Social media watch group welcomes Facebook’s decision to examine policies of Arabic and Hebrew content

A demand that Facebook stop censoring Palestine.

Days of Palestine – Haifa – A local social media watch group yesterday welcomed Facebook’s decision on Thursday to examine policies of Arabic and Hebrew content in light of strong accusation against the social media giant of bias against the Palestinians and censoring pro-Palestine content in its conflict with Israel.

The Haifa-based 7amleh – the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media said in a statement that it welcomes Facebook’s latest and “surprising” decision to implement the recommendations of the Facebook Oversight Board and conduct an independent examination of the moderation policies of Arabic and Hebrew content, considering this “an important step in the right direction.”

Read More: Facebook censors discussion of rights issues, suppresses Palestinian content: Human Rights Watch

This decision comes following repeated requests by 7amleh and a large number of local, regional, and international human rights organizations, coalitions and networks, that Facebook guarantees a transparent and equitable policy with regards to Palestinian content, it said.

7amleh said that the Israeli war on Gaza in May and the ensuing events in the West Bank, which is called the “May Uprising,” kick-started an increase in the pressure against Facebook “to end its discriminatory policy against Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights, as various acts of systematic censorship of Palestinians and defenders of Palestinian rights continued to be monitored over the years, in response to continued digital violations from the Israeli government and other parties.”

Read More: HRW: Facebook ‘wrongfully’ removed Palestinian content

Facebook’s Oversight Board recommended to “engage an independent entity not associated with either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to conduct a thorough examination to determine whether Facebook’s content moderation in Arabic and Hebrew, including its use of automation, have been applied without bias. The report and its conclusions should be made public.”

7amleh emphasized the importance of appointing independent professionals with a background in human rights in general and digital rights in particular and called on Facebook to commit to implementing the recommendations of the examination.

It considered the decisions and recommendations of the Oversight Board as “positive and serious steps in the right direction, which will contribute to ensuring that Facebook moderates content in a safe, fair, and equitable manner.”

It expressed hope that “Facebook seriously considers these recommendations and implements them immediately.”

7amleh also called on Facebook “to accept and commit to the remaining recommendations of the Oversight Board, including specifying the criteria for ‘dangerous individuals and organizations’ or parties whose content is automatically removed from the platform, as well as disclosing all cooperation with governments and positive responses to governmental requests of content removal, in addition to translating content moderation policies to all languages and making them more accessible.”

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Hospitalised Palestinian prisoner enters 87th day of hunger strike

Yesterday, Friday, marks the 87th day of Miqdad Al-Qawasmeh’s hunger strike, protesting against his continued administrative detention—being held without charge or trial.

Last week, the International Red Cross expressed concern for Miqdad and another prisoner, Kayed Nammoura’s well-being, saying that there were concerns “about potentially irreversible consequences of such prolonged hunger strikes to their health and life.”

Miqdad is a 24-year-old resident of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron and recently decided to escalate his hunger strike by refusing to take any supplements or fluids.

Read More: Seven Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails

He was arrested by the Israeli army in January, and then sentenced to six months in administrative detention. His administrative detention was renewed for a second time in June, without him or his lawyers being informed of what charges were being held against him.

Due to the deterioration in his health, he has been admitted to the Kaplan Medical Centre, which is in the Israeli prison where he is being detained.

Read More: Six Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike against administrative detention

Israeli authorities had not placed the Palestinian prisoner under guard due to his weakened condition, reported The Times of Israel. 

Meanwhile, six other Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strikes for several weeks, protesting against their administrative detention.

According to the Palestinian Prison Club, the hunger striking prisoners are Kayed Al-Fasfous, who has been on hunger strike for 90 days; Alaa Al-Araj, 64 days on strike; Hisham Abu Hawwash, spent 57 days without food; Rayeq Bsharat, on hunger strike for 52 days; Shadi Abu Akar, whose strike has now entered its 48th day and Hassan Shouka, on strike for 23 days.

Israel’s use of administrative detention—imprisonment without charge or trial—against Palestinians “violates international conventions and other international standards for the right to a fair trial,” PPS said, adding that administrative detainees are routinely denied family visits and other rights that should be granted to them under the law.

Since Israel began its military occupation in 1967, it has imprisoned almost 800,000 Palestinians. Around 4,500 are being held at the moment, more than 350 of whom are held as administrative detainees.

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Four Palestinians injured in an attack by Israeli settlers in Salfit

Days of Palestine – Salfit – Four Palestinians sustained injuries today in an attack by hardcore Israeli settlers on Palestinians picking olives in their own farms in the village of Yasuf, in the occupied West Bank province of Salfit, according to witnesses.

Yousef Hammouda, a local farmer, said that around 30 Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Rehalim, attacked him and his family with stones while they were picking olives in their land, injuring him in the head, his wife in the foot, and his son in the back.

Read More: Four Palestinians shot dead in Israeli attack in Jerusalem and West Bank

The settlers, he added, also destroyed the windshields of his vehicle, pepper-sprayed other farmers and stole the belongings and equipment of many farmers who were picking olives in their own lands.

Over the last two weeks, the West Bank witnessed a wave of Israeli settler attacks as Palestinian farmers launched the annual olive harvest season.

Read More: Two Palestinians injured in renewed Israeli attack in Jerusalem

The attacks included cutting and setting fire to olive trees in various areas across the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces contributed to sabotaging the Palestinian olive harvest season by preventing farmers from reaching their land near illegal settlements or beyond the illegal Separation Wall.

The olive harvest is one of the most important seasons for thousands of Palestinian households in the occupied territories whose incomes depend heavily on this trade.

In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recorded 40 attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians during olive harvest season, 17 of which were in the Nablus governorate, followed by 10 in the Ramallah area.

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Rights group uncovers horrific details of the kidnapping of a Palestinian teen by Israeli settlers

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has detailed the horrific story of a Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and tortured by a group of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank province of Jenin about two months ago.

On August 17th, 15-year-old Tareq Zubeidi and five of his friends decided to go for a picnic near their village of Silat a-Daher, in the Jenin province in the northern West Bank.

Half an hour after the teens arrived at the area, located around 350 meters from the site of the Homesh settlement, evacuated in 2005, the teens noticed six settlers advancing towards them – some by car and others on foot. The teens panicked and fled the scene. At least one of the settlers threw stones at them.

Read More: Facebook censors discussion of rights issues, suppresses Palestinian content: Human Rights Watch

According to B’Tselem, Zubeidi, whose leg was injured just two weeks prior to the incident, couldn’t keep up with his friends, who managed to escape back to their village. That’s when his nightmare began.

“The settlers drove towards me and hit me with their car, and I fell to the ground. The car stopped, and four settlers got out. Some were holding sticks. They attacked me and hit me in the shoulder, legs, and back,” he recounted.

Read More: Center  for Human Rights wins legal decision equating East Jerusalem residents’ health rights with Israeli citizens

According to Zubeidi, the settlers then bound his hands and feet and chained him to the hood of their car, before driving him to Homesh. When the settlers arrived, they slammed on the brakes, causing him to fall to the ground.

“Some of the settlers who were there ran over to me and started kicking me. One settler approached me and pepper-sprayed me in the face. It hurt and stung, and I screamed in pain. Then one of the settlers brought a piece of cloth and tied it over my eyes,” Zbeidi recounted.

Zubeidi said he heard the settlers cursing at him in Arabic and Hebrew, and though his eyes were blindfolded, he felt some of the settlers spit on him.

The settlers then continued to kick a terrified Zubeidi, before hanging him from a tree, wounding and burning his feet.

“I was left hanging like that for about five minutes, with my eyes covered. I felt them cutting and rubbing the skin of my left foot with a sharp object. I was in so much pain. I couldn’t take it. Suddenly, I felt a strong burn on my right foot, from a lighter or something similar. It lasted a few seconds. I screamed and cried in pain and fear. It wasn’t until then that they took me down from the tree,” Zbeidi said.

That’s when one of the settlers struck Zubeidi in the head with a stick, causing him to lose consciousness.

According to B’Tselem, shortly after this, the settlers were approached by a group of Israeli soldiers in a military jeep. The settlers handed Zubeidi over to the soldiers, alleging that the former threw stones at them.

When Zubeidi regained consciousness, he was lying on the floor of the military jeep. At that point, he said one of the soldiers threatened him, saying that if he was throwing stones, the settlers would come to his house and arrest him.

The soldier then handed Zubeidi his phone, at which point an unidentified man who spoke Arabic — purportedly an Israeli intelligence officer, according to Zubeidi’s uncle — also threatened Zubeidi, saying that “they knew everything about me and that if anyone threw stones at the settlers, he’d come to my house and arrest me.”

A short while later, Zubeidi’s uncle and older brother came and got him from the soldiers, put him in a Palestinian ambulance, and took him to a hospital in Jenin.

“I was taken to the ER, where I was examined and X-rayed. They found bruises and wounds on my shoulder, back, and legs, as well as wounds and burns on my feet. I stayed there until the next afternoon, and then I was discharged,” Zubeidi said, adding that after he was discharged, his body was sore and he couldn’t walk because of the cuts and burns on his feet.

According to B’Tselem, while the Homesh settlement was evacuated in 2005, it has maintained a near constant presence of settlers in the area since, “with security forces allowing them to stay there and attack Palestinians.”

B’Tselem noted that the attack on Zubeidi was the tenth settler attack on Palestinians near the settlement documented by the group since the beginning of 2020.

“This case may be exceptionally cruel, but settler violence against Palestinians, often with the participation of soldiers, has long since become part of Israeli policy in the West Bank and integral to the occupation routine,” B’Tselem said in the report.

“The long-term result of these violent acts is the dispossession of Palestinians from growing swaths of the West Bank, facilitating Israel’s takeover of land and resources there.”

There were no reports in Israeli media that the settlers who brutalized Zubeidi were prosecuted or reprimanded in any way for their actions.

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Seven prisoners continue their hunger strike in hazardous health conditions

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – Seven prisoners continue their open hunger strike in the prisons of the Israeli occupation, refusing their administrative detention, the oldest of whom is Kayed Fasfos, who has been on strike for 94 days.

The prisoners on strike, besides Fasfos, are Miqdad al-Qawasma for 87 days, Alaa al-Araj for 70 days, Hisham Abu Hawash for 61 days, Shadi Abu Aker, who is on strike for 53 days, Ayyad Al Harimi for 24 days, and Khalil Abu Aram, a striker for the seventh day in a row. 

Read More: Seven administrative detainees continue hunger strike in Israeli jails

The media advisor to the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority, Hassan Abd Rabbo, warned of the seriousness of their health conditions, pointing out that the danger to them is increasing day by day. 

“There is a fear that they may suffer a sudden health setback and cause harm to their brain or nervous system, especially as a result of a lack of The amount of fluid in the body,” He added.

Read More: Seven Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Israeli occupation issued a decision to freeze the administrative detention order given against the Fasfos prisoner, who faces a dangerous health condition inside the Israeli “Barzilai” hospital.

In a statement, the commission explained that the decision to freeze does not mean its cancellation, but rather it disclaims the responsibility of the occupation prisons administration and the “Shin Bet” intelligence for the fate and life of the Fasfos prisoner and transferring him to an “unofficial prisoner” in the hospital. He remains under the guard of “hospital security” instead of guarding the warders. 

According to the hospital rules, family members and relatives can visit him as any patient, but they cannot transport him anywhere.

In another context, 250 prisoners of Islamic Jihad continue to go on hunger strike for the fourth consecutive day to confront the harsh measures the occupation prison administration took against them.

Abed Rabbo said that the prisoners are continuing their strike. The coming days will witness the joining of new batches of prisoners from different factions if the prison administration does not respond to their demands.

He explained that the two prisoners, Muhammad Al-Amoudi and Hosni Issa, escalated their strike in Raymond prison by refraining from drinking water, which led to the deterioration of their health, and they were transferred to the prison clinic.

It is noteworthy that the Israeli prison administration, since the sixth of last September – after six prisoners managed to wrest their freedom from Gilboa prison before being re-arrested, has begun to impose a number of harsh measures and double-tightening policies on the prisoners, targeting, in particular, the prisoners of Islamic Jihad from During their transfer, isolation, and detention in cells that do not meet the minimum conditions for human life, except for the transfer of a group of leaders to interrogation.

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Hayya: We insists to complete exchange deal; PA participates in siege of Gaza

Days of Palestine – Gaza – Khalil al-Hayya, head of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic Relations Office, confirmed on Friday evening his movement’s insistence on implementing a new prisoner exchange deal, indicating that it is ready for it if the Israeli occupation pays its dues.

Al-Hayya confirmed, in a television interview on the local Al-Aqsa channel, that the prisoners of the Israeli occupation will not be freed until after our prisoners see freedom, warning against the occupation’s sadistic behavior towards the Palestinian prisoners and its treatment of hunger strikers.

Read More: Ten years after the exchange deal, the Israeli shock has not allayed

Regarding the Cairo meetings, the Hamas leader said that they touched on several files, most notably how to develop the relationship with the brothers in Egypt, the file of the siege, reconstruction, and prisoners, in addition to the violations of the Israeli occupation.

He pointed out that there is a state of rapprochement with Egypt, “in light of the advanced relations that are taking place in the region between countries that seek to dissolve differences between those countries.”

Read More: Gaza: 95,000 Families Receive Financial Aid from Qatar

Al-Hayya revealed that Egypt will soon start implementing reconstruction plans and projects inside the Gaza Strip.

He said: “We called our brothers in Egypt to facilitate work at the Rafah crossing and the movement of Palestinian travelers and to solve all the problems they face, and we discussed trade exchange with them, and this commercial movement has begun on the ground.”

Al-Hayya stressed that Hamas insists that the people of Gaza live their lives with dignity and freedom, “and we are able to extract that from the occupation, and facilitating the movement of merchants through the crossings and their entry into our occupied lands is part of the attempts to lift the siege on Gaza.”

He continued: “We do not abandon the central issues of our people, and we do not get distracted by Gaza from the rest of our national issues, and the battle of the sword of Jerusalem was for the sake of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and any other battle will be for the sake of the homeland, and we will not accept that our people live under siege.”

And he indicated that “the resistance is the one who manages any truce with the occupation,” and that any “cease-fire will not be for free.”

Al-Hayya called for arranging the Palestinian internal house and re-forming the national leadership, including the National Council and the Liberation Organization, stressing the readiness of his movement for the elections.

In this regard, he said: “We presented to the brothers in Egypt a vision of Palestinian reconciliation and unification of the Palestinian ranks, on which most of the factions agreed.”

Al-Hayya pointed out that the authority in Ramallah has become at its worst, and it is participating in the siege of the Gaza Strip.

However, he added: “But the Palestinian people have the power of management to defeat the enemy, and they are able to conquer the Palestinian division through its tools, especially elections.”

(Source / 16.10.2021)

Health minister: 11 deaths, 580 new cases of COVID-19 in Palestine

Coronavirus

RAMALLAH, (PIC) – The Palestinian minister of health Mai al-Kaila announced on Friday that 11 deaths, 580 new cases of the coronavirus were recorded during the past 24 hours.

The minister said in the daily epidemiological report of coronavirus that 7 deaths were recorded in the Gaza Strip while 4 deaths were recorded in the West Bank, adding that 1,540 recovery cases were recorded in the same period.

She pointed out that there are 64 critically ill patients who have been admitted to intensive care units while 134 others are treated in the West Bank’s COVID-19 sections in various hospitals including 11 who have been placed on ventilators.

The recovery rate of the coronavirus reached 96 percent while the rate of active infections reached 3 percent and the death rate was 1 percent of all infections, Kaila said.

Regarding the vaccination campaign, the total number of people who received the corona vaccine in the West Bank and Gaza Strip reached 2,369,197 including 1,712,010 in the West Bank and 657,187 in the Gaza Strip, the minister concluded.

(Source / 15.10.2021)  

Fasfous continues hunger strike for third month

Despite freezing his administrative detention

Kayed Fasfous

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) – The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) froze the administrative detention of Palestinian hunger striker Kayed al-Fasfous but he refused to end his strike until ending his detention and releasing him immediately.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees said on Thursday that Fasfous has been on hunger strike for 92 days and is currently held in the Israeli Barzilai hospital.

The family said that Israeli soldiers guarding the detainee left his room after the IOA decision.

For his part, Fasfous said in a press release that he will not end his strike until ending his detention immediately and setting him free.

Six Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails are on hunger strike demanding an end to their administrative detention while a seventh joined them five days ago in support of their demands.

(Source / 15.10.2021)

Jewish settlers storm archaeological area in Nablus

Nablus village

NABLUS, (PIC) – A group of Jewish settlers stormed on Friday morning an archaeological area in al-Badhan village, northeast of Nablus city.

The settlers barged their way into Wadi al-Badhan, a famous springtime holiday destination, amid heavy military protection.

Local sources said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) were deployed since the early morning hours to pave the way for a number of buses with settlers on board.

Wadi al-Badhan is considered one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Palestine given its abundance of water springs, greenery, cool air and high biodiversity.

According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), settlers frequently attack the village, illegally dumping their wastewater onto the village land, thus polluting the villagers’ crops and trees.

The village of al-Badhan is named after the valley and has a population of about 4,000 people. 

(Source / 15.10.2021)

IOF guns down Palestinian teen in Bethlehem

IOF shooting

BETHLEHEM, (PIC) – The Israel occupation forces (IOF) shot and killed a Palestinian young man as clashes erupted west of Bethlehem on Thursday evening.

Israeli media sources claimed the young man was throwing Molotov cocktails on a West Bank street leading to Gush Etzion illegal settlement before being shot dead by Israeli forces.

A second Palestinian was detained by the Israeli troops in the area, the sources added.

Palestinian medical authorities confirmed the young man’s death. According to Israeli media reports, he was 16 years old.

Meanwhile, two Palestinian young men were arrested at Za’tara military checkpoint erected south of Nablus.

Every morning, tens of thousands of Palestinian workers cross Israeli military checkpoints on their way to their workplaces, in Israeli and Palestinian cities beyond the Green Line.

However, Israeli checkpoints – which flagrantly violate Palestinians’ freedom of movement and cut the West Bank into cantons – have become death traps where Palestinians are immediately sentenced to death for the slightest mistake or even on mere suspicion.

(Source / 15.10.2021)