Archive for the 'Press Releases' Category

Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for brutal repression

PRESS RELEASE
FREE PALESTINE MOVEMENT

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The Free Palestine Movement condemns the brutal force used by the security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on June 13, 2018 to stop Palestinian citizens, from peacefully demonstrating against PA sanctions on Gaza. These are in violation of Palestinian constitutional rights (the Palestinian Basic Law) and international treaties to which Palestine is a signatory.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the directors of the security forces and their operatives must be held accountable for these illegal actions, including assault on Palestinian citizens and the illegal arrest of dozens of civil protesters, including Ms. Amal Wahdan, a member of the Steering Committee of the Free Palestine Movement, without due process.

The Free Palestine Movement also expresses its support for the demands of the protesters themselves – that is, lifting the PA sanctions on Gaza. These sanctions operate hand in hand with the Israeli siege on the Strip that is supported by Arab regimes, the European Union and the United States. The “Lift the Sanctions” movement is continuing with marches and rallies on a daily basis, and we stand with that campaign and support its demands. Read more »

Israel bans Hamas-affiliated Palestinian station Al-Quds TV

PRESS RELEASE
Committee to Protect Journalists

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Beirut, July 17, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today urged the Israeli authorities to lift a ban on the Palestinian broadcaster Al-Quds TV.

In an order issued under Israel’s counter-terrorism law on July 3, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared the Hamas-affiliated broadcaster a terrorist organization and banned its activities in Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to news reports, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and the Palestinian press freedom group MADA Center for Development and Media Freedom.

The reports did not specify what the ban would entail or how Israel intends to implement it. Attempts by CPJ to determine whether broadcasts are still accessible were not immediately successful. Read more »

Closure of Gaza commercial crossing: UN expert calls on Israel to reverse decision

PRESS RELEASE
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967

(Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

(Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

GENEVA (13 July 2018) – A UN human rights expert has called on Israel to reverse its decision to close the Kerem Shalom/Karm Abu Salem commercial crossing into Gaza.

The Israeli decision, announced on 9 July, prohibits the import of everything but food, animal fodder, livestock, fuels and medical supplies into Gaza, and bans all export from Gaza. Israel imposed these new restrictions in response to burning kites being sent by Palestinians into southern Israel from Gaza.

“This further tightening of an already-punitive and comprehensive blockade on Gaza will only worsen its dire humanitarian crisis,” said Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.

“Gaza survives with four to six hours of daily electrical power, its drinkable water is almost exhausted, it endures the highest unemployment rates in the world, and its anaemic economy is already flat on its back.”

“Israel’s 11-year-old air, sea and land blockade has driven Gaza’s social and economic conditions steadily backwards. This amounts to the collective punishment of the two million residents of Gaza, which is strictly prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Read more »

Hamas decries latest Israeli measures imposed on Gaza Strip

Press Statement
HAMAS

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Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas, said:

Benajmin Netanyahu’s approval of additional measures imposed on the Gaza Strip to further tighten the siege and prevent the entry of goods into the already crippled coastal enclave is a new crime against humanity added to the record of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.

The regional and international silence on the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than twelve years has encouraged the Israeli Occupation to continue its criminal actions in clear violation of human rights and international law, and therefore Hamas calls on the international community to act immediately to prevent this crime and its grave consequences, end the siege of Gaza and stop the crimes of the Occupation and its violations against the civilian population of the Strip and bear all the consequences of these arbitrary policies.

The Palestinian Resistance Movement “Hamas”

Fawzi Barhoum

9 July 2018

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl visited Yarmouk today, in first camp access in years for a senior UN official

PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA

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UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl visited Yarmouk today, the first senior UN official in years to access the camp, which remains an enduring symbol of the Palestine Refugee diaspora, and of the extreme human costs of the devastating conflict in the country. Mr. Krähenbühl said “The scale of the destruction in Yarmouk compares to very little else that I have seen in many years of humanitarian work in conflict zones”.

Once a proud neighborhood home to some 160’000 Palestine refugees, the camp now lies in utter ruin. Wherever one looks, the horror experienced by inhabitants of Yarmouk is all too evident. Yet again, Palestine refugees were exposed to the trauma of displacement, loss of relatives, homes and livelihoods. “In every visit to Syria over the past years – and again during this visit – Palestine refugees have spoken of the pride of what Yarmouk represents in the history of the community”, the Commissioner-General underlined, adding “Today, they express deep anxieties about what the immediate and longer-term future holds and about the prospect of return and reconstruction”.

Carrying out a three-day mission to Syria from 1 to 3 July 2018, the Commissioner-General also met with Palestine Refugees, UNRWA students and staff, as well as with senior government officials and diplomats. Read more »

Occupied Palestinian Territory: Bleakest picture yet, says UN expert after regional visit

PRESS RELEASE
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory

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GENEVA (29 June 2018) – A UN expert has expressed alarm about the deterioration of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, saying reports received during his visit to the region this week painted the most dispiriting picture yet of the situation on the ground.

“After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of the large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk. “This would amount to a profound violation of international law, and the impact of ongoing settlement expansion on human rights must not be ignored.”

Lynk travelled to Amman, Jordan this week to meet with civil society, government officials and UN representatives to collect information for his next report, to be presented to the 73rd session of the General Assembly in October 2018. Israel, the occupying power, has continued to prohibit him from travelling to the OPT.

“This is my third mission to the region since I assumed the mandate in May 2016, and the reports I received this week have painted the bleakest picture yet of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” he said. Read more »

UN experts say Gaza health care at “breaking point”

PRESS RELEASE
UN Human Rights Special Procedures

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GENEVA (21 June 2018) – UN human rights experts have backed calls for a large-scale international response to the overwhelming health care needs of people living in Gaza.

They also remind Israel, as the occupying power, of its obligation to protect the population of Gaza, ensure its welfare and wellbeing, and to allow and facilitate access to health care to people in need.

Health care in Gaza – already precarious in the wake of an 11-year blockade by Israel and periods of non-cooperation by the Palestinian Authority – has been further impacted by the high rate of casualties from Israeli military fire on Gazan protesters since late March.

“We are deeply worried by credible reports that treating, and caring for, the thousands of Gazans wounded by Israeli military fire over the past 12 weeks has strained Gaza’s already overloaded health care system to the breaking point,” said the experts. Read more »

On the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

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Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to the UN Human Rights Council Special Session of the Human Rights Council

On the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Geneva, 18 May 2018

Mr. President,
Appalling recent events in Gaza have called this Council into Special Session. Since the protests began on 30 March, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition.

The violence reached a peak on Monday 14 May, when 43 demonstrators were killed by Israeli forces – and the number sadly continues to climb, as some of the 1,360 demonstrators injured with live ammunition that day succumb to their wounds. These people, many of whom were completely unarmed, were shot in the back, in the chest, in the head and limbs with live ammunition, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters. Israeli forces also killed a further 17 Palestinians outside the context of the five demonstration hot spots. Together, this figure of 60 is the highest one-day death toll in Gaza since the 2014 hostilities. Read more »

560 Palestinian victims of Israeli gunshots are contacting the International Criminal Court

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release – 18th May 2018

ENGLISH VERSION – LA VERSION FRANCAISE SUIT

Israeli crimes committed in Gaza
560 Palestinian victims of Israeli gunshots
are contacting the International Criminal Court

On 17 May 2018, a group of 560 Palestinian victims of Israeli live fire during Gaza demonstrations sent Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a complaint denouncing these war crimes and requesting that she refer it to the Court’s judges in order to obtain authorisation to open an inquiry.

1. A joint organised task from Palestine

The complaint was announced from Gaza, directly from the victims or a close relative.

It is the result of work carried out by the Independent Palestinian Commission for the Pursuit of Zionist Crimes against the Palestinians (TAWTHEQ) – a public entity created by the Palestinian Legislative Council on 29 October 2010 – together with some 40 lawyers working in Gaza in co-operation with renowned French lawyer Gilles Devers and lawyer Khaled Al-Shouli. The complaint has also been signed by 30 lawyers registering their involvement and solidarity.

This complaint is a continuation of an ongoing effort initiated nearly 10 years ago, the first complaint to the International Criminal Court having been made in January 2009 concerning the Israeli “Cast Lead” military attack. Read more »

On the 12th anniversary of the attack on Jericho prison: Resistance continues until liberation

PRESS STATEMENT
Campaign to Free Ahmed Sadat

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March 14, 2018 marks the 12th anniversary of the infamous Zionist attack on the Jericho prison and the kidnapping of Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qur’an and Basil al-Asmar, along with Fuad Shoubaki, in a violent attack on the Palestinian Authority prison. The repercussions of this attack are still being felt today, as the kidnapped Palestinian leaders face lengthy sentences inside the prisons of the Zionist colonizer.

The assault on Jericho prison underlined the network of repression and collaboration that had already seen Sa’adat and his comrades imprisoned in a Palestinian Authority jail for over four years before the attack by Israeli occupation forces. Not only was the PA imprisoning Palestinian leaders and strugglers for their role in resistance to Israeli occupation, the prison at Jericho was secured not solely by Palestinian guards but by U.S. and British guards, colonial authorities maintained in place in order to cement their imprisonment. Among the British guards at Jericho prison reportedly were those who had previously served as prison guards against Irish republican prisoners jailed for their struggle against British colonization of Ireland.

Prior to the attack, the U.S. and British guards left their positions in a clear sign of coordination that made clear that their mission to “ensure the security” of the prisoners was always a mere facade; instead, they were present to serve the interests of the occupation, which carried out its assault on Jericho with U.S.-made and U.S.-funded weaponry and armed bulldozers. The imprisonment of Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades is a direct result of the actions of U.S. and British forces alongside that of the Israeli occupation – not to mention the treachery of the Palestinian Authority. Read more »

Euro-Med: Decline of UNRWA services, consequences will be catastrophic

PRESS RELEASE
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor

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Geneva- The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor published a report today detailing the series of measures to reduce relief services and staff by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), investigating the resulting catastrophic impact on Palestinian refugees residing in the agency’s five fields of operations.

The reduction of UNRWA services means depriving more than five million and 800,000 Palestinian refugees of basic services such as education and healthcare. It also means causing a closure of 702 UNRWA schools, depriving more than 500,000 refugee students of access to education and the collective layoff of some 30,000 of the Agency’s staff members, furthering the precarious humanitarian and social situation.

Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, promised that his agency will continue to provide its services to Palestinian refugees, despite the fact that the financial crisis facing the agency as a result of huge US funding cuts and the failure of the international community to take concrete steps to support the agency has started to take its toll.

UNRWA has already started taking effective steps reducing its services provided to refugees and downsizing the organization, according to Euro-Med Monitor’s team, a step that is likely to be followed by others leading to the termination of the agency’s work, which Israel has repeatedly called for. Read more »

Ongoing meetings with Egyptian officials in Cairo

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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On the issue of the ongoing meetings of Hamas’ delegation with the Egyptian officials in Cairo, Member of Hamas Political Bureau Hussam Badran stated the following:

Hamas’ meetings with the Egyptian officials in Cairo are going on positively. As an outcome of the meetings, an Egyptian delegation is to arrive in Gaza on Sunday to follow up the reconciliation.

Hamas’ delegation, headed by Chief of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, had a positive response regarding the Egyptian efforts to facilitate the life of the people in Gaza Strip, as well as regarding the reconciliation.

Hamas will make the mission of the Egyptian delegation as easy as possible and will take all the needed measures that guarantee a successful follow up of implementing the reconciliation and reinforcing confidence ahead of achieving the prospected national unity; especially amidst the major challenges facing the Palestinian cause and the dangers posed to the Palestinian rights.

Member of Political Bureau of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas

Hussam Badran

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 »

Israeli troops arrest Palestinian journalist in West Bank

PRESS RELEASE
Committee to Protect Journalists – MENA

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Beirut, February 16, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the arrest of Palestinian journalist Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh. Israeli security forces arrested Shalaldeh, a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network, at his home in the southern West Bank town of Sa’ir, on February 15, according to news reports, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and Shalaldeh’s brother, Loay.

Loay Shalaldeh and Nabhan Khraishi, the communication officer of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that Israeli troops seized three phones–two of which belonged to Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh –and a laptop, in a dawn raid on the journalist’s house.

Loay Shalaldeh added that the family has not been told where his brother is being held or the reason for his arrest.

The Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.

“Israeli security forces should either bring charges against Palestinian journalist Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh so that he can defend himself, or release him immediately and cease interfering with his ability to do his job,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour from Washington, D.C. Read more »

The Great Return March (GRM) – First statement

PRESS STATEMENT
The Coordinating Committee- The Great Return March (GRM)

In the Name Of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

“Return is the people’s choice”

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With firm faith in Allah and trust in Him, and with belief in the sacred right of the Palestinian refugees to return, we announce the dawn of return to our homeland; a rally that has just been launched and will develop to weave the strands of return from the hopes of our homeless people, the sacrifices of our prisoners and wounded, and the struggles of our people.

It is a continuation of our long struggle that includes the 2011 March of Return and the 2012 Global March to Jerusalem.

The war of 1948 ended 70 years ago and there is absolutely no justification for the refugees to be prevented from returning to their homes.

International resolutions were adopted, notably Resolution 194 calling for the return of the refugees. Now, the decision is in their hands for they have determined to exercise their inalienable right of return peacefully, at a time of their choice.
The Palestinian refugees have never been far removed from their homes; many live just a few hundred meters away, or simply separated from their original homes by barbed-wire fences. The time to return has come. Read more »

Euro-Med warns of distressing humanitarian situation of Palestinians trapped at Gaza-Egypt crossing

PRESS RELEASE
EURO-MED

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Geneva- the distressing situation of Palestinians stuck on both sides of the Rafah border crossing and inside Cairo airport following the Egyptian authorities’ decision to close the crossing for passengers traveling in and out of Gaza, constitutes a tragedy to many of stranded patients and students, warns the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

“security personnel at the airport were holding about 100 people, , in one room, without providing them with food, drink or sleeping blankets

The Egyptian authorities have allowed the opening of the Rafah border crossing to secure the travel and return of Palestinian citizens out and to the Gaza Strip after a complete closure that lasted about 50 days. The Palestinian citizens were surprised by the Egyptian authorities’ sudden decision to shut it down, only two days after it was opened. This decision coincided with Egypt’s launch of a military campaign in the Sinai Desert, which led to holding hundreds of passengers returning to the Gaza Strip at Cairo airport, as well as on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing.

The Egyptian authorities allowed only 650 stranded passengers to head to the Gaza Strip to cross during the opening of the border crossing. Hundreds of other Palestinian citizens are still stranded and held on the Egyptian side of the crossing. Further, the Egyptian authorities have ordered the return of more than 44 vehicles loaded with Palestinians to Cairo Airport again, and refused to let them in. Read more »

Hamas’ military wing raises level of alert to defend Palestinians

HAMAS

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Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, announced on Saturday evening rising level of alert to defend the Palestinian people from any Israeli aggression.

On his twitter account, Al-Qassam Spokesman, Abu-Obeida, said: “The Brigades have raised the level of alert to protect our people and respond to any Zionist aggression in the light of the ongoing events taking place in northern occupied Palestine.”

The Israeli occupation army announced early Saturday morning that two Israeli pilots were injured –one of them seriously – after their F-16 fighter jet was shot down by Syrian forces in Galilee.

Commenting on the incident of the Israeli fighter, Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “This is a natural response to the continuous Israeli aggression on the Syrian lands.”

He added: “It is the right for all nations to defend their lands and their own security and stability in case they were targeted by any occupation.”

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 »

UNRWA denies strike in Gaza today

PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA

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Contrary to some reports, there was no strike in Gaza today and UNRWA installations across Gaza were not closed because of industrial action.

There was a memorable and peaceful solidarity walk by thousands of UNRWA employees from our office in Gaza City to the UNSCO office to hand over a letter to the President of the General Assembly, expressing concern about funding reductions and their potential impact.

While people stayed away from work for a few hours, UNRWA had a prior deal with the Staff Union that essential services like food distribution would not be disrupted.

Statement of the UNRWA Commissioner-General

PRESS STATEMENT
UNRWA

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Not for the first time in its proud history, UNRWA faces a formidable challenge in upholding its mandate – an expression of the will of the international community – and preserving key services like education and health care for Palestine Refugees.

Today, the US government has announced a contribution of $60 M, in support of our efforts to keep our schools open, health clinics running, and emergency food and cash distribution systems functioning for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. While important, this funding is dramatically below past levels. The total US contribution in 2017 was above $350 M. Read more »

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