Human rights groups say 2,000 are now on hunger strike against indefinite detention without charge and alleged ill-treatment. The number of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails has grown to 2,000 with more preparing to join the protest next week, according to human rights groups in the West Bank. The Israeli prison service is taking punitive measures against hunger strikers, including solitary confinement, the confiscation of personal belongings, transfers and denial of family visits, say Palestinian organisations.
The Israel Prison Service says more than 1,300 Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike, more than a week after they began their protest.
The Palestinian prisoners confirmed, on Tuesday, that they will continue their hunger strike despite the Israeli escalating series of punitive measures against the strikers.
Palestinian political prisoner, Tha’er Halahla, entered his 58th day of hunger-strike at the Ramla Prison Hospital, and is still determined to continue his strike while prison doctors warned that his body is losing its immune system and his organs might be failing.
The family of Omar Abu Shilal, who has been on hunger strike for 50 days in Israeli occupation jails, expressed concern for his health after the Israeli prison service (IPS) banned visits to him.
Jerusalem’s ‘center of life’ policy imprisons Palestinians, Allison Deger
“Amir Salima, 21, from the Old City of Jerusalem, has no legal status – not in Israel, not in the Palestinian Authority and not anywhere else,” writes Nir Hasson in today’s Haaretz. ”He has no identity card, no passport, he cannot register for university studies, apply for a job, sign up for an HMO or open a bank account. He cannot visit the West Bank or anywhere else outside of Jerusalem. In fact, he can barely leave his house, for fear of being caught by the police.”
Israel`s strategy to seize Jerusalem on display for all to see [and Clinton all about it], Joseph Dana
By now, news of Palestinian being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem is routine. Last week, two more Palestinian families were thrown into the street to make way for Jewish settlers in the neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. The mechanism of land confiscation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank has become a near science for Israeli authorities, ensuring that the exact borders of Israel remain unclear and constantly shifting. During the last days of the peace talks in 2001, Israel’s then-prime minister Ehud Barak is rumoured to have informed former president US Bill Clinton that Israel had no intention of relinquishing sovereign control over Jerusalem and delineating clear borders around the holy city. The Palestinians of East Jerusalem, Mr Barak purportedly told Mr Clinton, were an unfortunate reality that Israel would deal with in due time.
The union of Palestinian professional syndicates has described Cairo’s decision to terminate the gas deal with Israel as “wise”.
Violence / Threats / Aggression
Jewish settlers pelt Palestinian cars near Jenin
Jewish settlers threw stones on passing Palestinian vehicles along the Jenin-Nablus road on Wednesday night and damaged a number of them, locals said.
Settlers attack village, block Nablus road
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Settlers in the northern West Bank set up a roadblock and attacked a Nablus village on Thursday, a PA official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, said that settlers blocked a main road that links the West Bank town of Huwwara to Tulkarem and Qalqiliya. Settlers prevented Palestinian vehicles from passing through, causing a large traffic jam. Around 12 settlers also attacked the village of Urif in Nablus, clashing with local villagers. Witnesses said the Israeli army was present during the incident but fired tear gas at the villagers. In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year. The Nablus district experienced the majority of settler violence in 2011.
Hebron and Metzudat Yehuda checkpoint
Yehudit Keshet and Natanya Ginsburg – Machsomwatch – we saw a field of wheat with about 20 little boys with their kippot bouncing running around and some settler men guarding them with their rifles…….they were tearing up the crops of the Palestinians. When they saw our car stopping and especially when they thought they saw cameras they all ran away back to their settlement of Susiya. They ran back carrying sheaves of wheat. The laurels of the victors.
Zionists call for burning “Arab students” at the Hebrew University
A Zionist racist movement has called for the killing of Arab students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem after participation in Tuesday’s protest in solidarity with prisoners in occupation prisons.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian university student from Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil, on Wednesday, local sources said.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested Iyad Abu Funoon from his home in Battir village, west of Bethlehem, at dawn Tuesday.
Prisoner News / Hunger Strikers
PCHR Warns Against the Continuing Obstruction of Detainees’ Visitation at Detention Centers of ISS
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned over the restrictions imposed by the Internal Security Service (ISS) against lawyers’ visits to their clients, who are detained at detention centers of the ISS, which is considered a violation of legal principles.
Palestinian detainee Mohammed Ermaila survived an assassination attempt at the hands of Israeli prison guards in Megiddo jail, the Palestinian prisoner’s association said in a statement on Wednesday.
Israeli jailors stormed the isolation wards in the Jalama detention center on Tuesday night and wreaked havoc in them, well informed sources told the PIC.
Israeli police forcibly prevent Nakba event and Israeli high schoolers cheer for Nazis, Ali Abunimah
Last night in Tel Aviv, police forcible prevented a group of Israelis from peacefully and silently commemorating the Nakba – the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. This came just days after hundreds of Israeli high school students caused consternation by loudly cheering for Nazis as they watched a play on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Ramallah demonstrates in support of hunger-striking prisoners
Photos by Rafael Guendelman Hales. On Monday April 23rd a demonstration for the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike took place at the Manara Square in the city of Ramallah.
In a historic motion which passed unanimously yesterday, the 2012 conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), the Trade Union movement follows motions in previous years endorsing the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and a review of its links the the racist Israeli Trade Union body Histradut with a broad motion that is heralding Palestine’s South Africa moment in Scotland.
Inside Story Americas – US churches consider divesting from Israel
Do boycott campaigns help or harm attempts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Inside Story discusses with guests: MJ Rosenberg, Max Blumenthal & Reverend Walter Davis.
The World Zionist Congress affiliated Union of Jewish Students is complaining that its stall at a National Union of Students event was “vandalised”. The “vandalism” consisted of some Palestine stickers being placed on their board.
A decision was made last week barring Palestinians from running for student union president at a college in the Galilee.
Haniyeh calls on Arab nation to consolidate the steadfastness of Palestinians
Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister, urged the Arab Muslim nation to support Palestinians and strengthen their steadfastness and persistence on the Palestinian land.
Political bureau chairman of Hamas Khaled Mishaal is to arrive in the Egyptian capital on Thursday heading a delegation, a senior Hamas official told the PIC reporter in Cairo on Wednesday.
Fatah officials meet with factions in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Fatah leaders in Gaza met with representatives of PLO factions on Thursday to discuss ways to cooperate on national projects, party leaders said. Fatah’s leadership committee, including Fatah’s Secretary-General in Gaza Yazid al-Huwaihi and chief of national affairs Atef Abu Saif, attended the meeting, al-Huwaihi told Ma’an. “Fatah will make all its efforts to deepen the relations with the brothers and comrades from other national work factions to enhance the spirit of the of the joint work and in support of the national unity which is considered the compass to reach the national benefits,” al-Huwaihi said. Al-Huwaihi was appointed chief of the 20-member leadership committee on Sunday following a reshuffle by the central committee. Fatah’s rival Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after fighting which neared civil war.
What’s the Israel-Azerbaijan connection?
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s visit to Azerbaijan underscores growing ties, including a $1.6 billion Israeli deal to supply Iran’s neighbor with a wide range of military equipment.
VIDEO: Palestinian life inspires comic film
Man Without a Cellphone by Sameh Zoabi tops the bill at this year’s Palestine film festival in London.
Ibrahim al-Amin, “The Aging Leftist”
This neoliberal left speaks about the backward masses all the time and how they are not able to follow its lead. Living in times of extreme fanaticism, there is no space for the rationality of this left, in its colonialist version. Day and night, they criticize all those who question the current Arab uprisings, accusing them of being agents of despotism and obscurantism. This neoliberal left speaks all the time of enlightenment, progress, and the need to leave the current stage and jump directly toward change, which has no face or name. On a daily basis, they defend the imbeciles and murderers controlled and funded by the West and their cronies who steal Arab wealth and lead regressive and nihilist bands.
Do Arab men hate women? It’s not that simple, Nesrine Malik
Mona Eltahawy’s controversial article in Foreign Policy magazine about the treatment of Arab women is a misdirected call to arms. The latest edition of Foreign Policy, the cover of which bears the same stark question posed by its main article Why Do They Hate Us?, has stirred up some serious controversy. In the article, Mona Eltahawy runs through a litany of indictments of women’s rights in the Middle East, and issues a call to arms against cultural relativism. What stands out, however, is her simple demand for readers to recognise that men, in the Arab world, hate women.
Dear Mona Eltahawy, You Do Not Represent “Us”, Samia Errazzouki
When I first came across Foreign Policy’s recent “Sex issue” cover, I thought it was an attempt at blackface, but upon zooming in and reading the title of the article by Mona Eltahawy, my eyes were not fooling me. It really was a nude woman covered in a black body-painted niqab. They tell you do not judge a book by its cover. But as an Arab-American Muslim woman, I could not get that image out of my head long enough to even begin reading Eltahawy’s article. I kept thinking about how the image degraded and insulted every woman I know that wears or has ever worn the Niqab. This was the image Foreign Policy chose to set up an article about the treatment of women in the Middle East and North Africa.
Us and Them: On Helpless Women and Orientalist Imagery, Roqayah Chamseddine
The web is abuzz with talk of Mona Eltahawy’s latest entry, which made its way onto the front cover of Foreign Policy, ‘Why Do They Hate Us‘, the “war on the women in the Middle East”; reactions vary from unwavering support to venom-laced condemnation, and a multitude of other postures in between. In the latest Foreign Policy feature, a part of their “sex edition”, Eltahawy laments that “they hate us”, an unashamed amalgamation directed towards men.
Bahrain lawyer presses to visit hunger striker
The lawyer for a jailed Bahraini activist on a nearly three-month hunger strike said Thursday he will seek a court order granting him visiting rights to his client, whose condition has been the source of intense speculation in the Gulf kingdom.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon has raised concerns over a Bahraini opposition activist who is on hunger strike in prison amid fears about his deteriorating health.
Bahrain: Jailed hunger striker in good health
A jailed activist on a hunger strike since early February is in “good health” and receiving medical care, Bahraini officials said Wednesday, responding to opposition groups claiming his condition was sharply deteriorating.
Bahraini authorities have remanded into custody for seven days the daughter of jailed human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja for protesting during last week’s Formula One Grand Prix.
Bahrainis march for hunger striker
Thousands of Bahraini activists marched in the capital Manama on Tuesday to call for the release of a human rights leader who has been on hunger strike for 76 days. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has been refusing food for over two months in protest against the life sentence given to him for his role in pro-democracy protests last year. Bahrain has rejected an offer from Denmark to take al-Khawaja, who also holds Danish citizenship.
Bahrain police fire tear gas to disperse protesters
Bahraini riot police fired tear gas to disperse protesters on Tuesday as they approached a square in central Manama where they had been banned from holding demonstrations, witnesses said.
Police injured by Bahrain blast
A bomb explosion has wounded four members of Bahrain’s police force – two of them seriously – during clashes with protesters, officials say.
Bahraini MP spoke at London cooperative security seminar last month
A Bahraini politician who defended the Gulf state’s government’s torture and jailing of doctors was invited to privately discuss bilateral security cooperation with the UK by a London think-tank last month.
From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent: ”I don’t think these three guys know how hilarious they sound. Here one of them says the following: “The crown prince and the prime minister are idols for us.” Yet then after, the other accuses the protestors of blindly following their ayatollahs (a stereotype that I am sick and tired of hearing). So let me get this straight, the people who call the crown prince and prime minister idols accuse the protestors of blindly following someone? To say that this is contradictory is an understatement. Another thing – who is “THE ayatollah?” Seems like they are assuming that there is one only? Aren’t there so many? I mean I can think of several off the top of my head. And which ayatollah said that he openly wants a theological system like Iran that everyone supposedly blindly follows? I’d like to know. All they do is repeat stereotypes and lies (without knowing even the basics of shia theology and what it even means to “follow” an ayatollah or religious scholar on religious matters) while at the same time worshiping the dynasties of the Gulf. Somehow its acceptable. And why are they assuming that everyone who is a protestor or supports them is a practicing shia? Oh and shia blindly follow their ayatollahs and practicing sunnis just don’t give a damn what qaradawi or amre khaled or whoever say apparently. [continues]
Gas deal dispute reflects change in Israel-Egypt relations
Ousted President Hosni Mubarak kept close ties with Israel, but the nations’ 1979 peace treaty is less important to Egypt’s new power brokers. CAIRO — The decorum of diplomacy has devolved into embarrassing headlines and testy one-liners in the increasingly strained relations between Egypt and Israel.
Israeli ties with Egypt strained by transition?
Though Egypt and Israel insist the decision to end a gas sales contract wasn’t political, it’s hard to see annulling the largest ever contract between the two countries as anything but.
Thirteen to stand in Egypt vote
The final list of candidates in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential election is published, with 13 candidates allowed to stand.
Election bar on Egypt ex-PM reversed
Poll panel reinstates Ahmed Shafiq as a candidate in the country’s presidential poll, a day after barring him.
With field of presidential hopefuls now whittled down, support from al-Nour party could make, or break, a candidate.
Egypt Islamic body backs Brotherhood candidate
A panel of fundamentalist Islamic clerics on Wednesday endorsed the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood for president of Egypt, an attempt to prevent a split of the conservative Muslim voters.
Rare success story for Egypt’s revolution: ending military trials
After the revolution, some 12,000 Egyptians faced military trials, which were as short as five minutes and denied them basic rights. But a grass-roots group intervened, with surprising success.
Egypt must overturn prison sentence for actor accused of ‘insulting Islam’
A ruling against leading Egyptian actor Adel Imam, sentenced to three months in prison for “insulting Islam” in his films, sends out the message the country has not moved on from its Mubarak-era heritage of suppressing free speech, Amnesty International said. The actor, who was also fined $170 (around £105), was first found guilty in absentia in February for his film roles in a case originally brought last year by a lawyer. His lawyers filed an objection against the verdict but a Cairo misdemeanours court rejected the objection on 24 April and upheld the original conviction. The lawyers say he may appeal Tuesday’s sentence.
Protesters urge Saudi to free Egyptian activist
Hundreds of Egyptians protested outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo on Tuesday demanding the release of an Egyptian human rights activist held by Saudi authorities who claim he possessed banned drugs.
Sir David Frost is joined by Amr Moussa, the former secretary-general of the Arab League and Egyptian presidential candidate, to discuss the Egypt elections; and John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, on US presidential elections.
Israel’s Top General Says He Doubts Iran Will Try for the Bomb, Karl Vick
The Israeli military chief of staff says he doubts Iran will try for a nuclear weapon, but that persuading its leaders against the option requires a credible threat of attack. Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, who heads the Israel Defense Forces, made the remarks in an interview with the Hebrew language daily Haaretz.
Marco Rubio: U.S. may have to strike Iran
WASHINGTON — Potential Republican vice presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Wednesday said a unilateral “military solution,” from the United States may be needed to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb. Rubio, a freshman Senator for Florida, said in a speech in Washington that it was imperative that the United States not “stand on the sidelines” of a simmering Middle East, but instead provide leadership to resolve global crises.
Israel army chief: Other nations could strike Iran
Israel’s military chief said Thursday that other countries have readied their armed forces for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear sites to keep Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons.
Iraqi officials say two separate attacks in Baghdad have killed five and wounded 31 people.
Iraq cuts anti-Qaeda militia pay
Most of Iraq’s remaining 40,000 anti-Qaeda militiamen have seen their pay cut by 20 percent this year following a decision by parliament, an aide to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told AFP on Tuesday.
Robert Fisk: The Children of Fallujah – the hospital of horrors
The pictures flash up on a screen on an upper floor of the Fallujah General Hospital. And all at once, Nadhem Shokr al-Hadidi’s administration office becomes a little chamber of horrors. A baby with a hugely deformed mouth. A child with a defect of the spinal cord, material from the spine outside the body. A baby with a terrible, vast Cyclopean eye. Another baby with only half a head, stillborn like the rest, date of birth 17 June, 2009. Yet another picture flicks onto the screen: date of birth 6 July 2009, it shows a tiny child with half a right arm, no left leg, no genitalia.
For little Sayef, there will be no Arab Spring. He lies, just 14 months old, on a small red blanket cushioned by a cheap mattress on the floor, occasionally crying, his head twice the size it should be, blind and paralysed. Sayeffedin Abdulaziz Mohamed – his full name – has a kind face in his outsized head and they say he smiles when other children visit and when Iraqi families and neighbours come into the room.
Blast in Syria’s Hama kills many
At least 12 people killed and dozens more wounded in bloody violation of shaky ceasefire in the country.
Syrian troops heavily shelled a suburb of the capital Tuesday, and satellite imagery showed that Syria has failed to withdraw all of its heavy weapons from populated areas as required by a cease-fire deal, an official said.
Blast rocks central Damascus despite truce
Three injured in car bombing, state TV reports, a day after activists said scores killed in violence across country.
Satellite images show Idlib ‘surrounded’
The city of Idlib has been a key hub of opposition activity throughout the uprising in Syria. In March, just before a ceasefire was agreed to, the government launched a massive offensive. Al Jazeera has obtained satellite images that show how the army choked off the city. Steve Chao reports on the government’s strategy to isolate the people of Idlib.
Syrian Red Crescent worker shot dead
A Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer was shot dead and three others were wounded in the town of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. “We are saddened and extremely shocked by the death of Mohammed al-Khadraa,” Dr Abdul Rahman al-Attar, the president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, said in a statement. “This is the third fatal incident involving the Red Crescent in less than eight months.” Khadraa was shot and killed on Tuesday in a vehicle clearly marked with the Red Crescent emblem, the statement said.
Lebanese Islamist killed fighting with Syrian rebels
One of Lebanon’s most wanted men, an Islamist militant, was killed in Syria fighting alongside rebels, residents of his hometown in north Lebanon told AFP on Thursday. “We are sure Abdel Ghani Jawhar was killed in Syria,” Bibnin resident Abu Mohammed, 50, said. “Everyone here is sure about it, even those closest to him.” Local news reports said Jawhar died recently along with another wanted militant, Walid Bustani, in clashes with the Syrian army.
Syria government foes criticize U.N. monitoring mission
France demands swifter deployment of monitors and raises the prospect of military intervention. Some Syrians say the U.N. presence has worsened the bloodshed.
Observers in Syria having an impact, but only 11 on the ground so far
Another 100 are slated to come in a month. ‘Are they coming on horses?’ asks an exasperated activist.
How to stop Syria’s warring factions tearing the country apart
Look at Lebanon – its delicate balance depends on there being confidence that no one particular group is dominating the system. The likely failure of special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan reflects a dire situation in Syria. To avert a dramatic escalation, the country needs a structured transition that will first halt the terrible bloodshed and then pave the way for a political process.
Jordan ‘suppressing free speech’
The Jordanian authorities are violating people’s right to free speech and undermining the credibility of reform efforts, Human Rights Watch says.
Jordan’s prime minister resigns: senior official
Jordan’s Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh submitted his resignation on Thursday to King Abdullah II, barely six months after he formed a government to bring in much-needed reforms, a senior official said.
Libya bans religious political parties
Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council issued a new law Wednesday that bans parties based on religious principles, the council spokesman said. The surprise move was denounced by Islamists organizing to compete in upcoming elections.
Arab Christians must fight for recognition in new regimes, Samer Libdeh
To reach out to post-revolution states, Arab Christians must focus on common interests and offer support in return for rights. Hopes that Arab Christians can enjoy full recognition in their countries’ post-revolution politics appear to have suffered a setback. The political parties that have swept to power in Egypt and Tunisia are attempting to define their nations in narrow ethno-religious terms – as Islamic with sharia as the principal source of law. In Tunisia, for example, the constitution explicitly prohibits Christians from fielding candidates in the presidential election.
Hundreds of supporters of former death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal marked his 58th birthday Tuesday with a protest outside the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., calling for a federal probe into his case. For decades, Abu-Jamal has argued racism by the trial judge and prosecutors led to his conviction for the killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Last year, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower judge, who set aside his death sentence after finding jurors were given confusing instructions that encouraged them to choose the death penalty rather than a life sentence. In January this year, Abu-Jamal was transferred from solitary confinement to the general prison population. We get legal update from Abu-Jamal’s attorney, Judith Ritter.