UNRWA statement on Hebron closures

UNRWA
Press Statement

25 JULY 2016

UNRWA is deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of the closure applied by the Israeli authorities in the Hebron district, affecting in particular Fawwar refugee camp.

Fawwar refugee camp. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Dominiek Benoot

Fawwar refugee camp. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Dominiek Benoot

The closure was implemented following a series of violent incidents that took place before the end of Ramadan in which two Israelis were killed: a stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of Hebron killing a 13-year old Israeli girl in her home (30 June), a drive-by shooting attack on Road 60, south of Hebron (1 July), and two separate stabbing attacks in Hebron (30 June and 1 July). The United Nations, including the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms, all such attacks. The UN condemns all violence impacting Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

Since the beginning of the closure, the main entrance of Fawwar camp has been closed for 25 consecutive days affecting approximately 9,500 refugees in Fawwar camp. These closures create serious challenges for UNRWA’s humanitarian access, including the delivery of medical supplies, the removal of refuse from the camps, and the daily movement of Agency staff working inside the camp. Read more »

New Zealand Member of Parliament to join Women’s Peace Flotilla to Gaza

Marama Davidson, MP
Press Release

Photo: Maori Television

Photo: Maori Television

Green Party MP Marama Davidson will be joining a women’s peace boat in late September which will highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the Green Party said today.

Israel has blockaded the Gaza strip by land, sea, and air since 2006, resulting in plummeting living standards and health services, high unemployment, and severe food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

“I am participating in the Women’s Boats to Gaza flotilla to highlight the crucial role of women in keeping their communities afloat, particularly in post-conflict situations,” said Green Party human rights spokesperson Marama Davidson.

“The people of Gaza are still living with the terrible impact of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, which resulted in the death of 2,300 civilians and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals.

“As an indigenous woman myself, I want to stand alongside the women of Gaza and to draw attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis there.

“Women around the world bear a disproportionate burden in caring for people and keeping communities together in times of hardship, and the women of Palestine are no different. Women’s role in navigating oppression and working for peace and justice has long been under-valued.

“More aid is urgently needed to ensure the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people in Gaza and to help rebuild the homes, public services and livelihoods that were destroyed in 2014.

“We are calling on Israel to end the collective punishment of the people of Gaza by lifting the inhumane blockade and allowing more critical supplies to go where they are needed the most,” said Ms Davidson.

Palestinian astrophysicist appeals to Supreme Court against military indictment for Facebook post

Samidoun

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Palestinian astrophysics professor Imad Barghouthi is appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court against his indictment in Israeli military court for “incitement” due to posting on Facebook, said his lawyer, Jawad Boulos, on 20 July.

In the context of this appeal, the Ofer military court postponed Barghouthi’s hearing until 21 August, following the Supreme Court’s action on the appeal. Barghouthi, 54, a world-renowned professor of astrophysics at Al-Quds University, was arrested on 24 April at a military checkpoint near Nabi Saleh and held under administrative detention without charge or trial.

Following the submission of multiple petitions by international scientists for Barghouthi’s release, his administrative detention order was reduced first to two months, and then to one month. When he was scheduled to be released on 29 May, the Israeli occupation prosecution instead filed “incitement” charges against him and transferred his case to the military courts. Much of the military charges are based on the number of Barghouthi’s facebook friends, and the numbers of “likes” and “shares” received on his posts. Read more »

Palestinian Hamas Defends the Right to Fight Israeli Occupation

Prensa Latina

Khaled Mishaal

Khaled Mishaal

The leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Khaled Meshaal, today claimed the right to armed struggle in order to end the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.

In an interview with India’s NDTV television held in Doha, Qatar, Meshaal denounced the crimes committed against his people by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He also rejected accusations from Tel Aviv on alleged links between Hamas and the Islamic State.

“The Israelis have always thrown these allegations against us because they are the real terrorists,” said Meshaal, who called Hamas a movement for national liberation. Read more »

Cuba still pursuing Security Council over Palestine

Prensa Latina

Cuba has once again denounced the UN Security Council’s failure to act in response to Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people, despite global support for the occupied Arab nation’s cause, reported Prensa Latina.

Photo: Telesur

Photo: Telesur

In an open debate on the situation in the Middle East, Cuba’s permanent representative, Ana Silvia Rodríguez, denounced the Security Council’s failure to adopt a single resolution demanding Israel end its aggressive policies and colonial practices against the Palestinian people.

“The council’s failure to take action in the face of such acts is alarming. It is unacceptable that the Security Council should continue be held hostage by the veto, or the threat of veto, by the United States, preventing the organisation from fulfilling its responsibility and protecting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” she stated.

The ambassador reiterated Cuba’s call for the organisation to fulfill the responsibility afforded it by the UN Charter to maintain peace and international security, highlighting that it must adopt decisions demanding that Israel immediately cease its occupation of the West Bank, including West Jerusalem, and the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Read more »

18th URNWA Staff Member Killed in Syria

UNRWA
Press Release

UNRWA deplores the loss of life in Syria as it commemorates the death of a staff member in Aleppo, on July 17.

Neirab Camp, 13 km SE of Aleppo (unrwa.org)

Neirab Camp, 13 km SE of Aleppo (unrwa.org)

In the early evening of 17 July, Yaser Mahmoud Shuaeeb, a driver for UNRWA in Aleppo, was struck by shrapnel fragments in his back as he was getting off a bus on Nile Street on his way home. The forty five year old subsequently succumbed to his wounds, bringing the death toll of UNRWA staff to 18. UNRWA sends its heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.

Yaser joined UNRWA as a driver on 1 February 2015 and was known for his outstanding service and competence. He was respected by his colleagues. Like 62 per cent of the Palestine refugees in Syria, Yaser was internally displaced. He was living temporarily in a rented apartment on Nile Street. He is survived by his wife and six children. Read more »

Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed moved to hospital, other striking prisoners named

Samidoun

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Palestinian hunger striking prisoner Bilal Kayed was moved to Barzilai Hospital on 17 July, the 33rd day of his hunger strike. Kayed, 35, has been on strike since 15 June demanding freedom from a six month Israeli administrative detention order, imposed on him without charges or trial when he was about to released after serving 14.5 years in prison.

Addameer lawyer Farah Bayadsi confirmed that Kayed was transferred to the hospital following further deterioration in his health condition after experiencing nausea, inability to walk, dizziness, fatigue and insomnia, and losing a significant amount of weight. She confirmed that Kayed will remain in the hospital for at least one day and that Addameer is working to visit Kayed in the hospital to confirm his medical condition directly. Kayed is consuming only water; he rejects all vitamin or salt supplements and has rejected all medical examinations. He has also refused to speak to his jailers since the 30th day of his hunger strike, Thursday, 14 July.

This comes as at least 37 fellow Palestinian prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine launched an open hunger strike – 10 in Ofer, 10 in Ramon, 2 in Eshel, and 15 in Megiddo and Gilboa – in solidarity with Kayed and demanding his freedom. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are on limited-term hunger strikes to demand Kayed’s freedom, while prisoners from all factions have affirmed that they will be escalating their ongoing protest actions throughout the week. Read more »

Statement No. 8 from the PFLP Prison Branch: Escalation by the prison administration will met our escalation of protest Jul 152016

PFLP Prison Branch
Press Statement

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The prisons of the occupation are in a state of flux, escalation, and rapid developments in the battle for freedom waged by the prisoners of the Popular Front against the fascist prison administration, for victory for their comrade, the leader Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike for a month. The Front organization in all prisons is continuing to escalate their protest, and prepare more serious steps of escalation, intent on their demands, drawing inspiration from the steadfastness of Comrade Kayed, and with the support of the Prisoners’ Movement which was expressed in an important statement a few days ago. This is expected to culminate in a program of unified steps of struggle involving the entire prisoners’ movement soon. In this context, we as the leadership of the branch of the organization of the Front in the occupation prisons emphasize the following: Read more »

Mass march in Gaza demands freedom for hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayed

PFLP

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Gaza Strip organized a mass rally in support of Comrade Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike in occupation prisons since June 15 in rejection of the policy of administrative detention, demanding his freedom.

The march began from the Saraya crossroads to the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City with the participation of cadres, members and leaders of the Front, mass Palestinian organizations, Italian solidarity activists, and many representatives of various Palestinian political parties and factions. Participants carried Palestinian flags and PFLP banners, banners and posters of Bilal Kayed and supporting the prisoners’ demands. Read more »

Let’s mark Mandela Day by adopting a minimum set of human rights for millions of detainees

UN Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights
Press Release

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On the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day [18 July], a group of human rights experts with a mandate relating to detention have hailed the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Rules, the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which were adopted on 17 December 2015.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez; the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, Med Kaggwa; the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, President James Cavallaro, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, welcomed the Nelson Mandela Rules as a historic step and one of the most significant human rights achievements in recent years.

Their adoption completed a four-year process of negotiations on the review of the 1955 UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

The UN General Assembly decided at their adoption that they should become known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”, to honor the legacy of the late President of South Africa. They also decided that Nelson Mandela International Day, observed each year on 18 July, should be utilized to promote humane conditions of imprisonment. Read more »

It’s Time for America to Disengage From the Middle East

Mohammed Ayoob
The National Interest

The third reason advanced to justify a high degree of American involvement is related to concerns for Israeli security. This is an outdated argument given Israel’s tremendous military superiority over all its Arab neighbors and the Arabs’ preoccupation with killing each other rather than addressing the question of Palestine or confronting Israel.

U.S. soldier in the Kandahar province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army/Flickr

U.S. soldier in the Kandahar province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army/Flickr

The Orlando and San Bernardino shootings have led important personalities to make several suggestions, both workable and unworkable. These range from banning the entry of Muslim immigrants into the United States to tighter gun control. However, hardly anyone seems to have asked the fundamental question: why have some radicalized inhabitants of broader Middle Eastern origin developed such hatred for Americans that they are willing not only to inflict tremendous suffering on innocent civilians, but also to lay down their own lives in the process?

The answer lies in the history and extent of American involvement in the broader Middle East ranging from Turkey to Pakistan, what has been called the “arc of crisis”. The United States was often involved on the wrong side of the internal and regional conflicts in this region, supporting authoritarian regimes to maintain control over restive populations. More important, the extent of its involvement—especially in the post–Cold War era—has far exceeded its economic and strategic interests in the region.

There are multiple reasons for such a high degree of American involvement in the broader Middle East but most of them are now passé. Read more »

Palestine and Israel: A Primer

Robert Fantina
The Truther.us

Roads-resized-1-820x300 (400 x 146)

Occasionally, although not frequently, the corporate-owned media will report on what it refers to as the ‘conflict’ between Israel and Palestine. The implication is that two nations of generally equal power have some lingering disagreement that sometimes comes to the surface.

Much as the media would have us all believe this myth, and as carefully as it has been crafted over the years, the lies of Israel are quickly being exposed.

There are a few, pertinent facts that should be known about this ‘conflict’:

– Prior to the United Nations partitioning Palestine to form the state of Israel, Jews owned approximately 6% of Palestine, and comprised about 30% of the population.

– The U.N. partition plan established Israel on 55% of Palestine.

– Following the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Israel controlled 78% of Palestine.

– Today, with ever-expanding illegal Israeli settlements, Israel has control of nearly 90% of Palestine, not including its near-complete control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

map-of-Palestine (400 x 344) Read more »

Israeli warplanes bomb besieged Gaza Strip

Alray

Johar Al Dik Primary Health Clinic destroyed July 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Johar Al Dik Primary Health Clinic destroyed July 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Israeli warplanes have carried out an airstrike against the Gaza Strip in yet another act of aggression against the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Local sources said Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at an area east of the village of Juhor ad-Dik which lies south of Gaza City late on Wednesday, Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency reported.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Read more »

UNRWA condemns latest Israeli demolitions in the West Bank, urges respect for international law

Chris Gunness, URNWA spokesperson
Press Release

Photo: unrwa.org

Photo: unrwa.org

“The Israeli authorities have carried out a large scale demolition in the Bedouin refugee community at Anata in the occupied West Bank. Seven residential structures, four animal shelters and four toilet units, were destroyed of which three were funded by an international NGO. As a result seven UNRWA registered refugee families with a total forty-three individuals, including twenty-five children, were displaced. Among them were a 48 year old male head of household suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a 48 year old male head of household with a physical disability rendering him unable to walk. Also among the displaced was an 85 year old woman as well as a woman 7 months into her pregnancy.

It is heartbreaking to see such shocking disregard for international law and the impact it is having on an entire UN protected community. While condemning this disregard for international law, we would respectfully remind Israel, the occupying power, that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it has an obligation to respect family rights including the dwellings of the protected population – not destroy them.”

UNRWA teams have visited the families and documented the cases and is providing assistance to the impacted refugee families to re-build their lives.”

Statement No. 7 from the PFLP prison branch: The ongoing battle and the truth about media reports about Bilal Kayed

PFLP Prison Branch
Press Statement

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The following statement was released following misleading media reports issued today in Palestinian media, regarding lawyer visits and the case of Bilal Kayed:

Imprisoned struggler, Comrade Bilal Kayed, is nearly entering his twenty-seventh day of open hunger strike despite deteriorating health and is expected to be transferred at any moment from isolation in Ashkelon prison to hospital, as the prisoners of the Front continue to struggle along their program of resistance, in support of the struggle of Comrade Kayed and with the united interests of the prisoners’ movement and various methods and procedures of escalation as previously announced. In this context, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine branch in Israeli jails emphasizes the following:

1) Comrade Bilal Kayed is continuing his open hunger strike. The Front prisoners are fully engaged in the battle to support him and demand the unconditional release of Comrade Kayed. Based on this, the prisoners of the Front emphasize that in the next two days (July 11 and 12), which were already declared as days of hunger strike and returning meals within all prisons, the Front prisoners will strike and will also refuse to answer to the prison administration during roll call, and will instead shout the name of Comrade Bilal Kayed as a challenge to the prison administration. Read more »

Bilal Kayed to be transferred to hospital as health condition deteriorates, struggle grows

SAMIDOUN

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On his 26th day of hunger strike, hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed will be transferred to hospital within the next several hours following a sharp deterioration in his health condition, reported Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Kayed rejects all medical examinations, salt supplements or vitamins and is only consuming water.

Prior to his transfer to hospital he has been held in Ashkelon prison in solitary confinement in a small 1.5 x 2 meter cell with no windows and denied access to a fan in the mid-July summer heat. He has only been permitted access to lukewarm tap water from the sink in his cell. Read more »

Statement No. 6 by the PFLP prison branch: Bang on the walls of the tank for victory for Comrade Kayed

PFLP Prison Branch
Press Statement

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The imprisoned hero Bilal Kayed is continuing his hunger strike, entering the twenty-fourth day with all strength and courage. He has not been shaken by the pressure of the prison administration, or by the deterioration of his health, from continuing to fight this battle, alongside the comrade prisoners of the Front who are committed to continue to struggle and valiantly confront the fascist repression against them which tries to pressure them by all means to stop their struggle through the imposition of sanctions. It is an illusion that such targeting will break their will and cause them to submit to the terms of the prison administration – yet developments in the last hours indicate that the prison administration will expand its attacks on the prisoners’ movement. Read more »

Chilcot, Israel and the Lobby

Gilad Atzmon

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It took seven years for Sir Chilcot and his team to reach a set of conclusions that every Brit capable of thought understood back in November, 2013.

The inquiry produced a damning assessment of Blair’s conduct as well as the British military. But the Chilcot Inquiry failed to expose the crucial close ties between Blair’s criminal war, the Jewish Lobby and Israel.

At the time Britain entered the criminal war against Iraq, Blair’s chief funders were Lord ‘cashpoint’ Levy and the LFI (Labour Friends of Israel). The prime advocates for the immoral interventionist war within the British press were Jewish Chronicle writers David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen. The attorney general that gave the green light for the war was Lord Goldsmith.

In 2008 The Guardian revealed that the “Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) successfully fought to keep secret any mention of Israel contained on the first draft of the controversial.” Israel was conspicuously engaged in the vast production of WMDs. If Britain and America had any genuine concerns about WMDs, bombing Tel Aviv would have been the way to go.

In 2003 some intelligence experts insisted that the Iraq’s WMD dossier was initially produced in Tel Aviv and only ‘sexed up’ in London.

Since the Iraq war, the same Jewish Lobby has mounted enormous pressure on western governments, promoting more Zio-centic interventionist wars in Syria, Libya and Iran. So why did the Chilcot Inquiry fail to address this topic? Read more »

Dehumanizing and delegitimizing

Mazin Qumsiyeh

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There is a growing movement of applying Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel just like we did to defeat apartheid in South Africa.

Zionist apologists are understandably declaring war on this nonviolent and moral movement. In many countries including several states in the USA, there are attempts to delegitimize the movement and declare BDS illegal. Of course this is contrary to the principles of free speech and free association. People’s right to boycott was recognized in key legal precedents but more legal challenges are needed to dispel the myth that engaging in BDS is somehow illegitimate.

Israeli apologists around the world engage in all sorts of dirty tricks to keep the racist system going (a racket to keep the flow of cash if I may say so). Having faced Israeli apologists in public debates, many do not want to debate again because they lose badly as they attempt to delegitimize and dehumanize their victims. They have no facts and they are defending injustice. So they resort to personal attacks and strange racist mythologies (for example that we Palestinians sacrifice our children for publicity or that we “hate Jews”).

This is expected from a colonial power, to dehumanize their victims.

Elie Wiesel died recently. He spent most of his life defending Israel and dehumanizing Palestinians. He was challenged on many occasions to say something about the Palestinian victims and all he could muster was regurgitating Zionist lies about colonizers needing to “defend themselves”. Here is what a real prophetic Jew (Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University) wrote on September 9, 2014. Read more »

PFLP calls for urgent action at the United Nations to free Bilal Kayed and fellow prisoners

PFLP

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine demanded that the Palestine Liberation Organization, and all of the Palestinian resistance and civil society organizations, raise the level of priority of the prisoners’ struggle. The Front called on the State of Palestine Mission to the United Nations to act quickly at the international level to build official condemnations of administrative detention and the occupation practices against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and take up its responsibilities toward the prisoners’ movement, which represents the conscience and the resistance of the Palestinian people.

The Front emphasized the need for an emergency session of the General Assembly of the United Nations to discuss the urgent situation of Palestinian prisoners and condemn the occupation’s attacks on them, and to condemn the continuation of the imprisonment of the leader Bilal Kayed, demanding his immediate release and return to his home and family. The administrative detention order against him after the completion of his sentence, his solitary confinement amid deteriorating health in an open hunger strike, and the threat of deportation to Jordan constitute clear crimes and violations of international law.

The Front affirmed that the Zionist occupier has full responsibility for the life and health of Comrade Bilal Kayed and called for the broadest solidarity campaign at all levels, official and popular, with him and with all of the Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom in Israeli jails.