Update: Israeli army kills 3 in Gaza, injures 995
[with photos of those killed] IMEMC 28 Apr — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, three young Palestinian men, and injured more than 995, including at least 178 who were shot with live fire. It stated that the first Palestinian who was killed by Israeli army fire, Friday, has been identified as Mohammad Amin al-Moqyd, 21, from Gaza city. His body was moved to the Shifa Medical Center. The Ministry added that the soldiers also killed Abdul-Salam Bakr, 29, from Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The third Palestinian who was killed by army fire has been identified as Khalil Na‘im Atallah, 22, from Gaza. In addition, the Health Ministry said the soldiers injured 995 Palestinians, including many who suffered serious wounds. It added that 178 of the wounded were shot with live fire. 175 of the wounded Palestinians were injured in Northern Gaza, 251 in Gaza city area, 200 in Central Gaza, 146 in Khan Younis and 183 in Rafah … The ongoing ‘Great Return March’ protests which started on Palestinian Land Day (March 30th) are meant to bring attention to the fact that millions of Palestinians are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip, unable to return to their homes in what is now Israel. Palestinians make up the largest refugee population on earth. Israeli troops again opened fire on the unarmed protesters, as they have done each Friday since the protests began on March 30th. Since March 30th, Israeli forces have killed forty-three Palestinian protesters, and wounded more than five thousand….
Child dies of wounds sustained during Gaza border protests
KHAN YOUNIS (WAFA) 28 Apr – A Palestinian child died on Saturday of wounds sustained during the Friday protests at the Gaza borders with Israel, according to the Ministry of Health. WAFA correspondent in Gaza said Israeli soldiers stationed at the border shot Azzam Hilal Oueida, 14, in the head while he was participating in the Great Return March protests near the fence near the town of Khazaa, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Oueida was rushed to the European Hospital with critical injuries where he was later declared dead. He is the fourth Palestinian to be shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during Friday border protests bringing the total killed so far since the start of the Great Return March protests on March 30 to 44. Thousands were wounded, many of them reported in critical condition.
Second Palestinian journalist succumbs to wounds in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — A Palestinian journalist succumbed overnight from wounds sustained by an Israeli army sniper, while covering the recent “Great March of Return” demonstrations in Gaza. Ahmed Abu Hussein was shot in the side of the abdomen on Friday the 13th of April, and later died on the 25th of April in Tel Hashomer hospital in central Israel, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Abu Hussein came under Israeli sniper fire despite the fact he was at a distance of 350-meters from the border fence. Israel has previously declared its “right to defend the border” from demonstrators that come within 300-meters. The 24-year-old journalist from Jabaliya refugee camp worked as a journalist for the Gaza-based Al Shaab radio station, as well as a photographer for Bisan. According to eye-witnesses, he was wearing a helmet, as well as a protective vest marked “PRESS” at the time of his shooting. Unverified video evidence may act to support the claim that Abu Hussein was indeed wearing a blue protective vest as he was struck by an Israeli army sniper.
The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate has issued a statement holding the Israeli army “fully responsible for this crime”, calling for an investigation, and ultimately prosecutions.In an interview with Al Jazeera, Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists said: “Protective gear that clearly indicates individuals are members of the press should afford them extra protection- not make them targets.” “The death of Ahmed Abu Hussein underscores the need for Israeli authorities to urgently scrutinize its policies toward journalists covering protests and take immediate, effective action.” Mansour explained. Abu Hussein’s death marks the second death of a journalist whilst covering the march of our lives demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border, following the death of Yaser Murtaja, 30, who was shot on the 7th of April. Israel has since stated Murtaja was an active member of Hamas- a claim his family and work colleagues have vehemently denied. According to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, thirteen journalists in total have come under fire from the Israeli Army whilst covering the events on the border in recent weeks….
Ministry of health: Israel used unknown gas against protesters along Gaza borders
GAZA (WAFA) 27 Apr – The Ministry of Health Friday said that Israeli forces used an ‘”unknown” gas against unarmed, peaceful Palestinians on the fifth consecutive Friday of the Great March of Return protests to the east of al-Buriej refugee camp, in central Gaza. The ministry said that Israeli forces randomly fired an unknown gas toward protesters in al-Awdeh refugee camp to the east of al-Buriej, causing suffocation, convulsion, and extreme vomiting to dozens of protesters. Many were transferred to hospital for medical treatment due to the severity of their condition.
Body of assassinated Palestinian given emotional sendoff in Malaysia
[with video] KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) 25 Apr – The body of an assassinated Palestinian scientist was on Wednesday (April 25) driven through the Malaysian capital accompanied by a crowd shouting “God is greatest”, as mourners accused Israel of killing him. Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh‘s corpse was set to be flown to Egypt later in the day before being transported on to Gaza for burial … The remains were taken to a mosque, where prayers for the dead were performed before about 500 mourners. “Every Palestinian who has heard of this assassination is saddened and shocked,” Muslim Imran, chairman of the Palestinian Cultural Organisation of Malaysia, told the crowd. “This crime, I believe, is another reflection of the nature of the Israeli occupation. They carry out crimes, massacres, not only in Palestine but also in the rest of the world.” Malik Taibi, an Algerian student who was Batsh’s neighbour, added the victim was a “very kind man”. “We hope that the ones that killed him are caught by the Malaysian government.” Earlier on Wednesday police said they believed the two suspects accused of carrying out the hit were still in the country, and released a photograph of one of them. The men were believed to have entered Malaysia in January but their nationalities were still not known, police said.
Family of murdered KL lecturer to move to Gaza, says widow
KUALA LUMPUR (Straits Times) 25 Apr by Nadirah H. Rodzi — The family of slain Palestinian lecturer Dr Fadi al-Batsh will move back home to the Palestinian territory of Gaza after the academic is laid to rest there. “God willing, we will start a new life in Gaza,” said Dr Fadi’s widow, Ms Enas Batsh. Speaking at the family’s house in Jalan Meranti, Setapak, on Tuesday night (April 24), Ms Enas, who had expected to continue postgraduate studies at the Universiti Malaya, said she would request to continue the programme online. “It was my husband’s wish to see me further my studies. He said I had been patient when he was pursuing his education so now, he wants me to pursue my passion,” she said. The couple have three children, aged one to six. Recalling the days leading up to Saturday’s brutal killing, the 31-year-old widow said there were no signs anything was amiss. “We didn’t get any feeling that he was threatened. We were planning a holiday. It’s unbelievable,” she said … Meanwhile, Dr Fadi’s brother, Ramy, 28, hopes those responsible for the death will be brought to justice. “It was a brutal attack… we want them to be taken to court and given the heaviest punishment,” he said. The family also denied claims that Dr Fadi was a rocket scientist as alleged by the Israeli government. “It’s inaccurate… My brother was only a positive person who loved his religion and knowledge … Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been accused of being behind the killing but the Israeli government dismissed the allegation on Sunday. The Palestine News Network, an Arabic language media network based in the Palestinian Territories, also said Israel had asked Egypt not to allow Dr Fadi’s body to be brought back to Gaza, but the network said this was not under Israel’s control as the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip falls within Egyptian sovereignty. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly said the request was in line with Israel’s policy on preventing the transfer of the bodies of martyrs from the Hamas movement for burial in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian lecturer killed in Malaysia is buried in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 26 Apr by Nidal al-Mughrabi — The body of Fadi al-Batsh, a Palestinian lecturer claimed as a member by Hamas who was gunned down in Malaysia at the weekend, was repatriated to Gaza and buried on Thursday … Batsh’s body was flown to Egypt, accompanied by his wife and son, and then taken by road to Gaza for a reception attended by members of all political factions and relatives, followed by burial in the northern Gaza Strip. “We hold the occupation (Israel) responsible for the killing and martyrdom of Fadi, the killers of scientists will not escape punishment,” senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya said as the body was received in Gaza. Policemen carried Batsh’s coffin, draped in the Palestinian flag, past an honor guard as family members wept. “The sinful hands that assassinated Batsh will be severed,” Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s political chief, said at the funeral rally. Hamas has confirmed Batsh was a member, but has not specified what role he had in the movement.
At Gaza’s largest hospital, the wounded keep coming
GAZA (Reuters) 25 Apr by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Doctors are on a particularly tight schedule at Gaza’s largest hospital when it comes to treating Palestinians wounded by Israeli army bullets at Friday protests along the border. Many of the injured rushed to Shifa hospital have to be discharged by Thursday, a day before the next mass demonstration, to make room for a new round of wounded. At the facility on Wednesday, two foreign surgeons, contracted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), joined their Palestinian colleagues in tending the injured in multiple operating rooms. “We have different teams operating on arterial problems in seven theaters at the same time. That meant it was much quicker, much more efficient, and it was very effective,” said British vascular surgeon John Wolfe. But the frequent power outages that have long plagued Gaza mean that, at times, doctors briefly have to operate by the light from cellphones before emergency generators kick in … Slobodan Mirosavljev, a visiting surgeon from Serbia, said Palestinian medical personnel had coped well with a situation that would have been “overwhelming for any health facility in any country”….
Due to large number of injuries, PA Health Ministry delays 4,000 scheduled surgeries
IMEMC 25 Apr — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has announced delaying 4000 scheduled surgeries for patients in the coastal region due to the excessively high number of Palestinians who were shot by the Israeli army during the “Great March of Return Protests.” … The head of the General Administration of Gaza hospitals, Abdul-Latif al-Haj, said the wounded Palestinians, and due to the varying nature of their injuries, consume more medical supplies than ordinary patients, especially sterilized bandages, stitches, and surgery tools, in addition to various sorts of antibiotics, IV solutions, and anti-coagulants. He said that the number of external bone fixation devices used on patients who have suffered gunshot wounds since March 30th is more than the average amount for an entire year.
Israeli government justifies killing child protester in Gaza: They’re not in school
Mondoweiss 24 Apr by Philip Weiss — The picture of Alaa Zamli, 15, is on top of this post because of his beautiful smile, which should have taken him very far in life. But he lived in Gaza, where he was killed by an Israeli sniper during the fence protests April 10. Today Ben White tweeted Zamli’s picture along with those of three other children protesters Israeli snipers have killed in Gaza … Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was asked on Sunday if Israel had not gone too far when it killed Ayoub, as Orly Noy reports at +972: Army Radio morning show host Razi Barkai asked Education Minister Naftali Bennett if “we had gone too far” in killing 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub during the Gaza return march protests last Friday. “If he had gone to school like every other kid,” Bennett responded, “there wouldn’t have been a problem.” That is what Israel’s education minister had to say about the murder of a child – killed by a sniper’s bullet – during a protest. This is now a theme of Israeli propaganda surrounding the killings in Gaza: the children are to blame for not being in school, or not reading books….
Israeli troops first shot a Gaza journalist’s left leg, then his right. And they didn’t stop there
Haaretz 27 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — The amputation of 19-year-old Gaza photographer Yousef Kronz’s left leg could have been prevented had Israel let him receive timely medical treatment in the West Bank –– His left leg was amputated in Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, and now efforts are underway, in Istishari Arab Hospital in the West Bank, to ensure that his right leg doesn’t suffer the same fate. More than two weeks passed between the amputation of the first leg – which itself could have been prevented – and the action undertaken to save the other one. Precious time in which Israel refused to allow Yousef Kronz, the first Palestinian seriously wounded during the recent weekly protests in the Gaza Strip, to be moved to the hospital outside Ramallah. The High Court of Justice finally forced the Defense Ministry to bring this disgraceful conduct to an end and allow the transfer of the 19-year-old student and journalist from Bureij refugee camp, to that more sophisticated facility.
On Friday, March 30, Kronz was shot, first in the left leg, by an Israel Defense Forces sniper, and then, seconds later, when he tried to get up, in the right leg, by a second sniper. According to Kronz, the rounds that slammed into his legs and shattered his life came from two different directions. In other words, he was shot by two different marksmen, as he stood 750 meters away from the Gaza border fence, armed with no more than his camera, wearing a vest with “Press” emblazoned on it, trying to document the incessant firing by IDF snipers at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. After he was hit, he tells us now, he saw more and more people falling to the sand, bleeding, “like birds.” The incident occurred on Land Day, the first day of the Marches of Return opposite the Gaza fence….
Israeli army confirms airstrikes against Hamas in Gaza, Palestinians report four wounded
Haaretz 27 Apr by Jack Khoury — At least four people were wounded in Israeli airstrikes on Hamas outpost at a port in Gaza, Palestinian media reported Friday. Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson confirmed the attack, saying the IDF struck six naval targets belonging to the organization. The Gaza Health Ministry has not reported of any wounded thus far. Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson released a statement confirming the airstrike, saying it was in response to the “terrorist actions and extensive attempts to breach Israeli territory earlier today.” The statement adds that “for several weeks now, the terrorist organization Hamas has been leading violent riots that act as a guise for a string of terrorist attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians.” The statement refers to the incident reported by the IDF earlier Friday, in which hundreds of Palestinians allegedly rushed the border fence, “as they hurl charges, grenades and bottle bombs and even hit and set fire to the border fence.”….
Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza for 3 days starting Saturday
CAIRO (WAFA) 27 Apr – Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt will be opened in both directions for three days starting Saturday to allow travel for humanitarian cases, the Palestinian embassy in Egypt announced on Friday….
UN says US has cut almost 5 times amount of Gaza aid it originally said
Thomson Reuters 24 Apr — Emergency food aid for around a million Palestinians in Gaza may run out from June if the UN agency for Palestinian refugees cannot raise another $200 million US following a cut-off in U.S. funding, the agency said Tuesday. Pierre Kraehenbuehl, who heads the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) providing aid for Palestinians across the Middle East, said U.S. President Donald Trump had withheld $305 million in funding, far more than the $65 million reported in January. “You already have a very, very fragile community [in Gaza],” Kraehenbuehl told Reuters in an interview during an international donor conference in Syria in Brussels. “So if you suddenly have no certainty about the amount of food aid coming from the UN for a million people … you can just imagine the kind of effects it could have,” he said, although he stressed he was not justifying any link to potential outbreaks of unrest. Gulf states, Norway and Canada have stepped in with a total of $200 million to help meet a planned $465 million budget for 2018. The U.S. is providing just $60 million of a promised $365 million, Kraehenbuehl said. That leaves a $200 million shortfall to fill for rice, flour, sugar and also to keep funding schools in Gaza and the West Bank. The U.S. has long been the biggest donor to the agency. In 2010, for example, the Barack Obama administration announced a plan to give $400 million through the UNRW for Gaza and West Bank aid … Kraehenbuehl said the shortfall in funding for the agency could also mean there may not be enough money to reopen schools in August and September for the new academic year. “This is our largest funding crisis ever,” he said.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia makes contribution of $50m to UNRWA
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Apr — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) expressed its deep recognition and gratitude for the extraordinary contribution of $50 million announced by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the recent Arab League Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia….
United Arab Emirates makes contribution of $50m to UNRWA
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Apr – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) ‘warmly’ welcomed a $50 million contribution announced upon the directives of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan….
UN humanitarian groups say Gaza needs critical intervention following large scale injuries
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Apr – The large number of Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of excessive Israeli force and use of gunfire against protesters at the Gaza border with Israel over the last month has prompted United Nations humanitarian organizations to appeal for urgent medical and health intervention in the Gaza Strip. According to the Ministry of Health, the Friday protests left four Palestinians dead, including a 14-year-old child, almost 1000 injured, including 76 children and 39 women, and 178 injured from live bullets, eight of them in critical condition. Overall, since March 30 when the Great Return March protests began, 44 Palestinians were killed and over 6000 injured, including over 600 children and more than 200 women, around 150 critically injured, and almost 2000 shot with live ammunition including more than 230 shot in the neck and head, 450 in the upper parts, more than 120 in the back and chest, 140 in the abdomen and pelvis, over 1700 in the lower extremities. In addition, the ministry reported 21 cases of limbs amputations (not including the last Friday injuries): …
In its flash update report following the Friday protests, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the occupied Palestinian territory said humanitarian actors have identified three areas of intervention that are critical to respond to the urgent needs arising from the ongoing protests in Gaza: providing immediate life-saving healthcare; monitoring, verifying and documenting possible protection violations; and scaling up the provision of mental health and psychological support for people injured or otherwise affected by the events. According to OCHA, some $5.3 million is urgently required to scale up the immediate response until 31 May, the expected six-week duration of the Great Return March demonstrations, plus an additional two weeks to ensure immediate response to any affected on 15 May, the apex of the protests that coincides on the Palestinian Nakba anniversary marking 70 years of Palestinian dispersion and uprooting from their homeland….
11 years of visiting Gaza, seeing it deteriorate
AMERA 25 Apr by Liz Demarest — Since December 2007 I have visited Gaza nine times. It is April 2018 and I just got back from a trip there. Over the course of 11 years, I have seen this beautiful strip of land deteriorate to the point where it is hard to imagine how much worse it can be. On my first visit, the blockade was new. I saw poverty, but there was still some commerce and industry functioning that had existed before the blockade began … With every succeeding year I’ve seen things get more and more dire. The bombings in 2008 – 2009, 2012 and especially 2014 destroyed thousands of homes and entire industrial sectors. They also destroyed water and sewage networks. Schools were flattened … Most upsetting is how much I’ve seen people’s feelings of hope disappear. I have always thought of the Palestinians of Gaza as having an amazing spirit and resilience. But on this trip I’m hearing people say that things just get worse and there’s absolutely no end in sight to it. People have nothing to strive for. They want a better life for their children. But they don’t see that as a real possibility anymore in Gaza. Even people who have been the most committed to Gaza, who have said to me that they believe it’s important to stay and build up their communities and society — because they love it — no longer are saying such things. Many people tell me they would leave if they could, because they need to make sure their children have a brighter future and they don’t want to doom them by keeping them in Gaza. Gaza is full of educated, capable and motivated people who could rebuild their communities very quickly if they were allowed the freedom to interact with the outside world. Isolating them and strangling their livelihoods does not protect Israel. Instead, the level of control exerted over Palestinians in Gaza has created anger, frustration and hopelessness. Isn’t it obvious this is no path to peace?….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers shoot a teen near Nablus
IMEMC 28 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot, on Friday evening, a Palestinian teenage boy, and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army invaded the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Media sources said the soldiers invaded the village after dozens of Palestinians held a protest against the ongoing occupation. They added that the soldiers fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, wounding a 17-year-old boy in his back. The soldiers also fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing scores of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, especially since some gas bombs directly struck homes.
Israeli army invades Al-Jalazoun refugee camp
[with video] IMEMC 28 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday evening, the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central west Bank city of Ramallah, reportedly after shots were fired at Beit El illegal colony. Many youngsters hurled stones at the soldiers while armed resistance fighters exchanged fire with the invading forces. Media sources in Ramallah said dozens of soldiers invaded the refugee camp after many live rounds were fired at Beit El nearby illegal colony and military base, which was built on Palestinian lands. Following the invasion, many local youngsters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at the army jeeps, while the soldiers fired more live founds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. The army also invaded a gas station to confiscate surveillance recordings, while local youngsters hurled stones at them, before additional forces invaded the area and fired dozens of live rounds to secure the retreat of the soldiers. During the invasion into the gas station, the soldiers caused excessive damage, and confiscated several computers and surveillance equipment.
2 cars torched at Arab village in northern Israel
Ynet 25 Apr by Hassan Shaalan & Ahiya Raved — Two cars were torched overnight Tuesday in the northern region village of Iksal [in Israel] and a stone fence was sprayed with “Jews, let’s win” in a suspected hate crime. Police were called to the scene, collected evidence, searched for suspects and opened an investigation into the incident. Police noted the investigation will receive top priority, with several similar such incidents taking place around the West Bank recently, the last of which happened Wedesnday as well—the walls of residences in the village of Jalud in the Binyamin region were sprayed with “Let us handle them” and “Take our destiny in our own hands.” Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi said the attack was serious and racist and that it “necessitated determined police action to end hate crimes towards Arab citizens.”
Yitzhar settlement viewed as epicenter of surge in ‘price tag’ attacks
Times of Israel 23 Apr by Jacob Magid — But officials in the northern West Bank community say it’s due to an influx of ‘hilltop youth’ evicted from a nearby hardcore outpost last year — The Israeli security establishment views the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar as responsible for the recent uptick in hate crimes against Palestinian villages, a defense official told The Times of Israel Monday. The town of roughly 1,500 residents has become a “refuge for hilltop youth” who have been involved in most of the so-called price tag attacks in the past year, the official said. Seven instances of extensive Palestinian property destruction have been documented in the past week alone.“Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists ostensibly in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Palestinian olive groves, mosques, churches have been targeted by far-right vandals in recent years, as have dovish Israeli rights groups and even IDF military bases … The defense establishment official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the violent instances that have taken place over the past month had been carried out by hilltop youth from Yitzhar. He added that in addition to the rogue settlers, students from Yitzhar’s Od Yosef Chai yeshiva have also been involved in carrying out the hate crimes. The religious institution led by US-born Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh has been long viewed by the Israeli defense establishment as a hotbed for extremism….
Four Palestinians, including wounded teen, detained from West Bank
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 26 Apr – Israeli forces Thursday detained four Palestinians, including a wounded teen, from the West Bank districts of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jenin, said security sources and WAFA correspondent. Israeli forces detained a wounded Palestinian teen during a raid in Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. Troops broke into and ransacked the family home of Hussein Shahin, 17, before detaining him, triggering clashes with youths who protested the raid and attempted to block troops’ passage. Local youths hurled stones at military jeeps, while troops fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas canisters.
Shahin reportedly was shot with three live rounds in his leg during a military raid into the camp in December.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces conducted a raid into Jaba‘ town, south of Jenin, where they detained a Palestinian young man after storming and thoroughly searching his family home.
This came several hours before Israeli police detained two Palestinians after savagely beating them in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Several women were reportedly shoved out of the way as they attempted to free the detainee from police.
Israeli soldiers abduct five Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 27 Apr — Updated: The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday at dawn, five young Palestinian men, after invading and searching their homes in Bethlehem, and Qalqilia.
Several army jeeps invaded Far‘ata village, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, before the soldiers stormed and searched homes, and abducted two young men, in their twenties. The two abducted residents have been identified as Ehsan Saleh Tawil, a student of the Najah National University in Nablus, and his cousin Shehab Tawil.
The PPS added that the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, also searched homes and abducted Dia’ al-Afifi, Mohammad Waleed Thawabta, 17, and Mohammad Mansour Deeriyya, 22.
On Thursday at night, the soldiers closed the main entrance of ‘Azzoun town, east of Qalqilia, after the army attacked protesters, and fired live rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets, while several young men hurled stones at the invading army jeeps. The army said several youngsters also “hurled stones at settlers’ cars, causing damage.”
In addition, medical sources in Hebron, in southern West Bank, said the soldiers shot two Palestinians in Halhoul Bridge area, north of the city. They added that the two Palestinians suffered moderate-but-stable wounds and were rushed to a local hospital.
Killer of Palestinian teen praised as ‘excellent’ by Israeli judge
EI 25 Apr by Ali Abunimah — A soldier who killed a Palestinian teen has been praised as “excellent” and “conscientious” by an Israeli judge, who sentenced him to a mere nine months in prison. This conclusion to the trial of Ben Dery for the cold-blooded killing of 17-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara is another all too predictable episode of how Israel’s military investigation system whitewashes crimes against Palestinians. “Despite clear and overwhelming video, spatial and sound forensic analysis showing Ben Dery intentionally killed Nuwara, he was charged with a lesser crime and a wilful killing was whitewashed into an accident,” Brad Parker, international advocacy officer for Defense for Children International Palestine, told The Electronic Intifada on Wednesday. “The lenient sentence announced today is not surprising and illustrates how pervasive and entrenched denial perpetuates impunity even where video evidence shows Israeli forces intentionally killing children.” Dery, a combatant in Israel’s paramilitary Border Police, was initially charged with manslaughter – already a lesser charge – in the slaying of Nuwara on 15 May 2014 – Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate their 1948 expulsion from much of their homeland. But that charge was reduced even further under a plea agreement to “negligence and causing severe bodily harm.”
Israeli occupation authorities at first denied the use of live ammunition and tried to claim the video evidence was fabricated. Michael Oren, who had been Israel’s ambassador in Washington and is now a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, even went on CNN to claim that Nuwara and another boy shot dead that day might not really be dead. But Israeli authorities later indicted Dery with replacing the bullets in a magazine that was intended for rubber-coated bullets and blanks with live ammunition and then using his M-16 rifle to shoot Nuwara in the chest. In imposing a sentence at the lower end of the guidelines on Wednesday, the Israeli judge described Dery as “an excellent police officer who was conscientious about orders.” While the slaying of Palestinian children by Israeli occupation forces is a horrifyingly frequent occurrence – Israel has already killed 10 children this year – Nuwara’s case was notable for the amount of evidence available. This video shows his slaying as captured by security cameras in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia….
VIDEO: Israeli soldiers cheer after shooting a Palestinian protester in the village of Madama
B’Tselem 24 Apr — At around 2:00 P.M. on Friday afternoon, 13 April 2018, some thirty residents of the Palestinian village of Madama tried to remove a roadblock the Israeli military had placed at the eastern entrance to the village. About eleven soldiers then arrived on the scene. In the clashes that ensued, residents threw stones at the soldiers from a distance of 50-80 meters, and the soldiers fired stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets at the villagers. Seven residents sustained injuries from the rubber-coated metal bullets the soldiers fired: two were taken to a hospital in Nablus for medical treatment, and the other five were treated on the spot. Joyfully cheering about shooting a person trying to clear the access road to his home and calmly discussing other ways to hit him and the other people with him are part of the discordant soundtrack accompanying 51 years of occupation. Filmed by B’Tselem volunteers Mu‘awiyah Nassar and Ahmad Ziyadah.
Israeli soldiers use a Palestinian man, ‘Abd a-Rahim Gheith, as human shield during clashes in Jericho
B’Tselem 9 Apr — On Friday, 9 March 2018, at midday, clashes developed between dozens of Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers near the southern entrance to the city of Jericho, close to the settlement of Vered Jericho. The youths threw stones at the soldiers, who fired stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. At around 4:00 P.M., ‘Abd a-Rahim Gheith, a 34-year-old electrician and father of a month-and-a-half-old baby boy, finished his work for the day in Jericho and set out for his home in Dahiyat al-Bareed near the town of a-Ram. When he reached the southern entrance to Jericho, soldiers detained him, took his ID card, ordered him out of his car and handcuffed him. In video footage shot by freelance journalist ‘Adel Abu Ni’meh, soldiers are seen positioning Gheith’s car so it faces the demonstrating youths, then opening its doors and using the car as cover while they fire at the youths. They sat Gheith down on a traffic island about three meters away from them, handcuffed and defenseless. Some of the stones thrown at the soldiers hit Gheith, and he was injured in the legs, back and head. Stones also struck his car, damaging it. The soldiers kept Gheith in this position for about two hours, and only then did they transfer him to a military ambulance for first aid. At around that time, the clashes ended and the soldiers informed him that he was free to go and told him to make his own way to a hospital. While Gheith, injured and in shock, searched for his belongings and his car keys to drive to hospital, his cousin arrived and said the Red Crescent had contacted him. The cousin was carrying Gheith’s belongings, which the military had handed over to the Red Crescent while he was receiving first aid in the military ambulance. Gheith was taken to the Jericho state hospital. His discharge papers noted that he had sustained lacerations to the forehead, neck, back and both hands….
Parents of Palestinian teen who was burned alive by Israeli settlers sue killers for damages
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Apr — The parents of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was brutally tortured and burned to death by Israeli settlers in July of 2014, have filed a civil lawsuit for 5.6 million Israeli shekels ($1.6 million) in damages. “The goal is not to make money but to add to their punishment, so that, even when they are released, they will know they need to pay the family they hurt so much,” Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted family lawyer Muhannad Jabara as saying. In an interview with Quds Press, Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father said, “This is not compensation because we do not want to trade in our son’s case. We know that we will not get money and our cause is not finished with Mohammed’s death, but we will continue our legal fighting even if we reach international court.” Abu Khdeir added that the decision to sue his son’s killers for damages is because they are afraid that the killers’ sentence will be reduced by a government special pardon on “racist basis”. The Palestinian family expects the Israeli authorities to reject the lawsuit, according to the PNN. On July, 2 2014, a group of Jewish settlers kidnapped Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, from the town of Shu‘fat, north of Jerusalem and took him to west of Jerusalem. There they brutally tortured him before setting him on fire while he was still alive. On May, 3 2016, the Central District Court of Jerusalem sentenced the main perpetrator, Yosef Haim Ben David to life imprisonment, with an additional 20 years. The same court sentenced another defendant to life imprisonment and sentenced the third defendant to 21 years’ imprisonment.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces uproot, steal 60 olive trees in Jerusalem
AICnews 26 Apr by Amalya Dubrovsky — Israeli authorities plan to build a new settlement in Sur Baher for Israeli police and military — Using bulldozers, cranes and armed police, Israeli authorities uprooted at least 60 olive trees in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher on April 23, 2018. Signs reading, “no trespassing” were left in their place. According to settlement watch group Peace Now, Israeli authorities announced plans in 2012 to build a settlement consisting of 180 units in Sur Baher for members of the Israeli military and police. Israeli authorities had originally expropriated the land in 1970, but for “public use” – a designation that typically sets the stage for building Israeli national parks on stolen Palestinian land, rather than residential settlements. Ahmad Nimr, one of the affected landowners, told the Palestinian Information Center that the land and trees belong to the Nimr, Dweiyat, Awad and Amira families. He adds that many of the 500 olive trees on the land are over 100 years old. Until Monday, Israeli authorities had largely ignored the olive grove and the four families continued to cultivate it. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled against their objections to the settlement plan in 2014. Haaretz reports that the stolen trees will be replanted in an Israeli national park in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality is well known for classifying Palestinian areas as so-called national parks to wrest control over more territory. The parks, like Israeli settlements, stand in violation of UN Security Council resolutions 194, 181, 252, 476 and 478.
Jerusalem family demolishes own garage to avoid high fines
IMEMC 28 Apr — A Palestinian family from occupied Jerusalem had to demolish its own garage, in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, in Silwan town, to avoid excessively high fees and fines by the City Council. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the family of Eyad Ramadan, demolished its Karaj, which is attached to its home in Wadi Hilweh. Silwanic added that the family received a demolition order three months ago, and tried to obtain all needed permits, but its applications and appeals were all denied. The police and soldiers invaded the property several days ago and informed the family that if it does not demolish the garage by Sunday, April 29th, the City Council will demolish it, and will impose fines that could exceed 60.000 Shekels. Ramadan said he had to add the garage to his property because there are no parking lots, or any parking space, near his home.
Israel: Army demolishing West Bank schools
NEW YORK (HRW) 25 Apr — Could Amount to War Crimes — – Israel has repeatedly denied Palestinians permits to build schools in the West Bank and demolished schools built without permits, making it more difficult or impossible for thousands of children to get an education, Human Rights Watch said today. On April 25, 2018, Israel’s high court will hold what may be the final hearing on the military’s plans to demolish a school in Khan al-Ahmar Ab al-Hilu, a Palestinian community. It is one of the 44 Palestinian schools at risk of full or partial demolition because Israeli authorities say they were built illegally. The Israeli military refuses to permit most new Palestinian construction in the 60 percent of the West Bank where it has exclusive control over planning and building, even as the military facilitates settler construction. The military has enforced this discriminatory system by razing thousands of Palestinian properties, including schools, creating pressure on Palestinians to leave their communities. When Israeli authorities have demolished schools, they have not taken steps to ensure that children in the area have access to schools of at least the same quality. “Israeli authorities have been getting away for years with demolishing primary schools and preschools in Palestinian communities,” said Bill Van Esveld, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Israeli military’s refusal to issue building permits and then knocking down schools without permits is discriminatory and violates children’s right to education.” … Over a third of Palestinian communities in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where the Israeli military has exclusive control over building under the 1993 Oslo accords, currently do not have primary schools, and 10,000 children attend school in tents, shacks, or other structures without heating or air-conditioning, according to the UN. About 1,700 children had to walk five or more kilometers to school due to road closures, lack of passable roads or transportation, or other problems, according to 2015 UN estimates. The long distances and fear of harassment by settlers or the military lead some parents to take their children out of school, with a disproportionate impact on girls….
Israeli forces destroy tent structure in Susiya
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Apr– Israeli forces demolished a tent in the Palestinian village of Susiya, located in the South Hebron Hills area of the southern occupied West Bank. Khader al-Nawajaa, a resident of Susiya, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village and demolished a tent structure belonging to him. He added that the Israeli authorities confiscated the tent after the demolition. Earlier this year, in February, the Israeli High Court gave the government a green light to move forward with the demolition of seven structures housing 42 people, half of them children. The move came despite widespread condemnation from British MPs and international activists. The latter maintain an almost constant presence in the village to assist villagers in the event of attacks from Israeli settlers or forces. Susiya is considered “illegal” by the Israeli state and has been embroiled in legal battles with the Israeli state for years. The village is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, where Israel refuses to permit Palestinian construction. Rights groups have pointed out that this policy lines up with Israel’s goals of expanding Israeli settlements throughout Area C while depopulating Palestinian villages there. In the case of Susiya, many of the village’s 200 residents have ties to the land that predate the creation of the state of Israel, and Ottoman-era land documents to prove it. However, the village lies between an Israeli settlement and Israel-controlled archaeological site, making them a target for Israeli demolitions.
House prices boom in disputed West Bank settlements
FT 25 Apr by Mehul Srivastava in Efrat — When Dan Leubitz moved his family from the US to Israel, he settled on an unlikely location to call home — a villa in the occupied West Bank on the frontline of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Initially he was wary about the risks of putting all his savings into a property in Efrat, an Israeli settlement that much of the world considers illegal … He need not have worried – the property has made him a millionaire, at least on paper … It is a trend that reflects a growing belief among Israelis that most of the settlements that dot the West Bank, especially those closest to Jerusalem, such as Efrat, are de facto permanent….
Occupation captured: Photos of Palestinian life and Israeli occupation in the West Bank city of Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 25 April
Palestinian refugees – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria
‘I just want him to live like other Jordanians’
Human Right Watch report 24 Apr — Treatment of Non-Citizen Children of Jordanian Mothers — In Jordan, a child born to a Jordanian mother and a non-Jordanian father is considered a non-citizen in the eyes of the state. In violation of international human rights law, which obliges Jordan not to discriminate against women, Jordanian law allows only fathers to pass citizenship to their children. It does not allow Jordanian women to even confer automatic long-term residency on their children. Despite government promises to grant these individuals key economic and social rights, non-citizen children of Jordanian women continue to face legal restrictions that trap many of them at the margins of Jordanian society … In 2014, the Jordanian Ministry of Interior stated that there were over 355,000 non-citizen children of Jordanian women. Popularly referred to in Jordan as “abna’ al-urduniyat,” or the “children of Jordanian women,” these non-citizens’ access to basic rights and services are severely limited. Authorities restrict their rights to work, own property, travel from and return to Jordan (where many were born and live), access public education and health care, and even their ability to acquire a driver’s license … Given that Jordan is home to one of the largest populations of Palestinian refugees and that the majority of Jordanian women married to foreign nationals are married to non-citizen Palestinian men who hold various legal statuses in Jordan, local politicians and officials’ chief argument against repealing this discriminatory policy is the claim that it would both undermine the effort to secure Palestinian statehood and alter Jordan’s demographic balance. These stated justifications are clearly discriminatory, as they are not applied to Jordanian men who choose to marry foreign nationals, the majority of whom are also married to Palestinians….
Palestinian vies for imaginary seat in Lebanon parliament
BEIRUT (AFP) 28 Apr by Layal Abou Rahal — She has been criss-crossing her native Lebanon ahead of May 6 elections but the parliament seat she wants does not exist and she is not even eligible. Manal Kortam is a Palestinian refugee. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lived in refugee camps across the small Middle Eastern country for decades, facing tough living conditions and barred from certain jobs. But in a country of just four million where each religious community is allocated seats in the legislative chamber, there are none for Palestinians. In the run-up to Lebanon’s first parliamentary polls in almost a decade, Kortam saw an opportunity to stand up for her Palestinian community by launching a symbolic campaign. “Somebody needed to say: ‘There are people who have been in this country for 70 years but who have no place at all in public politics’,” she told AFP during a visit this week to the Mar Elias camp in Beirut….
Estimated 60 percent of Yarmouk destroyed amid violence: Group
Al Jazeera 27 Apr — An estimated 60 percent of Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp for Palestinians has been destroyed as government forces and their allies escalate a military offensive against armed groups in the Damascus-area camp, according to a watchdog group. Citing an eyewitness, the UK-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said on Friday that the destruction has largely been caused by barrel bombs, missiles and shelling. The group said that “families were buried under the rubble of their homes” in Yarmouk, where an estimated 3,000 people still reside. On Wednesday, Palestinian refugee Salah al-Abayat was killed by Syrian government air strikes on the camp, bringing the total number of people killed to 31 since April 19, when the latest bout of fighting started. On April 19, the Syrian government and allied Palestinian armed groups launched a renewed military offensive against armed groups – including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) – in the besieged refugee camp. On Thursday, Palestinian political party Hamas issued an appeal to all sides involved in the fighting to reach a truce.
That same day, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), warned of “catastrophic consequences” of the intensified violence in Yarmouk and the surrounding areas, including al-Hajar al-Aswad and Yalda. “Yarmouk and its inhabitants have endured indescribable pain and suffering over years of conflict,” Pierre Krahenbuhl, UNRWA’s commissioner-general, said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned about the fate of thousands of civilians, including Palestine refugees, after more than a week of dramatically increased violence.” The UN group said that there are no hospitals currently operational in the camp, which has been blockaded by government forces on the one hand, and armed opposition groups on the other for several years.
Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria’s bloody conflict
AFP 24 Apr — Poverty and exile, siege and starvation, jihadist rule and government shelling — few places have seen more suffering in Syria’s seven year, atrocity-filled war than the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk. A striking 2014 picture [see above] of tired, gaunt-looking residents massing among the ruins for a food distribution drew comparisons with a World War II ghetto and became a symbol of the Syrian conflict. The gutted neighbourhood in southern Damascus, which is now the Islamic State group’s last urban redoubt in Syria or Iraq, was once Syria’s biggest Palestinian refugee camp, home to around 160,000 people. Years of crippling siege and bombardment by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whose presidential compound is visible from the camp, had already sent tens of thousands of them into a second exile … After months of sporadic shelling as it concentrated its efforts on retaking the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, the resurgent regime launched a final offensive last week to retake Yarmuk. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, around 1,000 IS fighters remain in Yarmuk and the adjacent neighbourhoods of Hajar al-Aswad, Tadamun and Qadam. Most of them are former members of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian ex-affiliate Al-Nusra Front, but IS fighters also include Palestinian refugees who joined when the Islamists took over much of the camp in 2015. Facing them are regime and allied forces who have turned their attention to jihadist-held pockets in southern Damascus after completing their recapture of Ghouta, an area east of the capital….
Video: Palestinians: Stories of resistance
Al Jazeera 24 Apr — A mother protests, a teenager comes of age, and a cameraman records his final moments – life in occupied Palestine.
PA takes pre-emptive measures to prevent Return March in West Bank
MEMO 24 Apr — A Palestinian MP has accused the Palestinian Authority security services of carrying out political detentions as a pre-emptive measure to undermine possible Great March of Return protests in the occupied West Bank, Arab48.com reported on Monday. Nayef Al-Rajoub MP is from the Hamas-linked parliamentary bloc. He said that the ongoing escalation of the detention of Palestinian politicians and activists by the PA reflects its fear that the demonstrations will spread to the West Bank. In a related statement issued on Monday, Hamas said that the PA security services had arrested nine Palestinians, including some who were previously freed from prison. It pointed out that many of its members and activists are already being held by the PA security services. Hamas made reference to the ongoing security cooperation between the PA and the Israeli occupation authorities, which have also arrested around 150 Palestinians over the past week. According to Al-Rajoub, the detentions are intended to create a quiet atmosphere during the Palestinian National Council meeting slated for 30 April in Ramallah. It is expected that the decisions taken at the meeting will conform to Israeli policies. The MP, who served as a minister in the ousted Hamas government and has spent several terms in an Israeli prison himself, described the political detentions by the PA as a “sickness”, the symptoms of which are represented in its security cooperation with the Israelis….
Haniyeh vows anti-occupation rallies in West Bank, abroad
AA 25 Apr — Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has vowed to stage protests against the decades-long Israeli occupation in the West Bank and abroad. Since March 30, Palestinians have been staging rallies along border of the Gaza Strip demanding the return of refugees to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel. The rallies are part of a six-week protest that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or “Catastrophe”. “Rallies will move to the West Bank and will be joined by our people abroad,” Haniyeh told a meeting organized by the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. He said the Palestinians “will rise up against the Israeli occupation in a popular resistance that started from Gaza”….
Palestinian launches hunger strike in Palestinian Authority jail
ANABTA, West Bank (Al Jazeera) 26 Apr by Yumna Patel — A Palestinian Authority (PA) court in the West Bank city of Jericho has extended the detention of 25-year-old Ahmad al-Awartani, who was arrested over the weekend for a Facebook post criticising a government campaign. During the court hearing on Tuesday, al-Awartani refused to answer the judge’s questions. He declared that he had launched a hunger strike two days prior, and would continue protesting against his detention by refusing all food and drink. Al-Awartani has been detained under the government’s controversial Cyber Crimes Law. With his detention extended for 15 more days, and faced with the possibility of indefinite renewal, al-Awartani’s parents said they were worried that their son’s health would deteriorate in the Jericho prison, which rights groups say is notorious for torture and abuse … In recent weeks, posters and banners “pledging trust and allegiance” to President Mahmoud Abbas have appeared across the occupied territory. Upon seeing a banner in his hometown of Anabta, in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, al-Awartani, who is one of the youth council leaders in the town, took to Facebook to express his disapproval….
Palestinian novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah wins top Arab prize
AFP 25 Apr by Karim Sahib — Palestinian author Ibrahim Nasrallah has landed the Arab world’s top fiction prize for his novel “The Second War of the Dog”, a dystopian tale of inhumanity. Nasrallah’s work won the International Prize for Arab Fiction, affiliated with the Man Booker Prize, at a ceremony Tuesday hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Set in a violence-wracked nameless country, “The Second War of the Dog” explores the moral and material avarice of humankind through the life of its main character, Rashid, who morphs from a diehard regime opponent into a corrupt extremist. “This novel aims to shake the reader, to shatter his understanding of the world, to shatter his complacency. Because no one can survive if the world around him is collapsing,” Nasrallah told AFP after the ceremony. “We are subject to a sort of oppression by arrogance by the great powers of this world,” he said. “Killing our children, driving us into poverty, plundering the wealth of the Arab world, this is also oppression. Oppression is not just the doing of this or that little [extremist] group.” Born to Palestinian parents in Jordan in 1954, Nasrallah is a former journalist who turned to full-time writing in 2006….
Palestinians in Europe set to hold conference on right of return
Al Jazeera 28 Apr — Palestinians across Europe are slated to hold a conference to mark 70 years of exile, in Milan, Italy on Sunday. The conference, which is themed “70 years on … and we shall return”, is the 16th consecutive Palestinians in Europe Conference. The 16 speakers scheduled to address the conference include academics, journalists, filmmakers, actors, prominent Christian and Muslim leaders and legislators from countries including Italy, Tunisia, Jordan and elsewhere. Among the speakers are Nahela al-Waari, vice president of the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad, Italian legislator Stefano Vasiane, Jordanian parliamentarian Dima Dahboub, Ramallah-based priest Julio Brunila and others. Billed as the largest gathering of Palestinians in Europe, the conference will include lectures, workshops, discussion panels, exhibits and cultural activities. The Palestinians in Europe Conference is being organised by the Europe Palestinians Conference Organisation, the Palestinian Return Centre and the Palestine Coalition in Italy. The conference will be held just two weeks before Nakba Day, which is commemorated each year on May 15 to mourn the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland during Israel’s 1948 establishment.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe to visit Palestine on Tuesday
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Apr – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit Palestine on Tuesday, according to a press release by the Japanese Representative Office in Ramallah. In the two-day visit that will also include Israel, “Abe will reconfirm Japan’s commitment to actively contribute to the Middle East Peace Process currently facing challenges, based on its excellent relations with both parties,” said the press release. A high level business delegation is going to accompany Abe on his visit, the second in a little over three years, with a view to enhancing economic ties with Palestine and a focus on the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” project and the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park. Abe’s first visit to Palestine was in January 2015.
2 die after freak storm whips Israel
Ynet 25 Apr — Heavy rain, golf ball-sized hail and flash floods assailed Israel Wednesday, catching many already used to summer weather by surprise and even claiming the lives of two. Kais Alwashla, a 16-year-old Bedouin resident of the south, was swept away by the Mamshit River and was later found in critical condition. He was evacuated to a hospital via helicopter but was later pronounced dead. A young woman around the age of 18 from the village of Arab al-Rashayida in the Bethlehem Governorate, central West Bank was also swept away by a flash flood when she apparently went to tend to her sheep near the village. She was carried off about 8.5 kilometers with her sheep in a stream near Amos, east of Gush Etzion. Palestinian search and rescue teams pulled her body out of the water, pronouncing her dead at the scene….
Two Palestinian children drown as rains flood West Bank and Israel
Haaretz 27 Apr by Jack Khoury et al. — The lifeless bodies of two Palestinian children were found Friday as rain and flooding continued to take a devastating toll in the West Bank and Israel, where a group of ten young people died after being caught in a flash flood in the south. The two Palestinian children were found in a reservoir that flooded in the El Fuwar refugee camp south of Hebron. The two were identified as Yazen Mohammad Asrahana, 10, and Ahmed Samich Asrahana, 9. The two went missing on Thursday, but were found only today. The two were likely playing near the makeshift reservoir – which serves as a watering tank for local farms – when rain and flooding pushed them inside….
Arab MK’s daughter: ‘I was humiliated at Ben-Gurion airport’
Ynet 26 Apr by Amihai Attali — Amna Freige, the daughter of Meretz MK Esawi Freige, says she had to go through a humiliating security check at Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this month because she is of Arab descent. Freige and her friend Lina Jaries had booked flight tickets to Berlin for a vacation. They say they were harassment began as soon as they arrived at the airport. Their personal belongings were checked and they were asked to go through a full body scanner, just like other passengers. But then security personnel asked them to remove their bras. According to Freige and her friend, the security team’s shift manager threatened that if they don’t comply with the security check, they would not be allowed to board their flight. At this point Amna called her father who recommended: “Just suck it up if you want to be on that flight.” And so the young women had to go through the security check naked. They are currently preparing a lawsuit against the Israel Airports Authority, claiming there was no justification for that particular security check and that the entire incident was an unnecessary humiliation. The Israel Airport Authority said, “When we get a specific warning, a security check is required.”
Romania’s president wants PM out over Israel embassy move
Al Jazeera 27 Apr — Klaus Iohannis says PM didn’t consult him before endorsing secret plan to move Romania’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem … If Romania decides to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it will be the first European Union state to do so.
Czech Republic to move embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Ynet’s Itamar Eichner/AP 25 Apr — President Miloš Zeman says his country plans to transfer its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a move being led by US President Donald Trump and emulated by Guatemala; Zeman says move to take place in 3 steps; no timetable provided, but Netanyahu expresses hope for completion by end of year….
Top US court rules for Arab Bank in Israeli attack case
AFP 24 Apr — Victims of attacks in Israel cannot use an 18th century law to sue the Arab Bank, a multinational financial institution, the US Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in a precedent-setting case for other foreign businesses. The decision rests on a legal provision almost 230 years old. Plaintiffs accused the Jordan-based bank of facilitating transfers to Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and which Israel and the United States label a terrorist group. A majority of five conservative judges on the top US court outnumbered four others who dissented. The Arab Bank was founded in Jerusalem in 1930 when Palestine was under the British Mandate, and now has more than 600 branches worldwide. It plays a central role in the Palestinian territories where it works with major international development agencies. The roughly 6,000 foreign claimants in the case included victims of militant attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, primarily during the second Intifada from 2000 to 2005.
They said the Bank contravened international laws by allowing financial transfers aimed at funding the violence to be made to accounts held by Hamas leaders. The plaintiffs based their action on the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) of 1789, which was adopted following an altercation some five years earlier in which a French diplomat was assaulted by a French national in the US. The statute was largely dormant for nearly 200 years before reemerging onto the legal scene. Various legal actions were begun against foreign dictators and multinational corporations implicated in cases outside US territory. But the judges on Tuesday, worried over the risk of diplomatic tensions, refused to extend application of the ATS to multinationals with no link to the United States….
Friedman said seeking to call West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’ in statements
Times of Israel/AP 25 Apr — United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has been seeking to adopt the Israeli name for the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, in his official remarks and statements, but has so far been prevented from doing so by the Trump administration, officials told the Associated Press … The sources added that Friedman, who lobbied heavily for Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem and the embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, has also championed the recent removal of the term “occupied territories,” which had been the standard for more than 20 years, from the title of sections covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in the State Department’s annual human rights reports released Friday. The 2017 report did not entirely eliminate the term from the report, but it significantly reduced its use. Compared with more than 40 references in the 2016 report, the words “occupation” or “occupied” appeared only six times….
Military aid to Israel
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights — US taxpayers will give Israel a total of $38 billion of weapons over ten years ($3.8 billion each year from 2019 to 2028), according to a 2016 agreement between the two countries. Israel uses these weapons, in violation of US laws, to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians living under its brutal, more than half-century-long military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. These include injuring and killing civilians, detaining and abusing children, demolishing homes, uprooting agriculture, and denying freedom of movement and expression. How much of this annual $3.8 billion allocation do people in your state, Congressional district, county, and city provide and what could be funded instead with this money to benefit your community? Find out below on our interactive map. Click on a state to get started.