Amnesty International describes administrative detention as arbitrary

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Amnesty International organization expressed its concern over the increase of the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, who are held under the illegal administrative detention, to 600.  It described the administrative detention as arbitrary and called for releasing all administrative prisoners.  Hilal Alloush, head of the human rights in 1948 occupied Palestine campaign and the anti-racism campaign at Amnesty International said, in a statement on Sunday, that the hunger strike waged by administrative detainees proved the nonexistence of real charges against them which forced Israeli authorities to release them.  Alloush pointed out that the Israeli occupation uses administrative detention as a political weapon to intimidate Palestinian political activists, parliamentarians and academics.

(Source / 14.03.2016)

Palestinian land defender’s imprisonment without charge or trial extended by Israeli military occupation

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Palestinian agricultural workers’ advocate Samer Arbeed, the financial director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in the West Bank, was ordered to an additional three months’ administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – by the Israeli military on 12 March 2016.

Arbeed, a father of two, was arrested in his home in Ramallah on 14 December and ordered to administrative detention for three months on 24 December. Scheduled for release on 12 March, instead, he was handed an additional three months of extended administrative detention – again with no charge, no trial, and no evidence.

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees has been repeatedly targeted. UAWC is a Palestinian agricultural and land defense organization that won the United Nations’ 2014 Equator Prize for its work on food sustainability. For over 28 years, UAWC has been in the forefront of defending Palestinian land and connecting with movements of agricultural workers around the world as a member organization of Via Campesina and a partner of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil.

Administrative director Abdul Razaq Farraj, released last year, was held under administrative detention for five consecutive orders; UAWC board members and office coordinators have repeatedly been imprisoned, often under administrative detention without charge or trial.

Arbeed was previously the accountant for Addameer, the prisoner support and human rights association, where he was also targeted for imprisonment without charge or trial; this is his fourth administrative detention, having been imprisoned without charge or trial from 2003-2006, 2007-2008 and again in 2013.

He is among approximately 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention. The following video features his testimony about his experience:

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees issued a call for urgent action on the case of Arbeed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners:

“UAWC urgently calls to raise the voices and denounce the ongoing crimes against Palestinian people, arrange international and national social movements and activities in solidarity with the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons, in addition, the UAWC calls the international community to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to comply with the basis for administrative detention in international law, which ensure the right of anyone who is arrested to be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and any charges against him, and ensure his right for fair trial.”

(Source / 14.03.2016)

60 thousand black sponge-tipped bullets kill Palestinians

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli police intensified during the last two years the use of a dangerous type of foam bullets against the Palestinians, resulting in killing one Palestinian and increasing the number of the Palestinians injured. However, no charges were filed against police officers for violating the laws on the uses of this type of bullets. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said on Sunday that the police fired about 60 thousand black sponge-tipped bullets during the last two years, the majority of which are of a new type and more dangerous. Haaretz pointed out that more than ten Palestinians from Jerusalem have lost their eyes because of these dangerous bullets, others suffered from fractures in their faces, their hands and feet, while one of the wounded suffered serious damage in the brain. Another two Palestinians suffered from ruptures of the spleen and liver as a result to being shot with this type of bullets, it elaborated. According to the data handed over by the Israeli police to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the police fired more than 35 thousand sponge-tipped bullets in 2014, mostly in eastern Jerusalem, and 22 thousand bullets of the same type last year. In 2013, the police fired 7,162 sponge-tipped bullets, 5,859 in 2012, 3,608 in 2011. Data showed that the police had been using blue sponge-tipped bullets before but since 2014 they have been using the same type of bullets but in black, which are heavier and more dangerous. In the past year the rate of the usage of these bullets has increased to about 94%, according to the newspaper. According to Haaretz, as a result of the use of this dangerous type of foam bullets, dozens of Palestinians were wounded, including minors and children. By this practice the Israeli police are violating their own systems, though no accusation of violating regulations was drawn against any policeman. In order to justify the use of this dangerous type of foam bullets, the Israeli police claims that the purpose of using such bullets is to protect the lives of policemen from any threat, while the police regulations prohibit using this type of bullets towards the elderly, children, and pregnant women, and, if used, it should be shot towards the lower part of the body but the police have violated all of these instructions. The Israeli Police Investigation Unit has opened until today 15 investigation files related to the use of this type of dangerous bullets, but it closed four files of them, and the investigation is still underway on the other files, including the case of the death of a child and cases of several others wounded.

(Source / 14.03.2016)

AL NUSRA TURNS ON FORMER FSA ALLIES IN IDLIB, WHILE PUTIN ANNOUNCES RUSSIA TO START A SYRIAN WITHDRAWAL

By Peter Clifford            ©           (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-and-iraq-news/)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

SYRIA AND IRAQ NEWS

For the second Friday running, the Al Nusra Front showed its true face and intervened in towns in Idlib province under it’s control to stop popular demonstrations against the Assad regime.

In Ma’arat Al Numan a group of masked men arrived on motorcycles and inserted themselves into an anti-Assad protest of around 200 people, at first displaying their own trademark black flags and then attempting, unsuccessfully, to take over the microphone.

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Al Nusra Front Attempt to Take Over Anti-Assad Protest

The Al Nusra fighters eventually managed to disperse the demonstrators and then patrolled the streets to prevent local people from reassembling. You can read more and watch video, HERE:

Over the weekend, things escalated when the Al Nusra Front and other Islamist groups stormed the HQs of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade known as Division 13, who in the past have had US backing, in Ma’arat Al Numan, Khan Sheikhoun and Al-Ghadafa.

40 members of Division 13 have been arrested and 7 were killed in the fighting and 20 wounded, while others are missing. 4 members of Al Nusra are reported dead.

Al Nusra went on to seize warehouses belonging to Division 13, including large stocks of weapons and TOW anti-tank missiles. Until now Division 13 and the Islamists had worked together as an “army of conquest” to fight Assad and take over Idlib province.

Clearly, local people are angry at the weekend’s events. Latest reports say protesters attacked the Al Nusra HQ in Ma’arat Al Numan today, Monday, freed 10 prisoners and burnt the building down.

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Al Nusra HQ Burns in Ma’arat Al Numan as Locals Revolt Against Islamic Rule

EDITOR: As world powers attempt to impose “peace talks” in order to get some sort of resolution in Syria, if only a federal state, it looks as though new battle lines are being drawn as all the warring factions from every side jockey for position to take sole control of the central part of the country.

Many other anti-Assad demonstrations did take place right across Syria on Friday. In Atarib in Aleppo province they were dancing in the streets, HERE:

Meanwhile in other Syria News, having regained ground in Latakia, the Assad regime and their allies are pushing into Hama province, claiming to have killed 40 Opposition fighters as they recaptured 3 checkpoints and a number of buildings.

Though it was not all one way. Opposition fighters shot down an Assad MIG-21 just after it had bombed the village of Kafr Nabudah. The pilot parachuted towards the ground and unconfirmed reports say he has been captured. Video footage, HERE:

The Opposition also took out an Assad T-72 tank at the Hamamiyat barrier, HERE:

In Homs province on Saturday, Assad’s Air Force and Russian jets bombed IS positions in Palmyra more than 40 times and dropped a dozen barrel-bombs. The pro-Assad forces are said to be less than 5 kilometres from the northern and western entrances to the city.

The latest reports on Abu Omar Al-Shishani, the senior IS Chechen commander reported possibly killed last week after his convoy was attacked by the Coalition (scroll down – see below), say that he still “alive” but very seriously wounded and “clinically dead”, breathing at all only with the aid of machines.

2 of his companions survived the attack according to reports, but another 10 died and a specialist surgeon had been brought in to try and help Shishani.

What exactly Shishani’s role has been is not clear. Described as a top commander and involved in all the major battles, he is apparently not a member of the Islamic State’s political elite.

The New York Times, in a horrific report, describes how IS has been pushing its sex slaves and rape victims into forced birth control. Recommended reading.

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Friday’s Demonstration in Wa’er District in Homs

IS continue lose ground as well in Syria, this time to Opposition fighters north of Aleppo city who captured Qizil Mazra’ah, the 4th village to fall to their fighters in 5 days.

“Peace talks” got underway again today, Monday, in Geneva with all sides taking strongly opposing positions. The Opposition called for a transitional government without Assad and his cronies, the UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said there should be presidential elections in 18 months, and the Syrian Government said Assad was not going anywhere and it was nobody else’s business who their president was. The BBC has more.

However, in an interesting twist today, Monday, President Putin after meeting his advisors, announced that Russia is to start a withdrawal of its main forces from Syria, starting tomorrow, Tuesday, and to concentrate on the “peace talks”.  In his statement, Putin said, “The mission set for the Defence Ministry and the armed forces on the whole has been accomplished”. Apparently Putin has already phoned Assad and told him the “good news”.

Once again, the Kurds, by far and away the most successful group fighting the Islamic State, were excluded from the talks. Undoubtedly another suicide bomb explosion in Ankara yesterday, Sunday, which killed 34 and wounded around 130, will be blamed on the Kurds and used as an excuse, especially by Turkey, to “demonise” them.

Last weekend also marked 5 years since this dreadful war began. The BBC has commentary, video and analysis, HERE:

ROJAVA UPDATE 196: AL NUSRA USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST KURDS IN ALEPPO AGAIN, WHILE 32 ISLAMIC STATE FIGHTERS DIE IN ATTACK ON TISHREEN DAM

The Al Nusra Front and its Islamist allies, once again launched shell attacks, some laced with chemical weapons, on the Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo on Sunday.

This is the second time in a week that chemicals have been used (scroll down – see below).

The bombardment left dozens of casualties in its wake, including women and children and some of whom lost consciousness after inhaling fumes of what are thought to be phosphorous and chlorine agents.

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The Effects of Chemical Weapons

The groups accused of the attacks as well as Al Nusra, include the Sultan Murad Brigade, the 16th Brigade, Noureddin Zanki and the Ahrar al-Sham Movement.

On Saturday, the Islamic State (IS) also launched another major attack on the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) between Jarablous and the Tishreen Dam

No less than 5 vehicle bombs were launched by IS against the Kurdish/Arab fighters, but all were destroyed before they reached their targets.

Subsequently fighting broke out near the Tishreen Dam in which 32 x IS Jihadists were killed and 4 from the SDF, with 7 SDF fighters wounded.

Welcome back to @ChuckFarrer (who has been busy writing a new book since September, “Phillip Nolan – The Man Without a Country” to be published on April 15th) and his useful maps, here:

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SDF Pushing Towards Manbij From Tishreen Dam

Not for the first time in Hasakah, tensions overflowed in the city on Sunday between the Kurdish Asayish (Kurdish security) and Assad’s remaining forces still stationed there.

The clashes, including gunfire, broke out in the centre of the city between the Marshu roundabout and Al-Ra’eis Square, though so far casualties are unknown.

From the Turkey/Syrian border near Ras Al-Ain in Hasakah province, it is reported that 3 men were beaten by Turkish security after they attempted to cross the frontier from the Syrian side and ended up in hospital.

There are also unconfirmed reports from activists that Turkey is enabling the movement of “hundreds” of Islamist fighters from Ahrar Al-Sham and Failaq Al-Sham into the northern part of Aleppo province between the Kurdish Canton of Afrin and Jarablous to create a “central force” that will hold the territory against a SDF/Kurdish advance as they drive IS from the area.

The International Red Cross also managed to deliver 26 truck loads of humanitarian aid into the Afrin and Azaz area yesterday, Sunday, hopefully to benefit as many as 10,000 families.

Article reporting views of German participant in YPG fight against IS – he came to Syria to “change the world”, HERE:

Latest reports from US Central Command (Centcom) say that the Coalition made 6 airstrikes in Syria on Saturday and 12 in Iraq. In Syria the targets were all around Hasakah, Raqqah and Manbij where the Coalition made 4 strikes hitting 3 separate tactical units and destroying an IS artillery piece, 3 x IS vehicles, an IS mortar position and an IS fighting unit.

Over in Iraq, where the Peshmerga have also suffered chemical attacks from IS, the Kurdish fighters destroyed a main IS chemical weapons facility in northern Iraq near Qabousiyah in Sinjar province, with a barrage of heavy shelling on Sunday resulting in “massive explosions” according to reports. Other suspected IS chemical weapon storage and manufacturing centres are also being targeted.

According to the UN, 409 civilians have been affected by mustard gas and other chemicals falling on the town of Taza Khurmatu just south of Kirkuk from shells fired by IS and resulting in tumours and skin bubbles on people’s faces as well as burning in noses and throats and running eyes.

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IS Burn Hundreds of Christian Books in Mosul

According to activists in Mosul, IS collected hundreds of Christian books from churches and schools in Mosul last week and burnt them all as the “books of infidels”. Mosul once had a large Christian population, but not any more as most have fled the city and many have left Syria altogether.

Others are determined to remain to retain a Christian presence in the Middle East. Interesting article, HERE:

Israeli settlers seize Palestinian lands in Jericho

JERICHO, (PIC)–  Israeli settlers seized 100 dunums of Palestinian lands in al-Awja town, in Jericho, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs reported Saturday. Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Sheikh Youssef Id’is, said the targeted land lots are Palestinian Awqaf (endowment property) leased to agricultural investors and that hundreds of palms have been grown in the area. He said the misappropriation of the lands makes part of an Israeli scheme to destabilize Palestinian economy and displace Palestinian natives from their own lands in favor of illegal settlement expansion. “The land just makes part and parcel of who we, Palestinians, are. We are nationally, ethically and historically responsible for protecting our land,” said Id’is. He called on Arabs and Muslims everywhere across the globe to speak up for Palestinians’ land rights and boost their resistance in the face of the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 14.03.2016)

Palestinians kidnapped, homes ravaged in Israeli predawn sweep

NABLUS, (PIC)–  Several Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Sunday in an abduction sweep rocking the occupied West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli occupation troops rolled into Nablus city and kidnapped 21-year-old Dhiaa Akoub after they ravaged his family home. The IOF further stormed Ourata town, in southern Nablus, and wreaked havoc on civilian homes. The IOF kidnapped 22-year-old Mahmoud Azawi from his own family home in Jenin’s southern town of Yabad, in the northern Occupied West Bank. The IOF reportedly sealed off the main entrances to Yabad with makeshift roadblocks after they stormed it in over 10 military jeeps. The IOF raked through residential neighborhoods in Yabad and rummaged into civilian buildings under the pretext that arms were found in the area. Sources based in Bethlehem said the IOF kidnapped the chairman of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Association, journalist Muhammad Hmeida Zaghloul, along with two other Palestinians from the city. The occupation soldiers also kidnapped the brother of hunger-striking detainee Mahmoud al-Fasfous, Khaled, along with citizen Salim Fakouseh after they confiscated his private car.  The campaign culminated in the abduction of two Palestinian youths from the Qalandiya refugee camp, in Occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 14.03.2016)

Hariri: We Are the Delegation Representing the Revolution and the Syrian People

Member of the Syrian Coalition Nasr al-Hariri confirmed the opposition’s negotiating delegation had arrived in Geneva to participate in the UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at discussing political transition in Syria in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254 and related UN resolutions.

Hariri, who is currently in Geneva as an advisor to the opposition’s negotiating delegation, said that the Syrian opposition represents the people’s revolution, so the decisions it makes represent the interests of the Syrian people. Hariri said the opposition’s negotiating delegation tomorrow will meet with the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura to discuss the political transition process and the forming of transitional governing body with full powers.

Hariri emphasized that the opposition’s delegation is keen on finding a political solution that achieves the aspirations of the Syrian people and stop the bloodshed and devastation in the country.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 14.03.2016)

Israeli forces shoot, injure 14-year-old in chest during Ramallah-area clashes

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Sunday shot and seriously injured a 14-year-old Palestinian boy during clashes in al-Mazraa al-Gharbiya village, northwest of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, medical sources told Ma’an.

Medical sources said Adi Kamal Salamah, 14, was shot with a live bullet in the chest, and was taken to Palestine Medical Complex for treatment.

The teen was in serious, but stable condition, medical sources said.Clashes broke out in the village when Israeli forces entered the area, with Palestinian youth throwing rocks and empty bottles at forces who shot live fire, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at protesters.
At least 2,177 Palestinian children have been injured in direct conflict since tensions broke in October,according the United Nations.
During that same time period, Defense for Children International-Palestine found that at least 41 Palestinian children have been shot dead by Israeli forces, 31 of which were killed during alleged, attempted or actual attacks against Israelis.
(Source / 14.03.2016)

Demolition Orders Handed to Jerusalemites

The Israeli occupation municipality, Monday, handed demolition orders to Palestinians in al-Eesawiyya, under the pretext of unlicensed buildings.

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Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported, according to Al Ray, that the crews of the Israeli municipality, accompanied by Israeli forces, stormed the building of Fadee Al-Issawi and handed him a demolition order for the building, which has been established since 2001.

Israeli forces claim that the building is unlicensed.

Fadee Issawi explained that the building consists of three floors, and are licensed from Israeli authorities. He noted that an extra area to the building was added recently, but that Israeli authorities fined him an amount of NIS 75.000. According to Fadee’s account, he paid the total amount in 2006.

The municipality crew also handed Mohammed Mahmoud a demolition order for two floors of his building, which consists of four floors total.

Mahmoud pointed out that his building was established in 2001, and is licensed according to the applicable law. The two extra floors are yet to be licensed , he noted, but Israeli authorities fined him an amount of NIS 200.000, the payment of which he intended to accomplish by 2019.

(Source / 14.03.2016)

Israeli foreign minister admits having secret relationship with Arab rulers

Dore Gold, Director-general of Israel’s Foreign ministry said Israel is in contact with almost all Arab countries. According to the Tel Aviv Times website, Gold said as long as this news is not reflected in counter newspapers, Israel can be associated with almost any Arab country. Israel’s interest requires having relations with Arab countries and achieving various agreements with them. We have problems dealing with many countries in the world. Now we have problems with Europe which is not a secret, but many countries have opened their doors to us. Israel has keen partners in Sunni Arab states.

“We are witnessing dramatic changes and developments in the Arab world willing to establish relations with Israel in secret. However, we have not agreed on all issues with Arab countries, but the Iranian threat exists for both parties and fosters our friendship”, he emphasized The senior Israeli state department official acknowledged he had travelled within his mandate to many Arab capitals that he could not name. Gold has reportedly traveled to Abu Dhabi in November 2015 to open an Israeli office in Renewable Energy International Agency and met with senior officials of the country.

(Source / 14.03.2016)