A new intifada for a new generation

Young Palestinians are making their own decisions in defiance of both Fatah and Hamas

A few days before he stabbed and killed two ultra-orthodox Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem before being shot dead, Muhannad Halabi addressed himself on his Facebook wall to his president. Mahmoud Abbas had accused Israel in his UN speech of letting extremists into the Al-Aqsa compound.

“Nice speech Mr. President, but we do not recognise East and West Jerusalem. We know only that Jerusalem is one, undivided, and that every part of it is holy. Excuse me, Mr. President, but what is happening to the women of Al-Aqsa and to Al-Aqsa itself will not be stopped by peaceful measures. We were not raised to be humiliated.”

The 19-year-old’s message was clear: the time for words is over. The Third Intifada, he said, has already started.

Halabi speaks for his generation. He was born a year after the second Oslo Accord was signed in Taba, which set up an interim Palestinian self-governing authority for the West Bank and Gaza. By the age of four, Halabi should have seen a comprehensive peace agreement in which Israel would have ceded control of the territories in exchange for peace. When Halabi was seven, Israel had begun constructing the wall that was to divide the West Bank into bantustans. By the time he was eight, Yasser Arafat had died, ridding Israel of a Palestinian leader it described as “two-faced”. He was replaced by Mahmoud Abbas, whose one face was, and is, implacably opposed to violence.

Halabi’s generation should have seen peace. It should have benefited from the plans of Tony Blair and Salam Fayyad to regenerate the economy of the West Bank. Instead, what this generation saw was 600,000 settlers, the gradual disappearance of Palestinian East Jerusalem, a Palestinian security force whose role was to stop protest and the daily encroachments of Israeli Jews, who defined themselves initially as tourists, in the Al-Aqsa compound. Instead of a final settlement, Halabi’s generation has experienced the final loss of all hope.

This then, more than the numbers of deaths or injured, or the phenomenon of stabbing attacks occurring all over the country, is what makes this an intifada – which in Arabic means “shaking off”. A new generation is attempting to shake off its occupier. A new generation has rediscovered the struggle of its forebears. What happens in the following weeks, months or even years will become their struggle.

The spark for this is Al-Aqsa, a symbol which stone by stone is being attacked by the acid rain of Jerusalem’s sectarian politics. Despite the Chief Rabbinate’s prohibition on Jews entering the compound it knows as the Temple Mount, the status quo at Al-Aqsa is changing. The Waqf, the Jordanian-controlled Islamic institution administering holy places, no longer collects entrance fees nor can it ban non-Muslims from passing through the Israeli-controlled gate.

“While the Waqf continues to work with the police to enforce the Jewish prayer ban, it can no longer determine the size of Jewish groups or the rate of their entry; nor can it veto the entry of specific activists it considers provocateurs. Israel at times has allowed Jews to enter in groups of ten to 30, even 50, including in army uniform, which previously had been forbidden,” the International Crisis Group recently reported.

By 2012, Knesset members, deputy ministers and ministers were filmed declaring Israeli sovereignty over the entire site.

For Halabi’s generation this is not only a religious issue. Al-Aqsa is a symbol of national identity, the last symbol standing of an identity which has been so comprehensively trashed by the Israeli state. It unifies both religious and secular Palestinians. The first Palestinians to attack religious Jews over Al-Aqsa came from a secular revolutionary group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP). Defending Al-Aqsa from the encroachment of national-religious Jews is an existential issue. It tells all Palestinians: “If we don’t fight for this, we might as well give up.”

Halabi did not need to be incited. Nor did he wait for orders from Fatah or Hamas. He made his own decision as thousands of others are doing irrespective of whether they live in the West Bank, Gaza or Israel.

Both the First and Second Intifadas took the Palestinian leadership by surprise. The first was started when an Israeli army truck crashed into two vans carrying Palestinian workers, killing four of them. The second was ignited by Ariel Sharon, then in opposition, appearing at the Al-Aqsa compound with a thousand Israeli police officers and repeating the phrase that was broadcast when Israeli troops seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” But within days of each, the leadership asserted control and began giving orders.

Jamal Zakout, who wrote “Communique No. 2” on behalf of the Unified National Leadership of the 1987 Intifada reminded us of its purpose: “It considered the Intifada, its leadership, and its grassroots activism as an integral part of the PLO, not a substitute for it.” Today the PLO, under Abbas’s leadership, does not want to know, and for that very reason, struggles to control the situation.

A recent poll conducted by pollster and political scientist Khalil Shikaki found that 42 percent of Palestinians believed that only an armed struggle would lead to an independent Palestinian state, and 57 percent no longer believed that a two-state solution was possible. Two-thirds wanted to replace Abbas as president.

The new generation is making its own decisions in defiance of both Fatah and Hamas. If one picture encapsulates this, it was of a girl in jeans and a kuffiyeh handing rocks to a masked boy wearing a green Hamas headband. Secular and religious youth were at one in protest. Each and every youth who picks up a knife or throws a stone is their own leader.

This creates unique dangers for Israel. It can deal with groups by arresting or assassinating their leaders and eventually negotiating a ceasefire. It can not stop individuals from making their own desperate decisions. It can only provoke them more by resorting to house demolitions or other measures of collective punishment.

There are other unique factors about this intifada. The First and Second Intifadas were conducted from the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian citizens of Israel, who have been present since 1948, took part in protests at the start of the Second Intifada, but they were short-lived. Not since Land Day in 1976 have the Palestinians of ’48 been at the forefront of popular protest. On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians from the northern triangle region marched to protest the expropriation of huge tracts of land as part of an openly declared policy to “Judaise” the area.

Today however, no wall or separation barrier contains the uprising. The attacks of the last week have been taking place in areas the PLO has no control of – East Jerusalem, Afula, Tel Aviv. There are other factors. This is the first intifada where Palestinians are not looking for neighbouring Arab states to intervene. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times or the chaos around Israel’s own borders.

So far, Israel’s reaction to the intifada has been to lose trust in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and back even more right-wing leaders. The latest poll published by the Yediot Ahronot daily on Sunday showed that 73 percent were dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of the recent attacks. When asked who was best qualified to deal with them, two ultra-nationalists, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and pro-settler Education Minister Naftali Bennett, came first and second. As foreign minister, Lieberman commissioned lawyers to examine plans for the so-called “static transfer” of Palestinian population of northern Israel to a Palestinian state.

But Israelis are also being encouraged to take the law into their own hands. Already a heavily armed society – in 2013 about 160,000 permits were issued for private citizens to carry firearms, and 130,000 for organisations – Israel is about to become more so. In Jerusalem this is with the explicit encouragement of mayor Nir Barkat, who along with his bodyguard disabled a Palestinian who had stabbed a Jewish man on the street. Afterwards Barkat was seen in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Beit Hanina with an assault rifle. Vigilante mobs have already appeared hunting for Palestinian workers on the streets of Jerusalem, planning their route to areas where Palestinian cleaning workers would be employed.

All the ingredients are there for a long and bloody struggle, in which countless innocents on both sides will be killed. If you like, Israel has discovered the secret that has eluded generations of physicists: the secret of perpetual motion. Every time its security establishment congratulates itself on having extinguished one intifada, another one comes. Each time the flame is rekindled by another generation’s personal experience of despair, hopelessness and indignity.

There is only one way out of this cycle of conquest, repression and resistance. It is for the Jewish Israelis to look themselves in the mirror and reconcile – as equals – with the people of the land that they now share. For one reason and one reason only. Palestinians are here to stay, one generation after another.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

‘Israel is a terrorist state’

Palestinian citizens of Israel are angered by Israel’s restrictions on access to al-Aqsa and Palestinian casualties.

In addition to mass arrests at demonstrations, Israeli police made a series of unlawful “preventive arrests” of political activists

Nazareth –  The violence rocking the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and now Gaza is on the verge of spilling into Israel, Palestinian leaders in Israel warned.

A wave of unrest has swept Palestinian towns in Israel over recent days, with repeated clashes with Israeli police in Nazareth, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Taibeh, Sakhnin, Rahat, Kfar Qassem and elsewhere. Dozens of protesters have been arrested.

On Thursday, Palestinians declared a day of rage, police fired tear gas and stun grenades and led baton charges against several hundred protesters in Nazareth, the largest Palestinian city in Israel. Sixteen demonstrators, five of them minors, were arrested.

“We want the world to see the reality of what is going on here.The massacres and the discrimination have to end,” said Dima Kfeeny, 20, who added that people had come to protest peacefully. Her cousin was one of the 13 demonstrators killed 15 years ago at the start of the second Intifada.

“We have not forgotten what happened,” she added. “We know Israel can turn violent towards us at any moment.

Israel’s Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population, have been angered by Israeli restrictions on access to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Palestinian casualties in the occupied territories and frustration at systematic discrimination inside Israel, say community leaders.

There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel. We are still viewed by the state and much of the Israeli public as enemy combatants rather than citizens.

Mohammed Zeidan, Director of Human Rights Association in Nazareth


RELATED: Netanyahu ‘better not disturb the status quo’


On Friday, similar clashes erupted again in many towns at night, and again on Saturday, after a video showed security forces shooting Israa Abed, a 30-year-old mother-of-three from Nazareth, in the nearby town of Afula in northern Israel.

Abed, who was badly wounded, was reported to have tried to stab a security guard at a bus station. Footage showed her standing alone and largely immobile before being shot.

In a video that emerged on Saturday, showing her lying injured on the ground, a pair of sunglasses is visible next to her, but no knife.

Bassel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli parliament for the Arab party, the Joint List, said Abed’s treatment showed “the police and media are encouraging cold-blooded executions of Arab citizens”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday night that 2,000 paramilitary police would be deployed immediately in Israel and Jerusalem.

The Border Police, which operates chiefly in the occupied territories, are to be placed at flashpoints in Israel, including cities where Jewish and Palestinian citizens live near each other.

Concerns about aggressive policing have been underscored by a government decision to relax live-fire regulations in Israel and Jerusalem against demonstrators, including children, who throw stones.

Concerns about aggressive policing have been underscored by a government decision to relax live-fire regulations in Israel and Jerusalem against demonstrators

Palestinian leaders in Israel fear that police violence could quickly lead to a repeat of events in October 2000, at the start of the second intifada. Then, security forces killed 13 unarmed Palestinian citizens across the Galilee and injured hundreds more in a few days of confrontations.

Relations between the two populations have not recovered since.

“There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel,” Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, told Al Jazeera. “We are still viewed by the state and much of the Israeli public as enemy combatants rather than citizens.”

There have also been indications of the first settler-style, vigilante attacks inside Israel.

A Jewish youth was reported on Friday to have stabbed four Palestinians, two of them Israeli citizens, in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.

Three Palestinian-Israeli youths were also severely beaten in the central city of Netanya in what police described as an attempted lynching.

Crowds of Israeli Jews chanting “Death to the Arabs”, common in Jerusalem for some time, have been reported with increasingly frequency in Israeli cities in recent days.

Last week Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, called on all Israeli civilians who own a firearm to carry it at all times and be ready to use it.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has raised the temperature for Israel’s Palestinian minority at al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said a Palestinian MP, Haneen Zoabi, would be investigated for incitement, after quoting an interview in which he said she had urged hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to converge on al-Aqsa to create a “popular Intifada”.

Days earlier, Netanyahu banned Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament from entering the mosque for the first time, in what he called a move to “restore calm”. Ahmed Tibi, a Joint List MP, told the Jerusalem Post newspaper Netanyahu was “adding fuel to the fire”.


RELATED: Analysis: Why Israel wants a religious war over al-Aqsa


The government has also threatened a crackdown against the Islamic Movement in Israel, which has taken an increasingly central role at al-Aqsa since 2000. Most Palestinians in the occupied territories face restrictions preventing them from entering Jerusalem.

My brothers and sisters are being killed. Israel is a terrorist state, but we will not be silenced. Change must come.

Hana Daher, 14, Palestinian citizen of Israel

The Islamic Movement has repeatedly accused Israel of planning a takeover of the site.

Netanyahu said he was ready to take “aggressive steps” against the group. “Nobody will be immune,” he added.

Zaki Aghbaria, an Islamic Movement spokesman, told Al Jazeera: “Israel fears us because we defend the rights of all Palestinians at al-Aqsa. But we will not be intimidated. Netanyahu has no authority there.”

Human rights groups in Israel have decried “repressive measures” being taken by the Israeli police to try to end the wave of protests in Israel.

Adalah, a Palestinian legal rights group in Israel, said that, in addition to the large number of arrests at demonstrations, police had made a series of unlawful “preventive arrests” of political activists before the protests took place.

Police detained nine youths who they said were planning Thursday’s demonstration in Nazareth, accusing them of intending to organise a riot.

Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, told Al Jazeera: “This is a very dangerous development. These are clearly political arrests. Israel has used this measure before, but not in such a sweeping manner as now.”

She added that in an unprecedented move, police had also briefly detained the fathers of several protest organisers. “This is a clear attempt to intimidate their families. The police are acting like they are above the law.”

Police barred a dozen buses from entering Nazareth on Thursday to prevent protesters from across the

Galilee from joining the rally. The drivers were issued with house arrests.

In a statement, Adalah said the police were “taking advantage of the political situation and the spirit of racism to persecute, suppress, scare, threaten and silence a legitimate political protest”.

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, told Al Jazeera: “The police are carrying out operations on many fronts, and these security measures are needed to ensure the public remains safe.”

Awad Abdelfattah, a leading member of the High Follow-Up Committee, the main umbrella body for Palestinian citizens of Israel, told Al Jazeera that the protests in Israel reflected growing solidarity between Palestinian youth in Israel and the occupied territories.

“It is becoming clear to the young people here that they are being colonised, too, and left with nothing. The killings in the occupied territories have ignited the rage they already feel.”

“Israeli policies are pushing us to unite with the Palestinians in the occupied territories in one common strategy of resistance.”

At Thursday’s demonstration in Nazareth, which ended in clashes, Hana Daher, a 14-year-old student, said she was there because “my brothers and sisters are being killed. Israel is a terrorist state, but we will not be silenced. Change must come”.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Israeli military shoots Palestinian man on bus, claims he stabbed an Israeli passenger

On Monday evening, the Israeli military claimed that a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli passenger on a bus in Jerusalem, and a soldier on the bus shot and killed the man.

Bus Jeruzalem

Jerusalem bus after Palestinian killed

But the Israeli military account is contradictory, claiming that the victim of the stabbing attack was a civilian passenger, but that a soldier was taken to the hospital with light wounds. No civilian victim was identified or taken to the hospital, which has led to speculation that the Israeli military spokesperson’s account may not be entirely accurate.

During the past two weeks of Israeli military and paramilitary violence against Palestinian civilians, the Israeli military has claimed that there have been eight incidents of Palestinians attempting to stab Israelis. But only one of these incidents has actually held up under scrutiny. The others remain questionable – particularly as the Israeli claim that the Palestinians ‘stabbed’ or ‘attempted to stab’ Israelis has been reported immediately after the incident, with no evidence presented or investigation of the claim.

On Monday alone, the Israeli military claimed that there were four incidents of Palestinians attempting to stab Israelis. Of these, one has video evidence showing the Palestinian pulling a knife when Israeli police attempt to search him. The other three, including this most recent incident on the bus, remain uninvestigated at this point, and the actual facts of the incidents remain unclear.

Following the incident on the bus, the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem issued a statement in which he called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to further crack down on Palestinians protesting the conditions of life under Israeli occupation. The Mayor stated, “To our shock and horror, the cruelty of murderers who attack innocent civilians and children on their way home from school knows no limit, confronting us all with a shocking form of evil.”

The Mayor’s statement did not appear to include the attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren by Israeli military and paramilitary forces, such as the killing of 12-year old Abdul-Rahman Obeidallah in Bethlehem on his way home from school last week.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Syrian Coalition Reaffirms Commitment to Political Settlement In Accordance With the Geneva I Communiqué

A Political Committee delegation met with a number of representatives from the Friends of the Syrian People Group on Monday. The Political Committee reaffirmed the Syrian Coalition’s commitment to a political solution based on the Geneva I Communiqué and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2118, which states that the implementation of the Geneva I Communiqué begins with the formation of a Transitional Governing Body.

The political committee also reaffirmed its commitment to resuming serious negotiations in the form of a Geneva III conference, called for by the United Nations, and continuing from where the Geneva II negotiations ended.

The members stressed that resuming Geneva negotiations is currently unimaginable while the killing machine of Assad and the Russian-Iranian invaders continues to target Syrian civilians.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 12.10.2015)

Erekat: “Stop talking about a Third Intifada – Israel’s occupation must end.”

Over the past few days, many have wondered whether this is the beginning of a third Intifada. For the Palestinian people, this question is no longer relevant. There has not been a single day, in almost half a century, that we haven’t suffered from the Israeli occupation; the main source of violence in our region. Occupation means control, which is precisely what Israel has been doing with our lives, with a daily oppression and humiliation in our own homeland by a belligerent occupying power.

Erekat

During his U.N. speech President Abbas said: “I must reiterate: the current situation is unsustainable. Our people need genuine hope and need to see credible efforts for ending this conflict, ending their misery and achieving their rights.” He called upon the Israeli society: “I hope that you will consider the dangerous reality on the ground and look to the future and accept for the Palestinian people what you accept for yourselves.”

Yet, Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government continues to deny Palestinian rights and to incite violence, clearly indicating that ending this Apartheid regime is not an option. His top diplomat, [Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi] Hotovely, just yesterday declared that this government was formed with the goal of preventing a two-state solution. Netanyahu assumes that no matter what he says or does, the international community has nothing else to offer than to call for the “resumption of negotiations.”

To consider what is happening just as a “new wave of violence” mainly overlooks the point that Palestinians have been under a belligerent occupation for decades, that Israel continues with its Apartheid policies and to build illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, and that Israel has been aiming to change Palestine’s identity; particularly occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, incited by members of Netanyahu’s government, are just one example of the daily Israeli incitement not only against Palestinian rights as a whole, but against the very existence of an independent State of Palestine as a sovereign nation.

Palestine has been requesting international protection from the United Nations for over a year, but so far it has failed to take action. Palestinians all over occupied Palestine suffer as a result of the lack of accountability and the impunity granted to Israel by the international community. Now, as Mr. Netanyahu decides to declare war against Palestinian civilians by adopting a set of collective punishment policies, and the Mayor of the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality Mr. [Nir] Barkat calls upon Israeli-Jews, not necessarily soldiers, to carry their weapons around the city, we can only expect that more violence and oppression will arrive in the coming days.

Such a culture of impunity has incentivized crimes and has made Israel realize that they will not pay any price for continuing to deny the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people.

What has been happening for the last decades in occupied Palestine is about cementing sovereignty over land that the international community agrees does not belong to Israel, and over a subject people, the Palestinians, all in contravention of international law.

Israel must be held accountable for its crimes. This culture of impunity has to end now before it creates irreversible damage. Israel’s recent actions—including attempts to discredit victims’ families and eyewitnesses, deliberately targeting civilians and pursuing a policy of collective punishment—epitomize the repression and systematic violations of human rights inherent in Israel’s unjust occupation. Israel’s occupation sanctions, oppresses and forbids justice at every turn.

The international response to the events of the past few days has been far from what the situation on the ground requires. I have read some statements calling for a “resumption of negotiations.” Let me be clear: negotiations are not a substitute for justice. The parties making such statements are fully aware that the Israeli government is not committed with the basic outcome required from any negotiations, which is to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.

The question is not whether this is a third Intifada or an isolated wave of violence. What we have seen are symptoms of this reality of occupation, colonization and Apartheid that Israel has imposed over Palestine against the basic principles upon which the international community was created. The world has allowed this to happen.

The international community has to assume its responsibilities by holding Israel accountable for the crimes it continues to commit against the land and people of Palestine. Without international intervention things are not going to change. Providing international protection to the Palestinian people and to stop treating Israel as a state above the law is the least that we could ask for.

Dr. Saeb Erekat is the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

 

Settlers Pepper Spray Palestinian in Jerusalem

Settlers Pepper Spray Palestinian in Jerusalem

Occupied Jerusalem – A Palestinian youth, on Sunday, sustained light burns after being pepper-sprayed by three Israeli settlers in Jerusalem city.

The youth, who was working at one of the shops at Jaffa Road, one of the longest and oldest major streets in Jerusalem, was attacked by three female settlers, causing him minor burns. The Israeli police claimed the attackers were apprehended.

For the past couple of weeks, settlers went on a revenge rampage against Palestinians and their properties following the killing of four Israelis by Palestinian suspects.

According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, this came as tension mounted across the West Bank districts and Jerusalem with Israel’s repeated assault on al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, particularly its growing attempts to enforce a temporal division on the site between Muslims and Jews.

The situation has also been significantly deteriorating since the deadly arson attack on the Dawabsha’s family home on July 31, which was carried out by Jewish settlers. The Douma attack left 4-year-old Ahmad orphaned, after his toddler brother, Ali; father, Sa’ed and mother, Reham, lost their lives.

According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights center, “As the occupying force, Israel must protect the Palestinians in the West Bank. However, the Israeli authorities neglect to fulfill this responsibility and do not do enough to prevent Israelis from attacking Palestinians, their property and their lands.”

The center said, “The undeclared policy of the Israeli authorities in response to these attacks is lenient and conciliatory,” adding, “Perpetrators are rarely tried, and many cases are not investigated at all or are closed with no operative conclusions.”

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Watch: Israeli police execute Palestinian boy

The boy was shot and left bleeding until he died

Israeli occupation executed with cold blood on Monday afternoon Palestinian boy, bystanders shouted: “Son of a bitch.”

“The most inhumane scene in the whole situation was that the Israeli police left the boy bleeding for a long time,” an eyewitness said. “He remained bleeding until he died.”

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Israeli occupation executed with cold blood on Monday afternoon Palestinian boy, bystanders shouted: “Son of a bitch.”

The Israeli police doubted that the boy was holding a knife; therefore, they opened live fire at him from a very close range.

Witnesses said that the boy immediately fell on the ground and he could never move himself right or left.

Jewish bystanders shouted on the boy: “Die… go to hell… son of a bitch.” Many other insults are heard in the video clip.

“The most inhumane scene in the whole situation was that the Israeli police left the boy bleeding for a long time,” an eyewitness said. “He remained bleeding until he died.”

Palestinian sources identified the boy as Hassan Manasreh, 13. The incident took place near Aida refugee camp some 2 kilometers north of Bethlehem.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Hamas turns blind eye to Fatah’s military activities in Gaza

Palestinian militants from al-Husine brigade loyal to Fatah is seen during a military-style exercise graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Sept. 20, 2015

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Despite the ban imposed by Hamas on Fatah’s activities in the Gaza Strip since it took control in June 2007, and despite the intensification of political differences between the two parties, the military relationship on the ground looks different: Fatah’s military wing, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, is conducting unrestricted military training in Gaza.

Questions arise regarding the nature of the relationship between Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas and about the brigades’ adoption of armed resistance, although Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejects the armed struggle against Israel.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was founded under late President Yasser Arafat, on the eve of the second intifada, Sept. 28, 2000, with the goal of carrying out military operations against Israeli targets.

However, in July 2007, Abbas announced he was dissolving the brigades. This decision led to wide defections within the brigades’ ranks, while military cells affiliated with them started forming in Gaza under different names, such as the “Abdul Qader al-Husseini Brigades.”

On Sept. 22, the Abdul Qader al-Husseini Brigades celebrated the graduation of dozens of fighters from military training in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. The fighters performed a military exercise simulating the invasion of Israeli sites using various weapons.

Abu al-Walid, a spokesman for Abdul Qader al-Husseini Brigades, said that the body, which was formed on April 8, 2012, is a wing of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, whose goal is to liberate all of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Jordan River in the east.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Walid noted that these brigades’ commanders are founders of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. “The [Abdul Qader al-Husseini] brigades have 700 fighters in Gaza, in addition to thousands of supporters who do not partake in the brigades’ military activities,” he said.

Walid pointed out that Hamas does not hinder their training and military work in Gaza, and that their relationship with the movement is based on a single goal: the liberation of Palestine. However, he said that coordination “is still superficial,” adding, “We are operating in Gaza without anyone’s permission.”

Hamas leader Yahya Moussa stressed that his movement provides support for any faction or party that wants to fight Israel. “Hamas embraces the resistance and cannot prevent anyone from resisting the occupation, regardless of their political affiliation. Anyone who wants to fight Israel is welcome,” he told Al-Monitor.

Moussa explained that Fatah’s military wings in Gaza have not been affected by the deepening political differences between the two movements. He said, “It is the factions’ right to arm and train themselves and have military sites, but all this is done under the auspices of the government in Gaza.”

On the possibility of these brigades using their weapons against Hamas in the future, Moussa said, “Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are part of the National Liberation Army, which we are preparing for the Liberation of Palestine. I do not think it is possible for their weapons and training to backfire on Hamas, or to be used to undermine security in Gaza, because we are confident that these weapons could only be pointed at the Israeli occupation.”

Talal Okal, a political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, said that the Fatah-affiliated militias operating in Gaza “are derived from Al-Aqsa Brigades, which Abbas dissolved and are operating against his will, as he rejects armed resistance. But they are still trying to remain under Fatah’s umbrella.”

Okal told Al-Monitor, “These brigades are not under a unified central leadership, and they have limited capabilities. They also reject the corrupt approach adopted by the Palestinian Authority, and they are trying to impose their presence during military operations against Israeli targets, and to prove that Fatah did not leave the armed struggle.”

Abbas does not pass up an occasion to stress his absolute rejection of armed resistance against Israel and his support for peaceful and diplomatic resistance. He noted during a visit to Tunisia on May 15, “Today, we are pursuing a diplomatic policy and not armed struggle, as it does not help and results in major counterproductive repercussions that we do not want, nor accept.”

A source from the Fatah leadership in Gaza said that these brigades are operating in Gaza under Fatah’s indirect approval and management and they are receiving personal funding from inside and outside Palestine, apart from the movement’s general budget and without Abbas’ knowledge.

The source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Fatah never eliminated the option of armed struggle; it froze it during the past years when the tendency was toward negotiations with Israel. However, as these negotiations failed, the movement is now trying to reactivate the armed resistance among its military ranks.”

However, Okal ruled out the possibility that Fatah is serious about reactivating the armed resistance. “These talks are exaggerated and Fatah’s open re-adoption of the armed resistance option will not happen anytime soon. This requires a revolution in its internal policy and as long as President Abbas is head of the movement, I believe it is difficult to say that Fatah is leaning toward the military option,” he said.

“Fatah’s bylaws legalize our armed resistance, and President Abbas cannot snatch this option out of our hands,” Walid said. He explained that his brigades were the first to respond to the settlers’ crime of killing and burning the teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem on July 2, 2014, saying, “We were the first to launch a missile at Israel in response to this crime that sparked the recent war on Gaza. The first leaders to be assassinated during the war on July 6, 2014, were leaders of the Abdul Qader al-Husseini Brigades: the military commander of the central province Mazen al-Jarba and the commander of the rocket unit in the province, Marwan Eslim.”

It seems clear that Hamas in Gaza supports anyone who believes in armed resistance and gives them a space to operate even if they were political enemies. Meanwhile, there is a growing belief among Fatah members of the necessity to reactivate the armed struggle despite Abbas’ rejection.

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Ali Al-Nimr’s Father Pleads For Son’s Release & Online Activism Ahead Of Crucifixion

The Saudi government’s move to sentence a juvenile offender to death, particularly after what the human rights group describes as a “grossly unfair trial” and confessions elicited under torture has sparked international outrage.

Image caption Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr's father Mohammed al-Nimr says he wasn't allowed to visit his son for four months after he was arrested

Image caption Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr’s father Mohammed al-Nimr says he wasn’t allowed to visit his son for four months after he was arrested

MINNEAPOLIS — Saudi Arabia has carried out a record number of executions this year, but that didn’t stop the kingdom from taking its seat on a key panel at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

And even though it’s not something the corporate media likes to talk about, as of July, Saudi Arabia had already beheaded nearly twice as many people as ISIS so far this year.

One scheduled execution, in particular, is receiving a flood of attention from international media, human rights groups like CodePink and Amnesty international, and even the hacktivist collective Anonymous.

Ali Al-Nimr was condemned to be crucified in 2012, when he was just 17 years old. Under Saudi law, he will first be beheaded, then his body will be publicly displayed. His uncle, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, is a well-known political dissident and Shiite cleric who has spoken out against the repressive ruling party of Saudi Arabia. Last October, he, too, was sentenced to death.

Ali al-Nimr’s father, Mohammad or Abu Baker, joins MintPress to discuss how his family has been impacted by his son’s case. Abu Baker calls for the execution to be cancelled, and for everyone around the world to continue peaceful global activism through social media to put pressure on the Saudi Kingdom to release his son.

The family’s legal adviser and advocate in Washington DC, Esha Krishnaswamy, chimed in stressing how much online activism is working and what Americans can do to help Ali.

Sign the petition for President Obama to negotiate the release of Ali al-Nimr.  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/negotiate-release-ali-mohammed-al-nimr

Click CC for subtitles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlz5–d2Wfg

(Source / 12.10.2015)

Israel adds fuel to fire, extends remand of 122 Palestinians

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation courts extended the detention of 122 Palestinian detainees on allegations of underway investigation procedures, a human rights group reported Sunday.

According to the Palestine Prisoners Society (PPS), Israel’s Ofer court extended the prison-terms of dozens of Palestinian prisoners held in different occupation jails.

The Salem court also extended the sentences of 20 Palestinian inmates while the occupation court in Ashkelon ruled for extending the incarceration of 16 prisoners.

11 more Palestinian detainees have reportedly been subjected to similar court issues.

Observers said the extension of prison-terms for Palestinian detainees make part of a preplanned policy of collective punishment aimed to dampen Palestinians’ spirits.

The court rules have also fanned the flames of an already blistering tension sparked by the Israeli occupation army and settlers across the occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 12.10.2015)