Dozens of Palestinians suffocated during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar, to the south of Hebron, after the latter stormed the town to inquire after a local youth who was shot dead by army soldiers on Friday, following an alleged car-ramming attack against Israeli soldiers.
Local Omar al-Za’aqiq, 19, was shot dead on Friday, after he allegedly rammed his car into several Israeli soldiers. The soldiers reportedly sustained various injuries.
Israeli forces predawn Saturday raided the family home of Za’aqiq, in addition to the homes of his uncles, where they interrogated the homes’ dwellers and threatened them with the demolition of their homes, leading to clashes with provoked locals. Forces fired live and rubber baton rounds, and tear gas canisters toward locals and their homes, causing dozens to suffocate due to tear gas inhalation.
Forces further took measurements of the family home of Za’aqiq, in an apparent prelude to demolish the house; Israel resorts to demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis as ‘means of deterrence’; a policy that was slammed illegal as it falls under the internationally prohibited collective punishment.
“Collective punishments are prohibited under international humanitarian law in all circumstances.249 The prohibition on collective punishments applies to criminal sanctions against persons for actions for which they do not bear individual criminal responsibility, but also to “all sanctions and harassment of any sort, administrative, by police action or otherwise,” stressed the Human Rights Watch.
Spokesperson of the anti settlement popular committee in Beit Ummar, Mohammed Awad, informed WAFA that forces raided his home and interrogated his son Ahmad, 17, to inquire after him. After the son, Ahmad, told forces that his father was praying at a mosque in the area, the former raided the mosque and questioned Awad about Za’aqiq.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
A Palestinian woman part of the Murabitat protection group for Al-Aqsa mosque, protests at the entrance of the compound against Israeli incursions
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra has called on the international community to uphold its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people. He also asked that it stops stalling in the realisation of a fair and comprehensive agreement for the Palestine-Israel conflict and stop managing the conflict rather than ending it.
Lamamra made his comments during a speech at the festival arranged by the Algerian foreign ministry to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The festival was held at the ministry in Algiers and was attended by diplomats, political leaders and representatives, and a large number of Palestinians based in Algeria.
The foreign minister stressed the need for the international community to abandon a policy of double standards, and bear its historical and legal responsibilities to restore justice to the Palestinians. He added that the world must put pressure on the Israeli occupation to adhere completely to international law.
PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani presented details of the current developments in occupied Palestine and the ongoing popular uprising in the face of the Israelis’ racist and discriminatory measures in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
Actors playing the role of airstrike victims, lie on the ground as they perform a sketch during a protest against Saudi air strikes, in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, November 8, 2015
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed Saudi Arabia’s targeting of civilians in Yemen, saying the kingdom and its supporters in the West have failed to provide answers over the killing of civilians in the impoverished country.
In a 73-page report issued on Friday, the HRW said Saudi fighter jets carried out at least 10 “apparently unlawful” airstrikes in Yemen between April and August 2015, killing 309 civilians and wounding another 414 people.
The report said neither Saudi Arabia nor the United States, which has provided intelligence and logistical assistance for the attacks, have launched an investigation into the civilian deaths in Yemen.
For more than seven months, Saudi Arabia has been targeting residential areas across Yemen in a purported bid to block the advance of the ruling Ansarullah movement and bring back to power Riyadh’s protégé Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
A Yemeni artist hangs artwork on a wall of a building destroyed by Saudi airstrikes as a tribute to people who were killed in the attacks, in the capital Sana’a, on October 8, 2015
Washington has supported the deadly attacks, with its military units in the Middle East are providing intelligence to the Saudis on the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, who are known as the Houthis. Earlier this month, the US officials approved the sale of USD1.29 billion worth of bombs to renew Saudi Arabia’s arsenal.
The HRW report suggested that the attacks against the civilians had been deliberate and indiscriminate.
“Human Rights Watch found either no evident military target or that the attack failed to distinguish civilians from military objectives,” the report said, adding that the attacks took-place in areas under the control of Houthis including Sana’a, Amran, Hajjah, Hodaydah and Ibb and hit residential houses, market places, a factory, and a civilian prison.
The illegal Saudi air campaign, which began on March 26, has killed more than 7,500 people, according to Yemeni sources, while the United Nations put the death toll at 5,700, saying more than half of those killed were civilians.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has the Israeli government against turning the Palestinian-Israeli issue from a political to a religious conflict.
“Israeli practices against the Palestinian people, including the arrests, field executions and the escalation of settler attacks against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, cannot be tolerated or accepted,” Abbas said during a press conference in Ramallah with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday.
“Our people live in dangerous conditions because of the continued occupation and its criminal actions, as well as torture, economic blockade and the absence of a political horizon – and this has resulted in despair and insecurity and brought the Palestinian youth to these reactions” he added.
The Palestinian president said the Israeli government has foiled all chances of achieving peace, and has effectively destroyed the foundations of all political, security and economic agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority.
“We do not want negotiations for negotiations and we will not accept partial or interim solutions; we will continue our accession to the international treaties and conventions to safeguard the rights of our people and strengthen the foundations of our state,” Abbas added.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
By Motasem A Dalloul
File photo of Palestinian children confronting Israeli soldiers at a protest near Nabi Saleh
Following the three Israeli wars waged on the people of Gaza between 2008 and 2014, dozens of political, strategic and military analysts acknowledged what is a bitter pill for the Israeli army to swallow: it is no longer a deterrent to the Palestinian fighters in the beleaguered coastal territory, not even the children.
Writing after the end of the 2008/9 Israeli offensive, David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, “Israel believes its deterrence was lost in that war.” During last year’s 51-day Israeli war on Gaza, when more than 2,260 Palestinian were killed, Israeli columnist Shlomi Eldar wrote, “Israel lost its power of deterrence and the leaders of the strongest state in the Middle East are in a quandary.”
The senior researcher of the Washington Institute and the Israeli columnist reached their conclusions after looking at the outcome of the conflicts, where Israeli soldiers faced armed Palestinian fighters. It has to be remembered that these were asymmetrical in terms of the armaments and personnel available to the two sides.
The current uprising – intifada – in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has also been notable for the Israeli army losing any deterrent factor that it once had. The image of the Israeli soldier has changed from one who is “invincible” to one who is weak and scared.
This new image is depicted in several examples of footage showing little Palestinian boys and girls running after well-equipped Israeli soldiers in attempts to stab them. Their weapons are clearly small kitchen knives, which would probably have difficulty cutting very thin string.
A 12-year old Palestinian boy from Jerusalem, Mo’awiyeh Alqam, was arrested last week in an alleged stabbing attempt. He appeared handcuffed and surrounded by several armed Israeli policemen while smiling, demonstrating to what extent this little boy belittles such hollow individuals.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Police Commander of the occupied West Bank, Shlomi Michael, resigned just nine months after taking office. He did not explain why he was resigning, but observers pointed out that he had served in the elite Israeli security services and did not want to damage his reputation by being unable to deter a wave of civilian protests.
One elite commander made it clear that the Israeli army has nothing to deal with the current wave of Palestinian protests, waged mainly by young people with stones as their weapons. He acknowledged that this is a challenge. “It is a very big challenge with the current terror [sic],” Paratroop Brigade Commander Colonel Nimrod Aloni told Army Radio on Thursday. “There is a great deal of confusion over how to deal with it.” Is there any chance to win, he asked rhetorically. “I think this is very much not a military question, it is very much tied to political decisions.”
According to a Palestinian specialist in Israeli affairs, Dr Saleh al-Na’ami, Colonel Aloni’s remarks are a new slap in the face for Israeli politicians. He also believes that the old image of the Israeli soldier has gone forever. “The invincible image is no more,” he concluded.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Saturday closed a main road leading to Palestinian villages northwest of Jerusalem and prevented residents from entering or exiting the area, locals said.Locals told Ma’an that a checkpoint was set up on the road, completely blocking residents from moving through the area and isolating them from nearby areas.Locals said that Israeli soldiers were also deployed near the villages of al-Judeira and Bir Nabala, preventing Palestinians from travelling to other villages in the area northwest of Jerusalem.Residents of the two villages already face restrictions on movement due to their complete encirclement by Israel’s separation wall.The closure began at 10:00 a.m., after which no pedestrian or vehicular traffic was permitted in or out of the villages.A massive traffic jam resulted from the closures, where hundreds of vehicles were stopped for hours before eventually allowed entry.An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the closures.Israel’s security cabinet on Friday gave the military the liberty to seal Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank without first receiving approval from the government, according to Israeli media.A senior Israeli official told Israeli daily Haaretz that military commanders are now authorized to independently implement the total closures while “searching for suspected terrorists.”The military was already carrying out the decision without such approval prior to the cabinet’s Friday meeting, the report added.Despite the cabinet’s approval that apparently legally expedites the ability for the Israeli military to enforce closures on Palestinian towns, residents already faced mounting presence of the forces this month and last.Increased operations and activity by Israeli military forces in the occupied Palestinian territory followed a series of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians.On Friday, Israeli forces sealed the entrance of the Hebron-area town of Beit Ummar, severely restricting the movement of the towns’ more than 15,000 residents.The entrance was closed after a resident carried out a “car ramming” attack that the Israeli army said left six Israeli soldiers injured.Violence that appeared to escalate at the beginning of last month has continued full-fledged through November, with 13 Palestinians and two Israelis killed in the last week alone.At least 101 Palestinians have been killed — the majority by Israeli forces — and 19 Israelis have been killed by individual Palestinians since Oct. 1.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
The information about executions was recently released in Saudi media, which said that up to 55 ‘Al-Qaeda terrorists’ and‘criminals’ from the town of Awamiyya will be executed in the next few days. However, it hasn’t been specified when and how exactly the executions will take place. Awamiya, in Eastern Province where the authorities suppressed protests in 2011, has a predominantly Shiite population. According to sources, the executions may be carried out after Friday prayers.
Reuters cited the Saudi Okaz newspaper as saying these 55 people are accused of sedition, attacks on security officials, and attempts to overthrow the government and carry out attacks by using explosives and surface-to-air missiles. According to Okaz, those on death row have killed more than 100 civilians and 71 security personnel.
One of the prisoners is accused of attempting to buy nuclear material in Yemen worth $1.5 million for use inside Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi plan has been slammed by Amnesty, which said that executing dozens of people “in a single day would mark a dizzying descent to yet another outrageous low for Saudi Arabia.”
“Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
Earlier the mothers of five teenagers who are among those on death row implored King Salman to show clemency.
“The sentences handed down to our children are unique in the history of Saudi justice,” the statement from the mothers said.
“They were based on confessions extracted under torture, trials that barred them from accessing defense counsel, and judges that displayed bias towards the prosecution.”
This year has seen a sharp increase in the number of executions in the Kingdom. About 150 people have already been put to death. This is already a 26-percent increase on 2014.
The number of executions in 2015 is catching up with the Kingdom’s all-time annual record of 192, which was documented by Amnesty International in 1995. The watchdog has been scathing of the Kingdom’s human rights record, saying they “fall far short” of global norms.
(Source / 28.11.2015)
Palestinians wave the national flag
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 fifth segment of an eight-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 Jaber Suleiman, a Palestinian independent researcher and consultant, who is currently a consultant for the Palestinian program of UNICEF in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.The youth movement underway in Palestine raises several questions regarding its motives, causes, and nature. Is it an expression of despair and frustration or a rekindled national spirit? Is it triggered by Palestinian division, the tattered state of the PA, the demise of the Oslo process and the two-state solution, aggressive Israeli settlement expansion, the desecration of holy places, or declining Arab interest in and international neglect of the Palestinian cause? Will it evolve into a popular uprising like the first intifada or will it remain an expression of anger that will soon recede? What conditions need to be met in order for this movement to evolve into an uprising guided by a unified national leadership and national program? What role should the PLO factions and the wider Palestinian leadership play to strengthen and protect the uprising and develop a unified national leadership, given the institutionalization of the Palestinian division? And how?This unprecedented youth movement, which is led by Palestinians born around the time of the signing of the Oslo Accords, is directed against the occupation. Yet it also includes anger and protest against the PA and its political performance, which is responsible for the current state of the Palestinian cause in general and the conditions in the OPT in particular. This is the paradox we face: How can the Palestinian factions, within and outside the PLO, which helped to create the current state of affairs contribute to developing the movement and creating a unified leadership? In fact, the factions can neither be excluded nor exempted from responsibility, especially given the lack of an alternative national movement or a popular, non-factional bloc (a historical bloc in Gramsci’s sense) capable of formulating an overarching national body inclusive of all Palestinians.The importance of coordination between the political leadership and the youth who are confronting the occupation on a daily basis cannot be overstated. This does not mean that the factions are free to hijack and exploit the movement to achieve other goals that are not in line with fighting the occupation, ending the division and finding a way out of the current Palestinian impasse, especially as the Palestinian people continue to pay the price for the way in which the first Intifada was exploited in order to sign the Oslo Accords.There are urgent national tasks for all to undertake. The factions should not overburden the youth movement or push it towards militarization or achievement of quick results such as an immediate ending of the occupation that they themselves have collectively failed to realize. Consequently, there needs to be agreement on modest phased and tactical goals. The factions should treat this wave as one step on the long and thorny path of struggle, and must contribute to and support it on this basis. The factions should listen to the younger generations and include them in the field leadership and local committees that need to be created.The parties should focus on forming a unified political leadership that represents all factions, even before ending the division, so as to sustain the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and prepare for a long battle with the occupation. This is indispensable for developing the current youth movement into a popular uprising and extensive civil disobedience along the lines of the strike of 1936, together with diplomatic and legal battles against the Israeli occupation on the international front. To achieve these efforts, the security coordination with Israel must cease immediately, as an essential step towards dismantling the administrative and legal structure of Oslo. The PA’s functions should be reconsidered, and the division between Hamas and Fatah should be overcome so that the PLO can be rebuilt on an inclusive national foundation.The anti-occupation forces, which include civil society institutions, grassroots organizations, trade unions, professional associations, universities and the BDS campaign must engage more actively in the youth movement. They need to use their international ties with solidarity groups and anti-discrimination and anti-occupation movements around the globe to support the youth and their drive to ending the occupation.This piece is part of Al-Shabaka’s roundtable discussion publication. The full version was originally published on Al-Shabaka’s website on November 23, 2015.
(Source / 28.11.2015)