Archive for the 'Articles' Category

Fatah’s Seventh General Congress and the Reelection of Abbas

Article – INSS Insight

Buttressed by his election at the Fatah Seventh General Congress to another five-year term as leader of the organization, Mahmoud Abbas immediately renewed diplomatic activity to block an American veto of a UN Security Council resolution against the … Read more »

The failed mass deportation of 1992

Hamas

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On the 17th of December 1992, under the cover of darkness, the Israeli occupation forces raided the houses of hundreds of Palestinian leaders and activists from the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Academics, doctors and social figures were among 415 Palestinians whom the Israelis kidnapped, handcuffed, blindfolded and placed in trucks and buses that headed to a destination unknown to them or their families.

The raids, which mainly targeted members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, followed failed Israeli attempts to rescue Nissim Toledano, an Israeli Sergeant who was captured earlier by al-Qassam Brigades in a bid to release Hamas leader and founder Shiekh Ahmed Yassin.

Contrary to the expectations of the detainees, the 60-hour-long trip did not end up at one of Israel’s notorious prisons. They were instead being exiled to south Lebanon in an unprecedented mass deportation that was executed without a hearing or even prior notification. Read more »

Human rights defenders under growing legal pressure

Press Release – UNHCHR

GENEVA (16 December 2016) Human rights activists working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws, two United Nations independent … Read more »

West Bank tourism drive makes Palestinians invisible

Article – Redress Information

At first glance, it looked like a generous promotional stunt by Israel to aid the Palestinians struggling tourism industry. The Israeli military authorities published this month a video on social media publicising Palestinian attractions in the West … Read more »

Holiday message from Palestine Museum of Natural History

Mazin, Jessie, Elias, Mohammad N, Mohammad A, Zuhair, Manal, Khawla, Reena, Mubarak, and all other volunteers
Palestine Museum of Natural History

The Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH) and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at Bethlehem University wish you a great holiday season and wishing you and yours a wonderful new year. May 2017 be a year of progress towards peace and sustainability for our planet.

Thanks to your partnership and donations, PMNH/PIBS had a tremendous success in 2016 fulfilling our mission to research, educate about, and conserve our natural world, culture and heritage and use knowledge to promote responsible human interactions with our environment. We are now going to a higher level and ask you for your
donations, in-kind support, and volunteerism. Visit this link to donate, and this link to volunteer.

With your support, we did much already:

a) Published two dozen papers in areas ranging from taxonomic studies to biodiversity to environmental pollution to museology
b) Held workshops and other educational events that benefited over 3,000 individuals.
c) Developed a webpage and social media accounts and reached out via the internet to tens of thousands of people
d) Established mobile conservation projects in remote and underprivileged communities.
e) Improved science education at both school and university level benefiting hundreds of students via hands-on workshops and creation of environmental clubs.
f) Developed an environmental impact assessment (EIA) unit and contributed to a management plan for the first OPT protected area.
g) Provided consultancy services to the nascent Palestinian governmental agencies (e.g. Ministry of Health, Environmental Quality Authority, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Agriculture).
h) Transformed a neglected 12 dunum area (part of the Bethlehem University Mar Andrea Campus) into a nascent botanical garden and permaculture facility (including bee-keeping, aquaponics, and aquaculture). This site was used to develop ideas which are now being transferred to farmers and other members of the community (e.g. green walls and composting). Read more »

Why Is Israel Silencing the Call for Prayer in Jerusalem?

Article – Ramzy Baroud

As I was growing up, I was always reassured by the sound of the Muadhin making the call for prayer in our refugee camps main mosque in Gaza. Whenever I heard the call very early in the morning, announcing in a melodic voice that the time for … Read more »

The Balfour and Cambon Declarations

Mazin Qumsiyeh
From: Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle (2004)

latuff_the_palestinian_right_to (400 x 305)

The events leading up to the support of Britain and France for Zionist aspirations have received little historical discussion. In examining historical documents of powerful nations like France and Britain, we find these nations issuing declarations to support the Zionist aspirations. This came in France first with a letter sent from Jules Cambon, Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry to Nahum Sokolow (at the time head of the political wing of the World Zionist Organization based in London) dated June 4, 1917: Read more »

Israel breaching Palestine’s right to development

Press Release – UNHCHR

NEW YORK / GENEVA (28 October 2016) Palestines right to development is being denied by Israel, creating an environment plagued by poverty, epic unemployment and economic stagnation, according to a new report from a United Nations human rights … Read more »

Neither War Nor Peace: Shimon Peres, Israel and History

Article – Binoy Kampmark

We learned from the British, explained the late Shimon Peres in The Guardian in 2011, what democracy means, and how it behaves in times of danger, war and terror. We thank Britain for introducing freedom and respect of human rights both … Read more »

Was The Women’s Boat to Gaza an Existential Threat?

Article – Ramzy Baroud

The Convoluted Discourse: Was The Womens Boat to Gaza an Existential Threat? By Ramzy Baroud Read more »

Israel issues orders to intercept all-women Gaza-bound flotilla

Palestine Information Centre

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The Israeli occupation navy has received instructions to intercept women’s boat to Gaza and arrest onboard activists, Israeli daily Maariv reported Sunday.

The Israeli naval forces have received orders to intercept al-Zaytouna ship and arrest activists as soon as they reach Gaza shores. The boat is reportedly to be towed to the Ashdod Harbor wile female activists will be deported to their mother countries after they sign pledges to never return.

Zaytouna ship is expected to reach Gaza shores in the next three days following a stopover in the Greek Island of Crete to fix a sudden breakdown.

Amal and Zaytouna, a flotilla of two boats with all-women crews and passengers, set sail from Barcelona en route to besieged Gaza in another maritime attempt to break Israel’s illegitimate blockade on the Palestinian coastal enclave.

There are 11 women in each boat, including Malin Bjork, a European Parliament member, Marama Davideon, a New ZEaland member of Parliament, Mairead Maguire, the Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland, Fouzia Hassan, a doctor from Malaysia, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright.

The Gaza Strip is a place where around two million Palestinians have been locked up for nearly a decade in what many describe as the “world’s largest open air prison.”

Hamas welcomes EU court advisor’s recommendation to strike Movement from terror list

Hamas

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas has welcomed the recommendation filed by Eleanor Sharpston, the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice, to strike the Movement from the EU’s so-called list of terrorist organizations.

In a press statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri urged the European Union to follow the Advice of the Advocate-General, noting that the recommendation represents a historic opportunity for the EU to choose the correct position and atone for decades of siding with the Israeli occupation.

“Hamas has no enemies but the Israeli occupation,” Abu Zuhri asserted, adding that the Movement looks forward to having its name scraped off the European list of designated terrorist organizations.

“We seek positive ties with the everyone including in the West,” he underlined. Read more »

Statement by the Quartet’s Principals New York 23 Sept. 2016

Press Release – Middle East Quartet

Representatives of the Quartet United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica … Read more »

Violence against women: UN human rights expert

Press Release – United Nations Human Rights Commissioner

Violence against women: UN human rights expert to visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory Read more »

Israel attacks Gaza

Julie Webb-Pullman

gaza

Israeli aircraft and tanks carried out dozens of attacks on Gaza late Sunday afternoon and evening, injuring several civilians.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement that the escalation comes in the context of increasing aggression by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people, and Israeli attempts to create new facts on the ground.

Sites in Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya came under attack from F-16s and artillery fire from tanks.

In Beit Hanoun last night at least 10 missiles struck agricultural land, while one from an F-16 struck the town.

Simultaneously, Israeli military aircraft launched some 35 strikes in Beit Lahiya causing material damage, including to some resistance sites.

Israeli drones are continuing to fly over Gaza at low altitudes.

“The aggression will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or the imposition of any new equations in the face of the resistance,” said Sami Abu Zuhri.

The Israeli attacks represent a disproportionate response to a rocket fired from Gaza, which on Sunday afternoon fell inside the southern Israeli city of Sderot causing no injuries or damage.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the rocket, and many Palestinians consider that such rockets are fired either by Israel itself or by persons in their pay, in order to provide justification for another Israeli aggression against and invasion of Gaza.

The attacks suggest a change in military strategy by the recently-appointed hardline right-winger Avigdor Lieberman yo the post of Israeli Minister of Defence.

Israel Lines Its Pockets With Palestinian Aid — And The US Helps Israel Keep It That Way

Robert Fantina
Mint Press

Since all aid to Palestine must go through Israel, this provides endless opportunities for “aid subversion” or “aid diversion.” Studies indicate that 72 percent of that money remains in Israel, never benefitting Palestinians.

Beit Hanoun was decimated in 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

Beit Hanoun was decimated in 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

From severely limited water supplies to a blockade on even the most basic supplies, Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine has destroyed even the most basic infrastructure Palestinians need to survive, forcing residents of Gaza and the West Bank to struggle through a humanitarian disaster.

This was intensified in 2014 during Israel’s most recent genocidal attack on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2,000 Palestinians dead and over 100,000 homeless. During that onslaught, Operation Protective Edge, Israel deliberately targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, destroying factories and plants that posed no threat to the occupation.

In September 2015, The United Nations’ Roberto Valent estimated that, at the current rate, it will take 30 years to rebuild Gaza, not to mention the estimated $7.8 billion required to fund those efforts.

Now, just two years later, the unemployment rate in Palestine has neared an astronomical 27 percent, and Oxfam International operates a food voucher program that assists 71,000 people in Gaza alone.

And while the chief reason for Palestinian suffering is the brutal, illegal occupation of Israel there are a number of other compounding factors found in the deeply corrupt Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas. Read more »

Hamas, World Vision deny Israeli claims that Halabi diverted cash to Hamas

Palestinian Information Center

Gaza Destruction6_small

Hamas on Thursday denied Israeli allegations that the manager of World Vision’s Gaza office, Mohammed al-Halabi, passed millions of dollars to Hamas.

Hamas spokesperson Abdullatif al-Kanou’ said the group had “no connection to al-Halabi and therefore, all Israeli accusations are counterfeit and aim to suppress our people and toughen the blockade”.

Israel’s Shin Bet agency accused al-Halabi of funneling millions of dollars in aid money to Hamas, charges that the resistance group denied and the charity voiced skepticism over. World Vision official Mohammed al-Halabi appeared before a court on Thursday, facing charges of using millions of charity funds in aid to Hamas.

The Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet claimed Hamas recruited al-Halabi more than a decade ago. The agency said since al-Halabi took over World Vision operations in Gaza in 2010, roughly 60 per cent of World Vision’s annual budget in the territory was diverted to Hamas.

Mohammad al-Halabi, World Vision’s manager of operations in Gaza, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into the enclave. World Vision said it was “shocked” by Israel’s allegations and said in a statement that it had regular internal and independent audits and evaluations as well as a broad range of internal controls to ensure aid reached intended beneficiaries.

World Vision added that al-Halabi has worked with the group for 10 years, and that they have “no reason to believe” the allegations against their employee are true. Read more »

Israel and World Vision: Are journalistic ethics dead?

By Julie Webb-Pullman

Mohammed-Khalil-El.Halabi-with-children-e1470324947867

Widespread publication by media such as the New York Times and the Guardian, of Israeli allegations against the Gaza manager of World Vision Mohammad Al-Halabi, without any independent corroboration or substantiation, breach the most fundamental journalistic ethical principles – respect for and the right of the public to the truth, and to not publish unfounded accusations.

As Peter Beaumont, author of the Guardian article, admits, “The Guardian was unable immediately to independently corroborate the claims against Halabi, who remains in custody” – and days later none have made the effort to do so, let alone produce any evidence of their own to demonstrate any wrongdoing on the part of Mohammad Al-Halabi, or basis for the claims.

Lazy journalists are one thing, but to publish the product of their slothfulness is editorial malfeasance of the highest order.

Worse still is that the allegations themselves rely on a ‘confession’ to an organisation with a clear vested interest in discrediting Gaza, and compelling circumstantial evidence that the ‘confession’ was obtained under duress.

Mohammad Al-Halabi was detained and interrogated for over 50 days before being charged, the first 23 of them without any access whatsoever to a lawyer, family members, or a representative of World Vision itself.

Further, he was detained by the Shin Bet, an internal Israeli security agency with a long and extensive history of systematic torture during detention and interrogations of Palestinians, including children.

Two Israeli human rights groups, Hamoked and B’Tselem, published a report earlier this year titled Abuse and Torture at the Shikma Interrogation Facility, noting on Page 52 that:

“…the methods described here are not used solely at the Shikma facility: similar conditions and techniques have been documented by human rights organizations in recent years at various facilities in Israel.”

Similar reports over many years by numerous Palestinian and international organisations are also on record expressing concerns about routine Israeli torture of Palestinian detainees, inlcuding Adalah, Al Mezan, EuroMed Monitor, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, plus the United Nations Committee Against Torture itself, which in May 2016 expressed concern about:

“torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons deprived of liberty, including minors,” by the Israeli regime.

Given this background and reputation, it is remiss in the extreme for the media reporting on the issue not to inquire into nor inform the public what passed during those 23 days of complete isolation of Mr Al-Halabi from the outside world.

In such circumstances, and in the interests of removing any semblance of bias, the minimum we could expect is that comment was sought from Mr Al-Halabi or his legal representative about the alleged confession and the conditions under which it was made.

There is no indication that any such line of journalistic inquiry was pursued.

Is it not the very basis of balanced journalism that both sides are presented, for the public to draw their own conclusions? Of justice, that the accused is given the right to defend themselves?

If, as seems likely, the confession was coerced, how much weight can it be given?

None. Forced confessions are neither reliable, nor admissible, and those obtained under torture particularly so. As international law expert Dr. Tobias Thienel pointed out in 2006,

“The inadmissibility is also comprehensive under the right to a fair trial, having regard to the right against self-incrimination and to the unreliability of statements obtained by torture.”

If forced confessions cannot be relied upon in courts, even less should they be relied on by media, particularly in the absence of any form of independent substantiation or corroboration that leaves us with nothing but allegations from the torturer himself.

International Federation of Journalists’ Code of Principles

The International Federation of Journalists’ Code of Principles requires that “Respect for truth and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist” (Principle 1), that the journalist “…shall report only in accordance with facts of which he/she knows the origin…” (Principle 3) and that reporting “unfounded accusations” is a “grave professional offence.” (Principle 8).

The publication by media of uncorroborated claims by a party with vested interests is clearly a gross breach of these principles on several counts. There is no independent verification that the allegations are the ‘truth,’ the origin of the information is the party with vested interests, and there has been no evidence produced on which to base the accusations.

Further, Principle 7 has also been breached, given that the reports include again-unsubstantiated statements linking Mr Al-Halabi and his father to a legitimate Palestinian political party, thus using the media to promote discrimination based on political belief or affiliation.

Neither the public nor journalists of integrity should accept this latest attack on journalistic principles, professionalism and public confidence, already battered by the revelations of the News Corp phone hacking scandal.

It is bad enough that the Israeli domestic security agency Shin Bet is continuing its well-documented abuses of Palestinians and of due process to undermine critically needed humanitarian services to Gaza, but it is unforgivable that the mainstream media is, through its unquestioning compliance, breaching its obligations to its profession and to the public by colluding in the mud-slinging rather than pursuing an independent and credible investigation of the facts prior to rushing into print.

What’s really behind Israel’s attack on Christian charity World Vision?

Ali Abunimah
Electronic Intifada

“If every cent has been diverted, it doesn’t add up to $50 million,” Tim Costello told Australia’s SBS public broadcaster, “World Vision’s program in Gaza amounts to only around $2 to $3 million a year.

mohammed-el-halabi (400 x 300)

Israel grabbed global headlines on Thursday with sensational allegations that tens of millions of dollars from the Christian relief and advocacy organization World Vision had been diverted to the military wing of the resistance group Hamas in Gaza.

But a day later, the Israeli claims look more than ever like sloppy propaganda. A World Vision official says Israel’s sums don’t add up and it has also emerged that a Mossad-linked Israeli group has been stoking allegations against the charity for years.

An Israeli general has said that Israel is relying on a “confession” extracted by an intelligence agency which is notorious for using torture.

Israel has also instructed its diplomats to smear World Vision, especially among Christian communities around the world.

But if Israel’s intention was to damage international humanitarian efforts in Gaza, it can chalk up a success, at least for now.

Australia, which has given World Vision about $5 million in the last three years for projects in Gaza, said it was suspending contributions pending an investigation.

Indeed, ending humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, or at least bringing it under even tighter Israeli control, looks like the purpose of the allegations. Read more »

Hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayed writes from hospital

Hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed issued the following letter on the 48th day of his hunger strike from inside Barzilai Hospital, where he is shackled hand and foot to his hospital bed.

many-handalas (300 x 300)

Letter by Hunger Striker Bilal Kayed

To my heroic Palestinian people…
Free people of the world…

In this difficult stage that I am enduring on a personal level, in the struggle against the attempt to force my submission to the brutal occupation which made a decision to liquidate me, for nothing but the fact that I stood beside the prisoners of my people, defending my rights and their rights and the rights of their families to achieve even the minimum conditions for human dignity. It is not strange that I find myself supported by all of my people, who surround me with their shouts and cries and their support and tireless efforts to remove the injustice that has been inflicted upon me and upon the prisoners. This comes in accordance with the national understanding that I was raised with, by you, my people, and by the free people of the world, wherever they are. In the West Bank, rising up against oppression; in the occupied lands [of 1948], proud and rooted in the land and upholding their identity; my heroic people in victorious Gaza, and all of the free people of the world, of all nationalities and backgrounds.

I am here, today, finishing my first stage in my battle with this brutal occupier, and I have declared my second stage, which is one of unity with all prisoners from all backgrounds and political parties so that we can all, collectively, stand at the point of the arrow of the national struggle, inside and outside the prisons. Read more »

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