Archive for August, 2017

Administrative detention order issued against Addameer’s field researcher Salah Hamouri

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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Addameer’s field researcher and human rights defender Salah Hamouri has received a six months administrative detention order, which is set to end on 22 February 2018. Initially, the Israeli Magistrate Court of Jerusalem has ordered the conditional release of Hamouri though, less than half an hour later, he was issued with the order.

According to the Court’s decision, Hamouri was going to be placed under house arrest in Al-Reineh (a village in the north of the territories occupied in 1948) for 20 days. He would also be banned from entering Jerusalem and traveling outside of the country for 3 months, until 28 November 2017. Additionally, Hamouri had to pay a 10,000NIS bail and third party guarantees, and when his family went to Al-Moskobyeh to pay the bail, they were informed that Hamouri will not be released. Read more »

Hamas: UN Secretary General’s visit to Gaza welcome

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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Hamas welcomes the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’s visit to the Gaza Strip, deeming the visit of the high-profile international figure an indication to the special status of the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and to the deteriorating living conditions inside the strip given the relentless long Israeli blockade imposed on it.

It is highly regrettable this siege persists before the eyes of the international community and through the international Quartet. This matter necessitates that the Secretary General meet with families of the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons, patients deprived of travelling to receive medical treatment, owners of destroyed houses and victims of the Israeli assaults and siege. As Hamas follows with interest this visit, it requests the Secretary-General to:

1. Make all possible efforts to lift the Gaza siege and end the suffering of two million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

2. Approve and fund the relief and development programs to save the Gaza Strip from the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

3. Pressure the Israeli occupation to end their violations against the Palestinian people, the Islamic and Christian holy sites and, and to work immediately to end the Israeli occupation’s violations against the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons.

Fawzi Barhoum

Spokesperson of The Islamic Movement of Hamas

Mass march in Gaza remembers Abu Ali Mustafa, demands to break siege

Poplar Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organized a mass march in Gaza City on Saturday, August 26, marking the 16th anniversary of the assassination of PFLP General Secretary, Comrade Abu Ali Mustafa. This central mass rally in Gaza was led by the cadres of the Popular Army and a massive Palestinian flag.

Marchers proceeded from the Gaza City municipal park to the Square of the Unknown Soldier, raising Palestinian flags, PFLP banners and signs demanding an end to the siege on Gaza, Palestinian national unity and the liberation of Palestine. The march included a street vendor with a trolley representing the plight of Palestinian workers as well as a child laying in a hospital bed with health workers around him, highlighting the situation of Palestinian sick children denied medical treatment due to the killer policies of occupation and siege.

Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and leader of its branch in Gaza, delivered the main speech at the rally and march. The full text is below: Read more »

Behind a Firewall: Repercussions of the PA ‘Electronic Crimes Law’

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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ADDAMEER has published a new FACTSHEET about the presidential decree entitled the ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ issued in June 2017.

Over the past month, the Palestinian Authority has increased the pressure on journalists and voices of dissent within the West Bank. This attempt to silence dissenting voices was formalized in the form of a Presidential decree entitled ‘The Electronic Crimes Law’.

Since it has been issued, 30 or so websites have been blocked for access by West Bank IP address, six journalists have been arrested, and four others have been brought in for questioning based on social media posts.

The websites banned are primarily associated with Hamas, or the exiled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan; and the journalists who have been arrested have been primarily associated with Hamas.

As stated in the Fact Sheet,

“The fact that these websites are run by political rivals to the current ruling faction of the PA indicates that that these laws are being and, will continue to be used, to stifle free speech, legitimate decent, and discussions regarding the state of politics in Palestine.

Addameer confirms that the PA is legally bound to respect and fulfill the right to freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the ICCPR. The PA must also guarantee that any of its laws attempting to criminalize or otherwise regulate using any type of information technology complies with its international obligations.

Furthermore, Addameer urges that the Palestinian Authority must abide by the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

PFLP in Kobar urges broad campaign to rebuild demolished homes of resistance strugglers

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation in the village of Kobar northwest of Ramallah urged the building of a broad popular campaign to rebuild the home of the family of Palestinian prisoner Omar Abdel-Jalil al-Abed and open the streets of the village.

On Thursday, 17 August, masked youths of the PFLP in Kobar went to the family home, attacked and bulldozed by the occupation forces, and decorated it with Palestinian flags. They painted on the remaining walls and throughout the village “Al-Fida’i Omar al-Abed” (The struggler, Omar al-Abed) as well as the image of Omar on the main street at the entrance to the village, sending a message to the occupation that the people embrace the resistance and their families. Read more »

PLO denounces the terrorist attacks in Spain

Press Release – PLO Executive Committee

On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, we strongly denounce the recent terrorist attacks in Spain in which at least thirteen people were killed and more than one hundred were injured. Read more »

Hamas mourns death of Gaza security member

Press Statement
HAMAS

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In the name of Allah the most Merciful

Hamas’s spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, stated the following:

Hamas mourns the death of Nidal al-Ja’fari, a member of Hamas’s security forces, who was killed in the southern Gaza Strip by a suicide bomber, while carrying out the national duty of protecting his homeland borders. We wish the wounded a speedy recovery and our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

While we strongly condemn this terrible crime, we highly value the role of Gaza’s Interior Ministry and the security services in enforcing the law and maintaining the security of the Palestinian citizens despite all the obstacles, challenges and difficulties facing the Strip.

The movement stresses the need for the Ministry of Interior to continue to play its vital security role and to strike those who break the law and the values ​ of the Palestinian people with an iron fist.

Fawzi Barhoum

Hamas spokesperson

17 August 2017

PFLP salutes anti-racist struggle in Charlottesville, calls for struggle against racism, fascism, Zionism and imperialism

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine mourns the martyr Heather Heyer and wishes speedy healing to the wounded anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States as they confronted a racist, fascist rally on Saturday, August 12. The martyr and the wounded are part of the global list of those who have fallen in the struggles of all peoples to confront racist powers and they will always be remembered as such.

Contrary to the assertions of some corporate media in the United States, the fascist rally in Virginia in “defense” of a Confederate statue is not a divergence from U.S. ruling politics but a reflection of them. The United States has always been built on the genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of Indigenous land, the genocidal confiscation of Black lives and Black labor and the globally murderous power of capitalism and imperialism. Read more »

Al Sinwar: Joint work key to promote national project

Press Release
HAMAS

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The head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Yahya Al Sinwar, stressed the importance of the joint work among all Palestinian factions to promote the national project and achieve its goals.

During his meeting with senior writers and analysts in his office, Al Sinwar reiterated Tuesday that Hamas is exerting all efforts to ease the siege on Gaza Strip.

He also listened to their explanations and questions and discussed with them the latest developments on the Palestinian cause and the possible ways to achieve the nation’s goals.

Al Sinwar pointed out that Hamas is keen to develop the capabilities of the resistance within the framework of its comprehensive political, military, legal and media understanding and in line with providing a decent living for Gazans.

He also expressed Hamas’ refusal to separate Gaza from the rest of Palestine. Al Sinwar concluded the importance of spreading freedom within the Palestinian society in order to enhance the cohesion of the society in the face the challenges.

Justice Denied: Israeli Impunity

PRESS RELEASE
Visualizing Palestine

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In July 2014, Israel began a military assault on the Gaza Strip, including an indiscriminate bombing campaign and a brutal ground invasion. In total, the assault killed 1,545 Palestinian civilians, including 556 children, and made 11,166 families homeless.

For victims and survivors of the attack on Gaza, Israel’s own military courts are the only place to seek legal recourse. Yet these courts certainly do not offer a genuine avenue for accountability to Palestinians.

Of the 500 Palestinian complaints which were filed with Israeli military courts in relation to the 2014 Gaza war, 196 were dismissed immediately, 133 were lost in the system, and only 31 were brought forward for criminal investigation.

Three soldiers were eventually convicted for minor felonies such as credit card theft and looting. Military commanders and politicians—those most responsible for the massive destruction and loss of life—have never been held accountable for their role in violations of human rights and international law.

CPJ requests meeting with Israeli ambassador to the United States

PRESS RELEASE
Committee to Protect Journalists

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The Honorable Ron Dermer
Ambassador of Israel to the United States
3514 International Drive NW
Washington, DC 20008
Via Email: info@israelemb.org and info@washington.mfa.gov.il

August 11, 2017

Your Excellency,

We at the Committee to Protect Journalists–an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for press freedom worldwide–write to express our deep concern about Communication Minister Ayoub Kara’s recent announcement that the Israeli government seeks to amend the law in order to shutter Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera’s bureau in Israel, revoke its license, and strip its journalists of their accreditation.

We would welcome the opportunity to elaborate in person on the concerns we raised in the New York Times yesterday. That a country that describes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East is citing Egypt’s military dictatorship and Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy as precedents in muzzling a media outlet is troubling, especially coupled with the government’s recent actions against journalists. Read more »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Gaza

Press Release – UNHCR

We are deeply concerned about the steady deterioration in the humanitarian conditions and the protection of human rights in Gaza. Read more »

UNHCHR deeply concerned about deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza

PRESS STATEMENT
Ravina Shamdasani: Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure the well-being of the population.

Photo: Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera

Photo: Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera

Location: Geneva
Subject: Gaza

We are deeply concerned about the steady deterioration in the humanitarian conditions and the protection of human rights in Gaza.

At the height of summer, with soaring temperatures, electricity provision has not risen above six hours per day since the beginning of the current crisis in April, and has often been under four hours. This has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services. Power outages threaten the life and well-being of vulnerable groups, particularly those needing urgent medical care. We have observed an increasingly dire situation for the men, women and children of Gaza amid a deepening economic crisis, coupled with continuing restrictions on movement and freedom of expression. The desperate situation has also contributed to violent crime, domestic violence, including femicides, and attempted suicides, although exact data is hard to obtain.

Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza are not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza. Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure the well-being of the population. Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza also have clear concurrent human rights obligations towards the Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli blockade and closure continue to disproportionately affect the civilian population and must be lifted. The recent measures to decrease the provision of electricity, and to cut the salaries and order early retirement of civil servants in Gaza, are having a direct, negative impact on the social and economic rights of Gazans. The lack of transparency in the use of resources, and the continuing suppression of freedom of speech and assembly by the authorities raise further concerns for the protection of fundamental rights of the population in the Gaza Strip.

We urge Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza to uphold the human rights of the population in Gaza. We also call on the international community to respond to the UN’s urgent appeal for humanitarian aid, to honour pledges made to support reconstruction and development of Gaza, and to work with the parties to bring a resolution to the current crisis.

Joint report estimates that 880 Palestinians arrested in July 2017

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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Palestinian prisoners’ affairs institutions – the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights – issued the following report on 8 July 2017, which indicates that, during the month of July 2017, Israeli authorities arrested 880 individuals from the occupied Palestinian territories, including 144 children, and 18 women. Read more »

Palestinian security forces arrest five journalists in West Bank

PRESS RELEASE
Committee to Protect Journalists – MENA

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Beirut, August 10, 2017–Palestinian security forces should immediately release five journalists arrested in the West Bank yesterday and should cease arresting journalists on spurious charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Palestinian Authority security forces arrested the five journalists in raids of their homes in several cities across the West Bank, originally on allegations of “leaking sensitive information to hostile parties,” according to news reports, the journalists’ employers, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. The Reconciliation Court in Ramallah today extended their detention for periods ranging from 5-15 days on charges of “endangering public safety,” news reports said. All of the journalists arrested work for media outlets affiliated with Hamas, the main rival of the Fatah movement that controls the Palestinian Authority. Read more »

Israel should abandon plans to close, censor Al-Jazeera

PRESS RELEASE
Committee to Protect Journalists

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Washington, D.C., August 6, 2017–Israeli authorities should abandon efforts to close Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera’s offices, revoke its journalists’ credentials, and censor its transmissions, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Communications Minister Ayoub Kara today repeated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations that the station supports terrorism, and said the government wanted satellite and cable companies to stop carrying the broadcasters’ Arabic- and English-language transmissions, according to media reports. Closing the station’s office would require new legislation, the reports quoted the minister as saying.

“Censoring Al-Jazeera or closing its offices will not bring stability to the region, but it would put Israel firmly in the camp of some of the region’s worst enemies of press freedom,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. “Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al-Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies.”

Management and Politics Academy Launches Initiative for Reconciliation, End of Division

Press Release
Management and Politics Academy

Ameena Abdullah Abusalmiya

Ameena Abdullah Abusalmiya

Based on the national responsibility of the Academy for Management and Politics for Higher Education toward our Palestinian people, and based on our awareness of the national role, the academy launched an initiative for reconciliation and an end to the Palestinian division that targets all national forces and factions, especially Hamas and Fatah. This initiative comes following discussion with responsible parties, forces and a number of competent authorities.

The Academy appreciates the Hamas movement for its acceptance and adoption of the main components of this initiative expressed in a press release issued by Dr. Salah Al Bardawil, a member of the Political Bureau of the movement. We invite our brothers in the Fatah movement to also respond to this declaration and initiative, and we invite President Abu Mazen to respond to the national initiative and announce holding a full national dialogue leading to national reconciliation relating to all Palestinians’ issues whether immediate, interim, or strategic.

We invite Egypt to adopt this initiative and arrange a Palestinian-Palestinian discussion under Egyptian auspices that leads to Palestinian reconciliation.

The Academy hopes that this initiative will lead to dialogue with the participation of all political forces and public unions, to restore national unity and end the division. This will restore the status of the Palestinian national goals of freedom through ending the Israeli Occupation and achieving the legitimate goals of the Palestinian people: the right of return, and self-determination.

The Initiative follows: Read more »

Pregnant women, newborns contaminated with heavy metals linked to Israeli attacks

Julie Webb-Pullman

Remnants of Israeli attacks....

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Newborn babies and their mothers exposed to Israeli attacks in 2014 have a high level of heavy metal contamination in their hair, reports a study published in the latest British Medical Journal (BMJ Open). The research was carried out in Gaza on 502 women who were pregnant at the time of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

Italian, Finnish and Gazan researchers analyzed the quantities of 23 kinds of metal in the hair of the women and the children they subsequently gave birth to, and compared them with the metal content in women’s hair outside of war zones. They also studied in utero transmission of heavy metals, as well as the hypothesis of contamination unrelated to war.

“Heavy metals used during wars are toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, and this study has shown they pose a health risk to pregnant women and their children, now and in the long-term” said lead researcher, Paola Manduca.

Teratogens disrupt the development of the embryo and can cause birth defects, while carcinogens can cause cancer.

“They are known as endocrine disruptors. They remain in the environment, remain in bodies and accumulate due to chronic exposure if their sources are not eliminated from the environment,” said Manduca.

Such sources include weapon remnants themselves, substances released during the explosion of missiles and shells, and contaminated ruins.

Using Plasma-Mass-coupled spectrometry (ICP-MS), the researchers made comparisons with groups exposed to domestic and agricultural chemicals.

Although women’s heavy metal load was higher than that of the newborns, it was not enough of a difference to protect the babies from harm: the study found an increase in birth defects and preterm births from 2011 data.

The rate of birth defects reported in the Gaza study was 4.5%, compared for example to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) figure of 3% for the United States – the Gaza rate is 50% higher.

Equally worrying, the study documented that the frequency of exposure to military attacks was about 70% in the random sample of 502 mothers, suggesting overall contamination of the entire population.

“Surveillance, bio-monitoring and further research on this subject is essential,” said Paola Manduca. “The risk of transgenerational genetic mutations can not be ruled out.”