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Israeli Occupation Kills Over 100 Scholars and Academics

The Government Media Office publishes a list of over 100 names of scholars, academics, university professors, and researchers who were killed by the Israeli army during the genocide war against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli occupation army has managed to kill and assassinate over 100 scholars, academics, university professors, and researchers during the ongoing genocide war on the Gaza Strip for the eighth consecutive month. This act is a clear message aimed at completely eradicating scholars and researchers in the educational sector. Alongside this, the occupation has completely destroyed over 103 universities and schools, in addition to partially destroying 311 universities and schools.

We strongly condemn the assassination of scholars, academics, university professors, and researchers by the occupation. This group is distinguished within the Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip. We call on all universities and educational sectors worldwide to denounce this crime, which is part of the genocide crime.

We hold the Israeli occupation and the American administration fully responsible for this historic crime. The occupation kills and assassinates scholars, and the American administration is involved in the continuation of this genocide, contributing to a war that has claimed over 120,000 victims, including martyrs, wounded, missing, and detainees.

We also call on all free countries of the world and related educational organizations to condemn this historic crime and to exert pressure on the occupation to stop the genocide war against students, schools, universities, scholars, professors, and researchers, as well as the entire educational process.

Below is a list of over 100 names of scholars, academics, university professors, and researchers who were killed and assassinated by the Israeli occupation during the genocide war in the Gaza Strip:

1. Dr. Sufian Tayeh – President of the Islamic University in Gaza

2. Dr. Said Al-Zubda – President of the University College of Applied Sciences

3. Dr. Taysir Ibrahim – Dean of the Faculty of Sharia and Law at the Islamic University

4. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Astal – Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Islamic University

5. Dr. Muhammad Eid Shubair – Former President of the Islamic University

6. Dr. Mahmoud Abu Daf – Professor of Educational Principles at the Islamic University

7. Dr. Khetam Al-Waseifi – Professor of Physics at the Islamic University

8. Dr. Omar Farwana – Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Islamic University

9. Dr. Osama Al-Muzaini – Former Palestinian Minister of Education

10. Dr. Ahmed Abu Absa – Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Palestine University

11. Dr. Ahmed Al-Dalu – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Palestine University

12. Dr. Adham Hassouna – Lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Palestinian universities

13. Dr. Ahmed Al-Qara – Information Technology Lecturer and University Academic

14. Dr. Nesma Abu Shaaira – Professor of Fine Arts at Al-Aqsa University

15. Dr. Abdul Nasser Al-Saqqa – Professor of Geography at Al-Aqsa University

16. Dr. Nidal Qadoura – Professor of Biology at Al-Aqsa University

17. Dr. Wissam Issa – Professor of Geography at Al-Aqsa University

18. Dr. Fadel Abu Hin – Professor of Psychology at Al-Aqsa University

19. Dr. Jihad Al-Masri – Director of Al-Quds Open University

20. Dr. Nihad Al-Rafat – Professor of Hebrew Language at Al-Azhar University

21. Dr. Refaat Alareer – Professor of English at the Islamic University

22. Dr. Amin Al-Bahtiti – Professor of Dentistry at Al-Azhar University

23. Dr. Islam Habboush – Professor of Modern History in Palestinian universities

24. Dr. Medhat Saidam – Professor of Burn Surgery and one of Gaza’s prominent surgeons

25. Dr. Naeem Baroud – Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Islamic University

26. Dr. Azzu Afaneh – Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Islamic University

27. Dr. Salem Abu Mokhda – Professor of Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence at the Islamic University

28. Dr. Muhammad Bekheet – Professor of Creed and Contemporary Doctrines at the Islamic University

29. Dr. Tarek Thabet – Professor of Information Technology at the University College

30. Dr. Shahir Yaghi – Professor of Psychology at the Islamic University

31. Dr. Rafat Lubbad – Professor of Internal Medicine at Gaza’s universities

32. Dr. Khalil Abu Yahya – Lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza

33. Dr. Wael Al-Zard – Professor of Hadith and lecturer at several Palestinian universities

34. Dr. Maisara Al-Rayyes – Distinguished physician with a master’s degree in Women’s Health

35. Dr. Sirin Al-Attar – Obstetrician and Gynecologist

36. Dr. Ismail Abu Saada – Academic Development Consultant and Business Administration Lecturer

37. Dr. Khaled Al-Ramlawi – PhD holder in Engineering from Izmir, Turkey

38. Dr. Talal Said Al-Dahshan – Professor of International Law and Expert in Gazan universities

39. Dr. Raed Qaddoura – Professor of English and PhD holder from Malaysia

40. Dr. Muhammad Abu Zour – Professor of Fundamentals of Religion at the Islamic University of Gaza

41. Dr. Yousef Jumaa Salama – Former Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs

42. Dr. Moamen Shweideh – Lecturer and Supervisor of Postgraduate Studies at the Islamic University

43. Dr. Walid Al-Amoudi – Professor of Fundamentals of Religion at the Islamic University in Gaza

44. Dr. Jamilah Al-Shanti – Former Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Palestinian Government

45. Dr. Ali Taysir Al-Rantisi – Lecturer and Professor at the Islamic University

46. Dr. Hassan Al-Radeea – Researcher, Writer, and Lecturer in the Economic Field

47. Dr. Ayman Al-Rafati – Researcher and Lecturer in Political Science

48. Dr. Mahmoud Al-Louh – One of Gaza’s prominent electrical engineers at the Electricity Distribution Company

49. Dr. Majd Al-Haj – Lecturer at the Islamic University

50. Dr. Somaia Abu Aoun – Lecturer at the College of Palestine and Assistant Lecturer at Palestine University

51. Dr. Anas Al-Bursh – Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Palestine University

52. Dr. Ramez Al-Aidi – Professor of Law at Al-Awda College

53. Dr. Rahaf Abu Saeed – Lecturer at the Islamic University

54. Dr. Bassam Shahin – Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Intermediate Studies at Al-Azhar University

55. Dr. Hossam Hamada – Director of the Pathology Department at Al-Shifa Medical Complex

56. Dr. Rula Fadl Abdul Jawad – Professor of Multimedia at several universities

57. Dr. Abdul Karim Hashash – Palestinian Writer and Researcher

58. Dr. Marwan Tarzi – Director of the Continuing Education Center at Birzeit University

59. Dr. Sharif Al-Asali – Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the Islamic University

60. Dr. Muhammad Hassouna – Professor of Technology at the University College

61. Dr. Yasser Radwan – Lecturer at Palestine Technical College

62. Dr. Hazem Al-Jamali – Professor of Public Law at the Faculty of Law at Gaza University

63. Dr. Nasser Al-Yafawi – Writer, Researcher, Historian, and University Professor at several universities

64. Dr. Muhammad Abdul Ghafoor – Professor of Hadith at the Faculty of Islamic Da’wah in Gaza

65. Dr. Amin Dabour – Professor of Political Science at the Islamic University of Gaza

66. Dr. Yahya Ghaben – Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts at Al-Aqsa University

67. Dr. Nasser Abu Al-Noor – Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the Islamic University in Gaza

68. Dr. Rizq Al-Gharabli – Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of the People

69. Dr. Anisa Qandil – Supervisor of Arabic Language at the Palestinian Ministry of Education

70. Dr. Muhammad Hamad – Lecturer at Al-Aqsa University

71. Dr. Muhammad Adwan – Professor and Expert in Endoscopy and Medicine

72. Dr. Nidal Qadoura – Professor and Lecturer of Medical Sciences at Al-Aqsa University

73. Dr. Nahidd Abdul Latif – Professor of Medical Sciences at Al-Aqsa University

74. Dr. Wissam Abu Musa – Professor of Sports, Volleyball Coach, and Trainer of the Palestinian National Team

75. Dr. Saeed Al-Khorshid – Professor and Expert in Optometry

76. Dr. Ismail Al-Ghamri – Professor and Lecturer at the Islamic University

77. Dr. Muhammad Abu Amara – Dean of the Faculty of Law at Al-Azhar University

78. Dr. Salah Al-Din Zannon – Professor and Lecturer at the Arab College of Applied Sciences

79. Dr. Taha Al-Shanti – Professor and Lecturer of Medical Sciences at Al-Aqsa University

80. Dr. Muhammad Abdul Hadi Nasar – Researcher in the Social and Economic Field

81. Dr. Muhammad Faiz Al-Najjar – PhD holder in Engineering from Izmir University

82. Dr. Medhat Mohesen – Director of Al-Wafa Hospital for the Elderly in Al-Zahraa City

83. Dr. Adnan Ahmed Al-Bursh – Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Islamic University in Gaza

84. Dr. Khaled Al-Najjar – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

85. Dr. Jihad Al-Baz – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

86. Dr. Jihad Al-Masri – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

87. Dr. Muhammad Nassar – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

88. Dr. Hossam Abu Anza – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

89. Dr. Shihada Al-Bahbani – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

90. Dr. Ziad Al-Tatari – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

91. Dr. Ahmed Al-Shaer – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

92. Dr. Ibrahim Khayal – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

93. Dr. Khalil Al-Nakhala – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

94. Dr. Dua Al-Masri – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

95. Dr. Muhammad Awad – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

96. Dr. Muhammad Al-Nabahen – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

97. Dr. Ibrahim Abu Salah – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

98. Dr. Ali Al-Qarinawi – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

99. Dr. Ibrahim Saidam – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

100. Dr. Muhammad Asaad – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

101. Dr. Nadaa Afaneh – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

102. Dr. Seddiq Nassar – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

103. Dr. Ahmed Abu Saada – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

104. Dr. Muhammad Al-Zaaneen – Academic Researcher and Lecturer

Government Media Office

Thursday, May 16, 2024

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In Prisoners’ Day: Palestinians continue the struggle from inside and outside the prisons

Mahmoud Bakr Hijazi was considered the first prisoner in the history of the modern Palestinian revolution. He was arrested after carrying out, along with other resistance fighters, the Beit Jibrin Fedayeen operation. Initially sentenced to death, his sentence was later commuted to 30 years in prison. He was released in 1971 as part of the first prisoner exchange deal conducted on Palestinian soil, known as the “prisoner for prisoner” exchange.

The Israeli Prison Service refers to Palestinians it arrests as “security prisoners,” restricting their freedom and labeling them as “terrorists” for carrying out hostile and sabotage acts against Israel. However, they see themselves as resistance fighters against an occupation seeking to displace them from their land and strip them of their dignity.

Israel has resorted to individual and collective arrests as punishment for Palestinians, with more than a million cases of detention carried out since its occupation of the West Bank in 1967. The most significant of these detentions were post the latest war on Gaza on October 7, 2023, followed by over 8,000 arrests within just six months thereafter.

Nevertheless, the occupation has not dampened the determination of the prisoners nor has it been able to deter them or the Palestinian people as a whole. Instead, they have turned the ordeal of imprisonment into an opportunity, producing scholars, intellectuals, and writers who continue their struggle both inside and outside the prisons even after their release.

Their numbers are multiplying

Before the seventh of October last year, the number of prisoners reached around 5,000, including 160 children and 30 female prisoners, as well as 22 veteran prisoners (pre-Oslo prisoners), the oldest of whom is the prisoner Mohammed Al-Tous. Additionally, there were 11 prisoners who were released in the Wafa Al-Ahrar deal (Shalit deal) in 2011 but were re-arrested by Israel in 2014.

After the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, more than 8,000 arrests were recorded in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including 272 women (detainees from the occupied territories in 1948, Gaza, and the West Bank), and 500 children, with hundreds more arrested from Gaza.

Currently, there are over 9,400 prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 71 female prisoners, 200 children, and 700 prisoners suffering from various illnesses.

The Israeli authorities have employed all means to torture and punish Palestinian prisoners, from chasing and arresting them to transferring them to prisons, interrogation centers, and courts, accompanied by various violations. This includes the notorious “Bosta” prison bus with iron seats, where prisoners are transported bound and blindfolded for up to 12 hours in a journey that would normally take no more than two hours under normal conditions.

The courts and laws

Israel enacted unjust laws against prisoners, especially the law allowing the trial of children under 14 years old, another law depriving them of education, and a third law enabling the confiscation of their financial entitlements.

Perhaps the most dangerous is the law of force-feeding for hunger-striking prisoners to obtain their rights. Israel also legalized the detention of their bodies and currently holds 496 bodies (excluding martyrs’ bodies in Gaza post-war) in numbered graves and refrigerators, including 27 prisoners.

Furthermore, a bill proposing the execution of prisoners was introduced in 2015 but has not been approved by the Knesset yet, despite public calls by Itamar Ben Gvir, the Minister of National Security, in November of last year.

However, Israel has not dropped its high sentences from its agenda (561 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment). More than 500 prisoners who have spent over 20 years in prison are described as “generals of patience,” in addition to prisoners with open-ended life sentences like Abdullah Barghouti, sentenced to 67 life sentences, and Nael Barghouti, described as the world’s oldest prisoner with 44 years served.

Even more concerning is Israel’s use of administrative detention policy (where the charges are kept secret), which over 3,660 prisoners currently face. The prisoner remains at the mercy of the occupation intelligence, which governs and renews their detention without cause.

Detention multiple times

Experiences have shown that nothing has deterred Palestinians, due to their belief in the legitimacy of their struggle and their right to live freely and peacefully on their land. Fuad Al-Khafsh, a researcher on prisoners for Al Jazeera, states that 75% of Palestinian prisoners have been re-arrested more than once because they continued their struggle even after their release.

He added that some prisoners are currently being detained for the 30th time, like Sheikh Hassan Yousef, and others for the 15th time, like prisoner Nazeih Abu Aoun. Many from various Palestinian factions and their leaders, such as Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Saadat, and Abbas Al-Sayed, have been arrested multiple times by Israel.

Prisoners have not been devoid of means to obtain their rights within prisons or even to free themselves. They have resorted to hunger strikes and have engaged in 26 collective hunger strikes since 1967, along with hundreds of individual strikes.

Among these was the Ashkelon Prison hunger strike in 1976, which lasted for 65 days, and the Nafha Prison strike in 1980, where four prisoners were martyred. The “Mother of Battles” strike in 1992 was also notable, involving 7,000 prisoners, with one of them martyred. More recent strikes include the “Dignity Will Live” strike in 2012 and the “Dignity” strike in 2017.

The late martyr Sheikh Khader Adnan initiated his hunger strike in 2011-2012, which lasted for 65 days, paving the way for modern individual strikes, with dozens of prisoners following suit, some striking for over 100 days.

Israel arrested hundreds in Gaza after October 7th and deemed them “unlawful combatants,” with around 850 prisoners remaining detained, their whereabouts concealed by Israel, held in military camps near Gaza and secret prisons in the Negev like Sedeh Teiman and Eitanim.

An Israeli military doctor revealed that some prisoners, due to their continued restraint for days and weeks, had their limbs amputated. Israel also admitted to killing 27 Palestinians from Gaza prisoners.

One of the most alarming things faced by prisoners after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation were sexual assaults, including rape of female prisoners.

The Path to Liberation

According to the families of prisoners and also resistance factions, only through force can prisoners be liberated. Neither politics nor peace negotiations with Israel have succeeded in freeing any of them.

This force is manifested in Israeli capture operations, especially targeting soldiers, and in making exchange deals. Palestinian resistance has succeeded in achieving this in ten exchange deals from 1968 to 2011. These deals have been and remain the sole hope for prisoners to regain their freedom.

The most famous exchange agreements were the first “Jalil Deal” in 1983, the second known as the “Ahmed Jibril-Popular Front-General Command” deal in 1985, and the “Wafa al-Ahrar” (Shalit) deal in 2011. In these deals, the Palestinian negotiator imposed his conditions, leading to the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including those with high sentences or life imprisonment, in exchange for three Israelis in the first deal and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by the resistance in Gaza in 2006, in the second.

The “Al-Aqsa Flood” came to raise the hopes of prisoners despite their suffering due to the occupation’s crimes in Gaza and its devastation of its people. Despite the pain, over 150 Palestinian prisoners, including children and women, regained their freedom in a phased deal that included the release of 50 Israelis held by the resistance during the Al-Aqsa Flood. For the remaining Israeli prisoners, the resistance’s negotiations are forceful, and Palestinians, especially prisoners, cling to hope.

Fuad Al-Khafsh, a researcher on prisoners, says that negotiations and the peace process have not freed a single prisoner. Those released by Israel after the Oslo Agreement were categorized as having “good intentions” from Israel towards the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations. In 2013, Israel released 75 prisoners out of 104 prisoners from before Oslo, while some were released and others martyred, leaving 22 prisoners known as the “Fourth Batch Prisoners” mostly from inside the occupied territories since 1948.

“Escape” from occupation prisons became another hope for prisoners to regain their freedom, and they succeeded in many cases. The latest was in September 2021 when six prisoners from the Gilboa prison in the north managed to escape through a tunnel dug from beneath the prison to outside.

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After the ‘deterrence collapse,’ 3 options for the Israeli response to Iran

Israeli analyses and assessments have unanimously agreed that the Iranian drone attacks deep into Israeli territory should serve as a red alert for decision-makers in the Israeli security establishment, despite what they described as an “impressive achievement” by the Israeli defense system in collaboration with the United States.

Israeli analyses have also concurred that Iran has surpassed and broken the fear barrier by launching an attack on Israel from Iranian territory for the first time since the Islamic Revolution. This reflects the collapse of Israeli deterrence, with Tehran daring to challenge Tel Aviv and escalate tensions into a state of emergency and psychological warfare since targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and assassinating leaders of the Revolutionary Guard, notably Hassan Mahdavi, commander of the “Quds Force” in Syria and Lebanon.

Despite the diminishing deterrence capability and Iran’s audacity in attacking Israel, Israeli analysts’ readings indicate that the unprecedented Iranian attack, intercepted by Israeli defense systems in collaboration with the United States and regional countries, represents “operational success,” potentially paving the way for forming a US-Israeli-Arab alliance against Iran.

According to analysts’ estimates, the Israeli military is not in a rush to respond to the Iranian attack at the moment, although this could harm deterrence capabilities. Analysts agree that the attack in Iran could exacerbate the situation and drag the region into a regional war, especially after Tehran succeeded in attacking Israel and establishing a concerning precedent.

Deterrence Collapse

Under the headline “Netanyahu waited amid victory celebrations… A dismal failure of deterrence against Iran,” Ariel Shemidberg, the newsroom editor at “Walla” website, wrote an article heavily criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of the Iranian threat, saying: “Despite the achievement of the defense system, Iran managed to unsettle us for two weeks and strike deep into Israeli territory.”

On the other hand, Shemidberg says, “There has also been a monumental failure regarding Israel and the United States’ ability to create deterrence against Iran, which has demonstrated immense strength and unprecedented courage, a sign of the collapse of the terror balance. The balance of terror against Hezbollah in Lebanon was also not entirely balanced, which Israel fears.”

The article’s author recommended that the Israeli elites wait and postpone expressions of joy and victory celebrations, saying: “We have not won yet. Israel is still far from achieving its goals and victory, as evidenced by the families of the abducted, and tens of thousands of residents of the north and south who are still displaced from their homes and are moving around as refugees in their own country for the past 6 months.”

Response Options

Regarding the military side and anticipation of the Israeli response, military analyst Amir Bouhbout believes Israel faces a dilemma of “containing the attack or responding with a strike in Iran, risking escalation and dragging the region into a regional war?”

As a result, the military analyst says, “Senior officials in the Israeli General Staff will be asked to assess Iran’s potential responses. They will also need to receive a series of recommendations on whether to respond forcefully and exact a price from the military bases of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its locations or choose to assassinate Iranian security personnel.”

Bouhbout also believes that it will be incumbent upon the leaders of the General Staff to consider whether they will settle for a limited operation, where Israeli Air Force pilots carry out a mission at a distance of 1500 kilometers to strike a symbolic Iranian target, such as a government building, weapon depots, oil wells, and even Iranian ships sailing in the sea.

As for the third option, based on statements from the Israeli army spokesman and Defense Minister Yuval Galant, the military analyst estimates that Israel will not rush into a response. It will carefully consider the degree of response at the appropriate time, indicating that Israeli assessments agree that Iran aims to destroy air bases and surpass the Israeli army in the Middle East.

Netanyahu’s Approach

As part of the criticism of Netanyahu’s performance during the Iranian threats and drone attacks that reached deep into Israeli territory, Israeli writer Carmela Cohen Shlomi described Netanyahu as “cowardly” for neglecting Israel during the Iranian attack, which was handled by US President Joe Biden, who took charge and returned it to its senses.

“After difficult hours during which Israeli citizens were searching for someone to explain to them what was happening,” Cohen wrote in an article on the “Zman Yisrael” website, “an elderly, pale, and sweaty man appeared on the screen wandering near the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, asking, ‘Is there 7 shekels (2 dollars) here? I need to go to a friend’s shelter.'”

“With these words, the Israeli writer described Netanyahu and summarized his approach in managing Israel’s affairs during emergencies, saying: ‘He destroyed everything and still holds onto a draft speech ending with the phrase ‘Together we will prevail,’ using Iranian attacks to divert attention from protests and promote the idea that Israel is in danger.’

Writer and political analyst Ben Caspit seemed more explicit when he wrote in an article for Ma’ariv newspaper that the Iranian drone and missile attacks on Israel were the lowest point reached by Netanyahu’s government, which continues to experience failure and shortcomings even in the realm of national security.

According to Ben Caspit’s perspective, Israel suffered a heavy and unprecedented public humiliation from Iran, stating, ‘Israeli deterrence, which prevented Iran from directly attacking us, has collapsed, as have joint international deterrence efforts. The Iranians have broken the fear barrier. From now on, Iran is openly against Israel.’

Referring to the delayed and potentially undisclosed nature of the response, Ben Caspit says, ‘As expected, Biden tried to pull Netanyahu down from the tree and avoid a quick and harsh reaction, and it seems he has succeeded in doing so, at least for now.’

The political analyst believes that Israel reopening its airspace and resuming flights at Ben Gurion Airport ‘means that the likelihood of an immediate Israeli response, promised by Netanyahu’s close associates, has become slim, and the natural need to teach the Iranians a harsh lesson and make them pay a heavy price now confronts the complex strategic reality in the Middle East.'”

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The destruction of Gaza graves and theft of bodies is a new war crime in the occupation’s record

According to international law, the intentional attack on a cemetery can amount to a war crime, and what Israel is doing goes beyond all international norms and laws. The Israeli occupation forces have deliberately desecrated the graves of Palestinian martyrs in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground operation in the area. They excavate graves to extract bodies and, in some cases, steal the remains.

The Israeli occupation army acknowledged, last Friday, the destruction of a cemetery in Khan Yunis city in the southern Gaza Strip, including the excavation of graves, under the pretext of searching for the bodies of Israeli captives.

In a written statement from the Israeli occupation army in response to a question from an Anadolu Agency correspondent on the subject, the occupation stated, “As part of vital intelligence and operational information, the Israeli army carries out operations to rescue the bodies of hostages in sensitive and specific locations based on information indicating the possibility of finding the bodies of hostages there.”

The statement added that the bodies found in the graves “turned out not to be those of Israeli captives, and therefore, they were respectfully returned to the graves,” according to their claim.

This is the first time the Israeli army has acknowledged the extraction of bodies, following the widespread circulation of numerous reports on social media showing the aftermath of the destruction caused by the occupation forces in several cemeteries. These reports documented the theft of bodies, leaving exposed human remains.

Examples of graves destroyed by the occupation are numerous. The withdrawal of Israeli occupation military vehicles from the vicinity of the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip revealed the occupation’s destruction of a cemetery in the city and the excavation of several graves.

The cemetery had previously been subjected to intense shelling by Israeli artillery and warplanes, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of graves.

In the Shuja’iya neighborhood in Gaza City, the Israeli occupation forces destroyed a part of the Tunisian Cemetery to establish a temporary military site. Additionally, the Israeli army established a military site over a cemetery in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip – another one of the oldest cemeteries in Gaza, covering an area of approximately 20 square meters.

Stealing 150 Bodies

The occupation also destroyed the Tuffah Cemetery east of Gaza. The Government Media Office in the Gaza Strip confirmed that the occupation army excavated 1,100 graves in the cemetery and stole 150 bodies. It stated that the occupation’s vehicles bulldozed the Tuffah Cemetery, extracting the bodies of martyrs and the deceased, “disrespecting and violating their dignity, without any regard for the sanctity of the deceased or the graves.”

Images of Al Jazeera showed the traces of excavation left by the occupation forces in the Tuffah Cemetery. The pictures reveal the occupation forces’ mechanical excavation of the cemetery, digging up graves, and extracting bodies.

An Al Jazeera correspondent reported that the occupation forces bulldozed the cemetery, leaving the bodies of martyrs outside, in addition to running over the corpses with their vehicles and leaving them outside the graves.

The American newspaper “The New York Times” verified the destruction by the occupation of several other cemeteries, including one in Sheikh Ajleen, a neighborhood in Gaza City, and a cemetery in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, covering an estimated area of 23 square meters.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also verified the destruction of other cemeteries by the occupation army, including the Faluja Cemetery near the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza and the Shuja’iya Cemetery located in the northern Gaza Strip.

An investigation conducted by CNN revealed that the Israeli occupation army “desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in its ground assault on Gaza, leading to the destruction of tombstones, overturning of soil, and, in some cases, the extraction of bodies.”

According to international law, the intentional destruction of religious sites, such as cemeteries, violates international law and can amount to a war crime unless there are narrow circumstances related to making the site a military target. Legal experts mentioned to CNN that Israel’s actions could rise to the level of war crimes.

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Legend of the Red Cow: How Does It Threaten Al-Aqsa?

The Israeli Channel 12 has renewed the discussion about the seriousness of religious Zionism in its systematic aggression on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque to establish the alleged temple in its place. The report, aired on July 29, 2023, emphasized the five cows imported by the Temple groups and their reliance on them to impose new realities in Al-Aqsa Mosque. This underscores the need to address this religious issue and its potential implications, highlighting the government’s adoption of this plan with all its recklessness and unpredictable consequences for the Zionist entity.

Regarding Religious Zionism and Temple Groups: A Necessary Introduction

Temple groups represent the interface of the Religious Zionist movement in its endeavor to establish the Temple. This movement reinterprets Zionism, transforming it from a nationalistic idea seeking to provide a homeland for Jews as a presumed people into a simultaneous national and religious concept. It realizes a national homeland for the “Jewish people” based on Torah-based religious visions, essentially becoming a nationalist-religious movement reinterpreting Jewish nationalism on religious grounds. It also reinterprets Torah religious texts from a Zionist national perspective, thereby transitioning the Zionist entity from being a secular political entity to a Jewish, rabbinical political entity living by the laws of God and fulfilling His will. At the heart of this will is the construction of the Temple.

This movement, once marginal during the emergence of the Zionist movement and the establishment of the political entity, is now expanding and ascending to become the forefront of settlement in the West Bank. It aims to decisively shape the religious identity of Jerusalem and stands as a middle ground between secular nationalist forces like the Likud party and traditional religious forces like the United Torah Judaism and Shas parties. This position makes it a pivotal player in Netanyahu’s current governing coalition, holding significant sway over policies, especially considering that adherents to its ideology constitute 27 out of 120 seats in the current Knesset. Moreover, they control 15 ministerial portfolios in Netanyahu’s 32-member government.

During its ascent, this religious colonization movement crystallizes as a colonial practice added to territorial and demographic colonization. It specifically targets Islamic sanctities through complete substitution, imposing Jewish sanctities in their place. At its core is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, alongside the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, as well as Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque in Bethlehem, in addition to several Islamic cemeteries.

Why do Temple groups rely on red cows?

In attempting to incite its audience to storm the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, described as the alleged Temple, Temple groups were aware of facing a rabbinical consensus prohibiting Jews from entering it for two reasons: first, the construction of the Temple and its entry are contingent on the arrival of the Messiah or the descent of the Temple from the sky, both divine actions that must be awaited. Second, the condition of ritual purity, unanimously agreed upon by rabbinical authorities, is believed to be absent in any contemporary Jew. “Entering the Temple,” meaning practically storming Al-Aqsa, would be considered a desecration, bringing divine punishment unless the purity condition is met.

As religious Zionism, by its nature, is a redemptive movement believing that human action is the source of salvation or at least a necessary precursor until the awaited Messiah is sent by the Lord, the first condition has practically been bypassed. The obstacle that remains is the condition of ritual purity.

In Jewish law, impurity comes from bodily fluids, menstruation, postpartum bleeding, and it can be purified with water through various rituals. However, major impurity in this law is contact with the dead body of a Jew, meeting with the dead body under the same roof in a house or hospital, or even entering a cemetery. This major impurity, if contracted by a person, can be transmitted to other Jews through touch. Hence, there is a consensus that this major impurity includes all Jews worldwide today. This explains the official rabbinical rejection of incursions into Al-Aqsa and the limited number of intruders. Even supporters of religious Zionism adhere to this, as Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has never stormed Al-Aqsa for this reason, despite being the political head of this movement with its diverse components.

Temple groups rely on the belief that performing this complex ritual will break their isolation, making their audience, particularly those close to religious Zionism, respond to their discourse and actively participate in storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This aligns with their phased plans, involving temporal division, spatial division, and the spiritual establishment of the Temple by imposing Torah rituals. This transition aims to increase the number of daily intruders from hundreds to thousands, with the numbers multiplying during major holidays from thousands (the highest recorded in a single day so far is 2,200) to tens of thousands, even though such figures are presented in an exaggerated manner, speaking of millions.

At the same time, the Temple groups consider this red cow as the “tenth in Jewish history,” claiming it to be the promised cow to inaugurate the Christian covenant. They view it as a necessity to find it as a prelude to the descent of the Messiah and the construction of the Temple. They see their endeavor in this as a human role leading to the fulfillment of the Lord’s works.

Relentless efforts to impose the Red Cow ritual

This purifying ritual has two fundamental requirements that Temple groups are working to achieve: reviving the priestly class and finding the Red Cow. The “Temple Institute” has dedicated itself to fulfilling these requirements since its establishment in 1987. It works to revive the priestly class by identifying Jews descended from Aaron, ensuring their birth and upbringing under conditions that prevent the transfer of impurity from the dead. They then train them in the rituals described in the Torah and Talmud to lead prayers in the Temple, prepare their clothes and belongings, and subsequently encourage them to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque in their white garments to practically lead those rituals there. The institute has almost completely achieved this, evident in the “Priestly Blessing” prayers they insist on repeating periodically in the eastern corner of the Al-Aqsa courtyard.

As for finding the Red Cow, the institute has dedicated a special program to it since its inception. In 1997, it announced that it had found a nominated cow, but it did not meet the conditions as it reached the age of two. This was repeated in 2002. Then, in 2014, the institute announced a similar birth in the United States on June 12.

On July 12, 2015, the institute decided to establish a program to raise a herd of Red Cows in occupied Palestine. It launched a popular fundraising campaign to implant frozen embryos into a cow raised in a local barn in an attempt to use biotechnology to fulfill the Torah prophecy in a program called “Raising the Red Cow in Israel.” The institute announced on September 4, 2018, the birth of a nominated cow within the same program using frozen embryo implantation, but that cow also did not meet the specifications.

The current attempt has shifted the search to the United States, considering it the largest cattle-raising market. It appears that this effort is not far from employing a more advanced form of biotechnology. It has received support and financial care from a right-wing Zionist organization calling itself “Building Israel,” which has a sister fund funded in the United States through donations from evangelical Christians. The farm, calling itself the “Trinity Ranch” in Texas, USA, supervised the raising of a herd of Red Cows of varying ages, approximately six months to one year. Then, the best five cows were selected as candidates to meet the specifications and were airlifted to occupied Palestine on September 15, 2022. This herd is being raised on a farm affiliated with the Temple Institute in Beit She’an in the northern Jordan Valley.

The media uproar generated by the Israeli media today, amid the escalating internal division in the Zionist settler community, may be attributed to the level of support this messianic movement receives, despite the divergence of its rhetoric from rationality and logic. There is an attempt to associate this support with the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In reality, this rise is continuous, even under the coalition governments formed by Gantz with Netanyahu or those formed by Yair Lapid, the current leader of the secular opposition, with Naftali Bennett, who is affiliated with the Religious Zionist stream. It was during Bennett’s term that the five cows were imported, and the Director-General of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage and the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture facilitated their import, organizing a reception ceremony at the airport attended by 300 Temple groups’ activists. Additionally, a project for a park on the Mount of Olives was presented to serve as a venue for the purification rituals with the Red Cow.

In conclusion, despite the high confidence expressed by the Temple groups in the success of one of these five cows in meeting the Torah conditions—a confidence that may result from the use of undisclosed biotechnology—the 36-year-long organized search for the Red Cow has seen four unfulfilled announcements to date. While this does not necessarily imply its inevitable failure this time, it dictates treating the current fifth announcement as a gamble with the possibility of success or failure.

What if the Red Cow ritual were to be successfully performed?

Many Palestinian and Arab media outlets have inaccurately covered and analyzed the Channel 12 report with exaggerations. Some, for example, suggested that slaughtering one of the five cows would inevitably mean “building the Temple.” Slaughtering a Red Cow and using it for purification signifies an increase in the number of intruders to Al-Aqsa, but it does not necessarily mean “building the Temple.” Concluding that the slaughter directly leads to construction surpasses the capacity of Palestinian action and overlooks dozens of struggle experiences by Palestinians defending Al-Aqsa, which have thwarted previous attempts to change its identity and judaize it.

To clarify further, if the Red Cow purification ritual is successfully performed, it would mean mobilizing the religious Zionist audience, bringing them actively into the incursions of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple construction plan. This audience is viewed as the missing essence of Zionism, and the human effort to establish the Temple is seen as a precursor to invoking divine intervention that would change the balance and resolve the Zionist entity’s crises.

Until 2021, official statistics did not separate a sector under the name “Religious Zionism” in their breakdown of religious affiliations within the Jewish community. However, due to the differentiation of this group from other religious categories and their rising political influence, official Israeli statistics now estimate their proportion at about 16% of the Jewish society in the Zionist entity, which is approximately 1.1 million people. Considering their high birth rate, the adult population in this sector, both men and women, is estimated to be around 400,000. This is the audience susceptible to influence by the rhetoric of Temple groups if the Red Cow ritual is executed, with the possibility of additional sectors joining, including traditional religious (Haredi) and nationalist fundamentalists.

There is no precise count of the active supporters of Temple groups involved in incursions currently, as sympathizers outnumber participants significantly. However, analyzing the daily average of intruders, reaching 200 intruders, and the annual figures of 48,000 intruders in 2022, with the highest daily intrusion reaching 2,200, a reasonable estimate for this audience is between 10,000 to 15,000, each intruding Al-Aqsa Mosque four to five times annually, as witnessed by the recurrence of the same intruders multiple times.

If Temple groups succeed in mobilizing 10-15% of the religious Zionist audience for active participation in the incursions of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is a high estimate considering political indifference, personal circumstances, geographic distance, and security considerations, the active audience for Temple groups is likely to become between 40,000 to 60,000. This could potentially quadruple the daily intruders’ average, reaching around 800 daily intruders. The annual figure for intruders might be around 200,000, and the maximum number of intruders during major Jewish holidays could be around 9,000.

If these figures are practically realized, it could effectively shift Al-Aqsa Mosque from being solely an Islamic holy site to a shared holy site between Muslims and Jews. This would necessitate a comprehensive restructuring of the occupation police’s role within and around the mosque, likely involving an increase in their presence, new entry points, waiting areas, and security measures. This explains the Israeli police’s survey of using the Asbat Gate and the Ghazali Square northeast of Al-Aqsa Mosque during major incursions over the past year.

Considering the average age of these cows, the first one is expected to reach the age for slaughter in October 2023 if it continues to meet the Torah conditions, while the last one is expected to reach that age in April 2024. Given that the ashes of a single cow are sufficient to spiritually purify all Jews in the Zionist entity, the commencement of the consequences of this new upheaval in the scale of aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque would likely occur between the Torah Masakharot celebration on March 24-25, 2024, intersecting with the second week of Ramadan and the Torah Easter celebration that follows a month later.

In conclusion, as peculiar and seemingly unrelated to political dynamics as the Red Cow ritual may appear, its potential achievement would result in a fourfold increase in the number of intruders to Al-Aqsa Mosque on average. This would intensify the role and presence of the occupation police, introduce new gates and adjacent spaces into the realm of Zionist monopolization, practically transferring Al-Aqsa Mosque to the shared holy category. This shift would escalate the confrontation over its identity, warranting separate consideration for preparedness and anticipation.

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The Israeli Occupation Takes the Lives of Two Mothers Every Hour

The executive director of the United Nations Women, Cima Buhooti clarified in a statement that women and children are the primary victims of the tragedy in Gaza. She pointed out that since the beginning of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood more than 100 days ago, Gaza has witnessed unprecedented destruction, with women and girls comprising the majority of the casualties, injuries, and displaced individuals.

Estimates indicate that “around one million displaced women and girls in Gaza, and two mothers are killed every hour, while about 10,000 children have lost their fathers.”

Buhooti has compared the conditions in the occupied Palestine before and after October 7, 2023, stating that the figures previously indicated that 67% of the victims were men, while less than 14% were women and girls. However, today, the numbers have flipped, with 70% of the martyrs in Gaza being women and children.

Buhooti emphasized that these are individuals, not just numbers, and expressed a commitment to not betray them. The spokesperson added that the shock experienced by the Palestinian people over these past hundred days and beyond will haunt everyone for generations. Regardless of the current sorrow for the situation of women and girls in Gaza, there will be even more grief tomorrow if unrestricted humanitarian aid is not provided to stop destruction and killing.

The UN official called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian aid for all Gaza residents, including providing assistance and vital services for all women and girls. She stressed that the world is obligated to work towards peace in the region because failure to bring about change means that the last hundred days will be just the prelude to the next hundred days.

In his statement, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, emphasized that women and girls in the Gaza Strip are losing their lives and facing catastrophic levels of humanitarian needs. He added that around 3,000 women have lost their husbands in the war or have become the sole providers for their families.

Dujarric further stated, “Current estimates indicate that about 70% of those killed in Gaza are women and children, with at least 3,000 women possibly becoming widows and heads of households. They are in desperate need of protection and food assistance.” He continued by highlighting that children constitute more than half of Gaza’s population, and the percentage of displaced children exceeds 90%.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that 20,000 children have been born in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched a destructive war on it on October 7, 2023. This information was shared during a press conference held by UNICEF communications expert Tess Ingram in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ingram stated, “During the 105 days of escalating tension in the Gaza Strip, nearly 20,000 children were born in a war environment.” She added, “This means the birth of approximately one child every 10 minutes amid this terrible war.”

Ingram emphasized that the situation for pregnant women, newborns, and infants in the Gaza Strip is “unbelievable,” confirming the urgent need for immediate and intensified measures for them.

She further explained, “Pregnant mothers, breastfeeding mothers, and their children are living in inhumane conditions and temporary shelters. These individuals suffer from malnutrition, lack access to clean water, putting around 135,000 children under the age of two at risk of malnutrition.”

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The gains of the “Aqsa Flood”: How the Palestinian resistance restored hope for the rise of the nation

Before the operation “Aqsa Flood” on October 7, 2023, a sense of “defeatist spirit” spread throughout the Arab and Islamic bodies, accompanied by a state of resignation and submission to the harsh reality. It was akin to capitulation and surrender, as if the Arab and Islamic nations had died, and their enemies had risen to great heights.

Even the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) sought to convey this defeatist feeling to the occupation as a form of deception before the attack. So much so that the Zionist enemy intelligence informed the Tel Aviv government that the movement would not fight and had surrendered to reality, caring only about ruling Gaza.

According to Israeli newspapers, the enemy intelligence admitted that Hamas deceived them with this perception until they were taken by surprise by the “Aqsa Flood,” imposing a new reality that could hasten the “curse of the eighth decade”; the demise of the Jewish kingdom that had collapsed twice historically before reaching the age of 80.

The Palestinian resistance managed to break the stereotypical image ingrained in the minds of Arab and Islamic populations regarding surrender to the power of Israel. It presented the occupation state as a paper tiger, with its soldiers fleeing in fear, their faces marked by terror. Some were seen being pulled from their tanks and dragged like rag dolls before the world. It revealed that a few battalions of dedicated Palestinian youth, most of whom were Quran memorizers devoted to the cause of the nation, manufactured their weapons themselves. They succeeded in penetrating the occupying state using simple means such as kites, motorcycles, a few dilapidated vehicles. This splendid victory, which the occupier tried to cover up with massacres and destruction, led to the flow of blood once again in the veins of stagnant Arab and Islamic nations, which had been submissive for years to the notion that “Israel” is a reality that must be normalized. It revived the hopes of the nation, entirely.

The Hope of Uprising

The victory of the Palestinian resistance came as a kind of glad tidings, reminiscent of the prophecy given by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, to the nation when he said, “Indeed, Allah sends to this Ummah at the head of every hundred years, someone who renews its religion,” after it had been afflicted by weakness.

Because it was a rare and extraordinary victory over an occupying force representing the essence of Western power used to suppress Arab and Islamic peoples in Palestine, preventing the nation from rising, the reaction of the people was also extraordinary. Arab and Islamic crowds flooded the streets and roads in the majority of Islamic and Arab capitals in support of the Palestinian people and in solidarity with them. There was no Islamic state whose sons did not come out to support the Palestinians, and their slogans were unified.

The messages conveyed by Arab and Islamic crowds revolved around supporting Hamas, rejecting normalization, and emphasizing that there is no solution to the liberation of the nation’s usurped lands by Zionist gangs except through strength, self-reliance, and the resources of the nation.

The chants and slogans in the protests that took place in Arab and Islamic countries were almost uniform in their support for the Palestinian resistance, rejection of the enemy’s plan, and America’s attempt to displace Palestinians from their land, as well as boycotting supporters of the occupation.

The movement of the people was not limited to Arab and Islamic countries; the crowds and protests in Western countries supporting the Palestinian cause and Arab and Islamic rights were more surprising and stronger than their counterparts in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

What distinguished the crowds in the Arab and Islamic worlds was that those who took to the streets were young generations unfamiliar with the history of the Palestinian cause due to media neglect and the promotion of normalization culture. They were more enthusiastic and creative in their ideas of solidarity against the Gaza genocide, utilizing modern technology. As for the crowds in America – which aggressively supported “Israel” – and all Western countries, they were a surprise not in terms of the number who participated but in terms of becoming more aware and resistant to the Zionist narratives and lies propagated for years about Arab and Islamic “terrorism.”

Those who demonstrated in the West not only demanded an end to the aggression and genocide in Gaza and punishment for “Israel” but also raised slogans considered by “Israel” and Western governments as “non-Semitic,” such as the slogan “From the River to the Sea,” meaning the establishment of a pure Palestinian state and the disappearance of “Israel”! Protests by American Jews against “Israel” and its unconditional American support, mostly from the “Jewish Voice for Peace” organization and the “If Not Now” organization, were a surprise because they were the most impactful when they raised slogans like “Not in Our Name,” criticizing the racism of the Zionist state. The war on Gaza created thousands of believers in the West with a mindset of resistance, affirming that resistance is not terrorism as they try to portray it, but rather a nationalist liberation movement for the lands of its people. Unified, perhaps for the first time, were the Arab and Islamic nations, as well as the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the West, in solidarity with Hamas. They rejected the label of terrorism for Palestinian resistance movements and affirmed their right to resist occupation, liberate their land, and defend their people.

They unified in confronting Western governments, especially the United States and Europe, which provided unprecedented support to the Zionist state in the form of lethal weapons against isolated and resilient people, engaged in a nationalist resistance armed only with locally crafted weapons. They united in demanding the accountability and trial of the killers according to international law and legitimate international resolutions. At the same time, they exposed their disdain for international justice and the current United Nations system, which is helpless in aiding hospitals subjected to bombing, invasion, and the killing of patients.

They united in fighting the moral and humanitarian collapse demonstrated by the West and international organizations, who stood by watching a genocide unfold against an isolated people deprived of water, food, medicine, and fuel. Their rejection of the international legitimacy farce that procrastinates in solving the Palestinian issue and their refusal of the farcical Palestinian normalization agreements with the Zionist entity, brought nothing but fragmentation, divisions, and tragedies to the Palestinian people.

The occupation seeks an image of victory by demolishing mosques, schools, and homes and raising the Zionist flag above the al-Shifa Hospital as if it were a symbol of extermination!

They united in rejecting the humiliation of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations by a corrupt international system built on the ruins of World War II, a system that favours the aggressor and the killer and does not support the oppressed and the slain. It excels in using the “veto” to prevent the condemnation of Zionists and obstruct what is called “legitimate international resolutions.”

In rejecting the international double standards applied by the United States and Western countries in dealing with the Palestinian issue and issues of Arabs and Muslims in general, to the point where European governments enacted laws punishing those who show solidarity with Gaza, and American companies fired those who sympathize with the victims of Zionist genocide in Gaza!

The Palestinian resistance exposed all those who manage a corrupt international system that has long sought to entrench injustice and oppression against the Arab and Islamic nations. When it brought down the occupied state on October 7, it opened the door to hope and the rise of the nation.

Source: Mugtama (Society)

Writer: Mohammed Jamal Arafat

Translation: PCOM Organization

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