VIDEO: Attack on peaceful protesters in Haifa
18 May — At least 21 Palestinians and Israeli peace activists were arrested this night in Haifa city during a peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation crimes in #Gaza
🇵🇸#Palestine || #Video || at least 21 Palestinians and Israeli peace activists were arrested this night in Haifa city during a peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation crimes in #Gaza
قوات الاحتلال تعتقل ٢١ فلسطيني ونشاط سلام خلال اعتدائها على مظاهرة في مدينة حيفا احتجاجا على جرائم الاحتلال بحق المواطنين في غزة
Posted by Eye On Palestine on Friday, May 18, 2018
21 Israeli Arabs arrested during Haifa protests against Gaza killings
Haaretz 19 May by Noa Shpigel & Jack Khoury — Twenty one Israeli Arabs protesting the killing of Gazans were arrested Friday in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Dozens participated in a demonstration in the city’s lower commercial area. Police said those arrested were suspected of public disorder offenses. Protesters held up Palestinian flags, according to reports. The organizers of the demonstration, a group of young activists, decided to hold it without permit. The call to protest was spread across social network, and its exact location was given two hours before it started. One of the activists is the CEO of the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, Jafar Farah. Some activists were warned prior to the protest not to participate in it, according to the organizers. One of the activists was interrogated last week after a similar protest and was sent home for a three day house arrest … Chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, who is currently with the detainees in the police station said “police forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation….
Twenty one people were arrested in a protest in #Haifa tonight. #Israeli riot police wasted no time attacking protesters causing injuries and damage#غزة #حيفا #Haifa #Gaza #GreatReturnMarch pic.twitter.com/19r0AAkpRK
— Nadine Nashef (@nanninenashef) May 18, 2018
‘Open up or we’ll tase you’: Police arrest activists protesting Gaza violence
+972 Mag 18 May by Orly Noy — Israeli police arrested and interrogated a number of Palestinian and Jewish political activists from the northern city of Haifa over the past several days, due to their participation in demonstrations following the killing of over 60 protesters in Gaza this past week. Among those arrested were General Secretary of Hadash’s Haifa chapter, Raja Zaatry, and Yoav Bar, an activist with the Abnaa al-Balad movement, who was arrested twice. Iris Bar, a political activist and Yoav’s partner, describes what happened: ….
Israeli forces kill 10 Palestinian children in four weeks
RAMALLAH (DCIP) 14 May — Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinian children in the last four weeks, as additional Palestinian fatalities and severe injuries quickly multiply during protests near the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip. Since April 20, Defense for Children International–Palestine has documented a total of nine child fatalities, six of which took place today, at the hands of Israeli forces during “March of Return” protests. An additional child died after attempting to cross the perimeter fence in the same period. In all but one case, children died from the use of live fire. DCIP considers all individuals below the age of 18 to be children … On May 14, Israeli forces killed six children with live ammunition during large scale protests near Israel’s perimeter fence. DCIP confirmed the following child fatalities: Ibrahim al-Zarqa, 17, Said al-Kheir, 16, Saadi Abu Salah, 16, Ahmad al-Sha‘ar, 15, Wassal Khalil,14, and Izz al-Samak, 13. Three boys and one girl killed by Israeli forces today were shot in the head or neck and the other two boys were shot in the abdomen, according to initial reports.
Between April 20 and May 11, DCIP investigation found that Jamal Afaneh, 15, Azzam Awaidah, 15, and Mohammad Ayoub, 14, all died after Israeli forces shot them in the head with live fire or crowd control weapons in the context of Friday “March of Return” protests on the Gaza Strip side of the perimeter fence. One child, Jamal, was shot in the back of the head, based on medical reports obtained by DCIP. A tenth child, Yusef Abu Jazar, 15, died from Israeli sniper fire in an Israeli hospital after attempting to cross the perimeter fence on May 11, according to family and witness reports. A witness told DCIP that Israeli forces instructed him to stop and remove his jacket. When Yusef removed it, a sniper opened fire on him, the witness said. These recent fatalities bring the total number of children killed by Israeli forces during March of Return protests up to 12. Three other children, Hussein Mohammad Adnan Madi, 13, Aladdin Yahia Ismail Zamili, 15, and Ibrahim Abu Sha‘er, 17 were also killed by live ammunition…
DCIP has also documented at least 20 injuries among Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip between March 30 and May 11, near the perimeter fence. Seven of these sustained severe injuries to the lower body, including three children who had a leg amputated….
Army kills two Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 16 May — Israeli soldiers killed, on Tuesday evening, two Palestinians, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp in central Gaza, and injured more than 417, in several parts of the coastal region. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the soldiers killed Bilal Bodeir al-Ashram, 18, from the Nusseirat refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, in Central Gaza. The Palestinian was shot in the chest, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, with a live round fired by an Israeli army sniper stationed on one of the sand hills installed by the military across the border fence. The soldiers also killed Nasser Ahmad Mahmoud Ghorab, 51, from the Nusseirat refugee camp, after shooting him with a live round, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. The Palestinian was shot with a live round in the chest, and died from his serious wound shortly after his injury. The soldiers also shot two other Palestinians with live fire east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, and one in Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.
In addition, Israeli drones fired gas bombs at the tents of the Return Camp, including medical tents, in Khuza‘a town, east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Many Palestinians, including volunteer medics, suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation. It is worth mentioning that Israeli planes also dropped SIM cards at the protesters in al-Boreij and Khan Younis, in an attempt to recruit collaborators who would inform on their people. The soldiers also fired smoke bombs that produce very bad smells and toxins at the Return Camps, east of al-Boreij.
Child dies from serious wounds suffered Monday
IMEMC 15 May — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, on Tuesday morning, that a child has died from serious wounds he suffered Monday after Israeli soldiers shot him east of Gaza City. The Ministry said the child, Talal Adel Ibrahim Matar, 16, was shot with live fire, east of Gaza , and remained in a critical condition at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, until he succumbed to his serious wounds. Also [as previously reported] on Tuesday morning a man identified as Omar Abu Fol, 30, died from serious wounds he suffered, Monday, after Israeli soldiers shot his east of Gaza City. Their deaths bring the number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli army fire to sixty-one since Monday
Palestinian man dies from serious wounds suffered on April 14
IMEMC 19 May — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that a Palestinian man died, on Saturday at dawn, from serious wounds he suffered on Monday April 14, after Israeli soldiers shot him with live fire during the nonviolent protest against the U.S. moving its embassy to occupied Jerusalem, and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe). The Ministry said the Mo‘in ِِAbdul-Hamid Sa‘ey, 58 years of age, died from his serious wounds at the Shifa Medical Center in Gaza city, where he was rushed to surgery and then to the Intensive Care Unit until he succumbed to his wounds. The slain Palestinian man was from the Shati’ [‘Beach’] refugee camp, west of Gaza City…. [See pictures and short bios of those killed on Monday here ]
Israel army disputes Hamas ‘fake news’ on tear gas baby
AFP 18 May — The Israeli army on Friday disputed Palestinian accounts that a baby had died of tear gas inhalation during protests on the Gaza border. “This is another instance of Hamas fake news,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an army spokesman, referring to the Palestinian Islamist movement which runs the Gaza Strip. “We got reports… from a doctor that said that the baby had a preexisting heart condition and that was most likely the cause of death,” he told AFP, without naming the physician or explaining how the information was obtained. “We don’t have any additional evidence, the body of that poor baby is in Gaza… There is no way of finding out for sure,” Conricus said. The Hamas health ministry in Gaza reiterated on Friday that eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour died after inhaling tear gas along the Israeli border on Monday as protests escalated into the deaths of 60 Palestinians, almost all killed by army gunfire. “Did she suffer from another illness? We are waiting for the medical examiner to complete his report which could come on Sunday,” said its spokesman, Ashraf al-Qudra. The baby’s family has blamed the Israeli army for her death, while explaining that Leila had been at the scene of the border protests because of a misunderstanding between the child’s teenage mother and a brother. A spokesman for the justice ministry in Gaza City said an investigation was being carried out into the death of Leila, who was buried on Tuesday, as was customary for all deaths.
MOH: ‘Israeli soldiers injure 56 Palestinians in Gaza’
IMEMC 19 May — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, 56 Palestinians during the Great Return March which was held in several parts of the Gaza Strip, and adding that twenty-three of the wounded Palestinians were shot with live rounds. The protests were held near border areas in several parts of the border fence, in the eastern part of the besieged and impoverished coastal region. Three of the wounded are two journalists, and one medic. The Health Ministry said Israeli army sharpshooters shot at least twenty-three Palestinians, when the soldiers attacked the nonviolent protesters, and also fired dozens of gas bombs. Ten of the Palestinians who were shot with live fire were injured east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, and were rushed to the Shifa Medical Center, suffering moderate-but-stable wounds. Five Palestinians were shot, also with live fire, east of Rafah city, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and were moved to Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital….
Israel says Gaza wounded transferred to Jordan
JERUSALEM (AP) 18 May — 8:40 p.m. Israel’s military says wounded Palestinians in Gaza were transferred to Jordan for medical treatment and that Jordanian trucks packed with medical supplies have entered the territory. It said the moves were made upon the request of the King of Jordan. The wounded, Gaza residents with Jordanian citizenship along with relatives, were transferred in three Jordanian ambulances. Gaza’s Health Ministry said that 23 protesters were wounded Monday by live bullets and tear gas, but did not provide a breakdown of the number. Israel’s military said it will continue to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Earlier this week Israel delivered 53 tons of medical equipment along with other aid to Gaza.
Palestinians vow to press on with border protests in Gaza as UN calls for inquiry
GAZA CITY (LA Times) 18 May by Alexandra Zavis & Noga Tarnopolsky — Thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border Friday, vowing to press on with a seven-week campaign to reclaim ancestral homelands in what is now Israel. They were the first significant demonstrations in the enclave since Israeli forces shot and killed 59 people and injured hundreds more during protests Monday coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation and the formal opening of a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem … More than 110 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began March 30. An Israeli soldier was injured by a stone Monday, Hussein said, but there have been no deaths on the Israeli side…
Most of those killed this week were members of the group, a senior Hamas official said Wednesday. “If in the last round, 62 were martyred, 50 of them were from Hamas, and 12 were other people’s sons,” Salah Bardawil, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said in an interview with the local Baladna Channel, a Palestinian news outlet that broadcasts via Facebook. “This is an official figure I’m giving you. And before that, you can say that 50% at least of the martyrs were from Hamas.” Bardawil did not specify whether these were fighters or civilian supporters of Hamas…
Hamas leaders had said the protests would reach a climax Tuesday, when Palestinians commemorate what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe, of 70 years ago, when hundreds of thousands of their forebears were displaced or fled their homes. But after Monday’s bloodshed, the focus shifted Tuesday to burying the dead, and the crowds at the border were much smaller. On Friday, prayer leaders across the densely populated enclave urged Gazans to return to the border fence. At a mosque in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that for all the “painful farewells,” good things had come from the protests, including a refocusing of international attention on the plight of Palestinians and “real steps” to ease a crippling blockade that has sharply curtailed the movement of goods and people to and from the strip since Hamas took over in 2007. He cited a decision by Egypt to keep the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip open throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the longest period since 2013. Haniyeh said the protests would continue until the blockade was completely lifted….
Hundreds joined by Hamas leader at protest on Gaza-Israel border
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 18 May — Around 1,000 Palestinians protested on the Gaza border with Israel on the first Friday of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, four days after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians. The leader of Gaza’s ruling movement Hamas attended the fresh protest, taking part in prayers along the border before sunset and then participating in a demonstration. Ismail Haniya gave the V-for-victory salute and waved the Palestinian flag a few hundred metres (yards) from the fence along the border with Israel, an AFP journalist reported. The Israeli army said around 1,000 “rioters” gathered in five spots along the border … Since protests and clashes began, 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire across the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. Speaking at a Gaza City mosque earlier on Friday, Haniya denied a deal had been made to end seven weeks of border protests, vowing they would continue. “The marches will not stop until the siege is lifted completely from the Gaza Strip.” … Palestinian media have speculated a deal has been struck for Egypt, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, to open the border in exchange for Hamas ending the protests. Haniya welcomed Sisi’s decision but denied any such agreement. “There is a rumour that Hamas made a deal with Egypt to end the marches. This is baseless,” he said….
Egypt to open Rafah crossing for entire month of Ramadan
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 18 May — Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi has reportedly issued an emergency order to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip for the entire Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in Palestine on Thursday. Egyptian security sources confirmed the opening to Ma‘an, saying that the crossing is being opened in order “to speed up sending wounded Palestinians to Egypt for treatment.” Thousands of Palestinians have been injured and over 100 killed by Israeli forces since the “Great March of Return” began on March 30th, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Sources added that 618 Palestinians traveled through Rafah between Thursday evening and dawn on Friday. Egyptian authorities reportedly allowed the entry of 57 truckloads of different goods into Gaza, including 37 cement trucks, six trucks of diesel, four power engines, four trucks of foodstuffs, five trucks of iron and four Egyptian Red Crescent trucks carrying medications and food. Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip since the ousting of former President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of al-Sisi in Egypt….
Gaza activists prevent entry of medications sent by Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 May — Palestinian activists from the Gaza Strip prevented the entry of medications trucks coming from the Israeli Magen David Adom “Red Star of David” through the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip late Tuesday. Activists stressed that they refuse to “beautify the image of the occupation” through accepting medications. The National Committee of Return Camps in the Gaza Strip confirmed their rejection of receiving any sort of medications “by the executors of Monday’s massacre against the innocent,” calling for returning the medications.
Adalah, Al Mezan demand urgent Israeli Supreme Court ruling on petition against Israel army’s used of live fire on civilian protesters in Gaza
Adalah17 May — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights submitted yesterday, 16 May 2018, a motion to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding that it issue an immediate final decision on the organizations’ joint petition against the Israeli military’s use of live ammunition and sniper fire on unarmed civilian protesters in Gaza. In addition, Adalah and Al Mezan are releasing today a briefing paper that takes an in-depth look at the petition challenging the Israeli military’s use of lethal force against Gaza protesters, as well as the State of Israel’s response, and our critique and arguments against the State’s positions. Adalah and Al Mezan argued in the motion that, since filing the petition, an excessive amount of time has passed, during which a large number of Palestinian unarmed protesters have been killed and wounded in Gaza demonstrations. Every week, the Israeli military has responded to the protests near the Gaza fence with lethal and other excessive force, which has resulted to date in the killing of 86 protesters, including 12 children, two journalists, and the injury of approximately 11,000….
UN votes to send war crimes probe to Gaza
AFP 18 May — The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces. The UN’s top human rights body voted through a resolution calling on the council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” — the UN rights council’s highest-level of investigation. Only two of the council’s 47 members, the United States and Australia, voted against the resolution, while 29 voted in favour and 14 abstained, including Britain, Switzerland and Germany. US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed the rights council’s decision, calling it “another shameful day for human rights”… The text said the team should investigate all alleged violations and abuses… in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018, … including those that may amount to war crimes.” … Opening the special session earlier Friday, UN rights chief Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein slammed the “wholly disproportionate” use of force by Israeli troops and backed the call for an international probe. “Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week,” he said.
‘Appalled’ Trudeau calls for inquiry after Canadian doctor wounded in Gaza
The Guardian 17 May by Ashifa Kassam in Toronto — Tarek Loubani said he was wearing a green surgeon’s outfit treating injured Palestinians when he was shot in both legs — Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has deplored the shooting of a Canadian doctor by an Israeli sniper on the Gaza border and added his voice to calls for an independent investigation into Israeli fire that killed 60 Palestinians and injured thousands more during mass border protests … Trudeau described the reported use of excessive force and live ammunition as “inexcusable” in a statement. “Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people,” he said. “We are appalled that Dr Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.” … The shooting happened during a lull in the protests, said Loubani. He was wearing a green surgeon’s outfit and was standing with orange-vested paramedics about 25 metres from the protesters. There were no fires or smoke and he was within clear lines of sight to three fortified sniper posts. “It’s very hard to believe I wasn’t specifically targeted, considering that there was a lull in activity, considering the fact that I was so clearly marked,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week as he recovered from the shooting. Another 16 paramedics were injured. The doctor who rescued Loubani, Musa Abuhassanin, was later killed as he was trying to reach another patient….
He’s treated thousands. The surgeon who keeps returning to Gaza
GAZA (CNN) 18 May by Ben Wedeman — Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sitta peers through his black-rimmed glasses at an X-ray. “Not very good,” he quips. “See how the pieces are?” he says to hospital staff, pointing at the fuzzy image. He leans over to cut his patient’s bandages, letting out a sigh. Infection is inevitable, he says, in these “high-energy devitalizing injuries,” his way of describing the damage done by Israeli sniper bullets to the human body. Eighteen-year-old Maddah is just one of many patients Abu-Sitta has treated since Palestinians began a series of protests known as the “Great March of Return.” Confrontations between Israeli troops and the protesters worsened Monday as tensions soared over the United States’ relocation of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Maddah, propping himself up in bed, looks warily at the doctor, not understanding his explanation in English to the staff at Gaza’s Al-Awda hospital. Maddah was shot on March 30, when the Great March of Return began. Bandages wrap around Maddah’s lower leg, which bristles with external fixation pins. As Abu-Sitta lifts his leg, Maddah winces in pain. On Thursday alone, Abu-Sitta saw a steady stream of patients, and he has treated perhaps thousands since first coming to Gaza as a medical student during the First Intifada in the late 1980s….
Israel denies West Bank medical team entry to Gaza
MEMO 15 May — The Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights has condemned the Israeli authorities for preventing a medical delegation from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank from entering the Gaza Strip on Sunday to provide medical care for the wounded protesters. In a statement issued yesterday, the centre condemned the Israeli restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement for medical missions and called on the international community to intervene to ensure the free passage of all medical staff and supplies and to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip. Israel’s policies, especially the continuation of the 11-year siege, have contributed to the decline in the capacity of health services in the besieged enclave….
Israel says its planes bombed militant targets in Gaza
JERUSALEM (AP) 17 May — The Israeli military says it has carried out airstrikes on militant sites in Gaza overnight in response to machine gun fire that hit a building in the Israeli city of Sderot. The army said Thursday that planes bombarded a military compound and a weapons production facility in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian health ministry says a man was moderately wounded by shrapnel, but didn’t say whether he was inside a militant site or nearby. The airstrikes Thursday came hours after Israeli forces came under fire from the Palestinian territory. The military said no troops were wounded in Wednesday’s exchange.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands near Gaza protest camps
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 May –Israeli military vehicles entered into the southeastern Gaza Strip on Friday and razed lands close to the Israeli border fence, according to locals. Local sources told Ma’an that two Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into the Gaza “buffer zone,” near protest camps, and razed lands in the area. No instances of Israeli fire were reported. Israeli drones were also seen flying above protest camps near Rafah City, as Israeli military forces also deployed alongside the eastern borders of Gaza.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian man in Hebron
IMEMC 16 May — Israeli soldiers killed, Tuesday, a Palestinian man in the ad-Dowwara area, in Sa‘ir town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, after the army resorted to the excessive use of force against nonviolent protesters. Medical sources said the man, identified as Edrees Shaker Jabareen, 58, died from the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Jabareen, a member of the Local Council in Sa‘ir town, was rushed to the Emergency Unit at the al-Ahli Hospital, but died from the severe effects of the toxic gas bombs fired by the soldiers at the nonviolent protesters. Members of the immediate family of the slain man said Edrees did not suffer from any health issues, or preexisting conditions, especially since he underwent routine medical checkups just a few days ago, and received a clean bill of health.
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas and stun grenades into two schools in Al-Khalil/Hebron on first day of Ramadan
ISM 17 May — On the morning of Thursday 17th May, the first morning of Ramadan, at around 7.30, several small boys were seen throwing stones at the Salaymeh checkpoint in the occupied H2 area of Al Khalil/Hebron. One soldier above the checkpoint responded by pointing a live ammunition rifle at a small boy. The soldiers on the checkpoint called for backup to deal with the small boys, and a truck full of paratroopers arrived. At around 8am the soldiers went out through the checkpoint, split into two teams and occupied two rooftops above schools in the Palestinian neighbourhood, then fired tear gas into 2 school playgrounds as children were gathering for the start of the day. Children and teachers were affected by tear gas inhalation. In total in the next hour, around 15 Israeli soldiers came into the Palestinian neighbourhood outside of Salaymeh checkpoint and continued to fire more tear gas bombs and stun grenades from rooftops into the two school playgrounds. One school was Al Khalil Basic School (UN) for 8th and 9th grades, and the other was a boy’s school next door for grades 1-4. In total around 10 tear gas bombs and around 7-10 stun grenades were fired into the school playgrounds and street outside in the course of an hour, as children continued to walk to other schools in the neighbourhood. After the soldiers finished firing tear gas and stun grenades at the children, they returned through Salaymeh checkpoint. ISM activists were detained for a short time at a checkpoint because they had been filming the soldiers’ violence….
Israeli soldiers shoot 3 unarmed Palestinians in Al-Khalil/Hebron protest on Nakba Day
ISM 17 May — On the morning of Tuesday 15th May, protesters in Al-Khalil/Hebron proceeded on two streets in the Bab-Azawiya area towards Checkpoint 56, where Israeli soldiers were occupying a rooftop inside the H1 (Palestinian controlled) area of the city. The protesters were driving cars with Palestinian flags, waving ‘Great Return March’ flags and some were throwing stones towards the soldiers on the rooftop in solidarity with those killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza the previous day. Protests were also in support of the right of return, and for the 70th year commemoration of the nakba, or catastrophe, when 700,000 Palestinians were made refugees by Zionist militias in 1948. From their position on the rooftop, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition towards protesters, shooting and injuring two boys who were taken to hospital. As protesters retreated and ambulance crews were attending to the injuries, soldiers threw tear gas and stun grenades towards the crowd of protesters, medics and journalists … ISM activists observed soldiers on the rooftop clapping, singing, and taunting the protesters with hand gestures and insults throughout the afternoon, between firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas into Bab-Azawiya … A mother with three very scared small girls walked directly underneath the soldiers to pass through Checkpoint 56 as they were firing tear gas into the street below. At around 1800, Israeli soldiers occupied a rooftop in Tel Rumeida, and fired live ammunition into the city as it was getting dark. At least eleven live bullets were shot into the densely populated Bab-Azawiya area from high up on the hill in Tel Rumeida, along with between 5-10 stun grenades at around 1930. At no point during the day did protesters use any weapons against the Israeli soldiers, or threaten their safety in any way, except throwing stones….
VIDEO: Israeli forces gas Palestinian protesters near Qalandiya checkpoint
Thursday 17 May from Kajsa Anckarström, ISM — Israeli forces gas Palestinian protestors near Qalandia checkpoint we witnessed at least 40 protestors dropping to the floor from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces opened fire indiscriminately into the crowd with rubber coated steel bullets and foam batons they reportedly also used live ammunition.
Soldiers injure 173 Palestinians, abduct two, near Nablus
IMEMC 16 May — Israeli soldiers shot, Tuesday, two Palestinians with live fire and 71 with rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to causing approximately 100 to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, and abducted two others, in Nablus governorate, in the northern part of the West Bank. Medical sources said the soldiers attacked hundreds of protesters, who marched in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, and near Huwwara military roadblock south of Nablus, marking the Palestinian Nakba and the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. The soldiers also attacked protesters in Beita village, south of Nablus, in addition to Azmout and Beit Forik, east of Nablus, and Deir Sharaf, west of the city…
In related news, the soldiers attacked dozens of nonviolent protesters in Budrus village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, after the army attacked a symbolic “Right of Return Camp,” causing several injuries.
Israeli colonialist settler shoots a Palestinian man in Hebron
IMEMC 16 May — An Israeli colonialist settler shot, on Wednesday at night, a young Palestinian man, in Khirbat Qalqas area, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its medics rushed the wounded young man, identified as Bilal Za‘tari, 28, to a hospital in Hebron, after he suffered a moderate gunshot injury in his arm. The wounded Palestinian was shot by the colonialist settler who was driving in the area and tried to ram him with his car, but when he failed in doing so, he stopped his vehicle and opened fire at several Palestinians, wounding the young man, before fleeing the scene. Eyewitnesses said the illegal colonialist settler opened fire at many cars near the entrance of Khirbat Qalqas, before fleeing the scene. After hearing the gunshots, Israeli soldiers rushed to the scene, apparently believing the shots were fired by Palestinian fighters, and deployed a large military force in the area and its surroundings.
Award-winning photographer shot by Israeli soldier in the West Bank
MEMO 17 May — An internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer was shot by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, reports the Art Newspaper. Tanya Habjouqa, who won the 2014 World Press photo award, was struck in the leg by a rubber-coated metal bullet fired by Israeli occupation forces during a protest near Bet El checkpoint. Habjouqa told the paper that she was some 40 metres from Palestinian protesters “when Israeli soldiers in the distance started shooting rubber bullets and tear gas in several directions”. “She also saw soldiers aim at a Palestinian gas station where there were no protesters, just people filling up their gas tanks,” the report added. “I was on the side with my camera at the beginning of the protest with cameras around my neck, so I feel I was definitely targeted though thankfully they chose not to aim for my head,” Habjouqa tells us. “It hurts like hell and the bruise is spreading front and back.” Habjouqa is a founder of Rawiya, the first all-female photo collective in the Middle East, as well as a member of the Noor Photography collective, a Magnum Foundation grantee, and the author of the photo book Occupied Pleasures that the Smithsonian named one of the best photo books of 2015. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Institut du Monde Art in Paris.
Israeli soldiers abduct 16 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 16 May — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, at least sixteen Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, after invading and violently searching their homes, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS said dozens of soldiers invaded Be’er al-Basha village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and abducted two young men, identified as Rakan Daoud Ghawadra and Shadi Ali Ghawadra. The soldiers also invaded Madama village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and abducted Mohammad Issa Nassar, 22, Rashid Ramez Nassar, 26, and Ra‘ad Mo‘tasem Ziyada, 16. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Qalqilia city, in northern West Bank, and abducted Ahmad Issa Sabri, 15. In Ramallah in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Issam Abu Alia, from the al-Mughayyir village, east of the city, in addition to former political prisoner Mo’men Zeid from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the city, Mohammad Hamed, from Beitin town, east of Ramallah, and Aseed Abu Odai from Kafr Ni‘ma, west of the city.
Israeli soldiers abduct 14 Palestinians, including a legislator, in the West Bank
IMEMC 17 May — Updated: Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, many Palestinian communities in several parts of the occupied West Bank, violently searched homes and abducted fourteen Palestinians, including a legislator. Dozens of soldiers invaded Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, searched many homes and abducted Ahmad Jalal al-A’war, 21, Ali Sabri Abu Diab, 22, Mohammad Majdi Qa’qour and Mahdi Yousef Abu Diab, 18. The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded the home of Legislator Khaled Tafesh, in his fifties, before abducting him. Tafesh has been repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, including being held for extended periods under Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial. Also in Bethlehem, the soldiers invaded the Saff and al-Maslakh streets, searched many homes and abducted Mohammad Waleed al-Hreimi and Issa Nader Awwad. Among the abducted Palestinians in Bethlehem is Issa Awad, who was previously shot by the army during a military invasion into Bethlehem…. [list of abducted Palestinians at end of article]
Detainee continues hunger strike for the 27th day
IMEMC 16 May — Yousef Nasasra, a lawyer with the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, said that a detainee, identified as Ebaa’ Omar Barghouthi, 40, is ongoing with a hunger strike he started 27 days ago, protesting being held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial. Nasasra said Barghouthi is held at Ohali Kidar Israeli prison, in Be’er as-Sabe‘ (Beersheba), and is refusing checkups, or any sort of medications. The detainee recently started vomiting blood, in addition to severe abdominal pain and migraine, and became very weak in addition to repeatedly having high fever. The soldiers frequently invade and search his very small cell, and took his clothes, except what he is wearing. It is worth mentioning that Barghouthi was abducted on August 2nd 2017, and received a six-month Administrative Detention order, and it was renewed for four additional months, without charges or trial.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Concern over future of Area C in West Bank following new Israeli military law
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 May – Concern is high among Palestinian human rights organizations following the enactment of a new Israeli military law that gives the so-called “civil administration”, the Israeli military government’s arm in the occupied West Bank, powers to demolish Palestinian structures and deport residents in areas classified as ‘C’, which make more than 60 percent of the area of the West Bank. The “civil administration” was granted powers to remove new and old buildings in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military occupation, that were not completed and were not inhabited. It was also given extensive powers to demolish any building that was not completed within six months from the date of approval by the military order for the areas designated as ‘C’. Issam Arouri, director of the Jerusalem Legal Aid Center, told Voice of Palestine radio on Thursday that a plan to deport Palestinian citizens living in areas classified as ‘C’ and the demolition of old and new buildings would lead to the deportation of 350,000 Palestinians living in 150 communities. He warned that this move threatens to demolish hundreds of houses and structures in these communities. “Israel has been conducting a policy of ethnic cleansing in areas classified as C,” he said, allowing only a handful of building permits in these areas. The military order will go into effect on June 16, two months after it was signed by the military governor, and for a period of two years.
OCHA: ‘West Bank demolitions and displacement – April 2018’
19 May — Overview – In April, a total of 44 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, an increase compared to the monthly average during the first quarter of 2018 (33 structures) and during 2017 (35 structures). However, given that the majority of the targeted structures were non-residential or not inhabited, the number of people displaced during April (13) significantly declined, while the number of people who had their livelihoods and access services affected (584), increased compared to the first quarter of 2018…
In one of the incidents, on 9 April, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized a school consisting of four classrooms in Khirbet Zanouta village, in the Hebron governorate. The school furniture, as well as two mobile latrines and three water tanks were also seized. Four tents that were erected in the aftermath of the incident to temporarily replace the classrooms were demolished on 15 April. The school was run by the Palestinian Authority and served 24 girls and boys from kindergarten to the 6th grade. In past years, the Israeli authorities had pursued the demolition of the entire village citing the need to preserve a nearby archaeological site. Also this month, in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Jabal al Baba, in the Jerusalem governorate, the residents were forced to dismantle a caravan, following a seizure warning given by the Israeli authorities. The caravan was installed a few weeks earlier with donor funding, and served partly as a kindergarten and partly as a women’s center and (once a week) as a clinic….
Israeli forces seal agricultural roads in Bethlehem-area town
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 May — Israeli forces sealed agricultural roads in the al-Khader town, south of the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday morning. Coordinator of a local committee against the separation wall and settlements, Ahmad Salah, tod Ma‘an that Israeli forces sealed all agricultural roads leading to the Thahr al-Zayyah, al-Hadaf, al-Suwwaneh and Shoshahla areas with an iron gate. Salah added that this move would prevent local landowners from reaching their lands.
Illegal Israeli colonizers occupy an archaeological Palestinian home in Hebron
IMEMC 17 May — A group of extremist illegal Israeli colonizers, living on Palestinian lands in the southern West Bank governorate of Hebron, occupied on Wednesday evening an archaeological Palestinian home in Doura city, south of Hebron. Media sources in Hebron said the colonizers invaded the Ein ad-Dalba area, near the eastern entrance of Doura, and occupied the archaeological home owned by al-Harbiyyat family, and raised Israeli flags on the property and around it. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area, and did not attempt to remove or stop the invaders, but instead prevented the Palestinians from entering the area. The head of “Kan’aan’s Sons Society for Heritage Conservation”, Yousef Nassar, said there are many ancient and archaeological homes extending on the main road between Hebron city and its southern areas, and are all a constant target by the illegal Israeli colonialist settlers. He added that the family has the official deeds proving ownership of the property, dating backing to the Ottoman era.
In related news, Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday evening, Luay Hani Sultan, 20, from al-Boweira area, east of Hebron, after repeating beating him up.
UN Palestinian refugee agency ‘part of the problem’: Swiss minister
AFP 17 May — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is fuelling “unrealistic” hopes of return after 70 years of exodus and is therefore helping keep the Mideast conflict alive, Switzerland’s foreign minister said Thursday. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)was established after the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948, when around 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled. But Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis pointed out that the number of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza has swelled to more than five million. “It is unrealistic that this dream (of return) will be fulfilled for all,” he said in an interview given to several German-language papers owned by the Swiss NZZ group. “But UNRWA maintains this hope. For me, the question is whether UNRWA is part of the solution or part of the problem,” he said, concluding that “it is both”. The UN agency, he said, “worked as a solution for a long time, but today it has become part of the problem.” “It provides ammunition to continue the conflict. For as long as Palestinians live in refugee camps, they will want to return to their homeland,” he said. “By supporting UNRWA, we are keeping the conflict alive.”…
UNRWA is meanwhile struggling to cover a massive budget shortfall, after major donor Washington slashed its 2018 funding. The administration of US President Donald Trump has opted to cut the $360 million offered in 2017 to a commitment of just $60 million this year, leaving UNRWA scrambling to raise nearly half a billion dollars to guarantee services until the end of the year. Switzerland is among a group of countries who together pledged about $100 million in March to help fill the shortfall. Despite his scepticism of the role UNRWA is playing in the Middle East, Cassis warned the sudden funding cut facing the agency posed “a big risk”. “Millions of Palestinians could take to the streets,” he said, cautioning that lacking funds could cause the breakdown of a “machinery that provides stability”. “This is a risk that Switzerland cannot afford,” he said. Cassis said his country would continue funding UNRWA, but he also called for a heavier focus on integrating Palestinian refugees into their host communities.
Tens of thousands pray at Al-Aqsa on first Friday of Ramadan
JERUSALEM (AFP) 18 May — Tens of thousands of Palestinians prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem Friday, the first weekly prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Around 120,000 people attended the Friday prayers, a spokesman for the religious authority that governs the mosque told AFP. Heavily armed Israeli police stood guard in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site for Muslims, after two others in Saudi Arabia. It is located in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank were allowed to enter Jerusalem for the prayers, passing through checkpoints where they underwent searches. There were no restrictions on women crossing into Jerusalem, but men under 40 were prevented from crossing by Israel, which normally cites security concerns. Friday prayers passed peacefully at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while outside the compound heavily armed police officers were deployed in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
Gaza killings spark mass protests in Ireland, South Africa
IMEMC/Agencies 15 May — In response to Israel’s horrific massacre of dozens of unarmed Palestinians, and wounding of thousands, in Gaza, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has organised a series of protests around Ireland to take place today … There will be protests today Tuesday 15th May in Dublin (6pm The Spire), Belfast (6pm, International Peace Wall), Derry (8pm, Free Derry Corner), Galway (6pm Eyre Square), Limerick (6.30pm, Thomas Street), Omagh (1pm, Market Street) and Waterford (6pm, Clock Tower)…
According to WAFA, thousands of South Africans in the city of Cape Town, on Tuesday, also took to the streets to protest Israel’s killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters, and injuring thousands, in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of protesters representing parliamentarians, the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s governing political party, religious figures including Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus, as well, joined the march to voice their rejection of the bloody events on Monday. Protesters said that what happened in Gaza on Monday is not an issue of religion but a human cause and called for an immediate end to the bloodshed.
Istanbul summit urges international force to protect Palestinians
ISTANBUL (AFP) 18 May by Fulya Ozerkan & Ezzedine Said — A summit in Istanbul of Muslim heads of state on Friday called for the creation of an international peacekeeping force to protect the Palestinians, as host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “brutality” comparable to the Nazis. The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — seeking to bridge severe differences within the Muslim world — said in a final communiqué that Israel had carried out the “willful murder” of some 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border Monday. It called “for the international protection of the Palestinian population, including through dispatching of international protection force”. Erdogan said the sending of such an “international peacekeeping force” was essential to help the Palestinians and stop the international community being a “spectator to massacres”. He compared such a force to the UN forces sent to deal with the aftermath of the Balkan wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. The statement also angrily lashed out at the United States, saying that Washington was complicit in the “crimes” of Israel and “emboldened” its government by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem….
UN council mulls calling for Palestinian protection force
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 18 May by Michelle Nichols — The United Nations Security Council will begin talks on Monday on a Kuwait-drafted resolution that condemns Israeli force against Palestinian civilians and calls for an “international protection mission” to be deployed to the occupied territories. The draft resolution, seen by Reuters on Friday, asks U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report within 30 days of its adoption on “ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population.” The United States, an Israeli ally, is likely to veto the move if it is put to a vote by Kuwait, the diplomats said. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China to be adopted. The U.S. mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was unclear when the resolution could be put to a vote.
US readies Mideast peace plan, but threatens Palestinian aid
WASHINGTON (AP) 18 May by Matthew Lee — The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza. Five U.S. officials and a congressional aide say the administration intends to release the peace plan in mid- to late-June, shortly after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although they cautioned that the timing could slip depending on developments in the region. They say the plan’s main authors — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — have already begun quietly briefing select allies and partners on elements of the proposal. Yet any Palestinian willingness to even consider the plan would require conditions to improve and anger to subside considerably in the coming weeks, an unlikely scenario as the Palestinians say evidence of one-sided Trump giveaways to Israel continues to pile up. U.S. allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf also have felt compelled to criticize the administration for its approach. Ostensibly, Trump would need buy-in from those same countries to build enough momentum for any peace plan to succeed….
[The Palestinian leadership’s] sense of betrayal may deepen significantly this summer as millions of dollars in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians appears likely to be cut and the funds re-allocated to other regions. That money has been on hold since last year and existing funding for some projects will start to run out in just months if it is not approved in the next two weeks. If that does not happen, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have to notify aid recipients that continued U.S. funding is not forthcoming and those programs will begin to be shut down. Local staffers would be laid off and U.S. officials running the projects would be reassigned elsewhere. Of $251 million in bilateral aid planned for the Palestinians in 2018, only $50.5 million has been reported spent, according to the government’s online tracker, www.foreignassistance.gov. The remaining more than $200 million is currently on hold, a figure that does not include an additional $65 million in frozen U.S. assistance to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency that provides services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon….
Palestinians’ Erekat: Trump destabilizing Middle East
WASHINGTON (AFP) 18 May — US President Donald Trump’s administration has fanned extremism and weakened political moderates in the Middle East, a senior Palestinian official and chief negotiator warned on Friday. Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary-general, said Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and his close alignment with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on issues such as Jewish settlements, were major destabilizing factors. “They’re giving so much strength to extremism in the region,” Erekat said on a conference call organized by the Wilson Center, a think tank on global issues. Erekat accused Trump of seeking to “dictate” a solution through his deeply contentious act of moving the embassy, as well as slashing aid to programs aimed at improving conditions in the West Bank and Gaza and dropping the issue of Palestinian refugees from possible negotiations … While Erekat stressed that the anger level was “higher than any time before,” he also said it was up to officials such as himself and moderate Israeli leaders to step up and help improve prospects for peace. “This is the absence of peace,” he said, referring to the current conditions. “I don’t see anyone expressing sorrow for one human life.”