Health ministry: ‘Israel soldiers killed 4 Palestinians, injured 686, in Gaza’
IMEMC/Agencies 9 June — Updated: The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinians, including one child, and injured 618 others, including five journalists, 26 children and 14 women, and added that 117 of the wounded were shot with live fire, among them eight who suffer very serious injuries.
The Health Ministry said a Palestinian, identified as Ziad Jadallah al-Breem, 27, was killed by Israeli army fire east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The army also killed a Palestinian child, identified as Haitham Mohammad Khalil al-Jamal, 15, from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. It added that the soldiers also killed Emad Nabil Abu Drabi, 26, near the Great Return Camp, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza. In addition, the soldiers killed Yousef al-Faseeh, 29, with live fire, east of Gaza City.
Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, said the soldiers shot at least 92 Palestinians with live fire, and 19 others who were injured by shrapnel from the bullets. He added that the army also shot five journalists, including Mohammad al-Baba, who works for the French Press Agency and was injured with a live round in his thigh. Dr. al-Qedra also stated that among the wounded Palestinians are 26 children and 14 women. The rest of the injured Palestinians suffered cuts and bruises, in addition to the severe effects of teargas inhalation. One of the wounded Palestinians was directly shot with a high-velocity gas bomb in his upper jaw that settled in his mouth, moderately wounding him and causing him to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
It is worth mentioning that thousands of Palestinians have participated in the Great Return March protests, Friday, in several areas in the coastal region. In a statement, Dr. al-Qedra said the soldiers have killed 127 Palestinians, and injured 14700 others, including women, children, medics and journalists, in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the Great Return March on Palestinian Land, on March 30th, 2018.
Mother of shot Gaza medic: ‘She thought the white coat would protect her’
KHUZA‘A, Gaza (The Guardian) 8 June by Olive Holmes & Hazem Balousha — Gaza’s medics have fine-tuned tactics on how to work in the line of fire without being shot by Israeli snipers. They wear white jackets with reflective, high-visibility stripes. Teams move slowly and deliberately towards casualties with their hands raised above their heads, past piles of burning tyres and plumes of white teargas smoke. As they approach the metal fence, they come within speaking distance of troops on the other side. They shout out in unison: “Don’t shoot. There are wounded.” They believe there is no way that anyone might misidentify them in Gaza’s open fields, but medical workers across the coastal strip – which Israel occupied for 38 years until 2005 and over which it enforces a strict land and naval blockade – are coming to the same terrifying conclusion. The strategy is not working. Razan al-Najjar, a volunteer health worker, took all the precautions, her colleagues say, but she was still killed when she was struck in the chest by a bullet last Friday. The 21-year-old was the second medic to be killed in a 10-week Palestinian demonstration movement, and Gaza’s ministry of health says 25 others have been hit with live fire. Faris al-Qidra, who was on shift with Najjar when she died, said she and four others had gone to rescue a man hit in the face with a teargas canister 20 metres from the perimeter. “He was crying out ‘help me,’” the 31-year-old paramedic said, adding that Najjar was always ready to go forward, even when soldiers fired warning shots. “The soldiers usually scream for us to go back,” he said …
Sabrine believes her daughter was targeted. She held up Razan’s jacket, which was once white but it now brownish with dried blood. “Palestinian Medical Relief Society” is written on the back and a small bullet hole is visible. “This was the weapon she had,” said Sabrine. “This was her terrorist badge,” she said, showing her daughter’s medical ID. “These were her explosives,” she added, pulling out bandages Razan kept in her pockets. “She was close enough to talk to the soldiers. Does she look like a terrorist?”….
Israeli army frames slain medic Razan al-Najjar as ‘Hamas human shield’
Mondoweiss 7 June by Jonathan Ofir — Just when you thought Israel couldn’t get any lower… The Israeli army has just released an incitement video, titled “Hamas’ use of human shields must stop”, in which it frames the slain medic Razan al-Najjar as a “Hamas human shield”– a day after it claimed she was killed by accident. This is more than adding insult to injury. This is adding malice to crime. The propaganda effort is based on twisting al-Najjar’s own words. I have consulted with three Arabic experts, who have looked at the original Arabic interview from which the IDF took the “human shield” text, and it is clear to them beyond a doubt that the IDF was knowingly and cynically manipulating Razan’s words to mean something other than what she said. Bear with me, this requires close analysis: First the video features Razan throwing away a gas grenade in the field. Obviously, this is one of the tear gas grenades fired by the Israeli army, which she is taking up and throwing to a safe distance. By this visual, the IDF is trying to create the impression that Razan is a kind of ‘combatant’. Then comes the short clip from an interview. The original interview has been found to be from Al Mayadeen News, a channel based in Beirut. The IDF video runs subtitles, saying: “I am Razan al-Najjar, I am here on the frontlines and I act as a human shield…” That’s all the IDF needs. Now, with the ominous music in the background, the IDF text states: “Hamas uses paramedics as human shields”. But the IDF cut out a very significant part of the sentence. Razan actually says: “I the Paramedic Razan al-Najjar, I am here on the Front Line acting as a human shield of safety to protect the injured at the Front Line. No one encouraged me on being a Paramedic, I encouraged myself. I wanted to take chances and help people…” (my emphasis)….
Tear-gas canister puts Gazan on life support
[with photos] MEMO 9 June — 23-year-old Haitham Abu Sabla was hit in the face with a tear gas canister that became embedded in his cheek — A Palestinian was on life support in a Gaza hospital on Friday after being struck in the face by a tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier. At least 525 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during yesterday’s protest. Israel says it uses tear gas as a non-lethal measure against Gaza border protests. But the projectile, launched by a soldier on the Israeli side of the frontier, hit Haitham Abu Sabla in the face as he watched Palestinian stone-throwers taking part in demonstrations east of Khan Younis town, witnesses said. As seen in these pictures by Anadolu Agency and others by Reuters photographer Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, the 23-year-old staggered back with the gas-spewing canister embedded in his cheek, his shirt bloodied, before collapsing. A Gaza hospital official said Abu Sabla was placed on life support after the canister was surgically removed … “It looked scary, a man with smoke and gas coming from inside his face” … An Israeli army spokesman had no immediate comment on Abu Sabla’s injury. He referred the media to an earlier statement that said troops were using what force was required to prevent around 10,000 Palestinians from posing an armed infiltration threat. Abu Sabla’s older brother, Mahmoud, said they were both regulars at the protests against Israel launched on March 30 and in which the army has killed at least 123 Palestinians, according to Gaza medics. “It was a must-go for us. We’ve never missed a Friday,” he said.
Hundreds in months-long Gaza protests crippled for life by Israeli gunfire
[with VIDEO] GAZA (CNN) 8 June by Ben Wedeman — A bloody scalpel in his hand, the surgeon pauses over the gaping wound in his patient’s right leg. “The entry point is very small,” explains Dr. Bassam Harasha. “But inside the tissue this type of bullet is doing explosion, and this explosive effect of this bullet is doing massive destruction in the tissue and the bone so most of the patients, they underwent amputation. We have no chance to save the limb like other bullet injuries, traditional bullet injuries outside this area.”
He goes back to scraping off scraps of bloody flesh. Harasha has come from Jordan as a volunteer to Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital. And he’s very busy. His patient, Hashim Amr, a man in his 40s with a gray beard, is wide awake. The anesthetics have only numbed his lower body. As doctors labor away, he recounts that during the 2014 war, his 17-year-old son was killed in an Israeli missile strike. Dina Nasser, a veteran nurse from Jerusalem’s Victoria-Augusta Hospital, emerges from the adjacent operating theatre. Of the patients she has seen, she says, “Their bones are fractured into splinters. There’s lots of muscle damage and tendon ruptures. There are images of the bone basically having a hole in it.” According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, more than, 3,600 people have suffered gunshot wounds, nearly 60% to the lower limbs, during the weekly protests known as the Great Marches of Return along the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Israeli gunfire has killed more than 120 people, including children, health workers and journalists. But it’s not just the high casualty figures that have drawn attention. It’s the nature of the wounds …
At the Indonesian Hospital in Bait Lahiya in northern Gaza, the outpatient clinic teems with young men on crutches waiting to be seen by doctors. Many of their wounds appear to be from 7.62-millimeter sniper rounds fired by Israeli forces. Sniper rifles have a range that can exceed 800 meters, so when fired over a shorter distance — up to, say, a couple of hundred meters — the effect can be devastating on the human body. Dr. Bassam Al-Masri has tended to the wounded from the Second Intifada, plus the Gaza wars of 2008, 2012 and 2014. “The bullet itself is different from before,” he says. “We used to find intact bullets. Now we don’t. We just find shrapnel.” Nodding to those waiting to see him, he adds, “Fifty percent of those who were wounded will never walk naturally again. Not after a year or two or three or 10 years.”….
Israeli drones burn tires, protest camps in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli drones reportedly dropped what locals said were firebombs along the borderlines in the southeastern Gaza Strip on Friday morning. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli drones dropped the firebombs on hundreds of tires that protesters had brought to the area to burn during protests later in the day. The firebombs also reportedly burned down several tent encampments that had been set up for weeks by protesters participating in the ongoing “Great March of Return” in Gaza. Though protests have slightly calmed since Ramadan began three weeks ago, thousands of Gazans took to the Israeli border fence on Friday on the occasion of al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, and the 51st anniversary of the “Naksa.”
Palestinian Civil Defense teams arrived to the area and extinguished the fire set by the drones before it could spread further. . Local activists told Ma‘an the Israeli action was “proof of Israel’s flounder and fear of Palestinian crowds that would be protesting on Friday.” They added that despite their tents being burned, marches would continue until “their goals were achieved.”
Aid freeze, politics push Gaza’s people deeper into poverty
GAZA CITY (AP) 7 June by Fares Akram & Mohammed Daraghmeh — Samia Hassan used to have enough money to feed her two dozen children and grandchildren. Now she spends much of her time worrying about food, scouring Gaza’s vegetable markets for end-of-day discounts or walking miles for a pot of free gruel from a soup kitchen. Large numbers of Gaza families have been pushed deeper into poverty in recent months by Palestinian political infighting and the freezing of U.S. aid. Life is tougher than ever for most of the 2 million Palestinians locked into tiny, blockaded Gaza, where electricity is off most hours of the day, unemployment approaches 50 percent and the Islamic militant group Hamas rules with a tight grip. “It’s a perfect storm,” said Hilary DuBose of the Catholic Relief Services, which has had to forego emergency food distributions because the Trump administration is withholding funds. “At the same time that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening, humanitarian aid is disappearing.” Growing despair in Gaza has helped drive recent Hamas-led protests against the border blockade by Israel and Egypt … Hassan — who shares her unfinished cinderblock home with seven of her 12 adult children, three daughters-in-law and 16 grandchildren — said she joined the border protests repeatedly, intentionally getting close to the fence in hopes of getting shot and killed by Israeli troops. “Death is better than this life,” she said to her sons’ astonishment as the family gathered for the meal breaking the dawn-to-dusk fast of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hassan said she only pulled back because she realized she could end up crippled rather than dead and become a burden….
Morocco’s humanitarian aid for Gaza arrives in Egypt
RABAT (MWN) 7 June by Ahlam Ben Saga — King Mohammed VI’s humanitarian aid transport dedicated to Gaza arrived at Cairo’s West Air Base Airport on Tuesday to be shipped by road to Gaza — Four Moroccan military aircraft, loaded with 113 tons of aid, including 25 tons of medicine and 5,000 blankets, landed in the Egyptian capital. Food aid will be sent to Gaza as well as to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Ramallah through Jordan. Morocco’s Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Tazi received and supervised the transferring of the goods to land transports which will take them to the Gaza strip. At the sovereign’s request, a Moroccan field hospital will be built to assist the people of Gaza who witnessed and suffered the massacre of May 14 that left thousands injured and dozens killed amid protests, on the same day of the US Embassy’s inauguration celebrations in Jerusalem. The hospital is equipped to handle vascular surgery, abdominal surgery, pediatrics, traumatology, ENT, and ophthalmology. It has 97 staff, including 21 nurses and 13 doctors of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) medical unit….
Palestinian campaign settles debts of those killed during Great Return March
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 6 June by Huda Baroud — Fadi Abu Salah, one of the Palestinians killed during the Great Return March, left his family with a huge debt that they had no means of paying off — until a small group of local activists came to their aid and set up a social initiative. The initiative is using donations from Muslim families who gave during the holy month of Ramadan to help the families of those killed in the protests along the Israeli-Gaza border between March 30 and May 15. Abu Salah, whose legs had been amputated following an injury during the 2008 Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, had just finished building a house for his family and had been unable to pay his debts to lending institutions and the construction company. In addition, he owed money to the shopkeepers who had extended his family credit to buy food and basic necessities. Abu Salah was killed May 14 by an Israeli sniper in the largest protests in Gaza since 2014. His mother, Entsar Abu Selmi, told Wael Abu Omar, a journalist who interviewed her for the Smart Media network, that the family was unable to settle the debt of $27,000 now that they were left without a breadwinner. She asked him to refer her to any associations that could help the family. Abu Omar is also a social activist and one of the supervisors of the Palestinian charity campaign “Forgive and You Shall Be Rewarded,” which works with shopkeepers to write off debts or set up payment schedules for Gazans who cannot repay what they owe. Abu Omar conveyed the story of Abu Salah’s family to members of the campaign, asking whether they could assist the family and others in a similar situation. They decided to start a new campaign to pay off the debts of those who were killed during the Great Return March….
Palestinians call for mass resignations from Fatah, PLO to protest Gaza sanctions
MEMO 7 June — Palestinian writers and intellectuals have called on members of Fatah, the National Council, the Central Committee and Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to resign in protest against the Palestinian Authority’s imposition of sanctions on the Gaza Strip. Human rights activist and writer, Mustafa Ibrahim, called on members of the Palestinian National Council, the Fatah Central Council and the PLO Executive Committee to “free themselves from the restrictions” imposed on them by their positions. “Do not forget that you represent a national liberation movement, liberating yourselves is not difficult in order to lift the injustice from your people,” he wrote on Facebook. Writer Aziz Al-Masri said that “a mass resignation is the most honorable form of protest and at the same time the most difficult message to be directed at the regime or the government.” “The key influencer of the salary crisis is the Fatah movement as the head of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah,” Al-Masri wrote on Facebook. On Tuesday, Fatah members in Gaza demanded the PA lift the punitive measures imposed on the Gaza Strip and to pay the salaries of Gaza employees in full and treat them like their counterparts in the occupied West Bank. Fatah member in Gaza, Abdel Rahim Al-Hindi, resigned as a result of the “crime” of not paying the salaries of Gaza employees. The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas imposed a number of sanctions on the Gaza Strip in April 2017 which escalated in April this year to reach deduction 50 percent of the salaries of Gaza employees.
‘Sheikh Avichay’ get under Gazans’ skin with Koran quotes
Bloomberg 6 June — Palestinians mock him as ‘‘the sheikh.’’ Communicating with him risks arrest. From his computer in Tel Aviv, Israeli Major Avichay Adraee has become a celebrity of sorts in the Gaza Strip, where his social media posts, sprinkled with Koranic passages, have resonated in unprecedented ways. Make no mistake: the Israeli army’s top Arabic-language spokesman isn’t a welcome presence on Gaza laptops and mobile phones. His messages, exhorting Palestinians in fluent Arabic to avoid confronting Israeli soldiers at protests, have been denounced by mosque preachers and at the highest levels of the ruling militant Hamas movement. Many Palestinians find the spectacle of an Israeli soldier sitting behind a desk, gesticulating and relying on the Koran for persuasion, to be laughable. But Adraee’s reach — he has more than 1.5 million Arabic-speaking followers on Facebook and Twitter — has given this mid-level officer uncommon access to the people of Gaza and beyond. “Choosing Avichay Adraee, who belongs to a Jewish family that came from Syria and speaks fluent Arabic, for such a sensitive position, is part of the huge machine of Israeli government propaganda,” said Adnan Abu Amer, a political science professor at Gaza University. “Gazans always make fun of him and consider what he says in Arabic a joke, but in some Arab countries, we can find many people who believe his claims.” The extension of warfare to digital battlegrounds has required Israel’s military to intensify its cognitive operations, said Gabi Siboni, a cyber expert at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. It’s developed a doctrine and is adopting technologies….
No pay leads PA employees in Gaza to strike
MEMO 7 June — Palestinian Authority staff working at Gaza’s three border crossings, Kerem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom), Rafah and the Beit Hanoun (Erez), went on strike 8am to 1pm yesterday in protest against the non-payment of their salaries. Safa news agency said staff were protesting against the policy of early retirement, to demand a return to a system of promotions which have been suspended since 2016 and to call on the government to pay their salaries in full including outstanding payments. The customs director at the Kerem Abu Salem crossing told Safa that the protest today is for all the staff working in the crossings in the besieged Gaza Strip, especially in the ministries of finance, national economy, health, agriculture.
WATCH: What do Israelis think of the violence in Gaza?
Israeli Social TV 5 June — In the midst of the Great Return March protests in Gaza, during which Israeli snipers killed well over 100 protesters inside the besieged territory, Social TV asked regular Israelis on the street what they think of the Israeli army’s actions.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Funeral held in Nabi Saleh for Izz al-Deen Tamimi, shot dead by Israeli soldiers
International Solidarity Movement 7 June — The funeral of 21-year-old Izz al-Deen Tamimi was held yesterday afternoon on Wednesday 6th June in Nabi Saleh, a village north of Ramallah. Israeli soldiers shot the young man with three live bullets in the early morning, hitting his neck and chest. Israeli undercover agents and soldiers had entered the neighbouring village of Beit Rima in the early hours of Wednesday morning and arrested a Palestinian man. They also shot and wounded one other man using rubber coated steel bullets. As they were leaving the village of Beit Rima and passing through Nabi Saleh to exit to the south, young men from the village gathered to protest the Israeli army’s aggression. Izz al-Deen Tamimi was shot three times with live ammunition. Watch a video here of the aftermath of Izz’s shooting, as family and neighbours in Nabi Saleh rush to Izz and try to ensure his medical treatment. The IDF released a statement on Twitter that a Palestinian man threw a ‘large rock’ at Israeli soldiers during an arrest, and that ‘in response, the soldier who was hit by the rock fired towards the suspect, who was injured and given medical treatment at the scene. Despite this, the suspect died. No IDF troops were injured.’ However, this conflicts with eyewitness accounts that after shooting Izz the Israeli soldiers took him and laid him down for thirty minutes before they allowed an ambulance to attend…
Izz al-Deen Tamimi’s funeral procession left Ramallah hospital and passed through the city centre, with hundreds of people in attendance. After leaving the city centre, cars of family and other funeral attendees were stopped at ’Atara checkpoint north of Ramallah by Israeli military in an apparent effort to halt mourners from attending the funeral in Nabi Saleh. The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) released this video showing Israeli soldiers harassing and intimidating mourners trying to reach Nabi Saleh….
Nabi Saleh has been an ongoing site of struggle against the occupation and the policy of illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank. To find out more about the resistance to the occupation in Nabi Saleh read this interview with Manal Tamimi published today which reveals the extent of Israeli army violence, repression and harassment the people of the village face.
A settler assaults four Jerusalemite youths and the police arrest them
Silwanic 6 June — The occupation forces arrested four Jerusalemite youths on Wednesday night while being near New Gate- one of the Old City’s gates. Wadi Hilweh Information Center’s lawyer, Khaldoun Nijem, explained that the forces arrested Baha’ Ibrahim Dabagh, 13, Zein Al-Din Obeid, 14, Ismaeel Ma’moon Abu Rammouz, 14, and Hamdi Majdi Jaber, 14, and transferred them for interrogation at Salah Al-Din Street police station. The youths explained to the lawyer that a settler assaulted them near New Gate, and the police arrested them despite being assaulted. Witnesses explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the police also assaulted the youths during the arrest.
What would you do if soldiers dragged your son out of bed in the middle of the night?
+972 Mag 8 June by Orly Noy — After more than half a century of occupation, most Israelis can no longer imagine themselves in the place of the Palestinians. But if we cannot imagine what it is like to live under occupation, we must at least confront its brutal reality — … Take the video below, which was published by Israel human rights organization B’Tselem on Thursday: soldiers invade the Da‘na family home in Hebron in the middle of the night, waking up the entire family, including children and the elderly, to look for stone-throwers. Israeli soldiers are allowed, by military decree, to carry out raids in every house at every hour, without a search warrant. They break in with weapons drawn. “You entered our home, enter respectfully,” says one of the family members to the soldiers. A heartfelt plea to soldiers in helmets. What does occupation have to do with respect? The soldiers pass through the house. In one of the rooms a terrified woman holds a small child, telling the soldiers that she is alone with the children. “Everything is okay,” the soldiers tell her. What is so okay about their forced presence in the middle of the night? After that, the soldiers tell the adults to bring the children to them. Young children are woken up in order to stand before the soldiers. The soldiers make another round inside the house, another round of talks with the adults, and the soldiers continue on their way. What was the purpose of the raid? What were they looking for? Who were they looking for? Did the soldiers themselves even know? Was the systematic fear the raid instilled itself the purpose of the raid?….
Army injures a child in Hebron, causes damage to homes
IMEMC 9 June — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday morning, Beit Ummar town, northwest of Hebron in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, before storming and violently searching homes, causing serious damage, and shot a child with a rubber-coated steel bullet, while many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers invaded the al-Baq‘a and Safa areas in Beit Ummar, smashed front doors of some homes, searched them, and interrogated the families. During the invasions, the soldiers used K9 units to search the homes of Bassam Badawi Ekhlayyel and Ra‘ed Ahmad ‘Aadi, before smashing inner doors of the two properties, and removed tiles in addition to causing damage to the furniture. The invasion lasted about two hours, while dozens of Palestinians protested and hurled stones at the military jeeps, and the soldiers fired many rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. The soldiers shot a child, 16 years of age, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, before local Red Crescent medics provided him with the needed treatment, and caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
One night’s detentions:
Israeli forces detain nine Palestinians, seize belongings in West Bank, Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 June – Israeli forces Thursday detained nine Palestinians and seized personal belongings during multiple raids across the West Bank, said security sources and WAFA correspondents. Israeli police detained a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his family home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya. Police also detained two other Palestinians, including a youth, from inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. This came as scores of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint holy site, prompting Muslims worshippers spending the last ten days of Ramadan inside the holy site to shout slogans and sparking confrontations. Police fired stun grenades towards worshippers.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided a Bethlehem neighborhood and Dheisheh refugee camp, south of the city, detaining three Palestinians.
Elsewhere in the southern West Bank, forces conducted several raids across Hebron city as well as the surrounding towns of Halhoul, Yatta, Beit Ola, Sair, Dura and Kharas. One Palestinian was detained from Kharas.
In Hebron city, troops searched two homes, interrogated the owners and seized gold, a mobile phone, a laptop and a vehicle. Troops also detained a Palestinian during a raid that triggered confrontations in Beit Ummar town, north of the city.
In the northern West Bank, forces detained a Palestinian after storming his family home in ‘Azzun town, east of Qalqiliya.
Israeli soldiers abduct two Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC 8 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Beit Fajjar town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and abducted two Palestinians. The soldiers invaded and searched several homes in the town, interrogated many Palestinians and abducted two. The abducted Palestinians have been identified as Majdi Thawabta, 24, and Moayyad Salah Taqatqa, 24.
Palestinian MEMO cartoonist detained by Israeli forces
MEMO 7 June — Acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh was detained by Israeli forces last week as he tried to return to his Ramallah home following a trip to Europe, according to his contracted publishing house Just World Books. Sabaaneh, who regularly draws cartoons for MEMO, was returning from the international cartooning festival in Bastogne, Belgium, on 31 March when Israeli border-control forces held him for five hours at the Allenby Bridge, intimidated him, and confiscated one of his key works, a cartoon in the form of a tapestry narrative. The cartoonist has used his talent to raise awareness of Israel’s ongoing and illegal occupation of the West Bank and is the Regional Representative in the Middle East for the Washington DC-based Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI). Last year, Sabaaneh was also honoured as a special guest by the UN at a festival celebrating Palestinian culture, and earlier in 2017 conducted a 15-city speaking tour of America. This was not the first time Sabaaneh has been detained. In 2013, when trying to return from a trip to Jordan, he was arrested at the border and imprisoned for five months. This particular experience informed a chapter of his recently published book “White and Black: Political cartoons in Palestine” which detailed the plight of Palestinians taken from their loved ones….
In first, ‘fire kites’ used in West Bank
i24NEWS 8 June — “Fire kites” have reportedly been used for the first time in the West Bank starting a fire on a field near a Jewish settlement on Thursday. The kites were flown over three Jewish communities [settlements], Matan, Yarhiv and Nirit in the West Bank with one kite hitting a power line, causing hours of power outage. Emerging during weeks of border protests and clashes in Gaza in which some 125 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, the fire kites quickly became a popular way for Palestinians to inflict damage on Israel without putting themselves in danger. The kites from Gaza have started fires when they hit the ground in Israeli border communities, and are estimated to have caused millions of shekels in damage. Israel, world-renowned for its high-tech know-how, has scrambled to deal with the new homemade threat. Col. Nadav Livne, the commander of the Israeli army’s Matmon unit — dedicated to research and development of technology for operational purposes — on Thursday briefed reporters on the Israel Defense Forces’s (IDF) use of mini-drones to counter the wave of kites….
Israel extends detention of Hebron Municipal Council member
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 June — Israeli authorities extended the detention of Hebron Municipal Council member Suzan al-Eweiwi, 39, who was detained from her home earlier this week, for another 11 days on Thursday. Al-Eweiwi was detained by Israeli forces on Tuesday during predawn raids in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. According to local sources, her lawyer has been prevented from visiting her, and her detention was extended pending further investigation. When she was running for election to the council, al-Eweiwi allegedly received numerous threats from Israeli authorities to step down. Despite these threats, she continued with her campaign until she was elected to her current position. According to sources close to al-Eweiwi, Israel recently punitively banned her from traveling outside the country as a result of her election win.
Israeli parole board denies Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi early release
Haaretz 7 June by Yotam Berger — Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous — A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the area, [this] demonstrates her potential for danger if she receives an early release,” the Shin Bet wrote … Tamimi was arrested in December, a day after a video of her punching, slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers in a West Bank village went viral. Her initial January indictment included 12 charges going back to 2016. The indictment included five counts of assault against security forces, including stone throwing. She was charged with assaulting a soldier, threatening a soldier, interfering with a soldier in the line of duty, incitement and throwing objects at a person or property.
Israel police arrest 2 Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque
MEMO 7 June — Israeli occupation police arrested two Palestinian worshippers from the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque today as nearly 90 settlers stormed the Muslim holy site. The Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem said in a statement today that the police arrested two Palestinians, one a minor, from the yards of the mosque. Palestinians had been objecting to the entry into the Muslim holy site of Jewish settlers during the last ten days of Ramadan. On Tuesday, Israeli occupation police arrested 12 Palestinians from the mosque’s courtyards.
Restriction of movement
PHOTOS: Israeli forces harass and assault Palestinians at Qalandiya checkpoint
ISM 9 June — Throughout the morning of Friday 8th June, many Palestinians passed through Qalandiya checkpoint into Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, in order to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque. The Israeli government allows a slight easing of the travel restrictions that ban most Palestinians in the West Bank from entering Jerusalem, only for Friday prayers during the month of Ramadan. Older men above 45 or 50, women of any age and children under 12 are allowed to pass through to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Fridays, although this year the Israeli military have not allowed anyone from Gaza to travel to Jerusalem. Also, despite the easing of the occupation’s restrictions of freedom of movement for Palestinians during Ramadan, many older men, women and children do not get to make it through for arbitrary reasons or because of delays at the checkpoint. It was apparent that many women, children and older men were not allowed to pass through this morning. Outside a pedestrian entrance to the waiting area from the main road, at around 1145am, Israeli police assaulted a middle aged woman, ejecting her from the waiting area and shoving her onto the floor. Watch a video from Quds News Network here. Israeli police and border police then closed a pedestrian entrance towards the checkpoint from the main road and made many of the people, mainly women, trying to pass through walk around. Israeli forces pushed and shoved many young men and children gathered outside the checkpoint….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization / Apartheid Wall
Knesset nixes bill forcing completion of West Bank security barrier
[with map] JPost 7 June by Tovah Lazaroff — The Knesset on Wednesday voted down a bill that would have forced the government to finish the West Bank security barrier within 18 months of the legislation’s passage into law. “What happens if we cannot stop the next terrorist?” Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay told asked prior to the preliminary vote on the bill, which was opposed by 42 parliamentarians and supported by only 23. MK Omar Bar Lev (Zionist Union), who authored the legislation, told the plenum that politics had trumped security when it comes to finishing the barrier. His party estimates that 16 years after work first began on the structure designed to halt suicide bombings, only 60% of the barrier’s 790-kilometer route has been completed. It’s a number that is also backed up by the United Nations … The contentious project, that began in 2002, angered Palestinians, the international community and left-wing Israelis who accused the government of using security as an excuse to grab land in Area C. Settler and right-wing Israeli politicians worried it created a potential border for a two-state solution that abandoned many settlements located outside its planned route, which have since been dubbed isolated communities. The project has essentially been frozen for the last ten years. The Defense Ministry prioritized other projects and the United States opposed construction of the barrier in the West Bank. Palestinian appeals to the High Court of Justice also slowed the project down. The uncompleted stretches include the areas around the Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel settlements, as well as in the Gush Etzion Region. The South Hebron Hills region is also problematic….
Israeli forces seal front door to Palestinian home in Hebron, detain family inside
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 June — A Palestinian family was trapped inside their home and forced to leave through a broken window after Israeli forces welded their front door shut and temporarily detained them inside their home in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Thursday morning. The incident took place on the al-Shuhada street in the Old City of Hebron, one of the most heavily militarized streets in the occupied West Bank. Samer Yusri Zahida told Ma‘an that Israeli forces broke into his brother’s house at 8 a.m. on Thursday, forcing him and his three other family members into one room in the house. After detaining the family for a brief period of time, Israeli forces broke one of the windows in the house and exited through it, allegedly telling the family that if they want to leave the house they must also exit through the window. Israeli forces then sealed the front door to the family’s home. Zahida noted that the window that was broken did not lead to the main road, but to the neighbor’s house. Coordinator of the Human Rights Defenders Association in Hebron, Imad Abu Shamsieh, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces have been trying to force out the family since they moved in two weeks ago, in what he said was an “attempt to empty the al-Shuhada street of all Palestinian residents and provide it to Israeli settlers as a new residence.”….
Israel demolishes al-Araqib Bedouin village for 129th time
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June — Israeli authorities demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 129th time on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Thursday’s demolition marked the second time since April that the community has been targeted. The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib, located in the south of Israel’s Negev desert, are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships. Rights groups say that demolition is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population, clearing the way for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities. Like the 34 other Bedouin villages “unrecognized” by Israel, al-Araqib does not receive any services from the Israeli government and is constantly subjected to the threats of expulsion and home demolition. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) believe that over half of the approximately 160,000 Bedouins in the Negev reside in villages not recognized as legal by Israel….
They thought they’re living in a Jerusalem suburb. But actually, they’re settlers
Haaretz 7 June by Nir Hasson — Turns out, a street in an upscale Jerusalem suburb is actually outside the State of Israel — Since the mid-1990s, Mevasseret Zion, an upscale suburb of Jerusalem, with a population of some 25,000, has undergone significant expansion northward, in the form of the Rekhes Halilim neighborhood. It now turns out that in some parts of that neighborhood’s northern section, the homes are situated outside the town’s own municipal boundaries – and also outside the State of Israel. The major deviation is on Bareket Street, where more than 20 structures were built across the 1949 Green Line, in the West Bank. In four or five other cases, the Green Line, [which served as Israel’s border until the 1967 Six-Day] runs right through the houses themselves. A little to the west, a facility of Hagihon, the Jerusalem region water company, was also built across the Green Line. Not far from there, about two years ago, local residents placed two mobile homes which became a “pirate” synagogue that has functioned without interference ever since. On top of all this, the Israel Land Authority is promoting a new plan to build 300 residential units in the area. A source familiar with the subject said that some of the dwellings will be built over the Green Line. The local council and Mevasseret residents object to the plan. The anomaly was discovered by Dror Etkes from Kerem Navot (Naboth’s Vineyard), a non-profit watchdog organization that monitors Israeli land policy in the West Bank …
Etkes discovered a similar phenomenon in the new neighborhood being built in Tzur Hadassah, in the Judean Hills southwest of Jerusalem. During earthworks there, the contractor crossed the line onto land belonging to the adjacent Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin. The reverse phenomenon exists in the southern section of the West Bank, where most of the land of the settlement of Shani, which is administered by the regional council of Southern Mount Hebron, is actually inside Israel….
Israel minister: ‘The only national state that can exist in Israel is the Zionist state’
MEMO 8 June — Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Gallant vowed yesterday that “the only national state that can exist in Israel is the Zionist state”. Gallant, who hails from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, made the remarks while making a fresh attack against the Palestinian presence in the occupied southern West Bank and Negev. “Those who want to establish a sub-state – it cannot be in our home,” he said. “With the support of hostile elements from the southern Hebron hills and the support of Arab MKs, there has been a process of Islamisation that begins from the Judean fortresses through the Bedouin towns to the Dimona crater.” … Earlier this week, speaking in the Knesset, Gallant made similar remarks, claiming that “the south is under attack not only from Gaza”, citing “the illegal and hostile construction in the rural Bedouin areas in the Negev”, and “the Palestinian Islamist expansion from the Hebron area”. “The programme to reinforce Jewish settlement in the Negev constitutes a long term and stable solution for a Jewish hold over the region,” the housing and construction minister added.
Israel minister seeks to nix funding for gallery over ‘Nakba in Hebrew’ book launch
MEMO 7 June — Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev is seeking to cancel state funding for Barbour Gallery in Jerusalem, in light of the institution’s forthcoming hosting of a book launch event on the Nakba. Regev has asked Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit “to advance legislation that would enable us to cease supporting once and for all cultural institutions that use their public spaces to provide a platform for relentless subversion against our very existence, symbols and values”, said Haaretz. The event in question will launch new book “Nakba in Hebrew – A Political Journey” by Eitan Bronstein Aparicio and Eléonore Marza Bronstein, which focuses on the activities and impact of Zochrot, an Israeli organisation that supports the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. In her letter, Regev said she had discussed the event with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and that they would seek a court injunction against the event….
VIDEO: Events in Jerusalem during May 2018
Silwanic – Wadi Hilweh Information Center 7 June — nearly 8-minute video with all important events of the month in Jerusalem. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Palestine in Pictures: May 2018
Electronic Intifada 2 June
In Photos: Palestinians travel from West Bank to Al-Aqsa on last Friday of Ramadan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Thousands of Palestinians traveled to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, to perform prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank passed through heavily militarized Israeli checkpoints to reach the holy site. Palestinian residents of the West Bank are not allowed to access occupied East Jerusalem or Israel without an Israeli-issued permit. Ramadan typically sees a slight ease of permit restrictions on Palestinians, particularly women, though the thousands who do get permits are still subjected to long waits and checkpoints and searches by armed Israeli forces. Throughout Ramadan, Israeli forces have been allowing only women, children under the age of 12 and men above the age of 40 to enter.
At the Qalandiya checkpoint in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, young Palestinian men who were denied entry through the checkpoint by Israeli soldiers used ladders to climb over Israel’s separation wall.
Israel bill to compensate ‘terror victims’ using Palestinian money passed by Knesset
MEMO 8 May — In its latest bid to impound Palestinian tax money, the Israeli government is going after funds Palestinians use to pay people who are killed, injured or imprisoned by Israeli forces. The Knesset approved yesterday the first reading of a bill to deduct the amount of money the Palestinian Authority pays to victims of the Israeli occupation from the Palestinian tax money collected by Tel Aviv in order to compensate “terror victims” in Israel. The bill, which passed with 55 votes for and 14 against, seeks to give the Security Cabinet the authority to order a freeze of the transfer of money to the Palestinians as well as to outline clear instructions on what to do with the funds deducted, Ynet news reported. While presenting the bill Deputy Defence Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said: “Today, the State of Israel says ‘no more’. We will fight terrorists not just by catching them and bringing them to justice, but even after they have been jailed. We will continue fighting them and their families and those who fund them and show zero tolerance to terrorism.” The report went on to explain that the deducted money would be put in a special fund to pay compensation to terror victims; and to carry out projects as part the fight against terrorism and the funding of terrorism.
This is the latest Israeli attempt to penalise Palestinians using tax money which the Palestinians are entitled to. Previously they sought to punish the Palestinian leadership by freezing tax and customs payments when the PA successful won its bid at the UN in late 2012 to achieve non-member observer state status. Tel Aviv also withheld tax revenues in retaliation against the PA’s decision to join the International Criminal Court. The tax collection regime in the occupied territory, which grants Israel the right to collect tax on behalf of the Palestinians, is one of the many oddities of the Oslo process. Critics say it has weakened Palestinians politically and economically. While Israel has used the tax money it is not entitled to as a political stick against the PA, this time it is going after the families and victims of the occupation regime whose livelihood is dependent on the funds….
The Hybrid and Gaza Sky Geeks are helping Arab-Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs overcome adversity
TechCrunch 9 June by Jonathan Shieber — Imagine trying to build a business in a country where 90 percent of the water is undrinkable, electricity only works four hours a day and your travel is restricted to an area four times the size of Manhattan, and where in-person meetings are impossible because your partners can’t enter your country to meet you. And imagine not having access to capital because of your ethnicity (as many POC entrepreneurs across the globe already do). That’s the situation for Arab-Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs trying to create businesses and access the enormous engine of wealth creation that has transformed Israel into “startup nation.” The billions of capital and transformational opportunity that building startups affords to economies has largely been denied entrepreneurs in Israel’s Arab community and in Palestine. However, two organizations in the country and in the violence-stricken Gaza strip are working to provide access. One is Hybrid, an Israeli government-backed initiative out of Nazareth that is trying to bring the benefits of the tech economy to Israel’s Arab population. The other is Gaza Sky Geeks, an Alphabet-backed initiative based in Gaza that provides pre-seed investments, training and technology resources to Palestine’s Gazan population. For Arab entrepreneurs living in Israel, Hybrid is a resource to help overcome the broad cultural challenges that they need to combat. Things like a perception that backing their startups is inherently riskier than investing in a company founded by a Jewish Israeli citizen. Or the cultural stigma of failure that’s more prevalent in the Arab community. These are the things that Fadi Swidan and his Nazareth-based organization are working to combat….
#WalkToPalestine activist Ladraa arrives in Lebanon
MEMO 8 June — Swedish activist Benjamin Ladraa has arrived in Lebanon as he edges closer to completing his #WalkToPalestine campaign. The 24 year-old, who has walked more than 4,000 kilometres since the start of his journey last August, is expected to reach Beirut later this evening after he took a ferry from the Turkish coast. “After walking 30 kilometres I reached the over 7,000-year-old city of Byblos. Tomorrow I will make the final stretch to Beirut where I’ll try to have as many meetings, lectures and interviews as possible,” he said yesterday. “After I reach the border in Lebanon I’ll go back to Beirut and take a plane to Amman and then walk to the border from there and into Palestine.” Earlier this week Ladraa visited two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and took to Facebook to express his disappointment at the neglect of the Lebanese government: “It has been a very emotional start these first two days in Lebanon, he said. “People told me they feel like prisoners and the camps are very poor. Everyone I met really wants to return to their homeland and I can only imagine the frustration knowing that Palestine is only a few hours’ drive from the camps.” … Ladraa has received considerable international attention as he has progressed on his journey. Last month he was presented with a prize at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards in recognition of his activism for the Palestinian people and delivered a speech alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ladraa gave his award to the family of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian boy who was burnt to death by Israeli settlers in 2014 … The Swedish musician chose to make the journey to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration….
Britain’s May tells Netanyahu of concern over Gaza deaths
LONDON (Reuters) 6 June — Britain is concerned about the deaths of protesters in Gaza, Prime Minister Theresa May told Israel’s premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, saying that the situation had deteriorated. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed in weekly demonstrations launched on March 30 in the Gaza Strip, an enclave controlled by the Islamist group Hamas. “We have been concerned about the loss of Palestinian lives,” May told Netanyahu ahead of talks in London, adding that Britain recognised the Israel’s right to self-defence. May said it was important to alleviate the situation and restart talks about a two-state solution to the conflict, which have been frozen since 2014. Netanyahu said responsibility for the violence lay with Hamas….
UN General Assembly to hold ‘urgent meeting’ on Gaza next Wednesday
IMEMC 9 June — The United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to hold what was described as an “urgent meeting,” next Wednesday, to discuss the Israeli escalation against the Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak sent a letter to the 193 member states, informing them of the scheduled meeting, the Ma‘an News Agency has reported. The assembly will be voting on a draft proposal condemning Israel for its ongoing violations against the nonviolent protesters in the Gaza Strip. The vote is like the one which was submitted by Kuwait last week, asking for providing the Palestinians with international protection but was struck down by a veto from the United States, Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour said. Mansour added that the ongoing Israeli escalation, and the repeated excessive use of fatal force against unarmed protesters, requires the International Community to act, and provide the urgently needed protection to the Palestinian people. During last week’s vote, the United States was the only country that opposed it, by using its Veto power, while ten countries of the 15-member council, voted for the resolution, and four others abstained.
Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty: a half-century later, still no justice
Counterpunch 8 June by Jeffrey St. Clair — In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel’s attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship. Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel. Soon more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns. A few minutes later a second wave of planes streaked overhead, French-built Mystère jets, which not only pelted the ship with gunfire but also with napalm bomblets, coating the deck with the flaming jelly. By now, the Liberty was on fire and dozens were wounded and killed, excluding several of the ship’s top officers. The Liberty’s radio team tried to issue a distress call, but discovered the frequencies had been jammed by the Israeli planes with what one communications specialist called “a buzzsaw sound.” Finally, an open channel was found and the Liberty got out a message it was under attack to the USS America, the Sixth Fleet’s large aircraft carrier….