Army kills a Palestinian in Gaza, another young man dies from wounds suffered last Friday
[with photos of the two men] IMEMC 5 Apr — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Thursday, that Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian with a missile fired from an armed drone, late on Wednesday at night, while another Palestinian died from wounds he suffered last Friday, in the Gaza Strip. The sources said that an armed Israeli military drone fired a missile at Palestinian protesters near Erez Crossing, in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, killing one of them, and wounding several others. Palestinian medics were unable to enter the area due to Israeli army fire, and severe military restrictions on border areas, and were only able to retrieve his body in the morning. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Mojahed Nabil al-Khodary, 23, from Gaza city. Medical sources at the Shifa Medical center in Gaza city, said Red Crescent Medics located the mutilated remains of the slain Palestinian, east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza city. They added that the soldiers also shot five Palestinians five live fire and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation in the same area.
On Thursday morning, another Palestinian, identified as Shadi Hamdan al-Kashef, 34, from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, died from serious wounds he suffered last Friday, after the soldiers shot him with a live round in the head. He was at the Intensive Care Unit of Abu Yousef Najjar hospital, in Rafah, until he succumbed to his serious wounds. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, said Shadi was a young man with special needs.
Army kills one Palestinian, injures at least 150, including five who suffered severe wounds, in Gaza
[with video] IMEMC 6 Apr — Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, one Palestinian and injured more than 150 others, including at least five who suffered life-threatening wounds, in several parts of the Gaza Strip, after the army resorted to the excessive use of force against nonviolent protesters. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Osama Khamis Qdeih, 38, from Abasan al-Kabeera town, east of Khan Younis. He added that Qdeih died from serious wounds he suffered after the soldiers shot him with live fire, east of Khan Younis. The Palestinian Red Crescent in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, said its field hospital provided treatment to more than 50 Palestinians, including many who were shot with live rounds in the head and chest, and dozens who were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, in addition to scores who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. It added that one of the wounded Palestinians is a journalist, identified as Yasser Mortaja, who was shot with a live round in his chest, while a female journalist, identified as Islam Za‘noun, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, despite wearing clearly marked press vests; both were injured east of Khan Younis. The soldiers deliberately fired a barrage of gas bombs, including high velocity, long range bombs, at crowds of protesters, in addition to firing many live rounds at them. The soldiers also targeted many journalists with live fire and gas bombs, including during live coverage by the al-Mayadeen TV. Furthermore, the army used planes and drones in firing a barrage of gas bombs at the Palestinians even in areas not close to the border fence. Dozens of Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment in makeshift hospitals near the border fence, across the eastern part of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian reported killed by Israeli gunfire in resumed Gaza border protests
Haaretz 6 Apr by Jack Khoury, Almog Ben Zikri & Yaniv Kubovich — Palestinian Health Ministry reports five are in severe conditions from headshots ; Clashes erupt around West Bank ; Israeli Arab and Gazan NGOs petition Israel’s Attorney General to stop use of live ammunition — Clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli military resumed along the Israel-Gaza border as thousands of Gazans demonstrated near the fence for the second consecutive Friday. Gaza’s Health Ministry said one protester was killed and 39 others were wounded by Israeli gunfire, five of whom seriously as a result of gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. Those wounded were evacuated to hospitals in Gaza, with dozens more being treated at the scene – mainly for smoke inhalation. Palestinian protesters have set fire to hundreds of tires at friction points along the border with the aim of preventing Israeli forces from identifying and wounding the demonstrators, causing the day of protest to be known as “rubber day.”
Clashes also erupted in the West Bank around Nablus, Albira, Ramallah and Hebron. The Health Ministry in Ramallah reports of two Palestinians wounded from rubber-tipped bullets. One is from a headshot, the other was shot in the leg. According to IDF spokesperson, violent protests involving hundreds of Palestinians have been taking place since the morning in five “hotspots” along the border fence. IDF troops are using riot dispersal methods and live fire in accordance with protocol….
Israeli soldiers, including sharpshooters, take position as protests start in Gaza, injure three
IMEMC 6 Apr — Dozens of Israeli soldiers, including sharpshooters, heavily deployed across the border fence in the Gaza Strip, started taking positions and shooting posts in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip, ahead of mass nonviolent protests in the coastal region. Update: … Hundreds of Palestinians started heading towards the “Return Camp,” on their lands near the border fence, while dozens brought car tires to burn, and mirrors meant to deflect the soldiers’ aim. The Israeli army said its “shoot to kill orders” have not changed, and that the soldiers will fire at any Palestinian “who approaches the border fence.” Meanwhile, the Palestinians started gathering on their lands, raising Palestinian flags, and chanting for liberation, independence and their legitimate Right of Return to all villages and towns which were destroyed and depopulated by the Israeli occupation forces in 1948.
The Higher Health Emergency Committee in the Gaza Strip said it raised the alert levels in all hospitals and medical centers, in addition to its make-shift hospitals near border areas, especially since Israel is threatening to meet the protesters with “harsher measures.” On its part, the Internal Security of the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza issued various instructions to the Palestinians to remain committed to nonviolent protests despite Israel’s excessive use of force. It also advised the protesters to try to keep their faces hidden from Israeli surveillance, and to avoid the usage of smart phones, especially since the army infiltrated cellular networks last week to provide false information to the protesters.
Israeli air attack kills Palestinian at Gaza border
Al Jazeera 5 Apr — At least 21 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since they started Land Day protests last Friday — An Israeli air raid killed another Palestinian protester near the Gaza Strip‘s border on Thursday, Palestinian health officials said … The death brings the total number of Palestinians killed in the last week at 21. The mass protests, called “the Great March of Return”, were organised by civil society groups and supported by all political factions to call for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. It marked the beginning of a six-week sit-in, starting on Land Day, an event that commemorates six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were shot dead by Israeli forces after protesting the government’s confiscation of large swaths of Palestinian land on March 30, 1976. The sit-in ends on May 15, or Nakba Day, which will commemorate 70 years since the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist militias from their villages and towns….
Palestinian dies from serious wounds suffered last Friday in northern Gaza
6 Apr by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that a young man died on Friday morning from serious wounds he suffered when Israeli soldiers shot him with live fire, last Friday March 30th, in northern Gaza. The Palestinian, Tha’er Mohammad Rabe‘a, 30, suffered serious wounds after being shot with live army fire, and remained in critical condition until his death. Rabe‘a is from Jabalia city, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip; his death brings the number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli army fire since Friday, March 30th, to 21 (22?), including the farmer, Wahid Nasrallah Abu Sammour, who was killed on his land early Friday morning before the Land Day protests began. More than a thousand Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces, many of them with serious or critical wounds from live gunfire.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Gaza, bringing death toll to 18
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces on the Gaza border on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, bringing the death toll in the besieged coastal enclave to 18 since massive protests began on Friday. The ministry identified the man as 25-year-old Ahmed Omar Arafa, saying he was shot in the chest in the “buffer zone” area of the border, east of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Arafa’s death marks the 18th Palestinian casualty since a mass demonstration known as the “Great March of Return” began on Friday, in which thousands of Palestinians demonstrated to demand their right of return to their original villages in what is now Israel.
Israeli soldiers injure two Palestinians, fire at reporters, in Gaza
IMEMC 4 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot, Wednesday, two young men, and caused dozens of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to firing live rounds at reporters, after the army attacked protesters near the border fence east of Gaza city. Medical sources said the soldiers shot two young men with live fire in their lower extremities, east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza city, before they were rushed to a local hospital. The soldiers were heavily deployed behind the border fence and fired many live rounds at Palestinian protesters. The soldiers also fired many live rounds at Palestinian reporters in the area, in addition to firing gas bombs and concussion grenades.
Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, injuring 3
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) -5 Apr — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fisherman as they were sailing along the coast of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, injuring three. Local sources told Ma‘an that three fishermen were injured with live ammunition. The fishermen, whose identities remained unknown, were transferred to the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip. They were reported to be in moderate condition. The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen while sailing off the coast of Gaza.
Israeli forces fire on shepherds along Gaza border
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Apr — Israeli forces, Wednesday, opened fire on shepherds while they were grazing their livestock in pastures along Gaza borders with Israel, said WAFA sources. The shepherds were forced to leave the pastures located along the borders in fear for their lives. No injuries were reported.
Israeli army to investigate Gazan protesters’ deaths as second border rally approaches
Haaretz 5 Apr by Jack Khoury, Amos Harel & Yaniv Kubovich — A week after Israeli army snipers killed 19 Gazans and wounded hundreds more, the second wave of the March of Return protests will begin this Friday morning near the Gazan border with Israel. Last Friday’s marches attracted 35,000 people, and organizers expect more this time. In preparation for Friday’s protests, bulldozers were at work on Wednesday expanding the area of the tent encampment near Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, and creating sand heaps near the border fence to protect demonstrators from Israeli fire. Gazans have also been collecting tires, which they plan to burn near the border fence in hopes that the thick, black smoke will make it difficult for soldiers to shoot at demonstrators. On social media, this Friday’s protest is already being dubbed Rubber Tire Day … The Israel Defense Forces will reinforce its deployment along the Gaza border, ahead of Friday’s demonstrations by Gaza residents near the border fence. The regulations for opening fire, which allow snipers to shoot anyone approaching the fence with the intent of breaching it and entering Israel, remain in force. Nevertheless, the army will hold an internal investigation to examine the circumstances that led to the deaths and injuries in last week’s protests and in other border incidents during the week. The final decision regarding the nature of the investigation is expected in the coming days. IDF chief spokesperson Ronen Manelis told reporters from the international media this week that Israel does not require a third party inquiry into the army’s actions, as the IDF has its own effective mechanism. He noted that after 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, that same mechanism acted to collect all the inquiries into incidents resulting in civilian deaths, and transferred them to the army’s Attorney General….
Gaza fishermen face gunfire, death plying their trade
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 3 Apr by Hana Salah — Mahmoud Abu Riyala, a young fisherman from Gaza City, returned to the sea March 23 after nearly a month off of work, despite the unhealed shrapnel wounds in his chest and hands from an Israeli naval patrol shooting at him off the Gaza coast Feb. 25. His cousin Ismail Abu Riyala, 18, was not as lucky. He was shot dead by the patrols while both young men were fishing off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Fishermen in Gaza were outraged by Abu Riyala’s killing, which they see as a serious threat to their own lives. They suspended their fishing trips for two to three days. The Israeli side held Abu Riyal’s body for two weeks before his father recovered it March 14 from the Beit Hanoun checkpoint. Mahmoud Abu Riyala, who has been fishing for six years since he was a young teen, witnessed firsthand how his cousin was killed. “We went off on a fishing trip in the afternoon on Feb. 24. The next morning, Israeli naval patrols … were circling the boat and taking photos of it. We were 5 miles from the shore,” within the permitted fishing zone, he told Al-Monitor. Israel Defense Forces said the “suspicious” ship had strayed outside that zone and ignored warning shots. Under a truce agreement after their 2014 conflict, Israel restricts Palestinian fishing to within 6 miles of shore. Israel says it considers ships outside that zone suspect because they could be smuggling arms. However, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Israeli attacks are taking place within the permitted area. “The Israeli naval patrols fired at us, although we were within in the permissible limits of the fishing zone,” Abu Riyala said. “We held our hands up and started waving. Then, I turned to the engine so that we could escape back to the shore. Ismail was trying to shelter me when he was shot in the head.” …
Mufleh Abu Riyala, a member of the Gaza Fishing Syndicate, told Al-Monitor that during periodic meetings with fishermen representing the Ministry of Agriculture and international organizations, Israel has been discussing proposals to prevent future conflicts. “One of the proposals was to establish fish farms within the 6 miles, instead of increasing the fishing zone,” Mufleh Abu Riyala said. “Israel is seeking to [maintain] the 6-mile area as a fait accompli on fishermen, although this zone is rocky, while fishing is abundant starting at 9 miles off the coast.” He added, “Israel sees the maritime borders as more dangerous than the land border. This is why the Israeli side has already started the fish farms project and has been receiving applications for [Palestinian] professional divers, who will be trained outside Palestine.” A senior Palestinian official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor, “The project to establish three fishing farms off the Gaza coast has been underway for six months….
Gaza hospitals: ‘Israel was shooting to kill or cause disability’
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 3 Apr by Maram Humaid — Al Jazeera speaks to doctors and Palestinians injured during Gaza’s Land Day protests at a hospital struggling to cope — Mohammad Othman, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, lies on a hospital bed at the intensive care unit of al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip – the oldest and biggest medical facility in the besieged enclave. Othman is one of more than 1,500 Palestinians wounded on Friday when the Israeli army unleashed a storm of live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on thousands of people protesting along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel, killing 18. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Othman, whose bed was lined with Palestinian flags and flowers from relatives and friends after he sustained a bullet to the back of his head, says he never expected to be targeted. “I was 300 metres away from the fence [between the Gaza Strip and Israel], along with my siblings, when I was shot,” says Othman. “I meant to avoid approaching the borders to keep my younger brothers safe, and yet, I was targeted.” Othman has spent the past two days under intensive care after doctors declared his case critical … Jihad al-Juaidi, head of the ICU at the hospital, told Al Jazeera that all the injuries coming into the hospital were centred on the head, knee joints or pelvic joints. “This shows that Israeli forces were shooting-to-kill, or to cause disabilities,” he said….
Israel: Gaza killings unlawful, calculated
JERUSALEM (HRW) 3 Apr — Senior Israeli officials who unlawfully called for use of live ammunition against Palestinian demonstrations who posed no imminent threat to life bear responsibility for the killings of 14 demonstrators in Gaza and the injuring of hundreds on March 30, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. Both before and after the confrontations, senior officials publicly said that soldiers stationed along the barrier that separates Gaza and Israel had orders to target “instigators” and those who approach the border. However, the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence. The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses. “Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life.” The killings highlight the importance of the International Criminal Court prosecutor opening a formal investigation into serious international crimes in Palestine, Human Rights Watch said….
B’Tselem launches campaign urging soldiers to refuse orders to shoot Gaza protesters
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem launched a campaign entitled “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot,” on Thursday urging Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to shoot unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The organization is taking the unusual step of calling directly on Israeli soldiers to refuse orders in the wake of last Friday’s deadly protests in Gaza, when Israeli forces heavily used live fire on civilian demonstrators, killing 16 Palestinians in a single day and injuring hundreds of others … According to B’Tselem, the campaign will include advertisements in Israeli newspapers “clarifying to soldiers that they must refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators,” which the group argues are “manifestly illegal orders.” B’Tselem criticized the Israeli military for announcing in advance that soldiers will use live fire against protesters, even if they are hundreds of meters away from the border fence, rather than taking steps to reduce the number of casualties … B’Tselem is the latest among several rights groups who have criticized Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinian demonstrators. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, released a statement on Friday condemning Israel’s use of military snipers against the civilian protesters….
Why Israeli soldiers must refuse to fire at unarmed Palestinian protesters
B’Tselem 3 Apr — Last Friday was a bloody day in Gaza as Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinians taking part in demonstrations within the Gaza Strip. Of at least 17 Palestinians killed that day, 12 were killed at the protests. Hundreds more were injured by live gunfire. The use of live ammunition against unarmed persons who pose no danger to anyone is unlawful. It is even more blatantly unlawful in the case of soldiers firing from a great distance at demonstrators located on the other side of the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. In addition, it is impermissible to order soldiers to fire live ammunition at individuals for approaching the fence, damaging it, or attempting to cross it. Obviously, the military is allowed to prevent such actions, and even to detain individuals attempting to carry them out, but firing live ammunition solely on these grounds is absolutely prohibited. Responses by Israeli officials clearly show that Friday’s grave outcomes were the expected, and indeed looked-for, implementation of a policy formulated beforehand. The military therefore enjoyed full backing for its conduct. As Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman clearly stated, “the IDF soldiers warded off Hamas military branch operatives capably and resolutely, just as we expected of them. They have my full backing.” Given the open-fire regulations as reported (in part) in the media ahead of last Friday, the high number of casualties was predictable and expected. The military knew in advance of the demonstrations planned for Friday. However, in line with the instructions given the civilian leadership, the preparation by senior military officials did not focus on attempting to minimize the number of casualties. Quite the contrary. The demonstration was framed in advance as an attempt to harm the safety of the State of Israel, as if this were a case combat. Accordingly, Israel made far-reaching threats, including stating that soldiers would use live fire against anyone going any nearer the fence than some 300 meters …
The responsibility for issuing these unlawful orders and for their lethal consequences rests with the policy makers and – above all – with Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, and the chief of staff. They are also the ones who bear the obligation to change these regulations immediately, before this Friday’s planned protests, in order to forestall any further casualties. That said, it is also a criminal offense to obey patently illegal orders. Therefore, as long as soldiers in the field continue to receive orders to use live fire against unarmed civilians, they are duty-bound to refuse to comply.
Israel defends decision to deploy snipers amid Gaza protests
Al-Monitor 3 Apr by Akiva Eldar — Hamas has conceded that five of at least 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli live fire at a demonstration along the border with Gaza on March 30 were members of the organization. Israel insists that 10 or 12 of those killed were “terrorists.” Even if one accepts the Israeli version, that still leaves five unarmed civilians shot to death by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with more likely to come. Gaza’s Hamas rulers have already declared that the bloodshed would not disrupt the events they dub the Great Return March, scheduled to run until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment in 1948. Prior to the protest, IDF senior officers had told Haaretz that a high number of casualties was a “price we would be willing to pay to prevent a breach” of the border fence. Even after the clashes, the IDF continues to insist that it will not change its rules of engagement regarding Gaza protesters. Meanwhile, the Israeli government is unimpressed by the urgent UN Security Council session convened March 31 to discuss the deadly results and by the condemnations issued in world capitals … Is the most sophisticated military in the Middle East — adept at locating and destroying nuclear facilities far from its borders — really unable to defend its borders without shooting civilians? Does a defense industry that rakes in billions of dollars from the export of nonlethal crowd dispersal equipment not make it available to the Israeli security forces? If it does, did the commanders in the field exhaust such riot control measures before ordering the snipers to fire? One such crowd management weapon is an infrasonic device that emits inaudible ear-piercing frequencies. Israel used it to disperse a 2011 demonstration by Palestinians in the West Bank without incurring casualties. A senior official described the device as “a highly effective nonlethal means that uses frequencies humans cannot bear for long, is very easy to operate and doesn’t cause long-term damage.” Israel has handled numerous protests, some violent, in its 70-year history, including by ultra-Orthodox Jews, social activists, people with disabilities, settlers and others. Major transportation arteries were blocked, the gates to the Knesset were stormed and police officers were injured. Only the October 2000 rioting in the Galilee and central Israel resulted in civilian deaths. All 13 victims shot dead by Israeli snipers were Arabs — 12 Israeli citizens and one Palestinian….
Israel exploiting deceased Palestinians for political ends, say rights groups
HAIFA (WAFA) 3 Apr — By taking bodies of two Palestinian men killed on Friday at the Gaza border, the Israeli military is exploiting the dignity of the deceased and their families for political ends, two human rights groups said on Monday, demanding Israel return the bodies of two dead Gazans. The two men were killed by Israeli military gunfire during the protest demonstrations at the Gaza border, during which Israeli snipers shot and killed 16 Palestinian civilians, and their bodies were subsequently taken from inside the Gaza Strip by Israeli troops and kept to swap them in future deals with Hamas, the de facto power in Gaza. The Haifa-based Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights and the Gaza-based al Mezan Center for Human Rights sent an urgent letter on Sunday to senior Israeli officials demanding they order the immediate return of the bodies of the two Palestinian residents of Gaza to their families for burial. Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, in her letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Chief Military Advocate General (MAG) Sharon Afek, wrote: “The taking and holding of these bodies is a blatant violation of the right to dignity of both the deceased and their families. This right is anchored in international humanitarian law, in international human rights law, and in Israeli [Supreme] Court rulings. The right of every individual to a respectable burial without any undo delays is an integral part of the right to dignity, which is granted not just to the living but also to the deceased. The right of the deceased and of his or her family to dignity is recognized by the court and is anchored in Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.” … The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the state has no authority to take and hold bodies, regardless of the affiliation of the deceased individual or the circumstances under which he or she was killed….
Opinion: It’s not Netanyahu, it’s the nation / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 5 Apr — Most Israelis, who have never spoken to a single Gazan, only know that the Gaza Strip is a nest of terrorists. That’s why it’s OK to shoot them. Shocking? Yes, but true — One can lash out at the prime minister as much as one wants to — he deserves it. But ultimately one should remember: It’s not Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s the nation. At least most of the nation. All the displays of evil in recent days and all the farce were designed to satisfy the meanest desires and darkest instincts harbored by Israelis. Israelis wanted blood in Gaza, as much as possible, and deportations from Tel Aviv, as much as possible. There is no way to embellish it; one mustn’t blur the facts. Netanyahu – feeble, pathetic, evil or cynical – was propelled by one motive: to please Israelis and fulfill their desires. And what they wanted was blood and deportation. If only the problem lay with Netanyahu and his government. Then, in one more election, or maybe two, the problem could be fixed. The good guys will take over, Gaza and the asylum seekers will be liberated, the fascist incitement will die out, the standing of the courts will be assured and Israel will again be a place to be proud of. That is a pipe dream. That’s why the campaign against Netanyahu is important, but it’s definitely not a fateful one. The real battle is much more desperate and its scope is much more widespread. This is a battle over the nation, sometimes even against it … The true calamity is not Netanyahu — it’s the fact that any display of humanity in Israel is political suicide. A straight line of evil and racism runs from the Gaza border to Tel Aviv. In both cases Israelis don’t see human beings in front of them. The Gazan and Eritrean are one and the same – subhuman. They have no dreams, no rights and their lives are worthless. In Gaza, Israeli army snipers shot unarmed demonstrators as if they were on a shooting range, to a chorus of rejoicing by the media and the masses. In south Tel Aviv they are back to arrests and deportations — this, too, to the sound of cheers. This is what the nation wants and this is what it will get. Even if soldiers kill hundreds of demonstrators in Gaza, Israel will not bat an eyelid. The reason: evil and hatred of Arabs. Gaza is never perceived as it really is, a place inhabited by people, an enormous and terrible prison, a huge site of human experimentation….
Gideon Levy: A quiet afternoon on the border of the concentration camp called Gaza
Haaretz 4 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — The fence separated them. On each side stood the children of the late 1990s, young people of the same age, Israeli soldiers and Gaza demonstrators. They stood opposite each other, the armed and protected soldiers with their jeeps, bulldozers, dirt barriers, barbed wire and watchtowers, and opposite them the exposed demonstrators, a parasol and an ambulance. Several dozen Gaza residents came to the fence at midweek, too, to stand and silently defy the fence and soldiers, while behind them 18 families mourned their loved ones and hundreds nursed their wounds – victims of the mass shooting last Friday. It was afternoon. The earth-moving equipment that’s building the huge underground barrier and putting up dirt barriers all along the fence raised dust that sometimes blocked visibility. The drilling machines, watchtowers and jeeps – overloaded with intelligence and protective gear on their roofs – lent the place the appearance of a science-fiction film. Nothing makes sense here, at the fence of the huge concentration camp called Gaza: the residents who helplessly watch the bulldozers closing in on them, intensifying the siege and the strangulation. The drivers of the heavy engineering equipment, some of whom are Israeli Arabs who use a phosphorescent bulletproof vest as a prayer rug, while on the other side they’re kneeling for that same afternoon prayer toward the same Mecca and to the same God. The huge quantities of concrete being poured into the bloody earth to achieve even more imaginary security for Israel, opposite the group of barefoot men whose most sophisticated weapons this week were large mirrors with which they tried to blind the snipers firing at them. How sad it is to travel along the Burma Road, the military’s nickname for the patrol road next to the fence that locks in Gaza; how sad to see the houses on the other side up close, like stretching out an arm and touching it, and think about the fate of the inhabitants. How sad it is to see the huge sums being poured into the earth in this imaginary underground barrier, at the edge of which cement factories have been built to satisfy its appetite for concrete, and think about how much good could be done with this money. How sad it is to observe the Gaza prison from outside. The Erez crossing is empty. The terminal that was built to let through tens of thousands of people, which is almost empty even on ordinary days, emptied out completely this week….
Israel indicts Gaza resident for plot to attack navy vessel and abduct troops
Haaretz 4 Apr by Yaniv Kubovich & Almog Ben Zikri — Suspected member of Islamic Jihad allegedly planned to fire an anti-tank missile at an Israeli vessel with the goal of kidnapping soldiers for use as bargaining chips — Israel indicted a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday for planning to fire a missile at an Israel Navy vessel and kidnap soldiers on board. The Shin Bet security service also announced that it had arrested 10 Gazans, including the man charged on Wednesday, in connection to the plot last month. The suspects allegedly planned to abduct Israeli soldiers to use as bargaining chips after firing a Russian-made Kornet anti-tank guided missile to damage their vessel. The man changed on Wednesday, allegedly the group’s ringleader, was named as Amin Juma‘a, a 23-year-old purported member of the Islamic Jihad. The Shin Bet said the 10 were arrested in boats off the Gaza coast on March 12, after they went beyond the permitted fishing zone. Two others were indicted on other security charges while seven were released … Intelligence services believe the plot reflects Gazan terrorist organizations’ desire to shift their attention to sea in light of Israel’s successes against the threat of underground tunnels. The military has deployed a number of methods to counteract this growing threat, as well as preparing for the possibility that terrorist groups may target Israel’s offshore gas fields. The indictment against Juma‘a is based on his confession and witness accounts, according to a request to extend Juma‘a’s detention until the end of legal proceedings….
UNOPS, Japan join efforts to strengthen electricity supply system in Gaza with renewable energy
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 Apr – The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Jerusalem and the Government of Japan agreed on Thursday to join efforts in a project entitled “Reconstructing and strengthening the electricity supply system in Gaza with renewable energy” to support the installation of a solar photovoltaic system for Gazan households with the award of a new grant under Japan’s supplementary budget. The project, which is in line with the strong commitment of the Government of Japan to improving electricity supply in Gaza, valued at $1.5 million, will support the solar system project to create a reliable and sustainable access to an electricity source for households … This project, to be implemented by UNOPS on behalf of the Government of Japan, is expected to benefit, as well as improve the economic and humanitarian welfare for more than 125 households in Gaza … Tokumitsu Kobayashi, UNOPS Jerusalem Office Director, highlighted the importance of this project. “This project would contribute to the Palestinian Authority’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan that aims to achieve 10% of domestic electricity generation to come from renewable energy by 2020.”
Palestinians seek to sell a 45% stake in a gas field off Gaza
Reuters 5 Apr — The Palestinians are seeking to sell a 45% stake in a gas field off Gaza to help to develop the project, its main stakeholder, the Palestine Investment Fund, said on Wednesday after Royal Dutch Shell announced it had pulled out. The Gaza Marine project, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) off the Gaza coast, has long been seen as an opportunity for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority to join the Mediterranean gas bonanza, providing a major source of income to reduce its reliance on foreign aid. But Palestinian political disputes and conflict with Israel, as well as economic factors, have delayed plans to develop the field, and Shell had struggled to find a buyer for its 55% stake in the field, which it took over as part of its acquisition of BG Group in 2016 … Gaza Marine is estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of Spain’s consumption in 2016. But plans to develop it were put off several times over the past decade. Discovered at the end of the last century, it lies between two rapidly expanding gas hubs in Egypt and Israel, both of which have attracted huge investments in recent years.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers injure several Palestinians in Hebron
IMEMC 6 Apr by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of nonviolent Palestinian protesters in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, directly after noon prayers, and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers broke into and ransacked many homes and occupied their rooftops to use them as firing posts, in addition to invading and searching stores. They added that many Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment. The protest started in front of a local mosque, east of Hebron city, while the participants carried Palestinian flags, and posters calling for ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, and for lifting the deadly Israeli siege and military escalation against the Gaza Strip.
Undercover soldiers attack two young men, abduct two, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 5 Apr — Undercover Israeli soldiers attacked, Thursday, two young Palestinian men in occupied East Jerusalem, causing one to lose consciousness, and abducted the other young man, in addition to abducting a young man from al-‘Isawiya town, while dozens of soldiers invaded various areas in the city and installed roadblocks. Media sources said the undercover soldiers assaulted the two Palestinians in Sultan Suleiman Street, between Damascus and the Sahera Gate in the Old City, causing one of them to lose consciousness, before he was rushed to a local hospital, and abducted the second young man. The soldiers also invaded homes in the al-‘Isawiya town, in the center of Jerusalem, and searched them before abducting a young man, identified as Amir Karkash. On Wednesday evening, the soldiers had invaded the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, and fired at dozens of protesters. The town has been surrounded by the soldiers over the last two months and witnesses daily invasions. Dozens of soldiers have also been deployed in Jerusalem, especially in the area extending from al-Misrara neighborhood, Bab al-Amoud, Sultan Suleiman Street, Sahera Gate in addition to Salahuddin, Rashid and Az-Zahra’ Streets, and installed sudden military roadblocks at several gates of the Old City.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, Hebron city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and attacked several Palestinians before abducting one. The soldiers also invaded Jenin city, Jenin refugee camp and Deir Abu Da’if village, east of Jenin, in addition to Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and abducted four young Palestinian men.
Soldiers close a Palestinian school for girls near Nablus
IMEMC 4 Apr — Israeli soldiers closed, on Tuesday afternoon, the al-Lubban School for Girls, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after threatening to attack it with gas bombs. ‘Aisha Nubani, the principal of the school, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers ordered the instant evacuation of the school, allegedly after a colonialist settler’s car crashed into another car when Palestinian youngsters hurled stones at it, near the educational facility. The soldiers threatened to fire a barrage of gas bombs into the school unless it is immediately evacuated and closed. The soldiers chased many students in the meadows surrounding several schools in the area, near the main Ramallah-Nablus road, which is also used by the military and colonialist settlers.
Soldiers search tents and barns in Northern Plains
IMEMC 5 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, late on Wednesday at night, many residential tents, and barns, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, while colonialist settlers wrote racist graffiti, and punctured tires, in occupied Jerusalem. Dozens of soldiers invaded Khirbat Hamsa village, in the Northern Plains, before storming and searching residential tents used by local shepherds. The soldiers also invaded and searched several barns, owned by Mahmoud Abu Kabbash, in the same area.
In related news, several fanatic Israeli settlers invaded Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied Jerusalem, wrote racist graffiti on Palestinian cars, in addition to puncturing the tires of many cars.
Israeli settlers spray racist graffiti, puncture tires in Qalqiliya-area town
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Extremist Israeli settlers from the illegal Havat Gilad settlement outpost, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, raided the Palestinian town of Fara‘ata on Wednesday, where they sprayed racist graffiti and punctured car tires. Ultra-nationalist Israeli settlers from Havat Gilad raided the town before dawn on Wednesday and punctured the tires of five cars belonging to Palestinian residents of Fara‘ata. The settlers also sprayed racist, anti-Arab graffiti on cars and the walls of homes in the area. Local activist Murad Ishteiwi told Ma’an “this assault comes under the frantic campaign of assaults carried out by Israeli settlers across several villages that are near settlements, under cover and security by Israeli forces.”
Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians….
Hundreds of Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound
Al Jazeera 5 Apr — Flanked by heavily armed Israeli forces, more than 1,700 Jewish settlers have entered the religious site since Sunday — Hundreds of Jewish settlers, flanked by heavily armed Israeli special forces, have stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that around 500 settlers entered Al-Aqsa Mosque in the early hours of Thursday before performing Jewish religious rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque. Firas al-Dib, a spokesman for the Religious Endowments Authority, said at least 491 settlers and 13 special forces officers “broke into the compound”, bringing the total number of Jewish settlers illegally entering the religious site since Sunday to 1,731. The ancient marble-and-stone compound – known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif – houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, and the 7th-century Dome of the Rock. Visits by Jewish groups, including politicians, have triggered violence over the years, with Palestinians fearing that Israeli hardliners are trying to take control of the site.
Also on Thursday, hundreds of Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli forces, pushed their way into a religious shrine in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus and began attacking Palestinians, according to witnesses. Dozens of Palestinian youths had converged on the site in an effort to block the incursion but were quickly dispersed by Israeli soldiers firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Jews claim the site is the burial place of the biblical figure Joseph. Palestinians, however, challenge this assertion, saying a celebrated Muslim religious leader – Sheikh Youssef Dawiqat – is buried there. [Ma‘an: The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the site being located in Area A where the PA has full control, and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at the site.]
VIDEO: Damascus Gate – platforms and monitoring towers
Silwanic 5 Apr –[(Arabic with English subtitles – also on YouTube] Photography by Maisa Abu Ghazaleh
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in predawn West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank during predawn raids on Wednesday, according to official Palestinian and Israeli sources. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) released a statement saying that nine Palestinians were detained overnight. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the number of Palestinians detained during raids was 10. PPS reported that one Palestinian was detained from the northern West Bank district of Jenin. He was identified as Karim Ahmad al-Umour. Alos in the northern West Bank,a Palestinian identified as Aws Muhammad Husari, 24, was detained from the Tulkarem district while another identified as Rushdi al-Qayim, 20, was detained from Nablus. In the central West Bank, PSS reported that three Palestinians were detained from the Jericho district, and were identified as Saleh Muhammad Abu Sharar, Usama Issa Hdeib and Muhammad Khalid Safi. Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the Ramallah district. They were identified as Fathi Hamdallah Arrar, 22, from Qarawat Bani Zaid village and Muhammad Hassan Elayyan from the al-Jalazun refugee camp. Another Palestinian was detained from the southern West Bank Bethlehem district, and was identified as Muhammad Mahmoud al-Wahsh.
Israeli army closes main West Bank road to secure march for Jewish settlers
QALQILYA (WAFA) 5 Apr – The Israeli army closed on Thursday morning the main road linking the cities of Qalqilya and Nablus in the north of the West Bank to secure the area for a march for extremist Jewish settlers, according to WAFA correspondent. He said the army announced that the road is going to be closed from the morning until early afternoon when settlers are planning to march between the illegal settlements of Karni Shomron and Kedumim. The correspondent quoted witnesses saying the army set up checkpoints on side roads and at entrances to Palestinian towns and village along the area to prevent Palestinians from reaching the main road where the settlers are going to be holding their provocative activity.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli soldiers issue illegal annexation orders for Palestinian land near Hebron
IMEMC 4 Apr — The Israeli “Civil Administration Office,” run by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, issued a military order for the illegal annexation of half a Dunam of Palestinian agricultural land, in Beit Ummar, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The soldiers confiscated half a Dunam of land (0.12 Acres) in Sider az-Zeitouna area, in the opposite direction of a military tower which was installed by the army at the main entrance of the town. The confiscation order states that the army will use the land for “security considerations,” and to “installed a power transformer,” to provide electricity for the military observation tower. The lands are privately owned by Ahmad and Mahmoud Younis Abu Ayyash, from Beit Ummar town. Mahmoud said he filed an appeal with the Palestinian District Coordination Office, which in turn would hand it to the Israeli side, but the army said that it needed the land to install a power transformer “to provide the military observation tower with electricity.” Three years ago, the army illegally confiscated 200 meters of the same land to expand the “security zone” of the military tower. The land in questions has been off-limits to the Palestinians, who have been denied access to it, even to plant it, since the year 2001.
Defense Ministry clears minefield near settlement, pledges new housing on site
Times of Israel 3 Apr by Jacob Magid — A Defense Ministry unit began clearing a minefield outside the Karnei Shomron settlement Tuesday, paving the way for the expansion of the Jewish community in the northern West Bank. The Israeli National Mine Action Authority blew up 13 anti-tank landmines that had been hidden underground for some 70 years, Karnei Shomron Local Council chairman Yigal Lahav said in a Facebook post. The detonations were part of a widespread Defense Ministry operation to detonate some 2,200 other landmines throughout the West Bank. The idea for the project was sparked a year ago when one of those landmines went off unexpectedly, causing a fire that burned down six caravans in the Ramat Gilad outpost, a neighborhood of Karnei Shomron.
“When I became defense minister, I promised to expand settlements. Today we kept our promise,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted. “Soon, instead of the minefield, we will build new housing units in Karnei Shomron,” he added. However, no construction plan is even in the works and the settlement is still in the process of registering the land. Nevertheless, Lahav said that Tuesday’s operation would allow for the construction of at least 1,200 housing units. Deputy defense minister Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home), who spearheaded the project, wrote in a Facebook post that the clearing of landmines across the West Bank will allow for one million Jews to live beyond the Green Line.
353 Palestinian children inside Israeli jails on Palestine Children’s Day
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Apr — Marking Palestine Children’s Day, the PLO’s Prisoners’ Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that 353 Palestinian children had been taken into Israeli custody since the start of 2018. In the statement, the two groups said: “In addition to being brutally arrested in the dead of night, they are sometimes intentionally shot with live ammunition during the arrest, insulted, tortured and put under heavy pressure to give false confessions.” “They are also sentenced in absentia, pressured to pay high amounts of money as fines and sentenced to long periods.” The statement said that these are only some of the Israeli “crimes” carried out against Palestinian children.
Between January 2017 and February 2018, Israeli authorities put 102 Palestinian children, most of them from Jerusalem, under house arrest, citing an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2016. Since 2000 and the start of Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel has detained at least 7,000 Palestinian children, many while underage and turned 18 in prison. The Palestinian children inside Israeli jails reached record numbers post 2009. In October 2015 there were more than 400 children inside prisons, including 116 between 12 and 15 years old.
Other news and opinion
Israel separates Palestinian mother from her husband and children in Jerusalem
IMEMC 5 Apr — The Israeli authorities have recently deported a Palestinian mother, who is married and was living with her Jerusalemite Palestinian husband and children for the past sixteen years, after repeatedly denying her applications for residency in the occupied city. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the Palestinian woman, identified as Ibtisam Obeid, 35, is married to Wisam Obeid from the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, where she gave birth to their three children, Nayef, 14, Mohammad, 13, and Amira, 10. Although she is married to a native Jerusalemite Palestinian man, the Israeli authorities kept denying her applications and appeals for residency over the last several years, for what they called “security considerations,” without providing further details. Wisam said that his wife was abducted by the army twice last month, including when she and him, along with their son Nayef, were taken prisoner, before being later released, and their son received a home detention order. “Last month, the soldiers abducted me and my wife again, and filed an indictment against her,” he said. He added that the second time his wife was taken prisoner, she was interrogated for several hours, and was only released under the condition of being forced out of occupied Jerusalem. “They threatened to abduct and imprison me and my children, in addition to imposing high fines if she does not leave the city,” the husband stated, “before removing her from the city, the soldiers refused to allow her to go back home even to pack her clothes, and mockingly told her to say good-bye to our home.” Ibtisam is now living with her parents, along with her daughter Amira, in Ramallah city, while her husband and two sons live at home in al-‘Isawiya. The woman is the latest victim of Israel’s discriminatory policies against the Palestinian and their spouses in occupied Jerusalem, tearing families apart, by denying them residency and family unification documents.
Why did the IDF seize this blind Palestinian bereaved daughter’s cash?
Haaretz 3 Apr by Amira Hass — The Israeli army confiscated Yasmin Eshtayyeh’s cash at a border crossing, calling it ‘terrorist money’ – without proof, interrogation or trial. She hasn’t let adversity stop her from fighting to get it back — About 5,000 shekels led me to Yasmin Eshtayyeh; more precisely, a combination of $357 — 500 shekels and 668 Jordanian dinars. Those are the currencies and the amounts that the Israeli authorities at the border crossing with Jordan removed, seized and confiscated from bags of Eshtayyeh and her sister Suhad in 2013. This past February 14, an anonymous soldier from the ombudsman’s office in the bureau of the head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command ruled that Eshtayyeh did not have the right of appeal or objection. End of discussion. And immediately, beneath the thin narrative shell of Israelis who confiscate money, a whole life was revealed of a young woman of 31 who has been blind from birth. Her memory tells her that she became aware that she was different only at the age of 5. Her parents, and especially her father, Sael, swaddled and pampered her protectively. Her mother, Muna, always washed her and then dressed her (to this day her mother chooses her clothes for her) …
Eshtayyeh worked for the Palestinian organization Stars of Hope, which was founded to promote the integration of women with disabilities, and she represented the organization at the United Nations-sponsored conference that December. Her sister joined her as an escort. When they returned, on December 22, all the other women went through the al-Karameh (“dignity” in Arabic) border crossing (also known as the Allenby crossing) without incident, but to their astonishment, she and her sister were detained. They were stopped at passport control, were required to remove their head coverings and coats and take off their shoes. They were body-searched, and the money that was found in their handbags was taken. Eshtayyeh tells about the narrow room to which they were taken, the drinking water that wasn’t offered to them and the bathroom they were not permitted to go to, and about the soldier Uri, who wouldn’t let them move, and shouted at them. There was also an Israeli policeman who introduced himself as Ahmed. “He told me: ‘We are concerned that someone from Hamas will use you.’ I replied that I had studied at university, traveled abroad and worked, and that I had never allowed anyone to exploit me.” …
Until December 25, 2013, Palestinians whose property was confiscated by order of the military commander could at least appeal to a military court. But on that day, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, at the time the head of Central Command and the sovereign in the West Bank, signed an order depriving military courts of that authority and thus exempting the confiscators of the need to provide any semblance of proof and transparency….
Review: New book sheds light on life in the occupied Golan Heights
MAJDAL SHAMS, GOLAN HEIGHTS (WAFA) 5 Apr – “Forgotten Occupation: Life in the Syrian Golan after 50 Years of Israeli Occupation” is the title of a new book published this week by Al-Marsad, a Golan Heights based human rights organization. A press release by Al-Marsad, the only human rights organization based in the occupied Golan Heights, tells the story of the native Syrian population who continue to suffer after 50 years of occupation by Israel. “In ‘Forgotten Occupation: Life in the Syrian Golan after 50 Years of Israeli Occupation’, Al-Marsad gives a voice to the voiceless, with Syrians explaining in their own words how the occupation has affected their lives,” said the press release. Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan have now been separated for more than half a century from friends and family in the rest of Syria. The book describes how Syrians have witnessed the forcible transfer and displacement of friends and family; the destruction of homes; the appropriation of land and the arrival of a foreign occupier. It shows how Syrians have been treated as second-class citizens in their own country, and how they have fought to maintain their dignity and sense of identity, despite 50 years of oppression, it added….
Israeli websites hacked with ‘Jerusalem Is the Capital of Palestine’ homepage
Haaretz 4 Apr — Multiple Israeli websites were hacked in a potential cyberattack Tuesday, their respective homepages replaced with a photo of last week’s clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at the Gaza border, under the headline “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” The image, set to background music, appeared on such sites with the notes “Th3Falcon Was Here,” and “We will not forget our martyrs” written in Arabic. Israeli municipality websites including that of cities Kfar Saba, Herzilya, Eilat and Akko were hacked. A Hadera hospital site was also hacked, in addition to the local council of Gan Yavne and Israel’s national opera.
Palestinians host Jewish and Israeli activists in first-ever West Bank ‘freedom seder’
Haaretz 5 Apr by Allison Kaplan Sommer — In a first-of-its kind event, Palestinian activists in Hebron played host to 100 Israelis and international visitors on Wednesday evening in what was billed as a “Freedom Seder.” The Passover celebration featured texts in English, Hebrew and Arabic that interwove the traditional Jewish tale of liberation from Egypt with messages opposing the occupation. The visitors assembled atop Tel Rumeida, overlooking the disputed West Bank city, as smoke from the barbecue holiday meal wafted in the air at the Youth Against Settlements community center, festooned with Palestinian flags. Youth Against Settlements spokesman Izzat Karake greeted the visitors, who had been bused in from across Israel. He said it was exciting to experience a Passover seder, explaining that for Hebron and other West Bank residents, Jewish holidays were dreaded as times when already oppressive security measures tighten further and their movements are restricted even more. “It means a lot for us as Palestinians to have people like you joining us,” Karake said. “Your holidays make our life difficult and hard, but this shows us that things can change … The seder was conceived and jointly organized by the All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective, together with Youth Against Settlements. Karake said he hoped it would become an annual event. “This year we have 100 of you – next year I hope we have 1,000,” he said …
The seder was timed to mark two major anniversaries: It was on Passover 50 years ago, in 1968, that Rabbi Moshe Levinger – a leader of the Jewish settler movement – received special permission from the Israeli government to spend the holiday with a group of his supporters in Hebron, part of the Palestinian territory that Israel had captured a year earlier during the Six-Day War. At the end of the holiday, though, they refused to leave, paving the way for the establishment of what is perhaps the most controversial of all Israeli settlements: the compound located in the heart of Hebron. And it was on the precise date of Wednesday’s event that U.S. civil rights activists held their first “Freedom Seder.” That event took place on April 4, 1969 – a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.….
Opinion: Israel is the terrorist / Ilana Hammerman
Haaretz 5 Apr — Young Palestinians are not carrying out acts of terror- they are leading a desperate struggle against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they — About a week ago, on the highway between Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, two soldiers were killed and two were injured by a car that was driven by a resident of Barta‘a. There are not many Israelis who know where these settlements are located and in what kind of reality they exist. But the vast majority probably have no doubt who was the terrorist here, and who, the innocent victim, and they hope for the fulfillment of the vow made by President Reuven Rivlin, who declared after the incident: “We will not rest until we bring all the collaborators to justice; we will not allow terrorism to become a reality.” The problem is that terror has long since become the reality, and the entity that has allowed and is allowing this to happen is the State of Israel. Look at the map and find Barta‘a, and maybe you’d even be interested in going there and seeing and hearing how its residents live and what their surroundings are like. I happened to do so a few days before the car-ramming incident, and it was completely clear to me – and not for the first time – that this reality is a product of the ongoing policy of terror pursued by generations of Israeli governments, and that it is this policy that gives rise to the acts of resistance against it. What’s amazing is only that there aren’t more such acts, because it’s really and truly an intolerable situation. Barta‘a al-Sharqiya is located east of Wadi Ara, between the Green Line and the separation barrier. In that location the fence makes a major detour into the West Bank in order to include in Israeli territory four settlements with names as fresh and pleasant as the fruit of the field and its fragrances: Shaked (Almond), Reihan (Basil), Hinanit (Daisy) and Tal Menashe (Dew of Menashe). Within this enclave there are also four Arab villages, the largest of which is Barta‘a al-Sharqiya. This entire enclave, with its fences, checkpoints and military forces, exists and thrives only for the benefit of the settlers who settled in it and next to it. The people who have been living for ages in the Arab villages in this part of the country suddenly found themselves penned in and subject to a diabolical maze of orders and regulations: They are not allowed to enter Israel to the west, while to the east, in the West Bank– their natural living space – two checkpoints were set up for them, via which they must leave and enter during opening hours and with the permission and good graces of the soldiers and private security guards posted there. A few are also allowed to bring food and merchandise in their cars via the checkpoints, with restrictions. Palestinians who live outside the enclave – who are members of the same nation as those living within it, and often their relatives – are not permitted to enter unless they have “special permits.” … The point is that every such settlement that is built In the West Bank – in which not a single dunam belongs to the State of Israel – disrupts the lives of the Palestinian villages in the area in ways that a free citizen would find difficult even to imagine….
Gaza March massacre draws a wide range of reactions
If Americans Knew 3 Apr by Kathryn Shihadah — The world was watching as peaceful Gazan protesters met heavily armed Israeli soldiers at the border Saturday. Responses to the violence range from full support to utter denial — The people of Gaza – the majority of of whom are refugee families that were ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948, have been living under illegal Israeli occupation for 50 years, and a brutal siege for 10 – held a nonviolent protest at the border with Israel last Saturday. The Israeli military, incapable of nonviolence, showed up armed and dangerous, and killed at least 17 of the protesters, as well as a farmer harvesting parsley. Now that the dust has settled and the dead have been buried, let’s see how various individuals and groups reacted to the incident….
Not one Democrat has defended Israel over Gaza massacre
EI 4 Apr by Ali Abunimah — There’s been a lot of online commentary about how so few members of Congress have criticized Israel’s premeditated massacre of civilian demonstrators in the besieged Gaza Strip last Friday. Just three have done so on Twitter and one did so through an aide. But here’s another remarkable fact that has not been noted: as far as The Electronic Intifada can determine, not one Democrat in the House or Senate has spoken up – at least on Twitter – to defend Israel’s actions. This may reflect a recognition among Democratic leaders of how toxic Israel is becoming to a large segment of the party’s base…
–-Congressional silence— On Monday, Said Arikat, the Washington correspondent of the Palestinian newspaper Alquds, reported that Senator Bernie Sanders was the only one of 535 US lawmakers to criticize Israel’s actions. But Vermont’s Sanders was then followed by representatives Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Barbara Lee of California.
A special relationship born in hell
4 Apr by Philip Giraldi — The US is in a toxic relationship that has made us indifferent on our best days, complicit in murder on our worst. Our mainstream media and our government join with Israel in bloodguilt — If you want to understand what the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States really means consider the fact that Israeli Army snipers shot dead seventeen unarmed and largely peaceful Gazan demonstrators on Good Friday without a squeak coming out of the White House or State Department. Some of the protesters were shot in the back while running away, while another 1,000 Palestinians were wounded, an estimated 750 by gunfire, the remainder injured by rubber bullets and tear gas. The offense committed by the Gazan protesters that has earned them a death sentence was coming too close to the Israeli containment fence that has turned the Gaza strip into the world’s largest outdoor prison. President Donald Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator David Greenblatt described the protest as “a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border…inciting violence against Israel.” And Nikki Haley at the U.N. has also used the U.S. veto to block any independent inquiry into the violence, demonstrating once again that the White House team is little more than Israel’s echo chamber. America’s enabling of the brutal reality that is today’s Israel makes it fully complicit in the war crimes carried out against the helpless and hapless Palestinian people.
—Pro-Israel spin-– So where was the outrage in the American media about the massacre of civilians? Characteristically, Israel portrays itself as somehow a victim and the U.S. media, when it bothers to report about dead Palestinians at all, picks up on that line. The Jewish State is portrayed as always endangered and struggling to survive even though it is the nuclear armed regional superpower that is only threatened because of its own criminal behavior. And even when it commits what are indisputable war crimes like the use of lethal force against an unarmed civilian population, the Jewish Lobby and its media accomplices are quick to take up the victimhood refrain….