Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization
Ramadan public wakers face arrest, fines in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 June — The Palestinian men who chant and beat drums to wake up the faithful during Ramadan in Jerusalem’s Old City say they are being unfairly targeted by Israeli police over their early-morning tradition. The public wakers, known as musaharati, walk through parts of the Old City from 2 a.m., waking up Muslims for the “suhoor” meal ahead of the daily dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month, which ends next week. But since residents began filing complaints with police about the noise, they say they have been arrested and fined for doing what they say is a part of Palestinian heritage. “They claim that we disturb them, but that’s not true. They want to erase something called Palestinian Jerusalemite heritage,” said Mohamed Hagej, 26, who has worked as a public waker for three years. He said he believes the complaints come from Jewish settlers … In previous years, Hagej said he had no trouble with the police. But this year, he says he has been arrested four times, and claims that at one point, Israeli paramilitary border police used tear gas on him and another musaharati. Hagej was fined 450 shekels ($125) after his first arrest, a fine that increased with each offense. Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were simply responding to the noise complaints … He said he was not aware of any tear gas use, and would not say whether those who complained were Jewish or Palestinian. Despite the arrests, Hagej and others have continued their tradition.
“This thing draws a smile on the children of Jerusalem, the elders of Jerusalem, the women of Jerusalem, and the people of Jerusalem,” said Hagej. “If there’s no musaharati, and there’s no decoration, there’s no Ramadan.”
Israel funnels millions to erase Palestinian history
AIC 31 May by Corey Sherman — This month, the Israeli minister of culture Miri Regev (MK Jewish Home) announced plans to funnel $17 million toward archaeological excavations in East Jerusalem. Regev announced the project to commemorate the 1967 Israeli occupation of the holy city. Israel’s 1967 occupation and subsequent annexation of Jerusalem stands in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions 194, 181, 252, 476 and 478. The goal of the excavations, according to a culture ministry statement quoted in Israeli media, is to “expose Jerusalem’s antiquities and…express the history of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago.” The grant also aims to “empower” Jerusalem as an “international center of religion, heritage, culture and tourism.” The bulk of the funds will fuel excavations at the settlement archeology site known as the City of David, which is located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The center sits on a confiscated Palestinian home and orchard. Elad’s excavations in and around the site have severely damaged nearby Palestinian residences. Israeli police and private security guards permanently monitor the site, leading to increased harassment and arrests of Palestinians….
Although the City of David is part of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, it is administered by settler organization Elad, which seizes Palestinian property in Silwan to establish new settlements. The group effectively functions as an arm of the Israeli government, and the government permits Elad to conceal the names of its major donors. Israeli settlement watch group Peace Now reports that in the last two years, Elad has stolen ten Palestinian properties in Silwan, including three apartments in April 2018. Regev’s pledge to expand the City of David’s activities supports government plans to destroy evidence of Palestinian history in the Old City, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, the Mount of Olives, Ras al-Amud, Musrara and Mamilla and build tourist sites that peddle messianic justifications for Israeli colonization … Perhaps the most well known example of Israeli destruction for the purposes of tourism is the building of Independence Park and the Museum of Tolerance in Mamilla. Both are located on what was once the Mamilla Cemetery, which, historian Rashid Khalidi has written “is reputed to have become the burial place of several of the Prophet Muhammad’s Companions who died during or after the nascent Muslim state’s military campaigns in the region.”….
State: There’s no alternative to outpost legalization law, warts and all
Times of Israel 3 June by Jacob Magid — Defending legislation that seeks to legalize wildcat West Bank outposts, the state’s legal representative told the High Court of Justice on Sunday that he acknowledges that the law is imperfect, but there are no viable alternatives. “It’s possible to find a flaw here and there; but in the end, there is no other solution” that can legalize thousands of homes in the West Bank where the lives of thousands of Israeli families are “paralyzed” due to their current legal limbo, Harel Arnon argued. Arnon is a private attorney hired to represent the state at the High Court hearing on the so-called Regulation Law after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that he would not defend the legislation because it ignores the rights of Palestinians.
Passed by the Knesset in February 2017, the legislation allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land ex post facto where illegal outpost homes have been built, provided that the hilltop communities were established “in good faith” or had government support, and that the Palestinian owners receive 125 percent financial compensation for the land. Analysts say the law will pave the way for the government to recognize some 4,000 illegally built Israeli homes. The local council heads of 23 Palestinian villages along with 13 rights groups led by Yesh Din, Peace Now, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel submitted two High Court petitions against the law. The petitioners argue that the legislation does not offer those Palestinians uninterested in compensation the legal means to oppose the expropriation. Moreover, opponents point out that while the Knesset has the authority to pass laws that relate to the Israeli population, the same is not the case for property in the West Bank which is under the authority of the military …
The Regulation Law has yet to be employed to legalize wildcat settlement homes, as the High Court has frozen the legislation pending a ruling on the two petitions filed against it. Meanwhile, the Attorney General Office’s representative at the Sunday hearing echoed the arguments made by Mandelblit over the past year. Avner Helman argued that the legislation violates the property rights of Palestinians and the 1992 Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty….
Israel settlers take over Palestinian home in occupied Hebron
MEMO 5 June — A number of Israeli settlers yesterday seized a Palestinian house in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, local media reported. The spokesman of the Youth Against Settlements (YAS) movement, Mohammed Azghir, told Safa that the settlers took over a Palestinian house in the neighbourhood of Qaitun. “The house is currently occupied by the settlers and is being guarded by the occupation’s military forces,” Azghir added. He explained that the area has been besieged by the Israeli forces since 2001, noting that Palestinians have not been allowed to access it.
Israel orders evacuation of 5 families in Jordan Valley for military exercises
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces on Tuesday delivered temporary eviction notices to five Palestinian families in the Hamsa al-Fawqa area in the Jordan Valley in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas. Locals told Ma‘an that the families were ordered to leave their homes to make way for Israeli military authorities who would be conducting active military training drills in the area. The five families, including 19 children, will be left without homes for the duration of the training, which coincides with the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan [compiler’s emphasis]. Meanwhile, local Palestinian activist Aaref Daraghmeh warned of the gravity of the forced displacement of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. Daraghmeh told the Voice of Palestine radio that the Israeli forces aim to expel residents from the area, stressing the dangers of unexploded ordnances left by the Israeli army following military trainings. Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The district of Tubas, meanwhile, is one of the occupied West Bank’s most important agricultural centers.
Palestinian man succumbs to serious wounds
IMEMC 3 June — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a young Palestinian man who was shot and seriously injured by Israel army fire last month has succumbed to his wounds, Sunday. The Ministry said the Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Na‘im Hamamda, 30, was shot by Israeli soldiers during the Great Return March, on May 14. Hamamda, from Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza, was shot east of Gaza city, and was rushed to a Palestinian hospital, suffering from very serious wounds. Hamamda’s condition apparently witnessed a brief partial recovery, a few days ago, and he celebrated his daughter’s sixth birthday from his hospital bed [see photo], but later suffered another serious deterioration, and died from his wounds.
Family officially informed about their son’s death by army fire
IMEMC 5 June — The International Red Cross have informed a Palestinian family from Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, that their son is the young man who was shot and killed, Monday [4 June], by Israeli soldiers at the border fence, in southern Gaza. The slain Palestinian has been identified as Ramzi Najjar, a relative and a neighbor of the Palestinian medic, Razan Najjar, 22, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces while helping treat wounded protesters, on Friday June 1st, 2018. He was shot, on Monday afternoon, near the border fence, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, after cutting sections of the border fence. Other Palestinians who were with Ramzi managed to escape unharmed. The Israeli army is holding his body and refusing to transfer it back to his family and claimed that the Palestinian “was carrying an axe to kill Israelis.” His sister said that Ramzi was saddened and angered by the death of Razan, and that he was telling her about the great stuff Razan is doing, describing her as the angel of mercy….
Palestinian shot for approaching fence along Gaza border
IMEMC/Agencies 3 June — A Palestinian, Sunday, was shot and injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces, after he allegedly approached the barbed-wire fence between Gaza and Israel, to the east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, said WAFA medical sources. Israeli forces stationed along the Gaza borders reportedly opened live fire on a group of Palestinians after they allegedly approached the Israeli-installed barbed-wire fence along Gaza’s border with Israel, shooting and injuring a youth. A Palestinian was admitted to the European hospital in southern Gaza, with live ammunition wounds to the foot. His condition was described as moderate.
Israel, Gaza exchange fire after Palestinian medic killed at border
France 24 with AFP 3 June — Israeli aircraft pounded over a dozen militant targets in Gaza, the army said Sunday, after Palestinian projectile fire shattered a ceasefire reached just days ago after the worst flare-up since a 2014 war — The latest escalation came hours after thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of a young female volunteer medic killed by Israeli fire in violence on the border in southern Gaza. In a first wave of air strikes, Israeli “fighter jets targeted 10 terror sites in three military compounds belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement early Sunday. “Among the targets were two Hamas munitions manufacturing and storage sites and a military compound,” the army said. The strikes were retaliation to rockets fired at Israel, as well as “various terror activities approved and orchestrated by the Hamas terror organisation over the weekend”, the army said. The army listed a series of attempted attacks at soldiers on the border fence, as well as “damaging security infrastructure and igniting fires in Israeli territory with the use of arson kites and balloons”. A few hours later aircraft shot at “five terror targets at a military compound belonging to the Hamas terror organization’s naval force in the northern Gaza Strip”, the army said in a separate statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties in Gaza.
On Saturday evening, militants in the Palestinian enclave fired two projectiles at southern Israel, where air raid sirens sent residents to bomb shelters. The Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted one of the projectiles, while the other was believed to have fallen short of its target and hit within Gaza, according to the army. Early Sunday, four more projectiles were separately launched at Israel. Three were intercepted, the army said, with the fourth apparently hitting an open field. No group in Gaza claimed responsibility for the projectile attacks, which came shortly after the Saturday funeral of Razan al-Najjar, 21, a volunteer with the Gaza health ministry, who was fatally shot in the chest near Khan Yunis on Friday….
VIDEO: Cousin of Palestinian medic killed by Israelis speaks out
Real News 5 June — Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza while she was wearing a white medic’s uniform and had her hands raised. Dalia al-Najjar says her cousin “Razan showed everyone what it is to want freedom.” She tells TRNN’s Ben Norton, “Everyone is joining the protests because people want their freedom, and it’s a legitimate right for them to ask for it.”
Transcript excerpt: BEN NORTON: So can you just please talk about Razan? You know, she dedicated her life to try to help people and treat them when they were wounded. Can you just talk about your memories of her? DALIA AL-NAJJAR: Yeah. Well, Razan was a great daughter, and a caring sister, a loving friend, and a professional nurse. She was a source of inspiration and positivity to many. She always tried her best to make everyone happy around her. In a talk with her family yesterday, they told me that they didn’t just lose a daughter, but they lost a best friend. She was really close to everyone of her family. And she really cared, too. She tried her best to make them happy. For example, she sold personal belongings often to try to get new clothes to her siblings….
Israeli army says it did not target Gaza medic
JERUSALEM (AFP) 5 June — The Israeli army on Tuesday said its troops did not deliberately shoot a young Palestinian medical volunteer killed last week in violence on the Gaza border. Razan al-Najjar, 21, was fatally shot in the chest on Friday near the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society said she was hit “as she was attempting to provide first aid to an injured protester”, adding that three other first responders were also hit by live fire on the same day. An army statement in English said initial findings of its inquiry revealed “that a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed towards her.” It did elaborate on how she may have been killed, but said investigations were continuing and conclusions would be passed to the Military Advocate General’s department. Following Najjar’s death, the UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a tweet that “Medical workers are #NotATarget!” and that “Israel needs to calibrate its use of force and Hamas need to prevent incidents at the fence.”…
At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire on the border since March 30. No Israelis have been killed. On Tuesday there was relatively muted protest with about 100 demonstrators gathering in the northern Gaza Strip near the Erez border crossing into Israel, AFP correspondents said. There were minor clashes in Khan Yunis and central Gaza involving dozens of protesters … The protests had been called Tuesday to coincide with the 51st anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War when Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza. Organisers said larger numbers were now expected Friday, which coincides with Israel’s 1967 capture of Palestinian east Jerusalem.
Opinion: Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict / Amira Hass
Haaretz 5 June — We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know. In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation. Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions: Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest? Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first? The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives…
We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence….
Israel braces for protests as Palestinians mark ‘Naksa Day’
i24NEWS 5 June — Israel was readying for potentially violent protests along the Gaza border on Tuesday as Palestinians marked the anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, an annual commemoration known as the ‘Naksa’, or ‘setback’. As in previous years, Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza were expected to hold rallies marking the start of the war on June 5, 1967 sparking concern that the ‘Naksa’ protests could see a return to violent clashes on the Gaza border. Additional troops were being deployed throughout the West Bank and along the Gaza border on Tuesday in case protests turn violent, Hebrew-language media reports said. But the Israeli military assesses that Gaza protest organizers will instead focus efforts on drawing participation in a mass demonstration on Friday, in continuation of the weekly ‘Great March of Return’ protests which began on March 30 …
Hamas has since then instead attempted to rally participation for a protest on Friday June 8, dubbing it the “March of a Million to Jerusalem”. Israel fears that the Friday protest will see a mass attempt to breach the border, sparking concern of another fracas on the same scale as the deadly May 14 violence….
PHOTO ESSAY: Drone war over the Gaza Strip: IDF uses unmanned aerial vehicles to shoot down burning kites sent over the border by Palestinians
Mail Online 5 June by George Martin — Palestinians are sending kites loaded with flammable materials across the border with Israel in an effort to torch farmland. The kites are loaded up with coal embers or burning rags suspended from a string and sent floating into Israeli territory where they have been igniting massive wildfires on farms. The crude tactics have angered Israeli politicians, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan calling for the kite-flyers to be subjected to ‘targeted assassinations’. But Palestinian protesters have lauded the practice as ‘simple but effective’ having already burned thousands of acres of Israeli pastures. ‘The idea is simple: use the simplest tools to cause damage and losses on the Occupation (Israel),’ said Shadi, 19, a Palestinian protestor. ‘It began spontaneously. We never thought we would achieve such good results,’ he added.
No one has been hurt by the fires, but some 2,250 acres (910 hectares) of fields and nature reserves, already parched after a dry winter, have been burned by flames stoked by Mediterranean winds, causing $2.5 million in damage, Israel’s government said. Israel has drafted in civilian drone enthusiasts as army reservists, instructing them to fly their remote-controlled aircraft into the kites, an Israeli general said. The army has also fitted larger surveillance drones with weighted fishing lines or blades that can snag or slash kite strings in mid-air. ‘If their drone ends up getting lost in the process, we compensate them,’ the general said. But he acknowledged the limitations of such measures, saying: ‘We’ll probably end up having to shoot kite-flyers too.’ Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan had earlier said Israeli snipers should shoot the kite flyers. ‘I expect the IDF (Iraeli army) to handle these kite-flyers exactly as they would any terrorist, and the targeted assassinations must also apply to these kite-flyers,’ Mr Erdan said
Gaza’s airborne firebombs are getting smarter, and reaching farther
Times of Israel 3 June — Hadashot television news reports that the fires sparked by Gazans in southern Israel today are reaching farther into Israel because the Gazans have changed their tactics. In recent weeks, Gazans have launched firebomb-carrying kites into Israel, where they fell into dry fields and sparked major brushfires. Today, authorities are battling helium balloons carrying long-burning materials like charcoal. The balloons are capable of flying several kilometers into Israel and sparking fires farther afield. Firefighters are battling at least four brushfires today sparked by Gazan arsonists.
Israel to deduct from Palestinian funds
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (Gulf News/Agencies) 4 June — Israel announced plans to deduct from tax funds it collects for the Palestinians to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza Strip who have fallen victim to a wave of arson attacks … Israel says it has been battling fires caused by kites rigged with incendiary devices or attached to burning rags launched by Palestinians in Gaza that have damaged forests and torched agricultural fields. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on Sunday that he had asked for the deduction. The kites have been flown by Gazans who have staged weekly protests since late March during which more than 119 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire.
Gazans infiltrate Israel, set fire to defense equipment
[with video] Ynet 3 June by Yoav Zitun — Group manages to breach border fence and infiltrate into Israel, before setting ablaze defense equipment for constructing anti-tunnel barrier, and fleeing back to Gaza — Palestinian terrorists from Gaza Strip cut through the border fence and infiltrated southern Israel Sunday evening, before setting ablaze a container containing equipment used for the construction of an anti-tunnel barrier along the border. The group returned to the strip after lighting the fire. Nobody was injured but damage was caused to security infrastructure.
A week and a half ago, a similar incident took place as terrorists infiltrated from Gaza into Israel and set fire to an unmanned IDF post. No injuries were caused and in response the IDF fired tank shells at Hamas military posts in the area. Palestinian sources reported that those involved managed to return to Gaza after attempting to destroy an unmanned IDF post … “The IDF was constantly monitoring the incident,” an IDF source stressed.
Another incident took place about two months ago, when four Palestinians entered Israel and set fire to engineering equipment being used for the construction of the underground barrier. Crossing the border fence in the Kissufim area, they were photographed from the direction of the Gaza Strip after a tank passed by. In response, the IDF attacked a target in a Hamas training camp in the southern Gaza Strip. The four Palestinians approached IDF engineering equipment while carrying fuel intended to destroy the equipment belonging to contractors. They fled back into Gaza upon seeing the IDF force. There were no injuries but equipment was damaged.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing due to technical fault
MEMO 5 June — Egyptian authorities yesterday closed the Rafah crossing in both directions because of technical problems. According to the crossing’s administration, Rafah was closed in both directions as a result of a fault in the communications cables on the Egyptian side. At the start of Ramadan Egypt announced that it would keep the crossing open throughout the holy month.
Aid convoy arrives in blockaded Gaza via Egypt
MEMO 6 June — The “Miles of Smiles 34” aid convoy arrived in the blockaded Gaza Strip on Tuesday via Egypt’s Rafah border crossing. Teeming with medical and humanitarian aid, the convoy traversed the Rafah crossing accompanied by a delegation of high-profile Arab and foreign personalities. “The ‘Miles of Smiles’ convoy has arrived in Gaza,” Aladdin al-Battah, head of Gaza’s committee to break the siege, said in a Tuesday statement. According to al-Battah, a second stage of the aid convoy — which is the first of its kind to reach Gaza since Israel’s 2014 onslaught — will enter the strip from Egypt on Wednesday. Members of the delegation plan to visit Gaza’s refugee camps, along with Palestinians injured by Israeli army gunfire during recent violence near the Gaza-Israel security fence. Coordinator of “Miles of Smiles” convoys, Dr Essam Youssef, expressed his happiness to visit Gaza after a long period of interruption and stressed that he had never given up hope to visit the enclave again.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in northeastern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 June — Several Israeli military vehicles raided the eastern borders of the occupied Gaza Strip on Monday morning and leveled lands along the “buffer zone” of the northern coastal enclave. Locals told Ma‘an that four Israeli bulldozers entered dozens of meters into lands east of Gaza City, and razed and leveled lands as Israeli drones flew overhead. A similar raid was carried out in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday evening. Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.
Dozens of top doctors urge Israel to let cancer patients leave Gaza for treatment
Haaretz 4 June by Ido Efrati — Around 45 women waited 6 months or more to be treated in Israel in the last year, says rights group. Delayed treatment, oncologists charge, could lead to worsening of disease and death — Thirty-one leading oncologists from hospitals around Israel called on the Health Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to authorize female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip to enter Israel and the West Bank for urgent, life-saving treatment. The doctors’ demand comes in the wake of what they say are increasing difficulties these women have been experiencing in obtaining ongoing medical care, due to tighter Israeli restrictions on exit permits from the Strip … Currently, the organization notes, 14 female cancer patients have been denied exit permits by the coordination and liaison authorities at the Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel … The doctors added, “There is no justification for delaying the patients’ requests for many months since any delay has critical significance in terms of their recovery and their lives.”
WATCH: Palestinian students hope sea waves can be new power source for blockaded Gaza
Reuters 5 June — As Gaza residents live on barely a few hours of power a day, four Palestinian engineering students are working on using sea waves to generate electricity. They say their idea aims to produce “clean and renewable energy that can fill the deficit, even with small (amounts).” Gaza’s two million residents now receive only three to four hours of electricity per day, with schools, factories, hospitals and households affected. For the group of engineering students, the idea of using energy from the sea to generate electricity started out as a graduation project. “It succeeded which gave us a push to continue with the project,” said Haitham Mushtaha, one of the students involved. But the tough living conditions in the strip have taken toll on the ambitious project. Some of the materials that the students needed were not available in local markets so they had to rework parts of old machines and even build some tools from scratch, student Mahmoud Murad said….
Save the Children: Gaza children on brink of mental health crisis
Al Jazeera 4 June — Research by the rights group found 95 percent of young people surveyed in Gaza showed deep psychological distress — A generation of children in the besieged Gaza Strip are on the brink of a mental health crisis, a children rights group said. “A whole generation of children in Gaza is balancing on a knife edge where one more shock could have devastating life-long consequences,” Marcia Brophy, a senior health adviser at Save the Children, said in a statement on Sunday. Save the Children, which surveyed 150 young adolescents, with a median age of 14, and 150 caregivers living in the coastal enclave, found that 95 percent of children interviewed displayed symptoms such as feelings of depression, hyperactivity, a preference for being alone, and aggression. Many children grew up witnessing three Israeli offensives – 2008 to 2009, 2012 and 2014 – that devastated the strip. Furthermore, the 11-year Egyptian-Israeli blockade has severely curtailed the quality of life in Gaza, where youth unemployment now is at 60 percent and poverty levels increased from 30 to 50 percent. At least 68 percent of children say they have difficulties sleeping, and 78 percent consider the single biggest source of fear for them was the sound of warplanes. Yet the research also shows that these children revealed strands of resilience, with 80 percent saying they could openly talk about their problems to their families and friends, and 90 percent saying they felt supported by their parents. Brophy said that while most of the children tied their security to the presence of their families, the breakdown of that family security is “one of the key triggers for mental health issues among children in conflict”….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian near Ramallah
IMEMC 6 June — Israeli soldiers killed, on Wednesday morning, a young Palestinian man, after shooting him with three live rounds from a very close range, and prevented Palestinian medics from approaching him. The Palestinian, identified as Ezzeddin Abdul-Hafith Tamimi, 21, was shot [in Nabi Saleh] by soldiers who were less than two meters away from him and lodged three live rounds in his neck. Many Palestinians tried to provide aid to the seriously wounded man, but the soldiers assaulted them, and threatened to shoot them. Palestinian medics were called to the scene, but the soldiers also attacked them, and preventing from approaching the seriously wounded young man, who succumbed to his injuries. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers assassinated the Palestinian, directly and repeatedly firing at him, in addition to attacking dozens of Palestinians.
Israeli settlers open fire near West Bank primary school
Palestine Chronicle 4 June — A group of settlers fired live bullets near a West Bank primary school early on Monday morning, the latest in a series of violent incidents to hit the village of Jub al-Dib in the past year. The group of five settlers gathered around the school while laborers were reportedly working on a new road to improve access to the Tahadi 5 school, located in the deprived and remote village of Jub al-Dib, near Bethlehem, according to WAFA news agency. The settlers, furious with the construction work, began shooting in the air to scare off the laborers and disrupt the building project, according to Hassan Barijieh, a representative from the Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission. Last August, the school’s pupils were left to study outside in intense heat after Israeli forces demolished their recently built EU-funded school just hours before the start of the new academic year. Children were subsequently taught in tents before locals re-established the school in makeshift buildings. The same month, Israeli authorities prevented vital solar panels donated by the Netherlands from operating in the village which for decades remained underdeveloped due to restrictions on building and infrastructure.
Palestinian activist says Israeli soldiers threatened to kill him
IMEMC/Agencies 5 June — A Palestinian activist said, on Tuesday, that Israeli soldiers have threatened to kill him if he continues to document Israeli army and settler acts against Palestinians in occupied Hebron. Aref Jaber, an activist with Human Rights Defenders in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, said that soldiers stopped him as he came out of his house in Jaber neighborhood, in the occupied section of Hebron known as H2, and threatened to kill him should he continue to document violations against Palestinians in that part of the city. Jaber was held and interrogated for several hours, on Saturday, for filming Israeli soldiers shooting and killing 37-year-old Rami Sabarneh, married with three children, while he was doing road work for the Hebron Municipality near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba. Israeli lawmakers are working on passing a new law that makes filming Israeli soldiers in action a crime punishable with a long prison term.
Israel soldiers who shot Palestinian teen to walk free (VIDEO)
Palestine Chronicle 5 June — Two Israeli soldiers who shot and killed Palestinian teen Samir Awad will walk free after indictments against them were dropped. The pair shot Samir Awad, a 16-year-old Palestinian, in the back on January 15, 2013. Samir and his friends had been playing near the Separation Barrier outside Budrus, north-west of occupied Ramallah when he became trapped in the fence. The two soldiers from Israel’s 71st Armoured Corps Battalion then appeared from their nearby hiding place and shot the teen as he tried to flee. A subsequent inquiry, undertaken by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, said that the soldiers in question had not been in any danger at the time of the incident. Since open-fire regulations permit soldiers to use live ammunition only in cases of real and immediate mortal danger, Samir was shot unlawfully. The two soldiers, whose names are under gag order, had been facing charges of “reckless and negligent use of a firearm,” according to +972 Magazine. The decision to drop the indictments was made after the court argued there were “significant holes in the evidence”. The prosecution will officially notify the court of their decision to withdraw the indictments today, Haaretz has reported. Throughout the case, the defense has argued that prosecuting the two soldiers for illegally killing Samir would constitute “a selective enforcement of the law since it is rare for an indictment to be brought against Israeli Defence Force soldiers who shoot and kill Palestinians,” according to Haaretz. The case has been ongoing since 2015 when Israeli authorities finally indicted the two soldiers after a more than two-year delay. Only after Samir’s father, Ahmad Awad, sued, with the help of B’Tselem, was the case brought before the court.
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians overnight in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 June – Israeli forces detained at least 13 Palestinians during pre dawn raids on Monday in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
PPS said in a statement that Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. In Hebron City, forces detained one youth identified as Raed Mufid al-Sharabati. Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers also raided and searched the home of Palestinian journalist Thaer al-Fakhouri. No detentions were reported during the raid on his home. The rest of the detainees from Hebron were identified as Awis Hashem al-Rajub, Mufid Aqilan Omeirah, Karm Bassam Tneineh, Abada Mahmoud Adui, Azam Abu Arkub, Ali Taleb al-Harub, Esam al-Harub, and Mustafa Jamal al-Harub.
Israeli forces detained another three Palestinians from the city of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. They were identified as Muhammad Nasim Taqatqa, Sami Oud Khalil Atallah, and Yazid Fathi Muhammad Amrin.
From Meithalun, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, one Palestinian man was detained and identified as Sami Sadeq Naarat.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in overnight raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians, including one woman, during overnight raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem between Monday and Tuesday.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. They were identified as Suzan Abed al-Karim al-Eweiwi, a member of the Hebron Municipal Council, Mumen Moussa al-Atrash, and a former prisoner Karam Mahmoud Amr. Israeli forces also reportedly found homemade weapons in the town of Dura in the Hebron district.
In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces raided the village of Nabi Saleh and detained five members of the Tamimi family. They were identified as Iyad Wissam al-Tamimi, Mahmoud Wajih al-Tamimi, Bahaa Muhammad al-Tamimi, Mutassem Khalil al-Tamimi and Assem Samih al-Tamimi.
In the ‘Urif village, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians, identified as Ibrahim Shehada, brother of slain Palestinian Omair Shehada, and Anas Shaher Shehada.
Israeli forces detained another two Palestinians from Jenin. They were identified as Luay Zuheir al-Qaram and Jihad Najib Hussein.
Israeli police assault worshipers, detain 12 in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 June – Israeli police Tuesday assaulted Palestinian Muslim worshippers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards and detained 12 from the southern mosque, known as al-Qibli, in East Jerusalem, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that Israeli police stormed the holy site, where they detained 12 Palestinian worshipers after assaulting them while reading the Quran in the courtyards. The worshipers were detained purportedly for reading the Quran loud[ly – or perhaps ‘aloud’?]
One of the Waqf-appointed mosque’s guards described the police raid into the holy site and detention of worshippers as a dangerous escalation. He explained that police raids into the mosque compound are prohibited in the last ten days of the Islam’s holy month of Ramadan because many Muslim worshipers spend long times in the mosque. This came as scores of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint site following calls by Jewish settler groups, known as “Temple Mount” organizations, for en masse intrusions into the holy site, so that it would not remain only exclusive to Muslims during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Teen prisoner loses sight due to medical negligence, charges group
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 June – The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) accused the Israel Prison Services (IPS) on Tuesday of responsibility for the loss of sight of a prisoner due to medical negligence. PPS attorney Ahmad Safiyyeh said preliminary results for tests conducted on Tuesday for Hassan Tamimi, 18, at Shaare Tzedek hospital in West Jerusalem showed that he has totally lost sight in both his eyes. He said the direct cause for his loss of sight was damage to the nerves of the eye due to medical negligence during his detention. He said the IPS has stalled in providing Tamimi with medical care since his detention on April 7 despite its knowledge of his bad health condition and calls to provide him with special medical care and food due to his situation. Tamimi, from Deir Nitham village near Ramallah, suffers from high protein in his blood, which demands that he takes daily medicine and special meals, neither of which were provided by the IPS leading to a serious deterioration in his health during his detention at Ofer military camp and prison near Ramallah. PPS director Qaddoura Faris described the developments with Tamimi as a crime, calling on rights groups to intervene to put an end to what Palestinian prisoners have to go through in Israeli jails.
The Naksa: How Israel occupied the whole of Palestine in 1967
Al Jazeera 4 June by Zena Tahhan — More than 50 years ago, the state of Israel shocked the world when it seized the remaining Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, in a matter of six days. In a war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria, known as the 1967 War, or the June War, Israel delivered what came to be known as the “Naksa”, meaning setback or defeat, to the armies of the neighbouring Arab countries, and to the Palestinians who lost all what remained of their homeland. The Naksa was a continuation of a prior central event that paved the way for the 1967 war. Nineteen years earlier, in 1948, the state of Israel came into being in a violent process that entailed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Zionist forces, in their mission to create a “Jewish state”, expelled some 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed their villages in the process. Shortly after Israel declared statehood, units of the neighbouring Arab country armies came in to fight for the Palestinian nation. The 1948 war ended with Israeli forces controlling approximately 78 percent of historical Palestine. The remaining 22 percent fell under the administration of Egypt and Jordan.
In 1967, Israel absorbed the whole of historical Palestine, as well as additional territory from Egypt and Syria. By the end of the war, Israel had expelled another 300,000 Palestinians from their homes, including 130,000 who were displaced in 1948, and gained territory that was three and a half times its size.
–Why did the war break out?– The narrative of the war is highly polarised, as is common for many events in the Arab-Israeli conflict. There exists, however, a series of events that undeniably led to the outbreak of the war. Firstly, there were frequent clashes on the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines after the 1948 war. Thousands of Palestinian refugees tried to cross the border searching for relatives, attempting to return to their homes and to recover their lost possessions. Between 1949 to 1956, it is estimated that Israeli forces shot dead between 2,000 to 5,000 people who tried to cross. In 1953, Israel committed the most notorious reprisal massacre in the West Bank against the village of Qibya, where 45 houses were blown up and at least 69 Palestinians were killed…. [long and very informative article, well worth reading in its entirety]
Palestinian refugees – Syria
First UNRWA convoy in two years reaches Palestinian refugees in the Damascus suburb of Yalda
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 June -– A United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) convoy delivered on Tuesday life-saving aid to Palestine refugees and vulnerable Syrians displaced from the destroyed Yarmouk unofficial refugee camp in Damascus to the nearby neighborhood of Yalda, according to an UNRWA press release. UNRWA resumed access to the area for the first time since 25 May 2016 and reached those displaced by the recent fighting in Yarmouk with emergency assistance, including medicine and food. The convoy, which included a mobile UNRWA health clinic, consisted of 18 truckloads. Mohamed Abdi Adar, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria said: “These refugees had already suffered untold hardship because of years of besiegement and hostilities and then late April, intensified fighting in Yarmouk further destroyed many homes, displacing thousands. The traumas of war, combined with desperation and fear are taking an enormous toll, particularly on the children. This assistance will give them a life line and help meet their urgent humanitarian needs. But more must be done in the longer term.” The UNRWA team distributed food parcels, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, mattresses, mats, blankets and jerry cans to 614 families (approx. 2,500 individuals) in Yalda. Cleaning items and tarpaulins were also provided to a shelter hosting 65 families in the area. Our health staff also provided treatment to 200 patients in Yalda today and recorded critical health needs. The medical treatment and aid distributions will continue tomorrow.
“This work highlights the need to address the severe underfunding in UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for Palestine refugees in Syria,” said Mohamed Abdi Adar. “Across Syria, we are providing urgent humanitarian assistance including food, healthcare and cash to hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees and yet the Syria portion of the Emergency Appeal is less than 5% funded.”….
VIDEO: Entering Syria’s oldest and largest Palestinian refugee camp after IS
Channel 4 News, UK 30 May — For five years Yarmouk, the oldest and largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, was bombarded by Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces. This is the first time western journalists have entered since it was freed from IS fighters.
Solidarity / BDS
Argentina cancel final World Cup warmup against Israel — Higuain
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) 5 June — Argentina have cancelled their final World Cup warmup match against Israel, striker Gonzalo Higuain said on Tuesday, as political pressure grew ahead of Saturday’s scheduled fixture in Jerusalem. “They’ve finally done the right thing,” Higuain said in an interview with ESPN, confirming reports the game had been cancelled. The match at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina’s last before they kick off their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16. There was no initial reaction from the Israeli FA or from Israeli politicians. Reports said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentinian President Mauricio Macri to ask him to persuade the team not to cancel their visit. Israel Radio quoted an unnamed diplomatic official who said the chances of salvaging the fixture were very slim. The visit of twice world champions Argentina has attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly because of Barcelona great Lionel Messi’s planned participation.
Palestinians celebrated the cancellation. In Gaza, people cheered and in Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his colleagues for cancelling the game. “The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina’s players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal.” Palestinian FA chairman Jibril Rajoub said: “Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game.” Rajoub called a news conference for Wednesday in Ramallah, which he will hold outside the Argentinian representative’s office. On Sunday, he called for Palestinians to burn replica shirts and pictures of Messi. The stadium that was to host the match is in west Jerusalem. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future state that will include the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. However, the status of Jerusalem is highly sensitive. The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further following U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital….
Israel football association to petition FIFA over nixed Argentina match
JPost 6 June by Hagay Hacohen, Avraham Gold — The Israel Football Association plans to file a formal complaint with FIFA over the cancellation of Saturday’s Israel-Argentina friendly, the organization said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, after overnight reports that the match was cancelled by the Argentinian FA. While the IFA said no official confirmation was received by Israel, it also stated that “it is clear [the match’s] very existence is in doubt.” “The Association views with severity the physical and brutal threats that crossed every red line made by Palestinian Football Association chair Jibril Rajoub,” the IFA said. “The chair will send a letter today to FIFA President Gianni Infantino demanding punishment for those who want to harm soccer players and those who torpedoed a friendly match between the two teams.”….
French protesters rally against Netanyahu’s Paris visit
PARIS (Al Jazeera) 5 June by Lucas Radicella — Demonstrators, marching in solidarity with Palestinian people, call on Netanyahu to be tried as a ‘war criminal’ –– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was met by scores of protesters calling for him to be tried as a war criminal on Tuesday at the Paris stop of his tour of European capitals. “We are here to say hello to Netanyahu and remind him and the world of the dozens of unarmed Palestinians that have been killed by the Israeli army in the last month,” said 19-year-old student Antoine, waving a flag expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people. The official objective of Netanyahu’s visit was to rally French President Emmanuel Macron’s support against Iran, as well as inaugurate a joint French-Israeli cultural and scientific project. On the streets, however, the focus was firmly on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and the Israeli army’s actions at the Gaza border.
“I feel particularly concerned by the inhumane killing of the young medic Razan al-Najjar, which was against international law,” said 20-year-old medicine student Yasmine who attended the protest in medical garb….
Other news and opinion
Poll: Israeli public pleased with PM on Gaza
JPost 2 June by Gil Hoffman — Sixty-two percent of Israelis are happy with the performance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during last week’s tensions with Gaza, and 59% are satisfied with the functioning of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, according to a Migdam poll taken for Channel 2. Twenty-eight percent were unsatisfied with the performance of Netanyahu and Liberman, and the rest of the respondents had no opinion. The poll found that 41% are in favor of further steps to ease the plight of Gazans; 28% back capturing the Gaza Strip and toppling Hamas; 18% prefer the status quo; and 11% had no opinion. The poll of 514 respondents representing a statistical sampling of the Israeli population was taken Thursday and has a reported margin of error of 4.4%.
Rivlin calls on Abbas to condemn Gaza kite attacks
Times of Israel 4 June — President Reuven Rivlin called Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and asking him to condemn the airborne arson attacks on the Gaza border and attempts to cross into Israel. “The terror coming from Gaza is a problem for both sides and we should hear your voice on this matter,” Rivlin said, according to Hebrew media reports. “We have to see how to stop the arson and infiltration of the border fence.” The president also wished Abbas a happy Ramadan and successful recovery following his hospitalization last month.
PHOTO ESSAY: Occupation captured
Christian Peacemaker Teams 5 June — Photos of Palestinian life and Israeli occupation in the West Bank city of Hebron during Ramadan
Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan to open 24 hours a day for three months
JERICHO (WAFA) 6 June — Allenby Bridge border crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, also known as King Hussein or al-Karameh crossing, will be officially opened for 24 hours a day starting Wednesday and for three months, according to a Palestinian police statement. It said that the border will be working around the clock from Sunday through Thursday, while an exception will be made on Fridays and Saturdays, where the crossing will operate for a few hours in the daytime. It said that the Bridge will operate until 11:00 a.m. on Fridays and 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays in both ways. The West Bank side of the crossing is controlled by Israel, which also controls the hours it will be open and when. Palestinian travelers at Allenby Bridge crossing always complain of long lines and delays on the Israeli side, mainly during the summer months and holidays when tens of thousands of Palestinians travel. Because the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians are unable to travel through Tel Aviv airport, their only exist route to the outside world is through the crossing with Jordan.
Knesset disqualifies bill seeking equal status for Jews and Arabs
Al Jazeera 5 June by Ali Younes — Israel’s Knesset disqualified a bill that called for all citizens to be treated equally, rejecting the argument it must recognise the rights of its Arab minority as equal to the Jewish majority. The text of the bill stated its objective was “to anchor in constitutional law the principle of equal citizenship while recognising the existence and rights of the two, Jewish and Arab, national groups living within the country”. The bill was sponsored by Balad, an Arab political faction and member of the Joint List – an alliance of four predominantly Arab parties – in the parliament. Haneen Zoabi, a Balad member of the Knesset and one of the bill’s sponsors, told Al Jazeera the proposed legislation aimed to make Israel more democratic – especially in its treatment of Arab citizens. “The cancellation of our bill shows that democracy and equal rights do not go hand-in-hand with the way Israel defines itself as a Jewish state. “It is clear that Israel considers democracy, or even demanding it, a threat to its existence,” Zoabi added….
From Knesset black sheep to Qatar insider: Azmi Bishara
DUBAI (AFP) 5 June — A controversial Arab Israeli former legislator who fled his homeland over a decade ago, Azmi Bishara is now among the key diplomatic players in the crisis that estranges Qatar from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf peers. Once a Knesset black sheep over his pro-Palestinian stance, Bishara left Israel in 2007, accused of advising Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, a charge he denied. A former Marxist and founder of Balad, an Arab Israeli political party, Bishara has since reinvented himself as an Arab public intellectual, close to Qatar’s circles of power. He is an Israeli Arab, defined as descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land when Israel was created in 1948. They account for around 17.5 percent of Israel’s population today. Bishara is a major personality in Qatari media and has a Twitter following of more than 1.4 million. Critics of the 61-year-old Christian from Nazareth accuse him of permanently shifting alliances – politics that have seen him labelled a supporter of “terrorism”, along with his host Qatar….
Bobby Kennedy’s little-known visit to the Holy Land that made him pro-Israel — and got him killed
Haaretz 5 June by Judy Maltz — Fifty years ago this week, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. He was shot on June 5 after a big primary win in California and died the following day of his wounds. This week also marks the 70th anniversary of a lesser-known event in his rather short life: Between June 3 and June 6, 1948, several weeks after Israel came into existence, the Boston Post published a series of dispatches from the Holy Land carrying the young Kennedy’s byline. Although separated by 20 years, these two events are intrinsically connected. His reporting tour of the Holy Land transformed Kennedy into a lifelong advocate of the Jewish state. Sirhan Sirhan, his Palestinian assassin, would later say his decision to murder the presidential hopeful was prompted by Kennedy’s strong pro-Israel views. Not by coincidence, he chose to carry out the act on the one-year anniversary of the Six-Day War. Jerusalem-born Sirhan, who is still in prison, was among hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced during the War of Independence between 1948 and 1949. Kennedy had traveled to what was then still British Mandatory Palestine in April 1948. The reports were published after he returned home – and by then Israel had gained its independence … Kennedy’s dispatches read more like a travelogue than strictly objective news reports. Rarely does he quote people by name, referring to them instead as “a Jew” or “an Arab.” Although he does his best to present both sides of the conflict, he does not conceal his overwhelming sympathy and admiration for the Jews….
Opinion: Palestine, Sirhan Sirhan and Robert F Kennedy’s assassination / Sherifa Zuhur
Al Jazeera 5 June — Fifty years after the murder of US Senator Robert F Kennedy, many questions remain unanswered — Sirhan Sirhan’s crime is one mired in the tragedy of Palestine. The son of a middle-class Christian Palestinian family uprooted by the violent offensive of Jewish militias from its native Jerusalem and forced to flee to the United States, at age 24 Sirhan found himself at the centre of major historical events. In the early hours of June 5, 1968, he shot an Iver-Johnson .22 revolver at Senator Robert F Kennedy (RFK), minutes after he had given a speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Despite contradictory evidence and witness accounts, Sirhan was summarily tried and sentenced for Kennedy’s murder. Sirhan’s 50 years in prison are coloured by the failures of the US criminal justice system, in which racial disparities are apparent. A poor young unconnected Palestinian was easily convicted and accused of political fanaticism. Today, Sirhan would likely have been charged with “terrorism”. Sirhan Sirhan has been denied parole 15 times. He was initially scheduled for release in 1984. Now 74 years old, this forever prisoner has served longer in jail than any Palestinian prisoner in Israel including Nael Barghouthi, who was imprisoned for 37 years, released and then re-imprisoned.
— Who is Sirhan Sirhan? — Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was born on March 19, 1944, in Jerusalem, the fifth son of Christian Orthodox parents. His father, Bishara, originally from the Palestinian village of Taybeh, worked for the British mandate government in Jerusalem’s water department, and his mother, Mary Muzher, was from Bethlehem. Sirhan witnessed the 1947 bombing of Damascus Gate as a child, the death of his older brother, a man disembowelled by a bomb and other traumatic events….