Israel to probe fatal shooting of Palestinian paraplegic
Gaza City (AP) 17 Dec by Fares Akram — The Israeli military said Sunday it has opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a paraplegic Palestinian man who was shot in the head during a violent demonstration in the Gaza Strip last week. Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, was shot while demonstrating along Gaza’s border with Israel, Palestinian health officials said, during days of unrest sparked by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month. Abu Thraya is being hailed as a hero and his death has emerged as a rallying cry among Palestinians against Trump’s dramatic declaration, which they largely saw as siding with Israel. “We were telling him not to go (to the border), but he would not listen to us. He said ‘this is Jerusalem; if I don’t go to defend it, who will?’” said Raed al-Komi, Abu Thraya’s half-brother … The Israeli military said thousands of protesters were rolling burning tires and throwing stones at soldiers in separate locations along the fence. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, blamed Hamas for instigating violent demonstrations that posed a “significant threat” to soldiers and justified the use of live fire. Still, he said “allegations of the killing of a paraplegic Palestinian rioter are under investigation.” The probe is expected to take several days, Conricus said.
VIDEO: The Israeli military first took his legs, then his life
Haaretz 17 December — narrated by Gideon Levy
The Israeli military first took his legs, then his life / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 17 Dec — The Israeli army sharpshooter couldn’t target the lower part of his victim’s body — Ibrahim Abu Thuraya didn’t have one. The 29-year-old, who worked washing cars and who lived in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, lost both legs from the hips down in an Israeli airstrike during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He used a wheelchair to get around. On Friday the army finished the job: A sharpshooter aimed at his head and shot him dead. The images are horrific: Abu Thuraya in his wheelchair, pushed by friends, calling for protests against the U.S. declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Abu Thuraya on the ground, crawling toward the fence behind which the Gaza Strip is imprisoned; Abu Thuraya waving a Palestinian flag; Abu Thuraya holding up both arms in the victory sign; Abu Thuraya carried by his friends, bleeding to death; Abu Thuraya’s corpse laid out on a stretcher: The End….
Thousands march in funeral of disabled Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Gaza
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Dec — Thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip marched on Saturday in the funeral of slain Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Thurayya, 29, who was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces on Friday during clashes along the border with Israel. Abu Thurayya was a well-known Palestinian activists, famously known for consistently protesting the Israeli occupation, despite losing both his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008. After he was disabled by Israeli in 2008, Abu Thurayya worked washing cars in Gaza to support hi 11-member family. Tributes to Abu Thurayya popped up across social media after his death, as Palestinians widely circulated a video of him calling on everyone to protest against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, just days before he was killed. Following his funeral on Saturday, Abu Thurayya’s mother said that he “had always been brave facing the occupation, even after he lost both of his legs, he would go raise the Palestinian flag on the borders.”
In Gaza, Israeli is shooting fish in a barrel
+972 mag 16 Dec by Mairav Zonszein — Israeli soldiers shot in the head and killed Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, a man with no legs, who was holding a Palestinian flag near the Gaza border fence on Friday. Abu Thurayeh, who according to several sources lost his legs and vision in one eye during an Israeli air strike in 2008 during Operation Cast Lead, was killed by Israeli soldiers while protesting along the Gaza border fence along with some 3,500 other Palestinians. Following the incident, the IDF Spokesperson’s official statement to press read as follows: “During the violent riots, IDF soldiers fired selectively towards the main instigators.” (emphasis mine) The IDF “selectively” chose to shoot a man behind a fence — a man who cannot run, who appeared only to be armed with a flag and his voice. Abu Thurayeh is the perfectly harrowing metaphor for the state of life for Palestinians in Gaza, and for Palestinians on a whole. Helpless, Static. Stunted. And his killing perfectly sums up Israel’s treatment of Palestinians: monstrous. What threat could he have possibly posed that merits a bullet in the head? It is unfathomable. In Gaza, Israel is shooting fish in a barrel. I cannot get this story out of my head. And there have many others like it in recent days. In the last 10 days since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there has been a flood of violent, graphic, harrowing images of Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza, Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem. Many of the images are of teenage boys as well as minors. Children … These acts happen all the time, but we are seeing them at increasing frequency now. In the PR war waged by Israel and its defenders, even those who go to great lengths to present equivalency of imagery cannot produce anything that comes close — no matter how hard they try. There is simply no comparison, no matter how hard one tries to create equivalency between Israelis and Palestinians. Not in real life, and not in images….
Five injured with live bullets during Gaza border clashes
GAZA (WAFA) 17 Dec – At least five Palestinians Sunday were injured, including one critically, during clashes that broke out along the Gaza Strip’s borders as Palestinians continues to protest US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, said sources. A Palestinian was hit with live ammunition during confrontations that erupted to the east of Jabalia, north of the Strip. He was transferred to hospital for medical treatment, where his condition was described as critical. Four others were injured after being shot with live fire during similar clashes that broke out to the east of Shaja’iah neighborhood, east of Gaza city. They were taken to hospitals and their medical conditions were described as moderate.
Two rockets fired from Gaza at Israel, one explodes in house’s front yard
Haaretz 18 Dec by Yaniv Kubovich & Almog Ben Zikri — Two rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel Sunday night, the Israeli military confirmed. One of the rockets exploded in the yard of a residential building in southern Israel’s Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, and the other exploded in a nearby open area … 19 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6th announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is the largest number of rockets fired at Israel since Israel’s last offensive with Hamas in the summer of 2014.
Israeli fighter jets launch airstrikes on Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 18 Dec – Israeli warplanes launched on Monday airstrikes at several locations across the Gaza Strip, causing damage but no injuries, WAFA correspondent in Gaza said. Israeli fighters bombed a site in al-Sudaniya area, northwestern Gaza, causing damages to civilian homes in the area. Israeli warplanes also fired missiles at a site in al-Waha area, northwest Gaza, completely destroying it and causing severe damages to nearby homes. Fighter jets further targeted with five missiles a site to the west of the town of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, completely destroying the site and causing damage to homes. No casualties were reported in any of the airstrikes.
Israeli navy opens fire at fishermen off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 15 Dec — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday morning. Locals said that no injuries were reported among fishermen.‘ [Also acc. to IMEMC: Israeli navy ships attacked many Palestinian fishing boats, in the Sudaniyya Sea and al-Waha area on Monday 18 Dec]
Rafah crossing with Egypt opens for four days, students urged to travel to their colleges
RAFAH (WAFA) 16 Dec – Egypt reopened on Saturday its border crossing with the Gaza Strip at Rafah, in southern Gaza, as the Ministry of Education urged Gaza students enrolled in colleges abroad to take advantage of the opening and travel to their colleges.
The Palestinian border authority said Rafah terminal will be open in both directions for four days, starting Saturday. Nathmi Muhanna, director of the border authority, said Egypt informed them that the crossing will be open for four days to allow humanitarian cases to leave Gaza or return to it. Palestinians anxious to travel for study, medical treatment, or business for holders of residency permits in other countries, have gathered at the terminal awaiting their turn on the buses leaving to Egypt, according to WAFA correspondent. The last time the crossing was open for three days was on November 18.
Gazan authors start new chapter
Al-Monitor 15 Dec by Mohammed Othman — One of the sectors hit hard by Hamas’ rule over the Gaza Strip and the Israeli siege was book publishing, but both publishers and authors see signs of a literary awakening this year. The political-economic conditions of the Strip in the last decade have led to a cultural stagnation, and few books are being published and fewer still are bought. But since the beginning of the year, publishers, authors and members of the Ministry of Culture have grown hopeful as more books have been published, more cultural events launched and more young people seem eager to read. Samir Mansour, the owner of Samir Mansour Bookshop for Publishing and Distribution in Gaza, told Al-Monitor that although book sales in Gaza had been good before 2006, over the past 11 years, the economic difficulties caused by the Israeli siege meant that literature and cultural events became a luxury for Gazans….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
4 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in clashes over Trump decision on Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — Four Palestinians have been declared dead by the Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank and Gaza, after a day of violent clashes with Israeli forces on Friday across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and besieged Gaza Strip. The ministry reported that 18-year-old Muhammad Amin Aqel al-Adam succumbed to his wounds on Friday evening after he was shot multiple times by Israeli forces in the central West Bank town of al-Bireh, after an alleged stabbing attempt against soldiers. Al-Adam was a resident of the town of Beit Ula in the western Hebron district of the southern West Bank. In the Jerusalem area town of ‘Anata, in the central West Bank, 29-year-old Bassel Mustafa Muhammad Ibrahim succumbed to his wounds shortly after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces during clashes in the town.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and injured hundreds of others during clashes that broke out along the border between the besieged coastal enclave and Israel. Yassir Sokhar, 31, a resident of the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City was shot during clashes and declared dead by the ministry of health in Gaza. The fourth slain Palestinian was identified by the ministry as Ibrahim Abu Thurayya, 29, who was shot in the head during clashes.
29-year-old Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces laid to rest in Anata
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Dec — Hundreds of Palestinians marched on Saturday in the funeral of 29-year-old Bassel Mustafa Ibrahim, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Friday during clashes in his hometown of ‘Anata, a village in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. Ibrahim was shot in the chest during clashes that had erupted following protests against US President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He later succumbed to his wounds at the hospital. The funeral set off from Ibrahim’s house in ‘Anata and went through the streets of the village, before heading to the ‘Anata mosque and finally to the village’s cemetery, as mourners chanted slogans in support of the Al-Aqsa most and Jerusalem.
Ibrahim was one of four Palestinians — two from the West Bank and two from Gaza — who were shot dead by Israeli forces on Friday during clashes over Trump’s decision. Friday’s events brought the death toll over the past week to 10 — six Palestinians had previously been killed by Israeli forces over the past week, four in airstrikes and two in clashes.
Palestinian teen in coma after shot with rubber bullet
Al Jazeera 18 Dec by Jaclynn Ashly — A 14-year-old Palestinian boy has been placed into a medically induced coma after Israeli soldiers shot him in the face with a rubber[-coated steel] bullet during a protest against a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mohammed Tamimi was shot at close range in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank on Friday, according to witnesses. Manal Tamimi, a second cousin of Mohammed, said the bullet entered the teen’s face below his nose and broke his jaw before getting lodged into his skull. “The blood was pouring from his face like a fountain,” the 43-year-old mother of four told Al Jazeera on Sunday. “It was so scary. No one knew what to do. We were scared to move him. He had passed out and we were afraid he had already died.” With the injury causing internal bleeding, Mohammed underwent a six-hour procedure involving seven Palestinian surgeons at the Istishari hospital near Ramallah, said Manal. The doctors removed the bullet, reconstructed his jaw and placed him into an artificial coma for 72 hours. “His situation is very bad,” she said. “Doctors fear he may have suffered damage to his sight and hearing.” The family will not learn the extent of damage caused by the injury until Mohammed wakes up on Tuesday …
Israeli rights group B’Tselem said some 19 Palestinians, including 12 minors, were killed by rubber bullets between 2000 and 2013. Israeli military rules stipulate that “crowd control weapons” should only be fired at the lower body, and never at children. However, Manal said security forces specifically “target children” during protests in Nabi Saleh….
Video: Israeli soldiers shoot incapacitated Palestinian after alleged stabbing attempt
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — A Palestinian youth was critically injured on Friday [and later died] after being shot multiple times with live ammunition by Israeli forces in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. The young Palestinian man, whose identity remained unknown [18-year-old Muhammad Amin Aqel al-Adam?], reportedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier with a knife, lightly injuring the soldier. Video [below] from Hayat TV shows Israeli soldiers firing two shots at the youth, causing him to fall to the ground. Despite the Palestinian being clearly incapacitated, Israeli soldiers continued to fire at him, hitting him with at least one more bullet. According to witnesses, Israeli soldiers continued firing around the young man in an attempt to prevent medics from reaching him. Crews from the Palestinian Red Crescent managed to evacuate the young man to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where sources told Ma’an he was in critical condition and undergoing multiple surgeries. Photos showed the young man wearing what appeared to be an explosive device, though it remained unclear if it was real or not.
Teen assaulted by Israeli soldiers when arrested undergoes second surgery
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 Dec – Palestinian teen Hamed Omar Masri, 14, who was detained by Israeli forces in early December, underwent a second surgery in the head on Saturday for wounds sustained during his arrest. Raed Mahamid, Masri’s attorney, said the teen underwent a first surgery in his neck on Friday and a second one in the head on Saturday at Schneider children medical center, and is scheduled to undergo two other surgeries. Masri was seriously wounded in his nose and left eye when Israeli soldiers used excessive force when they detained him on December 12 near the town of Salfit in the West Bank.
[list of Palestinian and Israeli fatalities, frequently updated] At least 90 Palestinians (20 of them children) and 16 Israelis have been killed by someone from the other side in 2017. The youngest victim was Abdul-Rahman Barghouthi, 18 months old, and the oldest victim was Suleiman Salah, 81 years old. Click on the names for more information and sources.
Journalist, woman injured as Israeli forces crack down on demonstrators in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 16 Dec – A journalist and a woman Saturday were injured in Jerusalem as Israeli police continued to crack down on Palestinian protesters who took to the streets to protest US President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, local sources said. Israeli forces used excessive force to disperse protesters who demonstrated outside Bab al-Amoud, one of the old gates in the old city of Jerusalem, against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. A journalist and a woman were injured after being physically attacked by Israeli police forces. A Jerusalemite activist was also detained during a similar demonstration that took place in Salah Eddin Street, in central Jerusalem.
Israeli forces raid Salfit-area village to secure visit for settlers
SALFIT (WAFA) 18 Dec – Israeli army forces raided Sunday night the village of Kifl Haris, north of the city of Salfit in the occupied West Bank, in order to secure a visit for Jewish settlers to the area, according to local sources. The sources told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the village as Jewish settlers entered it to visit sites that are believed to belong to Thul-Kifl, an Islamic prophet identified with many Hebrew bible prophets. The army presence affected residents who were restricted in movement until early next morning. Settlers usually disturb the residents with their celebration and loud noises, said the sources.
Israeli soldiers illegally seize cash, car during Jenin raids
JENIN (WAFA) 17 Dec – Israeli army predawn Sunday illegally confiscated thousands of dollars worth of cash and a vehicle after raiding and searching two homes belonging to Palestinians in Jenin district, north of the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Israeli forces broke into the town of Qabatiya, to the south of Jenin, raided and searched the home of Mohammad Riyad Zakarneh, a prisoner in Israeli jails, before seizing around $2,500. Israeli army also stormed the village of al-‘Araqa, to the west of Jenin, raided and searched the house of Nihad Raed Wakid, who was shot dead along with his cousin by Israeli soldiers near the village in February 2015, before seizing around $1,300 and a vehicle.
Palestinians often report theft by Israeli forces during such raids. During the detention operation Brother’s Keeper in the summer of 2014, Israeli forces confiscated an estimated $2.9 million worth of cash and property from Palestinian homes, charities, and businesses, according to a report by Geneva-based human rights organization Euro-Mid Observer.
Hundreds injured as Palestinians protest in West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets on Friday in continued protest of US President Donald Trump’s announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem — the Eastern part of which is illegally occupied by Israel in contravention of international law — causing clashes with Israeli forces to erupt across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza Strip. Sources from the Palestinian Red Crescent said that teams treated at least 54 injuries in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as of Friday afternoon: four with live fire, 11 with rubber-coated steel bullets, 37 tear-gas suffocation and two others. Meanwhile, the Red Crescent of the Gaza Strip said that at least 96 injuries were reported including, 38 with live ammunition…
East Jerusalem A march set off from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following Friday prayers, as Israeli forces were heavily deployed across the streets and alleyways of the Old City. At the Qalandiya checkpoint between northern Jerusalem and Ramallah, several Palestinian youths were injured as Israeli forces suppressed protests with tear-gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Bethlehem Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth who threw rocks at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, following Friday prayers in front of Israel’s separation wall.
Hebron Clashes erupted in the Bab al-Zawiya area in central Hebron City following a march that set off from the al-Hussein Bin Ali mosque. Clashes also erupted at the entrance of al-Arroub refugee camp, Beit Ummar and the Shuyoukh village in northern Hebron and in Tarqumiya in western Hebron.
Qalqiliya Following demonstrations in the villages of Kafr Qaddum, ‘Azzun and Jayyous, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces. In Kafr Qaddum clashes erupted at the eastern entrance of the town, where three youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets…
Nablus Thousands of Palestinians performed prayers at the al-Shuhada circle in central Nablus City, after which time hundreds of Palestinians headed to the Huwwara military checkpoint in southern Nablus. Clashes erupted with Israeli forces at the checkpoint, at the Beita crossroads in southern Nablus and in the Beit Furik and Salem villages in eastern Nablus. Medical sources said that 100 Palestinians were injured during clashes, and that four were detained by Israeli forces at the Huwwara checkpoint.
[continued with events in other places]
Update: Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 Dec – Israeli forces Sunday and last night detained 17 Palestinians during several raids across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, raising the number of Palestinians arrested since the beginning of the ongoing unrest in early December to 430, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). Israeli army forces detained seven Palestinians from Jerusalem, five from Hebron, three from the Ramallah area, and one from Jenin. PPS said the total number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces since US President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, rose to 430. The number includes 131 children and nine women.
Israeli media wage hate campaign against Palestinian journalists
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Dec — Although proven false, Israeli media waged a hate campaign against Palestinian journalists following false news that circulated the internet that Mohammed Aqel, who attacked Israeli soldiers near the military checkpoint known as DCO at the northern entrance to the city of el-Bireh near Ramallah, was a journalist. Israeli Commentator Barrack Bat Chen Nachum wrote in a Facebook post that it is time to issue orders that prevent Palestinian journalists from approaching Israeli soldiers, and if that did happen, the camera of the photographer should be smashed. “We must act quickly with these animals.”
Social media activists also posted hate comments against Palestinian journalists following false news about Aqel being a journalist; one activist who was identified as Shimon Burg said: “Journalists must die, they are part of the enemy.”… Eriet Shani, also an activist, posted on her page saying, “Why do they allow people with cameras to move? Soldiers must break their cameras and keep everyone away from them.”
Prisoners / Court actions
Court says Palestinian poet won’t be released from house arrest
+972 Blog 17 Dec by Yoav Haifawi — Dareen Tatour, who was arrested and jailed for publishing a poem on Facebook, will remain under house arrest, preventing her from working or leading a normal life — The media calm in recent months could have fooled the casual reader into thinking that the trial of Dareen Tatour for her poetry has already ended. After all, how much can abuse can the poet face for one poem and two statuses on Facebook? The silence is misleading. More than two years and two months after her arrest in October 2015, Tatour’s trial drags on languidly in the Nazareth court with no end in sight. On Monday, December 4, the remand judge once again rejected her request to be released from the house arrest imposed on her “until the end of legal proceedings.”…
While working on the defense summaries, the team from Attorney Gabi Lasky’s office came upon an important piece of evidence concerning one of the main points of the indictment, the publication of a profile picture with the text “I’m the next martyr” (the word was written in its masculine form, “shaheed,” in Arabic). In fact, as we learned from the testimonies of the police officers during the trial, the publication of this picture was the immediate trigger for the night raid on the poet’s home and her “military style” detention. Police intelligence poorly interpreted this status as a declaration of her intention to carry out an attack. Only after the arrest did officers search through Tatour’s Facebook and find the other publications that are mentioned in the indictment. Tatour explained during both her police interrogations and testimony in court that she, along with many others, shared this profile picture to protest the killing of innocent Palestinians. It was published, for example, after the burning alive of Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem in July 2014, and as a response to the police killing of Kheir Hamdan in Kafr Kana (just near Reineh) in November of that year….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces cut down privately owned trees near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 17 Dec – Israeli forces on Sunday cut down tens of trees, including almond, oak and hawthorn owned by a Palestinian from the town of Beit Ummar, to the north of Hebron in the West Bank, according to local sources. Mohammad Awad, a local activist, told WAFA that staff from the Israeli Environment Authority accompanied by a military escort cut down dozens of these trees, which belong to Thabet Abu Maria from Beit Ummar town. The Israeli authorities did not give a reason for cutting down the trees, according to our sources.
Israeli forces raze Palestinian-owned lands near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 17 Dec – Israeli bulldozers Sunday razed large areas of lands in the village of Urif, south of the city of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlements’ activities in the northern West Bank, said Israeli bulldozers razed lands in Urif, a village near to the illegal Israel settlement of Yitzhar. He said that the lands that were razed amount to 500 dunums and belong to several families in the village.
Family of 8 left homeless as Israel forces Jerusalemite to demolish his house
MEMO 18 Dec — Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem forced a Palestinian resident of Silwan to demolish his own house, Quds Press reported yesterday. Ibrahim Abu-Rammouz said Israeli occupation forces has ordered him to demolish his home three years ago however he has been fighting to stop the demolition and obtain the near impossible to attain planning permissions to no avail. Finally, his lawyer had told him that he must either demolish his house or the Israeli municipality would do so and charge him 50,000 ($14,200) in costs. He said that his house, which was built ten years ago, consisted of two floors. He, his wife and six of his sons lived in it.
Israeli military training affects life of 1300 Palestinians in West Bank hills – report
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 16 Dec — Around 1,300 Palestinians in 12 herding communities in Massafer Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, are affected by intense Israeli military training and additional access restrictions, exacerbating the coercive environment facing them, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the occupied Palestinian territories said on Friday. “Intense military training exercises over the past two months and the obstruction of key access routes have exacerbated the coercive environment imposed on approximately 1,300 residents of 12 Palestinian herding communities in southern Hebron,” said OCHA. Israel designated Massafer Yatta in the 1980s as a closed military zone for training and it has sought to remove the communities on this basis. “Residents have been subjected to a range of policies and practices that have undermined their physical security and sources of livelihood, and which heighten the risk of forcible transfer from the area,” it said. To make life even more difficult for the Palestinian residents of Massafer Yatta, the Israeli military blocked on November 10 three of the four dirt roads leading to and from the closed area. This action prevented access by the residents to basic services, water in particular….
Other news, analysis
Abbas spokesman: We will not accept changes to 1967 East Jerusalem borders
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Dec — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, released a statement on Sunday saying that Palestinians “will not accept any changes to the 1967 border of East Jerusalem,” as tensions surrounding the Israel-occupied Palestinian territory continue to rise in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abu Rudeinah’s speech, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency, was allegedly in response to statements attributed to a White House official saying that the US considers the Wailing or Western Wall – which Muslims refer to as Al-Buraq Wall — as part of Israel. “This American position proves once again that the current US administration is completely out of the peace process,” he said. “Continuing with this American policy, whether it has to do with recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy to the city or taking a unilateral decision on final status issues, are in violation of international law and consolidate the occupation. This is not acceptable to us and we denounce it,” Abu Rudeinah concluded.
UN Security Council to vote tomorrow on call for Trump’s Jerusalem move to be rescinded
Haaretz 17 Dec by Noa Landau — The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Monday on a resolution drafted by Egypt against U.S. President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The draft UN resolution “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” It “calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council.” However, there is debate regarding the definition of “diplomatic missions,” and whether that relates to an embassy or a consulate as well. Diplomats say it has broad support but will likely be vetoed by Washington….
Palestine elected member of the ICC’s Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties
NEW YORK (WAFA) 16 Dec — The Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) meeting in its sixteenth session at the United Nations headquarters in New York elected the State of Palestine as a member of its bureau, according to Palestine’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations. It said that the election comes only two years after Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute, which enabled it to become a member state of the International Criminal Court in 2015.
This decision reflects the confidence of the States Parties in the State of Palestine’s ability to assume this position and responsibilities, despite of its recent membership, said the delegation … Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, said that the election of the State of Palestine as a member of the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC was another step in consolidating the foundation of the State of Palestine in international forums.
Abbas meets Emir of Qatar in Doha
DOHA (WAFA) 17 Dec — President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday met with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha to discuss the latest developments following US President Donald Trump’s announcement over Jerusalem.
Israel’s governing coalition expected to back bill ordering death penalty for terrorists
Haaretz 18 Dec by Jonathan Lis — The governing coalition is expected to support a bill on the death penalty for terrorists, sponsored by Yisrael Beiteinu, that would allow military courts to sentence a terrorist to death even if the decision is not unanimous. The heads of the coalition parties promised Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Sunday to support the bill, as set out in the coalition agreements. Making it easier to sentence terrorists to death has been on Yisrael Beiteinu’s agenda for years. Military law already allows the death penalty for someone convicted of a terrorist murder if the decision by the judges is unanimous. This bill would allow the death sentence to be imposed by a majority of the judges. It would also prohibit the commutation of a death sentence. The bill does not require military prosecutors to demand the death penalty. The decision will be left to the prosecutors in any given case. The bill includes an article that was not in the coalition agreement, allowing regular Israeli criminal courts, and not only military courts, to sentence convicted terrorists to death….
Israeli defense minister’s comments highlight ‘plague of racism’ / Akiva Eldar
Al-Monitor 14 Dec — Twenty-six years ago, on Dec. 16, the UN revoked its resolution that equated Zionism with racism. UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 1975 had cited “the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa” as having “a common imperialist origin … having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being.” Growing displays of xenophobia, incitement against minorities and serial legislation curbing human rights organizations are poisoning Israel with the plague of racism. There’s no more blatant example than the call issued this week by a senior government minister to boycott tens of thousands Israeli Arabs, the vast majority of them law-abiding citizens, and to revoke their citizenship. UN General Assembly Resolution 4686, which removed Israel from the UN’s list of racist nations, was a reward for the participation of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (together with Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) in the international Mideast peace conference convened in Madrid in October 1991. Israel’s agreement to open negotiations on ending its occupation of Palestinian territories opened the hitherto closed doors to many states, among them Russia and China. Israel’s occupation of the territories, which has since only deepened, and the attendant oppression of the Palestinian population and delegitimization of human rights groups are pushing Israel back into the pariah camp….