IOF aggressively attacks Palestinian protesters near Ibrahimi Mosque


Violent clashes burst out near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in al-Khalil, on Monday after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the area and aggressively attacked Palestinian protesters.

A PIC news correspondent said violent confrontations burst out near an Israeli military checkpoint pitched in Abu Al-Rish Zone, adjacent to the southern entrance to the Ibrahimi Mosque, in al-Khalil, after the occupation soldiers aggressively beat a Palestinian youth.

The Israeli forces further showered the area with spates of bullet fire.

The Palestinian protesters responded to the attack by hurling stones toward the checkpoint. A Palestinian youth also tossed a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military watchtower in the area.

The occupation troops sealed off the checkpoint along with the main access road into the Ibrahimi Mosque, before they chased down Palestinian youths across residential neighborhoods.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

5 Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli army over anti-occupation shooting


Five Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in Jenin’s western town Yabad, in the northern West Bank, on suspicion of carrying out a drive-by shooting towards an Israeli military site in the area, Israeli media reported Monday.

According to the Hebrew-speaking Walla news site, the five Palestinians were arrested by the occupation army on allegations of carrying out a drive-by anti-occupation shooting attack towards an army position in the northern West Bank on December 30, 2016.

The abduction was carried out as part of a joint IOF and Shin Bet operation

The car which Israelis suspect was used for the shooting was impounded.

Last month, indictments were filed against the five anti-occupation suspects.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian youth in his twenties of age was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers from his family home in the southern occupied West Bank province of Bethlehem following claims that a hunting rifle and ammunition were spotted in the house.

The arrestee was transferred to an Israeli detention center pending intensive questioning.

At least 23 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli forces from the West Bank and Jerusalem overnight Sunday and at daybreak Monday.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

Hamas decries Abbas overreach in setting local elections for spring

alestinian Hamas supporters shout slogans during a rally marking the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas movement, in Gaza City, Gaza, Dec. 14, 2016

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Palestinian Authority announced Jan. 31 that local council elections will be held on May 13 in all Palestinian territories — the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — in coordination with President Mahmoud Abbas.

However, Hamas said it will not take part in the process, as it believes it will deepen the internal division. The movement sees the step as an extension of a process that already failed when elections were canceled back in September.

On Sept. 8, the Palestinian High Court of Justice decided to cancel the local elections originally slated for Oct. 8. The decision followed a lawsuit filed by Palestinian lawyer Nael al-Houh, who demanded the elections be canceled over what he called the illegitimacy of the Gaza courts and their Hamas staff tasked with overseeing the elections.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Local Government Mohammad al-Jabarin told Al-Monitor that the government’s announcement came after judicial arrangements and amendments were made to Local Council Elections Law No. 10 of 2005. According to Article 1, the appeals courts were originally the district courts, called the Courts of First Instance. However, the article was amended based on a Jan. 10 presidential decree, and a new court tasked with examining appeals will be established when the electoral process begins.

The Palestinian Central Elections Commission is waiting for a presidential decree to begin the electoral process, after which another decree will establish the new court. Although no date has been set yet, the presidential decrees are expected by mid-February.

The amendment was a reaction to Gaza’s district courts disqualifying a number of Fatah electoral lists on Sept. 8. The courts cited legal violations by some candidates such as maintaining their regular jobs while running for election.

Fatah treated the Gaza courts’ move as politicization of the judiciary. It withdrew its recognition of Gaza’s courts despite all Palestinian factions having signed a Charter of Honor on July 24, stipulating that Gaza’s courts, security services and other institutions would participate in overseeing local elections.

Jabarin explained that based on the government’s decision, elections must be held for all local councils on the same day. If an electoral area fails to do so, all the elections would be postponed for four weeks. If it still can’t hold elections after four weeks, the local council elections will be conducted where no obstacles prevent the process, as was the case in 2012, when local elections were held in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem without the Gaza Strip.

On Feb. 6, the elections commission set a timetable for the local elections, including details on the electoral process’ stages and dates from voter registration on Feb. 25 up through polling day, May 13.

Hisham Kahil, the executive director for the commission, told Al-Monitor that preparations will include all Palestinian provinces and the elections commission will start to contact the various factions that will participate to guarantee that elections will be held in all provinces and according to the law.

Kahil stressed that the special court established for the elections will be authorized to consider appeals filed before the commission. Its work will begin and end with the electoral process.

The announcement of the local election date has sparked renewed bickering in the media between Fatah and Hamas. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that holding elections under the prevailing division is unreasonable, adding that the local elections were disrupted in October due to the judicial and security division as well as Abbas’ interference in the electoral process.

Qassem told Al-Monitor that Abbas took several judicial and legal actions after the elections were canceled and called for holding local elections in May without consulting the Palestinian Legislative Council, the only body authorized to amend the law. He stressed that any amendment to the electoral law should be made in consensus and no party should have the power to make one on its own. He noted that Hamas will make sure the elections are held in a democratic and legally legitimate environment in all Palestinian territories, not the way Abbas wants to hold them.

Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmi told Voice of Palestine radio on Feb. 1, “Hamas’ stance against the local elections is predictable because it does not believe in democracy.” He accused Hamas of already having decided to prevent the holding of elections in Gaza.

The last Palestinian local elections were held in October 2012 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Hamas boycotted and prevented them from being held in Gaza.

Mustafa al-Sawwaf, the former editor of Felesteen, believes that the decision to hold local elections in May is proof that Abbas is making unilateral decisions in Palestine to serve his own personal interests. He told Al-Monitor that Abbas’ call for elections is intended to deepen the internal division between Palestinian factions.

Sawwaf called on Palestinian factions to take a unified stance against this call to force Abbas to renege on his decision, explaining that elections should be held after the division ends and there is a national consensus to guarantee the electoral process’ transparency.

Asad Abu Sharkh, a retired political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, concurred with Sawwaf that the call for elections under the current division and the amendment to the law indicate that the results of the electoral process will favor one party over the other. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Sharkh also called for postponing the elections until the division ends.

He noted that the decision to hold elections in May after Abbas amended the law aims to make Hamas appear to refuse to hold elections altogether. He said Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah should visit Gaza to unite the Palestinian institutions before calling for elections.

Despite the ongoing media war between Fatah and Hamas, most Palestinians expect the government to stand behind its decision to hold the local elections even if Hamas refuses to participate and prevents them from being held in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

Palestinian child with leukemia medically neglected in Israeli prison


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The medical condition of 15-year-old Ahmad al-Khadour has seriously deteriorated while being held in Israel’s Ofer detention center, according to a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Luay Ukka.

Ukka said Sunday that Ahmad, who is from the town of Beituniya in the central occupied West Bank, has been suffering from leukemia for the past three years and has also suffered from a stroke, feet problems, intense dizziness, and muscle contractions in his fingers.
The lawyer stressed that Israel Prison Service (IPS) authorities have not been providing adequate care for the child.
Ukka added that al-Khadour was detained on Jan. 2 after Israeli forces violently assaulted him, beating him with the butt of their rifles.
The justification and circumstances of the boy’s detention remained unclear.
Separately, the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners said Sunday that IPS recently moved 28-year-old Azmi al-Daqaq to Hadassah hospital after a serious deterioration in his health.
The committee said that al-Daqaq was detained in Jan. 20 over an alleged stabbing attempt. He was sentenced to three months in administrative detention — Israel’s widely condemned policy of internment without trial or charge — which the committee said was proof Israeli courts failed to substantiate any charges against him.
Rights groups have widely condemned Israel for its medical negligence of Palestinians in its prisons, which Addameer has called a “deliberate policy of neglect.”
In August, a number of Palestinian rights organizations established a committee to follow the cases of Palestinians in poor health being held in Israeli prisons.
In addition to deliberate medical negligence, Addameer has cited the environment in Israeli prisons, which is reportedly far below international standards, the tendency for the Israeli prison administration to ignore their responsibility for the well-being of Palestinian prisoners, and the overcrowding in Israeli prisons as all factors that adversely impact the health of Palestinians in Israeli custody.
Meanwhile the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported last October that the “overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors held in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons are tortured during their detention and interrogation.
Prisoners’ rights group Addameer has reported that 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prison, according to their January statistics.
(Source / 13.02.2017)

Israeli court increases sentence of Jerusalemite sheikh accused of incitement


JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem ruled to increase the sentence of Sheikh Omar Abu Sara from eight to 14 months in prison, a lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Monday, after Abu Sara was charged with “inciting violence against Jews” during a religious lecture he gave at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in November 2014.

Committee lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud said that the decision came after the judge agreed to an appeal filed by the Israeli general prosecution to extend Abu Sara’s sentence. Abu Sara received his initial sentence of eight months in prison in September last year.

Abu Sara was initially detained on Jan. 1, 2015, and spent five days in jail. During his detention, he said that Israeli officers interrogated him about a religious lecture he gave at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Nov. 28, 2014 entitled: “Jewish characteristics in the Holy Quran.”Abu Sara has denied Israeli accusations and said that his sermon was not racist or incitement, but rather religious teachings and verses from the Quran.However, Israeli media translated the sermon after a video of it was released, which included statements such as: “I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come.”Abu Sara said after being sentenced: “If my sermon was incitement, then what do you call Israelis calling for the slaughter of Palestinian children, women, and men, who claim that the children will grow up to be terrorists?”His remarks seemed to refer comments made by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — similar to comments often made by Israel’s right-wing media and leadership — who advocated for the killing of the mothers of slain Palestinians, referring to them “snakes.
(Source / 13.02.2017)

Islamophobia is fuelling terrorism says UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Islamophobia in parts of the world is fuelling terrorism, the head of the United Nations said on a visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday, as anti-immigrant sentiment rises in some countries.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made the comment to reporters after talks with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed Bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

“One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches,” Guterres said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. Guterres said:

This is sometimes the best support that Daesh can have to make its own propaganda

Anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiments have been rising in the West. Politicians, including France’s Marine Le Pen have seen their popularity rise after an influx to Europe of migrants and refugees, many of them Muslims fleeing wars in Syria and elsewhere.

US President Donald Trump issued an order in late January that denied entry to all refugees for 120 days.

Antonio Guterres “appeals for peace” but the new UN chief faces an uphill battle to win over the Trump administration and the rising tide of Islamophobia in Europe.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

Israeli police assault Palestinians during raid into Jerusalem’s Old City


Right: Nasser Qawas, the director for the Jerusalem chapter of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The head of the Jerusalem chapter of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Nasser Qaws said he was assaulted by Israeli police during a raid into occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City Sunday night, when three other Palestinian youths were also detained.

Qaws said that Israeli police forces raided al-Wad Street in the Old City, targeting the home of the Najib family where officers detained three unidentified youths.
Israeli forces used pepper spray and physically assaulted members of the Najib family, including women and children, Qaws added.
He said that as Israeli forces retreated from the house, they assaulted and pushed back local Palestinians that had gathered in the area.
Qaws said his sustained an injury to his eye at the hands of Israeli police.
Qaws, 45, has been detained tens of times by Israeli forces according to PPS, most recently last October when he was banned from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for 45 days upon his release, after being charged with obstructing Israeli police work.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a written statement at 10 p.m. Sunday that two Palestinian minors were detained in the Old City over allegedly assaulting an Israeli border policeman who sustained a light injury. The two minors were taken to police station in Jerusalem to continue interrogation, she said.
It could not immediately be confirmed if the two mentioned in her statement were detained in the raid of the Najib family home mentioned by Qaws, though Israeli police typically do not release the identities of minors involved in ongoing investigations.
Hours later, Israeli police also raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya before dawn Monday, according to Mohammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of a local popular committee in the area. He said Israeli forces searched several houses, destroying furniture and other personal belongings, adding that a group of youths were also detained and taken in for interrogation.
A statement later released by PPS said that five Palestinians were detained overnight in Jerusalem, without specifying their specific locations. The detainees were Amir Dirbas, a minor identified as Baraa Mahmud, 16-year-old Majd Abu Sakran, Bashar Mahmud, and Mohammad Fawzi Ebied.
In recent months, Israeli forces have escalated a crackdown on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem through hundreds of violent overnight raids, handing down harsh prison sentences to local youth, in addition to a demolition of campaign of Palestinian homes as illegal Israeli settlements in the area continue to expand.
During one large-scale predawn raid last week that targeted the families of Palestinians who were either slain or incarcerated after carrying out or allegedly carrying out attacks, one family detailed their violent assault by masked Israeli police who broke into their home at 3 a.m.
At least 14 Palestinians were detained and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of cash and property were confiscated in the raid, that Israeli authorities said was carried out based on intelligence gathered by the Israeli general security service and police.
Israeli daily Haaretz recently reported that intelligence-gathering raids in East Jerusalem were made in breach of protocol and constituted a violation of residents’ basic rights.
The report said that over the past two months, some 500 Palestinian homes had been raided in East Jerusalem by Israeli police officers who did not present warrants, contrary to proper procedures.
Meanwhile, rights groups Al‐Haq, Community Action Center (Al‐Quds University), BADIL, and Addameer issued a joint statement condemning “illegal collective punishment measures” by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and children in occupied East Jerusalem in recent months.
The joint statement said that the human rights organizations were “deeply concerned with the escalation of collective punishment measures against Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem by Israel,” particularly in Jabal al-Mukabbir in the wake of a deadly vehicular attack by one of its residents in January.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said Sunday night — more than one month after the attack that was carried out at the neighboring illegal Israeli settlement of East Talpiyyot — that police removed the checkpoint that had been installed at the entrance to Jabal al-Mukabbir, “to allow citizens living there to resume with their normal lives.”

Al-Samri noted that after the Jan.8 attack, Israeli police conducted widespread detention campaigns targeting suspected rock throwers in East Jerusalem. She said some of the detentions were extended and that Israeli police planned to file charges against all of the detained suspects at a later date.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

New video deals another blow to Israeli police’s version of Umm al-Hiran raid


NEGEV (Ma’an) — A new video broadcast by Israeli Channel 10 on Saturday further weakened Israel police claims regarding a deadly January raid in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, showing that Israeli forces shot at a Bedouin man’s vehicle when he did not constitute a threat.

The video showed Israeli officers opening fire at the car of Umm al-Hiran resident Yaqoub Abu al-Qian on Jan. 18, as he was slowly driving past with his headlights on, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and hit police officer Erez Levi.
Both Abu al-Qian and Levi were killed in the incident.
The Channel 10 report added that Umm al-Hiran residents were still calling for an official investigation to the case, particularly regarding their assertions that Levi had in fact been killed by friendly fire.
Israeli police reportedly said after the broadcast that an investigation was underway over the fact that police officers did not provide Abu al-Qian medical assistance, leaving him to bleed to death.
The Channel 10 video is the third filmed record of the Umm al-Hiran raid to undermine the official Israeli version of events, with Al Jazeera notably releasing footage earlier this month.
Israeli police had originally claimed that Abu al-Qian had deliberately carried out a car-ramming attack, and that his headlights had been off while he was driving near the Israeli forces evacuating Umm al-Hiran in the early morning hours.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that during a raid of the slain Palestinian’s home, police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: “ISIS bomb that took down a plane,” suggesting that the old newspapers were evidence that the man carried out a terror attack.
However, according to Haaretz, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, reported two weeks after the incident that they had yet to find any evidence connecting Abu al-Qian to ISIS.
The Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, were quick to accuse Israeli police of spreading misinformation on Israeli media following the incident.
In a statement released by the Joint List at the time, the group argued that Israeli police lied in their claims in order to distract from Israel’s campaign to establish Jewish-only towns “on the ruins of Bedouin villages.”
Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, with more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins residing in unrecognized villages.
The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Joint List has described the actions by Israeli authorities as “a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948.” Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba — “catastrophe” in Arabic.
(Source / 13.02.2017)

Dozens of opposition members sacked, transferred in Morocco

Image of the Moroccan Parliament [TreasuryTag/Wikipedia]

Image of the Moroccan Parliament

Morocco’s Justice and Charity Party, the largest Islamist opposition group in the country, has reported that dozens of its affiliates have either been sacked or transferred in their employment, Anadolu reported on Sunday. The state, claimed the Turkish media outlet, launched a campaign against the party’s cadres in several sectors and ministries across the country. “They were either sacked or relocated.” Those affected include engineers, directors, inspectors, teachers and consultants.

The party regards such measures to be “illegal”, especially for those who lost their jobs altogether. “They are brought up on love for their profession and work as they build their careers with loyalty and faith,” a party statement pointed out, “and their only fault is their belief in the principles of the Justice and Charity party.”

The statement noted that these measures appear to be part of the “legal harassment” which started about eighteen months’ ago “in the light of the current political vacuum.” This was a reference to the lack of a working government in Rabat. The leader of the election-winning Justice and Development Party (PJD) has been designated as prime minister by the king, but has yet to form a coalition government.

The Islamic party called for political, human rights and media organisations and groups, as well as the judiciary, to stand beside its affiliates and support them in their time of crisis.

Anadolu could not get anyone from the de facto government to comment on the issue, but noted that the Moroccan courts are chasing members of this party over their affiliation to a “banned group”. According to human rights groups, though, the court rulings are invalid because the party filed an application for a working licence, adding that a previous court ruling also recognised the party.

(Source / 13.02.2017)

IOA issues stop-construction orders to 4 Palestinian buildings


The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) ordered halting the construction of two houses and two agricultural rooms in Qusra town, south of Nablus city, on Monday.

According to Wafa news agency, the mayor of Qusra, Abdul Azim Wadi, said that the IOA handed notifications to stop the construction of two houses, each consisting of two floors, and two agricultural rooms in the town.

He pointed out that the two houses belong to Mahmoud Oudeh and Hasan Zein Eddin.

(Source / 13.02.2017)