Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Illegal Israeli colonizers injure Palestinian woman, burn olive trees, near Jenin
IMEMC 22 June — A group of extremist illegal Israeli colonizers invaded, on Thursday at noon, Palestinian orchards near the junction between Burqa and Sielet ath-Thaher towns, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, injured one woman and burnt at least 30 olive trees. The colonizers invaded the Palestinians’ orchards, and attacked many villagers [with stones], injuring a woman, identified as Darin Mustafa Abu al-Haija, causing mild-to-moderate wounds. They also burnt at least thirty olive trees during their invasion into the Palestinian orchards. Two days ago, the colonizers fired many live rounds at the Palestinian in the same area, reportedly after a Molotov cocktail was hurled at a one of their cars.
Israeli colonizers burn dozens of trees near Nablus
IMEMC 23 June — A group of extremist Israeli colonizers burnt, on Friday evening, dozens of dunams of Palestinian olive orchards in Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activity in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, said dozens of colonists attacked the village, and invaded olive orchards, before setting dozens of trees ablaze. He added that the attack, committed by fanatics from the illegal Yitzhar colony, is not the first, as they have carried out numerous similar attacks, in addition to dozens of assaults against the residents and their property.
Israeli colonizers injure a woman near Jenin
IMEMC 22 June — Israeli colonizers attacked, Thursday, several Palestinian cars driving near the junction of Burqa village and Sielet ath-Thaher town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, causing damage and wounding one woman. Eyewitnesses said dozens of illegal colonizers closed the main road near the junction, and burnt many tires, before hurling stones at dozens of cars, causing damage, and wounding the woman. Resident Mohammad Abu al-Haija said that he was driving in the area, near the evacuated illegal colony of Homish, heading to Jenin city with his family, before the colonists started throwing stones at his car. “We tried to avoid them, and just drive away, but they wounded my wife in her head,” Abu al-Haija stated, “My wife was injured, and our two children suffered anxiety attacks.” The wounded Palestinian woman was rushed to Khalil Suleiman Governmental hospital in Jenin.
Israeli colonists hurl stones at Palestinian cars near Nablus
IMEMC 21 June — A group of extremist illegal colonizers hurled stones, on Wednesday evening, at Palestinian cars trying to cross Huwwara Israeli military roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Media sources said that the Israeli assailants gathered near the military roadblock and started throwing stones at the Palestinian cars waiting to be allowed through. The attacks did not lead to injuries or damage. In related news, a group of colonizers blockaded the main road linking between Za‘tara and Iskaka Palestinian communities east of Salfit in the northwestern West Bank, preventing the Palestinians from crossing.
Child suffers amputations in his fingers due to explosive
IMEMC 23 June — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a child suffered amputations of fingers in his hand, after an explosive object, believed to be dropped by the Israeli army, detonated near him, in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The child Abdul-Mohaymin Abdul-Mohsin Dweik, 14, suffered amputation of three fingers in his right hand, and serious injuries to two fingers. Dweik also suffered numerous cuts and bruises to several parts of his body, including his head, before he was rushed to Hebron Governmental Hospital. It is worth mentioning that many Palestinians, including children, have been killed or seriously wounded when explosives dropped by the army during training detonated near them, in Hebron, the Jordan Valley and several parts of the occupied West Bank … In many incidents, Palestinian families are ordered to leave their communities during the military drills, and later return after the army is done with its live-fire training, including the use of explosives, which are sometimes left behind, leading to casualties, including fatalities.
Army injures seven Palestinians, including a journalist, in Kafr Qaddoum
IMEMC 23 June — Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, seven Palestinians, including one journalist, after the army attacked the weekly protests against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kafr Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, said dozens of soldiers invaded the town before breaking into homes and occupying their rooftops to use them as firing posts. He added that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters, wounding seven who received treatment by Red Crescent medics. Eshteiwi also stated that the soldiers invaded his home, causing anxiety attacks among his children, as the army violently stormed the property and tried to occupy its rooftop.
It is worth mentioning that the protesters, including Israeli and international peace activists, marched carrying Palestinian flags, and chanted against the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation and aggression. They also carried a mock coffin inscribed with the words “Trump, go to head with your deal” before burning it, and affirming that the Palestinians will overcome all conspiracies against them, against their just cause, and their struggle for full liberation and independence.
Updated: Army shoots a young man near Bethlehem
IMEMC 23 June — Israeli soldiers shot, Saturday, a young Palestinian man at the Container military roadblock, north of Bethlehem, in the occupied West bank. The soldiers shot the young man with a live round in his leg and prevented Palestinian medics from even approaching them. His identity, and the reason for shooting him, remain unknown, especially since the soldiers closed the overcrowded military roadblock, causing a huge traffic jam. The Israeli army only said that the man, 40, reportedly stepped out of a car, and started walking towards the soldiers, before they shot him. Israeli Ynet News said the “roadblock is only for vehicles, not for pedestrians,” and claimed that the soldiers “followed rules of engagement, because he kept walking towards their kiosk.” It added that the wounded Palestinian is being interrogated by the “Border Police.”
Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian car, injuring 27-year-old man
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 June — Israeli forces shot and wounded a Palestinian man on Wednesday after they opened fire on his car near the village of Umm Salmuna in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. Locals identified the man as Ahmad Nasser Thawabta, 27, from the Bethlehem-area town of Beit Fajjar. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Thawabta was shot in the back by Israeli forces after they opened fire on his car. He was immediately transferred to a hospital in Hebron for medical treatment. The circumstances of the shooting remained unclear.
Following the shooting, Israeli forces closed off the main road located between the Bethlehem and Hebron districts. The entrances to the Bethlehem-area villages of Beit Fajjar and Tuqu‘ were blocked, as well as the iron gate at the entrance of the town of Jannata.
Israeli soldiers abduct five Palestinians, injure five others, near Bethlehem
IMEMC 22 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, five young Palestinian men, and shot five others, in Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Several armored military jeeps invaded the town, before the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes, causing damage, and abducted five young men, including Ahmad Mohammad Taqatqa, who was shot by army fire, a few days ago, near Um Salmouna village, south of Bethlehem. The abducted Palestinians have been identified as Mohammad Ahmad Taqatqa, Qassam Ahmad Thawabta, 23, Khalil Mohammad Thawabta, 28, Mohammad Eyad Thawabta, 16, and Mo‘tasem Na‘im Taqatqa, 21. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem said the soldiers also shot five young men with the illegal “Toto” expanding bullets, after dozens of residents protested the invasions into their town and homes, and the abduction of the five residents. It added that the soldiers shot the five young men with Toto bullets in their lower extremities, causing moderate-but-stable injuries. They were all rushed to Palestinian hospitals in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 20 Palestinians in West Bank’
IMEMC 21 June — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight until early morning hours Thursday, twenty Palestinians, including a child, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. One of the abducted Palestinians is an author, intellectual and human rights activist, former political prisoner Rassem Obeidat. Obeidat was summoned for interrogation in the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation facility and was abducted shortly after arriving there. He was among several Palestinians who were held, and interrogated, last Monday, after a large police force and intelligence officers invaded a hall of the Ambassador Hotel, in occupied East Jerusalem and attacked a celebration held by the Palestinian Russian Friendship Society.
The abducted Palestinians have been identified as: [list follows of those abducted in the Bethlehem, Hebron, and Nablus governorates, plus Jerusalem.
Israeli army holds activists, journalists near Hebron in West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 June – Israeli forces detained on Saturday a number of activists and journalists during an activity held in solidarity with Palestinian landowners and farmers whose lands in the town of Bani Naim, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, are under threat of confiscation by the army. WAFA correspondent in Hebron said the soldiers, who declared the area a closed military zone to prevent the protest rally from taking place, detained WAFA photographer, Mashhour Wahwah, Palestine TV correspondent Azmi Banat as well as the director of the anti-settlements and wall committee in the south of the West Bank, Younis Arar, a member of the Hebron governorate and two members of the Bani Naim municipal council and took them into a undisclosed location.
New Israeli law would grant immunity to border cops in occupied East Jerusalem
MEMO 22 June — Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is advancing an amendment that would give Border Police forces operating in occupied East Jerusalem “immunity from lawsuits” for damages they cause in the course of acting against “terror or rioting”, reported Haaretz. The paper explains that “under the current law, Israel Defence Forces soldiers and Border Police troops are protected from damage suits filed by Palestinians, as long as they were acting ‘on the grounds of combat activity’”, but “this protection is valid only in the West Bank”. As context, Haaretz reports that “over the past year the police have fielded ten lawsuits by East Jerusalem residents who say they have suffered harm at the hands of Border Police forces during various operations”. Until now, police cannot cite “combat activity” as a reason for immunity. The report also claims that Israel’s “defence establishment is expecting a wave of lawsuits” resulting from confrontations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound “over the past two years”, many of which are expected to be filed “just before the statute of limitations on the incidents expires”. Just six months ago, Israeli authorities paid compensation to a resident of Shuafat in occupied East Jerusalem who sued the state in 2014, “claiming that three years earlier he had been injured by Border Police gunfire during a demonstration near his home”.
Opinion: The monsters in our midst / Yehuda Nuriel
Ynet 22 June — “Where is Ali? Burned! No more Ali! Dead, burned! On the grill, on fire!” these are the jubilant jeers that welcomed Hussein Dawabsheh this week as he was heading into the Lod District Court. His grandson, 18-months-old Ali, was burned to death in the terror attack in Duma. His two parents, Riham and Saad, also lost their lives in that arson attack, while Ali’s brother Ahmed, then four years old, was seriously wounded. “Dead, burned! On the grill, on fire!” brayed several rioters who came to support the terrorists accused of the murder. Police were right in front of them. From conversations I had with those who were on the scene, the lawmen simply stood there frozen. Didn’t even bother uttering a single word. Later, the Israel Police excused this failure with the words: “There was no violent rioting.” Are you kidding me? I suggest we stop yammering about “the need to educate the youth,” blah, blah, blah, before going about our daily lives. No “education” is going to help the monsters within our ranks. Only a firm hand. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit shouldn’t hesitate. The head of the prosecution in the State of Israel must prosecute all of those involved in this pogrom. It’s a clear criminal offense. “He who treats the dead with lack of respect intends to hurt the feelings of his fellow man” – This is exactly the case, the most evil and criminal side of it – a menacing carnival of hatred and gloating, over a horrifying act of terror that annihilated a family and burned a toddler alive, in front of the grieving grandfather. This is the case. Go on, Mr. Mandelblit: Prosecute them. Now. The silence of the prosecution would be interpreted as acceptance and encouragement of those who try it next. Alongside a conviction, the law also allows for damages to be ruled to the victim of the offense, the poor grandfather Hussein. The sum may not be very high – only up to NIS 258,000 – but that’s something too. Hit the little monster where it hurts, in his pocket, because this is the only way he’ll be deterred…. [Remember that Israel refused to compensate Palestinian family burned to death by settlers]
Updated: ‘Cancer patient dies at Gaza border crossing with Israel after repeated denial of medical permit’
IMEMC/Agencies 21 June — A Palestinian man, a cancer patient identified as Masoud Abdul Hai Abu Saqer, aged 49, died on Tuesday at Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing between Gaza and Israel, while awaiting to be interviewed by Israeli security officers to discuss his permit application to receive treatment at an East Jerusalem hospital, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said, on Wednesday. Al-Mezan said the patient had all needed referrals and documents to continue cancer treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital, in occupied East Jerusalem. Investigations by Al-Mezan revealed that the man previously submitted three applications to be allowed to leave the Gaza Strip for treatment in Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem since he was officially diagnosed in December of 2017, but his applications were all denied.
His son, Saed Abu Saqer, 26, said his father was first interviewed by Israeli Intelligence officers at Erez Terminal on January 23rd, 2018, but instead of discussing his application to receive treatment, and examining his medical reports, the security officers were asking him about “activities of the resistance in Gaza,” and were trying to recruit him as an “informant,” in exchange for allowing him to receive treatment.
After his application was denied, he managed to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, and was admitted to Nasser Hospital, where the surgeons removed his cancer-ridden right kidney. After returning to Gaza, cancer cells spread to his abdomen and intestines, before he was referred to Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem, but Israel denied his applications three times.
Seven Gaza patients, including three women, have reportedly died, since the start of this year, after their applications for an Israeli permit to leave the besieged Gaza Strip were either denied or delayed.
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained during ‘Great March of Return’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 June — A 23-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Ghassan Abu Farhana [IMEMC lists his surname as Abu Doqqa] succumbed on Wednesday night to wounds he sustained during the “Great March of Return” on May 14th in the besieged Gaza Strip. Abu Farhana’s body was transferred from the hospital to his family in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon. Locals told Ma‘an at the time of Abu Farhana’s injury that his wounds were critical; he was immediately transferred for medical treatment to Saint Joseph’s hospital in occupied East Jerusalem. Abu Farhana was reported to have succumbed to his wounds on Wednesday night. Large crowds awaited the arrival of Abu Farhana’s body at the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) in the northern Gaza Strip to prepare for the funeral. Abu Farhana’s family members told Ma‘an that they decided to hold the funeral right after the body’s arrival on Thursday afternoon at the Omar Bin Abed al-Aziz mosque in al-Farahhin area in eastern Khan Younis City in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, More than 135 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during the “Great March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip since March 30th.
‘I just want him to be a normal boy again’: Gaza family appeal for urgent help to support treatment of 11-year-old Mahmoud who was shot in the face by an Israeli sniper
ISM (International Solidarity Movement) 21 June — Mahmoud Sawalhi is an 11 year-old boy from Gaza who was shot in the head and the shoulder with live ammunition by an Israeli sniper in the 14th May Great Return March protests. A bullet passed through his eye and out of the top of his head, and he lost both his eye and part of his brain. His heart stopped twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Gaza, and he fell into a coma for 6 days. You can watch this short video showing Mahmoud in hospital the day after he was shot. Three days after he was shot, Mahmoud was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, where he has some cousins, but he doesn’t know them very well because of the travel restrictions between Gaza and the West Bank. He had only met his cousin Samar once before when she visited Gaza for a day a year or so earlier. He didn’t recognise many of the faces he saw around him when he regained consciousness. Mahmoud’s immediate family were not allowed to travel from Gaza to the West Bank to be with him at the hospital and so he was parted from his parents and close family for over two weeks while his condition was critical. The process of getting permission to cross from the Israeli authorities was difficult, and at first Feda waited 7 hours at the Erez crossing before being turned back, despite having a permit for travel to the West Bank. The Israeli authorities then eventually allowed Mahmoud’s mother Feda to travel to be with her son in hospital, and she is still here with him. Last Wednesday Mahmoud had an operation to remove the remaining part of his eye in the socket to prepare for a possible replacement from a donor. His condition during and after the operation was critical, and the medical team knew there was a high risk of infection. He suffered from a fever after the operation, but has since stabilised and his condition is now better. ISM visited Mahmoud and his family in hospital a few weeks ago and again today. His mother told us ‘I just want him to be a normal boy again, I just want him to be a normal child again.’ Mahmoud is doing much better than when we saw him last, but he is likely to have severe brain damage and need a great deal of support during his long-term recovery. Mahmoud’s family are appealing for international support to help in his long-term medical treatment. Maybe you can help with the following: … Please contact Mahmoud’s cousin Samar: email@example.com if you can help in any way.
Health ministry: ‘Israeli soldiers injure 206 Palestinians, including 44 with live fire’
IMEMC 23 June — The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has reported that Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, 206 Palestinians, including 44 with live fire, and added that seven of the Palestinians suffered life-threatening wounds. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, said 120 of the 206 wounded Palestinians received treatment in field clinics, and 86 others, including 44 who were shot with live fire, were rushed to several hospitals in the Gaza Strip; seven of them are in very serious conditions. He also stated that at least thirty Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
In his statement Dr. al-Qedra denounced the ongoing Israeli military targeting of medics in the Gaza Strip, and said the soldiers shot two medics, including one woman, and added that at least eight of the wounded Palestinians are children.
Media sources in Gaza said the soldiers shot four Palestinians, including two with live fire, in Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza, before they were rushed to the Indonesian Hospital in nearby Beit Lahia, suffering moderate wounds. The army also injured several Palestinians with live fire, and gas bombs, east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip. One of them was shot with a bullet in the leg and was rushed to the European Hospital….
15 fires sweep south as kite terror continues
Ynet 21 June by Matan Tzuri & Yoav Zitun — Fifteen fires broke out in the western Negev on Thursday afternoon after a group in Gaza flew across the border incendiary kites and balloons, setting ablaze trees in the Shokeda Forest and the Be’eri Forest as firefighters scrambled to contain the flames. The IDF confirmed Palestinian media reports earlier in the afternoon that Israeli jets shot at a group of incendiary kite and balloon flyers east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. No one was injured in attack. The latest fires add to the hundreds that have already swept through thousands of acres of Israeli landscape as tensions between the Hamas-ruled enclave and the IDF show little sign of waning….
Condoms, kites, balloons: ‘Silly’ Gaza weapons could lead to real war
Times of Israel 20 June by Judah Ari Gross — For over two months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been flying kites, birthday balloons and inflated latex condoms into Israel, relying on the gentle Mediterranean coastal breeze to push them across the border. Silly as they may sound, these weapons are no joke. Most of them carry metal mesh pouches containing a burning piece of coal or oil-soaked rag, which have sparked hundreds of fires in southern Israel, destroying thousands of acres of land and causing millions of shekels in damage. A smaller number carry small explosive devices, which seem to have not yet caused injury because of repeated warnings by police and local government officials not to approach them … The balloons come in two main varieties: birthday and inflated latex condoms. Adding to the absurdity, many of the birthday balloons have printed on them endearing or celebratory lines turned ironic under the circumstances … . In at least two cases, balloons covered in hearts with the Arabic word habibi, or “my beloved,” touched down in fields in southern Israel — one in an empty lot, the other in the middle of a peanut field. In those cases as well, a police sapper had to be called in …
These dead simple and dirt cheap methods have presented a significant challenge to the mighty Israel Defense Forces. The military has used drones and other high-tech solutions to some positive effect, but every day the kites and balloons keep coming. The Defense Ministry has also threatened to limit the supply of helium into the Gaza Strip, which is supposed to be used to help run magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Recently, the army has turned to deterrence — not stopping the airborne devices themselves, but trying to get the Palestinians to stop launching them. Over the past two weeks, the IDF has started firing warning shots at the kite- and balloon-flyers and at the tents and cars they use. After this tactic failed to yield results, the army shifted its focus to the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza. The military does not believe that Hamas is behind all of these kites and balloons, but says the terrorist group supports the practice and certainly is not working to prevent it … On Monday and Wednesday, the Israeli Air Force conducted a series of predawn airstrikes on Hamas positions in the coastal enclave in an attempt to get the terrorist group to persuade Gazans to abandon the practice. It was not immediately clear if this new Israeli tactic will succeed. Terrorist groups in the Strip immediately responded to the early morning airstrikes on Monday by firing three rockets at southern Israel, though the rest of the day indeed saw a decrease in the number of arson devices flown into Israel. However, Palestinians were back at it again the next day. And Wednesday’s predawn strikes by the IDF met an even more forceful response, with Hamas and other Gaza-based groups launching almost 50 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel. As of writing, it was too early to tell if Wednesday’s airstrikes would ultimately prove more effective, or if the back-and-forth between the IDF and Hamas would escalate into broader violence.
Israel might have no choice but to launch a large-scale military operation in Gaza, says minister
MEMO 21 June — Israel’s Minister for Public Security, Gilad Erdan, has claimed that Israel might be forced to launch a “large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip”. Speaking on Army Radio earlier today Erdan said: “I don’t want to launch an operation, but there is a good chance that we will have no other option but to go in so that we can create durable deterrence.” He also added that anyone caught launching burning kites from Gaza should be shot regardless of their age, asserting that “age doesn’t matter, they’re terrorists and the danger they create must be prevented”. To add to that, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Army Radio that “there is no difference between a burning kite and a Qassam rocket, and we should not tolerate the kites”. This echoes Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s call for the Israeli army to begin assassinating those who burn kites, as they believe the protesters who do so are controlled by Hamas … Erdan claimed that “Hamas is incorrectly assessing when our limit will be reached… Hamas doesn’t want to get to a point of confrontation that will spell its end in the Gaza Strip.”
Morocco helps ease burden on Gaza hospitals
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 20 June by Rasha Abou Jalal — Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza have sought care at a military field hospital set up by Morocco that opened its doors June 12. The facility’s goal is primarily to assist with medical care for Palestinians injured during the Great Return March in light of the medicine shortages and lack of resources at local hospitals. The medical equipment arrived on June 8 as part of an aid convoy led by Ahmed Tazi, Morocco’s ambassador to Egypt. Also arriving were 165 Moroccan physicians, nurses and media personnel, along with 56 tons of foodstuffs, which were delivered to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and 25 tons of emergency medicines, which were distributed among Gazan hospitals … Upon arriving at the Rafah border crossing, Tazi told the press, “The Moroccan humanitarian aid transported to the Gaza Strip via Egypt was carried in 17 planes.” He explained that the convoy included a field hospital, a team of doctors and a group of technicians tasked with management duties. Moroccan chief physician Ahmed Abu Naim, also a colonel, told Al-Monitor that the hospital’s medical staff consists of 13 doctors, 21 nurses and administrative and logistics staff. He added that the field hospital, typically configured to accommodate 30 beds, can be expanded to fit up to 60 when needed. Abu Naim indicated that the hospital processed 1,200 cases on its first day of operation and has dedicated sections for orthopedic, ocular, gastrointestinal and vascular surgery as well as for otolaryngology and obstetrics and gynecology. He added, “The field hospital is equipped with a lab for medical and radiological exams in addition to an emergency room.”….
Baseball caps and civilian clothes: Hamas has its own undercover soldiers
Haaretz 23 June by Amira Hass — Hamas members violently dispersed a demonstration in Gaza this week against the Palestinian political rift and attacked protesters who tried to photograph them doing so — Dozens of men wearing kaffiyehs and white baseball caps burst into a demonstration held in the city center Monday. This sounds like the start of an article on another protest dispersed by plainclothes Palestinian Authority security forces in Ramallah. But actually what happened Monday happened in Gaza City. It was a demonstration by a few hundred people calling for an end to the political rift between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and the revocation of punitive measures that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas imposed on Gaza. The protesters, as well as journalists and human rights groups, are convinced that the entity behind the violence to break up the demonstration was Gaza’s de facto government; in other words, Hamas. But Hamas and the Interior Ministry in Gaza, which Hamas controls, deny any involvement. The initiative for the demonstration came from Fatah’s prisoners’ commission, news sites reported. A cursory look makes it seem that these protesters wanted to “reply” to demonstrations in the West Bank by opposing the political rift – the situation of two Palestinian parallel governments. In Gaza, the call to close the rift is a slogan identified more with Fatah’s supporters and Hamas’ opponents because it implies the return of the Palestinian Authority’s control over Gaza. But former prisoners in Israel from all Palestinian political movements helped organize the protest in Gaza. Moreover, one person present at the demonstration was none other than Tawfiq Abu Naim, the head of the security forces in the Strip….
Opinion: In a democracy, Khalida Jarrar would be free / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 21 June — A legislator in prison through no fault of her own is a political prisoner in every way — The continued detention of Palestinian parliament member Khalida Jarrar can no longer be presented as a worrisome exception on Israel’s democratic landscape. Nor can the incredible public apathy and almost total absence of media coverage of her plight be dismissed any longer as a general lack of interest in what Israel does to the Palestinians. The usual repression and denial cannot explain it either. Jarrar’s detention doesn’t only define what is happening in Israel’s dark backyard, it is part of its glittering display window. Jarrar defines democracy and the rule of law in Israel. Her imprisonment is an inseparable part of the Israeli regime and it is the face of Israeli democracy, no less than its free elections (for some of its subjects) or the pride parades that wind through its streets. Jarrar is the Israeli regime no less than the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty. Jarrar is Israeli democracy without makeup and adornments. The lack of interest in her fate is also characteristic of the regime. A legislator in prison through no fault of her own is a political prisoner in every way, and political prisoners defined by the regime. There can be no political prisoners in a democracy, nor detention without trial in a state of law. Thus Jarrar’s imprisonment is not only a black stain on the Israeli regime; it’s an inseparable part of it. A Palestinian legislator has been imprisoned for nothing for months and years, and no one in Israel cares about her fate; only a very few protest … There’s no point in reporting on the trivialities that the Shin Bet security service attributes to her, or to explain that she is innocent until proven guilty. There is no point in writing again and again about parliamentary immunity, lest this be considered delusional – how can a Palestinian have immunity? – nor is there any point in wasting words to describe her courage, though she is perhaps the bravest woman living today under Israeli control….
Army demolishes a Palestinian home near Jenin
IMEMC 21 June — Israeli soldiers demolished, late on Wednesday at night, the home of a Palestinian detainee who is imprisoned on charges of crashing into a military roadblock on March 17, 2018, killing two soldiers. The Israeli army has claimed that Ala’ Rateb Kabaha, 26, deliberately rammed soldiers at the military roadblocks, killing Lieutenant Ziv Daus, 21, from Azur town near Tel Aviv, and Sergeant Netanel Kahalani, 20, from Elyakim Moshav, in the Megiddo Regional Council, in the northern part of the country.
Media sources in Jenin said that on Wednesday night at least twenty military vehicles and jeeps invaded Barta‘a town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, before invading the Kabaha family home. They added that the Kabaha family lives on the third floor of a four-story building, owned by Ala’s father. The soldiers demolished the interior of the 150 square/meter apartment. The destruction of the interior walls caused structural damage, which may result in the entire building needing to be torn down.
It is Israeli policy to engage in ‘punitive demolitions’ of the homes of Palestinians who are charged with crimes against the Israeli military occupiers. The army claims that the demolitions of the family homes act as a ‘deterrent’ against future attacks, but there is no evidence to support this claim. In addition, the demolition of the homes of family members of those accused of crimes is considered a violation of international law, as it is a form of collective punishment. It is worth mentioning that the family only received the official demolition order two weeks ago. [Ma‘an: Clashes broke out following the demolition between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces; seven Palestinians were injured. Injuries were reported to be between minor and moderate.]
Report: Israel demolished, sealed 48 homes of resistance fighters
MEMO 22 June — Israeli occupation authorities have demolished and sealed 48 houses belonging to Palestinians under the pretext that one of their residents carried out attacks against Israeli targets, a new report revealed. The Abdullah Al-Hourani Centre for Studies and Documentation said in a report yesterday that occupation forces demolished 43 houses on charges that one of their residents had carried out resistance operations against Israeli targets and sealed five houses with reinforced concrete. According to the report, Israeli occupation forces demolished three houses which belonged to the Jarrar family south of Jenin while trying to locate Ahmed Nasr Jarrar who was later killed by their military….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli colonists install a new illegal outpost on Palestinian land in Hebron
IMEMC 21 June — A group of extremist Israeli colonialist settlers installed, Wednesday, a new illegal outpost on Palestinian agricultural lands in Bani Neim town, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The armed colonizers invaded the lands, owned by the Ed‘eis family in the al-Hamra area, and installed a tent, a mobile home, and a barn for their sheep. The new outpost was installed in twenty dunams of Palestinian lands, only dozens of meters away from the illegal Bnie Havar colony, which was also installed on private lands. Younis Arar, the head of the Palestinian Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Hebron, said the new outpost aims at expanding the existing illegal colony, and added that Israeli soldiers invaded the area, and declared it a closed military zone, preventing the Palestinians, not the colonizers, from entering it.
He also said that the Committee will be installing a protest tent on the land and will challenge Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in international courts. Dozens of activists and local farmers protested in the area, and chanted against the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation, and its colonialist activities in direct violation of International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israel to displace 21 families while its army holds drills in West Bank
IMEMC 22 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at night, Khirbat Hamsa al-Foqa village, in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, and handed warrants to 21 families, ordering them to leave their dwellings while the army conducts live fire training. The soldiers handed 18 orders to 21 families, instructing them all to leave their homes next Tuesday, June 26th, so that the army can conduct its live fire training, which also includes explosives. Mo‘taz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonist activities in Tubas Governate, said the army conducted several military drills in the same area over the last two months, repeatedly displacing the families, and placing them in danger due to explosive materials dropped during training, in addition to the excessive devastation to agricultural lands.
In January of this year, the soldiers shot a Palestinian child with a live round in the head during “military training” near Tubas, in northeastern West Bank.
PM delays razing of West Bank Bedouin village ‘following international pressure’
Times of Israel 19 June — by Michael Bacher & ToI staff — Settler leaders outraged after Netanyahu reportedly postpones indefinitely the scheduled demolition of Sussiya ahead of Kushner and Greenblatt’s visit to Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed indefinitely the scheduled demolition of a Bedouin Palestinian village in the West Bank deemed illegal by authorities, reportedly due to intense international pressure. Foreign lawmakers and ministers have urged Jerusalem to refrain from razing houses built without a permit in Sussiya. Hundreds of police and soldiers were put on standby for the demolition, scheduled for Tuesday morning, but late Monday Netanyahu ordered a halt to the operation, according to the Ynet website. It is the third delay of the village’s court-approved demolition in the last two years. Israel maintains that the community was built illegally, but its plans to raze the villages have sparked a sustained international outcry. A group of 74 Democratic lawmakers from the US last month urged Netanyahu to halt the demolition of Sussiya and another village, Khan al-Ahmar. In a letter sent to Netanyahu they wrote that the “destruction and displacement of such communities would run counter to shared US and Israeli values, while further undermining long-term Israeli security, Palestinian dignity and the prospects for peacefully achieving two states for two people.” It said demolishing Sussiya and Khan al-Ahmar “endangers Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy,” and urged the government to “fairly reevaluate” Palestinian requests for building rights….
Israel’s education ministry is funding two illegal West Bank farm schools
Haaretz 21 June by Yotam Berger & Yarden Zur — Projects built in Efrat, Geva Binyamin settlements on land that does not belong to the state are left standing as Civil Administration does not enforce the law against them — The government is financially supporting, two farm schools in the West Bank via the Education Ministry and two local councils that were built illegally on land that does not belong to the state. One is in the Efrat settlement in Gush Etzion and the other is in the Geva Binyamin settlement in the central West Bank. The farms were built by the local councils and the Education Ministry allocates classroom hours to them. The councils and the ministry confirmed their connections to the farms. The Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank is aware of the illegal construction but does not enforce the law against it, either because enforcement authority lies with the regional council or the buildings are low on the administration’s order of priorities for demolition. Students from area schools are brought to both farms for “ecological agricultural education.” … “For the umpteenth time, Efrat has been caught exploiting the land of its Palestinian neighbors,” said Dror Etkes of the Kerem Navot, a group the stated purpose of which is to halt what it says is the dispossession of land owned by Palestinians in the West Bank. “This time too they will surely tell us that it involves state land,” he said….
West Bank demolitions and displacement | May 2018
OCHA OPT 20 June — Highlights: Demolitions halted during the second half of May due to the month of Ramadan; 12 donor-funded structures demolished/seized, and six other structures placed at risk; Bedouin community in Area C at imminent risk of demolition and forcible transfer following final ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Overview — In May, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 34 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, almost the same as the monthly average of targeted structures in the first four months of 2018 and in 2017. A total of 43 people were displaced, the highest such monthly figure so far this year. All the May incidents occurred in the first half of the month, before the beginning of the month of Ramadan, when demolitions are usually reduced or halted. Over 60 per cent of the affected structures this month, including 11 funded by EU and its Member States, were demolished or seized in one day (2 May) in four Area C communities in the Massafer Yatta area of the Hebron governorate. These included six homes, eight livelihood structures, four solar systems and three water systems. These four communities, along with another eight (total 1,300 people), are located in an area designated by Israel as a “firing zone” for military training, and are at heightened risk of forcible transfer due to the coercive environment imposed on them. In late 2017 and early 2018, the residents were affected by additional movement restrictions and repeated military exercises, impeding their access to services and livelihoods. In the Salfit governorate, the authorities demolished a donor-funded recently-paved road, that connected Haris village to a main road leading to the northern West Bank, affecting over 3,800 residents….
World Refugee Day 2018 Report: Palestinians are the largest population of refugees
IMEMC/Agencies 21 June — The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a statement Wednesday to mark the occasion of World Refugee Day. The report stated that Palestinians make up the world’s largest refugee population, with around 5.9 million Palestinian refugees around the world. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Palestinian refugees live in 58 camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many others have settled in refugee camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. “Palestinian refugees in the West Bank who are registered with UNRWA in 2017 accounted for up to 17% of the total registered refugees against 24.4% in the Gaza Strip,” said the PCBS in the statement, which was released on the occasion of the World Refugee Day. Jordan has the largest number of Palestinian refugees with 39% of the total refugee population, followed by Syria and Lebanon 10.5% and 9.1% respectively. According to PCBS, 43% of Palestinians in the State of Palestine are displaced refugees. The poverty rate among Palestinian refugees registered 39% in 2017, while it reached 22.3% among non-refugees, the statement said. “Unemployment rate among refugees reached up to 34.7% compared to 22.8% among non-refugees in 2017,” it added…
According to a report by al-Anadolu news agency, World Refugee Day comes a month after the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), the term used by the Palestinians to refer to the creation of Israel in 1948 … For many Palestinians, the right of return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel is an inalienable right. ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, said in their World Refugee Day statement that the protests in Gaza that have been ongoing since March 30th are a direct result of this refugee crisis….
PA files appeal with IFG against Israeli law criminalizing filming Israeli soldiers
IMEMC 22 June — The Palestinian Authority’s Information Ministry sent a letter to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) complaining about the preliminary Israeli Knesset proposal, which passed the first reading, forbidding journalists and ordinary residents from filming and documenting Israeli invasions and military activities in occupied Palestine. The new bill passed the first reading in a 45-42 vote and aims at outlawing filming the soldiers with what is described as “the intent to demoralize them, or harming Israel’s security.” The new law allows the army to abduct and imprison those “who violate the law” up to five years, “if the documentation harmed the soldiers’ fighting spirit.” It also calls for imprisoning the Palestinians for ten years if “they filmed the soldiers with the intent to harm Israel’s security.”
The Information Ministry sent a letter to Philippe Leruth, the elected head of the IFJ, and members of its executive committee, calling on them to intervene. It said that the new Israeli law is not only racist, but also targets every Palestinian and every journalist, who documents Israel’s invasions, criminalizes Palestinian journalists, and prevents them from performing their duties, in direct violation of all related International Laws and regulations, especially the Freedom of the Press. The Ministry added that the law also violates UN Security Council Resolution #2222, which provides protection to the journalists, and stated that Israel is giving its soldiers a free hand in assaulting and arresting the journalists just for performing their duties, and targets the residents who have the right to document the invasions….
Rivlin welcomes 74 Arab women who join the police
Ynet 23 June by Yishai Porat — President Rivlin and Police chief meet with 29 of the fresh recruits, who say that despite prejudices they have encountered in their sector, to serve in the police is their mission; Rivlin praises knocking ‘down the barriers to make us all come closer together.’ — … The Arab Sector Administration head, Major General Jamal Hakroush is responsible for integrating Arab women in the police ranks. The administration was established in June 2016 aiming to open additional police stations in the Arab sector, integrate them into the police ranks and to hold community activities meant to find mutual grounds for the Jewish and Arab societies, and by doing so bringing them closer together. Since the administration’s establishment, 728 Arab police officers have joined the police, with 74 being women. Twenty-nine female Arab police officers attended the meeting and spoke about the challenges they face and the importance they see in their work. “It was said it’s not dignified to have an Arab woman serving in the police,” Southern District investigator Inas Abu Wasel said. “It’s not easy facing stigmas in the (Arab) sector. I’ve heard things like ‘It’s not your country and an Arab questioning an Arab is unacceptable,'” she elaborated….
VIDEO: A Japanese initiative for West Bank’s economic activity
Euronews 21 June by Serge Rombi — In the latest episode of Global Japan, we bring you to Jericho in the West Bank to discover a unique Japanese initiative: the Jericho agro-industrial park, which meets international standards. The aim: to boost the region’s economic activity.
Dutch state channel caves to pressure from pro-Israel group over Gaza
MEMO 22 June — A Dutch state TV station has apologised twice following complaints from Jewish groups that its coverage was biased against Israel. According to Israeli sources, NOS, Netherlands’ main public broadcaster, made two retractions within the space of two weeks amid protests by Dutch Jews and others who complained that the state-funded organisation has an institutional anti-Israel bias. Though a senior NOS spokesperson has denied accusations of anti-Israel bias, the broadcaster has been forced to retract comments about Israel’s occupation and suggesting that Iran and Israel face the same level of threat from each other. NOS retracted comments which described Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza as a protest for the right to return to areas that were occupied by Israel after 1948. The broadcast said that those taking part in the “March of Return” wanted to “return to areas that since the establishment of Israel in 1948 are occupied.” In their retraction, NOS said that the land that came under the control of the Jewish state following the 1949 armistice that ended its war of independence is internationally recognised as belonging to Israel….
After US, Israel ‘lowers’ participation in UN human rights body
GENEVA (AP) 22 June — Diplomats said Friday Israel has temporarily reduced its participation with the UN Human Rights Council, days after the United States pulled out. The diplomats in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Israel had “lowered” its participation. Israel was not participating in the council plenary Friday, where its seat sat empty. Israeli officials missed several other discussions in recent days. The diplomats cautioned the move was not definitive and could change from day to day … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the US walkout announced Tuesday. Israeli diplomatic officials said Israel had to follow the lead of its ally, the United States, and could not settle for the statement praising President Trump for his decision to withdraw from the UN body … Israel is not one of the council’s 47 member states, but has participated like most other countries as an observer….
Democratic megadonor Haim Saban attacks senators for urging humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip
The Intercept 20 June by Alex Emmons — Television mogul and Democratic Party megadonor Haim Saban is privately reprimanding lawmakers who spoke out about the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Saban emailed the senators, some at their personal addresses, to directly express his displeasure with a letter organized last month by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Twelve Democrats and Sanders signed the May 11, 2018, letter calling for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “act urgently in order to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” The letter, which came amid a deadly Israeli response to a protest movement in the Gaza Strip, said that the Trump administration should restore funding to a United Nations humanitarian effort and encourage Israel to ease restrictions on Palestinians living in Gaza. Three days after the senators sent the letter, Israel fired on another round of protests, leaving dozens dead and hundreds more wounded. On Tuesday, The Intercept obtained a copy of an email Saban sent to six of the senators, along with a handful of staffers for the others, expressing his “dismay” that they signed. “Senators, for you to listen to Senator Sanders and accuse Israel of being the main culprit is outrageous, misinformed, offensive and shows a lack of understanding of the region’s basic fundamentals,” Saban wrote. “Do your homework, unless you have chosen to blindly follow Senator Sander’s [sic] ill advised, misinformed, simplistic, and ignorant lead.” Saban’s email mostly addresses the Gaza protests and Israel’s deadly response….
Trump’s Mideast team gets close-up view of peace obstacles
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) 21 June by Karin Laub & Mohammed Daraghmeh — On their current Mideast tour, senior Trump administration officials are getting a close-up view of some of the towering obstacles to their yet-to-be-released blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Blockaded Gaza — a likely focal point of any future U.S.-endorsed Palestinian entity — has been sinking deeper into a humanitarian crisis in recent months, while cross-border violence between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel flared again this week. Meanwhile, Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas, the West Bank-based Palestinian leader, has hardened his rejection of any U.S. proposals, including large-scale Gaza aid projects meant to stabilize the territory.
President Donald Trump’s Mideast team, led by son-in-law Jared Kushner, has been tightlipped about the tour, which includes Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. Kushner and envoy Jason Greenblatt issued vague statements, saying they are talking about the “humanitarian situation in Gaza” and U.S. efforts to “facilitate peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” but didn’t even release an itinerary. They met Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Wednesday with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, acknowledging the talks only after the fact. They arrived in Egypt on Thursday, and were also expected to visit Qatar and Israel. The long-awaited U.S. peace plan isn’t expected to be unveiled before August, following several postponements. In the meantime, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the envoys are trying to raise up to $1 billion from Gulf countries for economic projects in Gaza and will bring up the idea in meetings this week.
What’s in the US peace plan? The Kushner team won’t say. Abbas aides, relying on Saudi information, say they suspect the aim is to get Palestinians to settle for a “mini-state” in Gaza and parts of the West Bank, with a foothold in Jerusalem. This would fall far short of long-standing Palestinian demands for a state in the entire West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967, with minor border adjustments….
Jerusalem backlash casts shadow over Eurovision contest
JERUSALEM (AP) 22 June — When the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israelis hoped other countries would follow suit. Instead, the move has created a backlash. The latest setback threatens the contested city’s hopes of hosting the 2019 Eurovision song contest — an affair that has become something of a national obsession. The Jerusalem recognition, warmly welcomed by Israel, appears to have triggered a series of unexpected diplomatic fiascos. Earlier this month, Argentina pulled out of a highly anticipated exhibition soccer match with Israel after the government moved the game to Jerusalem. Britain’s Prince William, set to visit next week, has listed Jerusalem’s Old City as part of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” on his schedule. And now, the city’s hopes for the beloved Eurovision finale are fading. “There is a greater concern this year than any other year I can remember about the political backdrop surrounding Eurovision,” said William Lee Adams, who runs a popular Eurovision blog. “Many Eurovision fans build their whole year around a trip to Eurovision, and just given the nature of what’s going on their ideal has been tarnished.” ….
Palestinians and Israelis remember life under British rule
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 22 June by Maayan Lubell & Rinat Harash — Prince William’s tour of Israel and the Palestinian Territories is the first official visit by a member of the royal family, but the Holy Land is familiar ground to the British state. An older generation of Israelis and Palestinians can still remember British soldiers patrolling the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ramallah during the three decades that Britain controlled the territory. British troops captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire in 1917, and in 1922 the League of Nations awarded Britain an international mandate to administer Palestine during the post-war deal-making that redrew the map of the Middle East. The award of the mandate also endorsed the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which Britain expressed support for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. In 1948, exhausted by World War Two and the strain of holding warring Jewish and Arab forces apart, the British withdrew. Seventy years later, Israelis and Palestinians who lived through the era remember it very differently.
Under the British, the early Zionist movement was able to lay the groundwork for what would become modern Israel. Its parliament, laws and military bear traces of British influence, as do many buildings and street names. But Israelis also remember how Britain restricted the number of Jews fleeing to Palestine from Nazi-controlled Europe. Tens of thousands who tried to enter illegally by sea were taken to detention camps in Cyprus and Palestine. “We loved the British, but their policy, when it was against us, sparked anger and rage that are understandable,” said Shlomo Hillel, 95, a former Israeli diplomat and minister….