Israeli troops force Palestinian family off land during olive harvest

HEBRON (Ma’an) – Israeli troops on Sunday forced a Palestinian family off their agricultural land during an olive harvest for the second time in two days, a popular committee spokesperson told Ma’an.Muhammad Ayyad Awad said Israeli troops forced Hammad Abdul-Hamid Sleibi and his family to leave the family’s olive fields on the outskirts Beit Ummar, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron.Sleibi said that security guards from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin first arrived to tell the family to leave. The security guards allegedly pointed their guns at the family and threatened them, telling them not to come back to the area.The family refused to leave their land, and Israeli forces soon showed up to the scene and shot tear gas and stun grenades at the family, forcing them to flee.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.The incident was the second time that the Sleibi family had been forced to leave their land in the middle of an olive harvest in 48 hours.Awad highlighted that on Friday morning, Israeli soldiers told Sleibi that in order to be allowed to access his land, he would need to obtain a special permit from Israel’s Civil Administration. The forces then made Sleibi and his family leave the area.According to Awad, Sleibi said he has, and will continue to refuse to ask the Israeli government for permission to access his own land.
While Beit Ummar’s built-up areas are predominantly classified as Area B under the Oslo Accords, the majority of its surrounding land is classified Area C, under full Israeli control.
Palestinians need to obtain special permits from the Israeli government to farm or build on any Area C land.Area C makes up around 60 percent of all of the occupied West Bank, and “includes almost all the land of the West Bank suitable for agricultural production,” according to a 2014 report by the World Bank.The report found that if the arable land in Area C were allowed to be irrigated and farmed, production could increase by $1.068 billion — more than double the amount of foreign aid the Palestinian Authority receives from the United States.According to a separate study by the World Bank, the agricultural sector accounts for 25 percent of the GDP in the occupied Palestinian Territory, 15 to 20 percent of which comes from olive harvesting.
(Source / 16.11.2015)

Israeli navy opens fire on fishermen off Gaza coast

Gaza's fishermen

‘Since the end of last year’s Israeli offensive on Gaza, the Israeli navy has opened fire on fishermen 7,036 times, wounding 28 fishermen and killing one’

Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast yesterday, causing all fishing boats to flee and leaving the fishing nets in the sea, the Syndicate of Palestinian fishermen told QudsNet.

According to the Syndicate, no causalities were reported in the incident, but it reiterated that the fishing nets “must have been damaged.”

In its report, QudsNet described the repeated Israeli strikes on Gazan fishermen as part of “training” for Israel’s naval troops.

“Since the end of last year’s Israeli offensive on Gaza, the Israeli navy has opened fire on fishermen 7,036 times, wounding 28 fishermen and killing one,” fisherman Zakaria Baker told QudsNet.

Baker revealed that the Israeli navy has been using new weapons such as guided missiles to damage the fishing boats and sink them. He also said that they intentionally damage the fishing nets and make them unusable.

In addition, Baker added that the Israeli navy has blocked more than 90 fishing boats in Ashdod Seaport, all of which were confiscated from fishermen during their work.

Baker said that the Israeli measures have pushed hundreds of fishermen to stop working and thus caused hundreds of families to lose their source of income.

The head of the Association of Palestinian Fishermen, Mahfouz Al-Kabariti, spoke toQudsNet and explained that the Israeli navy targets Palestinian fishermen for a variety of reasons, including: “Pushing fishermen to leave their profession, which is a good sources of income, blackmailing fishermen who are arrested to get intelligence information and to keep the fishermen away from the area which contains natural gas reserves.”

Al-Kabariti complained of the lack of official Palestinian, Arabic and international solidarity with the Palestinian fishermen. He also complained of the lack of sustained support from international NGOs, whose role is limited to relief efforts.

Al-Kabariti called on Palestinian, Arab and international officials, as well as NGO executives, to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its violations against fishermen.

(Source / 16.11.2015)

Former Mossad head: ‘major mistake’ not to recognise 2006 Palestinian elections

Efraim Halevy

Efraim Halevy believes that not recognising Hamas’ winning of 74 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament has led to the Palestinian political arena becoming ‘a failed system’

Former head of Mossad Efraim Halevy has called Israel’s refusal to recognise the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections, in which Hamas emerged victorious, a “major mistake.”

Halevy made the remarks on Thursday, but they were first published by Israeli newspaperHa’aretz on Sunday.

Addressing the 2006 poll for the Palestinian Legislative Council, Halevy – who served for decades in various positions within Mossad and as director from 1998-2002 – stated that “[Israel] should have recognised the democratically achieved result in the election, which we did not do.”

This was a “major mistake”, according to Halevy, because it resulted in the Palestinian political arena becoming “a failed system.” Halevy additionally urged Israel to end its opposition to a Palestinian government “in which Hamas participates”, a policy he also described as a “mistake.”

(Source / 16.11.2015)

Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Eight Teenagers In Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, several Palestinian communities in different parts of occupied Jerusalem, and kidnapped eights teenagers.

Kidnap silwan van kind1

The soldiers invaded and searched several homes, and interrogated many residents, before kidnapping the eight teenagers.

The kidnapped have been identified as Waleed Tuffaha, 19, Odai Da’ajna, 16, Ahmad Adaween, 16, Taher Sarhan, 19, Anas Abu Mayyala, 21, Mahmoud Manna, 19, Mohammad Mazen Hijazi, 17, and Taher Sarhan, 19.

The soldiers moved them to a number of detention and interrogation centers in occupied Jerusalem.

Also on Monday, the soldiers kidnapped four Palestinians in Jenin and Nablus,five in Hebron, and a young woman, in the Deheishe refugee camp, in Bethlehem.

The army also killed two Palestinians, wounded more than 34 others and demolished a home, in Qalandia, north of occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 16.11.2015)

Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members

© Alexei Druzhinin

President Vladimir Putin says he’s shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states.

During the summit, “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists.

Putin also spoke of the urgent need to curb the illegal oil trade by IS.

I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” he said.

The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon,” Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems.

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It’s not the right time to try and figure out which country is more and which is less effective in the battle with Islamic State, as now a united international effort is needed against the terrorist group, Putin said.

Putin reiterated Russia’s readiness to support armed opposition in Syria in its efforts to fight Islamic State.

“Some armed opposition groups consider it possible to begin active operations against IS with Russia’s support. And we are ready to provide such support from the air. If it happens it could become a good basis for the subsequent work on a political settlement,” he said.

“We really need support from the US, European nations, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran,” the president added.

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Putin pointed out the change in Washington’s stance on cooperation with Moscow in the fight against the terrorists.

We need to organize work specifically concentrated on the prevention of terrorist attacks and tackling terrorism on a global scale. We offered to cooperate [with the US] in anti-IS efforts. Unfortunately, our American partners refused. They just sent a written note and it says: ‘we reject your offer’,” Putin said.

But life is always evolving and at a very fast pace, often teaching us lessons. And I think that now the realization that an effective fight [against terror] can only be staged together is coming to everybody,” the Russian leader said.

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According to Putin, first of all it should be decided which groups in Syria can be considered terrorist organizations and which can be attributed to an armed, but still legitimate part of the Syrian opposition.

Our efforts must be concentrated on the battle with terrorist organizations.

Putin also disagreed with Western criticism of Russia’s actions in Syria, where the country has been carrying out a large-scale air campaign against Islamic State and other terror groups since September 30.

It’s really difficult to criticize us,” he said, adding that Russia has repeatedly asked its foreign partners to provide data on terrorist targets in Syria.

They’re afraid to inform us on the territories which we shouldn’t strike, fearing that it is precisely where we’ll strike; that we are going to cheat everybody,” the president said.

Apparently, their opinion of us is based on their own concept of human decency,” he added.

Putin told the media that Russia has already established contact with the Syrian opposition, which has asked Moscow not carry out airstrikes in the territories it controls.

Still no conclusion on what caused Sinai plane crash

It’s too early to make conclusions about the reasons for the crash of the Russian A321 jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in late October, as all possible reasons are still being considered by the investigators, Putin said.

We know about all the possible scenarios, all of the scenarios are being considered. The final conclusion can only be made after the implementation and completion of the inspection,” he stressed.

If there was an explosion, the traces of explosives would have remained on the liner’s cover and on the belongings of the passengers. It’s inevitable. And we have enough equipment and skilled, world class experts, capable of finding those traces. Only then would it be possible to speak about the reasons for this tragedy,” the president added.

With 224 people dying in the crash, Putin said that “it’s a huge emotional pain for all of us; for all Russian people, no matter what the cause of the crash was.

(Source / 16.11.2015)

Ashrawi: Netanyahu is cynically exploiting the tragic events in Paris by deliberately creating a false analogy and a fraudulent linkage

hananashrawi

In response to media inquiries, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi commented:

“In his recent statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cynically exploiting the pain of the innocent victims of Daesh terrorism in Paris in order to create a misleading linkage and to justify Israeli state terror against the Palestinian people, while presenting Israel as the victim. In fact, Israel is an occupying power, and the Israelis who are in Palestine are either soldiers of the occupation army or illegal settlers colonizing the land.

The Israeli occupation has habitually terrorized Palestinian civilians, stolen their land and resources and demolished their homes; yet Netanyahu disingenuously claims self-defense while labeling any form of Palestinian reaction as “terrorism.” Nowhere is a people under occupation held responsible for the safety and protection of its occupiers, and nowhere else is a ruthless occupier presenting itself as the victim and justifying its atrocities as self-defense.

The military occupation is an ongoing aggression targeting Palestinians viciously and relentlessly while enjoying full impunity. Netanyahu is attempting to exploit the cruel and inhuman terrorism of Daesh in order to score cheap political points at the expense of the Palestinian people.

His statements are not only fraudulent and politically coercive, they are symptomatic of political and moral bankruptcy.”

(Source / 16.11.2015)

The destruction of the Palestinian presence in Syria

File photo of the destruction caused by barrell bombs in Aleppo, home to the majority of Palestinians in Syria before the war

File photo of the destruction caused by barrell bombs in Aleppo, home to the majority of Palestinians in Syria before the war

Becoming a refugee is the embodiment of a miserable human weakness. People do so because there are factors threatening their safety, factors that push refugees to leave their land and go elsewhere with no protection. Because the process of seeking refugee status is down to human weakness and misfortune, it in turn requires attention and protection under international law. The protection of the refugee in law is meant to safeguard his or her right of return and put a time limit on this difficult and disruptive experience. It is meant to guarantee their safe return to their homeland, which is why the refugee is prevented from seeking citizenship in the host country. Sadly, refugee status is an on-going condition for millions of people.

Life in Syria for Palestinian refugees has long been a positive experience when compared to those in neighbouring countries, as many Palestinians were given the opportunity to integrate within Syrian society. Similarly, many Syrians have willingly joined Palestinian factions and given up their lives for the cause. Both Palestinians and Syrians chose to engage jointly in political life through the Ba’ath Party and excelled in this regard. There are also those who joined the opposition forces and were consequently thrown in prison for many years. In both cases, Palestinian affiliations with political life in Syria were not a cause for concern or a threat to Palestinian issues or progress towards political freedom. Similarly, Syrian affiliations with the Palestinian factions did not push the latter into interfering with Syrian issues, despite the constant Syrian interference in the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinians in Syria suffered from the same things that Syrian citizens suffered from, whether with regards to living conditions, economic status or the regime’s iron grip on social life. The Palestinian refugee camps across the country were affected by the same things as the rest of the Syrian population; they were viewed and treated as one by the Syrian security agencies. The Palestinians were not seen as an outside entity but part of the society and so the authoritarian regime controlled both groups equally. In contrast, Palestinians and their camps in the south of Lebanon are considered to be a threat to Lebanese security.

There was no particular threat to Palestinian life in Syria despite the many political and ideological differences between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Assad regime. The only thing that would lead Palestinians to leave Syria would be the chance to return to Palestine itself.

Now, though, it looks as if this once unshakeable constant is falling apart. It is impossible for a refugee’s status to remain secure when the host country itself is disintegrating; the Palestinian presence in Syria cannot stay the same under the country’s current conditions, with the whole of Syria in dire straits due mainly to the barbarity of the Damascus regime. The fighting has spread and affected Palestinian refugee camps and communities; the camps are not immune to attacks by the regime air force.

It is thus understandable that Palestinian refugees now feel little, if any, affiliation with Syria. At this stage, the vulnerability and frailty of living in exile is exposed; the rules changed after the refugee camps were shelled by the regime.

The largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria was Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus. As in most camps, life was miserable, but it developed into one of the most well-known neighbourhoods in the capital city. It is no coincidence that many called Yarmouk the capital of the Palestinian diaspora.

The camp would not have reached this relative level of prosperity were it not for the Syrian government’s decision to give Palestinian refugees the right to work. It is ironic that the government which granted this right was the democratic parliament of 1954, known as the most representative government in the history of modern Syria. However, the focus of this story is not the law itself, as we all know that it is possible to manipulate laws in the Arab world. What is more important is the Palestinian experience in Syria and the manner in which the Syrian public welcomed the refugees. The people’s hospitality helped to alleviate much of the suffering that comes with being a refugee. The many decades that the Palestinians have lived in Syria can attest to this. And yet, all of a sudden, Yarmouk camp was shelled and experienced violence like the rest of Syria. The attacks are ongoing.

Hence, the Palestinian refugees feel that their lives are once again under threat after having experienced relative calm and hospitality. They do not know where to go and their identity is subject to question just as their lives are endangered. They begin to relive all the injustices that have been experienced by their compatriots and replay the memories of all the harsh realities faced by the Palestinians in the diaspora. This includes the experience of the Palestinians in Jordan, and the even worse massacres of the Palestinians in Lebanon, the forced expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion, the vengeful killings of Palestinians in Iraq after the American invasion, and so on.

The Palestinian refugee camps embody Palestinian history; modern Palestinian nationalism was born in the camps within occupied Palestine and beyond. Yarmouk camp undoubtedly played a role in this. The camp, despite its Palestinian identity, was open to everyone. With one of the largest Palestinian communities in Syria at 150,000 people (according to UNRWA statistics prior to the recent violence, which has left the camp with only 15,000 residents), the camp itself adjoins a middle class Syrian area of more than 700,000 inhabitants. This co-existence made it hard to differentiate between Syrians and Palestinians in Yarmouk. The camp took pride in its strong connection with Palestine and the many martyrs it provided in defence of the homeland and in the name of the Palestinian national project.

After the Palestinians of Syria found their political identity, their communities started to pay a high price. Palestinians disappeared from Iraq and today they are disappearing from Syria. The worst Palestinian experience was arguably in Lebanon, though, where the government discriminated against Palestinian refugees; it still does.

With the collapse of the Palestinian community in Yarmouk, the fragility of the refugee experience has been exposed. The refugees have rarely enjoyed the fruits of their labour and they took little with them when they left the camp under siege. Their life has changed forever, for the second and even third time. Something has broken inside of them, and it is doubtful if they will ever be the same again.

(Source / 16.11.2015)

Hamas: The Israeli massacre in Qalandiya will not break our people’s will

GAZA, (PIC)– The Hamas Movement has applauded the Palestinians in Qalandiya refugee camp for the great courage they showed in confronting the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) during an aggressive campaign against them at dawn Monday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, in a press release, condemned the Israeli soldiers’ use of lethal force against the Palestinians in Qalandiya camp today and described what happened as “a massacre and an example of Israel’s terrorism.”

Abu Zuhri stressed that “Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people would never succeed in breaking their will.”

He demanded the international community to stop its double standard policy and assume its responsibility for protecting the Palestinians against Israel’s terrorism.

The IOF killed at least two Palestinians, wounded over 18 others and detonated the house of detainee Mohamed Shahin during a violent campaign at dawn in Qalandiya refugee camp, north of Occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 16.11.2015)

23 Palestinians injured in clashes in Bireh

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– 23 Palestinians got injured on Monday in clashes with Israeli forces in al-Baloua neighborhood to the north of al-Bireh city in the central West Bank.

Medical sources said that 19 residents including a medic were injured by Israeli live bullets, while 4 others, including 2 pressmen, were wounded by rubber bullets in violent clashes in al-Baloua district.

Local sources said that Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets at Palestinian youths at the northern entrance of al-Bireh city leading to injuries among Palestinians.

During the confrontations, Israeli soldiers opened their gunfire at a Palestinian ambulance smashing its windshield, the sources pointed out.
(Source / 16.11.2015)

IOF demolishes Palestinian facilities in al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished Monday morning more than nine Palestinian agricultural facilities in Sa’ir town east of al-Khalil, while raid and search campaigns continued to sweep the city.

Local sources said that IOF soldiers stormed the surrounding area of the city accompanied with military bulldozers and demolished five tents and sheds under the pretext of being established in the Israeli-controlled area C.

During the demolition process, the Israeli forces prevented the owners from approaching the area.

Meanwhile, a large-scale raid and search campaign was carried out in the city since the early morning hours.

Dozens of local homes were violently stormed and searched during the campaign.

On the other hand, IOF troops intensified their military restrictions at the entrance to Beit Ummar town north of the city and stopped all the passing vehicles.

Israeli forces have also erected a military checkpoint near Halhul town where they stopped and searched the Palestinian vehicles.

Similar restrictions were imposed in Sa’ir town as IOF soldiers broke into two local homes belonging to two martyrs who were earlier killed by Israeli forces as a prelude to demolish them.

An hour later, violent clashes broke out in the town amid heavy fire of tear gas bombs.

(Source / 16.11.2015)