Protests to escalate with bigger Palestinian participation in Gaza and beyond

File photo showing Palestinian protesters demonstrating at Gaza border with Israel. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018

Protests to escalate with bigger Palestinian participation in Gaza and beyond

LONDON: Hamas movement’s senior political leader Ismael Haniyeh has warned Israel that forthcoming protests at the border with Gaza are to intensify in the next few weeks.

Hanieh, in a speech in Gaza, promised Israel that protests will escalate after May 15 and will draw Palestinians living in Israel as well as Palestinian diaspora in refugee camps and neighboring countries.

In addition, Haniyyeh said that earlier protests achieved their initial goal by reminding the world that the Palestinians are still suffering under Israeli occupation.

The Hamas leader promised larger demonstrations at the start of Ramadan, that will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Nakba, and the date chosen to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem as well as the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

A senior official in the Supreme National Council governing the ‘March of Return’ revealed that officials held meetings with the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, during which they agreed that all parties will arrange similar protests in the coming weeks.

The official also advised Palestinians in neighboring countries to join the protests against Israel as long as this does not expose them to reprisals, danger or violence on the day.

The senior official said that the Israeli authorities are on high alert and fear for the first time since 1967 that matters might escalate dangerously in May, the month Israelis celebrate the creation of the state of Israel.

And he added that Israel is preparing for a potential Israeli-Palestinian exodus toward villages and towns they were kicked out from in 1948 by Zionist gangs.

Iran’s American-born journalist detained by FBI to appear in US court — Iranian state TV

Updated 6 min 46 sec ago

Iran’s American-born journalist detained by FBI to appear in US court — Iranian state TV

  • The journalist’s employer, English-speaking channel Press TV, says she was arrested by FBI on Sunday
  • The Iranian state-run channel says the journalist was detained on unspecified charges

DUBAI: An American journalist working for Iran’s state television channel Press TV who Iran says has been detained in Washington will appear in a US court on Friday, the channel reported on Friday.
Iran has called for the immediate release of TV anchor and documentary film maker Marziyeh Hashemian, whose employer, the English-language channel Press TV, said was arrested on Sunday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
The FBI has not commented on the case.
“Marzieh Hashemi, detained by the FBI on unspecified charges, is due to appear in a Washington, DC, court on Friday,” the state-run Press TV reported, without elaborating.
The broadcaster on Wednesday quoted Hashemi’s son as saying that the 59-year-old journalist, who had been living in Iran for more than a decade, was detained as a “material witness” to a criminal case and no formal charges had been made against her.
US Federal law allows the government to arrest and detain a witness if it can prove that their testimony is material to a criminal proceeding and that it cannot guarantee their presence through a subpoena.
According to Press TV, Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the United States and changed her name after converting to Islam. She had traveled to the United States to visit her family, the channel said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the arrest a “violation of freedom of speech and unacceptable.”
“She is the wife of an Iranian citizen and we see it as our duty to defend the rights of our citizens” Zarif told Iran’s Arabic-language state broadcaster Al-Alam news channel.
In a statement on Friday, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Justice Department to disclose the reason for Hashemi’s arrest.
CPJ said in the statement that “Iran routinely jails journalists, with at least eight behind bars in relation to their work when CPJ conducted its annual global prison census in December.”
Tensions have been high between Iran and the United States since US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Several Iranian dual nationals from the United States, Britain, Austria, Canada and France have been detained in the past years in Iran and are being kept behind bars on charges including espionage and collaborating with hostile governments.