Thursday, 15 October 2015

Palestinian Authority is Israeli occupations biggest asset as Intifada calls grow


Tonight, Hamas official Ismail Radwan called for a third intifada on Al-Aqsa TV and other media outlets: “Our people in the West Bank, Gaza and inside [Israel], tomorrow is the day of rage, the day of confrontation, and the day of renewing the intifada.”

Hamas is attempting to ride popular sentiment and ignite a fire which the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s biggest asset in sustaining the occupation, cannot control.

A whole generation of Palestinian youth have grown under Israeli occupation in the post-second intifada era, along with the PA’s “security coordination” with Israel, and sentiment against the US-funded PA is widespread. While the PA typically collaborates to repress Palestinian demonstrations, as it did with brute force in the beginning of the latest protests, officials have opted to let them continue for fear the demonstrators may turn on it, finally eroding and collapsing the PA.

Meanwhile, support for Hamas has steadily increased as its strategy of military confrontation resonates with a majority of Palestinians. The election of Hamas in Bir Zeit University – the West Bank’s most liberal university – served as a bellwether for a political shift occurring among the young and educated Palestinian generation. The vote also indicated a major reaffirmation of Palestinian support for armed resistance.

However, as strong as Hamas present itself on the ground, it has never been more weak and isolated abroad. Hamas’ relationship with Iran has severed, leaving only Qatar and Turkey as regional allies.

On the military side Hamas is projecting weakness to Israel as well. Despite calls for resumed operations on Israeli targets after airstrikes killed a pregnant woman and her baby girl early Sunday morning, none of the armed factions made statements that operations would resume in any capacity. As Hamas’ Basem Naim, Head of Council on International Relations explained to me in an interview, “Hamas is not interested in escalation.”

Still, Al-Qassam, Hamas’ armed wing, and other resistance factions have continued to prepare for another inevitable Israeli assault, expanding the vast networks of tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip.

In the meantime, Israeli snipers continue to fire live ammunition and explosive dum dum rounds at protesters in Gaza. Hundreds of demonstrators have been injured in the last week and at least eleven killed including three boys from ages 13-15. Similar to the PA, Hamas security forces have, for the most part, not impeded the demonstrations, which it often does.

Tonight, after Hamas called for an intifada, additional Israeli forces deployed to Gaza’s borders.

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Video: Alarm grows over summary executions of Palestinians


From the Electronic Intifada - Warning: This article contains graphic videos and images of violence.

Two more Palestinians were shot dead Wednesday following alleged knife attacks, while the Israeli army and government began implementing a rash of new measures approved by the so-called security cabinet late Tuesday night.

Among the decisions made, Israeli police and Border Police will enforce closures on Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.....

....Later that evening, Ahmad Shaaban, 23, from the Ras al-Amud neighborhood in East Jerusalem allegedly attacked a woman at the central bus station in West Jerusalem.

Shaaban was killed on the spot, while the woman is reported to have sustained light to moderate wounds.

However, the Israeli account has been disputed.

Qpress, an online Palestinian outlet for news about Jerusalem, published a recording it said was an Israeli eyewitness telling media that Shaaban was unarmed and doing nothing when shot. It provided no other details about the purported eyewitness.

Speaking excitedly in Hebrew, the person states: “Central bus station in Jerusalem, just now a terrorist was eliminated in front of my eyes. In front of my eyes. Ten rounds they fired at him. What chaos! He didn’t touch anyone. He didn’t have a knife. Everyone shouted ‘terrorist’ and the security guard fired. In front of my eyes. Ten rounds! My head hurts.” more

Why does Sweden want to expel Gaza refugees?


Seventy Palestinian refugees have been evicted from a camp formed in protest at how the Swedish authorities have denied them the right to asylum.

The camp had been deemed illegal by the local council in Malmö, a city in southern Sweden. After two weeks of threats, the camp was dismantled on Thursday morning last week.

Nine people were arrested and three shipping containers of personal possessions were confiscated by police.

The Palestinian refugees had traveled to Sweden from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia.

Their protest has been taking place outside the applications unit of the immigration authority in Malmö.

Despite attempts by the police to make their protest impossible, the refugees are determined to keep fighting for asylum.

The protest is continuing, albeit without tents or shelter. Temperatures are dropping daily in Malmö as the Nordic winter approaches.

“I will take down my tent, we will take down our camp,” said Aaed al-Shalabi, a Palestinian from Iraq and a founder of the camp. “But we will not leave until we have a resolution. Even if we have to stand here in the snow, we will not give up until we are given papers”

The protest camp started in early August.

More than 130 Palestinian refugees have taken part in it. more

Israel deploys extra border troops as Hamas calls for 'day of rage'


Israeli forces have announced heavier deployments at the border area with Gaza following the announcement of a Hamas-prompted "day of rage" planned to take place on Friday, an Israeli army spokesperson said.

An Israeli army spokesperson said Israeli authorities undertook a "situational assessment" following increased clashes and upheaval along the Gaza border area and have decided to deploy two more battalions along the Strip for Friday's so-called "day of rage."

Clashes have been frequent along the border fence recently, as Gazans have planned protests in solidarity with demonstrations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Since the start of October, Israeli authorities have reported multiple breaches at the border fence during clashes and Israeli forces have shot dead at least nine Gazans at the protests.

Additionally, the spokesperson said that Israel authorities announced that two battalions and two companies of Israeli troops would be deployed in the occupied West Bank.

Hamas deputy head Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday visited Palestinians at al-Shifa hospital who had been shot and injured by Israeli forces during recent clashes near Gaza's border with Israel. more

Egypt army shoots, injures 3 Palestinians in Gaza tunnel


?Egyptian army forces shot and injured three Palestinians in a smuggling tunnel under the city of Rafah in southern Gaza on Thursday.

Egyptian soldiers entered the tunnel under the border city and opened fire at Palestinian workers, injuring three, locals said.

The victims were taken to hospital for treatment.

Earlier this week, Egypt detained three Palestinians after blowing up a tunnel under the shared border. The Palestinians were initially reported missing after the explosion.

Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt. more

Families given 72 hours to evacuate homes before punitive demolitions


Israeli authorities overnight Wednesday and during the day Thursday executed punitive measures against the families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israel, giving four families 72 hours to evacuate their homes before demolition, and raiding the homes of three others.

In the Ramallah area of Silwad, Israeli forces on Thursday delivered demolition orders to two houses after alleging their sons belonged to a military cell responsible for carrying out an attack near Nablus.

The family of prisoner Abdullah Munir Hammad was given 72 hours to either evacuate their home or file an objection to the military order.

The family told Ma'an that they don't actually own the home, and have started legal procedures to reject the order issued on the rental.

Israeli forces also delivered an order to the family of Muath Hamed, who is being held in jail by the Palestinian Authority, also giving them 72 hours to evacuate or object to the order.

The Israeli authorities accused both Muath and Abdullah, along with three others, of carrying out a shooting near Nablus on June 29 that killed an Israeli soldier and injured 3 others. more

Video: Growing solidarity between #BlackLivesMatter and Palestine activists


The video above, published on YouTube on Wednesday, features dozens of #BlackLivesMatter and Palestinian activists delivering a joint message. "When I see them, I see us," the video's narrators intone.

These include prominent African-American celebrities and thinkers, such as Danny Glover, Lauryn Hill, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Cornel West. They are accompanied by well-known Palestinian activists and writers. Over the course of a couple of minutes, they unite their perceived struggles through photos, slogans and a shared story of state oppression.

They talk of black youths killed by police and Palestinian children bombed by Israeli warplanes.

"When I see them, I see us," the narrative goes. "Harassed, beaten, tortured, dehumanized, stopped and frisked, searched at checkpoints."

It may seem a bit of a stretch to equate the grievances of Palestinians with questions of institutionalized racism in the United States. After all, the legacy of African slavery and systemic racism in the United States seems a world away from the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

But Noura Erakat, an assistant professor at George Mason University and one of the organizers of the video project, argues that while these experiences are separated by distance and history, there are important underlying themes that bring them together. more

Palestinian man dies of heart attack after assault by IOF


The Ministry of Health on Thursday morning announced the death of a Palestinian man who suffered a heart-stroke right affter he was assaulted by a group of soldiers on his way home from olive-picking in Al-Janiya village west of Ramallah, on Wednesday afternoon.

The MOH in a statement said that Riyad Dar Youssef (46), was moved to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah and suffered a health setback when soldiers attacked, and insulted, and detained him and his wife for two hours.

Youssef, father of seven, reportedly passed out 15 minutes later, and turned out to suffer a heart-attack, which lead to his death this morning. more

Israeli troops invade West Bank, abducting 26 Palestinians in the dead of night


The Israeli military invaded various parts of the West Bank Wednesday night, abducting 26 Palestinians from their homes. Since the beginning of October, more than 650 Palestinians have been abducted and imprisoned, according to prisoner rights groups.

The military invaded Nablus and surrounding villages after midnight Wednesday night, abducting eight. In addition, nine Palestinians were abducted in raids in the Hebron area.

In Bethlehem, five young men were abducted, and four were snatched from their beds in Ramallah. None of those abducted have been identified at this point.

The Palestinian Authority's Committee for Prisoner Affairs reported this week that a record 650 Palestinians have been abducted by Israeli troops in the past three weeks -- this is the highest number in a single month since June 2014, when protests filled the streets of Jerusalem following the burning to death of a young Palestinian boy by right-wing Israelis.

Israeli police report that they have detained over 200 Palestinians since October 1st. But Palestinian groups put the number much higher. Many of those imprisoned have been detained without charges or trial, and have had no opportunity to see a lawyer to represent them.

According to the Prisoners' Committee, most of those imprisoned in the past month are 20 years old are younger, and many of them are minors who are being held illegally in adult facilities. more