National Lawyers Guild committee calls for action to free Mohammed al-Qeeq

The following call to action was distributed by the National Lawyers Guild in the United States. Its Palestine Subcommittee sent this letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro:

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The National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommitteeurges the immediate release of hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, held in Israeli administrative detention without charge or trial. Al-Qeeq has now been on hunger strike for 85 days and is in extremely critical condition; he has lost consciousness on multiple occasions, has lost his ability to speak and most of his hearing. He is at risk of multiple organ failure at any time.

Al-Qeeq, 33, is a correspondent for Al-Majd TV. He was arrested on November 21, 2015 and subjected to stress positions and verbal abuse under lengthy interrogationsthat constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment amounting to torture. He originally began his hunger strike in protest of torture; he continued the strike when he was ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial, confirmed by the Ofer Israeli military court on December 24, 2015.

Al-Qeeq is one of over 670 Palestinians held under administrative detention without charge or trial, on the basis of secret evidence. Under international human rights law, administrative detention can only be used on a case-by-case basis for “imperative reasons of security.” Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention, under which approximately 10% of current Palestinian prisoners are currently held, violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Al-Qeeq’s administrative detention was presumably “suspended” by the Israeli High Court on February 4; he continued his hunger strike as this suspension did not free him or address his opposition to being held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

Yesterday, February 16, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected al-Qeeq’s petition to be moved to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah, where he would accept treatment, which indicates once again that he clearly remains a prisoner held without charge and without trial, in an increasingly severe health crisis.

We emphasize that Israel bears the full responsibility for the life and health of Al-Qeeq by continuing to hold him without charge or trial under administrative detention and refusing to release him or even to transfer him to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank.

Al-Qeeq is also threatened by the danger of forced feeding and forced treatment. While Al-Qeeq has not yet been forcibly fed and has signed a statement rejecting all medical treatment, he remains threatened by the practice, which was legalized in July 2015 by the “Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikers.” Forced feeding is rejected by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Medical Association and the World Health Organization, and is a form of torture – one that is also used by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.

Al-Qeeq has been forcibly treated twice since he was moved to HaEmek Hospital in Afula on December 30, 2015. As noted by Addameer, the Palestinian human rights organization, “forced treatment…and coerced medical examinations are a breach of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as it constitutes an act that contravenes the human dignity of detainees and prisoners.”

The NLG Palestine Subcommittee urges the immediate release of Mohammed Al-Qeeq from administrative detention and reiterates the call of its 2014 delegation to Palestine to immediately end the practice of administrative detention. (Read the full report here.)

Furthermore, the NLG calls for the overturn of the “Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikers,” legalizing force-feeding, and also reiterates its demand that the U.S. government end its use of force-feeding and hold those responsible for the torture of detainees accountable. We also reiterate our call for the U.S. government to end its aid to Israel due to its gross and systemic violations of Palestinian human rights, ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, and racist, apartheid structure.

The NLG Palestine Subcommittee urges members and supporters to contact the White House and demand Al-Qeeq’s freedom, and contact your member of Congress and urge them to cut off U.S. aid to Israel because of its practices of administrative detention and torture.

Please call the White House (001-202-456-1111) now and tell Barack Obama to demand that Israel immediately free Mohammed Al-Qeeq.

You can find the telephone, fax and web contact information for your member of Congress atcontactingthecongress.org. When calling your member of Congress, please keep the following points in mind:

  • ·        Mohammed Al-Qeeq is held without charge or trial. He is one of approximately 670 Palestinians facing this violation of his rights today.
  • ·        Force feeding, when practiced by the US or by Israel, is a form of inhumane and degrading treatment amounting to torture.
  • ·        US aid to Israel directly funds the Israeli military responsible for the imprisonment of Al-Qeeq and the use of administrative detention.
  • ·        The US should end its aid to Israel, because Israel is responsible for gross and systematic violations of Palestinian human rights, in this case through the policy of administrative detention.

Download the NLG letter to the U.S. State Department (click here)

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/299594722/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

Aid convoys reach besieged Palestinian refugees in Syria

Men walk past destroyed buildings in Yarmouk refugee camp in April of 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — UN aid workers gained access to Palestinian refugees in the Damascus area for the first time in over seven months following approval by the Syrian government to open a limited number of besieged areas across the war-torn country.Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) told Ma’an that workers were able to deliver aid to besieged and hard-to-reach communities in the Damascus area for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday.It was the first time since June of last year that UN aid workers were able to reach Palestinians in the neighborhood of Yalda, as well as Babila and Beit Saham which lie near the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital.Gunness told Ma’an that UNRWA was able to deliver aid to 6,000 families by Wednesday, adding that the aid agency hopes to deliver blankets in the coming days as freezing temperatures continue.Palestinian residents of Yarmouk refugee camp who traveled to the neighborhood of Yalda in order to receive aid said that the situation in the camp was “beyond inhumane,” Gunness said.UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura was reportedly given approval to access seven besieged areas across Syria on Tuesday following crisis talks with Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.While Gunness said the go-ahead has enabled crucial access, he added that aid workers have not been able to access the Yarmouk camp itself since March 28.“Yarmouk was already a community where women were dying during childbirth and children were eating grass,” Gunness said, expressing grave concern for how conditions in the camp may have degraded since.The around 450,000 Palestinian refugees estimated to remain in Syria are among the millions of Syrians to come under repeated attacks and sieges since fighting began five years ago.The majority of Yarmouk’s 180,000 residents fled amid a government siege of the camp that began in 2013, as well as fighting between the government forces and armed opposition groups.After the Islamic State group gained control of Yarmouk on April 1, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon referred to the Palestinian refugee camp as the “deepest circle of hell” in Syria’s ongoing conflict, resembling a “death camp” for its remaining 18,000 residents.Over 100,000 Palestinians have been among the over four million people to flee Syria.Many of those who fled have attempted to cross to Europe by both land and sea, as well as to neighboring countries, despite the denial of rights granted to other refugees that decrease chances for Palestinian refugees to gain access into other countries.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Israeli forces uproot 100 olive trees in Wadi Qana

SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces uprooted 100 olive trees in the Wadi Qana area west of the village of Deir Istiya in Salfit district on Tuesday amid ongoing efforts to push Palestinians out of the area, locals said.Farmers from Deir Istiya told Ma’an the forces arrived in Wadi Qana and uprooted the trees without prior notice.
Soldiers then forced locals from the area in order to allow Israeli settlers to arrive there, the farmers said.
Ibrahim al-Hamad, director of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture’s Salfit branch, told Ma’an that soldiers removed the seven-year-old trees on the grounds that the area is a nature reserve, with planting prohibited in the area.Al-Hamad added that Israeli soldiers also removed a water tank belonging to Palestinian locals.A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma’an that “security forces removed about 80 olive tress that were planted illegally, without a permit, within the nature reserve Nahal Kane,” referring to the Hebrew name given to Wadi Qana.”The removal was enforced after the natural growth in the area was damaged, and after alert orders were given,” the spokesperson added.Wadi Qana, a valley that has historically served agricultural and recreational purposes for local Palestinians who own land in the area, was declared a nature reserve by Israel’s Civil Administration in 1983.Israel has used this designation for years to justify uprooting Palestinian crops and forcing Palestinians from the area, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.Several Jewish-only Israeli settlements and outposts have been illegally established along the ridges of the valley since the 1970s.
Waste water dumped from the settlements has gradually polluted the river, forcing out Palestinians who have lived in and visited the valley for generations.Palestinian owners of land in Wadi Qana and the village of Dir Istiya have meanwhile been prevented from building or planting in the area, the majority of which is in Area C, under the full civil and military control of Israel.
(Source / 17.02.2016)

Salah warns of Israeli plan of “slow murder” against al-Qeiq

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM,(PIC)–  Head of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Occupied Palestine, Sheikh Raed Salah, said hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qeiq is close to death after 85 days of ongoing hunger strike in Israeli detention, warning of an Israeli plan of “slow murder” against the detainee. Speaking from outside the Afula Hospital, Sheikh Raed Saleh said: “The Israeli police have gone mad and started to chase us down after they have been informed of our solidarity hunger strike.” “The police forced us out of the hospital and kidnapped three activists overnight before they aggressively beat another,” Sheikh Salah said. He added that several Palestinians will go on an open ended hunger strike in the next few hours in solidarity with al-Qeiq. He warned of an Israeli preplanned scheme to cold-bloodedly murder hunger-striker al-Qeiq by keeping him under arrest. “Al-Qeiq has become a skeleton of bare bones and could no longer respond to whoever talks to him,” Saleh warned. “Signs of a deadly stroke have started to emerge on his exhausted body. His situation is taking a turn for the worse due to his refusal to undergo medical check-ups.” Sheikh Salah quoted al-Qeiq as stating that he initiated his hunger strike to speak up against the oppression and torture perpetrated by the Israeli occupation and to speak up for his people’s infringed rights before the international community. “My will does not accept half-solutions; either free or dead,” al-Qeiq was quoted as further stating. Al-Qeiq was arrested from his own home in Ramallah on November 21, 2015 and has been subjected to harsh torture during the investigation procedure, before he was transferred to administrative detention without trial or charge, which made him declare an open-ended hunger strike a few days later.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Will the international war on IS reach Libya?

Libyan fighters look at Islamic State militant positions near Sirte, Libya, March 19, 2015

Threatening to use force has become a policy in Libya. What the fighting factions in Libya do not concede to through dialogue will most likely be imposed through the threat of military strikes. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that the United States has developed a military plan to confront [the Islamic State] (IS) even though efforts are still focused on a political solution.

Such a statement implies that all options are possible and that opening a new battlefront against terrorism in Libya is just a matter of time — unless a political solution is reached before the warplanes and missiles have the last say.

When the Libyan parties realize that the decision is no longer internal, because the status quo in the country is harming foreign interests, be they regional or international, they might be able to overcome their individual interests to settle the crisis. Placing areas under the control of one faction or another is no longer a source of pressure or method of compromise in the field. This is because the interests of Libya and Western countries are being devoured by another party. Libyans must respond to the request to form a unity government, as this is their last transitional option.

Americans are having a hard time swallowing the bitterness of the assassination of the US ambassador to Libya [Christopher Stevens], although they had previously gloated over the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. There are certainly members of the US Democratic Party who want to achieve military victory, which would increase their chances in the upcoming presidential elections. The focus on Libya might be an attempt to distract public opinion, given the increasing criticism of US foreign policy. This is due to the image engraved in Americans’ minds of Libya before and after the fall of Gadhafi.

Paradoxically, Libya and Iran had been the center of attention in regard to public opinion before the monstrous [IS] disturbed everyone’s sleep. A military airstrike has become possible as a form of military exercise that could equally have been called by Republican President Ronald Reagan as by Democratic President Barack Obama, because the shadow of terrorism has not disappeared. Most important, the focus is on preventing [IS] from controlling the oil fields in the country.

History is repeating itself. But the question remains: How will the United States and the world be safe from the evils of people and organizations at a time when striking Libya is a message aimed at reducing complications in the normalization of relations with the Iranian regime? The Libyan parties could benefit from this situation by isolating [IS] and stripping it of any protection if the executive authority manages to impose its influence on the military and political levels from the capital, Tripoli, rather than remaining a government-in-exile.

The United States no longer views what is happening in Libya as a conflict between the struggling factions, but based on the idea of rejecting control by radical Islamist currents. In this regard, what US Secretary of State John Kerry said — that the last thing you’d want to see is a false caliphate in Libya — falls in line with what Carter said about Islamist forces’ control over western Libya. This means that Washington is distancing itself from what is being circulated about turning a blind eye to the expansion of radical Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The thing that promotes this orientation is that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did not hide her desire to see the moderate Islamic experiments succeed in managing the peaceful transfer of power in North Africa and elsewhere.

Voices in Western countries, Europe and the United States are growing louder in regard to what is happening in Libya. At every milestone, voices calling for military intervention are raised. Sometimes they are raised on humanitarian grounds to limit illegal immigration and tragedies involving refugees and displaced people, particularly in the Mediterranean basin. This is while at other times they are raised under the slogan of eliminating terrorism and extremist organizations’ sources of funding and limiting the travel of volunteers and potential fighters. Yet the loudest and most convincing voices are those calling for the protection of oil wells and stripping [IS] of the source of funding that has helped the group attract fighters.

The race between a political solution and military strikes remains heated. Yet some strikes just need to be approved, and this does not necessarily have to be within the competences of the UN Security Council.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Israel Demolishes Jerusalem Structures to Construct Settlement Park

JERUSALEM, February 17, 2016 (WAFA) – The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Wednesday demolished a number of agricultural and industrial structures in al-Issawiya, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, to establish a national park to serve illegal Israeli settlers, according to a local source.

Ahmad Sub-Laban, who monitors settlement activities in Jerusalem, told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers broke into al-Issawiya neighborhood district, north of Jerusalem, and demolished a number of Palestinian-owned agricultural and industrial facilities, in preparation to establish a national park that will serve illegal Israeli settlers.

Sub-Laban added that as a result of the Israeli demolitions, some 740 dunums of Palestinian land will be confiscated by Israel, aiming to secure territorial contiguity between the city of Jerusalem and the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, located about five kilometers to the east of the city.

This came only one day after the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem ordered dozens of local Palestinians in Jabal al-Baba, a Bedouin area near the town of al-Ezariya, east of Jerusalem, to leave their homes in preparation to establish a national park.

The municipality informed locals that the proposed national “Jewish” park, which will see hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land confiscated, is part of the Israeli E1 plan, which arguably aims to isolate the city of Jerusalem from its Palestinian surrounding.

According to the Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now, “Over the years, Israel has used a number of legal and bureaucratic procedures in order to appropriate West Bank lands, with the primary objective of establishing settlements and providing land reserves for them.”

“Using primarily these five methods: seizure for military purposes; declaration of state lands; seizure of absentee property; confiscation for public needs; and initial registration, Israel has managed to take over about 50% of the lands in the West Bank, barring the local Palestinian public from using them.”

According to OCHA weekly report covering the period between 1 and 7 of September 2015, “In the southern West Bank, dozens of demolition and stop work orders were issued in Area C, including against 18 residential structures and a donor-funded school serving 40 students in three communities in the Massafer Yatta area (Hebron), which has been designated by the Israeli authorities since the 1980’s as a closed military zone for training, also referred to as the “918 firing zone”.

OCHA said, “Around 1000 people currently living in this area are at risk of forcible transfer.”

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Report: Israel aims on legalizing the siege that destroys life in Gaza

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The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) published a new report as part of the series of the monthly “Closure Reports” addressing the latest developments of the state of the Gaza Strip border crossings in January 2016.

The report documents the impact of the ongoing Israel-imposed siege on Palestinian civilians, which affects their economic and social conditions. It also refutes Israel’s claims that it has eased the closure of the Gaza Strip for the eighth consecutive year.

Furthermore, the report highlights that the continuing Israeli measures aim to the institutionalization of the closure and making the illegal restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods acceptable on the international level although they violate the international law, including the international humanitarian and human rights laws.

During the reporting period, Israel closed Karm Abu Salem, which is the sole commercial crossing, for 10 days (32.2% of the total period). On the days it was open, Israel allowed the entry of 18,594 truckloads, an average of 600 truckloads daily.

Concerning the exports, Israeli forces continued to impose a ban on the Gaza Strip exports to the West Bank, Israel and abroad with exception of limited quantities. During the reporting period, 274 truckloads were allowed for exportation to the West Bank, including 246 truckloads of agricultural products (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, garlic, eggplants, summer squash and mints), a truckload of spices, 4 truckloads of fish, a truckload of furniture, 2 truckloads of cloths and a truckload of scrap. The rate of the Gaza Strip exports for December constitutes 4.5% of the exports before June 2007.

As for the movement of persons, the Gaza Strip population has been denied their right to the freedom of movement and has been suffering due to obstacles imposed on their movement at all crossing border

During the reporting period, Rafah International Crossing Point was closed for 31 days as a result of the Egyptian internal situation and the deteriorating security situation in north Sinai. This unveiled the reality of the situation in the Gaza Strip under the policy of collective punishment and the Israeli closure imposed over all border crossings, especially Beit Hanoun crossing. The number of Palestinians, who registered for traveling via the crossing and are waiting for their turn to travel, was over 25,000, including hundreds of patients, university students and holders of residence visas in countries abroad, according to the Ministry of Interior in Gaza.

In January, Israeli forces continued to impose additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinians via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem and/or Israel. As a result, 2 million persons were denied their right to travel. However, Israeli forces allowed limited categories to travel via Beit Hanoun crossing 1,464 patients accompanied by 1,385 persons; 8,116 businesspeople; 2,416 persons for personal needs; 576 workers of international humanitarian organizations; 365 persons travelling via al-Karama crossing; 215 relatives of prisoners in the Israeli jails and 737elderly persons to perform prayers in al-Aqsa mosque.

In the report’s recommendations, PCHR called upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to compel Israeli authorities to open the Gaza Strip crossings and put an end to the grave deterioration of humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

ISM calls for internationals to volunteer in Palestine

15th February, 2016 | International Solidarity Movement | occupied Palestine

Today, Palestinians are facing an enormous amount of pressure in their lives due to the growing violence of Israeli forces. They face restrictions of movement, daily harassment, intimidation and attacks at hands of Israeli occupying forces and extremist settlers. ISM is a Palestinian-led movement; our actions are initiated on the invitation of Palestinians, following their lead and wishes. We, as internationals, are needed to monitor human rights violations and show our support for the popular struggle.

Since the beginning of October, Israeli occupation forces increased their abuse of power by carrying out a series of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, in a manner that is completely unjustified and, in most cases, constituting crimes of war. Israeli politicians have fueled the motivation to kill Palestinians by making open statements encouraging Israeli citizens to become executioners. In addition, Israeli forces are applying measures of collective punishment towards the families of Palestinians who are killed in this unlawful manner. Over 170 Palestinians have been killed since October, many of them children. On February 14th alone Israeli forces shot dead 5 Palestinians, including 3 children, and critically wounded a 14-year-old girl in al-Khalil.

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Israeli forces conducting intimidating military patrol as schoolgirls walk down the street in the Old City of al-Khalil

With more volunteers, ISM could more effectively fulfill our commitments to the Palestinian communities we work with, such as walking with schoolchildren and monitoring checkpoints. A larger team also opens up the possibilities of working in more locations and regions where international presence can be useful.

Our presence in Palestine is crucial, because we witness and document what we see and can show the world what is happening on the ground. We do our best to prevent Palestinians from being harassed, and more importantly, we show them we are there in solidarity with them.

In Al-Khalil (Hebron), we need volunteers to walk children to school and monitor checkpoints where students and teachers cross on their way to and from school. Palestinian parents of kindergarten children living in H2 (the area completely controlled by the Israeli military with constant presence of soldiers and settlers) fear to send their children to school without internationals to accompany them. Children in the neighborhoods in H2 routinely face harassment and intimidation from Israeli forces and settlers, and Israeli forces deploy tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets regularly against schoolchildren at some of the checkpoints ISM monitors.

One of our volunteers walks a group of children to school in al-Khalil

One of our volunteers walks a group of children to school in al-Khalil

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Young schoolboy looks on as Israeli forces body search his teacher just outside their school in al-Khalil

In occupied East Jerusalem, many Palestinian families face the constant threat of having their homes demolished by Israeli forces. As a way of showing support and sharing their story, we go to these families to document their situation and report it in the media. In the old city of Jerusalem, some Palestinian families also face eviction, like in the case of grandma Nora; all part of a plan to replace Palestinians in the old city by Israeli settlers. Part of our job is to make sure that these cases don’t stay unknown to the world by reporting them on our website and sharing it on social media.

In Ramallah and its surroundings, we monitor the Friday popular marches. Palestinian popular committees all over the West Bank organize regular demonstrations where ISM is called to participate. We work alongside popular resistance to the occupation, providing international presence and documentation at protests and actions facing attack by Israeli military forces. Sometimes, Palestinians ask us to accompany them to the military court. We attend hearings of their family members or friends in an attempt to show them that they are not alone.

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Demonstrators gathered at night around the fire in the ongoing protest tent opposing the closed military zone in al-Khalil

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9-year-old girl being rushed from the scene after Israeli forces shot her with live ammunition in the arm during their attack on the weekly Friday demonstration in Kafr Qaddum

In Tulkarm and its surroundings, thousands of Palestinians cross the checkpoints everyday to go to work in Israel. The conditions of the crossing are tiring and humiliating for the workers, who arrive several hours before the opening of the gates and have to stand in line in order to be on time for work. Since October, the university of Tulkarm has also been witnessing many violent attacks on campus from the Israeli forces, in which several students were injured with teargas and live ammunition. The ISM team monitors and reports on these Human Rights violations.

A large part of ISM’s work has always involved documenting the violence and impacts of the occupation and the Palestinian struggle against it, working to produce and share media to an international audience to build awareness and global opposition to Israel’s unjust, illegal occupation.

ISM volunteers work amplifying Palestinian voices of resistance while in Palestine and especially after returning to our home countries around the world.

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5 children who were forced out of their home in Jerusalem after it was demolished; the ISM team met with their family to learn and share their story

When you come to Palestine, try to bring a camera and your laptop if you have one, as both are extremely useful for media work. To plan your trip to the West Bank, please read our traveling information. We ask our volunteers to commit for a minimum of two weeks after completing our two day training, but keep in mind that we always prefer to have volunteers stay for longer periods of time.

Please note that we cannot sponsor people or otherwise facilitate anyone’s entry into Gaza; the information contained here and in our travel and training pages applies to our work in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

When you decide to come to Palestine to join ISM, or if you have any further questions not covered in our page on joining us in Palestine, please contact palreports@gmail.com or call the phone number for the training coordinator once you have entered Palestine at 059 530 7448

In solidarity,

ISM Team

ISM volunteers raising Palestinian flag in front of the Apartheid wall.

ISM volunteers raising Palestinian flag in front of the Apartheid wall

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Valt Israëlkritiek onder vrijheid van meningsuiting?

Valt Israëlkritiek onder vrijheid van meningsuiting?

Engeland zal naar verwachting deze week Israël geruststellen: gemeenten en openbare instellingen, zoals universiteiten worden in Engeland beperkt in hun mogelijkheden om Israël te boycotten. Bij aanbestedingen en investeringsbeslissingen zal het moeilijk of onmogelijk worden om bedrijven die profiteren van de bezetting buiten de deur te houden. Het Engelse kabinet zegt het openlijk: ‘the changes are designed counter the growing BDS movement.’

De vrees voor verdere groei van de BDS-beweging grijpt plotseling om zich heen. In Frankrijk heeft de hoogste rechter het boycotten van Israëlische producten gecriminaliseerd. Zware geldboetes voor activisten kunnen het gevolg zijn. In de VS zal de president een wet gaan tekenen die het Amerikaanse bedrijven verbiedt om mee te werken aan (of te zwichten voor) boycotacties tegen Israël. Deze inperkingen van democratische vrijheden komt nadat in Israël besloten is om een frontale aanval te openen op BDS. Dat heeft intussen ook tot felle acties van de Israëllobby geleid: vooral op Amerikaanse universiteiten wordt zware druk uitgeoefend om Israëlkritische bijeenkomsten en te verbieden.

Het gaat dus om een in sterke mate vanuit Israël gecoördineerde campagne. Uiteraard wordt in deze campagne ook weer met de antisemitisme-knuppel gezwaaid. Maar de kern is, dat door Israël en de Israëllobby een serieuze poging wordt gedaan om de vrijheid van sociale actie en daarmee de vrijheid van meningsuiting in Europa en de VS in te perken. Dit kan verschillende gevolgen hebben.

Ten eerste het ongewilde gevolg dat de BDS-campagne steeds meer publiciteit krijgt. Dat heeft in Engeland dertig jaar geleden bijvoorbeeld Margaret Thatcher gemerkt toen zij voluit tegen de boycot van Zuid-Afrika ageerde. Een tweede gevolg kan zijn dat ook in veel bredere kring dan de ‘boycotters’ een discussie komt over de vraag of het niet kwalijk is, dat Israël en de Israëllobby invloed gaan krijgen op wet- en regelgeving die in westerse landen de vrijheid van meningsuiting regelen. Wij verwachten dat bijvoorbeeld aan universiteiten dit een aanleiding kan worden om meer aandacht te hebben voor de radicalisering van Israël en de toenemende blindheid daar voor de ellende die de onderdrukking betekent voor miljoenen Palestijnen.

Een ding staat vast: De BDS-beweging heeft er een belangrijk argument bij om door te gaan met zijn acties.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

Aliko: PYD is Russia and Assad Proxy, Its Actions Do Not Serve Interests of Syria’s Kurds

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Fuad Aliko said that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) could not claim to be a representative of the Syrian Kurds, especially after the attacks its militias have recently launched against rebel-held areas under Russian aerial cover.

Aliko described the PYD as a proxy organization whose actions do not serve the Kurds’ national interests but those of the Assad regime and Russia in Syria and the region.

Aliko cited the remarks made yesterday by the Assad regime’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, who said that the PYD militia’s latest progress in northern Aleppo is a “joint victory with the regime’s army” and who acknowledged that the PYD receives military support from the Assad regime.

“Jaafari’s statements are further proof that the PYD’s practices are alien to the Kurdish national project and hostile to the Syrian revolution,” Aliko added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 17.02.2016)