Two Palestinians, including teen, killed on 14th ‘Great March of Return’ protest in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 June — Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and hundreds of others were injured during the “Great March of Return” protest alongside the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip on Friday. The Gaza Ministry of Health confirmed that 14-year-old boy, Yasser Abu al-Najja, succumbed on Friday evening to wounds he sustained in the head earlier during protests in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Later Friday, the Ministry also confirmed that Muhammad Fawzi Muhammad al-Hamaydeh, 24, also succumbed to wounds he sustained on Friday afternoon in the stomach and leg during protests in eastern Rafah, also located in the southern Gaza Strip. More than four hundred other Palestinians were injured or suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces targeted protesters at the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip on the 14th Friday of the “Great March of Return.” Spokesperson of the Ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, said that 415 Palestinians were injured were injured or suffered tear-gas inhalation. Al-Qidra added that three of the injuries were reported to be critical.
Protesters gathered in “return camps” at the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip and set fire to tires. However, witnesses said that Israeli forces opened live ammunition at protesters in the Khuza‘a town in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. A Ma‘an reporter said that several youths were able to pull away parts of the Israeli security fence in eastern Khan Younis.
Palestinian child dies from serious wounds suffered at dawn
IMEMC 28 June — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that a child died, on Thursday afternoon, from serious wounds he suffered at dawn, after Israeli soldiers fired several shells at Palestinians, east of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry said the slain child, identified as Abdul-Fattah Mustafa Abu ‘Azzoum, 17, suffered serious head wounds inflicted by fragments of an Israel shell. He was rushed to Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital, in Rafah, where he underwent an urgent surgery, but later succumbed to his wounds at the Intensive Care Unit. Another Palestinian was also injured in the Israeli attack and suffered moderate-to-severe wounds to various parts of his body. The Israeli army claimed that the two Palestinians “were crawling towards the border fence,” when the soldiers fired a shell at them.
Israeli soldiers abduct a wounded child, injure four others, one seriously, in Gaza
IMEMC 28 June — Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday evening, five Palestinians including one child near Rafah and Jabalia, in the southern and northern parts of the Gaza Strip, and abducted the wounded child. One of the injured Palestinians suffered serious wounds.
Medical sources said the soldiers fired live rounds at protesters on Palestinian lands near the ‘border fence’, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, wounding four of them. They stated that the wounded Palestinians were rushed to Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital and added that one of them suffered life-threatening wounds.
Furthermore, the soldiers abducted a child, 15 years of age, after shooting him on Palestinian land close to the fence, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza.
As Israel says it foiled infiltration attempt, reports in Gaza of four wounded
Haaretz 27 June by Jack Khoury — A Palestinian who was in a group attempting to illegally cross into Israel from Gaza was wounded by IDF fire on Wednesday, the Israeli military said. According to the IDF, the Palestinian was taken to Israel for medical treatment, while the other members of the group fled back to Gaza. The IDF said hours later that it had observed three Palestinians damaging the border fence and attempting to enter Israel. Meanwhile, reports in Gaza said four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli military fire.
Earlier, Palestinian militant groups, including the military wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, claimed credit for rockets launched into Israel overnight. “All bombings will be responded to with bombing; we will not accept the continued IDF attacks,” the groups said, in a joint statement.
Israeli airstrikes launched at eastern Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 June– Israeli military planes carried out airstrikes targeting a group of Palestinians in the eastern al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City in the central besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday evening. A Ma‘an reporter confirmed that there were no reports of injuries. According to Israeli Hebrew-language media, the airstrikes came in response to the dozens of incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli illegal settlements. Sources added that 17 fires broke out in Israeli areas bordering the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as a result of incendiary balloons and kites.
Israel had bombed a Palestinian vehicle allegedly belonging to a Hamas movement member a few days ago to which Gazan resistance groups responded with firing 13 rockets at Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Israel bars condoms from entering Gaza Strip
IMEMC/Agencies 30 June — New Israeli regulations stipulate that condoms will not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip, as they might be used in violent actions. The Times of Israel published, last week, a report with the title “Condoms, kites and birthday balloons: ‘Silly’ Gaza weapons could lead to real war”. The report states, according to Days of Palestine, that Palestinians in Gaza are relentlessly flying a variety of airborne devices attached to flammable materials to be launched into Israel near the Israeli-Gaza border, causing hundreds of fires and millions of shekels in damage. Palestinians rely on the gentle Mediterranean coastal breeze to push their new weapons across the border. The report ignored the fact that the Israeli occupation army had killed 138 Palestinians and injured 14,700, including women, children, medics and journalists in Gaza, since the beginning of the Great Return March, in March of 2018. Given their limited resources, Palestinians rely on such an innovative way to retaliate. No Israeli casualties were reported during the same time period. Palestinians reportedly launched 600 kites from Gaza during the Great Return March, with Israel claiming it had intercepted 400. There was an unconfirmed report that these kites have brought down 10 Israeli drone aircraft.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing for three days
RAFAH (WAFA) 29 June – Egyptian authorities announced on Thursday evening that they will be closing the Rafah border crossing, the only gate of Gaza to the outside world, for three days starting from Friday evening, according to WAFA correspondent. This is the first time the border crossing is closed and in both directions since it was reopened at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Hamas delegation heading to Egypt to discuss Gaza relief
Haaretz 26 June by Jack Khoury — Egyptians to present plan for Gaza-Sinai commerce zone and loosen movement restrictions, reports Lebanese daily. Delegation reportedly including mostly senior bureaucrats, to avoid giving talks diplomatic veneer — A Hamas delegation will be leaving shortly for Cairo at the invitation of Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. According to a report [in Arabic] in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, the Egyptians will present a plan to build a joint commercial zone between Gaza and the northern Sinai, ease movement through the Rafah crossing and allow use of the airport at El-Arish. According to the report, the Egyptians intend to implement the plan even if Hamas objects to it. It was also reported that Egyptian intelligence will continue its efforts to effect reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, and they are awaiting responses about this from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas did not deny the report but would not provide details about the makeup of the delegation. A Palestinian source familiar with the details, however, said the delegation will include mostly senior bureaucrats and not diplomatic representatives. According to this source, Hamas is being careful, at least publicly, not to give a diplomatic dimension to the talks, but it would not object to civilian projects or improvements to the Strip’s economic situation, so it is sending professionals to the meetings….
Health Ministry: Acute depletion in leukemia treatment
IMEMC/Agencies 30 June — The director of the blood and tumors pharmacy at Rantisi Hospital for Children, Talha Balousha, warned of a severe depletion of the drug Mercaptopurine, and the resulting threat to the lives of children with leukemia. Balousha said, on Thursday, in a press statement, that the depletion of the drug threatens the lives of leukemia patients, as it will cause a gap in a therapeutic protocol which has lasted for two years, according to Al Ray. He noted that the drug is a chemotherapy tablet which is given to dozens of children with leukemia, over an 18-month period. He stressed on the importance of this stage, in the therapy, in preventing any deterioration of the patient’s health, noting that prolonged interruptions of treatment, during this period, will have a direct relationship with an increased risk of relapse. He called on all concerned officials to work hard in resolving this crisis, in order to save the lives of these children, adding that the cost of the drugs in the private sector has upped to four times its actual price.
Israel approves solar field to increase power supply to Gaza
Ynet 17 June by Alex Fishman — Images of Gaza’s residents eating to candlelight have become one of the symbols of the humanitarian crisis in the strip, but a new Israeli plan may change that situation. Israel has approved a plan to build a solar field on Israeli territory to ease the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip. The construction of the facility at the Erez Crossing will be funded by private Israeli and foreign elements. Israeli officials stress that this is a one-sided humanitarian move which is not part of an agreement with Hamas … Another idea aimed at easing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was discussed in meetings between Netanyahu and representatives of the defense establishment: Bringing some 6,000 laborers from Gaza to work in the Gaza vicinity. The idea has been rejected so far at the recommendation of the Shin Bet, citing a serious security threat….
In Pictures – Home as hospital: Gaza families struggle to care for the wounded
Al Jazeera 28 June by Alyona Synenko — Injured and physically disabled men have now become part of the urban landscape in Gaza under Israeli occupation — “The pain is unbearable, but I try not to scream because I don’t want my family to spend more money on drugs,” said Omar, a 25-year-old fisherman wounded in the recent upsurge of violence in Gaza. Omar’s bandaged leg is propped up against two pillows. Metal rods and pins protrude from the bone. A plastic bag filled with pills is hanging on a window latch next to the bed. A simple room in the family house has been turned into a makeshift hospital ward. It’s an improvisation that has become a familiar sight in many houses in Gaza. Violence escalated in the border area of Gaza at the end of March, resulting in dozens of deaths and thousands of wounded, many by live ammunition. Hospitals, overwhelmed by a series of injured people, have already reached the limit of their capacity. Medical staff are constantly faced with the dilemma of either discharging patients early or having no space to receive new ones. The burden that hospitals could not handle fell on the shoulders of the families, adding emotional, financial and logistical stress to already difficult lives. “Somebody has to be with him 24 hours,” said Abdallah, Omar’s brother. Abdallah earns a living as a construction worker, but has been spending most of the time caring for Omar since a bullet hit his leg on May 14. He shares the task with Asmaa, Omar’s twin sister, who had to make her own sacrifices. Omar, who looks thin and exhausted, said he knows the burden he is placing on his family: “I feel like I have paralysed the lives of two people.”….
Full freedom eludes Gaza exiles
EI 17 June by Mousa Tawfiq — I have experienced more freedom over the past 10 months than at any other time in my life. Being a student in Paris means I do not have to contend with obstacles that Palestinians living under occupation face every day. My freedom has nonetheless come with a major condition attached. While I can move around in much of Europe, I am prevented from visiting my family and friends in Gaza. In September 2017, I crossed through Erez, the military checkpoint separating Gaza from Israel. The Israeli troops at that checkpoint made me sign a document stipulating that I would stay away from Gaza for a full 12 months. In practice, I am prevented from entering Gaza for even longer. If I traveled to Gaza for a vacation this coming September, there is a high probability I wouldn’t be allowed to leave again or that I would be obstructed from doing so. The crossings at both Erez and Rafah – on Gaza’s border with Egypt – are frequently closed to Palestinians. As a result, there would be no guarantee that I could make it back to France before term resumes in the autumn. I could, therefore, lose the scholarship I have been granted to study communications at Paris 8 University. The masters program I am following lasts for two years. I don’t know yet what I will do when it is completed. But I do know one thing: I won’t rush back to Gaza. I fully intend to pursue the opportunities that were denied me in Palestine….
As a teenager in Gaza, I want peace and a normal life, like you
MEE 29 June by Tarneem Hammad — Have you ever seen the beautiful side of Gaza? For many people, what first comes to mind when the enclave is mentioned is an image of buildings in ruins, like collapsed wedding cakes, having been leveled by Israeli missiles. It is difficult to imagine Gaza as a thriving Mediterranean resort, with a beach where children play, run and build sandcastles. I don’t blame you if you can’t imagine that, especially if you read or watched the news on 14 May – shot after shot, body after body, again and again. In just a few hours, more than 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands were injured.
–Media distortion– If you think more deeply, though, you’ll realise we’re humans like everyone else. The media is getting it wrong about Gaza. When news reports say that “people died”, this is misleading; people didn’t choose to be killed. When the media refers to “clashes”, this is also inaccurate; there are no clashes between peaceful demonstrators and Israeli snipers, tanks and live ammunition. The majority of the news reports about the recent events in Gaza have been misinforming the public about the real reason for the Great Return March….
Press gives Israel pretext to attack Gaza
EI Media Watch 27 June by David Cronin — Journalists in Britain and Ireland often refer to the summer months as the “silly season.” Little of consequence is happening, the media apparently decide, so we can treat trivia as newsworthy. I’m not sure if hot weather is to blame but much recent coverage of Gaza is quite silly. Perspective has been discarded as kites and balloons have been depicted as major threats. These are “weapons that are designed to kill,” according to an Israeli military spokesperson quoted in a Financial Times feature. Fixated on these high-flying incendiary devices, the feature omitted a pertinent fact: nobody has actually been killed by them. Silly reporting of this nature serves Israel well. An aggressive state that has committed a number of massacres this year alone is cast as a victim. Intentionally or not, the press is offering pretexts for Israel to launch another major offensive against Gaza. Any such attack would then be presented as an act of retaliation – or even of self-defense. While every form of Palestinian resistance gets maligned, Israel’s weapons industry is treated with the greatest imaginable respect. Dozens of Israeli firms took part in a Paris fair earlier this month. Eurosatory – as the event is called – was jointly organized by France’s defense ministry and arms lobby. Some journalists helped out Israel’s exhibitors in Paris by suggesting that their new weapons could be used in Gaza. Ynet, an Israeli website, claimed that a new drone on display at Eurosatory had been developed “to counter the threat posed by incendiary kites.” Although the drone is named Firefly, it is impossible to believe that it suddenly materialized following the very recent discovery that the kite is Israel’s most fearsome adversary. Rafael, the Israeli firm behind the Firefly, did not mention kites or balloons in an announcement about its booth at Eurosatory….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli colonizers attack Palestinians in Hebron
[with video] IMEMC 30 June — A group of extremist Israeli colonizers, illegally living in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, attacked on Friday evening Palestinian inhabitants of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the heart if the city, while Israeli soldiers stood and watched, before attacking the Palestinians, and abducting one of them. Local sources said the colonizers assaulted many Palestinians, and pepper-sprayed Ahmad Abu Haikal, Mohammad Abu Haikal, Sondos al-Azza and Hatem al-Mohtaseb. They added that the soldiers failed to remove the Israeli attackers, and instead assaulted the Palestinians before abducting one, identified as Yousef al-Azza.
The incident took place after a group of colonizers gathered in Tel Rumeida, while the soldiers prevented the Palestinians from leaving their homes or walking on their streets, after declaring the area “a closed military zone,” a move which was meant to only allow Jewish settlers to move freely. Nonviolent activist Sondos al-Azza, who was one of the Palestinians assaulted by the colonizers, said she was attacked by a group of colonists while heading back home with her mother. “We kept walking, but they assaulted me and my mother,” she said, “The situation is very dangerous, and filled with hardships, especially since the soldiers keep closing our areas, and prevent our relatives and friends from visiting with us; living here became like living in a big prison, without basic rights that would enable us to live with dignity.”
Soldiers shoot a Palestinian near Bethlehem
IMEMC 28 June — Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday at night, a young Palestinian man in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Several army jeeps invaded the town, especially the al-Bawwaba area, and attacked protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. Medical sources said the soldiers injured a young man with a rubber-coated steel bullet, before he was rushed to a hospital in Bethlehem for treatment. Furthermore, the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes in the town, and interrogated the families.
Army injures many Palestinians in Hebron
IMEMC 30 June — Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, many Palestinians in the center of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Media sources in Hebron said hundreds of Palestinians nonviolently marched in the city, condemning and rejecting the illegal policies of both Israel and the United States, the ongoing military occupation and the so-called “Deal of the Century.” They added that the army resorted to the excessive use of force against the nonviolent protesters and fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at them. Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment.
Israeli soldiers injure many Palestinians in Al-Bireh
IMEMC 30 June — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, nonviolent Palestinian protesters near the northern entrance of al-Bireh city, in central West Bank, causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Media sources in Ramallah said the procession was organized by national and Islamic factions, in addition to social figures, rejecting Israel’s ongoing Israeli occupation, and the American policies against the legitimate, internationally guaranteed rights of the Palestinian people. They added that the soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at the protesters, while several youngsters responded by throwing stones at them. Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment.
Hundreds of Israeli settlers raid Salfit-area village, assault Palestinian elderly man
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 29 June — Hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the village of Kifl Haris, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit, to perform Jewish religious rituals under armed security by Israeli forces predawn Friday. Locals told Ma‘an that more than 30 Israeli military vehicles and troops raided the village and closed off its entrances. Israeli forces banned residents of the village from any movement in the streets and forcefully closed shops. Sources added that several large buses entered the village carrying more than 800 Israeli settlers from the entrance to the center of the village. Israeli settlers reportedly harassed residents of the town by continuously shouting anti-Arab slogans for three hours. Israeli settlers were also seen assaulting an elderly man who attempted to open the old mosque to perform Fajr (dawn) prayers while the settlers were about to perform their religious rituals at Islamic sites in Kifl Haris. The village of Kifl Haris is known for its four historic Islamic shrines, as a number of tombs exist in Kifl Haris that are believed [by Muslims] to be the graves of local holy people but which some Jewish worshipers believe to be the tombs of biblical figures Joshua, Caleb, and Nun … Visits by Israeli Jews to the sites in the areas under Palestinian control across the West Bank and often cause tensions with locals, as these visits are accompanied by large armed escorts. Palestinians are restricted from visiting holy sites in Israel, meanwhile, without hard-to-obtain permits from government authorities.
Dozens of grapevines, fig trees damaged in suspected West Bank hate crime
Haaretz 27 June by Yotam Berger — Unknown assailants damaged dozens of fig trees and grape vines near the West Bank village of Burqa on Tuesday. According to sources familiar with the incident, some 35 grapevines and were damaged and seven fig trees were cut down. On a nearby road, the assailants spray-painted: “Enough with the agricultural terrorism, we will reach any place.” The authorities launched an investigation. There have been no reports of hate crimes over the past two weeks. However, the months before saw several hate crimes perpetrated every week. In mid-June, as many as 200 olive trees and grape vines were vandalized in the village of Bayt Sakarya, which is located south of Jerusalem. A few days earlier, dozens of haystacks were burnt in the village of Burin near Nablus. Also in June, the West Bank District Police released two minors held for two weeks as suspects for “Price Tag” vandalism incidents against Palestinians in the West Bank. Neither suspect was brought before a judge. One of them was denied access to an attorney for much of his time in custody….
Israeli settlers puncture tires, spray racists anti-Arab graffiti in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli settlers damaged several Palestinian vehicles and vandalized a structure in a Nablus-area village in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday dawn. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers coming from the illegal Yitzhar settlement punctures the tires of several vehicles in northern Urif village in southern Nablus. Daghlas identified two owners of puncture vehicles as Ghaleb Radwan Ahmad Amer, 59, and his son Mahmoud, 25, whose house is only one kilometer away from the Yitzhar settlement. Israeli settlers also sprayed racist anti-Arab graffiti on the walls of a structure belonging to another Palestinian in the village.
Israeli settlers set ablaze Palestinian lands in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 June — Israeli settlers set ablaze large areas of the Beit Furik village mountains east of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Friday. Munadel Hanani, member of the Central Committee of the Popular Struggle Front, told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar raided the Beit Furik village, under armed security by Israeli forces, and set fire to the al-Sharariya mountain area southeast of the village. Hanani added that the damages have yet to be counted but that this act led to the burning of a large number of Palestinian olive trees.
Two Palestinians break into Negev Israeli military base, steal computer
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 June — Two Palestinians broke into an Israeli military base in the southern Negev desert on Thursday night and stole a computer reportedly containing important military information and data, Israeli “0404” news website reported. The news outlet added that the two Palestinians managed to flee the military base with the computer as Israeli forces were not able to find and detain them. Israeli forces then searched the area for the two Palestinians. The Israeli army leadership decided to open an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
Palestinian grassroots activist Wael al-Faqeeh seized by Israeli occupation forces
[with video] IMEMC/Agencies 30 June — Palestinian grassroots activist Wael al-Faqeeh, a coordinator at the Tanweer Forum in Nablus who frequently works with international solidarity activists, was seized in the early morning hours of Thursday, 28 June 2018 by Israeli occupation forces. Al-Faqeeh is the latest in a series of popular resistance organizers to be targeted by the Israeli occupation for arrest and imprisonment. He is a long time civil society leader in Nablus who has been arrested on multiple occasions for his work in land defense and supporting popular struggle against settlements and Israeli occupation and colonization. Recently, he has been working with Tanweer to support local women’s cooperatives growing za‘atar in the villages around Nablus, helping to support land cultivation by Palestinians and supporting women’s economic independence. This video from 2010 by Anna Baltzer describes Wael’s work, for which he continues to be attacked: He was reportedly taken to Megiddo prison after being seized from his home in a night raid. This is the fourth time he has been arrested; he has spent several years in Israeli prison over multiple arrests and was released for the last time in February 2017 after serving a sentence of over one year. Many of his friends and comrades around the world have shared their outrage on social media about his arrest and are demanding his immediate release. Several of his friends have also expressed that Wael has been by the bedside of his best friend, who is receiving treatment for cancer, and that this arrest is also an attack on his family and friends who rely on his support and involvement….
One night’s detentions:
Israeli forces detain at least 20 Palestinians, including woman, during West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians, including a woman, during raids in areas across the West Bank on Thursday morning.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that five Palestinians were detained from the southern West Bank district of Hebron and identified them as Abed al-Hadi Awad, Sajed Moussa Awad, Muhammad Subhi Awad, Muhammad Dirar Awad and Rawda Muhammad Abu Aisha, 53; Aisha was detained while at Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem on her way to Jerusalem, she was then transferred to the Ofer detention center.
Five Palestinians were detained from the northern West Bank district of Nablus, PPS identified them as Muhammad Subhi Tabanja, Mahdi Muhammad Shahin and former prisoners Wael al-Faqih, Thabet Nassar and Muhammad Said Awwad.
In the central West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians identified as Ziad Muhammad Awwad, Nidal Khalid Taqatqa and Khalid Muhammad Thawabteh.
PPS added that two Palestinians were detained from the Qarawat Bani Hassan town in the Salfit district and identified them as Akrama Aziz Marie and Sayyaf Mahyub al-Arabi.
Israeli forces also detained three Palestinians from the Tubas district, PPS identified them as Muhammad Ammar Daraghmeh, Usayd Saleh and Fares Maslamani.
Two other Palestinians were detained from the Ramallah and al-Bireh district and were identified as Muhammad Safi from the al-Jalazun refugee camp and Jaber Awad al-Rimawi, 27, from the Beit Rima town.
Palestinian woman with severe burns faces medical neglect in Israeli jail
MEMO 29 June — A Palestinian woman left disfigured by an Israeli attack on her car is facing medical neglect in prison, exacerbating the severity of her injuries, according to the Palestinian Information Centre. Thirty-two-year-old Israa Jaabis from Jerusalem has complained of the systematic medical negligence she has been made to endure in Israel’s Hasharon women’s prison, after being denied a burn soothing kit and painkillers. Following a prison visit, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Jaabis urgently needed to undergo cosmetic surgeries to her hands, ears, face and teeth to fix severe deformity. Jaabis was detained by Israeli forces in October 2015 after the mother-of-one’s car exploded after a cooking gas canister she was transporting caused a fire in her car, leaving her with severe burns all over her body. Israel accused her of purposefully attempting to blow up her car and sentenced her to 11 years in jail on charges of attempted murder, imprisoning her before her treatment had been completed. Eight of Jaabis’ fingers were amputated after they melted as a result of the burns and she breathes mostly through her mouth due to a gaping hole in her nose. She also suffers from nervous breakdowns, shock and severe psychological problems, intensified by her imprisonment. Before the accident, Jaabis worked at a nursery and volunteered at hospitals and schools, often dressing up as a clown to entertain children. Jaabis’ family have denied that she sought to blow the car up. Palestinian human rights group Addameer have also corroborated that her car exploded as a result of a fault in the gas cylinder she was carrying [while moving house]… Whilst the prison used to allow Jaabis access to some medication, her recent requirements for painkillers have not been fulfilled, despite her family offering to pay for the necessary treatment. She has also not been permitted visits from her ten-year-old son as he does not have a Jerusalem ID because his father is from the occupied West Bank….
Family of Turkish tourist held in Israel on terrorism charges says arrest ‘arbitrary’
MEE 19 June by Rabia Iclal Turan — The family of a Turkish woman held for almost three weeks in Israeli custody on terrorism charges after she was arrested on holiday says the accusations against her are baseless. Ebru Ozkan, 27, a secretary with a private company in Istanbul who is studying foreign trade through an online university, travelled in early June for a four-day visit to Jerusalem with a tour group of more than 30 others. On 11 June, as she attempted to board her flight home at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Ozkan was arrested and referred to a military court on charges of threatening Israeli security and suspected affiliation with Hamas which Israel designates as a terrorist group. Ozkan is being held in a military prison in Petah Tikva, a city about 10km from Tel Aviv. Her sister, Elif Ozkan, told Middle East Eye on Thursday that her sister’s detention is “totally arbitrary”. “My sister has no connection to any terror organisations. She devoted her life to kindness. The only thing she took there was balloons, chocolates and candies. She is not even political,” Elif said. “They have no evidence. “It’s been 18 days that we haven’t heard her voice. My father has heart problems, my mother is anxious. We’re worried,” she said….
Israel extends detention of French human rights defender
EI 29 June by Ali Abunimah — Activists have mobilized strong support for Salah Hamouri, the Palestinian-French human rights defender jailed by Israel without charge or trial since last August. But the French government appears to be doing nothing to secure his release — Ignoring the mild protestations of the French government, Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman has extended the administrative detention of Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hamouri for an additional three months. Like the 430 other administrative detainees held by Israel, Hamouri has been imprisoned without charge or trial since he was seized by Israeli occupation forces from his home in occupied East Jerusalem last August. Hamouri works as a researcher with prisoners rights group Addameer. On Thursday, the left-wing newspaper L’Humanité asked the French foreign ministry for its reaction to the extension and what France is doing to secure Hamouri’s freedom. “We can only regret this decision, on which an Israeli court is expected to rule in coming days,” the ministry responded. That presumably refers to a hearing scheduled for Sunday, in which, based on previous experience, an Israeli military judge will almost certainly confirm the defense minister’s decision….
Tortured detainee suffers complications
IMEMC 27 June — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that a detainee from occupied Jerusalem is suffering complications and severe pain, due to torture during extended interrogation by Israeli soldiers. It said that the detainee, Omar al-Kiswani, was abducted by the soldiers on March 7th 2018, after the army invaded Birzeit University, in Birzeit city in the central West Bank governorate of Ramallah; the Palestinian is the elected head of the Students’ Senate at Birzeit University. Al-Kiswani, from Beit Iksa town near occupied Jerusalem, was subject to ongoing interrogation and torture at the al-Maskobiyya interrogation facility, in Jerusalem, and was tied to an iron chair for roughly eighteen hours each day. He was punched and kicked by the soldiers, in addition to being repeatedly stuck with electric batons on several parts of his body, causing many serious sores, cuts and bruises, but was only given painkilling pills, without being seen by a healthcare professional. Al-Kiswani was also verbally and emotionally assaulted and abused by the soldiers, and was denied the right to counsel for two months.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel demolishes Palestinian Bedouin village for 130th time
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli authorities on Wednesday morning demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert in southern Israel for the 130th time. According to local sources, Israeli authorities and military vehicles stormed into the village, evacuated the women, children and elderly leaving them out in the open without a shelter and demolished their homes. Locals added that the residents of al-Araqib refuse to leave their land and homes. The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships. 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….
Israeli colonizers start construction of new outpost near Salfit
IMEMC 28 June — A group of illegal Israeli colonizers started, Thursday, the construction of a new colonialist outpost on Palestinian lands, in Qana Valley area, west of Deir Istiya town, north of Salfit in Central West Bank. The Mayor of Salfit, Sa‘id Zidan, said the so-called Civil Administration Office, run by the army in the West Bank, decided to build 108 colonialist units on 59 dunams of Palestinian lands in three basins, to build the new colony. He added that Israel “legalized” the construction of many homes for colonialist settlers in what was previously declared as a protected “Natural Reserve,” where the Palestinians have been denied the right to even plant trees, installed hot houses or irrigation pipes …
It is worth mentioning that Israel started targeting the Qana Valley area since the early days of its illegal occupation of the West Bank in 1967, but the colonialist activities escalated in the late 1970’s, after Israel declared the area a “closed military zone,” and in 1983, it changed the classification of the Palestinian lands to “Natural Reserve.” Qana Valley is more than 10.000 dunams surrounded by illegal Israeli colonies, built on Palestinian lands and gradually expanding.
Palestinian refugees – Gaza, Lebanon
Film: Seven days in Beirut: Life inside Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp
Al Jazeera 27 June 47:30 — A British man spends one week in a Palestinian refugee camp where thousands have lived, stateless, since 1948 — In early 2018, a researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre in London, Pietro Stefanini, attends a conference where he sees a video by a young Palestinian man. In it, Ahmed Shehadeh speaks passionately about the 70-year ordeal he feels his family has faced living stateless in Lebanon. “I challenge anyone to stay in a refugee camp,” he says, “not for 70 years, because we were forced out of Palestine 70 years ago, but for just seven days”. Inspired by Ahmed’s challenge, Pietro takes time out from his day job and travels to the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, a long-established shanty-like community where around 50,000 Palestinian refugees live – without Lebanese citizenship. This film documents Pietro’s stay, from meeting Ahmed at the camp entrance until he departs the alleyways and the maze of overhead electrical cables, notorious for falling and electrocuting residents a week later.
Gaza: 1,000 UNRWA employees to lose their jobs
MEMO 27 June — Deputy Head of UNRWA’s Workers Union, Amal Batch, warned yesterday that up to 1,000 employees are expected to lose their jobs due to the financial crisis hitting the international organisation, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. Batch said that the emergency programme, which includes food assistance, temporary work opportunities and others, is at stake due to the financial crisis. UNRWA has no budget for the third and fourth rounds of its programme, she said, noting that the organisation is suffering from a $246 million deficit. If funding is not allocated, she warned, the school year and other programmes would come to an end; this would have “catastrophic” consequences on the Palestinian cause. UNRWA has already stopped a number of its programmes and reviewed its policy regarding the distribution of food assistance and other programmes, leading to major cuts which have seen 150,000 refugees in the occupied West Bank no longer receiving food aid.
Opinion: How I made it from Gaza to Duke and UNC
News&Observer (Raleigh, N Carolina) 29 June by Mohammed Eid — I was once the unkempt little boy you saw staring at you on the fund-raising pamphlets for refugees. I was born in Rafah, a shanty refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, so it’s hard to imagine that now — at age 28 — I am pursuing a graduate degree in the United States. Let me tell you how I made it here. I grew up in a 200-square-foot house with five siblings. The street was my living room, my study area, and where I played. As a child, I never saw a baseball field, a swimming pool or the cinema. Despite the disadvantages that come with growing up in Gaza, I was able to realize my potential thanks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) – which supports more than 5 million Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East – providing us with food, health care, education and social services and jobs. Unfortunately, earlier this year, the U.S. government cut funding to the agency by 80 percent, jeopardizing many of the essentials that kept us from abject poverty and despair….
UfM official: Project to address water crisis in Palestine has become a reality
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 June by Khalil Fawadleh — The three-day First Palestine International Water Forum organized by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), under the slogan Integrated Water Resources Management: Best Practices and Technology Transfer, to discuss the adoption of integrated water resources management progressive tools as an approach to address the water crisis in Palestine opened on Monday in Ramallah with the participation of a host of officials and international NGOs representatives. WAFA interviewed the Deputy Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in charge of Water and Environment, Miguel García-Herraiz, on the forum and its work: Could you please comment on progress achieved so far with regards to the pledging conference and the Gaza desalination facility project? Well, I think the most important thing to say is that this project is becoming a reality. In this way I said at the conference that beyond the humanitarian and political importance of the project which everybody realizes, the project is a technical reality. Technical reality means that a lot of the work has been done by PWA in the past years to advance the progress technically, so that it becomes feasible on the ground….
Israeli Knesset bill to deduct funds to Palestinian Authority approved
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 June — The Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to deduct funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Ynet news outlet reported that the deduction would be equal to the amount of funds the Palestinian Authority gives to the families of killed Palestinians. The bill’s original draft there, which states that there would not be any flexibility regarding the funds deducted, passed its first reading. The Knesset members rejected the Israeli government’s objection to the bill, proposed by Knesset members Eliezer Stem of “There is a Future” and chairman of the committee Avi Dichter of the Likud, an Israeli right-wing political party. The committee contradicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position on the bill and went forward with approving the final version of the bill … According to the bill’s proposal, the Palestinian Authority transfers 7% of its budget, estimated at 1.1 billion shekels ($ 300 million), financed largely by US and European aid, to pay salaries and funding for Palestinian prisoners and to pay stipends to families of killed and wounded Palestinians.
Earlier this week, the United States suspended aid funds to the West Bank and Gaza under the “Taylor Force Law,” which was passed in March of this year, and will prevent the Palestinian Authority from paying monthly stipends to the families of killed, wounded and imprisoned Palestinians.
Germany and IDB provide Augusta Victoria Hospital with important cancer diagnostic machine
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 June – Very soon cancer patients from the Palestinian territories can benefit from a new modern diagnosis apparatus financed by Germany and the Islamic Development Bank, a press release said on Thursday. In a ceremony attended by Peter Beerwerth, the German Representative in Ramallah, Hani Abu Diab, Special Advisor to the Islamic Development Bank, the CEO of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, Walid Nammour, and the representative of the Lutheran World Federation, Pauliina Parhiala, the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem received a PET/CT scanner which allows modern cancer diagnosis … August Victoria, managed by the Lutheran World Federation, is the first and only hospital to provide special therapies, especially for cancer patients, in the Palestinian territories. Here, about 1.800 patients are treated yearly … Germany contributed an amount of $1.2 million for this important diagnostic device. The Islamic Bank contributed some $400.000.
Britain’s Prince William concludes first official royal visit to Holy Land with a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 June …The prince’s tour of Jerusalem and its holy and historic sites came after visiting Ramallah on Wednesday and meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas, and then with a cross-section of the Palestinian society, mainly young people, at Ramallah City Hall and a nearby school where he played football with children. He also visited a local refugee camp and met with representatives of the refugees and members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, to which the United Kingdom said on Monday that it will be immediately releasing £38.5 million to the agency to help alleviate some of its financial pressures. William returned to Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, after a busy half-day visit in Ramallah, to attend a reception at the British Consulate General in East Jerusalem. At the reception, Prince William spoke to his Palestinian guests that he was honored to meet President Abbas and have lunch with him. “During the course of the day, I have met Palestinians from a range of backgrounds and from many different places, including from Gaza. I saw at Jalazon (refugee camp) the tremendous hardships faced by the refugees, and I can only imagine the difficulties of life lived under these conditions, the ed resources and the lack of opportunity,” he said. Even though Kensington Palace had said from the beginning that the visit by the Duke of Cambridge was “non-political,” Prince William could not escape the reality of the hot politics of the region … “The story of the Palestinian people is so often told only through the lens of difficulty and conflict – but there is another story which I was privileged to witness today. This afternoon in Ramallah I saw an unforgettable display of Palestinian culture and hospitality. The Dabka, the singing, and the dancing were by turns beautiful, moving and joyful. “The cuisine was utterly delicious. All these are aspects of a long, varied and vibrant culture that finds expression in so many ways, not just your music but also your poetry and literature. Your rich traditions of scholarship live on in the importance you attach to education. I know how much we in the United Kingdom benefit from the many Chevening scholars and other bright young Palestinians who study in Britain. And I was delighted to know what value you too place on these exchanges … “My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten. It has been a very powerful experience to meet you and other Palestinians living in the West Bank, and to hear your stories. I hope that through my being here and understanding the challenges you face, the links of friendship and mutual respect between the Palestinian and British people will grow stronger…. [Twitter @KensingtonRoyal]
New cultural hub to open in West Bank amid political tension
The Art Newspaper 25 June by Aimee Dawson — Omar Al-Qattan, chair of the A.M. Qattan Foundation, explains the many challenges of building an arts space under occupation — Amid escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis in Gaza in May, experts declared that the possibility of peace has never been more distant. As Israel marked its 70th anniversary and the new US embassy in contested Jerusalem was unveiled, at least 60 Palestinian protesters were killed at the border by Israeli troops. Despite the political tumult, a major Palestinian cultural foundation is preparing to open its new headquarters to the public on 28 June in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. The A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) was established in London by the late Palestinian philanthropist Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan in 1993 and is a registered UK charity … At 7,700 sq. m, the venue has more than double the space of the Palestinian Museum, and will house art studios, exhibition spaces, classrooms, a library, a small theatre and a restaurant, as well as offices. However, the foundation has cut back its opening programming because of the delays, and staff are unlikely to move in until after the summer. “The biggest challenge, apart from money and obviously the Israeli occupation, is human resources,” Al-Qattan says. “It is virtually impossible to get a work permit for somebody who doesn’t have Palestinian or Israeli identification.” This limits the pool of candidates at all levels—from curatorial assistants to directors—as few people in the area have the relevant experience, particularly on a large scale … Moving art in and out of the area is another hurdle….
Birthright participants walk off trip to join anti-occupation tour
Haaretz 29 June by Taly Krupkin — A group of five American Jews visiting Israel as part of the Birthright Israel program left the trip Thursday in protest of the program’s treatment of the occupation and joined a tour of Hebron led by anti-occupation army veterans’ group Breaking the Silence. The group split off from the rest of the tour on the eighth day of their trip. One of those who left the group said that Birthright, the organization that brings young Jewish adults on free, 10-day visits to Israel, “is not providing the kind of education that we really need… and is telling a one sided story. This is not fair, and we deserve the truth.” The five young Americans live-streamed the incident on Facebook, where they are seen leaving the bus and arguing with their guide and with fellow participants. They also published a statement on a Twitter account … Lasoff told Haaretz that the members of the group did not know each other before the trip to Israel, and did not plan the action beforehand. She explained that they felt disappointed with the program’s treatment of the occupation, and therefore contacted Breaking the Silence, an Israeli veterans organization that collects testimonies from Israeli soldiers about their service in the territories, and coordinated to join their tour of the West Bank. Another woman who left the tour, Katie Anne, claimed on the live stream that “Birthright gave us a map of Israel that does not denote the West Bank [even though] the director of our Birthright organization admitted that the majority of maps in Israel do include [it]. They keep saying they’re apolitical but this is clearly to the right.” Anne added: “We love our Jewish community and that’s why it’s so hard for us to see Birthright systemically miseducating it. We cannot stand this injustice.”
BBC presenter Andrew Marr slammed for highlighting Israeli killings of Palestinian kids
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Al Ray/Press TV, Jerusalem – The BBC has found its presenter, Andrew Marr, guilty of breaching editorial guidelines for commenting, during his flagship Sunday morning program, that Israel has killed “lots of Palestinian kids.” The broadcaster issued an unprecedented ruling, against one of its most senior personalities, after a complaint was filed against Marr over his comment in the midst of a discussion about a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, during the April 8 edition of The Andrew Marr Show. “And, the Middle East is aflame again. I mean there’s lots of Palestinian kids being killed further south, as well by Israeli forces,” the veteran presenter said, referring to confrontations between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Irked by Marr’s remark, anti-Semitism campaigner Jonathan Sacerdoti complained that Marr’s remarks were “incorrect” and “unrelated” to the topic of Syria. “He stated there’s a lot of Palestinian kids being killed further south by Israeli forces,” Sacerdoti’s complaint said. “This is completely incorrect and is made up. This was irrelevant to the conversation on Syria… and, also, actually, completely false.”….
The Guardian bans cartoon crticizing killing of Palestinian medic
LONDON (Ma‘an) 29 June — The British newspaper The Guardian banned the publication of a cartoon criticizing Israel’s killing of Palestinian paramedic, Razan Ashraf al-Najjar, on the grounds of anti-Semitism. The banned cartoon depicts British Prime Minister Theresa May alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while medic, al-Najjar, burns alive in the fireplace behind them.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health al-Najjar was one of at least two medics who had been killed by Israeli forces, and another 170 medics were injured or suffered tear-gas inhalation since the “Great March of Return” began in Gaza on March 30th. The cartoonist, Steve Bell, denied using projections about the mass murder of European Jews during World War II.
The debate about the banned cartoon was discussed at the House of Lords of the British Parliament by member Tony Graves, who believes that the decision of banning the cartoon is not necessary and that it is time for Israel to be accountable for its actions.
Listen: Israel lobby seeks to erase occupation from Virginia schoolbooks
EI Podcast 29 June by Nora Barrows-Friedman — Human rights activists in Virginia are fighting to protect the quality and accuracy of schoolbooks as Israel advocacy organizations seek substantial changes to the texts. The suggested changes would distort the way Israeli history is depicted, deliberately whitewashing its military occupation and ongoing policies of land theft, apartheid and expulsion of Palestinians. These changes have been proposed to the Virginia Department of Education by the California-based Institute for Curriculum Services – a “strategic initiative” of the Jewish Community Relations Council, an organization with an active Israel lobby. ICS director Aliza Craimer Elias recently boasted in a video interview that her firm works “behind the scenes” with textbook publishers to edit entries about Jews, Judaism and Israel and to train classroom educators with ICS curricula. Elias said that many of the major textbook publishers “often come to us to work with them on manuscripts and development,” adding that about 85 percent of their proposed edits end up getting accepted. While some of their suggested edits address issues of Holocaust denial and offensive stereotypes of Jews and Judaism in biblical references, others address the way Israel’s establishment has been explained, as well as Israel’s current policies of discrimination, occupation and land theft. In the video, Elias bragged that ICS had successfully changed a textbook entry to omit reference to Israel’s forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the lead up to and after the state of Israel was declared….
Supporter of Palestinian rights wins huge upset in New York election
EI 27 June by Ali Abunimah — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scored a huge political upset by unseating longtime incumbent Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district. Her victory Tuesday is a titanic blow to the party establishment that backed Hillary Clinton from the progressive wing that rallies around Senator Bernie Sanders. It is also another indicator of the dramatic shift in the base of the Democratic Party towards support for Palestinian rights. Ocasio-Cortez has strongly condemned Israel’s slaughter of civilians in Gaza. She is a 28-year-old running for office for the first time. Ocasio-Cortez will now face a Republican opponent in the November general election and, if she wins, would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress … Ocasio-Cortez’s win blows a hole in the conventional wisdom that you can’t run for Congress and support Palestinian rights….
Analysis: Did Israel inspire Trump’s family separation policy? / Ramzy Baroud
Ma‘an 27 June — This past May, the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced the government’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy at US border crossings. It was a matter of weeks before the new policy began yielding tragic outcomes. Those attempting to unlawfully cross into the US were subject to federal criminal prosecution, while their children were taken away by federal authorities, which placed them in cage-like facilities. Expectedly, the policy caused outrage and was eventually reversed. However, many of those who have chastised the administration of President Donald Trump seem willfully ignorant of the fact that Israel has been carrying out far worse practices against Palestinians … The sad truth is that what Americans have witnessed at their southern border in the last couple of months is what Palestinians have experienced as a daily reality at the hands of Israel for the last 70 years. The kind of separation and segregation that Palestinian communities endure goes even beyond the typical outcomes of war, siege and military occupation. It is something that is enshrined in Israeli law, crafted mainly to weaken, even break down the cohesiveness of Palestinian society. For example, in 2003, the Knesset voted in favor of the ‘Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law’, which placed severe restrictions on Palestinian citizens of Israel who were applying for family unification. When rights groups challenged the law, their efforts failed as the Israeli Supreme Court ruled, early 2012, in favor of the government. In 2007, that same law was amended to include spouses from ‘enemy states’ – namely Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Iraq. Unsurprisingly, citizens of some of those ‘enemy states’ were included in Trump’s ban on citizens of mostly Muslim countries from entering the US. It is as if Trump is following an Israeli blueprint, fashioning his decisions around the principles that guided Israeli policies towards the Palestinians for many years. Even the idea of caging children is an Israeli one, a practice that was exposed by the rights group, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI). The policy, which has allegedly been discontinued, allowed for the placing of Palestinian detainees, including children in outdoor cages, even during severe winter storms….