IOF break into Beit Jala, young Palestinian man killed

Sorour Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Srour, 21.

Sorour Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Srour, 21

On Tuesday morning Israeli occupation forces broke into the town of Beit Jala, in the Sahel area, west of Bethlehem, erecting a military checkpoint in the middle of the street which contains a number of restaurants and shops.

According to locals, four Israeli military jeeps entered the area and broke into a number of shops demanding the owners their shop surveillance cameras.

They claimed that a Palestinian car, when crossing the Container military checkpoint in Beit Jala area, opened fire at Israeli soldiers, Tuesday morning.  No injuries were reported.

Following the shooting, the IOF closed the checkpoint in both directions and stormed the nearby town of al-Obaidiya.

In Beit Jala, the IOF erected a military checkpoint, preventing vehicles from passing through the main street that leads to Bethlehem city.

Clashes between young Palestinians and the IOF erupted shortly after the invasion.

A young Palestinian man was killed during the confrontation. He was shot in his chest with a live bullet. People at the scene rushed him into Beit Jala public hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the young man as 21-year-old Srour Ahmad Abu Srour,21, from Aida refugee camp to Bethlehem’s north area.

The director of the Red Crescent ambulance and emergency crew in Bethlehem, Mohamed Awad, said that many young men were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets or by suffocation due to the large amount of tear gas. All of them were treated on the scene.

At the same time, in al-Obaidiya area, the IOF found the car they suspect is the same one that the shots came from in the Container checkpoint. No one was identified or arrested by the IOF until this moment.

That particularly area in Beit Jala is extremely busy and contains a lot of restaurants, shops and markets.

Furthermore, it was supposed to be under the Palestinian Authority (PA) control. However, the IOF regularly breaks their agreement and invade PA controlled areas.

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(Source / 12.01.2016)

Suggestions for Fatah on its 51st anniversary

By Majed Kayali

Majed Kayali

Fatah was the foundation of the modern Palestinian national movement and launched the armed struggle on 1 January 1965. Although it has led the Palestinian struggle for the past 50 years, it has been facing a serious crisis in its structure, policy and leadership for some time.

The Fatah crisis is represented in the failure of the options it has pursued throughout its existence, including the abandonment of armed resistance, the failure of the two-state solution, the absence of an agreement on the horizon, transforming into an “authority” with no tight organisational structure and the marginalisation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and limiting its position in the leadership. The status of its political entities (including the PLO, Palestinian Authority and popular organisations and factions), which it defined with its own characteristics or which have been influenced by it, has declined.

This summary of Fatah’s experience and transformations does not aim to hold the movement responsible for everything that has happened to and around it over the years. It is a fact that political movements may succeed on some occasions and fail on others; sometimes they exceed expectations. They also exhaust themselves with tired policies and activities. Whatever applies to other movements applies to Fatah as well.

I do not mean to say that Fatah as a movement is finished; as it now stands it will continue for many reasons, despite the fact that it has developed way beyond its beginnings as a national liberation movement and pluralistic popular movement. It may continue to exist by virtue of its consistency on the political level, or because international diplomacy believes that it still needs the movement.

Fatah is indeed still needed. The situation in occupied Palestine confirms the desperate requirement for a pluralistic national movement that can reinstate the national liberation project, under Fatah’s or any other name. Historical, political and social factors demand this.

However, it is fair to say that the movement has two options; there seems to be no third way. It can either prosper and grow, or decline and die. Which way depends on the leadership on this, the 51st anniversary of its founding.

I would argue that it would have been more constructive to mark the occasion with discussions at all levels of Fatah, rather than celebrations. It should use this time to conduct a critical review of past experiences, from Jordan to Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza; of the option of armed struggle, uprisings, agreements and negotiations; and of the political entities including the PLO and PA, as well as the other factions.

The movement’s leaders should have asked some pertinent questions: Where were we, and where are we now? Why didn’t Fatah succeed in achieving the objectives it took for itself over the past 50 years? Why couldn’t it preserve and maintain the achievements it did make, despite the fact that the Palestinians did not fall short in making sacrifices under difficult circumstances?

The problem is that Fatah, like other factions, is not accustomed to such self-reflection. This is because a critical review leads to responsibilities and assumes an understanding of a political state based on democracy and representation. The Palestinian movements are lacking in this.

There is still a legitimate role for a Palestinian political movement such as Fatah as it was in the beginning, but lessons must be learnt from past experience. Such legitimacy of purpose, though, does not offer a “blank cheque”; it is conditional upon the movement’s development, focusing on its innate status as a national liberation movement rather than an “authority”, and the renewal of its political ideas, structure, internal relations and modus operandi.

This is what should be at the centre of discussions among the Fatah leadership, cadres and members, because this is the urgent task required of the movement’s upcoming seventh conference. New visions and activities need to be adopted if Fatah is to halt its long decline.

On the movement’s anniversary, then, perhaps it will consider the following proposals which I believe can bring about change for the good in the Palestinian reality.

Internally, Fatah needs to present the political programme for discussion before it goes before the conference. This will not only enrich its content but also provide some insight into public opinions about it, as well as get more people involved in determining the movement’s ideas and options. People are, after all, at the heart of the movement and its cause.

In order to change the system that was formed around the commonalties between the PLO and PA to serve the interests of the latter, it would be better to keep these two bodies and Fatah entirely separate. This is preferable from a practical point of view and may also rehabilitate Fatah and push it to assume its position in the struggle.

The election of a central committee from amongst members of Fatah’s revolutionary council will contribute towards reinforcing the institutional and democratic nature of its structure. It would also widen the circle of responsibility within the movement and deter any monopoly within the committee.

We have to end the system at the moment through which Fatah controls and dominates the national institutions, without subjecting its representatives to accountability. This applies to its representatives in the PLO, PA, popular organisations and Palestinian embassies around the world.

At the level of the PLO and PA, the quota system should be dropped in favour of enhancing the representative aspect in political entities based on national foundations and elections, and in accordance with relative lists that allow for wider representation and participation. This would allow tribal and territorial considerations to be overcome. Representation and sticking to the results from the ballot boxes in all Palestinian areas would re-prioritise the popular aspect of engagement, and contribute to establishing internal balances within the factions and bridging the gap between Palestinian communities inside and outside historic Palestine.

It is also important to re-build and re-activate the PLO. This must also include the re-constitution of the Palestine National Council (PNC) based on qualifications, representation and the spirit of the struggle, rather than quotas. Fatah must also find equations that guarantee the inclusion of active factions, including Hamas, in this process.

Indeed, after all that has happened, there is a need for changing all of the equations; this does not require the dissolution of the PA and handing the keys over to the Israeli occupation. Instead, it requires an end to security coordination with the Israelis, developing self-dependence in the economic sector, embracing all forms of popular struggle and supporting all means of delegitimising Israel and boycotting it. This also requires the establishment of the PA in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a political entity for all Palestinians in the occupied territories, and tasking it with managing the affairs of their society in all aspects, including political, economic, educational and cultural institutions.

Politically, Fatah needs to adopt a culture which is clear that the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist project has two dimensions: confronting Israel and resisting its policies, and building Palestinian society and developing its political entities. It is worth noting that the second process is the basis for improving the position of the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, and for enabling them to invest in their sacrifices and resistance.

Along with Fatah’s attempts to establish an independent Palestinian state must be linked a vision that is based on international standards and noble human values. It must also be tied to seeking the establishment of one democratic state with free and equal citizens. This discourse does not contradict with international law and legitimacy and is backed by solidarity from international public opinion. It is, in addition, the best answer to the Palestinian and Israeli issue.

What I have mentioned above means adding international and humanitarian values to the idea of “liberation” and expanding it from the idea of a conflict on the ground to a conflict about individual and collective rights. This can be achieved by not considering the issue to be one of military invasion, a destructive war or one nation taking the place of another. A part of this includes restoring the concepts of “liberating the Jews from Zionism” and establishing a democratic state in Palestine, as proposed by Fatah in its early literature (articles 13 and 14).

In terms of the national struggle, Fatah should focus more of its efforts on building the infrastructure of the homeland; building the community and developing its capabilities; and improving its political entities (the PLO, PA, factions and popular organisations). The latter should be built upon foundations which take the institutions, struggle, national cause, democracy and representation into account. All must be done despite the unfavourable international and regional circumstances and potentially dangerous consequences and developments.

Working in the context of Israeli society and its political and cultural trends, Fatah should reinforce solidarity and support for our people’s rights and cause against colonial-settler, racist and religious Israel. It must also work on clarifying the idea of a single state as the best solution to end the conflict, and boost the boycott of Israel politically and economically, as well as its security institutions, in an attempt to delegitimise the state as it stands.

Palestinian communities in the diaspora need Fatah’s support to reinforce their stability in facing everyday challenges and problems. The movement must also work on organising their ranks, finding the means to reinforce their role in the national Palestinian process, including the activation of the PLO frameworks, and stressing the legitimate right of refugees to return as well as self-determination.

Fatah should develop a strategy for the struggle that is based on enhancing the idea of perseverance, all forms of popular resistance and the fight against all manifestations of the occupation and racism. This strategy must enable the Palestinians to develop their society and political entities, their capabilities and their perseverance in their land. It must also reinforce international solidarity and highlight the Israeli contradictions; social resistance is key as it allows the largest group of people to participate and contribute in different ways.

The movement should explain and clarify to Palestinians that there is no one “holy” means of struggle, and that all forms are subject to their circumstances and capabilities, as well as to the ability to transform sacrifices and heroic acts into achievements. It must also stress that they are in need of adopting forms of resistance that possess two characteristics: neutralising the Israeli military machine or stopping its ability to use the highest level of violence against them whenever possible; and allowing for the strengthening of Palestinian society, including its political entities, rather than weakening them. The Palestinians are in need of a resistance that hurts Israel more than it hurts themselves, fuels fragmentation and contradictions in the enemy’s society and does not reinforce its coherence and unity.

In short, Fatah cannot improve its situation without developing its structure and without possessing an inspiring political vision based on a national project that answers the various questions posed by the Palestinian cause in every place that Palestinians live. There is a need to restore the alignment between the Palestinian cause, land, nation and national movement.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

Erekat: ICC to open investigation against Israeli leaders

ALGERIA, (PIC)– Head of the Negotiation Affairs Department of Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected in 2016 to open an investigation into Israeli violations against Palestinian people.

In his remarks to the Algerian radio, Erekat affirmed that six files were submitted to the ICC that already started to conduct a preliminary investigation into the tabled documents.

The submitted files mainly deal with Palestinian prisoners’ issue, settlement expansion, Gaza aggression, Israeli extrajudicial executions and Dawabsheh arson attack, he explained.

Following the United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19 on 29 November 2012, Palestine has become a non-member observer state, Erekat pointed out.

The resolution, he continued, recognized Palestine as an occupied state with its boundaries as they were prior to 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. It also allows Palestine to apply for membership in 523 international organizations and treaties.

This means that Israeli demolition and ethnic cleaning policy, settlement construction, and daily arrests are war crimes according to the international laws and conventions, according to Erekat’s remarks.

Erekat pointed out that he heads the Supreme National Committee responsible for follow-up with Palestine’s Ascension to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which constitutes of 45 members including Hamas Movement.

“After opening a preliminary investigation into the submitted files, we are now expecting a decision for conducting an investigation against Israeli leaders over 2016.”

On the other hand, Erekat said that the region is witnessing a new Sykes-Picot map.

He stated, in conclusion, that no security would be achieved in the Middle East without the establishment of the Palestinian state.

The Palestinian official Saeb Erekat has arrived Sunday in Algeria for a four-day working visit at the invitation of Algeria.

Erekat has been welcomed upon his arrival at Houari-Boumediene International Airport by Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ramtane Lamamra.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

Ma’ariv: Second Hamas cell arrested in al-Khalil

Ma’ariv: Second Hamas cell arrested in al-Khalil

Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, claimed that Israeli soldiers have arrested four members of Hamas Movement for allegedly plotting anti-occupation attacks.

The intelligence agency reported the arrests were carried out in al-Khalil city, south of the West Bank, Ma’ariv Hebrew newspaper claimed.

M16 rifle and a gun were found in their possession, the paper added.

One of those arrested has been named as 38-year-old Mohamed Ali Kawasme from the city of al-Khalil whose brother, Hussam Kawasme, was sentenced for three life terms for allegedly kidnapping and killing three settlers in June 2014.

The detainees were plotting to carry out a shooting attack in 35 Street mainly used by Israeli settlers, according to the newspaper.

The four detainees were indicted by the Israeli prosecutor on charges of plotting murder and being affiliated with Hamas Movement.

Earlier last week, Israeli authorities claimed “the arrest of six members of Hamas Movement in al-Khalil and occupied Jerusalem for allegedly plotting to kidnap Israeli soldiers and settlers.”

Based on rights group figures, Israeli forces detained at least 6,830 Palestinians in 2015. Nearly 2,179 of those arrested in 2015 were minors aged between 11 and 18.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

Ofer court jails female teenager for three months

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli military court in Ofer has sentenced a Palestinian female teenager from al-Dahriya town in al-Khalil province to three months in jail.

The Palestinian Prisoner Society said that 16-year-old Maha Shatat was also ordered by the court to pay a penalty of 2,000 shekels.

Shatat was detained on December 27 near the Ibrahimi Mosque and accused of possessing a knife.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

VIDEO: ZIONIST TROOPS PROBE BLEEDING PALESTINIAN DENIED LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL ATTENTION

bled to death 620

The Palestinian remained bleeding while under Israeli investigation until he died 

By Ariyana Love

West Bank –Zionist Occupation soldiers shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian youth last Thursday, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank.

Days of Palestine reported that Mohamed al-Shobaki was shot in the upper part of his body and lay bleeding on the ground, in critical condition, while his executioners proceeded to interrogate him and search his body while allowing him to bleed to death.

When Israeli paramedics arrived on the scene, there was another wounded Israeli who needless to say was offered first aid and evacuated to a nearby hospital!

Witnesses said that the medics refused to offer first aid to the Palestinian, who was instead being investigated while he cried out for help.

Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights accused the Israeli paramedics of discrimination for repeatedly not offering medical attention to wounded Palestinians and allowing Palestinians like Mohamed, to bleed to death.

The Observer said that it had evidence that the Israeli paramedics intentionally did not offer medical aid to the wounded Palestinian, although he called for help, while the Israeli medics were administering first aid to the wounded Israeli next to him.

“This a flagrant violation of the international law,” the Observer said.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

Israel orders a halt to the construction of 4 agricultural ponds

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) ordered Palestinian citizens to stop the construction of four agricultural structures in al-Khalil’s northern town of Beit Ummar on account of unlicensed construction.

The Land Research Center at the Arab Studies Society quoted the targeted farmers as stating that Israeli civil administration crews stormed Wadi al-Arab area, to the northeast of Beit Ummar, and attached the notifications to the targeted ponds.

The IOA ordered the farmers to immediately cease construction works, claiming a hearing will be held on January 21, 2016 to decide on the projected demolition of the structures.

According to the Land Research Center, the notified ponds have been built by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Palestinian Hydrology Group as part of intents to support Palestinian farmers in Beit Ummar’s eastern corners.

The targeted structures, intended to irrigate at least 40 dunums of cultivated land lots, are reportedly owned by the four Palestinian citizens Waheed Abu Maria, Ghassen Ibregheith, Jameel Abu Maria, and Khaled Ibregheith.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

In Yemen, Civilians Suffer Relentless Bombing By Saudi Coalition

After nearly 10 months of war, the destruction of Yemen continues with little respite for civilians.

A man inspects his home destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes claiming to be targeting the Houthi rebels. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

A man inspects his home destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes claiming to be targeting the Houthi rebels

On Sunday, a hospital in northern Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders (known by its French acronym, MSF) was bombed, killing at least five people and destroying several buildings that were part of the facility. Ten people were injured in the attack, including three of the group’s staff.

The humanitarian group said it cannot confirm the origin of the attack but that planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. The only air power currently operating in Yemen is a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states that have waged a relentless bombing campaign since March.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in the war, including over 2,800 civilians, the majority of them from airstrikes, according to the United Nations. The United States has backed the Saudi-led coalition with logistical and intelligence support, including crucial aerial refueling and targeting assistance, as well as billions of dollars worth of arms sales.

This is the third MSF facility to be bombed in Yemen in less than three months. In October, airstrikes destroyed an MSF hospital in Haydan, while a health center run by the group in Taiz was hit by the Saudi coalition in December. Dozens of medical facilities have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict by Saudi airstrikes, as well as, on the other side, indiscriminate shelling by the Houthis and their allies.

msf-projects-yemen

“We strongly condemn this incident that confirms a worrying pattern of attacks to essential medical services and express our strongest outrage as this will leave a very fragile population without healthcare for weeks,”said MSF’s director of operations, Raquel Ayora, in a statement.

The Shiara hospital hit on Sunday lies close the Saudi border in the Razeh district of Saada province. Saada, a stronghold of the Houthi rebels the coalition is fighting, has been subjected to some of the fiercest bombardment in Yemen, causing widespread destruction and massive displacement.

The hospital had been bombed before MSF started supporting it, in an airstrike in September that killed two patients and destroyed several departments in the facility. The only functioning hospital in Saada lies in the provincial capital, leaving hundreds of thousands of Yemenis in the area without adequate access to medical treatment for war injuries as well as for ailments like malnutrition and malaria.

Since April, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a crippling siege on Yemen, by far the poorest country in the region. Severe import restrictions on basic goods have led to a deepening humanitarian crisis, with over 21 million people now in need of basic assistance — more than anywhere else in the world. The blockade comes under the rubric of an arms embargo imposed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that was drafted largely by the Gulf countries taking part in the U.S.-supported Saudi coalition.

On the other side of the front lines, the Houthis have also blocked access to humanitarian aid within the country, imposing a vicious internal siege on Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city.

Last month, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, ironically lamented the humanitarian situation in Yemen, stating in a tweet: “Grim briefing on #Yemen today. Yemen’s future on the line: over 700 schools destroyed/damaged; 2x increase in malnourished kids in just 9mo.” Her statement has been criticized for hypocrisy.

“Such statements ring hollow,” said Belkis Wille, the Yemen researcher for Human Rights Watch, pointing out the direct role played by the U.S. in the war and its refusal to push for accountability by holding its own investigations into airstrikes.

The coalition has lashed out at the criticism of its military campaign. Yemen’s pro-Saudi government even expelled a U.N. human rights envoy last week over what it called “unfair statements.” The expulsion came after Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,criticized the “terrible toll on civilians” in the conflict. The move caused an uproar and the government begrudgingly reversed its position two days later “because of the fuss created around the matter and caused by media reports,” according to a letter from the Yemeni mission to the United Nations.

The coalition also airdropped cluster bombs on residential neighborhoods in the capital, Sanaa, for the first time on Wednesday, according to Human Rights Watch. The group identified the munitions as from a CBU-58 cluster bomb manufactured at a plant in Tennessee in 1978.

On the same day as the cluster bomb attack, Sanaa was targeted with some of the heaviest bombing by the coalition in months. Warplanes struck a center for the blind, a wedding hall, the city’s chamber of commerce, and a residential neighborhood. The bombing came after the breakdown of a nominal ceasefire that was declared during U.N.-sponsored peace talks in December.

“The Saudis are using missile strikes as political exclamation points,” said Haykal Bafana, a lawyer and consultant in Sanaa. “I don’t know whose attention they are trying to get. Anytime I hear jets flying over me thoughts flash in my mind of me, my wife, and my kids dying.”

The next round of peace talks, which were scheduled for mid-January, have been postponed until the end of the month after a rejection by the Houthis.

“In order to have a viable peace process you need to have a group of sides involved in the war that actually want peace,” said Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a founding member of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies. “As all political sides think they’re winning, Yemenis are paying the price of the conflict with a deepening humanitarian crisis, destruction of infrastructure, and the unraveling of the country’s entire social fabric.”

(Source / 12.01.2016)

300 Dunams of Palestinian Farmland Seized by Military

Israeli forces have confiscated 300 dunams of Palestinian farmlands in Ya’bad town, and declared it a closed military zone.

Yabad

The director of Ya’bad municipality, Yosef Atatrah, said that soldiers erected a barbed wire around the lands, adding that the farmers found military orders hanging on the trees, dating January 7, which noted that the area is a closed military zone.

Atatrah explained, according to Al Ray, that these orders have grave impacts on the Palestinian economic and agriculture life, since the owners of the lands will not be able to reach them.

Ya’bad lands have witnessed active military activities, which require a strong stand by the relevant rights groups in order to stop Israeli aggravations.

An Israeli report revealed, recently, that 78%percent of the confiscated lands are not used for military purposes; instead, they are used to expand the area of conjunction settlements.

The report estimated that the size of the area (which Palestinians could not reach) totals some 1,765,000 dunams. In other words, one third of the West Bank area and more than half of C area, which is subject to Israeli authorization.

The report also noted that the lands on which settlement are constructed constitute more than half a million dunams, which are also a closed military zone.

(Source / 12.01.2016)

Settlers, intelligence agents storm the Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Groups of Jewish settlers along with members of Israeli intelligence apparatus on Tuesday morning stormed the plazas of the Aqsa Mosque from the Magharebah gate under the protection of Israeli police and Special Forces.

Some of the settlers, who roamed the courtyards of the Muslim’s holy site, attempted to perform Talmudic rituals at the Mosque. However, Muslim sit-inners along with worshipers confronted settlers by chanting “Allah the Greatest”.
In the same context, the Jerusalemite women whose names are listed in the ban of entry list were barred from entering the Mosque by Israeli police. They got gathered in a sit-in at the Aqsa gates and recited verses of the Holy Quran.

The Jewish settlers deliberately storm the Aqsa Mosque daily at seven o’clock in the morning so that they can take advantage of the small numbers of Muslim sit-inners at that early time.

(Source / 12.01.2016)