Bennett pledges to push for new settlement for Amona evacuees

Bennett illegale nederzetting

Israeli minister of education Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) has promised settlers of the evacuated Amona outpost that he would push for a new settlement for them in the West Bank.

According to Israel Hayom newspaper, Bennett visited evicted Amona residents Monday at their protest tent outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, where they have been on hunger strike since Thursday in protest at halted plans to relocate them to an another settlement.

The West Bank outpost of Amona was evicted in February following a court order, which had been delayed several times.

Bennett told the protesters he would fulfill his word to provide them with a new place to live, saying that “agreements must be honored.”

“I am committed to the agreement we have formulated with you, and I will stand firm so that the agreement is implemented soon, in accordance with the prime minister’s commitment, and so the government will make a decision at its next meeting regarding the establishment of the new settlement.”

The newspaper said that Bennett had asked Netanyahu at a recent coalition meeting about what he decided about the new settlement promised to Amona residents. Netanyahu responded, saying that the “complex” matter had not yet been agreed upon with the US administration, and requested a few more days to discuss the possibility with the Americans.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Pro-Palestine activists urge UK to apologize for Balfour Declaration

Palestinians wave national flags as they take part in a rally to commemorate the 68th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe) Day in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians wave national flags as they take part in a rally to commemorate the 68th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe) Day in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 17, 2016

Activists have called on Britain to apologize for causing a century of suffering for the Palestinians through its support for a document that paved the way for the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.

The campaigners made the plea during a Saturday forum at University College London, dubbed Palestine Conference 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

The document issued in November 1917 by the then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour said the UK government “views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

It set the stage for the al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that refers to the Palestinian exodus when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes by Israel during the 1948 war.

The event organized by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and Olive, a Palestinian youth organization, aimed to “expose the illegality of the state of Israel while giving practical steps in campaigning towards an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

Participants of Palestine Conference 2017 at University College London react during an event on March 4, 2017

“What is happening in Palestine is the biggest social injustice of our time. We send a message to the people of Palestine, we are here and we stand with you,” said FOSIS President Zara Mohammed.

Among other speakers, Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a criminal barrister and external consultant for the Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq, denounced the UK’s role in the ordeal of the Palestinians.

“The UK should issue an apology and think about compensating the Palestinians for their losses… which are a direct result of British policy,” she said.

Jonathan Rosenhead, chairman of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, described the Balfour Declaration as “disastrous.”

The conference further discussed the Israeli occupation and condemned US President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expand settlements in the occupied territories.

The forum stressed that backing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is the only way to topple the “apartheid” regime.

UK crackdown on pro-Palestine campus activities 

Pro-Palestine activists on British university campuses fear a crackdown is taking place against them following the cancellation of several events affiliated with the Israeli Apartheid Week initiative.

At least two events linked to Israel Apartheid Week have been canceled or postponed this week, sparking fears about freedom of speech on campus.

The developments came after more than 200 academics signed an open letter condemning attempts to silence campus discussion about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

Several activists told Middle East Eye online news portal that university senior management had sent representatives to monitor their activities and demanded that their events be recorded.

Anum Riaz, the president of Friends of Palestine Society at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), said the crackdown was in line with the government’s new definition of anti-Semitism, which critics say equates criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.

Israeli Apartheid Week is held every year on campuses across the world and aims to draw parallels between the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and apartheid-era South Africa.

The Palestine movement has gained traction across UK campuses with student unions passing motions urging universities to divest from companies complicit in the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Palestinian priest: Oust PA and start civil disobedience

Image of Senior Christian Priest in Ramallah Monsignor Manuel Musallam [file photo]

Image of senior Christian Priest in Ramallah Monsignor Manuel Musallam [file photo]

Senior Christian Priest in Ramallah Monsignor Manuel Musallam yesterday severely criticised the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security cooperation with Israel which has led to the death of tens of Palestinian resistance fighters in West Bank, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.

In an interview with the paper, Musallam called on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to oust the PA and start civil disobedience against it and the Israeli occupation.

“Oust the PA, its security cooperation and the Oslo Accords which brought it,” he said.

Read: It is time that the PA served the Palestinians, not the international community

“Do not accept its role and start practical measures to get rid of the conceptions related to collaboration and tyranny,” he explained, “mass media has to run the population this way.”

“The PA no longer represents our dreams and ambitions. We thought that it would bring justice, peace and rights to us, but it wasted everything.”

Musallam stressed that every Palestinian must “get rid” of the PA and return to being “under occupation” in order to start working against the Israeli occupation again.

“We attempted to protect ourselves from the Israeli occupation through the PA, but instead of this, it scared us, frightened us, stripped us of our arms and drowned our cause in the sea.”

“The PA planted hate among the Palestinians and divided them. It wasted the conception of the big nation which means Palestine is from the river to the sea and Jaffa and Haifa are for us. It dropped the equation that all the land is for us.”

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Morsi’s son being beaten in prison

Image of Osama Morsi

Image of Osama Morsi

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s son Osama is being abused in the notorious Scorpion prison, statement released by his family said yesterday.

 A security source dismissed the family’s accusations as “false”.

The family attributed Osama’s arrest on 8 December to a statement he had published a few days earlier outlining the limitation on family visits to see his father. He had called on the United Nations and other international organisations to intervene to allow the family to see the deposed president.

Scorpion prison

    A Human Rights Watch report claims inmates are kept in cells without beds, visits by families and lawyers are restricted and authorities interfere with medical treatment. It has been described as being “designed so that those who go in don’t come out again unless dead”.

Morsi’s family said that since Osama’s arrest, they have not been allowed to visit him or give him any of his personal belongings, including medicines.

They pointed out that Osama complained to his lawyer about mistreatment inside the Scorpion prison during the recent session of his trial on 25 February.

They held the current Egyptian authorities responsible for the safety of Osama and his health, without providing further details.

A source from the prison authority, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Egypt’s prison service does not violate regulations and that prisoners are not deprived of their basic needs.

The security source added that when visits to inmates in prison are prevented, this happens for “security reasons”.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Doctors with Nazi mentality torture Palestinian prisoners


Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails spoke of physical and psychological torture they were subjected to inside Israeli jails at the hands of Israeli doctors, who were supposed to treat them, during their arrest and interrogation. By doing do, these doctors acted like Nazis, serving the goals of the Israeli occupation against Palestinian prisoners.

In a report obtained by the PIC on Saturday, 4 March 2017, the prisoners and ex-prisoners commission said the Israeli prison service’s doctors, and Israeli doctors working for security forces and those working inside the Israeli army camps, torture Palestinian prisoners by psychologically pressuring and neglecting them, and leaving them alone to face illness invading their bodies, with no regard to the manner and teachings of medicine, and the international and humanitarian laws in this regard.

The report asserted that many prisoners testified to the collaboration between doctors and interrogators in subjecting Palestinian prisoners to torture and that doctors presented reports stating that Palestinian prisoners have the ability to endure torture and physical and psychological exhaustion and refused to provide needed medication for wounded Palestinian prisoners while being questioned at interrogation centers.

The report stated that the doctors didn’t object to the Israeli interrogators’ bargains to offer Palestinian prisoners medication in return for confession, which asserts their involvement in torture.

The report, published by the prisoners and ex-prisoners commission, revealed that the fact that Palestinian prisons have to wait for a long time, which extends to years sometimes, to be moved to hospitals for medical tests is a crime committed by doctors working at the Israeli prison service.

Some prisoners died and later it was revealed that their death was due to medical negligence, for not providing them with the needed early tests to identify their illness and to provide them with the needed medication.

Systemic Conspiracy
The report revealed that the doctors at the Israeli prison service didn’t carry out their responsibilities regarding conducting basic medical examinations for prisoners, and didn’t object moving prisoners in Bosta vans, not ambulances, to hospitals, and that they presented no reports regarding the suitability of conditions of imprisonment for Palestinian prisoners’ health.

The report added that there is an absolute silence and complicity from doctors, which makes them accused of violating all principles and laws related to medical service, as they abandoned their responsibilities related to providing healthcare for prisoners, and protecting them from harsh, humiliating and inhuman treatment.

The report noted, “There is a planned supervision by these doctors over the needs of Palestinian prisoners, which is related to prisoners’ healthcare, food and cleanliness. Many of these doctors remained silence when Palestinian prisoners were ill-treated, such as exposing them to beating, teargas attacks, and banning them from family visits.

The report said that Israeli doctors did not reveal the results of autopsy of dead Palestinian prisoners, and did not hand them over to the official Palestinian bodies, in addition to hiding information about medical mistakes and examinations conducted on Palestinian prisoners.

The report said the doctors at the Israeli prison service were complicit with the political position of the Israeli government as well as that of the Israeli security apparatus, in many cases, such as writing reports rejecting early release for sick and wounded Palestinian prisoners, claiming that their medical condition was good, in addition to creating many obstacles to deny other doctors’ access into jails to conduct necessary medical examinations for Palestinian sick prisoners.

Nazism at large
The report mentioned a number of examples, which clarified the Israeli prison service’s doctors’ complicity in neglecting Palestinian prisoners, who suffered from serious illnesses:

– A number of Palestinian prisoners passed away and later it was revealed that they suffered from many diseases, including prisoner Maysara Abuhamdia, Fadi Al-Darbi, Zuhair Lubadda, Yasser Hamdouna, Mohammed Al-Jallad, Ashraf Abu Zreei, Zakari Issa and others.

– The doctors’ reluctance to intervene in the case of prisoners suffering from psychological and mental issues due to placing them in solitary confinement.

– The doctors’ silence over medical mistakes prisoners had gone through, such as what happened to prisoner Samer Abu Diak, who suffered from poisoning during a surgery to remove tumor in the stomach in the Israeli hospital of Soroka on 3 September 2015. He then slipped into a coma. Another instance was what happened to prisoner Thaer Halahli, who suffered from Hepatitis E after seeing the dentist on 16 April 2013, who used polluted medial tools in Askalan prison’s clinic, and what happened to prisoner Othman Abukharj, who was given an injection ‘by mistake’ at Shata prison in 2007, which resulted in the prisoner’s suffering from Hepatitis E.

– The doctors’ silence over the continuing detention of sick prisoners at Al-Ramla prison clinic, which is worse than prison itself, and the lack of all humanitarian and health requirements.

– The doctors’ silence over the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, with all what that entails of health risks, and violation of the dignity and rights of hunger strikers.

– The doctors’ silence over making sick prisoners pay for their medical bills, especially when it comes to installing artificial limbs for handicapped prisoners.

– The doctors’ silence over forcing prisoners to confess under torture and threats, especially for minors, and refraining from providing information about prisoners who were subjected to harsh treatment during their interrogation and detention.

The report said the Israeli prison service’s doctors and the Israeli security forces violated the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners of 1955, related to food, cleanliness, and medical care given to prisoners.

Israeli doctors violated the World Medical Association document of 1956, which stated that the basic task of doctors is to protect health and to save lives.

Israeli doctors also violated the Tokyo declaration of 1975, which explains the role of medical teams in protecting prisoners and detainees form torture even if authorities try to force them to be part of it and that it is their duty to provide the prisoners and detainees with the health and mental protection and to treat their illnesses with the same quality of healthcare given to non-prisoners and detainees.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

11 Palestinians indicted for alleged attacks against Israeli targets


The Israeli police said on Tuesday that indictments were served against 11 Palestinian citizens from Bethlehem city for throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, and homemade bombs at Israeli targets.

According to a statement on Tuesday, the Israeli police have completed investigations into the files of the 11 Palestinians, 8 of whom are minors. The youths are from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian youths were accused of throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, and explosives at Rachel’s Tomb army camp, north of Bethlehem, after school hours, “threatening the lives of Israeli soldiers”, the police said.

The Israeli police claimed that the investigations showed that the young men have learnt how to make explosive bombs through the internet and watching videos “inciting violence and terrorism”.

The Israeli police forces recently arrested dozens of Palestinian youths following daily attacks conducted against Rachel’s Tomb army camp with explosives. The attacks resulted in injuring Israeli settlers and soldiers.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Tensions between Algeria and Morocco at Arab League

Image of the 147th session of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt on 7 March 2017 [Ahmed Gamil/Anadolu Agency]

Image of the 147th session of the Arab League Council for foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt on 7 March 2017

Algeria rejected calls for Morocco’s return to the African Union to be hailed in the Arab League on Sunday, a diplomatic source said.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Nadir Arbaoui refused the proposal of his Moroccan counterpart to enlist hailing Morocco’s return to the African Union to the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Arab League prime ministers.

The diplomat told the Anadolu Agency that a verbal skirmish erupted between the two representatives that resulted in ending the meeting and raised the issue to the prime ministers themselves.

Read: Has the Arab League ever actually done anything for the Arabs?

In January, the African Union officially accepted Morocco’s return after three decades of its withdrawal as it protested against the union’s acceptance of the membership of the Polisario group, which calls for separating the Western Sahara from Morocco.

The issue of the Western Sahara has led to increased tensions between Algeria and Morocco since the middle of the 1990s.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Karm Abu Salem to be closed on Sunday due to Jewish holidays

Munir al-Ghalban

Director of Karm Abu Salem crossing Munir al-Ghalban said that Israeli occupation authority (IOA) informed the companies working at the crossing that it will be closed on Sunday, March 12 because of Jewish holidays.

In a statement to the PIC, Ghalban said that the IOA will open the crossing exceptionally on Friday for the entry of quantities of cooking gas and fuel.

Karm Abu Salem crossing is the only pathway for entering goods and humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip in light of the Israeli closure of all other crossings except for Erez crossing which is allocated for the travel of passengers. It comes under repeated closure, sometimes for Jewish holidays and others for security reasons according to Israeli allegations.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Protest, outrage follow assassination of Palestinian youth leader Basil al-Araj by occupation forces

Basil al-Araj
stood “with his gun in one hand and his pen in the other, a solid, conscious fighter who would not compromise one iota on principles or constants and who did not melt like some intellectuals in the acid of temptations or acceptance of the status quo,” said imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian leftist party, in a statement from Israeli prison on the assassination of the Palestinian youth leader by attacking Israeli occupation forces on Monday, 6 March.

Al-Araj “gave his life for Palestine at a time when some traders seek to sell it piece by piece. He never fell or wavered before the rubble of reality, the enormous challenges, the attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause or divert it from its natural course…His experience of struggle and rich cultural work is an inspiration and compass for revolutionary Palestinian youth, and his luminous flame illuminates their struggle and uprising,” said Sa’adat.

As Sa’adat spoke from prison and Palestinians took to the streets, the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission filed a petition in Israeli occupation courts in Jerusalem for the release of Al-Araj’s body. The Palestinian youth activist, 32, was gunned down in a massive assault by Israeli occupation forces on Monday morning, 6 March, in el-Bireh.  Al-Araj’s family said that they received notice from the occupation authorities said they would only transfer his body if his memorial will not be held in his family hometown of al-Walaja, for the protection of nearby illegal occupation settlements.

Protests rang out in Palestine and the refugee camps in memory of Al-Araj on Monday, in Ramallah, el-Bireh, Haifa, Dheisheh refugee camp and elsewhere, including Nahr el-Bared camp in Lebanon. Protesters denounced the killing of Al-Araj, a beloved youth leader and demanded an end to Palestinian Authority security coordination with the Israeli occupation.

He was brutally shot down in a hail of bullets in an assassination raid by Israeli occupation forces after being pursued for months and his family home repeatedly raided. Al-Araj was a prominent Palestinian youth activist involved in grassroots organizing, cultural preservation and Palestinian oral history and writing and theorizing about Palestinian resistane and the future of the liberation struggle. The Palestine Chronicle quoted al-Araj, “If you want to be an intellectual, you have to be an engaged intellectual, and if you refuse to do so, it is no use to be intellectual.”

He and five of his friends and comrades were imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority for months without charge after PA President Mahmoud Abbas boasted of their arrest and the value of PA security coordination with the Israeli occupation. After a hunger strike and widespread support, they were released from PA prison; however, they were then pursued by the Israeli occupation. Four of al-Araj’s fellow hunger strikers, Mohammed al-Salameen, Seif al-Idrissi, Haitham Siyaj and Mohammed Harb, are currently imprisoned without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. The integral role of PA security coordination in the pursuit, arrest and now murder of al-Araj was reflected in the chants and demands of protesting Palestinians. On Tuesday, 7 March, a protest will gather in Beirut outside the Palestinian embassy to demand an end to security coordination as a crime against the Palestinian people after the extrajudicial execution of al-Araj.

Al-Akhbar newspaper in Lebanon reported that al-Araj rented an apartment from a foreigner in el-Bireh for two and a half months while he was incessantly pursued, especially in his hometown of al-Walaja in Bethlehem, by occupation forces.  His father said that the family predicted Basil’s killing after the threats of occupation forces if he did not give himself up. He had with him a large number of books and magazines, including books by Antonio Gramsci, “Palestine Studies’ magazine, the novel, “Al-Moskobiyeh” and the Qur’an. Al-Araj resisted and fought back against the invading forces until his last breath.

Palestinian political parties widely denounced the assassination of al-Araj. “The martyr Basil Al-Araj was a freedom fighter, intellectual and theorist of the uprising of Palestinian youth. He was dedicated to a path of resistance, intifada, unity, return and liberation of the entire land of Palestine. He was a revolutionary intellectual who put all of his cultural and intellectual energies in the service of the resistance together with his own actions on the ground, confronting security coordination and collaboration.

The assassination of the martyr struggler Basil al-Araj is the ugly fruit of the continuation of security coordination. Basil al-Araj and his comrades were chased by the Palestinian Authority security apparatus and were imprisoned for several months, and this detention was directly followed by the occupation’s hunt for him until his death,” said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Kassem said that “the martyrdom of Basil al-Araj is the embodiment of resistance of the youth of the West Bank in the Jerusalem intifada, expressing their rejection of compromise and acquiescence to the occupation, or the illusion that the relationship of the Palestinians and the occupation is normalized or a relationship of security and negotiations.”  Islamic Jihad issued a statement saying that “the martyr al-Araj was an exceptional struggler, alongside all free palestinian youth, struggling to bring an end to the occupation of our land,” denouncing the role of the PA and noting “the suffering of thousands of detainees in the prisons of the Palestinian Authority who have been arrested and detained by the hands of their own countrymen…betting falsely on settlement.”  Fatah spokesperson Ziyad Khalil Abu Zayyad denounced the killing of al-Araj as “another escalation (by Israel) against Palestinians,” calling it a “hideous act of the occupation.”

Araj’s will, written to be released if he was slain by occupation forces, was translated by Ma’an News:

“Greetings of Arab nationalism, homeland, and liberation,

If you are reading this, it means I have died and my soul has ascended to its creator. I pray to God that I will meet him with a guiltless heart, willingly, and never reluctantly, and free of any whit of hypocrisy….How hard it is to write your own will. For years I have been contemplating testaments written by martyrs, and those wills have always bewildered me. They were short, quick, without much eloquence. They did not quench our thirst to find answers about martyrdom. Now I am walking to my fated death satisfied that I found my answers. How stupid I am! Is there anything which is more eloquent and clearer than a martyr’s deed? I should have written this several months ago, but what kept me was that this question is for you, living people, and why should I answer on your behalf? Look for the answers yourself, and for us the inhabitants of the graves, all we seek is God’s mercy.”

(Source / 07.03.2017)

56 Palestinian women held in Israeli jails including 12 minors

Vrouwen in gevangenis

As the world marks on March 8 International Women’s Day, 56 Palestinian women, 12 of them minors under 18 years of age, are currently held in Israeli jails, Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said on Monday.

The PPS pointed out that two female prisoners are serving time in administrative detention according to which they are held without charge or trial.

Lena Jarbouni, who is the longest serving Palestinian female prisoner in Israeli jails, was arrested in 2002 and is serving a 17-year sentence.

The 56 female prisoners are currently held in HaSharon and Damon prisons suffering harsh treatment and bad incarceration conditions by which they are treated inhumanely and denied access to the most basic rights including heating, winter clothing, medical treatment, and family visits, the PPS noted.

Israel detained 15,000 Palestinian women since its occupation of the West Bank, occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967.

(Source / 07.03.2017)