Including A Child, Four Palestinians Injured In Silwad

Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Saturday evening, that one child was hit with a gas bomb in his face, and three Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets and many suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers invaded Silwad town, east of Ramallah.

Soldaten Silwad

Clashes took place in the town, especially following the funeral ceremony of ‘Aabed Hamed, 20, who was killed by Israeli army fire, on Friday.

The soldiers fired many gas bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets and live rounds during clashes with local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles on them, after the army invaded their town.

Medical sources said a child was injured after a soldier hurled a gas grenade on him, directly hitting him in the face, wounding him, and causing him to suffer severe effects of tear gas inhalation.

The sources added that three Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets, and many others suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The army also completely sealed the western entrance of the town, and pushed more soldiers around it.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Israeli report: More than 400,000 settlers in West Bank

illegal Israeli settlements

File photo of illegal Israeli settlements

The number of settlers living in 128 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, has reached 406,302, an Israeli report revealed.

The report, issued by former Member of the Knesset Yaakov Katz, suggested that the Israeli settlements are distributed amongst 11 settlement blocs, the largest of which is located in the Jordan Valley, while the most densely populated is the Benjamin settlement bloc.

The Benjamin bloc consists of nearly 26 illegal Israeli settlements and its population is over 83,000 settlers according to the most recent figures for 2015.

There are 27 Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley, with over 8,100 settlers.

The report showed that the past two years witnessed a 4.4 per cent increase in the number of settlers in the West Bank, in addition to the 350,000 settlers who have settled in the 20 settlement blocs in occupied East Jerusalem.

According to the report, the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank will reached 1.2 million by 2036.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Israeli forces use excessive violence on peaceful demonstration in Hebron

On 20th February 2016, the Hebron Defence Committee organised a demonstration under the motto ‘Dismantle the Ghetto, take the settlers out of Hebron’ in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). Israeli forces attacked the peaceful demonstration with stun grenades and arrested several activists.

Demonstrators marching under the banner of 'take the settlers out of Hebron'

Demonstrators marching under the banner of ‘take the settlers out of Hebron’

The demonstration started after the noon-prayer at Ali Bakr mosque and peacefully marched towards the entrance to Shuhada Street in the Palestinian market, chanting against occupation and for their freedom. Once the peaceful march reached Bab al-Baladiyya in the Old City of al-Khalil, Israeli forces quickly started gathering behind the gates that lead directly onto Shuhada Street – that has been closed off for Palestinians since the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994.

As the Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined hands in trying to take down the military gate that locks off the access to Shuhada Street for Palestinians, allowing exclusive use for settlers from the illegal settlements only, the Israeli forces suddenly attacked the protestors throwing more than a dozen stun grenades at the crowd of people. While the demonstrators were running for cover, trying to avoid being hit by the stun grenades, the Israeli forces unlocked the military gate and came running into the Palestinian market.

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Israeli forces arrested a total of 12 activists from  Hithabrut – Tarabut group and moved them to the Police station for interrogation. While 8 where released, 4 were charged with attacking officers.

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

As can be seen on this following video, Israeli forces attacked several protestors, beating them and threw stun grenades directly at the press – that was visible wearing flag-jackets and helmets reading ‘press’.

The demonstration was held in commemoration of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in which extremist settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians and injured more than 120 when he opened fire on whorshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Israeli forces raid hospital where hunger-striker al-Qiq is detained

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli special forces accompanied by police dogs raided the Afula hospital where Palestinian hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq is currently being detained on Saturday, a Palestinian Authority official said.Hanan al-Khatib, a lawyer for the PA Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said the sudden raid came after al-Qiq suffered from spasms and seizures several hours earlier, causing panic among doctors who rushed to al-Qiq’s room and evacuated it.The purpose of the raid remained unclear on Saturday evening, but al-Khatib said the raid sent out the message that Israeli authorities were aware that “Muhammad could die at any moment.” Earlier on Saturday, Palestinian Prisoners Society leader Qadura Fares told Ma’an that Palestinian officials were involved in talks to reach a compromise with Israeli authorities regarding al-Qiq that would be accepted by the Palestinian journalist and his family by Sunday.The raid comes a day after the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Israeli intelligence services had refused to allow al-Qiq’s family to visit him during his hunger strike, in contradiction with an earlier ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court.Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old father of two, went on hunger strike in late November to protest his administrative detention — internment without trial or charge. He has since gone without food for 88 days, and has been in critical condition for weeks.Israel has negotiated in cases of hunger strikes launched by Palestinian prisoners in the past out of fear that prisoners’ death could spark unrest in the occupied Palestinian territory, but the territory has already seen months of unrest.Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qadura Fares said earlier this month that the Israeli security establishment now believes it has “nothing to lose” by failing to release al-Qiq before his death.Al-Qiq has vowed to maintain his strike until transferred a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah and released from Israeli custody, requests that were most recently denied by Israel’s High Court of Justice earlier this week.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

International journalist syndicates send a message to Netanyahu: release al-Qiq immediately

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In an exclusive interview for PNN, Nasser Abu Baker, the chairman for the Palestinian journalists syndicate, stated that their local campaign to release the 3 months hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Mohammad al-Qiq gained an international voice in the past few weeks due to his worsening health conditions.

According to Abu Baker, the journalist syndicates from Greece, Turkey, Ireland, the United Kingdom and France, on Thursday sent a direct message to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding him and his administration to immediately release al-Qiq.

For Abu Baker, this letters came in a joint effort from foreigners journalists to support the Palestinian journalism syndicate campaing to release al-Qiq.

He thanked all the journalists and activists involved for their support and concern with al-Qiq case, specially with his health conditions.

The Greek journalist syndicate letter to the Israeli Prime Minister.
The Greek journalist syndicate letter to the Israeli Prime Minister.

Nasser Abu Baker expects that this actions will add a great pressure towards the Israeli government to release Mohammad al-Qiq immediately. He stated that, these syndicates are under the umbrella of the international journalism union association, which can put some great pressure on the Israeli government.

Al-Qiq was arrested on 21 November 2015 when Israeli soldiers blew up the front door of his house and took him in for interrogation at Israel’s Kishon (Jalame) detention center.

His hunger-strike, that was started on 24 November 2015, came as a protest against administrative detention in Israeli prisons for six months without any charges or court.

He is one of 6,800 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including 660 administrative detainees and 18 journalists. Nearly all are tortured during interrogations by Israeli occupation forces.

Under international law, administrative detention is only permissible as a last resort and in cases of an immediate threat.

Al-Qiq is now in the Israeli HaEmek hospital, and Israeli Occupation Authorities refuse to move him to Ramallah hospitals.

Human Rights organizations, including International Solidarity Movement, have called on the immediate release of Al-Qiq, saying that he is facing death any minute now.

Amnesty International on Thursday said that the journalist’s strike “reflected what former Palestinian administrative detainees held by Israel said in the past: that faced with “detention without charges for an unknown — and potentially unlimited — duration, they saw refusing food as their only way of demanding their rights under international law.”

The rights group said it feared that that the Israeli authorities were using administrative detention as a “method of punishing” al-Qiq without prosecuting him, amounting to arbitrary detention.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Egyptian novelist gets two years in prison for ‘sexually explicit’ book

Novelist Ahmed Naji has gotten two years in prison for 'violating public morality.' (Berlin ID)

Novelist Ahmed Naji has gotten two years in prison for ‘violating public morality.’

A Cairo criminal court has sentenced the novelist Ahmed Naji to two years in prison for violating public morals after a passage from his novel containing material of a sexual nature was published, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression.

The court passed sentence on Saturday, also fining Tariq Tahir, editor of Akhbar Al-Adab literary magazine, LE10,000 for publishing an excerpt from Naji’s novel.

Naji was arrested after publishing a chapter from his novel “The Use of Life” in Akhbar Al-Adab, a literary journal affiliated with Dar Akhbar Al-Youm News Foundation, after it had already been published by Dar El-Tanweer Publishing House.

In January, the court acquitted both Naji and Taher of the charges. However, the prosecution appealed against that acquittal and succeded in getting it reversed on Saturday.

“One of the readers claimed that he was ashamed while reading the chapter of the novel, and then he complained to the prosecutor, which mistakenly considered the novel to be an article, and charged me with violating public morals,” Naji told CBC television channel.

Novelists, activists and NGOs reacted with outrage, criticizing the concept of “violating public morals”, questioning the phrase and asking who determines what is meant by “public morals”.

Egypt’s 2014 constitution ensures the freedom of arts as mentioned in article 67, which says that “the freedom of artistic and literary creativity is guaranteed, the State shall encourage arts and literature, sponsor creative artists and writers and protect their productions, and provide the means necessary for achieving this end.”

The article also mentioned that no lawsuit may be initiated or filed to stop or confiscate any artistic literary, or intellectual works, or against their creators except by the Public Prosecutor.

“No freedom-restricting sanction may be inflicted for crimes committed because of the publicity of artistic, literary or intellectual product. As for crimes related to the incitement of violence, discrimination between citizens, or impingement of individual honor, the law shall specify the penalties,” says the article.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Dozens of injuries during overnight clashes in Jenin

JENIN, (PIC)– Dozens of Palestinian youths suffered effects of tear gas inhalation as clashes broke out overnight and at dawn Saturday in Yabad town to the south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. According to the PIC news reporter, the confrontations erupted when large numbers of Israeli forces stormed the town from its different entrances. A military checkpoint was also erected today morning at the entrance to Yabad, where Palestinian vehicles were denied access into the town. Similar military restrictions were imposed on the neighboring town of Zabouba west of the city.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

Syrian Coalition: Russian Attacks on Syria’s Civilians “Intentional and Premeditated”

President Khoja condemned Russia’s latest attacks on Aleppo and its deliberate targeting of Syrian hospitals, medical facilities and schools, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Syrian territory.

In a letter to the UN Security Council sent on Friday, President Khoja said that “Russia’s attacks on Syria’s hospitals and schools were intentional and premeditated. All of the hospitals’ locations were well-known and well-documented, and their civilian character was abundantly clear to Russian authorities.”

“The decision to target Syria’s medical infrastructure—in spite of (or more accurately, because of) the vital services they provide—represents a deliberate strategy on Russia’s part to destroy civilian life in opposition-held areas, and to render these areas uninhabitable. The attacks almost certainly constitute grave war crimes,” President Khoja stated.

In his letter to the UN Security Council, President Khoja called on Member States and the United Nations to launch an investigation into Monday’s attacks on medical facilities and schools in northern Syria, and ensure that the investigation attributes responsibility.

The letter demanded the immediate exit of Russian forces from Syrian territory, calling for protecting civilians from future indiscriminate strikes by Russia and the Assad regime forces, including by enforcing a no-bombing zone across Syria.

President Khoja also called for ensuring accountability for all war crimes committed by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, launching a case under universal jurisdiction, or taking measures to establish an independent international criminal Tribunal for Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 20.02.2016)

IOF opens fire at Gazan farmers east of Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday morning opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip, with no reported casualties. A local source told Quds Press that Israeli border soldiers opened fire from their military posts at farmers working their lands east of Gaza City and al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central district. The source added that the farmers escaped unhurt from the areas which came under fire. The eastern borderline of Gaza also saw unusual Israeli military moves and drone overflights, according to eyewitnesses. The Israeli army violates the 2014 ceasefire agreement in Gaza almost on a daily basis.

(Source / 20.02.2016)

IOF arrests child allegedly found in possession of knife

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday morning arrested a Palestinian child near the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil city on allegations of his intention to carry out a stabbing attack against soldiers. The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reporter in the city said Israeli soldiers arrested 13-year-old Karam Qassas, from Dura town, near the Mosque in the Old City of al-Khalil after finding a knife in his possession. Local sources noted that the boy was taken to a police center in the city. Palestinian citizens are subjected to thorough searches by the IOF before they are allowed to enter the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City of al-Khalil.

(Source / 20.02.2016)