Saudi crown prince says Israel has the ‘right’ to a homeland
MEE/Agencies 2 Apr — The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a “right” to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom’s position, as outlined in an interview with The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, on Monday … Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians had long proved an obstacle to a full rapprochement, as Riyadh voiced support for their right to sovereignty. But now bin Salman appeared to put the land claims on an equal footing. The crown prince was asked by Jeffrey Goldberg whether the “Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?” “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation,” said the prince, who is on a three-week US tour. “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land,” he added. “But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”
Qatar pledges unprecedented financial support to UNRWA
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Apr — With its unprecedented pledge of USD 50 million to UNRWA at a recent ministerial conference in Rome, Qatar will become one of UNRWA’s top donors and will have a major impact on the Agency’s ability to continue its vital services to the vulnerable Palestine refugee community during this period of dramatic financial crisis. PNN reports that, at an extraordinary ministerial conference on 15 March, entitled “Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility – Mobilizing Collective Action for UNRWA,” Qatar made the largest pledge, which will safeguard Palestine refugee children’s access to education in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon for the remainder of the current academic year as well as other core and essential services the Agency provides to Palestine refugees in the Middle East. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was present at the conference, praised Qatar for its announced funding to UNRWA saying in a statement, “I sincerely thank the Emir for Qatar’s generous contribution in support of Palestine refugees.” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani said it was important for Qatar to fund the essential services of UNRWA: “In affirmation of the State of Qatar’s steady support policy towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the State of Qatar announced the donation of US$ 50 million to enable UNRWA to provide the necessary services to Palestine refugees.”….
Israeli generals sued in Dutch court for killing Gaza family
EI 29 Mar by Adri Nieuwhof — A Palestinian-Dutch citizen is suing two senior Israeli military commanders for the bombing of his family’s home during Israel’s 2014 attack on the Gaza Strip. On 20 July of that year, without warning, an Israeli airstrike destroyed the house in the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, killing six members of Ismail Ziada’s family and a seventh person who was visiting them. Ziada, who lives in the Netherlands where he is married to a Dutch citizen, could not attend the funerals of his family members due to Israel’s blockade on Gaza. He lost his mother, 70-year-old Muftia Ziada, three brothers, a sister-in-law and a 12-year-old nephew. Ziada holds Benny Gantz and Amir Eshel, respectively the Israeli chief of staff and the chief of the air force at the time of the attack, responsible for the decision to drop the bomb. This month, Ziada’s lawyers, Liesbeth Zegveld and Lisa-Marie Komp with human rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira, filed a complaint in a Dutch court. The same lawyers recently filed another case in the Netherlands on behalf of a Palestinian severely injured when the Israeli army used Dutch-trained dogs to attack him in the occupied West Bank….
Erdogan calls Netanyahu ‘terrorist’ as insults fly after Gaza deaths
ISTANBUL (Reuters) 1 Apr — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu a “terrorist” on Sunday, escalating an exchange of insults that started after he criticized Israel’s lethal military response to a demonstration on the Gazan border. Israel has defended the killing of 15 Palestinians during Friday’s demonstration and Netanyahu tweeted that the Israeli army “will not be lectured by those who have indiscriminately bombed civilian populations for years”, referring to Turkey. Erdogan told supporters on Sunday: “We don’t have the shame of invading on us, Netanyahu. You are an invader and right now are present in those lands as an invader. At the same time, you are a terrorist.” ….
US Supreme Court nixes $655 million jury award against the PLO
WASHINGTON (AFP) 2 Apr — The US Supreme Court Monday rejected a bid to make the Palestine Liberation Organization pay $655 million in damages to victims of six attacks in Israel. The court’s decision aligned with the view of President Donald Trump’s administration, which in this case saw no reason for the high court to intervene despite strains in US relations with the PLO. The court upheld a New York appeals court ruling that in 2016 found that the US courts lacked jurisdiction over attacks in Israel, even though Americans were among the dead and wounded. “This decision reaffirms the vital relationship between the Palestinian and American people, which depends on mutual respect and, as importantly, on respect for the rule of law,” the PLO’s representative in Washington, Husam Zomlot, said in a statement. Zomlot added that the case “should never have been brought to trial in the first place.” The attacks were carried out between 2002 and 2004 by militants of Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the PLO’s largest faction, Fatah. A jury in 2015 had awarded American survivors of the attacks and relatives of those killed $218.5 million in damages after they sued the PLO and the Palestinian Authority in New York. The award was automatically tripled to $655 million under US anti-terrorism laws….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Suspected car thief shot dead after crashing into empty West Bank bus stop
Haaretz 3 Apr by Yotam Berger — A Palestinian man suspected of stealing a car was shot dead by a soldier on Tuesday morning after he crashed into a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. A soldier stationed near the bus stop fired at the Palestinian when he tried to flee the scene on foot after the crash. The man was evacuated to receive medical attention but soon succumbed to his wounds and pronounced dead. Two sources told Haaretz that the Palestinian was driving a stolen car, which was pursued by a private security company, and that police were not involved. It was unclear whether the soldier was aware of the car chase. No other injuries were reported, and no one was waiting at the bus stop. The IDF is investigating the incident….
Israeli soldiers seriously injure a Palestinian man at a roadblock near Tulkarem
IMEMC 3 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, Monday, a Palestinian man in his fifties, at a military roadblock east of Tulkarem in the northern part of the West Bank. Israeli daily Haaretz said the soldiers shot the man, 55 years of age, after he reportedly “ran towards them in a suspicious manner,” near the al-Kafriyyat military roadblock, east of Tulkarem. It added that the soldiers did not find any weapons on the wounded man, and initiated an investigation into the issue, after moving him to an Israeli hospital. Following the incident, dozens of soldiers were deployed in the area, before closing the military roadblock and its surrounding area.
Army injures four Palestinians, abducts one of them, in Nabi Saheh near Ramallah
IMEMC 3 Apr — Palestinian medical sources have reported that Israeli soldiers shot, Monday, four young men, and assaulted and abducted one of them, after the army invaded Nabi Saleh village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and attacked protesters. The sources said the army shot three Palestinians with live fire in their legs, before locals rushed them in private cars to Salfit governmental hospital, suffering moderate wounds.
The soldiers also shot another Palestinian, and assaulted him despite his wounds, before abducting him. The Health Ministry in the West Bank said the Palestinian District Coordination Office was informed by the Israeli side that the Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his neck and is in a stable condition. Dozens of Palestinian suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, especially since the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs at the protesters and homes in the village and received the needed treatment.
Army injures 98 Palestinians near Jerusalem
IMEMC 2 Apr — Israeli soldiers injured, Sunday, 98 Palestinians, after the army attacked protesters in front of the Al-Quds University, in Abu Dis, east of occupied Jerusalem; two of the wounded were shot in the head, and one in the chest. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRC) said its medics provided treatment to 87 Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and five who suffered burns from Israeli gas bombs and concussion grenades and moved four of them to a nearby hospital. It added that one Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet, which struck him above one of his eyes, causing a moderate injury. Another Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet which penetrated his chest, causing a moderate injury, before he was rushed to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. On Sunday evening, the soldiers installed a military roadblock, and abducted a young man, in addition to confiscating his motorcycle, near Sielet al-Harithiyya town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
Army injures many schoolchildren in Hebron
IMEMC 3 Apr — Israeli soldiers fired, on Tuesday morning, several gas bombs at schoolchildren in Abu Sneina neighborhood, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, causing many children, and other Palestinians, to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired the gas bombs into the Nahda School, and its surrounding areas, and added that local medics provided the needed treatment to the wounded children. They added that several Palestinians then hurled stones at the soldiers, who fired more gas bombs, and concussion grenades. On Monday afternoon, the soldiers also fired gas bombs at students of the same school, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Tear gas and terror: A Palestinian education under occupation
NABLUS, Occupied West Bank (MEE) 2 Apr –– The Israeli soldiers came as children were playing outside their village school south of Nablus. Within minutes tear gas had engulfed the playground, stones were thrown, and a 10-year-old boy was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet. The violence on that morning of Sunday, 25 March was but the latest in a series of confrontations outside Burin village’s high school and Ahmad Faris, the 10-year-old taken to hospital for stitches, was the latest casualty. According to locals, the school is attacked up to three times a week by residents of the nearby illegal Yitzhar settlement, and Israeli soldiers from the nearby watchtower. “More than 10 students refused to go to school after Ahmad’s injury, and another one wet himself at school,” Ghassan Najjar, a local activist told Middle East Eye. “When you are studying and your school is surrounded by Israeli soldiers, how can you possibly focus in class?”
And the attacks fit a national pattern of increasing intimidation and violence against schools, children and teachers. The Palestinian education ministry’s annual report found 80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were “attacked” by Israeli settlers or soldiers. Over the course of the year, nine students were killed under various circumstances, 600 were injured, and more than 300 were arrested, in 352 attacks by Israelis on 95 schools.
–-Schools on the frontline— Nestled in the rolling hills of the northern West Bank, Burin is home to about 3,000 Palestinians, and is surrounded on all sides by two illegal settlements, an illegal outpost, and a military base. The school sits at the entrance of the village, and is attended by about 300 local boys and girls. Perched on the mountaintop overhead is Yitzhar, the source of multiple settler attacks. About 50 metres behind the school is an Israeli watchtower. With its close proximity to both, the school is often on the frontline of settler and soldier raids on the village, according to Najjar…
In the southern West Bank, in the Masafer Yatta area of the south Hebron hills, 210 Palestinian children living in a cluster of 12 small villages face the daily challenge of getting to class in an active military training zone….
West Bank Palestinians observe general strike, day of mourning for 16 killed in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Mar — Palestinians across the occupied West Bank launched a general strike on Saturday, shuttering all businesses and institutions in solidarity with the protesters in Gaza and in mourning of the 16 Palestinian civilians who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on Friday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the general strike and a national day of mourning, which included all official and private institutions, primary schools and universities. On Friday, Palestinians were commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, when six Palestinian protesters were gunned down by Israeli forces in 1976, as they were protesting the Israeli government confiscation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land. Local activists and grassroots organizations in Gaza organized what is being called “The Great March of Return,” where hundreds of thousands of refugees in Gaza will peacefully demonstrate for the right to return to their original homelands in what is now Israel.
Israeli soldiers abduct twelve Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 3 Apr — Updated: Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, twelve Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The soldiers broke into and violently searched dozens of homes across the West Bank, interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, before abducting the twelve Palestinians. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Ibrahim, Khaled Omar Taha and Bassem M’eitan. The soldiers also closed the main gate leading to Deir Nitham village, west of Ramallah, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it. In Qabatia town, south of Jenin in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mandoub Khaled Kamil, Aysam Emad Nazzal and Mahmoud Riyadh Zakarna. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Khader Madhi, 24, the brother of Omar Madhi, 15, who was killed by the army on February 12, 2016. His other brother, Mahmoud, 14, was abducted from his home in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, several days ago. In Occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Abed Atiya, and a child identified as Ma’moun Ahmad ‘Obeid, in addition to Bassel Raed Atiya and Mohammad Abdul-Hafith Atiya. In Salfit, in northwestern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Rateb Abdul-Karim Mer’ey and Amir Ammar Aziz. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded and searched many homes in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and interrogated many Palestinians.
‘Would-be terrorist’ from southern Israel now said to be mentally ill Bedouin
Haaretz 29 Mar by Yaniv Kubovich & Almog Ben Zikri — Israel’s Shin Bet security service says that the alleged “would-be terrorist” arrested earlier on Thursday by police is actually a Bedouin suffering from mental issues, adding that the possibility he was actually planning a terror attack has now been completely ruled out. Earlier, police conducted a manhunt after receiving information the man planned to undertake an attack. He was arrested along with another man who was deemed by the police to be his accomplice. However, a statement released Thursday evening said the man was suffering from mental issues and though he had told his family and friends he was planning an attack, he did not take any practical steps. The police will now decide if they want to open criminal proceedings against him. The second man who was arrested drove the suspect to Be’er Sheva without knowing about the alleged threats he made. Earlier, police blocked entrances and exits to the city and asked the public to be on alert after receiving information about a potential assailant.
Israel issues demolition order to West Bank home of Palestinian assailant
JERUSALEM (Xinhua) 2 Apr — Israel’s military said Monday its forces issued a demolition order overnight for the family home of a Palestinian attacker who killed an Israeli in East Jerusalem’s Old City in March. The move came two weeks after troops made initial preparations for the demolishment of the home of the assailant, Abdul Rahmani Faddal in the West Bank village of ‘Aqraba. In the March 18 attack, Faddal, 28, stabbed Adiel Kolman, 32, in the Old City. Kolman, a father of four from the settlement of Kochav Hashachar, died of his wounds in hospital a few hours later. Faddal was shot and killed by a police officer at the scene … Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinian attackers, charging the measure is aimed at deterring more attacks, but Palestinians and human rights groups say the measure constitutes a collective punishment and is counterproductive.
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained during Friday protests in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — A 29-year-old Palestinian succumbed on Monday to wounds he sustained during Land Day protests on Friday near the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. Spokesperson of the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that Fares al-Ruqab, 29, succumbed to his wounds on Monday. Al-Ruqab was shot in the stomach with live ammunition during protesters in eastern Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, when 16 other Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces along the border — one of them a farmer, 15 of them protesters.
Israeli soldiers shoot 49 Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 31 Mar — Israeli soldiers shot, Saturday, 49 Palestinians protesting on their lands, near border area, in several parts of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the soldiers shot nine Palestinians east of Jabalia and one in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 16 east of Gaza city, 15 east of al-Boreij in central Gaza, in addition to six east of Rafah and two east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region. All wounded Palestinians were rushed to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, while medics provided dozens with the needed treatment for the effects of teargas inhalation.
On Saturday at dawn, the soldiers fired several artillery shells into Palestinian agricultural lands in the eastern and central parts of the Gaza Strip.
In related news, Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Saturday evening, at Palestinian fishing boats, in Rafah.
Israeli army injures eleven Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 2 Apr — Palestinian medical sources have confirmed, Sunday, that Israeli soldiers shot at least eleven Palestinians with live fire, including one who suffered a serious injury, while dozens suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army attacked protesters near the border fence, in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip….
Israeli soldiers injure twelve Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 3 Apr — Israeli soldiers attacked, Monday, dozens of Palestinian protesters on their lands near border areas, in several parts of the Gaza Strip, and injured twelve Palestinians with live fire, in addition to causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation….
Gaza hospitals struggle to treat those injured by Israeli troops
Al Jazeera 2 Apr — …Hospitals in Gaza are struggling to cope with the influx of Palestinians injured by Israeli snipers along the Gaza border with Israel, Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid said from Gaza. Doctors say they are running out of medicine and supplies to treat patients, many of whom were wounded by live ammunition, she added. The Israeli use of deadly force has drawn international outcry, the United Nations and rights groups have called for an independent investigation into the killings. But the Israeli minister for security has said “there is no reason” for Israel to cooperate with an UN inquiry into army actions. Multiple videos appear to show Palestinians being shot while not posing an immediate threat. Hundreds of others were injured by Israeli live fire, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson.
Israeli military admits massacre of Gaza protesters was intentional – then deletes tweets
IMEMC from The Real News 1 Apr by Ben Norton — The Israeli military has admitted that its bloody crackdown on unarmed Palestinian protesters was “accurate and measured.” The Israel Defense Forces, which shot 773 Gazans with live ammunition, likewise said, “we know where every bullet landed.” Israel’s military made this admission in posts on Twitter, before promptly deleting the tweets. The Real News has archived and documented these tweets. On Friday, March 30, tens of thousands of Gazans living under a suffocating and illegal decade-long Israeli blockade held a massive peaceful march on the Gaza border, demanding the right Palestinian refugees have under international law to return to the homeland from which Israel expelled them. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) met the march with a barrage of bullets, mowing down unarmed protesters in a massacre that immediately prompted international outrage.
More than 1,400 Palestinians were injured in the IDF’s attack, according to Palestinian medical officials. Israeli soldiers shot 773 Gazan protesters with live ammunition, killing at least 16 people. The day after the protest, on March 31, the IDF published a series of posts on its official Twitter account. The Israeli military referred to the unarmed protest as a “riot” and an “organized terrorist operation.” “Yesterday we saw 30,000 people; we arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements,” the IDF tweeted. “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed. ”
Soon after writing this, the IDF deleted its six-tweet thread. The Real News documented the full deleted Twitter thread by archiving the cached version of the official IDF account.
Funerals begin for Palestinians killed by Israeli army on Land Day
Al Jazeera 31 Mar — Funerals have begun for the 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces as thousands marched near Gaza’s border with Israel to mark the 42nd anniversary of Land Day. Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip held the funeral for 30-year-old Sari Abu Odeh late on Friday. He was shot dead earlier in the day after Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters and used tear gas to push them back from a heavily fortified fence as they began a planned six-week demonstration demanding the right of return for refugees. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 1,400 others were wounded at the demonstration which commemorated Land Day, which stems from March 30, 1976, when six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli forces during protests against the Israeli government’s decision to expropriate massive tracts of Palestinian-owned land. Mohammed Najjar, 25, was shot in the stomach during a clash east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, while Mahmoud Muammar, 38, and Mohammed Abu Omar, 22, were both shot dead in Rafah….
Mordechai: Israel holds two Palestinian bodies
Al Jazeera 1 Apr — Israel is holding the bodies of two Palestinians killed by its snipers near the border with the besieged Gaza Strip, an Israeli official confirmed on Sunday. Yoav Mordechai said Israel will not return the bodies of the two Palestinians until the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during Israel’s war on Gaza are returned. “Gaza will not know peace until the Israelis are returned from the Gaza Strip and our soldiers will be brought for burial in Israel,” he said in a Facebook post in Arabic. Israel is already holding the bodies of 24 Palestinians since 2014, when the Israeli army launched a deadly offensive on the blockaded territory. Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, is believed to be holding four Israelis since 2014, but has not said whether they were dead or alive.
In Gaza, pain but few regrets after deadliest day in years
AFP 2 Apr — Palestinian teen Bassel al-Helo winced in pain as he rolled over in a hospital bed Sunday, after having been shot by Israeli soldiers during a protest on the Gaza-Israel border. It could take years for the 16-year-old to recover from the deep leg wound sustained at Friday’s demonstration, but he says he would do the same again. “I don’t regret it,” he said, as his mother beside him buried her head in her hands with a resigned smile. Throughout Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, young Palestinians lay wounded, surrounded by doting relatives handing out chocolates. Sixteen Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded when a mass protest near the border led to clashes, according to Gaza’s health ministry, in the deadliest single day in the territory since a 2014 war with Israel. It said a total of more than 800 Gazans had been shot [with live fire] by Israeli forces since Friday … Some of the injured admitted to AFP that they were at the front throwing stones at soldiers, while others said they were struck seemingly at random. They felt they had little to lose because of dire poverty in Gaza and that they would return to protest once they had recovered. “I was a little way from the border. Suddenly, random and intense shooting broke out and people began to fall in front of me, including a friend,” Helo said. “As I went to help him, I was shot.” The bullet struck his right leg, shattering and leaving shrapnel lodged under the skin. Metal rods now stick out of the leg on which he was operated. “I went to see and show solidarity. I didn’t expect to be shot,” said the teenager, who was wounded east of Gaza City and insisted he was not throwing stones….
Yearning and camaraderie at Gaza protest camps
GAZA BORDER (Reuters) 2 Apr by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Several thousand Palestinians remained in tent camps along the Gaza border on Monday, continuing their protest for a right of return for refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel even after 16 demonstrators were killed by Israeli troops. The numbers were far smaller than at the peak of the demonstration over the weekend, which saw the worst violence in Gaza since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the armed Islamist group that controls the sealed-off coastal enclave. Many protesters on Monday stayed back a safe distance, wary of Israeli soldiers who remained in position on the other side of the barrier …. Gaza health officials said 12 people were wounded by Israeli fire on Monday and a military spokeswoman said she was checking the details. Those who have stayed in the camps seemed to have divided into three groups. One, mostly youths, sometimes pushed to within a few dozen metres of the fence to hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers, who fired live and rubber bullets, and teargas canisters. Others watched the stone-throwers from a distance. A third group stayed further back, sitting in and around the tents about 700 metres from the frontier. The mood there was calmer, with people snapping selfies and sharing stories about the protest while vendors sell ice cream, cigarettes and sandwiches … At one protest site on Monday, Medhat Basal brought seven of his grandchildren to a hilltop to look out over the border toward the town where his parents lived before 1948. Basal, 69, said his mother gave birth to him while she was fleeing to Gaza from the family home in Beersheba, which is today an Israeli city which lies 25 miles (40 kms) from the Gaza border. “If I don’t make it to Beersheba, one of my grandchildren may do,” Basal said. Israel has long ruled out any right of return for the refugees, fearing that it would lose its Jewish majority….
Video shows Palestinian protester shot in head dozens of meters from Gaza-Israel border
Haaretz 2 Apr by Jack Khoury — A video posted on social media shows a Palestinian protester shot dead as he waves his arms in the air near the lsrael-Gaza border. In the video that was filmed during protests on Sunday, Tahrir Abu-Sabla is seen with other protesters dozens of meters away from the border fence. Abu-Sabla places a tire on a pile of burning tires next to him, turns around and waves his hands in the air, and then is shot. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Abu-Sabla was shot in the head and is in critical condition. Palestinian reports say Abu-Sabala is a resident of the Gazan town of Khan Yunis, and is deaf. He reportedly insisted on taking part in the protests …
Video shows Palestinian shot dead with back to Israeli snipers
Al Jazeera 31 Mar — Several videos circulating on social media purport to show unarmed Palestinian protesters being shot in the back or while praying by Israeli snipers. In one of the videos, a demonstrator – identified by relatives as 19-year-old Abdelfattah Abdelnabi – is shot in the back while running away from the border separating the Gaza Strip and Israel. The footage shows Abdelnabi and another Palestinian being just a few metres away from a small group of unarmed protesters. A loud shot rings out and Abdelnabi drops to the floor. According to the Palestinian health ministry, Abdelnabi died from his wounds. More than 100 snipers were deployed to the border for the planned demonstrations, according to Israeli media.
In another video, a worshipper was shot in his right leg while he was performing ‘Asr, the afternoon prayer, near an Israeli border fence. The group of Muslims praying next to him stopped their communal prayer before rushing to seek cover.
In a third video, an unarmed Palestinian girl was shot as she waved a Palestinian flag near the border. It was unclear what injuries she sustained.
Gaza border protest organizer: Israel portrays us as savages, but all we seek is freedom
Haaretz 2 Apr by Jack Khoury — One Gaza resident says the marches have become a family affair, with many seeing the rally as a welcome break from the suffocating cities — Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are preparing for a prolonged stay near the Israel border, lasting at least until May 15, when Palestinians will mark the 70th anniversary of what they term the “Nakba,” or catastrophe, of Israel’s creation. Organizers are planning daily events involving all the Palestinian parties. Over the next week, women will explain the protest while local artists conduct activities for children. Trade union representatives and clan leaders are also expected to visit the tent encampments along the Gaza-Israel border … One Gaza resident who attended the weekend’s march with his family said many families see the demonstrations as a kind of picnic, a chance to leave the suffocating cities for the open air. “We came with food and water and sat there for several hours. The children flew kites with a Palestinian flag and sent them toward Israeli territory. I think many families will do the same in the coming weeks.” … The organizers are being careful to separate activities in the tent encampment from what is happening a few hundred meters closer to the border. They said the young men confronting Israeli soldiers at the fence are doing so at their own initiative, but have drawn inspiration from the tent protest….
Video: Israel Gaza violence: Christians and Muslims attend vigil
1 Apr — An interfaith march held in Ramallah for victims killed by Israeli forces in Gaza was a peaceful display of prayer and protest. Orthodox Christians and Muslims in the Occupied West Bank have joined a march to remember those who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Palestinian Orthodox Christians have limited their celebrations on Palm Sunday, restricting the occasion to religious rituals to mourn the deaths of 17 Gazans killed in a protest on Friday. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom reports from Ramallah.
Hundreds march in Tel Aviv in solidarity with Gaza following deadly protests
Haaretz 1 Apr by Hagar Shezaf — Around 250 people protested in Tel Aviv on Sunday in solidarity with Gaza following a bloody weekend in which 15 Palestinians were killed. The protest was titled “Create hope, stop the next war” and protesters chanted “no to the occupation” and “In Gaza and Sderot, little girls want to stay alive.” Michael Sfard, renowned human rights lawyer, spoke to Haaretz at the protest and said: ״Gaza is under siege and has been under occupation for the past decade. The people of Gaza are suffering from an enormous humanitarian crisis and now, when they tried to protest against it, they were met with brutal force which killed 16 of them and injured and maimed many others. As an Israeli, my duty is to protest against the evils that are done in my name.” A small counter-protest took place on the other side of the road.
In Jaffa, Arab citizens of Israel protested in solidarity with Gaza at the same time.
Arab League urged to sue Israel at ICC
Al Jazeera 2 Apr — Hamas has called on the Arab League to sue Israel for killing unarmed Palestinians near the Gaza strip border. The call was made on Monday in a phone conversation between Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniya and Arab League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit. The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday on Israeli deadly attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, league official said Monday … Saeed Abu Ali, assistant secretary-general for Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, said Saudi Arabia will chair the meeting. The Arab League also demanded the international community fulfil its responsibility to stop Israeli violations and establish an inquiry commission on the attacks, which also injured nearly 1,500 people.
US blocks UNSC statement on Israel’s use of force on Land Day
Al Jazeera 1 Apr — The United States has blocked a draft statement by the United Nations Security Council that called for an investigation into the killing of 17 unarmed Palestinian protesters near the Gaza Strip‘s eastern border. The statement, which was proposed by Kuwait, demanded an “independent and transparent investigation” under international law into the bloody events on Friday’s Land Day protests. The statement also expressed “grave concern at the situation at the border” and stressed “the right to peaceful protest”. However, the US blocked the statement on Saturday, with US representative to the UN Walter Miller saying “bad actors” were using the “protests as a cover to incite violence” and to “endanger innocent lives.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, condemned the US’ decision, describing the US and the UK as being complicit in Israel’s persistent violations and violence. “The Israeli army used unbridled violence, unleashing more than 100 snipers and firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the protesters before the very eyes of the entire international community,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Saturday….
More than 1,500 others were wounded on Friday’s protest when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters to push them back from Gaza’s border area, according to the Palestinian health ministry. On Saturday, 49 more people were wounded in the ongoing demonstrations.
Israeli radio host posted ‘Ashamed to be Israeli’ after Gaza deaths. Now he may lose his job
Haaretz 2 Apr by Maya Asheri & Nati Tucker — Top Israeli radio host Kobi Meidan has been silenced on Army Radio after posting on Facebook that he’s “ashamed to be Israeli” after 15 Gazans were shot dead during mass Gaza protests along the Israel-Gaza border last week. After talking with the media personality, Army Radio commander Shimon Elkabetz ordered the station to no longer broadcast Meidan on the air, but it remains to be seen whether temporarily or permanently. Meidan told Elkabetz that he uploaded the post before he knew the full facts of the Gaza incident. It has been reported that Elkabetz tends against firing Meidan outright, conditional on him explaining his actions to the public … Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Radio 103 FM that he’s “ashamed to have a radio host of the type on Army Radio.” “If Meidan feels such shame,” Lieberman said, “if he has any integrity, he should quit the station.”….
New York Times sides with Israel as it kills Gaza marchers
EI 31 Mar by Michael F. Brown — The New York Times quickly put its spin on the Great March of Return by Palestinians in Gaza. Writing from Jerusalem, Isabel Kershner dismissed Palestinian nonviolence and emphasized a rapid descent into “chaos and bloodshed.” (Iyad Abuheweila and Ibrahim El-Mughraby contributed reporting from Gaza.) That language persisted for much of Friday before being replaced with wording about Palestinians venting “their pent-up frustration in a protest that quickly turned violent.” … There is no reporting from the newspaper as to whether the march started as nonviolent and was pitched into violence after Israeli forces used deadly force … Strikingly, Kershner fails to note that at the time of her article, no Israeli soldiers had been reported as killed or injured. Nonetheless, Palestinians faced deadly fire … Kershner had to update her article multiple times as the Palestinian casualty figures increased: from at least five to eight to 12 to at least 15 dead and from 170 to over 1,000 injured (where the newspaper apparently decided to stop updating the figure even as the number of injuries increased to over 1,400.) The New York Times, while including language about Palestinians “protesting against Israel’s longstanding blockade of the territory and in support of their claims to return to homes in what is now Israel,” generally complied in its overall framing with Israel’s desired narrative that this was a story about Palestinian violence … Kershner’s colleague Peter Baker tweeted that the Palestinians died in “clashes,” language that obfuscates the overwhelming power imbalance and falsely implies equal responsibility … This all appears to be in line with the talking points supplied by the Israeli government and more subtly reflected in the Times, whose journalists surely heard such points repeatedly from Israeli government officials….
Opinion: Gaza is Soweto revisited / Andrew Mitrovica
Al Jazeera 1 Apr — I’m angry. One of the conventions of column writing is that you’re not supposed to write “angry”. More polite, agreeable writers who write polite, agreeable columns, often dismiss “angry” columns as “rants”. So, fair warning to polite, agreeable columnists and their obsequious readers: You best stop reading this column now since you’re about to digest what may constitute, given your ever so fragile sensibilities, a “rant”. But, hear this: This column isn’t a “rant”. It’s the truth. And, like me, countless people, in countless places, aren’t going to be polite or agreeable any longer to describe – using blunt, simple language, rather than jargon-laced, diplomatic embroidery – the truth about how Israel has turned Gaza into Soweto – while Israel has become South Africa – circa 1976. Countless people, in countless places, remember when South African policemen – turned willing executioners in service of a dying apartheid regime – shot and killed scores of unarmed black students who marched defiantly in defence of their freedom, dignity and land on June 16, 1976. Countless people in countless places watched as Israeli soldiers – turned willing executioners in service of another doomed apartheid regime – shot and killed 17 unarmed Palestinians who marched defiantly in defence of their freedom, dignity and land on March 30, 2018….
Opinion: Gaza’s Passover massacre / Neve Gordon
Al Jazeera 1 Apr — The Passover massacre in Gaza was by no means an exception in the long history of Palestinian resistance — For decades Zionists have blamed the Palestinians for Israel’s ongoing colonial project. “If only the Palestinians had a Mahatma Gandhi,” many Israeli liberals have exclaimed, “then the occupation would end.” But if one truly wished to find Palestinian Mahatma Gandhis all one needed to do is look at the images of protesters on Friday night’s news broadcasts. An estimated 30,000 Palestinians joined the nonviolent March of Return, which aimed to set up a few camps several hundred meters from the militarised fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. Their goal was to protest their incarceration in the world’s largest open-air prison as well as the massive confiscation of their ancestral land – after all, 70 percent of Gaza’s population are 1948 refugees whose families had owned land in what became Israel … The accusation that Palestinians have failed to adopt non-violent methods of resistance, and therefore share responsibility for Israel’s ongoing subjugation and dispossession, not only completely disavows the vast asymmetry in power relations between the coloniser and colonised, but, just as importantly, fails to consider the political history of anticolonial struggles, not least the Palestinian one itself. Indeed, it completely ignores the fact that Israel’s colonial project has been upheld through attritional, protracted and widespread violence, and, despite what certain Western media outlets might present, the Palestinians have developed a robust and long-standing tradition of non-violent resistance. Moreover, the demand to adopt a non-violent ideology completely elides the history of other liberation struggles: from Algiers to Vietnam and all the way back to South Africa … Thus, the tragedy is that Gaza’s Passover massacre simply joins this long list of nonviolent resistance that has, historically, been met with violence and repression by Israel … One may wish it was otherwise – and I most certainly do – but not a single colonial project has ended without the colonised resorting to violence against their oppressors. Requesting for or even angrily demanding liberation has never done the job. Ironically, this is also one of the key messages of the Passover Seder. The story of Exodus recounts how Moses approached Pharaoh several times, asking him to liberate the children of Israel from bondage. Yet, again and again, Pharaoh refused. It was only after horrific violence was deployed against the Egyptians that the Israelites were set free….
Opinion: In Gaza, Israel surpasses its usual evil / Amira Hass
Haaretz 3 Apr — Israelis have become inured to historical associations; it’s no wonder they can justify lethal fire against unarmed demonstrators — In the Gaza Strip, Israel shows itself at its worst. This statement in no way detracts from the evil, both deliberate and incidental, that characterizes its policy toward other Palestinians — in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Nor does it lessen the horrors of its revenge attacks (aka reprisal operations) in the West Bank before 1967 or its assaults on civilians in Lebanon. Nevertheless, in Gaza, Israel surpasses its usual evil. There in particular it causes soldiers, commanders, bureaucrats and civilians to demonstrate behaviors and character traits that in any other context would be considered sadistic and criminal or, at best, inappropriate to a civilized society. Space suffices for only four reminders. The two massacres carried out by Israeli soldiers against Gazans during the 1956 Sinai war have fled our awareness as if they never happened, despite the documentation. According to a report by the head of UNRWA submitted to the United Nations in January 1957, on November 3, during the conquest of Khan Yunis (and in the course of an operation to collect weapons and to round up hundreds of men in order to find Egyptian soldiers and Palestinian combatants), Israeli soldiers killed 275 Palestinians — 140 refugees and 135 local residents. On November 12 (after the fighting had ended), Israeli soldiers in Rafah killed 103 refugees, seven local residents and one Egyptian … In assaults on Gaza since 2008, the Israeli criteria for permissible, proportionate killing according to Jewish ethics have become clearer. An Islamic Jihad fighter who is sleeping is a suitable target. Hamas operatives’ families, including children, also deserve to be killed. So do their neighbors. So does anyone who boils water for tea on an open fire. So does anyone who plays in the police orchestra….
Israel nixed solar power plan that would have relieved Gaza power crisis
Haaretz 2 Apr by Shuki Sadeh — Energy Minister Steinitz, who rejected the plan, is said to have told the entrepreneur behind the venture that Abbas was against it — Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz rejected a plan a year ago to develop a solar power station in Israel that could have supplied the electricity for the power-strapped Gaza Strip, TheMarker has learned. The proposal was made by Shlomi Fogel, an Israeli entrepreneur who is a partner in Israel Shipyards and the Ampa Group, a real estate and non-bank finance company. A friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Fogel, 62, has been a member of Likud since 2007 … Fogel proposed developing a solar power station at a cost of $140 million that could supply 100 megawatts of power, said sources who asked not to be identified. The plant would have been located on 2,000 dunams (500 acres) of land close to the Gaza border, and negotiations had begun with the six Israeli communities that own the land to lease it. Germany’s Deutsche Bank was prepared to finance the project, the sources said. Why Steinitz rejected it is a matter of dispute. The sources close to the talks with the Energy Ministry said Steinitz told Fogel that the time was not right for such a project and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas opposed the idea. Abbas has been in a prolonged political dispute with Hamas that led the Palestinian Authority to stop paying for Israeli power supplied to Gaza. For its part, the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry said the proposal was rejected due to “engineering difficulties” after it was reviewed by the Electricity Authority and various experts….
Snapshots of life on the line
EI 28 Mar by Rami Almeghari — Gaza stands on the brink of full-blown humanitarian disaster … Family relations are strained, educations go to waste, tempers fray, debts are owed. These are some of their stories.
—Sami— Last month, Sami Shamiya, 58, went to his local grocery store in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. There, and on credit, he bought cooking oil and tea for the equivalent of $10. The bill was added to his growing debt at the shop. He did not take his wares home, however. Instead, he brought them to another shop where he sold the oil and the tea to raise cash for medicine for his wife, Naima, 55, who was unwell with the flu. Sami’s family of nine lives together in a 120-square-meter dwelling covered by a leaky asbestos roof. There is one room for eating and hosting that also functions as a bedroom for the family’s three sons. Under an old table there, large water buckets contain the clothes of the oldest son, Maysara, 26, a qualified nurse. Clothes also hang from three ropes tied across a ceiling that leaks when it rains. A rusty, old iron oven holds the family’s shoes. There is no television. The family’s four daughters sleep in one room. The parents have the last room to themselves, a solitary luxury. None of the children work. Aged from 15 to 27, three have higher education degrees – Maysara in nursing, older sister Najaa, 27, in social science and younger sister Ala, 25, in teaching – but jobs have proven hard to come by….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization
Israel further isolates West Bank village with new section of separation wall
QALQILYA (WAFA) 3 Apr – The Israeli army added a new section to the separation wall that surrounds the town of ‘Azzoun ‘Atmeh, southeast of Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank, further isolating it from its surroundings, a local council official said on Tuesday. Abdul Karim Ayyoub, the town council secretary, told WAFA that the town has petitioned Israeli courts to stop the construction of the wall that already surrounds the town from all sides totally isolating it from nearby towns and villages. Town residents can enter or leave the town from only one side that is controlled by a metal gate, which the soldiers open three times a day and for only 20 minutes each time. He said the wall extends seven kilometers around the town and has isolated 2000 dunums of its rich agricultural land.
Israel prevents call for prayers at Ibrahimi Mosque 52 times in March
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 Apr – Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Yousef Id’es said, in a statement Sunday, that in March alone, Israeli authorities banned the Muslim call for prayer at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron 52 times under the pretext that the call was annoying to Israeli settlers. Id’es said Israel is using this policy, in addition to the intensified military measures on the entrances of the mosque, to abuse Muslims and ban them from praying at the mosque. “This is an attack on religion and freedom of worshipping,” Id’es said in the statement, stressing Israel is trying hard to control the Ibrahimi mosque. Id’es added that Israeli forces inspect Muslim worshippers and force them into going through electronic metal detectors and military checkpoints on the way to the mosque.
Soldiers attack Palestinians planting trees near Salfit, injure one
IMEMC 2 Apr — Israeli soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force, Sunday, against Palestinians planning trees on their lands in Deir Ballout town, west of Salfit, in northeastern West Bank, causing several injuries, during a nonviolent activity aimed at planting trees on lands threatened by Israel’s illegal construction of expansion of its colonies and the Annexation Wall. One of the wounded is Fawwaz Nasser, of the Popular Work department of the Palestinian Committee against the Wall and Colonies; he was shot with a rubber-coated bullet in his arm … Among the participants in the nonviolent activity was Salfit Governor Ibrahim al-Balawi, and the head of the National Committee against the Wall and Colonies, Minister Walid Assaf, Fateh Secretary in Salfit Abdul-Sattar Awwad, in addition to many officials, representatives of nongovernmental and social organizations. The participants stressed on the importance of planting and protecting the lands, especially those threatened by Israel’s illegal Wall and colonies, and are under constant attacks by the colonizers, in addition to the lands that became isolated behind the illegal Annexation Wall.
Villagers foil settler attempts to seize land near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Mar — Villagers from Turmus Ayya, a village to the northeast of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, were able to foil attempts by Israeli settlers to take over Palestinian-owned land near the village, on Friday, said the village mayor. Rasmi Shehadeh said, according to WAFA, that a group of settlers from the illegal settlements of Adi-Ad and Shilo, nearby, and who were escorted by Israeli army, stormed into an area near the village and assaulted farmers who were working on their own land. He said the farmers were able to compel the settlers to leave the land, before the soldiers attacked the farmers with teargas and rubber-coated rounds.
Settlers flood sewage into Hebron-area farmland
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Apr — Israeli settlers, on Sunday, flooded their sewage into an orchard planted with grapes near the town of Beit Ummar, to the north of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Yousef Abu Maria, an anti-settlement activist, told WAFA that extremist Israeli settlers from the Gush Etzion settlement, nearby, flooded sewage into a 40-dunam orchard planted with grapes in order to damage the crops, which belong to Palestinian farmers. He said that Palestinian farmers in the area have incurred significant losses as a result of similar flooding of sewage by Israeli settlers in recent years.
Unlicensed settler pilot caught flying helicopter around West Bank
JPost 30 Mar by Tovah Lazaroff — A settler pilot who owns two helicopters and has a small landing strip in the West Bank settlement of Itamar got into trouble this week with Israeli police who had no idea he was flying around until they came upon his parked helicopter. His neighbors knew he was there. Peace Now, who claims his tiny airport is a hilltop outpost, have been aware of his activity for years. But police and Border Police said they first caught wind of the pilot’s activities on Sunday, when they saw a helicopter parked at the site of the former Atarot Airport, located between Jerusalem and Ramallah, not far from the Kalandia checkpoint. They were in the middle of a pre-Passover operation dubbed “cleaning out hametz” to find illegal Palestinian workers, during which they arrested 583 suspects, including one settler pilot. They arrested the pilot near his helicopter, after they discovered that he lacked a license to fly and had no permits for his helicopter. Police confiscated the helicopter and eventually released the pilot, albeit with some restrictions. On Thursday, police made a surprise raid on Itamar and found the pilot had a second helicopter in a white hangar, as well as an ultralight plane. Police also found what looked like a landing strip that he used an alternative airport from which to take off and land….