Palestijnen: gevangenen in eigen land
Het geweld in Israël en Palestina escaleert weer. Bij velen heeft zich het beeld gevestigd dat de escalatie deze keer te wijten is aan moordlustige Palestijnen die op weerloze Israëli’s inrijden en insteken.
Ik heb de beelden ook gezien en zal geen van deze daden goedpraten. Zoals ieder weldenkend en welvoelend mens keur ik die daden af. Ze zijn verschrikkelijk. Maar ik ga wel iets over de context vertellen waarin zij plaatsvinden.
Niemand heeft deze context scherper benoemd dan Gideon Levy, Israëls morele geweten en mijn held. In zijn confronterend artikel “Even Ghandi would understand the Palestinians’ violence” schrijft Levy over de totale ontkenning in Israël van het immense leed dat de Israëlische bezetting de Palestijnen berokkent:
“Israel thought it could do anything and pay no price. … It thought that nearly every week a boy or teenager could be killed by soldiers, and the Palestinians would stay quiet. It thought military and political leaders could back the crimes and no one would be prosecuted. It thought houses could be demolished and shepherds expelled, and the Palestinians would accept it all humbly. It thought settler thugs could damage, burn and act as if Palestinian property were theirs, and the Palestinians would bow their heads.
It thought that Israeli soldiers could burst into Palestinian homes every night and terrorize, humiliate and arrest people. That hundreds could be arrested without trial. That the Shin Bet security service could resume torturing suspects with methods handed down by Satan.
That Israel could destroy Gaza once every two to three years and Gaza would surrender and the West Bank remain calm. That Israeli public opinion would applaud all this, with cheers at best and demands for more Palestinian blood at worst, with a thirst that’s hard to understand. And the Palestinians would forgive.”
Lont in het kruitvat
Voor de actuele geweldsescalatie was de situatie rond de Haram-al Sharif, de op twee na heiligste plek in de islam (door Israël aangeduid als “Tempelberg”), de lont in het kruitvat. Premier Netanyahu kan nu wel bezweren dat hij de afspraken die eerder met de Palestijnen en met Jordanië over het beheer van de Haram-al Sharif zijn gemaakt zal blijven nakomen. Maar voor alle Palestijnen is het duidelijk dat Netanyahu zich omringd heeft met politieke bondgenoten die hopen dat de islamitische heiligdommen op de Haram-al Sharif verdwijnen, opdat daar de joodse tempel herbouwd kan worden. De Palestijnen kennen Netanyahu’s mantra over Jeruzalem: “Jerusalem has and always will only be the capital of the Jewish people.”
Geweld als regel
Voor de bezette Palestijnen is grof geweld een dagelijkse realiteit – de regel. Voor Israël is het de uitzondering. Nu een aantal Palestijnen is doorgedraaid en aanslagen op Israëli’s heeft gepleegd, schroeft Israël het geweld nog verder op. Tientallen Palestijnen zijn alweer gedood en duizenden gewond geraakt, van wie velen ernstig.
Ik zal u video’s besparen waarop te zien is hoe Palestijnen die van een geweldpleging verdacht werden en die geen direct gevaar (meer) vormden, standrechtelijk zijn geëxecuteerd. De video die hieronder volgt toont het gezicht van de bezetting zoals Palestijnen dat elke dag zien. Een Palestijnse jongen, die aan een demonstratie heeft deelgenomen, wordt gearresteerd. Door wel tien man wordt hij in elkaar getrapt en geslagen, nadat Israëlische undercoveragenten de Palestijnse demonstranten kort daarvoor hadden opgejut om stenen te gooien. Zo werkt de bezetting.
Wat in deze video te zien is, kan niet begrepen worden als niet bekend is waar de demonstratie plaatsvond: in Palestina. De Palestijnen zijn namelijk gevangenen in eigen land. Het Israëlische leger is geen defensief leger, maar een vijandig bezettingsleger voor hen. Elk volk zou zich daartegen verzetten.
Hier wil ik mijn ongenoegen uiten over de berichtgeving van de NOS, die aandacht aan de geweldsescalatie heeft besteed. Via haar journaals en nieuwsberichten heeft de NOS het beeld versterkt dat Israël defensief en reactief opereert. Geweldsincidenten deden zich vooral in Israël voor, was de boodschap. Veel empathie met Israëlische slachtoffers, weinig met Palestijnse. En de bezetting werd vrijwel niet genoemd.
Wij hebben voor u in kaart gebracht wat de verhouding is in aantallen slachtoffers en waar de dodelijke geweldsincidenten plaatsvonden. Zoals u ziet vallen de hardste klappen in bezet Palestina, zoals altijd:
De actuele geweldsescalatie is een symptoom van een probleem waarvoor de internationale gemeenschap in hoge mate verantwoordelijk is. Wat “Midden-Oosten vredesproces” wordt genoemd, komt neer op het, nu al twintig jaar, gedogen van Israëls bezetting. Sterker nog, Europa heeft de bezetting actief gefaciliteerd door miljarden naar Palestina te pompen, zonder het politieke hoofdprobleem – Israëls bezetting en kolonisatie van Palestina – aan te pakken.
Dat heeft de documentaire van 2Doc “Weggegooid Geld – Bevordert EU-hulp impasse Midden-Oosten?” uitermate krachtig in beeld gebracht. Die is afgelopen dinsdag uitgezonden en hier terug te zien:
Nederlands-Palestijns Bilateraal Forum
Het kabinet blijft zich aan de mislukte economische aanpak vastklampen. Over een week vindt in Nederland de tweede editie van het Nederlands-Palestijns Bilateraal Forum plaats. Daarvoor zal een hoge delegatie uit Palestina komen, bestaande uit president Abbas, premier Hamdallah en minister van Buitenlandse Zaken al-Malki.
Dat forum zal alle betrokkenen even een goed gevoel geven – erg gebeurt iets positiefs. Maar in wezen houden we onszelf voor de gek. De economische opbrengst van het forum is een druppel op de gloeiend hete plaat van de bezetting. Die plaat wordt almaar heter. Nog maar een paar dagen geleden zei de Israëlische minister Eli Ben-Dahan: “Palestinians have to understand they won’t have a state and Israel will rule over them.” Op die agressieve politiek zou het kabinet alle aandacht moeten vestigen.
De bezetting gedijt, meer dan ooit. En nu bereiden het Israëlische parlement en de regering-Netanyahu ook nog een wet voor die tot inzet heeft om tegenstanders van de nederzettingen de toegang tot Israël te weren. Zozeer is Israël het land van de kolonisten geworden. Aan die wet heeft onze voorzitter Jaap Doek zijn column “Israël is de weg kwijt” gewijd.
(Source / 23.10.2015)
Article of Oct 29, 2014
UAE pass the Arab houses for settlers through fake construction companies
Last week, Jewish Israeli settlers in Jerusalem took over two Palestinian buildings at Batn Al-Hawa area in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan
Days of Palestine, Um Al-Fahem –Islamic Movement in ‘Israel’ revealed on Wednesday that the UAE has bought Arab houses for Israeli settlers in Jerusalem.
Senior Leader of the Islamic Movement in ‘Israel’ Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib said that the UAE had bought Arabs’ houses in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“This Arab country pays for the owners of these houses and then pass them to an Israeli settlement construction company,” he said.
About the payments, he said: “A large sum of money was transferred from the UAE to the Bank of Palestine and that money was handed over to approximately 34 Arab families, who owned apartments in Silwan.”
In an interview with Al-Quds TV Channel onducted on Monday, Al-Khatib said: “Perhaps the coming days will reveal more about these cynical bargains.”
Last week, Jewish Israeli settlers in Jerusalem took over two Palestinian buildings at Batn Al-Hawa area in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan.
(Source / 23.10.2015)
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses a ceremony in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon October 23, 2015
The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, says the US implements its hegemonic projects in the region through Israel.
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks at the Sayyed al-Shohada complex in Dahieh on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on the ninth day of the lunar month of Muharram, the eve of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.
The United States seeks to impose its hegemony on the region, Nasrallah said, referring to one of the major issues of the Middle East.
“The US, as an inheritor of the old colonial powers, and other forces such as France and Britain are seeking to impose hegemony on our region and countries. They want the region to be under their political, military, security, economic and cultural control,” he noted.
“They are after the region’s oil, gas and riches … The weak Arab and Islamic countries cannot even set the price of oil,” the Hezbollah chief stressed.
The Hezbollah secretary general commented on the support that the United States provides to the Israeli regime, saying, “The US wants us to accept Israel under the threat of waging all kinds of wars against us.”
“Washington launches proxy wars against those countries that seek to become independent and strong.”
If the financial, economic, and military support that Washington grants Tel Aviv stops, Israel will definitely fail to exist, the Hezbollah chief stated.
The United States is always there to engage in wars when the Israeli regime is in danger, Nasrallah said.
Washington is an accomplice in the crimes committed by the Tel Aviv regime, he said, adding, “All of America’s talks about human rights and democracy are meaningless because the biggest dictatorships in the region are sponsored by the US.”
US waging war because of failed plan
Nasrallah further slammed Washington for the crisis in the region, saying, “The current war in the region is under the leadership of the United States.”
He referred to the conflict in Syria, saying those fighting in Syria today are “serving the US interests.”
“The ongoing war is not for the sake of reforms, democracy, human rights, poverty or countering ignorance but it is rather aimed at subjugating those who rejected the US scheme and punishing those who defeated the New Middle East scheme in 2006,” Nasrallah said.
He went on to say that the resistance in Lebanon, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Palestine and Iran defeated the Western scheme called the New Middle East and “the US wants them to pay the price. This is how we should interpret the current battle.”
Nasrallah expressed confidence that the anti-Israeli resistance front will withstand the threats by Israel and Takfiris.
“We will not back down in this battle if anyone is betting on this. This is a battle that we believe in and we will win it.”
(Source / 23.10.2015)
By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA NEWS IRAQ NEWS
It was revealed yesterday, Thursday, that US special forces, in conjunction with Kurdish Peshmerga, have just carried out a raid on an Islamic State (IS) school being used as a prison in Hawija in Iraq, south-east of Mosul, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
US Black Hawk Helicopters Take Off
The Peshmerga, who led the raid, were concerned that some of their fighters who they thought were being held in the prison were about to be executed and asked for US assistance.
5 helicopters were involved in the raid, a mixture of Chinooks and Black Hawks, and the US contingent included men from the Delta Force counter-terrorism unit.
At the beginning of the operation, Coalition jets destroyed a bridge in the area to make it difficult for IS to send reinforcements.
The Peshmerga were the advance force while US troops stayed back holding the perimeter until a firefight developed.
They attacking force expected to find 20 prisoners. In the event they found 70 – though not the Peshmerga prisoners they expected to find – made up of 20 Arabic members of the Iraqi security forces, local residents and members of IS who had been accused of spying.
According to reports, all the prisoners were about to be executed and dumped in 4 mass graves. The Iraqi Government said it knew nothing about the raid and is only being briefed in Baghdad by the US military today, Friday.
5 x IS fighters were captured in the raid and important intelligence recovered according to US sources. In the fighting that erupted during the operation 1 US soldier was killed and 5 Peshmerga were injured. The White House had given permission for the raid to take place.
A Coalition airstrike on Tuesday is also reported to have killed an Islamic State leader in charge of finance as well. Hajeb Mizhir al-Jayji, who apparently served as the IS “finance minister”, was killed with 6 of his bodyguards in Budush a western suburb of Mosul.
It is only a week since Abu Muslim at-Turkmani (also known as Abu Motaz al-Qurashi), head of the IS military council was killed in a similar strike.
ASSAD REGIME STRUGGLES TO HOLD ONTO MINOR GAINS WHILE BOTH OPPOSITION AND ISLAMIC STATE CUT MAIN ROAD FROM HAMA TO ALEPPO:
On the battle fronts in Hama and Aleppo provinces, the Assad regime is struggling to retain the small gains that they have made so far.
East of Hama city, the Opposition appear to have cut the main highway between Hama and Aleppo city after an Al Nusra Front suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint near Sa’an. The damage to the Assad regime has been compounded for once by the Islamic State seizing 8 Government checkpoints on the same highway just north of Ithriya.
Situation map for Hama province courtesy of @IUCAnalysts, here:
Situation Map For Hama Province October 23rd 2015
Opposition fighters are reported to have taken the Maasara barrier east of Morek and appear to be on the offensive once again towards Hama city after bringing in reinforcements to the province. Jaish Al Fatah have also taken Ruhayyah to the north-east of Hama city.
In the same area the Opposition fighters have captured Al-Hamra and Sukayk, seizing 2 of Assad’s tanks and destroying 3 others in the process. The capture of Al-Hamra was followed last night by Russian air strikes.
Interesting report from Al-Rahjan, north-east of Hama city, where local people had visits from officers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard back in 2014. Apparently, the Iranian’s were trying to recruit young men to work for them at Brigade Base 47 south of Hama which is now in 2015 completely under their control.
Al-Rahjan is the home town of Assad’s Defence Minister, Fahd Jassem al-Freij, and his family still live there. The young men were being induced to work for the Iranians with promises of large amounts of money, weapons and military equipment. You can read more, HERE:
In nearby Idlib province at least 15 people were killed in Sarmin, including medical staff, after Russian airstrikes hit the medical centre run by the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), around midnight on Tuesday. SAMS has confirmed from the US that the building was severely damaged. The school next to the medical centre was also struck yesterday, Thursday, in another raid.
A similar Russian strike has also hit Talbiseh in Homs province, killing more than 17, including 5 women and 8 children. Because of the large scale damage caused by the Russians, aid agencies are expecting another flood of refugees from northern Syria to move towards the Turkish border and Europe, some estimates putting the numbers of the new wave at 100,000.
VILLAGES GO BACK AND FORTH AS ASSAD’S TANK AND ARMOURED VEHICLE LOSSES CONTINUE TO CLIMB:
South of Aleppo, Opposition fighters took control of Al-Qarassi today and Ayyubid yesterday, though several villages have gone backwards and forwards as the frontline constantly moves.
Opposition Grab More of Assad’s Hardware North of Homs
2 regime tanks and a bulldozer were destroyed on the Balas southern frontline yesterday morning, Thursday, and a 14.5mm gun near Abtin, plus 3 tanks today, Friday, one of them, HERE:
Another Government tanks was hit, HERE:
This BMP armoured vehicles has Assad’s troops standing on top as a TOW missile blows it up, HERE:
At the Kweires Airbase where the Assad regime is surrounded, the Islamic State is once again going all out to capture the airfield, managing to kill the base commander on Wednesday night.
Many deaths and injuries are reported on both sides and IS has put out an appeal at all its mosques from Aleppo to Raqqah for blood donations.
North-west of Aleppo, where fighting also continues, the Civil Defence teams have been collecting examples of Russian cluster bombs, HERE:
Aleppo Situation map courtesy of @ISW, the Institute for the Study of War, here:
The Fight for Aleppo 9th – 21st October 2015
Assad’s forces are not doing much better in Homs province, sometimes making small gains after Russian blitz bombing but then losing territory again when faced with the Opposition on the ground.
The Opposition north of Homs have also captured a tank and a BMP armoured vehicle.
Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute calculates that there has been a 850% rise in the use of American TOW anti-tank missiles (ATGMs) since the major Russian intervention in Syria. “There were 82 recorded uses from October 1 to 20”, he says, “Compared to only 13 in all of September. With each missile valued at least $50,000, that equates to over $4.1 million of expenditure in three weeks”.
Opposition commanders on the ground say there is no shortage of ATGM supplies and deliveries have been stepped up recently, as well as stocks of grenade launchers and other equipment. The Opposition continue to request ManPads but although there is more interest from Gulf suppliers in talking about it, non have yet materialised.
You can read more in Charles Lister’s excellent article from the Brookings Institute.
In Latakia province, France 24 filmed the Russian airbase and managed to talk to some of the Russian troops (English sub-titles).
While Assad’s National Defence Force (NDF) were reported in Latakia to be firing Russian thermobaric TOS-1 multiple rocket launchers.
As the Foreign Ministers of the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey met in Vienna, Austria today to discuss Syria, reports from Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow say that Assad, unsurprisingly, asked Putin for more tanks, while Putin said he would consider attacking any country that provided the Opposition fighters with ManPad ground to air missiles which could threaten his aircraft.
Lastly, “Tell Me Why?” a moving song from the Global Solidarity Day for the Syrian People on 20th October.
‘This is a tool Israel is using in order to push people out… the goal is to have the minimum amount of Palestinians as permanent residents.’ – file photo of Palestinians passing through an Israeli checkpoint
Since 2010, when M landed in England after a long and life-threatening journey from Palestine, he has been passed around in the legal arena. The responsibility for his situation has been passed from one authority to another with no resolution, leaving him in the limbo of statelessness, unable to return without identity papers, lost in the process, and unwelcome in the country which, historically, facilitated the removal of his people’s land and statehood.
“It’s like you’re just a ball being passed along,” M told me. He left Palestine after a bomb went off and took his family away. He managed to get to Amman with only his green identity card on him. Despite having a strong case for asylum, M has spent more than three years in four different detention centres across Britain.
He spent more than a month in the Dover “prison-like” detention centre, a converted citadel on an island off the coast. This high-security centre treats its inmates — victims of war and displacement — as dangerous prisoners. Between 8:30 pm and 8 am, they had to be inside their cells with no access to food, in groups of four. The rooms were arranged like Foucault’s panopticon, in a circle with all the doors facing the centre, which triggering a psychological disciplining effect based on mutual surveillance. Each room has four beds and a toilet and is equipped with a camera, stripping those inside of their right to privacy, vis-a-vis other inmates and the guards, who would follow their movements via the camera. Ironically, M told me, detainees were not allowed to have camera phones, for “security reasons”, to prevent them recording anything within the detention centres.
M ended up in the Dover facility due to a protest in which he participated in his previous detention centre in Cambridge. Here the conditions were also horrendous. In each room there was up to ten people, the food was bad and they were each given a plastic cup to last their whole time in detention, which could be months, to use for all drinks. In 2010, M saw a Kenyan detainee who was seriously ill and was refused medical help or the chance to see a doctor. “He was sweating and you could really see that he was ill,” M recalled. After several weeks, the young man passed away in the centre. As the other detainees had all witnessed this, a spark of resistance broke out amongst them; the kitchen and other facilities were destroyed, although M said that he and some others protested peacefully by gathering outside the detention buildings to chant slogans. The riot police entered wearing full body armour and, along with the G4S private security company personnel running the detention facilities, took photographs of each of the protesters before taking them to the police station. Here, M and the others were sent either to prison or the much-feared Dover detention facility. It all depended on what their protest had involved in response to the treatment of the young Kenyan, which they believe was unjust and inhuman.
He explained how there was an obvious difference between facilities. The judgement of detainees, exclusively of their cases, as either “deserving” or “qualifying” for certain facilities or “upgraded rooms” within facilities, for having minor jobs within them, or for rebellious attitudes, is very controversial. In Oxford, the curfew is half the time of the Dover facilities; the staff in Oxford are “nice” and in Dover they treat the detainees like lethal criminals. The system is inhumane in its basis, isolating people from society, and discriminates against certain detainees.
M would earn a pound a day for doing work at the facility and, in Oxford, his final location, he started working as a mentor for newcomers. This is a great approach to integrate and make new asylum-seekers feel at ease. He told me how they had a 14 year-old Egyptian newcomer who was put in isolation unlawfully after his resistance to the system and so he vandalised it. Putting a 14 year-old boy in detention is illegal and the boy was within his rights to resist. After having received some consolation with his mentor, M, he was calmed down and met with two social workers. He now lives in a young persons’ home.
Due to the lengthy process for asylum claims and the fact that Britain’s detention facilities do not allow any interaction between detainees and the local community, unlike almost all other European asylum procedures, the isolation is the hardest punishment of all. MEMO spoke to Detention Action earlier this year and, as its focus group leader Ben Du Preez reported, people feel worse than prisoners as they count their days up, rather than down.
Now M is living precariously, after being released on bail, showing up for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly registrations without absconding. His claim for asylum has not been dealt with due to “confusion” about his identity; the British think he is Syrian but also Palestinian. The authorities in his first detention facility lost his identity card and he has not been able to get it back or replaced, so he is unable to prove his identity. After going to Dublin for a couple of months to re-claim asylum there without any luck, he returned and had his case dropped because, in the view of the authorities, he “absconded”. He was able to stay in the “NASS” (Home Office accommodation) until 2013, but lost his case, despite having both the Red Cross and Refugee Action backing him. He received a deportation order even though, without any identity card, he cannot be sent anywhere, but the British government is unwilling to grant him asylum or even a work permit. M has appealed against this order twice, but it is very hard to pursue such a case, let alone pay legal fees, when you have no work permit; the government’s austerity measures don’t help. Now he is depending on the kindness of a friend, in one room; he feels that there is little possibility of him being able to pursue his claim, despite it being a very strong case, to obtain the citizenship which was withdrawn decades ago by this very country.
The authorities and various aid and social workers cannot help him, and his papers have been lost in the system. The British government’s abandonment of the people of Palestine continues to this day, even on its own doorstep.
(Source / 23.10.2015)
Ahmed Yousef calls on Palestinian youth to lead their struggle for statehood but says declarations of third uprising are premature
A file photo shows senior Hamas member Ahmed Yousef at a press conference
The leader of a new intifada will come from among Palestinian youth currently leading popular unrest across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a senior member of Hamas has told Middle East Eye.
“The youth is leading everybody at the moment, with no particular person in charge,” said Ahmed Yousef, a former political advisor to the deputy chair of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh.
“I believe that once this [popular unrest] has grown into an intifada they will find someone among the youth who will create a name for themselves. The [Palestinian] people will follow whoever that is and everybody will join from all the political factions.”
Yousef is seen by Hamas as a gateway to the West and regularly receives international delegations in Gaza. He spent many years living in the United States before returning to Gaza in 2005, following Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian enclave.
The 65-year-old is now head of the Palestinian Institute for Conflict Resolution and Governance in Gaza, after serving Hamas in numerous senior positions and remains an influential figure within the movement.
Speaking to MEE by phone on Thursday, Yousef urged Palestinians not be “stuck in the mindset” of looking for leadership from the current crop of politicians. He said it was time for the younger generation of Palestinians to take control of the struggle for statehood.
While many commentators have described violence gripping Israel and Palestine – 50 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed in October – as the beginning of a new intifada, Yousef said it was still too early to declare a third Palestinian uprising.
The last intifada, which lasted for five years and ended in 2005, saw the deaths of over 3,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis.
‘Three stages’ to an intifada
Yousef argued that there were three stages that must be completed before an intifada could be said to have begun.
“Now we have popular unrest – this is stage one,” he said. “Maybe after a couple of months, if more people get involved, it will spread more inside [Israel] and we will move to stage two. The second stage will be when all the political factions will be part of it and organise it.”
“The third stage is finding a leader – someone who can represent all the factions, nationalist and Islamist groups. This person needs to be able to articulate a vision for what we would like to achieve out of an intifada.”
Yousef has a long history of being an independent voice within Hamas. His view that an intifada has not started goes against other senior members, who as recently as 20 October declared the start of a new uprising.
The latest spike in violence has seen numerous knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis. While some elements of Hamas have expressed support for knife attacks, Yousef said “this is not a Hamas tactic”.
He did not criticise knifings, however, and instead sought to explain the political and social context that he believes is causing them.
“What we are seeing are desperate, humiliated people using the only tool available to them,” he said. “They don’t have any other means to defend themselves. There have been many non-violent initiatives for years but perhaps this hasn’t been very effective.
“Perhaps the only thing Palestinians have been left with is a knife, a digger, a car. These attacks are a message to the international community that ‘We are the Palestinians still suffering occupation and we need the world to do something’.”
Videos of Palestinians attacking Israelis with knives have brought widespread condemnation. It comes after international support for the Palestinian cause soared in the wake of Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip last summer.
Yousef was unconcerned that knife attacks may negatively impact Palestinian image in the international community. He said that social media had allowed people to gain independent insight into the conflict in a way not possible in the past.
Social media ‘breaking down barriers’
“The Israelis are used to controlling the narrative of the conflict,” he said “Today social media breaks down the barriers and people are able to hear the Palestinian narrative. I do believe people understand the level of suffering we are going through.”
Viral videos of Palestinian attacks have been matched by ones carried out by Israelis, including footage of a recent mob attack on an Eritrean asylum seeker.
Yousef said the latest unrest was sparked by Israeli settler violence, pointing to the attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank that saw a toddler burned to death.
He argued that a third intifada could be avoided if Israel “disciplined the settlers and genuinely sought to find a political solution to the conflict”. He called on the international community to intervene and “tell Israel enough is enough and the Palestinians should have their own state”.
Yousef warned that in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since 2006, an unemployment rate of over 60 percent among young people was turning the enclave into a “pressure cooker” of frustration that was ready to burst.
“Hamas can’t do that much for the people, as long as there is occupation and siege,” he said. “We can’t do anything to serve this new generation to make their lives better.”
Yousef said he was not worried Palestinians in Gaza would turn their anger against Hamas, arguing that locals “know it is Israel who is behind their suffering”.
“The people are angry with the Palestinian Authority too, who have not done anything to improve the lives of people in Gaza. They are also angry at Egypt – they think that Egypt is also part of the problem,” he said, referring to how Cairo has maintained a blockade on Gaza in conjunction with Israel.
Amid a range of problems facing Gaza, in recent months the Islamic State group appears to have emerged in the enclave, claiming a spate of rocket and car bomb attacks.
Yousef said that the ability for IS to recruit Palestinians was down to the Israeli siege on Gaza.
“It is easier for these people to recruit when there are no jobs. This makes it possible for them to brainwash the people in a very negative way,” he said.
However, Yousef was unconcerned by the IS threat, which he said was being handled by Hamas.
“[IS] is here [in Gaza] but they are limited in number,” he said. “These people [IS] are still under control – they know the wrath of Hamas.
“I don’t think any of them will dare to do anything other than maybe firing the occasional rocket to give the impression they are there. I don’t think they can do anything to harm the stability and security of Gaza.”
(Source / 23.10.2015)
UN Special Representative Bernardino Leon
At least five people were killed and 30 wounded Friday in Benghazi when rockets hit protesters who gathered in Libya’s second city to demonstrate against a UN-proposed peace deal, medics said.
Hundreds of people had gathered in the centre of the eastern city to protest against a power-sharing agreement proposed by UN envoy Bernardino Leon.
A volley of shells hit the rally “killing at least five people and wounding 30 others”, a medic said.
“The exact toll could be much higher as medics are still trying to collect human remains from the site”.
The Benghazi Medical Centre said on its official Facebook page that it had received two bodies and treated 20 wounded.
Another hospital in the city, Al-Jalaa, also said on Facebook that it had received three bodies and had treated 10 wounded.
There was no immediate word on who was behind the shelling.
Libya descended into chaos after the October 2011 ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two governments vying for power and armed groups battling for control of its vast energy resources.
A militia alliance including Islamists overran Tripoli in August 2014, establishing a rival government and a parliament that forced the internationally recognised administration to flee to the country’s remote east.
On October 8, after almost a year of arduous negotiations, Leon put forward a list of names to head a power-sharing government, but both sides rejected the proposed appointments.
Friday’s shelling comes two days after Leon insisted he would press on with efforts to clinch a political deal.
“The process goes on. There is no chance for small groups or personalities to hijack this process,” Leon said.
“The political solution is the only real alternative,” he said, adding that further meetings would be held in the coming days.
On Monday, Western and Arab states urged rival sides to accept the UN plan “immediately”.
A joint statement was issued by the foreign ministers of Algeria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Qatar, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, as well as the EU foreign policy chief.
It called on “all parties in the Libyan political dialogue to immediately adopt the political agreement negotiated” by Leon.
A unity government in Libya is seen as the best chance to tackle the rise there of the Islamic State group and migrant-smuggling from Libya across the Mediterranean to Europe.
The UN Security Council has threatened to impose sanctions on those who block a peace deal or undermine any political transition in Libya.
(Source / 23.10.2015)