[HumanRights] Conversation?

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Hundreds of Israelis protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday after appointment of Lieberman as Minister of Defence

Hundreds of Israelis protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday after appointment of Lieberman as Minister of Defence

Life and death go on in this land where religion has increasingly political structure. Before Zionism, Western Asia (aka the “Middle East”) could potentially move into the modern era and shed anachronistic ideas of going back centuries to find governance models. Liberal trends were on the rise.

I remember a time when girls wore whatever they wanted and this caused no discussion, a time when discussions among adults and children focused on science developments, landing on the moon, whether there is life in other planets, and whether behaviors and intelligence are shaped more by nature or nurture.

Now we are in the era of Daesh/Islamic State/Jewish state etc.

Now we see even a war monger like Israeli defense minister Yaalon quit and say that Israeli politics is taken over by extremists like Lieberman. But it is not just politics, but public discourse. We need to pause and think when a bar bouncer like Lieberman can get automatic citizenship in Palestine (now renamed “Israel”) and rise to become a key minister in a racist apartheid regime, and he can get away with calling for crimes against humanity and will soon have the power to do them.

We live in an Orwellian world run by pathetic liars and criminals such as Netanyahu, Lieberman, Clinton, and Trump. Read more »

Half of UNRWA Schools Affected By Conflict in the Last Five Years


UNRWA Showcases its Innovative “Education in Emergency” Response

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Istanbul, 22 May 2016: Of the many tragedies occurring in the Middle-East, the story of embattled schools may be one of the least well known. Front-lines shift and run through school-grounds, artillery rounds hit installations, incursions by armed forces or groups occur, access is prevented or rendered impossible for young boys and girls, for whom education is a critical life-line.

Nearly half of the 692 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, across the region have been impacted, attacked or otherwise rendered inoperable by conflict or violence in the last five years, according to a new report unveiled at the World Humanitarian Summit, taking place in Istanbul. “A staggering 302 schools have been directly affected”, said UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, in an article published this week. Read more »

Mishaal: Resistance a strategic choice for Palestinians

Press Statement

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Chairman of Hamas political bureau Khaled Mishaal stated that resistance constitutes a national duty and an inherent Palestinian right.

Addressing crowds attending a national conference that commemorated the 68th Nakba anniversary, Mishaal stated that resistance remains a national Palestinian constant and a strategic choice in the path toward liberation.

“The rights of return, freedom of prisoners, statehood and self-determination are inalienable Palestinian rights.” He underlined.

He asserted that the individual and collective Palestinian right to the land of Palestine is not subject to any statute of limitations.

On a related note, Mishaal reiterated his call for national unity among Palestinians, stressing the importance of partnership and democracy in dealing with challenges facing the Palestinian cause.

Al-Nakba day: The biggest crisis in the history of Palestine

International Solidarity Movement
Press Release

Photo Credit: Muphta.org

Photo Credit: Muphta.org

Today, 68 years ago, the state of Israel was created in the Palestinian peoples’ home. The anniversary falls after a winter and spring with an escalation in violence and arrests of Palestinians, ever-expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Palestinian capital of Jerusalem, as the de facto take over by Israel of settlements in and around the city. It is estimated that there are approximately 600,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

For the Palestinians it is remembered as Yawm an-Nakba, meaning “Day of the Catastrophe” or just Nakba Day.

During the 1948 Palestine War, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled, and hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed. Read more »

Israeli Siege killing kids in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Mother of the three children who died in the housefire in Shati Camp, Gaza City

Mother of the three children who died in the housefire in Shati Camp, Gaza City

Yousra, Rahaf, and Naser Al Hindi died in a house fire in Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City on Friday night, after a candle fell on a mattress. The death of the three children, aged from one to five years, are being blamed by Gazans on the Israeli siege, and the lack of electricity in the coastal enclave.

In a press release on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the dead brothers as “martyrs of the Israeli blockade,” and also accused PA head Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah of pursuing a policy of discrimination and marginalization against the people of Gaza through their failure to provide electricity. Read more »

Gaza’s resistance retaliates to Israeli incursions, attacks

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Members of Jana al-Amur's family mourn her death

Members of Jana al-Amur’s family mourn her death

For the third consecutive day Palestinian resistance forces have been forced to retaliate defensively to Israeli military border incursions, and land, sea and air attacks.

Israeli media revealed that Israeli troops have been continually breaching Gaza’s sovereignty since Tuesday, “working on tunnel detection on both sides of Gaza border.”

The Palestinian resistance has thus far responded to the ongoing Israeli incursions and aggression with mortar and gunfire only.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades said the Israeli incursions since Tuesday morning are a clear violation of the 2014 cease-fire agreement, and a new aggression on the Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli occupation should stop invoking reasons to justify its violations [of Palestinian sovereignty], and should leave the Gaza Strip immediately,” the Brigades said.

Despite ongoing talks for the’restoration of calm‘ brokered by Egypt since Wednesday evening, Israeli forces have continued to launch multiple air strikes and artillery fire, as well as shooting at fishermen from gunboats.

The Israeli military has so far killed 54 year old woman Jana Aytah al-Amur in her home in al-Fakhari east of Khan Younis, and injured at least five other civilians: 21-year-old woman Khazima al-Farra from the al-Rayyanan area of Rafah, 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien from Zaitoun east of Gaza City, and three children from his family.

There have been no confirmed reports of any Israeli casualties.

Deputy head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh today spoke at a Gaza mosque during Friday prayers, telling the worshippers, “We are not calling for war, but we will not allow incursions at all. The resistance will not allow the establishment of a so-called buffer zone inside the borders of the Gaza Strip.”

An emergency meeting of the Israeli Security Council was held on Friday morning, but no official statements were released following the closed-door meeting.

It is notable that the Palestinian tunnels the Israeli military are attempting to use as justification for their latest breaches of international law have never been used for unprovoked attacks against Israeli citizens, but solely for defensive purposes and during Israeli military aggressions on the Gaza Strip.

Four Palestinians injured in dawn Israeli airstrikes on Gaza


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Four Palestinian citizens were injured on Thursday at dawn after Israeli warplanes launched several airstrikes on different Palestinian targets across the Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that an elderly Palestinian and three children was injured in the Israeli airstrikes in the center and north of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the injury of Hassan Hassanein, 65 years, who was wounded in the hand and shoulder in an Israeli airstrike on a workshop in the Al Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza.

Our correspondent said that the Israeli airstrikes targeted several areas: an open area on Al Sourani Mount east of Al Tuffah neighborhood; resistance training sites east of Al Shijae’ya neighborhood; and the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli airstrikes came after the intervention of Egyptian mediators to restore the cease-fire between the resistance and the occupation forces on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip following several Israeli incursions east of Rafah and Gaza.

Al Qassam: Israeli escalation a clear violation of 2014 agreement

Al Qassam
Press Statement

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Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades stressed that it will not allow the Israeli occupation to continue its aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The Brigades said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening that the Palestinian resistance considers the Israeli incursion, which has been going on since Tuesday morning, a clear violation of the 2014 cease-fire agreement and a new aggression on the Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli occupation should stop invoking reasons to justify its violations, and should leave the Gaza Strip immediately,” the Brigades said.

The Qassam statement came after a series of Israeli incursions carried out in the last 24 hours by engineering units belonging to the Israeli occupation army in the eastern areas of Rafah and Gaza, included clearing and wrecking operations in the lands of the citizens as well as shelling watching towers belonging to the Palestinian resistance.

Al-Nono denies fabricated statements by Breitbart News

Press Statement

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Taher Al-Nono, adviser to the Deputy Chairman of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniya, has categorically denied fabricated statements published on Breitbart News Network and attributed to him.

Al-Nono denied making any statements to the Breitbart news outlets regarding the UK Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“The website that ran this story is managed by Zionists and propaganda spin doctors who are launching a full scale attack on anyone who does not support the Israeli occupation.” Al-Nono told the Hamas official website.

“We confirm that Hamas does not intervene with the internal politics of states, neither in the UK nor in Europe or any other state.” He added.

Al-Nono said that legal action is being considered against the propaganda outlet that fabricated such statement on his behalf.

Breitbart published on Monday a report on positions taken by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, which contained fabricated statements on the issue that were attributed to Al-Nono.

Yarmouk civilians eat again

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Woman in Yarmouk May 02, 2016 (Photo: unrwa.org)

Woman in Yarmouk May 02, 2016 (Photo: unrwa.org)

But for how long, is the question. On Wednesday UNRWA managed to continue its humanitarian operations in Yalda, Damascus for the third consecutive day since intense clashes broke out on 07 April, and Yarmouk civilians were able to access Yalda for the first time in almost a month to receive much-needed assistance, and return to their homes.

Families received hygiene kits in addition to food parcels, and a small mobile medical team was able to treat 259 civilians in need of primary health care, including 61 children and 112 women. Read more »

Civilians in Yarmouk facing starvation and dehydration, UNRWA deplores inhumane deprivation

UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness
Press Statement

Palestinian refugees living in active conflict areas in Syria such as Yarmouk, Khan Eshieh and the Dera’a surroundings, face brutal hardships. Photo: UNRWA/Taghrid Mohammed

Palestinian refugees living in active conflict areas in Syria such as Yarmouk, Khan Eshieh and the Dera’a surroundings, face brutal hardships. Photo: UNRWA/Taghrid Mohammed

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is greatly alarmed and concerned by the desperate humanitarian consequences being inflicted on civilians since 6 April as a result of armed conflict between extremist armed groups inside Yarmouk, Damascus.

The fighting has been intense, and is taking place in the most densely populated areas of Yarmouk, with the use of heavy weapons, explosive devices and weapons of indiscriminate effect. The impact on civilian life has been devastating. Read more »

Hamas: Cutting PFLP funds an act of political extortion


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The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas condemned Monday the decision by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to the suspend the monthly financial allocation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) issued by the Palestinian National Fund.

In a press release, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri deemed the decision an act of political blackmail.

“Abbas uses money to extort political concessions and pass agendas that are rejected nationally,” he underlined.

Abu Zuhri expressed his Movement’s appreciation for the national positions of the PFLP, urging Abbas to retract the decision that further deepens Palestinian division.

Being the second-largest faction within the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), PFLP received a monthly allocation from the PLO’s Palestinian National Fund, which were distributed on the Front’s centers.

PFLP leaders said Monday that funds for February and March haven’t been issued as a result of a decision by Abbas to stop funds allocated to the PFLP.

PFLP marches in Gaza: The Front is not for sale!

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine


The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine responded to new attacks on its sustainability by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas at a mass rally and march in Gaza City on Tuesday, April 12.

Masses of Palestinians marched from the Saraya field to the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City, marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and 40 days on the martyrdom of the former prisoner and leader Comrade Omar Nayef Zayed in the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria. The event drew large crowds of participants including leaders, cadres and members of the Front and the Palestinian people.

The march began with fighters carrying symbolic coffins representing the martyrs whose bodies remain imprisoned by the occupation as well as the martyr Omar Nayef Zayed. Marchers denounced the role of the Palestinian Authority in security coordination and burned posters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, demanding his immediate resignation. Read more »

UNRWA Condemns Large Scale Home Demolitions in the West Bank

UNRWA West Bank Director, Lance Bartholomuesz

UmAlKhayr (400 x 300)

Jerusalem 6 April 2016

UNRWA condemns today’s large scale home demolitions by the Israeli Authorities in the Bedouin refugee community of Um al Khayr in the South Hebron Hills. As a result, 31 Palestine refugees, including 16 children, were made homeless. This community has endured several rounds of demolitions and often faced harassment from the nearby illegal settlement of Karmel.

“I am appalled. Looking in the eyes of a young Bedouin boy in a red shirt standing amongst the crumpled ruins of his demolished home, how can anyone justify this? ” stated Lance Bartholomeusz, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank.

Already this year, over 700 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli demolitions in the West Bank. This figure is approaching the total number of displaced for all of 2015.

UNRWA is gravely concerned about demolitions in violation of international law. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention destruction of private property is prohibited. As Occupying Power, Israel is obliged to administer the occupied territory for the welfare of the protected Palestinian population.

As the UN has said repeatedly, these demolitions must stop.

PFLP demands PLO, Central Council hold Abbas accountable for undermining Palestinian struggle

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Press Release

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called on the Palestine Liberation Organization and its institutions to confront Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks to Zionist media as well as the PA’s delegation paying condolences on the death of a so-called “Civil Administration” occupation official in the West Bank.

The PFLP notes that this shameful behavior is continuing, repetitive and ongoing, exhibiting subservience to the structures of the occupation and its mechanisms of repression. These actions cross all of the lines and traditions of the Palestinian people and undermine the Palestinian national liberation movement and its principles and decisions, the most recent being the Palestinian Central Council’s decisions to end security coordination with the occupation. Read more »

Hamas commemorates Palestinian Land Day


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The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas in Khanyounis staged on Tuesday activities commemorating Palestinian Land Day.

Hamas leader and MP Yehya Mousa asserted that the land of Palestine is indivisible, and the occupation shall not hold any piece of it.

“Palestinians are entitled to their land and they will give up not one inch,” he stated.

He stressed that Palestinians inside the occupied lands of Palestine and in the diaspora are one people, adding that Palestinians hope for a united leadership that fulfills their national agenda and leads them toward liberation.

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Palestinian Land Day is an annual event which takes place on March 30 to commemorate the events of 1976, when a general strike and marches were organized in the Arab towns of the lands of 1948 in response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land.

Six unarmed protesters were killed and hundreds wounded as the Israeli occupation police attacked the peaceful demonstrations.

PFLP: On Land Day, we affirm that the Palestinian struggle is for a united, democratic, liberated Palestine

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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As we commemorate Land Day this year, the Palestinian people continue their great struggle throughout historic Palestine, in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Occupied Palestine 1948, together with the Palestinian people in exile and diaspora, together marching forward in a militant, democratic struggle for national liberation which will end only with victory, freedom, return and self-determination.

March 30 is a date of great significance in the Palestinian national liberation movement. On this date in 1976, the Palestinian masses in the Galilee, the Naqab, and the rest of Occupied Palestine 1948, as well as the Palestinian masses in the lands occupied in 1967 and in the diaspora, rose up against the policy of land confiscation by the Zionist state. The Palestinian people struggled to defend the land that has birthed and embraced them for milennia, to which they have given their blood, sweat, thoughts and dreams, the place of home, homeland and identity. The Palestinian struggle against the Zionist entity is an existential struggle for liberation; a struggle to liberate the land, for the return of Palestinian refugees at the core of the Palestinian cause, and the central core of the Arab-Zionist conflict. Read more »

Comment by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, on the killing of a Palestinian man in Hebron

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Photo: MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati

Photo: MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati

GENEVA (30 March 2016) — We are extremely concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Thursday 24 March.

Two Palestinian men allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron on Thursday morning, and were both shot during the attack. A video later emerged appearing to show one of the alleged Palestinian assailants, subsequently identified as Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif, lying injured but still alive on the ground. Medical staff were shown attending to the wounded soldier, who was driven away in an ambulance, but did not appear to offer any medical assistance to Mr. al-Sharif.

The video then shows an Israeli soldier shooting Mr. al-Sharif in the head, killing him. What is particularly chilling is the way none of the 20 or so people at the scene, including medical personnel, appear to pay any attention to the wounded man while he was still alive, and also barely show any reaction in the immediate aftermath of his killing. Read more »

Report: 97% of water in Gaza not compatible with standards

Palestinian Information Center

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A Palestinian report showed that the individual portion of water in Gaza has declined from 91.3 liters daily in 2013 to 79.7 liters in 2014. Over 97% of water in the coastal enclave is not compatible with standards of the World Health Organization for drinking water, the report added.

The report which was prepared mutually by the Palestinian central statistics department and the Palestinian authority of water and issued on the World Day of Water on March 22, revealed that Gazan people receive the minimum level recommended by the same organization which is 100 liters per day for the individual.

Israeli forces control most sources of water in the area and prevent Palestinians from accessing those sources. Israeli practices as well prevent the establishment of sewage treatment stations, the report stated.

It was also pointed out in the report that Palestinians have to buy water from the Israeli water company, Mekorot. The purchased water reached to 63.5 million cubic meters in 2014 with a percentage of 18.5% of the available water.

Palestinian Reconciliation: Not a dream, but the bottom line

by Julie Webb-Pullman

From left - Yasser Khalaf, Al Ahrar; Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas; Khader Habib, Islamic Jihad; Dr Salah Abdul Al Ati, MASARAT; Facilitator, Management & Politics Academy

From left – Yasser Khalaf, Al Ahrar; Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas; Khader Habib, Islamic Jihad; Dr Salah Abdul Al Ati, MASARAT; Facilitator, Management & Politics Academy Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

That is the view expressed by Dr Salah Abdul Al Ati, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies (MASARAT), at a seminar held in Gaza City Monday afternoon to discuss the proposal for national unity his organization circulated to all factions and interested parties for comment in February 2016.

Attended by representatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Ahrar and a diverse audience, the seminar saw a spirited exchange of opinions and ideas, giving lie to the supposed repression of free speech in Gaza.

Abbas, Hamas, Oslo, Hamdallah and politicians in general all came in for criticism – along with the Palestinian people themselves.

“The division did not come from another planet,” said Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib, “but as a result of our own mistakes as Palestinians. There is no longer a concrete national project that we all agree on – THIS is what we really need.” Read more »