Hamas hails prisoners for the hunger strike suspension agreement

Hamas and prisoners

Hamas Movement opined that the hunger strike suspension agreement which was achieved by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails after 41 consecutive days of open hunger strike proved the importance of national unity.

In a press statement on Saturday, the Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum hailed the striking prisoners for the great achievement and the Palestinian people for showing unity in their support of and solidarity with the hunger striking captives. “They managed to turn the issue of the hunger striking prisoners to an international public opinion issue”, he said.

An agreement was reached on Saturday between the hunger strike leaders and Israeli Prison Service stipulated the suspension of the hunger strike after prisoners’ demands were met.

Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee revealed that the agreement articles are going to be announced later on.

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Clashes after sermon disrupted in north Morocco

Moroccans protest after fishermen Mohcine Fikri was crushed to death in Al-Hoceima, Morocco on 8 December 2016 [yabiladi maroc/Twitter]

Moroccans protest after fishermen Mohcine Fikri was crushed to death in Al-Hoceima, Morocco on 8 December 2016

Clashes erupted in a northern Moroccan city after authorities sought to arrest a well-known activist who has led recent demonstrations and who interrupted a Friday prayer sermon, activists and local residents said.

Political protests are rare in Morocco, but tensions in Al-Hoceima city have been simmering since October after the death of a fishmonger who was crushed inside a garbage truck while trying to retrieve fish confiscated by the police.

His death sparked outrage against “Hogra”, a colloquial Derja Arabic term for deprivation of dignity because of official abuses or corruption, and prompted some of the largest protests since Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations in 2011.

Al-Hoceima and other towns in Rif region have a long history of dissent against the “Makhzen”, the royal establishment in the North African kingdom where the king still holds ultimate authority despite ceding some powers to ease tensions in 2011.

According to activists present yesterday, a preacher in a local mosque criticised the so-called “Hirak” protests as “inciting unrest.” In response, Nasser Zefzafi, leader of the “Hirak” movement, interrupted the sermon in the mosque.

“These are mosques of God, not of the Makhzen,” Zefzafi said to chants of support among prayer-goers in a video widely circulated on social media.

Read: Al-Hoceima protests mirror Morocco’s political fragility

Activists and local residents said people took to the streets around Zefzafi’s home in the city, and clashes broke out between police and his supporters. They said there was a heavy security presence in the area that the activists said was an attempt to arrest him.

State news agency MAP confirmed an arrest warrant was issued for Zefzafi and an investigation had been opened into him and those with him during the mosque incident.

The Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for details on the incident. But the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, charged with overseeing Friday prayer sermons, denounced Zefzafi’s actions as an “enormous disorder.”

“The law stipulates sanctions against those who hinder religious rites,” the statement read. “This incident constitutes vile behaviour.”

The penal code punishes those who hinder religious ceremonies with a prison term ranging from six months to three years, and with fines.

“These sort of actions merit arrest, but I do not know whether or not authorities have arrested him,” one government official told Reuters.

Zefzafi appeared on social media later where he released a video from an undisclosed location, assuring supporters he was free and urging them to remain peaceful.

“I asked the police why they’re doing this,” one activist told Reuters. “They told me there’s a warrant out for Zefzafi’s arrest.”

One eyewitness said people were out on the street and security forces responded forcefully, and there was a heavy presence near Zefzafi’s home.

Moroccan authorities usually police protests heavily, nervous about unrest since the 2011 demonstrations. During those protests, the king devolved some of his authority to an elected government in a constitutional reform.

Thousands of Moroccans marched under the watch of police in Al-Hoceima last week, waving banners proclaiming “Are you a government or a gang?”

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Army Injures A Young Palestinian Man Near Nablus

27 MAY
6:18 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, the town of Beita, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, assaulted nonviolent protesters, marching in solidarity with the hunger striking detainees, and shot one Palestinian with live fire.

The Emergency Department of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus, said the soldiers shot a Palestinian, 19 years of age, with a live round in his shoulder, before the medics transferred him to Rafidia hospital.

It added that at least nine Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation, and received the needed treatment.

The soldiers also surrounded the town, and prevented the residents from entering or leaving it.

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Britain’s Labour Party will ‘immediately’ recognize Palestine if elected in June

Labour Party

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Britain’s Labour Party announced in its 2017 elections manifesto that if elected in June, the party would immediately recognize the state of Palestine.

The manifesto stated that the party was committed to a two-state solution to solve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that “there can be no military solution to this conflict.”
Both Israel and Palestine must “avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve,” the manifesto continued, referencing the need to end the decade-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the half-century Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and Israel’s continued settlement expansions.
It added that Hamas, the de facto leaders in the besieged Gaza Strip, must also end rocket and “terror attacks,” in order for leaders to enter “meaningful negotiations” and develop a “diplomatic resolution.”
“A Labour government will immediately recognize the state of Palestine,” the manifesto added.
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom’s House of Lords released a statement that strongly criticized the British government’s “very degrading, dismissive attitude” towards international efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and suggested that it take a stronger stance to advance a two-state solution, including recognizing a state of Palestine.
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, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
(Source / 27.05.2017)

Sheikh Sabri calls for visiting al-Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan

Sheikh Sabri

Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, called on Palestinians to visit al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan which started on Saturday.

He underlined that visiting al-Aqsa Mosque for worship and Islamic education is a duty for all Muslims.

In a statement on Saturday, the Preacher of al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Sabri, urged Palestinians to close their restaurants and cafes during fasting hours in Ramadan. He also advised people to control their expenses during the fasting month and save money in order to help the poor and needy families.

(Source / 27.05.2017)

New crisis in Gaza as ‘our eyes wide open,’ UN envy says

‘Gaza faces a downward spiral of de-development,’ UN envoy says.

UN Envoy to Middle East Nicholay Mladenov told UN Security Council “in Gaza we are walking into another crisis with our eyes wide open.”

“Since mid-April desalination plants are functioning at 15% of their capacity and drinking water is supplied for a few hours every 2-4 days

UN Envoy to Middle East Nicholay Mladenov told UN Security Council “in Gaza we are walking into another crisis with our eyes wide open.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Mladenov said: “I am today warning the Security Council that unless urgent measures are taken to de-escalate, the crisis risks spiralling out of control with devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

He continued: “In April, the Palestinian Government [in Ramallah] upheld its decision to reduce salary allowances to nearly 60,000 public sector employees in Gaza. Gaza is also in the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis. The power plant, that supplies 30 per cent of Gaza’s electricity, stopped functioning on 16 April.”

Explaining more about the energy crisis, he said: “The lines supplying power from Egypt into Gaza are often down for technical reasons.” Thus, Gaza has only 60 per cent of electricity from the Israeli occupation and this would be reduced next month.

“Since April, the majority of Palestinians in Gaza are receiving about four hours of electricity per day,” said. Then, he asked: “How long do you think they can survive if this is further reduced to two hours of electricity per day?”

Then, he also asked: “Who will pay the price of the ensuing violence and escalation?” He answered: “It will not be those who live a life of exemptions and privilege. The price will be paid by poor Palestinians, by women and children, by people already traumatized by conflict, who have been held hostage for a decade now.”

Mladenov speaks about the reality on the ground in Gaza. “Hospitals are now forced to postpone elective surgeries and have already reduced 80 per cent of cleaning, catering and sterilization services.

“Since mid-April desalination plants are functioning at 15% of their capacity and drinking water is supplied for a few hours every 2-4 days.

“As we speak 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage are discharged into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. This is the equivalent of 40 Olympic-size swimming pools of sewage. Untreated. Daily. An environmental disaster for Israel, for Egypt and Gaza is in the making.

“Food prices are soaring as the price of water for irrigation has gone up by 65per cent. The manufacturing sector is grinding to a halt and over half of private industry workers have been suspended.”

After 10 years of Israeli siege on Gaza, Mladenov describe the situation: “The past decade has seen Gaza’s infrastructure, its basic services and private sector gradually debilitated, its economy weakened… Gaza faces a downward spiral of de-development.”

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails end hunger strike

Palestinian protesters wave flags bearing the portrait of prominent prisoner and popular leader Marwan Barghouti during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in West Bank on 23 April, 2017 [Ayman Ameen / ApaImages]

Palestinian protesters wave flags bearing the portrait of prominent prisoner and popular leader Marwan Barghouti during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in West Bank on 23 April, 2017

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners ended a 40-day hunger strike today initially launched over conditions in Israeli jails, the Israel Prison Service and a Palestinian official said.

About 1,100 inmates had initially taken part in one of the largest such hunger strikes, which began on 17 April. It raised tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, with protests in support of the strikers spilling over into clashes in the West Bank and along the Israel-Gaza border.

More than 800 inmates, who had stuck with the hunger strike until today, ended it after talks held with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to change some of the prisoners’ conditions, a Prison Service Statement said.

On Wednesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein urged Israel to improve conditions.

Neither the Prison Service nor the Palestinian Authority divulged the full details of the agreement. However, the Prison Service did say that a second monthly family visit would be reinstated after it had been cut in the past.

Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, which works on behalf of inmates, said some points of the agreement would be discussed further.

“Issues that had been agreed upon were improving visits and prison conditions,” Fares told Reuters.


The strike was called by Marwan Barghouti, the most high-profile Palestinian jailed in Israel, to protest against solitary confinement and detention without trial, which has been applied to thousands of prisoners since the 1980s. Israel says that measure is necessary to prevent attacks and protect security sources.

Barghouti, a leader in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, was convicted of murder over the killing of Israelis during the Second Intifada and sentenced in 2004 to five life terms. Surveys show many Palestinians want him to be their next president.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has said Barghouti started the strike in order to garner political support.

The Prison Service said that most of the inmates on strike were aligned with Fatah, though it appears that the strike was a non-partisan effort. Eighteen were being treated in hospital.

Hunger strikes are not uncommon among the 6,500 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, many of whom were convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israelis.

Read: How does Israel steal the money of Palestinian prisoners?

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Palestinian hunger strikers want to be recognised as POWs as protest is suspended

Image of demonstration in support of the Palestinian prisoners, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, Gaza on May 22, 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Image of demonstration in support of the Palestinian prisoners, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, Gaza on May 22, 2017

The head of the PLO’s Committee for Prisoners and Freed Prisoners has revealed that the hunger strikers have added Israel’s recognition of them as prisoners of war to their list of demands, Felesteen.ps reported on Friday. Issa Qaraqe said that this new demand came after 40 days of the protest, during which the Israeli occupation authorities have been refusing to talk with the hunger strikers.


However, early on Saturday, Qaraqe announced that the prisoners had suspended their hunger strike on condition that the Israeli occupation authorities discuss their demands. “After 20 hours of talks with the hunger strike’s leaders,” he said, “the hunger strikers agreed to suspend their strike as the Israeli occupation agreed to discuss the prisoners’ demands.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the International Red Cross, Sohair Zaqqout, said that the hunger strikers had already “ended” their strike. “As a neutral mediator, the IRC played an important role in the secret bilateral talks in order to avoid losses of souls, especially after the strike had become dangerous on day 40,” she explained.

Zaqqout did not reveal any details about the deal, but noted that “talks with the Israeli authorities and the other sides are still continuous and more details will be available in the coming days or weeks.”

Read: How does Israel steal the money of Palestinian prisoners?

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Kol Ha’ir: Israel continues to carry out settlement projects in J’lem

Gilo settlement

Israeli companies recently started to market and build hundreds of housing units in illegal settlements in Occupied Jerusalem, while the Israeli municipal authority approved a plan to build underground roads northeast of the holy city.

According to Kol Ha’ir newspaper, 113 housing units have been marketed in Gilo settlement, southeast of Jerusalem.

Another 41 housing units of the Habark project in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement has also been marketed and sold by an Israeli company, which embarked on carrying out the second phase of the project (about 56 housing units).

In turn, another company called Euro-Israel recently marketed 122 housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev.

The same company already built and sold 24 apartments in Pisgat Ze’ev and is now carrying out two projects to construct a total of 200 housing units in Har Homa and Neve Yaakov settlements, east of Jerusalem.

In another development, Kol Ha’ir said that the Jerusalem district planning and building committee chaired by Meir Turgeman, who also serves as deputy head of the Israeli municipality in the holy city, approved a major project to build traffic tunnels at the junction of the French Hill settlement, northeast of Jerusalem.

(Source / 27.05.2017)

Israeli sources: 18,000 Israeli settlers left O. Jerusalem in 2016

Jerusalem Day

As Israel celebrated last week the “Jerusalem Day,” leaked statistics revealed that Jewish reverse immigration rates from occupied Jerusalem have been notably increased over 2016.

Israeli Channel 10 reported that more than 18,000 Israeli settlers have left the holy city over 2016, 46% of those aged between 20 and 34.

The sources pointed out that occupied Jerusalem has the lowest net per-capita household income.

Finally, while the majority of Israeli settlers living in occupied Jerusalem feel less secure in the city streets, 71% of those aged 20 and over feel unsafe walking alone in their neighborhoods at dark.

(Source / 27.05.2017)