Opinion: What it’s like being a cancer patient in Gaza / Manal Massalha
Haaretz 6 Mar — “I haven’t had my medication for months. I live on painkillers, anti-clotting Glexan injections, thyroid drugs, to name but a few of the drugs I need to take daily but can’t because they’re no longer available at a subsidized rate. I simply can’t afford to buy them privately. My teeth need urgent dental care because of all the chemotherapy I had, but can’t afford the treatment either. The latest PET scan I had showed two lumps in the thyroid gland that need to be removed and examined urgently. I’ve been waiting for over a month to be assigned an appointment for a biopsy, but haven’t heard anything and was told by my surgeon in Gaza that there are no operations available at Ash Shifa [Gaza] hospital before 2020. “It’s disastrous to be a cancer patient in Gaza. It’s humiliating and undignified. It’s being sentenced to a slow death. Cancer treatment is not available in Gaza and access to treatment outside of Gaza is controlled by the Israelis, the Egyptians and the Palestinian Authority, none of whom seem to care, take our condition seriously or deal with us in urgency. For them we’re just numbers … Being a cancer patient is physically, psychologically and financially exhausting. We have to take care of all the procedures ourselves. We have to apply for the financial coverage for our medical referrals and for the Israeli permit to leave Gaza, and have to reinvent the wheel every time we need to leave Gaza for treatment. This can take weeks, even months. We have to wait in suspension, and be always ready to leave when we receive a message of approval from the Israelis. The text message sent to our mobiles often arrives either the night before the appointment or on the same day and the permit is valid for a day….
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian farmer in Khan Younis
[with video] IMEMC 3 Mar — The Palestinian Health Ministry reported, on Saturday evening, that a Palestinian farmer has died from serious wounds he suffered at noon, when Israeli soldiers shot him while working on his land, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The Health Ministry said that Mohammad Ata Abu Jame‘, 59, was shot by the soldiers and suffered a serious injury, while working on his own land in Khuza‘a area, east of Khan Younis. He was rushed to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, but died from his serious wounds on Saturday evening.
His wife said that she was heading to the family’s land to bring food for her husband, before she heard the shots, and then she heard the husband screaming in pain and asking her to call for an ambulance. The son and his mother said that there was no reason for the soldiers to shoot Mohammad, because he was just working on his land, and the situation was calm, and added that the man was very healthy, and always loved to work and plant the land. “Our only problem is that our land is located near the border fence which was installed by Israel,” the son said, “They shot him for nothing — this was the first time that the soldiers open fire at us on our land…” There were no protests near the border area when the soldiers shot the Palestinian man, and there was no reason for opening fire.
Israeli navy, soldiers open fire at fishing boats and farmers in Gaza
IMEMC 6 Mar — Israeli navy ships opened fire, Tuesday, at several Palestinian fishing boats, while soldiers fired live rounds at farmers, in the southern and northern parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, fired dozens of live rounds, east of Khan Younis, forcing the Palestinians to leave. In addition, Israeli navy ships also fired live rounds at fishing boats, in Palestinian waters in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, forcing the fishers to return to the shore without being able to fish and provide for their families….
Israel spraying herbicides on Gaza farmlands: official
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) 4 Mar by Nour Abu Aisha — Israeli aircraft on Sunday sprayed herbicides along the border with the Gaza Strip, according to a Palestinian official. “These chemicals cause damage to agricultural crops and harm farmlands,” Nizar al-Wahedi of the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry told Anadolu Agency. He said the Palestinian ministry was not aware of the composition of the Israeli chemicals being sprayed on Palestinian lands. “Israel has no right to spray herbicides on Palestinian farmlands,” he said. According to Israeli Gisha NGO, the Israeli spraying operations aim to get rid of unneeded grass along border with the Palestinian territory. Some 44,000 Palestinians are working in agriculture, making up around 11 percent of the territory’s work force.
GOC Southern Command: ‘intervention in Gaza’s humanitarian crisis contingent on fallen soldiers’ return’
Ynet 5 Mar by Matan Tzuri — GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir said Israel’s investment in the quality of life of the residents of Gaza is contingent on the return of the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers held in the Strip and Hamas’ cooperation with the Israeli government. “We have a supreme obligation to return the missing civilians and IDF soldiers, improving the situation of the residents of Gaza depends on this issue as well,” Zamir said in a speech at the Sderot Conference on Society. Zamir than stated that Iran’s involvement in the Strip is discouraging Hamas from moving in said direction, and called Iran’s efforts to turn Hamas into its proxy “a dangerous game.”
OC Southern Command: Gaza barrier will bring ‘unprecedented’ security
TPS 6 Mar by Yona Schnitzer — The IDF has neutralized several tunnels running from Gaza into Israel in recent months and is close to eliminating the tunnel threat, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, the head of the IDF’s Southern Command, said on the opening day of the Sderot Conference for Society Monday. “Israel is investing significant resources in constructing an underground barrier, as well as an above-ground one,” Zamir said. “We will create isolation, both above ground and below, between the citizens of Israel and two million Gazans and terror organizations. “This is an operational success that combines multiple capabilities, some of them groundbreaking.” Zamir said however that construction would take time, but once completed, the barrier would give residents of the Gaza periphery “an unprecedented level of security” and would rid Israel “of the threat of tunnels being dug into our territory.” Zamir said he could not say whether another Gaza war was imminent, but vowed that “the barrier will be completed. With or without a military campaign.”
3.651 babies born in Gaza in February
MEMO 6 Mar — In February 3,651 new babies were born and 302 people died in the besieged Gaza Strip according to statistics from the Palestinian interior ministry, Quds Press reported yesterday. According to the statistics, 51 per cent of the newborns were males and 49 per cent were females. During the same month the ministry said that it registered 302 deaths, noting that 168 of them were males and 134 were females. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the entire world with more than 2 million residents living in an area of only 365 square kilometres. At least one third of this area is a closed military zone along the eastern borders of the Strip.
Trump ‘delays’ Gaza wedding
EI 6 Mar by Sarah Algherbawi — Decisions taken in Washington are causing a dilemma for Ghassan Abu el-Qomsan and his family. His twin sons Wasim and Ibrahim are planning to get married in a joint ceremony this May. It is uncertain whether the wedding will go ahead. Ghassan fears he will not be able to pay for the celebrations. Ghassan teaches in a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. He fears that his pay may soon be cut because the agency has been plunged into a financial crisis. The crisis was exacerbated by Donald Trump’s administration in the US, which has withheld more than half of a $125 million payment it was scheduled to give UNRWA during January. “I don’t know what to do,” Ghassan, a 48-year-old resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, said. “Should I postpone the wedding of my sons? If my salary is reduced, I’ll not be able to pay the full bill for the wedding.” Ghassan’s son Wasim said he has been “living in a state of stress” since the Trump administration announced it was withholding aid to UNRWA. “I’ve been engaged for a year now,” Wasim, 24, said. “I’m afraid that I will not be able to get married this year.” … The aid cuts have already forced UNRWA to take painful measures. Matthias Schmale, who heads the agency in Gaza, stated that it has found enough money to ensure that staff are paid until June. Yet the agency is unable to give new teachers long-term jobs and to renew the contracts of staff employed on a temporary basis….
Shell gives up on Gaza’s offshore gas field – Palestinians
GAZA (Reuters) 5 Mar by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Royal Dutch Shell has given up its stake in an undeveloped natural gas field off the Gaza Strip, sending the Palestinians looking for a new foreign group to replace it, Palestinian officials said on Monday. Cabinet ministers from the Palestinian Authority said in a statement they had been informed that the energy giant was pulling out of the project and were now in the process of “trying to attract a global company” to take its place. Shell had been struggling to find a buyer for its 55 percent stake in the Gaza Marine field, which it took over during its acquisition of BG Group in 2016 … Gaza Marine, located about 30 km (20 miles) off the Gaza coast, has long been seen as a golden opportunity for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority to join the Mediterranean gas bonanza, providing a major source of income to reduce its reliance on foreign aid. Plans to develop the field – estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of Spain’s consumption in 2016 – were put off several times over the past decade. The delays were due to internal Palestinian rivalry and conflict with Israel, as well as economic reasons. With Shell’s exit, the Palestine Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, remains the sole stakeholder.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian-Israeli in critical condition after altercation over traffic ticket
IMEMC 4 Mar — A Palestinian with Israeli citizenship who was apparently angry about an unfair traffic ticket allegedly rammed his car into an Israeli Border Control officer, then hit two soldiers, all of whom fired their weapons at the driver, wounding him severely and landing him in critical condition at the hospital. The incident took place in the northern Israeli city of Akka (Acre). According to Israeli sources, a Palestinian-Israeli lightly wounded three Israelis by hitting them with his jeep, first hitting a Border Police officer on Yehoshafat St. near the market, then hitting two soldiers near the Akka train station. Although Israeli authorities have claimed that the attack was politically motivated and are considering it a ‘terror’ attack, the family of the driver said there was no evidence that the young man was politically motivated, saying that he was angry about a traffic ticket. They added that the young man’s wife was pregnant and expecting a child in the coming week, and that she was in the car with him. The father of the alleged perpetrator told reporters, “Who would decide to carry out a terror attack and then take his pregnant wife with him?” He said that the traffic ticket was the only possible explanation for his son’s alleged behavior, noting, “I understand that he received a ticket for 1,000 shekels ($290) and it really angered him. We’re a family that is not related to anything political and he works with me and all that he cares for is his home and work. He was waiting for his wife to give birth in the coming days.” The young man who was shot after the alleged ramming of soldiers remains in the hospital in critical condition. His home in Shefa-ʻAmr village was raided by Israeli police in the afternoon.
Israeli troops force woman with Down’s Syndrome to strip
EI 3 Mar by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israeli occupation forces sought to kill, rather than apprehend, Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a Palestinian suspected in the January shooting death of a settler, according to an investigation by the rights group Al-Haq. Israel waged a weeks-long campaign of “brutal reprisals” following the 9 January killing of Raziel Shevach in the northern occupied West Bank … “Israel orchestrated a series of attacks against the extended family members of the Jarrar family and the broader communities of Jenin and Nablus,” Al-Haq stated … The Israeli rights group B’Tselem has also documented what it calls “reprehensible actions” by soldiers during the month that followed the slaying of the Israeli settler, such as “demolishing a home with inhabitants still inside” and strip searching three women and setting dogs on three other residents…
–Humiliating strip searches-– Some 20 soldiers raided Mabrouk and Inas’ home on 8 February, while Mabrouk was still shackled in an Israeli hospital. “His wife, Inas, was at home with his mother, Huriyyah, 75, and his sister Dalal, 50, who is mute and suffers from Down syndrome,” B’Tselem stated. “The two women had come to keep Inas company since Mabrouk’s arrest.” A female soldier subjected all three to humiliating strip searches. Inas, “stark naked,” was ordered to kneel on the ground for two or three minutes. “I wished I could die, so I wouldn’t have to experience another second of this,” she recalled. Inas and the soldier had to help elderly Hurriyah undress. “The soldier looked at my private parts. I cried the whole time,” Huriyyah told B’Tselem. “How could a young soldier force an old woman like me to take off all my clothes in front of her and expose myself like that?” The soldier ordered Inas to help her take off Dalal’s clothes as well….
VIDEO: Palestinian worker suffocates while waiting at crowded Israeli military checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — A Palestinian man suffocated on Monday morning before dawn while waiting in the narrow corridor of Checkpoint 300 in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, where hundreds of workers were waiting to pass through on their way to work inside Israel. Video footage of the incident shows the crowd of workers passing the man’s body over their heads towards the exit, where he was taken to hospital for treatment. The identity of the man remained unknown.
In the early hours of the morning, typically before dawn, hundreds of Palestinians endure long waits at the 300 checkpoint, one of the only access points Palestinians from the southern West Bank have to Jerusalem and Israel. Palestinians crowd into the cement- and metal-barred walkways, push through turnstiles, pass a metal detector, and show their IDs and permits to Israeli soldiers in order to travel to Israel for work . The process can at times take hours and cold winter temperatures coupled with hours of waiting time means frustrations are high….
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at primary school in Jerusalem
MEMO 6 Mar –Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas at Anata Primary School in the occupied city of Jerusalem on Monday morning, harming most of the students and teachers inside the school, Quds Press reported. Deputy Headmaster Imad Eliyan said that the Israeli occupation forces “suddenly” fired a barrage of tear gas canisters at the school “without any justification.” Speaking to Quds Press, Eliyan said that most of the students, who were in the playground of the school, along with the teachers, suffered from breathing difficulties and received first aid treatment due to the heavy tear gas. He noted that the tear gas attack took place at 11am local time, when all the 340 young boys were in the schoolyard during the break. Eliyan said that students and teachers of the neighbouring school were also affected by the tear gas attack.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian construction crew south of Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 6 Mar – Israeli settlers Tuesday morning attacked a Palestinian road construction crew to the north of Einabus village, south of Nablus, said a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that a number of settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar indiscriminately opened fire on the road construction crew, injuring a crew member with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the leg. They also physically assaulted other crew members, inflicting bruises to their bodies, and destroyed an excavator.
Meanwhile, settlers from Regavim settler group razed vast tracts of Palestinian land east of Khirbet al-Majaz, one of the 19 localities comprising Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron. According to Coordinator of the Anti-Settlement and Wall Committee Ratib Jabour, settlers from Regavim group started razing hundreds of dunums of farmland in that area as a prelude to seizing them. Jabour identified the landowners as the al-Na‘amin, Makhamra, Awad and Abu ‘Iram families. Masafer Yatta is a collection of almost 19 hamlets to the south of Hebron, which relies heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood.
Israeli settler attempts to run over a Palestinian human rights defender
HEBRON (WAFA) 6 Mar – An Israeli settler Tuesday attempted to run over a Palestinian human rights defender while he was on his way home to Tel al-Ramida in Hebron. The human rights defender, Imad Abu Shamsiyya, said ‘the extremist Israeli settler, Ofer Hanna who regularly intimidates Palestinian peaceful demonstrations, attempted to run him over, however he managed to escape unharmed. Abu Shamsiyya said this is not the first time he was attacked by settlers in the area, however this time he was able to recognize the face of the person who tried to attack him. The activist filed a complaint with the Israeli police against the extremist settler. Settlers’ violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Israeli colonizers attack four children in Hebron
IMEMC 6 Mar — Several Israeli colonizers living in the Mitzpe Yair illegal outpost in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, attacked three Palestinian children while heading back home, Monday, while another colonizer tried to ram a child with his car. Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the Popular and National Committees in southern Hebron, said the colonizers attacked three children from Abu Qbeita family, while crossing a military roadblock, heading back home. He added that another colonizer tried to ram a child, identified as Jihan Ibrahim Abu Qbeita, 11, in the same area, but she managed to avoid his car. Jabour also stated that Abu Qbeita family must cross the military roadblock everyday whenever they leave their home or return to it, and that international peace activists constantly accompany them to ensure their safety, as they are subject to frequent attacks.
Wounded child undergoes successful complicated surgery
[with photos] IMEMC 4 Mar — The wounded Palestinian child, who is also a former political prisoner, Mohammad Fadel Tamimi, 15, underwent a complicated but successful skull reconstruction surgery, Sunday, at the Istishari Palestinian hospital, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinian surgeons carried out the surgery with utmost precision to construct the face and skull of the child, who was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired by an Israeli soldier from a very close range. Tamimi, from Nabi Saleh village, north of Ramallah, was in a very critical condition following his injury, which took place on December 15, 2017, especially since the bullet penetrated his face and reached his brain, an issue that forced the surgeons to remove a section of the skull after his brain became swollen. Palestinian specialist surgeons operated on the child, Sunday, and were able to successfully reconstruct his skull. Following his complicated surgery, and amidst his pain, the child was seen raising the victory sign.
It is worth mentioning that Tamimi was abducted and imprisoned by the soldiers for three months, then was abducted again on February 26th, despite the seriousness of his condition, and was only released after legal and human rights groups, and media outlets managed to shed light on his serious condition, and exposed the Israeli violations. Mohammad’s cousin Ahed Tamimi, 16, was abducted by Israeli soldiers for allegedly pushing an Israeli soldier who was standing in her yard laughing, just an hour after shooting Mohammad in the head. Her imprisonment has sparked an international movement calling for her release.
A Jerusalemite turns herself in to Al-Ramleh prison … Releasing one woman … sentencing three young men
Silwanic 4 Mar — The Jerusalem activist, Abeer Abu Khdeir, turned herself-in to Al-Ramleh prison to serve her two-month sentence following a decision made by the Magistrate and District Courts. Abu Khdeir family explained that the Israeli occupation court sentenced Abeer Abu Khdeir for two months in prison and sentenced her daughter, Asala Abu Khdeir, 27, for two months of public service. Her daughter Sumood, 24, was sentenced for 300 hours of volunteer work and a 7-thousand NIS fine on charges of “obstructing police work and assaulting on a female soldier in 2011.” The family explained that the case was in court for six years. The Magistrate Court sentenced three members of the family, and the decision was appealed at the District Court but was rejected. The family of Abu Khdeir confirmed that Abeer, Asala and Sumood were beaten by the Israeli occupation forces in 2011, when they stormed their house to arrest Anan Abu Khdeir, 14, Abeer’s son. However, they were arrested and sentenced. Abeer is the wife of Naser Al-Din Abu Khdeir, who is serving a 16-month sentence and has spent more than 15 years in Israeli jails in several arrests….
Israeli police arrest family of three in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 4 Mar – Israeli police last night [Saturday] arrested a family of three in the neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources. The police arrested Arafat Derbas, his wife, and his son, Mohammad, after raiding their home in al-‘Issawiya. The three were taken to an Israeli detention center in the city. Israeli police and forces intensified crackdown on the neighborhood during the past two weeks as clashes continue to erupt with local teenagers especially on Fridays.
Army abducts four Palestinians, damages a shop, in Hebron
IMEMC 6 Mar — Israeli soldiers abducted, Tuesday, four Palestinians, including two siblings, in addition to damaging the contents of a shop and illegally confiscating cash, in the southern West Bank governorate of Hebron. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers invaded the al-Mooreq village, southwest of Hebron, searched many homes and abducted Mo‘tasem Ramadan Awawda and his brother Mahmoud. They added that the soldiers also abducted Mohammad Nidal Jaber, from Hebron city, after assaulting him while he was heading to his work. The soldiers also abducted Khaled Salahuddin Abu Za‘rour, after invading his pluming store and ransacking it, in addition to illegally confiscating 4000 Shekels.
In related news, the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in Hebron city, and installed roadblocks on roads leading to the towns of Sa‘ir and Halhoul, in addition to the northern and southern roads of Hebron city, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, also searched homes and summoned Ziad Ahmad al-‘Ajouri, 37, and Sami Amer Abu Jouda, 22, for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, north of Hebron. It is worth mentioning that the two Palestinians are former political prisoners, who were just released from Israeli detention centers two months ago. The soldiers also fired gas bombs at the Big Mosque in Beit Ummar, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli army erects West Bank checkpoints to collect Palestinians’ personal details
Haaretz 7 Mar by Yaniv Kubovich — The army a few months ago began collecting the personal details of West Bank Palestinians, as part of its surveillance of public spaces. To this end, soldiers conduct patrols and set up temporary checkpoints. Young men who pass through are required to fill out a form. Those who are required to fill out a form must report their name, age, telephone number, identification number, type of vehicle and license number, as well as submitting a photocopy of their ID and giving both the origin and destination of the trip that brought them to the checkpoint. Women, children and old people are exempt from the form. The checkpoints operate in the early morning, when large numbers of Palestinians are on the way to work, further exacerbating the usual rush-hour traffic jams. The soldiers at each checkpoint must submit at least 100 completed forms for each shift, while the quota for the foot patrols is 30. Soldiers in compulsory service, not to mention soldiers doing reserve duty, have bridled at the new policy, questioning the invasion of privacy that it entails as well as the disturbance to daily life. The practice has earned the name “bear hug” among the soldiers. A number of testimonies by soldiers on the practice were obtained by Haaretz, some of them recorded by members of Breaking the Silence. “It’s something pretty new they told us to do,” said a soldier who recently completed his compulsory military service. “They bring you a piece of paper with their license-plate number, the telephone number and ID number of the driver, and the goal is to fill out [the form], not even to check the vehicles. They told us, ‘You do the check without filling in the pages – it’s not actually important, it doesn’t do anything.”….
Israeli court rejects request for Raed Salah’s release
JERUSALEM (Anadolu Agency) 6 Mar — An Israeli court on Tuesday rejected a request to release Palestinian resistance icon Raed Salah from prison, according to his lawyer. “The Magistrates Court rejected the request to free Salah and turn him to house arrest until the end of legal proceedings,” Khaled Zbarqa told Anadolu Agency. He said the court has asked for an alternative to the proposed release of Salah. “This includes a possible stay outside the city of Umm al-Fahm” in northern Israel, the lawyer said. “The court also asked for more restrictions, including preventing Salah from communicating with the public and media.” The lawyer said the court request will be studied and “will respond to it soon”. Last summer, Israeli police arrested Salah from his home in the city of Umm al-Fahm before convicting him on charges of “inciting violence”. Last month, the Israeli Central Court in the southern city of Beersheba slapped Salah with six more months in solitary confinement. Israel officially outlawed Salah’s Islamic Movement in 2015 for allegedly engaging in “anti-Israel activities”.
Palestine: Israel provides Palestinian detainees with expired food supplies
MEMO 7 Mar — The administration of the Etzion Israeli detention, which is located in the south of West Bank, has provided the Palestinian detainees held there with expired food supplies, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) announced today. PPC’s lawyer, Jacqueline Fararja, told Anadolu Agency that “the prison administration has supplied the Palestinian detainees with expired canned food and cheese.” “Most of the detainees had already eaten some of the provided food because of their hunger and lack of food supplies,” Fararja added.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization / Apartheid
Silwan residents say excavations endanger the foundations of their homes
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 Mar – Palestinian residents of Silwan, an East Jerusalem neighborhood, expressed concern on Monday regarding Israeli excavations under their homes, according to Wadi Hilweh Information Center. It said residents confronted Israeli settlers who were digging tunnels under their homes in an attempt to reach the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. The settlers called the Israeli police to intervene on their behalf and keep the Palestinians away. Police threatened to arrest the Palestinians if they try to stop the settlers from digging. The residents said the continuous excavations under their homes in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan in order to build tunnels that lead to the Old City wall cause cracks in the walls and damage their homes, fearing that it could cause their homes to collapse.
Fight to save Jaffa’s last Muslim cemetery from Israeli bulldozers
EI 1 Mar by Tamara Nassar — Palestinians from Jaffa protested at a hearing in a Tel Aviv court on 28 February where a judge was to decide if the community would be forced to remove hundreds of graves from the Muslim Tasso cemetery. Their protest is part of a long struggle to save the last Muslim cemetery in Jaffa. Israel’s high court endorsed the sale of half of the cemetery to an Israeli investment company in 2008 and after years of legal wrangling upheld the sale again in January. The investment company now wants to build on the cemetery and in recent weeks attempted to demarcate the land, but was met with opposition from residents. The investment company then filed a petition demanding that the community dig up the bodies from the graves and stop burying the dead there even though community leaders point out that it is the only Muslim cemetery in the city. The company also demanded that the Palestinian community pay $4.25 million for using the land in past years. Residents of Jaffa have formed the Popular Committee for the Defense of Tasso Cemetery to fight the takeover of the land. The committee organized the protest at the hearing, which led the Israeli judge to leave the courtroom, bringing proceedings to a halt. Jaffa was until the Nakba – the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias – a major port and one of the most important Palestinian trading and cultural centers. Since then, the small Palestinian community that survived the mass expulsions and flight has tried to cling on in the face of determined Israeli gentrification efforts to drive them out and erase their history … According to the head of the elected Islamic body in Jaffa Muhammad Durei, Israeli authorities have confiscated all other cemeteries in the district, and in some cases built over the dead….
Moving West Bank checkpoint to block Palestinians from spring is illegal, state admits in court
Haaretz 6 Mar by Nir Hasson — The state admitted in a court submission Tuesday that the approval of a plan to move a military checkpoint near the West Bank village of Walaja, south of Jerusalem, was illegal. The decision to move the checkpoint was made by the Security Facilities Committee, a special committee that provides planning approvals for the security establishment. It emerged that Shira Talmi, who is the Jerusalem District planner, signed the permit as chairman of the committee and attended its meetings, even though she is not even a committee member, let alone its chairman. The discussions were held without a legal quorum – in fact with only one authorized member of the committee there, a Defense Ministry representative – making the permit invalid. Around a month ago the Jerusalem municipality began intense work on moving the Ein Yael checkpoint 1.5 kilometers westward so that it is closer to Walaja. The aim is to be able to open the Ein Hinye recreation site, which is built around a spring that had been used by Palestinians until the work began. The court was told the checkpoint was being moved to block Palestinians from Walaja and the surrounding area from accessing the spring. The change will also make it difficult for the farmers in Walaja to reach their lands. In its response to the Jerusalem District Court, the state admitted the process was flawed, but asked the court to allow the work to continue and to dismiss the petition of the Walaja residents under the doctrine of “relative nullity.” … Attorney Ghiath Nasser, who filed the petition on behalf of the Walaja residents, rejected the state’s arguments … Judge Oded Shaham ordered the state to update the court regarding the steps it plans to take. A ruling on the petition will be given at a later date.
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Israeli bulldozers demolished a cement wall and a carwash belonging to a Palestinian in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Tuesday morning. The structures belonged to Silwan resident Abed Odeh, from the Bir Ayyoub area of the town. Odeh told Ma‘an that the structures were demolished by Israeli authorities without any prior notice, adding that they were destroyed under the pretext of being built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued construction permits. He added that this is the second time his carwash, that was built two years ago, has been demolished. Israeli officials from the Jerusalem Municipality also confiscated the contents of the carwash, according to Odeh.
Israeli soldiers bulldoze farmlands in the Northern Plains
IMEMC 6 Mar — Israeli soldiers bulldozed, Monday, Palestinian farmlands and installed tents, in the al-Farisiyya area, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains. The soldiers bulldozed large sections of land planted with hummus, and owned by a Palestinian, identified as Ahmad Daraghma. The soldiers also bulldozed farmland owned by Suleiman Abu Mohsin in the same area and installed military tents, in addition to deploying several armored vehicles and tanks.
Army displaces two families ahead of military training
IMEMC 7 Mar — Israeli soldiers displaced, on Wednesday morning, two Palestinian Bedouin families from their homes in Khirbat Ibzeeq village, northeast of Tubas, in northeastern West Bank, as the army is preparing to conduct live fire military drills in their area. The families said they will not be allowed back to their dwellings from March 7th to March 21st and added that they also heard tank shells in the area, indicating that the army has already started its training.
Two days ago, the army notified 16 Palestinian families that they will be evicted from their homes in Khirbat Ibiziq village, under the pretext that the Israeli army will conduct military drills in the area. Khirbet Ibiziq is comprised of Bedouins seeking water and pasture. The number of Bedouins living in the village is more than 256, including 16 families living in the area permanently, with the rest in a mobile state. It is worth mentioning that dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been killed or injured, after encountering explosives, dropped by the soldiers during training. Earlier in January of this year, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian child with a live round in the head, during “military training” near Tubas.
Ashrawi describes as racist an Israeli law allowing revoking residency of Palestinian Jerusalemites
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Mar – A law that allows the Israeli government to withdraw residency rights from Palestinian Jerusalemites it considers to be involved in activities against Israel is racist and dangerous, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Wednesday. “Such a law represents an extremely racist piece of legislation and gives full mandate to the (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government and future Israeli governments to revoke the IDs of Palestinians from Jerusalem at will and without just cause,” said Ashrawi in a statement. “By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws.” The PLO official said that this latest move “is in the context of Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing plans for Jerusalem and seeks to dispossess the Palestinians who have been the rightful and long-term inhabitants of the occupied city.” Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency status of more than 14,500 Palestinians from Jerusalem using the pretext of its illegal and draconian laws, said Ashrawi….
Opinion: Israel apartheid tears families apart and must come to an end
The Red & Black (Georgia, USA) 4 Mar by Asher Beckner — The day after Valentine’s Day, Feb. 15, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) hosted Love Under Apartheid, an event which discussed the discriminatory ways which Israel prevents Palestinian people from being with their loved ones in the apartheid state. The ability to be with loved ones seems like a simple human right, but Israel’s harsh legislation denies Palestinians the ability to see the ones they love. While the ability to be with loved ones is by far not the only problem Palestinian people face, it represents one of the symptoms of an apartheid system. In order for Israel to remain a Jewish state, 55-60 percent of the population or more needs to remain Jewish. Muslim Palestinians and Israeli Arabs present a threat to the Jewish demographic, and since Israel denies citizenship to its Palestinian residents, Palestinian people present an easier target for controlling the population of Muslims in the community. The Israeli government controls Palestinians in the community by restricting their rights to move, which hinders marriage and family building. Fewer marriages equates to fewer Muslims in the community, at least theoretically. Jewish citizens of Israel can be together regardless of location, but Palestinians cannot. A Palestinian person from Jerusalem cannot be with a partner in West Bank without losing their rights and residency, a Palestinian in the Gaza blockade cannot register a change of address at all so cannot move and Palestinians cannot apply for residence of spouses from West Bank or Gaza, according to Mondoweiss, a news site which focuses on Palestinian and Israeli discourse….
Israel’s ‘creeping annexation’ of West Bank continues
Al Jazeera 7 Mar by Ben White — Palestinians discuss their options as Israel codifies its annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories — There is much talk these days about Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the occupied West Bank, from both critics and proponents alike. Critics say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government, dominated by right-wing nationalists in both the Likud and Jewish Home parties, has been advancing various laws designed to prepare the ground for Israel to annex portions of the occupied territory. The Knesset passed legislation on February 12 that applies Israeli law to settler academic institutions in the occupied West Bank, such as Ariel University, founded in an Israeli settlement of the same name near the Palestinian town of Salfit. Simultaneously, the justice ministry is advancing a law that would expand the jurisdiction of Israeli courts over Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank. On the ground, however, there is a familiar story, one just as important as the Knesset manoeuvres and legal initiatives – and one without which “creeping annexation” would not even be possible.
–Settlements ‘legal’ and ‘unauthorised’-– While there are 132 official settlements in the West Bank – not including occupied East Jerusalem – there are some 100 additional, technically unauthorised, settlement outposts. Increasingly, these “unauthorised” outposts are being “legalised”…
–Displacement as policy– A similar and parallel process is evident with respect to displacement, Palestinians say. Hazem Jamjoum, an Al-Shabaka policy member and doctoral candidate in Middle Eastern history at NYU, told Al Jazeera that in the West Bank, many Palestinians “constantly live under the threat of displacement, or are already dealing with the consequences of being on the long list of those who are next for such treatment”. Jamjoum clarified that this displacement is carried out not just through home demolitions, but “by making life outside the areas of concentrated Palestinian population unlivable, by cutting access to the fundamentals of life such as water, electricity and mobility”….
Opinion: A planned, calculated killing of sheep in the West Bank / Amira Hass
Haaretz 5 Mar — The attack last month, like hundreds of others before it, was clearly directed toward one goal — The Haaretz story on the Jewish masked men who attacked a Palestinian shepherd and killed his sheep – in the village of Einabus, south of Nablus – received 96 shares on Facebook. What do these shares express, shock from the attack or support? Either way, the memory of the crime committed almost two weeks ago, on February 21, certainly has been obliterated under the raucous headlines about the graft investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his friends, and packed away in the warehouse of Jewish national amnesia. A week after the attack, Zafar Ryan, 27, still looked in shock. His father, Mahmoud, and brothers said he still wasn’t himself … The brothers usually go out to the pasture together. The sheep pen is a few dozen meters above their home, up on the mountainside. But that day Zafar went out with the sheep alone. It was noontime. The people there in the unauthorized and illegal outpost at the top of the mountain took advantage of it, concludes his father. They hurried to come down to him. Five of them, with their faces masked, hit him with sticks in the head and hands … Zafar was taken to the hospital in Nablus and remained there until the evening. The swelling in his head shrank. He had bruises on his hands. Most of the sheep in the flock are pregnant, including some the attackers killed and some that disappeared. One that was injured gave birth to a stillborn lamb. If the Israeli police have arrested suspects, we haven’t heard about it. The attack was not perpetuated by hotheads; neither was it a momentary slip by otherwise moral young Jews, absolutely anonymous, who were suddenly overwhelmed by the memory of pogroms committed by Christians against Jews. This attack on Palestinians and their livelihood, like hundreds of others that preceded it, was very rational and calculated, directed toward a goal … Everything is calculated. The division of labor has already borne fruit all over the West Bank. A centimeter here, a quarter dunam there, a full firing area there – and the Palestinians are pushed more and more into their urbanized enclaves….
Palestine in pictures: February 2018
The Electronic Intifada 3 March – narrative also
PA reconsiders recognition of Israel
Al Jazeera 6 Mar — The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) is considering the “suspension” of its recognition of Israel, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official said Tuesday. “There is no alternative for the Palestinians but to suspend their recognition of Israel,” Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s influential Executive Committee, said in a statement. The PA and the PLO — both of which recognize Israel — are both led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement. According to Erekat, Trump’s decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “was intended to isolate Jerusalem but has instead isolated the U.S.” “We can only implement the [PLO] Central Council’s recommendation to suspend recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the state of Palestine,” Erekat said. Earlier this year, the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) Central Council, the second-highest Palestinian decision-making body, had recommended revoking recognition of Israel until the latter recognises the State of Palestine in its 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital….
Mahmoud Abbas’ health deteriorates, and Israel prepares for bloody succession fight
Haaretz 7 Mar by Amos Harel — In recent months there has been a deterioration in the health of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be 83 at the end of the month. Information about his health has been submitted to Israeli political and security officials. Although the security cooperation between Israel and the PA continues to be managed well, Israel is readying itself for the possibility that a continued worsening of Abbas’ health will intensify the succession wars in the PA and undermine the relative stability that now prevails in the West Bank. At the end of last month, while he was in the United States to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas was hospitalized for a few hours for tests in a Baltimore hospital. He also underwent tests in a Ramallah hospital last July. In both instances, the PA spokesman issued denials regarding illnesses Abbas supposedly had and insisted that his medical condition was satisfactory. Abbas himself, in an interview with Palestinian television on February 22, said he was in good health. However, Palestinian activists opposed to Abbas’ regime claim that he’s ill and getting worse. There was even a claim on social media that he was suffering from cancer of the digestive system. This claim was never confirmed … The PA president has cut down his work hours over the past year. People around him say he seems to be getting more short-tempered and argumentative with his aides and other senior PA officials. Aside from his health and advancing age, Abbas’ behavior seems to indicate that the PA, and his leadership, are facing a crisis. The main reason is the bad relationship with the Trump administration and the United States clearly positioning itself on Israel’s side with regard to its diplomatic dispute with the Palestinians….
PA adds 20,000 Hamas workers to payroll in bid to revive stagnant reconciliation
i24NEWS 4 Mar — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced on Saturday that the Ramallah-based government would add 20,000 Hamas employees in Gaza to its 2018 budget in an attempt to advance a stagnating reconciliation agreement between the two rival factions. An October 2017 agreement between the two leading Palestinian factions has been dying a slow death, with every new deadline for Islamist Hamas to hand over power in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA) missed with no progress in sight. Announcing the overture to Hamas, Hamdallah urged the group to allow the Palestinian Authority government to assume full control over the affairs of the Strip, including tax collection, control of all border crossings, and law enforcement in the Palestinian enclave. Hamdallah did not elaborate on which Hamas employees had been added to the PA’s payroll, but a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah later clarified that they do not include members of the group’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade military wing. The fate of Hamas’ 25,000-strong standing army has been a major obstacle to the success of the reconciliation accord, with the group having rejected outright disarming as part of the agreement. Hamas and Fatah traded blame for what could turn out to be a gradual abandonment of the Egypt-brokered accord….
On eve of Women’s Day, about half of Palestinian women are unemployed
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Mar – About half of Palestinian women participants in the labor force were unemployed by the end of 2016, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report on Wednesday, the eve of the International Women’s Day. It said unemployment rate among women participants in the labor force was 47.4% compared to 22.3% for participant males. The highest rate, 65.8%, was among females aged between 15 and 29 years, while unemployment rate reached 53.8% among women who completed 13 school years and above. The female participation rate in the labor force was 19.0% of the total female population at work age in 2017, compared to 10.3% in 2001, while the male participation rate was 71.2% in 2017. Average daily wage for females was 84.6 Israeli shekels (app. $25) compared to 119.6 shekels (app. $35) for males. The PCBS said women represented half of the Palestinian population by the end of 2017 at a ratio of 103 males for every 100 females. The percentage of female-headed households in Palestine was 10.6% in 2017, 11.2% in the West Bank and 9.5% in Gaza Strip….
This Israeli filmmaker swiped for Palestinians on dating apps – and it may land her an Oscar next year
Haaretz 4 Mar by Kirsten Rulf — Inés Moldavsky just won the best short film award at the Berlin Film Festival for ‘The Men Behind the Wall,’ about a very real obstacle that stops her from hooking up with Palestinians in the West Bank — “The Men Behind The Wall” was Moldavsky’s graduation project from the Screen-Based Arts Department at Jerusalem’s Bezalel – Academy of Arts and Design. The idea for the short seems simple, but her highly experimental documentary actually touches on a multitude of complex themes. “Every morning, I woke up in my Jerusalem apartment and thought about what it would be like to target Palestinian men that live behind the wall for dates on my dating app,” Moldavsky explains, referring to the West Bank separation barrier. The 28-minute short shows the filmmaker soliciting Palestinian men in Gaza and the West Bank for BDSM sex via the dating apps Tinder and OkCupid, and then getting in touch with them on the phone and via Skype. It also documents their candid, explicit conversations about lust, hard-core sexual practices and the desire for casual dating … “Israelis and the rest of the world often see Palestinian men as the killers, the terrorists, the poor people – or, by contrast, as the victims, the sufferers that get their houses demolished, depending on your personal politics,” says Moldavsky. “But I wanted to show young Palestinians simply as men; as gentle, sexy, handsome, nice guys who think about the mundane things in life like sex and dating.” But her film does far more than simply defy gender clichés or rehash the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Eventually, the Jewish-Israeli Moldavksy uses her second (Argentine) passport to cross the border, visit several cities in the West Bank and meet in person with the men she found via the dating app….
Israel uses online blackmail to recruit collaborators
EI 27 Feb by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh — In June 2015, Ibrahim Muhammad, 24, graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza with a degree in English literature. The eldest son in a family of 11 with a disabled father who had been unemployed since 2003, he needed work, and fast, to support his family. Like thousands of graduates in Gaza, however, Ibrahim had no luck finding a job. Israel’s siege – which along with three major military assaults has destroyed the Strip’s economy – rendered him unable to leave Gaza to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Educated and in his 20s, he found himself devoid of work or money and rapidly losing hope. For nearly a year, he was stuck in his room with his cell phone on a 30-year-old bed that had belonged to his dead grandmother. Days became hazy. He spent the mornings sleeping and nights awake. He started trawling social media and it was during one of those nights that he met a young woman called Suha. Ibrahim is not this young man’s real name and some elements of this story have been changed to protect his family. The details of his story were related to The Electronic Intifada by two separate security sources as well as members of Ibrahim’s family. Suha lived in Spain, she wrote him in one of many chats that soon turned into an online relationship, including a virtual sexual one. She began to send him money every month, sometimes as much as $500, as a token of her sympathy and love. Meanwhile, she learned everything about Ibrahim, as young lovers might. She asked him about his personal life, the people in the neighborhood and other more general details about life in Gaza. She asked him to take photographs of the mosques in the area, in a bid, she said, to strengthen his bond to prayer and his religion … Ibrahim is just one of hundreds of youth recruited by Israeli intelligence via social media, according to Palestinian security officials….
Guatemala announces embassy move to Jerusalem in May
Al Jazeera 6 Mar — Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales has announced that he will move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the United States is scheduled to do the same in a controversial move that has drawn worldwide condemnation. On Tuesday, Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, condemned Guatemala’s announcement as “dangerous and provocative”. Speaking on Monday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, DC, Morales said that the embassy move “strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel.” “In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and under my instructions, two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” he said … “By taking such a step that defies international law, Mr Morales, also besieged at home by charges of corruption and abuse of power, has partnered with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump in violating international law and undermining the chances of peace,” Ashrawi said in an official statement….
Israeli parliament votes on bill to cut funding for Palestinian detainees
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Mar — The Israeli Knesset, on Monday, approved the first reading for a bill to cut tax funding [taxes collected by Israel but owed to the PA] to the Palestinian Authority, by the amount it pays out monthly to the Palestinian detainees and families of the slain. According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, the 2017 payments to these families exceeded $347 million. The first reading was passed in the Knesset by 52 votes in favor, and 10 against, according to the PNN. Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman said that the money will go to Israeli “victims of terror” instead of the families. A Palestinian detainee serving 3-5 years gets around $580 monthly, roughly the amount made by the average Palestinian. That figure can more than triple for a 20-30 year sentence, and can include additional payments for Palestinians who are married, have children, are residents of Jerusalem, or are Israeli citizens. According to Addameer organization, there are currently 6,119 Palestinian political detainees in Israeli jails, 450 of them administrative detainees. 526 prisoners are serving life sentences.
Gaza: Facebook is ‘complicit’ with Israel
Al Jazeera 5 Mar — Activists use hashtag #FBfightspalestine to protest — Dozens of Palestinian journalists have staged a demonstration outside the UN office in Gaza City to protest Facebook’s practice of blocking Palestinian Facebook accounts. Demonstrators held banners saying “Facebook is complicit in [Israel’s] crimes” and “Facebook favours the [Israeli] occupation.” Speaking at Monday’s demonstration, organized by the Journalists Support Committee, a Palestinian NGO, Salama Maarouf, a spokesman for Hamas, described the popular social media platform as “a major violator of freedom of opinion and expression. “Facebook blocked roughly 200 Palestinian accounts last year – and 100 more since the start of 2018 – on phony pretexts.” He asserted that some 20 percent of Israeli Facebook accounts “openly incite violence against Palestinians” without facing any threat of closure…
WATCH: Is Facebook silencing Palestinians at government’s request? (3:39)…
Palestinian journalists and activists have created their own social media watch group, called Sada Social. Sada Social was launched in September 2017 by three Palestinian journalists, with the aim of documenting “violations against Palestinian content” on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, and to liaise with their executives to restore some of the pages and accounts that have been shut down….