Hamas decries Israeli decision to end ‘Black Friday’ probe
Al Jazeera 16 Aug — Hamas has condemned an Israeli decision to close a military investigation into an assault on August 1, 2014, in which 135 Palestinians were killed in Rafah, in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip. In a report on Wednesday, the Israeli army cleared itself of wrongdoing and said it would not prosecute commanders who were involved, claiming its investigation found no reason to suspect criminal misconduct. The attack, referred to as “Black Friday”, was part of a seven-week assault on Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-imposed siege – aided by neighbouring Egypt – since 2007. Hamas’ spokesperson Hazem Qassem said the investigation had no “legal or political basis”.”How can the offender be the judge of the very assault they committed?” Qassem told Al Jazeera. “This was an attack that the whole world witnessed, and this is an attempt by the Israeli army to escape legal punishment.” International rights groups such as Amnesty International had said the Israeli army indiscriminately and deliberately targeted civilians during “Black Friday”. The group’s report cited “strong evidence” of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity on August 1, 2014, as Israeli forces bombarded residential areas in Rafah in retaliation for the capture of one of its soldiers. “There is overwhelming evidence that Israeli forces committed disproportionate, or otherwise indiscriminate, attacks which killed scores of civilians in their homes, on the streets and in vehicles and injured many more,” the report read. “This includes repeatedly firing artillery and other imprecise explosive weapons in densely populated civilian areas … In some cases, there are indications that they directly fired at and killed civilians, including people fleeing.” Allegations by Amnesty International and other local NGOs including B’tselem led to the launching of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). But the ICC was not able to open a fully-fledged war crimes investigation, as one of its criteria is whether a country is capable of investigating itself and prosecuting its own citizens….
Palestinian succumbs to wounds, Gaza death toll rises to 168
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — A Palestinian succumbed to his wounds on Monday that he had sustained on May 14th during “The Great March of Return” protests along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that Wissam Yousef Hijazi, 30, succumbed to his wounds sustained east of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. The ministry confirmed that Hijazi was severely injured after he was shot by Israeli forces during his participation in the protests near the return camps along the eastern border.
This brings the total number of those killed in Gaza since March 30th to 168 Palestinians killed.
Additionally, the ministry released new statistics which showed that over 18,000 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during the marches.
Hamas-Israel deal to include year-long cease-fire, Gaza-Cyprus sea lane, report says
Haaretz 16 Aug by Jack Khoury — The terms of an emerging agreement between Israel and Hamas include a year-long cease-fire, operation of a shipping route between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip, and Qatari funding for fuel in the impoverished enclave, the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese network Al Mayadeen reported on Thursday. The deal would also entail Qatari payment of Hamas officials’ salaries, according to the report, while the sea lane between Gaza and Cyprus would be under Israeli supervision. The 48 hours between Thursday and Saturday will be decisive for the potential deal’s success or failure, according to the network.
Also Thursday, U.K.-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported that the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate had visited Tel Aviv the previous day to discuss efforts to clinch a long-term cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas. According to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel was in Tel Aviv to “discuss the final details of an integrated agreement that included Israel’s approval of the truce,” as well as plans for humanitarian initiatives in Gaza, indirect negotiations with Hamas for exchanging prisoners and the Palestinian reconciliation. Kamel was also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during his visit, according to the report, as Cairo works to involve the PA in the talks and have it reassume control of the Strip … The Palestinian Authority has voiced doubts about the emerging agreement, seeing it as an attempt to bypass it…
On Tuesday, officials from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups traveled to Egypt to continue talks about a potential Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and a long-term truce with Israel.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday a short-term truce went into effect, following approval by Israel’s security cabinet.
Minister: Connecting Gaza, West Bank ‘serious threat’ to Israel’s security
MEMO 15 Aug — Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said yesterday that connecting the Gaza Strip with the West Bank is a “direct threat to Israel’s security”, Arab48reported. “Any attempt to return [Mahmoud] Abbas to Gaza and to connect between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] by way of a ‘secure passage’ which crosses Israel, will be a direct threat and a serious impact to Israel’s security,” Katz told Israel Hayom.
Katz also said that such a plan would have a “serious impact” on the “demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians.” The Israeli daily also reported other members of the Israeli cabinet opposing the deal discussed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi. A Likud cabinet member, not identified in the report, said: “Hamas will never give up on control of the Gaza Strip; therefore, such proposals are detached from reality.” On Monday, Israeli TV Channel 10reported that Netanyahu secretly travelled to Egypt i n May to meet with Al-Sisi. An American official was quoted saying that they discussed arrangements in the Gaza Strip that would see the return of the PA, a ceasefire with Hamas, easing of Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the besieged coastal enclave and advancing humanitarian projects.
Israel reopens Gaza crossing as truce talks progress
GAZA CITY (AFP) 15 Aug -by Sakher Abou El Oun — Israel reopened its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after closing it to most deliveries on July 9 over months of border tensions, as relative calm returned and truce talks progressed. An Israeli official said on condition of anonymity that an initial set of “understandings” had been reached with the help of Egypt and United Nations officials, leading to calm over the last several days and the opening of the crossing. But the official, commenting after an Israeli security cabinet meeting on the issue, warned there could be no “real arrangement with Hamas” unless it returned the remains of two soldiers it is believed to be holding — a key sticking point. Humanitarian issues in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the return of the soldiers can be addressed if calm is maintained, the official said, adding that if not, Israel would return to “aggressive” military action … An AFP journalist at the goods crossing, known as Kerem Shalom, said dozens of trucks began passing into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. Israel also returned the fishing zone it enforces off the strip to nine nautical miles in the south of the enclave, after having reduced it. The maximum allowed for Gaza fishermen is six nautical miles in the north bordering Israel….
Egypt allows 114 truckloads of goods into Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The Egyptian authorities allowed the entry of 114 truckloads of various goods into the besieged Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Rafah crossing between Sunday and Monday. Egypt allowed the entry of 114 truckloads of goods, including five liquid natural gas trucks weighing 107 tons, 14 fuel trucks weighing 16, 250 liters, trucks of diesel weighing 608, 000 liters, 27 truckloads of cement, 25 truckloads of gravel and 27 truckloads of cement weighing 1,045 tons. The shipment also included seven truckloads of 45 tons of flour, two truckloads of plastic chairs, 15 tons of detergent, 20 tons of perfume and five trucks carrying livestock for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday coming next week.
Some 606 Palestinians crossed the Rafah crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt, on Sunday, while 325 crossed from Egypt into Gaza.
Israel allows entry of construction materials into Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Israel confirmed that it will allow the entry of 20 truckloads of construction material into the besieged Gaza Strip for the second day in a row, on Monday. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that about 20 truckloads of cement and other construction materials will be transported through the Kerem Shalom in the northern Gaza Strip. Sources added that several trucks also passed through the crossing on Sunday due to the fact that, recently, only humanitarian supplies, such as food and medicine, have been transported.
Amid major shortage, PA orders cancer drugs be sent to Gaza
Times of Israel 13 Aug by Adam Rasgon — After health officials in the Gaza Strip reported major shortages of chemotherapy medications, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority ordered that drugs needed to treat cancer be sent to the Strip, the official PA news site WAFA reported on Monday. Health officials in Gaza reported that 700 cancer patients, including 200 children, being treated at Gaza City’s Abdel al-Aziz al-Rantisi Hospital did not receive chemotherapy on Monday because of a shortage in medications needed to administer it. Forty-five of 60 chemotherapy drugs needed at the Rantisi Hospital were out of stock as of Monday morning, according to Muhammed Abu Silmiya, the director of the medical facility. The report did not provide details on the exact medications or the amount of them that the PA intends to dispatch to Gaza. It also did not say when the cancer patients were expected to have access to the drugs.
The PA has long provided pharmacies in the Strip with a number of medications. International parties also sometimes send drugs to pharmacies there. For more than a year, the PA has imposed a series of sanctions, some of which have since been lifted, on the Gaza Strip to pressure Hamas to cede power … For several months in 2017, the PA largely halted major shipments of medications and medical equipment into Gaza, but resumed them in November 2017. However, the renewed shipments have not sufficed to provide all of Rantisi Hospital’s needs for chemotherapy medications, Abu Silmiya said in an interview on Monday.
Despite claims to expand fishing area, Israeli forces arrested 4 fishermen and detained 2 fishing boats sailing within one nautical mile
PCHR-Gaza 16 Aug Press Release — On Thursday morning 16 August, 2018, Israeli gunboats chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 1 nautical mile, arrested 4 fishermen and detained a fishing boat. These violations refute the Israeli authorities’ claims regarding easing the ongoing naval blockade and expanding the fishing area to 9 nautical miles off the Gaza shore, which were announced on Tuesday 14 August 2018. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) investigations, at approximately 6:55, on Thursday morning, 16 August 2018, Israeli gunboats chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 1 nautical mile off Beit Lahia shore in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli gunboats then surrounded 2 fishing boats. One of the 2 boats was manned by Ra‘fat Mohammed ‘Ali al-Sultan (48) and Tawfiq Sa‘eed Ashour al-Sultan (50), while the other boat was manned by Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Zayed (58) and his son Tamer (35). The Israeli naval soldiers ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. The fishermen were arrested and the fishing equipment and boats were confiscated….
Attorney General seeks to soften Israel’s policy on medical treatment for Gazans
Haaretz 16 Aug by Yaniv Kubovich — Defense chief opposes easing restrictions until the issue Israeli prisoners and missing persons is resolved — Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is seeking to reverse the government’s refusal to enable seriously ill Gazans to leave the Strip for treatment in the West Bank, or abroad, if they have a first-degree family relationship with a Hamas operative. Mendelblit has also asked Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Israel Defense Forces to draw up an exceptions list specifying cases in which patients will be allowed to leave Gaza to receive lifesaving treatment in Israel. In contrast to Lieberman, Mendelblit wants the list of those allowed passage to include Gazans who were wounded by gunfire during demonstrations and need immediate treatment. At the beginning of the year the government decided to ban entrance of Gaza residents who are involved in Hamas activity, as well as Hamas operatives’ first-degree relatives, except in cases where lifesaving treatment was needed. The decision was made in response to a petition by the family of Hadar Goldin, a soldier whose remains are being held by Hamas, regarding the granting of entrance permits to Gazans for humanitarian reasons. In practice, the defense establishment has had a hard time determining who is connected to Hamas operatives, particularly in the cases of minors. Earlier this month it was reported that since the beginning of the year, 769 ill Gazans had been denied entry for medical treatment on grounds they had Hamas ties, compared to only 21 refusals on these grounds during all of 2017….
Israel bans Palestinian mother from accompanying her sick toddler for treatment
MEMO 17 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities have prevented a Palestinian mother from Gaza from traveling with her three-year-old sick child to the West Bank for treatment. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday that the Israeli authorities stopped Hanan Al-Khudari from leaving the Gaza Strip to accompany her son, Luay, on a trip to the occupied West Bank where he will receive cancer treatment. Authorities said Al-Khudari is a close relative of a Hamas member. Luay was diagnosed with cancer in January and underwent treatment at two hospitals in the past including Israel’s Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. In May, he was transferred for treatment at Al-Najah University Hospital in Nablus; however the Israeli authorities prevented his mother from leaving the besieged enclave to accompany him. [Amira Hass reports in Haaretz Friday: “Following a Haaretz report, representatives of the Palestinian office for civil affairs informed her Thursday that she was allowed to leave immediately.”]
Israel bans Palestinian student from exiting Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — The Israeli authorities banned a 15-year-old Palestinian girl from traveling through the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday. Fifteen-year-old Iman Ibrahim Muammar, daughter of Ibrahim Muammar, the Head of the National Society for Democracy and Law, from the besieged Gaza Strip was traveling through the Erez crossing to attend a one-year program in the United States, for which she has received a scholarship from the “YES” program. The “YES” program is funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to study for one academic year in the United States. Iman was banned from traveling through the crossing for alleged “security purposes” although she had an approved travel permit.
World Bank announces $17 million Gaza youth employment program
i24NEWS 13 Aug — The World Bank announced Monday it will provide $17 million (USD) in “short term income support” to Gaza’s unemployed youth in a project targeting approximately 4,400 young Palestinians, half of whom are women. The “Gaza Emergency Cash for Work and Self-Employment Support” will employ youth in Gaza at nonprofits and NGOs that “deliver services in severely needed areas such as health, education, and support to the disabled and elderly,” according to the World Bank statement. “As part of the US$17 million grant, the new project will finance skills training and internet-based job support to an additional 750 youth,” it adds. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) released last week revealed that the youth unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip increased from 39.8% in 2007 to 61.2% in 2017….
Gaza fisherman battles poverty with plastic-bottle boat
GAZA CITY (AFP) 17 Aug — With hundreds of empty plastic bottles collected from the shores of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, fisherman Muath Abu Zeid has turned litter into a floating source of income. The Palestinian father of four used glue and old nets to bind the bottles into a small fishing boat that he hopes will help him support his family. Simple but effective, the 700-bottle craft is capable of carrying up to eight people out to sea, according to its 35-year-old skipper. A broad slab of wood lashed to the top serves as a seat, allowing Abu Zeid to row a few hundred meters out from shore — far enough to go fishing. It takes him about eight hours to pull in between five to seven kilograms (11 to 15 pounds) of sardines, mullet and other small fish with his rod. He sells his catch to passersby on the nearby corniche, making between NIS 20 and 40 ($5-11) a day. Muath’s two younger brothers — Mohammed, 23, and Ashraf, 20 — accompany him on his daily excursions. Neither were able to find work elsewhere….
Can Gaza rebuild its arts haven damaged by Israeli bombing?
Al-Monitor 13 Aug by Razan Alsa‘afin — An oasis for artists and artisans, Gaza City’s Arts and Crafts Village is struggling for survival after parts of it were destroyed following Israeli airstrikes on the neighborhood last month. The artists’ hopes for reconstruction of the village largely depend on whether they can get international support. A small haven of traditional Islamic architecture in western Gaza City’s al-Remal neighborhood, the Arts and Crafts Village consists of four houses made of red clay. The interior walls and floors are covered with ceramics, and traditional artisanal tools hang on the walls. The village’s director, Nihad Shakalia, told Al-Monitor: “The village, a cultural center affiliated with the Gaza municipality, aims to preserve Palestinian heritage and artisanry from extinction. It includes four traditional houses, each dedicated to one traditional craft. We have the House of Embroidery, the House of Rugs, the House of Copper and the House of Wood. There is also an exhibition hall, which is active throughout the year with events that showcase Palestinian heritage to local and foreign audiences.”….
Will new e-payment regulations boost Gaza’s gig economy?
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 15 Aug by Moath al-Amoundi — The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) on July 31 announced new regulations for the licensing of payment service companies. The new requirements, whose implementation was called for by the 2018 National Plan for the Promotion of the Use of Electronic Payment Systems, should help solve a problem many Palestinians in Gaza face in receiving payments for work performed online. Hundreds of young Gazans have encountered obstacles having fees or remittances transferred to banks inside Gaza or wired via e-payment cards. Some have experienced delays in payment, while others have lost jobs as a result. In the statement announcing the new regulations, PMA Governor Azzam al-Shawwa noted the goal of developing and expanding payment methods — that is, money movement and payment services — through safe and secure e-payment system infrastructure and tools. On June 5, the Palestinian government had approved the national plan, which was developed in light of banks having problems obtaining foreign currency, as well as shekels, from Israel due to its 11-year-long siege against Gaza….
Video: Palestinian photographer brings pain of Gaza to southern France
11 Aug — At the Arles Photo Festival, Taysir Batniji’s ‘Home Away from Home’ shows the dual lives of Palestinians who live abroad but want to return to their homes in Gaza — Exiled Palestinian photographer Tyesir Batniji is showing his work about the lives of those who fled the violence in Gaza at the Arles Photo Festival in the south of France. Al Jazeera’s David Chater went to see the conflict in Gaza through the artist’s eyes.
Video: Gaza’s history-making female runner
BBC Witness 15 Aug — In 2004, the 800m runner Sanaa Abu Bkheet became the first athlete from the Gaza Strip to represent Palestine at the Olympic Games. She led the Palestinian delegation at the opening ceremony, the first time a woman had carried the Palestinian flag at an Olympics. Sanaa, who still lives in the Gaza Strip, tells Witness about overcoming poverty and prejudice on her journey to the biggest sporting stage in the world. “For the past four years, no athlete from Gaza has been able to take part in any event outside.”
Gaza: Meet the Palestinian doctor who watched his son die
MEE 12 Aug by Ghazal Othman — In the 22 years of Sari al-Shobaki’s life, his father rescued him from death seven times. The first, Dr Dahoud al-Shobaki recalls, was when his son was born three months premature and turned blue from lack of oxygen in an incubator. Then there was also the time when he had a dangerously high fever at age four. But the last five occurred in the span of two months this year. “I wish that I had been able to save my son’s life like I am used to … but the eighth time, it was God’s decree,” Dahoud tells Middle East Eye … But despite the health scares he has faced over the years, nothing prepared Dahoud to witness first-hand the slow death of his son Sari, shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers in May, only to succumb to his wounds two months later. At only 22, Sari al-Shobaki dreamt of getting married and becoming a father. An enterprising young man, he worked hard to make his dream come true, working a series of odd jobs such as selling cold drinks and stockings or working at a photography studio. The second-eldest of eight children, Sari used his earnings to help out his family in the Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza City and to try to build a future for himself. At 10am on 14 May, the young man walked out of the house without telling his family where he was going. What exactly transpired then remains a mystery to his family until now. Dahoud’s phone rang an hour after Sari left home. On the other end of the line, someone told him that his beloved son had been killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza’s buffer zone near Israel. That fateful Monday ended up being the single bloodiest day of the Great March of Return … Dahoud rushed to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which was overwhelmed that day with casualties from the protest. The medical authorities did not have anyone registered under Sari’s name, so Dahoud combed every department of the medical centre for hours. Amid the chaos, he finally found his son lying in a corner of the reception area. On his chest lay a piece of paper marked “Unidentified”. He was in dire straits, but still breathing … Dahoud immediately took matters into his own hands and saved his son’s life for a third time, transfusing 12 units of blood and infusing more than 100 saline solution units. Sari stabilised, but the bullet that penetrated his neck had hit his spinal cord, rendering him quadriplegic and leaving him with respiratory and intestinal paralysis. After 10 days at the al-Shifa hospital, all the doctors who examined Sari agreed that his condition was irreversible, especially given the limited medical care available in Gaza … Finally, on 25 May, Dahoud and Sari were allowed to travel to East Jerusalem for treatment at the Saint Joseph hospital … Between 5 June and 5 July, Sari made a slow but promising recovery in the East Jerusalem hospital, Dahoud says, as he kept up his involvement in his son’s treatment … But just as his condition looked hopeful, Sari’s health took a drastic turn for the worse … On 17 July, slightly more than two months after he was shot, Sari al-Shobaki died….
Analysis: Palestinian protesters in Gaza: Don’t wound us — kill us / Amira Hass
(behind paywall) Haaretz 13 Aug — How many of the young people protesting Friday at the Gaza border fence hoped the soldiers facing them would pull the trigger and end their lives? Many. Many more than is reported or than the Palestinians are prepared to or can admit publicly. “A person who was shot in the leg and had his leg amputated weeps. Not because his leg is gone, but because the soldier didn’t kill him,” said someone who came out of the Gaza Strip for a few days. He told of a 30-year-old man who went up to the fence a few times, was wounded a few times, until he got lucky and the soldier on the other side finally killed him. We’ll get to the women too, soon enough, but we’re treading carefully. What is the ratio between the number of those seeking to continue protecting the principles of the Palestinian struggle – by protesting at the border fence – and the number of those using the patriotic-nationalistic mantle to commit suicide, knowing that Islam prohibits “ordinary” suicide? We don’t know. Israel doesn’t allow us to enter the Gaza Strip to ask these questions and seek answers. Phone calls are not enough, and so we depend on reports from people coming out – Palestinians and foreign journalists …
Some people deluded themselves that their family would receive large compensation if they were killed, or that payment for injury would come on a monthly basis. They still think it’s like the second intifada, when Saddam Hussein and Iran sent money for these purposes and the Palestinian Authority bore the burden. Those days are gone forever. On Ramadan the young people went on the marches because a nourishing meal to break the fast was waiting for them, provided by Hamas. On other days they would receive a sandwich and a drink at the protest tents. Yet they are at risk even if they are not standing next to the fence, but rather are some distance away, near the tents, as attested to by a journalist who was standing near the tents last week when a bullet fired by one of our heroic soldiers flew right past his ear.
Over the weekend, written proof emerged of the mixture of a death wish and commitment to the struggle. Abdallah al-Qatati, 20, was a volunteer paramedic who went every Friday to rescue unarmed people wounded by the strongest army in the region. Ten days ago he wrote a Facebook post, and people who shared it said it was his last: “As on every Friday, I go to the border, but this Friday is different. I’m going like any young revolutionary protecting his homeland and his land. We don’t care about the goals of the march or the goals of any organization in this march. What is important to us is our land and our dignity. And in short, we are fleeing unto death. In the hope that the second death will be more merciful than the first. And that’s the end of the story.”….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli army raids Palestinian school in West Bank
MEMO 14 Aug — Israeli occupation forces yesterday raided a Palestinian school in Al-Khader neighbourhood in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Anadolu Agency reported. Coordinator of the Popular Resistance Committees Ahmed Salah told Anadolu that the Israeli occupation force raided Said Bin Al-As School and detained teachers and students. It was not clear how many people had been held as a result of the raid. He said that the Israeli occupation forces raided the school while students were sitting exams. Occupation forces often raid the school claiming they are looking for Palestinian stone throwers who target vehicles of illegal Israeli settlers in the area.
Illegal Israeli colonists march in Hebron, invade home
IMEMC 15 Aug — A group of extremist illegal Israeli colonists marched, Tuesday, in Tel Romedia Palestinian neighborhood, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, heading to the Ibrahimi Mosque, and stormed a Palestinian home. Emad Jaber, a local nonviolent activist against Israel’s colonies, said Israeli soldiers closed the Ibrahimi Mosque, and prevented the Palestinians from entering it. He added that the soldiers also closed all entrances leading to the mosque, and the Palestinian neighborhoods on the Old City. The colonists then marched waving Israeli flags, and chanting racist slogans against the Palestinians. During their provocative march, several colonists invaded a Palestinian home near the illegal Abraham Avino colonialist outpost.
Colonialist settler injures a farmer; soldiers prevent Palestinians from entering their lands in Salfit
IMEMC 15 Aug — An Israeli guard of the illegal Ariel colony attacked and injured, on Wednesday afternoon, a Palestinian farmer, while Israeli soldiers prevented several others from entering their lands, in Kifl Haris village, north of Salfit, in northwestern West Bank. Media sources said the farmer suffered various cuts and bruises, and was moved to Yasser Arafat hospital, in Salfit. They added that the soldiers prevented many farmers from entering their lands, isolated near the illegal colony, and demanded them to obtain permits from the Israeli “Civil Administration Office.”
Israeli settlers destroy 200 olive trees in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 17 Aug — Israeli settlers destroyed, predawn Friday, two hundred olive trees in the al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village in southern Nablus of the northern West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Eli settlement completely destroyed some two hundred 10-year-old olive trees, in the Wadi Ali area of the village, belonging to a Palestinian identified as Nael Awayseh. Daghlas said that Palestinian owners of the olive-tree field discovered the destroyed trees on Friday morning after Israeli settlers had carried out the attack overnight.
Israeli settlers damage 40 Palestinian vehicles in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house, punctured and damaged vehicles in the northern West Bank district of Nablus late Thursday. The attacks came after a Israeli settler was killed by a Palestinian driver in a car accident, initially thought to be a vehicular attack, near Nablus, late Thursday night. The Palestinian driver, 60, turned himself in to the Palestinian liaison, shortly after the accident, saying that he had fled the site of the accident out of fear. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli settlers damaged some 40 Palestinian vehicles by throwing rocks and empty glass bottles towards vehicles using the Nablus-Tulkarem road (illegal Yitzhar settlement road), Huwwara and Zaatara checkpoints in the area and the near the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli. Israeli settlers also burned down an excavator belonging to a Palestinian, identified as Muhammad Issa Makhlouf, after they had raided a stone-factory in the ‘Urif village. In the Jalud village in Nablus, dozens of Israeli settlers from the illegal Ahiya settlement attacked the eastern part of the village and attempted to set a Palestinian house on fire before locals prevented them. Clashes erupted between Israeli forces, which intervened to secure Israeli settlers and send them back to the settlement, and Palestinian residents of the village. A Ma‘an reporter in Nablus said that Israeli settlers blocked several main Nablus-area roads, including the Huwwara road, Jit crossroads and Zaatara checkpoint until late Thursday.
Israeli forces detain another Palestinian reporter in occupied West Bank
PressTV 15 Aug — Israeli military forces have reportedly arrested a reporter for the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) in the central part of the West Bank, as the Tel Aviv regime is pressing ahead with a heavy-handed crackdown on members of the press in the occupied Palestinian territories. The PBC announced in a statement that Ali Dar Ali was detained when Israeli forces broke into his home in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds, in the early hours of Wednesday. The broadcasting corporation then demanded the immediate release of Dar Ali, and held the Israeli regime fully responsible for restrictions on Palestinian media outlets. “These measures are intended to silence the Palestinian voice and deviate the public opinion, so the Israeli regime can go ahead with its crimes without any opposition,” the statement noted. “Such measures will not deter us from carrying out our national duties vis-à-vis our cause,” it said in conclusion.
On July 30, Israeli military forces arrested four correspondents from a Palestinian television channel affiliated to the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said the journalists of the Arabic-language al-Quds television network were detained in Ramallah … Early last month, the Israeli regime imposed bans on the broadcast of al-Quds TV, and said it cannot be put on air inside the occupied territories. Israeli minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that the television network can operate neither in Jerusalem al-Quds nor in other parts of Palestinian lands, and that the measure is in accordance with Israel’s so-called anti-terrorism law.
Israeli soldiers abduct six Palestinian women in Al-Aqsa
IMEMC 15 Aug — Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, six Palestinian women in front of one of the gates leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem. Media sources said the soldiers abducted Naheda Salah Abu Shaqra, 64, Salsabeel Mohammad Emara, Sajeda Mahameed, Sojoud Mahameed, Samah Mahameed and Nour Mahajna. The army also summoned Khadija Khweiss for interrogated at a nearby police center. The sources stated that Naheda and Salsabeel were taken prisoner just meters away from the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The rest of the detained women were taken prisoner after returning to a police roadblock, to retrieve their ID cards, which they had to leave with the soldiers in order to be allowed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It is worth mentioning that Naheda is the sister of Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in the northern part of the country. He was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, and is frequently denied access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is the second time Naheda is denied access to the holy site in one month, and was previously one of many women, who received orders forbidding their entry into the mosque.
Israeli forces detain 28 Palestinians, including 2 women
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — Israeli forces launched a raid campaign in which 28 Palestinians, including two women, were detained across the occupied West Bank on predawn Tuesday. According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron; the detainees were identified as Sonia al-Hamouri, Saida Badr, Muhammad Adi, Ghazi Adi, Dia Adi, Majd Adi, Imad Abu Tarq, and Yacoub Abu Tarq. In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, three Palestinians were detained and identified as Khalid Hamamra, Ramez Youssef al-Lahham, and Diaa Khalil al-Jaafari. In the central West Bank district of Jericho, Israeli forces detained four Palestinians; PPS identified them as two brothers, Safaa and Ahmad Youssef Abu al-Asal, Youssef Suleiman Muhammad Karshan and Daoud Khalil Abu Dahouk….
Report: 520 Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in July
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Aug — In July 2018, Israeli occupation forces arrested 520 Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories, including 69 children, nine women and five journalists, according to Palestinian human rights and prisoners’ institutions that released their monthly report on 13 August. This translation was produced by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. The Israeli occupation authorities seized 122 Palestinians from the city of Jerusalem, 100 from Ramallah and El-Bireh, 75 from al-Khalil, 52 from Jenin, 48 from Bethlehem, 55 from Nablus, 15 from Tulkarem, 31 from Qalqilya, 7 from Tubas, 8 from Salfit and 8 from Jericho. As of 31 July 2018, the number of Palestinian prisoners in occupation prisons was approximately 6000, including 53 women, among them three minor girls, while there were approximately 300 children in Israeli occupation prisons. The occupation authorities issued 86 administrative detention orders, 36 of which were new and 50 of which were renewals; the total number of administrative detainees jailed without charge or trial rose to 430.
Fines for child prisoners: Extortion and collective punishment for prisoners and their families The military occupation courts do not restrict themselves to issuing unfair sentences against child prisoners, but also impose heavy fines on their families, on top of the lengthy years and months of detention. These fines can amount to tens of thousands of shekels for just one person. This is theft in the name of the law and a policy of extorting prisoners’ families with the aim of pressuring the prisoner and the families….
Hebron shooter denied gun license, police say he may be public danger
Times of Israel 14 Aug by Stuart Winer, ToI staff — A former Israeli soldier who was convicted of manslaughter and went to prison for killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker was recently denied a gun license, a report Tuesday said. According to the Ynet news website, Israel Police said Elor Azaria did not meet the criteria to carry a firearm and said he could pose a threat to public safety. Azaria had applied for permission to own a gun claiming threats had been made against him due to the 2016 Hebron shooting incident … Azaria’s circumstances “don’t meet the criteria that enable granting a firearms license,” police said, according to the report. Officials said they had looked into Azaria’s claims and had not found any credible threat to him. Azaria said in response the denial was “another stab in the back and spit in the face…After everything I have given and endured for the sake of the security of our country, (this ordeal) hurts and is tearing me up from the inside.” … Azaria was released in May after serving nine months of what was initially an 18-month prison term for killing Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian who had earlier stabbed an Israeli soldier and had already been shot and subdued….
IDF: Soldiers nab 3 Palestinians with pipe bombs near West Bank settlement
Times of Israel 14 Aug by Judah Ari Gross — Israeli troops arrested three Palestinian suspects armed with pipe bombs outside a settlement in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, the army said. In a separate case, on the other side of the West Bank, two pipe bombs were thrown at the Rachel’s Tomb holy site in Bethlehem. The explosives failed to detonate and “did not endanger anyone and caused no injuries,” police said. According to the military, three suspects were spotted by a soldier who was monitoring surveillance cameras in the area between the Palestinian village of Deir al-Hatab and the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh, near Nablus. Soldiers were called to the area, who arrested the three Palestinians. “After a search, four pipe bombs were found in their possession,” the military said. The suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.
Police say terror attack thwarted last week in Jerusalem Old City
Times of Israel 15 Aug by Michael Bachner — Suspect from Hebron, who was carrying a knife, first claimed he came to pray, but after days of interrogation admitted he was planning a stabbing attack — Security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City last week arrested a Palestinian man who was planning to carry out a stabbing attack, police said on Wednesday. After keeping the investigation under a gag order for a week, Jerusalem police revealed that the 26-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron was detained by officers on August 8 after they deemed his behavior suspicious. A body search revealed he was holding a knife and a can of tear gas, according to a police statement. The suspect was immediately taken for questioning at a nearby police station, where he claimed he came to Jerusalem to pray, the statement said. But the officers doubted his version and referred him to the district’s central police unit. Police investigators then “carried out several interrogation actions through which they were able to expose the suspect’s real intentions,” the statement added. The suspect was said to have admitted he had traveled from the West Bank illegally to carry out a stabbing attack against Israeli civilians or members of security forces.
Hours before her release, Palestinian woman receives administrative detention order
IMEMC 17 Aug — The Israeli authorities issued, Friday, an Administrative Detention order against a young Palestinian female detainee, just hours before he r scheduled release. The young Palestinian woman, identified as Fida’ Mohammad Ekhlayyel, 21, is from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Fida’ was supposed to be released today, and her family traveled to Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, to welcome her at an Israeli military roadblock, but were informed by an army officer that their daughter will not be released because she received an order, holding her under Administrative Detention. The family is yet to be informed about how long their daughter will be held under Administrative Detention, especially since her defense attorney has not been informed about that by the Israeli authorities. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said Fida’ was taken prisoner on May 29th, 2018, and was charged with “incitement against Israel on social media outlets,” before she was sentenced to 95 days in prison. The young woman is also a former political prisoner who spent a year in Israeli prisons. It is worth mentioning that Israel has issued more than 4.000 administrative detention orders during the last three years, 456 of which were issued since the beginning of 2018.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel demolishes al-Araqib Bedouin village for 132nd time
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 16 Aug — Israeli military bulldozers, escorted by heavily armed Israeli forces, demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert in southern Israel for the 132nd time, on Thursday. According to local sources, Israeli military bulldozers stormed the al-Araqib village and began to demolish their tents and homes, displacing the residents. Israeli forces detained several residents of the village, including Sheikh Sayyah al-Turi along with his son Aziz, and Salim Abu Ashraf under the pretext of obstructing the work of Israeli authorities and attempting to prevent the demolition. The demolition of the village comes after Israeli authorities decided to approve the construction of four new illegal Israeli settlements in the Negev area. Residents of the village insist on continuing to fight back and resisting the demolition of their homes, stressing their rejection of the planned displacement.The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships….
Israel demolishes Palestinian-owned building in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Israeli bulldozers demolished a residential building in the Palestinian neighborhood of ‘Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning, under the pretext of building without an Israeli permit. Local witnesses said that large numbers of Israeli forces and special units, accompanying bulldozers, stormed the neighborhood from its eastern entrance. Israeli forces raided the neighborhood, surrounded the area and prevented movement near the building. Witnesses added that the bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building under the pretext that it was built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli building permit. The building belonged to Palestinian resident, Nader Nasser Abu Riyaleh.
Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee in the Issawiya neighborhood, confirmed that Israeli bulldozers demolished two apartments which were still under construction in the residential building. Abu al-Hummus added that the Israeli municipality purposely delays approval procedures of the structural map of Issawiya. He pointed out that the Israeli municipality issues demolition orders for residential houses, commercial and agricultural establishments, in addition to imposing fines and transferring cases to Israeli courts under the pretext of unauthorized construction almost on a daily basis. Abu al-Hummus said that last week, Israeli forces had distributed demolition notices to several houses and residential buildings, in which dozens of Palestinian families live….
Over 600 units added to Avni Hafetz settlement
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Aug — The Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, said that Israeli occupation authorities have added more than 600 settlement units, during the past five days, to the settlement “Avni Hafetz “, which is built on land in Shofa village, in Tulkarem. “There is a great acceleration in settlement expansion in this area where the occupation forces are working day and night to expand the settlement and turn it into a big one at the expense of the citizens’ lands,” Daghlas told Voice of Palestine radio, on Tuesday morning, according to the PNN. The official pointed out that he had been contacted, by the Council of the village of Shofa, to follow up the issue from the legal point of view, and to address it publicly.
IOA planning to convert Jordan Valley camp into a settlement
JERICHO (PNN) 16 Aug — Palestinian rights activist Arif Darghameh revealed Israeli plans to house 30 settler families in the Shu‘ayr camp, which is located in the northern Jordan Valley. Darghameh said that this project is the first step to turn the camp into a new settlement in the region. The camp dates back to the beginning of the 1950s, when Jordanian forces established it on a piece of land in the area. It remained there until the Naksa in 1967, after which it came under Israeli occupation control.
Land in West Bank leveled in preparation to expand illegal settlement
NABLUS (WAFA) 14 Aug – Israeli machinery worked on leveling Palestinian land in the village of Einabous, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, in preparation to expand a nearby illegal settlement, according to Ghassan Daghlas, a local official. He told WAFA that the bulldozers razed land owned by a local resident in order to expand the settlement of Yitzhar, one of the largest of the illegal Israeli settlements in the area.
Israel to install dozens of cellular antennae in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (PNN) 12 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) will complete the installation of cellular antennae in the West Bank in order to improve the transmission of telephones operating in Israeli settlements. The move follows a meeting between Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub al-Qara and the West Bank Security and Civil Affairs Committee. Israel Hayom newspaper reported Sunday that the work is due to be completed by the beginning of next year. The same newspaper reported two weeks ago that PHI, which won a tender to build cellular infrastructure for the Israeli occupation army in the occupied West Bank, would also cover the transmission of “civilian” phones in areas where there is presently a shortage. The improvements are mainly aimed at serving hundreds of thousands of settlers in the occupied West Bank.
Israel suspends German-backed construction project in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Israel suspended a German-backed construction project to build a landfill site for waste disposal in the central occupied West bank district of Ramallah, on Monday. The Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection, Zeev Elkin, informed the German government that residents of illegal Israeli settlements would also use the planned landfill to dispose of their waste. The German government rejected the Israeli “proposition” since the project is funded for developing countries such as the occupied West Bank. Additionally, Germany recognizes these Israeli settlements as illegal under international law. The German government responded by saying that “the (Israeli) minister decided to undermine the project and deprive the Palestinians from benefiting from the German initiative, which helps solve the problem of dozens of existing dumps in random areas of the occupied West Bank.” Germany has set a deadline, 1st of October 2018, for obtaining approval from Israel for the project, otherwise it will refrain from transferring the funds allocated for it. The funds are an estimate of €10 million.
Israeli army to conduct new punitive house demolition in West Bank village
MEMO 13 Aug — Israeli occupation forces posted a demolition order on the home of a slain Palestinian assailant in the occupied West Bank early this morning, reported WAFA. Mohammad Tareq Dar Yousef stabbed an Israeli settler [Yotam Ovadia] to death on 26 July in Adam, one of more than 200 illegal Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory. Two other settlers were also injured, before Yousef was shot dead on the spot. Israeli soldiers raided Kobar before dawn today, to serve the demolition notice on Yousef’s family home. The order says the family has two days to appeal, but these are almost never successful. Israeli occupation authorities routinely carry out punitive home demolitions of Palestinian assailants or alleged assailants, even though the practice is a violation of international humanitarian law.
Israel measures home of 5 Palestinian prisoners for demolition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — Israeli forces, along with Israeli army engineers, raided the Abu Hmeid family home on predawn Tuesday in the al-‘Amari refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Locals said that Israeli forces escorting army engineers raided the al-‘Amari refugee camp and inspected Umm Nasser Abu Hmeid’s house, mother of four Palestinian prisoners, a fifth accused of killing an Israeli soldier and another who was killed by Israeli forces in 2002. Israeli forces raided took measurements of the house in preparation to demolish it. Clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces following the raid; no injuries were reported. Abu Hmeid’s son, Islam, was detained by Israeli forces in June and charged with stone throwing and accused of killing an Israeli soldier during clashes in which he threw a stone on an Israeli soldier, later killing the soldier.
Restriction of movement
Shin Bet banned 250 people from entering Israel
MEMO 17 Aug — The Israeli Security Agency, Shin Bet, prevented 250 people from entering Israel this year, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday. The newspaper said a majority of those barred from entry were Muslims who came from Arab countries, Europe and the United States and tried to enter Israel through Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Taba border crossing with Egypt and Allenby bridge border crossing with Jordan. The paper explained that after interrogating them, Shin Bet officers denied them entry over suspicion of involvement in terrorism, espionage or political subversion. In July, prominent Jewish-American activist, Ariel Gold, was denied entry into Israel over her links to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement….
Israeli minister sees end to ‘stupid’ airport grilling of leftists
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 16 Aug — An Israeli security cabinet minister on Thursday denounced the interrogation of left-wing activists at the country’s main airport, and predicted that it would end after the singling-out of a visiting US Jewish columnist stirred controversy. The questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, in a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, to describe the incident as “an administrative mistake.”
After Beinart, a columnist with the Jewish daily Forward, went public with his experience, several other liberal or pro-Palestinian activists — both foreigners and Israeli citizens — said that they had been similarly treated at Ben Gurion. “This is stupidity,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said when asked about the airport interrogations of left-wingers. “It cannot be explained. It is folly, ridiculous.” “I am certain that now there will be someone who stands there and will check that such stupidity does not recur,” Hanegbi told Israel’s Channel 13 television. Security screening at Ben Gurion has always been stringent, but left-wing activists accuse authorities of subjecting them to scrutiny on political grounds as the right-wing Netanyahu government tries to counter pro-Palestinian boycott campaigns against Israel.
UNRWA schools to start on time
AMMAN (UNRWA) 16 Aug — At an extraordinary session of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, in Amman today, the Commissioner-General Mr Pierre Krähenbühl announced that the school-year for 526,000 Palestine refugee girls and boys will open on time in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Mr Krähenbühl emphasized that students and teachers will be returning to the 711 schools on time “because it is crucial to protect the fundamental right to education for Palestine refugee girls and boys and the community’s unwavering attachment to learning and the development of skills”. He added that schools will open taking into account the fact that host countries have repeatedly drawn attention to the serious risks to regional stability if this were not the case.
The Commissioner-General also underlined the ongoing severe risks facing the Agency: “While announcing today the opening of the school year, I wish to be clear that UNRWA is by no stretch of the imagination out of the woods. Since January 2018, UNRWA has mobilized $238 M of additional funding, which is very encouraging. However, we currently only have funding to run the Agency’s services until the end of September. We need a further $217 M to ensure that our schools not only open but can be run until the end of the year. This requires the resolute continuation of the collective mobilization that has been underway since January”….
Sacks of mail reach the West Bank, 8 years late
NY Times 15 Aug by Megan Specia — Ten tons of letters and packages, which Israel had long prevented from reaching Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, have finally been delivered. Some of the pieces are eight years old. The mail, held in Jordan, began being released to the Palestinian Authority on Monday, according to a statement from Palestinian officials. Some of it was badly damaged after the years-long delay. Israel controls all goods coming in and out of the Palestinian territories, and the Israeli Postal Service sorts mail destined for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Goods are regularly blocked from entering the areas, more strictly for Gaza, on what Israel describes as security grounds. A 2016 agreement was intended to allow mail to be received directly by the Palestinian postal service, but was never fully implemented. Still, Israel has for years maintained that international mail is delivered to the Palestinian Authority promptly, and for years the Palestinian Authority has disputed that claim. Allam Moussa, the minister of communications and information technology for the Palestinian Authority, said the seized mail included items “coming from around the world, carrying packages, gifts and purchases that did not arrive on time because of the regrettable refusal of the Israeli side.” The release came after long negotiations with Israel, and Jordan played an instrumental part in getting the mail to its destination, Mr. Moussa said….
PCBS: Unemployment among Palestinian graduates hits 55.8%
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) issued a press release on Sunday reviewing the current situation of young graduates in the Palestinian society on the occasion of International Youth Day. According to PCBS, the rate of unemployment among Palestinian graduates between the age of 15-29 years old holding an intermediate diploma degree or higher was 55.8% during 2017 (37.8% for males and 72.0% for females) compared to 41.5% in 2007. PCBS said in the statement that 2017 graduates of educational sciences and teacher training specialization recorded the highest unemployment rate at 69.6% (47.5% for males and 76.2% for females).Meanwhile, graduates of law specialization recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 25.7% (25.5% for males and 26% for females).
— High rates of youth participation in the labor force — The percentage of participation in the labor force among individuals 15-29 years in Palestine reached 41.1% in 2017 (63% among males and 18.9% among females) compared with 33.8% in 2007. The percentage of participation among individuals in the age group (15-29 years) in the West Bank increased from 35.6% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2017, and in the besieged Gaza Strip it increased from 30.8% to 42.0% during the same period….
PLO seeks to expel Israel from United Nations on grounds of apartheid
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Aug — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said, on Monday, that it has started a process to kick Israel out of the United Nations, on grounds of being an apartheid state. Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, said that the request for suspending Israel’s membership in the United Nations, similar to how the South African government was treated during the period of its racist rule, is now at the examination phase both legally and procedurally. He told Voice of Palestine radio that the PLO is seeking answers to these questions from the Legal Committee of the international organization. The PLO official said that since Israel defines itself now as a racist and an apartheid state, with its new Nation-State Basic Law and its discriminatory practices, many in the international community would be inclined to support the Palestinian effort.
Two Palestinian construction workers fall to their deaths at construction site near Tel Aviv
(behind paywall) Haaretz 13 Aug by Bar Peleg & Lee Yaron — Three construction workers fell to their deaths Monday at two different construction sites, one in Rosh Ha’ayin and one in Lod. In Rosh Ha’ayin, two workers fell from a hanging scaffold that broke loose on the 15th floor of a building under construction. A third man was injured in the accident. The two dead were Palestinians in their 30s from the West Bank. In Lod, a Chinese worker, 35, died when he fell from a height of four stories at a building site in the Ahisamah neighborhood. A volunteer from the Hatzalah rescue service said the worker fell from a scaffold while doing plaster work. Their deaths bring the death toll at Israeli construction sites to 27 since the beginning of the year, a 53 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017 … Reuven Ben Shimon, who founded the Forum for the Prevention of Workplace Accidents, said 70 percent of those sustaining moderate to fatal injuries did so in falls from a height. “Contractors don’t pay a personal or economic price, and we will therefore continue to count and bury the invisible workers falling to their deaths on the altar of luxury buildings and due to the continued impunity in the construction industry,” he said….
Int’l social movement participants gather in West Bank to exchange experience
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 10 Aug — Social movement participants from 14 countries started a conference in the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday to share experiences in the struggle against colonialism. The two-day conference, which aims at establishing common grounds for people with shared plights, provided opportunities for speakers to illustrate their goals and means of struggle. Aghsan Barghouti, press officer of the Union of Agricultural Work Committee, one of the organizing groups, said the conference “tries to collectively point out the strengths and weaknesses to build on.” The debates focused on the emerging social movements in Palestine, union works, the international status of the Palestinian cause, and the internal relationships between Palestinian social movements….
Israel appoints Druze as army commander in West Bank
MEMO 15 Aug — The Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Gadi Eisenkot, has appointed the Druze officer Ghassan Alian as the commander of the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s Channel 2 reported yesterday. The decision is conditional upon approval by the Israeli defence minister, Avigdor Liberman. Alian, 45, is a senior officer in IDF’s ground forces, who formerly held the position of the IDF’s Givati Brigade, an infantry brigade that serves as its amphibious force. The Druze officer also commanded the Israeli army’s ground battle that took place in the east of the besieged Gaza Strip at beginning the 2014 war, where he was injured and was transferred to hospital. Observers believe that Alian’s appointment in that position was “not coincidental,” but said it came in an attempt to calm down the Druze community, which has been engaged in a wave of protests against the Israeli law of nationalism…..
500 Palestinian pilgrims arrive in Makkah for Hajj
JEDDAH (Arab News) 16 Aug — Five hundred Palestinian pilgrims — relatives of those killed by Israeli forces — arrived in Makkah from the occupied West Bank on Thursday. They were received with flowers, Zamzam water, dates and coffee. Upon the completion of the reception ceremony, the keys of the rooms, data SIM cards with free calls, and a Hajj kit, were given to the pilgrims. They thanked King Salman for his support of the Palestinian cause, for hosting them, and for giving them the opportunity to perform Hajj.
Roman-era tombs discovered in Palestinian village near Hebron
AFP/New Arab 16 Aug — A set of Roman-era tombs dating back some 2,000 years have been discovered near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank during road works, an official said on Thursday. The cemetery dating to the first century AD, when the region was under Roman rule, was found in the village of Idna in the southern West Bank around two weeks ago. It was discovered during road works in mountainous terrain in the area, said Taleb Jubran, director of the department of tourism and antiquities in Hebron. Bones, pottery and some 32 tombs set into stone were found. It was clear to archaeologists that artifacts had been stolen from the site before it was officially discovered, said Jubran. “This discovery is very important for us to study it and to preserve it,” Jubran said…
In January, flash-flooding in the Gaza Strip led to the discovery of another Roman-era tomb complex, some still with piles of bones in them….