Conference calls for making plight of Palestinian prisoners a global affair


The plight of Palestinian prisoners must be internationalised until Israel is forced to abide by human rights laws and put an end to violations against captives, it was agreed at the Third European Conference to advocate for prisoners of Palestine yesterday.

The meeting, which was attended by the Mission of Palestine to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, was held in Brussels, Belgium.

The General Coordinator of the European Alliance in Defence of Palestinian Detainees, Khaled Hamad, stressed on the Alliance’s insistence on continuing its efforts to internationalise the issues of Palestinian prisoners and defend them and their families in all European and international forums.

Chairman of Prisoners Affairs committee Issa Qaraqe called on the international community and human rights organisations to intervene and provide protection for thousands of Palestinian prisoners who live in severe danger due to growing Israeli fascism, extremism and vengeance.

Member of the Palestinian National Council, Nader Sakka also called on the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the Palestinian National Authority and regional and Islamic parties to intensify their efforts to internationalise the prisoners’ cause until they force Israel to abide by international human rights laws and put an end to its violations against them.

The conference was attended by Palestinian MP Qais Abdul Karim Abu Leila, a representative of the PLO Department of Expatriates Affairs, Mahmoud Zabin and Qaddoura Fares, head of the Prisoners’ Club, in addition to representatives of institutions and human rights groups.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

28 Palestinian children in Ofer jail deprived of family visits

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli prison and security authorities deprive 28 Palestinian children in Ofer jail of receiving family visits, according to a report released on Monday by the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). 14 of those children have been denied family visits since their detention and the families of 14 others were divested of their visit permits at the checkpoint leading to the prison. The mother of a 17-year-old prisoner, from al-Khalil, told the PPS that she had not been allowed to visit her son in jail since he was arrested on October 23, 2015, pointing out that she only saw her son during court hearings. The Israeli authorities also bar the family of 16-year-old Osama Badawi, from al-Khalil, from visiting him in jail since his detention on January 22, 2016. Badawi’s father and three of his brothers, who are in Israeli prisons, are also deprived of family visits.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

62 settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Dozens of Israeli settlers broke into al-Aqsa Mosque via the Israeli-controlled al-Magaribeh gate on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday. Quds Press affirmed that 62 settlers stormed the holy shrine and toured its courtyards amid heavy police protection. Meanwhile, Palestinian worshipers intensified their presence at the Mosque since the early morning hours and tried to confront the Israeli settlers’ break-in into their Mosque. Earlier Sunday, 307 Israeli settlers stormed the Mosque on the 49th anniversary of the occupation of Eastern Jerusalem.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

B’Tselem: Qasrawi was also executed in al-Khalil last March

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Human rights group, B’Tselem, has said that the second Palestinian young man who attacked soldiers in al-Khalil city on March 24 was also executed on site by an Israeli soldier. On that day, Abdul-Fattah al-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi allegedly attacked two Israeli soldiers with knives in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of al-Khalil city, lightly wounding one of them. At the time of the incident, the Israeli army claimed al-Qasrawi died immediately as a result of gunshots fired by a soldier during the attack, while al-Sharif was seriously injured and later succumbed to his wounds. A short while later, an Israeli officer called Elor Azaria arrived on the scene about 15 minutes after the incident, and was filmed shooting al-Sharif in the head, killing him. Azaria, is currently on trial for manslaughter. Local residents, however, now claim that al-Qasrawi was only wounded in the attack and that after his suffering from an incapacitating injury, a soldier shot him in the head or neck twice from point-blank range. According to B’Tselem, the delay in releasing this information was the result of the eight-month military closure that had been imposed on the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, which prevented the group’s investigators from interviewing local eyewitnesses. As the army removed the closure, a B’Tselem employee was able to interview the two eyewitnesses who are claiming al-Qasrawi was executed. The Tel Rumeida neighborhood is under surveillance by security cameras, meaning this accusation could be easy to prove or disprove. B’Tselem made clear to the witnesses that the Israeli army probably had footage of the entire incident on its security cameras located in the area, and that this footage could corroborate or disprove their accounts. Both witnesses repeated their testimony and said they were ready to testify before any official body if summoned.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

33 Mossad and Iranian spies arrested in Saudi in 3 years

Saudi flag

Saudi intelligence authorities have arrested 33 spies working for the Iranian Savak and the Israeli Mossad intelligence agencies and referred them to investigative and judicial authorities over the past three years, the Okaz newspaper reported yesterday.

Thirty Saudi, an Iranian, an Afghan and a Jordanian are amongst those arrested, the paper reported.

Both intelligence agencies provided the spies with money and training to conduct espionage operations in the kingdom including providing information and reports about the country’s economy and security.

The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh found the Jordanian guilty of communicating and working for Mossad and sentenced him to nine years in prison. He is currently serving his term.

The remaining 32 spies were in touch with Iran’s intelligence agency, SAVAK.

Charges against the defendants include providing sensitive information that would affect the kingdom’s security, unity and territorial integrity.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

Power cuts in Gaza rescheduled during Ramadan

GAZA, (PIC)– The Gaza electricity company said it would reschedule the power cuts during the holy month of Ramadan. A spokesman for the company told SAFA news agency that the new power supply hours would take into account the prayer times during the holy month. He added that the new power distribution hours would be different from one area to another and would start from seven o’clock in the morning. Gaza’s power plant has not run at full capacity in years because there are no sufficient fuel supplies to run its generators, which considerably affected the lives of the population.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

Israel dismantles EU funded facilities in Jerusalem

[File photo]

[File photo]

Israeli forces dismantled six Palestinian moveable houses and a kindergarten located on the highway between Jerusalem and Jericho on Sunday morning, Quds Press reported.

The houses belonged to Palestinian Bedouin families and the Israeli authorities demolished them under the pretext that they were constructed without licenses.

Head of the Committee for Protecting Bedouin Communities Jameel Hamadin said that members of the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by Israeli forces, encircled the neighbourhood of Satah Al-Bahar, where the structures were located, and announced that it was a closed military zone. They then dismantled the structures.

Hamadin said that at least 25 inhabitants were displaced by the demolitions.

He added that the kindergarten demolished provided the education for 12 children from the Bedouin neighbourhood. He noted that all the dismantled facilities were funded by the EU.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

Is Sisi selling Egypt to Saudis?

A picture taken through the window of an airplane shows the Red Sea’s Tiran (foreground) and Sanafir (background) islands in the Strait of Tiran between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia, Jan. 14, 2014

Yet another controversial move by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has some citizens fearing a land grab of sorts by Saudi Arabia.

Just weeks ago, Sisi caused an uproar by ceding control of two Red Sea islands — Tiran and Sanafir — to Saudi Arabia. Before that controversy quieted, the president decided to grant Saudi citizen Hamoud bin Mohammed Saleh the right to buy land previously restricted to Egyptian ownership. The decision also paves the way for broader land deals, raising questions about its legality, safety and potential consequences.

Under the May 26 decision, Saleh will be treated as an Egyptian and allowed to own two parcels of desert land previously owned by Egyptian citizens in Giza. The land is along a highway between Cairo and Alexandria.

Under a 1996 law, non-Egyptians are entitled to own two properties in Egypt, provided those properties are owner-occupied. Also, the area of each property should not exceed 4,000 square meters (1 acre), and the area should not be considered a historical site. Under the new decision, Saleh is no longer confined by these requirements and already owns a 4,400-square-meter property.

In July 2014, the Council of Ministers issued the Real Estate Finance Law allowing foreign companies, even 100% foreign-owned firms, to own lands allocated by the Egyptian government for housing projects.

Fouad Abdel Nabi, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Menoufiya, challenged the constitutionality of the president’s recent decision and said it violates Article 4 of the Constitution, which states that sovereignty belongs to the people alone, who shall exercise and protect it. Also, according to Articles 139 and 144, the president does not have the right to make an exception for anyone under the laws and conditions of land ownership, his mission being to defend the interests of the people and not to establish supremacy over them.

Abdel Nabi confirmed that “state resources — and lands, most importantly — belong to the people and not the president.” Sisi’s decision allows Egyptian citizens to transfer land ownership to Saudi citizens, but it also keeps the door ajar for certain transactions between foreigners, especially Saudis, Abdel Nabi noted. This violates Article 32 of the Constitution, which obliges the state to preserve such resources, prevent their depletion and take into consideration the rights of future generations to them.

The decision should have been submitted to parliament before being issued, according to the law professor, who stressed that the state will not be able to protect state resources from depletion or regulate the conduct of new landowners.

According to a 1981 law, non-Egyptians are not entitled to own agricultural, desert and agricultural reclamation land, but a 1988 law allows the president to treat Arab nationals as Egyptians if the Cabinet approves.

Abdel Nabi said it makes sense for Egyptians to be concerned over foreign ownership of land in strategically important border areas, especially Sinai.

Another professor, however, did not agree with that assessment. Yasser Hudaybi, a constitutional law professor at Ain Shams University, believes the law does not prevent non-Egyptians from owning agricultural lands or housing units or from establishing companies.

The law differentiates between Arabs and non-Arabs for national security reasons, Hudaybi told Al-Monitor. He said he doesn’t worry about foreigners owning Egyptian land because the property remains subject to Egyptian sovereignty. The state can confiscate lands for any reason related to national security by compensating the foreign owners appropriately.

The Integrated Development Law of Sinai Peninsula, promulgated in August, prohibits foreign ownership of land and property in Sinai but allows non-Egyptians, and Egyptians with dual nationalities to obtain usufruct right to benefit from built-up units for 50 years, with a maximum of 75 years for owner-occupied property. Also, the law prohibits both Egyptians and foreigners from owning properties in areas of military interest.

The same law, however, enabled the president — upon the approval of the Council of Ministers, the Ministries of Defense and Interior and the General Intelligence Service — to treat foreign Arab nationals like Egyptians as far as owner-occupied property is concerned.

“Egyptians have properties in several countries such as Greece, England and the US,” Hudaybi said, adding that the Egyptian Constitution, like other constitutions, does not prohibit land ownership to foreigners. He stressed that this decision encourages the presence of foreign investment, which in turn provides job opportunities to Egyptians.

Lawyer Ziad al-Alimi, a former member of Egypt’s parliament, said the decision discriminates between Saudis, holders of other nationalities and Egyptians themselves, stressing that the Egyptian state is putting obstacles in the way of Egyptians’ ownership of territories, especially when Sinai Bedouins are involved. Alimi noted that the Security Council claims this is for reasons of national security.

Alimi told Al-Monitor that such decisions set the stage for legal exceptions, which in turn “often pave the way for corruption.”

“Egyptians [legally] have the priority of investing in Egyptian territory,” said Alimi. He added that while the state is being strict with some Egyptian citizens who seek to own land, either for their homes or investment, it is also lax with non-Egyptians, especially Saudis. This confirms that the Egyptian regime is serving foreign interests and making decisions on this basis, he said.

Alimi said it is naive to say that since the territories are Egyptian, the government can confiscate them at any time, since the state could face international fines and have its assets and accounts frozen abroad.

Alimi said the Committee on Human Rights in the 2012 parliament discussed ownership of some Sinai Bedouin lands, and the main objection came from the Ministry of Defense, given the potential threat to national security.

“The Saudi government does not treat Egyptians similarly in this respect,” international law expert Gen. Ibrahim Elias told Al-Monitor.

Elias added that the decision gives preference to Saudi citizens over their Egyptian counterparts. He stressed that Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia still suffer under the sponsorship system.

The ownership law in Saudi Arabia allows legally residing foreigners to own properties for residential purposes upon the approval of the Ministry of Interior. The law also allows foreign investors to buy buildings, or land on which to develop, provided the cost of the project is at least 30 million riyals ($8 million) and the property is sold or rented within five years.

Elias said he expects some Saudi investors to buy desert land on the outskirts of Cairo and major cities, in anticipation of rising property values, to make huge gains. That could lead the Saudis to dominate the Egyptian real estate market.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

Israel cuts off water supply to Palestinians in Salfit

Salfit, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday and Monday cut off water supplies to the central West Bank city of Salfit for unknown reasons. According to the Salfit Municipality, water supplies were cut off on Sunday and Monday, the first two days of holy Ramadan month. The municipality called on Palestinian citizens to rationalize consumption and buy reservoirs so as to limit the repercussions of the crisis. Israeli water company Mekorot is the only source of water for Palestinians in Salfit city. Palestinians’ water resources in the area have been exploited by the company, forcing Palestinians to buy limited quantities of water for steep prices while the surrounding Israeli illegal settlements have had unlimited access to water resources.

(Source / 07.06.2016)

Rights Group Documents 25 Massacres in Syria in May, Mostly by Assad & Russian Forces

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said it has documented 25 massacres committed in Syria during the month of May, mostly at the hands of the Assad regime and Russian forces.

In a report released on Tuesday, SNHR listed the number of massacres as follows: 16 by regime forces, 3 by Russian forces, 5 by ISIS, and 1 by the international coalition forces.

According to the report, women and children make up 45 per cent of the victims of these massacres, which claimed the lives of 302 people, including 72 children and 63 women.

SNHR added that the 16 massacres perpetrated by regime forces were distributed in Syria’s provinces as follows: 5 in Idlib; 4 in Homs; 2 in each of Aleppo, Damascus and Deir Ezzor; and 1 in Raqqa.

The massacres Russian forces have committed were distributed as follows: 1 in Idlib and 2 in Aleppo, while the massacres ISIS have carried out were distributed as follows: 3 in Lattakia, and 1 in each of Homs and Tartous. The massacre the international coalition forces have carried out took place in Aleppo province.

The report pointed out that the nature of the massacres perpetrated by regime forces, the excessive use of force; the indiscriminate nature of bombing; and the coordinated nature of the attacks indicate that these attacks were carried out following orders from regime officials at the highest level and amount to state terrorism.

The report put forward a set of recommendations that included referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and forcing the Assad regime to give access to relief and human rights organizations as well as access to the International Commission of Inquiry and independent journalists. They also included adding the militias fighting alongside regime forces which were complicit in large-scale massacres to the international list of terrorist groups; most notably Hezbollah militias, other Iranian-backed Shiite militias, the so-called National Defense Forces and the paramilitary “shabeeha” militias.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 07.06.2016)