In Photos: Funerals of 3 killed Palestinians commence in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Aug — The people of Gaza commenced the funeral processions of the three Palestinians who were killed during Israeli airstrikes on Thursday afternoon. Palestinians carried the body of killed pregnant mother Enas Mohammad Abu Khammash along with her 18-month-old toddler in one coffin, which was wrapped with the Palestinian flag.
Huge incendiary kite from Gaza lands on kibbutz power lines
Times of Israel 11 Aug — A large incendiary kite launched from Gaza landed on power lines near Kibbutz Sufa, sparking a quick operation by employees from the Israeli Electric Corporation to remove the device before a fire was started. The 4-meter (about 13-foot) kite, which landed on Friday, caused a power outage at the kibbutz and in the surrounding area. It was removed from the high-voltage wires by electric company workers using a crane. In another community near the Gaza Strip, police sappers neutralized an incendiary balloon flown over from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave that landed next to a dining room in an Israeli community in the Eshkol Region. In response, the Israeli military on Saturday afternoon said it targeted a cell responsible for launching incendiary balloons in the northern Gaza Strip. Reports in Palestinian media said two people were injured in the Israeli strikes in El-Bureij. There were also Palestinian reports of a second IDF strike elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. Earlier, another incendiary device sparked a fire in the Nir Am nature reserve. The blaze was largely under control by Saturday afternoon, according to the Parks Authority. The arson attacks Saturday came on the heels of clashes along the Gaza border on Friday that saw three Palestinians killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza … The violence that erupted over the weekend came after Hamas and Israel appeared to be honoring an informal cease-fire that ended two days of intense violence amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides….
MOH: 3 Palestinians killed, 307 injured during Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)11 Aug — Three Palestinians, including a paramedic, were killed and hundreds of others injured on Friday during the 20th “Great March of Return” protests along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. According to spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, a Palestinian paramedic was killed while providing first aid to the wounded east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Al-Qidra identified the paramedic as Abdullah al-Qutati and confirmed that he was shot in the head with a live bullet by an Israeli sniper. Qatati succumbed to his critical injuries on the scene.
Al-Qidra also confirmed that a 55-year-old Palestinian who was identified as Ali Said al-‘Aloul was killed by Israeli forces during the protests east of Rafah.
Medical sources from the Gaza European Hospital also confirmed that a Palestinian man succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, which he had sustained during the protests along the eastern borders of Rafah City. Sources identified the Palestinian as Ahmad Jamal Abu Luli, 40, and confirmed that he was shot and critically injured by Israeli forces, causing injuries in his pelvis. All three Palestinians were immediately transferred to the Gaza European Hospital where they were pronounced dead. Witnesses confirmed that Israeli snipers were stationed at the borderline watchtowers and opened fire towards the protesters, injuring 307 of them, of which 136 were treated at the scene, while 106 were transferred to the hospital for necessary medical treatment. Among the injured protesters, 70 were shot by live ammunition, 5 of which were critically injured; 28 were children, five paramedics and two journalists….
Palestinian shock after child killed; Israelis fear more rockets
NUSEIRAT (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 9 Aug by Adel Zaanoun with Clothilde Mraffko in Sderot, Israel — A Palestinian family called for answers Thursday as to why an Israeli air strike hit their relatives’ home in the Gaza Strip, killing a pregnant mother and her 18-month-old daughter. Only kilometres away, Israelis who spent the night rushing to bomb shelters due to a barrage of rockets and mortars from the Palestinian enclave said they were fed up and feared for their children.
In the Gaza Strip, Enas Mohammad Abu Khammash, 23, and her daughter Bayan were asleep when an Israeli strike hit their home, killing them both, relatives and neighbours said. The girl’s father was seriously injured …
– ‘Like a nightmare’- In the family house in the Jafarawi neighbourhood of central Gaza, a strong smell of death lingered Thursday, the walls flecked with blood and mud. The strike happened shortly after midnight. A neighbour, Umm Walid, said she heard the sound of whimpering from the house about 30 minutes after the explosion, eventually entering to find the two bodies and Enas’s husband badly injured. “It was like a nightmare. I wish I had died before seeing this terrible scene,” she said. The house is a few hundred metres from a Hamas military base, one of several that can be found throughout Gaza — often in heavily populated areas. “The missile hit the mosque nearby then hit the house and caused this hole before it hit the floor of the living room,” said neighbour Imad, 44 and an officer in Gaza’s Hamas-dominated police force. “Shrapnel hit the little girl and her mother.” Abdullah Khammash, a cousin, wanted to know why the house had been hit. “There are resistance bases everywhere, we don’t have any relation with it,” he said, referring to Hamas sites. “I say to Lieberman come here and see for yourself the damage. I want to ask him what was the guilt of this girl?” he added, referring to Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister. “This girl didn’t know hatred of anyone and I don’t hate anyone,” he said….
Report: 167 Palestinians killed, over 18,000 injured since March 30th
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza released a report on Saturday showing new statistics regarding the number of Palestinians killed and injured since the start of “The Great March of Return” protests in the besieged Gaza Strip. The report showed that Israeli forces shot and killed a total of 167 Palestinians and injured over 18,000 others since the start of “The Great March of Return” protests on March 30th. The new statistics come after three Palestinians were killed with live bullets fired by Israeli forces on Friday during the 20th “Great March of Return” protests in Gaza. The ministry confirmed that a paramedic was one of the three killed Palestinians which raised the total number of medics that have been killed by Israeli forces to three. The report added that 370 paramedics were injured. Several injured Palestinians were in critical condition, while many others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Additionally, a total of about 70 ambulances were damaged.
The report released by the ministry clearly showed that Israeli forces intentionally targeted Palestinians on Friday with the intention to kill since the injuries were caused by various types of live ammunition and were aimed at specific parts of the body. Twenty-eight children were among the 307 Palestinians injured during the Friday protests, five were medics, and two were journalists.
Video: Injured are rushed to hospitals after clash between Gaza and Israel
Daily Mail 11 August
Health Ministry: 80% of cancer medications depleted in Gaza hospitals
IMEMC 12 Aug — The Palestinian Health Ministry is Gaza has reported that 80% of cancer medications in the besieged coastal region are depleted, an issue that poses imminent threats to the lives of the patients. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, has reported that the Rantisi specialized hospital, which deals with cancer patients, has run out of the drug Neupogen, which is essential for the immunity systems of the patients, adding that, starting on Sunday morning (August 12th), all treatments will be suspended. Dr. al-Qedra added that the lives of hundreds of cancer patients in the Gaza Strip is at a real risk if the current drug crisis is not immediately resolved. On his part, Dr. Talha Ba‘lousha, the head of the Oncology Pharmacy Department at the Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, said all treatments for colon and intestine cancers have been suspended after the main drugs, XELOX and FOLFOX, have run out … “The patients’ conditions do not tolerate waiting until they get the needed medicine, especially since several patients are banned from leaving the Gaza Strip, therefore, they have no option but to wait to be treated in Gaza,” he said, “This poses serious risks to their lives, and causes more pain and grief to them, and their families….
Why does Israel keep destroying cultural heritage sites in Gaza?
IMEMC 10 Aug by Celine Hagbard — On Thursday August 9th, the Israeli airforce dropped ten missiles on a building in Gaza City, turning the five-story building into rubble. Was this a Hamas training center, or somehow associated with the Palestinian armed resistance? No. Like the building targeted by Israeli forces two weeks earlier, when two teen boys were killed taking a selfie, this was a cultural center aimed at preserving the history and culture of the Palestinian people of Gaza. The Said Al-Mashal Foundation for Arts and Culture was a place where cultural heritage was preserved and maintained. The Palestinian traditional dance known as dabke was taught and practiced there, poets would gather to share their latest works, and musicians would come together for jam sessions and performances. Two weeks earlier, the Israeli airforce dropped another bomb on the Arts and Crafts Museum in Gaza City. Why is Israel so focused on destroying Palestinian cultural artifacts, museums, arts and crafts? Is it because resistance fighters are hidden inside these centers? That is a laughable claim that is easily disproved by looking at the evidence – no fighters, weapons or rockets in the rubble that remains of what had been beautiful and well-loved cultural centers. Nor is it true that these centers were somehow ‘collateral damage’, and the bombs were targeting some other, nearby place. No, Israeli forces directly targeted these centers – and in fact, after the fact, declared the strikes a ‘success’ and claimed that they hit their targets directly….
Israel prevents flotilla to break Gaza siege
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli naval forces fired shots to prevent dozens of boats from reaching the Israeli maritime border to break the siege of Gaza on Saturday. A flotilla consisting of about 40 boats set sail from the shores of the besieged Gaza Strip to the Israeli maritime border, between Gaza and Israel, as a part of the “March of Return” campaign to break the nearly 12-year Israeli siege and bring the world’s attention to the on-going conflict. The organizers of the campaign said “The flotilla represents a message to the Palestinian factions involved in the peace agreement negotiation and we will not agree to any solution that will not lead to the lifting of Gaza blockade.” The organizers stressed “We want the world to see the reality of the blockade and the suffering of the people of Gaza, and we will not accept anything less than lifting the blockade once and for all.” According to local witnesses, once the boats started to approach the Israeli maritime border, Israeli naval forces fired at the them as a “warning” sign to remain far off the border. Witnesses added that one of the Israeli Navy ships purposely accelerated in the sea, in order to create enormous waves. The flotilla, out of fear of turning over, withdrew back to the Gaza port. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that no one was injured during the incident. Many attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public’s attention to the on-going siege of Gaza. From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 ships to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.
Israeli navy attacks, detains 5 Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli naval forces attacked a number of Palestinian fishing boats and detained several of the fishermen on Sunday in the northern besieged Gaza Strip. Nizar Ayyash, the boat captain, told Ma‘an that the Israeli naval forces fired at the fishing boats and detained five Palestinian fishermen, who were taken to an unknown location. Following the attack, Israeli naval forces confiscated the fishing boats and sailed them towards the Israeli Ashdod seaport. Ayyash identified the detained fishermen as Hassan Fadel Baker and his brother, Nasser, along with his three sons Yasser, Ahmad, and Fadel Nasser Baker … According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israel’s Gaza siege and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector,” with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line….
Israel considered killing Hamas leaders in response to Gaza escalation
(paywall) Haaretz 12 Aug by Yaniv Kubovich — Israel made preparations in recent months to kill senior Hamas officials in Gaza in response to the violent protests at the border fence that began on March 30 and the launching of incendiary kites and balloons. Defense sources say, however, that Israel has decided not to carry out such assassinations in order to exhaust the efforts by Egypt and the United Nations to broker a political arrangement instead. According to the sources, the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service believe that targeted killings are preferable to a wide-scale attack on the Gaza Strip that could include ground troops. The sources say that the killing of a senior Hamas figure could also lead to a harsh response by the organization and the beginning of a military campaign. They say the IDF seeks to delay any broader conflict in Gaza until at least the end of 2019, when the above- and below-ground obstacle along the entire Gaza border is completed. The completion of the barrier will be the most important strategic event on the Gaza front, a senior defense official recently told a closed forum….
‘Mutiny’ at UN Palestinian agency in Gaza after job cuts; official
GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 8 Aug — Workers have seized partial control of the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Hamas-run Gaza, its head said Wednesday, accusing their union of “mutiny” over job cuts. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced last month more than 250 staff in Gaza and the occupied West Bank would lose their jobs, after a $300 million cut in annual funding from the United States. The redundancies have prompted daily protests by the agency’s labour union in the enclave, which UNRWA’s Gaza head said have led to security concerns. “They have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are,” said Matthias Schmale. The agency’s Gaza chief admitted UNRWA does not have full control over the site, in Gaza City, explaining he has not been able to work from his own office for more than two weeks. “I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” he told AFP, referring to the number of employees in Gaza … Schmale accused the labour union of multiple incidents of “threatening and intimidating other fellow Palestinian staff. For me that crosses a red line.”
Gaza feels bite of US cuts to Palestinian aid
[with VIDEO] DW 10 Aug by Tania Kraemer (Gaza) — A determined Suleiman Abu Oudeh makes his way through the busy UNRWA distribution center in the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. With his ID card and coupons in hand, he gets in line where food items are being handed out. “Of course, everyone here is worried and knows that UNRWA is in a difficult situation,” says Abu Oudeh, accepting a box of sunflower oil once he reaches the counter. “People are worried that rations might be cut in the long run. It has happened before. The situation in Gaza is so bad. There is no work and many are completely dependent on help.” Although food distribution is by no means under threat at the moment, the organization’s financial crisis hangs like a dark cloud over all of its services … For several days, UNRWA employees have been holding a sit-in at the agency’s headquarters in Gaza City, blocking management from reaching its offices. Employees and trade unions are protesting part-time work and job cuts that were recently introduced. Ismail Al Talla‘a, one of the 113 employees threatened with dismissal, has even begun a hunger strike. “I have five children at home and UNRWA helped me until now to feed my family,” he says. “If I lose my job, my life is ruined. I have financial obligations, and with this bad economic situation in Gaza, what am I supposed to do?”… UNRWA employs around 12,500 people in the Gaza Strip whose jobs afforded them steady incomes in a difficult economic environment. “We spent our best years here. I never thought I would get into this situation,” says Al Talla‘a. Finding a job in Gaza is considered almost impossible, with a jobless rate over 40 percent….
Will canceled camps mean a deadly summer for Gaza’s children?
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 3 Aug — During a typical summer in Gaza, Palestinian children would be occupied attending camps, but this summer is different — On July 28, Majdi al-Satari, 12, from the Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah, was killed by a bullet to the head fired by an Israeli sniper at a protest on Gaza’s border with Israel … Satari had been participating in the border protests since they began on March 30 … During previous summers, Majdi had enrolled with his cousins and friends for the camps held by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) across Gaza. The camps were canceled this year, however, due to the agency’s financial crisis, stemming from the United States cutting aid to the organization. Despite several attempts, Al-Monitor was unable to obtain a comment by UNRWA about the suspension … In a July 27 UN News report, David Hatton, head of UNRWA’s Gaza Community Mental Health Program, was quoted as remarking that the financial crisis had led to a sharp decline in “funding humanitarian efforts in general in Palestine.”….
Secret Israeli report ‘reveals armed drone killed’ four children playing on Gaza beach in 2014
Haaretz 12 Aug — According to a confidential Israeli military police report obtained by The Intercept, four cousins were killed in two separate drone strikes after they were mistaken for Hamas fighters — The Israeli strike that killed four Palestinian children that were playing on the beach in Gaza in 2014 was committed by an armed Israeli drone, according to an Israeli military police report that was obtained by The Intercept. The report, which was confidential and concealed from the public until now, confirms that the four cousins were chased by an armed drone that mistook them for Hamas fighters. The four Palestinian children, Ismayil Mohammed Bahar (aged nine), Ahed Atef Bahar (aged ten), Zacharia Ahed Bahar, (aged ten) and Muhammed Ramez Bahar, (aged 11), were killed in June 2014. According to the newly revealed report attained by The Intercept, which includes testimony from the drone operators, commanders, and intelligence officers who took part in the attack, an Israeli surveillance drone had identified a small shipping container on a jetty and had destroyed it a day before the attack that killed the four children. Israel reportedly had intelligence that indicated the shipping container had been used by Hamas naval commandos to store weapons. The next day, according to the report, a figure was seen entering the container that had been destroyed the previous day. The military then used an armed drone to attack the jetty. The missile killed the person who had entered the container. The drone operators then launch a second strike, which killed the three other children, as they fled across the beach….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel to confiscate Palestinian lands in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem decided on Friday to confiscate dozens of dunams of land in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the Israeli municipality staff members delivered notices informing local residents about the municipality’s intention to confiscate the mentioned lands for “gardening purposes.” The center said in a statement that the lands to be confiscated are the property of local Palestinian residents, who hold official paperwork confirming their ownership. The center added that some parts of the lands to be confiscated belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. Palestinian residents of Silwan believe that Israel aims to completely confiscate their land, saying that they will appeal to the Israeli authorities to protect their lands, since they have ownership rights. Recently, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian lands in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods, in order to gain control of the area to establish an illegal Israeli settlement project under the title of “national parks.” “National parks” are meant to help annex more Palestinian lands to maintain a Jeiwsh majority in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of being built for recreational purposes … Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers. There are eight illegal Israeli settlement outposts in Silwan, the first one being under Israeli settler control since 2004.
Settlers inaugurate ‘tourist center’ in Silwan
AIC 10 Aug by Amalya Dubrovsky — Two Palestinians were arrested prior to the event and dozens of others were forcibly cleared from the streets by fully armed Israeli police — The Israeli government on August 1, 2018 held an event marking the opening of a settler-run “Jewish heritage center” in the Batn al-Hawa area of Silwan in East Jerusalem. Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque that already suffers from multiple, expanding Israeli settlements and settler-run tourist sites. Prior to the inauguration ceremony, fully armed Israeli police descended upon the neighborhood. Security forces arrested and interrogated Nuheir Rajabi, head of the Batn al-Hawa Council, and Jawad Siam, director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. Police also cleared the roads of Palestinians and Palestinian journalists, ordering them to leave the area, and blocked many roads, which created massive traffic jams. “[A Shin Bet officer] said he saw on Facebook that we’re planning a demonstration and said he doesn’t want to have to arrest me, that it wouldn’t be in my interest,” Rajabi told Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “I told him that we want to tell [Israeli minister of culture] Miri Regev that there are people here, these are their homes, and I’m not breaking the law.” Ateret Cohanim, a settler organization that seeks to impose a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem via religious schooling and settlement expansion, owns and manages the new center. They confiscated the building from the Abu Nab family, which had lived there since 1948, when they were expelled from West Jerusalem….
Palestinian police patrol Hebron in rare sight for locals
RAMALLAH, West Bank 10 Aug by Ahmad Melhem — Palestinians in the old town of Hebron were recently surprised to see armed and uniformed officers of the Palestinian security forces patrolling the town for the first time since 1997. The city in the southern West Bank is divided into two parts under the Hebron Protocol signed in 1997 between Israel and the PLO. Area H1 covers 80% of the city and is under Palestinian control. Area H2 includes the old town, the Ibrahimi Mosque and some neighborhoods and is under both Israeli security control and Palestinian civilian control. The pact followed bilateral agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the redeployment of Israeli military forces in Hebron based on the Oslo Accord. Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rab, the director general of the Palestinian police in Hebron, told Al-Monitor the security delegation entered the old town on July 31 “in coordination with the Israeli authorities to reach out to the residents and show them that Palestinian security, although not [permanently] deployed in the area, is there to protect and assist them. This also conveys a message to lawbreakers that security forces can get to them no matter where they try to hide.” Abu Rab added, “The old town of Hebron and the areas under Israeli security control have turned into a hideout for lawbreakers, drug traffickers and fugitives, as they believe Palestinian security won’t be able to reach them there.” Although the Palestinian security services won’t be able to stay in the area permanently or carry out security operations without coordinating with the Israeli side, they have devised a plan to help residents….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces injure Palestinian youth during clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — A Palestinian youth was shot and critically injured by Israeli forces during violent clashes in the Tuqu‘ village, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on Friday evening. Locals said that Israeli forces shot a Palestinian youth in the knee with live ammunition during clashes. Sources added that the youth was immediately transferred to a local hospital to receive medical treatment. The identity of the Palestinian youth remained unknown.
Friday demonstration violently repressed in Hebron
[with photos] HEBRON, occupied Palestine (ISM, Al-Khalil Team) 11 Aug — Yesterday, on the 10th of August, the Friday demonstration in the city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) was violently repressed by Israeli forces. Unarmed protestors gathered after Friday prayers, around 13:30, to protest against the occupation and in solidarity with Gaza. During the first hour of the demonstration the soldiers held back, staying around checkpoint 56, but eventually stormed out from the checkpoint and into H1, the Palestinian controlled part of the city. First, they stormed Baba Zawya, trying to capture and arrest youths protesting against the occupation. The soldiers shot large amounts of tear gas and stun grenades at the demonstrators during their break into H1, with the result of two young children suffering excessive tear gas inhalation. ISM activists followed the soldiers to witness their actions, and while they stood close, watching defiantly, the soldiers shouted at the activists and violently pushed them. Israeli forces arrested three youths and two men. Four of them were eventually but released, but the whereabouts of the fifth is currently unknown. The demonstration ended at 19:30.
Israeli soldiers injure two Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum
[with videos] IMEMC 11 Aug — Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and attacked protesters against the Annexation Wall and colonies, wounding two. Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and resorted to the excessive use of force against the protesters, by firing live rounds and gas bombs. He added that several youngsters hurled stones at the soldiers, while the army fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. Two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and several others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, especially when the soldiers fired gas bombs directly at a number of homes. Kufur Qaddoum witnesses frequent Israeli military invasions, especially predawn incursions and violent searches of homes, in addition to the abduction of many youngsters by the soldiers. The Israeli army has been escalating its assaults and violations in the village in an attempt to step the ongoing weekly processions.
Israeli forces injure 4 Palestinians during clashes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli forces shot and injured four Palestinians on Saturday during clashes in the village of Beit Ummar, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. According to a local activist, Muhammad Iyad Awad, Israeli forces raided Beit Ummar and delivered notices to local Palestinian residents threatening the village against further resistance activity against the forces. Awad said that following this, clashes erupted among Palestinian youths and Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated steel bullets towards the Palestinians and injured four of them. Awad added that several of the local residents of the village suffered tear-gas suffocation. Additionally, Israeli forces confiscated four Palestinian-owned vehicles from the village.
Israeli forces detain shepherd in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli forces chased Palestinian shepherds and detained one while they were herding their livestock in fields near Yatta City in the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Saturday. Coordinator of a local popular committee against the separation wall and settlements, Rateb al-Jbour, told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned news agency Wafa that Israeli forces chased after shepherds in the Masafer Yatta area fields before they detaining one. Al-Jbour said that Israeli forces claim that the fields are under a military training zone and therefore prevent shepherds from entering the area in an attempt to force Palestinian residents out of the area for the benefit of settlement construction. Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.
Israeli settlers attack activists in Tel Rumeida
[with photos] HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Aug — Israeli settlers, led by right-wing Israeli settlers Baruch Marzel and under armed security by Israeli forces, assaulted a group of activists doing voluntary work in the Tel Rumeida Street in the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Friday. Activists from the Youth Against Settlement (YAS) group were carrying out voluntary work of cleaning and repairing around a Palestinian house in Tel Rumeida in Hebron’s Old City when Israeli settlers attacked the house and activists. The house belongs to Tel Rumeida resident, Youssef al-Azza. Coordinator of “Youth against Settlement” Murad Amr said that a number of the attack aims to “weaken” Palestinian movement inside closed areas, such as Tel Rumeida, to allow more freedom to Israeli settlers. The attacked house comes wall-to-wall with the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Ramat Yishai and Marzel’s house. Amr pointed out that volunteering in the area, which comes under a campaign that aims to repair and maintain houses in closed area of Hebron, would continue.
Israeli army holds military exercises near Palestinian villages in north of West Bank
JENIN 9 Aug – The Israeli army carried out military exercises on Wednesday night and early Thursday near two Palestinian villages in the north of the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Residents of Faqoua and Galboun, east of Jenin, said they heard explosions during the night as the army used live ammunition in the drill. Large number of soldiers also operated in agricultural land causing damage to crops, they said.
Israeli soldiers abduct two Palestinians in Ramallah and Tulkarem
IMEMC 10 Aug — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday at dawn, two Palestinians, and injured several others, in Ramallah and Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank. The PPS office in Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, said dozens of soldiers stormed Tulkarem refugee camp, before invading and ransacking many homes, and abducted a young man, identified as Abu Ziad Farhana. It added that the soldiers also fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at many local protesters, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers also abducted Ala’ Akram Barghouthi, from Beit Rima town, northwest of Ramallah, after stopping him at a military roadblock, at the main entrance of nearby Nabi Saleh village. In related news, the soldiers invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, searched homes and summoned several young men for interrogation.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct nine Palestinians in Ramallah and Hebron’
IMEMC 12 Aug — Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Sunday, nine Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank governorates of Ramallah and Hebron, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS office in Ramallah, in central West Bank, said the soldiers abducted seven Palestinians from several parts of the governorate. The abducted Palestinians have been identified as Saeb Fahmi Abu Salim, Nidal Ibrahim Ata, Ezzeddin Tahseen Odah, Ahmad Dakhlallah, Raed Samir Hammad, Farouq Shadi and Abdul-Fattah al-Ajrab. Also at dawn, the soldiers abducted two young men, identified as Akram Mohammad Jabarat, 21, and Odai Mohammad No‘man, from their homes in Halhoul town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian children systematically beaten in Israeli detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee published on Saturday documentation of testimonies by a number of Palestinian children during their detention by Israeli forces. The documentations revealed that the children were subjected to systematic beatings and torture during and after their detention. The committee’s lawyer, Hiba Ighbarieh, said that three Palestinian children who are currently held at Meggido Israeli prison talked about what they underwent during and after their detention. The first testimony was by 16-year-old Munir Dari, from the ‘Issawiyeh neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, who told Ighbarieh that while being detained, he was assaulted by several Israeli soldiers. Dari said he was subjected to beating and cursing while at the Russian Compound detention center in western Jerusalem, in an attempt to force him to confess to the charges pressed against him. The second testimony, by Fahd Qeisieh, 17, also from ‘Issawiyeh, revealed that he was beaten following clashes with Israeli forces; he said that an Israeli policeman “tackled him and dragged him to a police car where another officer stepped on his back, while two others were violently beating him as he was laying on the ground.” Qeisieh said that the beating continued at the Russian Compound detention center where he was hit with a stick on his face, hands, legs and back while he was forced to kneel….
Israel continues to mistreat relatives of thousands of Palestinians held illegally in its territory
B’Tselem 9 Aug — Israel was holding some 5,300 Palestinian residents of the West Bank as security detainees or prisoners in incarceration facilities. With the exception of Ofer Prison, all the facilities used to hold Palestinians are located inside Israel. Residents of the West Bank who wish to visit their loved ones have to overcome bureaucratic hurdles in order to secure permission from the relevant authorities – the Civil Administration, the IPS and the Israel Security Agency (ISA). After permission is received, the visits themselves entail a long day of traveling due to countless inspections and protracted delays. Click here to read about the restrictions Israel imposes on prison visits by relatives from the Gaza Strip. First, the residents must apply for a permit to enter Israel through the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been responsible for coordinating between the visitors, the Civil Administration and the IPS since 1969. The Civil Administration issues permits to enter Israel for a prison visitation, provided that the visitors are first-degree relatives – fathers, mothers, grandparents, spouses, children or siblings. The permits are usually valid for a year. Other relatives are only permitted to visit prisoners in exceptional cases, when the Israeli authorities acknowledge “humanitarian grounds” for the visit. However, the Civil Administration limits first-degree relatives, too. If the ISA classifies an applicant as denied entry to Israel “on security grounds”, he or she can only receive a “prison visitation permit for denied persons” – a special permit usually valid for 45 days and for a single visit – or none at all. In addition, all men between the ages of 16 and 35 are automatically denied an annual visit permit….
Detainee suspends hunger strike after reaching an agreement for his release
IMEMC 10 Aug — Palestinian political prisoner Anas Ibrahim Shadeed, 22, has suspended hunger strike, which lasted for 22 days, after reaching an agreement with the Israeli Prison Authority to end his Administrative Detention and release him on December 19, 2018. His brother, Abdul-Majid, said Anas, from Doura town southwest of Hebron in southern West Bank, was transferred, on Wednesday, to the Ramla prison, and added that he has lost a lot of weight, and is in a difficult health condition, including constant dizziness, headache and fatigue. The Detainees’ Media Center said Shadeed declared hunger strike on July 19th, protesting being held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial, and added that he was abducted on June 14, 2017, after he was summoned for interrogation. After his abduction, the detainee received a six-month Administrative Detention order, which was renewed twice, each for six months. He was recently transferred to Hadarim prison, where he was placed in solitary confinement. During his previous imprisonment in 2016, Shadeed held a hunger strike for 88 days, protesting his Administrative Detention. An agreement was then reached to renew his detention one time for four months, ending in May 2017.
Restriction of movement
Israel denies exit of WAFA correspondent to Hajj
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 10 Aug – Israeli occupation authorities banned on Thursday the exit of WAFA correspondent Rasem Abdul-Wahed through the Karamah border crossing, on the Palestine-Jordan border, while he was on his way to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, the Muslim annual pilgrimage. Abdul-Wahed was joining the official Palestinian media delegation to Hajj when he was informed by the Israeli border control at the Karamah border crossing that he was banned from traveling for “security” reasons. Abdul-Wahed, who has been working as WAFA correspondent in Jerusalem for 23 years, has previously been denied exit from the West Bank by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Dockworkers force Israeli-linked ship away from Tunisia
EI 9 Aug by Ali Abunimah — Activists in Tunisia are celebrating victory after dockworkers forced a cargo ship chartered by the Israeli shipping company Zim to abandon efforts to land at the port of Radès. The Cornelius A, which had disappeared from maritime tracking websites early Wednesday, reappeared on Thursday. On Thursday morning the vessel was north of the Algerian coast and heading away from Tunisia and towards Spain….
Abbas tightens grip on Palestinian governmental bodies
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 7 Aug by Ahmad Melhem — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has tightened his grip on the PLO after he officially approved the distribution of tasks and departments among the Executive Committee’s members on Aug. 1. Under the new distribution, Abbas, who heads the PLO’s Executive Committee, assumed the position of chairman and head of the National Fund, which serves as the PLO’s Ministry of Finance. Abbas also appointed his adviser for foreign and international affairs, Nabil Shaath, as the temporary head of the Department of Expatriate Affairs, although Shaath is not a member of the Executive Committee. These appointments sparked a wave of criticism from Palestinian factions and forces, particularly since the position of chairman of the National Fund is normally elected by the Palestinian National Council (PNC) rather than the Executive Committee. Shaath replaced Tayseer Khaled, who had been the head of the Department of Expatriate Affairs for the past decade. The current Executive Committee was formed May 4, with Abbas urging members of the PNC to approve the new structure without resorting to elections. However, Article 13 of the PLO’s Basic Law states that “all members of the Executive Committee shall be elected by the [Palestinian] National Council.”….
Palestinians turn to the sun to reduce their power shortfall
RAMALLAH/GAZA (Reuters) 9 Aug by Ali Sawafta & Nidal al-Mughrabi — From orderly rows of solar panels in a field in the West Bank to the chaotic rooftops of Gaza, Palestinians are hoping that harnessing the energy of the sun can reduce their dependence on Israel for electricity. The West Bank only gets around three-quarters of the power its 3 million people need, imported mostly from Israel and, to a far lesser extent, Jordan. In the Gaza Strip, power generation is so paltry that, even with imports from Israel and Egypt, it gets just one-third of what it needs – so the 2 million Gazans struggle on with an average of just four hours of electricity a day. Individuals have taken it on themselves to install solar panels, trailing cables down the side of buildings to keep fans whirring or to power televisions and other appliances. The number of panels in the enclave has increased four-fold in four years and they are now dotted on most rooftops and balcony on homes, schools, hospitals, shops, banks and mosques in a place where the sun shines 320 days a year … The sun may be free, but the technology is not, and Palestinians say their ability to import solar panels has been hampered by Israeli border controls.
Arab Israelis rally against Jewish nation-state law
TEL AVIV (AFP) 11 Aug by Majeda El-Batsh — Tens of thousands of Arab Israelis and their supporters chanted against “apartheid” and for “equality” on Saturday in central Tel Aviv at a rally protesting a law that declares Israel the nation state of the Jewish people. Israeli Jews also joined the demonstration, the second since last Saturday, when thousands from Israel’s Druze minority took to the streets in Tel Aviv to denounce the law they say makes them second-class citizens, AFP reporters said. Protesters waved Palestinian and Israeli flags at the rally, which Israeli state television said drew a crowd of more than 30,000 people. Several clauses contained in the law that passed last month are sources of concern, especially since the text is part of Israel’s so-called basic laws — a de facto constitution. It makes no mention of equality or democracy, implying that Israel’s Jewish nature takes precedence — something for which Israel’s far-right religious nationalist politicians have long advocated….
Israel rejects EU plan to link Gaza to the West Bank
Palestine Chronicle 9 Aug — Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said his government rejected an EU plan to link the Gaza Strip with the West Bank by train, the Anadolu Agency reported yesterday. According to Anadolu, Katz told Israel Broadcasting Corporation: “I made it clear that Gaza will not be linked to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank],” Katz told Israel Broadcasting Corporation, according to Anadolu. “Their plan will remain on paper and it is completely rejected.” Israeli media said the EU had prepared a plan for transport in the occupied West Bank which included “the establishment of an airport, a port and a railway to link the Gaza Strip with the West Bank”. The EU did not officially inform the Israeli government of the plan. Katz, meanwhile, proposed “shifting the full responsibility over the Gaza Strip to the international community, while keeping Israel’s security control on the port.” Meanwhile, the Knesset member Moti Yogev commenting on the EU plan saying: “The Europeans are acting insolently behind the back of the State of Israel, against the Israeli interest, with the aim of establishing a Palestinian state.” EU officials dismissed the criticism stating: “We do not need approval from Israel to formulate the master plan on transportation, and therefore we did not ask for such approval. The project is part of the EU’s overall investment in the PA’s governmental activities and in the future vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Palestinian family celebrates Tlaib’s victory in congressional race
BEIT UR AL-FAUQA, West Bank (Reuters) 8 Aug by Ali Sawafta — Sharing smiles and hugs, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, who is set to become the first Muslim woman to join the U.S. Congress, celebrated her election victory on Wednesday in the courtyard of their West Bank house. Tlaib’s grandmother, aunts and uncles welcomed neighbors in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who gathered near their single-story stone house beside a grove of olive trees to congratulate them on the historic win. “This makes us proud – as the Tlaib family, residents of Beit Ur, as Palestinians, as Arabs and as Muslims, that a simple girl reaches such a position,” said her uncle, Bassam Tlaib. Tlaib’s family said the soon-to-be Congresswoman held her wedding in Beit Ur al-Fauqa in 1997 and last visited the village in 2006. The oldest of 14 children born to a family of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib is a Detroit native. Her father worked at a Ford Motor Company plant in the city, home of the U.S. car industry, and she became the first Muslim woman elected to the state legislature. On Tuesday she won her district’s Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 13th Congressional district, encompassing parts of Detroit and surrounding suburbs and home to one of the largest Muslim and Arab-American populations in the United States. Since no one ran in the Republican primary, Tlaib is poised to win the seat.