A memorandum was handed over to the UN Security Council (UNSC) by the International Commission to Support the Rights of the Palestinian People (Hashd) to push for lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza.
The 20-page memorandum called for lifting the decade-long Israeli blockade on Gaza and for allowing a safe access of humanitarian aid into the enclave.
Hashd said the blockade amounts to a barefaced crime that bereaves two million Palestinians of their rights and needs.
It urged the UNSC to discuss the affair, saying that the blockade poses serious threats to international peace.
Hashd further condemned the siege as “a crime of mass genocide” as Article VI of the International Criminal Court Statute clearly states.
“The siege violates the basics of international humanitarian law. It is an illegal form of collective punishment banned by the international human rights legitimacy, including the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the memorandum read.
Hashd said the letter, handed over to the UNSC both in English and in Arabic, is the first step in an anti-siege campaign embarked on by the commission.
Hashd pledged to appeal to international law experts and human rights organizations, along with the world’s parliaments and MPs, so as to urge the Israeli occupation to lift the Gaza blockade and impeach those responsible for the tragic fallouts of the siege.
(Source / 16.01.2017)
Syrian Coalition Condemns Massacre in Wadi Barada, Calls on Agreement Guarantors to Shoulder Responsibilities
The Syrian Coalition condemned the horrible massacre committed by regime forces in the village of Deir Qanun in the besieged Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus. The massacre claimed the lives of 15 civilians and left dozens more injured.
Civilians fleeing the regime’s barrel bombs and rockets took refuge in a building they thought would protect them from the barrel bombs, rockets, and bombs regime forces and their allied foreign militias were raining on the area. However, the building was directly hit by a regime tank. The brutal assault regime forces and their allies have launched on the Wadi Barada valley is clearly aimed at changing the demography of the region.
The Coalition underscored the need for guarantors of the ceasefire agreement to shoulder their responsibilities towards stopping breaches of the agreement. These breaches included the assassination of the retired Major General Ahmed Ghadban by the Hezbollah militias on Sunday. Ghadban was mandated to negotiate with the Assad regime and the Hezbollah militias on behalf of the residents trapped in the area. Regime forces and their allies have breached the ceasefire agreement over 350 times since it was announced on December 29, 2016.
The international community must take action to stop breaches of the truce and violations of UN Security Council resolutions by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias, the Coalition stressed. Urgent action must be taken to consolidate the truce. Pressure must be exerted on Assad and his allies to restart the political process in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 16.01.2017)
Paris Peace Conference ended Sunday evening with declaration that a two-state solution was the only path to peace for Israel and Palestine.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed during the press conference following the Peace Conference the importance of the international community role for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.
He reiterated that a negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and also recalled relevant Security Council resolutions.
The Participants highlighted the potential for security, stability and prosperity for both parties that could result from a peace agreement. They expressed their readiness to exert necessary efforts toward the achievement of the two-state solution and to contribute substantially to arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a negotiated peace agreement, in particular in the areas of political and economic incentives, the consolidation of Palestinian state capacities, and civil society dialogue, according to his statements.
However, the concluding statement avoided to condemn US President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem.
(Source / 16.01.2017)
The Israel Ofer Court sentenced Monday the Palestinian child Ayham Odey, 14, to three months imprisonment for an alleged stone-throwing attack, rights group revealed.
A fine of 3,000 shekels was also imposed on the child, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said.
Odey was detained on Nov. 11, 2016 while leaving his school along with his 13-year-old friend.
(Source / 16.01.2017)
Shops are open near damaged buildings in al-Rai town, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria December 25, 2016
Tel Aviv – Israel is optimistic regarding Russia’s position concerning Israel’s interests, according to Israeli military and political officials.
Even if Israel didn’t attend the Astana talks to settle the Syrian case, its position will be represented for two reasons: attacks near Damascus, and the positive development of relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the officials.
Netanyahu is constantly contacting Putin, even before and after the attacks on Mezzeh military airport which were accredited to Israel.
Highly informed Israeli sources said that this will be discussed during the talks on Syria’s future – expected to start on January 23 in Astana.
Sources added that Israel wasn’t invited to this conference, but it is making sure that its presence is felt there through all possible channels, and thus conveying a message that no agreement can be reached, especially concerning Golan Heights, without taking Israeli interests into account.
After Aleppo, Russians began preparing for the summit in Kazakhstan, and once again a new report surfaced saying that Israel had attacked Syria, with all Russian media quoting the official statement from Damascus. But what is more important is that for the first time a Russian official speaks of the attack and is surprisingly understanding of Israel’s position.
State Duma Deputy and Deputy Chairman of Committee on International Affairs Andrey Klimov was quoted in the semi-official Izvestia newspaper saying that Israel uses the armed forces against organization considered a threat to its security. He also accused Hezbollah without naming it explicitly saying: “Tel Aviv is fighting against terrorist organizations engaged in the war in Syria.”
Israeli officials believe that this is an official Russian hint to Iranians, and Hezbollah, that they disagree with Moscow concerning arrangements in Syria.
Israel’s benefit is evident here: to deter any attempts that the Syrian regime might try to take control over Golan Heights, whether through war or dialogue with the opposition.
Officials also declared that unlike similar incidents in the past, Syrians are trying to gain politically from this attack pointing fingers at Israel and addressing the Security Council saying the Tel Aviv used F-35 warplanes in the attack. But, F-35 doesn’t exactly present new technologies that Israel doesn’t already have, and Israel doesn’t need new planes that haven’t gained any experience around the world in action.
“It seems as though Syrians want to embarrass the U.S. administration by saying: you gave Israel developed weapons, and they directly used it to aggravate the conflict in the Middle East,” according to an Israeli official.
Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson had warned U.S. and coalition forces of attacking Syrian regime targets. As for the Israeli attacks, Moscow is currently ignoring them.
All of this consequently leads to the belief that there are silent agreements between Tel Aviv and Moscow. Other than the agreement on avoiding airplanes of both armies from attacking one another, the content of this pact isn’t very clear.
Those agreements had been reached during the exchanged phone calls between Putin and Netanyahu and especially during the meeting between Israeli Commander of Air Force Maj-Gen Amir Eshel and Russian Chief of Staff.
We can then deduce that Russia understands what are the Israeli red lines and interests in Syria.
(Source / 16.01.2017)
Palestinian prisoners continue to be denied family visits: 13-year-old Rita Abu Ghoulmeh banned from seeing her jailed father
Palestinian prisoners continue to be denied family visits under a pretext of “security” on a systematic basis. On Sunday, 15 January, Rita Abu Ghoulmeh, 13, the daughter of Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, an imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was traveling to visit her father but was stopped at a checkpoint and told that she was prohibited from visiting her father for undeclared security reasons.
In speaking with Sawt al-Shaab radio, Rita said, “Today I went to visit my dad, and I presented my ID card and permit for the visit, and I was told that the visit was banned. When I asked them why, they told me that the intelligence had made a decision to ban the visit.”
Wafa Abu Ghoulmeh, Rita’s mother and Ahed’s wife, said that this is a continued crime of the Zionist occupation against the rights of Palestinian prisoners and their families, noting that it is a means of collective punishment against an entire family, especially when you see the pretext of “security” used against minor children who have a right to see their parents. Wafa has been denied visits with her husband for years under the same pretext.
The banning of Rita’s visit came only days after Palestinian child prisoner Natalie Shokha, 15, was denied visits from her parents, also on the pretext of “security.” The Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission said that family visits “are being used as an instrument of collective punishment in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and international conventions.”
On multiple occasions, the Commission noted, Israeli occupation soldiers at roadblocks and checkpoints tear up visitation permits issued through the International Committee of the Red Cross by the Israeli authorities. On 8 January, Akram Hamed, the representative of prisoners in Ofer prison said that 30 people had been denied visitation with their imprisoned family members, including elderly people over the age of 80 years old. In Hadarim prison, 5 family visit permits were withdrawn when the families arrived at the prison and their permit papers torn up by the occupation forces. Marwan Barghouthi, held in Hadarim prison, raised this issue on behalf of the prisoners with the director of Hadarim prison, saying that the continuation of this policy will lead to escalated protests by Palestinian prisoners.
The denial of family visits is also used as a means of pressure and punishment against Palestinian prisoners, noting that 12 Palestinian prisoners were punished after protesting against an attack by guards with the denial of family visits for 6 months.
Sick prisoner Mansour Moqtada continues to be denied family visits from his elderly mother; Moqtada is serving a life sentence and uses a wheelchair after he was shot with three bullets in 2002 at the same time he was seized by Israeli occupation forces. He has a colostomy and a catheter and is in frequent pain; he is one of the most seriously ill prisoners in Israeli jails and is permanently held at the Ramleh prison clinic. His mother, who is over 70 years old, has continually been denied family visits with her son for over two years under the pretext of unspecified “security” reasons.
The right of prisoners to receive family visits is enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention. In addition, the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids the imprisonment of people under occupation in the territory of the occupying power; nevertheless, the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners are detained inside Palestine ’48. Most Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza Strip can only receive visits through the visits and permitting process coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), because their families are denied access to the areas where they are imprisoned. These permits are often delayed or denied and take months to process; if and when they are approved, Palestinians must visit on special ICRC buses. he entire visit process begins early in the morning and ends late at night for a 45-minute visit; it is very difficult for young children and elderly parents.
Prior to 2016, these visits took place twice monthly for Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank; however, the visits were arbitrarily reduced to once monthly by the ICRC, which cited lack of participation in the second visit and financial concerns to justify their decision. Palestinians have repeatedly protested these cuts to visits, coming as they do at the same time that the Israeli occupation is repeatedly using family visit denial as a weapon against Palestinian prisoners.
(Source / 16.01.2017)
A Palestinian prisoner was proclaimed dead in Israeli custody late Sunday in mysterious circumstances.
Local sources identified the prisoner as Mohamed Nabeel Buseila, 17, who was jailed for long time under criminal charges.
The prisoner was transferred to hospital late yesterday after suffering sharp pains where he was proclaimed dead.
Buseila’s family called for an independent probe, describing the circumstances of his death as “mysterious.”
(Source / 16.01.2017)