Israel temporarily cancels family-prisoner visits
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 July — Israeli authorities have announced temporary cancellation of all family visits from Gaza to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons that were scheduled for Monday until further notice. Abd al-Nasser Farawneh, Head of the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee in the Gaza Strip, said that Israeli authorities informed the Ministry of Detainees regarding the cancellation of all family visits of Gaza prisoners scheduled for Monday due to urgent technical reasons. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is in charge of coordinating with Israeli authorities to arrange family visitations for Palestinian prisoners and eases visitations for Gaza residents on a regular basis … According to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Palestinians are entitled to family visits, which can “only be limited for security reasons, on a case by case basis, but never for strictly punitive or disciplinary purposes.”
Israeli missiles kill two Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 29 July — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed, on Sunday at dawn, two young Palestinian men, in northern Gaza. It said the two Palestinians were killed by Israeli missiles fired from aircraft, east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza. The two slain Palestinians have been identified as ِِAyman Nafeth Rabea‘ Najjar, 24, and Mohannad Majed Jamal Hammouda, 24, from Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza. Media sources in Gaza said the two Palestinians were killed near the Eastern Graveyard, in Jabalia, and added that their severely mutilated corpses were moved to the Indonesian Hospital, in northern Gaza. Israeli Ynet News said the two were reportedly near the parameter fence, when “Israeli jets struck targets,” in the area. It added that the army only issued a brief statement in which it just said, “it does not address foreign reports.” It is worth mentioning that Israeli army drones can still be heard and seen flying at a low altitude over several parts of the coastal region, especially in northern Gaza.
Gaza Health Ministry backtracks, says two Palestinians killed by accidental explosion, not by Israel
Haaretz 29 July by Jack Khoury — The two Palestinians who died in the Gaza Strip late Sunday night [Sunday at dawn?] were killed by an accidental explosion and not by Israeli fire, the Gaza Health Ministry said Monday. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s military wing said the two men had been among its operatives and that they were killed while “fulfilling their duty.” Sources in Gaza told Haaretz it appeared that a group of young men tried to fire a rocket at Israel and were killed when it exploded. The two Palestinian men were killed in the northern Gaza Strip just after midnight on Sunday, according to the ministry. The ministry identified the two as Ayman Angar [Ayman Nafeth Rabea‘ Najjar] and Mohand Hamouda [Mohannad Majed Jamal Hammouda], both 24. At first, the ministry attributed the killings to an Israeli strike. The Israeli military questioned the validity of the report, however, and said Hamas blames Israel for incidents it has no connection with….
Israeli soldiers shoot a Palestinian east of Gaza City
IMEMC 30 July — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, Monday, that Israeli soldiers shot a young man with live fire, east of Gaza city. It said that the soldiers shot the young man in his leg, before he was rushed to the Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza city, suffering a moderate injury. Media sources said the soldiers attacked several Palestinian protesters with live fire, in addition to firing high velocity gas bombs at them.
Thousands bury 11-year-old, 2 others killed by Israeli fire
GAZA CITY (AP) 28 July by Najob Jobain & Fares Akram — Thousands attended funerals Saturday of three Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire in a border protest a day earlier, including an 11-year-old, a 17-year-old and a man on crutches. More than 140 Palestinians, most of them unarmed, have been killed and several thousand wounded by Israeli troops since March in such protests led by Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers. The Gaza Health Ministry said the latest deaths brought to 18 the number of minors, age 18 and under, killed in the past four months … Gaza’s Health Ministry said Saturday that Mou’min al-Hams, 17, was shot in the chest in the protest on Friday along the fence that separates Gaza and Israel. Images shared on social media by his friends and relatives show him venturing toward the fence, setting tires ablaze and pushing them toward Israeli forces. Funerals were also held Saturday for Majdi al-Satari, 11, whose age was previously announced as 14, and for Ghazi Abu Mustafa, 43. The Health Ministry initially gave Majdi’s age as 14. On Saturday, it said his age was 12. A relative said the boy had been born Oct. 3, 2006, meaning he was 11 when he was killed. Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based rights groups, confirmed Majdi’s age as 11. Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a witness, said that on Friday protesters were trying to cut razor wire about 50 yards away from the actual fence. He said Majdi was watching from about 100 meters away. “There were two gunshots from a sniper. One hit one of those cutting the wire in the leg and the other gunshot hit the boy in his head,” he said.
Women gathered under the corrugated zinc roofing of the al-Satari’s family’s house for the funeral. Majdi’s mother, Kholoud, wearing a black robe and face veil, sat on a mattress. “I don’t know what he did to them (the Israeli soldiers),” she said as she burst in tears. She added that his family tried to prevent him from going to the protests and on one occasion tried to lock him indoors. “It’s his fate,” she sighed. “He is a child. He had no bullets or weapons,” said the boy’s grandmother, identified as Umm Ramzi. “He was standing like all children watching. They shot him from afar. Isn’t he a child? Why are they targeting children?” In a nearby town, resident Hassan Najjar said he witnessed the shooting of 43-year-old Abu Mustafa. He said soldiers shot at a group of Palestinians who rushed to the border and a bullet hit the man sitting about 250 meters away. He said the man had sustained leg wounds at a previous protest and was still using crutches.
UN special coordinator on Twitter: Stop killing Palestinian children
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 July – United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called on Israel in a tweet on Saturday to stop killing Palestinian children in Gaza. Mladenov’s reaction came after Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian boy at the Gaza border on Friday during the weekly March of Return protests. “Yesterday’s killing of a 12 year old Palestinian boy by Israeli fire in Gaza is shocking and tragic,” he wrote. “Children are #NotATarget! Too many lives have been lost. It’s time for this to stop. My heartfelt thought and prayers go out to the bereaved family.”….
Gaza’s children carry mock coffins for dead children, and say. ‘We may also be carried’
[many photos] Mondoweiss 29 July by Ahmad Kabariti — Marah Al-Abadseh was one of 20 child scouts in Khan Yunis city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, carrying 12 fake coffins to commemorate children killed by the Israeli troops during the 18 weeks of Gaza protests and throughout the years of wars and uprisings. The terrified 13–year old Marah was shedding tears after carrying a small wooden coffin with a picture of Wesal Sheikh Khalil, a girl who was shot dead by Israeli snipers in May while participating in the weekly protest….
Hamas makes unplanned visit to Cairo as Egypt seeks to clinch Palestinian reconciliation
Haaretz 31 July by Jack Khoury — Palestinian Authority hopes international pressure will convince Hamas to hand over control of Gaza, which the group has rejected before — A delegation of senior Hamas officials arrived in Cairo on Monday at the request of Egyptian intelligence officials, as part of the efforts to promote reconciliation between the organization and the Palestinian Authority. A Hamas official in Gaza said the visit by the delegation hadn’t been planned but that the Egyptians had demanded that a delegation come to Cairo, following the response that Fatah officials had given to the Egyptian initiative to advance reconciliation. A Fatah official told Haaretz that his movement had responded positively to the Egyptian initiative but had offered a number of comments and objections, to which Egypt had to obtain Hamas’ response … The PA is hoping that international pressure on the one hand and the economic and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip on the other will force Hamas to compromise in several areas. Authorities believe that a breakthrough in talks can be achieved if the PA agrees to include Hamas officials in its government institutions, Egypt provides guarantees, sanctions are removed, and a unity government is formed. But those in Abbas’s orbit and in Ramallah believe chances for progress are low….
Heavy economic loss in besieged Gaza due to Israeli ban of basic goods
IMEMC/Agencies 29 July — Israeli occupation authorities have banned, for the 19th day in a row, the entry of basic goods and humanitarian aid, via Kerem Shalom crossing, the sole commercial crossing with Gaza, MP Jamal al-Khudari, head of the People’s Committee to Face the Siege, stated on Sunday. Khudari said that the most recent truck was loaded with thousands of daily-needed basic goods, in addition to raw materials for industry, building materials, clothing, textiles, wood, household items, stationery and other essentials. Al-Khudari said, in a press statement, that this prohibition is causing the Palestinian economy, which is already deteriorating due to the blockade, and Israeli policies, direct and indirect losses of millions of dollars. He pointed out, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that these trucks, carrying the basic goods for survival, cost more than $60 million, are subject to multiple risks because of the occupation … He explained that the goods are officially bought and imported, and have all the approvals to pass through ports and commercial crossings, but the occupation hinders and returns them after their arrival to the crossing, causing heavy losses to owners, as the goods are stored for long periods of time, and are subject to serious damage due to lack of timely arrival….
Israel intercepts aid boat bound for besieged Gaza Strip
Al Jazeera 29 July — A boat loaded with aid for residents in the besieged Gaza Strip has been intercepted by Israeli naval forces. The Awda, carrying at least 23 people, was meant to reach the Gaza port approximately at noon local time on Sunday, but was redirected instead to the Israeli port of Ashdod. It was part of a flotilla attempting to break a 12-year-old blockade imposed by Israel and neighbouring Egypt. With 16 different nationalities on board, including some Israeli citizens, the Awda set off from the coast of Palermo in Italy a week ago. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Ashdod, said the Israeli army confirmed intercepting a boat that departed from Europe in order to “violate the legal naval blockade that is imposed on the Gaza Strip”. Although they expected the interception to happen, those on board noted they sailed “as a symbolic means of drawing international attention to the plight of 1.8 million people living in Gaza under that siege”, Stratford said. “We know the boat was carrying around $15,000 worth of medical equipment,” he added. The organisers of the voyage, called Break the Siege committee, condemned in a statement Israel’s interception, demanding that the governments of the people on board take immediate action. The Israeli army said in a statement it had monitored and intercepted the vessel in accordance with international law, and that any humanitarian assistance that the boat was carrying would be delivered to Gaza. The journey by the Awda was the latest in a series of bids aimed at reaching Gaza. In 2010, an attempt turned deadly when Israeli soldiers stormed the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla, killing 10 Turkish nationals. And in 2015, a flotilla of four boats bound for Gaza was redirected to Ashdod. It was only in 2008 that two boats carrying 40 people successfully managed to reach the coast of Gaza. At the time, Israel’s foreign ministry said it had provided the flotilla with permission….
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian student Ola Marshoud sentenced to 7 months in Israeli prison; female students receive arrest threats
Samidoun 30 July — Palestinian student Ola Marshoud, 21, from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, was sentenced to seven months in Israeli prison by the Salem military court on Monday, 30 July, for her involvement in student activism on the An-Najah University campus. Marshoud has been detained since March, when she was summoned to interrogation at the military base near Huwwara. When she arrived, she was transferred the interrogation center at Petah Tikva. She was accused in the military court of involvement in student organizing at An-Najah University. Active Palestinians involved in the student movement are repeatedly targeted for Israeli arrest, imprisonment and persecution, including Omar Kiswani, the student body president at Bir Zeit University. Statistics indicate that there are over 300 Palestinian university students imprisoned in Israeli jails. This policy of colonial military repression of student activism is continuing; in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, 30 July, a number of families in al-Khalil reported that armed occupation forces posted notices on the walls of the area, particularly the homes of female students, threatening them against participating in student elections and activism with the Islamic Bloc on their campuses. Several young women’s family homes were raided and letters presented to their parents by occupation soldiers accusing them of participating in “illegal activities” through student activism….
Palestinian teen released from Israel jail will continue resistance – as lawyer
NABI SALEH, West Bank (Reuters) 29 July by Ali Sawafta — A Palestinian teenager released by Israel on Sunday after completing a prison term for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier said she wanted to become a lawyer so she could continue her struggle against the occupation of the West Bank … Wearing her trademark black-and-white chequered Arab scarf when she returned home, Tamimi greeted dozens of well-wishers. Outside the home of a villager killed by Israeli forces, she urged continued struggle against Israel’s occupation. At a news conference later, she spoke in front of a bare two-pronged tree that had been shaped like a giant slingshot, with the trunk covered in a Palestinian flag and with a tyre at its base. “I will continue my university tuition and I will study law so that I can address the cause of my country in all of the international forums and to be able to represent the prisoners’ cause,” Tamimi said. “Prison taught me a lot of things, I was able to figure out the right way to deliver the message of my homeland.” Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her detention, faced 12 charges but in March pleaded guilty to a reduced charge sheet that included assault. She was sentenced to eight months, dating back to her arrest in December.
Ahed Tamimi to be honoured in S. Africa by Mandela’s grandson
MEMO 30 July — Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi – who was released on Sunday from an Israeli prison after serving an eight-month sentence for slapping an Israeli soldier – will be invited to South Africa to receive a special award for her bravery, resistance and being a symbol of hope for millions reports the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service. This is according to Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and the grandson of Nelson Mandela. In the centennial celebration of his grandfather’s birth, Mandela has promised Tamimi that he will “continue to support and rally others to join in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to isolate Apartheid Israel until Palestine is free.” Mandela saluted Tamimi as “a symbol of Palestinian resistance.”
Ahed Tamimi’s mother, Nariman, was also released on Sunday after being imprisoned on charges of incitement for sharing a live recording of her teenage daughter standing up to the fully-armed Israeli soldier in December. Speaking immediately after her release from her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank, Ahed Tamimi said that while she was happy to be reunited with her family, she could not forget other young Palestinians who still languished in Israeli prisons – including her brother and two cousins. Amnesty International has cautioned that Tamimi’s release must not obscure the Israeli military’s use of discriminatory policies to lock up Palestinian children. “While Ahed’s freedom is welcome and long overdue, it must be followed by the release of the other Palestinian children unlawfully imprisoned by Israeli military courts,” said Saleh Higazi, head of Amnesty’s Jerusalem office….
Shokeh enters 55th day of hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies 28 July — As even more Palestinian leaders and activists are ordered imprisoned without charge or trial, four Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike. Hassan Shokeh of Bethlehem has now been on hunger strike for 55 days; he is protesting against his administrative detention. Shokeh was scheduled to be released in June; upon his arrest in September 2017 – only one month after his release from a prior stint in administrative detention – he launched a hunger strike when he was ordered jailed without charge or trial once again. His case was moved to the military courts and he was sentenced to six more months in Israeli prison. However, when his sentence expired, he was ordered jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention instead of released as scheduled.
Shokeh, 30, is being held in isolation at the Ramle prison clinic, and his father said that he has lost more than 30 kilograms of weight and suffers from continuous pain and serious deterioration in his health condition. Shokeh’s father criticized the insufficiency of support efforts for his freedom, saying that the actions of human rights organizations has not gone beyond the typical solidarity activities of prisoners’ families…
Shokeh’s strike is part of an uprising in the prisons against administrative detention. There are currently nearly 450 Palestinians – out of a total of over 6,100 political prisoners – jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Since February, the administrative detainees have been united in their boycott of the military court hearings to approve their detention orders. They have continued the boycott to demand an end to the practice of imprisonment without charge or trial. At least two minor children are currently held in administrative detention, Laith Abu Kharma from the village of Kafr Ein, and Hussam Khalifa from the village of al-Walaja….
Five Jerusalem teens remain in prison, 19 released
IMEMC 29 July — Israeli soldiers released, on Saturday at night, 19 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem, after issuing orders barring them from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city for one week, and kept five others under interrogation. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the 19 released Palestinians were each ordered to pay 5000 Israeli shekels fine, and received warrants barring them from entering the holy site for one week. It added that the police and army are refusing to release five detained children, who are still held under interrogation in the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation facility, in Jerusalem. The five have been identified as Bassam Shokri Qonbar, 17, and Assem Yazid Halayla, 15, from Jabal al-Mokabber town, south of Jerusalem, Mo’men Maher al-Karaki, 16, from the at-Tour neighborhood, in addition to Omran Mustafa Mala‘ba, from ‘Anata town, northeast of Jerusalem, and Mohammad Emad Ma‘touq, 16, from Shu‘fat, north of the city.
They were all abducted by the army and the police, on Friday, after dozens of soldiers invaded the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and assaulted the Palestinian worshipers, wounding forty of them, in addition to abducting at least twenty others. Medical sources said at least 40 Palestinians suffered various cuts and bruises, in addition to the severe effects of teargas inhalation, the soldiers, accompanied by groups of extremist colonialist settlers, stormed the courtyards of the holy site, and started their assault by attacking its guards.
International Freedom Flotilla members remain detained by Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 July – Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege announced that Israeli naval forces are still holding 20 international solidarity activists in detention, while two Israeli activists were released on bail, that were aboard the Freedom Flotilla ship that was attacked on Sunday sailing towards besieged Gaza. Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Zaher Birawi, said that the lawyer of the Freedom Flotilla Alliance started procedures to meet with the detained solidarity activists, still held at the Israeli Givon prison in al-Ramla in central Israel. In addition, several countries whose nationals were on board of the attacked ship carried out solidarity activities with the Gaza Strip and demanded the release of the detainees and an end to the Israeli 12-year naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The activists detained come from various countries including the United States, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Algeria.
Israel releases Italians who painted mural of Palestinian activist Tamimi
MEE/Agencies 29 July — Israeli police on Sunday freed two Italians arrested for painting a mural of a Palestinian teenager seen as a symbol of resistance on the separation wall in the occupied West Bank, Italian and Israeli authorities said. “The two Italians suspected of vandalising the security fence in the Bethlehem area” have been released, Israeli police said in a statement. “Their visas have been cancelled and they must leave Israel within 72 hours… if they fail to comply they will be expelled”, the police added. A Palestinian who was arrested with the Italians on Saturday was also freed, since he was not strongly involved in their activities, the statement said. One of the artists was identified as Agostino Chirwin from Italy. Known under the pseudonym Jorit Agoch, his most famous murals show realistic depictions of activists around the world, the Palestine News Network reported. Italy’s foreign minister, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, said in a statement on Sunday night he had “learned with relief… the two Italian citizens arrested in Israel will quickly be able to return to Italy”. The roughly four-metre (13 foot) image near Bethlehem in the West Bank depicts 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi … The separation wall cutting the West Bank off from Israel is filled with graffiti in support of the Palestinian cause. Secretive British street artist Banksy is among those who have painted on the wall.
Palestinian convicted of manslaughter gets 18 years in prison
Ynet 30 July by Gilad Morag — Lod’s District Court sentenced Sunday 25-year-old Palestinian from Beit Liqya Alaa Atzi to 18 years in prison after he had been convicted of the manslaughter of farmer David Bar Kafra in 2015. In addition, Atzi will pay Kafra’s widow NIS 180,000. Atzi’s relative and accomplice Mujahed Atzi was convicted of murder and still awaits his sentence. Initially, Alaa and Mujahed were both indicted for murder. However, only Mujahed was convicted of murder and Alaa was convicted of merely manslaughter….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli colonizers injure a Palestinian child in Hebron
IMEMC 31 July — Illegal Israeli colonizers attacked and injured, on Monday evening, a Palestinian child in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Medical sources in Hebron said the child, Yousef Fawwaz Qfeisha, suffered various lacerations and bruises to several parts of his body. The Israeli assailants attacked the child close his home near the Religious Court, in the Old City, before he was rushed to a local clinic.
Israeli settlers assault elderly Palestinian in West Bank city
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 July – A group of Jewish settlers assaulted on Saturday a 60-year-old Palestinian man in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to the victim, Rashed Tamimi. He told WAFA that settlers from the illegal settlement of Havat Gal, built on Hebron land, threw stones at him when he was at his home, causing him bruises in the chest. He was admitted to hospital in Hebron, where he was reported in stable condition. Tamimi said the settlers, who are usually armed, attacked his house and children. Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled parts of Hebron, known as H2 area, usually get arrested if they try to fend off attacks by settlers, who normally walk around in the company of heavily armed soldiers.
Husband and wife injured after Israeli colonizers attacked them in Hebron
IMEMC 29 July — A number of extremist illegal Israeli colonizers attacked, on Saturday at night several Palestinians, and injured a husband and his wife in Tal Romeida neighborhood, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli assailants came from Ramat Yishai and Beit Hadassah illegal colonialist outposts, and assaulted many Palestinians, in addition to using pepper-spray against them. They added that a Palestinian man, identified as Samer Ghanem, and his wife, were injured before they were rushed to a local hospital. Many children also suffered anxiety attacks after the colonizers assaulted them, and their families.
Settlers vandalize Ramallah-area village
IMEMC/Agencies 30 July — Israeli settlers vandalized Palestinian property in the village of al-Mughayyir, in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, on Monday. Al-Mughayyir Mayor Amin Abu Alia said that Israeli settlers stormed the village predawn, on Monday, slashed tires of eight Palestinian-owned vehicles and sprayed racist, anti-Palestinian graffiti on the walls of Palestinian homes. Alia pointed out, according to Ma‘an News Agency, that Israeli settlers harass the residents, attack Palestinian farmers and livestock herders in the village, and steal water tanks on a daily basis. Israeli forces have been setting up military checkpoints at the entrances of the village, recently, which has made it difficult for residents to move freely entering or exiting the village. Alia mentioned that Israeli forces pressure the residents of al-Mughayyir to hand over individuals that are allegedly wanted for investigation or to be detained by Israel.
Israeli army shoots, injures three Palestinians north of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 July — Three Palestinian youths Saturday were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers during clashes that erupted after the latter raided the town of Beit Ummar to the north of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, according to local sources. Mohammad Awad, a local media activist, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated [steel] rounds and tear gas canisters at the protesting youths, injuring three of them in the foot, neck and hand, respectively. He said a 28-year-old paramedic was also injured in the face from glass shrapnel after Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters toward his car, smashing the car windows and windshield. Dozens also suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces further distributed leaflets threatening residents of collective punishments in the event they continued to resist the Israeli occupation forces.
Israeli soldiers abduct a young man in Bethlehem
IMEMC 31 July — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and abducted a young man. Media sources in Bethlehem said the soldiers stormed the refugee camp from its main entrance, near the Jerusalem-Hebron city, before invading and searching homes, and abducted a young man, identified as Mohammad Tahseen Hajajra, 22. They added that dozens of youngsters protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers, while the army fired live rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades at the protesters. It is worth mentioning that Deheishe has been subject to extensive and violent military invasions, leading to many abductions and injuries, in addition to the fatal shooting of a child, identified as Arkan Tha’er Mizhir, 15, who was killed by the army on July 22nd 2018.
Israeli soldiers abduct a Palestinian woman in Hebron
IMEMC 29 July — Israeli soldiers abducted, Saturday, a Palestinian woman, and illegally confiscated cash from her home in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted a woman, identified as Reem al-Haimouni, and illegally confiscated the family’s savings of 30.000 Shekels. It added that the soldiers invaded her home to abduct her husband, Luay Hassan, but could not find him and decided to take his wife prisoner instead.
In addition, the soldiers installed roadblocks in several areas in Hebron governorate, and closed its eastern entrance (Beit Einoun), and the eastern entrance of Sa‘ir town, east of Hebron.
Four journalists among 28 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces
Samidoun 30 July — Israeli occupation forces seized 28 Palestinians on Monday morning, 30 July, including four Palestinian journalists who work for al-Quds TV: Alaa al-Rimawi, Mohammed Sami Alwan, Qutaiba Hamdan and Hassani al-Najas. Rimawi directs the al-Quds TV Ramallah bureau and his home in the al-Masayef neighborhood in Ramallah was raided by occupation forces, while Mohammed Alwan was also seized from his home. Qutaiba Hamdan was seized from Beitunia and Husni Anjas from Kharbata Bani Harith, and his vehicle and work equipment were seized by the Israeli occupation. Quds News reported that Israeli occupation forces accused the four journalists of “incitement,” based on their reporting about the realities of Israeli colonization in Palestine. Just days ago, Palestinian writer Lama Khater was seized from her home in al-Khalil. Khater and the four journalists seized today make up some of the 29 Palestinian journalists imprisoned by Israel. These imprisoned journalists include student Istabraq Tamimi and a number of journalists detained without charge or trial, including Hammam Hantash, Abdullah Shatat and Abdel-Mohsen Shalaldeh., noted the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission.
The Palestinians seized on Monday included the freed prisoners Mohsen Hardan Shreim, Bilal Maskawi, Nidal Nofal, Fadi Hourani, Khaled Wajih Sabri, Mohammed Wajih Sabri, Nour Daoud and Hussam Hatem Abu Libdeh in Qalqilya … In addition, occupation forces raided a number of homes in al-Khalil, including the home of Nada Dweik, the daughter of Palestinian Legislative Council speaker and former prisoner Abdel-Aziz Dweik, ransacking it.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel continues expanding illegal Israeli outposts into Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 July — The Israeli authorities have allocated millions of shekels for the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement project in the Silwan neighborhood, under the name of the Jewish Yemenite Heritage Center, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center and the Batn al-Hawa Committee in the Silwan neighborhood said in a joint statement on Saturday evening there were allocated about 4.5 million shekels for the illegal Israeli settlement project. The center and the committee explained that Israeli authorities claim that the property of Abu Nab, located on a land area of about 700-square-meters, used to be a synagogue in the 19th century for the Jews of Yemen and they demanded evacuation of the property since 2004. The Jewish Yemenite Heritage Center is attempting to control and seize more than 5 dunums (1.2 acres) in the Batn al-Hawa area in the Silwan neighborhood under the pretext that it originally belongs to Jews from Yemen since 1881. Israeli settlement associations have been gradually seizing real estate in the area by claiming ownership of the land in smaller parts and purchasing property from more easily influenced residents. The statement mentioned that the Israeli authorities already opened a Jewish synagogue in August 2017 in the Abu Nab area, with the introduction of the Torah scroll, and the official attendance of ministers from the Israeli government and representatives from various settlement associations. The center and the committee emphasized that the existence of a Jewish synagogue and a cultural center in Batn al-Hawa has pure political aims to expand Israeli control of the Palestinian neighborhood. The center and the committee added that Yemeni Jews lived in the Silwan neighborhood as refugees for a period not longer than 50 years, where they were welcomed by Palestinian residents, contrary to the Western Jews who refused to live side by side….
Israel seizes 68 dunums of Jordan Valley lands
IMEMC/Agencies 28 July — Israeli authorities officially declared, on Saturday, the confiscation of 68 dunams of land from the Khirbet Ras al-Ahmar area of the Jordan Valley, northern occupied West Bank. Local official Mutaz Bisharat told Ma‘an News Agency that Israeli forces delivered notices to the Palestinian owners of the land, declaring the confiscation of 68 dunams (approximately 16 acres) in the Ras al-Ahmar area, for “emergency military purposes.” Bisharat said that the lands are owned by 38 Palestinian families with some 200 members residing in these lands. He warned that Israel requested residents to head to the Israeli Civil Administration, for compensation. Israeli forces had destroyed a main water pipeline in the village, on Wednesday, to create a military road.
Israeli authorities inform six Palestinian families that their homes will be demolished
BETHLEHEM, July 31, 2018 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities informed owners of six homes in the village of al-Walajeh, northwest of Bethlehem, that their homes will be demolished because they were built without permit, local activist Ibrahim Awadallah said on Tuesday. He told WAFA that an Israel army force accompanied by staff from the so-called civil administration, an arm of the Israeli military government, broke into the village and handed the homeowners the demolition orders. They were also summoned to appear at the West Jerusalem municipality to be questioned on how and why they built their homes. Israel has been waging a campaign to demolish Palestinian homes in Walajeh, which it has annexed to Jerusalem. At least 20 homes were either demolished or ordered to stop construction and 80 more are still pending in court as owners try to stop the demolition.
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structure in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an)30 July — Israeli forces demolished a steel structure used for housing sheep on Monday east of Yatta City in the southern West bank district of Hebron. Locals said that an Israeli bulldozers escorted by soldiers demolished the structure, in the Tuba area east of Yatta, under the pretext of being built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli building permit. Sources added that the demolished structure belonged to Ismail Elayyan and that he had not received a prior notice regarding the demolition. The demolished structure provides economic lifelines to many Palestinian families; the damages have yet to be counted.
Other news and opinion
Information ministry calls on international community to stop Israeli violations against journalists, media outlets
IMEMC 30 July — After Monday’s Israeli army abduction of four Palestinian journalists in Ramallah, in central West Bank, the Palestinian Information Ministry issued a statement denouncing the dangerously escalating Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists and media outlets, calling on the International Community to intervene in ending these attacks, and ensuring Israel’s compliance with international laws. In its Monday statement, the Information Ministry said the abduction of the head of Al-Aqsa TV, Ala Rimawi, its correspondent Mohammad Alwan, cameraman Hosni Anjass and journalist Qoteiba Hamdan, and the illegal confiscation of two media cars and equipment, is part of Israel’s campaign against the journalists, in an attempt to terrorize them and prevent them from exposing its crimes against the Palestinian people. It called on the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the international community, and all organizations working for human rights and the freedom of the press, to intervene, and help in ending the escalating Israeli crimes, and violations against Palestinian journalists and media outlets….
Ashrawi: Israel’s serious provocations clear evidence that it is bringing an already-volatile region to edge of abyss
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 July — PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said on the dangerous escalation of Israeli violations in both occupied Jerusalem and in the besieged Gaza Strip, that Israel’s illegal measures and serious provocations are clear evidence that it is bringing an already-volatile region to the edge of the abyss. “We strongly caution against the serious ramifications of Israel’s repeated storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and yesterday’s firing of rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at thousands of peaceful Palestinian worshipers. Israeli police also sealed the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque with iron chains for several hours, preventing worshippers from accessing the site,” said Ashrawi in a statement. These alarming events are not isolated incidents; Israel is targeting religious beliefs and engaging in sectarian provocations that threaten to launch a religious war, Ashrawi added. She said: The US administration’s irresponsible recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its relocation of its embassy have contributed directly to this spiral of insecurity and instability and have given Israel license to target Jerusalem and the Palestinian people as a whole with full impunity….
Palestinian muftis bar participation in Jerusalem elections
Haaretz 31 July by Jack Khoury — The council of Palestinian muftis has issued a religious ruling barring Muslim residents of Jerusalem from participating in the city’s municipal elections this fall, either by running for office or by voting. In a statement issued on Monday, the council accused Israel of never ceasing its attempts to subdue the city’s Palestinian residents in various ways ever since it gained control of East Jerusalem in 1967. These attempts, according to the council, include urging Palestinians to participate in municipal elections, threatening to deprive them of municipal services if they don’t and engaging in other punitive actions. All this merely shows that the municipality acts like an occupying power, it added. Therefore, it said, Islamic law forbids participating in the election, because it would constitute capitulation to the Palestinians’ oppressor and assist the occupier in implementing its policies. It wasn’t the first time Palestinian religious authorities have issued such a statement. According to a senior religious official in Jerusalem who asked to remain anonymous, a similar position was conveyed in many mosque sermons last Friday. Both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO have consistently urged Palestinians to boycott municipal elections in the city, on the grounds that participating would constitute recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem….
UNRWA termination of contracts of Gaza employees draws waves of protests
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 July – The recent decision by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to end contracts of some 145 out of 1000 employees hired in Gaza on the emergency appeal program has drawn strong protests by thousands of employees who blocked UNRWA main offices in Gaza and prevented its staff from reaching them. But the situation is not going to be confined to Gaza. UNRWA employees in the West Bank have also called for a series of activities and protests outside the UN agency’s offices in several West Bank cities on Tuesday to protest the latest cuts. While only around 10 percent of the emergency appeal employees have lost their jobs, UNRWA officials wonder why all 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza are taking to the streets to protest the move and therefore disrupting vital work by the Agency. “We have over 13,000 staff and only 1000 of this staff are linked to the emergency appeal and only 10 percent, just over 100 are losing their jobs. Yet we see this kind of massive protest blocking the compound and so on,” UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, said in a telephone interview with WAFA. “The immediate explanation is people are very, very worried that this is the beginning of something larger. That the next financially driven tough decision we might be forced into is the delay of the opening of our 275 schools in Gaza at the end of August. That’s why I characterize the mood of deep concern and anxiety.”….
Thousands attend mega Arabic lesson in Tel Aviv tp protest nation-state law
Haaretz 30 July by Judy Maltz — It was billed as the biggest Arabic lesson in the world, and on Monday evening organizers estimated that a few thousand Israelis participated in the mega-event held in one of Tel Aviv’s big city squares. In addition to learning new words in Arabic, the crowd was treated to performances by Jewish and Arab musicians and artists. Organized by a consortium of Israeli civil society organization, the event was held to protest the controversial nation-state law, passed by the Knesset this month, that downgrades Arabic as one of the country’s official languages. T-shirts sold at the event had the words “I love Arabic” (in Arabic words, but Hebrew letters) printed on them. The crowd included Jews and Arabs, including many who had traveled long distances to attend. They repeated basic words and terms in Arabic after the teachers, who delivered their lesson from a central stage, sometimes with translations into in Hebrew, but often not. Chai Margolis, a 16-year-old from the central Israeli town of Modi’in, had arrived at Habima Square with a group of friends, all active like him in an organization called “Debate4Peace.” “Personally, I feel you can’t have a democratic nation-state that doesn’t treat minorities as fully equal,” said Margolis, who wore a yarmulke on his head and carried a sign that had the words “Understanding Starts with Talking” printed on it in several different languages….
Israeli Druze commander quits IDF over nation-state law in open letter to Netanyahu
Haaretz 30 July by Yaniv Kubovich — Capt. Amir Jmall, a member of Israel’s Druze community, posted an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his Facebook page Sunday, stating that he will stop serving in the military in protest of the controversial nation-state law. In the letter, Jmall also called on leaders of his community to work toward putting an end to the compulsory conscription of Israel’s Druze. The Facebook post has since been removed. “This morning, when I woke up to drive to the [army] base, I asked myself, why? Why do I have to serve the State of Israel, a state that my two brothers, my father and I have served with dedication, a sense of mission and a love of the homeland, and, in the end, what do we get? To be second-class citizens,” Jmall wrote … The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, also known as the nation-state law, approved by the Knesset on July 19, affirmed that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel. It also downgraded Arabic to a language with “special status,” among several other controversial measures that affect the Israeli Druze….
Opinion – Israel’s ‘nation-state law’ parallels the Nazi Nuremberg laws / Susan Abulhawa
Al Jazeera 26 July — Israel’s new ‘nation-state’ law follows in the footsteps of Jim Crow, the Indian Removal Act and the Nuremberg Laws — More than 80 years after Nazi Germany enacted what came to be known as the Nuremberg Race Laws, Israeli legislators voted in favour of the so-called “nation-state law“. By doing so, they essentially codified “Jewish supremacy” into law, which effectively mirrors the Nazi-era legislation of ethnoreligious stratification of German citizenry. Israel’s “nation-state law” stipulates in its first clause that “actualisation of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”. In other words, the 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, the native inhabitants who managed to remain in their homes when European Jews conquered parts of historical Palestine in 1948, shall be without sovereignty or agency, forever living at the mercy of Israeli Jews. In similar fashion, the first of the Nuremberg Laws, the Reich Citizenship Law, deemed citizenship a privilege exclusive to people of “German or kindred blood”. The remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights. Since there was no scientifically sound way to distinguish Jewish Germans from the rest of German society, legislators looked into people’s ancestry to determine their Jewishness. Anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents was defined as a Jew, regardless of whether that individual identified himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish religious community. That will not be necessary for indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel because, since its creation in 1948, Israel put protocols in place to ensure that non-Jews do not assimilate into mainstream Jewish society….
Netanyahu: attacks left as criticism mounts against nation-state law
Haaretz 29 July by Noa Landau — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on ministers on Sunday “not to be apologetic” about the nation-state law amid the uproar that the controversial legislation, which formally defined Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, has sparked. “The Jewish nation-state is a cornerstone of our existence,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, adding that the discourse on the issue has been “one sided, the discussions in the [television] studios are shallow.” “Don’t be apologetic, fight for the truth,” he said. “The attacks from the left, which calls itself Zionist, reveal how low the left has sunk,” Netanyahu added. “The Israeli left has to do some soul-searching,” he said. “It must ask itself why a basic tenet of Zionism, a Jewish nation-state for the Israeli people in its country, has become for it a rude term, a dirty word, a principle that one should be ashamed of.” Netanyahu then added that “We are not ashamed of Zionism, we’re proud of our state, as it is a Jewish home for the Jewish people that strictly adheres to the individual rights of all its citizens.” Incoming opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) responded to Netanyahu’s statements Sunday, saying “There are two sides – those in favor of the Declaration of Independence like us and the founding fathers of the state, and those who act against it, like you.”….
Saudi king tells US that peace plan must include East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital
WASHINGTON (Haaretz) 29 July by Amir Tibon — Saudi Arabia and other key Arab countries have told the Trump administration they won’t be able to support its plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace if it doesn’t include a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. The Saudi position was first reported by Reuters on Sunday, and was later confirmed to Haaretz by two diplomats involved in conversations on the peace plan. The Saudi position was expressed by King Salman during a number of recent communications with senior U.S. officials, as well as in conversations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders in the region. It contradicts many media reports over the past year about a Saudi willingness to adopt Trump’s peace plan even if it is unacceptable to the Palestinians. Last year, before the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, The New York Times reported the Saudi Arabia’s crown prince pressured Abbas to accept the Trump peace plan, even without a clear commitment to Palestinian statehood or a capital in East Jerusalem. Abbas refused, leading to a crisis between the Palestinian Authority and Riyadh. But things have changed in recent months, partly because of the Jerusalem decision that included the moving of the U.S. Embassy to the city — events that were opposed and denounced by Saudi Arabia. King Salman expressed support for the Palestinian position and reassured other Arab leaders that Saudi Arabia was still committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that includes a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders (with land swaps) with East Jerusalem as its capital. He also granted $80 million to the PA to help it overcome Trump’s decision to cut U.S. aid to the Palestinians. As one diplomatic source who spoke with Haaretz described the change in the Saudi approach, “they told the administration, ‘what we could do for you before Jerusalem, we won’t be able to do now.’” Meanwhile, Jordan and Egypt have also encouraged the administration to only present its peace plan if that plan is fair to the Palestinian side….
UK to double aid to Gaza and West Bank in bid to boost Palestinian export trade
The Guardian 27 July by Karen McVeigh & Hazem Balousha in Gaza — Britain is to double aid for economic development in Gaza and the West Bank over the next five years as part of its efforts to improve the Palestinian economy. The new aid programme, worth £38m from 2018 to 2023 – compared with £16m in the previous five years – was disclosed by Alistair Burt, the Middle East minister. But economists and exporters in Gaza said aid was not sufficient in itself, and warned that only by applying political pressure on Israel would the main barriers to trade be lifted. “The effort spent by European countries is not enough, they can make more political pressure on Israel. It’s very little pressure,” said Omar Shaban, an economist with Pal-Think, a Gaza-based thinktank. “The need is to find a way to convince the Israeli government of the importance of exports, to cross it with their interest.” The Israeli government’s own estimate of the amount required to rehabilitate key areas of Gaza dwarf the sum announced by Burt, which comes in any case amid sharply declining foreign aid. According to Israeli estimates, approximately $1bn would be required to begin alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis – including upgrading its gas supply, water desalination and electricity infrastructure, and rebuilding the Erez crossing industrial zone destroyed by Israel. The new aid money comes amid mounting concern over the trajectory of the Palestinian economy, not least in Gaza….
Iraq football team to play first match in Palestinian territories
AFP 30 July — Iraq’s national football team is set to travel Thursday on its first-ever visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank where it will face off against the Palestinian national squad, a team official said Monday. Iraq fought in wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and has still technically yet to make peace with the Jewish state. Most teams in Arab countries — many of which do not recognise Israel — refuse to visit the Palestinian territories because Israel control’s the West Bank’s borders and blockades the Gaza Strip. But Palestinian leaders have for years called on Arab countries to send sporting and cultural delegations to help ease their isolation. The friendly match with Iraq will be held Saturday in Ramallah, the West Bank’s administrative centre. “A Palestinian delegation will wait for the Iraqi team in Amman and escort it to Ramallah,” Iraqi team official Basil Gorgis told AFP. The Palestinian team, a FIFA member since 1998, in May squared off against the Iraqi squad in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Euro-Med publishes Arabic translation of ESCWA report on Israel’s apartheid after its withdrawal from UN archives
GENEVA (WAFA) 30 July — A translated version of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia’s (ESCWA) report titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” was issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med). Last year, the report was withdrawn days after its release at the request of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, under pressure and threats from the American and Israeli ambassadors. Presenting the Arabic version translated by Euro-Med Monitor, authors of the report Richard Falk, Chairman of Euro-Med’s Board of Trustees as well as former United Nations Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, a professor in political science, said: “[the report’s] central conclusion is that a sustainable peace between Palestinians and Israelis cannot be achieved without the prior dismantling of apartheid structures. Any approach that ignores this conclusion is bound to fail.” “On the basis of a careful consideration of the evidence as to Israeli practices in exerting control over the Palestinian people, the report concludes that Israel is guilty of committing the crime of apartheid as defined by international law,” Falk and Tilley said, adding that: Prior allegations of apartheid were based on broader interpretations of Israeli behavior as generally racist and segregationist, but without satisfying the requirements of legal scrutiny.”….
US Congress to discern ‘actual’ number of Palestinian refugees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 July — A new bill was introduced in the United States Congress this past week which several US senators are attempting to pass into law that recognizes only 40,000 Palestinian refugees instead of 5.3 million refugees. The newly introduced bill would ensure that the contributed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) would go towards the resettlement of Palestinians displaced by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and not their descendants – who are a total number of 5.3 million people. The bill was initiated by Republican Congressman, Doug Lamborn, who entitled it as “The UNRWA Reform and Refugee Support Act.” Lamborn said in a statement that the “refugee status is not something that can be handed down from generation to generation,” referring to the descendants of Palestinian refugees who were born and are living in other countries. The bill was introduced to differentiate between the original Palestinian refugees, who have the right to return after being displaced from their homes, from their descendants. Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the UN created UNWRA, to help resettle nearly 600,000 Palestinians after the war; UNRWA says that there are 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in the world. UNRWA included descendants of the original Palestinian refugees in its total sum of refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes after the 1948 war, as well as those refugees who fled during the 1967 Six Day war. Lamborn demanded that UNRWA “figures out the actual number of true Palestinian refugees” emphasizing that the total is not correct. Lamborn said that “this is an important first step to help Palestinians who are truly in need. Palestinians in Gaza are not refugees; they are a population suffering under the Hamas terror regime, whose leaders take aid money and instead of building schools and hospitals, build terror tunnels and send rockets hidden under UNRWA schools in Gaza into kindergartens in Israel.”
US efforts to reduce number of refugees will not achieve anything, say experts
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 July – Efforts by the US Congress to pass a new law that recognizes only 40,000 Palestinian refugees instead of 5.2 million will not change anything on the ground because the rights of refugees are guaranteed by United Nations General Assembly resolutions, particularly 194 and 302, experts and officials said on Monday. They told WAFA in separate interviews that the US move goes in line with Israeli policies that seek to erase the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes they were forced to abandon, and it is included in the so-called deal of the century. Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said US efforts to draft a new law that recognizes only 40,000 Palestinian refugees instead of 5.2 million is unacceptable and illegal and will not affect the status quo. He said that the move initiated by US Congressman Doug Lamborn “is an integral part of the deal of the century, which aims to discard the right of the refugees, and is consistent with the racist (Israeli) Nation-State Law, which is the cornerstone of that dubious deal.” … UNRWA was created by a UN resolution after between 700,000 to 800,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homeland when Israel was established in 1948 and who eventually became refugees in what was left of Palestine and neighboring Arab countries. Erekat stressed that the rights of refugees are protected by UN Resolution 194, which cannot be bypassed. He said neither the US Senate nor Congress has the right to override international law and impose their laws on other countries … Political analyst Ghassan Khatib said the US bill does not affect international law, because countries must enact their laws in accordance with international law and not the other way around. The origin is international law, he said. He added that the reason behind this bill is clear: America is pursuing a policy of removing two issues from the negotiating table – Jerusalem and the refugees – by recognizing Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel and transferring its embassy to it, and the refugees by ending UNRWA through ending aid to it. “All the new laws are like this one; they are joint Israeli-American effort,” he said….