THE Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) on Sunday said three Palestinian minors were assaulted by Israeli forces during detention in January. PPS’s attorney said he visited the three minors in the Israeli prison of Ofer, where they shared experiences of being assaulted by Israeli soldiers.
One of the detainees is 17-year-old Mustafa al-Badn from the town of Tuqu’ in the city of Bethlehem; he said Israeli forces raided his family home at 1:30am, detained him and took him to Etzion prison.
Al-Badn said he was beaten on the way to the prison and was interrogated for 26 days. He said some days he would spend up to 9 hours in interrogation and was assaulted and strangled by one of the detectives. He was detained on January 4th, 2018.
Meanwhile, Faisal al-Sha’er, 16, from the same town, said he was interrogated for 15 days, 10 of which were consecutive. He said his leg was injured only three days before he was detained by Israeli soldiers on January 15, 2018.
Ahmad al-Shalalda, 15-years-old, said he broke his leg after he fell while being chased by Israeli soldiers on the day he was detained, on January 24, 2018. He was admitted to the Israeli hospital of Hadassah Ein Kerem and spent one day there before he was taken to Etzion prison and then to Ofer prison.
PPS said 60% of detained minors suffer from physical and psychological abuse through several methods, some of which include detaining them late at night, beating them, threatening them, forcing them to confess under torture, keeping them without food and water for long hours and interrogating them for long periods without the presence of parents or lawyers.
• Abdel Hafiz Nofal, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Russian Federation on Sunday said President Mahmud Abbas’ visit to Russia is of significance as it aims to find an impartial broker to lead negotiations with Israel. He told WAFA that Abbas’ visit to Russia comes amid extremely complicated circumstances where the region is affected by major events and escalating developments as a result to the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer the embassy to it.
Nofal said ‘President Abbas announced that for Palestinians, the US in not welcome to play the role of broker because of its bias towards Israel. ‘At the same time, we remain committed to the peace process and wish to resume it and achieve a two-state solution.’
He hoped that Russia would play a bigger role in the construction of a new mechanism and a broader international vision where the US is part of but not leading it, in an attempt to put an end to the escalating crisis, which threatens the entire region. Abbas is visiting Russia, because the country is interested in the events in the region and the Palestinians are betting on a bigger and broader role for Russia in the peace process.
• Arab parliamentarians called on Saturday for severing ties with any country that recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or transfers its embassy to the occupied city. At the end of their third annual conference held in Cairo, heads of Arab parliaments urged the Arab summit scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia in March to sever all relations with countries that recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
They also stressed support of the Palestinian leadership and the decisions it has taken to counter the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, urging for backing the Palestinian leadership at all levels through Arab financial and political support. The presidents of the Arab parliaments stressed their rejection of US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and its consequences, stressing that such a decision violates international law.
The parliamentarians said the US administration cannot be a fair sponsor and broker for the peace process after this unjust decision, adding that the US move was faced by an international rejection.
They also stressed rejection of the US administration’s policy aimed at proposing projects or ideas related to the Palestinian issue that are outside the rules of international law and the United Nations resolutions, asserting that the US is trying to impose a solution that does not meet the minimum rights of the Palestinian people.
• The Israeli government is currently holding the bodies of 19 slain Palestinians killed in the past two years, along with 260 bodies of those killed since 1967, according to a Palestinian human rights group. Director of the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC) Issam Arouri told the Voice of Palestine radio station that Israeli forces continue to withhold the remains of 260 slain Palestinians buried in the so-called ‘cemetery of numbers’ in Israel, in addition to holding the bodies of 19 Palestinians, who were killed by Israeli forces since 2016, in morgues.
The latest bodies to have been taken by Israeli forces were the bodies of 19-year-old Hamzeh Zamaareh and Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, 22, who were killed earlier this week. Israel dramatically increased its policy of withholding bodies since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, although it has scaled back on the policy in recent months.
Israel has long had ‘cemeteries for the enemy dead,’ also referred to as ‘cemeteries of numbers,’ where Palestinians who died during attacks on Israelis are held in nameless graves marked by numbers. Israel has attempted to negotiate the release of Palestinian bodies as well as several Hamas affiliates detained from the Gaza Strip in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.
A joint statement released in 2016 by Addameer and the Israeli minority rights group Adalah condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as ‘a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.’ During his interview with Voice of Palestine, Arouri said that ‘Israel was the only country in the world that withholds the bodies of slain people for bargaining purposes or sets conditions on funerals for releasing them to their families.’
• An Israeli lawmaker says Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is seeking to instigate a regional war to deflect attention from an ongoing investigation into his suspicious corrupt practices.
Aida Touma-Sliman from the Joint List, which comprises Arab representatives at the Israeli parliament Knesset, made the remarks after Israel seriously escalated its intervention in the Syrian war on Saturday. Netanyahu and his regime ‘are submerged up to their necks in corruption affairs, on the eve of the publication of the (police) recommendations,’ said the lawmaker.
‘Netanyahu is willing to instigate a regional war in which the peoples of the region will pay a heavy price just for his political survival,’ she added. Tensions took a dangerous turn on Saturday after Israeli warplanes attacked several targets inside Syria. The Syrian army shot down at least one of the jets – a US-made F-16 – after months of warning to Israel about such raids.
Tel Aviv, which has repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions in the past, claimed that the aerial attack came in response to an ‘Iranian’ drone intrusion into its airspace but both Tehran and Damascus dismissed the claim. Syria said its army had flown the drone to hunt down Daesh terrorists when an Israeli helicopter crossed the border and shot it down. The Syrian military targets at least one Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked Syrian territory, hitting it and sending it down in flames and smoke.