The Palestine Brief (11)
Akram Al-Rikhawi on his 102 day of hunger strike
ICC Head: Israel obliged to allow family visits
UN expert: Israel’s pattern of abuse is inhumane,
cruel, degrading and unlawful
US Jewish leaders criticize Israeli West Bank report
A weekly report published by the Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS), Gaza on the latest developments in Palestine.
July 22, 2012
• Akram Al-Rikhawi on his 102 day of hunger strike
Diabetic Palestinian political prisoner Akram Al-Rikhawi, father of eight, has been on a hunger strike for 102 days and is at imminent risk of death. Al-Rikhawi cannot move his left hand and leg and is confined to a wheelchair. He suffers from diabetes, asthma, and osteoporosis.
- ICC Head: Israel obliged to allow family visits
A group of Palestinians from Gaza spent half an hour visiting relatives held in Israeli prisons for the first time in five years. The group of 40 relatives, men and women, had gathered before sunrise at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in GazaCity.
The organization, which helped facilitate the trip, accompanied the relatives who piled into a bus that ferried them to the Erez border crossing, some smiling and waving as they set off.
Juan Pedro Schaerer, head of the group in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said “We have repeatedly called for the resumption of family visits, which are a lifeline for detainees and their families. Under international humanitarian law, Israeli authorities have an obligation to allow the detainees to receive family visits.”
- Groups: 2 prisoners join hunger strike in Israeli jail
Two more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail have started hunger strikes to protest Israel’s detention policies, prisoners groups said Tuesday. Ayman Sharawna, 37, from Dura near Hebron, began refusing food on July 1st to demand his release from detention without charge, Addameer prisoners association said.
He had been released from Israeli custody under a prisoner swap agreement last October, but was rearrested on January 31st.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian prisoner society said sick prisoner Raed Gamal Ali Ahmad began a hunger strike on July 11 to protest what he describes as medical neglect by prison authorities.
Ahmad suffers from kidney disease, and says he has exhausted all possibilities in persuading prison officials to address his medical condition, according to the society, who visited him in Megiddo jail. He has spent seven years in Israeli prison, after receiving a 16-year sentence.
- Human Rights Center: 21 MPs in occupation jails
A Human Rights Center reported that the number of Palestinian MPs held in the occupation jails has increased to twenty-one deputies, following the arrest of MP Ahmed Mubarak last Sunday.
The director of the Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies, Riadh Ashkar, stated in a press release that “Occupation is using administrative detention to justify the continued detentions against MPs and former ministers, without having to provide incriminating evidence against them, or trying them at a court of law, and is extending their administrative detention on an ongoing basis with no reason.” 
- UN expert: Israel’s pattern of abuse is inhumane, cruel, degrading and unlawful
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, condemned Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinian children, as reported earlier by the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the OccupiedTerritories. He urged the Israeli Government to treat Palestinian children detainees in accordance with international human rights laws.
“Israel’s use of solitary confinement against children flagrantly violates international human rights standards,” said Mr. Falk, expressing his outrage that Israel even imposes solitary confinement punitively on child hunger strikers. “However, using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners.”
“This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave,” the Special Rapporteur stressed. “It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees.”
· Israel to take “punitive” action against UN Office
Media sources claim that the Israeli government is studying the possibility of “punishing” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied West Bank by hindering its work. The pretext is that the UN has, alleges Israel, “committed violations of the law, and issued reports that negatively impact the reputation of Israel”.
The newspaper Haaretz, said on Sunday, July 15, that relations between the Israelis and OCHA have worsened considerably in recent years as the UN body “stands behind the residents of the West Bank in region C and implements many projects without the approval of the Israeli occupation”.
- Soldiers Abuse Palestinian Youth While Kidnapping Him
Israeli soldiers assaulted and abused Mahmoud Al-Badan, 17, after breaking into his home, Sunday, in Tiqua’ town, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped him before driving away to an undisclosed location.
Mohammad, the father of the youth, stated the soldiers, accompanied by an Israeli security officer, broke into their home, around 1:30 after midnight, violently searched the property before taking Mahmoud outside, forcing his family to remain inside under gunpoint, and started punching, kicking and hitting him in front of their home.
Al-Badan said that next door neighbors witnessed the soldiers kicking and hitting Mahmoud with rifle butts and batons, in addition to repeatedly punching him before they cuffed and blindfolded him, and threw him in one of the jeeps and sped away.
Once the soldiers left, the family rushed out to find their son’s blood on the ground.
Al-Badan headed to the Israeli District Coordination Office to file a complaint against the soldiers; officers at the Coordination Office refused to grant him any information about his son.
- Israel detains minors under hot sun
The administration of Israel’s Hasharon Prison detained minors and their legal representatives for three hours under the hot sun a few days ago. The incident took place after units of Special Forces broke into one of the sections of the prison, searched a room and destroyed its contents without justification.
During the visit of a Palestinian Prisoners’ Club lawyer, he met with the minors’ spokesman, Amjad Mohammed Mahmud Siraj, who was transferred recently from Ofer Prison along with Mohammed Salameh. The two were asked to arrange the minors’ affairs after they threatened to go on hunger strike.
According to Siraj, “The tragic situation in the prison has not changed, and the prison administration did not address the problems and issues of the minors, whose suffering is getting worse by the day due to prison policies.” Only some of the less important requests were dealt with by the prison administration, he added.
- Premier Palestinian media school graduates struggle to work in Jerusalem
Basel Nassar, a young Palestinian doctor from this city, is not allowed to practice medicine here. So instead, he flew to Houston last week to take the last phase of a licensing exam that will qualify him to work in the United States.
”I am forced to do this,” Nassar, 33, said on the eve of his departure. “Israel is so close, but it is making trouble for us for some trivial reason. I can’t work 15 minutes from my house, where they accepted me in a specialty I was dreaming to get. I simply can’t understand it.”
Nassar’s predicament, shared by dozens of Palestinian doctors from East Jerusalem, is the result of a bureaucratic impasse linked to the long-standing struggle over this contested city.
- Energy Authority: Gaza power deficit reaches 50%
The Energy and Natural Resources authority in Gaza announced that the deficit in the power supply reached 50%, in light of the doubling of electricity consumption due to the hot summer climate. Ahmed Abu Amrain, the Director of Information Center of the Energy Authority, said during a press conference last Sunday that the Authority and Gaza Electricity Distribution Company are working on scheduling the electricity consumption in order to manage the crisis noting that the electricity will be running for eight hours then cut off for eight hours, successively throughout the 24 hours.
He attributed the main reasons behind the deficit to the reduction in the amounts of fuel provided for Gaza and which is resulting from the Israeli arbitrary measures and Egyptian inaction in allowing the fuel donated by Qatar into the Gaza Strip.
Abu Amrain also asserted that the energy authority did not benefit from the Qatari fuel as it has been allowed into the Strip in small amounts, pointing out that the quantity that has existed in the storage tanks in Suez since two months represents more than 90% of the total amount of fuel.
- US Jewish leaders criticize Israeli West Bank report that denies occupation
Dozens of American Jewish leaders and scholars have made a rare appeal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to make sure his government rejects a controversial report that denies Israel is occupying the West Bank.
In a letter to Netanyahu, more than 40 prominent Jewish figures predicted the report authored by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy would tarnish Israel’s image and jeopardize prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
Signatories included businessmen and philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Stanley Gold, the former head of the Israel lobby in Washington, Tom Dine, and former Jewish Agency board chairman Richard Pearlstone.
- Ramahi: Military rule in West Bank will end
The Secretary of the Legislative Council, Dr. Mahmoud Ramahi, confirmed that there are parties within the PA in Ramallah operating on disrupting the national reconciliation, and urged Fatah movement “to reveal the identities of those parties, if it is serious about moving forward in the reconciliation.”
Dr Ramahi made his statements during an extended interview with the PIC, 10 days after his release from Israeli occupation prisons, saying that “there are two major obstacles facing the reconciliation.
The first obstacle mentioned by Dr. Mahmoud is represented in the political orientation of the Palestinian Authority, which closed all options of confronting occupation except negotiations, and which runs against the political program of Hamas. The second obstacle lies in the strange behavior followed by the security services and the ongoing violations of public freedoms by PA”, through the political arrests and summonses.
- BBC: Jerusalem is Palestine’s capital
The British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Olympics website listed Israel as having no capital while recognized East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital; Netanyahu protested, opened Facebook page to pressure the BBC to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
 The Palestine Information Centre.