German supports Israeli occupation killing Palestinians

Israeli occupation state signed an agreement with Germany to receive six Dolphin-class submarines

Israeli occupation state has recently received the fifth German-built submarine, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Israeli submarine fleet has nuclear capabilities and Berlin is aware of this but has opted to publicly remain silent about it to avoid having to defend the deal

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem –Israeli occupation state has recently received the fifth German-built submarine, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

According to the Israeli General Radio, a welcoming ceremony was held in the Israeli navy base in Haifa.

The submarine departed from German Kiel Port in mid-December and arrived in the Israeli navy base on Tuesday.

Israeli occupation state received the fourth German submarine in September at a cost of about €600m. The Israeli occupation state signed an agreement with Germany to receive six Dolphin-class submarines.

The newly-delivered submarine can launch missiles and can stay underwater for a period of two weeks. They can also evade tracing by monitoring devices.

In 2012, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Israeli submarine fleet has nuclear capabilities and that Berlin is aware of this but has opted to publicly remain silent about it to avoid having to defend the deals.

The submarines, according to Der Spiegel, are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles, which can carry a warhead of up to 200 kilograms. The nuclear warheads are produced at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor, the report said.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Israel seizes Palestinian national products

Israel seizes Palestinian national products

All farmers across the world plant their lands to enjoy the crops for living hood and commerce, but not the Palestinian farmer. He plants his lands, and when the season of harvest gets close, the Israeli planes sprinkle toxic at the crops, causing its death and a future damages for the earth.

Farmers complain the deliberate killing for their crops in Gaza Strip in its harvest seasons by both deadly pesticides spraying or shoot them when they go to their lands. Either ways, the crops die and Gaza markets face inability in the products.

Hani Najar, a farmer in Gaza, confirms to Donia Al-Watan that he lost all the crops in his land which is about 25 Acres, after the Israeli planes spray them by toxic pesticides. “After few days, we realized that the plants dying,” he said. “The land was full of crops that I was about to send them to the markets, but now all of them become unsuitable for human or animals,” the forlorn man added.

Other farmer, Ahmed Haia, seems very rueful when he said that Israeli occupation intent to kill every living thing in Gaza by exterminating crops, destroying the wells and irrigation systems.

The head of Agriculture Ministry Office in Khan-Younis city Kamal Abu Shamala assures that more than 20 farmers complain the loss of their crops after the Israeli planes committed a lousy act against them.

Wael Thabet, Director of the Department of Plant Protection, said that for the third respectively years, the Israeli occupation spoils Palestinian crops in a move to undermine the national economic and causing parsimony in the Palestinian products, referring that Israel uses the appropriate time to damage both earth and crops.

Thabet affirms that the ministry warns the farmers to not sell the damaged crops due to their toxic situation.

As the status quo for Palestinian farmers, they live really harsh circumstances due to the Israeli policies in destroying the Palestinian sources. They still suffer the lack of funds and reparation, even though, they keep planting their land to send a message that we will stay here.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Israel tortures Palestinian children; keeps them in outdoor cages in winter: Rights group

Children at Qalandia checkpoint 8a2e2

Following a November 2015 report by the independent, in which it quoted NGO rights organization the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) that at least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem alone in the first half of 2015 and that roughly 40% were sexually abused, a new January 2016 report was also issued by the Independent, this time saying that the Israeli government is torturing children and keeping them in outdoor cages during winter time.

The Independent cited a report published by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) saying that “children accused of minor crimes were subject to public caging, threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation.”

Upon a visit by Israel’s Public Defender’s Office (PDO) lawyers, shocking details of happenings in the detention facility was uncovered.

“During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,” the PDO described the scene on its website.

“It turns out that this procedure, under which prisoners waited outside in cages, lasted for several months, and was verified by other officials.”

The report said the incident in Ramla was just one example of a broad range of abuses being suffered.

As for the charges upon which the children are detained, the PCATI quoted figures from the campaign group, noting that “The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones.”

74 per cent of these children experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation, the reported added, underscoring that Israel was the only government to systematically prosecute children in its military courts, and added that “no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system”.

In the first three weeks of November 2014 alone, Israel kidnapped at least 380 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In a 2013 review of child rights record, the UN Committee on the Rights of Children (CRC) said it has deep concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police, and about the State party’s failure to end these practices in spite of repeated concerns expressed by treaty bodies.

It further added that there is “continuous use of physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, death threats, physical violence, sexual assault against them or members of their family, and restricted access to toilet, food and water.”

The CRC report also explained that the Israeli army used Palestinian children as human shields multiple times.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps. Several human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the United Nation to stop Israel from arresting and torturing Palestinian children, to stop prosecution them under military law and release all children detained unlawfully.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Hamas warns against scaling-down UNRWA services

Hamas official in Lebanon Raafat Murra has warned against the dire consequences of scaling down the health services provided to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

In a press statement on Thursday, Murra said that UNRWA’s intended cuts will exacerbate the poor status of health services offered to refugees, further complicating the receding educational services and the established crises of poverty and unemployment.

Murra said that the decision points out an international decision to end UNRWA’s role by casting its responsibilities onto governments.

“By these decisions they intend to eliminate the refugees’ cause and open the door for settling Palestinians in host countries.” He opined.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Muslim Americans stand together against hate crimes

Attacks on Muslims in the US have tripled in recent months. In Dearborn, Michigan, the large Arab-American community is pulling together

Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan

Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques have tripled in the US since attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, with dozens in a month, according to an analysis for theNew York Times.

Muslims in the US’s largest Arab-American community say they have felt the rise in tension.

In Dearborn, Michigan, where 30 percent of the 95,000 population are Arab-American or of Arab descent, residents blame Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful, and mainstream media for propagating the notion that Muslims are linked to terrorism.

Many Arab travellers also complain about unlawful detainment and enhanced screening upon their arrival by the US customs and border protection.

Mayor John B O’Reilly of Dearborn calls on Arab-Americans to stand together and insist on their rights as Americans.

MEE spoke to residents in the city.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Jerusalem families in legal battle to stay in Old City homes

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — For the past few weeks, four Palestinian families living in Jerusalem’s Old City have faced the threat of immediate eviction from their homes.The Hashima, Kastero, Seidawi, and Maswada families, who live in the Old City’s Aqbat al-Khalidiya quarter, told Ma’an that they were handed eviction notices in December when an Israeli court ruled that their homes originally belonged to a Jewish organization.Hayil Sandouka, a Palestinian who has long worked on the restoration of Palestinian buildings in the Old City, told Ma’an that the building previously belonged to the Diskin Orphan Fund of Israel, founded in 1881.Sandouka said the organization left the building in the 1930s, after which Palestinian families moved in “upon legal leases which, according to Israeli law, entitles them the status of protected leaseholders.”However, the Diskin Orphan Fund later moved back into two units in the building, one in 1989 and a secibd in 1992, Sandouka told Ma’an, adding that the organization was now aiming to gain back the entire building, which would require the Palestinian families to leave the four units they reside in.Hammuda Kastero, a Palestinian resident of the building, told Ma’an he has lived in his apartment for 47 years but received two eviction notices last month on the pretext that he had failed to pay rent, allegations Kastero said were false.Kastero told Ma’an that Israelis attempting to evict him said he neglected to show up for court hearings regarding his apartment, but he insisted that he had received no notifications regarding his home prior to the eviction orders.He added that the eviction orders were the most recent move taken by Israel against the families, which have have been targeted by Jerusalem’s municipality for decades.“We can’t change doors, windows or tiles. We can’t paint the house and we need permission if we need to hammer a nail,” Kastero told Ma’an.Kastero told Ma’an that the four families insisted on remaining in their homes despite poor living conditions in an effort to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which many Palestinians believe is threatened by Israel.The Aqbat al-Khalidiya quarter — opposite the Cotton Merchant’s’ Gate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound — is just one of many areas of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City that right-wing Israeli groups aim to take over.Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, successive Israeli governments and right-wing groups have implemented a policy of “Judaization” of the Palestinian half of the city.While government funding is channeled into Jewish areas of the Old City, many Palestinian residences remain without running water or connection to sewage infrastructure, according to the UN.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says such policy is “aimed at assuming control of the Old City by ‘de-Arabizing’ it at the expense of both its population and heritage.”A number of Israeli settlement organizations, including Ateret Cohanim, have taken over several Palestinian properties under the Israeli Absentee Property law, which effectively allows Israelis to move into property whose Palestinian owners live in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.A potential connection between the Diskin Orphan Fund — which Sandouka said was taking over the building — and such right-wing groups is not known, and the organization did not immediately respond for comment regarding their alleged takeover of the building in the Aqbat al-Khalidiya quarter.Nawal Hashima, who also lives in the building, told Ma’an that she received an eviction order two years ago after she installed a new door.Hashima told Ma’an that her family used to pay rent to a Palestinian owner of the building but started delivering rent to the post office after “Israeli settlers took over the building” years prior.Since the reported takeover, Hashima said her family has come under attack from Israelis living in the area.“We are afraid when our kids exit the main door. In several cases we have been attacked and pepper-sprayed, not to mention the verbal attacks,” Hashima told Ma’an, adding that an Israeli settler once sprayed pesticides in her daughter’s face.Meanwhile, the Seidawi family told Ma’an that they had lived in their apartment since 1966. The family reportedly proved ownership of their home after an ongoing court battle between 2009 and 2012.Despite winning the court case, a member of the Seidawi family told Ma’an they believed that the Israeli organization attempting to take over the building is planning to expand a synagogue that shares a neighboring wall with her home.Um Rami Maswada, an elderly Palestinian woman who lives with her son’s family in the building, told Ma’an she was “seriously worried” about being forced out.Maswada has lived in the apartment for over 45 years and after receiving the eviction notice for the first time, said it would be “impossible” to leave the home.“All our memories and our history are in this humble house,” she said.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

Has the survival of the PA become the goal?

Dr Hani Al-Masri

Dr Hani Al-MasriDr Hani Al-Masri

After being reassured about his health, President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech in Bethlehem last week was a disappointment, not only for what he did say, but also for what he didn’t say about the challenges and dangers threatening the Palestinian cause and the investment of the opportunities available. His speech addressed neither the handing over to his eventual successor nor how to achieve national unity. Nor, indeed, how to provide for the continuation of the intifada and develop it into a comprehensive uprising with a leadership and specific goals, standing alongside the boycott against Israel and its prosecution on every international level and in all forums.

Instead of the speech providing answers to the question of “what to do” against escalated Israeli aggression, racism, settlement activity and extremism, once again a political process by means of an international forum is being pushed. However, this will not lead to anything new unless the balance of power, which led us to this point, is changed.

Abbas has gone from threatening to dissolve the Palestinian Authority by handing over its keys to the occupation, to considering it as a national achievement that will not change until a state is established. The PA president did not explain the reason for this change. Was it because the tactical threat to dissolve the PA has exhausted its usefulness; or because he was not serious from the beginning; or because he realised it was wrong? What we have needed, for a long time, is not to dissolve the PA or hope for its collapse, but rather to change its nature, structure and functions in the context of building a cohesive alternative. This will allow it to go from being an authority acting as a partner to the occupation in a political process to an authority resisting the occupation or, at the very least, aligned with the resistance. Of course, this may lead to the Israelis dissolving the PA, but if that happens then a national alternative would be available.

Has Abbas backed down from his threat because it led to Arab, international, Fatah, and Palestinian protest? What sort of “achievement” is it? You cannot have an “achievement” that is restricted by political, security and economic obligations to the occupier. There must be a radical reconsideration of the relations with the Israelis and their brutal military occupation, which includes ending the PA’s security coordination and economic dependence, and withdrawing formal recognition of Israel if it does not recognise the Palestinian state.

The change in the Palestinian political discourse from “an authority without authority” to an “achievement authority” suggests that the survival of the PA itself has become the goal; it is no longer the means by which to end the occupation and establish a state. This is true, at least for the time being, and until the conditions to resume the stalled political process are met, although it is likely to be stalled for at least a year and possibly indefinitely.

The survival of the PA as a limited autonomous authority cannot be the Palestinians’ goal, because it is Israel’s goal, which allows it to manage rather than resolve the conflict. Israel also uses the PA to cover its efforts to present a fait accompli that would make an Israeli solution the only proposed and feasible solution.

Ending the PA’s security coordination with Israel should have been done long ago; ever since, in fact, it became obvious that there was no true political process looking to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state. The PA security services have been used to provide cover for Israel’s confiscation of ever more Palestinian land, settlement building, Judaisation and otherwise “persuading” the people of Palestine to leave their land “voluntarily” until conditions are right to expel them en masse.

Although the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has by its actions pushed the PA to the edge, the prime minister has vowed to make sure that the authority is not dissolved. He understands that without the PA Israel will have to bear the burden of occupation by paying for and providing public services to the Palestinians living under occupation. Even with the PA in place, as the occupying power that remains Israel’s legal obligation. With Israel’s security as its main priority, the PA’s security coordination buys it time; survival is granted in exchange for security.

If the PA is dissolved, then there will always be people willing to take it on board and make it even more subservient to Israel. Fatah, for example, or other groups and individuals who have been moulded by 20 years of Oslo to be stakeholders in a corrupt system. The collapse of the PA would create a vacuum that many will rush to fill, so there needs to be a comprehensive vision to ensure that chaos does not ensue. Such a vision, which would include the succession to Mahmoud Abbas, is absent at the moment.

Thus, those who call for an end to security coordination must launch a process of comprehensive change. The PLO must be revived and restructured so as to heal the national divide and bring about genuine reconciliation. All factions must be invited to participate. Instead of petty internal disputes of the “what’s in it for us” variety, the factions should be competing in terms of national approaches and programmes for the good of all Palestinians.

It is not crucial for one person to replace another, but rather to find a path to national salvation and find out who can lead the Palestinians along it. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. At the moment, though, our requirements suggest that we not only need a new path, but also a new structure. Keeping the PA together just for the sake of it cannot be our goal. Once the real goal of independence and freedom has been re-discovered, then progress can be made.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

IOF destroys EU-financed agricultural facilities in the Jordan Valley

JORDAN VALLEY, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) razed on Thursday morning, a number of agricultural facilites in the town of Irza in the northern Jordan Valley, funded by European institutions.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that the IOF demolished four agricultural greenhouses in the Ainoun area of Irza under the pretext of being built without permit.

The IOF also demolished water well donated by the Italian Church for the delivery of water to the citizens that has been built with the approval of the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA).

Activist Mohammed Abu Mohsen, a citizen in the region, told the PIC reporter that the IOA does not recognize Khirbet Irza and describes it as an unrecognized gathering that must be removed. The IOA turned the hamlet into a closed military area planted with landmines which led to the death of a big number of Bedouins living in the area.

He pointed out that the IOF had previously carried out many demolition operations in the area, including the demolition of a large number of houses and barns which resulted in the displacement of a large number of the population, even the sole mosque in the hamlet was repeatedly destroyed.

Khirbet Irza is located 10 km east of Tubas in the plains of Bokayaa, and is inhabited by nearly 12 families (100 individuals), those who remained of its original inhabitants who were previously counted in hundreds and who used to work on farming their agricultural lands estimated at 25 thousand dunums.

(Source / 14.01.2016)


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Birzeit- (11 Jan 2016)- In the early morning hours, the Israeli occupation army invaded Birzeit University campus. This is neither new nor unprecedented given the ongoing colonial aggression against the people and institutions of Palestine. Birzeit University condemns this attack and the direct violation of the sanctity of the university campus. This is a belligerent military attack on the university and our right to education and all the principles involved in the freedom of education.

More than fifteen military Israeli vehicles raided Birzeit University at 2:50 in the morning breaking through the entrance to the university through the western gate. The military forces invaded the Student Council building and the Faculty of Science. They forcibly deterred our University security personnel as they invaded these buildings. The military confiscated equipment and computers used in the activities of the students council and destroyed and damaged furniture leaving a great deal of havoc behind. This is a blatant attack on our student council and the sanctity of democratic values. This violation of the campus is a part of a systematic attack on the right of education and freedom of expression.

Birzeit University condemns the continuous Israeli occupation military’s invasions of university campuses throughout Palestine. Eighty students at Birzeit University, in addition to hundreds of students throughout other universities in Palestine, are in Israeli prisons, more than twenty-five arrested and detained in the last three months alone. Stealing our students lives and working to destroy the sanctity of our university campus and our right to education is an atrocious and obvious attempt to destroy the will of the Palestinian people. The University condemns these outrageous acts in the strongest possible terms and calls upon all international and human rights organizations to speak this truth loudly in the face of these violations immediately and without reserve and to stand in solidarity with our struggle.

The University’s administration confirms that despite these constant Israeli attacks and their repressive measures against students, they shall only strengthen the University’s commitment to its noble cause – education.

(Source / 14.01.2016)

What are the real goals behind local truces in Syria?

Buses leave the district of al-Waer during a truce between the government and rebels, in Homs, Syria, Dec. 9, 2015

DAMASCUS, Syria — Several successful cease-fire truces have been reached in different parts of Syria between the Ministry of National Reconciliation on the one hand and UN delegations and native dignitaries on the other. The regime calls these truces “national reconciliations,” but many observers wonder if perhaps the agreements just stem from the regime’s desire to herd opposition brigades into Idlib in northwestern Syria.

Under one of the latest truces, in Homs, the opposition battalions’ militants took their light weapons on Dec. 8 and left al-Waer neighborhood for the countryside of Idlib in the north after afive-month siege on the city.

Also, a deal led opposition fighters in long-besieged Zabadani to leave with their families on Dec. 28 toward Lebanon, Turkey and the Idlib countryside. The truce aimed to implement the September agreement reached in Turkey between an Iranian delegation and one from the opposition umbrella group Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest).

On Dec. 1, a delegation of notables representing Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Waer neighborhood met with regime representatives — including the head of the General Intelligence Directorate, Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, and the governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi — under UN auspices through UN Ambassador in Syria Yacoub El Hillo.

The main directive of the resulting truce, which was implemented Dec. 9, provided for a complete cease-fire between the two parties and the exit of 270 fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra — which opposed the truce — to the countryside of Idlib in the north. The truce called for medium weapons to be handed over to the Syrian regime, humanitarian corridors to be opened into the neighborhood, the conditions of the remaining wanted people to be settled and a list of detainees held by the regime to be prepared for them to be released.

The regime says these truces serves the political solution process, but some activists and media outlets think the regime is seeking to empty these areas to prove its military strength and ability to manage the crisis. They say that the regime wants to kick-start the process of demographic change in the region and that it will not allow the displaced to return to their homes once the situation calms down.

In this context, France 24 website reported Dec. 18 that al-Waer residents refused to leave the neighborhood, as the truce had suggested, despite the miserable conditions there. The residents might fear that the Old Homs scenario will be repeated once they are out, and that the regime will never allow them to return. In April, the regime did not allow Old Homs residents to returnfollowing the deal between Jabhat al-Nusra and the regime there, even though the deal stated that the civilian citizens would be able to return.

Al-Monitor asked Anas Judeh, head of the opposition’s Nation Building Movement, about the extent to which these truces might manage to end the armed conflict and solve the Syrian conflict.

“From the Russian standpoint, the agreements currently reached with armed groups in regime-controlled areas are the result of the Vienna II agreement signed in October 2015 calling for clearing the ‘useful’ Syrian areas of undisciplined armed groups that are incompatible with international agreements,” Judeh said. “This paves the way for a stable environment, which can set the stage for a political process that Russia can apply and invoke with the United States, thus extending the international conflict” over how to handle Syria.

According to Judeh, Moscow believes that to solve the Syrian crisis, terrorism must be countered first and Syria must be rescued from extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS) through Russia’s military presence. Only then can a transitional phase that includes Bashar al-Assad be discussed.

“We should be careful not to end up with a serious social fracture or animosities among the Syrian people,” Judeh added. “Putting an end to the military conflict and transferring thousands of armed men along with their families to ‘remote’ regions is not enough. After all, these, along with their children, will only be ticking time bombs. Social, cultural and political work is essential to reintegrate them within the Syrian community. War on the extremist and terrorist ideology is not limited to military means alone, as it also includes cultural, social and political aspects.”

Instead of ending the conflict, Judeh said, sending fighters to other areas only serves to entrench the problem and might ultimately divide Syria into separate areas controlled by the regime, IS, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Kurds.

Some critics say the regime’s efforts are an attempt to prove it can reach compromises that could end the Syrian war. The regime, they say, is trying to prove it should be a key player in the next phase, which would enhance its power centers in regime-controlled areas. This would subsequently lead to the deterioration of truces given that they were not reached under appropriate conditions, and especially given the absence of neutral observers.

Al-Monitor met with Reem Turkmani, head of the Madani Organization and a member of the board of the Syrian Civil Coalition. Turkmani said, “To begin with, what the regime is doing cannot be described as reconciliations. These are agreements whose main parties are military bodies seeking to achieve their interests through negotiations, not fighting.”

He added, “We may witness more local agreements, but there is no guarantee of continuity given the absence of observers, human rights organizations to follow up on the prisoners’ situation or independent mediators. And there is no political will to reach a solution.”

Turkmani told Al-Monitor that the best solution is for Syrians — be they civilians or militants — to stay in their areas. But some of them are forced to leave for two reasons. First, there is no third party, such as international observers, capable of protecting those who are most vulnerable to the risk of arrest. Therefore, some people prefer to leave out of fear of being arrested or forced into conscription, which could lead to their death.

Second, not all truces go as smoothly as those in Zabadani and al-Waer. For example, on Dec. 25, there were signs of an unprecedented deal that would have allowed IS militants to exit thesouthern Damascus districts of al-Qadam and al-Hajar toward Raqqa, the organization’s stronghold. Under the deal, buses would have transported the militants through areas under the control of Jaish al-Islam and then head to Raqqa. However, the deal failed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, after Jaish al-Islam Cmdr. Zahran Alloush was killed Dec. 24.

But a civilian activist from al-Qadam said Jaish al-Islam wasn’t involved at all with the failed truce.

“IS is the reason behind the deal’s failure. They did not want to get out at once without knowing who would be governing the areas that they were leaving,” the activist, who oversees the Facebook page of the Local Council of al-Qadam in Damascus, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “Jaish al-Islam has nothing to do with this. The buses arrived the morning of Dec. 25 and waited in vain as IS members refused to leave.”

(Source / 14.01.2016)