Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and event organizers under attack in Amsterdam!

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with former Palestinian prisoner, torture survivor and resister against U.S. and Zionist repression Rasmea Odeh and the revolutionary youth organizers in the Netherlands under attack by Zionist organizations and far-right, racist political parties seeking to suppress action in support of the Palestinian cause. Since the announcement of the event in Amsterdam featuring Rasmea Odeh organized by Revolutionaire Eenheid (Revolutionary Unity) and Anakbayan, the organizers and Odeh have come under sustained efforts to attempt to silence Rasmea’s voice and stop the event from taking place.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 27 February in central Amsterdam at 7:00 pm. Samidoun urges all supporters and friends of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian cause to register online for this event: Registrants will be provided with the venue and other relevant information.

Rasmea Odeh is not only a survivor of torture, deportation and 10 years of Israeli imprisonment, she is also a community leader and organizer of Palestinian women and the Palestinian people as a whole. Her clear, principled voice must be heard. We salute Rasmea and the organizers for their continued struggle for the liberation of Palestine in the face of relentless attempts to silence and suppress their critically important work.

We are publishing below the English translation of the statement by event organizers Revolutionaire Eenheid (Revolutionary Unity):

The Zionist lobby is reacting wildly to a meeting with Palestinian hero Rasmea Odeh, that will take place coming Tuesday 27 February at a TBA location.

The PVV party of Geert Wilders, a racist and fascist party, has asked questions in parliament and wants the Netherlands to stop Rasmea Odeh from entering the country. The VVD party of PM Mark Rutte, a conservative ruling party, wants the Justice Officer of Amsterdam to be present at the meeting ‘to observe and prosecute anti-Semitic comments’.

At the same time the Nassauchurch, where the event was supposed to take place, has received threats from the Zionist movement. We denounce these threats to the church. It is a disgrace that threats are used as a means of action. These attempts to stop the meeting from happening are doomed to fail. We have found a new location and will disclose this to anyone registering through: this link.

As Revolutionary Unity we are the least surprised about these actions from the Zionist movement. The struggle of Odeh is aimed at the Zionist colonial movement and it is logical that this movement defends its own rotten interests.

We want to make clear that there is a conflict of which the aggressor is the Zionist movement. This movement violently ethnically cleansed the land of Palestinians and created a state that is known for its human rights violations. The ‘Israeli’ state, with 65 discriminatory laws, can be legitimately called an Apartheid state.

The Palestinian liberation movement, aimed at the ‘Israeli’ Apartheid state, is fighting a just struggle. This progressive movement strives to achieve one democratic state in the whole of Palestine, with an equal existence for all people, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or religion.

It is therefore quite bizarre to hear that the VVD asks to ‘observe and prosecute anti-Semitic comments’. Rasmea Odeh nor the organizers are anti-Semitic and subsequently there will be nothing to ‘observe and prosecute’.

Revolutionary Unity struggles against all forms of racism and discrimination. We are consistent in this. That is why we organize against ‘Israeli’ Apartheid AND we will commemorate the heroic February strike*.

Spokesperson of Revolutionary Unity, Klass de Boer: “The Zionist organization CIDI knows damn well that we struggle against all forms of discrimination. It is a misconception that all Jews support the Apartheid state or that everyone who legitimatizes their human rights abuses is Jewish. We struggle against all forms of Apartheid, including the ‘Israeli’ state.”

Rasmea Odeh, who, among other things, achieved to organize 600 women in a committee that defends the interests of Arab women, is an inspiration for many activists.

And while armed resistance is a legitimate means to achieve national liberation, Odeh’s confession about her participation in an alleged attack were obtained through torture.

Klaas de Boer: “The statement that provided the basis to convict Rasmea Odeh was obtained through torture. It is shocking to know that the CIDI, PVV and VVD attach truth to statements made during rape. This is typical for their views on the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Odeh and her stories about resistance against ‘Israeli’ Apartheid and imperialism in general are very informative. We invite all proponents of human rights to hear Rasmea Odeh with their own ears.

(Source / 27.02.2018)

Syrian Coalition Assesses Implementation of UNSC Resolution 2401 & Needs of Civilian Population in Teleconference With Leaders in Eastern Ghouta

The Syrian Coalition’s political committee and head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasser al-Hariri, on Tuesday held a teleconference with leading figures in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta to discuss the Assad regime and Russia’s ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolution 2401.

The two sides agreed to form a joint working room to coordinate their positions and seek the implementation of resolution 2401. Leaders in eastern Ghouta presented a list of the most urgent needs of the civilian population to be sent via the Syrian Negotiations Commission to the UN relief agencies and include these needs in the UN aid.

Both sides also agreed to exchange and document information as well as to prepare detailed reports to be presented to the UN Security Council with the aim of documenting the violations being committed by the Assad regime and its allies.

Member of the political committee Hadi Al-Bahra said that Moscow’s announcement of daily five-hour truce in eastern Ghouta violated resolution 2401 and is aimed at evading the implementation of the UN resolution. He stressed that Russia’s demands for the departure of civilians from eastern Ghouta is a distortion of the UN resolution and an attempt to displace the local population with the aim of changing the demographic landscape in the Damascus suburb. Bahra stressed that these demands are unacceptable.

For his part, Hariri pointed out that “loose words” have been included in the final draft of UN Security Council resolution 2401, which allows the Assad regime and its allies to procrastinate in its implementation and carry on with the pursuit of a military solution. He underscored that members of the UN Security Council should “impose measures to punish those who violates the resolution or it will remain useless.”

Leaders in eastern Ghouta presented a detailed explanation of the latest developments on the humanitarian and field level in the area. They emphasized they would remain steadfast in the face of the Assad regime’s killing machine as they will continue to seek to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people to freedom and democracy.

The leaders also reaffirmed their outright rejection of extremism and commitment to combat all forms of terrorism. They also expressed their support for the positions of the Syrian Negotiations Commissions rejecting any agreements that would result in the forced displacement of the local population and bringing about a demographic change in the area.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 27.02.2018)

PLO to send 3,000 West Bank policemen to Gaza

Image of Palestinian police forces in West Bank [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Palestinian police forces in West Bank

The committee formed to follow up the latest decisions of the PLO’s Central Council has recommended the despatch of 3,000 policemen from the occupied West Bank to the Gaza Strip, reported on Monday.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the officers would run the police stations in the Gaza Strip. He noted that members of the Presidential Guard would be sent to Gaza soon to run the border crossings.

Hamas and Fatah reached a reconciliation deal, brokered by Egypt, in October last year. According to the deal, 3,000 Palestinian Authority policemen who have just sat at home in Gaza since 2007 should have gone back to work, but this has not happened.

Read: Egypt working to revive internal Palestinian reconciliation

The PLO committee was also tasked to find mechanisms for the PA’s disengagement from the Israeli occupation authorities, which was announced by the Central Council last month. Abu Yousef explained that he is not sure whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the chairman of the PLO and Fatah, would accept the Council’s recommendations. Hamas and the other Palestinian factions have not yet commented on them.

Abu Yousef pointed out that the committee has asked Naser Al-Qidwa, the former PA representative to the UN, to make some suggestions about seeking international protection for the Palestinians and get full UN membership. He added that the committee made another recommendation to go to the International Criminal Court to decide on the issues of Israel’s illegal settlements and military offensives against the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 27.02.2018)

Israel lawmakers approve bill criminalising criticism of the military

Israeli occupation forces in the occupied West Bank on 4 August 2017

The Israeli Knesset has approved the first reading of a bill that would ban organisations critical of the country’s military. The contentious bill, which passed by 35-23 votes yesterday, was proposed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The chairman of the right-wing Jewish Home party is seeking to criminalise organisations that are critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Bennet’s primary target is the group known as Breaking the Silence. The organisation of veteran Israeli combatants who speak out against the brutal nature of the occupation has become a major thorn for the government. Ex-soldiers have exposed wide scale abuse, looting and destruction. Their testimonies shed light on the grim reality of the occupation.

Addressing the bill, Bennett said: “Breaking the Silence has long ago crossed the line of legitimate discourse, when it chose a path of slander and lies against IDF soldiers on the international stage.” Another Israeli lawmaker Shuli Mualem accused Breaking the Silence of seeking to “undermine” the regime and its army soldiers.

Ex-Israel soldier: I helped entrench the occupation

If the bill passes two further reading it would authorise the education minister to bar groups and individuals from entering schools. One of the concerns raised during the debate was that the groups’ activity could lead to Israeli soldiers being prosecuted in international courts or foreign countries for actions carried out as part of their military duty.

In their response to the bill, the group accused Bennett of promoting “occupation education” and trying to “crush every democratic value on the altar of the settlement movement.”

It also noted that those who hurt Israeli soldiers are actually “politicians like Bennett, who send us to control the Palestinians and are silent when settlers routinely attack soldiers and Palestinians.”

The anti-occupation group further emphasised that “the only way to stop us is to end the occupation.”

This bill is the latest in a long list of measures adopted by the Israeli Knesset to supress dissenting voices in the country. Last November, a law was introduced to criminalise activiststhat support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israeli army bans ‘Breaking the Silence’ from Hebron settlement

A separate bill paving the way for annexation of the West Bank was also approved yesterday. Israeli lawmakers agreed to expand the jurisdiction of Israeli courts over “Area C” of the West Bank. The Bill was tabled by another right-wing Israeli minister, Ayelet Shaked.

The area is currently ruled by the military however under the new bill, legal claims in the occupied territory would be treated as though the territory is part of Israel. The legislation will also treat Israeli settlers living in the West Bank like those living within the pre-1967 borders, or the so-called Green Line.

Palestinian representatives of the Knesset have slammed the measure as another initiative by Israel to normalise the occupation and to advance “creeping annexation” over the West Bank.

“The High Court of Justice has never treated the Palestinians in the territories justly,” said Yousef Jabarin, a member of the Joint List.

(Source / 27.02.2018)

Unable to move, disabled Palestinian in solitary begins hunger strike

Disabled Palestinian prisoners Amer Asaad

Disabled Palestinian prisoners Amer Asaad is on the 12th day of an open hunger strike in protest against the inhuman treatment he has received while incarcerated.

The 35-year-old, who is from Kafr Kanna in Israel, was detained in 2012 and sentenced to six and a half years in jail. He has been held in the Ramleh prison and is due to be released in June.

He said the conditions in which he has been detained do not take in to consideration his disability or provide him with suitable toilet facilities. Prison authorities, he said, refuse to move him to the only prison section which has doors which are wide enough for his wheelchair.

“The cell is a mattress on the ground and an Arab bath, and I am isolated, on my own. I have difficulties around the clock. I will not suspend my strike until my humane demands are met,” he said.

Prior to his detention, Asaad had regular physical therapy sessions however this has not continued while he’s been held in prison.

Read: Israel issues 47 administrative detention orders in February

(Source / 27.02.2018)