Prisoners of Palestine: 14 prisoners who spent more than 3 decades behind bars

GAZA – The Palestinian Prisoners Studies Center said that the occupation authorities have arrested 51 Palestinian prisoners for more than 20 years, including 14 prisoners who spent more than 30 years behind bars continuously, the oldest of whom was the prisoner Karim Younis.

The researcher, Riyad Al-Ashqar, the center’s media spokesman, said in a press statement today that the fourteen prisoners are on the list of honor and heroism, and despite the passage of more than 3 decades of their detention, they still enjoy a high moral spirit that embraces the sky, and the occupation has not been able to He breaks their thorns, weakens their resolve, or sows despair in them. Some of them got postgraduate degrees, and some of them wrote novels, stories, and others.

He added: “These prisoners are at greater risk than others in light of the spread of the Corona virus, as they are old, and they spent decades in prisons, which affected their health condition, and most of them suffer from various diseases and their immunity is weak, which poses a real threat to their lives.”

Al-Ashqar indicated that this group of prisoners did not take their right to shed light on them by the media. Every prisoner had a story of pain and suffering different from the rest of the prisoners, including those who lost one or both of their parents, or a son, brother, or dear to his heart, without They can look at the last farewell look at them.

And some of them grew up his sons and graduated from universities and became wives and children for them, after they were children when he was arrested, and he was denied participation in this special occasion, and some of them married his daughters and could not congratulate her or participate in her wedding ceremony, which left heartbreak in his heart.

Al-Ashqar considered that this group of prisoners deserves to be remembered and praised for their heroism throughout the days of the year, and not only on the day of the Palestinian prisoner, where some of them exceeded the age of sixty years, after having exceeded all deals, while most of them suffer from poor health conditions.

Al-Ashqar demanded the release of these prisoners under the exceptional circumstances that the world lives in, fearing for their lives if the Corona virus reached the prisons of the occupation, especially since there was a previous agreement to release them that took place 7 years ago between the authority and the occupation to release all the old prisoners in 4 batches, where it was launched The occupation released 3 batches, and the release of the fourth batch was halted after negotiations stalled.

Al-Ashqar said: The old prisoners live with double suffering, as they spent tens of years behind bars under poor health conditions as a result of the period of detention and the poor conditions that the prisoners live in prisons. They also suffer from the lack of regular checks for them regularly so as to discover diseases in their bodies before they become old. And the constant movement, as the occupation treats them like other prisoners, and does not take into account their long years of detention or their old age.

And Al-Ashqar stated that one of the old prisoners had risen as a martyr last year, and he was a prisoner, Faris Ahmed Baroud, from Gaza City, as a result of deliberate medical negligence, after he spent 28 continuous years in the occupation prisons, where he was arrested in 1991.

Al-Ashqar called on human rights and humanitarian institutions to intervene to pressure the occupation to release these prisoners who spent more than half of their lives behind bars, especially in these exceptional circumstances with the spread of the Corona pandemic. He also called on the media to shed light on this group of prisoners who spent decades behind bars For the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people.

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

The Palestinians have no immunity from occupation and its settlers, even on their lands adjacent to their homes

It is no longer immunity for Palestinians in their lands adjacent to their homes, which are home gardens for them, in light of the orgy of occupation soldiers and settlers, who prevent them from planting and plowing olive seedlings.

Abdel Rahman Ahmed, from the town of Asira al-Qibliya, south of Nablus, was attacked by the occupation soldiers, who prevented him from planting olive seedlings in his land adjacent to his house on the outskirts of the town, and under the threat of weapons he was expelled from his land after a verbal dispute with the soldiers who threatened him with death if he did not leave for His near house.

Hafez Saleh, the head of the Northern Asira Local Council, tells Al-Quds: “This matter is no longer surprising in light of the incursion of settlers and the civil administration into the lands of the town surrounded by settlements and the bypass road known as the Yitzhar Road. The citizens’ lands located in areas (C) It is prohibited to cultivate and exploit it, as it is by virtue of confiscation without issuing decisions to do so. Citizen Abdel Rahman Ahmed, his land adjacent to his home, and the separation between them is a classification between (c) and (b) a zero distance, except that he was prevented from his land and planted olive seedlings, and this was repeated in several areas in the region, They target our land and prevent us from accessing it. “

Saleh stressed: “We are in a daily confrontation, and in the Corona pandemic the situation has become ripe for exploitation by the occupation forces and the practice of its racist aggressive policies.”

In the village of Qaryut, south of Nablus, Bashar Al-Qaryouti, who specializes in settlement affairs, says: “What settlers and occupation do in light of our preoccupation with the epidemic is controlling our lands and building the fence gradually over them. Annually losing part of their land, only to find that their land has become a settlement. “

Al-Qaryouti added: “The owners of the lands are expelled from their lands near the security fence that was placed in their land, knowing that this area is not subject to coordination or permission from the occupation to enter it, but the occupation is trying in various ways to terrorize the farmers and expel them to control their lands, and recently, settlers from a settlement were recently monitored Shilo put mobile caravans in the village of Ras Muwais, which belongs to Qaryut, where they took advantage of the current conditions, closures and the inability of institutions to follow through to impose a fait accompli and establish settlement outposts.

Al-Qaryouti points to a serious issue in the light of the Corona crisis, saying: “There are cases in Shilo settlement of the epidemic near the village of Qaryut and the neighboring villages. In light of the Jewish holidays, settlers spread daily in the area and on springs in the town, and there are warnings published by the emergency committees, including Not to touch anything or use it, and the necessity to wear gloves in these locations, which are: Al-Sahlat, Qaryut Spring, Ceylon Spring, Al-Murabba, the Eastern Plain, Al-Qurna, Bataysh, Al-Mujah, as these sites come to settlers constantly.

Al-Qaryouti expert refers to what happened in the last days in the region, saying: “Organized crime by the occupation and exploitation of the difficult conditions that our people suffer from, as more than 30 large olive trees were uprooted in the Western Karm and Al-Khala area in Qaryut, in addition to expelling many citizens from Their lands and preventing them from plowing under the pretext of lack of coordination, knowing that the townspeople were informed of the direction today to plow in the western region near the settlement of Ayla, as this is a policy of failure and sabotage to empty the land from its owners. “

In addition, many citizens in several towns and villages complain of the occupation soldiers assaulting farmers near their lands on the security fence of the settlements, holding them for several hours, confiscating their vehicles and agricultural tools, and threatening them with death if they return again to the place.

(Source / 16.04.2020)

Mosques in Jordan, Palestine to remain closed during Ramadan

Palestinian Muslims perform the last Friday Prayer in Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on June 08, 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian Muslims perform the last Friday Prayer in Muslims’ holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 8 June 2018

Mosques in Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories will remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan which commences late next week.

The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday that the Awqaf Minister Mohammed Khalaileh announced that the ban on public mosques will continue throughout the month of fasting. Khalaileh emphasised that the Taraweeh prayers, which are nightly evening prayers usually performed in congregation during Ramadan, should be performed at home to enforce social distancing. The minister added that activities will instead be broadcast from King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Palestinian Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Hussein announced a similar decree yesterday, ruling that Muslims must hold prayers during the sacred month at home rather than in mosques, which were closed since the outbreak of the virus last month.

READ: Israel restricts UNRWA coronavirus efforts in Jerusalem refugee camps

“The taraweeh prayers will be held at home, because reopening the mosques is linked to the end of the coronavirus crisis,” Hussein said.

As the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, Muslims in both countries were also advised against seeking the crescent moon in the night skies to mark the start of the holy month and asked to leave this to the relevant bodies, the Hashemite Scientific Councils and Palestinian Astronomers Association, respectively.

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of covering up COVID-19 cases in occupied East Jerusalem and has claimed there are 300 cases of the disease in the occupied West Bank and 13 in the besieged Gaza Strip. There have been reported that occupation forces have been hampering testing efforts in Arab areas and shutting down testing centres. Jordan has seven reported deaths and just over 400 cases of the coronavirus.

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Israel closes coronavirus testing centre in occupied East Jerusalem

Health officials set up a test unit for drivers as a precaution against coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Jerusalem on 30 March 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Health officials set up a test unit for drivers as a precaution against coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Jerusalem on 30 March 2020

Israeli occupation soldiers raided and shut down a coronavirus testing clinic in occupied East Jerusalem last night and arrested four people, the Daily Sabah reported.

No explanation was provided by the Israeli soldiers for the closure, however the Haaretz daily newspaper wrote that the clinic was closed due to its collaboration with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The makeshift clinic was set up on Tuesday in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan and operated with help from the PA, who provided it with coronavirus test kits.

“There is a shortage of coronavirus tests in Silwan, where doctors say there are 40 confirmed cases and where overcrowded living conditions could lead to a rapid spread of the virus,” the clinic’s director told Haaretz.

READ: Gaza resumes coronavirus testing amid shortages

Farhi Ebu Diab, a resident of Silwan who also spoke to Haaretz said: “The Israeli administration does not help us. And it does not allow us to receive aid from others.”

In response to the forced closure, Joint List MK Ofer Cassifcondemned the invasion, saying it was to everyone’s benefit that virus tests be carried out.

Coronavirus spreading in the Middle East - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“The police raid on the coronavirus testing center in Silwan is inhumane,” he said. “Preventing the virus spread is a joint interest and if Israel doesn’t do the checks it must at least enable testing by others.”

Cassif added he had asked Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to allow the clinic to continue to operate or to alternatively set up an alternative testing unit instead.

The doctors who volunteer in Silwan have recently warned of a possible outbreak of the disease in the neighbourhood, as Palestinians are combating the coronavirus epidemic with very scarce resources.

READ: How a pro-Israel ‘Spiritual Diplomacy’ event became a COVID-19 super spreader in South Africa

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Report: Marwan Barghouthi enters 19th year in Israel prisons

Marwan Barghouthi
Palestinian Fatah Central Committee member and lawmaker, Marwan Barghouthi 

Palestinian Fatah Central Committee member and lawmaker, Marwan Barghouthi, yesterday entered his 19th year in Israeli jails on charges of leading the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; the armed wing of the Fatah movement.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said in a report that Barghouthi along with thousands of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli prisons face the “danger of prison and a deadly pandemic”.

According to the report, 60-year-old Barghouthi from Kobar village near Ramallah was the first member of Fatah’s Central Committee and the first lawmaker to be arrested by the Israeli army sentenced to life imprisonment.

READ: Israel’s jail conditions will kill Palestinian prisoners before coronavirus does

Barghouthi was only 15 years old when he was arrested for the first time in 1976. In 1983 he started his education in Birzeit University where he was elected president of the Student Council for three years in a row, and co-founder the Fatah Youth Movement before being arrested and deported in 1986.

In April 1994 he returned to the occupied West Bank after the Oslo Accords were signed between the PLO and Israel. In 1996, he was elected a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

In April 2002 he was arrested during the Israeli invasion of the West Bank and was subjected to months of torture and he spent more than 1,000 days in solitary confinement.

READ: Israel arrests 8 Palestinians despite coronavirus lockdown

In 2004, an Israeli court sentenced him to five life terms plus 40 years.

Al-Barghouthi has a PhD in political science from the Institute for Research and Arab Studies of the Arab League.

Over the past few years, he has published a number of books including “1,000 nights in solitary confinement”.

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Haniyeh: Hamas will not abandon Palestinian prisoners wherever they are

Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 [Mohammed Asad-Middle East Monitor]
Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 

The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said the movement will not abandon Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel or Arab countries, calling on Arab officials and popular organisations to shoulder their responsibilities towards them.

Haniyeh made the remarks during two telephone calls with the President of the Arab and International Forum for Justice for Palestine, Maan Bashour,  and the General Coordinator of the National-Islamic Congress, Khaled Al-Sufyani, during which he discussed a number of issues including the conditions of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Haniyeh also discussed the latest developments in the Palestine file including the Israel’s judaisation and settlement plans in Jerusalem and other Palestinian territories, especially after the announcement of the US’ “deal of the century”.

READ: Hamas demands release 250 prisoners in exchange for information on missing Israelis

Haniyeh also addressed the conditions of the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip especially after the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as Hamas’ efforts to confront the pandemic.

He stressed Hamas’ keenness to end the division, unify the Palestinian ranks and activate the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Israel restricts UNRWA coronavirus efforts in Jerusalem refugee camps

An outside view of UNRWA's distribution center in Al-Shati refugee camp after it was closed on 23 March 2020 in Gaza City, Gaza. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
An outside view of UNRWA’s distribution center in Al-Shati refugee camp after it was closed on 23 March 2020 in Gaza City, Gaza

pokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) Sami Mshasha said the Israeli occupation authorities are impeding UNRWA’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the occupied city of Jerusalem and its refugee camps, the organisation’s spokesperson has said.

Speaking to the Palestinian Wafa news agency, Sami Mshasha said that the restrictions are a continuation of Israel’s two-year-old limitations on UNRWA’s activities in the occupied city following the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and its decision to move its embassy to the occupied city from Tel Aviv.

He explained that Israel has launched a campaign to prevent UNRWA and the Palestinian health ministry from providing health services to Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City, neighbourhoods and refugee camps.

Mshasha added that there is difficulty entering and exiting the refugee camps, especially Shuafat camp amid efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with many residents suffering financial losses as a result, in particular, those who do not normally rely on UNRWA’s services.

READ: Israel arrests 8 Palestinians despite coronavirus lockdown 

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Number of Palestinian families living under poverty line could double, warns minister

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 29, 2020 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]
A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 29 March 2020

The number of Palestinian families living under the official poverty line is expected to double in the coming months due to the coronavirus crisis, the Palestinian Authority’s Social Development Minister warned yesterday.

Ahmad Majdalani told reporters in Ramallah that some 53,000 families have dropped below the poverty line since the start of the crisis. “This has prompted thousands of enterprises and businesses to impose strict measures to contain the situation,” he explained. This figure is expected to increase by the end of April.

“The PA has started to disburse financial aid to more than 115,000 affected families, 80,000 of whom are in the occupied Gaza Strip,” Majdalani pointed out. He added that the number of families who receive such aid has increased by 10,000.

“Fifty-eight per cent of the aid itself comes from the PA,” said the minister. “Thirty-nine per cent comes from the EU and three per cent comes from the World Bank.”

WARCH: Turkey distributes aid to 2,000 families in Gaza 

According to PA Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila, three nurses in Hebron and Ramallah have contracted the virus. She noted that there are 277 cases in the West Bank and Gaza combined, plus another 78 cases in occupied Jerusalem. “Sixty-six of the infected people are males, 34 per cent females,” she added. “Seventy-five were workers [in Israel and the illegal settlements] and 10 per cent of those infected had returned from abroad recently.”

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Shaikh Mohammed Hussein, said recently that all mosques would remain closed during the holy month of Ramadan, due to begin at the end of next week. Congregational prayers will remain suspended.

Since appearing in China late last year, the coronavirus Covid-19 has spread to at least 184 countries. So far, more than two million people worldwide have contracted the virus, of whom more than 134,000 have died. Just over 500,000 have recovered.

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

Jerusalem Post urges negotiating prisoner swap deal with Hamas

Placed at the Al-Saraya junction in Gaza, a billboard shows Shaul Arun, an Israeli solider, standing with jail bars around him [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]
Placed at the Al-Saraya junction in Gaza, a billboard shows Oron Shaul, an Israeli solider, standing with jail bars around him 

The Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post published an editorial endorsing plans to reach a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, arguing that “it is about time that our boys return home”.

“After six years that the Goldin and Shaul families have suffered, and following a five-year struggle for the Mengistu and Al-Sayyed families, Israel should finally exercise its authority and fight for what it stands for,” the newspaper added, referencing the soldiers who went missing in Gaza.

Commenting on the possibility that Israel would receive no more than dead bodies if a deal was reached, the Jerusalem Post stressed that it is important for Israel to return its soldiers’ bodies nonetheless. “Even in their bodies, our Jewish values mandate that we work to retrieve them.”

The newspaper also weighed in on the challenges related to conducting negotiations with the aim of reaching prisoner swap deals. “And this issue raises another painful subject, that remains in the dark in Israel – how do we negotiate the potential return of our captive soldiers and citizens and what price should we be willing to pay as a state?”

READ: Humanitarian concerns could swing it for a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel

It called for transparency regarding a committee that was formed when Ehud Barack was defence minister in 2008 “to set the ground rules on how the state should negotiate with enemies on the matter of POWs.” Instead of releasing its recommendations to the public, the committee only presented them to the defence minister and marked them as top secret.

“We cannot afford another Schalit deal that sees the release of prisoners who would then go out and kill more Israelis,” the Jerusalem Post warned.

The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange followed a 2011 agreement between Israel and Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, although there was also a Ukrainian, a Jordanian and a Syrian.

(Source / 16.04.2020) 

UN envoy asks Israel to release Palestinian tax revenues to combat Covid-19

United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov on 30 April 2015 in Gaza city [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov on 30 April 2015 in Gaza city 

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov has asked Israel to release the Palestinian tax revenue that it is withholding to allow the Palestinian Authority to combat the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Mladenov met with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to discuss coordination with the PA to mitigate the negative impact of the virus. “Very encouraging meeting with [Moshe Kahlon] on the steps that Israel is taking in coordination with the Palestinian Authority to alleviate the negative socio-economic impact of Covid-19,” he tweeted after the meeting. “The UN has called on all sides to cooperate in a time of crisis.”

Earlier, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh held a teleconference meeting with Mladenov and a number of international officials to discuss what the Palestinians need during the crisis. A political source familiar with the details told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that the officials supported the government’s efforts to overcome the virus and stressed the need for Israel to release the Palestinian tax revenue.

READ: Israel’s jail conditions will kill Palestinian prisoners before coronavirus does

Since 2019, Israel has been withholding nearly $140 million of such revenue under the pretext that the funds are used to support families of Palestinians who commit hostile acts against the occupation state. This has created a serious deficit in the Palestinian budget, which has now been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Palestinian government says that it needs $137 million to combat the virus, while the economy is expected to suffer nearly $3.8 billion in losses due to the associated lockdown.

(Source / 16.04.2020)