Group: 500 Palestinian prisoners now serving life sentences in Israeli custody

500 gevangenen levenslang

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian was sentenced to life in prison on Sunday, making him the 500th Palestinian currently serving a life sentence in Israeli custody, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) said on Monday.

PPCS spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said that the Israeli military Ofer court had sentenced Muhammad Abd al-Basit Hroub, a 23-year-old resident of the Hebron-area village of Deir Samit, to four life sentences and a 750,000-shekel ($206,900) fine for his involvement in a shooting attack in November 2015 which killed an Israeli settler, an American, and a Palestinian bystander.
Hroub’s home was punitively demolished by Israeli forces in February 2016.
Al-Ashqar said that Hroub was the fifth Palestinian to have been handed a life sentence since the beginning of the year, adding that Israeli law defined life sentences as lasting 99 years.
Al-Ashqar identified the four other Palestinians as Muhammad Husni Abu Shahin, Abdullah Ishaq, Khalid Kutina, and Muhammad Abd al-Majid Amayreh.
Ma’an also reported the resentencing of Nael Barghouthi, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, to life in prison in February.
Israeli courts usually sentence Palestinians to life in prison when they are allegedly involved in deadly attacks against Israelis.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 458 Palestinians were serving life sentences in Israeli custody as of January.
(Source / 20.03.2017)

Tension flares up in Balata refugee camp east of Nablus

Balata spanningen lopen op

Tension prevailed on Monday afternoon in Balata refugee camp east of Nablus city after a PA security forces officer was killed early morning during a security arrest operation.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that masked men closed al-Quds and al-Zeyout two adjacent streets to the camp. They used torched rubber tires and garbage containers in order to close the two roads.

Meanwhile, violent clashes erupted between dozens of armed citizens from the camp and the PA security soldiers who showered citizens with tear gas bombs.

Sounds of intensive shooting were heard in the vicinity of the camp. The youths, however, took to the camp’s streets and chanted angry slogans against the Mayor of Nablus Akram al-Rujoub and Commander of the National Security Forces Nidal Abu Dukhan, the eyewitnesses added.

A PA security forces member died of his wounds sustained in the overnight gunfight between the PA forces and armed citizens in Balata camp while trying to arrest a wanted man called Ahmad Abu Hamada who was seriously injured in the same incident.

Another member of PA security forces suffered bullet injuries in the armed clashes that broke out on Sunday night in Balata refugee camp.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

UN report decries Israeli settlements’ ‘alarming pace’

US boycotts UN rights council as special rapporteur accuses Israel of ’the subjugation’ of Palestinians’ ‘humanity’.

Israel plans to build 6,000 new housing units in Palestinian areas [Mikkel Bahl/Danwatch]

Israel plans to build 6,000 new housing units in Palestinian areas

The UN’s special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories has decried how Israel’s “illegal settlement enterprise has moved at an alarming pace” this year.

Michael Lynk pointed on Monday to announcements by Israel to build 6,000 new housing units in Palestinian areas, accompanied by “high rates of demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.

He accused Israel of “the subjugation of [Palestinians’] humanity”, and also cited a UN Security Council resolution in December that called the establishment of settlements in the West Bank a “flagrant violation” of international law.

Lynk made the statements in a report presented to the UN rights council during the Geneva-based body’s mandated session on Israel, known as Agenda Item Seven.

READ MORE: What did the UN apartheid report expose in reality?

The US State Department criticised the UN council on Monday for holding its Israel debate and vowed in a statement “to vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item”.

The US also boycotted Monday’s session saying the regular review showed the council’s “long-standing bias against Israel”, which threatens the “credibility” of the body.

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, denounced how Israel was the only country on the 47-member council’s calendar.

“It is not Syria, where the regime has systematically slaughtered and tortured its own people,” she said.

“It is not Iran, where public hangings are a regular occurrence. It is not North Korea, where the regime uses forced labour camps to crush its people into submission. It is Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

A letter from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to advocacy groups, obtained by the AP news agency last week, said the US would not continue participating unless the council undergoes “considerable reform”.

In the more than 230 country-specific resolutions at the council since it was founded 11 years ago, more than one-quarter have been focused on Israel, whose policies in Palestinian areas have raised rights concerns for decades.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

IOF sets up barrier, arrests two Palestinians near Qalqilya

Qalqilua weer 2 Palestijnen opgepakt

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested two Palestinian young men from Qalqilya city and released them hours later on Monday night.  The IOF soldiers questioned both men at the makeshift barrier that was erected at the road between Qalqilya and Ezbet al-Tabib hamlet.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that Israeli soldiers stopped a Palestinian car and detained the two men for a while then removed the checkpoint.

The IOF troops were deployed in the vicinity of Azzoun town. They erected a military checkpoint on the nearby tunnel road, the sources added.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

Palestine scholars reject US extradition request for female Palestinian freed from Israeli Jail

Israeli security forces take position outside Israel's Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah [Shadi Hatem/apaimages]

Israeli security forces take position outside Israel’s Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah

The Palestine Scholars Association in the Diaspora in a statement on Saturday rejected an American request to extradite, Ahlam al-Tamimi, the female Palestinian prisoner freed from an Israeli jail.

“We have been closely following the issue of the US request from Jordan to extradite the freed prisoner Ahlam al-Tamimi and we are deeply concerned about the oppressive policies of the Americans,” the statement said.

Image of Ahlam al-Tamimi

The association observed that US citizens had joined Israeli forces and had taken part in the “killing” of Palestinians. It said US citizens had also helped in the desecration of holy sites and had assisted the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.  It said those citizens who had killed Palestinians were often cleared of the “crime”, but when killed while fighting for the Israeli military, they were referred to as “civilians.”

Meanwhile, the statement described the extradition request as a shocking policy of “double standards” as it coincided with the anniversary of the death of the American activist Rachel Corrie who was killed by Israeli bulldozers in Gaza on 16 March 2003.

The association noted that the US have not requested the extradition or prosecution of, what it referred to as, the “criminals” who killed Corrie, the 23-year-old unarmed American peace activist.

Addressing an audience in the Jordanian capital Amman, the Palestinian scholars stressed that it will not be handing over Al-Tamimi as the association considered such a move as a clear violation of “religious rules” based on the Holy Qur’an.

Concluding the statement, the scholars called on the Jordanian government and parliament, who also rejected the US extradition request. They also decided to grant Al-Tamimi “honorary membership” of the association as a reward for the sacrifices she had made for the Palestinian cause.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

Libya: Ghwell Militias Prep for New Battle in Tripoli


Khalifa Ghwell, a self-declared prime minister, gestures during an interview with Reuters, in Tripoli, Libya, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017

Cairo – Former Prime Minister of the National Salvation Government Khalifa al-Ghwell stated that he tried to reach an agreement with Akilah Saleh, speaker of the parliament in Tobruk, and Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani to form a new government to substitute Sarraj government.

Ghwell denounced the meddling of Italy in the internal affair and seizing, supported by pro-Sarraj militias, his headquarters in Tripoli. He considered that the latest aggressive incidents that occurred in the past week were plotted by the Libyan Presidential Council.

A military officer in Ghwell government revealed that preparations are being made for a military operation to wrest control over some headquarters and target pro-Sarraj militias.

Tripoli falls under the control of various armed groups that have formed local power zones and are struggling for authority since the national revolution, backed by NATO, against late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Libyan Presidential Council neglected, for its part, that its headquarters in the navy base was raided by militias and denounced in return the threats of Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar to invade the capital in response to calls made by protestors who witnessed gunfire as they demanded liberating the city from militias.

In a related matter, spokesman for pro-Haftar forces Ahmed al-Mesmari declared that the last stronghold of al-Qaeda was liberated putting an end to a resistance that lasted for weeks by fighters who took shields in housing towers.

In a news conference, he added that the Libyan National Army (LNA) killed 42 terrorists in latest battles, west Benghazi, as he affirmed that Turkey is involved in providing logistic and materialistic support to extremists in the city.

The LNA is conducting, since three years, a campaign in the second biggest city in Libya and is still confronting resistance enclaves in two northern towns despite the enormous gains accomplished since the beginning of 2016.

Mid of 2014, Haftar launched the Dignity Operation saying that he wants to kick out extremists from the city following a series of explosions and murders.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

Palestinian student seized by occupation forces; PLC member’s detention extended as poet faces another hearing

Palestinian student Istabraq Yahya Tamimi was seized by Israeli occupation forces in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, 20 March, after they invaded her student housing in Bir Zeit. Tamimi is a member of the univeristy’s student council. She was among eight Palestinians arrested by Israeli occupation forces in the early hours of 20 March.

She joins approximately 60 Palestinian women prisoners held in Israeli jails, including 13 minor girls. Among them is Fatima Jibreen Taqatqa, 16, from Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem, who is currently held in the Shaare Tzedek hospital in serious condition. She was shot by Israeli occupation forces on Thursday, 16 March as she drove in her parents’ car, accused of attempting to run over a group of Israeli occupation soldiers by the road. Her detention was extended for eight days on Saturday 18 March in absentia; Fatima is held in the hospital. Fatima’s family urged international institutions to investigate the case and support their daughter.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Samira Halaiqa, 53, from al-Khalil, had her detention extended once more until 21 March, on allegations of “incitement” on social media. She is one of 10 PLC members currently imprisoned by the Israeli occupation; her computer and mobile phones were also confiscated by Israeli occupation forces.

Meanwhile, Souad Shyoukhi, 30, the sister of Ali Shyoukhi, 20, killed by Israeli occupation forces in October 2016, was released after a week of interrogation in the Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem. She had been seized by occupation forces on 9 March after they invaded her home after midnight. Her family has been attacked repeatedly by occupation forces since the killing of Ali; Rawan Shyoukhi, 21, the sister of Souad and Ali, is held in house arrest for a six-month period after accusations of “incitement” on social media. Mohammed Shyoukhi, 20, Ali’s twin brother, is serving a 10-month prison sentence for “incitement” for posting on social media after his brother was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces.  Also released was Haifa Abu Sbeih, 38, from the town of Surif in al-Khalil after completing a 15-month sentence in Israeli prison. The mother of six, she runs a private elementary school in al-Khalil and is president of the Workers’ Kindergartens and a member of the executive committee of the Center for Democracy in Ramallah.

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, 34, had another hearing on Sunday, 19 March in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. A Palestinian citizen of Israel, she is accused of “incitement” for posting her poetry on YouTube and social media; she was imprisoned for three months and held for eight months more under severe house arrest away from her home village of Reineh. The restrictions on Tatour were only loosened somewhat after a growing international campaign by highly prominent artists and writers around the world; PEN international has also taken up her case. Tatour still remains threatened with eight years in prison for her artistic expression. Two defense experts, Prof. Nissim Calderon and Dr. Yoni Mendel, testified at the 19 March hearing. The next hearing in her case will take place on 28 March, and a ruling may be expected in three months.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

End Security Coordination: Prisoners’ Day call for actions

Palestinian youth activists have issued the following call for actions marking 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and the 40th day after the assassination of Palestinian youth leader and activist Basil al-Araj. To contact the organizers of this call, please visit the Facebook page, End Security Coordination, or email

We call for actions across the globe to mark April 17: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and the 40 day memorial of Basel Al-Araj’s murder. On this day, we continue to demand an end to the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel. We call on Palestinian communities everywhere to use this moment as a first step in reorganising our communities and affirming our unwavering will for return, freedom and dignity.

Palestinians across historic Palestine and in exile, as well as international solidarity activists, have protested the assassination of Basel Al-Araj, a well-known activist and intellectual, by the Israeli occupation army. Ongoing protests are directed at the Palestinian Authority (PA) precisely for their ongoing collaboration with the Zionist regime, which led to Basel’s death.

Protestors in Ramallah, including the martyr Basel’s father, were attacked by the US-trained and Israel-armed police forces of the PA. As Siham Al-Araj, Basel’s mother stated: “The PA does not want people who say no; it wants people who submit to and accept the oppression we live under.”

Basel was one of six activists arrested by the PA in March 2016. After six months of being subjected to torture while being held without trial, the activists carried out a hunger strike until their release. Five of the activists were immediately arrested by the Israeli occupation, joining around seven thousand other Palestinian political prisoners in Israel’s jails. They continue to be held under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Basel, however, went into hiding for six months. On March 6, dozens of Israeli forces raided Basel’s hideout in Al-Bireh, in close proximity to the PA’s headquarters, and assassinated him after a two hour standoff.

Our people have struggled for too long for us to stand idle while repressive leaders barter our oppression and dispossession for their personal gain. For a century we have fought for freedom from colonialism; for seventy years we have fought for liberation and return in the face of our expulsion and the creation of a racist colonial regime in our homeland. For fifty years we have resisted that regime’s expansion. We are approaching thirty years since the Oslo accords that transformed what remained of our land into open air prisons administered by unrepresentative PA officials who have hired themselves out to be our colonisers’ first line of defense.

It was Basel’s part in this fight that made him a target, and it is this that makes his assassination an assault on all those who strive for freedom and dignity. Basel embodied the revolutionary politics for which he fought. His refusal to surrender to the colonial regime, one that mirrored countless others who lost their life for the cause of freedom and justice, only renews our collective determination to struggle for liberation and return.

The Oslo Regime does not represent us. Now is the time for us to come together and rebuild our collective struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine.

No to security coordination with colonial regimes! Yes to people’s struggles!

We will not allow the blood of our martyred sisters and brothers to be shed in vain!

Freedom for all political prisoners! Freedom for Palestine!

(We want to be clear that these actions are not led by any political faction or any particular organization. We represent all sections of the Palestinian people who want to take a stance and resist the oppression of our people in all its forms.)

دعوة للتحرك والعمل في كافة أنحاء العالم لإحياء يوم السابع عشر من نيسان/ابريل الذي يوافق يوم الأسير الفلسطيني وذكرى مرور أربعين يوم على استشهاد باسل الأعرج. في هذا اليوم، نطالب بوقف التنسيق الأمني مع الكيان الصهيوني وننادي جاليتنا الفلسطينية، أينما كانت، باغتنام هذه اللحظة كخطوة ثابتة واعدة نحو إعادة تنظيمنا والتأكيد على إرادتنا التي لا تنكسر نحو العودة والحرية والكرامة.

يعكف الفلسطينيون في كافة ربوع فلسطين التاريخية وفي الشتات، بالإضافة إلى نشطاء التضامن مع فلسطين في كافة أرجاء العالم على التظاهر والاحتجاج على اغتيال الشهيد باسل الأعرج على يد جيش الاستعمار الصهيونيّ. إن الهدف الرئيسي لهذه المظاهرات كان ولا زال كبح وإبطال آليات التنسيق الأمني القائمة بين السلطة الفلسطينية والنظام الصهيوني، والتي تصون وترسخ وتوثق قبضة المحتل الإسرائيلي على فلسطين والفلسطينيين أينما كانوا. إن استشهاد باسل الأعرج ما هو إلا أحد النتائج الصارخة والمباشرة لتواطؤ السلطة الفلسطينية الممأسس، والمسمى بالتنسيق الأمني.

في أعقاب استشهاد باسل، وتنديدًا بمحاكمة السلطة الفلسطينية لجثمان الشهيد باسل وستة معتقلين آخرين في سجون الاحتلال، انطلقت مظاهرات في الشارع الفلسطيني في رام الله، وتم مهاجمتها بشراسة ووحشية من قبل قوات شرطة السلطة الفلسطينية، المدربة أمريكياً. اذ لم تكتف السلطة الفلسطينية، بتسهيل الضبط الأمني الإسرائيلي وتعزيز منظومة الاحتلال، بل حاكمت شهيدا ومعتقلين سياسيين، لا يزالون محتجزين لدى قوات الاحتلال، وقمعت المتظاهرين المطالبين بالتحرر الوطني وإنهاء التنسيق الأمني. وإزاء ذلك علقت والدة الشهيد باسل، سهام الأعرج بأن السلطة الفلسطينية ” تريد شعباً يرضخ ويقبل بالذل الذي نعيش فيه”.

لقد كافح شعبنا لزمن مديد كي لا نقف ساكنين فيما تتاجر قياداتنا القمعية بمصيرنا، وحاضرنا، ومستقبلنا مقابل منافعها الشخصية، الماديّة والسياسية. لقد حاربنا لقرن من الزمن في سبيل الحرية وإنهاء الاستعمار، وناضلنا سبعة عقود من أجل التحرير والعودة واستعادة أرضنا، قاومنا التوسع الاستيطاني للكيان الصهيوني لنصف قرن، وعما قريب سنكون قد عشنا ثلاثين عاماً في كنف اتفاقيات أوسلو التي حولت ما تبقى من وطننا إلى سجون مفتوحة ربحية للاحتلال، مُدارة من قبل الانتهازيين والمتواطئين والفاسدين.

إن الدور الذي لعبه باسل في هذا الكفاح هو الذي جعل منه هدفاً، وكان الهدف الأكبر من وراء اغتياله هو الانقضاض على كل من ناضل وكافح من أجل الحرية والكرامة. لقد تبنى باسل المبادئ السياسية الثورية التي آمن بها. وإن رفضه الاستسلام للنظام الاستعماري، يعكس رفض الكثيرين ممن استشهدوا وسجنوا وضحوا من أجل الحرية والعدالة، وهو ما يجدد التزامنا الجماعي بالنضال من أجل التحرير والعودة.

آن الأوان لكي نتحد سوية في سبيل بناء كفاحنا الجماعي من أجل فلسطين وشعبها.

لا للتنسيق الأمني مع الأنظمة الاستعمارية! نعم لكفاح الشعوب المقهورة!
لن نسمح بأن يذهب دم اخواتنا واخواننا المسفوك هدراً!
الحرية لكافة الأسيرات والأسرى! الحرية لفلسطين!

(ننوه الى أن هذه الدعوة والأنشطة التي ستتم الدعوة والاشارة اليها لا تتبع لأي فصيل سياسي أو أي منظمة معينة. نحن نمثل كافة قطاعات الشعب الفلسطيني ممن يريدون الوقوف في وجه الظلم الواقع على شعبنا بكافة أشكاله)

                                                          (Source / 20.03.2017)

IOA renews house arrest on 73-year-old activist

Abdul Latif Ghaith

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) renewed on Monday the house arrest on 73-year-old Palestinian human rights activist Abdul Latif Ghaith for the 12th consecutive time.

According to the Israeli order, Ghaith’s travel ban into the West Bank has been once again extended.

Ghaith was first denied entry into the West Bank in 2011.

Ghaith, who is one of the founders of Dameer institution for human rights, is also banned from traveling abroad since 2012 for allegedly posing a threat to “state security”, although no evidence is given to support such claim.

The rights activist spent more than eight years in Israeli jails including a year in administrative detention.

Human rights reports pointed to increasing IOA targeting of Palestinian journalists and human rights activists in recent weeks especially the Jerusalemites.

(Source / 20.03.2017)

Israel Threatens To ‘Destroy’ Syrian Air Defenses

Syria’s military said it had downed an Israeli plane and hit another as they were carrying out pre-dawn strikes near Palmyra.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman attends a special cabinet meeting to mark Jerusalem Day in Ein Lavan, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman attends a special cabinet meeting to mark Jerusalem Day in Ein Lavan, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Thursday, June 2, 2016

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.

“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” Lieberman said on Israeli public radio.

Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Syria on Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the strikes targeted weapons bound for Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah movement.

‘The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation’

– Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Defense Minister

Syria’s military said it had downed one of the Israeli planes and hit another as they were carrying out the pre-dawn strikes near the famed desert city of Palmyra that it recaptured from militants this month.

The Israeli military denied that any planes had been hit. The Syrian government has made similar claims in the past.

An Israeli army statement said “several anti-aircraft missiles” were fired following the raid but that none hit their targets.

One missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defence system, Israeli media reported.

Israel vow on arms transfers

It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hezbollah, which fought a 2006 war with Israel and is now battling alongside the Damascus regime.

“Each time we discover arms transfers from Syria to Lebanon we will act to stop them. On this there will be no compromise,” Lieberman said Sunday.

“The Syrians must understand that they are held responsible for these arms transfers to Hezbollah and that if they continue to allow them then we will do what we have to do.”

Israel does not usually confirm or deny individual raids, but it may have been led to do so this time by the circumstances of the incident.

President Bashar al-Assad’s position has been strengthened in recent months with his forces reclaiming the whole of Syria’s second city Aleppo, as well as enjoying continuing Russian support.

Lieberman said he did not wish “to interfere in the Syrian civil war or provoke a confrontation with the Russians,” but that Israel’s security would remain his top priority.

Israel seized most of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the border had remained largely quiet for decades until 2011 when the Syrian conflict began.

(Source / 20.03.2017)