Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian dead near Shu‘fat checkpoint for alleged stab attack
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — An Israeli security guard Friday shot dead a Palestinian near the Shu‘fat checkpoint in the Jerusalem area for allegedly attempting a stabbing attack on a group of Israeli security officers. Israeli police spokesperson, Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that a Palestinian “approached [Israeli] security guards with a knife, and attempted to stab the guards.” Israeli forces responded with live fire. Israeli police later declared that the Palestinian had been killed in the alleged attack. Rosenfeld added in a statement that no Israeli security guards were injured during the incident. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances rushed to the area following the incident. A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson was not available for immediate comment on the incident. The slain Palestinian has not yet been identified. [Haitham Khatib: He was Mohammed Zidan, 16, from Bir Nabalah.] According to Ma’an documentation, the slain Palestinian is the latest of 241 Palestinians to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, the majority of whom were shot dead by Israeli forces.
another account of the same event
Israeli army kills a Palestinian child near Jerusalem
IMEMC 26 Nov — Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Friday evening, a Palestinian child at a military roadblock near Shu‘fat refugee camp, east of occupied East Jerusalem, after the army alleged he attempted to stab a soldier. The child was born with one kidney, and has a disease in the other. The child has been identified as Mohammad Nabil Zeidan, 14 [or 16], from Bir Nibala town, northeast of Jerusalem. He was living with his family in Shu’fat refugee camp, in Jerusalem. Zeidan was born with one kidney, while his other kidney requires regular dialysis to avoid kidney failure that would put his life at risk. Israeli daily Haaretz quoted the army alleging that the soldiers were inspecting passengers on a minibus coming from Shu‘fat, “before the child pulled a knife from his shirt and tried to stab an officer.” After killing the child, the army summoned his father, interrogated him for more than two hours, and then released him. “We do not know exactly what happened, but we do not trust the army narrative,” his uncle Abdullah Al-Alqam said, “Also, the soldiers could have easily shot him in his limbs, but it appears they just wanted to execute him.”
Israel releases body of slain Palestinian for burial after withholding it 54 days
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli authorities returned the body of a slain Palestinian on Wednesday night, allowing his family to bury 28-year-old Nasim Omran Abu Meizar in occupied East Jerusalem almost two months after he was killed by Israeli forces. Abu Meizar was shot dead at the Qalandiya checkpoint between the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Sept. 30 after stabbing and wounding an Israeli soldier. His body was withheld by Israeli authorities for 54 days before being released on the condition that he be buried immediately and that only 15 family members be allowed to attend the funeral. Abu Meizar was buried in the al-Mujahidin cemetery near East Jerusalem’s Old City at midnight, as Israeli forces heavily deployed in and around the cemetery, blocking nearby roads and preventing journalists from approaching the funeral or talking to Abu Meizar’s relatives. A lawyer from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Muhammad Mahmoud, said that Abu Meizar’s body was returned to his family in good condition, unlike a number of cases when slain Palestinians whose bodies had been withheld by Israel for months were returned frozen. Mahmoud added that he would soon file an appeal demanding the release of the body of slain Palestinian Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed on Oct. 9 while carrying out a shooting attack.
Israeli forces violently disperse march in Kafr Qaddum, protesters suffer tear gas inhalation
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces Friday violently dispersed a march held weekly in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, as tens of protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation. Popular resistance coordinator Murad Shteiwi told Ma‘an that the march had set off after Friday’s Dhuhr (afternoon) prayers with local Palestinians, Israelis and foreign peace activists all participating in the demonstration. However, Israeli border guards quickly attacked the protesters and fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd, causing tens of protesters to suffer from suffocation. The injured were treated on the scene by Palestinian medical crews. Shteiwi added that Israeli forces had stationed themselves on the roof of a partially constructed house owned by Hakam Abu Khaled. Israeli forces then fired tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd of protestors from the rooftop, while an Israeli military bulldozer closed the streets surrounding the town with large mounds of dirt … Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed 13 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center. Following similar clashes that broke earlier in the year, Shteiwi told Ma‘an that more than 330 protests have been held over that period, during which time 84 protesters have been injured by live fire, including 12 children….
Israeli soldiers attack the weekly protest in Ni‘lin
IMEMC 26 Nov — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest in Ni‘lin village, west of Ramallah in the west Bank, causing several Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The weekly procession started from the center of the village, heading towards Palestinian lands and orchards, before the soldiers started firing gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing many several protesters to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The attack against the protesters was carried out after they reached the southeastern area of the village, close to their orchards. During the protest, the Palestinians conducted the call for prayers, challenging a Knesset bill banning the use of loud speakers by the mosques during the call for prayers.
Israeli soldiers delay an ambulance rushing to rescue a wounded Palestinian
IMEMC 26 Nov –Israeli soldiers stopped, on Friday, a Palestinian ambulance while rushing to provide a wounded young man with the urgently needed medical treatment, and delayed it for 10 minutes while photographing and interrogating the medics, in Hizma town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) said the soldiers stopped one of its ambulances while rushing to provide treatment to the wounded Palestinian, and interrogated the medics for more than ten minutes. The soldiers also photographed the medics and their ambulance, while interrogating them, the PRC added. Locals eventually transported the wounded young man to a hospital, using a private car. He was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in one of his legs, during clashes that took place after the soldiers invaded Hizma.
Israeli soldiers joke as Palestinian man is crushed
MEMO 24 Nov — Soldiers watching the footage can be heard laughing — Footage has emerged of Israeli soldiers laughing as a Palestinian worker is squashed in a gate. A video of the event, which took place at the Atarot Industrial Zone in occupied Jerusalem, was uploaded onto social media however no details are given as to when the event took place. The footage shows a Palestinian worker walking through a small gap in the gate only for it to be closed on him. The gate is then opened and the man falls onto the ground as he has lost consciousness. Soldiers watching the footage can be heard laughing at him. One says: “It crushed him. This guy is stupid.” The short clip shows the Palestinian coming to and being helped by another Israeli soldier.
Israeli soldiers abduct ten Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 24 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight [Wednesday] and on Thursday at dawn, at least ten Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and summoned several Palestinians for interrogation. In Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, the soldiers searched several homes and abducted Ayyoub Enfei’at, and his brother Ayyoub. Also in Jenin, the soldiers invaded ‘Aneen nearby village, west of Jenin, searched homes, and abducted Abdul-Nasser Mohammad Yassin, 42, after storming his home and ransacking it. The soldiers also invaded several communities in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, and abducted Professor Essam Rashed al-Ashqar, 57, who teaches at the Najah University in the city. The Nablus office of the PPS said Professor Al-Ashqar was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, including this year. The soldiers took him prisoner after invading his home, and violently searching it. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched a few homes and kidnapped Ezzat Hasan Deeriyya, 52. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the city, violently searched homes and summoned two Palestinians for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center. The soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Awwad Awad, of the Popular Committee in Hebron, and violently searched it for more than two hours. Awad said the soldiers smashed the main and inner doors of his property, and caused excessive property damage while searching it, before summoning his two sons, Ahmad, 30, and Mohammad, 26, for interrogation in Etzion. He added that this was the second time this month that the army invaded his property and violently searched it. Also in Beit Ummar, the soldiers stormed the nearby home of Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Awad, 31, under the allegation of searching for his son, who is still under interrogation, after the Israeli army abducted him two weeks ago. Furthermore, the soldiers searched homes in occupied East Jerusalem, abducted Amjad Abu Sbeih, who was only released from prison just ten days ago, and instantly slapped an arbitrary administrative detention against him, holding him captive without charges or trial. In Qotna town, northwest of Jenin, the soldiers abducted Mojahed Abu Shamasna, after breaking into his home and searching it. In Ramallah, in central west Bank, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Abdullah Rezeq, 28, and Khaled Mohammad Rezeq, 38. In Jericho, the soldiers abducted one Palestinian, identified as Mohmmad Hussein Tabeyya, after breaking into his home and searching it.
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians over suspicions of starting fires in Israel, West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians across Israel and the occupied West Bank on Thursday and Friday over suspicions of starting fires that erupted in Haifa and have continued to spread for the fourth consecutive day. Israeli media reported on Friday that three Palestinian workers were detained in the Haifa district over suspicions of arson. The Palestinians had reportedly entered Israel without permits. Another 11 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces in Israel and the Jerusalem area. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian for allegedly attempting to start a fire near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kochav Yaakov, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. The spokesperson did not identify the Palestinian detained in Ramallah, however, locals told Ma‘an that Sayel Darwish Jarabaa, 60, was detained from the Beitin village in northern Ramallah late Thursday for allegedly attempting to start a fire. Jarabaa is the father of Saji who was killed by Israeli forces two-and-a-half years ago.
Israeli media also reported a detention of a 24-year-old Palestinian from Rahat city in the Negev of southern Israel for alleged “incitement” over a Facebook post reportedly encouraging others to start fires. Locals identified the detainee as journalist Anas Abu Daabis. According to Israeli media outlet Ynet, Abu Daabis is the son of a senior member of the Islamic Movement in Israel. However, Israeli media later reported that his detention came after Israeli authorities mistranslated his post, which read “what kind of ignorance and lack of awareness are we facing? Our country is on fire and the Arabs are celebrating!” Abu Daabis was referring to statements made by Palestinians insinuating that the fire was revenge for Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. “It’s a wonder when the brain stops working and turns into an idiot,” the post added, while also referring to other Palestinians who have linked the banning of the Adhan — call to prayer — in Israel with the spread of the fires. The Islamic movement also condemned the detention in a statement, saying that Abu Daabis used the post to condemn Palestinians celebrating the fires, and not to incite others to ignite them. They demanded his immediate release from police custody, and added that the translators should be held accountable “who obviously don’t know anything about the Arabic language.”
Palestinians’ response to Israel’s fire: If it’s intentional, it’s madness
Haaretz 25 Nov by Amira Hass — Fires in Israel have been cheered by online comments from Gaza and Arab countries, but many other Palestinians say: These are our trees and lands, so why destroy them? — “How do you think the fire broke out next to you, near the military base Neveh Yair?” I asked by phone, speaking to friends at the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh after making sure the fire was far enough away and they were safe. “Oh, it’s the army,” said a friend – even before it was reported that a careless soldier might have tossed away a burning cigarette. People in the village have stopped counting how many times their fields have caught fire from the stun grenades and tear gas thrown by soldiers to quash demonstrations against settlers stealing their springwater. Live updates: Fire rages across Israel for fourth day “Are you sure it wasn’t intentional?” I asked; it was clear I was referring to the possibility that a Palestinian had set the fire. A friend said: “That’s impossible. And if someone did it on purpose, it’s madness, irrational and wrong. It’s nature and the environment that get hurt; trees and animals.” There were reports about a fire breaking out near the settlement of Mevo Horon, and about the evacuation of hikers from Canada Park in the Latrun enclave. I called an acquaintance who lives in the village of Beit Liqya, beyond the separation barrier. “How do you think it happened?” I asked after making sure he was safe. “Someone threw a cigarette from a passing car,” he concluded. The acquaintance is originally from Beit Nuba. The army expelled the residents of his village and the neighboring villages Yalo and Imwas immediately after they were conquered in the 1967 war. Mevo Horon was built on Beit Nuba’s lands … “And the fire isn’t intentional, in your opinion?” I asked. My acquaintance realized I was referring to the suspicions that Palestinians had set the fire. “First, no Palestinian is allowed to get to that area, apart from the laborers in the settlements who need their wages,” he said. “Second, it’s our trees there, our dead who are buried in the graveyards there, the water cisterns dug by our grandfathers. We’ll return there, so why destroy it?” Reports on Arab news sites about the fire led to rants. There were comments that the (Zionist) entity would burn – punishment for the bill to ban mosques from broadcasting the call to prayer over loudspeakers, the hand of God. There were quotes from the Koran corroborating this, as well as criticism of the Palestinian Authority, which would once again offer its firefighting equipment. A nonscientific examination shows that many of the people gloating are residents of neighboring countries (Egypt, Jordan). The Gazans rooting for the fire only reveal how much Israel’s closure of the Strip has disconnected them from the rest of their people. Don’t they know that Palestinians live in Haifa and around it? Don’t they know there are Palestinian prisoners at Damon Prison? (On the village Damon destroyed in 1948.)….
In pictures: Palestinian Civil Defense assists in putting out fires in Haifa, Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Palestinian Civil Defense crews have continued to assist in putting out fires that have erupted in Haifa city and Jerusalem, while fires have continued to spread across Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Friday. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Civil Defense, Nael al-Azzeh told Ma’an that eight back-up crews arrived in Haifa and cities in Jerusalem during pre-dawn hours on Friday, and began putting out fires alongside Israeli and international firefighting crews. Al-Azzeh added that 41 members from the Ramallah and Jenin Civil Defense crews were divided into two units. The first headed to Jerusalem and the other to Haifa. He added that the crews were expected to continue working for three days. While the fire has continued to spread into Jerusalem and parts of the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the wildfire in Haifa has been contained, but 35 firefighting teams are expected to remain, including four from the occupied Palestinian territory.
Before the fires are out, Israeli politicians blame the Arabs
+972 blog 25 Nov by Yael Marom — Security officials and counter-terrorism experts warn against calling wildfires terrorism, but Israeli politicians and some media have no such qualms. How do you reach a conclusion before the investigation is even started? — As tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes, and as the flames were still burning across Israel and Palestine, Israeli leaders already found someone to blame, several Israeli news outlets declared the start of the “Arson Intifada,” and government ministers were lining up to describe the wave of fires as an act of Palestinian nationalistic violence. The sight of flames devouring homes, neighborhoods and forests is devastating. It’s impossible not to feel for the tens of thousands of of people who have been forced to flee from their homes, and the thousands who have lost their worldly belongings. But it’s also impossible to not wonder how, as all of this is happening, Israel’s leaders seem so preoccupied with inciting against the Arab population. To be clear, it’s entirely possible that not all of the dozens of fires in Israel and Palestine over the past few days broke out accidentally or naturally. It’s fire season — the combination of unusual dryness for this time of year and strong winds make wildfires a naturally occurring threat. And on top of that, Palestinian and Arab towns, cities and villages, have also been evacuated and hit by the fires — they’re not “targeting” Jews. As Haggai Matar pointed out in Hebrew on Local Call, wildfires have been breaking out throughout the region over the past few days. A map from Global Forest Watch, a site that monitors wildfires via satellite imagery, seems to demonstrate that the fires are not limited to Israel. (See it here.)
Prisoners / Court actions
Show of support for activist facing Israeli military trial
EI 25 Nov by Charlotte Silver — Supporters of Palestinian activist Issa Amro filled the Ofer military courtroom in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the first day of his trial on a number of accusations related to his nonviolent political organizing in Hebron. Amro, 36, is the founder of Youth Against Settlements, a group that organizes demonstrations and direct actions against the violent settler encampments in Hebron in the southern West Bank. He is facing a lengthy list of charges, some stemming from incidents more than six years old. At the hearing, Amro’s lawyer Gaby Lasky asked the military court to dismiss 14 of the 18 charges on the basis that they refer to incidents that are several years old and in some cases were already investigated and closed without indictment. Lasky said it was very unusual for the Israeli army to reopen cases that have been closed, as it has done against Amro. Representatives from the the embassies and consulates of the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland attended Wednesday’s hearing. Also in attendance were representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and other international organizations … Amnesty International has demanded that the Israeli military drop all charges against Amro, and rather investigate the beatings he sustained while in custody and physical abuse by settlers. The human rights organization accuses Israeli authorities of prosecuting Amro to “silence him and stifle his human rights work.” … “We believe that he is facing trial solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Imprisoning Issa Amro would be a travesty of justice and would silence yet another important critical voice in the occupied Palestinian territories.” Amro is charged with several counts of incitement, which Israel defines as trying “to influence public opinion in the area in a manner that might harm the public safety or public order.”In one count, Amro is alleged to have called on a group of protesters in 2010 to defy the Israeli army by yelling “we are not going back.” In another incident from 2012, Amro is alleged to have used a loudspeaker to direct a crowd not to obey the orders of soldiers. He is also charged with multiple counts of participating in a march without a permit … Amro has also been charged with breaking a settler’s camera during a protest. However, a video from the incident shows clearly that Amro, who is wearing a bright yellow vest, is not responsible for breaking the camera.
Lawyer files appeal to transfer hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners to Ramallah hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Nov – The lawyer for hunger-striking prisoners Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court on Friday demanding that the court transfer the hunger strikers to the Ramallah governmental hospital, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoner’s Affairs. Lawyer Ahlam Hadad filed the appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court following a serious deterioration of the hunger strikers’ health conditions. Shadid, 20, and Abu Farah, 29, have been on hunger strike since Sept. 24 and 23, respectively in protest of being placed under administrative detention — an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence. The committee added in the statement that the Israeli government would be responsible for any life-threatening consequences caused by the hunger strikes. An Israeli court temporarily suspended the prisoners’ detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun.
Palestinian journalist to remain in admin detention, Israeli army decides
+972 mag 24 Nov by Haggai Matar — The Israeli army extended the administrative detention of Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal for the third straight time on Monday for a period of three months. Nazzal was first arrested in April and has spent a total of seven consecutive months in detention with no charges, a formal indictment or a scheduled court hearing. Nazzal was first detained in April at Allenby Bridge while trying to leave the West Bank en route to an international conference. The Israeli army and Shin Bet Security Service claim that he is affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel views as a terrorist organization. Nazzal denies the charge and demands either to be sentenced or released. According to his lawyer, Nazzal was jailed by Israel for criticizing the Palestinian Authority over its handling of an assassination at its embassy in Bulgaria. Administrative detention is an extreme measure meant to be adopted rarely and with moderation. Administrative detainees are held indefinitely without charge or trial — without any way to defend themselves. Journalists’ associations worldwide have condemned Nazzal’s detention and called for his imminent release….
Israel issues 25 administrative detention orders in just 2 weeks
MEMO 25 Nov — The Israeli authorities have issued 25 administrative detention orders against Palestinians over the past two weeks, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Wednesday. The orders are for periods ranging from 3 to 6 months and cover three new prisoners. Those detained come from most of the major cities in the occupied West Bank: Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarem, Jenin, Bethlehem, Nablus and Qalqiliya. Under administrative detention, prisoners are held without charge nor given a trial for up to six months on the basis of secret evidence. Each order can be (and usually is) renewed indefinitely by Israel’s military courts. Amnesty International has condemned administrative detention repeatedly as “arbitrary” and pointed out that it is used as a “political weapon, and a means to deter and intimidate Palestinian political activists, parliamentarians and academics.”
In rare move, Israeli court voids order barring ‘dangerous’ right-wing activist from West Bank
Haaretz 25 Nov by Yotam Berger — An Israeli radical rightist activist who was barred from the West Bank after being labeled by the authorities as a security threat will now be allowed to return to the region. Yosef Prissman, 22, who hails from the extremist settlement of Yitzhar, was removed from the West Bank by an administrative military order a year and a half ago, in light of classified intelligence showing that he poses a significant and immediate danger. His removal was part of a more general drive to expel right-wing activists from the West Bank, which became the policy of security services after the murder of the Dawabsheh family in Duma. In a rare move, an Israeli military court of appeals this week has voided the administrative order issued against Prissman. According to the Honenu organization, which represents Jewish terror suspects, this is the first time since 2008 that an administrative order issued against a Jewish individual is voided. Court President Col. Netanel Benishu said that the classified evidence presented by the security forces as to the risk Prissman posed wasn’t enough to warrant his expulsion….
Gazan boy paralyzed by Israeli army fire raises first challenge to law
Haaretz 25 Nov by Amira Hass — Atiya Nabahin was shot in the neck by soldiers as he returned home from school. Now he awaits a ruling for compensation — A 17-year-old Palestinian who became a quadriplegic after being wounded by IDF fire is posing the first challenge to the Law to Bypass the High Court that was passed by the Knesset four years ago. If the Be’er Sheva District Court accepts the state’s position that his suit for damages should be rejected, his lawyer will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Then the justices will have to address for the first time the legality of the amendment to the Civil Damages Law that the Knesset passed in 2012, seven years after they nullified a similar amendment to the same law. Atiya Nabahin’s family lived east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp on farmland it has owned and worked for decades, close to the Green Line. On November 16, 2014, his birthday, Nabahin was shot in the neck by soldiers as he returned home from school. No armed clash was occurring at that time and place between Palestinians and the IDF. For six months, Nabahin received medical treatment in Israel (paid for by the Palestinian Authority), after it was determined that he had been permanently paralyzed from the neck down. His father Fathi, 59, stayed with him throughout that time, and was taught at ALYN Hospital about how to care for his son, who is now completely dependent on his family members. The family cannot afford to hire outside help. It must shoulder the emotional, physical and financial burden of Atiya’s care alone.
When Atiya Nabahin and his father were in Soroka Hospital in early 2015, the Gazan human rights organization Mizan put them in touch with lawyer Mohammed Jabarin, who later filed the civil suit against the state. Ofer Shoval, deputy Tel Aviv district attorney, sought to have the claim rejected because Nabahin “is a resident of an area outside of Israel that the government has officially declared to be enemy territory,” and because “the law explicitly states that the state is not responsible for damages in these circumstances.” A month ago, Jabarin and attorney Nadeem Shehadeh from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel co-wrote a response to Shoval, saying that the law upon which the state is seeking to have the suit dismissed amounts to a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s authority … Since the late 1990s, and more so after the outbreak of the second intifada, successive Israeli governments have tried to limit Palestinians’ ability to sue the state when they are hurt by IDF actions ... Nabahin’s lawyers believe his severe injury falls exactly in that place where the High Court justices, in their 2006 ruling, sought to prevent the state from being able to evade responsibility: the seemingly unjustified injuring by soldiers, the state’s emissaries, of a person who was not involved in any hostilities and at a time and place where no hostile activity was occurring….[from long article explaining the various changes in the law]
Israel deems comatose Gaza man a security threat
+972 mag 24 Nov by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Israeli authorities repeatedly refused to allow a Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment in the West Bank, denying his travel permit on security grounds, despite the fact that he has been in a coma for over a month. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR) attempted to intervene on the Abed al-Karim Abu Haloub’s behalf, twice appealing the decision to reject his permit request to no avail. The fact that Abu Haloub is comatose and connected to a ventilator was not enough to allay Israel’s concerns that he might pose a security threat. The Shin Bet and IDF only lifted the security ban when faced with the prospect of the absurd refusal being exposed publicly, when Walla! News journalist Shabtai Bendat began inquiring about the case. Abed al-Karim Abu Haloub has been in a coma in a Gaza Strip hospital for over 40 days and requires treatment that isn’t available in the Strip. The first request for a permit to move him to a hospital in Hebron was sent to the Israeli military in late October … According to PHR, Abed al-Karim Abu Haloub’s is just one case reflective of a worrying trend over the past year in which Israel rejects travel permits for Palestinian patients who require treatment outside of Gaza. Many of those patients were being treated for serious illnesses like cancer or heart conditions, a number of whom had already begun life-saving treatments in Israeli or West Bank hospitals. The avenues for challenging security blocks available to Palestinians are also becoming less effective, according to data published by PHR earlier this year. Whereas PHR says it was successful in overturning rejected permit requests over 60 percent in 2015, only 25 percent of rejected permit applications were reversed in the first half of 2016….
Investigate persecution arising out of ongoing Gaza closure, Palestinian human rights organizations urge ICC prosecutor
The Hague 22 Nov Al Mezan Press Release — Today, Palestinian human rights groups urged the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to examine the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which has denied two million Palestinians a panoply of fundamental rights for nearly a decade, as the crime against humanity of persecution under the Rome Statute. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq, and Aldameer submitted a 145-page file to the ICC Prosecutor setting out the factual and legal basis for the case. Since June 2007, Israel has instituted a comprehensive closure on the Gaza Strip in which it has denied the free movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, amounting to collective punishment. The Gaza Strip, a constituent part of the State of Palestine, is frequently described as the world’s largest open-air prison. “The siege on Gaza is unprecedented and is a form of collective punishment. The aim of the closure and the occupation is to de-develop Gaza, to strip Palestinians of their dignity and send Gazan society back to the Middle Ages,” said Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR. “Israel’s absolute control over Gaza’s borders and population has set back generations of Palestinians who cannot travel, access education, receive medical treatment, or engage with the outside world. The ICC must urgently proceed to investigate the crimes against the Palestinian population in Gaza.” … The four Palestinian human rights organizations maintain that the closure of the Gaza Strip has been disproportionate, discriminatory and not justified by military or security purposes. In fact, the current restrictions on the movement of goods and persons into and out of the Gaza Strip are imposed as punitive and persecutory measures. The organizations conclude that a reasonable basis exists to believe that the crime against humanity of persecution is being committed….
UN official strongly criticizes Gaza blockade, West Bank demolitions
Palestine Chronicle 24 Nov — Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, has called on Israel to lift the Gaza Strip and allow construction materials into the coastal enclave in addition to stopping house demolitions in the West Bank. In a statement he read at the UN yesterday, he said: “In the occupied Gaza Strip, 70% of the population currently receives some form of international assistance, mostly food aid. Yet our ability to deliver that assistance has become increasingly restricted.” O’Brien accused Israel of banning certain materials from getting into Gaza. He noted, “Affected items range from communications equipment, to cement, wood and even water pumps, fire trucks and medical X-ray machines.” He added that Israeli restrictions don’t include cement only, but equipment for materials needed to implement projects to stop the flooding that threaten the lives of nearly half million Palestinians. “It’s not just about concrete. Urgent projects which aim to reduce the risk of flooding that threatens nearly 500,000 people as winter approaches have been on hold for 10 months awaiting clearance of equipment. Projects to rehabilitate water wells and the construction of a neonatal intensive care unit are other examples of urgent needs suffering unnecessary, long delays,” he said….
Hamas welcomes Erdogan’s readiness to intermediate prisoner exchange deal
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Nov – A senior Hamas official Thursday welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s expressed readiness to mediate between Hamas and Israel in order to establish a new prisoner exchange deal. Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said during an interview with the Arabic-language channel Al-Aqsa that Israeli authorities must commit to the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, referring to a 2006 deal when Gaza militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and held him for five years before freeing him in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. However, since their release, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners released in the exchange back into Israeli custody, in violation of the agreement. Hamas has repeatedly insisted that Israel must release all prisoners who were freed as part of the deal but have since been redetained, before starting talks in a new prisoner swap deal. Al-Hayya said that he was highly appreciative of Erdogan’s announcement on Tuesday when he expressed his willingness to intermediate between Hamas and Israeli authorities to release Israeli soldiers held in the besieged Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. He also added that there were no plans between Hamas and Israel yet to formulate a new prisoner exchange deal, but highlighted that it was “not in Israel’s best interests” to continue to postpone the development of a prisoner exchange agreement. The two Israeli soldiers at the center of prisoner negotiations, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, were pronounced dead during the 2014 war, as Hamas later claimed to be holding their bodies. Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed are also believed to be alive and held captive by Hamas in Gaza.
200 Palestinians travel from the Gaza Strip to al-Aqsa for Friday prayers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Two hundred Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip traveled to occupied East Jerusalem on Friday to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Palestinian liaison officials. The officials told Ma‘an that the worshipers, all above the age of 50, traveled to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing between the besieged enclave and Israel to attend prayers, and would immediately be returning to the Gaza Strip following the conclusion of Friday prayers.
Sources also added that 150 members of Fatah from the besieged coastal enclave would also be allowed to enter the occupied West Bank on Friday to take part in the Fatah Central Committee’s 7th conference.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel approves construction of road on confiscated Palestinian lands
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — The Israeli Civil Administration’s higher planning committee approved constructing a bypass road on confiscated Palestinian lands in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma‘an that the committee had approved the construction of a road on lands of the village of al-Nabi Elyas. They added that the construction would begin in around a month, and was expected to be completed in a year and a half. According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), 97 percent of al-Nabi Elyas lands are located in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. Nearly 44 percent of the village’s lands have been confiscated to build the illegal Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe, according to ARIJ. Earlier this month, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by residents of al-Nabi Elyas over Israel’s confiscation of 100 dunams of Palestinian land for the road, claiming that the Palestinian villagers could not prove ownership of the land….
Israel’s Druze want illegal buildings approved like West Bank settlements
Haaretz 24 Nov by Jack Khoury — Thousands of housing units were built without permits in Druze villages due to the housing crisis and lack of zoning by Israel — With the government pushing legislation to legalize unauthorized settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land through the Knesset, Druze leaders are countering with a campaign to win government recognition for thousands of illegally-built homes in the Galilee and Mount Carmel area. Druze leaders led by spiritual guide Sheikh Muwafak Tarif met with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon this week to request retroactive approval for village zoning plans that include homes built without permits. The meeting, which was mediated by Kulanu Knesset member Akram Hasson, followed the demolition of a building in Hurfeish, western Galilee, that had been built outside the boundaries of the town’s zoning plan. Many Druze leaders denounced the demolition as a “dangerous precedent,” that could lead to the further demolition of homes in Hurfeish and other villages. The participants in the meeting agreed to set up a special team that would examine planning issues in Druze communities and propose a solution for the housing crisis, according to Hurfeish council head Mofid Mari. Hasson told Haaretz that thousands of housing units were built without permits in Druze villages in the last two decades, due to the housing crisis. “We are not construction criminals, but when there’s no zoning plan and foot-dragging goes on year after year, there’s no choice but to build without a permit,” he said. “We haven’t stolen any land from other people or the state; we are building on our own private land,” he added. “Therefore the expectation is that the Israeli government will find it fitting to arrange the status of these houses and not destroy them or levy heavy fines. We will respect the law when it respects us.” Mari said no zoning plan has been approved for his village since 1974 and that 240 homes had been built without permits….
Israel furious as France to label settlement goods
AFP 25 Nov — Israel has accused France of aiding a boycott of the Jewish state, after Paris announced new guidelines for labeling goods from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. France published guidelines late Thursday on enforcing European Union regulations on labeling goods from the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, which the international community considers Palestinian land, as well as the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in 1967. It was believed to be the first time that guidelines were issued by an individual member state since the European Union backed labeling of products from Israeli settlements a year ago, a move which sparked a diplomatic crisis with Israel. “Under international law the Golan Heights and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, are not part of Israel,” said an advisory published on a French government website. Labeling goods simply as from the West Bank or Golan Heights without more details is “not acceptable,” it said. Goods must be stipulated as coming from an “Israeli settlement” when that is the case, to avoid “the risk of misleading the consumer,” it added. In response, the Israeli foreign ministry said it “regrets that France, which actually has a law against boycotts, is advancing measures that can be interpreted as encouraging radical elements and the movement to boycott Israel.”….
Fighting back: BDS activists to launch ‘biggest-ever campaign’
Palestine Chronicle 25 Nov — In a press release issued today by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, organizers said that this week “99 actions will take place across the world to highlight HP companies’ complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights abuses.” Here is the text of the press release produced in full: Human rights activists supporting the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against the state of Israel have launched their biggest-ever campaign since the 2005 call was made by Palestinian civil society. Targeting Hewlett Packard (HP) companies, who campaigners say are “deeply complicit in Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians”, an international week of action has been launched, with 99 actions across at least 18 countries spanning 6 continents. In the UK, where the BDS movement has faced various attempts this year by the British Government to suppress their campaigns, more than 30 protests and actions are planned, most of them on Saturday 26th November. This reflects a groundswell of support for such action among the British public. Divestment campaigns are also an effective tool used by a number of different ethical activist groups, including green and fossil fuel campaigners, as well as human rights activists. Tuesday 29th November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, coincides with a trade fair held by HP Enterprise, a newly-created HP company. BDS activists will be outside highlighting that the company profits “from systematic human rights violations”….
Norwegian city boycotts Israeli settlements
EI 22 Nov by Ryan Rodrick Beiler — Elected representatives in Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city, have voted to boycott goods and services from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank. Trondheim’s city council has also called on the Norwegian national parliament to take a similar decision and urged the city’s residents to shun goods from Israeli settlements. The Trondheim decision has been hailed as a victory for the Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. “Although this is limited to occupied territories it is an important step forward for the BDS movement in Norway,” Kathrine Jensen, chair of the Palestine Committee of Norway, told The Electronic Intifada. The Trondheim vote – taken on Thursday last week – was the result of a citizen’s initiative. Under that initiative, members of the public may put an item on the council’s agenda if they collect a sufficient number of signatures. The initiative was undertaken by the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (known as the Fagforbundet)….
California law students take pledge against Israeli junket
EI 24 Nov by Nora Barrows-Friedman — Law students at the University of California, Berkeley say that almost 90 classmates have pledged not to participate in a privately funded free trip to Israel. The trip will be facilitated by a New York City-based Israel advocacy organization that has received funding from the Israeli government. “People said, ‘I wasn’t going anyway, I’m happy to sign [the pledge],’” Tori Porell, a member of Law Students for Justice in Palestine, told The Electronic Intifada. Porell added that students who supported the pledge “acknowledged that there were plenty of issues with the trip.” The junket “hides some ugly realities about Israeli society and law,” students wrote in an open letter to their classmates. “As law students, it is our responsibility to call attention to the ways the law is used to oppress people.” Copies of the letter were posted to law students’ social media groups and were handed out to individuals. Members of Law Students for Justice in Palestine also tabled on campus and encouraged their classmates to sign the pledge….
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon
Lebanon halts construction of ‘security wall’ around Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp
BERUIT (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — The Palestinian Unified National Leadership of the Uprising said in a statement on Friday that the Lebanese military responded to its demands to halt construction on the so-called “security wall” being built around a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The statement said that efforts were conducted by the leadership over the past few days in order to stop the construction of the wall around the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. In a meeting on Thursday between the leadership and the Lebanese intelligence director of the southern districts, Khader Hamouda, it was agreed that the Lebanese military would halt construction of the wall, according to the statement. The statement also noted that Palestinian leadership would “conduct procedures” during the next two weeks to deal with the “security situation” in Palestinian refugee camps in order to achieve stability and security in Lebanon. Palestinian leadership also thanked Lebanese intelligence forces and military personnel for responding to their demands, adding that the leadership would maintain positive relations with their “Lebanese brothers” for the future. The construction of the “security wall” around the Ain al-Hilweh broke ground on Sunday, as critics decried the construction, calling it an “apartheid wall,” and highlighting its similarities to Israel’s separation wall that cuts through the occupied West Bank….
PCHR weekly report: 2 Palestinian civilians killed, 3 wounded by Israeli forces this week [17-24 November]
PCHR-Gaza 25 Nov — …During the past week, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded at the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 58 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 10 into occupied Jerusalem. 52 civilians, including 13 children and 3 women, were abducted. Eighteen of them, including 12 children and a woman, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem. In the West Bank, in excessive use of lethal force, Israeli forces stationed at Qalandya checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied East Jerusalem shot a Palestinian civilian dead. Israeli forces claimed that he attempted to stab an Israeli security officer. Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: In the Gaza Strip, in a new crime of excessive force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 2 others during peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On the same day, a Palestinian civilian was wounded during a peaceful protest near the border fence, east of al-Shuja‘iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. In context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the sea, on 18 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed in the sea, northwest of al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Similar attacks happened in the same area on 19, 20 and 21 November 2016. It should be noted the fishing boats were sailing within 2-3 nautical miles and no casualties were reported…. [Full Report]
PA arrests Dahlan supporters in the West Bank
MEMO 23 Nov — The Palestinian Authority security services launched a mass arrest campaign against members of the Fatah movement in the West Bank who are believed to support dismissed member Mohammed Dahlan ahead of the movement’s 7th General Conference next week. The Safa news agency quoted sources in Fatah saying that a majority of the detainees live in Ramallah but originate from the Gaza Strip. According to sources, the detainees were first held in the intelligence service headquarters before being moved to detention centres. The arrests campaign comes ahead of the movement’s 7th General Conference next week. Earlier, dozens of Dahlan supporters were not allowed to participate in the conference. A member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Sufian Abu Zaida described the arrests as “precautionary ahead of the conference.” “It comes as a surprise to see the Palestinian Authority security services arrest Fatah members who work in those agencies without committing a crime or planning to commit a crime. It is precautionary arrests,” Abu Zaida said.
PA PM lays foundational stone for first power plant in West Bank
JPost 24 Nov by Adam Rasgon — In a dirt field near the Jenin Industrial Zone, which straddles the northern border between the West Bank and Israel, top Palestinian Authority officials and businesspersons gathered to lay the cornerstone for the West Bank’s first power plant. “The Jenin power generation plant is one of the most important, pioneering, and strategic projects in our land,” PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said of the PA’s largest infrastructure project in a speech on Thursday. The Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), the PA’s sovereign wealth fund, and major Palestinian businesses such as Padico, Bank of Palestine, and others have teamed up to build the plant, which will cost an estimated $600 million. The project is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs and produce 450 megawatts per hour, providing 50% of Palestinians living in the West Bank with electricity. Muhammad Mustafa, the chairman of the PIF, said the high cost of importing electricity from Israel is the primary reason for building the plant. “Imported electricity costs the government approximately $750 million annually,” Mustafa said in a speech. “Thus, we have worked to provide a suitable amount of energy to Palestinian citizens and companies through a number of programs, most importantly the Jenin power plant.” The Prime Minister’s Office approved the project in April … The PIF and its private sector partners are currently reviewing the bids of six international companies to build the plant and plan to announce the winning bid in January. Construction of the plant will take some 30 months. Both Hamdallah and Mustafa said that the plant will run on natural gas from the Gaza Marine offshore gas field, which reportedly contains 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, Shell recently acquired British Petrroleum, the company developing the Gaza gas field, and still has not informed the PIF and its partners of it plans….
Ex-Israeli army hacker amazed at ‘how easy’ it was to spy on Palestinians
MEMO 25 Nov — A former member of the Israeli military’s intelligence-gathering Unit 8200 has described how easy it was to spy on Palestinians with no legal oversight. Speaking to Vice on condition of anonymity and using a pseudonym, “Gilad” described how much freedom members of the unit enjoyed when gathering usable information on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Asked if there were any restrictions on who they could target, Gilad replied: “It’s very, very free…It’s up to you.” He added: “It’s amazing how easy it is to decide, ‘okay, we’re going to follow this guy’.” The veteran continued: “There’s no legal procedure, no attorneys that…you have to consult with.” According to Gilad, Unit 8200 members listen out “for any kind of weakness. Anything you can think of. Any weakness we can use is interesting.” He gave as an example a father with a daughter receiving medical treatment for a serious medical condition like cancer. “Israel can somehow make sure that she doesn’t [receive the treatment].” “Any weakness is something that you can use to gain cooperation and collaboration.” The implication of Gilad’s statements is that Israel could and would withhold urgent medical treatment in order to compel Palestinians to collaborate with the Israeli occupation and provide them with intelligence.