Arafat’s former personal escort detained by Palestinian Authority

Mohamed al-Dayya, a Brigadier General in the National Security Service and the personal escort of the late President Yasser Arafat

The Palestinian Intelligence Service detained Mohamed al-Dayya, a Brigadier General in the National Security Service and the personal escort of the late President Yasser Arafat.

According to local and media sources, the Palestinian Authority’s Intelligence Service arrested al-Dayya several days ago in Ramallah because he criticized the policies of the Authority. He also reportedly started a hunger strike in protest against his arbitrary detention.

On Monday, al-Dayya family said in an issued statement, “we were surprised by the unfair and illegal arrest of our militant son, Brigadier General Mohammed al-Dayya, by the Palestinian military Intelligence Service four days ago.”

The family added,

It is well known among Palestinians that he was the personal escort of martyr Yasser Arafat during his missions and his travels. He travelled around the world to convey the message of every free Palestinian in order to preserve the Palestinian cause and claim the rights of the people. He was known for his transparency, sense of humanitarianism, and continuous fight for establishing the Palestinians’ rights. He has no agenda to destabilise security or promote sedition.

The family confirmed that they asked about the charge pressed against him. However, the answer was that the cause of the arrest is mismanaging web pages and criticising the Authority’s policy and some of the president’s close associates.

Read More: Commemoration ceremony held for Yasser Arafat in Ramallah

The family pointed out that these charges have been denied by General al-Dayya during interrogations, adding that he was prevented from the visit of the members of his family or any contact with them. He was also transferred to an unknown destination.

Al-Dayya’s family held the Military Intelligence responsible for his life, claiming that “he started a hunger strike against the policy of injustice carried out against him.” They also asked President Mahmoud Abbas and all parties “to work for his immediate and urgent release.”

For decades, al-Dayya served as a special escort to the deceased President Yasser Arafat who used to consider him as his “the righteous son.” Al-Dayya accompanied Arafat wherever he went according to close loyalties and Arafat’s photographs always showed al-Dayya in his company as the latter used to appear with President Arafat wherever and whenever he was.

President Arafat appointed al-Dayya as his personal escort, following the martyrdom of his father, Yusuf al-Dayya, who was Arafat’s private escort before he was killed during a bomb shelling of the house of Abu Ammar in Tunis, Hammam al-Shat. At that time, Mohamed al-Dayya was studying in Germany and he returned to his family after his father’s death. Abu Ammar appointed him as his personal escort and as successor to his father.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

‘The world is creating another Palestine’

[left to right] Bouzid Chenouf, Yvonne Ridley, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Yousef Adjissa & Mamdooh Kamal Ali Badawi

[left to right] Bouzid Chenouf, Yvonne Ridley, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Yousef Adjissa & Mamdooh Kamal Ali Badawi

By Yvonne Ridley

The international community must act swiftly on the Rohingya crisis or the world will create another Palestine. That was the stark warning issued by a delegation from the Middle East in a meeting with the Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament on Tuesday. The members of the delegation included representatives of a major charity and Algerian politicians.

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury sat and listened intently as Palestinian Mamdooh Kamal Ali Badawi, the Chairman of the International Relief Organisation (IRO), and Algerian MP Youcef Adjissa expressed their fears. Adjissa is also a member of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States (PUOIC).

The IRO was the first Arab charity on the ground in Cox’s Bazar when tens of thousands of refugees fled into neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the ethnic cleansing and genocide at the hands of the military in Myanmar.

“What I saw reminded me of Palestine,” said Badawi, whose family is from Gaza, but now has German citizenship. “There are many parallels, but at least those in the camps at Cox’s Bazar are safe from continued persecution.” Unlike, he pointed out, Palestinian refugees who are still being brutalised and oppressed today. “However, unless the international community acts swiftly the situation could turn into another intractable situation, which has been allowed to happen to the Palestinians.”

The Algerian MP nodded his agreement. “I am afraid that if this issue with the Rohingya people is not resolved soon it will indeed turn into a crisis like Palestine,” he told Chaudhury.

The world must act quickly to prevent this happening.

Read: The child who knows too much about cruelty in this world

Adjissa noted that, today, we see Palestinians scattered around the world as well as in the refugee camps in the Middle East because the world did not react to the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) when Israel was created in their land. “This must not be allowed to happen for the Rohingya,” added the MP, who is in Dhaka to establish a cross-party parliamentary friendship committee with the Bangladeshi Parliament.

Chaudhury responded by saying that it is important to resolve the situation quickly. She also expressed an interest in the legal initiative taken by IRO in which scores of Rohingya refugees have given sworn statements about the persecution they witnessed and endured. IRO has supported an all-women team of lawyers from Protect the Rohingya NGO, who are tasked with collecting sworn affidavits from refugees with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators of the violence in Myanmar.

Some of the evidence that the survivors have given already has been harrowing. This is especially true of those who have witnessed wholesale slaughter, rape and brutality at the hands of the military as they fled from their villages near the border with Bangladesh.

“The groundwork we have established should help form the basis of legal action anywhere in the world against those who committed these war crimes,” explained Badawi, adding:

“Under universal jurisdiction these statements should prove invaluable. Giving aid is not just about medicines and nourishment; it is also important to document war crimes and try to deliver justice on behalf of the victims.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Israel wounded over 100 journalists since US move on Jerusalem

Palestinian Journalists Arrested by Israel - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Palestinian Journalists Arrested by Israel – Cartoon

Israeli occupation forces “systematically” attacked and wounded more than 100 journalists, including 20 females, since US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “in order to hinder the reporting of the reality of the occupation on the ground to the world”, Arab48 reported yesterday.

Occupation forces either targeted journalists with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas or beat then with batons or rifle butts.

A number of journalists were detained or had their coverage of demonstrations hindered by Israeli occupation forces, the news site reported.

Read: Report: 80% of Arab-Israeli children live under poverty line

Fifty-six journalists had been targeted with sound bombs or beaten, 12 were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets, one was targeted with live ammunition, three with pepper spray and 28 with tear gas which resulted in a number suffering burns.

Of those affected, 53 were targeted while covering protests in Jerusalem.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Fatah calls on Arabs to boycott countries who move their embassies to Jerusalem

People come together to protest against US President Donald Trump’s decision reorganise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Fatah has called on Arab states to boycott countries which move their embassies to Jerusalem, the New Khaleej reported yesterday.

This call came two days after the Guatemalan president announcement that his country’s plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a statement, Fatah spokesman Jamal Nazzal called on Arab and Muslim states to make the countries who change their stance on Jerusalem lose “the benefit of their relations with the Arabs and Muslims.”

“What is requested is to make those who downplay our civilised position and political rights pay a high price,” Nazzal said in his statement, adding that “we must deal with Jerusalem as an issue of honour.”

He also warned of the “temptations” offered or “pressures” put on certain countries to make them change their policies regarding Jerusalem.

Read: Israel wounded over 100 journalists since US move on Jerusalem

The Fatah official stressed on the “importance to use money and wealth of the Arabs and Muslims to undermine plans of the countries which downgrade our civilisations as Arabs and Muslims.”

On Sunday, Guatemalan president announced he would follow the US footsteps and move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government had been in contact with other countries which planned to follow Trump’s move

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Oren Hazan’s Assault is A Stigma to him, to Israeli Knesset and to Israeli Forces

27 DEC
10:24 AM

On Monday, 25 December 2017, a group of extremists led by Oren Hazan, Member of Israeli Knesset of the Right-Wing Likud Party, boarded a bus coming from the Gaza Strip and carrying Palestinian prisoners’ families. The families were on their way to visit their sons in Ramon Prison. Videos published on Social Media showed the extremist Oren Hazan verbally assaulted a prisoner’s mother saying:” Your son is an “insect” and a “dog” and you will not be able to visit him again, except under the ground.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this assault and holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for it, especially that this assault was committed under the Israeli forces’ protection. The Israeli forces were supposed to provide protection for the prisoners’ ‘families, not the aggressor, but they allowed the Israeli extremist Lawmaker to take the cameras and photograph his assault on the prisoners’ families in a humiliating manner.

This assault confirms the involvement of the Israeli official authorities in this assault because they had a prior knowledge of the Israeli right-wing parties’ intention to boarding the bus of the prisoners’ families from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, this assault amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment that is criminalized under the international Convention against Torture.

PCHR warns of the serious repercussions of repeating such assaults against the prisoners’ families, whereas the majority of them is elderlies, children and women. PCHR also holds the Israeli authorities and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) full responsibility for the lives of the prisoners’ families and maintaining their dignity, in accordance with their obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

The Israeli Right-Wing Organizations have previously announced their intention to obstruct buses from the Gaza Strip carrying the prisoners’ mothers and children in the Israeli jails as a preamble to prevent these visits within a campaign called “Campaign for releasing prisoners and missing persons in Israel”. This campaign refers to the Israeli soldiers alleged to be detained by the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.

In response to the incident, ICRC confirmed that it seriously considers what happened and contacted with the concerned parties. The spokesperson of the ICRC in Gaza City said in a statement: “Families have the right to visit their loved ones in a dignified manner without interference”. She added that:” The ICRC is a human organization that facilitates the visits’ program in favor of the prisoners’ families.”, but It is the responsibility of the competent authorities to ensure that the visits take place safely and without interference.

PCHR welcomes the ICRC’s statement, but considers it not enough. PCHR believes that ICRC should have immediately intervened once it has known about the intention of the extremist organizations, rather than waiting for the incident to happen for being the responsible party of the coordination in order to properly provide the visits.

PCHR also stresses that this assault is a crime of inhuman and degrading treatment. PCHR believes that this assault is not only for the prisoners’ families, but also a blatant assault of the ICRC, its immunity and prestigious in front of the media.

Moreover, PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention to immediately intervene to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention.

PCHR also calls upon the ICRC to seriously work to facilitate the visits of the prisoners’ families in a manner that preserves their dignity, properly coordinate with the Israeli authorities to prevent repeating such assaults, and take the necessary measures in case the Israeli authorities failed to fulfill its obligations.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Israeli parliament to vote on death penalty bill

Legislation imposing death penalty on convicted Palestinians aims to prevent ‘prisoner swaps’, says defence minister

Israel’s parliament is set to vote on a draft bill that would impose the death penalty on Palestinians “involved in operations against Israeli targets”, the country’s defense minister said Monday.

Speaking to an Israeli TV channel, Avigdor Liberman said voting to advance legislation targeting convicted Palestinians of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers would take place Wednesday.

“The US also has such legislation. Thus, it’s appropriate for Israel to follow such a powerful democratic system in the world,” Liberman said.

Lieberman said convicted Palestinians were being used for prisoner exchanges.

“Every convicted terrorist is used by terrorist organizations kidnapping civilians and soldiers for prisoner swaps,” he said.

The draft bill needs to be voted on in three rounds in order to be approved by parliament.

Israel does not have the death penalty, but convicts may face prison sentences of hundreds of years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this year that it is time to impose the death penalty on Palestinians that attack Israelis.

“The death penalty for terrorists – it’s time to implement it in severe cases,” he said in a video posted in July on his Twitter account.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Soldiers Injure Many Schoolchildren Near Jenin

26 DEC
2:00 PM

Palestinian medical sources have reported, Tuesday, that many schoolchildren suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation, after dozens of soldiers invaded Ya’bad town, and stormed the school while firing gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers fired many concussion grenades and gas bombs at the Ezzeddin Al-Qassam School, after invading its yard, while the students were behind their desks during the mid-term exams.

They added that dozens of children suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, while many others suffered anxiety attacks, before Red Crescent medics rushed to the school and provided them with the needed treatment.

Tareq Alawna, the head of the Education Department in Jenin, said the soldiers have been sporadically carrying out these provocative invasions and violations, and added that the soldiers shot and killed a student, identified as Fuad Turkman, during an invasion into the school seven years ago.

Alawna stated that the army deliberately targets the students, and the educational process, in different parts of the occupied West Bank.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers are constantly deployed near the school, and conduct ongoing violations and provocative acts against the students.

Furthermore, the soldiers shot, on Tuesday at noon, three Palestinians, and abducted five others, after the army invaded many areas in Sa’ir town, and the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, in the southern West Bank.

On Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians during violent military searches of homes, and summoned four Palestinians for interrogation, in Hebron governorate.

In related news, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted eight Palestinians, including siblings, after invading and ransacking their homes, in the West Bank governorates of Tulkarem, Salfit and Bethlehem.

In addition, the soldiers abducted twelve Palestinians from Silwan and al-‘Isawiya towns,  in occupied Jerusalem, after storming their homes and violently searching them.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Army Abducts A Young Man, Confiscate His Motorcycle, Near Jenin

27 DEC
9:09 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday evening, a young Palestinian man, from Rommana village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and confiscated his motorcycle.

Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded a gas station, near Salem military roadblock, abducted the young man, and confiscated his motorcycle.

They added that the young man, identified as Mohammad Saleh Abu Sharba, 27, was taken, along with his motorcycle, to the nearby Salem military base.

On Wednesday at dawn, the soldiers invaded Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, and conducted violent searches of homes, before abducting at least thirteen Palestinians, including children, and demolished two buildings.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

4 Palestinians injured by IOF gunfire in al-Khalil

Injured by gunfire

At least four Palestinians were injured on Tuesday during clashes between the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and Palestinian youths in different areas of al-Khalil province.

The PIC reporter said that clashes erupted in Sa’ir town and at the entrance to al-Arroub refugee camp where the IOF soldiers fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters, and rubber bullets at the Palestinian civilians.

He pointed out that the ambulance crews provided first aid to a number of suffocation cases in the field while some of the injured were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a brief statement that al-Khalil government hospital treated two citizens who were moderately injured by live bullets in the clashes taking place in al-Arroub camp.

The Ministry added that a third citizen was transferred to al-Ahli hospital after being injured in Sa’ir clashes and described his injury as “moderate” too.

(Source / 27.12.2017)

Sochi Conference Met With Widespread Rejection as Syrian Opposition Urges UN to Respect Syrians’ Will

A broad array of Syrian dissidents and opposition figures have called for boycotting the so-called “national dialogue conference” which Russia is preparing to hold in the Black Sea resort of Sochi at the end of January.

A statement signed by more than 3,500 opposition figures, including independents, members of the Syrian Coalition, the Syrian Interim Government, Free Syrian Army commanders, journalists and activists stressed that Russia is trying by calling the Sochi conference to impose a solution to its own advantage and sow discord and divisions among the Syrian opposition.

The statement added: Russia is seeking to impose a phony constitution that would ensure the survival of the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad, and allow foreign occupation forces fighting alongside his regime to remain in Syria with the help of elections under the supervision and control of Assad’s security services who will not allow any international supervision of elections in Syria.

“The Sochi conference contravenes the six-year negotiations in Geneva and is aimed at ending them by the use of force and deception in favor of the Assad regime and its allies while denying the Syrian people their sacred right to freedom, dignity and sovereignty for which one million Syrians sacrificed their lives,” the statement said.

“The Sochi conference is also seeking to undermine the Geneva negotiations and empty them of any substance by flooding the opposition with a sea of ​​invitees who already support Assad’s survival in power. It is also aimed at sidelining all fundamental issue set forth in UN resolutions, most notably the issue of political transition.”

The statement went on to say that the “Russians cannot conceal their intention to consolidate the rule of Assad and his regime and undermine the Geneva process which is based on UN Security Council resolutions and international understandings and replace it with negotiations that lack any legal basis save Moscow’s political and strategic dictates.”

The signatories underscored that the Sochi conference “aims to consolidate and bestow legitimacy on the Russian-Iranian occupation by using the Russian and Iranian military presence in Syria to enforce the decisions that would come out of the Sochi Conference.”

The statement called on all bodies and organizations that can influence the Syrian public opinion, most importantly political and union organizations, the FSA groups, national figures, and intellectuals to boycott the conference and to work by all means to foil it. It also called for thwarting Moscow’s attempts to “hijack the will of the Syrian people and confiscate their right to organize a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned national dialogue as well as its attempts to undermine their sovereignty; ignore their enormous sacrifices; and ruin their future and the future of their children.”

The signatories called upon the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the UN Security Council member states, friendly countries, and international legal and human rights organizations to intervene “to force Russia and all active players to commit to international charters and resolutions. They reiterated that the Geneva process and the UN Security Council resolutions remain the only legitimate framework for the completion of negotiations aimed at bringing about a political solution in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 27.12.2017)