Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Palestinian girl laid to rest in her hometown days after being shot by Israeli forces
JENIN (Ma‘an) 3 June — Two days after Israeli forces fatally shot 16-year-old Nuf Uqab Abd al-Jabar Infiaat, the girl was laid to rest Saturday in her hometown of Yaabad, southwest of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. Infiaat was shot and critically injured after she stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier near the entrance of an illegal Israeli settlement in the Jenin district, and succumbed to her wounds a day later. Footage was released depicting Israeli settlers insulting the young Palestinian as she lay wounded on the ground, calling her a “b*tch” and telling her she deserved to die — recalling a similar incident in 2015 when a video showed an Israeli man yelling “Die, son of a b*tch!” at a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who had just been shot and critically injured. Hundreds of mourners crowded outside Infiaat’s home, as relatives and friends bid her a final farewell. Mourners then carried the body to the town’s main mosque for a funeral prayer, before marching to the town’s cemetery where she was buried. Yaabad Mayor Samir Abu Bakr delivered a funeral oration at the cemetery, in which he said he held the Israeli occupation responsible for the sufferings of the Palestinian people. Infiaat was the 27th Palestinian to have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of 2017, ten of whom were minors and four women and girls. In the same time period, seven Israelis have been killed by Palestinians.
Settler hit and run in Haifa; outraged Palestinians shut down street
IMEMC/Agencies 2 June — Dozens of Palestinians protested last night, on Ibn Jibriol street in the Wadi Saleeb area of Haifa, Israel (pre-1948 territories), following the death of a young Palestinian girl identified as Nada Ibadh, aged 16, after an Israeli settler ran her over with his car. The protesters shut down the street, which is called “the street of death” in denunciation of the repeated run-over incidents in the same street, with no responsible body taking action. The victim girl was hit on Tuesday, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, as she was crossing the pedestrian crossing. The driver reportedly fled the scene. Israeli police arrested a 65-year-old settler on suspicion of his involvement in the accident.
Opinion: Die, suffer, you kahba / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 4 June — This is the lesson learnt by soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces from the Azaria trial: Instead of shooting a ‘terrorist,’ let the person bleed to death while cursing them — A horrific incident took place in the occupied territories last Thursday. It was no less despicable than the shooting of an incapacitated terrorist by Elor Azaria. Watching the video clip that documented the event turns one’s stomach. It’s revolting and infuriating, yet no media outlet in Israel paid any attention to it, reflecting the depths of apathy to which we have sunk. On that day, a group of soldiers stood around a dying Palestinian girl [16-year-old Nouf Iqab Enfe‘at from Ya‘bad] who was writhing in pain, lying bleeding on the road. The soldiers competed with each other to see who could curse her using more vile language. These are your soldiers, Israel, this is their language, these are their values and standards. No one even thought of offering her medical aid, no one thought of silencing the outburst of detestable obscenities flying around the girl who was bleeding to death. This was an apt gift for the jubilee celebrations – from the good-looking paratroopers at the Western Wall to this beastly act at the Mevo Dotan checkpoint. Fifty years of occupation have brought us to this.…
3,000 Palestinian minors killed by Israel since 2000, PA says on Children’s Day
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 June — On the occasion of the International Day for Protection of Children on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) denounced the continuous harm brought unto Palestinian children by Israel since the Second Intifada. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Information, Israeli forces killed 3,000 Palestinian minors between 2000, when the Second Intifada began, and April 2017. During the same time period, the ministry estimated that another 13,000 children were injured by Israeli forces.
According to Ma’an documentation, 72 Palestinian minors have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, with the youngest victim being an eight-month old baby killed by excessive tear gas inhalation during clashes.
The Ministry of Information added that some 12,000 Palestinian children were detained by Israel in the span of 17 years, adding that the overwhelming majority of them were beaten or tortured while in Israeli custody, handcuffed, blindfolded, and forced to confess to charges in the absence of a lawyer or guardian….
Israel releases injured 17-year-old Palestinian girl
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli authorities released on Thursday injured Palestinian teen Taqwa Bassam Hammad, 17, who was shot and detained by Israeli forces last month near the village of Silwad, in eastern Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. Hammad, a high school student, arrived at her home in Silwad on Thursday after an Israeli court decided to release her. The teenage girl was detained on May 23 after she was shot by Israeli forces near Silwad. The circumstances of the shooting were unclear, though unconfirmed reports said that the girl was shot because she was throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Locals at the time said the girl was shot in the lower extremities and that Israeli troops prevented a Palestinian ambulance from accessing the Hammad to treat her. According to local sources, Taqwa is the sister of 21-year-old Anas Hammad, who was shot dead in December 2015 after he committed an alleged vehicular attack on Israeli soldiers near the illegal Ofra settlement, which is adjacent to Silwad where the Hammad family resides.
11 Palestinians arrested during overnight raids in West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 2 June — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) carried out overnight raid and search campaigns throughout the West Bank. At least 11 Palestinians were arrested during the raids. The spokesman for the Israeli army said that eight Palestinians were arrested for being allegedly involved in anti-occupation activities. Two of the reported arrests were carried out in al-Khalil while six others were rounded up in Nablus, according to the sources. Palestinian sources pointed out that violent clashes broke out in Jenin as IOF arrested three local residents including a lawyer. Similar clashes erupted in Kafer Qaddum town in Qalandia when IOF stormed the area amid heavy firing of teargas bombs. At least one young man was arrested from his house in the town, while several houses were violently stormed and searched.
Israeli forces detain 4 Palestinians in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 June — Israeli forces detained at least four Palestinian in raids across the occupied West Bank before dawn Sunday, according to local sources and the Israeli army. Israeli forces raided the village of Husan in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, detained one person, and summoned another for interrogation. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided and searched the home of Kamal Zaoul before detaining his 26-year-old son Waed. During the raid, Israeli soldiers also delivered a summons to appear for questioning at Israel’s Etzion detention center south of Bethlehem to Amir Muhammad Sabateen. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed one detention in Husan, and also told Ma‘an that one Palestinian was detained in the village of Beitin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah and two Palestinians were detained in al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian girl at Qalandiya checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli forces reportedly detained a Palestinian girl on Friday at the Qalandiya military checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, claiming that she was on her way to “carry out an attack” in Israel. Hebrew-language media reported that the girl was detained allegedly “upon security information” received by Israeli authorities. The girl, whose identity remained unknown, was transferred to Israeli intelligence for interrogation.
14-year-old girl joins dozens of Palestinian women in Israeli prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 June — Israeli authorities detained eight Palestinian women and girls over the past month, the youngest of which was 14-year-old Malak al-Ghalith from al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to a statement released Saturday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. Malak was detained on May 28 at Israel’s Qalandiya military checkpoint for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli forces pepper-sprayed the young girl before locking her inside a container for two hours, where Israeli soldiers insulted, cursed, and laughed at her while taking pictures of her, according to lawyers for the committee Hanan al-Khatib and Hiba Masalha. The lawyers reported that Malak was interrogated for four hours before being transferred to Israel’s HaSharon prison.
Some 56 Palestinian women are currently being imprisoned by Israel, according to the committee’s statement. However, prisoners’ rights group Addameer said that there were 61 Palestinian women and girls in Israeli custody as of April. The committee’s statement highlighted that among the 56 female prisoners, nine were minors, though the statement only named Malak and seven other girls, identified as Iman Ali, Marah Jueideh, Luma al-Bakri, Amal Kabha, Manar Shweiki, Hadiyyeh Ereinat, and Malak Salman. Malak was also among eight Palestinian women to be detained over the past month alone … Al-Khatib and Sawalha added that “brutal sentences” were also recently issued by Israel against Palestinian women and girls, including a 13-year prison sentence for Nurhan Awwad, who was 16 years old when she was detained after being shot and critically injured — alongside her 14-year-old cousin who was killed….
Clashes erupt after Israeli soldiers attack the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddoum
IMEMC 2 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and attacked the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies, leading to clashes. Morad Eshteiwy, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and fired a barrage of gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. Local youths burnt tires, to obstruct the invading army vehicles, and hurled stones at the soldiers. There have been no reports of injuries, while some Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. Today’s protest also comes to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Palestinian Naksa, when Israeli occupied the rest of Palestine in 1967 – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. It was held by dozens of locals, in addition to several Israeli and international peace activists, who marched chanting for ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. The protesters also demanded the army to reopen the main town’s road, which was blockaded fourteen years ago to enable easy access to the illegal colonist Israeli settlers, driving to and from Kedumim colony, built on privately owned Palestinian lands.
Gideon Levy / What I’ve seen in 30 years of reporting on the Israeli occupation
Haaretz 3 June by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Two weeks ago on Saturday, a few dozen Israelis attended the opening of a new exhibition at the Ben Ami Gallery in south Tel Aviv. The artist, whose work was on show for the first time, sat on a chair. She is unable to stand, nor can she breathe unaided. In fact, she can’t move any part of her body, other than her face. She paints with her mouth. The artist is a 15-year-old girl. She was extremely excited at her debut – as was her father, who’s been nursing her day and night for the past 11 years. By harrowing coincidence, the exhibition opened precisely on the 11th anniversary of her tragedy. A day when almost her entire family was annihilated; only she, her younger brother and their father survived the smart missile fired at them by Israel’s “moral” air force. She came out of it severely disabled, confined to a wheelchair, hooked up to a ventilator. Maria Aman was four years old when the missile struck the family car, which had been purchased just that morning. She was standing on her grandmother’s knees in the back seat and dancing, her mother next to her, just before the projectile slammed into the vehicle and destroyed her chances for a normal life. The commander of the air force dissociated himself from the incident, which took place in 2006 in the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces never dreamed of apologizing, the pilot’s identity was never revealed and he never took responsibility, and Israelis were unmoved by one more missile that wiped out most of one more innocent family. The firing of the missile that wounded Aman so severely is not considered an act of terrorism in Israel, and the pilot who fired it is not considered a terrorist – after all, he didn’t mean it. They never mean it. For 50 years Israel hasn’t been meaning it. Israel never meant it; the occupation was seemingly forced upon it, against its will. Fifty years: All have been well-meaning, with good, moral and ethical intentions, and only the cruel situation – or should we say the Palestinians – have forced all the badness on us….
The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked….
Al-Aqsa and Ibrahimi Mosques during Ramadan
Photos: Some 250,000 worshipers pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque on first Friday of Ramadan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — Tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers performed the first Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Islamic endowment (Awqaf) director Azzam al-Khatib told Ma‘an that an estimated 250,000 worshipers prayed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, adding that the compound had been crowded since the “al-fajr” dawn prayers with worshipers from across the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as from foreign countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia and South Africa. Al-Khatib said that the number of worshipers present at Al-Aqsa on Friday was considered a good omen for the rest of the holy month, and expressed appreciation for the Al-Aqsa guards who assisted worshipers inside the compound during the day. He added that Israeli forces installed iron gates in some of the streets leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and flew a drone and a blimp overhead to monitor the worshipers. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that its crews provided medical care to 89 people, five of whom were transferred to the Makassed hospital after suffering from the heat and overcrowding.
In Photos: Palestinians make their way to Jerusalem for first Friday of Ramadan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — Thousands of Palestinians began their journeys from across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel on Friday to the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, in order to perform prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israeli forces deployed hundreds of soldiers at checkpoints leading to Jerusalem City, particularly in the Bethlehem area and the suburbs of East Jerusalem, in addition to hundreds deployed inside the Old City. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Police Luay Irzeiqat told Ma‘an that Palestinian police deployed dozens of forces near checkpoints leading to Jerusalem, particularly in Bethlehem and the West Bank-areas of the Jerusalem district to facilitate the crossing of Palestinians through Israel’s network of military checkpoints. Upon arrival at the checkpoints, hundreds of young Palestinian men were turned away, as Israeli authorities allowed the entry of only men above the age of 40, women of all ages and children younger than 11 years of age from the occupied West Bank.
Israel allows Palestinians from Gaza to pray at Al-Aqsa for first time in months
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli authorities on Friday permitted 100 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip to travel to occupied East Jerusalem in order to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. Sources at the Palestinian liaison office told Ma‘an that Palestinian worshipers traveled on buses through the Erez border crossing with Israel early Friday morning, noting that it was the first time in six months that Israel had allowed Gazans to leave the coastal enclave to Al-Aqsa. Israeli authorities only permitted Palestinians above the age of 55 to make the trip on Friday, sources added.
Last week, when Israel announced “special procedures” for the entry of Palestinians to Israel during Ramadan, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that 100 men over 55 would be granted permits every Friday to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque, tightening restrictions from last year, when 300 men over the age of 50 were allowed to attend weekly prayers.
10,000 Palestinians pray at Ibrahimi Mosque on first Friday of Ramadan
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 June — Some 10,000 Palestinians prayed at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank on Friday, the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid a heavy presence of Israeli forces.
Sheikh Hamdi al-Zghayyar, a preacher at the mosque, stressed to the worshipers the importance of visiting and praying at Ibrahimi Mosque in order to prevent Israeli plans of “Judaizing” the mosque. The mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades. The holy site was split into a synagogue — known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs — and a mosque after US-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994.
Head of Hebron’s Islamic Endowment (Waqf) Hajj Ismail Abu al-Halaweh told Ma‘an that despite the checkpoints and the large number of Israeli forces in the area the mosque was still “full of worshipers.” Dozens of Palestinian Red Crescent volunteers were stationed throughout the streets and gates near the mosque in order to facilitate Palestinians crossing through the Israeli military checkpoints, while Jawdat al-Muhtaseb, coordinator for Red Crescent volunteers, noted that 130 Palestinians volunteered with the group in order to facilitate movement and assist elderly worshipers and those with special needs….
Restriction of movement / Closures
Israeli forces reopen several entrances in Ramallah-area villages
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 June — Israeli forces removed several iron gates that had impeded the freedom of movement for residents of Palestinian villages in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday. According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli forces removed an iron gate that had closed the southern entrance of the Sinjil village north of Ramallah city that was installed some two months ago following clashes with Israeli forces. Israeli forces also removed several other iron gates that were erected in Palestinian villages, including those installed at the entrances of Silwad, Nabi Saleh, and al-Mughayyir, sources said.
PA minister: Allenby Bridge crossing to operate 24 hours a day
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 June — Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh said in a statement Thursday that the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge border crossing would soon be open 24 hours a day, five days a week. According to al-Sheikh, the border crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan will start working for 24 hours a day, every day of the week except Friday and Saturday, starting from June 20 until October. The statement added that beginning in 2018 the 24-hour per day, excluding Fridays and Saturdays, will be implemented permanently. The border crossing serves hundreds of Palestinians daily, as Palestinians living in the occupied territory are unable to use Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport — with the exception of a few special permit holders — and therefore must cross through the Allenby Bridge to access the Amman airport in order to travel abroad.
COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, released a statement confirming that a meeting was held between Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli leaders, in a “continuation to the President of the United States visit in Israel,” where the two sides agreed on a number of “steps” to ease the economic situation for the Palestinian territory….
PA: Commercial trucks will be allowed to enter Gaza from West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 June — The Palestinian Ministry of Transportation declared Thursday that it has opened applications for commercial trucks to enter the Gaza Strip from the occupied West Bank, in what the ministry said was the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) attempt to “lessen the siege on Gaza.” The PA Minister of Transportation Samih Tbila said that the step was also being conducted in order to “respond to people’s needs in different sectors.”According to Tbila, applications will be open until June 20.
It remained unclear what procedures were being made in accordance with Israeli authorities, who control Gaza’s borders as part of a crippling military blockade that has besieged the small coastal enclave from its land, air and sea sides for nearly a decade.
Jerusalem, so close, still out of reach for many Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 June by Sarah Benhaida — He lives only a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem but for Palestinian Abu Bashir the city and its sacred sites might as well be a world away. “The whole world goes to Jerusalem but we who live a few kilometres (miles) away are forbidden to enter,” says Abu Bashir, a resident of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. A Muslim who lives in the traditional birthplace of Christ, Abu Bashir says that since Israel occupied east Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites in the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinian worshipers’ ties to their shrines have eroded. The area, annexed by Israel in a move never recognised by the international community, contains Jerusalem’s ancient Old City and within its walls are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Al-Aqsa mosque complex and the Western Wall … For Muslims, access is complicated by Israel’s control of areas around the site. Before the occupation Arab pilgrims travelled to the Holy City by train or flew to a defunct airport between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Many Muslim faithful visited Jerusalem before continuing by bus or train to perform the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In the past, “anyone who wanted to pray in Jerusalem just got in his car and never encountered any roadblocks,” says Mahmud al-Habash, an Islamic religious official in the Palestinian Authority (PA). But since 1967, Palestinians in the occupied territories have seen their freedom of movement restricted by checks and obstacles, including Israel’s controversial separation wall. Most of the more than 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot visit Jerusalem today without a permit…
Christians too face restrictions. Father Jamal Khader, director of the Latin Patriarchate seminary in Jerusalem, recalls childhood memories of holy days in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Today the route between the two cities, still followed by religious processions at festivals, passes through the separation wall which can only be crossed with a special permit. There are now those who have never seen the sacred sites “except in pictures,” Father Khader says….
Including seven medics, many Palestinians injured by Israeli army fire in Gaza
IMEMC 2 June — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Friday, that three young men were shot with live Israeli army fire, and dozens suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, including seven medics, during clashes that erupted along the border fence, in the besieged Gaza Strip. In Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region, the soldiers shot two young men with live fire, during clashes that took place after the soldiers attacked protesters marching close to the border fence, in the eastern part of the city. Medical sources said the two received the needed treatment by field medics, and were transferred to Nasser Hospital, in Khan Younis, suffering moderate wounds.
The soldiers also shot one Palestinian in his thirties with a live round in his right leg, before local medics rushed him to the Al-Aqsa Hospital, in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza.
Furthermore, soldiers stationed in the Nahal Oz military base, across the border fence, east of the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood, in the eastern part of Gaza city, fired many gas bombs at Palestinian protesters, including some that directly struck three ambulances, causing seven medics to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli forces level lands, open fire at Palestinian farmers in Gaza
GAZA (Ma’an) 4 June — Israeli military bulldozers staged a limited incursion into Palestinian lands in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, when Israeli soldiers also opened fire at Palestinian farmers in a separate incident near Gaza City, with no injuries reported. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands southeast of Gaza City, forcing Palestinian farmers to leave the area.
Separately, eyewitnesses said that four Israeli bulldozers entered tens of meters past the border area into the town of Khuza‘a and leveled Palestinian land, while other Israeli military vehicles waited on the Israeli side of the border fence.
Israeli navy fires on Gaza fishing boats
IMEMC/Agencies 3 June — The Israeli navy Saturday opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast forcing the boats to return to shore, said local sources. There were no reports of casualties, however, according to WAFA correspondents. Despite the signed agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which allow fishermen to go 12 nautical miles inside the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli navy targets Gaza fishermen almost daily. Boats cannot venture any further than three nautical miles, which the fishermen say is not enough to catch fish.
Israeli minister halts Gaza electricity reduction
JPost 1 June by Tovah Lazaroff — Palestinians in the Gaza Strip received a temporary reprieve from an electricity reduction that would have left them with only two to three hours of power a day. The 2 million Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled area have received four hours of power a day since April. Prior to that they were receiving 12. Last week, the Palestinian Authority sent a letter to Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), stating that it did not plan to pay the NIS 40 million monthly bill for the electricity needed for four hours of power. Instead, it said it would pay only NIS 25 to NIS 30m. In response, Mordechai said he would provide the Palestinians with only 75 megawatts of power. However, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz this week blocked the move, insisting that COGAT maintain the energy level at 125 mW. According to media reports, Steinitz said COGAT should not take orders from the PA, nor should it be a pawn in a game between Hamas and Fatah. The upper echelon is now set to discuss the matter, but no date has been announced. Fatah has been reducing the amount of electricity sent to Gaza as a pressure tactic to wrest control back from Hamas, particularly at its border crossing.
Yildirim vows to solve Gaza electricity crisis
IMEMC/Agencies 3 June — Turkish Prime Minister Ali Yildirim vowed, Wednesday, in a telephone call to the Head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, that Turkey is working on finding a solution for the ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip. A statement issued by Hamas explained that Yildirim discussed, with Haniyeh, the electricity crisis in Gaza, and promised to find solutions for it, pointing to a Turkish grant to pay for fuel to power the plant. The electricity crisis, according to Al Ray, has been aggravated since the end of the Qatari and Turkish fuel grant,last April , coinciding with the imposition of fees for buying such fuel….
Protesters gather outside home of jailed writer in Gaza demanding his release
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 June — Palestinian activists and family members of jailed writer Abdullah Abu Sharikh protested outside of Abu Sharikh’s home in Gaza City on Saturday, calling for his immediate release. Members of Abu Sharikh’s family, who gathered with demonstrators in the Saftawi neighborhood of Gaza City, told Ma‘an that security authorities of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip had detained the 54-year-old writer for remarks he made in Facebook posts. Abu Sharikh was detained at the end of January, after he obeyed a summons to appear for questioning that he received without knowing the reasons behind his arrest, local organization Al Mezan Center For Human Rights reported at the time. The same day, security forces also summoned three activists for questioning, reportedly over their involvement in recent protests that denounced the electricity crises in the blockaded Palestinian territory … The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms documented a total of 48 violations by authorities in the Gaza Strip against media freedoms in its annual report, which highlighted incidents of security forces inflicting “certain types of torture” against Palestinian journalists during their detentions … Rights groups have continued to criticize the PA and Hamas, the de-facto government of the Gaza Strip, of suppressing both freedom of press and freedom of speech….
Pollution blights 50% of Gaza’s beaches
GAZA (PNN) 3 June — The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip can no longer enjoy clean water and air on the territory’s beaches due to high rates of pollution, the local Environment Quality Authority (EQA) reported this week. According to the authority, 50 per cent of Gaza’s beaches are unfit for recreational purposes due to untreated sewage and waste water being pumped into the sea. An official study showed that they actually pose a serious risk to health and safety. The sewage treatment works in Gaza have been targeted by Israel on a number of occasions and the Israeli-led blockade prevents spare parts from being obtained to carry out essential repairs. Furthermore, the daily power cuts and fuel shortages mean that what little equipment is working cannot do so adequately. The Gaza coast on the Mediterranean Sea is the only recreation area available for most Palestinians in the enclave during the summer. It is about 40 km-long, and there are nine major sewage outlets pumping some 1.1 million litres of raw waste into the sea every day. This is having a major effect on the cleanliness of the Mediterranean Sea, warn local officials and experts.
Church-funded Gaza clinic van reaches end of the road
Premier 2 June by Alex Williams — A church-funded mobile dental clinic which became a regular sight around war-torn Gaza with its Welsh red dragon stickers is being taken out of service. The van had been working with families around bombed-out streets in the Palestinian territory for 17 years, thanks to funding from the Church in Wales. Lead Bishop, John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, said: “We would like to thank everyone who contributed over the years.” The mobile dental unit was operated by the Near East Council of Churches as part of the work of its family health centres in Gaza. It has now been decided the work of the van will become part of the overall work of the centres and, thus, funding for the vehicle is being wound up … The mobile dental unit in Gaza was the main beneficiary of the Church in Wales’ Jubilee Fund, created to mark the new millennium and to support good causes around the world.
Birth control, contraception and abortion in Gaza
The New Arab 1 June — Hélène Servel investigated the sociocultural factors linked to unwanted births, contraception use and abortions in the Gaza strip; a territory that’s been under complete blockade for 10 years. Taking into account the high population density and fertility rate, and the daily hardship faced by residents, Servel asked how are these practices are perceived by the population; how social pressures restrict their usage, and what impact they have on Gaza’s demographic. With more than 1,881,000 people living on just 365 km2 (or 5,000 inhabitants per km2), the changing demographic is a crucial issue for Gaza. The fertility rate was about 5.1 per woman in 2010, when that of the neighbouring West Bank was “only” 4.8. Despite the major humanitarian issue this presents, especially considering the 10 year long blockade, birth control is rarely mentioned. Birth rate and fertility have always been considered political matters by the Palestinian authorities, especially during Intifada periods, when the war against Israel was also fought through population growth. In the context of war, or at least a context of sustained violence, more children meant more participants in the national struggle for liberation.
-Breed more fighters? – In the last few decades, a successful communication campaign has been used by Palestinian authorities to promote the model of a smaller family, one in which the parents are free to decide on the number and frequency of births. Consequently, the use of contraception has been promoted by institutions such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). However, it’s been limited to married couples, usually only after they’ve already had a couple of children. Today however, the toxic economic, social and humanitarian situation is driving couples to reduce the size of their family, not only for financial reasons but also to secure a better education for their children….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Billions spent on settlers since Israel’s control of West Bank
AFP 3 June — Successive Israeli governments have invested billions of dollars over the past 50 years on settlements in the West Bank, making any withdrawal from the Palestinian territory a costly proposition. There is no official overall figure for Israel’s spending on Jewish settlements since the June 1967 Six-Day War. Each year, the finance ministry has published partial figures, amounting to $3.5 billion over the 12 years up to 2015, but the sum does not include investments before 2003. It also does not cover the vast amounts spent on infrastructure such as special roads reserved for settlers and on their security. More than 600,000 settlers live among 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, with frequent outbreaks of violence. The figures also do not include the Gaza Strip which Israel also captured in 1967 but from where its army and settlers pulled out in 2005. The settlements, which are deemed illegal under international law, are widely seen as a key obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No Israeli government, however, has turned its back on the settlers. Roby Nathanson, head of the Macro Center for Political Economics, which publishes reports on settlements, estimates the total costs since June 1967 as $20 billion. The total surface area of settlements construction in the West Bank has doubled in 18 years, according to the non-governmental organisation. As a financial incentive for the expansion of settlements, the average settler receives three times more in public subsidies than a resident of Israel proper within its pre-1967 borders. Shlomo Swirski of the Adva Center, another NGO, estimates that Israel spent $15.2 billion between 1988 and 2015 alone. “This burden has contributed to deepening social inequality in as much as the money goes to settlements and their defense at the expense of social budgets,” he said. Despite the huge sums injected into settlements, several activists favorable to the creation of an independent Palestinian state argue that settlements are not irreversible….
In Hebron, ‘miracle’ for settlers ended ‘golden age’ for Palestinians
HEBRON, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 1 June by Sarah Benhaida & Jonah Mandel — Its Old City is in constant lockdown, its holy site where the biblical Abraham may have been buried guarded by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Fifty years after the Six-Day War, the ancient city of Hebron, set in the hills of the southern West Bank, has become perhaps the starkest symbol of Israel’s occupation. Several hundred Israeli settlers — many of them especially hardline — live in the centre of the Palestinian city of some 200,000 residents. Israeli soldiers keep a close watch, and parts of the city are off limits to Palestinians. For Palestinian residents of Hebron, the Six-Day War marked the end of “a golden age,” says Eid Jaabari, 21 at the time of the conflict that saw Israel win a stunning victory over neighbouring Arab countries and seize swathes of territory. “There was no fighting, the Arabs had withdrawn,” says Jaabari, adding that he saw troops from Jordan, which had controlled the West Bank, leave without firing a single bullet. For the first Israelis to settle in Hebron afterwards, it was “a great miracle”. They speak of the first major return of Jews to the city since a 1929 massacre of members of the small Jewish community there, describing it as an extension of a history of 4,000 years of Jewish presence in Hebron. “It seemed we would never return,” says Noam Arnon, spokesman for the settlers.
Israeli forces seized Hebron from Jordan on June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six-Day War and, at first, the return of Jews to the city did not cause tensions. In those early years, Palestinians recall having good relations with the Israelis in Hebron’s Old City, which borders the holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. The site is where Abraham, revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims, is believed to have been buried. “The Jews wanted everything to remain calm,” and their arrival even “created jobs,” recalls Abdel Rauf al-Mohtasseb, who runs a stall in the Old City. Jaabari, wearing a traditional keffiyeh headscarf and smoking a hookah in a deserted cobbled alley of the Old City, also remembers a time when the area was bustling…
Things changed when in the late 1970s the Israeli government agreed to settler demands and authorised an Israeli civilian presence in the heart of the city. Areas of Hebron are now closed to Palestinians, the streets abandoned, ghost neighbourhoods with iron padlocks rusting on doors. Hebron is the only Palestinian city inhabited by Jewish settlers, in contrast with other parts of the occupied West Bank where settlements sprawl over hills outside major Palestinian population centres. Hebron even has its own status that divides the city, leaving a handful of settlers in certain sectors surrounded by checkpoints and hundreds of soldiers, to the dismay of Palestinians who can’t move freely. Many of the city’s Israeli settlers say they feel besieged…
Hebron has for decades seen major unrest and was a focal point of the wave of Palestinian knife attacks that erupted in October 2015. Violence in the city peaked in 1994 when Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein shot dead 29 Muslims in prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs. Since then, the site — divided into a mosque and synagogue — is the scene of regular violence….
For 50 years, Israelis have clashed over the West Bank. The expansionists have won.
Washington Post 1 June by Dan Ephron — For people accustomed to thinking of Israeli settlements as small, bare-bones communities on isolated hilltops, Ariel comes as a surprise. The city, situated about 13 miles deep in the West Bank, has a population of 19,000, a new two-story shopping mall and a concert hall that seats 540. I visited Ariel a few times this spring as Israel prepared to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, the military campaign that brought the West Bank under Israeli control. Traveling to other settlements in the area often involves crossing through Ariel, slowing down for a security check at one electronic gate and exiting at another. Though I know Israel well – I covered it as a foreign correspondent for years – every pass revealed to me some new way that life had become oddly normalized in the settlement. On one of those drives, I stopped to watch a professional soccer match between a home team and a rival from a city inside Israel. On another day, a concert pianist was giving a recital of Chopin and Beethoven pieces in the auditorium. The eastern part of the city houses Ariel University, one of Israel’s fastest-growing academic institutions. Its sprawling campus includes an engineering department and a center for cyber-technology. A medical school will open in 2019 with a state-of-the-art hospital. Just about everywhere on campus, I could hear bulldozing and jackhammering. Like many of the settlements themselves, the university has migrated over the years from the political margins to the Israeli mainstream. It started out as a small college, mainly for settlers. Then a sympathetic government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upgraded its status a few years ago, against the recommendation of the country’s main academic bodies, making it a fully accredited university. It now has 15,000 full-time students, including many who commute from inside Israel on a fast, six-lane highway. “I came because I got accepted to the psychology program here and not at other universities,” a 27-year-old student, Nehemya Rosenfeld, told me. “It’s just like any other campus.” The university, the shopping mall, the thousands of homes in Ariel – all of this makes the settlement a towering impediment to a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Ariel is probably too large and well entrenched for any Israeli government to contemplate dismantling. In a phrase you hear often in Israel, Ariel is “in the consensus,” (“ba-kontzentzus,” Israelis say). But it’s also too deep inside the West Bank to leave in place without truncating the state Palestinians hope to build. If settlements are obstacles to peace, as the United States has long defined them, Ariel is the mother of all obstacles….
Israeli soldiers destroy five coal production plants in Jenin
IMEMC 4 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, Ya‘bad town, in the northern West Bank governorate of Jenin, demolished five coal production plants, and illegally confiscated hundreds of tons of wood. Kayed Abu Bakr, the head of the coal-production workshop owners, said several Israeli military vehicles, including three bulldozers and five trucks, invaded the coal-mining area, in Ya‘bad, and demolished five coal production plants. The demolished properties are owned by Mansour Mohammad Abu Bakr, Sobhi Hasan Zeid, Hafeth Rafiq Abu Bakr, Mansour Samih Abu Bakr and Bilal Ahmad ‘Abbadi. He added that the soldiers loaded hundreds of tons of woods into the military trucks, in addition to burning tons of wood. The official stated that Israeli colonialist settlers, illegally living on private Palestinian lands, constantly complain to the military about the coal mining and production, and the army repeatedly invades and destroys the plants. He also said that there are about 30 plants in the area, providing livelihood to more than 1000 families in Ya‘bad and many nearby Palestinian communities. Nearly a month ago, the army demolished eight coal production plants, and uprooted dozens of trees, leading to significant financial losses.
Israeli police demolish a Palestinian home in the Negev
IMEMC 1 June — Dozens of Israeli police officers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded at dawn, Thursday, the village of al-Liqya, in the Negev, and demolished a Palestinian home, reportedly for being built without a permit. The soldiers surrounded the entire village, and declared it a closed military zone, before invading it and demolishing the property. The destruction is part of Israel’s illegal policies against the indigenous Palestinians in the Negev, in order to replace them with settlements and shopping centers. There are around 240.000 Palestinians living in the Negev; at least half of them reside in villages and dwellings that have been inhabited for hundreds of years. Although these communities predate Israel, consecutive Israeli governments refuse to recognize them, and continue to consider them ‘illegal.” The communities are thus subject to constant demolitions, uproot of lands and trees, and remain without any infrastructure, including running water, electricity and even health services. Many of these villages, especially al-Arakib (Al-Araqeeb), Az-Zaqzouq (Abu Qweider) and Umm al-Hiran, have been demolished hundreds of times.
Hundreds of new West Bank homes said slated for approval
Times of Israel with Jacob Magid 2 June– Civil Administration committee to meet for first time in months after it was pushed off for Trump’s visit last month — The committee is to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first time since Trump came to office in January. The various projects on its docket include advancing through different stages of planning as many as 2,600 homes. Of these, over 400 are expected to receive final approval for construction, including some outside the major settlement blocs. The government does not expect the building approvals to cause diplomatic trouble with Washington, having already discussed the issue with the Trump administration, an Israeli official said. “These are plans, some of which are old and were frozen at various stages,” he said.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (25-31 May 2017)
PCHR-Gaza 1 June — Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory. 7 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip were wounded during activities supporting the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. Israeli forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border area. A fisherman was wounded in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 limited ones in Jerusalem. 53 civilians, including 6 children, were arrested. 26 of them, including 2 children, were arrested in Jerusalem, while 5 others, including 3 children, were arrested during peaceful protests. Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank. Dozens of settlers moved into Helwa valley neighbourhood in Silwan village and threw stones at houses. Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th year. Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 2 civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israeli minister holds rare meet with PA prime minister in West Bank
JPost 1 June by Herb Keinon — Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met in Ramallah this week with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to brief him on steps decided upon by the security cabinet last month to improve the economic situation in the PA. The senior officials met Wednesday night amid efforts by the US to jump-start the diplomatic process through measures it wants to see Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab world take to improve the overall atmosphere … The Finance Ministry statement said the steps approved by the security cabinet on the eve of Trump’s visit were detailed to the Palestinians. These include the opening of the Allenby Bridge Crossing 24 hours a day for the next two months and making the arrangement permanent in 2018; extending and upgrading crossing points in the West Bank; establishing an industrial zone near the Tarkumiya crossing; and easing restrictions on Palestinian building in specific areas of Area C that adjoin Areas A or B. Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into three areas: Area C, which makes up 60% of the territory, is under complete Israeli control; Area B, which makes up 22% of the territory, is under Israeli security control, but Palestinian civil control; and Area A, which makes up 18% of the territory, is under Palestinians security and civil control. The two Bayit Yehudi ministers in the security cabinet – Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked – voted against these measures because it meant, in effect, that Israel would turn a blind eye to the illegal construction of some 20,000 Palestinian structures. The US, meanwhile, would like to see Israel take additional steps, such as reclassifying parts of Area C in northern Samaria as Area B. The Palestinians are keen on gaining control over segments of Area C, and at one point during the 2013-2014 diplomatic negotiations, Israel was reportedly willing to transfer tens of thousands of hectares of Area C to the PA, which would allow it to develop there without Israeli permits.
Western Wall must be under Jewish sovereignty: Palestinian official
Jerusalem (AFP) 3 June — One of Judaism’s holiest sites, the Western Wall in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, must remain under “Jewish sovereignty”, a senior member of the Palestinian president’s Fatah party said on Saturday. “We understand that the wall… is sacred for Jews,” Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, told Israel’s Channel Two television. “At the end of the day it must be under Jewish sovereignty, there is no doubt about it,” he added. The Western Wall is the last remnant of the supporting wall of the second Jewish temple, built by King Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The holiest site where Jews can pray, it is in the Old City of east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community. It is situated below the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount. Speaking in Hebrew, Rajoub, who is also head of the Palestinian football federation, said, however, that the Al-Aqsa compound “is ours” … Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem will always be the capital of the Jewish state. “The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” he said.
50 years on, Israel keeps tight grip on Palestinian economy
SALFIT, West Bank (AP) 4 June by Karin Laub & Mohammed Daraghmeh — Fuad Maraita’s alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. His hometown of Salfit, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, still lies in darkness. He drinks a cup of strong Arabic coffee and a glass of milk in silence. A few minutes later, he slings a cloth bag with his lunch over his shoulder, gets on a minibus and starts the grueling journey to his job laying tiles at a construction site near Tel Aviv. Maraita, 62, is one of tens of thousands of Palestinians who make the long trek to Israel on any given day. Fifty years after Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, this army of laborers is one of the most visible signs of the occupation. Israeli control has held back the Palestinian economy, making decent-paying jobs in the territories scarce. Stripped of choices, Palestinians work in Israel, where their average pay is the minimum wage — still more than double what they would earn at home. For Israel, they are a source of cheap labor, building homes, fixing cars and serving food. Laying tiles in Israel has become a Maraita family tradition, passed down from Maraita’s late father to him, his four brothers, and one of his sons. The distance between Salfit and Tel Aviv is just 30 miles (48 kilometers), but travel restrictions, including a ban on Palestinian cars entering Israel, keep him on the road for almost as much time each day as he spends working. Maraita believes occupation won’t end any time soon. “They (the Israelis) are not going anywhere,” he said.
More than 100,000 Palestinians now work in Israel, and 24,000 in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. At peak times, a third of the West Bank’s labor force worked in Israel, where the standard of living is 12.5 times higher than that of Palestinians back home — a gap that has widened since 1967. This lopsided economic relationship will loom large if President Donald Trump restarts long-stalled negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Like its predecessors, this U.S. administration believes strengthening the Palestinian economy would support such talks. But Israelis and Palestinians have different views of what this should look like. Palestinians say Israel must cut the shackles now, rather than linking economic change to an elusive peace deal….
More than 72,000 Palestinian students begin final high school exams
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 3 June — Some 72,015 Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip started final high school exams on Saturday, known in Arabic as the ‘Tawjihi’. The Tawjihi certificate is equivalent to a high school completion certificate, and is required for students who wish to pursue higher education. Not only is the certificate required for university admissions, the score on the test determines which field of study a university student will be allowed to pursue. This testing system is implemented in Palestine as well as other Arab countries, and due to the definitive and determining nature of the exams, they are known to generate high levels of stress among the student population. The Palestinian Ministry of Education said that a new system was introduced for the Tawjihi this year, which will allow students to retake exams for certain subjects to improve their average if they pass at least half of the subjects. The ministry said that some fields of study were renamed and some subjects were merged together for more focus on each specialization, while a new field of study, “Technology,” was also presented. Education Minister Sabri Saidam in a statement assured students and their families that the new system will foster better exam results and level the playing field for opportunities available to all students.
Wave of boycotts hits Israeli LGBT film festival as international artists heed Palestinian call to respect picket line
IMEMC/Agencies 2 June — At least five of the twelve international speakers scheduled to participate in the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival this June 1-10 have reportedly pulled out after queer Palestinian activists and their allies in the BDS movement called for boycotting the “pinkwashing” propaganda event that gives progressive cover for Israel’s ongoing and grave violations of Palestinian human rights. Out of respect for the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott, the award-winning South African director John Trengove withdrew from the TLVFest’s opening event. In a letter to the organizers, Trengove wrote: “With the pain of the Apartheid struggle still fresh in our collective consciousness, the issue is … a very sensitive one for many South Africans. …knowing what I know now, I feel it is imperative that I withdraw myself from attending. … [I]t is impossible to look past the fact that the festival (and my participation in it) could serve as a diversion from the human rights violations being committed by the state of Israel.” … Trengove was followed by U.S. Emmy Award-nominated producer, director, writer and organizer Catherine Gund, her co-director Daresha Kyi and the entire team at Aubin Pictures who produced the documentary Chavela on famed Mexican singer Chavela Vargas….
Trump declines to move US embassy to Jerusalem, for now
WASHINGTON (AP) 1 June by John Lederman — Stepping back from a campaign promise and incurring Israeli ire, President Donald Trump acted Thursday to keep the U.S. Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv for now instead of moving it to Jerusalem, a cautious move aimed at bolstering prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Trump avoided a step that threatened to inflame tensions across the Middle East and undermine a push for peace before it even started. Still, the White House insisted Trump was merely delaying, not abandoning, his oft-cited pledge to relocate the embassy … Trump had faced a Thursday deadline to determine how to proceed. Under a 1990s law passed by Congress, the president must move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or the State Department loses half its funding for overseas facilities. But the president can waive the law if asserting that a waiver is in U.S. national security interests. Presidents of both parties have consistently renewed the waivers for six-month stretches. The last waiver was signed by former President Barack Obama six months ago. “For all the rhetorical flourishes, the president is conducting a very traditional approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking,” said Robert Satloff, who runs the Washington Institute for Near East Policy….
Qatar reportedly orders a number of Hamas members to leave Doha
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 June — The Qatari government has reportedly instructed Hamas, the de facto rulers of the besieged Gaza Strip, to expel a list of Hamas officials from Qatar’s capital, Doha, according to Lebanese news outlet al-Mayadeen. The report said that the majority of the names on the list are members of Hamas who coordinate with Hamas leaders in the occupied West Bank. The list, which was reportedly not final and subject to amendment, included names of Palestinians that were mentioned by Hamas-affiliated prisoners under interrogation by Israeli forces. The Qataris reportedly apologized for the move, but said it came as a result of “external pressures,” though al-Mayadeen did not elaborate on the source of the outside pressure. However, in a speech last month at a summit in Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump included Hamas on a list of international terrorist organizations, and called upon leaders of Arab and Muslim-majority countries to form a coalition against so-called Islamist terrorism. Palestinians in Gaza from across the political spectrum united in denouncing the remarks, which were interpreted as a blanket condemnation of all forms of Palestinian national resistance.
2 Gaza gunmen killed while fighting for ISIS in Sinai Peninsula
IMEMC/Agencies 3 June — Two Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were killed on Friday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, while fighting with the so-called Islamic State. Palestinian security forces confirmed that Ahmad Zaqout, 25, from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza city, and Fadi al-Hajar, 26, from central Gaza City, were killed while fighting with the group on Friday. According to Ma‘an, fighting between Egyptian forces and local “Islamic State” affiliates in the Sinai Province has escalated since Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi took power from Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. A number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have reportedly died while fighting with ISIS in Libya, Syria, and Iraq as well. It is worth mentioning that many ISIS-afiliated groups has repeatedly vowed to “take over the Gaza Strip,” by fighting against Hamas and any other group.
The past 50 years of Israeli occupation. And the next.
JERUSALEM (NT Times) 2 June by Nathan Thrall — Three months after the 1967 war, Israel’s ruling Mapai Party held a discussion on the future of the newly conquered territories. Golda Meir, who would become Israel’s leader a year and a half later, asked Prime Minister Levi Eshkol what he planned to do with the more than one million Arabs now living under Israeli rule. “I get it,” Mr. Eshkol jokingly replied. “You want the dowry, but you don’t like the bride!” Mrs. Meir responded, “My soul yearns for the dowry, and to let someone else take the bride.” On this 50th anniversary of the war, it is clear that over the half-century that followed, Israel managed to fulfill Mrs. Meir’s wish, keeping control of the land indefinitely without wedding itself to the inhabitants. This resilient and eminently sustainable arrangement, so often mischaracterized as a state of limbo assumed to be temporary, has stood on three main pillars: American backing, Palestinian weakness and Israeli indifference. Together, the three ensure that for the Israeli government, continuing its occupation is far less costly than the concessions required to end it. Each pillar, in turn, draws support from a core myth promoted by leaders in American, Palestinian or Israeli society. For Americans, the myth that the occupation is unsustainable is a crucial element in maintaining and excusing the United States’ financial and diplomatic abetting of it….
Britain’s concentration camp in Palestine
EI 1 June by David Cronin — Theresa May’s election manifesto contains a pernicious lie. Near the bottom of page 37, it says: “Britain is already a significant influence for good around the world.” With May as prime minister, Britain is a force for ill in global affairs. Far from defending the downtrodden, her government has courted dictators and oppressors. May has sanitized the history of Britain’s meddling in the Middle East. She has made a commitment to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride.” That 1917 pledge to support Zionist colonization in Palestine “demonstrates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people,” May has said. Her government has ruled out apologizing to Palestinians for the injustices inflicted on them because of Britain’s alliance with the Zionist movement. The injustices are bigger than most people realize. While researching my new book Balfour’s Shadow, I learned that the British administration which ruled Palestine between the two world wars set up a concentration camp.
– Mass incarceration – Although the term “concentration camp” has become synonymous with the Holocaust, it was in use long before then. Early in the twentieth century, Britain established the first concentration camps of the 20th century during the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa. And British archives dating from the 1930s are peppered with references to a “concentration camp” in Palestine. During 1936, a major revolt against Britain and its support for Zionism erupted in Palestine. The authorities responded with a policy of mass incarceration. In June of that year, Arthur Wauchope, the British high commissioner in Palestine, received a telegram from London officials. The officials informed him about a parliamentary query on “what steps are to be taken” to provide “reasonable conditions at Sarafand concentration camp.” A British military base had been installed next to the village of Sarafand al-Amar on Palestine’s coastal plain and was, in Wauchope’s view, a “healthy locality.” Wauchope tried to depict the camp positively by noting that it had been approved by an unnamed director of medical services and that access to tobacco was “unrestricted” and “facilities are given for daily exercise.” Wauchope was less rosy in a letter he sent to the Colonial Office in London the next month. He acknowledged that one of the two sections in the camp had “no water closets and bathrooms.” The section in question was initially reserved for villagers and peasants (fallahin in Arabic), whereas the other section was used for “the urban and effendi [noble] class of inmates,” according to Wauchope….
#Occupationis: Palestinians launch campaign on 50th year of Israeli occupation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — A team of Palestinian diplomats have launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #Occupationis (الاحتلال_هو#) to raise awareness on the realities of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the occupation on Monday, which Palestinians refer to as “Naksa” day, meaning ‘setback’.
A statement released by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Saturday said that the campaign was launched by the Palestinian Task Force on Public Diplomacy in commemoration of the anniversary of the 1967 Israeli invasion and occupation of Palestinian land — the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip — that began on June 5, when Israel also invaded and occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. According to the statement, the campaign aims to show “the human face of the Palestinian people and a series of narratives encapsulating the impact of the occupation on individual lives,” adding that the organizers also hope to “celebrate the Palestinian spirit of endurance and resilience.”
“We call on each and every person (regardless of nationality) who has experienced the occupation in any way to share his or her personal story by issuing a video, post, or picture on social media under the hashtags: #Occupationis or الاحتلال_هو#,” the statement continued…. [Example from Twitter: Xavier Abu Eid @xabueid 1h1 hour ago
#Occupationis not being able to celebrate today #Pentecost in #Jerusalem, the day when 2000 years ago Christianity began in #Palestine.]