Violence / Detentions
Israeli troops shoot and kill young Palestinian woman
IMEMC 9 Nov — A 24-year old woman was killed by Israeli troops Monday morning at a military checkpoint [near Qalqiliya] in the West Bank when she approached the checkpoint from afar, holding a knife in her hand and a suicide letter in her bag. She was shot by a soldier while she was still at least 30 feet away from the checkpoint. The woman was identified as Rasha Ahmad Hamed ‘Oweissi . . . Her suicide letter read as follows, “Thanks be to God, Best wishes and greetings. My dear mother, I don’t know what is happening. I just know that I’ve reached the end of the road. And this is the road that I chose with full consciousness. In defense of my homeland, the young men and women, I cannot bear what I see anymore. But what I know is that I can’t take it anymore. My family, my dad, my brothers, forgive me for everything. I just know that I really love you, especially my fiancé. Forgive me for everything, I have nothing else but this path. I am sorry for this departure.” Rasha did not attempt to attack anyone, and was apparently suffering from a mental health crisis. Eyewitnesses report that she did not pose a threat at anytime. She was simply standing, holding a knife, waiting for the soldiers to shoot her . . . She is the 80th person to be killed by Israeli forces since October 1st. 8 Israelis were killed by Palestinians between October 1st and October 18th.
Family in shock after son killed following alleged West Bank attack
JENIN (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — The family of a Palestinian teenager killed on Tuesday following an alleged attack said they were shocked after finding out their son was involved. Relatives of Sadeq Ziad Gharbiyeh, 16, told Ma‘an that they had no idea he was traveling to the Bethlehem area and thought he had gone to school in Jenin, where he lives. His cousin, Murad Abu Gharbieh, said the family saw images of Sadeq on social media, before receiving a phone call from the Palestinian liaison office to inform them that Israel had taken his body. The driver of a shared taxi that Sadeq was traveling in told Ma‘an that the teenager had dropped his phone at the checkpoint and had stepped out and gestured to Israeli soldiers what had happened. They then took him to the other side of the checkpoint, during which time he was shot, the driver added. Sadeq’s father, Ziyad, is a well-known Hamas leader in Jenin and was one of 416 Palestinians briefly exiled to southern Lebanon by Israel in 1992. The teenager allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli border guard at the Container checkpoint east of Jerusalem near Abu Dis. Israeli police said that Israeli forces opened fire on the Palestinian after he approached a border guard carrying a knife. No Israelis were reported injured during the incident.
Israel detains father, brothers of Palestinian killed in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Israeli forces detained the father and two brothers of a Palestinian shot dead Tuesday after an attack near the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces raided the home of Muhammad Abed Nimr, 37, detaining his father Abed, 63, as well as his brothers Mahmoud and Ibrahim in the al-‘Issawiya neighborhood. The three were taken to the police department on Salah al-Din Street and then to the Russian Compound for interrogation in West Jerusalem. Nimr was killed after he allegedly attempted an attack on a border policeman. Video footage of the incident from security cameras shows a man running at two Israelis with a knife, with one security guard pulling out a gun and shooting the suspect. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Nimr, a father of three, was shot six times.
Health ministry: ’82 Palestinians killed, 8,500 injured, since October 1′
IMEMC 11 Nov — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since October 1 is now 82, including two Palestinians who were shot and killed Tuesday, November 10, 2015, and that more than 8500 Palestinians have been injured. The Ministry said that among the slain Palestinians are 18 children and four women, and that 64 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, and seventeen in the Gaza Strip, in addition to one Palestinian killed in the Negev. It added that 26.8% of the slain Palestinians are children and women, and 17% of the wounded are also women and children. More than 1250 Palestinians were shot with live rounds in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and were moved to hospitals. 2015 Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets; 1000 of them received treatment by medics, and the rest were hospitalized. The Ministry also said that 253 Palestinians suffered fractures and bruises after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers and colonialist settlers, and 25 suffered burns due to Israeli gas bombs and concussion grenades. List of those killed since October 1st:
Israeli forces detain brothers of teenage Palestinian suspect
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — A 12-year-old Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli security guard on a light rail train in Jerusalem is in a stable condition after surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach after being shot during the incident. Ali Ihab Hassab Ali‘s father told Ma‘an that his son was shot twice in the stomach and once in the pelvis following the attack and underwent surgery. Relatives have been prevented from visiting him, he added. Israeli forces raided the Beit Hanina home of a second teenager involved in the incident, 13-year-old Ahmad Ali, and detained his brothers Saddam and Muhammad. Video footage of the incident shows the two boys sitting in a light rail carriage before one pulls out a knife and stabs a security guard. The Israeli security guard was moderately wounded.
Israeli settler opens fire on Palestinian farmers
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Nov — An extremist Jewish Israeli settler opened fire, Monday morning, on Palestinian farmers in the West Bank city of Nablus. “The Palestinian farmers were working at their farm when an extremist Israeli Jewish settler from the illegal Jewish-only settlement of Ma’ale Levona stepped out of his car holding an automatic gun machine,” activist Ghassan Daghlas said, according to Days of Palestine. “He placed his gun at the back of his car, turned it towards the Palestinian farmers and opened fire,” Daghlas added. According to Daghlas, the farmers fled without being harmed. Palestinian medical sources confirmed that there were no casualties.
Israeli forces raid East Jerusalem hospital for 3rd time
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Israeli forces raided the al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem on Monday, the third incursion of its kind in two weeks, and demanded to see the medical records of a Palestinian teenager treated by doctors there. Israeli border police deployed in the hospital courtyard as intelligence officers searched through data on the hospital’s administrative computers for the medical records of a Palestinian teenager, hospital staff said. The officers produced a court order allowing the search. Dr. Rafiq al-Husseini, director of the hospital, condemned the raid and demanded an end to the violation of patients’ privacy. Israeli police had threatened to open an investigation against doctors who did not report the names of those treated after being injured in clashes, a threat condemned by al-Husseini as a violation of basic humanitarian principles. Police reportedly told doctors that it is mandated by law that the hospital notify Israeli authorities when Palestinians involved in clashes are treated at the hospital.
On Oct. 29, Israeli forces raided the al-Makassed Hospital, shooting tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets during a sit-in protest against recent Israeli actions at the hospital. Earlier on the same day the administration of al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem said it had refused to hand over medical files to Israeli forces belonging to Palestinians treated after recent clashes that had erupted in the city. Days earlier, undercover special units had stormed the hospital’s emergency department, demanding to see the file of a Palestinian they said was treated at the hospital several days before. At the beginning of last month, undercover forces, dressed as Palestinians, detained a Palestinian patient after storming al-Arabi Hospital in Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at girls’ schools in al-‘Arrub camp
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli military forces surrounded two girls’ schools in al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron on Tuesday and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at schoolchildren, medical sources said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that medics gave first aid to several students who suffered tear gas inhalation. Israeli soldiers took up positions on nearby rooftops and ordered that the school be evacuated. After the staff refused, they fired tear gas onto the premises. Two students were also reportedly injured by rubber-coated steel bullets during the incident.
Israeli forces injure dozens of university students in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Israeli forces shot and injured at least five students with live bullets on Monday at the northern occupied West Bank’s Palestine Technical University in the Tulkarem district, a spokesperson for the Red Crescent told Ma‘an. Thirteen other students were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and 50 were treated for severe tear-gas inhalation, as Israeli forces raided the university’s campus library and the engineering department. During the raid, clashes broke out between students and fully armed Israeli forces. In total the Red Crescent documented at least 70 injuries to students. The administration of the university evacuated the campus, sending students home early, in fear for its students’ safety. An Israeli army spokesperson said “hundreds of Palestinians hurled rocks and rolled burning tires” toward Israeli forces adjacent to the university campus. The spokesperson said Israeli forces responded with “riot dispersal means” including rubber-coated steel bullets; however, the spokesperson denied that live fire was used.
Israeli military ransacks Hebron Islamic charity
HEBRON (WAFA) 9 Nov – Israeli army Monday raided the headquarters of an Islamic charity in the town of Shuyukh, northeast of Hebron, and ransacked its content, according to local sources. WAFA correspondent said an Israeli army force stormed the town and broke into the headquarters of the Islamic Association Charity (IAC) after detaining its guard for some time. Israeli soldiers vandalized some of the charity’s contents and doors, as well as ransacked electric appliances and files and other items belonging to Palestinian orphans who benefit from the charity. The Israeli military had vandalized IAC’s branch in Hebron city multiple times during the past few years. The charity provides educational services to more than 4,000 Palestinian male and female orphans. In the same time, army forces raided a medical clinic in Shuyukh and sabotaged its contents.
Punished for his work: medic Ahmad Nasser describes his recent arrest
RAMALLAH, Occupied Palestine 10 Nov by ISM, Huwarra Team — In the early morning of November 2nd 2015, Ahmad Nasser was kidnapped by Israeli forces from his home near Ramallah. He was accused of attempting to kill soldiers by throwing stones and molotov cocktails, and was released without charge 15 hours later. He was repeatedly assaulted during his arrest and suffered broken ribs and further injuries. It is Ahmad’s belief that the arrest was directly related to his work as a medic and humanitarian activist at demonstrations. Just 60 hours before his arrest he was acting as a medic in a private ambulance service, administering medical aid to demonstrators injured at a Friday clash in Beit El. Along with journalists and other medics, he was directly targeted in his work on the day and prevented from tending to a demonstrator run over by an army jeep. Israeli forces threw a sound grenade at the group, teargassed the ambulances and then proceeded to viciously pepperspray press and medics. The media surrounding this, coupled with his work in previous weeks tending to those shot with live ammunition in clashes near Ramallah, are likely reasons he was chosen for arrest as another victim of the recent increase in intimidation tactics being used against Palestinians, especially young men. As he states: “they try to accuse me of some charges but they cannot – if they had some real evidence that I threw stones they would never release me, but they didn’t – they just want to punish me for my work.” This is his account of his arrest and assault: just one story in the daily narrative of the occupation:
Hebron clashes break out after residents demand release of bodies
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Clashes broke out Tuesday following a march held by Palestinian families demanding that Israel release the bodies of relatives killed in Hebron during recent attacks. A Ma‘an reporter said that clashes erupted following the protest in Bab al-Zawiya near the Israeli military checkpoint separating the neighborhood from al-Shuhada Street. Palestinian youths threw stones and Israeli forces responded with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas bombs, the reporter added . . . The Hebron district has been at the center of violence since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory last month. More than 20 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces and settlers across the district during the period, the majority after alleged, attempted, and actual attacks on Israeli military. Earlier this month, Israel handed over five bodies in Hebron of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces — all under the age of 18 — after residents held protests demanding their release. The bodies of 22 Palestinians killed during October are still being held by Israeli authorities.
Israeli forces detain 16-year-old near Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Israeli forces detained a 16-year-old Palestinian girl at a checkpoint outside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City for allegedly carrying a knife, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces “assaulted” the girl before detaining her. They added that Palestinians in the area prevented the soldiers from opening fire on her.
The day before, another young Palestinian was reportedly detained at the same checkpoint by Israeli forces who claimed he was carrying a knife in his bag. Israeli media reported that the 19-year-old Palestinian told interrogators he had no idea where the knife came from.
Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinians; Settlers attack teen near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 Nov – Israeli forces Sunday arrested two Palestinians from al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, while Israeli settlers assaulted a child south of the city, said security sources. Security officials told WAFA that Israeli soldiers arrested 18-year-old Abdul Rahman Titi south of Hebron as well as another youth in the vicinity of al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the old city. He remains unidentified until the minute.
Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, built east of Hebron, attacked 15-year-old Thaer Fadel Isma‘il Da‘na who was moved to Hebron’s hospital for medical treatment.
Israeli forces detain 8 Palestinians across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least eight Palestinians across the occupied West Bank overnight Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the al-Makhfiyeh area in western Nablus city and detained two young men identified as Muath Ahmad Moussa, 23, and Yasser Mane, 24. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that two Palestinians were detained in Nablus district, claiming they were “Hamas operatives.” Another “Hamas operative” was detained north of Hebron, she said, while Israeli forces also detained three Palestinians in Ramallah, one in Qalqiliya, and one in Bethlehem for “illegal activity.”
24 ‘Hamas operatives’ among 36 detained in West Bank raids
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Israeli forces detained 36 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank overnight Monday, including 24 alleged “Hamas operatives” in the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. The Israeli army said in a statement that a joint military, police and intelligence operation had “uncovered” a “vast Hamas network” in Qalqiliya. “Overnight, 24 operatives were arrested, including senior Hamas operatives who have been previously arrested for participated and planning Hamas terror activity,” the statement said. It said that “the heads of the network” had been “operating to renew Hamas activity in the area and plotting terror activity.” It said the “network was directed, guided and funded by members of Hamas headquarters in Qatar and the Gaza Strip,” adding that 35,000 shekels ($9,000) of “terror funds” had been seized by Israeli forces . . . Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained at least 12 other Palestinians in detention raids across the occupied West Bank overnight. In the town of Dura south of Hebron, Palestinian sources said that Israeli forces detained Ala Rayyan, Karam Mahmoud Ahmad Amr, Ahmad Hafez Saed Amr, and Amr Ezzat Amr after storming their homes. Israeli forces also reportedly detained Mahmoud Abdul Fattah Jawabreh from al-‘Arrub refugee camp, and summoned his father to Israeli intelligence. In Hebron city, Israeli forces detained Mousa Muhammad al-Sayed, 20, from his house in Jabal al-Jawhar, locals said. A former Palestinian prisoner, 19-year-old Islam Hamed Jaghoub, was also detained from his family home in Beita village south of Nablus. Israeli forces reportedly ransacked the home and seized his car. Jaghoub was released from an Israeli prison four months ago after serving a year and a half in Israeli custody. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that in addition to the 24 detained in Qalqiliya, two Palestinians were detained in Nablus district, three in Bethlehem, five in Hebron, and one in Jericho.
West Bank settler arrested in attack on left-wing rabbi
Times of Israel/AP 8 Nov — A resident of the West Bank settlement of Itamar was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of attacking a left-wing rabbi at a Palestinian olive harvest last month. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of the Rabbis for Human Rights advocacy group, was not seriously hurt in the October 23 attack, according to a spokesman for the group. A video of the incident showed an extremist Jewish activist armed with a knife chasing, beating and possibly attempting to stab Ascherman, who was part of a group of left-wing activists that accompanied Palestinian villagers to their fields to harvest olives near Nablus. According to activists such as Ascherman, Palestinians often face harassment and violence from Jewish extremists during their olive harvests. The suspect in the attack was arrested by the nationalist crimes division of the Judea and Samaria Police at 2 a.m. Sunday, police said. He confessed his actions to the arresting officers. Ascherman praised the police and said it showed that when there was willingness, authorities were able to pursue the perpetrators of crimes against Palestinians. Still, he cited figures showing a low conviction rate. [Judea and Samaria District Police said that during the arrest of the teenager they also found stun grenades, an assault rifle clip filled with bullets, a slingshot, and the ski mask and knife that they believe were used in the attack, according to the Jerusalem Post.]
Prisoners / Court actions
VIDEO: Israeli police interrogate 13-year-old accused of stabbing
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — In video footage obtained by Ma‘an, Israeli officials have been captured on film hurling abuse at a 13-year-old Palestinian child accused of stabbing two Israelis in East Jerusalem last month during the child’s interrogation. The footage shows segments of the interrogation of Ahmad Manasra, 13, as Israeli detectives yell curses and verbally abuse the child, while questioning him about the incident and his motives. It is not known when the footage was recorded. Israel’s Jerusalem District Court indicted 13-year-old Manasra on charges of attempted murder on Oct. 30 following an attack on two Israelis on Oct. 12. The stabbing attack took place near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in occupied East Jerusalem, and reportedly left two Israelis, aged 13 and 21, seriously injured. In the video, one interrogator repeatedly shouts at Manasra in Arabic to “shut up”, while Manasra continuously pleads for the officer to believe that he cannot remember anything about the incident . . . The interrogator is next recorded showing Manasra a video of the attack, shouting questions at him about details of the incident. Manasra starts to cry as he says that he “doesn’t know” and “cannot remember,” pleading with the officer to “take me to the doctor to check me,” all while hitting himself on the head. Manasra continues to say that “he cannot remember anything,” begging the detective to believe him, and adds that he “woke up the next day not knowing what had happened to me.” The detective continuously calls Manasra a “liar.” . . .
During the attack, Ahmad’s 15-year-old cousin, Hassan, was shot dead at the scene by Israeli forces, while Ahmad was knocked over by a car and seriously wounded. A video of Ahmad lying injured and bloody on the ground after being hit by the car was uploaded to social media and went viral. In the footage, an Israeli onlooker can clearly be heard saying: “Die, son of a wh***! Die!” while another tells the police officer to shoot him. Ahmad will reportedly be held in a closed facility until prosecution, with the court rejecting the family’s request that he be placed under house arrest.
PA demands action over video of 13-year-old’s interrogation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Senior Palestinian officials on Tuesday demanded action after video footage was leaked showing Israeli detectives hurling verbal abuse at a 13-year-old boy accused of stabbing two Israelis during his interrogation. The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed its embassies and offices to distribute and share the “painful and barbaric” scenes that were captured of Ahmad Manasra’s interrogation. The footage shows Israeli detectives yelling and swearing at the child, who is accused of carrying out a stabbing attack on two Israelis, aged 13 and 21, on Oct. 12, together with his 17[?]-year-old cousin, who was subsequently shot dead . . . The PA foreign ministry said that it was important to show the video to rights organizations across the world to demonstrate the routine “horror, psychological and physical terrorizing” of Palestinians by Israel forces. The ministry added that it depicted “gross violations” of international humanitarian law.Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said that practical steps would be taken to bring the Israeli detectives in the video to trial and to secure Manasra’s release . . . Meanwhile, Issa Qaraqe, the head of the PA Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, said the video demonstrated that Israel uses physical force and psychological pressure “to extract confessions from minor Palestinian prisoners,” according to official Palestinians news agency Wafa. Qaraqe added that it served as “indisputable evidence that can convict the Israeli government and its investigators for their practices that violate the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and relevant international laws,” Wafa reported. He said the video should be referred to the International Criminal Court “for immediate investigation on crimes against minor prisoners.”
Nearly 3 years after Samir ‘Awad was killed: By end of 2015, indictments to be served on minor charge
B’Tselem 9 Nov — Yesterday, 8 November 2015, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that the State Attorney’s Office must file indictments against two soldiers involved in the killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Samir ‘Awad, by the end of December 2015 – almost three years after the incident took place. The HCJ also ruled that the petition filed jointly by Ahmad ‘Awad, Samir’s father, and by B’Tselem had been exhausted, unless the State Attorney’s Office updates the Court of a change in its decision. In which case, the petitioners will be able to renew their appeal to the Court. The ruling followed a notice from the State Attorney’s Office on 4 November that it had reached a final decision to prosecute the two soldiers for committing “a reckless and negligent act using a firearm.”. . . Before the final decision was reached, hearings were held for both soldiers, following which new evidence was gathered as part of an additional investigation of the incident. According to the update by the State Attorney’s Office, the investigative material gathered did not meet the threshold required by criminal law for establishing that either soldier caused ‘Awad’s death. As B’Tselem wrote some six months ago – after the State Attorney’s Office announced its intention to prosecute the two for this minor offense – killing a wounded, fleeing youth who posed no threat by shooting him in the back cannot be considered a “reckless and negligent act”. The disparity between the grave action and the minor offense is incomprehensible and outrageous, conveying a message of disregard for the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories on the part of Israeli authorities. (continued)
Nine minors to be held without trial by Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Nov — Israeli authorities recently issued administrative detention orders, without charge or trial, against nine Palestinian minor prisoners, according to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA). Heba Masalha, a CPA attorney, identified the nine prisoners as Huthaifa Jabarin, Mahmoud Abu-Ali, Ashraf Zaid, Mahmoud Shweki, Jamal Dari, Nasim Hawarin, Abdul-Ghani Hammad, Majd Saadi, and Adnan al-Azayzeh.
Meanwhile, Masalha said prisoner 18-year-old Mahmoud Odeh from Tulkarm, who was recently detained by Israeli forces, was brutally tortured in Israeli jails. Odeh told Masalha that during several investigation sessions, investigators used cigarettes to burn holes through his skin and force him to confess.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces detain Palestinian family in their home for 26 hours, wreak havoc on YAS center
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 9 Nov by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — On the 7th of November, soldiers entered the home of the Haddad family from 5am and did not leave until 7am the following day. At this time, there were 8 people inside the home who were forced into one of the rooms. 20 soldiers entered Haddad’s home and began taking pictures, while settlers were cheering and dancing outside the front. The family was denied any privacy as the door remained open and a guard was posted at the door for the duration of the occupation. There were significant delays for the bathroom. The youngest daughter, aged 8, had to wait for over an hour and each time the door had to be kept open. One of the daughters of the family, aged 25, was permitted to leave to purchase food, however she was unable to return as clashes broke out in the area. She was forced to stay with her sister, therefore the family had very little food. They were permitted only 5 minutes in the kitchen and were not able to have a square meal. Whilst the family was detained in room, soldiers used the bathroom and kitchen freely, and tracked mud through the carpets. During this same period of time, the YAS centre was raided and activists were detained inside. Not only did the military occupy the centre, they also destroyed the media facilities in the apartment, stealing and destroying cameras, computers, hard drives, and other important equipment.
Israeli forces demolish 3 artesian wells west of Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 10 Nov – Israeli bulldozers Tuesday demolished three artesian wells belonging to Palestinians in the village of Ta‘nak (or Ti‘innik) to the west of Jenin, according to the wells’ owners. The wells belong to locals Imad Jaradat, Suliman Zyood, and No’man Jaradat. The owners informed WAFA that a large Israeli military force, accompanied by heavy machinery, stormed Marj Bin Amer area in the village, before proceeding to demolish the three artesian wells, in addition to a shed and a water tank. Forces further caused damage to greenhouses and olive trees in the area. To be noted, Palestinian farmers in the villages and towns of Ta‘nak, Romaneh (or Rummana), Zboba, Yamoun, and Silet al-Haithiyeh all depend on these wells to provide them with water.
Israel approves plan to ‘legalize’ colonial outposts and construct thousands more units
IMEMC 10 Nov by Saed Bannoura — In yet another decision that violates International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Higher Construction and Planning Committee of the Israeli ‘Civil Administration Office’ has approved a construction plan to ‘legalize’ two colonial outposts in Ramallah, in addition to building 2200 more units. The Israeli plan includes the approval of a structural map for the Ma’ale Mikhmas illegal colony, built on illegally seized Palestinian lands east of Ramallah. The plan also calls for the construction of 2200 new units, and the ‘legalizing’ two outposts (this would make them legal under Israeli law, but they remain a direct violation of international law). The plan, originally submitted in 2014 and approved by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon last month, would lead to the construction of an additional 800 units in Ma’ale Mikhmas by the year 2030 and 300 units in Kokhav HaShahar. In total, the plan includes the construction of at least 2200 units in Kokhav HaShahar, Ramonim, Ma’ale Mikhmas and Psagot, to be completed by 2030. The plan also includes the construction of new units in Tel Zion, and the area south of Ofra colony, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Egypt’s army destroys 31 Gaza smuggling tunnels in October
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Egypt’s army destroyed 31 smuggling tunnels under the shared border with the Gaza Strip in October, an army spokesman said. Muhammad Samir said military forces discovered 31 tunnel openings in the Egyptian city of Rafah, all of which were demolished. Earlier in October, Egypt detained three Palestinians after blowing up a tunnel under the shared border. Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt.
The young man and the deathly sea
GAZA CITY (MEE) 8 Nov by Mohammed Omer — His eyes are slightly open, his face pale and close to frozen. A teardrop falls on his forehead from his weeping uncle, Ziad Miqdad, who looks in disbelief at the faded smile of 16-year-old Feras Miqdad. The teenager’s body lay in the morgue at the Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital where he was taken after fishing from the sea to feed his family, who are all unwillingly unemployed while trapped for years inside Israel’s blockade. “He was only fighting with the waves to bring some food for his younger brothers,” his aunt told MEE. “We never imagined he would be murdered by our Egyptian neighbours.” On Thursday night, an Egyptian gunboat, patrolling the Gaza-Egyptian marine border started shooting at Gaza fishermen, Ziad Miqdad, who was also on board, told Middle East Eye. “I told Feras to stay down until the shooting stopped and it was quiet again, when Feras started to move his fishing nets, at which point a bullet went straight to his heart,” his uncle said. Ziad Meqdad, who could hardly speak, said no one else was shooting except for the gunboat, yet his family fishing boat was nowhere near Egyptian waters and the shooting took place in an area where they had gone fishing regularly. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra confirmed that it was fire from the gun tower on the Egyptian boat that killed Feras and also injured another fisherman on Thursday. The Gaza interior ministry said in a statement that it condemned the shooting and demanded an investigation into the incidents. Egyptian authorities have yet to comment on the case. – Brothers and neighbors – At the final prayers for Feras, hundreds of mourners gathered, with many expressing frustration with their “Egyptian brothers”. “Feras Mohammed Miqdad was not killed by Israeli fire,” the imam at the Belal Ben Rabah Mosque told the crowd, looking on at his body. “He was killed by gun fire from our Egyptian brothers.” A man in the crowd lost control and screamed out in the middle of the mosque: “But those are collaborators with Israel who kill our children and drown our farmlands.” Former Palestinian prime minister and top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who attended the funeral, expressed his own rage over the incident. (continued)
Fatah accuses Hamas of scaling down Arafat commemorations
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Fatah has accused Gaza’s de facto leaders Hamas of attempting to scale down an official ceremony in Gaza City to mark the 11th anniversary of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death. Hamas earlier welcomed the ceremony on Nov. 11, which is set to be the first official commemoration of Yasser Arafat’s death since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. However, a member of Fatah’s central committee, Zakariyya al-Agha, has since said that Hamas is only allowing the ceremony to take place at an indoor venue after “citing security pretexts.” Al-Agha told the Fatah-affiliated Mawtini radio station that the ban on outdoor celebrations would vastly scale down the event and was “unacceptable.” He said that tens of thousands of Palestinians were expected to turn out for the event, and urged Hamas to use the opportunity to extend a hand toward Palestinian reconciliation. On Monday, two days before the official anniversary of Arafat’s death, Fatah-affiliated Palestinians were already beginning commemorations in Gaza, with “thousands” reportedly taking part in a demonstration in front of the Red Crescent’s Gaza City headquarters. Taysir al-Burdini, a Fatah representative in a local prisoners’ committee, told Ma‘an that the demonstration sought to emphasize Arafat’s principles of resistance and national unity. Protesters called slogans praising Arafat as well as the “current intifada” — referring to a wave of protests that has swept the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as a series of attacks on Israelis.
Hamas to hand over Arafat’s former home in Gaza to Fatah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Gaza’s de facto leaders Hamas are expected to hand over control of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s home to Fatah on Tuesday, ahead of the 11th anniversary of Arafat’s death, a Fatah spokesperson has said. Fayiz Abu Aita said Monday that an agreement had been reached between Hamas and the Yasser Arafat Foundation to hand the property over to the Fatah movement on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The home, which lies in western Gaza City, has been under Hamas control since June 2007. Abu Aita added that Zakariya al-Agha, a member of Fatah’s central committee, as well as local leaders and the leading council of the Yasser Arafat Foundation would be present during the transfer. It is set to take place a day before the 11th anniversary of Arafat’s death, on Nov. 11, and will be seen as an attempt to quell tensions between Hamas and Fatah following a dispute over the upcoming commemoration.
90 Palestinians evacuated as rain brings floods to southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Gaza’s Civil Defense evacuated 90 Palestinians from their homes as rain brought flooding to parts of the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Muhammad al-Majdanah, chief spokesperson for the Civil Defense, told Ma‘an that seven houses were evacuated from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, totaling 90 people. Al-Majdanah said that no injuries were reported, but the families’ homes were damaged by the flood water. He added that Civil Defense services are on call to deal with emergencies. During the last week of October, Gaza’s Civil Defense had to evacuate 20 families from their homes due to flooding.
Gaza has been hit by severe flooding in the past. In December last year, a major storm left streets in Gaza City flooded with water and sewage, exacerbating the dire situation for more than 100,000 Palestinians left homeless by Israel’s devastating military offensive last summer. The year before, in December 2013, heavy rain caused the displacement of more than 40,000 across the Gaza Strip. The floods are exacerbated by a chronic lack of fuel that limits how much water can be pumped out of flood-stricken areas.
Officials say new Israeli rules slow aid to Palestinians
Al-Monitor 8 Nov by Barbara Slavin — As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington to try to repair tattered ties with President Barack Obama and defend Israeli policies, officials from US and international aid organizations say they are facing new Israeli restrictions undercutting their efforts to help Palestinians, especially Gazans trying to recover from a 50-day war in 2014. Officials from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) told Al-Monitor that a new regulation limiting the thickness of wood planks imported into Gaza is of particular concern. Rules put in place this summer allow lumber of only a centimeter (two-fifths of an inch) thick, said Matthew McGarry, the CRS country representative for Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, compared with four centimeters just a few month ago. The thinner wood, he said, is not suitable for constructing even temporary housing. Israeli officials say that the rule was prompted by evidence that Hamas, the militant Islamic group that governs Gaza, was using the wood to build tunnels for smuggling arms and potentially fighters into Israel.
UK decision to refuse Gaza medical experts from joining Kingston University conference condemned by campaigners
The Independent 9 Nov by Jonathan Owen — A decision by Britain to refuse a group of Palestinian medical experts from Gaza permission to participate in an international conference at Kingston University on trauma in war zones has been condemned by campaigners. Three doctors and a nurse who work for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and were due to give presentations at the conference taking place this weekend, have had their visa requests refused by British authorities. In addition to the four mental health specialists refused entry, Dr Nahida Al-Arja, a psychologist from Bethlehem University, has had her visa application rejected. A letter by the UK Palestine Mental Health Network, co-organisers of the conference, published in the Independent, says: “It is beyond our comprehension how such an interference with intellectual and clinical discussion on such an important topic could be justified. This is a measure that further isolates clinicians from Gaza, already struggling under the impact of military assaults and siege.” . . . And Dr Mohamed Altawil, director, Palestine Trauma Centre (PTC), and one of the conference’s co-organisers, said: “This refusal is completely unjustified and a direct abuse of basic human rights. Neither will it help peace and conflict resolution in the area.” He added: “The people from Gaza were being sponsored by the World Health Organization to come to the UK. The British consulate in Amman refused them because they thought if they arrived in London, they might not go back to Gaza. Another reason, they said that they do not have sufficient finances. They mentioned in the refusal that they do not have right to appeal.”
After failing to find work, many Gazan medical professionals ‘lease’ their degrees
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 8 Nov by Rasha Abou Jalal — Escalating unemployment rates, poverty and the lack of job opportunities in the Gaza Strip are pushing college graduates with medical-related degrees to “lease” them to would-be business owners or investors. Leasing the degrees, in fields such as optometry, laboratory medicine and pharmacology, provides income for graduates crippled by unemployment and those who don’t have enough money to open their own medical facilities. There is a strong demand for these degrees among people seeking to invest in the medical field who don’t have the necessary qualifications and certifications. According to a statement issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in July, around 30,000 Palestinians graduate each year from Palestinian institutions of higher learning. The unemployment rate among university graduates who obtained a bachelor’s degree in Gaza reached 69.5% in 2014. Reham Ayman said her 2014 optometry degree from the Islamic University of Gaza proved worthless, except that she was able to lease it for 800 shekels ($210) a month. “The lack of job opportunities in the public and private sectors, and not being able to open my own optical clinic for lack of sufficient capital, made my educational degree useless until my father told me I could lease it to an entrepreneur wishing to open an optical clinic. I refused at first, but I quickly changed my mind when the harsh reality hit me,” she told Al-Monitor. Ayman said a number of her fellow graduates followed suit.
Israel’s cruelest punishments reserved for Palestinians
EI 9 Nov by Charlotte Silver — The Abu Jamal family lives in an apartment complex near the bottom of the valley in Jabal al-Mukabir, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. On the building’s top floor, a thin trail of ash leads to what was once Ghassan Abu Jamal’s apartment. It is now a chaotic mess of mangled iron, piles of jagged cement and destroyed furniture – the remains of a home that was blown up from the inside. Ghassan Abu Jamal, along with his cousin Udai Abu Jamal, entered a synagogue in West Jerusalem one year ago and shot dead four people before being killed by an Israeli soldier. On the morning of 6 October, the Israeli army placed enough explosives in Ghassan’s small apartment to destroy it, as well as that of his brother Mouria, who lived next door. This was the first home to be demolished as part of an onslaught of reprisals Israel has implemented in Jerusalem since a sharp rise in violence began at the start of October . . . Since then, four more homes have been punitively demolished or sealed by Israel, while seven more demolition orders have been issued and at least 16 homes surveyed for possible destruction. The policy is holdover from the emergency laws introduced by Palestine’s British colonial rulers in 1945. Notably, Israel only implements the practice for suspected Palestinian attackers, never for Jewish perpetrators or suspects or their families . . .
Israel has targeted the residents of Jabal al-Mukabir, especially the Abu Jamal family, with myriad forms of collective punishment: homes have been demolished, residency rights stripped, movement impeded. When the soldiers arrived at Ghassan’s home the morning of 6 October, it was already empty. Nadia, Ghassan’s wife from a village east of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank, had already had her Jerusalem residency stripped by Israel when her husband died, a move human rights group B’Tselem called “unlawful punishment.” She was forced to leave Jerusalem in July, along with her three children, aged 3, 4 and 6. During the pre-dawn demolition of Ghassan’s home, soldiers had beaten Ghassan’s cousin Alaa with their rifles, seriously wounding him. Medical records from the clinic that treated him following the attack state that his right elbow was swollen from “trauma by a heavy object.” A week later, Alaa drove his car into the Jerusalem light rail and reportedly stabbed several Israelis, killing one and seriously injuring another, before he was shot to death. Yet Israel maintains that the practice of demolishing the family homes of Palestinian “terror” suspects deters future attacks. (continued)
IOF threatens to demolish a home in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 9 Nov — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed Monday evening the home of the Palestinian martyr Hamza al-Omla in Beit Ula west of al-Khalil. Family sources affirmed the IOF thoroughly searched in the house that measures about 800 square meters before threatening to demolish it. Hamza al-Omla was killed by Israeli gunfire on October 20 north of al-Khalil for running over an Israeli soldier.
Other news / Opinion / Analysis
Poll: Palestinians see poor prospects for peace, security
WASHINGTON, DC (Gallup) 9 Nov by Jihad Fakhreddine & Travis Owen — Palestinians see relationship with Israelis as bad, getting worse; 17% of Palestinians hold out hope for peace; More Palestinians lack trust in Obama to negotiate a deal — Ahead of the recent flare-up in violence that has prompted fears of a third Palestinian intifada, a majority of Palestinians continue to say they believe mostly in nonviolent forms of resistance and negotiation in achieving self-determination and security for their people. However, Palestinians are more supportive of violent means than they have been in the past several years, with 32% believing mostly in armed struggle and military solutions. . . While most of the new wave of violence has taken place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, at the time of the survey, residents in these areas were less likely (27%) than those living in the Gaza Strip (39%) to believe in violent solutions to the conflict. West Bank and East Jerusalem residents (43%) were also less likely than Gaza residents (65%) to describe relations between Israelis and Palestinians as “very bad.” And they were less likely than Gaza residents to say relations are getting worse, although majorities in the West Bank/East Jerusalem as well as Gaza share this pessimism. (continued)
Palestinians remain among most marginalized refugees, due to Israel’s occupation, lack of predictable funding, Fourth Committee told
UN General Assembly 9 Nov — “Palestine refugees today feel further than ever ‘left behind’,” Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, said as he addressed the Committee. The vulnerability and isolation of the refugees had intensified, and broader gains in social and economic development across the region were very much at risk. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the international community were an aspiration “beyond the foreseeable horizon” of the Palestine refugees as long as they remained casualties of the unresolved conflict that had violated their fundamental human rights for more than six decades. He went on to describe a financial crisis which, in 2014, had affected the Agency’s varied projects, including its flagship education programme. Providing education for some 500,000 Palestinian refugee children and vocational training for 7,000 youth, the programme had been under threat of indefinite suspension due to the lack of funding. Faced with that crippling funding shortfall, UNRWA’s management had had no choice but to “grasp the nettle” and take urgent measures to close the gap by curtailing planned expenditure, he said. Describing those events as a “very close call”, he said they were a “warning to all of us that we must now take serious steps […] to ensure that UNRWA is put on a more sustainable future financial basis”
Israel to install cameras along West Bank highways
Times of Israel 10 Nov — The state is reportedly planning to install surveillance cameras on roads throughout the West Bank in an effort to curb stone-throwing and firebombing attacks. As part of a plan approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and funded by the Defense Ministry, over 100 cameras will be affixed along highways in the West Bank in two stages, and monitored 24 hours a day, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported on Tuesday. In the first stage, dozens of cameras will be installed at junctions over the next three to six months. The second stage, which has not yet been budgeted, will include over 100 more cameras at various points, the report said. The footage will be transmitted to army intelligence units, which will be able to report suspicious activity, stabbings, riots, stone and firebomb attacks to security services on the ground without delay. The cost of the project was assessed at some NIS 250 million ($63 million) overall.
Star-studded US gala raises $31m for IDF, in one night
LOS ANGELES (AP) 6 Nov — A fundraiser in aid of the Israeli army brought in $31 million in one night on Thursday, as some 1,200 people turned out for an annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala in California. The sold-out Western Region Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills was attended by guests from the United States and Israel. Guests included actors Jason Alexander, Antonio Banderas, Liev Schreiber, Jason Segel and Mark Wahlberg, as well as the KISS frontman, Israeli-born Gene Simmons.
Jerusalem and Hebron: A tale of two cities
Al-Monitor 10 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — The story of the Palestinian uprising that began Sept. 13 with protests against Israeli intrusions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Jewish New Year is actually the story of two cities — Jerusalem and Hebron. Of the 84 Palestinians listed by Shfa News as having been killed by Israelis as of Nov. 9, the majority, 57%, are from Jerusalem and Hebron. The 30 Palestinians killed in the Hebron area represent 36% of the current death toll, while the 18 killed in Jerusalem constitute 21% of those whose lives have been cut short by the Israelis. The protests that spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza may have begun in Jerusalem, but the bulk of the Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation and paying the ultimate price come from Hebron. What is it about Jerusalem and Hebron that unites them at the forefront of the struggle against Israeli military forces and the Jewish settler population? From the start of the Israeli occupation in June 1967, these two cities have been the most affected by the illegal drive to settle Jews at their heart. After the Israelis captured Jerusalem’s Old City on June 7, they razed the Mughrabi Quarter, adjacent to the Western Wall and where many Palestinians originally of Moroccan origin lived. The Israelis also reclaimed the Jewish Quarter and have since forbidden non-Jews to live there . . .A similar usurpation was witnessed in Hebron, where the first Jewish settlers, Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his wife, arrived disguised as tourists staying at the Park Hotel in 1968. They soon revealed themselves and began a process of settlement that has since seen more than 500 Jewish settlers take over numerous homes and locations in the center of the city. A much larger, 5,000-strong settlement was built nearby in Kiryat Arba. The settlement drive is not the only aspect of the occupation that ties Hebron and Jerusalem. Ani al-Qaq, a Jerusalem resident and former Palestinian ambassador to Switzerland, told Al-Monitor that the struggle for freedom has forced Palestinians in both places to stand at the forefront against the occupying soldiers and settlers. “Hebronites and Jerusalemites both share the same repressive situation. Their holy places are constantly being challenged. Their homes are taken, there are checkpoints and settlers everywhere, and Palestinians on both sides experience humiliation on a daily basis,” Qaq said. (continued)
The IDF’s Hebron dilemma / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 9 Nov — . . . Unlike the second intifada (2000-2005), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this time do not have clear targets that can be labeled as centers for planning and executing attacks. Consequently, all the combative terms — strike, destroy, deter, thwart — become useless. Because there are no wanted terrorists and there is no terrorist infrastructure that can be specifically designated, the IDF has no choice but to resort to a defensive strategy. This started by deploying large forces and setting up barriers and roadblocks in East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, where most of the assailants came from during the initial stages of this wave of terror. Now it seems that the center of the popular uprising has shifted to Hebron . . . And this is precisely the dilemma with which the IDF is grappling now: If it applies a heavy-handed approach to Hebron’s residents, their motivation to rise up and clash with the Israeli military in mass violent demonstrations, which have so far rarely taken place, will only increase. On the other hand, the IDF’s policy of restraint in recent weeks has failed to deliver . . . Hence, the way to combat the “Hebron phenomenon” at this time is not by deploying more military troops in the city. Any deterrent or heavy-handed approach that Israel will use against the civilian Palestinian population could backfire and become another motivator for attacks, thus leading to a vicious circle. Presently, the close security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues. However, since this time around the perpetrators of the uprising are not the Palestinian organizations, tracking down the assailants prior to the act is nearly impossible. For this reason, the only way for the IDF to cope with the problem of Hebron is to engage in full cooperation with the Palestinian security agencies — not just exchange information and intelligence. It also needs to see to it that PA policing forces deploy in the city. And in order for the forces of President Mahmoud Abbas not be declared by the local residents as collaborators, their deployment — in coordination with Israel — has to be defined by the PA as its own interest in defending the city’s residents and preventing the entry of Israeli troops, which could result in many casualties and broad civilian chaos. If calm is achieved for several days or weeks, the city could perhaps go back to normal. A quiet Hebron will affect the entire West Bank. Put differently, only Hebron could probably stop the wave of terror.