Barghouti: Age of Palestinian parliament candidates should be reduced to 21

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, Mustafa Al-Barghouti in Gaza City on 23 April 2014 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]
Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, Mustafa Al-Barghouti in Gaza City on 23 April 2014 

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, Mustafa Al-Barghouti, called on Tuesday for reducing the age of candidates for the Palestinian parliament to 21.

In a statement sent to the media, Al-Barghouti said that most of the Palestinians are youth and most of the voters are youth. “So we have to exert much efforts to encourage them not only to vote, but to run for parliament, get involved in political life and hold real, leading positions.”

Meanwhile, he reiterated the importance of holding the national dialogue meetings as soon as possible in order to agree on the safety and transparency of the elections.

Fatah sources revealed on Monday that the Palestinian factions are scheduled to meet in Cairo on 5 February.

On Tuesday evening, Anadolu News Agency reported that a meeting between Hamas and Fatah representatives would be held in Istanbul before the Cairo meeting.

READ: 2021 World Social Forum will have a strong Palestine focus

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Israel approves more settlement homes in occupied Jerusalem and West Bank

The Jewish settlement of Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem, Israel on 16 November 2020. [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
Illegal settlement in Jerusalem on 16 November 2020

As new US President Joe Biden took office yesterday, the Israeli government approved the building of 2,572 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, an Israeli NGO has revealed.

“Our out-of-touch government leadership continues to press on with its mad scramble to promote as much settlement activity as possible until the last minutes before the change of the administration in Washington,” said Peace Now.

According to the watchdog, 2,112 of the new housing units are planned for illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank, with 460 to be built in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. The group said that this comes just days after similar approval for 780 settlement units in the West Bank.

During 2020 alone, said the NGO, Israel approved or advanced construction of over 12,000 settlement homes, the most in a single year since it started monitoring settlements in 2012.

Israeli media have reported that the Israeli government wanted to seize the opportunity of the last few hours of Donald Trump’s presidency to approve and build as many settlement housing units as possible, taking advantage of the fact that he has never criticised this illegal activity.

The Israeli government is apparently concerned that it might not be able to continue to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories during Biden’s presidency. His former boss, Barak Obama, regarded settlements as an obstacle for peace during his presidency, which ended in 2016. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

READ: Italy criticises Israel’s proposed new settlements in occupied West Bank

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Pregnant Palestinian suffers miscarriage after Israeli tear gas attack

Israeli forces fire at Palestinians with tear gas during a protest in the West Bank on 15 March 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces fire at Palestinians with tear gas during a protest in the West Bank on 15 March 2019 

A seven-month pregnant Palestinian mother suffered a miscarriage after tear gas was fired repeatedly by Israeli soldiers at her home in the village of Al-Mughayyer near Ramallah last week. Areej Abu Alya, 37, inhaled a lot of the gas and started to suffocate during the attack.

She was rushed to hospital by her husband Iyad, where her condition worsened. During the treatment, doctors discovered that her baby’s pulse was no longer detected. Areej was in intensive care for several days after losing a lot of blood and requiring transfusions.

“We live in a very dangerous area,” Iyad told Wafa news agency. “Tear gas canisters are scattered around the house and inside, and I can no longer collect them immediately to throw them out of our children’s reach.”

The couple have eight children. According to Iyad, the tear gas comes in through the windows while they are sleeping almost every night. “Every week I take my children to the village doctor, all of them with severe symptoms as a result of inhaling tear gas and suffering from a burning sensation in the lungs, which causes them to vomit, and have chest pains and severe coughs.”

READ: Israeli army uproots dozens of olive trees in West Bank

He believes that the gas used by the Israeli occupation forces is a new, more toxic type. Palestinian doctors have accused the Israelis before of using chemical weapons, not tear gas, and testing new varieties on the people in the occupied territories to see what the effects are on human beings.

Attacks, assaults and acts of vandalism are carried out frequently on Palestinian towns and villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Illegal settlers and Israeli soldiers are always the culprits.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Official twitter account changed to ‘US Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza’

Twitter logo and a computer screen displaying the flag of the United States in Ankara, Turkey on 7 January 2021 [Erçin Ertürk/Anadolu Agency]
Twitter logo and a computer screen displaying the flag of the United States in Ankara, Turkey on 7 January 2021

The official Twitter account of the US Ambassador to Israel had a brief name change yesterday to “US Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza” after the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The account was quickly changed back to “US Ambassador to Israel”.

Asked whether this brief change suggested that a shift in American foreign policy can be expected under Biden, an embassy spokeswoman said: “This is not a policy change or indication of future policy change. It was an inadvertent edit, and not reflective of a policy change.”

In his first day in office, Biden reversed a number of Trump era policies, including the controversial “Muslim travel ban”. However, indications are that he will not overturn the most controversial changes made by his predecessor, such as the relocation of the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem.

Biden may be more even-handed than Trump, however. There is talk that the new president will reopen the US Consulate-General in occupied East Jerusalem to act as an “embassy” to the Palestinians, to whom he will also restore US aid.

Read: The Israelisation of US foreign policy is hard to reverse

Relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden are predicted to be tense given their history. Biden was humiliated during a trip to Jerusalem in 2010 when he was Vice President under Barack Obama.

As a pro-Israel stalwart, Biden arrived in Jerusalem with instructions from Obama to revive peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Netanyahu had reluctantly agreed to a temporary moratorium on Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. However, as Biden pledged unyielding US support for Israel, Netanyahu unveiled a big expansion of settler housing on Palestinian land in occupied Arab East Jerusalem annexed by Israel.

In what could be a message to the now President Biden, the Israeli government approved the building of 2,572 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank during his inauguration yesterday.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday evening, two Palestinians in the al-‘Isawiya town, and in front of the al-Makassed hospital, in occupied Jerusalem.

Media sources said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Nayef Obeid, 32, from his home in al-‘Isawiya, after the army invaded the property and searched it.

They added that Obeid’s abduction came only one day after the soldiers abducted his father, brother, and sister.

In addition, the soldiers abducted Daoud Abu al-Hawa, 19, from the at-Tour town, after stopping him in front of al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem, and moved him to an interrogation facility.

On Wednesday at dawn, the soldiers abducted four Palestinians in Tulkarem and Nablus, in northern West Bank.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Pregnant Palestinian Woman Miscarries After Inhaling Tear Gas Fired by Israeli Military

Tear gas - archive image

A Palestinian woman who was seven months pregnant suffered a miscarriage last Thursday after Israeli forces repeatedly fired tear gas toward her home in Mughayir village, east of Ramallah,

Areej Abu Alya, 37, was hospitalized for several days with severe bleeding following the firing of over a hundred tear gas canisters by the Israeli military in front of and around her home over the course of the previous week.

Her home is located in an area scheduled by Israeli authorities for forced takeover, and Palestinian residents protest the Israeli military’s actions on an almost-daily basis.

According to Iyad Abu Alya, Areej’s husband, “We live in a very dangerous area. Tear gas canisters are scattered around the house and inside, and I can no longer collect them immediately to throw them out of our children’s reach.”

The couple have eight children, and according to Iyad, the tear gas penetrates inside their home through the windows while they are sleeping almost every night. Sometimes, he has to bundle his wife and children into their truck and get out of town until the tear gas subsides.

Last Thursday morning, in the early morning hours, the Israeli military invaded the village and were confronted by local youth who threw stones to try to repel the soldiers from their village. The military fired tear gas canisters, most of which fell near the Abu Alya house, which led to Areej inhaling a large amount of tear gas and being unable to breathe.

Iyad rushed his wife to the Palestine Medical Complex, and there her condition worsened, so doctors had to transfer her to the operating room when her fetus’s pulse was no longer detected.

Iyad told reporters, “I have to take my children to the doctor on a weekly basis due to the severe symptoms they suffer as a result of inhaling tear gas. They suffer from heartburn, which causes continuous vomiting and chest pains. It seems that the gas released by the occupation is a new and toxic type.”

Their home is located just meters away from where the child Ali Abu Alia, 15, a relative of the family, was killed by the Israeli military on December 4th, 2020, and less than 50 meters away from where Hamdi al-Naasan was killed by the Israeli army on the 26th of January of 2019.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Fifteen Palestinians In West Bank

Night raid (archive image)

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, fifteen Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS office in Jericho, in northeastern West Bank, said the soldiers invaded and searched many homes in Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of the Jericho city, before abducting Mahmoud Arafat Jalayta and Ahmad al-Mimi.

In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians from Ya’bad and Qabatia towns, identified as Hussein Thabet Ba’jawi and Mohammad As’ad.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Nassim Abdul-Salam Barghouthi, 23, Mohye Wisam Barghouthi, 24, Ala’ Wahid Barghouthi, 24, Jamil Daraghma, 23, and Amal Nakhla, from their homes in Kobar village, north of the city.

The soldiers also abducted Dia’ Hisham Zahda, Arafat Qawasmi, Mohannad As’ad Tawil, from their homes in the southern West bank city of Hebron, and Abdul-Rahman Hazem Hadoush, 19, from Surif town, northwest of Hebron, in addition to Nidal and his brother Isamel Hosni Za’aqeeq, from Beit Ummar town, north of the city.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

More than 290 Palestinian prisoners test positive for COVID-19 in Israeli Prison

New cases of COVID-19 were recorded among Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Ramon and Negev prisons, raising the total number of Palestinian prisoners who contracted the virus inside Israeli prisons to more than 290 since March 2020.

The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said that 41 Palestinian prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Negev and Ramon prisons.

It also stated that the number is set to rise, saying that the deliberate procrastinations by the administration of prisons in providing the necessary preventive measures inside sections of prisons is the reason behind the spread of the virus.

It’s worth mentioning that Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana refuses to give coronavirus vaccine to Palestinian prisoners, which Palestinian organizations call “racism” and aimed at “increasing the suffering of prisoners and to psychologically torture them and their families.”

According to Palestinian estimates, there are 4,400 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including 41 women, 170 children, and around 380 people held under Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Palestinian prisoner died after 14 years in Israeli jails

Palestinian prisoner Maher Dhib Sa`sa, 45, died on Wednesday after spending 14 years in Israeli prison, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society announced in a statement.

Sa`sa, a husband and father of six children, was suffering from chronic illnesses, but no clear cause of death was identified.

Sa’sa was detained in 2006 and was serving a 25-year-sentence in Israeli prison.

The prison advocacy groups stated that they hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of all the Palestinian detainees.

According to Palestinian estimates, there are 4,400 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including 41 women, 170 children, and around 380 people held under Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial.

(Source / 21.01.2021)

Palestinian children describe how they were arrested by Israeli soldiers at night

A S, 17 years, said: “I was arrested from my home at around 4am. I was up studying and I heard loud banging at our front door. My father opened the door and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered our home”

Each year Israeli occupation soldiers conduct about 3,200 search and arrest operations in occupied Palestinian West Bank. Approximately 2,800 of these operations, where tens of children are being arrested, occur at night.


Israel justifies this practice on the basis that the territory is subject to military rule (temporarily since 1967) as permitted under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Somewhat inconsistently Israel does not enforce military law on Israelis living in the same area in settlements built in violation of the Convention.

The level of fear, intimidation and trauma induced by these operations on the Palestinian civilian population should not be underestimated.

Here are descriptions of a number of Palestinian children, who were arrested at night during 2020, for their arrests which happened at night.

R K, 15 years, said: “At around 3:30am, I was woken up by torch light shining in my face. I opened my eyes and saw about 10 Israeli soldiers in my bedroom. The commander asked me for my name then told me to get up and put some clothes on because I was to be arrested. He did not give a reason for the arrest and did not give my parents any documents.”

A S, 17 years, said: “I was arrested from my home at around 4am. I was up studying and I heard loud banging at our front door. My father opened the door and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered our home.

“My younger sister, who is 13 years old, was terrified and started to cry. They asked for our identity cards and then searched the house and took all the clothes out of the wardrobes. They did not tell us what they were looking for.”

M H, 17 years, said: “I woke up at around 2am to the sound of loud banging at our front door. I opened the door and six Israeli soldiers entered our home. I could see many more soldiers were outside.

“A soldier asked to check our identity cards and then the commander told me I was under arrest. He did not give me any documents or tell me why I was being arrested. He told me to get dressed and then I was taken away.”

A D, 15 years, said: “A day before my arrest the military commander in charge of our refugee camp phoned my father. He said I was involved ‘in stuff’ and if my father did not control me, he would shoot me.

“The following morning, at around 4am, I woke up to banging and explosions. My father opened the door and about 10 soldiers entered. I was still in bed when soldiers entered my bedroom. The soldiers searched our home and broke some furniture.”

(Source / 21.01.2021)