Palestinian protests move to Haifa

Updated 22 May 2018
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Palestinian protests move to Haifa

  • The 19 released had been protesting over the massacre that claimed the lives of dozens
  • The court in Haifa threw out police claims that protesters attacked officers

AMMAN: Nineteen Palestinian citizens of Israel were released on Monday after they were arrested during rare protests inside the country against the massacre in Gaza.

The protests in Haifa, the third largest city in Israel, which has a mixed Arab and Jewish population, started last week.

At a demonstration on Friday, witnesses said that police violently broke up the protesters, arresting 19 and breaking the leg of Jafar Farah, a prominent human rights researcher.

The protests were sparked by the killing of dozens of people in Gaza by Israeli forces last week. While Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank are common, it is much rarer for Palestinian citizens of Israel itself to come out and protest. Haifa has traditionally been held up as an example of peaceful coexistence.

Palestinian lawyers succeeded in getting the 19 arrested released early on Monday after marathon court sessions.

The court in Haifa threw out police claims that protesters attacked officers.

“We turned the courtroom into a space where police violence was exposed and rejected,” said Hassan Jabareen, a representative of the Adalah legal center for Arab rights.

Haifa sources told Arab News that the release of the protesters led to an increase in incidents of incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel, where many feel they are treated as second-class citizens.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, minister of internal security Gilad Erdan and the mayor of Haifa Yona Yaha all criticized the protests and the wider Arab population in Israel, calling them disloyal.

Johnny Mansour, historian and political science lecturer at Beit Beril University in Israel, said that the country’s leadership wanted to divert attention from their own problems and find a scapegoat.

“Now the Palestinian minority in Israel are the easiest target that they can attack,” he told Arab News.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.