IOF raids towns, sets up roadblocks south of Jenin

JENIN, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday evening raided al-Jadida and Siris towns south of Jenin and set up roadblocks. Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that a large number of Israeli troops stormed al-Jadida town and embarked on questioning citizens, especially the young men, with no known reason. The sources added that the invading troops also established a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance to the town and intercepted passing vehicles and citizens for search. The IOF also raided the nearby town of Siris and erected barriers on a road between the two towns. No citizen was reportedly arrested during the IOF campaign in these towns.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Fate of Hebron Hills village likely to be decided by Israeli defense minister

Man uit Susiya

A Palestinian man sits outside his tent in the southern West Bank village of Susiya

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — In the latest development in a decades-long legal battle by Palestinian residents of the village of Susiya in the southern Hebron Hills to remain in their ancestral lands, an Israeli supreme court hearing confirmed on Monday that a decision regarding the fate of the threatened village could likely be decided by ultraright Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.The hearing was set to decide whether to accept the state of Israel’s request to immediately and without prior notice demolish 40 percent of the occupied West Bank village where some 100 people live, according to Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR).Two weeks ago, Israeli authorities abruptly halted months of dialog with Susiya’s residents, who had appealed to the court with a master plan with the support of RHR, over the possibility of legalizing the village.Any future agreement on the legality of the village would now be the responsibility of the defense minister, Israeli authorities told the residents.The Israeli Supreme Court’s hearing determined that Lieberman would make his position public in two week’s time.During the hearing, Israel Supreme Court President Miriam Naor expressed frustration over the Israeli government’s lack of clarity regarding its position int he case, as well as the position of Susiya’s residents and their lawyers presenting the appeal.“I don’t understand the petitioners. I don’t understand the state. I don’t understand anything,” Naor was quoted as saying by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which was live Tweeting from the court.“The state’s position is not clear. I have difficulty with the fact that the state comes to court with one file after another and says we haven’t decided,” she continued.In a press release on Tuesday, RHR said that before dialogue was severed, “discussions with senior members of the (Israeli Civil) Administration gave rise to suspicions that the village was under the increasing threat of immediate demolitions.”“These indications, in addition to the demolition of structures in the general area of Susiya over the Ramadan holiday — a rare move made by the army — set a dangerous precedent and raise concerns that political considerations have been introduced into the professional planning process,” RHR continued.“All of this is to the detriment of the local Palestinian population, already suffering under a discriminatory planning system.”Since Israel’s Civil Administration declared the village land an “archaeological site” in 1986, its Palestinian residents have been expelled from their homes several times, relocating to caves, tents, and temporary wooden shelters in the area, according to B’Tselem.While Israeli authorities have routinely declared that Susiya’s residents lack the appropriate permits to reside there, villagers say authorities have systematically denied their right to build for years.Over the years, “Residents have raised large amounts of money, hired experts, and submitted outline plans to the army, all which, along with years-long attempts to obtain building permits have been rejected by Israel, according to RHR.Israel’s Civil Administration rejected in 2013 a petition by RHR for a master plan, on the grounds that they failed to meet the necessary criteria, and recommended that the community relocate from Area C — under full Israeli military control and where most illegal Israeli settlements are built — to Palestinian Authority-controlled Yatta, in Area A.RHR and B’Tselem have criticized the Civil Administration’s rejection as discriminatory, noting that numerous illegal Israeli outposts and settlements in the occupied West Bank fail to meet the same criteria, but do not face demolitions.In May 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court refused to freeze the demolition orders threatening the village, meaning that Susiya’s residents faced “imminent demolition of their homes, structures for public use, and agricultural facilities,” according to B’Tselem.The decision sparked international outrage, with the US State Department warning that demolitions in the village would be “harmful and provocative.” Several US lawmakers have since voiced their support for the village.Susiya residents and RHR have been able to prove the village inhabitants’ ties to the land with land documents dating back to the Ottoman era.They argue that Israel’s motivations to destroy the village, despite clearly being located on private Palestinian land, are due to its location as the only obstacle between two Israeli-controlled areas — an illegal Israeli settlement going by the same name, Susiya, and an archaeological site north of the Palestinian village.The latest setback in Susiya’s battle for legal recognition comes after B’Tselem released a report last week revealing that Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, in what rights groups argue is a worrying indicator that Israel intends to annex the entirety of Area C.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

US launches air strikes on IS in Libya

Rather than a strike against ‘Islamic State’, this was Obama striking a blow against his political enemies and their mercenary armies.

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Today, whenever we read a report about an event such as this we have to read between the lines and use our wider knowledge to figure out what exactly is going on behind the scenes to have caused this event to happen.

We very strongly suspect that this air strike was against CIA/Israeli assets that are part of the group that, from 2001 onwards ran Gaddaffi’s intelligence services and with Dick Cheney acting as de facto ‘Governor General’ of Libya, set up prisons and a rendition transit facility.

Again, we remind the reader that the US government, military and intelligence agencies cannot be viewed as a monolithic entity, rather they are divided into factions and this air strike is part of the ongoing struggle between those factions. In this case, we have Obama’s White House faction striking at their political enemies in the Pentagon-Neocon-CIA-Israel faction.

The timing of this strike is significant, coming at a time when the US is in the midst of a very nasty election where Hilary Clinton has been continually lambasted for her supposed role in the fall of Gaddaffi in 2011. Obama is entering the final months of his presidency so he is able to make some moves against his political enemies now that he couldn’t risk earlier, hence this air strike.

__________
BBC
US launches air strikes on IS in Libya

The United States has carried out air strikes on positions of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Libya, following a request by the UN-backed government there, the Pentagon says.

The strikes targeted positions in the port city of Sirte, an IS stronghold.

Libyan PM Fayez Sarraj, in a televised address, said the strikes caused “heavy losses”.

Western powers have become increasingly concerned at IS’s growing presence in Libya.

The air strikes are the first such US military intervention co-ordinated with the Libyan unity government.

There have been two previous US attacks on IS targets in Libya – last February and in November.

The Pentagon said Monday’s strikes, authorised by President Barack Obama, were in support of government forces currently fighting IS militants.

“These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies,” the Pentagon statement continued, using another term for IS.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the strikes hit “precision targets”, including a tank, in response to a request from the Libyan administration in the past few days.

It now appears the US has formally started a sustained air campaign to degrade the IS group’s capabilities in Sirte. The jihadists have been losing ground there in recent months, but the armed groups fighting it have been witnessing an increasingly high death toll.

An advanced air campaign could speed up the removal of IS militants from their biggest stronghold in the country. The Pentagon has carefully attributed its latest move to the unity government’s request to help its forces.

But these anti-IS forces are only loosely allied to the government in Tripoli. The wider military and militia forces across Libya are still embroiled in local rivalry. In the aftermath of campaigns of this kind, the US, and other countries involved in Libya, will probably be left with more questions than answers over the stability of the country and the local forces they backed.

The government began an offensive against IS fighters in Sirte in May and said two weeks ago that it had made its largest gains to date.

Western officials say the number of IS militants in Libya, previously estimated at 6,000, is declining in the face of concerted government action and pressure from other militia.

Mr Cook said fewer than 1,000, possibly several hundred, remained in Sirte, and no US forces were on the ground in connection with “this operation”.

Libya has become increasingly divided since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with competing governments and rival militias seeking to gain territory and influence.

The chaos had left Libya vulnerable to an influx of IS fighters, many from Syria.

The United States has voiced strong backing for the unity government, or Government of National Accord, which began operating from the capital, Tripoli, in April.
US Secretary of State John Kerry declared in May that it was the “only way to generate the cohesion necessary to defeat Daesh [IS]”.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Unanswered questions remain on anniversary Dawabsheh family arson attack

Ahmed Dawabsheh

Ahmed Dawabsheh

Difficult questions remain unanswered a year after the deadly arson attack that killed all but one of the Dawabsheh  family.

Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsheh is the only survivor of the fire which burnt his family home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, Nablus, and led to the death of his 18-month-old brother and his parents.

Extremist settlers are thought to be behind the arson attach which took place on 31 August 2015.

Ahmed suffered major burns over his body and head. He was officially discharged from hospital two weeks ago but will continue to receive treatment for up to eight years. It is as yet unclear how the events of that evening will affect him psychologically.

His uncle, Naser Dawabsheh told Quds Pressyesterday: “The most difficult problem now is the return to the house when Ahmed could recall the family members and the moments when the fired struck his brother and burnt him before his bare eyes.”

When he returned to his home, Ahmed asked his uncle about the fate of his brother and asked about the location of his parents.

“‘Where are they?’ he asked, “why am I not with them?’”

Naser explained that Ahmed asks about the long term effects of the burns on his body. He said his family are providing Ahmed with the support her needs but “all of these are difficult questions and we face many difficulties answering them.”

(Source / 01.08.2016)

America promotes hatred against Muslims: Kanhaiya Kumar

kanhaiyakumar

Hyderabad: The real originator and promoter of campaign of hatred against the Muslims is America. After the disintegration of Russia, America was in search of an imaginary enemy. America implemented its evil designs by targeting the Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen by creating the fear of Islamophobia in the entire world. India also has fallen in the trap of the plan which George Bush had designed India its his ideology and started thinking the Muslims as enemies.

These thoughts were expressed by Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, President of Students union of Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. He was addressing a large gathering on “Dignity, Diversity and Democracy” in Hyderabad yesterday.

The meeting was attended by students leaders from Osmania University, Jadhapur University, Allahbad University, Maulana Azad University, University of Hyderabad, etc.

He made a refrence to James Bond films and said that in those films negative role of Russia used to be projected but these days, the image of the Muslims is being tarnished to create the atmosphere of hatred.

He advised the people not to be carried away by this false propaganda and asked the youths of this country to rise against the oppression of the authorities. He targeted Modi also by saying that Modi is not the name of a personality. It is an ideology which is being propagated by RSS. He told that there is a need for the youths of this country to get united to fight this campaign of hatred against the Muslims.

Siasat News

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Palestinian prisoners denied family visits, held in isolation

naharsaadi

Palestinian prisoners continue to be denied family visits as part of a systematic policy of isolation, said prisoner Nahar al-Saadi in a letter to Mohja Al-Quds Foundation. Saadi, 35, launched a hunger strike against his solitary confinement; he was transferred into collective isolation in Hadarim prison. However, Saadi said, he continues to be denied family visits; the order against his family visits expires on 9 August. Under the agreement to end his hunger strike, the order should not be renewed; however, Saadi stated that he will return to an open-ended hunger strike if he continues to be denied family visits or the order is renewed. Saadi is serving four life sentences plus 20 years in Israeli prisons and was held in solitary confinement for three consecutive years before the transfer to Hadarim in May.

There are a number of Palestinian prisoners who continue to be held in solitary confinement or special isolated sections like al-Saadi; another such section is number 12 in Megiddo prison, where five prisoners, Anas Jaradat, Essam Zeinuddin, Shukri al-Khawaja, Musa Soufan, and Abdullah al-Maghrebi, are held in collective isolation with each other but separate from general population. Most were moved to this collective isolation section following hunger strikes against solitary confinement. The Prisoners Affairs Commission noted that their access to media and newspapers is extremely limited and they are often forbidden from family visits or from having recreation in the prison yard.

mutassim-raddad

In addition, Israeli occupation authorities barred the sister of Mutassim Raddad, an ill Palestinian prisoner, from visiting him despite obtaining a permit through the family visit process of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She arrived at a checkpoint on the way to the prison on the ICRC family visit bus only to be informed that she was prohibited from visiting him. She and her mother had held a permit to visit Raddad for over a year; she told Mohja Al-Quds that she had received a visit ticket from the ICRC, only given to those with valid permits. However, she was told that her brother was being prohibited visits for security reasons. Raddad is serving a 20-year sentence and is one of the most seriously ill Palestinian prisoners, suffering from colon cancer with intense symptoms including internal bleeding, headache, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

A message for the Leaders of the European Union

Criminals must be Prosecuted and not Welcomed
Ali Mamlouk’s and Mohammad Dib Zaitoun’s Visit is a Disgrace

the European Union

A number of Italian newspapers and news websites have published in early July several news about a secret visit by the Italian chief of intelligence Alberto Manenti to Damascus at the end of last week where he held a secret meeting with the current president Bashar Al Assad. SNHR received allegation about the Italian authorities meeting with Major General Mohammad Dib Zaitoun and the German authorities meeting with Major General Ali Mamlouk.

Major General Ali Mamlouk is:
One of the founding officers of the Air Force Intelligence and its chief in 2003-2005. After the 10th Baath Party Regional Conference, which was held in the period 6-9 June 2005, he was appointed by president Bashar Al Assad as head of the General Security Directorate. Following the attack on the Central Crisis Management Cell in 2012, he was named as director of National Security Bureau of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party which is an office that supervises all security agencies and reports directly to the President of the Republic.
As head of the General Security Directorate, Ali Mamkouk directs the operations of the four security agencies: Air Force Intelligence Directorate, Military Intelligence Directorate, General Intelligence Directorate, and Political Security Directorate.

Major General Mohammad Dib Zaitoun is:
A close advisor to Bashar Al Assad. He is currently the director of the General Intelligence Directorate. He was a member of the negotiation team that negotiated opposition factions in the truce agreements in Homs governorate. He is also a member of the National Security Bureau.
Zaitoun was director of the Political Security Directorate until March 2011. Also, he was charged by the president of the Republic to direct the operations of the minister of interior on 29 March 2010.

View full Report

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid now refusing medical treatment

Demo Bilal Kayid

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid has decided to escalate his hunger strike and refuse any medical treatments or tests until an Israeli court agreed to hear his case, prisoners rights group Addameer said on Monday.Addameer lawyer Farah Bayadsa visited Kayid, who is currently held in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon under maximum security, on Sunday, and reported that Kayid wanted to be transferred back to prison so he could continue his hunger strike alongside other Palestinian prisoners.Kayid has been on hunger strike for 48 days after Israeli authorities sentenced him to six months in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — on the day he was due to be released after serving a 14-year sentence in Israeli custody.Bayadsa said Kayid had decided to escalate his strike since an Israeli court turned down the appeal against his administrative detention. Beginning in August, Kayid has announced he would refuse all medical tests or treatment until a date is set for a court hearing.Kayid has also asked to be transferred back to prison after denouncing his harsh treatment in the hospital. While detained at the Barzilai hospital, Kayid has had his right hand and left leg cuffed to the bed at all times, with three Israeli guards and a surveillance camera always present in his room, preventing any privacy, even during visits by his lawyer, which are limited to half an hour.Kayid also said that Knesset members belonging to the Joint List — which represents Palestinian citizens of Israel — were banned from visiting him. He added that he was being harassed both Israeli extremists visiting the hospital and his guards, whom he accused of taking pictures of him in his sleep and turning the air conditioner on high when he felt cold.After more than a month and a half of hunger strike, Kayid’s health has seriously deteriorated. The 35-year-old prisoner has been suffering from severe headaches, heartburn, exhaustion, insomnia, and weight loss.Doctors have only allowed him to drink one liter of water each day because of his condition, and Kayid has also complained of suffering physical pain due to being shackled to his bed.After insisting, he has been allowed to walk in his room for 15 minutes each day, even though he has only been able to walk slowly because of his feelings of dizziness.Addameer has called Kayid’s imprisonment a violation of human rights, and demanded the instant release of Kayid, as well as an end to all punitive measures against prisoners standing in solidarity with Kayid.Kayid a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is from the town of Asira al-Shamaliya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, and was originally detained in 2002 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades — the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).The large-scale solidarity movement amongst prisoners has resulted in an equally massive crackdown on mostly PFLP prisoners by the IPS, which has conducted multiple raids, cell block closures, confiscations of personal property, and transfers of detainees in attempts to quell the strikes.Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, said that Israeli prison guards on Monday had raided Section 12 of the Nafha prison, assaulted prisoners and moved all of the section’s prisoners to other detention facilities.Earlier on Monday, Israeli Prison Service (IPS) returned Palestinian prisoners affiliated with Fatah and PFLP from Israel’s Ohalei Kedar prison back to Ramon prison Monday morning, according to Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners) radio, a week after moving them in an attempt to destabilize the mass open hunger-strikes which have been launched across Israeli prisons to support Kayid.Israel’s administrative detention policy is widely criticized among Palestinians, who say it has been used to detain Palestinians without justifications.According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held by Israel as of May, 715 of whom were held in administrative detention.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Mass hunger strikes persist despite Israeli forces transferring 100 Palestinian prisoners

Palestinian prisoners at the Megiddo Prison. (AFP/File)

Palestinian prisoners at the Megiddo Prison

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) returned Palestinian prisoners affiliated with Fatah and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) political parties from Israel’s Ohalei Kedar prison back to Ramon prison Monday morning, according to Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners) radio.

IPS forces raided Section 5 in Ramon prison last week, when they moved 100 Fatah and PFLP-affiliated prisoners to Ohalei Kedar in an attempt to destabilize the mass open hunger-strikes that have been launched across Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

The committee made a statement following the mass transfer, saying the raids were a direct response to dozens of prisoners supporting fellow prisoner Bilal Kayid, who has now been on a hunger strike for 48 days, and hunger-striking brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, who entered their 27th day of hunger strike on Monday, all of whom are protesting Israel’s controversial policy of administrative detention, which Israel uses primarily against Palestinians to detain them without trial or charge.

Israeli authorities sentenced Kayid to six months in administrative detention on the day he was due to be released after serving a 14-year sentence in Israeli custody, while the Balboul brothers were detained in early June, just two months after their 14-year-old sister was detained for allegedly possessing a knife while trying to cross a checkpoint into Jerusalem, a charge she was later released for.

Kayid, a PFLP member, is one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike before he was finally released in May.

Kayid’s administrative detention has resulted in a mass solidarity movement of PFLP-affiliated prisonersprotesting through temporary and open-ended hunger strikes, which has resulted in an equally massive crackdown on mostly PFLP prisoners by the IPS, which has conducted multiple raids, cell block closures, and confiscations of personal property in attempts to quell the strikes.

Secretary-General of the PFLP — Palestine’s most popular secular-left-wing political party — Ahmad Saadat joined the mass open-hunger strikes in solidarity with Kayid last week, and was immediately placed in solitary confinement by the IPS according to Issa

Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Qaraqe released a statement Monday morning saying that Saadat’s participation in the strikes represents “a new stage” in the mass protests, “that will escalate confrontation with the Israeli prison services.”

In addition to a larger-scale crackdown by the IPS, Qaraqe also anticipated that Saadat’s presence would “motivate all Palestinian prisoners to step up and join” in solidarity with Kayid and the Balboul brothers.

Highlighting the “life-threatening” and deteriorating health conditions of both Kayid and the Balboul brothers — one of whom, Mahmoud, was reportedly transferred to Israel’s Ramla hospital — Qaraqe urged Palestinians to organize more protests and solidarity actions in order to help the striking prisoners achieve their demands, such as the multiple sit-in strikes that have been set up across major cities in the occupied West Bank.

Qaraqe met with the families of Kayid and the Balbouls on Monday in Ramallah, along with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Deputy of Legislative Council Khalida Jarrar, also a leading member of the PFLP, who was released in June after serving 14 months in prison.

“We are making continues efforts with all international organizations, consulates and ambassadors to put Israel under pressure to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, starting with prisoners on hunger strike,” Hamdallah said.

Like Qaraqe, Hamdallah — who visited a sit-in tent erected in Bethlehem‘s Manger Square — insisted on the importance of a wide popular solidarity movement with the prisoners’ cause, adding that “all Palestinian parties must be unified against the Israeli occupation’s violations and confront the challenges that the Palestinian cause is facing.”

He added that the Palestinian government and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “will not rest” and there would be no Palestinian-

Israeli peace agreement until all Palestinian political prisoners were released from Israeli prisons and Israel’s administrative detention policy was completely stopped.

Israel’s administrative detention policy is widely criticized among Palestinians, who say it has been used to detain family members of Palestinian political leaders, in an extension of several policies that rights groups have deemed “collective punishment” aimed at disrupting family life for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held by Israel as of May, 715 of whom were held in administrative detention.

(Source / 01.08.2016)

Pope: Islam Is not Terrorism

Pope Francis gestures during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RTSICXK

Pope Francis said on Sunday that labeling Islam as “terrorist” is completely unfair and untrue.

“It’s not true and it’s not correct (to say) Islam is terrorism,” he told journalists aboard the papal plane during the return journey from a trip to Poland.

“I don’t think it is right to equate Islam with violence”.

Reporters aboard the papal plane flying him home after a pilgrimage to Poland that began the day after extremists slit the throat of an elderly priest celebrating Mass in a French church, asked him why he never uses the world “Islam” to describe terrorism or other violence.

While in Poland, Francis made an unscheduled stop at a church in Krakow to implore God to protect people from the “devastating wave” of terrorism in many part of the world.

He added: “I believe that in every religion there is always a little fundamentalist group.”

Francis said religion was not the driving force behind the violence.

“You can kill with the tongue as well as the knife,” he said, in an apparent reference to a rise in populist parties fuelling racism and xenophobia.

He warned Europe was pushing its young into the hands of extremists, saying “terrorism… grows where the God of money is put first” and “where there are no other options”.

“I don’t like to talk of Islamic violence because every day, when I go through the newspapers, I see violence, this man who kills his girlfriend, another who kills his mother-in-law,” Francis said, in apparent reference to crime news in the predominantly Catholic country of Italy. “And these are baptized Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence.”

Noting he has spoken with imams, he concluded: “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.”

As for the ISIS terrorist group, he said it “presents itself with a violent identity card, but that’s not Islam.”

(Source / 01.08.2016)