Mishaal calls for establishing unified national leadership to lead the intifada

DOHA, (PIC)– Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, has called for the establishment of a unified, national leadership that would lead the Jerusalem Intifada.

Mishaal told al-Quds satellite TV channel on Friday that all Palestinian factions and forces should agree on a unified program for the intifada.

They should also agree on the necessary tools to ensure its success and to thwart the Israeli occupation’s attempts to abort it, he added.

Mishaal said that topmost of the intifada goals should be getting rid of occupation and settlements in addition to foiling the Israeli occupation authority’s attempt to divide the holy Aqsa Mosque.

The Hamas leader emphasized that all in the Palestinian arena should draw a strategy and tactics for the intifada to “effectively achieve our unified goals”.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Palestinian dies, 4 Israelis injured in car accident near Ramallah

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian was killed and four Israelis lightly injured in a car accident near Kafr Aqab southeast of Ramallah on Saturday, Israel’s army said.The incident was initially reported as a vehicular attack on Israelis, although an Israeli army spokesperson later confirmed that it was an accident.It came shortly after another incident near Bethlehem was also initially incorrectly reported as a vehicular attack.A Palestinian driver reportedly burst through a flying checkpoint that Israeli forces had set up at the main entrance to the village of al-Khader south of Bethlehem.An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that the driver had not attempted to hit Israeli soldiers, but said they were still in the area searching for him.Residents of al-Khader told Ma’an that they had been prevented from leaving the village at gunpoint.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Beirut and Paris: A Tale of Two Terror Attacks

Unlike with the Paris attack, the world was silent when Lebanese mourned their dead after a deadly suicide attack killed at least 44 people and injured hundreds in Beirut a day earlier.

Unlike with the Paris attack, the world was silent when Lebanese mourned their dead after a deadly suicide attack killed at least 44 people and injured hundreds in Beirut a day earlier.

Where was the global sympathy when a terror attack left at least 44 people dead and 239 others injured in Lebanon? As news arrived yesterday of terror attacks in Paris that ultimately left more than 120 people dead, U.S. President Barack Obama characterized the situation as “heartbreaking” and an assault “on all of humanity.”

Presidential sympathy had been conspicuously absent the previous day when terror attacks in Beirut left more than 40 dead. Predictably, Western media and social media were much less vocal about the slaughter in Lebanon. And while many of us are presumably aware, to some degree, of the discrepancy in value assigned to people’s lives on the basis of nationality and other factors, the back-to-back massacres in Beirut and Paris served to illustrate without a doubt the fact that, when it comes down to it, “all of humanity” doesn’t necessarily qualify as human.

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Of course, there’s more to the story than the relative dehumanization of the Lebanese as compared with their French counterparts. There’s also the prevailing notion in the West that — as far as bombs, explosions, and killings go — Lebanon is simply One of Those Places Where Such Things Happen. The same goes for places like Iraq, to an even greater extent, which is part of the reason we don’t see Obama mourning attacks on all of humanity every time he reads the news out of Baghdad.

The situation in Iraq is also obviously more complicated — not to mention the ones in Afghanistan, Yemen, and other locations on the receiving end of U.S. military atrocities. Why doesn’t it break the president’s heart to order drone attacks and other life-extinguishing maneuvers? Short answer: because it’s not the job of superpowers to engage in self-reflection. Thus, Obama’s selective vision enables him to observe in the case of Paris: “We’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

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It bears mentioning that, in the case of Beirut, the city’s multi-sectarian composition has allowed for varying intra-metropolitan gradations of humanity, available for detection by the Orientalist eye. It’s safe to surmise that, had the recent suicide bombings taken place in, say, an upscale Beirut nightclub, beach resort, or other Lebanese venue about which the superficial Western media love to exclaim, the human fallout may have aroused more audience interest.

Indeed, had the victims been more “like us” than the otherized, eerie- and criminal-sounding inhabitants of Beirut’s southern suburbs where the bombings occurred — incessantly described by the sheeplike media as a “Hezbollah stronghold” or “Hezbollah bastion” — they’d have stood a much greater chance of breaking our hearts.

Hell, we might have even seen references to Beirut’s romanticized former identity as the “Paris of the Middle East.”

Following yesterday’s attacks in the Paris of Europe, meanwhile, Facebook users in the vicinity of the city were encouraged to check in as “safe” — an option not made available the previous day to Facebook users in Beirut. In her own Facebook status today, Professor Laleh Khalili of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London noted that, while the online social networking service had also offered the safety check-in after this year’s earthquakes in Nepal, Chile, and Afghanistan/Pakistan, the same “button is not offered to people in Palestine or Syria or Iraq or Lebanon and countless other zones of destruction.”

Khalili added:

“What might including Paris in the rank of ‘natural’ disasters mean other than a stripping of its politics, a kind of anti-politics that sees this as a story of good vs. evil or of suffering but without a history? Those other places are ‘political’ and their victims cannot be invoked in [Facebook’s] supposedly ‘neutral’ milieu.”

As for the clearly political repercussions of the Paris massacre, which French President François Hollande has blamed on the Islamic State group, persecuted refugees and minorities naturally stand to bear the brunt of the inevitable racist and xenophobic backlash — a godsend for right-wing European politicians and organizations, keen to exploit the bloodshed to the max in the service of their own sociopathic visions.

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In its live updates on the aftermath, the British Guardian reported today that “Poland has announced it will no longer take refugees via an EU program, in a deeply controversial statement which linked the [refugee] crisis to the killings in Paris.”

Unfortunately, however, there are a whole lot of people who won’t see such a move as controversial at all. And as the obstacles to refugee existence multiply, what’s often forgotten is that events like the Paris massacre pale quantitatively in comparison to the situations many refugees are fleeing — ones in which the West itself is often implicated.

In a world far superior to the one we have, the scenario might qualify as an assault on all humanity.

The fact that it doesn’t is truly heartbreaking.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Why ISIS would attack Paris, according to an expert

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If ISIS was telling the truth when it claimed responsibility for Friday’s Paris terror attacks, then this represents a “major shift in ISIS’s global strategy,” according to Will McCants.

McCants is the director of the Brookings Institution’s Project on US Relations with the Islamic World, and the author of The ISIS Apocalypse — one of the best books to date on the group. I called him on Saturday to try to understand what lessons about ISIS we should draw from the Paris attacks if indeed the group is responsible as both it and the French government say.

McCants cautioned that we still don’t know a lot about the Paris attacks. But in recent weeks, he says, ISIS has launched a suicide attack against an area in Lebanon where Hezbollah is strong. It’s also suspected of bombing a Russian civilian airliner in Egypt. These attacks together, he says, suggest that ISIS is lashing out. It’s been losing territoryin Syria and Iraq, and this might be a response — an effort to deter further intervention against it by showing foreign powers that they’ll pay a price.

If McCants is right, then the Paris attacks suggest that we could be at a watershed moment for ISIS. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.


Zack Beauchamp: If the Paris attack was, as it seems, done by ISIS, what would this tell us about their strategy?

Will McCants: It would tell us that they are willing to hit their primary enemies in foreign places where they are most vulnerable, and note that all three of those attacks [Paris, Beirut, Russian airliner] were not on government sites. They were on civilians, they were all complex, and they were all high casualty.

If ISIS directed this plot in Paris, it’s also a shift in its operational focus and capability. Before this, they had satisfied themselves with trying to inspire attacks. But anyone skilled who’s abroad, they were primarily trying to attract them to Syria and Iraq for state building. This would suggest that they have changed their focus and are willing to direct more resources to foreign operations.

Zack Beauchamp: Why would ISIS start devoting resources to international terrorism now, when previously they’ve focused much more on taking and holding territory in Syria and Iraq?

Will McCants: We can’t know for sure. I can come up with some plausible reasons, but it’s completely guesswork.

One type of explanation is that this is primarily about recruits and keeping momentum going. You could say that this is part of the broader struggle to displace al-Qaeda as the head of the global jihad — think of it as part of a competition with them for recruits. They’ve also been losing some territory, and are trying to mitigate those losses by focusing people’s attention abroad with a mind to attracting recruits.

Another explanation is that they want to deter further military action against its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, so they are going after some of their primary enemies.

Or you could say that that they’ve had international terrorist intentions all along, but they never had the capability or the opportunity.

Any of those is plausible, so the challenge is for us trying to make sense of it on the outside. We just don’t know what’s going on in their own internal deliberation, and we might not know for years. If you look at the aftermath of 9/11, we didn’t know exactly why they had undertaken those attacks for years.

Zack Beauchamp: Of those explanations that you’ve offered, which one do you think is the most plausible?

Will McCants: I guess if this were just about an attack in Europe, you might say that it is in reprisal for the attacks being carried out in Syria and Iraq. I don’t see this as necessarily part of the propaganda effort or the war with al-Qaeda, because they’ve already succeeded in attracting far, far more recruits.

Given the target of a major enemy in Europe, in light of attacks on Russian civilians and an Iranian ally in Lebanon, it seems to me that this has to do with the war to expand its territory in Syria and Iraq. It is putting its major adversaries on notice that if they continue to impede its state building that they will pay a price.

Zack Beauchamp: ISIS has recently lost a fair amount of territory in Iraq and Syria. If this shift in strategy is real, is it borne out of weakness?

Will McCants: I don’t know that you could say it’s weakness because they’re still pretty strong. But they have lost something like 25 percent of their territory.

I think it has made the calculation that it can no longer pursue its expansion strategy in Syria and Iraq without changing the calculations of the enemies currently halting its expansion. These attacks would be a way of inflicting costs on them.

Zack Beauchamp: How reasonable a calculation on their part is this? French President François Hollande’s rhetoric after the attack gives the impression that France is likely to intensify its bombing efforts in Syria and Iraq rather than scale them back.

Will McCants: Yeah. I think attacks like these are going to give France, Iran, Russia, and the United States common cause in curtailing the ISIS advance. Especially if these plots go back to ISIS central — if they have operatives that were trained and financed from headquarters in Raqqa.

I think those governments are going to determine enough is enough. They have had other priorities in the destruction of ISIS, and that might change their calculations. If that is the intent of ISIS, to deter them from further military action, I anticipate it will have failed because we are going to see a lot more military action against ISIS.

Zack Beauchamp: How would you want the French and American governments to think about their military response to this attack?

Will McCants: The challenge for governments in responding to this kind of stuff is to wait until you know exactly what your enemy is trying to provoke you to do. If we don’t know why ISIS did these things, we risk making some major blunders that play into its hand.

Think about 9/11. Al-Qaeda told us vaguely in the propaganda, “You’re the crusaders, and we want to get you out of here.” But the real strategy behind the attacks wasn’t revealed for a few years, and they came from internal al-Qaeda memoranda that later surfaced. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, we didn’t understand then that Al-Qaeda was dearly hoping for a large military deployment so that it could bog us down and win this propaganda war.

We made the right decision early on — that went against al-Qaeda — by going in Afghanistan. But we made a different decision in Iraq, and it played into their hands. There’s a similar worry here, and without knowing exactly why ISIS undertook these attacks, we risk dancing to their tune.

Zack Beauchamp: You mentioned earlier that it’s not obvious that this was planned from ISIS headquarters. This seems like a very sophisticated attack. How do you assess the likelihood that this was centrally planned versus something that ISIS sympathizers in and around Paris set up on their own?

Will McCants: Because it’s so complicated, both in terms of the timing and coordination, it goes against the idea that these were just some guys who decided to pick up weapons and wreak havoc. It strongly suggests some training abroad, at least by some of the members, if not direct coordination.

I’m also mindful, Zack, that this comes at the end of two weeks where we have seen two other high-profile, high-casualty, complex attacks on Russia with the airliner and on Hezbollah with the attack in Beirut. One guy in Beirut whose suicide bomb failed to detonate said that he was sent there by ISIS directly. That history — together, then, with the complexity of the Paris attacks — suggests to me that ISIS Central has a guiding hand in this.

But look, all of that could prove to be wrong. Only diligent intelligence work is going to find out the truth of it. But if you have to read tea leaves, that would be my guess.

Zack Beauchamp: What’s striking to me is it just didn’t seem, previously, that ISIS had the capability to plan this type of international attack. Does this tell us something, if it was in fact centrally planned, about ISIS’s capabilities that we didn’t understand previously?

Will McCants: Yeah. I mean, if this does go back to ISIS Central, it suggests that they were shifting resources towards developing a foreign operation capability. I remember there was an article from a few months ago, reporting from anonymous intelligence sources, saying that they were thinking about this kind of shift, but we didn’t see it in their targeting or attack strategy. They may have been developing this capability for quite some time and it’s only now that they are unleashing it.

Even if it’s not centrally planned, it’s very bad. If they’re not even trying to coordinate this kind of stuff, and their affiliates or fan boys can do it on their own, it’s quite troubling.

But if the Paris attack was centrally directed, it’s even worse. ISIS is a state that has millions of dollars that it can spend on these kind of operations.

We’re not talking about al-Qaeda hiding out in Pakistan. We’re talking about an actual government that has money to put behind plots and has very motivated people, many of them with European passports that can carry them out. That’s a real problem for the counter-terrorism security apparatus if ISIS has indeed shifted its goal or strategy. That’s the first thing to determine: Did ISIS Central do this? Did they do all three?

(Source / 14.11.2015)

US backs new EU labeling guidelines for goods from illegal Israeli settlements

A Palestinian man watches Israeli heavy machinery as they demolish apartment blocs in the occupied West Bank settlement of Beit El near Ramallah on July 29, 2015. (Reuters photo)

A Palestinian man watches Israeli heavy machinery as they demolish apartment blocs in the occupied West Bank settlement of Beit El near Ramallah on July 29, 2015

The United States has backed a decision made by the European Union to label goods from the illegal Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land.

The US State Department said on Thursday it doesn’t consider the new EU rule banning “Made in Israel” tags on goods produced in the occupied West Bank as a boycott of the Zionist regime.

The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on labeling of products from the settlements illegally constructed by Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories.

The European Commission “adopted this morning the Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” Reuters quoted an EU official as saying on Wednesday.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the EU rule. PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat referred to the decision as a “significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements, which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called the labeling “a politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step, that [the European Union] learned from the world of boycotts,” referring to the international movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, known as BDS.

The campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained momentum in recent years

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday  that American officials “do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.”

“And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel,” Toner added.

The BDS boycott campaign against Israel over its apartheid policies toward the Palestinians has gained momentum globally in recent years.

The BDS movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The BDS campaign against Israel began in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations, which calls for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his subordinates have called the BDS campaign a new form of terrorism to delegitimize Israel.

Supporters of the movement, including a growing number of American Jews, have called such criticism a fearmongering and divisive tactic meant to prevent legitimate debate about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

Much of the international community, including the EU and US, regards the Israeli settlements illiegal

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The United Nations, the United States and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

High-ranking US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have repeatedly said that all Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Samidoun participating in International League of People’s Struggles Assembly in Manila

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is participating in the Fifth International Assembly of theInternational League of People’s Struggles in Manila, the Philippines. ILPS is an international anti-imperialist alliance of mass organizations and progressive and revolutionary social movements around the world. Samidoun is a member of ILPS; Mohammed Khatib of Samidoun in Europe is representing the network as a resource person for the Assembly on the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners, and Aiyanas Ormond of Samidoun in Canada will also be representing ILPS Canada and several mass organizations in Vancouver.

The Assembly will include meetings, workshops and voting sessions on struggles and movements of peoples around the world.  Hundreds of organizations are participating in the assembly, which also comes as part of an international protest against APEC, the Association of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, which has played a major role in undermining the sovereignty of formerly colonized nations and developing countries for the benefit of multinational corporations and promoting international mining interests which have been devastating to agricultural and working class communities and the environment in the Philippines and internationally.

Mohammed Khatib of Samidoun will also participate in an event at the University of the Philippines in Manila, speaking about the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners and joining in the launch of the Philippines-Palestine Solidarity Association.

Samidoun is joining fellow Palestinian and Palestine solidarity leaders, activists and organizations participating in the ILPS conference, including Leila Khaled, Palestinian resistance leader and Political Bureau Member of leftist Palestinian political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Khaled spoke at the International Women’s Assembly on 11 November, focusing on the struggle of Palestinian women as well as the case of imprisoned Palestinian leftist parliamentarian and political leader Khalida Jarrar. Khaled also participated in an international event denouncing the APEC conference on 12 November, in support of an international popular movement against imperialism, capitalism and exploitation.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (05 – 11 November 2015)

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (05 – 11 November 2015).

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Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza:

Shootings

Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed similar attacks. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child and 2 women; one of whom is elderly, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Moreover, they wounded 124 Palestinian civilians, including 49 children, 3 young women and a paramedic; 19 of whom were in the Gaza Strip and the remaining others were wounded in the West Bank. Concerning the nature of injury, 90 Palestinian civilians were hit with live bullets, 28 ones were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and 6 others were hit with sound bombs and tear gas canisters.

In the West Bank, killings committed by Israeli forces were as follows:

On 05 November 2015, Israeli forces deployed in the vicinity of “Gosh Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, opened fire at Malek al-Sharif (24), from Hebron, while being present near a bus stop on bypass road (60), due to which, he was killed. Israeli forces claimed that the aforementioned person attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.v On 06 November 2015, Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle with a Palestinian registration plate while passing by a gas station at the northern entrance to Hebron. As a result, the driver namely Sarweh al-Sha’rawi (72), from the city, was killed. She was taken to an unknown destination and was pronounced dead later.

On 08 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, shot dead Suleiman Shaheen (22), from al-Bireh. Israeli websites stated that once a Palestinian, who was driving a vehicle, approached a bus stop at Za’tara checkpoint, he drove fast towards a group of settlers at the bus stop. As a result, 3 of them were wounded. Wounds of 2 of them were serious. However, Israeli forces shot him dead.

On 09 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed at “Eliyahu” crossing, southeast of Qalqilya, shot dead Rasha Ewaisi (23), from the city. Israeli forces declared, “A young woman approached the aforementioned crossing. When Israeli forces asked her to stop several times, she refused, due to which she was shot dead.”

On 10 November 2015, Israeli settler security guards opened fire at Mohammed Nemer (37), from al-Eisawiya, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, while walking on al-Mesrara Street, opposite to al-Amoud Gate in the Old City. As a result, he sustained several bullet wounds, due to which he was taken to Hadassa-Ein Kerem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Israeli forces claimed that Nemer was following the guards and hurried up trying to stab one of them, but both of them directly responded. They opened fire at him and neutralized him. Owners of stores in al-Mesrara neighbourhood refuted the Israeli story.

At approximately 15:50, Israeli forces stationed at the “Container” military checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, opened fire at Sadeq Gharbiya (16), from Sanour village, south of Jenin, under the pretext that he hurried up towards the Israeli soldiers trying to stab someone. As a result, he fell to the ground covered in blood before he passed away.

During the reporting period, 105 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including 49 children; two of whom were wounded in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian civilians wounded in the West Bank were as follows:

In peaceful protests against Israeli policies: 76 Palestinian civilians, including 30 children, were wounded. Fifty-four of them were hit with live bullets and 22 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets. In peaceful protests against Israeli incursion: 24 Palestinian civilians, including 17 children and a woman, were wounded. Twenty of them were hit with live bullets, 2 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and 2 were hit with sound bombs and tear gas canisters.

In peaceful protests against the annexation wall and settlement activities: 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded. One of whom was hit with a live bullet and 2 others were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets. Palestinian civilians wounded in occupied Jerusalem: 2 children were wounded. One of whom was hit with live bullets and a second was hit with sound bomb shrapnel.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilians and wounded 19 others; including a paramedic. Fourteen of them were hit with live bullets, 2 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and 3 others were hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.

On 06 November 2015, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at dozens of Palestinian youngsters throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers. As a result, Salama Abu Jame’ (23), from Bani Suhaila village, was killed with a live bullet to the chest.

The Palestinian civilians wounded in the Gaza Strip were as follows:

North of the Gaza Strip: 7 civilians were wounded; 3 of whom sustained live bullet wounds, 2 sustained rubber bullet wounds and 2 others were hit with tear gas canisters.
Central Gaza Strip: 9 Palestinian civilians were wounded; 8 of whom sustained live bullet wounds and a paramedic was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.
Khan Yunis: 3 Palestinian civilians sustained live bullet wounds.

In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen, on 08 November 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Yunis shore, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishermen, but no casualties were reported.

On 11 November 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire around Palestinian fishing boats sailing of al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

Concerning airstrikes, on 09 November 2015, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a training site for al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas movement), near al-Hashash neighbourhood, northwest of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

Incursions

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 57 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 17 ones in occupied East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 118 Palestinian civilians, including 27 children and 2 women. Twenty-seven of these civilians, including 17 children and the 2 women, were arrested in East Jerusalem.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces raided houses belonging to families of Palestinian accused of carrying out stabbing and run-over attacks. They verbally threatened the families to demolish their houses within a week. Moreover, they raided the office of the Islamic Charitable Association in al-Shyoukh village, east of Hebron, and confiscated its contents.

In the Gaza Strip, on 05 November 2015, Israeli forces moved about 100 meters to the west of the border fence, east of al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. They levelled lands for few hours and withdrew later.

Restrictions on movement

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.8 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 38.8%, 21.1% of which suffer from extreme poverty. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 44%, which reflects the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

Efforts to create a Jewish majority

Concerning house demolitions, on 05 November 2015, Israeli bulldozers demolished a room in al-Mukaber Mountain village, southeast of East Jerusalem, belonging to Yasser Bashir, under the pretext of non-licensing.

On 08 November 2015, Israeli municipality crews moved into Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the protection of Israeli forces. They delivered 9 administrative demolition notices in al-Bustan village.

Settlement activities

Israel has continued its settlement activities in the oPt, a direct violation of international humanitarian law, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

Israeli forces’ attacks

· At approximately 06:30 on Tuesday, 10 November 2015, Israeli forces accompanied by bulldozers and diggers moved into agricultural lands adjacent to Te’nek village, northwest of Jenin, which are part of Marj Ebn Amer plain. They deployed in the fields, where the bulldozers and diggers started bridging water wells under the protection of Israeli forces. An hour later, Israeli forces withdrew and no further incidents were reported. The water wells that were demolished belong to Emad Isma’il Jaradat (53), Suleiman Salman Zyoud (37), No’man Yusef Ahmed Jaradat (44). The aforementioned persons are all from Silet al-Harithiya village, northwest of Jenin.

· At approximately 10:00, on the same day, Israeli forces accompanied by Civil Administration officers moved into al-Qarn area, south of Beit Ommer village, north of Hebron. They confiscated 1,000 bricks from a house belonging to Zeyad Mohammed Yusef Abu Ayash under the pretext of non-licensing.

Recommendations to the International Community:

PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.

In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the latest 51-day offensive against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:

1. PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine;

2. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;

3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;

4. PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;

5. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed; 6. PCHR calls on States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;

7. PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;

8. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;

9. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;

10. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;

11. PCHR calls upon the international community, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;

12. PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;

13. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;

Fully detailed document, including info on protests, patrols and border crossings available at the official PCHR website.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Soldiers Wound Seven Palestinians In Bethlehem

Palestinian medical sources have reported, Saturday, that six Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and one was directly shot with a gas bomb, during clashes with Israeli soldiers invading the northern entrance area of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Gewonde in Bethlehem

The Red Crescent in Bethlehem said its medics provided the needed medical treatment to the seven Palestinians, in addition to eighteen others who suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

It added that one of the wounded, a young man, suffered a fracture in his arm after being directly shot with a gas bomb, and was moved to the Beit Jala Governmental hospital for treatment.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Pro-Palestinian Scottish lawmaker strip-searched on Israel trip

Pro-Palestinian Scottish lawmaker Andy Murray

Pro-Palestinian Scottish lawmaker Andy Murray

A pro-Palestinian Scottish lawmaker travelling to the occupied Palestinian territories on a parliamentary fact-finding mission has been strip-searched by Israeli forces upon arrival and refused entry.

Andrew Murray, the head of the Friends of Palestine group in the Scottish National Party (SNP), was detained at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday and held in custody for over 24 hours, he told AFP on Friday.

“They strip-searched me, scanned me, swabbed me everywhere,” Murray said, adding, “Twice I asked for representation from the British embassy, twice I was told no.”

He was later deported and banned from entering the occupied territories for 10 years, apparently over his campaign for Palestinian rights.

Carol Monaghan, a member of the SNP, said that she “absolutely condemned” the Israelis’ behavior, adding, “Andy was there on a peaceful, fact-finding trip.”

Sabine Haddad, a spokesperson for Israel’s interior ministry, claimed that Murray lied about the reason of his trip by saying he was a tourist.

Murray, however, responded that he did not lie about any of the questions asked.

(Source / 14.11.2015)

Thousands attend funerals of two Palestinians slain in clashes

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Thousands of Palestinians gathered in the Hebron and Ramallah districts of the occupied West Bank Saturday for separate funerals of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes.

Near Hebron, mourners carried the body of Hassan Jihad al-Baw, 23, whowas shot in the heart on Friday in the town of Halhul and killed immediately, medics told Ma’an at the time.
The 23-year-old was given a symbolic military funeral that departed from Hebron’s al-Ahli hospital. Palestinian security forces took part in the funeral as his body was carried to his family home in Halhul.
Al-Baw’s relatives bid him a final goodbye before he was taken to Nabi Younis Mosque and then to the al-Shuhada cemetery where he was buried.
Mourners demanded international protection and a response to “Israeli violations and executions against Palestinians,” while stores in Halhul were closed in mourning for al-Baw’s death upon request of the Fatah movement in Hebron.

The funeral of Hassan Jihad al-Baw, 23, shot by Israeli forces.

The funeral of Hassan Jihad al-Baw, 23, shot by Israeli forces.
Clashes erupted after the funeral when Palestinian youths threw stones at an Israeli military checkpoint located at the southern entrance of Halhul, locals said.
Israeli forces opened fire, injuring five demonstrators with live fire, Ramzi abu Yousif, the head of a health committee at the Halhul Medical Center told Ma’an.
Yousif added that the injured were transferred to a hospital in Hebron for medical treatment, where one was undergoing surgery after being shot in the pelvis.
The other four injured were in stable condition, Yousif said.
Meanwhile in the Ramallah-area town of Budrus, mourners buried Lafi Yusif Awad, 22.
Awad was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes in the town Friday after the Israeli army said he attempted to grab a soldier’s weapon.The funeral set off from the Ramallah Governmental Hospital and headed towards Budrus, around 30 kilometers away.
Awad’s body was carried on the shoulders of relatives to his home and then to the village’s cemetery.
Six Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes erupted following the funeral. Dozens of Budrus residents fled to the Israeli separation wall, destroying a section of the concrete barrier that cuts across private land of residents, locals told Ma’an.Israeli forces opened fire on residents while youths threw rocks and empty bottles, locals added.

The funeral of Lafi Youssef Awad, 21, shot by Israeli forces

The funeral of Lafi Youssef Awad, 21, shot by Israeli forces

The funeral of Lafi Youssef Awad, 21, shot by Israeli forces

Al-Baw and Awad were two of three Palestinians to die on Friday after being shot by Israeli military forces during clashes.
Earlier on Friday Issa Shalaldah, 22, succumbed to injuries after being shot by Israeli forces during clashes that broke out in the village of Sair following the funeral of Abdullah Shalaldah, 28, who was killed by undercover while visiting his cousin in a hospital.
The town of Halhul where al-Baw was killed has been site to heightened tensions over the past two weeks.
Last week Tharwat al-Sharawi, 72, was shot dead after Israeli forces said she attempted to run over soldiers in a Halhul gas station.
Days after, an Israeli border policeman died from injuries sustained after being hit by a car at the Halhul junction on Nov. 4. The Palestinian driver, Ibrahim Skafi, 22, was shot dead at the scene of the attack.
The deaths are part of an increase in violence that initially escalated in October between Israeli military forces, settlers and Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory and has continued on into this month.
(Source / 14.11.2015)