The PA’s wrongful actions towards Gaza residents does not mean Israel can shirk its responsibility for their fate

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories said that Gaza Strip is in the throes of a humanitarian disaster. It is a crisis with severe, sometimes even fatal, consequences for the two million or so people living there.

B’Tselem added that :”Without a regular power supply, all aspects of life are harmed; even the water and sewage systems are paralyzed, and untreated sewage flows straight into the Mediterranean. This reality is part of an Israeli policy, of the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza for the past ten years, consigning its residents to living in abject poverty under practically inhuman conditions unparalleled in the modern world”.

Despite this intolerable reality, the Israeli cabinet has decided to accept the Palestinian Authority’s cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza. Should the Israeli decision be implemented, the situation in Gaza will deteriorate even further, making the area virtually unlivable B’Tselem also added.

This is not some sort of natural disaster. Had that been the case, Israel would have likely sent in a humanitarian aid mission. Instead, the reality in Gaza is the result of Israel’s handiwork, achieved by its decade-long implementation of a brutal policy. Israel can, and must, change this reality.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

UN chief set to name new Libya envoy after US blocked Palestinian candidate

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir (not seen) after their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 12, 2017 [Ramazan Turgut / Anadolu Agency]

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir (not seen) after their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 12, 2017

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was set to name a former Lebanese culture minister as new UN envoy to Libya, ending an unusually contentious four-month search that followed US rejection of his first suggestion.

Guterres on Friday officially put forward Ghassan Salame, a professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at Sciences-Po in Paris, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday. Diplomats said objections were unlikely and the UN Security Council will greenlight the appointment on Tuesday.

The council must agree by consensus on the appointment of special envoys. Traditionally, the UN chief informally discusses candidates with the 15-member body to ensure agreement before officially proposing a name.

The search for a successor to Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has served as the UN representative in Libya since November 2015, began in February when Guterres proposed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the job.

The United States rejected Fayyad because of his nationality. US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United Nations had been “unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel.”

“In practice … if (countries) have a significant objection then they usually make it clear before the secretary-general has made the proposal,” said a senior council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “So it was very unusual that the United States blocked the Palestinian candidate very late in the day.”

Guterres described the US rejection as:

a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people

Following that objection, Russia and other council members then rejected a British candidate and an American candidate, said diplomats. Kobler’s posting was briefly extended until the end of June.

“Over 20 people were approached and either ruled themselves out – i.e. they weren’t available – or they were ruled out…by one of the Security Council members,” the senior council diplomat said.

Libya slid into turmoil after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, with rival governments and armed alliances competing for power. A UN-backed government in Tripoli has struggled to impose its authority and has been rejected by factions in the east. The UN envoy to Libya has been trying to broker peace.

The political chaos and security vacuum has allowed Islamist militant groups to gain a foothold and human traffickers to thrive. Libya is the most common departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Injure Two Young Men, Abduct A Woman, Near Ramallah

18 JUN
10:06 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, Deir Abu Mashal village, northwest of Ramallah in central West Bank, shot and injured two young men, and abducted the wife of a Palestinian political prisoner.

The soldiers clashed with many local youngsters, who hurled stones at the invading military vehicles, while the soldiers fired live rounds, including the illegal Toto expanding bullets, in addition to rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

Medical sources at the Palestine Medical Complex, in Ramallah, said the soldiers shot a young man with a Toto bullet in the leg, and another Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the arm.

The soldiers also stormed and ransacked many homes in the village, an abducted the wife of detainee Saleh Suleiman Abu Nabhan, who is imprisoned by Israel, serving a twenty-year sentence.

The soldiers also confiscated the wife’s gold, while violently searching and ransacking the property, causing excessive damage.

Deir Abu Mashal remains under tight siege, and constant invasions, since Friday evening, after three young men from the village were killed, after attacking Israeli officers and soldiers, in Jerusalem, killing one.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Al-Buraq Revolution: Legacy, Continuing Struggle and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement

The three Palestinians executed at Akka prison – Fouad Hijazi, Atta al-Zeer and Mohammed Khalil Jamjoum

17 June marks the anniversary of the execution of three of the earliest martyrs of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement – Fouad Hijazi, Atta al-Zeer and Mohammed Khalil Jamjoum – by British colonial occupiers, in Akka prison.

The execution of these Palestinian strugglers has remained for years an ongoing story of resistance that continues to inspire strugglers through 100 years of resistance to colonization and occupation. Indeed, the song written to commemorate Hijazi, al-Zeer and Jamjoum, “From Akka Prison,” today remains one of the most well-known and powerful poems of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement.

Hijazi, al-Zeer and Jamjoum were seized by the British colonizers for their role in Al-Buraq Revolution of 1929, named for the al-Buraq Wall in Jerusalem. The uprising was sparked after Zionist groups came to the wall and planted Zionist flags, declaring that “This wall is ours.”

In Jerusalem, Haifa, Yafa and Safad, Palestinians rose up against British colonization and the declared Zionist plans to colonize Palestine and declare it a “Jewish state.” Hundreds of Palestinians were seized by British forces and 26 sentenced to death by hanging; there was such an outcry by the Palestinian people that most of these sentences were converted to life imprisonment, with the exception of Hijazi, Jamjoum and al-Zeer.

Photo from the 1929 Buraq Revolution

Fouad Hijazi was 26 years old, from Safad; Mohammed Jamjoum was 28, from al-Khalil, as was Atta al-Zeer, 35.

Born in Safad in 1904, Hijazi received his primary education in his hometown; his university education was completed at the American University of Beirut. He actively participated in the Buraq Revolution and wrote a message to his family the day before his execution, which was published in the newspaper on 18 June 1930. In the message, he said, “On 17 June of each year, this should be a historic day in which speeches are made and songs are sung in the memory of our blood spilled for the sake of Palestine and the Arab cause.”

Mohammed Khalil Jamjoum was born in 1902 in al-Khalil; like Hijazi he attended university at the American University of Beirut. Atta al-Zeer was born in al-Khalil also, in 1895. Throughout his life he worked as a farmer and a manual laborer and was known from his earliest days for his courage and physical strength.

On 17 June 1930, Palestinians organized a general strike throughout Palestine as large crowds gathered in major Palestinian cities across the country – in Yafa, Haifa, al-Khalil and Nablus. After the executions, their bodies were handed to the men’s families, who had been denied the right to bury them in their home cities. Thousands of Palestinians streamed through the streets of Akka in honor of Jamjoum, Hijazi and al-Zeer, figures and symbols of Palestinian resistance to British and Zionist colonization. The three revolutionaries were executed on that day, but their anti-colonial message and commitment has continued to resonate through generations of Palestinian struggle for national liberation.

Abu Maher al-Yamani, co-founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian labor leader and historical leader of the Palestinian national movement, left his village of Suhmata for the first time at the age of six with his father. There, he “was surprised to encounter the execution of three Palestinian martyrs by British colonial authorities on that day, June 17, 1930 – Fouad Hijazi, Mohammed Jamjoum and Atta al-Zeer. The awareness of the child Ahmed al-Yamani was awakened, viewing the executions and the bodies of the martyrs in the gallows of the courtyard of Akka central prison; this incident greatly affected him and remained an image in his mind that could not be forgotten.”

Their story has been embedded as well in the Palestinian culture of resistance. Palestinian poet Ibrahim Tuqan’s poem, “Red Tuesday,” commemorates the three, noting “their bodies in the homeland’s graves/their souls in the reaches of heaven.”

The popular song, “Min Sijjin Akka,” or “From Akka Prison,” continues to be sung and celebrated throughout Palestine. The origin of the poem is not precisely clear; some say that it was written on the walls of Akka prison by a revolutionary named ‘Awad, himself awaiting execution by the British colonial rulers. Other scholars note that the poem was likely composed by a working-class popular poet and in Haifa, Nuh Ibrahim, perhaps the most famous Palestinian poet of his time and carrying his own legacy of resistance. “He was not a poet of the elite and he did not write poetry for social occasions or holidays. Instead Ibrahim is known for composing for the 1936-1939 Palestinian Revolt and to peasants working their grapevines, orchards and wheat fields. He spoke and wrote in everyday language, as a provocateur and broadcaster for the revolt, in which he also participated as a fighter,” wrote Samih Shabeeb.

The lyrics of the song are known today throughout Palestine and continue to be sung at national events, weddings and cultural celebrations. Ibrahim himself died struggling for Palestine eight years later, as a fighter in the movement of Izzedine al-Qassam in the 1936-39 revolution in Palestine. After being imprisoned in Akka prison himself, he was killed by the British colonial army in a battle in the Westen Galilee.

The ongoing relevance of the Buraq Revolution and the legacy of the execution of the three martyrs of 17 June 1930 is not limited to its cultural resonance. Just weeks ago, Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub was widely criticized by Palestinian organizations and strugglers inside and outside Palestine for his statements on Israeli TV about the al-Buraq Wall being under “Israeli sovereignty.” Indeed, Palestinian youth activists and journalists like Nassar Jaradat and Zaher al-Shammali are currently politically detained by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, seemingly for their publicly posted critiques of Rajoub’s avowed willingness to abandon the same Palestinian national site and symbol struggled for by generations of Palestinians.

Three Palestinian youths from Deir Abu Mashaal – Adel Ankoush, Bara’a Atta, Osama Atta

Days later, on 16 June, the eve of the anniversary of the execution of Hijazi, Jamjoum and al-Zeer, three young Palestinians from the village of Deir Abu Mashaal, Bara’a Ibrahim Saleh Atta, Osama Ahmed Mustafa Atta and Adel Hassan Ahmed Ankoush, were shot down by Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem after they stabbed several Israeli occupation military Border Police officers, killing one and wounding several, only meters from al-Buraq Wall itself. Bara’a Atta and Osama Atta, both active in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were both former prisoners in Israeli prisons, imprisoned as young teens; Osama Atta was the leader of the PFLP child prisoners during his imprisonment. The third Palestinian youth, Adel Ankoush, was active with Hamas.

In statements by the PFLP, the leftist Palestinian party referred to the Palestinian resistance action as the “Promise of Al-Buraq,” explicitly recognizing the action not only as a refutation of U.S. and Zionist attempts to confiscate Palestinian land and rights, but also recalling the Buraq Revolution martyrs of 87 years prior.

The three hunger striking martyrs of 1980 – Izhaq Maragha, Ali Ja’afari, Rasim Halawa

Today, in 2017, over 200 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli occupation prisons since 1967. 72 of them were killed as a result of Israeli torture, including three hunger strikers, Izhak Maragha, Ali Ja’afari and Rasim Halawa, killed by torturous forced feeding in 1980. The Israeli state constantly threatens the reimposition of the death penalty, while putting it into practice in reality, with escalating extrajudicial executions – particularly against Palestinian youth; “arrest raids” that are in fact assassination raids as in the targeting of Basil al-Araj (for whom this anniversary marks 100 days after his assassination and three months exactly following his funeral) and Moataz Washaha; and the policy of “slow death” of medical neglect and mistreatment inside occupation prisons.

On this anniversary, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network remembers and honors the martyrs of 1930 and their ongoing legacy and role as a symbol of resistance and anti-colonial revolution that reverberates through generations to defend Palestinian land and Palestinian rights, in Jerusalem and throughout occupied Palestine, from Zionism, imperialism and colonization.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Deraa’ camp re-bombed, refugee martyr

Damascus, ALRAY – The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said that the Palestinian refugee, Burhan Khayat, was murdered during clashes between the Syrian Army and the Syrian Opposition along the outskirts of Deraa’ refugee camp, south of Syria.

The Group added in one of its daily reports that the bombardment amid of the acute health crisis in the camp is ferocious.

Moreover, the camp and its surroundings have been witnessing heavy shelling since the dawn by warplanes, ground-to-ground missiles, and cluster bombs that destroyed many buildings.

It’s worth noting that cashes between the Syrian Army and the Syrian Opposition broke out, resulting in the death of a Palestinian refugee and the injury of dozens of Palestinians.

The Group highlighted the fact that there was an acute shortage in medication due to the heavy shelling medical centers have been witnessing.

The Group had issued a statement demanding the Syrian Army to stop bombarding medical centers and to allow paramedics to give aid to the wounded. They also held the United Nations (UN) responsible for the Palestinian Refugees in Deraa’ Camp.

According to leaks from the camp, militants departing from the camp will only include members of Tahreer Alsham Body fighters and leaders of ISIS only, while fighters of ISIS will remain in the camp because there are no guarantees that they would not be targeted by the International Coalition Forces and Russia in case they departed the camp.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Warnings from international organisations are failing Gaza

Ramona Wadi

By Ramona Wadi
Amnesty International’s latest warning about a “humanitarian catastrophe” if Israel’s illegal blockade on the enclave is not lifted is the latest in a series about the Gaza Strip. As the electricity supply is restricted even further, Palestinians in Gaza face not only domestic disruption, but also huge gaps in basic public services including healthcare, wastewater management and access to clean water, which is already hard to come by.

Given that 10 years have passed since Israel imposed its stranglehold on Gaza, it is shameful that international organisations continue to warn of an “impending” untenable situation when the present circumstances have already deteriorated, possibly beyond repair even if the present violations are halted and reversed.

Another overlooked reality is the direct and intentional targeting of infrastructure in Gaza during Israel’s 2014 military offensive — Operation Protective Edge — which ensured that Palestinians remain incarcerated as part of a perpetual cycle of destruction.

Amnesty’s press release may make “catastrophe” sound more imminent, yet the choice of words displays a calculated play with probability and the usual delays associated with acknowledging the source of Palestinian suffering as being Israeli violence, international complicity and Palestinian Authority collaboration. “As the occupying power,” Amnesty explains, “Israel has obligations to ensure the basic needs of the civilian population are met. At the very least, Israel must not continue to cut off access to essential supplies.” Furthermore, the rights organisation states that the international community “can no longer turn a blind eye to the devastating suffering caused by Israel’s cruel and inhuman isolation of Gaza.”

Since Israel has twisted all definitions to suit its colonial expansionist agenda, it is almost impossible for international legislation to make any tangible difference with regard to protecting Palestinians’ rights; relevant laws have been enshrined and rarely convey any adaptability according to the political circumstances. Moreover, since Israel in any case operates outside the boundaries of international law and accountability, calling for legislation to be applied is one thing, but actual enforcement is something else.

Such calls, however, provide the international community with bureaucratic cover which allows the humanitarian situation to be kept apart from the political context. As a result, legislation fulfils the need for political discourse while the humanitarian situation is analysed and turned into a subject of awareness without providing the foundations for change.

The UN set a timeframe for 2020 by which Gaza will be “unliveable”. Yesterday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, Robert Piper, declared Israel’s decision to cut electricity supply even further to be the result of a “longstanding internal Palestinian dispute”. Apart from playing into the Israeli narrative, Piper’s comment eliminates the dependency cycle which sustains the Palestinian Authority.

There is also a refusal to look at accountability and Israel’s “obligations to ensure the basic needs of the civilian population are met”, if only to ensure that the correct interpretation is being publicised, rather than a version that could have been dictated by the government in Tel Aviv. Gaza has become an experimental zone in which massacres and deprivation determine the slow elimination of their existence, let alone living.

As a result, if international organisations blatantly refuse to acknowledge this cycle, which is tantamount to an “incremental genocide” of the Palestinian people, no amount of statements, ill-worded or otherwise, will translate into action taken against Israel, the colonial power responsible for it all.

Netanyahu declares Bab al-Amoud in J’lem “closed military zone”

Bab al-Amoud

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening declared Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) near the Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem a closed military zone.

The measure is aimed at punishing the Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem following the recent commando operation that was carried out by three Palestinians in Bab al-Amoud area and led to the death of one Israeli policewoman and injured another officer.

According to the measure, the Palestinians are prohibited from staying in and approaching Bab al-Amoud or opening nearby commercial stores.

Netanyahu had instructed leaders of his security and intelligence apparatuses, during an emergency discussion held with them on Friday following the Jerusalem operation, to increase security measures and restrict the movement of Palestinian citizens in the holy city, especially in the Old City.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Bahar: Resisting Israeli occupation of our motherland is not terrorism

Ahmed Bahar PLC

First Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr Ahmed Bahar, stressed Palestinians’ commitment to armed resistance to defend their usurped land and retrieve their infringed rights.

Speaking at a rally held by Hamas’s Women’s Movement outside the PLC, Dr. Bahar slammed the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its ongoing crackdowns on Palestinian anti-occupation activists and resistance groups.

“Hamas is not a terror group. The world’s leaders should cease backbiting against Hamas and indentify the real terrorists as those who have been involved in the killing of children and women,” said Bahar.

PLC First Deputy Speaker denounced the silence maintained by the world’s governments and international community as regards Israel’s decade-long blockade on Gaza.

“The Israeli occupation is and will forever remain the sole target of our resistance weapon,” vowed Bahar.

Raja al-Halabi, from Hamas’s Women’s Movement, leveled heavy criticism at a number of Fatah leaders for failing to live up to their obligations as regards Islamic holy sites, citing the case of Fatah leader Jibril al-Rajoub who announced during an aired interview his readiness to forfeit the Islamic Buraq Wall.

The protesters hailed Qatar for boosting Gaza’s reconstruction process and propping up relief projects in the besieged coastal enclave.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Israel forces arrest 2 Palestinians after Aqsa standoff

Israeli police arrested two people after a standoff at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday, Israeli police said, as tension remains high following deadly attack days earlier.

The mosque’s managers, the Jordanian-controlled Islamic Waqf, said hardline Israelis entered the compound under a heavy police presence.

Firas Dibs, the Waqf’s spokesman, said 69 Israelis entered with guards, who spread across the religious site’s courtyards.

They also lined the threshold of the main mosque, where hundreds of worshippers had stayed overnight for special prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that two people were arrested for attacking police officers, who were lightly injured during the incident.

Tension has been high in Jerusalem since a female Israeli police officer was killed on Friday after an alleged coordinated stabbing by three Palestinians from the West Bank, who were all shot dead.

The main road outside Jerusalem’s Old City used by Palestinians was closed to traffic on Saturday and 350 Palestinians from the West Bank were sent back after police raids across Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

The daily visits for non-Muslims, which include tourists, are rejected by the Waqf, which says they were resumed by the Israel government in 2003 without their coordination.

The visits were suspended when the Second Intifada began in 2000 but beforehand the Waqf had facilitated tours of the courtyard and allowed non-Muslims to enter the mosque themselves.

They accuse the Israeli government of forcing a change in the “status quo” — the balance of prayer and visiting rights at the site.

The site is considered holy by both Muslims and Jews, who call it the Temple Mount and believe an ancient Jewish Temple lies underneath.

Mainstream Judaism bans entering the site but some hardline groups advocate visiting, as well as the construction of a new temple.

(Source / 18.06.2017)

Settlers attack Palestinians, Israeli army with impunity in separate incidents


An Israeli military vehicle stationed near the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers carried out at least three separate attacks against Palestinians and the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank on Saturday night.

Extremist Israelis from the illegal settlement of Halamish northwest of Ramallah attacked Palestinians driving in the area, locals told Ma’an.

Locals said that Israeli settlers threw rocks at a number of Palestinian vehicles, in the presence of Israeli military forces, who did nothing to intervene. No injuries were reported.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of the incident.
Separately, after extremist Israelis from the notorious Yitzhar settlement in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus reportedly obstructed Israeli army vehicles and pelted them with stones in two separate incidents, the Israeli army condemned the “grave” incidents,” but did not appear to hold the settlers accountable for the incidents.
Israeli news site Ynet reported that Israeli settlers blocked the entrance to Yitzhar with spikes to “hinder the (Israeli army’s) operational duties at the settlement,” and later pelted with stones an Israeli ambulance that arrived to treat a resident suffering from dehydration. No one was injured in the attack, but minor damage was caused to the vehicle.
The report made no mention of any arrests or other legal action being taken to hold the perpetrators accountable, and an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they would look into the case to confirm.
Several attacks have been carried out in villages near to the Yitzhar settlement in recent weeks, many of them in the presence of Israeli forces who did not intervene, while Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians and their property are carried out with regularity across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have meanwhile accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians, while Palestinians face up to 20 years in prison for throwing stones if intent to harm could be proven, and face a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.
Israel has meted out harsh prison sentences to scores of Palestinians for rock throwing in recent months.
In contrast, Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2016, with 56 attacks being reported since the start of 2017.
(Source / 18.06.2017)