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Archive for the ‘Islamic Emirate of Palestine’ Category

15 Palestinian refugees killed in Syrian regime shelling on Yarmouk camp

June 1, 2018

The bodies of 15 Palestinian refugees who were killed by regime shelling have been found in Yarmouk refugee camp, the Working Group for the Palestinians in Syria said yesterday.

The rights group went on to demand medical and civil defense teams be allowed access to the Palestinian refugee camp to recover the bodies from under the rubble.

Following the Assad regime’s brutal air raids against Syria’s largest refugee camp, the United Nations said the regime “turned it into a death camp”.

“The Yarmouk camp in Damascus lies today in ruins, with hardly a single building that has not been destroyed or damaged.  The fighting has been particularly intense in the last month or more.  Almost all the Palestine refugees who were there have now fled,” United Nations Secretary-General’s Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said last week.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180601-15-palestinian-refugees-killed-in-syrian-regime-shelling-on-yarmouk-camp/.

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UK Labor leader under fire over Palestinian wreath-laying

August 13, 2018

LONDON (AP) — British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is facing allegations of enabling anti-Semitism, acknowledged Monday that he was present at a wreath-laying to Palestinians allegedly linked to the murder of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

But the Labor Party leader said “I don’t think I was actually involved” in laying the wreath. The left-wing politician — a longtime critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — has been facing mounting criticism since the Daily Mail published photos of Corbyn holding a wreath in a Tunis cemetery in 2014, near what the newspaper said were graves of Black September members. The Palestinian militant group carried out the kidnapping and massacre at the Munich games. Several members were later killed by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

Corbyn has previously said he was at the cemetery to commemorate the victims of a 1985 Israeli air attack on Palestinian Liberation Organization offices in Tunis. On Monday, he acknowledged a wreath had also been laid to “those that were killed in Paris in 1992.” PLO official Atef Bseiso, whom Israel has accused of helping to plan the Munich Olympic attack, was gunned down outside a Paris hotel that year.

“I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it,” Corbyn told reporters. “I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it.”

The statement is unlikely to quell criticism from Jewish groups and Labor members who say Corbyn has allowed anti-Semitism to spread in the party. “Being ‘present’ is the same as being involved. … Where is the apology?” tweeted Labor lawmaker Luciana Berger.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that “the laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone — left, right and everything in between.”

Corbyn responded on Twitter that Netanyahu’s “claims about my actions and words are false.” The Labour Party said Corbyn “did not lay any wreath at the graves of those alleged to have been linked to the Black September organization or the 1972 Munich killings.”

Corbyn has been accused of failing to expel party members who express anti-Semitic views and has received personal criticism for past statements, including a 2010 speech in which he compared Israel’s blockade of Gaza to Nazi Germany’s sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad during World War II.

The dispute recently boiled over after the party proposed adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that differed from the one approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Labour’s version omits some of the alliance’s language around criticism of Israel. The alliance’s definition says it is anti-Semitic to compare contemporary Israeli policies to the policies of the Nazis, a view Labour did not endorse.

Corbyn said Labour was consulting with Jewish groups on the party’s definition of anti-Semitism. He said it was important to ensure “you can discuss and debate the relations between Israel and Palestine, the future of the peace process and, yes, make criticisms of the actions of the Israeli government in the bombing of Gaza and other places.”

“But you can never make those criticisms using anti-Semitic language or anti-Semitic intentions, and that is what we are absolutely clear on,” Corbyn said.

Rashida Tlaib – First Muslim woman elected into US Congress

AUG. 8, 2018

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Former Michigan state legislator, Rashida Tlaib, won the Democratic primary on Tuesday for the US House seat to represent Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and potentially first Muslim woman to become US Congresswoman.

Rashida Tlaib, a 42-year-old mother of two children, and a daughter of two Palestinian immigrants, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1976. She later went on to study politics and subsequently law.

Tlaib ran a progressive anti-establishment campaign, focusing on environmental protections and opposing tax cuts for big corporations.

She also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

The campaign raised over $1 million, which gained 33.6% of the vote, as opposed to her rival, Detroit Council President Brenda Jones, who only took 28.5% of the vote.

Following the win, Tlaib described her combination of emotions as a “happy chaos.”

She added that “it has been amazing to interact with families at polling locations. I feel very much supported.”

Tlaib will represent the 13th Congressional District, which is the only congressional district entirely within one county. She is the second Muslim to serve in the Michigan State House of Representatives, after James Karoub, and the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature nationwide after Jamilah Nasheed from Missouri House of Representatives.

Since there are no Republican candidates contesting for the House seat, Tlaib will enter Congress unopposed, following a special election on November 6, 2018, when she will officially replace John James Conyers, the current US Representative for Michigan.

It is almost certain that Rashida Tlaib will enter into Congress and become the first Muslim Palestinian-American US congresswoman in the nation’s history.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

Link: http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=780641.

Palestinian teen icon says she has a ‘political future’

July 30, 2018

NABI SALEH, West Bank (AP) — Teenage Palestinian protester Ahed Tamimi has vowed to keep demonstrating against the Israeli occupation and says she expects to have a “political future,” without elaborating.

Tamimi spoke to The Associated Press on Monday after serving an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers in an incident captured on film that has made her an icon among Palestinians and their supporters.

She said she hopes to pursue a law degree in order to document human rights violations. The curly-haired 17-year-old struck the soldiers outside her West Bank home in frustration after learning that troops wounded a cousin in nearby clashes. Israel views her as a provocateur.

Her case sparked debate over what constitutes legitimate resistance to Israel’s half-century rule over the Palestinians.

Norway demands Israel explain seizure of boat bound for Gaza

July 31, 2018

Norway has asked Israel to explain the legal grounds for detaining a Norwegian-flagged fishing boat seized while activists tried to sail with aid to the Gaza Strip, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said its diplomats in Israel had been providing consular assistance to five Norwegians who were among the 22 passengers and crew detained onboard the vessel Kaarstein on Sunday. Two Israelis on board were quickly released.

“We have asked the Israeli authorities to clarify the circumstances around the seizure of the vessel and the legal basis for the intervention,” the spokesman for the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry in Oslo said. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Torstein Dahle, head of the group Ship to Gaza Norway which organised the shipment, said it was the first Norwegian aid vessel to attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The captain had been struck on the head by Israeli soldiers who ordered him to sail for Israel, but no one was seriously hurt, Dahle said.

“This is a peaceful boat; it’s impossible that it can threaten Israel’s security,” he said.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas, which has fought three wars against Israel in the decade since taking power there.

Israel, citing security concerns that include fears of Hamas weapons smuggling, maintains a naval blockade of Gaza, and along with Egypt also restricts imports by land.

The territory is home to 2 million Palestinians, mainly the stateless descendants of people who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel at its founding in 1948. Under the blockade, Gaza has suffered an economic crisis creating what the World Bank describes as a “collapse in humanitarian conditions” including access to clean water, medicine and electricity.

Numerous activist ships have been prevented from reaching Gaza in recent years. An Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla in 2010, in which ten activists were killed, caused a serious rupture in relations between Israel and Turkey, one of Israel’s few friends in the Middle East.

Audun Lysbakken, leader of Norway’s opposition Socialist Left party, called on the foreign ministry to protest against what he described as Israel “hijacking” the Norwegian boat in international waters.

Among those detained is Mikkel Gruner, a Danish citizen who lives in Norway and is the Socialist Left representative in the municipal council of the Norwegian city of Bergen. Lysbakken said the activists had legal rights to protest against Israel’s blockade, demanding the release of Gruner and the others.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180731-norway-demands-israel-explain-seizure-of-boat-bound-for-gaza/.

Gaza residents pray near Israel, as Muslims mark major feast

June 15, 2018

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza worshipers knelt on prayer rugs spread on sandy soil, near the perimeter fence with Israel, joining hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world Friday in marking the holiday that caps the fasting month of Ramadan.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday is typically a time of family visits and festive meals, with children getting new clothes, haircuts and gifts. In the Middle East, celebrations were once again marred by prolonged conflict in hot spots such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In the Gaza Strip, some worshipers performed the traditional morning prayers of the holiday in areas several hundred meters (yards) away from the heavily guarded fence with Israel. Friday’s prayers marked the continuation of weeks-long protests against a blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt after the 2007 takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Since late March, more than 120 protesters have been killed and more than 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire in the area of the fence.

Ismail Haniyeh, the top Hamas leader, joined worshipers in an area east of Gaza City. At one point, as the faithful bowed their heads on their prayer mats in unison, a young man on crutches — presumably injured in previous protests — followed the ritual while he remained standing. Some activists later approached the fence, burning tires.

Protest organizers said they planned to release large numbers of kites and balloons with incendiary materials rags throughout the day Friday, in hopes they will land in Israel. Such kites with burning rags attached have reportedly burned hundreds of acres of crops and forests in Israel.

Protest organizer Mohammed al-Tayyar, a member of a group calling itself the “burning kites unit,” said Friday larger balloons with greater potential for damage would be released after 10 days unless the blockade is lifted. Israel’s defense minister has said Israel is determined to stop such kites and balloons.

The protests have been organized by Hamas, but turnout has been driven by growing despair in Gaza about blockade-linked hardships; unemployment now approaches 50 percent and electricity is on for just a few hours every day.

Hamas has also billed the protests as the “Great March of Return,” suggesting they would somehow pave the way for a return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants — about two-thirds of Gaza’s residents — to return to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled in the Mideast war over Israel’s 1948 creation. Haniyeh told reporters after Friday’s prayers, which were also being held outdoors in another location east of the town of Khan Younis, that protests would continue.

He said a recent U.N. General Assembly resolution blaming Israel for the Gaza violence “shows that the marches of return and breaking the siege revived the Palestinian issue and imposed the issue on the international agenda.” The resolution also said Israel had used excessive force against Palestinian protesters.

Israel says it is defending its territory and civilians living near Gaza. It has accused Hamas of trying to use the protests as cover for damaging the fence and trying to carry out cross-border attacks. Israel and Egypt argue that the blockade is needed to contain Hamas which has a history of violence and refuses to disarm.

In Jerusalem, senior Muslim cleric Muhammad Hussein told tens of thousands of worshipers that a plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, expected to be unveiled by the Trump administration, is unfair and “aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.”

President Donald Trump has promised to negotiate the “ultimate deal” but the plan’s reported, though unconfirmed parameters have been dismissed by the Palestinians as siding with Israel. The Palestinian issue also loomed large in Iran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressing worshipers Friday, praised citizens for showing up at massive rallies last week in support of the Palestinians on Jerusalem Day. That day was initiated by Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an Eid al-Fitr message that he believes the “land of Palestine will be returned to owners of the land with the help if God.” Iran and Israel are bitter foes. In Syria, President Bashar Assad attended Eid prayers in the town of Tartous, part of an area that has remained loyal to him throughout seven years of civil war. The coastal region is home to Syria’s minority Alawite population that has been the core of Assad’s support. Assad, an Alawite, traces his family’s origins to Qardaha, a town in the mountains nearby.

Tens of thousands of men from the coastal region are believed to have been killed fighting for the president since 2011, according to Syrian monitoring groups. Assad is now in control of Syria’s largest cities and its coastal region.

In Afghanistan, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani touted a three-day holiday cease-fire with the Taliban, calling for a longer truce and urging the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. The Taliban agreed to the cease-fire but leader Haibaitullah Akhunzada reiterated his demand for talks with the U.S. before sitting down with the Afghan government.

Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Jericho, West Bank and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed reporting.

Hamas extols Turkey’s swift response to Gaza massacre

16.05.2018

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania

Hamas on Tuesday expressed its appreciation for Turkey’s rapid response to Monday’s massacre committed by Israeli troops against peaceful Palestinian protesters on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency during a visit to Mauritania, where he will take part in a pro-Palestine conference, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the support of the Turkish government and people for the Palestinian cause.

“The Turkish people hit the streets immediately after Monday’s massacre; this was very encouraging,” he said.

According to Abu Zuhri, Turkey’s role is of especial importance as the country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Israel’s ambassador to Ankara left Turkey on Wednesday — at the latter’s request — shortly after the deadly violence on the Gaza-Israel border.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag announced Monday that the Turkish government had declared three days of mourning in solidarity with Gaza’s martyrs.

“We appreciate the Turkish role and hope to strengthen this interaction with the provision of needed humanitarian relief to Gaza, which continues to remain under siege,” Abu Zuhri said.

He also called for opening hospitals to help treat Gaza’s injured, urging Turkish organizations to provide support to struggling Gazan families.

On Monday, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred — and hundreds more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.

Monday’s demonstration had coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary — an event Palestinians refer to as “The Catastrophe” — and the relocation of Washington’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, which also took place Monday.

Since the Gaza rallies began on Mar. 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by cross-border Israeli army gunfire.

Last week, the Israeli government said the ongoing border protests constituted a “state of war” in which international humanitarian law did not apply.

Source: Anadolu Agency.

Link: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/hamas-extols-turkey-s-swift-response-to-gaza-massacre/1147798.

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