Thursday, December 31, 2009

Israeli forces detain 15 including PA security officer in raids

Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained thirteen young men including an officer with the PA security forces and two minors overnight after storming their home, locals reported.

Local Palestinian sources in Barqa village south of Nablus told Ma’an that Israeli military vehicles stormed the area after midnight and raided a number of houses before detaining the young men.

The detainees were identified as: Shabib Shabib, 20, Amr Ahmad Shabib, 17, Ali Muhammad Salah, 16, Ameen Taysir Salah, 16, and Samer Safe, 20, a guard in the Palestinian National Security forces.

Locals said Israeli forces withdrew from the village at 5 am and took the detainees to the Huwara investigations center.

According to Israeli sources, a total of 11 Palestinians were detained in overnight raids, including five from the Nablus area.

From Az-Zoun east of Qalqiliya, those detained were Amjad Jamal Salim, 21, Ahmad Na’eem Hussein, 17, Yousif Hisham Radwan, 22, and Salam Salim, 23.

Local sources said Israeli military vehicles entered the town in the early hours of the morning and took the men to an unknown location.

In the southern West Bank at the Al-Aroub Refugee Camp Hassan Abed Al-Kareem At-Teeti, 15, and Hassan Maher Al-Shareef were detained early morning after the forces stormed several homes, the Hebron police operations room said Thursday.

The forces also detained a man identified as Nabil Ref’at Abu Rahmeh, 26, stopping him in the street in the central city. All three were taken to an unknown location.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IOF troops deliberately break the limbs of 3 Palestinian workers

[ 30/12/2009 - 10:02 AM ]

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)-- Four Palestinian workers from the districts of Jenin and Tulkarem were beaten up by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) near Walaja village, Bethlehem district, on Tuesday.
Local sources said that the workmen were trying to enter Palestine occupied in 1948 through this village since the separation wall had closed all entrances near their districts in northern West Bank, but they were spotted and chased by the soldiers.
Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers were not content with beating the laborers but deliberately broke the limbs of three of them and arrested one of them.
They said that two were hospitalized in Beit Jala for treatment.
The IOF soldiers at an early hour on Wednesday rounded up four citizens in a number of West Bank areas at the pretext they were wanted for interrogation.
The Jewish settlers, for their part, assaulted two Palestinian shepherds north of Al-Khalil and shot at and wounded a Palestinian youth in Al-Khalil city on Tuesday.
Medical sources said that the young man's injuries were "moderate", noting that the shepherd was rearing his sheep near the settlement of Bat Ayin when a settler told him to leave the land and when he refused the settler shot him.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Israeli forces detain Hebron teen

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Border Police detained a 17-year-old Palestinian at military checkpoint in the center of the city of Hebron on Thursday for allegedly carrying a sharp tool.

The teen was arrested “after arousing their suspicion,” according to the Israeli news website Ynet.

The teen was handed over to police for interrogation, the report added. The reported incident took place at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Israeli court postpones decision on sentence of PLC member

Nablus – Ma’an – Israel’s Salem military court postponed a ruling on the fate of Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Tirawi on Wednesday, pushing the next hearing back to 28 December.

Tirawi’s brother Raed, who attended Wednesday’s hearing along with his brother’s wife, said the session lasted eight hours.

He added that the journey to the court from prison and the hearing were difficult for his brother.

A member of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party from Nablus, Jamal Tirawi was arrested in 2007. He was indicted for organizing the bombing of a Tel Aviv cafĂ© in 2002 which killed an Israeli woman.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Israel extends detention of anti-wall campaigner Juma

Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli judge extended the detention of Jamal Juma, the Palestinian anti-wall activist, during a hearing on Monday, a spokesman said.

Prosecutors demanded another 14 days of detention, but the judge ordered only four, according to Ghaith Hilal, a spokesperson for the Stop the Wall Campaign of which Juma is the coordinator.

But Hilal said, it was “very likely” that he would be held beyond the four days. Juma is being held in West Jerusalem’s Russian Compound prison on “suspicion of incitement,” he said.

Monday’s hearing, in the courthouse adjacent to the prison, was the first time Juma saw a lawyer since he was detained by Israeli forces on 16 December, Hilal said.

Juma is the latest of several high-profile figures from Palestinian civil society who have been jailed by Israel. Campaigners say Israel is using arrests to quash popular demonstrations, boycotts, and other means of civil opposition to the occupation.

In a statement on Sunday, the Stop the Wall Campaign called the arrest “yet another escalation of Israel's attack on Palestinian human rights defenders and clampdown on the right to freedom of expression and the right to association.”

In September, another well-known member of the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad Othman, was detained by Israeli forces at the Allenby border crossing upon returning to the West Bank from Norway.

On 10 December Israeli soldiers seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the anti-wall Popular Committee in the West Bank village of Bil’in, during a raid on his house.

Brothers detained during Gaza war released

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli officials released Gazan brothers Saed and Ibrahim Kassab from prison Sunday, after both served nearly a year in administrative detention.

The brothers, from the Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City, were detained by Israeli soldiers during that country's war on the Gaza Strip which began on 27 December 2008.

The men were taken during raids into area when Israeli troops entered the Strip during the ground invasion on 3 January.

The brothers were held without charge, the Wa’ed Detainees Association reported on Monday.

The men were received by their friends and family at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Al-Aqsa member sentenced to 5 years in jail

Nablus – Ma’an – The Israeli military court in the settlement of Ofer sentenced Yousef Dabak, from the village Tayasir near Tubas, to five years in prison on Monday for membership in the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah.

Dabak was also fined 3,000 shekels.

After being listed on Israel’s “wanted” list for five years, Dabak was detained on 4 December 2007.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Israel jails anti-wall campaign leader

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Stop the Wall Campaign announced on Sunday that its coordinator, Jamal Juma, has been imprisoned by Israel since 16 December.

Juma’s arrest follows what activists say is a military-legal crackdown on popular expressions of rejection of Israeli occupation. Dozens of protest leaders, boycott campaigners, and other civil society advocates have been arrested in recent weeks.

The Ramallah-based Stop the Wall Campaign, a coordinating body for local anti-wall initiatives said in a statement “This latest arrest is yet another escalation of Israel's attack on Palestinian human rights defenders and clamp down on the right to freedom of expression and the right to association.”

According to the campaign, Israeli security summoned Juma for interrogation at midnight 15 December. After questioning he was brought to his home.

“Juma was handcuffed while soldiers searched his house for two hours as his wife and three young children looked on helplessly,” the anti-wall campaign said in a statement.

The soldiers told Juma’s wife “she would only see her husband again through a prisoner exchange.”

“Since then, Juma has been detained, and banned from speaking to a lawyer or his family, with no explanation for his arrest,” the organization added.

A prominent figure in Palestinian civil society Juma, 47, served as coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign since 2002 and helped found the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC).

In September, another well-known member of the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad Othman, was detained by Israeli forces at the Allenby border crossing upon returning to the West Bank from Norway where he met with the country’s Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen and other officials.

On 10 December Israeli soldiers seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the anti-wall Popular Committee in the West Bank village of Bil’in, during a raid on his house.

Witnesses said that the Israeli military raided houses in Bil’in and another village, Nil’in, early on Saturday. Both villages hold weekly demonstrations against the construction of the separation wall on their land.

According to the Stop the Wall Campaign, Jamal Juma’s court date is set for Monday.

Palestinians in Megiddo prison say not shielded from rain

Gaza – Ma’an – Prisoners in Israel’s Megiddo detention center are reporting that their living situation is awful, the Hussam prisoners organization said on Sunday.

The group said it had been contacted by Palestinians held in the facility saying that wind and rainwater has been coming into their cells through cracks in the walls. They also reported that they were not provided with winter clothing, and that their drinking water was contaminated.

The Israeli prison administration has banned Palestinian families from giving clothes to the inmates in Megiddo, the organization added.

Three prisoners are suffering from kidney diseases, and the prison’s clinic lacks the appropriate equipment and supplies to treat them.

The prison’s yard, they report, is only large enough for seven people to stand in during designated times.

There are more than 10,000 Palestinians in Israel’s prisons.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sandstorm devastates Negev prison inmates

Gaza – Ma’an – A ferocious sandstorm hit Israel's Negev desert prison this week, blasting the tent-compounds with raging winds and debris for three days, a prisoners society reported Saturday.

The story caused severe losses at the camp, destroying many of the personal possessions of Palestinian prisoners and causing harsh living conditions, particularly those sentenced to live in tents in the outdoor compounds.

The Higher Committee of the Media department in Hamas' Prisoners association said the storm disrupted daily programs at the prison, and accused Israeli prison authorities of standing idly by as the compound was hit with the storm.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Palestinians mark 23, 24 years in Israeli prison

Gaza – Ma’an – Two Palestinians are marking their 24th year in Israeli prison this week, expert in Palestinian detainees issues, Abdel Nasser Farwaneh told Ma'an on Friday.

Abdel Rahman Al-Qiq, 46, is one of the longest-serving Palestinian detainees in jail, Farwaneh said, adding that today, he marks 24 years behind Israeli bars.

Al-Qiq was sentenced on 18 December 1986 to life in prison for allegedly participating in a Palestinian national resistance effort against Israel.

Later this week, Kahlid Al-Ju'eidy, 44, will mark 23 years in prison. Al-Ju'eidy was detained at Rafah and sentenced for supporting the Islamic Jihad movement and resisting the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

IOF Penetrates and Attacks the Border Area, Arrest Two Children in Gaza

Al Mezan


At approximately 12:30pm on Thursday 10 December 2009, an Israeli force penetrated approximately 350 meters into the north of the Gaza Strip, into an area of demolished industrial premises southwest of Erez Crossing. Palestinians who were removing rubble from the area were present there when the IOF advanced.
The Israeli force arrested two children; Mahmoud Jamil Hassan Al Yazji, Mohammed Hatem Qassem Al Kafarna(16 and 17 respectively), and took them into Israel. A few hours later, the IOF released Mohammed Al Kafarna while Mahmoud Al Yazji has remained in detention. This is the second time in which the IOF invade this area and arrest Palestinian civilians.
According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights lawyer, the IOF transferred the child Mahmoud Al Yazji to Ashkelon prison and interrogated him. On Sunday 13 December 2009, the Israeli court extended the detention period until Friday 18 December 2009

Prisoners ministry calls for pressuring IOA to allow winter clothes to prisoners

GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of prisoners in Gaza has asked the international human rights groups to pressure the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) to allow winter clothes to prisoners from the Gaza Strip.

Riyadh Al-Ashqar, the ministry's spokesman, said in a press release on Saturday that those 760 prisoners have been deprived of family visits for more than 30 months.

The IOA only allowed winter clothes for those prisoners twice, he said, adding that the ban was doubling the suffering of those prisoners in the harsh winter weather especially in desert prisons.

The IOA does not provide clothes to those captives and compels them to secure their needs either through their relatives or at the prison's canteen, where the prices are very high, Asqar said.

He noted that the Gaza prisoners used to secure their needs of clothes through relatives of their West Bank comrades but the IOA foiled the measure by limiting quantity of clothes to the West Bank prisoners.

The ministry appealed to the UN to pressure the IOA into allowing family visits to those prisoners in order to see their relatives and to secure their needs.

Female detainee kept in isolation for insulting guard

Gaza – Ma’an – A woman Palestinian prisoner has been kept in solitary confinement following a verbal incident with an Israeli prison guard, the Hussam prisoners association said on Tuesday.

Wafa’ Al-Lubs, 26, has been held in solitary confinement at the Ar-Ramlah prison for 100 days and has been prevented from making or receiving phones calls or visitors after she verbally assaulted a prison guard, the association said.

Al-Lubs’ father contacted the Hussam association to visit his daughter, who expressed his deep concern for her, having received no news on his daughter.

Three months ago, Al-Lubs was permitted to have surgery for a nervous system condition that affects her left hand and fingers, following three years of continued pressure on the Israeli Prison Services by fellow detainees.

Al-Lubs was born on 8 July 1984 in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and was detained by Israeli forces in 2005 at the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza and sentenced to 12 years.

The Hussam association said that, as a result of torture in the Israeli prison, Al-Luba has lost one of her eyes.

Israeli forces seize PFLP members in Nablus raid

Nablus – Ma’an – The Israeli army seized several members of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during an incursion in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday night, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.

PFLP sources linked the operation to the negotiations toward a potential prisoner swap which could involve the release of the party’s secretary general, Ahmad Sa’adat, from an Israeli prison.

The sources said Mussa Salama, 47, and Wa’el Al-Faqeeh Abu As-Sabe, 45, were both from north of Nablus. Another PFLP affiliate, Ziad As-Sal’ous, was detained at the Huwwara military checkpoint while returning to Nablus from Ramallah.

Maysar Itiany, 45, an activist in prisoner and human rights, and her brother Abdul-Nasser Itiany, 38, were seized from their home in the Rafidiya neighborhood of Nablus.

Palestinian sources in Al-Ein Refugee Camp in Nablus said Israeli forces entered the camp and detained a number of young PFLP supporters. The detainees were identified as Mahmud Suleiman, Muhammad Ibrahim Dahbour, Yousef Rajab, and Rabi Abu Khalifa.

Israeli forces also raided the village of Awarta, sources said, and detained Nabih Abdul-Aziz Awwad, 47, from his house. Awwad works in the local Palestinian Authority government and is a supporter of the PFLP.

The Israeli military said it detained 14 people from the West Bank on Tuesday night. Military sources told Israel Radio that Israeli soldiers found guns and ammunition in a house during the operation in Nablus.

Palestinian security officials confirmed that a number Israeli military jeeps entered Nablus after midnight. Israeli soldiers raided a number of houses in the city, the security sources said.

Separately the Palestinian Authority’s police department said Israeli soldiers detained two students from near Bethlehem.

The media office of the PA police department said Israeli forces entered the town of Ubeidiya, east of Bethlehem, and set up a checkpoint on a road leading to the As-Sawahreh neighborhood.

The soldiers arrested Walid Farid Ar-Rajee and Ubeida Khaled Abu Arqub after stopping their car and checking their IDs, the police report said. The two Al-Quds University students are being held in an unknown location.

Israeli soldiers in armored vehicles also entered the town of Beit Sahour, west of Bethlehem and searched several houses, according to PA security sources.

The sources said soldiers delivered papers summoning some residents to be interrogated at a military installation called Kfar Etzion, in a nearby Israeli settlement. No detentions were reported.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hamas must say NO to proposed deportation of prisoners

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
The Palestinian liberation movement, Hamas, is conducting complicated and exhaustive negotiations with Israel in an effort to conclude a prisoner-exchange accord between the two archenemies.

The German-mediated negotiations are expected to produce a swap deal that would see the release of hundreds of Palestinian political activists and freedom fighters from Israeli jails and dungeons in return for the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian guerillas near Gaza more than three years ago.

Israel, which detains as many as 10,000 thousand Palestinian prisoners, including many political and resistance leaders, hoping to use them as bargaining chips in any prospective final-status talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), has exhausted all possible efforts to free the captured soldier by force. However, thanks to Hamas’s legendary vigilance and iron-clad will, all these efforts failed to retrieve Gilaad Shalit from Hamas’s custody.

Now, Israel is trying to outsmart Hamas by insisting that an undisclosed number of the would-be released prisoners be deported.

Hamas must reject this contemptible Israeli proposal since expulsion is probably the worst calamity that could afflict any Palestinian after murder.

Israel is of course accustomed to the wanton practice of expelling Palestinians from their ancestral land. Indeed, Israel itself wouldn’t have seen the light of the day had it not been for the massive ethnic cleansing preceding the expulsion of the bulk of Palestinians from their motherland.

The barbarian practice of expelling Palestinians from their homeland has always been a typical Zionist behavior. Zionism, or Jewish Nazism, is based on ethnic cleansing. Zionism and ethnic cleansing are two sides of the same coin.

Hence, it is more than imperative that Hamas should even refuse to listen to these criminal proposals since the extirpation of a human being from his native land is a calamity that can only be compared to murder.

In the Quran, expulsion is equated with death.

In Sura IV, verse 66, we read that “ If We had ordered them to sacrifice their lives or to leave their homes, very few of them would have done it: But if they had done what they were (actually) told, it would have been best for them, and would have gone farthest to strengthen their (faith)”

It is true that deportation, especially if it lasts for a short duration, is better in comparison to a last abode in Zionist dungeons and concentration camps.

However, it is equally true that Palestinians must never lend legitimacy to this nefarious practice. After all, the extirpation of our people from our homeland is our ultimate Nakba, our ultimate holocaust.

Hamas does have a glorious history in thwarting Israeli designs to expel more Palestinians from occupied Palestine.

In the early 1990s, when hundreds of Islamic activists were deported by Israel to Marj al-Zuhur in southern Lebanon, tremendous efforts were made to make the expulsion as brief as possible.

Eventually, Israel was forced to repatriate all the deportees.

Fortunately, deporting Palestinians is no longer as easy now as it was 20 years ago. Neighboring Arab countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Syria and especially Lebanon wouldn’t allow the Judeo-Nazi authorities in Tel Aviv to treat the freedom fighters as “garbage” and Lebanese territory as a “dumping ground.”

Nor would any other country collaborate with the Zionist regime in implementing an ethnic cleansing measure since such collaboration would amount to a clear violation of international law.

But Israel could just throw people from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip as it has done repeatedly since Hamas lacks the strength to prevent such an act.

This is why Hamas has to be highly emphatic in its rejection of any proposed deportation of any of the prisoners.

There is no doubt that a successful prisoner-exchange deal with Israel will be one of the greatest Palestinian achievements ever. It will give hope to thousands of Palestinian detainees, many of them languishing in prison without charge or trial, namely that their fate doesn’t necessarily depend on Israeli magnanimity, assuming that Israel possesses such a character.

A final word to the Israeli public. It is your oppressive treatment of our people, especially our prisoners, that forces our freedom fighters to risk their lives by capturing your soldiers in order to force you to free our activists.

We know that the fate of Gilaad Shalit is important to you. But you should understand that the fate of thousands of Palestinians languishing in your dungeons is likewise very important to us.

We are not children of a lesser God.

Hosam society: Conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Etzion inhumane

GAZA, (PIC)-- Hosam society for detainees and ex-detainees said Saturday that the incarceration conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Etzion prison are extremely inhumane because of the prison administration’s repressive practices against them.

The society explained in a statement that Etzion administration does not provide prisoners with adequate food or allow them to bathe especially those placed in isolation, which led to the outbreak of skin diseases among them.

It added that the prisoners are deprived of sleep and going to bathrooms as well as they are often physically assaulted and exposed to psychological pressure through demanding them to collaborate with Israel in exchange for improving their imprisonment conditions.

In another related context, specialist in prisoners’ affairs Abdelnasser Farwana stated Saturday that any negotiations which do not give long-serving prisoners freedom are meaningless and any swap deal excluding them will lose its luster.

Farwana underlined that those long-serving prisoners have been in Israeli jails before the signing of Oslo agreements and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and they number 320 detainees.

He added that those prisoners suffered much more than others, where the shortest period some of them served until now was 16 years and the longest was 32 years, noting that they suffer from deteriorating health conditions as a result of the long years of captivity and their old ages.

The specialist stressed that the Palestinian people look forward to an honorable prisoner swap deal that is able to break the Israeli standards and overrun Oslo mistakes and gaps and lead to the release of all long-serving prisoners without conditions or discrimination.

Brother of prisoner appeals for ending suffering of his sister in Israeli jails

GAZA, (PIC)-- The brother of female detainee Somoud Karajeh appealed to all organizations concerned with the issue of prisoners to urgently intervene and pressure the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) to end the psychological suffering his sister is exposed to in Israeli jails.

Hasan Karajeh, the brother of the prisoner, said that his 21-year-old sister was detained in October 2009 and was transferred to Hasharon prison recently after a long journey of interrogation and moving from one jail to another.

He added that his sister was exposed during investigation to many psychological pressures such as detaining her in cold cells, with no heavy clothes, which are full of moisture and bugs, and transferring her from one investigation center to another.

Karajeh also said that his sister is not allowed to receive any piece of clothes from her family or any side and until this moment she has not changed her clothes since she was detained and have nothing to protect herself against extreme cold, noting that his family sought the help of the Red Cross, but to no avail.

In another context, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted Israeli security and political circles as saying that the prisoner swap deal with Hamas would not bring any change regarding the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The newspaper added that the US and Arab countries pressure Mahmoud Abbas to extend his term of office until the coming election to prevent the fall of the West Bank in the hands of Hamas following the completion of the swap deal.

It pointed to Israel's fears that the Palestinian political landscape may change because, according to Palestinian law, Hamas speaker Aziz Dweik would become the president in case Abbas resigned.

The newspaper noted that the Israeli security and political circles believe that Abbas would not leave the political arena for Hamas and would not resign, as he alleged, next month.