Member of PLO denounces Israeli closure of Hind Al-Husseini College in East Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 July – Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and president of the Arab American University, Ali Abu Zuhri, Saturday denounced the Israeli closure of Hind Al-Husseini College in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli police reportedly shut down the educational facility until further notice, banned the holding of an academic conference, and detained 15 participants. Abu Zuhri, in a statement, condemned this Israeli measure, maintaining that the Israeli occupation aims through such measures to obstruct the educational process and prevent the teaching of Palestinian curricula. He said Israeli authorities impose their own curriculum on several Palestinian schools and higher education facilities in occupied East Jerusalem at the expense of the development of Palestinian students’ own national awareness. He slammed such measure as an attempt to impose new facts on the ground aimed at changing the cultural and historical identity of Jerusalem.
Israel passes law to ban groups critical of state, military from schools
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 17 July by Maayan Lubell — Israel’s parliament passed a law on Tuesday that could see groups critical of government policies toward the Palestinians banned from entering Israeli schools and speaking with pupils. Critics of the law, which passed with 43 votes in favor and 24 against in the 120-seat Knesset, said it was a blow to core democratic values such as free speech and part of the Israeli government’s effort to delegitimize rights groups and NGOs. The amendment to the education act grants new powers to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party, to order schools to bar certain groups from giving lectures to students. The legislation has been dubbed the “Breaking the Silence” law, a reference to the Israeli group of that name which collects and publishes testimony from Israeli veterans about the military’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and during conflicts with militants in Gaza. … Breaking the Silence, which has given talks in schools, said the law was meant to weaken it and other rights groups. “It’s really about trying to silence and cover up what’s been going on in the occupied territories for 51 years,” said the group’s director, Avner Gvaryahu….
Meet the rabbis running anti-occupation tours of the West Bank
Albawaba 16 July — America is Israel’s most significant ally. But the American Jewish community has always had a diverse, and complicated relationship with Israel. Whilst American support for the Israeli right-wing is well known, there are many lesser-known Jewish movements which believe that it is possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Al Bawaba spoke to Rabbi Salem Pearce, a member of the T’ruah Rabbis organisation. She told us about what it’s like to be an American Jewish religious leader, whose love of Israel is what inspires a campaign in support of Palestinian human rights.
Eleanor Beevor: Can you tell us what T’ruah is as an organisation?
Salem Pearce: T’ruah represents a network of about two thousand rabbis and cantors across North America, across all different denominations of Judaism, who are using the power of their religion to take action on human rights issues. The full name of our organisation is T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and we have a broad portfolio of campaigns that we focus on …
Have you experienced opposition to your work?
Yes. Our main partner on the ground is an organisation called Breaking the Silence, [a group of Israeli military veterans who are campaigning against the occupation]. Under the Netanyahu government, Breaking the Silence has become public enemy number one. However, the criticism of them is unfounded, and we are very proud to partner with Breaking the Silence….
International observer expelled from Israel for slapping Jewish boy in Hebron
Times of Israel 13 July by Alexander Fulbright — Switzerland’s ambassador apologizes to West Bank city’s settler community over actions by Swiss member of TIPH monitoring group — A member of a monitor group in Hebron was ordered on Friday by the Foreign Ministry to immediately leave Israel after video showed him slapping a child from the West Bank city’s Jewish settler community on Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry said the order for the Swiss observer from the Temporary International Presence in Hebron to leave the country was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It said the TIPH observer left on Friday. TIPH is an international civilian observer group tasked with “monitoring and reporting efforts to maintain normal life in the city of Hebron, thus creating a sense of security among the Palestinians in Hebron.” It also reports alleged human rights abuses and violations of accords in the city between Israel and Palestinians. Observers for the group come from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, is divided between the Palestinian Authority and an Israeli-controlled enclave of some 500 Jewish settlers living among 40,000 Palestinians. The TIPH observer was with a tour of Hebron’s settler community led by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO that documents alleged rights abuses against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. In video of Wednesday’s incident, the boy can be seen walking toward the TIPH observer and confronting him, before the man slaps him across the face, sending his skullcap flying. It was not clear from the video what prompted the incident. The boy said in footage aired by Hadashot TV news on Thursday that he was slapped for approaching the group. Breaking the Silence told Hadashot news the TIPH observer registered for the tour on the internet and was removed from the group immediately after the incident. “Breaking the Silence condemns all violence against children,” it said….
Palestine: Unregulated tobacco industry on rise
14 July — With high unemployment in the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are turning to the informal tobacco market, in which the required water – restricted by Israel – to cultivate is low and demand is high — Palestinian farmers have grown tobacco for generations, but as jobs have dried up more and more people have turned to working in the unregulated industry. The Palestinian Authority says it is missing out on millions of dollars of tax revenue every month. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from Ya‘bad in the occupied West Bank.
PA denies kidnapped Arab Israeli boy was held in West Bank
Times of Israel 14 July — The Palestinian Authority hailed the return of a kidnapped 7-year-old Arab Israeli boy to his family on Friday, but denied Israel’s statements that he had been held in the West Bank. At a press conference, PA police spokesman Louis Arzeikat underscored that Palestinian police and security forces helped in searching for Karim Jumhour, who Israeli police said was held in Ramallah after being snatched from outside his home in the northern Israel city of Qalansawe earlier this week. Arzeikat said Palestinian security forces raided seven houses in Ramallah looking for Jumhour based on Israeli intelligence, but those searches turned up no evidence of the boy. “After investigation by Palestinian security forces, it turned out that… the boy was not in any of those houses,” he said. “It turned out that the boy wasn’t even in the Palestinian Authority.” Arzeikat said a Palestinian man linked to one of the Israeli suspects in Jumhour’s disappearance led police to locating the boy in Lod. Jumhour was returned to his family on Friday, three days after he was snatched from outside his home in Qalansawe in northern Israel. Police have yet to comment on a possible motive behind the kidnapping or name any of the four suspects arrested in connection to it. Reports in Hebrew-language media said the incident could have been the result of a financial dispute between two families. The Jumhours on Wednesday received a ransom demand of NIS 4 million ($1,090,000).
Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained in Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 July — A 20-year-old Palestinian has succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday, that he had sustained during “The Great March of Return” protests on the 14th of May. The al-Shweiki family confirmed that their son, Sari Daoud al-Shweiki, succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday morning that he had sustained two months ago during protests. The family mentioned that Israeli forces had shot their son in the neck causing him quadriplegia, paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. Sari was immediately taken to a hospital in Jerusalem for treatment and remained there until he was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning.
Sari’s death brings the death toll to 140 since the beginning of “The Great March of Return” protests on March 30th, while the number of wounded Palestinians is more than 16,000 Palestinians, including 55 amputations.
In Video: Israeli airstrikes kill 2 children in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — Two Palestinian children were killed on Saturday evening when Israeli warplanes targeted the al-Katiba public park in the besieged Gaza Strip. Ashraf al-Qadra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, confirmed the deaths of the two Palestinian minors (a minor is a person under the age of full legal responsibility). They were identified as Amir al-Nimra, 15, and Louay Kahil, 16. Dr. Ayman al-Sabhani, head of emergency at Shifa Hospital, said that the crews of the Red Crescent transferred about 15 Palestinians that were wounded from the continuous airstrikes. Israeli warplanes shelled a building with five F-16 missiles. The shelled building is located in the vicinity of al-Katiba square, which is a public area of natural or planted space set aside for the citizens of Gaza to enjoy hikes and a number of recreational games, as well as a set up of several street vendors. The square is surrounded by two universities and by several government ministries. The two minors were killed while being present in the al-Katiba square playing children’s games, when the five Israeli F-16 missiles were fired at the area.
Besides killing the two minors and wounding about 15 other Palestinians, the Israeli missiles destroyed one ambulance, damaged nine other ambulances, partially damaged three trucks used for transporting medicine and medical supplies, severely damaged a number of administrative offices for medical emergency and transportation, in addition to causing damage to two civilian transporting vehicles. Since Saturday night, several explosions were heard across Gaza, when Israeli forces and the Hamas movement exchanged numerous rockets and mortar shell fire, causing security on the Israeli border with Gaza to deteriorate.
The first video below shows the two minors killed, while the second video shows the moment the building was shelled by Israeli warplanes: The ministry confirmed the deaths of the two minors was a result of Israeli airstrikes over Gaza.
‘Like twins’: Gaza mourns teenage boys killed in Israel air raid
Al Jazeera 15 July by Farah Najjar & Maram Humaid — Umm Luay zooms in on a photograph on her mobile phone and kisses the screen, again and again. In the photo, her son, Luay Kaheel, is seen smiling alongside his friend, Amir al-Nimra. The two teenagers, 16 and 15 respectively, died on Saturday minutes after an Israeli air raid hit the rooftop of a building in Gaza where they were playing. “I heard an explosion, and instinctively knew that something had happened to my son,” Umm Luay, 33, told Al Jazeera on Sunday, surrounded by a group of women sitting inside her home in Gaza. The young mother had just arrived home when the air raid struck the building in al-Kateeba square, located next to a park frequented by Palestinian families during the summer months. “I first heard that Amir was killed, and it was then that I knew,” she said. “I ran to the hospital and began looking for my son, frantically.” Upon her arrival at al-Shifa hospital, a group of men immediately broke the news to Umm Luay – her son had also lost his life. On Saturday, the Israeli army launched a series of air raids on what it said were Hamas positions inside Gaza. Apart from the two boys killed, at least 30 Palestinians were also wounded in the attacks…
‘Never thought I’d lose one of my kids’ — Both born in 2003, Luay and Amir were inseparable. “Like twin brothers”, their mothers said. The two boys grew up in the same street in central Gaza. They were classmates since pre-school and would walk together to school every day … When not in school, the pair would also spend most of their spare time together, often visiting the park near al-Kateeba square to play football. Passionate about the sport, the boys followed the 2018 World Cup tournament closely and would always compare themselves to famous players. “My son left the house with a football, not a weapon,” Umm Luay said…
In Video: Funeral processions of 2 killed children commence in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — The funeral processions of the two Palestinian children who were killed during Israeli airstrikes on Gaza set off in the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday. During Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, two Palestinian children, Amir al-Nimra, 15, and Louay Kahil, 16, were killed by F-16 missiles fired from Israeli warplanes. Local sources told Ma‘an that large crowds of Palestinians set off the funeral march from the al-Shifa Governmental Hospital towards the family homes of the two children for a final farewell. Sources added that funeral prayers were being held in the Abdullah Azzam Mosque, in the Sabra neighborhood, east of Gaza City. The video below shows family and loved ones speaking about the tragic deaths of the two Palestinian children:….
In Pictures: Israel pounds Gaza in most violent daytime assault since 2014
Al Jazeera 15 July — At least two teenagers in the Gaza Strip have been killed and more than 30 other people have been injured by Israeli air raids [Saturday], according to Palestinian health officials, as Israel carried out the largest daylight attack on the besieged enclave since the 2014 war.
Two days into ‘cease-fire’: Rocket fired from Gaza at Israel hours after IDF hits Hamas targets
Haaretz 16 July by Yaniv Kubovich et al. — The Israeli military and Palestinian fighters exchanged fire on Monday, two days after a cease-fire momentarily halted the most widespread escalation of fighting since the 2014 war. The Israeli military struck two Hamas targets in northern Gaza on Monday, the army confirmed. A rocket was fired from Gaza at southern Israel hours later, though the army reported that it exploded in Gaza territory. An IDF statement said the targets were near where incendiary balloons were being launched at Israel. It said the attack was launched in response to “fire terrorism” lead by Hamas against Israel. The strikes are the first after security cabinet instructed the military on Sunday to continue responding to airborne firebombs being launched from Gaza toward Israel. There were no immediate reports of any casualties. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in response: “The threats by senior Israelis will not hurt the desire of the Palestinian people to continue the struggle with all means at their disposal, to achieve their rights, first and foremost, removal of the siege. And it will not deter resistance forces to continue defensive action on behalf of the Palestinian people.” … A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was announced Saturday night, after almost 200 projectiles were fired at Israeli communities from Gaza. Despite the deal, a number of rockets were fired overnight from Gaza and Israel said it attacked on Sunday Palestinians in Gaza who were launching airborne firebombs from Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes target fire kite-flyers in Gaza, 2 injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting a group of Palestinian youths injuring two, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Medical sources in Gaza said that Israeli warplanes targeted a group of Palestinians who were identified as part of the “incendiary kites unit” in eastern Jabaliya in northern Gaza. Israeli airstrikes continued in an attempt to decrease launches of incendiary kites and explosive balloon, which have scorched areas in Israeli communities surrounding Gaza borders.
Israeli forces ‘deliberately killed’ Palestinian paramedic Razan
Al Jazeera 17 July by Mersiha Gadzo — An investigation conducted by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has concluded that Israeli security forces deliberately shot and killed Palestinian paramedics Razan al-Najjar, contradicting the Israeli army’s claims that it was an accident. On June 1, the 20-year-old al-Najjar was shot in the chest with the single bullet, exiting through her back, while she was trying to help wounded demonstrators in Gaza near the perimeter fence with Israel. B’Tselem’s investigation found that a member of the Israeli security forces aimed and shot directly at her as al-Najjar stood some 25 metres away from the fence, “despite the fact that she posed no danger to him or anyone else and was wearing a medical uniform.” “Contrary to the many versions offered by the [Israeli] military, the facts of the case lead to only one conclusion,” Amit Gilutz, spokesperson for B’Tselem said.
Rami Abu Jazar, 29, a volunteer paramedic from Khan Younis was with al-Najjar when she was fatally shot. In a testimony provided to B’Tselem, Jazar explained that around 6pm that day a group of paramedics approached the fence to evacuate two young men who had fainted due to tear gas inhalation … “We stood about 10 meters away from them, which was about 25 meters away from the fence. There were no protesters near us. At around 5:45pm, we saw two soldiers get out of a military jeep, kneel and aim their guns at us, taking up a sniper stance. “Razan was standing to my right and [medical team member] Rasha was behind me. We were talking. Suddenly, they fired two live bullets at us. I looked at Razan and saw her point to her back and then fall down.” A second later, Abu Jazar also fell having been hit by a live bullet above the left knee. Another paramedic that stood with them was hit by shrapnel in the right hand and pelvic area. According to B’Tselem, the spokesperson for the Israeli forces tried to clear the army of any responsibility for al-Najjar’s death by initially saying that soldiers didn’t fire at the spot where she was standing … B’Tselem’s findings coincide with al-Najjar’s personal account of being targeted by the Israeli army before she was killed. In April, al-Najjar told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces had shot directly at her more than once, warning her to stop tending to the wounded….
UN: All-out war narrowly avoided after Israel-Hamas ceasefire
Al Jazeera 15 July — The UN’s special envoy has said that all-out war was narrowly averted by the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in Gaza. Israel bombarded more than forty sites and killed at least two Palestinian teenagers because Hamas, which runs Gaza, has not stopped Palestinians from sending burning kites into Israel to protest against the ongoing siege. The kites and balloons have set fire to hectares of crops, but have not caused any fatalities. The ceasefire appeared to be holding, but frustration and anger are mounting as the siege of coastal strip continues. Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Gaza.
‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza
[with map] Al Jazeera 17 July — Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing. The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9 and initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” would be allowed to enter Gaza, such as food, hygiene and medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock. However, the defence ministry announced late on Monday that fuel and gas deliveries will also be suspended, and that the crossing will remain open only for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis. “In light of the continued terror efforts of Hamas, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has decided, after consulting with the chief of [military] staff, to close Kerem Shalom for the passage of fuel and gas until Sunday,” a statement from the ministry said. Furthermore, the fishing zone, enforced by Israel, in the waters off the Gaza Strip will also be reduced from six nautical miles to three – after it was already reduced last week from 12 nautical miles. The UN and Gisha, the Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, called Israel’s latest measure an act of “collective punishment”.
Palestinian father, son killed in unexplained Gaza explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — A Palestinian father and son were killed, and three others injured, in an unexplained explosion west of besieged Gaza City on Sunday. The Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed the deaths of Palestinian Ahmad Mansour Hassan, 35, and his 13-year-old son, Louay Ahmad Hassan, after being injured in an explosion on Sunday. Colonel Ayman al-Batniji of the Gaza police, said that the explosion occurred in a house west of Gaza City killing Hassan and his son. The cause of the explosion remains unclear and is under investigation. Local sources told Ma‘an that Hassan was the commander of a rocket unit of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is a militant group affiliated with the West Bank-based Fatah political party.
Qatari envoy sheds light on US plans for Gaza
Al Jazeera 17 July by Ali Younes — Israel and Hamas have a tacit understanding not to escalate the conflict into a full-fledged war, Qatari mediator says — Mohammed al-Emadi is the director of a Gaza reconstruction committee set up by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to administer a $407m grant from Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani to rebuild Gaza’s destroyed infrastructure in 2012. Al-Emadi spoke to Al Jazeera about his work in Gaza and his efforts to ease the tension between Israel and Hamas. He said Hamas and Israel were engaged in indirect talks over multiple issues concerning the conflict, and reached a tacit understating to keep their military confrontation at low intensity and avoid a full-scale war. He also said he met senior White House officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in Doha last month who proposed several infrastructure projects to ease Gaza’s worsening economic crisis and create jobs for residents of the enclave.
Al Jazeera: In light of the flare-up of Israeli bombings of Gaza and Hamas firing of rockets into Israel last week, how do you see the situation today? Is it heading towards a major confrontation?
Mohammed al-Emadi: This is a sensitive question, but what you have here is a controlled and carefully measured confrontation between both sides. There is an understanding between Hamas and Israel not to commit to killing from each side. Last week, Israel bombed 60 or more Hamas installations and locations, but no Hamas members were killed. It is clear that Hamas evacuated their installations and Israel waited until Hamas sites were empty….
Gaza aid worker gets 9 years for helping Hamas
Ynet 16 July by Ilana Curiel — Hamas activist Muhammad Murtaja, a Gaza resident and Turkish humanitarian charity (TİKA ) employee, was convicted Sunday as part of a plea bargain for transferring hundreds of thousands of shekels to Hamas. Murtaja, who was arrested in 2017, pled guilty and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for charges of membership in a terrorist organization, supporting a terrorist organization, using property for terrorist purposes and other offenses. According to the amended indictment, which was filed in Be’er Sheva District Court by attorney Yoav Kishon of the Southern District Criminal Prosecutor’s Office, during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Murtaja received funds from a Turkish humanitarian organization, which was intended for purchasing food packages for disadvantaged families. As part of his job in the charity, Murtaja purchased food parcels and transferred some of them to impoverished families and some to Hamas operatives. In addition, he raised about $80,000 and transferred it to Hamas activists for the construction of a swimming pool at the organization’s post. The amended indictment also states that the Murtaja received NIS 11,000 from the Turkish terrorist [!] organization IHH, and transferred it to Hamas for the purchase of military suits….
Israel frees Turk after charging her with aiding Hamas
Reuters 16 July — Israel has released a Turkish woman who had been arrested while visiting on a tourist visa and accused of helping the Hamas terror group, in a case that angered Ankara, her lawyer said on Monday. Turkey threatened retaliation after Ebru Ozkan’s detention last month. The ex-allies have long been at loggerheads over Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and Jerusalem’s status. Ozkan’s lawyer, Omar Khamaisi, said she flew to Istanbul on Sunday, a week after an IDF court indicted her. An appeals court had ordered her freed and returned her passport, he told Reuters, adding: “The indictment still stands, but I think that will be cancelled too.” ….
Video: Gaza’s man of the match
EI 9 July — Hasan Adwan is a Palestinian man in Gaza who uses matches to create models of famous buildings. He spends hours at a time designing and piecing his structures together. “I do it as a hobby, not as an art,” he says. Adwan designs his models before he executes the final product. He hopes that the youth of Gaza gain an interest in design. “It’s not about putting sticks of matches together,” he said. “What’s important is to look at a structure and think about how to design it part by part.” Adwan hopes to present his models at an exhibition in the Gaza Strip. Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltefa.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinians demand Israel return bodies of loved ones
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 16 July by Zena Tahhan – Dozens of relatives of slain Palestinians held a rally calling on Israel to return the bodies of their loved ones. Monday’s protest in Ramallah took place before an Israeli Supreme Court session on Tuesday regarding the cases of 10 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since 2015 whose bodies have not been returned. Under the slogan “we want our children back”, the mothers, fathers and relatives marched from Al Manara Square in downtown Ramallah holding up signs of their slain sons, chanting “freedom to our martyrs”. “It is our right to get their bodies back and bury them. It is our right to know what happened to our boys,” Azhar Abu Srour, an organiser of the rally, told Al Jazeera. “The occupation always tries to keep us in the dark – we cannot bid our boys farewell, or bury them with dignity,” said the mother, whose son’s body has been held the longest – since April 2016. “This is a crime and the occupation needs to be held accountable,” Abu Srour, from the town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, added. Her son, Abdulhameed, died of his wounds after carrying out a bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem, a few months after his cousin was shot dead by the Israeli army. Israel withholds bodies to use as bargaining chips in political negotiations with the Palestinian leadership. It also claims releasing the bodies leads to “incitement” at funerals … Her son’s body is among the 10 other cases that have reached the Israeli Supreme Court. Four of the 10, including Abdulhameed, have been buried in cemeteries belonging to the Israeli army, while the other six remain in morgues at the Abu Kbir Institute in Tel Aviv. While the court is not expected to make a final decision on Tuesday, Salwa Hammad, coordinator for the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) – which is leading the campaign to pressure Israel to return the bodies – said the session is important … Israel has been keeping the bodies of Palestinians that its army or police have killed from as far back as 1967 when it occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. According to JLAC, at least 17 bodies are kept in morgues, four are buried in cemeteries belonging to the military, while hundreds of others are withheld at the infamous “cemeteries of numbers“….
Settlers shoot, injure Palestinian near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 14 July – Armed Israeli settlers on Saturday shot and injured a Palestinian young man near the village of ‘Asira al-Qibliya, to the south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Settlers from illegal Yitzhar settlement, nearby, opened gunfire at Ammar Abu Hamad, 30, and injured him. He was moved to a hospital in nearby Nablus for medical treatment.
Settlers prevent shepherds from grazing livestock in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 15 July – Illegal Israeli settlers on Sunday chased Palestinian shepherds out pasture areas near the village of Khallet Makahoul, in the northern Jordan Valley, and prevented them from grazing their livestock, said a local activist. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, said settlers chased the shepherds and prevented them from grazing their livestock, although the settlers were grazing their sheep in the same area.
Israeli settlers destroy crops in West Bank town
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 16 July – Israeli settlers destroyed on Monday crops in the southern West Bank town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, after they ran over them with their vehicle, according to the landowner. Fadi Zayyah, a local farmer, said that the assailants drove their vehicle on his land planted with tomatoes and cucumbers, destroying the crops before fleeing the scene. Zayyah’s field is adjacent to the illegal Nevi Daniel settlement, which was established on lands seized from Wad Rahhal and al-Khader villages in 1982. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by the Israeli authorities.
Jewish settlers attack Palestinian home in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 16 July – Jewish settlers from the illegal Ramat Yashai and Beit Hadasa settlements built in the heart of the Arab city of Hebron in the south of the West Bank threw rocks and attacked on Monday a Palestinian home causing damage and terrorizing its residents, according to WAFA correspondent. He said Israeli soldiers in the heavily fortified neighborhood in the old town of Hebron, which remained under full Israeli military control, stood by and did nothing as the settlers attacked the residence of Hani al-Izzeh in Tel Rumeideh. The settlers throw rocks and garbage at the Izzeh home, and destroyed property and crops planted around the house. They also used bad language and threats of more attacks against the family.
Settlers attack Palestinian homes, torch farmland in West Bank
NABLUS (WAFA) 17 July — Jewish settlers attacked on Tuesday Palestinian homes in the northern West Bank village of Asira al-Qibliya and set farmland on fire, according to Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlers’ activities in the north of the West Bank. He told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement attacked the Palestinian homes and torched land planted with olive trees. He said residents rushed to defend their homes and land but the Israeli army intervened to protect the settlers and confronted the residents shooting at them to keep them back. Residents clashed with the soldiers, as well as the settlers, he said.
Israeli forces seal entrance to Hebron-area refugee camp
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli forces sealed off the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp in the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Monday. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces closed the entrance of the refugee camp preventing entry and exit of vehicles. Residents were forced to use substitute roads to be able to reach their workplaces outside of the camp.
Israeli forces assault Palestinian farmers, confiscate crops in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces attacked Palestinian farmers and confiscated their crops in the Beit Ummar village on the main road between the Jerusalem and Hebron districts on Monday. Activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad said that the farmers were from Halhul City, Beit Ummar village and the al-‘Arroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. He added that they were selling their crops of cucumbers, almonds, peaches, grapes and other on the main road using booths or tents. Awad pointed out that the proceeds of selling these crops support dozens of needy or less fortunate Palestinian families of the area. Awad said that this systematic behavior occurs every season as Israeli forces attack Palestinian farmers and forcefully confiscate the crops they are telling [trying?] to sell.
Undercover Israeli forces kidnap Palestinian in Hebron
Hebron (Ma‘an) 15 July — Undercover Israeli forces raided a gas station and kidnapped a Palestinian youth, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Sunday. Local sources identified the kidnapped Palestinian youth as Malik al-Jaabari. Sources added that al-Jaabari was kidnapped by undercover Israeli forces from a local gas station in the Ras al-Jura area in Hebron. The undercover Israeli forces quickly left the scene with al-Jaabari. Sources mentioned that several Israeli forces returned to the gas station afterwards and confiscated the surveillance camera recordings.
In Video: Israeli forces injure 9 Palestinians, detain 7 others in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli forces shot and injured nine Palestinians with live ammunition, while detaining seven other Palestinians during predawn raids in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, on Sunday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that nine Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during raids carried out in the al-Jalazun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. The ministry confirmed that Israeli forces shot six Palestinians with live bullets in their lower limbs and the pelvis area, while three other Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated [steel] bullets. The injured Palestinians were transferred to the Palestinian medical compound for treatment. Medical doctors said the injured in a stable condition. According to local sources, on Sunday morning, Israeli forces stormed the refugee camp and broke into several homes resulting in clashes among Palestinians and the Israeli forces.
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians and confiscated weapons and money during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.
In the al-Khader town of the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians; they were identified as Ahmad Odeh Issa, Mussab Abu Aamus, Wajdi Moussa, Karam Sbeih and Muhammad Midhat Issa. In the same district, two Palestinians were detained from Bethlehem City and identified as Muhammad Khalid al-Sheikh and Rami Salim al-Rafati.
In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained another four Palestinians; they were identified as Luay Taysir Dweikat, Abdullah Walid Khreiwish, Taha al-Titi, and former prisoner Ahmad Amer Nassar. Names of other detainees were not immediately identified.
An Israeli army spokesman said that Israeli forces confiscated weapons and dozens of thousands of shekels during the raids. The money was found and confiscated in the house of Sufian Zaki Bahr in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, according to the army.
Clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in the Abu Shukheidim village in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, and the Jerusalem Street south of Ramallah City.
Locals said that Palestinian youths surrounded Israeli forces throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at them, forcing soldiers to call in reinforcement to the village. Tensions increased when Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas bombs at the youths. Clashes also broke out in the northern West Bank district of Nablus.
Israeli forces detain 29 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli forces detained at least 29 Palestinians during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from Hebron City in the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Udayy al-Umour. Another four Palestinians were detained from the Yatta City in the same district; they were identified as Muhammad Jibrail al-Umour, Rami al-Najjar, Muhammad Jibriin, and Ahmad Jibriin. In the Shu‘fat refugee camp in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, four Palestinians were detained after Israeli forces raided the camp; they were identified as former prisoner Omar Muhussein, Mahmoud Saadi al-Adwein, Misbah Abu Sara, and Abdullah Abu Sara….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Video: West Bank students face uncertain future with demolition threat
A community school in the occupied West Bank is opening early for the new academic year in hopes of staving off the threat of Israeli demolition. The Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar was due to be bulldozed to expand an illegal Israeli settlement. But Israel’s Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction blocking the demolition until August 15, but the fate of the Bedouin village dating back to the 1950s is still unclear. The Palestinians hope that populating the building will prevent Israel from demolishing both the building and the academic opportunities of its students. Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports from the school in the occupied West Bank that opened its gates early for students, whose futures are uncertain.
Israel to ease Israeli settlers’ gun ownership restrictions
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 July — The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) National Office for the Defense of Land and Resistance of Settlement said on Saturday that the Israeli government provides full support for illegal settlement outposts and for settlers’ gun ownership. According to the office’s weekly report on Israeli settlement activities, a number of Israeli ministries and government agencies have been allocating hundreds of millions of shekels to support the construction of illegal settlement areas as well as settlement outposts. The report confirmed the extent of the Israeli government’s involvement in the “theft” of Palestinian land and the hate crimes carried out by Israeli settlers towards Palestinians and their private property. The Israeli government plans to ease restrictions on Israeli settler’s gun ownership in the near future through legal changes that would make all Israeli citizens with firearms training eligible for a gun permit. The proposed changes would apply in particular to Israeli settlers living near Israel’s West Bank separation wall, which cuts through the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces demolish house, structures in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli bulldozers demolished a house, agricultural structure and two walls in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being built without a license.A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli bulldozers stormed the Shu‘fat and al-Tur neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and demolished agricultural facilities without any prior notices. Resident of the Shu‘fat neighborhood, Saleh Abu Khdeir, said that Israeli bulldozers demolished his ready-for-housing home, in addition to a wall surrounding the area and a steel structure used for agricultural purposes. Abu Khdeir added that the demolition was carried out above his agricultural equipment and tractors as Israeli forces did not allow him to approach the area to evacuate contents from inside the structure before the demolition. He explained that he did not receive a prior notice on the demolition. Abu Khdeir pointed out that this is the second time that his home was demolished; his house was previously demolished several months ago forcing Abu Khdeir to rebuild for his family of six. He noted that the demolished house consisted of a total space of 100-square-meters.
Meanwhile in the al-Tur neighborhood, Israeli forces stormed the area and demolished a retaining wall surrounding a piece of Palestinian-owned land.
Israeli bulldozers demolish 2 Palestinian-owned rooms in Nablus
[with photos] NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian-owned rooms in the village of Khirbet al-Marajim, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, on Sunday. Abed al-Salam Dawabshe, the mayor of Duma village, which is located south of Nablus, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers demolished two rooms in the Khirbet al-Marajim village, which belonged to two Palestinian residents, Maarouf Muslim and Amin Salem Sharabi. Dawabshe added that Israeli forces demolished the structure under the pretext that it was built in “Area C.” Dawabshe confirmed that Israeli authorities claim that they sent out demolition notices weeks ago, stressing that the municipality of the village did not receive any notices regarding demolition.
Israeli forces confiscate 120-dunam land in Bethlehem
[with maps and photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces confiscated a hill of a total area of 120 dunams (29.6 acres) in the al-Khader town in the southern occupied district of Bethlehem on Tuesday. Ahmad Salah, Coordinator of the Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem, said that Palestinian owners of the targeted land found notices placed on the ground, giving them a 45-day period to appeal. Salah added that due to the number of land owners, Israeli forces distributed dozens of notices in the targeted area to each owner by name. He mentioned that the notice stated the following: “you are asked to leave this land and restore the land to its previous condition within 45 days and in case you do not do as requested, the Israeli authority will evacuate.” The statement continued: “You can submit a written letter to the official responsible for absentee property within 30 days objecting the decision regarding evacuation, provide a map and documents showing the entire area, which you have land ownership rights to. The appeal may be submitted to the Israeli Military Appeals Committee in Ofer.”
Israeli who snitched to PA on W. Bank land sales to Jews charged
Ynet 15 July by Yael Friedson — An indictment was issued Sunday against left-wing activist Ezra Nawi for conveying information regarding Palestinians involved in selling land to Jews to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces on multiple occasions … Nawi is charged with an offense under section 7a (b) of the Implementation of the Oslo Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which prohibits Israeli citizens or residents from enlisting or acting in the service of the PA’s intelligence and security forces. This is the first time that an Israeli citizen has been charged with this offense without actually joining the PA….
Foreign residents in Palestinian territories denied visa renewals
WEST BANK, Palestine (Al Jazeera) 13 July by Rania Zabaneh — Israel is increasingly rejecting applications to renew residency visas and families face being split up — Four suitcases, memories of 35 years and a hope to meet friends again, in Palestine, are what US citizens Roger Heacock and Laura Wick are leaving Ramallah with. The couple arrived to Palestine in 1983, initially planning to stay for a few years in solidarity. But they ended up with a family and a career here: Heacock is a renowned history professor and Wick is a midwife and health researcher at Birzeit University. Both say they didn’t plan to stay this long – or leave this way. In May, when they came back from a trip abroad, Israeli immigration officers gave them a two-week tourist visa and told them that they could renew it at the Israeli military coordination office in Ramallah. They applied for a renewal, but never got a response. “We can’t stay, because if we stay – and we’re already a month over, we’ll be more and more illegal, and then it’s easy enough for them to say we have disobeyed procedures,” Heacock told Al Jazeera on his last day in Ramallah.
Since June, Israeli authorities have refused to renew the visas of at least six other international faculty members at Birzeit University. In the past two years, according to a recent Palestinian education ministry survey, half faculty members holding foreign passports in eight leading universities have been negatively affected by an upsurge of entry denials or visa restrictions by the Israeli authorities … The Israeli visa renewal rate has dropped from 70 per cent in 2017 to about 10 per cent so far this year, officials at the Palestinian civil affairs commission told Al Jazeera … Since the Palestinian Authority doesn’t control its borders, the issue of granting visas to foreign nationals seeking work or residency in occupied Palestine lies solely in Israel’s hands. This leaves the civil affairs office with little to do, beyond collecting applications, handing in files and passing on responses. Morgan Cooper, also from the US, is waiting on her response. The California native came to Ramallah in 2004. Five years later, she met her Palestinian husband, Saleh Totah, in his restaurant. She’s one of an estimated 35,000 foreign passport holders who applied for a family unification to get a Palestinian residency. But since that was frozen around the time she got married – Israel views control over the population registry as a political issue and a bargaining chip in future talks – B2-visitor’s visa became her blessing and curse …
Cooper and Totah said they are in it for the long run, yet divorce became a conversation around the dinner table – as the couple try to find ways to stay home. Twice, Cooper said, Israelis told her to either immigrate to the US or divorce her husband. “You shouldn’t have married an Arab,” Cooper said the head of the visas once told her. Cooper, Totah, Heacock and Wick all said they are fighting in the dark. The Israeli procedures are not written, they are unclear and often change, they said….