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New Report: Israel Aims to Change Jerusalem Identity by Shutting Down Institutions and Confiscating Land

Geneva – The Israeli authorities have continued their human rights violations in Jerusalem in Novemb..



Geneva – The Israeli authorities have continued their human rights violations in Jerusalem in November 2019, as they escalated their attempts to end Palestinian presence and change the city’s identity by closing institutions, confiscating land, and displacing residents, according to a monthly report published by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

The US Administration’s attitude towards the Palestinian issue encouraged the Israeli authorities to commit more violations in the Palestinian Territories, especially after the recent US decision to consider settlements in the West Bank legitimate and dont violate international law.

Anas Jirjawi, Euro-Med Monitors Director of the Middle East and North Africa

Euro-Med Monitor said in its monthly report, which monitors Israeli violations in Jerusalem that the Israeli forces committed 400 violations in Jerusalem which fall under 18 types of human rights violations. The majority of these violations were raids, with a total of 25.8%, followed by arrests, with a total of 20.3%, and checkpoints and freedom of movement, with a total of 16.5%.

The report documented 25 shootings and direct assaults carried out by Israeli forces in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which resulted in the death of Fares Abu Nab, 23. This incident constitutes a use of excessive force without him posing any danger or threat to the lives of Israeli forces. In addition, 17 Palestinian civilians, including two women, were wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters, and dozens were suffocated by tear gas while 14 Palestinians were beaten by Israeli forces.

This month, Israeli authorities closed four Palestinian establishments, including the official Palestine Television headquarters, which suggests that Israel is proceeding with its policy that aims to end the existence and operation of official Palestinian institutions, restricting work of official Palestinian figures in the city, and preventing any manifestations of Palestinian sovereignty.

The report documented 103 raids into the towns and neighborhoods of Jerusalem by Israeli forces. The raids included the arrest of 78 Palestinian citizens, including 12 children, a woman, the Palestinian Minister and Governor of Jerusalem, and the Director of the Directorate of Education. The report said that Israeli forces summoned 11 Palestinians and imposed house arrests on at least eight citizens, including children, following imposing fines on them.

The report documented 20 demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties in occupied Jerusalem. Nine homes were demolished, one of which was destroyed by its owner to avoid paying huge fines. In addition, six barns and warehouses were demolished in the city while ten other facilities were notified of demolitions.

These demolitions are carried out by Israeli army forces as part of a systematic policy of forced displacement of Palestinians, in order to change the demographic character of the city, nothing that such actions amount to a war crime.

The report documented four confiscation orders issued by Israeli forces, which seized 790 dunums in Jerusalem for the purpose of building the separation wall as well as roads while 6,850 dunums in the West Bank were affected.

The report documented two Israeli decisions regarding the approval of the Jerusalem train plan and the establishment of 11,000 housing units in a new neighborhood in the abandoned Qalandia Airport to expand the settlement of Atarot north of Jerusalem. The Geneva-based group noted that an Israeli decision to ban the work of UNRWA in Jerusalem was also issued.

Anas Aljirjawi, Euro-Med Monitors Director of the Middle East and North Africa, said that the US Administration’s attitude towards the Palestinian issue encouraged the Israeli authorities to commit more violations in the Palestinian Territories, especially after the recent US decision to consider settlements in the West Bank legitimate and dont violate international law.

Aljirjawi added that by monitoring the actions of Israeli authorities in Jerusalem on a regular basis, it is clear that they are taking steps to end the Palestinian presence in the city by removing communities on different pretexts, arresting, and deporting personalities, and closing official institutions. He warned that silence over these measures gives Israel a green light to implement its policies rapidly.

The report documented eight direct attacks by settlers throughout Jerusalem during November, including damaging car tires, writing racist slogans as part of a strategic activity that Israel permits, based on discriminatory racial grounds, which aims, in the long run, to displace Palestinians and confiscate their homes and lands for settlement projects.

Israeli forces continue to impose restrictions on the access of West Bank residents to Jerusalem, as well as Gazans, most of whom are denied access to the city.

This month, 2009 settlers carried out incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout 20 days of the month, in addition to thousands of settlers who participated in the incursions under the pretext of foreign tourism and with a full coordination with Israeli authorities.

In contrast, Israeli forces continue to impose restrictions on the access of West Bank residents to Jerusalem, as well as Gazans, most of whom are denied access to the city. Israeli forces scrutinize the cards of Palestinians arriving at Al-Aqsa Mosque and hold their IDs, and it prevents large numbers of Jerusalemites from reaching the Mosque under security pretexts.

During November, Israeli authorities issued seven removal decisions from Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as from towns and places in Jerusalem. Israeli authorities are pursuing this policy to exclude influential Palestinian figures, whether at Al-Aqsa Mosque or the occupied city, as part of its fight against Palestinian presence.

Euro-Med Monitor reiterated its call to the United Nations to shoulder its responsibilities in stopping Israel’s violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions that address Israeli violations in the Palestinian Territories and to establish operational mechanisms to address Israel’s deliberate violations of international law.

Full English Report will be available soon.

Arabic Report, here.

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Qatar rejects Amnesty’s assertion that labour reforms have not translated on ground



thepeninsulaqatar– The Ministry of Labour has issued a statement in response to Amnesty’s report “Reality Check 2021: A Year to the 2022 WorldCup”, stating that Qatar rejects its assertion that labour reforms have not translated into changes on the ground for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers.

The statement is as follows:

Qatar rejects Amnesty’s assertion that labour reforms have not translated into changes on the ground for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers.

Amnesty fails to document a single story from among the 242,870 workers who have successfully changed jobs since barriers were removed in September 2020, or from the more than 400,000 workers who have directly benefitted from the new minimum wage through salary increases and other financial incentives.

Since exit permits were removed in 2018, hundreds of thousands of workers have left Qatar and returned without permission from their employer; improvements to the Wage Protection System now protect more than 96 percent of eligible workers from wage abuse; new visa centres in labour-sending countries have significantly reduced exploitative practices before workers arrive in Qatar; and new rules extend the ban on summer working to minimise the effects of heat stress.

Qatar has also strengthened its enforcement measures to safeguard workers and prosecute employers who fail to comply with the law. The number of inspectors employed by the Ministry of Labour has increased year on year, as has their capacity to thoroughly investigate working conditions and refer violators for sentencing in the labour courts.

In the first half of 35,280,2021 accommodation and worksite inspections were carried out and 13,724 penalties were issued to violating companies, including worksite closures, fines and prison sentences. A further 4,840 site visits were made by labour inspectors to raise awareness of the new laws among employers and employees.

Every year, more companies are held accountable for violating the law. Systemic reform is a long-term process and shifting the behaviour of every company takes time. Through its actions, the government is sending a strong message to companies that violations will not be tolerated.

Qatar has never shied away from acknowledging that its labour system is still a work in progress. The government is committed to engaging collaboratively and constructively with international partners and critics to further improve standards for all migrant workers in Qatar

Qatar will therefore continue to consult with international experts including the ILO and trade unions. International NGOs will also be routinely consulted to provide their recommendations.

The reality is that no other country has come so far in such a short amount of time. Following Qatar’s lead, and as a sign of the programme’s wider impact, other countries in the region have now taken steps to introduce their own labour reforms.

Labour reform is a complex task, and Qatar believes that solutions are best found through dialogue and engagement. For this reason, and despite Amnesty’s criticism, Qatar will continue to work constructively with a range of labour experts and practitioners to build on the progress that has been made.

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Myanmar election body charges Suu Kyi with electoral fraud



independent– Myanmar’s state election commission announced it is prosecuting the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi and 15 other senior political figures for alleged fraud in last November’s general election.

The announcement was published Tuesday in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper and other official media.

Allegations of widespread electoral fraud were the main reason cited by the military for its Feb. 1 seizure of power that toppled Suu Kyi’s government. Her National League for Democracy party was about to begin a second five-year term in office after its landslide victory in the polls. The army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party suffered unexpectedly heavy losses.

Independent observers, such as the Asian Network for Free Elections, found no evidence of substantive irregularities in the polls, though they criticized some aspects.

The action by the Union Election Commission could potentially result in Suu Kyi’s party being dissolved and unable to participate in a new election the military has promised will take place within two years of its takeover. However, the commission’s notice, dated Monday, did not specify which laws would be used to prosecute the accused.

In May, the military-appointed new head of the election commission said his agency would consider dissolving Suu Kyi’s former governing party for alleged involvement in electoral fraud and have its leaders charged with treason. Commission Chairman Thein Soe said an investigation had determined that the party had worked illegally with the government to give itself an advantage at the polls.

After taking power, the military dismissed the members of the election commission that had certified the results of last year’s poll and appointed new ones. It also detained members of the old commission, and, according to reports in independent Myanmar media, pressured them to state there had been election fraud.

The new commission declared last year’s election’s results invalid.

The new notice from the commission said Suu Kyi, former President Win Myint, other leading figures in her party and the commission’s former chairman were “involved in electoral processes, election fraud and lawless actions” related to the polls.

It accused 16 people of carrying out illegal actions, including compelling local election officials to obstruct military polling booths, threatening such officials in connection with advance voting for voters over 60 years old, forcing local officials to approve voting lists that included ineligible voters and interfering in campaigning to favor Suu Kyi’s party.

Suu Kyi is already on trial or charged in about a dozen criminal cases in which a conviction would almost certainly bar her from running for office again. Several of her top political allies also have been tried or are facing charges. Suu Kyi’s supporters as well as independent rights organizations contend that the cases are spurious and meant to discredit Suu Kyi and her party while legitimizing military rule.

Dissolving Suu Kyi’s party would follow a regional trend of dissolving popular political parties seen as a threat to governments in power.

Cambodia’s high court in 2017 dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party the sole credible opposition force, ahead of a 2018 general election.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court in 2020 dissolved the newly formed Future Forward Party, which had won the third highest number of seats in the lower house in the 2019 general election.

In both the Cambodian and Thai cases, the courts cited specific violations of the law for their rulings, but their actions were widely seen as reflecting political pressures.

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More than 20 killed in attack on Kabul military hospital



bbc– More than 20 people have been killed and at least 16 injured in a gun and bomb assault on a military hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Attackers targeted the 400-bed Sardar Daud Khan hospital starting with two massive explosions outside the building, officials said.

Gunmen then broke into the hospital grounds, witnesses said.

An affiliate of the Islamic State group, IS-K, later said it had carried out the attack.

Photographs and video footage from Kabul showed a plume of smoke over the area and recorded the sounds of gunfire. A doctor in the building told the AFP news agency he had been sent to seek shelter in a safe room during the attack and could hear guns being fired.

Sayed Ahad told broadcaster EVN that one of the blasts was a suicide attack.

“As an Afghan citizen, I am really tired of this war, suicide and explosions,” he said. “How long do we have to endure this misery?”

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The Taliban spokesman, Bilal Karimi, told the BBC that fighters from IS-K had entered the compound after detonating the first explosion at the entrance gate.

Mr Karimi said Taliban fighters shot and killed four IS-K attackers and captured one alive.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid meanwhile told Reuters news agency that Taliban special forces dropped by helicopter had stopped the attackers from entering the hospital itself, killing them at the entrance or in the building’s courtyard. All the assailants were killed in 15 minutes, he said.

Witnesses quoted by Reuters said they saw two helicopters over the area during the assault. The news agency reports that this would be one of the first times Taliban forces have used aircraft captured from the previous, Western-backed government during an operation.

The attack is the latest to hit Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control in August, after the US withdrew its last troops from the country.

IS-K, which stands for Islamic State Khorasan, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks targeting civilians and Taliban fighters.

In August, a bombing by IS-K at Kabul international airport in August killed more than 150 civilians and 13 US soldiers.

The Sardar Daud Khan hospital has been targeted before. More than 30 people were killed and 50 others wounded in 2017 when gunmen dressed as doctors stormed the building. That attack was also claimed by the Islamic State group.

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