Zeidan: US administration must recognize the rights of Palestinians


The Deputy in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Abdel Rahman Zeidan, said on Friday that the US administration has no choice but to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people as long as they insist on them.

Zeidan called in a press statement on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to abandon the false American support and have faith in the Arab and Islamic-backed popular support.

He explained that the statements of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) about its adherence to the choice of negotiations are inconsistent with the reality produced by the American elections which ignores all the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as well as the international resolutions and agreements and the rules of the international law.

The PLC member stressed that the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his negotiating team have insistently abandoned all choices but the frivolous and unequal negotiations.

Zeidan said that Abbas must pay heed to the people’s will and the national demand of restoring unity and activating the PLO by electing a national council that represents the Palestinian forces everywhere and drawing a resistance strategy to confront the Israeli occupation and the schemes hatched against the Palestinian cause.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

Two more Palestinian prisoners join hunger strike as al-Qeeq’s health deteriorates

Mohammed al-Qeeq’
s health is deteriorating as he nears two weeks on hunger strike. The imprisoned Palestinian journalist has been refusing food for 13 days to demand his freedom from administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial. Al-Qeeq’s lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, noted that his health is more fragile due to his 94-day hunger strike conducted last year when he was previously imprisoned by Israel under administrative detention, securing his freedom in May 2016. He is held in isolation in Jalama prison.

Al-Qeeq was rearrested by Israeli occupation forces on 16 January as he returned home from a demonstration in Bethlehem demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by occupation forces. He was held in interrogation and ill-treated for 22 days before being ordered to administrative detention.

Al-Qeeq was joined by two more Palestinian prisoners who launched a hunger strike on Thursday, 16 February against their own administrative detention without charge or trial. Jamal Abu Leil and Raed Mteir launched their hunger strike after both of their detention orders were renewed for the third time. Abu Leil, a former member of Fateh’s Revolutionary Council, was first seized by Israeli occupation forces on 14 February 2016, while Mteir, head of the Qalandiya Youth Center, was seized on 17 February 2016. Both have been issued six-month administrative detention orders for three consecutive times and are from the Qalandiya refugee camp.  Both are held in the Negev desert prison.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate issued a statement on Thursday declaring that the targeting of al-Qeeq is an example of the continued clear targeting of journalists for imprisonment and repression by the occupation. It further noted that Zabarqa said that al-Qeeq cannot get out of bed due to deterioration of his health or come to the visiting room; when he inquired about why al-Qeeq was not taken to hospital, he was told this was a decision of the prison infirmary and was then denied permission to visit al-Qeeq in his isolation room.

Nasser Abu Bakr, president of the PJS, called upon all institutions to take action to save al-Qeeq, facing the violation of his freedoms in accordance with a racist policy meant to break the will of Palestinian journalists.

The PJS also denounced the arrest of Hammam Mohammed Hantash, a Palestinian journalist from Dura near al-Khalil, and called on international institutions and the International Federation of Journalists to call for his release and that of all Palestinian journalists in Israeli jails.

Al-Qeeq, Abu Leil and Mteir are among over 520 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention, and 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians can be held for years at a time without charge or trial.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

President Abdah Attends 2017 Munich Security Conference, Will Meet with Western & UN Officials

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah is attending the 2017 Munich Security Conference which began in the German city of Munich on Friday.

Abdah will meet with several heads of delegations and foreign ministers as well as UN officials participating in the conference. Later on Friday, Abdah will meet with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. He will meet with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Saturday morning. Abdah will meet with President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, on Sunday and a meeting with the US delegation is to be scheduled during the conference.

Abdah will also participate in a special panel discussion along with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien.

The meetings with diplomats and foreign leaders will be focused on the situation in Syria and the upcoming round of Geneva negotiations due to begin on February 23 as well as on the need for political transition in Syria. President Abdah will also be discussing the fight against terrorism and the need for designating all the Iranian-backed militias as terrorist groups.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 17.02.2017)

PCHR Weekly Report: One civilian dead, 4 wounded by Israeli forces this week

17 FEB
12:19 PM

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 09 – 15 February 2017, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that one Palestinian died from previously inflicted wounds, 4 Palestinians were wounded, and 51, including 4 children, were abducted by Israeli forces this week.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

In the West Bank, On 10 February 2017, the family of Mohammed ‘Amer Jallad (23) from Tulkarm received the news of his death in Belinison Hospital in Petah Tikva in Israel after succumbing to his wounds.  According to PCHR’s investigations, on 09 November 2016, Israeli soldiers who were patrolling in the streets of Huwwara village, south of Nablus, opened fire at the aforementioned civilian.  As a result, he was hit with a bullet to the back and another to the right hand.  The Israeli forces claimed that Jallad attempted to stab an Israeli soldier before being shot.  After Jallad was wounded and abducted, he stayed in Belinison Hospital in Petah Tikva until he died.

On the same day noon, Nidal Ishtaya (48), a photojournalist in the Xinhua – China News Agency, and Ayman al-Nobani (32), a reporter in the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA), were both wounded while covering the weekly protest in Kafr Qodoum, northeast of Qalqilya.

On the same day in the afternoon, Israeli forces wounded two Palestinian civilians from Madma village, south of Nablus when a number of civilians hurried to rescue volunteer journalist in B’Tselem Center, Ahmed Ziyadah (26).  The latter was abducted and beaten up by the Israeli soldiers when he was taking photos of the lands seized and planted with grapes by settlers, south of his village.

According to PCHR’s investigation, at approximately 17:00, journalist Ahmed Abdul Ghani Salim Ziyadah (26) from Madama, south of Nablus, was taking photos of the lands seized and planted with vineyards by Israeli settlers, south of his village. The Israeli soldiers from “Yitzhar” settlement moved into the area and stopped him as three soldiers heavily beat and kicked his head, though Ahmed showed them his press card in addition to his volunteer card for the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem. They then abducted him and handcuffed him while he was lying on the ground. Ahmed’s brothers and residents of the village heard the news, so they rushed to the place to save him. His brother Mahmoud (25) was the first to arrive, and when he attempted to approach him, the soldiers drove him out. When he was moving back, a soldier fired a metal bullet directly to his left foot, wounding his knee. A civilian car took him to nearby Burin village, from which he was transferred via a PRCS ambulance to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Following that, the Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the crowd to force them to leave the area. As a result, Mohammed Na’im Mohammed Nassar (35) was hit with a tear gas canister to the head after which he was as well transferred to Rafidia Hospital. The Israeli forces then abducted the abovementioned journalist and took him to an unknown destination.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 60 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted at least 51 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children. Nine of them were abducted in occupied Jerusalem.

In the context of house demolitions and notices, On 12 February 2017, the family of ‘Amamr Qara’in self-demolish their store in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City, implementing the Israeli Municipality’s decision and avoiding to pay financial fines.  The 12-square-meter store was built of bricks and cardboard sheets two years ago.

On 14 February 2017, the Israeli authorities demolished a house in al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, belonging to the family of Saleh Turk.  The house used to shelter a family of 11 members, including 6 children.

On the same day, the Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction house comprised of two apartments in al-‘Issawiyah village as well belonging to Hasan Yasin Mustafa in addition to a sheep barn in the same area.  The demolition was under the pretext of building without a license.

On 15 February 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Municipality crews and bulldozers moved into the area adjacent to the annexation wall, which separates Hezma village from Jerusalem.  The Israeli bulldozers immediately demolished two under-construction houses, part of an inhabited house and a shop under the pretext of building without a license.

In the same context, the Israeli municipality handed 17 families in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, administrative and judicial house demolition notices and orders.  Those houses are located in the neighbourhoods of al-Bustan, ‘Ein al-Lozah and Wadi Helweh.  Those families were identified as al-Roweidi, al-Qadi, al-Shaloudi, al-‘Abasi, Hamdan and Qara’in, and their members are around 120, most of whom were children and women.

At approximately 22:00 on Monday, 13 February 2017, Palestinian civilians in Abu Marzouq neighbourhoods in al-Hariah Valley area, south of Hebron, found Mohammed Mahmoud Amr (70), from the abovementioned neighbourhood with his head and face covered in blood after Israeli soldiers attacked him. A PRCS ambulance transferred him to the Governmental Hospital in the neighbourhood. He underwent medical tests and later transferred to al-Ahli Hospital in the city where he was admitted to the intensive care unit due to bleeding in the brain. Ma’moun, Mohammed’s son, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that his father suffers from memory loss after he had suffered several strokes. He added that his father was lost in the evening and the family was informed that Mohammed was seen near al-Karantina area where there were Israeli soldiers. When Ma’moun headed to the area, he saw a speeding military jeep leaving the area after which Mohammed’s family knew he is staying in the abovementioned hospital.

Bilal Abu Salimiyah (22) said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“While I was on my way back home at approximately 22:00, I saw an Israeli military jeep stopping about 15 meters away from the western side of my house. When I approached the jeep, an Israeli soldier ordered me to leave the area, so I returned home and went up to the second floor of the house. I looked through the window to see what was going on. Two soldiers moved something out of the jeep and then left. After that, I quickly went to the area and saw a white-bearded old man wearing light clothes and trembling from the cold as his forehead was covered with blood. Another man and I arrived at the area and tried to speak to the old man, but he did not respond. I then called an ambulance that later arrived and transferred him to the hospital. I later found out that the old man’s name was Mohammed Amr and he suffers from memory loss.”

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, on 12 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them.  The shooting recurred on 14 February 2017, but neither causalities nor damages were reported.

On the same day, the Israeli gunboats opened fire at the fishing boats sailing off Rafah shore, south of the Gaza Strip.  Neither casualties nor damages were reported.

In the context of targeting border areas, on 15 February 2017, Israeli forces sporadically opened fire at the border area, north of Beit Hanoun village in the northern Gaza Strip.  Neither casualties nor damages were reported.

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or abducted.

Israel settlement activities:

In the context of settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, on 10 February 2017, Israeli settlers seized an uninhabited estate in Wadi Helweh neighbourhood in Silwan village.  The estate is comprised of a residential room, store and yard.

On Friday, 10 February 2017, an Israeli settler seized an uninhabited facility in Wady Helweh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. The facility is comprised of a residential room, store and yard. Eyewitnesses said that a group of Israeli settlers accompanied with Israeli forces moved into Hosh Qara’een area in Wady Helweh using searchlights and completely surrounded the the area. They then seized a residential room, yard and stores used for grazing livestock. After that, the Israeli settlers changed the facility’s locks after seizing and surrounding it with metal fence. It should be noted that the residential room was built on an area of 30 square meters, and the yard was built on an area of 50 square meters, while the store, which was used for grazing livestock, was built on an area of 200 square meters. The abovementioned facility belongs to ‘Ezat Salah (76).

At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 11 February 2017, a security officer of “Ro’iya” settlement, Moshe Sevan, stopped a car belonging to Nasir Mohamed Abed Bani ‘Oda, from Tamoun village, southeast of Tubasto in al-Hadidiya area in the Northern Jordan Valley. The car was on its way out of al-Hadidiya area, where the abovementioned officer stopped it and then called an Israeli patrol to come. The Israeli patrol then arrived at the area and obliged the vehicle’s owner to return to al-Hadidiya area, load 4 rolls of plastic water pipes and then come back. After that, the Israeli patrol took the vehicle to “Ro’iya” settlement, where they detained it and released its owner without giving him any documents proving the confiscation of his vehicle.

Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:

Israeli troops engaged in the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

Following the Friday prayer on 10 February 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful protest in the eastern Mosque in Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, and then headed to the eastern entrance of the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, the Israeli forces fired live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, Nedal Shafiq Taher Ehstiyah (48), journalist at Xinhua Chinese News Agency, sustained a metal bullet wound to the left foot as he was directly shot while covering the protest along with a group of journalists. He was transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Moreover, Ayman Amin al-Nubani (32), a reporter at Wafa News Agency, was hit with a metal bullet to the right shoulder and received medical treatment at the spot.

Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah and al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city, and Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses.  As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the international community and the United Nations use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.

In addition, the PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the Gaza Strip

For the full text of the report, click here.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

Four Palestinians injured by IOF in Bethlehem clashes


Four Palestinians sustained wounds on Saturday evening in clashes with the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in Bethlehem’s eastern town of Tekou’, in the southern West Bank.

A PIC news correspondent said an Israeli military patrol stormed Tekou’ and attacked the Palestinian anti-occupation youth with heavy spates of rubber bullets and teargas canisters, leaving four protesters wounded.

The Palestinian protesters responded by hurling stones and empty bottles at the heavily-armed occupation troops.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

Fatah Picks Deputy Leader to Mahmoud Abbas

Participants in the Fatah congress in Ramallah clap and cheer before a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters

Participants in the Fatah congress in Ramallah clap and cheer before a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Ramallah-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement has chosen Mahmoud al-Aloul as deputy party leader.

Aloul is a member of the central committee of Fatah, which approved the decision amid criticism by supporters of Prisoner Marwan Barghouti, who was anticipating his appointment, especially after he got a boost at the Fatah congress vote two months ago.

Aloul, 67, said his appointment will last for one year only. He comes from Nablus and is one of the prominent Fatah leaders who worked with Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad, assassinated by Israel in Tunisia in 1988.

Abbas appointed Aloul due to continuous pressure to choose a deputy leader for the movement – Abbas has been carrying out several steps to ensure a smooth transition of power.

Following the appointing, Barghouti’s wife Fadwa, wrote on Facebook: “The central committee appears to insist on excluding Marwan.”

She went on to accuse the committee of bowing to the threats of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Marwan has always been here,” she asserted, “standing against the Israeli occupation.”

Fadwa stated that Fatah is fully aware of Marwan’s position and for that it hangs his posters during university, local and national elections. According to her, Israel is also aware of his stance and that is why he got arrested.

“Marwan gained legitimacy from his devotion,” she added, demanding a review of the central committee’s decision.

Barghouthi’s supporters assume that choosing him for the post of deputy leader would have upped the pressure on Israel to release him.

His name was proposed during the central committee discussions but some members expressed reservations for several reasons.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

Muslit: Assad Cannot Have a Role in Syria, Geneva Talks Should Discuss Political Transition

The spokesperson of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Salim al-Muslit , said that the Syrian opposition was sticking to its position that Bashar al-Assad cannot have a role in the transition or in future Syria, stressing “the heavy price paid by the Syrian people” would be wasted if Assad remained in power.

“We want direct negotiations, we want to save time, we want a quick end to the suffering of the Syrian people,” Muslit said. But he said the opposition had yet to receive an agenda for the talks, which are due to begin on February 23 following preliminary meetings beginning on February 20.

Despite the ceasefire, Muslit said that the Assad regime and its allies were still carrying out crimes and preparing a major assault against the eastern Ghouta region to the east of Damascus.

“We now want to get into the essence of the political process – the discussion of the political transition – and what the Geneva 1 communique stipulated about the formation of a transitional body with full powers,” Muslit added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 17.02.2017)

Israeli forces ‘attack’ Palestinian activists near Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron


HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces allegedly “attacked” Palestinian activists following Friday prayers at the gates of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city in the occupied West Bank, as hundreds had gathered to perform prayers as part of a demonstration called for by the international campaign “Dismantle The Ghetto, Take Settlers Out of Hebron.”

An activist from the campaign, Majed Abu Sbeih said that Israeli border guards had attacked several demonstrators, including local Sheikh Ziad Abu Heleil, activists Anan Daana and Muhammad al-Jibrini, and human rights activists Badie al-Dweik and Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, after they shouted slogans calling for ending the military closure on Shuhada street in Hebron.
The activists did not provide more specifics on how the border guards had attacked them.
Coordinator of the Committee for Defending Hebron, Hisham Sharabati said that the national campaign for ending the closure in Hebron is based on international humanitarian law and international resolutions.
Sharabati also pointed out that international resolutions and law consider Israeli settlements in the occupied territory and collective punishment implemented on the Palestinian population as war crimes.
A spokesperson for the Israeli border police was not immediately available for comment.
Shuhada street had once been the center of commercial life in Hebron until the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre when a US-born Israeli settler from the notoriously aggressive Kiryat Arba settlement entered the mosque and opened live ammunition on worshippers, killing 29 Palestinians.
The massacre erupted into mass protests across the occupied West Bank and Gaza, which the Israeli army reacted to by killing dozens of unarmed protesters and ordering hundreds of Palestinian-owned businesses on Shuhada street to close, eventually sealing the street off completely from Palestinians.
Now, some 23 years later, the street is still sealed by the Israeli military.
Following the massacre, the city was divided between Palestinian and Israeli-controlled zones. The majority of the city was placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control in a sector known as H2.
The entire Hebron district, as well as Hebron’s Old City, where the Ibrahimi Mosque is located, has been a flashpoint for unrest that first erupted in October 2015, with a number of Palestinians being shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the mosque. While Israel alleges many of those were attempting to attack Israelis when they were shot, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel’s version of events in a number of cases.
(Source / 17.02.2017)

First female governor in Egypt cabinet reshuffle


Egyptian Parliament

Egypt has sworn in nine new cabinet ministers yesterday and five new governors, including the country’s first female governor.

Nadia Saleh had previously served as governor of the Nile Delta province of Beheira where she was sworn in by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in 2013. Saleh will be the first woman to serve as a governor in Egypt which is a role traditionally given to retired military or police officials.

The ministers will join the new government and will oversee agriculture, local development, investment and international cooperation, parliamentary affairs, trade, planning, education and transport.

Read: Egypt approves limited cabinet reshuffle

The cabinet reshuffle yesterday follows weeks of discussions with Prime Minister Sharif Ismail reportedly facing difficulty in finding candidates willing to leave lucrative private sector jobs to serve in his cabinet.

The reshuffle has also included merging several portfolios as Egypt struggles with an ongoing economic crisis since 2011’s popular uprising.

Also read: Egyptians sacrifice savings to cope with rising prices, expert says

Economic reforms introduced last year to secure a $12 billion IMF loan has caused a steep rise in the price of basic and key commodities for struggling Egyptians.

(Source / 17.02.2017)

Israeli forces raid Jerusalem-area town


JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces raided the village of Hizma early Friday morning in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli vehicles, border guards, and soldiers raided several areas of Hizma from multiple entrances.
Sources added that Israeli soldiers stopped and searched passing vehicles and checked the ID cards of the Palestinian passengers.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the raid.
In addition to routine military raids in neighborhoods and villages in the West Bank carried out on an almost nightly basis, clashes also routinely erupt between Palestinian youth in the neighborhood and Israeli forces. Last month, Israeli forces shot a young Palestinian man in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet during clashes in Hizma.
Locals told Ma’an at the time that clashes broke out after Israeli troops stormed the village, with local youth hurling stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired rubber-coated steel bullets and “showered the village’s alleys” with tear gas.
The UN has recorded an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 100 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.
(Source / 17.02.2017)