JENIN, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation army at dawn Saturday threatened to build a fence around Ya’bad town in Jenin if local young men continued to hurl stones at Israeli cars traveling on the nearby main road. Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the Israeli army imposed a tight siege on the town on Friday evening before a large number of its troops stormed it at dawn today, amid intensive tear gas attacks. They added that several citizens suffered from inhaling tear gas inside their homes. During its campaign in the town, the occupation troops put up notices on the walls of some homes threatening to take harsh measures against Ya’bad residents if they did not prevent their children from stoning Israeli cars. The Israeli army also warned that it might surround the town with a fence if stone-throwing attacks persisted. According to the same sources, Israeli soldiers questioned and maltreated citizens in the town, with no reported arrests.
(Source / 13.08.2016)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces reportedly detained at least four Palestinians and summoned another overnight Friday and early Saturday morning during military raids in the occupied West Bank.
by Charlotte Silver
This brief video illustrates the fear instilled in young Palestinians, mostly boys, arrested by Israeli occupation forces, often during night raids.
Produced by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), it features 14-year-old Osama, who was taken from his home in the West Bank during a raid at 3am one night.
“It was the worst feeling to be far away from family and friends,” Osama says. He spent four months in an Israeli prison for allegedly throwing stones.
Israel joins Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria as governments Human Rights Watch describes as “trampling on children’s rights in a misguided and counterproductive response to conflict-related violence.”
“The indefinite detention and torture of children needs to stop,” said Jo Becker, the organization’s director of children rights advocacy.
Solitary confinement as coercion
Israel appear to be increasing the use of solitary confinement against Palestinian child detainees to pressure them during interrogations. One 16-year-old boy spent 22 days in isolation.
“The practice of using solitary confinement on children, for any duration, is a clear violation of international law, as it amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and in some cases, torture,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.
Israel doesn’t use solitary confinement for disciplinary, protective or medical reasons,according to DCIP’s documentation, but as an interrogation tool.
Children are confined in cells that barely fit a mattress while they undergo lengthy interrogations during which Israeli authorities attempt to extract confessions or more information on other people, according to DCIP.
“The cell was closed tightly and had no windows, except two ventilations gaps,” 17-year-old Rami K. told DCIP.
“The walls were gray, which hurt my eyes, and the surface was coarse, so I could not lean on them. The cell had a sink and a toilet, but the toilet had a nasty smell. The lights were on the entire time.”
Rami was held for 16 days in isolation while being interrogated. The interrogation was drawn out over hours, during which his wrists and ankles were bound to a metal chair.
Blaming Palestinian culture
Amit Heumann, the legal adviser to Israel’s UN mission, blamed Palestinians for Israel’s treatment of them.
“It is the responsibility of leaders everywhere to protect children at all costs, to protect them from the ravages of war and to shelter them in a protective environment, where children can thrive,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the Palestinians are failing at this most critical responsibility.”
“Instead of nourishing their youth with the dreams of a bright future, Palestinian children are fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel and glorification of violence in the lessons they learn in school, in the sermons they hear in the mosque and in the streets that are named after terrorists.”
Such debunked claims that “incitement” – rather than the reality of Israel’s military occupation – are to blame for violence, have long been a staple of Israeli government propaganda.
In its report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children under its occupation regime in the West Bank, where 500 to 700 children are brought before military tribunals annually, and an average of 220 children are held in prison each month.
But the line between Israeli civil and military law regarding children has become increasingly difficult to discern since violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces escalated in October 2015.
Last week, the Israeli parliament passed a new law allowing the imprisonment of children as young as 12.
Israel’s military regime in the occupied West Bank has always allowed the detention of 12-year-old Palestinians.
According to DCIP’s statistics, of the 440 Palestinian children in Israeli prison in February, 104 were between the ages of 12 and 15. This represents a four-fold increase from the number of young teens in prison prior to October 2015.
And though the law ostensibly applies to Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel alike, it was explicitly created to target Palestinians.
Imprisoning 12 and 13-year-olds will be permitted in cases where the child is convicted of so-called terrorism, a charge that almost exclusively applies to Palestinians.
“This law was born of necessity,” said Likud lawmaker Anat Berko, who proposed the measure. “We have been experiencing a wave of terror for quite some time. A society is allowed to protect itself. To those who are murdered with a knife in the heart it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel warns that the Israeli parliament may soon allow life sentences for children under 14.
This is the latest amendment to Israel’s penal code that expands the criminal culpability of Palestinian children in order to allow harsher penalties.
Last year, the Israeli parliament imposed mandatory minimum sentencing and extended the maximum sentence on people who throw stones at traffic.
Israel also revived administrative detention against Palestinian children ostensibly living under Israeli civil law in the last year.
(Source / 13.08.2016)
Head of the Syrian interim government Jawad Abu Hatab on Friday toured Idlib province on a trip to get a first-hand account of the situation in the liberated towns and villages and listen to the residents’ needs. Abu Hatab began the tour with a meeting with members of the provincial council in Idlib and a number of the medical professionals operating in the province.
Abu Hatab also visited the civil defense center in the town of Saraqib which has been subjected to brutal aerial bombardment by Russian air force since early August. The Russian bombings on the town left dozens of civilians killed and injured and forced nearly half of the population out of their homes. Abu Hatab also visited bombed civilian facilities to assess the damage.
Activists said that over 80 airstrikes have hit Saraqib in the last three days. The most violent strikes targeted the public market, medical centers, and the blood bank building. Three civil defense ambulances and a vehicle were destroyed in the Russian airstrikes on the rebel-held town.
Abu Hatab also made an evaluation of the performance of the interim government on the ground, stressing the important role of the local councils in the administration of the liberated areas. He pledged more support for local councils serving as partners with the interim government in the provision of services and aid to the civilian population.
Aleppo and Idlib provinces have been going through tragic conditions as a result of the escalating aerial campaign by the Assad regime and Russian forces which targets mainly civilian populated areas and vital civilian infrastructure such as schools, bakeries, places of worship, hospitals and medical facilities.
Russia ramped up its bombing campaign on Saraqib after one of its helicopters crashed on the outskirts of the town on August 1, causing the death of all five crewmembers on board.
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 13.08.2016)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) in Occupied Jerusalem has omitted all texts and pictures that are related to Palestine and the struggle against the occupation from Palestinian school books before its distribution. According to the Hebrew newspaper Iroshalim, the Israeli municipality and the ministry of education deleted Quranic verses, poems and other contents from Palestinian curriculums advocating the Palestinian struggle against the occupation. The IOA recently distributed these books that contained some blank pages and blackened lines to Palestinian schools in the holy city. Among the lines that disappeared from those books are texts talking about the unity of the Muslim nation and the importance of the Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian map, flag and anthem were also removed from text books. The Israeli municipality justified the measure by claiming that it would not allow the presence of educational books encouraging violence.
(Source / 13.08.2016)
Bashir Abu-Manneh’s detailed study “The Palestinian novel: From 1948 to the present” (Cambridge University Press, 2016) combines the historical processes of Palestinian memory and postcolonial and literary theory in a manner which brings the various narratives and experiences of Palestinians to the fore.
There is a unifying factor identified by the author – dispossession – which is synonymous with Palestine and comprises the framework for analysing the historical framework and the literary expression within the novels; the latter by utilising the writings of literary theorist Georg Lukács, who argues that historical defeats and their aftermaths disrupted the previous literary forms. As Abu-Manneh states, for Lukács, the novel “is attuned to its multiple social and historical determinations.”
In the case of Palestine, the Nakba, 1967 and Oslo generated a unifying factor in the Palestinian experience despite the visible fragmentation of land and people. The spectrum of Palestinian historical memory is varied, intense and complex, revealing the dynamics of resistance and liberation to be fraught with both internal and external constraints. Indeed, the unifying factor in the Palestinian experience since the Nakba – dispossession – and its various ramifications, including the interpretations of anti-colonial resistance, form the foundations of Abu-Manneh’s treatise.
Dispossession is introduced immediately in the text: “Uneven condition is thus endemic to Palestinian existence, a basic fact of dispossession and exile.” With this statement, the author opens up on a plethora of consequences of political unevenness in which the exiled Palestinians and those living under military occupation embody distinct characteristics with regard to their struggle; characteristics that are all relevant in interpreting the literature chosen by Abu-Manneh for the purpose of this study.
The book discusses the trajectories of the Palestinian novel by expounding upon the works of four authors: Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Ghassan Kanafani, Emile Habiby and Sahar Khalifeh. While departing from different forms of expression, a common theme in the works discussed is popular mobilisation and self-determination as being inherently connected. Hence, navigation through themes such as dispossession, nostalgia, the moral confrontation “between the occupier and the victim”, historical contradictions, rebellion, memory narratives and social disintegration features prominently.
A strong point in Abu-Manneh’s research is the ability to allow the novel to serve as a reality check with regards to mainstream political narrative versus the underlying realities. Indeed, the book acknowledges the differences in historical narrative between 1948 and1967 but does not fall into the trap of dissociation. Another prevalent theme is the juxtaposition of revolt and the failure of revolt, which is also reminiscent of the current political rhetoric with its focus upon acquiescence. As the author states, “Talk of a political entity or state is already talk of the failure of revolt, is already talk of the will to settle and accommodate to the existing constraints of the Arab world.”
In the Palestinian novel, however, there is the “ebb and flow of historical possibility and its aesthetic mediation.” Through his analysis, Abu-Manneh shows how Jabra’s novels expound upon the role of intellectuals in society which, if isolated, can lead to a restricted interpretation of resistance. For Jabra, change is linked directly to culture, which explains the strong presence of symbolism in his literature, including the notion of sacrifice as an act of liberation. Since Jabra views the intellectual as the catalyst for change, memory and rupture are prevalent constantly and in a constant struggle which can also be interpreted as a form of absence, depending on whether the analysis takes into consideration the different meanings of Palestine depending upon people and personal experience.
By way of contrast, Abu-Manneh shows how Kanafani’s focus on national consciousness and its role in promoting international awareness is imperative to develop the Palestinian national struggle and the internationalist perspective. For Kanafani, literary engagement and dispossession were the instigators for political action which needs to be ingrained in participatory mobilisation. Referring to Kanafani’s novel “Men in the Sun”, Abu-Manneh writes, “The tragedy of losing a homeland is first of all a tragedy for the poor.” There is a sequence between literary narration and events that need to be considered simultaneously for a deeper understanding of Kanafani’s work. It is not just the intellectual, but the entire society, that is “a whole project of social and political transformation.” In turn, Palestinian life is construed by contradiction, struggle and resistance.
The profound psychological manifestations and consequences of colonialism upon Palestinians in Habiby’s novels portray the connection between individual experience and historical events. For Abu-Manneh, collective consciousness after 1948 is imperative to understanding the contradictions in Palestinian struggle and the political constraints leading to decreased solidarity with fellow Palestinians, including collaboration. The theme and reality of disappearance, for example, is reminiscent of “the intolerable existence that causes it.” In this case, historical memory is an integral part of historical consciousness.
Khalifeh, on the other hand, embodies a radical and social critique departing from 1967. According to Abu Manneh, Khalifeh’s work displays the dynamics of how “Palestinian diasporic defeat catches upon with occupied Palestinians.” Her rejection of resistance in her writings is not an aversion to liberation; 1967 sets the foundations for renewed anti-colonial struggle and a continuation of the resistance associated with 1948. Her novels emphasise the importance of participatory self-organisation, which is shackled by the “national oppressor”. Abu-Manneh shows that Khalifeh’s writing is conscious of a number of conditions that need to be addressed, including collective freedom, individual self-emancipation and the many narratives of Palestinian history. Mass consciousness can be achieved by a convergence of the experiences of both intellectuals and the masses. This validates the author’s observation that the “Palestinian ruling class never showed any sign of national solidarity with or sympathy for the rebels.” Defeat, therefore, is as ingrained as resistance.
The literary expression of the authors discussed by Abu-Manneh, as well as the expertise articulated by him, has moved towards a conclusion that is both liberating and delusory, although the latter is embodied by the corruption of leaders who have normalised defeat and allowed its repercussions to become an unwitting expression of Palestinian society under particular circumstances. Consciousness, therefore, is the means of combating political abandonment as well as subservience to colonial and imperialist interests. In the novels which are analysed, reality is clearly depicted while leaving ample space for possibility within remembrance, which is what is needed, in Abu-Manneh’s words, “to actively imagine the transformability of the present again.”
(Source / 13.08.2016)
PALESTINE, (PIC)– Palestinian journalists and activists have launched a campaign to demand Google add Palestine to Google Maps application instead of Israel. Forum of Palestinian Journalists issued a statement refusing the deletion of Palestine from the map, and calling upon Google to delete Israel since it is an occupying entity. Technical Error! Claiming it was all a result of a bug, Google spokesperson said that Palestine used to appear by clicking on some distinctive marks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. She added that they are working on solving the problem and restoring these distinctive marks. Google Maps does not include the name “Palestine” although 136 countries in the UN recognize the State of Palestine. #HereIsPalestine Palestinian activists launched the hashtag #HereIsPalestine to condemn the deletion of Palestine. Activist Mohammed Bassif expressed his doubts regarding what Google reported to be a technical problem. Bassif said, “Google responded [to deleting Palestine] that it was a problem. My question is: How come a problem occurs when entering Palestine in all input languages?” It will always be Palestine “This land will always be Palestine. Not Israel,” Bassif added. The journalists are seeking to pressure Google through signing a petition by Google Maps users to demand Google add Palestine to the map. The number of supporters have reached 300,000 in the first 24 hours. On change.org, users can sign the petition by clicking on (GOOGLE: Put Palestine On Your Maps!). According to the Palestinian journalists, such incidents remind the people of how important the technology is in affecting the understanding of the world.
(Source / 13.08.2016)