Sunday, 15 May 2016

US, EU collude at Israel’s travel ban on BDS co-founder


Human Rights Watch wasted no time in condemning Israel’s imposition of an effective travel ban on Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”

Previously, in light of direct threats against Barghouti by Israeli ministers, Amnesty International had expressed its concern for the “safety and liberty” of Barghouti, amid what it called “an escalation of acts of intimidation” by the Israeli government against human rights defenders.

Activists are urging thousands of people to contact the US State Department to protest the Israeli move.

EU passivity But given opportunities to speak out in defense of human rights, the Obama administration and the EU have decided to give Israel a wink – amounting to tacit support for its crackdown on Barghouti’s freedom of speech and association.

“The EU Delegation in Israel and the European Union Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip are closely following the case of Mr. Omar Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre in Israel,” the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs and security policy told The Electronic Intifada in an email. more

‘The Nakba continues': Israeli forces conduct multiple raids across West Bank


Israeli forces raided multiple neighborhoods across the occupied West Bank overnight Saturday, detaining at least three Palestinians, launching tear gas canisters and stun grenades, and setting fire to olive trees, as Palestinians around the world commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Nakba.

In the northern district of Qalqiliya, dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation, and several trees caught fire when clashes erupted between local youths and Israeli forces in the village of Kafr Qaddum.

Coordinator for a popular resistance committee in the village Murad Shtewi said the Israeli army "turned Kafr Qaddum's sky into a cloud of poisonous gas" after firing tear gas heavily and randomly. Dozens of olive trees in the area caught fire from Israeli forces-fired tear gas and stun grenades.

Shtewi added that civil defense vehicles were prevented from reaching the fire because Israeli forces had closed the roads with dirt berms, forcing firefighters to walk up a hill to control the fire.

To the south in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli forces raided the downtown, al-Khila, and al-Thahir areas of the village of Beit Ummar, detaining one Palestinian. more