Syrian Coalition Urges Friendly Countries to Support its Projects to Administer Liberated Areas

The Syrian Coalition’s presidential body and political committee met with representatives of the Friends of Syria countries at the headquarters of the Coalition’s General Secretariat in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday.

The meeting discussed the latest field developments in Syria, especially the situation in Idlib, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces as well as the latest political developments with regards to the revival of the Geneva process and preparations for the upcoming Riyadh II Conference.

Coalition President Riad Seif called on representatives of the Friends of Syria countries to step up support for the Coalition, the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), and the Coalition-affiliated rebel groups to fill the vacuum and administer the liberated areas.

Seif pointed out that the Coalition, SIG, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups are already engaged in the administrative work, the decision-making process and administration of the country. He rejected attempts by some parties to exclude the Coalition and its institutions.

“While the Coalition institutions have become alienated from some areas of Syria, the PYD militias were empowered to recapture Raqqa. Other forces are storming Deir Ezzor and signing off on regional and international agreements without having any kind of legitimacy to do so,” Seif said.

Seif pointed out that Russia is the biggest beneficiary of these policies. “This behavior towards the opposition institutions risks helps Russia directly and indirectly implement its plans to save Bashar al-Assad, dilute the process of political transition and empty it of any meaning.”

Seif warned of the continuation of the current situation, stressing that this “may lead to very serious repercussions on the future of Syria and its unity.” He also stressed that the current strategy to fight ISIS and Al-Qaeda is limited to fighting the results without paying attention to the need to eliminate the reasons behind the emergence of these terrorist groups.

In addition to the power vacuum in the liberated areas, the Assad regime played a pivotal role in allowing such extremist organizations to grow and fester by ignoring these groups for a long time while deliberately and brutally targeting civilian areas and the FSA groups, Seif added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 19.10.2017)

Appeal hearing set for Palestinian-French activist jailed by Israel without charge

French-Palestinian activist Salah Hamouri

The Israeli Supreme Court will this Sunday hear an appeal against the detention without trial of a prominent Palestinian human rights defender.

Salah Hamouri, a dual Palestinian-French national and field researcher for prisoners’ rights group Addameer, was given a six-month administrative detention order (no charge or trial) on 29 August by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Unusually, on 5 September this order was replaced with a three-month sentence, the amount of time he had remaining when released in a 2011 prisoner exchange. Yet on 14 September, the administrative detention order was reinstated.

The appeal will challenge the grounds and process of Hamouri’s initial administrative detention.

Read: Palestinian child narrates horrifying experience of 10-hour detention by Israeli forces

Addameer has reiterated its call for Hamouri’s immediate release, describing his detention as “an attack on Palestinian human rights defenders”. The NGO added that “organisations, activists and parliamentarians across France are mobilising to demand Hamouri’s freedom once again.”

According to Addameer:

Administrative detention, as a policy, is used by the occupying power to suppress Palestinian resistance through the arbitrary detention of those who use political and human rights-based means to struggle for dignity and self-determination.

The organisation considers administrative detention “to be a form of arbitrary detention which amounts to psychological torture” and “a grave violation of international laws and human rights standards”.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

‘We are not at war with Islam’, says Israeli president

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a delegation of Zionist Christians that his country is not at war with Islam.

Speaking yesterday in Jerusalem during a meeting with the head of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) from Africa, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyana, Rivlin said: “We have never had a religious war with Islam; we understood that we had to live in harmony.”

Rivlin’s comments appeared to be another attempt to challenge the notion that the conflict in Palestine is a religious war. He had echoed similar sentiments before saying: “We have no dispute with Islam, we did not have, we will not have, and today, too, we don’t have.”

In an interview with an Israeli TV channel, Rivlin complained about overplaying the role of religion saying: “The nationalist struggle, the Israeli-Arab conflict, has turned into a Jewish-Muslim conflict, and to my sorrow both sides understand this — understand this but are not doing anything about it.”

Netanyahu to Macron: Islam Seeks to Destroy Israel and Europe

While Rivlin’s comments would be met with applause, critics point to the irony of addressing a Christian Zionist delegation – members whose only affinity to Israel is inspired by their Christian teaching – to highlight the non-religious dimension of the conflict in a city that is considered occupied under international law.

Palestinians would also point to the fact that Rivlin’s comments betray his own past. The Israeli president is thought to be a seventh generation citizen of the holy city; his ancestors would have lived under centuries of Arab and Muslim rule until their right to self-rule was denied in support of  Zionism, which was never an irreligious movement.

Early Zionist like the father of modern day Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and founder of the State of Israel, David Ben Gurion, may have been non-religious but one of their main justifications for wanting to fulfil Jewish aspiration for a national home in Palestine was the Bible and the claim within to the deed of ownership of the ancient homeland granted by God.

One of the main obstacles to the creation of a Palestinian state is the rise of extreme religious Jewish settlers. Not only have they interrupted international law from being implemented, the settler movement has undermined Israel’s own secular institutions.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

Jordan envoy: Palestinians are resistance fighters

Jordanian MP, Wafa Bani Mustafa

Palestinians held by Israeli occupation forces in detention centres are resistance fighters who are defending their children and their land and are not terrorists, a Jordanian MP told the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Russia yesterday.

Wafa Bani Mustafa said:

These honourable Palestinians are defending their country and their children and are using the simplest means against the occupying state, which uses all means of force and oppression against them.

Mustafa was speaking at the 137th session of the international organisation in St Petersburg during discussions on a report on human rights.

“I am not being emotional,” she added, “These are not my words but the words of international humanitarian law which says that the Palestinians are the last people who are suffering under occupation.”

Read: Israel advances 1,300 new settlement homes for second day in a row

“I hope dust will stop being thrown into people’s eyes, because the truth is clear to all who are honourable.”

During the same session, the Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim calledon the Israeli delegation to “get out”, adding that he “represents the most dangerous form of terrorism; state terrorism”.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

British MPs urge UK government to take action on Gaza

Image of a protest against Israel's actions in the Gaza strip outside the British parliament in London, UK [Boycott Israel/Facebook]

Image of a protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza strip outside the British parliament in London, UK

Some 60 British MPs and Peers have signed a letter to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development Alistair Burt, urging him to take action to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

The letter spoke of the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged coastal enclave, pointing to the fact that despite the UN predicting in 2012 that Gaza would be unliveable by 2020, Save The Children have declared the Strip unliveable now.

The parliamentarians called for the UK government to “use all diplomatic means – including multilateral forums such as the UN Human Rights Council and bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to pursue accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory and bring an end to the closure of Gaza.”

Click here to read the full letter

Following receipt of the letter yesterday, Minister Burt pledged to provide an extra £1.9 million ($2.5 million) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Strip, which he said would help some one million people.

Gaza is currently facing an energywater and healthcare crisis, such that residents are only receiving a maximum of two to four hours of electricity each day, making fresh water and sewage systems inoperable. An estimated 40 per cent of necessary medicines are also unavailable or will be depleted within a month, while patients requiring urgent treatment are prevented from leaving.

Last month, the Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza found that eight out of ten Gazans were living below the poverty line, with 44 per cent of the population unemployed.

Since the beginning of this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) has also put a stop to all food aid entering the Strip, affecting more than 35 humanitarian organisations, who protested at the suspension this week.

Egyptian authorities also backtracked on their promise to open the Rafah border to allow urgent medical aid into the Strip on Monday, after six soldiers were killed in the Sinai province.

Read: US firm to build to solar plants in Gaza

(Source / 19.10.2017)

Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in southern Hebron hills

Demolished homes at Halaweh

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian houses in the Halaweh village, located in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to local sources.

Ratib al-Jabour, a coordinator of the National and Popular Committees in the southern West Bank told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village Thursday morning and demolished two houses belonging to Muhammad Younis Abu Aram and Khalil Younis Abu Aram.
Al-Jabour said that Israeli authorities claimed that two houses were built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permits. He pointing out that there is an ongoing case in Israeli courts regarding the two homes, but that it was destroyed anyways.
A spokesperson for COGAT, the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that an “enforcement was carried out this morning against two illegal constructions in the village of Halawa, which were built illegally without the required permits.”
“It should be emphasized that the constructions were built in a military firing zone, and that residing in these areas is a significant risk to life. The enforcement was carried out after all the orders were served and the required approvals were obtained,” the spokesperson said.
Halaweh village is located in the southern Hebron hills, and according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, is located within a closed Israeli military zone called “Firing Area 918.”
Last year, several homes in the Halaweh and the nearby Jinba village were destroyed, displacing 78 Palestinians, including 60 children.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Halaweh is one of 12 villages in the area that have been waging a legal battle for 17 years in an attempt to prevent the demolition of their village and the forcible displacement of their families so the villages can be used as Israeli army training areas.
Rights groups have said that Israeli military training zones, known as a “firing zones,” are used as a pretext to fully annex portions of the occupied West Bank.
Nearly 20 percent of the occupied West Bank has been declared “firing zones” since the 1970s, but according to the UN, some 80 percent of these areas are not in fact used for military training. However, when military training does take place, Israel forces families to leave their homes for hours or days at a time until the drill is over.
According to United Nations documentation, 326 Palestinians were displaced and 238 buildings have been demolished in the West Bank since the beginning of the year as of Oct. 9. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
(Source / 19.10.2017)

Israeli Naval Forces Destroy and Drown Palestinian Fishing Boat off Beit Lahia Shore

19 OCT
3:57 PM

PCHR – 18 October 2017: Israeli gunboats fired shells at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing within 2.5 nautical miles.  As a result, the boat was destroyed and drowned in the Sea.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) monitored that Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinian fishermen despite expanding the allowed fishing area from 6 to 9 nautical miles.  This proves that Israel continues its policy of targeting fishermen and their livelihoods.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 10:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off Beit Lahia shore in the northern Gaza Strip, fired shells at a Palestinian fishing boat holding No. 442 and belonging to ‘Ezz Wajih Mohammed Abu Ryalah (36) from al-Mokhabarat area, northwest of Gaza city. As a result, the fishing boat sailing within 2.5 nautical miles off Beit Lahia shore was totally damaged and drowned in the sea.

It should be noted that Abu Ryalah left his boat at approximately 05:30 on the same day after he finished fishing. The boat is designated for night fishing and transferring the fishing equipment. On the boat, there were 2 generators, 4 flashlights, and paddles.

PCHR hereby condemns the ongoing Israeli attacks against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:

  1. Calls for immediately ending Israeli violations against fishermen and allowing them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea;
  2. Demanding Ensuring remedy for victims of Israeli violations for the physical and material damage; and
  3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Sea.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

Army Invades Homes, Confiscates A Car, In Bethlehem

19 OCT
9:49 AM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, searched homes and confiscated a car owned by a wife of a political prisoner.

Media sources in Bethlehem said the soldiers confiscated a car owned by the wife of Ahmad al-Moghrabi, who is held by Israel and serving several life terms.

The soldiers also invaded and ransacked many homes in the refugee camp, leading to property damage, and interrogated many Palestinians, while inspecting their ID cards.

The invasion led to clashes between the soldiers and local youngsters, who hurled stones at the army, while the military fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded many Palestinian communities in Yatta town,  south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and Seer village,  in the northern West Bank governorate of Qalqilia.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

PPP: “Israeli Invasions And Closures Of Media Outlets Are State-Sponsored Terrorism”

19 OCT
10:14 AM

The leftist Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) issued a statement, Wednesday, strongly denouncing the Israeli military invasions into various Palestinian media outlets, violent searches and the orders to shut them down, and described them as “state-sponsored terrorism.”

In its statement, the PPP said that the outrageous and violent invasions into the media outlets in Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem, are just another Israeli round of escalation, part of the ongoing efforts to silence the media in occupied Palestine.

“What is happening is criminal; the Israeli violations and military oppression are carried out with the sole purpose of trying to bury the truth, and to hide the ongoing crimes,” the PPS stated, “This is state-sponsored terrorism, and a direct violation of International Law, including the Freedom of the Press.”

The PPS saluted the Palestinian journalists, and all media outlets operating in occupied Palestine, and facing escalating Israeli aggression and violations, but remain determined to expose the criminal nature of the occupation.

(Source / 19.10.2017)

IOF arrests Palestinian schoolgirl near Bethlehem

23 Pal's kidnapped

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday evening arrested a schoolgirl from al-Nu’man village to the east of Bethlehem at Mazmuria checkpoint while she was returning from school and took her to an unknown destination.

Jamal Dar’awi, the head of the Nu’man village council, said that the IOF soldiers claimed that Lina Shawawra, 16, was trying to enter her besieged village through an iron gate in the separation wall and that she had no proof that she is a resident of the village.

Dar’awi added that such allegations are repeatedly used by the Israeli soldiers to crack down on the citizens of the village.

(Source / 19.10.2017)