Jewish activists storm senator’s office as lawmakers sound off on Gaza
WASHINGTON (Haaretz) by Amir Tibon — A group of around 30 demonstrators from the left-wing Jewish group “If Not Now” gathered Monday in front of the office of Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to protest Israel’s use of deadly force against thousands of Palestinian demonstrators on the Israel-Gaza border in recent weeks. The demonstrators called on Cardin, one of the most senior Democratic Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to denounce Israel’s response, specifically its use of live ammunition to keep Palestinian protesters away from the border fence between Israel and Gaza. The protesters blocked the entrance to Cardin’s office and asked: “How many more lives need to be lost until you will speak up about the violence in Gaza?” Cardin was slated to speak before the annual J Street conference in Washington later on Monday afternoon. Five participants were briefly detained during the demonstration, which took place as an increasing number of Democratic legislators in Washington have spoken out against Israel’s handling of the events on the Gaza border….
[Senator Bernie Sanders later praised the group, If Not Now, in his own speech to the J Street conference. –Editor]
Dozens of American Jews arrested protesting Gaza violence
+972 mag 16 Apr by Edo Konrad — From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel’s violence against Gaza protesters — 32 American Jews were arrested across the United States last week in a series of actions outside the offices of major Jewish institutions and elected officials to protest the ongoing violence against Palestinians at the Israel-Gaza border.
The actions, organized by the Jewish-American group IfNotNow, took place in Boston, New York, Twin Cities, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, where young Jews demanded statements condemning Israeli violence against the unarmed protesters taking part in the “Great Return March.” Since the march began three weeks ago, Israeli snipers have killed over 30 Palestinians and wounded 1,200 more.
IfNotNow was established in the summer of 2014 during Israel’s war in Gaza by young American Jews. Angered by the overwhelming support of American Jewish institutions for the war, they began organizing actions calling for an end to the war, an end to the occupation, and freedom and dignity for all. Since then, IfNotNow has organized hundreds of nonviolent actions — and, more recently, delegations to Israel-Palestine — with the aim of pushing Jewish institutions to stop supporting the occupation….
Reversing government decision, top court lets bereaved Palestinians enter Israel for joint memorial ceremony
Haaretz 17 Apr by Or Kashti — The High Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday to allow bereaved Palestinians to join Israelis in a Memorial Day ceremony. The ruling rejected the position of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said the event was not a memorial ceremony, but “a display of bad taste.” The ruling was given following an urgent petition filed by the Parents Circle – Families Forum and Combatants for Peace, the organizers of the alternative Memorial Day ceremony taking place Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv. On Monday, Lieberman rejected a compromise that would allow a small Palestinian delegation to enter Israel to attend the ceremony. Last week Lieberman said the event was “a display of bad taste and insensitivity that offends bereaved families who are more precious to us than anything.” In their ruling, the judges said that “the defense minister’s judgment is completely devoid of sensitivity to the bereaved families’ considerations, who want to hold a ceremony with Israelis and Palestinians.” The court also said that the decision ignored the sentiments of parts of the Israeli public that “identify with its content and goals.”….
Levels of living in Palestine, 2017
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics — The monthly average of per capita expenditure in Palestine was 169.5 JDs (220.1 JDs in the West Bank, and 91.2 JDs in Gaza Strip). [A Jordanian dinar is currently worth about 71 cents US.] Around 31% of Total Expenditure was for Food. Percentage of per capita expenditure on food groups to the total per capita expenditure was 30.5% (29.1% in the West Bank, and 35.7% in Gaza Strip), followed by the percentage of per capita expenditure on transport and communications by 18.5%, and 8.7% on housing, and the lowest percentage of expenditure was on recreation group by 1.5%, and second lowest percentage was on personal care group by 2.1% in Palestine. It is noticed that there was an increase in the monthly average of per capita expenditure in 2017 compared to 2011 in the West Bank; in 2017 the per capita expenditure was 220 JDs in the West Bank, while it was 188 JDs in 2011, with an increase of 17.0%. While in Gaza Strip the average monthly of per capita expenditure decreased in 2017 compared to 2011 by around 17%, as the per capita expenditure was 91 JDs in 2017, while it was 110 JDs in 2011….
President Abbas at 29th Arab League Summit calls for adopting his peace plan proposed at UN
DHAHRAN (WAFA) 15 Apr – President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday during a speech he delivered at the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran called for adopting and supporting the peace plan he proposed at the United Nations Security Council last February. The president noted that the proposed peace plan, which is based on the Arab Peace Initiative, calls for holding an international peace conference in the mid 2018 that is based on international resolutions. Abbas said the outcomes of the conference must include, the acceptance of the State of Palestine as a full member state at the UN and seeking the security council to achieve that, mutual recognition of statehood between Palestine and Israel on the borders of 1967, the formation of a multilateral international mechanism that aids the two sides in negotiations to solve all permanent status issues according to the Oslo Accords, and the implementation of what is agreed upon within a specified period of time, while providing guarantees for implementation….
Premier holds Israeli government responsible for burning of mosque by settlers
NABLUS (WAFA) 14 Apr — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Saturday held the Israeli government responsible for the action of Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, the latest of which was the attempt to set on fire a mosque in the northern West Bank village of ‘Aqraba. Hamdallah’s statement came following a visit to the mosque to inspect the damage caused to it. Settlers had raided early Friday the village located west of Nablus, set the mosque on fire in a clear hate crime and spray painted racist and anti-Palestinian graffiti on its wall. “The Government of Israel is fully responsible for the continued violations of the Israeli settlers because it does not persecute the perpetrators of these acts,” he said, warning that such actions against a Muslim holy place could trigger religious conflict whose consequences could be devastating. He said that the mosque will be immediately restored to preserve it as a worship place.
PHOTOS: Nabi Musa Festival celebrated near West Bank city of Jericho
Xinhua 14 Apr — Singers perform during the Nabi Musa Festival at the Nabi Musa mosque near the West Bank city of Jericho, on April 13, 2018. The Nabi Musa Festival is a seven-day religious festival that is celebrated annually by Palestinian Muslims. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani) [a discussion of the history of this festival can be found under Nabi_Musa in Wikipedia – accuracy unknown.]
Ooredoo launches 3G services in West Bank
DOHA, Qatar (The Peninsula) 15 Apr — As part of its group-wide network modernisation programme and its strategy to enhance customers’ digital experience, Ooredoo Group announced yesterday that its operating company in Palestine, Wataniya Mobile, has successfully launched 3G services in West Bank and is already seeing strong demand on the service. This comes as part of the company’s heavy investment in building world-class networks, giving a greater range of opportunities for people to access employment, education and entertainment wherever they are. Wataniya Mobile’s customers are now enjoying high quality voice calls and internet access, video calls and mobile TV via their smartphones, using the company’s fastest 3G network in the West Bank….
Preparations for National Council session almost done, says official
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Apr – Azzam al-Ahmad, member of the Fatah Movement executive committee, said the preparations for holding the upcoming session of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament in exile, are almost done. He told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the session will be held on April 30 and will be attended by Arab and international officials. “When your home is organized you can partake in the fiercest political battles. We are now in an open battle with the United States because of US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and Israel’s violations of all signed agreements,” he said, explaining the importance of the PNC upcoming session.
Israeli airport authority interrogates participants in conference held in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Apr – The Israeli airport authority interrogated a number of international visitors on Saturday morning about their participation in a conference held in Ramallah as they were leaving the country through Tel Aviv airport. One of the participants, Renata Fayezova, who heads the international relations department at the Kazakh Humanities and Law University and who described her treatment at the airport as “cruel and provocative,” said she was interrogated for several hours about her participation in Beit al-Maqdes International Conference held in Ramallah last week. She said that she got in contact with her government and informed them of her bad treatment at Israel’s airport demanding action against Israel for not respecting international visitors, particularly since she holds a Russian passport. Israel had banned a number of international visitors who were invited to participate in the conference from entering the country.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Elderly Palestinian man dies of wounds after being run over by Israeli settler
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Apr — An elderly Palestinian man, on Monday, has died of wounds he sustained as a result of being run over by a settler. The man, identified as Odeh Malash, 65, from Al-Doha town, in Bethlehem, was run over by an Israeli settler about a month ago, in the town of Shu‘fat in Jerusalem, where he works. Malash had been in a coma in the al-Massaked Hospital, in Jerusalem, since then, and was announced deceased, as a result of his wounds, today. His family was not allowed to visit with him while he was at the hospital due to the Israeli restrictions. After his death, his corpse was transferred to his family, and he was buried following a massive funeral ceremony in the graveyard of ‘Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem.
Palestinian injured during clashes in Nablus, another arrested
NABLUS (WAFA) 17 Apr – A Palestinian was injured on Tuesday when shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes at Joseph’s Tomb to the east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian security sources. They told WAFA that Israeli forces raided Nablus and went into Tal Balata and Joseph’s Tomb, which they claim is a Jewish shrine. Clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and local residents during which a Palestinian was shot and injured. He was transferred to Rafidia hospital in Nablus for treatment.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops raided a building in a Nablus neighborhood west of the city and detained a 55-year-old man identified as Husam al-Razzeh after ransacking his home.
Settlers storm archaeological site, damage grave in Islamic cemetery
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers, on Monday, stormed a historic archaeological site in the town of Sebastia, near Nablus, northern West Bank, under heavy protection by the Israeli army. The mayor of Sebastia Mohammed Azem, told WAFA that a number of settlers broke into the site amid the protection by the army, who closed the area to any other visitors. He added that confrontations broke out in the area, following the visit, while Israeli soldiers fired teargas towards the protesters. Azem pointed out that the town is constantly attacked by the occupation and settlers, especially with the approach of a national festival in the town that will be organized by the municipality next Friday, and will be held in the archaeological area.
In a separate incident, two Israeli settlers, in the early Monday morning hours, have reportedly damaged a grave in Bab Al-Rahma historic Islamic cemetery, adjacent to the eastern wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, defiling it. According to media reports, the settlers were screaming racist slogans, insults and hatred while they were attacking the grave.
Israeli settlers vandalize dozens of Palestinian cars in West Bank village
NABLUS (WAFA) 17 Apr – Israeli settlers vandalized on Tuesday dozens of Palestinian cars in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, according to Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank. He told WAFA that Jewish settlers broke into the village during the night and spray painted cars and homes with racist slogans. He said that more than 30 cars were vandalized.
Palestinian accuses Israeli soldiers of stealing money during raid of his home
TULKARM (WAFA) 17 Apr – A Palestinian resident of the village of Kafr al-Labad, to the east of the city of Tulkarm in the north of the occupied West Bank, Tuesday accused Israeli soldiers of stealing money from his home after raiding and ransacking it, according to Ihab Ghazaleh, mayor of Kafr al-Labad. He told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the home of Abdul-Jabbar Ghazaleh in the pre-dawn hours, locked all the family in one room before thoroughly searching the house. He said the soldiers ransacked the house and damaged windows and furniture. After inspecting the damage after the soldiers had left the building around five in the morning without making any arrest, the family realized that a gold coin and an amount of money estimated at 1600 Israeli shekels (app. $450) that they had kept in the house were missing prompting them to accuse the soldiers of stealing the money.
Israeli forces arrest Hamas leader in West Bank
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) 15 Apr by Qais Abu Samra — Israeli forces detained a Hamas leader in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh on Sunday, according to local residents. Israeli soldiers raided and searched the house of Jamal al-Taweel in Umm al-Sharayit neighborhood before taking him into custody, the residents said. The Israeli army has yet to confirm the arrest. Al-Taweel was elected mayor of Al-Bireh in 2006. On an almost daily basis, Israeli forces carry out night-time raids in the occupied West Bank that allegedly target “wanted” Palestinians.
Army abducts eight Palestinians, injures four, in Nablus and Jenin
IMEMC 16 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, eight Palestinians, and injured four others, during military invasions of Nablus and Jenin, in the northern parts of the occupied West Bank. Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded and violently searched many homes in the city, and abducted Mohammad Emad Tazaz‘a, Amjad Damouni, Mustafa Kamil Dib‘ey and Ahmad Hakim Jamil. They added that the soldiers also invaded many stores along Nazareth Road, north of Jenin, violently searched them and confiscated surveillance recordings.
The soldiers also invaded the Shuhada Junction, in the center of Nablus city, and shot five Palestinian protesters, after firing rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at them. Medical sources in Nablus said local medics provided the wounded Palestinians with the needed treatment without moving any of them to hospitals or clinics. During the invasion, the soldiers stormed and searched homes in the Old City of Nablus, and abducted a young man, identified as Ahmad ‘Amira. Another Palestinian, identified as Ahmad Taleb Miskawi, 20, was abducted from his home in Balata refugee camp, east of the city, while Mohammad Mousa Safadi, 27, was abducted from his home in Tal town, southwest of Nablus, and Ahmad Mohammad Shehada was taken prisoner from his home in Jama‘in town, south of the city.
Israeli soldiers abduct four Palestinians, including a child, in Hebron
IMEMC 16 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Hebron city and several villages and towns, searched and ransacked many homes and abducted four Palestinians, including one child. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers abducted Firas Yacoub Natsha, 12, from his home in the Old City of Hebron. They added that the army also abducted Nasr Mohammad Rajoub and Younis Rajoub, from the al-Kum village, southwest of Hebron. In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and the as-Seer nearby village, south of the town, searched homes and abducted Yasser Awad Za‘aqeeq, 27, before moving him to Etzion military base and security center, north of Hebron. The soldiers also invaded many neighborhoods in Hebron city, in addition to the towns of Bani Neim, Deir Samit, Doura and ar-Reehiyya, and installed many roadblocks, before stopping and searching dozens of cars and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers also installed a roadblock at Hebron’s northern road, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians.
On Sunday evening, the soldiers invaded ‘Aseeda area, in Beit Ummar, and fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, in addition to forcing many stores shut, after the soldiers failed to abduct a Palestinian they ambushed in that area. The soldiers also attacked local activist Mohammad Awad, who was documenting the invasion and violations, and took him to the military tower at the main entrance of the town. Awad said the soldiers tried to accuse him of “carrying a knife,” but had to release him because he, and other Palestinians, were documenting the unfolding events, which proved the falsehood of the army’s allegation.
Soldiers abduct two Palestinians, injure one, in Bethlehem
IMEMC 16 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and Teqoua‘ town, east of the city, abducted two Palestinians and injured one. The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said dozens of soldiers invaded Deheishe refugee camp and shot a young man with a gas bomb in his face, after dozens of youngsters protested the invasion and hurled stones at the army vehicles. The soldiers also invaded and searched homes in the refugee camp, and abducted Ahmad Omar al-Atrash, 19. The young man was rushed to a local hospital suffering a moderate-but-stable injury.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Teqoua‘ town, east of Bethlehem, searched homes and abducted Ammar Yasser al-‘Amour, 18.
Army abducts six Palestinians, including one woman, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 16 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, six Palestinians, including one woman and three children, in several parts of occupied East Jerusalem, after invading their homes and searching them. Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the soldiers invaded and searched homes in at-Tour, overlooking the Old City, and abducted three children. He identified the abducted children as Mahmoud Walid Abu al-Hawa, 15, Yazan Anwar Salfiti, 15, and Amir Hazem Sayyad, 16. Mahmoud added that the soldiers also invaded and searched homes in Shu‘fat refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, and abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Amir Khader Dibis, and Nidal Sheeha.
Isolating 7 Jerusalemites from Al-Aqsa Mosque
Silwanic 13 Apr — The occupation authorities isolated on Friday night 7 Jerusalemites including a child from Al-Aqsa Mosque for two weeks. On Friday, the forces arrested Abdullah Murrar, Nidal Siam, Ismat Hammouri, Abdelrahman Hammouri, Ra’fat Najib, Tawfiq Kaloti and Hamzeh Murrar while leaving Al-Aqsa Mosque as the policemen stationed at the gates followed the young men and arrested them. After interrogating them regarding the sit-in that was organized inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, the police decided to release them after signing a bail and on condition of isolation from Al-Aqsa for two weeks.
Israel locks down West Bank, Gaza for anniversary party
JERUSALEM (AA) 16 Apr by Said Amouri & Abdul Raouf Arnaout — Jewish state gears up for 70th anniversary of its foundation – an event Palestinians call ‘The Catastrophe’ — The Israeli army has imposed a four-day closure on both the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip ahead of planned celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment, which began on Monday and will continue until mid-May. According to an army statement, the closure began on midnight Sunday and will continue until midnight Friday. The Israeli authorities typically lock down the occupied West Bank during Jewish holidays. It is the first time, however, for the army to seal the West Bank and Gaza for national anniversary celebrations. According to the army statement, the closure means Palestinians from the West Bank will be barred from entering Israel while the limited import of goods into the Gaza Strip — including fuel — will be temporarily halted. The move comes amid mounting tension amid plans by the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were dispossessed of their land to make way for the new Jewish state…
Prisoners / Court actions
Imprisoned Palestinian girls denied education rights as women self-organize high school exam preparations
Samidoun 13 Apr — Imprisoned Palestinian women and girls continue to be under attack by the occupation, most recently as the Israeli prison administration in HaSharon prison attempted to block Khalida Jarrar, the imprisoned leftist, feminist parliamentarian, from helping the minor girls prepare for their national tawjihi examinations. In response to the prohibition of Jarrar’s classes on 9 April, the women prisoners closed their section and refused meals, reported Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
For several months prior, the teacher who is supposed to enter from outside the prison to provide lessons to the minor girls had not come, prompting Jarrar to add exam preparation classes to her existing self-organized training sessions on human rights. After the women prisoners’ protest, the prison administration relented, allowing Jarrar to continue teaching temporarily and promising that the visiting teacher would return in less than a week. This news was released when Sahar Francis of Addameer visited Jarrar in HaSharon prison along with the imprisoned mother and daughter, leaders in the indigenous land defense movement in Nabi Saleh, Nariman and Ahed Tamimi. They noted their message to the world on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day was that the Israel Prison Service continues to systematically deny the prisoners’ rights and attempt to prevent them from educational and cultural programs in an attempt to dull their minds and prevent them from refining their consciousness and knowledge of their rights to self-determination and liberation….
Marking Palestinian Prisoners Day, PLO official reaffirms support for prisoners
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr – On the eve of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, which coincides on Tuesday, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member, Hanan Ashrawi, Monday reiterated strong support for the over 6500 prisoners held in Israel for resisting the occupation started in 1967. “As we continue to pay tribute to and affirm our support of all former and current Palestinian prisoners within Israeli jails, we are reminded of their steadfastness and unbreakable commitment to independence and justice in the face of the belligerent military occupier’s willful breach and devaluation of their rights and lives,” said Ashrawi in a statement. According to the Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoner Affairs, roughly 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 350 children, 62 women (8 of whom are female child prisoners), 500 administrative detainees, 1,800 prisoners who require medical care (700 of whom suffer from serious and chronic conditions), 6 parliamentarians, and 18 journalists. Since Israeli began its military occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been abducted and imprisoned by Israel. This figure represents 20% of the total Palestinian population and 40% of the Palestinian male population. It also includes 10,000 women imprisoned since 1967 and more than 200 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons as a result of torture and lack of medical care. Furthermore, 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000….
Israeli court indicts Jewish man who dreamed of ‘decapitating Arab babies’
RT 17 Apr — An Israeli man has been indicted for inciting both anti-Israeli and anti-Palestinian hatred in his Facebook posts. In the most notorious of them, he described his vivid dream of “decapitating” Arab babies with a butcher knife. Between 2012 and 2017, Petah Tikva resident Zohar Zuaretz issued a barrage of Facebook posts urging more than one thousand of his followers to attack and kill Palestinians. The man also lashed out against the Israeli security forces over their alleged lack of commitment to protecting the Jews. Zuaretz’s messages were not left unnoticed by the Israeli authorities. On Monday, the State Attorney’s Office charged the 33-year-old with multiple counts of incitement to violence and racism. The Israeli was also charged with supporting the Kach extremist group, a radical Orthodox Jewish, ultranationalist party banned in Israel in 1994 … Calling the Arab political party in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, “inconceivable,” in another post, the man urged his Facebook followers to “burn” the Arabs and the “leftist” Israelis. “A true Jew will not join this evil and heretical army. Go and do things alone,” he wrote in another post, calling on Orthodox Jews to start a rebellion. “I expect all the soldiers… to aim their weapons in the right direction.” Besides urging the Israeli settlers to have the courage to “load a weapon and spray the evil policemen and soldiers,” Zuaretz, at the same time, tagged Israeli law enforcement vehicles and public buses with anti-Arab messages….
Four Palestinian fighters killed east of Rafah
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Apr — Four people were killed and several others injured, on Saturday, in what initially appeared to be an Israeli artillery attack targeting a group of Palestinians who were riding a three-wheeled “tuk tuk” motorcycle (rickshaw) east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Other accounts indicated that the four died in a training accident. The four were identified as Amjad Qartous, 18, Ayed Hamaydeh, 23, Hesham Kallab, 18, and Hesham Abdul-Al, 22. All four were from from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Islamic Jihad claimed the four young men as fighters in their armed wing, and published a photo of the four wearing the uniform of Islamic Jihad. Initial reports from the PNN stated that Israeli artillery shelled the eastern border of Rafah, targeting a group of young men who were moving rubber tires near the eastern border of the city. But a later report indicated that the four men may have been killed by an explosive that went off in a training accident. The four deaths follow a day of protests at various places along the Israel-Gaza border, in which one Palestinian was killed and 969 Palestinians were wounded.
Israel’s High Court rules to allow wounded youth to leave Gaza for treatment in Ramallah
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 16 Apr – Three Israeli High Court justices unanimously ruled on Monday on a petition that 20-year-old Gazan, Yousef Kronz [Karnaz?], wounded by Israeli military gunfire in Gaza protest and who later had one of his legs amputated, should be permitted to leave Gaza for urgent medical care in Ramallah hospital to save his remaining leg. The Israeli state had argued that Kronz should not be granted permit to leave Gaza or access to further medical treatment due to his participation in protests, according to a press release by the Haifa-based Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights. The two human rights organizations had petitioned the High Court to allow Kronz and Mohammad ‘Ajouri, 17, both from Gaza, to leave the Gaza Strip for urgent medical treatment in Ramallah’s Al Istishari Arab Hospital in order to save their legs.
Kronz and ‘Ajouri were shot and wounded by the Israeli military during Land Day protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, which had no means to rescue the wounded men’s legs, referred them to Al Istishari Hospital on 1 April and a request to exit Gaza and transfer to Ramallah was submitted to the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that same day. The High Court delayed its decision on the matter and – despite the urgent nature of the situation – allowed the state attorneys three days to respond to the Adalah-Al Mezan petition … On 5 April, Adalah was informed that COGAT refused the wounded men’s requests. Following refusal to transfer them to Ramallah, doctors in Gaza amputated on Wednesday the legs of the two young men.
Critically injured Gaza journalist arrives in Ramallah for medical treatment
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr – Critically injured Gaza journalist, Ahmad Abu Hussein, arrived at Ramallah Medical Complex late Sunday to continue treatment for a bullet wound inflicted when Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian protesters at Gaza border on Friday. The Red Crescent transferred Abu Hussein from a Gaza hospital to Ramallah following an intervention by the Red Cross and the World Health Organization with the Israeli military authorities to issue him a permit to leave Gaza where treatment was not adequate enough to save his life. Abu Hussein, who works for a local radio station, is the second Palestinian journalist covering the Gaza protests shot by Israeli soldiers in two weeks. Soldiers the week before shot and killed Yasser Murtaja, 31, a photojournalist.
VIDEO: Palestinian shot and wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza
IMEMC 16 Apr — A Palestinian was shot by Israeli forces near the border fence with Israel on the eastern part of Gaza City during a protest on Sunday, according to local sources. Israeli forces stationed in military watchtowers along the Gaza border reportedly opened fire at Palestinian protesters, hitting one with live gunfire. He was moderately injured by the gunshot wound, and taken to a local hospital. Dozens of others were affected by tear gas inhalation.
IN PHOTOS: Homemade gas masks in Gaza
Reuters 16 Apr — A Palestinian demonstrator wearing a mask covers his nose with a plastic cup filled with perfume and cotton to protect himself from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip \ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS ….
Rights groups: Gaza protests aren’t combat, IDF must stop shooting protesters
+972 Mag 15 Apr by Edo Konrad — After three weeks in which Israeli army snipers have killed dozens and wounded well over 1,200 protesters inside the Gaza Strip, four prominent human rights organizations petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice on Sunday, demanding that the court order the state to revoke the rules of engagement that permit shooting demonstrators who pose no danger to human life. The overwhelming majority of those who were killed and wounded by Israeli forces over the past three weeks were unarmed participants in the “Great Return March,” a 45-day series of festivals and protests set to culminate on Nakba Day in mid-May. The rights groups asked the court for an urgent hearing — before this Friday’s protests. The rules of engagement that the army has applied to Gaza permit soldiers to shoot live rounds at demonstrators who are classified as “central inciters” or “central rioters” — regardless of whether they actually endanger human life, according to the petition. Moreover, the regulations allow soldiers to shoot demonstrators who get too close to the border fence, even if they are not posing a danger to anyone …
The four Israeli human rights organizations behind the petition, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Yesh Din, Gisha, and Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, argued that there is no prohibition on holding demonstrations in Gaza, and that violence or attempts to cross the border fence should be seen as civil disturbances — not armed warfare. Therefore, the demonstrations are not subject to the laws of war and they do they justify use of live fire. Michael Sfard, one of several attorneys behind the petition, told +972 Magazine that while he had previously filed petitions regarding the army’s use of live fire, those cases were always done after the fact. The current petition is markedly different, he explained, in that it seeks to affect army policy in real time rather than retroactively….
Israeli navy continues to prevent fishing off Gaza shores
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Apr — Israeli navy boats barred fishermen, on Saturday, from sailing off the northern Gaza shores and forced them to return to the coast, according to fishermen who told WAFA that this has been a daily occurrence. They said that the navy opened fire at fishermen across from the Sudaniya shores in the northern Gaza Strip, leading the fisherman to return to the marina. No injuries were reported.
Israeli army infiltrates Gaza borders, razes lands
GAZA (WAFA) 16 Apr – Israeli forces Monday infiltrated Gaza’s southern and northern borders and razed land, according to witnesses. Israeli bulldozers infiltrated east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip and east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza strip and proceeded to raze lands as Israeli war planes flew overhead.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian homes, shepherds and farmers to the east of Deir al-Balah and to the east of Qararra. No injuries were reported.
Israel says new Gaza tunnel foiled, lifts veil on detection lab
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 15 Apr by Dan Williams — Israel said on Sunday it destroyed a guerrilla tunnel from the Gaza Strip and gave rare details on a classified military laboratory spearheading efforts to foil the cross-border digs. Palestinian gunmen used tunnels to blindside Israeli forces during the 2014 Gaza war. Israel has since been developing detection technologies and laying down an underground frontier wall which, it says, will end the Gaza tunnel threat by 2019. It is the fifth such detection in as many months and Israeli officials regard publicity around their tunnel hunts as a double-edged sword. They hope it will discourage new digs but worry it could prompt militants to preempt the razing of any existing passages by using them for attacks. The most recent discovery was of a passage running “kilometres” from within Gaza to just over the border, Israel’s military said on Sunday, accusing the enclave’s dominant Hamas Islamists of being behind the project. Hamas did not comment. “We were able to detect, and we destroyed it, using similar means that we have used in the past,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters. “There was no use of explosives, but rather, we filled the tunnel, which rendered it useless for a very long period of time.” Conricus did not elaborate on the means of detection nor how the tunnel was filled. Such details are secret in Israel, which has received U.S. congressional funding for the project. Later on Sunday, Israel went public with a military laboratory it set up in 2016 to pool anti-tunnel expertise. The laboratory “uses innovative ground research, which includes scanning of cavities and their dynamics, (and) strives to develop new discovery and mapping techniques”, a military statement said. A video release showed soldiers, with faces obscured, poring over maps and computer screens at an undisclosed location….
Israel sanctions owners of buses used by Gaza protesters
GAZA CITY (AP) 16 Apr — Israel says it is sanctioning the owners of Gaza buses used to transport Hamas activists to border demonstrations. The head of Cogat, the military body for Palestinian civilian affairs, wrote on Facebook that 14 companies ignored warnings and bused “violent” protesters. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Monday that they and their families will be denied extra “privileges” and ties to Israel will be “canceled,” without elaborating. Hamas, which rules Gaza, has called for a weekslong campaign of mass protests at the border aiming to highlight the Egyptian and Israeli blockade on the territory….
Video: Israel’s Gaza blockade blamed for water crisis
17 Apr — The water from Gaza’s taps is unsafe to drink because it contains dangerous levels of chlorine and sulphate. Clean drinking water is a luxury in Gaza. Waste treatment plants cannot work at full capacity because of electricity and fuel shortages, which means sewage is pumped directly into the Mediterranean Sea. Israel’s 10-year blockade on Gaza has been blamed for the crisis. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from Gaza.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization
As Israel pushes for West Bank railway, Palestinians brace for more land grabs
SALFIT, Occupied West Bank (MEE) 16 Apr by Yumna Patel — For Mahmoud Shuqair, life in the small village of al-Zawiyeh is a waiting game. Once the proud owner of dozens of acres of land, Shuqair has seen swaths of his family land confiscated by Israel over the years. Now, with the resurfacing of previously shelved plans of a settler-only light rail connecting West Bank settlements with Israeli cities inside the Green Line, Shuqair says it’s only a matter of time before he sees nearly all of his land taken by the state of Israel. “I have no idea when the day will come that they finally come to destroy my house and take the rest of my land, but I do know that it will, eventually,” he told Middle East Eye as he stood up to smoke a cigarette out his living room window, the Tel Aviv skyline visible to the west. Shuqair’s home sits less than 10km from the Green Line, on the major Route 5 highway connecting central Israel with the mega-settlement of Ariel, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank, which was given city status by Israeli authorities in 1998, and declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “the capital of Judea and Samaria” in 2010. Late last month, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced that he had instructed authorities to advance plans for a 4 billion shekel ($1.16 bn) railway project to connect Ariel with major towns and cities inside Israel….
Pelted with rocks, IDF soldiers fire in air during violent outpost demolition
Times of Israel 15 Apr by Michael Bachner & Jacob Magid — Three young Israeli settlers were arrested on Saturday for hurling stones at security forces who were evacuating them from an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank. IDF and Border Police forces responded with live shots in the air, as well as tear gas and other riot-dispersal means, the army said in a statement on Sunday, adding that soldiers had feared for their lives. A group of settlers established the “Rosh Yosef” outpost on a hilltop adjacent to the settlement of Itamar in the northern West Bank three weeks ago. It had been razed several times in the past by security forces. Roughly a dozen young settlers had intended to spend the Sabbath there, though the outpost only consisted of a small makeshift structure made out of wood. The soldiers first arrived on Friday to evacuate the outpost, which the army said had been illegally built in a “dangerous area.” While the military said it dismantled the structure on Friday, the right-wing Honenu legal rights group maintained the Friday attempt had been “unsuccessful.” On Saturday, the IDF said about ten young Israelis returned to the outpost, prompting forces to try to carry out arrests. It was then that the settlers began throwing rocks at them. But Honenu said that the forces returned specifically to arrest one of the teens “for an unclear reason,” which is what prompted the violent clash. The group accused the soldiers of shooting live fire close to the settlers’ heads, causing them to flee the scene. The three men who didn’t flee were detained. “They shot right over our heads, one of us had to bend down to avoid the gunshots,” Honenu quoted one of the settlers as saying. “Soldiers shouted and cursed us in a disgraceful manner.”….
Israeli forces prevent construction of water pipeline system near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 15 Apr – Israeli forces Sunday prevented municipality staff in the village of Nahalin, to the north of the city of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, from working on the construction of a water supply pipeline system, said a local official. Hani Fonoon, Deputy Mayor of Nahalin village, told WAFA Israeli forces raided the village and prevented the staff from working on a water pipeline system under the pretext of lacking an Israeli-issued permit. The water pipeline was supposed to be constructed in the area of Wadi Salem to the north of Nahlin town, which is considered the only outlet for urban expansion in the area. The official said forces further seized all equipment, including a bagger, a goods vehicle, and iron pipes, as well as threatened to detain the municipality staff if construction works were resumed.
Israeli forces raze Palestinian land despite High Court ruling
QALQILYA (WAFA) 17 Apr — Israeli forces on Tuesday razed 15 dunums of privately owned Palestinian land in the village of Immatin, to the east of Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank, in order to expand the illegal settlement of Emanuel, which is built on Palestinian lands, according to Haitham Sowan, head of Immatin village council. He told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers returned to raze the land owned by Fawzi Ghanem, who was able to stop previous work on his land after obtaining an Israeli High Court ruling last month ordering stoppage of the work on his land. Nevertheless, he said, the Israeli authorities did not comply with the court ruling and resumed razing the land this morning. Palestinian land owners have deeds which prove their ownership of the land, he added, saying that this case will be followed up in local and international courts.
‘Greater Jerusalem means no churches and no mosques’
Al Jazeera 12 Apr — Palestinian interfaith officials have warned against monopolising the city of Jerusalem by the Israeli government and the effects that would have on Christianity and Islam. Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Palestinian Authority‘s Muslim-Christian Committee said that more than 95 percent of Jerusalem had already been “Judaised” by Israel, and that “Greater Jerusalem” would alter the city’s identity and importance to Christianians and Muslims. “Israel wants to establish its so-called ‘Greater Jerusalem’ on an area of 600sq km, which would mean the destruction of the city’s churches and mosques,” Issa said. The warning came during the 9th International Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem on Wednesday, which kicked off in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. The conference was attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and numerous delegations from across the Arab and Muslim world. Munib Masri, chairman of the Jerusalem Endowment, stressed Jerusalem‘s importance for both Muslims and Christians. “The world must understand that there can never be peace until the Jerusalem file is satisfactorily resolved,” he said. He added: “Jerusalem requires practical initiatives and financial support with a view to strengthening the resolve of its people.” Speaking at the event, Youssef Edies, Palestinian minister of religious endowments, described Jerusalem as “the birthplace of religions”. “We must focus on Arab, Muslim and international efforts on resisting the fierce Western onslaught against the Holy Land,” he asserted….
West Bank demolitions and displacement | March 2018
UN OCHA Report — Highlights: *Less structures demolished and people displaced in Area C *No donor-funded structures demolished *EU-funded school in a vulnerable Area C community at heightened risk of demolition
Overview: The relatively low level of destruction of Palestinian property observed in the first two months of 2018 further decreased in March, with a total of 28 structures demolished/seized/sealed, compared to a monthly average of 35 structures in 2017. This brings the total number of structures demolished/seized during the first quarter of 2018 to 97, representing around 50 and 20 per cent of the structures demolished/seized in the equivalent quarters of 2017 and 2016, respectively. Almost 30 per cent of the structures targeted in the first quarter of the year were residential, and the rest livelihood-related structures or community infrastructure. Of note, nearly a third of the affected structures during this period have been seized, rather than demolished, up from only 10 per cent during 2017. Twenty-three of this month’s structures were demolished, seized or (in one case) sealed off due to the lack of building permits in Area C and East Jerusalem, and an additional structure, in Area A, was sealed off on punitive grounds.
Seventeen of the structures targeted (about 70 per cent) were in East Jerusalem, where, despite the overall decline, demolitions remain at the same high level as in 2017 and 2016. Of them, seven were residences, including three that were demolished or sealed by their Palestinian owners to avoid high fines. The largest incident took place in the community of Al Wata, near the Gilo checkpoint, where the Israeli authorities demolished two homes and five commercial and livelihood structures, displacing 13 people….
Nothing is impossible: Jarah, a 22-year-old refugee cancer survivor, climbs to Mount Everest base camp to save his UNRWA school in Jordan
UNRWA USA 16 Apr — After climbing 11 days in temperatures so freezing that he could not feel his face, 22-year-old Palestine refugee Jarah Alhawamdeh has reached his goal of climbing to the Mount Everest Base Camp. Jarah, an amputee who lost his right leg to bone cancer as a teenager, achieved an amazing feat climbing 5,364 meters up the face of Everest despite the terrible conditions and his body being wracked with pain “I am showing people that nothing is impossible,” said Jarah, who took on the challenge to raise money to save his former UNRWA school. The school, al-Jofeh in Amman, Jordan, is in danger of closing because of drastic funding cuts to UNRWA made by the US government in January 2018. A terrible snowstorm came just after Jarah reached Everest Base Camp. The temperature has dropped to -30 degrees Celcius and helicopters, which were on standby to take Jarah and his fellow climber down from the camp, are unable to reach them. They may be stranded at base camp for at least three days until the weather clears. His plan is to continue down the mountain once weather permits. In text messages, Jarah has said that he is listening to music of Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar, to keep his spirits up and to drown out the sound of avalanches around him. “He is incredibly brave,” said Pasang, one of the Sherpas who helped Jarah on his trek. Jarah began his climb on April 3, 2018, with a group of 11 people. Nine of them had to be evacuated off the mountain after suffering breathing difficulties, but Jarah pushed on determined to reach his goal and will continue to do over the course of the next week…. Follow the #MyFirstStep journey via Jarah’s personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.
May Shigenobu, child of the revolution
BEIRUT (Al Jazeera) 14 Apr by Liam O’Hare — How a small group of Japanese revolutionaries secretly aided the Palestinian cause from Lebanon — To say May Shigenobu had an unusual upbringing would be something of an understatement. As a child, May had several aliases and was always on the move to protect her from kidnapping or assassination. If her true identity was close to being revealed, she would be given a new passport, a new nationality, a new name and a new backstory. “I always had to hide my true background, mainly from the Israelis,” May explains as we sit down at a cafe in Beirut’s bustling Harma district. These may seem like drastic measures, but they make more sense if you are the daughter of Fusako Shigenobu, founder of the Japanese Red Army (JRA). Fusako arrived in Lebanon in 1971 without a word of Arabic in her lexicon, but soon managed to make her intentions crystal clear. She was there to offer support to the Palestinian struggle … Her small but dedicated group of Japanese revolutionaries struck up an organisational relationship with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who at that time had a strong presence throughout Lebanon, including in the Palestinian refugee camps surrounding Beirut. Once established, the JRA became involved in a series of high-profile international operations including aircraft hijackings and hostage-takings. The strategy was designed to draw attention to the Palestinian cause, which had suffered devastating defeats in 1948 and 1967. It was in the midst of this campaign that baby May was born. May’s father was also a leader of the PFLP at that time, but she avoids identifying him for security reasons….