22 captives suffer from cancer in Israeli jails

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies revealed that 22 Palestinian detainees are suffering from cancer in Israeli jails. They have been detained for long years without being treated. The center’s media spokesman, Riyad al-Ashqar, said that the lives of cancer-stricken detainees are at real risk in light of the harsh detention conditions and the Israeli policy of deliberate medical neglect. They have been taking painkillers only, he highlighted. Many prisoners died because of cancer inside Israeli jails. The last case was that of martyr Maysarah Abu Hamdiya who suffered cancer for long years in captivity with no treatment. Nonetheless, Israeli authorities refused to release him to be treated outside of jail, which led to his death, Ashqar said. Among the prisoners who are currently struggling with cancer inside Israeli jails is captive Bassam al-Sayeh, from Nablus. He is held in Megiddo prison after being lately transferred from Ramleh prison hospital. Sayeh suffers from cancer in the blood and liver. His condition has critically worsened as he is complaining of problems in the lungs and breathing.   Another captive is Sami Abu Diyak, 33, from Jenin, who is sentenced to life-imprisonment for three times. He is suffering from tumors in the intestines and infections despite cutting a large part of it. Severe inflammation while in Ramleh hospital has led to a sudden decline in his health condition. As a result, he entered a coma and was transferred to hospital. Murad Saad, 35, from al-Amari refugee camp and sentenced to 12 years, has been suffering from cancer for four years in Israeli prisons. He underwent a surgery to remove tumors in Soroka hospital but his condition has recently worsened to a large extent. He receives painkillers only and complains of severe pain and bleeding. Ashqar pointed out that a number of Palestinian prisoners who get cancer inside Israeli jails died very soon after they had been released. Martyrs of cancer who died that way include Fayiz Zaidat, Zakariya Issa and Hassan Turabi. Ashqar called on all the concerned with the issue of Palestinian prisoners to shed light on the suffering of cancer patients detained in Israeli jails and to work on their release before they lose their lives. He also called on all international institutions especially the World Health Organization and Doctors without Borders to work on releasing cancer detainees.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Israeli settlers seize 600 dunums of Palestinian lands in Jordan Valley

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)–  Israeli settlers seized 600 more dunums of private Palestinian lands in 2015 in the northern Jordan Valley which were confiscated by Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) under military pretexts. According to a report issued by the Haaretz newspaper on Monday, the lands are located near the Jordan River where the IOA prohibited the owners of these lands from entering the area for security reasons. A so-called Decree 151 issued by the IOA following the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 had banned Palestinians from reaching their own lands in that area.  However, the occupation army allowed the settlers to take profit from the lands after they had built an apartheid wall and a buffer zone under the pretext of limiting infiltration out of and into the Jordan Valley. In January 2013, Haaretz reported that 5,000 dunums of these lands were being cultivated by the settlers and in 2015 settlers began cultivating an additional 600 dunums.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Israeli opposition lawmaker hints Israel behind Quntar assassination

Israeli opposition lawmaker hints Israel behind Quntar assassination

An Israeli lawmaker from the opposition publicly stated on Saturday what many believe to be true though has yet to be officially confirmed by the government – Israel is behind the killing of Hezbollah operative Samir Quntar.

During a town hall meeting in Beersheba on Saturday, Zionist Union Knesset member Omer Bar-Lev was asked about the Lebanese Shia group and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in the wake of recent threats to attack chemical facilities in Haifa.

“I would not recommend to Nasrallah that he leave his bunker,” the lawmaker, a former commander of the elite reconnaissance commando unit Sayeret Matkal, said. “Why? Because he’s an enemy, and he’s a target. He needs to be a target, so on a personal level I would advise him to look after himself.”

When the moderator of the discussion asked if Nasrallah would be targeted “at the earliest possible opportunity, just like Samir Quntar,” Bar-Lev tried to dance around the subject.

“I certainly do not want to make operational statements of the kind,” Bar-Lev said.

Moments later, Bar-Lev was asked if the Kuntar killing could be considered “a tremendous success for Israel.”

“Yes, certainly,” the lawmaker replied.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Ibrahimi Mosque faces fierce Judaization

Al-Khalil, (PIC)–The Ibrahimi Mosque, the second most prominent Islamic site in Palestine, is located in Al-Khalil (Hebron), south of the West Bank, and is facing unjust Israeli measures. Since 1967, the Mosque, also known as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi, has been encountering fierce Israeli attempts to distort and steal its cultural background. This include the Israeli massacre in 1994 that targeted the Palestinian worshipers in the Mosque, killing 40 of them and injuring tens others. However, regardless of the religious, historical, and political importance of the Ibrahimi Mosque, the Israeli Judaization attempts are met with an Arab and Islamic silence. Historical background The Ibrahimi Mosque has such a long history according to different encyclopedias and historians. Adnan Abu Tabbana, professor of Islamic history, said that the story behind the Mosque started as Ibrahim (Abraham) –peace be upon him– arrived in Palestine as an asylum. The Canaanites were the residents of Palestine back then and he stayed in their lands for years. Sanctuary of Abraham Around 3800 years ago, Ibrahim took a cave under the Mosque to bury his wife, Sarah, and he was later buried there along with Isaac, his wife, Jacob and his wife. Abu Tabbana pointed out that this cave became vulnerable to collapse over time. Therefore, during prophet Suleiman’s era, a wall was built around the cave, with large stones, up to 10 meters in height and two meters in width. Some of these stones can still be seen in the wall surrounding the cave today. Abu Tabbana added, “When Muslims conquered Palestine, they raised the wall and made the place a mosque. In the Umayyad era, Muslims built a ceiling for the place and started performing the Friday prayers there.” Under the Crusade Abu Tabbana stated that al-Khalil was occupied in 492 AH during the Crusade invasion and the Ibrahimi Mosque fell in the crusaders’ hands, turning it into a patriarchate, and calling it Saint Abraham and it carried that name for 90 years until Salah Eddin al-Ayyoubi conquered Palestine and demolished the castle they built inside the Mosque. Religious significance The Ibrahimi Mosque is particularly important for Muslims as a burial for a number of prophets. Sheikh Mohammed, Mufi of al-Khalil, said, “The Mosque enjoys a religious importance among Muslims as the place of the first Muslim, prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him.” Israeli violations Numerous Israeli transgressions and attacks have been inflicted on the Ibrahimi Mosque. The director of the Palestinian-controlled part of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Munthir Abu al-Feilat, said, “Palestinians controlled the Ibrahimi Mosque since 1967 until the 1970s, as Moshe Dayan entered the Mosque to the Ibrahimi cave. The entrance of the cave was then closed and the Israeli violations increased. In 1976, Israeli settlers burnt a copy of the Quran in the Mosque, triggering protests and clashes between Israeli settlers and Muslim worshipers. In 1987, the Israeli government installed electronic devices and metal-detectors on the main three entrances to the Mosque. Abu al-Feilat added, “1994 was a tragedy in the history of the Ibrahimi Mosque as the extremist Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, committed a massacre that killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in the Mosque.” Shamgar Commission Following the massacre, the Israeli government formed an inquiry commission, which divided the Mosque into two parts: 56% for Jews, and 44% for Muslims. Since the division, Muslims have control over their part from 3 am to 9 pm, except for the ten days of Jewish holidays and festivals, as the Jews take the control over the whole Mosque.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Assad Regime & Russia Violate Truce in 40 Areas on Sunday

Activists said that 29 civilians, including 15 in Aleppo, were killed in Russian and regime attacks on rebel-held areas on Sunday. They said they had recorded attacks by the Assad regime and Russia on 40 areas across Syria on Sunday in violation of the truce agreement.

Asaad al-Zoabi, head of the HNC’s delegation to Geneva, said the truce had collapsed before it started.

“We are not facing a violation of the truce… we are facing a complete nullification,” Zoabi said, adding that “we have alternatives to protect our people” if the international community could not.

“I believe the international community has totally failed in all its attempts, and must take real, practical measures towards the regime,” Zoabi added. “There are no indicators that there is ground for peace talks, which the United Nations has said it is planning to reconvene on March 7,” Zoabi added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 29.02.2016)

Record number of Palestinians held under administrative detention: NGO

Of the 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, more than 700 are now detained under controversial administrative detention orders, says NGO

A demonstrator waves a Palestinian flag during a protest against administrative detention in 2013

Over the past 10 days, Israel has given “administrative detention” orders to 84 Palestinians, bringing the total number of Palestinians held under the controversial procedure to its highest level since 2009, a Palestinian NGO said on Monday.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said 39 Palestinians had been arrested and placed under administrative detention for periods of between two and six months, while the other 45 had their detention prolonged.

The latest orders, according to the NGO, bring the total number of Palestinians held under administrative detention – a British Mandate- era procedure which allows Israel to hold suspects without trial for renewable six-month periods – to more than 700.

News of the figures comes just days after Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq ended a 93-day hunger strike in protest of his administration detention after Israeli and Palestinian officials struck a deal that will see him a month earlier than originally scheduled.

Activists said Qiq’s case ended in victory and had been a “big embarrassment for Israel”, but will likely view the record number of Palestinians held under administrative detention with disappointment.

Qiq, a father of two and correspondent for Saudi Arabia’s Almajd TV network, was arrested at his home in Ramallah on 21 November for what Shin Bet described as “terror activity” on behalf of Hamas.

He had refused food since 25 November in protest against the “torture and ill-treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation,” according to Addameer, a Palestinian human rights organisation.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Palestinian militia commander arrested in Yarmouk

Palestinian militia commander arrested in Yarmouk

Yarmouk camp has been besieged by the regime for three years

A prominent affiliate of Ahmed Jibril, the commander of Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, General Command [PFLP-GC] has been arrested on charges of dealing with armed opposition groups in Yarmouk refugee camp, outside Damascus.

Ahmad Razaz was a military leader of PFLP-GC, a militia that was prominent in backing Assad forces after the Syrian war moved into Yarmouk camp in 2011.

Sources told The New Arab that Razaz was arrested two weeks ago and transferred to Ein Saheb prison north of Damascus.

“Adnan Razaz was one of the main founders of the popular committees in Yarmouk, responsible for arming shabiha (thugs]),” said media activist Adam Shami.

“Razaz recently worked as the director of Ahmed Jibril’s son’s office, responsible for the security of the Popular Front in Lebanon before he was arrested.”

PFLP-GC has been accused of collaborating directly with Syrian intelligence officials, and was said to be directly responsible for the siege of Yarmouk which has lasted three years, and lead to the displacement of around 200,000 people.

The decision of PFLP-GC to join forces with Assad was widely criticised from within the group

The group worked in coordination with “Fatah-Intifada,” a small Palestinian faction, and Assad militias from south Damascus.

Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp was also a refuge for many residents of Damascus who faced bombardment in 2011.

In mid-December 2012, the regime commenced a military campaign on the camp, leading to clashes between Syrian and Palestinian opposition forces and those belonging to the regime and affiliated with Jibril.

The decision of PFLP-GC to join forces with Assad was widely criticised from within the group, as well as from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Many members and fighters from the group defected to opposition forces.

Yet the entrance of Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group into the camp last year changed the tide again, and some Palestinian factions who were previously fighting Assad – notably Hamas affiliate Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis – switched sides to join regime forces in fighting the militants.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

US Delta Force to begin operations in Iraq

US Army Delta Force units are about to begin operations in Iraq. (file photo)

US Army Delta Force units are about to begin operations in Iraq

The US Army’s elite Delta Force units are preparing for operations to target, detain or kill the main Daesh (ISIL) operators in Iraq, says a US official.

The official told CNN on Monday that the troops have been preparing over the last few weeks, setting up safe houses and establishing informant networks while coordinating their missions with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

This is similar to the strategy US special operation forces have been using during previous deployments to similar combat zones, including the northern parts of Syria.

The report could not verify where or when the operations were going to take place but it noted that the strategy worked in May 2015 when the forces raided a building in Syria, allegedly killing major Daesh operator Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife.

A censored photo of alleged Delta Force and DEVGRU operators in Iraq around 2003

US military officials declined to comment on the matter or discuss any details of the operations.

“We will not comment on their operations or their location to maintain operational security,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

Devices and documents gathered from the building, along with confessions from Sayyaf’s wife gave a detailed insight into the terror group’s network, laying the basis for other missions, US commanders claim.

In December of last year, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter initially detailed such missions at a congressional testimony, saying the Pentagon was sending a “specialized expeditionary targeting force (ETF)” to conduct “raids and intelligence gathering missions.”

The Pentagon’s ETF, comprised of 200 personnel deployed to Iraq last December, have gathered enough intelligence to conduct missions against about half a dozen “targeted missions” inside Iraq and to go after certain leaders of the group.

As part of its so-called war on Daesh Takfiri terrorists, the Pentagon had announced there were 3,500 US forces on the ground in Iraq to “train and equip” local security forces against the foreign-backed militants.

That tally has now been increased to 3,870, according to US Army Colonel Steve Warren.

(Source / 29.02.2016)

“The PA will collapse”, says Israeli Minister

Ze'eve Elkin, Immigrant and Absorption and also a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nine-person security cabinet.

Ze’eve Elkin, Immigrant and Absorption and also a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nine-person security cabinet

Ze’eve Elkin, Israeli Immigrant and Absorption Minister and also a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nine-person security cabinet, said on a speech at Bar-Ilan University on Monday morning that the current “wave of terror” is just a “promo” for what will happen after the Palestinian Authority (PA) collapses.

Elkin said he decided to go public with his warnings after trying to bring the subject up at cabinet meetings to no avail. “I’m not sure that the government has passed the diagnostic stage and realized the dramatic change we are facing.”

“This is a reality we may wake up to tomorrow morning, within months or perhaps after a year or two of collapse,” Elkin told the right-wing Makor Rishon newspaper for its weekend edition.

He further noted, “The international community must also stop trying to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, because it is just an attempt at resuscitation that will blow up in our faces. It’s true that there are a number of scenarios, but the most likely scenario to me is that anarchy will result from the lack of a clear successor to Abu Mazen, due to his unwillingness to hold elections for the presidency and the surplus of legal and illegal weapons in the PA’s territory. There is no point in trying to revive the PA, and instead we should make a fitting headstone for its grave, along with that of the Oslo Accords. The Palestinian Authority was born with Abu Mazen, who initiated and pushed for Oslo, and the PA will disappear with Abu Mazen when he goes.”

Elkin explained his attitude towards the Oslo process: “The mistaken concept in Oslo lead us to today’s reality. We made a mistake when we brought the PLO leaders out of Tunis, we made a mistake when we though that they would deal with terror and incitement, and we made a mistake when we allowed them to run their education system, media and sermons without supervision. All of these led to the building of a generation filled with a burning hate for us and cause a 13-year-old girl to leave her school and stab Jews to death.

“In order to fight against the ongoing wave of terror,” he concluded, “We must treat it with antibiotics and not with aspirin. We need to understand that today’s terror was born from 23 years of neglect, ever since the Oslo Accords. Therefore, we must reach down to the roots, which are incitement in schools, in the media and especially in sermons. In addition, we must prepare for our security and to understand the new field. The source of authority is not excessive hierarchies and institutions, it’s identifying the new players below the surface in a timely manner. If we know how to identify them quietly, we can deal with the situation. There’s no doubt that this is a ticking bomb that can still be dismantled, if only we can wake up in time.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA or PNA) was created by the Gaza–Jericho Agreement, pursuant to the 1993 Oslo Accords. It was signed on 4 May 1994 and included an Israeli withdrawal from the Jericho area and partially from the Gaza Strip, and detailed the creation of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Civil Police Force.

The PA was envisioned as an interim organization to administer a limited form of Palestinian self-governance in the Areas A and B in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for a period of five years, during which final-status negotiations would take place.

The administrative responsibilities accorded to the PA were limited to civil matters and internal security and did not include external security or foreign affairs.

Regarding the recent months tensions, a December poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 65 percent of Palestinians wanted Mr. Abbas to resign. A similar portion favored another armed intifada, having lost faith in a negotiated peace and the Oslo accords on which Mr. Abbas has staked his career.

“He can neither support it nor oppose it [the Al-Quds Intifada],” said a former negotiator on the condition of anonymity on an interview to the New York Times on February 27, “so he shuts up and does nothing, which further enhances the perception that drives all this, that he and Fatah have produced nothing and will produce nothing, and that they are useless.”

“Abu Mazen has achieved nothing,” Sheikh Taha Qattanani, 43, said in a recent interview. “We Palestinians deserve a stronger leadership, regardless of whether it’s Fatah or Hamas.”

(Source / 29.02.2016)

Netanyahu: Syria Peace Deal Must Meet Israel’s Needs

“These are the red lines we have presented from the start, and they will remain our red lines.”

Benjamin Netanyahu (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

Benjamin Netanyahu insists that the international community recognize that any peace deal ending the Syrian Civil War has to comply with Israel’s needs

Speaking today ahead of a cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that Israel “welcomes” the ongoing Syrian ceasefire in theory, but insists that the international community recognize that any peace deal ending the Syrian Civil War has to comply with Israel’s needs.

Netanyahu and other officials were vague on exactly what that meant, but insisted that it had to halt “Iranian aggression from Syria,” which likely suggests Israel is going to demand a regime change that installs a new government that’s not an ally to Iran.

That’s in keeping with Israeli comments throughout the war that they “prefer ISIS” ending up in control of Syria as opposed to an Iranian ally, because they believe Iran will always be Israel’s “main enemy” under any circumstance.

Israeli officials also suggested they might attack Syria some more to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah, and also to keep the Syrian Golan from becoming a “terrorist front.” Ironically, Israel appeared very comfortable when the Syrian Golan was under al-Qaeda control, and is only objecting to the notion the Syrian government might regain control of it.

(Source / 29.02.2016)