IOF arrests two Palestinian youths over alleged stabbing attempt


The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested two Palestinian youths on Sunday claiming that they were planning to carry out a stabbing attack south of Nablus city.

The Hebrew website 0404 said that Israeli soldiers detained the two suspected young men while they were approaching Za’atara military checkpoint.

The website, which is close to the Israeli army, reported that Israeli soldiers found sharp tools with the two youths who, it claimed, confessed their intention to carry out a stabbing attack in the place.

It pointed out that the two detainees, who are from Nablus city and whose identities were not disclosed, were transferred to the competent security authorities for further interrogation.

The IOF soldiers regularly set up dozens of military checkpoints between the cities and towns of the occupied West Bank and strictly search Palestinian citizens. The Israeli soldiers do not hesitate to shoot any Palestinian girl or boy whom they find “suspicious”.

Meanwhile, the IOF closed Beit Furik military checkpoint, east of Nablus, on Sunday afternoon.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that the IOF soldiers closed the checkpoint located between the towns of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan hindering the movement of citizens and vehicles.

They said that Israeli soldiers informed them that the checkpoint will remain closed for five hours during the day under the pretext of securing the pathway of Israeli settlers’ motorcycles on the bypass road.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Fatah to US Congress: moving embassy to Jerusalem will disrupt entire region


The US embassy in Tel Aviv

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah spokesperson Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad warned that relocating the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would “explode the situation” in the entire Middle East and North Africa region, in response to a US congressional delegation that reportedly arrived to Israel aiming to study the possibility of the move.

Israeli media reported Friday that right-wing Israeli lawmaker Yehuda Glick released a statement saying that the delegation, lead by Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, would arrive in Israel on Saturday evening in a visit to last until Sunday.
In a statement released Saturday night, Zayyad warned that the US Congress “should understand that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem will not only explode the situation in Palestine but the whole Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.”
While US President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to move the embassy has been reiterated a number of times since his election, the Trump administration said at the end of January that it was still “too early” to discuss the issue, and that details would be announced “soon.”
Abu Zayyad condemned the proposed relocation in his statement, and suggested that the congressional delegation consult with its military and political consultants in the US State Department, “(who have) stated several times in the past that such actions put American interests and presence in the region in danger.”
Republican senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Dean Heller (Nevada), and Marco Rubio (Florida) introduced a bill to the US Congress in January to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, defying international stances on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict resting on a two-state solution.
If implemented, the bill would give legitimacy to Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem since 1967, disregard Palestinian claims to the city, and terminate a longstanding White House policy to perpetually defer a 1995 congressional decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the embassy there.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat has warned that the PLO would revoke all previously signed agreements with Israel as well as the PLO’s 1993 recognition of Israel if Trump followed through on his pledge to move the embassy, further warning that “any hope of peace in the future will just vanish,” if the decision was implemented.
According to Glick, a member of the ruling Likud party in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, the congressional delegation’s visit aimed to “closely examine the issue of transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — both from a practical standpoint as well as politically.”
Glick added that he would also brief the delegation about the “unique history and political reality of Jerusalem, past and present,” and that the members of the delegation will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and explore potential sites to house the embassy, so that the delegation may return to the U.S. “with an accurate analysis of the matter, in order to update the US administration and Congress.”
Glick, a right-wing, American-born rabbi rose to prominence for leading groups of rightist Israelis into occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque for worship, in contravention of an agreement between Israel and the Islamic endowment since 1967 which prohibits non-Muslim prayer in the compound. In 2014, Glick reportedly assaulted a Palestinian woman while touring the holy site, although an Israeli court lately dropped the indictment against him.
The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.
While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right as many Knesset members have called for an escalation of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and with some having advocated for its complete annexation.
A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
(Source / 05.03.2017)

Israeli forces subject Palestinians to exhaustive questioning in Jenin


The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday afternoon subjected Palestinian civilians at a military checkpoint in western Jenin to exhaustive questioning.

A PIC news correspondent quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Israeli soldiers deployed on Haifa Road, at Kafrdan crossroads, stopped Palestinian citizens and subjected them to intensive questioning.

Palestinian vehicles and civilians lined up in streets as the IOF blocked their access to their homes and workplaces via the checkpoint.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Official: Hamas to introduce ‘positive’ changes in new political agenda


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Hamas movement is set to adopt a new political agenda after the party elects its new leader, according to Hamas official Ahmad Yousif.

Yousif told Ma’an on Saturday evening that the movement’s new agenda would introduce “positive changes” in Hamas’ attitude towards popular resistance, Palestinian statehood, international entities, Arab and Islamic countries, Christian Palestinians, and “differentiating between Judaism as a religion and the Zionist project.”
While Yahya Sinwar was elected head of the party’s politburo in the Gaza Strip last month, general elections for Hamas leadership in Gaza and in the diaspora were taking place “secretly,” Yousif said, while some fifty leaders will be elected in the coming weeks.
According to Yousif, the new party leader will be elected by the end of March and the results will be announced by the beginning of April.
Yousif previously served as senior adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, who was the head of Hamas’ politburo in the Gaza Strip before Sinwar was elected to replace him. Haniyeh has meanwhile been tipped to replace Khalid Meshaal as leader of the party.
Yousif speculated that Hamas’s new agenda would include “acceptance of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital based on pre-1967 borders,” and would continue not to recognize the state of Israel nor give up on any part of the Palestinian land.
It remained unclear if or how this would differ from Hamas’ current position; current party leader Khalid Meshaal has previously expressed preference for a long-term truce with Israel in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and rejection of the two-state solution.
The new agenda would also continue to affirm the right of Palestinian refugees from 1948, including their descendants, to return to what is now Israel, according to Yousif.
Christians in Palestine, Yousif said, were viewed in the new agenda as an integral “nationalistic component” of Palestine, adding that “they have the same rights and the same duties just as us.” Yousif also said that, “The new agenda will confirm that the conflict is with the Israeli occupation and the Zionist movement inside Palestine, and not with the Jews in general.”
As Meshaal has previously stressed that Hamas “does not resist the Israelis because they are Jews,” and that “as a matter of principle, we do not have problems with the Jews or the Christians, but do have a problem with those who attack us and oppress us,” it remained unclear how the new national agenda as described by Yousif would differ from the movement’s current position.
With regards to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), because the PLO is considered the “sole legal representative” of the Palestinian people, and the PLO — not the Palestinian Authority government — retains foreign recognition by more than 100 states, Hamas has viewed joining the PLO as a means of obtaining international legitimacy.
According to Yousif, the party’s new agenda will continue to view the PLO in this way, and he said the PLO “should be preserved and developed” in order to “protect our inalienable rights and unchangeable principles.”
The Hamas’ leader also confirmed that his movement “will not abandon resistance, including non-violent resistance, against (the Israeli) occupation and (will continue to consider) armed resistance a legitimate right for a people under occupation.”
Yousif also stressed that Hamas “has no organizational or administrative connections” with international Islamic movements, explaining that “Hamas maintains certain relations with Islamic movements around the world only to recruit support for the Palestinian cause.” With regards to “terrorist” organizations such as the so-called Islamic State, Yousif asserted that “they harm the image of Islam and Muslims and the status of the Palestinian cause.”
He said that Israel has attempted to reach an agreement with Hamas regarding a prisoner exchange deal, but “this issue is a responsibility of the al-Qassam Brigades, whih refuse to discuss the case before Israel frees all prisoners Israel jailed after they were freed in the Shalit prisoner swap deal.”
Khalil al-Hayya was also elected to serve as the deputy head of Hamas’ politburo when Hamas elected Sinwar as the new head of its politburo in Gaza.
Political pundit Ibrahim al-Madhoun told Ma’an at the time the change in leadership would affect the movement’s policies, particularly regarding reconciliation with rival party Fatah and diplomatic relations with countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Egypt.
When asked about reports suggesting that Haniyeh and Moussa Abu Marzouq, former deputy head of the politburo, were in competition to lead the party, Yousif said it was “just the media creating the competition,” adding that Hamas was “full of leaders who can lead the movement and those two brothers are on top of the lists because of their experiences and history.”
News of coming internal elections for Hamas, the de facto leaders of the Gaza Strip, came after the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced the schedule for upcoming municipal elections in the occupied West Bank, which notably will not include Gaza after the elections were rejected by Hamas.
During the PA’s cabinet meeting last week, it was decided that elections in Gaza would be postponed “indefinitely.” Hamas, along with the Islamic Jihad movement, has rejected elections on the basis that they should only take place after the more than decade-long rivalry between Hamas and Fatah comes to an end and reconciliation is achieved.
Meanwhile, the PA has launched its new National Policy Agenda (NPA) for the next five years, which has been received with mixed reactions over its feasibility faced with Israeli policies. The plan seeks to achieve ambitious goals such as Palestinian national unity, economic independence, social justice and rule of law, as well as the end of the occupation and realization of Palestinian independence.
(Source / 05.03.2017)

Walls, drones and mines: Turkey tightens border as Syria incursion deepens

A wall along the border between Turkey and Syria is pictured near the southeastern town of Deliosman in Kilis province, Turkey, August 29, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

A wall along the border between Turkey and Syria is pictured near the southeastern town of Deliosman in Kilis province, Turkey, August 29, 2016

Turkey is steadily sealing its frontier with Syria, long infiltrated in both directions by fighters and smugglers, with fences, minefields, ditches and a wall that will snake even through the most mountainous regions.

“The Border is Honour”, read signs across the walls of Turkish military outposts at Gulbaba and Hoyuk, visited by Reuters on a rare trip organised by the country’s armed forces.

Fortification of the 911 km (566 mile) border, along with a Turkish army incursion into northern Syria launched in August last year, is helping to tighten the noose on Daesh fighters as well as curbing Kurdish rebel groups.

Rebels from a range of militias in the Syrian war, including foreign fighters joining Daesh, once slipped easily over the border. The militant group also smuggled out goods including looted antiquities to raise funds for its struggle.

Now, with US-backed rebels encircling its Syrian stronghold in the city of Raqqa, infiltration in either direction is no longer so straightforward. The clampdown has also sharply reduced the flow of Syrian refugees trying to flee the civil war.

“I can tell you that right now nobody with a vehicle or on horse can cross our border (illegally),” said infantry colonel Alparslan Kilinc, referring to the 169 km stretch from Hoyuk military post to the Turkish border town of Karkamis that his 1st Border Regiment patrols.

“It is just not possible. There are still attempts by people to cross on foot and we intervene in that.”

Read: Half of Turkey-Syria border wall completed

At Hoyuk, about 80 km northwest of the shattered Syrian city of Aleppo, Turkish soldiers demonstrate their readiness. One peers through binoculars towards Syrian territory from a watchtower at the perimeter of the small walled complex. Troops called to alert slide down a pole to the ground and run to a sandbagged position or mount an armoured car.

Engineers are installing a complex set of measures across a territory that includes plains and mountains.

First comes a three-metre (10 foot) high wall, now almost complete, then a mined area. Beyond that lie ditches and fortified fences – an area patrolled by soldiers around the clock and monitored by thermal imaging cameras installed atop 25-metre high steel watchtowers to spot infiltrators at night.

Drones are also being used for surveillance.

As a result, Kilinc said, the number of smuggling attempts, which peaked in 2014 at 3,474 incidents, dropped to just 77 last year. Illegal crossing attempts fell to 8,531 from more than 12,000 over the same period.

Many of those were likely refugees, even though camps have been set up for them on the Syrian side of the border. However, 424 non-Syrian citizens were captured in 2015, with the majority thought to be Daesh fighters. Last year, that figure fell to 210, along with 49 militants from Kurdish militia.

Fighters Cut Off

Ankara was accused by some Western allies of being too slow to stop the flow of foreign fighters to Daesh in Syria and Iraq in the early years of the militant group’s rise.

Turkey has rejected this, saying it needs greater intelligence sharing with allies to intercept would-be militants from the group. It has stepped up security and launched the military campaign in Syria, codenamed Euphrates Shield, to push Daesh away from Turkish borders.

Sam Heller, Beirut-based fellow at The Century Foundation think tank, said the sealing of the border had been successful, but had taken time to get underway.

“It looks like the Turks have finally, successfully, closed their last stretch of border with Daesh,” he told Reuters. “They probably could have done it sooner, but this was something that was subject to other political calculations and considerations.”

The Turkish campaign took the Syrian town of Jarablus on the Euphrates river, cleared Daesh fighters from a roughly 100 km stretch of the border, and then moved south to al-Bab, a strategic town now all but secured.

Read: Syrian army advances against Daesh near Aleppo; blocks Turkish-backed FSA’s advance

Asked about the passage of foreign fighters over the frontier, Kilinc said: “It is almost non-existent. The people trying to cross through here were going to places like al-Bab before. Now those places are emptied.”

Kilinc’s stretch has been one of the hottest spots on the frontier, having neighboured Daesh-held territory for several years until Euphrates Shield.

(Source / 05.3.2017)

No Israeli streets to be named after Arafat: Netanyahu

Netanyahu suggests potential law to prevent streets being named after iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat

Security forces take measures during a commemoration ceremony held for the 12th death anniversary of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, West Bank on November 10, 2016 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

Security forces take measures during a commemoration ceremony held for the 12th death anniversary of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, West Bank on November 10, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday a street in an Arab-Israeli town cannot be named after the iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Netanyahu was reacting to complaints by former Israeli soldiers about the name of a road in the northern town of Jatt that was named after the Palestinian leader.

Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting:

We cannot allow streets in the State of Israel to be named after Yasser Arafat and Haj Amin al-Husseini and others

“We will make the arrangements, including new legislation if need be, so that this does not happen here,” he said.

On Saturday, Netanyahu said he will seek to remove the street sign bearing Arafat’s name in the northern town.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) on Sunday sent a letter to the Jatt Regional Council ordering them to remove within 48 hours. Last week, wounded IDF combat soldier Liran Baruch discovered the street after Waze showed it on a map of the region.

The late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader remains a hated figure for many Israelis despite being widely popular among Palestinians and having been jointly-awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize alongside then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for signing the Oslo peace accords.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Character assassination as a tool to silence a Palestinian activist

The past month has been an incredibly difficult time as I have had to endure an apparent organised campaign against me, a 26-year-old student. The campaign hinges around a false belief that I am a racist and is designed to silence and punish me for my Palestinian activism. Not only have I been smeared, but my work in anti-racism, including recently co-organising a march against anti-Semitism, has been completely ignored as clearly it does not fit the narrative used to discredit me and my activism for Palestine.

Signs posted around Exeter campus announcing Anti-Facist March, co-organized by Malaka Shwaikh, in response to racist vandalism on campus including a swastika carved into a door.

I have been subjected to bullying, harassment, threats, and serious defamation of character. There have been multiple articles written about me including one by an Exeter student for the Times of Israel in which I am called a terrorist supporter. I do not need to explain how serious this is in the current global atmosphere of Islamophobia.

These attempts at character assassination are part and parcel against those involved in the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. As I will show below, there is no truth in them whatsoever.

Malaka Shwaikh addressing the Lammeh Conference, Istanbul Feb. 25, 2017.

However the point of these attacks is not to determine the truth, but rather to bully those who speak up for Palestinian rights, in order to scare others away from Palestinian activism.

The ‘evidence’ used to smear me is largely based on my tweets, taken entirely out of context and manipulated to create the worst possible picture of me. Most of these tweets were posted back in 2012–2015 and have previously been brought to discredit me in other institutions.

For example, my tweet on Holocaust Memorial Day:

“The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”

was a follow-up to a tweet where I said:

“the Holocaust was one of the bleakest chapters in the history of the 20th century”

Both tweets are inter-linked and cannot be separated. I have never denied the horrific crime of the Holocaust that was inflicted upon the Jewish people and others, neither have I ever made light of it. The tweet in question was referring to how following this genocide in Europe, and in an attempt at making amends, European powers supported a settler colonial project which would see Palestine wiped off the map. The message of the tweet was that Palestinians have been made to pay for a genocide that was committed in Europe. The tweet prior to that recognized undoubtedly the horrors of the Holocaust. 140-character tweets are not enough to elaborate on the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but my social media audience usually has a strong contextual background. Conveniently the first tweet was ignored by these media outlets that have been attacking me.

Three tweets from the 8th February 2013 were inserted by a hack. The tweets follow the same format and content, and they were all tweeted in a short space of time. I also had other social media accounts hacked at some other time. As soon as I saw these tweets, I removed them, changed all of my passwords and took further security measures for my social media accounts. It is very common for social media accounts of Palestine solidarity activists to be hacked in this way and the false content used to smear.

Without understanding the wider context, the ‘terrorist’ tweet:

“If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist”

Posted in January 2015, it may appear as a radical statement that could raise serious concerns at both the University of Exeter and its Students’ Guild. However, it is my honest belief, and as I will attempt to explain, these kind of statements by Palestinians in general, and me in this instance, are most commonly in response to efforts by Israel advocacy groups and the Israeli government to demonize and dehumanize Palestinians. This is done by using the emotive dog whistle by Israeli descriptors of ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ whenever referring to the ‘Arab’ population. Palestinians who throw stones in response to Israeli soldiers invading their villages are labelled violent thugs, rioters and terrorists. Palestinians who nonviolently protest the illegal occupation are portrayed as violent individuals who terrorize Israeli Jews. Practically any Palestinian who resists the Israeli occupation and its plethora of human rights violations, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law is stigmatized in this way. It is absolutely vital to understand the wider issues before making a judgement on that particular tweet. So far the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) has not demonstrated anywhere that I condone or support violence against civilians in any way — nor for that matter have they produced any evidence that I have incited violence towards anybody, since clearly I have not. How this particular tweet has anything to do with anti-Semitism is beyond me — this connection also wasn’t explained by the CAA in any of their publications or communications.

Other social media posts that have been brought up by individuals attempting to discredit me were written between 2012–2015. During these years, the Gaza Strip was still devastated by heavy Israeli bombing campaigns, as well as subjected to a heinous Israeli military attack in 2014 in which over 2000 Palestinian civilians were killed. As a Palestinian from Gaza, during these years I experienced trauma and devastation that I would not wish on anyone. Many family members, friends and neighbours of mine were killed by the Israeli Army. My posts were written in an incredibly emotional state when my very existence and that of my loved ones were in danger.

Like most people, as I gain more life experience, I express myself differently and all these posts if written today would reflect this.

Attacks published against Malaka Shwaikh accusing her of anti-Semitism directly prior to Exeter University Students’ Guild elections did not deter the student body from electing her to various positions, including member of the trustee board (for the 2nd year), as well as National Union Student delegate.

I believe the attacks against me have been an attempt to defame my character, particularly as a Palestine activist and as a Muslim woman. It is no coincidence that they coincide with my election to various positions in Exeter University Students’ Guild.

Current NUS president Malia Bouattia faced similar, if not worse, attacks when she ran for and won her position. This pattern of attacks against Muslim women of colour who are elected into positions of power serves to silence and exclude us and demonstrates that racism is not a thing of the past, it continues to infiltrate our institutions at all levels.

Richard Brook, Vice President of the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) was filmed covertly by Al Jazeera admitting to conspiring to oust NUS President Malia Bouattia, as part of a sting operation involving the Israeli embassy. Working in “secret” with Michael Rubin, Parliamentary Officer for the Labour Friends of Israel(LFI) and Russell Langer, campaign director for Union of Jewish Students (UJS). (Screenshot: MEMO)

I should also point out that these unfounded charges against me will certainly have an effect on my freedom of movement. Countries do not need much of an excuse to refuse visas to Muslims and a simple google search of me reveals many of these inflammatory and abusive articles calling me an anti-Semite and a terrorist. The fact that mainstream media has, in an extremely one-sided way to date, reiterated these untruths gives further weight to the slurs and defamation. It will also have serious implications when I return to Gaza — threats have already been sent to my family back home. Gaza is under siege by Israel and all movement in and out is controlled by the Israeli military occupation making it highly likely that they will not let me out again, that is if I ever manage to get back in.

One of several signs posted around Exeter campus announcing the Anti-Facist March, in response to racist vandalism on campus including a swastika carved into a door.

Even this current horrendous attack will not stop me continuing fighting against all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. My activism for Palestine is not contradictory to, but indeed is totally compatible with fighting against all forms of racism. In fact the struggle for Palestinian human rights is part of a struggle against racism and for all human rights globally. My commitment to equality will guide me in my newly elected positions as Trustee, NUS delegate and VP Postgraduate Research. I will represent all students equally regardless of their faith, or none, race, gender and sexual orientation.

“Rights for Whites”

Just last week, I co-organised a march with my friends in Exeter University against fascism in response to a swastika and a “Rights for Whites” notice that were found in halls of residence earlier in February. The march was an attempt to send a clear message to all those whom these racist attacks were intended to incite against, including all my Jewish colleagues and friends, that you will never be alone. We stand in solidarity with you and we will defend you. A few weeks earlier, I co-organised the largest protest in Exeter in twenty years against the USA Muslim travel ban (My name is Malaka Mohammed in both articles — I have not used my family name ‘Shwaikh’ previously since this can have serious consequences to the safety of my family back home in Gaza because they are under Israeli military occupation and siege). However, conveniently, my role in organising these protests has never been mentioned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. I have been attacked, threatened, and bullied throughout without a single attempt to clarify with me the true facts. After I changed my Twitter username @MalakaMohammed, it was hijacked in an attempt to discredit me even more (my current Twitter username is @MalakaShwaikh).

The attacking media defamed me without even seeking my response, denying me the right to reply. While in Gaza Israel used its military arsenal and now in the UK I’m targeted by the media. Every tweet, post and comment I ever said is sifted through in search for ammunition to tarnish my reputation and silence me. With all these resources going into what I said, or didn’t, the attacking media showed no appetite to find out my thoughts and beliefs. For example, as a campaigner for justice and equality I believe in a One-State Solution, a state that is based on equality and justice for all regardless of their ethnicity, political identity, religious beliefs or none. But this is really what Israel fears, a solution with equal rights for all the people, without apartheid. The reality is that Israel imposes apartheid even against the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

Why are the CAA and so much media dedicated to attacking me? Is it because I’m a Palestinian woman from Gaza daring to speak out and enjoying the respect of many? It’s natural that we Palestinians resist the Israeli occupation and oppression, like in all struggles for freedom. This is why I support the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which is modeled on the boycott campaign against apartheid South Africa. BDS is a human rights based campaign, to bring non-violent international pressure on Israel to abide by international law. As governments have failed to push for justice, people of conscience are supporting BDS, including Israelis and people across the world.

On the other hand, the media has shown little interest in scrutinizing the Campaign against Antisemitism (CAA) — an organization with a large credibility gap, which is currently facing serious complaints. There is also a national petition against the Campaign. It is a great pity that the CAA act in this way, because at this time especially, we need a proper campaign against anti-Semitism, rather than a group which seeks to defend Israel by attacking its critics by falsely accusing them of anti-Semitism.

I’m inspired by the letter of support signed by over 130 students’ leaders and PhD researchers at Exeter University in solidarity with me:

“Following the recent defamation, attacks, and threats that our new VP research postgrad has received based on 140-character tweets posted some four years ago, mistranslated and taken out of context, we, the postgraduate and wider student community in Exeter, wish to show our support and solidarity with Malaka.”

Shwaikh is a popular inspirational Palestinian human rights speaker who has addressed international audiences in close to 100 cities about her experiences in activism, anti-racism, BDS, and the power and influence of women and youth.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Israel sentences Palestinian woman to 6 months in administrative detention


GAZA (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court has sentenced 32-year-old Ihsan Abd al-Fattah Dababsa to six months in administrative detention, Israel’s widely-condemned policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence, according to a local center for detainees.

Dababsa, from the town of Nuba northwest of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, was detained from her home last week during overnight raids across the West Bank.
According to detainees organization the Muhjat al-Quds Foundation, Dababsa, a former prisoner, was assaulted by Israeli forces when they detained her.
Muhjat al-Quds noted that Dababsa had previously been detained on Dec. 13, 2014, over her affiliation to the Islamic Jihad movement, and was released on July, 8 , 2016. She undertook a two-week-long hunger strike during her detention.
The Islamic Jihad, like the majority of Palestinian political organizations, is considered illegal by Israel, and association with such parties is often used as grounds for imprisonment.
The center added that Dababsa was also the fiance of Palestinian prisoner Usama Muhammad Awwad al-Hroub from Jenin, who is currently being detained in Israel’s Ktziot prison.
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 53 of the 6,500 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons as of January were women.
The group has also reported on the treatment of Palestinian women prisoners by Israeli prison authorities, stating that the majority of Palestinian women detainees were subjected to “psychological torture” and “ill-treatment” by Israeli authorities, including “various forms of sexual violence that occur such as beatings, insults, threats, body searches, and sexually explicit harassment.”
While Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed that the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
Rights groups say that Israel’s administrative detention policy has also been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.
(Source / 05.03.2017)

Jordan Executes 15 Terrorists


Amman – Jordan executed 15 people on Saturday morning, including 10 convicted on terrorism charges, according to government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.

Momani told state media that those executed included those involved in the “Irbid terror cell”, and the terror attack against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Other crimes included the assassination of columnist Nahed Hattar, terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003, and the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman.

The men were hanged at Swaqa Prison.

Five of the criminals were involved in an assault by security forces on a militant hideout by suspected ISIS militants in Irbid city in the same year that led to the death of seven militants and one police officer in 2016. They were: Ashraf Beshtawi, Fadi Beshtawi, Imad Delki, Faraj al-Sharif, and Mohammed Delki.

Mahmoud Hussein Masharfa was the executor of the terrorist attack in June 2016 against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Riyad Ismail Abdullah was executed for assassinating Hattar in September 2016. While, Muammar al-Jaghbir was executed after his conviction in terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003.

Nabil Ahmad al-Jaoura was convicted for the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman which led to the death of a British tourist in 2006.

Momani added: “This is an attempt to bring justice to the victims of those terrorists who threatened our national security. Anyone who will dare engage in terrorist activities against Jordan will face the same destiny.”

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the executions by hanging saying they were carried out in secrecy and without transparency.

Samah Hadid, deputy director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, said, “The horrific scale and secrecy around these executions is shocking.”

Amnesty is against capital punishment regardless of the criminal, his crime or whether he was innocent or not, and the execution method.

Amnesty said in a statement earlier: “Jordan had for years been a leading example in a region where recourse to the death penalty is all too frequent.”

In December 2014, 11 men were executed after the capital punishment had been frozen in Jordan since March 2006.

In February 2015, Jordan executed Sajida Rishawi and Ziad al-Karboli. The two inmates were hanged a day after the release of a video showing the killing of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh by ISIS.

Rishawi was convicted by the State Security Court in September 2006 of plotting terror attacks against three hotels in Amman in November 2005, which had left more than 60 people dead and around 90 injured.

Karboli was convicted of killing a Jordanian truck driver in Iraq in September 2005, possessing explosives as well as belonging to an illegal al-Qaeda-affiliated organization called Tawhid and Jihad.

Over 100 people, including around 10 women, are currently on death row in Jordan.

Jordan is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

10 Palestinians kidnapped, others injured by IOF in predawn sweeps


At least 10 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and others were left injured at daybreak Sunday in assaults on the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Israeli army claimed responsibility for the abduction of 10 Palestinians on allegations of involvement in anti-occupation activities.

The campaign targeted seven Palestinians from Bethlehem province, two from al-Khalil, including a Hamas affiliate, and another Palestinian from Jerusalem’s eastern town of al-Izriya.

Reporting from Marah Rabah, south of Bethlehem, a PIC reporter said 10 Israeli patrols stormed the town and kidnapped Hussam al-Sheikh, 26, Murad al-Sheikh, 19, Hamza al-Sheikh, 21, and Hussein al-Sheikh, 20.

The IOF further stormed Tekou’ town and carried out an arbitrary abduction sweep.

28-year-old Palestinian poet Mahmoud Ayad, nicknamed al-Mourabit, was kidnapped by the Israeli forces from his home in al-Duheisha camp, south of Bethlehem.

At the same time, injuries were reported among the Palestinian protesters following the IOF assaults.

(Source / 05.03.2017)