Hamas ‘not required to recognise Israel to join unity government,’ insists Erekat

Saeb Erekat

The chief negotiator of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee has said that Hamas and the other factions are not required to recognise the principles of the Middle East Quartet. Nor, insisted Saeb Erekat, does it need to change its political position statements in order to join the national unity government that the PLO is looking to form.

In an exclusive interview with Alresalah net, Erekat said that the government’s political programme will be the PLO’s programme. It will, he stressed, be a programme for the State of Palestine, “in order not to give anyone an excuse to boycott the government or the reconstruction of Gaza.”

The PLO has formed a sub-committee in order to discuss with Hamas the formation of a national unity government, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said would recognise the Quartet’s conditions. This includes the recognition of Israel, which Hamas has rejected and considers to be outside the terms of reconciliation agreements.

“Neither Hamas nor any other faction is required to recognise Israel or abide by the agreements,” said the veteran negotiator. “We must distinguish between the function of the factions and the function of the government.” He pointed out that the sub-committee consists of all political groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and that it will start work by early next week.

The intention is to form a national unity government made up of the factions, not independent figures, in order to enable it to deal with the problems. However, the government will be committed to a political platform set by the committee, not the individual platforms of the factions. Hence, they will all act within the government’s programme.

Erekat called on the factions across the political spectrum to be a part of the “State of Palestine” political programme, and to give “priority to national interests rather than partisan interests.” He added that Israel would refuse to deal with a future unity government just like it refused to deal with one before.

Truce talks

On a related matter, Saeb Erekat refused to engage in the indirect negotiations proposed by some international mediators between the resistance and the Israelis intended to strengthen the truce in Gaza. “In order to preserve legitimacy,” he noted, “we must not allow such negotiations. The PLO Executive Committee is the only body authorised to negotiate with Israel, and therefore it must be activated.”

In his capacity as the PLO’s chief negotiator, he insisted that he is authorised to negotiate on behalf of 11 million Palestinians. “The PLO is the legitimate body authorised to negotiate, not the political factions.”

Erekat suggested that Israel wants to get rid of Abu Mazen [President Abbas], just as they got rid of Arafat in the past by opening the door to negotiate with Hamas. “This is a waste of time,” he warned, pointing out that the truce in itself is a superior Palestinian interest, but it should not be negotiated by the factions.

There is a need to activate the delegation for the truce talks between the resistance and the occupation, which was formed during the most recent Israeli attack on Gaza and was headed by Azzam Al-Ahmad. According to Erekat, they must work on involving the Egyptians in these talks.

He denied the existence of any French initiative or project, saying that what was raised is a French move brought up after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with a number of Arab foreign ministers and the Arab League to draft a UN Security Council resolution to end the occupation. However, no decision has been made yet. Erekat noted that Fabius said he would meet with representatives of European countries and Russia in order to push these endeavours forward.

“The PA stressed the need for the components of the French resolution to be based on international resolutions,” explained Erekat, “and refused firmly to recognise the Jewishness of the state [of Israel] or accept any Israeli presence in the territories of the Palestinian state.” He accused Israel of seeking to nip the French proposal in the bud.

Ascension to the ICC

Saeb Erekat is also the Head of the Supreme National Committee responsible for follow-up with Palestine’s Ascension to the International Criminal Court (ICC). He touched on the issue of joining the ICC by saying that complaints would be filed on 25 June by Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki and a team supervising the Palestinian files, of which there are three.

The first is regarding Israeli settlements; the second covers Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer; and the third is the prisoners’ file. He added that the follow-up committee is working with a panel of international lawyers and they are reviewing what has been achieved by the Palestinians thus far.

The next measure after the filing process, he explained, is that the ICC Chief Prosecutor will submit the findings of the first examination to the ICC’s Judicial Council, and will ask it to examine the documentation to see if an investigation needs to be opened. He said that the Palestinians are seeking a judicial inquiry into the three issues in question.

According to Erekat, Russia and China have pledged to the PA that they would block any US attempts in the Security Council to abort the prosecution of the Israelis.

“The US is not a member of the ICC and can only hinder the project by means of having the Security Council ask the court to postpone the examination of the cases for a year,” he pointed out. “However, Russia and China have assured us that they will not allow such measures to be passed.”

A delegation from the prosecutor’s office is expected to arrive in the Palestinian territories on 27 June for an initial fact-finding mission regarding the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.

Palestine officially joined the ICC on 1 April this year, allowing it to prosecute Israeli leaders on charges related to the occupation.

(Source / 27.06.2015)

Palestinian inmate on hunger strike close to death, his lawyer says

Protesters in al-Quds chant slogans during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan (portrait), who is in an Israeli jail without trial, June 5, 2015. © AFP

Protesters in al-Quds chant slogans during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan (portrait), who is in an Israeli jail without trial, June 5, 2015

Lawyer of Palestinian inmate Khader Adnan, who has been on a long hunger strike in protest at the conditions of his imprisonment, has warned that the prisoner could die “any moment.”

“Khader Adnan may suddenly die at any moment, doctors have confirmed to me,” said Jawad Boulos, legal counsel for the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club, on Saturday.

He issued the warning after “the doctors at the Israeli hospital, where Khadar Adnan is currently held,” called him and said they were “on alert due to the deterioration of his condition.”

Boulos added that he visited Adnan on Saturday morning and found him “in a more critical condition, incapable of moving.” The Palestinian prisoner has been refusing food for 53 days.

Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman, meanwhile, said Adnan has been transferred to a hospital near Tel Aviv, but refrained from commenting on his medical condition.

The 36-year-old Palestinian prisoner and father of six was abducted in July 2014 as part of an Israeli arrest campaign across the occupied West Bank and has since been held under the so-called administrative detention.

The mother of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan holds a framed poster of her son in the occupied West Bank village of Araba, near Jenin, June 2, 2015

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows the Tel Aviv regime to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

In 2012, Adnan went on a 66-day hunger strike against his detention without trial or charge. He was freed in April of that year in a deal that also ended the hunger strike of 2,000 other Palestinian prisoners who wanted an end to their administrative detention.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Center for Studies says administrative detention orders in the first three months of 2015 have witnessed a sharp increase in comparison with the same period in 2014.

On June 24, the Arab League condemned acts of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners at Israeli jails, calling for the release of all inmates who have been held without charge.

(Source / 27.06.2015)

Two stories, one death: family rejects Israel’s ‘accidental’ killing

The grandfather and uncle of Abdullah Ghuneimat stand next to the scene of his death where posters now hang, June 18, 2015

KUFR MALIK, Ramallah (Ma’an) — “We were sitting in the house when we heard guns being fired…we thought, ‘the army is here.’ The army always comes, but we didn’t know what it was this time.”Abu Iyad is gathered with his family on the second floor of their home in the occupied West Bank town of Kufr Malik, recounting how his son was killed by Israeli forces meters from their home just days before.Abdullah Iyad Ghuneimat was returning at dawn from work at a nearby poultry farm on June 14 when he was shot by Israeli forces, run over, and left under a military vehicle for nearly three hours before he died, witnesses say.The army vehicle struck Abdullah before it hit a rut in the pavement and overturned on top of him, slamming the 21-year-old into a wall on the other side of the narrow road that leads down to his family home and trapping him underneath.“Around 4 a.m., our neighbor came down and told us a military car had been flipped over….she said they could see someone underneath but didn’t know who it was,” Abu Iyad told Ma’an.Members of the Ghuneimat family, unaware the crushed man was Abdullah, rushed to the scene but were prevented from reaching the dying man by Israeli forces who shot live fire into the air, threw sound bombs, and aimed tear gas at those who approached.The soldiers refused to allow the removal of the vehicle until around 6:30 a.m., when the muezzin of a nearby village mosque announced over the loudspeaker that there had been a martyr.Dozens of residents from across the village subsequently arrived on the scene, at which point Israeli forces stepped back and allowed residents to remove the jeep with a bulldozer.“When I heard that they pulled the car off, I went up,” Abdullah’s mother said.She had already returned three times to check the scene prior, arguing to be allowed in, but to no avail.“I heard it was a young man but I didn’t know who it was. When I went up, I saw it was my son.”

Shortly after he was killed by Israeli forces, a poster of Abdullah Iyad Ghuneimat, 21, joined others plastered on the wall in the village center of Kufr Malik outside of Ramallah on June 18, 2015

Two stories, one deathAfter Abdullah’s death, the Israeli army stated that the incident had been an accident.An army spokeswoman told Ma’an at the time that Abdullah had thrown a Molotov cocktail at the military vehicle during “army activities,” causing the driver to swerve, lose control, and hit him on the side of the road.While the Ghuneimat family said they were aware a Molotov cocktail had been thrown, they allege that it was thrown from a roof, not from street level where Abdullah was walking.Bullets seen by witnesses in Abdullah’s body, compounded by Israeli forces preventing the military vehicle from being removed when there was a possibility he had still been alive, have left Kufr Malik residents and Abdullah’s family to believe his death was deliberate.Abdullah had been targeted by Israeli forces before, detained and put in Israeli prison for two years for throwing stones.“There were bullets in his body already,” Adbullah’s mother told Ma’an. “They shot him, and then they killed him. It wasn’t an accident.”“If it was a car accident, why would they let him stay under the car for hours?” The grandfather agreed.The Ghuneimat family told Ma’an that the road running through Kufr Malik doesn’t lead anywhere, and there is no reason for the military vehicles to be passing through the village.But they do pass through, and they pass through often.
‘Show of force’The landscape surrounding Kufr Malik is spotted with Israeli military outposts, from which forces regularly conduct raids in Kufr Malik and surrounding villages.“In the course of an average week, the army comes into the village one, two, three times to arrest people and provoke residents, with no purpose,” Abdullah’s grandfather says.Ex-Israeli soldiers have, however, explained what the purpose is.Raids and resulting clashes like those described by Abdullah’s family are a part of longstanding Israeli military strategy to “demonstrate presence” within Palestinian civilian areas, they say, aimed to cultivate fear among residents.Abdullah’s grandfather explained to Ma’an that every two years a new captain arrives at the military outpost closest to the village makes a point of showing his strength in Kufr Malik, adding that a new captain had recently been stationed there, identifying him as “Captain Raouf.”“I think it [Abdullah’s death] was just show of force. They have been doing this since 1967,” the grandfather said.The Israeli army spokesperson did not have comment regarding the nearby outpost or military activity in Kufr Malik.
A list of Kufr Malik residents killed by Israeli forces stands etched into stone in the village center
The language of military investigationThe contradictions between the Israeli military and Abdullah’s family regarding the details of his death are situated within nearly 50 years of military occupation, and nearly 50 years of conflicting accounts of death.Israeli authorities and rights organizations alike allege that the legal structure set up following the 1967 takeover of the West Bank and East Jerusalem was formed with the intent of maintaining power over local residents, rather than protecting the lives of those living under it.The military law framework established sanctions and legitimizes a prolonged military occupation, they argue, not a system of justice that legal systems are meant to provide residents living under them.In lieu of this, when asked about the possibility of a fair and just Israeli police investigation, Abdullah’s father and grandfather outwardly scoffed, while the grieving mother, tears running down her face, muttered a meek “God willing.”After analyzing hundreds of such investigations, Israeli human rights organizations asserted that the “Israeli military law enforcement system is a complete failure,” incapable of effectively investigating possible violations by Israeli forces while neglecting to promote accountability among the forces for their actions.B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli told Ma’an that military police investigations generally don’t visit the scenes of an incident, and are often drawn out, “one of the many problems they suffer from.”When asked about the investigation into Adbullah’s death, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the investigation had been opened to “examine the circumstances of the incident,” but was unable to give further details as the investigation was “ongoing.”
The family chose not to transfer Abdullah’s body for an autopsy after his death, said Saber al-Alul, head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Dis, who adamantly told Ma’an he wished they had.“Especially for people killed by Israel [martyrs], autopsies should be part of our culture. It [the autopsy] reveals the truth and documents it,” he told Ma’an.Al-Alul’s urging comes as Abdullah was the thirteenth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the West bank since the start of 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, while thousands have been killed since the start of military occupation in 1967.For each Palestinian who loses a family member, two stories of death emerge: one of the family, and one of a tainted investigation.As for the story of Abdullah Ghuneimat, his death and subsequent Israeli police investigation will likely hold lasting impacts beyond the conflicting accounts liable to play out as the investigation furthers.“It’s not just me that’s affected by what happened,” Abdullah’s mother said.“People liked him. It’s not just me…everyone around me is affected, the entire village is affected.”
Posters of Abdullah Ghuneimat hang on the wall in the center of Kufr Malik, where Fatah and Palestinian flags hang and graffiti marking allegiance to Fatah is splayed on the walls
(Source / 27.06.2015)

Kuwait mourns victims of Friday mosque attack

Kuwait blast

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the bloody explosion that rocked a Shia mosque in Kuwait’s capital.

The fatal attack took place during Friday’s prayers at the Shiite-affiliated Imam Al-Sadeq mosque, killing at least 27 people and wounding 227 others.

A group calling itself “Najd Province” [believed to be affiliated with ISIS]claimed responsibility of the attack. The same group said it had carried out two bombing attacks on Shi mosques in Saudi Arabi late on May where more than two dozen were killed.

A statement posted by pro-ISIS social media accounts boasted the offensive against what they called ‘Temple of the Rejectionists”, a derogatory term used by the extremist Sunni group to describe Shia Muslims.

The perpetrator of the massacre was identified as Abu Suleiman Al-Muwahed.

“The worshippers were on Sujood [kneeling]when the suicide bomber walked in the detonated his explosive belt. He looked in his 20s, I saw him with my own eyes”, said MP Khalil Al-Salih who happened to be at the Imam Sadiq mosque during the attack.

That a suicide bomber blows himself up among a congregation of worshippers during Friday prayers in the Holy month of Ramadan has been denounced by the majority of Muslims worldwide.

Immediately after the fatal blast, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the damaged mosque, along with the speaker of Kuwaiti parliament who called the cabinet for an urgent meeting.

Abu Suleiman Al-Muwahid is believed to be the bomber

Abu Suleiman Al-Muwahid is believed to be the bomber

The cabinet declared Saturday an official day of mourning for the victims.

The bomber just seconds before detonating his explosives

The bomber just seconds before detonating his explosives

(Source / 27.06.2015)

80 mosques to be closed in Tunisia for inciting violence

Tunisia will shut down about 80 mosques accused of inciting violence, Prime Minister Habib Essid has said, after a beach attack that left 39 people dead.

The mosques, which operate outside state control, are spreading “venom” and will close within a week, he said.

On Friday a gunman opened fire on tourists in the resort town of Sousse.

Tunisia plans within a week to close down 80 mosques that remain outside state control for inciting violence, as a countermeasure after the hotel attack that killed 39 people, Prime Minister Habib Essid said on Friday. PHOTO: REUTERS

Tunisia plans within a week to close down 80 mosques that remain outside state control for inciting violence, as a countermeasure after the hotel attack that killed 39 people, Prime Minister Habib Essid said on Friday

Tunisians, Britons, Germans, Belgians, French and at least one Irish citizen were among those killed in the attack, claimed by Islamic State (IS).

The gunman was shot dead by police. Officials say he was a student not previously known toauthorities.

This was the second major attack on tourists in Tunisia since March, when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreigners, at a museum in the capital.

‘People screaming’

Speaking at a news conference in Tunis, Mr Essid said: “Some mosques continue to spread their propaganda and their venom to promote terrorism.”

He said they would be closed by the interior ministry.

Referring to Friday’s attack, Mr Essid said most victims were British, without providing details.

Earlier, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said at least five Britons were confirmed dead, adding: “We must expect more reports of fatalities”.

Security officials said one attacker, who had posed as a swimmer but was carrying a rifle under a parasol, started shooting on the beach before entering the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba, continuing to shoot.

One British holidaymaker in Sousse, Steve Johnson, told the BBC: “We were just lying on the beach as usual and… we heard what we thought at first was fireworks.

“But it was soon pretty obvious… that it was firearms that were being discharged and people screaming and starting to run.”

IS said it was behind Friday’s attack, identifying the gunman as Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani. Social media accounts close to the group showed pictures of him.

IS had urged followers to step up assaults during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

At the scene: BBC’s Rana Jawad

This was a brazen attack that has affected everyone here.

Tourists gathered in the hotel lobby of the Marhaba Imperial consoling each other. Most were thankful they had survived and described a day where they faced their worst fears: not seeing their children again back home or losing a loved one before their eyes.

A woman sat in alone in a corner silently crying with her packed luggage sitting beside her. So many here were frustrated at having to stay at the scene of the attack tonight, but one busload after another took many of the residents away.

These are sobering times for a country, and people now reeling from the effects of deadly attacks on tourists.

But the people of Sousse remain defiant: they are socialising with friends and family, and large parts of the city are still lit up on what is arguably its darkest day yet.

‘He took a bullet for me’

One survivor told the BBC how her fiance, a Welsh tourist, had been shot three times as he used his body as a shield.

“He took a bullet for me,” said Saera Wilson. “I owe him my life because he threw himself in front of me when the shooting started.

“It was the bravest thing I’ve ever known. But I just had to leave him under the sunbed because the shooting just kept on coming.

“I ran back, past bodies on the beach to reach our hotel. It was chaos – there was a body in the hotel pool and it was just full of blood.

The UK Foreign Office said the British embassy in Tunis was sending a crisis team to the area.

“Any British nationals in these hotels or nearby should remain indoors, and contact their tour operator and the Foreign Office,” the FCO said in its updated travel advice.

Many of the tourists in hotels affected by the attack left the country overnight with tour operators arranging special flights to take them home.

Friday’s attack was the deadliest in Tunisia’s recent history. The country has seen militant Islamists gain strength since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in in 2011.

Democratic elections after Ben Ali’s removal saw the moderate Islamist Ennahda party take power before the secularist Nidaa Tounes government won a parliamentary poll in October.

However, neither party has been able effectively to combat Islamist violence – which has been made worse by conflict in neighbouring Libya and by Tunisian fighters returning home after joining Islamist campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

(Source / 27.06.2015)

PLO: Talks with Hamas, Islamic Jihad begin on new government

Chief Palestinian negotiator Azzam Al-Ahmad (L) of the Fatah movement and Hamas’s exiled deputy leader Musa Abu-Marzuq meet at a hotel in Cairo on Sept. 24, 2014

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A committee appointed by the Palestine Liberation Organization began talks with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday on forming a new national unity government, a committee member told Ma’an.Hanna Amireh, who is also a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that discussions were including Hamas and Islamic Jihad with the aim of including the movements in the new government.

However, Amireh added that if negotiations and consultations with Hamas fail, a decision to form the government without the movement could be made.
He said that President Mahmoud Abbas will decide on who will head the new government, although he added that no individuals have been selected yet.

The committee is being headed by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and has been given a time period of one week for discussions. Amireh said that more time will probably be necessary.
He added that independentPalestinian factions will also be consulted.
The dissolution of the current unity government was announced earlier this month at an annual Fatah council meeting, although the government has yet to hand in its resignation.

Hamas condemned the move, claiming it was a unilateral decision by Fatah in violation of the 2012 Cairo agreements between Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian National Council.
However, the unity government that was formed last June out of the agreements has repeatedly failed to overcome divisive issues between the two rival parties.
While there has been talk of a government reshuffle for months, it is expected that the new government will have a completely different structure, with factional leaders replacing independent technocrats.Amireh claimed on Saturday that Hamas had declared conditional approval of a government formed but not entirely comprised by the PLO, of which neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad are members.

However, Hamas announced separately on Friday that the PLO “isn’t the right body to form a government.”
“In light of what has been circulated about the PLO’s Executive Committee tasking Azzam al-Ahmad with conducting consultations over the formation of a new government, Hamas calls upon all factions signatories of the Cairo agreement to start comprehensive dialogue,” the group said in a statement Friday.
(Source / 27.06.2015)

Lawyer: No deal between Israeli authorities and Khader Adnan

Jawad Bolous at a press conference in Ramallah on June 27, 2015, with Khader Adnan’s father sitting beside him

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — No deal has been reached between the Israeli authorities and Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who on Saturday entered his 54th day on hunger strike, his lawyer said.”(Israel) is seeking to end Adnan’s hunger strike in a way that avoids them a feeling of crushing defeat,” the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society’s chief lawyer Jawad Bolous said at a press conference in Ramallah on Saturday.”On the other hand,” he added, “what Adnan seeks is very clear: either to be released or tried. Khader is a gift for humanity since he is willing to sacrifice his life, and all he asks Israel for is to treat him as a human.”Adnan, 37, began his hunger strike nearly two months ago to protest the Israeli practice of administrative detention, under which Palestinians can be held without charge or trials for months or years.He has said he will continue his strike until Israel agrees either to release him or bring charges against him.It is the second time Adnan has gone on hunger strike against the practice, following a 66-day long hunger strike he undertook in 2012 — the longest carried out by a Palestinian in Israeli detention.Bolous said: “Once Israel apprehends that Khader has become a popular icon in Palestine and the world, we will immediately reach a solution.””Adnan loves life and he doesn’t seek to die a martyr, but if he dies a martyr, he will welcome that. On the other hand, Israel doesn’t want Adnan to die in custody.”In recent days, Adnan’s health has deteriorated sharply, with the International Committee of the Red Cross saying on Monday that his life was “at immediate risk.”Bolous said that the Israeli hospital in which Adnan is being held notified him late Friday that Adnan’s health had further deteriorated. “The hospital was on alert and they prepared for resuscitation,” he said.Adnan’s wife Randa, who lives in the West Bank district of Jenin, urged Palestinians to take steps that will see Adnan released, “rather than releasing statements vowing to intervene if he dies.”The Islamic Jihad movement — with which Adnan is affiliated — said Friday that if Adnan dies in Israeli detention, the ceasefire agreement that ended last summer’s devastating war in Gaza would be at stake.Randa also appealed to media outlets to avoid publishing unconfirmed news about her husband “such as the recent rumors claiming he has died.”Adnan was detained in July last year and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time in his life.In addition to protesting administrative detention in general, he also wrote in an open letter last month that he hoped his strike would prevent Israel from tarnishing the achievement of prisoners who secured their freedom by going on hunger strikes in the past, only to be rearrested by military forces.In 2012, he agreed to end his hunger strike along with 2,000 Palestinian prisoners who had joined his strike after Israel agreed to lessen the practice of administrative detention and improve prison conditions.Despite Israel’s agreement, around 500 Palestinians are currently being held under administrative detention among a total of nearly 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

(Source / 27.06.2015)

Fact-finding Mission Report Confirms YPG Displacement of Civilians in Tal Abyad

The fact-finding committee set up by the Syrian Coalition to look into reports of violations in the Tal Abyad area concluded that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militias, the armed wing of the YPD committed widespread violations against the civilian population in the area.

The report prepared by the fact-finding committee lists violations ranging from sending threat messages via telephone to publishing “wanted lists” on social network sites by persons affiliated with the YPG such as Khabat Ali, son of the head of the so-called Kurdish Provincial Council in Tal Abyad. Ali published lists of names of local residents described as “wanted” by the Kurdish Asayish militia on his Facebook page.

The reports confirms that the YPG militias seized vehicles, livestock, crops, and ransacked houses upon taking control of the Arab and Turkmen villages. They also scrawled anti-Arab racist slogans on the walls of Tal Abayd and the surrounding villages.

Before entering the Tal Abyad area, they sent threat messages to the local population, prompting them to flee their homes. Residents of the area also feared the repetition of the grave violations committed by the YPG militias against Arabs few months ago in rural Al-Hasaka.

Moreover, those who preferred to stay in their homes in a number of Arab and Turkmen villages were driven out of their houses by arms such as the villages of Issawiya, Abdi Koy, Al-Thawra, Bab Al-Hawa, Daba’a, Al-Mankali, Mudlij, and Kara Sharaf. In the village of Zahle south of Tal Abyad, which was completely empty of men when the YPG militias entered, the women and children were forced out of their homes in a humiliating manner. Seventeen YPG militants entered the town in five trucks and forced the women and children to walk barefooted until they reached the nearby village of Booz al-Khanzeer.”

The latest forced displacement took place in the villages of Hammam al-Turkmen whose residents were forced out of their homes. The local population confirmed that this is part of the YPG plan to empty the area of ​​its indigenous population and establish a Kurdish state in this area.

The fact-finding committee asked the YPG militias to give it access to the Tal Abyad area and assess the situation through listening to witness accounts and to assess the size of the reported violations. However, the YPG militias repeatedly rejected the demands of the committee which waited at the border crossing for several days. This reinforced fears of the displaced persons who did not dare to return to their homes despite the opening of the border gate. On June 22, 2015 around 2,000 displaced people who fled to Turkey returned to their homes, but the number began to decrease considerably with the spread of the news about the YPG’s blocking entry of the fact-find committee.

The Syrian Coalition calls for the United Nations to immediately send an international investigation mission to enter Tal Abyad and the surrounding villages to look into the violations committed by the YPG and also demands that those responsible for these violations are held to account.

Moreover, the Syrian Coalition also calls for allowing human rights organizations and journalists to enter Tal Abyad to convey the image to the world and the size of the tragedy and the damage the YPG caused to the unarmed civilians.

The Syrian Coalition also calls for allowing the entry of humanitarian convoys and medical assistance to alleviate the increasing suffering in an area that lacks the necessities of life.

The Syrian Coalition calls upon the international anti-ISIS coalition to neutralize civilians in the conflict zones and not to fall for false allegations about the presence of terrorists in the areas already void of ISIS militants. The YPG militias have repeatedly threatened the local population that in case they do not leave their villages they will give the coordinates of their villages to the international anti-ISIS coalition to bomb them on the pretext that ISIS militants are holed up inside these villages.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 27.06.2015)

IOF quells peaceful march, arrests Palestinian in al-Khalil

ALKHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) quelled a peaceful march, at noon on Saturday, demanding protection of Bait al-Baraka against confiscation by Israel. Besides, a Palestinian man was arrested by IOF soldiers within a storming campaign in al-Khalil on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses revealed that the IOF soldiers suppressed a march organized by the Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlements and assaulted by beating the participants leaving many of them with bruises were treated in the field.

According to the organizers, the march aimed at condemning the decision made by the Israeli army Minister Moshe Ya’alon on renovation of Bait al-Baraka which is located on lands in Bait Ummar town between Bethlehem and al-Khalil for the purpose of establishing a Jewish outpost in the location later on.

In a similar context, the IOF soldiers rounded up a Palestinian young man from al-Khalil in the southern West Bank and carried out a storming campaign in the city.

Local sources revealed that the Israeli forces raided the Old City of al-Khalil, broke into the houses of Palestinians and arrested Hamdi Abu Hamdiya. He was taken to an unknown destination, the sources pointed out.

Israeli military vehicles raided the nearby Doura town, stopped Palestinian cars and verified the IDs of its passengers, eyewitness disclosed.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that Israeli policemen erected a military checkpoint near Gosh Etzion outpost in northern al-Khalil city and stopped a Palestinian car carrying four young men who were detained for hours and their IDs were verified before letting them pass at a late hour on Friday.

(Source / 27.06.2015)

Israel deports Turkish jounalists and activists after hours-long detention

Turkish 'Ulke TV' Editor-in-Chief Hasan Ozturk (L) and Journalist Halime Kokce (R) from Star Newspaper speak to media as they arrived with the group of Turkish citizen who deported from Israel, at Ataturk International Airport on June 26, 2015

Turkish ‘Ulke TV’ Editor-in-Chief Hasan Ozturk (L) and Journalist Halime Kokce (R) from Star Newspaper speak to media as they arrived with the group of Turkish citizen who deported from Israel, at Ataturk International Airport on June 26, 2015

srael has deported nine Turkish citizens, including journalists and activists, after holding them for over six hours at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Thursday.

Ulke TV Editor-in-Chief Hasan Ozturk, Ozden Ayvaz and Huseyin Gunay from TRT News, Halime Kokce from Star newspaper, Memur-sen vice chairman Levent Uslu and four activists – Kemal Ozdal, Durdane Ozdal, Fatih Bolcan and Sumeyra Bolcan – were detained at the airport.

“We are under detention for six hours at the Ben Gurion Airport with a group of journalists and activists. They questioned us individually,” Kokce wrote on Twitter.

She said in another tweet that Israeli officials confiscated the group’s cell-phones and quizzed them on their WhatsApp conversations and contacts.

In a final tweet, Kokce said the group had been informed they were being deported, and had been banned from entering Israel for ten years.

As the jounalists and activists arroved home, crowds gathered at the Ataturk International Airport to greet them

As the jounalists and activists arroved home, crowds gathered at the Ataturk International Airport to greet them

(Source / 27.06.2015)