Three farmers shot, injured south of Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– Three Palestinian farmers were shot and injured in an Israeli tank shelling Wednesday evening east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Two farmers were injured while tending to their agricultural land, while the third was hit in his nearby house.

Israeli sources claimed that the shelling targeted a resistance site.

Meanwhile, an Israeli tank was targeted with an explosive device Wednesday evening east of Khan Younis.

No injuries were reported during the incident, while significant damage was caused, according to the Israeli sources.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Urgent support needed to provide health services for 15 million people in Yemen – UN

Funding is urgently needed as the Yemeni health system has collapsed, leaving millions of vulnerable people without the care and medications they urgently require

16 December 2015 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners today appealed for $31 million to ensure the continuity of medical services for nearly 15 million people in Yemen affected by the ongoing conflict, following the collapse of the country’s health system.

“WHO is appealing to donors to help us meet the urgent, immediate humanitarian needs of the injured, pregnant women, malnourished children and elderly who are bearing the brunt of a collapsing health system,” said Dr. Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean in a news release.

Mr. Alwan said that with sufficient funds, risk of disease outbreaks and the possibility of avoidable deaths can be reduced by providing life-saving medications and vaccinating children.

Currently, WHO and its health partners are providing essential medicines, supporting health services and providing mental health psycho-social support in hard-to-reach areas through mobile clinics and primary health care centres, said the news release, adding that more funding is required to ensure that disrupted services are restored.

“The funding requested will help WHO and our partners support vital health services in three major areas: casualty management for those injured due to the conflict, treatment for patients with chronic diseases, and disease surveillance and vaccination activities to prevent outbreaks,” said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative to Yemen.

According to WHO, the health and humanitarian situation for the civilian population in Yemen has reached “catastrophic levels” with the situation in some governorates being especially “critical.”

WHO said that the entire population of the Aden governorate and more than three quarters in the Taiz governorate are in need of humanitarian assistance and since September fighting intensified in Taiz, leading to almost 240,000 vulnerable civilians living under a virtual state of siege.

The agency added that the conflict has crippled the health system, making the delivery of services and supplies extremely challenging. Almost 70 health facilities and 27 ambulances have been damaged, and there is a shortage of health workers, further limiting access to health care.

At the same time, WHO reported that fuel shortages have made it impossible for many major hospitals and health facilities to function optimally, while lack of fuel for ambulances has crippled the referral process.

This, WHO said, has disrupted surgical operations, including caesarean sections, and patients whose treatment requires constant power supply are also at risk. Fuel shortages are also creating severe challenges for the transportation of food, water, and medical supplies, and the operation of water pumps and generators.

In response to this, WHO said that it has supplied over one million litres of fuel to health facilities and ambulances to keep them functional, and additional support has also been provided for the delivery of water purification tablets and over 19 million litres of water to camps and areas hosting internally displaced persons.

The agency said that over the last 9 months, over 250 tons of life-saving medical supplies have been provided to Yemeni health authorities and international, and local non-governmental organizations, serving more than 7 million beneficiaries, and along with health partners, WHO has vaccinated 4.6 million children against polio and 1.8 million against measles in high-risk areas.

Lastly, WHO called on all donors to urgently fill the funding gap to ensure continuity of life-saving and essential health services.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

THERE HAVE BEEN 19 HATE CRIMES AGAINST MUSLIMS IN THE PAST WEEK

muslim-girl-praying

A wave of violence targeting Muslims has spread across the country (America) since Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks.

By 
In the days since Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from the US in a December 7 speech, there has been a wave of anti-Muslim attacks across the US, with some being prosecuted under hate crime laws. Because all of these incidents took place just in the past week, none of the alleged perpetrators mentioned here have been convicted. And while not all of the victims mentioned are Muslims, they were undoubtedly targeted due to the perpetrator’s false perception that the victim was Muslim.
2015 has been the deadliest year on record for American Muslims, with 63 recorded attacks on mosques. The previous high was 2010, with 53 attacks targeting Islamic worship centers. 17 of those attacks took place in November. That’s also three times as many Mosque attacks when compared to last year. In 2014, Muslims were the target of 154 hate crimes. The number for 2015 hasn’t yet been tallied, although this year’s hate crime number is expected to surpass the 2014 total.
Here’s a list of violent acts carried out against Muslims and perceived Muslims in just the past week:

December 7

North Palm Beach, Florida: 27-year-old Joshua Killets was arrested for smashing windows and overturning furniture at the Islamic Center of Palm Beach. Killets had previously posted Islamophobic content on his Facebook profile. Killets even bragged about committing the act to the person who reported the incident to local police.

killets

Saint Louis, Missouri: A man who identified as a “former Marine” called the Saint Louis office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-STL), threatening to chop off the heads of any Muslims who came to his home.
Manhattan, New York: 26-year-old Robert Murino, of Brooklyn, was arrested for assaulting employees of a Midtown restaurant and accusing them of supporting ISIS in an Islamophobic rant. After telling one employee he would “fuck [her] up,” Murino punched an employee who attempted to intervene. After being escorted out of the restaurant, Murino later returned and threw a chair through a glass partition. He has been charged with a hate crime.
Washington, DC: U.S. Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), one of only two Muslims members of Congress, received a death threat. Rep. Carson blamed the death threat on the “toxic environment” of US politics, created in part by Donald Trump’s escalating rhetoric targeting ethnic minorities.
“What concerns me is you have the demagoguery taking place from people seeking to become president of the United States,” Rep. Carson told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A red pickup truck threw a pig’s head at the front door of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society early Monday morning before driving off. Islam is well-known for forbidding Muslims from eating pork or coming into contact with pigs. No arrests have been made.
Twin Falls, Idaho: The Islamic Center of Twin Falls was vandalized on Monday, with the words “HUNT CAMP?” spray painted on its windows. The man who reported the vandalism to police speculated that the vandal’s words are likely in reference to an internment camp in Idaho for Japanese-Americans during World War II, commonly referred to as the Hunt Camp. In this case, it seems the vandal is calling for American Muslims to be detained in similar camps.

December 8

Jersey City, New Jersey: A mosque in Jersey City received an anonymous threatening letter telling members to “go back to the desert,” and calling Muslims “evil.” The letter also mentioned Donald Trump’s claim that Muslims in Jersey City were celebrating the 9/11 attacks — a claim that Politifact rated as “Pants on Fire.”
Grand Forks, North Dakota: 25-year-old Matthew William Gust set fire to the Somali-owned Juba Coffee House and Restuarant with a molotov cocktail, causing $90,000 in damages. Gust has been charged with a class B felony for arson, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
State College, Pennsylvania: 19-year-old Nicholas Tavella, a Penn State student, grabbed an Indian student by the throat while he was crossing an intersection, telling him, “Don’t make me put a bullet in your chest.” Tavella admitted to police he racially profiled the student, saying he appeared to be Middle Eastern. Tavella is charged with felony ethnic intimidation, and faces misdemeanor charges of terroristic threatening, simple assault, disorderly conduct and stalking and harassment.
Queens, New York: Sarker Haque, owner of the Fatima Food Mart in Queens, was assaulted by 55-year-old Piro Kolvani, who said “I kill Muslims” during the attack. Kolvani has been charged with a hate crime.

December 9

hsFresnoBkLshBuena Park, California: A Sikh temple wasvandalized on Wednesday, just 50 miles from San Bernardino. Anti-Muslim graffiti, expletives, and references to ISIS were left on the walls of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha. While Sikhism is different than Islam, Sikhs are often perceived as Muslims due to their appearance and clothing. A hate crime inquiry has been opened in regard to the vandalism.
Seattle, Washington: Just before 9 PM local time Wednesday night, a ride-share driver was assaulted by a man in a group of three passengers, who accused him of being a terrorist. The driver demanded the trio exit his car, but as they were leaving, the aforementioned man reached inside the car and began punching the driver. The man in question has been arrested and charged with Washington’s hate crime statute.
Seattle, Washington: Hamza Warsame, a 16-year-old Somali-born teen, was severely beaten and thrown from a sixth-story window in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Hamza’s family claims his attackers were from Seattle Central College, where Hamza went to school.
 
Plano, Texas: A Muslim family had their windows smashed twice this week by an unknown assailant. The family had been in their new home for less than a month, and they believe the attacks are due to their religion.
“More than the damage — it’s not the window — it’s the terrifying factor of it,” the homeowner told a local CBS affiliate. “It is them trying to terrorize us or scare us. The kids are scared, they don’t want to go up or down alone.”

December 10

Sacramento, California: On December 10, a hate crimes investigation was opened against Denise Slader, an employee for the California Department of Corrections. Slader was caught on video attacking two Muslim men praying in a public park with her fists and a cup of hot coffee.
Santa Clara, California: Police had to evacuate a local office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations after a letter containing a suspicious white powder was discovered. While the substance came back as harmless, the letter ominously read, “Die a painful death, Muslims.” Two similar letters were also sent to the Washington, DC CAIR office.
Tampa, Florida: Two Muslim women wearing head scarves were violently attacked on different occasions by angry Islamophobes in Tampa. One woman reported being shot atas she was leaving a mosque in Tampa. Another woman reported that a man cut her off in traffic, threw rocks at her vehicle from the window of his car, and at one point, exited his vehicle and screamed at her.

December 11

Phoenix, Arizona: Windows were smashed and an office under construction was ransacked at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix on Friday.
“It makes me sad. I’ve been a resident of Phoenix for almost 20 years and this is my home. We have a lot of support from the community and it just takes one person like that to poison the atmosphere,” Usama Sharmi, president of the mosque, told ABC 15.
Coachella, California: On Friday afternoon, a mosque in Coachella, California, not far from San Bernardino, was firebombed while people were inside. While no injuries were reported, the possible hate crime is under investigation by the FBI and the ATF.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Israel bans ‘malicious’ human rights organisation

Moshe Ya'alon, Defense Minister of Israel

Moshe Ya’alon, Defense Minister of Israel

Israeli veterans’ organisation Breaking the Silence has been banned from participating in any official activities with Israeli forces, Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued the decision earlier today on social media, referring the group hypocrites spreading “false propaganda” against Israeli forces and the state of Israel in an attempt to “delegitimise” them.

Breaking the Silence said it had come under attack for several months, “through a pre-meditated campaign, in which members of the extreme right-wing, including Israeli parliamentarians and elected officials, along with public figures and right-wing organisations, are trying to silence both us and every debate related to the 48-year-long occupation.”

Breaking the Silence is an organisation comprised of Israeli veterans who served in combat “and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”

The group produces videos, collects testimonies and gives lectures – mostly within Israel, but sometimes abroad – on war crimes committed by Israeli leadership since 1967.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

What will 2016 bring for Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood?

Supporters of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood wave flags as they shout slogans during a rally in Amman, Jordan, Aug. 8, 2014

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is facing a set of legal and political challenges that could make the organization’s quiet disappearance from the political map possible and without any confrontation with the authority. It would either fade out or turn into a legacy to be shared by many conflicting parties.

After a large number of [Brotherhood] members left to join the Muslim Center Party, other members also left and formed the National Initiative for Building, known as Zamzam — the name of the hotel in which the meeting during which the initiative was launched was held.

A group from the Brotherhood, led by the organization’s former president, Majeed Thunaibat (1994-2006), then registered the Muslim Brotherhood Association, and considered themselves to be the legal organization, while deeming the nonregistered organization to be illegal. Through the support and coordination with the registered organization, Zamzam announced its intention to form a new political party.

Amid the crisis that emerged as a result of the registration or legal correction of the organization, a Brotherhood-affiliated movement was founded without actually belonging to either the old or the new Brotherhood. The press called this movement “the Scholars,” but it then declared itself al-Inqaz [The Salvation Movement] and announced at a founding meeting — attended by about 300 Brotherhood members and leaders — preparations for [the establishment of] a new political party.

The Brotherhood’s organizational elections are scheduled to take place no later than April 30, 2016. If these elections are not held in due time, then the group’s leadership — which was elected in 2012 — will be legally expired.

In this context, the question arises as to whether the government would agree to allow the Brotherhood to hold organizational elections on time or just turn a blind eye and pretend not to know. Would it prevent [the group] from holding the elections under the pretext of being illegal?

Under the current conditions, the group is not likely to hold these elections. However, the new situation gives the group the opportunity to register as a new Islamic association — that is fundamentally the Brotherhood — but under a different name after it lost its own.

The group can come up with a name close to the Muslim Brotherhood or one that reminds people of it, such as Al-Ikhwa Al-Islamiyya, the Call to Islam, the Islamic movement or the Solid Islamic Line-up.

However, this group would most certainly fail to get the unanimous consent of the remaining Muslim Brotherhood members as these would be divided into two groups: the newly licensed group and the “stable” group.

The new association would dominate the Islamic Action Front Party, as it would most certainly garner Hamas’ support, knowing that the movement’s ability to maintain its influence in the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian-Jordanian street depends on legally licensed bodies and groups that are not in a state of conflict or dispute with the government.

In all cases, the Brotherhood [members] who did not participate in the new organization and who lost their influence in the Islamic Action Front would find themselves in need of a new political party, which may indeed bear the denomination of Al-Thabat (stability) or a close or similar term. They would keep asserting that they will never change their beliefs.

These entities will surely take shape and strive to organize and develop themselves in the coming parliamentary elections expected to take place in November 2016. The results of these elections will show the weight of the new formations and the survivability of the Brotherhood under its previous denomination.

The survival of movements and their increase or decrease depend on a set of logical factors: the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections, the government’s inclination and its ideas for the Brotherhood and Islamic groups in general, funding and social support opportunities, Hamas’ inclination, positions and opportunities to influence the movements in the Palestinian street and to reach an understanding with the government, and the general popular and social inclinations toward the Brotherhood and various Islamic movements and Islamic trends in general.

It seems likely in light of this great division and sharp competition expected in the upcoming parliamentary elections between these currents that most of them, if not all, will not be confined to the political arena. If we add to this the assumption that political and religious trends in general will face objections and political pressure as a result of fierce religious conflicts in the region, then the phenomenon of political Islam, including the Muslim Brotherhood, will face major challenges that may bring it down.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Palestinian girl injured by Israeli forces dies

This file photo shows a young injured Palestinian woman lying on the ground after being shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint east of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm.

This file photo shows a young injured Palestinian woman lying on the ground after being shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint east of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm

A young Palestinian woman has died following an incident in October when she was injured by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

The 18-year-old, identified as Samah Abd al-Mumen, was shot and injured at the Huwwara checkpoint in Nablus on October 23, when Israeli forces opened fire seeking to target another Palestinian teenager over allegations that he had attempted to stab a soldier, Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on Wednesday.

Palestinian security sources said at the time of the incident that Samah was shot in the head while sitting in her car near where the shooting occurred.

The teenager who was hospitalized following the attack succumbed to her life-threatening injuries.

Israeli military forces shot and killed two more young Palestinians in the Qalandiya refugee camp near the city of Ramallah in the West Bank earlier on Wednesday.

Ahmad Jahajha, 20, and Hikmat Hamdan, 29, were both shot dead after they reportedly ran their cars into a group of Israeli soldiers who had entered the camp during an arrest raid.

This photo shows slain Palestinian youths, Hikmat Hamdan (L) and Ahmad Jahajha, who were shot dead during a raid on the Palestinian Qalandiya refugee camp by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank

Meanwhile, Ma’an said dozens of Palestinian students have been injured by Israeli forces during an attack on the Kadoorie Institute in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Wednesday.

Tensions in the occupied territories have escalated since the Israeli regime’s imposition of restrictions in August on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Palestinians are angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and their attacks on Palestinian properties, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound. 

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the recent escalation of violence since the start of October.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that the current violence stems from the Palestinian youths’ despair over the halt in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the Israeli regime’s “invasion of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the continuation of settlement building and military checkpoint deployment.”

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Child prisoners swell in numbers amid reports of poor jail conditions

Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian young man in the East Jerusalem Arab neighbourhood of Issawiya

Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian young man during clashes in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya on September 13, 2015

Ramallah, December 16, 2015—The number of Palestinian children held in Israeli custody doubled in October as child detainees reported physical violence, strip searches, and poor conditions at an Israeli prison opened to accommodate the increase.

In October, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) opened a juvenile section at Givon prison, near the central city of Ramle, to house Palestinian minors from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Based on sworn testimonies obtained by Defense for Children International – Palestine, children said their numbers had reached around 60 at one point. The conditions described were inadequate and failed minimum standards for a prison. Children, sometimes as many as 12, stayed in cells with six beds only. The building lacked proper heating and shower facilities. Children also complained of poor quality and inadequate amounts of food.

In one incident documented by DCIP, a prison guard stormed 17-year-old Ibrahim Manasra’s cell in the middle of the night, strip searched the teenager, and beat him. He then left Ibrahim handcuffed to his bed for nine hours. Ibrahim, from the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, had been arrested on October 12 and transferred to Givon prison in early November.

“International law demands that juvenile justice systems protect children from violence and focus on rehabilitation and reintegration, not punishment,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. “As violence has escalated in the past few months, we see Israeli authorities completely disregarding these obligations and instead implementing policies and practices that are flagrant violations of international law.”

At the end of October, 307 Palestinian children were imprisoned in the Israeli military detention system, an increase of 79.5 percent from September, according to Israel Prison Service (IPS) data. This is the largest number of Palestinian child detainees in Israeli military detention since April 2010. Nearly 60 percent were held in prisons inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of an occupying power.

Over the past nine weeks, amid escalating violence in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank, Israel has pushed forward a slew of harsh policies that target Palestinian children.

The latest bill, approved by the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation, proposes custodial sentences for children, as young as 12, convicted of “nationalistic-motivated” violent offences under Israel’s civilian legal system. The actual serving of sentences would be deferred until the child reaches the age of 14.

A first reading of the bill in the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, on November 25, resulted in a vote of 64 in favor and 22 against. Israel’s current criminal law prohibits custodial sentences against children under 14 in favor of rehabilitation and reintegration.

In the occupied West Bank, where military law applies to the Palestinian population only, Israeli Military Order 1651 permits the imprisonment of children as young as 12.

On November 3, the Knesset passed a series of amendments to the Israeli penal code and youth law. They imposed 10-year prison sentences for throwing stones or other objects at moving vehicles with the possibility of endangering passengers or causing damage. Those convicted of throwing stones with the purpose of harming others would receive double the sentence.

The amendments reduced judicial discretion, instituting mandatory minimum sentences of no less than one-fifth of the potential maximum sentence and restricting suspended sentences to special circumstances only.

The Knesset also amended the national insurance law to deprive children convicted of “nationalistic-motivated” violent offenses and “terrorist activities” from social benefits during their imprisonment. It further allowed Israeli juvenile courts to impose fines on their families up to NIS 10,000 (US$2,580).

Since the start of October, DCIP has confirmed 23 child fatalities, including 17 shot dead while carrying out alleged stabbing attacks, of which 12 bodies remain withheld by the Israeli authorities. At least 283 Palestinian children have sustained injuries since the start of October, based on DCIP’s initial data.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, demand that children should never be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily and their detention must be a measure of last resort.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Israeli soldiers kill two more Palestinians in West Bank

This photo shows slain Palestinian youths, Hekmat Hamdan (L) and Ahmad Jahajha, who were shot dead during a raid on the Palestinian Qalandiya refugee camp by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

This photo shows slain Palestinian youths, Hekmat Hamdan (L) and Ahmad Jahajha, who were shot dead during a raid on the Palestinian Qalandiya refugee camp by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli military forces have shot and killed two more young Palestinian men and injured four others during separate incidents in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israeli military jeeps rolled into the Qalandiya refugee camp, north of al-Quds (Jerusalem), early on Wednesday, Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported. They broke into dozens of homes and violently searched them. The soldiers caused excessive property damage before detaining 26-year-old Mahmoud Nayef Abu Latifa and beating him severely.

Israeli military forces proceeded to loot a number of shops in the camp, destroying the medical equipment at a local laboratory.

Violence broke out when a group of Palestinian youths clashed with the Israeli forces. A young Palestinian man, identified as Ahmad Jahajha, used his car to run over the Israeli soldiers, leaving three of them injured. One of the soldiers is reportedly in serious condition.

The attempted car-ramming attack prompted Israeli troopers to open fire on the 21-year-old Palestinian at close range. Jahajha was critically injured and later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.

Shortly afterwards, another Palestinian man, identified as Hekmat Hamdan, sought to ram his car into Israeli soldiers in another part of theQalandiya refugee camp, but was fatally shot.

A Palestinian man is checked by Israeli soldiers patrolling the streets of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), December 15, 2015

On Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested at least a dozen Palestinians during separate raids on a number of houses across the occupied West Bank.

Seven Palestinians were detained in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of al-Quds. Five of those arrested were members of Islamic resistance movement Hamas. Another five Palestinians, including two Hamas members, were arrested in al-Khalil (Hebron), situated 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of al-Quds.

Supporting attacks

Meanwhile, a recent survey has disclosed that a great proportion of Palestinians support the recent string of stabbing attacks against illegal settlers and Israeli soldiers.

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research (PCPR), showed that 67 percent of Palestinians view the use of knife in the face of escalating tensions in the occupied lands as appropriate, while 31 percent oppose the practice.

The remaining two percent of the respondents had no opinion.

Palestinian protesters take cover from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes at the northern entrance of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), December 11, 2015

Tensions in the occupied territories have dramatically escalated since the Israeli regime’s imposition of restrictions in August on the entry of Palestinian worshipers to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Palestinians are also angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and their attacks on Palestinian properties, saying that the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the recent escalation of violence since the start of October.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

Majority of Palestinians support armed uprising

Abbas says young Palestinians are ‘driven by despair [because] a two-state solution is not coming’.

JERUSALEM – Two-thirds of Palestinians support the ongoing wave of stabbings against Israelis, with the same percentage backing a larger armed uprising, a poll released on Monday found.

Sixty-seven percent back the use of knives, while 66 percent of those asked said an armed intifada or uprising would “serve Palestinian national interests in ways that negotiations could not”, the survey by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found.

At the same time, nearly three-quarters said they opposed the involvement of “young schoolgirls” in stabbings.

Since October 1, almost daily attacks by Palestinians and clashes with Israeli soldiers have killed 117 on the Palestinian side, 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean.

Many of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers, and a large number have been young people, including teenagers. Others have been shot dead by Israeli security forces during clashes.

Speaking on Monday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said that young Palestinian demonstrators were “driven by despair [at the fact] that a two-state solution is not coming”.

The PSR survey, which interviewed 1,270 people in 127 randomly selected locations, showed just 45 percent of Palestinians support the two-state solution and only 34 percent think it is feasible because of the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

According to the survey, 65 percent of Palestinians also want Abbas to resign, and if presidential elections took place he would lose to Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s mandate expired in 2009 but no vote is scheduled because of divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas.

“The Palestinian public thinks Abbas does not support the current confrontation and is not serious [about pursuing] diplomatic confrontation with Israel, which is why he is losing support,” Khalil Shikaki, head of the PSR, told AFP.

He added that the poll suggests violence will continue during 2016, with the possible involvement of more heavily armed militants.

“The armed militants in refugee camps, including [Abbas’s party] Fatah have not moved so far, but a change in behaviour of Israeli forces, the loss of legitimacy of leaders and a process of demoralisation within Palestinian security forces could lead to more attacks,” Shikaki warned.

(Source / 16.12.2015)

FSA Denies Receiving Support From Russia.

The FSA’s Chief of Staff Brigadier General Ahmed Berri categorially denied Russia’s claims about supporting the FSA with weapons or air cover, stressing that these claims are baseless. He said that the Russians provided support for the Kurdish PYD militias.

At a press conference held earlier today at the headquarters of the Syrian interim government in Gaziantep, Turkey, Berri said that two Russian helicopters loaded with weapons and ammunition landed yesterday in Afrin; one of the PYD’s strongholds in northern Syria. “This is not the first time Russia provided equipment and logistical support for the PYD militias. We have already documented two shipments of weapons arriving in Afrin. A helipad has been recently built in this area for this purpose.”

The FSA’s Chief of Staff pointed out that Russia supports ISIS, directly and indirectly, as only 5% of the nearly 1200 airstrikes Russia carried out in Syria since late September were directed against ISIS.

Berri said that around 1,300 people, including women and children, have been killed so far in Russian aerial bombardments on Syria, adding that Russian air raids targeted schools and civic centres. “These air raids are a blatant aggression on our people. The Russian’s real goal is to prop up the Assad regime and prevent its downfall,” Berri stressed.

The interim Health Minister and head of the Turkmen National Movement Party, Mohammed Juma, said that over the past three days, Russian fighter jets targeted 23 health facilities with sophisticated missiles.

Juma added that 78 of the ministry’s staff have been killed so far whilst offering help to the victims of Assad’s and Russia’s war. Juma criticized the silence of international organizations over atrocities taking place in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 16.12.2015)