JENIN — Israeli forces on Saturday detained an acting student of the iconic Freedom Theater at a checkpoint near Jenin, theater staff said.
Rami Awni Hwayel, 20, was detained, handcuffed and blindfolded at Shave Shomeron checkpoint in the northern West Bank. He was returning from rehearsals in Ramallah, the theater said in a statement.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said a Palestinian was arrested at the Shave Shomeron checkpoint but had no further details.
Hwayel is the third member of the theater to be detained by the Israeli army in recent weeks.
On July 27, Israeli soldiers detained Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi during a dawn raid on the West Bank city.
Director Udi Aloni said Hwayel’s detention was “devastating.”
“Rami is playing the main role in ‘Waiting for Godot’ and doing an amazing job, he’s so dedicated to the work. He just left rehearsals today for the weekend to see his family for Ramadan. It’s terrible, we want our Pozzo back.”
The theater urged its friends and supporters to act “in order to stop this outrageous harassment by the Israeli army against a cultural establishment.”
In April, unknown assailants shot dead the theater’s general-director, Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, an Israeli national, in an unsolved case which has frustrated local security services despite initial claims of success.
Mer-Khamis’ late mother founded the theater in the 1980s.
BETHLEHEM — Unknown attackers vandalized a Palestinian scout tent in Sweden on Thursday during the World Scout Jamboree, the head of the Palestinian delegation told Ma’an.
Traditional artifacts were on display inside the tent to show Palestine’s cultural heritage.
Attackers destroyed parts of the tent, took down the Palestinian flag, ripped a map of Palestine and tore up some photos showing the Palestinian cause. They left a note warning that they would not leave the Palestinian scouts alone.
The head of the Palestinian delegation filed an official complaint with the Jamborees’ organizers, who have opened an investigation into the vandalism.
Some 40,000 scouts from 146 countries are participating in the jamboree, and many scouts from different countries helped to rebuild the Palestinian tent.
Each region was represented by one country at the jamboree, and Palestine was chosen to represent the Arab world and the Arabic language.
Representatives of South Africa’s oldest and largest student bodies in Johannesburg hosted a press conference on Thursday in which they denounced the upcoming visit by a delegation of Israeli officials and propagandists to South African college campuses.
In the past five years, Israeli public relations professionals and governmental officials have traveled across the world in order to promote a “positive image” of Israel through its multi-million-dollar “Brand Israel” hasbara (propaganda) campaign, and this upcoming visit includes some 150 Israelis meted out to 5 colleges in order to “create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds” — most likely because of recent actions in support of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) call.
Calling for a strengthening of the BDS movement across South Africa, the students declared that “all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones” in a statement following the press conference.
The students, representing the South African Union of Students (SAUS), the South African Student Congress (SASCO) and the Young Communist League (YCL), stated that the visit from “Israeli Apartheid agents” was “patronizing,” and re-affirmed their commitment to solidarity with Palestinians fighting against Israeli apartheid policies. Several weeks ago, Palestinian students had asked their South African peers to challenge and boycott the Israeli delegation.
This move comes after a vote in March by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg to cut ties with Ben Gurion University in Tel Aviv — a historic vote that was supported by more than 400 academics across South Africa and tireless BDS activists, scholars, trade unionists and students.
… We, students and youth of a post-Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.
Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel’s “serious image problems.” The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: “We have to create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds.”
Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us…
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli occupation authorities are planning on carrying out plans to build 7,000 new settlement units in Jerusalem, Israeli media outlets have reported.
Construction plans underway in the occupied city have accumulated since US Vice-President Joe Biden last visited a year and a half ago.
Now plans to build 1,328 units in Ramat Shlom will be put to the expedited building committee formed by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in 60 days. These were the same plans that caused crisis between the US and Israel during the Biden visit.
A local planning and construction board also approved 900 homes to be built in the Gilo settlement, and another plan under discussion by the expedited building board for 625 units in Pisgat Ze’ev is slated to begin taking effect.
A separate 930 units have been approved to be built in Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) between Jerusalem and Bethlehem earlier this week.
Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton has condemned the recent approval of the Har Homa project, saying that she was ‘’disappointed’’ by the decision.
‘’The European Union has repeatedly urged the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. All settlement activities are illegal under international law,’’ she added in a statement.
Mati Millstein filed a complaint against the Israeli Foreign Press Association on Thursday, August 5, 2011. The photojournalist was covering a Palestinian protest in Nabi Salih, when tear gas canisters were fired directly at the reporters covering the protest.
The Israeli military fired twelve rounds at the reporters who were clearly visible with yellow jackets labeled “PRESS.” or “TV”. None of the reporters were wounded.
When Millstein went to complain to the soldiers about their actions, the reporter was threatened with arrest and told to stand against a wall.
The American Israeli sent an email to the Jerusalem Post on Thursday saying that this event is, “the product of a military environment that increasingly sees the media as an enemy or a fifth column rather than as one of the key elements required for the maintenance of a democratic, transparent state.”
He further explained in the email that lately the Israeli Military has been using more violent and unsophisticated methods in dealing with the weekly Palestinian protests.
None of the other reporters decided to issue a complaint against the Israeli Military. Millstein saw a formal complaint against the Israeli Military was necessary since “draconian” methods of preventing the press from covering events are too often seen as acceptable in the occupied territories.
Millstein told the Jerusalem Post that many reporters have had their rights violated but decide not to complain out of fear of losing their credibility or their professional career.
Thirty-one members of the US occupation special forces were killed when a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan.
“This helicopter crashed in Wardak province last night, as a result of which including the crew members, 31 personnel of American Special Forces lost their lives”, a statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said Saturday. [...]
The statement said that seven Afghan troops were also killed in the incident.
The crash late Friday represents the biggest death toll in a single incident for international forces in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001.
The helicopter from the NATO-led foreign force has crashed during an anti-Taliban operation in the eastern province of Wardak, southwest of Afghan capital Kabul, a provincial spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, said.
In a written statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group claimed responsibility for the crash. He said NATO had attacked a house in Sayd Abad where Taliban fighters were gathering on Friday.
The Taliban then fired on NATO and downed the helicopter, killing the crew, Mujahid said.
Earlier before the presidential statement, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was still looking into what had happened.
“An International Security Assistance Force helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan today and recovery operations are under way”, a spokesman for ISAF, the foreign military force in Afghanistan, said.
“ISAF is still in the process of assessing the circumstances to determine the facts of the incident. Reporting indicates there was enemy activity in the area.”
An eyewitness told AFP news agency that the helicopter had crashed as it was trying to take off after landing on the roof of a Taliban commander’s home during a firefight.