IOF kidnap 24 youths, wound six in clashes all over the West Bank

A mother bids farewell to her son being arrested by IOF from his home in  Al-Tal village near Nablus, Thursday dawn.

A mother bids farewell to her son being arrested by IOF from his home in Al-Tal village near Nablus, Thursday dawn

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Thursday morning kidnapped 24 Palestinian youths during raids on homes all over the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, leaving at least six wounded by live ammunition and rubber bullets.

Ahrar Center for Prisoners studies and Human Rights said that IOF broke doors and raided homes in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Tulkarm and Qalqilia.

In Nablus, IOF kidnapped nine Palestinians including ex-prisoners, and summoned six youths for investigation.

In the same campaign, IOF kidnapped four youths from Ramallah, including 62-year-old ex-prisoner, Omar Barghouthi.

IOF also kidnapped three youths from Bethlehem, three from Jerusalem, three from Tulkarem, one from Qalqilia, and an 18-year-old girl from Hebron.

The raids lead to the outbreak of violent clashes, leaving at least six wounded by gunfire and rubber-coated metal bullets, and dozens suffering teargas inhalation.

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One of the raided homes

(Source / 19.11.2015)

House Demolitions as Punishment

Wave of demolition by explosives: Israeli security forces demolish 14 homes as collective punishment – more than half belonged to neighbors

On 15 November 2015, about half an hour after midnight, a large number of Israeli security forces entered Qalandia Refugee Camp in the West Bank in order to demolish by detonation the home of Muhammad Abu Shahin, a Palestinian held on charges of killingDanny Gonen, an Israeli, on 19 June 2015. Until the arrest, Abu Shahin lived with his wife and two daughters – both of them minors – in an apartment he rented from relatives on the top floor of a three-story building. A few days earlier, on 12 November, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejected a petition against the planned demolition filed by human rights organization HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual. Consequently, Abu Shahin’s wife and daughters vacated the apartment and moved into a vacant apartment located on the second floor of the building.

Home of Mu’az Hamed’s mother and brother in Silwad, before and after demolition. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 10 and 15 Nov. 2015, respectively
Home of Mu’az Hamed’s mother and brother in Silwad, before and after demolition. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 10 and 15 Nov. 2015, respectively

Security forces called on loudspeakers to the residents of nearby houses, instructing them to leave their homes and move about 100 meters away. When Abu Shahin’s apartment was blown up, the apartment on the floor below it was also damaged, as was an apartment in a nearby building that was home to four people, including two minors. Both apartments were severely damaged and are no longer habitable. Another five apartments in nearby buildings were also damaged, but to a lesser extent. Initial information gathered by B’Tselem indicates that while the security forces were in the refugee camp on the demolition mission, an exchange of gunfire developed between them and local residents; Ahmad Abu al-‘Eish, 30, and Laith As’ad, 20, were killed by Israeli gunfire. Three other Palestinians were taken to hospital after sustaining wounds from live fire or rubber-coated metal bullets. B’Tselem’s investigation of the incident is under way.

The day before, in the early hours of Saturday 14 November, Israeli security forces came to the city of Nablus and the village of Silwad, Ramallah District, and blew up five apartments as collective punishment for attacks against Israelis carried out by relatives of the homes’ inhabitants. The force of the blasts severely damaged six other apartments, making them uninhabitable, and caused some damage to 16 other structures nearby. In Nablus, security forces blew up four apartments that were home to relatives of the three Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis Na’ama and Eitam Henkin on 1 October 2015, leaving fourteen people homeless. The force of the blast destroyed six other apartments that were not slated for demolition, so the actions of Israel’s security forces left another sixteen persons homeless.

Home of the ‘Amer family, neighbors of the Abu Shahins, damaged by the demolition and no longer habitable. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 16 Nov. 2015
Home of the ‘Amer family, neighbors of the Abu Shahins, damaged by the demolition and no longer habitable. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 16 Nov. 2015

  • In the family home of Samir al-Kusa, Israeli security forces blew up the first-floor apartment in which his wife and three children lived. The force of the blast severely damaged two other apartments on the second floor, leaving them uninhabitable. This left homeless Samir al-Kusa’s wife, his three children (all minors), and his brother and sister-in-law and their son (a minor).
  • In the building that was home to the family of Yehya al-Haj Hamad, security forces blew up his parents’ apartment on the second floor, in which Hamad lived prior to his arrest, and another apartment built for him on the floor above. The force of the blast also damaged apartments under construction on the first and fourth floors, which were not inhabited and are now unlivable. This left eleven of Hamad’s relatives homeless, including his parents and five minors.
  • In the building that was home to the family of Karam Rizeq (al-Masri), security forces blew up the apartment in which he lived prior to his arrest together with four relatives, on the second floor of a three-story building. The force of the blast severely damaged apartments on the first and third floors of the building, which are no longer livable. This left twelve people homeless, including four minors.
  • In the village of Silwad, security forces blew up the home of the mother and brother of Mu’az Hamed, who was arrested on suspicion of having killed IsraeliMalachi Rosenfeld on 29 June 2015. The two had left the house after an order for its demolition was issued in October. The blast damaged eight structures nearby.

This is not the first time B’Tselem has documented the destruction of homes near those slated for demolition by explosion. A comprehensive 2004 report by B’Tselem found that 295 of the homes destroyed, about half of the homes demolished from 2001 to 2004, no claim was made that they had housed Palestinian perpetrators of attacks against Israelis. This left 1,286 people homeless in addition to those whose homes Israel explicitly slated for demolition. In demolitions carried out by Israeli authorities in October, two apartments adjacent to those slated for demolition were also destroyed by the blast.

Since the occupation began, the military has demolished hundreds of homes as a means of punishing the families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis or were suspected of such actions. This policy left thousands of people – including young children – homeless, although they themselves were accused of no wrongdoing. In 2005, the military discontinued the policy after a committee in Israel’s security establishment concluded that its drawbacks outweighed the benefits. Punitive home demolition of homes was reinstituted in July 2014 after Palestinians abducted and killed three Israeli teenagers in the Bethlehem area, citing the radical change in circumstances as justification for using this measure. From then until the recent events described here, Israel demolished four homes as punishment and sealed another two.

The policy of demolishing the family homes of attackers constitutes collective punishment, which is prohibited under international law. Despite the fact that this measure is extreme and despite the clear view held by legal scholars in Israel and abroad that the it is illegal, it has been repeatedly sanctioned by Israel’s High Court. Demolishing or sealing a home is a draconian, vindictive measure directed at entire families who have done nothing wrong nor are they suspected of any wrongdoing.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

IOF kidnaps Sheikh Omar Barghouthi from his home in Ramallah

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Thursday kidnapped Sheikh Omar al-Barghouthi, a senior Hamas official, and a noted figure of the captive movement, from his home in Koubar town, northwest of Ramallah.

Sheikh Barghouthi was kidnapped as part of a renewed arrest campaign that was launched overnight by the IOF in different West Bank areas and led to the detention of several Hamas cadres and supporters.

Sheikh Barghouthi, a father of six sons and daughters, had spent about 27 years in Israeli jails and was known as the Sheikh of the prisoners.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

3 female students arrested near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Thursday morning three female students near Bethlehem in occupied West Bank.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that five Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinian girls while walking to school.

The three girls, aged 16, were detained for nearly an hour near Beit Sahur town before being taken to an unknown detention center.

Israeli media sources claimed that the three girls were arrested for holding knives in their possession.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

Dozens of Palestinian school students injured

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Dozens of Palestinian school students suffered tear gas inhalation effects as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) heavily fired tear gas bombs towards four local schools in al-Khalil.

Eyewitnesses said that clashes broke out at Abu Rish checkpoint after IOF soldiers brutally attacked four Palestinian schools near the Old City of al-Khalil with tear gas bombs and wastewater.

Several students were transferred to hospital for treatment from effects of tear gas inhalation during the Israeli attack.

The four schools were obliged to close their gates due to the ongoing tensions.

Israeli forces routinely attack Palestinian schools and universities as part of a systematic plan to uproot local residents from the area for settlement expansion.

Meanwhile, three youths were injured after being severely beaten in separate IOF attacks in al-Khalil.

IOF soldiers stopped a Palestinian youngster while driving a motorcycle near Halhul Bridge before attacking and beating him. The young man was then arrested despite his injuries and bruises.

In another incident, IOF soldiers assaulted a second Palestinian near Beit Ainun northeast off the city. The injured victim was immediately taken to hospital for treatment.

In Yatta town, Israeli forces detained and brutally attacked a Palestinian young man after storming and violently searching a number of local homes in the town.

Along the same line, IOF prevented 11 Palestinian teachers and three students from reaching their schools under the pretext of passing near a closed military zone.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

Israeli Education Minister: We should have killed more Arabs

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The Israeli right-wing minister of Education, MK Naftali Bennett on Wednesday said that “[Israelis] should have killed more [Arabs],” in response to the Arab MK, Hanin Zoabi’s condemnations of boasting about killing innocent civilians.

Bennet’s statement came during the cabinet meeting, where MK Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List,  tackled the ongoing  Israeli slaughter of Palestinians and praising these  murders by some MKs and ministers.

Bennett immediately accused Zoabi of lying, then said that more Palestinians should have been killed, adding that “Anyone who lifts a hand against Israel must die.”

Since the beginning of October this year, about 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the wake of the Palestinian uprising.

18 of the victims were children, four were girls, and the majority under the age of 19.

On the Israeli side, 16 soldiers and settlers have been killed. At least four of them were shot-dead by Israeli forces by mistake, because they looked like Arabs.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

Will Nidaa Tunis’ troubles boost Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

Members of the Tunisian parliament from Nidaa Tunis gather during a news conference in Tunis, Nov. 9, 2015. Thirty-two Tunisian lawmakers accused President Beji Caid Essebsi’s son of meddling and resigned from the ruling party bloc in parliament on Monday, allowing Islamist rivals to become the largest party

CAIRO — The resignation of 32 Nidaa Tunis members from their party’s parliamentary bloc in Tunisia on Nov. 9 has observers wondering whether the resignations represent the early stages of the disintegration of Nidaa Tunis and the possible re-emergence of Ennahda and what effect such a scenario might have, if any, on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The resignations stem from a dispute over leadership of the party between the supporters of party General Secretary Mohsen Marzou and those of Hafedh Essebsi, party deputy chair and son of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Ennahda had been the most influential party in Tunisia from 2011 to 2014, but Nidaa Tunis won the elections held in October 2014, taking 86 seats. Ennahda, with 67 seats, agreed to being represented in the government by a single minister. The resignations drop the number of Nidaa Tunis parliamentarians to 54, making Ennahda the largest bloc. The next moves are yet to be announced.

Ennahda, led by Rachid Ghannouchi, takes the position that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi remains the legitimate president of Egypt, brought down by the military. This has raised questions about whether the Nidaa Tunis resignations and a potentially resurgent Ennahda will influence the Brotherhood.

Waheed Abdel Meguid, deputy head of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor, “Such influence is linked to the answers to three questions: Is Ennahda willing to rule? Will the resigning MPs oppose [Prime Minister] Habib Essid’s government? Will the resigning MPs support Ennahda in parliament?” Abdel Meguid then said, “The answer to the three questions is no. All signs indicate that the balance of power will remain unchanged in parliament. Change will, however, occur on the political map, whose features will be revealed following Tunisia’s municipal elections in early 2016.”

According to Abdel Meguid, “[Ghannouchi] does not want Ennahda to take power at present. He is well aware of the difficulties and pressures under which an Ennahda government would have to work. He has benefited from the Brotherhood’s experience in Egypt, and he wants to preserve Ennahda and lay its foundations in state institutions to be ready to assume responsibility.”

Said Sadek, a political sociology professor at the American University in Cairo, told Al-Monitor, “Political Islam has an international ideology, just like communism. The fall of its main branch in Egypt, namely, the Brotherhood, is similar to the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, which affected all the communist parties in Eastern Europe. Thus, Ghannouchi’s statements in which he expressed sympathy for the Egyptian Brotherhood were a means of defending the Brotherhood’s ideology. Such statements will gain him a number of supporters for this ideology both in Tunisia and abroad. Ennahda in Tunisia will not allow the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to die out, because this would pose a threat to Ennahda as well.”

Sadek added, “The influence that Tunisia’s Brotherhood has on the Egyptian Brotherhood is different from that of Turkey’s Brotherhood. This is because Turkey is home to fugitive leaders of the Egyptian Brotherhood and because the Brotherhood’s satellite TV stations broadcast from Turkey. Moreover, the Brotherhood freely holds protests against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Turkish streets, which does not happen in Tunisia.”

Amin Shalaby, executive director of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, told Al-Monitor, “The Brotherhood views the decline of liberal forces [in Tunisia] as support for their movement, because it is a sign indicating that the Islamist tendency among the people is still present, strong and influential.”

Said al-Lawandi, an expert on international relations and professor at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor, “The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring countries, whether in Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Yemen or Libya, will not make any major difference for the majority of the Egyptian people. The latter perceive that the one-year rule of the Brotherhood was a black year, during which Egypt was hijacked.”

Lawandi further stated, “All forms and parties of political Islam are unacceptable [unpopular] in Egypt. This seemed clear in the recent [October first-round] parliamentary elections, where the Salafist Nour Party won 12 seats, two of which were challenged in the judiciary during the first round of voting. But, in the 2012 parliamentary elections, [Nour] won 112 seats, that is, 22% of the total number of seats. The reason [for the drop] is that the Egyptian people view the Nour Party as the other side of the Brotherhood. The results indicate that the Brotherhood’s problem is with the people, not with the regime.”

Kamal Habib, an expert on the group’s affairs, told Al-Monitor, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not disappear from Egypt. It is necessary to think of a way to accommodate and integrate them into the political system, which Ghannouchi is demanding. He is also trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to mediate a reconciliation between the Brotherhood and Sisi, because the alternative will be ongoing acute polarization and hatred, upon which nations cannot be built.” In Habib’s view, “Ghannouchi is dealing with the Egyptian Brotherhood issue as a statesman, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking it personally and even has the Rabia symbol on his desk.”

(Source / 19.11.2015)

What’s the difference between habbeh and intifada?

Palestinians clash with Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between Shuafat refugee camp and Jerusalem, Oct. 9, 2015

Palestinians and Arabs are still unsure about what to call the protest activities that began on the eve of the Jewish New Year on Sept. 13, 2015. Since then, 89 Palestinians and 12 Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers have been killed and many more injured.

After the 1987 first intifada and the 2000 second intifada, it has taken pundits and politicians some time to decide whether what we are witnessing today is a full-blown uprising, or intifada in Palestinian terminology, or simply short, popular outbursts of protests, what Palestinians call “habbeh jamaherieh” in Arabic.

The differences have followed the split within the Palestinian movement with pro-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas media and politicians calling it habbeh, while pro-Hamas leaders and media are calling it an Al-Quds intifada or Al-Aqsa intifada.

Mohammad Omar, a leading Jordanian media expert and the editor of the Pan-Arab website Al-Bawaba, told Al-Monitor that it is hard to differentiate between the two terms. “What is accepted throughout the Arab world is that the habbeh, or outburst, is usually a reaction, is short winded and doesn’t usually include unified effort,” he explained.

Omar, now in his 50s, is based in Amman and was active in the Palestinian movements in his early years. He told Al-Monitor there is consensus in the Arab media that what we are witnessing is closer to a habbeh than an intifada.

Ahmed Yousef, political adviser to former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, agrees with Omar. “Habbeh is a spontaneous act, which does not usually have clear goals; while the intifada is organized with a clear goal and a leadership that sets its agenda and its path,” the moderate Islamist leader who has often taken positions that differ from the mainstream Hamas movement told Al-Monitor.

Yousef insists on the need for a unified leadership to be forged before one can call the current protests an intifada.

Yousef’s opinion, however, is not uniformly followed by most of the pro-Hamas media in the Gaza Strip. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar was quoted in the Gaza-based Donia al-Watan website as denouncing attempts to denigrate the current protest. “Habbeh is a term that was coined by those who don’t believe in the intifada and want to use the term to show that it is a mere transient movement and will end. What is happening is a real intifada.”

The differences in what to name the events was most evident in how opposing Palestinian television editors explain the reasons for the terminology they use to the local Palestinian media.

Majed Said, the official spokesman for Palestine TV, insists that an intifada requires continuity. “What we are seeing in the West Bank and Gaza doesn’t qualify in this manner, and that is why we call it habbeh.”

On the other hand, Imad Zaqout, news editor of the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV in Gaza, had a different take. “Al-Aqsa TV doesn’t call it a habbeh, we call it Al-Quds intifada, which began as an outburst, but has now become a continuous intifada.”

The difference in terminology has led to a series of articles in local, regional and international media. The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi and the Doha-based Al Jazeera ran a story on the subject, as did the newly established HuffPost Arabi.

There is no doubt that there is a high degree of politics and wishful thinking in this issue of terminology. The Ramallah-based Palestinian government — whose hands are tied with the issue of security coordination with Israel — can’t publicly be seen as supportive of an open-ended intifada; otherwise, the fate of Abbas, its current leader, will most likely be the same as the previous one. Yasser Arafat spent his last days late in October 2004 being surrounded by Israeli tanks at the end of the second intifada. Israeli troops attempted to pressure Arafat to return to security coordination after Palestinian police joined the public in attacks against Israelis.

Palestinian terminology is also restricted by the continued division between the PLO and the Islamic Hamas movement. The unity of Palestinians was the clearest trademark of the first intifada. The Unified Leadership of the Intifada was clandestinely created and was able to steer the protests using secretly produced leaflets and guidance statements.

The Palestinian leadership, however, is trying to stick to the definition that this is not a third intifada in order to use that as leverage to force the Israelis into coming to terms with the need to end the decades-old occupation. But while the Palestinian leadership is using the protests as a means to scare the Israelis into a possible eruption of a third intifada, many of the youths active in the protests are instead calling for a change of leadership, which they feel has failed the Palestinian people in so many ways.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

Palestinian detainee fighting for life in Israeli jail

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Rights groups have raised alarm bells over the exacerbated health status of prisoner Bassem Ameen al-Sayeh, who has been fighting for his life in the Israeli prison clinic of al-Ramla.

The prisoners’ media office said quoting other sources that prisoner Bassem fell into a one-day coma in Petah Tikva investigation center and that he lost his consciousness again due to the harsh physical torture perpetrated by the investigation officers.

Cancer-stricken inmate Bassem has also been diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders and stomachaches inflicted by the harsh psycho-physical pressure he has been subjected to in the early investigation stages, during which he has often been tied up to investigation chairs for over 20 hours.

The detainee was quoted as speaking out against the threats and frequent blackmails made by the Israeli wardens in an attempt to force confession.

At least 20 Palestinian detainees have been through dire detention circumstances and critical physical conditions in the Ramla prison. A number of detainees have had their feet amputated; other inmates have had their legs broken during investigation; and others have even caught quadriplegia.

Bassem’s wife, Mona, was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on April 15, 2015 following an assault on her family home. Mona, suffering from a colonic disease and osteopathy, is still held in Israeli investigation lock-ups and has been brought eight times before the occupation courts.

Bassem’s family has held the Israeli occupation responsible for the sharp deterioration in their son’s health status.

The family said the Israeli court extended Bassem’s remand in absentia under the pretext of underway investigation procedures.

The Israeli occupation authorities have slapped visit bans on Bassem’s parents and relatives since October 8.

The family members appealed to the Red Cross and other human rights institutions to urgently step in and urge the Israeli occupation to release cancer-stricken Bassem before it is too late.

(Source / 19.11.2015)

Mohammed Abu Aker among 27 Palestinians arrested by Israeli occupation forces

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Mohammed Abu Aker, 20, Palestinian youth organizer and refugee, the son of Dheisheh refugee camp leader imprisoned journalist, administrative detainee and recent hunger strikerNidal Abu Aker, was arrested early this morning, 19 November, by Israeli occupation forces who invaded the refugee camp, raiding the family home and attacking the area.

Abu Aker, a leftist youth organizer, was one of at least 27 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank today. Other Palestinians arrested included nine former political prisoners from the Nablus area, and prominent Hamas leader and former political prisoner – who served 27 years in Israeli jails – Omar Barghouthi in Kobar, near Ramallah. This came after 41 arrests of Palestinians by the occupation army on Wednesday, in Dheisheh, Shuafat, Aida and Qalandiya camps among others, and including a number of children, including a 12-year-old from Jerusalem.

donya-muslehThe arrest of Abu Aker followed the arrest of 19-year-old university student Donya Musleh, an activist with the Progressive Student Labor Front, in Dheisheh camp on 16 November, the tenth Palestinian woman arrested so far this month. The Palestinian refugee camps have been particularly targeted amid the rising intifada, including for home demolitions, a particularly destructive form of collective punishment by the Israeli occupation that is even more dangerous and threatening when carried out in a crowded, tightly built refugee camp.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement, noting that “the Zionist occupation is continually targeting Palestinian refugee camps, especially Dheisheh camp, where yesterday a mass arrest campaign was carried out against the cadres and members of the Front. These arrests will not break the resistance or deter our people from continuing their valiant intifada and confronting the crimes of the occupation.”

Since the escalating popular Palestinian uprising began in October, well over 1,500 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli occupation forces.

Take action! Demand freedom for Palestinian prisoners.

1. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the attacks on Palestinians. In Canada, Call the office of the new Foreign Minister, Stéphane Dion, at 613-996-5789 and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel, or email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca. In the US, call the White House (202-456-1111) and the US State Department (202-647-9572); demand an end to US aid to Israel. In the EU, contact your MEP – you can find your MEP here, or use the tool at http://freepalestine.eu/ to both call for an end to the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

2. Protest at the Israeli consulate or embassy in your area.  This is a time of uprising and intifada – protests are happening around the world and are more urgent than ever. see our list of actions here:http://samidoun.net/2015/10/take-action-rise-up-with-palestine-global-protest-actions/ Hold a community event or discussion, or include this issue in your next event about Palestine and social justice. Please email us at samidoun@samidoun.net to inform us of your action.

3. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Don’t buy Israeli goods, and campaign to end investments in corporations that profit from the occupation. G4S, a global security corporation, is heavily involved in providing services to Israeli prisons that jail Palestinian political prisoners – there is a global call to boycott itPalestinian political prisoners have issued a specific call urging action on G4S. Learn more about BDS at bdsmovement.net.

(Source / 19.11.2015)