Palestinian campaign to force UK to cancel Balfour celebrations

A digital campaign to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued by Lord Arthur Balfour, former UK Prime Minister

The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad (PCPA) and a number of Palestinian groups are gearing up for a coordinated digital campaign set to take place on Wednesday evening to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued by Lord Arthur Balfour, promising the Jews a national home in Palestine.

Using the hashtag #Balfour100, social media users will be calling on the UK government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration and the British colonisation of Palestine and demanding the cancellation of one of the largest Zionist celebrations of the Declaration, set to take place on 7 November at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The social media activity is part of a broader campaign launched by PCPA two months ago entitled “Balfour: A Colonial Project” and will run until 20 November with the aim of raising awareness about the historic, political and legal meaning of the Balfour Declaration and reiterating Britain’s historical and political responsibility for the Declaration and its repercussions on Palestine.

PCPA’s digital action is one of a series of campaigns launched by Palestinians abroad this year to highlight the impact of the Balfour Declaration on Palestine and its residents.

The UK-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) today announced the release of a short film “100 Balfour Road”, produced as part of PRC’s Balfour Apology Campaign, in remembrance of the suffering and displacement of thousands of Palestinians as a result of the Balfour Declaration.

Read: Palestine, Britain & the Balfour Declaration 100 years on

The 12-minute film portrays a happy family in the suburbs of London enjoying an afternoon around the kitchen table, when a knock is heard at the front door. A government official wants the family’s help to assist a homeless family, but ends up kicking the family out and giving away their home. It is now available to watch on YouTube and PRC’s media platforms.

Earlier this year, PRC launched a petition which calls on the British government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration and to lead peace efforts in Palestine. It gained 10,000 signatures. In response, the British government refused to apologise for the Declaration while affirming it was “proud” of its role in the creation of the State of Israel.

The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which [Her Majesty’s Government] HMG does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.

This was later followed by the UK government body in charge of transport in the British capital, London, banning adverts which highlight Palestinians’ objections to the Balfour Declaration.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Palestinian prisoner given 30 minutes to visit his teenage son battling cancer

Tahhan and son

Rajab Tahhan (right) and his son Majd (left)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian prisoner was allowed to see his teenage son, who is battling cancer in an Israeli hospital, for only 30 minutes on Monday morning, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

According to Wafa, Rajab Tahhan, who is serving a life sentence in Israeli prison, was allowed only 30 minutes on to see his son, Majd, 19, in his Israeli hospital bed where he is receiving treatment for cancer.
The Israeli Prison Services brought Tahhan to see his son, who has leukemia, at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Tahhan was cuffed from his hands and feet, and was not allowed to see any other family members during the visit.
The hospital ward was reportedly shut down during the short visit.
“The father and the son cried during the entire visit, which, according to Tahhan family members, was mixed with feelings of joy and sadness at the same time,” Wafa said.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, as of August, there were 6,279 Palestinians in Israeli prison, 520 of whom were serving life sentences.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Israeli Forces Wound 5 Civilians, Including 3 Children, in Northern Gaza Strip

30 OCT
4:25 PM

Israeli forces stationed inside military watchtowers, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and wounded 5 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, when the soldiers targeted dozens of civilians, who were about 200 meters away from the border fence, without posing any threat to the Israeli forces. This indicates that Israeli forces continue to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) investigations, at approximately 16:30 on Friday, 27 October 2017, Israeli forces stationed in the watchtowers, east of al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live and rubber-coated metal bullet and tear gas canisters at dozens of civilians, who were near the border fence and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers in protest against the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Clashes continued until approximately 18:30 on the same day. As a result, 5 civilians, including 3 children, were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were identified as:

  1. Sa’eb Fathi al-Masri (17), from Jabalia refugee camp, was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest;
  2. Dia’a Ahmed al-Natour (21), from Jabalia refugee camp, was hit with a tear gas canister to the abdomen;
  3. Qusai Hamed Hassan (19), from Jabalia refugee camp, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left shoulder;
  4. Yasser Zeyad Abu Ramadan (16), from Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza  city, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right thigh; and
  5. Anas Mazen Daher (15), from al-Shija’iyah neighborhood in Gaza city, was hit with 2 tear gas canisters to the face and left hand.

All the wounded civilians were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia to receive medical treatment, and doctors classified their wounds as minor. Moreover, the Medical crews in the area offered first aid to a number of civilians who suffered tear gas inhalation.

Sa’eb Fathi al-Masri (17) said to PCHR’s fieldworker that;

“At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 27 October 2017, my friends and I went to the border area near al-Shuhada’a Cemetery where there was a number of young men throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed in the military watchtowers. At approximately 16:30, a soldier fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets at the young men in addition to firing tear gas canisters at me as I was about 200 meters away from them. As a result, I was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest and then taken to the Indonesian Hospital to receive medical treatment. Following the Medical checkup, it was found out that there were bruises in my chest.”

 PCHR is seriously concerned over the continued Israeli violations against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and;

  • Calls upon the international community to take immediate action to stop the Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians; and
  • Calls for ensuring that civilians freely and safely access their houses, lands, and property in addition to protecting their right to life, safety, personal safety, and work.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Labour MP: Balfour Should Be Marked by Recognizing Palestine

30 OCT
6:25 PM

A top parliamentary member of the UK Labour Party has said that “the most important way” for the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of Balfour Declaration is to “recognize Palestine.”

In an interview published Monday, with the Middle East Eye news site, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said the UK should not celebrate the declaration, which pledged Britain’s support for a Jewish national home, as there is not yet a Palestinian state.

“I don’t think we celebrate the Balfour Declaration but I think we have to mark it because I think it was a turning point in the history of that area and I think probably the most important way of marking it is to recognize Palestine,” said Thornberry, according to Days of Palestine.

“The British government have said they will do {so}, it’s just a question of when the time is right and it seems to me this is the time.

“We need to have two states, two viable states, two viable secure safe states. We must not forget that in the end that is the only solution,” she added. “We should measure everything we do against that.”

Thornberry issued harsh criticism against Israel’s settlement policies in the occupied West Bank, saying that the Israeli government has “lost its way” and is undermining a two-state solution.

“What are they now doing? Are they heading for a one-state [reality]? It seems, on the face of it, that they may be,” she said.

She is set to attend a dinner in London, this week, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in celebrating the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, and said she would also go to a separate event with Palestinians, to mark the anniversary.

The Labour MP was asked by party leader Jeremy Corbyn to attend the dinner in his stead after he decided not to attend the event.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Israeli Army Threatens Gaza Family on Facebook

30 OCT
6:16 PM

The Israeli military has posted a status on Facebook threatening the home and lives of a Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) have responded, calling on the Israeli military to immediately halt its threats against the family and other civilians in Gaza.

On 10 August 2017, Yoav Mordechai, commander of the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), announced on the unit’s Arabic Facebook page that the military had discovered two tunnels and related infrastructure constructed by Hamas under a mosque and apartment building in the village of Beit Lahiya.

Via Facebook, Mordechai informed Palestinian civilians living in and around the six-story apartment building and mosque in the northern Gaza town that their lives are threatened by a potential Israeli military attack on the area.

Aerial images included in COGAT’s Facebook post show the mosque and apartment building, owned by Omar Hammad, marked in red (see screenshot below).Twenty-one people live in the building, including four women and 12 children.

Army repeatedly threatens civilians

On 10 – 11 August, Israeli media outlets published aerial imagery of Hammad’s home supplied by the Israeli military and remarks made by Israel’s Southern Command chief Eyal Zamir reiterating the tunnels claim.

Zamir “warned” that, if necessary, the apartment building could be viewed as a legitimate target of attack and that civilians living there were endangering their own lives. Zamir did not, however, provide any evidence or indication of the existence of tunnels under the buildings.

There are no ventilation tunnels in the concerned apartment building and Hammad is unaware of any tunnels under his home.

Some two days after the COGAT post on Facebook, apartment owner Hammad also received a phone call from an individual who identified himself as a member of Israeli military intelligence. The individual informed Hammad that his life and his family’s lives were in danger as their home was marked as an Israeli military target.

Israel’s claims of tunnels do not justify threats to attack civilians and destroy their homes.

Adalah and Al Mezan: Stop threats

Adalah and Al Mezan sent a letter on 19 October 2017 to COGAT commander Mordechai and Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek demanding they immediately remove the social media posts threatening the Gaza family.

The two organizations also demand the Israeli military halt its threats to Hammad’s home and family and the civilian population in general as attacks on civilians – as well as the threat of attack – constitute overt violations of international law.

According to the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977:

“The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.”

The Israeli social media posts and phone calls cannot therefore be considered a legitimate warning prior to attack as the targets are inherently civilian – rather than military – in nature.

In her letter to the Israeli officials, Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad explained:

“One cannot consider these things as a method of warning prior to attack, as an attack of this sort by the Israeli military would mean a direct strike to a civilian population and civilian target, which is forbidden by laws governing warfare and which borders on war crimes.”

International humanitarian law rules that even the presence of a large number of combatants – themselves ostensibly a legal military target – is not sufficient to justify an attack which would cause disproportionate damage to nearby civilians.

Living in fear

Since the Israeli military issued its threats via Facebook and mainstream media outlets, Hammad and his family have been living in a state of constant fear with the knowledge that their home is liable to be destroyed in an Israeli attack at any given moment, potentially killing the entire family.

In response to the Israeli threats, some family members have fled their home but others are unable to afford alternate housing and continue living under Israel’s ongoing threat.

At Adalah official: Israel Fails to Provide Promised School Buses for Bedouin Kindergarten Students

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Palestine takes its first step as Interpol member state

Israel calls up reserve army for military training

Military training

The Israeli occupation army called up Monday the reverse soldiers to carry out a large-scale military training, 0404 Hebrew website reported.

The sources did not reveal further details about the planned training. However; the spokesman for Israeli occupation army said that the exercises come as part of 2017 military training agenda.

Meanwhile, large military drills are currently carried out in Eilat south of occupied Palestine.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Several West Bankers kidnapped from homes in IOF dawn campaigns

WB ers kidnapped

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday stormed different West Bank areas and kidnapped several citizens from their homes.

A statement released by the Israeli army affirmed that 26 Palestinians were taken prisoners in West Bank arrest campaigns.

According to local sources, the IOF ransacked and destroyed walls of several homes in different neighborhoods of Tulkarem city and Nur Shams refugee camp, and kidnapped 11 citizens.

Consequently, violent clashes broke out between local young men and Israeli soldiers in Tulkarem and Nur Shams camp.

In Jenin, similar clashes reportedly took place after an Israeli military force stormed its refugee camp. The force withdrew later without making arrests.

In al-Khalil, the IOF stormed homes in Beit Ummar town and kidnapped a young man identified as Uday Ikhlil.

Three others were also taken prisoners during IOF campaigns in the towns of Beit Awwa and Dura, west of al-Khalil.

In Nablus, the IOF kidnapped an ex-detainee called Muhanad al-Shalla from his home.

The IOF also stormed at dawn Az-Zawiya town in Salfit and Beit Jala town in Bethlehem and kidnapped three Palestinian young men, including two brothers from the family of Sabah.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

Israeli settlers open fire on Palestinian farmers south of al-Khalil

Open fire on farmers

Israeli settlers on Monday morning opened fire on Palestinian farmers while they were picking olives in al-Khalil’s southern town of Yatta.

Coordinator for the anti-settlement committee, Rateb al-Jabour, said Israelis residing in Havat Ma’on settlement outpost, built on Palestinian lands south of al-Khalil province, attacked Palestinian olive grooms in Yatta and opened fire at the farmers. No injuries were reported in the assault.

Overnight, Israelis residing in Karmel settlement threw stone on Palestinian homes in Yatta. Several such attacks were carried out by Israelis over recent weeks.

The popular anti-settlement committee called on the international institutions to take urgent action as regards such simmering attacks targeting Palestinian civilians and farmers.

(Source / 30.10.2017)

15,000 Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces in less than 2 years

15000 Palestinians arrested

Nearly 15,000 Palestinians have been arrested by the Israeli occupation forces over the past couple of years.

According to the Committee of Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners, dozens of Palestinians are chased down and arrested by the Israeli forces on a daily basis under the security pretext.

The committee kept record of the abduction of 14,789 Palestinians since early October 2015.

63% of those arrested in October are from the West Bank; 33,5% from Occupied Jerusalem. The list also includes hundreds of Gazans and Palestinians from territories occupied in 1948.

Head of the Studies and Documentation Department at the committee, Abdul Nasser Farawna, said all of those detained by the Israeli forces have been subjected to a form of psychological or/and physical torture and mistreatment.

Nearly 6,000 Palestinian detainees are locked up in Israeli jails across the occupied Palestinian territories, among them 13 minor girls.

(Source / 30.10.2017)