Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinian minors, injure dozens during Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 July — Two Palestinian minors were killed and over 200 wounded by Israeli forces during the 16th “Great March of Return” in the besieged Gaza Strip, in support of residents of Khan al-Ahmar, on Friday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that two Palestinian minors were killed during Friday protests; one was killed after being injured by Israeli live bullets in eastern Gaza City and was identified as 15-year-old Othman Rami Halas, while the other was identified as Muhammad Nasser Sharab, 18, and had succumbed early Saturday to wounds he sustained on Friday in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The Ministry confirmed that among the wounded were a girl, an elderly woman and a journalist, who were injured in eastern al-Breij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip.
Locals said that Palestinian youths attempted to cut through parts of Israel’s security fence along the eastern borders of Gaza, in response, Israeli forces fired dozens of tear-gas bombs at them. Sources added that thousands of Palestinians arrived to return camps to demand their right of return.
UN: Over 1,400 Palestinian protesters in Gaza may suffer long-term disability
MEMO 13 July — Some 1,400 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces during “Great March of Return” protests in the occupied Gaza Strip face the possibility of “long-term disability”, a United Nations agency has said. The UN OCHA report, contributed by the World Health Organisation and the Disability Working Group, describes how Gaza’s “health sector has continued to struggle with the cumulative caseload of serious injuries, particularly those requiring long-term rehabilitation”. One obstacle, for example, is that “the import to Gaza of materials required for the production of artificial limbs, including carbon fibre and epoxy resins, is restricted, due to Israel’s consideration of these materials as ‘dual use’ items, which could be used also for military purposes.” Since the start of demonstrations on 30 March up to 30 June, says the report, a total of 15,501 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces, of whom 8,221 required hospitalisation. Among the latter, 63 per cent were limb injuries, and nearly half (4,023) were the result of gunshot wounds. As of 3 July, 53 Palestinians had received lower limb amputations and eight had upper limb, with 11 of the amputees children. “Additionally, at least ten other Palestinians have been left paralyzed following spinal cord injuries,” OCHA added. As of 26 June, meanwhile, more than 1,400 Palestinians “with severe injuries are at risk of longer-term physical disability”, including “454 patients who suffered severe vascular injuries and 954 patients who sustained comminuted fractures”.
Gaza amputees tackle new challenge on the football pitch
AFP 12 July — In fluorescent orange jerseys, footballers manoeuvred across the artificial turf of a pitch in the Gaza Strip — leaning on their metal crutches for support. “Today I can continue to play football,” said Islam Amum, 27. He used to be a goalkeeper, until he lost a leg in an Israeli air strike during the 2014 Gaza war. Amum is one of 15 members of the only amputee football squad in the Gaza Strip. Aged from 16 to 40, they train every Monday afternoon in Deir el-Balah, in the centre of the coastal enclave. They even have their own team song circulating on social media, captain Mohammed Juifel said proudly. “Our anthem explains that the handicapped are part of society, including in football,” says Juifel, 21, whose right leg was amputated after a car crash when he was 13. Abd al-Majid Abu Milak, 25, lost his hand in an Israeli shell blast. “The training is difficult but fun,” he said. “I feel like a goalie who can compete.” Every day the players exercise in a room reserved for them at the Deir el-Balah association for the handicapped. The team owes its inception to Fuad Abu Ghaliun, a 62-year-old member of the Palestinian parliament. “I got the idea of forming this team by watching a football match between Turkish and British amputees at the end of last year,” he said. “Then I thought I could make a dream come true for hundreds of amputees in Gaza.” He labelled the squad “the team of heroes” and said he hoped to form a local disabled league and one day join football’s world governing body FIFA. Most of the side’s players were wounded by Israeli fire….
Israel carries out airstrike in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli forces carried out an airstrike on Thursday targeting northeastern Beit Hanoun in the northern besieged Gaza Strip. Locals said that Israeli drones fired a rocket at a group of Palestinians who were launching explosive balloons; the group was able to survive the airstrike. Sources added that no injuries were reported.
On Wednesday afternoon, Israeli drones carried out an airstrike targeting a group of Palestinian incendiary kite-flyers in eastern Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip. Earlier this week, 33 fires had erupted in forests and agricultural areas in Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip borders, by incendiary kites and balloons.
Israeli army fires missiles into Gaza
IMEMC 14 July — The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Friday at night, many airstrikes reportedly targeting centers run by armed resistance groups, in the central and northern parts of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army claimed it was retaliating to a grenade which was hurled at soldiers operating near the border fence, Friday, moderately wounding a commander, who was rushed to Soroka Medical Center. The army said the incident took place in northern Gaza, near the old Karni Crossing, and that the soldiers fired back at the Palestinians, while the Israeli Air Force fired missiles resistance-run centers in the northern and central parts of the coastal region. Following the incident, Palestinian fighters fired several homemade shells into Israeli colonies across the border fence. The army said its Iron Dome system intercepted at least two shells, fired from Gaza, into the nearby Sderot and Eshkol settlements.
Israel shot a 15-year-old Palestinian on the Gaza border. Then it barred his hospital visitors
Haaretz 12 July by Almog Ben Zikri & Jack Khoury — A seriously wounded 15-year-old Gaza boy who had been shot at the Gaza border fence was blocked from having visitors in an Israeli hospital or even speaking to his family for two weeks, even though he was not under arrest. His mother’s request to cross into Israel to visit him never got a response. Adam Salem was released from Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon on Tuesday, but only after Haaretz inquired about him and the Gisha and Al-Mezan human rights groups threatened a court petition. The army says Salem was shot in the thigh when he tried to cross the border in northern Gaza on June 27. When he was hospitalized, ammunition casings were found in his pocket. He was kept under guard at the hospital, with no one, including two attorneys, were allowed access. Gisha says that no Israeli official contacted the family during his hospitalization. Salem is now at home waiting to be admitted to a hospital in Gaza City. “I am hoping that the injury isn’t serious enough for doctors to have to amputate his leg,” said his father, Imad. He said his son was repeatedly told by soldiers to tell them who had sent him to the border and if Hamas had pushed him to go. “He told me [the soldiers] threatened and yelled at him, and that one soldier hit him in the leg, but that he told them that he and his family have nothing to do with Hamas.”….
Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo for talks
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 July — A member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Azzam al-Ahmad, confirmed that the delegation of the Hamas movement arrived on Wednesday to the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The invitation to hold talks in Cairo with the Hamas movement was in light of an agreement with Egyptian officials and the report of the Gaza Committee formed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. While speaking to the “Voice of Palestine” radio station, al-Ahmad said that Egyptian officials described the report as “objective” expressing hope that the Hamas delegation to Cairo be objective. He continued saying that the final answer on Hamas’ position will be announced by the Egyptian leadership, and it will define their next steps as they prepare for the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) which is the second highest decision-making body of the PLO. Hamas had issued a statement calling for the discussions of developments in the region and for the Palestinian dialogue to resume.
In Cairo, the talks are expected to focus on reaching an agreement with Israel and on attempts to revive the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The Hamas delegation from Gaza was headed by Dr. Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the movement’s political bureau. According to official sources in Hamas, a senior delegation from the Hamas leadership from abroad will arrive in Cairo on Thursday, headed by Deputy Head of the Political Bureau Saleh al-Arouri and members of Dr. Moussa Abu Marzouk, Izzat al-Rashq, Hussam Badran, and Rohi Mushtahe.
UNRWA denies plans to cut salaries of 22,000 Gaza employees
MEMO 12 July — UNRWA yesterday denied reports it plan to cut the salaries of 22,000 of its employees in the Gaza Strip, Safa News Agency reported. In a statement issued by its official spokesman Sami Musha‘sha, UNRWA denied what it called “false reports” and stressed they were “incorrect.” “The Union of UNRWA’s Employees issued a statement yesterday [Tuesday] claiming that we are planning to cut salaries of 22,000 employees and to stop all assistance programmes in the Gaza Strip,” Musha‘sha said. “This claim is false and the leadership of the Employees’ Union in Gaza must not publish incorrect information as this causes instability among the employees and their families,” the statement said. In addition, the statement said that the General Director of the UNRWA met with union members and briefed them about the challenges facing the organisation and the efforts to solve the budget crisis in order sustain refugee services.
Seven passengers of Gaza flotilla released
IMEMC/Agencies 11 July — Israel, on Wednesday, released seven passengers of a humanitarian flotilla that was attempting to break the decade-long blockade of Gaza. The flotilla was intercepted by Israeli naval forces on Tuesday, according to Al Ray. Raed Abu Dair, coordinator of Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege, told Anadolu Agency that all of the boat’s passengers except the captain and his assistant were released. Stating that those released arrived in Gaza by passing through the city of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, he called on international organizations to obtain information on the condition of the captain and assistant. Earlier, Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee said the boat, which had been carrying eight passengers [including wounded Gazans], was “stopped without incident.” Adraee said that, after being searched, the vessel and its passengers would be taken to Israel’s Port of Ashdod … The flotilla set out from the Gaza coast earlier, Tuesday, in hopes of breaking Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. It was the second humanitarian flotilla to set out from Gaza since Palestinians first began holding rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence, on March 30th of this year. An earlier flotilla, which set out from Gaza on May 29, carrying Palestinian medical patients and university students, was likewise intercepted….
Freedom Flotilla activist: ‘Gaza needs to be remembered’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — This interview was conducted with a crew member of one of the Freedom Flotilla ships sailing off from Sweden to break the illegal Israeli blockade of the besieged Gaza Strip. The ships are carrying peace activists from around the world, who aim to raise awareness about the Israel-Gaza conflict along the way. This is her story: Q: Would you please briefly introduce yourself? A: My name is Divina Levrini. I am a Swedish human rights activist and I am sailing with “Ship to Gaza” to break the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza. Q: May you tell us details about the trip? A: There are four boats going to Gaza this year. Three boats from Sweden and one from Norway. There are many people with various nationalities, including Israelis and Palestinians, who are part of the flotilla. In mid-May I began my journey on one of the small boats sailing off from Sweden called “Falestine” but later switched to one of the larger boats called “Freedom.” Crew members of the boats change every one to two weeks. I am one of few, who will be part of the entire journey, from beginning to the end. The entire trip takes about 2.5 months. We are aiming to reach Gaza by the end of July if we are not being boarded by Israeli occupation forces. We are being realistic and know that the chance of us reaching Gaza is close to zero because Israel has stated that no boats are coming in…
Q: What happened when the French police blocked the freedom flotilla boats from docking at the port? A: Many people were trying to stop the flotilla boats. The earlier boats were sabotaged on their way to Gaza. The two small boats from Sweden were not able to dock in Paris. The French police chased them away and made them take down all banners about Gaza. In Cascais, Portugal our boat “Freedom” had booked a place in the harbor, but the owner of the harbor temporarily refused to allow the boat to dock after finding out who we were. The dockworkers union in Cascais called the owner telling him that if the boat would not be let it, then about 400 people would be blocking the harbor. Hence, allowing us to dock. These type of situations only give us more press coverage. That is what the Palestinians of Gaza need. They need to be remembered. They need the world talking about them. We are just four boats but we want to restore the right of movement to the people of occupied Palestine….
Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza bans import of Israeli fruits
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 July — The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza decided on Wednesday to ban the importation of Israeli fruits through the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing in response to the Israeli authorities ban on exporting vegetables from besieged Gaza to the occupied West Bank and abroad. Tahseen al-Sakka, marketing director of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the decision was made to pressure Israel after its recent decision to ban exports from Gaza. Sakka added that the closure of the crossing and the ban on the export of vegetables have had an economic impact on Gaza farmers, who have suffered great losses. He said that the Ministry’s decision to prevent the import of fruits from Israel will negatively affect Israeli farmers and inflict heavy economic losses. Prior to the recent Israeli decision, the Gaza Strip would import about 20 truckloads of 200 tons of fruit from Israel per day, while Gaza exported only 200 tons of vegetables daily.
Gaza fighters rally amid tough new sanctions from Israel: ‘We don’t want war but it’s inevitable’
[with video] GAZA (The Independent) 12 July by Bel Trew — Granted rare access to a militant training ground in Gaza, The Independent sees that both sides seem to feel war is increasingly likely — Under the camouflage of an olive grove in Gaza, Abu Khalid prepares his brigade for a war he says is inevitable, but that he doesn’t want. The commander’s male and female fighters, in military fatigues and balaclavas, creep through the undergrowth clutching Kalashnikovs. Above them the Israeli surveillance drones circle with a persistent mosquito whine. Khalid claims his Resistance Brigade has fully replenished its arsenal of weapons since the last war with Israel, in 2014, during which 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed. The fighters in the far-left militant group, from the paramilitary wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, are once again on high alert, believing Israel is “gunning for a war”. “The Israeli occupation is pushing for a new war which will be bigger and far more destructive than the last,” says the commander, flanked by a heavily armed unit of fighters. “If the Israelis keep shooting and killing Palestinians on the borders… if they will keep imposing the blockade on Gaza, then the war will be inevitable,” he adds. To get rare access to this training ground The Independent was taken through a maze of dirt roads and farms. The fighters, who operate in a cell-like structure, rarely appear in military uniform above ground, to avoid Israeli airstrikes. Abu Khalid says the central operations room that coordinates Gaza’s myriad armed factions has agreed to only respond in kind to attacks from Israel, in order not to escalate the situation. He said, like the rest of the Gaza population, the brigade “doesn’t want a war”. “But we are concerned that Israel is gunning for one.” The pressure is mounting. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire during 14 weeks of protests and clashes on the Gaza-Israel border. Gaza’s fighters have fired volleys of rockets into Israel; the Israelis have retaliated with airstrikes. The leader of the Resistance Brigade’s 10-women unit, set up in 2009, says they therefore have to plan. “We are ready, we can mobilise within hours,” she says, tapping her battered rifle….
Gaza tunnel workers face greater risk, shrinking pay
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 11 July by Hana Salah — On July 3, nine Palestinian workers were trapped after the Egyptian army destroyed a tunnel used for smuggling commercial goods under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. After several hours of no contact, the workers were eventually found and rescued. Neither the Egyptian nor the Palestinian authorities gave further details about the incident, but the Egyptian army is still waging a campaign against the tunnels on the border with Gaza, which it believes are used as smuggling routes for weapons and terrorists to and from Sinai. Although Hamas’ Ministry of Interior established a buffer zone on the border with Egypt in June 2017 in the framework of joint security coordination between the movement and Egypt, smugglers have continued to operate from Gaza. The tunnels represent a lifeline for food and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege since 2006. Ismail (a pseudonym), who works in a commercial tunnel on the Gazan-Egyptian border, told Al-Monitor, “Border tunnels are still needed to get certain materials that Israel does not allow through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only effective commercial crossing.” On July 9, Israel issued a decision to impose further sanctions on Hamas in Gaza by closing the Kerem Shalom crossing and reducing the fishing area from 9 to 6 miles, in response to fire kites protesters launched from Gaza into Israel. Ismail explained how the tunnels are operated, saying, “After the Egyptian army heavily mobilized on the border, we extended the tunnel by an average of 3 kilometers [nearly 2 miles] so it goes behind the Egyptian army’s focal points.” … Ismail and his fellow workers barely survived when the Egyptian army uncovered the tunnel they used for smuggling in June. “The Egyptian army pumped a large quantity of water in for 10 hours straight. If it weren’t for the new tunnel openings we would have died under the water pressure, since we could barely keep our heads above water,” he said. Workers were able to drain the tunnel, built in 2006 of concrete, for reuse….
Gaza’s children deserve to be rescued like the boys in Thailand
MEE 12 July by Kamel Hawwash — Palestinian children see the efforts put into the rescue of the Thai boys and wonder why nobody cares as much about them — The whole world rejoiced when 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand were rescued alongside their football coach. Divers from around the world risked their lives to help the children, a truly remarkable and selfless act. One died in the process. The darkness, uncertainty, hunger and hopelessness that the children must have experienced reminded me of the predicament of Palestinian children in Gaza – trapped through no fault of their own. Their only crime is being born Palestinian under occupation by a state that sees them as an irritant, a demographic threat and collateral damage if they die at the hands of Israeli forces, as some did in the Great March of Return. A whole generation born under siege, they have not seen the villages from where most of their families hail. They hear of Jerusalem, al-Aqsa, Haifa, Yaffa, Jericho, Nablus and Hebron, but they have not seen them, even though these places are just a short distance away. These children march with their families to the fence with Israel, demanding to return to their villages. Instead, they are met with the brutality of the occupier, as dozens are killed and thousands injured. They see posters of the martyred, including 21-year-old medic Razan al-Najjar, and ask why they were shot dead. The answer, always, is because this is what Israel does. Their experience with Israel shows it as a violent entity, not the democracy that its spokespeople try to spin….
‘Bella Ciao’ in Gaza: ‘March of Return’ activists launch music video
Palestine Chronicle 5 July — As part of the ‘Great March of Return’ activities in besieged Gaza, a group of human rights and Right of Return activists have released a video-clip, titled “Bella Ciao”, using the famous anti-fascist Italian song set against images from the current March of Return in Gaza against Israel’s long reign of colonialism and apartheid. The images include those of Razan Najjar, the paramedic from Khan Yunus who was brutally killed by an Israeli sniper, and Wesal Sheikh Khalil, from Bureij.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israel to transfer corpses of three slain Palestinians to their families
IMEMC 13 July — The Israeli authorities have decided to transfer the corpses of three slain Palestinians back to their families in the occupied West Bank, on Friday evening. The army will be transferring the corpse of Mohammad Marshoud, 30, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to the Palestinian side at Jeet Junction. He was killed on April 9 2018, when an Israeli colonial settler shot him near Mishor Adumim colony between Jerusalem and Jericho. In addition, the corpse of Rami Sabarna, 36, from Beit Ummar near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, will also be transferred to his family at the District Coordination Office in Hebron. He was killed by soldiers while he, and other workers, were conducting work for the Hebron City Council to rehabilitate and expand a road near the Ibrahimi Mosque. The soldiers also intend to transfer the corpse of Mohammad Anbar, 36, from Tulkarem, in northern West Bank. Anbar died on April 8th, 2018, from critical wounds he sustained on April 2nd when soldiers shot him multiple times at a roadblock near Tulkarem.
Israeli soldiers attack the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum, injure a journalist
IMEMC 14 July — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kafr Qaddoum town, east of Qalqilia in the northern West Bank, injured one Palestinian journalist, and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Medical sources in Kafrr Qaddoum said the soldiers shot a photojournalist working for a Chinese news agency, identified as Nidal Eshteyya. They added that the soldiers shot Eshteyya with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, and caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum said the Palestinians, accompanied by international peace activists, marched from the center of the village, heading towards their lands, near the illegal Annexation Wall, isolating them from most of their orchards. The committee added that the soldiers ambushed the protesters between the olive trees before firing rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at them, wounding the journalist and causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation…..
Soldiers attack an engagement party in Jenin
IMEMC 14 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at night, the town of Ya‘bad, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and broke into an engagement party after installing a military roadblock in front of the celebration hall. Eyewitnesses said several army jeeps invaded the town, before installing the roadblock in front of the hall, and started searching cars while investigating the ID cards of the Palestinians, and interrogated many of them. The soldiers also briefly detained and interrogated the fiancé, and released him later. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the home of Mahmoud Abu Ja‘far, in the al-Ba‘ajwa neighborhood, and interrogated him, while searching the property.
Army invades many neighborhoods in Jenin
IMEMC 12 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, Jenin city, Jenin refugee camp and Burqin town, in northern West Bank, conducted extensive military searches and installed sudden roadblocks. Media sources in Jenin said dozens of soldiers invaded the city, especially The Interior Ministry Junction, al-Bayader area, al-Marah, az-Zahra’ neighborhood, Marah Sa‘ad, and the UNRWA Schools. They added that the soldiers also invaded Burqin town, west of Jenin, and installed sudden roadblocks around many villages and towns, east of Jenin, before stopping and searching dozes of cars.
Israeli colonists burn two Palestinian cars near Nablus
IMEMC 13 July — A number of extremist Israeli colonists invaded, on Friday at dawn, Orif village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and burnt two Palestinian cars. Media sources in Nablus said the Israeli assailants came from the illegal Yitzhar colony, built on private Palestinian lands. They added that the colonists invaded the village, approximately at three at dawn, burnt two cars owned by Ziad Abdul-Aziz Omar, and wrote racist graffiti in Wadi as-Sarrar area, northeast of Orif. Palestinian firefighters rushed to the village, and extinguished the fire, but the cars were badly burnt.
Israeli settlers storm West Bank village
IMEMC/Agencies 13 July — Hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers, on Thursday morning, stormed into ‘Awarta village, near Nablus, in the northern West Bank, where they held Talmudic rituals. The settlers broke into the village under army protection, who cleared the way for them to enter. Meanwhile, Palestinians were confined to their homes and prevented from being in that area. The settlers held Talmudic rituals in religious sites (shrines) in the village. However, there were no reports of incidents, according to the PNN. [Three large monuments in the town are attributed by Jews and Samaritans to the priestly family of Aaron, while Muslims attribute a tomb to Nabi Uzeir, or Prophet Ezra, acc. to Wikipedia].
Israeli soldiers abduct 19 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 11 July — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers invaded several communities in the occupied West Bank, before breaking into and violently searching dozens of homes, and abducted nineteen Palestinians in addition to illegally confiscating cash, a mobile phone and a laptop from one of the homes.
The PPS office in Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, said dozens of soldiers invaded Deir al-Ghosoun town, north of the city, before many soldiers stormed the home of Ameed Badran, 20, abducted him and illegally confiscating a laptop, a mobile phone, and 250 Shekels. The soldiers also summoned Ameed’s mother for interrogation, and fired live rounds in the air near the property before withdrawing. It is worth mentioning that the army, and security officers, claimed they found weapons, and confiscated cash, in Deir al-Ghosoun, and in Qotna town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.
In addition, the soldiers invaded and ransacked the home of Yasser Salim, in ‘Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and abducted his son, Aseed, after assaulting him, causing cuts and bruises.
In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Sobhi Abu Shousha, from his home in Betunia town, west of the city, and fired live rounds, gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters who hurled stones at the invading army jeeps.
In addition, several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, during protests against the army’s invasion of the town, the violent searches of homes, and the soldiers’ abduction of nine Palestinians.
Soldiers abduct two children in Jerusalem
IMEMC 12 July — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday morning, two Palestinian children from Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem. Media sources in Silwan said dozens of soldiers and police officers, accompanied by a K9 unit, invaded Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, and conducted extensive searches. They added that the soldiers abducted two children, and were searching for others, reportedly after Palestinian youngsters hurled stones at colonialist settlers’ cars. The names of the two abducted children remained unknown at the time of this report; the soldiers moved them to an interrogation facility in Jerusalem.
On Thursday at dawn, the soldiers abducted seven Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the West Bank.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian, seize weapons across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces detained one Palestinian and confiscated money and weapons in multiple raids across the occupied West Bank predawn Friday. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the village of al-Samu‘, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and confiscated an M-16 gun and a rocket launcher. In the same district, Israeli forces detained one Palestinian who was identified as Youssef Abu Sneineh; reasons for his detention were not identified.
According to Israeli Ynet news website, Israeli forces seized tens of thousands of shekels that were allegedly intended for “terrorist activities” in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem.
Palestinians have reported theft by Israeli forces during detention raids in the past. Israeli forces would previously justify confiscations by claiming their planned use was to fund or support “terrorism”.
Israeli court releases Israeli suspect of Dawabsheh-family murder
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — The Israeli District Court of Lodd in northern Israel decided on Thursday to set free an Israeli settler involved in the murder of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family on July 31, 2015 after setting their home in the northern West Bank village of Duma on fire. The fire killed parents Saad and Riham and 18-month-old baby Ali, while causing severe burns to their other child Ahmad, who was 4 years old at the time and is the only surviving member of the family. Relatives of the Dawabsheh family accused the court of being “racist and of double standard.” Relative Nasser Dawabsheh told Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned WAFA News Agency that the court decided to place the murderer, a minor, under house arrest and banned him from leaving the country or to use the phones or internet. “It is a sad day for the family,” he said, “the decision brought back dreadful memories to us of the fire at my brother’s house and when we tried to save them. The scene has been re-enacted with the court ruling.” Dawabsheh accused the Israeli court and judge of being racist and of using double standards, saying that if the suspect was Palestinian he and his family would have been severely punished, their house would be demolished, and even their entire village would have been subjected to collective punishment. “But when the crime is perpetrated by Israelis, courts try to find anything to get them out of it.”….
Another court ruling achieved delaying Al-Khan Al-Ahmar demolition
IMEMC 13 July — Lawyers of the “Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission” managed, Thursday, to obtain a ruling from the Israeli High Court freezing the demolition of al-Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin Palestinian community until August 15th. Commission head, Waleed Assaf, said the ruling is related to the one which was achieved last Monday, postponing the demolition until Monday, July 16th, and added that the Israeli Court would be looking into the case in its next session on August 15th. “We managed to achieve this ruling because of the justice of our struggle on our lands. Solidarity activities managed to highlight the plight of our people in al-Khan al-Ahmar; this is part of the ongoing struggle for protecting the eastern area of occupied Jerusalem. We are struggling to prevent the displacement of our people, to reject the illegal E1 Israeli colonialist project.”…
The entire village is set to be razed to the ground by military forces under the ‘E1 Jerusalem Plan’ meant to encircle the eastern part of Jerusalem with Israeli colonial settlements to encircle Jerusalem and claim it for Israel, denying the Palestinian people’s historical and ongoing claim to the city.
Israeli soldiers surround, isolate Al-Khan AL-Ahmar
IMEMC 11 July — Dozens of Israeli soldiers completely sealed and isolated, Wednesday, al-Khan al-Ahmar Palestinian Bedouin community, which is slated for demolition and displacement, and placed concrete blocks at its entrances. The head of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Walid Assaf, said the soldiers prevented dozens of Palestinians and international peace activists, from entering the area, to continue the protests against the demolitions and displacement. He added that the soldiers isolated al-Khan al-Ahmar, and prevented many foreign dignitaries and consuls from reaching the area, while a few others managed to enter. Assaf also stated that many physicians tried to enter al-Khan al-Ahmar, but were denied entry. He said that the Palestinian Medical Relief Society brought a mobile clinic, to provide services for the villages, but the army prevented its entry. The Medical Relief has been providing basic services to the villages of al-Khan al-Ahmar, especially the children and people who suffer from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure. In addition, the soldiers surrounded the local school of al-Khan al-Ahmar, as it is also under the threat of demolition, just as the rest of the Bedouin community. The school was funded by the European Union, while the soldiers also held several peace activists in it….
As Israel prepares to demolish Bedouin school, activists lay out backpacks for each student
+972 Mag 10 July by Edo Konrad — A group of Israeli and foreign Jewish activists laid 174 backpacks outside Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning as a protest against the impending demolition of the entire village of Khan al-Ahmar, including its school. Each backpack, say the activists, was meant to represent a student who studies at the “tire school” and will be left without a place to learn. The action, organized by All That’s Left, a collective of anti-occupation activists living in Israel-Palestine, comes less than 24 hours after the High Court issued the second of two temporary injunctions against Israel’s plans to demolish the village and forcibly displace its residents. The school, built in 2009 out of mud, tires, and clay with the help of an Italian NGO that specializes in ecological structures, serves the Bedouin Palestinian population in the area. Just a month after it opened, the Israeli army ordered it demolished. Abby Kirschbaum, an activist with All That’s Left, told +972 that the group wanted to bring attention not only to the demolition itself, but the way in which it compromises children’s access to education….
Israeli minister planned eviction of West Bank Bedouin 40 years ago, document reveals
Haaretz 12 July by Amira Hass — Forty years ago Uri Ariel, now agriculture minister, was already planning the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem. This emerges from a document signed by him titled, “A proposal to plan the Ma’aleh Adumim region and establish the community settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim B.” The document outlines a plan to turn some 100,000 to 120,000 dunams (25,000 to 30,000 acres) of Palestinian land into an area of Jewish settlement and develop it as a “Jewish corridor,” as he put it, from the coast to the Jordan River. In fact, a large part of the plan has been executed, except for the eviction of all the area’s Bedouin. Now the Civil Administration and the police are expediting the demolition of the homes of the Jahalin in Khan al-Ahmar. This is one of approximately 25 Bedouin communities in the area that have become a flagship of the Bedouin resistance in the West Bank’s Area C against the efforts by the Israeli occupation to uproot them, gather them in a few compounds adjacent to Area A, and impose a semi-urban lifestyle on them. The boundaries of the area that Ariel sets for his plan are the Palestinian villages of Hizme, ‘Anata, Al-Azariya and Abu Dis to the west, the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley to the east, Wadi Qelt to the north and the Kidron Valley and Horkania Valley to the south. “In the area there are many Bedouin involved in the cultivation of land,” he writes, contrary to the claims voiced today by settlers that the Bedouin only recently popped up and “took over” the land … This document, exposed here for the first time, was found by Dr. Yaron Ovadia in the Kfar Adumim archives when he was doing research for a book he’s writing about the Judean Desert. Ovadia wrote his doctorate about the Jahalin tribe….
Palestinian cabinet approves plan to turn Khan al-Ahmar into a village council
IMEMC/Agencies 11 July — The Palestinian cabinet approved, on Wednesday, a recommendation by the Minister of Local Government to turn Khan al-Ahmar community, near Jerusalem, into a village council. Khan al-Ahmar is under threat, by Israel, of demolition and displacement of its Bedouin community, in order to build a Jewish settlement on the location. The cabinet said, in a statement, after its weekly meeting held in Ramallah, that a local authority will be established and will be called Khan al-Ahmar village, which will have an appointed council of members that will run its daily affairs and demarcate its boundaries. According to WAFA, the decision was made to support efforts by the community to remain on its land in light of Israeli threats to demolish the community and displace its residents.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
The West Bank villages under threat no one is talking about
+972 Mag 11 July by Orly Noy — While the media focused on Khan al-Ahmar’s nonviolent struggle against its destruction, Israeli authorities demolished 12 structures in a nearby Bedouin community, laying the groundwork for further evictions — … While the media was focused on Khan al-Ahmar, the Civil Administration demolished 12 structures in the adjacent Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar, leaving 62 people — half of them children — without a roof over their heads, in the summer heat. One of them is Harba Hamadin, a young construction worker, husband, and father to a one year old. Following the demolition of their home, the family moved in with his parents in a packed structure with another 15 people. His brother and cousin also lost their homes, as did their children, nine in total. All of the kids, says Harba, witnessed the demolition, and have been in a state of deep anxiety ever since. “The demolition orders are from three years ago,” he says as he stands by the ruins of his home. “I do not know why they came now. The attorney says they need to give a month’s notice, but they said nothing.” Like Khan al-Ahmar, the state wants to move the residents of Abu Nuwar to a garbage dump next to Abu Dis in East Jerusalem. “This will destroy our entire community,” Harba says. “That isn’t our land, and the area is too small and not suited for grazing.”….
Israeli forces destroy 400-meter pipelines in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli forces raided the Palestinian village of Bardala in the northern area of the Jordan Valley, and destroyed 400 meters of water pipelines, which Israel claims are illegal, on Thursday. According to Dirar Sawafta, member of the Bardala village council, Israeli forces stormed the village, razed and dug several holes in one of the water lines in search of water holes. Israeli forces destroyed more than 400 meters of water pipelines, which is an important life source to many Palestinians residents of the valley, who are mainly farmers or Bedouins, and mostly living in enclaves closed off by Israeli military zones, checkpoints, and more than 30 illegal Israeli settlements. Sawafta added that Israeli forces destroyed the water pipelines under the pretext that they are illegal. Recently, Israeli bulldozers and forces have razed the area in search of water holes and destroyed several water sources in the village and several other areas in the Jordan Valley.
In Photos: Israeli forces confiscate school in southern Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 July — Israeli forces confiscated a Palestinian school in Khallet al-Thabaa area in the al-Tuwani village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday. A Ma‘an reporter said that several Palestinians and activists attempted to prevent the confiscation; however, they were suppressed and prevented by Israeli forces at gunpoint. Rateb al-Jbour, coordinator of popular and national committees in the southern West Bank, said that the school was originally built to “strengthen the steadfastness” of the residents of Khallet al-Thabaa, who are still living in the area resisting all Israeli procedures and violations. The village, resided in by more than 100 people, is located east of Yatta City and is managed by the Masafer Yatta local council, which lies almost entirely in Area C; the area of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control.
Israeli colony’s industrial zone continues to flood Palestinian farmlands with toxic wastewater
IMEMC 14 July — The flooding of waste and toxic water from the Industrial Zone of the illegal Alfie Menashe Israeli colony, which was built on Palestinian lands near Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, continues to devastate Palestinian agricultural lands, and the environment, in Wad ar-Rasha village, exposing the residents to serious health risks. Representative of Wad ar-Rasha Village in Hableh Local Council, Amjad Odah, told Palestine TV the flooding of toxins, chemicals and wastewater into the Palestinian lands is seriously increasing, flooding the agricultural lands, and passing near homes, forcing many farmers away from their lands. “They first built their chemical plant and illegal colony, on our lands, and now are poisoning them and us,” Odah added, “They are exposing the Palestinians to serious health risks, in addition to harming the environment with these dangerous chemicals and toxins.” The toxins also contaminated the agricultural soil, and the irrigation table in the area, inflicting serious damage to the environment in addition to exposing the Palestinians and wildlife to diseases. Bassem Odah, a local farmer, said the toxins are burning the roots of the Palestinian olive trees, and other plants they have….
Israeli forces separate 2 Hebron areas with dirt mounds
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli forces blocked late Wednesday the road between Khirbet Shaab al-Butum and Masafer Yatta south of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron using dirt mounds. Locals said that Israeli bulldozers closed the road with three dirt mounds, in an attempt to prevent geographical communication between the residents of the two areas. Khirbet Shaab al-Butum is among dozens of small communities located in the Masafer Yatta area which falls within Israel’s “Firing Zone 918,” and inside the occupied West Bank’s Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control.
Palestinians are prohibited from entering firing zones without a rarely-granted permission from Israeli authorities. Masafer Yatta residents were expelled at the time of the establishment of the firing zone in the 1970s and were eventually allowed back following a long court battle, but are under the constant threat of being expelled or seeing their homes demolished.
Episcopal Church votes to divest from Israeli human rights abuses
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights 13 July — The General Convention of the Episcopal Church, with more than 3 million members, has voted to divest from companies involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) put in amazing work over many years to get to make the Episcopal Church the 10th Christian denomination in the US to take economic action for justice in Palestine. Thanks in large part to their mobilization, the church also passed ground-breaking resolutions:
Asserting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
Condemning Israel’s violence against protesters in Gaza
Calling on the US government to reinstate funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
Supporting the rights of Palestinian children
Demanding equal access to Jerusalem and opposing Trump’s move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
USCPR was proud to have Anna Baltzer, Director of Organizing & Advocacy, on the ground at the General Convention supporting EPF PIN. Many other Palestine solidarity groups were there, as well….
Ireland draws Israel’s ire with legislation to ban imports from West Bank settlements
Forbes 13 July by Dominic Dudley — The Israeli government has condemned a move by Irish parliamentarians to ban trade between Ireland and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are deemed illegal under international law by most countries. The Seanad, the upper house of the Irish parliament, voted on July 11 by 25 votes to 20 to support a bill that would ban the import of goods or services from West Bank settlements. The legislation – the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 – still has to go through the lower house of parliament, the Dáil, before it can become law. However, while the Irish governing party Fine Gael has officially opposed the bill, it does not have a majority in either chamber. As a result, if the parties which supported the bill in the Seanad also do so in the Dáil then the bill would pass. Independent senator Frances Black, one of seven senators to sponsor the bill in the Seanad, welcomed the result, writing on Twitter: “This is a first step but an important one. Today we state strongly: Ireland will always stand for int humanitarian law, justice & human rights.” However, the passage of the bill through the Seanad set off a round of condemnation from the Israeli government … One concern of the Israeli authorities appears to be that the Irish legislation will set give a boost to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns to isolate the Israeli economy because of the Israeli government’s promotion of settlements in the West Bank, the treatment of Palestinians and other issues. It could also set an example that other countries around Europe might follow, something which chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat noted in his comments welcoming the Seanad vote….
Palestinian refugees – Syria
Euro-Med says 80% of Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp is demolished; return almost impossible
AMMAN (WAFA) 12 July — The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) said on Wednesday in Amman, Jordan that the conflict in Syria has left 80 percent of the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, destroyed and return of its residents to it is almost impossible … The number of Palestinians living in Yarmouk refugee camp, the largest refugee community in Syria, declined from 144,000 when the Syrian crisis started in 2012 to 6,300 by mid-2018, after the Syrian army regained control of the camp in May. Over 200 refugees were killed during the long army siege of the camp after armed opposition groups took control of it in December 2012…..
President Abbas to meet Russian counterpart during meeting in Moscow
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 July – President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to head on Friday to Russia where he is expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow and attend the World Cup final on Sunday, Palestinian ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal stated on Thursday. According to Nofal, Abbas and Putin are expected to discuss the latest political developments in the Palestinian arena and the Middle East region. Among the items placed on the meeting agenda are the creation of a new international mechanism for sponsoring the peace process and Israeli violations against the Palestinian people … Underscoring the importance of the meeting, Nofal said that the meeting would take place only a short period before Putin’s summit with US President Donald Trump, scheduled on July 16 in Helsinki, during which the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be discussed … This will be President Abbas’ first trip abroad since recovering from lung infection he was treated for last month.
Israel bans Palestinians from holding academic conference in occupied East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 July – Israeli security banned on Saturday Palestinians from holding an academic conference in occupied East Jerusalem, according to WAFA correspondent in Jerusalem. Israeli security forces cordoned off Al-Quds University’s College of Arts campus in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and prevented convening the two-day Fourth Academic Conference on Islamic Waqf (endowment) in Jerusalem. The conference was organized by Jerusalem Waqf and Heritage Reservation Society and the Islamic Supreme Committee – Jerusalem, with funding from the Jerusalem Waqfiya Fund headed by Palestinian businessman and philanthropist Munib Masri. Later reports said police detained Masri and took him in for interrogation. Israel has been banning Palestinians from holding any activity in the occupied section of their city, often detaining organizers and breaking up with force meetings or conferences….
Israel obstructing education by refusing visas for academics with foreign passports – minister
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 July — Minister of Education Sabri Saidam said on Thursday that more than half of the academics of Palestinian origin who hold foreign passports and who work at Palestinian universities in the occupied territories have been either denied or delayed getting an Israeli visa over the past two years that would allow them to enter or stay in the occupied Palestinian territories. He told a press conference in Ramallah that the unfair Israeli policies and restrictions have made Palestinian and foreign academics less willing to accept educational and research positions in Palestinian higher education institutions and deprived the Palestinian universities of the potential academics and researchers can contribute to national development goals … Speaking at the same press conference, Salwa Dueibis, an activist in the Campaign to Defend the Right of Entry and Residence of Foreign Passport Holders to the Palestinian Territories, said the Israeli authorities have refused to extend visas for seven international faculty members at Birzeit University, who make up one-third of the university’s international academics. “This is a dangerous sign and it has a negative impact on education at Birzeit University and other Palestinian universities because it leads to further isolation of Palestinian universities from the academic community in the world,” she said … Dueibis said “most international staff at Birzeit University has had problems renewing their visas last year and three of them have left the university in the past two months because of the difficulty in obtaining visas.” She pointed out that those affected by this issue include senior faculty members, heads of departments and key administrative staff who serve a large segment of the Palestinian society through educational and cultural activities and research, and a number of them have been teaching at Birzeit University for more than 10 years and have had a role in internationalizing curricula by teaching foreign language and presenting important academic experiences and skills….
House Democrats call for transparency of Palestinian aid
IMEMC/Agencies 12 July — Nine House Democrats wrote a letter on Wednesday, to United States president Donald Trump, requesting him to update the current status of U.S. funding towards Palestinian Authority (PA). In spite being the largest single donor to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in January of 2018, the United States withheld $65 million from the organization, as they were “examining” the use of money, responding to the refusal of Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with US officials following the controversy regarding Jerusalem being the official capital of Israel. On 23 March, 2018, the United States passed the “Taylor Force Act” which fully cuts off funding for the PA unless it ceases to pay stipends to families of Palestinian prisoners, and revokes laws authorizing this compensation. The USAID office in the West Bank and Gaza, an American international agency, has not received a budget for the following year, thus placing a halt to its projects, according to the PNN. According to the letter, the impact of the funding freeze could lead to catastrophic consequences: “140,000 people will cease to receive emergency food and non-food assistance, 42,000 patients will not receive essential health services, 50,000 youths will lack access to life skills development, and 12,250 people will lose paid entrepreneurship opportunities.
NBA star faces outrage after filmed shooting guns with Israeli forces
JTA & Charles Dunst — Last week, NBA All-Star Draymond Green visited Israel, where he met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in what seemed at first on social media like a really fun trip. “It’s not every day that I meet an All-Star,” Rivlin joked at the time. He called watching Green play “a true pleasure” and hoped it was “only be the first of many visits” for Green. The Golden State Warriors star was also seen grinning at a border police training center behind a large rifle. Israeli police even posted video of Green shooting guns at a training center on Instagram. Unsurprisingly, this part of Green’s trip, which was organized by the Friends of the IDF, prompted criticism from left-wing groups and activists.
“You got played,” wrote Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist. “Flashing a toothy grin w/ a sniper rifle in Israel on a trip sponsored by Friends of the IDF is so horribly offensive. They’ve recently slaughtered 100s of unarmed Palestinians w/ those rifles.” Dave Zirin, The Nation’s sports editor, questioned why Green would reject a visit to President Donald Trump’s White House but say yes to visiting Israel … “It is, frankly, shocking to see Draymond Green smiling and shooting guns in their (the border police’s) company. These counterterrorism border police units are part of a military that shot and killed more than 60 Palestinians who were protesting at the border in May, less than two months ago.”….
Palestinians use embroidery, amulets to avert evil eye
Al-Monitor 12 July by Ahmad Melhem — Palestinians have long used embroidery to express identity, sentiments, fears and longings, and amulets for protection against evil. This heritage is now displayed at an exhibition titled “The Labor of Love” at the Palestinian Museum in Ramallah. The exhibition, which will run until Aug. 25, has some 80 costumes, including the “intifada dresses,” which were embroidered by Palestinian women in defiance with motifs of rifles, political slogans and even a motif showing Al-Aqsa Mosque during the first intifada of the 1980s. To its curator, Rachel Dedman, the exhibition is not simply about embroidery but how embroidery reflects the social and cultural fabric of the Palestinians — and indeed, how it became a political symbol of identity and rebellion … The “Labor of Love” collection also includes the Palestinian Bedouin costumes from the 1940s and a set of amulets and charms that used to belong to the Palestinian doctor, writer, researcher, historian and anthropologist Tawfiq Canaan. Canaan’s items are on loan from the Birzeit University Museum. … According to the Birzeit University Museum website, which displayed pictures and data about both traditional costumes and amulets, the earliest object in the collection is dated 1912 and the latest 1946….