Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mohammed Hassanein Heikal 1923-2016

President Gamal Abdel Nasser with his close confident Heikal

One of the most famous Egyptian journalists, authors and political commentators, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, died this Wednesday aged 92. According to sources around him three weeks ago his health started to deteriorate as a result of kidney failure. 
Heikal was born in 1923 and started his career as a journalist in the fall of 1942 at the Egyptian 
Gazette. His breakthrough came with his coverage of the WWII Battle of Al-Alamein. He later moved on to join the most established editor of the time, Mohamed El-Tabei, in the then most widely-circulated paper Akhr Saa. Lateron he joined Akhbar Al-Youm of the Amin-brothers.
His real fame came under president Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom he helped to to coin his pan-Arabic ideology and whom he served as a close adviser. Heikal became editor-in-chief of the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper for 14 years starting in the year 1957. Also served four years starting in 1970  as Information Minister before returning to journalism.

HRW: Hamas should investigate torture and execution of member of Ezzedin al-Qassam-Brigades

Hamas authorities in Gaza should investigate their military wing for the apparent torture and execution of Mahmoud Eshtewi. Eshtewi, a member of that military wing, was detained in secret locations for over a year.
Mahmoud Eshtewi prior to his detention, undated (courtesy of family)
Relatives said they and Eshtewi himself informed the most senior officials in Hamas’s civilian government that the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades was torturing Eshtewi, but officials did not intervene. Family members say one senior Hamas official endorsed the use of torture.
The Eshtewi case raises serious questions about who’s in charge in Gaza, Hamas’s civilian authorities or its military,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine director. “Hamas should conduct a genuine investigation into Eshtewi’s death, prosecute those responsible, and shut down any units operating outside the law.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed five relatives, whose names are withheld to protect them, and reviewed photographs of Eshtewi’s body and handwritten notes apparently smuggled out of a detention center. Human Rights Watch also contacted Hamas and hospital officials, but they declined to comment. The evidence supports allegations that Qassam operatives tortured Eshtewi, trampled upon his rights to due process, and may have extrajudicially executed him.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saturday: 18-year old Palestinian girl killed in Hebron

A young Palestinian woman was shot dead on Saturday after stabbing an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian bystander near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.
A witness told Ma’an that the young woman stabbed and lightly injured a soldier at a checkpoint near the mosque before she was shot by Israeli forces stationed on site.An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the attack to Ma’an, saying that “an assailant drew a knife on a soldier guarding the Tomb of Patriarchs,” referring to the Ibrahimi Mosque.
A Palestinian at the site of the attack was also stabbed by the young woman. A witness told Ma’an that a Palestinian attempted to grab the young woman after she stabbed the soldier, in what the witness believed to be an attempt to protect the woman from getting shot.The woman then stabbed the man in the waist after he grabbed her, the witnesses said, adding that he believed the young woman may have mistaken the man for an Israeli settler.The Israeli army for their part said: “During an attempt to stab the soldier, the attacker stabbed a Palestinian who tried to intervene,” confirming that the soldier had been lightly wounded.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Israeli parliament rejects bill for proportional funding to Arab culture institutions

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has rejected a bill, which would require proportional budgeting from the Ministry of Culture to the Arab community. Minister of Culture, Miri Regev stated, “I can't accept such a principle that supports the idea that one-fifth of the population will receive one-fifth of the budget.
Yousef Jabareen.jpg
Yousef Jabareen
The bill, which was submitted by Member of Knesset, Dr. Youssef Jabareen on Wednesday, February 10th, was rejected by a vote of 45 against and 37 for. The bill states that the Ministry of Culture does not equitably allocate funding to the different sectors and that the Arab population should not receive less than 20% which is their percentage of the total population in Israel.
Minister Regev stated that the reasons for her opposition to proposal are that she can't accept the idea that one-fifth of the population would get one-fifth of the budget. The Bill was intended to limit the discretionary power of the Minister over the distribution of funds. It was submitted in response to her initiative to make allocation of funding conditional upon loyalty to the state.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Israelis shoot dead 16-year old in refugee camp near Hebron

 Funeral of 16-year old Omar Madi. 

Israeli forces shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian during clashes in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron's al-Arrub refugee camp on Tuesday, medical sources told Ma'an.
Doctors at al-Mizan hospital in Hebron said the boy, identified as Omar Madi, was shot in the chest during clashes in the camp and was evacuated to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment. Locals said Israeli forces shot tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live fire during clashes in the camp, while youths responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails.Al-Arrub refugee camp lies along Route 60, a major West Bank road that Israeli settlers regularly use to reach a cluster of illegal Israeli settlements in Hebron, and the camp has been site to frequent clashes with Israeli military over the past several months.On Friday, Israeli soldiers killed a 14-year-old Palestinian and detained another young boy along the route, after the two allegedly tried to throw Molotov cocktails at passing vehicles.

Netanyahu wants ''a fence to protect Israel from the wild beasts''

Netanyahu inspects fence at the border with Jordan near Eilat. (Photo EPA).

Binyamin Netanyahu has announced his intention to “surround all of Israel with a fence” to protect the country from infiltration by both Palestinians and the citizens of surrounding Arab states, whom he described as “wild beasts”.
The Israeli prime minister unveiled the proposal during a tour of the Jordan border area in Israel’s south, adding that the project – which would cost billions of shekels – would also be aimed at solving the problem of Hamas infiltration tunnels from Gaza, a recent source of renewed concern.
He called the border project a part of a “multi-year plan to surround Israel with security fences to protect ourselves in the current and projected Middle East”. Describing the need for new walls and fences on Tuesday, Netanyahu said: “In our neighbourhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday: Israelis kill 14-year old boy and arrest his 12-year old cousin

Israeli soldiers killed a 14-year-old Palestinian and detained another young boy in the occupied West Bank town of Halhul north of Hebron, after the two allegedly tried to throw Molotov cocktails at passing vehicles. 
Haitham Baw

“During routine activity to secure Route 60,” Israeli forces "spotted two suspects attempting to throw Molotov cocktails at vehicles" on the highway, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an. The forces then opened fire on the teenagers, killing one and detaining another, the spokesperson said.
 Witnesses told Ma'an that they saw a child lying on the ground after hearing gunshots where Israeli forces were deployed in the al-Hawawer area of Halhul city. One witness told Ma'an that they saw Israeli soldiers putting the child into a black bag.Another child was seen handcuffed and blindfolded.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Israel demolishes 27 homes and makes 118 people homeless, 17 more houses also slated for destruction

The Civil Administration in the West Bank on Tuesday demolished 23 homes and three outhouses in the southern Hebron hills villages of Jinba and Halawa. According to Israeli activists who reached Jinba by midday, shortly after the demolitions, 78 people had been living in the newly-built homes, including 60 children. In Jerusalem the Jerusalem municipality destroyed in thelast days four homes, which made 40 people homeless.
Fifteen of the demolished structures were in the south Hebron area in the villages of Jinba and Halawa. Many were built with financing provided by European and other foreign agencies. All 12 villages in the area developed in the 19th century from settlements of cave-dwellers, who had originally inhabited the numerous caves in the area.

Five Palestinians and one Israeli killed in four days, two Israelis seriously wounded

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel stand next to the body of a Palestinian man following an attack at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on February 3, 2016. Israeli police and soldiers have killed five Palestinians in four days. Four of them were involved in attacks on Israelis during which five Israelis were wounded, one of whom later died.
Three Palestinians were shot dead Wednesday after carrying out an armed attack near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City that left two Israeli officers critically wounded. Israeli police said.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the three youths attracted the attention of Israeli Border Police officers as they approached Damascus Gate.