Gaza: two new cases of the Corona virus recovered

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced today, Sunday, the recovery of two new cases of the Corona virus.

According to the ministry’s daily report, the number of recovering cases has reached 18 since last March, of whom 5 are still in the Isolation Hospital at the Rafah crossing, and 13 of them have left their homes.

The ministry indicated that the number of injuries so far is 55, of whom 38 are active, while one death was recorded for an elderly yesterday.

She noted that no new tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, and without any additional injuries recorded.

She pointed out that there are 1668 hosts in 18 quarantine centers distributed in the various governorates of the sector.

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Member of the Scottish parliament dismisses Palestinian Nakba as ‘self-inflicted’

Richard Lyle during First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on February 7, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. [Ken Jack/Getty Images]
Richard Lyle during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on February 7, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland

A member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) has sparked outrage by suggesting that the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians when Israel was founded in their land in 1948 was “self-inflicted”.

The remark by Richard Lyle, of the Scottish National Party (SNP), was made in a proposed amendment to a parliamentary motion marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe).

More than half of the indigenous Palestinian population was expelled by Zionist militias and the nascent Israeli army between 1947 and 1949 in a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing known as “Plan Dalet”. Historians explain that this was intended to gerrymander a Jewish majority in Palestine through violent means. The Nakba is marked annually by Palestinians and their supporters around the world.

READ: The Nakba in its 72nd year

Lyle, who is the deputy convener of the cross-party group called “Building Bridges With Israel” (BBI) and has visited the Zionist state at the invitation of the Israeli embassy in London, made an amendment to a Nakba Day parliamentary motion submitted by fellow SNP member Sandra White MSP.

The motion recognised the “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages” which “led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation.”

However, Lyle’s amendment peddled an Israeli propaganda trope blaming the victims. The Nakba, he added, was “sadly a self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved.”

This triggered a backlash. Some SNP members have condemned the move, calling the motion an “insult to every Palestinian worldwide” and describing it as a “disgusting piece of revisionist history.”

“It is disgraceful to suggest that the Nakba and subsequent occupation which has led to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children is somehow self-inflicted,” insisted Nadia El-Nakla, the convenor of SNP Friends of Palestine, whose family members were and are victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of their land. El-Nakla added that Lyle’s comments are “abhorrent… racist and hate filled.” She called for the amendment to be withdrawn and for Lyle to apologise.

READ: ‘Palestinians continue to live the Nakba 72 years on’

The amended motion has apparently garnered the support of just one other MSP, Conservative Adam Tomkins.

Lyle is a controversial figure in Scotland on the issue Palestine and Israel. In 2018 he was part of a BBI delegation to the occupation state. According to the Times, the trip was valued at £2,200 ($2,716) per person and was paid for by the Israeli Embassy in London. The visit was criticised sharply, especially as it coincided with Israel passing the so-called Nation State Bill. Critics, including traditional supporters of the Zionist state, have denounced the legislation as “racist”.

The MSP may face disciplinary action by his own party for his comments. SNP affiliate groups are said to be reporting Lyle to the party’s national secretary.

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Hamas leadership prioritises release of Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia

Maher Salah, head of Hamas Diaspora Office [Quds Press]
Maher Salah, head of Hamas Diaspora Office

The issue of Palestinian detainees held by Saudi Arabia and their release is a priority for the Hamas leadership, a senior official has confirmed. The head of the movement’s Diaspora Office made this clear on Monday in a statement to mark Eid Al-Fitr, Quds Press has reported.

“Be confident that the Hamas leadership is working tirelessly to secure your release so that you can enjoy your freedom again and reunite with your families,” Maher Salah said in a comment addressed specifically to the detainees. “The movement has spared no effort to achieve this goal by all means available to us, and on all tracks: political, diplomatic, legal, popular and others.”

He pointed out that the detainees were imprisoned unjustly and for no reason other than supporting or working with those who seek to liberate the Palestinians’ homeland and the holy sites from the grip of a “hateful and criminal occupation” so that they can return to their land.

“We have faith that our nation will carry the seeds of goodness until the Day of Resurrection,” added Salah. “There must be a day when the situation will resume its natural course, the Palestinians will regain their rights, and the oppressed will see the oppressor pay for the injustices committed.”

Hamas: ‘Very few groups seek to normalise ties with Israel’

Stressing that the people making the greatest sacrifices in occupied Palestinian territory will make more sacrifices in the whole region, the Hamas official insisted that this will continue until all of Palestine and the holy sites have been restored to their rightful owners.

Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of Palestinian students, academics and residents arbitrarily a year ago, including Muhammad Al-Khodari, the official representative of Hamas in the Kingdom. No formal charges have been made against them.

According to human rights organisations, some of the detainees whose fate is still unknown have already been tried. Quds Press understands that the Saudi authorities took just over 60 of the Palestinians living in the Kingdom to court on 8 March. Some of them are holders of Jordanian passports.

Despite the continuous attempts by Hamas to communicate with Saudi officials while calling repeatedly for the release of the detainees, Riyadh has simply taken further measures against the Palestinian prisoners.

Palestine president ends ‘all agreements’ with Israel, US

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Israeli Troops Shoot Palestinian Family Harvesting Wheat, Wounding Two

Israeli forces on Monday attacked a family of Palestinians who were harvesting wheat on their farmland near al-Mughayyir village east of Jerusalem. The Israeli army was apparently called in by Israeli settlers who had earlier tried to harass the Palestinian family.

Initially, the army issued a statement that two Palestinians tried to attack them with sickles (farming instruments used to harvest wheat). But eyewitness accounts paint a far different picture of what happened – and draw into question other statements by the Israeli military in which they claim they shot Palestinians ‘in self-defense’.

Israeli settlers have become emboldened in their assaults on Palestinians in recent weeks, with the Israeli administration of Binyamin Netanyahu allowing the violent attacks and even encouraging them. In this instance, the Israeli settlers, who had established a new colony nearby several days ago, came onto the Palestinian farmland to taunt and harass the family that was working on their farmland.

When they could not provoke a response from the Palestinians, they called in the army, who arrived on the scene and promptly shot two members of the farming family.

According to a report by the Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper, one of the men who was shot, identified as Murad, spoke to their reporters and told them, [the Israeli soldiers “started approaching us while telling us to sit down immediately. And then they shot three bullets at my brother Imad’s left leg. I went a little nearer and asked them to stop shooting him, and then they shot me in the stomach.” The reporters also spoke with Murad’s wife, who said, “We were on our land, far from the settlement, and they came to us, not us to them”, and another eyewitness said, “To claim that he tried to stab a soldier while his wife and children and his whole family were there? It never happened. They’re trying to justify the shooting.”

Following the statement by the Israeli military, most Israeli military dutifully reported the statement as fact, with the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth writing, “IDF troops fired on two Palestinians brandishing sickles who attempted to stab them as the soldiers carried out operational activity in the West Bank, near Ramallah. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the attack and the two assailants managed to flee despite being hit by bullets.”

This was an obviously false account of the incident, but was reported by Yedioth Ahranoth and other outlets as if it were fact. Yedioth Ahranoth also claimed that this incident took place during a “riot by Palestinian youth”, another obvious falsehood, since the reality was that a Palestinian family was harvesting their wheat when they were antagonized by paramilitary colonial Israeli settlers, then shot by armed Israeli soldiers.

Only Ha’aretz took time to actually interview eyewitnesses and find out the truth of what happened – leading the army to retract its initial false statement.

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Israeli Authorities Order Ten Palestinian-owned Water Wells Closed

Israeli military authorities reportedly plan to shut down ten Palestinian-owned water wells, to the west of city Salfit, in the northern occupied West Bank.

Local Palestinian sources in the Al-Sawiya village in western Salfit, told media outlets including the Palestine WAFA News Agency, that Israeli military authorities delivered shutdown warrants to the owners of those wells.

WAFA identified the owners as Maher Qadous, Moneer Shamlawi, Rebhi Abu Nab’a, Adnan Hamdan, Netham Hamouda, Haroun Mowqadi, Jamal Mesleh, Rajy Shaqoura and Shehada Dahbour. All are local farmers in the Al-Sawiya village.

Palestinian Authority sources in the occupied West Bank, where Israel has full security control over large parts of the area, have recently noted that Israeli authorities have begun decreasing the water supply for the Palestinian population, in many West Bank areas.

Observers warn that such Israeli measures, in the context of the recent Israeli announcement that the occupation authorities would start annexing large parts of the West Bank in July, subjecting the entire West Bank including the agriculture-rich area of northern Al-Aghwar of the Jordan Valley, to full Israeli security control.

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Israeli Military Abducts Two Palestinians from Tulkarem

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is abduct2-e1580650436740.jpg

Israeli military reportedly abducted, on Tuesday, two Palestinian young men from the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in the city, Ibrahim Alnemr, confirmed earlier today, that Israeli troops placed a mobile roadblock at the entrance of the city of Qalqilia, near Tulkarem and intercepted passersby including locals and vehicles.

Alnemr added that Israeli soldiers inspected the IDs of both Mohammad Eqtaish, 25 and Fahd Yehya, 20, before abducting them, taking them to the Z’tara permanent military checkpoint, south of Nablus city.

He added that they are both from the Tulkarem city in northern West Bank.

Israeli military abductions of Palestinian residents, across the West Bank, go unabated, especially over the past several weeks.

Presently, Israel imprisons around 5,000 Palestinians, including juveniles under the age of 18, women and those with chronic diseases.

Since having occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, back in 1967, Israel military authorities have embarked on widespread arrest campaigns against Palestinians, within what is believed to be Israel’s continued crackdown on Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian prisoners’ profile has remained one of the most contentious issues of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, since the two parties have signed a declaration of principles, known as the Oslo Accords of 1993.

(Source / 26.05.2020)

‘I feel lost’: Palestinians stranded abroad urge for repatriation

As the PA does not control its borders, Palestinians face obstacles in returning home during the coronavirus pandemic

RAFAH, GAZA – NOVEMBER 20: Palestinian students who study abroad gather to stage a protest demanding the opening of the Rafah border gate permanently, on November 20, 2017 in Rafah, Gaza. Rafah crossing was opened temporary under Palestinian Authority for 1st time in 10 years

By Mersiha Gadzo – Al Jazeera World

Since early March, when the new coronavirus escalated its rapid spread around the world and countries began repatriating their citizens, he has been seeking government help to return home in occupied East Jerusalem – to no avail.

Since early March, when the new coronavirus escalated its rapid spread around the world and countries began repatriating their citizens, he has been seeking government help to return home in occupied East Jerusalem – to no avail.

Hasheem, who studies international trading, said he first contacted the Palestinian embassy for repatriation, but there was no action on their part.

As a non-Israeli citizen, Hasheem holds a Jordanian passport, so he then contacted the Jordanian embassy but was told other cases took precedence.

“I feel lost,” Hasheem told Al Jazeera.

“I’m not the priority of any country and this is how it is when it comes to being a Jerusalemite,” he said.

‘Take Us Back Home’
Hasheem is not alone. Thousands of Palestinians have been stranded abroad, unable to return home during the pandemic, as no government authority has been able to help them.

Like Hasheem, many of them are in difficult situations – running low on money and unable to pay for food and accommodation.

Some have been drawing attention to their troubling situation by posting their stories online and spreading information on Facebook pages such as Raj’ouna a Byoutna (Take Us Back Home), which has more than 3,500 followers.

For Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, travelling through Jordan is the only way to get home but flights to the country have shut down for non-citizens.

Similarly, Egypt has also closed off its borders to non-nationals, which prevents Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter the country and cross into the blockaded enclave through the Rafah border crossing.

According to Ahmad al-Deek, the political adviser of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s (PA) foreign ministry, there are about 6,000 Palestinians stuck abroad.

Al-Deek told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that repatriating Palestinians back “isn’t easy” since the PA, which administers the day-to-day Palestinian affairs in parts of the West Bank, does not control its borders and has to coordinate with Jordan and Egypt.

“We sent formal letters to Egypt and Jordan to evacuate Palestinians along with their people and we didn’t get an answer yet from the neighboring countries to accept our people so they can pass through their lands,” al-Deek said earlier this week.

“Maybe it’s because their priority is [to repatriate] their citizens. But there’s been no answer yet.”

But on Friday, there were indications the long wait may soon be over for some Palestinians.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a statement Jordanian authorities had agreed to open the airport in the capital, Amman, for Palestinians stuck abroad and would announce procedures and dates soon.

‘Let us pass’
Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Israeli Parliament with the Joint List, the Palestinian-majority electoral alliance, said that due to a lack of effort by the Israeli government, he has been coordinating with Israeli airlines and the foreign ministry and has so far succeeded in repatriating 4,600 Palestinians from inside Israel, including 150 Jerusalemites.

“According to international law, Israel [as the occupier] is responsible for all affairs of the Jerusalemites, [but] the Israeli government didn’t make any initiative to evacuate anyone,” Tibi told Al Jazeera.

“Here, we took the responsibility to coordinate for the return of our people.”

Aseel Bader, who is from Hebron in the West Bank and studies in the Italian city of Prato, contacted the Palestinian embassy at the beginning of April as her scholarship was about to end and has since been waiting to hear for more information.

“Our government is the only door out of this crisis and the only party who can fix this situation and return us back home,” the 26-year-old said.

“We see the other students returning to their homes while our government says there’s nothing they can do but wait for neighbouring countries to help us by letting us pass through their lands.”

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah nears second week of hunger strike as Israeli military courts reopen

Palestinian prisoner Sami Janazrah, 47, neared his second week of hunger strike as Palestinians and people around the world readied to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, 24 May 2020. Janazrah is once again jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention after conducting two previous hunger strikes to win his release. Janazrah is currently being held in Ela prison, thrown in isolation in retaliation for his hunger strike.

Janazrah was once again abducted by Israeli occupation forces from his home in the al-Fawwar refugee camp south of al-Khalil on 16 September 2019, only 10 months after his last release from 11 months in prison, also under administration without charge or trial. Following his detention, he was issued a four-month detention order by the Ofer military court. Administrative detention orders – a practice first introduced by the British colonial mandate in occupied Palestine and then adopted by the Zionist regime – are based on secret evidence and are indefinitely renewable. There are currently almost 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, out of nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

His detention order has since been renewed twice for an additional four months, the latest detention order sparking the launch of his hunger strike on 11 May 2020. Days before, the Israeli supreme court rejected the appeal of his lawyer against his administrative detention without charge or trial. He has previously launched two long-term hunger strikes against his imprisonment, for 76 days in 2016 and for 43 days in 2018.

He is the father of three children, Firas (16), Mahmoud (12), and Maria (8). He and his wife are awaiting the birth of their fourth child in the coming days, and he had been awaiting his freedom to welcome his new child. He missed the birth of two of his children due to his imprisonment; he has been jailed over the years for a total of 11 years, most of them without charge or trial in administrative detention.

Janazrah’s hunger strike comes as Israeli occupation forces announced the official reopening of the military courts on 24 May 2020. In-person military court sessions attended by the prisoners and at most one family member have been suspended since the first week of March, ostensibly in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prisoners were also denied legal and family visits, with only limited phone calls allowed with lawyers. No indication has been made that legal and family visits will be resumed, despite the fact that prisoners will be put at risk to their health through arduous “bosta” transfers and repeated contact with jailers, guards and military court officials. (Israeli officials have claimed that medical masks will be worn in the military courts.)

Palestinian prisoners and their families have raised very serious concerns that the Israeli prison system may attempt to make these supposed preventative measures the new normal, especially as denial of family visits, suppression of access to lawyers as well as disregard for and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners’ health are constant and systematic Israeli policies.

While administrative detention without charge or trial is one clear example of Israeli injustice, so too are the military courts, where Palestinians are convicted at rates greater than 99% on an array of bogus and trumped-up charges that criminalize political activity, public speech and student and cultural events, among other actions.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with Sami Janazrah and all Palestinian prisoners on the front lines of struggle against colonial policies of imprisonment, fighting for their freedom with their bodies and lives on the line. International solidarity can be particularly important to prevent occupation forces from isolating Janazrah and his fellow prisoners politically as well as physically – the Palestinian prisoners are not forgotten! Freedom for all Palestinian prisoners, and freedom for Palestine from the river to the sea!

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Salam Taha: 82 days of interrogation in the al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

The following article, by Palestinian writer Hind Shraydeh, was originally published in Arabic at Hadf News:

Salam and Rubou

By Hind Shraydeh

The different meanings of “Peace”

To some who hold power and authority, “peace” is linked with settlement and accommodation, with privileges they aspire to obtain in exchange for crumbs of the historic Palestine. Salam, on the other hand, whose name in Arabic means “peace,” exemplifies another meaning for the term.

Salam Taha was born in the village of Deir Abu Misha’al, situated northwest of Ramallah city. He adores the sea, although he was deprived of enjoying it due to the occupation. Salam usually escapes from the noise of the city to Khirbet Al-Rachniyeh east of the village, to relish the green views of his secret place, gazing towards the occupied Palestinian coast, confronting his feelings with absolute silence, and spending time in spacious verdant fields.

“He is the most shy among us but the bravest too,” says his friend at university.

Arrested while caring for his child

Israeli military soldiers raided Salam’s house after exploding its door to make their entry. They attacked Salam, forcing against the wall and cowardly hitting his body with their rifles.

It was four o’clock in the morning, when Salam was awake caring for his one-month baby, Cana’an. He never knew it is going to be his last turn in the ongoing rotation with his wife, Rubou’  or that he would be unable to look after his child for quite a long time.

Salam was tied to the kitchen chair, while military soldiers ransacked his place, turning it upside down. They were looking for his older mobile phone, which was directly in front of them the entire time, but they claimed not to notice it while acting in such a vicious manner.

Salam remained placid, as if he was unbothered, and mocked the soldiers’ actions, an attitude that angered the chief officer, who tried to provoke Salam by cursing his wife Rubou’ and directing profane insults at her while she prepared some milk for her child to calm his continuous crying during the assault. He stared at the chief officer with a shaming look, as if asking, “Is this the way you are raised to respect mothers?!”

He hummed a melody, with unidentifiable lyrics, repeating the only recognized words of it, which were “you may.”

After the extensive vandalism inside the house, the Israeli soldiers handcuffed Salam’s hands and grabbed him tightly from the shoulders. Rubou’ quickly knelt down on the ground, trying to put her husband’s shoes on with all care and diligence.

Salam saluted her, saying, “It will not take so long… I will come back soon.”

“This is how my husband was abducted on a Friday at dawn, 30 August 2018, only two days before his master’s degree studies commenced, as he was registered in the International Studies Program at Birzeit University,” Rubou’ says.

Salam with baby Cana’an

Earning his undergraduate degree with several interruptions

Over 80 students at Birzeit University are currently imprisoned in Israeli prisons. 20 of them are held under administrative detention, without any charges or trial. Their detentions are based on the “predictions” of the area commander of the Israeli military occupation, that these students might pose a “security threat to the state of Israel.” The rest of the students face indictments in military court, mostly revolving around involvement in student activities inside the university.

Salam earned his BA degree in political science with a minor in public administration. His undergraduate studies were frequently interrupted by arrests, which extended the normal duration required to finish his studies,” Rubou’ stated.

There are students whose first university degree take them double the time they actually need to complete all their university requirements, in addition to courses related to their specialty. Students fail to join their classes, due to their repeated detentions, and yet try hard to resume their studies again at an older age with younger cohorts and sometime different generations than the ones that launched with them their academic journey.

Last week, three more student leaders were abducted by Israeli soldiers, just days before the end of the semester: Izz Shabaneh from the village of Sinjil, Mehdi Karajeh from the village of Saffa, and Basil Barghouthi from the village of Beit Rima.

Salam’s secret weapon

The Sunday after the invasion, Rubou’ knew that her husband is being held at Al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem, where Salam remained for 46 days of harsh interrogation, during which he was banned from seeing his lawyer. Salam visited Jerusalem not as a tourist visiting the Dome of the Rock or the Holy Sepulcher, but rather stuck in an underground dungeon with numerous torture methods that are hatefully designed in order to drain the prisoner’s will. Fluorescent lights were switched on 24/7, causing him a severe headache and irritating his eyes, coupled with echoes of  endless screaming and low temperatures directed on his body by an air-conditioner were only some of the examples of the constant pressure and inhuman treatment.

After three months of detention, Rubou’ decided to take the risk in order to cheer her husband up and transfer to him good feelings to help him stay strong and carry on with a brave heart. She decided to provide her husband with a secret weapon while attending his court session.

How is that possible if even a tissue is not allowed to pass through the punitive inspections and searches?! She took extra care of her outfit, wore her favorite jacket, closed its buttons, and luckily succeeded to pass through the first inspection, the second one through an automatic inspection machine, and the last personal one, that looks like two harassing hands passing an electronic stick over your body. After she waited outside in the cold for hours, the security guard notified Rubou’ that it was time for Salam’s trial. She walked into the court room with her surprise and unbuttoned her jacket, where Salam was able to see his son Cana’an’s smiling face printed on Robou’s T-shirt. For two minutes long, the security guards were frozen in place. They did not know how to deter such a secret weapon!

Rubou’ laughed while recalling the incident, saying: “I felt that we had won a victory … the guards were frozen and did not know what to do! They think they can abolish the longing in our hearts, but we proved them wrong. This was my way of resistance and standing by Salam’s side”.

82 days of harsh investigation in the Al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

Salam did not sleep for so long, he was immensely pale, and bleeding from his wrists due to the tight shackles around them. The prison administration employed a number of interrogators who created stories and fake scenarios about our family to weaken Salam. Some of their fabrications were about me, his wife, and our son Cana’an, found dead in a car accident, others were about bringing me for interrogation in a room adjacent to Salam’s cell”, Rubou said, recalling what Salam told her in one of her visits.

Rubou’ with Cana’an

Many deceptions and malicious tricks were practiced by the Israeli intelligence agency, known as the Shabak, in order to put pressure on Salam, with one sole aim:  Extracting confessions from him in order to celebrate their delusional victory and prove their domination over Palestinians.

“Before his recent arrest, Salam underwent a colonoscopy, as he suffers from colon problems, stomach pains and hemorrhoids that caused him bleeding during the interrogation. The lawyer submitted Salam’s medical papers explaining his condition, but the fascist regime did not care about his medication, and refused to let him go to the bathroom frequently,” Rubou’ says.

The Israeli occupation deliberately mistreats prisoners, providing them with poor and inadequate health care in an attempt to exhaust the captives. As punishment for Salam’s steadfastness, the illegitimate military court sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

Just two weeks before the end of his sentence, when Rubou’ was wondering about the color of the dress that she planned wear to welcome her partner home, and the unique outfit she is preparing for her son Cana’an to wear, only two weeks before Salam’s sentence ended, the Israeli military forces sent him to the slaughterhouse of Al-Moskobiyeh once again. Salam underwent thirty-six days of cruel interrogation with an agitated and hysterical frequency, during which he was once again prevented from meeting with his lawyer.

Eighty-two days is the cumulative time of interrogation Salam has gone through, while the “civilized” world and the luckier youths of the colonial project live in isolation from the tragedies of the occupation, perhaps by playing soccer or baseball and setting some exciting plans for their travels to the Maldives. Eighty-two days of interrogation, and yet the occupation steals years from Palestinian youth: Their future, their families and their children.

Meanwhile, international human rights organizations act like Pontius Pilate, when he washed his hands of guilt for the blood of Christ. Such organizations’ roles are to adopt “codes of conduct”, or issue informative brochures, or to express their “mild” concerns about a rough death that happened in a sacred spot in the far reaches of the earth, called Palestine.

Salam is still detained without trial in the Eshel desert prison, after he was arbitrarily transferred in mid-March from Ofer prison overnight as a punitive measure, as a result of which he had to sleep a full night in the “Ramla crossing-point”, a place where prisoners are gathered before they are distributed to other prisons. This happened at a time when the occupation claimed to be cautious and to stop unnecessary movement between prisons, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“You may build a huge wall around me, and another wall around you, the enemy of the sun … Still I will not compromise” lyrics of an Arabic song

Eshel Prison differs in its structure from other prisons; it is more isolated and brutal. The square yard, known as the fora, in which the prisoners spend their outdoor time is covered, so that they do not see the sky at all, nor the sun’s light. It is not available all day, but only for specific hours, and it is also far from the prisoners’ rooms. When released prisoners describe this prison, some say: “The bathroom in Eshel does not accommodate a chubby person, and the showers are narrow. All can be coped with except the climate of the desert, the high humidity and temperature in the morning and extreme cold at night”.

Salam spends most of his time reading and trying to maintain a healthy pattern by playing sports. He keeps humming his favorite song, as he walks in the fora“You may steal the last inch of my land… You may feed the years of my youth to the prison … You may put down the flame I keep rising… You may prevent me from kissing my mother …You may defeat the dreams I have for tomorrow. You may deprive my children of wearing their Eid holiday outfits… You may build a wall and yet another taller one… In that act you assure to the world that you are the enemy of the sunStill I will not compromise. Until the last pulse in my veins, I will continue fighting,” an Arabic song by Lebanese singer Julia Butros,

Fatherhood on hold

“It is not easy to raise a child on your own, while the pictures of the baby’s father are hung on the wall”, Rubou’ said. “Cana’an will turn two years old in July, while he does not know his father. I finally obtained a permit to visit Salam after being banned for almost a year. The long-anticipated permit allowed me to visit my husband three times only before the spread of COVID-19, after which visits were suspended.”

“We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die”

“To see my husband in front of me through an insulated partition and isolating glass without being able to touch his hand, and to speak to him through telephones which the jailers control, is not easy at all. This increases the pain in my heart,” Rubou’ says. “Salam and I experienced a beautiful love story at university, which was completed in our marriage, and Cana’an is the fruit of our love.”

“With all the suffering that I live alone with Cana’an, and all the decisions I have to make, serving as mother and father at the same time, I return to remember what we insisted on highlighting in our wedding card. ‘We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die.’ This is our conviction, and this is our belief in which we live every day, and we will raise our children to follow it as well,” Rubou’ concluded.

Salam and Rubou’s wedding card

(Source / 26.05.2020)

Ibrahimi Mosque, Nativity Church Reopen Doors To Worshipers

Photos File

As part of the Palestinian government’s plan to ease anti-coronavirus measures, the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Tuesday opened their doors to worshipers after a three-month lockdown.

Dozens of Palestinian citizens flocked to the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron to perform the dawn prayers, amid entry restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation forces.

The Israeli occupation regime keeps a tight grip on the Old City of al-Khalil, where the Ibrahimi Mosque is located, and uses military gates and barriers to besiege the Mosque and restrict the movement of Muslim worshipers.

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem also reopened its doors to worshipers and visitors, amid tight Israeli security measures.

On Monday, Palestinian premier Mohamed Shtayyeh announced that Palestinian places of worship would be reopened as of the dawn of Tuesday as part of steps to ease coronavirus lockdown.

(Source / 26.05.2020)