Gaza post – The Forum of Palestinian Media Professionals said that it was following with great gravity the arrest of Palestinian security forces by journalist Hassan El Najjar, who had called the house of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 3 weeks ago to complain about his dismissal from Palestinian television, where he was news director, and that he was flouting his continued detention for several weeks, and the Journalists’ Union ignored it, reflecting an obvious duplication in defending the freedom of media professionals and guaranteeing their rights.
According to the journalist’s father, his 33-year-old son has been detained in Ramallah for more than 25 days, “adding: “My son worked on Palestinian television for nine years, and almost four years ago there was a disagreement with the Director-General of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Ahmed Assaf. He accused my son of bad talk. He punished him for taking him to the offices of Palestine Television in Qalqilia, northern West Bank.
According to a Palestinian journalist from Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority media refused to publish anything about the Najjar case for fear of punishing Palestinian security forces, and the Najjar clan, based in the town of Yatta near Hebron, failed to convince Palestinian media organizations to publish calls for Abbas to help her son.
The Forum expressed concern at the arrest of his colleague Al-Najjar by Palestinian security and called for his immediate release in accordance with international and humanitarian laws and customs, as well as local laws affirming freedom of information and the protection of journalists, as well as the Decree on the Protection and Promotion of Freedoms issued by the President of the Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, as part of setting the stage for the recently postponed elections.
He stressed that the journalists’ union’s disregard for the arrest of a fellow carpenter reflected its selectivity and duplication in dealing with violations against journalists, which highlighted the urgent need to restore the union’s consideration, and to launch its election train to enable journalists to choose their representatives in order to have a strong professional union that protected and defended journalists, regardless of any other considerations.
The Forum, the Palestinian Media Knights, called for their rights to be taken away by a union that held them and defended them without discrimination, calling on media organizations to continue their role, and for their pressure to ensure that the Union was reformed in order to break with the partisanship that had displaced the press and dispersed Palestinian journalists.
Nablus_ Gaza post – The Israeli occupation forces continued to invade the town of Aqroba, south of Nablus, besieged and blew up an agricultural room in the northern eastern region.
According to local sources, the occupation forces again stormed the town of Aqroba, today Wednesday, besieged a farming room in the “Al-Qetaa” area east of the north of the town and blew up one of its walls.
The sources added that the occupation forces were demanding that people via loudspeakers turn themselves.
A group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonists installed, on Tuesday night, an outpost on Palestinian lands, owned by residents of Beita, Yitma, and Qabalan towns, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the colonists benefited from the strict Israeli military siege on Nablus, especially in the southern countryside, and installed several mobile homes, in addition to infrastructure work, on Palestinian lands.
He added that the outpost was installed in Abu Sbeih Mountain which has been subject to frequent Israeli violations over the last several years, including attempts to illegally annex Palestinian lands to build new colonies.
Daghlas also said that many colonists burnt, earlier on Tuesday evening, Palestinian agricultural lands in Burin village, south of Nablus, in addition to hurling stones and attacking Palestinians on the Ramallah-Nablus roads, causing damage.
It is worth mentioning that, on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a law allowing the retroactive “legalizing” colonialist outposts that were installed by the colonists on Palestinian lands in the West Bank.
Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, five Palestinians from their homes in Hizma town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
Media sources said several army jeeps invaded the town before the soldiers broke into and ransacked many homes, causing damage.
They added that the soldiers abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Mohammad Wahid Khatib, 22, and Mahdi Hussein Salahuddin, 18, in addition to Abdullah Morad Khatib, 17, Ezz Osama Salahuddin, 18, Salah Osama Salahuddin, 16.
During the invasion and searches of homes, the soldiers interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, and installed military roadblocks.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, a young woman and two young men in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers and police officers invaded the neighborhood and attacked dozens of residents who are nonviolently protesting the illegal Israeli takeover of Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
They added that the soldiers were trying to break into homes but were stopped and encountered by the solidarity activist who managed to repel the invasion.
The Israeli police then deployed mounted police officers in attacking the Palestinians, in addition to spraying them with wastewater mixed with chemicals.
The police also fired many concussion grenades and gas bombs around the homes Israel is trying to take from the Palestinians to replace them with illegal colonialist settlers.
In addition, the soldiers attacked two young men, and pushed them onto the ground before cuffing them, and took them to a nearby police station.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, six Palestinians, including five former political prisoners, in Hebron governorate, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, after the army invaded and ransacked many homes.
Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers abducted Fadi Amro, a candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council, in addition to a former political prisoner, identified as Monther Zouna, from their homes in Doura town, southwest of Hebron.
The soldiers also invaded Ethna town, west of Hebron, searched homes, and abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Omar Nattah, 38, and Ziad Odah.
In Yatta town, south of Hebron, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Samir Bheiss, from his home.
Another former political prisoner, identified as Sari Abu Saif, was abducted from his home in the Sammoa’ town, south of Hebron.
The soldiers also abducted Hussein Tbeish from his home in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron.
Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Wednesday, at least seventeen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including the occupied capital, Jerusalem, during massive and violent searches of homes and buildings, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has confirmed.
The PPS said the soldiers continued the siege and ongoing invasions of homes and property in Aqraba town, southeast of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, causing serious damage, and abducted a woman, identified as Amal Bani Minya.
The soldiers also surrounded lands and an agricultural structure in the al-Qit’a area, in Aqraba, and detonated one of its walls.
In addition, the army started using loudspeakers to demand many Palestinians to turn themselves in.
It is worth mentioning that Aqraba and several surrounding Palestinian towns and villages have been subject to massive invasions and very violent searches of homes and buildings, in addition to the abductions and interrogation of dozens of Palestinians, since three Israeli colonialist settlers were injured in a drive-by shooting on Sunday evening.
The army also pushed dozens of soldiers in and around Za’tara military roadblock, south of Nablus, and isolated the entire area.
In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded and searched many homes, interrogated dozens of Palestinians in several parts of the governorate, and abducted Ziad Abu Zahra, Lafi Shalabi, and Sana’ Shalabi.
Sana’ was released later, after the soldiers interrogated her for a few hours, local sources said, and added that her detention came just one day after the soldiers abducted one of her sons.
In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted six Palestinians, identified as Samir Bheiss, Fadi Amro, Omar Nattah, Monther Sharawna, Sari Abu Seif, and Hussein Tbeish.
It is worth mentioning that Samir Bheiss is the Imam of a mosque in Yatta town, south of Hebron.
Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Mahmoud Kurd and Omar Khatib, from occupied Jerusalem, in addition to Mohammad Wahid Khatib, 22, Abdullah Morad Khatib, 17, Salah Osama Salahuddin, 16, Ezzeddin Osama Salahuddin, 18, and Mahdi Hasan Salahuddin, 18, from Hizma town, northeast of Jerusalem.
Several army jeeps also invaded Khirbat Hamsa al-Foqa and the al-Boqei’a Meadow, in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, before invading lands and taking pictures.
The soldiers were carrying maps during the invasion and were comparing them with new photos, before heading to ‘Atouf village.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that two detainees, imprisoned by Israel, are ongoing with hunger strike despite deteriorating health conditions, protesting their ongoing arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial.
The two detainees are Emad Sawarka, 37, from Jericho, and journalist Ala’ Rimawi, 43, from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
The PPS stated that Sawarka started his hunger strike 49 days ago, and is currently at the Ramla prison clinic, which lacks adequate equipment and specialists after he was transferred from solitary confinement in Asqalan prison.
It added that Sawarka is facing serious complications but is ongoing with the strike despite Israel’s rejection of his demands. He lost a lot of weight and is unable to able to walk or stand.
The PPS also said the journalist Ala’ Rimawi continues his strike, which he started on the first day of his abduction by the soldiers fifteen days ago and is currently held in solitary confinement in Ofar prison despite health complications.
A lawyer working for the PPS recently visited Rimawi and said the detainee frequently loses consciousness, in addition to suffering several types of pain in his body, especially since he was still recovering from a coronavirus infection when he was taken prisoner.
The PPS stated that Israel deliberately ignores the demands of the hunger-striking detainees to force them or have them end their strikes due to their serious complications, however, the detainees remain determined to continue the strike.
It also denounced Israel’s ongoing usage of the arbitrary Administrative Detention orders against hundreds of detainees, holding them captive without charges or trial for months, and in some cases for years.
The PPS also said that most of the detainees, who are held under the Administrative Detention orders, are former political prisoners, some of them spent more than fifteen years in prison after being abducted and imprisoned several times.
It called on local, regional, and international human rights groups and legal organizations to perform their duties, and pressure Israel into stopping its violations and ending its usage of the illegal Administrative Detention policy.
It is worth mentioning that Sawarka, a married father of five children, was abducted in July of 2020, and previously spend ten years in Israeli prisons.
In addition, the detained journalist Rimawi, also a married father of five children, was abducted on April 21st, 2021, was instantly slapped with an Administrative Detention order. He is also a former political prisoner who spent more than eleven years in Israeli prison.
According to data by the Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Israel is holding captive 4450 Palestinians, including 140 children, 37 women, in addition to 440 detainees who are held under the Administrative detention orders.
Gaza (QNN)- The Commander-in-Chief of Al Qassam Brigades, Muhammad Deif, issued a stern warning to the occupation state in case it doesn’t stop targeting the locals of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, who are being a target of a mass eviction and ethnic cleansing operation.
The Commander-in-Chief of the resistance faction stated that “the leadership of the resistance factions and Al Qassam Brigades will not stand idly by, however, the enemy will pay a steep price if it does not stop its assaults against our people in Sheikh Jarrah immediately”.
Deif saluted the locals of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem.
The neighborhood has seen confrontations between locals and Israeli policemen, who also prevented activists from showing solidarity with the locals.
The confrontations come after calls to hold a sit-in at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in solidarity with its locals, who are under threat of forced eviction.
Yesterday, Jerusalemites gathered in the neighborhood in solidarity with its locals. Israeli settlers, who have stolen houses in the neighborhood went to the streets in provocative acts against the owners of the houses.
An Israeli court delayed a hearing on four houses in the neighborhood until tomorrow to reach a deal with the settlers.
The locals stress that the Israeli court has been acting as an accomplice of the settlers. It has rejected to receive documents from the locals, which prove their ownership of the houses.
The decision to postpone to an unknown date the Palestinian general election, announced Thursday by President Mahmoud Abbas, proves that he and his handful of Fatah cronies – whose advice he listens to – are more loyal to Israel’s interests to preserve the status quo and prevent any shocks or changes.
But this fake status quo lets a fossilized Fatah movement hold on to positions of economic, administrative and political power in the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority-controlled enclaves. It allows unelected officials – who rely on their past glory as fighters against the occupation in exile or in the Palestinian territories Israel captured in 1967, or who won an election long expired – to keep developing and maintaining a stratum of senior civil servants and key security lords. It allows them as well to continue controlling many initiatives in the private sector while promoting and giving preference to associates and confidants.
The PA and Fatah leadership’s strict adherence to the Oslo Accords, and especially to the security cooperation with Israel, preserves some stability in the region. This adherence is in turn translated into donations and funding from the international community, which – even if reduced in recent years – is still important to the authority’s functioning.
This stability, more accurately known as Israel’s security at the expense of the security and rights of the Palestinians, is important to the many donor countries, led by EU members and the United States, which under President Joe Biden has resumed financial support for the Palestinians. The European Union may have expressed support for a democratic election and promised it was striving for the vote to take place, but it’s hard to see it using its leverage against the PA – halting its financial support – because an election isn’t held. It’s the very stick the EU used against the Palestinians before, after Hamas’ rise to power in 2006.
A Palestinian election is bad for Israel and bad for the unelected Palestinian ruling stratum for the following reasons: It had the potential to impact some changes, above all when it comes to the split in rule between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank’s enclaves. After all, this split has been a linchpin of Israeli politics since 1991. An election campaign means exchanging views, voicing criticism, and constant debates and arguments that skirt the boundaries of the internal Palestinian censorship that Abbas is orchestrating.
In such an election campaign, Israel too would be under an international magnifying glass – to see how far it would go to sabotage the election via arrests and a ban on voicing opinions (opposed to the official Fatah position). An election with 36 parties running guarantees surprises, unplanned changes, new coalitions. There are 1,400 candidates, 405 of them women, and 39 percent of them are age 40 and under, vying for 132 seats. This would have ensured a younger parliament whose legislators have to listen to their voters.
The issues bothering the Palestinian public pertain to corruption and nepotism, Oslo, security coordination as Israel constantly expands the settlements, the lack of transparency and accountability of the people in charge, the helplessness against settler violence, and the issue of establishing a state, in contrast to the political weakness. All these questions had a chance to be raised in such a parliament.
It’s not at all certain that Hamas would have been the main beneficiary in this election. Its slate may well have become the largest in parliament, but not with a majority that let it form a coalition.
Two Fatah tickets, in addition to the official slate, could have received the votes of Fatah supporters sick of Abbas’ rule and who voted in 2006 for Hamas as a protest vote. The three parties, along with others that object to political Islam, could have been a dominant force in the new parliament and formed a coalition, but without Abbas’ absolute hold there’s an absolute hole – which is also convenient for Israel.
The postponement of the election to the Palestinian Legislative Council will also delay the attempt to reinstate the Palestinian National Council, which is supposed to represent the entire Palestinian people, both here and in exile. The third stage of the election, after the election of the president, was supposed to be the election for the National Council, the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization, while the members of the legislative council were supposed to be automatically included in it.
In recent years, calls to revive this pan-Palestinian institution have grown, as one of the attempts to restore the PLO to its status as the body that sets Palestinian policy. During the Oslo years, the situation was reversed and the PA – which on paper is subordinate to the PLO – became the chief political institution, leaving the PLO as an empty shell.
In the PA, Fatah is the dominant movement, and Abbas and a small circle of his associates are the sole decision-makers. It’s very convenient for Israel that Palestinian politics is run by a small group of senior officials whose privileges and financial futures – for them and their families – are held hostage by Israel.
The mantra “no election without Jerusalem” was increasingly voiced by Abbas’ associates in recent weeks as the election campaign’s opening date, Friday, April 30, approached – without Israel giving its official consent to voting in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, the head of Fatah’s party slate and Abbas’ deputy, Mahmoud Aloul, said that holding an election without Jerusalem was treason and a crime.
He and others completely ignored the other option to canceling the election, one suggested repeatedly by other parties: Find ways to hold the election in East Jerusalem without official Israeli approval. For example, set up polling stations in UN buildings, churches and mosques, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and go house to house with a ballot box, or put more polling places in the parts of the Jerusalem governate that haven’t been annexed to Israel.
Both Aloul and Abbas (in his speech Thursday evening) have spoken with characteristic contempt of the people who made these suggestions, as if the election in Jerusalem were merely a technical matter for them. They have totally ignored the subversive element in these suggestions – rocking the illusion of normality in Jerusalem and launching a popular resistance campaign by the very act of getting East Jerusalem Palestinians to vote in any way possible.
Abbas, Aloul and many of their loyalists didn’t explain why it was necessary to wait for Israeli approval for voting in East Jerusalem, and thus surrender to the Israeli veto over the election. Their silence here exposes characteristic hypocrisy: Senior Fatah and PA officials always raise the “popular struggle” as their standard, as a counterpoint to the slogan of the armed struggle. By not exploiting the opportunity, this proves what everybody knows: The Fatah leadership doesn’t believe in a popular struggle and isn’t interested in it, and certainly isn’t interested in leading it.
Before the expected decision on postponing the election was announced, the opponents of the delay expressed their position in several ways in addition to social media – Zoom gatherings, interviews with independent media outlets, a demonstration in Gaza by supporters of Mohammed Dahlan’s independent slate, as well as a vigil on Ramallah’s Manara Square.
On Thursday night, after the official announcement of the election’s postponement, a few hundred people came out to protest the decision in Ramallah – including a discernible group of supporters of the independent slate.
A lecturer in law at Birzeit University, Mahmoud Dudin, said last week, before the expected official announcement of the cancellation/postponement, that the executive branch’s postponing of the election breached the Palestinian constitution (Basic Laws). He spoke at a Zoom gathering initiated by Masarat – the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, one of the main independent bodies fighting the Palestinian political schism and encouraging critical discussion on how to find a way out of the status quo.
Dudin said postponing the election is solely under the jurisdiction of the Central Elections Commission, and only if it provides convincing reasons. He said the commission has announced that it’s possible to hold an election in Jerusalem even without official Israeli permission. But on Thursday night the election commission declared that it was halting the entire process.
The Palestinian public has two options, according to Dudin: One is to file petitions to the Palestinian Supreme Court against the decision to postpone/cancel the election. But the chances of such petitions succeeding are slim because the justice system and judges are appointments of the political leadership (Abbas) and are its captives, Dudin says. The second option is “revolutionary” – civil disobedience that creates “revolutionary legitimacy, the equivalent of constitutional legitimacy, and a way to rehabilitate it.”
It’s hard to imagine 35 parties ignoring the order to cancel/postpone the election and continuing to prepare for the vote as normal. But just raising the idea in public reflects the huge distance between the Palestinian public and its unelected senior officials. In the shadow of this decision and the general disgust for it, it’s hard to see the official Fatah slate trying to run in any general election soon.The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Days Of Palestine.