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A New Capital? Palestinians say Abu Dis is No Substitute for East Jerusalem

By Jonathon Cook | The National | September 11, 2018

From the offputting concrete edifice that confronts a visitor to Abu Dis, the significance of this West Bank town – past and present – is not immediately obvious.

The eight metre-high grey slabs of Israel’s separation wall silently attest to a divided land and a quarter-century of a failed Middle East peace process.

The entrance to Abu Dis could not be more disconcerting, given reports that Donald Trump’s administration intends it to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, in place of Jerusalem.

The wall, and the security cameras lining the top of it, are the legacy of battles for control of Jerusalem’s borders. Sections of concrete remain charred black by fires residents set years ago in the forlorn hope of weakening the structure and bringing it down.

Before the wall was erected more than a decade ago, Abu Dis had a spectacular view across the valley to Jerusalem’s Old City and the iconic golden-topped Dome of the Rock, less than three kilometres away. It was a few minutes’ drive – or an hour’s hike – to Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the reputed location of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Now, for many of the 13,000 inhabitants, Jerusalem might as well as be on another planet. They can no longer reach its holy places, markets, schools or hospitals.

Abu Dis, say its residents, is hemmed in on all sides – by Israel’s oppressive wall; by illegal Jewish settlements encroaching relentlessly on what is left of its lands; and by a large, Israeli-run landfill site that, according to experts, is a threat to human health.

The Palestinian authorities do not even control Abu Dis. The Israeli security cameras watch over it and armoured jeeps full of Israeli soldiers make forays at will into its crowded streets.

Perhaps fittingly, given the Palestinians’ current plight, Abu Dis feels more like it is being gradually turned into one wing of a dystopian open-air prison than a capital-in-waiting.

Abu Dis repackaged

Nonetheless, the town has been thrust into the spotlight. Rumours have intensified that US President Trump’s promised peace plan – what he terms the “deal of the century” – is nearing completion. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been drafting it for more than a year.

Back in January Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, confirmed for the first time that the White House was leaning on him to accept Abu Dis as his capital.

The issue has become highly charged for Palestinians since May, when Mr Trump overturned decades of diplomatic consensus by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

That appeared to overturn a once widely shared assumption that Israel would be required to withdraw from East Jerusalem, which it occupied in 1967, and allow the Palestinians to declare it their capital.

Instead Mr Kushner and his team appear to believe they can repackage Abu Dis, just outside the city limits, as a substitute capital.

How plausible is it that the Palestinians can accept a ghettoised, anonymous community like Abu Dis for such a pivotal role in their nation-building project?

Symbolic power

Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian cabinet minister, said Mr Trump would find no takers among the Palestinian leadership.

“A Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital simply won’t work. It’s not credible,” he said. “It’s not just Jerusalem’s religious and historic significance. It also has strategic, economic and geographic importance to Palestinians.”

The people of Abu Dis appear to feel the same way, with many pointing to Jerusalem’s enormous symbolic power, as well as the potential role of international tourism in developing the Palestinian economy.

Abu Dis, however, is unlikely ever to attract visitors, even should it get a dramatic makeover.

The approach road, skirting the massive settlement of Maale Adumim, home to 40,000 Jews, is adorned with red signs warning that it is dangerous for Israelis to enter the area.

The section of wall at the entrance to Abu Dis alludes to the residents’ growing anger and frustration – not only with Israel but some of their own leaders.

Artists have spray-painted a giant image of Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian resistance leader imprisoned by Israel for the past 16 years. It shows him lifting his handcuffed hands to make a V-for-victory sign.

But noticeably, next to him is a much smaller image of Mr Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, whose face has been painted out. He has come under mounting domestic criticism for maintaining Palestinian “security cooperation” with Israel’s occupation forces.

Resentment at such cooperation is felt especially keenly in Abu Dis. Large iron gates in the wall give the Israeli army ready access in and out of the town.

An orphaned town

Under the Oslo accords signed in the mid-1990s, all of Abu Dis was placed temporarily under Israeli military control, and most of it under Israel’s civil control also. That temporary status appears to have become permanent, leaving residents at the whim of hostile Israeli authorities who deny building permits and readily issue demolition orders.

The restrictions mean Abu Dis lacks most of the infrastructure one would associate with a city, let alone a capital.

Abdulwahab Sabbah, a local community activist, said: “We are now a small island of territory controlled by the Israeli army.

“Not only have we lost our schools, the hospitals we once used, our holy places, the job opportunities that the city offered. Families have been split apart too, unable to visit their relatives in Jerusalem.

“We have been orphaned. We have lost Jerusalem, our mother.”

A short drive into Abu Dis and the shell of a huge building comes into view, a reminder that the idea of an Abu Dis upgrade is not the Trump administration’s alone.

In fact, noted Mr Khatib, Israel began rebranding Abu Dis as a second “Al Quds” – the Holy City, the Arabic name for Jerusalem – in the late 1990s, after the Oslo agreement allowed Palestinian leaders to return to Gaza and limited parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership, desperate to get a foothold closer to the densely populated neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, played along. They expected that Israel would eventually relinquish Abu Dis to full Palestinian control, allowing it to be annexed to East Jerusalem in a future peace deal.

View of al-Aqsa

In 1996 the Palestinians began work building a $4 million parliament on the side of Abu Dis closest to Jerusalem. The location was selected so that the office of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would have a view of Al Aqsa.

Reports from that time talk of Abu Dis becoming a gateway, or “safe corridor”, for West Bank Palestinians to reach the mosque. One proposal was to build a tunnel between Abu Dis and the Old City.

However, with the outbreak of hostilities in 2000 – a Palestinian intifada – work on the parliament came to a halt. The interior was never finished, and there is now no view of Al Aqsa. The parliament too is sealed off from Jerusalem by the wall.

Since then Israel has barred the Palestinian Authority from having any role in East Jerusalem.

Khalil Erekat, a caretaker, holds the key to the unused parliament. Once visitors could inspect the building, including its glass-domed central chamber. Now, he said, only pigeons and the odd stray dog or snake ventured inside.

“No one comes any more,” he added. “The place has been forgotten.”

And that, it seems, is the way Palestinian officials would prefer it. With the Trump administration mooting the town as a substitute capital, the parliament is now an embarrassing white elephant.

Requests from The National to the Palestinian authorities to visit the building were rejected on the grounds that it was no longer structurally safe.

Eyesore ghetto

Evidence of how quickly Israel has transformed Abu Dis from a rural suburb of Jerusalem into an eyesore ghetto are evident in the homes around the parliament.

A once-palatial four-storey home next door would be more in place in war-ravaged Gaza than an impending capital. Its collapsed top floors sit precariously above the rest of the structure.

Mohammed Anati, a retired carpenter aged 64, is a tenant occupying the bottom floor with his wife and three sons.

He said the destruction was carried out by the Jerusalem municipality several years ago, apparently because the upper floors were built in violation of planning rules Israeli military authorities imposed after 1967.

Neighbours speculate that, in fact, Israel was more concerned that the top of the building provided views over the wall.

Mr Anati said that, paradoxically, the Jerusalem municipality treated this small neighbourhood next to the wall as within its jurisdiction. “We have to pay council taxes to Jerusalem even though we are cut off from the city and receive no services,” he said.

Asked whether he thought Abu Dis could be a Palestinian capital, Mr Anati scoffed. “Trump will offer us the worst deal of the century,” he said. “Jerusalem has to be the capital. There is nothing of Jerusalem here since Israel built the wall.”

Only pigeons still free

Nearby, Ghassan Abu Hillel’s two-storey home presses up against the grey slabs of concrete. He said cameras on the top of the wall monitored his and his neighbours’ activities around the clock.

His family moved to this house in 1967, when he was 14 years old, and shortly before Israel occupied Abu Dis, along with the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Until the wall was constructed, he spent his time herding sheep and goats on the surrounding hills.

Now he has had to corral them into a corner of the wall. Their improvised pen is daubed with graffiti: “Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape.”

His herd of what was once more than 200 sheep is down to barely a dozen. The animals can no longer graze out on the hills, and he cannot afford the cost of feeding them.

Unlike Mr Abu Hillel and the sheep, his pigeons still enjoy their freedom. “They can fly over the wall and reach Jerusalem whenever they want,” he said.

His family owned much of the land surrounding Abu Dis before 1967, he added, but almost all of it had been taken by Israel – originally on the pretext that it was needed for military purposes.

Since then, Israel has built a series of Jewish settlements on the surrounding land, including Maale Adumim, Kfar Adumim and Kedar.

In the early 1980s it also opened a landfill site to cope with the region’s waste. In 2009 the United Nations warned that toxic fumes from waste-burning and leakage into the groundwater posed a threat to local inhabitants’ health.

A bluff from Israel

Some residents are actively finding ways to break out of the isolation imposed on Abu Dis by Israel.

Mr Sabbah is a founder of the Friendship Association, which encourages exchange programmes with European students, teachers and youth clubs. His most successful project is the twinning of Abu Dis with the London borough of Camden.

Mr Sabbah’s prominent political activities may be one reason why his home – along with the local mayor’s – was one of 10 invaded in the middle of the night on September 4.

The operation had the hallmarks of what former Israeli soldiers from the whistleblowing group Breaking the Silence have termed “establishing presence” – military training exercises designed to disrupt the lives of Palestinian communities and spread fear.

Mr Sabbah is sceptical that the Abu Dis proposal by the Trump administration has been made in good faith.

“It’s a bluff,” he said. “Israel has shown through all its actions that it does not want any Palestinian state – and that means no capital, even in Abu Dis.

“It is being offered only because Israel knows no Palestinian leader could ever accept it as a capital. And that way Israel can again blame us for being the ones to reject their version of ‘peace’.”

An oasis of normality

Amid its confinement, however, Abu Dis does have one asset – a university – that now attracts thousands of young Palestinians, though it adds to overcrowding.

The main campus of the Palestinian-run Al Quds university has been operating in Abu Dis since the 1980s.

Sitting on the crossroads between the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Nablus to the south, Jericho to the east, and Ramallah to the north, the Abu Dis campus has grown rapidly. It has profited from the fact that West Bank Palestinians cannot access another campus of Al Quds university in East Jerusalem.

The university is enclosed and security is tight. Inside, students enjoy spacious grounds with shaded gardens, a small oasis of normality where it is possible briefly to forget the situation outside.

Nonetheless, the university is not immune from Israeli military operations either. On September 5, soldiers shut down the campus and nearby schools, as they reportedly fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at youths.

Omar Mahmoud, aged 23, a medical student from Nablus, raised his eyebrows at the suggestion that Abu Dis could serve as the Palestinians’ capital.

“It’s fully under Israeli control,” he said. “One side there is the wall and on the other side there are Israeli settlements. There are no services and it just gets more crowded by the year.”

He has shared an apartment with other students in Abu Dis for five years. He said: “To be honest, I can’t wait to get out of here.”

September 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Police Ban Academic Conference In Jerusalem

IMEMC News – July 14, 2018

Dozens of Israeli police officers prevented Palestinian academics, intellectuals and religious leaders from holding a conference Saturday at a Palestinian college in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli officers also issued an order shutting the educational facility down.

The officers, accompanied by security officials, surrounded the Arts Campus (Hind al-Husseini Campus) of Al-Quds University, in Sheikh Jarrah, and prevented the Palestinians from holding the two-day planned Fourth Academic Conference on Islamic Waqf (Endowment) in occupied Jerusalem.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the conference was organized by Waqf and Heritage Reservation Society and the Islamic Supreme Committee, in Jerusalem, and was funded by the Jerusalem Waqfiya Fund headed by Palestinian businessman and philanthropist Munib al-Masri.

WAFA added that the police detained al-Masri, and took him to an interrogation facility, in occupied Jerusalem.

The attack is the latest in a series of Israeli violations targeting conferences, meetings and various social, religious and political activities in the occupied city, as part of its attempt to solidify its full control over all aspects of life in Jerusalem.

Following the attack against the education facility, the Palestinian Education Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli violation, and its constant attempt to disrupt the cultural and educational process in occupied Jerusalem.

The Health Ministry also denounced the illegal Israeli order shutting the campus down until further notice.

It said the invasion is part of Israel’s ongoing crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, including their educational facilities.

The Ministry added that Israel is encouraged by the deadly silence of the international community, and the unconditional support it receives from the United States.

“We have seen how Israel demolished a school in Yatta, near Hebron, how the soldiers surrounded al-Khan al-Ahmar, near Jerusalem, including its school,” the Ministry said, “Israeli is imposing severe restrictions on teachers and students, which is in serious violation of International Law.”

It called on all local, regional and international media and human rights organizations to expose the Israeli violations, and act on protecting the Palestinians and their basic rights to live in peace, without the constant harassment, violations and ongoing threat of violence by the occupation, endangering the children and the entire educational process.”

Under international law, East Jerusalem, which fell under Israeli occupation along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, is an occupied Palestinian city, the capital of the future independent Palestinian State.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli forces ‘wreak havoc’ in Birzeit University raid

Ma’an – December 14, 2016

RAMALLAH – More than 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the campus of Birzeit University in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah before dawn on Wednesday, with Israeli forces “leaving a great deal of havoc” in their wake, an official university statement said.

After storming the campus through its western gate, Israeli soldiers forced campus security guards to stand against the walls, and proceeded to raid several buildings, including the university’s administration building, the student council’s headquarters, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science.

Sources said soldiers smashed the main door of the student council building before searching the area and seizing several objects that were inside storage units belonging to student blocs.

Students’ flags and banners were also confiscated, while property in the administrative building and around campus were “sabotaged,” according to the university.

Birzeit University harshly condemned Israeli forces for the “continuation of their barbaric aggression on our people and national institutions,” adding that “These blatant attacks and subsequent measures of harassment constitute outrageous interferences to our right to education.”

However, the statement vowed that the “attacks” would “not deter its commitment to higher education, and the pivotal role it has played since its establishment.”

“The academic freedom of Palestinian academics and students is severely hindered, due to the (Israeli) occupation, its policies, and continuous defiance of the fundamental rights of our people and the sanctity of our universities, and that must be defended,” the statement said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they would look into reports of the raid.

Birzeit University, which has been ranked the top university in Palestine and among the highest ranking universities in the Arab world, has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown a number of times in recent months, which increased after the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won student elections at Birzeit for the past two consecutive years.

In July, at least 11 Palestinian youths were injured after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire in the campus amid clashes sparked by an Israeli raid to detain a former member of the Islamic bloc.

At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment, having detained more than 80 students since Oct. 2015 up until that point.

Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015, who have also been targeted by Palestinian security forces. The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government — along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements — making students involved with the Islamic bloc highly vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions.

Birzeit University noted in their statement Wednesday that Israeli forces have also violently raided other Palestinian universities, including Palestine Technical University – Kadoori, the Arab American University of Jenin, as well as Al-Quds University in Abu Dis.

“The university calls on the international community and human rights organizations to immediately put a stop to these raids and violations, and actively engage in supporting our struggle for liberation,” Birzeit stated.

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian university student sentenced to eight months for student activities

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – November 24, 2016

noor-darwishPalestinian student Noor Darwish, 22, a student at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, was sentenced to eight months in Israeli prison and a fine of 2000 NIS (approximately $500) on Wednesday, 23 November.

From the village of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah, Darwish was arrested with two other female students, Hala Bitar, 19, and Salam Abu Sharar, 21, on 19 April. The three were arrested among an escalated series of arrests targeting Palestinian students around the time of annual student council elections at Palestinian universities. All three were charged with participation in the public student activities of the Islamic Bloc at the university, including organizing a book fair.

Bitar was earlier sentenced to four months in prison, while Abu Sharar was sentenced to 10 months in Israeli prison. Darwish has been held in Damon prison, which requires a three-day trip to the Ofer military court, which pronounced her sentence. Her case involved six hearings, each accompanied by the lengthy “bosta” travel from the prison to the military court and back.

November 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Former hunger striker Malik al-Qadi released by Israel, transferred to Palestinian hospital

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Al-Quds University journalism student Malik al-Qadi following his release from administrative detention
Ma’an – September 24, 2106

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah.

Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel.

Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions.

Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and al-Qadi, 25, declared his hunger strike on July 16.

Qaraqe said in a statement on Wednesday that Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were set to be released on Dec. 8, while Malik al-Qadi would be released on Sep. 22, and that all three of their administrative detentions would not be renewed.

The three had initially launched their hunger strikes amid a mass movement across Israeli prisons in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid, who after 71 days suspended his hunger strike after striking a deal with Israel to end his administrative detention sentence. He was reportedly set to be released on Dec. 12.

Kayid was one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike protesting his administrative detention order, before he was finally released in May.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

According to Addameer, as of August, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 700 of whom were being held under administrative detention.

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel bans travel of noted Jerusalemite figure abroad & to West Bank

Palestinian Information Center – July 21, 2016

682730247OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – The Israeli occupation police have handed professor Jamil Hamami, secretary-general of the higher Islamic commission in Occupied Jerusalem, a written order banning his travel abroad and to the West Bank.

According to this police order, Hamami will be prohibited from entering the West Bank for four months and the previous ban on his travel abroad will be extended for six months.

The police justified the measure against Hamami by saying that he is involved in banned activities and his departure for other countries will constitute a security threat to Israel.

For his part, Hamami, who works as a lecturer at al-Quds University, condemned Israel’s decision against him as “unjust and a violation of the Palestinians’ right to travel and movement”. He considered this Israeli step as “part of the Israeli campaign that targets the Palestinian dignitaries in Jerusalem.”

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian astrophysicist imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention

imad b

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | May 3, 2016

Prominent Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi, a professor of theoretical space-plasma physics at Al-Quds University, was ordered by the Israeli occupation military to three months in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – on Monday, 2 May.

Barghouthi, who marked his 54th birthday in Israeli prison, joins nearly 750 fellow Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Detention orders are indefinitely renewable on the basis of “secret evidence” to which both Palestinian detainees and their lawyers are denied access. The scientist, from Beit Rima near Ramallah, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces at a military checkpoint in Nabi Saleh on 24 April.

Barghouthi, a former employee of NASA in the United States, is a prominent figure in the Palestinian scientific community and his work is internationally known. He received his BS in physics from the University of Jordan in 1985, followed by his masters’ degree in nuclear physics in 1988. In 1994, he completed his Ph.D. at Utah State University in the United States.

He was arrested before, on 6 December 2014, as he traveled to a scientific conference in the United Arab Emirates, and ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial; he was released early, on 22 January 2015, following an international outcry from the scientific community, including statements from AURDIP (Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine), BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine), Committee of Concerned Scientists, MESA (Middle East Studies Association) Committee on Academic Freedom,  and Euroscience.

Upon Barghouthi’s release, he wrote a letter to international organizations that had supported him: “I call on the international community that spoke up on my behalf to speak up also on behalf of all Palestinian political prisoners. There are approximately 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, imprisoned without charge or trial. The systematic use of arbitrary imprisonment by Israeli forces to punish Palestinians violates international humanitarian law under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Al-Quds University, where Barghouthi teaches, has also been subject to ongoing Israeli repression, including invasion of the campus, destruction of student organizations’ offices and materials, and arrests of students.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls for the immediate release of Palestinian scientist Imad al-Barghouthi, which comes as part of a systematic attack on Palestinian academics, journalists, writers and other cultural workers by the Israeli occupation. We reiterate that the case of Imad al-Barghouthi underlines the necessity of the international academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions – a call adopted by an increasing number of academic associations and academic labor unions. Such institutions are deeply complicit in the structures of occupation that deny Palestinian human rights at all levels, including denying Palestinians’ rights to education and academic freedom, and upholding the structures of colonialism and occupation that target Barghouthi, his students and fellow faculty at Palestinian universities like Al-Quds, and the Palestinian people as a whole.

Photo: Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli occupation forces kidnap professor near Ramallah

Palestinian Information Center – April 25, 2016

806742812RAMALLAH – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday kidnapped Palestinian astrophysicist Imad al-Barghouthi at Nabi Saleh checkpoint, northwest of Ramallah.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center that Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint detained Barghouthi and took him to an undeclared place.

Barghouthi, 53, is a professor of theoretical space plasma physics at al-Quds University and has worked for some time at NASA in the United States. His scientific work is widely published internationally in academic journals.

The IOF previously kidnapped him on December 6, 2014 at al-Karama border crossing as he was trying to cross to Jordan in order to attend a scientific conference in the United Arab Emirates.

At the time, he was reportedly interrogated for participating in a mass march against Israel’s war on Gaza.

Copyright © The Palestinian Information Center

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian youth and students among 11 raided and arrested by Israeli occupation forces

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network | April 19, 2016

majd-atwanIsraeli occupation soldiers arrested 11 Palestinians in dawn raids on Tuesday, 19 April, focusing on students and youth. Three students at Al-Quds University’s Abu Dis campus – Noor al-Islam Darwish, Hala Beitar and Salam Abu Sharar, all women – were raided and arrested in Ramallah.

Majd Yousef Atwan, 22, from al-Khader near Bethlehem, a recent beauty school graduate, was arrested in a 2:00 am army raid on her home; her father said that she was being accused of “incitement for Facebook postings.”

Many students and youth have been arrested by Israeli occupation forces in the run-up to Palestinian campus elections; while many Palestinians are being persecuted for Facebook posts, including poetry.

Murad Mohammed Taqatqa and Walid Issa Taqatqa of Beit Fajar near Bethlehem were also arrested by occupation forces, as was Abdel-Rahim Mahmoud Awad from Beit Awwa near al-Khalil. Ahmed Nidal Awel, 20, and Ayman Farouk Barham, 35, were arrested by Israeli occupation forces in Kufr Qaddoum.

In Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, the Israeli forces shot a 15-year-old boy in the leg at the entrance to the village as they invaded it; Palestinian Red Crescent medics reported they were prevented from accessing the boy to provide medical care and that he was then arrested by the occupation forces. Another al-Ram resident was also arrested.

April 19, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

University rooms destroyed in early morning raid by Israeli forces

International Solidarity Movement | March 5, 2016

East Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine – In the early hours of Tuesday, 5th April, around 3am, an armed group of Israeli soldiers stormed the campus of Al Quds university in the area of Abu Dis, part of East Jerusalem. The soldiers terrorised security guards on duty and forcefully entered four rooms belonging to student political parties and confiscated equipment while completely destroying the rest of the rooms.

Destroyed items from the Tuesday morning raid gathered outside the rooms

Destroyed items from the Tuesday morning raid gathered outside the rooms

During the early hours of the morning the only people present at the university campus were the campus security, they were rounded up and locked together in a room, they were given no reason from the soldiers as to why they were being locked in a room nor as to why the soldiers were entering the campus grounds. The soldiers proceeded to forcefully enter four rooms belonging to various political parties run by students of the university, cutting the locks and smashing their way in, completely destroying the doors. This is the fourth time in 2016 alone that soldiers have entered the campus, destroying and confiscating material while giving no reason for their actions.

One of the computers destroyed in the raid

One of the computers amongst other items destroyed in the raid

The rooms entered belong to varying student bodies who’s students work within the university and the local community. Among the varied groups they advocate student rights, create activities within the campus and surrounding neighbourhoods, hold discussions on the state of the middle east, volunteer within the community, offer services for students, hold workshops and meetings about young prisoners and host an array of solidarity activities for the Palestinian community.

Students cleaning up debris from Tuesday's raid

Students cleaning up debris from Tuesday’s raid

During the raid the army took personal computers, laptops and cameras belonging to the Islamic party. Around one hundred and seventy flags were confiscated from the union party room and all of their stationary equipment for creative activities. Whatever was not taken was destroyed during the raid by the occupying forces.

The activities room for the ladies Islamic movement which works mainly with disadvantaged youths and students had the majority of their belongings destroyed, posters ripped from walls and electronic equipment confiscated.

The area of Abu Dis were the university is located was around thirty thousand hectares prior to 2002 and is now around four thousand hectares with 75% of the area now falling under area C and 25% under area B. This malicious land grab by the Israeli government has left students facing huge difficulties with their education. Many students within the faculty of medicine can’t reach Jerusalem where the main hospital for training is located and have been forced to go elsewhere for their practical while the media faculty faces new difficulties also. Since the beginning of what most would call the third intifada, checkpoints leading into the city of Ramallah, where the media students must go to complete their practical work have become extremely tightened and students are often denied access to the area or face long waits to enter.

The annexation wall surrounding the university

The annexation wall surrounding the university

On the 2nd November, 2015, Israeli forces entered the campus around 4pm and began firing on students using tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and even using live ammunition. Over two hundred students were injured and required medical care while two students were seriously injured, with access to Jerusalem hospital unavailable the students were forced to travel over an hour to the city of Ramallah for treatment.

One of the destroyed rooms

One of the destroyed rooms

With the student elections to take place on April 19th, this attack falls into Israel’s wider policy of targeting political activity within student campuses and bodies as a means of repressing resistance to the occupation.

Four students of the university have been killed by Israeli forces since November, 2015.

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli occupation forces invade university, arrest 25 in night raids throughout occupied West Bank

alqudsu

samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | April 5, 2016

Israeli forces arrested 25 Palestinians in overnight raids by occupation forces, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Tuesday morning, 5 April.

The mass arrests included storming the campus of Al-Quds Open University in Abu Dis, occupied Jerusalem, between 3 am and 5 am, according to Ma’an News. Campus security guards were locked in a room by the invading occupation forces, their radios broken. The soldiers stormed the offices of the Dean of Students and the Faculty of Islamic Studies, destroying an exhibition underway by students who are part of the Islamic Bloc, one of the student council blocs at the university. Israeli occupation officials claimed that they were stopping “incitement” by destroying student projects.

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The attack on the university is one of several in recent months; Al-Quds University was attacked in January and the materials of the student union confiscated; Bir Zeit University was also invaded and its student union offices ransacked. In March, Khadoori University in Tulkarem was invaded twice in 18 hours, as was the Arab American University in Jenin. These attacks have focused especially on targeting student union offices and come alongside the arrest and imprisonment of student activists like Donya Musleh and Asmaa Qadah.

In Abu Dis, the occupation soldiers arrested Ahmad Jamil Dandan. In Deir Istiya, Salfit, Israeli occupation forces invaded and ransacked the home of Jihad Khalid, 30, arresting him. They also arrested Nazeeh Abu Oun of Jaba, Jenin; Adnan Khader al-Husari of Tulkarem refugee camp; Tamir Shawar Rimawi and Karim Rimawi of Beit Rima, and Ghassan Said Nasser of Bir Zeit, Ramallah; in al-Khalil area: Hossam Hureibat; Ali Abu Sel and Yazan Muqbil of al-Arroub refugee camp; Mahmoud Hmeidat of Surif; Mahmoud Fawzi Amr and Mahmoud Badwan Ibayush of Dura; and Wasim Jamal Bahar of Beit Umar; in Jerusalem: Iyad Atta Uweisat and Ahmad Azaz Uweisat of Jabal Mukabber; Abdel-Qader Dari and Mohammed Abu Riyala of Issawiya; Abdullah Abu Assab of the Old City; and Abdul Latif Awad, Adel Jumaa, Abed Rabbo Kanaan, Abed Faris Kanaan, Hamza Kanaan, Sufyan Kanaan and Odeh Abdullah Odeh of Hizma.

Photos: Al-Quds University

April 5, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment