalem, and the city will keep its Jerusalem identity despite the occupation,” and “Jerusalem is for Jerusalemites no matter how long occupation lasts.” There were also statements about the injustices suffered by Jerusalemites. Omar Shalabi deleted the postings under contention upon his brother’s arrest, but that did not influence the court’s decision.

Mohammed Shalabi explained that the sentence rendered against his brother, a father of six, did not end there. After Omar’s arrest, Israeli authorities dismissed the family unification request his wife had submitted, and instead, demanded that she leave Jerusalem, because she only held a temporary residence permit. Palestinians from Jerusalem must submit applications for family unification if they marry someone from outside Jerusalem. Omar Shalabi’s wife, originally from the West Bank, was seeking to get her request approved so she could live with her husband in Jerusalem.

Mohammed Shalabi continued, “Omar’s case was the first time in the history of the Israeli courts in which a judgment was issued against a Palestinian over a Facebook update.” It seems, however, that Omar Shalabi’s case set a precedent. A few days after the ruling, on May 19, Sami Adeis, from the Shuafat camp, was sentenced to eight months in jail on charges of incitement based on Facebook updates in which he encouraged people to oppose actions taken by Israeli settlers.

Shalabi’s lawyer, Mohamad Mahmoud, said that although both his client and Adeis were indicted on the same charge, Shalabi’s sentence was longer because of the high number of likes and followers on his Facebook page. Mohammed Shalabi claimed that the court dealt with his brother as if he were an influential person, considering the posts to have a real impact on Jerusalemite public opinion. Thus, the large number of likes he attracted for each post informed his sentence.

Six other Jerusalemites currently detained for alleged incitement based on Facebook postings are awaiting verdicts: Nasser al-Hidmi, Uday Sinokrot, Tariq al-Kurd, Fouad Ruweidi, Ibrahim Abdeen and Uday Bayoumi. In an interview with Al-Monitor, their lawyers said they expected the sentences to be similar to Omar Shalabi’s.

Mahmoud, who represents two other detainees in addition to Shalabi, said that the charge against them is “incitement by supporting a terrorist organization [Fatah], leading to [inciting] violence by Palestinians against Israelis.” According to him, the evidence submitted for their indictment included photographs posted on Facebook about operations conducted by young Jerusalemites against settlers, Khdeir, weapons, parades by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the recent war against Gaza.

“This detention is absolutely unlawful. Nothing in Israeli law criminalizes posting to social media,” Mahmoud told Al-Monitor. “The Israeli prosecution and the court invoked the pretext of incitement to violence to subject the charges to the incitement law, and they considered that the comments were published during a sensitive period.”

He further stated, “Even if there was evidence, there was no reason for the arrest. The legal procedure commonly applied is to order the concerned party to refrain from posting [similar] comments or just to take down whatever the publications. What is happening is that Israel is insisting on the arrest based on a 1977 Israeli penal law governing incitement on a nationalistic basis, whereby a sentence can be up to five years of actual imprisonment.”

Ziad Hamouri, director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, called it an unprecedented judgment in a country promoting itself as a democratic state guaranteeing freedom of opinion and expression. Hamouri told Al-Monitor, “The judgment rendered against Jerusalemites on these counts is the first of its kind. A legal debate was stirred even within the Israeli courts on the legality of the said judgment, especially in light of the lack of a legal text in all of Israeli law criminalizing expressing [oneself] on Facebook.”

He also said, “These judgments fall within the scope of an obvious Israeli policy to oppress Jerusalemites in Jerusalem, which in the recent period affects all aspects of their lives. These judgments are followed by other procedures against Jerusalemites and their families.” Hamouri continued, “In the event any Jerusalemite is arrested, and even if they are released after a few hours, their name will be included on the blacklist, preventing them from filling official positions, denying them family reunion processes and other facilitation of official formalities.”

Hamouri denounced the international silence toward the continued abuses against Jerusalemites by Israel. “These arrests are a flagrant violation of human rights and freedom of thought, and the international community priding itself on a democracy and human rights defense must prevent these trials and exert pressure on Israel,” he said.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Palestinians in Jenin hold funeral for youth killed by Israeli forces

Palestinians carry the body of 21-year-old Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra through the streets of Jenin on June 10, 2015. (Ma’an news agency photo)

Palestinians carry the body of 21-year-old Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra through the streets of Jenin on June 10, 2015

Palestinians have held a funeral for a 21-year-old youth killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp in northern West Bank.

Hundreds of mourners on Wednesday marched from the Sheikh Zayid Bin Sultan mosque of the refugee camp, where the young man was shot.

Israeli forces attacked the refugee camp earlier in the day, killing Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra, who was reportedly shot in the chest, Ma’an news agency reported.

Gharra is the 12th Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in the occupied East al-Quds (East Jerusalem), West Bank, and the besieged Gaza Strip so far this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with over 900 more injured, which does not include injuries resulting from the Israeli settler violence.

Palestinian protesters march on June 10, 2015 through the streets of Jenin before a funeral for 21-year-old Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra, who was shot dead by Israeli forces earlier in the day

“I lost everything after Izz was killed, it was a shock, my son Izz loves life and he loves Palestine. Israel killed him in cold blood,” said Gharra’s mother at his funeral as quoted in the report.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas also expressed condolences over the killing.

Violent search and arrest raids on Palestinian refugee camps and neighborhoods are a regular practice of Tel Aviv forces, who have conducted a weekly average of 86 raids this year, up from 75 a week in 2014, according to a May report by the UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO).

Such raids often result in what rights groups say is excessive use of force by Israeli troops against the local Palestinian population, who often hurl rocks and bottles at the forces.

Since 2000, Israeli forces have killed nearly 8,900 Palestinians, over 1,900 of whom have been children, according to rights group Defense for Children International.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Israeli firm to move from settlements following BDS pressure

illegal construction of Israeli settlements

File photo of illegal construction of Israeli settlements

Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics company, is to relocate its factories and offices from an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, reported on Sunday.

The company, which is currently based in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, closed one of its shops in London in 2011 following a BDS campaign. The cost of relocating would be over 10 million Israeli shekels ($2.5 million).

BDS has been carrying out activities against Ahava in the UK, Spain, US and several other EU countries.

Affected by the boycott, Ahava closed two of its seven branches in Israel after a reduction in sales. Israeli economic newspaper The Globes said Ahava’s plan to relocate away from settlements came after it decided to expand its work abroad.

(Source / 10.06.2015)


By Peter Clifford             ©                   (


In a lightening offensive, the Opposition Southern Front, an alliance of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic brigades, launched a dawn attack on Assad’s Brigade 52 base near Harak in Deraa province yesterday, Tuesday, and 8 hours later had completely captured it.



Jubilant Opposition Fighters Give Hafaz Al-Assad the Boot Treatment Inside Captured Brigade 52 Base

The well equipped Southern Front pounded the base with more than 100 rockets and artillery shells and later claimed that 76 pro-Assad fighters were killed, including 7 officers and the base commander.

Opposition deaths are put at around 25.

Video footage shows heavy fighting as the Opposition break into Brigade 52, HERE:

This strange “spaceship-like” structure is in fact a fallen water tower, HERE:

A number of Assad’s troops fled eastwards into Suweida province where some were being treated for injuries at the National Hospital in Suweida city.

Local reports said that a number of the wounded were Iranians and they were being given preferential treatment.

As well as Base 52, the Opposition force of around 2,000 men captured the villages of Rakham (predominantly Christian), Skakh, Ad-Darah and Mleiha Al-Garbiah, where they dismantled mines at the entrance, HERE:

Now Opposition forces are on the edge of the Al-Tha’lah Airbase, their next target. Local villagers in the Base 52 area are reported to have welcomed the Opposition, handing out sweets and refreshments to the fighters.

On top of tons of ammunition seized at Base 52, the Opposition took control of several BMP armoured vehicles and a tank at Ad-Darah.

Syrian state media has so far failed to mention the loss of the base, claiming only that its airstrikes had killed ” 40 Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists” in Deraa province.



Opposition Capture Vast Ammunition Stocks at Brigade 52 Base

The scale of the ammunition capture can be seen HERE: and the armoured vehicles, (caution, some dead bodies. Arabic only), HERE:

Video tours inside the base are HERE: andHERE: The BBC also has a report.

In nearby Sweida province there is increasing alarm by the predominate Druze community that the Assad regime is about to pull out from the region altogether, and Druze leaders, reluctant to involve their people in a prolonged fight, have started to advocate negotiations with the Opposition.

Druze leader Walid Joumblatt Tweeted that the Assad regime was “finished”.

Assad’s “Plan B” operation – to remove all his troops back to Latakia, Damascus, Homs and Hama – appears to be gaining momentum.

On Sunday the Syrian Army attempted to withdraw tanks and heavy artillery from Suweida city, but were halted by Druze Sheikhs and other local notables at the Omran roundabout who blocked the convoy.

The Sheikhs, fearful that Suweida province will shortly be left undefended, allowed 3 tanks to pass after it was shown that they needed repair, but others were returned to their bases. Islamic State fighters from Palmyra are said to be on the eastern fringes of Suweida province with tanks and armoured vehicles waiting to fill any vacuum left by the fleeing Syria Army.



Assad Going Down?

Another increasing sign of Assad regime desperation is a call on Monday by the Syrian Prime Minister, Wael Al-Halqi, for young Syrians to “fulfil their mandatory military service obligation” and promising them better pay if they were fighting on the front lines.

According to Al-Halqi, President Assad has put forward a plan for consideration to pay an extra 10,000 Syrian pounds ($35) per month for every soldier fighting on the front lines, starting in July.

After the rapid fall of Idlib city and the remaining towns, villages and bases in the province, morale in Assad’s Army is said to have reached an all time low.

In adjacent Latakia province, it is reported that Iranian commanders, who are now overseeing many of Assad’s military operations, have executed 3 Sunni Assad Army officers and several of their men for “deserting their duty” and “betraying the homeland” after failing to hold the Mahambel and Basanqul checkpoints last weekend in Idlib province.

Other Assad officers present were apparently powerless to intervene. You can read more on this in Now media.

The Assad regime would like to claim that Latakia province at least, the Alawite heartland, is under its control. This video would suggest otherwise. Great shooting by the Opposition – and watch the enemy run, here:


Supported by Coalition airstrikes, the Kurdish YPG from Cizire Canton are closing in on the Islamic State-held town of Siluk from both the east and north-east and are now less 10 kilometres from the town centre on both fronts.



YPJ Fighter Ready to Take on the Islamic State

IS are reinforcing houses and mining approach roads on the eastern side of the town (and doing the same at Tal Abyad) and are still bringing in reinforcements and supplies from Raqqah from the south and west.

Since Sunday, east and north-east of Silûk, YPG fighters have liberated the villages of Shara, Rêber, El Wastê, Aliya, Zîla, Ceşkiya, Sikeriyê, Ebdella and Gitar, as well as numerous small farms.

IS counter-attacks on Aliya and Ebdella, 8 kilometres east of Silûk, have been repelled leaving 5 x IS Jihadists dead on the battlefield.

Similarly, IS counter-attacks on YPG liberated areas on Mount Abdul Aziz led to searches of the mountain and the surrounding areas this week.

As a result 9 x IS Jihadists were killed an armoured personnel carrier, 2 pick-ups and 2 vehicles with mounted heavy machine guns were recovered.

Clashes on Sunday near Aliya led to the destruction of an IS Humvee and more pick-ups, as well as 22 x IS Jihadists killed and another wounded IS fighter captured near the border with Turkey. One YPG fighter was also killed.

A combined YPG and FSA force is also battling its way forward eastwards from Kobane Canton towards Silûk and Tal Abyad, but currently making slower progress.

On Sunday in Kobane Canton on the eastern front the YPG engaged a group of IS fighters near Cirin, damaging a motorcycle and an IS vehicle and killing 2 Jihadists.

On Monday another IS Jihadist was killed near the village of Bîrevdo and weapons recovered, though the Kurds lost one of their number to an IS landmine.

On Kobane Canton’s south and south-eastern fronts, 6 x IS Jihadists were killed after a failed attempt to re-take Kirat village and fighting is continuing for Ebû Sirî village and the nearby hill of the same name.

This is how it looks around Tal Abyad  and Silûk right now, courtesy of ‏@Feeney4Batman on Twitter, here:



Kurds Closing in on Tal Abyd

In Hasakah city, Assad’s forces, with support from the YPG and Assyrian militia, managed to push back the Islamic State advance on the city (for now) and regained control of 2 villages, a prison and a power transformer.

Keeping up the pressure, the Coalition have carried out more than 87 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in the last 72 hours, 15+ in northern Syria. 5 airstrikes on Sunday through to Monday am in Kobane Canton destroyed 7 x IS fighting positions, 2 x IS vehicles and an IS bomb factory. 1 large and 2 small IS tactical units were also hit.

Monday through to Tuesday am, also in Kobane Canton, the Coalition destroyed 3 x IS supply boats on the Euphrates, an IS excavator, an IS fighting position and an IS vehicle, as well as hitting 4 x IS tactical units. Near Raqqah during the same time period, the Coalition struck 3 x IS tactical units and destroyed 2 x IS fighting positions.

Another overview of the entire front around Tel Abyad from @ChuckPfarrer, here:



Tal Abyad Situation Map 08.06.15

Palestinians warn Israel over hunger striker health

The prisoner was hospitalized several days ago, and he is continuing his protest against the conditions of his imprisonment

The Palestinian government on Tuesday warned that it held Israel responsible for hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan “in danger of dying” after 36 days of protest.

“Israel is entirely responsible for the life of prisoners in administrative detention,” it said in a statement, referring to a procedure under which Israel can hold Palestinian prisoners indefinitely for renewable six-month periods.

Adnan was “in danger of dying,” it added.

The prisoner was hospitalized several days ago, and he is continuing his protest against the conditions of his imprisonment, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Two other prisoners are also staging a hunger strike — Mohammed Rashdan, who is protesting against being deprived of family visits, and Ayman al-Sharbati, an east Jerusalem resident placed in solitary confinement.

Administrative detention is a procedure dating back to the British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948) under which prisoners can be held for six-month periods, which can be indefinitely renewed by court order.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Half of Gazans Polled Considering Emigration

Half of Gazans say they are considering emigration from the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Vluchtelingenkamp Gaza

A Palestinian man standing in what remained of his house during last summer’s war in Gaza.

AFP reports that the 50 percent of those polled in Gaza thinking of leaving the coastal enclave is the highest percentage ever recorded, amidst decreasing satisfaction of achievements attained by Hamas last summer’s war.

Increasing frustration comes the IMF reported last month that reconstruction since the most recent war between Israel and Hamas has been significantly lower than expected, while the World Bank reported that the strip was facing a “dangerous fiscal crisis”.

Unemployment in Gaza increased in 2014 “to reach 44 percent — probably the highest in the world,” the World Bank reported, with the poverty rate in the occupied Palestinian territory reaching 39 percent, despite the fact that nearly four of every five Gazans receive “some aid”.

“Gaza’s unemployment and poverty figures are very troubling and the economic outlook is worrying,” the World Bank quoted Palestinian territories director Steen Lau Jorgensen as saying in a statement.

The UN has repeatedly warned of further conflict in the area if the reconstruction process continues at such slow pace, emphasizing that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is worsened by Israel’s eight-year blockade on the Strip.

Despite the new record high levels of desire for emigration from the war-ravaged strip, Gaza residents would still favor reelection of Gaza’s governing party Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh to Fateh’s leader Mahmoud Abbas, PSR polls also said in the June report.

In the West Bank, however, the level of satisfaction with the performance of Abbas rose to 44 percent, compared to 40 percent three months prior.

If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions, 72 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip say they would participate. Of those who would participate, 35 percent say they would vote for Hamas and 39 percent say they would vote for Fatah, 11 percent would vote for all other third parties combined, and 16 percent are undecided.

Elections have not been held since 2006 largely due to ongoing political divisions between Fateh and Hamas.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Syrian Coalition Holds Second Meeting With Rebel Factions

The Syrian Coalition held the second consultation meeting with representatives of the Syrian rebel factions today in Istanbul to discuss plans for the formation of a joint military command and demands for reforming the Syrian Coalition. The conferees also discussed issuing a joint document to act as a basis for laying out a comprehensive vision for the future of Syria.

The participants emphasized the integrity of Syria’s territory and the unity of its people, and stressed that rebel fighters will keep fighting until the Assad regime is overthrown and all its allied sectarian militias are expelled from all Syria’s territory and all the displaced people return to their homes.

Moreover, they agree that the political and military opposition must build on the latest rebel gains and the deteriorating situation of regime forces, stressing the need to build trust among military and political parties and the transition from opposition mentality to the mentality of state-building to present a real alternative for the Assad regime.

President Khoja denied reports about another meeting for rebel factions in Amman, stressing that the Syrian Coalition is reaching out to all rebel factions to prepare plans for the next phase.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 10.06.2015)

Tunisian anti-Zionist resistance movement forces cancellation of flights to Israel



An appellate court in Tunisia’s eastern Sousse province on Monday threw out an appeal lodged by a travel agency against a previous decision by a lower court cancelling two flights to Jerusalem.

A Tunisian court on March 20 had issued a ruling cancelling two Tunisia-Jerusalem flights and allowing the local authorities to suspend passengers’ travelling procedures if deemed necessary.

The Arab Tunisian Association for Imperialism and Zionism Resistance – also known as “Kawem”, or “resistance” in Arabic –had earlier filed a lawsuit against the Sousse-based travel agency, accusing it of “normalizing with Israel” after it organized two flights to Jerusalem.

The lawsuit was supported by a number of local civil society associations, which cited the introduction of Tunisia’s constitution.

The introduction of the constitution – which expresses support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian national cause – is binding by virtue of chapter 145 of the national charter.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Sheikh Khader Adnan: Starving for a Free Palestine, Struggling against Administrative Detention

Sheikh Khader Adnan's daughters © google images


Sheikh Khader Adnan’s daughters

To my people, my family, and to the world’s free souls. . . I send my greetings, love, gratitude, and honour, which I draw from God, from your prayers for me, and from your sincere love… From my beloved al-Ramla city and its majestic minarets . . . I salute you again… I am not engaged in a personal fight for freedom. My battle is that of all Palestinian detainees who have been yearning for freedom and dignity…. Administrative detention is just one of the most despicable castigatory policies our people has ever witnessed. It shall forever stand as a scar on Britain’s and Israel’s face. From the bottom of my heart, I express my gratitude for your support and solidarity. May Allah restore our freedom so that we can rejoin our families soon. They [Israeli jailers] took it upon themselves to dash my hopes; I take it upon myself to win the fight by all means possible, God willing.”
Your brother and little son, Khader Adnan – Ramle clinic isolation.

With these words, Sheikh Khader Adnan addressed us, the Palestinian people, his people, from his isolation in Ramle prison. Our little son, as he preferred to sign his letter, is no stranger to Palestinian households nor is he a stranger to the entire free world; the 37 year old baker, father of 6 from Arraba, Jenin, has long become a living symbol of steadfastness, resistance and patience, for he is the face of Palestinian dignity and the igniter of the “battle of empty stomachs” against Israel’s administrative detention.

On hunger strike for the 35th day today, Sheikh Adnan’s health condition is deteriorating and he is in serious danger according to his family, which confirmed that lawyers and human rights activists were able to visit and talk to him lately in Sarafand hospital “Asaf HaRofe”, where he is held hand and leg cuffed to the hospital bed, surrounded by three guards from the Israeli prison forces. They confirmed that he is completely aware of those around him, although it was clear his health was deteriorating and he suffered from a sharp loss in weight, decrease in heartbeat, vision difficulties, and could only move in a wheelchair. Sheikh Adnan told them that he was forcibly moved from Ramleh prison “clinic” to Sarfand hospital on Thursday 04.06.2015, as the Israel Prison Service claimed that according to their rules, a prisoner on hunger strike for over 28 days, not taking salt or vitamins or medical tests, will be treated as someone in critical condition requiring transfer for immediate medical care. Sheikh Adnan added that he only drinks water without salt, sugar or any vitamins and still refuses to undergo any medical tests.

This is not Sheikh Adnan’s first hunger strike. In 2012, his 66-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison against his administrative detention, which at the time forced the occupation to determine the ceiling for his administrative detention and eventually release him, inspired hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to go on hunger strikes and join other prisoner protest actions against administrative detention and holding detainees without charge. His elderly mother recalled: “Khader is stubborn and derives his stubbornness from his belief in his cause, and we are with him and will not fail him.” Sheikh Adnan, who holds a degree in Economic Mathematics from Birzeit University, but decided to open a bakery to earn his livelihood in order to be free and independent, was detained countless times by both the Israeli occupation forces, and mostly held in administrative detention, and by the PA “security forces”. His six children; Ma’ali (6 years old), Bisan (5 years old), Abdel Rahman (3 years old) and the three twins Hamza, Ali and Muhammad, were all born while Sheikh Adnan was in Zionist captivity. During his captivity, Sheikh Adnan went on countless hunger strikes to protest his detention and demand his freedom. Sheikh Adnan’s experience with hunger strikes goes back to 2000, when he went on hunger strike in PA prisons, after he was detained for eight days on charges of inciting throwing stones at the French then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin when he visited Birzeit University. His current detention started on 08.07.2014 (this being his tenth arrest), when Sheikh Adnan was kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces at a military checkpoint at the entrance to his village. He received an administrative detention order of 6 months, which was renewed more than once. He was supposed to be released several months ago, whereby on 12.11.2014, Israeli Salem court ordered his immediate release, but the Israeli public prosecutor objected to the order under the pretext of non-completion of administrative detention. Consequently, the court order was amended, and Sheikh Adnan’s administrative detention was renewed. On 07.01.2015, and following the renewal of his detention for the second time, Sheikh Adnan went on a one-week hunger strike in a warning message to the prison authority, which, in turn confirmed his the detention for four months, held him in solitary confinement in Hadarim prison and prevented him from meeting with his lawyer as a punitive measure. Again, on 05.05.2015, his administrative detention was renewed for the third time, so Sheikh Adnan started his on-going open-ended hunger strike under the motto: “My soul will redeem you, oh mother” to protest the renewal of his administrative detention. The Israeli prison authority responded by transferring him to solitary confinement. It is noteworthy to mention that Sheikh Adnan announced his boycott of Israeli courts because of the renewal of his administrative detention order and the so-called secret files, and refused to be represented either by his lawyer or any lawyers from the Prisoners Committee or human rights organizations. This time is not the first in which Sheikh Adnan boycotts occupation courts, as he had already done at the beginning of his current detention, whereby the court confirmed the renewal of his administrative detention order for six months without his presence or that of his lawyer. The campaign by administrative detainees to boycott the Ofer occupation court is not an individual decision; Sheikh Adnan’s decision was preceded by decisions of at least eight other administrative detainees; Mujahid Shweiki, Ayman Tbeish, Khalil Awawdeh, Ra’ed ‘Amleh, Munther Abu ‘Atwan, Akram Fseisi, Ahmad ‘Amayreh and Ghassan Abu ‘Adi.

Hunger Strike poster © google images


Hunger Strike poster

Within the dark dungeons of the Zionist entity, Palestinian prisoners and detainees continue the struggle; a daily struggle against their inhumane treatment, torture, humiliation, harassment, a daily struggle against over-crowded, damped and strangled cells, medical negligence and isolation. They fight for their legitimate rights; they fight daily for their right to food, drink, family visitations, legal representation, and medical treatment. One form of resisting the captivity and struggling for their freedom from within the dungeons is hunger strikes. Through hunger strikes, Palestinian prisoners defy the jailors, show they refuse to submit, refuse to surrender. While some hunger strikes are open-ended and last until the prisoners’ demands are met, others are one-day hunger strikes to protest a certain policy or show solidarity with other political prisoners. Also, there are general hunger strikes, in which all prisoners in all Israeli jails take part, and partial hunger strikes in which Palestinian prisoners in a particular Israeli prison declare a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment at that particular prison. Through his hunger-strike, Sheikh Khader Adnan is protesting against the renewal of his detention order and to demand an end to the policy of administrative detention. He is starving not only for his freedom, but for the freedom of around 500 Palestinians held captive by the Zionist entity without trial or charge. He is starving for the freedom of all Palestinians held captive in Zionist dungeons, and for the freedom of every one of us, held captive by the Zionist military occupation and colonialism. The Israeli occupation resorts to administrative detention and so-called secret files, prepared by the Israeli intelligence, when the prosecution is unable to prove the charge on the detainee. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Israeli prison authorities use administrative detention as prolonged detention, and in some cases Palestinian detainees are held captive without charge or trial for 5 or even 10 years.

Stop Administrative Detention poster © google images


Stop Administrative Detention poster

Since 1967, the Zionist entity held more than 850,000 Palestinian captive, including thousands of Palestinians held in administrative detention, for periods ranging from months to years, including 2000 administrative detainees during the First Intifada, and around 23,000 administrative detention orders were issued since 2000. According to a report of the Prisoners Affairs Committee, currently there are over 6000 Palestinians still held captive in 22 Israeli jails and detention centers, including 200 children, 25 women, and more than 1600 prisoners suffering from various diseases, and 30 prisoners detained since before the Oslo agreement. Additionally, at least 500 Palestinians are held in administrative detention in several Israeli prisons, including Ofer, Megiddo and Al-Naqab. These detainees are held without charge or trial, and often their detention is extended in the final minutes of their captivity, which increases their suffering and that of their families. Among the 500 administrative detainees, there are 12 MPs including the Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament. During the first four months of 2015, 401 administrative detention orders were issued, mostly as renewals; distributed as follows: 109 orders in January, 89 orders in February, 121 orders in March, and 82 orders in April 2015. This constitute an increase of more than 600% compared to the same period last year, in which administrative detention orders amounted to 65 decision only, clearly indicating a increase in the number of Palestinians held captive by the Zionist entity. Of the 401 orders, 92 administrative decision orders were new orders, 309 were renewals for different periods, constituting up to the 6th renewal for some prisoners, and ranging from two to six months. Hebron has the largest share of these orders, amounting to 175. Additionally, in May 2015, 92 administrative detention orders were issued by the Israeli occupation authorities in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. Consequently, the number of administrative decision orders issued since the beginning of 2015 is 493 orders.

Some of the administrative detention orders are new orders, others are renewals, whereby the administrative detention is renewed for some prisoners for different periods, ranging from two to six months. This is done in order to keep the detainees in Israeli captivity as long as possible, especially political and community activists and MPs, such as Sheikh Khader Adnan, whose administrative detention was renewed for the third time for four months, MP Mohammed Al-Natsheh, renewed for the fourth time for 4 months, and MP Nayef Rjoub, renewed for the fifth time for 4 months. Mahmoud Shalatweh, 32 years old from ‘Aboud in Ramallah, who was the longest serving administrative detainee until his release in mid May 2015, was detained on 01.05.2012 and spent three years in a row in administrative detention, as it was renewed over ten times. In an interview with “Ahrar Wulidna” published on 18.05.2015, Shalatweh stressed that the on-going escalation in the administrative detention file is tantamount to a psychological, moral, and political on-going war on the prisoners’, who are victims of Zionist intelligence reports. He also demanded popular, official and legal support for individual strikers and for administrative detainees in general. He added that administrative detainees live a state of wait, anxiety and the fear of the possibility of renewal of their detention. Shalatweh, who spent more than nine and a half years in Zionist captivity, including as administrative detainee, added: “What is happening is arbitrary arrest that is not based on any law in the world… Four release orders were issued for me by the occupation courts but the occupation prison denied them and refused to comply with them…. since the date of my detention on 01.05.2012 until the date of my release a few days ago, I lived through the probability of being released at any moment and this affected me.” On 06.06.2015, administrative detainee Ibrahim Abdullah Al-‘Ruj, 30 years old from Al-’Ruj village in Bethlehem, was finally released after being administratively detained since 12.08.2012, whereby his administrative detention order was renewed 9 times. He is a former prisoner who spent eight years in Israeli jails, and his family was often threatened by the Israeli occupation forces because of its participation in the solidarity actions with administrative detainees on hunger strike. Al-‘Ruj is student at the Palestine Polytechnic University, but his repeated arrests prevented him from finishing his university education.

During the last month, a number of administrative detention orders were renewed for up to the sixth time in a row:
– On 05.05.2015, it was reported that the occupation military courts renewed the administrative detention of Zaid Ismail Abu Fannar, 28 years old from Yatta – Hebron, for a period of 4 months for the fifth time in a row. Abu Fannar was detained on 12.15.2013, and received an administrative detention order for four months, to be renewed another 4 consecutive times. Abu Fannar participated in the open-ended hunger strike waged by administrative detainees in 2014, which lasted for 62 consecutive days. He was taken to Ramle prison “clinic” at the time because of the decline in his health as a result of the strike. It is worth noting that Abu Fannar was detained 4 times, 3 of which were administrative detentions, and is now held captive in Al-Naqab prison. Abu Fannar was detained by both; the Israeli occupation forces and the PA “security forces” in the West Bank.
– On 10.05.2015, Palestinian administrative detainee Ayman Ali Tbeish, 34 years old from Dura – Hebron, entered his second year of consecutive administrative detention, which was renewed six times in a row. Tbeish was kidnapped by Israeli occupation forces on 09.05.2013, and held in administrative detention in Ofer prison. When his detention was renewed a second time, Tbeish started an open-ended hunger strike that lasted 105 days. He suspended the hunger strike after an agreement between his lawyer Jawad Boulos and the Israeli public prosecutors, stating that he is to be released on 09.01.2014. The Israeli occupation authority did not comply with the agreement, and renewed his administrative detention yet another time. In response, Tbeish went again on hunger strike, this time lasting 123 days, and again the occupation authority promised to end his detention and to release him on 05.01.2015, but for a second time, Israel did not respect the agreement and renewed his detention for the fifth time for a period of 3 months, and with the promise to release him after its completion, but instead renewed his administrative for a sixth time in a row several days before the date of his release. Tbeish suffers from health problems, due to the long periods of the hunger strikes he waged. A university student, he was not able to continue his education because of his repeated detention, reaching up to four times, and totaling more than 10 years in Israeli captivity, most of which in administrative detention. Recently, Tbeish refused to attend the court session which confirmed the administrative detention, after he decided to boycott Israeli courts, and he refuses to recognize them and to appear before them, in protest against the lack of the occupation’s commitment to the agreements signed between his lawyer and the prison administration following two lengthy hunger strikes that lasted a total of 228 days.
– On 23.05.2015, the occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention of Hashim Ali Abu Turki, 30 years old from Hebron for four months for the fifth time in a row. He was detained on 01.06.2014, and spent 17 months in Israeli captivity without charge. Abu Turki, who spent seven years in Israeli jails at intervals, all of which were in administrative detention, participated in April 2014 in the hunger strike, that lasted 62 days, against the renewal of administrative detention orders, which led to deterioration in his health.
– On 02.06.2015, Israeli occupation courts renewed the administrative detention of Ja’far Ibrahim Izz al-Din, 43 year old from Arraba in Jenin, for four months for the fourth time in a row. He was arrested in mid-June 2014, and held in administrative detention without charge. A month earlier, Izz al-Din was transferred from Al-Naqab prison to the hospital for surgery because of urinary problems and intestinal bleeding. Also, in January 2015, Israeli occupation forces raided the house of Izz al-Din in a brutal manner, and questioned his wife and sons. It is noteworthy that Izz al-Din went on hunger strike for over 3 consecutive months in 2013, in protest against the renewal of his administrative detention order more than once.
– On 04.06.2015, Israeli occupation courts renewed the administrative detention of detainee Ismail ‘Okal, 20 years old from Nablus for the fourth time in a row. ‘Okal, kidnapped on 11.02.2014, is the youngest administrative detainee, and suffers from weak eye-sight. He was previously kidnapped twice by the Israeli occupation forces, and sent 20 months and 18 months respectively.

On 07.06.2015, it was reported that Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention of detainee Azzam Abdel Rahim Al-Shobaki, 53 years old from Hebron, for a period of 3 months for the sixth time in a row. Al-Shobaki was kidnapped by Israeli occupation forces on 15.01.2014 together with his brother Usama, and both were issued administrative detention orders. Al-Shobaki, who suffers from various health problems, such as heart problems and high blood, is subjected to medical negligence in Israeli jails and does not receive proper treatment for his condition. He spent over 18 years in Zionist captivity and was one of the Palestinians Israel deported to South Lebanon. Because of his continuously renewed administrative detention, Al-Shobaki was not able to attend the wedding of his daughter last March. From Ofer prison, he sent his daughter the following letter:
“Congratulations carried by the sun rays, which break the laws of space and time and reach you Ala
My daughter Ala’
The distance between you and me, a sea of tears, mountains and restrictions, shackles and bars and barbed wires, walls, prisons, interrogation cells and deportation … and the witness to the flames of these lines I am writing is your birth, and your nearing wedding… holding you and congratulating you on this day of joy … these ravens that caw in the sky of my homeland, that have usurped my land and all that is holy to me, that have brought a toxic wind that is gathered from all corners of the earth to settle in my homeland … and to be with you, to present to you a flower, a rose, a kiss, is in their conventions terror and weapons of mass destruction….
But killing children, women and elderly, demolishing houses on their inhabitants, destruction of land, uprooting of trees, keep the seedling away from her mother and keeping the flower away from her sister is civilization and humanity…
From the orchards of these lines, I send you the most beautiful and fresh flower bouquets, flying over their machine guns that are anti-love, nature and beauty…
My precious one, my love and the apple of my eye…
Wear your beautiful white dress, remove your sad dress, and if longing makes you feel the urge to cry, let them be tears of joy, and how beautiful and precious these drops are… and your tears as they, as they wet these words, will overflow and water all the roots, until beautiful carnations grow… for our days will never wither, but will break through the rocks and create a green spring.
And I swear… that our house will be filled with joy despite the wounds… and this sad season will not continue in my country… and the black crows will leave, but not as they came, but with broken wings and plucked feathers….
From my captivity, and the walls of my prison, I send you and your mother a thousand greetings… for she has raised you well and despite all the suffering and the pain she is the driving force pushing for good and instill her revolution in you, so the blood of pride and dignity may run in your veins…. For she is our home and our nation, and her wounds and pains are a living soul that runs in every letter I write here…. without her, all words would have been lost, and would have been missing and powerless…
A loving letter from the caves of darkness that tamed the moon to brighten the place…
Azzam Al-Shobaki – Hebron

Hunger strike is a protest action used not only by administrative detainees. On 17.05.2015, prisoner Hamzeh Salameh Abu Sawaween, 22 years old from Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip started an open-ended hunger strike to demand improved detention conditions, to be allowed to make a phone call to his family and to be allowed family visits. Three days later, Abu Sawaween suspended the strike following a promise he received from the Israeli Prison Service and the Israeli Intelligence Service agreeing to his demands; however and as usual, the occupation authority did not comply with the made agreement. On 27.05.2015, Abu Sawaween resumed his hunger strike, and as a result was held in solitary isolation cells in Eshel prison for more than three months in poor conditions and inhumane treatment. On 07.06.2015, it was reported that the Israeli prison authorities transferred Abu Sawaween from Eshel to Hedarim prison, and informed him of reviewing the possibility of allowing him a phone call with his family. Abu Sawaween was arrested on 16.06.2013 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Prisoner Saddam Awad from Beit Ummar is also on hunger strike since 25.05.2015, in solidarity with Sheikh Khader Adnan. Additionally, on 31.05.2015, it was reported that prisoner Abdullah Barghouthi, 42 years old from Beit Rima – Ramallah, started an open-ended hunger strike to protest his isolation. The Ramon prison management transferred Barghouthi to solitary confinement cells as a punitive measure against him after he gave a phone interview with a radio station in Gaza a day earlier. Barghouthi is serving 66 life sentences. Also, it is important to note that Palestinian political prisoner Islam Hamid, held captive in PA prisons, has been on hunger strike since 24.03.2015 to protest the decision of Palestinian “intelligence” to transfer him from Jericho central prison to Junaid prison in Nablus as a punitive measure, in addition to denying him all the privileges he achieved during his previous hunger strikes. According to Hamid’s family, he suffers from bad health conditions after more than 60 days of hunger strike. Hamid’s wife said that her husband has been in PA prison since 2009, and obtained a decision from the Supreme Court to be released, but the military court rejected the court decision and sentenced him in 2010 to three years imprisonment on charges of “disturbing the relations with Israel”. After he completed his sentence, the PA refused to release him.

Here it is worth mentioning that, according to the Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies, the recent declaration by Israeli terrorist Yaakov Teitel to go on a hunger strike exposes the racist face of the occupation in dealing discriminately between Palestinian and Israeli prisoners, although there is no comparison between a Palestinian freedom fighting and a Zionist terrorist committing terror crimes. Teitel is imprisoned for killing two Palestinians, attempted murder of two others, several attempts to blow up Israeli occupation police cars in occupied Jerusalem. He was sentenced to life sentences and 30 years. Teitel announced his intention to start a hunger strike to protest the reduction in the duration of his visit from 60 to 30 minutes, making it once every two weeks instead of once every week. Thus, despite being convicted of murder, attempted murder, and terror attacks, he was receiving a 60-minute visit every week, during which he sat freely with his family, face to face and not through a barrier. At the same time, Palestinian political prisoners and detainees are only allowed 30-minute family visit once every two months, and through glass barrier denying the prisoners to hear the voice of their loved ones. Other Palestinian prisoners are deprived of family visits for months or even years, or visits are cancelled in the last minute. Additionally, family members are subjected to all sorts of humiliation and insults during visitation

In his last letter to his family, Sheikh Khader Adnan says: “There is no room for defeatists who want to cripple every national action and silence the people under the pretext that the political stage is not suitable.” Sheikh Khader Adnan is on his 35th day of hunger strike to protest administrative detention. He is on hunger strike to demand the freedom of all Palestinian administrative detainees; he is on hunger strike for our freedom and our dignity. Sheikh Khader Adnan was active in all prisoners’ solidarity actions, he was present wherever they was an action, he visited families of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, participated in marches and stands for their support… he was there for everyone; from Arraba he marched to Nablus, he marched to Ramallah, he marched to Hebron, he marched to every solidarity tent and to every protest. In February 2013, when Sheikh Khader Adnan went on a 12-day hunger strike in front of the International Red Cross headquarters in Al-Bireh, in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, he received public support from Palestinians everywhere, including former prisoners, students, activists, and was even joined in hunger strike by a number of activists. Sheikh Khader Adnan is on his 35th day of hunger strike, he defies jails and jailors, he defies hunger and thirst, he defies pain and bodily torture because he believes in his people, he believes in us, and he puts his life in our hands. He knows that we will not betray him, like he never betrayed us… he knows that we will not betray Palestinian prisoners, those fighting for us, those sacrificing their freedom so we may be free.

Sheikh Khader Adnan © google images


Sheikh Khader Adnan

Today, on his 35th day of open-ended hunger strike, Sheikh Khader Adnan did not forget us. While we go on with our daily lives; our work, our studies, our family visits, he remembers us, and talks to us whenever he can. Today, and from his hospital bed, Sheikh Khader Adnan sent a letter of solidarity and encouragement to Palestinian tawjihi students: “From my cell in Sarafand Hospital, and from the bed of torment where I lie hand and leg cuffed since nearly a week, and where three IPS criminals alternate in guarding me… and in spite of all these ordeals and sufferings, I sincerely pray to God asking Him for success in your studies and your future…. For our hope in you is great, oh future generation, that through your knowledge, you will be the servants of your homeland and its holy places, and the nucleus of the next generation of liberation, God willing…. And don’t forget your little brother Khader from your prayers for near victory, God willing.” Today, on his 35th day of open-ended hunger strike, public support for Sheikh Adnan remains minimal and shy, to our shame and disgrace. Sheikh Adnan’s family members, who live his hunger and thirst every minute of the day, who live his pain and suffering every minute of the day, need our support, need our solidarity every minute of the day, they need to know that Sheikh Adnan is our brother, our son, our father, our comrade, they need to know that they are not alone. Sheikh Khader Adnan, starving for our freedom, needs to know that he is not alone, that his pain is ours, that his hunger is ours, that his thirst is ours, that his suffering is ours, that his captivity is ours, and that his freedom is ours. Sheikh Adnan’s wife Randa told reporters: “He told me on my last visit to him about his intention to start an open hunger strike, from which he will either emerge victorious carried on the shoulders or a martyr carried on the shoulders too”.
Sheikh Khader Adnan represents our dignity, he believes in us, in every single one of us, and he counts on us, on every single one of… as he revolts against his jailors behind bars, let’s stand up as one for him, so he may emerge victorious carried on the shoulders.

(Source / 10.06.2015)

Israel knew all along that settlements, home demolitions were illegal

New evidence shows government’s adviser on international law said in 1968 that demolishing terror suspects’ homes violates Geneva Convention.

The remnants of the Jerusalem home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, after Israeli forces razed it

The remnants of the Jerusalem home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, after Israeli forces razed it in November, 2014. Shaludi killed two in a terror attack last month

It was March 1968. Yaakov Herzog, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, received a memo marked “Top Secret” from the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, Theodor Meron. As the government’s authority on international law, Meron was responding to questions put to him about the legality of demolishing the homes of terror suspects in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and of deporting residents on security grounds.

His answer: Both measures violated the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in war. The government’s justifications of the measures – that they were permitted under British emergency regulations still in force, or that the West Bank wasn’t occupied territory – might have value for hasbara, public diplomacy, but were legally unconvincing.

The legal adviser’s stance in 1968 is important today precisely because it is unexceptional. It’s the view of nearly all scholars of international law, including prominent Israeli experts. The memo shows that from the very start of the occupation, central figures in the Israeli government knew that deportations and demolitions violated Israel’s international commitments, and not just in the eyes of outside critics.

Yet both measures have been used ever since. If any later Israeli leaders saw Meron’s opinion, they ignored it, and so misled the public and Israel’s supporters abroad about the legality of their policies. If later leaders did not see the document, they nonetheless engaged in deliberate naivete, convincing themselves of the hasbara line in the face of the evidence.

Meron’s memo was discovered in Yaakov Herzog’s office files in the State Archives by Akevot, a new organization that has taken on the important task of searching archives for material shedding light on human rights issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Herzog, by the way, was the uncle of the current Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog.) Last week, it made the document public. (You can see the original Hebrew document here; English translation here.)

The memo is not the first evidence of Meron’s warnings, though. In 2006, I published another of his legal opinions, which I found in the late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s declassified office files. Written in mid-September of 1967, about three months after the Six-Day War, it responds to a query from Eshkol’s bureau about the legality of establishing settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

He answered, “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Central figures in Israel’s government at the time – Eshkol, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira – all received that legal advice. A week and a half later, the cabinet approved settlement in the West Bank for the first time. Ex post facto, a few scholars have manufactured the justifications for settlement that are regularly cited for hasbara purposes. But their legal gymnastics have never convinced anyone who was not trying hard to be convinced.

About Theodor Meron: Born in Poland, he spent his early teens in a Nazi labor camp. After he arrived in Palestine, he made up for his lost school years, then completed a law degree at Hebrew University, a doctorate at Harvard and a fellowship at Cambridge, both in international law.

Then he joined Israel’s foreign service. A decade after writing the legal opinions described here, he returned to academia to teach international law at New York University. In 2001, as a U.S. citizen, he was appointed a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Today he is president of that court and one of the world’s leading authorities on humanitarian law in war.

After his 1967 opinion on settlement became public, he told The Independent that he “would have given the same opinion today.” The reason is clear from his 1968 opinion on demolitions, in which he dismissed “narrow, literal” interpretations of the Geneva Convention. The convention, he said, “is a humanitarian convention that aims to protect the rights of a civilian population.”

Put differently, the convention can’t be interpreted by splitting hairs and forgetting real human beings. Its point isn’t to protect states. It is to protect people from a state whose army has conquered the land where they live and before whose power they are otherwise defenseless. If it is ignored, their basic rights will be trampled.

The discovery of Meron’s memo on demolitions and deportations is additional evidence that the regime under which the West Bank is governed began in deception and has been maintained by self-deception – by the government, by the hasbara machine and sometimes by our Supreme Court.

That memo has already been submitted to Israel’s High Court of Justice by the Center for the Defence of the Individual and other human rights groups, in support of their request that an expanded panel of justices hear their challenge to the policy of demolitions. The court should accept that request, which gives it a chance to end the deception and put a stop to an unjust policy – one that should have ceased the day the memo reached the Prime Minister’s Office 37 years ago.

(Source / 10.06.2015)