The EU, UN and PA masquerade as activists while highlighting their colonial complicity

Palestinian children play outside of makeshift homes in Gaza Strip on December 14 2016 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian children play outside of makeshift homes in Gaza Strip on 14 December 2016

By Ramona Wadi 

his year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. True to form, UN, EU and Palestinian Authority representatives abandoned their political roles to pose as pseudo-activists for a month, embarking upon the Masar Ibrahim Al Khalil trail walk in the occupied West Bank, accompanied by Palestinian children, to “raise awareness” and highlight different articles of the convention along the route.

Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, hopes “that the walks undertaken over these last 30 days further focus attention on how to safeguard and promote children’s rights in the very unique and challenging context of Palestine.”

Aside from the platitudes which the participating representatives reserved for themselves, it is unlikely that the trekking venture has contributed to one single change in the lives of Palestinian children. Nevertheless, we are told that the children expressed “how happy they are to have their rights promoted and respected.” Promoting samples of text from the convention is not equivalent to promoting the rights of Palestinian children. Quoting what children allegedly said to the representatives is not even indicative of the reality that Palestinian children face daily as a result of Israel’s colonial violence. But why ruin a large-scale propaganda exercise by mentioning the actual reasons why Palestinians have no apparent “right to an equal chance to reach their innate potential, irrespective of background of circumstance”?

READ: The UN exploits Palestinian children to further the two-state propaganda

The trail walk made no difference to UN, EU and PA rhetoric; these generic statements could have been uttered from the usual podiums. All the representatives know full well that background, context and circumstance make all the difference when it comes to the illusion of equal opportunities. As detached from reality as politicians are, including those masquerading as purported activists for a brief period, there was no mention of how the UN conventions employ generalised rhetoric and fail to address the specifics of political violations. To ensure that the trail walk’s “awareness” was rendered completely void of significance, the representatives omitted any reference to Israel, preferring the euphemism of “the continuing conflict” instead.

Palestinian bedouin children receive education in classroom at the only school in the region 'Itarat School' in Khan al-Ahmar region of Jerusalem on 16 July, 2018 [İssam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

As politicians, all representatives have the duty to implement the changes which would enable the rights of Palestinian children to become a tangible means for achievement. The EU, UN and PA can and should prioritise decolonisation as the first step; after all, is the UN not supposed to be committed to eliminating colonialism? Instead, the collective antics of these institutional representatives have ensured the protection of Israel’s colonial violence against Palestinian children, while their lack of rights is framed against “obstacles resulting from a combination of factors”.

Raising awareness is an exercise performed with the intent to change existing injustice. These politicians — let’s call them performers, shall we? — have every intention to ensure the opposite. Trail walks and a month of sightseeing in occupied Palestine at the expense of children’s rights is an abomination, regardless of the EU’s funding of the trail to “enhance Palestinian citizenship and identity”. If Israel is constantly erasing Palestine and Palestinians, as the UN, EU and the PA are well aware, how does a walk to promote the convention alter the ramifications of Israeli colonialism, backed as it is by the same entities which put themselves and human rights rhetoric on an untouchable pedestal?

READ: Settlers assault 3 Palestinian children in Hebron

(Source / 24.10.2019) 

Islamic Jihad will not take part in Palestinian elections

A member of the political bureau of Islamic Jihad, Nafeth Azzam

A member of the political bureau of Islamic Jihad, Nafeth Azzam

Palestine’s Islamic Jihad said on Wednesday that it would never take part in parliamentary and presidential elections, Al-Ayyam has reported.

Speaking to the newspaper, a member of the movement’s political bureau, Nafeth Azzam, explained that the stance of Islamic Jihad regarding elections had not changed since the Oslo Agreement, which established the Palestinian Legislative Council and Palestinian Authority.

According to Azzam, the elections will not end the crises affecting the Palestinians. “They will,” he insisted, “deepen the tragedy and division.”

He added that his movement’s stance regarding elections to the Palestinian National Council is different because the PNC represents the wider Palestinian community and it is not an outcome of Oslo.

Azzam ended his interview by calling for concentrated efforts to reach internal agreements on the national programme “for which the Palestinians have sacrificed so much.”

Israel report: ‘Hamas will win legislative elections’ 

(Source / 24.10.2019) 

Israel demolishes settler structures in West Bank

View of a Jewish settlement near Nablus in the West Bank on 2 April 2019 [Shadi Jarar'ah/Apaimages]

View of a Jewish settlement near Nablus in the West Bank on 2 April 2019

Israeli security forces demolished two wooden structures belonging to Jewish settlers built illegally near  the occupied Palestinian town of Nablus in the West Bank.

The structures, within Area B of the occupied West Bank, were erected in the Yitzhar Hills ahead of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The settlers opposed the demolition, saying that the “community has expressed its firm stance against harming soldiers, and precisely because of this stance the decision to demolish structures as an act of punishment is wrong and destructive.”

They claimed that the move “does nothing but inflame the situation instead of calming it”, Haaretz reported.

READ: Jewish settlers attack Palestinian farmers in West Bank

The local municipality covering Yitzhar called the incident a “violent move that harms settlement efforts to restore quiet.”

Jewish settlers from Yitzhar have recently been involved in a series of violent incidents, attacking and threatening Israeli soldiers patrolling the area. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders have condemned the attacks against Israeli occupation forces near the illegal settlement in which two soldiers were slightly injured.

(Source / 24.10.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure Several Palestinians Near Hebron

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at night, the ath-Thaher area, south of Beit Ummar town, northwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and injured several Palestinians who protested the invasion.

Local media activist, Mohammad Ayyad Awad, said many army jeeps invaded the town and fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at youngsters, who protested the invasion and hurled stones at the army vehicles.

He added that many Palestinians, including those in their homes, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, especially since the soldiers fired at random and in various directions.

All wounded Palestinians received treatment by local medics, without the need to be moved to hospitals or clinics.

(Source / 24.10.2019)

Army Attacks Farmers, Volunteers, In Olive Orchards Near Nablus


Israeli soldiers attacked Thursday, Palestinian farmers and volunteers picking olive trees in orchards owned by the residents in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers invaded the Palestinian orchards, near the illegal Aliya colony, which was installed on private lands.

It added that the soldiers fired any gas bombs, and concussion grenades, in addition to assaulting several Palestinians with their batons.

The soldiers also detained the Samer ‘Oweiss, the head of al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya Village Council, and Suleiman Oweiss, in addition to confiscating mobile phones carried by Palestinian journalists.

On Wednesday, several colonists attacked many Palestinians picking olive trees in their orchards in Ya’bad town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Also Wednesday, the colonists invaded Palestinian orchards in Qaryout village, south Nablus, and forced the residents out, for the fourth consecutive day.

In addition, a group of colonists attacked Palestinian olive orchards near Salfit, in central West Bank, before steeling ladders, olive picking equipment, and mattresses.

The attacks come while groups of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers continue to invade Palestinian olive orchards, cut trees and assault the villagers, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

The violations always witness a serious escalation every year during the olive harvest season in occupied Palestine.

(Source / 24.10.2019) 

Record Number of Demolitions of Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem

Fawzia stands on the ruins of her house, after her Palestinian ex-husband demolished the dwelling to not face the prospect of Israeli settlers moving in after he lost a land ownership case in Israeli courts, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, July 19, 2018

Israeli authorities have demolished at least 140 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem this year, rights group B’Tselem said Thursday, the highest annual number since it began keeping records in 2004.

B’Tselem said 238 Palestinians have lost their homes this year, including 127 minors. The second highest number of demolitions on record was in 2016, when 92 homes were demolished.

Last month another Israeli rights group, Peace Now, obtained official figures on building permits in east Jerusalem going back to 1991 that provided strong evidence of systematic discrimination against Palestinian residents.

While Palestinians make up more than 60 percent of the population of east Jerusalem, they had received just 30 percent of permits.

The Israeli military said Thursday that it demolished a partially-built structure in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight.

It said the structure was being built on the site of the family home of a Palestinian who had killed an Israeli officer during an operation in May 2018.

It said the residence was demolished in December of that year, and that troops returned after they noticed that new construction was underway.

Israel says demolishing the family homes of alleged militants deters violence, while the Palestinians see it as a form of collective punishment.

(Source / 24.10.2019) 

Report: BDS the Most Dangerous Movement for Israeli National Security

By Mahm’d Zaban, PNN

The Israeli occupation state views BDS as a movement which forms a strategic threat to its national security, extensively triggering international public opinion against it, and works to isolate Israel internationally. Thus, Israel uses several means to reduce the effects of BDS, including the policies of extreme right-wing organizations in America. The Hebrew publication, Yediot Aharonot, quoted senior political forums in Tel Aviv as saying, “Israel is financing some International organizations to encounter the BDS, and to organize events and activities for the benefit of Israel, especially in the EU states through launching media campaigns on the social networks.”

At their joint position in Brussels, last September, the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs and Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, the US special envoy to monitor and encounter anti-Semitism, Ilan Carr, head of the EU-Jewish Council, Rabbi, Menachem Margolin, all urged the EU to take serious steps against any organization which supports BDS, claiming that its activities are racist.

In its bi-weekly report on boycott affairs, the National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlement, said that the international boycott campaigns, especially in the EU countries, won’t stop, but step up, despite the Israeli Government, the Zionist lobby and the extreme right-wing parties in the EU countries , as they attempt to criminalize, prosecute, and enact legislation to punish supporters, trying to stop their expansion — especially within BDS — but in vain.

In Johannesburg, at the Synod Church Council that is held every 3 years, and representing Anglican societies in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Angola, and St. Helena, the high commission at the Anglican Church for South Africa (ACSA) unanimously took a resolution to support the BDS campaign against Israel until it ends its military occupation in Palestine. It is worth mentioning that the resolution stated: “The situation in the Holy Land requires the attention of the church, being the place where he (Jesus) was born and crucified.”

Hundreds of authors, recently, have publicly denounced the revocation of a German literary prize, the Nelly Sachs Award for Literature, from esteemed British-Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie,  because of her support for her support for the movement to boycott the occupation. Moreover, Aachen City authorities have decided to deprive Lebanese artist Walid Ra’d from the literary prize, which values at US $ 9,900, as he is also pro-BDS. Also noteworthy is the fact that Aachen has chosen Ra’d to win the prize for his project “Atlas Group,” which dealt with the history of the civil war in Lebanon, which lasted from 1989 to 2004.

Additionally, the BDS movement has called on Indian artists to boycott a festival to be held in Israel, this month, in order to promote the Israeli occupation. The movement requested and expected that the Bollywood stars won’t join such event, which supports apartheid, noting that the list of guests include Indian artists, most notably Anil Kapoor, Ravina Tandon and Amisha Pateel.

In Germany, the Palestinian Society, supported by other Palestinian unions in the EU — such as the German-Palestinian Society, and the German-Palestinian Women’s Association — managed to win a case filed against BDS by the Municipality Council, which criminalizes and prohibits its activities. It should be noted that the Society has recruited a number of rights organizations, especially the Netherland Transparent Democratic Organization that is host to international Lawyer Giovanni Massimo, to follow up on the matter, which targets German and Palestinian activists, in addition to countering the German Parliament’s resolution, which criminalizes BDS.

In the United States, the largest financial supporter of Israeli settlement movements, and the Israeli lobby in Washington, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has founded a new Jewish-American group called the “Maccabi Labor Commission,” to fight BDS at American and other universities, especially in the EU, where the movement is becoming increasingly active, adding that the group is going to begin working at the beginning of the academic year, in 2020. Furthermore, the Jewish lobby is pressing to enact new laws in the US which would ban criticism of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories, at university campuses.

However, BDS confirms that the number of colleges which support the movement in North America has reached 51, stressing the importance of the students’ activity against the Israeli occupation, and praised the American “Trail Blazers” basketball team’s refusal to sponsor the “Leopold and Sniffens Co.,” which provides the Israeli occupation army with military supplies.

On the Arab level, the Palestinian National Committee for Boycotting Israel (BDS) condemned Qatar‘s recent acts of normalization with the apartheid colonial system, specifically the Israeli occupation, as it hosts  official Israeli sports teams in its sports tournaments, most recently the World Beach Sports Championship, in which an Israeli delegation of 4 players participated, preceded by another Israeli delegation that participated in the World Athletics Championships, held in Qatar. Moreover, Bahraini and Arab organizations and institutions poised against Israel condemned delegation’s participation in a conference, held in Bahrain, to protect navigation in the Gulf.

The Palestinian National Committee for Boycotting Israel – Palestinian BDS, international leadership of BDS, the Moroccan Boycott Movement – Morocco BDS, the Moroccan Coalition of Human Rights, and Coordinating Maghreb Human Rights Organizations also condemned the targeting and harassment of human rights activists in Morocco, by its use of Israeli espionage technology.

On the Palestinian level, several organizations have condemned the government’s decision to import olives from Israel. They have also condemned the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture’s statements to import about 2,000 tons of Israeli olives, intended for pickling, under the pretext of meeting the needs of the Palestinian market of such olives. It should be noted that these organizations have called for boycotting all kinds of Israeli olives, for supporting the local Palestinian product, and developing the market so that it can meet its own needs.

On the Israeli level, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri threatened to to prevent Omar Barghouti from staying in Israel, accusing him of doing his best to harm Israel, and therefore should not have the right to stay in Acre with his two sons, as he is one of the founders of the BDS movement. Adding that Barghouti was recently barred from entering Britain and the United States, where he was supposed to participate in conferences, due to the Israeli incitement against him. Moreover, Barghouti was prevented from joining his daughter’s wedding ceremony, in Washington, some months ago.

Hebrew press, including Yediot Aharonot, has also revealed that senior political sources in Tel Aviv claim that Israel is providing financial assistance to international right-wing organizations operating against the BDS movement, through the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which provided NIS 5.7 million to organize activities in favor of Israel, with extensive campaigns implemented via social media.  NIS 3,000,000 will reportedly be granted, by Israel, to organize pro-Israel field activities, as well as NIS 2.7 million, which will be provided to organizations and activists on social media networks, to organize campaigns against the de-legitimization of Israel, and the boycott movement in the countries, where BDS is active.

(Source / 24.10.2019) 


Remains of the Abu Hmeid home in Amari refugee camp following the latest Israeli demolition

Ramallah (QNN) – Israeli occupation forces demolished today for the second time in less than a year, the Abu Hmeid family home in Amari refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, said witnesses.

A large Israeli army unit raided the camp in the pre-dawn hours and secured access to the location where the two-story house is located. The soldiers broke into the building, forced its residents out before tearing it down, said the witnesses.

Clashes erupted between camp youths and the soldiers during the operation. The soldiers fired dozens of teargas canisters and sound bombs at the youths injuring 11 and detaining some.

Yazid Issam, a paramedic volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent, told WAFA agency that the soldiers ordered the medical staff to leave the area and prevented them from evacuating the wounded.

Latifa Abu Hmeid, the house owner, said that she is going to rebuilt her house, just as she did in the past several times her family home was demolished as a punishment for her sons activities in the resistance.

This is the fourth time Israel demolishes the Abu Hmeid residence for the participation of members of the family in resisting the Israeli occupation, the first was in 1994 and the second in 2004.

In December 2018, Israeli forces demolished the Abu Hmeid home after accusing its son, Islam, of killing an Israeli soldier in the camp in May of that year. The family, with support from the public and the Palestinian Authority, rebuilt it.

The beleaguered family already has four of its sons serving several life terms and a fifth held in administrative detention. A sixth was killed be the Israeli army. Islam is also expected to be handed down at least one life term when his trial ends.

Israel always demolishes homes of Palestinians involved in attacking and killing Israelis as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people. It does not apply this policy on Israelis who kill Palestinians.

(Source / 24.10.2019)


By Shatha Hammad – Middle East Eye

The Palestinian Authority has blocked 59 Palestinian news websites and social media pages, following a request by the attorney-general, a move that journalists and civil society activists say aims to stifle dissent and criticism of the PA government.

The PA accused the banned websites of insulting PA officials, publishing articles and pictures that threaten Palestinian “national security” and “civil peace”, and negatively affecting Palestinian public opinion.

Critics have pointed to the popular uprisings in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, claiming that the clampdown on media is an attempt by the PA to ensure Palestinians don’t follow suit.

The ban was first reported by Maan, a Palestinian news agency that has close ties to the PA. It targeted websites and social media pages that are critical of the PA and some that are perceived as supportive of Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ exiled rival.

The court order to block access to the websites came on Monday after a request by the public prosecutors’ office under Article 2/39 of the Law on Electronic Crimes, Maan said.

Palestinian internet service providers and telecommunications companies implemented the decision right after the announcement.

The PA faced a widespread backlash when the Electronic Crimes Law was passed by executive decree in 2017, with critics accusing the West Bank-based administration of seeking to stem opposition voices and criticism of its political and economic policies, including its ongoing security coordination with Israel.

Samidoun, the Palestinian prisoner solidarity network, said on Monday that the decision to ban the websites “reveals its fear of a popular explosion against it similar to the Arab revolutions, the latest of which is Lebanon”.

The banned websites are all considered to be in opposition to the PA, and they include Quds News Network and Arab48.

For Ahmed Jarrar, the director of Quds News Network, this is the second time that the PA has blocked access to the media outlet’s website. Established in 2013, the network is followed by more than 7.8 million people on social media.

Jarrar told Middle East Eye that Quds News staff are also frequently harassed by Israeli and PA security forces, including being prevented from covering protests as well as regular security checks.

He described the decision to block the websites as a “massacre against the Palestinian media”.

“We have previously approached the Palestinian judiciary and we will go again despite our feeling that it is not a judicial decision. We will also contact human rights and international institutions to support us and stop this decision,” Jarrar said.

‘Blocking is a crime’
Since the ban was implemented, Palestinian journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers have joined a spontaneous electronic campaign under the slogan, “Blocking is a crime”, to demand that the order be rescinded.

Omar Nazzal, a general secretariat member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), said the decision to block the websites was shocking and constituted a black day for the Palestinian press.

“This decision is an attack on freedom of opinion and expression, and the citizens’ right to receive information from various sources,” Nazzal told MEE.

Nazzal pointed out that the PJS had previously warned against the destructive effects the Cybercrime Law would have on media in Palestine. “We earlier said that this law is a sword unsheathed on journalists’ necks,” he said.

In Gaza, a group of journalists held a demonstration in front of the local journalists syndicate office to express their rejection of the ban.

They said the move relates to the PA’s fear that Palestinians could take to the streets – in line with “Arab revolutions” happening across the region – to protest their own political and economic hardships.

A spokesman for the Gaza syndicate, Ahmad Zoabar, told MEE that blocking the websites is a political decision that serves Israel, which is preventing Palestinian journalists from exposing PA corruption.

“The Palestinian Authority is afraid that the press exposes corruption, which may lead to a popular explosion similar to what is happening in Lebanon,” Zoabar said.

Thousands of Lebanese protesters took to the streets this month to protest state corruption and the country’s dire economic situation. They have since called for the overthrow of the Lebanese government and members of the ruling class.

Law shrouded in secrecy
The Electronic Crimes Law was first adopted “in secrecy” in 2017 and did not include the input provided to the PA by Palestinian civil society institutions, said Issam Abdeen, a legal adviser at Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

After widespread backlash, it was amended and passed again the following year.

But those “amendments were insufficient”, Abdeen told Middle East Eye.

Article 39 of the legislation is particularly troublesome, Abdeen said, as it “allows the security services to submit a request to the attorney-general to block the websites and is then sent court, whose only task is to examine the decision within 24 hours”.

Websites and links can be blocked if the authorities decide they “may threaten the national security, civil peace, public order or public morals”, the article states.

Al-Haq and other Palestinian human rights organisations have asked for Article 39 and other articles in the law be amended, but Abdeen said their demands were rejected. That “prompted us to freeze our membership in the committee formed to amend the law,” Abdeen said.

“This law is one of the most serious and dangerous [pieces of] legislation for freedom of opinion and expression, media freedoms and digital freedoms, and access to information.”

(Source / 24.10.2019) 


Madrin (QNN) – Skyline International has sent an urgent letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kay, after the Palestinian Authority blocked 59 Palestinian websites without any legal basis.

The international organization sent a copy of the decision of the Palestinian court asking the UN to intervene to stop the attack on freedom of opinion and expression in the Palestinian territories.

Skyline International called on the Palestinian Authority to immediately stop its decision to block dozens of websites in Palestine, under the pretext of “threatening national security and breach of morality and public order.”

Palestinian Authority Decision

The organization says that it had seen the decision of the Ramallah Magistrate Court of October 17, 2019, to block 59 websites, at the request of the Palestinian Public Prosecution, based on the decision of the Cybercrimes Law No. 10 of 2018.

According to the text of the decision issued by Judge Mohammed Hussein, these sites have published posts, pictures and articles threatening national security and civil peace and disturb public order and morals and arouse Palestinian public opinion.

The decision was based on the text of Article 39 of on Cybercrime Law, which allows the competent authorities, if you there are “sites that publish phrases, numbers, pictures, films, or any propaganda or other materials that threaten national security, public order or morals, The report shall be submitted to the Attorney General or one of his assistants and shall request permission to block the website or some of its links.

The article appeared to be loose and give full authority to the executive and the judiciary to determine whether the sites violated security, peace, morality, and order, questioning the credibility of the Palestinian Attorney General’s report.

The Palestinian Attorney-General explained that the reasons for the blocking are due to the fact that the blocked sites are attacking and insulting symbols in the PA, and publishing phrases, pictures and articles that threaten national security and civil peace.

Skyline International stresses the need to respect and protect human rights through websites, in particular, the right to express an opinion guaranteed in the amended Palestinian Basic Law of 2003.

It notes that the Human Rights Council affirmed the right to express an opinion in its June 2016 Resolution on “Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on the Internet,” which considers Internet access a human right and ensures that states and other bodies are not obstructed. The deliberate closure of Internet services and the resolution categorically condemns measures taken to prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information on the Internet, in violation of international human rights law, and calls upon States to refrain from such measures.

In addition to violating the provisions of the Basic Law, this decision violates the Press and Publications Law of 1995 and the Palestinian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Law of 2009.

Cybercrime Law
Article 27 of the Palestinian Basic Law prohibits censorship of the media and may not warn, stop, confiscate, cancel, or impose restrictions on the media except by the law and by a judicial ruling.

Article 19 provides for freedom of opinion and expression in all its forms and forms.

The human rights organization states that the procedures of the Palestinian court are ambiguous, as the Palestinian Attorney General did not provide sufficient evidence to the Palestinian public about the extent of the breach of the sites and pages mentioned in the security and public morals, and the decision can be based on mere criticism of political background.

It confirms that the new ban reaffirms the need to repeal the provisions of the controversial cybercrime law, which was approved by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, without endorsing the disabled legislative council or the opinion of human rights organizations, which strongly criticized him.

Skyline International calls upon the Palestinian Authority to reverse the blocking of websites, respect Palestine’s obligations under international human rights conventions, and abide by the freedoms provided for in Palestinian domestic law.

(Source / 24.10.2019)