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6 juillet 2017 4 06 /07 /juillet /2017 10:45

Israeli soldiers assaulted Tamer Tamimi, 23, at checkpoints twice in one day; he was abused and beaten until he lost consciousness and needed hospital care

 
 
 
Published: 
5 Jul 2017

Soldiers detaining Tamer Tamimi and forcing him to kneel on the ground at ‘Atarah checkpointOn Sunday, 4 June 2017, at around 5:15 P.M., Tamer Tamimi, a taxi driver from a-Nabi Saleh, arrived at the ‘Atarah checkpoint with seven passengers en route from Ramallah to a-Nabi Saleh and Beit Rima. The ‘Atarah checkpoint has a watchtower that is permanently staffed by soldiers, and guard booths on either side of the road, which are staffed only some of the time.

That day, three soldiers were stationed at the guard booth on the road leading to a-Nabi Saleh, and they were checking some of the vehicles passing through. The soldiers ordered Tamimi to pull over, then ordered him and two passengers to get out of the taxi and sit by the side of the road. They then took all of the passengers’ phones and checked their IDs. The soldiers then proceeded to check the other vehicles that had arrived at the checkpoint.

In a testimony given to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 5 June 2017, Tamimi described what he saw while he was held up at the checkpoint. His description was backed up by another eyewitness account gathered by B’Tselem. Tamimi recalled:

After an hour or an hour and a half, there was a traffic jam near the checkpoint. I saw my cousin, Samih Tamimi, who is also a taxi driver, talking to the soldiers. I couldn’t hear everything, because they were about 30 meters away from us, but I understood, from a few words I could hear and his gestures, that he was asking them to let me go. They must have ordered him to get back into his car.

One of the passengers in Samih’s taxi wanted to go with his daughter, who looked about ten years old and needed to use the bathroom. The soldier apparently refused. He yelled at the father and ordered him to get back in the taxi. The man wouldn’t and they started yelling at each other. Then, the soldier fired a shot in the air to scare the father, who got back in the taxi without his daughter relieving herself.

While we were waiting, one of the passengers in my taxi asked the same soldier for permission to answer her phone, which was on the taxi’s dashboard. He refused. I heard her begging him, and explaining that her son was calling her on an urgent matter. I asked the solider to let her answer. He told me to shut up, and swore at me “Shut up you asshole, you son of a bitch,” and he hit me with his rifle on the back of the head. I got mad at the soldier for cursing my mother, so I cursed him back. He shoved me with his rifle, and I shoved him back.

One of the soldiers told all of the passengers in the taxi to leave. He took Tamimi to the entrance to the watchtower, where he cuffed his hands behind his back with plastic cable ties and blindfolded him. According to Tamimi’s testimony, the soldier then led him a few meters further into the watchtower yard, where he told him to sit on the ground. When he did, that soldier and two others began verbally abusing him and pulling his hair hard. This abuse went on for several minutes, during which time the soldiers pulled his hair so hard once that he was lifted off the ground. The soldiers then let him be for a few minutes. When they returned, they took off the cable ties and returned his ID card, keys and phone. Tamimi went back to his taxi, and found a cloud of teargas inside it. He opened the doors, waited for about ten minutes and left before the gas had completely cleared.

That same evening, at around 8:00 P.M., his uncle, Mahmoud Tamimi, arrived at the entrance to a-Nabi Saleh. A 52-year-old taxi driver and the married and father of five, he went there after hearing his twenty-year-old daughter was being detained at a temporary checkpoint soldiers had set up at the entrance to the village. When he arrived, he saw the soldiers were detaining three other Palestinians as well. One of the soldiers, who spoke Arabic, took Mahmoud Tamimi’s and his passengers’ ID cards. After he refused to leave without his daughter, the soldier ordered him to sit with the others who were being detained at the checkpoint, and his passengers to leave. Tamimi and the soldier got into an argument. In his testimony, given on 5 June 2017 to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Mahmoud Tamimi recounted:

‘Atarah checkpoint. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 2 August 2015.
‘Atarah checkpoint. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 2 August 2015. 

The soldier accused us: “You people from a-Nabi Saleh make trouble, and throw stones at us. We have to give you a lesson. I can shoot at your village right now and bring it down on your heads”. I told him this land belongs to us, that we have full rights, and that neither he, nor anyone else could kill us or destroy our village. His expression and his behavior changed. He looked like someone out to hurt us, to take revenge. He became angry and started acting rudely toward us. The muezzin called for the first evening prayer that marks the breaking of the [Ramadan] fast. I had a bottle of water, and I drank from it to break the fast. So did the others who were detained.

A few minutes later, Tamer Tamimi arrived at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village after he was detained and beaten at the ‘Atarah checkpoint. One of the soldiers ordered him to sit with the other people being detained, and took his ID. Several minutes later, Tamer Tamimi’s phone, which was left in the taxi, rang. He asked one of the soldiers to let him answer it, but the soldier refused. Since the phone kept ringing, and Tamimi thought it was worried relatives calling, he went over to the taxi to answer. Mahmoud Tamimi described what happened next:

The three soldiers blocked Tamer’s path. He was intent on answering the phone. I tried to intervene to calm things down, and asked Tamer to stay quiet. He was stressed and upset. He didn’t listen to me. There were some words between them, and the soldiers shoved him.

One of the soldiers hit Tamer hard in the face with the barrel of his gun. Tamer fell to the ground, unconscious. I started shouting at them. I saw Tamer was foaming at the mouth, which could be a sign someone is dying. I was afraid something might happen to him and started shouting at the soldiers: You killed him! You killed him! Get an ambulance, quick! You’re murderers! You have no mercy! You’re racist! I felt myself cursing and swearing without really comprehending what was going on. They tried to calm me down.

Tamer Tamimi lying unconscious on the ground
Tamer Tamimi lying unconscious on the ground

Mahmoud Tamimi called for a Red Crescent ambulance, and a military medic came down from the nearby watchtower to examine Tamer. About 15 minutes later, military and Border Police vehicles arrived together with two Israeli ambulances. A Red Crescent ambulance also came. Apparently due to his condition, Tamer Tamimi was taken in an Israeli ambulance to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, inside Israel. He was kept there overnight. In his testimony, he said he woke up the next morning in the hospital to find two soldiers guarding him. He got an anti-tetanus shot and then the soldiers drove him in a civilian car to a junction near the Rantis checkpoint, where they dropped him off. Tamimi had to hitch two different rides to get to the entrance to a-Nabi Saleh. He said in his testimony:

At the entrance to the village, I saw the soldiers who had beaten me. One of them was up in the tower, and the other was down below. I heard the one up in the tower call to the soldier below: “Look who’s here. Look who’s here”. The soldier who was below looked at me and swore at me: “Tamimi you asshole, you fucker”. He laughed and made an obscene gesture. In the meantime, a cousin of mine was passing by. He stopped and took me home.

I got home exhausted. Because of the fast, and because I had lost consciousness, I had had nothing to eat or drink since the morning before, except for the water I got from my uncle Mahmoud when they detained us at the checkpoint at the entrance to a-Nabi Saleh. After I rested a little, I went to the hospital in Ramallah to have some tests done and see what my condition was.

At the hospital in Ramallah, doctors found the wound in Tamimi’s cheek was infected, and his arms badly bruised. He was given anti-inflammatory medication and discharged.

Tamer Tamimi by his taxi. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 5 June 2017

 

Tamer Tamimi by his taxi. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 5 June 2017

Tamer Tamimi underwent serious and prolonged abuse for no reason. He was detained by soldiers twice in one day, beaten and wounded to the point of needing hospitalization, and his car was filled with tear gas. The arbitrary fashion in which soldiers can detain Palestinians at checkpoints for no apparent reason, demand they obey their orders, humiliate them and use violence against them is part of daily life for Palestinians living in the West Bank. Over the years, B’Tselem has documented many similar incidents of violence and abuse which could not have taken place without the soldiers’ knowing they would be backed up by senior government and military officials, including the Military Advocate General’s Corps, and that they would never be held accountable for their actions.

 

http://www.btselem.org/beating_and_abuse/20170705_soldiers_assault_tamer_tamimi

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6 juillet 2017 4 06 /07 /juillet /2017 10:39
Resisting injustice: Hunger strikes in US and Palestine
 
 

As long as there is unjust incarceration in the US and Israel, there will be hunger strikes of resistance.

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A Palestinian prisoner is seen behind bars as he is brought into the Hadariam prison, north of Tel Aviv [File: Tsafrir Abayov/The Associated Press]
 
A Palestinian prisoner is seen behind bars as he is brought into the Hadariam prison, north of Tel Aviv [File: Tsafrir Abayov/The Associated Press]

By

@ashahshahani

Azadeh Shahshahani is Legal and Advocacy Director with Project South and a past President of the National Lawyers Guild.

By

 

Audrey Bomse is co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Palestine Subcommittee.

Prison hunger strikes are a last, and often the only possible, resort for imprisoned people protesting their unbearable living conditions and fates. These strikes are almost always about something more than just a specific demand. They are usually a fight for respect and dignity, an assertion of resistance. For imprisoned people, going on a hunger strike is an attempt to communicate their struggle to communities beyond the prison walls.

In almost all cases, prison hunger strikes are meet increased repression.

 

A US federal judge recently gave workers at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia permission to restrain and force-feed a hunger striking detainee. The 61-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, Vitaly Novikov, had been on a month-long hunger strike, protesting his imminent deportation, which he feared could cost him his life. He was demanding to be released from detention immediately.

Stewart detention officer Alejandro Hernandez said that force-feeding was necessary to keep Novikov alive because his death would "seriously affect" Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ability to maintain order at the facility. The official also said he feared Novikov's action might spur more hunger strikes (pdf) "in attempts to manipulate the staff in efforts to gain various benefits and privileges," including release.

This is the same rationale the US government used when it went to court last year to try to get an order to force-feed Alaa Yasin, a Palestinian hunger striker at Stewart who was protesting his prolonged illegal detention. In that case, the court turned down the request.

OPINION: The US must stop using private prisons

The government obviously fears losing control of the facility. And they have a good reason to, in light of the horrendous conditions. For example, on May 15, another detained immigrant at Stewart, Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, was found unresponsive after spending 19 days in solitary confinement. ICE classified the death as a suicide

The repressive tactics used in US detention facilities are reminiscent of those long used by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to suppress and silence prisoners' struggles.

 

Jimenez-Joseph's tragic death came on the heels of a recent report, Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigration Detention Centers (pdf), released by Project South and the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, which shines light on the deplorable conditions at Stewart and the Irwin County Detention Center. As the report - the product of a year-long investigation - demonstrated, these facilities are rife with human rights abuses, including the rampant use of solitary confinement, minimal access to mental healthcare, and inedible food. 

In recent years, there have been many hunger strikes at Stewart and other immigration detention facilities across the United States.

In April, hundreds of people detained at the Northwest Detention Center launched a hunger strike that lasted weeks. Soon after the launch of the hunger strike, ICE and the GEO Group, the corporation that runs the facility, retaliated by transferring some of the detainees to a jail in Oregon. Despite this move, the strike kept going and resistance grew, both inside the detention centre and outside.

In June, a number of detainees launched a hunger strike at the Adelanto detention facility in California also run by GEO Group. They did so after guards violently assaulted them for putting forward a letter of grievances. Dozens of detained immigrant women also joined the hunger strike in Adelanto for one day.

Instead of addressing the demands of the imprisoned immigrants who are putting their bodies on the line, the government is resorting to tactics such as putting them in solitary confinement or attempting to force-feed them.

 

The repressive tactics used in US detention facilities are reminiscent of those long used by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to suppress and silence prisoners' struggles.

In Israel, 1,500 Palestinian prisoners just ended a hunger strike last month. Even though force-feeding hunger striking detainees has been defined as a form of torture by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel has a law permitting prison staff to implement this procedure. But during last month's strike, Israeli authorities did not resort to this extreme procedure, probably because the Israeli Medical Association has called on Israeli physicians not to participate in force-feeding.

The Israeli government's recent reluctance to use force-feeding might also be rooted in its fears about the Palestinian population's possible reaction. Palestinians view their prisoners as symbols of resistance and they still remember how several of them died as a result of being force-fed in the 1970s and 80s. 

But even if they did not resort to force-feeding, Israeli authorities used the threat of force-feeding alongside other harsh repression tactics to end the strike. 

READ MORE: The hunger strike - Where food is more than nourishment

Hunger strikers were prevented from meeting with their lawyers, denied family visits, suffered repressive raids and invasive body searches by prison guards. They were transferred from prison to prison and had their personal belongings confiscated - including the salt that they put in water to stay alive. Strike leaders were all put into solitary confinement. Israel's Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan called these protest leaders "terrorists" and "murderers" with whom "you can't negotiate".

 

After 40 days, many of the 1,500 hunger strikers were hospitalised and many of them took weeks to physically recover.

Palestinian prisoners called their strike a "Strike of Freedom and Dignity" and they insisted that it be seen as part of the national liberation struggle. Their strike was supported by tens of thousands of people - not only in Palestine, but around the world - who fasted in solidarity or posted videos of themselves drinking salt water, the only sustenance the prisoners allowed themselves. There were solidarity tents across Palestine, in addition to several one-day general strikes and frequent clashes with both the colonial Israeli army and the Palestinian Authority police, in response to the prisoners' call for "days of rage".

Hunger-striking immigrants in US detention centres have also received community support. With daily rallies and solidarity hunger strikes, resistance has moved outside the prison walls.

As long as there is mass incarceration in the US and Israel, there will be hunger strikes of resistance. And as the US and Israeli governments increasingly use similar tactics of  repression to clamp down on prisoners' protests and the broader liberation movements, social justice movements in the US and Palestine will also connect and support each other. We have already witnessed this solidarity when the Black Lives Matter movement sent delegations to Palestine in 2015 and in the summer of 2016 and when the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was endorsed by the Vision for Black Lives.

 

Azadeh Shahshahani is legal and advocacy director with Project South and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. 

Audrey Bomse is co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Palestine Subcommittee. She worked for seven years in Palestine as a human rights attorney, concentrating on the issues of Palestinian prisoners and torture by Israel.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial Policy.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/06/resisting-injustice-hunger-strikes-palestine-170627132951971.html

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6 juillet 2017 4 06 /07 /juillet /2017 10:29

Qatar: Doha juge «irréaliste» la liste des demandes de ses voisins

 
 
 
Taille du texte normaleAgrandir la taille du texte

le 05.07.17 | 12h00     

 

Le ministre qatari des Affaires étrangères a affirmé hier que la liste des demandes de l’Arabie Saoudite et de ses alliés adressée à son pays, qu’ils accusent de «soutenir le terrorisme», est «irréaliste».

«La liste est irréaliste et irrecevable», a déclaré le chef de la diplomatie qatari, cheikh Mohammed Ben Abderrahmane Al Thani à Doha, relayé par l’AFP. «Elle ne porte pas sur le terrorisme, elle appelle à mettre fin à la liberté d’expression.» Sur cette liste, l’Arabie saoudite, les Emirats arabes unis, Bahreïn et l’Egypte exigent de l’émirat notamment de fermer la chaîne Al Jazeera et une base militaire turque et de réduire ses relations avec l’Iran afin de mettre fin à la profonde crise diplomatique qui secoue le Golfe depuis la rupture, le 5 juin, par les 4 pays avec Doha.

Ces pays doivent évaluer, lors d’une réunion prévue aujourd’hui au Caire, la réponse du Qatar à leur demande, remise la veille au Koweït. Le ministre qatari a souligné que la crise devrait être réglée par «le dialogue (...) dans un cadre clair et selon les principes de non-ingérence et du respect de la souveraineté des Etats».

«Le Qatar refuse la tutelle d’un quelconque Etat», a souligné cheikh Mohammed Ben Abderrahmane Al Thani lors de la conférence de presse qu’il a tenue conjointement avec son homologue allemand, Sigmar Gabriel, en visite au Qatar. Ce dernier effectue une tournée régionale axée sur la crise du Golfe qui l’a conduit aussi en Arabie Saoudite et aux Emirats.

R. I.

 

http://www.elwatan.com/international/qatar-doha-juge-irrealiste-la-liste-des-demandes-de-ses-voisins-05-07-2017-348456_112.php

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6 juillet 2017 4 06 /07 /juillet /2017 10:27

Doha defiant as Saudi-led bloc warns of ‘new measures’

 
 

Arab states arrayed against Qatar vow to take ‘fresh measures’ after Doha appears to reject 13-point list of demands

 
Doha defiant as Saudi-led bloc warns of ‘new measures’
 
 
 
By Adam Moro
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5 juillet 2017 3 05 /07 /juillet /2017 08:45

Film gives 'human face' to Palestinian Bedouins' plight

 

 

Bedouins in the occupied West Bank live without basic resources and under threat of forcible transfer by Israel.

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By

With more than 7,000 Palestinian Bedouins still at risk of forcible transfer from their villages, a newly released documentary sheds light on communities that thrive through resilience and hope.

In The Enclosure, Canadian filmmaker Simon Trepanier chronicles the daily life of Bedouins in five different communities throughout Area C, which makes up 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and is under full Israeli control. 

The interactive web-based documentary, produced by Oxfam, seeks to "give a human face to the situation facing Bedouins in Area C" by letting them tell their own stories, Trepanier told Al Jazeera.

The film is divided into three parts, taking the viewer through a journey involving home demolitions, restrictions on movement and labour, and finally, relocation - realities that many Bedouin communities live through daily.

READ MORE: Palestinian Bedouins fear forcible transfer by Israel

Palestinian Bedouins, who are traditionally nomadic and semi-nomadic herders, number more than 30,000 in 183 residential communities in Area C. The majority are refugees from the Negev region of southern Israel who resettled in the West Bank after being forced from their lands after 1948. Many of their villages are unrecognised and deemed illegal by Israel because they lack building permits.

Permits, however, are nearly impossible to obtain, putting villages in danger of demolition every day as Israel expands its illegal settlements in Area C. Israel has also denied the Bedouin community basic rights, such as water and electricity.

"We feel as though we're standing on a volcano and we have no idea when it's going to erupt," said Eid Abu Khamis, the leader of the Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin community.

The separation wall surrounding the occupied West Bank serves as the backdrop for the documentary, highlighting the physical barrier that restricts many Bedouins from travel. The wall, still under construction, runs for more than 700km, annexing Palestinian land.

"We wanted the viewer to feel enclosed in an area surrounded by walls, highways and settlements," Trepanier said.

Bedouins often get surprise visits from the Israeli army, but life does not stop after the demolitions. Some villages have seen their structures destroyed more than 100 times, and they continue to rebuild.

"These demolitions are paving the way for displacement, settlement expansion and ultimately undermine the viability of a just and peaceful solution to the conflict," Trepanier said.

READ MORE: Israel razes Palestinian village for 113th time

Many Palestinians believe the demolitions and settlements aim to nullify the possibility of a future Palestinian state. Farmers and Bedouins who rely on their lands for income are hit the hardest, but many refuse to give up their traditional lifestyle.

"Even if we have to dig holes and live in them, we will stay in our land," said Mahmoud Jirme, a school principal in Al-Kaabneh village, which has been targeted for demolition several times. 

The traditional life of farming, herding and dairy production provides Bedouins with the income to buy water, a scarce resource in their communities.

Indeed, access to water and electricity poses the biggest problem for the survival of Bedouin villages. Water pipelines run directly under many Bedouin homes, but Israel prohibits residents from using them. Instead, Bedouins must buy their water from a vendor and store it in tanks, often spending more than they can afford.

In the West Bank community of Al-Auja, farmers struggle with a lack of access farmers struggle with a lack of access to water.

"It used to be paradise, and now it's a desert," resident Um Anas said. In stark contrast, rows of green palm trees fill the Israeli settlement adjacent to her community.

The film also acknowledges the psychological effects that demolitions have had on residents, especially children - everything from bed-wetting to regression in academic progress, according to a study by Doctors of the World. 

For communities already relocated, such as Abu Dis, residents struggle to retain their Bedouin culture in urban areas that are often a fraction of their previous village's size, sparking tension over the limited resources available.

Abu Ali longs to return to his Bedouin lifestyle, where he would "sleep under the stars" instead of a ceiling.

"We feel we are in a prison," he said.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/07/film-human-face-palestinian-bedouins-plight-170701133202312.html

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5 juillet 2017 3 05 /07 /juillet /2017 08:36
Publish Date: 2017/07/04
Israeli forces detain 22 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, West Bank
 
 
 

RAMALLAH, July 4, 2017 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday detained 22 Palestinians during wide scale raids in several areas in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, said local and Palestinian security sources.

The sources said Israeli police detained seven Palestinians from the Mount of Olives in occupied Jerusalem who apparently were involved in clashes with police the day before during a funeral.

Another Palestinian was arrested at his Jerusalem's Old City home, said sources.

Soldiers also detained eight Palestinians from the district of Hebron in the south of the West Bank during late night and early morning raids at their homes.

A Palestinian from the Nablus area, and five, including two former prisoners, from the city of Tulkarem, were also detained, said the sources.

K.T./M.K

 

http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=hUe7Usa91231235568ahUe7Us

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5 juillet 2017 3 05 /07 /juillet /2017 08:34
À Gaza, cachets, joints et autres pilules font des ravages
Reportage

Dépendants à la drogue, de nombreux Gazaouis refusent la désintoxication par « peur du scandale ».

OLJ/AFP/ Mai YAGHI
03/07/2017
 
 
 
 
 

Un jour, dans la bande de Gaza, Oum Mazen a trouvé son mari frissonnant, cloué au lit par la migraine. Il a fini par lui avouer qu'il était en manque, incapable de payer les pilules auxquelles il était devenu accro.

Dans ce territoire palestinien ravagé par plusieurs guerres, rongé par la pauvreté et coupé du monde par les blocus israélien et égyptien, la consommation de drogue fait des ravages, malgré une répression de plus en plus sévère de la part du Hamas, le mouvement islamiste au pouvoir depuis 10 ans.

Comme le mari d'Oum Mazen, ils sont nombreux à être dépendants, dans cette enclave coincée entre l'Égypte, Israël et la Méditerranée, où s'entassent deux millions de Palestiniens. Certains se procurent de la drogue, comme le cannabis, mais la grande majorité se reporte sur des médicaments, pis-aller plus faciles à se procurer et moins chers.

Le mois dernier, la sécurité du Hamas a annoncé avoir saisi en trois mois un demi-million de pilules de Tramadol, puissant antalgique à base de morphine utilisé comme une drogue au Moyen-Orient.

Le Tramadol a failli détruire le foyer d'Oum Mazen, 32 ans et mère de trois enfants, qui refuse de donner son nom de famille pour éviter d'être reconnue dans la société conservatrice de Gaza.

La « peur du scandale » a poussé son mari à refuser de se faire désintoxiquer à l'hôpital. Oum Mazen se rappelle avoir tout tenté : « J'ai prévenu sa famille et je l'ai même menacé de le dénoncer à la police du Hamas », dit-elle.

L'argument a de quoi être dissuasif. Pour la première fois depuis 2007, quatre dealers viennent d'être condamnés à mort à Gaza, deux en mars et deux en mai.

Le Hamas a jugé le sujet assez brûlant pour le confier aux juges militaires, en charge des affaires de sécurité. Il y a « un plan organisé pour faire entrer de grosses quantités de drogue à Gaza », accuse Iyad el-Bozoum, un porte-parole du ministère de l'Intérieur du Hamas.

« Le premier bénéficiaire en est Israël, l'ennemi désigné du Hamas, et la première victime est la jeunesse », affirme-t-il. « Le trafic transite par la frontière sud avec le Sinaï égyptien, en proie à une insurrection jihadiste et où la contrebande vers et depuis Gaza s'est toujours pratiquée. Dans une bien moindre mesure, il passe par la frontière est, avec Israël », dit M. Bozoum.

Dans la cellule où il purge sept ans de prison, un trafiquant arrêté en 2013 dit se rappeler l'époque où « la drogue entrait en quantité énorme via les tunnels de contrebande sous la frontière égyptienne ». Lui s'est tourné vers la vente de pilules et autres sachets d'herbe pour gagner un peu d'argent dans l'enclave, où le chômage touche 45 % de la population et plus de 60 % des jeunes. « Il y avait beaucoup de fournisseurs et je ne les payais qu'une fois que j'avais vendu la drogue », déclare-t-il à l'AFP, qui a pu le rencontrer sous la surveillance des gardiens.

Les forces du Hamas ont intensifié la lutte contre la drogue depuis 2016, multipliant coups de filet, arrêtant des dealers et saisissant d'importantes quantités de stupéfiants. Elles ont annoncé en janvier avoir saisi en un mois autant de drogues que durant tout 2016, pour un montant de deux millions de dollars à la revente.
 

Une affaire privée

Sous l'effet de cette répression, le prix de la plaquette de dix pilules de Tramadol a doublé en deux ans, atteignant 120 dollars. C'est souvent le manque d'argent qui encourage à se tourner vers la désintoxication, qui est gratuite, relève Sami Aweida, qui travaille pour le Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), dans un territoire où près des trois quarts de la population dépendent de l'aide humanitaire. Mais le sujet est tabou. Et, en l'absence de centre uniquement dédié aux traitements contre la dépendance, les spécialistes et les soignants ne disposent d'aucun chiffre global sur la toxicomanie.

La plupart des Gazaouis qui souhaitent en finir avec leur dépendance ne passent d'ailleurs souvent même pas entre les mains des spécialistes, explique M. Aweida. « Les gens préfèrent faire ça discrètement, en passant par un médecin libéral », et ils n'entrent donc dans aucune statistique.

Experts et soignants estiment néanmoins que « des dizaines de milliers » de Gazaouis ont une addiction à la drogue. Ils sont majoritairement jeunes et ce sont plutôt des hommes, mais il y a aussi des femmes, selon M. Aweida.

Pour Bassem, 27 ans, lui-même consommateur de cannabis, c'est la vie à Gaza qui veut ça. « Comment pourrait-on survivre aux guerres, au blocus, à l'absence d'électricité et au chômage sans se défoncer de temps en temps ? 

 

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1060258/a-gaza-cachets-joints-et-autres-pilules-font-des-ravages.html

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5 juillet 2017 3 05 /07 /juillet /2017 08:26

Israeli authorities coerce Palestinian family into demolishing own homes in two hours

 
 
 
 
July 3, 2017 5:43 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2017 9:46 A.M.)
 
 
(File)
 
 
 
 
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities ordered that two homes in occupied East Jerusalem be demolished on Monday morning, forcing the Palestinian homeowner to tear them down himself in the span of two hours to avoid incurring the exorbitant costs of a demolition carried out by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality.

Mahmoud Fawaqa told Ma’an that Jerusalem municipality crews escorted by Israeli forces stormed the area of Umm al-Lassun in the town of Sur Bahir on Monday to tell him to demolish the two homes himself within two hours, lest Israeli authorities take the matter into their own hands and charge him 80,000 shekels ($22,850) for it.

Fawaqa said that one of his sons had to be hospitalized for severe fatigue after rushing to carry out the demolition within such a short time span, which also came amid a scorching heat wave in the region.

He added that one of the homes, in which a family of six was residing, had been built five years earlier, whereas construction for the second house had only recently been completed.

Fawaqa said that he had tried to obtain a construction license from the Jerusalem municipality, but that he was denied "under the pretext that the land (on which he built) was designated a green area.”

"It is very bitter and very difficult for someone to demolish with his own hands a house he built and lived in for years," he added.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Jerusalem municipality told Ma'an that they were not familiar with the incident.

The Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which see high approval rates.

However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ) found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, leading to only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.

Israeli authorities have stepped up issuing demolition warrants for Palestinians in East Jerusalem in recent months, particularly after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat threatened that the demolition of the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking the nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permits.

According to UN documentation, as June 19, 74 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 158 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.

The Sur Bahir demolitions come as Israeli authorities are set to discuss the advancement of nearly 1,800 housing units for illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, which would lead to the expulsion of five Palestinian families from their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

 
 
 
 
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5 juillet 2017 3 05 /07 /juillet /2017 08:21

How a Syrian NGO is rebuilding destroyed parts of Idlib

The Violet Organization is working to restore schools, roads, parks and public spaces in the rebel-held province.

 
 
 

A non-governmental organisation has launched an initiative to rebuild parts of northern Syria that have been destroyed in the country's ongoing war.

The Violet Organization aims to clean, rebuild and renovate schools, roads, parks and other public spaces in rebel-held Idlib. The first project, dubbed "Idlib's Spring", focuses on the heart of Idlib city, where volunteers have painted, planted and renovated the famous clock square.

"We have 1,500 volunteers working on this project with the help of local committees, and we will continue with a similar project in areas such as in Ariha, Jisr al-Shughour, Maaret al-Numan, Marea and Kafranbel in Idlib province," spokesman Fouad Sayyed Issa told Al Jazeera. 

"The feeling of hope was felt by everyone as we finished our project in Idlib's clock square. This clock tower means so much to the people of Idlib," he added. "We could see happiness on the faces of adults and children; everyone was so happy. Everyone felt like life was brought back to them."

Founded in Idlib city in 2011, the same year the Syrian conflict began, the Violet Organization was launched by a group of volunteers focused on distributing humanitarian aid.

"Between 2015 and 2016, we managed to reach out to 2.7 million people in need," Issa said. "We mostly receive our donations from organisations and individuals. Our work includes creating shelters, providing health facilities and education, and protection."

Amid deadly fighting between rebels and government forces, the team later moved its office to the suburbs and expanded aid operations to Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, Homs and the Damascus suburbs.

Most of Idlib province in northwestern Syria has been under rebel control since 2015. It is regularly bombed by both Syrian and allied Russian warplanes, and many schools, hospitals and homes have been destroyed.

The Violet Organization has received praise from the United Nations for its aid during the eastern Aleppo evacuation, and the group has also teamed up with other relief groups, including Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee.

"Our message to the world is that the Syrian people can and will get back on their feet. We will bring life back to our country and smiles back to our peoples' faces. The war must stop; the air strikes and the fighting must stop," Issa said.

Idlib was part of a deal on de-escalation zones in Syria that came into effect in May.

The deal, signed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, called for a cessation of hostilities between rebel groups and forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian government in four zones located mainly in opposition-held areas of the country, including the provinces of Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Deraa and Quneitra.

With the Syrian conflict into its seventh year, more than 465,000 people have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and more than 12 million Syrians - half of the country's prewar population - displaced from their homes.

Source: Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/syrian-ngo-rebuilding-destroyed-parts-idlib-170604074154016.html

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4 juillet 2017 2 04 /07 /juillet /2017 09:27

5 Palestian families face expulsion as hundreds of new settlement units promoted

 
 
 
July 3, 2017 3:33 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2017 5:02 P.M.)
 
 
The Israeli settlement of Har Homa, built in East Jerusalem, is seen on September 1, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
 
 
 
 
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities are set to discuss the advancement of nearly 1,800 housing units for illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli NGO Peace Now reported on Monday.

The plans will include two new buildings -- respectively three and five stories tall -- in the heart of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah that will require the expulsion of five Palestinian families, up for discussion at Israel’s Jerusalem Regional Committee on July 16.

Additionally, a nine story yeshiva campus that includes student accommodation and a six-story office building are also planned to be built in Sheikh Jarrah.

According to Peace Now, it is the first time in recent years that new housing units are being planned for settlers within a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Settlers have been engaged in an ongoing legal battle over the two plans that aim to be established on the property where the five Palestinian families reside, for a total of 13 settlement units.

The Palestinian families in question are legally regarded as protected tenants in the Israeli-owned properties, a status that was achieved according to an Israeli law that allows Jewish Israelis to claim ownership of property if they can prove it was under Jewish ownership before 1948.

However, the law only applies to Jewish Israelis, and not to Palestinians who were dispossessed of their lands and properties prior to and after the establishment of Israel in 1948, despite their right being upheld by UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

In the cases of the five Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, legal actions taken by settlers for their eviction have yet to be materialize, Peace Now Said. “Nevertheless, the law enables landowners to destroy and restructure a new building whilst protected tenants do not lose their legal rights, hence the advancement of these plans.”

The plan to evict the Palestinian families for the establishment of a new Israeli settlement “shows that nothing will get in the way of settler groups and a pro-settler government from preventing a future compromise in Jerusalem," the settlement watchdog said.

 
(Peace Now)

 

Aside from the Sheikh Jarrah settlement plans, Israel’s Jerusalem Regional Committee will also discuss plans for 1,788 housing units to expand existing illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Tuesday July 4, five plans totaling 944 housing units in the Pisgat Zeev settlement will be discussed for depositing on lands that were confiscated by the Israeli government in the 1980s.

On July 18, four plans will be discussed for depositing totaling additional 800 settlement units: 116 more in Pisgat Zeev, 270 in Gilo, 200 in Ramot, and 214 in Neve Yaakov. The committee would have also discussed objections to another plan for Gilo that adds 44 units to an approved plan that currently enables 130 housing, on July 17.

 
Plans in Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov to be discussed at the regional committee. (Peace Now)

 

Further plans for illegal settlements within developed Palestinian communities are also set to be discussed on July 16, including the retroactive legalization of eight settler units in the Beit Orot settlement on the lands of the Palestinian al-Suwwana neighborhood, and a plan for synagogue at the Nof Zion settlement in Jabal al-Mukabbir.

Responding to the reports, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Negotiations Affairs Department said on Twitter, “Israel confirms again its commitment to apartheid and ethnic cleansing with today's settlement announcements in occupied Jerusalem, not peace.”

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi meanwhile “strongly condemned” the plans for settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah.

“This provocative colonial behavior is a violation of international law that will trigger only violence and instability in the region and beyond,” she warned on Monday.

After reports emerged last month that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States government to stop marketing new settlement units for the rest of 2017, Peace Now called the alleged promise “another spin of the Netanyahu government trying to fool the public.”

Pointing to information gathered from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), Peace Now highlighted that this year, the Israeli government had already issued tenders for the construction of 2,858 settlement units in the West Bank.

The numbers marked an “unprecedented number of units” ever recorded -- at least since 2002, which is the earliest data available.

Among the thousands of new settler units to be advanced in recent weeks were 102 units for the Amichai settlement, the first new Israeli settlement established in more than two decades. Israeli authorities broke ground on Amichai on June 20.

Peace Now also recently reported a stark increase of 70 percent in construction starts in the settlements between April 2016 and March 2017.

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts -- unapproved by the Israeli government -- are even considered illegal under Israeli law, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

According to UN documentation, as of June 19, 74 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 158 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.

 
 
 
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