BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities carried out a large number of demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Tuesday, destroying two family apartment buildings, a classroom, a restaurant, four water cisterns, and parts of a home in the latest instances of a policy which rights groups have said has increased drastically in past months.Three buildings demolished in East JerusalemSixteen Palestinians, including a number of children, were left homeless on Tuesday after bulldozers escorted by Israeli police and Jerusalem municipality inspectors demolished two houses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur in the middle of the night.The two residential buildings, which each housed two 180-square-meter apartments each, belonged to brothers Taysir, Jasir, and Ahmad Abu al-Hawa.Taysir Abu al-Hawa told Ma’an that Israeli forces arrived at 3 a.m. and forcibly evacuated the families from their apartments without letting them retrieve their belongings.
The Abu al-Hawas has tried and failed to obtain construction permits from the Jerusalem municipality since 2010, Taysir said, forcing them to built the two residences without licenses.He added that the family was already paying off a 280,000 shekel ($74,645.80) fine imposed to the Jerusalem municipality for the lack of permits before the homes were destroyed.Abu al-Hawa added that the operation came unexpectedly as the family’s lawyer had obtained a six-month deferment of the demolition two months earlier.A court hearing had been scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning regarding the case.
Meanwhile, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa, Israeli municipalities demolished a restaurant without prior notice, the owner said.Imad Burqan told Ma’an that he had tried and failed to obtain a construction license from the municipality, and had built the “Mediterranean Restaurant” without a permit more than 20 years ago.
A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality told Ma’an on Tuesday that “the Jerusalem Zoning Authority enforced court orders by demolishing illegal structures in the al-Tur and Beit Safafa neighborhoods.”The spokesperson confirmed that permits weren’t granted and that appeals were rejected in both cases, claiming that the Abu al-Hawa homes were built “on an area zoned for a public structure,” while the restaurant in Beit Safafa “was constructed on an area zoned for a road serving the neighborhood.”While the municipality vowed in its statement to “continue to enforce the law equally, in all parts of the city, preserving public areas and ensuring accessibility for the benefit of local communities,” in practice Israel very rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the occupied Palestinian territory, forcing most Palestinians to build illegally.According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits in East Jerusalem are lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).As a result, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem — some 82 percent of whom live under the poverty line — tend to build without permits in order to accommodate the needs of their families, and only 7 percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.According to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the high price of the building permits are seen as one of several strategies the Israeli government uses to forcibly displace their communities for the benefit of Israeli settlers.The summer has seen a large-scale demolition campaign targeting Palestinian communities across Jerusalem on an unprecedented scale. In less than 24 hours in late July, 30 Palestinian families were left homeless after Israel destroyed homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Issawiya and Ras al-Amoud, and in the village of Qalandiya in the West Bank district of Jerusalem.Demolished classroom in E1 Bedouin communityMeanwhile, Israeli authorities reportedly demolished a classroom Tuesday morning in a school in the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwwar — part of the contentious “E1 corridor” located just east of Jerusalem municipal boundaries.Abu Nuwwar community spokesperson Dawoud al-Jahalin told Ma’an that “Israeli occupation bulldozers” demolished a classroom that was used to serve 15 third-graders in the Abu Nuwwar coeducational school, and also leveled the school’s yard.The school was a movable structure made of wood and tin sheets donated by the European Commission.A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in Palestinian territory, said they were looking into the reports.Israel has come under repeated international condemnation over demolitions of EU-funded structures, with some accusing the Israeli government of demolishing Palestinian structures in retaliation for the EU’s decision in November to enforce labeling laws that would indicate if a product was produced in one of Israel’s 196 illegal settlements.UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine Robert Piper warned last month of the heightened risk of forcible transfer for the Abu Nuwwar community, one of several Bedouin villages facing forced relocation due to plans by Israeli authorities to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in the E1 corridor.The “E1 corridor,” a contentious zone set up by the Israeli government to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega settlement of Maale Adumim, would virtually cut the occupied West Bank in half, making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.A school in the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, also located in E1, which was partially funded by an Italian organization and the Italian government, has long been slated for demolition by the Israeli government.In response to the most recent demolition order against the school, Jamal Dajani, director of strategic communications at the Palestinian prime minister’s office said that Israeli authorities used “every excuse in the book to prevent the advancement of Palestinian communities in Area C,” adding that Israel “should not be allowed to deprive our children of educational opportunities.”“Is Palestinian education a threat to Israel?” Dajani asked in the statement.Home partially demolished near BethlehemIsraeli forces on Tuesday also demolished three rooms, including the kitchen, of a home in the village of Beit Jala in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, claiming they were built without an Israeli-issued building license.
When contacted for comment on the case, a COGAT spokesperson told Ma’an that Beit Jala did not fall under its jurisdiction but under that of the Jerusalem municipality — despite Beit Jala being located in the West Bank.Last month, an Israeli-enforced demolition left an estimated 20 Palestinians homeless in Beit Jala’s Bir Ouna neighborhood, on a day when a total of some 70 Palestinians were displaced by demolitionsacross the occupied territory.Meanwhile, Israel has come under harsh criticism for a spike in illegal settlement activity in area, and recently approved plans to construct 770 out of 1,200 settlement units between the illegal settlement of Gilo and Beit Jala in July.The demolition in Beit Jala came as Israeli troops demolished four wells used to provide water for sheep and crops in agricultural lands in the Jurat al-Kheil area east of Sair in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control — are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge in recent months, as Israeli authorities demolished 769 Palestinian structures so far this year, in a large increase from 531 in all of 2015, according to UN documentation.
(Source / 27.09.2016)
Petition to continue investigation rejected
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israel’s deputy attorney general has rejected a petition filed by a Palestinian family from al-Issawiya district in east Jerusalem against the police’s decision to end their investigation into a shooting incident that rendered its son badly wounded. According to Haaretz newspaper on Tuesday, a police unit assigned to investigate the incident did not question anyone from the police about the shooting of 12-year-old Ahmed Abu Hems and decided recently to close the case. Abu Hems suffered a serious brain damage when an Israeli policeman fired randomly sponge-tipped bullets last January during skirmishes in Issawiya. One of those bullets penetrated his head. Eyewitnesses affirmed the boy was not participating in the events at the time. He was caught up in clashes between Palestinian young people and Israeli policemen while en route to see his sister. Ahmed is among many Palestinians wounded by a new type of anti-riot bullet that the Israeli police started using about two years ago, rights groups say. While it is not designed to be lethal, the new sponge-tipped bullet (model 4557) has the ability to inflict heavy physical damage that can lead to death according to the severity of injury. The Israeli police regularly use such bullets during clashes with Palestinians, mainly in east Jerusalem.
(Source / 27.09.2016)
Speaking to RT, 13-year-old Bara’a Owaisi said she had traveled to a West Bank checkpoint after dreaming about her aunt, who had been killed there.
“She called to me saying, ‘I want to see you.’ So I went to the checkpoint to see where my aunt died, because I miss her,”Owaisi explained.
“The Israeli soldiers spoke to me, but I couldn’t understand them, so some Arab workers explained. They asked me to take my bag off my back and put it down. I removed my bag. I said I wanted to see where my aunt died. They asked for my aunt’s name and I answered…then they opened fire on me. The two soldiers said, ‘This one is a terrorist,’ and ordered the others to open fire,” she said.
Owaisi went on to say that she constantly replays the incident in her mind.
“I have nightmares. I was terrified of [the soldiers], and I see them in my dreams. They shoot at me all the time. I hope the soldiers don’t shoot at any more innocent children,” she said.
Her father spoke of how incomprehensible it was to shoot his daughter so many times.
“They wanted to kill her. They shot her five times. One bullet is enough to take someone down, not five. They shot her in cold blood. She wasn’t doing anything. The Israeli soldiers were shouting at her without any reason. My daughter can’t do anything.”
He went on to state that his wife must now carry the young girl to the bathroom, and that he hopes his daughter will walk again. He said he wants Israel to pay compensation for the incident.
“I want Israel to pay compensation. It is not the first time this has happened. The Israelis try to kill many Palestinian children, and I want the world to know about this.”
RT reached out to the Israeli Defense Ministry, but received no response. A statement from the ministry following the shooting said the girl told interrogators that she went to the checkpoint “to die.”
The Wednesday shooting came amid a new wave of violence against Israeli soldiers by Palestinian assailants.
Just two weeks ago, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian after he stabbed soldiers at a checkpoint at a village west of Hebron. Two other Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a holy site to both Muslims and Jews in Hebron.
While Israel claims most Palestinians are killed while carrying out attacks, the Palestinian authorities have accused Israel of often using excessive force, saying most of those killed posed no actual threat.
Palestinian leaders say the attackers are acting out of desperation over collapsed peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion on territory which Palestinians are seeking for the creation of an independent state.
(Source / 27.09.2016)
Watch what you say: 10 Jordanians to be sued for hate speech on social media following Hattar assassination
Demonstrators shout slogans during a demonstration in the town of Fuheis, 20km northwest of Amman on September 25, 2016, denouncing the killing of prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar
The Jordanian government on Sunday said it has identified 10 social media users to be referred to the concerned authorities for reportedly spreading hate speech in reaction to the killing of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar.
“We monitor social media in general and today we noticed that 10 people were expressing hate speech and inciting hatred and sectarianism through social media and we decided to question them,” a senior government official said.
The government official told The Jordan Times that “the government will continue to monitor social media, and anyone found to be inciting hate speech or sectarianism will be referred to the concerned authorities for further legal prosecution”.
The Criminal Court prosecutor on Sunday charged the man suspected of killing Hattar with premeditated murder, and decided to refer him to the State Security Court.
At the same time, the official added, “the government will remain committed to safeguarding the right to freedom of expression as long as it does not lead to the spreading of hate speech or sectarianism”.
Authorities have identified the shooter, who allegedly shot and killed Hattar on the steps of the Palace of Justice in Abdali earlier in the day, as Riad Abdullah, 49, a resident of east Amman.
Hattar, facing trial for sharing a caricature that was considered insulting to religious beliefs, was apparently on his way to attend a court hearing.
(Source / 27.09.2016)
Alabdah: There Is Still Time for the US Administration to Review Its Policy & Stop Russian Crimes in Syria
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah said that the US administration still has a chance to rethink its approach to the Syrian conflict, calling for putting an end to the barbaric onslaught by Russia and the Assad regime on Aleppo. Alabdah said that Russian and Assad regime forces deliberately target aid convoys, civilians, hospitals, and vital civilian infrastructure.
Alabdah made his remarks following an expanded meeting of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee on Monday. The meeting, which included members of the Coalition’s General Assembly and the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), reviewed the outcome of the opposition delegation’s meetings held in New York last week and also discussed the deteriorating situation in Aleppo.
The Syrian people have no other option but to close ranks and unite political and military efforts in order to counter the brutal war waged on them by the Assad regime and its allies, Alabdah stressed. New internationally banned weapons, most notably bunker buster bombs, are being used by Russia to quell the revolution amid total failure of the international community to assume its responsibilities to protect Syrian’s civilians, he added.
Alabdah pointed out that the Coalition leadership is sparing no effort to unite political and military efforts and to save the city of Aleppo. He stressed that the revolution forces will not allow Aleppo to fall to the mercenary militias Iran sent to fight alongside the Assad regime forces.
A delegation from the Syrian Coalition and the HNC on Sunday cut short their trip to the United States in response to the unprecedented military escalation by the Assad regime and Russia on Aleppo. The delegation was attending the UN 71st General Assembly meeting.
Friends of the Syrian People are now facing the moment of truth, Alabdah noted, adding that those friends have a duty to support the Syrian revolution that shares with them the values and principles on which their countries were founded. Friends of the Syrian People must not allow tyranny and dictatorship in Syria to prevail.
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 27.09.2016)
Israeli soldiers try to arrest a Palestinian man in the city of Hebron (al-Khalil), in the occupied West Bank, on September 20, 2016
The Israeli military has indicted at least 145 Palestinians so far this year after accusing them of inciting anti-Israeli sentiments over social media.
The Israeli military said on Sunday the indictments were made for posts on social media websites such as Facebook, which is a popular network among Palestinians.
Israel has launched a violent campaign to stamp out the online calls for resistance by Palestinian activists and groups.
Tel Aviv threatens those Palestinians who do not appear for interrogation with arresting their family members instead.
Palestinian rights groups Addameer and Adalah said in July that the Israeli regime had arrested about 400 Palestinians since October 2015 for social media posts that highlight the atrocities and crimes committed by the regime and illegal settlers.
This comes as Israeli lawmakers have already proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content Israel considers to be incitement.
In early September, a pair of Israeli ministers met with Facebook executives to discuss ways of limiting anti-Israel activities on the social networking website. Israel has also raised a host of issues over whether the company is responsible for material posted by its users.
Senior officials in Tel Aviv claim social media play a key role in fueling a yearlong campaign of intensified Palestinian resistance against the Israeli regime.
Israeli soldiers surround the body of a Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli troops at the entrance to the West Bank town of Silwad on August 26, 2016
However, Palestinians say the ongoing resistance across the occupied Palestinian territories is a result of nearly 50 years of Israeli military occupation.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed increased tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
Nearly 250 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of last October.
(Source / 27.09.2016)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian prisoner from occupied East Jerusalem was released from Israeli custody on Monday evening after serving an 18-year sentence.Ibrahim al-Abbasi, a 55-year-old father of four, was greeted by hundreds upon his arrival in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan after being released from the Israeli prison of Ktziot.However, Israeli forces then raided the area where the reception was held, forcing some Palestinian youth out of the area, the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, Amjad Abu Asab, told Ma’an.The first place al-Abbasi visited in Jerusalem upon his release was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Abu Asab said.Abbasi was detained on Sept. 26, 1998, and was convicted of being affiliated to the military wing of the Hamas movement after some three months of interrogation in the infamous Russian Compound detention center.According to prisoners rights group Addameer, some 7,000 Palestinians from across the occupied territory were held in Israeli prisons as of August, including 500 from East Jerusalem.
(Source / 27.09.2016)