RAMALLAH – Israeli special forces disguised themselves as Palestinians and “kidnapped” two Palestinian students at the entrance of Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement released by the university.
The two students were identified as Tawfiq Abu Arqub, a coordinator for the Hamas-affiliated Islamic student bloc at the university, and Basel Falaneh, the secretary of specialities committee of the student council. They were studying computer science and business, respectively.
Birzeit University released a statement after the incident, saying that the two students were detained at the western gate of the university by “a number of [Israeli] soldiers.” Locals also told Ma’an that the students were forced into a vehicle “at gunpoint,” while also pointing guns at other students in the area.
The head of the university’s security, Muhammad Rimawi, stated that Israeli forces had “intercepted” a car that Abu Arqub and Falaneh were riding in, according to the statement, when “a number of undercover occupying forces took the students out of the car and kidnapped them.”
“This is neither new nor unprecedented given the ongoing colonial aggression against the people and institutions of Palestine,” the statement said.
The statement called the incident an “outrageous act of violence,” and part of a larger Israeli campaign resulting in the “rapid arrests” of students.
“This violation of our students’ right to learn is a part of a systematic attack on the right of education and freedom of expression,” the statement added.
The university’s Dean of Student Affairs Muhammad al-Ahmad also said in the statement that Israel’s “repressive measures” against all Palestinians and specifically students “shall only strengthen international efforts in support of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.”
“The University condemns these outrageous acts in the strongest possible terms and calls upon all international and human rights organizations to speak this truth loudly in the face of these violations immediately and without reserve and to stand in solidarity with our struggle,” the statement concluded.
Birzeit University, ranked the top university in Palestine and among the highest-ranking universities in the Arab world, has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown in recent months, which increased after the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won student elections at Birzeit last year for the second consecutive year.
In December, more than 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the campus before dawn, forced campus security guards to stand against walls, and proceeded to raid several buildings, including the university’s administration building, the student council’s headquarters, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science.
Another incident occurred in July, when at least 11 Palestinian youths were injured after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire on the campus amid clashes sparked by an Israeli raid to detain a former member of the Islamic bloc.
At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces also raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment. It was reported at the time that Israeli forces had detained more than 80 students between Oct. 2015 and the start of 2016.
Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015.
The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government — along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements — making students involved with the Islamic bloc vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions. Members have also been targeted by Palestinian security forces.
Spokespersons for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — have given the impression that their movement’s relationship with Egypt is on the verge of dramatic shifts that will put an end to the tense relations between the two since the coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hamas has indicated that the recent visit to Cairo by the Deputy Head of the movement’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has paved the way to turning a new page in these relations. Hamas officials have attributed this “radical” change to a “strategic” shift in the position of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government towards the movement. They believe that this shift will manifest itself in the improvement of the economic and living conditions in the Gaza Strip.
However, what the Hamas officials are promising contradicts with the voices in Cairo, as media mouthpieces linked to Al-Sisi’s government have attributed the rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas to a deal which stipulates that Hamas should take measures on the border that the Egyptian government view as necessary to improve its ability to deal with the growing security challenges in northern Sinai. This will be in exchange for Egypt reducing the impact of the blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as taking measures to improve the economic and living situation in the besieged territory.
It is clear that if the purpose of these measures is to restrict the ability of members of Salafist jihadi groups to move across the border separating Gaza and Sinai, then this would also serve Hamas’s interests, as it is the target of hostility from these groups, a number of which have “excommunicated” the movement. In addition, Hamas is facing the consequences of what was a catastrophic mistake in trying to combine government of the enclave with resistance to the occupation, which gave Israel, as well as regional and international parties, another justification for imposing the suffocating siege on Gaza. The Islamic movement is concerned about improving the economic situation in Gaza, which has deteriorated so much that there could be an explosion of public anger against it.
However, in the event that a positive change does occur in the Egyptian government’s position towards Gaza, the rationale for this transformation will go beyond all considerations regarding the security situation in Sinai. Important circles in the Egyptian security institution have acknowledged the failed strategy adopted by Cairo towards Hamas in the form of the siege, security measures aiming to dry out the sources of its military strength, political boycott, demonisation in the media, and delegitimising the movement by means of pushing the Egyptian judiciary to consider its military wing to be a terrorist entity. According to Palestinian figures who have visited Cairo recently, some officials from the security institution in Cairo are pushing for a new approach to be adopted that aims to contain Hamas by alleviating the siege and improving the economic situation, while using the shift in Egypt’s position to influence the balances of power within the movement. This is especially due to the fact that Hamas is on the verge of holding critical internal elections, and therefore Egypt may influence one side over the other.
We can’t imagine that Al-Sisi’s government would make any change in their policies towards Gaza without coordinating with Israel, since it relies on the extremist, right-wing Israeli government in Tel Aviv to continue to provide it with international legitimacy. The Israeli position on Hamas is also subject to its own interests, and it seems apparent from the recent internal discussions that Tel Aviv’s interests currently lie in improving the economic situation in Gaza out of fear that Hamas might engage in a military confrontation as a means of preventing a popular outburst due to the deteriorating economic situation. Such fears were clearly evident in the last meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, during which Intelligence Minster Yisrael Katz once again proposed the idea of establishing a floating harbour off the coast of Gaza.
Another motivation for the shift in Cairo’s position towards Gaza is Egypt’s angry reaction to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of the pressure from Al-Sisi to restore Mohammed Dahlan to Fatah’s ranks and allow him to play a leading role in Palestinian affairs.
In any case, contrary to what some Hamas officials believe, the promised shift in the Al-Sisi government’s position on Hamas and Gaza will be tactical and not strategic. This is due to the fact that working on accumulating international legitimacy by getting involved in the war on “Islamic terrorism” is at the top of the list of strategic constants for the current regime in Cairo. Al-Sisi’s delight at his recent phone call with US President Donald Trump and his boast that they are both on the same page in terms of the war on “terrorism” reflects the rooting of this strategy within the government as a means of security legitimacy.
As such, regardless of Hamas’s behaviour towards Egypt, Al-Sisi can turn against the movement very easily if he believes that the new resident of the White House would welcome such a move. If we take into account the general agreement between the Trump administration and the Israeli government, then we can understand that Al-Sisi’s sensitivity to the Israeli considerations, including those regarding Hamas, will grow. If Israel believes at some time in the future that it is in its best interest to wage a war on Gaza, then Al-Sisi would most likely adopt the same position that he did during the 2014 military offensive.
Gaza is eager to get rid of the unlawful blockade imposed on it, and so any shift in the Egyptian position that reduces the effects of the siege will be considered as a positive and important development. However, it is important to be aware of the environment surrounding this expected shift in Egypt’s position and not to rely too much upon it, just in case there is a painful disappointment.
Translated by MEMO
Revelations that a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, had been plotting with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan, should have resulted in the ambassador himself also being kicked out. But he was let off the hook.
That ambassador is the vile Mark Regev, ace propagandist, master of disinformation, whitewasher extraordinaire and personal spokesman for the Zionist regime’s prime minister Netanyahu.
Regev (real name Freiberg) took up his appointment here last April so presumably knew about, if not supervised, Masot’s activities.
“The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed,” said the British government. The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is Jewish, also declined to investigate.
Masot’s hostile scheming was captured and revealed by an Al Jazeera undercover investigation and not, regrettably, by Britain’s own security services and press.
Regev is quoted several times by the Israel Project’s ‘Global Language Dictionary’, a strange title for a sinister propaganda handbook written specially for those “on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
This manual teaches how to justify Israel’s slaughter, ethnic cleansing, land-grabbing, cruelty and blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweeter with a liberal squirt of persuasive language. It also incites hatred particularly towards Hamas and Iran and is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel, and therefore ought to support its abominable behaviour.
Readers are instructed to “clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas” and drive a wedge between them. “Peace can only be made with adversaries who want to make peace with you. Terrorist organizations like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are, by definition, opposed to peaceful co-existence, and determined to prevent reconciliation. I ask you, how do you negotiate with those who want you dead?”
The manual features “Words that work” – that is to say, carefully constructed language to deflect criticism and reframe all issues and arguments in Israel’s favour. A statement at the very beginning sets the tone: “Remember, it’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.”
Here’s an example of “words that work”: “Israel made painful sacrifices and took a risk to give peace a chance. They voluntarily removed over 9,000 settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, abandoning homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship in the hopes of renewing the peace process.
“Despite making an overture for peace by withdrawing from Gaza, Israel continues to face terrorist attacks, including rocket attacks and drive-by shootings of innocent Israelis. Israel knows that for a lasting peace, they must be free from terrorism and live with defensible borders.”
Of course, Israel made no sacrifices at all – Gaza wasn’t theirs to keep and staying there was unsustainable. But although they removed their settlers and troops they have continued to occupy Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and control all entrances and exits, thus keeping the population bottled up and provoking acts of resistance that give Israel a bogus excuse to turn Gaza into a prison. International law regards Israel as still the occupier.
The manual serves as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks recruited to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet. It uses some of Regev’s words to provide disinformation essential to this hasbara work.
We’re told, for example, that the most effective way to build support for Israel is to talk about “working toward a lasting peace” that “respects the rights of everyone in the region”. Regev is quoted: “We welcome and we support international efforts to help the Palestinians. So, once again, the Palestinian people are not our enemy. On the contrary, we want peace with the Palestinians.
“We’re interested in a historical reconciliation. Enough violence. Enough war. And we support international efforts to help the Palestinians both on the humanitarian level and to build a more successful democratic society. That’s in everyone’s interest.”
The central lie, of course, is that Israel wants peace. It doesn’t. It never has. Peace does not suit Israel’s purpose, which is endless expansion and control. That is why Israel has never declared its borders, maintains its brutal military occupation and continues its programme of illegal squats or so-called “settlements” deep inside Palestinian territory, intending to create sufficient ‘facts on the ground’ to ensure permanent occupation and annexation.
Regev is quoted again here:
- “It was the former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan that put four benchmarks on the And he said, speaking for the international community that
If Hamas reforms itself …
If Hamas recognizes my country’s right to live in freedom …
If Hamas renounces terrorism against innocent civilians …
If Hamas supports international agreements that are being signed and agreed to concerning the peace process … then the door is open.
“But unfortunately – tragically – Hamas has failed to meet even one of those four benchmarks. And that’s why today Hamas is isolated internationally. Even the United Nations refuses to speak to Hamas.”
Which of those benchmarks has Israel met, Mr Regev?
In a further effort to demonise Hamas, Regev is quoted again:
- “It’s not just Israel who refuses to speak to Hamas. It’s the whole international
community… Most of the democratic world refuses to have a relationship with Hamas because Hamas has refused to meet the most minimal benchmarks of international behavior.”
Isn’t that a little cheeky, Mr Regev, coming from a regime widely condemned for war crimes, piracy and mega-lawlessness? And let’s remember that Hamas and Hezbollah were created to resist Israeli aggression.
Iran must be demonised too, so Regev’s twisted wisdom is used again:
- “Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. And for good reason.
Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. We see them racing ahead on nuclear enrichment so they can have enough fissile material to build a bomb. We see them working on their ballistic missiles. We only saw, last week, shooting a rocket to launch a so-called satellite into outer space and so forth. The Iranian nuclear program is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”
In the meantime how safe is the region under the threat of Israel’s nukes? Why is Israel the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Mr Regev? Are we all supposed to believe that Israel’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose no threat? Would you also like to comment on why Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and why it has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, similarly the Chemical Weapons Convention? What proof do you have of Iran’s nuclear weapons plans?
As for “wiping Israel off the map”, accurate translations of that remark by Ahmadjinadad are “This regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (The Guardian), or “This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history“ (Middle East Media Research Institute). Ahmadjinadad was actually repeating a statement once made by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Why, Mr Regev, do you persist in misquoting Mr Ahmadjinadad?
Of course, we know why. It’s the good old Mossad motto: “By deception we shall do war”, ingrained in the Israeli mindset. If it was up to me, Mr Regev, you wouldn’t be allowed to set foot in the UK – even with your cute Australian accent.
Watch Jon Snow annihilate Regev.
The anti-Iran, anti-Syria US Washington, DC district court of the absurd illegally ordered both countries to pay $178.5 million in damages to the family of an Israeli infant killed in a 2014 vehicular incident.
Israel calls wars of aggression, lethal shootings of Palestinians, and other barbarous acts self-defense. It considers legitimate resistance against brutal occupation harshness terrorism – a knee-jerk response to all incidents, Palestinians automatically guilty by accusation.
The family in question has dual Israeli-American citizenship. Their three-month-old infant was killed when Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi’s vehicle struck people at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill light-rail station in October 2014.
Israel accused him of ties with Hamas, illegally called a terrorist organization. It’s Palestine’s legally elected government.
Parents of the deceased child sued in the US district court, awarded a default judgment, the entire procedure a sham, a scheme to denigrate and punish Iran and Syria illegally.
Attorneys for the plaintiff claimed both countries support Hamas, their legal right if true. Based on this flawed judgment, the court ruled against them – an unjust decision Tehran and Damascus denounced, intending to pay nothing, now now, not ever, nor should they.
In March 2016, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari denounced a US court ruling against the Islamic Republic for the US state-sponsored false flag 9/11 attack, assessing it $10.5 billion in damages to family members of individuals killed, as well as to insurers for costs incurred.
At the time, Ansari minced no words calling the ruling “ridiculous and absurd to the point that it makes a mockery of the principle of justice while further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.”
The new ruling against Iran and Syria is just as spurious, offensive, and illegal. Neither country has had anything to do with incidents in Israel or America. Claiming otherwise is a despicable fabrication.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at email@example.com. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
GAZA – Hamas on Friday lauded the ceasefire accord struck between the warring parties in embattled Syria, calling for boosting political solutions to the conflict.
“We’ve been keeping tabs with deep satisfaction on agreements to cease fire in Syria,” said Hamas.
“Hamas welcomes the ceasefire and calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis,” a statement by the group read.
“The Syrians can well avoid more bloodshed, uphold territorial integrity, and preserve their rights and sovereignty over the land. Such a bloody page should be turned once and for all,” Hamas added.
“The Palestinian people is looking forward to reaching a long-term agreement and to healing all the differences plaguing the nation’s body. The Palestinians are longing for an end to bloodshed,” Hamas further stated.
“The Palestinians hope that our ill nation would get well soon, restore its strength and unity, and stand up for the Palestinian cause,” the group concluded.
War-ravaged Syria was living Friday through the first day of a nationwide ceasefire as the Syrian government battalions and opposition outfits have agreed to terms for a truce brokered by Turkey and Russia in the country’s long-running hostilities.
Military operations by the regime army were reportedly halted at midnight, except against ISIS and other terror groups, state-run news agency SANA reported.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had proposed rigging the Palestinian parliamentary elections while she was a US senator in 2006, according to newly emerged tapes.
Speaking to media about the January 25, 2006, election for the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority, Clinton lamented that the US did not “determine who was going to win.”
The result of that election was a resounding victory for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas over the US-favored Fatah political party.
“I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” then-New York Senator Clinton told The Jewish Press, a New York-based weekly newspaper, several months after the January election.
“And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win,” she said.
Eli Chomsky, an editor and a staff writer for the weekly newspaper, shared and played the tape for The New York Observer, which is also a weekly newspaper.
Chomsky had interviewed Clinton at the Jewish Press office located at the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Speaking to The Observer, Chomsky recalled being confused by the fact that “anyone could support the idea — offered by a national political leader, no less — that the US should be in the business of fixing foreign elections.”
“I went to my bosses at the time,” Chomsky said. “The Jewish Press had this mindset that they would not want to say anything offensive about anybody — even a direct quote from anyone — in a position of influence because they might need them down the road. My bosses didn’t think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years.”
The interview took place nine months after Hamas claimed 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, pushing aside Fatah and securing the right to form a new cabinet.
In Washington, however, where Hamas is on a terror blacklist, officials in the George W. Bush administration repeatedly stated that they would not work with a Palestinian government ruled by Hamas.
The new revelation comes after repeated statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that the media and the political establishment have rigged the 2016 election against him and he may not accept the election outcome if Clinton wins.
BETHLEHEM – The Hamas movement called a visit by an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel this weekend “pointless and useless” on Monday, after the delegation declined to include the Gaza Strip in their visit.
“It is regrettable that the ICC delegation yielded to the demands of the Israeli occupation to exclude the Gaza Strip from the delegation’s schedule, despite the fact that the Gaza Strip was the main site of Israeli crimes in 2014,” a statement released on the movement’s website said.
Various human rights groups have charged Israel with international war crimes and submitted several cases to the ICC related to Israel’s devastating 51-day assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014 that culminated in the deaths of more than 1,000 civilians. Meanwhile, critics have questioned the ICC’s ability to bring justice on issues related to Palestine in the face of Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the court, and have even faulted the ICC itself with playing a key role in the slow process of holding Israel accountable.
“As a result, Hamas considers the delegation’s visit pointless and useless. The visit has caused more pain and suffering for the families of victims who counted on the ICC to bring justice to them and bring the Israeli killers before the court.”
The fierce condemnation by Hamas, the de facto rulers of the blockaded Gaza Strip, came as the Palestinian Authority (PA)-governed occupied West Bank welcomed the delegation of the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to the city of Ramallah on Saturday.
They were scheduled to meet with the committee that is charged with following up on ICC investigations, the state-run television network Palestine TV, and a Palestinian newspaper, according to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). On Sunday, the delegation will travel to the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank to attend an academic meeting at Bethlehem University. Meanwhile, the OTP also plans to visit Israel.
“The State of Palestine had officially requested the OTP visit Gaza, though it was declined. We hope that on their next visit the ICC delegation will visit other areas of the Occupied State of Palestine, including Hebron and the Jordan Valley,” the PLO’s ICC Higher National Committee said Friday.
The ICC’s decision to skip visiting the besieged Gaza Strip comes after the small Palestinian territory was was bombarded by a wave of Israeli airstrikes in recent days, and after Israel imprisoned activists aboard an all-female flotilla that attempted to reach Gaza this past week.
The flotilla was the fourth of its kind since 2010, when the first Freedom Flotilla was brutally attacked by Israeli naval forces, who killed ten Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship.
No Israelis were ever charged for the killings on the Mavi Marmara, despite a case being filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging Israeli officials with war crimes.
Meanwhile in August, the Israeli military closed 13 criminal investigations into cases of Israeli soldiers committing violations against Palestinian civilians during the 2014 Gaza war, without imposing any punitive measures, while some 80 incidents were closed without opening a criminal investigation.
The 51-day Israeli offensive, termed “Operation Protective Edge” by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the United Nations.
According to a UN report, there were incidents in which hundreds of Gazans were killed at the same time, many belonging to the same family, when Israeli air forces bombed residential buildings — credible allegations that the incidents amounted to war crimes. … Full article
Wasfi Qabha, former Palestinian minister of detainees and ex-detainees in the government of Ismail Haniyeh, was sentenced to twelve months in Israeli prison by a military court on Wednesday, 28 September. Qabha, a prominent leader in Hamas, has been repeatedly arrested by Israeli occupation forces and has spent a total of 12 years in Israeli prisons.
Qabha was arrested from his family home in Jenin by Israeli occupation forces in May; his wife stated that he was charged with a number of charges in the military courts related to his public activities in campaigns supporting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. His sentence was accompanied with an 18-month suspended sentence and a 2,000 NIS (approximately $500) fine.
Also on Wednesday, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohammed Jamal Natsheh was arrested among 43 others in pre-dawn arrest raids carried out by Israeli occupation forces throughout the West Bank. Natsheh was released from Israeli prisons after his previous arrest less than seven months ago. He was previously imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention. A member of the PLC representing the Change and Reform bloc associated with Hamas, Natsheh has repeatedly been arrested since his election in 2006, usually ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial.
Among the pre-dawn raids included the seventh day in a row of violent occupation military raids on Shuafat refugee camp and nearby Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, where 13 Palestinians were detained by occupation forces as over 20 homes were invaded and ransacked. The Palestinians arrested were Bilal Eid, Ahmad Imran Muhammad Ali, Mohammed Maher al-Mimi, Muhannad Bilal Anati, Bilal Awwad Anati, Ahmad Tartir, Fadi Eid, Ahmad Bilal Eid, Muayyad Jaber Muheisen, Hamoudeh Jamal Abdel-Qader, Adham al-Sharqawi, Saddam Joudeh and Hamoudeh al-Kirri.
Also arrested in Jerusalem area were Areen Za’anin, Fathi Nasser, Hussam Jamzawi, Ahmad Sajidiya, Fares Aslan, Khalil Qureia and Medhat Khalil, the last a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Bilal Eid is only 16 while Ahmad Ali is only 15 years old; they are among over 370 Palestinian children held in Israeli jails.
In al-Khalil, alongside Natsheh, also arrested were Mohammed Imam, Mohammed al-Durra, Said Zughayyer, Alaa Abu Ajamieh, Abdel-Rahim Fatafta and Abdul-Qader al-Titi, as well as Abdel-Nasser Abu Maria, 17 years old.
Five Palestinians from Budrus, near Ramallah, were arrested: Malek Marrar, Mohammed Hasan, Hosni Khalifa, Mahmoud Khalifa and Yahya Salama. Wissam Ali, Mohammed Jaber, 17, and Oday Jaber were arrested from the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem. In Jericho, three Palestinians were seized by occupation forces, including 15-year-old Mohammed Shalalfa, alongside Haitham Shalalfa and Shtayyen Shalalfa; in Qabatiyeh, two Palestinians, Mohammed Assaf and Suheib Abu al-Rub, were arrested. Occupation forces seized Mahmoud Qashmar in Qalqilya and Rashad Issa from al-Khader, near Bethlehem.
On Thursday morning, at least 10 more Palestinians were reported arrested in violent raids by occupation forces, including former prisoners Amin Hamed, 60, and his son Abdelhadi Hamed, 30, arrested in Silwad east of Ramallah in a violent raid on their home, including the explosion of the door of their homes. Abdulhadi’s brother, Abdullah’s, home was raided as well by occupation forces. Their brother Akram is serving a 17-year sentence in Israeli prisons.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has retained the leadership of the opposition political party after a bruising campaign.
Corbyn, who was initially elected last year, took 62 percent of the vote, beating challenger Owen Smith on Saturday.
Surveys had indicated that Corbyn would easily defeat his challenger as he maintained widespread support of party members attracted by his socialist anti-austerity policies and “authentic” image.
On Wednesday, Corbyn urged for the party to unite behind his leadership. He reminded lawmakers that he has the support of rank-and-file members of the party and warned them not to challenge him again.
“We owe it to the millions of people Labour exists to represent to end the sniping and personal attacks, and work together for all those who depend on the election of a Labour government. Anything else would be destructive self-indulgence,” Corbyn said in a statement.
“All Labour Party members and MPs have a responsibility to work within the democracy of our party and respect the leadership of whoever is elected.”
The 67-year-old socialist and peace campaigner has shown little interest for Britain’s special relationship with the US and is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the costly Trident nuclear missile system that is maintained by the US.
Corbyn also is a critic of Israel and NATO. As member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he invited members of the Hezbollah and Hamas resistance movements in 2009 to parliament where he called them “friends.”
By Jon Vale | The Independent | September 23, 2016
The Campaign Against Anti-semitism (CAA) has filed a formal complaint against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The group has taken action over a video posted on Mr Corbyn’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In the video, Mr Corbyn’s supporters answer questions on topics they are “tired of hearing” about, which includes whether they promote anti-semitism.
The video has subsequently been deleted from social media.
The CAA said this is the latest in a long of line of incidents where Mr Corbyn and his supporters have failed to address anti-semitism. […]
The letter accuses Mr Corbyn of “committing acts that are grossly detrimental to the party, namely characterising Jewish people as dissembling and dishonest in their reporting of anti-semitism, and by using the influence and prestige of his office to disseminate and normalise that lie”.
It continues: “The allegation that Jews lie and deceive in order to further hidden agendas is an age-old anti-semitic trope.
“It has now been manifestly deployed by Mr Corbyn in his leadership campaign video.” … Full article
GAZA – Facebook administration has banned a large number of pro-Palestinian pages and accounts including Hamas-affiliated pages.
The Facebook administration closed over the past few hours several pro-Palestinian pages and accounts, some of which were banned for the tenth time.
A number of online activists accused the administration of online social networking service Facebook of deliberately suspending their accounts to silence the pro-Palestinian pages. Other Hamas members and activists have also voiced similar complaints.
The activists stressed that they never wrote anything on the banned pages that could violate Facebook’s rules.
Filastin al-Hiwar Facebook page which has over 145,000 followers, has also been abruptly suspended by Facebook.
Over the past few days, two Israeli government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss ways of collaboration between the two parties. The Israeli ministers and Facebook officials have agreed to work together to determine “how to tackle incitement on the social media network,” according to an Israeli newspaper.
A top European Union lawyer says Hamas should be dropped from the bloc’s blacklist, citing lack of concrete evidence showing the involvement of the Palestinian resistance movement in alleged terrorist activities.
Eleanor Sharpston, an advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), urged on Thursday the removal of both Hamas and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan rebel group, from the EU terror list.
The EU “cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet, rather than in decisions of competent authorities, to support a decision to maintain a listing,” Sharpston said.
In 2001, the EU adopted regulations to combat terrorism. Under the rules, the bloc imposed travel bans and asset freezes against Hamas and the LTTE.
In 2014, however, the General Court of the European Union, the second-highest court in the bloc, ordered both Hamas and the LTTE to be struck off the bloc’s terror list in two separate decisions. The court said the EU had based its decision, regarding the blacklist of the groups, on publicly available information rather than on any finding by a competent authority.
The Council of the EU, representing the governments of member states, in turn appealed the court ruling.
Elsewhere in her remarks, the top EU lawyer called on the ECJ to reject the appeal.
Given that “some of the reasons advanced could not justify the decision to maintain the listing of LTTE and Hamas,” the General Court was correct to dismiss the EU appeal when it could find no other sufficient reasons for their listing, Sharpston said.
Accordingly, the ECJ “should annul the measures maintaining Hamas and LTTE on the EU list of terrorist organizations on procedural grounds,” she added.
Hamas has ruled the impoverished and the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip since 2006, when it scored a landslide victory in legislative polls.
Israeli forces markedly increased their attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the second quarter of 2016, United Nations (UN) data has revealed, with concerns that such violence endangers the viability of the ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in 2014.
During the period April-June, there were an average of more than 90 shooting incidents per month by Israeli forces in Gaza’s so-called access restricted areas (ARA) – some 60 on land, and 30 at sea. This is more than double the equivalent average figures for the last six months of 2015.
Israeli forces have long attacked farmers, fishermen and other civilians in Gaza’s ARA. As the UN described in July, Israel’s unilaterally-imposed access restrictions are “enforced by firing direct or warning live ammunition, the destruction of property, arrests and the confiscation of equipment.”
Presenting the latest figures in a quarterly update published last month, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) described “the use of force by Israel” in the ARA as a “particular cause for concern.”
According to James Heenan, head of office at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, “there are almost daily shooting incidents by Israeli forces into Gaza, often resulting in injury and even death as well as destruction of property.”
In most cases, Heenan told Middle East Monitor, “there are no indications that Israeli forces were in any imminent threat to have justified the level of force employed, including use of firearms. Often victims are farmers, fishermen, children, and demonstrators.”
On April 3, the Israeli authorities announced an expansion of the permitted fishing zone off the southern Gaza coast from six to nine miles (note that the Oslo Accords stipulate a 20-mile limit). However, on June 26, less than three months later, the six-mile limit was re-imposed.
By July, according to OCHA, more than 90 fishermen had been arrested and detained, “the highest figure in any year since records began in 2009.” Over nine days in August, for example, Israeli forces attacked Palestinian fishermen on six different occasions (Aug. 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29).
In May, meanwhile, it was reported that the Israeli army would allow farmers to access land close to the border fence, under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since 2014, the ICRC has been helping Gaza’s farmers to rehabilitate land and secure access.
While some farmers have clearly benefited, a Jerusalem-based ICRC spokesperson declined to comment on Israeli forces’ continued attacks in the ARA, saying that “any issues of concern are addressed as part of our confidential and bilateral dialogue with all parties to the conflict.”
As one farmer told activists recently: “My lands are relatively close to the fence, so I cannot set foot in them between 6pm and 6am without getting shot at. What can I do if the electricity does not come before 6pm? I have to leave my land without watering, risking the loss of the crop.”
The violence used by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip is vastly under-reported in the English-language Western media. The majority of attacks on fishermen, farmers, and demonstrators do not even get a mention.
Such attacks, however, cannot be divorced from the bigger picture in the Gaza Strip, including the ‘security’ dimension that is typically understood by journalists, analysts, and policy-makers in terms of projectile fire and Israeli military responses.
According to Fawzi Barhoum, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesperson, Hamas views Israeli forces’ routine use of violence against Palestinians in the ARA as a violation of the 2014 ceasefire. “Hamas records all the violations, and updates the regional sponsors of the ceasefire accordingly”, he said.
Furthermore, Barhoum added, such attacks by Israeli forces “endanger the status quo.”
Each time, Hamas discusses what happens with the other Palestinian factions, who evaluate together what is the best response to the Israeli violation in question; whether it is silence, condemnation, warnings, firing short-range rockets, unleashing snipers on the borders, etc.
Thus, aside from the cost for farmers and fishermen of Israel’s policy of violently enforcing a ‘no-go zone’ inside Gaza, such attacks, clearly on the rise, also risk further undermining a ceasefire agreement that brought ‘calm’ for Israel, but nothing like it for Palestinians.