The Tamimi women
Ahed and Nariman Tamimi charged in Israeli occupation military court
Samidoun 1 Jan — Palestinian teen and youth activist Ahed Tamimi, 16, whose arrest and detention by the Israeli occupation military has drawn worldwide attention, was charged in an Israeli military court with multiple allegations on Monday, 1 January. Her mother, Nariman, was also charged with several allegations related to the Tamimi family’s anti-occupation organizing and expression; the detention of both Ahed and her mother was extended for an additional eight days, until next Monday, when the military court will convene again. Ahed was charged with “assault” for slapping an Israeli occupation soldier outside of her home in Nabi Saleh – after the soldier slapped her – and for “threatening a soldier…interfering with a soldier in carrying out his duties, incitement, and throwing objects at individuals or property.” Nariman Tamimi was charged with “incitement” on social media for streaming Ahed’s encounter with the occupation soldiers at the family home in Nabi Saleh on Facebook Live and for her other political expression on social media, as well as assaulting soldiers. The Tamimi women and their family are leaders in the anti-colonial land defense and popular resistance movement in the Palestinian village of 600. The village is surrounded by the illegal settlement of Halamish, which has stolen the village’s land and even its spring.
The incident itself took place shortly after Mohammed Tamimi [photo], 14, Ahed’s and Nour’s cousin, was shot by an Israeli occupation soldier invading their village with a rubber–coated metal bullet. Mohammed was in a medically induced coma in critical condition for several days and is now released from the hospital after a six-hour operation by seven surgeons on his face and head
Nour Tamimi, 21, Ahed’s cousin, was also indicted by the Israeli occupation military court on Sunday, 31 December; she was initially ordered released on bail, then remained in prison due to an appeal by the military prosecution. On Monday, she was ordered released once more, but the decision was stayed for 20 hours to give the occupation military prosecution time to appeal once again. Nour is accused of “aggravated assault on a soldier” and “interference with a soldier.” She is being ordered to present herself every Friday to an Israeli police station, potentially intended to deter her from participating in Nabi Saleh’s weekly protests…
Meanwhile, Manal Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli occupation on Thursday, 29 December as she protested outside the Israeli occupation military court in Ofer. On Monday, 1 January, she was ordered released on Tuesday, but with the order stayed in order to give the military prosecution, once again, time to appeal.
It should be noted that Ahed is refusing to answer questions during interrogation or speak with the interrogators, emphasizing her commitment to sumoud (steadfastness) under interrogation and refusal to cooperate with or confess to the occupation. There is a long tradition of Palestinian resistance to interrogation and refusal to confess or provide information….
Israeli forces suppress protests demanding release of Tamimi women
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Dec — Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful protest outside the Ofer military court in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday, as protesters, many of them women, demanded the release of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman from Israeli detention. The General Union of Palestinian Women had organized a peaceful protest against the Israeli detention of Palestinian women and children, near the Ofer detention center. Clashes erupted as Israeli forces suppressed the protest, causing many to suffer from severe-tear gas inhalation including head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee, Minister Walid Assad, head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Qaddura Fares and the former governor of Tulkarem Abdullah Kamil. Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters, attempted to detain people, and harassed journalists. Israeli forces detained Manal Tamimi, a relative of the detained Tamimi women. Israeli soldiers assaulted journalists and attempted to prevent them from covering the protests by trying to confiscate their cameras and targeting them with tear-gas bombs and stun grenades, witnesses said. Head of the Legal Committee of the women’s union, Haitham Arrar, said that the message of the union and Palestinian women “is a message of solidarity with women detainees in Israeli jail and with all prisoners, to send a message to the entire world that the [Israeli] occupation has not spared any Palestinian of detention as they are also detaining children of both sexes, women and elderly.”….
Opinion: And if Ahed Tamimi were your daughter? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 31 Dec — How is it that Israelis are totally indifferent to the plight of the blond girl behind bars who could easily be their child? — For the past two weeks, she has burst into Israelis’ living rooms every few days through another perfunctory report on the extension of her arrest. Once again, we see the golden curls; once again, we see the Botticelli figure in the brown Shin Bet security service uniform and the handcuffs, looking more like a girl from Ramat Hasharon than a girl from Nabi Saleh. Yet even Ahed Tamimi’s “non-Arab” appearance hasn’t managed to touch any hearts here. The wall of dehumanization and demonization that has been built through vile campaigns of incitement, propaganda and brain-washing against the Palestinians has trumped even the blonde from Nabi Saleh.
She could be your daughter, or your neighbor’s daughter, yet the abuse she suffers rouses no feelings of solidarity, compassion or basic humanity. After the outburst of anger over what she dared to do came the imperviousness. She’s a “terrorist.” She couldn’t have been our daughter; she’s a Palestinian.
Nobody asks himself what would have happened if Tamimi had been his daughter. Wouldn’t you have been proud of her, like her father, who, in an op-ed that commands respect, voiced that pride. Wouldn’t you have wanted a daughter like that, who exchanged her nonexistent youth for a courageous struggle for liberty? Or would you have preferred a daughter who was a collaborator? Or simply empty-headed?
And what would you have felt if soldiers from a foreign army had invaded your home at night, kidnapped your daughter from her bed before your very eyes, handcuffed and arrested her for a lengthy period, simply because she slapped the soldier who invaded her home, and slapped the occupation, which deserves far more than slaps?….
VIDEO: The detention of Ahed, Nariman, and Nour Tamimi
Friends of Sabeel NA 20 Dec — We were unable to get a visa for Ahed Tamimi to participate in our “Living Resistance” speaking tour last year so we made this powerful video with her to share. Her 14-year-old relative has been in a forced coma after being shot with a rubber bullet in the face earlier this week at a protest against the occupation in her village. Later this week Ahed tried to push and force Israeli soldiers off her family’s land. Last night she was arrested at 4 am, the Israeli soldiers entered her home and took the computers and electronics, and threw her mother on the floor when she clung to her in tears. Her mother went to the police station where Ahed was being detained to support her daughter and the soldiers arrested her. Please take action for Ahed, Nariman and for all of the children detained and tortured by the Israeli military, 700 a year on average and growing. #freeahedtamimi #freeahed
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers open fire on cars transporting workers, abduct two drivers, near Hebron
IMEMC 31 Dec — Israeli soldiers opened fire, Sunday, on Palestinian cars transporting workers, causing two to flip over, and abducted the two drivers, near Yatta town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in southern Hebron, said the soldiers chased Palestinian cars transporting day laborers, in the at-Tabaqa area, close to the illegal Avigal colony, which was built on Palestinian lands south of Yatta. He added that the soldiers opened fire at several cars, causing two to flip over, and abducted the two drivers; one of them has been identified as Suleiman Abed Makhamra, 25.
Jabour also stated that dozens of soldiers have been deployed in many areas, including valleys and junctions leading to Be’er as-Sabe‘ (Beersheba), and various villages and towns in the southern Negev.
Army forces children out of their schools, breaks into homes, near Ramallah
IMEMC 31 Dec — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday morning, the village of Deir Nitham, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, broke into and ransacked homes, and forced children out of their schools after invading them. Safi Tamimi, the coordinator of the Land Defense Committee in Deir Nitham, said that many armored military jeeps, and a bulldozer, invaded the village, at dawn, before closing its main entrance. Tamimi added that the soldiers then broke into and ransacked many homes, and occupied the rooftops of the home of the village’s Imam, Fadel Abdul-Hamid, in addition to Asif Hussein Diab, and broke into the Local Council building. On Sunday morning, the soldiers invaded many schools in the village, while the students were conducting their mid-term exams, and forced them out of their schools. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers broke into a school in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, while the students were conducting the mid-term exams, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades….
Israeli settlers, soldiers raid Nablus-area school, injure 2 Palestinian students
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Dec– More than 20 armed Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian school in southern Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday, resulting in the injury of two students with rubber-coated steel bullets. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the ultra-right wing Yitzhar settlement raided the school in the Burin village under the protection of the Israeli army as students were taking their final exams. Daghlas said that clashes erupted in the village as a result of the settler raid, with Israeli forces shooting live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades inside the school grounds, causing more than twenty students to suffer from severe tear-gas inhalation, and injuring two with rubber-coated bullets. Several students were transferred to hospital for treatment. Israeli settlers also damaged two vehicles and the glass windows of several rooms.
Army injures seven Palestinians near Jerusalem, abducts one in Hebron
IMEMC 30 Dec — Israeli soldiers shot, Saturday, seven Palestinians, and caused 23 others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in Abu Dis town, east of occupied Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has reported … The PRCS said that many army jeeps invaded Abu Dis Town, and fired dozens of gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at local youths, who hurled stones at the armored jeeps. It added that the soldiers shot seven Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, and caused 23 others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
In related news, the soldiers invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and abducted a young man in his twenties, identified as Mohammad Khaled Abu Rabea‘.
Also Saturday, the soldiers installed roadblocks on the main entrances of Rommana and Zabbouba villages, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
Palestinian arrested trying to enter West Bank military court with pipe bomb
Times of Israel 28 Dec by Jacob Magid — Border Police arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian teen who tried to enter a military court in the northern West Bank with a pipe bomb. Forces immediately closed the entrance to the Samaria Military Court, clearing the area before bomb disposal experts arrived, a police spokesman said. Earlier this month, police arrested a Palestinian man who tried to enter the same military court with two pipe bombs. Security forces used sappers to defuse the explosives, which were found in the suspect’s coat along with a knife.
Israelis arrest retired Palestinian general
MEMO 1 Jan — Israel’s occupation forces arrested retired Major General Yousef Al-Sharqawi on Sunday, Quds Press has reported. The Palestinian officer was detained in occupied Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said that the Israelis stopped Al-Sharqawi while he was driving his car in the occupied city. He was taken to an unknown destination. Al-Sharqawi, 60, is from Bethlehem. He served as a senior officer in the National Security Service of the Palestinian Authority before his retirement.
Israeli army arrests Palestinian parliamentarian Nasser Abdel Gawad
MEMO 1 Jan –The Israeli army arrested a Palestinian parliamentarian in the West Bank city of Salfit this morning, according to a report by Anadolu Agency. According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli forces raided Nasser Abdel Gawad’s residence and arrested him. Palestinian MP Fathi al-Qaraawi of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform bloc said continuous arrests of deputies of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are entitled to parliamentary immunity is a flagrant violation of international law. “Israel rejected the results of the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and arrested all Hamas deputies (in the West Bank including Jerusalem) and continues to punish the Palestinian people for this by arresting the group’s deputies,” al-Qaraawi said. The Change and Reform bloc won the 2006 Palestinian elections with an overwhelming majority. Al-Qaraawi added the arrest is an attempt to block opposition to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The latest arrest raises the number of jailed Palestinian parliamentarians to 11.
Updated: Israeli soldiers injure 49 Palestinians in Nablus governorate
IMEMC 29 Dec — Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, 49 Palestinians in five areas in the northern West Bank governorate of Nablus, after the army attacked Palestinian protesters in Beita Junction, al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya Junction, ‘Aseera al-Qibliyya, Huwwara roadblock and Salem town. Ahmad Jibril, the spokesperson of the Red Crescent Society (PRC) in Nablus, said the soldiers shot twelve Palestinians in Beita Junction area, adding that four of them suffered moderate wounds; one was shot with a live round, three with rubber-coated steel bullets, and eight others suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation. He added that the soldiers also shot three Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets near Huwwara roadblock, south of Nablus, before they were rushed to a hospital, while twenty others suffered cuts and bruises, in addition to the effects of teargas inhalation, and received treatment by medics without the need for further treatment. Furthermore, the soldiers shot five Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, and caused eight to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus. Two Palestinians were also injured in Salem village, east of Nablus, and received the needed treatment.
Israeli soldiers abduct 26 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 1 Jan — On the first dawn of the new year, Israeli soldiers invaded many Palestinian communities, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, searched and ransacked dozens of homes, and abducted 26 Palestinians, nearly half of them from Tulkarem. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers abducted twelve Palestinians in Tulkarem governorate, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. It said that dozens of soldiers invaded the city, and surrounding communities, and initiated massive searches of homes, before abducting twelve Palestinians. The Israeli army said that one soldier was mildly wounded, after Palestinian youngsters hurled stones at the military vehicles …
The invasions also targeted homes in many parts of occupied East Jerusalem, while the soldiers abducted at least one Palestinian, identified as Ibrahim al-Beitouni, from his home in the al-‘Isawiya town, in the center of the city. The abduction came hours after dozens of soldiers, and officers, invaded the town, and were met by Palestinian youngsters, who hurled stones and empty bottles at the army invading army jeeps.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted two young men from their homes in the al-’Arroub refugee camp, north of the city, and summoned another Palestinian for interrogation….
Israel arrested more than 6,000 Palestinians in 2017
MEMO 1 Jan — Israeli army detained 6,742 Palestinians along the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank in 2017, according to Palestinian human rights organisations. In a joint statement, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)-linked Palestinian Committee of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, Palestinian Prisoners Committee, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights said the arrests in 2017 included 1,467 children, 156 women, 14 Palestinian Legislative Council members and 25 journalists. The statement also said some detainees were later released. As of Sunday, there are 6,950 Palestinian prisoners, including 359 children, 22 journalists and 10 MPs, in Israeli prisons, it added. There are also 450 prisoners who are under “administrative detention”.
Israeli police close probe into January killing of Palestinian teacher
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Dec — The Israeli Police Investigations Division (PID) has decided to close its probe into the January police killing of Palestinian math teacher Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, and to not hold any officers responsible for his death, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a statement on Thursday. Abu al-Qian, a 50-year-old math teacher from the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel’s Negev desert, was shot dead by Israeli police in January while he was driving at night, causing him to spin out of control and crash into Israeli officers, killing one policeman. Abu al-Qian was driving through the village as dozens of Israeli forces were preparing for a large-scale home demolition in Umm al-Hiran. Israeli forces at the time claimed he was attempted to carry out a vehicular attack, though witness testimonies and video footage of the incident proved contradictory to police accusations. Israeli police footage appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers. The killing of Abu al-Qian sparked widespread outrage amongst Palestinian civilians and politicians, who claimed he was “extrajudicially executed. ” After demands from his family and the community for police to conduct a probe into his killing, Adalah filed a request demanding the PID open an investigation into the death of Abu al-Qian. “The closure of this investigation means the PID continues to grant legitimacy to deadly police violence against Arab citizens of Israel,” Adalah said in its statement.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli court blasts Shin Bet: Interrogation tactics led to false confession, imprisonment of Palestinian
Haaretz 26 Dec by Almog Ben Zikri — ‘Shin Bet needs to take a good look at itself,’ court says, explaining why it released Khalil Nimri, who spent two years behind bars due to mistaken identity — An Israel judge ripped into the Shin Bet for its interrogation tactics, saying they could lead people to confess crimes they did not commit. A panel of Be’er Sheva District Court judges issued Monday the opinion blasting the security service as part of a ruling explaining their acquittal last month of a Palestinian terrorism suspect, Khalil Nimri. The court found that Nimri, who had been charged with planning an attack on Eilat hotel, had confessed under interrogation to acts that it was doubtful that he committed, the court found. “The Shin Bet needs to take a good look at itself so that interrogation techniques, which do indeed sometimes uncover dangerous acts of terrorism, aren’t also liable to induce innocent people to admit to acts that they did not commit,” the judges wrote. “There is tangible concern that the defendant was arrested and spent two years in detention over no fault of his own.”
Nimri was arrested about two years ago after a reception clerk at an Eilat hotel claimed that he had approached the reception desk and asked questions that aroused the clerk’s suspicions. The questions related to ultra-Orthodox hotel guests, the clerk said. But several days later the clerk encountered another Palestinian, Ashraf Salaimeh, and realized that it was he and not Nimri who had approached the reception desk. The clerk then informed the police of his mistake. Salaimeh was arrested, but Nimri had already admitted under Shin Bet interrogation to having planned a terrorist attack on the hotel. Salaimeh and Nimri, who worked and lived in Eilat, were charged with conspiracy and assisting the enemy in wartime….
Khalida Jarrar’s imprisonment without charge or trial extended for six more months
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Dec — The Israeli occupation military issued an order extending the arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinian parliamentarian and national leader Khalida Jarrar for an additional six months on Wednesday, 27 December 2017, four days before her detention was to expire. Jarrar was seized by occupation soldiers who invaded her home in El-Bireh on 2 July 2017. A well-known Palestinian leader, Jarrar is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, head of its Prisoners’ Committee and Vice-Chair of the Board of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Jarrar is one of 11 Palestinian parliamentarians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, most of them jailed – like her – without charge or trial under administrative detention. She is one of three Palestinian women currently held in administrative detention, along with Khadija Ruba‘i and journalist Bushra al-Tawil. There are a total of over 450 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention and over 6,100 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Court hearing of Palestinian poet postponed until January
IMEMC 1 Jan by Celine Hagbard — “A poem stands accused,/ my poem morphs into a crime./ In the land of freedom ,/ the artist’s fate is prison.” So read the words of a poem written by the young poet Dareen Tatour, who was put in prison under charges of ‘incitement’ in 2015 for a poem that she wrote that was posted on YouTube. She has now been in prison for more than two years, and was supposed to have a court hearing on December 27th, but it was postponed until January. Dareen’s case has drawn attention from poets and authors worldwide, for the implication it has on free speech. Several petitions submitted to the Israeli government have called for Dareen’s release, but the government continues to delay her trial on ‘incitement’ charges. “I’ve never seen the prosecution as obstinate as it has been in Dareen’s case,” attorney Abed Fahoum told Electronic Intifada earlier this year. “I believe that they aim to use her to intimidate and silence all Palestinians.”….
‘Bruised and denied care’: Fawzi al-Junaidi out on bail
Al Jazeera 28 Dec — A 16-year-old Palestinian boy, who appeared in a photo that was condemned as representative of the Israeli army’s use of excessive force, has been released on bail after being detained for three weeks. Fawzi al-Junaidi, who was photographed blindfolded and surrounded by more than 20 Israeli troops, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, was charged with throwing stones at a group of soldiers earlier this month. The teenager has repeatedly denied the allegations and said he was ambushed while running away from the area where there were sound bombs and tear gas canisters. His family and lawyers told Al Jazeera that he is suffering from a dislocated shoulder and bruises. Rashad al-Junaidi, Fawzi’s uncle, said that he was released late on Wednesday night. “When we picked him up from Ofer prison, we rushed him to Ramallah hospital, and it turns out that his right shoulder is broken … His entire body is bruised,” his uncle said. “Thank God, a hero is unbreakable,” he added, referring to al-Junaidi’s morale. Al-Junaidi was arrested amid ongoing protests across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip over a US decision on December 6 to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. His family say he was not protesting and was only out to buy groceries as the main provider for the family of nine. His father has a leg injury, and his mother is fighting a terminal illness. The child was discharged from the hospital on Thursday and is now home with the rest of his family….
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained during Gaza protests against Trump
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Dec — A young Palestinian man died on Saturday morning, succumbing to wounds he sustained on Friday when Israeli forces shot him during protests along the Israeli-Gaza border. Spokesperson of the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that Jamal Muhammad Musleh, 20, died of his wounds on Saturday morning. Musleh was shot in the chest by Israeli forces during clashes along the northern Gaza border on Friday, as Palestinians continued to protest against US President Donald Trump’s announcement three weeks ago [6 Dec] recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During Friday’s protests in Gaza, 50 Palestinians were injured with live and rubber-coated steel bullets during, including 5 who were reported to be in a critical condition, while 120 suffered from severe tear gas inhalation. According to Ma‘an documentation, Musleh is the 14th Palestinian to have been killed by Israel since Trump’s announcement.[not counting Hamda Zubeidat]
Funeral held for Palestinian killed in Gaza
Al Jazeera 31 Dec — Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have held a funeral for a 20-year old killed by Israeli forces during a protest against US President Donald Trump‘s decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jamal Mosleh was shot on Friday when the Israeli army opened fire at a rally on the Israel-Gaza border. He died of his wounds on Saturday morning, making him the 16th Palestinian to be killed since Trump made his declaration on December 6. Reporting from Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb said that Mosleh, who was shot in the stomach, was one of 50 people at the protest injured by live ammunition. His funeral was funded by the Fatah political party. “It is normal for the political factions and armed groups in Gaza whose leaders call for the young men to go to the border and protest, to fund the funerals of those who have been killed,” Webb said.
Disabled Palestinian protester killed in clashes was shot in the head, Gaza medical records say
AP & Haaretz’s Yaniv Kubovich 29 Dec — Medical report says Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was struck by a bullet above his left eye and died from bleeding in the brain. Israeli army responds: ‘Report to be studied in coming days’ — Palestinian medical records in the Gaza Strip show that a paraplegic man who died during a violent protest along the border with Israel earlier this month was killed by a bullet that struck him in the head. The records, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, shed new light on a case that has become a rallying cry among Palestinians since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital … The IDF completed its investigation into Abu Thuraya’s death last week, but said it was unable to conclude whether he was killed by Israeli forces or what caused his death. The army added that no live fire was aimed at Abu Thuraya. In conclusion, the report noted that there was “no ethical or professional lapse” in the soldiers’ conduct. The medical records obtained by the AP Thursday, which include a hospital report and a death certificate, say that Abu Thuraya, 29, was struck by a bullet above his left eye and died from bleeding in the brain. The same findings were detailed in a report by the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service reviewed by the AP. The reports did not specify who fired the bullet or what caliber it was … Alyona Synenko, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the organization has an “ongoing dialogue” with authorities in Israel and Gaza. She said all talks are confidential and that she could not elaborate….
Israeli soldiers injure at least 143 Palestinians, three seriously, in Gaza
IMEMC 29 Dec — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers shot, Friday, at least 143 Palestinians, including 43 who were shot with live fire, three of them suffering very serious wounds, after the army attacked hundreds of protesters marching near the border fence in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said the soldiers shot 43 Palestinians with live fire, including three who were shot by sharpshooters and suffered life-threatening wounds, while at least 100 others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
Al-Qedra stated that the soldiers seriously injured two Palestinians, after shooting one with a live round in the head and another in his chest, east of Gaza city, and in central Gaza.
He added that the soldiers moderately injured three other Palestinians, after shooting them with live fire, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the coastal region.
Furthermore, one Palestinian suffered a serious injury, after the soldiers shot him with live fire in the abdomen, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.
Another Palestinian suffered a moderate injury, after the soldiers shot him with live fire, east of al-Boreij, in central Gaza.
In Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, the army fired dozens of gas bombs at protesters, in Palestinian lands close to the border fence, while several youngsters managed to burn a military tower. Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
Many army sharpshooters, and several armored vehicles, have been deployed near the border fence, near ‘Abasan al-Jadeeda town, east of Khan Younis, and near Rafah city, especially at the Sofa crossing, in southern Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes target sites in eastern Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 30 Dec — Israeli air forces on Friday afternoon conducted several airstrikes along the the border with Gaza, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that Israeli forces struck two outposts in the eastern Gaza Strip allegedly in response to rocket fire from the area. “Local sources said that the locations were targeted with at least six missiles fired by Israeli warplanes and artillery. They added that smoke plumes were visible in one of the targeted locations, east of Gaza-city neighborhood of al-Tuffah,” Wafa reported. Israeli forces have conducted several airstrikes in the Gaza Strip over the last month, resulting in the death of four Palestinian fighters.
Israeli army fires missiles into southern Gaza
IMEMC 2 Jan — The Israeli Air Force fired, on Tuesday at dawn, three missiles into a site run by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, northwest of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, causing property damage. Palestinian sources said the missiles caused property damage to the site, and nearby structures, but did not lead to any casualties. The Israeli army said it was [in response “to a homemade shell” reportedly fired from Khan Younis which landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council of Settlements. The army held Hamas responsible for the shell, and for any escalation in the region.
Israeli forces open fire at fishermen, detain 2 in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘’an) 28 Dec — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Locals said that Israeli naval ships chased down fishing boats off the coast of northern Gaza and opened fire at them. No injuries were reported. Israeli naval forces detained two fishermen who were identified by Head of the Fishermen Union, Nizzar Ayyash, as Sameh al-Quqa and Shawqi Bakr. Ayyash added that the boats of the fishermen were confiscated.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Several Israeli bulldozers entered into the “buffer zone” along the border with southern Gaza on Wednesday, where they razed and leveled lands in the area, according to locals. Witnesses told Ma‘an that four Israeli bulldozers entered 50 meters into the Gaza from the border fence, in the Khuzaa town, east of Khan Younis city in southern Gaza. Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.
Fatah lights 53rd anniversary torch in Gaza
MEMO 1 Jan — The Palestinian Fatah movement lit its 53rd anniversary torch of freedom in Gaza on Sunday, Anadolu has reported. The event took place in the presence of hundreds of Fatah supporters in the Square of the Unknown Soldier in the middle of Gaza City. The movement’s yellow flag was raised alongside photographs of the late President Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah regards itself as the torchbearer of Palestinian liberation, and has lit a symbolic torch every year since its foundation on 1 January, 1965 … Fatah was founded as a military movement with the goal of liberating Palestine. It became involved in direct and indirect secret talks with Israel until a peace deal was agreed in 1993. In 1998, Fatah dropped all articles of its Charter calling for military resistance against the Israeli occupation.
Picture of captured Israeli soldier now hangs in Gaza
MEMO 29 Dec — The Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades today revealed a large billboard bearing a picture of an Israeli soldier it captured as a prisoner of war. Placed at the Al-Saraya junction, in the centre of Gaza city, the image shows Shaul Arun standing with jail bars around him. “As long as our heroes do not see freedom and light, neither will this prisoner,” was written in Arabic and Hebrew. They also listed Arun’s military number, 6092065, in the corner of the picture. Palestinian activists believe Al-Qassam Brigades released the picture to coincide with the soldier’s birthday … The brigades’ spokesman Abu Obaida, announced on 20 July 2014 that Arun was captured while Al-Qassam fighters were fighting off a ground invasion by Israeli occupation forces in the Tuffah neighbourhood….
Qatar Charity hands over 50 apartments to Palestinians
DOHA (Gulf Times) 1 Jan — Some 50 Palestinian families received the keys of their newly reconstructed apartments in Al Dafer Tower in Gaza Strip, thanks to the generosity of Qatar Charity. In collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works, Qatar Charity rebuilt the tower, which was destroyed during the war in Gaza in 2014 … The Al Dafer Tower project forms part of a series of reconstruction projects conducted by Qatar Charity in the Gaza Strip, including the reconstruction of 400 housing units destroyed during the war.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Palestinians condemn Israeli plans to annex West Bank
Al Jazeera 1 Jan — Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have denounced Israeli plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, saying they represented “an end to the remnants of the peace process” and would “lead to more Palestinian resistance.” On Sunday, about 1,500 members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s Likud party voted unanimously to impose Israeli sovereignty over “Judea and Samaria,” referring to the Israeli name for the occupied Palestinian territory. The non-binding resolution also called for the unlimited construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians want for a future state. “Likud’s decision to impose Israeli control over the occupied West Bank represents an end to the remnants of the peace process,” Fatah, which is headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement. “This decision is a blow to all previously signed agreements, and an unforgivable violation of UN resolutions, the latest of which was resolution 2334, that the West Bank, including Jerusalem, is occupied territory.” Hamas also condemned Likud’s move, calling it a “policy of aggression against the Palestinian people” that was “taking advantage of American positions, including [Donald] Trump’s dangerous declaration” – a reference to the US president recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6….
Israel seized 2,500 acres of Palestinian land in 2017
MEMO 1 Jan — Israel has seized around 2,500 acres of Palestinian land, destroyed 500 buildings and constructed eight new Jewish settlement units in 2017, according to Palestine’s Land Research Centre (LRC). According to the report of the centre, Israel seized Palestinian lands with “military aims” and the “aim to construct Jewish settlement units” in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. The report also recorded 900 incidents of violence and attacks of Israeli forces in East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Israeli and Palestinian law institutions, activities of Jewish settlement in West Bank and East Jerusalem have increased by three times in 2017 compared with the previous year. Peace Now movement also announced that Israeli government approved the construction of 1,982 houses in 2015, 2,629 houses 2016 and this figure increased to 6,500 in 2017….
Israeli public grants funneled to organization that builds illegal West Bank outposts
Haaretz 28 Dec by Yotam Berger — Four regional councils directed funds to Amana, the settlement movement of Gush Emunim — In recent years four regional councils in the West Bank have funneled millions of shekels to the Amana settlement movement, using funding criteria that were tailored for it, making it impossible for any other organization to get the funds, Haaretz has learned. The monies were transferred through a budget clause for a “settlement movement” by drawing up funding criteria that only Amana could meet. The funds were distributed by the Samaria, Mateh Binyamin, Gush Etzion and South Hebron Hills regional councils. Amana, which is headed by Ze’ev Hever, a longtime settler leader, presents itself as a “settlement movement,” but in fact Amana is an umbrella body that operates a commercial construction company, Binyanei Bar Amana. Amana’s stated goal is to settle a million Jews in the West Bank. As a series of investigative reports in Haaretz has shown, to serve this aim Amana has apparently broken the law. It has helped build illegal outposts, sometimes on private Palestinian land; it has been implicated in cases that involved signing forged documents and making false declarations to obtain mortgages; and refuses to compensate residents who purchased houses from the company that were later evacuated because they were built illegally….
Army hands a demolition order targeting home of a detainee near Jenin
IMEMC 1 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and handed a father of a Palestinian detainee a demolition order targeting his home. The soldiers invaded the home of Khaled Mustafa Kamil, and violently searched the property, before handing him an order informing him that his property will be demolished in four days. Israel believes that Khaled’s son, Yousef, 20, and detainee Mohammad Abu ar-Rob, 19, are responsible for the death of an Israeli settler in Kafr Qassem, on October 4th, 2017, as the two were working in the area when the incident took place. The army demolished Mohammad’s home, on December 1st, 2017; both Yousef and Mohammad were taken prisoner two days after an Israeli settler, identified as Reuven Schmerling, 70, from Elkana colony, in the occupied West Bank, was killed in Kafr Qassem….
Palestinian refugees – Syria
3,626 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria since 2011
MEMO 1 Jan — The Task Group for Palestinians in Syria has revealed that 3,626 Palestinian refugees have been killed in the war-torn country since 2011, Arabs48.com reported on Sunday. Breaking the figures down, the group said that 1,148 were killed in air strikes; 957 were killed in clashes between the Syrian regime and opposition gunmen; and 475 were tortured to death by the Syrian security forces. The latter figure includes 35 women. A report by the Task Group added that 308 Palestinian refugees were killed by snipers and 201 died due to lack of food and healthcare services, most of them in Al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp. The others were killed either in explosions, field executions or after they were kidnapped. Almost 1,650 Palestinian refugees are being held in Syrian prisons. All, it said, were forcefully disappeared and their exact location or fate is still unknown. The treatment of female Palestinian refugees in Syrian prisons is said to be very bad. It is alleged that they have been subjected to electric shocks, beatings with whips and iron batons, and rape.
Other news, opinion
Israeli bill makes it harder to divide Jerusalem
Al Jazeera 2 Jan — Israeli legislators have approved a bill that makes it more difficult to divide Jerusalem. The bill passed early on Tuesday and stipulates that two-thirds support is needed in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, before Israel can relinquish control over any portion of the holy city to a foreign entity, according to local media. The bill is widely seen as intended to make it more difficult to give up part of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, which wants the city’s eastern half to be the capital of an independent Palestinian state. The bill, backed by Israel’s ruling right-wing coalition, was passed with 64 Knesset members voting in favour and 52 against, according to Haaretz newspaper. The legislation also seeks to remove Palestinian neighbourhoods from the jurisdiction of the current Jerusalem municipality, affecting two Palestinian areas – Kufr Aqab and the Shuafat refugee camp – that are already on the other side of Israel’s separation wall and are systematically neglected, the report noted.
Palestine recalls US envoy after Trump ‘s Jerusalem move
Al Jazeera 31 Dec — The Palestinian leadership has said it is recalling its envoy to the United States following Washington’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinian officials have previously said they will “no longer accept” any peace plan put forward by the US following President Donald Trump‘s unilateral declaration on December 6 … On Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, said that Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Liberation Organization envoy to Washington, DC, would return for “consultations.” Riyad al-Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said that discussions would take place “to set the decisions needed by the Palestinian leadership in the coming period regarding our relations with the US.” He added that the envoy is expected to return to “his normal work” after the discussions….
PA recalls envoy from Pakistan over Jerusalem rally row
[with video] ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Al Jazeera) 31 Dec by Asad Hashim — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has recalled its ambassador to Pakistan after he attended a rally in support of Palestine’s position on Jerusalem hosted by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who carries a $10m US bounty on his head for allegedly masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Ambassador Walid Abu Ali was summoned back to Ramallah on Saturday, with the Palestinian foreign ministry saying his participation in the rally was “an unintentional mistake, but not justified.” Thousands of Pakistanis attended the mass protest rally organised by Saeed in the northern city of Rawalpindi on Friday, rejecting US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this month … Saeed denies any involvement in the attacks and says he only runs the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charitable organisation …
The Palestinian ambassador addressed a crowd of thousands at the rally. “All Pakistani people from all walks of life have strongly rejected Trump’s decision of [recognising] Jerusalem as the [Israeli] capital,” Ali told Al Jazeera shortly after his speech. The PA’s decision appears to have come after India protested the ambassador’s presence at the rally, terming it “unacceptable”. “The spokesman for the Palestinian Foreign Ministry stresses the commitment of the State of Palestine and its keenness to maintain good relations with the friendly Republic of India, as well as its support for the efforts of the Republic of India in its war against terrorism,” noted the Palestinian foreign ministry’s statement. “The State of Palestine stands with the Republic of India in dealing with terrorist threats.”
Israeli teens refuse to serve in military, take part in occupation
Newsweek 28 Dec by Jack Moore — Dozens of Israeli teenagers have written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling him that they will refuse to enlist for the military as they do not want to serve the country’s “occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.” The letter, published in one of Israel’s highest-selling newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday criticized the government and the military for their policies both against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and against members of Israel’s own minority of Palestinian citizens. Israel has a policy of mandatory military conscription, and those who refuse to enlist risk prison … The teens’ letter was also copied to the Israeli military’s chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett. “The ‘temporary’ situation has dragged on for 50 years, and we will not go on lending a hand,” the letter continued, according to a translation published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The signees called on other teenagers to reconsider their service in the Israeli military. “We refuse to be drafted and to serve in the army out of an obligation to values of peace, justice and equality, with the knowledge that there is another reality that we could create together,” they wrote. “We call on others our age to ask themselves, will army service work toward this reality?”….
Adalah: Repeal amendment that blocks Knesset candidates from elections due to statements
27 Dec — Amendment to ‘Basic Law: The Knesset’ will likely be used almost exclusively to prevent Arab candidates from participating in Knesset elections — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is demanding that senior Israeli political officials move to repeal a recent amendment to Article 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which expands the grounds on which political parties and individual candidates can be disqualified from Knesset elections to include not only their goals and actions, but also their statements. The amendment was approved by the Knesset on 14 March 2017 by a 29-20 margin. Under the law, parties and individual candidates can be disqualified if their goals/actions – explicitly or implicitly – negate the existence of the State of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state,” incite to racism, or support armed struggle by a hostile state or terrorist organization against the State of Israel. The amendment makes it easier to disqualify candidates and parties from the Knesset by including statements among the accepted grounds, which are by their nature more liable to overly-broad interpretation.
Increase in fees for West Bank and Gaza Palestinians petitioning Israeli Supreme Court
Adalah 28 Dec — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent a letter to senior Israeli officials demanding they reject a proposal to increase the court fees charged to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza or their proxies for filing petitions to the Israeli Supreme Court. The declared purpose of the proposal is to reduce the number of petitions filed by Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Israeli Supreme Court. Under the plan, the fee for filing a petition would increase from 1,794 shekels (approx. $515 US) to 5,400 shekels (approx. $1,550 US). In her letter sent on 28 November 2017 to Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution Committee Nissan Slomiansky, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad argued that the proposed fee hike would violate the basic rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories: “This [proposal] harms the fundamental right of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories to access the judicial system. This economic burden is heavy and places a serious obstacle that will block this population’s access to the courts.” Attorney Haddad also stressed the racist character of the proposal:…
Facebook says it is deleting accounts at the direction of the US and Israeli governments
The Intercept 30 Dec by Glenn Greenwald — In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country. The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials. Indeed, Israeli officials have been publicly boasting about how obedient Facebook is when it comes to Israeli censorship orders: “Shortly after news broke earlier this month of the agreement between the Israeli government and Facebook, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tel Aviv had submitted 158 requests to the social media giant over the previous four months asking it to remove content it deemed “incitement.” She said Facebook had granted 95 percent of the requests.” She’s right. The submission to Israeli dictates is hard to overstate: As the New York Times put it in December of last year, “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.” What makes this censorship particularly consequential is that “96 percent of Palestinians said their primary use of Facebook was for following news.” That means that Israeli officials have virtually unfettered control over a key communications forum of Palestinians…
As Al Jazeera reported last year, “Inflammatory speech posted in the Hebrew language … has attracted much less attention from the Israeli authorities and Facebook.” One study found that “122,000 users directly called for violence with words like ‘murder,’ ‘kill,’ or ‘burn.’ Arabs were the No. 1 recipients of hateful comments.” Yet there appears to be little effort by Facebook to censor any of that…
Opinion: Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely / Adnan Abu Amer
Al Jazeera 1 Jan — Palestinians have been carefully watching Saudi Arabia drawing closer to Israel. The past few months have seen not only a flood of Saudi statements on social media supporting normalisation with Israel (some saying that Saudi is “more important” than Palestine and others apparently dreaming of Israel becoming Saudi’s top vacationing spot), but also a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Saudi and Israeli political leadership agree on a number of issues, the most important of which is the need to curb Iran‘s growing influence and to keep the US engaged in the Middle East. Pursuing these common interests, the Saudis and the Israelis have intensified their efforts for a formal normalisation of relations. In June 2017, Anwar Eshki, former Saudi general and current head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, said that Saudi Arabia would accept normalisation with Israel if it, in turn, accepted the Arab peace initiative. He also said that if Saudi Arabia did so, the rest of the Islamic world would follow suit. In October, former head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal took part in a forum in New York with the former head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy … The image of Saudi Arabia and its allies has suffered immensely within Palestine. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Gaza and the West Bank showed that 82 percent of Palestinians do not trust the Saudis would defend their rights, and 75 percent and 70 percent do not trust, respectively, the UAE and Egypt – both major Saudi allies….