Archive for the 'Human Rights' Category

The Great March of Return

Issam Edwan

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For the first time since 1948, the year of the Palestinian Nakbah, a massive march is being staged with the participation of huge crowds, as all Palestinian refugees, inside and outside the Palestinian territories, will take part in this event. Therefore, special preparations will be made for this march, as whole Palestinian families, including children, will attend it.

This march, which came 70 years later, is of great significance, and holding it now constitutes an important move in the Palestinian strategy regarding handling the right of return. The Palestinians have waited long for an international recognition of their right of return, but they are fed up with waiting.

Every nation living under occupation has the right to resist and make every effort to stand up and claim its rights. The March of Return, which will be held inside the Palestinian territories and in the world’s capitals, is an important form of resistance and has a great significance not less than the armed resistance, which is the most efficient way of resistance and the shortest way to liberation and achievement of return to our homeland.

The significance of the March of Return lies in the following: Read more »

UN expert alarmed at Israeli Supreme Court’s “license to torture” ruling

PRESS RELEASE
United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures

Demontsration of the "banana posture" used by the Shin Bet (Photo: AP)

Demontsration of the “banana posture” used by the Shin Bet (Photo: AP)

GENEVA (20 February 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed his utmost concern after a December 2017 ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court exempting security agents from criminal investigation despite their undisputed use of coercive “pressure techniques” against a Palestinian detainee.

“This ruling sets a dangerous precedent, gravely undermining the universal prohibition of torture,” the expert said. “By exempting alleged perpetrators from criminal investigation and prosecution, the Supreme Court has essentially provided them with a judicially sanctioned ‘license to torture’.

“I urgently appeal to all branches of Israel’s Government to carefully consider not only its own international obligations, but also the consolidated legal and moral views of the international community, before whitewashing methods of interrogation that are more closely associated with barbarism than with civilization.”

In 2007, Assad Abu Ghosh, a Hamas affiliate from Nablus in the West Bank, was arrested and interrogated by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) about laboratories producing explosives for Hamas, and about possible plans for terrorist attacks. Read more »

UN rights office issues report on business and human rights in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory

PRESS RELEASE
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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GENEVA (31 January 2018) – The UN Human Rights Office on Wednesday issued a report detailing its work on producing a database of business enterprises engaged in certain, specific activities in the occupied Palestinian territory that are either explicitly linked to Israeli settlements or form part of processes that “enable and support the establishment, expansion and maintenance of Israeli residential communities beyond the Green Line.”

The UN Human Rights Council mandated the Office in March 2016 to produce a database of all business enterprises engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, in consultation with the Working Group on business and human rights, recalling the illegality of the settlements under international law.*

The Human Rights Council resolution followed the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem which, in 2013, found that business enterprises had “directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements.” The Fact-Finding Mission’s report provided a list of 10 activities that are either explicitly linked to the settlements or enable and support their establishment, expansion and maintenance. Read more »

Mixed bag of news and actions this week

Mazin Qumsiyeh

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“We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them.” Nathan Chofshi, 9 February 1959

REFLECTIONS: US Vice President Pence finally came to our region after some delays because no one would receive him accept his Zionist paymasters. It took four weeks of pressure for him to get the meetings with the Egyptian dictator Sisi and the Jordanian king Abdullah.

Egypt was easier than Jordan.

Jordan had essentially expelled the Israeli ambassador after an Israeli guard murdered two Jordanians.

The compromise made with Zionist pressure (Zionist Kushner and Zionist Greenblatt) was a half-hearted “regret” from the Israeli government and some compensation money. This after Netanyahu still considers the Israeli murders of Jordanians as a heroic action and there will be no penalty for the murderer (mark my words).

Anyways like many things, the Zionists carry big sticks and Pence finally came to dictate the will of his masters.

Some people attribute his slavishness to his Christian Zionist up-bringing. But like Harry Truman who claimed in public that he supported Zionism (against advise of all people around him) for religious reason and to help the “poor Jews”, in private he articulated exactly why he did this: Zionists had money and power over US media to help him win election.

Same for Pence and Netanyahu (or Obama for that matter).

These politicians have no morals and they work for Rothschild more than for their own public.

My wish is that Arab leaders would learn that standing up to Zionists (and by extension to Washington which is also Zionist occupied territory) is not only possible, but is an existential necessity!!

We should learn from Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Lebanon, Yemen, and China the meaning of dignity!

Working on these big existential problems can be done by thinking globally and acting locally, as we are doing here at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home

Song of Martyrdom: For Ibrahim Abu Thurayya

Dr Haidar Eid
Palestine Chronicle

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In 2009, 21-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thurayya, together with some other youngsters, was targeted by an Israeli F16. He lost both legs. On December 15, 2017, Ibrahim was killed by an Israeli sniper on the eastern borders of Gaza while carrying a Palestinian flag and peacefully protesting against American president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Ibrahim was a wheelchair-bound double amputee!

What is the message that apartheid Israel wanted to send to us, Palestinian, by brutally killing Ibrahim in broad day light? Read more »

Israel must face new international legal push to end illegal occupation of Palestine, UN expert says

PRESS RELEASE
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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NEW YORK (26 October 2017) – A United Nations human rights expert has called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for fundamental violations of international law during 50 years of occupation.

“This is the longest-lasting military occupation in the modern world, and shows no signs of ending,” said Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“Israel’s role as occupier in the Palestinian Territory – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza – has crossed a red line into illegality,” the Special Rapporteur said, presenting a report on Israel’s conduct to the UN General Assembly in New York.

In a series of recommendations, Mr. Lynk proposed a UN study to assess the legality of Israel’s role as occupying power, paving the way for international legal processes to be triggered and the occupation to be ended.

“The laws of occupation are very clear that the occupying power cannot treat the territory as its own, nor can it make claims of sovereignty. Yet this has been Israel’s pattern of governing the occupied Palestinian territory for most of its 50 years of rule,” said the Special Rapporteur. Read more »

PSC condemns the arrest of prominent human rights activist Issa Amro

PRESS RELEASE
Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) condemns the arrest of Issa Amro by the Palestinian Preventive Security Force and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. Issa was detained for criticising the Palestinian Authority for its arrest of a journalist in a Facebook post.

PSC Chair Hugh Lanning said:

“I have met and worked with Issa and have huge regard for his courageous battle against injustice. He has spent his life defending fellow Palestinians against Israel’s increasing colonisation of Palestinian land. The Palestinian Authority should be defending and supporting human rights defenders like Issa, not arresting them for expressing their views online.” Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Power shortages in Gaza deepening the humanitarian crisis, say UN rights experts

PRESS RELEASE
UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights

Jabalia Camp, Gaza

Jabalia Camp, Gaza

GENEVA (12 July 2017) – Longstanding power shortages in Gaza have deepened the humanitarian crisis with hospitals in precarious conditions, water shortages growing, and untreated sewage being dumped into the Mediterranean, United Nations independent human rights experts* today warned.

“The two million residents of Gaza are suffering through a humanitarian crisis that is entirely human-made,” the experts said. “It represents a complete failure of all parties to uphold their fundamental human rights obligations, including the inalienable right to life.”

“Reports indicate that electricity is now available for six consecutive hours at the most, often less, followed by 12 hour periods of blackout. The situation is untenable,” they warned.

The experts said Israel’s recent implementation of a decision by the Palestinian Authority to further reduce electricity supplies by up to 40% was leading to an unprecedented deterioration in the provision of critical services.

Israel, as the occupier controlling the entry and exit of goods and people, bore the primary responsibility for the deterioration of the situation, they said, and should honour its commitments under international humanitarian law and human rights law. Read more »

UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices to visit Amman on annual mission

PRESS RELEASE
Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights

GENEVA (11 July 2017) – A United Nations Special Committee will undertake its annual field visit to Amman from 12 to 14 July 2017 to gather testimonies and to hear briefings on a range of human rights issues of concern in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the occupied Syrian Golan.

The UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories will be meeting with victims, community representatives, witnesses, Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations, officials from Palestine, and UN representatives.

As stipulated in the mandate, the Committee has sought the agreement of the Government of Israel to access the Occupied Territories. However, the Government of Israel maintains its practice of non-cooperation. Read more »

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Addameer highlights systematic abuses by Israeli forces

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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On International Day to Support Victims of Torture, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association highlights the continued forms of physical and psychological torture of Palestinian prisoners and detainees by Israeli forces. Occupation authorities practice torture and ill-treatment in a systematic manner, in contravention with international law, which prohibits physical and psychological torture. Human rights conventions, including the Convention Against Torture, to which Israeli is a signatory, as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibit the use of torture with no exceptions.

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Palestinians prisoners’ issue has a special importance. Since 1967, 73 Palestinian prisoners and detainees have died as a result of torture in Israeli detention during interrogation. The latest case is Arafat Jaradat, who died on 23 February 2013 as a result of torture during interrogation. Commissioned Forensic Pathology expert Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, found that “Arafat Jaradat was severely beaten while in detention, resulting in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which caused his death in Israeli custody on 23 February 2013.”[1] Despite this, up to date, no Israeli official has been charged for Jaradat’s death. Read more »

Immediate action needed as Gaza power cuts spark humanitarian crisis, UN expert warns

PRESS RELEASE
UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights

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GENEVA (15 June 2017) – The humanitarian situation in Gaza is deteriorating to unprecedented levels as new reductions in the already extremely limited power supply have been announced, a United Nations expert has warned.

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said the situation was “extremely distressing” and getting worse with every passing week.

“All the parties with a direct hand in the crisis – Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – must act immediately with the best interests of the population in Gaza in mind to resolve this human-made problem,” the expert said. Read more »

Four basic facts of geopolitics

Opinion
Mazin Qumsiyeh

The majority of victims of the US missile strike on the Syrian airbase were local villagers, including women and children.

The majority of victims of the US missile strike on the Syrian airbase were local villagers, including women and children.

The attack on Syria by the United States, while illegal per international law, ie not sanctioned by the UN Security Council and opposed by Russia and China, comes to remind as all of four basic facts of geopolitics:

1) US Presidents, no matter how “unconventional,” must always obey the rules set for them. Trump came to office opposing intervention in Syria and is now directly siding with the “rebels” and has accepted the 1990s neocon
strategy of regime changes across Western Asia that are supposed to benefit “Israel”.

2) As Henry Kissinger said: “all foreign policy is domestic policy.” With a strong Zionist lobby in the US, and in the absence of any counter lobby that watches over US (let alone world) interests, we are seeing a push for wars designed to help apartheid Israel – whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, or Syria.

3) Modern warfare kills far more civilians than military – the ratio now is >10 to 1. War is immoral, illogical, and criminal, and has no “good side” or “bad side.” The only positive thing now is that countries that use wars as their main tools (Israel, US being the key ones) will lose because wars have also become also illogical in terms of achievement of policy. Just take as examples in the past 20 years: the US attack on Iraq and Israel’s attack on Gaza and Lebanon. This is now almost a given, like the Newtonian laws of physics.

4) People still have the power to change things. Governments regularly lie to their own people – all governments. But their biggest tools are to a) create fear, b) create apathy (powerlessness). Getting people to be good consumers of propaganda and products is key to government “success” – short term as it may be – and to enrich politicians and their backers. Key to human rights success is for people to be good, involved and informed citizens.

The conflict between the two – governments and people – is the real consequential conflict we face.

It is between short term greed and long term planetary interests.

It is an existential conflict for humanity.

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

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Israel/Palestine: Rights Workers Denied Gaza Access

Human Rights Watch
PRESS RELEASE

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military authorities are blocking access to and from the Gaza Strip for human rights workers who document abuses and advocate to end them, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The travel restrictions call into question the Israeli military authorities’ claim to rely on human rights organizations as an important source of information for their criminal investigations into potential serious crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza war.

The 47-page report, “Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Travel to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers,” documents how Israel systematically bars human rights workers from traveling into and out of Gaza, even where the Israeli security services make no security claims against them as individuals. Egypt is also imposing severe travel restrictions on its border with Gaza. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s office should take note of the restrictions in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination of the Palestine situation.

“If Israel wants the ICC prosecutor to take seriously its argument that its criminal investigations are adequate, a good first step would be to allow human rights researchers to bring relevant information to light,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Impeding the work of human rights groups raises questions not just about the willingness of Israel’s military authorities to conduct genuine investigations, but also their ability to do so.”

For the last two decades and especially since 2007, Israel has kept the Gaza Strip mostly closed, preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza to pursue educational and professional opportunities, family visits and reunification, and medical care, save on an exceptional basis. The restrictions imposed by Egypt on its border with Gaza have significantly contributed to this de facto closure. Read more »

Report reveals links between five French banks, insurance companies and Israeli settlements

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

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Paris – Several organisations (Association France Palestine Solidarité, CCFD – Terre Solidaire, Fair Finance France, FIDH, LDH, Solidaires, CGT and Al-Haq) published a report on March 29,2017 on French banks’ dangerous liaisons with the Israeli settlement enterprise. The report highlights the links between certain French banks and insurance companies and Israeli banks and businesses involved in maintaining and developing the Israeli settlements.

The Israeli settlement enterprise has persisted for fifty years. Illegal under international law, the settlement enterprise continues at an accelerated pace; the approval of 6,000 new housing units since January 2017 is merely the latest manifestation. This comes after the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2334 [1] on 23 December 2016, requiring Israel in particular to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. Read more »

UN expert warns of deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Palestine and Israel

PRESS RELEASE
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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GENEVA (21 March 2017) – Human rights defenders working to draw attention to abuses associated with Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territory are being increasingly targeted as a result of their work, according to a new report from a United Nations human rights expert.

Michael Lynk – the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 – expressed deep concerns about the shrinking space for civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in a statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“As human rights defenders – Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals – persist with their intrepid activism to investigate and oppose the regime of human rights violations that is integral to the occupation. All indications are that they will continue to be the prime targets of those who are intolerant of their criticisms, yet alarmed by their effectiveness,” Mr. Lynk said.

The Rapporteur noted with alarm that Palestinian human rights defenders have been subjected to attacks, arrest, detention, and threats to their lives and safety. “They have experienced sophisticated interference with their vital work, and have faced toxic denunciations aimed at silencing them and discouraging their supporters,” he continued. Read more »

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