Israeli settlers break into east of Tubas


Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed overnight Hamad area east of Tubas to the north of occupied West Bank in total provocation to local residents.

Local sources told PIC correspondent that the setters broke into the area amid heavy protection of Israeli forces and started provoking the locals.

Israeli mobile houses were recently erected in the area as a prelude to take control over the area, the sources added.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Withdrawal of Israelis from Palestine only solution to crisis: Pundit


Israeli occupiers must withdraw from the Palestinian lands to wherever they have come from, says Marwa Osman, a journalist and political commentator from Tehran.

“The only way, we could get away from all the genocide, all the bloodshed that is going on in occupied Palestine is for all the Zionists… to leave everything, because it’s not theirs,” Osman told Press TV’s The Debate on Wednesday night.

The Zionist occupiers must “go back to whatever European, Western Russian country they came from,” the analyst added.

During the 1948 Palestine war, the Israeli occupiers forced more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs to leave their homeland. The Israeli regime occupied most of the lands of Palestine since then.

Osman said, “There is nothing called Israel, it is the Zionist entity, it’s the most racist entity that has ever been on the face of this earth even more racist than the Nazis themselves, it has been committing genocide against Palestinians ever since they’ve set foot in the sacred land of Palestine and decided to steal the land and steal the resources and call it their ‘holy land’.”

Palestinians who are living in the occupied territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are suffering discrimination, unlawful incarceration, demolition of their homes and killings on a daily basis.

Israeli security forces stand guard as bulldozers demolish homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, near the southern city of Beersheba, in the Negev desert, on January 18, 2017

Dismissing the notion that Palestinians and Israelis are engaged in a conflict, she said, “It is not a conflict, it is an Israeli occupation on an Arab land, on the Palestinian land and it is a genocide that is going on in Gaza.”

“There was a Holocaust and this was a terrible act in history but this does not give the right for the Israeli entity to do the same and even worse to the people of Palestine,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Richard Millet, a journalist and political commentator from London, said that Palestinians and Israelis need to negotiate to reach a consensus on their future political situation.

“Israel is tiny but Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinian people but any way to get that is … to be negotiations,” he argued.

According to Millet, there have been peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, but they could not go on because of the broader conflicts in the Middle East.

The journalist put the blame on Iran for the Middle East unrest, claiming that Iranians’ support for the resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon is the source of unrest in the region.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Tehran hosted a confab, dubbed the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (uprising), to show support for the Palestinian people.

The Israeli regime has defied international calls for halting the construction of illegal settler units in the occupied territories. The new US administration has expressed all-out support for Israelis’ illegal activities.

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Millet drew a pessimistic picture of the so-called peace between Israelis and Palestinians, saying, “I don’t think any administration can help with peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Palestinians started their third Intifada (uprising) in 2014, as they are furious with the settler violence and a plan by Israelis to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Palestinian security forces suppress Hizb al-Tahrir march in Hebron


HEBRON (Ma’an) — Palestinian security forces suppressed a rally in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday that was organized by the Hizb al-Tahrir organization, and detained several members of the group after firing tear gas and allegedly assaulting protesters.
Security forces declared the Ibn Rush square in the center of Hebron a “closed military zone,” and prevented citizens from accessing the area.
Hizb al-Tahrir organized the rally in order to protest the detention of 15 of the group’s supporters who were arrested last week during another demonstration in Hebron.
Palestinian police were redeployed throughout the streets of Hebron after dispersing the rally.
Director of the Hebron office of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Farid al-Atrash condemned Palestinian police for using force against peaceful demonstrators, calling the “assault” a “violation on the right of citizens to assemble peacefully.”
“Tear gas was used, live gunshots were fired into the air, and citizens were assaulted with rods,” he added, while urging Palestinian forces to “observe the law and respect citizens’ right to assemble peacefully.”
Security officials in Hebron released a statement later on Saturday warning that “security forces will not allow anybody to arouse unrest in Hebron or muddle the state of security and safety in the district.”The statement said that a number of Hizb al-Tahrir supporters along with “fugitives wanted by security services” had started the “unlicensed rally.”
Hizb al-Tahrir — a pan-Islamic political organization with the goal of uniting all Muslims into one state with an elected Caliph as its head — was founded in Jerusalem in 1953.
The group has had a vocal presence in the occupied Palestinian territory since and believes that the establishment of an Islamic caliphate would end Israeli military occupation.
Hizb al-Tahrir notably rejects the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s support of a two-state solution establishing a state of Palestine in the occupied West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Musab Abu Arqub, a senior leader in the group, told Ma’an last year that the group rejects negotiations with Israel on the grounds that they “give occupation legitimacy,” adding that acceptance of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders would be “a crime,” regardless of who makes the decision.
The group has typically carried out its mission through public addresses, hanging posters, and releasing statements, but its vocal criticism of Palestinian political parties has in the past led to the arrest of Hizb al-Tahrir supporters by Palestinian forces.
(Source / 25.02.2017)

Opposition Negotiation Delegation Meets with Friends of Syria Group to Discuss Geneva Talks

The opposition’s negotiation delegation to Geneva talks met with representatives of countries of the Friends of Syria group on Friday evening to discuss the negotiating process and prospects for political transition in Syria.

Yahya Qadamani, Deputy General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), commended the continued support by the countries of the Friends of Syria group for the opposition’s negotiation delegation and the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity.

Nasr Hariri, head of the opposition negotiation delegation, confirmed the opposition is ready to engage in serious negotiations leading to the achievement of a political transition as was set out by international resolutions.

Hariri said the meeting with the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura was positive, and that the opposition has submitted “clear and specified” suggestions to the UN envoy.

De Mistura handed the Syrian opposition delegation a paper about the procedural issues and some ideas to begin the political process, Hariri said. He said the opposition will study the paper and outline its response within the next couple of days.

For their part, representatives of the Friends of Syria group praised the positive response of the opposition delegation towards the current round of Geneva talks. They stressed the need for the opposition to continue with its positive position about the negotiating process which the regime is trying to undermine. They also reaffirmed their role as key supporters for the political transition process in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 25.02.2017)

IOA bans 29 West Bank Palestinians’ travel


The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) banned over the past week the travel of 29 Palestinians via Karama crossing, the only exit point to the outside world and back for West Bank Palestinians.

Palestinian security sources affirmed that 29 Palestinians were prevented from leaving the West Bank from the border crossing of Karama for unknown security reasons.

The sources pointed out that some 28,000 Palestinians passed through the border crossing last week.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Israel to Bulldoze Palestinian Homes to Build ‘Settlers Only’ Road

General view of houses of the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev, in the occupied West Bank February 7, 2017

As Israel begins work on its “American road” project in East Jerusalem’s Jabal al-Mukaber area, hundred of Palestinians are on edge, as their homes lie directly in its path.

Part of the larger al-Touq Highway, the road is ostensibly being constructed to connect Israeli settlements north, south, and east of East Jerusalem, and cuts through sections of Jerusalem, joining the Maale Adumim and Har Homa settlements on the West Bank.

The al-Touq Highway, proposed ten years ago by Israel’s municipality planning and construction committee, will, once completed, be 230-feet wide and over 7-miles long.

Roughly 300 acres, encompassing 12 Palestinian neighborhoods in Jabal al-Mukaber, will be confiscated to build the road, which has alarmed residents of Salaa, where construction has already begun.

Salaa resident Mohammad al-Sawahra told Al Jazeera, “We are living in a state of perpetual fear…It’s as if we are living in [two different worlds]. In Palestinian areas, it is like living in the third world, while those living in settlements built on the land of Jabal al-Mukaber are offered a life of comfort like first world countries.”

Al-Sawahra received a demolition notice for his home last month, adding that, “Now, they want to build a road on the ruins of my home for themselves, as well.”

He will be one of some 500 Palestinians living in 57 homes set to be demolished for the ‘American Road’ project. Raed Basheer, with the Committee of Defence for Jabal al-Mukaber properties, told Al Jazeera, “We were surprised to hear about the project, which will be 32 metres wide, with an additional 32 metres on the sides to allow for the light rail. All of the homes, both old and new, standing in the way of the road, will be demolished.”

“In response to this plan,” Basheer said, “we reached out to the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem and managed, with difficulty, to obtain an extension on the house demolition orders for five years, provided that we submit a request every year to extend the demolition orders. But, still, we do not know whether we will be allowed to remain in our homes over the next five years.”

The project map reportedly shows the disconnection of roads that link Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, cutting residents off from health care facilities and schools, leaving a road only to be used by Israelis.

The plan comes on the heels of a recently-passed and hotly-debated bill that retroactively legalizes thousands of Israeli homes on privately-owned Palestinian land. The “regulation” law has been called “theft’ and a “land grab” by the opposition.

About 48,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since Israel first seized the territories in 1967.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Houthis and their allies destroy mosques and kidnap imams

Houthi rebels

Image of armed Houthi rebels [file photo]

Houthi militias and their allies, notably forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have destroyed or damaged 578 mosques in Yemen and kidnapped 150 imams, a Saudi newspaper alleged on Friday. According to Okaz, there are reports that in some areas the Houthis are obliging imams to use sectarian slogans to incite people to kill, destroy property and create divisions within society.

One report, issued after contact was made with Yemeni scholars, claims that 29 mosques have been completely destroyed by the Houthis; 24 others were partially destroyed; and dozens of others have been damaged by explosions and air strikes.

Furthermore, it is claimed that the Houthis destroyed 16 Qur’an teaching schools and 16 religious schools. They are also accused of raiding 146 mosques and turning them into military bases and weapons stores.

The pro-Saleh militias, meanwhile, are alleged to have raided 84 mosques over the past three years and threatened the worshippers inside. Property from at least 12 mosques has been looted, while 5 others were targeted by gunfire. Around 150 imams and an unknown number of worshippers have been kidnapped and tortured during such attacks, it is claimed.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Palestinian women workers abused in West Bank colonies

Ramallah: Palestinian women from the West Bank are being forced into servitude as maids in Israeli colonist homes despite being originally recruited to work on farms in the fields of the colonial area by Palestinian job agencies, according to Palestinian officials.

The women’s financial needs make them easy prey for these employers and Palestinian agents, they say.

“Those women were originally recruited to work in agriculture, but they are forced to work as maids and in the event, they refuse to do that, they are fired and never granted any further colony work permits,” said Shaher Sa’ad, secretary general of the Palestine General Federation of Trade and Labour Unions.

This problem is made worse because some West Bank women who are recruited to work in agriculture can enter the colonies without holding entry permits from the security companies who guard the colony entrances because they pass through the colony gates in their employers’ vehicles.

“The Palestinian National Authority or PNA does not have any supervision due to this direct colonist employer-employee relationship,” Sa’ad told Gulf News. “Palestinian women are therefore victimised by the colonist employers and their Palestinian agents mainly in their salaries and the nature and hours of their work.”

While the payment of a Palestinian female worker is supposed to be $53 per day, this payment is made by the colonist employer to his agent–not directly to the women workers. Thus, the broker only pays the female worker $21 and keeps the rest. “This is pure slavery as West Bank women workers are not supposed to and have never agreed to work as household maids,” said Sa’ad. “The PNA, the Palestinian government and syndicates should monitor and supervise the deteriorating conditions of the women workers in the West Bank colonies.”

The PNA and all its bodies view the Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal so they refuse to intervene regardless of the mistreatment taking place there against female workers. “This attitude leaves the women workers easy prey for the Israeli colonist employers and their agents who take advantage of the women’s needs the most,” he said. “Furthermore, the Israeli lawyers who usually handle women’s labour issues and disputes take advantage of the women by overcharging for their services.”

The Palestine General Federation of Trade and Labour Unions receives daily complaints from women workers in West Bank colonies where the federation advises the plaintiffs to hire one of 11 recommended Palestinian lawyers from inside the Green Line, he said, adding that those lawyers will take a certain percentage of what the workers receive.

According to Sa’ad a total of 2,800 to 3,500 Palestinian women currently work inside Israeli colonies, mainly in agriculture, with the number of female workers rising to as many as 7,000 during the harvest seasons.

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Palestinian women lead resistance in Budrus

Fighting back against Israel’s incursions has become second nature for residents of the West Bank village.

‘The first thing all of us do when we wake up in the morning is check the community Facebook page’

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – When Israeli military jeeps approached the village of Budrus last month, every resident was notified within minutes.

Through the speakers of the village’s mosque, a warning was issued: Israeli forces had entered the area and were preparing to demolish a house.

Men, women and children rushed towards the site of the impending demolition. The village’s women were the first on the scene.

“There was no organising meeting or discussion beforehand. We knew right when we arrived exactly what we had to do to stop them,” resident Najia Awad told Al Jazeera.

Najia Awad says that residents immediately rush to resist whenever there are reports of Israeli forces on village lands

Najia and several other women pushed past Israel‘s forces and inside the house slated for demolition, until Israeli soldiers and border police began to block other women doing the same. “We descended from the house and began screaming at the soldiers and trying to distract them,” she recalled.

At the same time, other women surrounded the Israelis and pulled women from their grip, allowing more women to rush inside the house. The women formed a line at the entrance and along the roof of the house, standing firm and silently. The Israeli soldiers, all strapped with M16s, quickly retreated.

This was not the first time that the women of Budrus have claimed victory against Israeli incursions on their lands. They led the village’s resistance movement against Israel’s separation barrier in 2003, and say that they have successfully defended 95 percent of their land from Israeli confiscations.

Today, more than a decade since their non-violent protests first gained headlines, resistance in the village has become second nature.

When I hear about the Israeli forces on our land, I don’t run to collect my children and husband to prepare for the resistance. I know once I arrive at the site, I will see them there.

Najia Awad, Budrus resident

“The first thing all of us do when we wake up in the morning is check the community Facebook page,” Najia said.

The page includes posts about all activities in the village, including sightings of Israeli forces. Details of such incidents are then broadcasted to all residents via the local mosque.

“We don’t hold formal meetings or design a plan before an action any more,” Najia said. “When I hear about the Israeli forces on our land, I don’t run to collect my children and husband to prepare for the resistance. I know once I arrive at the site, I will see them there.”

Resident Nasser Morrar told Al Jazeera that unlike resistance movements in a few surrounding villages – heavily dependent on weekly marches, international support and media presence – the resistance in Budrus has evolved into spontaneous community action and self-defence.

“When the Israelis are not here constructing the barrier wall or detaining residents, then we don’t react or plan marches. But when they come, we force them to leave,” he said.

Muna Morrar, Nasser’s wife and a mother of four, said that the community’s resistance was a “natural response”, noting that their daughters and sons were literally born into the resistance.

Muna’s daughter, now 15, was just 18 months old when she was first brought to the frontlines of resistance, strapped to her mother’s hip as Muna raced to confront Israeli soldiers with the rest of her village.

“Every resident in Budrus is involved in the resistance,” Muna told Al Jazeera. “I have to be with my community to help defend our lands. And if I were to leave my daughter at home when the Israelis come, there would be no one left in the village to watch her.”

‘I have to be with my community to help defend our lands,’ says Muna Morrar

Muna even participated in the resistance while pregnant with her son, now 12. During one incident, Israeli forces fired a significant amount of tear gas, and Muna was forced to give birth during her eighth month of pregnancy after undergoing surgery. Doctors said the premature birth was due to the effects of the tear gas.

The community has successfully prevented many residents from being detained by Israeli forces. Muna recalled one such incident several years ago, when Israeli soldiers raided her home and attempted to detain her cousin.

“They handcuffed him and began dragging him out to the Israeli military jeep,” she said. “I began to feel so angry, and without even thinking, I opened the back door of the jeep and started dragging him out.”

Although the soldiers beat her and attempted to pull her away from the jeep, she said, Muna refused to let go of her cousin. Her screams travelled throughout the village, until everyone had poured out of their homes and arrived at the scene.

READ MORE: How Palestinian women defy Israel’s occupation

“The soldiers were so overwhelmed by all these villagers confronting them that they took my cousin from the jeep, unlocked his handcuffs, and handed him back to us,” Muna said.

The women of Budrus note that resistance is more difficult at night, when Israeli forces typically stage raids as residents are sleeping, making it more difficult for news to spread.

“No mother in the world would accept soldiers coming to their home in the night to detain their sleeping son,” said Najia, whose 22-year-old son was recently detained during an overnight raid. “But, we still try to prevent the detentions, even if it’s just to delay the soldiers in time for our children to escape.”

Amira Awad, a soft-spoken mother of seven, experienced every mother’s nightmare when one of her children, 21-year-old Lafee, was fatally shot by Israeli forces during a non-violent protest in 2015.

Amira Awad’s son, Lafee, was killed by Israeli forces during a non-violent protest in 2015

“Our resistance has always been non-violent,” Amira told Al Jazeera from her home in Budrus, where posters and framed portraits of Lafee decorate the walls and shelves. “But even though we are unarmed, they still kill us. They still made my son a martyr.”

According to Amira, Lafee had stayed behind after a protest against the separation barrier, when clashes broke out with Israeli forces. He was ambushed by a group of soldiers who attempted to detain him, but he resisted and wriggled out of their grasp.

As he began running towards his home, an Israeli sniper positioned nearby shot him with a live bullet in his back. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

OPINION: When Palestinian women take up arms

“They killed an innocent person,” Amira said, slowly shaking her head. “When something like this happens, you want revenge. But revenge for us is continuing our resistance, stopping this occupation, and forcing these soldiers back where they came from.”

The death of her son has strengthened Amira’s commitment to the resistance. “I used to be really afraid of these soldiers, but after they killed Lafee; I have no more fear,” she said. “Every time they come on our land, I face them with the rest of my community, and I remind them of how they killed my son.”

The women in Budrus encourage others throughout the occupied Palestinian territories to lead similar resistance efforts in their own communities.

“We want other communities to face these soldiers, because they can be stopped,” Najia said. “Whatever these Israelis do to you, when you stand up to them, [it] will not destroy you. You can beat them. And each time you win, your resistance will become stronger.”

(Source / 25.02.2017)

Hebron represents Israel’s ‘apartheid regime,’ says Al-Barghouti

Mustafa Al-Barghouti [Image from]

Mustafa Al-Barghouti

The occupied West Bank city of Hebron “represents Israel’s apartheid regime,” the Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative has said. Mustafa Al-Barghouti made his comments at an event to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the massacre of Palestinian worshippers inside the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city by an illegal Jewish settler, Safa news agency reported on Friday.

“Whoever wants to see the reality of what the Israeli apartheid regime means has to visit Hebron’s Old City,” explained Al-Barghouti in the historic mosque. He described the situation in Hebron as “worse” than what was seen in South Africa during the dark, oppressive days of Apartheid.

“Our people will not accept anything less than freedom and independence,” he told those present. “Israel will never break our persistence and struggle against slavery and racial discrimination.”

Al-Barghouti, who is known for his moderation and pragmatism, stressed that Israel does not understand anything except power. He called for a change in the balance of power in favour of the Palestinian people through encouraging popular resistance and imposing sanctions against the Zionist state.

Meanwhile, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces erupted on Friday as demonstrators took to the streets calling for the main thoroughfare in the heart of Hebron, Al-Shuhada Street, to be reopened.

The street has been closed to Palestinians ever since Dr Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 29 Palestinians as they prayed inside Ibrahimi Mosque on 25 February 1994. Illegal Jewish settlers are, however, allowed to use Al-Shuhada Street under heavy Israeli military protection.

The Israeli soldiers prevented the Palestinians from entering the thoroughfare on Friday, setting up several flying checkpoints in their way. The occupation forces also used tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets against the demonstrators.

(Source / 25.02.2017)