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‘Is it true that ISIS is not Muslim?’ A Singaporean Muslim answers a Christian

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By: Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib

After an interfaith dialogue session yesterday, I was approached by a Christian brother who asked, “My Muslim friends said that ISIS is not Muslim. Is that true?”

The question speaks to a deeper issue at hand. On one hand, non-Muslims are increasingly feeling the anxiety and fear of violence perpetrated by Muslims. But Muslims are also getting more apologetic and the tendency to dismiss terrorism done in the name of Islam as “these people are not Muslims” or in an oblique sense, “nothing to do with Islam”, will not address the situation nor allay the fears of non-Muslims. If ISIS is not Muslim, what are they? Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or Atheists? Clearly, this is not the case. ISIS is Muslim in every sense of who they are. But is ISIS ‘Islamic’?

Well, it depends on what one understand by ‘Islam’. Islam can mean many things to different people. To claim for a single Islam is to make the same mistake as those in ISIS who peddles that there is only one single way of being Muslim. Hence, before we can address the issue of extremism, terrorism and violence among Muslims, we need to first acknowledge the diversity in understanding and interpretations on Islam.

Islam is a sum total of its various manifestations in history and over time and space; it is a spectrum, ranging from the most extreme ideas (and we have that in early Muslim history, such as the Khawarij or Kharijites) as well as the other liberal end of the spectrum.

But despite the spectrum of beliefs, the religion has developed some core aspects in its teachings and these core aspects are what the majority of Muslims subscribe to. It includes an ethical system that upholds certain fundamental values such as peace, mercy, compassion, justice, etc. They are aspects of the universal within the faith that very few Muslims will disagree with. How they understand or actualise these values may differ, but no Muslim would uphold murder of innocent lives as justifiable – even the terrorists. But this is where the terrorists depart from the majority of Muslims by seeing everyone who disagree with them (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) as the ‘enemies of Islam’ and hence, everyone is complicit and no one is innocent. The consequence of this is that ISIS sees their act of killing as justified and not ‘unIslamic’. This is a twisted argument but an argument that Muslims have to confront with, nonetheless.

One of the essential question to ask also is, why are some Muslims attracted to join ISIS? Clearly, there is no single answer. It may lie in their psychological make-up, mental state, or even their desire to correct what they saw as ‘injustices’ or assaults against their dignity as Muslims and their religion (read: Western neo-imperialism in Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere). But it is also true that ISIS has exploited unresolved issues within the Islamic traditions (such as the idea of slavery, caliphate, dhimmi, hudud, etc) as well as tapped upon some popular religious imagination (end-times, black army, etc). In this sense, ISIS is not Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or secular-atheistic, but is clearly operating within the Islamic imagination, ideas and interpretations.

Given the situation, Muslims can no longer be dismissive of the problem at hand. At most, Muslims can say that ISIS represents an extremist end of the spectrum that the majority of Muslims do not subscribe to. In other words, what ISIS is doing is criminal. But like any other Muslim criminals like robbers and rapists and murderers, we cannot simply excommunicate them by saying, “These are not Muslims”. For who has the right to say who is a Muslim or not as long as one confesses to be Muslim? What we can do is to point to the criminal behaviour and act and say, “As a Muslim, I reject that and I uphold a different understanding of Islam – one that is subscribed to by the majority of Muslims past and present.” There is no need to be apologetical and say, “ISIS is not Muslim” or “Nothing to do with Islam”. Clearly, those in ISIS are indeed Muslims; and their behaviours and acts have something to do with Islam – in as much as they represent an extreme interpretation that the majority rejects.

And in my final remarks to my Christian brother who might not be in a position to decide what is valid or invalid interpretation within Islam, I quoted Jesus’ wisdom: “by their fruits, you shall know them”.

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Opinion others

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A new start for a chef from Aleppo… in Gaza

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After escaping the horrors of the Syrian war, Wareef Hamedo has found a new life, love and a warm welcome in Gaza

Wareef Hamedo in his chef’s uniform in the Gaza restaurant where he worked before the assault on the Strip in the summer of 2014

GAZA STRIP – The Aleppo that Wareef Hamedo remembers and loves is far removed from the tragic images he sees on the news today. In today’s Aleppo, hospitals have been bombed, doctors are overwhelmed and since 19 September alone when a US-Russia negotiated truce broke down, the total death toll has climed to at least 400 people, including more than 100 children.

What Hamedo dreams about is Aleppo “during the peaceful days”.

“I remember the call of the licorice and vegetable peddlers outside my window, the smell of fresh Saj [flatbread made on domed metal griddles], the friendly voices of my neighbours,” says Hamedo, who today is among 22 Syrian refugee families who found a new home in the Gaza Strip – as crazy as that sounds.

Life in Syria was good for Hamedo, a chef at a traditional Syrian restaurant called the Melaas Café. Although he had studied mechanical engineering in university to please his father, cooking had been his main love ever since he found a job in a kitchen at the age of 15. His hobby, which quickly turned into a profession, took him to Latakia, Damascus, Homs and Cairo; but Aleppo was always his home.

That is, until the civil war broke out. Business plummeted, and the increasing attacks forced the restaurant to close. Then came the attack that scattered his family.

“It was 6pm,” Hamedo shudders. “I was with my brother on the second floor of our house. I was sitting on the balcony and he was lying on the floor beside me. We heard a sudden, high whistle followed by an explosion. The whole neighbourhood lit up. We ran into the street barefoot. Women were screaming. We discovered that our neighbours’ house had been hit. Our neighbours, a mother and two children, were on the floor, covered with blood. We could see right away that one of the children was dead and we carried the other two to a car so that another neighbour could take them to the hospital. But then we learned the mother was dead as well.”

Breaking into Gaza

Not long after that, his siblings escaped to Turkey – both of his parents died before the war; Hamedo is the oldest child among 10 – but Hamedo held out. “My family was so afraid of another sudden attack. But I preferred to wait it out a little longer, and it was a relief not to have to worry about my brothers and sisters. In my heart, I prayed the fighting would end.”

It did not, however. And when the violence hit close to home again, he knew it was time to go.

“It was 4pm and I was with my cousin in front of a falafel shop,” he recalls “We’d been running short of bread for around two weeks so we went out to buy a falafel sandwich – which cost 125 Syrian lira, compared to 25 before all the fighting broke out. We were sitting on the stairs of the shop and our neighbour’s son joined us. We finished eating and started on our way home. About five minutes later, we heard a shot. A sniper shot the neighbour’s son in his eye.”

‘Syria will always be my mother and Aleppo my lover’

“It wasn’t easy to leave Aleppo. I lack words to describe how painful that was. But death was the only other choice. I feel like I left my heart there. Syria will always be my mother and Aleppo my lover.”

Hamedo made the long trek to his uncle’s house by foot, then got a ride to the Turkish border to join his family. “But I couldn’t find work in Turkey. The language barrier, and my lack of money, made life too difficult. I didn’t know how I’d survive with any dignity.”

Hearing employment was more available in Arabic-speaking Egypt, he made the three-day voyage by sea, only to encounter rising anti-Syrian sentiment and poor working conditions.

Hamedo had two remaining options: pay a smuggler to take him on the dangerous journey to Europe by boat or go to Gaza, where a Palestinian friend he met in Cairo offered him a job at a restaurant. In May 2013, he entered Gaza through one of the smuggling tunnels.

“People thought I was crazy,” Hamedo admits, adding that he did not tell his family in Turkey that he was in Gaza until four months after he arrived. “I didn’t want them to worry… But Palestinians are the warmest people I have met; they make me feel like I belong, like I’m ‘home’ again.”

‘Palestinians are the warmest people I have met; they make me feel like I belong, like I’m home again’

In fact, Hamedo was so welcome that he married a local Palestinian journalist. He met Maha Abualkass when she interviewed him for a story on Syrian refugees, and they were married in May 2014. In September, their first child, Eilia’a, was born.

Wareef Hamedo meets Dr Mads Gilbert. Wareef is wearing a press jacket because he was accompanying his wife, who is a journalist and was covering the war 

On Facebook, Hamedo dedicated this status to his new daughter: “With the help of YouTube, I will wash your little ears with the melody of the big mosque in Aleppo. I will show you every inch of the city. I will tell you stories about my village, and we will leaf through my family’s photos. I will tell you everything about Syria and your mom will tell you everything about Palestine and Jerusalem.”

Different place, more war

However, life in Gaza has not been without its challenges, to put it mildly. Hamedo worked at his friend’s restaurant until Israel waged its 52-day war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. The restaurant closed and Hamedo spent the days accompanying his wife as a sort of “protector” as she reported her stories.

“Every single situation reminded me of my wounded Syria,” recalls Hamedo. “But it still was not as bad as what I lived through in Syria, where there were snipers on the streets and on building tops almost everywhere, and where there were abductions and rapes… There were never any warnings at all when bombs hit.”

The restaurant where Wareef had worked never re-opened and he has not found stable employment since. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has a strong presence in Gaza, but its mandate is to assist Palestinians, not Syrians, and thus can provide no aid.

Another issue for the Syrians is that Israel controls the population registry of the Gaza Strip. Since the Israeli government has historically not maintained relations with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad’s government, they are, perhaps, even more stateless in Gaza than anywhere else. Without them being on the population registry, local governmental agencies and even international organisations find it difficult to document and offer aid to Syrians in Gaza.


According to Wafa al-Kafarna, the information, counselling and legal assistance project manager for the Gaza branch of the Norwegian Refugee Council, it is possible to leave Gaza through Egypt if the refugees have valid travel documents. However, the refugees say there is an agreement between Cairo and Damascus to return them for questioning. So for now, the Syrians will be staying in Gaza.

Not one to be defeated, Wareef still has dreams. His goal is to produce his own TV show and share his love of both Syrian culture and food with others. He demonstrates how to make traditional dishes on his own YouTube channel and is looking for support to take it to a higher level.

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Politics

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Israeli occupation deports SA activist from airport

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She was detained by Israeli occupation in a dirty cell with dirty beds and blankets

Israeli occupation authorities, interrogated, detained in dirty cell and then deported South African pro-Palestine activist Sarah Robinson.

Israeli interrogator asked if I was aware that the Israelis monitor social networking and photos from such events (Such as anti-occupation demonstrations, etc…)

Israeli occupation authorities, interrogated, detained in dirty cell and then deported South African pro-Palestine activist Sarah Robinson.

On her personal blog, Sarah posted the whole story of her journey from Johannesburg to Tel-Aviv, passing through Istanbul and going back to Johannesburg. With tears descending down from my eyes, I read the whole post and insisted to publish it here on Days of Palestine literally.

Here is Sarah Robinson’s account:

I left Johannesburg on Sunday evening, 16 October, and flew to Istanbul, Turkey. The check-in process was smooth and I was asked no security related questions. I had a six-hour stopover in Istanbul which was also uneventful.

I checked-in to the flight to Tel Aviv, Israel and although there was extra security and scrutiny there were no problems. I landed in Tel Aviv at 13:20 on Monday afternoon.

I waited patiently in line at the customs desks for my turn to be processed. A sullen lady called me to the desk, took my passport, and began typing away on her computer.

She asked me the normal customs and immigration questions.

  • How long did I plan to stay in Israel?
  • What was the purpose of my visit?
  • Had I been there before?

I answered carefully and truthfully. She then asked me what my father’s name was and my grandfather’s name which I provided.

Staring at her computer screen she called a gentleman to the desk and handed him my passport. He requested I follow him. He took me to a room in the customs area where several other people were sitting.

I waited in the room for about 45 minutes when another lady, not older than 25, called me into her office. Like the first lady, she was tapping away furiously on her computer and didn’t really look at me but rather the screen in front of her.

She began asking me questions similar to that of the previous lady. The interrogation lasted for about 45 minutes. She asked questions like this:

  • What was I doing in Israel on my previous visits? I explained that I was a volunteer with the World Council of Churches and described what that entailed.
  • Do I know people in Israel? I said not really and she asked to see my phone contacts. I reached for my phone and first tried to turn off my international roaming status before handing it to her.

She commented: “Keep deleting your contacts” to which I responded that I was just turning off my data.

She entered Israel’s telephone country code into my contacts and two people came up. One was a lady whom I met once in 2013 and the other someone I had worked with in 2013.

  • Had I ever been to a demonstration? I said no.
  • She asked if I wanted to revise that answer. I said no, I had never been to a demonstration. This was true.
  • She asked if I was aware that the Israelis monitor social networking and photos from such events. I said I was aware of that but my answer remains the same.
  • Had I ever visited, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron, or Nazareth? I confirmed which cities I had been to.

She handed me a piece of paper to complete. I had to add my phone number, email address, father’s name, and grandfather’s name.

  • Where do I stand during clashes and what do I do? I stand in the middle, observe, and take photos. What do I do with these photos? I share them on Facebook and my blog.
  • Are you a journalist? No. But you have a blog? Yes. What is it? I give her the address of my blog which I have temporarily disabled so she can’t see anything.
  • Do you know that you can be deported for lying or for being a security threat? Yes, I do understand that.
  • Do you like coming here for the rush and the high of the conflict? That’s not my main reason for visiting.
  • Do I know anyone who has been deported? No. But your name was mentioned by someone who was deported. Are you sure you don’t want to give me a different answer? No.

The questions were vast yet detailed and she was continually reading the situation and my responses. I was careful not to lie but I was also careful not to give away unnecessary information.

The purpose of my visit was to join the International Solidarity Movement to work as a human rights observer in Hebron. I didn’t give her this information but rather insisted this trip was a holiday, which it was, just not the kind of holiday most people take. When she was finished she requested I go back to the waiting room.

Half an hour later a man called me into another office where I had to complete a customs declaration form and he took my picture. I was hopeful that they were preparing to let me in, why else would they need a customs declaration. He escorted me back to the waiting room.

Another gentleman came in and sat next to me holding two pieces of paper. He informed me that I would be deported and I needed to sign the document as confirmation. I asked why I was been deported and he said I was a security threat.

I asked why and what it meant but he just kept saying I was a security threat but gave me no explanation. I refused to sign the document. He didn’t seem to care and got up and walked away.

A little while later another gentleman called me to follow him. He led me through the airport to the luggage area to collect my backpack. He attached a large sign to my bag and left it in another room. He returned me to the waiting area.

Then another man called me to follow him. I was led outside with four other gentlemen. There was an armoured van waiting for us. We got in the van and were driven to a detention centre about ten minutes away.

While in the van I called the South African embassy and attempted to explain what was happening to the lady who answered the phone. She basically said there was nothing they could do and hung up.

We got to the detention centre and had to leave our bags in a room and were only allowed to keep our cigarettes but no lighter.

The men with me were taken to a room on the ground floor of the building and I was taken to a cell on the second floor. There were four other women in the room. I think they were all Russian as they could speak to each other but they spoke very little English so I was unable to communicate with them.

The cell consisted of five bunk beds, a toilet, and a basin. The beds held mixed up and dirty sheets and blankets. The walls of the cell were covered in writing displaying messages such as “Free Palestine” and “God loves you”.

There were names of deported activists etched onto the walls and the beds, most written in pencil and some in toothpaste.

I sat on the bed and struggled to refrain from crying. I stared at the wall in front of me and saw the message, “God is good, all of the time” but I battled to believe it. The situation was not good. I was not good.

I managed to fall asleep for a little while. After about an hour or so a guard came to the door, opened it, called us, and took us outside for ten minutes to smoke.

The detention centre was heavily secured with many security personnel, cameras, and bars. We were escorted back into the cell and offered sandwiches. I lay down again and waited. I had no idea what was happening or what would happen next.

At 20:30 a security guard came into the room and requested me and another lady follow him. We were put back into the armoured van and driven back to the airport. We were taken to a security room where all our belongings were searched and checked.

At 21:00 I was again told to follow a gentleman who led me through the airport to a boarding gate. My passport and other documents were handed to the security people at the desk, I was escorted onto the plane, and told that when we landed in Istanbul I would be met by more security.

We landed in Istanbul an hour and 45 minutes later. I waited on the plane until everyone had disembarked and then made my way to the exit. A security officer was waiting for me with my passport and the deportation documentation.

Again I was told to follow him. He took me through the airport to another boarding gate where my passport and documentation was handed to the airline officials. Again I was escorted to my seat.

We landed in Johannesburg, South Africa ten hours later. An air steward requested I follow her to the front of plane where I was met by more security guards and again escorted through the airport.

The security guard took me through customs and immigration and to collect my backpack. He then went to his office to take copies of my passport and other documentation. Once that was completed, he finally gave me my passport and I was able to take the Gautrain home.

Here is the link for Sarah Robinson’s blog:

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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Lieberman tells Palestinian media next war with Hamas ‘will be their last’

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Le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Lieberman avec des généraux, cet été 2016

Lieberman set forth vision for future two-state solution based on territory, population exchanges

In an interview with the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper published Monday, Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor warned that Israel would “completely destroy” Hamas in any future conflict with the Gaza Strip.

Lieberman said that while Israel has no interest in renewed conflict with Gaza, “if they force a new war on us it will be Hamas’ last because we will completely destroy them.”

The hardline Yisrael Beytenu party leader told Al-Quds that radical elements in Gaza intent on Israel’s destruction prevented Israel from investing in opportunities to rehabilitate the coastal enclave.

“There are extremely radical elements in the Gaza Strip who have the destruction of Israel at the top of their priorities,” Lieberman said.

“But I want to be clear: if they make the decision to stop digging tunnels, smuggling arms and firing rockets at us, we will be the first investors in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip. We will be the first to invest in a maritime trading port, an airport and an industrial zone,” he continued.

Thomas Coex (AFP/File)

“A Palestinian veiled woman walks past a building which was destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants in the summer of 2014, in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun, on May 9, 2016”

“If we have a three-year state of economic development in the Palestinian Authority while there is quiet and there is no Palestinian terrorism and Israeli victims, then we can talk about restoration of trust,” Lieberman told the newspaper. “It isn’t a magic solution, but it’s possible. The road there is still long and difficult, particularly after the failure of the Oslo Accords.”

After its unilateral withdraw from Gaza in 2005, Israel introduced a naval blockade which was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist militant Hamas group overthrew rivals Fatah and took control of the territory.

Israel argues that the blockade is necessary for the defense of the state, as it prevents Hamas and other militant groups from obtaining materials used to build rockets and bolster its military arsenal.

Lieberman claimed that “Gaza could one day be the new Hong Kong or Singapore” but lamented that “Hamas invests more than NIS 100 million in military infrastructure instead of in health and education.”

Lieberman also reiterated his support for a future two-state solution, but says its realization was hindered by Palestinian leadership and not by Israel.

Mohammed Abed (AFP/File)

“A Palestinian boy walks inside a tunnel used for military exercises during a weapon exhibition at a Hamas-run youth summer camp, in Gaza City, on July 21, 2016”

He outlined his vision for a peace agreement based on an exchange of both territory and population, enabling Israel to keep large settlement blocs in the West Bank while capitulating Arab-Israeli areas of Israel.

“I feel the right principle is not land for peace. I prefer and exchange of territory and population. I do not understand why we need Umm al-Fahm,” he said, referring to an Arab-Israeli village part of a grouping known as the ‘Triangle’ adjacent to the West Bank in northern Israel.

“[Its residents] recognize themselves as Palestinian and do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I am referring to [leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement] Sheikh Raed Salah and others that see themselves as Palestinian,” he said, adding “so please, be part of the Palestinian state.”

Lieberman promoted the same vision in September during a policy talk at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Ahmad Gharabli (AFP/File)

“The settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law”

Land swaps have long been part of proposals to resolve the decades-old conflict, but the two sides remain far apart on issues such as the status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees.

Peace efforts have been at a complete standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Lieberman also criticized Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, accusing him of failing to make compromises.

He predicted Abbas would lose if elections were held, with polls showing most Palestinians would like the 81-year-old to resign.

Such elections could lead to Hamas taking power in the West Bank, where Abbas’s secular Fatah party dominates, but Lieberman said he believed a different outcome was possible.

“There are enough sensible people in the [Palestinian Authority] who understand the situation and know if there is a choice to make between Hamas and Israel, they think partnering with Israel will be better for them,” he said.

Menahem Kahana (AFP/File)

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Avigdor Lieberman (L), newly appointed Defence Minister, pictured on May 25, 2016 at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem”

The right-wing hardliner and former foreign minister took up Israel’s defense portfolio in May in a political shakeup which aimed to expand the wafer-thin majority of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

Known for his anti-Arab tirades and strident populism Lieberman is loathed by the Palestinians.

Lieberman has recently spoken of trying to bypass Palestinian leaders and reach out directly to communities, and his interview appeared to be part of that effort.

Al-Quds, the top-selling paper in the Palestinian territories, was heavily criticized on social media by Palestinians who say it should not have agreed to the interview as it amounted to sanctioning “normalization” with an occupying power.

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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Syrian Army, Hezbollah intensify southern Aleppo assault

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ALEPPO, SYRIA (12:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside Hezbollah and Harakat Nujaba, continued their large-scale offensive in the southern sector of Aleppo on Monday, targeting the area between the 1070 Al-Hamdaniyah Housing Project and Khan Touman.

Led by the 800th Regiment of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies managed to seize the important hilltop of Tal Bazou this morning after a two-day long battle with the jihadists of Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest).

Following the capture of Tal Bazou this morning, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies turned their attention to the Sheikh Sa’eed and Al-‘Amariyah districts of southern Aleppo, where they were confronted by a large contingent of determined jihadist rebels.

According to a military source in southern Aleppo, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies are making steady progress in Sheikh Sa’eed and Al-‘Amariyah, capturing several building blocks inside both jihadist-held districts – clashes are still ongoing.

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 11:34 am

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Israeli Soldiers Invade The Office Of The Popular Committee Against The Wall In Hebron

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23 OCT
2:06 PM

Several Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the office of the Palestinian Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Hebron’s Old city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Younis ‘Arar, the head of the popular committee in Hebron, said the soldiers invaded the building, and were demanding the people inside the building to remove posters and pictures that expose the ongoing Israeli military violations, and the constant attacks carried out by extremist Israeli colonists in the city.

‘Arar added that the soldiers did not search the building, or cause any damage, and withdrew shortly after invading it.

The Popular Committee denounced the invasion, and called on various regional and international legal and human rights groups to intervene, and end the escalating Israeli violations.

popular-committee-office-hebronHe added that the soldiers recently broke into offices of several nongovernmental organizations, in addition to a number of private and governmental institutions.

On Sunday at dawn, the soldiers invaded several districts in the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and kidnapped at least six Palestinians. The soldiers also confiscated large sums of cash in Qalqilia and Hebron, and kidnapped twenty Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 11:19 am

Posted in Terrorism

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“Disgraceful” Palestinian Authority arrests Palestinian youth for posting a video

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The following is a joint action alert with the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)


A few days ago, it was reported by the family of Ameer Spitan–a 27-year-old graduate of Birzeit University (with degrees in political science and journalism) and social media journalist from the occupied Palestinian village of Beit Dooku (located approximately 10 miles northwest of Jerusalem)–that he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and sent to a detention center in Jericho.  No charges have been filed, and the PA will not let his family visit or receive any information about him.  Ameer is the son of a first cousin of USPCN co-founder Hatem Abudayyeh, and his only two brothers, Saed and Mohammad, are currently in Israeli jails under administrative detention.

Although we have no official explanation from the PA, the speculation is that Ameer was arrested for posting a powerful video on his Facebook page, which ultimately went viral and reached well over 1.5 million views.  In it, Ameer interviews his 80-year-old grandmother about PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ leading of an official Palestinian delegation to the September 30th funeral of Israeli politician Shimon Peres, the infamousButcher of Qana who also, along with the equally criminal Yitzhak Rabin, developed the “force, might, and beatings” policy used to brutally repress Palestinians during the first Intifada that began in 1987.

Ameer’s grandmother expressed the sentiments of millions of Palestinians across the world by calling the PA and Abbas a “disgrace” for attending Peres’ funeral, and especially for asking current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for permission to attend.  “Why should he ask permission?  Why should he even go to the funeral?” she asks in the video. “Have the Israelis ever offered condolences to our dead?” she adds, “No, they kill us and don’t offer condolences.”

Ameer’s arrest is only one of hundreds of PA attacks on journalists and others who criticize Abbas and his government.  The PA is notorious for restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly, especially because its anti-democratic policies and “security coordination” with zionist Israel have long ago made it delegitimate and unrepresentative of the vast majority of Palestinian people. Calls for Abbas’ resignation, as well as the liquidation of the PA, are made regularly.

USPCN and Samidoun demand the immediate release of Ameer Spitan, and ask for our supporters to take the following ACTION:

Sample letter / talking points you can use:

To: PA Minister of the Interior Rami Hamdallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Ambassador of the PLO Delegation to the U.S. Maen Areikat

I demand the immediate release of Ameer Spitan from PA detention in Jericho, and for you to allow him to contact his family in Beit Dooku, Occupied Palestine.

Ameer is a journalist and has been arrested only because he is critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies.

I also demand that you uphold freedom of speech, press, and assembly, and stop the PA’s repression against the Palestinian people it is supposed to represent.


[Your Name]
[City, State, Country]

(Source / 24.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 24, 2016 at 10:35 am

Posted in Politics

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