Archive for the 'Latest Headlines' Category

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 »

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....

Remnants of war….

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.”

Hamas responds to European Court of Justice decision

PRESS STATEMENT
HAMAS

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The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) responded to the decision of the European Court of Justice that it will go ahead in submitting a legal challenge to the unjust political decisions against our people and the rights of the movement itself.

Hamas stressed that it considered the international judiciary as battle fields that must be fought to defend the rights of our people against Zionist slanders and those who support them.

The press statement on Wednesday said that Hamas is well aware of the extent of political and media support for the Zionist entity in Western institutions, as well as the size of popular growing support for the Palestinian issue, which angers the Zionist entity and its supporters.

The movement stressed that, under all circumstances and whatever the legal provisions, it would remain loyal to its conscious political line defending the rights of its people without any concession of the land of Palestine or any of its rights, adhering to Islamic and humanitarian values that refuse to target civilians or innocent people or transfer the battle outside the homeland despite the criminal and racist policies practiced by the Zionist occupation, and the most recent aggression on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The movement stated that the European Court of Justice had issued a decision to return the case of removing Hamas from the European terror list to the European Court of First Instance, which issued a decision in 2014 to remove Hamas from the terrorist lists.

Hamas explained that the court said it did not want to issue a ruling in the case because the Court of First Instance did not respond to the eight objections filed by the movement to the court and therefore the court does not have sufficient information to give a ruling in the case.

The decision came after the European Union Council appealed the decision of the Court of First Instance and requested the movement be put back on the European terror lists.

However, the court refused to put the name of the movement on the terrorist lists and returned the case to the Court of First Instance.

On September 23, 2016, the Attorney General of the European Court, Elinor Chapestone, issued a legal opinion in favor of removing the name of the movement from the terrorist lists, finding there was no legal basis for it.

Haniyeh sends message to Arab and Islamic leaders concerning Al Aqsa

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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The head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement “ Hamas”, Ismail Haniyeh, sent a message to the Arab and Islamic leaders on the Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque.

Haniyeh stressed that these attacks are unprecedented and nothing like this has happened since its occupation 50 years ago. He assured that the Israeli Occupation aims to implement its schemes to take full control over Al Aqsa Mosque and to imposea new reality by dividing the mosquein terms of time and place between Muslim and Jews, and to curtail the historical role of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf which is the only authority concerned with the management of the Mosque. Read more »

Hamas denounces IOF arrest campaign in West Bank

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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Hazem Qasem , the spokesperson of Hamas , issued the following:

The brutal campaign of arrests carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces against the leaders and the members of Hamas in the West Bank is a desperate attempt to restrain the Intifada ( uprising) of our people in confronting the Israeli plots and its claimed religious war against Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque.

We, in Hamas, and all the Palestinian people will continue in supporting Al Intifada and the freedom fighters who are staying in the yards and at the gates of Al Aqsa Mosque to protect it. We assure that all Zionist campaigns will not succeed in breaking the will of the Palestinian youth rebellion.

The policy of arrest by IOF which came after the failure of IOF to confront our people will ensure we remain strong adherents to the path of resistance and defending our people’s rights and holy places.

Hazem Qasem
Spokesperson for the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas”
23 July, 2017

NZ Muslims strongly condemn Israeli aggression in Al Aqsa

PRESS RELEASE
Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand

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Haniyeh calls for urgent meeting to counter Israeli Occupation at Al Aqsa

Hamas

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Chairman of Hamas’s Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, called upon Palestinian factions to hold an urgent meeting to agree on a strategy to confront the Israeli Occupation.

“I call on all National and Islamic factions in Beirut and Cairo to address and formulate policies to confront the crimes of the Israeli Occupation aimed at seizing Al-Aqsa Mosque”, Haniyeh said during a Friday sermon.

Haniyeh went on to warn Arab countries on normalizing their ties with the Israeli Occupation, describing such actions as a betrayal to the Palestinian people. He also voiced his rejection of Trump’s “deal of the century” and the recognition of the Zionist state.

In the same context, the chairman of the movement called on the Islamic Conference Organization, which was established after the burning of Al-Aqsa in 1969 to address this issue, while calling on Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to fulfill its responsibility and develop an Islamic plan countering the Occupation.

Haniyeh also called upon King Abdullah II of Jordan, in his role as president of the Arab summit, to take responsibility for what is happening in Jerusalem. Read more »

GAZA ALIVE IS LIFE FOR PALESTINE

PRESS RELEASE
We4Gaza

Over 350 individuals and 60 associations and networks from several continents have signed a call for an international campaign in just a few days.

GAZA ALIVE IS LIFE FOR PALESTINE” was launched by three associations active for years in different fields (health, research and culture) and committed to work in solidarity with the people of Gaza and recognize their right to live: Appeal for children of Gaza, Genoa, Italy; NWRG -onlus (New weapons research groups), Italy; and Culture is Freedom, a Campaign for Palestine, Italy. 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 »

Nearly 200,000 Gaza Children Take Part in UNRWA ‘Summer Fun Weeks’

PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA

UNRWA students during their participation in the opening ceremony performances of the Summer Fun Weeks held in Al-Zaitoun Elementary Girls School, Gaza city. © UNRWA Gaza 2017. Photo by Fadi Thabet

UNRWA students during their participation in the opening ceremony performances of the Summer Fun Weeks held in Al-Zaitoun Elementary Girls School, Gaza city © UNRWA Gaza 2017. Photo by Fadi Thabet

Gaza, 09 July: One hundred and eighty-six thousand children have registered to participate in a month-long programme of summer activities organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The ‘Summer Fun Weeks’ (SFWs) will begin on 08 July and culminate in a series of closing ceremonies that end on 5 August.

According to the Director of the Summer Fun Weeks, Yousef Moussa, the event is well-balanced in terms of the gender of the participants: “50.3 per cent of participants will be girls and 49.7 will be boys. There will be football for the boys and basketball for the girls. We have also included mural painting and handicrafts, as well as bouncy castles and trampolines for the younger children.” Read more »

PFLP: Arrests of our leaders will not deter us from continuing resistance

PRESS RELEASE
PFLP

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine confirmed that the Zionist occupation forces launched a pre-dawn campaign of raids across the occupied West Bank of Palestine on Sunday, arresting a number of leaders and activists of the Front, led by the Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar, feminist activist Khitam Saafin and former prisoner Ihab Massoud, as well as a number of activists in al-Khalil. The Front declared that these attacks will not stop it from continuing its role in resistance to occupation and confronting the crimes and projects that attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The Front emphasized that these arrests only underline the futility of the choices of the Palestinian Authority to continue to bet on settlements, “peace process” and security coordination. It also confirms the correctness of the Front’s position and its continuing struggle to build the resistance and the primary contradiction with the occupation as a major feature of its approach and political positions. 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 »

Hamas condemns the decision of the Attorney General in blocking media sites

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, condemns the decision of the Attorney General of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Ahmed Barak, to block a number of Palestinian news agency sites as demanded by Mahmoud Abbas.

The Movement’s spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, in a press statement Thursday, regarded the decision as a direct violation of freedom of opinion and expression and one which reflects the dictatorial agenda of Abbas and his authority in dealing with the Palestinian people and the various components of our society

Barhoum called on the Palestinian people to confront this immoral approach and to thwart Abbas’s plans aiming to subdue rights of free expression.

He also called on the human rights and trade union organizations to denounce the actions of Abbas and his authority which suppress the freedom of expression and the destruction of Palestinian society.

PFLP denounces censorship of Palestinian news sites

PRESS RELEASE
PFLP

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemned the Palestinian Authority’s blocking and censorship of Palestinian news sites in the West Bank since Thursday, June 15.

The Front said that this attack on freedom of expression is a dangerous trend that reflects acquiescence to the dictates of the enemies of the Palestinian people. It works hand in hand with all attempts by the enemy to muzzle the Palestinian voice and strangle and silence the Palestinian people. The Front demanded that this action be overturned immediately and to end the punishment of the steadfast Palestinian people. Read more »

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