Health of prisoner Bassam Sayeh worsens in Israeli jail

NABLUS, (PIC)– The health condition of Palestinian prisoner Bassam al-Sayeh has seriously declined as a result of his exposure to maltreatment at the hands of his jailers in Megiddo prison, his family said Wednesday. His wife, who visited him recently, said her husband has suffered from serious health problems in heart and lungs and become unable to move properly. She affirmed that her husband’s health declined as a result of the pressure and harsh treatement he was exposed to by Israeli interrogators and jailers. Prisoner Sayeh was detained on October 8, 2015 and his wife was also arrested later before she was released recently. His brother, Amjad, is also in an Israeli jail, serving a 20-year prison term.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Palestinian cities brought to a standstill in support of Al-Qeq

Demonstrations are drawing participation from a wide cross-section of the Palestinian street

Demonstrations are drawing participation from a wide cross-section of the Palestinian street

Major Palestinian cities were brought to a standstill from 6pm yesterday as demonstrations were held demanding the immediate release of Palestinian journalist, Mohammad al-Qeq, on the 78th day of his hunger strike.

Across Palestine, daily actions are being implemented supporting al-Qeq. Earlier this week, the headquarters of both the International Red Cross and the UN in Ramallah were closed down temporarily by activists. Similar direct actions have been implemented by Gaza-based activists and solidarity tents have also been erected in every city in the West Bank.

Released political prisoner Khader Adnan, who in 2012 famously carried out a 66 day hunger strike whilst himself being held under Administrative Detention, has been coordinating actions in Ramallah. Adnan has been welcoming visitors and groups of school children to the solidarity tent – few people are better positioned to describe the struggles and suffering of which Mohammad al-Qeq is currently in the midst.

National demonstrations were called to be held collectively at 6pm in every city yesterday. In contrast to previous static events, the protests marched through city streets amidst angry chants demanding Al-Qeq’s release. In Ramallah, several hundred protesters looped around the city centre for close to two hours.

Within the last week, Al-Qeq has refused an Israeli offer to be released in May, instead choosing to continue his hunger strike and demand his immediate release.

It has been reported that Al-Qeq is no longer able to speak due to the severity of his physical deterioration.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Israel’s Nature Authority Inspects Land in E. Jerusalem for Possible Takeover

JERUSALEM, February 10, 2016 (WAFA) – Israel Nature and Parks Authority (IPNA) staff Wednesday carried out an inspection on a land belonging to a Palestinian  in al-Abbasiya neighborhood, in the East Jerusalem Town of Silwan, in an apparent attempt to take over the land.

The land belongs to Palestinian Khaled al-Zeer, whose home was previously demolished by Israeli authorities, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

Al-Zeer said he currently lives in a cave inside of the above-mentioned land, however, the IPNA demolished part of the cave, in what he described, as an attempt to kick him out of his land, under the pretext the land is an ‘archaeological site’.

The Independent reported on a Conservative Foreign Office minister, Joyce Anelay, as saying the British Foreign Office is concerned that the Israel Antiquities Authority is supporting “radical settler activities” in and around the Old City of Jerusalem while purporting to promote tourism or protect Jewish historical artifacts,” as published on the Israeli daily, Haartez.

“We are aware of the link between the Elad [settler] group and the Israel Antiquities Authority. We are concerned that this link has led to Israel Antiquities Authority’s support of radical settler activities in and around the Old City under the guise of tourism and protection of Jewish history,” Anelay said.

“Such actions not only aggravate mounting pressures in East Jerusalem but serve to increase tension around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and further complicate future attempts to negotiate a political resolution on the city.”

According to the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, Israeli authorities prohibit Palestinian construction in vast areas of Area C citing various rationales, such as “defining these areas as state land, survey land, firing zones, nature reserves and natural parks, or by incorporating lands into the jurisdiction of settlements and regional councils.”

Israel rarely issues construction permits for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem as well in Area C of the West Bank, both under complete Israeli control, forcing may Palestinians to embark on construction without obtaining a permit.

“Given the Civil Administration’s policy, the prospects for receiving a building permit outside the scope of the master plans are very slim. Therefore, most Palestinians feel it is futile to apply and do not even submit an application,” said the center.

“With its policy in Area C, Israel abuses its basic obligations under international humanitarian law. Israel must allocate lands to Palestinians for housing, infrastructure and industrial zones. It must also pursue an expert planning process, with participation by the local Palestinian population, whose top priority will be the needs of this population.”

“Until such a process is implemented, and so long as Israel retains planning authority in Area C and does not allow Palestinians to build legally, it must desist from demolition – including demolition of homes, business-related structures (e.g., buildings used for agriculture or trade) and rainwater-collection cisterns – and it must revoke all pending demolition orders against existing structures.”

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Israel to build synagogue beneath Muslims’ al-Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)–  Reports were recently released on Israeli intents to build a Jewish synagogue beneath the Hamam al-Ein Islamic endowment property, a few meters away from Muslims’ the holy al-Aqsa  Mosque. Sponsors of the bid are set to inaugurate the project sometime in the spring, with the advent of Jewish holidays. Other excavations are expected to be carried out in the area to pave the way for the construction of the site. The project is sponsored by the Wailing Wall Legacy Fund public company affiliated with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. A series of pictures released by the Q-Press center shows the site as being built at the expense of the Islamic Mamlukiya historical hall beneath the Hamam al-Ein area, a few meters away from al-Aqsa’s Western Wall. A field visit to the area by the Q-Press team kept record of a set of Islamic sites and monuments dating back to the Ottoman Empire and which were transformed into Judaized halls and museums. Since 2002, the Israeli occupation authorities have been digging beneath and above Hamam al-Ein area and its vicinity in an attempt to wipe out the area’s typically Islamic character.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Israeli authorities deny European Parliament delegation access to Gaza

A Palestinian man looks on while standing in what remains of his house in part of the northern Beit Hanun district of the Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A delegation from the European Parliament was prevented by the Israeli authorities from accessing the blockaded Gaza Strip this week, the delegation said in an official statement.The authorities gave no justification to explain the refusal at the time. The delegation group reportedly arrived in Jerusalem on Monday and had arranged to travel to Gaza on Wednesday in order to evaluate EU-funded reconstruction in the war-torn enclave.Chair of the delegation, Irish MEP Martina Anderson, in the press release said: “The systematic denial by Israel of access to Gaza to European Parliament delegations is unacceptable. The European Parliament has not been able to access Gaza since 2011.”This raises questions: what does the Israeli government aim to hide? We shall not give up on the Gazan people,” Anderson said.The EU is one of several international bodies that aid Gaza’s over 1.8 million Palestinian residents, the majority of whom are forced to rely on foreign aid as Israel’s military blockade on the strip — upheld by Egypt on Gaza’s southern border — nears a decade.Palestinians in Gaza have struggled to rebuild from the mass destruction caused by three Israeli offensives on the strip over the past six years, and the UN reported last year that the strip could become “uninhabitable” within five years if current trends continue.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Yemeni Army Controls more Fronts in Marib, Inflict Saudi Mercenaries Heavy Losse

Yemen army fires tochka rocketThe Yemeni army and the Popular Committees seized control on Thursday over new positions in more than a front in Marib province east of Yemen, a military source told Al-Manar Website.

Another military source told Al-Massira website that the national military and the Committees inflicted the mercenaries heavy losses in ammunition and ordnance.

Earlier, the Yemeni army established control over the mercenaries’ positions near Tala’t Al-Hamra in Saraweh directorate.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Occupation destroys 35 facilities in Jordan Valley

Most of the facilities were used as barns for sheep and cows

Israeli occupation forces demolished on Thursday 35 Palestinian facilities, including makeshift houses, animal farms and stores for farming staff.

Regarding the reason for the demolition, Bsharat said: “I am sure, this is part of the Israeli plans to evacuate the Jordan Valley from the Palestinian resident and replace them with illegal Israeli settlers.”

Days of Palestine, West Bank -Israeli occupation forces demolished on Thursday 35 Palestinian facilities, including makeshift houses, animal farms and stores for farming staff.

“Since the morning, the Israeli occupation bulldozers have started demolishing Palestinian facilities, including makeshift homes in the Jordan Valley,” Palestinian activist Mutaz Bsharat told Days of Palestine.

He said that the facilities also included barns and stores used by farmers to keep their staff. “More than 100 sheep, 35 cows and tens of domestic chickens are now in the open space,” Bsharat said.

Regarding the reason for the demolition, Bsharat said: “I am sure, this is part of the Israeli plans to evacuate the Jordan Valley from the Palestinian resident and replace them with illegal Israeli settlers.”

Bsharat said that this is not the first time for the Israeli occupation to demolish the Palestinian facilities in this area. “In the past, they demolished tens of homes,” he said, “therefore, you find people living only in makeshift houses.”

(Source / 11.02.2016)

How Palestine’s parliament is squandering millions of dollar

Palestinian members of parliament attend the first session of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 6, 2006

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Jan. 25 marked the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian Legislative Council’s last election. The PLC consists of 132 elected members of parliament (84 parliamentarians in the West Bank and 48 in Gaza) who were convened in 27 legal sessions from the date they were elected in 2006 until June 14, 2007, when parliament sessions were disrupted following clashes between Fatah and Hamas, and the latter’s control over the Gaza Strip. Between 2006 and the present, they have failed to pass any legislation, except for laws pertaining to the PLC’s costs and expenses.

This has prompted citizens to raise questions on parliamentary expenditures such as the salaries of parliamentarians and parliament’s staff members and the ongoing privileges despite the parliament’s inactivity.

The 2015 parliamentary budget amounted to 58.5 million shekels ($15 million); the 2016 parliamentary budget has not been announced yet.

Under Law No. 10 (2004) and Law No. 11 (2004), each member of parliament is paid a monthly salary of $3,000 and is eligible for customs’ exemption for one vehicle, which is provided, licensed and maintained by the PLC. Members of parliament and their spouses are given permanent diplomatic passports and a sum of $15,000 that is paid upon their election to improve living conditions. The parliamentarians are also paid 8,000 shekels ($2,100) on a monthly basis to cover office expenses such as rent, water and electricity bills as well as employees’ salaries; they are also provided a pension that equals 12.5% of their salary for each year of PLC membership.

In addition, the parliamentary budget includes travel expenses, which are not defined by clear financial standards, and the salaries of the PLC administrative staff, which currently number 170 in the West Bank.

There are no official financial statements on the PLC’s expenditures, and the PLC General Secretariat refused to talk to Al-Monitor on the issue. According to Law No. 10, nearly $31.5 million has been paid in salaries to 84 parliamentarians in the West Bank since the PLC was elected. Hamas has continued to pay since the split with the West Bank the salaries of the 48 parliamentarians who reside in the Gaza Strip. The office expenses of West Bank members of parliament reached 85 million shekels ($21.4 million).

Administrative sources at the PLC who spoke on condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor that there is no clear and transparent system explaining why some funds were disbursed to members of parliament, especially when it comes to office expenses, as these particular expenses should be disbursed and vetted through a transparent system by the government or the PLC chairmanship in case it was convened or in the event of it holding ordinary sessions.

Hamas member of parliament Ahmed Attoun told Al-Monitor, “Each parliamentarian receives a salary of $3,000, which he is entitled to. This is because all members of parliament quit their [previous] jobs before they ran in the elections, in accordance with the Elections Law No. 9 [2005]; they have no other source of income except for their [parliamentary] salary.”

In regard to the other funds disbursed to members of parliament, Attoun said, “During their detention by Israel on May 24, 2007, following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza, the Finance Ministry stopped the allowances of the Change and Reform bloc [Hamas] members, which cover the costs of running their own offices [$2,100 per parliamentarian per month]. This has led to the accumulation of public debts on the offices, in particular since the offices are rented and there is a staff in charge of dealing with the public every day.”

Attoun noted that there are also allowances to cover the parliamentarians’ travel expenses and meetings, which the Hamas members of parliament rejected, considering them illegal as they are disbursed without the PLC being convened and without its approval.

He added, “All the details of the allowances of the members of parliament, the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization factions and institutions should be revealed.”

Najat Abu Bakr, a Fatah member of parliament, told Al-Monitor, “The PLC’s budget needs to be accessible to everyone so that the disbursement mechanism can be verified, particularly petty cash and travel expenses whose disbursement is not made public.”

On the role of parliamentarians revealing these details, Abu Bakr said, “We requested that the heads of parliamentary blocs, the PLC secretary-general and President Mahmoud Abbas provide us with the expense details. Yet some influential parties in the PLC are controlling the expenses and refuse to disclose the details, which indicates the extent of the administrative chaos.”

She added, “As parliamentarians, we are affected by the disbursement procedures and mechanisms, and the public should not regard us as the culprits. At the same time, we cannot tell them how the PLC budget is being spent as we do not have the budget’s documents and information. This indicates that there is a specific group that is taking advantage of the systematic disruption within the PLC.”

Azmi al-Shuaibi, the general coordinator of the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity, accused in December 2014 the PLC of receiving remunerations and petty cash from the Finance Ministry in exchange for passing the 2014 parliamentary budget.

Second Deputy Speaker of the PLC Hassan Khreisheh told Al-Monitor, “The expenses covering the cost of running the parliamentarians’ offices and their travel expenses should be immediately stopped. Because of the legislative disruption and considering that they are not carrying out their duties as members of parliament, they are not eligible for these allowances.”

On the role of the PLC speaker in monitoring these expenses, Khreisheh said, “The Fatah parliamentary bloc is holding meetings in the West Bank and the Hamas bloc is holding meetings in Gaza. But I — as [PLC] deputy speaker — am not attending any of these meetings, because my role is to preserve [the PLC’s] unity and not to contribute to its division in light of its disrupted legislative role. The PLC chairmanship is not responsible for supervision or accountability.”

The general secretary of the Palestinian People’s Party, member of parliament Bassam al-Salhi, told Al-Monitor, “The PLC is operating with minimal expenses, because it is inactive.”

Salhi said, “We cannot remove any item from the PLC’s budget. In regard to the expenses of the parliamentarians’ offices, [their disbursement] is needed and justified by the fact that they deal with the citizens’ issues, and receive and follow up on their complaints with the official authorities. If removed from the budget, members of parliament will turn into retired parliamentarians who are not able to serve the people or handle their complaints and help them.”

He added, “The major defect haunting the citizens more than the spending of public funds is the political system that is entirely paralyzed, including the PLC.”

The PLC, which was supposed to reflect the citizens’ voice and accountability, has turned into a passive council on which millions of dollars are being spent without it carrying out its duty. The council’s inactivity has not only led to undermining the democratic process in Palestine, giving free rein to the executive power, but also to draining the public money by millions of dollars.

(Source / 11.02.2016)

Hijab: Humanitarian Situation in Syria Must Improve

Riad Hijab, general coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiating’s Committee (HNC), reiterated the need to enforce UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, especially Articles 12 and 13 of UNSCR 2254 which are related to purely humanitarian issues.

At a news conference in London on Wednesday, Hijab said that before resuming the Geneva talks, it is imperative that measures on the ground are taken, most importantly lifting the sieges, releasing detainees, stopping attacks on residential areas and the delivery of aid to civilians in need.

“The Russians and the Iranians employ a scorched earth policy through the intensification of bombardment to weaken the morale of rebel fighters. However, rebel leaders who I met yesterday in Ankara demonstrated very high morale and told me with confidence that the regime’s recent gains are fragile and that its forces will not be able to maintain control over the areas they have lately captured,” Hijab added.

Hijab, who heads a HNC delegation on an official visit to Britain, pointed out that “in the coming days you will hear and see rebel gains against regime forces backed by sectarian militias and mercenaries,” adding that the Syrian opposition has “many other options.”

For his part, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after meeting with Hijab and the accompanying delegation that “Russia and the regime are deliberately targeting the opposition and thus strengthening Daesh (ISIS). Their actions against civilian populations and infrastructure are in breach of international humanitarian law.”

Hammond reaffirmed that “the UK’s position remains steadfast: a Syrian-led political transition and a genuine commitment to the UN-led peace talks are the only route to the peace so desperately needed by the Syrian people.”

“In my meeting with Dr Hijab, I reaffirmed my support for the Syrian Opposition’s Higher Negotiations Committee. We agreed on the need to bring an urgent end to the suffering in Syria, for the regime and Russia to end attacks on civilians immediately, and for full humanitarian access to be granted to besieged areas,” Hammond said.

No fewer than 74 civilians across Syria, including 13 children and 3 women, were killed in Russian airstrikes on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday said that the Kingdom is ready to send special ground forces to Syria in the event the US-led coalition against ISIS decided to deploy ground forces in the fight against the extremist group. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to providing everything they could to take out the tyrant and establish a future for Syria without Bashar al-Assad.

Jubeir stressed that Saudi Arabia is keen to preserve state institutions in Syria, pointing out that there is a “Plan B” in case the political process fails in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies / 11.02.2016)

Palestine Hotline 110216

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#OccupiedPalestine #Briefing

PALESTINE POST: Briefing Feb. 11, 2016

Palestine Post brings you live, breaking news and daily briefings on Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)

1. Activists Rally Against Israeli Attempts to Arrest Palestinian Refugees Overseas

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Palestinian activists on Wednesday rallied outside the Red Cross headquarters in Jenin to urge the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria not to extradite Omar al-Nayef to the Israeli occupation. The activists spoke out against Israeli attempts to arrest Palestinians taking refuge overseas.

2. Home Raids & Siege of Nahalin Village 

pppIsraeli occupation forces (IOF) maintained their siege on Nahalin village, west of Bethlehem, on Wednesday for the second day. The IOF soldiers closed all entrances to the village with cement cubes and military barricades, blocked all traffic in or out of the village, and searched many houses.

3. Funeral of 16-Year-Old, Omar Yousef Jawabra, Killed by#Extrajudicial_Execution 

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A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli occupation forces’ gunfire in al-Aroub refugee camp in northern al-Khalil at noon Wednesday. The Palestinian health ministry said that the boy, Omar Yousef Jawabra, was fatally shot during confrontations with the IOF soldiers in the refugee camp this morning.

4. TORTURE 

pppThe Palestinian prisoner Ismail Arouj, 33, was severely tortured and beaten in Maskoubiya investigation center, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) revealed Wednesday. Arouj, from Bethlehem district, was arrested in March 2014. He was moved to Maskoubiya investigation center after his wife’s detention on January 21 this year.

5. Update on Hunger Striking Journalist, Mohamad Al Qeiq 

DSCF1518The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Wednesday said Israel was “not showing attention or willingness” to solve the case of Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq as he entered day 77 on hunger strike. The society reiterated that the Palestinian prisoner remained in critical condition, slamming Israel for failing to make serious steps in his case and holding Israeli authorities “completely responsible” for al-Qiq’s life.

6. International Criminal Court (ICC) Update 

israel_war_crimes_07-22-2014

Four Palestinian human rights organisations whose mandate it is to pursue justice and accountability, delivered a communication pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Aldameer, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights provided evidence of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Rafah between 1 and 4 August 2014 following the invocation of the controversial Hannibal Directive by the Israeli military forces. Unlawful attacks against the Palestinian civilian population and their infrastructure and property ensued, killing 255 Palestinians, including 212 civilians.


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