THE Palestinian Authority’s Detained and Ex-Detainees Commission has said that the Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli prison of Etzion, near Bethlehem city in the occupied West Bank, have been suffering unbearable conditions, particularly with regard to the meals they get for the break of their daily Ramadan fast.
According to the Commission, instead of fasting only from sunrise to sunset every day during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, the prisoners are compelled to fast for many consecutive days without a break because of the extremely bad meals – in terms and quality and quantity – they get from the prison administration, which has forced many of them to refuse to receive them.
For instance, the Commission adds, the prison administration provides the prisoners with badly-cooked food, such as rotten boiled eggs that are cooked a long time before being served to the prisoner.
It called on international human rights organisations to intervene to put an end to Israel’s ill-treatment of the Palestinian political prisoners, and to allow them access to good food and cold water, especially during Ramadan and the current unbearable weather conditions.
- Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), delivered yesterday a letter from President Mahmoud Abbas to the newly sworn-in President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, during his inauguration after he was elected president during May.
Ramaphosa welcomed Majdalni during the inauguration ceremony that took place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in the South African capital, Pretoria, and received the letter from President Abbas.
Majdalani called on South Africa to salvage the two-state solution and to continue to stand on Palestine’s side amidst the recent US unilateral moves, as well as to support an international peace conference in accordance with the initiative of President Abbas on the basis of international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
At the same time, President Ramaphosa affirmed the ongoing support of South Africa to the struggle of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, pointing out that South Africa will do everything necessary to reach a just solution and ensure the achievement of peace in accordance with international legitimacy.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has offered to sign non-aggression agreements with all countries in the Persian Gulf region and those offers are still on the table.
At a press conference alongside his Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, in Baghdad on Sunday, Foreign Minister Zarif also said that Iran sought the best of relations with the Persian Gulf littoral countries and would welcome any proposals for dialogue and de-escalation toward that end.
He added that Tehran would, however, forcefully confront any attempts at waging a military or economic campaign against the country.
The US has been escalating tensions with Iran since May 2018, when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran that also involves Europe and Russia and China.
In an attempted campaign of ‘maximum pressure,’ the US has imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic as well as on countries that seek to do business with it.
Zarif said the US was ‘bullying other countries into compliance with its unilateral measures’ against Iran, which he said was an unlawful act.
He also referred to the European signatories to the Iran deal and said those countries, too, were in practical violation of the agreement by failing to normalise relations with Iran, as the agreement stipulated.
The European violations of the deal, he said, have increased over the past year.
In response to the American and European non-performance of the deal, Iran partially suspended its commitments in May.
Zarif said that the suspension did not equate an Iranian withdrawal.
Iraq calls sanctions futile
Also speaking at the press conference, Alhakim said Baghdad was opposed to America’s unilateral measures against Iran.
‘Economic sanctions are of no effect,’ he said, adding that Iraq would stand by Iran’s side.
Alhakim also said Iraq was in contact with all regional countries to defuse tensions.
The Iraqi prime minister says Baghdad will send delegations to Washington and Tehran to help ‘halt tension’ between the two sides.
Zarif also met with the speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, the Arab country’s parliament, Mohamed al-Halbousi.
Al-Habousi warned against the potential fallout from regional tensions and stressed that Iraq favoured the resolution of the current situation as well as the security and well-being of all its neighbours.
Zarif travelled to Iraq on Saturday. He has already met with President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, discussing bilateral ties as well as regional and international developments.
- Israeli officials have loosened restrictions on fishermen off the blockaded Gaza Strip by allowing them to travel up to 15 nautical miles off the southern portion of the enclave into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit in Israel’s ministry of military affairs that oversees civil matters in the Palestinian territories, announced on Sunday that the fishing zone was being ‘expanded to 15 nautical miles,’ up from 10.
It restores the fishing zone to the limits set in April ahead of Israel’s general election.
Israel has cut the offshore fishing restriction it imposes for vessels off the Gaza shore after an alleged launch of incendiary balloons from the blockaded coastal sliver.
The distance is the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian resistance movements in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
On May 23, Gaza’s fishing zone was reduced to 10 nautical miles after at least 11 incendiary balloons were purportedly launched from the coastal sliver at occupied territories.
The decision came a day after COGAT increased the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip to 15 nautical after reports that a six-month ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel had been cut.
Under the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, Israel is obligated to permit fishing up to 20 nautical miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip, but this has never been implemented. The Oslo Accords were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel maintains a heavy naval presence off the coast of the impoverished Palestinian enclave, severely affecting the livelihoods of some 4,000 fishermen and at least 1,500 more people involved in the fishing industry.
Israel has reduced the offshore fishing restriction it imposes for vessels off the Gaza shore under the pretext of an alleged rocket fire from the blockaded coastal enclave.
Over the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.