Archive for June, 2016

Turkish relief agency İHH condemns Israeli-Turkish agreement, vows to continue Mavi Marmara case

Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH)
Public Announcement

We Hope the Parliament doesn’t Forgive Israeli Murderers

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Today following the ongoing diplomatic negotiations Israel and Turkey have officially announced normalized relations, which have been strained following the attack on Mavi Marmara on 31st May 2010. Netanyahu’s announcement on behalf of Israel came around the same time Turkey issued a statement about it. In the press conference, Netanyahu has declared in a victorious attitude that “It is a tremendous economic success for Israel. The blockade on Gaza by no means is lifted nor shall it ever be lifted. Turkey has agreed to our terms.” He has highlighted that Israel agreed not to pay compensation but to make a donation of 20 million dollars provided that the cases are withdrawn; that this move will prevent the case from establishing a precedent for other crimes of Israeli soldiers; that the agreement is a significant gain. Unfortunately the rapprochement agreement which is announced by Turkey means that blockade on Gaza is recognized by Turkey. Indeed Gaza is free according to the agreement signed in 2005 and is entitled to the right to travel and do business as it pleases without relying on anybody. The embargo means that Israel is recognized as a superior authority which has the final say on what and how much supplies can enter Gaza and this is the subject matter of the agreement announced. Read more »

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slams Israeli human rights breaches in Hares Boys case, demands his immediate release

by Julie Webb-Pullman

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group's Opinion

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group’s Opinion

In an opinion released on June 29, 2016 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slammed Israel for its treatment of a Palestinian child arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to sign a document without first reading it. The Group also noted the discriminatory nature of the arrest based on the nationality of the victim, who was referred to as XXXXX, but acknowledged to be one of the children in the notorious Hares Boys case.

In the advance unedited version of the opinion, the Working Group “recommends the Government Israel to provide full reparations to XXXXX, starting with his immediate release,” and decided to refer the allegations of torture to the Special Rapporteur on torture for appropriate action. Read more »

Renaissance in Europe and the Arab world

Mazin Qumsiyeh

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I wrote several articles over the past 20 years suggesting for the sake of Europe’s future to develop a more independent foreign policy and end US led NATO’s adventurism whether in Libya or the Ukraine. But looking at the British poll to exit Europe, we cannot just say “we told you so”. We cannot feel happy seeing Europe collapse even though we here in Palestine suffered and continue to suffer from European colonization (yes Zionism that created Israel is European colonization).

This vote was focused mainly on fear of immigration (not economy as many expected) and this epidemic of fear of the brown people is afflicting the US and Europe and is stoked by Zionist xenophobes. It was not surprising that all of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire peddled for Brexit (British exit). The stock markets collapsed, gold prices surged, and there is a general panic as the rich bankers who control/issue the money do not know what to do. The US Federal Reserve is panicking because interest rates are already so low and can’t be lowered so much further to “simulate the economy.” The economy is bad in Europe and the US because it is a war economy. Read more »

Bone of their Bone: Torture and Ill-Treatment by Palestinian Security Forces


26 June 2016

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On the occasion of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Addameer calls for an end to all practices by the Palestinian Authority that amount to torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. In 2014, the Palestinian government signed and ratified several international conventions on the protection of human rights, including the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT). Thus, the Palestinian Authority became responsible for fulfilling its obligations under the convention by taking “effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction” in accordance with the Convention.[1]

In 2015-2016, Addameer has documented continued cases of arbitrary detention, torture, and ill-treatment during arrest as well as in Palestinian prisons, detention and intelligence centers. Read more »

Mishaal: Regional plots target both Ramallah, Gaza


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Chairman of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mishaal stated that there are plots targeting both Gaza and Ramallah in an attempt to impose a Palestinian leadership that serves a regional agenda, not Palestinian interests.

Speaking at a media meeting in Doha on Wednesday, Mishaal stressed that Hamas will not allow outsiders to meddle in Palestinian affairs.

“Hamas and Fatah have their differences, but they also share common ground that we can build upon through dialogue,” he underlined.

He confirmed that lifting the siege on Gaza remains a Turkish condition for normalizing relations with Israel, noting that Turkish officials have assured the movement in this regard.

“Our top priorities are ending the internal division, supporting resistance and the ongoing uprising, and protecting Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

“Ending the Gaza siege is one of our top priorities,” he said, at the same time stressing that Hamas seeks to spare the Gaza Strip a new Israeli war.

UNRWA: Hundreds displaced, rendered homeless by punitive Israeli demolitions

Chris Gunness, Spokesman, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA
Press Statement

Residents inspect the damage in a house demolished by Israeli troops at Qalandia refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied occupied West Bank, November 16, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Residents inspect the damage in a house demolished by Israeli troops at Qalandia refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied occupied West Bank, November 16, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

UNRWA is gravely concerned about the recent decision of the Israeli High Court of Justice to reject the appeals filed by Palestine refugee families against two punitive demolitions in Kalandia refugee camp. The two families were given five days as of 14 June to evacuate the apartments. Today, the family is in a state of perpetual apprehension as they wait for implementation of the punitive demolition which could occur at any undefined time. Read more »

UN experts urge Israeli Knesset not to adopt pending legislation that could target critical NGOs

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
Press Release

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision's Area Development Programme Manager in Gaza recently detained by Israel,  meets with children displaced in the 2014 Israeli offensive during a ceasefire.

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s Area Development Programme Manager in Gaza recently detained by Israel, meets with children displaced in the 2014 Israeli offensive during a ceasefire.

GENEVA (24 June 2016) – Three United Nations human rights experts today urged Israeli lawmakers not to approve the so called ‘NGO transparency bill’ that would, in effect, target non-governmental organizations that are critical of government policy. The experts expressed grave concern that the legislation would chill the speech of human rights NGOs by subjecting them to harsh penalties for violations and delegitimizing them publicly.

The stated aim of the legislation is to increase transparency by requiring NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign government entities to disclose certain information, such as the names of their donors in all publications intended for or made available to the public, or in any written appeal to a public employee or public representative.

“The promotion of transparency is indeed desirable and legitimate,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye. “However, the pending legislation has the evident intent of targeting human rights and civil rights organizations, which receive a majority of their funding from foreign government entities, while leaving unaffected other organizations that nonetheless receive a substantial amount of foreign funding from individuals.”

The proposed legislation is again before the Knesset, after having passed the first reading earlier this year. The current version of the legislation appears to have removed some requirements, such as the need for representatives of qualifying NGOs to wear a special identification tag in the Knesset and in every other government building.

“By differentiating between donations from foreign political bodies and donations from other sources, the proposed legislation will likely lead some NGOs to be perceived as agents of foreign entities, regardless of how autonomously they operate,” warned the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of association and peaceful assembly, Maina Kiai.

“The discriminatory impact of new requirements on NGOs would result in public shaming of certain organizations, eroding the democratic character of Israeli civil society,” added the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

The UN human rights experts urged members of the Knesset to withdraw the proposed legislation and uphold its international obligation to safeguard the broad and expansive right to freedom of expression guaranteed to everyone under Article 19* of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

(*) Article 19

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.

Check the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights here


Statement No. 3 from the PFLP Prison Branch: We take, unswervingly, the road of freedom

PFLP Prison Branch
Press Statement

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The struggling prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, engaged in the “battle of freedom” against the prisons and the intelligence agencies of the occupation on the road to a victory for the heroic prisoner Bilal Kayed. He continues his hunger strike for the tenth day in a row, joined by dozens of prisoners of the Front, in response to the call of the Front’s prison branch since the first day that Comrade Kayed was ordered to administrative detention and isolation. The Front declared a state of maximum alert and decided to fight the battle for freedom and organize a series of protests and actions, with a program of struggle which is continuing today.

In order to attempt to stop the protest, the enemy has been using means of repression, raiding prisoners’ sections, depriving prisoners of the Front of family visits until further notice, and confiscating electrical appliances. Having seen the failure of these repressive measures against the steadfastness and determination of our comrades. and in the context of increasing pressure on the prisoners, the occupation has launched a campaign of transfers against dozens of prisoners on hunger strike, including some of the leaders of the Front, ordering some of them into isolation. This happened yesterday, to transfer dozens of striking prisoners from Megiddo prison and distribute them to other prisons, and to isolate the leaders Wael Jaghoub and Salah Ali and others, in an attempt to repress their growing protest steps and to neutralize the role of leaders and isolate them from the rest of the prisoners. Read more »

Statement on the arrest of World Vision’s staff Mohammad El Halabi

World Vision Jerusalem – West Bank – Gaza
Press Statement

World Vision’s Gaza Zonal Manager, Mohammad El Halabi, has been arrested by the Israeli authorities at Erez checkpoint, while returning to Gaza on Wednesday June 15th, 2016 at around 2:30 PM. To date, World Vision is not aware of his whereabouts and of what (if anything) he is being accused.

World Vision is extremely concerned about the safety of Mohammad, and is working closely with its lawyer, diplomatic and government contacts to get more information on the situation, push for fair legal representation, and ultimately get him released as soon as possible.

World Vision is asking all for prayers and patience as Mohammad’s release is sought.

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Kayed refuses to attend military court, hearing delayed until 6 July


Bayadsi said that that she requested Kayed’s full Shin Bet file, including the records of his interrogation, noting that both Kayed’s administrative detention and solitary confinement are based on the “secret file.”

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The Israeli Ofer military court delayed its hearing to confirm the six-month administrative detention order against hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed this morning, 22 June. Kayed refused to attend today’s hearing, stating that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the administrative detention order or the military court.

Kayed’s lawyer, Farah Bayadsi of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, said in Hadaf News that the hearing was delayed until 6 July. Kayed is on hunger strike for the ninth day, held in solitary confinement, in protest of the administrative detention order against him issued upon the completion of his 14 1/2 year sentence in Israeli prison. Read more »

Prisoner leaders thrown in solitary confinement; 120 Palestinians striking in Megiddo prison

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Wael Jaghoub and Kamil Abu Hanish

Wael Jaghoub and Kamil Abu Hanish

Two of the leaders of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement – Wael Jaghoub and Kamil Abu Hanish – have been thrown into solitary confinement, while 120 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Megiddo prison in solidarity with Bilal Kayed, the Palestinian prisoner who was ordered to six months administrative detention without charge or trial upon the expiration of his 14.5 year sentence in Israeli prison on Monday, 13 June.

Prisoner leaders Jaghoub and Abu Hanish were ordered to isolation as repressive forces invaded sections 1, 5, and 7 in Ramon prison, confiscating electrical appliances and personal belongings and locking down cells.

There is also high tension in Nafha prison after Jamal al-Hour, a representative of Hamas prisoners, was ordered transferred to Eshel prison. Read more »

Statement No. 2 by the PFLP Prison Branch leadership: The struggle continues until victory

Peoples Front for the Liberation of Palestine Prison Branch
Press Statement

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The Battle for Freedom will continue until the victory of Bilal Kayed

We greet the Palestinian people with the steadfastness and vigor of the imprisoned leader Bilal Kayed, who is rising up from his isolation cell, where he is beginning the second week of hunger strike, rejecting all pressures, orders and threats. He remains defiant as always in the face of the executioner and refuses to break or relent; he is not intimidated by threats or poor conditions or his deteriorating health, and the Prison Branch stands with him in the battle of freedom without retreat until we achieve freedom. There is no substitute for freedom!

We salute the struggling comrades in Megiddo and Gilboa prison on hunger strike, joining the battle in response to Comrade Kayed’s call. Read more »

Palestinian prisoners on the threshold of a new battle

Kamil Abu Hanish and Wael Jaghoub

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The PFLP prison organization launched a battle in support of Comrade Bilal on June 14, which will escalate until the beginning of July, to take the form of an open hunger strike for most of the imprisoned comrades, and will continue this battle with determination and revolutionary resolve to break the chains of our comrade Bilal and see him returned to his family, loved ones, village, and the arms of the people.

In this context, we emphasize the importance of the media and of mass organizations in supporting this battle, and our comrades trust and appreciate this effort and encourage them to continue activities to achieve the objectives of this battle. Read more »

Bilal Kayed: History of Struggle in Prison

Handala Center for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners

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Bilal Kayed was arrested on 14 December 2001, accused of participating in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and in resistance operations carried out in the second Intifada. He was subjected to harsh and lengthy interrogation for nearly two months. He refused to provide any meaningful information to the occupation interrogators, was charged in military court and sentenced to 14 and one-half years in Israeli prisons. He has now had an additional order of six months’ administrative detention imposed upon him at the moment of his scheduled release.

After his interrogation, he was transferred to Megiddo prison, where he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization inside the prisons, and dealt with the crises experienced by every new prisoner in line with their reality, realizing the new basis of their struggle. Read more »

Why did Mahmoud Abbas turn against Hamas?

Dr Fayez Abu Shamaleh
Source Middle East Monitor

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas

On the anniversary of Palestine’s political division, all fingers are being pointed at Hamas, by those writing for the first time as well as the veterans who know the ins and outs of the issue. The common ground for everyone is spreading lies under the pretext that Hamas is staging a coup against legitimacy. What legitimacy are they talking about?

Is it legitimacy represented by Mahmoud Abbas, who is in love with his “sacred” security coordination with the Israeli intelligence agencies? Or is it the legitimacy of the Palestinian people who live under occupation represented by resistance in all its forms?

Didn’t the late President Yasser Arafat seize legitimacy within the PLO by means of the gun? So who has rebelled against whom? Why are some people twisting the irrefutable historical facts to suit their own agendas? Read more »

Statement No. 1 by the PFLP Prison Branch leadership

Prison Branch, PFLP
Press Statement

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At this time, our heroic comrade Bilal Kayed has announced that he is carrying out an open hunger strike, after the unjust decision of the occupation authority ordering him to administrative detention for six months on the day of his scheduled release, June 13, 2016, after the comrade spent 14 and a half years in captivity, the last year in solitary confinement.

We in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Prison Branch announce that his battle is our battle, and the battle of all of the comrades of the PFLP and all of the Palestinian people. From the first day of the decision of the fascist occupation, we have opened the struggle and protest on June 14 and will continue throughout the month of June and early July, culminating in opening the second phase of the battle: an open hunger strike by all of our comrades in prison after July 7, 2016. We assure that we will not retreat from this battle until we have broken the arrogance of the occupation and its security institutions, and broken this decision, which puts all prisoners at high risk and endangers our people’s rights to freedom, dignity and humanity. Read more »

Megiddo prisoners launch solidarity hunger strike with Bilal Kayed


Palestinian prisoners at Megiddo prison. Photo: Nir Elias, Reuters

Palestinian prisoners at Megiddo prison. Photo: Nir Elias, Reuters

30 Palestinian prisoners in Megiddo prison are carrying out a solidarity hunger strike with Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed. Kayed, 35, was ordered on Monday to six months in administrative detention by the Israeli occupation military, when he had been scheduled for release after 14 and one-half years in Israeli prison. He launched an open hunger strike demanding his freedom on 15 June.

Palestinian prisoners have launched a campaign of protest in support of Kayed, demanding his immediate release and the cancellation of the administrative detention order against him. All prisoners affiliated with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kayed’s political party, carried out the first of several planned two-day hunger strikes on 14 and 15 June; Kayed was the PFLP prisoners’ representative in Megiddo prison before being transferred to solitary confinement for the last year of his imprisonment.

The Handala Center for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners said that the 30 prisoners in Megiddo view the order against Kayed as an attempt by the occupation to implement a new systematic policy against prisoners at the end of lengthy sentences, and an attempt to impose a policy of fear on prisoners to discourage protest inside the prisons, as Kayed was a known leader in the prisoners’ movement. Read more »

PFLP denounces new targeting of prisoner Bilal Kayed

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declared that the occupation’s ordering the imprisoned leader Bilal Kayed to administrative detention when he was scheduled to be released on June 13 after nearly 15 years in Israeli prisons, is a Zionist crime that comes in the context of a systematic targeting of the leaders and prisoners of the Popular Front.

This is particularly the case as Comrade Kayed has suffered from many violations, including over a year in solitary confinement, and neglect of his deteriorating health caused by the policy of isolation.

The Front demanded international institutions, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross, uphold their responsibilities and push the occupation to revoke this criminal decision against Kayed. International silence on this action is participation in the crime, which will be used to set a precedent against other prisoners expecting to complete their sentences. Read more »

PFLP denounces election of “Israel” to presidency of UN Legal Committee

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Press Release

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the election of “Israel” to the presidency of the United Nations Legal Committee, amid globalized imperialist domination and its alliance with the Zionist movement, and amid the Arab conditions of unprecedented sectarian conflicts, disintegration and dependency, and the cooperation, normalization and coordination with the enemy on the part of reactionary Arab states.

The Front notes that this decision is an attack on any concept of international law or justice, encouraging and rewarding a state that openly violates the UN Charter and all forms of international humanitarian and human rights law, and even attacks the UN in order to perpetuate its occupation of Palestine, with a racist and fascist nature and policy, and rejecting outright all international decisions and resolutions on the rights of the Palestinian people to return, self-determination and independence.

The Front concluded that this action is a reward for the Zionist state and its attacks on the Palestinian people, and that its election to the presidency of the UN Legal Committee will be used to commit more crimes against the Palestinian people, more violations of international law, and the continued occupation of Palestine and other Arab lands.

BDS: Discussing Difficult Issues in a Fast-Growing Movement

Omar Barghouti

Source: Al Shabaka

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Israel’s attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other human rights defenders living under occupation, such as Al Haq staff, have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, including the direct threats made by leading Israeli officials against BDS activists and in particular against the movement’s co-founder Omar Barghouti.

Beyond the headlines, the work goes on, as does continuous debate and discussion to further the movement amongst Palestinians at home and abroad as well as among global solidarity activists. There is much to discuss and some of the issues are difficult ones, including questions of framing. Al-Shabaka Executive Director Nadia Hijab discussed some of these issues in a wide-ranging conversation with Omar Barghouti. Read more »

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