Part 3: Palestinian youth revolt – Any role for political parties?

By: Al-Shabaka

Al-Shabaka is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.The following is the third segment of a five-part publication on the current absence of authentic Palestinian national leadership and the current youth uprising against Israel’s prolonged military occupation and denial of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).The segment is authored by Nijmeh Ali, a Palestinian from Haifa currently working on her PhD at the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University, New Zealand. Her focus is on the Palestinian citizens of Israel as an indigenous people,The Palestinian youth that have taken to the streets are initiating an important phase in responding to the Israeli occupation and to injustice, indicating the significant role the younger generations could play replacing the current leadership.However, the question remains: is the new generation capable of bringing the uprising or wave of anger from the street into political or diplomatic spheres? The problem lies in the failure to revolt against the traditional Palestinian leaderships of Fatah, Hamas and the left: This is what is needed in order to transform the spirit of revolution into diplomatic and political results.The Palestinian political parties are currently acting like parties everywhere: They are weighing the political gains they can reap from this wave of anger, such as resuming negotiations with Israel. They are not acting like revolutionary parties fighting a battle for liberation, and are out of line with the public mood. Thus, the parties are likely to erect obstacles rather than to support the youth uprising or any other action outside established institutional frameworks such as the factions armed wings. Uncontrolled actions do not benefit political parties because they cannot steer them.The issue is not about creating a new space within or outside the PLO. It is also about changing the political behavior of Palestinians as a people affiliated with existing political bodies. It is imperative to transcend the narrow partisan affiliations have entrenched the internal Palestinian division and weakened the PLO. The popular wave of anger is an open rebellion against such narrow affiliations and an expression of the need to reinforce national as opposed to partisan attachments.However, given this reality and the deepening partisan division, it would have been more promising had the youth rebelled against the current political leaderships and replaced them with younger leaders with political energy, confidence and vigor.Local leaders have never been isolated from their central leaderships: Fatah and Hamas, for example, are mass political movements rather than political parties in the traditional sense. Therefore, one does not envisage a scenario in which an independent popular movement could emerge, even though popular committees could be established as was the case in the first Intifada. It is worth noting that the unified national leadership of that Intifada was formed by political actors who espoused common political goals and a vision centered on ending the occupation as a fundamental step towards liberation.In short, we need a Palestinian spring within the Palestinian parties rather than alternative political frameworks that would reinforce the division and the narrow partisanship. Without rebellion from the youth within the Palestinian political parties, no uprising will effect real political change. The sacrifices of the Palestinian people will go to waste, increasing the frustration with their sense of helplessness. It would be truly alarming if this frustration slowly kills the Palestinians’ faith in their power to become liberated.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Number of Palestinians martyred since October 1 hits 100

The number of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) since October 1 has risen to 102.

The 21-year-old Palestinian youth Yahya Yosri Taha was shot and killed during clashes with the Israeli occupation soldiers on Thursday, bringing the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks since early October to 100, including 23 children and four girls.

Later, Israeli soldiers stationed at the Za’tara checkpoint south of Nablus city cold-bloodedly killed the 51-year-old Palestinian Samer Sarisi at the pretext he tried to carry out a stabbing attack.

Medical sources affirmed that the soldiers at the checkpoint prevented ambulance crews from entering the area to evacuate the man or provide him with medical assistance if he was still alive.

On Thursday evening, the 19-year-old Khaled Jawabra was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces during confrontations at al-Aroub refugee camp in Hebron.

Local sources said that clashes erupted between Palestinian demonstrators and IOF soldiers in the camp during which the IOF fired live bullets and teargas canisters, where Jawabra was fatally hit with multiple bullets in his torso.

Israeli authorities still withhold and refuse to handover bodies of 32 Palestinians killed during the intifada.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Israel orders demolition in Jordan Valley village

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Tuesday issued evacuation orders for makeshift housing structures and tents at the site of a previous housing demolition in the Jordan Valley, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said in a statement.In August, Israeli forces demolished 17 structures in Fasayil village, leaving 48 people homeless, including 31 minors, B’Tselem documented.Following the initial demolition, nearly all the families stayed in the area, setting up tents and other makeshift housing structures, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations.During a visit to the encampment on Tuesday, Israeli authorities told residents that they had to evacuate the area within a week.They said that if they do not vacate the area within a week, all structures built since the demolition that took place in August will be demolished.The evacuation will leave 46 of the original 48 people who lost their homes in August with nowhere to go.Thirty-one of the 46 residents are minors.According to B’Tselem, most of the families whose homes were demolished in August had already had their previous homes demolished in 2014.The vast majority of Faisal village lies in Area C, and is under full Israeli control. According to the Palestinian census in 2007, Faisal is only home to around 1,029 residents. The village relies on farming, with at least 80 percent of the local economy based on agriculture.Families can generally file objections to demolition orders and appeal to Israel’s high court, but Human Rights Watch reported last year that in such appeals, “Israel’s High Court of Justice has refused to apply the absolute prohibition in customary international law against the collective punishment of civilians.”

(Source / 26.11.2015)

US Muslim forced off plane cites Islamophobia

Being told to get off plane in front of passengers was “humiliating”, says Kameelah Rasheed, who alleges discrimination.

Kameelah Rasheed is one of several Muslims who has been forced to leave planes in America over the past two weeks

Correction Nov. 26, 2015: This article originally stated that Kameelah Rasheed was forced to leave a United Airlines flight ahead of takeoff to be interrogated by an FBI agent. It was not a United Airlines flight, but a code share flight operated by Lufthansa.

After passing through regular security checks at Newark Liberty International Airport on her way to a holiday in Istanbul, Kameelah Rasheed was called for further questioning by customs officers.

She was later allowed on the Lufthansa flight, but eventually forced to leave the aircraft ahead of takeoff to be interrogated by an FBI agent.

The 30-year-old Muslim American told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that the two-and-a-half-hour ordeal a day earlier has left her traumatised and unable to consider flying any more.

“It was an attempt to humiliate and ostracise me,” she said.

“I think this happened because I’m Muslim, because I’m travelling to Istanbul, because they have power with no checks and balances, because security means violating people’s rights, because there’s a general lack [of understanding of] what safety means, because people don’t understand basic geopolitical situations.”

Al Jazeera has contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty airport, for comment.

Anti islam

Rasheed is one of a number of Muslims in the US, or people perceived to be Muslim, who say they have been on the receiving end of profiling since the attacks in Paris on November 13, which were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Rasheed said that she was the only passenger of about 200 who was asked to leave the flight on Tuesday, as the customs officers confiscated her passport and phone.

“I was the only visibly Muslim person,” said the New York resident, who wears a headscarf.

Rasheed, an artist, educator, Stanford University graduate, Fulbright scholar and contributing editor at The New Inquiry, added that while the airline had booked another ticket for her, she was scared of being targeted again on her onward journey and chose not to travel.

“I don’t think there is a resurgence of Islamophobia after the Paris attacks. I think it never went away. It’s becoming more legitimised.

“Right after 9/11, you could do it [commit hate crimes towards Muslims] for a couple of years and no one would blame you… And now after Paris, it’s like, ‘look at what they did, I can treat them how I want’. We didn’t make any progress.”

RELATED: Muslim woman alleges discrimination on US flight

The customs officers asked her several of the same questions repeatedly, she said, including: “Why are you flying? Where are you going in Istanbul? How can you afford to go on holiday? How much was the ticket price?”

“The questions were circular and nonsensical,” she said. “I wasn’t going to the border with Syria. I was going to the tourist locations, to see the Hagia Sophia and take a ferry across the Bosphorus.”

Rasheed was accused of having booked a one-way ticket, even after showing evidence of return flight tickets to the officers on her phone.

A photo taken by Kameelah Rasheed before customs officers took her phone from her after she was pulled off a flight to Istanbul

“I honestly feel very traumatised and shaken. I don’t feel comfortable flying at all,” she said. “I’m still very angry and hurt, but I have to temper that with not having expectations for being treated better. I shouldn’t expect any better. This is the militarised state that we have decided to live in.

“These are the consequences of me being Muslim and black and American – everything at the moment is organised around me being checked. This is what it is.”

She added that she has been stopped for extra security several times before.

“It’s frustrating to me that I can’t fly like a normal human being,” she said.

“My mum was saying to tie my scarf another way. I can’t be out in the world like other people without having to rearrange my entire life because someone else fears me for something I had nothing to do with?”

Rising Islamophobia

Last Tuesday, Spirit Airlines removed four passengers, reportedly of Middle Eastern descent, from a flight out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Airport after a witness reported suspicious activity. Details of the “suspicious  activity” emerged later; the Middle Eastern passenger had reportedly been watching a news report on the phone.

Last Wednesday, US citizens from Philadelphia Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were asked to step aside before boarding a Southwest flight at Chicago Midway airport. A fellow passenger had heard them speaking Arabic and complained to staff of being afraid to fly on the same aircraft. They were questioned by police.

RELATED: Q&A: ‘Muslim minorities are first victims of terror’

Also last Wednesday, six Muslim passengers were removed from a second Southwest flight – also travelling from Chicago, reportedly because of a dispute over a seating arrangement.

“We’re witnessing an increase in these kinds of reports,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Relations (CAIR), told Al Jazeera. “It’s part of an overall rise in anti-Muslim sentiment following the Paris attacks.

“We’re getting a lot of reports from individuals who say they are fearful of travelling. Some Muslims are even concerned about leaving their homes.”

A report released by CAIR on Tuesday listed alleged hate crimes towards members of the US’ Muslim minority since November 13 – or those perceived to be Muslim. It cited at least 12 instances of intimidation, threats and violence against places of worship, and six examples of violence against individuals – including shots fired into a couple’s home, and an assault on a pregnant woman.

RELATED: Rights groups slam ‘Islamophobia’ of US candidates

“Our nation’s leaders need to speak out against this type of anti-Muslim hate. The American Muslim community is a small minority and we by ourselves, we can’t push back against the tide of anti-Muslim sentiment,” said Hooper.

“What we’re seeing is the end result of the mainstreaming of Islamophobia by leading public officials, such as Ben Carson and Donald Trump. They have given some form of legitimacy to those who would carry out anti-Muslim attacks or profiling.

“It has taken us back almost to the dark ages of the 1930s.”

He added that, unlike former US President George W Bush, the country’s current leader Barack Obama has never publicly visited a US mosque, a move that would give some reassurance to the community that it is protected against such attacks.

“We always anticipated a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric in the presidential campaign,” he said. “Where from here? I don’t think Islamophobia is going to go down. It’s going to go up.”

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Israel Warming up but India vote for Palestine

NEW DELHI: India continues to perform a balancing act, as it voted in line with the traditional pattern for Palestinian self-determination in a United Nations General Assembly panel in New York on Monday.

India voted in favour of the resolution, along with 159 countries, for Palestinian self-determination at the Third Committee, which is usually referred to as the UN General Assembly’s human rights panel.

India has routinely backed the Palestinian cause as part of its long-standing foreign policy cause. But, since the NDA government took over, there has been increased scrutiny over its move on the Israel-Palestine issue, due to the visibly warmer relations between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

In July, India had for the first time abstained in a resolution backed by Palestine at the United Nations Human Rights Council, condemning Israel for its Gaza offensive.

This had been taken up by opponents of the Modi government as a demonstration of the tilt towards Israel. India, however, claimed there was no shift in its position on Palestine, and that its abstention was only due to reference to the International Criminal Court in the text.

After that UNHRC resolution, the visit of the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee had worried Palestine, especially after he became the first foreign head of state to stay overnight in Ramallah.

Only six countries voted against the resolution – Israel, United States, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, while Cameroon, Honduras, Tonga and South Sudan abstained from voting.

Meanwhile, India is gearing up for the visit of Israel President Reuven Rivlin’s visit early next year — which will be the first by an Israeli head of state.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

2,000 Egyptian women arrested and 20 raped under Sisi

Egyptian women crying

The Alliance accused the Egyptian authorities of “resorting to threatening rape in order to force women and their families to confess to fabricated crimes,” noting that “four women and girls are still missing after being forcibly disappeared.

The Revolutionary Alliance of Egyptian Women, a women’s rights opposition group, has revealed that “since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, over 2,000 women have been arrested… and 90 others have been killed.”

The figures came in a statement published on the group’s Facebook page yesterday as part of raising awareness for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which falls on 25 November.

The Alliance also claimed that the Egyptian authorities are holding women on “political” charges, while the Egyptian government considers the same charges to be “criminal”.

“The Egyptian authorities have committed 20 documented rape crimes against women in prison,” the group added.

The Alliance accused the Egyptian authorities of “resorting to threatening rape in order to force women and their families to confess to fabricated crimes,” noting that “four women and girls are still missing after being forcibly disappeared.” The group added that “those with disabilities were not spared from detention, as in the case of Esraa El-Taweel, who was detained in the street.”

The statement also mentioned the unfair rulings made against women, including maximum security imprisonment and execution. The alliance noted that “a death sentence has been issued against a woman named Samia Shanan and she suffers the worst form of torture on a daily basis.”

The Revolutionary Alliance of Egyptian Women has also urged people to use the hashtag #we_won’t_abandon_our_rights in order to send a message to the entire world by turning off their lights for 5 minutes at 7pm today.

Anadolu news agency has not been able to obtain a response from official authorities to the accusations made by the Alliance in their statement.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Mothers of Saudi juveniles facing beheading appeal for mercy, as executions loom

Local media in Saudi Arabia have reported that more than 50 people detained will be executed over the coming days

A file photo of Ali al-Nimr who is sentenced to be publicly beheaded in Saudi Arabia

The mothers of five juvenile prisoners facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia have called for their children’s convictions to be quashed, amid fears they may about to be executed.

A joint statement released by the mothers on Tuesday described the potential execution of their children as “unique in the history of Saudi justice”.

“Saudi authorities have subjected our children to multiple forms of injustice,” the statement said, with the mothers accusing the government of arbitrarily detaining and torturing their children, as well as subjecting them to unfair trials.

“We demand that the Saudi government drop their sentences and order their re-trial. These trials must be public, in accordance with international principles, and must be attended by neutral observers,” they said.

Mohammed al-Shioukh, Abdullah al-Zaher, Ali al-Rebh, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Ali al-Nimr have been sentenced to death. All of them were under 18 years old at the time of their arrests in 2012, which were for taking part in anti-government protests organised by the Shia community in the Eastern Province.

Fears have risen that the five young Saudis will be imminently beheaded after local news outlet Okaz reported on Monday that 55 people convicted of “anti-government offences” will be executed over the coming days.

Okaz did not reveal the names of those to be executed, nor did it reveal the exact date of the potential executions, but it did say some of those to be beheaded will be prisoners from the Eastern Province.

Anti-death penalty advocacy group Reprieve described the reports as “extremely concerning”.

“These reports are […] suggesting the Saudis may be just days away from executing people convicted when they were children, who were demanding political reform in their country,” Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team, said in a statement.

“These executions must be stopped,” she added.

Saudi Arabia’s Shia community make up around 10 to 15 percent of the kingdom’s 29 million population. They are concentrated in the country’s Eastern Province, which is rich with oil but rife with poverty.

The Shia community have long complained that the government discriminate against them, particularly in areas of employment and education.

In 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, protests erupted in the Eastern Province, with the local Shia community pouring onto the streets to demand increased representation and more rights in the kingdom.

The leader of those protests, firebrand cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, was arrested in July 2012 after a gun battle with authorities.

Nimr, the uncle of juvenile detainee Ali al-Nimr, is among those slated to be executed for their role in the Eastern Province protests, which continue to take place but have dramatically decreased in size since the 2012 crackdown.

Saudi authorities reject claims that Nimr led peaceful rights-based protests, and instead allege that they faced – and continue to face – armed anti-government gangs in the Eastern Province.

“The al-Nimr family members pursued violence and attacks on security forces and government facilities beside terrorising civilians, hooliganism and vandalism,” Saudi authorities recently said in a statement given to the Daily Telegraph.

“We have all the rights to maintain safety and security of our citizens and we cannot understand the demands to make it go unpunished.”

The mothers of the five young Saudis facing execution said on Wednesday that they will not be silenced even if their children are beheaded.

“We […] will only stay silent over this crime if they kill us alongside our children,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 151 people so far in 2015, nearly doubling last year’s total of 88.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Khamenei: Iran to back Palestinians

TEHRAN, (PIC)– Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran would support the Palestinian uprising against Israel “in any way we can”, and rejected U.S. accusations that a recent wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks amounted to “terrorism”.

“Despite all the efforts of the Arrogance (the United States) … and even with cooperation from Arab countries, the Palestinian intifada (uprising) has started in the West Bank,” state television quoted Khamenei as saying.

“We will defend the movement of the Palestinian people with all of our existence, and in any way and as long as we can,” Khamenei reportedly told a gathering of the Basij, Iran’s volunteer militia.

Khamenei criticized those who call Palestinians “terrorists”, saying they are people protesting the occupation of their land.

Khamenei was speaking a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, described the spate of attacks as “terrorism” that should be condemned.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Netanyahu: int’l community must recognise settlements

Kerry met Netanyahu in order to deescalate the ongoing tension, but he found stubborn extremist Israeli PM insisting on the violation of Palestinian rights

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would never ease Palestinian life unless international community recognises illegal settlements.

Kerry said he asked Netanyahu to give Palestinians permission to build in Area C; otherwise, the situation would “spin out of control,” but Netanyahu refused

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem –Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would never ease Palestinian life unless international community recognises illegal settlements.

Replying on remarks delivered by a senior Israeli army official to military correspondent, Netanyahu’s office announced that he would never stop building in settlements and he would even never freeze building.

He said that he told the US Secretary of State John Kerry when he met him on Tuesday that the international community must recognise illegal Israeli settlements in order to ease the life of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Kerry said he asked Netanyahu to give Palestinians the permission to build in Area C, which is under Israeli security control, otherwise, the situation would “spin out of control,” but Netanyahu refused.

Israeli Hebrew media reported a senior Israeli army official saying that the Israeli army is considering and recommending a number of measures to facilitate the life of Palestinians, as well as to bolster the power of the PA security services in the occupied West Bank.

Among the measures said to be taken, the official said, that the Israeli occupation would allow the PA to get more arms, release Palestinian prisoners, grant more work permits to Palestinian workers and facilitate passage of commercial goods to West Bank.

Such measures, the Israeli army official expected, would deescalate the tension in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, he already recognised the PA efforts have being done to deter the Palestinians resistance.

(Source / 26.11.2015)

Russian Warplanes Hit Relief Aid Convoy in Izaz

The Syrian Coalition strongly condemns the Russian air force’s targeting of a relief aid convoy on the outskirts of the town of Izaz, five km away from the Turkish border. The airstrike, which occurred on Wednesday, left six civilians killed and burnt eight trucks.

Russia also intensified air strikes on the rebel-held villages along the Turkish border in northern rural Latakia.

The Syrian Coalition urges the international community to take serious steps to stop this flagrant aggression on Syria, emphasizing that Russia’s actions in Syria are as barbaric as those of the Assad regime as both target civilians.

The Syrian Coalition stresses that targeting relief aid convoys constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, adding that Moscow is wriggling out of its commitments as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Three schools, 14 hospitals, a pharmaceutical plant and food factory were earlier targeted by the Russian air force.

The Syrian Coalition stresses that rarely 6% of the overall Russian air strikes on Syria have targeted ISIS, warning that the refugee crisis will worsen if the Russian aggression continues.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 26.11.2015)