Damascus rejects proposals of no-fly zone in Syria

A Syrian air force jet fires a flare in the Mleha suburb of Damascus © Goran Tomasevic

A Syrian air force jet fires a flare in the Mleha suburb of Damascus

Syrian government flatly rejects proposals for a no-fly zone in Syria, as such a notion would be a violation of the country’s sovereignty and contravenes international laws, a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry told the SANA news agency.

Damascus was surprised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s renewed proposal for a no-fly zone in Syria, the official told the state-run news agency on Thursday.

The Syrian government “completely rejects” these proposals as they “constitute a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and contravene the rules of the international law and the UN Charter,” SANA cited the source as saying.“The aim of these statements would only lead to prolonging the crisis in Syria instead of contributing to finding a solution,”the agency added.

The introduction of the no-fly zone in Syria will only result in the“Libyan scenario,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, warned on Thursday.

“No one wants the ‘Libyan scenario’. The international community has already experienced this concept,” she said. “The result is visible not only in Libya, rather, it is not seen in Libya at all. However, it is seen far beyond Libya’s borders – in Europe.”

She elaborated by saying that the proposals were not Merkel’s initiative, but were pushed forward by Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

“The statements on a no-fly zone were made by the German chancellor, but this is not her idea, the idea is not new, it was promoted by Turkey,” the she said. “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has pointed out that this proposal should be coordinated with the official Damascus. No one cancelled the country’s sovereignty.”

Any invasion of Syria would be illegitimate, and the countries in the region must comply with international law, she concluded.

On Wednesday, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that Merkel’s suggestion came in the context of what was agreed upon at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) last week. He did not elaborate on how the no-fly zone would function.

The US, which is taking part in the significant efforts to settle the Syrian crisis using political means, has been wary to back the no-fly zone proposal – sparking criticism from Ankara.

On Wednesday Erdogan claimed that a no-fly would have prevented Russia’s air campaign in the region.

“Oh America! You did not say ‘yes’ to ‘no-fly zone.’ Now the Russian planes are running wild over there, and thousands and tens of thousands of victims are dying,” Erdogan said. “Weren’t we coalition forces? Weren’t we to act together?”

READ MORE: Erdogan threatens Europe with new migrant wave, renews calls for no-fly zone in Syria

This is not the first time Turkey has criticized its NATO ally. Ankara has been particularly discontent with Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurds, who are fighting Islamic State (IS, former, ISIS, ISIL) militants in Syria. Turkey considers them a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which it has designated a terrorist group.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Social networks provide a deadly new front between Palestinians and Israelis

clashes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian protestors

File photo of clashes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian protestors

Palestinian new media activists now believe that they are leading a battle for the status quo with Israel in the current intifada. In fact, Facebook has closed many of their accounts, and has even gone so far as to say that many of their messages are ripe for prosecution.

Since the outbreak of the Jerusalem Intifada at the beginning of October last year, it has been characterised by confrontations in the occupied West Bank, a number of resistance operations against the occupation and Israeli military incursions, as well as disagreements erupting on social networks. The Palestinians have led a campaign to encourage news outlets to relay tweets and posts specific to the intifada, glorifying acts of self-defence in the face of Israeli aggression. Some of these include shootings and stabbings. Videos posted on Facebook and Twitter have reached an audience of millions. Palestinians have taken to the virtual world to publish news about the uprising, with some arguing that it is this publicity which motivates the youth to continue to resist the occupation.

In this online war, Twitter in particular has experienced a high volume of daily traffic intended to put pressure on Israel and its supporters around the world. When videos are posted such as that showing Israeli occupation forces treating Palestinian youngster Ahmad Manasrah with extreme violence, they attract hashtags from both sides, each seeking to push its own viewpoint on the world.

Israel has not remained silent in the face of Palestinian efforts on social media; it has shut down several Facebook pages and reported others to the company’s administrators, especially those pertaining to martyrs. According to the Israeli government, such sites are attempts to incite violence against Israel and its citizens. Nevertheless, Israel has started to wage this internet war by appointing dozens of people to report pro-Palestine pages to Facebook and other sites. Such reports often relate to pages showing Palestinians being killed by Israeli security forces.

Moreover, an agreement is believed to have been reached between the Israeli foreign ministry and Google, as well as some social networking sites, to ensure that all concerned work to block what they believe is incitement for retaliation against Israel on pro-Palestinian pages. The Israeli government is aware that the Palestinians are now using social networks to tell their own stories about the occupation and intifada, and to mobilise supporters. Support continues to grow despite Israel’s efforts to curb these online endeavours.

In an effort to counter pro-Palestinian posts, Israel, it is claimed, has opened more than 5,000 new Facebook accounts. Some Israelis can post in both English and Arabic and are given the specific task of infiltrating Palestinian pages and online Arab communities. Many of the same people are responsible for posting updates which incite Palestinians to kill Israelis, in an online version of false flag operations. In addition, the Israeli government has also arrested Palestinian activists based on their posts on social networks and online activism. Once in detention, they are usually charged with “incitement”; the numbers have increased since last October.

While the physical aspect of the intifada is relatively calm at the moment, the online war continues to rage, with Palestinians and Israelis posting and counter-posting at a prolific rate. The bullets may not be flying, but the war is continuing nevertheless.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Right- wing ‘moles’ targeted Palestinian labourers on public buses in Israel

Israeli public bus

As part of a plan to effect separate Jewish and Palestinian West Bank bus lines, “moles” were planted on mixed buses to extract sexual comments from Palestinian labourers, according to Israel’s Haaretz  newspaper.

Haaretz has received documents showing that Gilad Ach, chairman of right-wing organization Ad Kan, which has planted moles in human rights organizations, sought to promote a bus-separation campaign and to sway decision-makers to remove Palestinians from the buses.

Settler leaders, who spearheaded the campaign to remove Palestinian labourers from the buses, have been claiming for years that such workers sexually harass women on the buses.

Ya’alon decided in October 2014 to separate Palestinian and Israeli travellers, forcing Palestinians working in Israel to return to the West Bank via the Eyal checkpoint, far from the bus routes used by the settlers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze implementation of the decision last May.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

UK bans boycotting Israeli occupation supplies

‘This is a disappointing measure taken by the UK government,’ a BDS campaigner said.

British government said on Wednesday that UK local authorities and public sector organisations would be prevented from boycotting Israeli occupation supplies.

UK’s new decision coincided with visit of the Israeli Cabinet Minister Matthew Hancock. During his visit, Hancock voiced opposition to the people and organisations “calling for boycotts.”

Days of Palestine, London -British government said on Wednesday that UK local authorities and public sector organisations would be prevented from boycotting Israeli occupation supplies.

“Boycotts undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarising debate, weakening integration and fuelling anti-Semitism,” a statement for the British government said.

“Apart from where legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been imposed,” the statmenet said, “procurement boycotts by public authorities were inappropriate.”

UK’s new decision coincided with visit of the Israeli Cabinet Minister Matthew Hancock. During his visit, Hancock voiced opposition to the people and organisations “calling for boycotts.”

The government said the World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement required signatories to treat suppliers equally, and therefore any discrimination against Israeli suppliers would be in breach of the agreement.

While not a criminal offense, those in sectors such as the health service, local authorities and some university student unions imposing boycotts could face penalties including fines and contract cancellations, the government said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I want to commend the British government for refusing to discriminate against Israel and Israelis and I commend you [Hancock] for standing up (for) the one and only true democracy in the Middle East.”

In 2014, the city council in Leicester in central England agreed to boycott produce from Israeli settlements.

Under European Union guidelines issued in November, products made in illegal Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian West Bank must be labeled as such, rather than carry a “Made in Israel” label.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Eshel prisoners bang on doors of cells in solidarity with Qeiq

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Palestinian Prisoner Center for Studies said that the prisoners in Eshel jail on Wednesday kept banging on the iron doors of their cells in solidarity with hunger-striking journalist Mohamed al-Qeiq. According to the center, the prisoners in section 10 stood at one time at the doors of their rooms and embarked on knocking on them very hard while loudly calling for the release of prisoner Qeiq. The prisoners also threatened to escalate the situation in the jail if prisoner Qeiq died. Consequently, the Eshel administration closed and isolated section 10 and declared a state of alert in the prison. In a related context, youth groups in the 1948 occupied lands organized on Wednesday marches and sit-ins in solidarity with journalist Qeiq, according to Quds Press. The solidarity events took place in different towns and cities, including Arrabat al-Battuf, Shaghour, Umm al-Fahm, Nazareth, Tayiba, Shefa Amr, and Haifa. The participants carried banners calling for ending the administrative detention of Qeiq and transferring him to a Palestinian hospital. The Israeli high court on Tuesday rejected a request filed by the lawyer of prisoner Qeiq asking for his transfer to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Report: Documenting War-Wounded and War-Dead in MSF-Supported Medical Facilities in Syria

February 18, 2016

Click Here to Read the Full Report

As the conflict in Syria approaches its sixth year, the humanitarian and medical toll of the violence remains appalling. Millions of people have been internally displaced or have sought refuge abroad. Millions more are trapped in communities that are under siege or hemmed in by the closed borders of neighboring countries. These countries, already overwhelmed by the numbers of Syrians seeking protection, have increasingly introduced restrictions on entry for new arrivals.

Meanwhile, the level of violence inside the country shows no signs of abating. Death and injury are a daily reality. The year 2015 saw an increased number of countries engaging their military and entering the war. Russia intervened in September on the invitation of the Syrian government, with significant use of its air force, while France and the UK extended their air campaigns under the US-led coalition from Iraq to Syria in September and December. This situation is unprecedented, as four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are now actively engaged in hostilities in the Syrian conflict.

This report aims to present a documented analysis of the medical and humanitarian consequences of the intensification of the military campaign in 2015, based on medical reports and data from 70 clinics and hospitals in Syria supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Key Data

  • Of 66 communities identified in the Damascus region, with a combined estimated population of 1.45 million and derived from 35 health facilities supported by MSF, 93,162 were treated, of whom 36,068 were women and children (children defined as under the age of 15). MSF recorded 4,634 war-dead, of which 1,420 (31 percent) were women and children. There has been a decrease on a month-by-month basis due to the shift of conflict to the west and north of Syria.
  • MSF regularly supports 45 medical facilities, of which an average of 34 contributed medical data (12 of which are in besieged zones). The data shows: 61,485 war-wounded were treated, 10,473 (17 percent) were children under five years old.
  • Seventy-four mass casualty incidents were recorded. They account for 3,978 wounded treated, with 1,252 (31 percent) women and childrenand 770 dead, 228 of whom were women and children. East Ghouta, in August alone, recorded 28 individual mass casualty events, which accounted for 840 wounded, 367 of whom were women and children and 144 dead, 48 of whom were women and children. After October, there has been an increase of mass casualty events in north and western Syria, with October marking 17 mass casualty events(575 wounded, 220 of whom were women and children; 120 dead, of which 53 were women and children).
  • The data also shows a total of 94 aerial and shelling attacks hit MSF-supported facilities, with 12 cases leading to total destruction (the first spike was recorded in May and June, followed by October), as well as a total of 81 medical staff killed. Note: MSF supports only a fraction of the total medical facilities in Syria.
  • Data shows that there have been numerous cases of “double-tap” attacks (i.e. a second attack 20 to 60 minutes after the first). This has been recorded by time in specific cases.
  • MSF-supported facilites alone have recorded 7,009 dead and 154,647 wounded, 30 to 40 percent being women and children. In besieged zones in the Damascus region, MSF recorded 1,400 dead and more than 36,000 wounded.  

MSF’s Message

  • MSF urgently calls for all attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure to end.
  • MSF specifically calls for protection and respect of medical facilities, and an end to all attacks on them.
  • MSF calls for full humanitarian access to all besieged zones and unhindered movement for medical evacuations, supplies, and medical staff.
  • MSF specifically appeals to four of the UN Security Council permanent members to respect their own resolutions and to pressure their allies to implement them.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

2 Palestinians shot after stab attack leaves 1 Israeli killed, 1 injured

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two 14-year-old Palestinians were shot and critically injured after carrying out a stab attack that left one Israeli killed and one injured in the Rami Levi supermarket located in the Shaare Benyamin industrial complex northwest of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that two Palestinians “infiltrated” the illegal Israeli settlement and entered the supermarket before stabbing the two Israelis, aged 17 and 35.Both Palestinians were shot and critically injured by an armed civilian present at the scene, al-Samri said.The police spokesperson initially reported both Palestinians dead.The 35-year-old Israeli died from stab wounds in the upper body and torso shortly after.Local sources identified the Palestinians as Ayham Bassam Ibrahim Subih, and Omar Salim Rimawi, both 14-year-old residents of the Ramallah-area town of Beituniya.Israeli emergency medical service Magen David Adom said medics treated one Israeli in severe condition and another who was in moderate condition. The two were transferred to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.An Israeli settler in his forties was stabbed and injured in a Rami Levi supermarket in the same illegal settlement on Nov. 6.A wave of small-scale attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals in the occupied Palestinian territory — predominantly on Israeli military targets — have increasing targeting illegal settlements this month.Attacks have left over 25 Israelis dead since Oct. 1, with the majority of suspected Palestinian attackers shot dead on site. Nearly 180 Palestinians have been killed during the same period, many under disputed circumstances.Five Palestinians were shot dead earlier this week on Sunday during three separate alleged attacks on Israeli military in occupied East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Jenin.No Israelis were injured in any of the incidents.International bodies have attempted to quell the ongoing violence through urging restraint by both Israeli and Palestinian leadership.Palestinian leadership has remained markedly absent from the recent unrest, and the majority of attacks have been carried out by young Palestinians unaffiliated to any political faction.Israeli authorities meanwhile have launched closures of Palestinian roads, villages, and entire districts in response to recent attacks in what the army has referred to as necessary “security measures.”UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addressing recent events in the territories last month said the new year had begun as 2015 ended — “with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse across the spectrum in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.”While condemning attacks carried out by Palestinians, Ban said that Israeli security measures were failing to “address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians — especially young people.”The Secretary-General continued that it was “human nature” for Palestinians to react violently to Israel’s decades-long military occupation, and urged change in Israel’s policies in the occupied area.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Israeli warships shower Gaza beaches with machinegun fire

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation navy on early Thursday morning opened heavy machinegun fire on Gaza’s shores, at the same time as an army patrol rolled into the Strip’s eastern borders. An on-the-spot observer said Israeli occupation gunboats unleashed eight mortar shells on al-Zahraa shores, in central Gaza Strip. The shells exploded on the beach. No fatalities have been reported. The attack came at a time when several army jeeps launched a limited incursion into eastern Wadi Gaza area, in central Gaza Strip. A flock of Israeli warplanes also carried out a series of mock-raids across Gaza sky while Israeli drones kept incessantly hovering over the territory. Palestinian fishermen have been the permanent targets of Israeli gunboats despite the fact that they have been setting sail within the six-nautical-mile zone agreed upon in the latest truce deal. Several Palestinians were killed or injured and others have had their boats damaged in similar attacks. The assault is another chain in the series of Israeli violations of the Cairo-brokered ceasefire accord struck in the wake of the 2014 Israeli offensive on the besieged coastal enclave.

(Source / 18.02.2016)

Greater Israel and killing of humanity

From KhamakarPress Correspondent in Pakistan: Haseeb Asgher

Nearly everyone has heard reference to “Greater Israel,” however most probably are not aware what is defined as “Greater Israel.”  Where Greater Israel began and where it will be completed — no one knows, but the sensible, the politicians and government scientists — they are well-aware of where it ends and what is the logic behind it.

“Greater Israel” is a dream of Zionist leader and founder Theodor Herzl.  Herzl’s dream began with the occupation of Palestine with the help of British imperialism and Israel’s biggest terrorist supporter, America.  Even the Zionist’s project in which he occupied Palestinian land, Herzl’s dream of Israel’s borders from the Nile River to the coast, known as Greater Israel was born on the 2nd of November, 1917. On that day, the British Imperialism and America, together with some other countries decided to settle the Jews in the holy land of Palestine. This agreement was called the notorious Balfour Declaration. This agreement was named after the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, and was signed on demand by the Zionist leader, Lord Russell. From that day forward until now, Zionism has been imposed on Palestinians as a punishment in the form of Jews.

United Kingdom released a letter for occupation of Israel

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. On behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object It is being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

It should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James

Lord Arthur Balfour assured the Jews and the Zionist movement that the illegal state of Israel was not against the constitution and the world law. On behalf of Britain Imperialism and the US backing, a number of Zionists and Jews began to settle in the Palestine state. Since then, Israel has adopted independently barbaric behavior against the Palestinians. So far, Israel has killed millions of Palestinians, the native population , who had been living there for thousands of years. Israel’s terrorism has grown enormously over the past few years. In the S

summer of 2014,  on July 8th, Israel launched the military operation known as “Protective Edge” over the defenseless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In this barbaric act, Israel killed a total of 2191 Palestinians, included 527 children and 299 women.

All the weapons which Israel used to commit this atrocity were provided by the United States of America – either directly with weapons, or through military funding.  America, additionally gives $ 3.1 million annually to Israel for defense. This money comes from US citizen’s taxes. The United States are also supportive in the expansionist ambitions of Israel.

We never forget
In 1991, in Madrid, Spain, during the the Middle East Conference, Israeli Prime Minister Shamir Azhak said Israel will definitely broaden it’s boundaries— from northern Turkey to the south of Egypt, including Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait. He said only Israel has the right to state expansion in the Middle East, while US and Russian are not allowed to interfere. The expansion project resulted in Israel largely succeeding in occupying areas in Egypt and Sinai during the last wars. Similarly, Israel has been able to establish their hegemony over some areas of Syria and Lebanon. But, in Lebanon, Israel suffered the worst defeat by Hezbollah in 2000 and then was driven  back to Israel from the Lebanon borders. After this defeat, Israel changed it’s method of operation. A strange wave of uncontrolled extremism suddenly appear in the Middle East. If we take a closer look at the Middle East, what is happening in Syria in the past few years, it becomes clear that it is all a part of the Greater Israel plan. This encompasses those who called themselves supporters of Islam and who are killing the innocent civilians, including women and children. They are not human. Take a good hard look at the current world situation, and in Middle East especially – Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Libya, it is clear that the design for “Greater Israel” is well underway.

The biggest obstacle to the Greater Israel was Iraq, because Iraq had it’s own importance and is the strategic gateway for Asia. According to Israel, if it is able to undermine Iraq or is able to divide it into two parts — Shiite Muslim and Sunni Muslim; then they can succeed with the Great Israel project.

The project started the war between Iran and Iraq, Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, and in 2011 with the help of terrorists in Syria which created instability in Syria. There was no reason for all these attacks other than to expand “Greater Israel.” Greater Israel sets its borders, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. The distribution of Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria were also discussed.

In this project Iran, Turkey and Pakistan`s distribution also was discussed. The establishment of Greater Israel would only be possible if they change the region’s Arab states by dividing them into many small states. The project aims to give Israel the upper hand in the region and to make Israel superior over all the countries.

Now if I say that Israel is a danger for all human beings in all the world, it is not a mistatement. Israel is planning to occupy the whole  world. The level of civil war in the Arab countries in this regard can be easily understood. The terrorist organization ISIS is using the name of Islam to destroy Syria and many other nations. Taliban, Al-Qaida, ISIS and other similar terrorist organizations are using name of islam and attacking with the goal of creating a way for the Greater Israel project.

Al-Qeq uses his hunger strike to resist and triumph

Palestinian journalist injured by Israeli soldiers

File photo of Palestinian journalist injured by Israeli soldiers

The world has never known a power greater than that of the media in our time. Countries are becoming stronger with media serving their interests and policies; there is no championing or victory of any cause, regardless of how just it is, without a strong media behind it.

It is for this reason that Israel fears the Palestinian media and its important role in documenting incidents, reporting news and broadcasting images of its occupation, ugly actions, blatant violations of human rights and heinous crimes. Israel is also afraid that the media will have an impact on the renunciation of the Palestinian, Arab and international public opinion. Hence, it intensifies its violations against all Palestinian journalists, regardless of their affiliations and the media outlets they work for, either Arab or international. They are all considered equal in the eyes of those targeting, oppressing, injuring, killing, arresting or exiling them.

Yes, this is the situation of the media and journalists in Palestine. The Israeli occupation is chaining down the outlets and handcuffing the journalists. Not only this, but the Israelis also utilise their various security agencies, armed forces and so-called judiciary to serve its policies of persecution, harassment, confiscation of equipment and breaking the cameras of journalists in order to take revenge and evoke fear in an intimidatory atmosphere. They want to neutralise the media, block the images and assassinate the truth.

In this context, since the outbreak of the Jerusalem Intifada on 1 October last year, and after the remarkable success of the journalists in documenting Israel’s crimes against our people, exposing its arbitrary and oppressive measures against helpless citizens, the occupation authorities have intensified their targeting of Palestinian journalists in an unprecedented manner. Israel has also committed more crimes and violations against them, injuring and killing many, as well as questioning and detaining dozens under the pretext of their alleged “incitement”. So far this month, the Israelis have detained 18 journalists, the most prominent of whom is Muhammad Al-Qeq, a correspondent for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Majd TV Network.

Al-Qeq is a 33 year-old Palestinian journalist who has a family, a wife and children. He was arrested at his home in Hebron on 21 November last year for portraying the Israeli occupation in a manner consistent with the best standards of media professionalism, ethics and customary practice. However, Israel regards this as “incitement” against its security, so they locked him up under “administration detention”, a means by which it arrests and detains people indefinitely, with neither charges nor a trial.

What incitement are the Israelis referring to? If delivering the truth is incitement according to Israeli standards, then not only journalists but also the rest of us should be proud to be “inciters”. If the occupation authorities do not want us to be “inciters”, then they should change their behaviour and actions which form the image portrayed so accurately by Al-Qeq and his colleagues. However, Israel has not done this, and will not do so, because that is not its typical approach towards dealing with the Palestinians over decades. If it was the case, then the journalists would use the same approach and work professionally and transparently in order to report news and stories in a responsible manner and with utmost objectivity. They would also continue to portray the image that reflects the truth as it is captured by their camera lenses, documented by the testimonies of the victims and written by the pens of the honourable.

When all of the legitimate, peaceful means fail to defend freedom of opinion and speech; fail to protect journalists; and fail to get rid of “administrative detention”, then other means are used. Thus, we see Muhammad Al-Qeq who is, although imprisoned, acting on behalf of all of us and using the harshest and most painful of weapons, the last resort of legitimate and peaceful resistance: the open-ended hunger strike. He has declared his revolution against his jailers with his hunger in rejection of Israel’s denial of his right to report the truth and in protest against his continued arbitrary detention. Administrative detention is resorted to by the Israelis as a convenient alternative to the due legal process required by international law; the latter only allows such arbitrary detention as a last resort in emergencies and exceptional circumstances. Israel uses it routinely to detain Palestinians without the need to collect and provide evidence for an independent court to judge.

The Israeli authorities have issued over 50,000 administrative detention orders since it occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967; some of these were and are new orders, some will be renewals of existing orders. At the moment, around 700 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention orders; male and female, young and old.

Muhammad Al-Qeq started his hunger strike on 25 November last year; he is refusing to take any nutrients or tonics and insists on continuing his protest until his arbitrary detention is ended and his legitimate rights and freedoms are restored. His sacrifice is added to those before which continue to earn our respect and admiration for their legendary perseverance the likes of which has not been witnessed much in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian journalist is following in a line of courageous individuals who have written inspirational pages in the history of legitimate peaceful resistance behind bars and achieved many successes. Al-Qeq forces us to relive our personal experiences with mass hunger strikes in order to live and share his bitter and torturous situation, with all its meanings and implications. We are then able to connect with him more, with all of our emotions and feelings until the end and he achieves victory, God willing.

Regardless of any affiliations that he might have with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, the PFLP, the DFLP or any other faction, and regardless of which area he comes from, we are proud that he is a Palestinian living on Palestinian land. We are also proud that he decided to represent us all and ignite a revolution in the face of his Israeli jailers.

Muhammad Al-Qeq: we apologise if we have fallen short in our support for you, or if we were late in participating in events and activities organised to support and back your strike. We apologise if we were silent in moments when we should not have been silent in the face of your hunger for the sake of a dignified life. However, you must be certain that we are standing by you in your battle and are making every effort possible to ensure your victory. Rest assured that we will always support anyone who wields the weapon of an empty stomach in the face of the Israeli jailer in order to defend the dignity of Palestinian prisoners, defend freedom of opinion and speech, to protest against poor conditions and treatment, and to reject the policy of arbitrary detention.

(Source / 18.02.2016)