Switzerland hosts Conference of High Contracting Parties to Fourth Geneva Convention

PRESS RELEASE
Swiss Confederation

Destroyed civilian targets, Gaza City, August 2014.

Destroyed civilian targets, Gaza City, August 2014.

Bern, 17.12.2014 – Representatives of 126 High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention met in Geneva today to adopt by consensus a ten-point Declaration recalling applicable international humanitarian law (IHL) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East-Jerusalem. The conference was hosted by Switzerland in its capacity as Depositary of the Geneva Conventions.

The ten-point Declaration adopted by consensus by the Conference today reaffirms fundamental principles of international humanitarian law which all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War must respect. It emphasizes that these principles also apply to non-state actors. The Declaration reaffirms the outcome documents of two previous conferences of 1999 and 2001 and reiterates legal obligations relating to developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2001. Read more »

PFLP: Draft UN resolution of “French initiative” threatens Palestinian rights

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

UNSC_2-350x217 (400 x 248)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine unequivocally rejects the so-called “French Initative” being sponsored at the United Nations by the Jordanian regime as a dangerous threat to Palestinian refugees’ right of return that undermines Palestinian rights in the United Nations under the guise of support for a “Palestinian state,” said a spokesperson for the Front.

The draft resolution before the UN Security Council provides no enforcement mechanisms nor penalties upon the occupying power for its continued flagrant violation of international law, occupation, imposition of apartheid and denial of Palestinian refugees’ fundamental rights for the past 66 years. On the contrary, unlike the resolutions which the Security Council has so eagerly passed against Iraq, Syria, Sudan and other countries, it contains no requirements, mandates or penalties whatsoever but rather presents a false view of the “conflict” as one between equal parties with legitimate rights and interests. Read more »

Jailed Palestinian Lawyer Shireen Issawi gets 2014 Alkarama Human Rights Award

PRESS RELEASE
Alkarama

Layla and Tarek Issawi receive 2014 Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders on behalf of their daughter, Shireen (From left to right: Mourad Dhina, Tarek Issawi, Norman Finkelstein, Layla Issawi, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, Haneen Zoabi)

Layla and Tarek Issawi receive 2014 Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders on behalf of their daughter, Shireen (From left to right: Mourad Dhina, Tarek Issawi, Norman Finkelstein, Layla Issawi, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, Haneen Zoabi)

Geneva, 13 December 2014

On 11 December 2014, the Alkarama Foundation presented its 6th annual Award for Human Rights Defenders in the Arab world to Palestinian human rights lawyer and activist, Shireen Issawi, in recognition of her courage and bravery in defending Palestinian prisoners and advocating for their rights. The ceremony held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva focused on the Palestinian people’s strategy of non-violent resistance, a story largely under-reported in the mainstream media.

Speaking at the event were UN and international law experts, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein and Alfred de Zayas, as well as Palestinian Member of the Knesset, Haneen Zoabi, and Swiss political personalities, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold and Guy Mettan. In the absence of Shireen, arrested by the Israeli authorities on 6 March 2014 as part of a crackdown on lawyers defending Palestinian prisoners, the Award was presented to her parents, Layla and Tarek Issawi. Read more »

Jordan submits draft resolution on Palestine to UN Security Council

by Julie Webb-Pullman

map-of-Palestine (400 x 344)

Jordan formally submitted Wednesday a draft resolution to the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Palestinians, calling for an end to Israeli occupation by a negotiation process.

The document calls for borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with possible limited land swaps, Palestinian sovereignty, the return of refugees, a shared capital in Jerusalem, total withdrawal of Israeli forces by the end of 2017, and the addressing of other outstanding issues such as water.

The already-weak language of the resolution is expected to be further watered down before the resolution is voted on.

FULL TEXT OF THE DRAFT RESOLUTION Read more »

FPM welcomes EU General Court annulment of Hamas terrorist status

PRESS STATEMENT
Free Palestine Movement

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder and leader of Hamas assassinated by Israel outside a Gaza mosque in 2004

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder and leader of Hamas assassinated by Israel outside a Gaza mosque in 2004

The Free Palestine Movement welcomes the decision by the European Union General Court to remove the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) from the EU list of terrorist groups. The court found that placement on the list had been based not on an examination of Hamas’ actions, but on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet”, implying that Hamas should never have been placed on the list.

We agree. Hamas has never exported its resistance movement internationally. All of its military actions have been directed against the occupiers and oppressors of Palestine. One need not be a supporter of Hamas to recognize the legitimacy of its role in the Palestinian struggle. Read more »

Crushing Flowers: A Report Documenting Human Rights Violations against Palestinian Women During Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge”

PRESS RELEASE
Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights

euromid (400 x 267)

Geneva – Dozens of cases in which civilian women in the Gaza Strip were targeted during Israel’s 50-Day “Operation Protective Edge” are documented in a new report issued today by the nonprofit Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights. Titled “Crushing Flowers,” the report revealed that 489 females were killed by Israeli forces – 23 percent of the total number of victims. Likewise, 3,537 females (31.5 percent of the number of wounded) were injured during the 8 July-26 August assault.

“It is clear from the evidence we collected, including numerous eyewitness accounts, that no effective method was used by Israeli troops to avoid civilian casualties, including women and girls, and that excessive force was rampant,” said Ramy Abdu, chair of Euro-Mid. “Meanwhile, many women are now dealing with the trauma of losing large numbers of their families.” Read more »

27th Anniversary: Hamas is from the Palestinian people, and for Palestine

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

“Hamas leaders come from the people,” senior official Dr Salah Al Bardawil told a huge crowd who took to the streets Friday in Nuseirat camp, Gaza, to celebrate 27 years since the birth of the Hamas movement.

“Hamas does not seek power or government, just Palestine’s liberation,” he said. Read more »

Palestinian Poll: 83.3% in favor of taking Israeli leaders to ICC

Gaza Centre for Political and Strategic Studies

Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza City

Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza City

According to the latest poll published by the Palestinian Poll Centre 83.3% of Palestinians support taking a case against Israeli leaders at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The poll, which was held between October 22 and November 4 2014, consulted a random sample of 1012 people aged over 18 from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Dr Nabil Kocali, who conducted the survey, said that in addition to supporting the pursuit of justice for war crimes committed in Gaza through legal action at the ICC, most Palestinians also approve of the firing of rockets from Gaza in defense against Israel. Read more »

Zahar: Fatah obstructing Gaza reconstruction

Gaza Centre for Political and Strategic Studies

Dr Mahmoud Al Zahar

Dr Mahmoud Al Zahar

Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Zahar harshly criticised Fatah in a press conference on Wednesday, accusing it of considering Hamas as an enemy rather than a political rival, and taking part in the siege on Gaza.

“It is responsible for preventing construction materials from entering Gaza despite Israeli permission for them to enter,” he said.

“Fatah is responsible for the tough conditions facing Palestinians, including undermining the resistance, and obstructing reconstruction and reconciliation.” Read more »

Addameer extends condolences to Ziad Abu Ein’s family, demands independent international investigation

PRESS STATEMENT
Addameer

Statement on International Human Rights Day: Addameer sends its condolences to Ziad Abu Ein’s family and demands the formation of an international investigative committee to hold the Occupation accountable for its continuous violations.

10 December 2014 – Ramallah

With sadness, Addameer sends condolences to the family of martyr Ziad Abu Ein, the head of the Palestinian Authority committee regarding the settlements, who was killed by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) after being beaten and tear gassed in Turmosayya today during a demonstration.

The cold-blooded murder of Ziad Abu Ein on International Human Rights Day is representative of the occupation’s continuous and rampant destruction of Palestinian life and land since the establishment of Israel in 1948, which ironically coincides with the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this International Human Rights Day, the international community must realize that it is complicit with Israel’s continued suppression, murder and displacement of the Palestinian people until Israel is held accountable for its crimes. Read more »

Hebron: Schoolchildren, Teachers, Suffer Effects Of Teargas Inhalation

Source: IMEMC

Medical sources have reported that scores of children, and teachers, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, in southern Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, during clashes that took place after Israeli soldiers harassed them while heading to school.

Ra’ouf Snober, 14, Injured Near Ramallah - Quds News

Ra’ouf Snober, 14, Injured Near Ramallah – Quds News

The sources said that the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs into the Hebron Elementary School, Khadija Bin al-Waleed School and the Ibrahimi School, causing scores of students to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.

One teacher, identified as Hani Haddoush, 37 years of age, was moved to a local hospital due to severe effects of tear gas inhalation. Read more »

PFLP: In response to murder of Abu Ein, escalate resistance in all forms

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

ziad-abu-ein-2 (400 x 267)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine joins the Palestinian people in mourning the martyred leader Ziad Abu Ein, a member of the Revolutionary Council of Fateh movement and Chair of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.

Abu Ein died after being attacked by Israeli occupation soldiers who assaulted him with tear gas during a procession to plant olive trees on the land of Turmusayya village, north of Ramallah, threatened with confiscation and colonization. Read more »

Samidoun demands end of security cooperation following assassination of Palestinian Authority Minister Ziad Abu Ein

Press Statement
samidoun

Ziad-Abu-Ein (400 x 248)

Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian Authority minister and head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was killed on Wednesday 10 December at a protest and olive-tree planting in Turmusayya village outside Ramallah after being hit, choked and tear-gassed by Israeli occupation forces.

Abu Ein was previously the deputy minister of prisoners’ affairs, and served 13 years as a political prisoner in Israeli prisons, including as an administrative detainee without charge or trial.

The murder of Abu Ein must be a clear imperative to finally cancel the treacherous “security coordination” between the PA and the Israeli occupation, which has led to the imprisonment and killing of Palestinians and betrays and undermines all Palestinian organizing and resistance. Read more »

Protest in Gaza rejects UN reconstruction plan providing international cover for occupation and siege

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

serry2 (400 x 266)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, organized a protest outside the headquarters of the United Nations in Gaza against the so-called Serry plan for Gaza reconstruction on December 7.

In a memo submitted to the United Nations on behalf of the Palestinian people of Gaza, Comrade Osama al-Haj Ahmad expressed serious concern for the continued suffering of those who were displaced or their homes destroyed, including those who remain homeless, noting that part of the responsibility for this lies with the international institutions that have not met their obligations, including expressed promises to expedite the reconstruction of demolished homes without obstruction by the occupation forces. Read more »

Freedom Flotilla Coalition: Open Gaza Port

Press Statement
Freedom Flotilla Coalition

freedom flotilla

December 8, 2014

The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Israel is not being held accountable for the damage it caused during its assault on the strip nor for the commitments it made as a part of the Egyptian brokered agreement to end hostilities. The port of Gaza remains closed and borders remain blocked and Palestinians in Gaza continue to be denied their basic right to freedom of movement. Gaza continues to suffer from the lack of basic supplies and materials needed for daily life let alone rebuilding what Israel damaged during its July/August assault. The International community did not meet the obligations it made to Gaza after the assault either.

In the shadow of these circumstances the Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in Athens on December 6th and 7th to follow up and revise plans for the upcoming flotilla: Freedom Flotilla III: Open Gaza port. Read more »

PFLP in Gaza honors historic military leader Yousef Abu Ghaben

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

PFLP celebrates in Gaza City

PFLP celebrates in Gaza City

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held an event honoring Comrade Yousef Abu Ghaben, deputy military leader of the PFLP in the Gaza Strip in the late 60s, on the 44th anniversary of his martyrdom. The event was widely attended by a large number of comrades, leaders and members of the Front, and also marked the 47th anniversary of the Front. Read more »

EuroPal Forum: Wave of recognition of Palestinian statehood awakening of European conscience, warning to Israeli occupation

PRESS RELEASE
EuroPal Forum

europal forum logo (400 x 139)

EuroPal Forum considers that the vote in the French Parliament by a majority in favour of the recognition of a Palestinian state is an important step on the road to European governments recognising the national rights of the Palestinian people. The move also creates a political atmosphere in the international community towards an official and binding decision to recognise the State of Palestine.

The Chairman of EuroPal Forum, Zaher Birawi, said that this wave of European support for Palestinian statehood constitutes an awakening of conscience among the Europeans, albeit late. He also believes it is an expression of anger and indignation by Europeans of the repetitive Israeli violations against Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem and elsewhere. At the same time, this wave carries with it warnings to the Israeli occupation. Read more »

Beit Hanoun: Homeless but not utterly hopeless, thanks to NZers

By Julie Webb-Pullman

Receiving clothes, blankets and schoolbags in Beit Hanoun 30/11/14

Receiving clothes, blankets and schoolbags in Beit Hanoun 30/11/14

With the help of New Zealanders the Palestinian Family Charitable Association in Beit Hanoun has done it again – provided warm winter clothes and blankets for some of the neediest children in Gaza as the wintry weather begins to bite.

Not that there are very many children in Beit Hanoun who are not needy – 1,500 apartment blocks were destroyed in this town during the 51 day Israeli offensive in July-August, leaving many thousands homeless and their schools full of displaced families. Read more »

Hemaya warns Israeli ‘Nationality bill’ will legitimise apartheid

PRESS RELEASE
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

Second Class Citizen stamp now being used by Palestinian citizens of 'Israel'

Second Class Citizen stamp now being used by Palestinian citizens of ‘Israel’

Hemaya Centre for Human Rights considers that the nationality bill passed by the Israeli cabinet last week will undermine the rights of Palestinian civilians in ‘Israel’ and legitimise apartheid.

The bill seeks to formally identify ‘Israel’ as the nation-state of the Jewish people, effectively ruling out the right of return of Palestinian refugees; to enshrine Jewish law as a source of inspiration for legislation; and to delist Arabic as an official language.

If passed by the Knesset, the law would be a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that an occupying power may not transfer sovereignty, make permanent changes in fundamental institutions, or change the demographic structure of the state it occupies. Read more »

Globalizing action to block Israeli Zim ships

PRESS RELEASE
Free Palestine Movement

Protestors block Zim ship in Oakland, California, August 2014

Protestors block Zim ship in Oakland, California, August 2014

You may have heard that the Zim shipping line has decided to discontinue sending its ships to California ports in the US. This is a major victory, but also a tactical retreat for Zim and the government of Israel. They appear to be terrified that ports around the world might block Israeli ships. Demonstrations and successful actions fuel the movement, and Israel may have decided that if there are no Israeli ships to picket, the news media will show little interest.

Perhaps, but that is why the Free Palestine Movement and other groups are working to encourage and develop pickets at other ports around the world. Zim lost millions of dollars and several clients as a result of the actions in the US. Shipping clients expect their cargo to be delivered on schedule, and the Oakland disruptions alone resulted in delays of weeks or months as well as extra shipping costs on non-Zim carriers. If a few more ports around the world can accomplish the same results, Zim will suffer greatly, and possibly mortally. Bringing down the giant Zim shipping line would be a major victory for the picket organizers, and might lead to similar actions against other Israeli interests.

On 1-3 December, Beirut, Lebanon will host an international meeting of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. The Free Palestine Movement will be one of dozens of organizations from as many countries to be represented. Our contribution will be a proposal for global actions to stop Israeli ships at ports around the world and to convene an international labor conference on Palestine in 2015. The proposal will occupy a major part of the conference, which will also address the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza, the threats against the Palestinian community in Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy places, as well as other topics.

Co-founder Paul Larudee will represent FPM at the conference and will report on the results after his return. We hope that other groups that are pursuing similar objectives in other places will also share such information, so that we do not miss this opportunity to give Israel a small taste of what it means to suffer a blockade of its ships, as it has done to Gaza for the last 47 years.