Israel nabbed 100s of kids in 2015: Rights group

Israeli forces detain a young Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron. (File photo by AFP)

Israeli forces detain a young Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron

The majority of the Palestinians arrested by Israeli regime forces in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 2015 were children, among them minors under the age of 14, says a prisoner’s rights group.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said in a report on Sunday that the Tel Aviv regime detained over 1,900 Palestinians in 2015. Two-thirds of the detainees, it said, were minors, 65 of whom were put under house arrest.

A spokesman for the group, Riyad al-Ashqar, denounced the regime’s use of house arrests against the Palestinian children who are under the age of 14. He said the regime “turns the child’s house itself to a prison and the family members to wardens.”

In November, Israel approved a bill that would allow custodial sentences for minors from 12 years of age for committing “nationalistically-motivated” crimes. The regime also fines the families of children convicted of such crimes.

In October 2015, the number of Palestinian children in Israeli custody reached 307. The number had been 155 at the end of August last year.

The Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), another rights group, said Israeli detention centers have so far failed to meet international standards. The Palestinian child detainees are denied family visitations and even forced into solitary confinement.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Hamas holds IOA responsible for life of hunger-striking journalist

DOHA, (PIC)– Hamas spokesperson Husam Badran held the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) responsible for the sharp deterioration rocking the health status of hunger-striking journalist Muhammad al-Qeiq, starving for 48 days in Israeli jails.

Badran said the Palestinian people and resistance will never remain mum over the mistreatment and neglect al-Qeiq has been subjected to in Israeli lock-ups.

He called on for mobilizing mass-support for and solidarity with al-Qeiq, saying: “Al-Qeiq is engaged in a fight to restore not his own freedom and dignity but those of an entire people and cause.”

“Al-Qeiq has been yearning to rehabilitate the right to free speech and honest expression that any activist would quite naturally manifest of while standing up for the rights of his/her people and nation,” he added.

Prisoner al-Qeiq has entered his 48th day of hunger-strike and fell into a coma a couple of days ago. He has also begun to urinate blood.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Palestinian shot, injured for alleged stabbing attack in Tulkarem

TULKAREM, (PIC)– The Palestinian young man Zayed al-Ashqar was seriously injured Monday morning after being shot by Israeli soldiers after an alleged stabbing attack near Hermesh settlement that was illegally built north of Tulkarem.

Zayed al-Ashqar, from Saida town in Tulakrem, suffered serious gunshot injuries after Israeli forces opened fire at him, according to the PIC reporter.

Israeli soldiers prevented ambulance crews from transferring him to hospital for treatment, our correspondent added.

The Israeli army spokesman claimed that Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian young man after he allegedly tried to stab an Israeli soldier at a military checkpoint at the entrance of the illegal settlement of Hermesh.

More than 152 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October in similar circumstances.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

IOF kidnap more than 15 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank overnight


Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday night and on Monday at dawn several Palestinian cities, kidnapping young Palestinians from their homes.

In Beit Fajjar town, in Bethlehem’s district, the IOF invaded the city and kidnapped eight Palestinians.

They were identified as Hamza Amer Taqatqa, 17, Mohammad Taha Taqatqa, 20, Aziz Ali Taqatqa, 31, Rami Mousa Thawabta, 24, Nabil Mohammad Thawabta, 20, Eyad Sami Thawabta, 21, Nasr Mohammad Thawabta, 24, and Abdullah Salem Thawabta, 29.

In Mrah Rabah village they kidnapped Ahmad Mahmoud Sheikh, 18, and in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, the IOF kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Mahmoud al-Khdour and Mohammad Khalil al-Azza.

The soldiers also invaded various neighborhoods in Hebron and installed roadblocks on the northern and eastern entrances of the city, and the main entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp, before stopping and searching dozens of cars while inspecting the ID cards of the Palestinians, according to IMEMC.

Also in Hebron, the IOF invaded Qeizoun area and handed journalist Mos’ab Shawar Tamimi a military warrant for interrogation, this coming Wednesday.

In addition, the IOF kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Tamer Abu Qash, 22, while heading to work. Abu Qash is from Burqin town, west of Jenin.

In Tulkarem  the IOF kidnapped three Palestinians and in Nahhalin they kidnapped two.

In Nahhalin, they were identified as Ahmad Mahmoud Najajra and Nassar Aqil Najajra and in Tulkarem, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society identified them as Ibrahim Sami al-Akhras and his brother Muhammad, as well as Ali Ayman Jazmawi.

The IOF regularly kidnaps Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, with the UN documenting at least 347 such raids in the last two weeks of December 2015 alone.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Was Abbas speech just attempt to dispel poor health rumors?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas looks on during a special meeting of Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Oct. 28, 2015

RAMALLAH, West Bank — “Unsurprising” and “underwhelming” appear to best characterize the speech delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Jan. 6 that led to widespread expressions of frustration among the Palestinian populace. In light of the political dead-end with the Israelis, everyone — except perhaps the Fatah movement that Abbas leads — had expected, or hoped for, a speech announcing potentially game-changing decisions or at least a way to move the Palestinian cause forward, beyond its current crisis.

Abbas in the speech reaffirmed the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its affiliated institutions, which he presented as a national achievement. In light of Israel’s refusal to cease settlement building and return to the negotiating table, Abbas called for an international conference to compel Israeli compliance with resolutions related to the Palestinian issue. He also proposed that Hamas and other factions agree on the formation of a national unity government and take part in legislative and presidential elections, which he alleged Hamas was avoiding for fear of failure.

Responding to the speech, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that Abbas had failed to rise to Palestinians’ expectations for some clear decisions from their leadership, particularly in regard to relations with Israel. The faction also complained about Abbas’ failure to express support for the intifada, ongoing since early October, which the various components of Palestinian society back as resistance against Israel.

One PFLP leader, Kayed al-Ghoul, told Al-Monitor that the speech had been a means to dispel rumors that Abbas was suffering from major health problems and to respond to Israeli assertions that the collapse of the PA is a foregone conclusion. Ghoul stated, “The president’s speech was lacking and devoid of the substance that we expected.” He also thought it unlikely that an upcoming meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Committee would lead to decisions capable of rescuing the Palestinian cause from internal division and the failure of negotiations with Israel.

Ismail al-Ashkar, a Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, offered a different perspective, telling Al-Monitor, “President Abbas’ speech did not surprise us at all because its content was already known, especially the accusations that Hamas did not want elections to be held and refused to hand over administration of the Rafah crossing to the PA.”

Ashkar added that Abbas’ speech aimed at shifting the blame to others for the crises plaguing the PA and Fatah. He stressed that Hamas stood ready to hold elections and participate in a national unity government, but, he added, “on consensual terms and after the complete implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo on May 4, 2011.” The agreement was supposed to have brought an end to the internal division and lead to developing a political plan for the coming phase. Ashkar in part blamed what he called Abbas’ failure to properly manage the Palestinian cause and his lack of political ideas for creating the crises that have befallen the Palestinian people, including the siege of Gaza, closing of the Rafah crossing and ongoing Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank.

Fatah, unsurprisingly, painted Abbas’ speech as being positive in its presentation of internal or external matters as well as its renewed affirmation of the Palestinian people’s rights and insistence on the peace option, despite the difficult circumstances confronting Palestinians. One Fatah leader, Fayez Abu Aitah, told Al-Monitor that the most important aspect of Abbas’ speech was his call for an international meeting to compel Israel’s compliance with international resolutions, the formation of a national unity government and holding elections in the territories. He said the coming period would witness intensive meetings of the Palestinian leadership to agree on Central Committee mechanisms and decisions related to political, economic and security relations with Israel.

In a Jan. 6 televised statement, Hassan Asfour, former Palestinian Minister for State Negotiation Affairs, told the Ghad al-Araby channel that Abbas’ speech had been viewed by the presidential office as an exercise in reassuring Palestinians about Abbas’ health, which is why it seemed a setback at the political level.

Various Palestinian analysts and observers believe the president’s speech confirmed the failure of the approach adopted by the leadership vis-a-vis Palestinian factions as well as Israel. Assaad Abu Shirkh, a political analyst and retired political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, concurred with the assessments that the goal of the speech had been to dispel rumors about Abbas’ health and Israeli assertions that the PA stands on the verge of collapse.

Abu Shirkh also told Al-Monitor that Abbas was trying to absolve himself of blame for the failure of the Palestinian movement. According to him, everyone had been waiting for Abbas to announce decisions that would reinvigorate and rescue the Palestinian national project, including a plan to lift the Gaza blockade and convene the PLO leadership. Abu Shirkh contended that the PA held a very strong card that for unknown reasons it refused to play, namely, listening to the Palestinian people instead of complying with US and Israeli wishes when it comes to negotiations and security cooperation as well as restoring cohesion among the Palestinians.

An-Najah National University political science professor Abdul Sattar Qassem thinks it would be best for Abbas to refrain from giving speeches, because he never offers political programs or outlooks beneficial to the Palestinian cause in them. Qassem believes Abbas should relinquish leadership of the PA, since his term officially ended in 2009.

Palestinians’ skepticism about solutions being found to resolve their current crises and to move forward in relations with Israel might well be justified given the absence of any apparent official policies in this regard and a region marred in bloody sectarian conflicts.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Egypt Sends 800 Ground Troops to Engage in Saudi-US War on Yemen

Military vehicles carrying Gulf Arab soldiers arrive at Yemen's northern province of Marib September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

As many as 800 Egyptian soldiers arrived in Yemen late on Tuesday, Egyptian security sources said, swelling the ranks of a Gulf Arab military contingent launching a wide war on the country, Reuters news agency reported. It was the second reported deployment of ground troops there by Egypt. The first was in 1962 when Cairo dispatched 70 thousand, while only half of them returned home in 1967, as the rest were killed by the Yemeni resistance fighters. Egyptian security sources stated that four Egyptian units of between 150 to 200 troops along with tanks and transport vehicles arrived in Yemen late on Tuesday. “We have sent these forces as part of Egypt’s prominent role in this alliance … the alliance fights for the sake of our brotherly Arab states, and the death of any Egyptian soldier would be an honor and considered martyrdom for the sake of innocent people,” a senior Egyptian military source said. Worthy to note that Yemen is a member-state of the Arab League that combines all Arab states under one umbrella. Yemeni officials put the number of foreign troops from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar at least around 2,000, while Qatari-owned Al Jazeera TV said at least 10,000 foreign soldiers had arrived, including 1,000 from the UAE.

Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asseri, a spokesman for the coalition, told Reuters its forces were focusing on overcoming the Yemeni resistance in central and southern provinces, pounding their positions from the air across the country before beginning any thrust towards Sanaa. Residents reported heavy air raids on military bases throughout Sanaa on Wednesday, the latest in a series of daily assaults which fishermen said killed 20 Indian nationals off a Red Sea port on Tuesday. At least 15 other civilians were killed throughout the country on Tuesday, medics said. The alliance has increased air strikes on Sanaa and other parts of Yemen since Friday, when a Houthi missile attack killed 300 coalition troops at a military camp in central Marib province. Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for more than five months (168 days) now to restore power to fugitive president Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,788 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children. Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

34 Palestinians Jailed Without Charge or Trial

Israeli authorities, on Monday, issued administrative detention orders against 34 Palestinian detainees, said the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS).

PNN archive image

Fourteen of the detainees received administrative detention orders for the first time, according to WAFA, whereas the remaining 20 received renewed administrative orders.

The names of the detainees are available via WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency.

There are more than 500 Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention, a controversial and archaic Israeli practice, dating back to the Days of British Mandate, which allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial, up to six months, and can be renewed indefinitely.

Israeli officials claim the practice is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence, but it has been strongly criticized by the international community, as well as by both Israeli and Palestinian rights groups.

According to Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, international law stipulates that administrative detention may be exercised only in very exceptional cases. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention on thousands of Palestinians.

Israel uses administrative detention regularly as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Israel releases body of Palestinian killed 3 months earlier

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities on Monday released the body of 17-year-old Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, nearly three months after he was shot dead in East Jerusalem following an alleged stabbing attempt.Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer for prisoners’ rights group Addameer, told Ma’an that Khatib’s body was released to his family near the Ofer military prison west of Ramallah at around 5 p.m.Khatib came from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, but the Israeli authorities only agreed to release his body on condition that he be buried in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.Khatib was shot dead on Oct. 12 near Lion’s Gate outside East Jerusalem’s Old City after he allegedly drew a knife on Israeli Border Police officers.Palestinian witnesses told Ma’an at the time that there had been no attempted stabbing, and Khatib was killed as he was walking in the area.He was the 25th Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in less than two weeks.Since late December, the Israeli authorities appear to have reversed an earlier policy of holding the bodies of alleged Palestinian attackers.Israel’s Public Security Ministry said in mid-October that the bodies of alleged Palestinians attackers would no longer be returned to their families in a bid to stem protests that frequently accompany their funerals.However, Israel’s withholding of bodies has only raised tensions across the occupied Palestinian territory, and most bodies have since been returned to their families.

(Source / 11.01.2016)

Syrian Coalition Discusses Madaya Siege with Friends of the Syrian People

The Syrian Coalition said that by allowing aid convoys to enter the town of Madaya in Rural Damascus, the Assad regime admitted its responsibility for the siege of civilians trapped inside and for letting so many of them starve to death.

In a meeting between members of the political committee and representatives of the Friends of the Syrian people earlier today, both sides condemned the siege of Madaya and all other sieges across Syria.

The two sides discussed the proposed negotiations to be held late January between the Syrian opposition and Assad regime. They also discussed measures that should be taken ahead of the negotiations and stressed the need to create an appropriate environment for the negotiations process.

The Syrian Coalition underlined the need for the Assad regime to immediately implement provisions of the UN Security Council resolution 2254, especially articles 12 and 13 of the resolution regarding humanitarian access and attacks against civilians. The Coalition stressed the need to stop indiscriminate attacks against civilians; lift the siege on the besieged areas; allow the delivery of humanitarian aid; release detainees and reveal the fate of those missing.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 11.01.2016)

Israeli gunboats open machinegun fire at fishermen in Gaza sea

GAZA, (PIC)– Israeli navy forces on Monday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza sea. No casualties have been reported.

Local sources reported that a number of Israeli navy gunboats fired in the morning hours at the Palestinian fishing boats which were sailing in the northern Gaza sea.

The heavy shooting forced the Gazan fishermen to return to shore and end fishing despite sailing within the allowed zone of six nautical miles. No casualties were reported, the sources added.

The attack is another episode in the series of Israeli daily violations of the Cairo-brokered truce accord signed between Israel and Palestinian resistance on August 26, 2014 in the wake of the Israeli offensive on the besieged coastal enclave, which killed over 2,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
(Source / 11.01.2016)