Israeli police suppress march in Sheikh Jarrah

Sheikh Jarrah

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) – The Israeli police quelled on Saturday evening a rally organized in front of the western entrance to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Occupied Jerusalem. 

Dozens of citizens and solidarity activists participated in the march, demanding an end to settler provocations and the lifting of the continuous siege on the neighborhood for 14 days.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that a number of citizens were wounded, including one who was hit with a sound bomb in the head and was taken to the hospital, while the other injures were treated in the field.

The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is witnessing daily clashes between the occupation police and settlers on one hand and the neighborhood residents, Jerusalemites, the youths and the solidarity activists on the other hand who confront settler incursions and attacks and confirm their steadfastness in their homes and lands.

500 Jerusalemites who live in 28 homes in the neighborhood are facing displacement threats after Jewish groups recently extracted an Israeli court verdict giving them the green light to take over houses in Sheikh Jarrah, despite the fact that the neighborhood residents are the actual and legal owners of the land.

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Farwana: IOF rounded up 2,000 Palestinians in five weeks

Arrest campaign

GAZA, (PIC) – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up nearly 2,000 Palestinians over the past five weeks in a fresh escalation of the campaigns of arrests in lines of the Palestinian people, Abdul Nasser Farwana, the head of the studies and documentation unit at the Palestinian prisoners authority, said.

He added in a press release on Sunday that the arrests were made in the West Bank, Jerusalem and 1948 Occupied Palestine and included children, women, and elderly persons.

Farwana opined that the Israeli occupation authorities target weakening the Palestinian determination and terminating the Palestinians’ will to resist occupation.

He said that around one million Palestinians were arrested by the IOF since 1967, but that did not succeed in subduing the Palestinian people.

Those arrests will not succeed in dissuading the Palestinian people from their struggle to regain their legitimate rights, to end occupation, and to live in dignity in their freed homeland, he concluded.

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Dozens of settlers renew their storming of Al-Aqsa courtyards

Aqsa incursions

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) – Jewish settlers resumed their daily intrusions into the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning from the Magharabi Gate under Israeli police protection.

Jerusalemite sources reported that dozens of settlers defiled the courtyards of the Mosque three weeks after it was closed to settler incursions, following the confrontations of the 28th of Ramadan and the subsequent response of the resistance and the popular uprising in Palestine.

The sources pointed out that many Israeli policemen raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the dawn hours and forced Muslim worshipers to leave the Al-Qibli prayer hall and attacked several guards of the Mosque.

The occupation police also attacked the worshipers who came to perform the dawn prayer at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevented the young men from entering the Mosque, according to the sources.  

The Israeli police also arrested Fadi Elyan, a guard at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and several other Palestinians.

After that, groups of Jewish settlers broke into the courtyards of the Mosque and carried out provocative tours while some of them performed Talmudic rituals in front of the al-Rahma chapel Gate and the Dome of the Rock Mosque before leaving from the area of al-Silsila Gate.

(Source / 23.05.2021) 

IOF arrests 17 Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem


RAMALLAH, (PIC) – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched on Saturday night and at dawn Sunday a campaign of arrests in various areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem, including a deputy in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

In Ramallah, IOF arrested Ahmed Mubarak, a deputy in the Legislative Council for Hamas, after storming his home in the town of Beitunia.

Mubarak was arrested several times during which he spent more than 6 years, the last of which was 14 months in administrative detention in 2018.

He is considered one of Hamas’s leaders in Ramallah and he won the legislative elections in 2006 for the Ramallah province.

IOF also arrested the released prisoner, Ahmed Abu Arab, after they stormed and searched his house in the old city of Ramallah.

The IOF soldiers broke into the family’s house of the boy Tawfiq Hajeer, 16, from the village of Deir Ibzi, before arresting him. 

Local sources reported that IOF arrested Fuad Kammji and his sons Imad, Majd, Shas and Muharram, after raiding his house in Kafr Dan and tampering with its contents, claiming that they wanted to arrest his son Ahad but he was not at home.

The IOF soldiers broke into the house of the ex-prisoner, Saif El-Din Nazal, from Qabatia, searched it and arrested him. 

IOF raided Ya’bad town and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs. Clashes erupted and several citizens suffered breathing problems while Tariq Qabha was arrested.

In Nablus, IOF stormed the Askar al-Balad area, broke into the house of Baraa Dweikat and arrested him after searching his house and tampering with its contents.

IOF arrested Ibrahim Dweikat from Balata after storming and searching his home. 

In Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police arrested the activist and the released prisoner Shadi Mutour after storming his house in the Beit Hanina neighborhood. He was taken for investigation at the Al-Maskobiyya detention center.

The occupation police also arrested Shadi Mutour’s brother, the Jerusalemite activist Fadi Mutour, as well as the Jerusalemite activist Nour al-Shalabi.

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Facebook apologises for Palestine over censoring pro-Palestine content

Senior Facebook executives apologized to the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, after complaints were made to the company about censoring pro-Palestine content.

The Palestinian officials left the meeting on Tuesday with the impression that Facebook had admitted there was an “inherent issue with their algorithms” and that they had promised to address it, according to an account of the meeting shared with theTIME news by Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian mission to the U.K.

Zomlot said that Facebook’s team, which was led at the meeting by the company’s vice president for global affairs Nick Clegg, acknowledged that Facebook had inaccurately labeled certain words commonly used by Palestinians, including “martyr” and “resistance,” as incitement to violence.

“They promised they would revisit and reevaluate their framework,” Zomlot said.

The meeting was also attended by Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, Joel Kaplan, and its Middle East and North Africa policy chief Azzam Alameddin.

Social media users from Palestine and around the world have uploaded and shared videos and images about Israeli forces and settlers violence in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, and Israel’s aggression on Gaza Strip, using the hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah and #GazaUnderAttack, in both English and Arabic.

However, social media websites, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have censored, limited, and shut down their accounts, silencing their voices while they are fighting against the occupation.

Another hashtag, Al-Aqsa in Arabic, has also been hidden by Instagram, because, as it claims, the “content may not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”

The hashtag was used to cover the settlers and forces’ violence and attacks against the Palestinians in al-Aqsa mosque courtyards.

Meanwhile, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, tweeted it was facing technical issues on May 6, after hundreds of people began reporting the censorship.

In response to questions from TIME, a Facebook spokesperson did not deny that Clegg’s team had apologized to the Palestinian side for the Al-Aqsa episode, nor that the company had committed to revisiting and reevaluating the way it dealt with similar posts and language.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the horrific ongoing violence,” the spokesperson said in a statement to TIME on Friday.

“In response to the violence we are working to make sure our services are a safe place for our community. We will continue to remove content that violates our Community Standards, which do not allow hate speech or incitement to violence, and will proactively explain and promote dialogue on these policies to policymakers.”

“We are also actively working to respond to concerns about our content enforcement. These meetings are an effort to ensure that all parties are aware of steps the company has taken, and will continue to take, to keep the platform safe.”

Five days before Facebook met with the Palestinian Prime Minister, a Facebook delegation including Cutler, Clegg and Kaplan met with the Israeli Justice Minister, Benny Gantz.

At that meeting, on May 13, Gantz pressured Facebook to take even stricter action against “extremist elements that are seeking to do damage to our country,” according to a statement from his office.

“Gantz called upon them to commit to removing content from their social media sites that incites to violence or that spreads disinformation, and emphasized the importance of responding quickly to appeals from the governmental cyber bureau,” the statement said.

An official in the Israeli Justice Ministry told TIME on Friday that in the week since meeting with Facebook, they had noticed an improvement in the speed with which Facebook had dealt with Israeli takedown requests.

“Ahead of the meeting, the Ministry of Justice was disappointed with how Facebook was responding,” the official said.

“During the meeting, however, they did voice a willingness to respond more assertively, fully and quickly, and subsequently there has been some improvement. We would like to see even greater responsiveness going forward.”

Zomlot, however, said he had raised the issue of algorithmic bias with Facebook.

“The Israeli military machine is feeding their algorithms, absolutely,” he told TIME. “And the main purpose is to stifle the Palestinian voices about anything that has to do with injustices.”

Palestinians are no strangers to such restrictions on social media.

For years, American apps, including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, have been deleting and deactivating the accounts of Palestinians in coordination with the Israeli government and security agencies, on the pretext of preventing Palestinian “incitement and hate speech” on its platform, stifling the Palestinian voices.

On May 2020, Facebook deleted the accounts of more than 50 Palestinian journalists and activists, saying their accounts had been deactivated for “not following our Community Standards,” according to Sada Social.

Sada Social, a Palestinian digital rights organisation, said it documented 38 violations against Palestinian content in April 2021 only.

Since the start of 2021, 50 violations against freedom of the press, as Facebook either blocked Palestinian publications or closed accounts of journalists and activists under feeble excuses, said the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS).

Also, Israeli media had reported that Facebook complies with 95% of Israeli orders to remove Palestinian content.

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Israeli settlers and forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, attack worshipers

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces and settlers today morning broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Jerusalem, attacked worshipers, arrested and detained dozens in its courtyards and gates.

Under the occupation forces protection, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the morning break-in session.

Meanwhile, the occupation forces are attacking the Palestinian worshipers in the courtyards of the mosque with sound grenades, rubber bullets and pepper gas and beating them.

The occupation forces also stationed at the gates of the mosque, detained dozens of Palestinian young men and boys, after assaulting them.

The forces are also assaulting and beating the employees of the Islamic Endowment Department and worshipers in the mosque.

A group of Israeli extremists have reportedly called for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, in an apparent renewed call for violence against Palestinians, following Israel’s deadly aggression on the Gaza Strip.

“On Sunday morning at 7:00, we will know if we have lost the war,” said Assaf Farid, spokesman for the Federation of Temple Organizations.


(Source / 23.05.2021)

Israeli forces destroyed towers in Gaza to vent frustration, says pilot

A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 15, 2021. – Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a key media building, while Palestinian militants launched rockets in return amid violence in the West Bank. Israel’s air force targeted the 13-floor Jala Tower housing Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency

An Israeli pilot has revealed that the destruction of residential towers in the Gaza Strip was “a way to vent the army’s frustration.”

In an interview conducted by the Israeli Channel 12 with a number of pilots who participated in blowing up 9 residential towers in the Gaza Strip, including one that housed international media offices, one of the pilots said that he does not underestimate the severity of the attacks that he and his colleagues carried out.

He said, “We threw tons of ammunition and fired on them that no one doubts.”

However, he spoke of feelings shared by his colleagues, saying, “I went on a mission to carry out airstrikes with a feeling that destroying the towers is a way to vent frustration over what is happening to us and over success of the groups in Gaza in kicking us.”

“We failed to stop the rocket fire and to harm the leadership of these groups, so we destroyed the towers,” he added.

During the 11-day of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israel destroyed nine multi-story buildings, claiming they were being used as “military infrastructure”.

On May 15, Israeli air strikes levelled the al-Jalaa tower, an 11-storey building that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press in the Gaza Strip.

The bombing of this tower drew criticism from international organisations, rights groups and several governments, including those of Israel’s allies.

On May 17, leading rights group Amnesty International condemned Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza, saying that the Israeli military has “displayed a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians by carrying out a number of airstrikes targeting residential buildings in some cases killing entire families – including children – and causing wanton destruction to civilian property, in attacks that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

Gideon Levy, a columnist at the Israeli daily Haaretz, said the bombing of high-rise buildings, in particular, make for a spectacular show on television, buoying an Israeli public opinion that is already very supportive of the offensive on Gaza.

“The towers that were bombed were a great show,” Levy told Al Jazeera. “It’s the only scene that the Israeli television channels are broadcasting again and again.”

“The towers collapsing is something that is very photogenic,” he added. “It shows how strong Israel is, and how Israeli pilots are so sophisticated by taking down a whole tower by one or two missiles.”

At least 279 Palestinians were killed, including 69 children and 40 women, and 1,910 others injured in the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

For Levy, this constant drip feed showcasing such destruction smacks of “a sign of weakness”.

“It’s a loss of strength,” he said. “Israel was always proud it could target a certain room in a certain apartment on a certain floor and bomb it. But Israel does it because it can, and has nobody to stop it from doing so.”

Israelis know very little about Gaza, he continued, and are perfectly happy with not knowing anything about it.

“The images and reports they see from Gaza don’t include the suffering,” Levy explained.

“This is done deliberately, not because of censorship. Everyone shares the same denial. We all don’t want to see it and the media is helping us not to see it by not showing it to us.”

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Mauritania asks ICC to probe ‘Israel’ for ‘genocide’ in Gaza

Nouakchott (QNN)- The Mauritanian parliament is urging the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials for “genocide” after an 11-day of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip that claimed over 260 lives.

Mohamed Ould Rzeizime, a lawmaker from the ruling Union for the Republic party, tells AFP that the 157-seat national assembly unanimously adopted the non-binding resolution.

“The national assembly considers the ongoing Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people as one of the worst crimes of genocide,” reads the resolution, which was seen by AFP.

It adds that the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, must “prosecute those involved in this aggression.”

The Mauritanian legislators also lauded what they called the “resounding victory achieved by the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist enemy,” which they said was “the inescapable crowning achievement of its struggle against the occupation”.

The Parliament also called on “brotherly, Arab, African and Islamic parliaments and those of friendly countries in the world to take all measures to help protect the Palestinian people and defend their just cause”.

Last week, the ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that she noted with “great concern the escalation of violence” in the West Bank and Gaza “and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute,” which founded the ICC.


This comes after 11 days of Israeli deadly aggression on the Gaza Strip, as 248 Palestinians were killed in the aggression, including 66 children and 39 women, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, and at least 1,910 others were injured.

More than 90,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, and much of Gaza’s infrastructure and many residental buildings were completely destroyed or levelled.

(Source / 23.05.2021)

Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, a microcosm of the Palestine question

By Jamal Kanj

Palestinian diaspora narratives are broad. Sheikh Jarrah is the story of Palestinian families, in one East Jerusalem neighborhood, under the Israeli occupation. In contrast, my diaspora journey traces a family of sheep herders and farmers in the Galilee pushed to a Northern Lebanese refugee camp in 1948 and denied a return to their homes. By miraculous fate, I ended up living in the United States and became a registered civil engineer in the state of California. Through my own life experience growing up as a stateless refugee, I can appreciate the unfortunate threat of expulsion facing Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.The fight over the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is a microcosm of the Palestine question. While war and fear were the main Israeli instruments to drive out my parents and more than 700,000 Palestinians from their towns and villages in 1948, current Israeli policies use legal euphemisms to change the demographic makeup of Palestinian communities as in the case of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Sheikh Jarrah, located a little over one mile north of the Old City, is named after Saladin’s physician. Jarrah means surgeon in Arabic. The community, originally built around the tomb of the 13th-century surgeon, grew to become among the first and most affluent Christian and Muslim Palestinian communities outside the walls of the Old City. Following the 1948 war, Sheikh Jarrah expanded with the arrival of Palestinian refugees expelled from the Talbiya neighborhood in occupied West Jerusalem and other villages.

Since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, different Israel governments and city municipalities have used incentives, courts and violence to uproot native Jerusalemites from their homes.

A case in point: Jewish Israeli settlers forcibly occupied a section in the home of the al-Kurd family in 2001, claiming the land was owned by Jews during the Ottoman Empire. Instead of removing the intruders, Israeli courts awarded the home to Jewish settlers. The al-Kurd became tenants — in their own home — ordered to pay rent to the interlopers. When the homeowner refused to pay rent to the settler extremists, Israeli courts found the al-Kurd family delinquent and forced it out of its home of 52 years.

Muhammad al-Kurd, the head of the family, died less than two weeks after he was expelled from his home for a second time. The first was in 1948 from the city of Haifa, and the second was in 2008. His stricken wife, Fawzieh al-Kurd, then 56 years old, moved into a tent outside her home to protest her forceful ejection.

The al-Kurds were not the first Palestinians to lose their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, and they won’t be the last. In 2002, Israel forcibly moved 43 Palestinians from their homes with Israeli settlers moving in. In August 2009, the al-Hanoun and al-Ghaw Palestinian families also lost their homes to extremist settlers. In 2017, the Shamasneh family met a similar fate.

Today, 500 Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah are at risk of dispossession following a lower Israeli court’s order to vacate their homes. Since Palestinians have little to no chance under the Israeli legal system, public protest is the only recourse left to publicize injustice and stop the Israeli government from making them homeless once again.

The Israeli court decisions over land ownership in Sheikh Jarrah expose the blatant institutional discriminatory laws toward non-Jews in the state of Israel. For example, the disputed settlers’ claim of land ownership is not on behalf of any individual asserting rightful inheritance, but rather a religious claim based on a 150-year-old bogus land deed.

The same courts, however, do not avail the same rights to the al-Kurd, al-Hanoun, al-Ghaw and Shamasneh families or the new 500 Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah who possess land deeds for homes in West Jerusalem and Haifa. In Israel, only Jews can reclaim property. Muslim and Christian Palestinians, who live in East Jerusalem, are considered “absentee owners” unable to claim homes from which they were forcefully evicted 70 years earlier.

When asked about laws allowing Jews, but not Palestinians, to reclaim properties, the current deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, said, “This is a Jewish country.” As quoted in The New York Times earlier this month, he said, “Of course, there are laws that some people may consider as favoring Jews — it’s a Jewish state. It is here to protect the Jewish people.”
The deputy mayor of Jerusalem unwittingly explained institutional racism in an Israeli hierarchical system that favors one group of people at the expense of others.

*Kanj is the author of “Children of Catastrophe: Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America.” He lives in East San Diego County. This article first published in the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper (

Brits hold largest ever pro-Palestine demonstration in London

Former Labour MP addressed that demosntrators saying: ‘The message is clear, we will not cease our campaign in solidarity until there is justice. So, let’s make it clear, no justice, no peace’

More than 200,000 British gathered on Saturday in London’s Hyde Park in the largest ever pro-Palestine demonstrations in British history, protesting against Israeli aggression against Gaza.

A large crowd blocked traffic near Victoria Embankment as dozens of police officers watched on before moving to Hyde Park.

Speeches were made by Labour MPs, anti-war campaigners and trade union members at the rally.

Demonstrators, calling for an urgent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, held banners and placards bearing messages reading: “Free Palestine” and “stop the war,” as well as they loudly chanted: “Free Free Palestine.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the organiser of the event, decided to go ahead despite the announcement of ceasefire on Friday after 11-day Israeli bombardment that killed more than 240 people, including 65 children, 39 women and 16 elderly people.

Former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the demonstrators saying: “Yes, a ceasefire has been negotiated and we welcome a ceasefire. But let’s be clear, there will be no ceasefire in our campaign to boycott, disinvest and sanction the Israeli apartheid state.

“The message is clear, we will not cease our campaign in solidarity until there is justice. So, let’s make it clear, no justice, no peace.”

(Source / 23.05.2021)