Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian co-founder of the BDS movement has been hit with a de facto travel ban. On Sunday, another Israeli minister announced that a task force will be created to “target” BDS activists in the country with foreign citizenship and expel them from the country
It is now one week since the Israeli authorities arrested Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement in Palestine. His arrest follows years of intimidation and threats by various state agencies. If the purpose is to isolate and silence Barghouti, his arrest was, at best, short-sighted and counterproductive. BDS, meanwhile, is already a Palestinian-inspired global movement, which will be impossible to stop.
Although Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described the BDS movement in May 2015 as a “strategic threat”, when it was launched back in July 2005, officials dismissed the campaign as a poor attempt to imitate the international boycott which played a pivotal role in dismantling the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. That disparaging belief no longer exists. The mere fact that the country is spending millions of dollars every month to collect data and counter BDS at home and abroad, is in itself a measure of how seriously the Israelis now view it.
By resorting to high-handed tactics of repression and intimidation, Israel is doing the ultimate disservice to its own cause. Unwittingly, it has, by such measures, created the perfect conditions for BDS to grow and attract supporters the world over, for it does not take much to convince open-minded people about the need for BDS.
Policies that deny basic freedoms and human rights are inherently repulsive to the sense of justice of reasonable human beings.
Today, those who support BDS are driven by values of equality and fairness, as well as recognition of a shared humanity. This is why they find the denial of full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel so repugnant; why they demand an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territories captured in 1967; and why they ask why the Palestinians who were expelled by Jewish militias in 1948 are not allowed to exercise their legal right of return to their homes. There is nothing conspiratorial or bigoted about this. The latter is, after all, a right that is recognised internationally.
If nothing else, it is the continued denial by Israel of all Palestinian rights that has fuelled the BDS movement. On every continent, minority and disadvantaged communities, churches, labour unions and human rights organisations are supporting this non-violent campaign because they are convinced it is part of their own self-preservation.
Gone are the days when celebrity A-listers, entertainers and sports personalities give their unqualified support to Israel. Today, such support is conditional; it will only be given when Israel respects the dignity of the Palestinian people. Under no circumstances can today’s celebrities be seen to endorse or legitimise discrimination openly, irrespective of the perpetrator. There is simply no moral or legal justification for discrimination of any kind, least of all the state-sanctioned manifestation that we see in Israel.
As cruel as it may sound, Omar Barghouti’s arrest was inevitable; not because of any criminal activity on his part, but because of the longstanding threats made against him. Last year, Amnesty International expressed concern for his safety and liberty after a number of Israeli ministers issued veiled threats against Barghouti at an anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem on 28 March.
One threat which was especially grotesque was that made by Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz, who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of its murderous intelligence agencies. Amnesty said that the term alluded to “targeted assassinations”, which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of armed Palestinian groups.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has no doubt about the motive for the arrest of its co-founder; it is all about repression. The BNC pointed out that the current investigation, which includes a travel ban, was not coincidental, coming just weeks before Barghouti was scheduled to travel to the US to receive the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University.
Would the BDS movement collapse if Omar Barghouti is imprisoned or assassinated? Of course not. The legal, political and human rights similarities between the Palestinian reality and that which existed in apartheid South Africa are so blatant that they would not go unnoticed or unchallenged anywhere in the civilised world.
To date, none of the measures adopted by Israel to combat the BDS have succeeded. Whether it is the banning of activists from entering Palestine, the creation of special dirty tricks units to discredit activists, or their imprisonment, all are methods that were tried in South Africa where they proved to be wholly inadequate and inconsequential. On the contrary, they only succeeded in drawing ever more attention to the unjust and criminal nature of the apartheid system.
Rest assured that the results will be the same in Palestine, with or without the physical presence and great efforts of Omar Barghouti. By turning him into a cause célèbre, Israel has confirmed that the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign is indeed a strategic threat.
(Source / 27.03.2017)
Tension has been running high at holy al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday after Muslim guards uncovered a stone-theft attempt by an Israeli archaeologist.
A PIC news correspondent said Israeli cops cordoned off the plazas of al-Aqsa Mosque and kidnapped two Muslim guards—Salman Abu Mayala and Luay Abu al-Saad. Both detainees were dragged to an Israeli detention center in the Old City of Occupied Jerusalem.
Director of al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, was aggressively shoved by the Israeli forces as he attempted to prevent the occupation cops from arresting al-Aqsa staff members.
Meanwhile, the peaceful Muslim worshipers kept chanting “Allah is the Greatest” in protest at the assault.
Hordes of Israeli settlers, escorted by police troops, stormed al-Aqsa Mosque via al-Maghareba Gate at the early morning hours and performed sacrilegious rituals, in the second such move carried out over the past couple of days by the so-called Haredim fanatics dressed all in black.
(Source / 27.03.2017)
A Palestinian youth was kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at noontime Monday near Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, on allegations of an attempted anti-occupation stabbing.
The Israeli army spokesman said a Palestinian youth was arrested after he attempted to stab Israeli soldiers.
Reporting from the scene, eyewitnesses told the PIC that the young man was walking near the checkpoint while an Israeli woman suddenly fled the scene. A group of soldiers deployed in the area nabbed the young man.
A snapshot circulated by Hebrew-speaking news outlets showed a sharp object thrown on the ground and purported that it was carried by the youth.
(Source / 27.03.2017)
Nahed Aseeda, wife of martyr Mazen Fuqaha, called on Sunday on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which she considered one indivisible unit, to respond to her husband’s assassination.
During a conference about the Palestinian women at the Islamic University in Gaza on Sunday, Aseeda asked the security services in Gaza to track down the murderers of her husband, expressing concern that Fuqaha’s assassination might be the first of many to come.
Aseeda affirmed that she will raise her children following the same path of her husband, pointing out that she used to be proud for being a wife of a freed prisoner, and now she is even more proud for being a wife of a martyr.
She added, “I am going to continue my life and get a master’s degree so that Mazen will be happy.”
Aseeda talked about her husband’s love for Gaza and his pride for being expelled to it, explaining that this attachment was manifested through the Safad operation which he planned in retaliation for assassinating the Gaza-based al-Qassam Brigades commander Salah Shehade.
(Source / 26.03.2017)
A round of five-day military maneuvers is expected to be carried out by the Israeli occupation army across the West Bank as of Sunday.
According to the Israel Hayom newspaper, the military drills are to kick off on Sunday and be wrapped up on Thursday.
An Israeli army spokesman said the maneuvers make part of a preplanned scheme allegedly intended to boost the army’s vigilance and preparedness for anticipated anti-occupation attacks.
For the Palestinians, particularly children, Israeli military drills across the occupied territories represent a nightmarish episode marked by around-the-clock sounds of bullet fire, blasts, and outcries.
(Source / 26.03.2017)
Several Palestinians, including a journalist, were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in abduction sweeps launched at predawn Sunday.
Overnight, the Israeli army claimed responsibility for the abduction of four Palestinians on account of their involvement in anti-occupation events.
The campaign targeted three Palestinians from Jenin’s northern town of al-Jalama and another from the southern West Bank province of al-Khalil.
A PIC reporter, said the IOF soldiers rolled into al-Jalama at around 3 a.m. and wreaked havoc on civilian homes before they kidnapped three Palestinians, two among whom aged 21 and the third in his early 30s.
Palestinian journalist Raed Abu Rmeila, working for B’Tselem watchdog, was arrested by the occupation soldiers from southern al-Khalil and transferred to an Israeli detention center, where he had been aggressively attacked and strip-searched. He was released sometime later.
The attack on Abu Rmeila has not been the first of its kind. He had been subjected to several such assaults while covering Israeli violations against the Palestinians in the Old City of al-Khalil. Last Thursday, he survived gunshots fired by an Israeli soldier overnight.
Meanwhile, reporting from Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank, a PIC news correspondent said the IOF kidnapped five Palestinian young men in a predawn raid on the city.
The list of detainees included Mohamed Mo’men Khalaf, his cousin Mohamed Ma’moun, and Ibrahim Hamamra, all kidnapped from their family homes in Husan village, west of Bethlehem.
At the same time, 27-year-old Palestinian youth Assid al-Wardian, from Bethlehem, was transferred to administrative detention, with neither charge nor trial, just a couple of days after he was arrested by the IOF. His health has reportedly gone downhill as a result of a heart attack sustained one month ago in the Palestinian Authority (PA) lock-ups.
(Source / 26.03.2017)
Israeli soldiers pursued the girls inside their homes, broke doors of their rooms and beat them with the butts of their rifles
Israeli forces harassed and assaulted Palestinian girls as they were watching clashes between little kids and Israeli soldiers in West Bank.
The Israeli rights group B’Tselem published a video last week showing the Israeli occupation soldiers also trying to kidnap one of the Palestinian girls.
B’Tselem said that a group of Palestinian boys and teens threw rocks at Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated with metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them, and threw stun grenades.
“Seven women and girls from the extended Jaradat family stood outside one of the family’s homes watching the clashes,” the Israeli rights group counted. “Four Border Police jeeps arrived on the scene and the policemen who got out began pursuing the youths as they fled. The Jaradat girls also fled.
“A videographer who came on the scene captured the end of the incident on video. The clip shows a masked Border Police officer gripping 13-year-old Khadijeh Jaradat by the arm, while a Border Police commanding officer pushed away her mother, who was trying to help her.
“After the officer let go of Khadijeh, he was caught on video assaulting her cousin, 20-year-old Duha Badawi, beating her on the head.”
Later on, “B’Tselem’s inquiries indicate that Siraj Jaradat, 28, fled with her 10-year-old cousin Samar to the latter’s home. Three of Samar’s sisters were home at that time: Hiba, 18, Shirin, 17 and Kifah, 11. The two closed the front yard’s iron gate behind them, went inside, and then heard loud banging at the front door.
“Siraj and Hiba said that the police pounded on the door and kicked it until they broke the lock, and then came inside.
“The women and girls, who were frightened by the officers, screamed and held on to each other. One of the officers approached Siraj, grabbed her by the shoulder, and pulled her out of the house. Siraj, who was screaming and crying, told the officer she had done nothing.”
“B’Tselem said that after Ibrahim Jaradat, Khadijeh’s and Hiba’s father, had intervened and got the girls and his wife away, and after the Border Police commanding officer kept the officer from hitting Duha again, the officers left the village without making any arrests.
“In the testimony, she Duha gave on 21 January 2017, Hiba said she still had pain in her back, and other parts of her body, as a result of the officer’s assault.”
“The violence of the Border Police officers, who detained, assaulted and hit women and girls, the youngest of whom was 13, is yet another in a long list of incidents documented by B’Tselem over the years, in which security forces used violence against Palestinian children and youths.
“The recurrence of this conduct, and the lack of accountability indicates it is tacitly condoned by the most senior officials of Israel’s security establishment.”
(Source / 26.03.2017)
Several Palestinian citizens suffered from inhaling tear gas after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday morning stormed Beit Ummar town, north of al-Khalil province in the West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said the events started near the Grand Mosque in Beit Ummar after Israeli soldiers entered the area and embarked on randomly firing stun and tear gas grenades at passersby and homes.
Consequently, local young men confronted the soldiers and responded by hurling stones at them.
During their presence in the town, soldiers raided and ransacked a bakery and a house in the central district, according to a local source.
(Source / 25.03.2017)
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Unknown gunmen assassinated on Friday evening one al-Qassam Brigades commander and ex-detainee in Israeli jails Mazen al-Fuqaha in Tel al-Hawa area in southern Gaza City.
According Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza spokesman Iyad al-Bezem, policemen found the body of Fuqaha with four bullets in his head. An inquiry has been opened into the incident, he pointed out.
A statement by the Interior Ministry in Gaza said Mazen Fuqaha was gunned down in the southern Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa. The gunmen were equipped with silencers, the statement said.
Mazen Fuqaha, from Tubas city in the West Bank, is a member of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement.
He is an ex-detainee who was released in swap deal in 2011 between Hamas and Israel on condition he would be deported to Gaza.
Israeli occupation forces arrested Fuqaha over his responsibility for the Safad attack which led to the death of nine Israelis and it was carried out in revenge for the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader in Gaza Sheikh Salah Shehadeh.
Fuqha was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 50 years for planning a suicide bombing in Meron Crossing in 2002, where nine Israelis were killed. But in 2011 he was released from prison as part of a prisoner exchange deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Resheq described the assassination on his Twitter account as “cowardly”. (pnn)
(Source / 25.03.2017)
Dozens of Palestinian homes have become threatened with demolition as the Israeli municipal authority in Occupied Jerusalem is still embarking on building a link road passing through the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber.
Lawyer Ra’ed Bashir, a member of the Jabal Mukaber land defense committee, told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the road, to be named the American Street, would be 32 meters wide, thus leading to the demolition of 57 Palestinian homes.
Bashir added that the Israeli municipality would not build new homes for the Palestinians whose current ones are slated for demolition to make space for the new road and would only allow commercial structures and projects to be built around it.
He noted that Jabal Mukaber land defense committee managed to extract a court order delaying the demolition of 35 homes for five years, but the Israeli occupation authority did not comply and decided to go ahead with the road project.
He also said that the residents of the neighborhood only want the IOA to make the road 12 meters wide instead of 32 meters, to provide their area with infrastructure, and to allow residential construction around it.
Although the Israeli municipality claims that the road project is intended to serve the Palestinian residents, specialists in Jerusalem affairs confirm that the facts on the ground reflect that it will be built to connect the settlement of Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim), south of Jerusalem, with the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, east of the city.
(Source / 25.03.2017)
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Friday evening the Palestinian ex-detainee Usaid al-Werdiyan, 23, from Bethlehem, while passing through a makeshift barrier one month after his release from the Palestinian Authority (PA) jails.
The PIC reporter revealed that captive Werdiyan had a heart attack a month ago while he was detained in jail by the PA intelligence apparatus in Bethlehem city. He is still under treatment during which a heart rate monitor battery was going to be installed in his chest, the reporter added.
Werdiyan, the son of the Hamas leader Hassan al-Werdiyan, is an ex-detainee who served several years in Israeli jails. He was also detained more than once as a political captive in the PA jails because of his involvement in activities with the students’ Islamic bloc in a university in Bethlehem.
(Source / 25.03.2017)
Palestinian Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 11, 2016
Israel yesterday denied Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam entry into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun crossing, known as Erez in Israel, in northern Gaza.
“Israel has refused to grant Minister Saidam and his delegation permission to enter the Gaza Strip,” Kamal Al-Sharafi, chairman of the board of trustees of Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, told Anadolu news agency.
He explained that the education minister’s visit, which was scheduled to take place yesterday, aimed to declare solutions for the administrative crisis experienced by the Al-Aqsa University for the past two years.
Read: Israel arrests Palestinian MPs to distance them from the people
He noted that efforts were being made to allow the minister entry into Gaza later next week.
The Al-Aqsa University crisis started in 2015 after the Hamas-run Ministry of Education appointed an acting president of the university, and the Palestinian ministry in Ramallah appointed another person for the same position.
As a result of the crisis, the salaries of a number of academics and administrators at the university were cut while local banks froze about $9 million of university funds.
(Source / 24.03.2017)
The Israeli soldiers opened fire heavily at the four youths from a very close distance
The eyewitnesses stressed that Israeli claim that they threw firebombs is false and it aimed to justify the Israeli murder of the unarmed Palestinian civilians
Israeli occupation forces murdered two Palestinian youths, wounded two others near Jalazoun Refugee Camp, north of West Bank city of Ramallah.
Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces opened fire from their automatic rifles at a Palestinian car with four people inside.
According to the eyewitnesses, ages of the four people ranges between 17 to 20 years, noting that the Israeli occupation opened the fire heavily without an apparent reason.
Palestinian medical sources said that two of the youths were killed and the two others suffered critical conditions.
The Palestinian ministry of health identified the two dead as Mohamed al-Hattab, 17, and Jasem al-Nakhalah, 18.
While the two wounded are Mahmoud al-Hattab, 18, and Mohamed al-Nakhalah, 18. The first was shot in the abdomen and the second in the foot and shoulder.
Spokesperson of the Israeli occupation army claimed that the Palestinians inside the car threw firebombs at the illegal Israeli Jewish settlement of Beit El, which is near to Al-Jalzoun Refugee Camp.
However, witnesses stressed that this is a false accusation and it aimed to justify the Israeli murder of the unarmed Palestinian civilians.
(Source / 24.03.2017)
Monitors insist that these massive and continuous drills likely come in line with the Israeli efforts to prepare for a massive and deadly attack on the Gaza Strip
Likely preparing for deadly offensive on Gaza, Israeli air force is preparing for largest ever and most complex military drills later this year.
According to the Israeli public radio, about 100 fighters, other aircrafts and a few hundred soldiers and pilots, along with logistical support forces from the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy are expected to participate in the military exercise.
Israeli radio said the air force squadrons will meet in Tel-Aviv during autumn to carry out these joint exercises to maintain the readiness of the forces from the participating countries.
Over the course of two weeks during the exercise, pilots will train to fight air battles, hit ground targets and avoid missiles.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, the Israeli Air Force’s chief of international affairs, said: “It will be a massive exercise; the biggest ever for the IAF. Seven nations plus Israel.”
He added: “People are seeing there is a lot to learn from Israel. In our tiny airspace and in the environment around us, things are so intense. The Russians are here…Many of the world’s air forces are passing through here on their way to operations in Syria and elsewhere in the region.
“So we provide a sort of battle lab in which forces can hone a spectrum of skills needed to combat growing threats.”
He explained that the so-called Blue Flag exercises would focus on cooperation rather than competition between the participating air Forces, as opposed to the Red Flag manoeuvers organised by the US Air Force each year at the Niles Air Force Base in Nevada.
Early this week, Israel called up 2,000 reserves and carried out large drills near the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.
Monitors insist that these massive and continuous drills likely come in line with the Israeli efforts to prepare for a massive and deadly attack on the Gaza Strip.
(Source / 24.03.2017)
SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Friday prevented Palestinians from accessing areas around the Wadi Qana valley west of Deir Istiya village in northern Salfit in the central occupied West Bank, in order to create a “comfortable atmosphere” for illegal Israeli settlers in the area.
Member of the Deir Istiya Municipality Nathmi Salman told Ma’an that Israeli authorities closed the entrance of Wadi Qana, preventing Palestinians from entering the area from 8 a.m to 3 p.m Friday to provide a “comfortable atmosphere” for Israeli settlers from the nearby Karnei Shomron settlement who organize an annual “spring march” in the area.
According to Salman, Israeli forces had put up signs in Hebrew reading “no entry” late Thursday and informed farmers that the area was closed by Israeli forces on Friday.
Salman said that Israeli settlers arrived in the area early Friday with power generators and “entertainment tools.”
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
Several Israeli settlements surround the Wadi Qana area, including the Immanuel and Karnei Shomron to the north, and Yaqir and Nofim to the south.
According to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, the central section of Wadi Qana, which is one of the tributaries of the Yarkon River, includes several springs and is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control.
The land in the central section of the wadi is owned by Palestinians, mainly by residents of Deir Istiya, who use the land for farming and grazing.
“Over the course of many generations, and up to the 1990s, village families used to live in the wadi, relying on the springs for drinking water and for irrigating vegetable patches and citrus trees. To this day, residents of Deir Istiya and other neighboring villages go for a dip in the stream and relax on its banks,” B’Tselem said in a 2015 report.
According to B’tselem, over the years, the nearby settlements and outposts have discharged their wastewater into the wadi, spoiling the springs and harming the farmers’ water sources, eventually forcing the fifty Palestinian families who lived in the wadi to move to Deir Istiya in the 1990s.