Israel creates fake Jewish tombs around al-Aqsa Mosque


The Israeli government is cooperating with Jewish settlement associations to escalate its ongoing Judaization policy at al-Aqsa Mosque and the rest of the Old City in occupied Jerusalem, the PIC reporter revealed.

The PIC reporter on Tuesday quoted eyewitnesses as affirming that Israeli associations started installing fake Jewish tombs around al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli bulldozers were seen carrying Jewish tombstones and planting them around the Mosque to indicate graves, but underneath, there are no bodies, nor skeletons.

Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage had earlier revealed that different Israeli government-backed associations and authorities such as the Elad Association and the so-called Nature and National Parks Authority have been working on implanting dozens of fake Jewish graves in the land surrounding al-Aqsa Mosque “at the pretext of carrying out repair and maintenance works and new excavations in a bid to lay hand on Palestinian and Islamic endowment lands.”

This Israeli move aimed at establishing a chain of Talmudic gardens and settlement facilities, the Foundation pointed out.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Israeli use of illegal toxic pesticides in settlements ‘human rights violation’


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have “knowingly facilitated” the illegal manufacturing, trade, and use of hazardous pesticides inside illegal Israeli settlements, which has resulted in serious human rights violations and contributed to food insecurity among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to a recent investigation.

A joint fact-finding mission announced Monday by the Amman-based Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN) and the PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) — a regional branch of the Pesticide Action Network, revealed that highly toxic pesticides that are banned by the Palestinian Authority (PA) are illegally traded into the occupied territory.
According to the report, hazardous pesticide runoff from agricultural operations and agrochemicals manufacturing inside the illegal settlements poison Palestinian farms, livestock, and water sources.
Dumping toxic waste on Palestinian territory was also documented — including in areas with a high concentration of schools, while communities near industrial Israeli settlements have reported contamination of their soil and drinking water, proliferation of disease-carrying mosquitoes, and an increase in cases of respiratory and eye diseases, including among children.
The investigation found that 50 percent of pesticides in the occupied territory were illegal, though PA authorities do not have access to information on the chemicals manufactured and used inside the illegal settlements and are “in no position to dispose of these safely, and Israel refuses to take them back.”
“It is unacceptable that the PA, with one of the tightest pesticide registration and compliance systems… is thwarted at every turn by the Israeli authorities who knowingly facilitate the entry of banned highly hazardous pesticides into the occupied West Bank,” the report quoted investigation participant Dr. Meriel Watts of PANAP as saying.
APN founder Razan Zuayter noted in the report that some of the offending agrochemical companies have been shut down inside Israel due to environmental and health regulation violations, but meanwhile “operate with impunity inside illegal settlements at the expense of the health, livelihood, and environment of Palestinians.”
APN and PANAP’s report said that they held the state of Israel and agrochemical corporations accountable for violations to Palestinians’ rights to information, self-determination, water, highest attainable standard of health and healthy environment, and livelihood.
“These human rights violations are perpetrated in the context of the Israeli occupation and expansion of the illegal settlements,” Razan highlighted, noting the fact that Israeli authorities prevent the PA from fully enforcing policies to restrict the trade, manufacture, and use of around 200 registered active ingredients in occupied West Bank.
Israel has also been the target of condemnation for crop spraying Palestinian farmland in the besieged Gaza Strip and causing long-term and serious damage, with a group of Palestinian human rights organizations demanding an investigation into the practice last year.
(Source / 21.02.2017)

The Media Is Ignoring Damning Leaks From Syrian War

“Fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War.”

Syrian army soldiers march through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016. (SANA via AP)

Syrian army soldiers march through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016

When a magician is showing you a magic trick with his or her right hand, you should always watch what the left hand is doing. When it comes to times of war, one should always be skeptical of a government beating the war drum against another government or entity. Ask yourself: Why now, why this entity, and what is at stake?

A good example of this can be seen in Africa. Since 1998, close to 6 million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to fighting over mineral resources, many of which are used in cell phones around the world. This barely receives a mention in the corporate news. In contrast, we were told that Libya, the country with the highest standard of living out of any country in Africa, needed to be bombed in a “humanitarian intervention” to prevent a massacre that may or may not have ever occurred. Although there are clear differences in the style of conflict that besieged the two nations, the fact is the U.S government and media prioritized one over the other based on geopolitical concerns.

For example, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirmed the notion that Libya was destroyed in 2011 not out of humanitarian efforts, but in part because Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi intended to tie Libya’s oil supply with its gold supply and create a unified African currency that would challenge the financial markets’ current power structure.

The same can be said of Syria. As AlterNet notes, the media has ignored a number of leaked U.S. government documents and audio content regarding the Syrian conflict. Ian Sinclair reports:

“Discussing Western reporting of the Syrian war, veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn recently noted ‘fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War.’ Professor Piers Robinson, Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at the University of Sheffield, concurs, arguing ‘We must now seriously entertain the possibility that the war in Syria has involved similar, if not greater, levels of manipulation and propaganda than that which occurred in the case of the 2003 Iraq War.’”

A good example of a leak that should have been headline news across the world (but wasn’t) is leaked audio of former Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Syrian opposition groups in September of last year.

Leaked recording of John Kerry private meeting with anti-Assad Syrian representatives at UN in Sept, removed by CNN 

Kerry admitted to these groups that the U.S. knew ISIS (also known as Daesh, ISIL) was gaining momentum in Syria, and the U.S., in turn, hoped this would bring Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table. Yet in 2014, the Obama administration told us the U.S. would be conducting operations in Syria with the express intent of “degrading and destroying” ISIS — not using the terror groups for leverage against the country’s leader they have long sought to topple.

Nevertheless, according to Kerry, their plans for ISIS and the Syrian government were foiled by Russia, which intervened overtly in the Syrian conflict in 2015 to bolster Assad.

In 2012, a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report predicted the rise of ISIS, something actively encouraged by the U.S. establishment. The report stated:

“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

In October of 2012, the New York Times reported that “[M]ost of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists…according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.”

Again, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails show she was well aware that these arms supplies were directly benefiting ISIS. One leaked document from the former secretary of state reads:

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” [emphasis added]

According to four-star General Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander, he unofficially received a memo that detailed a plan the Pentagon adopted shortly after 9/11 to topple the governments of seven countries, Syria included.

According to more documents released by Wikileaks, the U.S. establishment wanted to provoke Assad to overreact to the threat of violent extremists crossing the border into Syria, similar to what was done to Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s. A cable leaked by Wikileaks dated December 2006, authored by William Roebuck, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Damascus at the time, stated:

“We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.” [emphasis added]

It is also worth noting that a secret intelligence report has revealed that in 1983, the U.S. was urging Saddam Hussein to go to war with Hafez al-Assad, Assad’s father, over a mere pipeline dispute.

Clearly, if the mainstream media were dedicated to the truth of the Syrian conflict, they would present these facts more frequently to detract from the simplified narrative of “Assad and Russia = bad; Syrian rebels = good” they have promulgated since 2011.

However, it is only through alternative forms of media and ongoing leaks that certain sections of the public are even aware of these issues, as independent media tends to highlight these glaring stories as opposed to glossing over them momentarily.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Israeli police detain Palestinian immediately following release from 15 year prison sentence


JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police detained a Palestinian Tuesday immediately after he was released from Israel’s Galbou prison following the completion of a 15 year prison sentence for political activities with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)’s military wing.

Family of Muhammad Zeidan Mahmoud, told Ma’an they were shocked when they went to welcome their son home from Israeli prison to learn that he had been redetained by Israeli forces before they were able see or hug him.
Mahmoud, a resident of the Issawiya neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, was transferred to the Russian police compound in West Jerusalem.
A member of a follow-up committee in Issawiya, Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, told Ma’an that Israel was “stealing joy from Mahmoud’s family and friends by detaining him again following his release.”
Israeli forces also raided Issawiya in the early morning on Tuesday and tore down and confiscated a tent dedicated to Mahmoud in preparation for his release, locals said.
Clashes erupted in the neighborhood following the dismantlement of the tent, with locals reporting that Israeli forces fired tear gas bombs into the neighborhood, causing many, mostly women, to suffer from tear gas inhalation.
Abu al-Hummus added that Israeli forces had also raided the village during predawn hours on Tuesday and detained five Palestinian youths after searching their homes. Mahmoud’s home was also raided at the time.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. It was unknown as of Tuesday what reasons were behind Mahmoud’s detention.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were detained in Israeli prisons as of January.
(Source / 21.02.2017)

Jordanians call for overthrow of the government

Jordanian people stage a protest in front of Statehouse in Amman, Jordan [Anadolu]

Jordanian people stage a protest in front of Statehouse in Amman, Jordan

Jordanians took to the streets across the country yesterday in protest against price hikes and called for the government and the parliament to be ousted, the Safa news agency reported.

Protesters raised placards calling for ousting the government and the parliament due to the latest decisions which made the life “unbearable.”

One of the protesters in the city of Salt, west of Amman, said: “The new government policy of collecting fees for public services made life unbearable,” stressing that consecutive governments “did not learn lessons from each other.”

Read: Israel destroys UN-sponsored water pipeline in Jordan Valley

“During the popular movements of the Arab Spring, we warned against such policies, but the governments repeat each other’s mistakes… Our debts are big… and our life is difficult.”

Last week, Jordanians used social media to express their anger over the government’s decisions and called for boycotting certain public services in protest against the new wave of price hikes.

Read: A year ago, US, Israel, Jordan and Egypt secretly met for ‘peace’

On 9 February, the government approved a number of measures included tax increases and new taxes and fees as part of an economic plan aimed at meeting the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) grant which the kingdom hopes to attain.

The government also cancelled previous tax exemptions for some services.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Israeli navy kidnaps 5 Gaza fishermen

The fishermen were pushed into the cold sea water before they were handcuffed, blindfold and kidnapped

Israeli occupation navy kidnapped on Tuesday morning five Palestinian fishermen, from the same family, and confiscated one of their boats.

The fishermen were obliged to jump from their fishing boats into the cold water,” the eyewitness said, noting that this time is the coldest weather in Gaza and the sea water is freezing

Israeli occupation navy kidnapped on Tuesday morning five Palestinian fishermen, from the same family, and confiscated one of their boats.

Eyewitnesses told Days of Palestine that the Israeli warship opened fire at the Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast and attacked their fishing boats before the kidnapping.

When the Israeli warships got closer to the fishing boats, they used water cannons to sprayed compressed water at the fishermen.

“The fishermen were obliged to jump from their fishing boats into the cold water,” the eyewitness said, noting that this time is the coldest weather in Gaza and the sea water is freezing.

Sources identified the kidnapped fishermen as Mohamed, Abdullah, Mahmoud, Thabet and Omar Baker. All of them are cousins and there are in their twenties.

According to the eyewitness, who was fishing nearby the incidents, the five fishermen were pulled from the sea water, handcuffed, blindfolded and taken away.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Israeli occupation kidnaps 17 Palestinians

Three of the kidnapped Palestinian citizens were beaten and tortured after they had been kidnapped, NGO said.

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Tuesday night 17 Palestinian citizens in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

In addition, the PPC said that the Israeli occupation forces stole three computers and two mobile phones during the night raid

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Tuesday night 17 Palestinian citizens in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Local Palestinian sources said that the Israeli occupation forces raided the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus and Al-Khalil.

They carried out wide search campaign from house to house looking for “terrorist” whom the Israeli occupation claimed took part in anti-Israeli occupation activities.

According to the sources, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped nine Palestinian citizens from the West Bank cities, including five from the same family.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoner Club (PPC) said that the Israeli occupation forces raided Al-Isawiyeh Neighbourhood in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

The PPC said that the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped nine Palestinian citizens, including five brothers from their homes.

In addition, the PPC said that the Israeli occupation forces stole three computers and two mobile phones during the night raid.

All the 17 Palestinians were led to different Israeli investigation centres. Three of them were beaten and tortured after they had been kidnapped from their homes.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Israeli police remove tent for reception of ex-detainee in Issawiya


The Israeli occupation police on Tuesday afternoon removed a tent erected in Issawiya district, east of Jerusalem, in order to hold a reception for Mohamed Zaidan, a Palestinian citizen who was released after 15 years in Israeli jails.

The removal of the tent provoked local young men in Issawiya into throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the police forces, who responded by intensively firing rubber bullets, and tear gas and stun grenades.

39-year-old Mohamed Zaidan had been arrested in 2002 and sentenced then for 15 years in prison on a charge of his affiliation with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel classifies as a “terrorist group”.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

‘West must be held accountable for Libya, apologize & leave it alone’ – Gaddafi’s cousin (EXCLUSIVE)

The Libyan people are still suffering because Western powers continue to fuel the ongoing conflict there, the cousin of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi has said on the sixth anniversary of the Arab Spring, adding that the West should apologize and leave Libya alone.

It is clear to everyone what is now happening in Libya: total destruction, people fleeing their homes, mass hunger. Our country has descended into total darkness, and our people are enduring suffering,” Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, the cousin of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told RT in an exclusive interview.

On this anniversary of the Arab Spring, we must demand an apology to all Libyans – those whose homes were destroyed, those who were humiliated. On their behalf, I demand that the UN Security Council and the leading world powers apologize for what happened in 2011.”

FILE PHOTO. Benghazi, Libya. © Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Friday marked six years since the start of the Arab Spring, a wave of violent and non-violent protests that engulfed the Middle East and North Africa.

The civil unrest that broke out in Libya on this revolutionary tide came after the US-backed bombing campaign of the country toppled its long-time leader Gaddafi.

The nation has since been torn apart by fighting between different armed gangs and factions seeking control, including terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), as well as two rival governments – the internationally-recognized government in Tobruk (GNA) and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) formed by Islamists. The two bodies agreed to form a unity government under an agreement proposed by the UN in December 2015, yet there still are numerous stumbling blocks which the sides have so far failed to overcome.

Gaddaf al-Dam stresses that the conflict was stirred up by the West, and that it should be held accountable.

The war, the destruction of Libya, all that, in their own words, was a mistake. [The West] recognized that they caused the overthrow of a revolutionary regime in Libya. All of them, first of all, should apologize and correct all that they’d done. But the suffering Libyan people, living in basements, forced to flee their homes, see nothing of the sort six years on. No one even talks about it today. What is happening in Libya is a crime from all points of view,” Gaddaf al-Dam said.

READ MORE: US misjudged appeal of Western democracy for Middle East during Arab Spring – CIA’s Brennan

He believes the international community was not only wrong to interfere in Libya in the first place, but must now stop its meddling to let Libya deal with the crisis itself.

Unfortunately, the international community is still trying to manage the conflict in Libya – and doesn’t want to step aside. We are caught in a swamp. Every day there are meetings, in Tunisia, in Geneva… How much more of this? We are not children,” he stated, noting that the conflict in his view can only be solved through negotiations between representatives of all rival factions in Libya – including those who are now in prison, like Gaddafi’s son and former prominent political figure Saif al-Islam – and without foreign intervention.

Despite his calls to the West to let Libya manage the conflict on its own, Gaddaf al-Dam says the international community does not really want the crisis to end, seeing the war in Libya as only a part of the West’s bigger plot to destabilize all the Muslim states of the Middle East and North Africa.

Ever since the 1980s Muammar Gaddafi warned of an existing conspiracy of Western countries against Libya. In fact, the plot was directed not only against Libya, but against all Muslim states. The implementation of this plan began with Afghanistan. Then came the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya […]

“This hell, which was organized by Western countries in the region, aims to split the countries, and it is not only about Libya. […] Gaddafi in this regard was not an astrologist – he had the information and facts on his desk. He knew the history and was a revolutionary figure who tried to carry the values and principles of the 1969 revolution through the years. The aim of the revolution was to unite the Muslim Ummah [religious community] and the entire African continent, but as Gaddafi knew about [the West’s] plot and fought with it, he was killed,” Gaddaf al-Dam said.

The Libyan revolution of 1969, known as the al-Fateh Revolution or the 1st September Revolution, was a military coup that led to the overthrow of King Idris. It was carried out by the Free Officers Movement, a group of rebel military officers led by Colonel Gaddafi.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Sabah Faraoun’s administrative detention extended for four more months

Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – of Palestinian prisoner Sabah Mohammed Faraoun of Bethany in Jerusalem for the fourth time in a row for a four-month period.

Faraoun, 34, was seized by occupation forces on 19 June 2016 after they invaded her home; her detention had been extended three times before and was scheduled to end on 25 February 2017 before the new detention order was issued yesterday. Faraoun is a seamstress and tailor, married and the mother of four children, Abdel-Razaq (15), Alaa (14), Tala (10) and Leen (5).  She is one of 11 Palestinian women prisoners held in Damon prison.

In addition, the detention of Rawan Shyoukhi, the sister of Ali Shyoukhi, a former prisoner killed by Israeli occupation forces, was extended until Wednesday 22 February.

Wounded Palestinian prisoner Jihan Hashima, held in the Ramle prison clinic, is suffering particularly difficult conditions in health and detention, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.  Hashima, 37, from the town of Issawiya in Jerusalem, was seized on 30 December 2016 and was shot in the left leg by Israeli occupation soldiers. A metal rod was inserted into her leg in an operation performed in Hadassah hospital. She was then transferred to the Ramle prison clinic, and she is currently using a wheelchair in order to move. She also has hypothyroidism and vision and hearing difficulties, said her lawyer.

Hashima was denied medical treatment for an hour and a half after she was shot by occupation soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint, and Palestinians at the checkpoint who attempted to videotape and take pictures with their phones were forced away with gas canisters thrown in their direction.

(Source / 20.02.2017)