Israeli officials commend soldier cheering after sniping Palestinian boy (VIDEO)
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Apr — Several Israeli ministers and Knesset members praised an Israeli sniper who cheered after shooting an unarmed Palestinian boy near Gaza’s borders. (See video below.) Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the soldier “deserves an appreciation certificate” for doing his job properly. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Anyone who was ever on the battlefield knows that to sit in Tel Aviv or studios and judge IDF soldiers according to their comments, when they are busy defending our borders, is not something serious.” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: “It would have been better if the [soldiers’] happy reactions were not circulated, but to judge them and conclude something there was wrong, is crazy.” Ofir Akunis, the science, technology and space minister, said: “He[the boy] is not an innocent civilian who is coming to seek peace. I am sure of that.” MK Oren Hazan tweeted: “What is all the fuss about? It was noted in advance: anyone who approaches the fence, armed or not, is gonna get it. As it should be!” He reiterated that he was proud of the soldiers defending Israel this way, and that he hopes the video sends “a clearer message to the other side.” Arab MK Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List said: “Israeli snipers killed unarmed Palestinian protesters in cold blood who were participating in a non-violent protest. It is no wonder soldiers act this way when ministers, MKs, the media and the public opinion join the celebration and cheer for the mass killing of Palestinians.”
Palestinian in shooting video: ‘Shameful soldiers laughed at me’
Ynet 12 Apr by Elior Levy — Tamer Abu-Daka, the Palestinian claiming to be the one appearing in a video showing an IDF sniper shooting a protester, while other soldiers whooped and cheered, said, “I don’t care they shot me in the leg. All I care about is the soldier mocking me and cursing my mother. It’s shameful.” Abu-Daka, 28, of Khan Yunis, provided Ynet with his own account of the incident, which appeared in a controversial video published earlier this week. The Palestinian claimed the shooting took place December, 22, 2017. “It was a non-violent march against (President Donald) Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he recounted, adding that he arrived to the border fence’s area with his friends. “Protesters were throwing rocks and soldiers returned fire. Some young people stood 20 meters ahead of me. I got near them and began shouting at them to turn back. I stood my ground, and was then shot in the leg,” he claimed. None of the protesters present were armed, Abu-Daka alleged, and he himself was not throwing rocks as he was shot. After falling down, he was taken to hospital and hospitalized. Today he uses crutches to walk, and his right leg is in a cast. “I saw the video maybe 50 times, and fume every time I hear them laughing as I go down. They’re shooting at us—but that’s not a solution. They say we’re the terrorists, but in fact they are. They behave like animals. They’re the terrorists,” he accused. Concluding his remarks, Abu-Daka said he has made it a point to attend to “March of Return” protests on Fridays, but claimed strongly he has kept his distance from the fence out of fear of being shot again.
We were Israeli snipers and are filled with sorrow at Gaza shootings
The Guardian 12 Apr Letters — We, a group of former combatants who were members of sniper teams, seek to express our feelings of distress regarding the recent incidents in the Gaza Strip. As we hear about military orders permitting snipers to fire live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators, we are filled with shame and sorrow: shame at the orders devoid of moral and ethical judgment, and sorrow for the young soldiers, whom, as we know very well from our own experience, will always carry with them the scenes that they witnessed through the sights of their rifles. Instructing snipers to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators who pose no danger to human life is another product of the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinian people, as well as of our country’s callous leadership, and derailed moral path. Harming innocent people in Gaza is part of what is needed to maintain the regime of occupation, and we must not allow it to continue. Only ceasing to militarily control the Palestinian people will bring this to an end. Gil Fermon Nahal 50th Battalion, Amit Goldberg, Nadav Weiman Nahal reconnaissance unit, Avner Gvaryahu Paratroops anti-tank unit, Ron Zaidel Nahal 931st Battalion .
Palestinian killed by Israeli army fire in Gaza
IMEMC 13 Apr — Updated: The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed, Friday, that a young man was killed, and at least 969 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli army fire, along the eastern border areas in several parts of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, said the soldiers shot Islam Herzallah, 28, with a live round in the abdomen, east of Gaza city. The young man was rushed to the Shifa medical center in Gaza city, where he succumbed to his serious wounds. Dr. al-Qedra added that the young man was shot east of Gaza city, and received the urgently needed treatment in a field clinic, before he was transferred to the medical center where he was rushed to surgery but succumbed to his serious wounds. He also said that the army injured 969 Palestinians near border areas Rafah, Khan Younis, al-Boreij, east of Gaza, and east of Jabalia. 419 of them were moved to hospitals and medical centers, and 550 received treatment in field clinics and make-shift hospitals near border areas. Among the wounded Palestinians are seventeen medics, after the army deliberately targeted field clinics with gas bombs east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The army also seriously injured a journalist, identified as Ahmad Abu Hussein, who was shot in the abdomen, and moderately injured another reporter, Mohammad Najjar, who was shot in the shoulder. Many other journalists fainted after inhaling gas fired by the army, especially when army drones fired gas bombs at media vehicles and reporters. Herzallah’s death brings the number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli army fire since March 30th to 36 Palestinians.
Israeli forces bomb Gaza, killing one Palestinian
IMEMC 12 Apr — After Israeli tanks spent the day, on Wednesday, firing artillery shells at numerous sites in northern and eastern Gaza, the Israeli military stepped up its assault on the coastal enclave Wednesday night with bombs dropped by the Israeli air force which killed one Palestinian and injured another. The Palestinian who was killed was identified as Mohammad Hjeila, 31. He was hit by a bomb dropped by an Israeli fighter jet Wednesday night east of the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood, in the eastern part of Gaza City. Hjeila was with the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas party. His brother, Adham Hjeila, had been killed by Israeli forces in 2004.
The airstrikes on Gaza followed a day of shelling by the Israeli military. On Wednesday morning, a number of Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded Gaza near the al-Mintar (Karni) crossing, an invasion that the Israeli military spokesperson described as ‘routine’. The Israeli military claimed that during this invasion, an explosive device exploded near one of the militarized bulldozers. Israeli forces stationed at the border then fired at least five shells east of Gaza City in the Sheja‘eyya and al-Zeitoun neighborhoods. A Palestinian was moderately wounded by the shelling and taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Later in the evening, the Israeli military sent in fighter jets to drop bombs in the same areas, which they claimed were being used as training sites for resistance fighters. According to Israeli media sources, Palestinian resistance fighters tried to shoot at the jets with guns. One bullet allegedly hit the roof of an Israeli house in a town adjacent to the border with Gaza, causing very slight damage. In Gaza, dozens of houses near the site of the bombing had their windows blown out due to the ‘sonic boom’ from the bomb.
Israeli sharpshooter seriously injures a young man in southern Gaza
IMEMC 11 Apr — Palestinian medical sources have reported that an Israeli army sharpshooter shot and seriously injured, Tuesday, a young man with a live round in his neck, after the army attacked protesters near the border fence, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian was rushed to Nasser Hospital, in Khan Younis, where he was instantly admitted to surgery, and is currently in a serious condition at the Intensive Care Unit. Eyewitnesses said the soldier who shot the Palestinian was stationed, along with other army sharpshooters, behind the huge sand hills the army created along the border fence.
Doctors amputate legs of 2 wounded Gaza youths after Israel refuses to allow their transfer to West Bank hospital
HAIFA (WAFA) 12 Apr — Doctors in the Gaza Strip amputated on Wednesday the legs of two young Palestinian men after Israel has refused to allow their transfer to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank, in accordance with a punitive Israeli policy denying those who participated in a protest access to urgent medical care, according to a press release by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The two young men – Yousef Karnaz, 20, and Mohammad Al-‘Ajouri, 17, both from Gaza, were shot and wounded by the Israeli military during Land Day protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Adalah and the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday demanding that Israel allow the two seriously wounded men to leave Gaza for urgent medical treatment at Ramallah’s Al Istishari Arab Hospital. The Supreme Court delayed its decision on the matter and – despite the urgent nature of the situation – allowed the state attorneys three days to respond to the Adalah-Al Mezan petition. Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, which had no means to rescue the wounded men’s legs, referred them to Al Istishari Hospital on 1 April and a request to exit Gaza and transfer to Ramallah was submitted to the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that same day … On 5 April, Adalah was informed that COGAT refused the wounded men’s requests. The Supreme Court will nevertheless hold a hearing on the case on Thursday. Adalah asked for an urgent hearing as one of the young men, Yousef Karnaz, is in danger of losing his second leg if he does not receive urgent medical attention in the West Bank….
Israeli forces shell agricultural land east of Gaza City
GAZA (WAFA) 11 Apr — Israeli artillery shelled Wednesday morning agricultural lands and a location to the east of Gaza City, while tanks and bulldozers infiltrated the area, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that an explosion was heard east of Gaza City apparently due to the detonation of an explosive device as Israeli military vehicles infiltrated the border to raze land in the area.
Israeli artillery fired four shells at open agricultural lands near the border without causing any injuries. Israel said the shelling came in response to targeting Israeli military vehicles with explosive devices planted near the border fence.
Egypt opens Gaza border crossing for three days
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) 12 Apr by Nour Abo Aisha — Egyptian authorities on Thursday opened the Rafah border crossing with the blockaded Gaza Strip for a three-day period. On Wednesday, Cairo announced that the terminal would remain open until Saturday to allow Palestinians to cross the border in both directions. According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in Gaza, buses loaded with passengers began inching towards the border crossing on Thursday morning.
Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
GAZA (WAFA) 12 Apr — Israeli navy Thursday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and their fishing boats while they were sailing in the Mediterranean Sea in the northwest of the Gaza Strip, according to local sources. They said Israeli navy boats opened fire and launched shells at fishermen and their boats while they were sailing north of the Gaza Strip forcing them to leave the area. No injuries were reported. Despite the signed agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which allow fishermen to go 12 nautical miles inside the Mediterranean Sea, Israeli navy targets Gaza fishermen almost daily and does not allow them to go further than three nautical miles, which the fishermen say is not far enough to catch fish.
Israeli NGO sends medical delegation to Gaza amid mass protest casualties
JPost 12 Apr by Max Schindler — Left-leaning NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel announced on Thursday that it was sending eight Israeli-Arab doctors to Gaza, ahead of weekly Friday protests that are expected once again to get violent. The doctors’ delegation entered the blockaded Gaza Strip on Thursday, staying for two days there – according to Dr. Salah Haj Yahya, director of Physicians for Human Rights’ mobile clinics. “They’ll they need orthopedic surgeries, possibly blood transfusions,” said Haj Yahya, who spoke to the Jerusalem Post from Gaza. “Especially to prevent amputations, since there are also bad infections. We have to do it at a quick pace. And the number of doctors here, it’s not enough.”… On average, Physicians for Human Rights organizes a monthly delegation to cross the Gaza border and provide medical treatment to Gaza-based Palestinians. The current delegation includes surgeons, pediatricians, general practitioners and mental health specialists. “We’re currently at Al-Shifa hospital and our group is split up at different hospitals around Gaza,” Yahya said. We perform surgeries, bring equipment, perform check-ups. And the Palestinian doctors aren’t allowed to go out of Gaza to medical conferences. So in our visit, we visit them and we offer medical training and updates.” The doctors also bring badly-needed medical equipment, supplies which are strictly rationed due to the Egyptian-Israeli blockade over the hostile territory….
300 meters in Gaza: Snipers, burning tires and a contested fence
[interesting mainly for the photos of tent villages, including a field hospital, etc.] NYTimes 13 Apr by David Halbfinger, Iyad Abuheweila & Jugal K. Patel — The image above shows how each side is arrayed in Khan Younis, one of five demonstration sites where 35 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began nearly three weeks ago … The fence that separates Gaza’s 2 million people from Israel is not the sturdiest of barriers. To penetrate Israel, a Gazan would have to get past a crude barbed-wire barrier and cross a short distance, then get over or through a 10-foot-high “smart fence” packed with sensors to detect infiltrators. If a crowd of thousands surged toward the fence, it would take about 30 seconds to cross, the contractor who built it told Bloomberg News…. The closer to the fence protesters move, the more perilous it becomes for them. The Israelis have made clear that people they believe are “instigators” are fair game to be targeted. Videos have surfaced of people being shot with their backs turned to the fence, while praying, or with nothing in their hands….
Women at the front lines of Gaza protests
Al-Monitor 13 Apr by Hana Salah — Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip have established a notable presence working on the front lines of the demonstrations that began on Gaza’s eastern border with Israel March 30. The protests — dubbed the Great Return March and slated to continue until May 15 — have drawn tens of thousands of Gazans, and resulting clashes have left scores dead from Israeli fire. The Higher National Commission for the Great Return March said that until Nakba Day, commemorated on May 15, every Tuesday will be dedicated to women’s activities to be held in five camps and spread across the eastern part of Gaza’s governorates … On April 10, the second Tuesday of the march, the Women’s Committee of the Higher National Commission for the Return March organized near the border with Israel the “Rajin Ala Beladi” campaign (“We will Return to the Homeland”), in which women released balloons bearing the names of villages Palestinians were displaced from during the Nakba of 1948….
The Koran according to the Israeli army: A good Palestinian woman stays away from protests
Haaretz 13 Apr by Nir Gontarz — An Israeli army spokesman suggests that Palestinian women dishonor their society by attending demonstrations, and that torching tires is un-Islamic – …Do you think it’s dignified for an Israeli officer to be teaching the Arab civilians who are under occupation or blockade how they should behave as Muslims? To be saying that a Muslim woman’s honor requires modesty? Look, all of these interpretations, I’d be glad to expand on this discussion as much as you want, but right now As an Israeli citizen, I’m embarrassed by what you’re doing. You represent the cliché of occupation. Fine. Thank you very much. Other people will say otherwise, but I’m doing my job. Last question: Should a Jewish woman also stay home and look after the children? The call is disconnected.
Humanitarian snapshot: escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip
UN OCHA 13 Apr – Infographic with map — Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations taking place along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza … Gaza’s health sector has struggled to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function … Deaths 32 Injuries 2,870 Total hospitalized injurie 1729….
In Gaza, family lights candles to mourn son on his 14th birthday
GAZA (Reuters) by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Monday should have been Hussein Madi’s 14th birthday. Instead, his family sat mourning him in a tent in Gaza. The boy was shot dead three days earlier by Israeli troops, his relatives say, the youngest of 30 Palestinians killed in an ongoing protest at the border with Israel. His mother Eman cried as she greeted friends, relatives and neighbors outside the family’s home. “He asked me to buy him a T-shirt and trousers, and take him for lunch, just me and him,” Eman said. “Since the protests began he always came back to me at the end of the day.” Israel’s government has accused militants such as Gaza’s dominant Hamas group of fanning “The Great March of Return” protests along the fence separating Israel and Gaza, and using them as cover to launch attacks. Protesters have denied the accusations, saying the demonstrations are meant to press for the right to return to the homes their families fled during violence surrounding the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. For Gaza psychologist Mahmoud Seyam, the protests are more a natural expression of built-up youthful frustration than any political ruse.
Yasser Murtaja embodied the struggle of Gazans – desperate yet defiant
The Guardian 9 Apr by Yasmeen el Khudary — For the past 11 years, Gaza has regularly featured in headlines as the target of three military onslaughts, an ongoing siege and a humanitarian disaster. Less reported has been the scream of an entire generation pleading for help, their scream falling on deaf ears. Yasser Murtaja, a Gazan journalist, was a member of that generation – a generation that has largely been confined within the military-fortified fences that surround Gaza from all sides, a generation for whom the right to travel freely remains a distant illusion. Yasser was shot by an Israeli sniper on Friday, while covering the second Great March of Return. The bullet hit him in the abdomen, the only area not covered by his clearly marked “Press” jacket. He died a few hours later. Two weeks before his death, Yasser wrote on his Facebook page: “I dream that the day when I can capture this photo from the sky and not from the ground will come. My name is Yasser Murtaja. I am 30 years old. I live in Gaza. I have never travelled!” Yasser tried repeatedly to apply for the right to travel out of Gaza, but each attempt failed. He was widely mourned by his friends and colleagues, the vast majority of whom, like him, have never in their lives been outside of Gaza. His generation was born into the first intifada, witnessed the second intifada, survived three major Israeli military onslaughts on the Gaza Strip, and continue to live under siege. Moreover, of the 2 million people who live in Gaza, two-thirds are descendants of refugees from nearby towns and villages that were destroyed upon the creation of Israel in 1948, and all are victims of an ongoing Israeli blockade that has turned Gaza into the world’s largest open prison….
Mental health suffers as Gaza is choked
The New Arab 12 Apr by Soraya Boyd — This June will mark 12 years of a crushing and unlawful land, air and sea Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip. Widespread feelings of depression and despair, paired with hopelessness and helplessness, have made everyday life simply unbearable in the enclave. With frequent Israeli raids and military operations against a population under siege and defenceless adding to the plight, many are left feeling vulnerable. The living conditions for the nearly two million people in the Gaza Strip are deteriorating “further and faster”, a United Nations report said last year. The real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita had decreased and the provision of health services continue to decline in Gaza, with the UN predicting that the enclave will become “unliveable” by 2020. Gazans have demonstrated an admirable capacity for resilience in the face of such adversity, but how much more can they muster when confronted by unrelenting structural, physical and psychological violence on a near-to daily basis by Israeli forces? It has been estimated that as many as 20 percent of Gaza’s people may have developed serious mental health conditions, with around 360,000 people requiring mental health or psychosocial interventions, according to a report by the World Health Organisation. An inevitable increase in chronic and acute mental health disorders has affected all, not even sparing the young, with the rate of severe post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] among children living in bombarded areas of Gaza recorded at 54 percent….
Gaza’s immense potential / Yossi Beilin
Al-Monitor 10 Apr — If Hamas and Israel were to sign a long-term cease-fire, the Gaza Strip could make use of a natural gas field in the Mediterranean, a highly educated population, and wonderful beaches to become a pleasant place to live — It looks like everyone wants to do away with Gaza. In Israel, saying “Go to Gaza!” is the equivalent of “Go to hell!” The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was known for his off-the-cuff “witticisms,” once declared that he would like to see Gaza drown in the sea. Just like that, nothing more, nothing less. I also remember a conversation that then-opposition leader Shimon Peres and I had with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Vienna in July 1978. At that meeting, Sadat told us that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had offered to give Gaza to Egypt in exchange for the right to annex the town of Yamit in the Sinai. Sadat responded with his rolling, baritone laugh, “Begin thought I was stupid. I immediately told him, ‘You can keep that damned place for yourself.’” It was inevitable that the violent incidents along the border between Gaza and Israel over the last two weekends did nothing to improve Gaza’s terrible image … Anyone who really knows Gaza, however, would be hard-pressed to see it as such a wretched place. There are several reasons for this:…
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian shot in head by Israeli settler on Sunday dies of his wounds
IMEMC 10 Apr — Palestinian medical sources reported on Monday evening that a man died from serious wounds he suffered Sunday when an Israeli colonial settler shot him near Mishor Adumim colony between Jerusalem and Jericho. The sources said that Mohammad Abdul-Karim Marshoud, 30, died from his serious wounds on Monday evening. The Israeli army claimed that the Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack with a screwdriver near Mishor Adumim colony. Israeli media sources said that an Israeli settler claims that he was driving in his car near the settlement when he saw a Palestinian allegedly holding a screwdriver and chasing an Israeli man. The unnamed Israeli settler told the reporters that he then pulled his car over and shot the Palestinian in the head. The Israeli colonial settler who shot Mohammad Marshoud in the head has not been taken into custody for the killing, and has not been identified by Israeli authorities. Initially, the Israeli military tried to claim that Mohammad was holding a knife – a claim which had to be retracted when it was proven untrue. In addition, photos released by the Israeli military show Mohammad Marshoud lying bleeding on the street, but no screwdriver can be seen anywhere in the scene. No gas station is visible in the area either. The Palestinian father of three was critically injured by the gunshot to his head and left to bleed on the ground as Israeli soldiers were called to the scene and took their time to secure the area before calling in an ambulance. Eventually, he was taken by ambulance to the intensive care unit in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. He remained in critical condition on life support until he died of his wounds on Monday. Mohammad was from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. He was the father of three young children, and had no political affiliation or indication in any way that he would engage in any kind of attack.
Israeli soldiers injure 39 Palestinians in al-Biereh
IMEMC 13 Apr — Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, 39 Palestinians, including 13 medics, in al-Biereh city, in the central West Bank governorate of Ramallah and al-Biereh. Palestinian medical sources said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the protesters at the northern entrance of al-Biereh city, and shot two Palestinians with live fire, nine with rubber-coated steel bullets, and seventeen who suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation. They added that the soldiers injured 13 medics, including some who suffered burns and others who sustained cuts and bruises, after the army assaulted them with gas bombs, concussion grenades, and pepper-spray in addition to physically attacking them while trying to provide treatment to wounded Palestinians. The wounded Palestinians were rushed to Ramallah governmental hospital, while the army also fired many gas bombs at ambulances and medics.
Army injures five Palestinians near Nablus
IMEMC 13 Apr – Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, five Palestinians after the army attacked protesters in Kafr Qalil, Madama, Beita and al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, in the northern West Bank governorate of Nablus, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRC) has reported. The PRC said the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a live round in the arm, and another with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the face, in Kafr Qalil. It added that the soldiers also shot one Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head in Madama village, south of Nablus. Local medics also provided the needed treatment to nearly 100 Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation in Kafr Qalil, Madama and Beita. Furthermore, the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a live round in the leg, and another with a rubber-coated steel bullet, in addition to causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus.
Paramedic among 7 Palestinians injured near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, April 13, 2018 (WAFA) – Seven Palestinians were on Friday injured, including a paramedic, during clashes with Israeli forces in the town of Abu Dis, to the east of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC). PRC said a paramedic was one of seven Palestinians who were shot by Israeli forces and injured with rubber-coated steel rounds during the clashes in Abu Dis. The paramedic was reportedly hit by a steel round in his head.
Israeli forces attack school west of Bethlehem with tear gas
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 11 Apr – Israeli forces Wednesday attacked a school with tear gas canisters in Nahalin town, west of Bethlehem, said a municipal source. The town’s deputy mayor Hani Fannun told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the town, particularly the schools area, and surrounded Nahalin Secondary Boys School. He said the soldiers fired a barrage of tear gas canisters at the school causing panic among the students and a number of suffocation cases. He said that residents attempted to take their children from the school, but were prevented by the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces broke into Sebastia, in the north of the West Bank, to provide protection for hundreds of settlers who stormed the town’s archaeological site, triggering clashes. Sebastia mayor Mohammed Azem told WAFA that soldiers entered the town to facilitate entry of three busloads of fanatic Jewish settlers to the archaeological site where they held religious rituals. Residents confronted the settlers and soldiers who fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian homes and schools causing a number of residents and school children to suffocate. Sebastia officials fear the settlers plan to take over the archeological site, considered one of the main Palestinian tourist attractions where John the Baptist is believed buried.
Mosque in northern West Bank torched in apparent anti-Arab hate crime
Times of Israel 13 Apr by Jacob Magid — ‘Aqraba residents believe they were targeted with ‘revenge’ and ‘death’ graffiti because the killer of Israeli Adiel Kolman last month was from village — Vandals torched a mosque in the northern West Bank village of ‘Aqraba before dawn on Friday in an apparent hate crime attack. Footage captured by a security camera [see video] at the entrance to the mosque showed a pair of assailants setting the door of the building ablaze. Their faces were covered throughout the clip. Messages of “death,” “revenge” and “price tag” were found graffitied on the walls of the Sa‘ada Mosque in the small Palestinian town of several hundred residents. “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. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years. Locals noticed the fire almost immediately at around 2 a.m. and managed to extinguish it. Two sections of the mosque were torched completely, according to Rabbis for Human Rights field worker Zacharia Sadeh, who was present at the Sa‘ada Mosque after the attack. No injuries were reported in the incident. Police said an investigation has been launched. Locals told Palestinian media that the same mosque had been the target of a similar arson attack five years ago, but that members had managed to repair the damage….
The Israeli army snatched a Palestinian boy from his bed by mistake
Haaretz 12 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Mahmoud was sleeping soundly. It was after 1 A.M., and suddenly somebody was picking him up from his bed. He’s 14, a ninth-grader, and he was sure his mother was waking him up for school. At the same time, he was shocked that his mother could pick him up; he’s heavy for his age. “Mom is too weak to carry me,” he told us this week with a half-smile in the tiny living room of his home in the Al-Arroub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron. A few more seconds went by before he realized what was happening. Soldiers had broken into his house and grabbed him from bed; he was being taken outside handcuffed and blindfolded. The next day the soldiers returned and arrested his older brother.
One son is already in the grave. We had been in this house two years ago, after Omer Mahdi was shot and killed by an IDF sharpshooter firing from a fortified guard tower at stone-throwers on the road near the camp’s cemetery. Omer wasn’t yet 16 when he died. This was the house where his parents, sisters and brothers mourned him. Two weeks ago, the soldiers came back to abuse this bereaved family. They grabbed Mahmoud out of bed, there’s no other way to describe it. They said they were looking for Mohammed, but there’s no one by that name in the family. Maybe that’s why they took the 14-year-old with them – just in case. The next day the soldiers came back in the dead of night and arrested his brother, Khader, 20….
Israeli forces detain 14 Palestinians, including woman, elderly man and minors
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Apr – Israeli forces Wednesday detained 14 Palestinians from several cities in the occupied West Bank and from East Jerusalem and included a woman, an elderly man and minors, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). It said in a statement that Israeli forces detained five people from the Hebron area, including a 38-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man from the same Zeidat family. Forces also detained four from the town of ‘Azzoun, east of Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, including three minors aged between 13 and 16 years, and two more from Nablus area. Another two minors aged 16 and 17 years were detained in occupied East Jerusalem, said the PPS.
Israeli forces detain 14 Palestinians from West Bank
JENIN (WAFA) 12 Apr – Israeli forces detained early Thursday 14 Palestinians during raids across the West Bank, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). Israeli forces detained three Palestinians during a raid that triggered clashes in Qabatiya town, south of Jenin. Director of Red Crescent Society in Qabatiya Mustafa Kamil said a number of residents suffered from excessive tear gas fired by Israeli forces during the raid. Forces also conducted a raid into Faqqua village, east of Jenin, detaining three Palestinians. Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, forces raided ‘Azzun town, east of Qalqiliya, breaking into and ransacking dozens of homes and detaining a Palestinian after assaulting him. In Tubas district, forces detained two Palestinians after breaking into their family homes during a raid that sparked clashes in al-Faraa refugee camp, south of the city. Meanwhile, a Palestinian was detained during a predawn raid into Nablus city. In the southern West Bank, forces conducted a similar raid into al-‘Arrub refugee camp and Deir Sammit village, north and west of Hebron, detaining two Palestinians and searching several homes and seizing computers and mobile phone devices. Forces also raided Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, where they detained two Palestinians, including a Palestinian who was getting prepared for his wedding party.
Israeli soldiers illegally confiscate cash from a home near Jenin
IMEMC 13 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, a home of a former political prisoner in Barta‘a town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, before searching it and confiscating a large sum of cash. The soldiers also detained for several hours two young men and a teenage boy, near Jenin. The Jenin office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Nasser Alaqma, and interrogated him and his family, before illegally confiscating 10,000 shekels [about US$2843] from the property. It added that the soldiers invaded Kafrit village, southwest of Jenin, detained two young men, identified as Mohammad Salim and Laith Salem Abu Bakr, and released them after interrogating them for several hours. The soldiers also detained a teenage boy, identified as Yousef Mahmoud ‘Obeid, from Sielet al-Harithiya town, northwest of Jenin, and interrogated him for a few hours for “standing near the Annexation Wall,” on town’s land, but later handed him to the Palestinian District Coordination Office.
In related news, the soldiers invaded Hebron city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, Deir Samit, Beit Ummar and Beit ‘Awwa nearby towns, searched many homes and stores, abducted four Palestinians, including three siblings, and confiscated silver.
Farmers’ efforts fruitless after Israeli military drills
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 12 Apr by Ahmad Melhem — Israel’s army drills are razing thousands of acres of the Jordan Valley used by Palestinians for farmland and pastures — Ahmad Hassan Daraghmeh and his family were preparing to reap chickpeas from their farm when the Israeli army showed up March 8 and destroyed the crops, ostensibly because the soldiers needed to conduct military drills for two weeks. “After the military dredges were done with sweeping the chickpeas, tracked vehicles and heavy military vehicles raided the land — and then came the infantry,” said Daraghmeh, who is from Khirbet al-Farisiya in the northern Jordan Valley. He has worked in agriculture for 30 years and provides for eight family members. Some 12 acres of crops “were completely ruined,” he told Al-Monitor. Daraghmeh now has to work for a farmer in exchange for a daily wage to reduce his losses. “I have incurred 120,000 shekels [$34,000] in losses,” he said. Officials at the Tubas governorate’s Department of Agriculture, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, aren’t interested in resolving farmers’ losses, he added, though the ministry disputes that claim….
Detainee Al-Hindi continues hunger strike for the 33rd day
IMEMC 13 Apr — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported, Thursday, that detainee Mosab Tawfiq al-Hindi, 29, is ongoing with an open-ended hunger strike he started 33 days ago, protesting being held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial. The detainee, from Tal town, in the northern West Bank governorate of Nablus, is currently refusing to take any vitamins, rejecting medical checkups, and only drinks water. So far, he lost 12 kilograms (26.5 Pound), and is in a deteriorating condition. The PPS said that one of its lawyer managed to visit al-Hindi, Thursday, in Ohali Kidar Israeli prison, and added that the Prison Administration has confiscated all his belongings, including clothes, and has been frequently moving him from one prison to another to deny his strike, and cause him further fatigue in an attempt to force him to end his strike. It is worth mentioning that al-Hindi was abducted on March 15, 2017, and never faced charges, but instead was slapped with three Administrative Detention orders without trial. He was also frequently abducted and imprisoned by Israel and held two hunger strikes in 2012 and 2014.
Detainee from Hebron enters 18th day of hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Apr — Detainee Sami Mohammad Janazra, 45, from the al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron, continues his open hunger strike for the 18th day, in a protest against the renewal of his administrative detention, according to a report released on Thursday, by the detainees and ex-detainees’ commission. After his visit to the Ofer detention center, the commission’s lawyer explained that Janazra is suffering from a deterioration in his health condition, indicating that he has lost much weight. He added, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that Janazra is suffering from a severe pain in the head and kidneys. It is noteworthy that Janazra is an ex-detainee who was released after one and a half years of administrative detention, during which he held an open hunger strike for 70 days. He was abducted again on 12 December 2017, and held in administrative detention for four months. A few days before his detention ends, they renewed it for another time.
Administrative detention in an archaic policy, dating back to the days of British Mandate, in which a detainee is held without charge or trial, for periods of up to six months which can be renewed indefinitely.
The commission also noted that Ayman Etbeish, 37, from Doura town, to the south of Hebron, who has been administratively detained since August 1st, 2016, is also engaged in an open hunger strike since 4/4/ 18, in a protest against his solitary confinement which began on 11/27/17. They noted that Etbeish spent 13 years in the Israeli prisons, the majority of which were in administrative detention.
They pointed out that the prisoner Amir Sarkaji ,21, from Nablus, was arrested on the 5, March 2018, and he has been on a hunger strike for 16 days in protest against his interrogation at “Petah Tikva” detention center.
Israel to close West Bank for Israeli holiday
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Apr – Israeli authorities said Tuesday that a total closure will be imposed on the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip for three days next week as Israel marks 70 years since its creation. The closure will be in effect from Tuesday through Thursday, which means entry to Israel will be prohibited to all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, even for holders of Israeli army-issued permits.
‘Arabs prohibited’: Main West Bank road barred to Palestinians as army protects settlers’ prayer
Haaretz 11 Apr by Amira Hass — Settlers praying in the middle of a road serving about a dozen Palestinian villages, along with prolonged security checks by soldiers, are for all intents and purposes blocking the road for thousands of Palestinians living west of Ramallah. Road 450 connects the villages of Bitilu, Deir Ammar, Jamala, Ras Karkar, Jania and others to communities northwest of Ramallah and to the northern West Bank. After a Palestinian man from Kaubar murdered three members of the Salomon family in their home in the settlement of Halamish in July, the army closed the road to local Palestinian traffic, which was redirected to a path leading from the road to the village of Deir Nizam. This restriction forced Palestinians to make a large detour to reach their destinations. The order was extended a few times until December 24, but as the result of legal measures taken by local residents through human-rights lawyer Neta Amar Schiff, the closure order was not extended after that, and since then this part of the road is also officially open to Palestinians. However, right after the Salomon murders, residents of Halamish built an outpost on the east side of the road and declared it a new neighborhood of the settlement. At the edge of the road, just south of Halamish, a sign was put up in Arabic reading: “The area where you are now is under the control of the Jews. Entry by Arabs to this area is completely prohibited, danger of death!” The sign, which was not put up by Israel’s Civil Administration, is often taken down but soon replaced….
Denial of entry
Entry denied to Palestinians invited to alternative Memorial Day service
Ynet 11 Apr by Korin Elbaz Alush, Meir Turgeman — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday denied entry to Israel to 110 Palestinians who were invited to attend an alternative Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony. “I won’t lend a hand to the desecration of Memorial Day,” Lieberman explained his decision. “This isn’t a remembrance ceremony, but a display of bad taste and insensitivity, which offends bereaved families, who are more dear to us than anything else.” The Defense Ministry denied entry requests to Palestinians for the ceremony last year as well. The ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace, will be held next Tuesday evening, Memorial Day eve, in Tel Aviv’s Ganey Yehosha Park. Author David Grossman and Dr. Amal Abu Sa’ad, whose husband Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan was shot dead by police in Umm al-Hiran, are set to speak. Last year, protesters with Israeli flags gathered outside the hall the ceremony was held at, swearing and spitting at attendees. Lieberman’s decision angered the bereaved families who are set to take part in the event, which has been held for 16 years. “It offends me that I’m not allowed to grieve and commemorate in the way I want to,” said Roni Hirshenzon, the ceremony’s organizer, who lost his two sons. Gili Meisler, who lost his only brother in the Yom Kippur War, opined that “preventing the arrival of Palestinians who are in favor of reconciliation is simply an embarrassing move.” While Ayelet Harel, a bereaved sister, said that “it is the height of rudeness to decide for us how to mark this day.”
Israel bans Palestinian couple expats from holding wedding in West Bank
Al Bawaba 10 Apr — Israel’s civil administration authority has refused to allow a Palestinian couple resident in Germany to hold their wedding in the occupied West Bank, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Tuesday. According to the newspaper, civil administration authorities in the West Bank informed the couple that they did “not meet the criteria” for obtaining entry permits since the bride is a registered resident of the Gaza Strip despite having left the coastal enclave some 14 years ago. Ala Abu Nada was born in Gaza City but left in 2004 for Germany, where she grew up and now lives. While attending a convention in Sweden, she met Omar Mohsan, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) who had been studying engineering in Germany, according to Haaretz. Last year, having decided to marry, the couple asked Israel’s civil administration authority for permits allowing members of Abu Nada’s family to travel from the Gaza Strip to Hebron so they might attend the wedding ceremony. The authority, however, denied the request. “To this very moment, we don’t know why they denied us entry. We only want to get married [in Hebron] and then go back to Germany,” Haaretz quoted a frustrated Abu Nada as saying.
Israel denies Ghanaian lawmaker entry into West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Apr – Israel denied on Wednesday entry of Ghanaian Member of Parliament Ras Mubarak to attend a conference planned in Ramallah, according to the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service. Mubarak, from the NDC’s Kumbungu party, was invited by the Palestinian Authority to give a speech at an Islamic conference in Ramallah planned to open on Wednesday. According to Mubarak, Israeli authorities had issued a permit for him to enter the occupied Palestinian territories through the Allenby border crossing with Jordan. However, when Mubarak arrived at the border, Israeli authorities, which controls entry into the occupied territories, did not allow him. Writing on his Facebook page, Mubarak said denying him entry will not deter him and other Ghanaians from speaking out against Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. “Ghanaians will continue to support the cause of the Palestinian people,” he said in the post he wrote from the Jordanian capital after he was turned back by Israel at the crossing. “What is this rogue state [Israel] afraid of? The truth? That I would witness the occupation first hand and call them out for the terrorists they are?” Mubarak – an active member of the Palestine solidarity movement in Ghana who recently led a pro-Palestine march in Accra – joins a growing list of African parliamentarians and dignitaries who have been critical of Israel and then denied entry into the Palestinian territories by Israel, said the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service:
Netanyahu rips into Dublin Lord Mayor: ‘You should be ashamed of yourself’
Haaretz 12 Apr by Noa Landau — Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned Ireland’s Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly to its office on Thursday after Dublin’s lord mayor participated in a conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ripped into him for the event. On his official Facebook page, Netanyahu wrote “I have one message for the mayor: You should be ashamed of yourself,” adding “evidence published” in his book on the Mufti’s collaboration with the Nazis during the Holocaust, in reference to images of Haj Amin al-Husseini which were reportedly featured at the West Bank conference. Israel’s anger stemmed from an April decision by the Irish city to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and Donncha support for calls to expell Israel’s ambassador to Ireland … The deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s Europe department Rodica Radian-Gordon expressed her “astonishment and deep disappointment” that the mayor chose to participate in a “blatantly anti-Israel event.” … On Tuesday, the Dublin mayor was barred from entering the county while he was already in Ramallah after having flown in through Tel Aviv. The Interior Ministry later admitted Mac Donncha had entered Israel due to a typo….
Punitive demolition / Collective punishment
Israel orders demolition of prisoner’s home in Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 12 Apr – Israeli occupation forces on Thursday notified the family of Ahmad Jamal Qunbu, a prisoner from Jenin city in the northern West Bank, about their intention to demolish their home in retaliation for their son’s alleged partaking in the killing of an Israeli settler earlier this year. Jamal Qunbu, Ahmad’s father, told WAFA that the forces handed him a notification informing him that they will demolish his home on April 17 in retaliation for Ahmad’s alleged partaking in the fatal shooting of an Israeli settler near Nablus in early January. The father said he had appealed to the Supreme Israeli Court through his son’s attorney to annul the decision but all in vain. Israeli authorities have accused Ahmad Jamal Qunbu of assisting deceased Ahmad Nasr Jarrar in the killing of the Israeli settler outside Havat Gilad illegal settlement, to the west of Nablus in the West Bank…
B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, says: “The people who bear the brunt of the [punitive] demolitions are relatives – including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offense.” “In the vast majority of cases, the person whose actions prompted the demolition was not even living in the house at the time of the demolition,” adds the group. “The official objective of the house demolition policy is deterrence … yet the deterrent effect of house demolitions has never been proven.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Palestinians plant land with trees to protect it from takeover by Jewish settlers
NABLUS (WAFA) 14 Apr – Dozens of Palestinians participated on Saturday in planting olive trees in the northern West Bank village of Qousin [or Qusin], west of Nablus, in a bid to prevent its takeover by Jewish settlers aiming to expand their illegal settlement built in that area, according to the head of the anti-wall, anti-settlements authority Walid Assaf. He told WAFA that the mission was to plant olive trees in an area of the West Bank under full Israeli military control and designated as Area C, which is under threat of being taken over for the expansion of the illegal settlement of Kedumim, built on expropriated village land. Assaf said planting the trees and opening roads leading to that area was part of a bigger project his authority has adopted to protect vulnerable Palestinian land from takeover by the settlers. He said the land which was reclaimed in the village of Qousin was slated for takeover to expand the settlement’s industrial area at the expense of hundreds of dunums of village land.
Israeli forces prevent restoration work in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Apr – Israeli army prevented on Thursday the rehabilitation of a historical building in the Old City neighborhood in Hebron, in the southern West Bank, according to local sources. Imad Hamdan, head of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, the body in charge of maintaining old buildings in Hebron, told WAFA that army prevented the committee from continuing the rehabilitation of the Abu Asab building, without clarifying the reason behind this. Hamdan said this was not the first time Israeli army prevents rehabilitation work in the Old City of Hebron.
Umm al-Hiran residents to Israeli Supreme Court: Stop demolition of our village
HAIFA (WAFA) 11 Apr — Adalah-–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday calling for a halt to the impending demolition of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran and the forced eviction of its residents in order to build the new Jewish town of Hiran on its ruins, according to an Adalah press release. The petition was filed on behalf of Umm al-Hiran residents. Some three weeks ago, on 21 March, Israeli authorities posted eviction and demolition orders in Umm al-Hiran. The orders indicated that the demolition of the entire village will be carried out at some point between 15 and 29 April. The demolition of the village will leave its 350 residents, including large numbers of women and children – all citizens of the State of Israel – homeless. The destruction of Umm al-Hiran “is one of the most severe cases in the legal history of Arab citizens of Israel since 1948,” Adalah attorneys Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany wrote in the petition. They wrote also that the demolition of Umm al-Hiran is driven by racist motivations, as it is intended to allow the establishment of the Jewish-only town of Hiran on the ruins of the Bedouin community … The 2015 Supreme Court ruling on the case does not obligate the state to demolish Umm al-Hiran and evict its residents, Adalah argued. According to the ruling, eviction and demolition is contingent upon the existence of an alternative housing solution. In the absence of such a solution, the eviction of Umm al-Hiran residents must be reconsidered….
After 18 years’ closure, Israel allows Palestinian stores to reopen in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Apr – After forcing them to close since the year 2000, the Israeli military government allowed on Thursday Palestinian owners of 15 stores in Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, which is under full Israeli military control, to reopen their shops and a number of cars to be brought into the neighborhood. Spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Affairs authority, Walid Wahdan, told Voice of Palestine radio that following intense negotiations with the Israeli authorities, his department was able to get Israel to allow the reopening of 15 Palestinian stores in Tel Rumeida closed since the year 2000 and to allow in 12 vehicles for Palestinian residents of the neighborhood, including two vehicles for persons with disability. He stressed that the Civil Affairs and Hebron Municipality would continue their efforts to restore normal life to Tel Rumeida. The Palestinian neighborhood is located in the H2 area of Hebron where several hundred extremist Jewish settlers are based. Israel heavily restricts movement and activity of Palestinians in the H2 area while allowing the settlers free movement and access.
Palestinian Authority pays wages in the West Bank but not Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 12 Apr by Nidal al-Mughrabi — The Palestinian Authority did not pay the salaries of its employees in Gaza this month, in a move that could threaten an already-faltering unity deal with its Islamist rivals, Hamas. The failure to pay March’s salary round as scheduled on Tuesday prompted anger and suspicion in the economically stricken Gaza Strip. That suspicion was fueled by the fact that President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed authority did pay the wages of its employees in the West Bank, which it controls. The authority’s finance ministry in Ramallah said the payment delay in Gaza was because of “technical issues”. On Thursday, frustrated workers disrupted work at two banks in Gaza and blocked the entrance to a third, witnesses said. They expressed doubt about the fate of their jobs, amid a long-running power struggle between Abbas and Hamas. “We hope President Abbas will send our salaries. We have become beggars,” said 34-year-old Tamer Ghaben. “We are trying to keep out of jail because we are in debt to stores.” ….
Ramallah municipality launches Nuwar Nisan spring festival
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 Apr — Ramallah municipality Thursday announced in a press statement the launch of the seventh edition of its annual spring Nuwar Nisan (Arabic for Blossoms of April) festival, with a focus on children. The three-day festival will kick off on Friday in the old town of Ramallah and in Jerusalem. The theme of the festival is focused on Jerusalem and the festival will be organized under the title of “Seven Gates”, in reference to the seven open gates leading to the Old City of Jerusalem. The organizers intend with this theme to highlight and instill the importance of Jerusalem in the minds of Palestinian children who are anticipated to attend the festival’s activities. The festival is going to feature folkloric dance, film screenings, theatrical performances, talk shows, scientific experiments, cooperative work, lectures and art galleries.
Palestinian sisters dig into history of last all-Christian village
Al-Monitor 12 Apr by Aziza Nofal — Mary George Farah Khoury, a researcher at the Modern University College in Ramallah, was surprised and disappointed at the lack of information available on the history of her village when she wrote a research paper three years ago. Aware of the rich history of Taybeh, known as the last all-Christian village with Caananite roots in Palestine, Farah and her sister Nusra worked to compile a comprehensive database on the history of their village using local and international sources and interviewing villagers. The database grew into an encyclopedia on the history of the village that was published in January. The village of 3,000, located 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Ramallah, is indeed the only village solely inhabited by Christians. It’s known for both its history that dates back 4,000 years and its Oktoberfest, which attracts tourists who come to enjoy the local Taybeh beer….
Left-wing party’s lawmakers barred from Knesset talks on Gaza border operation
Haaretz 11 Apr by Jonathan Lis — Meretz MKs will not be able to attend Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discussions on the recent military operations on the Gaza border, even though it was Meretz MK Michal Rozin who requested an urgent discussion of ways to calm the situation. Committee chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud) decided to hold the discussions on the violent clashes in classified subcommittees that don’t have any Meretz MKs as members … Meretz asked to attend the discussions on a one-time basis but was refused. This means that Meretz will be the only faction in the Knesset that will not be represented at these meetings, except for the [‘Arab’] Joint List which does not sit on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at all. Rozin claims Dichter made a decision to exclude Meretz because of the party’s criticism of the army’s operations on the border.
Arab journalists to pursue Israel for its measures against Palestinians
CAIRO (WAFA) 12 Apr – The General Federation of Arab Journalists decided on Wednesday to pursue Israel at international tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, for what it said was its crimes against Palestinian journalists. The Federation said following an extraordinary meeting at its Cairo headquarters during which it discussed the situation in Palestine, particularly the Israeli killing of Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja in Gaza last Friday, that it has appointed a team of lawyers to prosecute Israel at international courts. It also called on the United Nations to start immediate investigation of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian journalists and on the European Union to provide protection to the journalists. The Federation also called on the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to hold a joint meeting in the nearest time possible to coordinate steps to protect Palestinian journalists, to bring to justice those responsible for crimes against the Palestinian journalists and to establish a fund to support the Palestinian journalists through their syndicate….
Egypt struggles to edge Qatar out of Palestine
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 6 Apr by Entsar Abu Jahal — Egypt is trying to block Qatar from the Palestinian scene, but Israel is unlikely to be moved by its efforts, counting on the Qatari assistance that has helped avoid a humanitarian crisis — As Gazans continue to participate in mass protests amid heightened frustrations at their dire humanitarian situation, Qatari aid and infrastructure projects in the besieged strip have been dying out following the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt since June 2017. An Israeli study by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University found that the blockading quartet is working to stop the Qatari aid that enters through Israel from reaching the civilian population in Gaza. The study stresses the difficulty and complexity of transferring the aid to Gaza since the blockade. Egypt has halted the movement of goods and raw materials from Qatar through the Rafah crossing and is pressuring Israel to do the same. The study suggests that increasing Qatari influence in Gaza would escalate tension between Israel and the Egyptian regime….
Members of US Congress release statement on Gaza protests
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Apr — U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04) released the following statement in advance of demonstrations scheduled to take place on Friday within the territory of Gaza. The Members of Congress are urging Gaza protesters to carry out their right to assembly nonviolently, while also calling on members of Israel Defense Forces to exercise utmost restraint in the use of deadly force and to fully comply with international law. “We are deeply disturbed by the tragic loss of life over the past two weeks of protests carried out within the territory of Gaza, with more than a dozen Palestinians killed by sniper fire – including an unarmed teenager and a respected photojournalist – and many hundreds more injured by live ammunition. While it appears that the vast majority of Palestinians who have gathered to protest have been peaceful, we object to reported cases of non-peaceful actions carried out by some Gaza protesters, and we call on them to exercise their rights nonviolently. We also urge Israeli soldiers to refrain from shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters from hundreds of meters away, across the fence separating the two territories. We strongly reject the dangerous contention made on April 8 by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman that ‘there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip.’ Media reports suggest that on Friday, Israeli soldiers will once again be ordered by high command – in contravention of international law – to engage in sniper fire on Gaza residents who come within 300 meters of the border fence or engage in other non-life-threatening actions….
Sen. Elizabeth Warren urges Israel to express restraint toward Gaza protesters
JTA 12 Apr — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on the Israeli government to respect the rights of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border. Warren, D-Mass., made the call in a statement sent to The Intercept on Wednesday, the online news publication reported the following day. “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren said. “As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.” In addition to Warren, who has been cited as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a Jewish lawmaker who ran in 2016 for the Democratic presidential nomination, late last month tweeted his criticism of Israel’s use of force during border demonstrations and called the killing of Gaza protesters “tragic.” Three other members of Congress, all Democrats, have publicly voiced concerns about Israeli conduct toward protesters in Gaza: Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota; and Rep. Barbara Lee of California, according to The Intercept. The Intercept said that Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill contacted by the news magazine would not condemn the killings of protesters or the Israeli military’s attempts to disperse them. Some lawmakers said they did not know enough about the incidents and others put the onus back on the Palestinians, it reported.
US Senator Bernie Sanders circulates congressional letter over Gaza tensions
MEE 13 Apr — US Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to congressional colleagues on Friday urging the White House to take action to improve the “humanitarian crisis” facing Gazans as they protest for the third straight week. Gaza’s “lack of power, clean water, adequate medical care and other necessities not only exacerbates the hardships faced by Gaza’s population, but redounds to the benefit of extremist groups who use this deprivation and despair to incite violence against Israel,” the letter read, according to a report in Haaretz. Middle East Eye has not yet acquired a copy of the letter, but Haaretz reported that it will be sent to the US State Department early next week. “The humanitarian crisis increases the chances of incidents at the border fence that can turn deadly,” the letter added. Sanders criticises both Hamas and Israel in the letter. He said Hamas should not pursue a violent “struggle against Israel,” but he emphasised that Israel’s “continuing control of Gaza’s air, sea, and northern, southern, and eastern borders, and its restrictions on the freedom of movement of people, legitimate goods and equipment in and out of Gaza, have made the humanitarian situation worse”….