Urgent Appeal – Children of Beit Ummar
The town of Beit Ummar is situated halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, and has a population of around 13,500. The town is located approximately three kilometers south of the Israeli settlement block of Gush Etzion and adjacent to the settlement of Karmi Zur. Every Friday, residents of Beit Ummar hold a demonstration near Karmi Zur in protest against being denied access to their agricultural land. Each year, numerous children from the village are arrested during demonstrations, or in the middle of the night, and accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and settlers. Since January 2009, DCI-Palestine alone has documented 26 cases of children from Beit Ummar being arrested mostly on suspicion of throwing stones. According to the United Nations, a total of 43 children were arrested from Beit Ummar in 2010, rising to 27 children arrested in the first two months of 2011.
The Palestine Solidarity Project reported today that Yousef Abu Hashem, a 19-year-old Palestinian from the southern West Bank village of Beit Ommar, was released from Israeli prison after he was arrested six months ago by Israeli soldiers.
Demolition routine in the Jordan Valley
Dafna Banai – Khabis is a wage laborer, the poorest of the poor. He, his wife and their five children stood 20 meters away, the soldiers standing between them and the house, watching Civil Administration personnel dumping their belongings, sacks of lentils and rice tearing and spilling everywhere. Blankets and mattresses, schoolbooks and clothing – all tossed around as if they were garbage.
The Israeli occupation authority has imposed a hermetic closure on the West Bank on Saturday and Sunday on the occasion of the Jewish Passover.
Two Palestinian children wounded in explosion of IOF ordinance
Two Palestinian children were wounded on Saturday in the explosion of an army ordnance, left over by the Israeli occupation forces east of Rafah to the south of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian medical sources reported, Saturday, that two residents were injured after the Israeli army fired a missile at their motorcycle near Al-Fadliyya School, in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Villagers confront IOF attempt to storm their village
Citizens in Beit Uwa village, west of Al-Khalil, resisted the Israeli occupation forces’ attempt to storm their village on Friday night, locals said.
Israeli rights group urges army to investigate Land Day death
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem wrote Thursday to the country’s military advocate urging a military police investigation into the death of a protester on Land Day in Gaza. Israeli forces used live fire against the demonstrators at Erez crossing. Several dozen youths were shot in the arms or legs and sustained light wounds, B’Tselem says. ”It appears that soldiers used live ammunition despite having tear gas at their disposal, which they also used,” the rights group said.
Palestinian hunger striker hospitalized after fainting
A Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike has been transferred to a hospital after his condition deteriorated, a local news agency has said. Hasan al-Safadi has been on hunger strike for 33 days and was taken to Ramla prison hospital after he fainted in the prison where he is being held without charge, the Ma’an news agency reported late on Friday.
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) retained Mohammed Anwar Mona, the correspondent of Quds Press, behind bars for the fifth day in a row, ignoring international calls for his immediate release.
Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported Saturday that three Egyptian political prisoners, held by Israel at the Nafha prison, declared an open-ended hunger-strike demanding their release.
Hunger Strikers’ Families Demand International Intervention for the Strikers
Hunger strikers’ families, in Jenin, stated that the occupation bears full responsibility for the strikers’ lives, appealing to all human rights and humanitarian organizations to stand with them.
Attorney Jawad Boulos said that Israeli guards in Gilboa jail have recently repressed and imposed fines and penalties on the prisoners for their solidarity with fellow prisoners on hunger strike.
IOA renews administrative detention of heart patient
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has renewed the administrative detention of Awadallah Eshtiye, a member of Salem municipal council, for four months despite undergoing heart surgery last week.
On Saturday, April 07, 2012, Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined the weekly demonstration in Beit Ommar, by the separation fence between Beit Ommar and the settlement Karmei Tsur. Karmei Tsur settlement was built on stolen Palestinian land, and many Beit Ommar farms can no longer access their land due to the settlement and the separation fence.
Appeal by Jews addressed to the Embassy of Israel in Berne
Communique Observation of human rights Appeal by Jews addressed to the Embassy of Israel in Berne An Appeal by Jews who feel concerned by the observation of human rights in the occupied territories has been handled over to the attention of the Government of Israel.
“Thompson has attracted the ire of many Jewish and Zionist supporters for her stance, with many blogs and users of social media calling for her films to be boycotted.“
Lethal Hawkademia and BDS
‘It can never be business as usual. Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. [Ben Gurion University] is no exception. By maintaining links to both the Israeli defence forces and the arms industry, BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation.’ — Desmond Tutu.
Convicted Of Murder, Treason; 3 Palestinians Executed In Gaza
The Hamas-run Ministry Of Interior in the Gaza Strip announced Saturday that it executed three Palestinians who were previously sentenced to death by hanging, and added that one of them was convicted of treason for collaborating with Israel, and two were convicted murder.
Mishaal: Jerusalem is the core of the Palestinian issue
Chairman of Hamas political bureau Khaled Mishaal, during his speech at the Fourth Jerusalem Festival on Friday night, asserted that Jerusalem would be only restored by resistance.
Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Old Friends
The friendship between Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu, little known to outsiders, is now rich with political intrigue.
Kelly: The Mideast that Christie never saw
As Governor Christietoured Jerusalem one day last week, the brother of one of North Jersey’s leading Palestinian activists walked the dusty alleys of the Kalandia refugee camp eight miles away and wondered about a basic staple of life. Would he have running water? No — not on this day.
‘I’ve been duped’ — America’s travel guide Rick Steves says our media black out the brutal occupation, Annie Robbins
I’ve been duped. Do you know the frustration you feel when you believed in something strongly and then you realize that the information that made you believe was from a source with an agenda to deceive? I just watched a powerful and courageous documentary called Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land. It certainly has its own agenda and doesn’t present balanced coverage. Still, it showed me how my understanding of the struggles in the Middle East has been skewed by most of our mainstream media. I saw how coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian problem is brilliantly controlled and shaped. I pride myself in understanding how the media works… and I find I’ve been bamboozled….
Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has entered his 58th day of hunger strike in detention as protests for his release continue, Press TV reports.
Bahrain hunger striker’s daughter arrested
Zainab al-Khawaja detained at protest for father, who has been moved to military hospital due to deteriorating health.
Bahraini forces injure protesters
Several people have been injured in Bahrain as the Saudi-backed regime forces attacked protesters in a demonstration against the Al Khalifa regime in the village of Dair.
‘US chooses silence on Bahrain crisis’
In Bahrain, thousands of protesters have come out to the streets calling for the release of prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
The Lede Blog: Bahrain Activist’s Hunger Strike Belies Image of Calm Ahead of Formula One Race, ROBERT MACKEY
Two weeks before Bahrain is scheduled to hold a prestigious international motor race, the kingdom’s attempts to project an image of calm were shattered on Friday when the police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters in the capital, Manama.
Fears that software similar to that which government wants to use in Britain is being sold to monitor dissidents abroad. Privacy International said it had visited international arms and security fairs and identified at least 30 UK companies that it believes have exported surveillance technology to countries including Syria, Iran, Yemen and Bahrain. A further 50 companies exporting similar technology from the US were also identified. Germany and Israel were also identified as big exporters of surveillance technology, in what is reportedly a £3bn a year industry.
“Shouting in the Dark”: Film Chronicles Bahrain’s Pro-Democracy Uprising Against U.S.-Backed Rule
As Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is near death on the 58th day of a hunger strike protesting his imprisonment, we look at an award-winning documentary that tells the story of the uprising in Bahrain with extraordinary footage shot entirely undercover by Al Jazeera English reporters. It’s called “Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark.” We speak with the film’s director, May Ying Welsh, the only Western journalist to stay throughout the violent government crackdown on demonstrators, as well as the doctors and nurses who treated them.
Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent wrote this: ”Zainab Alkhawaja has been arrested after clinging onto the gate of the prison complex screaming for her father. She will be charged with assaulting an employee and will be detained until Saturday. She has started her hunger strike in solidarity with her father. Meanwhile there are protests all over the villages. The security forces are responding with excessive force. One woman has already been killed – I think from excessive inhalation of tear gas but I’m not sure. You also have prisoners who were supposed to be released refusing to leave unless they release AlKhawaja. People I’ve talked to are hysterical or are just feeling extremely nervous and sad. Noone wants to see him die. He has become a symbol for the uprising to many. He spent his entire life fighting for the rights of Bahrainis. The pro-regime’s salafis are forgetting that he fought for the release of guantanamo bay detainees not only in Bahrain but the rest of the Gulf. You get the feeling that whether they let him live or die this is a turning point. But a turning point to where and what? I have no idea. It is scary watching these events unfold. I am disgusted by the tweets of some members of the royal family and the regimes supporters. Where is their humanity? At the beginning I told myself surely they will release him but now after reading the foreign ministers tweets where he had the audacity to “inquire” whether hunger strikes are against islamic law (he wants to know by friday for some reason), I am not too sure. As photographer Mazin Mahdi said, this may be the worst mistake the regime has ever made, even worse than demolishing the pearl roundabout (not quoting his exact words). The last time I felt this helpless was in March 2011 where they were going from house to house, from car to car, street to street, kidnapping and arresting people. I was scared to death just watching helplessly, waiting to see if someone I care about dearly was next. Now we are waiting again – will he die or will he live? God help his family. Who knows – by the time you see this email he may have already died. But I am clinging to the little hope I have left.” [end]
“In social media, Shi’ites and protesters are attacked as “monkeys”, “traitors” and “followers of Iran“, picking up a frequent charge that politicized Shi’ites are pawns of the Islamic Republic, a large non-Arab, Shi’ite Gulf neighbor. In the northern, mainly Sunni, district of Muharraq, al Qaeda slogans are among the graffiti on some walls and a large poster outside a Sunni Islamist party’s headquarters depicts a donkey with the caption: “I’m going to dialogue!” Hardcore Sunnis are alarmed by talks that the powerful royal court minister has held in recent weeks with the leading Shi’ite party Wefaq and secular opposition groups on a possible dialogue to halt turmoil that has deterred investors and slowed economic growth to 2.2 percent last year from 4.5 percent in 2010. ”The worst thing is happening now in Bahrain, that the state is flirting with the followers of the Safavids,” wrote Sunni Islamist Mohammed Khalid on Twitter, using the name of a 16th century Persian dynasty to refer to Iran and Shi’ites. “The Sunnis are on the point of exploding.” Host to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has remained turbulent in the year since the authorities quelled Shi’ite-led protests that erupted after popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Daily street protests and clashes have caused continuing casualties.”
Egypt presidency nomination race heats up
Potential candidates for Egypt’s presidential election don’t have long left to register. The deadline for nominations is on Sunday.
Egypt’s former spy chief to run for president
Omar Suleiman says he will contest election two days after he ruled himself out of the race.
Electoral commission says Hazem Abu Ismail’s mother held dual nationality, likely barring him from presidential poll.
Egypt’s Islamist group names cleric banned to enter France for president
An ultraconservative Islamist party in Egypt has put forward a leading Muslim cleric recently banned from entering France as its presidential candidate. The Gamaa Islamiya, or Islamic Group, said Saturday that it has chosen Safwat Hegazy, a prominent imam who took part in last
In Egypt’s Tahrir Square, die-hard revolutionaries linger
Those left from the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak last year live in tents in Cairo’s iconic plaza, harassed and cursed, but mostly forgotten.
Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so, a prominent lawmaker has said.
Iran non-oil exports surge 29% despite sanctions
Iran’s non-oil exports surged 29 percent to nearly $44 billion in the year to mid-March despite tough Western sanctions to rein in Tehran’s disputed nuclear drive, according to officials and data.
18 Killed in Iraq As Kurds Question Baghdad’s Motives in Hashemi Escape to Kurdistan
The Kurdish Blocs Coalition demanded to know why Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was allowed to travel from Baghdad to Kurdistan even though an arrest warrant had already been issued. Meanwhile, at least 18 Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded.
Sabean graves desecrated in Iraq’s Kirkuk
A Sabean cemetery in Iraq’s multi-ethnic northern city of Kirkuk has been vandalised this week, with some 20 graves desecrated, a local official belonging to the dwindling sect said on Thursday.
A video posted online purports to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime still at large, lashing out against Iraq’s Shiite-led government.
Inside Story – is Iraq’s government on the verge of collapse?
As Iraq’s government has put national reconciliation talks on hold, we discuss the issues behind the growing divisions.
Saudis hold anti-regime demos in Qatif
Anti-regime protesters have once again flooded the streets in the Saudi town of Qatif in the oil-rich Eastern Province, calling for the release of a prominent human rights activist, Press TV reports.
Turkey’s top imam blasted the Saudi grand mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region, saying that the announcement is in total contradiction to the peaceful teachings of the Muslim religion. Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Mehmet Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, said he cannot accept the Islamic religious order –fatwa — issued by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, adding that the mufti’s remarks run contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.
Almost 130 dead in Syria ahead of deadline: NGO
Nearly 130 people were reported killed across Syria on Saturday, 86 of them civilians, as regime forces pressed a protest crackdown three days ahead of a deadline to cease fire and pull back.
Syria’s Idlib province says violence worsening
Bashar Assad’s government says it has begun a gradual pullout from the region in accordance with a U.N.-backed peace plan, but rebels believe the opposite is happening. AREHA, Syria — Five times a day, for 15 years, the muezzin made the call to prayer from the mosque’s minaret, which rose high above the roofs of the modest homes surrounding it.
Syria unrest widens Sunni-Shiite divide: experts
The conflict in Syria, pitting majority Sunnis against rulers from an offshoot of Shiite Islam, is increasing sectarian tension that is closely linked to political discord in the region, experts say.
A major Islamic organization says it will raise $70 million for humanitarian relief in Syria, estimating that some 1 million people there are in need of aid.
Nearly 700 Syrians ‘flee to Turkey in one day’
Nearly 700 Syrian refugees poured into Turkey in 24 hours, bringing to more than 24,000 the total who have sought safety in the neighbouring country, a Turkish official said Saturday.
Lebanese city welcomes Syrian refugees
Lebanon has seen an increase in the number of people from violence-torn Syria seeking sanctuary. Tripoli, in Lebanon’s north, continues to welcome new arrivals from the neighbouring country despite economic hardships that make supporting a new influx of people harder. Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin reports from the Lebanese city.
Russia’s foreign minister urged Syrian peace envoy Kofi Annan on Thursday to also put pressure on the rebels after the UN Security Council called on the regime to keep a deadline on troop withdrawals. The foreign ministry said Sergei Lavrov told Annan by telephone that Moscow backed the Security Council statement with the understanding that a second deadline for the armed opposition to lay down weapons would also be imposed. ”The minister stressed that not only the Syrian authorities, but also the opposition must take concrete steps” toward peace, it said in a statement.
Jordanians demonstrators call for release of activists
Nearly 1,500 Jordanians demonstrated on Friday across the country to demand the release of 19 detained political activists charged with insulting the king, and also calling for reforms. In the capital Amman, more than 400 Islamists and trade unionists held a sit-in near the University of Jordan to condemn corruption and the detention of the young activists. ”The country is being destroyed because reformists are jailed while the corrupt are protected,” former MP Ahmad Kafawin of the Muslim Brotherhood told demonstrators who chanted: “The people want to reform the regime.”