Israel passes ‘minimum sentence’ for stone-throwers

New legislation establishes three-year minimum sentence and will also punish parents of children convicted of offence.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians have been growing and spreading throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians have been growing and spreading throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Israel has passed an amendment to the country’s civil law establishing a minimum prison sentence of three years for people who throw rocks at Israeli troops, civilians or vehicles.

Palestinians bury dead teenagers killed by Israeli forces

Passed late on Monday night by a vote of 51-17, the legislation includes a number of provisions, among them one that permits the government to strip those convicted of stone throwing of their state benefits.

In effect, the move will further entrench Israeli civil law in occupied East Jerusalem, according to rights groups.

Palestinians in the rest of the occupied West Bank, however, are subject to Israeli military law.

The law also enables Israel to cancel national health insurance and other social programmes for the parents of an imprisoned minor.

Rima Awad, a member of the Campaign for Jerusalem, a Palestinian rights group, said that Israel is “collectively punishing” Palestinian Jerusalemites.

“The families of the accused are also being punished,” Awad told Al Jazeera.

‘Extraordinary step’

“Setting minimum sentences is an extraordinary step,” the law’s preface reads. “But the uniqueness of the phenomenon [of rock-throwing] and its scale, which have expanded of late, justify as an extraordinary measure the establishment of minimum punishments in this case as a temporary provision.”

The move comes on the heels of widespread unrest, as an increase in Palestinian protests against Israel’s ongoing occupation have given way to frequent clashes across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip.


RELATED: Israeli bill seeks to make foreign-funded NGOs wear tags


As the unrest spreads, Israeli forces have responded with force, using live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.

Since October 1, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 73 Palestinians, including unarmed protesters, bystanders and accused attackers.

Meanwhile, nine Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in stabbing or shooting incidents in the same period.

The new law is one of a series of measures aiming to quell the protests.

More than 1,600 Palestinians – an estimated 60 percent of them minors – have been arrested since the beginning of last month, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

A large number of those arrests are for allegedly throwing rocks.

Arguing in favour of the law, Israeli legislator Nissan Slomiansky – a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party – said it is designed “to create deterrence”, local media reported.

Children vulnerable

Ayed Abu Qtaish, advocacy director for Defence for Children International (DCI) – Palestine, said the legislation will have “an even more harmful effect” on Palestinian children, who are often “detained arbitrarily” or arrested without reliable evidence of accusations.

According to DCI-Palestine’s statistics, at least 53 percent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem arrested by Israeli forces are subjected to violence, while 86 percent are coerced into signing confessions in Hebrew, a language they do not know.


RELATED: Israel using ‘excessive force’ on Palestinian children


“These laws affect children more than others because they are a vulnerable segment of the population,” Abu Qtaish told Al Jazeera.

“Additionally, Palestinians in an occupied territory should not be included under Israel’s civil law.”

Abu Qtaish said there is a “double standard at play”, arguing that Israelis, including settlers and children, “throw rocks at Palestinians and other people” without being arrested at similar rates.

The law will also effect the estimated 1.7 million Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and live in areas across the country.

Jamal Zahalka, a Knesset member from the Arab-majority Joint List electoral coalition, decried the law as “fuel on the fire”.

“There is no logic to punishing a father whose son threw a stone and didn’t hit anything, while the father of a child who stabs his friend in school goes unpunished.”

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Video Captures Israeli Police Beating Unarmed Palestinian, Then Inventing A Scenario To Justify It

The man is one of the over 2,600 Palestinians injured in the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine that started early last month and shows no sign of abating.

The arrest and subsequent beating og Omar Farouk Obaideya, a teaching assistant in the Physics Department at Birzeit University.

The arrest and subsequent beating og Omar Farouk Obaideya, a teaching assistant in the Physics Department at Birzeit University.

SEATTLE — Israeli police stopped a young Palestinian man on a Jerusalem street on Monday. In a video apparently shot by Israeli Jews at the scene, the police yell at the suspect to drop his pants. The man does not comply, but instead lifts his shirt and turns around to assure them he is not carrying a weapon or wearing a suicide vest. Unsatisfied with this gesture, police continue demanding that he disrobe.

A short standoff ensues as he refuses to remove his pants. Less than a minute passes before police surround the man and rush him. They begin beating him.

Then the video cuts to the victim lying on the ground with blood splattered on the floor and wall around him. An officer is sitting on top of him though he is handcuffed and makes no attempt to move.

The police notice someone is filming the events as they unfold, and they allow the filming to continue. (It’s worth noting that Palestinian journalists working in similar circumstances are assaulted and shot at by Israeli forces. And while the filming appears to be the work of Israelis, the video has been widely uploaded by Palestinians to social media.)

With the man held on the ground, police strip him down to his underwear. Police ask each other if anyone’s found a knife. They search the man’s bag, but don’t find a knife.

The lead officer stands above the victim and under the guise of “reconstructing” the event, clearly manufactures a fictional scenario contradicted by the actual video (translation and captions provided by Israeli activist Ronnie Barkan):

“I’m for reconstructing [the event] …

He ran away to here; resisted [arrest];

We told him ‘raise’ [your hands/shirt] …  

Ran from where?

Opened someone’s … He opened some woman’s head there;

We stopped in front of him;

We asked him to raise his shirt; He refused.

Attempted to assault an officer;

Arrest.

Who saw the attack [on the woman]?

Citizens.”

At the end of the video, the Israelis who filmed it begin calling the victim a “son of a bitch” in Arabic. Then they joke, seemingly proud that they filmed the beating of a Palestinian. Laughing derisively, one of them says: “We organized some incident for you, huh?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zcotI9m8qc

The officer who suggests “reconstructing” the event invents details that never happened: The man didn’t run away. He was never asked to raise his hands. He raised his shirt voluntarily. He certainly never assaulted anyone.

According to Palestinian activist Younes Arar, the victim of the police beating is Omar Farouk Obaideya. He is a teaching assistant in the Physics Department at Birzeit University, where he is also pursuing a master’s degree.

From the dialogue, the police appear to be attempting to link Obaideya to an incident in which female Haredi tour guide was hit in the head by a bottle by a Palestinian man earlier in the day.

Yet even if the suspect in the attack is the same man in this video, he is unarmed when confronted by police and never acts in any way that may be construed as threatening or suspicious. And even if he was the perpetrator of the attack earlier in the day, this extrajudicial beating has no place in a democratic society. A democratic society observes the rule of law and justice, not the laws of the street or jungle.

The officer who suggests “reconstructing” the event invents details that never happened: The man didn’t run away. He was never asked to raise his hands. He raised his shirt voluntarily. He certainly never assaulted anyone.

According to Palestinian activist Younes Arar, the victim of the police beating is Omar Farouk Obaideya. He is a teaching assistant in the Physics Department at Birzeit University, where he is also pursuing a master’s degree.

From the dialogue, the police appear to be attempting to link Obaideya to an incident in which female Haredi tour guide was hit in the head by a bottle by a Palestinian man earlier in the day.

Yet even if the suspect in the attack is the same man in this video, he is unarmed when confronted by police and never acts in any way that may be construed as threatening or suspicious. And even if he was the perpetrator of the attack earlier in the day, this extrajudicial beating has no place in a democratic society. A democratic society observes the rule of law and justice, not the laws of the street or jungle.

The Zuckerberg intifada

Israeli leaders have identified a convenient scapegoat for what some are calling a “Third Intifada,” or popular uprising: Mark Zuckerberg. The Israeli lawfare NGO Shurat HaDin is suing Facebook, blaming the social media network for permitting young Palestinians to communicate with each other and coordinate their resistance.

“Suing Facebook, Disconnect from Terror”

“Suing Facebook, Disconnect from Terror”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even invoked the Facebook CEO’s name in laying blame for the violence:

“What has been going on is due to the combination of the Internet and Islamist extremism,” Netanyahu said. “It has been Osama Bin Laden meets [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg.”

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, is playing its role in this charade by arresting Palestinian youth for their posts to Facebook and treating them as if they’d committed violent crimes.

The latest victim, according to an Israeli human rights activist, is Dareen Tatour, who has been held in jail since Oct. 10. On Monday, she was indicted for “incitement” and “supporting a terrorist organization.” Her incitement consisted of reciting a poem, “Resist, My People, Resist,” as the voice track of a YouTube videowhich pictures Palestinians burning tires, being harassed by police, waving Palestinian flags, and throwing stones.

Dareen Tatour, arrested by Israeli Shin Bet for reciting a poem.

Dareen Tatour, arrested by Israeli Shin Bet for reciting a poem

The poem that apparently constitutes a criminal act if read aloud includes the following words:

“I refuse the ‘peaceful solution’ [the Oslo process]
I will never lower my flag
I will pull them away from my land
And the future will see it.
Resist O my people resist them
Resist the tyranny of the settler …..
Follow the convoy of martyrs
Tear the shameful agreements
Of oppression and humiliation.”

Ironically, the Israeli right views the Oslo agreements with equal disdain, yet no Israeli is arrested for expressing such displeasure. According to this double standard, Palestinians who express virtually the same political views as Israelis are criminals and terrorists for doing so.

Tatour also posted a picture of the Israeli Palestinian woman shot and seriously wounded by Israeli police at the Afula bus station last month. It doesn’t matter that Isra’a Abed, the Afula victim, has been cleared by the same Israeli security officials of any criminal intent.

The Zionist version of a moral apartheid

Israel's Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked

Israel’s Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, who famously stated: “This is a war against two people, not a war on terror, Israel must slaughter all Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

Israel’s Knesset has been increasinglyclamping down on human rights NGOs, who are viewed as collaborating with “foreigners” intent on charging the Israeli military with war crimes. Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has in the past demanded that NGOs receiving funds from foreign foundations be forced to reveal their sources publicly. Right-wing NGOs, which also receive foreign funding, often refuse to disclose their funding sources. Presumably, if this legislation passed some sort of loophole would be offered to groups like NGO Monitor and others which maintain secret donor lists.

Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister,proposed legislation on Sunday which would require any NGO staff member visiting the Knesset to wear a “tag” that identifies them as recipients of foreign funding. It’s part of what Shaked calls a “Transparency Law” that permits Israelis to see the origin of funding for groups which allegedly betray the state.

Writing for AL Monitor, Mazal Mualem calls it “a ‘mark of Cain’ of sorts, a far more appropriate name for [Shaked’s] proposed piece of populist legislation could be the ‘Selection Law,’ a reference to the way Jews were marked to distinguish them from other Europeans during World War II in Nazi camps.”

In the brave new world offered by the Israel’s right-wing government people are either good or bad, friends or enemies, Israelis or Palestinians, Israelis or foreigners. The bad guys are clearly labelled so that there can be no mistaking them for the good guys. This is a Zionist version of moral apartheid.

Shaked’s proposal would be ridiculous if it didn’t rear its ugly head in the context of the enormous level of hate and violence which besets Israel these days.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Will Compensate for the Ancient Jewish in Arab Lands though There Is No Room for Non-Muslims in Arabia

The Saudi government is preparing a draft bill which, if ratified by king Salman, will permit the Jewish state sending claims for compensation for historic Jewish property in a number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It is believed that the bill will be held back to be used during any secret negotiations discussing the ways to promote bilateral relation between Tel Aviv and its close ally Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

“Saudi will Compensate for Ancient Jewish in Arab Lands though there is No Room for Non-Muslims in Arabia,” Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) cited the Saudi monarch as saying on Tuesday.

Despite this historic rapprochement between Arabs and Jewish people, the Saudi monarch reiterated that there is no place for non-Sunni Muslims in a land which according to him, Prophet Muhammad called it “the pure Islamic territory”.

The bill is divided into two parts: the first will demand that Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Morocco, Yemen and Bahrain pay compensation for the properties of approximately 2,000,000 Jews who lived around 640 A.D., with an estimated value of $900 billion.

At a second stage, Saudi Arabia will be landed with a compensation bill of more than $650 billion for Jewish properties in the kingdom since the time of Prophet Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia once hosted a thriving Jewish community. For almost a thousand years (three times longer than the Jews have been in America), Jews lived in the oases of Teyma, and Yathrib (later known as Medina), in the northern Arabian Peninsula. According to Dr. Hagai Mazuz, an Orientalist specializing in Arabic language, Islam, and Islamic culture, “The Jewish community of northern Arabia was one of the largest ancient communities in the history of the Jewish people.”

They were powerful and wealthy. They were respected by the local Arabian tribes for their religion, culture, erudition, and literacy. They built castles on mountaintops and developed productive plantations. They had military prowess, horses, and advanced weaponry. And they were almost totally annihilated in the short span of a few years.

Apparently, Israeli experts in international law, history and geography in the universities of Bar-Ilan, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa are working on this part of the claim. The budget for their work has been taken from the Foreign Ministry and is claimed to be in the region of $100m for 2012.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

International human rights defenders arrested and evicted while “Hebron is becoming ghettoized”

Two international human rights defenders were arrested in Hebron (al-Khalil) yesterday morning, November 3rd, while six others were ordered to leave an apartment in the H2 neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida by threat of arrest.

The German and American nationals were arrested at 7.50am while monitoring checkpoint 56 at the entrance of Shuhada Street, after being seemingly arbitrarily denied access to checkpoint 55 further down the street. They were arrested while peacefully observing the checkpoint on allegations of ‘disturbing soldiers’ and being in a closed military zone after a soldier at the checkpoint made a complaint to officers in a passing police vehicle.

The internationals were denied their legal right to communicate with their embassies, and were only given water to drink at the police station after repeated requests. ‘We were scared about what was going to happen, but we were still so much better off than the Palestinian we heard being beaten by Israeli forces in the police station’ one of the women announced. They were released at 4.30pm, on agreeing to sign conditions barring them from Hebron for one week. Immediately before being released from the police station, the investigating officer actually admitted that there was ‘no evidence’ against them, but they were still being punished for the soldiers allegations.

Several hours later, other members of the team were prevented from passing through Checkpoint 56 which divides Tel Rumeida from the H1 area of Hebron, which is under full Palestinian authority. As of Saturday, 31st of October, when Tel Rumeida was declared a ‘closed military zone’ for 24 hours, both internationals’ and Palestinian movement through the area has been severely restricted. Residents were ordered to register their ID’s or risk being prevented from passing the checkpoints which intersect the entire district.

While official documentation of the zoning of Tel Rumeida has been conspicuously inconsistent recently, the activists were shocked this afternoon when their passports were confiscated and they were confronted with an order to leave the closed military zone which encapsulates their apartment. Israeli forces demanded that they immediately sign an absent legal contract declaring their residency in the area, or they would be forcibly removed and deported.

Checkpoint 55 is frequented by students from several school groups, who pass it on route to and from schools which abut the Tel Rumeida illegal settlement. It was blocked for passage last Sunday in what soldiers described as “new measures against terrorism.” For years now international agencies have been monitoring the impact of the occupation on the schoolchildren of Hebron however this work has been severely restricted in recent weeks, amid mounting tensions in the district.

A volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, a school teacher from Australia known as Phoebe, stated: “Will they never be satisfied? In the past month, Israeli forces have blatantly disregarded international law. They have performed extrajudicial executions of Palestinians in front of eyewitnesses with complete impunity.” She added: “We have been physically attacked on a daily basis by settlers in front of soldiers and police and then been ordered to leave, by threat of arrest for provoking them by our presence. We have been intimidated, harassed, abused, detained, and now this: arrest for our monitoring of human rights abuses on children and eviction for our presence in a fraught neighbourhood. Our presence is lawful and we believe more essential than ever.”

However, the internationals have stated their greatest concerns remain for the Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida and the disturbing intensification of both settler violence and the physical manifestations of the occupation, including an expansion of infrastructure used to limit movement on the streets. Echoing concerns by local Palestinian residents, a Dutch volunteer stated that such measures have created an alarming sense that, “Hebron is being ghettoized.” He added, “if the international community does not react to this now then the illegal settlement will surely take over all of Tel Rumeida…This is what we are most afraid of.”

The internationals, from Holland, Italy, Britain, Germany, Unites States, Poland, France and Australia have vowed to return to their work of protective presence, monitoring and journalism in the district and consider this to be an appalling reflection on Israel’s supposedly democratic ideals.

3-11-15blur kicked-out-of-the-appartement

internationals being forced to leave their apartment

SONY DSC

Closed military order presented to the internationals when told to leave apartment

map of closed military zoning presented to internationals

map of closed military zoning presented to internationals

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Syrian refugees to be given sanctuary on picturesque Scots island

Fifteen Syrian families fleeing camps on the war-torn country's borders will be given refuge on the isle of Bute

Fifteen Syrian families fleeing camps on the war-torn country’s borders will be given refuge on the isle of Bute

FAMILIES fleeing war-torn Syria are to be given refugee on a picturesque Scots island, as another local authority has confirmed it will take refugees.

Fifteen families will take up residence on the isle of Bute in the coming weeks, after being flown from camps in Lebanon.

They will be given assistance in securing work on the Firth of Clyde island, as well as accommodation via local housing associations.

Herald Scotland:

It comes Stirling Council confirmed it will be welcoming a small number of Syrian refugees before Christmas, following a meeting attended by several hundred residents of the area.

They too will come from refugee camps bordering Syria and be resettled in Stirling, where help and support will be available from third sector groups and public sector groups.

At least 2000 Syrian refugees are expected to be given sanctuary in Scotland in the coming years, with the first due to arrive in Glasgow by the end of last month .

Following talks between local authorities, the Home Office and Scottish Government, several hundred refugees will be flown from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and accommodated in Scotland by Christmas.

Len Scoular, Provost of Argyll and Bute Council, who lives on Bute, said: “People in Argyll and Bute are known for their warmth and friendliness, as has been proved by the huge offers of support already shown in communities across the area for those seeking refuge from Syria.

“People on Bute have stepped forward to offer skills and services they have to make the families feel welcome and to help them settle in. This will be invaluable for the families who must be feeling incredibly vulnerable and confused.”

The council said the refugees coming to live on Bute had “all been matched to the area because of the skills

and work experience they have”.

It said: “The Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus will give the refugees the same assistance in finding a job as any other unemployed person in Argyll and Bute.”

Accommodation is being provided by Argyll Community Housing Association and Fyne Homes.

Herald Scotland:

Mr Scoular added: “Our families, and I already feel comfortable calling them our families, are all currently in the Lebanon and, with the agencies working overseas, we have been very careful to match their experience and skills with those in our own communities. Hopefully this should make it easier for them to find employment.”

Arrangements are being made for support for the refugees on Bute, including interpreters and help with health, education and housing services.

Alisdair Johnston, chairman of the Isle of Bute Trust, a new group set up to help boost the island’s population and economy, said: “Any reversal in the population decline is a good thing, as long as the implications of people from a very different culture coming here has been thought through it should not be a problem.

“For example, we have two butchers on the island who do not slaughter their own meat and there is a good chance that (the Syrian families) will be Muslim, so the provision of halal meat could be a problem.”

Herald Scotland: Syrian refugees in Jordan

Johanna Boyd, Stirling Council leader, said the authority had been overwhelmed by the offers of support,

Stacey Burlet, Stirling’s director of communities and partnerships, said: “The success of Stirling’s response will be determined by how this small number of refugees settle within the community, and the impact this has on local residents.

“These people have encountered horrendous circumstances and are in great need of support, so we want to give them time and space to integrate with neighbours and community groups once they have settled here.”

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Palestinian Cameraman Assaulted near Jenin Checkpoint

Israeli forces, Wednesday afternoon, physically assaulted a Palestinian cameraman and confiscated his filming equipment near al-Jalama military checkpoint, north of Jenin.

Aanval op journalist

WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency reported on Muhammad Badarneh, who works as a reporter with Palestine TV station, as saying that while he and his colleague, Sakhr Zawatiya, who works as a cameraman, were about one kilometer far from al-Jalama checkpoint getting ready to film a report, Israeli forces assaulted them.

Badarneh and his colleague were working on a report documenting current situation of agriculture in the northern West Bank district of Jenin and conditions of Palestinian workers following the closure of the checkpoint.

Israeli soldiers reportedly assaulted Zawatiya using the butts of their riffles, shouted obscenities at him, and detained the crew for over half an hour.

They also seized two video tapes and the camera stand before threatening the crew to beat them up if they approach the checkpoint.

Badarneh noted that they have filed a complaint to the Palestinian military liaison and Joint Operations Room.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Calls for saving children with kidney failure in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)–  Dozens of Palestinian doctors and patients participated on Tuesday in a solidarity sit-in with children with kidney failure outside Rantisi Hospital for children.

The participants warned that the dialysis service provided for nearly 30 children with kidney failure in the hospital might stop by the end of this week, due to an acute shortage of spare filters and blood transfusion tubes.

Dr. Mustafa al-Aqila stated that halting the service will deprive 28 children of dialysis sessions, which means that they will enter into the real risk stage of the disease.

He pointed out that Hamdallah’s government did not provide the hospital with the dialysis supplies since being in office one year and a half ago.

“We have warned of the consequences of reaching such a critical stage,” he said, adding that they had launched urgent appeals for the provision of enough quantities of dialysis supplies and medicines for patients with renal failure, especially the children, whose weak bodies no longer bear delaying the hemodialysis sessions or the non-provision of dialysis treatment on a specified schedule.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Palestinian Minor Detainee Undergoes Leg Amputation

A 17-year-old Palestinian detainee incarcerated in Israeli jails had his leg amputated as a result of severe injuries he sustained in early October, after he was shot by Israeli settlers, revealed an official.

Arrestatie kind 041115

WAFA reported on Chairman of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees committee, Issa Qaraqe, as saying that Jalal Sharawna, 17, had his right leg amputated at Assaf Harofeh hospital in Israel.

Prior to his detention, Jalal suffered severe injuries in his right leg after he was shot and injured by Israeli settlers’ gunfire during clashes in the Hebron town of Dura.

Since his detention, Jalal reportedly underwent several surgeries to remove the bullets from his leg before it rotted, resulting in its amputation.

This came a day after the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said, in a press release, that Jalal underwent leg amputation as a result of intentional medical negligence and misinformation about his medical condition by Israeli Prison Service.

PPS explained that the Israeli Prison Service had been intentionally transferring Palestinian detainees, including Jalal, from hospitals back to jails before completing their medical treatments.

PPS indicated that the premature transferring of Jalal, who needed to receive ongoing medical treatment, caused his health condition to deteriorate and his right leg to be amputated.

PPC also explained that Jalal’s health condition deteriorated after he was discharged prematurely from Soroka hospital and transferred to Ramla Prison clinic.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Israeli troops ravage Palestinian homes, step up collective punishment

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) Tuesday evening broke into Palestinian civilian homes in the southern West Bank province of al-Khalil and blocked Palestinians’ free movement out of and into Jenin city.

Spokesperson for the local anti-settlement committee, Mohamed Awad, said an Israeli army patrol stormed three Palestinian family homes in al-Khalil’s town of Beit Ummar, and wreaked havoc on the buildings.

Violent clashes flared up in al-Khalil’s southwestern town of Beit Awa after the Israeli occupation troops attacked Palestinian civilians with heavy spates of tear gas canisters.

Scores of Palestinians reportedly choked on tear gas in the clashes.

Such arbitrary home break-ins make part of an Israeli policy of collective punishment aimed at cracking down on Palestinian anti-occupation activists and their families in the occupied West Bank.

The IOF stepped up its preplanned policies of collective punishment in Jenin city, closing the Jalama checkpoint and denying Palestinians living inside the Green Line the right to enter or exit Jenin on allegations of stabbing attempts.

The IOF further blocked the free movement of Palestinian shoppers and merchants in Jenin, sparking further tension across the West Bank.

(Source / 04.11.2015)

Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood can play role in Egypt before UK visit

In an interview with the BBC, Sisi signalled a possible softening of position towards the Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggested the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood could again play a role in public life if Egyptians wanted a return of the grouping he currently classifies as terrorist.

Sisi, who launched the toughest crackdown on Islamists in Egypt’s modern history after toppling President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood, was due in London on Wednesday on a visit to Britain criticised by rights campaigners.

The visit has drawn criticism from rights campaigners and some politicians, with the leader of Britain’s main opposition party saying it showed “contempt for human and democratic rights”.

In an interview with the BBC, Sisi signalled a possible softening of position towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The problem doesn’t lie with the government and it doesn’t lie with me. It lies with public opinion, with Egyptians. Egyptians are peaceful people and they don’t like violence. They reacted against the Muslim Brotherhood and are wary of them,” Sisi said in the TV interview, due to be broadcast in full on Thursday.

“This country is big enough to accommodate all of us. They are part of Egypt and so the Egyptian people must decide what role they can play.”

Protest

The Brotherhood, the Middle East’s oldest Islamist movement and long Egypt’s main political opposition, says it is committed to peaceful activism designed to reverse what it calls a military coup, when Sisi seized power from Mursi in 2013.

Security forces killed hundreds of Mursi supporters at street protests and thousands of others were arrested.

Senior Brotherhood leaders have been sentenced to death in what human rights groups call unfair trials.

Sisi has said tough security measures were needed to protect Egypt from what he describes as terrorist attacks by militants. ISIS’s Egypt affiliate has killed hundreds of soldiers and police since Mursi’s ouster.

The BBC said Sisi had stressed those sentenced to death would most likely not be executed because they were convicted in absentia or due to the appeals process.

Western diplomats say the death sentences could radicalise Islamists and would amount to political suicide.

Sisi’s visit to London comes soon after a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, when critics said Britain was selling off its assets to a country with a questionable rights record.

Around 150 demonstrators gathered outside Cameron’s Downing Street residence to protest against Sisi’s visit.

“David Cameron, can’t you see, Sisi killed democracy?” the group chanted from within a heavily-policed enclosure.

More than 50 lawmakers have signed a motion calling for the visit to be cancelled.

Cameron’s spokeswoman has said “no issues will be off the table” when the two leaders meet on Thursday. But Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said just welcoming Sisi “makes a mockery of government claims to be promoting peace and justice in the region”.

The Egyptian leader told the BBC efforts to improve democracy in Egypt were “a work in progress” which would take time, but his people now had the right to choose their leader.

“Now a president can only serve one or maximum two terms. Never again will Egyptians be ruled against their will,” he said. Egyptians have been ruled by men from the military since army officers deposed the monarchy in 1952.

“No one is oppressed in Egypt, but we are living through incredible times,” Sisi said. “Egypt doesn’t want to become like other countries in the region.”

(Source / 04.11.2015)