Israeli settlers force Palestinian man out of his own land

Tel Rumeida area

Israeli settlers forced on Tuesday a Palestinian man to leave his land in Tel Rumeida area, in al-Khalil to the south of the West Bank.

According to the PIC reporter, a group of settlers stormed the land of Walid Sharif in Tel Rumeida and prevented him from working in his own land.

The settlers, from the illegal settlement of Ramat Yishai, built on Palestinian privately-owned lands in Tel Rumeida, were led by the extremist politician Baruch Meir Marzel.

“Marzel forced me to leave the land at gunpoint and threatened to shoot and kill me if I return to the area”, the PIC reporter quoted Sharif as saying.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Israel arrests 1,319 Palestinians in January, February

1319 Pal's arrested

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested 1,319 Palestinians during January and February, including 274 children and 23 women and girls, a joint report said.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, issued a monthly report on Tuesday on the imprisonment of Palestinians in January and February 2018.

According to the report, Israeli forces arrested 381 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem, 233 from Ramallah and al-Bireh, 140 from al-Khalil, 133 from Jenin, 118 from Bethlehem, 107 from Nablus, 59 from Tulkarem, 54 of Qalqilya, 23 from Tubas, 20 from Salfit, 21 from Jericho and 20 from Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of 2018, Israel issued 169 administrative detention orders for imprisonment without charge or trial, including 52 new orders.

500 administrative detainees are currently held in Israeli jails, the report said.

The total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is around 6,500, including 63 women, of whom six are minor girls. There are also 350 child prisoners.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

IOA extends administrative detention of two Islamic Jihad officials

 Admin detention Islamic Jihad members

Muhjat al-Quds Foundation for Martyrs, Prisoners and the Wounded said on Monday that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) extended the administrative detention of senior Islamic Jihad officials Sa’ied Nakhla and Bassam Abu Aker.

In a press release, Muhjat al-Quds Foundation stated that the IOA renewed the administrative detention of Nakhla and Abu Aker for another four months.

The Israeli occupation forces kidnapped Nakhla on November 23, 2017 and Abu Aker on July 27, 2017 before the Shin Bet decided to administratively detain them with no indictment or trial.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Arrests reported in IOF dawn campaigns in West Bank

Dawn arrests WB

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Wednesday launched raid and arrest campaigns into different areas in the West Bank.

The PIC reporter said that the IOF at daybreak stormed Nablus city and erected a number of temporary checkpoints.

Eyewitnesses reported that the IOF raided the houses of the Palestinian journalists Amid Dweikat and Naser Ishtiya in Rujeib and Salem towns east of Nablus and wreaked havoc on them.

Another campaign was witnessed in Asira ash-Shamaliya town north of Nablus. The IOF arrested Mohammed Hamadneh, a student at al-Najah University, after raiding his family house and searching it.

Large-scale sweeps were launched in Jenin province where three Palestinian citizens, including two ex-prisoners, were arrested.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that dozens of IOF soldiers stormed Silat al-Harithiya town west of Jenin and fired live ammunition and sound bombs at the Palestinian citizens’ houses.

Meanwhile in Bethlehem, the IOF raided and searched the houses of the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council Anwar Zabboun and Khalid Tafesh and the leader in Hamas movement Ghassan Hirmas.

The PIC reporter said that the IOF confiscated a sum of money from the house of MP Tafesh after searching it.

He added that the IOF also arrested an ex-prisoner named Ibrahim al-Zier during a raid into Harmala village east of Bethlehem.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Israel considering dismissing manslaughter charges against 2 soldiers

Dismissing manslaughter

The Israeli prosecution is negotiating a plea bargain in the case of two Israeli soldiers accused of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Palestinian teenager in 2013.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the soldiers were serving in the occupation army, when they shot and killed 16-year-old Samir Awad.

The lawyers for the two men claimed that convicting the soldiers would be a selective enforcement of the law, since it is rare for an indictment to be brought against Israeli soldiers who shoot and kill Palestinians.

The two soldiers were participating in an ambush in the vicinity of an apartheid fence near the West Bank village of Budrus in January, 2013 when the murder was perpetrated.

According to the indictment, the soldiers emerged from the ambush and began chasing Awad, who was trapped between the two fences. At that point, one soldier fired two bullets at Awad. His commander then fired three more bullets. Awad was taken to a hospital in Ramallah, where he succumbed to the gunshot wounds.

Alleging that it was not possible to determine which of the bullets was the fatal one, the prosecution decided not to indict the soldiers for manslaughter, but instead on the lesser charges of recklessness and negligence — which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

During the hearing, attorneys for the accused claimed that their clients should not be convicted because it was not proven that they acted negligently and because the law was being selectively enforced in their case. The attorneys presented military data showing that in the last seven years, out of 110 cases in which soldiers had shot and killed Palestinians, only four indictments were filed. The court expressed doubts as to its ability to convict the two men due to the issue of selective enforcement.

The defense lawyers also noted that firing at Palestinians attempting to cross the separation fence is allowed under army regulations.

The defense brought up the possibility of dismissing the charges. Negotiations are underway for a plea agreement and the prosecution is expected to present its decision prior to the next court hearing in the case on March 26.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

PA, Fatah blames Hamas over targeting of Hamdallah’s convoy

Members of a Palestinian security force seen after an explosive device targeted the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza on 13 March 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Members of a Palestinian security force seen after an explosive device targeted the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza on 13 March 2018

The Palestinian Authority (PA) presidency and Fatah both blamed Hamas over the explosion that targeted the convey of the PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his brief visit to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Quds Press reported.

“Hamas is responsible for unjustified attack [on Hamdallah’s convoy],” PA Presidency spokesperson Nabeel Abu Rudieneh said, noting that “we know who is standing behind it and what are his aims.”

He also said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would hold a series of meetings to decide how to respond and take the “appropriate measures.”

“This act pushes out people towards destruction and we will not remain silent towards it,” he said. “Anyway, we blame Hamas over this condemned attack,” he added.

Meanwhile, member of Fatah Executive Committee Hussein al-Sheikh described the explosion as a “massive criminal and unprecedented act,” noting that it would be followed with “many decisions and policies based on blaming full responsibility on Hamas.”

Deputy PA Information Minister and senior Fatah leader in Gaza Fayiz Abu-Eita blamed Hamas for the explosion and described it as “sinful act.”

Many other Fatah and PA officials blamed Hamas for the explosion, but at the same time, most of the Palestinian actors called for Fatah and the PA to refrain from pointing fingers at Hamas or any other party before completing the investigations being conducted into the accident.

However, some security experts and observers suspected that Fatah and the PA plotted the explosion, which hit the last three vehicles of Hamdallah’s convoy.

Palestinians launched a hashtag in Arabic on social media reading “The Play of Exploding PM’s Convoy” while Fatah activists and mass media, including Maan News Agency and Palestine TVannounced false news about the incident – such as the number of casualties and additional gun fire.

In fact, only one of the security staff accompanying Hamdallah was slightly injured.

The Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza announced immediately after the incident that it had arrested two suspects and a security official told MEMO that “a security incident was expected because the security services in Ramallah announced a false itinerary for the convoy’s trip in Gaza.”

According to the security sources, “this aimed to distort our security efforts, however, we were vigilant and immediately arrested two out of three suspects and investigations are still continuous.”

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Appalling Death Toll in Eastern Ghouta as Syrian Coalition Renews Calls for Use of Force Against Assad

The Syrian Interim Government’s health directorate in Rural Damascus has published appalling figures of the death toll in the suburb of eastern Ghouta as a Syrian Coalition official stressed that the international community’s lukewarm response towards the Assad regime led to the occurrence of war crimes on a large scale in Syria.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that the humanitarian tragedy affecting the people of eastern Ghouta has become the last appeal to the United Nations to carry out its moral and legal duties to protect civilians.

In press release issue on Tuesday, the Directorate of Health said that 1,201 civilians have been killed and 8,804 others injured in eastern Ghouta over the last three weeks of the ferocious military campaign being launched by the Assad regime forces with Russian support. It indicated that the victims included at least 209 children and 213 women.

The Directorate said that two doctors, four nurses, and two paramedics were killed in attacks on hospitals and medical centers in the besieged Damascus suburb.

The figures showed that the humanitarian suffering in eastern Ghouta had reached an unprecedented level since the siege and bombardment began in 2013.

Farhan stressed that war crimes being committed against Syrian civilians make it incumbent on the Syrian people’s friendly countries to take action outside the UN Security Council and launch a military strike against the Assad regime to force it to abide by UN Security Council resolution 2401 demanding a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Member of the political committee and the Syrian Negotiations Commission Hadi al-Bahra stressed the need for the UN Security Council’s member states to take measures to force the Assad regime to abide by Resolution 2401. He said that such measures are likely to push ahead the political process and negotiations.

“It is feasible. It is necessary. And it is overdue,” Bahra told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday. He slammed Russia’s continued disabling of the UN Security Council through its repeated use of its veto power to shield the Assad regime.

(Source: Syrian’s Coalition Media Department / 14.03.2018)

Israeli Drones Tear-Gas Gaza Protesters in Latest Unmanned Weapons ‘Experiment’

Israeli unmanned innovations include the Guardium armored robot car; miniature pistol-wielding tanks; and the “Spot and Shoot” system of remote-controlled machine-gun turrets on the walls enclosing Gaza, which are operated with videogame-style joysticks by distant female soldiers.

GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE — In a frightening development, Israeli occupying forces have deployed a new unmanned aerial system in the Gaza Strip that drops tear gas canisters from above, according to video footage obtained by Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen news.

The event, described by officials as an “experiment,” is the first recorded incident of weaponized crowd-control UAVs (i.e., drones) being used against unarmed Palestinian civilians in a non-combat environment.

In a video clip posted by the Lebanese news agency, around 200 demonstrators who gathered last Friday on the eastern border of the besieged coastal strip scatter after the small airborne drone targets them with projectiles containing tear gas.

Israeli occupation forces claim that the UAV was not being controlled by the military, but by the state’s Border Police, according to Times of Israel.

Israel as usual ahead of the dystopian curve

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, officials in Tel Aviv say that the new crowd-control technique remains “experimental and has not yet been made operational,” effectively turning Friday’s act of repression into a live-fire exercise against the long-suffering residents of Gaza.

U.S. journalist Max Blumenthal commented in a tweet:

Israel experiments on caged Gaza natives protesting their perpetual imprisonment by drone bombing them with teargas. For the clearest vision of our dystopian future, always look to present day Israel.”

Officials added that the experimental practice gives Israeli security forces the ability to control protesters from a “safer distance.”

Israel is among a handful of countries — including India, China, France and the United States — whose UAV industries have developed drones capable of bombarding crowds with less-lethal weaponry and crowd-control agents such as tear gas, smoke grenades, explosive ordnance or other payloads.

At the Milipol 2015 arms expo in Paris, Israeli company ISPRA unveiled its Cyclone riot control drone system. The Cyclone can be affixed to a variety of drones and can fire twelve grenades, including a multi-purpose projectile ISPRA produces that can blast targets with “either powder, rubber pellets, coloring agents, or sticky gel.”

It remains unclear whether the Cyclone system was used in Friday’s experiment.

Following an abortive U.S.- and Israeli-backed coup attempt against the elected Hamas government in 2007, the approximately 2 million Palestinians in Gaza have faced three devastating wars initiated by the Israelis and a stifling blockade by Tel Aviv and Cairo that has claimed at least 1,000 lives.

Tel Aviv has long used the Gaza Strip as a de facto laboratory for the testing of experimental weaponry and cutting-edge, unmanned weapons systems that mete out extrajudicial killings and indiscriminate violence from thousands of feet above. According to rights group Defence for Children International-Palestine, children in Gaza were directly targeted by drones during the 2014 Israeli offensive Operation Protective Edge.

State terror: enforcement of poverty through automated warfare

In addition to conventional airborne armed drones, Israeli unmanned innovations include the Guardium armored robot car;miniature pistol-wielding tanks; and the “Spot and Shoot” system of remote-controlled machine-gun turrets on the walls enclosing Gaza, which are operated with videogame-style joysticks by distant female soldiers. The Israelis plan to fully automatethe Spot and Shoot system, removing human beings from the identification, targeting and killing process.

According to Israeli military personnel, the demand for such devices is fueled in part by declining recruitment levels and a population that’s unwilling to risk life and limb in combat.

Experts predict that robotic technology will exponentially advance in coming years as militaries across the globe increasingly rely on autonomous weapons systems owing to their relative cheapness, tactical efficiency, and ability to rapidly make and implement decisions.

In a 2013 report, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston warned of the acute dangers and ethical questions raised by the fast-increasing use of unmanned systems:

The minimization of casualties on the side of the technology wielders, and the prospect of ever-greater precision and discernment hold obvious appeal … [And also,] there is a North-South dimension, in that the North has the money and the technical know-how to develop the technologies, while many of the negative consequences of their use will fall much more heavily on poorer countries in the South.”

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Palestinians are facing genocide; Israel deserves its international pariah status

School children in an UNRWA institute fly kites carrying the hashtag 'dignity is priceless' to highlight the dire situation in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

School children in an UNRWA institute fly kites carrying the hashtag ‘dignity is priceless’ to highlight the dire situation in Gaza

By Firoz Osman

Zionist fulminations against the evocative A-word will now have to contend with the ignoble G-word. That Israel is an Apartheid entity is now indisputable, with international institutions and academics declaring it to be a crime against humanity. To this must now be added the increasingly obvious fact that the Palestinians are facing Genocide at the hands of the Israeli colonists.

The creation of the state of Israel in May 1948 was a settler-colonial enterprise in which Palestinians were displaced through a deliberate policy of terror and ethnic cleansing that made room for alien colonists, drawn largely from Europe and North America. Colonial Zionism differed from other European colonial enterprises in its much more ambitious intentions; it set out not only to exploit the indigenous people and steal their resources, but also to expel them and move Jews onto the stolen land.

From the outset, Zionism — the ideology underpinning Israel — held terrorism to be one of its indispensable weapons for the achievement of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Innocent Palestinian civilians were massacred by the score, and British Mandate officials were also targeted.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, enunciated the Zionist agenda categorically in 1937, well before its 1948 realisation: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.” According to Dr Ilan Pappé, such ethnic cleansing has been a pre-planned policy since the1930s. Pappé is an Israeli academic and author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” who has defined Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip as an “incremental genocide”. Instead of rounding up Palestinians for mass execution, Israelis implement subtle policies designed to make life so miserable for the indigenous population that they will decide for themselves to leave and live elsewhere. In Zionist terms, this is called “silent transfer”, and requires the erosion of land and rights, illegal settlements for Jews only, murderous violence and the mass destruction of infrastructure and homes.

All of this is backed up by a near-total blockade of Gaza, aided and abetted by Egypt and the international community. Basic necessities such as food and fresh water are scarce, electricity cuts last up to 20 hours per day, and materials to repair the shattered infrastructure are prevented from getting into the enclave. This has compromised the health sector, for example, very severely, with emergency and diagnostic services such as MRI scans, CT and x-rays, intensive care units and operating theatres in 13 public hospitals at risk. What’s more, public health is threatened by untreated sewage — the Israelis destroyed the facilities and won’t allow repairs to be made — and damaged desalination plants, as well as a reduced capacity for solid waste collection.

Fifty international humanitarian organisations, including the World Health Organisation and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have called for an end to the blockade, describing it as a violation of international law. The strangulation of the Gaza Strip since June 2007 has resulted in a slow journey into malnutrition, disease and death.

The Gaza Strip has also been subjected to three ruthless Israeli military offensives, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. The cost has been devastating, in terms of civilian casualties as well as infrastructure. Thousands of Palestinians have been slaughtered with the most horrible weapons, including remote-controlled bulldozers that demolish their homes over their heads, and drones that fire missiles onto crowded streets and into apartment blocks, schools, clinics and hospitals. Gaza has been showered liberally with depleted uranium, white phosphorus and cluster bombs.

“Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians such as young boys,” claims Human Rights Watch, “and civilian structures, including a hospital; laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”

According to Amnesty International:

Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.

Yotam Feldman, a former journalist with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and director of the documentary “The Lab”, says that Israel has turned the occupied territories into a laboratory for refining, testing and showcasing its weapons systems.

The author of “War Against the People”, Israeli-American academic Jeff Halper, explains that Israel has an advantage over some of its rivals in the arms trade; its own real-time military laboratory is a testing ground with living targets. “You’ve got 4.5 million Palestinians that you can test these weapons and security devices on,” says Halper. “And that’s what’s given Israel this cutting edge in the market. So that if you insert that, the whole world looks different. All of a sudden, countries that seemed to be your enemies are your friends. There’s all kinds of interests that come out.”

As a result, over the past couple of decades, Israel has become a leading exporter of security, surveillance and military equipment, because Israeli military technology companies have marketed their products as “battle-tested” and “combat proven”, giving them a competitive edge in the international arms market place.

Israel was the biggest arms supplier to Apartheid South Africa and collaborated in its development of nuclear weapons, prolonging the oppression of the non-White population by decades. It also supplied weapons to the Rwandan government even while it engaged in the genocide of the Tutsi tribe, which is considered the fastest execution of genocide in human history. What’s more, Israel also provided the Serbians with arms as they conducted the ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia’s Bosnian Muslims.

Moreover, Israel exports arms to terrorist groups in Syria and Libya, helping to destabilise the whole region. Repressive regimes around the world, including the government in Myanmar, are also propped up by Israeli arms, while tyrannical regimes such as Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s in Egypt, the autocratic kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and other despots receive similar support from Israel.

The Israelis have stoked the fires of Islamophobia, deliberately ratcheting up tensions against Muslims globally. Zionist encouragement of racist right-wing ultra-nationalists in the US, India and Europe has been open, with fabricated “terror” alerts and false-flag operations being used to justify Israel’s illegitimate and immoral usurpation, occupation and colonisation of Palestine.

Israel has sought international support by painting itself as some sort of civilised bastion in the battle between “Islam and the West”. This is similar in tone to the Islamophobia pushed by right-wing ideologues around the world, including Donald Trump, who stated infamously that “Islam hates us” and pushed for a Muslim ban when he became President.

Zionist warlords appear to be addicted to war and civil unrest, as were other colonialists, imperialists, ultranationalists, fascists and Nazis spawned by Europe. Endless war means not only opportunities for the expansion of the Zionist state into “Greater Israel”, but also the generation of huge profits at the expense of the innocent victims of such policies.

The drawn-out and ultimately fruitless “peace negotiations” demonstrate clearly that the far-right which governs Israel sees peace as a threat. Anti-Apartheid stalwarts, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have claimed — with good reason — that Israel’s version of Apartheid is worse than that endured by non-White people in South Africa. In reality, they recognise the genocidal nature of the self-declared Jewish state. Israel more than deserves its growing international pariah status.

(Source / 14.03.2018)

Israeli court sentences Palestinian activist Munther Amira to 6 months

Munther Amira

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli Ofer Military Court sentenced Palestinian activist Munther Amirato six months of prison on Monday.

Amira, the head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) in the occupied West Bank, was arrested during peaceful protests in late December.Amira’s brother, Ghassan, told Ma’an that the court sentenced Amira to six months of jail in addition to a suspended sentence of five years and a fine.He added that the suspended sentence includes 3 suspended years if Amira is detained during any activity after his release and five years if he is detained during a protest.
As he was arrested, Amira, along with dozens of Palestinians, were demonstrating against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the arrest of 17-year-old activist Ahed Tamimi, who had been detained one week prior.
Video of Amira’s arrest shows the activist standing at the front of protests, holding a sign in support of Ahed Tamimi, when a group of Israeli officers ran out from the military base and grabbed him.

The Israeli prosecution brought 12 charges against Amira, among them throwing stones, organizing and participating in unpermitted marches, and throwing an incendiary device towards soldiers, the latter referring to when Amira threw back a tear gas canister that was shot at him by Israeli forces while he was peacefully demonstrating.
Amira was prosecuted in a military court that has over a 99 percent conviction rate against Palestinians.
(Source / 14.03.2018)