Video: Soldiers assault woman as they weld her door shut

19 Sep

Video: Soldiers assault woman who resists as they weld her door shut

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 15 September 2017

This video shows Israeli occupation forces violently assaulting and attempting to handcuff 55-year-old Zleikhah al-Muhtaseb in a family-owned building in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli forces invaded the home in order weld shut one of its two entrances, and Zleikhah tried to stop them.

Zleikhah’s niece Rania al-Muhtaseb lives in the building with her husband Bassem and their three children.

The building has a back door towards Hebron’s market, and a front entrance towards the Ibrahimi mosque.

The front entrance goes out into an area heavily controlled by Israeli occupation forces which family members cannot easily cross except by passing through military checkpoints.

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Expressing solidarity while conducting trade with Israel is hypocrisy 

12 Sep

By Miko Peled, American Herald Tribune, 11 September 2017

Israel is all geared up for war against the call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the de-legitimization of the Zionist state. The ministry of strategic affairs headed by Gil’ad Erdan – which is charged with this task – is now equipped with a budget, a former Israeli army general, retired Brig. General Sima Vakini-Gil who acts as the ministry’s General Director and a new assistant to the General Director, Tsahi Gavrieli who has brought a new wind to the sails of the anti-BDS ship. Gavrieli brought in a team that includes legal experts, economists and media people and according to a story recently published in Hebrew on Ynet they call on the Israeli public to take part in the campaign. According to the story, some parts of the campaign are overt and some covert, and the ministry will no longer be on the defensive but take an active, offensive position. Israelis are now encouraged to join this campaign with apps like ACT.IL which shows how to take the fight on social media and combat the “slurs” against Israel.

According to Gavrieli the BDS movement is losing ground in the US, and he brings as examples recent laws passed by over twenty states that criminalize the call to boycott Israel. Among those states are California, New York and New Jersey, to name a few. Currently there is a bill being proposed in the United States Senate that proposed to make the call to boycott Israel a federal offense that will carry a twenty-year prison sentence and a one million dollar fine. This bill was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU in a letter that was sent to members of the United States Senate. Gavrieli also claims that the BDS call is a “masked attempt to de-legitimize Israel by calling for Palestinian rights.” He said that the claim made by the BDS movement that Israel is an apartheid regime “is insulting to South Africans” and that it is “baseless.” “I call on every Israeli,” says Gavrieli “to take part in this.”

The aims of the BDS movement could not be more clearly stated, and all one needs to do is read them to see that the lies being spread by the State of Israel and its supporters, are unfounded. The call for BDS calls to impose Boycott, divestment and sanctions on the state of Israel until such time that the military occupation is ended, Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy equal rights, and Palestinian refugees are permitted to return to their homes and their land. There is no racism, no hate and no discrimination of any kind is suggested or implied. It is an unequivocal demand to bring the Zionist State to do what is needed to achieve these goals. We must remember that negotiations with consecutive Israeli governments have all failed and Israel has made it clear that it has no intention to end its policies of occupation, killing, dispossession and racist discrimination and its demand that the Palestinians capitulate. 

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Israel, Palestinian Authority, partners in silencing critics

8 Sep

Issa Amro taken from PA courtroom yesterday. His detention was extended. He remains on hunger strike, refusing food, water & medicine

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 7 September 2017

The Palestinian Authority has extended the detention of Issa Amro, a prominent activist against Israeli colonization in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Amro was arrested Monday by the PA’s Preventive Security force, after he criticized its earlier arrest of Ayman al-Qawasmi, the director of Hebron’s Minbar al-Hurriya radio station.

Amro will be held for at least another four days.

On Wednesday, nine members of the US Congress wrote to Abbas urging Amro’s release.

Amro is reportedly being held under the draconian Electronic Crimes law decreed by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in July.

He remains on a total hunger strike, refusing food, water and medicine, according to Youth Against Settlements, the group he leads.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday joined other groups that have sharply condemned Amro’s arrest, which is part of a much wider crackdown on free speech and journalists by Abbas’ authority.

Amro is already facing trial in an Israeli military tribunal on trumped-up charges designed to repress his activism against settlements.

In June, 32 US lawmakers signed a letter expressing support for Amro in the face of Israel’s baseless charges.

Radio station closed by Israel

Meanwhile, the PA released al-Qawasmi on Wednesday. On 31 August, days before his arrest by Palestinian forces, the Minbar al-Hurriya radio station he runs was violently raided by Israeli occupation forces.

Israel ordered the station closed for six months, accusing it of “incitement.”

Al-Qawasmi’s arrest reportedly came after he criticized PA leaders for failing to protect Palestinians from such Israeli attacks.

Israeli forces close down Minbar al-Hurriya radio station in Hebron [Photo: Screen grab from Al-Huriya website]

Israel frequently claims that Palestinian media that report on the occupation are guilty of “incitement” as a pretext for shutting them down.

But Minbar al-Hurriya denies it has broadcast any material that could have provoked violence or what Israel calls terrorism.

Following the detentions of al-Qawasmi and Amro, MADA, a Palestinian group that documents violations against journalists said it condemns the PA’s “arrest of journalists and activists for expressing their opinions and demands an end to this policy.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged Israel to “allow the al-Hurriya media network and its affiliates to resume work without fear of harassment,” and had also called on the PA to release al-Qawasmi.

“It seems the only thing Israel and the Palestinian Authority have in common right now is their desire to silence their critics in the media,” the watchdog’s Middle East program head Sherif Mansour said.

[See earlier reports on posted on 1 September and 5 September 2017. Ed]

Three years after the war: Gaza youth speak out

7 Sep

Moath Alhaj, a young artist from a Gaza refugee camp, passed away in his sleep. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle, 6 September 2017

Three Years after the War: Gaza Youth Speak Out

“At bedtime, I am afraid to turn the lights off. I am not a coward, it is just that I worry that this bulb hanging from the ceiling is the last light that remains (shining) in my life.”

Soon after he penned these words, Moath Alhaj, a young artist from a Gaza refugee camp, passed away in his sleep. After disappearing for two days, Moath’s friends broke down the door of his house, and found him huddled with his blanket in a place in which he lived alone for 11 years.

Moath lived in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, one of Gaza’s most crowded camps, a name which is associated with historic hardship, war and legendary resistance. Raised in the United Arab Emirates, Moath returned to Gaza to join the Islamic University, but remained there, experiencing three wars and a decade-long blockade.

Somehow, the young man maintained a semblance of hope as expressed in his many drawings and emotive commentary.

Moath learned to live in his own world ever since he was young. The outside world to him seemed unpredictable and, at times, cruel.

When his mother passed away, Moath was only 1-year-old. He father died of cancer in the UAE and, due to circumstances beyond his control, Moath lived alone. Keeping him company were his friends in the neighborhood, but mostly it was his self-effacing, yet profound artistic expressions.

“Smile, may the war feel shame,” was one of his cartoons. In it, a little girl with a flowery dress turns her back at the reader, looking the other way.

Moath’s art characters always had their eyes closed, as if they refuse to see the world around them, and insist on imagining a better world inside their own thoughts.

Caption added to Moath’s cartoon: “Sleep in peace, Moath – the shattered dream is in your heart.”

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PA arrests Human Rights activist over Facebook post

5 Sep

Issa Amro, founder of the Youth Against Settlements movement in the Palestinian city of Hebron. (Photo: via Twitter)

Palestine Chronicle report, 4 September 2017

Amnesty: PA Arrests Human Rights Activist Over Facebook Post

The arrest of a Palestinian human rights defender today who criticized the Palestinian Authorities on Facebook is a shameless attack on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

Issa Amro, a Hebron-based coordinator for Youth Against Settlements and a former field researcher for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, was detained at around midday local time today by Palestinian Preventive Security Forces, after he posted comments on his Facebook page criticizing the arrest of a local radio journalist yesterday by the same Palestinian security forces.

“It is outrageous that a prominent human rights defender has been arrested simply for voicing his opinion online. Criticizing the authorities should not be a criminal offence. Issa Amro’s arrest is the latest evidence that the Palestinian authorities are determined to continue with their repressive campaign against free speech,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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‘Our souls are in our motors’ – A Gaza fisherman’s story

5 Sep

By Omnia Ghassan, Gaza, We Are Not Numbers, 4 September 2017

Our souls are in our motors

I was scheduled to meet Mussad Bakr in the afternoon. The day before, I had called Mussad and from his voice, I could tell that he is an older man, yet in my imagination I pictured him as a healthy one. Thus, I was shocked by the reality. I waited for him next to a big, red boat in the Gaza harbor. Then he appeared: a skeletal-looking man in his mid-50s, so thin his back is almost curved and his hair is colored like the ash that fell from the cigarette he nursed. We sat down by the boat with some young fishermen joining us on a stone bench. I only asked one question, “What is your story, Mussad?” His answer flowed without stopping until he was done. These are his words.

Before and after

I began fishing 27 years ago, to be exact. I chose to fish because I love it; it has always been and always will be my hobby. But, I never really thought of its consequences as a profession.

Venturing into the sea is not as safe, fun or fruitful as it was in the past. Previously, the sea was more available to us [fishermen] than today. We were considered the “kings” of Gaza. We were kings because we had the ability to sail from the Gazan seacoast to the Egyptian and stay in the sea for as long as we wish. Whenever we needed money, we could simply go to the sea and fish as much as want. Then, we sell or eat what we fished. Fishing was a choice. Now, it is an unavailable must!

Fifteen years ago, when Abu Ammar (Yasser Arafat) was in charge of the Palestinian Authority, the Egyptian part of the sea was open to us. The number of fish we caught doubled. We’d ask, “Where should we fish today? Tomorrow?”

Then, the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian forces in 2006. (In 2006, an armed squad of Hamas resistance fighters crossed the border into the occupied territories via an underground tunnel. They blew open a tank’s rear doors, killing two of the soldiers and wounding another; a fourth soldier, Gilad Shalit, was captured. He was kept in captivity until a 2011 prisoner exchange.) After that, the inner rage of Zionism erupted in a torrent of revenge against us all. All 2 million of us still suffer the consequences. Today, we can’t even afford to feed our own children.

Zionists prevent our boats from venturing out more than three to nine nautical miles. We used to be able to sail out 200 to 500 miles. We travelled to Damietta and Port Said along the coast of Egypt and stayed there for as long as we could fish.

The sea is my home. It breaks my heart that I can’t visit as much of it as I used to. I can’t float on it, peacefully enjoying the stars and the night sky, without fearing an assault. In the past, if I caught a huge amount of fish, I would stay at home for days in between, resting. Today, I can barely fish enough and sometimes it’s much less than enough. The fish we used to catch, we now only see it on TV!

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15 Gazans die after Israel denies them treatment

1 Sep

A Palestinian boy receives dialysis treatment at a hospital in Gaza on 11 November 2015 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Middle East Monitor, 30 August 2017

Some 15 Gaza residents have died since the start of 2017 after Israel denied terminally ill patients the necessary permits to travel outside the besieged Strip for medical treatment.

Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights revealed the figures in a statement yesterday, condemning the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave that has resulted in its healthcare service being brought “to its knees”, in the words of the World Health Organisation.

Al-Mezan cited the cases of two women who were refused travel documentation on numerous occasions: Kaenat Jarour, a 42-year-old uterine cancer patient, and Faten Ahmed, a 26-year-old woman who died as a result of a brain tumour due to Israel’s refusal to allow her to re-enter Jerusalem where she had initially received treatment.

Four patients whose travel applications were approved attempted to make the journey to Israel, only to be arrested alongside their family members at the Beit Hanoun crossing. Others who make the journey are often beaten and interrogated at checkpoints by Israeli occupying authorities.

The Israeli government shirks its international legal obligations by denying residents of Gaza the flow of necessary medical relief and supplies into Gaza, while simultaneously denying and delaying the movement that residents require to seek the care outside of Gaza the statement added.

As Gaza’s two million residents struggle to survive with a maximum of only four hours of electricity a day, an estimated 40 per cent of necessary drugs are also unavailable or will be depleted within a month. Medical funding to the Strip has also been cut by Israel at the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as they attempt to pressure Gaza’s de-facto government Hamas into relinquishing control.

Read: PA reduces medical referrals for Gaza patients by 80%

The figures come as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres makes a visit to Gaza as part of his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. In a statement last night, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on Guterres to pressure Israeli occupation authorities to lift the siege on the Strip and end the humanitarian crisis.

Last month, Palestinians protested at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) condemning the international organisation’s failure to stem the crisis. Many described the UN’s inaction as tacit approval of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

A report released by the UN last month raised concerns that the Strip is “de-developing” faster than anticipated, such that the 2020 deadline by which it was said that Gaza would be “unliveable” may have already arrived.


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